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TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

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Evanston, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
posts: 4,147
reviews: 94
TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

Hello Wyoming ~ Well, we're back from our long weekend in Evanston and we had an absolutely marvelous time! I'll post my Trip Report in a series of replies day by day. Meantime, here's the 4-1-1 on us:

Our party: DH (43YO), YT ("yours truly," 45YO) and DS (13YO)

Why Evanston: we needed a vacay, but due to time and $$ constraints (DH & I are in process of renovating a house) we couldn't go too far or spend too long. DH had passed through Evanston en route to Jackson Hole on personal business 5 years ago and the town made a good impression on him, so he suggested Evanston, and the rest as they say is history!

So... Day 1 to come shortly... hope y'all enjoy reading.

Evanston, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
posts: 4,147
reviews: 94
1. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

Day 1: Travel Day - Page, AZ to Evanston, WY

With our Ford Explorer packed up, gassed up, shined up and powered up, we picked DS up from school at 3:00 PM and set off for Evanston, WY! It was a beautiful afternoon and we were looking forward to relaxing and scenic drive up Highway 89. As we got up into the higher elevations up around Kanab, UT, the fall foliage was absolutely brilliant, YT guessing just ever-so-slightly past peak color, positively gleaming gold, orange, etc., which is an incredible sight juxtaposed against the red rock formations. Unfortunately, there were a couple of wildfires going on on both sides of the highway, which hampered my picture-taking efforts. Grrrrrrr… oh well, figured I’d “catch ‘em on the flip flop” (and if you remember that line from CW McCall’s “Convoy,” congratulations, you’re as old as YT, hee hee!).

Although we probably didn’t need it, we gassed up in Panguitch, UT anyway (cute little town). It’s a long way between gas stations on that particular stretch of Highway 89, so better safe than stranded. Since we’d decided to stay off I-15 for as long as we possibly could, we figured this drive was going to take about 8 hours, which would put us in Evanston at about 1:00 AM local time best case scenario. YT usually crashes out on the sofa about 7.30 PM AZ Time under normal circumstances, and I don’t like sleeping in the car on long road trips ‘cause I always end up needing a chiropractor afterwards, which meant that I needed a certain something to ensure my consciousness until we reached our destination: COFFEE! The mini-mart inside the Sinclair where we gassed up didn’t have any coffee, plus it was filthy, so I wouldn’t have bought it there if they had it, so we went up the street to another gas station/convenience center (a Walker or a Texaco, can’t remember which) which was clean, had friendly people behind the counter and gee whiz, a fresh pot of French Roast with YT’s name on it. Onward and upward.

Shortly after coffee stop, it began to get dark, so not much in the way of visuals except for the stars. Not only was civilization down to slim pickings on this part of Highway 89, so was radio reception. I don’t have Sirius, and a few weeks prior to our journey, our CD player also decided to make the trip to gadget heaven. That left one alternative for audio entertainment on this particular trip: the cassette player, which oddly enough, still worked. Earlier that day DH and YT had dug through our ancient stashes of cassette tapes and culled a pretty fair selection of classic rock, blues and country, plus a bit of a surprise: DH had actually found a few comedy tapes by the likes of Bill Cosby, Foster Brooks and Redd Foxx. We popped Bill Cosby into the tape player and talk about a flood of memories for DH and YT. What was really cool though was the fact that even though this material was 25+ years old, DS loved it anyway. He laughed his you-know-what off at skits like “The Buck Buck Championship,” “Noah and the Ark,” “The Chicken Heart,” “Chocolate Cake,” etc. And so did we – again 

We didn’t stop at any restaurants on this leg of the trip so nothing to report there. For long road trips we like to pack a cooler with sliced cheese, summer sausage, garlic olives, fruit, banana peppers, drinks, etc. so we can make better time and save a little $$. As we head further up into Utah it’s getting colder, which was to be expected, but also I notice that the Big Dipper is getting HUGE. I’ve travelled this way before, but it was always in the daytime, so this just amazed me. There’s a little more civilization to travel through as we get closer to SLC, mostly quaint mostly Mormon towns. At this point DH & YT both get the absolutely sick notion to pop Redd Foxx into the tape deck – yes, he’s still horrible even though he’s nearly 20 years in the grave. We said a few “Hail Mary’s” and a few “Lord-I-apologize-bless-the-starving-Pygmies-in-New Guinea-amen’s” before stopping for gas in Fairview UT.

