11/19/14 — Great Western War

gww trip mapI’ve been back for about a month, now, and I bet you’ve been wondering when I was gonna get off the nut and finally post about Great Western War.

…see, there was a hitch. I took a bazillion pictures, and posted a few to Instagram when I had time and internet access, and figured I’d just post the rest when I got home, except that somewhere on the way home my cats dumped water on my ipad while it was plugged in and I was asleep.

There’s basically nothing to be done about that. Which means I lost most of the pictures I took, and I am STILL really angry about that, but there’s nothing for it. But it took me a while to get to the point where I even wanted to look at the pictures I do still have for a blog post.


While I could have made the trip in two long driving days, I saw no need whatsoever to do that — that was, after all, a lot of the reason for buying the van in the first place. So instead I took four days and took my sweet time.

…that said, I now have a MUCH better understanding of the opinion, common among fulltimers, that more than maybe an hour or two a day is too much, unless you’re in a huge hurry. I mostly drove between three and six hours a day, which I thought would leave plenty of time for serendipitous stops and lunch breaks and such, and…it really doesn’t. Lesson learned!

Anyways, here it all is. (You can follow along on the map if you want!)


I had no desire whatsoever to cross Colorado on I-70. It’s a pretty drive, but I’ve done it before, and why not explore if I’ve got the time? So I took 115 down to US50 and headed towards Grand Junction that way.

These are from lunch the first day of the drive out. I found a lovely little pulloff along the Arkansas River.

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I found myself saying ‘I wish I lived here!’ at one point while Loiosh and I were wandering around…

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…and then realized that, well, I sort of did.

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Even Chocolate decided to go for a wander, though he mostly did laps around the van.

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US50 crosses the Continental Divide at Monarch Pass. I stopped for long enough to get a pile of pictures, then stopped in at the little general store to put a couple on Instagram. Yay wireless!

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It was pretty chilly, but what a view!

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Quite cold. Snow-on-the-ground cold. But it was nice to see snow after a hot summer.

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I can’t get enough of Colorado’s blue, blue sky.

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We stopped for dinner along Blue Mesa Reservoir in Curecanti National Recreation Area. There was a pretty spectacular view and the lake was gorgeous.

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This was the ‘other side’ of the sunset, to the east.

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Both boys did a BUNCH of exploring, though they didn’t want to get too close to the water. It was, after all, water.

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I wound up having to carry the Bumper back, but it was chilly and windy and I can’t blame him.

We found a little campground further along for the night — six bucks for a nice flat parking spot right across from a well-lit bathroom with sinks. Very worth the money, especially as I wasn’t feeling quite secure enough to just find a spot to pull over and boondock.

It was very cold overnight; Chocolate spent the entire night under the covers with me and Loiosh joined us round about o-god-thirty. Between all three of us and the pile of blankets, we stayed plenty warm.


I spent a while on the phone with various family members the next morning, chatting and burning minutes. For some reason I only really want to be on the phone when I’m driving — not the best of habits, but there are worse.

Once in Utah I lost all signal and just drove for a while. Spotting what looked like a lovely canyon to the south, I got off the highway, drove vaguely that way for a while, and found an excellent lunch spot along the Colorado River at the Dewey Bridge Campground. (Are you still following along?)

It was…just gorgeous. Another episode in ‘man I wish I lived here’.

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Me and the boys went on a pretty good walk, but I hadda carry Chocolate again. He does rather like being on my shoulder.

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Getting on towards sunset I saw these massive…not cliffs…ridges, I suppose, rising in the distance, so of course I pulled over for a look and some pictures. With the sun setting behind them it was hard to get a good shot.

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Turned out this was Capitol Reef and holy crap, cos this is what it looks like on the other side.

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…and that, alas, is the last of the pictures I still have. I could tell about the rest of the trip, and I still might, but in the meantime, here’s one pic from the war itself that someone else got, of my booth and me and a little of the Bumper. He did SO WELL at the war; I’m so proud of him! He’s a true warcat now.

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Anyway, you can see the rest of my stops at the map I made, with some commentary on each. It was a good trip and a great shakedown cruise for the van; I’ve got a lot to do to get it set up the way I want, but now that I’ve actually tried it out I have a much better idea of what I need to do.

But that’s a job for another day!

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