Catching up

First off, allow me to extend a heart-felt thank you to all of you who commented on my last post.  I appreciate your warm thoughts beyond words and hope Rhonda and family have found some comfort in them as well.  Rhonda wrote a final post sharing Wayne’s last days and a selfless act.  That post can be viewed here for anyone interested.  Thank you again for your care, concern, and friendship.


With Moab in the rear view mirror, it wasn’t long before we pulled into site #3 at the James M. Robb State Park Campground near Grand Junction, Colorado.  We really enjoy staying here and since we pass through Grand Junction regularly this has become our go to stop for spending a few days while in the area.

Colorado State Parks
Colorado National Monument

Colorado State ParksThe stunning Colorado National Monument acts as a beautiful backdrop to the James M. Robb State Park…. a sight that never gets old.

During our ten-day stay, we had a couple of things to tend to, but most importantly a lot of catching up to do.  You see, my brother and his wife live in Grand Junction, and a year had passed since our last visit.

Fruita Colorado
James M. Robb State Park, Fruita, Colorado

First on the agenda was dinner with brother and sis-in-law, which became a recurring event during our stay.  Yum, is all I have to say as sis-in-law is a great cook.  Unfortunately, due to the combination of my brother’s work schedule and the ever fickle weather, we weren’t able to take any memorable hikes together during this visit.  You can click here to read about one of our epic hikes a couple of years ago.  The thought of that hike still makes me laugh.Colorado National Monument

It’s impossible not to explore the “Monument” and for any first time visitor I would highly recommend the 23 mile Rim Rock Road scenic drive.  The road takes you to the top of the mesa with numerous scenic overlooks giving a visitor a bird’s eye view of some spectacular scenery.

After taking in the scenery from the car, next up is hitting the trails.  One of my all time favorite hikes was one I did with my sister-in-law almost 2 years ago and ever since then, I’ve wanted to share that trail with hubby.hiking in Colorado

So on our first rain free day, Al and I set out around nine in the morning to tackle the Lower Monument Canyon Trail.Colorado National Monument

After a 2 1/2 mile trek, we found ourselves at the base of the stunning 450 foot tall monolith named Independence Monument; our destination.  The post from the hike with my sister-in-law offers a little more info.  If interested, you can click here.

Colorado National Weather
We were down in that canyon at the base of the Independence Monument – rock monolith
Colorado National Monument
Al on the trail ahead of me returning to the trailhead

Colorado National MonumentAfter spending a little time taking in the sight of the beautiful canyon, we retraced our tracks back to the trailhead making for a great 5 mile hike.

Colorado breweryToward the end of our stay, we met Mike and Linda for lunch at the Edgewater Brewery and on our last evening we met Pam and John for a quick bite at Suds Brother’s Brewery.

Let’s see….. we took care of a couple of scheduled appointments, took in the fantastic scenery, got in some exercise, visited with family AND visited a couple of brew pubs with fellow bloggers.

All in all, it was a great visit to western Colorado.  Now it’s time to move on.  I have a feeling there could be a little more social gatherings in our near future.  You never know who we’ll bump into in Denver this summer!Colorado National Monument

Grand Junction Hiking Guide (The Pruett Series)

I recently started a food blog called “Dally in the Galley”
Feel free to stop byclick here

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today we find ourselves back in Grand Junction, Colorado, getting caught up on repairs and spring cleaning.  As busy as we’ve been, there’s always a little time to get out and about with the camera………photographywordless wednesdaywordless wednesdayColorado State ParksPhotos taken at James Robb State Park, Fruita, Colorado

5K or 5 miles?

5K or 5 miles?

Since our return to Grand Junction, Colorado a week ago, we’ve been getting in plenty of hiking in and around the Colorado National Monument.  Our time here in the area is soon coming to an end.  Fall is in the air.

Independence Monument
Colorado National Monument; the monolith is called Independence Monument
Colorado National Monument
getting closer with each step

While sitting at the picnic table at James Robb State Park, we observe a flock of Canadian geese flying overhead.  The cool nights and honking geese are a reminder that it’s about time for our migration south.  But…..there’s one more hike I must do before moving on.

