Home again

Almost 1400 miles, 8 days on the road and a million memories later, we are back home. Simon was so happy to see us! The Grand Canyon was everything we expected and so much more. The weather was perfect. The campsites lovely and affordable. We plan to visit again someday but have other places on our bucket lists first. Here we are taking a break from our mule ride on the North Kaibab trail.

Today’s Excellent Adventure

We departed the North Rim yesterday following the route that got us there. We stopped for the night at Sand Creek campground right off the highway near Bluff. $7.50 with our senior discount. Set up fast, enjoyed a delicious steak dinner and went to bed early.
While enjoying our coffee, Jeff and Karen from St . Louis stopped by with their 2016 Silver Shadow. We spent a while showing our mods and sharing stories. They invited us to see them in saint Louis when we travel east this fall. Nice folks.
At the campground was a wall of petroglyphs. It’s always interesting to see this old art.
Took back roads from Monticello to Naturita ( highly recommend) then from Nucla to Delta. Then to the top of Kebler Pass and a disbursed campsite. We hoped Lost Lake was available but unfortunately not.
Tomorrow we head to Crested Butte and home. Showers will feel so good and can’t wait to see Simon!

Our day to hike

We’ve been wandering around the park getting the lay of the land and finally decided on the hike we wanted to do.
We drove out to Cape Royal and walked a couple of short paths, Angels Window( can you see the Colorado river through it?) and the connecting Cape Royal path. Just a warmup for the Cape Final trail.
It’s listed as 2.1 miles each way. Beautiful forested path through the tall ponderosa pines. When we got to the end of the trail, the views were yet again astounding. This time we had to climb up a rock cap to the top to see those views. It was very windy and Susan was not too sure about it but managed to smile while up there. We hung around for about thirty minutes before starting back. Ricks Runmeter was telling us we had already gone 2.4 miles so by the time we got to the car, we had gone nearly five miles. A great hike but we were very tired. Glad we had done some practice hikes at home.
We got back to the campground and cleaned up with our warm sun shower water including washing our hair! Feeling like humans again and ready for heading east to Colorado.

People of the campground

During our two days in the campground , we encountered a few interesting types. I’m putting this here so we won’t forget about them. First was the Odd Couple. They set up two tents. “Oscar” was done in about 20 minutes and was having a beer in his camp chair. “Felix” meanwhile had to have everything just right so he fussed and tweaked that tent until finally Oscar wrapped it up for him. We watched that for about an hour.
Then Betty Crocker was on the other side of us. Perfectly groomed and dressed and wore was frilly apron when cooking in her site.
The Creeper was across the road in a huge RV. He had a full scraggly beard and liked to walk around without his shirt on. His site was right on the path to the bathroom so you had to walk right past him coming and going. We didn’t see him leave while we were there.
Our favorite was the group of twenty somethings who got out of a rented RV at the lodge parking area. The self appointed leader said “we came all this way, we should go to the actual actual Grand Canyon. Ya know? Guess you had to be there but it was pretty funny.
Sorry no photos. Use your imagination.

Busy day

Up before dawn to pack up and drop the trailer in time to meet up for our mule ride into the canyon at 7:30. We rode about 1800 into the canyon to a place we would not hike to. Again camera cannot capture the beauty of this place. That’s Rick with Kitty our guide. We learned a lot today about the canyon and the geology.
After our ride we set up our new camp in site 16 at North Rim campground. Ate a huge lunch and crashed for about an hour.
Took a drive to point imperial the highest point in the park at 8800’. We are in awe here.
We celebrated tonight for our campsite, for being here and how lucky we are in life. Tomorrow is our last day here so we will hike and a drive to point royal for more amazing views.

Rick was feeling lucky

We headed out early to the park to get the lay of the land so to speak. We walked out to Bright Angel point to get our first view of the Grand Canyon. And grand it is! Our teachers in school never told us just how grand it is. Susan felt vertigo on the narrow parts of the path but soon got over it. Pictures don’t do it justice.
We decided to book a three hour mule trip into the canyon for tomorrow morning at 7:30. We’ll see more of the canyon on a trail we were not going to hike. Then we took a drive through the campground. On a whim, Rick said let’s go see if there are any cancellations. Sure enough, we were able to get a “premier site” on the rim for tomorrow and the next night. Score!
So it was then that he said let’s see about the Demotte campground near our disbursed site. It was raining pretty hard at this point but we found a nice site (37) for the night. Rick admitted that he really thought our disbursed site was too “uncivilized.” So here we are for one night for $11. Our site in the park is $12.50 per night.
Did I mention that our disbursed site was about 6 miles from the park gate? And then it’s another 10 miles to the lodge and campground. We will save a lot of running back and forth by getting that site in the park. Good thinking, Rick!

