RV Adventures: A Trip Out West! Day 4

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

What a view to wake up to in the morning!

Today our nephew, Chris, is able to take the day off of work and spend it showing us around Gunnison and Crested Butte! We started the day with breakfast at the Back Country Cafe in Gunnison and it was nice enough to sit outside. We all enjoyed our food and we were ready to explore the area.

Chris was our “tour director” for the day. He drove toward Crested Butte to show us where he used to live and the mountain and surrounding area.

The picture below was taken from the car as we drove on State Highway 135 on our way to Crested Butte. I know we’ll be saying this a lot but the views were incredible.

Gunnison National Forest is in Gunnison and other counties in Colorado. It is beautiful as we drove into Crested Butte. Chris drove us up the back side of the Mount Crested Butte as far as we could go. The top area is closed off because it isn’t the start of the high summer season. We noticed not all of the places were open.

Mount Crested Butte

Chris took us to a trail where we walked for awhile to look at the wildflowers along the mountainside. Some of the flowers still haven’t bloomed yet but it was still a lovely walk.

We drove from a paved road to a dirt road where the RMBL (Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory) Research station is located in the town of Gothic. The town is surrounded by the West Elk Mountains. Gothic was a silver boomtown in 1880 and by 1890 the prospectors moved on. In the early 1900s a biology professor at Western Colorado College, Dr. John Johnson, took his students on a field trip to Gothic. In 1928 he set up a field station in the ruins of the old mining town. Today, the RMBL has become internationally renowned for its scientific research on high-altitude ecosystems. We could see the old Town Hall built in 1880 and walk in a little museum that was also the General Store and Visitor Center. In the Visitor Center we met a girl who is spending the summer with her father at the research center. The rest of the year she lives in Washington. She told us she loves coming here every summer.

The temperature was in the 70s and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! It was a perfect day for Chris to spend with us.

The Aspen trees were standing tall and swaying majestically in the wind as we drove through a grove of them.

We were surrounded by mountains and the views were breathtaking. Chris told us the name of all the ranges we were looking at. Don’t ask us now the names of all of them!

For lunch we drove into Crested Butte. First we walked around the town which didn’t take long. Again some of the shops and restaurants were closed. Chris recommended pizza at The Secret Stash. It was busy but our service was great and so was the pizza, including a gluten free pizza! We took leftovers with us, enough for another meal!

After lunch Chris headed back toward Gunnison on a different road and we went through the town of Almont surrounded by Gunnison National Forest.

We visited for a while when we got back to his home and played with his puppy and his roommate gave us a tour of her art studio. The owners before my nephew were collectors of art and did some sort of art themselves. The natural light coming in is perfect for her paintings. You should follow her on Instagram, heidi.annalise.art! After dinner, we watched a movie together and then headed to the RV next door! The sky is amazing and you can see the Milky Way over his home because he is out of town and up a hill. If you look closely at the picture below you can see the mountain in front of his home and many stars!

Tomorrow we say goodbye to Chris and head to Utah!

RV Adventures: A Trip Out West! Day 3

Monday, June 7, 2021

We pulled up camp and on the road by 6:00 AM. We did drive by the World’s Wonder View Tower which was built sometime after 1926! It’s a shame that no one took care of it and kept it as a tourist stop. It would be fun to say you climbed the six stories and looked out! Right now it is run down and the contents inside have been auctioned off. We read online that a group of Colorado residents purchased the tower and it was reported that they would restore it, but that happened in 2016!

Back on I-70 for a little while before we turned and started a southwesterly direction. Again not much to see on I-70 except windmills and fields and then on route 24 more farms and then a glimpse in the distance of mountains! When you look at that picture below, ignore all the bug splatter on the windshield!

We drove through Colorado Springs and we could see Pikes Peak off in the distance. It was their morning rush hour so there was some stop and start driving.

The scenery was beautiful as we climbed in altitude.

Route 50 followed along the Arkansas River. There were many rapids and the water was flowing quickly! We did see several whitewater rafters!

The road had many twists and turns and some steep grades on the Monarch Pass! The elevation was 11,312ft above sea level. It’s a good thing Dave was driving. He did an excellent job! It’s a good thing we didn’t read about the Monarch Pass until later. This is a time where “ignorance is bliss”! After we came down the pass, we could smell that the brakes were hot so pulled over in an area and parked and had a lunch. This gave the motor and brakes a chance to recover from the extreme up and down and winding roads and our nerves a chance to calm.

Another hour and we were parked at our nephew’s home in Gunnison! He had room for us to park and also unhook the Prius. We quickly set up and went exploring along route 50 to wear the road is closed due to construction. We turned onto the alternate route to see how it would be when we leave to head to Utah. Well, let us tell you it is a narrow two lane road with switchbacks and not a lot of guardrails.

