The SLC Epilogue: The Moab Detour and San Luis Valley

“Well…it looks like it just adds on an extra hour to the trip. Do you really want to go or not?”

Famous last words.

That extra hour added onto the 8 hours we needed to drive already turned into a 3 hour detour, on top of not having good directions to the campsite in the San Luis Valley. Beer was necessary when we finally arrived.

I like Moab. It’s a groovy little town. I love Wicked Brew. But if I had known it was going to be an extra 3 hours, I would have voted no. Getting to the campsite sounded like a much better idea but hey….it’s the journey, not the destination, right? Not always.

After days of driving, I really just wanted to get this leg of it done. I wanted to be in the middle of nowhere with a tent pitched and stars beaming down on me. I wanted campfire and the fear of being eaten by a much larger animal than me. I wanted to be where the population of trees out numbered the population of humans.

Although, I do have to say, my travel companion was actually upset about the detour. He was definitely not happy it took us so much longer.  Sometimes there are pluses to detours. Like finding an awesome deli for lunch!

Pantele’s Desert Deli doesn’t look like much but their hulking Dagwood-ish sandwiches make up for the lack of ambience. I think their club sandwich is the best one I’ve had in years. They don’t skimp on ingredients.  Well worth the price.

After taking a much longer lunch than anticipated, we detoured around town for extra groceries and beer. Detour with a big D because the main strip through town was completely under construction. Two and a half hours after arriving, we finally are back on the road to the San Luis Valley.

On the way, we pass through Olathe, CO. If you’ve never eaten uncooked corn on the cob from Olahthe, then you have no clue what sweet corn is. We turned around on the road when we saw what looked like farmer Joe with an old pick up truck full of corn parked on the shoulder. He gave us 6 ears for $2 with an extra one for us to try! After my first bite, I didn’t want to hand it over to my friend. I wanted to eat the whole thing and the other 6. Holy corn, Batman!

Many hours later and after one of the more scary parts of my life*, we reach the northern edge of the absolutely beautiful San Luis Valley. What road are we looking for? Dorsey Creek? Ummm…I don’t see one…

Oh wait…that’s because Dorsey Creek isn’t a road. It’s a creek and part of the National Forests so it’s marked with a brown sign. A very small brown sign. After driving up a treacherous dirt road for a Tiguan, we find our two friends that found this out-of-the-way little piece of camping heaven. Settled into the side of a mountain with HUGE aspens and an amazing view of the valley, we pitch our tent, get dinner rolling, and crack open much needed beers.

Go camping in the San Luis Valley. Especially when there’s a meteor shower like the Perseids. It’s freaking fan-tabulous. It’s all free camping but you need a vehicle that has some clearance and 4 wheel drive is a definite plus. Just look for the brown signs (they’re all up and down 285) and go on an adventure down a dirt road! Be sure to bring a shovel and your Freshette…there’s no bathrooms.

All in all, it was a fast, furious, and fun 5 days. Over 1,300 miles, 2 nights of camping, 2 nights in a hotel, 4 destinations, and a crap ton of laughs and good memories. That’s what car trips are for.

Yeah...we did that.

Yeah…we did that.

*My friend was a professional race car driver for 10 years. He was having having alot of fun on going up the switch backs and applying his skills. I, on the other hand, was scared poopless because there’s no guardrails along the road  and I could see ALL THE WAY DOWN the mountain side. My mind just kept coming back to flying off the road because some tourist who doesn’t know how to drive in the mountains pushes us off. I asked him to slow the hell down because I was sweating. I rarely sweat. I trust his skills. I don’t trust the other drivers. Oy vey….

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