Diva’s Back In The Fast Lane……

ahem….right lane, that is.                                                                                                                                                                                    

And in the raspy tune of James Brown…. “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag!”  DING-A-LING-A-LING-A-LING!” 

Father, you can read on~ because this story ended happy (my Dad prefers ones that do) and even stars a Wizard, a few  twister-tastic-winds…… and even a lil’ dog, too.  

Like a SHINING BEACON of hope Mickie (whom quickly realized he wasn’t in Minnesoter’ anymore after driving nonstop since 7am that morning) and Gypsie (his lil’ dog, too) showed up on Friday evening May 20th with a new heart of gold for Diva so Dave (our Wizard) could replace it into its empty cold tin cavity.  Through the twister like rain and winds Friday and into Saturday later afternoon Ray and Dave worked furiously through the WY bitter weather (is that snow??  There are no Poppy’s in this story!) to make Diva VROOM again. 

However this time they had no ‘comfy lifts housed inside heated garages’ to place Diva down upon her new razzledazzle engine.  This time it was upon a gravel ground.  In an RV Park.  Withno shelter from the pelting rain….   But they did not stop, my friends and family.  To see this all come together, in the conditions they were given, with the tools they had…. Impressive doesn’t even begin to describe the feat they accomplished.  And a special thanks to Terry’s Auto in Sundance for the use of their Welding machine and hoist- and Bernie for letting us spill all Diva’s guts all over the show at your Park! 

But I must take a moment to single out the most exceptional piece to our ol Oz-rific story.  It brings tears to my eyes to talk about our Wizard.  Our Friend~ Dave.  Because without him there would be no dream.  To think that your whole everthing relies on one man-  and the fact that I am looking out onto mountains as we head down the road towards Cali in Diva right now, because someone gave his life to us for a week in WY and didn’t ask for anything in return.

'Our Wizard.'

  Drove hundred’s of miles- called in favors, pulled out engines from his very own Bug, worked through reDUNKulous conditions and then drove our “burned” up engine all the way back to MN the very next day.  *Let me tell you, it completely re-emamined the way I am a friend to others and the person I want be going forward.*  I may never be able to catch up on the “pay it forward pile up” from the goodness train we hit last week, but Dave has forever stamped something within me.  And hopefully touched somthing within you, too.  Somtimes going the extra mile for someone (or 500+) can change their life forever.  Trust me.  I know.

Sidenote:  Mickie whom drove all day on Friday from MN to bring Diva’s new ‘heart of gold’ was as charming as ever and I liked him instantly as soon as he took out his “stick” (unicycle) and started biking around the RV park.  Classic!  Anyway– I thought he made some very fantasticpoints as Dave and Ray fought hard to bring Diva back to life and I played catch with Gypise that Friday evening….. Like “How much easier it would be if we all just rode horses….”  OR when we discussed that Diva was perhaps cursed, he  thought maybe “a little bit of Hitler was still left in this one….”  (good ol’ Hitler had his fingers in the pie of VW’s way back when- lovely.)   But never fear… Read on and you will see how we ‘un-cursed’ her……                                                                                                                                                                But thanks again for everything you did Mickie to get us back and runnin’!  What a pleasure meeting you!!  ….and your lil’ dog, too!

5/21 Saturday:  So Saturday 6:05pm we left our new home town of Sundance…….

BYE BYE Mountainview RV PARK!  BYE BYE Deckers Grocery!!  BYE BYE Terry’s Auto!  BYE BYE Herbs Towing!  (and thanks for coming to me when I couldn’t come to you….)  BYE BYE Drive Thru-Liquor Store!

……………….HELLLLOOOO OPEN ROAD!    UM, HOLY HANNA??   Talk about stretching Diva’s legs straight away!  We made it to the town of Buffalo (just about 100 miles) just by the hairs of our chinny CHIN CHINS that night as we hit a torentual down pour straight out of the gate.  We just needed to get out of Sundance (no offense) but get some distance under our belt.  Finally waking up to some sun in our “illusion of a campsite” (paying just for a spot really) as there was not running water, not place to do dishes and nothing to hook up to (and even the man that checked us in the night prior, was HE really there??  *COSMOS*  

And then off we went towards Casper, WY on Sunday 5/22 realizing once we got there and gased up, could it be?  Were we REALLY getting 7 cents a MILE?  …. still configuring this one, but c’mon folks.  This is MASSIVE.  Yah yah, considering we are still only going 50 MPH AVG.  (27 MPG!  TOOT TOOT!)  That night we hung our hats in Rawlins (BTW, Ray had WAY too many on this trip…. how was this allowed??).  We actually went the farthest distance yet with 268 miles– RECORD!  GO DIVA GO!   ahem….  Or should I say, Go RAY RAY GO!  (he is the one driving after all.  Lord, will I ever hear the end of him driving every bloody mile to Cali?  never EVER.)  Unfortunately the Rawlins camproundswere not up the “Wyatt’s Standards.”  Gravel ground off of the freeway?  We turn our noses and ‘fidoras’ up at YOU!  I need more “spook me into the van at night with wolves howling into the distance” kind of stir-me-up-rootin-tootin’ campsite for these Wyatts.  And that,  well….. Thats exactly what we got.

