22 October 2018

Grand Junction & Fruita

Just over the Utah border, are Fruita and Grand Junction, Colorado.  Best known for the  Colorado National Monument, but Fruita has always been on my list as a MTB destination.  Unfortunately, I'm not strong enough yet to take the MTB out, but we did enjoy hiking on some of the MTB trails.

We also went on two motorcycle adventures.  Since dogs aren't allowed in any National Monuments, we explored Colorado National Monument on two wheels.  Unfortunately, it was cold and raining, so not all that picture-friendly (especially because I kept forgetting to wipe the raindrops from the camera lens).

Click on over to You Tube to see a video of the ride here:

The really spectacular ride we did was down to Gateway, Colorado, which is just across the state border from Moab.  Beautiful doesn't even begin to describe this part of the country, and the video just doesn't capture the magnificence of the landscape.  But take a look anyway:

Of course, we explored the local breweries, but they get their own post.  Bottom line:  we'd definitely stop in the Grand Junction/Fruita area again, but wouldn't necessarily make it a destination in-and-of itself.  It's definitely worth a few days stay on the way to somewhere else.

Grand Junction & Fruita Breweries

1.  Copper Club Brewing Co., Fruita

We hit this one after our Pollock Bench hike, so we were very very thirsty and had the pups with us.  Although they didn't serve food, they had a stack of local menus and allowed food to be brought in.  We settled for the little buckets of (free) pretzels, and sat outside on the sunny patio.  The beer was really good.  This one definitely warrants a return trip!

Little buckets of pretzels complemented the yummy beer.

The patio gave Finn plenty of room to do his silly brewery dance.

Although you can't see the detail in this photo, all the tap handles were MTB parts!

2.  Suds Brothers, Fruita

Meh.  Beer was drinkable.  We didn't order food.  Inside felt more like a sports bar than a brewery.  Most memorable thing was the sign in the women's bathroom.  Wouldn't go back unless we were really thirsty and everything else was closed.

It was beer.  The end.  

This made me want to spend all of my money here.  Even if the beer wasn't that good.

3.  Kannah Creek Brewing Company, Grand Junction

Good beer.  Great service.  It was in the college part of town, so the tables and floor were kind of sticky, but that also meant the prices were reasonable.  Doug got the pizza and said it was really good.  We also hit it on Firkin' night, which meant they had just tapped a limited run keg - much to Doug's delight, it was an ESB!

4.  Edgewater Brewery, Grand Junction

This was a more upscale version of the college-vibe Kannah Creek, and its actually made by the same brewery.  There were more beer choices here, though.  We went on a Saturday afternoon, so it was pretty busy, but the service was great.  We ordered the Fried Cheese Curds appetizer, which was super yummy.  The beer was really good.  There was a large dog-friendly lawn area, although we didn't have the pups with us.  This is a go-again next time we're in town.

Grand Junction & Fruita Trails

1.  Lunch Loops Trails

This is a huge network of singletrack trails just a couple of miles up from the center of Grand Junction.  Super well maintained, lots of signage, plenty of parking, and even an outhouse in the parking lot.  On both of the days I walked there, I only ran into 3 other humans and one other dog.  The pups were able to romp off-leash with no worries of crossing a road or bothering other hikers or riders.  There are (at least) two ways to access this network - I used the Little Park Road Staging Area, but it seems like most people use the more convenient (and more crowded?) Monument Road trailhead.

The first day, the pups and I did the Gunny Trail to the Gunny Connector.

Great views of the plateau all along these trails.

Plenty of moles for puppies to dig up!

The second day we walked here I forgot to turn on my watch, so there's no track.  Aaaaand....I left my phone in the truck, so no pictures either.  Took a totally different route, and the pups had just as much fun!

2.  Pollock Bench Trail

This was our big hike with the whole pack.  There was some elevation gait at first, but then the trail wound around the top of the plateau with only small ups and downs.  When we started, it was foggy and grey, but then the sun came out and the colors exploded.  The photos just can't do it justice.

Finn:  "I'll sit for another dumb photo, Mom, but I won't look at the camera!"

As the sun started to come out, the colors just popped.

Pictures just can't do the enormity of this landscape any justice.

The trail went all around that rim that you see on the left.

Almost done - the trail circled this entire rim.

Way down there in the Valley is Fruita.

07 October 2018

Moab Brewing, Moab UT


Just meh.

We had been here before - back in 2008, before we were so skilled at hunting out breweries.  It's still the only brewery in town, and I guess its got that going for it.  But we were underwhelmed.

The beer is average.  So average that we didn't even consider getting any to go. 

The food was below average.  They had a decent vegetarian selection, but it wasn't very good (at least the hummus wrap wasn't).

If you're in Moab, I'd say you should skip the Brewery and head straight to Eddie McStiffs.  It isn't a brewery, but they have lots of Utah and Colorado beers on tap and the food was really good.  Doug got a BLT that had a "schmear" of egg salad.  I know, it sounds gross, but it was really pretty awesome. 

Grandstaff Canyon, Moab, UT

Grandstaff Canyon might be one of my favorite trails on this adventure so far.  With only a few hundred feet of elevation gain, it wasn't a lung buster, but there was enough bouldering to keep the heart rate up.  The trail ran along and criss-crossed a beautiful flowing stream with several spots deep enough for the pups to swim.  There were birds, lizards, and one snake that (thankfully) I didn't see.

Ignore the last mile of that one - I kinda forgot to stop my Garmin when I got in the truck.

AllTrails GPX is here

Two days later, I headed out with the pups to do it again.  I didn't go all the way to the end because I could see the thunder clouds rolling in.

I've never seen Finn this dirty!

The end/turn-around point.  

Standing under the arch at the end.

Hot and tired, but still smiling!

At the very beginning, looking into the canyon.

Look at how clear that water is!


Although we were here for a whole week, we only had 2 days without rain.  One day, we took the motorcycles up Highway 128, which snakes along the Colorado River; the other day, we hiked into Grandstaff Canyon.  The rest of the time, we sat inside the RV and stayed dry (hence the flurry of catch-up blog posts!)

The story of Moab is best told through pictures.  This first set is from our motorcycle ride.

Note all the mature male deer - all in the same herd.

These pictures are from our hikes into Grandstaff Canyon.

Moab is really known for its mountain bike and ATV trails, and of course, watersports along the Colorado River.  We spent a week here in 2008 mountain biking, but didn't even get the bikes out of the garage this time.  Moab is not the place to test one's lapsed mountain bike skills, and the non-stop rain gave us another good excuse.  Maybe next time.

We did celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary (12 years together) yesterday with dinner at the Atomic Lounge, which was conveniently located right next door to the campground.  When you live in an RV together, "date night" simply means leaving all of the animals at home.  😄💕

This concludes our time in Moab, and in Utah.  Tomorrow:  Grand Junction, Colorado!