For the most part it was a relaxing and fairly uneventful drive, aside from a slight bout of carsickness (DS) outside of Orderville, UT; having to hit the brakes just South of Manti, UT when a cow elk darted across the road (with 3 vehicles in front of us, including a truck pulling a travel trailer – heart attack city!); and a little “alemand-left-and-a-do-ci-do” just out of SLC (the transition from Highway 89 to Interstate 15 isn’t as clearly marked as it could be, or maybe I’m just a sucky navigator). We pulled into Evanston at about 1.30 AM local time, just as the final strains of Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” were fading out on the tape player.

The place we chose to stay at for this trip was the Hillcrest Motel. DH stayed here when he came through Evanston back in 2004 and befriended the owner’s son, so he wanted to stay there again. At first glance the place looks like a “Bates Motel;” it is old (actually dates back to the 1920’s – more on that later), but I figured we were going to be out and about most of the time, so all we needed was a clean place with comfortable beds, plentiful hot water (with good pressure) and most importantly, good heat (nights were down in the 20’s and YT hates being cold at night)!

Now the Hillcrest is casual with a capital “C.” It’s a family owned place that operates on a skeleton crew, so the “front desk” is actually the on-site Veranda Bar. We got checked in, found our room, and yes, it was old with some of the fixtures showing their age, but it was spotlessly clean. In fact, there was an ashtray in the room, but I couldn’t smell one iota of smoke – I’m an ex-smoker, so I know what stale smoke smells like all too well. DS was the first to test out the beds and he actually said, “OMG these are the most comfortable pillows EVER!” However, at this point DH & YT are both wired from the drive (and YT from all the coffee); DS is already settled into bed watching “Robot Chicken,” so DH & YT decide to pop down to the Veranda Bar for a quick dwinky-poo before retiring.

Due to the late hour, we had slim pickings for company - a couple of people playing pool and Laura, the bartender – but it was good company nonetheless. The pool-shooting couple came up and introduced themselves straight away and we told them what we were up to. They were shocked that we had chosen Evanston as our actual destination, and not for just 1 day, but 3 no less, a refrain we would hear frequently throughout our visit. We ordered up a couple of beers and a shot of SoCo for DH & YT to share, relaxed and chatted with our fellow patrons and the bartender for about 30 minutes, then headed off to bed. Our beds were super-comfy, ranked up there with some of the best I’ve ever slept in, I know DH felt the same. We slept like logs, but didn’t quite enjoy the lie-in we were hoping to; body clocks still on Mountain Standard Time, plus still used to rising at 5 AM during the workweek. Oh well. Eventually we’d adjust.

Rock Springs, WY
posts: 180
reviews: 93
2. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

Sounds like you had a fun time in Evanston. Yeah, I can imagine folks' quizzical response to your choice: that town isn't exactly a destination! But if others haven't declared a place a destination, then that means there's inexpensive places to stay and no crowds! It's fun just to pick a place on the map and say "let's go there," regardless of what the brochures and tourist industry are advising.

Evanston, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
posts: 4,147
reviews: 94
3. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

Day 2 – Downtown Evanston, Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, Bear River Greenway

As stated at the conclusion of Part 1 of this TR, our bodies were bound and determined not to allow us to sleep in that first morning, so at about 7 AM local time, we arose. But what sleep we did get was great. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (no really, I will!) the beds and pillows at the Hillcrest were sooooooooo comfortable. If these pillows weren’t goosedown, I’d be very surprised. And the heat in the room worked GREAT! YT hates being cold when she sleeps and we actually turned the heat down on low when we got back from the Veranda.

Our day’s agenda? Darned if I knew! YT wasn’t making no plans until she had COFFEE! On the way in I recalled seeing a Flying J just up the street from the Hillcrest, so that’s where I went on my caffeine quest. It was a cold, partly cloudy morning, which partially woke me up; somehow I knew that a nice hot cup of French Roast would finish the job. I walked in, got DH & YT a cup of French Roast and a cup of hot chocolate for DS (who was already firmly ensconced in Cartoon Network). When I got up to the counter, the lady apologized profusely for not having a caddy for my 3 cups; she even offered to help me carry it out to my car! I was quickly noticing how friendly people were here. When I told her I was at the Hillcrest and that I was on foot, she helped me wrap the drinks nice and tight in a plastic bag.

