Go with the flow — The Virgin River Incident

The magnificence of Zion National Park does not end at its gates. 

The crew and I drive from our creekside camp eastward toward the Park, and once again I’m awed by the massive rock formations.  We are on our way to Sol Market in Springdale.  I’m on a quest for more oat bran, an essential part of my new diet plan.

It’s the first of June and the Zion area is hot.

First I’m going to take Bridget and Spike to River Park for a respite from the heat.  It’s a pretty little park with lots of shade, picnic tables, and two bridges that cross the Virgin River.   The crew tumbles out of the Perfect Tow Vehicle, excited for a new adventure.

And what an adventure it turns out to be!

We slowly wander across the expanse of thick, very green grass.  Every few feet Bridget and Spike have to stop and sniff the trace smells of previous canine visitors.   The picnic tables overlook the river.  This is the on-leash area.  Hardly anyone is around.

We cross the bridge to the off-leash dog park.

I let go of the leashes.  Bridget stays close by.  Not Spike, of course.  He runs ahead to see what he can see.   Water!  He immediately runs down the sandy embankment, across the narrow beach, and into the river.  Quickly I zoom my camera lens so I can capture his first soak in the Virgin River.  I love to record these quintessential Spike moments!

That’s when Spike is swept into another adventure!

A millisecond after I snap the photo, the current swirls Spike around so he’s facing the riverbank, and carries him downstream!  “OH DEAR GOD!  SPI-I-I-KE!”

I pitch my camera into the sand and crash through sticks and weeds down the embankment, racing in a beeline for Spike, who is floating down the river.  I’m going in!  Nothing can stop me from a valiant rescue of my precious boy!

I reach the river’s edge a few feet further downstream from Spike, and as I’m about to leap in, I realize Spike has regained his wits and is dog-paddling toward firm ground.   He’s beating the current!   “C’mon Spikey!”

He scrambles up onto the bank.

“Gee whiz, Spike.”  I burst out laughing with relief and attempt to hug his wet body, but he’s not interested.  A moment’s hesitation and he’s up the embankment.   What a guy!  He’s off looking for another adventure!  Bridget and I tag along behind, me blowing the sand off my camera as we go.

After crossing the bridge that leads back to the on-leash area, we stop at a picnic table under a huge cottonwood tree leaning toward the river. 

It’s a shady spot for the crew and me to rest a while.  Bridget immediately plops belly down in the cool grass.  She’s panting from our walk on this hot day.  Spike is standing at attention, still wet and dirty, eyes alert.  He’s scoping out a small, dust mop of a dog exiting a car in the parking lot.  He starts to whine, tail wagging, as he strains on the leash.

“Spike.  Haven’t you had enough excitement for one day?”  

The memory of Spike’s head sticking out of the water with its perplexed expression, drifting downstream, makes me shake my head and laugh.  “Oh Spike.  You almost bought the farm today.”

I look at Bridget on the grass.  No wonder she’s such a worry-wart, growing up witnessing Spike’s daredevil antics.

“C’mon, guys.  Let’s go have a drink.”

We reach the PTV and I set up a bowl of water for the crew.  They lap it up while I take a few swigs from my bottle of water.  Refreshed, we pull away from the scene of Spike’s latest episode.   I park at the market, crack the windows, and run into the store.  Darn, no oat bran.  I run back to the PTV.  To heck with walking the town to window-shop.  It’s too hot for that.

Shortly after we’re back at camp, a small station wagon parks along the creek.

A woman, about ten or eleven kids, and a dog climb out.  The children scurry down to the water, shouting and squealing.  Must be a summer camp outing.   A girl screams, “Eee-e-e-k!  A crawdad!”  More shrieks follow.  Boys throw rocks into the water.

I notice the children’s ages are in steps from about seventeen down to about three.  Wait a minute.  This is no camp outing.  This is Mormon country!  That’s a family!  I try to wrap my mind around the life of a woman with eleven children (and probably counting).  I can’t do it.

I go back inside the BLT and sit down at my laptop in front of the fan.

An hour or two passes and the excited sounds of happy children diminish.  I hear a car engine and then I hear it revving.  I lift up a slat of the blinds to see the tilted angle of the station wagon’s roof beyond the bushes.  The children are circled around the car, staring at it.  Uh-oh, they’re stuck in the sand.

