Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Heading north

Sunday, May 21st
Left Durango after dumping the tanks at the Giant and hitting WalMart. We spent the night at a city park in Del Norte. You can camp there free for one night.

Drove  to the O'Haver Lake FS campground just south of Poncha Springs. 9,200'. Had a hail storm then a drizzle. The weather forecast going forward is great.
Drove one of the many Jeep roads noting future disbursed sites. There are lots of them. I make note of the coordinates then forward the info. to our friend Ted, so he can add them to his Ultimate US Public Campground app.  That way, if I'm searching for one years from now, I just look in his app. that I have on my iWhatever. Works well for both of us.
The campground is very, very nice. A clear mountain lake. Fishing, swimming, kayaking, etc. Gopher  took a nice swim. The water was too cold even for the kids. The camp host said the place is typically  booked solid through the prime summer months. There are several walk-in sites.  We lucked out by getting there early in the week and have a lake view, pull-through site.
Memorial Day plus schools out, is upon us.

Through the woods. 

A stream behind our campsite

The view of O'Haver Lake
Tuesday the 23rd.

Woke up to 2" of snow this morning. At 9,200' I suppose its not that uncommon this late in May.

 Later on new drove the Poncha Creek Road and found some great disbursed camping for the future.
Along Poncha Creek
 Put up the hummingbird feeder.  Between the red camper, the red Jeep and the feeder, we really attract the birds. So far we've attracted the Black-chinned and Broad-tailed; both very common to this area.

We identified a pair of Chirping Sparrows, as well.

We went into Poncha Springs, a 20 minute drive, for lunch at the Hunger Wagon based on Yelp reviews. We split the pulled pork plate and a basket of onion rings, jalapeño corn fritters, green chilies, and a super dipping sauce. Excellent.

Spoke to our neighbor who is a serious fisherman; been coming here for over 15 years. The lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout. In the deep water, he regularly catches trout in the 14"-16" range. He also said, that for the really prime sites, reservations well in advance are required.
I walked around and made notes for the future.
The best RV sites are 10, 22, and 32.
The best tent sites are 10,18-20(tent only sites), 23,30,31,32.

Drove most of the Marshall Pass Road today except to the very top where  the snow was still too deep. Found one great disbursed camping spot with a strong VZ signal. The access road is bumpy but not terrible and not very long.

O'Haver Lake from Marshall Pass Road.

Saw a dozen, or so,  mountain goats.

Tomorrow we're going to check out some disbursed camping in the area then decide whether to stay here for Memorial Day, or move on.

Monday, May 22, 2017


Friday, May 12

We left home about 9:30am. Fairly light traffic through Denver.
For lunch we stopped at Obie's Fillin' Station Bar-b- que joint just off I-25 in Colorado City. We had a great lunch. One of the best ever bar-b-que lunches.
Tonight we're camped at the Smith Lake SWA in Blanca. 7,721'. Right on the lake with a view to the north of three 14ers, and to the east of the Spanish Peaks.

37.38948 -105.54086


We stayed at the FS Junction Creek campground about 15 minutes from downtown Durango. To our surprise, the 42 site campground was almost full when we arrived and schools  not even out. Wonder if this is a harbinger of what's to come with this  summers camping?
On Mother's Day we got up super early and went to breakfast at Oscar's. We've been there before.

The weather forecast for Silverton, our next planned stop north, is dismal starting on Wednesday. Very cold with snow. This morning I was able to get the only nonreservable site in the section with electric hookups. We'll stay here until the storm passes.
We took a nice drive looking for future disbursed camping ideas then had lunch at Oscars.

Took a drive up to Lemon Lake looking for future camping sites. We found some nice areas but there is no cell phone service and you are a long way from anywhere. The sites we found yesterday off of US 160 west of Durango were much nicer.
Had a few snow flurries tonight.

Drove along La Plata Canyon Road looking at all the FS disbursed camping areas. There were some very nice ones. We noted the coordinates for future trips. It snowed a little near the top.
The weather is still dreary with the late, and hopefully last, Spring storm.
We decided to extend out stay here until at least Saturday. It's snowing in Silverton.

Woke up to snow. We're extending our stay here until it warms up in the Silverton area.

We drove to Silverton to see what Mineral Creek Rd was all about. Snow and mud. Along the entire road there was one camper that we saw. Our favorite site had about 6" of snow on top of mud. The Jeep did just fine but the camper would not. It will be several days, or longer, before the camping spot we like is dry. Had lunch at the Rocky Mountain Funnel Cake restaurant. We shared the Mexican funnel cake which is essentially a Navajo Taco then a Black Forest funnel cake. Both were just super.

We discussed where to head next and ruled out Silverton because of the mud.

Beautiful Silverton

Along Mineral Creek Rd. near our favorite spot.

