The one daily risk we are fully aware of out west is that of fuel for the Tacoma. Having spent 33 years in the risk management field, I am a bit over conservative with the risk of running out so I watch the fuel gauge like a hawk.
The little truck works really hard to get over hills even without the 2000 pounds of our A-Liner home it is pulling. So needless to say, the fuel gauge is always dropping. We left the swell with less than 3/4 of a tank of gas and made it 91 miles to Salina, UT with just under 1/4 of a tank. We fueled up and made the decision to drive south to Richfield, UT as it is a little larger than Salina with better restock options. There was also a KOA that looked sort of nice.
Kampgrounds of America, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kampgrounds_of_America was founded in Billings, MT in 1962, 2 years prior to my existence. We have always turned our nose up at them as we are hard-core, boondocking types who, first, like to camp remote and second, would never pay money. The fact that they have playgrounds, pools, and other amenities felt like Disney camping versus the rugged types we claim to be.
Low and behold, this place was amazing. The facilities were well managed, bathrooms clean, laundry efficient and tidy. Overall, it was just what we needed to regroup for a few days. The camp sites were shady with lots of trees which the song birds have found to their liking as well. 5 stars and our attitude changed.
Stats and Stuff
- From: Red Canyon Overlook, San Rafael Swell UT – 1.5 miles past Family Butte
- To: KOA, Richfield UT
- Starting mileage: 145,315
- Miles to destination: 110
- Miles of shame driven: 0
- Lowest documented MPG: 15 – mostly around town
- Temperature Range: 50-80
- Nights off the grid: 0
- Cost of camp: $50/night
- A-Liner Systems: Gas, battery with solar, and water all working
- Connectivity: Good, KOA WiFi is AOK!
- Lysette’s favorite jacket: Yellow Down Pullover
- Interesting notes about the area: Topography range of landscapes, colors, and elevations, Piute Trail System, old mended frame and pole farm buildings that appeared to be a hold over from years past. The best part of it was the wonderful personalities of the KOA campers.
- Several campers stopped by strike up conversations about stuff.
Other campers included: The young family in the Airstream who sold their home in Illinois to travel and have met up with parents at the KOA for a stay. Our neighbors in the large motor coach who rarely come outside are from Montana, and there is a stretch along the back side that appears to be long term spots based on the size of the propane tanks and yard art.
A gentleman, traveling alone with his two Schnauzers in his Mercedes RV, was a Meteorologist for the Air Force from California, an alumni of CU (See who?) and on his way to Colorado to meet up with friends. Lysette enjoyed reminiscing, but I got annoyed when the conversation turned to the UGA loss at Folsom Stadium the last time the two teams met.
In all, the people we talked to here were kind, enjoyed learning about others, yet to me, seemed a bit lonely.
The town of Richfield is located in a valley separating two sections of the Fish Lake National Forest. A trail system called the Paiute is a hot bed for ATV’s and motorcycles. There is access to the trail system from the KOA and many proudly display their side by side units in front of the camps.
There is a contradiction in topography surrounding the valley. On the west side of town, the mountains appear arid with sage brush, perfect for these ATV’s and dirt bikes. The east side is more like the high rockies with trees and tall summits.
Yesterday, we took a drive to scout out the Fish Lake National Forest area and the scenic drive for possible camps. The area turned from arid to nice tree’d mountains with aspens and evergreens. The lake was large and being fished but there were loads of excess camping spots in managed camp grounds for $15 per night. We found some boondocking sites up Goosebury Road but the ground was still a bit wet from the snow melt and too uneven for the A-Liner. The trees at that elevation hadn’t greened up much so it wasn’t ready for us. We made the drive back to the KOA and the decision not to return as it wasn’t in the right direction (north or west). Stay tuned for more decisions we don’t stick to.
One of the most interesting things about this town is what happened at the Walmart. Yep. Lysette hadn’t stepped foot in one of in over 20 years, ever since she felt duped by their pricing of goods at Sams and their treatment of small businesses. But after over paying for bad food at the local grocery store, I got her to do the unthinkable, entering AND purchasing items at Walmart. I did ask her to wait for me outside versus standing in the checkout line to better assure she wouldn’t explode at the last minute. In the end, we got some better produce and a large bag of value priced chips. We still dislike the place….
The dinner was pan seared steak and veggies and more conversations with our neighbors. Patsy stopped in to tell us about Garnet Hill in Ely where you can find valuable stones. We packed up that night preparing for our trip to Ely, NV including stops to top of propane, air up tires, and fuel the Tacoma. The drive was reported to be around 255 miles and based on my research, mostly dry and arid topography. But after meeting Patsy, it was a must.
We woke up and started our day still planning to move to Ely. While doing some last minute checks, I noticed high winds from Saturday through Monday for the area. Plans quickly changed. We are, instead, heading back up to Fish Lake National Forest for a few days. We decided on the Frying Pan Camp ground at $15/night as a base of operation. We will place our home there and explore the area for a few days.