Headed east out of town a little after nine this morning, catching 2804 eastbound. This became (or was from the beginning? I’m not really sure) Diamond Mountain Road, which made sense, since it climbed up (and down) Diamond Mountain. The drive was very scenic, though in full sunlight, it’s one of those things that’s really hard to represent in photographs. I could see for miles (and by miles, I mean 30+), some amazing geological elements, huge plains, ranches, and the like. Beautiful stuff.
Up on top of the mountain were numerous open cattle ranches (many had perimeter fences, but not all, and a lot of cattle seemed to get out anyway). I saw tons of cattle, sheep, deer, and so forth, though I only snagged some photos of the cattle. Most were a safe distance from the road, and watched me intently as I drove by. Being that I was the only car I saw for thirty miles on the way back in both directions, I don’t think they get much entertainment.
Crossed some interesting things; saw the cut for the pipelines through Diamond Mountain; looks like CO2, natural gas, oil, and a few other pipes, all going through. It was pretty crazy. You could stare down the hill and see where the line ran, as it looked very man-made and disturbed.
Anyhow, where things got interesting then was the downhill stretch out of the mountain and into Jones Hole Road. I think it’s the only road I’ve been on that maintained coverage of the following three signs for seven miles.
- A “curvy road ahead” sign that had a “next seven miles” marker under it.
- A 10% grade sign.
- A warning sign featuring both cattle and deer, as both were allowed free roam of the road.
It’s sort of like driving the Nurburgring, downhill, with obstacles. I imagine, anyhow, since I haven’t made that trip yet.
At the bottom I was greeted by the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery, where they were raising trout. I had a quick chat with a ranger about the hiking trail and property (apparently the mosquitoes were pretty bad this year), poked around the hatchery a bit (sadly the roe tanks were empty), and then headed out on a hike.
The hike was interesting, as I was in new boots that aren’t really broken in at all. Mostly just saw a lot of desert landscape and river, though punctuation came in the occasional butterfly, raptor, dragonfly (one was almost eight inches long), flowering cactus, and petroglyphs.
It was a good hike, downhill most of the way in, uphill most of the way out, and not too strenuous. Done midday though, it was pretty warm, and I was happy to get off my feet at the end.
The drive back was equally beautiful (it was about an 80-mile round trip; nothing is “close” in Vernal). I picked up a pair of shoes at the sporting goods store, and tried to hit the state liquor store.
Back-story: I realized too late I couldn’t get liquor Saturday, since I arrived after the store closed. It’s not open Sunday. I realized I wanted to go Monday at 7pm, when it was closed. So today I figured I was in the clear. I showed up at 2pm, and the fucking place is closed. It’s the only liquor store in the entire fucking county (I think), the next nearest being in another state, and it’s closed today. Because of “preparation for elections.”
State-run liquor stores can suck my cock. It’s not that I need a stiff drink. But now I do. Just as a matter of principle.
Anyway, then I came back to take a dip in the pool, only to discover that, for the third day in the row, the pool is closed “for maintenance” at the hotel during the middle of the day.
This put me in a not great mood.
I went to the post office briefly, and then to the Utah Field House Museum Thing. It sucked pretty hard, but I expected that, so I enjoyed it, in its own kitschy little tourist trap way. The person at the front desk kept hitting on me and actually came and found me in the museum to ask if I was enjoying myself. I suppose I should be flattered, but I found it to be a not positive experience.
Friends, this was not a positive experience. Here are some fake dinosaurs to cheapen the moment:
Four things today that convinced me I don’t want to live out here:
- The Wal-Mart is gargantuan. More than that, its aisles are huge. It’s like a shopping mall inside, with all these mini-stores. Hardwood floors. Good looking produce. And people are just hanging out there, like it was some sort of social attraction. It felt pretty creepy.
- The guy at the burrito stand, in his twenties (I’d guess) needed to use a calculator to make change from a twenty for a $5.75 bill. He double-checked it because he wasn’t sure about the first result.
- The McDonald’s is nice here. Like, same food, but really clean, massive, and the outside and inside both look classy.
- The gas stations only have 85, 87, and 91.