. So we headed towards the town on the map with the largest writing, in hopes that it was big enough for medicine, more groceries and some new undies for Eli. He has been happy to "freeball" for the last couple of days, but it was time to flesh (tee-hee, punny) out his supply of underwear. We cruised into the town of Richfield and were lucky enough to find a Walmart Supercenter which had everything we needed, from ice and a lantern for parental night time reading, to groceries and medicine. We bought our supplies, loaded up the chilly bins with ice and fresh food and jumped in the car in 95 degree heat ready to head on to Bryce Canyon…….
OH NO!!!! The car was completely dead again, this despite running it for the hour and a half drive to Richfield. Tim went into Walmart to buy jumper leads so that he could accost someone in the parking lot in order to see if they were willing to jump it. In the course of finding jumper leads, he found a portable rechargeable battery that could hook onto a dead car and have enough juice to get it started. When he went to ask the attendant in the oil & lube department of Walmart, the man said that it was a good idea but that you needed a running car in order to charge it before you could use it!!! Well, that was no help whatsoever!! In the course of the conversation, TIm explained the predicament and the nice man said he would come out and borrow his wife's car in order to jumpstart Odie. As it turned out, he drove a motorcycle but his wife comes to the Walmart parking lot everyday during her lunch break in order to smoke cigarettes
. (A nasty habit, he said, "but, she's a grown woman and can make her own decisions!") We chatted for 10 minutes while waiting for Odie to get enough of a charge to start again, while his wife sat in her car and smoked cigarettes while keeping her foot on the gas in order to keep the revs high enough to deliver a substantial charge to Odie. Well, 10 minutes passed, and still Odie was dead as a doornail, just clicks, and not even enough juice to roll up the power windows. So, back into Walmart we went in order to buy a new battery. The man threw it into a supermarket trolley, grabbed his box of battery specific tools and out we went. (Meanwhile, Jess and the kids had been shopping some more inside in order to avoid the 95 degree heat). Well, a new battery did the job and the man scoured out the leads in order to remove the corrosion and then had Tim drive Odie out back in order to run a test on the draw and recharge system of the car in order to make sure that nothing was wrong with the alternator. Odie passed with flying colors and with a new battery and a positive health check, we were ready to head on to Bryce Canyon. It was lunchtime by now, and the prospect of stopping in the hot sun to make sandwiches was daunting. So we drove back down the main street of town and found, on a street corner with flowers in boxes out front, a little restaurant called "The Small Wonder Cafe". According to the sign over the booth where we sat, Stephen King had sat there?!?!? We had the most amazing and tasty lunch, corn dogs and fries for the kids, burgers and onion rings for Jess and Tim, veggie and bacon cheese respectively
. We were introduced to the Utah speciality sauce which was called "fry sauce", a blend of ketchup and mayonnaise. The onion rings were fresh and crispy, the sauce a unique blend and the waitress the perfect blend of accent, fast-talking when reciting the menu, a crusty manner and sweet on the kids. She welcomed locals by name and all were treated to fast service, good food and a classic "heartland American diner"!!!! Filled and cheered by the recovery of Odie, a full belly, a tankful of gas and a chilly bin full of food and ice we cruised the remaining two hours to Bryce Canyon National Park. On the way, we were treated to an amazing sight, we drove past THE
Big Rock Candy Mountain, we were humming the song for the rest of the day.
We were looking forward to this park because for the first time, we had reserved and pre-booked a campsite. When we pulled into Loop A of the North Campground and came around the circle to site #15, there was our name stuck to the post. We have a lovely campsite under some tall tress, the wind has been blowing just enough for a pleasant and cooling breeze and the visitor center (where we can sit outside and borrow wifi) is a 3 minute walk away. We set up home, chilled around the campsite, the kids rode scooters and we had a lovely dinner. We were treated to the arrival of a Steller's Jay over dinner, had a lovely chat with the volunteer campground host who was a deer hunter from Woodstock, Connecticut and consumed smores and hot drinks before bed. Tomorrow we are staying in the same place and the plan for the day is to simply enjoy Bryce Canyon National Park which, as we have been repeatedly told, is one of the most beautiful and exquisite parks in the country.
While the rest of the campground was busy running to the bakery at the museum for pies and coffee for breakfast, we had our breakfast and got ready to load up Odie. Tim went to jump in the car and pull it forward so that there was room to lay out and roll up the tent on the pavement, and there was nothing when he turned the key; no lights, no bells, no clicks, nothing!!!! Tim had charged his phone with the car off the night before and was promptly blamed for the dead car; we were assuming a flat battery at this point. So, Tim wandered down to the campground host who drove a large Dodge pick-up truck with a turbo cummins diesel engine. He gladly came over, gave Tim a hard time for charging a phone when there was no reception anyway and we had a lovely chat. Despite the size of his engine, it still took his truck idling for close to 10 minutes before Odie started. But she did, and we left her running while we finished packing up and then we were on our way, heading towards Bryce Canyon. We had to take the long way to the park in order to find a large enough town with a pharmacy that would be open on a Sunday in order to get some medicine for Eli who had suffered terribly the night before with a blocked nose and a sore throat