Well, it was a warm night in La Veta, Colorado last night! Yeah, the temp was down in the low 30’s … but that didn’t bother ole’ Frank and me. Our new sleeping bag arrived!! A double-wide, zero degree-rated, flannel cotton-lined slice of heaven. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it was to be able to sleep in just a t-shirt … and no double pair of socks on the tootsies!
Frank was so thrilled, he didn’t even fight for the “wall” side of the bed. He tested it out before bedtime .. his typical thing, as I mentioned it before. And normally, when I come to bed, he goes dead limp when I try to move him to the inner-tent side of the bed. Not last night. I picked him up off the open mattress as I got into bed and set him down on the flannel. All he did was curl up and shut his eyes.
The other cool feature is the drawstring at the top that will allow you to pull the top opening down taut (with room inside for a pillow) and over your face if necessary. Frank’s glad to know I haven’t planned any campsite stays where we’re in danger of having to deal with that.
Anyhow, on to the photos:
Here are a couple of final shots taken with my cellphone in Pagosa Springs. I took the first shot on one of the last mornings we were there. We were sitting in front of the wash house, facing east. Sunrise happens to the right of the hill, almost center-framed. The grassy area doubled as a game area and as an extra set-up area for RV overflow on busy weekends … Labor Day was one of them.
Morning was one of my favorite times there. I’m an early riser, so I’d have a fair amount of time alone with Frank, sitting there drinking my pot of coffee and enjoying the sounds of everything waking up – the birds, the horses, the ducks (Frank agrees with everything except the ducks). And then the sun would rise over that hill … and after a cold night, it was a special treat to lean back, close the eyelids and bathe in the warmth of the sun.
I’ve mentioned the bath house a few times in recent posts. Here’s the front of it. The door enters into an all-purpose room: there’s a stove, sink, miscellanous community pots, pans and utensils, a coffeepot and a microwave on the left side; a table, the clothes dryer and a lending library with books and games on the right.To the back center, just past the main room, is the clothes washer. On either side were entries into the combination bathroom / showers.
What you can’t see in the photo is the fire ring … the two rounded wooden benches face it. Frank and I would sit in front of the fire to get warm before heading to bed. New people were arriving all the time, and it was nice to sit there and listen to all the conversations going on. Many were back for return visits and it was cool to see people catch up with old camp friends.
As an aside, I’m sorry for the color quality on these next shots – the blue tinting is my fault. I didn’t figure out until a couple of hours ago that I had changed a camera setting for a couple of night time shots I was trying to get and hadn’t reset it. Frank and I will be taking more day trips around here and I’d like to re-take a couple of them. Hopefully it doesn’t take away as much enjoyment from you as it has for me (perfectionism sucks, bigtime!)
Anyhow, here’s Frank at the summit of Wolf Creek Pass, along the Continental Divide. Notice he’s autographed the wall in a couple places … something about an experiment to see whether it was going to run off towards the Atlantic or the Pacific. One of the signs talked about the history of Wolf Creek Pass. When it was first opened to auto graffice in the early 20th century, it took two days to travel the 90 miles from Alamosa to Pagosa Springs. People were expected to carry their own shovels with them during the spring … just in case they encountered patches of snow along the way.
Here’s the backside of our campsite in La Veta. There are only two tent sites and they’re side-by-side, right on top of each other with a six foot fence between them. My tent comes within a foot of the wall. The saving grace is what you see in the photo … about 40 feet of grass between the tent and the river bed with a nice picnic table. And when sitting at the picnic table, there’s a grassy area that runs along the river – not that wide, but it goes for the length of a football field and it’s very, very peaceful to look at. There are just enough trees along the right side to obscure all but three of the RV’s that line up for the choice “riverfront” sites. There’s another photo further down the thread that’ll let you see just a glimpse of the “fairway”, as I’ve started calling it.
In the evening, people set up chairs behind their RV’s. They sit and chill at the end of a day of sightseeing. I’ve seen beer, wine and the occassional smoke so far this week. After seeing them, I feel lucky to be at the end of the row, pretty much isolated from the rest of them.