It was a scenic drive as far as we went toward the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. We didn’t get any pictures because we missed the one pull off that had some room. It was beautiful but we aren’t going to take that route! Below are some pictures from along route 50!

After our exploration, our nephew was finished with his work for the day so we had a chance to catch up and also meet his adorable dog!

Our view from the camper was spectacular! It was breathtaking!

Our nephew took us into Gunnison and we got to see the town and had dinner at a restaurant, Ol’ Miner Steakhouse and the food was delicious. It was a good day and we’re happy to be here for two nights! Tomorrow Chris is off work and he is going to take us to Crested Butte where he used to live and other sights around the area. It will be another fun-filled day with family!

RV Adventures: A Trip Out West! Day 2

Sunday, June 6, 2021

We were awake at 5:00 AM (6:00 AM EST) so our day began early. Of course we forgot to turn the propane tank on when we set up camp! (We won’t forget that again!) Needless to say, we each took very quick showers and were definitely wide awake! When everything was packed up we headed back to I-70 West and were on our way by 6:30 AM! Today’s destination is Genoa, Colorado.

The first city we passed through was Kansas City, MO.

We left Missouri after driving around three hours and entered our fifth state of this trip, Kansas!

It’s many quite a few decades since we’ve driven across the state. Plenty of flat fields, farms, Wind Farms and open country!

Grainfield, Kansas is where we stopped for gas. It is a small town in the middle of wheat and the town’s name was given when the Kansas Pacific Railway Company plotted a town site!

Then it was back on the highway and nothing but flat fields again! The speed limit on I-70 in Kansas was 75 mph!

We crossed into Colorado mid-afternoon and also the mountain time zone. It is our second time change and sixth state!

We need to get gas and Flagler, Colorado was where we stopped. When we stopped for gas as long as we have cell service, I always read online about the city. Well, Flagler was giving away free land (about 480 acres) for business or industry and they have a cute diner across from where we filled up with gas. Other than that, there isn’t much!

The last campground and the roads are really dusty and we have proof!

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In reading about Genoa, our next stop, the population is under 200 people and one article called it a “ghost town”! It’s only claim to fame was the tower that was erected and you could climb to the top and see six states! It was called the World’s Wonder Tower. It is now closed like many of the buildings in Genoa.

Our campsite there is located a block outside of “downtown” Genoa and across from farm buildings!

We were settled into the campground by 4:00 PM. Our plan was to walk around town but a thunderstorm was approaching and we could see lightning in the distance and heading our way! It was an evening to relax. We watched DVD movie and enjoyed some wine! It was a good day!

RV Adventures: A trip out West! Day 1

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Today is the beginning of our 26 day adventure heading west! In anticipation of our first really long distance drive in “Miss Daisy”, our name for our Class C RV, we made lists of items we would need, groceries to buy, clothes to pack, etc… Our goal was to hopefully not forget something important or necessary. Dave booked our campgrounds and planned our routes. We checked our lists and and the list for preparation of “Miss Daisy”. Her tires were checked, oil changed, and inside prepared!

“Miss Daisy” and our Prius

We were on the road by 7:00 AM. Matilda, our dog, is staying home and her Aunt Kathy is staying with her. She will be happier staying at home. She still is very nervous traveling in the RV. With all of the miles we will be covering she will be thrilled to not have to ride for long periods of time in the RV! We will miss her and do some FaceTime calls so we can keep in touch with her!

Dave drove “Miss Daisy” like a pro! We covered Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and camped in Columbia, Missouri!

The route was I-70 West almost the entire way today. The orange barrels were minimal and that was a welcome surprise! Once we were near Columbia, Missouri, I turned on the maps on the phone to get us directly to our campground! We were following the turn-by-turn directions until we were in a subdivision. The RV plus towing a car I had Dave stop because this wasn’t looking like right. I double-checked the address and sure enough we were 10 miles out of the way, so Dave masterfully made the turns to get us out of the hilly subdivision and half an hour later than expected, because of our 20 mile detour (10 miles back and the forth, we arrived at our campground. As we followed the correct route we started getting skeptical again because our GPS had us turn on to a gravel road! It was the correct route but the dust coated the RV and the Prius.

The RV park of the resort is sitting on what I would say was a farm field. No trees, just barren land filled with RVs! Setting up has gotten faster and easier for us. Once we were ready, we unhooked the car and went into Columbia to walk around the University of Missouri. We specifically wanted to see the tiger’s David R. Francis Quadrangle. The Quadrangle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It felt good to be walking after a lot of sitting. Also, one side of the Quadrangle has Thomas Jefferson’s original tombstone.

Today is also Dave’s birthday and he wanted an Italian dinner. We googled and found a “small hole in the wall” restaurant and we enjoyed a delicious dinner and left with dinner for the next day!

Tomorrow will be a long day! Hopefully any mishaps are minor! 😊