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Old 05-18-2009, 10:51 PM   #43
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Day 10 Additional Pics

A few more pics from today's travels.

Hope you're enjoying these as much as we enjoyed taking them.

Chief

Pic #1 - The view from our dining room during today's lunch stop
Pic #2 - Another one of those boring rest areas
Pics #3 & 4 - The country gets a bit more rugged in Western Colorado
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:33 AM   #44
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Great pictures. Feels like home. How do we old guys get the young wives? Looks like Lake Dillon in the background, a big part of Denver's water supply.

My allergies are pretty bad in western Colorado. Dust from the dryness plus whatever grows in this part of the country, plus ozone from all the gas drilling irritates noses. Even young Barb suffers sometimes and never did elsewhere.

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Old 05-19-2009, 06:35 AM   #45
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Great pictures Chief. Looks like truly beautiful country. Look forward to seeing if for myself one day. If only I had the kind of time retirement allows.

Keep us on the trip with you, we ARE enjoying the trip as much as you are!
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:02 AM   #46
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Day 11

Today was a nice surprise. I have to be honest, when we arrived in Grand Junction, CO last evening…..I thought it was going to be a mistake…..hot, dry, dusty and my allergies were in high gear. But, the morning brought cooler weather, and I must be adjusting to whatever is irritating my sinuses. After a leisurely morning we headed to the old downtown area of Grand Junction. It is a quaint strip of specialty shops, antiques, and sidewalk cafes/bistros that run the gamut from fresh bagels to fine Italian dining. We chose a fifties-type for lunch. There are some very impressive sculptures, strategically located all along the street…..the whole area is very well done.

After lunch we headed to the Colorado National Monument (CNM). I had briefly read a bit about it, but we were not prepared for the size and “wow” factor. We have been to the Grand Canyon a few times, and both agree that we like the CNM better. The CNM rises over 2,000 feet above the Grand Valley of the Colorado River. It embraces 32 square miles of rugged up-and-down terrain. Rim Rock Drive has 23 miles of breathtaking views, and for this old dude…..the sheer drop-offs and no guard rails really reminded me once again of my fear of heights……my heart wasn’t only pounding from the altitude. While we were there, a sudden thunderstorm came along, complete with wind, lightning, and some small hail. We sat it out in a scenic pull-off, and within minutes of its passing….the roads were almost dry…..amazing. The second one caught us on a short hike….but, we didn’t get wet enough to complain. It was another day of 100+ digital photos. We had planned to spend tomorrow touring/tasting some of the many vineyards in the area, but have now decided to put on our hiking boots and head back to the CNM…..we can sample wine anytime, but rarely get the opportunity to experience something as impressive as the CNM. Unfortunately, the photos that I have attached can never convey the depth and beauty of this park.

Chief

Pic #1 - Lunch on the sidewalk, downtown Grand Junction
Pic #2 - Jennifer's new friend....a chrome buffalo, I believe it was made from automobile bumpers
Remaining Pics - Colorado National Monument
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:40 AM   #47
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If you are heading north to Craig, you might want to check out the Flattops Senic Byway. It runs between Meeker and Yampa and is well worth the time. I personally think the Yampa side is the prettiest side.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:00 PM   #48
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Absolutely gorgeous Chief.

Question: Is the tunnel big enough for the Airstream to pass through or was this a day trip with the Airstream left in the camp for the day?
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:09 PM   #49
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Tom,
Thanks.....it's difficult trying to decide which photos to discard. The tunnel photo is a bit of an optical illusion......there was actually a motohome in the campground at the top. We were on a day trip without the Stream....I'm sure it would have fit through the tunnel. Now, the real question is.......could I have managed not to have driven off the side of one of those sheer cliffs????
Chief
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:53 PM   #50
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Day 12

We got a bit of a late start on the day, as laundry (amazing how much) and household duties took up the morning. Fortunately the KOA has a large laundry room with many modern washers and dryers, so it went quickly.

Jennifer packed lunch and drinks, and it was off to the Colorado National Monument again. Since we had stopped at the Visitor’s Center, and many of the scenic pull-offs yesterday, we could bypass a lot and get directly to the hiking trails. First one was a breeze that took us to some really fantastic, but scary, views. The second was supposed to be a 1.5 mile, 1 ˝ hr hike to the Devil’s Kitchen (a huge room shaped rock formation). What the park brochure fails to mention is that the last 1/3 is more like mountain climbing than hiking. It did kick my butt, and although Jenn is a bit younger, she was also struggling with it. The end result was worth it, but I was getting worried that we had forgotten the cell phones and Jenn would have had a hard time dragging me out of the place. The great thing about being here now is that the park is almost deserted….we only met one other couple on the second trail….no one on the first. You can really enjoy the solitude and scenery without interruptions.

This probably will be the last post for a few days. We’re off to Bryce Canyon tomorrow….two nights at Ruby’s Campground (may have wifi), and two nights at the National Park Campground. Next stop will be Zion for two nights and then on to Vegas.

