Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 39-41 – Pitkin & Mario's

On Saturday, the girls went to the farmers market in Gunnison then we went for a drive up to Pitkin - founded in 1879, and is said to be Colorado's first mining camp west of the Continental Divide.  Unlike Tin Cup, which has mostly original buildings, Pitkin is more of a modern residential town (full time and seasonal) with a few of the older buildings - I can see why folks would want a summer home there.  It is located at the end of another pretty valley and since it's 1000 feet lower it wasn't as cold as Tin Cup.

The next day, we hung around the coach and made Cajun alfredo pasta using Mary's recipe for Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo at Deep South Dish.  Check out her site for the recipe and lots of pics.  The one change we made was adding a half slice of diced country ham with the shrimp.

It was very good with plenty of Cajun flavor (even though it didn't look like a lot of spices before I added the shrimp to them).

On Monday, the girls finally made it up to Crested Butte for a little shopping while I dog sat then we got take out from Mario's Pizza and Pasta.  

I thought my Stromboli was very good for a small town in the CO mountains and the girls enjoyed theirs as well.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/27–8/29/16 event dates

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 36-38 – Gunnison and Taylor Park

It's really slow and almost painful, but I can post.

It appears that we attract rain and road pavers here in Colorado – the road between the campground and town has undergone repaving in Grand Junction, Montrose, and now in Gunnison.  As for the rain, a cold front has moved through and we had rain for two days which I’m sure the area always needs but since it has likely turned the dirt roads we planned to travel into mud, we decided to wait a day – the girls headed to Gunnison to check out the shopping while I dog sat and puttered around the coach.

The next day, we decided to make a drive into the mountains and opted for Taylor Park and Tin Cup.  Taylor Park is the developed area around Taylor Reservoir and is about 35 miles northeast of Gunnison with the pretty drive up the Gunnison and Taylor Rivers on a paved road.

Friday, August 26, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 34-35 – Gunnison

If you followed along during this summers Colorado trip, you may recall my computer crashed so I was missing some posts that I had already writtren up.  My buddy Joe has recoved the info from the old computer hard drive and I wanted to go ahead and post these for documentation sake - I'll leave them up for a couple of days then put them back in the correct order - this is last of three.

Our first full day in Gunnison was devoted to relaxing and going out for a late breakfast at the W Café on Main Street – breakfast served all day.  Bev had the breakfast burrito which was pretty tasty but not warm enough.

2016 Western Trip – Days 32-33 – Montrose & Gunnison

If you followed along during this summers Colorado trip, you may recall my computer crashed so I was missing some posts that I had already writtren up.  My buddy Joe has recoved the info from the old computer hard drive and I wanted to go ahead and post these for documentation sake - I'll leave them up for a couple of days then put them back in the correct order - this is second of three.

Our last day in Montrose was a beautiful, clear 83F and it was devoted to a few last minute things and getting ready to leave on Sunday.  Everything outside needed to be wiped off to remove the dust in preparation of stowing – I don’t want to take much of it home and it’s the one thing I don’t like about the western states – there is a thin layer on the inside as well.

We brought a brisket from home and decided we needed to make room in the freezer for stuff to take back home and I decided to just cook it in the oven using a recipe from Ina Garten.  I followed the recipe except I added a few potatoes as well and I didn’t use as much juice as my pan was just a little bigger than the roast.

The meal was delicious and I will definitely cook brisket this way again.

2016 Western Trip – Days 30-31 – Paonia & Telluride

If you followed along during this summers Colorado trip, you may recall my computer crashed so I was missing some posts that I had already writtren up.  My buddy Joe has recoved the info from the old computer hard drive and I wanted to go ahead and post these for documentation sake - I'll leave them up for a couple of days then put them back in the correct order - this is first of three.

For our final three days in the Montrose area, we had two things on the agenda – visit Telluride and go to Paonia for some Big B’s Hard Cider and based upon the weather, we opted to do the later on Thursday.  But before we headed out we fixed a little something for breakfast – French Toast made with cinnamon bread from a local bakery, fried in butter, and topped with some local peaches that were cooked in brown sugar and butter to make a peachy sauce.

