We attempt to drive to Lake Powell via a roundabout scenic road called “Burr Trail” with a short 5-10 mi dirt road section. We drive through some amazing canyons and red rock for 30-40 mi and slowly arrive at the dirt road.
It isn’t too bad. Very wash-boardy, but otherwise okay. So, the Oregon Trail option pops up and asks: “Rocky Trail Ahead! Do you decide to A. Try to pass, or B. Find a different trail?” and I’m adventurous, okay? I say Conquer the Trail!
Well, my car decided he’d had enough and just turns off. Just turns off! I’m driving down a hill, he’s got loads of oil, and he’s not overheated.. he just quits, and won’t start again.
Ooookay. We are 30-40 mi from the nearest traces of other human life, on a dirt road, with no cell phone service, and a dead car. Oh, and we’re in a desert. It’s hot, dry, and hot. I panic a little- I’m a city girl. I ran 4 miles once, and after I thought Jesus was going to come and take me. Now Luke is telling me we are going to bring 4 liters of water (all we have) and an emergency blanket and bike 40 mi to the next town.
I duct-tape a HELP sign to the car and slowly resign myself to the next 8-9 hours of worry and misery. Literally just as we pick up the bikes to go, a US government tagged truck comes around the bend! We flag it down and tell the driver our story, and he tells us hes camping around the area and will give us a lift to Hanksville (a town 60 mi away) the next morning.
We were incredibly lucky. This guy is about 30, soft spoken and so genuine and nice. He is a biologist in graduate school in University of Missouri, working on saving the prairie dogs and its predator, the black footed ferret.
He drives us to a gravel lot off the road and we set up our tents, and of course, my faaaaavorite weather comes along: Lightening storm.
Lightening is hitting all over the mountain in front of us, and a few miles to the left and right of us. A couple strikes start brush fires on the mountain. Luke and the biologist (I wish I could remember his name!) sit and calmly eat their dehydrated space food while I am white-faced, staring at the mountain getting pummeled and feeling the thunder vibrate through the ground. Luke tells me to eat something and I mumble “no thanks” giving him a look that screams “HOW CAN YOU EAT AT A TIME LIKE THIS?!”
Agh, I am SUCH a wuss, I know- the rest of the night was spent inside the biologists truck in a fetal position making my amends to God and counting the seconds between lightening strikes and thunder.
The next morning in Hanksville, an elderly man, Robert Brian, drives us in his tow truck to retrieve the car. During those 147 miles, I learned so much about the towns and the area. It was a fantastic drive- he was driving 50-75 mph the entire duration of the drive, most of which was on back roads and hairpin turn switchbacks- and that country was truly beautiful.
The car gets towed, and put in the shop, and the employees at the shop call the owner of an inn nearby to get us a room. Then, Robert’s wife gives us a ride to the inn! Everyone was just so nice and eager to take care of us.
To top it all off- the car just starts working again. Just turns on and goes. No check engine light- nothing.
A definitely epic 24 hours.
Ill add photos tomorrow: