9/1/15 to 9/11/15 (13,300 miles)
On September 1, we left Colter Bay to drive to Rock Springs, WY. This was a long drive through unremarkable landscapes. Stephen drove and everyone else read or napped. On Wednesday we stopped at Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area on the Green River. It is spectacular scenery, and we were also treated to the sight of some big horn sheep that have been reintroduced to the area. We spent Wednesday night in Vernal, UT.
Thursday took us to Dinosaur National Monument, where many, many dinosaur bones washed down a river and piled up in one place. Work has been done to expose the bones on the side of what is now a hill and to stabilize the hillside. They present a magnificent sight.
On Friday we made it to Moab, which is so blessed with natural wonders that making choices is difficult. Jean, Viky and Stephen drove into Arches National Park and hiked to several of the more spectacular arches. Donna and Gus stayed at the Fox, since the National Park Service doesn’t allow dogs on trails.
Viky had learned to love S’Mores as a counselor at a camp in the eastern USA, so we had campfires along the way and introduced Jean to this sticky treat.
Viky needed an adrenalin rush, so she scheduled a sky dive for Saturday morning. The weather was perfect, and so was the dive. She enjoyed it, and the rest of us were relieved when she was once again standing on the ground with us.
After the sky dive, we drove to Cortez, NM, to one of our favorite campgrounds. This is a KOA located next to the Cortez Animal Shelter, and there is a large dog park here. Gus had a wonderful time chasing around with other dogs. Viky tried to teach him to swim (He wouldn’t get into water where his feet didn’t touch the ground.) and criticized him for doing a “lady wee” instead of lifting his leg, but she called him Gussie Pants, and he adored her.
On Saturday evening we went to the Cortez Cultural Center to watch two Native Americans dance some traditional First Nation dances, sing, and play drums and a flute. They were good at the performance and very educational in their presentation, both being teachers. Norman is a Lakota Sioux, and Ramona is a Navajo. So Jean and Viky had photos with cowboys and Indians.
Monday’s drive was to Curecanti National Recreation Area, across the Million Dollar Highway and through Ouray. Stephen has a book that describes various mountain passes in the western USA, and, had he read the book before we drove the road, we would have gone through Telluride instead of Ouray. There are many sharp hairpin turns, a narrow road with the edges crumbling into the valley, and three mountain passes. Still, he and his 35 foot Fifth Wheel made the trip with a lot of bikers and few other RV’s. Ouray is such a fun little town, and it was hopping on this Labor Day. We cruised the street, Viky bought a ring, and then we had lunch on a patio with a guitar-playing singer.
The trip on to Elk Creek Campground in Curecanti National Recreation Area was uneventful and, as the area is in the rain shadow of the western range of the Rocky Mountains, was not especially scenic after Flaming Gorge and Arches National Park. Prairie dogs and bears inhabit this area, so there were still hopes of seeing Yogi and BooBoo.
On September 8 we drove to Black Canyon of the Gunnison for some hiking and viewing. On the way, we watched some cowboys and their dogs move a herd of steers.
Black Canyon is a starkly beautiful area with viewpoints overlooking the Gunnison River far below. As we finished the Rim Rock Trail hike, we saw a mule deer doe nursing two fawns. They must have known it wasn’t hunting season, because our presence didn’t alarm them.
Three campers decided to take a boat trip from Curecanti National Recreation Area down the Gunnison River into the gorge. Donna looked at the 232 steps down (and back up) the canyon wall to get to the boat and volunteered to wash dishes and prepare the RV to be moved to Breckenridge later in the day.
Although no bears were spotted from the boat, the sailors reported a wonderful trip with a good guide and a good captain. The view of the gorge from the bottom was very different from the top.
We moved on to Breckenridge where we had a lazy time of visiting a brewery and shopping along the main street. This was a difficult day as we learned of the death of Stephen’s good friend and cycling mate, Tim Landry. The news hit us both very hard as Tim was such a lively, funny man. In the afternoon Stephen did a bike ride and thought about all Tim had meant to him.
Jean and Viky shopped in Breckenridge and bought a pair of cowboy boots for Viky and some gifts for friends.
Then, of course, came the time to attempt to fit everything into suitcases and prepare for departure. This is always a challenge, given that bags are fairly full when guests arrive, and then people acquire things during their stay. At least this in an exercise only in engineering (Everything must go in somewhere.) and not in decision (What shall I take?) We were sorry to see the Burtons depart. Gus was devastated to lose his BFF. He declined to eat his tea and took to his bed.
We never saw Yogi and BooBoo, so the Burtons will need to make a return trip.