With coffee in hand and brain cells recharging, YT was able to discuss our day’s plans more coherently with DH and DS. After sitting 8 hours in the car yesterday, YT was ready for a walk; and thankfully DH and DS agreed. So off we went down Harrison Drive toward the Historic Downtown area. At this point Evanston is starting to remind me a little bit of San Francisco with its Victorian homes, hilly terrain and brisk weather. There are lots of trees in this town, both deciduous and evergreen. The deciduous trees are past peak fall color and leaves are falling everywhere. DS remarks that he could really “rake in the dough” raking leaves for people here! The pine trees are absolutely huge. I’m thinking at this point this particular neighborhood must not have a Home Owners’ Association because the houses are painted in such a big variety of colors – some conservative, others more *ahem* festive. Whatever the case, it was very cool. Folks are into the Halloween spirit big-time with some even using Christmas-style lights to decorate their homes. This town must be pretty at Christmastime.

We reach downtown and walk down Main Street. Coming from a young town (Page is only 50 years old), we really enjoy looking at old buildings. Note to Yodelman: looks like plans are in the works to rebuild the burned-down Strand Theatre, yay! Since DH and YT are both musicians, we agreed before coming here that we have to see if this town has a music store and if so, we must visit it. It took us 2 seconds to find Mountain Music. We walked in and struck up a conversation with Lucille, one-half of the shop’s ownership. We weren’t introduced to the other half; apparently he is a luthier (and somewhat shy) since he tended to hang out in back surrounded by instruments that need fixing. Their daughter, whose name I forgot, was also there and joined right in our chat about music, guitars, playing the bar scenes in various towns, Lake Powell, etc., etc. They made suggestions of things we might like to see, especially the Uintas, and suggested we make the drive that day as snow was predicted for the next. I think we talked their ears off for close to 90 minutes, but again, it was becoming readily apparent that Evanston was full of friendly people who were proud of their town (and were shocked that we were actually staying here for a few days and not just passing through).

We had come downtown in search of breakfast, but by the time YT and DH had noticed the time, it was lunchtime, so we asked Lucille for a recommendation. She suggested the Main Street Deli just down the street, so off we went. We were apparently the Main Street Deli’s first customers of the day; the place looked empty – no one behind the counter, or anywhere else we could see. After a couple of “hellooooooo’s” and a ring of a sickly-sounding bell, the proprietress bounded out from the back of the house and greeted us warmly and rather enthusiastically. DH & DS ordered roast beef sandwiches, YT ordered a Swiss cheese burger on rye bread (a.k.a. a Patty Melt in some necks of the woods). Our lunches arrived promptly and were obviously made with fresh ingredients. As other customers came in, it became apparent that the Main Street Deli’s owner was quite the character. DS bought a home-made pumpkin spice muffin to take with him as we decided to head back up to the Hillcrest and get the car.

The walk back to the Hillcrest, though uphill, was not hard and felt great in the brisk autumn air. We get into the car and drive back down to the Downtown area and stop in at the Chamber of Commerce to pick up some maps. The Chamber has a really detailed and easy to use map of the town which came in handy on more than one occasion. The lady there gave us directions to the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, and suggested we try Suds Brothers Brewery for dinner that night. When she said they made their own beer, including root beer, DS was sold, hook, line and sinker. Before we left, DH asked where he could purchase a local paper, and this gal said, “here, have mine!” Just one of many kind people we would meet during our stay.

We stopped by the Uinta County Museum (thanks for that suggestion, Yodelman!) and enjoyed learning more about the town’s history connected to the railroad, and about Highway 80, which was the first trans-continental highway built in the US (1913), and ran right through Evanston. Next door is the Chinese Joss House Museum, which commemorates the contributions of Chinese Americans to Evanston’s prosperity back in the late 19th century. The museum was closed, but we enjoyed walking through the adjacent garden and gazebo.

