Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone
The big takeaway from our month in BC was how friendly and happy the people are. I think someone came to our campsite every time we parked to welcome us. Women at the gas bars would give me big warm smiles. When was the last time that happened to you in the US? I would say, “You Canadians are so happy”. They would reply “Why not?” We could sure use some happiness in the USA right about now.
Thursday - Saturday, August 17-19
Steinaker SP near Vernal, UT
We had a chance encounter with some LD chums from Texas. They were headed north on US191 to Flaming Gorge for the day and we were headed to Dinosaur NM. A text message made us reconsider and we parked at Steinaker and enjoyed a visit with them. We opted to stay two more days and do nothing much.
Surprise, this was the first state park we have been in over a weekend where the masses were not teaming. In fact, it was not even filled.
Having shot Dinosaur twice before, I tried to pay attention to some different things this pass. Here’s what I got. What do you think?
I want to return to Dinosaur one more time when it’s cool and shoot from the Rim and Bench roads again. And I have a reason. My camera is in it’s death throws. I ordered a new one. A friend will deliver it to me the end of the month. More pixels! Anyway, I am thinking camping on the Yampa so I will be convenient to the wonders there. It’s just too damn far to drive in and out to take pictures.
Rafting the Yampa has long been on my bucket list. But after talking with some knowledgeable folks, I realize it’s just not for us. Damnit.
On the way out of Vernal, I grabbed this shot of one the best Mexican restaurants in the country. Yeah, a former gas station, Tacos El Gordo.
Thursday, we both had the Chile Relleno. Devine. As with all good food, it’s the sauce that makes it. He used a blend of cheeses and it was unlike anything we have tasted before. A HUGE serving and we ate it all. We went back Saturday and the owner recommended his Smothered Burrito. It was even better than the Chile Relleno. No tourists in the place. They were either locals or oil field workers.
Sunday, August 20
From Vernal, we went 3 hours south to Rifle Gap SP in Colorado. Opted for hookups. 89 is too hot for old people.
Forgetting it was Sunday, we went to see Rifle Falls. It was also Latino Day there, every picnic table was taken by large familia’s. I managed a picture through the masses. Pretty cool falls.
We continued north through a canyon, picnickers galore, and then begin climbing the mountain. It had rained there a few hours earlier and the road was slick as owl shit. On a inclined turn, we slid to the drivers side bank. I backed down and then continued up, but we soon encountered a truck coming down the hill who was having no small problem staying in the road. He advised that a camper was coming down behind him. That bit of information made my decision to abort and head back. I could handle the Jeep - maybe. But, there was no way I wanted to attempt to handle on coming traffic as I already knew you could change sides of the road in a heartbeat.
Monday, August 21
The eclipse was never on our list. When we checked in yesterday, they gave us a note explaining the eclipse will be 90% here and they have glasses for us. So we will experience some of what millions are passionate to see.
And so we did under a cloudless sky. The sun was golden colored, like it sometimes is at sunset. It did not get as dark as I imagined. It cooled off nicely. I thought the light and temperature were perfect. Venus was visible. As soon the eclipse got to max, we headed back to the falls, as I figured the light would be as good as it could get. Got a decent shot. I could have gotten a cotton candy effect of the water, but I never think about using a tripod and second my camera is on the fritz and will not go below 1/30. I just carry the tripod around in the back of the Jeep. It’s never been used.
How We Saw The Eclipse
Behold - Rifle Gap Falls
Tuesday, August 22
A new record, we turned a 1:15 minute jump into 4 hours. We had to stop and shop at City Market. It’s our fav grocery in the country. Some love Trader Joe’s or Whole Wallet. It just does not get any better than City Market for us. We only needed eggs, butter and milk, but we spent $87. They had lamb and NY Strips on sale.
Then down I70 to near Eagle where we stopped at Costco. Had lunch and finally went a few more miles east and parked along the Eagle River. We had some noise from I70, but we had cell coverage for the first time in many days.
Join Feidler’s book of scenic Colorado drives put us on the Colorado River Road. We were not all that impressed. John has got to do better.
We heard this weather report this morning on the radio. “Temperatures will be about normal for this time of year for the two communities”. What communities? What’s normal? We were in Rifle, we figured out the station was in Breckenridge, which is some distance away.
Wednesday, August 23
We managed to make the 1:11 hour drive to Leadville in less than 2 hours. Until two days ago, I had no idea Leadville was a popular destination. We drove through two of the Forest Service campgrounds on Turquoise Lake that had great reviews. We did not think so much of them. Only 10% of the sites are not reservable and we only saw one that would fit our vehicles and it was well shaded. Plus they were crowded for a week day. We found Tabor campground which is really nothing more than an asphalt parking lot, but it’s open and there was only one other rig.
After lunch, we drove the heralded Haggerman Pass. We give it a C+. About half the trail is over softball and larger size rocks, so there is plenty of rock and roll. Not much in the way of views until you top out. I am trying to find beauty in Colorado, but so far, it’s not showing me much that I have not seen before. Green trees and grey mountains. We came home in a rain shower, that continued off and on through the night.
Thursday, August 24
Clouds all round, so we did the Mining Museum. Well worth it. We would have stayed longer than two hours, but we were both drained of energy due to the altitude. I think I was in worse shape than Dorothy.
Friday, August 25
The weather forecast called for rain today. However, we had a clear sky around the compass, so we got away as fast as we could to Aspen to see the Maroon Bells. We made it here by 10:30 and it’s magnificent. One of the most scenic places in the country. The drive through the canyon was worth it by itself. It looks like the San Juan’s, but without the colors. I had a good day, no altitude problems. Dorothy was coughing some and her energy went way south by noon. We treated ourselves to fried chicken at Safeway.
Not sure why, we saw several dozen Audi’s on the highway to Aspen. Not a common car.
Our Moose sighting for 2017. Taken through a bus window with ultra telephoto
Lincoln Creek Near Aspen. Love It
It's the local swiming hole. 40 Degree Water
Actual comments made to park rangers:
The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals.
A small deer came into my camp and stole a bag of potato chips. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call.
Saturday, August 26
I offered Dorothy a choice of destinations today. A 4WD trail to one of the best remaining mine mills or to a town of restored homes. I knew which she would pick. She was not pleased that people were living in some of the old structures. The drive through the valley was OK, not outstanding.
The thing that stood out to us were the 78 cars parked along the road. We asked a local and he told us it was people seeking to bag a 14er. There are three trails to 14er’s along Clear Creek Road. Farther down down, signs declared it 4WD, but there were dozens of SUV’s parked along the trail. I guess saving a half-mile was important to them when climbing Mt. Huron. PS Monday we learned that five died trying to bag 14er’s in the last two months. That explains the number of out of state plates we saw on the 78 cars we counted - inexperienced climbers.
We have never seen a beaver in the wild
On the short drive from Leadville to Nathrop, I was driving the speed limit. Of course, any driver behind something big develops the irresistible urge to pass. Most do not drive faster once passed; they just can not bear to be behind a truck or RV. A woman passed us and forced me to drive on the shoulder to allow her to avoid the on-coming traffic. Guess who was the lead vehicle in the oncoming traffic? A Colorado Highway Patrol. He hit his lights and made a fast u-turn. I again pulled on the shoulder to allow him to pass. The woman figured out she was his target and pulled over before he got behind her. I would have loved to hear what he said to her.