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  • Oct11

    Moody Day @ Black Canyon of the Gunnison

    October 11 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    I’m not totally sure we did the right thing by going to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison today. Sure, the overcast skies and the often gusty winds fit the somber mood of the canyon. But the lack of sunlight dulled the scenery most of the time and hid details that were concealed in the crevices of the canyon walls.

    On the other hand, we were just 30 miles or so from the Black Canyon. It would have been a shame not to at least do a quick look-see visit. We had just two days left before we’d be leaving the area. Since Mui prefers an easy day close-to-home before moving from one place to another, we’d either have to go today ... or not. So, we went.

    Geologist Wallace Hansen said of this amazing place — “... no other North American canyon combines the depth, narrowness, sheerness, and somber countenance of the Black Canyon.” What a perfect description. That said, give me the Grand Canyon anytime,

    From various signage posted around the park, we gleaned that the canyon’s birth is in part due to the Gunnison Uplift. That movement raised the rocks some 2 million years ago. Then, the Gunnison River began cutting through the rock, assisted by floodwaters and abrasive sediments carried by those waters. Moisture entering joints and fractures helped with the weathering of the rock, causing it to break apart and tumble down the tall cliffs. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Today, as the Gunnison continues to carve a path through the rock, the Black Canyon measures some 2,300 feet deep at the Painted Wall ... deeper elsewhere. It ranges from 40 feet wide at the bottom near the Narrows and 1,100 feet wide rim to rim at the Chasm. Those are impressive numbers by any canyon’s standards.

    We didn’t feel like driving two hours each way just to get to the North Rim of the canyon today. So, we focused on the South Rim, the entrance to which is just outside Montrose. The National Park Service ranger at the visitor center told us that the curvy, slow-speed South Rim Drive is 6 miles and that we could do it in 15 minutes if we didn’t stop. Yeah, right! We stopped at all but two of the overlooks and did the drive in 2 hours!

    There weren’t that many visitors when we arrived at the park at 9:00a. But that changed pretty quickly. Nonetheless, we easily found a parking spot at each stop and encountered only a few people on the paths to the overlooks. Some of the paths were shorter than others. None were very long. But the steps all added up to a significant chunk of distance and gave us a chance to stretch our legs on our stop-and-go drive.

    My favorite view of the Black Canyon was at the Painted Wall. Nearby signage described it as the highest cliff in Colorado ... some 2,300 feet high as I noted before. The dark, purple-lavender-pink hued rock (gneiss) was visibly crisscrossed with “rivers of rock” in lighter shades (pegmatite). These veins were formed when molten rock squeezed upward into the fissures . That was during Precambrian times ... during the earliest part of Earth’s history. Goes without saying that those rocks are incredibly old.

    When we reached the end of the road at High Point, we parked the car and went for a short 1.5 mile in-out hike to add more steps to our day.

    Named for a Montrose minister who was instrumental in the protection of the canyon, the Warner Point Nature Trail is described as moderate with stretches of steep sections. As we hiked, we traversed a forest of piñón pine and juniper. Through the trees, we glimpsed distant flat lands on one side and the Black Canyon on the other side.

    Of course, we took our time, stopping at markers along the way to read the trail pamphlet we’d picked up at the trailhead. (I liked that there was a sign at the pamphlet box advising hikers that due to COVID-19 they should keep the booklet instead of returning it. A good safety measure.) It was also nice to see that all the hikers had masks that they put on when they encountered others on the trail. That was our modus operandi as well.

    At the end of the trail, we arrived at a precipice ... Warner Point. From here we had expansive views of the mesas across the canyon, as well as the gorge itself. We took our time and made the most of the spot ... even if we did have to stand to do so. This scenic spot could have used a couple of benches for hikers to sit and enjoy the views.

    By the time we got back to the trailhead 1½ hours later, the wind had picked up big time. Our stomachs were rumbling, but the picnic area near the parking lot did not appeal to us ... especially with no sunshine to keep us warm. We thought about taking the East Portal Road down to the bottom of the canyon. But we were deterred from doing so by the gusty winds.

    Instead, we decided to have lunch at Dallas Creek, the day-use area at Ridgway State Park. Hah! By the time we got back to the park, the winds were not only gusting even stronger, but the windchill was prohibitively cold to sit at the picnic shelters. No al fresco dining today.

    We spent most of the afternoon in the Cruiser ... reading and writing in my case; reading and napping in Mui’s case. Outside, the wind rattled the coach and rain briefly fell on the roof.

