Our westward bound journey began with a two-night stop at Carter Caves State Resort Park in Kentucky. What a great family park…2,000 acres of forest and fun! We reserved a campsite over a week ago and were not disappointed with our choice.
The park has over 30 miles of hiking trails, half of which are multi-use trails for hikers, bikers or horseback riders. In addition, fishing, boating, canoeing, swimming, golfing and rock climbing offer something for just about everyone. If camping isn’t your thing, there are several overnight accommodations available.
There are plenty of caves to explore in this park. Some are self-guided (with a permit) while others require a guide. We opted to stay above ground this trip…maybe next time!
We arrived in Fort Collins, Colorado two days ago, eager to discover if the bike trails were as incredible as we’d heard they were. Our Friday outing began in the small community of Laporte, just north of Fort Collins. The Poudre (pronounced poo-der) River Trail would lead us 9 1/2 miles downstream along a beautifully maintained concrete trail, eventually reaching Fort Collins.
Saturday we rode a different segment of the Poudre River Trail, joining it just south of Windsor, Colorado and aiming ourselves toward the town of Greeley, roughly 12 miles away.
This was another easy ride for Reg, but for someone who hasn’t really ridden a bike much in the last 30+ years (like me), things were beginning to feel a little sore. We turned around after about 10 miles, found a spot for a picnic lunch, then returned to our starting point, convinced that the area bike trails are some of the best we’ve ever seen!
A quick trip to see North America’s tallest sand dunes, including the 755 foot Star Dune, was today’s outing. Driving toward the entrance to the park, the Sanger de Cristo mountains dominated the skyline and left me wondering just how impressive sand dunes could be in comparison.
Three days in Durango, Colorado allowed us to experience a range of weather conditions. Cold nights, windy days, a brief bit of snow while we picnicked and finally, a beautiful spring day. The high point (literally) of our stay was the hike we took up The Animas Mountain Trail with college friends Emily and Rich. A great day and a long overdue visit!
Sunday morning Durango faded in the distance as we drove east, aiming for the highest mountain pass of our trip…so far. Today was new territory for us and the scenery did not disappoint.
We’ve got Minnie back on level ground for the next two nights, parked in the little town of Alamosa, gateway to Great Sand Dunes National Park. More adventures to come.
As we enjoyed our last views of the gorgeous red cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park, we wondered what our day’s drive would reveal. Our planned route would take us along another lonely road where a sign warned there were no services ahead. While Reg likes this sort of excitement, I am far more nervous about driving off into the great unknown.
Utah’s Bicentennial Highway, otherwise known as Highway 95, was completed in 1976, and stretches between Hanksville (in the north) and Blanding (in the south). We noticed a lot of narrow, unmarked dirt roads that turned left and right off the highway, disappearing in the distance. No doubt a haven for off-roading enthusiasts. Keeping our wheels on the pavement rewarded us with a trip through another stunning red rock canyon.
Continuing south, we arrived at the Hite Overlook in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This is a good place to stretch legs while taking in the panoramic view of Glen Canyon, the Colorado River, Lake Powell and Hite, Utah. The Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963, eventually swallowing the boomtown of Hite as the newly forming Lake Powell increased in size. Unfortunately, the Colorado River Basin has been experiencing drought since 2000, leaving dangerously low water levels, leading scientists to speculate that Lake Powell will never fill again.
Eventually we arrived at our destination, the inconspicuously named town of Blanding, Utah, where we checked into our site at Blue Mountain RV &Trading. Our pleasant spot included a patch of green grass and a strip of concrete to help keep our shoes clean.
Lots of excitement on the road Friday. Reg did a great job of remaining calm and confident as he towed us 280 miles in and out of mild snow flurries. Arriving at our campsite, we quickly set up, climbed inside and blasted the heater as we watched the snowfall kick it up a notch. The sun returned at daybreak, highlighting the beautiful backdrop we’ll enjoy the the next few days.
Today’s outing found us climbing up one of the more popular trails Capitol Reef National Park offers. It was Saturday (which we’d forgotten) and a free entry day (which we didn’t know about). We’ve been a little spoiled when it comes to share the trail with so many other folks, but the clumps of walkers eventually spread out and once we reached the top we realized it was all worth it.
We watched the group to the left of the arch practice their rappelling skills as, one by one, they dropped out of sight. A guide explained there was a series of smaller arches they would rappel down before hiking out from below. Keeping both feet on the ground, we reversed our steps back to the trailhead.
The first day doesn’t count. It never feels like an adventure until the scenery opens up with a promise of the unknown ahead. While day 2 wasn’t new ground for us, it’s been six years since we’ve traveled along US Highway 50, otherwise known as “The Loneliest Road in America.” Last time we were driving our Prius and gas consumption was not a huge concern. Only two towns on the stretch between Fallon and Ely in Nevada (our destination) offer gas, and when one is towing a trailer, these things are important to remember. While Reg drove, confident we’d be fine, I appointed myself gas gauge monitor.
The highway follows the old mail carrying Pony Express route between Sacramento, California and St. Louis, Missouri. There are lots of pull offs with historical markers and the Nevada towns of Austin and Eureka still offer glimpses into the old west. We skipped the sightseeing this trip and simply enjoyed the scenery.