A few miles from Hanksville, we saw a poor Winnebago that had seen its last mile abandoned along the highway. It had been stripped and vandalized beyond redemption…what a sorry sight.
In Hanksville we headed west back toward Capitol Reef and Torrey, the way we’d come nearly a week before. We were diligent and made good time until we got to Capitol Reef. We slowed down behind some newbies who were driving slowly as they took in the scenic drive into the park. Who can blame them?
We were quite hungry by the time we reached Torrey so we stopped at Austin’s again. Sharon had a pair of tacos and Peter a burrito to hold us over until dinner at the Hells Backbone Grill. 75¢ gets you a great side of guacamole.
We headed over Boulder Mountain and were glad for the daylight. Several deer and lots of cattle were spotted near the road along the way so we kept the speed down. This isn’t someplace to be driving at night.
At 7:30 we walked over to Hell's Backbone Grill
for dinner. The place was packed, and we were glad we had a reservation. We were seated and learned that our lovely young waitress was adopted as a baby, grew up in Boulder and was now attending college in Cedar City. As small as Cedar City is, it “at least has a real grocery store”. It sounds as though she loves Boulder but is ready to move on. She was a little self-conscious about the braces on her teeth that had only been installed earlier that day.
We started with a beet salad with local goat cheese and a yummy spicy bean posole with fresh warm bread.
For wine, we settled on an ’08 Wild Thing old vine Zinfandel.
Sharon ordered pasta with a red pepper sauce, local goat cheese and smoked trout. Grilled zucchini and green beans, and fresh cucumber from their garden were on the side. Sharon thought it was great…the local smoked trout really made it special.
Peter had the braised local beef. It was served in a bowl on top of Swiss chard on top of polenta with the same veggies on the side. The beef was falling apart tender and wonderfully seasoned but Peter would have preferred it not stacked in a bowl but on a plate.
Blake stopped by to welcome us back…not sure if she really remembers us after 5 years but she made us feel like part of the family. Blake’s sister Lavinia
has moved on, now living in San Francisco and having great success as a writer, publishing a travel guide for women.
Our amusement for the evening was the foursome seated at the next table. They were enjoying plenty of wine and having a loud conversation. It was pretty easy to hear that it was two brothers. The younger (mid-30s) was with his wife or SO and the older was recently divorced and accompanied by his recent, much younger girlfriend.
There were a few awkward moments when the girl smacked her full glass of red wine into the wall. The glass shattered loudly, and wine ran down the wall. Once Blake and her crew cleaned up the mess, the unfazed foursome ordered more wine and partied loudly on. We headed back to the hottub.
Peter was up early to take some pictures and get some coffee to go from Hells Backbone Grill.
He said good morning to Miss Kitty too.
We’re in no rush to depart so we wandered over to breakfast after an hour or so. We both ordered eggs with sage potato pancakes. Sharon had hers with buffalo sausage and toast with cinnamon butter. Peter went with elk sausage and tortillas. As good as the dinners at HBG are, their breakfasts are equally satisfying. Our waitress at breakfast was also a Boulder native and her mother was back in the kitchen making our breakfast. HBG sure seems to be a really good thing for the tiny town of Boulder.
While waiting for breakfast, Peter was checking out the interesting artwork
and struck a conversation with a lady doing the same. It turns out she and her husband are from Pittsburgh and were in SLC for a wedding. They’d come a couple of days early to check out a little of southern Utah. They’d come down through Torrey, checked out Capitol Reef and spent the night at Boulder Mountain Lodge. We convinced them to continue down Hwy 12 and check out Bryce Canyon before returning to SLC. They we pretty impressed with what they’d seen so far and were eager for more.
We made a last visit to the hot tub before showering and making our exit at about 10:45am. Before we left, Peter wrote a nice note to Jen and Blake to accompany one of his pictograph paintings. Jen was there and really loved the piece and had “just the place for it” on her office wall. It is nice to think of your art occupying places where you have enjoyed such happy times.
We stopped once again at Escalante Outfitters so Peter could update his blog…a whole week gone so soon! On the way out of Escalante, we stopped to take a picture of the vintage Shooting Star Diive-in
. Pulling back onto the road, we were just getting up to about 50 mph and a large buck leapt from the scrubby ditch right into the path of the car.
Peter writes, “It happened so fast I just stood on the brakes. The coolers, suitcases and everything else behind us came slamming forward and pressed us hard against the seatbelts. The car was slowing as fast as it could but a collision seemed unavoidable. At the last moment the buck heard all the commotion and, in a single leap, disappeared back into the brush…we’d missed it by inches...good thing we weren’t going any faster than we were.”