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 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

Notes about White River NF

Yesterday eve the golden sunset was blazing through the golden and quaking aspen and I thought the contrast with the evergreen was dramatic:

The drive from Rock Springs, dullest town in Wyoming, had some quite beautiful mountainous regions, including one stretch with nine switchbacks in the highway. So that one did not become complacent, there was a count down sign at each switchback indicating the remaining number.

This panoramic view was taken at one of the switchbacks:
Panoramic view:

Yesterday Annie the Dog and Ranger took a drive of a few hours including other campgrounds in the White River National Forest and back to the town of Meeker. As it turns out the Northfork CG at which I am presently parked is the only one that I would recommend for a larger rig. The other CGs are nice enough, for primitive, but are more remote on roads that would be a challenge for a large rig. Also, there are few sites that are over 25′ or so.

Northfork is only about two miles beyond the pavement and can accommodate large units while providing solar and satellite access. The facilities are primitive but with abundant water during summer season. The main drawback is that many of the sites are rather unlevel. Another drawback is that it far down a road to nowhere, over 30 miles from Meeker. One has to backtrack to Meeker, or proceed forward 40 miles on a gravel road to get out of the forest. I will opt to take the gravel road Eastward since I have previously traveled the Westward road.

The collection of CGs at Trapper Lake are really multiple loops in adjacent vicinity, called CGs. Three of the five were closed for the season. One of the closed loops was billed as having some sites for larger units, but I could not confirm that.

Trapper Lake would be a very beautiful setting high in the mountains, except that disease has killed most of the trees near the peaks, ruining the visual appeal. It is late season causing the closure of the lodge located at Trapper. The lake is above the latest, mostly melted snowfall.

On the same road the Himes campground is for smaller vehicles with perhaps one suitable for a larger vehicle.

In the other direction one can find the Marvine and East Marvine Campgrounds. Most of the comments above about unit size apply to these CGs. Although all the camping areas will accommodate Horse Camping, Horsethief at Trapper emphasizing it, the Marvines also support horse camping. My experience has been that camping at horse camps can have a a fly problem.

Tags: Camp sites, White River NF

Arrival at Northfork Campground, White River National Forest, CO

Where is Arrival at Northfork Campground, White River National Forest, CO?

Today’s travel: map item #40 to #41, 245 miles

Barth’s vantage point.

My breakfast view:

After wrenching myself free of the grips of Rock Springs, we had a pleasant drive to Meeker, CO and onward to the Northfork CG in White River NF. There are several CGs in the area typically 25 miles from Meeker, kinda of a long drive to get to them. I strongly recommend a stop in Meeker at the National Forest office for directions, as the signage is not good.

The drive through the valley from Meeker to the campgrounds is beautiful. I saw places I would like to live, but, yeah, I forget, I cannot afford to live where anyone else would want to live.

Tags: Camp sites, Colorado, Northfork Campground, White River NF

Arrival at Flaming Gorge National Rec. Area / NFS Buckboard Crossing Campground

Where is Flaming Gorge National Rec. Area / NFS Buckboard Crossing Campground?
Todays travel: map item #38 to #39 , 140 miles

This is my camp spot:

This is “their” camp spot:

The ‘no elbow room’ shot is a commercial campground across the road. The shot of my camping site is in an empty NFS campground that may be closed, but doesn’t even have a gate to shut to close it. So I may be asked to leave if they are trying to close it. The camp fee here is $15.00/night, $7.50 GAP rate. Electric can be had for an additional $4.00/night. Off course I can pass on that – or not.

I had a slightly difficult time getting here as I had to stop several times. Once for diesel, once for propane, once to dump my tanks, and another time (actually at the destination) to fill with water as I did not like the looks of the fresh water fill setup where I dumped.

There doesn’t appear to be much here but a marina. So I may move soon, after I nap here a day or two.

Tags: Camp sites, Wyoming