What a delicious way to start our day.

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.

2016 Western Trip – Days 28 & 29– Hanging Around Montrose

After a day of jeeping we decided to stay close to home on Tuesday and run a few errands including a stop at a local meat processor that had been recommended by our campground neighbors.  Kinikin Processing is just that, a meat processing plant that also has a retail component where they sell fresh cut beef, pork, and lamb along with some finished products such as jerky and summer sausage.

We ended up buying beef and elk summer sausage, bacon, bacon hamburger, and some dog burgers for our four legged guys.  I would like to have bought some steaks but $20/pound for T-bone is more than I was willing to pay – but I may have to go back just to try some. 

From there we went down on Main Street to the Daily Bread Bakery and Café.

We got there pretty late in the day so the pickins were pretty slim, but we did buy a loaf of cinnamon bread and a loaf of sour dough.

The plan was to drive over to Telluride on Wednesday but with a 70% chance of rain there, we decided to once again stay close and the girls went shopping while I dog sat, peeled shrimp for pickling, and made supper – some days I like to just not go anywhere.  For supper, we opted for the burgers from Kinikin and some cheesy potatoes, and onions in foil cooked on the Jumbo Joe charcoal grill - delicious.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/16 – 8/17/16 event dates

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.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 17 & 18 – Italian Beef & Randy's

Friday was only 70F and light rain in Grand Junction and I loved it compared to the mid-90’s when we got here.  The choices for this day were a wine tasting trip or shopping for the ladies and since my foot was bothering me, we opted for the shopping trip.  We had brought a big sirloin roast with us from home and while the ladies were shopping, I turned it into Italian beef in the crockpot.  I used the same recipe as previously but just used the herbs and spices we had on board.  I cooked it for about six hours on high, sliced it up and cooked for another hour and a half – I adjusted the seasonings for the final part.

We sauteed some peppers and onions, and toasted the buns with a slice of cheese on each half.  This is my sandwich and it was delicious as well as very easy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 15 & 16 – Pufferbelly & FM

Our first day in GJ was devoted to cleaning up Sweetie, doing laundry, and running to the store but it began with a trip to Pufferbelly for breakfast and when we arrived, the eastbound Amtrak was loading at the station – same one we’d seen before in Glenwood Canyon the previous day.

Monday, August 8, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 13-14 – Evergreen & Grand Junction

I ordered this great telescoping ladder - Ollieroo® 12.5ft EN131 AluminumTelescopic Extension Ladder – from Amazon which looks like the perfect ladder for RVers.

During the dinner at our coach, I mentioned I planned to use it to repair the trim on Sweetie.  Heather overheard this and nearly insisted on doing the job for me – I know she was concerned about a fat old man being on a 12’ ladder – so she came over on Monday morning to make it happen.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Day 12 – Dinner At Our Place

During our last visit to Denver, our local friends came over to the coach for supper and even though the rain ran us inside, it was still a memorable enough experience that they wanted to do it again.  As it turned out, this was our plan as well and we had brought a whole beef tenderloin from home for the occasion.  The dinner party included five Denver friends and the three of us so after trimming, I sliced it up into a nice steak for each of us and we opted to make it into Steak Oscar. 

But before the entrée we had two appetizers – Fried Corn ala Beverly and Green Beans ala Lea Ann using ingredients from Lulu’s – both were very good.  Bev tried to convince me that fried corn was not an appetizer but I looked up the definition – “a small dish of food served before the main part of a meal” – so I think the beans and corn qualified as we only ate small portions.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 10-11 – Brewery and The Brown's

After the visit to Brighton, we returned to Sweetie to realize that Riley was scheduled to fly home that night rather than the next night as we believed, so she flew into getting ready so we could still participate in the evening activities – a brewery tour and dinner at Breckenridge Brewery.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Day 10 – Breakfast & Brighton With Friends

The next three days were mainly devoted to spending time with our Denver friends beginning with breakfast at the Pierre Michel French Bakery in Highlands Ranch, CO.  They serve breakfast and lunch and, as expected, the meals are heavily slanted toward baked goods and with lots of delicious pastries.