After this, we decided to heed the advice given re: the weather and head down the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. We gassed up at the Maverick over by Wal-Mart and were very pleased to find that gas in Evanston runs about 30 cents a gallon cheaper than Page. We got underway and enjoyed this absolutely gorgeous drive, which is apparently done by most in the summer months - we had the whole road to ourselves! The cloud cover provided a nice contrast to the evergreen trees and the bare aspens (why does saying that make me giggle?). I’ll try to post pictures later this week. We drove down to the Bear River Campground and hiked around that area. DH and DS actually walked out on the rocks and out into the river. I told ‘em, “don’t fall in, if you do, don’t come cryin’ to me about it!” That water was COLD.

We hiked around some more and saw three deer (does) crossing the road – one of them actually stopped and looked right at us for quite a long time. We went off on another dirt road that was described as a “wildlife viewing area,” but didn’t see any wildlife. We were trying to get a picture of the surrounding mountains from a higher vantage point and eventually succeeded in doing so. As we were heading back to Evanston, YT speculated that cross-country skiing would be great out here, and my instincts were later confirmed by people we met.

Clouds on the horizon were starting to look a bit threatening, so we decided to head back to town, but the general consensus was that we weren’t quite ready for dinner and were still up for more walking and exploring. We take Yodelman up on one of his many helpful suggestions and take a stroll down the beautiful Bear River Parkway. This is a lovely paved nature trail that parallels the Bear River that runs through the town. There are several parking areas near the trail so access is easy from just about any side of town, and judging from the looks of the place, some time and money was recently put into sprucing up the facilities. DS seemed particularly enthralled with throwing rocks to see how big a splash they made. After spending about an hour at the park, it was starting to get seriously cold and we were starting to get seriously hungry, so we went back to the Hillcrest to freshen up before heading down to Suds Brothers.

Now the lady at the Chamber had said that Suds Brothers was just down the street from 1st Bank; but we drove up and down the street 3-4 times and couldn’t find it. Fortunately DH isn’t the kind of guy who refuses to ask directions. He popped in to a copy store and they kindly pointed it out to us. Turns out their signage tends to be hidden by cars parked in front of the storefront. Note to owners: get a bigger/higher sign! We walked in and were seated and served promptly. Our waiter suggested DH might like to try their site-brewed red ale, which DH did, but didn’t care for it. The waiter brought samples of Nut Brown Ale and Heifeweizen (wheat brewed beer) which DH liked much better.

We ordered chili fries as our appetizer, which were hot and plentiful and topped with home-made chili. DS ordered a personal pizza, DH ordered a Philly cheesesteak and YT ordered chicken alfredo, all of which arrived promptly and piping hot. DH actually said his Philly cheesesteak was the best one he’d ever had, and after taking a bite, I’d have to agree: the beef was very flavorful, and the sandwich contained not only bell peppers but an Ortega chile pepper as well. What struck me was how soft and fresh the roll was. I don’t think they make their own bread there, but it sure could have passed for homemade. My dinner was good too, the alfredo sauce was nice and creamy with lots of fresh parmesan and came with two big slices of Texas toast.

We headed back to the Hillcrest where DS quickly hopped into bed and flipped on Cartoon Network. DH and YT agreed we weren’t quite tired enough to go to sleep, so we headed back down to the Veranda Bar where we drank a couple of beers and shot a few games of pool (or more accurately DH kicked YT’s butt from here to next Tuesday seeing as though YT can’t aim at the broad side of a barn) and chatted with another local couple. While we were there, the local taxi company (a company called “Chicken Run,” is that cute or what?) dropped off a gentleman from Israel who booked himself into a room for a couple of nights. Guess he must have arrived on Greyhound ‘cause I don’t recall Evanston having scheduled air service or AMTRAK service.

We hung out at the bar for an hour or so, during which time we collected e-mail addresses from the couple we were chatting with, and got a tip about an Oktoberfest event taking place the next day; seeing as though DS and YT both love German food, we made plans to attend. When we got back to our motel room, we discovered that we had company: three guys, probably hunters, who seemed to be in the mood to par-tay. Oh joy. They were a bit noisy (and smoked like chimneys), but once again, that bed in our room was soooooooooooo comfortable (see? I said it again!) and I promptly fell asleep. We did awaken around midnight, but not because of our noisy neighbors: DS still had the TV on (softly) hoping to catch “Robot Chicken” again, which didn’t come on till late. DS and DH ended up watching it together then went back to sleep. This time we got our wish and were able to sleep in until after 8 AM local time – hooray!

