If the Gorge sounds like a lot of work then don't be afraid of the drive to Gunny. I know Stiff says it's not worth it, but everybody has a different opinion and while in other situations I would agree with him, in this case it sounds like it might be worth the drive. There are almost 25 miles of nice class II here in the valley, the standard "North Bridge to McCabes" is a fun 8.5 mi trip that includes a nice splash through the Gunny WW park and with proper stops for ahem, safety, you can stretch it out to several hours. Normally on a weekday you can be in Gunnison is 2 hours; with the construction it's probably 2-2.5. Long......but if you got no other easy option it works.
The Upper Taylor at this flow is a super fun blast, is roadside, and is a hoot in a mini. Lots of technical but easy class III's, and at 4.5 miles makes a good lapper. Slot, Initiation, Tombstone....lots of good drops. It's 30 mins past Gunny though....worth it IMO, but I'm probably biased!