Day 1: Phoenix, AZ to El Morro National Monument, NM
Leg I: Phoenix to Flagstaff; 133.3 miles.
Mom & Dad came down to Phoenix from their home-
Leg II: Flagstaff, AZ to Gallup, NM; 181.6 miles.
En route, we made a detour through Winslow. We didn't go "standing on a corner", but we did stop to see the beautifully-
Leaving Winslow, we intended to make a non-
Leg III: Gallup, NM to El Morro National Monument, NM; 53.6 miles.
After stopping in at Pep Boys and AutoZone, we filled up the gas tanks and made a dinner stop at Denny's. It was about 9pm or so when we left Denny's, so the sites along "scenic route" SR602 remained hidden from view. In typical fashion, we didn't pull into the campground at El Morro until pretty late. Three notes were made during this leg: 1) The new high-
Day 2: El Morro National Monument, NM to Durango, CO
Leg I: El Morro National Monument to Pine Hill, NM; 17.1 miles.
In the morning, the truck's thermostat was replaced. Just before leaving the campground, however, another issue arose: there was a small puddle on the ground under the rear of the van and the coolant refill tank was empty. Upon closer inspection, coolant was seeping out of one of the new coolant hoses going to the new oil cooler. The clamp was tightened up, a secondary clamp added as a back-
After touring the monument, we headed back down the road, literally, to Pine Hill. What's at Pine Hill? The Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, of course! The 5-
Leg II: Pine Hill, NM to Bandera Crater & Ice Caves, NM; 26 miles.
After playing with the wolves, we stopped in to see the ice cave. Who would've thought that a volcano could produce ice? Strange, but true! And a nice place to be on a hot day!
Leg III: Bandera Crater & Ice Caves, NM to Grants, NM; 27.4 miles.
Although it was lovely being in the ice cave, we had to press on... the sun wasn't getting any higher in the sky and we still were well over 100 miles from Colorado. After gassing up and eating a late lunch in Grants, we headed north. MPG: 19.68 ( yes, I double-
Leg IV: Grants, NM to Farmington, NM; 138.9 miles.
Beautiful scenery around the Thoreau area; it's quite similar to Sedona. En route to Farmington on SR371, we had a colorful sunset to the west and a fabulous lightning show to the east. By the time we arrived in Farmington it was dark. After a brief refueling stop we were on the road again. In case you might be wondering, the campground fix did indeed solve the coolant leak. MPG: 17.08
Leg V: Farmington, NM to Durango, CO; 55.2 miles.
We were planning to swing by Navajo Lake en route to Durango to see what it's like. Being behind schedule nixed that idea, however. From Farmington, we took Highway 550. Given the fact that New Mexico doesn't care to put up very many mileage signs (or speed limit signs for that matter), I joked to myself that there probably wouldn't be any X-
Day 3 to Day 7: Seeing the sites of Durango
Day 3, Monday. Train #1 woke us up bright and early! The Durango & Silverton train runs right through camp, RV'ers on one side of the tracks, the tenters on the other. Because of that, there is a connecting road that crosses the tracks, which means the train blows its cute whistle right there at the campground. No need for an alarm clock! After train #1, if you wish to snooze some more, no worries; train #2 comes by 45 minutes later. If you still need a bit more sleep, go ahead; train #3 comes by in another 45 minutes to give you one final chance to get out of bed and enjoy Durango's fabulous offerings. Today was mostly an R&R day: The boys went bike riding while the girls went trolley riding (speaking of the free trolley, more cities need to do this!!).
Day 4, Tuesday. Today was our day to ride the train! Train #2, with engine #480, to be specific. Fabulous trip! Gorgeous scenery that no one should miss. (Note to parents: If you're going to the expense of taking your kids with you while traveling, don't give them electronic toys to play with; traveling is one of the best ways for kids to learn and to see sights they may never get another chance to see! The kids in our train car had their eyes glued on their toys until the batteries finally went dead.) There are places where you lean out of the train and look straight down into the gorge, while on the other side, the train comes within 8 inches of touching the rock wall. It took the train just over 3 hours, 5,000 gallons of water and 3 tons of coal to climb the 3,000 feet into Silverton.
