The desert begins before you leave Grand Junction Colorado and Fruita and then it continues. Restful break in Green River State Park. The Park is along the Colorado River and enclosed by a golf course. The Rangers hiding out in the air-cooled kiosk gave me a map and directions to a swimming beach for the dogs, turned out however after doing my hiding from the heat and daily thunder storm, then walking all over the State Park, sticking our feet and up to our tails in the water, this mamma, that’s me, didn’t want to drive any more that day so we played BALL on the nice green grass at our over-sized site.

Waiting until it gets cool enough to go out and play.

Coffee shop in Green River, Utah; somewhat amazed to find this. Coffee wasn’t really all that drinkable but they tried and the place was cute.

Driving

Speed limit in Utah is 80 mph, for me it’s about 60 to 65. It’s still very windy.

Climbing plenty of hills. Still early enough not to need the air conditioner. RV is driving great. Yesterday’s drive was tougher with stronger winds, higher passes to cross and scorching heat.

After the flatlands turns scenic. Yep, that’s another car.

More traffic! Don’t expect services or gas stations or repair shops. Keep your gas tank filled and your vehicle in good running order. Bring your own snacks and refreshments.

Civilization. I didn’t need gas but was a gas station here. Gathering of trucks and plenty of trash even though they’d  positioned trash cans as drive by…  I used those, just drive close, unroll the window and plunk.

Found a dog park in Hurricane Utah. Can you tell it’s hot. I’d already checked in and secured a full service site at Sand Hollow State Park. I’d been sent there from Quail Creek State Park, all the electric was taken.  Next time will try Snow Canyon State Park, petrified sand dunes, wow.   At first I wasn’t pleased with Sand Hollow, the powered sites are up on the hill, my spot way up at the top, the roads are all black asphalt.  That darn heat colored my perceptions, feels like it’s 120 but it’s not that hot. Later when I returned from St George I fell in love with this Park even though it another reservoir. Dogs got to swimming twice 🙂  If I stayed would have rented a boat and just floated.

Day and evening use park above St George, Utah. Would be totally fun to hike and explore but just letting the windows down am blasted with what felt like the insides of force blowing glass kiln. Windy, humid and hot red! Probably somewhere around 103 or 104 but felt hotter, maybe it was.

St. George, Utah, is nation’s fastest-growing metro area.

The ground was too hot for my dogs to walk so I could only take a quick look.
Red Hills Desert Garden.  Check the link (Find Plants) for the plant species that grow here.  Free Admission.

Pioneer Park

What brings people to St George?

Back at the reservoir.  The Park is large enough that even with lots of activity and families there are quiet areas, at least right now.

Taking the Park road to the other side.

Our first swimming spot. Warm, blue waters and red sandstone. Primitive camping to full hookups, swimming, boating, fishing, ATVs, red dunes. 20,000-acre park, mostly on USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There’s a store / restaurant  with ATV’s, UTV’s, kayaks, paddle boards for rent. I had a breakfast burrito there. Nice chat with the woman in charge, she had to met the dogs of course and of course, she hopes to retire soon too and really liked my little camper van.

Back on “my’ side of the Park. Some hiking trails, boat launching and easy access for the dogs to swim. This was late in the day and everything was closed, when I returned in the morning it was bustling. Come July and August this place gets mobbed.

View out my bedroom window.

My dinner table for the night. No campfires.

Diner courtesy of Redmond Farms, Organic Farm to Table store in St George.

On the top of the hill at the park, one can see new housing developments everywhere.

America’s Fastest-Growing Urban Area Has a Water Problem
JAKE BULLINGER MAY 18, 2018
As St. George, Utah grows, it will have to cut down on its high water consumption or pay handsomely for it—or both.

When Latter-day Saint migrants arrived in Utah in 1847, a verse in Isaiah served as consolation to them in the dessicated landscape: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”

Lately, the desert has blossomed nowhere more than the St. George area, in the state’s southern reaches. The city is a picturesque outpost, with red-rock desert framing bright green lawns and golf courses, all built around the stark white Mormon temple in the center of town.

Brigham Young’s adherents came here to grow crops, primarily cotton—hence its reputation as Utah’s Dixie. Today, that ceaseless sunshine is luring so many tourists, retirees, and students that St. George has become the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country. According to Census Bureau data released in March, the metro, home to 165,000 people, grew 4 percent between 2016 and 2017.

“Six million people visit the area every year. As people visit here, some of them decide to stay,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said. The area remains a retirement community, “but we also have 33,000 students K through 12, and we have a fast-growing university [Dixie State University].” Healthcare is a booming industry, and, like many growing cities, St. George has a section of town earmarked for tech companies. Mixed-use developments are popping up downtown. The growth likely won’t slow any time soon: State demographers believe the area will surpass 500,000 residents by 2065.

As is the case with other growing desert burgs, St. George grapples with water-supply issues. But the challenge here is unique. Remarkably cheap rates mean that residents of an area with only eight inches of annual rainfall are using tremendous amounts of water. An average St. George resident uses more than twice as much water as the average citizen of Los Angeles.

Political leaders at the state and local level view this primarily as a supply issue. Their preferred solution is a gargantuan $1.4 billion pipeline that would connect the region with Lake Powell, a reservoir along the Colorado River. With the aid of pumping stations, the pipeline would shuttle water over 140 miles and 2,000 feet of elevation gain. The goal is to store 86,000 acre-feet a year in nearby reservoirs and aquifers—more than enough, officials say, to meet the demand of the growing population and decrease reliance on the dwindling Virgin River, currently Washington County’s primary water source.

“We certainly are committed to conservation, but we don’t think that gets you there alone, especially with the organic growth and the tremendous in-migration that’s occurring in the Southwest,” said Ronald Thompson, general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, the wholesaler that supplies water to St. George and other cities in the county.

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