July 18, 2022
This week started and ended on Hell’s Backbone road. Luke and I drove the whole road this time and got to the part where there is a one lane bridge traversing the top of a cliff ridge and overlooking Box Death Hollow on both sides. This road is not for the faint of heart, but the views are so spectacular. Luke did some droning while we were there and I tiptoed to the edge to take a photo with my phone.
I worked for a good bit of the week this week as many of my co-workers are sick so they needed extra help covering the front desk. One day while I was working we got a good hard rain and the washes all filled up and turned into a muddy river. I didn’t have camera gear with me, but I drove around in the golf cart watching it as much as I could. The power of nature is truly beautiful and I’m so lucky we get to witness so much of it.
Our truck has a new problem that is not a very big deal, but something we will have to travel a ways to get fixed. We heard a rattling from underneat and after checking it out we found this ring just dangling around the drive shaft. We looked up what it was and confirmed with our new mechanic friend that the ring is to dampen vibration and noise. It’s not dangerous to drive with it busted, but it is a bit noisy and bumpy so we may as well let the warranty take care of it. The closest dealership is a two and half hour drive so it will be a whole day trip to fix it.
I had some days off and hadn’t made any plans so I decided to tackle some projects. I borrowed a steam cleaner from my neighbor and cleaned the glass shower doors in our rig. It actually worked surprisingly well. Luke was stunned as he forgot the doors were clear glass and thought they were frosted glass. Despite the high heat I also decided I had enough of the weeds in our campsite and so I went full beast mode on them. They were all prickly huge bushes that form tumbleweeds once they dry up and the wind blows hard enough. I went out there fully covered and took breaks to drink water in the A/C each time I became too tired to pull them out of the ground. I don’t remember ever being that sweaty, but I was so proud once it was all finished and we had a clean site. Here are some before and after photos as well as one of me in my gardening get up getting rid to annihilate those weeds. This will hopefully prevent more mice from making their way into the camper and also lessen the goat heads the dogs get in their paws. I even took a pile of the weeds before we dumped them to show off how impressive my work was. If you have never encountered goat heads, they are nasty long prickers that stick into your feet. I certainly picked up a lot on my shoes while working.
In the evening Luke and I drove out to Hole in the Rock road so he could do some droning. I brought my camera along, but didn’t think I would end up taking photos. Shortly into the drive, we started seeing lightning in the mesas and cliffs around us so Luke set up his camera with the lightning trigger. Most of the storms we’ve seen so far have been brief and had a few bolts, but this one lasted for a few hours and at one point we were seeing lightning every 10 seconds all around us. It was so incredible to witness. We saw all kinds of lightning too. Bolts that had branches and some that were just thick and vertical, some that shot horizontally across the sky, some that flashed up in the clouds. It was purple, pink, white, and yellow. Some had bolts of different colors connected to each other. I decided to take a couple of photos of the sunset while we were at it and by some miracle I accidentally captured a picture of the lightning without even trying. I’m so happy I caught this, but really even just watching this storm was so incredible.
I took a few photos along the drive of the scenery and this funny tree I saw. Can you tell why I thought it was funny?
Luke also has taken some great photos of lightning. Here is one in which it really stands out. Also is a photo of a common causality of lightning storms. When he decided it was time to high-tail it out of there, he saw the trees around him struck and catch fire.
Today has also been a great adventure. I went with my friend Marisol to check out the local river with her paddle boards, but it was too muddy and rocky so we sat on some rocks and cooled off in the muddy river for a while.
She had plans to go camping in the mountains on Hell’s Backbone road later on and has been telling me how fun it is and trying to convince me to go with them. I thought I had to work tomorrow so I declined at first, but then realized that they changed the schedule and I was off so away we went! We got the tent set up, a fire going, and used this mountain stream as our fridge!
Our friend Gabby was already camping up there with her lovable bloodhound Vaughn. She is great at fire making.
Camping is great fun, especially when your friend Marisol is a chef and enjoys feeding people good food on camping trips. This sweet little spot had plenty of wildflowers and a clear but freezing creek. I’m sure I will visit this spot again before we head off to our next location. I am posting this a day late as I had no reception in our camp yesterday, but as a bonus, you get to hear about that great part of my week as well now.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents the journey through her photography and blog to share with others.