Something we’ve discovered in the four years we’ve been full-time RVing is to be open to the unexpected. You never know when something is about to send your well-planned trip into a completely different direction.
In the summer of 2012, after visiting the East Coast the year before and wintering in the southwest, we decided to re-visit our favorite Western destinations — the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Great Basin, Glacier and Olympic National Parks.
But we also decided to explore a few new places, including traveling up through Idaho along the Salmon River. We had no intention of spending any time in Salt Lake City after our miserable visit there in June of 2010 [See posts “Bitten by an Antelope” and “Ensign Peak”], but — as I just said — sometimes you end up someplace you didn’t expect.
We’d boondocked a night at Walmart in Sandy, Utah, when the generator quit the next morning — Friday the 13th, it turns out. Aargh! After some checking and a call to Onan customer service, we were directed to a Cummins dealer in nearby West Valley. Mel, a genius at troubleshooting problem Onans, diagnosed the problem, identified the part that was needed, and told us they’d have it in the following week. Thank goodness the unit was still under warranty!
We went farther north to avoid as much of the July heat as we could — no air conditioning without the generator, unless we found hook-ups someplace — and overnighted at another Walmart, this time in Blackfoot, Idaho. After a bit more driving, we stopped in Rexburg. Locals recommended “Bob’s Breakfast and Burgers” but we ended up with one of our worst meals on the road (who could mess up breakfast?!?). Service stunk — we got our own coffee refills while we watched plate after plate go back to the kitchen. Owner Bob himself ended up sitting with us for about an hour, aplogizing, explaining things. He didn’t charge us for breakfast, which was a good thing, as it was cold. He was a very nice man, but it’s not likely we’ll be back to Bob’s Breakfast and Burgers….
From there — another surprising, unpleasant episode. We’d visited the Campfire Lodge outside West Yellowstone a few years ago and loved their breakfasts and lunch, vowing to stay there the next time we were in the area. Sadly, some of the regulars in the campground chose to ignore basic camping etiquette, traipsing through our site and even peering in our windows! Our complaints were met with, “We’ve been looking for a reason to get rid of them; if you’ll write up a complaint, we can give you the site free.”
Didn’t we just make a complaint? And we didn’t care about free — we just wanted our privacy; there’s so little of it anyway, but really! So, despite sloppy mud and lingering rain the next morning, we unhooked our connections, delivered a letter of complaint anyway, and headed back to the Cummins dealer.
Believe it or not, being waylaid at Cummins was one of the more pleasant experiences in this piece of our summer. The team there was friendly, sympathetic, and generous with their time and coffee. We knew the rig was in good hands — and their recommendation for a local eatery was excellent: Ogie’s.
Maybe because they offer a $2.99 breakfast, but the little spot was packed! We opted to sit at the counter — a rectangle around server stations, where the locals quickly included us in their conversation. The friendly guy with a smile came over and introduced himself: “George Ogie,” he said. After about a dozen years with KFC, he bought this place and had been running it for the past 29 years. Their servers had a great attitude and the food was homemade: the chicken noodle soup had chunks of chicken in it about 1/2 the size of Ellen’s fist!
We might not be keen on Salt Lake City, but Ogie’s won us over, and we’ll forever be grateful to Dante, Mel, and the rest of the team at the Rocky Mountain Cummins for getting us back on the road so quickly.
The dark clouds that hovered over us were finally clearing!
These few days were sort of a sign of what was to come… Though we spent time in most of the places we wanted to go, we were especially looking forward to seeing Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area on the border of Oregon and Idaho but a water leak meant — what else? — re-routing so we could get that attended to…
Even so, we had unexpected treats, too. More on those in upcoming posts 🙂