~Tuesday, April 12, 2022~
What do you know?! The four inches of snow on the ground just seemed to appear out of nowhere after the wild ride
we and our trailer had most of the night. The whispered dusting of white powder sort of snuck up on us, though much preferred over the 6 hours of high winds, sandblasting everything in sight. All we can assume is that a big weather front approached the area which could have caused such extreme weather. Around midnight the wind got so bad to the point of smelling the dust/sand being blown against the trailer, we finally decided to bring in the slides to help diminish the noise coming from the awnings over the slides and to keep them from ripping off. That fabric is amazingly strong, but we didn’t feel like testing it further. Of course bringing in the slides diminishes our sleeping quarters, so we were one little cozy bundle. About an hour later, after finally getting some shut eye, the loudest clap of thunder seemed to be right over us. It would have jolted anyone out of a dead sleep.
Feeling a bit groggy, with hot cocoa and coffee in hand, we left the trailer where it was, and took a drive over to the Needles portion of the national park to check out the 2 campground loops, Loop A and B. Loop B is reservable whereas Loop A is first come/first serve. Check-out time in the campgrounds is 10:00 a.m. so it was imperative for us to get there no later than 9:00 a.m. if we had any chance of getting a site. Most RVer’s/campers seem to be early risers. We started looking at Loop A but with one person already ahead of us scouting things out, we didn’t think we’d have a chance. So we went over to Loop B. Nothing and none of the sites seemed deep enough for our trailer length anyway (which is probably why we didn’t book here in the first place). Loop A would be our best chance, and all the sights are nice. We just needed to find one long enough for our trailer. So we went back to Loop A (thank goodness). About ¾ of the way in, there was a tagless post. The site….even bigger than we needed, complete with fire ring and a picnic table tucked in a nice alcove at the rear. YES!! We’re in. It was a “Willie Wonka” kind of moment
as if we’d won the golden ticket. And just across the way near one of the many park’s trailheads, we have pit toilets, garbage and even potable water (we had no access to water at the Outpost). All this for $20/night as opposed to the Outpost’s $33.00/night. So while Jeff stayed to claim our site, I went to the pay station just down the road. We decided to take only 1 night because we still weren’t sure if we were getting reimbursed for the Needles Outpost debacle. Everything was going great, until I realized after putting the paying envelope in the slot, that I had put April 11, not the 12th. So now we’re paying for a night that we didn’t use. OMG!!! O.k. At least I got the 3rd of the “three times a charm” out of the way by messing up another date. Next to the comfort station was the camp host, thankfully “on duty”. Camp host Pat was training a new guy Ernie Roy as they sat huddled inside Pat’s EuroVan, keeping warm from the winter chill. Pat suggested that if we wanted to extend our stay that we would just pay for only 5 of the 6 days (a work around for overpaying). Or I could go through the park service for reimbursement. Nice to have options.
Officially tagged, we parked a few chairs and our one houseplant at the new campsite, staking our claim until we’d return with the trailer.
When we got back to the Outpost, we checked in with Lisa to see if she had any news for us about our refund. Unfortunately due to last night’s storm, their Starlink service was down with no communication in or out. She’s not happy with Elon Musk at the moment. But she assured me she would do her best to relay our information to the owner when things were back up and running. We didn’t get over to the new site until about 12:30 after our campsite hunt and breaking down at the Outpost. In the end, we actually are in a better place. One thing we’ve learned about Canyonlands…..if you want to stay in the park itself, particularly the Needles area, and you have a long drive day ahead to get to the park, it’s best to book your 1 or 2 nights at Needles Outpost (just make sure you book the right dates 😉) while you vye for an even better site in Loop A in the national park. Worse case, boondocking outside the park is always an option (if you’re self-contained).
Later in the afternoon while we were setting things up outside, we had a few people stop to ask if we were in fact leaving “tomorrow” as our tag stated. Smart that people are scouring the “neighborhood” to see what people’s checkout dates are before the next morning. Hmm…..note to self. Anyway, after my third “no, I’m sorry good lucks”, I decided to check in with our camp host again to see if we could just go ahead and pay for the next 6 nights, and get a new tag with the more accurate check out date on it, so we won’t get other fellow camper’s hopes up. By this point, Jeff and I had already decided no matter what happened with the refund, we preferred staying here as opposed to the Outpost anyway. We really are in a sweet spot.
With no cell service whatsoever in the park, there is a small area outside the visitor center that at least allows you to tap into their wi-fi. They even have pay phones if you’re really in a bind. Those young millennials must really do a double take when they see those things. Understandably, the staff won’t allow you to use their wi-fi inside the building nor in their foyer, though it was tempting with the chilly temps outside. 45-degrees and light winds forced us to get what we needed done, fast. And we weren’t alone as there were a handful of tourists, like us, tapping into the luxury of internet. At least we were able to get a few emails done and hear the latest weather updates. Tonight’s lows…..26 degrees. Tomorrow’s high’s….55 degrees. But Saturday, finally low 70’s. Hallelujah!!-bring it on!!