Hit the road about
9:30 AM. It took a couple of months but we have landed in Iowa for awhile.
We traveled in vacation mode
and had a great time. San Diego and later the Grand Canyon for a
week and trout fishing in NM. Got across Kansas without having weather
problems. Got our trailer worked on and made it back to IA for now a brief
stay as we contemplate our next adventure.
You can go to our home page
that links to our past travels.
Terry got my old Grand AM
out of storage and it started. It's on the right edge of the above picture.
We left Quartzsite at the
end of March and now just go to Iowa. We needed to get back for doctor
and dentist appointments. Terry gets to have his 5 year colonoscopy done
again. We do get these down, and so should you. My father died from
colon cancer long ago. It is a disease that now can be prevented with early
detection. Also need to get the truck serviced as it has a couple of recurring
oil leaks again. Need to get the breaks checked also.
So this is down time to
regroup and get it back together.
I have been spending much
time working on my desktop computer. I ran into a problem where it said
I have disk drive error problems on boot but it wouldn't let me run a chkdsk
/f. on reboot. Said I had a bad installed program preventing the scan.
If I tried to do a system restore to a date in the past it said can't do
that do that I a had disk drive with errors. Catch 22. I could do
a chkdsk without the /f and all would come up good. So I had to do a full
backup restore (I have Acronis True Image backup Program) and of course
my last full system backup was not recent. We we never learn. I did have
current data backed up (Use Second Copy 2000) so had to restore all that
also. Everything was working except I would get you need to do a disk drive
scan on boot at times. Now just getting to a point I can us this hunk of
junk again. I connected through my Droid smart phone to re download Microsoft
updates. Faster than my Satellite service and unlimited bandwidth usage.
lt also it took me 8 hours
to get me MotoSat Internet dish to lock on to the 89W satellite yesterday.
We now have DirecTV off the same dish on a LNB so we had to watch TV last
night via local digital broadcast TV. I worked with it all last night and
it finally locked on about 11 PM. Sometime these FRED'S are just too much.
You better believe I have the Sat settings written down so I can get up
doing it manually if needed since we are not about to move for awhile.
Have taped tonight's Final American Idol show. So will watch it a little
later. Now that I have this machine restore need to do a full system
Hit the road about
We came up US 59 to Ottawa
from Chanute and got on I-35 to Olathe.
We changed our plans on the
fly as we orig. had planned to head to Platte City by taking US 73 to Levenworth
and cross over and stay at a PassportAmerica RV park. But as we hit I-35
I said why don't we just go straight through KS on I-35. Terry my reliable
navigator said go for it, I can get you through KS. I said are you sure?
(I had not looked at the map you see.) We had a long... look at each other...
and I put the pedal to the metal and went for it. Now I-35 is under
construction and the signs said to take I-435 east around KS to connect
back up with I-35 on the north side. So we did do that.
Not like going from Quartzsite
to Parker, AZ for an outing to get groceries, me thinks.
This country is overgrown
(living in the BLM for six months makes you forget just how big this country
has become. But in this case the six lanes were well marked and mostly
new so we moved on with traffic and did fine.
Now back on I-35 we just
kept heading north. It's me again, don't stop till I drop. We passed up
a couple of RV parks we found using my Driod smart phone that had pools
in Missouri. It was 88 in our rear view mirror temp gauge. But no, I kept
on going. I don't think you can ever take the vacation mode out of
us totally. We opted to head to Winterset, IA and the "Bridges of Madison
County" fame. I could see online they have a nice city campground and we
might just explore the area as we have lived so close and have never done
that before. We are only 50 miles from Des Moines, IA after all.
Now the links
Official Madison County
County Discover. Explore. Fall in Love Covered
Bridges of Madison County, Iowa
We are watching the weather
as storms are west of us... They seem to be moving north, but I knock on
wood anyway. I have lived through these, living many prior years in the
midwest area and have no love for these spring weather seasons. Too many
close calls. My nerves don't handle storm warnings well.
But for now, Terry announced
he wanted to make Runzas from scratch for supper. Where he got that idea
is beyond me. But I'll let him do his thing, if it makes him happy to cook
We spent Saturday
and Sunday right here in Chanute, KS.
On Saturday the cars and
people kept showing up and we knew something big was going on. It turned
out to be a round robin Little League and a adult men's slow pitch softball
tournament on the main field was converging on the Chanute city ball parks
fields. And we were right in the middle of it.
All these pictures were
taken from out front our 5er door so to speak.
The men's softball teams
had some good hitters and some of the hits came over the outfield fence
and came very close to hitting our 5er.
