Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Friday, June 1, 2018

Enjoying Life in Colorado

May 1-31, 2018

5-5-2013 our first rolling home
May 1st was our 5 year full time rv'ing anniversary. As we look back over the last 5 years we feel so grateful to be living this wonderful lifestyle. We've visited so many beautiful places, tasted some awesome foods and beer in Dave's case, reconnected with friends and family, met so many great people and have made some amazing friendships in the RV community. We've towed over 45,000 miles and stayed at countless awesome places, there are still so many places to visit that we see no end in site of this lifestyle. A lifestyle that allows us to spend time in such beautiful places that we've only dreamed of visiting. Thanks to all of you who have made this such an amazing time in our lives. Absolutely NO REGRETS!!!

4-14-2018 our current rolling home
Speaking of amazing places, we are enjoying our time living in Durango for the summer. Since we are living here for the summer we are pacing ourselves in exploring the area. We have friends coming in June so we'll be doing a lot of the tourist things. Unfortunately my walking is suffering, on work days I don't move much, on off days if we're not hiking I sure don't feel like walking around the park 20+ times to get my 7 miles a day in. Averaging in between 4 and 5 miles a day, 

Our work days go be quickly, the early part of the month we were getting the park ready for the season, Memorail Day weekend we were hopping, a Newmar rally on the 31st, more rallies and caravans are scheduled every month. Before we know it October will be here. 

Workamping at Alpen Rose RV Park-Durango CO

We have 5 couples who cover the office and grounds and one local woman to help in the office. We work a 2 on 4 off schedule 8-5 with an hour off for lunch. There is another couple to cook breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, usually in around 6:30 and done about 10:30. There are usually 2 couples for breakfast duty and they rotate a 3 on 3 off schedule....anyone interested in helping out. There are 2 pizza cook couples, they take orders between 4 and 7:30, 3 on 3 off schedule. We receive our site-fhu-electric included, cable, wifi-great sometimes when the park isn't full, free propane, free laundry, free breakfast any day they are serving, discounted pizza and store items, pet wash once a week. So far this has been a great experience and we've been really happy with our decision to workamp here this summer. They stress customer service and do the best they can to accommodate everyone. Site numbers are not guaranteed here but they do their best to accommodate everyone's requests which can make for some challenging situations when you're trying to move folks around on Memorial Day weekend. With rallies coming up and the tourist season beginning it's going to get hopping, sure makes the work days go by quickly. We use the Campground Master program which is nice as it only took me a rotation and I was once again familiar with it. The other folks who work in the office this summer have had to learn the program, for awhile when I show up in the office on my day off, and the manager wasn't around, there would be a question or two for me, which in turn helped in my brushing up of the program. Dave spends the first part of his work day doing whatever maintenance needs to be done, by late morning the rv's start arriving he's off escorting folks to their site. He's gone through the park and repaired all the picnic tables, worked on cleaning the shop out and various other projects around the park as they arise. In Durango there is City Market (Kroger) and Albertsons for grocery stores, of course Walmart had a presence in Durango, along with Home Depot. We always talked about spending the summer in CO one day, that day has come and we're having a blast, two months down-it'll be October before we know it. 

Family Time

One of the perks of being in CO this summer is being sort of near our son Tom, COLO Springs is less than 6 hours away with some breathtaking scenery to go through on the way. Over Wolf Creek pass on US 160E to Del Norte and you have options on roads to take, all with in 30 minutes of each other. We will be trying them all over the course of the summer. We have decided not to pull the 5th wheel to COLO Springs this summer and instead use hotels. By the time you add it all up there's not much difference if we use something along La Quinta which so far has worked out. We found one that is less than 5 miles from Tom & Krystal's place, it's also convenient to my brother's home. 

On our first rotation off in May we headed to COLO Springs to see Tom & Krystal, we planned our visit to maximize their time off. After checking into the La Quinta on Garden of the Gods road we headed over to Tom & Krystal's place where we planned out our next few days. Over the course of the next few days we'd share meals, scenic drives, hikes and family time with them. Thanks again Tom for a wonderful belated Chinese birthday dinner and Krystal thanks for breakfast at the fantastic egg place. 

We all decided Breckenridge would be our destination on the one day both Tom and Krystal were off. The town is between seasons and it was relatively easy to get around but I'm sure at times bringing the dually downtown would be crazy. We enjoyed Saphire Point Overlook Trail a short .6 mile trail with some great views down into Breckenridge and Dillion Reservoir. 

We then tried to hike the Spruce Creek Trail which connected with a few other trails to make a nice loop. After sinking into snow up to the knees one too many times we called it a day and headed back to COLO Springs. 