In the past I’ve attempted this hike twice, but never went far enough, never rounded that last corner to have the iconic Independence Monument come into view.  Mind you, in both cases I was eager to continue the hike, but hiking partners were not.  I understand, especially since hiking in the Colorado National Monument is rather rugged and remote.  It’s best to be safe and also acknowledge one’s limitations.Independence Monument

Ah, that illusive monolith keeps calling to me.  Oh, how I long to stand at its base taking in all of its 450 foot height.  Independence Monument is probably Colorado National Monument’s most well-known rock formations.  Every Fourth of July, rock climbers scale this unique monolith and erect an American flag on top.  However, that’s not the only time climbers are seen scaling this rock.  On any given day one might see climbers.

I read about the Word Press 5K.  A 5K challenge and my innate desire to hike to Independence Monument….count me in.  So for the Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5K 2013, I enlist my sister-in-law (sil) as my hiking partner and Tuesday, September 24, 2013 she and I set off on the Lower Monument Canyon Trail in the Colorado National Monument.

Colorado National MonumentWe park at the Monument Canyon trailhead off Broadway/Hwy 340 just 2 miles west of the Fruita entrance to the Colorado National Monument.  It’s a sunny, beautiful day in western Colorado.  The heavy drenching of rain we received on Sunday has the trail nicely packed keeping dust at a minimum.

Its 2.5 miles to the base of Independence Monument from the trailhead with a 500 foot elevation gain.  The trail starts out gentle and wide enough for sil and I to walk next to each other while chit chatting.  After about ten minutes the trail narrows and I take the lead.  It’s a moderate, steady uphill climb with some technical hiking in spots.  Sil brought her walking stick to steady herself in some of the tricky spots.

hiking Colorado
the trail consists of rock and dirt
Colorado National Monument
We continue on the trail….no monument in sight yet

We are walking in silence, taking in the surrounding beauty.  We admire the vibrant red rocks and their various shapes and sizes.  We breathe in the scent of pine from the pinyon trees and listen to the birds overhead.

We’re about thirty minutes into our hike when I hear a rustling in the brush and quickly come to a stop.  I glance around.  Finding the source of movement, I point to the valley below alerting sister-in-law of the group of bighorn sheep.  It was all I could do to keep sil from screeching in delight.  She and my brother have lived in Grand Junction almost nine years and every year they set off on hikes in search of bighorn sheep.  This was her first sighting and she was excited beyond all.  We stood there watching these magnificent animals before reluctantly pulling ourselves away.  We have a 5K to complete after all.

Colorado National Monument
I round the corner and there it is in all its glory….Independence Monument

hiking ColoradoWe continue on our hike with a new-found spring in our step and smiles from ear to ear.  It wasn’t long before we rounded a corner and there it was in all its glory….Independence Monument.  Our pace quickens and soon we’re standing at the base of this monolith looking up.

This sandstone rock sculpture looks different from each angle.  When we approach the rock from the east, we see the narrow side giving the impression it is tall and slender.  As we walk around to the other side, it widens and we see the path and wall rock climbers use to climb.

rock climbing
climbers use this side to ascend

I made it to the base of Independence Monument…..finely 🙂  However, to this point we’ve hiked only 2.5 miles.  I need to hike 3.1 to equal that 5K.  Sil and I also need to decide if we want to return to the trailhead back through Monument Canyon, the way we came, or complete a loop by taking the unimproved Wedding Canyon Trail.  Sil is unfamiliar with Wedding Canyon Trail and is a little concerned with the word “unimproved”.

5K or 3.1 miles so far

I’m feeling great.  I feel adventurous.  Bighorn sheep and accomplishing a long desired hike, who wouldn’t be.  So I say, “Let’s go for it”.  At the base of Independence Monument we pick up Wedding Canyon Trail.  Just before we round the mesa, I figure we’ve hit that 5K mark.  Yeah!

