Southwest Vacation – Part II

We made it to Redstone, CO around 4:30 pm MDT on May 30th: just enough time to explore a bit before dinner. We ended up staying at Redstone Cliffs Lodge on the recommendation of my buddy and colleague, Waylon, who was in the area for his annual elk research project. Our hope was that, being the height of elf calving season, we’d be able to meet up with his research group to watch “the miracle of nature” take place and see an elk calf! Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that day, so we ended up finding other things to do.

Still, Redstone Cliffs Lodge was situated in a really neat area, one that didn’t involve all that many tourists and one that showed off a side of Colorado we don’t always get to see, especially if you stay in Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, etc.

The Lodge itself is fully featured, including a kitchen, a fold-out couch, two queen beds, heating (no need for A/C, and the Crystal River is running just behind it, so you can light a fire by the river or sit in the hot tub. It’s also two doors down from Propaganda Pie, which was awesome. Pizza is their “claim to fame,” but they’ve got pastas, salads, a solid beer selection, etc. We were there for dinner both Thursday and Friday nights, and on both nights, there were parties going on. It seems like Propaganda Pie is the only game in town for gatherings like that (literally), but also in the general region, so folks from neighboring communities also come in.

I should note that there isn’t a grocery store in Redstone, so while cooking was an option (and we did take advantage of the kitchen for leftovers!), you have to go north to Carbondale, CO if you want more amenities. As long as you come prepared, it’s a peaceful time and worth the stop! Redstone also has an ice cream shop/general store that the kids visited, and looks like it has some antique-type places (that we didn’t visit).

Since the whole “elk calving” thing didn’t work out, we found other things to do! Nearby, close to Marble, CO, we visited Beaver Lake, hoping to make it to a waterfall. We couldn’t find a way to get there without crossing private property, so we just walked around and enjoyed the beautiful day.

Actually, Marble is an interesting site in its own right. As its name implies, there’s a marble quarry there that is still active to this day. Coincidentally, marble from that quarry was used in the construction of the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Neat!

From there, we tried going on an adventure to Crested Butte, CO, but tried to get there via CO-12 by crossing Kebler Pass. It’s closed in the winter and, apparently, May 31st still counts as winter, so we couldn’t go that way. We had our lunches with us, though, so we continued on that road to Erickson Spring Campgrounds, which is managed by the National Park Service. After eating our sandwiches by a creek, we hiked down Dark Canyon Trail for just under a mile, before things started getting really muddy and difficult. It was an easy little hike and a beautiful day to be outside!

That evening, we hit up Propaganda Pie once more, and Waylon joined us for one more outing before we were to take off the next morning. He usually stays in that region of Colorado through June, and is then off all over the place for July and most of August, so we probably won’t see him again until school starts. Regardless, thanks for the recommendations, man!

The next morning, we were heading toward our ultimate destination for the trip: Blanding, UT. If we went north to I-70 and took the “normal” (boring) way, it’s a 5 hour trip, so instead, we went south through a more interesting route that would take more like 5 hours…..and 9 minutes. So yeah, it was a pretty easy decision!

The trip was mostly uneventful. We stopped in Montrose, CO to pick up some groceries prior to heading into Utah as, again, our options were probably going to be limited for the next few days. There’s a grocery store in Blanding, but’s somewhat limited in options.

(Spoilers: The grocery store there is pretty good, honestly. Some things are the same price that you’d find at the Aldi in Marshall, whereas things like avocados, bananas, and cheese were pretty pricey. In general, things that spoil are a bit more expensive!)

We arrived at the house around 4:20 pm MDT on June 1st, which was a Saturday. This is good in that it gave us a chance to check out the grocery store in town to make sure we were good to go. Also, so that we would know that the grocery store is closed on Sundays (because Utah), so we grabbed a few extra things just in case!

We booked the house through Airbnb months ago and the hosts were pretty flexible with us, even shifting the dates around after we decided to add in the Redstone leg. There are 3 bedrooms, one full bathroom, and the kitchen/dining/living room section is all pretty “open concept.”

Whereas our internet speeds in Redstone left…..much….to be desired, the signal there is pretty solid. It still isn’t anywhere near speeds we normally get at home, but at least streaming content is doable. This was going to be a struggle with the kids, and thankfully, it wasn’t…

The house was our home-away-from home for 6 nights, from June 1 to June 6. Brooke found this location because it was centrally located to a bunch of sites in southeastern Utah, but far enough away from more tourist-y places like Moab, UT to keep the cost to below $1000, which we thought was pretty reasonable. For a home base, not bad!

There were a few “quirks” to the house, though. The kids’ bedrooms were pretty close to one another, and their doors didn’t close very well…or at all… The electrical in Meg’s room was limited, with some lights not working…at all… The kitchen area was pretty nice, though there weren’t hand towels, there was a weird assortment of glassware, no mixing bowls…just kind of odd. Most of the necessities were there, though, and part of the fun of Airbnb is not necessarily being sure what you’re going to get when you arrive!

Brooke’s got it on her list to make sure she brings more aluminum foil next time we stay in a place for that long, though.

Next up: exploring southeastern Utah!