We spent the last week at Shooting Star Drive-In in Escalante, Utah. First, about Escalante: It’s in the middle of nowhere and everywhere at the same time. It’s a tiny island of a town surrounded by National Forest land: Dixie, Grand Staircase, Capitol Reef… check out the map—Escalante’s that little red-and-yellow patch in the middle.
I’m not sure what I was more excited about — Shooting Star Drive-In, our home for the week or visiting Bryce Canyon.
First, about the Drive-In. That’s what it’s called, and it does, indeed have a drive-in (grab some popcorn at the “Snack Shack” Airstream, pick a vintage convertible to sit in, and watch the night’s flic), but that ain’t all. Mark, the owner, who happens to also be from the California Bay Area, took a bunch of Airstreams and turned them into resort-style lodging, each done up as if it were the dressing room of a movies start from the 40/50/60s. We didn’t stay in any of these since we have an Airstream of our own. The property also has an RV park, which is where we parked. All types of RVs are welcome in the park, by the way. I did get to take a tour of some of Mark’s Airstreams, and they were pretty faboo. “The Duke”, in particular, impressed me with its burnished tin-type and cowhide wall coverings and leather loungers. The RV park section had its pros and cons, but this place was really about the nightly movie for me, under the incredible display of stars in this spectacularly untainted-by-light-pollution part of the country. Oh! Which reminds me (how could I forget), that the solar eclipse was the very night we pulled in, and Mark was ready with a viewing party that included special glasses that allowed us to look straight at the eclipse. The general area we were in was also supposed to be one of the best places to view the eclipse, due to both the darkness of the sky and the orientation of the sun/moon.
When we arrived, we had the whole RV park area to ourselves. The next day, however, a WBCCI (that’s the official Airstream club) rally from Las Vegas paid a visit. We also met a few other ‘streamers (hi, Nile), including a couple in a 50′s Bambi who were not only also from the East Bay, but who also owned a townhome in the same complex where we lived.
Then there was Bryce Canyon — a relatively short drive from the Drive-In. When I was in second grade, my parents took me in on a cross-country trip in their travel trailer (probably where I got the bug). There are two things I remember clearly from that trip: A scale-model of the Mississippi River, with water, that I believe I got to run around in. And Bryce Canyon. I was afraid it would be disappointing compared to my childhood memory, but it was not. The formations in Bryce Canyon are a truly magical thing. There’s nothing quite like them. The perfect mix of geological layering, hot and cold temperatures and water runoff patterns came together to create something that is truly not of this world. It looks as if some ancient god’s army were frozen into stone. A really, really populous army. And around each turn, there’s an absolutely new perspective with new impossible rock formations. The photos can’t do it justice, but here are some anyway.