That’s the mesa we hiked around. The trail is down there…somewhere….in the valley to the left of Independence Monument

The trail leads us around a mesa.  This huge mesa, plateau, rock, mountain whatever one calls it, blocks the sun on the trail giving us some wonderful shade to hike in.

leaving Independence Monument behind we continue our hike via Wedding Canyon Trail

Wedding Canyon trail does have some steep up and down moments requiring us to focus on our footing.  We also enjoy stopping along the way to stare in awe at the majestic scenery.  Once we round the mesa, we’re greeted with bright sunshine and a somewhat flat trail.wwwp5K

sister-in-law looking back at the trail from where we came before climbing the last hill

“Are we there yet?”  We’re about ready to end this hike and thinking the trailhead can’t be too far off.  That’s when sil and I notice the trail going up.  In unison we comment, “Oh, no.  You gotta be fricken kidding me!”  We have one last hill to climb or at least we hope it’s the last.  We’re really tired at this point.

Finally we make it to where the two trails, Monument Canyon and Wedding Canyon, meet and our car sits just a little beyond. We climb into the vehicle, but not without uttering a few grunts and groans.  Yep, we’re feeling it, but in a good way.  We hiked 5 miles in 2 hours.  5K or 5 miles?  With scenery like this, who’s counting?

We hiked the Wedding/Monument Canyon Loop and loved it. We’ll do it again…..just not tomorrow 😆
Or maybe we’ll hike around the “Coke Ovens”….more rock sculpture’s 😉

Hiking the Monument

Hiking the Monument

The Colorado National Monument rises over 2,000 feet above the Colorado River and provides a grand backdrop to the city of Grand Junction.  The Colorado National Monument consists of 32 square miles of rugged, up and down terrain with towering, brilliantly colored rock.  Yep, school is back in session….a little geography can’t hurt!The Monument

The Monument is part of the greater Colorado Plateau which also embraces geologic wonders like the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Arches national parks.  It is a semi-desert landscape and home to a multitude of wildlife such as; mountain lions, mule deer, antelope, bobcats, lizards, and snakes just to name a few.

Folks from around the world travel to this part of Colorado for the hiking and biking availability.  Exploring by trail is a great way to see The Monument, and that’s exactly what Al and I did several times during our month long stay in Grand Junction.The Monument

For the first time visitor, we would recommend starting off with a scenic drive.  Rim Rock Drive offers 23 miles of beautiful views with numerous overlooks along the way.  This road is also very popular with cyclists, my brother being one of them.  The road climbs from the Grand Valley of the Colorado River to the park’s high-country, then winds along the rim of the plateau.  Quite the workout via a bicycle!  I think I’ll stick with a motorized form of transportation….thank you 😎Colorado National Monument

One of my favorite days hiking The Monument was the day we hiked the Devil’s Kitchen trail.  This is an easy 2 mile round trip hike that did require a little agility at the top.  The trail leads to a rock room formed by huge upright boulders.Colorado National Monument

My brother and sister-in-law, who are very familiar with this trail, tagged along as tour guides.  In the above photo, the trail is in the center and our destination are the boulders.  We’ll be climbing up in there.

Colorado National Monument
Al and my brother lead the way!

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

The hike was filled with plenty of laughter, good company, and gorgeous scenery.  This was the perfect hike to get Al and me back on the trails.  We climbed, and climbed, and at times lost sight of the trail, but amongst the four agile hikers, we easily found our way.

Colorado hiking
Hey guys! You think these carved steps are part of the trail? Dah!
Climbing further up into “Devil’s Kitchen”

Just a little further……

Follow me!
hiking Colorado
My brother, the gentleman, helps his wife up into the “kitchen”

We hang around at the top taking in the beautiful scenery surrounding us and contemplate “whatever shall we do for lunch”.  With today’s million dollar question answered, we start the hike back to the vehicle.

What goes up, must come down!   😆

With camera in hand and wanting to capture the agile hikers on their descent, I quickly scramble down before the gang.  I had no intention of trying to climb back down the huge boulder that my brother helped pull his wife and me up onto.  Thus, I found, what I thought to be an easier way down.

hiking Colorado
My brother paves his own way!

