With the destination of Fruita, UT inside Capital Reef National Park, I left work early and headed south. Stopping to fuel up in Fairview for the push on to Fruita with the goal of a camp site, a late lunch and some good conversation fueled the ride to Torrey and beyond. The familiar ride down Hwy 89 couldn’t have been prettier with only the occasional cloud interrupting the beautiful blue sky.
Dropping down into Loa on Hwy 24 the Sheriff’s red and blue flashing lights compelled me to find a spot to pull over—I was going just a little too fast for his liking. Although I haven’t had a speeding ticket in over 20 years, when I mentioned this to the Officer, he said, “I was going to give you a warning, but if you’d like, I’d be glad to give you a ticket.”
Back on the road, I was the model citizen as I left Torrey for Capital Reef and Fruita.
Pulling into the campground (which is first come first served), I was able to get the last available spot before the “Campground Full” sign was put up. I don’t know what I was doing in Captial Reef, with my luck I should have been in Vegas at the Craps table.
The gracious camp host introduced me to my campsite after which I unloaded the bike and set up my tent to the serenading of birds and the sound of the wind gently blowing through the trees. With the tent up and my gear stowed away inside, my stomach was reminding me that it was well past dinner time. After visiting with the ranger at the visitor’s center, at her recommendation, I headed back toward Torrey to La Cueva Mexican Restaurant. I thought I’d see how they compared to my favorite place, La Costa.
Feeling generous, I didn’t put La Cueva’s fajitas up against my staple at La Costa and ordered a chicken enchilada. It was good, in fact I’d eat there again; and would recommend it. It’s just not as good as La Costa.
Fruita was settled in 1880 at the confluence of the Freemont river and Sulpher Creek. It’s original name was Junction, but right after the turn of the century they started calling it Fruita due to it’s large orchards. The settlement was abandoned in 1955 when the National Park Service purchased the town to be part of Capital Reef National Park. It’s been nearly 30 years since I stayed there last. Sue and I stayed there once with Sue’s sister Carolyn and her husband Doug. I don’t remember the campground as developed as it is now. The Park Service has done a really nice job of developing the place. The campground is nice and if you time it right, you can harvest fruit to eat from the orchards that are still there.
Fruita is only about ten or so miles east of Torrey and includes some beautiful desert landscapes that feel very familiar to anyone who does much travel in Southern Utah. The drive though Capital Reef is beautiful on a motorcycle and well worth the effort even if it’s just a quick trip to Fruita on the way to Escalante and points further south.
I’d consider it the heart of Capital Reef and enjoyed my time there (even if it was only overnight), and am thinking it might be a fun ride with Sue in late September or early October. There are a number of nice-looking motels in and around Torrey, so you don’t have to sleep on the ground. Regardless of whether or not you opt for camping, it’s a beautiful stop along the road and well worth visiting.
It was surprisingly cool and pleasant once the sun dropped below the cliff to the west of the campground. With the exception of the occasional voices of a few happy children playing, it was very peaceful as I prepared to call it a day. I think it was midnight before I felt the need to crawl inside my sleeping bag. Lulled to sleep by the wind in the trees, I was surprised at how well I slept on ground.