Spontaneous trip

While Susan was in Denver visiting her daughter, Rick thought it would be a good idea to take the camper to Monarch Park for some fishing. When Susan arrived home around 5:30, they left to spend the night so Rick could fish in the morning.
Ruck was up and at ‘em early and a few minutes later announced “there’s no fish in there!” So now what?

Bishop’s Castle


Terry had never been here. It’s always fun to see the look on a first timers face. They are building a new gift shop since the other one burned down. Other than that, it looks about the same as it did the last time we were here. The owner, Jim bishop was there. First time I’d seen him there. No one was spouting rhetoric against the government or using foul language. That would have made it more interesting!
We stopped for lunch in westcliffe. Nice break before heading back to camp. Not supposed to rain today. Good thing cuz everything is all dry now. Silver lining: saw a mama bear and two Cubs on the way back. Cute.

That’s Tim at the top

Disbursed camping, westcliffe, CR 173

We looked at the weather and decided to go anyway. Tim and Terry couldn’t make it up a pretty steep incline to a site so we all decided on a site lower down that worked for us. We got set up just in time for it to start raining and at times it was a steady downpour. We were able to get a fire going and stay lit with some imaginative tarp work on Tim’s part. By 8 pm it was only dripping every now and then but everything was pretty wet. Hoping for a drier day tomorrow.
We are glad we brought our smaller canopy but it needs to be replaced. Our two awnings worked great. Silver lining: no mosquitoes!

Wildflower hike

We headed up independence pass to north fork creek. What a beautiful area! It seemed like every turn showed more and different flowers. Really too many to properly capture. Sadie and Simon enjoyed the creek more than we did! We could have gone further but we would have had to cross the creek and no one felt comfortable trying it. Great adventure!

Twin lakes

We are here for two nights with Jane and Martin and Sadie. We have the same site that we had last year and our camper and their van fit in the site.
We had goods laughs, a bit of farkle, listened to the wind howl and watched a gorgeous sunset. Our new Yakima awnings held up beautifully in the wind. Tomorrow we hike and seek out some wildflowers.

Encampment, WY

We went to the parade which it seemed the whole town came out for. Very much like the one in Salida on the 4th of July. It lasted about 15 minutes.
We stopped at a yard sale which was really a gun sale. It was put on by a Vietnam vet (said so on his hat) and all his buddies. Rifles, handguns, knives and other related items were displayed for sale. We wondered if they were doing background checks on the buyers.
The “camping” at the “RV” park was a new experience for us. The camper next to us housed a family from Cody, WY. They came to compete in the woodcutter competition. As the daughter said, “we compete a lot “
The wind howled all night long. We were so ready to go home that we left after the parade. It’s always nice to see the Welcome to Colorado sign.

We thought this sign was funny.

Our campsite and neighbors

Local kids. There were twelve of them in that truck.

Town of Encampment

We took Don’s word and stopped at the visitor’s center in Riverside which is one mile from enchantment. Gary told us about camping at the city park. He also told us about The Parade in the morning at 9 ahead of the wood cutter competition and rodeo. Yeehaw!We headed over to the park and grabbed a site. No charge but donations accepted. Flush toilet and electric hookup. We quickly unloaded, set up nothing and went to find some food.
We quickly realized that we had been to riverside once before and to the Bear Claw restaurant. The menu however was very limited and both of us were “hangry” so we left to find a different place with better choices.
The Divide fit the bill and we enjoyed a lovely steak dinner on their outdoor patio. We are road weary and looking forward to being home tomorrow. The weather has cooled a bit tonight so we are hoping for a good night’s sleep.

Travel day

We were on the road by 9 not sure of our destination. We stopped in Laramie for a short break and ended up visiting with “Don”. We were at “his” lunch table that he eats at every day. He told us all about himself, age 74, single, retired. He believes that 30 minutes a day talking to others is important so we fulfilled his daily goal. He strongly suggested we stay in the town of Encampment tonight. We’ll see. The drive over we think was Snowy pass was so beautiful. So much snow everywhere. There were a couple of campgrounds, one was closed and the other did not appeal to us.
We went up to Saratoga, a town we had been to on our first motorcycle trip in 2009. We remembered it but it seemed much bigger. On to Encampment.

