This turned out be the keynote photo of this trip. The beautiful Colorado Rockies at their best on a truly beautiful day. The unending vistas through crystalline skies that we witnessed on previous trips Out West in 2011 & 2013 were marred by the forest fires on the Westcoast. There was a haze almost everywhere we went. We also realized that this may well be out last trip like this to the West. Sleeping in 42F degree inside temperatures at night has lost its charm. Also, in the last 20 years, over 6 million new RV's have been sold, with most still on the road competing for campsites. Carefree driving, and just showing up at a campground without reservations leads to disappointment. Future trips will be closer to home. We feel lucky and blessed to have been able to make this trip, and return to our home that was unscathed by the hurricane. We also feel blessed that you could join us along the way....The truck mileage was 23,476 at the start and 28,284 at the end for a total miles driven of 4,808. Gas $1,327.04, LPG $23.79, Food $201.47, Restaurants $48.61, Deluxe 1st Class accomodation on the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad $377.01, Camp fee $547.54, Truck brake repair $434.73. Total expenses for trip $2960.19.
Record #444 DATE: 8/30/2017 DAY: Wed ST: FL NAME: Three Rivers SP LOCATION: Sneads SITE #: 15 COST: $8.92 elec, water, dump, showers LEFT: 9:30am ARRIVED: 9:30pm ROUTE: Suncoast Pky, US98, US19, I10 exit 158, FL286, US90, FL271 This trip will be our fall visit to CO and NM. Our last visit to this location was fall of 2013. The work necessary in preparing for an extended trip involves truck, camper, and house. Two weeks before departure, the truck was in for checkup, new batteries, oil change, etc. The camper always seems to have some kind of issue. This time it was the jacks no longer raised the camper to load the camper into the truck bed. With a lot of effort by Greg, he found the replacement parts by internet, and spent a couple days to install. Not an easy project, but probably easier than hand cranking the camper up/down. Lots of stuff to hurricane prepare the house. Storm panels up over windows/doors, reinforce garage door, SunFish boat into railroad room, tie down trailer and wood pile, trash cans in shed, etc. Good grief, we are finally on our way at 9:30am. Well, maybe not! At 10:30am in Crystal River going 45mph, something broke, steering wheel began shaking, touched brakes to slow down, and lots more shaking worse. I was able to pull into a parking lot. In less than 30 minutes by internet, Greg found a Firestone store only one mile away. We slowly made our way to the repair shop. One hour later, it was determined that the failure was a front brake. Unfortunately, the repair parts had to be located someplace else. By 4:15pm parts were delivered and installed. We were finally on the road again at 5pm. A 6 1/2 hour delay!!!!!!!!!!!! I was the one who said we should just go home, but Greg said no. So, we took off on a very long 4 1/2 hour drive to the CG that we already had reservations for. It was extremely difficult to find our campsite in the pitch dark. It was hard to follow a sandy path and where exactly was site 15. Greg had to get out of the camper with flashlight in hand to go hunting while I waited. We, of course, had missed our site. I managed to backup, following Greg's hand signals by flashlight backing into our spot for the night. To say we were glad to finally be stopped for the night is a minor statement. How about exhausted, tired, stressed out, etc? We ate some dinner and went to bed.
Record #445 DATE: 8/31/2017 DAY: Thu ST: FL NAME: Big Lagoon SP LOCATION: Pensacola SITE #: 29 COST: $11.15 elec, water, dump, showers LEFT: 9:30am ARRIVED: 3pm ROUTE: FL271, I10, I110, US98, FL173, FL292, FL293 So, to continue with our first day on the road adventures, besides the brake failure and waiting for the repair, we had to turn off the gas fridge because the truck was jacked up. After it was turned back on, the fridge just did not get cold enough. Here we go again with the 'x!x#!xx!' fridge. It works fine on elec and battery. So, that is what we will do until we figure something else out. By the way, I am writing these log entries many days after the fact. No time to write at the end of each day. As you will read, we have been driving for most of the day for 5 days straight. By the time we arrive at a CG, we only have an hour or two to relax, eat dinner, and go to bed. Not too much fun. We are getting too old for this type of schedule. We both slept reasonably well, and were well rested to begin another long day. I am excited about a return trip to 3 Rivers with my kayak. This site 15 is right next to the water and I could launch without too much trouble by myself. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas several days ago with over 51" of rain. We drove through remaining bands of disturbed weather on our way to Pensacola. At Pensacola, we had lots of fun from 1:30pm-3pm as we toured the Naval Aviation Museum. We did this in 2013 also. At the CG, we could only go on a short walk after dinner because there was still a lot of standing water remaining from Hurricane Harvey.