I let go of the slat and consider getting my shovel and a few boards.

I lift the slat of the blind again.  The children are gathered at the hood of the car, pushing hard, faces straining.  The car obediently backs out of the sand.  A minute later the mother drives by our camp with a few little ones inside.  The older children follow the car on foot, shuffling their bare feet in the sand.  Probably want to lessen the load until they’re off this sandy areaHow do they all fit in that car?

Just for good measure, I pop out of the BLT and ask them if everything’s okay. 

With sunny smiles they respond, “We’re fine.  Thanks for asking!”  I watch them continue down the lane.  They’re a polite and happy lot.  Right out of Mayberry.

The afternoon grows even hotter.

I’m wearing shorts and a tank top as I wade in the creek.   The water invites me to sit down.  I slip off my shoes and wedge them between two rocks.  Ah, that’s better!  I swoosh my feet around for a minute . . . Oh, what the heck!  I reach over and hang my hat on a pointed rock, and then lower myself backward until only my ears and face are out of the water.  Eyes closed against the relentless sun, I relax and let myself become part of the flowing stream.

The Virgin River Incident

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The slideshow includes the photo of Spike taken the moment he begins to slip into the river’s channel.  Unlike these photos would lead you to believe, the water of the Virgin River is about 4-5 feet deep in places and moves quickly.



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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49 Responses to Go with the flow — The Virgin River Incident

  1. cathieok says:

    Does Spike think he is a cat and has 9 lives? I bet your heart was pounding. I am such a worry wart that I never let mine run free.
    As so the car with umpteen children. I wonder how they all have seat belts?

  2. Sue, thank you for your comments on my blog. I am having big time problems with Google, and have installed, and reinstalled with the same problems!
    The Virgin River is well know for being “swift flowing” and sometimes floods.

    Love reading your blog,and have been with you sience New Mexico. Your rig just might fit into mine, but my new to me one is smaller than my last one!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m sorry you’re having troubles with your blog. I certainly can relate. It’s very, very frustrating! I’m happy you enjoy my blog. Doesn’t matter what size our homes-on-wheels, we can all relate to life on the road. Enjoy that new rig!

  3. geogypsy2u says:

    Never a dull moment with the adventurous Spike around.
    Don’t you worry about their leashes getting caught on something when they run around?

  4. Zion is one of my most favorite places!! The best time to visit it is the first two weeks of November. The cottonwoods should be a gorgeous yellow fall color, and the shuttle buses will have stopped running so you can drive into the park. Crowds are next to nothing so it is a very pleasant experience. Best of all, most years the temps are perfect, not too hot or too cold.

    Are you going to do the Grand Circle, seeing all 5 of the NPs in Utah? Now is the time to see Bryce because it is so high, there is a lot of dispersed camping in the NFs around it and because it is so high should be very comfortable now.

    The rest of the Grand Circle is best visited in November as well. Especially Capital Reef because it is also on a river and has beautiful fall colors in October. The bold yellow against the deep Red Rock color is spectacular. The drive through Grand Staircase Escalante NM is best in November as well. Much of it is along the Virgin with big Cottonwoods that are also a beautiful yellow in Oct/Nov.

    My personal choice is to spend summer in Colorado through the fall colors in mid-October, then Utah in the last half of October and all of November, December onward in AZ. Bob


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bob!

      I’m not going to try to visit all the parks this trip. I think I would become glutted with all the awesome sights! Too much visual stimulation! Ha! Don’t want my eyes to fall out!

      I’ll probably travel through Utah every year or at least most of them (God willing, or course) and include at least one of these famous parks in each trip.

      Like you suggest, it would be better to see them at a different time of year anyway. I like the idea of visiting in autumn on a southward journey through Utah, as a I mosey toward southern Arizona for the winter.

  5. Kim says:

    That must have been a terrifying few minutes. Spike – you drama king!

    No wonder Bridget chooses to stick close to you versus Mister “Hey y’all watch this!”.

  6. hobopals says:

    Spikey, Spikey, Spikey, quit scaring us like that!

