The morning was clear and cold as we crawled out of our tents in Ouray Colorado. A quick walk to the café brought hot coffee and some tasty pancakes. Warmed up and full, we cleared camp and headed for Utah. We had discussed the night before our route and came to the decision not to travel over Imogene Pass. It’s even higher and steeper than Engineer Pass and is rated a 5. Rod’s 950 just isn’t running well up above 11,000 ft and we didn’t think it was worth risking injury or worse if something happened as we made the climb. So we headed for Telluride and then on through Lizard Head Pass and the Uncompahgre National forest for our final destination of Dove Creek. The ride was beautiful and pretty calm. Passed through the little town of Ridgway where they filmed the original True Grit with John Wayne. The old buildings from the movie are still in use today. The final passes and seeing the Rockies in our rear view mirrors made me wish we could spend more time here exploring. I’ll definitely be coming back here! We made it to Dove Creek ahead of schedule so we decided to keep moving and get to Monticello Utah.
Just as we made Utah, the scenery instantly changes. The mountains flatten into prairie and farmland and the mesas and plateaus are in the distance. We roll into Monticello and locate a little State Park camp site west of town up on the side of a small mountain overlooking the town. The campground was deserted and looked like no one had camped here in a while. We found a couple good sites and set camp. We decided to make a fire for only the second time since leaving Tennessee but all the wood and kindling was really wet. Just as made our first attempt, a car rolled into camp pulling a Kawasaki dirt bike. A friendly guy traveling for his job, hauling his bike with him to ride when he gets a chance. Rod spots a fuel bottle on his trailer and asks for some gas. I know, it’s like “cheating” but we REALLY wanted a fire! After a couple of hits of gas, WE HAVE FIRE!! The scene from Cast Away comes to mind…lol.
Rod and I hang out at the fire for a while and have some good conversation. This is exactly what makes this trip so special, no stress, no phones, no tv, no internet, just talking. I was lucky to still have some Bullett Bourbon left which made the night perfect. The fire died down and we called it a night…at least we thought! Just minutes after we hit the sleeping bags, a group of coyotes started howling and barking just outside our camp. It seemed they were surrounding us! Just as suddenly as they started, they stopped. Then 15-20 minutes later, they started again. This time they were right outside our tents. Rod yelled at me and I grabbed my 9mm and racked a bullet into the chamber. If you’ve never been sitting in a tent, in the wilderness, surrounded by coyotes…let me tell you, it’s a nerve racking experience! I could hear them walking around and wasn’t sure I should sit and be a coyotes taco meal or go scare them away! Then again, they were gone. Unfortunately, the damage was done and I couldn’t sleep because of every little noise outside the tent. Oh yeah, it was also around 37 degrees, so sleeping while freezing and being freaked out wasn’t going to happen. Rough night, hard day coming tomorrow, as you;ll read later.