We're going to head towards Buena Vista instead. Warmer and no snow.
The late spring storm messed up our plans. Oh well, so it goes.

Nothing special at all.
Heading out in the morning.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spring trip. 2017.

Heading out this week for a loop through Pagosa Springs, Durango, Silverton, Gunnison, Crested Butte, Buena Vista, Leadville, then back home.
896 road miles per S and T.  Likely 1,500 miles by the time we're back home sometime in late June.

Part of our plan to limit our travels to shorter trips in CO and eastern UT.

Friday, April 07, 2017


Tuesday the 28th.
We woke up to snow in Monticello so decided to head south to warmer Moab.  Over an inch had accumulated on the Jeep.

We're in the Kens Lake BLM campground which is about 15 minutes south of downtown Moab. A cold, rainy and windy day with a little sun now and then.

Ken's Lake BLM campground

We went to the Sweet Cravings Bakery and Bistro for lunch. Carol just had to get some of their super cowboy cookies.
Then we drove by a few other campgrounds; most were full. People were driving through this campground all day hoping to find a spot; no luck, its full.
There were Spring Break families everywhere. Merchants must love this time of year.

A beautiful, sunny day.
Took a ride along the La Sal Mountain Loop Road then back to Moab via the muddy, red dirt, Sand Flats Road. Then to the car wash to blast off the worst of the mud before it turned to red rock.
We had lunch at Susie's Branding Iron.  Dumped the tanks and took on water.

Drove the Jeep along the Potash Rd/Shafer Trail.  We've done this drive before; it's one of our favorites.

Went grocery shopping but not much else. It rained on and off most of the day and  into the evening. We talked about when to head home then paid for four more days which brings us through Tuesday. There is a 14 day limit here which would bring us to the 10th. There just isn't that much interesting to do at home so we decided to stay around here for a while longer.

Cloudy and cold in the morning. After lunch, we took a ride up to Hurrah Pass.

Didn't feel like a long drive so I just drove the Jeep around the dirt trails that are around the campground. We went to dinner at Susie's Branding Iron.

Another cool and cloudy day. We decided to head home in the morning. Had lunch at The Moab Diner.

Tuesday. Drove to Rifle, CO and spent the night in the rest area. Snow was forecast for Vail Pass and the Chain Law was in effect but Rifle was dry and about halfway home.

Up early, breakfast at McDonalds and on the way home. The Chain Law was still in effect but the roads were perhaps 90% clear. What a sloppy mess of sand and chemicals from the slushy roads. Around Idaho Springs on the westbound side, thank goodness, there was a rock slide that blocked one lane. Westbound traffic was backed up almost to the I-76 turnoff.

The camper and Jeep were totally covered with the grime from the drive. When it dried, it was like a hard coating on everything. I could barely scratch it with my fingernail. I used a "blaster" attachment on the garden hose but still had to go to the carwash to use their more powerful equipment and, even after that, had to hand wash both vehicles. Lesson learned; wait until the roads have dried out.

Planning our May trip to the Colorado mountains.

Monday, March 27, 2017


On Sunday, we took a Jeep ride west of Monticello on CR-101, Harts Draw Road, looking for future disbursed camping sites. We came across two nice ones. Then we headed north on US-191 to CR-211 which leads to the Needles section of Canyonlands NP. We found a very nice area along Hart Point Road running north off 211 and settled in. The view to the north is the LaSal Mountains and to the south the Abajo Mountains. A very strong VZ signal.
Unfortunately, the weather forecast is for rain starting Monday night and continuing through Wednesday. These red dirt roads are best avoided in rain so our stay here will be short.

The LaSal Mountains

On Monday we moved back to the campsite along the shore of Lloyds Lake to ride out the weather. I picked up lunch at the Wagon Wheel Italian restaurant. Very good.

Our plan was to spend the next two weeks in Colorado but the more typical Spring weather has returned to the mountains. For now we'll stay in UT.

We woke up to this in the morning.
We moved down to the visitor center to get to a lower elevation, had breakfast then headed to Moab. Carols angels were with us today. We pulled into the Kens Lake BLM campground just minutes after someone pulled out. That was the last available site. We'll hang around here for a while.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bluff/Blanding, UT

We left Goosenecks SP and headed south towards the Valley of the Gods BLM area off US 163. Unhooked the Jeep and went searching for a nice place to spend a few days. The roads are all the red sand. The weather forecast was for an all day rain. These sand roads turn to slick mud when wet so we just rode around and took some pictures.

Headed south to the Bluff area then north to Blanding. In Blanding we went to the Recapture Reservoir BLM area and stayed the night. It rained on, and off, all day. Our campsite is right on the lakeside with a great view Abajo Mountains across the lake.
From our disbursed campsite on the lake.

