ON THE ROAD WITH RICK AND KAREN travel blog

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Museum at the Gold Spike explains how the tracks were laid.

More of the museum

The dignitaries involved in this historic endeavor.

Homage to the Chinese, without whom the project couldn't have been done.

Out in the rail yard

The Jupiter, the Central Pacific's engine, steaming down the track..

This is Engine #119, the Union Pacific's engine.

Isn't she beautiful? I mean the engine, the engine!

One of the beautiful scenes at a pull out on I-70 in...

Another great pullout.

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A large arch, one of several in the park.

This formation is called The Three Gossips and a Sheep

More formations.

And another.

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A fallen arch on the left and windows on the right.

Another arch. More in this park than anywhere else in the world.

More windows. Some day windows will be arches.

Balanced Rock

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Looking up from the board you are able to see the actual...

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Pictographs

Narrow canyon with a sand floor.

Climbers are allowed to climb on a few of the formations but...

Up they go!

These pics are from Utah 128. So many stunning formations.

This route follows the Colorado River.

An arch in formation.

We saw areas where people could camp. Mostly tenters but a few...

There were pull outs for the canoe and rafts along the way.

Another beautiful vista.

More!

And more!

A day trip to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

 

Amazing what water, wind and ice can do if you leave it...

Beautiful spires and canyons are formed.

The walls are formed from many types of rock including sandstone and...

Our partners in fun, Paula and Norm Gray from Perth Australia.

We all stayed at the Colorado National Monument campground

This was part of the ride up to the campground! A bit...

Clouds boiling over the mountains on the far side of the valley.

They brought lots of rain, thunder and lightning. Eek, lightning and we...

And a portion of a rainbow after the rain.

Info on Independence Monument Rock

As seen from a distance.

And a close up on the crazy climbers!

More beautiful views.

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And a hiking trail way down there!

More interesting formations.

These formations are called coke ovens.

Another view of the valley

A sculpted wall of rock.

Around a curve in the road we came upon 3 big horn...

This is a collared lizard.

Karen with Paula and Norm.


We have had a busy couple of weeks. After having our slide fixed we left La Grande, Oregon on August 10. Our first night on the road was in Caldwell, Idaho. I had found a boondocking spot using Day’s End through Escapees. It was the Caldwell Event Center. It was free but that is the best thing we can say about it! Nearby, VERY nearby were the dreaded railroad tracks. On the Day’s End listing it said that the trains didn’t run during the night! The person who submitted that info must have been deaf because they ran ALL night long and sounded their horn just in case we weren’t already awake! So not much sleep for us that night, we were up early and after our coffee and breakfast we headed to Heyburn, Idaho.

This was our third stop at their city park which is on the banks of the Snake River. The price was right, only $21.00 and NO trains! Yippee! In the morning we were off to Ogden, Utah. We loved the beautiful Wasatch Mountains that formed a backdrop for the RV park but we didn’t do any exploring there.

Instead we headed out on the plains to see the Golden Spike National Historic Site. This is the location that commemorates the joining of two tracks that united the country by railway. There was a terrific museum there that showed all the challenges of laying nearly 1800 miles of track from Sacramento, CA to Omaha, NE.

The two engines, Central Pacific’s Jupiter and Union Pacific’s No. 119 met on Promontory Summit where a one rail gap had been left in the track. In a ceremony attended by dignitaries, a golden spike was tapped and then an iron spike was driven to connect the railroads. Unfortunately the real engines continued to work for many more years and were finally scrapped. Exact replicas were built in the 1970’s then repainted in the 1990’s and now volunteer engineers drive the engines for everyone to see. It was very interesting to watch them drive down the tracks. Jupiter, Central Pacific’s engine, is wood fired steam, while Union Pacific’s is coal fired steam.

After three nights in Ogden we headed to Moab, UT. When I was first planning this trip we didn’t know if we would stop there because of the heat, but we were very lucky to have a cool front go through the area and have cool overnight temps in the mid 50’s and daytime temps in the mid 80’s.

We were so glad we made the stop and really wished we had a few more days to explore the area. Even the drive to Moab on I-70 was interesting with nice big pullouts wherever there were interesting geologic features. Such stunning views!

On our first full day in Moab we headed to Arches National Park. Words fail to describe what we saw in that park. The colors so red and walls soaring into the sky. Around every curve was another breath taking vista. We spent a full day in the park and could have spent several days if my knees had allowed some serious hiking. We will just have to visit again after my overhaul!

We also drove several miles on Utah 128 out of Moab. This route follows the Colorado River and was as much a visual treat as the National Park. Fortunately there were lots of pullouts along the road for picture taking. It seemed like there was one at every curve in the road.

Along the road were small camping areas, mostly for tents but also some small RV’s. Lots of these folks had canoes, kayaks and rafts for exploring the river. We sure wished we were on a float trip to see everything up close. Also, towards the end of the route where it joins I-70, were a couple of guest ranches. One especially looked to be a very high end resort. Very nice accommodations with river and canyon wall views and at least two dozen horses for trail rides.

Another bonus of our stay was meeting Jane and Tom Burns from Sahvarita, Arizona, which is south of Tucson. They were very new to Rving and Rick was able to answer lots of their questions. He was also able to help them raise their awning for the first time! Jane was very diligent in taking copious notes! We left them with promises of visiting again in Phoenix this winter.

Our next stop was Fruita, CO. The reason, meeting up with Norm and Paula Gray from Perth, Australia. They are on their 4th Rving trip and their 5th trip overall to this country. They love the USA! This time they are on a three month trip concentrating on areas in the West that they missed on previous trips. With lots of planning on our part we were able to meet at the Colorado National Monument. We had never heard about it until we heard that they were going to be there!

Paula had made their reservation at the national park campground, called Saddlehorn, about six months ago. I called about 2 or 3 weeks ago and would you believe it, we were able to get the spot right next to them! Eerie and scary! What were the odds? We had a great time visiting back and forth and touring this amazing, gorgeous park. We also spent a day touring the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Another stunning place in this fabulous environment.

We are very proud that during this birthday celebration of national parks that we have seen 3 national parks, a national monument and a national historic site. As a nation we are blessed to have these important and magnificent places set aside for our enjoyment and education. If we want them to remain unspoiled for our grandchildren and their grandchildren we must make sure our voices are heard and not allow the greed of some of our legislators and their supporters to take these lands away from us. Remember ALL federal lands are important for various and worthy reasons!

After 4 days it was time for hugs and good-byes; the Grays were heading to Salt Lake City and places beyond and we were going down the road to Grand Junction. The truck needed some TLC (a new thermostat) and we needed to do some wash and Rick wanted to wash the rig.

We head out on September 1 and at this point in time I don’t know where our next few stops will be but we have a reservation on September 11th at our old stomping grounds, Binder Park in Jefferson City, MO. We will be there for at least two weeks for doctor appointments and whatever else we decide to do.

So we will visit again after we arrive in Missouri. Sure hope that you enjoy the pics. I think that Rick does a great job as my photographer and proof reader. Don’t you think so too?

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