Flaming Gorge for Memorial Day

Trip #4
Flaming Gorge
May 28-31, 2021

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After being at Airstream of Utah for about 2 weeks for some minor repairs, David brought Al home so we could do a good cleaning. Instead of taking it back to Full Service Storage, and sticking it the HOA, we kept Al in our driveway for the rest of the week, as we decided somewhat last minute to head out with Al over Memorial Day weekend.

We wanted to go just a couple of hours away because we needed to return Monday in time for David to make his flight to Nashville late Monday evening. We settled on Flaming Gorge since it was less than a 3-hour drive away. We felt lucky to make a reservation at the Firehole Campground about 30 minutes past Rock Springs, about an hour’s drive away from the dam. Working all morning Friday, while intermittently preparing for our departure, we were shooting for an early afternoon departure. After lunch, and having finished packing up Al and the Jeep, we headed out about a little before 4:00. The GPS said it was a 2-hour 45-minute drive, so we anticipated a 7 p.m. arrival, knowing we wanted to stop along the way to dump the holding tank of all the cleaning contents so that we would have 100% free-space for our boondocking weekend.

The drive took us through Wyoming – we cruised through Evanston, by Little America, and on through the land of nothingness and no cell service. Recalling that our dump spot was in Rock Springs, as soon as we had a dot of service we looked it up and determined we were headed to a Maverik station, but before the GPS could figure out the routing, the dot of service faded and we had to wing it. Luckily we found it, the dump station was free, and after we pulled in, there were probably close to 6 or 7 other RVs that had followed us. We bought firewood and David chatted with a fellow Campendium user about leaving a review since she too couldn’t believe it was free.

Back on the road, still with no GPS, we were hopeful there would be signs to the campground. And there were – phew! Right about 7 p.m. we pulled in and were greeted by Chuck (the camp host) and Rona (the dog). Chuck welcomed us and pointed us in the direction of Spot 3 and David successfully backed Al into the spot. After finalizing the docking, we were a tad worried, because Spot 4 shared the same parking area as us, and while no one was currently there, it would be very cozy if someone showed up. The recreation.gov website where we made the reservation gave us the impression that every spot would be full this weekend. Chuck to the rescue! He informed us that he did have a reservation for Spot 4, but he was going to have them go somewhere else, as there were other open spaces, and he didn’t think we needed to have a neighbor so close. Also, our reservation was only through Sunday night. We asked Chuck if he thought we’d be able to stay to Monday and he said “Yeah of course, not a problem.” What a guy!

The campsites are quite nice. First, the parking space is already quite level, we hardly had to do anything to level the trailer. There is a fire pit and a picnic table under a cabana. And there are only about 27 total campsites, so even though most were occupied, it didn’t feel
overwhelmingly crowded. We got settled, had a cocktail (or two), and readied the barbecue for our beef rib dinner. WOW – we slow-cooked the ribs the night before we left and then finished them on the barbecue – WOW! They were so delicious. YUM! Coleslaw and baked beans were the accompaniment and that was perfect! We lit a fire and roasted a marshmallow (yes just one), we were quite full from dinner so that was it for Friday night.

Saturday we slept until after 10 am – yes, 10 am. Saturday was a very lazy day. We skipped breakfast, and had an early lunch – early for us anyway, it was just noon. Then David had some work he needed to get done, so he did that while Donna read her book and may have dozed off for a little bit. At some point in the afternoon, we went on a little explore around the campsite, through the rocks to the Firehole boat dock, and then back up the road and around and down to the beach area near the campground. We saw 2 pronghorn deer along the way and one of them snorted at David, so he snorted back and the two of them had a brief snorting contest. Silly boys!

Back at camp, we began preparations for dinner – wedge salad, steak, and baked potatoes. While on our walk we decided to hook up the generator so that we could run the microwave and cook the potatoes that way. It was dual purpose – one to run the generator, and two to see if this would actually work. And it did! After cooking them through, we wrapped them in foil, with some butter and salt of course, to be able to finish them on the barbecue. Then we (meaning David) lit another fire and we actually roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. Once the fire was out, we decided we would watch Tenet – the new Christopher Nolan movie. I guess it’s our destiny to watch terrible movies while camping. This was a horrible, unfollowable movie. That’s 2-1/2 hours of our lives we’ll never get back.

Sunday we woke up early – 8 a.m.! David made pancakes and bacon and then we slowly readied ourselves to make the hour-long journey to the dam and visit the town of Dutch John and the Dutch John Resort, and also see the Flaming Gorge Resort. We also needed an ATM because we needed to pay Chuck $22 for tonight’s stay. Well … Dutch John is essentially a one-road town that goes in a 2-3 mile circle. The “Resort” is a convenience store looking building with some cabins around it. Kinda a disappointment. Another 15 minutes down the road we crossed over the dam, pulled into the parking lot and got out to have a look around. It was actually pretty crowded with people, including some walking through the parking lot with PFDs on – were they afraid they were going to fall in walking through the parking lot? The Flaming Gorge Resort was similar in style to the Dutch John Resort, but they did have an ATM, so there’s that. Back on the road back to Firehole, as it was time for lunch.

Made some sandwiches and enjoyed them sitting at our picnic table with the view of the water.

Monday we actually set an alarm since we wanted to be on the road by 8 a.m. for the 4-hour drive home because we needed to leave for the airport by 3 p.m. for David to make his flight to Nashville. We wanted to have time to clean Al before taking it back to Full Service on the way to the airport. The drive was extremely uneventful and about as exciting as the Friday drive. Made it home in time for lunch – which Emily had arranged to celebrate Memorial Day: hamburgers, fries, and Aida’s Salad (the corn, mozzarella, and avocado salad that is sooo tasty)! What a treat!

Headed to Full Service Storage by 3 p.m. and David was at the airport so early, he got to hang out in the new Sky Club for a while before getting on his plane. We must say – another successful outing with Al.

Total Miles: 400

Tips from this trip:

  • Don’t believe Recreation.gov
  • Maverik’s free dump stations are awesome

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