I quickly scramble down just in time to watch my brother forge his own way.  His wife, in a questioning tone, asks, “Why aren’t you going down the way your mountain goat sister went?  While glancing around and with a slight hesitation he responds, “Oh man, I didn’t see where she went.  I wondered how she made it down so fast”.

hiking Colorado
Interesting moves dear Brother!

Sister-in-law opts to follow MY trail with the aid of her husband.  Al pulls up the rear.  I sure was glad to have started the journey down the trail first so I could capture all of today’s exciting antics.

Hiking Colorado
I’ll follow your mountain goat sister!

We were laughing and teasing my brother on the entire hike back to the vehicle about his trail blazing abilities and he, of course, was a good sport about it.

We really enjoyed this hike and it was exactly what we needed to pique our interest in the trails.  Thanks to my brother and his wife for the tour followed by a fabulous lunch.  Here’s to a lot more fun hikes in our future!

Hiking Colorado
Ooh, Samson…..can I be your Delilah?

Repairs and Unwanted Guests

Repairs and Unwanted Guests

When you live in a house on wheels, one can expect to have things break, loosen, rattle, or not work at all.  After all, it is a moving object and it’s moving down roads that aren’t usually smooth. I guess it’s all part of the RV adventure. FruitaIn the beginning, there’s the “breaking in” phase.  It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s a new RV directly from the factory or a slightly used model.  They all have “their moments”.  Within the first couple of outings with our new fifth wheel, we experienced some problems.  Some warranty issues here, some warranty issues there.  Once those warranty issues were taken care of, the following two years were “issue” free

RV RepairNow that she’s broken in, withstood plenty of extreme weather, and gone down some pretty rough roads, we have a few things needing attention.  Therefore, we spend the month of August in an RV Park with full-hookups allowing us to tend to these things.

First is a major cleaning inside and out.  Al and I wash, vacuum, and clean every nook and cranny on the interior of the RV.  Even going so far as to removing vents and drawers.

We opt for a little help on the exterior though.  We knew that would be a huge undertaking that we felt we weren’t ready to tackle ourselves.  We hired Bravo Detailing. It took Salvador Bravo and his helper four hours to wash and hand wax the exterior of the RV.  She looks and smells like new. 😀

RV Repairs
We have Bravo Detailing wash and wax the exterior

RV RepairsNow it’s time for some minor repairs.  My kitchen faucet was leaking, plus I really missed having a sprayer.  Oh darn, I guess I need a new faucet and what a nice new faucet it is…..and it even has a built-in sprayer.

Next up, my bathroom doorknob….. As a ‘going on the road’ gift from our daughter, she gave us the first four seasons of The Big Bang Theory on DVD.  Al and I have been entertaining ourselves watching this sitcom.  One of the characters, Sheldon, is very OCD.  When Sheldon knocks on neighbor Penny’s door, he does so in a rather neurotic manor and sequence.  My point?  Stay with me…..  I use hand cream regularly.  It never fails, I always have to go to the bathroom AFTER I put the hand cream on.  Last week I stepped into the bathroom.  The door was ajar when I entered.  As I attempted to exit, my hand, moist with cream, couldn’t grasp the round doorknob without slipping.  I wrapped my T-shirt around my hand, once again attempting to turn the knob….to no avail.  I can’t get out – I’m locked in the bathroom!  I heard Al rustling around on the other side of the door near the closet and in true “Sheldon” style and sequence, I said “Al” followed by three knocks on the door…..”Al”….knock, knock, knock….”Al”….knock, knock, knock ….. “Al….knock, knock, knock.  If you’ve ever watched the show, you’ll understand why Al burst out in laughter then proceeded to open the door for me.  I now have a new LEVER doorknob!Chimney Rock

travelGetting locked in the bathroom may have been funny, but running out of hot water was not.  Our water heater had been acting up and of course it decides to stop working in the middle of MY shower while my long tresses were heavily lathered in suds.  Thank goodness for 90 degree weather, making the cold shower almost enjoyable.  Turns out the igniter needed to be cleaned and prongs squeezed a little closer to fire off properly.  It’s been working fine ever since hubby worked his magic.

