Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Uintas?? Maybe...maybe not!

In my last post, I talked about heading up to the Uintas for some much needed cooler temperatures. It was the 4th of July weekend and even though we wouldn't be hanging out with our friends until after the weekend, we made sure to stock up really well before heading up there. The drive from Salt Lake City to the town of Kamas (the foot of the mountains) took about an hour & a half. 

We started up the mountain heading toward Soapstone Basin Road and immediately started seeing people everywhere, this was definitely not a secret spot! Once on Soapstone Basin Road it almost felt like we were in gridlock! There were people driving up the mountain, down the mountain, this side road, that side road, you name it, there were people on some type of toy (ATV, Razor, dirt bike) tow vehicle or rig. We figured we would just keep climbing, the higher we could get the better the temperatures...we also thought the higher we went less people would be able to get up there but this was not the solution in this case. The higher we got, the more people we one point we climbed up this big hill and as we popped over it, we saw what looked like a Big Rig festival; the most 5th wheels, Class A's and big F350 Ford trucks we've seen in one place. There were at least 30+ rigs in one camp, at the top of this was amazing to see! 

We knew most, if not all, of these people were here for the Holiday weekend and we would be here for at least 2 weeks, so we kept driving around looking for a spot. You can definitely see why so many people come up here if not for the great temperatures, it's gotta be for the's gorgeous up there. We both were taken back by how many beautiful, colorful wildflowers there were in bloom. I know I had never seen anything like it; yellow and purple everywhere. 

We drove up this one kind of rough part of the road and Jamie parked to go scope what was over the hill, he came back to say it was all good. When he started Joon, nothing happened, she didn't start and didn't make any noise...hmmm? The van wouldn't start for a good 15 minutes and with so many people on the mountain, you bet we held up traffic going up and coming down. We were in the perfect spot to have nowhere to go, even if someone could have come and pulled us almost felt like the perfect disaster! Jamie thought she might have been vapor locked from driving in the heat with the A/C on at the good points in the drive, then getting on those long steep mountain roads where you're pretty much crawling up the hills...the perfect recipe for a 20 year old van to say, "Alright, that's enough I need a break!" After resting for those 15 minutes or so, Jamie tried the turn of the key and she started right up! Yeehaw! We scouted a few more places before we found the only road with no one on it. We stopped for the night knowing in the morning we would drive around and try to find a place where our friends' Class C could get to, as well as an internet signal.

The spot we stayed in overnight was nice, but nowhere to really spread out and since we were tucked up in the woods, there were TONS of mosquitos. At one point Jamie looked over at the dogs and Savannah was covered head to tail with mosquitos, as I'm sure Chili was but it's harder to tell with her because she's black. We put them in the van right away and I could already see 3-4 welts on Savannah's head and a couple on Chili's ears...poor babies.

 The next morning we had brekkie and packed up. We were on a mission to: 1~Find a great spot 2~Find internet signal at that great spot and 3~Be able to get a Class C to that spot. We drove up & down, down & up, over here, over there, down the other side of the mountain taking us into the town of Francis. Since we drove to the Uintas and up to 10,000 feet elevation, from about 4,000, and all of the driving around yesterday, we had to stop and put another full tank of gas in the van (wasn't expecting that). Up the mountain we go again, this time from Francis instead of Kamas but it took us right back to where we started yesterday. We decided to take a drive up the mountain on asphalt instead of Soapstone Basin Roads gravel road. We drove a good 15-20 miles, all the way to the very top of Bald Mountain, about 11,000 feet! We stopped at two of the many many lakes up there, too...people people people everywhere!

 The weather was absolutely perfect up there, actually a little chilly but NO cell signal, NO back down the mountain we go. At this point, we were both getting a little frustrated finding ourselves back in Francis, we had about a half tank of gas now, after just filling up. We parked and had a good, long conversation about what we were going to do. Long story long, we decided to go back to Bryce Canyon. We called our friends, that were still two days away from being able to break away from their business in Salt Lake City, and told them what you just read (in a much shorter version, aren't you lucky).  The decision was made.
We were a little sad to leave under these circumstances but we had a great 3 week fun fest together, now it was time for us to head back to Bryce Canyon to finish our Mighty 5 journey. The drive we took from the Uintas to I-15 was probably one of the most magical, beautiful drives we've ever taken. The road takes you by the Jordanelle Dam and some rivers and lakes. 

People were tubing down the river along with everyone and their brother on some kind of aquatic toy; motorboats, jet skis, sailboats, skiing or tubing behind the boats. There were people everywhere! It all looked like a blast! 

As we drove, we saw waterfalls on the lush mountainsides and those mountains are so green and big and beautiful. That road, I think it was U-40, led us into the cute, quaint town of Provo. 

Provo was going to have a parade later that day and by the looks of it, were pretty pumped about it! Provo was pretty darn prepared for this parade and proud of it. Everyone set up their spot super early in the day, maybe even the day before. We saw folding chairs, arm chairs, gravity chairs, blankets, sleeping bags, tables, tents (big & small), even groups of couches were set up like an outdoor living room...and this went on for many miles. Very proud town of their parades. 

After all of the beauty and excitement we had to get on boring I-15 for several hours...not our fave but it had to be done.
We got to the same area we left 3 weeks before, to go to Salt Lake, around 7:30 p.m. and found an even better place to camp with much more privacy. 

The weather was absolutely perfect, in the high 60's...we couldn't have planned that part any better! We'll probably have to stick around the Bryce Canyon area for the rest of the month due to how much gas money we spent looking for a spot. We spent two months of gas (for our budget) in two days, so we'll be sitting for a while, hope it stays nice!
All in all, it kind of stunk to not be able to hang in the beautiful Uintas with our friends but we made the best decision, for ourselves, and sometimes that's just what ya gotta do. 


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