We bought our 1994 Chinook Premier on Labor Day weekend 2014. We had been looking for a small motorhome for a few years. Since we were brand spankin’ new RVers, we didn’t want to get something too big at first. Essentially, we wanted something to be a mobile hotel with all the needed bells and whistles if we found ourselves out in the boonies with spontaneous ideas.
Before we got the Chinook, we traveled a lot! Either driving out to Bartlett Lake and sleeping on the open bow of G-Mans’ boat, day trips to the Salt River, overnighting 4 hours from home or a weekend romp up north for some relief from the heat. We realized we needed more flexibility and wanted to be able to go anywhere our spontaneity would take us. So, we finally found the one we wanted….a fixer upper…again because we didn’t want to commit to something big OR expensive; it was in Golden, Colorado! Roamin’ Zoni’s ( romin – zoenees) (that’s our handle) off to Golden on a whim!!
We drove in the Labor Day weekend traffic to get to northern Arizona (it took us 4 hours to get to Flagstaff which usually takes half that….ugh!), crossed the Indian reservation in the dark (one lane, dark roads), and landed at 2 am in Moab, Utah. I was able to find a cabin for the night in an RV park, which was perfect because all we wanted to do was go to sleep! Man were we tired! (this is a pretty good tip for those of you who are traveling and don’t want the expense of a hotel/motel room. You can arrive any time of the day or night. The proprietor usually leaves your name on an envelope, the key and a map to get to your cabin. They’re super clean and comfortable and have showers onsite. Most times you will have to provide your own sheets and blankets. Find these cabins at www.KOA.com.
Up the next day at 8 am and back on the road. We stopped at a convenience store and grabbed some coffee and doughnuts. Not a great breakfast and certain fuel for crabbiness later, but it was something to fire up the body sugars for a morning push down the road!! We drove through one of the most scenic paths either of us had ever experienced. This is Interstate 70 from Grand Junction to Denver which winds along the Colorado River. Spectacular!! I can’t fully describe how beautiful this trek was! You will have to experience this for yourself someday.
The engineering feats alone were a site to see! The Eisenhower–Edwin C. Johnson Memorial Tunnel, is a dual-bore, four-lane vehicular tunnel about 60 miles west of Denver. The tunnel carries I-70 under the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains. It has a maximum elevation of 11,158 ft and is one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world. It was completed in 1979 and is the longest mountain tunnel on the Interstate Highway system. The Colorado Department of Transportation was doing some construction on it when we passed through, but not enough to cause a detour. (if you are traveling, particularly in the winter, check ahead before you attempt to travel through the tunnel. There may be snow issues or accidents. Check for a viable alternate route via www.codot.com).
We stopped near the exit to Breckenridge and got out to stretch our legs and let the pups out for some relief. The air was so cool that we could see our breath! Remember, this time of year is pretty much still summer for us Zonis’, so it was quite a treat. Within 20 minutes, we were back on the road to meet our new Chinook. The rest of the I-70 trip after the tunnel was exquisite. I could see people hiking on the other side of the Colorado River against the cliffs. There were nice little stopping points for lunch and it looked like some small RV camping. I didn’t look into it at the time because I was just itchin’ to get to Golden to see our new motorhome. After getting the keys and gassing up, we sped down Interstate 25 to Colorado Springs with a goal to find a Walmart! LOL! That makes me laugh because that was one of G-Mans’ favorite features of being an RVer! We found respite for the night at Walmart with fellow RVers in plain sight. That, and the fact that there were security guards all night was comforting. The rest of the trip home down I-25, connecting to I-40 and then finding our way back to the Valley of the Sun was pretty uneventful because we were burnin’ daylight to get back to go to work. Neither of us were very cheerful, to say the least. We may have had too many convenience store coffee and doughnuts along the way. 🙂