Colorado 2008

Diary of Linda, Meghan, Matt and my trip to Colorado June 2008


6/9/08     I drove 395 miles to Las Vegas.  It was quite hot in the 90’s.  Got checked into the Circus Circus KOA around 5:30am.  I turned on the AC and slept for 2.5 hours before taking Meghan for a walk and then going out for dinner.

6/10/08 Got up about 5:00am and worked on my computer using the KOA wifi to check my email.  Got on road around 9:00am and drove to Richfield, UT KOA.  Couldn’t get my satellite TV to work, but they had cable, so I was able to watch LA-Boston NBA finals game.  Boston won yah yah.  My wifi worked fine, but satellite TV would not sync.

6/11/08 Got on the road around 9:00am and drove to Montrose, Colorado.  I checked into the Cedar Creek RV Park.  I could not get my satellite TV or my wifi to work.  What a bummer.  I went out to dinner at Garlic Mikes a really excellent Italian Restaurant probably the best in town.

6/12/08 Drove up to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison South Rim campground to see if my site 21B was available.  It was available, so I decided to drive up the steep mountain tomorrow.  I stopped in to see Rich, but only his wife Linda was there, so I visited with her for a while.  That evening Rich and Linda drove down to my RV park to visit with me.  We had some wine and visited for about 1.5 hours. 

6/13/08 Dumped all tanks and loaded the 5th wheel fresh water tank full for the dry Black Canyon South Rim campground.  The campground has 50 amp power, but no sewer or water.  I drove up about 2,000’ to the campground and found my site occupied.  What a bummer.  I found another pull through site to stay one night.  At night, Richard and I set up our scopes beside his RV site near the park service residential buildings.  It was a beautiful evening clear with no wind.  We did have a 12 day moon that was quite bright but the star clusters and even the galaxies still presented themselves nicely.  Several NP service workers visited Rich and me for a look at Saturn, moon, and some star cluster.  Rich set up his recently purchased C11” SCT and Celestron CSG mount.  I helped him collimate his C11 and then Rich collimated my C8 Celestron.  Jupiter never looked better in my scope.  M5, M13 and several over globular clusters looked awesome in our scopes.  We stayed up to 2:30am.  I got to bed about 3:15am Mountain time.

6/14/08 Got up about 9:00am and moved my trailer to site 21B for a 5 day stay.  I snoozed most the afternoon until Linda and Matt arrived about 3:30pm.  We drove down the very steep curvy East Portal road to the river just down stream of the dam.  We walked with Meghan about 1 mile toward the dam but it got to hot for Linda so we turned around.  The Black Canyon is actually 57 miles long.  I barbecued Costco fillet mignon steaks for dinner.  Yum yum.

6/15/08 We all got up about 8:30am and cooked a huge breakfast consisting of bacon, fried egg, and toast.  We cooked it outside on the camp stove, eating on the picnic table with very pleasant crystal clear weather.  We visited all the canyon rim drive look outs.  Many required a ½ mile + walk where we took photos of the canyon and river.  At 4:30am the Strobel’s, Rich and Linda, came over for dinner.  I cooked a tri-tip roast on the Baby Weber which came out great.  Rich and I drank some of the $35 J Lohr Cabernet wine which I won at the Titanium Rally.  Linda and Matt enjoyed socializing with the Strobel’s allot.

6/16/08 Got up at 7:00am, had breakfast and was on the road at 8:00am for Curecanti Creek located 50 minutes east in the Curecanti National Recreation Area.  We crossed Blue Mesa Reservoir dam and headed west along the Gunnison River Gorge to the trail head.  The trail down was beautifully adorned with wild flowers.  When we reached the roaring creek the steepness really increased.  It rated in the top 10 hikes for beauty I have ever done.  It was 880’ drop down in 2 miles.  The hike was shaded on the bottom but mostly sunny on the top ½.  It took us about 3 hours.  The walk out was a killer.  I slept 2.5 hours when I got home.  Had barbecued mustard honey chicken with rice and peas for dinner.  Linda and Matt watched Nashville Star on regular airway TV.  Unfortunately my satellite does not work up here either.  I think my satellite receiver requires a new software download from MotoSat.

6/17/08I made sour dough pancakes, bacon, and coffee for us and the Strobel’s this morning.  Matt and I did the cooking outdoors on the camp stove.  We also ate outside in the perfect weather 70’s with beautiful scenery.  We had pleasant conversation with our good friends the Strobels.  After breakfast Matt, Linda, Meghan, and I drove to Ouray.  We did several short hikes to a water falls, a creek, and a lake.  I made fried rice tonight for dinner.

