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Adventures in the Villa

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Green River

2021-06-12 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 17 – Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Dutch John, Utah

This morning, since we had not had a group dinner upon our arrival, we shared a lovely breakfast at the Flaming Gorge Resort…

After breakfast we drove towards Red Canyon. This is beautiful, but we still don’t know anything about Flaming Gorge…

We arrived at Red Canyon, and peered over the rim…

Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the largest reservoir in Wyoming, on the Green River, impounded behind the Flaming Gorge Dam. Construction on the dam began in 1958 and was completed in 1964. The reservoir stores 3,788,900 acre-feet of water when measured at an elevation of 6,040 feet above sea-level (its maximum).

The reservoir is mainly in southwest Wyoming and partially in northeastern Utah. The northern tip of the reservoir is 10 miles southeast of Green River, Wyoming (not to be confused with the town of Green River, Utah), 14 miles southwest of Rock Springs, Wyoming, and the Southern tip is approximately 40 miles north of Vernal, Utah. The lake straddles the Utah-Wyoming border. The nearby town of Dutch John, Utah, was built to serve as a base camp during construction of the dam, and as an administrative site afterwards.

We were spellbound at the views from here… especially since the land (rocks) we were standing on were clearly separated from the “mainland”…

After being amaized by the views from Red Rock Canyon rim, we drove a short distance to the Swett Ranch…

Swett Ranch, southwest of Dutch John, has buildings dating from 1909. A 14.1 acres section of the ranch was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It included nine contributing buildings and three contributing structures.

There were three houses on the ranch. An original log cabin, originally elsewhere, was disassembled and reassembled here on this site. This was the original house, and later it became a bunkhouse for the family’s sons.

This is the second house, added a few years later.

This contained a Kitchen-Living area, a primary bedroom, and a loft for the family’s daughters…

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The third house was the family home from the 1940s to the 1960s. While it is quite modern in appearance, it took them until the 1960s to finally add a fully functional bathroom… and even then, they had to walk outside to get to it…

This is the stable; beyond it is the schoolhouse…

Inside the stable…

The Spring House…

The root cellar… It has a long passage, with three doors, which extends into the hill beyond. Being an underground room, it is at a constant 55 degrees – it would make a perfect wine cellar…!

The Swett family live here from 1909 into the late 1960… living without electricity until the late 1950s… All farm equipment was horse-powered; they never had a gasoline or diesel powered tractor…

The countryside is beautiful here. After the ranch we drove towards Dutch John…

There is a great bridge we drove over…

And then we found the dam…

We returned to the RV Park…

This evening we were treated to a wonderful dinner at the Red Canyon Lodge by Patricio and Essy Donoso, new Airstream friends from Florida.

It is their 45th wedding anniversary today…

This is the finest restaurant in the area… I, of course, brought the wine… They had the audacity of charging $8.00 corkage fee! What are they thinking? I haven’t seen $8.00 corkage since the 1980s…

We had a lovely dinner, and the grounds were lovely in the twilight after dinner…

We returned to the Villa. An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-06-10 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 15 – Jenson, UT – White Water Rafting

Today was our exciting White Water Rafting trip down the Green River, through Split Mountain… but we were not allowed to bring our phones/cameras, so we took no photos…

However, another Airstreamer did have a waterproof camera, so he was kind enough to lend us some of his photos…

We had to be at the Raft Store in Jenson at 8:30, so naturally we were there at 8:00. We waited around and finally enough of us (there were 18 Airstreamers on this excursion…) arrived so that we could be fitted for helmets and Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs – life vests…).

We were all loaded into two vans, along with three rafts and four River Guides. We drove about 45 minutes through some of the most desolate landscapes I have ever seen. We stopped along the way to view some petroglyphs (not to be confused with pictographs…).

Finally, we arrived at the Green River. While one of the River Guides gave us our safety talk, the other three unloaded the rafts, stowed away the equipment and food we would need for lunch, and got everything ready for our departure.

Lynda and I were joined by four other Airstreamers and two river guides into our raft. We had the middle seats… I would have preferred the rear seats, but that didn’t work out…

By the way; I have never done this before. Lynda has, on a Senior trip, with a raft loaded with about fifteen 17 year old boys and girls…

And off we went. The river was very quiet here, so we practiced paddling for a few minutes. Then we headed downstream. We were the lead boat…

We looked something like this. Frankly, I can’t tell if this is our boat or not…

The trip covers nine miles of the river, with four Class 3 rapids, plus lesser rapids in between…

About halfway through the trip we stopped for lunch. We had safely maneuvered three of the Class 3 Rapids; we had been splashed and bumped, and we were generally pretty tired. However, we were all still in the boat!

We landed and came ashore. Most of us quickly shed the cumbersome helmets and PFDs…

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We had a chance to relax, drink some water, and chat about our travels…

And then came lunch!

If you hadn’t noticed by now, our river guides were four very strong 20-something young women!

The rest of the trip went off without a hitch, except that at the last Class 3 Rapids, just before our take-out spot, we had wind gales/gusts of 40-50 mph blowing us back up the river! We ran those rapids three times, each time only to be blown back up the river… (the water was flowing at about 20-25 mph…).

Our guides finally pulled us along the shoreline where they could walk in the water and drag us down river against the wind, while we paddled furiously and used our paddles to push off the shore. I don’t know how orthodox or how unusual this is, but it worked.

We finally landed and were able to stand again on dry land. As we rested, we watched the four river guides hoist these rafts onto their shoulders and place them on the trailer. We had a short trip back to the Raft Store, from which we returned to the RV Park…

It was a great trip and I think we would all do it again. It was a little wet, a little bumpy, but it was all in good fun!

