Twenty-eight days after arriving in Moab, we reluctantly packed up and headed west. The instinct to “nest” in one spot was still pervasive, but we did not set on this trip to retreated familiar ground. The camper repaired, a few loads of shit lighter, we drove toward Goblin Valley State Park, which I was eager to see by virtue of its name alone. We arrived at the park near sunset to discover it’s paid campground full. This is when we learned the art of “boondocking” – camping free in any level, relatively unpatroled lot. We discovered a large gravel lot just outside the park’s entrance, and settled in for the night.
From there, we headed further west; we had plans to explore Grand Staircase-Escalante, Capitol Reef National Park, and Bryce Canyon before leaving Utah. A few hours drive through gorgeous southern Utah desert, we found Capitol Reef’s camping wholly unsuited for our needs; more specifically, Freya’s needs, as the campsites were roughly the size of postage stamps and she likes a little territory for her own. We pressed on towards Escalante, and invested an obscene sum of money to camp at an RV park that used to be drive-in movie theater. The campground’s website promised nightly classic movies, like “Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ but as it was mid April and a bit early for the season, and we were the only campers, no movie was forthcoming. The hot shower, though, was greatly appreciated.
Our last day in Utah, 30 days since leaving on our trip, we awoke to find the weather a distinctly chilly 50 degrees, and spitting a cold rain. We had planned on using our newly-purchased canyoneering rope to do some routes in nearby Escalante, but the weather was clearly against us. Over our morning instant coffee and National Geographic “Adventure Edition” US road atlas, we decided it was time to leave Utah for the time being and head onward. The final lesson that our first 30 days in Utah taught us was we were going to have to accept the fact that we cannot possibly do everything we wanted to and go everywhere we planned on going. We would have to leave trails unhiked, peaks unclimbed. A year on the road may seem like ample time to explore anywhere and everywhere we wish, but in reality is only enough time to offer a sample of what North America has to offer.
We left Utah for Nevada via a snowy mountain pass. Months before leaving on our trip, by the warm fireplace in our little house in Evergreen, CO, we had laid out our course. We were headed for Mexico.