We stopped at another pullout and were able to view a small ruin and some pictographs high above the road.
We’d decided to spend the night camping in Red Canyon. It would be cooler at the higher elevation, and we sleep a lot better in the cold. We drove past Bryce and found the campground at Red Canyon. There were lots of nice sites available…we settled on site 16.
The campground has running water and there are even coin operated showers. All the facilities are extremely clean and well kept by the campground host. He even sweeps the concrete areas in each campsite after each group leaves. We were very impressed! There was a poster warning of recent rattlesnake and scorpion activity so that was food for thought as we set up our tent and gathered some firewood for later. This is a Forest Service
site, so its ok to collect wood.
We decided to spend the afternoon re-visiting Bryce since we had our park pass. On the way back to the park we stopped at Bryce Canyon Pines
for a late lunch.
We both ordered the patty melt which we’d had here before. They are made from local beef and are served with Swiss cheese, sautéed onions on rye toast and home made French fries. Simple fare but simply delicious.
As we were enjoying the views strolling along the rim and listening to all the different languages from the usual international crowd, we ran into the couple from Pittsburgh.
They raved about their drive down Hwy 12 and were overwhelmed by the beauty of Bryce. They were disappointed that they had to return to SLC by the next day and were already planning their return to continue exploring Utah.
“This has to be the best kept secret ever!” exclaimed the husband. We thought that was pretty amusing considering we were surrounded by people from all over the globe. We wished them well and spent the rest of the afternoon walking the rim and driving out to some of the viewpoints for photos.
We left Bryce at about 6 PM and returned to our campsite. We gathered some more firewood and worked on polishing off the gin & tonic. After our large, late lunch, we decided to skip making dinner at the campsite.
Another camper came walking by and let us know where we could pick up the campground’s wireless internet signal…we didn’t even know it was available. We struck up a conversation with Steve, nicknamed Hutch, a retired commercial real estate agent from Oklahoma who's spent the last six months travelling in his Honda Civic. He’s camped his way down the coast of California, thru New Mexico and Arizona and had just arrived in Utah. He was also impressed with the cleanliness of Red Canyon’s campground. We told him that every place we stayed in Utah seemed very clean. Hutch was headed to Torrey and Capitol Reef in the morning, and we filled him in on the scenic drive and all the attractions ahead
From there the conversation wandered over a wide variety of topics for another hour or so. When we finally said good night, Hutch seemed like an old friend. We finished the gin and enjoyed the fire until about 10:30 before diving into the tent.
In the morning we were brewing a pot of strong coffee and taking down the tent when Hutch pulled up. He was headed off up Hwy. 12. He showed us his radio set up in his car. Beside him on the passenger seat was a keypad. He uses Morse Code to communicate with distant friends and family as he travels. Hutch may be travelling solo but he is never alone. He is an interesting man, and it was our great pleasure to have had the chance to meet him.
We sipped our coffee in the crisp cool air and drank in the scenery as we loaded the car after our last camping night.
It seemed like the Bryce Canyon Pines would be a good breakfast joint so we decided to stop there before driving to Springdale. Sure enough BCP offers a classic home made breakfast menu. Sharon ordered eggs, bacon, hash brown patty and toast. Peter had the same but tried the home made corned beef hash instead of bacon. It was all great and the coffee was even pretty good.
We drove slowly in the east entrance of Zion NP enjoying the scenery and snapping pictures. This is another stretch of road that never gets old.
We wanted to find someone in the Zion campground
to donate our folding chairs to since we couldn’t fit them in our luggage. We cruised the campground slowly until we spotted a young couple with a tiny tent sitting at their picnic table. Peter hopped out and offered them the chairs with an explanation. They were a little confused since only the girl seemed to understand English but she sent the guy over to accept the chairs nodding their gratitude.
We found someone else to take the last propane cylinder off our hands in the campground as well. It is nice to think that our chairs are still getting passed along from camper to camper, still having fun in Utah.
We checked into our room at Canyon Ranch Motel
right across the street from the Desert Pearl
. Very nice and spotlessly clean...pool and a hot tub as well.
It was hot as we emptied the car to do the final pack up of all our camping gear and clothes for our flight home tomorrow night. It is not a joyful task but one that needs doing. We cranked up the AC in the room and folded and stuffed until the bags sat bulging on the bed.