Thanks for reading and tune in tomorrow….

Evanston, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
posts: 4,147
reviews: 94
4. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

Day 3: The good, the bad, the ugly – and the cherry on top!

Did I mention the beds at the Hillcrest were sooooooooooo comfortable? If I could sleep through the neighboring room’s hunting par-tay, that has to tell ya something. We woke up at 8 AM local time, looked out the window and were relieved to see that it was not snowing, but raining. Not that we’re afraid of or averse to snow; we love it, but didn’t relish the thought of having to navigate icy roads on the drive home tomorrow.

At this point on our vacation, YT is in desperate need of a shower, so DH is assigned to caffeine acquisition duty. DS, once again, is catching up with Jimmy Neutron and the Fairly Oddparents, etc. As I’ve said before, the Hillcrest is an older motel, so the shower in our room was showing a few signs of wear (missing grout, some cracked tiles), but otherwise it was perfectly clean. The water pressure was excellent and the water itself was nice and hot and best of all, SOFT! Page AZ has really hard water and I usually have to condition the daylights out of my hair, but this time around I got by with less than half my usual allotment and was able to comb it wet for the first time in 10 years.

Upon my exit from the shower, DH hands me my daily cup of consciousness. I notice that the cup is different, plus the coffee is bad – definitely not as good as Flying J’s. Turns out that due to the rain, DH got a bit turned around and went to a different place next door to FJ – I don’t recall the name of the place, all I remember is two big signs saying the place was “smoker friendly.” I think some of that smoke got into the coffee. Besides, we were all feeling somewhat peckish, and better coffee was bound to be had somewhere.

We headed downtown and after some looking around, decided to pop into the Main Street Artisan’s Café. We were scheduled to meet for lunch with DH’s friend from his previous visit to Evanston, so we wanted to keep breakfast light. Fortunately, MSA had plenty of smallish (or so we thought judging by the prices) breakfast items like burritos, scrambles, muffins, bagels, etc. YT ordered a scrambled egg plate, DH a breakfast burrito and DS ordered a muffin. Since this was a proper coffee house, it was de rigeur for YT to order a latte. MMMMMM…. Rich and creamy, full-bodied, nice aftertaste on the palate – good stuff Maynard! The kid taking our order was new and a bit of a ditz, so he had to come round to our table to clarify some things before our order was delivered, but otherwise, this is a delightful little spot with an adjacent art gallery and museum.

Like I mentioned before, because the prices were so reasonable, we thought our meals would be relatively small – boy, were we wrong. DH’s breakfast burrito was huge, and my scrambled egg plate truly took up the whole plate! Thankfully our friend was up for a late lunch. At this point DS was starting to get a bit squirrely. He really wanted to meet some kids and burn off some energy. Unfortunately, it seemed that there were no video arcades or similar establishments in town; however, we learned that the local rec center was having a health fair, after which they were waiving their usual admission fees! We finished our breakfasts, looked around the gallery and went to check it out.

Evanston’s community rec center is located on a hill overlooking the town. It looked to be quite new and has a weight room, swimming pool, basketball court, volleyball court and – ta-daaaa! – video games. We weren’t sure if they would be OK with someone from out of state using their facilities, or if they’d allow us to drop DS off there by himself or require vaccination records and such (some of the kids’ play centers at Vegas hotels do), but nope, it was totally casual, they said bring him by after the health fair and he’d be welcome. Sweet! One tiny problem: we hadn’t thought to bring swimwear with us, which meant, next stop - Wal-Mart.

Yes, boys and girls, Evanston has a Wal-Mart! It’s a Super-Center, slightly bigger than the one in Page, definitely has a better selection of clothing. We found DS a pair of shorts that would double as a swimsuit (and marked down to $3.00, no less!) and a towel. Since gas was so much cheaper here, DH and YT thought we’d investigate how the prices of some other items compared to Page, namely, Vitamin Water and wood pellets. DH and DS both have a 20-bottle a week Vitamin Water habit, and what with the price of the stuff recently going up 40%, it’s starting to put a serious dent in the grocery budget not to mention p*ss me off. Unfortunately, Vitamin Water costs the same in Evanston as it does in Page – doh! However, we were pleased as punch to find that wood pellets were almost $2.00/bag cheaper – score! We have a pellet stove as the primary heat source for our home in winter, and typical usage during the coldest parts of the year is 4-5 40 lb. bags of pellets per week, so being able to pick up something we needed anyway and save some money definitely appealed to us. We made plans to stop in and grab 10 bags or so on our way out of town the next day.