Thoughts about Guernsey

Our two days here were unexpectedly pleasant. Our site on this point gave us privacy and space. The ability to easily get into the cool water was delightful. Even Simon went down for a dip all by himself!
This site was most likely where a summer cabin was a long time ago. The long driveway, the concrete steps on both sides of the point and remnants of some sort of dock made us wonder what happened here. There’s evidence of a fire on the hills along the opposite banks so maybe this place was a victim of fire. What a great spot for a summer place! We were really fortunate to get this one.
We did realize however that having some sort of watercraft would make this place ideal.
The birds were so fun to watch and listen to. There was one bright orange small one that chirped in front of me for at least 5 minutes before flying away. The duck family in our cove was another special treat as they followed mom to the other side.
The trains that ran back and forth all day and night were more interesting than annoying. Where does all that coal go? And fedex uses trains?
Relaxing, fishing, sightseeing and reading our books made these two days seem like a real vacation. We won’t miss the Wyoming wind but the sunsets were sure pretty.

Thoughts about Guernsey

Our two days here were unexpectedly pleasant. Our site on this point gave us privacy and space. The ability to easily get into the cool water was delightful. Even Simon went down for a dip all by himself!
This site was most likely where a summer cabin was a long time ago. The long driveway, the concrete steps on both sides of the point and remnants of some sort of dock made us wonder what happened here. There’s evidence of a fire on the hills along the opposite banks so maybe this place was a victim of fire. What a great spot for a summer place! We were really fortunate to get this one.
We did realize however that having some sort of watercraft would make this place ideal.
The birds were so fun to watch and listen to. There was one bright orange small one that chirped in front of me for at least 5 minutes before flying away. The duck family in our cove was another special treat as they followed mom to the other side.
The trains that ran back and forth all day and night were more interesting than annoying. Where does all that coal go? And fedex uses trains?
Relaxing, fishing, sightseeing and reading our books made these two days seem like a real vacation. We won’t miss the Wyoming wind but the sunsets were sure pretty.

Oregon trail ruts and Fort Laramie

We started our day early while it was still relatively comfortable. The ruts were amazing and as we walked on them and through them we realized it was such an example of the human desire to go and finish something. Just being in that space made me humble.
We then went to Fort Laramie but it was already too hot. We slowly visited most of the buildings while listening to the audio tour. Pretty interesting but too hot to fully enjoy.
Rick bought a one day fishing license since we see large fish at our beach. We filled up our coolers with fresh ice then came back to our campsite and cooling off at the beach. We saw those fish but they wouldn’t take Rick’s bait. We made Simon swim some more and just hung out there for the rest of the afternoon. It was 98 degrees when we got back.
We are heading west tomorrow away from the prairie and back towards Colorado. Not sure of the exact route yet.

Mormon hand/push carts.

Replica wagon

Guernsey State Park

We got here about 11:00 and snagged a site with its own beach! It’s about 30 steps (concrete) and the water felt so good! We even got Simon out in it and he swam back – so we can swim!
It was almost 100 degrees and we really didn’t have the energy to go to Fort Laramie. We took a drive around the park (in air conditioning!) and saw some historic spots. One was The Castle built in the 1930’s. It’s really a picnic spot with a great view.
Then as a special treat, we cvc took showers! Felt so good c have clean hair again. When we got back to our campsite, we sat at “our beach” and waited for the sun to go down a bit. We are going to Fort Laramie tomorrow. Finally the Oregon Trail sites!

You can see our white canopy and stairs to “our beach “

The castle

Happy face

Rick at our beach

Vedauwoo campground

We left our campsite by 8:15 happy to be away from the dirty road. The drive along the Cache de Poudre river was spectacular. Couldn’t capture it on my camera.
We listened to Siri and followed a turnoff on 287 and it was like being on the moon. 11 miles later we crossed under 1-80 into the campground.
We got the last back in spot at 11:30. This place is popular! Beautiful rock formations created by a volcano billions of years ago. Very difficult to capture the beauty here.
It is very hot today. Almost 100 degrees. We are heading to Guernsey State Park tomorrow which will put us near the Oregon Trail sites. It’s supposed to be hot all week. Depending on the site we get will determine which way we go from there.

