Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Grand Junction, Colorado and Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

So while we were in Pitkin, the latch broke on one of our basement doors. Bob used duct tape and sealed it as best he could. Our plan was to get a part at the RV store in Grand Junction. We made it to Delta, Colorado, before the tape failed. Thankfully, someone passed us and alerted us to the open door. Bob was able to pull off, retape the door and we got back on the road. No, nothing fell out and the door was not damaged.

Grand Junction was the stop for the night. Due to a lack of campgrounds, we stopped in a KOA--not our usual choice, but the kids were happy--it had a pool! We were all able to do laundry and the RV store was less than a mile from the campground. Unfortunately, it was not open on Sunday, but it did open early Monday. Bob was able to get the latch fixed before check-out and we were on our way to Dinosaur National Monument.
 Now, to get to Dinosaur National Monument, we had to drive north on Colorado 139. Bob and I did this once in the Windsport and I remembered it as a curvy climb to Davis Pass and then not so curvy on the downside, just steep. It hadn't changed! On the way up, we followed a flatbed truck.
Once we reached the top, there were some beautiful views. Yes, that is the road just below the center of this picture.
I got a picture of Sol at the pullout at the pass.
Next stop, UTAH!
 From the state line it was about 40 miles to Green River Campground in Dinosaur National Monument. Can I just say that the temperature rose as soon as we left Pitkin, Colorado, and did nothing but rise all along our route. By the time we reached our campground, the temperature was in the upper 90s! Did I mention that since the campground was in a national monument, there were no hook-ups? Well, we boondocked in the sweltering heat for 3 days!

After arriving at Dinosaur National Monument, we got set up in a great site with excellent solar.
We drove back to the visitor center to visit the bones in the mountain. The last time Bob and I visited the park, the building 'housing' the bones in the mountain was undergoing major restoration. This time we got to see 'dem bones.' Of course we didn't take any pictures.

The following day, Bob and I got up early...to beat the heat...and hiked Sounds of Silence Trail. We hiked it years ago and remembered it as a good hike, not too strenuous, not too easy.
We enjoyed seeing the rock formations along the trail.
The landscape changed as we went from dry river bed with plants growing everywhere to rocks with plants growing where they could get a good root.
 The only wildlife we saw was this rabbit.
 This was one of the rockier sections of the trail and we had to do some climbing.

That afternoon, to escape the heat, we drove to Vernal, Utah, to visit Wal-Mart and to check out the sights. Christopher ran back to the car before we could get a picture with both kids.
Of course, on the way back to Sol, we stopped at the entrance to get a group picture. There was no place to put the camera to get everyone in the pic, so Bob is the photographer.
The next day, Christopher decided to join us for a hike. We did the bottom half of Trail of Silence, added the connector to Desert Voices, and then Desert Voices along the river trail back to the campground. Bobby dropped us off at the trailhead and he spent time with DeAnna.
 Sound of Silence was rated moderate-difficult, Desert Voices was rated moderate, and River Trail was easy-moderate. This is a view of Desert Voices.
This view is from the River Trail. It was the most difficult of the trails---maybe because there was no shade and it was uphill for quite a way.
Later that afternoon, we drove Tilted Rocks car route. We saw petroglyphs along the way.
DeAnna went along with us on this hike to see the petroglyphs.
During our stay, we also made a trip to Vernal to visit Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum. They had cool dinosaurs with lots of information inside.
 Outside they had a pond display with native fish...
 ...and dinosaurs around the garden.
 We enjoyed our time at Dinosaur, but it was time to move on....Bobby was anxious to get to Washington and his next duty station.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Monarch Pass and Pitkin, Colorado

From Canon City our destination was our friends' place in Pitkin, Colorado. To get there we had to climb Monarch Pass. It wouldn't have been so bad, but workers were restriping the highway! The restriping truck and its accompanying vehicles were very slow and the road was steep with many curves! Not only did we make it to Monarch Pass, but we did so after passing the restriping team after following them for miles!
 It was time for lunch so we pulled over and got out to stretch our legs. Of course, we went in to check out the tourist souvenirs that were available.
After we finished lunch it was time to get on the road. Just before we pulled out of the rest area, here came the restriping team....definitely time to move on down the mountain! Next stop, Gunnison, Colorado. I know, Gunnison is west of Pitkin, but we needed to fill with diesel and dump our tanks---Gunnison has a free dump near the airport.

After taking care of business, we called our friends and let them know we were on our way. They met us at the bottom of their mountain and led us to our parking spot for the next few days....another friend of theirs place just north of town.

