Memorial Day 2017: Cabin Retreat Near Beaver, Utah

Odometer (Legend):  552,509

Odometer (ILX):  199,757

Trip Distance:  1,016 Miles

When I say that Phoenix gave us a ‘warm welcome’ upon returning from my brother’s cabin in central Utah on Monday, I mean it in the most literal of senses.  When I started the car at 7:50 in the morning from my brother’s cabin retreat near Eagle Point ski resort in southern Utah, the exterior temp readout displayed 43 degrees Fahrenheit.  When my friends and I rolled into Phoenix 8 1/2 hours later, it said 107.  Needless to say, I felt overdressed.

Nestled in a grove of trees in the Fishlake National Forest at nearly 10,000 feet in elevation, the destination for our two-night stay was a second home that my brother Bentley built in 2015.  It’s become a summertime base camp for all sorts of recreational activities.  But calling this place a “camp” seems ludicrous, since it’s more modern and three times the size of the home I’m living in.

Our northbound holiday weekend trip started on Friday afternoon, when four of us made our way toward Las Vegas in two vehicles:  My 2013 ILX and James’ press car flavor of the week, a fancy-pants 2017 Genesis G90.  Its double-paned glass, football fields’ worth of leg room, and 5,000-pound heft allowed it to glide its passengers through the desert in ultimate serene comfort.  Meanwhile my little 2.4-liter four-banger was plenty audible at 3,500 RPM cruising speed, but at least I was able to drown it out with some proper road trip tunes.

Mom’s house in Washington, Utah was our waypoint for that evening – a quick in-and-out overnight stay since Saturday morning we had plans to mosey another 120 or so miles northbound.  We did take the time to meet up with my brother Payton and his family pre-departure and to partake of the breakfast fare at “The Egg & I” on Bluff Street.

Beaver, Utah is a town with a sense of humor and a sense of pride.  Most of its 3,000 residents live within a few minutes’ drive of Interstate 15 which is the lifeblood and artery of commerce in the community.  About the only notable destinations there are an outlet store for a company called Cache Valley Cheese, a historic 1876 courthouse, and a 9,000-square-foot pawn shop.

We plunked down $170 at Mike’s Food Town – the only grocery store in town – to get some food & supplies.  As I was standing in line at the register, I looked down and saw that a stranger had placed a box with a saline enema in my cart.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the culprit, and it was my jokester cousin Dillon who happened to be doing his shopping as well.  Dillon and his mom, Jodi, and Jodi’s boyfriend Michael joined us for one night at the cabin.

In the 19 miles from the Highway 153 junction with Main Street to the Eagle Point ski area in the Tushar Mountains to the east, we climbed over 4,000 feet in elevation.  Here’s where I gladly rowed my own gears in a spirited upward drive with the ILX.  The G90 was no slouch, maintaining impressive composure on the twisties, but when a curvy mountain road is placed in front of me I prefer complete, old-fashioned driver engagement with a clutch pedal and stick shift.

If it weren’t for the presence of a solid guardrail along the side, Highway 153 is the type of road that will give you the heebie-jeebies.  There are steep drop-offs and embankments as the road winds its way upward.  Passing lanes are very few and very far between, so luckily we encountered very little traffic.  My mom and stepdad had already arrived and were anxiously waiting for us.  We settled in and unloaded the cars, then soaked in the view and the cooler temperatures.

We took my brother’s 6-seat Polaris Raptor ATV for a spin around some of the dirt trails in the surrounding area.  In high gear, on a downhill grade, we could only get it up to about 30 miles per hour with our 4 adult bodies onboard.  So I think the 120-mph speedometer is a little optimistic!  The go-anywhere capability was nice, though, and we plowed through a couple of snowbanks with ease.

Cousin Dillon taught us how to play craps, complete with a full blown Vegas style layout and all the chips we cared to gamble with.  Downtime was also filled with a couple of short hikes and a few selections from the DVD binder.  My favorite was “Ocean’s Eleven.”  We took a picnic lunch a few miles up the road to scenic Puffer Lake.

No group outing would be complete without oodles of food – night one was grilled chicken, night two was pasta with Rob’s Famous Meatballs.  I’m confident nobody went hungry during this vacation.

All-too-early, we were loading up the cars on Monday morning and preparing for our return trip.  I opted to take a different route this time – cutting east on Highway 20 toward Highway 89, then south toward the Arizona state line.  I think this was a good call – not only did it deliver some great scenery, but the traffic was light since it allowed us to avoid the Las Vegas & Hoover Dam holiday cluster.  Besides, we also got to stop and see the bridge at Marble Canyon and a few other attractions.

And so concluded our 1,000-mile, 3-state, holiday weekend trip.  I’m ready to do it all over again!  Who’s with me?  A short video and some pics follow.

Snoopy riding a telephone pole ‘rocket’ just outside Wikieup, Arizona on Highway 93

Taking a breather outside the G90

199,000-mile ILX rollover between Las Vegas and St. George

Breakfast at The Egg & I in St. George on Saturday morning

Doing a little shopping in Beaver

Wandering around with Jack

Group pic on the steps of the cabin

Driveway

Raptor ride

Couple pics near a creek with some heavy snow runoff

Paying a visit to the location where some relatives’ ashes are buried

Tyson, Jodi, Michael, Todd, Tia, Jack, Dillon

ILX at sunset

Still plenty of snow on the ground at the ski lodge

Map of Eagle Point

Riding in the back of stepdad Todd’s truck to our picnic at Puffer Lake

Hwy 153 descent

The guys bought me an “I heart Beaver” bumper sticker

Phoenix, only 434 more miles!

