Week 311-312 - Taxi, Taxi - 08-05-2012
Ellen's Aunt Glo lives near Denver, Colorado. For quite a while Glo
has wanted to come for a visit to California. The problem is, she
can't fly or drive. So it would take some creative thinking to
figure out how to make the trip.
A taxi? Probably a little too pricey. Ellen's sister Janice comes
to the rescue. Janice asked us to drive the Mothership from
Paradise, California; pick up Aunt Glo in Colorado and bring her
back home! Wow, now that's a Big Adventure. Gee, the problem is
the cost of the fuel. At 2,800 miles round trip, it was more than we
could afford. Janice again comes up with the solution. Each of
Ellen's siblings: Larry, Carla, Janice and Art would kick in 25% of
the fuel costs. Okay, we're in. Before we started, we reviewed Craig's
. Craig (an RV mentor we met in 2006) says that if
you want to always enjoy your travels and never wear out, then Never
travel more than 200 miles in one day; always get to your
destination by 2:00 p.m. and always spend at least 2 days.
Let's do the math. 1200 miles to Denver in 6 days is 200 miles a
day. Good, rule one will work. Get there by 2 p.m. each day; that
might be possible. Stay at least two days at each stop, NOT!
Anyway, we decide to make it a fast trip to Colorado and then enjoy
our normal slower pace coming back. We had 19 days to for whole
trip, so that should work. We left Paradise and started on a Glo
Arriving in Denver, Glo was certainly surprised and delighted.
We grabbed her bags, she said her goodbyes and we were off on Glo's
Big Adventure to California. We always love to find new roads, so
the trip back was 1,500 miles and we started off through Southwest
Colorado where we have never been.
Here is our tour route.
Day 1: 130 miles.
Paradise to Grass Vally to Sierra City, CA
on highway 49. This was our one side trip on the way to Denver. We
have taken the Mothership on highway 49 from Grass Valley south to
it's end at Oakhurst, CA. We just had to finish the rest of 49
which goes from Grass Valley to Vinton, CA.
The section of 49 from Grass Valley to Sierra City is a great road. There are a few twists and turns but the majority is an easy ride in
Dinner at the Mountain Creek Restaurant in Sierra City was great. Dogs are welcome and little birds came by for a visit.
Sierra Skies RV Park was right on the Yuba River. They had a few
big sites, but they were taken. We did manage to squeeze into this
site. The city streets weren't much wider.
Day 2: 399 miles!
Oops, broke rule one. We finished the rest
of Hwy 49 to Vinton, passed through Fallon, Nevada, got drenched for
a few minutes and flew past Austin, NV. Being used to the deserts
of southern Nevada, it was a surprise to find mountains and trees in
the section near Austin.
More rain as we head to and reach Ely, NV. We camped next to the
Elks (red roof building). The lot actually belongs to the Hotel
Nevada and is open to RVs and trucks.
Ely is full of buildings with large murals and statues on the
Day 3: 337 miles.
Highway 50 is a great road. We first picked
it up at Reno, NV and took it all the way to Green River, Utah.
Along the way in Utah, there are numerous rest and view areas. What
is a rest area in Utah, would be a national monument in many other
We stayed in Shady Acres RV Park in Green River. The sites are very
long, it was priced right and has some very unique features. They
have a gas station, market and deli, RV and car wash. The park gives
you a coupon for a buy-one-get-one Blimpie deli sandwich and drink. A great stopping place, but hey, we gotta go!
Day 5: 50 miles!
We have to admit that Craig's rules were
getting to us and we needed a break. We have been to Moab and
Arches National Park before, but we never stayed in Moab. The
Colorado River runs by Moab and while it is usually a bit clearer,
the heavy rains turned it "Colorado" (Spanish for colored red
We landed at Portal RV Park. We intended to visit the town as we had
only seen it at night before. However, the pool, scenery and rest,
lured us away. Note the large building at the park. This is a
"casita". We are used to casitas at high-end RV resorts. Normally,
they are small "sheds" used for storage or perhaps laundry. This
one is, well, just a bit larger. It is 4,000 square feet and rents
for $395.00 a night.
Day 5: 180 miles.
A normal day of travel and we took the
winding highway UT-128 from Moab to Rifle, Colorado.
Rifle is a nice town on the Colorado River. When you drive up
Flavert Blvd, there is no doubt where the Elks Lodge is!
The lodge is small but very well maintained. There is only dry
camping but the view of the adjacent valley is beautiful. We stayed
here in September 2011 and are pretty sure that when we walked into
the lodge this time, the same people were sitting in the same
seats. They were delightful hosts. And they had an outdoor cable TV
area that we had access to all evening, nice!
Day 6: 226 miles.
