7:08 am - Friday - October 20th - Panguitch, UT - 44º F, humidity 54%, wind 9 mph out of the south.......feels CALM. Forecast high for today is 65º F here in Panguitch, and 60º F in Bryce Canyon, where we are headed today.
Around 7:30 am my brother, Dwyer, rang our door bell (yes we do have a door bell) to say his 'until next times'.....he was headed off to work, and we were headed south. It never gets any easier, and this time was no different. Soon, he was in his truck heading off to a job, and we were putting things away inside the Newell in preparation for our mid morning departure. I was able to utilize the 'Trailer Valet' once again to move the trailer forward and drop the tongue on the hitch.....I have to say once again that the acquisition of the 'Valet' is one of the smartest purchases I have ever made.....it just simplifies the difficult!
Originally, we had planned to visit the local Smith's Fuel Station to top off our 180 gallon diesel tank at $2.78/gallon, but I really did not like their steep driveways......I have to be very careful going in and out of driveways pulling the trailer as it is very easy to ground the hitch. So, I did some more research and found a Texaco station about 72 miles south in Nephi, UT that had diesel for $2.75/gallon, and it was a truck stop, so the driveways would be pretty flat. That one decision saved us driving through town in rush hour traffic, and 30 minutes of our time, at least.
We were merging on to I-15 southbound around 10:50 am in mildly heavy traffic.....it took us at least 30 miles to escape the vortex of the Salt Lake City-Provo corridor traffic. Our total driving distance for Thursday was 221 miles....a longish travel day for us. There just weren't any places to stop with the 'IT' factor. The place I ultimately chose to stop overnight was a relatively new RV park with a magnificent, panoramic view of the local valley and mountains, hence the long driving day. We pulled into the Texaco truck stop after 90 minutes of travel, took on 105 gallons, and were back on the road within 25 minutes. It was less than 20 miles later that we hit traffic.....apparently there was an accident about 4 miles ahead, and that combined with a construction zone requiring us to merge into one lane cost us about 20 minutes, but at least we never stopped....we just moved along about 10-20 mph for 4-5 miles before we got past the bottleneck.
We exited I-15 at SR-20 at the 201 mile mark with just 20 miles to go, but what a 20 miles that was......first we had to climb an 11 mile, 8% grade which saw us grinding along at 28-30 mph in 2nd gear for that entire distance.....the engine, tranny and oil temps where the highest I have seen for a long time at 210º. Finally we crested the summit of the climb at over 7,800' elevation and began the rapid descent on a very windy, twisty 8% grade.....again, in 2nd gear all the way down.
At last we arrived at Bear Valley RV Park right at the intersection of SR-20 and US-89 a little after 4 pm. We quickly paid for our overnight site, moved over to Site #1 (a pull through site) where I quickly connected our electric, water and sewer. Within minutes we were both relaxing and watching the lighting change the appearance of the land across Bear Valley......