We left Blanding and headed over to visit my buddy who's building a nice house in Paradox Valley, CO.
His place is the two buildings in the distance at center right of the photo
From the deck around the house, you can look east to the San Juan's and Telluride.
Or look north east to the canyon where the Deloris River cuts it's way across the valley. The way the river cuts directly N-S across a long E-W valley gives it the name Paradox Valley.
Or you could look to the west and watch the sun set behind the La Sal Mts above the valley walls.
Moab UT is directly across the La Sals from here.
Aside from views, the place also produces a years worth of deer and elk meat each fall. He could even shot 'em from his kitchen window if that weren't illegal.
After a 2 night visit, we started off toward Denver to visit my sister and her family. From Paradox, we headed north to Grand Junction, following the Deloris R for about the 1st 20 miles.
This photo shows the remains of a hanging flume on the canyon walls.
This historic curiosity marker tells the story.
A couple of years ago a local historical group undertook to rebuild a short section to show what it looked like when it was operating.
Here's an old charcoal kiln next to the highway. Good lunch stop.
This old cabin blends into the landscape pretty well.
Continuing up Hwy 141, we took a little side trip up Salt Creek Rd into Sinbad Canyon 'cause you know - the name. The center of the valley is Pvt ranch land with the usual "Private - No Trespassing - Don't even think about stepping off the right-of-way" signs. Soon after it crosses onto Fed land, it shrinks down to an ATV track. We headed back out and had lunch along Salt Creek.
Another 'name' reason to visit is the cliff above the valley. That's Sewemup Mesa. It got it's name from a cattle rustler who would take his stolen herd up there into a hidden box canyon. He would then physically slice the brands off them and "sew 'em up". Let them heal for a month and then re-brand 'em.
That night we got within a few miles of Grand Junction and stopped at an ATV area called Cactus Park. The place was about as inviting as its name, but it was empty and public land is harder to come by in Colorado than in Utah & Nevada. We did get to see a large herd of deer (at least 30) come up out of creek bed and trail up into the trees at dusk. (38.872507,-108.498809)
Next morning we hit I70 and made it to Denver by afternoon. We had a nice 3 day visit with my sisters and nieces.
I'd like to give a shout-out to Tony at Walker Transmission in Wheat Ridge. They took care of us the last time we were in Denver and they came through again. When I told him we were on the road and short of time he got us right in and did an oil change, fixed a mild death wobble - new steering shock, fixed broken horn wire, replaced battery hold down on house batteries.
From Denver, it was pretty much straight home. We decided to take Hwy 40 across northern CO. We got to just past Steamboat when we started to look for a spot to camp. The only public land we could find was really muddy. Just getting turned around to leave was a slip 'n slide.
We ended up here (40.49069,-107.309301) along the highway at a state Yampa River access RV park. Nice enough park - but right next to the highway. We had the whole thing to ourselves, everyone else with half a brain was sitting home in front of the fire. By now the temps were down in the teens every night.
We saw about the normal amount of large wildlife on the trip, but rather than 3 or 4 a day scattered around, everything we saw - deer, elk, antelope - were bunched up in winter herds of 30 to 60.
Here's part of a very large herd of antelope near Craig CO. Sherri counted at least 60 as they passed in and out of view.
An old homestead in Indian Canyon SW of Duchesne UT on Hwy 191.
The interior was a little messy - the local cows must use it for a storm shelter.
We were going for Avintaquin FS campground near here (39.879698,-110.769798) but it was closed for the winter. We settled for a nearby landing instead. Another very cold night. 9000' 14deg. The only silver lining was pulling out the Honda 2K and having it start on the first pull.
Pork chops, baked beans and green salad for dinner.
By this time, we'd had it with the cold weather and were jetting straight for home. Next day we made it across half of Utah and half of Nevada. Just short of Austin on Hwy 50, we turned off to Spencer Hot Springs and settled in for the night. (39.330733,-116.85455) There's nothing like sitting in hot water up to your neck while a snow squall blows through. I love this place, but Sherri thinks it attracts too many weirdos. Too many other
weirdos that is; she likes the one she's got.
From Spencers we got all the way to our camp off Hwy 44 east of Redding and the next day we were home in the early afternoon. It was 3 weeks and 2 days on the road, but with civilization breaks in Vegas, Paradox and Denver. Aside from the repairs in Denver and a flaky EGT guage, the van ran great. Gas mileage was surprisingly good. We consistently got 15mpg and the worst was 12 even with all the dirt and 4WD.
Next year we'll make it a point to leave a couple of weeks earlier and get home ahead of the first freeze.
Thank you all for your attention and comments.