Site 37, Demotte campground

Visual overload

What a day! Monument Valley, Vermilion cliffs, scenic roads. Camera can’t capture what we saw today.
We found a spot to camp in the kaibab National forest but may change/move tomorrow. We found out we are near the Arizona Trail which goes from Mexico to the Utah border about 800 miles. Tomorrow we start our exploration of the North Rim.

Temperatures and time zones

When we left Salida, the expected highs were in the low 90’s. On the way to Jacob Lake, it was between 95 and 100. When we got to our campsite, it was a pleasant 73! And last night we needed an extra blanket. Probably low 50’s when we got up. At 8000’, we do not expect it to be too hot for us while we are here. We crossed into the eastern edge of the western time zone and our bodies are confused. It was dark at 7:10 last night and the sun was up around 5:45. That’s about a whole hour difference from Salida. Oh well, early to bed…

Hovenweep

Didn’t plan to stay here but we weren’t pleased with what we were seeing for disbursed camping. So here we are in the same site we stayed in last year. So quiet, hardly anyone here and clean bathroom! Best deal for $7. We miss Simon but we know he’s in great care with Sadie. Deciding our route to the north rim. Gotta get more ice.

Family Time near Steamboat Springs

Karen and Cristin and their families joined us on private land in Clark, Colorado. We went back and forth between campsites for coffee, cocktails and just hanging out.
Karen and Cristin and Jett went on a mountain bike ride on Sunday while Travis and McKenna hiked. That left Dylan and Sedona with us to hang out with Julian and Calvin. We took them for ice cream and heard lots of stories during the ride. We also fed them dinner while listening to more stories. Dylan was the best uncle!
Rick went fly fishing with Dylan in Steamboat Lake and learned more about this new venture of his.
The place we stayed had a barn on the Routt county Historic registry which was very special. There is also another smaller cabin that was recently moved there and is being restored. We dealt with the smoke from all the wildfires in California but it didn’t dampen our spirits. Just irritated our eyes and throats.
It was a fun weekend full of storytelling, throwing the football, laughing and just enjoying each other. Lucky us!

Today’s activities

After learning about a trail from campground host Steve, we headed out late morning to check it out. It’s an old stagecoach trail abandoned a long time ago. More interesting was the tribute to Bill Jeffries, Mr. Monarch Pass, who had a camp in a beautiful meadow while he engineered old monarch pass. This was summer 1920. His family set up the tribute in 2000.
We followed the trail a little further until it dead ended. When we got back down our gps showed that we were just about parallel to the start of old monarch pass. Pretty cool.
When we got back to camp, our friends Dave and Janet were there after gathering firewood. We had a nice visit while we picknicked.
We took a drive after lunch to old monarch pass just to get an idea of where we were on our hike. Walked into the ski area but couldn’t get a good look at the new paradise parking lot.
We decided to head into Salida to get mail, take a shower, water plants and resupply before going back for the night. Big thunderstorms forced us inside but not before we stowed everything away to keep dry. The Yakima awnings are working out great. Busy day!

Spontaneous trip

While Susan was in Denver visiting her daughter, Rick thought it would be a good idea to take the camper to Monarch Park for some fishing. When Susan arrived home around 5:30, they left to spend the night so Rick could fish in the morning.
Ruck was up and at ‘em early and a few minutes later announced “there’s no fish in there!” So now what?

Bishop’s Castle


Terry had never been here. It’s always fun to see the look on a first timers face. They are building a new gift shop since the other one burned down. Other than that, it looks about the same as it did the last time we were here. The owner, Jim bishop was there. First time I’d seen him there. No one was spouting rhetoric against the government or using foul language. That would have made it more interesting!
We stopped for lunch in westcliffe. Nice break before heading back to camp. Not supposed to rain today. Good thing cuz everything is all dry now. Silver lining: saw a mama bear and two Cubs on the way back. Cute.

