Sunday, August 28, 2016

Final Push Toward Home

After leaving Grand Teton National Park, my sights were set on home, and I began my journey south. After studying the maps and my Allstays app looking for the best route, I decided to go back to Sunrise Campground, where I had spent four nights on my way up. I knew it was a good location and had a cell signal, and I wanted to stay two nights. I had done a lot of driving, and needed a "Zero Day" of rest. In fact, it was on that day of rest that I took a nap and Hanna got herself stuck under the seat again! Little stinker!
My next stop was Maple Bench Campground southeast of Payson, UT. It was a very steep one lane road up to the campground, and before I drove it, I pulled off and parked, and Hanna and I walked it. I didn't want to get into a predicament and have to back down that narrow mountain road. It turned out to be a great location with only one other couple (tenters) in the entire campground. Hanna and I walked the steep road up and down three times and got a really good workout.

The next morning, I headed south again with no particular place in mind, but with my cell phone handy, looking for a signal. I tried three areas on my way, but none of them had a signal. With the campgrounds getting more and more deserted, I wanted to be able to be in touch with someone if necessary. This point was driven home when I drove to Piute State Park south of Richfield. I passed a few fishermen along the road, but when I turned into the campground, it was empty, and I had the dreaded "No Signal" on my iPhone. I drove through anyway just to check it out. I noticed some of the roads were kind of sandy, so I drove around the patches. I could see the road condition was getting worse with no place to turn around, so I put it in reverse and tried to back up the same path I had come in. Suddenly, I couldn't go any farther, and as I gave it a little more gas, I could hear my tires spin... sluggishly. Oh rats! I knew I was in the sand. I hopped out and surveyed the situation, then got out my shovel. After digging around each tire and scraping the sand away, I was finally able to pull forward about five feet. I carefully turned into the weeds, then backed up a bit, then forward again into a non-sandy area. This went on for several minutes, hopping out many times to survey and calculate where I could move to, and finally, Minnie found solid ground and beat a track back to the main road.

I decided to keep driving south to the area where Dale and I had camped outside Bryce Canyon, as I knew we had a weak cell signal there. My Allstays app showed dispersed camping area along a different forest road, and as I drove farther up the hill, my signal got stronger. I found a nice spot on a secluded spur road and set up for two nights.

Hanna and I took a walk up the spur road that evening and found an abandoned child's ATV with a note on it saying anyone was welcome to take it, as the owners were done with it and were buying their daughter a new one. If I'd had any way to bring it home, I might have considered it.
Friday morning, Hanna and I packed up and drove south to Flagstaff and into the Coconino Forest where Dale and I had camped in July. I drove up the same road, and found an empty space just beyond the one he and I had shared, and set up an overnight camp.

Home was just 150 miles south!

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