    When the cloud deck parted and the sun showed itself around 4:30p, we headed out to use the wi-if at the Ridgway Library. If not for the sunny patch near the entrance, I think we would have skedaddled back home pretty quickly. As it turned out, we were able to take our time, enjoying the warmth of the sun as we researched alternate routes to our next destination. I apparently picked the best option, so our plans remain the same when we leave Ridgway SP on the 13th.
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  • Oct10

    Mountain Vlg — Telluride ... by Gondola

    October 10 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 57 °F

    Part two of our day on the San Juan Skyway ... and a change to the way we get to Telluride ...

    In 1996, a year after the home rule municipality of Mountain Village was founded, a three-stage gondola lift was put into service. This free public transportation system between Mountain Village and Telluride — funded primarily by the local merchants — was originally built to address air quality concerns ... to reduce emissions from the countless vehicles traveling the 8-mile stretch of road between the two towns. It wasn’t long before this one-of-a-kind-in-the-USA system became a popular attraction in and of itself.

    On our way back from Rico, we decided to check out Mountain Village before driving to Telluride. We had no intention of riding the gondola ... though it came highly recommended. You see, during these pandemic times, we had no desire to find ourselves enclosed in a glass bubble with people we didn’t know. That changed after we read the COVID-19 precautions that were being taken to ensure a safe experience ... one party per gondola; windows kept open for ventilation; masks required for the duration of the ride; frequent disinfecting of the cars (which we saw and smelled).

    So, off we went from the Market Plaza Station (Elev. 9,545 feet) to the Mountain Village Station, with hardly any change in altitude ... but with a delightful alpine landscape keeping us entertained. The lovely golden fall foliage was beautiful ... even with so many of the aspens denuded of their leaves.

    At Mountain Village, we learned that we needed to switch to another gondola lift. Unlike the first station, where there was no one else waiting to ride up, here there was a long queue. It looked to be moving along at a good pace, though, and the riders were all masked and lined up with good spacing between parties. So, we joined the line, taking advantage of the strong cell signal to while away the time as we made our way towards the head of the queue.

    Remember how I said I had discarded the idea of riding the gondola when I was doing my research? Well, had I not done so, I would have known that we didn’t have to get off when we reached the San Sophia Station (Elev. 10,450 feet). But we didn’t ... so we did.

    Actually, I am glad we did. Even though it was too late in the day for a high-altitude hike, we found a spot from which to enjoy the jaw-droppingly amazing scenery. The jagged peaks of the San Juans, the youngest range of mountains in the Rockies, rose high across the Telluride Valley, which was carved out by glaciers. The town itself was nestled into the valley. All around us was a colorful landscape ... shades of gray, purple, brown, green, red, yellow, blue, and white ... all playing off each other ... in every direction we looked.

    At the time we had stepped out of the San Sophia Station, we’d wondered what had happened to all the people ahead of us in the queue. Yes, we had noticed that some riders didn’t disembark. We assumed they went back down to Mountain Village. But surely some had gotten off like we did. Where were they? And by the way, where was the station for the gondola down to Telluride?

    It was while we were enjoying the scenery at the overlook that we realized there was a line of gondolas heading down to the valley. That’s when the 💡 went off! The lift continued down the mountain to Telluride without switching stations again!

    So, we discarded our initial plan to drive to Telluride. Instead, we returned to the San Sophia Station, told the woman in charge of loading passengers which direction we wanted to go, and hopped on a gondola down to Telluride ... some 1,700 feet below us.

    In town, we found all the missing people who had been ahead of us in the queue at Mountain Village ... and quite a number more! We considered finding a restaurant with patio seating to have an early dinner. But the eateries were all hopping, with long lines of people waiting to be seated. Even the outdoor dining area on the main drag, shared by a number of bars and restaurants, was at capacity. So, we just went for a wander instead. The crowds were more than what we wanted to deal with, though, so after a while we returned to the Telluride Station to go back the way we came.

    The 2.4-mile ride between Telluride and Mountain Village took about 12 minutes. Then we switched over to the gondola lift that took us back to the parking structure (also free). By 5:30p, we were driving away. There was plenty of sunshine still, but the sun was frequently blocked by the tall canyon walls, leaving the scenery in the dark. No matter, I’d taken my photos earlier in the day. An hour later, entirely satisfied with the way our sightseeing had turned out, we were back at the campground.

