We didn't make that many stops on our way from Denver to Lake Mead, but we did show them some things they'd never seen before. Joan and I had set up in St Vrain State Park just off I-25 in Longmont about 25 miles north of Denver. It had been raining since Monday, but not so bad that we couldn't enjoy the park. If you get the chance, check out St Vrain. On Wednesday we drove about 40 miles to Estes Park to take in Rocky Mountain NP. It was overcast and rainy but we persevered and drove into the park. We saw a few Big Horn sheep as we began our climb into the mountains. It didn't take long before we were completely encompassed by the clouds and visibility was down to a few hundred feet.
We only had 1 day to see the park so we kept driving hoping to get above the cloud cover. We made it all the way to the top but never got out of the clouds. So we turned around and headed down. Just as we drove out of the clouds at the base of the mountain we saw a few cars pulled to the side of the road. We looked and sure enough it was an elk. We pulled over and got to watch him for about 30 minutes while he grazed, wallowed in the mud, scraped/rubbed his rack in the bushes and actually got him on video 'bugling' several times. All in all it was a good day.
We went to bed that night to the rain on the roof serenading us. And we woke up Thursday the same way. It had been raining since Monday and there were numerous puddles all throughout the campground. We were about 20 minutes from pulling in the slides and heading out when we heard a knock on the door. The park rangers were going door to door in the CG advising campers that the St Vrain river (which runs through the park) was overflowing its banks and they were evacuating the park. Our timing was spot on so we quickly finished packing and drove out of the park along with many of our fellow campers. We headed south on I-25, then west on I-70 towards Utah. It rained on us all the way to the Eisenhower Tunnel, then it cleared up with only a few sprinkles as we drove across western Colorado. We arrived in Moab, Utah that afternoon and set up in Portal RV Park. We got set up and turned on the TV news to get a weather forecast (it had been raining in Moab the past few days). What we saw surprised us......The St Vrain River had flooded parts of Longmont; both I-25 and I-70 had sections that were closed due to flooding and/or mudslides; the entire Denver area was experiencing record rainfall and flooding. I guess our timing was really good for us to have escaped that before we were caught up in it.
|View from La Salle Mountains
We stayed in Moab for 4 nights and left Monday headed to Zion. Joan found a 'new' Utah State Park called Sand Hollow just outside of Hurricane. It's the newest state park in Utah with paved drives, full hook ups and pull through sites that were able to take our 40' MH with the trailer attached. There is a reservoir and the park has a focus on fishing. The sites are spaced out and the views are nice.
The next day we drove through Zion on our way to Bryce Canyon. We got lots of "ooohhss" and "aahhhhhsss" from ma and pa; and my dad's arms got tired from holding up the camera and taking so many pictures. We drove back through Zion that afternoon and saw several different light conditions and angles on the scenes we'd seen that morning.
The next day Joan downloaded several geocaches and we elected to drive Kolob Terrace Road. Joan and I had discovered this 18 mile scenic drive on our motorcycles when we visited Utah in 2007. The road climbs 3000' along the way and contains several different types of terrain; from desert to forest to high mountain valley. And you can actually see many of the mountains in Zion from this road. My mom was right with Joan as she exited the car at several locations to search out geocaches. I think we found 7 in all that day. While we were in Hurricane we also visited Kolob Canyons; a part of Zion NP, but with a separate entrance to Kolob just off I-15.
|Sand Hollow SP
We packed up on Thursday and headed towards Nevada. Along the way we passed through the Virgin River Gorge on I-15. It's a spectacular drive through the gorge near the Utah/Arizona state line. My dad was disappointed that he was driving our car because he couldn't take pictures. We drove into and set up camp in Valley of Fire State Park at the north entrance to Lake Mead NRA about 50 miles north of Vegas. Again we had 50amp/water hook ups; pull through sites (that are actually designed to park 2 40' MH's in each site); completely surrounded by 'fire-red' canyon walls; out of sight of the road through the park or any other man-made structures. We had red canyon walls on our left lit up by the morning sun and red canyon walls on our right lit up by the afternoon sun. Everyday campers were up very early and right at sunset to take pictures of the canyon walls surrounding us. No street lights or car lights at night; we sat in almost total darkness as we counted stars each night and watched as the full moon rose over the mountains. It was really nice. Joan hit 4 home runs with her campsite selections during this move.
Ta-ta-da-dah!!!!!!!! (imagine horns blowing) SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT....Do not touch that dial...do not attempt to adjust your settings....you will not want to miss what comes next! Any guesses? No, not that......un uh...not that either......OK I'll tell you...As of 9/20/2013 I am a grandfather. My oldest son Doug and his wife Erin have presented me (yes it is all about me this time) with my first grandchild.....Tristyn Claire was born on Friday 6'14" and 19" long. She's a beauty. Takes after her mom.
And according to my youngest son Chris she has her father's mouth....open! If you notice closely you'll see she's 100%. A chip off the old block. Congrats son. Proud of ya!
That's it for now. We start our new job next Monday.
|From left....Dad Sean, brother Ryan and
Birthday Boy Bradley
PS...Happy Birthday to Joan's grandson..Bradley....11 years old.
Stay Tuned. More to Come.