30 miles off of the beaten track and a little “dance with a deer on the road” later, we arrived.   (we were within  meters of a deer that was a bit frightened to jump the wood fence back to freedom with his ‘besties’- I thought he was going to attack, Ray assured me that our big piece of metal would withstand Mr. Deers ‘fierceness.’- I have learned that perhaps I may be a bit of an *over-worrier*…. just tack in on my *over-exaggerating* issues.)

We scored BIG time at this campsite- called Teton Resevoir.  The locals at the gas stations had forewarned that it might be closed due to ‘snow.’  *BAH!*  I laugh in YOUR FACE!  We’ve camped in SNOW before!  This place was incredible…. snowcapped mountains to our right, Badland-tastic hills to our left- a beautiful lake in front of us, and a few howling wolves out in the distance.  GORGEOUS.  A little HAUNTING.  But not a soul around….  

Teton Reservoir, WY~ do you hear the howling?

Sidenote:  Yah, remember that curse on Diva we thought we may have?  Well it was probably a good thing there wasn’t a ‘soul around’ that night as Dave had given us some sage when we were at Crazy Horse in SD on one of our “off Brokedown-Sundance Campus” excursions last week.   It is said that SAGE: is used as a potpourri or incense when smudged.  It is said to exorcise evil influences or malevolent powers. 

So just picture Ray and I dancing around the “Diva” with our burning sage chanting “sweet nothings”  to this metal box that her new “golden heart” stays strong~ that *NO MORE BREAKDOWNS HAPPEN AT MILE MAKER 172 AGAIN!* ……I can’t even imagine what this must have looked like.  But if anything, it certainly must have scared off the wolves.  Because after that, we didn’t hear any more howling…..

5/24 Tuesday:

We made it out of WY yesterday… now if thats not a bench mark, I don’t know what is.  A holiday, perhaps?  I may even file it under my top 3…..  And for me, thats huge.  :)  And instead of celebrating, here we are, climbing the mountains at 35 MPH into Utah~ but Diva is a champ, thank goodness it was all downhill from here…….

Um, wow.   Who KNEW?  (well someone…. and MORE then just mormons, I quickly found out)  But UTAH IS GORGE-OUSO’, PEOPLE!  What a hidden gem?!  I am sitting at a laundromat in Park City where they had the 2002 Olympics (well not specifically, here– whilst’ waiting on their spin cycle) but oh holy hanna, I am just dumbfounded at how mesmerizing this beautiful state already is, and we have only just scratched the surface.  So its a big day, well- 2 days really.  Yesterday we found a place to ‘shower’ just 38 miles outside of Salt Lake City called Rockport National Park where we were staying (we had to pay $2 each) and today we are doing laundry.  (which is more past due then the shower, I am afraid.)    Who knew how excited we would be pulling up to this laundromat knowing that clean clothes await? When your on the road, sometimes its SO THE LITTLE THINGS! :)

5/25 Wednesday:

“Is that ELVIS I hear, honey?”  I think he may be beckoning the Diva— because ‘all signs point’ to VEGAS BABY!  (Literally…. and at 80 MPH.  This is like HALF the speed of our metal box that averages out at 49.  My mom said to “pretend.”)

Diva's Day at the SPA!

Change of plans folks…..The weather is grand.  Diva’s in a chipper mood after her “spa day” in SLC yesterday  and after getting our first few bites of Utah yesterday, we only woke up wanting a second helping.  And where we woke up this morning was quite a treat indeed.  Our friends Dean and Al (whom our end goal is in Long Beach, Cali) set us up with their friend Tyson who lives right in Salt Lake.  He took us crazy pants strangers in for the evening (after a luncheon pre-screening, of course) and lives just outside of the Sugar House area.  You can literally walk out of his house and see mountains…. GLORIOUS.  Unfortunately Jess his girlfriend (Deans cousin) was out of town working on a movie so he got to play ‘hostess-with-the-mostess.’  So while he went back to work that afternoon for a few hours after lunch we went and played in the city.  (he is a helicopter instructor~ um, wow.  He worked real hard for that, and we can ’empathize with the dream’) :) 

And this was Diva’s first BIG city tour, at that!  Again, this city….state… is SUCH a spectacular sight.  And what a time to be visiting??  As we walked around the ‘squeaky clean’ city it was literally BLANKETED by tulips and poppy’s and bursting withspring color.  And yes… to be honest, withthe temple near by, I couldn’t help but look for for droves of Mormon’s walking around.  But that just wasn’t the case.  It was very quiet and peaceful, even around the Temple District.  Tyson had let us know that within the Temple their followers may try to ‘connect with us’– but perhaps the likes of Ray scared them off, as we were never approached?  But wow…. it really was a pristinely kept area, I could have easily camped out in those restrooms that night… they were spotless. 