    We didn’t do much exploring in either town today. There are lots of hiking opportunities in the area, too. You know we’ll be back! Might even return to check it all out in the winter ... but not with the Cruiser 😁
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  • Oct10

    San Juan Skyway ... Ridgway to Rico

    October 10 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

    A gorgeous weather day. A delightfully scenic drive. Should I leave today’s story at that? No, I think I’ll expand a bit on the words and include some visuals.

    So, here we go with part I ... mostly because I have more than 10 photos to share from today.

    Our second foray on the San Juan Skyway took us down and back a portion of the other side of the loop ... starting on CO-62 and then turning onto CO-145.

    When we left the Cruiser at 8:00a, we already knew we wouldn’t be driving the entire loop. What we didn’t know was where we’d stop before retracing our route back. By the time we finished using the wi-if at the Ridgway Library, we had the answer. Rico would be the turnaround point for today’s in-out drive and the Telluride spur would wrap up our day.

    Our first stop of the day was at a county park near Placerville and Sawpit. Later, I identified it as being Placerville Park. We pulled into the parking lot to find that the “lake-rimmed-by-trees scenery” I’d spotted driving down the road was at the end of a short path in the park. Once we saw the view from a picnic table near the lake, we knew this was where we would be having our al fresco breakfast. It didn’t matter that the temp was only in the mid-40F range. We would just bundle up and enjoy the scenery ... with double-the-pleasure reflections on the calm lake.

    We were back on the road by 10:00a. The landscape along the way was breathtaking and encouraged us to make frequent stops ... which we did. That the wildfire smoke haze had pretty much disappeared made a difference as well and the jagged peaks of the San Juans and other mountain ranges added a stark contrast to the softness of the fall colors.

    This side of the Skyway certainly lived up to its scenic byway designation, just as the other side did two days ago. Plenty of fall colors remained for us to enjoy. But large swaths of completely denuded aspens stood in naked testament of just how much more amazing the scenery would be when the foliage is at its peak.

    One of our favorite dalliances along the way was an aspen grove I spotted. Mui blew by it before I had a chance to ask him to stop, but he was not averse to turning around when I asked him to do so. We talk about a snow-covered landscape being a winter wonderland. Well, this grove of aspens — with leaves still on the branches as well as blanketing the ground — was a fall foliage fantasyland ... complete with a shower of golden leaves when the breeze shook the trees.

    Further on, a hard-packed dirt road offered us a short detour that took us down to the South Fork of the San Miguel River. It was a nice chance to stretch our legs a bit and rest while the river sang its symphony as it trickled over the rocks.

    It was 1:30p when we reached our turnaround point in Rico ... a mere 60 miles from Ridgway. We didn’t see much in town, which was founded as a mining camp in 1879. We stopped briefly to take advantage of the cell signal to check emails; photographed a music-themed mural; and did a quick look-see at the headframe of the Atlantic Cable Mine. I imagine there are trails that one might hike in the area, but that wasn’t on our agenda today.

    As we retraced our route back, the clouds that had been delightful texture-elements in the mostly blue sky began to increase. As did the light breeze. Neither discouraged us from having a picnic lunch at the Trout Creek Rec Area where the 13,000+ feet high peaks of the San Juans served as a backdrop to the lake. Bundling up in our jackets, we found a picnic table in the sun and sat down to eat our meal.

    Back on the road again, our plan was to drive the 8-mile spur into Telluride and wander around town for a while. Those plans didn’t quite work out as we initially intended. But I’ll leave that story for part II.
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  • Oct9

    Relaxing with a Six-Mile Hike @ RSP

    October 9 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 70 °F

    Not that we were lazy all day, but our “stay home and enjoy the campground” break from sightseeing did start with a cup of tea and reading time on the patio. With the temp slowly rising from the mid-40s to 50F, the brilliant sunshine was welcome for the warmth it projected.

    Around 10:30a, we left the Cruiser and headed to the trailhead for the Enchanted Mesa hike, described in the brochure as being the most physically challenging in the park. If that’s the case, the remaining hikes must be cakewalks.

    With the grade ranging from 2% to 32%, we started off on a zig-zag trail that was technically no wider than a goat path. Eventually, the trail rose to a flat, wider path that follows the Ridgway Reservoir, providing aerial views most of the way. The meadow on the other side of the trail is said to be home to mule deer and elk. If they were present, they did not show themselves today ... though we did find the skeletal remains of an animal. Mt Sneffels and the Cimarron Range were distant additions to the scenery ... their beauty veiled by haze unfortunately.

    The trail is just 2½ miles in length, but we added to that distance by continuing on to the marina overlook on the Mear’s Bay Trail. Between the hike and the walk to and from the campground to the trailhead, we ended up clocking six miles today. Not bad for what was to have been a day of rest!