Monday drive

We headed out this morning to possibly do some fishing and maybe find another campsite. We found more evidence of the Cameron peak wildfire but no place to fish.
Heading east on highway 14, we did find more campgrounds but none as good as the one we have. We then looked for Red Feather Lakes which our map showed had four campgrounds in that area. Many of the roads are closed and burned out from the fire. It was pretty alarming. We decided to stay put for tonight.
We did find some fishing towards the top of Cameron pass. Rick caught a fish but we couldn’t identify it. Later we found some storyboards that explained about the green back cutthroat and the arctic grayling. It was probably one of them.
We are planning to go to Vedawoo campground tomorrow which is in the Medicine Bow National Forest near Laramie, Wyoming. It’s getting hot.

Monday drive

We headed out this morning to possibly do some fishing and maybe find another campsite. We found more evidence of the Cameron peak wildfire but no place to fish.
Heading east on highway 14, we did find more campgrounds but none as good as the one we have. We then looked for Red Feather Lakes which our map showed had four campgrounds in that area. Many of the roads are closed and burned out from the fire. It was pretty alarming. We decided to stay put for tonight.
We did find some fishing towards the top of Cameron pass. Rick caught a fish but we couldn’t identify it. Later we found some storyboards that explained about the green back cutthroat and the arctic grayling. It was probably one of them.
We are planning to go to Vedawoo campground tomorrow which is in the Medicine Bow National Forest near Laramie, Wyoming. It’s getting hot.

Cameron Lakes CG

We decided to head to Red Feather Lakes along Hwy 14 from Walden. We didn’t realize until we got to Cameron Pass that this was the location of the Cameron peak wildfire in 2020, Colorado’s largest. The devastation was sadly obvious. Many of the forest roads leading to possible campsites were closed.
One road on the east side of the pass was open and we were able to find a very nice spot, just a bit challenging to move the camper around in. But here we are and we’re going to stay for at least two nights while we explore the area. The mosquitoes are on a mission to chase us away though.

Clear Creek Reservoir

We spent two days and nights at the campground which is all disbursed camping. Our site was fairly secluded but the campground filled up pretty fast.
Rick got his new Yakima awning and spent the afternoon adding it to the camper.
We tried fishing the first morning with no luck. We thought we’d see what type of camping was further up the road.
There are several disbursed camping spots that start around 10 miles from the reservoir. The best ones were between the ghost towns of Vicksburg and Winfield. We did a little sightseeing along the way.
We spent the second day reviewing our camping equipment and making a list of things we need to replace. Also did some discussing where things might better be stored.
Tried fishing at the other side of the reservoir again with no luck. But it was more about the walk there (maybe two miles?) than the fishing.
We packed up before the rain started and headed home. We’ve got some projects ahead before we head to Wyoming and the Oregon Trail in a week or so.

Day 2 at Zapata falls campground

The morning started out sunny but cool. We took our time having breakfast and coffee. The weather forecast was not promising but we headed out to the falls trailhead and hike anyway. Glad we did. Hike was short and moderately steep but the weather was still nice. Falls were frozen and we had to carefully step through a cold stream to get to the bottom of the falls. I didn’t trust my balance on the slick rocks but Rick went on ahead. Simon was pretty upset when Rick disappeared around the corner. I hope to make that hike again perhaps in warmer weather.
Upon returning to our campsite, we noticed the weather starting to change. It didn’t concern us so we took a drive around the campground just to explore other possible sites for us. The weather changed very quickly and it was snowing hard when we got back. Everything was covered in snow. We decided to quickly pack up and leave. That took less than 30 minutes and we were on the road back down. I didn’t get pictures of the snow since we were too busy packing up. I did get a shot of the landscape looking up to where the campground is – just below those open fields. Nice campground, respectful campers. Not its fault that it snowed!