We drop DS off at the rec center and he’s in the pool in record time. At first he has it all to himself, and is informed that that might remain the case since it’s the tail end of the elk hunt and a lot of local families are out in the woods. Fortunately, no sooner than the lifeguard says that, half a dozen kids join DS in the pool and quickly enlist him in a game they make up on the spot. DS is apparently in good company (and good hands), so DH and YT are off to meet our friend for lunch at Beartown Restaurant. Beartown is kind of off the beaten path, so at first we didn’t think we’d find it, but we did, down at the end toward the end of the street where the freeway comes in. The restaurant has some old trucks and mining implements in front of it, including this odd contraption that DH and YT can only conclude was some kind of crane – we’re still not sure.

Our friend arrives and we take our seats inside Beartown (or Rustic Beartown Restaurant as it’s “formally” known). It’s a large building that reminds me a bit of Flagstaff’s Museum Club (without the taxidermy) that apparently has gone through several “incarnations” over the years, including leather shop and biker bar. As we look at the menu, we wish we were hungrier; everything looks really good, but breakfast is still a bit “with us,” so we keep our meals light. I chose a salad and a bowl of chicken gumbo. Our friend got a cheeseburger and DH got a salad and some steak fries. Our order arrives quickly and I’m pleased to see this is true gumbo with okra in it. The salad is a lot bigger than I imagined for the price (I notice this is happening quite frequently and don’t mind a bit). Our waitress, like so many others we would meet in Evanston, was friendly as all get out and even showed us pictures of her son and the elk he bagged the previous day.

Our friend, who is part of the family that owns the Hillcrest, told us a little but about the history of the motel. Apparently his grandparents moved to Evanston from Colorado and opened the motel in 1928 with just 5 cabins. Then the next year, the Depression hit, and which resulted in a lot of transients (or “hobos” in Back-in-the-Dayish) passing through Evanston having hopped the rails from points afar. Our friend’s grandmother always made her own bread and apparently they kept their own chickens too, so the family kept themselves “afloat” through the Depression by selling fried egg sandwiches for a nickel apiece to people passing through town. In the decades that followed, they eventually converted the cabins to a motel and built a second wing of rooms. One of the original cabins still stands on the property somewhere, but we didn’t get around to seeing it. Today, of course, the Hillcrest has competition from the likes of a Best Western next door, a Hampton Inn down the street and several other chain hotels. As a result, they also do weekly and monthly rentals, and all that that *ahem* implies, but we didn’t regret staying there at all. It was a good deal and its good points were the ones that counted.

We apparently talked for a long time because the restaurant staff was ready to close up and get ready for the dinner shift. Time to say good-bye to our friend, go pick up DS, and get ready for Oktoberfest. Back at the rec center, we found DS playing basketball with a few other kids. Apparently he’d had a great time, behaved himself and played his little heart out. We went back to the motel where we relaxed for a little while, the boys took turns showering and YT put on some makeup, curled hair, etc. We were all looking forward to some bratwurst, German potato salad, red cabbage, yummmmm!

Unfortunately, when we got to Oktoberfest, which was held at the old Machine Shop, the lady selling the tickets looked at DS like he was from Mars. Apparently the “unspoken rule” is that this event is strictly for those over 21. DH reminded the lady that the blurb in the paper referred to “fun and games,” which she replied “referred to drinking games.” Eventually she said we’d be welcome to stay, but we arrived at the decision to move on. “When in Rome do as the Romans do” is my motto on these things.

