A Travellerspoint blog

Royal Pains and Highly Places

Travel from the Royal Gorge Bridge Through Monarch Pass

I wake up around 8am (Joe's alarm for 7am didn't work), and I am grateful for the extra hour (sorry blog, you come after sleep). Then I open the shades,

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and we realize that we have the river from the Royal Gorge running through the backyard! Then we talk with the owners for a while. They were so nice! They let Joe park the bike under the awning to their lobby to keep it out of the rain, they started the space heater in the room for us while we ate at the cafe (they gave the waitress her tip for us the next morning),and they talked to us about where we should camp next. They said that we were going to pass through the Blue Mesa Park, and that camping there next to the lake is beautiful.

They also took a pic of us in front of their sign:
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We ate breakfast on their patio overlooking the river,
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and then headed for the dreadful Monarch Pass!
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When we finally made it out of the snow (we had to take a few breaks getting up the mountain to release the pressure on the radiator), we stopped at the first store to buy some soup. Joe got the homemade Italian, and I got the homemade Chicken Noodle with macaroni noodles (and it was the best frigging soup ever! Creamy and noodly at the same time). And the bar/ restaurant was probably run by women b/c there were all sorts of feminist signs everywhere like "If a man says something, and a woman's not there, is he still wrong?" and "Man is proof that woman has a sense of humor." I'm obviously quoting these things wrong b/c I read them over a week ago, but you get the gist.

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After melting we headed back out and eventually hit the Blue Mesa.

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Then it was time to stop and put some ooze in the engine (we believe that there has always been a bit of a leak around the water pump that seals the water from the radiator away from the oil in the engine, but now its worse). So instead of using regular motor oil, we use super thick ooze that makes up for the water leakage (something that we will hopefully fix it we ever get to the Black Canyon). However, slight miss-communication, I was having trouble tightening the cap to the engine oil, I thought Joe told me to to let him handle it, and he doesn't really remember that, and so in the end Joe dumped more motor oil on us than ever before, and realized that it was because the cap fell out! I got off the bike and started re-walking our path, and Joe drove off to retrace our path the way that ends before the sun sets.

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(You can kinda see the sleeping bag on the back of the bike going around the corner as Joe drove away)

I walked for about 10min. and I got to see a better view of the damn that made Blue Mesa Lake, and as I was taking pics of the damn I found some deer.
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But no oil cap. Then another 10min. of walking, and I finally see Joe's one headlight. He had made it all the way back to where we put the ooze in, searched around, and then was on his way back when he saw 1/2 the cap off the side of the road on one of the tighter curves. It had fallen out as the bike tipped to the side to make the turn. As expected, a car, or more likely a truck or semi (not very many cars out west), had hit it and broke the dipstick off the inside of the cap. But Joe says that bikes don't need dipsticks b/c you can just tip the engine sideways and watch the oil slosh around. Good point. Anyhow, now it was really getting dark, and we were again, not making it to the Black Canyon. Joe wanted to camp at the Blue Mesa Lake like the motel owners were telling us, but it was way too cold by the lake, so we kept on. Then we passed a sign that said "Motorcyclists Use Extreme Caution!" and I was sold when Joe pulled off at the next truck stop. It wasn't really a stop, so much as an area between tight curves where there was space enough for maybe 2 semis to pull off the road. There was a national park about 5 miles away, but we agreed that 5 miles on these windy roads at night in the cold did not sound like fun. The river that was damned to make the Blue Mesa Lake ran right with the road, but about 15" below it to the right. So Joe and I climbed down from the pull off to the river, found a nice flat spot to camp, and we did.

The river was calming and set the two of us right to sleep, and we were also camped on a bed of spearmint, so again, very soothing. However, I was scared most of the night. Something was scratching at our tent, and Joe would yell at it to go away, but then it would come back. It was persistent! And in a tent, you have no idea what it looks like! Now I'm claustrophobic, so this is getting on my last nerve. I would rather open up the tent and get mauled by the thing than sit here not knowing what it is another minute. Joe, being much more sensible than I (yet still less sensible than anyone who is probably reading this), made a fist, and punched the tent hitting the thing in the face! "What is it!?" was my first reaction. "It isn't big, don't worry about it, probably a gopher and we're camping on its hole, go back to sleep." Well I tried, but it came back! Even after being punched in the face! And just last night I was listening to someone talk about this old woman who was attacked by a raccoon b/c she shewed it away from her back door while it was near its young. It clawed her right to the bone! And here we are, probably punching a raccoon in the face! Now I'm scared to be inside and to go outside (claustrophobia at its best). So, Joe tried one more time, and punched the thing in the face. This time, thank God! (yes, capital G) the thing did not come back.