Our final push to Denver. The road from
Rifle to the east makes for a very nice trip. You parallel the
Colorado River for quite a ways and you cross over the Rocky
Mountains, past Vail and Frisco and a lot of nice ski towns. Then
you plunge down the Front Range into the Denver area. While our
mission was to Grab Glo and Go, we had to spend a few hours with
relatives and friends. Our first stop was to meet Pete's nephew
Eric. We sadly had only time for lunch but it is always a pleasure
to catch up on his family.
After lunch, we had an emergency RV repair and then spent the night
at Jeff's house. Jeff was Pete's college roommate. We had time to
break bread with Jeff, Linda, Beth and Jackie. But now it is time to
secure "the package".
Meet Aunt Glo. Within minutes of getting to her house, we were on
the way. She was excited like a kid at Christmas and we were so
blessed to have means to make this trip happen. What a blessing to
have the motorhome and siblings to support us.
Day 7: 178 miles.
Heading south down the I-25 we passed
Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Pueblo and turned west at
Walsenberg. Our first camping night with Glo was at Lathrop State
Thankfully the park has 50 amps of power as since we left Utah, the
daily temperatures were in the mid-90s.
Day 8: 233 miles.
Walsenberg to Durango is a very scenic.
You drive once again through the Rocky Mountains, although not quite
as high as the elevation up north.
We settled in at Durango Riverside RV Park, just north of Durango on
the Animas River. This 3.5 rated park is nice but is the most
expensive park we have ever stayed at ($79.00 per night).
Nevertheless, we have a nice time and Glo got a chance to catch up
on her Facebook.
Day 9: 232 miles.
Leaving Durango, the terrain changes
dramatically. Gone are the mountains, trees and rivers. Hello,
unusual rock formations. We stopped off at Four Corners on the way
to Gallup, New Mexico.
In Gallup, the RV park we like the best is USA RV Park. We have
been there three times and each time they have added lots of new
features. New this time is the outdoor chess set, the kid's play
area and waterfall in the distance. One of the best parts of this
park is the daily (during the summer) BBQ under the new and very
large covering. Note the swimming pool with the bottom painted as a
The sites in this park are completely level and well manicured.
Day 10: 218 miles.
Out of New Mexico and onto Williams,
Arizona. Williams is on Route 66 and makes the most of it. A cute
little own town section has lots of restaurants and entertainment. We dined at Cruisers Cafe 66. The meal was reasonable and the cafe
and store are filled with 60's memorabilia including the 1966
Chevrolet Impala mounted on the wall.
Sheet metal walls always add nice ambiance to any diner!
Day 11: 165 miles.
Wow, just a normal day of driving. Mandy
looks back at the driver and asks "are you really going to try to
take this 13 foot motorhome through that 10 foot tunnel? Finally, we
have slowed to a normal daily pace. Our stops would be 130 miles or
less per day for the final three days of the trip. Still breaking
the two-day stay rule, but at least not driving a crazy amount of
miles. But, everything changed in Bullhead City. Being in the
mid-to-high 90's, we traveled with the generator on and both airs
running. This made for a pleasant trip. Alas, by Bullhead the rear
air conditioner stopped working! Yikes, the outside temp was over
100. We visited an RV repair center and for a nominal fee they told
us we needed a new unit which they did not have.
There is no way without the rear air that we could cool the
Mothership enough to sleep. Plan B:
Get a hotel room at Don
Laughlin's Riverside Resort and Casino. We enjoyed the cool room
and the penny slots. Glo did so well on her $5.00 investment that
we spent a few hours in the casino. Back at the motorhome, Pete
loaned a screwdriver to Chris who was robbing parts off the red
car. He claimed both cars were his and since we did not see his
picture at the Post Office we didn't report him.
The view from our room overlooking the Colorado River below Davis
Dam. A little cleaner than the river was at Moab!
A major plan change. At sunrise, Pete ventured out
to the motorhome to check email. The sun was barely visible and it
was 99 degrees. Our stops near Barstow and in Bakersfield were not
So 420 miles
later we basked in the 85 degree coolness of
Paso Robles. Glo gets a warm welcome from the girls. What a great
trip. It is such a pleasure to be part of a family that cares so
much for Aunt Glo to send her a taxi!
The heat and excitement were too much for Glo as she dreams about
all the fun we had.
Mandy also ponders the great moments of this adventure.
So was Craig right about the 2-2-2 rule? Absolutely! This
12-should-have-been-42 day trip was exhausting. And you would never
want to do this on a regular basis. You would burn out on RVing.
However, the joy of being sent to get Glo and the fun we had after
she joined us made this trip a very special one.
Whew, home now to rent our house and we won't be moving anywhere for
a few weeks. Thanks Glo for allowing us to be your chauffeurs, love,
Pete, Ellen and Mandy the Dreamer.
"We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." Proverbs 16:9
Photos from Aug 2012