Colorado National Monument

Freeze dried MoHo.

Grand Junction
For the past 4 days we’ve been hanging around Grand Junction. It’s about the biggest town we’ve seen on this trip. Not really much to do here, but I needed to find an RV store to pick up a few repair items for my little towing mishap. I found Centennial RV very near the RV park we chose right off Highway 70. I needed to replace the electrical tether that was damaged when the towbar became disengaged. Since it was just the plug itself that was damaged, I hoped to be able to just replace it instead of the entire tether. A new tether would cost $70 or more. A new plug for the end, more like $5.00. As it turned out, the store was out of 7 pin tethers, but did have a replacement plug. The were kind enough to not charge me any labor to change out the plug. I actually could have probably done the switch-out myself, but this is not something I wanted to take a chance of mis-wiring.

While we were there, I found a pretty cool Freeze-dried RV that we are considering down-sizing to. Just add water and presto! Full size to go. This one would easily fit into our garage in SF.

We got here on Thursday and pretty much just hung out. Friday was chore day and we managed to get everything done we needed to. It was also clouding up during most of the day and started raining by late afternoon. We wanted to tour the Colorado National Monument on Saturday, but the rain continued on and off most of the day. Often this is preferable to us – The cloudy, rainy weather often produces dramatic lighting. The the overcast was solid and dark up on the monument, so we decided to go to a movie instead. We saw Seven Psychopaths, staring Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Chistorpher Walken, with a cameo by Tom Waits. Directed by Martin McDonagh. It was hilarious, but bloody, but more cartoon bloody. A surprising and kind of touching story. Walken is at his best, and Colin and Harrelson are really good too. If you can stomach the violence, then do go see it.

Along the trail to Devil’s Kitchen.

On Sunday, we finally got it together enough to head up to the monument. The Colorado National Monument is actually a hugh sandstone mesa that rises above Grand Junction. It’s a little bit of Utah red rock in Colorado. There are tremendous views from all along the scenic drive that winds around and over the monument. We had hoped for clearing cloud cover for our excursion, but come dawn, there was not a cloud in the sky. Nice weather for hiking, but too harsh for effective photography. Photographing in this light gets you either black shadows, or blown highlights. What this place needs is a partly cloudy sky that allows for more dramatic light.

We started off anyway and decided to try some of the short hikes. We first found the Devil’s Kitchen hike. It was only a .75 mile hike to a sandstone room of boulders, so the guide says. It started out easy enough, but after rising around a 300′ rise to the room, but somewhere along the trail, we managed to take a wrong turn and ended up hiking more like a mile and a half in the wrong direction. The trail eventually petered out and we had to turn back. We were not the only one’s to miss the correct route. We passed several groups as we retraced our steps. Eventually, we came across a couple who had found it and we discovered where we went wrong. Even they were not sure they had found the place, but after looking over the trail, it was clear they had. We did get to the rock room, but it certainly was not worth the effort. Oh well, at least we got in a good walk, just not as enjoyable as we had hoped.

The Coke Ovens.

After the hike, we did the rest of the 25 mile drive over the mesa. Nice views at many turn-outs, but overall not very exciting. We had thought we might stay at the very nice campground here in the park, but knowing the light was not going to get any better tomorrow or the next day, we’ve decided to leave Colorado and head to Moab in Utah. We plan to camp along the Colorado River at a couple of places, and do some of the hikes we know are there and should be nice with the changing Cottonwood trees and red rock cliffs.

Part of the reason we stayed here so long was to watch the first of the divisional playoffs between the Giants and Cardinals. We have to have network television for these games and the only way to do that is over the air TV. Satellite won’t work for this when we are out of the Bay Area. Unfortunately the game didn’t go our way. It was a good game, but disappointing. Hopefully we will get the local stations at our next camp, but if not we may just stay in Moab for a day or two.

So we say good-by to Colorado for this trip. It’s been everything we hoped it would be and I’m sorry to have to move on.

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