Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 51

The wind picked up early in the morning, rattling the tipi and shaking loose a few of the tent pegs from the sandy soil.  The rain had stretched the fabric and several peg loops came loose.  It was snowing in a 55mph wind.  Joshua raised the center pole a notch after re-attaching the loops.  Mom was packing her sleeping bag and tell us to pack up and get in the van so we could get out of here.  I insisted that we didn’t just throw everything in the van or else it would never fit.  Jeremiah insisted that we check weather and road conditions so we wouldn’t be packed up and stuck.

The storm was now south east of us … where we wanted to go.  We might be snowed in until things melted in the afternoon.  I packed the car, Joshua took down the tipi, and Jeremiah stowed the stove.  I got to used my waterproof mittens for the first time.  It blew and snowed until we were done packing around 7:30am.

I think they want in.
The snow had all melted (never stuck) on the roads.  We drove to the General Store.  The owner said he woke up and worried about us.  This wind and snow hand’t been forecasted.  There was less than an inch in the valley.  We talked education for a while.  He was an engineer in the Air Force and flew fighter jets in Vietnam.  We used the internet to check forecasts and road conditions to make a plan.  

We headed to Vernal about 8:30am and promptly got stuck on the west side of the pass above Flaming Gorge Reservoir on 44.  We lost momentum and traction and there we sat.  

Thankfully there were two lanes so we didn’t have to pull very far off the road to leave a lane clear.  We ate oranges, trail mix, and oatmeal raisin Cliff bars for breakfast.  Several people stopped to see if we need to help.  The snow plow came by going the other way and then back our way.  

Jeremiah was on the phone helping Leah solve a network issue, so we awaited a while longer.  It was starting to melt a bit. 

We were finally abel to spin and slide our way to the top, having to back up and try again a few times.  The east side of the pass was better.  

Phosphate mine north of Vernal

Looking toward Vernal

Really interesting geology, from bright red rock/clay to these yellow sandy sculptures.

Litte park along the road.

Fed and watered the dogs ....

gathered stove fuel ...
bundled and stowed it.
We rolled into Vernal which was straight up balmy in comparison.  We got an oil change and rotated the bald tires to the back  Walmart wouldn’t do it because or tires were too bad.  Back to Walmart for a forgotten return.

We drove a ways toward 70 and then decided to go 40 instead, so back through Vernal.

Actually we were leaving.  :P
I hope the scenery is more colorful than the sign!
In Dinosaur, CO we stopped at the visitor center for a state map.  We found the guy digging in the yard with a pocket knife.  He explained that he was cleaning out the sprinkler openings so the system could be winterized.  Once again we talked campgrounds and sights to be seen and weather at the campgrounds.  He was a weather guru, has is own weather station, and is a passionate proponent of

Rock wall paintings along the highway.

We drove to Grand Junction hoping to stay at a Marriott since we could get a friends and family discount there.  It was high time for showers again.  That didn’t end up working out in time so we went to Natural Grocers for dinner around 8pm.  We were planning on eating int he community room with some wifi.  This was the first Natural Grocers we’d been to that didn’t have  a community room.  They did have Amy’s pot pies on sale, so we bought 6 of them and used the microwave by the door.

Mom wanted to camp tonight and come back for the hotel tomorrow night.  Jeremiah didn’t want to waste our nicest day of the week in a hotel and snow was predicted for Thursday night.  Mom then wanted a guarantee that we would get a hotel Wednesday night if we spent Tuesday night in the San Juan Mountains.  So we pulled over again and got on the hot spot to check rates in other cities about 10pm.  Finally decided to carry on, expecting cell service at the campground. We were headed for the James M. Robb, but little did w know there were three.  The one we shoed up at didn’t have a campground.

Back down the road to the James M. Robb Island Acres.  It was late when the tipi was set up.  I kept talking myself out of being cranky.  We were all sleep deprived from our all night drive to our early evacuation of Dripping Springs.  And now this.  And we had one day to see the San Juan Mountains and surrounding areas.  We would need to be driving to Colorado Springs all day Wednesday.  We needed to get on the road early. 

The tipi was still frozen and wet, so Joshua put the liners in except for on the doors.  Because of the ground I had my head in front of one of the doors … to be blown on through the open flap to dry the tipi and dripped on by the lack of liners until it dried.  If those things did happen I was too hard asleep to care.

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