Steamboat to Grand Junction via the desert route


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Published: July 23rd 2013
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Steamboat to Fruita

Map from Meadows Campground to Fruita.

July 16 - Tuesday - I just did some rat killing around town and some shopping at the Walmart in preparation for my departure towards Grand Junction tomorrow.



July 17 - Wednesday – Morning - I must have been tired because I slept in till 9:30 this morning. It may have something to do with the fact that I had moved to a different site that had trees blocking the morning sun as well. The campground is almost empty since it is in the middle of the week. I really enjoyed my stay at the Meadows Campground 14 miles East of Steamboat Springs. It was easy to go into town and the view was stunning going down the pass and at night it was cool since I was at 9300ft elevation.

Note: as I was leaving I noticed that several people had left because all their stuff was gone but they had left the tags on the post indicating the site was occupied. So if you come to the campground looking for a site and nothing is on or around the picnic table check the tag to see if its date is passed. I’ve done this at lots of places and always have found a spot the expired tag was still on but the people gone.

I’m at the Mcd. having a cup for here and one to go. I will be heading towards Grand Junction now.

http://www.visitgrandjunction.com/



Wednesday - 7:46 Pm. - Whoever marked that road coming off 40 and going south out of Dinosaur on 64 and then turning onto 139 going south towards Grand Junction as a scenic route should be taken out and severely beaten. Today has been pretty much a loss. I’ve been grinding away in some serious heat and desert from West of Craig to Dinosaur to Fruita.

I’m smooth wore out and I guess now begins my search for a campground. I should have gone West out of Steamboat to Craig and then south on Co. 13 to Rifle (where I would have had the option of staying at Rifle falls State Park again of continuing west to Grand Junction. They should have let the Indians keep everything west of Craig and north of Grand Junction …..but the Indians probably didn’t want it.

For anyone considering visiting Steamboat Springs I would suggest if
I don't know why they just didn't let the Indians keep it !I don't know why they just didn't let the Indians keep it !I don't know why they just didn't let the Indians keep it !

The Indians probably wouldn't take it : )
coming from the East to go to Silverthorne and then go north on Co. 9 to Kremmling where they will catch US route 40 to Steamboat Springs. Then going back, go south out of Steamboat Springs on Co. 131 back to I-70 at Wolcott. Both of these routes are very scenic and good road. And you get to enjoy the scenic beauty of both.

In retrospect since I was going to Grand Junction I should have just went south on 131 to I-70 and then headed West through Glenwood Canyon and Glenwood springs towards Grand Junction, a very scenic route. The 90 mile detour I took through Dinosaur wasn’t worth it, but I wanted to check it out and so now I have done so.

Also anyone going through Rifle should allow a bit of time to take a detour to visit Rifle Falls State Park and check out the waterfall, and fish hatchery nearby.

On today’s drive as I headed out of Craig on the 90 mile leg through merciless hot sun and desert country getting thoroughly roasted (the AC on my truck leaks coolant and I can’t use it) I kept passing men and women on bicycles peddling their way west. Those guys had to be crazy. I passed a woman about 30 miles east of Dinosaur all by herself peddling away in the hot sun and was tempted to stop and see if she wanted some water but decided not to since I would probably just scare her if I stopped in front of her way out her. She would probably think I was some sort of serial killer trying to kidnap her. So I kept on going wondering if she would make it or have a heat stroke as I myself was starting to wonder if I would make it myself to Dinosaur in this heat.

I got to Dinosaur which has a Colorado Visitor Center as it is one of the entrance points from Utah to Colorado. It was so nice to just get out of the truck a bit and stretch a bit and move around a bit, and get back in the AC again. I took two empty water bottles in a Wal-Mart bag in with me to refill. I was smooth dried out.

After I used the restroom and looked around at all the brochures and etc. I took another long drink of water and then headed South on 64 to Rangely where I caught 139 south to I-70 and then east to Fruita.

At Fruita I got off on Co. 340 and stopped at the MacDonalds for a restroom break, internet access and a medium chocolate shake. Unlike the Mcd. in Steamboat this Mcd. had electrical plugs at almost all the tables, so that was nice.

I got on the internet and just rested a bit and enjoyed the air conditioning after the long, hot drive from Craig. After I drank my shake I requested a cup for water and drank 2 cups of water as well. I was pretty well dried out.

I checked out the Saddlehorn Campground in Colorado National Monument on the internet and decided that was where I would camp tonight. A campsite was $20 so with my Senior Parks Pass it was only $10 a night. So I eased up the road and started climbing up the winding and switch backed road up towards the campground and visitor center for the national park. It was quite an awesome drive with some remarkable rock formations, but I had to keep a close watch on things to keep from going off a cliff or whatever.

When I got to the Saddlehorn Campground at 5800ft elevation, there were several campsites open and I found one on the cliff edge overlooking Fruita and Grand Junction. I had a great view and that evening I was entertained with a thunderstorm with lots of lightning in the valley below. I got a site in B loop which was the reserveable so I could only rent a spot for one night at a time because it may have been reserved for the next day. Loop A was strictly first come first serve. But Loop B was where I wanted because I had a great view of the valley below from there. There were several open sites so I chose the one with the best view.

Their notice said loop B could only be rented on a one night at a time unless previously reserved. I wanted to stay 2 nights so I pretended not to notice and rented it for 2 nights figuring the next day to check with the park host to see if it was reserved for that day. If so I could just move to another site as I don't set up a tent or anything but sleep in the drivers seat of my truck folded all the way down. Moving to another site or even leaving would be a simple matter.

As it turned out the site was open the next day so there was no problem. There were still plenty of other sites open but not as good as the one I had staked out.

http://www.nps.gov/colm/planyourvisit/saddlehorn-campground.htm

So it had been an utterly exhausting day, because of the heat. I fixed up a little something to eat while I watched the storm in the valley below and then retired for the evening. It was nice and cool up on the plateau at 5800ft, with a nice breeze blowing.


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26th July 2013

The heat is on....
I came to CO for the summer because I thought it would be cooler! Pueblo has been have triple digit temps at least a couple of days a week since I\'ve been here! So much for 5000 feet. Guess I will have to get higher. Thanks for the critique on the Dinosaur loop. I won\'t bother.
26th July 2013

thanks for reading my blog
Thanks for reading my blog. I've been using Denver for 2 1/2 months as a home base, and will head back to Texas next week to hole up under my AC for August while I work on other plans. Right now I am trying to decide whether to take the short route straight back or make a swing west through Glenwood Springs, then south on on 82 to 133 to 92 to hwy 50 to Montrose, then down on 550 to Ridgeway,, across on 62 to 145 and Telluride, and then south on 145 again to 160 and across to I-25. Since I am heading home I will have to haul all my stuff which is quite a load and I'm not sure I want to haul all that stuff all over the mountains. So I will see. Of course taking the long way home will take much longer.

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