Alvin-our granddog

Tom checking out a shelter...just in case
Another day we kept it a little more local to COLO Springs, we headed to Woodland Park where we tried the Catamount Falls Trail. We got a later start, 10'sh, than we usually do and the temps were getting warm. This trail has a lot of elevation gain in the beginning, I finally made it to the town overlook before having to call it a day. It was a great day out with our son and that's what most important. 

Favorite picture from visit
While exploring the local area we took a ride out to Vallecinto Lake, a beautiful small lake we hope to get the canoe out on later this summer. In 2002 a devastating wildfire went through the area, a local artisan has made carvings in 14 of the downed trees, tributes to a fallen firefighter, other firefighters that came to help and more. Next time we're up there we'll look for more of them. 

Haviland Lake Hike

About 8 miles north on US 550 is Havilend Lake SWA where there is camping, hiking, canoeing/kayaking and fishing. On this day we were there to hike the Haviland Lake Trail. Lots of elevation gain and poorly marked trail but great exercise and a wonderful day out hiking.

Million Dollar Highway & US 550

One morning we headed out to hike at Spud Lake near Silverton, a few miles in the road got real rough, we decided not to continue on it. Maybe we'll check it out when our friends are here with their jeep. 

Plan B was to drive to Ouray, the portion of US 550 from Silverton to Ouray is called the Million Dollar Highway and is a two lane narrow, curvy with steep grades highway that some folks choose to drive their RV on. Not something this girl wants to do, maybe to Silverton but not all the way to Ouray.

Great boondocking site just north of Silverton, will Dave convince me to hook up the house and take it there?

Back home at Alpen Rose

The month of May started with snow and ended with days in the 80's. We have friends arriving in the next few days then more joining us in a few weeks. Looks like June will fly by just as fast as May did. 
What a difference 6 weeks makes
Until next time...

Thursday, May 3, 2018

April in Durango

April 4th - April 30th 2018

Our drive from Page AZ to Durango CO was all on 2 lane road and continually uphill. Thankfully our slide did stay in but our truck threw a code again, again no power loss or any retardation of speed. As we entered CO we saw the Rockies in the distance, they were snow covered. We arrived at Alpen Rose RV Park mid afternoon, found directions to our site and started settling in. Alpen Rose has 2 sections, the older 30amp treed section behind the office and buildings, then there is the 50amp section which has regular, premium and big rig sites. We are in a regular pull thru site, we share the yard with our neighbors, we've set up on the part where the tree is. There's a small planting garden around the tree :)   The park is located on the north side of Durango, across the street is the Durango Silverton Railroad Line. The train will be by 6 times a day, 3 up and 3 back. 
site 93

view out the back window

Being the slow season the office hours are split, 8-12 then 3-5, when the office reopened we headed over to introduce ourselves to Joan and Bob who have been managers here for 17 years. The office has been slammed with reservation requests, with Joan being the only one in the office she was thankful we were here so early. We arrived on a Wednesday and offered to start work on Friday. I've been getting reacquainted with Campgro-und Master and Dave has been learning about the mechanics of the park. By month's end we are open 8-12 and 1-5, still need a few more couples to work the office and maintenance, hopefully those who are suppose to show do so. By the end of the month we had 3 couple doing what we do, need 3 more. 

We are on a 2 on 4 off schedule, on our days off we are trying to learn the area. 

We've taken a ride up to Silverton, another 2500'+ higher in elevation than Durango. Too cold to do much more than take in the beauty as we rode in our warm truck. 

 Not too much going on in Silverton yet, deserted streets and closed businesses, soon though the place will be jumping.

The Animas River runs through Durango, there is the Animas River Walk Trail which is over 7 miles from end to end. Every rotation off we've been doing segments of it to help acclimate ourselves to the elevation. One day we started at the north end then walked about 3.5 miles south, turned around and walked back to the truck, another day we picked the trail up where we had stopped and continued it to the end and then back to the truck. Then there was the day we biked the whole thing. All in all I did better than I thought I would and only had to get off once on the steepest incline. Nice to work some different muscles once in awhile.

Once it dried up we tried a few hikes the first being Falls Creek Loop Trail  which was much nicer than walking around the campground. If you do the exterior roads in the campground and loop around it's only 1/4 mile, will take a lot of laps to make up my daily 7 miles that I'm not getting. Not a lot of scenery on the trail but it was nice just the same. There is a longer loop off of this trail that we'll try another time.

We also hiked The Colorado Trail to Gudy's Nest  which was a really great hike in the pine forest. I hadn't realized I missed hiking in a pine forest till we were back in one. Nice to hear the wind rustling in the trees, the creek running alongside of the trail and the scent of pine in the area on a spring day. The Colorado Trail is a 500 mile long trail connecting Durango and Denver, it traverses six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges, you can read more about it here.

