September 2 - 4, 2021
Thursday's drive south from Vernal, Utah, to Fruita, Colorado, is 130 miles of two-lane road. From pitted, bumpy and very narrow to newly paved and comfortably wide, it's beautiful most of the way. Towering colorful canyons with amazing rock formations lead into pine forest covered mountains.
About that mountain.....Douglas Pass is 7% grade on both sides with a speed limit of 25 mph, and 15 mph switchback turns. It's also one of the narrow sections of the road. But there is very little other traffic, and it is stunning (and you're going slow enough to really see it!). I'm not nervous up or down, but it always feels good to get to the bottom :-) Not sure I'd want to drive it from south to north as that is a LOT more steep uphill. Actually, we drop elevation all the way to I-70 just west of Fruita.
|Still going down, looking back up at the road - it's a lot further "up there" than it looks here!|
Monument RV Park is easy to find, and we get set up on our level all-gravel 50 amp FHU site. Basic city park with few trees and close neighbors, it's perfect for our needs this holiday weekend. As I always try to get the holidays covered first, I made this reservation nine months ago!
Late lunch at Cattleman's Grill in Loma is tasty, even having to fight the flies for our meal. The restaurant and bar share the building with the livestock auction facility so it's not hard to guess where the little pests are coming from.
We've heard about the scenic drives in the area, and with our Colorado time cut short we want to take advantage of what we can see here. Friday morning we take the Historic Rim Rock Drive, 23 miles of grand views ranked high on the country's "most beautiful" lists.
The only "history" we encounter is a reference to the cattle trail that was the original route to the canyon's rim, and the building of the road itself. I continue to be amazed and appreciative of the roads built just so we have access to these gorgeous natural wonders.
|The 23 mile road travels up, over and through some of the most beautiful canyons we've ever seen. And we've seen a lot!|
|Independence Monument to the right is a beauty. A fellow traveler at the pull out tells us there are climbers near the top.|
|With full zoom I find them on this ledge preparing to reach the summit.|
|First up assists his partner for the last step.|
|Which one of us is calling the helicopter?|
|Interesting formations along the roadside.|
|Red stripes brush along the canyon walls.|
|Upper Utte Canyon where the dark clouds drop light rain.|
|A bright burst along the trail.|
|Canyon walls on all sides.|
|Erosion creates a variety of gallery pieces.|
Grand Junction has a cute historic downtown, but very little parking that we can find. We do find a tasty lunch at Main Street Cafe, but the sprinkles felt earlier become a pretty good rain so we miss a stroll through the restored area.
The main reason we kept Fruita on our route (although the anticipated natural beauty is a strong second) before returning to California is to see a dear friend from high school. Terri and I were buddies my senior year, and have only seen each other at one reunion over the many years since. She is here with her mom and youngest brother and his wife. Our first meeting is for dinner at nearby El Tapatio, including their good friends Eddie and Kelly who also live in the area. We enjoy a lively evening and very good meals. Good margaritas too! Afterwards Terri and mom Lois come to visit our little home for more visiting. While I fail to get pics, we are going to their home for Sunday brunch where I'm sure to remember!
Saturday morning we get a slow start for Grand Mesa. The lower route takes us through golden formations along a shallow running creek. As we climb we're in thick pines and hardwoods. Long distance views show how high we're climbing - at one point we're level with the high clouds on the other side of the valley. Just past 10,000 feet I'm feeling the elevation in a not-good way. When the road narrows and continues to climb I turn around. Not having fun, not feeling good, not going any further. Little did we know at this point that feeling funky was the least of bad things happening elsewhere. That would once again cause a major change in our plans.
|A small lake, part of the recreational area.|
|Still some smoke in the valley, but certainly better than previous stops.|
|The green is so lush!|
Taking a little break on the way down my phone pings that I have service again. And a voice mail. From Jeff back in Tombstone. Call, it's an emergency.
Horrible things go through a mother's mind, but at least he was able to leave a message. When he answers my call he sounds good. Whew!
"An SUV crashed into the house" is NOT what I'm expecting to hear! Learning that no one was hurt is not only amazing but a huge relief. Police and fire are there, utilities are turned off, he has all the information from the driver, the neighbors are a big help. He's calm and in control and that makes me feel the same way. We all laugh about the absurdity.
|I see a new fireplace in our future.|
|Glad Jeff's car was on the other side of the garage - still got a few dents from that flying door :-(|
Of course we'll head home in the morning.
The afternoon is spent cancelling all the reservations I finalized two days ago. It's becoming second nature.
I'm bummed to tell Terri we can't do brunch on Sunday. No pics after all :-(
Our summer isn't wrapping up the way we planned, not even the way we re-planned - but having a flexible life style is a blessing as are our family and friends.
I was going to comment on the beauty of your pictures and the amazing zoom lens on your camera. I've been to Fruita and it is a gorgeous place and I even know the spot the climbers were on so I'm even more impressed with you zoom. Do I need to own this camera? But all that is totally overshadowed by the pictures of the car inside your house. What in the world? You are amazingly calm. And I thought I was having a bad day.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure why we aren't more upset. Probably because the first worry was Jeff and when he was okay then it was all just stuff. I'm sure it will be a pain to get it resolved with insurance, etc., but we'll attempt to remain chill throughout :-)Delete
The western slopes of Colorado never cease to amaze me. So much beauty to enjoy!ReplyDelete
WTH ??? How did an SUV manage to crash into your home! ??? Glad nobody was hurt, but it looks like you'll be spending most of your winter rebuilding.
