writing wednesday

in price we stopped for food and gas, and mary threw up in the bathroom. something she ate must have been bad. members of the caravan milled around the convenience store pointing out funny glasses and foods until everyone was ready to get back on the road. tr left our car and we got vicki in trade. it was mostly quiet in the car from price to i seventy, where we turned off toward moab and the canyonlands. i regretted that i didn't bring my camera. through the sunroof and windows thousands of stars were visible, i spotted orion, cassiopeia, bootes, canis major and other constellations as we buzzed through the desert. 

a few miles away from the canyonlands i started playing really exciting music, because it was really exciting to see how close we were to our destination. soon we would be camping under the stars, enjoying the warm weather and winding down after a long winter. everyone in the car was dancing and we passed the others with the windows down and the volume up. we arrived at the campsite to find some more friends who had bought firewood already. the campground was on blm land, which has strange restrictions and fees, but we all pulled in and parked without thinking too much about it. we regretted that the next morning when the site manager came to inform us that we had taken a reserved campground, and payment was required before sleeping. 

we laid out our thermarests and sleeping bags under the moon and starlight, not having expected the cold that shocked us when we opened our car doors. the moon blocked out a lot of stars, so we tried to sleep without much talking. everyone near me woke up about two hours later when the moon had set and the milky way was beautiful and bright in the sky. we talked and joked and watched the diurnal motion of the stars as they spun around the pole star. soon i was cold enough that i got into a doubled up sleeping bag with randy and mary, and we all warmed up significantly and slept til morning. 

at seven randy and i got restless and started moving, getting out of the sleeping bag and pouring cereal before we remembered that we hadn't gotten spoons, though we had remembered to buy bowls. i slurped down one bowl of fruity pebbles before we discovered that some of the other members of the party had snagged spoons at wendy's before leaving salt lake. i took one on the condition that i return it after i was done. distance from civilization causes some strange scarcities. forgetting something simple most times means you just won't have it at all.

vicki and her gang woke up about an hour after we had and immediately wanted to leave for a hike in the canyonlands. we were significantly slower than they were in leaving the campsite, mostly because we didn't see a reason to rush. the entrance fee to the canyonlands was ten dollars, and we regretted it almost as soon as we had paid. we got to the trailhead where the others had told us to meet them and walked in about a quarter mile to reach the mesa arch, which has a beautiful view of the park. it's an arch that sits at the edge of a 200 foot precipice that extends several hundred yards in each direction. i really wanted to rappel down but we had neither equipment nor willing participants. 

we walked back out on the trail, joking about the intensity of the hike, which was mostly meant for tourists, not the big tough outdoorsy group that had come on this trip. as soon as i got in the car, tr wondered aloud where his camera was, then realized that he had left it in his pack, all the way back at the arch. luckily it was only a half mile walk to get it back and he was soon coming over the crest, with a silly grimace on his face. randy's car was almost out of gas when we headed for the gemini bridges. 

next time: riding on the mini minivan's bumper

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