Friday, August 03: Bryce to Dinosaur
Fun in the pool
Our “hotel room” here at the Bryce Pioneer Village is interesting. It is half of the bottom floor of a normalish house. I wonder if the people who own/run the place live on the top floor.
This means that the room is rather larger than most of the rooms we’ve been in, although it has a bit of an unusual layout. The weirdest thing is that all of the light switches are upside down. You flick them down to turn on the lights and up to turn them off. It is that the switches are actually installed upside down. When the lights are on, the switch doesn’t say “ON”, it says “NO”.
It would have been nice to have camped at Bryce. Their campsites looked really nice (and I do like the forest surround). The main drawback would be getting your tent soaked every afternoon and maybe in the evening.
After breakfast, we drove to Fairyland Overlook, then left Bryce. This was going to be primarily a travel day. We drove along Rt 12, and through Red Canyon. It is a bunch of really neat red walls and hoodoos, then ends suddenly, almost like you threw a switch.
When we got to Rt 89, we turned north and pretty much followed that for several hours. We stopped around 12 to get some fast food lunch.
Our immediate destination was the city of Manti. There is an extra-special Mormon Temple there, and Amy wanted to spend a couple of hours doing LDS stuff there. While she was there, Mike and I were on our own.
As we drove out looking for something to kill a few hours, Michael spotted some sort of public pool. We drove over to the Manti Aquatic Center and found it fit the bill perfectly. It was very family friendly with shallow areas, deep areas, a nicely large water slide, and a “whirl-pool”. Even better, it only cost $3 each to get in!
Michael already had on a swim suit (masquerading as shorts), so I got my suit out of my suitcase, got some sun screen, and we went in. The water was pleasantly warm, so I was happy. Michael spent most of his time at the beginning in the “whirlpool”. There were two concentric walls in the shape of a “C”. Jets in the walls caused a circulation, both in the center and between the two walls. The water was only about 3-4 feet deep, so Michael had no problems.
I checked out the water slide, which was fast, twisty, and very nice. There was a bit of a breeze, so standing at the top waiting for your turn was a bit chilling, but then dropping into the pool at the bottom was nicely warming.
Unfortunately, about an hour into our fun, someone apparently threw up in the pool, so they closed it for the rest of the day. So we ended up driving to the city park. Michael is playing on the playground, and I’m typing this up.
The rest of the day was a bit more of an adventure. We got Amy and turned east onto some “scenic” highways that pretty much went through nothing. We first aimed at Duchesne, as that was the next biggest thing on our way towards Dinosaur National Monument. Along the way we’re going through miles and miles of no civilization. At one point I was having a hard time figuring out where we were, because the towns on the map didn’t show up in reality (i.e. we went through the town without my knowing that there was a town there).
Halfway along Rt 6, we saw a large amount of smoke ahead, and when we got close, we found that it was indeed a forest fire just above the road. Amy saw bright orange flames on the hill top, but I missed it. We did see a helicopter scooping a large bucket of water from a nearby pond and dumping it on the fire.
Then we turned north towards Duchesne, on a pretty highway that was even less developed than the previous one. According to the GPS, there were three restaurants there and one hotel. We ate at one of the restaurants, although all I can say about the food was that it was part of the food chain. The hotel didn’t look appealing, so we decided to push on another hour to Vernal, just outside of Dinosaur. On the map, it looked a lot bigger.
When we got there, we found that it was in fact much bigger, with several name-brand hotels and restaurants. We tried a Marriott first, but it was full. So we ended up at a Best Western. Interestingly, the room featured two rooms with a bed in each, so in theory Mike is asleep in his room, while I am typing this up without disturbing him.