Next on our list; when we first purchased our RV, I initially was happy with the décor ….well as happy as one could be with RV décor.  I think the manufactures are finally starting to hire some professional interior decorators.  I’m starting to see some newer RV’s with attractive décor.  It’s about time.

Now that we’re living in the RV full-time and making changes here and there, I decide I NEED to change the bedroom curtains.  The current set clash’s with the comforter on the bed, plus I’ve never been a fan of the silky green side panels.  I couldn’t capture the true pea green color of the side panels in the photo.  Trust me…it’s a pea soup green that had to go.

I picked a generic fabric that would easily coordinate with the comforter and other accent colors as well as the rest of the rig.  My sister-in-law graciously allowed me to use her sewing machine and I proceeded to make new curtains for the bedroom.  They turned out ok and even look like they came from the manufacturer…..hum, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Mt. Garfield
Mt. Garfield, Palisades, Colorado

Onto the arcing and sparking microwave.  It started sparking intermittently last winter.  I don’t use the microwave very often, but I do like to use it to melt butter or warm maple syrup.  Al accused me of not using a “microwave safe” dish and didn’t believe me when I told him, “Something is wrong with the microwave”.  Last week I put a couple of potatoes in the microwave and boy did the arcing and sparking get Al’s attention.  We removed and cleand the wave guide cover and voile….. she’s working like a champ.

With the RV all taken care of and absolutely no signs of any unwanted guests, we move onto the trucks.  Al and I give the trucks a thorough cleaning and waxing.  What?  You want to hear about the unwanted guests???

Me hand waxing the F250….Al did the top and I did the bottom

A few weeks ago we were camped at a lovely state park….Ridgway State Park, Colorado.  While enjoying a roaring campfire, I noticed movement off in the brush.  I later heard the rustling and saw the little critters…..field mice.  Oh, how cute.  A couple of nights later, I’m awakened at three in the morning by the sound of scratching nails.  Since I’m a lady, I’ll fast forward to the morning and spare you the language that ensued.

RV miceOver morning coffee, I briefed Al on the nighttime noise and activity.   Shortly after breakfast, we both crawled under the rig, something we had done in the past.  No visible signs of any openings.  Al determines it was probably the chipmunks or mice running on the conduit/cables.

I’m convinced we have some unwanted guests trying to nest in our humble abode.   Al thinks it’s my imagination because I saw the little critters scampering around in the brush.  My imagination?  Really?  ……That is….. until hubby himself notices evidence…… True Value

Then we were off, in a rather urgent pace I might add, to the local hardware store to pick up some good old fashioned mouse traps.  We did indeed have a couple of unwanted guests. Obviously, it wasn’t my imagination…..”Told ya so!”

As we departed Ridgway State Park, we both felt confident that we weren’t transporting any free loading guests. However, shortly after arriving at the Junction West RV Park in Grand Junction, we were quick to empty the rig and do a very thorough cleaning and continued to keep a couple of traps active for a few more days, just to be sure.

Projects completed, guests terminated, and Al and I feeling refreshed…..sounds like it’s almost time to move on…….

RV repair
my MacGyver

Happy Birthday Bro

Grand JunctionWe’ve been happily camped at James Robb State Park Fruita Section located west of Grand Junction, Colorado for a little over a week now.  I think Al and I are finally settling into the RV life and joke about living on “RV time”.  I’ll admit the move took a lot more out of us than we ever could’ve imagined.  In retrospect, I wish we had gone about this move and change at a slower pace.  Moving is nothing new to us, but the major downsizing was overwhelming beyond words.

We arrived in Grand Junction just in time to help my brother celebrate his birthday.  He has a favorite Japanese Restaurant that he and his wife frequent in downtown Grand Junction.  Al and I aren’t fans of Sushi but do enjoy other Asian dishes accompanied by a little Sake and plum wine.

