Wednesday, July 31, 2019

American Falls, Idaho

Location: Massacre Rocks State Park; American Falls, Idaho (elev. 4,350 feet)

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone

Thru Stop #9
I'm a day late at making this post but I just rested up yesterday and didn't do much. The weather was nice and the scenery peaceful, so I just shut down for a day. 

The trip up from Green River went through a lot of various landscape. I passed through the dry desert-like areas just north of Green River to the big city of Salt Lake City and then through vast cultivated fields. It was a long haul of 350+ thinking miles. I used the trip to think about which route I will take back to Louisiana since Idaho was my destination and I've reached it. I still have a little bit of thinking to do on the subject, but there is still time. 

I figure a lot of readers are getting tired of these travel pictures, but I know they will really spark my memory when I look back on them in future. I know this because the road pictures I took years ago spark good memories for me when I look at them now. 
This is just north of Green River. Still desert-like.

Strange formations everywhere. I have no clue how that originally developed. I can clearly see the erosion that is taking place. A long time ago, did it look like Devils Tower looks now? And if so, I wonder what Devils Tower looked like back then. I should have taken more geology classes in college. 

Scrub brush/mini-trees started showing up later on.

There is stretch where the road winds its way through these small hills. 

After passing through those small hills, the landscape changes to a more green-ish land. It's as if you just walked through a door.

The mountains start getting a little bigger

There are a couple of steep grades you have to pass over but nothing very big although the state did place passing lanes when needed. Notice the change in mountains again. They are getting roughing, more jagged and taller. This is about 2 hours from when I started the day.

The sky started its show.

The cultivated fields with houses.

This was a very large blackened area. I think it may have been from the wildfires of last year. This picture only captured about a fourth of what you could see from the road. It looked to have stopped at the edge of a cultivated field. Maybe the field was a natural fire-break.

I like these types of pictures and post them often. Each time I see the road like this,,,,it reminds me of ,,,, "the road goes on forever, but the journey never ends". Something like that..:)

An old home place. Judging from the looks of it, I would guess early 1900's. There was no road leading to it so I assume the construction of the Interstate may have bought them out. I've seen places like this all over the mid-west and now in northern Utah.

I was surprised at the size of the hay fields. It may have been something else, but I'm just calling it hay. 

The beauty of having the cell phone camera sitting next to me. I was able to take a picture of this sign. I wonder if Gretel is waiting of him in the valley? But, unfortunately for Hansel, there isn't any services. I guess he made her mad. 

More hay.

Large hay bales stacked up for the winter. I'm guessing they must be on their second cutting. I wonder how many cuttings they get per year.

Another "long, lonesome highway".

This is a great state park and I think I have the best campsite in the whole park. The Oregon Trail runs right through here and wagon ruts can still be seen. The name of the park, "massacre rocks", is a little misleading. At first I thought there may have been a massacre from the past that occurred around here. Nope, actually the name comes from the people who traveled the Oregon Trail. When they reached this area with all of the large rocks laying around they believed there were Indians behind each rock just waiting to massacre them, so in their diaries, they called the place "Massacre Rocks". 
First view of the Snake River in Idaho

My campsite overlooking the Snake River. Of the more than 250 different campsites I've stayed in over the years, this one ranks up there in the top 10.

Looking up the Snake River

My view as I was drinking my morning coffee
I'll be here for four days. I timed it just right because the cost of the campsite is half price for Mondays thru Thursday for Seniors. That makes it as good as a Passport America campground. Even with this half price, the campground is less than half full. When I was talking to the camphost, he said the park usually fills up on the weekends. It is a nice peaceful place to let time catch up to.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Green River, Utah (mostly travel pics)

Location: Green River State Park; Green River, Utah (elev 3,970 feet)

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone

Stop # 8

Green River is a place I picked that was in the generally direction of Idaho and a little less than 200 miles from Montrose. Very scientific, uh? I'm staying for two days, because I learned long ago that one night stands never turn out well. Part of the trip was on interstate highway and I was surprised how good that felt. I haven't been on one since I first entered Colorado. I left Louisiana 16 days ago, but it seems much longer. For those of you who plan to be RV travelers, you will learn that time is different when you're traveling quickly. When you're stationary and you look back in time a couple of days, it seems not long ago because there isn't much that has happened to you that is new. But, when you're traveling quickly and seeing new things constantly, your brain is having to absorb new stimulus constantly, which sort of warps time. The only things that seem the same are the names of gas stations, restaurants and Walmart. I know, that sounds crazy, but I hope other RV'ers that travel quickly will agree, so the guys in white coats don't come after me. If they do, they better move quickly.

