Letters From a Bus
May 2008: Springtime High Plateau
5th entry for May

New Neighbors and We Drive Up Proctor Canyon

Hatch, UT, Day Twenty-one at Cherokee Springs Golf & RV Park, Site: I-18

Thursday, May 15, 2008 — Tomorrow will be our first annual anniversary

Monday, May 12.  We spend a quiet day in camp.
he day started out sunny and warm and then turned very cold and overcast.  By late afternoon there were big clouds and a few raindrops. 

We were supposed to leave on Tuesday but once again we changed our minds.  I need to have my hair and my nails done.  So I made appointments in Cedar City for Friday and it looks like we’ll stay for another week.  Next Saturday, May 24 will be a month here at Cherokee Springs.  Also we celebrate one year of living on the bus this coming Friday, May 16.

After all of our running around the past few days I was ready for a quiet day at home.  I made a Betty Crocker spice cake and I started spaghetti sauce with Italian sausage and let it simmer all day.  It was the perfect dinner for a cold day and it was delicious. 

Tuesday, May 13. 
We drive up Proctor Canyon from Hatch.
Last night it was cold and it was 20° this morning.  The wind rattled our cage but the sun came out. 

Big news — a bus and tow car pulled in.  It is parked two sites away from us.  It’s getting crowded around here.  I see no wife so maybe this is another lone fellow.  I don’t think he’s been here before because Bandito came running out and showed him where to go.  He’s a bad driver and made a mess of his turns with the tow car.  He sort of half pulled into his site and never got out of his bus.  An hour later he still hadn't put down his jacks or hooked up.  Maybe he doesn’t like what he sees here.  He came in very early in the day.

A few hours later we went out. As we passed the bus we saw the headlights were still on.  We stopped and Dennis knocked on the door.  A man with long gray hair came to the door.  He seemed tired. He said he was scared to pull in and worried about pulling out.  He thought the sites were too tight and too small.  He was watching TV and resting.  Actually, these are unusually big sites and so we wonder about this guy.

A new bus arrives and I stop to take photos.... I must be desperate for entertainment. This is getting pretty bad. In a small community everybody is under a microscope. 5/13/08 9:33 a.m.

Margot hurt her leg yesterday evening.  She was sleeping on Dennis’s chair when Dennis went to sit down.  He likes to tease the dogs and probably made as if to sit down on top of her.  She is much more nervous than Rudi and she is paranoid about someone sitting or stepping on her.  She scoots out of the way very quickly.  She made a panic leap over the arm of the chair.  Maybe she caught her leg or something.  She fell into the foot of the ottoman.  She didn’t yelp but when she got up she started limping on her left front leg.  She was very sad and reserved last night.  She slept on the bed with me while I watched TV.  When I went to sleep she was perched behind my head between two big pillows, so I didn’t move them until later in the night when she moved.  This morning she is limping badly and looking sad.  She didn’t want to rough house with Rudi.  He knows something is wrong and he keeps going up to her and licking her. Dennis is the one who is in the dog house. He feels badly but she won't hang out with him.

This morning Dennis made his twelfth payment on the bus.  We have to register the bus with our Montana LLC for our second year.

I called Mountain West Books in Cedar City.  They ordered but never received their first shipment of “Audition” so it wasn’t a matter of being sold out.  They said that if they receive it they will save me a copy. Later they called and said it was in!  They just got their shipment.  They will hold it and I will pick it up on Friday.  Hurray!

We went out to do errands and stopped at Bandito’s. We went inside to visit with him and talked about the wind and cold weather.  Good weather is coming he says.  We gave him $120 cash to stay a week and two days more, through Tuesday, May 20.  He said to stay past Memorial weekend and leave on Tuesday May 27 at no extra charge.  We accepted.  That will put us at 32 days staying at Cherokee Springs.  Wow.  That’s a first.

We went to Riverside Restaurant at the other end of Hatch.  They advertise the “best grub on the river.”  That’s what it was — grub.  We were too late for breakfast.  I had an Italian Panini and Dennis had fish and chips.  I swear my panini was made with white Wonder Bread.  Neither dish was particularly good.  The building is sort of unfinished and it is a basic café, a half assed job at best — as is the attached RV Park (and probably the motel). 

In Hatch, Riverside is a complex with a cafe, motel and RV Park. I took these photos of the RV Park standing near the cafe with my back to the highway. The park is near the Sevier River. It is messy and I wouldn't want to stay here. 5/13/08 9:33 a.m.

After our lunch, we picked up our mail and sat in the post office parking lot while Dennis did some bills.  I read Highway 12 and was elated to read about places on back roads where we’ve been.

Then we decided to find the road out of Hatch that would leave to Proctor Canyon.  We found it and had another terrific couple of hours driving on back roads.  We drove across the plateau and past private cattle land into the Dixie National Forest.  We made it 6.5 miles from town and 2.7 miles past the National Dixie Forest boundary.  We had to turn around at a ditch — a rut in the road that was still filled with water, probably melted snow.  We weren’t sure how deep it was and we sure don’t want to mess up in the Honda.  We were over 7,760’ in elevation — probably at 8,000’.  We would have had to go up to 9,130’ to the crossroads and to the Hatch road sign we saw at the top of Proctor Canyon on Sunday.  We were just starting to get up into the pine trees.