The Farmer’s Mart is held every Thursday evening throughout the summer in downtown Grand Junction.  The city closes several blocks to automobile traffic and the streets are lined with easy-up tents hosted by various vendors and entertainers.  The multitude of vendors marketing their products includes everything from wine by local wineries to a special blend of Bloody Mary Mix (a favorite of my brother’s… I hear birthday gift?), to a variety of food products, crafts, local veggies, fruits, etc.  Some of the local store fronts even offer specials.

After a delicious meal at the Suehiro Japanese Restaurant complete with Al and me sampling lots of Sushi (I’m still not a fan), we head to the streets to meander amongst the vendors and listen to the various musicians entertaining the crowds.   The skies looked threatening but fortunately the storm held at bay long enough for us to enjoy a wonderful evening.


The four of us had a great time and I loved being able to celebrate my brother’s birthday with him.

This past week in Grand Junction has whizzed by and Tuesday we’ll head to Ridgeway State Park for 8 days.   My brother and his wife will join us in their new travel trailer for four of those days.  We’re all looking forward to getting in a little biking, hiking, and lots of R & R.  We may even try to coax Mark over at Box Canyon Blog to take us on one of those beautiful hikes that he shares with fellow bloggers (His photos are always stunning)……  That is if we’re not too busy “watching the shade move”….. my sister-in-laws response to me when I asked her what she wanted to do while we were at Ridgeway State Park 😀

James Robb State Park
James Robb State Park Fruita Section

We’ve loved our time here at James Robb State Park but are already looking forward to moving on.  So if any of you are near Ridgeway State Park July 23 – 31 feel free to stop by and say “Hey”.




A Visit with my Brother

Colorado’s State flower; the Columbine. My sister-in-law is a master gardener and the yard proves it!

It’s six-thirty in the morning on Saturday, May 18th.  My brother and I sit at his kitchen table enjoying a cup of strong, hot coffee.  He and I are both morning people.

My brother has already been up since five-thirty working.  While we visit and drink coffee, he reviews his Tablet and jots notes down on a piece of paper.

My brother is a successful Real Estate Agent in Grand Junction, Colorado, and has a couple of appointments today.  We chat about his day.  Hmm, does that mean he’ll be viewing houses?  “Oh please, pretty please can I tag along”, I ask?  My brother responds, “Sure, but you might be bored”.  Bored?  I don’t think so.  I never tire of looking at houses.  I wonder, as long as we’re out and about, perhaps I can talk him into looking at some new homes and land development.  It’s the home builder in me.  I just can’t help myself.  Even on our winter excursion to the desert southwest, I found time to visit model homes.

After my brother takes care of the appointments, we head over to a new home subdivision.  We check out a couple of houses under construction.  I feel like a kid in a candy store.  We check out a house being framed, then we enter one in the trim phase.  Curiosity satisfied, we head home to visit with the gang.

Sunday we awaken to a beautiful day.  A perfect day to visit Colorado National Monument, most often referred to as The Monument.  The Monument is a ‘must see’ on any visit to Grand Junction.  Click here to visit the web-site and read all about this beautiful place.  To me, it’s a hiking paradise and the photography opportunities are endless.  During past visits, I’ve hiked some of the trails, but since I’ll be leaving in the morning we settle for some strolls here and there at the various overlooks.  And of course that entails taking plenty of photos.  So here’s a little sampling of The Monument.  Click on any photo to view in a larger format.

Grand Junction and the surrounding area are popular with active retirees.  However, young or old, folks from around the world travel to this part of Colorado for world-class biking.  There is an abundance of trails for just about any kind of cycling.  There’s even a bike trail leading to Moab, Utah.  The biking is what brought my brother to Grand Junction, Colorado over eight years ago.  His only regret….not moving here sooner.

In addition to all the bicycling opportunities are the hiking options.  Hiking….right up my alley. You’re not into biking or hiking?  How about wine tasting?  There are several wineries in the area that are open year round and every fall they host a wine tasting festival.

