**A personal note – this is my travel “season”, after completing a summer of RV sales in Casper, I’m on my way (slowly) to my winter destination (where I serve as a ski instructor). When you travel by RV (or just travel in general), illness is not your friend. That is why when I took ill in Park City on Sunday October 2, running a fever for a few hours at 102.2 by mouth, I did two things as soon as I was able –
I headed out of the mountains (Park City is about 6500 ft) and into the Salt Lake valley (about 4400 ft) and I found a RV Park (Circle L in Layton) where I could park and lay low for a few days. It is now more than a week later and while I’m better, I still feel the lingering effects. I’m still hoping to resume my travels (though modified) tomorrow (October 11). Overall, I’m “good enough”, but as I still have a nasty cough and even ran a low grade fever yesterday (at most 99F), I’m hesitant to do too much physical activity.
Fortunately, the weather has been superb – a condition that is not likely to continue, and even less likely as we approach November. This is all the more reason, my #1 goal is to get healthy for the upcoming winter. The last thing I need is to have a lingering cough/infection as I head into the Idaho mountains and from last years experience, some truly horrific weather (part of which makes the skiing so great!)**
Anyway- with those thoughts allow me to share two experiences from a few days back at this point…
Camelot – A RV Campground unlike most others…
Camelot – the name itself to me was intriguing. As I read the reviews online and I decided I had to depart from my “lake and kayaking tour” (see my Lucerne and Starvation posts) to spend a couple of nights in Camelot. Camelot (see photos below) is a very remote campground, while it is situated only about 7 miles off Rt. 40 (the main E-W conduit from Northern Colorado to I-80 just outside of Salt Lake City), it is deep into a canyon region where phone service is all but a dream and time seems to move backward.
My visit to Camelot…
It was the third weekend in September and I was the ONLY camper there all weekend! (The photo above just about shows it all!) And, it happened to be the first cold snap (probably a good thing I wasn’t in Strawberry Reservoir as it SNOWED there at 7600 feet – and this was with more than a week left in the month of September! I spent the weekend reading and did some traveling up the canyon – which parallels the river, and I’m told there are some great fishing spots to be found. Having tried a few times in the past and having yet to catch a fish, I was not inclined to sit around outside for hours in temperatures hovering in the mid-40’s, instead I opted for a good book and my fireplace (yep, nice to have a fireplace in a RV!)
The new owners of Camelot (taking over around October 1, 2016) are inheriting a facility with great potential – but it is aged. The power pedestals are in marginal condition at best (and 30A only), and the dump station is an experience for any rig much over 30 ft, not to mention the road leading in and out of the area. Finally, I hope they increase their signage to get to the campground! (Click on the images to enlarge)
A video tour of Camelot and Strawberry Reservoir
Internet Withdrawal and Strawberry Reservoir
48 hours in the early 20th century was enough for this camper! Now understand, I’m not “addicted” to having internet access, but I do need it daily – well for this (writing blogs), ongoing business responsibilities, and I will admit to being a news junky! Having spent this morning on Park Ave. in Park City (jumping forward a few days) and seeing the younger generation surrounded by the natural beauty of the region as their faces are buried in their smart phone screen… well I’ll just say, that’s not me!
Anyway, enough ranting. I pulled out of Camelot early on a Sunday morning – timing my departure as to minimize the chance of running into a vehicle headed into the canyon! In a few short miles, I was back on Rt. 40 heading west and had a very short drive to get to Strawberry Reservoir (and about a 2000 ft climb!)
Situated at 7600 ft., this was the highest altitude camping I had done – and to be honest, I felt it. I could have asked for a better night’s sleep on the first (and only) night I spent in Strawberry Reservoir. Normally I would have worked through what may have been a mild incidence of “altitude sickness”, but two key features were missing at Strawberry Reservoir that are important to me – close proximity to water where I can easily put my kayak in and good phone service – which for me translates into fast internet. If the former was excellent, I can live without (too much) of the latter!
Under different circumstances, Strawberry Reservoir would provide much better access to the water – but – the water level is down 30%! The locals regaled me of how close the water came to the campsites in 2011… but not since. I was motivated to do some good cookin’ while at my site –
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Utah Lake and Reservoir Water Levels – an ongoing concern
Water levels in lakes and reservoirs appear to be an issue throughout Utah. In my ongoing research and efforts to find great campsites (I rely heavily upon the AllStays site for this), I looked into a state park adjacent to Utah Lake near Provo – what I read was concerning. The authorities indicated that while the “lake had been reopened, since it was only at 30% capacity, toxins in the water may make you sick…” (I’m paraphrasing, but honestly its pretty close to their own wording!)
Needless to say, I’m going to pass on Utah Lake, and my next site, Jordanelle State Park (post coming soon) was down 40%! I was considering visiting some campsites near Lake Powell before calling it a season and heading for McCall Idaho for the winter (I’m a ski instructor there), but my research indicates Lake Powell is at 52% capacity and is down about 89 FEET from full height!!
Instead, after I get a set of custom ski boots from DaleBoot (more on this soon), I will head north from Salt Lake City and explore some of the smaller waterways of southern Idaho.
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After leaving Strawberry, my next destination took me through the town of Heber City (a few good restaurants – I recommend the “DairyKeen” for its unique environment, shakes, and is very kid friendly, and the Back 40 where I had one of the best veggie burgers ever!) There is also a Smith’s grocery (and gas station) in town. Proceed west on Rt 40 through town, begin to climb up the hill, and in a few minutes you’re approaching Jordanelle State Park – my next kayaking destination (hint – it’ll be a good review!)