Yesterday, I took you through the first two (plus) months of my itinerary. A lot of traveling involved. Fortunately, the next couple of months aren’t quite that nomadic.
I’m still residing at the Pleasant Valley RV Park and Campground in central Colorado as Frank and I enter August. This is a beautiful part of the country. I mentioned that I lived in Denver back in the 70’s … when I was there, I was part of Adventure Unlimited’s management team. A/U is a youth organization similar to Young LIfe. In addition to offering activities in local chapters around the world, they owned a ranch just north of Buena Vista, CO, about 45 minutes north of Pleasant Valley. I used to spend 2 days a week at the ranch during the summer, taking care of business. One of my fondest memories was spending an August night camped out on the upper deck of their main activity center, watching the annual Perseid meteor shower. I’ve stayed up late to enjoy meteor showers quite a few times in my life, but none of them have come close to what I was able to see miles away from any city lights, in the clear star-filled Colorado sky. I’m looking forward to experiencing that again.
But on to other things. Here’s the rest of my schedule for the summer and early Fall:
August 13, 2015 – September 13, 2015
The Last Resort
Pagosa Springs, CO
My initial plans included a trip north instead of south, to a camp in Utah, just east of Salt Lake City. But after more thought, I decided against it, not wanting to put all that extra mileage on my car in the first year. I stored the camp’s website in my “Future sites” folder on Google Chrome. I then chose the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park near Montrose. Its canyon was carved by the Gunnison River. Here, the river drops elevation at a rate that’s four times the drop of the Colorado River as it goes through the Grand Canyon! The only problem – the campsites were completely booked when I inquired last week. (Another site for a future visit, I suppose.)
After looking further, I decided to venture into an area of Colorado I’ve never been before, the southwest corner. I found The Last Resort, located about an hour east of Durango, in Pagosa Springs. I had a great talk on the phone with TJ, the owner and decided to stay there … and where I was looking to fill a three-week hole in the schedule, I decided to stay a month. (TJ’s a great salesman – he let me know that the monthly rate would only cost me about $40 more than what I would pay for 3 weeks. Can’t beat that, right?).
He said he’d fix me up near the river in a spot with great shade. He also mentioned they had over 5,000 feet of shoreline (nearly a mile!) along the Blanco River and that the river was stocked with Brown trout at the beginning of the season. For the most part, I’ve dealt with quite a few caring, friendly and genuine people as I’ve looked for places to stay … a welcome change from spending too much time getting into arguments over politics on various Websites as I have for too long a time. The drive from Pleasant Valley is about 175 miles and should take about 3 hours or so. The reservation has been made. My site will have water and electricity. Total cost – $12.58 / night!
September 13, 2015 – October 13, 2015
Circle the Wagons RV Park and Campground
La Veta, CO
This was actually the first Colorado camp I found (as an aside, if you’re looking for RV parks or campgrounds, RVParkReviews.com is a great source of information. Lots of real-life experiences are posted by previous visitors … it helped me weed out a lot of places that I might have otherwise chosen. Circle the Wagons had a rating of 8.8 on a scale of 1-10.), but I wanted to start off closer to Buena Vista since I was familiar with that area. According to the Website, they closed at the end of September, so I figured I’d look into a 3-week stay and leave when they closed. I emailed the campground, asking if the tent sites had electrical connections. They replied quickly – “No, they don’t, but we’ll fix you up close to one of the buildings so you can have access to it.” Wonderful!
My only reservation (pun intended) about extending my stay at The Last Resort, was that it meant cutting the stay here down to only two weeks. I was resigned to that and called to make my reservation here. I casually told Jay, (the better half of the husband-wife team that owned the place) that I was sorry they closed at the end of September, otherwise I’d have stayed a little longer. She replied, “No, we close at the end of October” (they’ve since fixed their Website). That said, I decided to extend my stay here to a full month. Jay said she’d figure out a rate and email me. She also told me that after my inquiry into electricity at the tent sites, she and her husband decided to plumb all the tent sites for electricity, which meant I could have a site down near the river!
I think Frank is really going to like this place – “dog friendly” seems like more than just a slogan. They not only have a cute little dog park (aptly named “Circle the Waggins” … those of you who know me also know that I love puns!), they also offer a dog walking service, too. Judging from the pictures on the front page of the Website, they have a lot of deer, too (I hope you’re following the links to the various campgrounds that I’ve included in the titles)!
My only concern – staying into mid-October means that I’m probably going to encounter some snow. I was hoping to avoid that, but so be it. Knock on wood that it’s not enough where I have problems driving on to my next stop!
The drive here from Pagosa Springs is about 150 miles and should take a little less than 3 hours. The reservation has been made – Jay offered a great rate for a month-long stay. It worked out to $13.68 / night!
That’s it for now – this is as far as I’ve gotten with making actual reservations … since I extended my stay in La Veta, it means I’m cutting out another location I had planned on visiting – Taos, NM. That’ll have to be saved for a future part of the journey, too. I have planned stops that take me from early November to the end of February in south Texas, but the last two weeks of October are somewhat undecided at the moment. I’ll fill in the details tomorrow.