ROAD TO UTAH

// Day 10: Road

We awake to a fun surprise: the bathroom in our loop of campsites has closed for the season and is surrounded by orange construction fencing. We make long, cold treks to the next closest bathroom, mumbling and grumbling in our half-asleep stupors and many layers of clothing. Kyle boils water for our morning beverages, but we don’t bother with breakfast. We are headed south today, so as soon as we pack up camp and get dressed, we are bound for Vernal, Utah – our waypoint before we reach Moab. We stop for brunch in Jackson on our way out of town and sit for an hour or so at another recommended coffee shop that serves breakfast sandwiches. We both order the same sandwich: bacon, avocado and cream cheese on brioche. Amen.

Our drive from there takes us about 6 hours. The road leads through the scenic Flaming Gorge, into Utah, and over a dam somewhere in Ashley National Forest. It is smooth traveling. The sun – hallelujah – is finally out. We are overjoyed to arrive at our KOA and find that it is green, dry, sunny, and freshly mown. In my memory of it, it actually glows gold. The trees, whatever magical species they are, are releasing small white fluffs into the campground, blowing ever so slowly across on a slight breeze. They are silhouetted as the sun drops lower and lower into the sky, and I feel like maybe I am not actually in real life, but in a painting. It is the first place we have camped where we can use the picnic table because it isn’t too wet or cold. We don’t even bother heading into town for dinner. We are too satisfied. Instead, we use our camp stove to cook one of the two backpacking meals we have brought, and never leave the table.

After an hour or so, a couple pulls into the campsite two spaces down and shares some whiskey with us. We take long, free showers, and sleep like a dream through a night that is warm and dry.

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