Montrose to Dinosaur National Monument

Montrose has grown so much over the years. We used to live 70 miles north and went through Montrose often going back and forth to see family in Colorado Springs. I always thought it and Gunnison looked similar and were about the same size. Not anymore as Montrose just keeps growing and growing. If someone held a gun to my head and said I had to live in Colorado and to choose a town, it would be Montrose. This western side of Colorado is not nearly as congested as the Denver/Colorado Springs corridor and I think it is much prettier and has closer access to more beautiful mountains.

The reason we stopped in Montrose was to visit friend Janet who had recently relocated from the Oregon coast. She and her boys had just moved into a new townhouse less than two weeks prior to our visit and although she didn’t ask, Steve made some repairs for her and installed a new kitchen faucet.

While in Montrose, we stayed two nights at a nearby municipal park that allows free RV parking and as an added bonus it was quiet and on the Uncompaghre River that has a few miles of walking and biking trails.

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One day we all drove to the next town south,Ridgway. It is a cute little western styled town with wonderful views of the San Juan mountains, also known as Little Switzerland. Ridgway has an old western cafe called True Grit for John Wayne whose movie of the same name was made in the area. The walls are covered with his pictures and movie posters. We had eaten at True Grit several years previous and knew it had great food. I was jealous of Steve and Janet with their tacos,burgers, and sweet potato fries but stuck to the vegan offering on the menu which although healthy, wasn’t too good. So I made up for it afterwards with bread pudding and rum sauce. Absolute heaven! The best bread pudding I have ever had and enough for all three of us to share.

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Normally the views of the San Juans are stunning from Ridgway but the weather did not cooperate on this day.

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This is an old picture, so old I had to scan it, taken from Ridgeway State Park of the San Juans.

Our next stop was Grand Junction but just for one night as the next morning we had a new windshield installed. The upper corner of the windshield shattered and the cause was torquing or flexing the body of the motorhome due to incorrect use of the levelers. I could write an entire post on all the things that have gone wrong in this motorhome and in each case it was human caused. Sigh……

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Next we headed to Dinosaur National Monument in the corners of NW Colorado and NE Utah. Because Grand Junction is well west of big mountains, I assumed the drive north to Dinosaur would be flat and I didn’t do my homework which unfortunately is now necessary with a bigger motorhome and tow vehicle. There was a pass to cross called Douglas where the climb seemed to go on forever with many very sharp and steep hairpin turns. I did get nervous.

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Near the top of Douglas Pass

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It is much farther down than it looks.

I have never been interested in going to Dinosaur National Monument because I thought the area would be very desolate and barren and also I don’t care to see bones, no matter how old they are. But we were tired of driving the same familiar highways to the northwest and decided to try something different. It was a big surprise to find out the area is just beautiful with multi-colored cliffs, the swift flowing Green River, and even some mountains.

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This is Split Mountain Campground with mostly tents but it is where the rafters enter the river

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So many colors in every direction

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The Green River isn’t green here – maybe somewhere else along it’s course?

We stayed at the Green River National Park Service campground in a shady spot along the river. No hookups but there was good water and bathrooms and best of all the price was a very reasonable $9 per night with our Golden Age Pass.

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Horses across the swift river from our campsite

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Green River Campground from above

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Great views of Split Mountain from the campground

After Dinosaur the plan was to drive to the Flaming Gorge. This time I did my homework and should not have. Several of the RV forums had threads about the highway from Vernal, Utah through the Flaming Gorge and recommendations NOT to drive it with a motorhome as it was steep and winding. I looked at Google Maps terrain feature and it looked like we had to go straight up a steep mountain. What to do? Should we detour way out of the way?