July 3, 2020 Manila, UT (Day 2) Flaming Gorge

We packed a lunch and left at 10:30 to spend the day exploring Flaming Gorge. This is a map of our driving tour today.

We started with a drive through the town of Manila to see what was there. It’s a small, thriving little town dependent on the activities that take place at Flaming Gorge. From there, we stopped at a lookout to catch a good view of the distant snow-capped mountains.

We stopped at the Lucerne Valley Campground to check it out. We always like looking at other campgrounds.

As we approached the campground, I spotted a herd of antelope grazing in the field near the campground. It was amazing how close they were.

The campground was full, with 1/4 of the campers doing dry camping and 3/4 of the campers with electrical/water hookups. As we left the campground, we spotted the herd of antelope by their white butts leaving the area.

More were grazing along the side of the road.

We went down the road to the Lucerne Valley Marina to check out the activities going on there.

It was a busy place, for sure, with people gearing up for the weekend.

The marina was full of boats and there was a lot of activity on the water.

The boat launch had people waiting in line to drop their boats in the water.

The ice barge came by to pick up bags of ice to be sold to the boaters on the water. Bob checked in the boat rental office to see if there were any boat rental cancellations, but there were none, so we resigned ourselves to go to the beach and maybe do some fishing from shore instead. We went to check out the swim beach where you can drive right down to the water and park on the sand. It looked like a great place to spend an afternoon.

There were many side roads that took you down to the water and it looked like you could pull your camper down any road and pick any spot along the lake to camp.

Bob spotted this lone antelope on a spit of land near some campers, but he paid no mind to them.

We did drive on some 4WD roads to get to some higher ground for a better vantage point to see the lake.

The higher we got, the more of the snow-capped mountains we could see.

We stopped at Anvil Draw which is another boat launch area. We parked atop one knoll where we could see the lake and all the campers below.

We ate our lunch there, soaking up the view.

Our next stop was at Brinegar’s Crossing–a place where a ferry once operated years ago. It was a working ferry that could ferry 100 head of sheep per crossing. It was also used during the construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam, but now rests at the bottom of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. It is located at the narrowest section on the lake.

Many people were using side-by-sides and 4×4’s to ride around the hillsides for fun–especially the kids.

Apparently, its pretty popular as a mode of transportation in these parts. Once you get away from the water, the landscape changes dramatically.

It is so arid with nothing in sight for miles.

Occasionally, we’d see another antelope or two grazing there, but there wasn’t much else.

The lake is so huge with little alcoves along the shore to hang out in with your boat. It never seemed crowded with boat traffic, except at the marinas.

Most of the shoreline was sandy, but some parts had rocky bottoms below the outcroppings.

The roads could be seen from a distance as thin lines cut into the sagebrush, sometimes with dust in the air from a moving vehicle.

Our last stop was Buckboard Marina–the last active spot on the west side of the lake.

It was less busy here, as they didn’t rent boats and it was much further away from town.

On our drive back, the road seemed endless.

We did enjoy the beautiful rock formations and mountain vistas along the way.

As we neared Manila, we were reminded that we spent most of the day in Wyoming and were now returning to Utah.

We stopped at the Flaming Gorge Market Mercantile for some hamburger buns and a delicious ice cream cone. It really hit the spot!

We got back to the campground at 2:30 and unloaded the Jeep. We grabbed a beverage and sat outside with Auggie. He enjoyed relaxing on the grass.

Bob hung up our 4th of July banner on the front of the bus and placed 4 flags out in front of our campsite for the 4th of July tomorrow.

The KOA host came by to give us 2 koozies with the KOA logo on them. What a nice surprise!

It was a very pleasant afternoon with a temp of 79 degrees, 27% humidity, mostly sunny skies, and a nice breeze. The campground was pretty quiet with a few new arrivals, but many campers were gone for the day. I love to look at the rocky cliffs that tower above our campground. It is such a beautiful setting.

Some people were taking advantage of the pool this afternoon, but it was crowded with kids and we are still social distancing. Bob was content to watch some outdoor TV and I did some reading. The skies darkened a little before dinner, but we never got any rain. Tomorrow we plan to hang around at the campsite and relax. Bob has a few chores he wants to do. I want to bake some muffins and do the laundry. We’ll let everyone else go crazy celebrating the 4th at the Gorge and we’ll enjoy the quiet campground while everyone is gone. Sometimes you just need a day to “chill” and tomorrow will be our day! It looks to be great weather for the 4th of July! The sunset was the perfect end to the day!

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