    Sue, Jack is a big guy and a strong swimmer, but I worry about current in the rivers. Sometimes, the water can look very calm on the surface, but there’s an under current. One thing you might consider with Spike is to take his leash off so that even if the current takes him, it can’t get caught in the rocks and hold him under. One idea for Spikey might be to get yourself a real long piece of rope and tie it to his collar. That way, you could haul him back in if he got in trouble or at least hold on to him until you can get to him. I have a 50 foot nylon yellow rope–I used it when we were up in Tahoe because in Jack’s mind he can swim across big lakes.

    Whenever I let my labs swim, I always took my shoes off first in case I had to go in after one of them. Spike’s adventure is funny when reading about it, but I bet it scared you half to death, and it could have been a tragedy.

    They also make life preservers for pups–I have one for Jack–he’s only had to wear it twice–when we went whale watching and when he was swimming in a pond next to the Mississippi. I was afraid he’d get out of the pond and race for the river which was flowing at a good pace at the time.

    I think you should rename your blog “ADVENTURES WITH SPIKE” LOL! So glad he’s okay.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Spike is an endless source of drama, not to mention terror. I hope he’s learned his lesson about rivers. I know I have. I’ll have to keep him on leash when anywhere near a river. He does have a life jacket, BTW. If we ever get around calm waters big enough for a boat, he’ll wear it when we go out in the inflatable.

  7. harrietann12 says:

    Good Golly, Ms Molly! Spikes’ shenanigans are enough to give a body heart palpitations. I think I would take off Splke’s lead when there is a chance of a creek run, though. It might have gotten caught and pulled him down under. Scary! Sure glad everyone’s Ok and your heart is pumping regular again;) Did I hear right? There are CRAWFISH (crawdads) in the creek? Get the water boiling and let’s eat:o

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      If I knew he was going to take off so fast for the river, I wouldn’t have let go of the leash! Fortunately that river has very little debris as it flows through the park so the chance of being snagged is minimal. Anyway, you make a good point. I have to anticipate everything with that guy!

  8. OMG Spikey keeps things from getting boring for sure! Glad he is ok!

  9. Patsy says:

    Wow, Spike at it again, he will keep you young or make your hair more grey, ha ha.. Thank god like having kids you have one good one and one adventure thriller… I took my toy schnauzer kayaking he has a little life jacket, he likes it as long as he can sit on me, ha ha.. Always an adventure Sue!! Well I marked that place on my Bucket List, some day.. take care

  10. Chuck says:

    Spikey, Spikey….you’re gonna give poor Sue grey hairs………

  11. Sherry says:

    Great story Sue. I can just feel your panic at Spike’s situation. The colors in your pictures for such a full sun HOT day are just amazing so I decided I wanted to know what camera you were doing this with since I don’t think you’d have one of those fancy dancy expensive ones I can’t affored. So I tried to search your blog since you must have said it at some time. But….no search bar. I’m also wondering if you altered the html code of your blog to get that cool weather widget. If so then you are a SENIOR blogger and way ahead of me. Love you blog obviously!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Sherry,

      Glad you enjoyed the story and photos. My camera is a Sanyo digital from Walmart. I think I paid around $89 for it. It’s not the camera. It’s Picasa editing. I have to tune up the photos, every single one! Any camera around a hundred dollars can give you similar results with Picasa editing after-the fact!

      I went to yoweather (You can go there too by clicking on their name at the bottom of the widget.) and followED their instructions. You’re shown the html which you can copy and paste in your blog on the Admin. page. When I want to change the location, I simply open up the window to show the code, delete the city and insert the name of the place I’m in.

      I’m a SENIOR CITIZEN blogger all right!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And the dang search bar crept down to the bottom of comments were you have to search to find it! I moved it up to the sidebar where it belongs.

      • Sherry says:

        You’re the best for answering all the questions of someone who didn’t look hard enough for the search bar. Me thinks I’m more senior citizen than thee but certainly a junior blogger by comparison. Blog on…………..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Sherry . . . Here’s a link to my post of Sept. 17, 2011. It has a photo of my camera.

  12. Lisa says:

    Ohmigosh, I am always scared of that! And most creek beds are full of rocks, so I know I couldn’t really move very fast in them – so scary! But you gotta love the little nut! Mine is the same – wouldn’t be happy cooped up, gotta be Mr. Macho, taking on the world! Thank goodness you didn’t have two in the stream – then you’d have to decide which one to try to scoop out first, lol!

