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Adventures in the Villa

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Las Vegas, NV

2021-06-24 – Heading Home from Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 29 – Las Vegas, Nevada

We were up early again. We think. In this part of the world it is difficult to tell time. Our watches, phones, computers, and dashboard clocks kept switching back and forth between Pacific Daylight Time and Mountain Daylight time, depending on which satellite or cell tower it found…

We headed south across Nevada…

We continued south across Nevada…

We continued south across Nevada…

Then we continued south across Nevada…

And we continued south across Nevada…

And we continued south across Nevada…

We stopped to stretch our legs, in Nevada…

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Finally we came across some interesting features alongside the road…

There was even a lake!

We pulled into the Oasis RV Resort just after noon…

We had a brief dip in the pool…

We had happy hours and dinner in the Villa, watching old movies on TCM.

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-06-07 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 12 – Fruita, CO

Today we return to the Colorado National Monument to see more of its beauty…

On our way to the entrance we crossed the mighty Colorado River…

The Colorado River is the major river of the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. Its headwaters are in Rocky Mountain National Park where La Poudre Pass Lake is its source. It flows southwest through the Colorado Plateau country of western Colorado, southeastern Utah and northwestern Arizona, where it flows through the Grand Canyon. It turns south near Las Vegas, Nevada, forming the Arizona–Nevada border in Lake Mead and the Arizona–California border a few miles below Davis Dam between Laughlin, Nevada and Needles, California, before entering Mexico in the Colorado Desert. Most of its waters are diverted into the Imperial Valley of Southern California. In Mexico its course forms the boundary between Sonora and Baja California before entering the Gulf of California.

We re-entered the Colorado National Monument.

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” creating the National Park Service, a federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for maintaining national parks and monuments that were then managed by the department. The National Park System has since expanded to 423 units (often referred to as parks), more than 150 related areas, and numerous programs that assist in conserving the nation’s natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations.

The National Park Service manages all of the various “units” – Parks, Forests, Monuments, Historic Sites, Lakeshores, Recreation Areas, Scenic Trails, and several other designations. The first parks were Yellowstone (1872), Sequoia (1890), Yosemite (1890), Mt. Rainier (1899), Crater Lake (1902), Wind Cave (1903), Mesa Verde (1906), Glacier (1910), Rocky Mountain (1915). Colorado National Monument was established in 1911. The different desinations have to do with how they are created. National Parks are created by acts of Congress. National Monuments and most other designations are created by the President via Executive Order. Thirty States have National Parks; the States with the most parks are: California (9), Alaska (8), Utah (5), and Colorado (4).

We began our visit with a ranger talk in the picnic area where we had had dinner last night…

We learned about the geology of these magnificent cliffs and canyons, plus a little of the park history. The man behind the creation of the Colorado National Monument was John Otto, who settled in Grand Junction in the early 20th century. Otto was the first white man to explore the area.

Prior to Otto’s arrival, many area residents believed the canyons to be inaccessible to humans. Otto began building trails on the plateau and into the canyons.  As word spread about his work, the Chamber of Commerce of Grand Junction sent a delegation to investigate. The delegation returned praising both Otto’s work and the scenic beauty of the wilderness area, and the local newspaper began lobbying to make it a National Park. A bill was introduced and carried by the local Representatives to the U.S. Congress and Senate but a Congressional slowdown in the final months threatened the process. To ensure protection of the canyons President William Howard Taft (who had visited the area) stepped in and used the highest powers available to him via the Antiquities Act and presidential proclamation to declare the canyons as a national monument

John Otto was hired as the first park ranger, drawing a salary of $1 per month. For the next 16 years, he continued building and maintaining trails while living in a tent in the park.

For many years during the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps. built roads, tunnels, trails, and other features of the park. The CCC left in 1941; the major Rim drive was completed in the 1950s.

Following the Ranger talk we visited the Visitor Center. I liked the fact that it is built from the native sandstone…

After we had seen a few exhibits in the Visitor Center we drove the Rim drive for 23 miles, all the way to Grand Junction. We saw 23 miles of rocks.

Here I liked the walls made from the natural sandstone… These walls are several hundred feet long, and they occur at many of the pull-outs along the Rim drive…

After we left the park we drove through Grand Junction again. We found truck fuel and DEF. Tomorrow we will return to Fruita for some final grocery shopping before we enter the wilderness of Dinosaur National Monument, Flaming Gorge Dam, and the Grand Tetons National Park…

It was 97 degrees again, but we have good, clean power, so both AC units are running in the Airstream… At 5:00 we took a walk around the lake in the park.

