Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trip: Day Seven

Grand Junction is a whole lot of flat between low walls of nothing very special, and hot besides in the summer. If that seems unfair, we had Rocky Mountain National Park on one end of our trip and the Tetons on the other to compare it too. It stacks up well enough against Minnesota topography, I suppose, but that's not where we were. We were happy enough to move on to new sights.

We headed a bit west to Loma to pick up our north-bound road. Tonight we were leaving Colorado and sleeping in Utah, at a place I'd managed to never hear of called Flaming Gorge. It may sound as if I had ambitions for great scenery for this leg of the trip, but my real ambition was to accomplish it without incident. It was July 3rd, the start of a long holiday weekend. Who'd be out working if we needed help with something? I'd had enough adventure and wanted to go back to having a vacation.

It's just as well I wasn't looking for spectacular scenery. On the plus side, the roads were a bit straighter and faster, less nerve-wracking. Plus, our lunch stop timed itself out to coincide with a short stop at Dinosaur National Monument. We refreshed ourselves at the Visitor Center, taking a look around at the exhibits and shopping for mugs and refrigerator magnets. Smoking addictions were allowed for, restrooms were inspected. There was a shady bit of wall to sit on with a nice view of the water fountain, where we watched a family fill up every water bottle they had, and once they had gone, saw a least chipmunk scamper up and have a drink as well. It occurred to me to wonder what they might think of sharing their fountain with a rodent, however cute, but it wasn't worth the effort to chase after them to ask.

We were informed there were no tours of the actual dig today, but if we wished to stay until tomorrow.... We didn't.

Soon we were able to say, "Look, we're in Utah now", which seems to be its only recommendation. There was one town with a pretty blue reservoir, though looking back from higher ground showed a very lively green one as well, caused by mining operations.

Flaming Gorge should be entered from the south. That's the pretty end, down near the dam, the lake, and the red rock. It costs you $5 to stay there and use the area, done by putting cash in an envelope where you enter and putting your vehicle info and area of use in the accompanying info and setting a tear-off on your dash. We stayed at firefighter's memorial campground, surrounded by lots of scenic rocks that left few choices for tent locations, and shaded amply by Ponderosa pines. I didn't leave the RV much at this stop, my knees becoming significantly worse by now with all the stairs and twists, but I did emerge for the quintessential picture of the we-were-here beautiful campground shot, and later for supper and a bonfire.

Did you know that Ponderosa pine cones all but explode into full flame? Our campsite was covered with them, prickly little things, and we checked out just how much of a fire hazard it would be if one of them caught fire. It's no wonder forest fires are so hard to control. We cleared a bunch back away from the fire ring and relaxed for the evening.

One little thing though: our newly-fixed electrical system worked just fine, but only when it functioned to relay somebody else's electricity through a 30 amp hookup. This being a non-electric site, it was dark.

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