The Grand Junction area is host to all kinds of festivals, some featuring well-known entertainers like Kid Rock and Luke Bryant.  With so many things to do and see and set against a beautiful backdrop, I can see why folks are proud to call Grand Junction home and loving every minute of it.

Grand Junction
My brother and me visiting The Monument

Thank you to my brother and sister-in-law for a great visit.  I know I’ll be back…….you’ve been warned  😉

Grand Junction
Sister-in-law, brother and me at Colorado National Monument – FYI….I’m not that short, the ground was very unlevel…..really!

Time for a Break

As the looming snow-capped mountains come into view, I feel a sense of excitement.  It feels good to be back on the road, especially after the past few weeks.  Weeks of cleaning and preparing the house for sale has gotten old real quick.  I need a break.  I need to get away.  It’s Friday, May 17th the weekend before Memorial Weekend; the official kick off to summer fun in Colorado.  A perfect time to hit the road.

Highway 50 west of Canon City meanders along the Arkansas River

I leave Al and Bear behind and hop in my little red Toyota Tacoma bound for Grand Junction, Colorado.  Within a mere thirty minutes from home, the road begins to twist and turn as Highway 50 meanders along the Arkansas River.  This particular stretch of Highway 50 can be stressful when there is a considerable amount of traffic.  This morning I practically have the road to myself and thus drive at a relaxing pace allowing myself to take in the scenery.

Arkansas River
Arkansas River east of Salida, Colorado; known for white water rafting

The Arkansas River between the towns of Canon City and Salida, Colorado, is a popular tourist destination for white water rafting.  The rafting season hasn’t begun just yet, therefore no rubber rafts in sight, but that will change in the next week or so as the snow melts in the high country making for some fast moving water.  Canon City and Salida both offer plenty of rafting outfitters to accommodate the various levels of adventure seekers.

Salida Colorado
The Continental Divide looms in the distance

As I get closer to the town of Salida, I sense a rise in elevation.  Perhaps seeing the Continental Divide in the distance is a reminder of the change in elevation necessary to cross the Rocky Mountains.  My journey started in Pueblo West at an elevation of 4,900 feet and I have been gradually climbing as I approach the town of Salida at 7,000 feet.

Just west of Salida, the road climbs more aggressively toward Monarch Pass and the Continental Divide. Monarch Pass sits at an elevation of 11,312 feet and is the high point of Highway 50.  I’ve been on the road a couple of hours now and could use a break ….. photo-op.  There is still plenty of snow but it’s a sunny, warm 60 degrees at 11,312 feet.

Monarch Pass
My little red truck and I stop for a break at Monarch Pass 11,312 feet in elevation

What goes up, must come down.  Once on the other side of Monarch Pass, it’s all down hill, as evidenced by the “runaway truck ramp”.  I often wonder how the driver of a semi-truck feels racing down a twisty, curvy mountain road with brakes not functioning.  It’s not as if a guard rail, when there is a guard rail, would stop a semi from tumbling over the edge.  That kind of excitement, I assure you, I do not need to experience first hand.

Continental Divide
surrounded by beautiful scenery
Continental Divide
I’ve crossed the Continental Divide; it’s all down hill from here

I’ll stick with my little truck.  I coast down the western slope of the Rocky Mountains with the help of my brakes here and there.  Traffic is light.  I’m really enjoying the drive.  I stop for lunch in Gunnison before stopping at the Blue Mesa Reservoir.  I can’t believe how low the water level is at Blue Mesa Reservoir.  The past few years of drought have taken a toll on Colorado’s reservoirs.  However, it should fill considerably as the snow melts in the high country…..I hope.

Blue Mesa Reservoir
Highway 50 crosses Blue Mesa Reservoir
Blue Mesa Reservoir
Blue Mesa Reservoir; the water level is low due to drought
Rocky Mountains
Blue Mesa Reservoir
Montrose Colorado
A perfect day; Highway 50 east of Montrose, Colorado

I continue on the journey enjoying a perfect day…..oops….spoke too soon.  I come to a screeching halt about fifteen minutes east of the town of Montrose.  Construction!  Did you know Colorado only has two seasons?  Winter and construction.  I knew this day was too perfect.  Oh well, with no place to go we all shut off our engines and enjoy the perfect weather and scenery.

