Thursday, June 18, 2015

Delta and Montrose. Hot, hot, hot.

AWednesday, June 17
Carbondale is a nice place to spend a day. Just across the street from where we are parked is the City Hall and Recreation Center; both of which have a free wi-fi connection. If someone needed it, the Rec. Center has shower facilities. 
Gopher and I  took an early morning walk around the old downtown area. Modest homes, but well maintained, nice gardens, some interesting sculptures, etc.  
We headed north on CO 133. Right now we're in the Bogan Flats FS campground on the Crystal River. Since the FS started using concessionaires, the cost of camping has gone up. Here it's $22/night plus $5 more if you have a second vehicle like a tow car. We pay half with our Golden Age Passport so it's $11/night for us. 

From our site. Crystal Creek

We put the hummingbird feeder out. So far we have identified the Black-chinned and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.

I started a new book the other day. The  Fateful  Lightning  by Jeff Shaara. It's the fourth, and final, in his series on the Civil War. Over the years,  I think I have read every book written by Jeff or his father, who's name eludes me now. They have written about the American Revolution, the Civil War and about both WW-1 and 2.  They are novels, but the main characters, like General Sherman, in this story, are real. Like James Mitchner,  the stories are very well researched and based on historical facts.

Had a little campfire tonight and toasted marshmallows.
Gopher likes hers uncooked.

Every site here is reserved for this coming weekend. 

Thursday, June 18.
Drove to Delta with the idea of spending a day, or so, exploring the area. We started at the dump station behind the visitors center. I had hoped to get water but the water at the station was signed as not potable. There was a city employee topping off a water fountain nearby. I asked if he knew where I could get some fresh water, hoping he might say, "sure, help yourself". He did. I used his water hose to top off the tank. 
The local Forest Service office had a wealth of good information. I got the maps for the Ridgeway, Ouray and Telluride areas. 
Then we had lunch at the Brick Wall restaurant nearby. A very good choice. We started on a drive suggested in the Fielder book were using. The area around here is high desert; not real interesting to us so after perhaps, ten miles, we turned back. It was over a 100* around here today. We gave up on Delta and started heading towards the mountains again. Tonight we're in Montrose. The bank temp. sign read 103*.  Right now it's 9:20 and its 81* outside.
 There is a  city park in Montrose that allows free overnight RV parking.   It's the West Main Trailhead Park on CO 90. 38.47486. -107.88461. 
In the morning, we head to the mountains. The Fielder book talks about the Owl Creek Pass near Ridgeway. At just over 11,000' that should be nice and cool. The best movie ever made, True Grit,  was filmed around the pass. If it's good with The Duke, it's good with us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Longmont to Carbondale, CO


Sunday, June 14

Jennifer and Karen left early in the morning after their nice visit.
We left home a few minutes before 9am and drove to the Heaton Bay campground near Frisco.  Stopped in Idaho Springs for a rest. There is a really nice creek side park near the Visitors Center with easy RV parking. Clear Creek is running high and fast. There were dozens of people loading up for raft rides. Idaho Springs is very convenient to Denver so I suspect that's where the crowds were from. There have been three recent drownings from capsized rafts but that doesn't seem to concern people.  As turbulent as the water is, I'm sure you get an exciting ride.
We got a decent site at Heaton Bay; certainly adequate for one night. The place was a lot more crowded then when we were here just two weeks ago.

Monday, June 16
I was up, had a cup of coffee, and out walking with Gopher by 6am. It just gets so light, so early. The first day of summer is later this week, so the days are very long. We were finished with breakfast by 7:30. Stopped by the new Whole Foods in Frisco. Split a very good breakfast sandwich, bought a loaf of just-out-of-the-oven cranberry walnut bread and some chocolate chip cookies.  Then a quick stop at WalMart for a hummingbird feeder.
Then we took SR 91 to Leadville. Stopped at the Forest Service Office to add  to my MVUM  collection. 
 The Fielder book we're using as a travel guide, of sorts, lead us to FR 110(Halfmoon Creek Road). A beautiful drive towards Mount Elbert(at 14,433' the highest mountain in CO.) and Mount Massive(14,421').  We came across a number of very nice disbursed camping areas all along the road.  A good  place to stop if visiting the  Leadville area. The women in the FS office was very helpful with camping ideas and tried to tell me about a bunch more nice places near Leadville,  but my hearing has gotten so bad, I just could not understand what she was saying. She was nice enough to mark you-are-here on map she gave me. 
We continued south to the Clear Lake Reservoir SWA intending to stay the night. We had been there before and it's a  very nice free camping area right on a stream. Popular with the fishermen types.

 By about 2pm we decided to head off to someplace we had not been before so started on CO 82 (Independence  Pass Road)towards Aspen. There is a limit of 35' total length for vehicles on this road. Tight switchbacks near the top. 
The road follows the Roaring Fork River. We kept looking for a place to camp for the night and came across this. It's not too far west of FR 391. We tried to drive 391 but it got so rocky and narrow, I turned around as soon as I could.  Good luck, as it turns out. Where we are is probably  one of the most beautiful campsites ever. We are right on the rivers edge. Just us. 39.08945. -106.54176.  Just across the creek is the remains of a log cabin. Wonder if this was someone's homestead in the 1800's? Gopher had a nice swim in the river with her leash on. The current is quite strong.

Our campsite
The Roaring Fork River
A good day for a swim.

Then we had salads for dinner to help offset the Cranberry bread and the cookies. On the average, we do OK.
Tomorrow we drive Independence Pass; at 12,095' it's the highest paved pass in North America.
Tuesday, June 17.
Up again by six. On the road by 7:30. The drive over Independence Pass in interesting in a, relatively speaking, wide RV. In places on the Aspen side of the Pass Road, the road narrows to 1 1/2 lanes. Twice I stopped, moved as close towards the cliff as possible then pulled in the side mirror. 
It's still winter at the top of the pass. Rainy, foggy, windy and cold. Gopher and I took a real quick walk.

It's still winter at 12,000'

We drove to Aspen but it turned out to be a madhouse of congestion and traffic so we continued on to Carbondale.  Carbondale has a nice city parking area right downtown at the corner of 4th Street and Colorado Ave just across from the City Hall and Police Station. You can stay overnight there. We had a very good lunch at the Village Smithy Restaurant.   Then got Gopher and walked around downtown and on the multi- use trail. Tomorrow is the weekly green market.
The Forest Service office was staffed by a really helpful guy. Got more MVUM maps plus he directed us to a nice campground for tomorrow.