Since our last blog entry another 1000 miles have gone by. We spent almost a week with family at our annual family reunion and while the venue changed and the kids have grown, the familial comradery and hijinks remain. I mentioned the location had changed – for the better as we left the dry, dusty Twin Lakes of Preston Idaho behind and set up at the beautiful Hyrum Lake State Park outside of Hyrum Utah.
Good food, good conversation and the peaceful surroundings (except for the kids, their assignment was to run around screaming alot!) contributed to our sense of homecoming and renewal. I've always found myself torn between the allure of the open road and the sedentary security of family. I say torn but to be honest, love of the open road wins out for now and well into the foreseeable future, hitch itch will continue to direct our movements.
Back in July I posted we had purchased the Tire Patrol system from RV i Brake to monitor the pressure and temperature of all 10 of our tires. Due to one thing or another - mostly modifications to the sensors and program improvements, our equipment had not been operating at 100% and when the company was notified the owner, Dan Decker, offered to replace everything and start from scratch. We countered his offer by saying we would travel to Castle Rock Colorado so he could investigate the problems directly.
Two days travel and about two hours of shop time later we had a fully operational system. Seems there was the perfect storm kind of variables going on which prevented us from having a straight out of the box success and really confounded the owner and technicians. Yep, we are “special”.
So here we were, sitting just outside of Denver with its big city traffic snarls and road construction EVERYWHERE. We wouldn't have minded snagging a spot at a local RV park but there was not a single campground within 50 miles that had an opening and could accommodate our size. Yep, in the RV'ing world, size matters.
That's how we ended up in a Walmart parking lot outside of Evergreen Colorado scrutinizing the paper atlas, googling every possibility, and calling far too many campgrounds to mention. I'm pretty sure it was after our second trip into the store that we found a spot just a little over four hours away in Grand Junction.
We had never been there but had heard plenty of positive comments about the place from the times we had hosted at Flaming Gorge. Added bonus, we would be taking the pass over to Vail to get there. As a lover of mountain passes, curvy roads and the breathtaking scenery, this was a no brainer.
Three things stand out about Grand Junction:
1. Junction West RV Park is a gravel parking lot that has very spacious sites, wide roads, very little dust, and it is very quiet at night despite being a short ways from the interstate and a truck stop. We can highly recommend it as a good stopping over place.
2. Grand Junction and the surrounding area has some young but pretty good wineries. Perhaps in a few years they'll also have the restaurants or eateries that we were looking for.
3. Old town Grand Junction and the newer shopping areas on the outskirts are night and day. The newer stores offer the fast, in your face marketing we are now accustomed to while old town turns the clock back to a time where a leisurely walk past store fronts and the occasional visit within are expected and welcomed by the vendors.
So, two days of downtime allowed me to fix our dining chairs (cheap construction), shop for a new couch (just shop), and generally do the little maintenance jobs we all have at one time or another. It also allowed us time to decide on where to go.
I need to set the stage for this next part. In 1991 during one of our cross country transfers we had the opportunity to visit Mount Rushmore. With us was our trusty Canon AE-1 35mm camera. For the last 26 years Chris and I have referred to the photos we took as some of the absolute best with crystal clear focus, perfect exposure and superb filter choice. I would post up some of the photos as shining examples but for one thing - there had been no film in the camera.
That brings us back to Grand Junction, just two travel days away from redemption. Instead of roaming aimlessly with few cares of where we ended up we switched to full on tourist mode with a planned, detailed itinerary with every hour accounted for. To anyone who knows us I'm sure we looked like lunatics on crack. Especially when we put on our knee high white socks, slipped on our sandals, buttoned up our aloha shirts, and hung our cameras around our necks.
Did we finally get pictures? You bet we did! Things have changed in the quarter century since our last visit. Cameras in our phones and no film needed, just to name a couple.
We've spent a full week at the Heartland RV Park and Cabins located in Hermosa. Not a bad park at all with level gravel sites with patches of grass in between. I will warn you though, the park is next to the highway and there is considerable road noise. Of course the highway makes it really easy to get to all the sights and parks in the area.
We're on the road again, this time to Regent North Dakota the beginning of the Enchanted Highway.