    We had an al fresco lunch when we returned to the Cruiser before settling down to a relaxing afternoon on the patio. Once again, I was happy to have the shade shelter ... it would have been a challenge to sit outside otherwise.

    Around 5:00p, we headed over to the Ridgway Library to use the wi-fi and then we took a drive around Ridgway town, which has an Old West vibe. I understand that parts of “Old Grit,” a John Wayne movie, was filmed here. Purely by chance, we came across one of those buildings ... the Fort Smith Saloon. We didn’t venture inside, but we did stop so I could photograph the mural painted on the exterior wall.

    All in all, a relaxing day with a hike thrown in for good measure. Now that we’re rested up, we’re raring to go on another “sightseeing by car” trip tomorrow.
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  • Oct8

    San Juan Skyway ... Idarado Mine Houses

    October 8 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 48 °F

    Part II of our first foray on the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway ...

    We dallied quite a bit on the 35-mile drive between Ridgway and Silverton today. We made many stops along the way. But where we spent the most time was at the Idarado Mine Overlook.

    The Red Mountain Mining district, which covered less than eight square miles, was home to a number of mines ... and the boom-and-bust towns that grew up around them. According to the signage at the overlook, six towns sprang up here during the boom years ... some 3,000 people lived in those towns.

    The Idarado Mine primarily produced lead, silver, and zinc. Gold and copper were also mined here ... but in lesser amounts. Signage near the mine trestle explained that this was one of the largest mines thanks to the building of the Treasury Tunnel in 1896. The main tunnel branched off into some 100 miles of underground tunnels, connecting several of the mines that had become inactive. The 5-mile long main tunnel traveled under 13,000-foot mountains to emerge in Pandora ... not far from present-day Telluride, which is 60 miles away by highway! Definitely a shortcut!

    Though it was tempting to find the trailhead down to the Yankee Girl Mine, this was a “sightseeing by car” day for us, so we skipped the hike today. That’s not to say that I did not take time out to explore the Idarado Mine Houses near the overlook. The houses, I read on one of the info panels, were purchased from a bankrupt mine. There were ten buildings in all and they were moved here to serve as employee housing.

    Over 100 years old, the houses that still remain are not in great shape. In fact, I decided it was safer to wander around outside instead of going inside any of them. The light was perfect ... as was the background scenery. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the temperature was comfortable. I was a happy camper just exploring the grounds.

    In the years that the mine was active, 4 million ounces of gold, 21 million ounces of silver, and 12 million tons of lead, zinc, and copper were produced. All that mining activity “fueled the industrial revolution,” as the posted sign stated. But it also did a number on the natural resources in the area. The good news? Mine reclamation work is ongoing to remediate the adverse impact on those resources.
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  • Oct8

    San Juan Skyway — Ridgway to Silverton

    October 8 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 61 °F

    Part I of today’s story ...

    It was 39F when we left the Cruiser at 7:40a for today’s scenic drive. Chilly? Yes, but the sun was shining bright and it actually felt a great deal warmer than what the gauge showed. So much so that we sat out on the deck at the Ridgway Library when we stopped to use the free wi-if there. Strong signal ... perhaps because the library was still closed. In short order, we’d downloaded our emails, checked in with family and friends, and were back on the road.

    When we left the Cruiser this morning, it was our intent to drive the entire 233-mile loop of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway ... a portion of which is on the Million Dollar Highway. I don’t know what we were thinking! We’re slow travelers at best ... even slower when there is magnificent scenery to enjoy. It didn’t take us long to change our plans to do an in-out drive just to Durango and back. It took even less time to determine that was too ambitious for us as well. In the end, we shortened the trip further and turned back from Silverton ... just 35 miles or so from Ridgway!

    The golden fall colors between Ridgway and Ouray, brilliantly lit by the sun, was what slowed us initially. Frequent photo stops meant it took us an hour to drive the 10+ miles to Ouray. Postponing exploring Ouray to another time, we continued through the town and up into the mountains. The “Ouray ... Switzerland of America” overlook proved to be the perfect spot for a stand-up “breakfast with a marvelous view.”

    The closer we traveled to the mountains, the clearer the scenery became, the smoke haze filtering down from the wildfires disappearing, or at least becoming less of an eyesore ... much to our pleasure. That meant more dalliance along the way to take photos or to just enjoy what our eyes beheld.

