Day 5: Sept 14, 2023
Vernal, UT →
“But you can't predict the weather, Ms. Jackson.” — Ms. Jackson, Outkast
We leave Vernal, Utah, and pass through Dinosaur, Utah. It’s the tiny town that leads into one of the many routes towards Dinosaur National Monument. It’s home to some 1,500 dinosaur fossils. Do people who don’t believe in dinosaurs think this is one big hoax? We don’t have time to stop in today, though.
At high elevations, weather moves swiftly. We discovered this during last summer’s Colorado adventures. Rain and storms roll through and often without warning. And today is no exception. We drive most of the day in inclement conditions and unfortunately incur some damage to our vehicle: Our windshield now suffers a crack, the result of a large truck driving by in the opposite direction, kicking up rain water and a few rocks. A repair that will need to be addressed when we return home.
Steamboat Springs is our destination, with plans to camp at 9,000 or 10,000 feet at Buffalo Pass. I’ve been curious about the town as it’s home to Moots, the storied titanium bicycle framebuilder. Weather chases us all the way here and upon arriving, it’s cool, cloudy, and very much fall-like. Food is on the mind.
We walk along the Yampa River in yet another cute mountain town and stumble upon the Maui Artisan Sourdough food truck. It rings a bell for Jen, recollecting that several years ago we had sampled their sourdough in a kombucha bar in Lahaina, Maui (😢). Jen had been craving a turkey sando earlier in the week, so this was fate. After finishing our delicious vittles, we ask the owners how they ended up in Colorado. They had just moved here in May for family reasons. What timing.
We opt to move on and attempt to investigate a camp spot outside Boulder, still holding out hope that a light drizzle and overcast skies would be our companions for a night. Our luck doesn’t pan out. We stop by the side of the road, with rain beating down on the rig, googling hotels while simultaneously trying to placate a senior Chihuahua. Barbara is having a full-on meltdown due to the effects of multiple 10,000-foot mountain passes and winding curvy roads.
We snag a two-night hotel stay in Longmont, just northeast of Boulder, about a 20-minute drive away. As soon as the reservation is made, we feel relief. We will wait out the weather, visit with friends in the area, and keep our fingers crossed that we can get back to camping this weekend.
When your schedule is loose, everything is by the hour, and sometimes by the minute.
You can’t predict the weather indeed, Ms. Jackson.