6/18/08 Matt and Linda did a nice hike with Meghan on Little Cimarron Creek NFS trail at 10,000 + ‘.  They said Meghan had great fun playing in the snow banks up there.  I stayed in camp and joined Rich Strobel with my solar telescopes at the Black Canyon NP visitor center for solar viewing to the public.  I returned to trailer for a snooze.  Made following dinner for the Linda and Matt - barbecued spicy tenderloin pork roast, white rice, and vegetables.  At 8:00am I set up my telescope with Rich and two NP service ranger girls to do a star party for the public.  It was a beautiful orange full moon tonight rising at 9:23 pm.  Because of the moon the planets Saturn and Jupiter were the most crowd pleasing objects.  Linda Strobel Rich’s wife made us cherry cheese cake and hot chocolate as a night cap.   Got to bed around 12:00 midnight quite early for a star party night.

6/19/08 Matt cooked us bacon, eggs, and English muffins for his farewell breakfast.  I spent an hour putting all my astronomy and other equipment away for the return trip home with Linda.  We were finally on the road about 10:00 am heading for Mesa Verde NP.  We stopped outside of Montrose to dump our excess liquids.  The 155 mile drive south west on highway 550 was extremely nerve racking and slow because of steep inclines and very curvy mountain roads.  The scenery past Ouray and into Durango was breathtaking however.  My truck got slightly over heated and I lost a quite a bit of coolant fluid near Crystal Lake.  I thought it was cool enough to turn it off, but apparently it was not at 10,800’.  I had some antifreeze and drinking water to refill it.  I stopped to take Meghan for a run around the remote Lake trail off leash.  She had a wonderful t\ime chasing deer twice.  The scenery was to die for but I was exhausted when we finally got our full hook-up site at the Moorfield Mesa Verde NP campground at 4:30pm.  We got parked and hooked up with no problem.  We went to the ranger station to purchase ranger led tours through the various ruins for the next 2 days.  I then had a wonderful 10 minute hot shower.  It was so great to have full hook ups and be clean again.  Was in bed by 9:00pm.

6/20/08 We got up at 8:00am and had a light breakfast.  Drove about 17 miles further up the Mesa to the site of our Cliff Palace tour.  The climb up a ladder frightened Linda a bit but she got through it and had a wonderful time.  The tour lasted about 1 hour, was very entertaining and educational.  It’s really beautiful on this Mesa and I recommend visiting this interesting park.  The only time it is really open is in the summer, so reservations are a must.  I next went to the Balcony site guided tour which was even better than the first tour.  I had a way better guide this time.  Linda wimped out on this tour because of a 32’ ladder that was quite exposed if you went down.  The real problem is, if a person above you goes down he will probably take everyone below out as well.  I was tired after these two tours so we had a light lunch at the visitor center restaurant and headed back to the trailer.  I took a 2 hour snooze before dinner in the 5th wheel.  I made a linguine pasta dish using some spaghetti sauce I had canned in 1999 from home grown tomatoes.  I used some left over tri-tip roast for the meat, fresh carrots, fresh garlic, olive oil, salt-pepper-sugar, and fresh grated parmesan cheese, with Pinot Noir wine in the sauce and to drink.  Yum Yum the concoction turned out very delicious.

6/21/08 We got up early again and drove about 26 miles out to the Longhouse ruins.  This tour was also excellent and our female ranger guide was the best presenter of all the tours.  We took a tram to visit small kiva ruins that was also quite interesting.  This place is really well visited.  Many families and huge tour groups come every day.  The heat and hiking really took its toll on me, so I took another snooze when I got home.  We had left overs for dinner.  I got to know one park worker quite well after dinner.  Took Meghan for a nice walk.  We saw lots of deer including a newly born fawn.

6/22/08 Had a pancake breakfast in the park before departing.  We drove Flagstaff and stayed at J&H RV.  The wifi for a fee was the best and fastest I have ever had.  We joined in on the Park potluck Sunday dinner even though we had no food to donate.  We met some friendly and interesting travelers having a really fun time.

6/23/08 We drove to Laughlin Nevada today and checked into the Riverside RV Park.  It was 111 F and my AC only lowered the temperature to 86 F.  I was very tired from the heat and driving so slept on the living room floor for 2 hours.  We then headed for the Casino and had a excellent dinner the Riverside Gourmet Room overlooking the Colorado River.  Next we both did some gambling; me BJ and Linda the slots.  I ended up gambling for about 3 hours and won $150.  Linda won $24 at the slots.

6/24/08 Left about 8:00am for home.  It was about 88 F when we left..  Got home around 3:00pm.


Last updated on April 23, 2009