    The road switch-backed higher and higher. The scenery grew more and more fascinating ... often decorated with fall colors. The hairpin turns slowed us down as much as the scenery did. The lack of guardrails on our side of the narrow, curvy road meant that Mui’s full attention had to be on the road when we were driving. So, we stopped more and more frequently so that he too could enjoy the beauty all around us.

    It was at one such spot that we had an encounter that falls into the “small world” category. In April 2019, we sold our Phaeton to Jared and Rebekah, a young couple from Denver. What used to be our “condo on wheels” is now their fulltiming home on the road. Turns out that they were out sightseeing, too. Jared apparently recognized the CR-V when they passed it at one of our stops. They turned around and came back to where we were for a quick reunion. It was a delight to hear that they’ve been enjoying the Phaeton ... and making good use of it to travel around North America.

    Except for a stop we made at the Idarado Mine overlook — which I will write about in part II of today’s story — all of our stops on the road were scenery oriented. Some were shorter than others. Some had me seeking trails to capture just the right light ... or the perfect angle.

    After climbing up to Red Mountain Pass at 11,018 feet, we eventually descended into Silverton, which grew out of a collection of shacks from the area’s gold-rush era. It was almost 1:00p. Wow! Five hours to drive just under 35 miles. What can I say? A testament to the scenic and historic worthiness of the road.

    The businesses in town looked like they were doing brisk business ... restaurant patios were teeming with patrons ... the sidewalks were filled with strolling visitors. We stay away from crowds these days, so we drove through the busy section of town and found a picnic table at Memorial Park. A perfect spot to eat our self-catered lunch. A strong T-Mobile signal encouraged us to share already-made memories with family and friends.

    We had been thinking about driving the Alpine Loop as an alternate route back to Ridgway. When we read that the 12 mile road was a gravel one, however, we changed our minds. Not that 4-wheel drive is needed for the road. Not that we haven’t driven long distance on gravel roads before. Rather, Mui said he’d prefer not to drive on gravel until he replaces the tires. Safety first!

    So, we retraced our southbound route on the way back to Ridgway SP. We made just as many stops on the way back ... this time focusing on the scenery that was better lit by the sun moving to the other side of the road. We debated dining in Ouray on the way back, but the outdoor seating at the restaurants were already filled ... people already queued up and waiting their turn.

    Thus we returned to the Cruiser ... after another quick stop at the Ridgway Library to share our afternoon memories with family and friends. It was 6:00p when we pulled into our site. We had just enough time to dine al fresco — grilled corn and köfte (Turkish meat patties) — before the sun disappeared behind the mesa across the river from us ... taking its warming rays with it. The temperature started to drop like a rock. Time to move indoors!

    We had a terrific day even though we did not make much headway on the San Juan Skyway. As delightful as the fall colors were today, I imagine they are overwhelmingly beautiful when the aspens are at full peak. We missed that this year. The drought and recent cold snaps changed the normal foliage timeline.

    No worries, this was just our first time on the Skyway. It won’t be our last.
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  • Oct7

    R&R @ Ridgway State Park

    October 7 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 72 °F

    After a long day of driving yesterday, we took it easy today.

    It was around 10:00a when we left the Cruiser to explore the park. The temperature had risen to 50F. The skies were blue and filled with sunshine. Perfect!

    Ridgway SP is divided into roughly three sections. The Pa-Co-Chu-Puk Campground where we are staying is behind the Ridgway Reservoir Dam. The two others sections are on the other side of the dam.

    We started off with a stroll along the River Walk Trail, which follows the Uncompahgre River Tailwater and goes around a couple of fishing ponds. Though the trail is a mere .2 miles long, we enjoyed the fall foliage colors adding to the beauty of the scenery ... accompanied by the sounds of trickling water. The only others nearby were anglers fly fishing, which meant that we had the narrow path to ourselves.

    Though there is a seven mile one-way trail from our section of the park to the Dutch Charlie area, we next opted to drive there. The five-mile long reservoir, for which the park is named, is here. It was a shock to see the lower end of the reservoir completely dried out. We later learned at the Visitor Center that this is normal since water is released this time of the year for use by ranchers and farmers.

    Leaving the car in one of the parking lots, we took a short hike on a goat-path-like trail through the forest to see the “Secret Spot.” I have no idea if we got that far as part of the trail was washed out and we had to turn back. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the hike as it gave us views of the reservoir from various vantage points. Again, we had the trail to ourselves ... which is always a nice thing ... even more so during a pandemic.

