Smooth Sailing On West

Dates: June 9 to 11, 2018

Location: Lafayette KOA, Scott, Louisiana

We ended up staying through to Monday morning. On Sunday, we met our friends Andy and Joanna Grimes for lunch since we missed coming on over on Sunday to camp with them.

On Monday morning at 7:30 Malcolm called the local Goodyear dealer and found that they had two tires in stock that we needed for our trailer. They told us to come on over and they’d take care of us, so we packed up the trailer, hitched up and headed over.

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Ready for new shoes

They had us in and out the door in a little over an hour, so we continued on our way north and west pretty much on schedule. The plan is to get two more tires put on in Washington to match the new Goodyears on the left side if nothing happens along the way (it didn’t).

Dates: June 11 to 12, 2018

Location: Texas Rose RV Park, Tyler, Texas

We found this little RV park near the interstate in Tyler, Texas. Malcolm called ahead and talked to the owner who happened to be out of town at the time, but gave us instructions to check ourselves in and pay for our spot with the envelope drop. Using our Passport America card, the price was only $20 for the night.

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The campground was a bit older and had lots of longer term residents, but it was kept very neat. For the sites on our circle, the campground even provided a fairly new charcoal grill and a plastic tote with charcoal and lighter fluid in it if you wanted to cook out. Nice little touch.

Dates: June 12 to 13, 2018

Location: Cedar Valley RV Park, Guthrie, Oklahoma

We stayed in this campground in Guthrie (no pictures). Their Passport America rate was $18 for the night. It was a quiet park, but rather old and decently kept. It was fine for an overnight.

Dates: June 13 to 14, 2018

Location: WaKeeney KOA, Wakeeney, Kansas

This KOA is kept very neat. They serve ice cream in the evenings and offer pancake and sausage breakfast (we took advantage of both) for a reasonable cost. They’ve been filling up every night during the week as there isn’t much else close to the interstate through western Kansas.

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Dates: June 14 to 15, 2018

Location: Fort Collins North / Wellington KOA, Wellington, Colorado

This KOA was fairly nice, as well. We had a nice, wide concrete slab to park on. When we were rolling in, there were storm clouds over the front range of the Rockies. They eventually blew in, bringing lots of wind, but no rain.

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Malcolm found a couple friends in the pasture adjacent to the side of the campground where the tent sites are. Several of the campers were enjoying our visitors.

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Dates: June 15 to 16, 2018

Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

Due to re-scheduling our stay here and then scheduling it back, we ended up with the last available site that would fit our rig – a really nice patio site. It was only $6 more than what we would have paid for the site we originally booked.

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It was a little windy as we arrived here and it was blowing in cool weather. The temperature was around 70 degrees when we arrived and fairly quickly dropped into the low 60’s. Overnight, it was around 50 degrees. We ended up turning on the furnace in the morning. We also did a little antique shopping in downtown Buffalo.

Dates: June 16 to 17, 2018

Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

When we arrived in Deer Lodge, it was around 50 degrees and drizzly rain. It stayed like that all night. We had the furnace on overnight.

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Snow on top of the nearby mountains

Deer Lodge is one of our regular stops. The owner came out and gave us a hug when we arrived. It’s not much of a park, but she keeps the place very neat and tidy.

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Dates: June 17 to 18, 2018

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

When we arrived in Spokane, the temperature and weather had improved considerably. It was sunny and in the 70’s when we got there.

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After we got there, we contacted our friends Tim and Emily Rohrer. They were in the area and agreed to meet us for dinner. In addition to Tim and Emily, Tim’s parents, Bonnie and Doug, also joined us. They recently just started full-timing and were traveling with Tim and Emily.

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Dates: June 18 to ???, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

On Monday, we rolled into Puyallup and set up at the fairgrounds campground.

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Now it’s time to visit family. We’re actually keeping the grandchildren for a couple days as Elizabeth and Cole are out of town. Elizabeth flies back in on Thursday.

The trip here from Florida was 3,435 miles. There are more direct routes than what we took, but we wanted to visit folks along the I-10 corridor, so that added a couple hundred miles or so. The following map shows the approximate route here (note the other trip earlier this year to Tennessee and Kentucky is on the same map).

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Mile High Fun

Location: Strasburg/East Denver KOA, Strasburg, Colorado

Dates: July 30 to Aug. 2, 2017

We arrived in Strasburg, Colorado on Sunday afternoon after an easy drive from WaKeeney. Strasburg is, according to the sign outside the KOA office here, about 35 miles east of Denver.

