Day 40, Wednesday, October 31, recapture lodge, Bluff, Utah

Today was the day that I was planning to be home, but we still have a decent portion of the trip to go yet. No big thing.

I woke up again at seven, which seems to be set in my brain as the time to get up regardless of the appearance of dawn.

Last night Donner slept very peacefully. Prior to his incident last week, his sleeping pattern was quite heavy, with belabored breathing. I had no idea that that was a symptom of his malady and that he was suffering pain. Now I know. He is recovering marvelously, although he still has a slight ways to go. I am following the regimen that Dr. Lisa prescribed for medications religiously, because I want to get this dog well again fast

I closed up the Grand Canyon camp this morning, took a well-deserved shower, and got on the road at about 11 o'clock. As I was passing the only two viewpoints that I could visit, I couldn't resist stopping for at least a few minutes, and we did. I think would be fair to say that the most common expression at the Grand Canyon that people use is something like, I just can't get enough of this. I'm sure some people come here and just stare at the majestic beauty unfolding before the eyes for hours.  How thrilled I am that I decided to come down here at the last moment. And how thrilled I am that I was incorrectly told that the north rim was closed for the season, when in fact it was closed only for that day because of snow. Otherwise, I would have explored the north room, and gotten on my way home. It actually closed for the season today.

My intention for today was to travel in the direction of Moab by way of Route 89, taking us through the north rim and Lake Jacob area. But in the interest of making time on a more speedy highway, when I came to the intersection of 89 and 160, I turned right and took the latter highway. I was amp,y rewarded for my impromptu decision. The scenery was just terrific. At one one long stretch, these rock monoliths would suddenly appear in the strangest configurations. Where I could not take a photograph, I save the coordinates on my GPS so that I can look at them later on Google Earth.

Some hundred miles down this beautiful highway we had to turn left, north, onto Route 191. This is the penultimate road that we will drive on this long, fantastic journey, which will total more than 9700 miles. The road was relatively empty of vehicles and it took us the whole way through an absolutely gorgeous western setting, with rock formations, mountains, and desert.  Again, I simply do not have the vocabulary to describe it.

Shortly before 5 PM, realizing that I would be arriving at Moab in the dark, and after getting a good feel for the road I would be driving on in the dark, I started searching my GPS for campgrounds down the road. There were none that were going to show up before sundown, which I estimated loomed in just minutes. The closest camp was 44 miles away. So, just as the sun set, I pulled off at a gas station, conveniently located at that very spot. I asked the clerk about nearby campgrounds, and the clerk confirmed that the closest was 44 miles away. I then asked  if there were any motels in the area that happened to take pets. She pointed to the motel adjacent to the gas station. I drove over to that motel, the Recapture Lodge, and  the amicable proprietor, Jim, outfitted in his Halloween finest, gladly admitted Donner and  me to his absolutely marvelous lodge. What stroke of luck that we happened to be here exactly when we were. Jim confirmed for me that it was a good thing that I did not plan to drive the remainder of Route 191 to Moab in the dark, because of the presence of horses and cows from the open range on the road. He told me that last year they had to euthanize 17 horses that had been hit by vehicles. The horses, by the way, are not wild horses, but feral horses, abandoned by their owners to survive on their own in this harsh territory. Nice people, huh.

Setting up camp in this lovely setting we are in tonight took only 30 minutes to go through the entire routine for the evening. Donner made himself right at home, of course.  I can only imagine that he was thinking to himself, now, this is more my style. I don't have the heart to tell him tonight that we have not seen the last of our tent on the trip.

The time saving tonight and the time-saving we will get in the morning when we break camp will allow me to make more time on the road and get home earlier, or take a side trip or two along the way that I would not have been able to do otherwise.  For instance, tomorrow, I think that I shall explore for a bit the Bears Ears National Monument, which we just entered.  Readers may recall that this is one of the national monuments that Trump wants to cut back in size, and I would like to visit it before that happens, to see beauty that our president intends to destroy.

After visiting Bears Ears, we will travel to Moab, then hop onto interstate 70 towards Denver, the road that will take us right to my doorstep in Washington, 2200 miles later.

Ed and Donner, who is sound asleep already, but sleeping peacefully at last.

PS...just as I was ready to call it a night and and work on my blog, I took Donner out for a short walk. As good luck would have it, they next-door traveler was walking her beautiful, gentlemanly golden retriever, Zeke, so now Donner has exceeded his quota for meeting dogs on this trip.