Some even went over the
top of us. If they hit the ground they came to a dud, but if they hit the
black top road around us they bounced big time. Several cars were hit.
The little leaguers who were not playing at the time stood behind the outfield
fence to try to catch the home runs and keep them from hitting our 5er.
I never got an answer but it seemed if a player hit a home run he stayed
at bat for another turn. What is that all about? A couple just kept hitting
balls at us. Stop that... one home run at is enough, me thinks. Or
maybe with slow pitch home runs don't count. Guess it's time for a Googe
The little leaguers we having
a great time. And it was fun watching all that energy.
Some of the teams played
four games to get to the final championship game. They were from all over
the area and I think Fort Smith won the little league big one. They even
had teams that lost play each other for third place. I had to go over and
get closer to watch the final game. They gathered for the awards
and all went home tired but happy, me thinks.
You've got to handle it to
these Kansas folks they were into this sport big time and were friendly
to us who were camped right in the middle of it all.
They had to walk right past
us to ge to the rest rooms in the high pointed roof building.
These pictures were taken
today on Sunday after the action to explain the logistics of how we were
camped right in the middle of the action.
It was a hot and windy day
in Kansas yesterday and all had a good time including us.
Now for the rest of the story....
when we went to bed the little league ball field lights we still on and
no one around.
I got brave and called 911
and announced "This is not an emergency call" Explained the situation
and she was friendly and said they would check it out. Can you imagine
the cost per hour to light a ball field... Well we woke up a 2:45
AM and the lights were still on. So knowing me, I call again. I got
the same person and she said they had been working all night to find someone
to come and turn them off. I had a good laugh about that with her.
I think 911 was a county thing and not just Chanute. I got the drift
several people had told them where to put it when they called. She said
they now realized they needed to update their records as to who to call.
I hope the city charges the ball field user the cost of running the lights.
The little league had a food tent on site to help cover the costs of the
teams to travel to this event. Me thinks they might need to do more fund
raisers to cover the cost of the lights they left on all night. Wonder
if they will be billed big time for the power.
We plan to hit the road heading
north again in the AM. One of the reasons we stayed all weekend was the
wind factor. It was blowing big time on Saturday and today but should calm
down a bit on Monday. Glad we stayed as we were entertained big time by
the ball games. I spent months at our picnic table watching the dust go
by in the BLM in AZ. But this weekend we now actually had up close people
clsoe by to watch. Even batting balls away. A good time watching life in
small town America. It brought back memories of life growing up in Iowa.
My hometown (Lowden, IA) had a huge ball park with lights, stands, with
beer and food sales. Every I think, Thursday night in the summer, they
had a town team play other towns and the baseball was top notch. My oldest
brother was a pitcher who played with them for a few seasons, after his
professional minor leagure tour eneded. Anyway this weekend brought back
memories I had forgotten about. Thanks Kansas.
We spent the day
in the Chanute city RV park waiting while or our trailer was worked on.
The Big Truck Ford dealer
got to our trailer at 8 AM sharp so we had to figure out how cool our heels
all day. Note they had it yesterday afternoon also. And glad they called
and asked if we could come in early the day before our scheduled appointment.
Good people doing good work.
Now Chanute is a fine place
but if you have seen it once you have seen it all. So after giving up our
home for the second day we headed off to breakfast at the only place
in town that is open for breakfast in the morning. We did research this.
It is the only option. This is not your Country Kitchen or a Village
Inn. Basic food and just good enough to make it bearable. I'm sorry but
if a place claims to be the place to eat breakfast it ought to have good
food to rave about. It doesn't. But the locals come out to eat here...
My only guess they have been conditioned that this is really all there
is. Now there is a no name brand donut shop on the road heading to downtown
that has the morning terrific blocked up on the narrow main drag. Can you
believe people are still bulking up on donuts for breakfast. Guess they
got tired eating a THE Breakfast Place in downtown.
Breakfast 7 days a week 6
AM to 2 PM
Anyway this was the second
day for us to eat here. We did this two days last year also and knew right
where to go for early food. Knew what to order and what not to order.
Friendly staff but it would never be my first choice if we had an
option. Don't do the western omelet. The main section allowed smoking.
If I ever wanted to do a 6 AM to 2 PM eatery I would do it here in Chanute
and do it right, until a big chain came to town and did me in.
Sort of wish one would do
that to compete with this place. We only come here once a year so who am
I to suggest how this town eats.
