After we got west of the rough-ass concrete mess UDOT calls I-80 and onto the smooth silky asphalt the trip to Wendover was nice and flat. Flat like a lake. Because it is a mostly dry lake. Since it snowed recently the area is more mud flats than dry-lake-bed though.
We stopped at the salt-flats over look and saw mostly water. I’m guessing when it drys out it will be salt flats again. I never really thought about it before, but I suspect that when snow falls on salt flats it just turns to water and pools up. I do wonder how cold it would have to get for the water on the salt flats to freeze AND I don’t want to be there if it ever happens!
We stopped off at the Wendover airport because it looked interesting on Google maps and we were not disappointed. Turns out Wendover is where the B-29 crews that carried atomic bombs to Japan were trained. There is a museum, the officers club has been restored, and the “Enola Gay” hanger has been mostly restored. We parked on 7th street, which currently is a dirt two-track in the middle of what use to be barracks, and the boys got to go romp around for awhile.
After a day’s delay due to the freezing-ass weather over new years we lit off for parts west. I had to drain the tanks of my “four-season” RV because the water was freezing in the pipes. I think four-seasons means winter too and in Colorado winter means -30ºF. Apparently it never gets that cold in the Oregon Mountains where my coach was built. I woke up Wednesday morning to 1ºF and the red RV anti-freeze in the back of the truck was a slushy!
First westbound stop was at the Love’s travel stop in Wamsutter WY where the blue windshield washer fluid was frozen solid! The high temp was 9 and the overnight low was -2ºF. Brrrr
The trip across Wyoming was mostly uphill and into the wind but on the plus side it was well below freezing all day so none of that pesky road grim was able to splash up and get on the coach. We made it to Salt Lake City by noon and after three days the temperature was finally above freezing! YaY running water!
I have friends who are now in New Orleans and Mexico. Why am I not smart enough to go south for winter?
We made the hour-long trip north again so we could be closer to a New Years Eve gathering of friends. I think this is the second time we’ve visited the lake in winter and this time it has a coat of ice on it. There are some crazy-ice-fisher-peeps out on the lake catching fish without a boat. I will never understand the point of ice fishing. It’s 5* out there and the wind is blowing 30 mph = Brrrr!
New Years Day we start our westward journey to California. Gotta cross Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada before we get to the warm tropical paradise of Northern California. Tropical you say? Yup. It’s minus-8*f in Wyoming so 50* on the coast will be shorts-weather.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The last section of Mack Ridge trail near the top is a bit steep
Colorado River from Mack Ridge
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.
Got out the decorations and made the place festive!