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Traveler's Luck

3 December 03

I've had the most amazing run of luck lately. So good it's got me worried. I might run out. And I'm not counting surviving a heart attack and making it to PNWCO. I don't know what to make of this. It's just Better Than I Deserve.

I stopped for the night at the campground in Capitol Reef National Park. Early next frosty morn I picked up my camera to put it in the truck, but I forgot my keys. So I laid the camera up on my tool box and went back for them. Then I got hooked up, dumped my tanks, and drove northeast through a quantity of beautiful open desert to Hanksville, where I had lunch at Blondie's. Along the way I stopped at a mountain turnout, where a sign informed me that if I had a mind to, I might fit the entire state of Connecticut into the space right before me.

I could believe it.

After lunch I filled up next door with gas and proceeded north up Hwy. 24 to the cutoff to Valley of Goblins State Park. The "Goblins" are sandstone towers which have been weathered down, first by water and later by wind, into squat eerie homunculi. First guy to see this and tell about it called the place "Valley of Mushrooms". Which is also apt.

I reached into the back seat for my camera. No camera. Then I remembered. Nope, not in the back of the truck either.

I had driven perhaps 75 miles, twisting and turning through a mostly empty landscape. Without any real hope, I started back. This camera cost me upwards of $800 several years ago. I had to go through the motions. Besides, there were maybe 50 pictures still in it.

It was 7 miles back to Hwy 24. Just as I was coming up on the intersection, I saw a County water truck apparently broken down on the side of the road. The driver was standing out front. He waved me down.

"What's up?"

"Did you lose something?"

"My camera."

He snapped his fingers. "We got it. The other water hauler - Jeannette - saw it fall off your truck. She couldn't catch you, but she radioed me about it. I been waitin' here a while."

Amazing. I got directions, thanked him, and headed back. About five miles down the road I met a supervisor waving at me from a pickup truck. He handed it off. I gave him 20 bucks to give Jeannette. Even if the thing was broken, she'd saved me half a day of fruitless looking.

"No problem. Compliments of Emery County Road Crew." He didn't want to take the money, but I pretty much forced it on him. Then I went back to the state park and took some pictures.

This thing must've flown off the back of my truck while taking a turn at a speed of maybe 20 mph. The bag was scratched up a bit, but the camera was unmarked and worked fine.