In the morning we went in to Blanding for gas and ; groceries. The Blanding RV Park which is across the street from Clarks Market, has a very clean laundromat plus you can dump your tanks and fill up with water for only $5.00 for both. Pops Burrito is the place for breakfast or lunch in Blanding. We has both. Excellent.

One day we spent the night on Comb Wash Road and drove some of the 4x4 trails.

Comb Wash Road near Blanding

The weather forecast for the next few days is rather dismal so we decided to move on. Tonight we're in Monticello camping on Lloyd's Lake. Filled up with propane at the Truevalue Hardware store.
Lloyd's Lake near Monticello

The weather forecast for the next week isn't much. Some sun but mostly cold and rainy. It's warmest in Moab, so we'll probably head there. Our unseasonably warm weather seems to be behind us.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Natural Bridge, Muley Point, Goosenecks State Park

On Monday we headed south on 95 to the Natural Bridges National Monument. Drove through the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The water in Lake Powell is at, or near, historic lows. Some years ago we camped for a night at the Hite Marina area. Then it was just black mud. Today it's high and dry. The very long boat ramp is probably a hundred feet from the water.

Not much water in Lake Powell

The Sipapu Bridge

Natural Bridge NM was the first park designated as a "dark  sky" location. The location is so remote, there are no city lights visible in any direction. The stars at night were just amazing. We agreed we had never seen so many.

On Tuesday, we drove to the Muley Point. It's a part of the Glenn Canyon NRA. The view of the canyon is really something. We're camped right on the canyon edge.

A storm is predicted for tomorrow. The access road to where we are is about 3 miles of red dirt. When that stuff gets wet, it turns to a sticky mud and is undriveable. We decided to move a few miles to the Goosenecks SP just in case.

Goosenecks SP was interesting. The San Juan River has over some 300-million years, carved a canyon about 1,000' deep. The river winds for 6 miles through the canyon but just progresses 1.5 miles west to Lake Powell.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Goblin Valley and Capital Reef areas

After Green River we drove to the Goblin Valley area. Spent the day driving a few trails but were not all that impressed with the selection of camping areas so we headed south to Hanksville. We looked at several disbursed camping areas around Hanksville but they are orientated towards ATV's and dirt bikes; both of which we try to avoid.

We continued West on 24 towards Capital Reef NP. It was late Saturday afternoon when we arrived, and predictably, the NP campground was full plus the sites are really jammed onto each other so we decided to look at some of the disbursed areas west of the NP. We came across a great one in the Fishlake NF. 

38.32679 -111.36414

We'll be staying here for a few days.

On Sunday we drove the Scenic Drive through the NP plus two Jeep trails in the park. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Amazing weather. We had to go.

This winter in CO has been just amazing. There have been several high temperature records broken. It's just so nice we just had to go somewhere.
We left home on Wednesday the 15th for a trip starting at Green River, UT, then south towards Hanksville, over to Torrey, then back south towards Bluff, north to Blanding, then Monticello then, weather permitting, towards Buena Vista, CO then home.

The first night we stayed at the Rabbit Valley area. Drove some of the jeep roads looking for more sites for our camper, but the roads were too deeply rutted. There is a nice RV area off of a well maintained road so we stayed there.
From our campsite in Rabbit Valley

On Thursday we continued to Green River. Had a great lunch at a Mexican food truck then went to the Lower Gray Canyon Recreation BLM area for the night. Our campsite was right along the Green River. Drove the jeep along the river for a while.

From our campsite on the Green River

On Friday we stayed at the Green River State Park so we could dump the tanks and fill with water before heading for a week, or do, of disbursed camping towards Goblin Valley.  I needed windshield wiper blades so I stopped at the NAPA store in Green River. The guy asked what quality I wanted. I said good ones. He took two off the rack, went out and put them on for me, then rang up the $48!!! sale. Wow. For $48 they better be good.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Moab, UT

The weather was so unseasonably warm, we decided to spend a week in Moab, UT late January and early February.
We split our time between the BLM campground,  Goose Island,  and a disbursed area; Dubinky Well Road which runs off of SR 313. Right here:  38.64362 -109.81953
This site is actually the top of a small "mesa" accessed by a narrow dirt road. Excellent VZ internet service and TV.
 Our campsite. It was just us.
 Our view of the LaSal Mountains
Red rocks at sunset looking the other way.

We took some rides on Jeep trails, had breakfast in town, now and then, and had a fine time.
On Monday Feb 6, a big winter storm was projected to begin moving into the mountains along I-70 so few decided to head home. Good thing, too. There were hurricane force winds around the Vail area that caused the highway to shut down.

 Fishers Towers
 Some snow at higher elevations.


Back home planning this Spring and Summers trips.