trip report: Colorado, Montana - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-04-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
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trip report: Colorado, Montana

I thought I'd write up a proper report, with photos, of my recent 5000 mile vacation. After a couple of false starts, I finally got out the door on July 1st. From Tulsa I drove west on 412 to the panhandle and spent the first night in a little picnic area at the south edge of a tiny village called Felt. This was national grassland property and overnighting is permitted. I had the place all to myself, and it did not look like it had seen much use but was quiet and pleasant.

The next morning I made my way through the NE corner of New Mexico. Because of the fires, the national forests in NM were closed. So instead of continuing west through NM I went over Raton Pass and to Trinidad, then west. I went over Wolf Creek Pass and then found a boondock site along the East Fork Road, about 4 miles off the highway.
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As you can see, I was pretty close to the river. Except for the 4-wheelers going by during the daytime (noise and dust), it was a great spot.

The next day was spent driving a few of the back roads and taking pictures. The drive to the top of Lobo Overlook (above the pass) was blocked near the top by a snowdrift, but it was possible to park and walk the rest of the way. The views are worth it. Here is a self portrait (gotta love tripods).
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I really liked the look of this tiny lake. People were fishing there, of course.
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On July 4 I pulled out of the East Fork area and drove to Durango, then turned north. near one of the passes I came across this artistic lady. I told her I was no good at painting, thus I took up photography instead, and could I take her picture? She was kind enough to consent.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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Hi, Mike

All I can say is....

MORE! MORE!

Oh- and, welcome home, too..

Francesca
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:13 PM   #3
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By the time I passed Silverton it was late afternoon, and some rain came up, so when I saw some rigs boondocking off the side of the highway I turned around and found a spot to stay the night. Here is the view of this campsite from the direction of the highway.
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This spot, if I recall correctly from the GPS, exceeded 10,000 feet elevation. The rain stopped so I spent an hour or more walking trails in the near vicinity. I found that my legs felt fine but my lungs couldn't keep up very well in that thin air. But it was still great.

The next morning the sun was out and I continued north to Ouray. At the Ampitheater campground there's an overlook where you can see the town down below with the mountains all around. There was also some wildlife around the campground.
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This guy was an amazingly good shot, don't you think?
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Then I spent a bit of time walking the streets of Ouray. Some of the buildings look pretty interesting. Beyond the righthand upper corner of the Beaumont, you can see a waterfall.
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More to follow.......
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:16 PM   #4
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nice pictures, do you have a destination?
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:21 PM   #5
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He is a good shot, "look ma, no hands".
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
nice pictures, do you have a destination?
All of these places were destinations, you might say. But my farthest destination was Glacier National Park.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:57 PM   #7
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Great Report and Pics! Thanks!
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:57 PM   #8
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Now that you've brought it up, Jim, let me say a little more about my destination. Because I traveled with a different mindset this year than I ever have before, and I enjoyed the trip more with this new mindset.

In the past I would decide on a destination quite some distance away, and drive hard every day to get there. I found that when I arrived I would already have tired myself of traveling. I tended not to stay out long... my longest camping trip was 10 days, but most were only about a week long.

This year I decided to take it easy, poke along, and try to enjoy the entire journey. I spent several days looking online at boondock locations that would likely be near the end of a day's not-too-long drive, and thinking about what I could do to relax and enjoy the area once I got there. So each campsite became a mini-destination for me. I tried to find a way to enjoy the place with a short hike or a short little side trip to look for photogenic spots. Oh, and I had some novels to read, too, when I didn't feel like doing anything else.

I also stayed really flexible on most of the days. If I felt like taking a day off from driving, I did so. If I spotted something I wanted to see, I did that. Very loose on the 'schedule'. The only thing written in stone was, I had to be back to Denver for a business meeting July 17 & 18. Beyond that, everything was subject to change. Even my ultimate far-point destination, Glacier, was changeable if I decided to do something else instead.

I didn't 'push it.' Excluding the meeting days, I think I averaged about 300 miles per day. So I didn't burn myself out. (Everyone will have a different pace they find comfortable, but this average distance worked for me.) I might drive 500 miles one day and 50 miles the next, depending on what I felt like doing. This helped me feel more relaxed, more "on vacation," than ever before. Were it not for the busness-related thoughts that overtook me after the meeting, I probably would have stayed out in Colorado a few more days still.

I know this would not be for everyone. For example, my eldest brother in Idaho can hardly tolerate nonstructured time. He is happiest when everything is scheduled out to a T and it's Go Go Go the whole time.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:16 PM   #9
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He is a good shot, "look ma, no hands".
I have to admit...
Picture # 3 in the second set made me do a double take, too...

Francesca
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:02 PM   #10
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Thanks for the compliments and comments. Yes Francesca, the height and angle of the water spigot was just right to create the illusion.

After Ouray, I headed north to Ridgeway and turned west. For a while the highway climbs in elevation again, and one has a nice view of the mountains SW near Telluride.
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Then the highway begins a steady descent. Through the aspens, it descends for a distance of some 10 or 12 miles, I think. Then comes the turnoff south toward Telluride, but I continued to the NW instead and the road descended for perhaps another 8-10 miles, into the San Miguel canyon (I never knew before that they named a canyon after me! ). I passed a young lady on a bicycle, coasting downhill all this distance, going perhaps 30 or 35 mph.... what a ride that must be! Then the road crosses my river (yup, the San Miguel River) and climbs rapidly up the canyon wall, topping out on a 7000' foot plateau of green pastures, hay fields and grazing cattle. This lasts for 10 miles, then the road gradually descends into some light colored, crumbly sandstone and the area quickly looks more desertlike. Mind you, from the 10K foot campsite to this area only took about 2 hours of driving! The rapid changes in climate and scenery were amazing.

From there it was not far to Moab, where I finally paid to camp for 2 nights... it was 100 degrees or so and I needed the A/C. From Portal RV Campground I visited Canyonlands' "Island in the Sky" area the first evening. If you look closely you might see a road down in the canyon (no, I did not drive there).
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The next morning it was Arches NP. I hiked to Delicate Arch before it got too hot. Then sat around reading during the day, and in the evening I headed to Devil's Garden.
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While there, near Landscape Arch, the moon was out and a jet happened to pass by.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:24 PM   #11
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To paraphrase Donna in another thread, these pictures allow others to live the life they wished they could live. thanx
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:30 PM   #12
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Here are a couple more images of Canyonlands. First, an art-minded family. Looked like a mother (or grandmother?) who encouraged the young ones... they all were sketching pictures of what they saw.
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This one shows the river far below.
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And here I am at Delicate Arch.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:33 PM   #13
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By the time I get to the last one, it will look like a chicken wish bone that has been broken or "wished" upon.
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:37 PM   #14
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Oh my stars! THANKS Mike for sharing your experiences and pictures with us. I'm thrilled Now, where's my bucket list notebook......
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