A Few Days in Hurricane

After rushing to get down to southern Utah, we are pressing pause for a few days.

The original plan was for me (Robin) to compete in the Huntsman Games today, in the 400m. I’d been training for this for most of 2019. Although I’d had a few health-related setbacks during the year, I thought I was more or less ready to compete this week. 

Unfortunately, the four days of long drives left me with a ‘tangled up’ left side (sciatic type pain and low back discomfort). It was uncomfortable trying to train during the trip down and it did not improve after we arrived. After a bit of agonizing, I decided not to try to race, as I still felt very off balance today. 

This is not a serious injury; it will just take some stretching and movement work to get myself back in alignment. (Although I do already miss my health care rock stars back in Bend!) Life is all about resilience, and this is a very minor setback.

Meanwhile we are enjoying the warm, sunny weather and taking these few days to get ourselves better organized. There’s a lot of fine-tuning when you launch 2 humans and 1 cat into a new small mobile living space.

I guess you could say we are working out the kinks this week. All the kinks! 😬

Tomorrow we’ll switch to another campground closer to Zion and explore our first Great Park of Utah.

Here is T’Chat walking on a leash for your viewing pleasure:

Ely, NV to Hurricane, UT

We landed at Sand Hollow State Park and the weather is warm and delicious! We are thrilled to stow away our winter clothes for a while. Even T'Chat has shed a coat as evidenced by the fur ball tumbleweeds rolling past my chair. We will be here three nights so we'll have a chance to re-organize and re-pack our stuff now that we have a few days of experience under our belts.

Just so you don't think everything's unicorns and puppy dogs, last night we figured out that the black tank valve jiggles loose when we traverse washboard, gravel roads. So when I (Ross) twisted the end cap off the tank outlet to connect our sewer hose, I got spewed. So if you experience a bit of schadenfreude, now would be a good time to express glee.

Veyo’’s Pies, Veyo, Utah. We bought a slice of volcano pie (butterscotch), lemon and apple. 3/5 pie stars. But we still enjoyed them!

Veyo’’s Pies, Veyo, Utah. We bought a slice of volcano pie (butterscotch), lemon and apple. 3/5 pie stars. But we still enjoyed them!

View from our site in Sand Hollow.

View from our site in Sand Hollow.

View from Ross’s morning bike ride in Ely.

View from Ross’s morning bike ride in Ely.

Frenchglen, OR to Winnemucca, NV to Ely NV

Makin’ tracks! On the move the last two days, in order to get to St. George, Utah for the Huntsman Senior Games this week. (The Games is a story for another post.)

Yesterday we left at dawn from Page Springs CG and had a nice breakfast at the historic Frenchglen Hotel. I always wonder about restaurants in very isolated towns like this. How do they find and keep employees? How do they keep fresh food ingredients in stock? It must be a lot of work.

It was three hours to Winnemucca, where we camped at Water Canyon Recreation Area (BLM land) in an aspen forest beside a laughing creek. After parking (and feeding the whining kitty), we dashed back to town to do laundry at a laundromat and groceries/supplies. We usually “divide and conquer” in these situations to save time. I did laundry, Ross did groceries. T’Chat napped.

Ross found a lovely mountain bike trail in the morning and I ran sprints up the hill near the trailer. We made our typical green breakfast smoothies* by hooking our blender to a generator outside the rig. Pretty funny.

Today’s drive was long for us (4.5 hours) through a very desolate part of Nevada - Route 50 - dubbed The Loneliest Road in America. Route 50 was part of the original Pony Express route. No ponies anymore, but a great empty road in a vast landscape of sagebrush and sky.

Spending tonight in Ely, NV. Brothels are legal here and have giant signs inviting guests to visit. What happens in Ely, stays in Ely.

*Smoothie ingredients: 2+ cups of greens (spinach, kale, dandelion, chard, beet, etc), berries (blue, straw, cherry) whey protein, psyllium husk, flax seed, kefir or whole fat yogurt, beet juice, fish oil, potato starch or green banana (prebiotic fiber), water.

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Water Canyon Recreation Area

Water Canyon Recreation Area

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Steens Mountain Loop

October 11, 2019

Highlights

  • The sub freezing temperatures make for an ideal sleeping environment all bundled up under multiple layers of bedding. Fortunately for Ross, Robin is first to get up and fire up the furnace and coffee. Ross stays in bed snuggling with T'Chat who after eating her breakfast is ready for a warm host.

