Friday, August 26, 2016

D#&$ Computer

My computer has crashed - I don't think it likes to travel as it often has an issue when we're on extended trips.  This is coming to you from my small emergency back-up computer which is pretty much just a kiosk for the internet but might be receptive to uploading photos.
If so, I'll continue to document our trip beginning now but there will be a time gap as the photos after the jeep trip post are on the other computer.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Day 27 – Jeeping In The San Juan’s

I had mentioned earlier that the campground has buddy sites and the neighbors we were sharing the green space with were very experienced jeepers and went out about every other day.  They live in Farmington, NM (one day’s drive from here) and they come up here for a month each year, meet up with some friends, and ride trails.  After the ladies mentioned they would like to see what off-roading was all about, we asked Mike and Kathy if we could rent a jeep and tag along on one of their rides.  They offered to go one better and make a trip with just them and us, promising to take us places that would not scare my girls too badly.

So we checked the weather and found Monday would have the least chance of rain, made a reservation with Switzerland Of America for a 4-door, Jeep Rubicon with an automatic transmission ($220), and we were set to go.  We left the campground at 8am, picked up the jeep and were heading up the mountain by 9am.  

We began on a decent county gravel road called Camp Bird Rd and we were surprised at the amount of traffic on it – both off-roaders and commercial – and when we came across a mine then the road split and we headed up Yankee Boy Basin Rd to discover the obviously operating Revenue-Virgunius Mine, so we understood the non-off roader traffic.

Monday, August 22, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Day 24-26 - Black Canyon & Montrose

On Friday, we decided to take it pretty easy so we just made the 20 mile drive over to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (this is 18 of 60 National Parks we have visited  - all four in Colorado - so we have a few to go).  The canyon's name owes itself to the fact that parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day and the park encompasses 12 miles of the 48 mile long Gunnison River Gorge.  A quote from a book on the canyon - "Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon."

From the 5800’ elevation of the Montrose, we had to climb up about 2500’ to the canyon rim – our car got a little hot on the ascent and the air temp dropped about 10F.  Per Wikipedia, the Gunnison River drops an average of 34 feet per mile through the entire canyon, making it the 5th steepest mountain descent in North America and by comparison, the Colorado River drops an average of 7.5 feet per mile through the Grand Canyon.

We just drove as far as the visitor’s center and walked down to the overlook for these shots .  My shots don't do the canyon justice.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 22&23 – Randy’s, Montrose & Ridgeway

After seven enjoyable days in Grand Junction, it was time to move on down the road so after getting Sweetie ready to pull out, we decided to give nearby Randy’s Southside Diner a second try for breakfast and we all had chicken fried steak as it was highly touted by the locals.

It was as good as advertised and a huge portion – I ate half for breakfast and the rest for a late lunch.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 20&21 – Aerbus, Two Rivers Winery & Main Street Café

We got up Monday morning and Bev fixed her version of sausage egg mcmuffin while I talked with our neighbor about his coach – a 1996 Aerbus made by RexhallIndustries in Lancaster, CA.  As it turns out they are still in business and make the coach in the third shot.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 19 – Grand Mesa

After putting it off for several days due to weather concerns, we finally decided Sunday may be a good day for a drive up on the Grand Mesa, which is the largest flat top mountain in the world at 500 sq.mi. and reaches an elevation of 11,333’ so it is not your typical western mesa.  We decided to do it as a loop which began by driving southeast on US-50 to Delta, then east on CO-92, and finally north on CO-65 and once we turned onto CO 65, it was obvious we were going uphill.  The two reasons for going up on the mesa were to see the scenery and to beat the heat – when we drove through Delta at about 10:30 it was 76F and at the top of the mesa it was 58F (and I forgot my jacket) and it was 86F when we returned to GJ.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 18 – Wine Tasting

When I think of Colorado, it is generally in terms of the Rocky Mountains, snow, and skiing and not the agricultural areas on both sides of them.  The part of the state on the west side is known as the Western Slope and it is semi-arid without unusually cold temperatures and so they are even able to grow peaches.  One of the crops they are known for is sweet corn and the nearby town of Olathe has an annual corn festival - it was on our schedule for Saturday until the ladies read about it and decided there would not be much there for them.

So we went to Randy’s for breakfast (previous post) and after it settled, we headed out for a tour of another crop the area is known for - grapes, except they are generally served in the liquid form from a bottle.  I researched the wineries to pick out a few that made the wines we like and at prices we are willing to pay – I try to find those with a first price number of one, so the ones with a first number of three were immediately dismissed.