Because we travel the way we do with Melanie working a part time job and having to be (mostly) connected, we are left with visiting some of the National Parks on the fly. Sometimes we have time enough to take out our bicycles and ride around taking our time and stopping along the way, rarely do we plan a day hike and mostly we are left with driving through and stopping at key spots.
We were in Moab for four days when our side door step motor began making a really terrible noise. We called the mobile mechanic recommended by the RV park where we were staying. He ordered the replacement motor, but had to leave town for a week.
We left Moab for the week he was gone and came back for one night to get the motor installed. Once the steps were working again, we decided, before leaving town, to check out Canyonlands National Park.
Here's the drive by.
San Juan Scenic Skyway
We stumbled onto the San Juan Scenic Byway traveling out of Moab, Utah trying to stay south and warmer as we were attempting to move east towards Denver, Colorado and (what we thought) service for our Sprinter.
We stayed in Cortez, Colorado for a few days then decided to go north out of Cortez and head up towards Telluride, Colorado (neither of us had visited Telluride), stay near Telluride, then make our way around and back towards Durango, Colorado. Only after the fact did I discover we were on the San Juan Scenic Byway and that mainly because a friend mentioned her love of the Byway on Instagram.
We also lucked out because parts of the byway got new snow the day and night before we began our tour. I'm guessing that all the Aspens in the Fall might just rival the beauty of that fresh snow. I suppose we'll have to plan another trip along the Byway.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde is one of the cooler National Parks we've visited. When we were there in April, the cliff dwellings, the ones that are generally accessible to the public, the museum, and most of the campground were closed. They officially open May 15th.
We were able to do a nice drive into the park and view the cliff dwellings and a few archeological sites from the comfort of Miranda.
This wild landscape of deep canyons and expansive vistas is home to over a thousand species, including several that live nowhere else on earth. For over 700 years, the Ancestral Pueblo people built thriving communities on the mesas and in the cliffs of Mesa Verde. Today, the park protects the rich cultural heritage of 26 tribes and offers visitors a spectacular window into the past.- NPS website
It was a grey and snowy morning when we arrived on the first day of the season for a Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park driving tour of the South Rim. The North Rim was still closed.
This outing was part of our pivot and see a bit more of Colorado while we wait for our entry steps motor to arrive and be installed in Moab, Utah. Melanie and I decided to take a day trip to the National Park, Gunnison and Crested Butte. A full day of site seeing in Miranda.
From the NPS website:
Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.
Black Canyon Dimensions.
Mount Crested Butte, Colorado
A quick day trip to Gunnison then Mount Crested Butte.
Located in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles.- NPS website
Melanie and I once again were up early, parked Miranda near Capitol Gorge and rode back to Fruita along the scenic drive. And we came away with pies. Another nice morning spent.
We drove out of Zion National Park and straight into Bryce Canyon National Park for what turned out to be a nice drive along the 18 mile road within the park that ends at Yovimpa Point 9,000 feet above sea level.
Hoodoos, irregular columns of rock, and the park's most striking feature, reminded me of building sand castles at the Gulf of Mexico where you grab a hand full of wet sand and allow it to drip slowly forming pointy irregular structures. Bryce has the largest concentration of Hoodoos in the world.
Bryce is a true feast for the eyes.
Steven and Melanie