Rocky Mountains
Construction has us stopped east of Montrose
Rocky Mountains
My view to the left as traffic is halted for construction

With plenty of time to day dream, I glance out the rolled down window and wonder about the folks living on this ranch in the above photo.  They are probably cattle ranchers.  Pretty common in this area of Colorado….cattle country.  Could I live here?  Would I want to live here?  Probably not….. most likely not.  The winters are long and hard in this neck of the woods.  Come on, it’s the end of May and there’s still snow on the ground.  You should see this part of Colorado in the winter…..beautifully white in all directions covered deep in snow AND it’s cold….the air and the snow 😉

Highway 50
After thirty minutes of sitting, we’re finally moving again
Highway 50 just east of Montrose, Colorado

After thirty minutes of waiting, traffic finally starts to move and it is once again smooth sailing the rest of the way.  6 1/2 hours and 383 miles later I pull into my brothers driveway in Grand Junction…..right behind his new travel trailer.

Brother’s new travel trailer

My brother and his wife camped in Moab the previous weekend.  Knowing I was coming for a visit, brother postponed stowing the trailer so I could see his new toy.  We spend the evening swapping RV stories over cocktails and catching up with life in general.  Tomorrow we’ll visit The Monument.


Several blogs I follow share their adventures of hiking.  I’ve been inspired by their stories.  Inspired by the photography.  I can’t wait to explore some of these trails myself.  I throughly enjoy hiking, but in the past I haven’t had time to hike more than an hour or so.    Therefore, I have never built up the endurance for much past a four to five mile hike, nor did I have the desire.

Pikes Peak
a snow-capped Pikes Peak behind Garden of the Gods

After reading the accomplishments of fellow bloggers, I am motivated to hike longer and further….motivated to increase my endurance…..motivated to push myself….motivated to explore beyond my dreams.  I actually have an interest in one day hiking a “Fourteener” and  it is now on the “bucket list”.  As I contemplate this goal, I am reminded of a post I did last spring.  A post about “Fourteeners”.


If you live in Colorado, you obviously know what a Fourteener is.  For those of you unfamiliar, it’s a mountaineering term used to describe a mountain that exceeds fourteen thousand feet above sea level.  Climbing all of Colorado’s Fourteeners is a popular pastime among hikers, especially here in Colorado.

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak,  Colorado Springs, Colorado

Alaska has the tallest Fourteener; Mount McKinley in Denali comes it at 20,320 feet in elevation.  Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado, places 57th on the Fourteener list in the United States coming in at 14,110 feet above sea level.

Although I love to hike, I know my limitations.  Thus, hiking a Fourteener has eluded my repertoire of activities, as well as the bucket list.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for those whom have accomplished hiking all of Colorado’s Fourteeners.  I just won’t be one of them.

Grand Junction
Me with daughter and my brother at The Monument

I do enjoy a good hike.  Whenever we visit my brother and sister-in-law in Grand Junction, Colorado, we always manage to squeeze in a visit to The Monument, even if it’s only an easy one hour hike.  That being said, last year daughter and I were on such a hike with my brother and his wife.  The Monument is so beautiful, any hike is better than no hike and a trip to Grand Junction just would not be complete without this activity.

We hiked, we explored, we climbed rocks for photo-ops and that’s when it happened.  A sound escaped my brother…..”Hum, excuse me”. he says slightly embarrassed.  I comment, “No problem.  Consider yourself healthy and normal”.  I proceed to brief him on a recent Dr. Oz show….a show on flatulence, a show about passing gas.  Dr. Oz…. gotta love him.  According to Dr. Oz, the average, healthy person passes gas fourteen times per day.

AND THUS…..the new meaning of a FOURTEENER was born !  Have you accomplished a Fourteener?  🙂

The Monument
Really, Mother? Really???

Grand JunctionGrand Junction Colorado