That’s Tim at the top

Disbursed camping, westcliffe, CR 173

We looked at the weather and decided to go anyway. Tim and Terry couldn’t make it up a pretty steep incline to a site so we all decided on a site lower down that worked for us. We got set up just in time for it to start raining and at times it was a steady downpour. We were able to get a fire going and stay lit with some imaginative tarp work on Tim’s part. By 8 pm it was only dripping every now and then but everything was pretty wet. Hoping for a drier day tomorrow.
We are glad we brought our smaller canopy but it needs to be replaced. Our two awnings worked great. Silver lining: no mosquitoes!

Wildflower hike

We headed up independence pass to north fork creek. What a beautiful area! It seemed like every turn showed more and different flowers. Really too many to properly capture. Sadie and Simon enjoyed the creek more than we did! We could have gone further but we would have had to cross the creek and no one felt comfortable trying it. Great adventure!

Twin lakes

We are here for two nights with Jane and Martin and Sadie. We have the same site that we had last year and our camper and their van fit in the site.
We had goods laughs, a bit of farkle, listened to the wind howl and watched a gorgeous sunset. Our new Yakima awnings held up beautifully in the wind. Tomorrow we hike and seek out some wildflowers.

Encampment, WY

We went to the parade which it seemed the whole town came out for. Very much like the one in Salida on the 4th of July. It lasted about 15 minutes.
We stopped at a yard sale which was really a gun sale. It was put on by a Vietnam vet (said so on his hat) and all his buddies. Rifles, handguns, knives and other related items were displayed for sale. We wondered if they were doing background checks on the buyers.
The “camping” at the “RV” park was a new experience for us. The camper next to us housed a family from Cody, WY. They came to compete in the woodcutter competition. As the daughter said, “we compete a lot “
The wind howled all night long. We were so ready to go home that we left after the parade. It’s always nice to see the Welcome to Colorado sign.

We thought this sign was funny.

Our campsite and neighbors

Local kids. There were twelve of them in that truck.

Town of Encampment

We took Don’s word and stopped at the visitor’s center in Riverside which is one mile from enchantment. Gary told us about camping at the city park. He also told us about The Parade in the morning at 9 ahead of the wood cutter competition and rodeo. Yeehaw!We headed over to the park and grabbed a site. No charge but donations accepted. Flush toilet and electric hookup. We quickly unloaded, set up nothing and went to find some food.
We quickly realized that we had been to riverside once before and to the Bear Claw restaurant. The menu however was very limited and both of us were “hangry” so we left to find a different place with better choices.
The Divide fit the bill and we enjoyed a lovely steak dinner on their outdoor patio. We are road weary and looking forward to being home tomorrow. The weather has cooled a bit tonight so we are hoping for a good night’s sleep.

Travel day

We were on the road by 9 not sure of our destination. We stopped in Laramie for a short break and ended up visiting with “Don”. We were at “his” lunch table that he eats at every day. He told us all about himself, age 74, single, retired. He believes that 30 minutes a day talking to others is important so we fulfilled his daily goal. He strongly suggested we stay in the town of Encampment tonight. We’ll see. The drive over we think was Snowy pass was so beautiful. So much snow everywhere. There were a couple of campgrounds, one was closed and the other did not appeal to us.
We went up to Saratoga, a town we had been to on our first motorcycle trip in 2009. We remembered it but it seemed much bigger. On to Encampment.

Thoughts about Guernsey

Our two days here were unexpectedly pleasant. Our site on this point gave us privacy and space. The ability to easily get into the cool water was delightful. Even Simon went down for a dip all by himself!
This site was most likely where a summer cabin was a long time ago. The long driveway, the concrete steps on both sides of the point and remnants of some sort of dock made us wonder what happened here. There’s evidence of a fire on the hills along the opposite banks so maybe this place was a victim of fire. What a great spot for a summer place! We were really fortunate to get this one.
We did realize however that having some sort of watercraft would make this place ideal.
The birds were so fun to watch and listen to. There was one bright orange small one that chirped in front of me for at least 5 minutes before flying away. The duck family in our cove was another special treat as they followed mom to the other side.
The trains that ran back and forth all day and night were more interesting than annoying. Where does all that coal go? And fedex uses trains?
Relaxing, fishing, sightseeing and reading our books made these two days seem like a real vacation. We won’t miss the Wyoming wind but the sunsets were sure pretty.

