Our room was close to the hot tub as promised. The tub is large and surrounded by a beautifully landscaped patio with a portion under cover of a roofed ramada. There are two showers tucked away among the morning glories for rinsing. Fresh soft towels are in a large bin nearby. Since we had an hour and a half until dinner, we decided to enjoy the spa. We prolonged our hot soaking with cooling blasts from the outdoor showers. Finally, with our skin tingling and puckered, we returned to the room to relax and shower for dinner
We hit Hell’s Backbone Grill promptly at 6:30 and were seated right away. There was plenty of room. To our surprise, the hostess was the waitress who’d served us pizza in Escalante a few days before. It seems she works at both places but lives here in Boulder. Small world. She said she could make it from Boulder to Escalante in 45 minutes. Pretty impressive considering the road. Lavinia, the sister of one of the owners, waited on us once again and was delightful. We started with a nice Groth Savignon Blanc, homemade chips and salsa and a 3 beet salad (w/local goat cheese) from their own fresh beets. They have a large garden which adds so much flavor to the food and makes interesting ingredients available in a remote location.
As expected, Sharon ordered the chipotle meatloaf.
This left me no option than to order the rosehip and sage duck breast with quinoa. We weren’t disappointed; both dishes were outstanding. We were too full for dessert so instead we each ordered a glass of really, really good red wine from their excellent wine list; a Sangiovese for Sharon and a Pinot Noir for me. What a perfect meal. We ordered a couple of bag lunches for tomorrow that we’d pick up at breakfast.
We headed back to the room and then the hot tub for awhile before tumbling into that large and comfy bed.
Friday Sept. 7th
We lazed about in the morning in no rush. This was the start of our last full day of vacation and we wanted to take full advantage. I skipped making coffee since they make it right at the HBG so I wandered over and brought a couple of cups back to the room. Eventually we were ready for breakfast and headed back to HBG. We both opted for eggs with sage potato pancakes. Sharon chose smoked bacon while I went for the spicy buffalo sausage. Wonderful as always. We picked up our bagged lunches that we’d ordered and bid adieu to the Hell’s Backbone Grill.
Since the only plan for the day was to drive back to Zion, we felt we had plenty of time for a morning soak in the spa before we left the inn. It was another stunning morning and the flowers at the lodge were in their glory…morning glory that is. It was a relaxing half hour before we returned to the room to shower and finally make our departure from the Boulder Mountain Inn and south down Highway 12. We didn’t get far though as Sharon though it would be a good idea to stop for the day’s beverages at the little minimart/grocery where the “long haired cute guy” works. Sure, why not. They have a good selection there and I found the lemon/ginger juice that I enjoyed earlier in the trip.
We took our time cruising over The Hogsback and down past Calf Creek taking in the now-familiar views one last time. Over the Escalante River and past the Kiva Koffeehouse until we hit the long, straight stretch that leads to Escalante. As our speed increased, we noticed that the Jeep had developed a pronounced vibration. Playing with the accelerator, I decided it was coming from a wheel which seemed out of balance. I suspected maybe we’d thrown a wheel weight so I stopped once again at the minimart with the air pump as we entered Escalante. This was getting to be an annoying routine. The tire pressures were all fine and there was no evidence that a wheel weight was missing. On closer inspection I saw that there was a blob of mud on the inside of the left rear rim. We must have picked it up back on the Notom Rd. going through the low muddy sections. The mud had dried there and had gone unnoticed since, until now, we’d been going slowly on bumpy roads.
Reassured that it was a minor problem that could be fixed by visiting a car wash, we left Escalante for the rewind to Zion. We made good time to Bryce since we had to go either slower than 50mph or faster than 62mph or endure the annoying vibration. We figured we’d stop for gas and use the carwash at Ruby’s. After tanking up, I went in to pay and get change for the do-it-yourself car wash and learned that it was out of order. So much for that idea.
We left and continued on down 12 through Red Canyon and rejoined Rt. 89. This stretch of 89 goes quickly and we enjoyed the scenery but not all the signs of development. We passed a sign for a planned gated community along the way. We wondered on that a bit since we were in such a rural location. What was the community gated against? The animals? Surely there was little crime out here. People are funny sometimes.