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We had tried to get a campground closer into town, but they were all very full. The Strasburg KOA wasn’t a whole lot to look at, but they’re working on various improvements, including new sites along the back. Our site was pretty nice. It was wide enough to park the truck next to the trailer and deep enough we could have parked it across the site in front of the trailer.

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Note the red stripe on the artificial turf. It appears as if they got a good deal on some turf removed from a football field somewhere. There were various stripes and hash marks on different pieces throughout the park. Great way to repurpose. Once we were set up, we generally just relaxed on Sunday evening.

While we were at WaKeeney, we contacted some friends of ours, Phil and Mary Ochoa since Val knew they were in the Denver area. They had found four tickets to see The Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton at the Red Rocks Amphitheater. They asked if we’d like to join them if they bought the four tickets (the show has been sold out for a long time). We said yes.

On Monday, we left fairly early in the morning and got some shopping done around the greater Denver area. We ate lunch at a mall near some of our stops. After our last stop, we contacted Mary and she said she was finishing up a doctor appointment. We hung out for a couple hours at a nearby Starbucks, where she came to meet us.

We stopped by the grocery to pick up something to take to the concert for dinner, then picked up Phil. We left our truck at their house (they full-time in their RV, but still own a house in Boulder that they rent out) while they drove us to the venue in their car.

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Waiting for the show to start

The show was great. The Red Rocks Amphitheater was as great a venue as we had heard it was. We were far enough back that the music wasn’t super loud, but close enough to still see the stage.

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Our View

We stayed until almost the end of the show, but slipped out a little early just as The Steve Miller Band was getting into their encores. We beat most all the traffic out that way.

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One of the Red Rocks at night

By the time the Ochoas dropped us off to get our truck and we drove back to our campground (about an hour drive), it was nearly midnight and we were wiped out. It was a very fun time, though.

On Tuesday, Malcolm worked most of the day. Val worked on some of her projects, as well. Malcolm took a break from regular work to climb up on the trailer and apply some self-leveling sealant on some existing seals that were starting to crack from weather.

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We cooked dinner out on the grill Tuesday evening and got most everything packed up for the move on Wednesday. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will all be travel days, with single night stops on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Sightseeing in Colorado

Current Location: Colorado Springs KOA, Colorado Springs, Colorado

This morning, we had breakfast in the trailer then got together water bottles and drinks to stay hydrated in this thin atmosphere and headed out the door to Manitou Springs. It’s a pretty nice little town up on the hill and the location of the cog railway that goes up to Pikes Peak. We drove up to figure out where we were going later for the railway ride, then headed back down into town and found a parking space.

Seems most businesses in Manitou Springs open at 10:00, 11:00 or noon. Since we were there around 9:30, we walked around for a while, checking out what various shops were around and reading various historical markers. As we strolled up and down the street, various places starting opening up so we browsed a few shops. We picked up t-shirts for our quilt and a few other souvenirs. Around 11:00, we headed back to the truck and up the hill for our cog railway ride.

Once parked, we picked up our tickets and headed down to the snack bar to get a bite to eat. We had pretty good sandwiches brought in from a local cafe. We sat on a bench and ate lunch while waiting for our railway car to arrive. We boarded a little before noon and headed up the mountains to Pikes Peak. We took pictures, shopped the gift shop, grabbed a snack for the ride back down and rode to the bottom. The ride each way is a little over an hour. By the time we got back to the bottom, it was a little after 3.

We hopped in the truck and drove around a bit and ended up driving the loops at the Garden of the Gods. We stopped here and there and took pictures. We also, of course, stopped at the gift shop (which was huge) and found a few items for gifts, as well as post cards.

After Garden of the Gods, we drove aimlessly in the general direction of Colorado Springs and found a Hobby Lobby. Val remembered she needed a couple things from there, so we stopped in. Malcolm walked next door to Office Depot to pick up something we needed from there.

While in Hobby Lobby, we heard from our friends Tracey and Roger Ellmers and figured out a place to meet for dinner. We had a great Mexican meal at Jose Muldoons. We chatted and caught up for a while before saying our goodbyes after pictures on the front porch of the restaurant.

Once we got back to the trailer, it was time to start putting things away and prepare for travel. Tomorrow, we head generally east across I-70 and will probably end up somewhere in Kansas tomorrow evening.

Here are a bunch of pictures from today.

