Flaming Gorge

Highway 191 to the Flaming Gorge was an easy drive and nothing to worry about.  It did climb for quite a while but the so-called switchbacks were wide and gradual.  Once we reached the south end of the gorge we opted to drive along the west side.

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Flaming Gorge is the largest reservoir in Wyoming but his part of the gorge is in Utah. We thought the Utah side was the prettiest.  That is Steve driving in front of me because we thought towing would be difficult which it would not have been after all.

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Every place we have been has evidently had a good amount of rain. So nice to see instead of the usual brown, particularly in Wyoming.

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We stayed in the gorge at the Lucerne Valley Campground. It is a national park service campground and marina making for plenty of space between motorhomes and reasonable prices.  For some reason I neglected to get pictures of the lake right out front but you can see the faintest strip of blue in front of the mountains. This campground is used mostly by boaters that spend their days on the lake.

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We worked one whole day in the kitchen cooking dishes to have for travel days.  This is a bread with no flour and contains flax seeds, chia seeds, nuts, oatmeal, psyllium husk, and a few other goodies.

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We got up early this morning for what was planned to be a long driving day. However…..

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You wouldn’t believe how many pictures I have taken of Steve on the ground lately: Fixing a leak under the sink, cleaning my Belgian throw rug that a carafe of coffee spilled on, taking apart the steering column because the GPS cord got jammed in there somehow, and on the floor in front of the slide trying to figure out why it was making little grooves in the floor (tiny gravel).  

I took the above picture this morning when Steve was troubleshooting why one of our leveling jacks wouldn’t go up. Steve thought it was a gear which is more difficult than an electrical problem to repair.  I was reading everything I could on the internet on how to fix it but then had to go to the office because we were going past our checkout time. The lady in the office said “no problem, your site is free for the next 4 days if you need to stay.” Then her husband hopped on his golf cart and dashed over to help Steve. His solution was different and much easier than any I found on the internet.  They wired the jack up so it wouldn’t fall, then drove to a ditch, positioned Alice where the jack hung over the ditch, and took the wire off so the jack would fall out. It’s not a permanent fix but at least we could leave and go somewhere for a repair. We just have to find level places to overnight in the meantime.

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?

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

In March we drove back from Mexico and through Utah rather quickly so that Steve could go to Kansas after his mother broke her hip, which is healing nicely.  It turned out not to be as serious as Steve thought.because she was up and walking the day after surgery. 

I haven’t posted pictures of the remainder of our drive home and shall show you a few today.  Actually,  I got the idea last night because I was deleting most of the pictures due to the sky having that bright, white, flat cloud cover.  Normally I won’t  take pictures if the lighting is horrible but the visit to Capitol Reef National Park probably won’t happen again so I took a few anyway and played around with my photo editing software.

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The rock formations along scenic highway 12 change every few miles and sometimes very quickly and dramatically. 

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Approaching Capitol Reef National Park.  Whereas, Zion and Bryce had their share of tourists, Capitol Reef was close to deserted.  There is no entrance fee to see this park.

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Prior to leaving the park we took a short hike but otherwise didn’t stay long before we made tracks going north.

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  Poor cows have little to eat in this very desolate area.

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Upon our approach to this hill it at first looked like a huge mound of mine tailings.

Further news:  We are making our excursion to some beautiful waterfalls early next week unless something comes up.  I’ve been exercising everyday so that I won’t embarrass myself by not being able to make the one mile steep hike.

I’m still not eating meat, dairy, or egg products.  However, I will cheat with shrimp occasionally as we still have some left from Mexico.  I also might eat some salmon now and then.  Last week I cut out oil, margarine, and refined sugar because my weight loss has been at a 10 pound standstill.

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Escalante Grand Staircase, Utah

We continued on Scenic Byway 12 to Escalante Grand Staircase after leaving Bryce National Park. The  rock formations, colors, and scenery in this area are spectacular.  I don’t want to repeat information already available on the internet about Escalante so if you are interested you can read about it here:  http://www.utah.com/nationalsites/grand_staircase.htm

One of the things I have wanted to do for years was make the 6 mile round trip hike to Calf Creek Falls. You can see quite a few pictures of these falls by looking on Google images.  That is where the picture below was found.  I wished I could say I saw the falls and took this picture but we were in a hurry to get home so that Steve could go to Kansas.

There is a campground at Calf Creek Falls Recreation area that we originally planned to stay in to do the hike but as it is, all we did was look down on the canyon from the side of the highway.

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This picture was taken a little farther down the highway.  There are four wheel drive trails at Escalante and now that we have the perfect tow vehicle I hope we can go back.   

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Boulder was isolated for many years and was the last incorporated town in the US to receive it’s mail by mule train.  Snow and mud closed the Boulder mountain road 6 months of every year but it was finally paved in 1985 allowing vehicles to traverse the pass year round.

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                              View from the top of Boulder mountain.