Here is one rock formation I came across a few miles south of town … I mentioned it in the last post. (I must to go back and retake these shots with the right camera setting!) The first shot is from the north, far enough away to let you see it whole. I don’t why, but it really struck me … how it sticks out from the foothills like the hood ornament on a ’50 Pontiac Silver Streak. The second shot is the same formation from the west side. You’ll notice some holes up along the ridge, just left of center – the third shot is a close-up of the rocks making those holes. I got caught up thinking about how long they must’ve been sitting there, balanced (or wedged) atop each other just right so none of them fall out and cause a slide.
La Veta itself is a pretty cute little town. First off, its about five miles off Highway 160, the main east – west highway in southern Colorado. You pretty much have to intend to go here … it’s not a place you’re going to “pass through” … unless you’re taking the Highway of Legends, one of Colorado’s officially designated “Scenic Highways”. I’ve not been able to find out what specifically the “legend” is (maybe it’s haunted by the ghosts of tourists who asked “Why is it called the Highway of Legends?” one too many times!)
All I know is that the above photos were taken only five miles into the route, and if the rest of the ride is as beautiful as the first five miles, it’ll be worth the drive!
But back to La Veta – not quite the stereotypical “one street town”! First off, it has a very laid-back feel to it. Charlie’s Market is in a storefront on the right side of Main Street, just before the turnoff to the La Veta Inn. There’s a coffee shop on the left a bit further down … I had coffee there Tuesday morning. I told the girl “Bless you for being open at 6:45am! She replied, “Oh, were usually here before that … if you come by earlier and the front isn’t open, just bang on the door. We’ll come out and let you in!” Yeah, I’d like to see Starbucks do THAT!!!!!
There are few restaurants, but lots of galleries .. some art, some handcrafts. I intend to visit some of them next week. There are two gas stations (I bought gas at $2.39/gallon this week, about 50 cents less than it was in Pagosa Springs).
What there are a lot of in La Veta are deer. They are all over the place! As I was driving out of the business district heading south, I glanced over at the Catholic Church on the left and saw what I thought were two deer statues. Man, was I wrong. I was 50 feet past the church when the realiztion hit (I said to Frank, “Did that statue just turn and look at me????”) I hung a “U” … and sure thing … a six-point buck was siting on the grass, chewing his cud. A doe was sitting about 20 feet away from him. Just as non-chalant as you can imagine!
We’ve seen at least 50 deer over the past 5 days .. but none as close as the three that ventured through camp this morning shortly after we left the tent. Frank was already fed and was snuggling up to me for warmth when I spotted a doe and two fawn appearing out of the woods at the far end of the fairway. I ran inside, quick picked up the camera before they got close enough to sense us.
As an aside … I mentioned the thing about the deer to Larry and he sent me a link to a wonderful PBS Special … “The Private Life of Deer“. It’s pretty interesting and worth the hour to watch it. Had I not watched it, I wouldn’t have known they can’t really see things – they can only see movement. Fortunately Frank wasn’t paying attention as he was lying on the picnic table bench between me and the tent … away from where they’d walk if they kept coming.
And they did. Mama stopped for a few seconds, having probably picked up the scent, but kept coming because I wasn’t moving a muscle. I kept snapping photos as one by one, they all crossed between the picnic table and the river bed as they headed south along the banks.
Lastly, here’s one of the few “selfies” I’ve ever taken – the two of us stting at our picnic table the other day. Frank and I are showing off our recent trip to the groomers. I probably won’t be mistaken for Santa Claus for at least another three or four months .. but it didn’t keep me from being mistaken for someone else during a visit to Pueblo earlier this week.
Here’s the story as I related it to my Facebook friends:
I’m in line at the Petsmart and three bikers are standing behind me. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that they were really giving me the once over. All of a sudden, one of them says, “Danny?” I looked at him and said, “Sorry friend, that’s not my name?” He replies, “I really thought you were him, man.”
Another one of them says, “Man, you look EXACTLY like a guy we rode with years ago – Danny Hoffler … H-O-F-F-L-E-R,” and the third biker says to the first one, “Dude looks enough like Danny to be his identical twin brother!” I said, “Well, if that’s the case, if you ever do run into your buddy, give him my condolences for looking like THIS!” (pointing with my index finger to my face and smiling).
The first guy chuckles and says, “Man, you in a club?” By this point, I’m second-guessing my pony tail … but quickly replied …
Dead silence for a couple of seconds – and then I thought they were all gonna bust a gut laughing. I shook hands with the three of them after which Frank and I went on our way.
Santa in Pagosa. Danny the biker in Pueblo. I wonder who’s next.