Sign in Manitou Springs

Sign in Manitou Springs

Tracey and Roger

Tracey and Roger

Sign at the Cog Railway Station advising conditions on Pikes Peak

Sign at the Cog Railway Station advising conditions on Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

Stop to switch tracks to let other trains pass us

Stop to switch tracks to let other trains pass us

Wildlife

Wildlife

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

View on the way up to Pikes Peak

Made it to the top

Made it to the top

Our ride

Our ride

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

View from the top of Pikes Peak

On the way back down, the train car in front of us

On the way back down, the train car in front of us

More scenery on the way down

More scenery on the way down

Bighorns at the top of a hill in Garden of the Gods

Bighorns at the top of a hill in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

Scenery in Garden of the Gods

 

Colorado Springs

Current Location: Colorado Springs KOA, Colorado Springs, Colorado

We headed out a little later this morning, closer to 9:00 AM, but we had a shorter travel day planned – about 320 miles. However, much of it was on I-70 up and over the Continental Divide. Vail Pass was our lunch stop, after climbing to 10,662 feet above sea level. The Eisenhower Tunnel was the other peak, at the Continental Divide, at around 11,000 feet. There was a lot of slower climbing in many places, typically around 42 – 48 mph.

Lunch at Vail Pass

Lunch at Vail Pass

When we got into the Denver area, we took the E-470 around the southwest side of town to I-25, then south to and through Colorado Springs to the KOA here just south of town on I-25. Our site is a deluxe site with patio, firepit, table and chairs. Just across from the front of our trailer is a row of trees next to a creek. There is a waterfall in the creek that sounds relaxing. We’re opening the bedroom slide windows tonight so it can lull us to sleep.

Our site

Our site

Once we arrived and set up, we headed just up the road to Camping World to buy a replacement adjustable water pressure regulator with the PSI gauge to replace the one Malcolm forgot in Utah. He has a note on the side of his water box to remember to check for it now. Camping World was sold out of the one we wanted, so we just picked up a couple other small items we’ve needed and headed on up the road to find some dinner and groceries.

We ate at a burger joint called Culver’s. The burger reminded Malcolm of Steak and Shake. They had excellent crinkle fries (Malcolm’s favorite) and Val had a pumpkin spice milkshake that was awesome. After dinner, we picked up a few items at Safeway and headed back to the trailer to put the groceries away. We walked over to the camp store and picked up some postcards. Once back at the trailer, Malcolm headed back to the camp store to pay for a bundle of firewood so we could sit around the fire in the fireplace provided with the site.

Sittin' by the fire, writin' post cards

Sittin’ by the fire, writin’ post cards

Malcolm made reservations for us to ride the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway tomorrow at noon. We decided to do that rather than drive up and down in the dually.

Here are pictures from today:

Tunnels

Tunnels

Scenery

Scenery

More scenery

More scenery

Rest Area at "No Name"

Rest Area at “No Name”

River alongside road

River alongside road

Lunch at Vail Pass

Lunch at Vail Pass

Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels

Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels

Tunnel widening. We bypassed our tunnel.

Tunnel widening. We bypassed our tunnel.

Today’s license plate sighting count – 35. I-70 has a lot more diverse traffic mix.

License plates

License plates

State 30 – Colorado

Current Location: Grand Junction KOA, Grand Junction, Colorado

This morning we packed up and headed out about 8:00 AM. The plan was to make it at least to Green River, Utah, or if possible, as far as Grand Junction, Colorado. Since we had a smooth travel day, we chose the latter, arriving here around 5:00 PM. Surprisingly, rush hour traffic through the various major Utah cities along the I-15 corridor was smooth all the way through. As indicated in the header, this is state #30 for us.

State #30

State #30

We took I-15 down to US 50, then across to I-70. We could have shaved off more miles by taking US 6 from Spanish Fork down to Green River, but weren’t too sure about all that 2-lane driving across fairly barren Utah. The scenery across I-70 occasionally became spectacular, then would turn into mundane, then would change again into interesting, then back to flat desert. Very interesting variety of terrain.

Traveling through Utah means only having services about every 100 miles or more, so one has to pay particular attention to the fuel gauge and the reminders at various exits. We took the safe road and filled up twice along the way, both times when the truck was at half a tank or better.

Here are some various scenery pictures from the trip.

Scenic pull-off, Utah

Scenic pull-off, Utah

Scenic pull-off, Utah

Scenic pull-off, Utah

Scenic pull-off, Utah

Scenic pull-off, Utah

Scenery, Utah

Scenery, Utah

Scenery, Utah

Scenery, Utah

Scenery, Utah

Scenery, Utah

Scenery, Utah

Scenery, Utah

Our campsite, Colorado

Our campsite, Colorado

The license plates today – 22.

License plates

License plates