We drive east of Hatch towards the Sunset Cliffs on a dirt road and stopped to walk the dogs up the hill. We see a few houses in the distance. Beautiful, quiet location with great views. 5/13/08 2:37 p.m.
The appraoch to Proctor Canyon is through ranch land. 5/13/08 2:44 & 2:49 p.m.
We can see the beginning of the canyon.
5/13/08 2:51 p.m.
Cattle guards usually mark the beginning of Dixie National Forest land. 5/13/08 2:54 p.m.
It looks like a dry wash today but when this river runs it has carved out a deep canyon. 5/13/08 3:01 p.m.
The rounded hills give way to tall cliffs. 5/13/08 3:01 p.m.
Now we can see the Sunset Cliffs and the elevations where we were last Sunday. 5/13/08 3:05 p.m. We stop at a T with a side path that goes north. The sign says we would come out on SR-12 at Red Canyon. 5/13/08 3:16 p.m.
We walk up the path a ways and let the dogs run around. 5/13/08 3:16 p.m. By our road and the path is a series of "caves" carved out of the rock. 5/13/08 3:15 p.m.
We ascend into pine and aspen country.
5/13/08 3:27 p.m.
Eventually a deep rut in the road turned us around. This is our view looking back down towards Hatch.
5/13/08 3:32 p.m.
Looking down on the canyon. It's a rough country.
5/13/08 3:39 p.m.
Sandstone layers shear away from the cliff face . 5/13/08 3:39 p.m.
Sandstone ledges always look like they will slide down on our heads at any moment. 5/13/08 3:42 p.m. Back into ranch land we see a pond for cattle.
5/13/08 3:51 p.m.
We descend through private lands west towards Hatch.
5/13/08 3:52 p.m.
Looking north along the Sunset Cliffs towards Red Canyon. 5/13/08 3:54 p.m.
Rudi loves to bark at cattle. A puzzled heifer turns to stare at the unseemly noise. 5/13/08 3:54 p.m. We cross the Sevier River looking south.
5/13/08 3:54 p.m.
When we got back home, I made coffee and we had spice cake. 

We noticed that our new neighbor next to us has taken his car off the tow and hooked his rig up to electricity and water.  However, he didn’t pull the bus forward or straighten out the wheels when he put the jacks down.  There's something odd about this guy.

Wednesday, May 14.  We spend a quiet day in the bus. 
It was another windy day and not nice outside.  I spent the entire day working on my website.  In the afternoon we took a walk.  It was sunny but windy and cold.  Dennis measured our loop up to the Pro Shop as 2.3 miles.  It took us 55 minutes so I guess we are walking 2.5 miles per hour.  I am slow.  Dennis would go much faster.  I have to start exercising.  My back and hips and legs ache after we walk.  I am so out of shape. 

Margot is still limping but we think she is getting a little better.  She ran during our walk but I think her activity made her limp more after we got back.

Dennis stirs the spaghetti.
5/13/08 8:05 p.m.
We walk from our camp north towards the Pro Shop. The top floor is a condo. 5/14/08 3:28 p.m. Bandito has left the pipe open for a week now. The pond is filling up. View of pond from south side.
5/14/08 3:28 p.m.
Bandito uses this to water the golf course. And it makes a nice duck pond and watering hold for deer and other wildlife. 5/14/08 3:28 p.m. The next day we walk back and look at the pond from the north side. 5/15/08 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 15.  Three full time couples arrive to stay here and work for Bandito.
It was another very rackety, windy day and then clouds covered the sky.  I was hoping we would start to get some nice warm days with little wind.  Today I felt we should get out and do something but the weather is not inviting. However, tomorrow will be a full day. We plan to be in Cedar City by nine for my nail appointment and then later I also have a hair appointment.

Tomorrow will be one year that we have lived on the bus.  It is a major marker.  It seems like the year went by very quickly.  In the morning I wrote an essay about our one-year anniversary.  In the afternoon we walked the dogs on our two-mile loop.  We stopped to check Bandito’s pond.  It is getting full.  The dogs jumped in and we had to use the bus hose and nozzle to rinse them off when we got back.

Surprise!  Three Class A diesel pushers pulled in!  It felt like Grand Central Station and we were excited.  They are all fulltimers and they’ve all been here before.  In fact they are all camp workers and will be helping Bandito.  In effect, they are the hosts.  They are Escapees and very sociable.  Very quickly the first two couples to arrive, Betty and Jay with the Ambassader, and Pete and Jo with the Mountain Aire came over to get acquainted.  They are traveling together.  They asked if we were fulltimers and we said we were and that we are celebrating our one-year anniversary on Friday.  It was windy and cold so we didn’t stand around talking for too long.  Later I saw Bandito arrive and greet everyone.  Clearly they are all old friends.

The Crane's just parked their Ambassador. Here come the Peter's in their Mountain Aire. 5/15/08 1:43 p.m. An hour later Jim and Nancy pull in. They will be the paid summer camp workers. 5/15/08 2:58 p.m.
The Crane's and Peter's confer at the site between our bus and Arlen's bus. They are the volunteer camp workers in exchange for no site fees. 5/15/08 2:58 p.m. After meeting our new neighbors we take the dogs for a walk up to the pond. They decide to wade in and take a swim. 5/15/08 4:31 p.m.
Dennis waits for me to catch up. 5/15/08 4:32 p.m. You bad dogs! Now you're all dirty. 5/15/08 4:38 p.m.
We walk back to camp. Cherokee Springs has changed! Look at all of those RVs. 5/15/08 4:38 p.m. Bob, the lone guy who pulled in yesterday is on the right parked in front of our bus. The three new couples are parked on the left side of the road. 5/15/08 4:52 p.m.
Tomorrow we begin our second year as full timers living in a bus. Already things have changed. We aren't on the move as much and we're settled in long enough to make new friends.
Elsa Walton, Cherokee Springs Golf & RV Park, Hatch, UT, Thursday, May 15, 2008