106. Hanksville to Torrey, UT

Monday, Oct 12, 2020

144 Miles on Route 95. I had a malfunction of the tracking program just north of Hite when I stopped to make lunch. Didn’t notice it for 2 miles after I started moving again and I turned it back on. So I had to photoshop this together.

Sad news. Received a message this morning from long time full timing friend, Dale Pace. Sharon and I met Dale and her husband Terry probably 15-20 years ago online, probably Facebook, and with common interests in traveling we maintained a virtual friendship over the years. Sometime after Sharon’s passing, Dale and Terry, traveled deep into FL, squeezed their big Phaeton motorhome into a site at Collier-Seminole State Park and visited me at Port of the Islands. It was fun meeting them for real. We took a boat ride out to or towards the Gulf and Dale snapped some great bird pics and shared them. Dale wrote this morning that Terry passed away last night. He suffered severe heart issues for some 22 years and never let it stop him – though Dale did most of the motorhome driving. RIP, Terry.

Today was a bit windy but a great drive. In my last blog post, I wrote about my Thursday cross country drive along The Comb Ridge. That drive ended when it intersected Rt95 which I then took to Blanding and back to Bluff. What I missed in that blog post was that part of the route on 95 which went over and thru the ridge to get to the easterly side. I missed it because I didn’t realize what was coming and so was unable to react quickly enough. So today, heading to Hanksville, I covered the same 50 miles as far as Natural Bridges as I did last Thursday. I was prepared and ready this time.

So my crossing today was East to west, downhill. But I didn’t think it safe to be piloting the motorhome, towing a car while shooting a video going down this mountain ridge. So after I crossed, I stopped, disconnected the car and went back eastbound, uphill with the Jeep while filming. The next nearest crossing of the Ridge is 17 miles south.

Once west of Natural Bridges (just before Fry Canyon on the above map), the scenery along Rt 95 makes a major change going from an often green ride with mountains in the distance to red rocks ‘in your face’. No more ‘in the distance’. When I was a kid, I wasn’t much into reading Westerns. The Hardy Boys was more my style. I do have a memory though of the covers of Zane Grey type novels and I think I saw lots of them, LIVE, today albeit from a motorhome rather than a horse.

Arrived at the small town of Hanksville and guess what? Instead of a House in the Rock, they have a Sinclair Gas Station in the Rock. People must have too much time on their hands.

After checking into the campground, I took a short nap and then took the Jeep about 25 miles north to Goblin Valley State Park. Strange looking place and you can wander all through the ‘goblins’. There are actually 3 separate valleys but only one accessible by vehicle.

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2020

It was a short driving day but a pretty one driving through Capital Reef National Park on the way to Torrey. Capital Reef derives its name from a long, approximately 45 miles, north south fold, called Waterpocket Fold, or uplift which over time has eroded or folded over resembling, they say, an ocean reef. Since it’s Utah, there’s an abundance of rock of all color and type but, in keeping with the name Waterpocket, there’s a small river that runs thru the valley which provides a number of green an fertile areas. After checking into the RV park in Torrey, I took the Jeep back to Capital Reef to check it out.

One of the stops in the Park was for Goosenecks. Remembering Goosenecks State Park sights of last week, thought I should take a peek. It was a short but steep climb and I pretty much decided it wasn’t going to work for me. But two motorcyclists said I should try and they’d help. Got to the top and found the deepest canyon I’ve seen. No guard rails! My balance isn’t the best and if you’ve been reading my blog posts, you’ve gotten the idea that, unlike when I was a kid, I’m not fond of heights – to say the least. I never got close enough to the edge to see the bottom or the river. My new friends assured me it was there. I assured them as they stood at the edge that they were making me too nervous to even stay. Took me about 3 times as long to get down to the parking lot but I made it without falling. Made a few bucks as I charged $0.25 admission to watch me climb down. Haven’t seen anything in the news about 2 cyclists falling to their deaths.

Within the Park there is a historic site of an old settler’s town, Fruita, UT, now a ghost town. It’s in a valley with the Fremont River (we midwesterners would call it a creek but then again it’s dry season) and probably looked fertile to exhausted settlers. They planted thousands of trees bearing Jonathan, Rome Beauty, Ben Davis, Red Astrachan, Twenty-Ounce Pippin and Yellow Transparent apples, Moorpark apricots, Elberta peaches, Bartlett pears, Fellenberg plums, and the Potawatomi plum. Settlers also planted English and black walnuts and almonds. Grape arbors appeared later. Around the turn of the century, with basic essentials taken care of, settlers turned towards constructing a school, stores and a small lodge. The orchards are now a very very large picnic area, educational nature trails and campgrounds. Visitors are allowed to pick any of the fruit as long as they eat it in premise.

Tomorrow south towards the Bryce and Zion NP area for 5 days.

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4 thoughts on “106. Hanksville to Torrey, UT”

  1. Thanks again for this wonderful travelogue. I have been to Bryce and Zion and floated down the Colorado River twice , once each with my two boys as graduation trips. That part of the West is so unique and in its own way beautiful. I hope someday to be able to see it for myself.


    1. Often asked where the prettiest part of the country is. Every part has role in that but if pressed hard to not say southern UT. They have some views from their interstates which would qualify as a national park in some other states.

      Thanx for commenting.

      Sent from my iPhone



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