Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Just Past Vernal Utah to Steinaker Lake State Park

Steinaker Lake State Park
Steinaker Lake State Park    Steinaker Lake State Park

The drive from the Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss Colorado to Steinaker Lake State Park was 200 miles in length, but felt more like 400.  First, let me say, the night’s sleep at the Fairground in Hotchkiss was fabulous for both of us…me, I slept for over 6 hours straight…wow, that felt great.  We left at 6:30 in the morning…I wanted to get to Grand Junction before 8 am because I wanted our tires rotated at Discount Tire.  WOW, were they busy when the opened…but we got things done and out of there by 9:30.  Then a trip to Walmart and to Sam’s Club, got some gas and off we went.

Book Cliff Mountains along Colorado Highwy 139

Book Cliff Mountains along Colorado Highwy 139   Book Cliff Mountains along Colorado Highwy 139

Leaving Grand Junction we travel west on I-70 for a short time, and then we turned north on highway 139.  I probably should have looked into the route a bit more…essentially it is remote, sparse, no towns for the entire 72 miles, and goes over the Book Cliff Mountains at Douglas Pass at an elevation of 8,268 feet.  Above are pictures of some of the desert mountains and cliffs of the Book Cliff Mountains we passed through…this mountain range is located in western Colorado and eastern Utah.

Book Cliff Mountains along Colorado Highwy 139

As we near the 8,200 foot mark there is a nice pullout where one can get a great view of the mountains (panoramic shot above top) and also a view of the winding roadway we just traversed (picture above bottom).  Unfortunately the higher elevation gives Marcia a splitting headache…so getting to Rangely and over to US 40 and on to Vernal is a must…but the terrain does not allow for fast driving.

Book Cliff Mountains along Colorado Highwy 139 So I get back into the motorhome and off we go (picture of the motorhomDash reading along Book Cliff Mountains along Colorado Highwy 139e at the pullout to the left).  We are not at the top yet, and this is a very steep road.  I take a picture of the dash on the motorhome…first gear, 15 mph, 2200 RPM, and all the gauges are looking great,  No traffic behind us, so I just slowly cruise the final few hundred of feet up until we get to the top of the pass.

Book Cliff Mountains along Colorado Highwy 139

As we get closer to Rangely, Marcia says, “you know, with this wind…if this stuff catches on fire it is really going to burn.  We take a few more corners and I say, “Look, that looks like smoke up there…”  Sure enough, there are two fires near Dead Dog Fire near Rangely, KUSA TVRangely…between Rangely and US 40.  They don’t affect us at all, we can see the smoke, but the winds, gusting up to 70 mph, sure play havoc on the fire.  To the left is a picture I got from the 9News, KUSA TV out of Denver.  Now we did not see flames, but we sure could see all the smoke.

Green River along US 40, Jensen Utah

As we near the town of Jensen, near Vernal, US 40 passes over the Green River…and is it ever high.  Down stream it will travel down through Canyonlands National Park and merge with the nearly equally sized Colorado River.  Did you know that the Grand River, which was the river that the Colorado and Green River’s merger formed, was renamed by an act of Congress to the Colorado River?  That was new to me…not even a twinkle in my momma's eye back then.

Steinaker Lake State Park

Originally I had intended to move on further along the road…but I also knew that Steinaker Lake State Park was a possible place to stay.  So we pulled in with our fingers cross that we would find a spot, and as it turned out, the park was not even half full…now the weekends it is full of fishermen…but weekdays you can probably find a spot.  As I set up, Marcia got to fixing up a brew of Greek Coffee, along with a Tylenol and an Aspirin to end her again in less than 30 minutes.  Of the 28 or so RV spots, 8 are full hookups, 8 are electric only, and the other 12 are dry camping, with prices of $28 for full hookups, $23 for just electric hookups (there is water to fill you tanks and a dump station), and I think it was $14 for no hookups.  We got an electric site…but the weak Internet signal was just too poor to publish a blog.  So here we are at our secret four day location, and I am publishing this now.  Our next post will reveal our final canyon of the summer…of course, some of you have already guessed it…


  1. Replies
    1. It takes a briki (greek) coffee pot and Greek/Turkish Coffee. Go to YouTube and search for How to make Greek coffee. OR, just make a very, very, very strong coffee.


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