Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Walla Walla Washington to Denver Colorado

It's been a busy couple of weeks since our last post.

We went to Walla Walla Washington for the Spring Wine Weekend.
While there we visited with friends, went to Wineries & Barbecues and had a great time.

We had Happy Hours

Steak on the barbie.

Visited Wineries

The ladies did crafts.

Kristi gets up close and personal with a gourd.
Her art work on gourds is quite impressive.

Our final nite in WW we went to a barbecue at a friends home in this lovely
setting above some grape vineyards.

The perfect nightcap was the full moon rising above the Blue Mountains in the distance.
Unfortunately I only had my iPhone for the photos.

After 4 fun days it was time to shift into travel mode.
WW marked our turn for the east coast and our home for a while.
But first we have stops to make.

Enroute to our first stop in Denver we spent a night in Three Island Crossing State Park.
The park is located on the Snake River in Idaho.   The name refers to 3 islands
in the middle of the Snake that was used by the westward emigrants on the
Oregon Trail to Cross the River to the Northern Shore.

The park is another green oasis.

Below you can see one of the three islands.
Many pioneers drowned here trying to cross.
The alternative was to stay on the southern shore for another 250 miles
but the southern route was longer, dry, difficult, and rocky so it was advantageous
to make the crossing if possible.

The view from our campsite - looking across the Snake River you can
see the path the wagons made in the hillside coming down to the river to
attempt the perilous crossing.

A few years back Kate & I traveled the first half of the Oregon Trail to
South Pass Wyoming.   It is on our list to pick up the trail from South Pass and
follow it the rest of the way to the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Our next stop was Utah Lake State Park in Provo, Ut.
It is on the shore of Utah Lake - the Largest Freshwater lake in Utah.
The park had sort of an urban feel to it but it was perfectly nice for an overnight
stop while we are in travel mode.  They have 50amp full hookups and pull thru
sites so no need to unhook the toad.

The view to the east from our window looking at the Wasatch Mountains.
Unsettled weather has been traveling thru the intermountain west and our normally dry
weather has turned cool and unseasonable.

One of our pretty neighbors.
Not sure what sort of bird it is.

Our site.
If you look closely you can see Gracie watching my every move.
She always is on watch.

Our next stop was at the J Robb State Park in Fruita, Colorado.
A very nice park with a pretty campground on the shore of the Colorado River
and just outside the Colorado National Monument.

We again chose a pull thru site so that we did not have to unhook the toad.

The view from our site towards Colorado Natl Monument.

In between the passing thunderstorms we were able to view some of the migrating waterfowl.

We were able to snap a photo of these two marauding wild beasts!

The next day we made our final push thru the Rocky Mountains to Denver.

The drive thru Glenwood Canyon on I-70 is gorgeous.
The canyon walls climb as much as 1,300' above the roadway as it
winds its way 12 miles thru the canyon next to the Colorado River.

The road is an engineering marvel and this stretch was one of the last Interstate
sections competed.  Care was taken to preserve the recreational and scenic value of
the canyon.   Hiking trails run right alongside the roadway

From rushing waters to still ponds...
On a hot day many people use the river for rafting, canoeing,
kayaking etc.

Further east the roadway climbs over Vail Pass.
Here the roadway reaches an elevation of 10,662'
From the pass we descend back down to around 9,000' in Dillon.

Leaving Dillon eastbound you again climb steeply at 6 and 7% grades to the
Eisenhower Tunnel which is the highest point on the US Interstate Highway System,
and one of the highest road tunnels in the world.

The tunnel reaches 11,162' and is about 1 3/4 miles long.

Meanwhile - Gracie is at her normal travel station.
She sits in the window like a cat and just watches the world go by.
She sits there hour after hour.

Lucy on the other hand could care less.  She makes a nest on the  couch and sleeps.

Our unsettled weather - first encountered in Utah - continued all the way to Denver.
We arrived in pouring rain.  It rained for a couple of days and then turned to snow.
We woke up with 9" of wet heavy snow on the ground.   Later the sun came out and by
2pm it was all gone.

While in Denver we went to our wine storage facility and picked up a couple of cases
of some fine 2000 and 2005 reds that we'd been aging.

We visited my good friend Frank and spent Mothers Day with him and his family.
Frank and I go back over 40 years to our days working in an electric generating powerhouse.
It is alway a good time when we see Frank & Sandy.

On Monday May 11th we departed Denver for the 5 hr drive north on I-25 to
Casper Wyoming where we hooked back up with Ron & Maxine.

The Doodles went crazy to see their second parents.

We are now in Casper to see some Oregon Trail sights, and then tomorrow we will slowly head
our way down US 26 into Nebraska following the Oregon Trail in reverse.

See you on the trail!


  1. As always....beautiful photos and great commentary. It looks like you are having a great trip. Please say hi to Ron and Maxine for us. Happy Trails!! Love, M

  2. Oh man, just reading about your travels makes me want to get back on the road. We are sitting in the Texas hill country with doctor appointments and procedures. Hope to be on the road and heading east in early June.

    You guys got the white variety of precipitation while we are getting the clear version. Lots of rain and flooding going on here. I need to see the sun. Every day is a repeat with grey skies and storms.

    Interesting info on the highest point on the US interstate system. Oh yes, Colorado national monument is such a beautiful place. We enjoyed our time there.

    Hugs to you and Kate and of course the Doods!

  3. Awesome photos as usual!! I love that Gracie looks out the window. How's your knee doing? Looking forward to seeing you guys some this summer! Safe travels


  4. Greg, this travel book you are writing is fantastic. You always seem to know where to go and what's interesting to see. It's amazing. Oh and the Gracie dog is Sooooooo cute looking out thevwindow. Love your kids.

  5. Hope to see you while you are in NC!

  6. Geez, that was me above, Sue B


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