JORDANELLE STATE PARK John and Judy Boyd didn't let the high price of gas stop them from hosting their annual June family vacation at the lake. They're Americans. They're adaptable. They're not going to let a downturn in the economy and an upsurge in the price of petrol keep them from enjoying their traditions and freedoms.
But they did leave the boat home.
Welcome to gas crunch summer, where folks everywhere are standing up to the big, mean oil companies that jack up the price of gas to ridiculous proportions by ... not buying it.
The Boyds are a good case in point. Here they are, surrounded by family at the camp site they reserved on the shores of Jordanelle Reservoir. The lake is maybe 20 feet from where they parked their truck and camper.
But most of them aren't actually out on the lake at the moment because the only boat among them is a small speedboat owned by one of John and Judy's sons. They're taking turns on it.
Judy Boyd wistfully remembers the more than 30 consecutive summers they brought their 28-foot pontoon boat to the lake of their choice and just about everybody could go on the lake together.
They called it the Party Barge.
"But this year we left it home," she said. "We couldn't afford the gas to haul it here, much less fill it up to go out on the lake."
The Boyds are retired and live in Mesquite, about 400 miles from here. Because most of their family lives close to the Wasatch Front, they chose to congregate this year closer to where the kids and grandkids are. As it was, they got about nine miles to the gallon in their diesel truck and camper driving from Mesquite to Jordanelle. If they'd towed the boat, they'd have gotten closer to four miles to the gallon.
They'd have used up their economic stimulus checks before they got to Fillmore.
Now, they're watching their son, the boat owner, go through his.
"It's wearing a light spot in his Levi's," Judy says. "Pulling that wallet out all the time."
Just down from the Boyds' campsite, Ralph and Cheryl Escojido have set up their camp.
At first glance, it appears Ralph and Cheryl are gas-guzzlers with the best of them. They have a big Chevy Diesel Silverado truck, a 30-foot fifth-wheel trailer and a 21-foot pontoon boat. Plus, they're retired. No time clocks to tie them down.
But looks can be deceiving. Whereas in the old days, aka three years ago, the Escojidos, like the Boyds, traveled pretty much where and when they wanted, this summer they chose one lake and they're not moving. They signed up as Camp Hosts, closed up their home in the Salt Lake Valley, and they will be here until September. They even got a post office box in nearby Heber City for their mail."We can't go back and forth like we used to," said the couple, who traded in their motor home for a truck and trailer. "We used to go to Flaming Gorge a lot. To do that now would be absolutely insane. We go into Heber twice a week for supplies. Other than that, we stay put. It's all because of the gas."
Lee Benson's column runs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please send e-mail to [email protected] and faxes to 801-237-2527.