The next morning we woke up to a frosted over tent, and I think we silently agreed right then that we were going to get a motel once we finally hit the Black Canyon. I collected some of the spearmint (thank you Tiffany from Kung Fu for teaching me about spearmint plants, those work parties were sometimes educational), and then we climbed back up to the road and packed the bike like we just needed some reorganizing, not because we were sleeping next to the road.

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Posted by - Rain 18:39

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Comments

wow, what a gorgeous campsite, just right up you two's alley! also, vanessa, when you dam a river, it's dam, not damn, but in this case, i think your damn was equally appropriate. also, jennifer and tony are reading your blogs and think both of you are very good writers, and should get all of these published someday! p.s. i just caught 3 raccoons and a skunk in a humane cage in our backyard, and the last raccoon actually pried part of the metal cage apart! (not to alarm you or anything!)

by georgi r

Yes, I cannot write very fast as I re-read my last message I proved it. So, the name "Acelin" is French and it means Noble. That's all I know and when I told my mom the name she smiled and said it was very unique. I still like today and the more I tell people the more I grows on me. Sharp..Sharp..Sharp...My brother Sharp is becoming a big pain in my ass and he came up to me yesterday feeling obligated and pushed to work on the haunted house for the trick or treating in Oct 24th. He said firmly to not rely on him for anything which is not any news to me. He said he hates living with anyone but himself and justin was the closest to himself so he liked living with him. He says he finds himself cleaning up after C and I. Whatever...he just needs layed. But he continues to drink and complain and I now I just can't wait for him to leave. He had found house (ya!)down the road on the corner not to far me but the realtor said the place had the worst case of mold she had ever seen (Boo), so Sharp declined the house all together.
Anyway, Gadien is doing good, not as much morning sickness anymore but her cravings are cake and bad stuff and I'll cook her something awesome and when she sees it she becomes unsettled. I can't seem to understand what little Acelin wants yet. Weird. To make her feel less crazy though I rubb her feet everyday and she likes it and returns the niceness. I am trying to better her eating habits and the OBGYN doctor says she needs to eat better too. All right guys keep crusing around and I'll be watching from this site.
Later, Anarki

by Anarki

Your experience with a persistent critter outside the tent reminds me of so many nights of fitful sleep while camping. And, yes, Georgi is so right about how messing with raccoons is not a great idea. (The ones in our backyard are totally fearless, letting you take numerous photos from close up, and I think they're just dying for Casey to be dumb enough to get too close.) Anyway, I looked up tips for getting rid of animal intruders while camping:

To prevent any curious animals from wandering onto your campsite or into your tent, keep all food contained in bags or cooler.

Step 2When you eat, cook and eat a few yards away from your campsite, so the animals do not follow the scent to your tent.

Step 3Pack a humane bear repellent. Signals and flares can be launched off, which can scare the bear away. Use pepper spray as a last resort.

Step 4Pack personal alarms that emit a shrieking sound. This will scare smaller wildlife like raccoons and other scavengers. [and you guys?]

And here are some tips just for raccoons:

Step 1 Raccoons are nocturnal omnivores, meaning they come out at night and eat anything.

Step 2Put your garbage in plastic bag also and wedge it into the v formed by branches of a tree and then secure the plastic bag with a bungy cord that has been soaked with tabasco sauce, which will repel them.

Step 3Finally and most importantly, sprinkle a generous portion of ground cayenne pepper in a circle around both your campsite and garbage. They are very adverse to the smell of the pepper and used in conjunction with the tabasco sauce will deter them and force them to seek easier targets. [Let us know, bloggers, if you try the cayenne!]

by Sheryl S

Yeah, I had texted with Gaiden yesterday and she told me as much (not about the cake, but I kinda guessed that on my one).
Try and get her to eat a Fudge Brownie or Chocolate Mint Cliff Bar, something with chocolate in it that tastes like cake but is still good for you. Also whats good are Chocolate Slim Fasts that she can drink with a sandwich or something. See if washing down some whole wheat turky and lettuce sandwich with a Slim Fast will kinda trick her taste buds. Don't try and get her off of chocolate and sugar, but feed that craving so that she can open up to other things. Try also desert before dinner. Give her some bakery to get her appetite going, and then try and give her some chilly with veggies hidden in it. Or a salad with bakery in it. Keep us posted.

by - Rain

your mom said it, freakin awesome campsite! except for the badger/ raccoon thing. maybe it was the killer bunny from monty python. bunnies, bunnies, it must be BUNNIES! or maybe midgets...

by laurr

this was my favorite

"Joe, being much more sensible than I (yet still less sensible than anyone who is probably reading this), made a fist, and punched the tent hitting the thing in the face!"

It should be engraved on something...a car, a ring, your tomb stones...

by BritterBee

how about putting it on a t- shirt?

by georgi r

Great camp site! Sad it sounded scarier then the shack ironically.

by buddy-JC

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