The scenery along this leg of the journey changed a lot. I had forgotten how barren northern Utah is when it comes to vegetation. It is similar to southern Arizona or even west Texas. People say you either love or hate the desert. I'm somewhere in between, but lean more to the hating than loving. 
This isn't very far north of Montrose. You see that mountain slope for a long time before passing it to the left.

I think the bright orange construction signs add something to this picture. It seems to show the relationship between man and nature. The clouds were great too.

And the road goes on forever,,,,,,,

This is out the side glass looking south. That looks a little like Canyonlands NP, but I think I was still a little to far to the east.

Barren land, but a pretty sky

Welcome to Utah

Just another travel picture of the area.

Campsite at Green River State Park. Liberty's back end was way up in the air which is rare. Her back stabilizers have been squealing lately due to a grease worm. It worked out good because I could run them down all the way and get some good lubrication in the right place.

After I got set up in my campsite yesterday I took a drive towards the mesa's to the north of town. I wanted to see the Green River. The Green River joins up with the Colorado River south of here and you can see it when visiting Canyonlands National Park. That is one of my favorite parks so I wanted to see up close. 
These are the mesa's north of the town of Green River. There is lots of cultivated fields along this road due to the water irrigation from the river. 

My first sight of the river and it had a nice tree for the picture.

This is the river with the sky and mountains in the background. I turned around early, because I was sure if I was violating some "no trespassing" signs or not. 

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll finally reach Idaho. It will be a long tow of about 6 or 7 hours. That is way longer than I normally like to tow but purposely decided to do so I would have some long thinking time. For me, driving is a lot of thinking time (in between taking pictures, etc). So, I'll rest up at the next campground which will be Massacre Rocks State Park, near American Falls, Idaho. I'll be there for four days.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.  

Friday, July 26, 2019

Fantastic Waterfall and Ute Indians

Location: Black Canyon KOA; Montrose, Colorado (elev. 5,825 feet)

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone

Thru stop # 7

It was a short tow from Elk Creek and I arrived here at Montrose a little before 11:00 a.m. which happened to be the check-in/check-out time. The timing was good and my campsite was empty. KOA's are more expensive than most campgrounds and I use them only when I get frustrated at not being able to find a different campground that takes my fancy. This one is in excellent condition and the pride the workers have in maintaining it shines through. I also have cable TV, which is nice. Except when I have cable, I rely on over-the-air channels to see any TV. Usually I don't watch any TV so this cable is an overload for me. 

The last view of Blue Mesa Reservoir and Elk Creek Campground

A look out the side window at mostly pasture land. I guess the price of beef is down because a lot of the pastures were empty or only a few head.

It was a nice day for a tow with perfect weather. There were a couple of steep grades but everything went fine.

Campsite at KOA (luxury living)

This is also the first time in a while I have been near a decent sized city to try out some different restaurants. I read about a deli named Heidi's so I went there in my continuing search for a perfect Reuben sandwich. To me, a classic reuben is corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and russian dressing on rye bread,,, all toasted until the cheese melts and the sandwich is hot. There are lots of modifications, but to me, that is the basics. The sandwich I got from Heidi's had the basic ingredients right but was very poor in terms of quality. I'm not even sure the corned beef was corned beef. Oh well, my search continues. 

This stop at Montrose was suppose to be a way to see more of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in case I wanted to make a second visit. But, since I saw it earlier and didn't want to see any more of it, I had to find something else to explore. That something else turned out to be a fantastic waterfall in a town about 30 miles away named Ouray. Actually it isn't a classic waterfall. The water is shooting out of a fissure in the side of the mountain with such force that it creates a "roaring" sound. I was blown away with it. The problem is it's hard to get a good picture of it that shows exactly what it is like being so close to it. When I first stepped on the open-grate catwalk and looked down, I quickly stepped back because I wasn't expecting it. After a just a little bit, I walked on. You can go down a few flights of stairs to get down to the bottom which puts you at the edge of the water. Water mist is flying everywhere. I was alone when I was at the bottom which gave another type of surreal feeling. It was a great stop and cheap too,,,,only $5.00.

On the way to Ouray. The mountains in the background seemed to be creating the clouds.

The clouds were adding to the scenery

I found a back-less bench on the way down to the waterfall.

The open-grate catwalk leading to the waterfall. The water down below is rushing very fast.