Zapata Falls Campground

This is a first come first serve national forest Campground. We are in site 22 which we think is one of the nicest here. $11 per night (50% off with pass) so very reasonable. No water but bathrooms and best boxes. Amazing views of the San Luis valley and the Zapata falls trailhead is right near our site.
Downside of the campground is that all the sites are on the road. The cars go by and kick up dust. We have the trailer and car between the road and us so we feel somewhat private. We are here for two nights so I will probably have more to say about it.

Our new idea

Inside is Rick’s potty chair. I have one too but it’s next to the camper for easy late night trips. The restroom here is gross so I’m glad we have this!

First outing of 2021

We are on our way to Wellsville just a few miles down the road. We are a reservation at Point Barr Campground. It will be a good place for our annual shakedown cruise.
We’re in site 1704 which would not have been our choice but it was supposedly the only one available. 1701 is nicer. But then it’s only one night.
I seem to be in a fog about where things go and my set up for my kitchen. It was very windy so I didn’t want to set everything up. We finally for dinner cooked and cleaned up. Then we took our usual walk around the campground. Met a couple with Aspen, clearly mostly wheaten terrier. To bed early and the wind died down.

Page, Arizona and Monument Valley

We stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam which was created to hold back the Colorado River to make Lake Powell. Susan had been here before and she was still stunned at the beauty of the place even though we only saw a little bit of it.
She scrambled down on the sandstone cliffs to nearly the waters edge. Simon ran back and forth between us since Rick chose not to make the hike. She got some pretty cool photos and a couple of souvenirs. It really is a magical place.
We resupplied in Page and headed to Hovenweep National Monument. But just before getting there, we drove through Monument Valley. Amazing landscape once again. Photos cannot capture. We arrived at Hovenweep, selected a campsite and decided to stay for two nights.

Ruins trail

One nice thing about Hovenweep is that Simon is allowed on all the trails. But having been to Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, we came away disappointed with the level of ruins. We were not able to go in the ruins and due to COVID there are no tours. And the park ranger was unfriendly. But We did the 1.5 mile hike and went back to camp to hang out. The weather is perfect-60 degrees.

Hovenweep

Here we are in site 29 taking pictures of the nearly full moon. We had a good dinner and decided to hike in the morning and ride bikes in the afternoon. It’s nice not to have to break down camp in the morning.

Sleeping in the Desert

After leaving Bryce, the weather got much warmer. Susan was a bit anxious about where we were going to stay so when we saw a road we took it. We had to go through one hunters gate and two ranch gates to get to someplace acceptable to both of us. Not much to look at but it was quiet and free so we stayed. We both agreed we’d leave by 8:00 the next morning. We were on the road by 7:50, a new record for us!

Torrey to Bryce

It was worth it to stay in an RV park last night. It was cold but we were warm inside just using our ceramic 12v heater. We watched 60 minutes and had peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.
The road to Bryce from Torrey is stunning. The landscape changed constantly from alpine trees to desert canyons to green farmland. We are amazed since we didn’t expect that.
We booked a room for tonight so we could take real showers and stay warm. It’s supposed to be 9 degrees tonight.
We checked out the campground in the park and will go there tomorrow. A hike is on the agenda for sure!

Weather moved in

These two pictures were taken this morning on the absolutely beautiful drive from natural bridges to Hanksville. Just when we got there, the weather changed and it started raining. We checked out a couple of motels and the local rv park but opted to go to Torrey and stay at a local rv park there. Another beautiful drive and as soon as we got to Torrey, it started SNOWING! We quickly unloaded the trailer putting everything under the car and are hunkered down using our inside heater for the first time. Hope we stay warm!Stay tuned.

Manti LaSal National forest


We finally made it to Utah and are camped on Elk Ridge near the Natural Bridges National monument. It’s very secluded but there are others camped nearby. We just don’t see or hear them. We’re going to stay two nights here so we can explore the area. Keeping an eye on the weather. Simon is apparently fine.

Manti LaSal National forest


We finally made it to Utah and are camped on Elk Ridge near the Natural Bridges National monument. It’s very secluded but there are others camped nearby. We just don’t see or hear them. We’re going to stay two nights here so we can explore the area. Keeping an eye on the weather. Simon is apparently fine.