We interrupted this robin's bath 

Didn't see one snake in the desert but here in CO on the trail we finally did

Unfortunately with the colder temps and being in an office 3 days a week my step goal is suffering, not happy with that but hopefully when better weather comes a long we can get out on a few hikes on our days off.

We've started to check out the local breweries and eateries. Our first afternoon in town we ended up at Carver Brewing where Dave enjoyed a flight and I enjoyed their root beer. 

We did try Animas Brewery but Dave didn't care for their beers so we won't be going back. They don't make their own root beer so another strike for them.  

We've been to Steamworks Brewery, the food was good and Dave enjoyed most of the beers. Good food and draft root beer for me, a great way to end a walking tour of Durango. For Dave he likes Carver Brewing best, I know where we'll be returning to soon. 

We headed out one evening for Chinese, we tried the Mongolian Grill where the food was good but the service was lacking. We might give them another try, though there is another Chinese place that gets good reviews. We went to Fiesta Mexican for my birthday, on the 25th. Having had some great Mexican between AZ and TX we found Fiesta to be lacking in flavor, we'll try another Mexican place next time. 

Dave got a chance to look at the slide motor, he appeared to have found the problem and has fixed it :) 

We've tried all the grocery stores, miss my Fry's and HEB :( 

April flew by and before we knew it we'd been here a month. In May we head to Colorado Springs to see our son Tom. The park will be getting busier as the days go by, at the end of the month we have 2 rallies going on in the park, it's going to get crazy.

I've been working on our reservations for next winter and getting our travel plans in order. We will leave Port Aransas TX on 2/1/19 and arrive in Johnson VT on 5/23/19, by way of FL. I've made lots of reservations but still more to go.

Port Aransas TX to Johnson VT 2/1/2019-5/23/2019
      1)     Spring Creek Park                           Tomball TX                      2/1/19 for 3 nights          

2)      Martin Dies JR State Park               Jasper TX                         2/4/19 for 3 nights                   reserved

3)      Poche’s RV Park                             Beaux Bridge LA               2/7/19 for 3 nights             

4)      Buccaneer State Park                   Waveland MS                   2/10/19 for 4 nights              

5)      Meaher State Park                        Spanish Fort AL               2/14/19 for 7 nights              

6)     Topsail Hill State Park                  Santa Rosa FL                    2/21/19 for 4 nights              

7)      Eastbank COE                               Bainbridge GA                   2/25/19 for 2 nights

8)      Quigley’s                                     Citrus Springs FL                2/27/19 for 4 nights

9)     Hillsborough River State Park       Thonotosassa FL                 3/3/19 for 5 nights              

10)   Ortona South COE                           Moore Haven FL              3/8/19 for 6 nights          

11)   Easterlin Park Campground           Oakland Park FL                3/14/19 for 4 nights              

12)   Bill Frederick Park-Turkey Lake     Orlando FL                       3/18/19 for 5 nights              

13)   Quigley’s                                       itrus Springs FL               3/27/19 for 4 nights

14)   Reed Bingham State Park              Adel GA                            3/31/19 for 3 nights              

15)   Moduc COE                                    Moduc SC                         4/3/19 for 3 nights                         

16)   Cheraw State Park                       Cheraw SC                         4/6/19 for 3 nights                     reserved

17)   Farm County Campground            Williamston NC                   4/9/19 for 1 night

18)   Oregon Inlet                                 Nags Head NC                     4/10/19 for 7 nights

19)   Falls Lake SRA/Holly Point           Wake Forest NC                   4/17/19 for 3 nights

20)   Stone Mountain State Park           Roaring Gap NC                    4/20/19 for 2 nights

21)  West Virginia Fair Grounds           Fairlea WV                          4/22/19 for 3 nights
22) Natural Chimneys Regional Park   Mount Solon MD                    4/25/19 for 3 nights

23)   Cherry Hill Park                            College Park MD              4/28/19 for 7 nights

24)   Lums Pond State Park                    Bear DE                            5/5/19 for 3 nights

25)   Old Cedar Campground                 Monroeville NJ                   5/8/19 for 1 nights

26)   Sylvan Lake Beach Park                 Beekman NY                     5/9/19 for 4 nights

27)  Grandview Campresort                   Moodus CT                       5/13/19 for 4 nights

28)   Fisherman’s State Park                 Narragansett RI                  5/17/19 for 5 nights

29)   Travelers Woods                           Bernardston MA                 5/22/19 for 1 night

30)   Maplewoods Campground             Johnson VT                         5/23/19-6/20/19 reserved
4515 miles and 114 nights-let us know if you'll be nearby

The crab apples have started blooming, the grass is getting green but there's still snow in the mountains. 

Until next time....