Friday, June 9, 2017

Making an 89 Mile Trip into a Full Day Travel Event, on to Ridgway State Park, Colorado

Sunset at Ridgway State Park, Colorado

One hundred and forty miles today…left around 9 am, got to Ridgway State Park around 1:30 pm.  No, we did not stop to rest, did two quick potty breaks of which the dogs got one of those breaks too…it was just a 140 miles of back road highways, slow travel to enjoy the beauty of it all.  Above is our sunset to the east…the sun is already blocked by the west.  Ridgway State Park is 20 miles south of Montrose, 15 miles north of Ouray, and minutes north of the town of Ridgway.  (And yes, to my kids, it is spelled without a “e” in it…unlike Ridgeway Road in Pine Bluff) 

Map as the crow flies vs our roads

Here is the distance “as the crow flies”, only 89 miles (shown with red line)…but our route, which is the fastest and shortest route, was 140 miles (shown in blue line).  ---Yes, there is a site "As The Crow Flies" Distance Calculator---  To get there we headed south for a mile on US 191, headed east-southeast on US 491, then headed north-northeast on Colorado 141, then southeast on Colorado 145, then northeast on Colorado 62, and finally north on US 550.  Had about 8 miles of 7 percent downhill grade along Colorado 141, all with no cell phone signal by-the-way, so no way to call for help if something goes wrong.  But it sure was a pretty drive…

heading east-southeast on US 491, Colorado Utah BorderDid not take long to get into Colorado from Monticello.  This part of the drive I have driven many times having driven from Arkansas to Utah, taking I-40, heading north at Albuquerque or at Gallup, and then into Southwest Colorado, and coming into Utah right there at Monticello.  But a few miles later we turn left on Colorado 141, and everything is new to me.

heading north-northeast on Colorado highway 141

The agricultural lands between Utah and Colorado quickly disappeared, and just before an area called Slick Rock, we had a good 8 miles down hill, dropping nearly 2,000 feet with lots of 7% grades.   Thankfully, little traffic either way, because I shifted down to first gear for a good mile of this as it winds left, right, left on steep turns.  Even in first gear I had to use the brakes to keep the RPMs under 3,000, which is the max I will run in first gear.

heading north-northeast on Colorado highway 141

As you near the bottom at Slick Rock we pick up the Dolores River for a few miles…the road runs just to the left of the river in the above picture.  What a gorgeous day we had.

heading north-northeast on Colorado highway 141
Then the highway heads due east for a number of miles, and then northeast until it intersects with highway 145.  We saw some cattle…even a number of newborns, a few horses, but no other wildlife.  Really thought we might catch a glimpse of Pronghorn, or some deer…but no luck today…just clear skies, and a few clouds that looked like angles.

heading southeast on Colorado highway 145    heading southeast on Colorado highway 145

We then turn onto highway 145, and the terrain again changes, and we come upon the San Miguel River which parallels the highway for a long time.  Marcia is hanging out her window, I have my right arm reached over holding onto her waste so she doesn’t fly out the motorhome, and finally tell her that a hundred pictures of a fricking river is more than enough!  (Well, a little bit overstated…but she did a great job getting all these pictures as I drive…and I did make a comment about “how many pictures of a river are enough” and later she replied, “I am not taking that picture because I have “ENOUGH” of the river…”, as a good picture passes us by…)

heading southeast on Colorado highway 145      4b

It was amazing to us that on Marcia’s side of the road, the rocks were red…while on my side they were more of a granite look…

heading southeast on Colorado highway 145 

Her side won the beauty contest, that is for sure….

heading northeast on Colorado highway 62

Our love of highway 145 ends as we turn onto highway 62 and highway 145 continues on through Telluride and eventually to an elevation of over 10,000 feet.  We have been on a constant slow climb for the past 40 miles or so, and as we turn onto highway 62, that climb intensifies a bit.  Marcia gets a few shots of the Sneffels , a sub-range of the San Juan Mountains…finally the Rocky Mountains are getting closer and closer.

heading northeast on Colorado highway 62, Dallas Divide

Down the road a bit there is a fairly large turnout, and I have not walked the dogs yet…so of course, we pull off.  There are no signs here, but we are actually at the highest road elevation of highway 62…at 8,983 feet, we have stopped at the Dallas Divide, a saddle between the San Juan Mountains to the south and the Uncompahgre Plateau to the north.  (View this 45 second YouTube video on how to pronounce Uncompahgre.  Undoubtedly the name will appear again and again in future blogs as there is a River, a Mountain, a Forest range, etc. which have this name.)  There at the turnout there was a young man who I saw pouring water into his radiator.  I pull up beside him and ask if he needs more water.  “That would be nice, do you have any?”  “Uhh….yes, this is a motorhome.”  I get out and open our entry door where we have a water outlet in the stepwell, ask Marcia to turn on the pump and fill up his gallon container.  He was so thankful…only has about 5 miles to get back to his campsite, so I am sure he is ok.

heading northeast on Colorado highway 62

Finally we are headed down to Ridgway…have a bit of a wait due to construction in town there, and soon after we are headed north on US 550, and four miles later we are pulling into Ridgway State Park.  We don’t have a reservation, but if you can find a spot, you can stay for two nights…if it does not show up in the reservation system the next morning, you can add a night, and you can keep doing that up to 14 nights total. 

Ridgway State Park, Colorado     Ridgway State Park, Colorado
Ridgway State Park, Colorado

The park is pretty nice, but don’t expect to hide under shade unless you get out and sit in chairs under a tree…but you might have to share the shade with strange neighbors who like to wander through the park eating grasses…(better than having strange neighbors going around smoking grass I guess...which is totally state legal here in Colorado, but not in the park.)

After getting camp set up, I head north to Montrose to turn in our drug reorder at Walgreens, and do some heavy duty shopping at Walmart (including getting Skruffy's insulin and needles).  On Monday we need to get the oil changed in the motorhome, and get Bubba's nails clipped at Petco, and I spot both of those places on the trip.  Back home at 6:30, exhausted after all that transpired, I start the blog, but only get 1/3 done before I just can't type anymore.

Sunset at Ridgway State Park, Colorado

And remember that sunset to the east I opened the blog with…well this was the view to west about 20 minutes later as I looked out the window from my recliner.  What a hard life we live…


  1. Marcia, your pictures are FABULOUS!!!!!

    1. Marcia says, "Thank you Nancy", and then joked about me holding onto her and not letting her fall out the window... lol


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