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Published: April 22nd 2016
In case I haven't let you know, please feel free to pass the blog link info to whoever you want. It's completely public. Of course I am assuming that people want to read it in the first place. 😊
I was having such a good time at Dinosaur National Monument that I had another late start to my road trip. My initial plan was to get to the Grand Tetons or Yellowstone to setup camp. The late start (3:30PM) made that an iffy possibility. To top it off, and as I was talking to Kim about, I'm starting to worry about my timing. I need to start moving faster to at least get to the areas I wanted to see in the first place, i.e. Alaska, and to have enough time to do more than say "that's cool, next stop".
With no general idea where I am going, I decided to head north and see how far I could get while looking for a camp. So from Vernal, I headed north on US 191, right before Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area I took SR44 which loops west around the Rec area. Beautiful treed
mountains with plenty of camping areas lined the road, but now it is too early to stop since I really have not gone very far. So I pressed on. Very little traffic. Talking about traffic, the one thing that has typified this trip is the lack of traffic. One reason I am sure is that it is off season. I imagine during peak season these roads would be crowded with vacationers. Right now it is private and secluded. Nice.
On the northern segment of the road, it opens up on an amazing site. Far below and off to the horizon was the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. As I descended, I came across more camp sites set back in small box canyons with a small river running along side the road. Here at these camp sites, I saw closely packed clusters of RV's which I kind of shied away from. Now I am thinking I'd be an unwanted visitor. They belong pagans, survivalist, etc. For some reason, I had the feeling that I didn't belong there. Wimp, that's me. Later after you see how the night ended, I probably should have stopped. If only...
As you can tell, I am
leading up to my one great shame. A shame which I will never live down, especially after my Aunt Nancy said that she knew someone nearby that I could contact.
Anyhow, after rounding the park, I briefly took SR 43 which turns in to SR 414 when I crossed into Wyoming. This took me to Mountain View. In Mountain View, I pulled over, got really expensive gas and looked at my camping options. I knew I wasn't going to get to Jackson or past there without a lot of night driving and after my two rounds of DODGE THE WILDLIFE, I wasn't that eager to go a round three. I noticed that north of Kemmerer (what kind of spelling is that??? It reminds me of Ben Stiller trying to say Favre) was a campground in the southern portion of the Bridger-Teton National Forest called Hams Fork. Perfect. An hour and half or so away. So I headed north on SR 412 and picked up US 189 to Kemmerer. From Kemmerer was a small state road 233. Distance about 44 miles. Awesome. Plenty of time to setup camp and relax. So I headed north on 233. About 20 miles north
the road become a dirt/gravel road. Uh oh.
The road didn't look to bad. Seemed well packed and graded with snow plowed on both sides. OK, go for it. So I went for it. The road really wasn't that bad with only the occasional pot hole and mud wallows from run-off. I passed those easily enough. After about 5 miles, I quit seeing any homesteads or survivalist compounds; just gentle swells of hills covered with some kind of heather or what not, a few deer and what I am assuming was some type of weasel. Off to the left was an ice covered lake paralleling the road. My speed is greatly reduced so my time to camp was getting later. I was still thinking I'd get there with enough light to setup camp, plus the moon was starting to rise. No problem.
Problem. About 10 miles to go, the road quits being snow plowed. One second a decent dirt road, the next, snow. Freaking snow. WHAT THE HELL. Seriously, who stops plowing a road before finishing???!!! There was nothing useful where the plowing stopped. It wasn't like it was a final destination. One moment road. Next moment snow. crap crap crap. Now I have like an hour or more just to get back to Kemmerer. I did seriously contemplate continuing on through the snow. I did see tire tracks in the snow. But with losing the light, not knowing how bad the road was going to get, plus I hadn't seen any vehicle see I've been on 233, I decided to turn around. I was being prudent, but I can' help thinking I should have perceived. One person's prudence is another's perceiverence. Anyway, I tucked tail and turned around. I did see a moose eating down in the meadow so I stopped to take a picture. It looked up and watched me. I took my picture and got back in the car and moved on. It placidly resumed eating. BTW, the pictures suck, it was too dark and the quality is up there with the Bigfoot footage. So no picture posted. I also saw a lovely moonrise. Ironically, I ended up playing round 3 of DODGE THE WILDLIFE. I barely missed the largest damn skunk I have ever seen. An hour or so plus later I got back to Kemmerer.
I counted my options: move on towards Jackson and see what comes up or, hmmmmm...
The unforgivable curse
sin. I decided on a hotel. Also Ironically, I could have gotten in contact with Aunt Nancy's friend and maybe, just maybe, gotten a place to stay which I could say didn't violate the only camping rule.
If it makes you feel better, I slept poorly wallowing in my guilt and shame at what my children must think of me. I also took ALL of the complimentary coffee. So here I am at the free breakfast buffet writing this blog about ready to take off. Today is going to be mostly driving to try to make up some time. My goal is to setup camp somewhere in Montana tonight.
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