It had been some time since we’d been out on the road and this get-away was more stressful than others. We had a house sitter coming in and Rose was intent on leaving the house in tip top condition. Then there was the fact that we had never been on a RV trip and towed another vehicle behind us. We had recently bought a used Subaru Forester with a stick shift (manual) that allowed for “4-down” towing. Very simple, put the key in, turn one position to the right, put the gear shift in neutral and release the hand brake.
The morning of the 6th started out well, up at 6am, made coffee and started packing the bikes into the back of the Forester. Went inside the RV and the fridge was not on. What had happened? The night before I had flipped the switch to bring in the foot steps, I had also inadvertently turned off ALL the coach battery so the fridge died for the night. Sorted that out and step by step got to departure.
We live in crowded Venice and had decided to pull the RV on to a wider, quieter side street to hook up the Forester. While circling round in the RV my phone rings and Rose announces: “The Subaru won’t start.” I park the RV and walk over the block. Sit in the car and turn the key -nothing. Wait. This is a manual, gear shift in neutral and depress the clutch and she fires into life.
We’re rolling and hit the LA freeways at 10 am. Patience as we head east to the I15 and up over the Tejon pass and to our first diesel up in Barstow. Have to think ahead, we have this 20 odd foot thing dragging behind us and are NOT ALLOWED to backup at all so whenever you go IN somewhere you had better have an EXIT strategy. California becomes Nevada and Las Vegas is way over developed but we head for a truck stop that has a truck scale and I want to know how heavy I am, my RV toy that is.
The place is teeming with 18 wheeler’s and I roll onto the unattended scale not knowing what I’m doing. A truck comes up behind me and honks impatiently. I capitulate and circle round and back on after he vamose’s. Push the button – “I want to weigh my RV, no I’m not a truck”. OK, come into the store to get your weight.
No idea as to what had just happened but I go inside and the kid behind the counter starts asking all theses truck related questions but gets it and says “$10.50 – swipe your card.” I comply and get an official duplicate printout. The kid was good. I have a number for the front axle, rear axle, the trailer which is the Forester and a Gross Weight of 14,200 lbs which is 1,000 lbs under my limit. The RV itself is also under limit so I am happy and we overnight in Mesquite.
Next day we continue up I15, always love the Virgin River Gorge as we clip the corner of Arizona and head up into Mormon country. I had read about these funky hot springs near Richfield and we had to check them out.
Mystic Hot Springs are a bit off the beaten track near the town of Monroe. You are forewarned; their website claims them to be funky and dated. They are right, as you drive up E 100 N street you are not sure where things end and begin. We stop before the road narrows too much and I walk ahead to see what gives.
Mike tells me to pick a site, they have hookups, and come back to settle the bill. $15 per person to soak and $30 per person to camp & soak, no differentiation between a tent and a RV lusting a 110v hookup. We pull a tight U into the camping area flanked by motionless school buses and a pleasant grassy area for tents. There seems to be one other “functional” RV there and the young kids in her warn me that not all hookups work. We find a 30 amp and pull in enough to keep the toad out of the road. Only later did I realize that the water faucet was jammed and we had to run the hose to the neighboring site. OK, you get the situation as we grabbed our towels & a water bottle and went in search.
Up a pathway we find a pool and jump in. No one else around as we savior the hot water and mineral encrusted rock.
The kids we met at the campsite are working for their keep or free campsite. She is from Cuba, he from Brazil. They empty and scrub each tub to prevent the buildup of slimy stuff. Around the corner are more tubs, way too hot for us.
Further up the hill we find three bear claw bathtubs that look as if they have been here for eons. Red backdrops from the minerals and each with a filler hose pipe.
The hot mineral water is channeled in from a pipe, not sure where the actual source is but the dirt is all mineral red. The girl tells us to come back at dusk and watch the Milky Way for shooting stars. We do so, peaceful and spiritual followed by a flashlight descent back to camp.