Nevada to California

Wendover to Elko NV
Up and down the mountains across northern Nevada we went. I-80 is mostly smooth asphalt and the ride was nice – EXCEPT for the nasty rotten no good concrete section west of Wells NV. I hate concrete highways!

There is noticeably less traffic on I-80 west of Salt Lake City. Across Wyoming there were many many trucks and plenty of cars too. Once we headed west from SLC the traffic dwindled to about half the cars and trucks. It’s nice to have the road to ourselves, but it makes me wonder which way all the things that get sent in trucks are going. I’ve been watching the weather on the pass west of Reno and the roads are very snowy. Maybe the smart truckers have a secret route with no snow.

When we got to Elko we spent the afternoon at Home Depot buying parts for an upcoming Repairs and Mods project so stay tuned for that!After our shopping spree we headed over to the Valley View RV Park and grabbed a $14.00 spot for the night. I’m usually a cheap-skate when it comes to overnight stays, but when it’s this cold out (High 27º, Low 12º) the options are to run the generator a lot or leave the truck idling. Idling the truck overnight in Wamsutter WY (low temp -2ºF) ended up costing $29 in fuel. Running the generator in Wendover only cost $9 but I didn’t run it all night.

Elko to Winnemucca NV
I saw a bald eagle trying to out-fly a crow and get her to drop the tasty morsel she had in her mouth. The smaller crow can turn much sharper than the eagle and she was using that advantage to lose the bigger bird (avian dinosaurs!). I didn’t see how it ended and I’m rooting for the crow.

Lots of mining in this part of Nevada. Lots of mountains too, but no big trees. Scrub oak, pinions, etc.

I managed to get through this section of the trip without being snowed on. The day after I made the trek west it snowed a fair amount between Elko and Winnemucca.

Winnemucca to Reno NV
I have to give NDOT two thumbs up for the smooooth asphalt roadway almost all the way to Sparks NV. It didn’t turn to rough concrete until 10 miles east of Sparks and speaking of Sparks – I didn’t like it. Not one bit. The energy there was wonky, the place is loud, and drivers are rude.

Reno to Loomis CA
We left at the crack of dawn, which for us is about 3 hours after we wake up, and headed over Donner Pass before anyone got eaten. CalTrans did a great job of cleaning up the last snow storm and we had about a 1-day window of clear sailing. Next storm was due the day after we got over the hills.

CA seems very different from Nevada. The road is lined with big trees and other plants, the highway curves and twists, the are many small hills closely spaced together. In Nevada the road only turned every twenty miles or so and the hills are spaced far apart. Crest a hill in Nevada and we can see an arrow-strait ribbon of asphalt 25 miles into the distance. In CA the view is far shorter, maybe only a mile or so.

Green. Everything is green. And the water is not frozen.

Loomis to Cotati CA
Except for that one butt-head driver who tried to cut me off the drive was nice. We came down from the hills, crossed the marsh, and headed back into the hills near Napa. Wine country plus some cows. I can see why people want to live in this area. When it is raining it looks very lush and green. I saw some wineries for sale, but I didn’t have time to stop and buy any. Maybe later.

This was the last day of eight strait days on the road and I’m glad to not have to drive for awhile. The trip started out sunny and warm, switched to sunny and super cold, then changed to cloudy, cool, and wet. Now it’s time to help friends fix up their place and go for bike rides. Plus trips to the ocean and the redwood forest. Stay tuned!

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Fruita to Denver


I had planned to make the eastbound trip the day after Gravy-day, but a big storm blowing in from the north prompted me to leave two days early. The forecast was for several inches of snow and a 35 mph headwind. As it turned out my wednesday departure provided us with little wind and dry roads.