Morning coffee

It was cold here last night but we still haven’t needed the inside heater. Rick had a bit of cell service so we started watching the presidential debate. It was so awful that we watched an episode of Outlander which was much more interesting and entertaining.
Simon kept us awake some by making sounds like he was in pain. We think it’s his left front leg but he can walk and sit but whines when we touch it a certain way. We gave him some doggie ibuprofen and hope that helps.
Today we will try to get to Capital Reef National Park where we will stay for two nights. The weather is supposed to change and get cold so we will decide then which direction to go. Maybe we’ll end up at the Grand Canyon!?
The sun is so warm this morning. Rick is doing a little web work and I’m just slowly drinking my coffee and packing up. It’s so nice not to be in a hurry.

Outside Paradox, Colorado


We didn’t quite make it to Utah but this site is really nice. It’s in the National forest near Paradox high up on a Mesa. Once again no one around.

Crooked Trees Forest

We didn’t notice the trees when we got here last night. They seem to be the only ones around that look like this.
We woke up to howling, gusty winds but the sun warmed us up so it wasn’t too bad. We didn’t use our indoor heater but we did try the outside one. We think it will work pretty good when we need it.
We woke up slowly and took a short walk around the area. There are plenty of really nice spots to camp here. We headed out to ridgeway via Owl Creek Pass and on to Utah from there.

Natural Bridges and more

We were awed at the bridges but we’re not prepared to hike to the bottom of the canyon. We’ll save our hiking for Bryce.
Back at camp we rode our bikes a bit and decided to head out early for Hanksville. Cold weather is coming so we might have to stay put and wait for it to pass.

Owl creek pass

First night of many. We are almost at the top of Owl Creek Pass near Rowdy Lake. First time we have used 4wheel low. There’s a hunters camp below us but we haven’t seen or heard them. We’re expecting it to be cold tonight so we’re going to try our new heaters for inside and out. This place makes up for the disappointing experience in Gunnison with maskless out of staters and cold lunch. Maybe we’ll see some shooting stars later if we make it that long.

Owl creek pass

First night of many. We are almost at the top of Owl Creek Pass near Rowdy Lake. First time we have used 4wheel low. There’s a hunters camp below us but we haven’t seen or heard them. We’re expecting it to be cold tonight so we’re going to try our new heaters for inside and out. This place makes up for the disappointing experience in Gunnison with maskless out of staters and cold lunch. Maybe we’ll see some shooting stars later if we make it that long.

Fishing trip

Beautifully calm at the lake this morning. Smoke from the California wildfires was starting to fill the air. We must have picked a good spot since right after we got there two guys and a couple in a boat decided to be there with us. The whole damn lake and they gotta be right with us!
Susan caught the first fish but it was small so we let it go. Not long after Rick got a nice one. He named it “Lunch” while Simon helped him bring it in. No more action after that and the wind was starting to blow so we packed up. We may come back later. Time for lunch!

Busy day

We decided to be tourists today and went on the Twin Lakes boat tour. Jim and Lexi were our tour guides and boat handlers. Both had been doing boat tours for a good portion of their lives; Lexi was a commercial boat commander on large boats on the Mississippi.
The tour included information on the geology of the area and a tour of Interlachen. We’d been there on foot before but not on a tour so we picked up a few new fun facts about the place. Simon was allowed to join us and he was very well behaved. There were four other tourists on the tour from Iowa. We stayed far away from them since there were not wearing masks.
After the tour we took a drive to the top of independence Pass so Simon could play in the snow. He (and we) were not disappointed! It’s 17 miles from Twin Lakes to the top. Susan has a fantasy about riding her road bike up there. She thinks she may have missed her window.
We also checked out some disbursed camping on the pass. Found a couple of nice spots along the creek. Maybe next year?

Twin lakes disbursed camping

The weather was so nice in Salida after the strange summer storm dropped 14” of snow in the yard. We were cooped up last week so figured the tourists would be gone and we’d have our pick of good spots at Twin Lakes. We were right.
We have a great view overlooking Twin Lakes. The surrounding mountains still have snow on them and the aspen leaves are already starting to turn yellow. We plan to get in some fishing and maybe hiking on Independence Pass. We are here for three days.