Monday, June 30, 2008

6/30/08 - Salt Lake City, Utah

We took a free van operated by the LDS church from the KOA campground to the Temple Square area of downtown Salt Lake City. We went on guided tours of several Mormon church buildings, including the Mormon Tabernacle. We attended two organ concerts, one in the Tabernacle and another in the church's new 21,000 seat conference center. This huge building has trees, streams and fountains on its roof. The prism skylights project rainbows on the auditorium seats below. Later we drove out to Antelope Island State Park and took a dip in the Great Salt Lake. Because of the stink, flies, and brine shrimp, this is an experience that most people will only want to do once in their lifetime.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

6/29/08 - Salt Lake City, Utah

We went to the park headquarters of Dinosaur National Park. The main attraction of the park is the Dinosaur Quarry, a wall of rock exposing a large number of dinosaur bones which has a large exhibit building built around it. Unfortunately the building was closed because it had slipped off its foundation and repairs will not be completed for several years. We rode a bus to a hiking area. On our hike we saw some of the dinosaur bones which are exposed in the rock. We also checked out some of the numerous Indian petroglyphs in the park. In the afternoon we drove through steep mountain rodes to Timpanogos National Monument which is supposed to have a spectacular cave. When we got there we found that you have to get in line to see the cave early in the day, so we drove on to Salt Lake City and checked into the KOA campground. We had dinner at the Squatters Brewing brewpub, and also checked out the beers at Redrock Brewing. All of the beers were good, considering that they were 3.2% alcohol.

6/28/08 - Dinosaur National Monument, Jensen, Utah

We hooked up the trailer and drove through the Canyon Area of Dinosaur National Monument. We went on a hike to an overlook of the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers, 2,600 feet below us. This gigantic valley has some very complex geology. We camped in the Green River Campground of the Quarry area of the park. We had no hookups and it was very hot which made sleeping difficult.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

6/27/08 - Dinosaur, Colorado

We left Loveland and drove 312 miles to Dinosaur, Colorado on our way to Salt Lake City. We drove on Colorado highway 14 alongside the beautiful and raging Cacha la Poudre river. There were lots of kayaks and rafts negotiating the river. Many of the pine trees up here have been killed by the pine bark beetle, making it look like fall. We went through three mountain passes and through Steamboat Springs before arriving at Dinosaur. We almost stopped at a city park in Maybell (Carolyn's mother's name is Mae Bell), but we decided to keep on driving. We checked into the Blue Mountain Village RV Park, which is a real dump but at least we have hookups. Updating this blog via cell phone with its unbelievably slow connection is becoming a real PITA.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

6/26/08 - Loveland, Colorado

We left Rocky Mountain National Park and drove to Riverside RV Park in Loveland, Colorado. We wanted to take a bath (after 4 days without one) and also visit the microbreweries and brewpubs in nearby Fort Collins. We tasted the beers at New Belgium, Ft. Collins Brewing, Odell, and C.B. Potts.

6/22/08 - 6/25/08 - Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

We left Golden and drove to Rocky Mountain National Park, just west of Estes Park. We stayed 4 days at the park and were without internet access and only had sporadic cell phone service. All of the RV sites have no connections for electricity, water, or sewer, so we boondocked it. We drove on all the park roads and did several hikes. The trail ridge road to Alpine Visitors Center was very steep with sheer dropoffs. It is supposed to be the highest paved highway in the U.S. We saw a lot of wildlife including elk, deer, moose, marmots, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and picas. The scenery is magnificent. The park gets as many visitors as Yellowstone, but is only 1/6 the size. Mornings started out cloudless, but clouds built up and there were brief thundershowers every afternoon. The scenery was gorgeous - we took hundreds of pictures.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

6/21/08 - Golden, Colorado

Today was mainly devoted to checking out brewpubs in Denver. Carolyn went to the Golden Farmers Market and bought some fresh veggies and bread. As we left our RV Park we watched paragliders jumping off the nearby mountain. We sampled the beers at Breckenridge, Denver Chop House, Wynkoop, Great Divide, and Pints Pub. We went to the Denver Art Museum, but getting to it was difficult because a gay pride festival had downtown roads blocked off. We then met Anne-Alex and Kevin at Gordon Biersch in Broomfield and had dinner.

6/20/08 - Golden, Colorado

In the morning we went on a tour of the Coors Brewery. It was one of those self-guided deals where you walk around listening to a recorded spiel on a headphone. At the hospitality room we were allowed three beers. Coors is the largest single site brewery in the world but they make fewer beers than your average brewpub. All of their beers were pretty tasteless. My niece Anne-Alex met us and we had lunch at Hops, a chain brewpub in Golden. After that we drove up to the Buffalo Bill Museum and gravesite on top of a peak overlooking Golden. The museum was very interesting and well worth the trip. My dad told me he saw Buffalo Bill's wild west show when he was a kid. Then we drove to Anne-Alex and Kevin's house in Erie and had a nice dinner of grilled tuna, exotic rice, and salad. Then we went to the Pumphouse Brewery in Longmont and had beer samplers and dessert.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

6/19/08 - Golden, Colorado

We drove up to Erie to visit my niece, Anne-Alex Packard and her husband, Kevin and their children Hallie and Maddie. Kevin creates musical soundtracks for TV shows. He demonstrated a composition he has been working on for a new show on the Food Network. He uses high tech keyboards, guitars, and software to create his music. He also played a song recorded by his daughter Hallie who is a budding singer at age 17. She has recorded an album with her sister, father and mother - go to to check it out.

We went to Avery Brewing, Mountain Sun Brewing, and Walnut Brewing in Boulder and sampled their beers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

6/18/08 - Golden, Colorado

We left Colorado Springs and drove to Golden, Colorado. We checked into the Clear Creek RV Park which is operated by the City of Golden. The park is right on a beautiful creek that is running fairly swift because of the snow melt off the nearby mountains. We were put into an electric only space for today, unhooked and got set up. Then, they told us there was a full hookup available so, we hooked up again and then moved and unhooked again. Finally, we went for a walk to town (downtown is just a few blocks away.) We went to the Golden State Brewery, a small laid back micro-brewery and sampled their beers. We walked back along the creek and there was a kayaking competition going on.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

6/17/08 - Colorado Springs, CO

We drove through Colorado Springs to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. This place has a bunch of millions of years old fossilized Sequoia trees. These trees were preserved because they were covered up by volcanic eruptions. The place also has fossilized leaves and insects in the shale rock. Of course we were forbidden from picking anything up, and there were rangers everywhere on the lookout. We had a picnic lunch there, then we drove to Cripple Creek. This is an old gold mining town which has been taken over by casinos and quaint shops. We had a couple of free drinks at one of the casinos and fed the slot machines a couple of dollars. Then we rode a narrow gage train up to some of the mining areas. We drove back to Mountaindale RV Park via a gorgeous 22 mile primitive dirt road from Cripple Creek to Canon City through Phantom Canyon.