Another good night's sleep by both of us. After breakfast, we decided to return to the museum again to see in detail the final portion of the displays. Arrived back at the museum when it opened at 9am. What is unusual for the displays, you can touch the planes, walk under them, and a few you can even climb up into the cockpit. A Blue Angels F4 was exciting to sit in the small space and touch the peddles, stick, and see all the dials and switches! Of course, pictures of Greg and then me, inside the cockpit. So, we departed the museum at 10:30am.
Record #446 DATE: 9/1/2017 DAY: Fri ST: MS NAME: Lake Lincoln SP LOCATION: Wesson SITE #: South 10 COST: $13.91 elec, water, dump, showers LEFT: 8:30am ARRIVED: 5pm ROUTE: I10, I12, I55 exit 55, US51,?? So, we departed the museum at 10:30am, and then had a 6 1/2 hour drive on our way to this CG in MS. In the detail portion of our road route, there is an ? That is because, we made at least 10 turns in the last 6 miles to this CG. It was worth all the turns to arrive at this CG. Our south loop campsite is nestled in the shade of towering hardwood trees. The site is paved and level and in the shade. We sat outside at 5:30PM to relax before dinner.
Record #447 DATE: 9/2/2017 DAY: Sat ST: AR NAME: Ivys Cove RV Retreat LOCATION: Russellville SITE #: 10 COST: $40.89 LEFT: 9:15am ARRIVED: 5pm ROUTE: US51, I55 exit 72 MS27, I20 exit 171 US65, I530, I40 exit ? Bradley Cove Rd Before we left the CG, we drove down to the other loops that are next to the lake. What a zoo. Not our idea of camping with huge RV rigs, trucks, boats, and etc. parked right next to each other. We topped off the water tank and dumped. The 8 hour drive today was almost too much. Lots of turns onto highways that cut across MS and AR. We were very tired. However, this RV CG is not too bad. There were actually trees next to each site, and had super bathroom/showers that were individual rooms. Three weeks before we left on this fall trip, I tried to make reservations for the Fri-Sun Labor Day holiday. In AR & OK at all SP and NF, no individual nights could be reserved. We do not want to stay 3 nights when we want to travel.
Record #448 DATE: 9/3/2017 DAY: Sun ST: TX NAME: Oasis RV Resort LOCATION: Amarillo SITE #: 18 COST: $36.10 LEFT: 8:30am ARRIVED: 5:30pm ROUTE: I40 exit 60 Arnot Rd It was another 8 hour driving day, but less tiring since it was all on I40 at 70mph. At least we got lots of exercise getting out of the truck many times to fill up with gas. This CG is located several miles west of Amarillo in the desert. It is a huge place with over 150 sites. It is an absolutely flat area paved in asphalt and concrete with some grass and a few skinny trees. Our site was down 6 streets and 1/3 way down the street. We pulled in and turned on the AC. When the fireball sun went down, we walked around the CG. When we returned to our truck/camper, we just stood and looked around in a circle. It was a surreal experience. Here is our little rig, surrounded by $250,000 RV's, row after row after row. Greg could not resist taking a panorama photo. Temperatures during the day were close to 90 degrees, but finally at night 61 degrees. Up until then we had 80 degrees at night. As we settled into bed, we turned on the fan to bring in fresh air. Wow, what is that smell? Hay? Oh well, turned off the fan. (Next morning a few miles down the road we drove past a STOCK YARD! Note to self - check Google maps more closely the surrounding area at an RV Park)
We rolled alongside a train that only consisted of empty flatcars. Some of them were very unusual. Normally, this type of car is used to haul containers that can also be carried on the highways by truck. Very odd to have four sets of wheels ('trucks') that would indicate that it was setup for VERY heavy loads. We'll have to do some research to find out why....
NAME: Bear Lake CG LOCATION: San Isabel NF SITE #: 9 COST: $8.50 trash LEFT: 9am ARRIVED: 3pm ROUTE: I40 exit 36 US385, US87, I25 exit 13 CO12, FR322 Gas prices have been very reasonable during this trip at $2.25-$2.59. Well today’s gas prices finally were way out of line. $2.74 in Trinidad, CO. Since we are nuts on trains, we had to stop in Raton, NM to see the train station, and how many tracks are still in the yard. Station looked good and only 5 tracks of the original 10 remain. Our first mountain pass and grade was Raton Pass. When we left Trinidad on CO12, it was 40 miles to the turnoff to this CG. Along the way, we finally saw REAL mountains with still some snow spots in the distance. The 5 mile drive along FR322 was a kidney buster with washboard road. Our 10,548' altitude at this CG reminds us to take it easy moving around. Don't know how long it will take for us to not keep breathing so hard? Thank goodness our bodies are not like our drinking water bottles, soap pump dispensers, and sealed bag of pretzels are about to explode from gas expansion. None of the campsites are level. This was the first time this trip we have needed the leveling blocks. The temperature was delightful at 70 to enjoy our Crown & coffee. AMERICAN CROW, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, STELLER'S JAY, COLORADO CHIPMUNK, GOLDEN MANTLED SQUIRREL