We hit a wall of traffic at the Edwards exit and did the I-70 bumper-to-bumper shuffle the rest of the way to town. Typical front range traffic and one of the reasons I left. I also noticed that the closer I got to Denver the more I could smell stink in the air. A sort of burnt plastic smell mixed with car exhaust and brake dust permeates the atmosphere. And then there is that whole light-turns-green-nobody-goes thing around here. I don’t know if it’s like that where you live, but no one in Denver looks up from their phone. Can’t see the light change if you’re not looking at it! HONK!

I came back here to attend some holiday festivities and put new counter tops in my sister’s kitchen. I wont burden you with the minutia but if something grand happens I’ll serve it up.

Enjoy!

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Still in Fruita

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The snow-capped La Sals from the Navajo Rocks riding area

My friend Chuck came up from AZ to do some riding in Moab and Fruita. We rode the Navajo Rocks area in Moab (it was ok) and the new Hawkeye trail to Troy Built in Fruita.

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Hawkeye trail

The Hawkeye trail is a great addition to the trails in the Mack area. The loop to Troy Built is super fun. We rode it clock-wise which seemed a lot better than going the other way ‘round. Hawkeye is a great ride down from Mack Ridge but climbing to the top on Troy Built / Mack Ridge would stink. Climbing Mack Ridge from the east then down Hawkeye is also a nice ride. I rode the road section (0.9 mile) first as a warmup then climbed the ridge. I’ve also ridden Hawkeye as a out-and-back and that was big fun!

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The last section of Mack Ridge trail near the top is a bit steep

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Colorado River from Mack Ridge

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Rabbit Valley

Near Rabbit Valley there is a Trail Through Time showcasing the dinosaur fossils found near there. Sure enough, I traveled about an hour forward in time while I was there. On the South side of the road there are a bunch of UTV trails and mtn bike opportunities. Unfortunately I was there when the sky was threatening rain and since the road is in the bottom of a stream-bed that seemed like a bad combination.

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Got out the decorations and made the place festive!

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Camp Hosting & Riding in Frutia

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Morning Fog

We had 9 days of rain during the first 11 days of October (two days of mtn biking!) and now each morning the thick cold fog greets us as we get ready for the day. Everything is wet, even the things under the patio cover are slick with moisture. At this point the firewood is essentially fire-proof wood.

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The fog soaks everything

On the plus-side the weather has been fabulous for mtn biking in the afternoons. Ride on!

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Mikel climbing part of The Ribbon trail

Mikel (fellow camper) and I took a ride down The Ribbon from Little Park Road to the Lunch Loops riding area. What a great shuttle-ride! Poly (Mikel’s S.O.) dropped us off on top and we rode the 6-ish miles of slick rock and single track trail. The weather was suppose to be sunny and 50-something but it turned out to be overcast and it snowed on us a little bit as we rolled down the canyons.

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Slick rock section on The Ribbon trail

Morning temps have dropped into the low 20’s the past few days. It makes for some chilly mornings on the golf cart! Afternoon the temps rise to the 50’s so the mtn biking has been super! No dust, cool air, just right.

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Riding near Loma on Mary’s

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18-road area, Joe’s trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Ride!

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Mtn Biking near Driggs ID
Tom and I drove over to the horseshoe riding area west of Driggs and had a great time! The single-track trails don’t get a lot of use which I think is weird because they are wonderful! The area is a mix of open riding past sagebrush and winding trails cutting through dark pine forest, then aspens, and willows. The fall colors were just a little past peak when we were there the last week of September.

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Hike a day
Tom and I hiked up the Teton canyon trail to the north for about 3.5 miles. Round trip took about 4 hours and boy were my feet sore! The views were delightful and we didn’t get attacked by any moose or bears so that’s a win in my book.

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Mtn Bike Grand Targhee Ski Area
The lifts were all closed so no epic downhill rides for us! In fact most of the area was closed, the stores were closed, and some of the mtn bike signs were already taken down. We rode over in the Perma-grim area and had a great time. Lots of rolling climbs through the aspens and a few ripping descents with high-bank turns.

