Day Lucky-Thirteen

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Colorado Pasture
Fruita, Colorado Pastureland

Last night, at about 1am or so, when we were both sound asleep in bed, Len let out a loud “Wooo!” that immediately woke me. It wasn’t clear if he was asleep, but it sounded like the kind of noise one might make upon winning the lottery, or perhaps when just starting down the big drop on a roller coaster. To my knowledge, though, Len has never made any sort of similar noise in the middle of the night, so just to be sure I asked, “You okay?”

D13 Welcome to Utah
Welcome to Dinosaurland


He assured me that he was fine, and I rolled over intending to go back to sleep. But the more I lay there and thought about that “wooo!” the sillier I started to feel. This happens to me sometimes, especially when lying in bed—the defenses are down, things seem funnier than they might in the light of day—and I began to laugh, albeit as quietly as I could.

Unfortunately, once the bed began to shake Len picked up on my mirth, which led him to chuckle a bit, too, which then made me laugh even harder and the bed shake even more. Then the following conversation ensued in between laughter and gasping breaths:

“Um, so, what was that ‘woo’ about?”

“Quite possibly,” (said in the especially lucid tone Len uses when trying to not laugh) “it had something to do with a dream…?”

Which cracked me up even harder. “So you were sleep-wooing?”

“Actually, (pausing for a labored breath) I think I’d like to retract the woo.”

“Retract?? (Gasp. Breathe.) Fine. Let the record reflect, the woo has been stricken.”

“The jury will disregard the woo.”

D13 Lake rocks
Red Fleet State Park, Utah

By this time, tears were streaming down my face and we both got a good middle-of-the-night woo-ab workout. The only awkward part came when we tried to get back to sleep and kept getting hit with spontaneous after-giggles from hyped-up diaphragms that didn’t know when to quit.

(On waking, Len confessed that the “wooo” in his dream had actually been more of a wave-your-hands-in-the-air “woogaboogabooga” and that he had been jumping out of hiding to surprise someone as a prank. Since we’d just spent two days with his college roommate and one of his very best historical-cut-up friends, I’m guessing it was Randy in the dream that he was surprising. Surprise, Randy!)

D13Road w Clouds
Road with clouds

We woke early, repacked everything, then left Recapture Lodge (for the final-final, really-final) time at 7:30am. In between Moab and Monticello we hit a bunch of roadwork that left us at a dead stop for twenty minutes during which we considered getting out our little porta-potty, setting up the wee shelter on the side of the road, using it, then restowing—all before traffic resumed. We didn’t, though, and finally reached Moab (and a gas station) at about 10:30. After Moab I pulled out my laptop to work on the novel once the road got straight enough that I wouldn’t get Jeep-sick.

D13 Lake swirls
Rock swirls

At a stop in Loma we met a father (in his sixties) and his two middle-aged sons (from NC) headed for Rangely, CO riding motocross bikes. The father saw me open the galley to make a couple sandwiches and said, “Hey, a chuckwagon!” We offered a quick tour and a TC Teardrop business card which we keep handy for such encounters. At the end, the son said, “That’s a really nifty setup.” (Thereby giving me another word to add to the list of adjectives that have been used to describe our trailer. So far, I think we’re up to seven: cute, charming, badass, tricked-out, sweet, clever, and now nifty.”

D13 Douglas Pass
Douglas Pass

North of Grand Junction we drove up the Douglas Pass to 8,240 feet where we found beautiful views and braced ourselves for the soon-to-arrive opportunity to test the new brake settings on the way back down the other side. All seemed well and we even got to see an elk on one of our (several) stops to take the temperature of the wheel hubs.

We rolled into the Red Fleet Campground at about 4pm, only to find that our “campsite” was actually an asphalt parking spot tucked in tight in a row of six parking spots in a lot that people drove through on their way to other spots. No ground to set up awnings, no shade to cool us down, just hot asphalt and big RVs. I swear, you just never can tell what you’re going to get with a State Park. Thanks a lot, Utah.

D13 Dinner1
Dinner on the cement slab

But we made the most of it, of course. That’s what we do. There were lots of nice covered picnic tables with cast-iron barbecue grills and fire pits. Someone had left some very dry wood behind so Len splintered it up and we used it to start a fire in the grill and cooked bison burgers over that. We accompanied them with some raw carrots and had the last of the cherries for desert. We listened to a thunderstorm flirt around the surrounding mountains and hoped for a little rain to bring some much-needed moisture and coolness, but it never materialized and getting to sleep proved difficult. Since it was the longest day of the year, we’d already been making geeky jokes about it being “a short night,” but I promise you we had only intended to be funny. Be careful what you joke about in Vernal, Utah.

Next up: Dinosaur National Monument and Gallery.

Random Gearhead Facts: When traveling across the Continental Divide (or making other great leaps in altitude) the liquids in your care will tend to “burp” as the pressure changes. We’ve had bulging yogurt lids that sprayed when we opened them (helpful hint, point away from your newly laundered shirt), shampoo that has leaked into the toiletries bag (wrap it in a paper towel), and we’ve had to remember to deliberately “burp” the Rotopax water and fuel containers.

Satellite Radio is great for driving across country because you never lose the signal. In fact, I was so enamored with the selection we were listening to I started to write down the artists as they played: The Who, Styx, Pink Floyd, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Alan Parson’s Project, Culture Club, Seal, Whang Chung, Rhianna, 10,000 Maniacs, and The Police. By that point, I couldn’t believe they were playing so many bands that Len likes so I said, “This station was made for you. We should write down the number.” To which he replied, “Oh, that’s my USB stick playing. I put it in 50 miles back.”

We’ve seen the CruiseAmerica small self-contained campers driving everywhere. They seem to be especially popular in this part of the country.

Miles we’ve covered since leaving home: 2,726






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