Colorado/Utah trip report


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On Thursday September 9th we headed out on our first trip with the new Sierra 3500 and the Grand Design trailer that's only seen local trips since we got it last December. We headed north to Ash Fork Az and took I-40 west to Gallup NM, then north through the Rez to Cortez Co then east to Mancos State Park near the small town of Mancos. 450 miles mostly at 65 mph on cruise. The truck did great rolling along at 1800 rpm sometimes bumping up to around 2300 and on fairly steep places 2700. Steady as a rock, no movement at all being passed by semis. The first fill up at Gallup was a surprise at 11 mpg.

Mancos State Park is on a lake and sits at 7800' elevation in pines. It's primitive camping with no hookups but the campsites are nice and fairly well spread out. We've been here before and wanted to come back. Close to Cortez is a mountain bike area called Phil's World, a maze of trails that's been doubled in size since I was there before. Got a good ride in on Friday and rode 22 miles. My ride back showed up on time and after lunch we took the dogs to the lake and let them swim and wade around. Saturday we took a ride west of Cortez to Sand Canyon in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument for a hike to see some cliff dwelling ruins. This was a great hike along a red rock bench with a cliff rising on the left. We hiked a bit over 2 miles in and saw 6 different ruins. There were a couple of more in the next mile but our older dog has arthritis and limits our distance. This is a great hike that is 6 miles one way if you want to do it all. Sunday we stayed in the campground, took the dogs for some hikes, rode our bikes around the lake and I tried a longer ride into the back country that turned into a hike-a-bike on the primitive rocky rooted trail, I turned around about half way in. We also took a ride up the road past the campground to a lookout at 9000' looking north at a mountain that's sacred to the native indigenous people. Drove through an amazing aspen forest on the way.

Monday we planned to take a scenic drive into the Capital Reef National Park and stay at a small private campground but a bridge closure due to flash flooding detoured us north through Moab to I-70 then west then south then west again to the campground. Nothing special just a stop over on the way to Red Canyon. We drove over to Fruita where the Mormons settled and had orchards and saw some great petroglyphs along the way. Tuesday we planned to take Scenic Route 12 past Bryce Canyon but didn't want to deal with a windy narrow road and took a longer route through some interesting Utah back country and got to Red Canyon campground at lunchtime. This is a no reservation no hookup campground but the location and scenery is amazing and worth it. There are some amazing hikes right out of the campground and a world class trail nearby called Thunder Mountain trail. I rode this in August 2020 and still haven't decided if it's my favorite ride ever but it's in the top 3. It's a 16 mile round trip from the campground partly on a paved bike trail that runs all the way through Red Canyon. We headed home Friday morning driving 350 miles through Kanab, Page, Flagstaff, and home. Total miles just under 1500 at 9.9 mpg. Paid $3.10 for gas in Az when we left, $3.30 in Co, $3.95&4.00 in Utah, and $3.00 when we got home. The only problem on the trip was the controller on my small solar panel went bad so we had to use the generator more than I wanted.

Campsite at Mancos

The gray dog loves to swim, the red dog wades.

A small ruin in Sand Canyon.




A black cherry/dark chocolate mountain pie about to go into the fire. Oh yeah.


Red Canyon campsite


More photos to come.
A hike right out of the campground. 500' of climb in .9 miles.

Scenery on the Thunder Mountain trail.

Sometimes you share the trail. A lady asked a wrangler how much longer, he said about 2 hours. She groaned. I get well away from hosses.

Dutch oven pizza. Still working on the details.

If you've ever travelled I-40 across Arizona you've seen this guy! He's got a lady in his mouth.
Great pics and we'll have to put the Mancos area on our to-do list.

11MPG is a great number, I'd be happy with that. How did the truck to on the down slopes?

We saw the T-Rex a few days ago, but didn't realize there is a human in it's mouth!