  13. G says:

    Springdale is a very cool place. We stayed at the Cable Mountain Lodge just outside the park entrance.
    While in town we went into one shop where an elderly lady asked us to sign her guest book. It had names from all over the world. We started chatting with her. She is 86 years old and works every day. She walks to work and was complaining that her kids no longer let her walk home in the dark!
    Anyways, she has 16 kids, 96 grandkids, 60 something great grandkids and I think a few great great grandkids. We laughed that ever a week goes by without having to grant several Happy Birthdays!
    I fell in love with Springdale. Real hippy like shops, my kind of place!!!!
    Enjoy, G

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I agree with you about Springdale. Even though it’s a tourist town, it doesn’t have that cheap, touristy feel. And neighboring Rockville is pretty.

    • cathieok says:

      Su, maybe yu should do a google search of Springdale for a health food store. You could find your oat bran there. I couldn’t find it at our super Walmart

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Are you on the same diet? I did a search of Springdale and it only lists Sol Foods which I went to. There’s a health food store in Hurricane. I’m going there tomorrow. Some Walmart’s have oat bran. At least the one in Flagstaff has it.

        • cathieok says:

          I am not on it, but thought the oat bran in my soy milk would be a good morning drink. As I am now dependent on friends and neighbors to bring in our meals, any kind of dieting kind of went out the window.

  14. Emily says:

    Sue, I bought a 3# bag of oat bran from Montanaglutenfree.com for $30 (that includes freight) and it will ship in 24 hrs and got to me in just a couple of days. The product is PrOatina. I figure it’ll last me a couple of months.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Emily,

      Wish I could order it! I can’t pin myself down to waiting for a package delivery right now.

      If it comes in a box, transfer it right away to a jar or plastic container so you don’t get any weevils or whatever in it. A three-pound bag of oat bran . . . That’s commitment!

      • Emily says:

        Comes in a nice re-sealable bag, put what I need in a plastic container, rest in refrigerator. Bake a week’s worth of oat bran muffins, working on a nice, moist recipe. Love them with crisp turkey bacon.
        If you can find a Smith’s (Kroger chain) in Utah they might carry oat bran in their organic sections.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Your muffins sound delicious. Do you use a sweetener? I’m still drinking fat-free milk with oat bran stirred in for breakfast. I like it, although it’s not muffins!

          I have about a 4-5 day supply of oat bran left. When I find it in a store, I’m going to stock up.

          • Emily says:

            I’d really prefer to be sitting in the country you are in, under a cottonwood tree by a creek, eating my morning muffin and turkey bacon along with a cup of coffee. Envy, envy. You are really soaking in some beautiful country. Am anxious to see where you head next.

  15. john says:

    Hi Sue WOW I so enjoyed reading your blog yesterday, I found myself reading faster just like I do when I’m into a real good suspense novel,,, I think Hobopals got it right, “ADVENTURES WITH SPIKE” Have a great week…

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Sounds like you might need to have a secondary title for your blog, something to the effect of SPIKE ADVENTURES or some sort…I hope your heart is ok after a scare like that…mine would be pounding a good long while!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I think living with Spike is giving me nerves of steel!

      • Bill says:

        Dear Sue, Leaving GA and heading to TX where you bought BLT is nerves alone! Oh, I forget, you were exited!! Forget my comment! LOL, Just checking in br

        • Bill says:

          It’s excited… oh well it’s the end of your current blog and maybe no one noticed! Had a nice BBQ with friends and maybe a little too much of….br

  17. Llanos says:

    Spike is the character. Loving the countryside you’re in now. Would hate the temperatures.

  18. klbexplores says:

    How’s this….. The adventures of Spike, Sue in pursuit, Bridgett following behind. It’s how it usually goes down, just a different setting. Sure glad you can keep up with the little furkid!

  19. Carol says:

    I’m not a man, but you asked for coments,you, as subject doesn’t bore, doggies are bettterI held back because I didn’t want to seem stalker.
    I live vicariously thru you guys,I had stroke a few years ago, and when I get mobile aain,I wanna do what you do, only with a Lazy Daze as geriatric as I am.
    I l use your archives when I need them

  20. Charlene says:

    I climbed up to Emerald Lakes (?) when I was there. Awesome. Might be easier to do now… the CO job is melting the fat off me. Sorry to my blog followers, but my computer died and I had four posts to upload. Hoping to get it up and running… this is my first day off the mountain in over a month.

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