We drove to Bill and Boni's to see their place--their road was too steep for Sol. The elevation at their cabin is over 9200 feet. After a quick visit, it was back to our camp site to prepare for the next day. Bill and Boni had many adventures planned for us.

Our first adventure was riding their ATV's up the mountain. Bob rode one, Bobby and Chris another, Bill led the way and DeAnna and I rode with Boni.
 Yes, that is Chris under those goggles and that bandana. He didn't want to eat dust!

The gals were somewhat protected by the windshield. LOL
 We rode up the mountain, gaining about 2000 feet in elevation. It was quite the ride.
 Once we got back to the cabin, everyone showed off their dirt and dust!
 Then it was time to relax on the deck, cook some hot dogs and burgers and get ready for the next adventure.

We went hiking in Gunnison National Forest, next to the creek. Chris and Deanna picked out branches that Bill would help them make into walking sticks.
 Boni showed them how to woodburn the sticks so they would know whose was whose. We had a fun filled day and were ready to go back to Sol for a rest.

Our plan for the next day was horseback riding. Boni told us about a place north of Gunnison that was good for trail riding, so off we went. Instead of just DeAnna and I riding, Bob and Chris joined us. Off we go on a 2 hour trail ride!
 DeAnna's horse was Road Map because its coat looked like one.
 Chris was on RV---the horse was as big as an RV!
 I was on South Bound and when we headed back toward the stables, he tried to be 'southbound' ahead of the lead horse.
 After our trail ride, we found out that one of the stable hands used to be in the army with Bobby! He and Bobby talked while we were riding and Bobby helped with the horses while we were out.

Then it was back to Gunnison to the local brewery to meet Bill and Boni for lunch. After a great lunch we headed back to their cabin for some target shooting and game playing.
 Bill and Boni made medals for the Childre Target Shooting Competition of 2018. Chris won first with DeAnna a close second.

Finally, we played a game that was new to us, but that has been around for a long time--Spinner Dominoes. As in golf, the low score wins.  Well, I have to say, Emma, Boni's 98 year old mother, put us all to shame. She won. Unfortunately, Bobby lost and he lost so bad that he had to have his name put on the bottom of Bill's game trophy to forever be remembered as a 'Big Loser!'

We had a great time in Pitkin and look forward to visiting again. It was time for us to move on toward Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Canon City, Colorado

Our drive to Canon City was not too bad. There was a bit of traffic around Pueblo, but nothing terrible. Once in Canon City we began looking for the road to Royal Gorge. We planned to stay at the city campground near the gorge. It would be a site without hook-ups, but we had the generator for the air conditioners. And it was going to be at higher elevation where it is usually cooler. Well, let me tell you, elevation does not matter when it is 102 degrees! Yes, we ran the A/Cs a lot! At night the temperatures did dip into tolerable numbers, but during the day it was sunny and HOT!
We had a great site with good views of the surrounding mountains. There were trails going off the campground loop.
Since it was still early in the day, we drove to Royal Gorge, purchased tickets and rode the cable car across the gorge. Chris wanted to do the zipline, but it was closed due to wind.
We enjoyed our ride across the gorge. We could see the train track that runs next to the river at the bottom of the gorge.
This view of the suspension bridge was taken from the cable car.
Once on the opposite side, we saw the tourist sights and then walked back across the bridge.
It was still early in the day so we drove to Florence, Colorado, to a craft beer brewery. Bobby ordered a late lunch for the kids. Bob and Christopher enjoyed a couple of games of chess before the food arrived.
The following day the guys went toured the Dinosaur Experience while DeAnna and I went horseback riding. Well, it was a good plan, but the stables that were recommended had been sold and the new owner was not ready for customers! So DeAnna and I went back to Dinosaur Experience.
I was told that Chris really knows his dinosaurs. He could identify them from a distance and would critique the replicas.
 DeAnna and I arrived in time to see Chris and Bobby conquer the ropes course.

Both went as high at the rope went! I don't think I could have done it....just saying.
From Dinosaur Experience it was off to Skyline Drive. Bob stopped the car several times so we could get out and sightsee.

Then it was on to Canon City. The city has painted dinosaurs along the downtown streets.
We stopped for lunch at Bikes and Brews. Even though it was scorching hot outside, we enjoyed playing the outdoor games. Corn hole was first.
Then it was time for Jenga.
Then a little relaxation in the shade! It was SCORCHING HOT!
After walking around town and visiting the shops, we returned to Sol and fired up the generator so we could turn on both A/Cs.

When it cooled down, Bob, Chris and I walked one of the trails behind Sol.

Our time at Royal Gorge was over, it was time to move on to our friends' place in Pitkin, Colorado. He said that we would be cooler at his place since it is at 9200 feet! I sure hoped he was right!