During my 48 hours of enforced stay in Quinnesec MI, I have taken the opportunity to do some reading, including reading back over this thread. Not that it made me feel any better, but it did make me realise that there are some things I have overlooked.
North of Vernal UT, I came across a sign by the side of the road, indicating the Red Cloud Loop Scenic Backway. (Later I was to find out that this loop actually starts and finishes in Vernal.) I turned onto the paved backway and travelled the two miles to where it becomes a gravel road. There were folk camped with all types of RVs off the side of the road, in and surrounded by forest. Deer crossed my path. Signs by the side of the road warned of ATVs crossing.
The gravel road lasted a mile or so, when it became a forest dirt road which showed signs of minimal maintenance. The area changed from forest to open fields and back to forest. All along there appeared to be RVs in groups of all sizes.
(I did not want to make it too obvious that I was taking a photo of them)
After about five miles the road was not to my liking, and I turned back. Still, many had taken their RVs including large trailers over them. It definitely was a popular spot.
Some way further north there was a small hill by the side of the road, with a trail leading to the top. One of those small hills where it looks like the road was cut through it... hence, one steep side. Figuring this would be a great spot to get a good view of the surrounding country, I detoured. Had not stopped to think that maybe there was no way down on the other side. Well, there wasn't.
Back down the way I came.
And it was muddy. With puddles. I had neither anticipated nor seen them. But once committed, I had to continue and turn around at the top, no matter how scary it was.
The view was great!
The van is ready. Gotta hit the road. Three days to get to Newton MA.
US-191 - Pinedale I.
It was right in the main street of Rock Springs that for the second time this trip a rock, thrown up by a truck hit my windscreen.
Some 11 miles north of Rock Springs, I once again turned onto County Road 17. Choosing the short loop - 17 miles - which loops back to US-191 in Eden Valley just south of Eden. (The long loop 31 miles ends on route 28.) This loop takes one past Boar's Tusk and up over the mountains, from where the view of the Tusk and the surrounding sand dunes was a lot better. A gentleman I met had walked to the tusk from both the short and long loop. The former was over a clear path - an hour each way. The latter over sand dunes where there is no defined path took quite a bit longer. It was a warm day. The road back to the highway is a good county road which in places was a little sandy. An interesting little detour Well worth taking... alas not in a rental car
Pinedale was my destination for the day, in particular the library with their excedllent wifi, seats out in the garden, as well as power outlets. One is invited to stay after closing time.
Being a weekend, the ranger's station was closed, though they had a large wall full of information leaflets and maps outside. I helped myself to some interesting looking ones.
Amgel at the enquiry counter in the supermarket told me about the camp ground right in town. It used to be a KOA, many years ago, but is now run by the town. The facilities were basic (shower and toilet) but clean, the sites with power and water were on gravel, and there was a well watered and maintained grassed area with a number of picnic tables for tents and 'dry' camping. This place was memorable for it's unusual price. In the self registration envelope one had to put $16.05. It was also popular. The hookups seemed to be mostly longer term tenants.
Having spent the rest of the day exploring around Pinedale, settled down at the old KOA along with several other tent campers and another campervan
Last edited by Lifemagician; 09-22-2014 at 12:00 PM.
US-191 - Pinedale II.
It was a lazy Saturday. Made a late start, having spent much time chatting with other campers before bothering about getting myself going.
So it was after lunch when I decided to go seek out McDougal Gap, which had been recommended to me as a nice drive, a nice place. At the visitor centre, Carl had given me some local maps to follow. However, the information on the maps and the roadside markers was not consistent, and I never did find the turn off to Mcdougal Gap. None-the-less I spent a lovely afternoon driving around through some spectacular country. At one point a large bird (looked like an eagle) flew across my path. A heavy dark brown bird of prey. Went as far as Marbleton. Much of this area is part of the Bridger Teton National Forest.
Back in town before the visitor centre closed, I had to find out which road it was I should have turned. Carl filled me in with the names of the numbered roads. Helps if you have the right information. When I mentioned I planned to camp at Warren Bridge, where I had met camphost Tom some weeks earlier, Carl suggested I check out the eastern side of the highway, along the Green River. Said there were camping spots along there which were BLM free spots. I made my way up to the Green River Recreation Area,
Calr's wife Nancy enquired about the old KOA, what had I thought of it, how many were there, etc., then went on to say that they had been told not to recommend it. Better to send campers to the larger commercial outfits. Something she preferred not to do.
Heading north out of town, just as I crossed the bridge, I came upon an RV parked on the bridge.... with an Australian flag in the back window. I pulled in front of it, and went over to have a chat. Having stopped to check his map, this gentleman from Sydeny, who, together with his wife and three daughters was travelling the US for six months, had bought the motorhome from a private owner in LA, on Craigslist, had it registered through the same firm, actually, the same attorney who registered mine. [when I spoke with the attorney a few weeks later, he recalled having breakfast with the family when they were in Missoulla.], and had arranged to have it waiting for him on arrival.
Arrived at my destination, where of the dozen or so areas by the river, most have basic camping facilities. The first two areas, with two spots each, already had large RVs and Trailers occupying the spots. It was about 5.5 miles along this scenic route on the ridge, high above the river that I came to the turn off for area 6 (or was it 7??). this was the group camping area, and there were two very large group camping sites. But no one was occupying any. I decided this was a nice spot to stay. One can pay $16 to camp at Warren Bridge where the 'facilities' are exactly the same - no hookups and primitive toilets.
