|Mountain biking along the Colorado River|
Our 1st long adventure begins......10 weeks on the road traveling through Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
This trip developed from wanting to attend the Newmar International Rally in Pueblo, CO and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, a bucket list item, which was conveniently right after the rally. I planned our route from Salt Lake to Pueblo with extended stops in Grand Junction and Breckenridge. I added 3 nights in Carbondale where we can easily reach Aspen for a day trip; after a week in Breckenridge we will spend 2 nights in Canon City to visit the Royal Gorge area. Our plan was to find some local mountain biking and hiking trails at our stops.
Grand Junction, Colorado: Colorado National Monument Park/Mountain Biking and Wine Tasting
Mike went to Grand Junction 2 days before me to have a Newmar service center in Grand Junction replace our salon slide motor and the fuel gauge sensor. Since Mike would have to stay at the repair center with no hook ups for up to 2 nights and not have access to the coach during the day I stayed in Salt Lake and when the work was completed and Mike was settled into the RV I would drive down with the dogs in the tow vehicle.
Our stay in Grand Junction was at the RV Ranch at Grand Junction, in Clifton, CO for 7 nights.
Nice RV park with 50-amp and full hook-ups. We had one of their newly upgraded to 50-amp sites (site #43), a nice end spot that was private and shaded. The park is quiet even though close to I-70. There is some train and airplane noise during the day which I didn't think would keep me from staying here and didn't seem to be a problem at night. Our coach is pretty insulated and when the windows are closed it keeps a lot of outside noise to a minimum. The park is not in Grand Junction but in Clifton which is 6 miles out of Grand Junction but still an easy drive to downtown. It's a great home base for trips to Fruita for mountain biking, Palisade for a wine tasting adventure, Colorado National Monument Park and the Grand Mesa. RV parks are limited in the area, the James M Robb Colorado River State Park-Island Acres Section is a popular spot with RV'ers but only had 30 amp sites. With dogs and the potential to still be hot in this area in early September we thought it was safer to find a park with 50 amps.
|Entrance to RV Park|
|Lots of trees/Views of the Book Cliffs|
|Our End Site #43|
After I arrived on Thursday we decided to head into downtown Grand Junction to Rockslide Brewery on Main Street for dinner. When we arrived vendors were setting up on Main Street for the Thursday evening farmer's market. After a brew and dinner we walked around the farmer's market and bought some local peaches.
|Thursday Farmer's Market|
Saturday was forecast for rain so we drove to Palisade, a small historic town, only 6 miles east of our RV park off of I-70. We walked around for a bit then headed on to the Palisade Fruit and Wine Byway, a scenic drive that has plenty of chances to stop at fruit stands and vineyards along the road that all offer free wine tastings.
The rain cooperated and after adding to our wine collection we were ready to head home and enjoy the moody weather.
|Wine and Peaches|
Sunday was also forecasted for rain so we decided to drive the famous Rim Rock Drive through the Colorado National Monument Park. The drive is a scenic 23-mile, winding road with amazing cliff edge views. There are 19 overlooks for photo opportunities and 14 trails for hikes ranging from 0.5 to 14 miles. We didn't do any of the hikes because we had the dogs with us and the park has a no dog policy on the trails. The drive, in itself, was worth the visit and we were able to use our National Park Pass to waive the entrance fee($25).
|Colorado National Monument Park|
|Big horn sheep traffic jam|
Monday the weather cleared out and it was our 1st mountain biking day. Lots of biking in the area and the must do trails are near Fruita called the Kokopelli trail system. We decided to do Rustler's loop first, which is an easy 3.5 mile loop with fantastic views of the Colorado river and a good warm up to the longer Mary's loop (8.5 miles upper intermediate level). Mary's loop was a challenge, it started out easy enough but then toward the half way point it rides narrow and close to the edge of a cliff with a huge drop off. There were rocky descents and steps with just the right mix of easy and hard to make this ride a challenging one for strong intermediates and advanced riders. We were plenty tired after the ride; it was pretty exposed and hot even in the morning but we had a great time exploring new trails.
|Rustler's loop along the Colorado River|
The Bike Shop. Monday was Labor day and they were closed so we were at the shop 1st thing Tuesday morning hoping they could work on it that day. We told them we were traveling and needed it done by Thursday. They said they weren't busy and could look at it that morning and, if no complications, have it done by the end of the day. That was good news since we were planning to get one more day (Wednesday) of biking before we left Grand Junction.
Wednesday we decided to check out the more challenging bike trails at the Lunch Loop Trail System in Grand Junction. The employee at The Bike Shop said they were mostly advanced trails but there are a small amount of beginner to upper intermediate trails. He gave us a map and showed us what trails were easy and which were harder so we were confident we could spend a few hours there exploring.
We weren't disappointed, they reminded us of Arizona bike trails, rocky and lots of cactus. The more advanced trails were narrow, had rocky steps that ran along the cliff with lots of places with huge penalties if you weren't paying attention. I walked the bike in places that were beyond my abilities but we had fun and it was a great workout. It's a multiuse trail so you had to share the trail with hikers and runners, which I thought on a busy weekend would be a distraction.
|There is a trail there|
|Mountain Biking-Grand Junction, Colorado|