Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Red Feather Lakes

Saturday, June 10,
We were itching to go someplace so decided to head to Red Feather Lakes for a few days. We've been there before and liked it. Plus it's only two hours from home.

We left at eight, and stopped at  the Western Ridge Resort restaurant for breakfast ; we've been there before. I had the combo scrambler which was a pile of home fries, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, bacon, etc., all topped with two eggs and green chili sauce. Carol was much better.

We drove to our favorite FS camping area on Prairie Divide Road and, to our surprise, the place was packed. No room anywhere. Then we headed to Deadman Road; another road that goes through the national forest. Again, packed. We finally found a very nice spot on FSR 502 which runs off of Deadman Road. This is now our favorite disbursed camping area around here. Close to town, only 1.8 miles of well maintained dirt road to drive and good cell phone and internet coverage.  40.800385 -105.636990

Morning coffee with my friend

With the Jeep, we took a ride around Deadman Road looking for other future campsites but found none that were any better than this one.
Put out the hummingbird feeder and business was good.

Carols dentist used to live in Fort Collins which is only an hour away. This area is a major nearby camping area for Fort Collins which explains the crowds.


Rode over to the Dowdy Lake campground just to see if anything on the lake was available for a few  days. One night only; that was it. Every campsite in Dowdy Lake is reservable; not even one for walk-in campers.  The crowds everywhere just reinforces our preference for the shoulder seasons. There are two other FS campgrounds in the area, but the aren't much.
After that we went riding around looking for other disbursed camping areas. We came across a bunch of them, but nothing as good as where we are.
I drove around the camping areas and scrounged up a load of firewood. Later on, we had a nice campfire.

A grey and stormy day. No traffic at all on Deadman Road. It's amazing how quiet it is in the woods. The wind blowing through the trees and the birds chirping away; that's it. We've noticed that you can hear the wind coming through the pine forest long before you can feel it.
Gopher and I are sitting outside, Carol's  inside keep warm.
The mountain road west to the Laramie River Road that we hoped to drive is still not opened. The late Spring snow storm messed up our plans once again.
We took a drive around today and only saw two tenters. This is definitely a weekend place. Next time we arrive on Monday and leave on Friday.

The wildflowers were in full bloom

Headed home. We'll come back perhaps in September or October when the leaves turn, when lakefront sites are available on Dowdy Lake and the mountain road is opened. The drive took two hours to cover 100 miles.
Just one more reason we plan on staying within 3-4 hours of home; flexibility.
In two  weeks we head towards Leadville, Buena Vista and Crested Butte.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Poncha Springs then north

Thursday the 25th

Took a ride this morning first to look at the disbursed camping area on CR-250;  Shavano WMA. The access road, as others have mentioned, is deeply rutted and full of rocks. I would be hesitant to drive the camper up there especially towing the Jeep.
After that we drove CR-240 to the Angel of Shevano FS campground. Very nice but very isolated. For our needs, there are better options.

Had lunch at Tony's Restaurant. Carol had the taco salad and I had a patty melt. An excellent lunch.

In the afternoon, I took a ride by myself up Marshall Pass Road. I had hoped to reach the summit but got within perhaps a half mile and the road was solid, deep snow. It's a long walk back from there  to where we are camped if I got stuck, so I turned around.
Our camping neighbor, and his wife, are serious bike riders. They rode from the campground to this point, some 8.5 miles,  all uphill on a rough and rocky road.

Marshall Pass Road


I walked around the lake  and got a nice picture of our campsite.

Our campsite taken from the other side of the lake with the telephoto lens.

We drove around the area noting future camping sites. The plan was to head north to Buena Vista tomorrow but the weather forecast for the next several days is for cold and rain. So we decided to just head home in the morning and do the Leadville, BV, Crested Butte part of the trip towards the end of June.
This will go down as one of our favorite FS campgrounds and areas. We'll be back. 3 1/2 hours from home.

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, jalapeƱo 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.