Thursday, September 1, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 42-43 – Lake City & Hartman Rocks

The final thing on my Gunnison to-do list was make a day trip down to Lake City and, based upon our Montrose neighbors recommendations, eat at Southern Vittles – it seemed like a good trip for our next to last day.

The drive down was mostly through the vast western Colorado hilly desert with the lush green of the irrigated valleys.  It’s about 50 miles from the campground with little civilization once you turn off of US-50 and on to CO-149.  The road was in decent shape and while there were no mountains, there were some big hills to cross (mtns. back in TN) and plenty of curves.  We saw several coaches and trailers on the road, but I’d have to want to camp in Lake City really bad to drive Sweetie there.

After a quick tour of town, we drove up to Lake San Cristobal and after taking a few photos we began looking for the dam and were surprised to see the water going over the top.  After researching, I discovered that it is the second largest natural lake in the state having been formed by a rock slide about 700 years ago – so no man made dam was there.  

When I got ready to upload my photos, I discovered my SIM card was still in the computer so no shots to upload – here are a couple of the lake, which is gorgeous, from the web.

From the lake we headed for Southern Vittles to discover a nice small place flying flags from both Texas and A&M and serving Texas, Cajun and other southern foods – fried okra appetizer for example.  The owner/chef is from Texas and the server was from Lithuania.  The fried catfish and chicken fried steak had both been recommended so I had the fish and the girls split the steak.
Again no shots but the fish was breaded in yellow cornmeal and fried just right – crispy outside and moist, flaky inside.  The girls said their steak was good but not great but it had way less gristle than the last one we had from W Cafe.  I would definitely eat there again – a couple of shots from the web.

Of course the shoppers wanted to stop in to a few stores and while they did I drove around town and snapped a few shots – I think my camera has some great shots of the older homes and buildings, but here are a couple from the web similar to what I took - many of the older homes and buildings have been very well maintained.

Our last day in Gunnison was primarily devoted to packing up to leave the next day, but we did want to see one of the local attractions.  Hartman Rocks Recreation Area includes over 8,000 acres of public land located just on the outskirts of the city, it is one of Gunnison’s greatest gems. It’s a paradise of desert mountain biking, hiking, motorcycling, rock climbing, horseback riding, trail running, and Nordic skiing. With miles of trails and roads maintained by the BLM and local Gunnison recreation groups, Hartman’s is one of western Colorado’s best kept secrets.  Only a small part of it is drivable in a car, but here are a few shots first from the bottom, then the top, then the web.

We saw several mountain bikers while we were up there and a few hikers and in winter it is used for cross country skiing.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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


8/30–8/31/16 event dates


  1. Too bad about the sim card. That restaurant sounds like it has some good eats especially the catfish.

  2. I hate it when you forget the camera card. I've done that more than once, and it's a bummer. But I'm sure it was a marvelous day. And I agree that it wouldn't be a lot of fun to drive a giant coach over those winding roads - they were scary enough in my 15 passenger van back in the day. All in all, you guys had a great stay in Colorado!

  3. Bummer about the sim card! Such a beautiful area. I am glad you guys have really been able to see so much of Colorado.

  4. Larry, Thanks for the scenic tour! You've given me lots of tips for drives and food with the posts you've done to date on your blog site... It's just a beautiful area with lots of attractive small towns. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  5. Love these photos Larry and sorry about your SIM card. My camera gives me notice when I forget to put it in - thank goodness! This looks like the old west and at any minute you'll see the sheriff or a gun fight! What an adventure.

  6. I've really enjoyed following along on your adventures since I've never been in this part of the country. Many parts look like movie sets from the old westerns.

  7. We ate at Southern Vittles and had gumbo that had no meat and extra okra and celery. Not a good choice this day. The mountain biking looks great. We need to check that out.


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