As December is nearing, it looks like I am only going to make it to Utah once this year. While this is sorrowful news (to me at least), it ended up being a trip for the books!
Travelling with Dad (Mullins) and Josh (brother) made for a unique blend of hanging out and adventuring, and Dad and I got ourselves into quite a predicament on the 3rd day of the trip that would have been much worse if Josh had not been along to save us.
As is my custom, I will start at the beginning, and work through the trip in multiple posts. In this way I hope not to burn anyone out, or to overwhelm you with all the gorgeous pictures. This post will cover Day 1 and the morning of Day 2 of the trip.
Dad and Josh picked me up at Apple Valley airport, just outside Victorville, CA (about a 2.5 hour drive for me). They brought LOTS of stuff, as is evidenced by this pre-packing photo that Josh took in Columbia before their departure. Nevertheless we were able to get me and my stuff into the plane with almost everything else(well, we did have to leave one of the extra sleeping pads). Thus we were well prepared for a comfortable Utah expedition, even though Dad was muttering about the plane being “slow and heavy”.
Our first stop would be Richfield, Ut where the Richfield Airport has 4 courtesy cars that they lend out out to visitors for free. Dad was able to secure one of the cars for our 4 night adventure which ended up being ~500miles of driving. Given how packed and heavy the plane was, it was good that we were planning for much of this trip to be undertaken via car… that being said, I’m glad I didn’t have to drive the 7 additional hours from Victorville to Richfield.
Since the last two trips to Utah have involved me throwing up on the transit flight, I was prepared for the worst with a couple of Target bags. These ended up being very useful to Josh, who ended up needing them a couple of times as we passed near Vegas. Otherwise the flight to Victorville was largely uneventful.
We got a hotel (a Priceline deal Dad had found) for the night and went out to eat at a Mexican Restaurant in nearby Monroe… that just happened to be the exact same place Lexie and I had grabbed a burrito 1.5 years earlier on our way to Mystic Hot Springs (see post).
The next morning we returned to the airport and tried to covertly transfer all the stuff from the plane to the car (a 1996 Pontiac Bonneville) in order to avoid the embarrassment that all men feel from bringing too much luggage. We were largely successful, and Josh and I jumped in the car and headed east for the ~2hr drive to Hanksville, Ut.
The plan was to meet Dad in Hanksville where he would park the plane for a few days while we ventured off in the care to various hikes in the area. The Hanksville Airport is a familiar place for Dad and me, as we had to sleep on the side of the tarmac one night on our first Utah-Flying trip because it was too dark for us to return to the backcountry airstrip where we had been camping. On this trip however, we weren’t planning on staying at the Hanksville Airport, just leaving the plane.
To get to Hanksville, Josh and I had to drive right through Capitol Reef National Park (see obligatory picture above). As the Federal Government was in the midst of a shutdown, we were uncertain whether we’d be allowed to pass through. Thankfully, the main highway was open, though all of the side roads were blocked with signs like the one to the right.
Since no National Parks were on the main agenda for this trip, the shutdown wasn’t a major inconvenience, and, in fact, we were still able to stop and see some petroglyphs inside Capitol Reef. For some reason the parking lot for these was not blocked off. Guess we don’t really need the Federal government.
As Josh and I drove to Hanksville, Dad would periodically find us on the road and buzz us. This was fun as it added to the spectacular and always changing vistas of Central Utah, and allowed me to take a bunch of pictures of Dad flying. I present a selection of these photos here:
We also took some pictures of other things we passed on this beautiful and relaxing drive. Here are a bunch of those images, ENJOY!