Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Cold and Rainy Ride to Gunnison

At Palisades RV Park, Gunnison, Colorado...

We had a hard time believing it is July. As we headed west on highway 24 from Colorado Springs, the ascent was slower than usual as we made our way in the cold rain and fog. The outside temperature stayed in the low 50s for most of the trip, and got down into the 40s at Monarch Pass. Incredibly, we had to run Phannie's heater most of the way. We began to wonder if it wouldn't have been a better idea to delay another day, as I usually try to avoid driving in the rain if at all possible. Now Phannie and Mae are a dirty mess, and I'm not sure where we will find a truck wash.

Why take highways 24 and 50 westward instead of the Interstate west from Denver?  Curiosity, I guess; I really like to travel routes I haven't seen before. I just can't wait to see what's around the next curve and, hopefully, it won't be a log truck in my lane.

I was also looking forward to driving over the legendary Monarch Pass between Salida and Gunnison. The highway was well maintained with plenty of turnouts and slow lanes, but the steep downhill grade past the summit was a formidable challenge to keep Phannie's speed in check. It required a downshift to third gear and even second in some places.

Gunnison is a pretty little town with wide streets and looks well kept, and the Garmin GPS led us expertly to the Palisades RV Park, a place recommended by friends Paul and Mary, who spend a good bit of time there in the summers.

The park management seems to be of the no-nonsense variety, having made sure we understood that this is a 55-plus park and that bringing kids would not be appropriate. When we arrived, there was a sign right in the middle of the driveway that read, "Drive Slow...or Else!" This jolted me a bit, and I wondered, "Or else what?" I started to look around for someone with a nightstick or maybe a sniper or something! When we pulled up in front of the office, which was closed at the hour of our late arrival, a rather intense man emerged from an Airstream trailer near the gate and walked over. Without a smile or greeting, he said,

"Do you have a reservation?"

I answered in the affirmative, and he pointed to the only parking site left in the park. He said,

"Well, park right there; we'll see you in the morning."

Then he turned around and walked briskly back to the trailer, as I stood there, blinking. My guess is that I interrupted his dinner.

The park had wide spaces and access roads and was in a very quiet area. Thanks, Paul and Mary, for the recommendation.

After getting set up, we drove to town to find some dinner. Our friends had recommended several restaurants, the top one being the Twisted Fork, which we were disappointed to learn is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Since it was Tuesday, we settled for the Old Miner Steakhouse, also recommended. They were very busy, so we had to wait a half hour for a table.

We had a nice meal and found that splitting a steak was more than ample for us. Thanks again, Paul and Mary; and yes, we're bummed about missing the Twisted Fork!

We'll be headed into Utah tomorrow!

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I do not appreciate it enough each day.

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