Arches to Heaton Bay NF Campground

arches_camp_2We had an excellent evening.  Sometime during one of my mid-sleep forays, I stuck my head out of the RV.  It was cool, and it appeared to be just about an hour before dawn.  Venus was rising, and when I looked out to the other side of the RV, the stars that had been our companions while we watched the fire, were gone, replaced by others.  I think I saw the International Space Station pass overhead, but I didn’t buy that app for the iPad, so I guess I’ll never know. The night sky was beautiful, made even more so by the lack of man’s lighting.

An idling truck woke me up at 7:30.  We had the alarm set for 6:45 AM.  It had gone off, but we never heard it.  The RV was all open and I suppose the new-age melody I selected wasn’t robust enough to wake us.  Plans for a big Sunday breakfast were scrapped and it was a quick clean up, cereal, coffee and bananas, good clothes, and off we went.  We had located a church with a mass at 9:00 AM, and since there is a shortage of both catholic churches, priests and masses once you cross the Rockies, we were determined to go to mass.  We had just enough time to stop at Slippery Rock RV, where Jennifer sold me water and a dump at the necessary for $5 the night before, with the promise I could get water on Saturday for showers and dump at the necessary on Sunday.

Everything went according to plan, and there were no sewage incidents, or changes of footwear, as in the past.  We arrived at Pope Pius the X Church in Moab, enjoyed the sermon, and were done by 10:00 AM.  Father Bill Weaton had other masses to say that day, and he was on a schedule.  Said what he had to say, said it well, made excellent points, and got ‘er done.

We had gassed up the day before, so we were off.  The scenery along Interstate 70 was interesting, but nothing compared to the scenery after exiting the Great Basin when we first got on Interstate 70. As we drove further east, the mountains became more spectacular.  Sedimentary rocks gradually were replaced by metamorphic rock formations.  Here and there, you could spot old mines along the cliffs bordering the highway.  Interstate 70 generally follows the Colorado River, and since the canyons are pretty narrow, they have folded the Interstate on itself.  Westbound Interstate 70 has the upper roadway, and eastbound has the route closer to the river.

We stopped for lunch in a little town called Rifle. Apparently the first settlers in this area had no imagination.  Among Rifle you can find the towns of Silt and No Name.  Rifle has a very nice rest stop park, where camping was prohibited, but I was surprised to find that there was potable water to fill your RV an a dump station, both for free.  We found a shady spot and had excellent tuna salad sandwiches on toast with tomato and lettuce.  The supermarket yesterday had great produce.

We crossed the Vail Pass after going through Vail.  Fortunately there was no charge, this time, for looking at Vail, and the police were apparently busy on that afternoon. We saw three coming from some unknown  location, so there were not a lot of Vail police cars sitting on the interstate near the exits this time.  There was still some snow left on the slope right in downtown Vail, but we unfortunately left our skis home, so we didn’t stop.

colorado_campgroundWe arrived at the Heaton Bay Campground, part of the National Forest System, located in Dillon Colorado.  The campsite is beautiful, surrounded by snow covered mountains, with a large lake.  We chose a site with a lake view.  We met several people, all wonderful, and a couple with an Itasca Navion with whom we compared notes.  Denny and Lois were the owners of the Navion, and when they lost their wheel covers, they painted their rims silver.  Problem solved for me, $300 saved.

We had a nice dinner of fried chicken, potatoes, broccoli and a little wine, made a few phone calls and simply enjoyed our surroundings.  It has been really nice to arrive at a campground early in the afternoon and relax.  The scenery was beautiful and I had no urge to go hiking, biking or looking around.  Simply sitting and enjoying God’s beautiful earth and the people he put on it was enough.  It was a long an tiring day, but the afternoon made up for it and more.  Tomorrow we are off to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for a second opinion.  Tomorrow we will determine if it is, in fact, a drive through park.  We’ll let you know.