After breakfast we got hold
of Ron at NuWa so we could get our two new tires and get them to the Ford
dealer. I asked him if E rated tires that were EOM were good enough and
he said yes but he didn't have any available. Only the Gs we had talked
about. He gave me a better price so we headed over to pick up two of them.
He will ship two more back to our local HitchHiker dealer in Iowa for later
install on the front axle. I will have to pay shipping but that should
be offset since I shouldn't have to pay sales tax of about $40 for each
tire since they are being shipped out of state. I hope NuWa understands
that so I don't have to remind them.
Now for the rest of the story...
At last we get the call the
trailer was done. Jake explained that not just the rear axle was
attached to the frame by more than 1/2 inch off center on the right side
but also the front axle was off the same amount. They had to drill a new
connection point and move the axles forward. Me wonders how Young's Frames
just up the road from NuWa could produce a unit so out of alignment. Seems
this heavy truck dealer has had to deal with this more times than we would
like to think. The truck dealer hinted they used to just refer the units
this far out of alignment back to NuWa and Young's but they have developed
a way to fix the alignment by drilling a new connection point. Me thinks
this is not a new problem for NuWa and their supplier of frames from Young's
Welding. A huge loss of quality control by Young's Welding. NuWa should
get each trailer aligned with documents before they accept them from Young's.
This is not cool and I'm not a happy camper that we had to go through
all this nonsense. The bottom line is NuWa picked up the bill directly
for the alignment. But still I had four only 1 1/2 year old early
worn out E rated tires that needed replaced. I chose to replace them with
G rated tires. So $600 with tax I got two G rated tires that would have
not have been needed if this trailer had been produced in proper alignment.
And still need to install the two other new tires when I get them later
on. Still I like my trailer and the two G rated new tires are nice, now
just need to get the last two new ones installed. I should have gotten
a better deal on replacement tires from NuWa but what Ya Gonna Do. Think
a post on the NuWa owners forum is in order. Mike the owner of NuWa does
read that... I have raved for years on forums about NuWa quality.
We did take the factory tour while we were here and was still amazed about
how they put these units together. Only now with the new production
model only 6-8 units a week. These are basically hand made units to users
specifications. Will I buy another one of these ... YES and so should you...
It's Friday night and the
weather is perfect and we are back in our 5er. That's something...
As I was sitting out on the
picnic table at the Chanute city RV park and a hitchhiker owner walked
over and we talked. We RVers do that. He said he has a 2007 HH and had
some interior moldings that were not wearing well. They told him his unit
was several years out of warranty. He insisted and went up the chain and
he said they now have agreed to fix him up. Now that's NuWa for Ya doing
what is right. even if it isn't. There is a reason why they have a loyal
base of customers. Even when sometimes we are not exactly happy, we still
love our units and this company.
Service day at
NuWa and axle problems...
This is going to be a quick
post with more later tomorrow.
Its been a big day and
The first order of the day
was to get our butts out of bed and get the 5er over to NuWa at 7 AM. Now
being retired this is a stretch to get up and do that. But we did
it and got there 15 min. early. We are still used to west coast time.
Later the the minor screw
problem in the kitchen floor was taken care of by Darrel at NuWa service
and crew without delay.
We are most impressed as
always with the customer service at NuWa. We just shake our heads in disbelief
on the their customer service. They just ask what do you need and it is
done. That's why NuWa (Hitchhiker) is one of the best, and why customers
come back to buy their second or even third unit. We have now had
two HitchHikers (first one LS and now a Discover America) and we will buy
another if this one ever wears out. Or if they have new models with options
we just can't live without.
We still needed as
our next maintenance item was to get our 5ers rear end alignment checked
out. It was scheduled for Friday.
The truck dealer called
and asked if we wanted to get our trailer in early to check out the alignment
problem as we had noticed abnormal tire ware in our rear trailer tires.
Inside edge is worn as you can see. Most trailer tires wear out from age
not from road use. We were glad we even noticed this and are getting this
issue taken care of.
We took our trailer over
to them about noon as NuWa got us fixed up in good time. Later they
called and said stop by so they can explain what they found. As we were
right across the street at the city RV park we were there in a flash. They
informed us the rear axle was attached to the frame 1/2 inch off center
causing our problems. Not good news but at least we knew what was going
on. Even more glad the axle was not bent but just welded off center to
the frame by Young's welding, who do the frames for NuWa. (Hitchhiker)
as this makes it a warranty issue. Not just a bent axle.
We went back over to the
NuWa factory just down the road and talked to Ron in customer service and
he said this would be of course covered.
So on Friday the Ford big
truck dealer will move the axle by redoing the frame connection.
