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Published: March 29th 2023
MOAB TO RICHMOND INDIANA
It was rather cool and rainy in Moab. We had beern to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. previously, so we didn’t go this time. Our next stop was in Grand Junction Colorado, where snow forecasts forced us to cut our stay short because Monarch Mountain could be a problem getting to Salida. We were in Salida for seven days, thoroughly enjoying time spent with Deborah, Daisy, and Susie’s family.
And then we headed east. Stops in Hasty CO State Park, Dodge City, Wichita, Columbia MO, and Richmond, IN followed days filled mostly with driving.
Really our best memory of Moab this trip was our exit. We headed north on the eastern bank of the Colorado River, which is absolutely gorgeous with camping areas galore along the river among the canyons. But best of all, we happened to drive with dozens and dozens of extremely healthy- looking folks who were riding bikes with thin tires. We really weren’t supposed to be on that road, but there were no problems.
We have enjoyed staying in Grand Junction and had booked four days so we could visit Fruita, a charming small town just west of GJ as well as the Colorado National Monument, which is a high mesa that overlooks the valley from the south. (We might even have traveled to Grand Mesa, one of my favorite places, many miles east of GJ) But snow forecasts were getting intimidating to me. Monarch Pass is one of the lowest in the Colorado Rockies, but it does have one of my scariest features, a steep decline along my side of the road which is even more dramatic because I am up higher above it than I would be in an ordinary car. Surprisingly, to me, when we drove through the pass, there were already snow banks about eight feet tall on both sides of the road, so I felt quite safe.
Deborah had encouraged us to get to Salida in time to attend the spelling bee she was participating in around 6:00. It was a fund-raiser to raise money to buy books for Salida schools. It was great! There were lots of families cheering on the spellers - heartwarming evidence that at least one of the “old-fashioned” skills is alive and well. I was so proud of Deborah, who had colleagues there supporting her, as well as other friends. She came in second in the contest; darn that tricky second h in dachshund.
We were two days early with our planned visit to Salida, so we let the family alone until Thursday’s “Pizza and Movie Night.” (Their schools have a four-day week, and this was also the start of spring vacation.)
Highlights of the next four days included watching Brady do artful landscaping of their front yard; being impressed by Susie’s great abilities at organizing home life while working from home in a business she set up; observing four-year-old Jack’s rapid development of basketball dribbling skills; Jack’s general eagerness to master everything; listening to first grader Eliza read with awesome skill, maybe 8th grade level?; watching Eliza patiently pick out every seed from one of last year’s sunflower heads for her Aunt Deborah’s yard; meeting a bunch of nearly-18-year-old Daisy’s pals. We had tasty healthy meals. Eliza and Jack came over to the RV for an afternoon, after swimming at the giant Salida hot springs pool. We had lunch, cozy naps, and then they rode their bikes skillfully all around the campground.
But the RV seemed to be jealous of all the attention the family was getting, so it kicked up a couple of problems. The first was relatively minor: when we tried to unlock the RV door, we were unable to. After multiple attempts to unlock it, we moved our picnic table to a front window, then placed a chair on top of the table. John climbed up and was able to dislodge an unlocked window and crawl inside. The problem was that a gizmo in the door had fallen into the locked position. I can’t erase the image of John crawling in that window.
The other attention-getter was that one night the heat went off and would not start again. Temperatures were freezing at night, but happily we stayed warm enough under the covers, with the electric fireplace working constantly. So we were relatively fine, but we couldn’t ignore the lack of regular heat. John finally contacted an outfit in Pueblo, 94 miles south of us (they charge $150 for “house calls”, whether the RV is as far away as Salida or as close as Pueblo.) The problem turned out to be a small metal piece (the lifter part of a steamer insert) which had squeezed out of a drawer into the area where the fan that blows the heat is located. The metal had eroded the plastic fan blades until it stopped entirely. The serviceman was very efficient in diagnosing, but did not have the necessary repair part with him, so he planned to return with it the next day. He had to delay his return for a day because he had 10” of snow down near Pueblo, but the next day he came and we had heat again.
It was not a bit easy to say goodbye to the family, but the sorrow was tempered by more RV shenanigans. We started to leave the campground, and when John retracted the jacks, all sorts of warning lights started flashing and a loud whining beep began. He phoned our dependable repairmen and we met up in a parking lot in Pueblo. The problem was fixed for now by a simple disconnection.
When we drove through Kansas several years ago, the wind terrified me; we were driving straight east and the north wind was hitting us broadside. This time, the wind’s direction was better - until we drove around a curve and there was a sudden large clanking near the passenger side window - the side view mirror had blown loose and was hanging by wires. We finally found a young man in a small town who helped John restore the mirror to its place, using plastic screw anchors.
Our first night headed east was at a state park near a reservoir and dam. It was a very pleasant place. Two nights later, we stayed in a not so pleasant place. BUT the manager had checked to be sure their cable TV service would be covering the Kansas State vs. Michigan State game, and it was a terrific game, with the lead passing back and forth many times. In the end, Kansas won, but Michigan could have just as likely, except the Kansas spoiler was a 5’8”whiz.
We took a rest day in Columbia. Missouri, after a very long day on the road. We enjoyed strolling around that very attractive town. Our next night was in a Walmart parking lot in Terre Haute, Indiana, where we had a perfectly good night’s sleep. And now we are in Richmond, Indiana, only a few miles short of the Ohio border. It is another attractive town, home of Earlham College, and we enjoyed walking here too.
The weather across the Middle has been similar to our whole trip’s: not enough warmth or sunshine. There are many soggy fields along the way.
Our route from here to home is undecided. We would like to dawdle along the way, if the weather behaves better. We should be home by Easter, at least!
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