July 28, 2017 Ridgway State Park, CO
It feels great to be on the road again. My destination is Vancouver Island, BC via the California coast (north of San Francisco), Oregon and Washington. I have been on the road for two days and I am still in Colorado, so it's a good thing I don't have to be home until late September.
I spent my first night at the Elk Creek Campground in Curecanti National Recreation Area on Blue Mesa Reservoir. It was very nice and just a short drive to the Pine Creek Trailhead where I was to meet for the National Park Service's boat tour into Black Canyon of the Gunnison the next morning. To get there you walk down 232 steps to the river, then it's an easy ¾ mile walk on the old railroad bed to the boat dock. Ranger Bob drove the pontoon boat. Ranger Curt talked about geology, history of the area, how the railroad changed the west and a lot about water use and rights.
It was such a beautiful morning and as we meandered we waved at a few fisherman and kayakers. Suddenly a really loud engine coming from behind us drowned out Ranger Curt's talk. I thought it was a speed boat and turned to look – then realized it was a small white airplane flying just above us into the narrow, windy canyon with his wings sideways – WHOA!! It happened so fast that I couldn't get a picture, and apparently no one else did either. Ranger Curt is a private pilot and wanted to report him since FAA regulation requires flying at least 500 ft. above the rim. It was a dumb, dangerous thing to do but a real “Top Gun” moment, and the rangers agreed that was a first. It was almost as exciting as spotting a wild animal, but of course the bear was there yesterday.
After the tour I drove to Montrose and stopped at the Visitor's Center. The young woman who volunteered there was a great ambassador to the town and also a vegetarian. I asked her about the really good Himalayan restaurant that Peg told me about, and it turns out there are two. Since it was after 1:00 pm I chose to go to Guru's, which was only two blocks away, and I got there in time to enjoy their excellent lunch buffet. After getting gas and hitting Wal-Mart to buy several things I forgot to bring, I decided to call Ridgway State Park. They had five empty camping spots so I headed south and snagged one. Luckily I got set up before the rain started as it's been steady for two hours now. I love the sound and know I will sleep well tonight. Tomorrow I might even get out of Colorado, but then again, what's the rush?
July 30, 2017 Fruita, CO
Well, I am almost to Utah. Thank goodness for free WiFi at McDonald's and for a VPN.
It rained all Friday night at Ridgway but Saturday morning was just drizzly so I ventured out to walk. There was a really cool RV parked next to me and the owner, a very fit and attractive 50-something man, struck about a conversation about Sportsmobile. He travels full-time in his Earth Cruiser and loves it. He was on his way to Denver for his 36,000 mile service call (I could have offered some services but he needed diesel expertise).
Yesterday I spent the day putzing around Montrose. The two women at the rec center (which was new and very nice) really wanted to “sell” their town and I have to say, I really like this area. The Farmer's Market had so much variety. I even found fresh figs, which I love, along with peaches, plums, tomatoes and lettuce. On to Olathe to Mountain View Winery where I was welcomed by a committee of three, a dachshund, a Golden Retriever, and an “anybody's guess”. The owner was an interesting young woman and the wine was so good that I bought two bottles, a red and a white. It was too early in the day to spend the night (they are a Harvest Host camping club member), so I ventured north trying to decide where to spend the night on the cheap. I ended up at Saddlehorn Campground in Colorado National Monument which is only $10 for old farts with a pass. Today I hope to camp south of Capitol Reef in the Fishlake National Forest.
Thanks for joining me on my journey!