Grand Junction area

We had the best breakdown ever!! If you need to be stuck somewhere the Grand Junction area is perfect. Well, as long as you have a tow car. So we were there for eight days and took full advantage of the unscheduled stop on our way to Reno.

Places we enjoyed included wandering along the bike path that follows the flow of the Colorado River, many visits and hikes in Colorado National Monument, an off roading trip to Rattle Snake Arches, and enjoying the BLM trails and sights near the National Monument. Oh, and I can’t forget the beer, wine and spirits we tasted and of course purchased in Palisade!

This was the second tow of the breakdown. The first was in the dark on the highway… So this was much safer!
Colorado, National Monument
Colorado, National Monument

BLM near Colorado, National Monument
More from Colorado, National Monument
Hot spring in Austin, NV. We stopped here for a couple days once we were fixed and back on the road!

Engine lights!?!

Oh boy! 

We’ve had a few tricky experiences with our RV. We broke the towbar off in Alaska, our suspension airbag had a hole in it when in VA and I got stuck blocking traffic just a couple driveways down from the repair shop, and now we have oil pressure/engine trouble. It’s been a rough summer and fall for our home. But we are safe and sound so we feel lucky!

This breakdown was a big one. After the check engine light came on with an exclamation point in it we decided to stop and call for a tow. There was no cell service on the side of 50 in Colorado about 70 miles from Grand Junction. So, we used coachnet and very long story short made it to Freightliner in Grand Junction. We had the problem fixed and an oil change for our generator after a one night stay in the parking lot. All set to go. We hooked up the motorcycle and Jeep and in the time that took we heard the worst squeeling sound! We were in the driveway so we immediately received service… We definitely were not leaving. 

This is the second tow truck winching us up onto the flatbed. The first experience was in the dark on the side of the highway.

So we spent the second night and felt lucky that we had not driven away as we were headed into the desert to get to Reno. Turns out the exhaust manifold is cracked and all sorts of other components are also damaged as a result. So. We are happily dry camping in the Freightliner parking lot until the part is delivered and the 13 hour job can be completed. We hope this will be done by next Friday or Saturday. That gives us more than a week to play here in Grand Junction which is absolutely beautiful!! We are treating this like one of our spur of the moment stops (even though I’ve had to change an RV reservation twice in Reno, our realtor is out looking for a rental/investment property without us, and Andrew is not working in the office as planned).  I’ll make a Grand Junction post later with all the fun stuff we’ve done. For now, here are a couple pics from a local park along the Colorado River and from a hike and drive we took in Colorado National Monument.

This and the next couple pictures are from the 23 mile rim drive in Colorado National Monument.
The moon over Monument Valley.

Devil’s Canyon hike… This area is dog friendly!
From our Devil’s Canyon hike.
Local park near the Colorado River.
Underpass on the trail.

Great Dunes National Park

Play time in the biggest sandbox we’ve been in!

What a fantastic park in the Southeast part of Colorado! We arrived on Tuesday and stayed through Sunday. Being late October at an elevation over 8,000 feet we had 20 degree nights and 60 degree days. We stayed at Pinon Campground inside the park which has only a few spots big enough for a rig our size. We got one! 

We were able to hike to the summit of the dunes (about 750 feet) and were still dwarfed by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. On another day we drove off into the back country which took us up into the mountains. What an amazing drive over slippery sand dunes, through many stream crossings and the forest. It took about three hours up and over and we decided to end the trip back out to the highway. We did experience one night of insane winds but for the most part our time in the park was sunny and full of play time. Well, after Andrew worked all day we played!

About half way up the dunes. What a climb!
Summit!

Next time we are through the area we’d like to spend some time at the State park and see the wetlands that are the final piece of the puzzle that make this mountains, sand dunes, wetlands area so unique. The snow gathers in the mountains and when it melts in the spring and summer the streams carry sand back down to the base of the dunes. Here the wind whips and drives the sand back up to sculpt the dunes. The streams continue out to the lower lying areas and the wetlands are created. Pretty awesome!

Mountain drive.

Another little hike we took was outside the park to Zapata Falls. We wandered and tiptoed over stones in the stream and through a cave to see it. So worth getting wet by the cold water. We stood under the mist for a while…

Tiptoe!

Good night!