Abandoned service station in Fredonia, Arizona

Marble Canyon

Lee’s Ferry bridge with the gang

21 Responses to “Memorial Day 2017: Cabin Retreat Near Beaver, Utah”

  1. Another wonderful trip for the books. What a way to spend three-days off of work! I’m ready for round two!

    • Seriously. Now if we could just get a private aircraft to take us from the PHX airport to the Eagle Point Upper Lodge parking lot, we would be set. That 8+ hour drive each way is a lot for a regular weekend trip.

  2. I need a few days in that “cabin” with a roaring fire and a glass of wine.

    • We actually didn’t even sample most of the alcohol we’d taken up there but there was plenty available. Dillon did stoke the fire one night and it was nice and crackly.

  3. Brad Heffran Says:

    Beautiful. I’m jealous as usual!

  4. The very best of times! I will never forget them. Thanks to Bentley for allowing us this opportunity to bond to this extent. Write on!

  5. Joshua L Says:

    Hi Tyson, your ILX got almost hit 200,000 miles soon! This pictures are so amazing and beautiful views. I hope you are doing well.

    • Thanks Josh! You are correct, the ILX is getting really close to 200,000. I have a specific date in mind when I plan on hitting that and it’s going to be in the next couple of weeks. But I will definitely be posting about it here 🙂

  6. Tyson, awesome trip. I have a couple of questions:

    Double pane glass on the Genesis? I suppose to keep sound and heat out?

    And out of curiosity what kind of mileage was that thing getting?

    • Seriously – I didn’t realize the Genny had double-paned glass until we were at the gas station in Wickenburg and I had Rob roll down the window so I could hand something to him in the passenger seat. It’s sealed up like a vault in there! The car is powered by a 3.3 liter twin-turbocharged V6 (as far as I know there is still an available/optional V8) and James observed 21.3 mpg overall. Not too bad for a vehicle of that size, especially considering the mountain climbing we were doing for much of the time.

  7. The view from inside the cabin looking out is spectacular. Like something you’d see in a “house & home” magazine. Absolutely spectacular.

    Seems like a really fun-filled weekend! So was that the swan song trip for the ILX?

    • I’m still thrilled that you taught me the meaning of ‘swan song,’ and yes – this is the last hurrah for that old gal. She sits here in the driveway at 199,947 on the odometer as I type this — but it will be another 9 days until I’m allowed to enter “2” territory. Hope your weekend is going well, Tim!

  8. Looks like another fun (but long) excursion. When you mentioned how swift the Genesis was up in the higher altitudes I wondered if it was the twin turbo or V8. At the same time I chuckled about how you enjoyed rowing the gears in the ILX. I fully understand how satisfying it is but like my TSX low end grunt especially in higher altitudes is not their forte.

    After watching a review of the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport with the twin turbo V6 I kept thinking this should have been what the latest RLX had evolved into. It would have been even more glorious if they named it Legend and threw in a 6-speed… imagine that if you will.

    One of these days we need to trek up to Utah for a visit. BTW am I the only one who immediately thinks of the Marx Brother’s movie “Duck Soup” each time they see the sign for Fredonia, AZ?

    • Okay, now you’ve inspired me to go watch that 1933 film called “Duck Soup” after googling the name Fredonia / Freedonia. Adding that to my growing list of must-see movies.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedonia

      Actually I’m going to stop by the Zia Record Exchange over here on 19th Ave & Camelback tomorrow to see if I can find a couple DVDs for the heck of it. Cool spot if you’ve never been.

      Totally agree with you on how the RLX missed its mark by a long shot. Did you know that the May 2017 sales figures came out on Thursday, and the car only sold 82 units last month in the entire country? 82. Double digit sales figures. Wow.

      • Let me know how you enjoy the Marx Brother’s collection. And yes I do remember Zia Records from many years ago it makes me happy knowing their still around….

        Without trying to mix metaphors (or car names) it’s a sad “legacy” for the Legend. I think it’s not a terrible looking car but the back end is it’s weakest “element.” The tail lights especially remind me of some Chrysler 200/Sebring abomination. And the front fender archs over the wheels look disjointed and out of place.

        Clearly this car hasn’t seen any improvements since it’s last redesign. I think your production numbers speak for themselves and are far lower than the ZDX was when it was terminated. Ironic as in my IMHO that car should never have seen the light if day.

        Could this be the death knell for the RLX especially since CUVs are where the action is and the TLX seems to be getting all the “focus?” I hope Acura has something big planned to bring this car back from the dead.

        It makes you wonder how many RLX customers Genesis has now stolen from Acura?

  9. I’m just back from a long weekend myself & am slowly catching up with everything I’ve missed. Totally delighted to see another DriveToFive post! You totally need to spend some more time at Bentley’s cabin. Just out of curiosity, how many rooms does the “cabin” have? If there’s snow left at this time of year – I can only image how bad the snow could be winter. You’ll have to do a mid-winter trip (if road conditions allow). Loving the ILX picture at sunset – looks the part. What was the song at the end of your video?

    • That song is called “Alive” by Hillsong Young & Free. I forgot to type out the audio credit in the video description. The cabin has 5 bedrooms and they’re all pretty big! One of the ones upstairs has 4 bunk beds in it. Winter conditions are pretty blizzardy up there but my brother does go up from time to time to check on the property. The freezing weather caused a couple of leaks and pipe bursts this past winter. One of his ATVs has a set of snowmobile-like tracks that he can install on it instead of tires! I hope you’re having a great week, Adam. Looking forward to your next road trip as well, wherever that may be!

      • It’s a bit like that with holiday houses, here in Central Otago – my boss went to his at the weekend, just to switch off the water – that way he won’t get any broken pipes over the winter. The ATV with the changeable tracks does sound pretty neat. Back into a busy week – but expect a post from my weekend before Thursday. Cheers!

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