So we contemplated where we might like to eat instead as we drove downtown. We chose the Hunan Garden. We were seated and received our drink orders fairly quickly, but it all went downhill once our food order was placed with the gal who apparently was the owner. We sat for what must have been 45 minutes with nary an acknowledgement from either the owner or the busboy as to when we might expect to receive our food (and we were hungry!). During that time, we noticed other parties who had arrived before us also weren’t being served and interpreted this as a bad sign. We eventually decided to pay for our drinks and go elsewhere. DS was pouting pretty hard at this point, but help was on the way.

Around the corner was The Scoop Ice Cream Parlor. We received a warm hello from a smiling young woman upon walking in. We shared our experience with the Hunan Garden and she said that unfortunately that sort of experience is not uncommon. The owner is a notorious micromanager who refuses to delegate any of the cooking, waitressing or cash handling responsibilities. Consequently she’s constantly running herself ragged trying to keep up with it all, while catering primarily to the take-out crowd (they managed to get served). Upon hearing our “tale of woe” (including getting dissed at Oktoberfest), the gal at the Scoop, with the help of her young enthusiastic co-workers, seemed determined to salvage our evening, which they succeeded in doing with flying colors.

The Scoop is modeled after a 1950’s era ice cream parlor, with ’45 records on the walls, antique Coke tins, etc. The décor is just adorable. They have a ton of autographed pictures of old pop idols such as Bobby Sherman, Bobby Vee, Gary Puckett, the Bay City Rollers, etc., etc. To DS’s delight they also had video games and a pool table! So locals take note: there IS a place in Evanston where you can shoot pool and play video games (or pinball if you’re a child of the ‘70’s like YT) and you DON’T have to be over 21.

The Scoop’s menu is simple, featuring typical ice cream parlor fare like hot dogs and hamburgers. We all decide on hot dogs, not really expecting much (especially for the prices they charged), but when our meals came, our mouths dropped open – they came with side salads that were real salads, meaning copious amounts of spring greens, sprinkles of fresh parmesan cheese, little slices of mandarin oranges. The hot dogs themselves were huge, not Hebrew National, but a brand of similar quality. We had a wonderful time playing pinball and pool while eating our hot dogs. Seeing as though it was the last night of our vacay, we had to celebrate with some ice cream sundaes.

The staff of The Scoop, mostly 20-somethings with MIL (and a toddler who liked to be the “entertainment”), socialized with us the entire time telling us that they had moved here from Montana and that the restaurant was a fairly new venture for them. Their “official” closing time was 8:00 PM, but they happily let us hang out while they cleaned up and DS and YT finished our game of pool (which was going really slow seeing that DS has no technique [yet] and YT is a sucky pool player no matter how hard she tries). They let a couple of other people come in and grab a cone while they were shooting the breeze with us. These guys may have been young, but they had an old-school work ethic that was so refreshing to see in this day and age. I truly hope they are able to make a go of their business. It’s a wonderful concept and they execute it beautifully, but I know how hard the restaurant business can be (several of YT’s friends have tried it and failed).

We’d hung out at The Scoop for about 45 minutes past closing time when we decided it was time to “mosey.” We wanted to get an early start on the drive back to Page since DH and YT had to work on Monday so we needed to get some sleep. We headed back to the Hillcrest and fortunately our neighbors were far more subdued this evening. No “Robot Chicken” for DS. Another heavenly night’s sleep; well, in the middle of the night I actually got up and turned the heat completely off – when I told DH about this, he actually said, “who are you and what have you done with my DW?”

Tune in tomorrow for the final chapter and thanks to all for reading…

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
posts: 42,528
reviews: 144
5. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

What a great down home style vacation. We all need some of that in our lives. Glad you enjoyed yours.

Evanston, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
posts: 4,147
reviews: 94
6. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

Day 4: Evanston – Page

The alarm rang at 6:00 AM WY time (5:00 AM AZ time). DH and YT throw on some clothes and wake DS (one of the heaviest sleepers on the planet) and tell him to do the same. We load up the car, make one final check of the room, and we’re off to Wal-Mart to pick up 10 bags of wood pellets for our stove since they’re $2.00/bag cheaper than in Page. We need ‘em anyway since the year’s first cold snap is expected for right about when we get back; plus most of the drive home will be downhill, so the load we’re carrying will have a negligible effect on our gas mileage. We gas up and grab a few breakfast snacks (and YT a very large cup of coffee) at the nearby Maverick, and we’re on the road.

