Summer 2017, Day 16: Shaare Shamayim to Lake City, CO

We awoke to a beautiful day here at Shaare Shamaim:

Summer2017_Day16_004

B enjoyed the dog:

Summer2017_Day16_001

I replaced the cowling for our WiFi antenna:

Summer2017_Day16_002

We checked out the guest cabins in progress:

Summer2017_Day16_003

The mikveh is off to a good start:

Summer2017_Day16_005

The main house, built by hand:

Summer2017_Day16_006

We said goodbye to our hosts and drove east and south, the road clinging to the slope overlooking the Black Canyon of the Gunnison:

Summer2017_Day16_007
Summer2017_Day16_008

Dams along the Gunnison River have filled the canyon with reservoirs:

Summer2017_Day16_009

Summer2017_Day16_010

Summer2017_Day16_011

The Blue Mesa Dam:

Summer2017_Day16_012

Summer2017_Day16_013

We stopped at the visitor center for Curecanti National Recreation Area.  We had previously received the Junior Ranger badge when we visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park on Day 649, and this visitor center is really just a contact station for issuing boating permits, so we just stayed long enough to channel our inner NPS ranger:

Summer2017_Day16_014

Summer2017_Day16_015

We drove south, steadily climbing until we reached Lake City, Colorado, a town of 400 at 8,600 feet above sea level.  From there, we drove west on what soon became a narrow gravel road with steep drop-offs.  We unhitched the RV in a pullout that was barely large enough, then drove up to find a pullout large enough to accommodate us.  M stayed behind to hold the spot while we recovered the RV and brought it back up.

It wasn’t the nicest dispersed camping site we’ve found, but it wasn’t bad:

Summer2017_Day16_018

M checked out the river running through our backyard:

Summer2017_Day16_016

Getting ready for a campfire:

Summer2017_Day16_017

I put the off-road tires on my cyclocross bike and rode farther along the gravel road.  My first stop was a cabin built in the 1870s by local prospector Pike Snowden:

Summer2017_Day16_019

Continuing on, the canyon opened up, providing spectacular views:

Summer2017_Day16_020

Summer2017_Day16_021

Summer2017_Day16_022

Summer2017_Day16_023

Summer2017_Day16_024

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 15: Fantasy Canyon and Shaare Shamayim

Flying conditions were decent this morning:

Summer2017_Day15_001

Summer2017_Day15_002

I walked across the road to fly.  After moving the wing a few times to line up with shifting winds, I launched flight #117:

Summer2017_Day15_3_001

Summer2017_Day15_3_002

Summer2017_Day15_2_001

Summer2017_Day15_2_002

There’s the RV below:

Summer2017_Day15_2_003

Summer2017_Day15_2_005

Overflying the badlands:

Summer2017_Day15_2_006

Since I launched late in the morning, it was bumpy aloft, so I decided to cut the flight short and land.  Lining up for landing:

Summer2017_Day15_2_007

Summer2017_Day15_2_008

Summer2017_Day15_003

Another great breakfast:

Summer2017_Day15_004

We drove southwest, passing wild horses along the way:

Summer2017_Day15_005

Summer2017_Day15_006

We arrived at our first stop, Fantasy Canyon.  We explored the interesting formations:

Summer2017_Day15_007

Summer2017_Day15_008

Summer2017_Day15_009

Summer2017_Day15_010

Summer2017_Day15_011

Summer2017_Day15_012

Summer2017_Day15_013

Summer2017_Day15_014

Summer2017_Day15_015

Summer2017_Day15_016

Summer2017_Day15_017

Summer2017_Day15_018

Walking down the canyon:

Summer2017_Day15_020

Summer2017_Day15_021

Summer2017_Day15_022

Summer2017_Day15_023

Summer2017_Day15_024

Summer2017_Day15_025

Summer2017_Day15_026

Summer2017_Day15_027

Summer2017_Day15_028

Summer2017_Day15_029

We left Fantasy Canyon, driving east into Colorado.  We stopped in Grand Junction to do the laundry, then continued on to overnight at Shaare Shamaim, a recently founded rural Jewish community:

Summer2017_Day15_030

Summer2017_Day15_031

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 14: Killpecker Dunes, Flaming Gorge NRA, Dinosaur NM

This morning, M and I got up before sunrise, unhitched from the RV and drove northeast to the Killpecker Sand Dunes, one of the largest living dune fields in North America.  We last visited here in 2010, but today I was here to fly my PPG over the dunes.  We walked around looking for a suitable launch site:

Summer2017_Day14_001

Summer2017_Day14_002

Summer2017_Day14_2_005

Summer2017_Day14_2_003

Summer2017_Day14_2_004

Launching here under ideal conditions would be challenging due to being at over 7,000 feet above sea level.  Winds were light and maddeningly uncooperative, frequently changing directions.  After a few launch attempts and numerous relocations to try to get lined up with the wind, I decided to pack it in as it was getting late enough in the morning that thermals could become a danger:

Summer2017_Day14_003

M brought his R/C car:

Summer2017_Day14_2_001

Summer2017_Day14_2_002

Summer2017_Day14_004

Summer2017_Day14_005

On the way back we could see Boar’s Tusk in the distance:

Summer2017_Day14_006

We reconnected with the RV and headed south, crossing from Wyoming into Utah.  Our first stop was Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.  The BOR visitor center is at the dam that backs up the Green River to create the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.  A retired hydroelectric turbine is on display in the parking lot:

Summer2017_Day14_009

Summer2017_Day14_007

Summer2017_Day14_008

We drove on to visit the Red Canyon Visitor Center:

Summer2017_Day14_011

Summer2017_Day14_021

Summer2017_Day14_015

From the window of the visitor center, we could look down into the canyon:

Summer2017_Day14_014

We walked out to an overlook:

Summer2017_Day14_016

Summer2017_Day14_017

Summer2017_Day14_018

Summer2017_Day14_019

Summer2017_Day14_020

We continued south, and Trish made some coin purses as we drove:

Summer2017_Day14_010

We continued south and east to arrive at Dinosaur National Monument:

Summer2017_Day14_022

The main attraction of the Monument is the “wall of bones”, a layer of rock containing hundreds of fossils.  Over time, the rock layer uplifted and tilted, and it now 67 degrees from horizontal:

Summer2017_Day14_024

Summer2017_Day14_025

Summer2017_Day14_026

Summer2017_Day14_027

There were some exhibits as well:

Summer2017_Day14_028

Summer2017_Day14_029

Summer2017_Day14_030

Summer2017_Day14_031

Summer2017_JR_Badge_003

We continued south to a dispersed camping location just off the road:

Summer2017_Day14_032

Summer2017_Day14_033

There’s an open area across the road, so weather permitting I’ll try to get in a flight tomorrow morning.

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 13: Bighorn Canyon NRA

After a surprisingly quiet night at a local truck stop, we drove a couple miles to the visitor center for Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area:

Summer2017_Day13_001

Summer2017_Day13_002

Before the Bighorn River was dammed to form Bighorn Lake, boats like these were used to navigate the rapids in the canyon:

Summer2017_Day13_003

Summer2017_JR_Badge_005

We left the RV at the visitor center and drove north along the canyon to an overlook.  We could see the lake far below:

Summer2017_Day13_006

Summer2017_Day13_007

Summer2017_Day13_008

Our next stop was the trailhead for the ghost town of Hillsboro.  It was built as a homestead in 1903.  When gold mining failed to produce results, the homestead was converted to a dude ranch:

Summer2017_Day13_009
Quite a few buildings remain:

Summer2017_Day13_010

Summer2017_Day13_011

Summer2017_Day13_012

Summer2017_Day13_013

Summer2017_Day13_014

Summer2017_Day13_015

Summer2017_Day13_016

Summer2017_Day13_017

Summer2017_Day13_018

Summer2017_Day13_019

The old post office:

Summer2017_Day13_020

Summer2017_Day13_021

We headed back to the truck:

Summer2017_Day13_022

We continued south to the town of Greybull, where we noticed a number of vintage aircraft parked next to a rest stop.  It turned out to be the

Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting:

Summer2017_Day13_023

The museum houses a collection of military aircraft converted for use in firefighting:

Summer2017_Day13_024

This converted Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar sports a roof-mounted J34 jet engine salvaged from a Lockheed P-2 Neptune to allow takeoff from shorter runways:

Summer2017_Day13_025

Summer2017_Day13_027

Summer2017_Day13_028

Summer2017_Day13_029

Summer2017_Day13_030

Summer2017_Day13_031

Summer2017_Day13_032

Summer2017_Day13_033

We continued south through Thermopolis into Wind River Canyon:

Summer2017_Day13_034

Summer2017_Day13_035

Summer2017_Day13_036

We refueled in Lander and continued south to an overlook for Red Canyon:

Summer2017_Day13_037

We continued south to overnight at the Walmart of Rock Springs, Wyoming.

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 12: Pompey’s Pillar NM

Shabbos on BLM land in Montana was restful and pleasant.  We went for a couple walks and enjoyed the views.

This morning we woke up to cloudy skies after quite a bit of rain overnight:

Summer2017_Day12_001

The ground here must be mostly composed of clay, because it was extremely slick.  We hitched up and managed to get the truck and RV turned around before the upwards slope had our wheels spinning uselessly.

We used our leveling blocks to construct a runway for each tire:

Summer2017_Day12_002

Summer2017_Day12_003

After a couple iterations, we managed to get out onto the road:

Summer2017_Day12_004

Tough leveling blocks:

Summer2017_Day12_005

Summer2017_Day12_006

We continued south and west.  A motorist motioned to us to pull over and we found that a tire had failed.  For some reason, the TPMS system didn’t sound an alarm.

This is the first time we’ve had a tire fail on this RV:

Summer2017_Day12_007

Summer2017_Day12_008

We installed the spare:

Summer2017_Day12_009

The view from where we changed the tire:

Summer2017_Day12_010

It pays to carry a full set of tools:

Summer2017_Day12_011

Our next stop was Pompeys Pillar National Monument, a rock outcropping along the Yellowstone River.  It was here that William Clark of the Corps of Discovery carved his name into the rock face, leaving behind the only physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804 to 1806.  Clark named the formation after Sacagawea’s son, who was nicknamed “Pomp”.

Pompey’s Pillar:

Summer2017_Day12_022

Summer2017_Day12_012

The visitor center showed how much detail was filled in by Clark in maps of the American West thanks to the expedition:

Summer2017_Day12_013

Before the expedition, the western interior of the continent was almost completely unknown, save for the presence of the Rocky Mountains, thought then to be a single ridge of low hills:

Summer2017_Day12_014

Reality was quite a bit more brutal for the expedition, as the post-expedition map shows:

Summer2017_Day12_015

The visitor center has a replica of Clark’s signature:

Summer2017_Day12_016

We climbed up the side of Pompey’s Pillar:

Summer2017_Day12_017

Clark’s original signature, protected under glass:

Summer2017_Day12_018

Summer2017_Day12_019

Summer2017_Day12_020

Summer2017_Day12_021

Summer2017_JR_Badge_007

We continued south and west to Billings where we took our tire to Sam’s Club for replacement:

Summer2017_Day12_023

Summer2017_Day12_024

We continued south, crossing from Montana into Wyoming to overnight at a truck stop near Lovell, Wyoming.

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.