We also saw the Colorado River again, adjacent to the park…

Unfortunately, we walked out of the park and around the outside of the park, and finally had to go totally around the park and walk in the maim entrance…

After a short break we joined other caravaners for happy hours. We returned to the Villa, and an enjoyable time was had by all…,

2021-05-24 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan…Traveling to Fillmore, Utah

So this is what you see when you head north on the 15 out of Las Vegas… We left a little before 9:00 am, fueled up at the Loves truck stop, and hit the road. We will stay on the 15 for 270 miles today…

After an hour or so we entered Arizona. We were in Arizona for less than an hour, making a diagonal across a corner of the Arizona Strip. We had learned about the Arizona Strip in 2018 while we were on the Southwest Adventure caravan. The Arizona Strip is the part of Arizona lying north of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. The difficulty of crossing the Grand Canyon causes this region to have more physical and cultural connections with southern Utah and Nevada than with the rest of Arizona. It really ought to be part of Utah. It covers almost 8,000 square miles, and it is virtually uninhabited, with absolutely no cellular service. If you want to drive some of the few wilderness roads you are advised to bring a tent, firewood, and food and water for 3 days. If you breakdown, you won’t be found for 3 days…

And then we were in Utah. One of the few cities in southern Utah is St. George. We stopped for lunch at a “Culvers”, a first for us… We were able to stretch our legs and have a nice break… Parking was a little rough…

After lunch we continued north and northeast…

We are traveling with fellow Airstreamers and fellow Caravaners from Nebraska, Gordon and Debbie Opp. Today was their turn to lead… We are driving through these small hills on the valley floor. The topography is constantly changing, from meadows and grass to hills and rocks…

Here’s a new sight for us:

We actually saw a sign warning of a curve ahead, saying, “Slow 70″…

Best part is that there is no special 55 MPH limit for vehicles towing trailers! We stopped for a mid-afternoon leg stretch at a rest stop…

We arrived in the outskirts of Fillmore, and easily found the KOA. Beautiful, quiet park, lovely trees; it is is surrounded by grassy meadows overlooking the surrounding hills…

Along with us and the Opps, there was another Airstream in the park, but we were unable to meet them.

We enjoyed happy hours (with my signature Old Fashioneds) and a nice dinner of chicken Caesar salad…

But we are continuing on tomorrow, and we just realized that Utah is in Mountain Time Zone! We lost an hour somewhere along the road. So we turned in early. And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-05-23 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan…Traveling to Las Vegas

This is an exciting day! We are leaving for our first caravan in two years! Our last caravan was Springtime in Kentucky, which was completed on May 16, 2019. Today we head towards Estes Park, Colorado; the Springtime in the Rockies caravan will begin on May 27, 2021.

Yesterday I brought the Airstream home, and parked it in front of our house. We don’t do this often, because the street is narrow, and it curves. And the trees! They have been trimmed up over the street to a height of 10′, so I know we clear. But it is always a challenge to get parked close to the curb and avoid parked cars. But it’s a real convenience to be able to load for a long trip such as this. We will be on the road for 36 days, returning home late June.

Springtime in the Rockies will bring us to all the scenic points in the Rockies, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Pike’s Peak, and Yellowstone National Park, among many others. We will do some hiking, some white water rafting, and we will ride bicycles on Pike’s Peak – down, not up! They will bus us to the top, we will have breakfast, we will climb on bikes and coast down 26 miles, and then they serve us lunch. Sounds like fun to me!

So we left home at about 10:5 am today. Our destination is Las Vegas – a cheap RV park in North Las Vegas. No casino hopping for us!

Quite by chance we “met” on Facebook another couple traveling to the caravan. They are from Nebraska, but they were spending a week or so in SoCal, visiting family; we are traveling with them. We met up in a rest stop just outside Baker, CA. We traveled along with them to Las Vegas.

The Mohave Desert is quite am amazingly stark place! Note to people who thing Eastern Oregon is a desert: This is what a desert looks like…

We found the unique crossroad of Zzyzx:

We drove the freeway past Las Vegas. ‘Nuff said…

We found the Hitchen’ Post RV Park, and set up quickly. We met our new friends for Happy Hours and turned in for the night.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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