Then check the front axle. We will also be replacing the tires on the rear
axle as they are worn abnormally due the this condition. NuWa will prorate
the cost of the new tires.
We are thinking about changing
the tires from type E to G. NuWa only has two G ties in stock. So we will
decide in the morning if we want to go the next higher rated tires and
they are really needed on our rig. We have a 2009 348 SB Discover America.
We trust Ron in at NuWa customer service and will ask if he thinks if we
should upgrade tire size or stay with what we have with the trailer we
So now on to tomorrow to
see how all this works out.
So glad the truck dealer
called and asked us if we could come in early or we would have been here
on a Friday deadline and most likely would have been here over the weekend.
That may still happen, but so be it... we need to to get this fixed so
we can run on down the road without worry, me thinks. Chanute, KS
is such a friendly place to land in, if that is where you need to be.
Enjoying the inside
of our 5er today.
Terry did not have to go
out and wash the 5er. today. It started raining before we got up and poured
most of the day with thunderstorms. I of course kept a close watch with
my Droid smart phone (I have full 3G bars) and main computer for weather
reports. The big stuff has been staying south of us in Oklahoma. The whole
state was covered in a red box. It is hot down there and the storms are
moving west to east across the state. It has cooled here with the rain
all day so no tornado watches for us at this time. Now we have TWC on,
and they have the Vortex 2 storm trackers running around like crazy in
the Oklahoma City area, with pictures from helicopters and such.
We ran into the TWC Vortex
storm trackers last year when we took a more southerly route across OK
at this same time of year on our way again to Chanute. Let me tell
you it is not a good day when you are driving down the road and you see
a whole mess of huge fancy radar and satellite trucks and people doing
live reports right in front of you. "You say to yourself "I think
we are in the wrong damn fu*king location." The term screwed comes
to mind real guick. You scream... how did we go so wrong to let this
happen to us!
This year we were already
in Chanute, KS and missed all the Vortex 2 action. No warnings for us except
flooding. But watching to make sure the storms do not move northeast toward
Terry doing his thing at
the table with the netbook computer. I got the netbook to use in the truck,
but was more hassle than useful. The Streets and Trips Navigation was hard
to set up and use. Now use my Driod instead for navigation when needed.
Very cool. I asked him if he wanted a larger unit and he sez he likes
this small one.
We are happy campers as while
looking around for the weather channel number I saw MSNBC is now on DirecTV
We spend lots of time watching
the Channel for Politics. Now it's in HD Yeah...
We weren't total slugs today.
We, I mean Terry cleaned the bathroom. My job was to talk him into it.
What I'm best at.
We have landed
at the home of NuWa who made our HitchHiker.
left Platt, KS and drove again some very smooth highways. From the start
at US 160 at Trinidad in Colorado and in Kansas US 160 and US 56 and US
400 all have been some of the best roads we have been on. We will take
this route again. And with great cost effective camprounds along the way.
See my last few blogs to find where we stayed overnight. Not just in RV
parks but real campgrounds at almost free rates. This is one fine way to
cross eastern Colorado and Kansas.
Oh I guess, we did have
a slight delay with this flagman today.
I have to say man as it doesn't
look like any woman I have ever seen.
The manfacturing tag even
said... Remote Controlled Flagman. By the way, I looked and didn't see
anyone sitting around controlling this thing. Me thinks they were just
timed back and forth between the two units.
Are no jobs sacred anymore.
Wonder what this FRED cost so as to be able to replace that summer job
for the local kid.
Now thinking about all this
do you think a local kid or an out of work adult would even want to stand
in the sun and heat all day and be a Flagman anymore. Now to be fair if
the construction company wont pay a living wage, guess they should use
these machines. After all people are needed to make these things and bet
they make good money doing that. Which creates more jobs, standing
on the highway flagging down traffic, breathing exhaust fumes, or in a
factory building these things. I stop now.... movin on... the light
just turned GREEN.
Since Terry had been drinking
his hot tea we had to pull off the road for a pit stop. We stopped at the
tiny burg of Beaumont and as we turned off the main US 400 highway we saw
this sign heading into the burg.
Just what you need in Kansas,
Also when we went a bit
further to find a place to turn around we ran into this hysterical marker.
Do see this link
to the Hotel and the history of the area.
Beaumont Hotel in the scenic
Flint Hills of Kansas in 1879. It was first used as a stagecoach station
and stopping place for travelers from Fredonia and Wichita. In 1885, Beaumont
was established as a railroad town. The water tower, built in 1885, stands
across from the hotel and is the only one still in use in the United States.
