I went outside to fill Sharon in on the discovery of the leak. She was basking in the warm sun in front of the garage’s minimart. It seemed like a popular place and lots of people were filling their tanks. Every single person who passed by us on their way in smiled and greeted us. Now, I’m not saying that folks back home are unfriendly but they would’ve likely walked past with little or no acknowledgment. Perhaps it was the beautiful day or knowing that the tire would soon be fixed even on Labor Day but the locals seemed to be some of the friendliest folks I’ve encountered. But this is often the case in Utah from our experiences.
I checked back with the tire guy and he was lightly grinding the inside of the tire where the leak had been. I wondered what had made the hole and he replied, “I think it was probably this” as he held up a thin sliver of steel. “Looks like part of a key or something.” As he handed it to me, I slipped it into my wallet as a souvenir. Soon the tire was repaired and mounted back on the Jeep. I asked the tire guy how much I owed him. “You gotta pay inside” he said. I gave him five bucks, shook his hand and thanked him. Inside they charged me eighteen dollars for the repair. Pretty darned good deal. We pulled out onto Highway 12 repaired and raring to go.
Our only plan today was to visit the Anasazi State Park in Boulder and then drive over Boulder Mountain to Torrey so we were in no particular hurry. We drove at a leisurely pace enjoying the scenery until we approached the Kiva Koffeehouse. We figured since the leaky tire had cheated us out of dinner here, we might as well stop for breakfast.
We shared a veggie frittata and an order of southwest potatoes. Both were excellent but, for seventeen dollars, they sure should’ve been. Of course the ambience and the view are worth something as well. The huge Ponderosa Pine logs used to build the place are amazing. I guess that’s why they’re called Ponderosa.
We moseyed on along Highway 12 past the Calf Creek Campground and up over the Hogsback again, this time headed north. It was another stunning day with puffy white clouds that we now knew would grow into thunderstorms as the day progressed. Finally we were overlooking the outskirts of Boulder, one of our favorite places in Utah. I’m not sure why we like it so much. Maybe because it’s such a scenic oasis in contrast to the barrenness to the south. There are farms and pastures, and it seems so green and full of promise.
We stopped for some juice and beer at the store just before town. They have an interesting assortment of rocks and rugs for sale in addition to the usual stuff. Lots of organic and natural foods. Even a produce section. Pretty good considering how far in the hinterlands we were. Sharon thought the tanned, long haired hippy guy minding the store was a hottie. He seemed like a nice guy.
We only had time for a sip of V8 before we arrived at the Anasazi site. We paid the modest admission and browsed the museum display which, though small, was quite informative and well done. Through thick glass at the back of the display area, you could see the racks of pottery and other artifacts that aren’t on display but are available to visiting researchers.
After that, we went out back to look at the ruins. It had been a small community and some of it isn’t excavated. Evidence indicates that it was burned when it was abandoned after 75 years of use. Not very many generations. This was the outer northwestern range of the Anasazi. One can only wonder what happened. These places always make us feel a little melancholy as we try to see the place as they did.
We looked out away from the ruins at Boulder Mountain where there would have been game to feed these people. There was water here for crops too when the monsoon season came. And trout in Calf Creek and the Escalante River. The promise that we feel when we arrive in this place is the same promise the Anasazi felt and the Mormon pioneers later on.
We left the museum and Boulder and began our slow meander up Boulder Mountain. It was looking pretty dark with storm clouds scraping over the 11,000 ft. summit. Up and up we went climbing out of the juniper and scrub into the aspen and pines. Higher we went until the trees thinned and shrank on the higher reaches of the mountain. It rained off and on but never heavily. The air took on a chilly feel as the temperature fell to 59 degrees.
We pulled into a scenic overlook that gives a panoramic view back toward Boulder and canyon country to the south and east. We took a few pictures and continued along. As the road started its gradual descent, it began to rain again and we drove through a muted, misty landscape of tall evergreens and aspens. We'd see an occasional stream rushing down the mountainside and under the road toward the valley below. There are quite a few campgrounds along this stretch of road and they weren’t crowded, but there were plenty of folks out enjoying the wilderness on this Labor Day.
Farther down the mountain, we began to get glimpses of red rock in the distance. Torrey was just up ahead. Soon the road leveled out and we encountered the ranchlands outside Teasdale. The sun had broken out of the clouds. We stopped to watch some young horses frollicking in a lush green pasture.
There was a good bit of construction going on in the outskirts of Torrey. It looks like the word has gotten out about another gem of the west.