Day Thirty: Blowin’ In The Wind : Utah, Nevada

(Events of Tuesday, April 14th recorded Saturday, April 17th)

So we wake up to a glorious sunshiney day in Zion. All rested and recovered from our debacle last evening. And ther first thing I see is a mule deer just ambling through the campsite like he owns the joint.

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Seeing the deer reminds me of my horseback ride yesterday, and that I forgot to mention that halfway down the canyon I totally dropped my driver’s license out onto the desert floor as I was pulling my iPhone out of my jacket. Classic Eden move. Luckily, one of the eagle eyed Swiss spotted it and it was a place where the guide could rescue it fairly easily.

In any event, after a refreshing shower and some minor housekeeping, I decided to take Annie on a longer exploration of the dog friendly trail we had wandered on briefly the night before.

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Apparently I was REALLY out of it yesterday, because this trail is AMAZEBALLS! Gorgeous rock formations rising up on every side. Beautiful cottonwood trees blowing in the breeze, and the clear cool Virgin River babbling beside us. There was a light breeze, but the sun was shining and the more we walked the prettier it got.

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The whole thing was so energizing, that apparently Annie decided to break all of her personal rules and VOLUNTARILY go for a swim! I led her over to the river’s edge at first thinking she might have worked up a thirst. The next thing I knew she was wading about and then quick as a flash she was actually swimming!!! I had to pull her back in because she was getting a bit too close to the faster moving water.

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We walked about three miles and the view never disappointed for a second.

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The wind was picking up a notch when we returned to the car and I called the Zion Adventure Company, who were featured in my handy Ruff Guide to North America as offering 4×4 tours of the canyon area that welcomed dogs as well. I called and was told there was still room on the tour for that afternoon. I said “Great, that will be one person and one dog.” The guy seemed confused when I said that and replied that he would need to check the charge for dogs.I pointed out that both his website and this book they had probably paid to be included in said dogs rode free. Then he cxame back and said the dog would be free, but they had three other people signed up already.  OK, so? Before he could finish, ANOTHER dude got on and said that in deference to the others they would have to call them all and see if they objected to Annie and get back to me. Which seemed… needlessly complicated. I said: “This book told me you were a very dog-friendly company, that’s the only reason I called you.” And he responded: “We are dog friendly, we have dogs around the shop!” OK, but if you have a half page ad that shows 6 dogs sitting in one of your vehicles waiting for a tour, and then you give me static about bringing my ONE dog, you’re not that dog friendly. I really can’t see how allergies can come in to play in an open air vehicle, that would apparently be 1/3 full so we could easily sit away from the others. And if that SI a concern, then don’t advertise that you welcome dogs!! He said he would call me back once he investigated, and then he never did. Which may have ended up for the best.

With that bad taste in my mouth, I decided to end my Zion experience and head to our next stop- Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The GPS directed me out of the park and to an impossible to pass up lunch spot:

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So first off, the Thunderberry Pie was excellent. And second off, this place has a really cool history, including our…. drum roll please…. BAWOTD! IOn 1931, just one year after the tunnel pass into Zion was completed, Jack and Fern Morrison opened up a small service station, with Fern serving homemade pies to the truckers. In 1940, they expanded with a small cafe. It was during WWII that Jack made the first sign, and because wood was scarce in those days, he only had enough room to spell out Ho-Made Pies, rather than the full words. The folksy spelling caught on, and it wasn’t until recently that it’s raised an eyebrow.  More to the point, Jack passed away in 1961, leaving Fern with a business to run in a time and place when this was something of a scandal. She also found her water rights threatened and decided to build a nine hole golf course in order to protect them. Fern never quit expanding and improving the business and providing service with a smile right up to her death in 1998. It’s due to the courage and determination of this BAWOTD that the business still survives and thrives. Respect Fern!

Upon leaving the Thunderbird, the GPS then curiously directed me BACK through Zion, so I can only surmise I was meant to eat there (it also had great WiFi, superb service, and a mighty tasty burger).

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We drove through Utah, and then Arizona, and by the time we hit Nevada the wind was gusting so hard I could barely keep Marigold on the road, much less in our lane! The wind was blowing up dozens of tumbleweeds and stray debris and so much dirt and dust that everything was seen through a dim haze. It was more than a little scary. I was on a road with no signs of habitation in sight for miles and miles when this popped up on my phone.

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I made an executive decision that perhaps this was NOT the ideal night for camping, and started searching for a hotel. There didn’t seem to be much available and it was getting darker and windier. Finally, in the tiny town of Overton, I stumbled upon the North Shore Inn. I literally had to struggle to get my door open and basically blew across the parking lot. To my great relief they would welcome Annie on to their beds and chairs for a modest $10 fee. We were saved! AND we stumbled across a rebroadcast of the Game of Thrones premiere! Winner winner chicken dinner! We drifted to sleep listening to news reports of planes diverted and highway truck rollovers all due to the 50mph winds and were very grateful there was room at the inn.

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