Oregon trail ruts and Fort Laramie

We started our day early while it was still relatively comfortable. The ruts were amazing and as we walked on them and through them we realized it was such an example of the human desire to go and finish something. Just being in that space made me humble.
We then went to Fort Laramie but it was already too hot. We slowly visited most of the buildings while listening to the audio tour. Pretty interesting but too hot to fully enjoy.
Rick bought a one day fishing license since we see large fish at our beach. We filled up our coolers with fresh ice then came back to our campsite and cooling off at the beach. We saw those fish but they wouldn’t take Rick’s bait. We made Simon swim some more and just hung out there for the rest of the afternoon. It was 98 degrees when we got back.
We are heading west tomorrow away from the prairie and back towards Colorado. Not sure of the exact route yet.

Mormon hand/push carts.

Replica wagon

Guernsey State Park

We got here about 11:00 and snagged a site with its own beach! It’s about 30 steps (concrete) and the water felt so good! We even got Simon out in it and he swam back – so we can swim!
It was almost 100 degrees and we really didn’t have the energy to go to Fort Laramie. We took a drive around the park (in air conditioning!) and saw some historic spots. One was The Castle built in the 1930’s. It’s really a picnic spot with a great view.
Then as a special treat, we cvc took showers! Felt so good c have clean hair again. When we got back to our campsite, we sat at “our beach” and waited for the sun to go down a bit. We are going to Fort Laramie tomorrow. Finally the Oregon Trail sites!

You can see our white canopy and stairs to “our beach “

The castle

Happy face

Rick at our beach

Vedauwoo campground

We left our campsite by 8:15 happy to be away from the dirty road. The drive along the Cache de Poudre river was spectacular. Couldn’t capture it on my camera.
We listened to Siri and followed a turnoff on 287 and it was like being on the moon. 11 miles later we crossed under 1-80 into the campground.
We got the last back in spot at 11:30. This place is popular! Beautiful rock formations created by a volcano billions of years ago. Very difficult to capture the beauty here.
It is very hot today. Almost 100 degrees. We are heading to Guernsey State Park tomorrow which will put us near the Oregon Trail sites. It’s supposed to be hot all week. Depending on the site we get will determine which way we go from there.

Monday drive

We headed out this morning to possibly do some fishing and maybe find another campsite. We found more evidence of the Cameron peak wildfire but no place to fish.
Heading east on highway 14, we did find more campgrounds but none as good as the one we have. We then looked for Red Feather Lakes which our map showed had four campgrounds in that area. Many of the roads are closed and burned out from the fire. It was pretty alarming. We decided to stay put for tonight.
We did find some fishing towards the top of Cameron pass. Rick caught a fish but we couldn’t identify it. Later we found some storyboards that explained about the green back cutthroat and the arctic grayling. It was probably one of them.
We are planning to go to Vedawoo campground tomorrow which is in the Medicine Bow National Forest near Laramie, Wyoming. It’s getting hot.

Cameron Lakes CG

We decided to head to Red Feather Lakes along Hwy 14 from Walden. We didn’t realize until we got to Cameron Pass that this was the location of the Cameron peak wildfire in 2020, Colorado’s largest. The devastation was sadly obvious. Many of the forest roads leading to possible campsites were closed.
One road on the east side of the pass was open and we were able to find a very nice spot, just a bit challenging to move the camper around in. But here we are and we’re going to stay for at least two nights while we explore the area. The mosquitoes are on a mission to chase us away though.

Clear Creek Reservoir

We spent two days and nights at the campground which is all disbursed camping. Our site was fairly secluded but the campground filled up pretty fast.
Rick got his new Yakima awning and spent the afternoon adding it to the camper.
We tried fishing the first morning with no luck. We thought we’d see what type of camping was further up the road.
There are several disbursed camping spots that start around 10 miles from the reservoir. The best ones were between the ghost towns of Vicksburg and Winfield. We did a little sightseeing along the way.
We spent the second day reviewing our camping equipment and making a list of things we need to replace. Also did some discussing where things might better be stored.
Tried fishing at the other side of the reservoir again with no luck. But it was more about the walk there (maybe two miles?) than the fishing.
We packed up before the rain started and headed home. We’ve got some projects ahead before we head to Wyoming and the Oregon Trail in a week or so.