Back at the RV park we had happy hours. And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-06-09 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 14 – Traveling to Jenson, UT

Today is a travel day, as we leave Colorado and enter the far northeast corner of Utah, just a few miles south of Wyoming. We left about 9:00 am and traveled north. At first the roads were small, straight, and well paved…

The views are very stark, very moon-like…

Mountains are rocky and very distinct…

We climbed the mountains, as usual. The road got windier, and the pavement got rougher. In fact, it was terrible!

We turned west, and entered the town of Rangley. We parked the Villa and walked the length of the town. We ate lunch at Dottie’s Diner. Best French fries we’ve had on this trip! But the chili had absolutely no spice or heat to it – I suspect there wasn’t even salt and pepper… But we easily put these things aside, and we enjoyed our meal…

Walking back to the Villa we passed one of the very few modern building we have seen on this trip…

We walked back to the Villa and continued west, into Utah!

We proceeded west, passing through Dinosaur, CO, where the local townsfolk have a lot of fun naming their streets things like Brontosaurus Street and naming their ice cream parlor “Bedrock”…

Utah looks a lot like Colorado here…

We proceeded west, finally arriving at the tiny town of Jensen, UT. We turned north and entered Dinosaur National Monument…

Our RV park is in a valley adjacent to the Green River. The Green River here is about as large as the Colorado River was near Fruita. Many miles south of here, just north of Moab, Utah, in the city of Green River, Utah, the Green joins the Colorado, and the Colorado becomes a very large river. It was at this point, on the Green River, that John Wesley Powell began his exploration of the Colorado River, starting in 1869, eventually traveling through the Grand Canyon…

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We set up the Villa in the park. We are “dry camping” here – no electricity, water, or sewer hook-ups. We are really roughing it! I set out the solar panels, and I hope we won’t have to bring out the generators…

We left the RV park to visit the Dinosaur National Monument Visitors Center and Quarry Exhibits.

We approached the Visitors Center. Quite a nice modern building…

Dinosaur National Monument is located on the southeast flank of the Uinta Mountains on the border between Colorado and Utah at the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers. Although most of the monument area is in Colorado, the Dinosaur Quarry is located in Utah, north of the town of Jensen. The nearest Colorado town is Dinosaur, while the nearest cities in Utah are Naples and Vernal.

Originally preserved in 1915 to protect its famous Dinosaur Quarry, the monument was greatly expanded in 1938 to include its wealth of natural history. The park’s wild landscapes, topography, geology, paleontology, and history make it a unique resource for both science and recreation. The park contains over 800 paleontological sites and has fossils of dinosaurs including AllosaurusDeinonychusAbydosaurus, and various sauropods.  The Abydosaurus fossil consists of a nearly complete skull, the lower jaw, and first four neck vertebrae.

Paleontologist Earl Douglass of the Carnegie Museum discovered eight vertebra of an Apatosaurus on August 17, 1909, which became the first dinosaur skeleton discovered and excavated at the new Carnegie Quarry. The area around the quarry was declared a national monument on October 4, 1915.

We took a shuttle from the Visitors Center up to the Quarry…

The Quarry Exhibit Hall is a magnificent building, built into the side of the mountain, to shield the quarry exhibits from the elements, and to show visitors what the bones and fossils look like when they are uncovered.

Again, I find the building much more interesting than dinosaur bones… I found this picture of the original building, erected in 1958. Unfortunately, due to the soils under the building and the seismic activity over the years, the original building was condemned in the 1990s, and totally reinforced and rebuilt. Note the difference between today’s building, above, and the original building, below…

Inside is a giant, two level exhibit hall, allowing visitors to see the fossils and bones on display…

All these fossils and bones are in their “as-found” condition… It is quite a display…!

The views were great from the Quarry Exhibit… After we had had enough of bones and fossils, we returned to the Villa…

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Happy Hours ensued, which turned into a weenie roast..

This is a typical thing on Airstream caravans – social get-togethers to share ice cream, birthday cake, or, in this case, a weenie roast…

We have cooking crew volunteers to set these things up…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-09-10 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 23 – Travel Day to Torrey, Utah and Capitol Reef National Park

Another travel day… We took our time packing up and hitching up, and left the RV park about 10:00 am.  We drove past Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and soon we were heading west on Interstate 70.   We were quickly reminded that we are not in California anymore…

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As we drove we were accompanied by several other caravaners…

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We pulled off into the little town of Green River.  Not surprisingly, the Green River passes through here…

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The Green River originates in the high plains of Wyoming, and feeds into the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah…  We stopped here to see the Powell Museum…

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The museum commemorates the journey and explorations of John Wesley Powell, who, in 1869, took several men and boats down the Green River and into the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon… We watched a video of the journey and saw many exhibits of the trip.  Very interesting!

We continued our journey west, then south.  This part of Utah is not covered in rocks…

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But, course, soon we did find more rocks…

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The road south went straight south… For miles and miles and miles…

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We soon came to Capitol Reef National Park, one of the country’s newest National Parks… We saw many of the same type of rock formations that we had seen before…

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One difference is that we were much closer to them…

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We did not stop – there will be time for that tomorrow.  Soon we arrived at the RV park in Torrey, Utah…

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We enjoyed dinner at the Cafe Diablo, dining outside amongst the trees, with another caravan couple from New Jersey…

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We were soon treated to a brilliant sunset…

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And an enjoyable Time was had by all…

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