Day 180 –
As I mentioned yesterday, I joined civilization, applied makeup for the first time in six weeks, and found a local sports bar to watch the Mavs game. Here I met Brian from Idaho. He has been on a six week road trip and has spent much of his time near Zion enjoying warm weather as it is mud season in his home town. What I was quite impressed with was his ability to find some land about twelve miles outside of town with a sign posted, “Use By Donation”. I probably wouldn’t have found the area, seen the sign, or known it meant I could camp on someone’s property if I simply added a few bucks to the gallon-sized, plastic planter restrained by rock that doubled as a paper weight covering at least forty bucks in the bottom of the pot. Talk about the honor system. It gave me renewed faith in Americans…or at least all campers except the one who stole my chair in California. That still burns me! On a serious note, it has been quite remarkable for me to see so many campsites on my journey loaded with chairs, food, tents, tables, and bikes – all just left up for grabs – yet never bothered. It brings a smile to my face.
The evening temperature was just cool enough for a campfire beneath a starry sky. Brian convinced me that my planned walk to Weeping Rock and Hidden Canyon in Zion was nothing spectacular given a mostly paved trail, so I elected to sleep in and enjoy a relaxing morning around the campground and in town. We stopped at the outfitter place where I found my $5 shower yesterday, and they let me fill VANilla’s water tank up for free. Then we stopped at the gas station. I wish they let me fill VANilla’s gas tank up for free!! We picked up a geocache on the way out of town and returned to Kolob Terrace Road where we camped last night as it extends 18 miles along the western fringe of Zion National Park. VANilla climbed the Kolob Plateau which provided extraordinary views of salmon-colored monoliths, jagged grey cliffs, snow patched mountains, and green meadows. I snapped countless photos, though managed not to capture any images since I failed to insert my SD card into my camera after downloading my pictures last night. Oh well, it will give me a reason to come back!
After our lovely scenic drive, we continued west toward St. George where we visited Brigham Young’s winter home and a Mormon tabernacle built in 1870. It seems I have misplaced the pamphlet I perused on Brigham Young’s life, thus in an effort not to misstate religious history, I’m including the following website for those seeking more information: www.mormon.org. I used my point and shoot camera here, so photos available.
While in St. George, we made a short detour to the Verizon store to address the problems with my air card. I learned something new today. Avoid daily or prolonged charging of electronics with a car charger. Car chargers use a super charge which fries batteries. I’m a little bit annoyed at the Verizon employee that sold me the battery operated mi-fi card when he knew I was living in a car! Even better, the Verizon stores don’t carry the batteries. The battery must be shipped and upon receipt of the new battery that will clearly fry again since it will be subject to prolonged charging in a car, I am required to return the dead battery within five days. How convenient. Of course, I am eligible for an upgrade where I could pay $50 for a different device and extend my current contract another nine months, or I can go buy a battery at a random store for $40 despite my card being under warranty. Ummm, I’m not looking to spend more money. I just want the product I own to work properly. It looks like I will be in search of free wi-fi until I am stationary in the Denver area for a week, and now my vote might have to go with AT&T (no, not there yet!)
Before ending the day in Cedar City, I took a final scenic drive, this time on Kolob Canyons Road through the northwest portion of Zion National Park. Both the western fringe area and the northwestern area of the park are far less crowded. I will definitely have to return to these areas for some hikes. It was about ninety degrees this afternoon, so hikes with Petey left behind were out of the question, and I’m somewhat thankful as I’d be much more irritated with myself had I spent hours walking and returned with no photos!
Perhaps it was time for a restful day. Cedar City is home to a Wal-Mart, and I have joined several campers in the parking lot. Until tomorrow…ETB