Where is Home-again?

Today’s travel: map item #44 to #45, 614 miles

Total distance traveled by Barth in Odyssey IV, 5032 excluding side trips by Jeep/Ranger. That’ll do, Pig.

This isn’t Kansas, Toto.

Firstly, I want to thank Larry for watching and caring for my property while I was away even though he camping parking on my lot months ago. Every thing was grest and undisturbed. Not a driveway completely covered by tumble weeds a couple of years ago! Fortunately when he stopped full-timing in his RV he decided to make Sierra Vista his new home.

I did arrive back at the humble abode at 9:30 last night after a very long drive of 614 miles, 13.5 hours. My body does not like that long a drive as evidenced by aches and pains that are just now abating at noon on the following day.

Why so far in one day? Seems I do that every year on the last leg of the trip. One reason is that the route I choose was not the fastest or shortest, but a scenic route that I had not traveled in a decade or two. It was really pretty with all the rain AZ has received this summer. Unfortunately dark descended like a blindfold before I reached Tucson. I ‘locked onto’ a fellow pulling two horses as he seemed to know where he was going, and I was pretty sure it was not in the city!

But when he turned the wrong direction I was on my own, and ended up being trapped into navigating a construction maze of extremely narrow cone and blinker-lighted lanes that twisted about. But they were no match for Barth. I did the best I could. I have no idea how many of those trinkets I ran over and crushed, and further I did not care. I didn’t even look back.

I was hopelessly lost, and had no idea where I was because I can not read street signs at night. I was using Barth’s spot light to successfully pick up a street name occasionally. I encountered a corner gas station/convenience store that looked RV-friendly. There was an older gentlemen with a gray beard by the pumps eating peanuts, leaning against a pump and looking at me. Seemed to be waiting for me. So I wheeled in. he asked “How are you?”

I responded immediately. “Fine, but I am completely lost. Can you tell me how to get to I-10?”

The fellow told me how to get to I-10 and went back to eating his peanuts. I-10 was mearby, fortunately. There was more construction but nothing like the orange-cone-hell that I had just trampled while attempting to navigate.

I have met so many folks just at the moment I needed them in my travels. Makes one wonder…

I then trundled home on familiar highways while listening to the truckers on CB cursing me for my bright headlights in their mirrors. Screw them, I gotta see where I am going.

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Arrival at Mesa Verde National Park.

Where is Mesa Verde National Park?

Today’s travel: map item #43 to #44, 158 miles

We waved goodbye to the Tin Cup this morn, having seen the Great Dunes National Park. The drive was rather un-exciting until I approached Durango, CO. I was at a stop light when a lady was waving wildly, motioning for me to open my window. My first thought was “Well, hell, what have I done this time, hook the Ranger backward?”

Turns out that it was Ray and Anne from Murphy, NC. In case you have forgotten, or, heaven forbid, not read all my blogs, they are the Barth owners I visited on my trip last year to the South. Wow, what a surprise. After I finally found a place large enough to conveniently stop, which turned out to be a Home Depot, We stopped and chatted, eventually driving into Durango in their car to find a great restaurant for lunch.

This wasn’t by complete coincidence. We had determined from a forum that we mutually haunt that we were traveling in the same circles out here. But still, I would have in a million years not expected to cross paths with them close enough to make visual contact. They were not in their Barth, rather doing a fly/drive vacation, but they recognized my Barth.

Tags: Camp sites, Colorado

Arrival at Del Norte, CO

Where is Del Norte, CO?

Today’s travel: map item #42 to #43, 135 miles

Today we traveled toward home, planning on a long drive. But at Del Norte we stopped to visit the Great Sand Dunes national Park as a side trip. The closest I was before to the Dunes was at a campground near Questa, NM on the cliffs above the Colorado River last year. I remember it was very cold, so cold it cracked Barth’s windshield.

The campgrounds at the park will not accommodate large vehicles. We camped in the parking lot of the Tin Cup Cafe with the owner’s blessing.

Barth at the Tin Cup Cafe.

The Tin Cup Cafe.

The Dunes are unique in their location, height, and geological system. The subtle tones in the sun are just not the same in a picture. However I offer a panorama of the dunes.

Tags: Colorado

Arrival at Leadville, CO

Where is Leadville, CO?

Todays travel: map item #41 to #42, 139 miles

No ‘what is Barth looking at’ shot today, as I am in a cramped little commercial RV park called RV Corral. Pleasant enough as the cool air keeps everybody secreted away in their RV. Something like $35.00/night, the most I have paid on this entire trip – the first commercial RV park, I think.

The drive today, mileage-wise looks deceptively short. The first 50 miles was on a dirt road from the Northfork CG to Yampa, CO. I thought it would be relatively smooth, but it was not. Some non-major pot holes, lots of washboard. I have screws on the floor that were shaken out. Things that normally stay put ended up in the floor. Annie the Dog at one time on a sharp curve slid under my feet, and it took me a few seconds to identify and a few more seconds discussion with a deaf dog to remedy the reason I couldn’t get my foot on the brake. Pushing, slapping, poking, etc. never did work with her; she just hunkers, refusing to move. Communication has become difficult since she is deaf, and sometimes breaks down at the wordt time.

There are un-tended campgrounds about 5 miles from here (‘here’ is downtown Leadville). But when the Forest Service folks told me that the temperature tonight could get to 20, I decided to splurge on the RV park and use my electric heaters. She also said there could be rain or snow scattered about. I looked at her with a question mark – “rain at 20 degrees? I don’t think so.” Play ‘high-tourist’ for one or two nights before moving on. I checked my trusty online weather forecast which indicates 20 degree low isn’t due until Saturday, 30 degrees till then. So tomorrow I may move to the campground for a couple nights.

My goal today was to get farther South, so I went South 140 miles, and increased elevation from 8000+ to 10,000+ elevation!

I simply never get used to the Colorado Rockies! The drive here was awesome. Although Leadville is somewhat flat, there are huge snow-sprinkled peaks as a backdrop. I could live in the Rockies, cold and all, if I could afford to.

Tags: Camp sites, Colorado, Leadville CO