A couple of weeks ago I read a blog written by my friend Bret Edge detailing an aborted motorcycle trip in the Utah back country. Bret had a great plan but as great plans sometimes go, it turned into a Murphy’s Law sort of trip causing him to head home early.
Reading the blog I had a couple of chuckles and it took me back to my very own Murphy’s Law trip to Lake Powell in 2003. So here, after much digging on external hard drives I’ve located the essay and I now present it to you. This is the unedited version. As Will Rogers said, “Everything is funny when it happens to someone else.” Back then I WAS someone else. Enjoy!
6/6/2003 Me and Kahlua hit Lake Powell
I got a late start from work on Friday the 6th. Finished loading the boat around 8:30pm, still early enough to leave but I checked the road reports and found it was snowing like a Mutha at the tunnel so a Saturday morning departure looked more logical.
Kahlua and I were on the road early, negotiated a couple of slick spots in I-70, and made it through the tunnel with no problems. Over Vail Pass and still no problems. We stopped for gas in Hanksville, Utah and discovered a few things missing from the boat, most notably my sleeping pad. I can still hear my Dad’s voice: “If it ain’t tied down it’s gone.”
We rolled into Bullfrog around 2pm, launched the boat with no problems, parked the truck, loaded the dog and headed out across the lake. First stop was Moki canyon to find a campsite. I finally found an acceptable site (not great, acceptable. More on that later), pitched the tent, set up my comfy chair and table and set out to do some fishing. I rigged up a couple of rods and headed out to explore some of the structure in the main channel but realized I didn’t stop to buy a license. Being the upstanding individual I am, I headed back to Bullfrog for a license. Done deal.
ON the way back to Moki I came across a couple of kids on a disabled jet ski floating in the main channel. Hooked up a rope and towed them home. By this time it was after 7pm, I was tired, frustrated, and hungry. I went back to camp and fired up the stove to cook some Dinty Moore stew. While the stew was heating up I caught a catfish off the back of the boat. Cooked the catfish, fed the stew to the dog and ate the fish myself. Best part of the trip.
Sunday we were up at first light. The tent is hotter than heck. Loaded up the dog and headed for the houseboat area at Halls Crossing where a report had indicated there were quite a few striped bass being caught. Kahlua being a Labrador retriever decided it was good great fun to try and retrieve my lure every time I cast it. The fourth or fifth time I had to drag her soggy butt back into the boat I realized this wasn’t going to be much of a fishing trip. I don’t have any desire to drive 100 miles to the nearest vet to get her unplugged. Off to do some location scouting for late afternoon photography.
While cruising the lake I found a great new campsite that would be a water cave if the lake level was 10 feet higher. I left my cooler and some other stuff there to “claim” the site and headed back to the original campsite to get my gear except for the tent. It was so hot I singed my fingers on the aluminum poles so I decided to come back for it later. While I’m off setting up my new camp the wind came up. I got back to find my tent in the water, all the poles broken or bent beyond salvage…good thing my new campsite is under a rock ledge. Dredged up the tent and headed back to the new site to find a houseboat full of 20 somethings trying to commandeer my spot despite my coolers, stove, table, chairs, and other stuff being there. They threatened to kick my butt and toss my stuff in the lake. I threatened to sick my attack Lab on them or, at the very least, report to the Ranger headed our way the cannabis like odor wafting out of the houseboat. Not sure if it was the dog or the Ranger the bothered them but they left.
Now for some real fun! I headed out to the main channel to call home and check in. They say if you can see Navajo Mountain you can use your cell phone. They lied. I headed to the Marina (again) to call home and check in and wonder of wonders…my cell phone decides to work. While I’m standing next to the pay phone at the store. Fabulous. Made the call, checked in, then headed over to the car and find that some idiot decided my trailer had too many lights on it and took it upon himself to remove one. Thanks pal. By now, of course, the boat shop is closed and there’s nobody at the gas station that can repair it for me. I resolved to be standing at their door when they open at 8am on Monday to get it done. Back to camp, catch and release a couple of small bass and another catfish that I cooked for supper.
Heading over to Bullfrog on Monday morning I find out the gas gauge on the boat isn’t working when I run out of gas at the no-wake buoys. I says to myself “Self, this disaster is done. Let’s go home.” Back to Moki, pack up my gear and head out. Recovered the boat with no problems and drive to the boat shop. Surprise!!! They don’t do trailers but told me Offshore Marine up the road a few miles can do it. I bid goodbye to Lake Powell and head up the road. 30 minutes later the trailer is repaired and I”m on the road.
I stopped for a late breakfast at a little diner on the road. Great food! 2 hours later I was sick as a dog. I now have firsthand knowledge of every rest area and most of the gas station bathrooms between Grand Junction and Denver. Man, was it great to be back home!
So there you have it. Looking back on this trip report from 2003, I realize that Will Rogers was right. Everything is funny when it happens to someone else. Thanks Bret for reminding me of this little fiasco.