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

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