It was an absolutely beautiful day and once again a fairly uneventful drive (save for getting briefly turned around on I-70 [mixing up “Salina” with “Sevier”]). Like we did on the drive up, we decided to get off I-15 as soon as we could and took Highway 89 all the way home; we prefer to do that whenever possible. Sure it takes longer, but the drive takes you past tranquil farms, picturesque little towns, and parallels the Sevier River for quite a ways, which is very pretty. The smoke from the fires that we’d encountered on the drive up had dissipated, so picture taking went much better.

We decide to stop for lunch at the Big Rock Café across from the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort in Marysvale, Utah. Yes, it’s the same “Big Rock Candy Mountain” from the song in “O Brother Where Art Thou?” It’s a log-cabin looking place with a small gift shop (including, yes, a candy store) and quite a few curios displayed in the café as well. The sign described its cuisine as “creative American food,” and judging from their menu, they aren’t kidding! Some of their dinner offerings I saw looked amazing, including Blue Max filet mignon with bleu cheese crumbles, parmesan herb crusted halibut, and this one sounded to DIE for: chicken fettucine Marco Polo. It’s described as being topped with “creamy Dijon alfredo sauce, with cashews and artichoke hearts.” *doing impression of drooling Homer Simpson*

Cooler heads (and stomachs) prevailed though and we all decided against having something quite that heavy seeing as though we still had about 4 hours’ driving time ahead of us. DH chose a roast beef sandwich, DS a cheeseburger, and YT a side salad and a bowl of corn chowder. The meals arrived quickly, and I was pleased to see once again a rather large salad (of spring greens, not iceberg) and a generous-sized bowl of corn chowder, which was not overly creamy and was chock-full of vegetables. It looked and tasted home-made. The resort is a cute place that offers activities like white water rafting and ATV tours in the summertime and we made a mental note to try and come back here sometime.

Onward and southward… clicking away at the brilliant autumn foliage as we make our way toward Southern Utah and home! DS is into geology, so we decide to stop at The Orderville Mine Rock Shop in Orderville, Utah. Orderville is “kitsch” with a capital “k” and actually has several quaint rock shops. The Orderville Mine shop actually has samples of its wares displayed outside of the shop, as well as a big dinosaur statue, so it tends to catch one’s eye moreso than the others. Most of the rocks they sell aren’t local, they come from all over the world, but if you’re looking for things like amethyst geodes, geode bookends, pieces of peacock copper and other brightly colored things, this is the place to come. We bought DS a sample bag of cool rocks, 7 for $5 – woo hoo!

Down past Mt. Carmel Junction, we decide to pull off the road and walk off a bit of lunch. There’s a little dirt road that goes off the main highway and takes you down by Kanab Creek. Before we get that far, the boys spot a “cave.” Actually, it’s a drainage culvert blasted into the sandstone below Highway 89, but the boys decide to “pretend” it’s a cave and follow it across the road. I declined and opted to snap a few pictures instead. After walking down to the creek and back, we hop back in the car and arrive home, safe and sound, our minds and hearts brimming with wonderful memories - and lots of pix on our digital camera! I’ll try to post them somewhere soon.

In conclusion, although Evanston is far from the “usual” choice of a destination for a Wyoming vacation, we’re glad we chose it for ours and we’d go back again in a heartbeat. Thank you Yodelman, for all of your wonderful suggestions – they really helped us make this short trip a fun and memorable one!

‘til next time, see you in Arizona, Nevada and Utah...forums, that is :)

Rock Springs, WY
posts: 180
reviews: 93
7. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

Well, it's clear that you have experienced Evanston in a more complete and comprehensive way than most folks who live there. Good job!

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 55,535
reviews: 42
8. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

Wow A. What a report!! I'm sure Evanston folks will like it. Never been there, just zoeefff. Must stop there some time. Redd Foxx........remember him from Steptoe and Son... not sure though. Long time ago.


Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 13,870
reviews: 126
9. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

It is good to have a report of the many fine things to do in Evanston :-) Staycations can give us just as much as more fancy ones. It was fun reading about your weekend.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 18,552
reviews: 38
10. Re: TR: Evanston, Wyoming 10/22-25/09

Awesome report!! Makes me want to spend a little time in Evanston. Thanks for sharing.