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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Fruita Wrap-up

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The boys watching rabbits

The boys and I have been here 7 weeks now. They have staked their claim on the Park and patrol more and more of it as time goes on. The next place we’re going does not allow cats to run free so they are going to hate me for a month or two. Again, Pro-tip: Don’t take outside cats on a road trip. Really. Don’t do it

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Hiking in the nearby hills

I have switched from camp hosting to vehicle mantenance-ing. There are a lot less sites to spruce-up now that it is cold and campers are staying home in front of the fire. Now is the time to fix all the stuff that got used and abused over the summer. There are actually more things to fix than time or money to fix them so I just pick the most urgent things and work on those.

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Cleaning the garage

I do miss having all those campers flowing through the park. I miss having different people to talk to each day and hearing about the places they came from or are going to. In the shop I mostly get to see tools and vehicles.

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Sleeping on the back porch

 

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Near Devils Canyon

 

 

 

 

 

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Agua No Mas

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A working frost-free water hydrant

October is at an end and the water in the park is mostly turned off. There are a half dozen frost-proof hydrants scattered about, but not many are near a campsite. Site 2 (and 4 if you have a long hose) can run a hose to the hydrant near the dump station and site 25 can reach the camper service building. The winter-host has a special heated connection to the water supply, but the rest of us have to get water the old fashioned way ( I have no idea what that means, it just sounded nostalgic. Maybe picture an older guy with gray hair carting water in wooden pails up a snow-covered hill.)

There are far fewer Park visitors as well. There have been some rain/snow storms in the mountains so it is a chore to get over the mountains to/from Denver. I suspect a few cross-country travelers have taken the southern route along I-40 to avoid the snow. The amount of time it takes me to do my camp-host job has dwindled in direct proportion to the number of visitors so I’m spending more time working on Park repair projects.

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Watching for rabbits in the early morning fog

This is my first fall season living next to a river on the western slope and the fog has this interesting way of forming just as the sun comes up in the morning. The sky is clear as a bell before sunrise and as the orange glow reaches over the mesa and floats down the river the fog materializes out of thin air and hugs the trees. sometimes the fog thickens enough to blot out the sun, other times the sun heats the air and the fog remains a patch-work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Camp Host II – Fruita, CO

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Day one – Rain showers and orientation day. I rode around with a Ranger who showed me where everything is and I got a hat and a vest to wear while I’m hosting. I also got a golf cart to ride around in.

Day two – More rain and training in the morning. Lots more rain in the afternoon. They say this is the first time it has rained since March which means I was here the last time it rained! I came here in March for a week while the house was being shown and it rained. I must be a rain-god or something.

Even though it’s only my second day (and technically my day off) I still had more people come knock on my door today (3) than the entire 5-week stay at Tongue River SP. This park fills up every night with RV’ers passing through; sort of an RV motel. We are close to the I-70 highway and it’s easy on easy off for fuel and camping. That and cyclists hanging out in the desert.

Day three – Still my day off and I had 3 more people come ask for assistance. Easy-peasy requests like turn on the power.

Day four – First day of actual work and I’m flying solo! No Ranger in the park, no experienced host. Just me and a massive thunderstorm. I got around the park one and a half times before it started to rain & hail. I saw the storm coming so I had rain gear with me, but it’s real hard to play with paper cards when they are soaked into a recycled paper-paste. The rain let up after and hour or so and the sun came out.

Day five – Second day of solo-hosting and no rain. The process is a lot smoother when the sky is benevolent and there is a Ranger in the park. I finished by 1pm and then went for a bike ride near Loma.

Day six and the rain is back. I’m guessing this is the moisture left over from a big tropical event that made landfall on the west coast last week. Luckily the rain held off until I was done with my host-duties.