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Caldwell, ID to La Grande, OR

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Home-again for the RV.
I’ve been planning to visit the factory that built my coach since late spring, but the temperatures in eastern Oregon were over 100* most of the summer so I stayed away. Now that fall has arrived and temps are in the 70’s it’s time for a visit.

We arrived in La Grande on a Sunday morning and spent the day riding on the Mount Emily Recreation area. What a wonderful place! I rode Red Apple and MERA loop. About 9 miles of sweet single-track riding. There looks to be plenty of riding on the mountain to keep a rider busy for a month or so. The trails were in great shape too. The single track is still single and there is ample top-soil, very few rocks or roots. Perfect for me!

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Monday morning at about 05:30 workers began arriving at the factory. I know this because we camped in the employee parking lot Sunday night. Around 7:30 I saw Todd, the service person I’ve been talking to for a few months now, at the RV parked in the lot next to us. I introduced myself and he took a look at the reasons I brought the coach to the factory.

A little back-story here before we go on. I’ve been trying to get the dealership Ketelsen Campers in Wheat Ridge CO to fix some warranty issues. Their response has always been “bring it in and leave it for a couple months and we’ll get to it”. That does not work for me since I’m using it all this year. Ketelsen is a Camping World owned company and they have taken on all the worst qualities of their parent. They have also taken to blaming manufacturers for the delays they create. I’m guessing it’s to keep RV buyers from actually getting any warranty work through the dealer. Like cable companies and banks – make it too hard to get anything done and people give up and go away.

Now let us contrast that with the OUTSTANDING service I got from the manufacturer! Todd has always been on top of the situation. When I have questions Todd gets me answers. When I asked him if I could bring the coach by and have him look at my concerns he said yes indeed (and he recommended the Mt Emily riding area – sweet!). The day I arrived it just happened that a customer had canceled their service visit so I got their spot in the schedule. Man! Sometimes I am so lucky it freaks me out a bit!

I gave Todd the coach in the morning and signed up for the factory tour at 10. Kevin took a half-dozen of us on a walking tour of the factory floor and we got to see how the RV’s are built. Very impressive! I have had a few campers and trailers and I figured out how they were built by working on them. This is the first time I’ve seen how they are built from the beginning and Outdoors RV’s are very well made. A lot of the info is in the brochure and on their website so I won’t go over that information here ( ttp://outdoorsrvmfg.com/) .

It was impressive to see how the components like frame, floor, walls and roof are attached to each other and to have Kevin tell us why certain parts are made from different building materials so they can flex without separating (remember it’s a house undergoing an earthquake each time it gets moved). That days tour was about 3 hours because of all the questions we had for Kevin. The tour ended about 1 pm and my coach came out of the shop at about 2:30. Not bad timing.

The afternoon and evening were spend getting back to Caldwell so I could go to some meetings on Tuesday in Boise.

 

Tongue River to Lewis and Clark Caverns

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The caverns Lewis and Clark passed by but didn’t find is too long a name for a State Park so there we have it.

The trip from Tongue River to L & C took all day, some of it into a steady head-wind but was otherwise uneventful. The boiz and I caravaned with Jim and David and their doggies. Jim and David caught up with us near Springtime MT then we headed west to the mountains. Once we got off the interstate at Three Forks the two-lane highway wound through some very picturesque valleys along the Jefferson River. The campground at the park is a bit small and tightly wound, but it feels open enough. We though it would be mostly empty two weeks after Labor Day, but we got the last two open spots with power. If we had arrived after 4 the place would have been plumb-full.

Next day we drove the rather steep and narrow road to the cavern’s gift shop and entrance station. The tour we opted for was 2 hours long and had about 600 stairs. $12 got us a front row seat on the walking tour the caverns. We also had to chip in 2 miles of walking, climbing, and stooping.

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Jim, David, Mike

After the tour I took the mountain bike for an hour-long climb up a nearby trail. It took 15 minutes to get back to camp. Silly gravity.

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