The camping spots were at the base of the bluff, with fire places and picnic tables scattered around. I chose a nice spot by a picnic table some yards from the river. After eating dinner the sun was about to disappear over the top of the bluff, making for an early night. I figured thesun would wake me from the other side of the river nxt morning.
There is something soothing about going to sleep by the side of a river, to the sound of water.
Last edited by Lifemagician; 09-22-2014 at 01:21 PM.
US-191 - Rivers and Roads
Ir was not until I reflected on this Sunday, that I realised I had driven by rivers all day. A most pleasant day.
As expected, the sun woke me early, and not having anyone with whom to spend time sharing stories/experiences, I was on the road soon after. The goal was to see if I could make my way to the Gap which Carl had recommended.
The first 5.5 miles followed the Green River back to US-191. Driving high up on the bluffs, with the river so far below me it was a beautiful view over the surrounding countryside... all bathed in the soft glow of the early morning..
Heading north, US-191 enters the Hobach Canyon, winding its way through the canyon beside the Hobach river.. Just before the Canyon there are roadside boards giving the history and significance of the Canyon in early exploration and to the natives who lived there. For 11 miles the road is no passing, with only one or two small pulloffs in this section, and none of those are in a position to photograph the best of it.
I thought to check out Granite Creek Campground, The road to the campground turns east out of Hobach Canyon, at the northern end.. A small dirt road, barely wide enough for two vehicles, though there are many spots where it is a little wider to pass. It twists and winds its way up the mountain following the creek the nine miles to the campground.
This campground is in a most idyllic setting, with mature trees all around and well spaced camping spots. It looked to be well over half full with many families, lots of motor homes and trailers and the occasional tent The camphost told me that many families come each year. It is essential to book for opening and closing weekends - Memorial and Labour Day - but rarely fills up at other times.
I queried about getting those large trailers in over that little dirt road. He told me that he gets his wife to go up ahead to check the traffic, and he follows with the trailer behind - it was huge. Still all the others got theirs in as well, not sure how they managed.
Once there the main attraction is the Creek - which once the snow melt has passed, can be waded, and fishing. A mile above the campground is Granite Creek Hot Springs. Halfway to the Hot Springs are the Falls, which are easily accessible. I was told that there is a hot pool near the base of the Falls as well. This is where most campers seemed to be going. It did mean crossing the creek.
Having driven through the two loops of the campground, I headed back to the highway. Going back was ever so much easier. for one I was not on the drop-off side, and I knew what to expect.
At Hobach Junction I took US-89/26 south to Alpine WY. This route runs through the Snake River Canyon. Highlight here was at one turnout seeing the rafts on the river. Seems here was a party from MI university rafting. Must have been for some project, as there appeared to be folk with clipboards and paper all along the banks. I joined the many who had pulled over here to watch the activities below.
A small mountain town, Alpine WY can be seen (and explored) in 10 minutes. It was then a case of finding the road which would take me south to McDougal's Gap. Did not take long, considering there are only a few roads out of town.
Since fuel here was considerably cheaper than in Pinedale, I took the opportunity to fill the tank.
The road along the Grey river - Greys River Road/FR10038 - is a well maintained gravel road, and tunred out to be quite busy. The first couple of miles out of town are paved. All along the road there are pull offs to the river. It was at one of the first of these, right by the water, that I stopped for lunch. There was another vehicle there, with dog and all, but I never saw anyone near it. Maybe they had gone fishing. Fishing and camping were popular activities along this way.
I think this road would have been easier to drive from South to North, as there were a few times that one was high above the river, .... which was a long way down. Having gone for quite some time and distance, I began to wonder if I had missed the turnoff. Figuring many of those who were driving this scenic route were locals, I stopped a car and asked. They assured me Sheep Creek Road/FR10125 was up ahead... actually, not much further. I could not have missed it.
Sheep Creek Road not only led to McDougal's Gap, but followed, as one may expect, Sheep Creek. Carl had been right, the view from the Gap was worth it. It Would have been better if I had been able to hike up the hill on the side. A nice spot... however, right at the Gap the road was not in the best condition.
Cottonwood Ryegrass Rd led back to US-189 just south of Daniel WY. (That is the road I should have taken on the previous day.)
200 miles of great scenery much of it through the Bridger Teton NF and Grose Ventre Wilderness areas..
Back at the Visitor centre I thanked Carl and Nancy for their suggestions, and told them how much I had enjoyed the drive. for the night it was back to the old KOA, in town, where I joined the tents already set up. It was after dark when two Harleys roared into the campground, HIS completely lit up in blue, HERS in a soft red/dark pink. They too pitched their tent and settled down for the night.
And the road rolls on....
Nice to see that you've taken up the thread of sharing this tale with us!
It was this time last year we were sitting outside the Country store in Pinedale having lunch, it seems like an age ago now !
Enjoying the updates.
Yeah, lots of nice little eating places in Pinedale. It is such a geat little city. Not sure why it is not on more folks' itenirary... it beats Jackson hands down.
Originally Posted by Southwest Dave
Might even get to finish it, during my convalescence.
Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist
Jackson is so high-priced for hotels -- you know it's high when the Motel 6 runs $189 a night for 2 during the summer season! We looked into staying in Alpine, WY, but unfortunately it was completely booked at both motels in town. We went to Driggs, ID, which was also a sweet little place. I also looked into Pinedale, but we were heading west and that was taking us too far east.
Keep on writing, I'm still reading your report!
Lifey, I replied to your email, it bounced - your mailbox is full. I'm sending you a private message.
EDIT: Your private message box is also full.
Sorry, try again. Still having lots of computer problems.... still no Outlook Express and Virgin only give a tiny inbox. I'd hate to think how many emails I am missing.