This is the only good picture I have to show where the water is coming out. The little waterfall in the middle is after the water is shot out against the smooth rock.

More of the catwalk with the waterfall in the lower bottom.

Duck your head because no hardhats were issued. Safety isn't first with us. :)

Another stop on the way back to the KOA was to visit the Ute Indian Museum. It was interesting and worth the stop. The Ute's original territory covered all of Colorado plus parts of the adjoining states. The most interesting thing I learned is the Ute's are the only Indian nation in the country that does NOT have a migration story. All of the other tribes, except the Utes, started in another part of the country and moved somewhere else. The Ute's have been in the Colorado area for 10,000 years or more. They have an oral history that has been handed down through the generations about the Utes hunting Mammoths. The museum was pretty good, but the Indian Museum in the Smoky Mountains is still the best I've visited. 
Entrance to the museum

Suppose to be authentic tepees.

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be entering the state of Utah. I have reservations for two nights at Green River State Park in Green River, Utah. There isn't anything special that I have planned for the stop so I'll be on the look-out for something to explore. Another storm is getting ready to blow in here at the KOA. We got a pretty good one last night. It seems the evening is the time the storms start to fire up so I'll have to remember that when and if I pass through here again.  

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Location: Elk Creek Campground (National Forest); Gunnison, Colorado (elev 7,600 ft)

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone

Still at Stop # 6
I first noticed the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park on Google Earth a few years ago as I was traveling in the west. It looked very interesting but I couldn't work it into my travel plans so it stayed on my "places to see" list. Well, I saw it yesterday and it became my 18th National Park (rough count) that I've visited since I started traveling in 2014. 
It was another pretty day to drive to the National Park

It's a nice park with some really great views of the Black Canyon. I especially like the East Portal road that takes you to the bottom of the canyon to the river. It is a drop in elevation of 1,800 feet. The road is rough and includes a few miles of 16% grade. Yep, I didn't stutter, 16%. Once you get to the bottom, the river is calm and flows smoothly. There is a campground in the bottom with picnic areas. There is no way I'll take Liberty down there, but I did take a lunch with me knowing there might be a nice place along the river to eat it. It was a left over hamburger from the night before. Food always seem to taste better when you have a nice view. 

Another warning sign on a road I'm about to go on. This one says "extreme grades & sharp curves ahead". They weren't lying. 

Yeah, buddy, that's an extreme grade. For those who don't do a lot of traveling, most well traveled roads top out in the 6% range. 16% is very unusual but I was excited to give it a try. 

Since there weren't many people on the road, I could stop to take pictures every now and then. Way down there is the rest of the road.

Way down there is the Gunnison River with the road on the lower right side of the picture.

My view as I ate my lunch. The temperature was in the low 70's with a nice breeze blowing. The river was slowly passing. It was a nice lunch, not as good as Taco Bell, but still pretty good. 

The rest of the national park is located on the top of a mesa and includes several turnouts where you can take a short walk to the edge of the canyon and look down into it or across at the other side. I think I may be getting jaded because I couldn't get excited about some of the places. I guess after the Grand Canyon, Palo Duro, Royal Gorge, Canyonlands, etc, a person gets a little burned out seeing places like this, even when it is spread out over a few years. I seem to be running out of patience in seeing some of the things I wanted to see. The mountains and canyons are pretty, but like Reagan said of the Redwood Trees, "once you've seen one, you've see them all." I need to think on this jaded attitude some more. Maybe I just need a change of scenery since I've been at this campground for four days. 
One of the views from up top of the park while looking down at the valley. You can see some snow still on the mountains in the distance.

A different view of some different mountains but a little closer this time.

I found a bench but it was occupied. 

Some more mountains. They almost look fake, it real life as well as in this picture. 

Going down from the park there is another rare road sign. I'm not sure what it is called, "snake sign"?

As I was driving back to the campground this deer/elk (I've given up trying to ID them) ran out in front of me. It stopped in my lane, looked at me, then jogged on across. I was at a complete stop when I took this picture. 

I can tell when I'm getting close to the campground when I can see the Blue Mesa lake. 

Tomorrow is moving day and it will be a short tow of 50 miles to Montrose, Colorado. Montrose is actually closer to the National Park than my current campground but I planned to stop there as a backup campground to make sure I was able to visit the park. I'm not sure if I will re-visit the park or go see another place I learned of today. Time will tell.

A rain storm is blowing in with thunder, rain and dropping temperatures. I like these kind of storms. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.