’twas a dark and stormy night. Day seven started with steady rain before sunrise which lasted until the end of my shift. I had a break between rain showers so I sprayed some simple green on the RV and ran a brush over it. I’m not technically washing the RV in the park, but I get a clean coach none the less. Rinse cycle came a bit later when the sky sprang a leak and cleaned the soap off.

My plan-A was to spend every afternoon riding my bike on the wonderful mtn bike trails near Fruita. 18-road, Mary’s, Lunch Loops – repeat! Plan-B has me sitting inside watching it rain which turns the trails to mud. Need to come up with a plan-C.

Some friends are over in Moab and since the rain ended sooner over there I dashed over for some riding on Hymasa and Capt’n Ahab. 4 hours of driving for 4 hours of riding isn’t too bad a deal after a week of rain. The trials we rode have a lot of slick-rock and sand so they were drained if not quite dry. Kane Creek was only a few inches deep so that was a nice crossing. The down side was the wet sand sticks to the tires and gets drug up on the slick-rock making it sketchy to steer until the sand falls off the tires.

 

Alta Wy to Fruita CO

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View from our Teton Base Camp

Alta to Cokeville WY

First of three days on the road getting from the Tetons to the western slope of Colorado. We have a camp host gig in Fruita set up for October and November (stop by if you are in the area!). I choose the western route out of Driggs instead of climbing over Teton Pass to Jackson. I added a few miles but it saved me the agony of creeping down the east-side of the pass. The Snake River valley is still in peak colors too so that turned out to be a colorful choice. Yellows, reds, greens, orange – delightful!

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Last day in the Teton’s

The land between Driggs and Cokeville is wonderful valley-bottom surrounded by mountains. I can see buying a retirement villa there and whiling away my golden years watching cows, antelopes, and sunsets.

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Trail at Grand Targhee Resort

Cokeville to Somewhere south of Flaming Gorge
Well I have a new entry into my worst roads in america section. I thought WY 412 was rough until I came upon WY 414 from Mtn View to the Utah state line. Top speed on WY 414 was 45 MPH then I transitioned to UT 43 and it was like driving into the perfect shit-storm of potholes, frost-heaves, and cracks! I had to slow to 30 MPH to keep from bouncing off the blacktop. I’m not sure what the other roads to Flaming Gorge are like, but I advise taking a different route than I did. What a mess! (Hey, Utah DOT. Crack-sealing a shit-storm does not fix it. It just makes a crack-sealed shit-storm).

On the plus-side the colors along the Henry’s Fork River are peaking this week. I even saw a purple bush. And at 30 MPH I had plenty of time to tree watch. I could even read the historical markers without stopping.

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The boys are out for the evening. Please leave a message

UT 44 south out of Manila is in slightly better shape and winds its way through the side canyons near Flaming Gorge. Up hill and down with some of the slopes at 8% it’s a slow trek. The leaves are a few weeks past peak at this elevation and the grass has long been dormant. We found a camp spot in the forest before the afternoon wind kicked up to the predicted 25-mph gusts.

Why is the word for wind and the word for wind the same? The wind is blowing whilst I wind my way through the forest (winding my watch as I go). English is weird. Lets agree that from now on wind will be the thing that blows and wynd will be what roads do as they twist and turn through the mountains. Good. Proceed.

The Forest near Flaming Gorge to Fruita, CO
Tumble dry: Low heat
Wow! Colorado 139 from Rangley to the south side of Douglas Pass is rough, wyndi and steep!! It took 2 hours to drive 35 miles. The aspens on the north side of the pass were in full color: green, red, orange, yellow which made the climb nice. Down the south side of the pass took a very long time. The speed limit is 20 and the corners are 15 MPH. It was nice that we had a 25 MPH headwind holding us back on the descent.

If you want to have some idea what it’s like to pull a trailer on a rough wyndi road whilst the wind is blowing 25 MPH go to the Laundromat, put $50 worth of quarters in the biggest dryer there, get in, select tumble dry, and stay there until the $50 runs out. That’s been my life the past two days.