Day 2 at Zapata falls campground

The morning started out sunny but cool. We took our time having breakfast and coffee. The weather forecast was not promising but we headed out to the falls trailhead and hike anyway. Glad we did. Hike was short and moderately steep but the weather was still nice. Falls were frozen and we had to carefully step through a cold stream to get to the bottom of the falls. I didn’t trust my balance on the slick rocks but Rick went on ahead. Simon was pretty upset when Rick disappeared around the corner. I hope to make that hike again perhaps in warmer weather.
Upon returning to our campsite, we noticed the weather starting to change. It didn’t concern us so we took a drive around the campground just to explore other possible sites for us. The weather changed very quickly and it was snowing hard when we got back. Everything was covered in snow. We decided to quickly pack up and leave. That took less than 30 minutes and we were on the road back down. I didn’t get pictures of the snow since we were too busy packing up. I did get a shot of the landscape looking up to where the campground is – just below those open fields. Nice campground, respectful campers. Not its fault that it snowed!

Zapata Falls Campground

This is a first come first serve national forest Campground. We are in site 22 which we think is one of the nicest here. $11 per night (50% off with pass) so very reasonable. No water but bathrooms and best boxes. Amazing views of the San Luis valley and the Zapata falls trailhead is right near our site.
Downside of the campground is that all the sites are on the road. The cars go by and kick up dust. We have the trailer and car between the road and us so we feel somewhat private. We are here for two nights so I will probably have more to say about it.

Our new idea

Inside is Rick’s potty chair. I have one too but it’s next to the camper for easy late night trips. The restroom here is gross so I’m glad we have this!

First outing of 2021

We are on our way to Wellsville just a few miles down the road. We are a reservation at Point Barr Campground. It will be a good place for our annual shakedown cruise.
We’re in site 1704 which would not have been our choice but it was supposedly the only one available. 1701 is nicer. But then it’s only one night.
I seem to be in a fog about where things go and my set up for my kitchen. It was very windy so I didn’t want to set everything up. We finally for dinner cooked and cleaned up. Then we took our usual walk around the campground. Met a couple with Aspen, clearly mostly wheaten terrier. To bed early and the wind died down.

Page, Arizona and Monument Valley

We stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam which was created to hold back the Colorado River to make Lake Powell. Susan had been here before and she was still stunned at the beauty of the place even though we only saw a little bit of it.
She scrambled down on the sandstone cliffs to nearly the waters edge. Simon ran back and forth between us since Rick chose not to make the hike. She got some pretty cool photos and a couple of souvenirs. It really is a magical place.
We resupplied in Page and headed to Hovenweep National Monument. But just before getting there, we drove through Monument Valley. Amazing landscape once again. Photos cannot capture. We arrived at Hovenweep, selected a campsite and decided to stay for two nights.

Ruins trail

One nice thing about Hovenweep is that Simon is allowed on all the trails. But having been to Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, we came away disappointed with the level of ruins. We were not able to go in the ruins and due to COVID there are no tours. And the park ranger was unfriendly. But We did the 1.5 mile hike and went back to camp to hang out. The weather is perfect-60 degrees.

Hovenweep

Here we are in site 29 taking pictures of the nearly full moon. We had a good dinner and decided to hike in the morning and ride bikes in the afternoon. It’s nice not to have to break down camp in the morning.

Sleeping in the Desert

After leaving Bryce, the weather got much warmer. Susan was a bit anxious about where we were going to stay so when we saw a road we took it. We had to go through one hunters gate and two ranch gates to get to someplace acceptable to both of us. Not much to look at but it was quiet and free so we stayed. We both agreed we’d leave by 8:00 the next morning. We were on the road by 7:50, a new record for us!

Torrey to Bryce

It was worth it to stay in an RV park last night. It was cold but we were warm inside just using our ceramic 12v heater. We watched 60 minutes and had peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.
The road to Bryce from Torrey is stunning. The landscape changed constantly from alpine trees to desert canyons to green farmland. We are amazed since we didn’t expect that.
We booked a room for tonight so we could take real showers and stay warm. It’s supposed to be 9 degrees tonight.
We checked out the campground in the park and will go there tomorrow. A hike is on the agenda for sure!

Weather moved in

These two pictures were taken this morning on the absolutely beautiful drive from natural bridges to Hanksville. Just when we got there, the weather changed and it started raining. We checked out a couple of motels and the local rv park but opted to go to Torrey and stay at a local rv park there. Another beautiful drive and as soon as we got to Torrey, it started SNOWING! We quickly unloaded the trailer putting everything under the car and are hunkered down using our inside heater for the first time. Hope we stay warm!Stay tuned.