Thursday, June 04, 2015

North towards Steamboat Springs

Wednesday, June 3
We left Heaton Bay about 9am. Add this campsite as a good one in Heaton Bay. Site 76.
Picked up a few WalMart items then went to the Buttercup Bakery on the way out of town. Headed west on I-70 and got off at the west Vail exit #171. Stopped at the USFS office and got the Motor Vehicle Use Map for the area. This will be a good source of camping info. going forward. Took US 6 west which follows the Eagle River. The water is very high and fast. We stopped at the BLM  Wolcott Recreation site to watch the rafters taking off. I was talking to the guides and they  said they were booked solid for most of the prime time. Good money for the guides. The guides are commonly called River Rats.  In 2000 we went white water rafting in Alaska.
Rafters on the Eagle River

In Dotsero we headed north on CR 301, the Colorado River Road. The road is probably 1/3 paved with the rest being very good, well compacted dirt. The Union Pacific RR runs right alongside the river. This was very common when the railroads were being built because the river naturally took the low ground thus avoiding tunneling or climbing mountains. Around here, the river runs from northeast to southwest.  The CO River starts as a creek draining the high country in the RMNP.  The river is lined with spruce, fir, ponderosa pine and cottonwoods. We stopped at Lyon's Gulch Rec. Site thinking  about spending the night but it wasn't much so we continued north.   We wound up at the Catamount Bridge BLM site. This is a free BLM camping area and  boat ramp site. We have the place to ourselves tonight. The U.P. tracks are right across the river. So far, there have been four long coal trains rumbling by.  The elevation is 6,600'. The refrigerator is working just fine confirming that the problems we were having at Frisco was the 9,000'+ elevation. We cooked salmon and sweet potatoes on the grill and it worked just fine then had a small campfire from downed wood. 
No cell phone service along the road.
The Colorado River with rafters.
A good part of the road runs through a red rock canyon.

An old gas station sign along the road
Our camping neighbor

Thursday, June 4
We continued north on the CO River Road then north on CO 131 to CO 134. Drove the Lynx Pass(CR 16) to the top and then took FR 206 toward the Rock Creek SWA.  There is a two story log building from about 1880 that was a residence, stage stop, hotel, and post office.A few miles down the road, Rock Creek had complete breached the roadway.  Times like this is when the little 24' rig is nice. The short wheelbase can turn around on a one lane road.  The initial plan was to camp off FR 206 but that didn't work out. 

The washed out road.

We headed north towards Steamboat Springs. The campgrounds around Rabbit Ears Pass don't open until June 15 so we found a place to park in the woods. The detailed maps of the NF's have already come in handy. At 9,265'.

On Rabbit Ears Pass.
Still a work in progress learning Blogger with the iPad.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

We're traveling again.

We're traveling again.
When we got home to Longmont, Carol saw her doctor. Essentially he said "why did you come home just to see me? If you felt your condition was really serious, you should have gone to the nearest ER. If something lesser, give me a call."  He explained that he routinely does phone and  e-mail consulting. Now we know.
The '08 Lazy Daze sold quickly. We enjoyed it, but it was also ready for a new home.
After a few months at home, we began missing traveling plus we need a way for Carol to travel to see our Virginia family now and then. Car and motel travel simply doesn't work for us.   We went to an RV show in Denver with the idea of looking at the smaller B Vans like Roadtrek, LTV, and such. Something small, but sufficient for mostly  local travel. Since our move to CO, we no longer have the very long drive from South FL to the Western states we enjoy so much.  The B Vans  are really, really tight; especially with Carols special needs. Plus the Lazy Daze quality has just spoiled us. I was also surprised at the prices. A high quality B Van on the Mercedes chassis would easily cost $135,000.
So, on March 4th, 2014,  we ordered a 2015 24' Twin King. This will be our third LD. First a used 2000 Mid-Bath, then a new 2008 Mid-Bath and now a 2015 Twin King. The first two were blue. This one is red. Originally, LD was shooting for a December delivery. December became January which became February, on and on. It was finally delivered to us in Longmont on May 13th. A year and two months.
After a week, or so, of installing the stuff we needed, like roof vent covers, an inverter to charge Carols scooter battery, making it sparkle with polish, and such, we headed out for our  first trip on Saturday, May 30, right after our grandson, Oliver's, baseball game. Actually we were anxious to get started so left after the third inning. We can't imagine he much cared if we snuck out early.