Once we arrived in Silverton our stomachs were growling for lunch. Seeing the large "hot roast beef and turkey sandwiches" sign painted on The Shady Lady building (yes, it's a former house of ill repute), we opted to dine there. We grabbed the empty table right at the front door. This turned into a rather amusing time: There are no locks on the bathrooms, including the stalls (my sincere apologies to the two elderly ladies I accidentally walked in on). About five minutes after the orders were placed, the rather unhappy waitress returns saying, "We're out of mashed potatoes, are french fries okay?" Five minutes later the same waitress returns saying, "We're out of french fries, are potato chips okay?" Five minutes later she returns again, "We're out of the vegetable of the day, so the cook has said no more hot plates altogether." "Can we get just the sandwich?" "No; the cook says no hot meals whatsoever." Dad and I looked over the menu and replied, "Okay, we'll have burgers." She returns five minutes later, uh-
Day 5, Wednesday. Mountain biking day! We followed the river-
Day 6, Thursday. Rafting day! Durango Rivertrippers picked us up at the campground and shuttled us over to the put-
Day 7, Friday. Another R&R day. Three went bike riding, one went trolley riding, I took Old Blue to the car wash to get him ready for the return trip. While drying the van (roof was popped up), a couple drove out of the wash bay and stopped to ask about the van because they never knew what Westfalias were all about (see the quotes page for details). They thought the pop-
Day 8: Durango to Mesa Verde National Park, CO; 101.8 miles
Durango was fun, and so scenic! Definitely a town built for people who enjoy outdoor activities -
Day 9: Mesa Verde National Park, CO to Lake Powell, AZ
Leg I: Mesa Verde to Cortez, CO; 31 miles.
Another gorgeous day, enhanced by lots of puffy white clouds floating in the sky. Leaving Mesa Verde, fresh snow could be seen on the mountains off in the distance... yes, snow! This is June, yes? After making a gas and snack stop in Cortez, we were off to Arizona. MPG: 16.44
Leg II: Cortez, CO to Four Corners; 39.4 miles.
A sign on the highway says that Four Corners is closed; however, our neighbors back at United Campground verified that it's open Friday through Sunday. Sure enough, the gates were open. There is a catch though: The monument itself is closed due to reconstruction; but, the Navajo "strip mall" at the monument is, of course, open for your patronage, not to mention the actual four corners is 2.5 miles away. ;)
Leg III: Four Corners to Kayenta, AZ; 79.5 miles.
Leaving Four Corners, we moved on to Kayenta, stopping in at McDonald's and Subway for lunch. Because we hadn't been there in decades and because it was such a gorgeous day, it was decided that we'd take a little detour out to Monument Valley.
Leg IV: Kayenta, AZ to Monument Valley, UT; 26.3 miles.
At the entrance (i.e. fee station), we decided not to pay the $6 per person and, instead, pulled off to the side of the road to determine where to head next. After a brief stay in Utah, it was back to Arizona. Pretty day to be at Monument Valley though; perfect for photos!
Leg V: Monument Valley, UT to Kayenta, AZ; 26.3 miles.
After filling up the gas tanks and a long wait in the restroom (van-
Leg VI: Kayenta, AZ to Lake Powell, AZ; 100 miles.
While it might have a lot of hills (i.e. lots of opportunities to take in the sights!), Highway 98 is a very scenic route up to Lake Powell. Driving through the campground looking for a site, a guy playing with his kids asked as we drove by, "How's Old Blue?!" The spot we chose offered us the opportunity to finally use the new leveling blocks, which worked very well -
Day 10: Lake Powell, AZ to Phoenix, AZ
Unzipped the master suite window in the morning to see another beautiful day; crystal clear, sunny and a pleasant 85 degrees. After packing up for one last time, it was off to Glen Canyon Dam for a tour. Dad says he's never been through it, but I recall touring it way back in the '80s. Following the dam tour, we stopped in to peruse the John Wesley Powell Museum in Page. After loading our brains with historical facts and filling our stomachs with sandwiches, we began the 4-
You know, a loaded-
Fabulous trip... All said and done, Old Blue drove over 1000 miles and averaged 17 miles per gallon driving mostly 65mph. Aside from the coolant leak, the Hot-
We all had a fantastic time and I, for one, can't wait for Adventure #4!! (I think it'll be soon... to a mountain lake... where I can escape the desert heat!)
Total miles: 1,335
Avg. MPG: 17.3
|Solar & Fridge|
|Hitch & Accessories|
|Bringing Old Blue Home|
|South Arizona 2010|
|Park City 2010|
|Syncrofest I 2011|
|Palm Springs 2011|
|BBB XVI 2012|
|Woods Canyon 2012|
|BBB XVII 2013|
|Blue Ridge 2013|
|Santa Fe 2013|
|BBB XVIII 2014|
|Lee's Ferry 2014|
|BBB XIX 2015|
|Lake Mohave 2015|
|BBB XX 2016|
|Lee's Ferry 2016|
|BBB XXI 2017|
|Electrical & Mechanical Projects|
|Sliding Door Screen|