Monday, October 5, 2015

Last Days in Colorado and Moving on to Utah



We spent our last couple days in the forest near Mancos, CO hiking up Madden Peak Road and biking on the old railroad grade. The weather was pleasant and the fall colors outstanding.



The old railroad grade road made for a very nice bike ride since there isn’t a lot of elevation change.


One day we drove several miles up Madden Peak Road so we could hike at a higher elevation. Debbie drove her own car with her two dogs and we parked when the road got too rough for her low clearance car.



She let Rupert and Elliot off leash since there was no traffic and no one else around, and they had a blast running through the woods, although Rupert kept trying to chase these cows.


We stopped  to eat a snack and head on back down the road when Elliot came running out of the trees transformed from blond to brown. Unfortunately for Debbie his entire back was covered in cow manure. When we got back to the cars she wrapped him up in a blanket and held him in her lap on the drive home.  We were so glad we took separate cars! It happened to be her birthday, and we got a good laugh out of the fact that she had to spend part of it cleaning up the mess. He was so happy with himself it was hard to get mad at him, though. Good thing he’s so cute!


It was time for shopping and laundry again, so we decided to spend a night at the Walmart in Cortez, CO to get our chores done. And Debbie and I both ended up getting our hair cut since there was a Great Clips within walking distance. Although we didn’t finish up until almost 6pm, Jim and I decided to take advantage of his Silver Sneakers membership again and check out the Cortez Recreation Center. Free for him, $4 for me. It wasn’t quite as nice in the one in Durango but we got in a good workout, showered, and grabbed a Domino’s pizza on the way home. Those kind of days are always tiring, but even with a little medicinal help I barely got any sleep in the noisy, bright-as-daylight parking lot. And there were some sketchy looking people hanging out there. It’s not a place we would intentionally stay again, although it served it’s purpose. I feel much safer parked out in the middle of nowhere than in a busy parking lot like that.

The next morning it was on to Utah, with a stop at the free city of Cortez RV dump. They also have a coin operated potable water station which cost us $1.00 to fill our tank. We made one last stop at Country Gas to top off propane and before we knew it Colorado was in our rearview mirror and the red rocks of Utah appeared in front of us.

Our home for who knows how long is a beautiful spot off Needles Overlook Road about 35 miles south of Moab.



Quite a view.



Yesterday we took a hike into a nearby canyon. No trails, just walk wherever you choose and scramble up and down rocks. Our favorite kind of hiking.





Jim’s jacket fell out of his pack somewhere but he didn’t realize it until we got home. It may be down where he took this photo, as Debbie and I couldn’t figure out how he got down there. We’ll have to go back and look for it another day.





Suzanne joined us yesterday afternoon, and last evening we took a drive out to the Needles Overlook, which gives you views into the vast Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. It wasn’t the best sunset due to a storm forming to the west, but still worth seeing.









Mark and Bobbie and Laurelee should be joining us in the next few days. Looks like there will be lots more red rock hiking coming up over the next month.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Short Move But a World of Difference


On Sunday after stopping at the very nice free RV dump next to the sewage treatment plant in Durango, we made a big 23 mile drive to a pleasant site in the San Juan National Forest between Hesperus and Mancos, CO. There are several forest service roads north of Highway 160 that have dispersed camping and we chose Madden Peak Road because Debbie was already there and had our spot waiting. Boondocking doesn’t get much easier than that!


We are well off the main road and surrounded by trees for privacy, and the roads are great for walking or biking.


One day we walked a few miles on the old grade of the former Rio Grande Southern Railroad line, now Forest Road 568.





Yesterday we went to Hesperus to pick up a package at the post office, so we decided to drive up nearby La Plata Canyon Road to check out the foliage.


It was beautiful up there, but the road gets really rough and rocky after several miles so we parked the car at 9,800’ and hiked a couple miles up the road. I would have loved to go all the way to Kennebec Pass, but we needed a Jeep for that.






Hummer Tour heading up to the pass.






Looks like it will finally begin to cool off this weekend so we’ll soon be making our way to Moab. As much as we look forward to being back in red rock country we’re going to miss Colorado.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Good Week In Durango


Although we only planned to spend 2 or 3 nights at La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango, CO, we ended up extending and stayed 6 nights. It isn’t that the RV park is anything special, in fact far from it, but we loved the location and ability to walk and ride our bikes just about everywhere. We only drove the car once the entire time we were here because we needed to do a major grocery run.

The RV lot is next to the busy maintenance building and across from the horse arena.



At least the sites are very wide so you’re not right on top of the neighbors.


The Animas River trail, which starts directly behind the fairgrounds, runs for 7 paved miles along the river. We rode the entire trail a couple times, a very pleasant and scenic ride.



One of the many bridges we crossed on the trail.



If you don’t mind walking it’s about a mile and a half to downtown, a half mile to a very nice City Market, and a Walgreen’s is right across the road, where we got flu shots and a shingles vaccine for me. We also walked downtown for dinner a couple times and to the Saturday farmer’s market.

We always like cities with rivers running through them.


Jim was looking through his health insurance benefits last week and noticed it included membership to Silver Sneakers. I guess if he saw this last year when he first got his Medicare supplement he didn’t realize what it was, but it gives him free access to fitness centers all across the country. Just so happens the Durango Recreation Center, right next door to the fairgrounds, is on the list, so we visited it three times this past week.

What a wonderful complex! State of the art fitness equipment, 2 swimming pools, one just for children, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, exercise classes, air hockey, pool and ping pong tables. After working out we played some serious ping pong and air hockey. I let Jim win, of course. It cost me $4.50 per visit, a real bargain ($6 if you’re under 60).

We did a lot of hiking when we visited Durango in 2012, so this time we didn’t go for a single hike the entire week, which was a nice change of pace. We’ve decided Durango would be a great place to live, but so do a lot of other people, which translates into very high housing prices.

But enough city living. Today we’re heading back to the forest.