Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas....At Least for Us Floridians

As anxious as we are to spend a few days in Colorado before we report to Chalk Creek, the weather forecast along our route is not the most conducive for a life long Florida driver to tackle with a 40' 16 ton motorhome towing a trailer. Therefore we decided to spend a few more days in Moab. And we had a blast doing so!

John and Pam invited us to hike Tower Arch in Arches NP with them. We met them at the park entrance and drove several miles into the park before taking a gravel road to the trailhead. The hike included some ups and downs with a total 3.4 miles round trip. And the trip was well worth it.

The arch is called Tower Arch because it looks as though there is a tower on top of it. That however is an optical illusion. The tower is actually a 'fin' rock formation immediately behind the arch. John and I explored the tower by climbing a few rocks. Standing at the base of the tower we were afforded a beautiful view of the surrounding area.

The next day we decided to go off road again and check out Long Valley. Somewhere near the end of Tower Arch hike I twisted my ankle, so Joan and I thought this would be a good chance for her to 'earn her wings' and drive her 1st off road trail. Long Valley was one of 2 trails recommended to us when we first arrived. And the recommendation was spot on. The trail pulls off Potash Road and parallels the Potash Road/Shafer Basin trail we took earlier in the week (see the previous blog entry) eventually coming out on the entrance road to Dead Horse SP. The views of needle and fin rock formations, Arches NP and the LaSal Mountains were fantastic.

No real obstacles except for a huge rock that had fallen from a cliff face and came to rest leaning on the cliff face. The trail forces vehicles to drive under the rock.

When we finished Long Valley we continued on to explore Canyonlands NP. Two great rivers converge here, the Colorado and Green Rivers merge among over 500 square miles of canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches and spires.

On the way out of Canyonlands Joan was feeling confident and decided she would like to drive the switchbacks we had driven a couple days earlier in Shafer Basin. This time the road was dry and I enjoyed being able to relax and view the scenery as Joan drove down. We turned around at the bottom and headed back up. Everything was going well until we started to slide towards the cliff face. Joan was paying attention to the drop off and got a little too close to the waist-deep ditch along the cliff face.
The Ditch
We forgot to take a pic until we were
out of trouble

Too late....we slid until the car grounded on the frame. No serious damage, but with the chassis on the ground and both right side tires spinning freely off the ground we weren't going anywhere soon even with 4-wheel drive. Fortunately we carry a small folding shovel and I started to work building a ramp out of nearby large rocks and the dirt I dug out from under the car. 2 large blisters and 45 minutes later we were free and on our way home...with Joan driving. Joan did great and intends to continue practicing her off road driving.

The weather forecast for Friday and Saturday was for sunshine and dry roads so we headed towards Colorado. We stayed overnight in Montrose and then left early Saturday for Nathrop via Gunnison and 11,300' Monarch Pass.

Monarch Pass
The weather forecast was accurate and other than the 'pucker factor' that most motorhome drivers experience the first time they encounter high mountain passes the drive was fine. We arrived in Nathrop at Chalk Creek CG Saturday afternoon and set up in our home for the summer.

We drove into nearby Buena Vista to explore and decided to stop at a local pub for dinner. Joan has really enjoyed sampling the local beers while we were in Oregon and Nevada. The pub EddyLine brews several different beers and offered a beer paddle to allow sampling.
Joan really liked 5 of the 6 she sampled. We returned home and went to bed with another winter storm forecast for overnight.

We awoke Sunday morning with 1" of snow covering everything. Our 1st ever snowfall (other than a small snow flurry while driving through Cuba, NM last year) since we've been full-timing. Cool!

We've been doing a little more exploring of the area and I've been doing some odds and ends around the MH the last few days. Our internet access has been spotty at several of our stops so I ordered and installed the WiFiRanger Go. The install was easy and I had all 4 of our WiFi devices up and running with a 4 of 4 bar signal strength private wireless LAN within 30 minutes.

We're hoping the weather clears up so that we can take a drive to Denver and take in a Rockies game next week. Other than that we're just enjoying experiencing the mountain weather and exploring the area.

Stay Tuned. More to Come.


  1. Welcome to your summer home! We look forward to reading about your adventures!

  2. What a neat post! I am so glad you have arrived safely...what a beautiful ride it was! Monarch Pass is so pretty.....I love the evergreen treesin the snow.

    So glad to hear you had a hike with Pam and John, but sorry to hear Steve spranged his ankle.

    You go Joan! What an experience to drive off road.

    Have fun!

  3. That snow is so chilling! We had flurries a few times yesterday while John was trying to clean the outside of the MH. Something wrong with that pictures.

    Hopefully, we will get to take one of your drives soon. With three days of cool rain here, we have been relaxing inside.

    Hope you are happy with your new summer location.

  4. Snow?!! Never want to see the stuff again. Sounds like you guys are having a blast!

  5. you guys seem to go to the neatest places. Love the photos, but you can keep the snow! LOL

  6. Thanks so much for sharing all your adventures and photos! I enjoyed the read :). Jerry says the best photo is the one of the paddle lined with the samples of all the beers...ha ha!!

  7. Eewww snow. Too bad that it had to be there for your arrival.
    Hopefully the weather will improve alot in the days to come.
    Looking forward to the days ahead and memories of being there ourselves.

  8. Eddyline's was our favorite in Buena Vista, and Amica's our favorite in Salida. Didn't take you long :-)!!Even with our issues, been thinking of all you folks out there in snowy Nathrop. I hope you're enjoying it so far!

  9. We're very interested in your wifiranger go. Are you using it with a mifi unit from Verizon or Millenicom, or just from campground wifi. We need something to help boost our wifi, and wonder if this is what we need. Any help is appreciated. Always happy to read your blog!

  10. Hey guys we have been caught twice in snow! I agree its no fun when you are dragging your house! Stay safe.

  11. Wow, that fallen rock is massive! Looking forward to hearing about your next workamping adventure.

  12. No fair! You guys suck. God did not intend you have that much fun!