Archive for June, 2017

Memorial Day 2017: Cabin Retreat Near Beaver, Utah

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip, Utah on June 1, 2017 by tysonhugie

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