Had a lovely scenic drive through another part of the Medicine Bow National Forest, over Battle Pass (9911 feet) and on into the foothills. I wanted to stop at Jensen Wildlife Management Area near Meeker overnight. There were lots of signs that said “Camping in Designated Areas Only” but I never did see any! It’s a little one-lane dirt road and I did go up a side road and found a couple small corrals. I was tired of driving and was going to just park the camper right in that little road but I tried and tried and never could get the trailer leveled side-to-side, even using the riser thingie. There was nowhere to pull off that road and park near the corrals, so I gave up and drove another hour to Rifle, CO. I ended up at the Garfield County Fairgrounds overnight, for $10. It was actually quite nice; I was the only one there and I had electric hookups and found out the next morning that they also have showers! I had to search all over the place in the morning to find the office so I could pay.
Rifle’s biggest claim to fame is the Shooters Grill, where all the servers wear handguns, and they encourage their patrons to do the same.
Then we continued on to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. I have a lovely free campsite on BLM land less than 2 miles from the park entrance! (GPS 38.53294 -107.71682) When I first pulled in, there was a road going straight ahead that looked to be in really bad condition, so I took the road to the right. It kept getting more and more narrow and bushes were scraping the sides of the car, but there was nowhere to turn around. Then I came to a place where rainwater had eaten away a huge swale all the way across the road, and I didn’t think my low-slung camper would make it through the dip. I started to back up (approx. 1/2 mile, yikes!) and a man came from a campsite there and said if I could make it through that, the road was OK farther on and there was a good place to camp or turn around. So he guided me and I made it through with nary a scrape! The road really wasn’t great but it was passable, and I took the first opportunity to turn around and go back. Coming from that direction, I was heading uphill fairly steeply at that deep dip, and I had a real hard time getting traction to get through it, but I made it. I ended up in a nice shady spot between two pine trees, right near the entrance. I have a feeling that other road would be pretty ugly after a rain! The only drawback to this site is that it’s only 25′ from the paved road going to the park, but I’m sure traffic will die down completely once it gets dark. As I was putting the camper roof up, there was a tree branch that I had to forcibly convince to move aside. Now it squeaks and creaks against the roof in the slightest breeze, but I think I can get used to it.
My nice shady campsite:
Here’s my view from camp:
I don’t know how long I’ll stay here. Other free campsites are calling! The highs are supposed to be in the low 80’s next week and the mid-70’s the week after that but I think that’s OK as long as I don’t have to do any manual labor and can just sit around in the shade. It is only 11 miles back to Montrose where there are grocery stores and even Wal-Mart, plus I’m getting a pretty good cellphone signal! That’s a novelty!