See ya down the road!
Chief

Pic #1 - KOA site in Grand Junction
Pics #2 - 4 - More great Park scenery
Pics #5 & 6 - Along the hiking trails
Pic #7 - Devil's Kitchen
Pic #8 - One tired old dude
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:25 PM   #51
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Glad to know you were willing to host 12 people for lunch on your dime. I will keep that tidbit tucked away for future reference. Great pics. Glad you two are having a great time.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:35 PM   #52
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I'm enjoying your trip report. Your pictures are stunning! I keep telling my hubby how much fun you and your wife are having in your 25' AS.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:56 PM   #53
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Familiar places in GJ area! Main St. Bagels is a popular gathering place and it looks like you had lunch there. We just missed each other although we probably won;t be going to GJ for a week or so; when you live out in the boonies (yes we have indoor plumbing), we have go to a city for provision from time to time. If you think Colorado NM is good, you should see Arches and Canyonland NP's. And Natural Bridges NM (those hikes will get to you—the altitude may be catching up with you, it's not necessarily old age). And Capital Reef NP and a very nice campground. For scary heights, Black Canyon NP (gets to me too); although the north rim is about 10 miles from our house the south rim (from Montrose) has better views. Highway 92 along the south rim (outside the NP) from Crawford to Blue Mesa Dam (on the way to Gunnison and US 50) has spectacular views. Escalante NM is quite a place. You can spend months around here and in southern Utah. Bryce and Zion ain't bad either. Bryce is not really a canyon by the way. One route to Zion requires you to wait until they let RV's through and some roads aren't open to private vehicles during high season; not sure when that starts. You just have to keep coming back and coming back.

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Old 05-22-2009, 09:53 PM   #54
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Days 13 & 14

Nice surprise….Ruby’s Campground has wifi. Yesterday we drove across some pretty desolate country in Utah……when the sign reads “Next Services 100 miles”…..better heed the warning. The services that are available are there to rape unwary travelers…..85 octane at $2.59. Fortunately, we managed our gas so that we didn’t have to pay those prices.

Followed a mint ’78 Argosy the last 50 miles to Ruby;s Campground near the front entrance to Bryce Canyon….owners said they have had it since new. We’re situated around 8,000 ft. and still haven’t acclimated to the altitude. Today was supposed to be a quick drive along the canyon rim in the morning, followed by a half-day horseback ride in the afternoon. Unfortunately, rain moved in and changed our horse-riding plans……might have been a blessing…..four hours on a horse might have kept me in bed tomorrow. BTW, do you know how cold the rain is at 9,100 ft and 43 degrees? We did manage a lot of sightseeing around the park, did the Visitor Center Tour and roamed around the lodge and gift stores. We are now prepared to do some hiking during the rest of our stay…..weather permitting.

Tomorrow we move to the North Campground inside the park…..five miles away. The next two days will be dry camping, but I will like the location better (Jenn prefers the amenities of full hookups). The campground we are presently in is just too close for my taste. Jenn has mentioned that a 30-day trip may be too long…..I suppose we need to get to Vegas soon and a taste of civilization (I know that Vegas barely qualifies).

Chief

Pic #1 - On the road in Utah....could have been on the moon
Pic #2 - Too close campsite at Ruby's Campground
Pic #3 - Natural bridge in Bryce Canyon
Pic #4 - "Hoo Doos" in Bryce Canyon
Pic #5 - The road through Red Canyon
Pic $6 - Red Canyon view
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:20 AM   #55
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Chief, Barb prefers all the amenities more than I do, so we compromise and get all the amenities (the secret to a good marriage). Over the years I have been accepting more and more amenities and getting used to them, so now I'm as responsible as she is.

Great photos—brings back good memories of our trips too. And yes, we don't get much in the way of warm rains here.

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Old 05-24-2009, 07:34 PM   #56
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Days 15 & 16

It seems like we all have those days that question our decision to travel by RV……day 15 was one of those. This was our day to move from Ruby’s full-hookup campground to the North Campground inside the National Park (dry camping)……translation: the tanks have to be well flushed, and a full tank of fresh water must be onboard. There was a steady drizzle all night, with temps around 47 degrees. Checkout time was 12:00 and I decided to wait until the last minute to move the short five miles…..the longer I waited, the harder it rained….and, the muddier our campsite became. Finally, I could wait no longer, donned the rain jacket and commenced to entertain the people in the next campsite…..who were enjoying their morning coffee outside under their awning. It is a bit difficult to complete all the necessary tasks, in the rain, while simultaneously answering questions about the Airstream. Turns out the folks were pretty nice, and even helped remove the leveling blocks when I pulled forward. Next stop was to fill the propane bottle…..again, in the rain. I had been having trouble with the water heater staying lit, and the flame on the stove was not very strong…..thought we might be running out of propane. Still raining when we arrived at our next campsite……decided to just leave it hitched until the weather improved. Since we have not used the furnace in a long time, figured it should be tested…..ran for a bit, then would not restart…..Uh, Oh…..this is serious, we really need the furnace for the next couple of nights. Screwed around with all the fuses…..wanted to check the circuit board outside, but still raining OK, let’s change directions and see if the water heater is working better, now that I have a new propane bottle…….still constantly relighting. Deployed the awning so I could investigate, and to protect the generator that I had just fired up. Discovered, by accident, that the water heater worked fine with the door open…..must need to adjust the air flow. Got out my handy-dandy multi-function tool, and immediately sliced my thumb…..this day is not getting any better. Managed to adjust the airflow on the water heater without losing too much blood……who would have noticed……the rain would have washed it away. I finally went back inside the nice dry trailer and told Jenn that I needed some attitude adjustment. So, although we have seen it many times, we put the “Long, Long Trailer” in the DVD player….after a couple of hours of watching Lucy and Desi’s troubles, we felt better…..the rain had also stopped, and the sun was trying to peek through the clouds. Decided to try the furnace again, and miraculously it worked just fine…..must have been air in the lines…..who knows, who cares. We put on our boots and went for a hike along the canyon rim……determined that the day wasn’t going to be a total loss.

Day 16 was a slow start…..leisurely breakfast…..and, well, just being lazy. This campground is really quiet…..sites are spaced nicely. We finally did get on the road, in brilliant sunshine, to visit areas of the park that we had previously missed. With this being Memorial Day weekend, there are a lot of people here…..many more tour buses than I would have thought. However, we haven’t really experienced any delays or problems……this park has been a wonderful experience, despite a few weather problems. Tomorrow we head to Zion.

Chief
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