Saturday, May 30.
We headed south to Georgetown then took the Guanella Pass road south. The plan was to find someplace to spend the night on the pass but the snow was so deep we found nothing. At the top of the pass, people were still snowshoeing. Just before Guanella Pass Road  joins up with US 285 in Grant, is a roadside bar-b-que stand calÅ‚ed Pits. Excellent. Carol had a pulled pork sandwich and I had  brisket. Both were good, but the pork was better. Next time we both get the pork.
The original plan was to take the Boreas Pass  Road into Breckinridge but with all the snow at the higher elevations the road was still closed so we decided to head to the Alma State Wildlife Area(SWA) which is a few miles north of Alma. The SWA is an area with smaller lakes and marsh areas. Free camping. Turned out to be a nice choice for the first night. We parked right on the waters edge and watched the fishermen catch nothing.
Everything in the new camper worked just fine. Not even a small problem. That's why we stuck with Lazy Daze for a third time; we're spoiled by the quality.

 Sunday, May 31.
Drove to Frisco. We've been here several times. A really nice mountain town. Touristy, but not like Estes with all the T-Shirt shops. Stopped, once again, at the Buttercup Bakery. I had a cinnamon bun and got Carol a chocolate croissant. It's been a very long time since Carol had a chocolate croissant. There was a bakery at the Fort  Pierce, FL farmers market that had wonderful croissant's. On most Saturday's we went for the baked goods.
We're at the Heaton Bay USFS campground for the next three days. One of our favorite campgrounds. Camping in site 71. This might be the best site in here; on the water plus a great view of the mountains plus it's a pull-thru site and very level.

Happy campers
The 2015 Twin King.
The view from our site #71

A few  months ago, we went to a  presentation by John Fielder. He's probably the preeminent nature photographer in CO. We bought his book entitled Best of Colorado, 3rd Edition. We're using the book as our travel guide for this trip.
After we leave here, the plan is to drive the Colorado River Road from Dotsero north to State Bridge. It's 46 miles of paved and graded dirt road  following the river. Then take it from there.

Monday. June 1
We were going to drive Loveland Pass today but there was a big avalanche
 a day, or so ,ago and the summit was still closed. We were able to drive to the Arapaho Basin ski resort. People were still skiing. On the way, we came across a small beaver pond. Gopher went swimming then we took a short hike into the woods. There were several fire pits so it must be popular with campers. We also found a nice disbursed camping for future use. 39.61687. -105.92915.
A swim in the beaver pond

I stopped by the local Forest Service office and bought detailed maps of all the National Forests in this area. The maps show the roads where we should be able to drive the camper with a minimal chance of getting stuck.  They also had a list of roads still closed with snow. We're going to have to stay below about 10,000 feet on his trip and do the high passes on the next trip.

Tuesday, June 2.
A beautiful, sunny day. We walked around the campground making notes of the best sites in case we want to make reservations in the future. Based on site size, level, water access and view, our favorites are, in this order, 71,21,19,18.
The refrigerator has been shutting off now and then. According to the manual and on-line research, that commonly happens above about 5,000' elevation. We're at just over 9,000' here.
We just have to be attentive to the "check" light and restart it as required. Last night we tried to grill with the propane grill. It would not stay lighted. Wonder if the elevation was the cause?

Learning how to use Blogger from the iPad. I use the laptop less and less, so I'm no longer taking with us on trips. This is my first effort.