    After checking out the two Dutch Charlie campgrounds — both electric only — we headed over to the Visitor Center to browse the exhibits. The park ranger on duty confirmed that the haze veiling our view of the Cimarron and San Juan Mountains was indeed smoke being carried down from the wildfires in Northern Colorado. Hopefully, the smoke will blow out of the area soon.

    After a quick look-see around the Dallas Creek section of the park — the day use area — we returned to our site for lunch. The only tree on our site provided shade at the picnic table ... just long enough for us to have an al fresco meal. We then set up our new shade shelter and spent the rest of the day relaxing outdoors.

    Our plan is to do a drive tomorrow. We know which drive we’ll be doing. How far we’ll get is TBD at the moment.
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  • Oct6

    Travel Day: COS to Ridgway SP

    October 6 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 70 °F

    A cool, crisp fall day found us starting another camping trip ... this one taking us to two Colorado state parks. First up ... Ridgway State Park ... some 300 miles away.

    My planned stop at Quail Lake Park, just 20 miles or so from our house, turned out to be a bust. Cars were parked in the area reserved for long vehicles, leaving us with nowhere to pull in. There was an upside, however. We shaved 20 miles or so off the original route via Pueblo.

    Our route took us on US-50W, following the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area through the scenic Bighorn Canyon. The Lone Pine campground and day use area provided us with a nice place for a lunch stop ... the fee covered by our Aspen Leaf Colorado Parks and Wildlife pass.

    Then up and over Monarch Pass we went. It was here that the Cruiser crossed the Continental Divide for the first time. Driving past small towns, we reached Gunnison and kept going. Crossing over the Blue Mesa Reservoir a couple of times, and following the unseen Black Canyon of the Gunnison, we eventually made it to Montrose. From there it was a short drive on US-550 to reach the Pa-Co-Chu-Puk campground in Ridgway State Park.

    The campground’s name comes from the language of the Ute Indians. It means Cow Creek. Located north of the Ridgway Dam, this is the FHU section of the the three campgrounds that lie within the boundaries of the state park. Electricity is 30A throughout.

    Our site — #265 on the G loop — backs up to the Uncompahgre River ... hidden by tall bushes, but audible as it flows within the confines of the rocky river bed. The concrete pad is level. We have a fire pit/grill ... which will remain unused. We don’t do campfires and Mui prefers to use our propane grill for cooking. The site is spacious enough to provide privacy from neighbors and we have room to set up our new shade shelter. The orientation of the site is such that our patio will be in the sun all day, so the shade shelter will come in handy.

    We are partially connected to the rest of the world ... DirecTV satellite signal 👍🏻 ... T-Mobile cell signal 👎🏻. We knew the latter would be the case when we set out on this trip, so we’ll go to the Ridgway Library to use the wi-fi there to check-in with family and friends.

    It took us 8.5 hours to drive the 300 miles or so from Colorado Springs to the campground. Why did it take us so long? Mostly because the curvy roads required low speeds. Then there was the climb up to Monarch Pass ... at first a gentle and steady grade ... then a steeper 6-7% grade for about 10 miles. Of course, we also had to go back down some 5,000 feet from 11,312 feet on the other side of the pass. Add to that a few dalliances along the way to enjoy the scenery and have lunch. Well, you get the idea.

    We’ll be taking it easy tomorrow!
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  • Oct5

    Off to Ridgway & Mueller

    October 5 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 70 °F

    Tomorrow we head off on another Colorado road trip with the Phoenix Cruiser.

    First up will be Ridgway State Park, some 300 miles south and west of Colorado Springs. The second stop of our 10-day trip will return us to Mueller State Park in Divide ... 238 miles from Ridgway SP and less than 50 miles from home.

    Don't expect to hear from us ... at least while we're at Ridgway SP. Both the park website and the T-Mobile coverage map indicate that we'll be in a "black hole" ... so to speak. We'll have coverage once we get to Mueller SP, but by then I'll be too far behind to try and catch up.

    Ciao for now.
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  • Sep25

    Shorty Needs a Footrest

    September 25 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 82 °F

    I’m somewhere between 5’2” and 5’1” tall. What that means is that my seat in the Cruiser’s cockpit is a bit too big (not enough lumbar support) and a bit too high for me.

    Just before our first RV trip, we bought a contoured pillow that solved the lumbar support problem.

    Today, Mui made a custom footrest from bits and pieces he found in the garage. It fits into the footwell so I can rest my feet in a more comfortable position ... especially important for trips on which we have longer distances to cover.

    I’ll test the footrest on our next trip ... which will take us some 290+ miles from Colorado Springs.
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