Anasazi State Park Museum and Capitol Reef National Park

On June 16th, it was time to leave Bryce Canyon. As always, I made sure to check and prep Betty for our next leg since I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going to stop for the night, but I was certain I wasn’t going to make it to Moab in one day. I checked the tires and filled the fresh water tank. Since the site I was at didn’t have dump hookups I had to make my way over to the dump station at the campground. When I got over there, it was a bit busy with RVs coming and going, but I was able to pull up to the station fairly quickly. I got everything hooked up and dumped the black water tank first, as usual. Then, I pulled on the handle to open the valve for the gray water tank. Nothing. Hhmmm. I pushed it in and pulled it out again. Nothing. I got a little panicky. There was three days’ worth of graywater in there and nothing was coming out. It had been working perfectly fine at Zion. Dumbfounded, I pushed and pulled the valve handle again. Maybe I didn’t pull it out all the way, I thought. I could see what looked like threads at the end of the handle, so I tried screwing the handle in a few turns, but I couldn’t tell if it did anything. The sun was bright, and I couldn’t see well into the compartment. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I fiddled around there at the dump station like an idiot opening and closing the valve, hoping somehow it would miraculously start emptying. But, to no avail.

Ok, I thought. Maybe the guys across the street at Sinclair can help me. Sinclair is this bizarre, behemoth of a gas station in Utah that provides services like brakes, alignment and tires. Some of them, like this one in Bryce also rent out mountain bikes and ATVs (Side note: Something I noticed since being in Utah, in order to be a true Utahan, you must own an ATV). So, I rinsed out the sewer hose, packed it all up, and headed over to Sinclair. I explained to the guy the situation and he said there wasn’t anything they could do since they don’t deal with holding tanks, but he offered to look on the internet. The vague directions he printed out for me were how to deal with a possible clog. Oh, god. A clog?! The directions included a multitude of steps to flush high-pressure water back into the tank to hopefully release any blockages. This was all much more complicated than I wanted to have to deal with. Not really knowing what to do, I just wanted to get to an RV park where I could have full hookups at my site to troubleshoot the problem. So, I started heading east on Hwy 12. After about 9 miles, I spotted an RV park with full hookups in the small town of Tropic. I hooked up the power and water and connected to the WiFi. I decided I didn’t like this option of trying to unclog the gray water tank, so I searched for my own possible problems of what could be causing this. I came across a forum post where a guy mentioned he had the same issue and noticed the end of the valve handle had threads, so he screwed the handle back on tight and that fixed the issue. I went outside to get a better a look at the valve handle. The lighting was much better, and now I could clearly see there was about half an inch of thread at the end of the handle. I turned the handle clockwise about a dozen turns until it was in there tight, then pulled the handle. I felt the wonderful gush of water flowing out of the tank. Hooray!! That took all of about 10 minutes or less and it was 10am. Well, I guess I’ll spend the night!

The following morning, I continued my way east on Hwy 12. The road twisted up and down, cutting through this massive land of what looked to me like a field of solidified lava but were blends of white, yellow and orange instead of black. Less than a few hours later, I was passed through the town of Boulder which is where the Anasazi State Park is located. This state park is the site of an Ancestral Puebloan village dated around 1050-1200 A.D. Lucky for me, there was a rinky-dink “RV Park” right next door which was just a gravel lot next to the tiny gas station/market that could hold five RVs. So, I set up camp there and went over to the State Park to check out the museum and ruins.

The following morning, I headed to Capitol Reef National Park. Continuing east along Hwy 12, the drive was beautiful. Eventually, the rolling, rocky plain gave way to a wooded area where deer where bountiful and black cows grazed right along the highway. I thought for sure a calf would get startled and dart in front of me, but they just curiously stared as I crept by.

I got to Capitol Reef fairly early, so I was able to snag a spot at the campground in the park. So far, this had been the only place I’d stayed where I had no cell reception at all. Sometime around late morning I decided to go out for a short hike, so I rode my bike over to the Fremont Gorge Overlook Trailhead and started up the hill. It was then I noticed it was HOT and probably 10 degrees warmer than it had been the last few days. I don’t think I walked much more than a mile before I decided I’d had enough of the desert sun and turned around. Unfortunately, the campground had no hookups, which meant no electricity, which meant no AC. Yes, I have a generator, but when I got back to my RV hoping to start it up, I realized I had parked myself right in the middle of a bunch of campers in tents. I really didn’t want to be that jerk running her generator all day long completely ruining the tranquility of being outdoors. So, I sucked it up and lolled in the afternoon inferno. I had no way of checking the temperature, but I imagine it was somewhere around 90-95 degrees. Nighttime brought no relief.

The park itself wasn’t quite the spectacle as Zion or Bryce. It was pretty low-key with a scenic drive that went out about 20 miles and was less than ideal for an RV. So, after about 10 miles of that, I turned around and went back to the campground.

I was kind of relieved when morning came, and I was out of there well before 8am. I was now on my way to my next and one of my most anticipated stops: Moab, Utah.

Author: Debora Schwartz

I am a traveler, a writer, an outdoor enthusiast and a tiny house dweller.

3 thoughts on “Anasazi State Park Museum and Capitol Reef National Park”

  1. I absolutely love ancient history and all the buildings. I would love to be able to walk aroud in those types of places, but I’m sure they are off limits these days. To many stupid people ruin it for the rest of us. ( ;You should pick up an inner tube or floaty for these hot places and hang at the river……just sayin!

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    1. They do have some that the public can walk around in. And then they have some where you can pay to go with a guide so there’s limited access to those. Yeah, I love the ancient history too. While I was at the Anasazi museum, I picked up a book that focused on the Comanche Indians (a Plains tribe) and their fight against the whites to keep their way of life. Man, the US has a dirty, dirty history. I mean, I knew it was bad but I had no idea of some of the details. The Indians were brutal too, by nature. But it’s just disgusting what people do to each other and and anything living.

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