  • The 400 watt solar install is charging our batteries to 100%. It's one thing to have a plan. It's a second thing to execute that plan. It's the best thing when the execution works out as planned. What this means is that we have unlimited power to run our trailer as long as the sun is shining. We did have to briefly fire up the generator to blend our green smoothie. Our blender is old and pulls over 1,500 watts to get started.

  • We hopped in the Ford F-350 (aka "The Beast") and drove the 50 mile Steens Mountain Loop. The views were outstanding, especially overlooking the salt flats of the Alford Desert.

  • Have you ever heard of Shakshouka? It's a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and garlic, and commonly spiced with cumin, coriander, and cayenne peppers. We prepared this on our cowboy wok and it was delicious. Nothing like eating gourmet meals in a rustic campground.

View toward Alford Desert from top of Steens Mountain.

View toward Alford Desert from top of Steens Mountain.

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Aftermath.

Aftermath.

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Crystal Crane Hot Springs to Page Springs BLM Campground

October 10, 2019

Highlights

  • We survived a night in 8 degree F low temperatures! While our choice of the 4 season Outdoors RV trailer was deliberate, we remained skeptical that we would stay toasty in frigid, frosty weather. Recall that we've previously adventured in a Leisure Travel Vans Unity (cold), a Chinook Concourse (teeth-rattling cold), and off-road teardrop trailer (don't get out of sleeping bag cold). So you can imagine how pleased we were with our current trailer's propane furnace.

  • We braved the cold temperatures by warming to an interval workout (Robin: sprints; Ross: burpees and vertical jumps).

  • We reserved the private hot springs tub and turned up the heat (on the water). Very nice.

Lowlights

  • Our sewer cap was frozen on to the outlet and broke when Ross forcibly removed it which prompted a trip to Big R's in Burns, OR.

  • Robin has run out of her cookie stash and now we're out in the middle of nowhere.

Official morning temperature. We survived.

Official morning temperature. We survived.

These guys cracked us up on our gas stop.

These guys cracked us up on our gas stop.

Entrance to Page Springs. Seems to be an anglers paradise, fishermen everywhere.

Entrance to Page Springs. Seems to be an anglers paradise, fishermen everywhere.

Bend to Crystal Crane Hot Springs

October 9, 2019

Highlights

  • The new Ford F-350 pulls the trailer with ease. We are so glad that we upgraded from the ½ ton Ram 1500 to the 1 ton F-350 with the PowerStroke diesel engine.

  • After landing at Crystal Crane Hot Springs and Campground, we enjoyed a soak in the mineral springs. Even the sprint to and from the trailer in near freezing temperatures doubled as interval training.

  • We whipped up a most delicious lentil and veggie soup in our pressure cooker. And to celebrate the beginning of this new adventure, we cracked open our nicest bottle of Pinot Noir that we've been holding on to for some time. We visited the White Rose Estate Winery and Vineyard on a previous trip to the Willamette Valley and splurged on some wine to take home. This was our last and dearest bottle.

  • T'Chat met her first billy goats!

Updated pic with F350

Updated pic with F350

In the hot spring!!

In the hot spring!!

Robin loves goats and goats love Robin.

Robin loves goats and goats love Robin.

Aaaand We're Off!

Today is official launch day. We spent the last few days moving out of our condo into the 21-foot living space we’ll be in for at least the next 6 months. “Will our stuff fit” anxiety is over. It fits, no small thanks to the extra space in the back of the pickup truck. We both wanted to bring luxury items (medicine ball, Ross’ overalls, ham radio equipment, kettlebells, pie-making equipment, books). Lots of organizing still to do, but plenty of time ahead for that.

Most important: T’Chat loves the rig. She’s the most adaptable kitty ever, probably because she was bottle-fed from nearly birth. She grew up leash-walking, hanging out with our rottweiler and corgi, traveling. Nothing much fazes her except the first 20 minutes of travel. She inevitably throws up on the the very first day we drive within the first 20 minutes…then never again. Paper towels will be handy this morning.

Ross and our friend Slim created a perfect setup for T’Chat in the back of the trailer. They took her old kitty condo, turned it over and anchored it in the corner. It’s a great perch for naps or watching birds and squirrels. When we are in transit, T’Chat will ride in the truck with us.

Today’s itinerary: Bend to Burns, OR. About 3 hours of travel. Leaving Oregon just in time, as temps were in the low 20’s here last night. Burns won’t be better (11 degrees!), but luckily we’re in a ‘4-seasons’ vehicle, with good insulation. We won’t hit warmer weather until we get to southern Utah early next week.

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