10/13/2020 to 10/16/2020
We are off for our longest trip yet! As we were packing up our neighbor stopped by and said that we looked like 2 kids in a candy shop…we were so excited. So many adventures, beautiful unexpected sights are awaiting us.
Our first planned destination is Eagle, Idaho for a week of painting at the Eagle Plein Air Festival where I will be painting and submitting my art into a juried competition. Our original idea was to drive north through Wyoming and then head west, but with fires in Wyoming and forecasts of high winds we changed our plans. We head west through Colorado on I-70 which we always find beautiful, The mountains, canyons, fall leaves and great rock formations always take our breath away. With no plans on where to stay we ended up pulling into Parachute, CO for fuel and saw a nice dirt parking area surrounded by fall leaves, buttes and the Colorado River. We called the hotel (that had signage saying parking by permit only) and they told us that we could stay the night. Voila! A perfect stop for the night. The next morning we did a quick walk down a dirt road and were struck by beautiful colors reflecting in some still lakes and the buttes.
We decided to set off early to get some miles under our belt and then stopped for breakfast and another walk at James M. Robb State Park which we had driven past before and were curious about. It was a nice campground with everything you could need, some beautiful scenery and something to keep in mind for a another trip.
In lieu of heading into Salt Lake (like the original plan) we noticed a scenic road on the map and decided to take that north. Hwy 139 was a very interesting road. It started off with great fall color trees that traced the edge of a creek and wound up steeply to rock formations that ended in a valley that could have been terrain on the moon. Eventually we got to our destination of Dinosaur National Monument. I didn’t have high expectations since I’m not much of a fossil fan, but it was well worth the stop. The huge quantities and size of the dinosaur fossils there are amazing. They believe that there are remains of over 500 dinosaurs here and they are huge. The thigh bones (as seen in the picture below) are as tall as I am.
Being an architect in my past life, I absolutely loved the building as well. The clean lines, the natural lighting and the way that it was built into the rock formations was great to see.
We decided to camp at the National Monument since we had heard from a friend that they loved the campground, and it did not disappoint. We found a beautiful spot, nestled into the trees near the bank of the Green River. I had just come back from a hike with Buddy to an overlook when our neighbors came over to ask if I was interested in painting watercolors with their kids down at the river. Ross and I wound up the day with them painting on the banks of the river. It was a beautiful way to complete the day and spread some love of painting with the kids.
Our third day was about getting some mileage in and getting closer to Eagle, ID. We spent the early morning with our cup of tea on the edge of the Green River mesmerized by the beauty of the sunlight on the shimmering yellow trees and the rock formations. We packed up and then decided to have breakfast about an hour away in Steinaker State Park. We’ve decided that this is a nice way to start the day. We get our breakfast and walk in after we drive for an hour which is a great way to see another location.
Next stop was at the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area (which we had driven past on previous trips). We had lunch and a walk at Red Canyon overlook which was breathtaking. The colors of the canyon with the green river with the sheer drop offs was amazing and well worth stopping for. We are feeling really blessed to be able to do this road trip. Only 3 days in and already we both are rejuvenated and inspired.
We headed north and made our way into Wyoming. I have many apps on my phone to find camping locations, and was struggling a little to find one near Cokeville, WY. I did come across one near a small ski resort called Pine Creek. We headed that direction and then decided to just park in the parking lot figuring that it would be empty. We saw the lights on in the small lodge, so we walked up the hill and asked if they would be okay if we stayed there for the night. They were fine with it, and Ross was so excited to stay in a ski resort even though there isn’t any snow yet. So far this adventure has been great.
Eagle Idaho here we come!