There's so much we did see, and even more we have to go back to see in that area! Yes, I'm afraid it will be a lengthy fix.Delete
Oh my gosh Jodee and Bill!!! Very glad no one was hurt and it can be rebuilt--what a way to have your trip cut short! Hugs to you both!ReplyDelete
Thanks Janna. It was definitely a shock to get that call! Hope the new fireplace is easier than your kitchen counters!!!!Delete
John shared the house photos and info this morning when I texted. Again, SO glad no one was injured. The house can be fixed:)ReplyDelete
Glad you got to enjoy this beautiful area. We've stayed Monument RV during both of our visit there. Simple, level, and quiet. It works. Thanks for taking us back to so many fun drives and hikes. Safe travels home!! Thinking of you, Bill, and Jeff. Thank goodness Jeff was there.
I saved the RV park from your blog so I knew it would work for us. And those drives are just wow!! Thanks for checking in this morning. We'll be glad to get back and get started on the fix.Delete
Lord love a duck!!!!! What a mess! I'm glad Jeff was there and wasn't in the direct hit zone. I see fun times ahead while that all gets fixed. It's a good thing that you have a spot for the motorhome, you may have to live in it for awhile. So sorry your lovely plans have been changed so many times, and now this! Our thoughts are with you, if there is anything we can do, let us know please? Oh....nice pictures.ReplyDelete
Little did we know when taking those pics we'd have such a drastic change in plans!! We are definitely grateful Jeff was there to take care of the immediate issues - he's been cracking us up with his comments about the "incident". Thanks for checking in, we'll holler if we think of anything!Delete
I'm so glad everyone is OK! We once bought a house a car had driven into but we didn't find that out until the outlets in one room didn't work.ReplyDelete
Oh geez, can't believe they didn't disclose that. Glad it was just the outlets. I imagine we'll have some surprises of our own to deal with.Delete
He gads! Thank goodness Jeff was not injured and there to take care of immediate concerns. So sorry your plans have to change yet again. Glad you have that beautiful MH with all the necessary hook-ups to use while repairs are made. Safe travels home.ReplyDelete
Gorgeous photos as always!
We used the MH when our plumbing had to be shut off and for guest quarters so it's sure saved us a lot of hassle already. Fortunately water and electric are all back on except to the one corner so hopefully we can stay in the house for the repairs.Delete
Oh my goodness! I’m so glad he’s okay. I hope all goes well at the house. Beautiful pictures of Colorado.ReplyDelete
Thanks Laura. Never a dull moment, and yet we're blessed it wasn't worse in many ways.Delete
Oh my! You guys drive your rolling home thousands of miles without an accident and your non-rolling home gets hit by a vehicle! Thank goodness no one was hurt! I don’t even want to think about if you were chillin’ in the living room. Be safe on your drive home!ReplyDelete
Exactly!!! Never in a million years....... The antique trunk and lots of flying debris slammed into Bill's recliner so it's very good we weren't there!Delete
Unbelieveable pictures -- shocking. So very thankful and amazed that your family wasn't hurt. Houses can be repaired. Though, OMG, what a project ahead. CindyReplyDelete
My fingers are crossed the structural damage is minimal and once the bricks are cleared it won't be "too" bad. Alas we shall see and I'll keep updating.Delete
Looks like things were going so well with this rerouting...then all hell broke loose! Thank goodness for Jeff being there to handle this!ReplyDelete
Yes, we've been singing Jeff's praises for two days - he's been a trooper. Not sure why the universe wanted us back in Tombstone, but this did the trick!Delete
What the heck!!?!! No!! Never in a million years would I have thought your shocking news would be a car crashing into your house. That is crazy! Although honestly, it's far better (as you know) than having something happen to one of your loved ones. We're so sorry that this happened to your lovely home. And that you once again had to rearrange your plans.ReplyDelete
As always, you are finding the beauty and joy in your travels. Your photos of your trip from Vernal to Fruita are wonderful. Safe travels home, and take good care of yourselves. Hugs to you both!
Isn't that the truth?! I never thought the emergency would be this! And yes so glad it wasn't anyone hurt or sick. We'll see the reality when we get there tomorrow and hope to keep our good attitudes :-)Delete
Wow, glad to hear no one was hurt!ReplyDelete
That's the real blessing for sure!Delete
Just caught up with your last several posts. What a shocking end to this last one! Your summer has not gone that well all around, but who would have ever dreamed something like this would bring you home early? Hope the repairs go smoothly. Jim was a claims adjuster for years so if you have any questions he would be happy to answer.ReplyDelete
Yeah boy we couldn't have guessed at this!! So far the insurance company is moving quickly and with our electricity on in all rooms now we're comfortable pending repairs. Thanks for the offer, I may reach out to Jim if it starts getting confusing!!Delete
Unbelievable!! Like others, we're glad everyone is safe and unharmed. Colorado is beautiful and I hope you get to see it again soon :-)ReplyDelete
It's the second time we've tried to see western Colorado so maybe three will be the charm!! We're doing well with the house cleanup so far.Delete
I’m glad you were able to enjoy what you did! Just crazy that crash was. Glad everyone was safe and you’ll get some new upgrades at least.ReplyDelete
We're trying to focus on the new things we can do now, looking forward to all the "gaps" getting closed up :-)Delete