Day 24: July 10th, 2013: Part 2 – Utah to Bryce National Park

July 14, 2013 in 2013 Western US by April


We let the kids watch their first movie in three and a half weeks. They watched Leap Frog Letter Factory.



We met our neighbors Steve and Dawna (we think) as we were stepping out of the van. We quickly talked with the rangers because we narrowly beat another family to our campsite. The ranger literally came one second after us escorting the other family.  Space was very limited and we were excited to have a space. We felt lucky to have the spot, but then we weren’t really (more to come on that later).



Scott checked in on his engine-baked potatoes. Sadly it turns out they were al dente and had to be pan fried in addition to engine-baked. We later learned that they need to set on the exhaust manifold.


While we waited for dinner to cook the kids and I checked out the facilities. They were dancing all the way.

We ate a dinner of cheeseburgers and potatoes.  Then Brooke and I set up the tent while Scott worked on the dishes.  I read the kids some stories and attempted to tuck them in so I could head next door to share our first campfire in a while.  The fire ban was finally lifted.  I wasn’t able to sit at the fire longer than five minutes though.  The kids were struggling with calming down.  I went back to the campfire one last time and mentioned I was throwing in the towel since the kids were not cooperating with my social calendar.

Warning – Crazy Story Below

Scott mentioned that he was going to stay a little longer when Dawna headed to her tent and asked Steve to come over.  That’s when the “fun” began.  Dawna started yelling that they were done and that she was sick of hearing about his ex.  Scott explained later that the conversation around the fire I had missed was focused on our kids and how Steve was really strict with his kids when they were young, but things got easier as they got older.  Steve has four kids who live with his ex-wife.  Dawna did not have any kids that she spoke of.  The only thing we can deduce is that Steve’s attempt to relate to our fun of trying to get the kids to sleep upset Dawna because they were talking about kids and his ex.  The next thing we know Dawna is beating the snot out of Steve.  We could physically hear her fist meeting his arms and chest.  That’s when Scott decided he would throw in the towel for the night too.  Scott went over a few minutes later and apologized to Steve in case he said something that upset Dawna. Steve said things were okay and that it wasn’t Scott.  Scott headed to the bathroom and by the time he got back things were roaring next door.  Now by next door I mean less than ten feet away.  Dawna was apparently drunk and later we heard mention that she was using other substances too.  Throughout the night Dawna was screaming profanities (she made a trucker sound like a nun), beating Steven, and throwing things including glass bottles.  At one point she was cursing about a neighbor (we deduce it had to be Scott, there were no others) and she even stumbled around our tent and tripped on the tent supports because she thought Steve was hiding in our tent.  I was extending my arms over my kids heads just hoping she wouldn’t fall into the tent.  Scott took out his phone in an attempt to record what he calls entertainment.  I took out my phone because I questioned calling 911.  (The ranger said I should have the next day.)  I was scared for my kids. Scott says he was just entertained.   I have not had to witness something like that since college when one of my roommate’s boyfriends took my roommate’s head and proceeded to play basketball with it against the wall.  I kept thinking about all the kids in the campground who would be forever scarred for life.  Before the kids fell into an uneasy sleep they were wondering why the adults were arguing like they were.  Every time we thought Dawna was done she started in again.  She chased Steve into his car and beat on his windows until the point that we thought she was going to break a window.  She chased him across the campground in the dark.  The last we heard from them in the night was about 2 am.  Steve had found a random campsite and slept on the ground.  Scott woke up at 5 to go for a 34 mile bike ride.  The couple next door packed up then, not so quietly either. Dawna lost her purse in the tent and only remembered this fact after the tent was in a pile on the ground.  She went wadding in and got lost mid-ranting wade.  She continued to slam things and curse.  I was so tempted to ask her to calm down, but I just remembered to be thankful that my kids were still safe after an exhausting night camping.  Scott sees it as the most entertaining night.  He called it having front row seats to reality TV.  Brooke wanted to know this morning if Scott and I were ever going to be like that.   Brooke was also confused because Dawna seemed so nice before it got dark… Our camp neighbors on the other side, to the right, asked us this morning if we were friends with the couple.  Um…  The camp neighbors on the right had their first and probably last night camping ever.  We assured them this was not normal.

Scott had to kindly point out that this kind of drama does not occur when we find a place to camp somewhere off a gravel road with no one else around.  I had to point out that this kind of drama has not ever happened in the seventeen years I have been camping with him, nor has it occurred in the thirty-four years of Scott camping with his family.  Let’s hope it was a once in a lifetime event.