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  • Writer's pictureJanee Pennington

Here Comes The Heat...

Updated: May 11, 2020

If you've been following along on our journey, you'll recall last week's blog post did not go live as usual on Friday morning. An explanation was promised, and I am a woman of my word.

Colin and I were ready to move on from Panguitch, UT (just outside of Bryce Canyon) and had our hearts set on making our way to Moab, where our good friends had previously owned a lovely RV Park. Due to Covid-19, Moab was completely shut down to travelers and we had been tracking when they would be opening up again. To our delight, we got word that the RV park would be opening within a week. We decided to pack up, hit the road, and take our time with stops along the way.

Colin was working in the passenger seat when we suddenly hit a very steep stretch of road. The trailer started to swing back and forth behind our car like a pendulum. I started to feel completely out of control of the situation, the danger was escalating and for a moment I thought we might have flipped, most likely injuring both of us! With my heart pounding out of my chest and my stomach at my feet, I carefully focused on Colin's calming words as he instructed me what to do. When we finally regained control, I was shaky but genuinely thankful we both made it out unharmed! I could not say the same for the contents of the trailer. From dancing across the road like John Travolta in Saturday Night Live, the trailer was a pile of food, laundry, yoga mats, broken glass, personal care items and most of all, truffle salts... all over. It took a few hours to clean and repack, setting us behind for the day but we are alive, and that is something to celebrate (not so much the truffle salt 24/7).

Nevertheless, we made it to the RV park our assistant had reserved for the night. Anyone who has traveled by RV or trailer will agree that RV parks/resorts are hit or miss. Often times the photos online (if they have any listed) can be outdated, or sometimes of a completely different facility. It can be a gamble when you're on the road needing to find a place to stay for the night. Let's just say when we pulled up to our accommodations for last Thursday, we immediately knew we had arrived at a 'miss'. We informed our assistant of the situation and decided to keep driving in the direction of Goblin Valley (our planned adventure spot while we wait for Moab).

Little Wild Horse

At this point, we needed a break. After sharing a spot in the State Park with another trailer (another story entirely), we awoke early knowing we wanted to visit a slot canyon nearby called Little Wild Horse. It was just what the doctor ordered after an already eventful day. The slot canyon was incredible. You feel like you've stepped into another planet or a mystical realm. The temperature was about 88 degrees but it easily felt closer to 100. Towards the end of our other-worldly detour, the wind mysteriously started picking up. We quickly noticed dust starting to fill the air. Then all of a sudden, we are in the middle of a full-blown dust storm in the middle of Goblin Valley! We booked it back to the trailer and laughed as we caught our breath. The winds were still shaking the trailer, it felt as if we were in a carnival shake shack for hours. What a day!

Our assistant almost always knows where we are, with how much remote hiking and adventuring we do, it is crucial someone knows our whereabouts. Well, this became a challenge when we completely lost signal shortly after leaving the RV park of doom around 3pm the day before. "S" (our assistant) was expecting to speak with us again before nightfall so she could know where we ended up for the night. It would become clear it would not be possible and I started to feel a pit in my stomach as I knew she would be worried.

The exhaustion from the day was setting in and we knew we couldn't keep driving any longer. Fun Fact: At night, Goblin Valley is one of the darkest spots on Earth. We figured that out fast when we couldn't see anything around us, our only option was to pull over in the middle of nowhere and try to get some rest. The night sky was so incredibly beautiful, with zero light disturbance, the stars were in full view.

Meanwhile, S is panicked. She is logical enough to realize it is very possible we are in a dead zone for service, but not knowing where we were was eating her up. 8am rolls around and... nothing. No text, no call, and now the phones aren't ringing anymore.

Goblin Valley

Colin and I awoke in our trailer to see that we were truly in the middle of nowhere with nothing around for miles. We pull up to a long, single-file line of cars, all waiting their turn to pay at this tiny little shack with an attendant that marks the entrance back into Goblin Valley.

At this point, S and our family members are worried and of course, reeling with the possibility that Colin and I may be in a horrible situation. S decides it's time to start making calls, the only info she has is we were headed towards Goblin Valley. There are very few businesses, if any, in many of these areas of the US. She types in "Goblin Valley Contact Number" in the search engine and calls the number at the top of the page, fully not expecting anyone to answer. But, alas! A woman picks up on the other end and S gives her a description of our car & trailer.

We are now just a car away from our turn at the shack. Colin reaches for his gloves and mask to interact with the ranger as we pull up to the window and the woman with a gray page boy cut has a big smile on her face. "Well would you look at this synchronicity!". We, of course, have no idea what she's talking about as she tries to hand over an old weathered cordless phone. Given that we are in a pandemic, Colin understandably was hesitant to grab it, still not having his glove on just yet.

Reluctantly, he takes the phone and hears S on the other end. We couldn't believe it! The timing was too perfect. Had she called 10 mins earlier or 5 mins later she would have missed us entirely! We were so relieved and happy to hear her voice and I can say the feeling was mutual for her as well. It felt like the stars had aligned for us to have a perfect moment of contact. Life is so beautiful sometimes, you just have to sit back and smile at these moments that feel like pure magic.

After exploring Goblin Valley we finally made our way to Moab, UT. The RV resort was wonderful and it felt great to be closer to civilization again. Unfortunately, the heat was unbearable and the trailer become an oven, reaching temperatures higher than outside. The hard part is so many areas are locked down to new travelers and we knew we had to move fast to find a cooler location. Flagstaff, AZ was just below 70 degrees and was still accepting new customers at their RV parks, but the catch was it was two days driving time away... We knew we had to make the trip.

About 50 miles south of Moab, we stopped at Newspaper Rock. The historic monument displays around 2,000 years of human activity in the area. Carved into the sandstone panel are symbols representing the Fremont, Anasazi, Navajo, and Anglo cultures. It was quite the sight to be seen, no one else was there which added to the serendipity. Taking in this sight with no distractions around, I became hypnotized as my eyes scanned from drawing to drawing. What is the goat family all about? Is that a bat? Clues but no answers. I may have to read up on the meaning of the symbols (or come up with stories about them for myself).

LUNCH in the Desert

It has been weeks since we were able to get to an organic food store and when you're out in the desert, you have to get creative. This tasty, nutrient-packed salad hit the spot and is so easy to store and then throw together when ready.

- Dehydrated organic vegetables

- Sardines

- Walnuts

- Olive Oil

- Season to taste

Perfect road trip lunch!

Page, AZ

Our last stop before arriving in Flagstaff, AZ was the beautiful town of Page. Page is probably best known for Horseshoe Bend, one of the most unique and awe-inspiring sights the desert has to offer. We also parked the trailer at the dam to overlook Lake Powell as we dined outside overlooking the marina. It made for a delightful afternoon.

Thank you for joining me this week. Sharing these stories with you makes me feel a little less far away. Being away from the internet for a few days was certainly unexpected and a bit nerve wracking but in someways, liberating as well.

I have some exciting projects in the works, both personal and professional, that I hope to share with you all soon. For now, we are planning our next move from Flagstaff, AZ and happy to be escaping 90+ degree temperatures for the time being.

Sending you all positive energy, let's remember to take it easy on ourselves during this time. We are all doing our best. And a very Happy Mother's Day on Sunday (and every day) to all the mom's who are following along. You are all appreciated and so well loved.

In good health


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