Friday, September 16, 2016

Why Vernal, Utah

On August 31, we made the short move to Stieneker State Park. The SP is just 7 miles north of Vernal, Utah. We had reservations at this SP for two reasons. First, we needed a place to stay for the Labor Day Weekend. Second, I had an appointment with the Merrell Footlab on Thursday September 1. To explain what that is all about, I will need to go back a bit.

In 2002, I had a serious accident on my dirt bike. I badly broke my left femur (thigh bone) as well as a few other injuries. It took 5 surgeries to get me back to pretty good shape. I am doing very well now. I am so thankful that I am able to ski, hike and bike as well as I can. One by product of the injury and surgeries is that my left leg is about an inch shorter that my right. To correct this, I have been adding some thickness to my left shoe. This is not a perfect fix. I have some back and hip issues, that are related to the leg length issue. I also have to get all of my shoes adjusted. They continually fail and I have to re-glue them. It is a real pain.

A while back, I started looking into having some hiking boots custom made for me that would take this adjustment into consideration when the boots are made not after the fact. Do you know what a pair of custom hiking boots cost? Try $3000 to $7000. One such boot maker I found was Randy Merrell. Randy was one of the founders of the Merrell shoe company. I have been wearing their shoes for years and love them. Randy is no longer involved in the company. He has gone back to running his Foot lab. He builds custom boots and also does orthotics and other shoe modifications. I called his business and was surprised when Randy himself answered the phone. We discussed my situation and he asked lots of questions. He then told me he would take my case. I just needed to get to Vernal, Utah and stay about 2 weeks to get fitted and do follow up.

So, that is why we are in Vernal and why we are going to stay a couple of weeks. The good news is that Vernal is an awesome place. Just north of town is the Flaming Gorge National Recreation area and the Green River. The Green river starts at the Flaming Gorge dam. There is tons to do in the area. Some awesome hikes and Dual Sport Motorcycle rides.  

Here is a shot of Stieneker Reservoir:

Just north of Vernal are some mountains that are about 9000 feet high. Here is a high vantage point looking back to the north.

Kim and I took a walk that first night. We like to get a look at our surroundings. We had a nice sunset.

The appointment with Randy went well on September 1. We have a plan, and now I just need to hang out and wait a week to have some work done. In the mean time we will explore the area. We decided to start with the Utah Natural History Museum in Vernal. We wanted to know more about the fossils found in this area and the unique geology. 

The museum costs $7 per person and is worth about that. It has lots of hands on stuff for kids and I am sure it is a favorite for local school field trips. We liked the opening movie for it's information. We then walked around and read every word on every exhibit. We learned a bunch and now can go out in the field and have some idea of the significance of what we are looking at. 

Here is Kim in the Dinosaur garden:

There is a glassed room where you can look at fossils that have been removed from the field and are now being studied. This cast is pretty impressive. 

We spent a bunch of time talking about what we wanted to do while we are here. All I am going to say now is that we did some of the most enjoyable things we have ever done since we hit the road. Come back to see what we did that we have never done before. 

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