That night Ray cheffed up a cusisine fit for a  King, Queen and princess from the country of ‘Sealand.’  (you’ll just have to look that one up). :)  Tyson was someone who has experienced so much- travelled far, and reached for his personal dream- so we had such a fabulous night getting to know him…. Thank you Tyson for letting us into your life, if only briefly!  It was such a pleasure getting to know you!  I have a feeling our paths will cross again.

 So back to our NEW DIRECTION in life……..

We figured Long Beach was unobtainable by Memorial Day Weekend (um, duh– that would put Diva at some CRAZY time pace– and Ray Ray at some GRUMPY MAN standards) So lets take er’ slow…. Let the sun nip at our–( well, everythings’, because we haven’t FELT it yet!) …..  and perhaps let Diva experience the bright lights of Vegas!  Why not?  She deserves it…… shes got a il’ gold in her and its all about the RAZZLE DAZZLE after all.  (we all know this)  And we also like surprises.  And Kevin, Ray’s brother from England just so happens to be there right now.  So lets do it to it… SHHHH.  He doesn’t know we are coming……

Saturday, 5/28:

I get it now.  So its all becoming clear.  Those last 3 years getting to be a part of all those destination tours when I worked for MLT Vacations…. You know, the kind where it clearly states you are on “Adventure Bob’s Island Extravaganza Tour.”  And they whisk you around say- the Island of St. John and you oggle at the ‘locals’ and how they are “living from the land.”  

Cooking on top of an old toaster with 'bullet holes.' Clever.

You and all the other tourists and their fanny packs and big billed hats ride along and overhear one say “Oh Hank, just look at that dirty man and his wife cooking their food over the fire (on top of an old toaster) and living out of their van!?”  ….. and then you stand in shock and try to smooth you’re hair down (like that is going to help any) because you just realized that the ‘oggler’ has become the ‘oggled.’  YOU have become one of Bob’s adventures on his extravaganza tour.  And I still can’t get that look on Hanks face as he passed by our ‘make shift’ campsite outside of Zion, UT on the side of a dirt road out of my mind.  IT WAS CLASSIC…. But I can tell you one thing, he had a look of wild envy written all over his face.  And I don’t blame him– because this ‘free’ campsite- this one will go down in the books.

We left our lil’ slice of ‘half-way-to-zion-heaven’ Fremont Indian State Park on Thursday morning the 26th.  Glorious place to settle for the night and it actually set us up to drive in Zion JUST perfectly– from the East, following HWY9 West from Hwy 89.  (I strongly recommend this to anyone that may be thinking of going to this National Park, there is no really better way to unwrap this  prezzie and begin this surreal experience with the jaw dropping scenic drive into this park).  Its insane! 

Sidenote:  Sorry for the quick break…but we just passed the town of Hidden Valley in Nevada.  Ray just asked” if I would like some Ranch.”  And then felt very disappointed as it looks nothing like the beautiful Valley we see on TV in the commercial.  Again, we have been bamboozled.


*Insert Bob Marley’s VOICE here….*
I’m gonna be Iron like a Lion in Zion 
Iron like Lion in Zion 



I  think I had that song all through my head as we explored this park….. How did I NOT know about this wonderful world down here on the Southern Tip of Utaha?  This was surely our ‘Yellowstone’ as we had to bypass it in WY as it was just too bloody cold. (and honestly, we just needed to get ourselves of WY-town all together) I could insert a *picture here* but it just wouldn’t do its justice.  Its quite unique.  There are 100 miles of trails all throughout the park– and most of them are all linked by a free shuttle that are the only vehicles allowed in the canyons.  (but have PLENTY of these shuttles– even on the busiest of days, and we were there on memorial crazy-town-weekend)  Hence why we were not able to get a campround.  Which was a “boo-hoo-what-we-gonna-do” for the first 5 minutes, but after seeing how busy these campgrounds bugling at seams, we were happy to have Ms. Ranger tell us that there were ‘free-bee’ campsites just down the way.  I do ‘heart’ being self contained.  Weeeeeeee!   And thats where we found the campsite that went down-in-the-books.  (and just so happened to also be on the same dirt road as Adventure Bobs Extravaganza Tour).



We stayed for 2 nights and soaked up the warm sun (oooooh, did it feel good)…. dynamic scenery and even treated ourselves to a mexicanfiesta in the ‘organic-chic’ town just outside of Zion withthe $16 we saved each night NOT inside the park with the GOBS of tents and campers.  I HEART ZION, my friends and family….. and I do hope that someday each one of you may be able to pass through this lil’ slice of splendor.  It was quite interesting that there were far more Europeans in this park then Americans.  Perhaps they are more in on the secret then even those of our good nation?  ….. it wouldn’t surprise me.  They are sneaky. :)



 …..More adventures to come on Vegas…. Death Valley to SNOW Valley….. STAY TUNED! :)





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