The former roundhouse, built in 1890 across from the hotel, employed 90
people. Beaumont was established as the overhaul station between St. Louis
and Wichita. The Beaumont Hotel, then known, as the Summit Hotel, was the
highest point on the Frisco Line from Ellsworth, Kansas to St. Louis. Guests
included cattle barons from Texas and Oklahoma and the elite of the Frisco
Railroad. It was used as headquarters for those who shipped or brought
cattle in to fatten. While the cattle barons and ranchers stayed in the
hotel, the cowboys camped outside.
The Bed and Breakfast Hotel
Continuing on we did at last
come to Chanute, KS. A friendly place we like to sort of feel is home away
from home. It is the birthplace of HitchHiker fifth wheels after all. The
city RV park is Free for a couple of days and then only $10. It is
part of a huge park complex with lake, golf course,and many several ball
diamonds. All well maintained and a pleasure to stay here. We opted to
grab one of the few sites directly behind the outfield of the ball field.
No trees to the south so we know we can get a good satellite signal. Hope
they have a game or two planned so we can watch the action.
The view through our 5er
The view form our dinning
area window at one of the ball fields and the main section of the RV Park.
We are happy to be here and
will get our 5er in for minor service on Thursday and then across the street
to the huge truck center so they can look at our rear trailer axle alignment
It is clear and warm (leaving
the NOAA weather scanner on just in case) and Terry will do steaks on the
grill tonight... what could be better...
Wednesday is a day off so
we are just going to hang and relax and get ready for our appointment on
Did I say they let you wash
your rig here. Oh Terry...
Yes we are deep
in Kansas now Toto.
have eluded the Wicked Witch of the West who has not found us yet.
have eluded the storm gods so far. Click your heels... Or for the
rest of us knock on wood...
is the norm looking out the windshield as we trek down the road.
We left Ulysses to the east
on US 160. It turns south but we took the KS 144 cutoff to US 56
and then up to Ensign and another shortcut east to Ford. If you do this
route no need to go up to Dodge City.
At Ford down to US 400 again
an onward east. Went through Greensburg. You know that was where
teh city was blown away with a huge tornada. They have rebuilt green
so to speak. But we found the downtown was a little overbuilt. Fancy and
up scale.. Don't think the population who is left can support the commerce.
Moving on I had found a
county park at Pratt at www.freecampgrounds.com
So we headed for that.
Did you know there is a Walmart
in Pratt. We stocked up. We were out of milk. But as you can guess that
is not all we got.
We missed lunch so we went
into Walmart hungry. $54 bucks later we left to find the county lake. My
Droid led us right to it. Damn it is starting to sound like Terry...
I told him I would ignore my Droid navigator and make a wrong turn if it
would make him feel better. As if I had followed his directions that would
be the norm.
But our FRED directed us
right to the county park. And what a nice facility this is.
I had Terry unload all the
firewood we have been carrying that we got on back roads around the Grand
Canyon so we could burn it. I saw on the web reports that Iowa and other
states were doing a big time search, with fines, for wood brought into
A quarantine prohibiting
the movement of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber, or any other article
that could further spread EAB (Emerald Ash Borer) is pending from the Iowa
Department of Agriculture. A federal quarantine would follow the state
Dealing with the ash borer.
• Don't move firewood.
Officials are asking campers
to get their firewood at the campsite. IA for one said they will provide
firewood at the campsite for you to use.
So we are not going to carry
firewood as we travel. Please do the same... Don't carry firewood
across state lines.
As an example... Ashes account
for 5 to 6 percent of forest trees in Iowa, and as much as 60 percent of
some city stands, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports. The
state has 88 million ash trees, 30 million of them in urban areas.
All of these trees are going
to die... it is only a matter of time. This is just in one state... All
we can do is slow it down. That's the fact.
If only if the Good Witch
of the East could help us now. I would click my heels until the magic wore
out, if it would help.
article about the Emerald Ash Borer
Sorry for the down article...
Check back tomorrow and I will get you back up again as we move on across
Click your heels together
now, and all will be alright, me thinks....
Onward to Kansas
again woke up to clear skies so we took off for southeast Colorado and
took US 160 from Trinidad to the east. Now this is a very lonely highway
as you get into it. We clicked our heals and headed on.
we were lucky we would meet someone every half hour or so. There is nothing
between Trinidad and Kim (see the map) and at Kim you could see it was
once a bustling town with a movie theater. But now not even a gas station
that we could see. They still had a school. How do you support a school
and not have a grocery store or gas station. This is many miles from
any sized town. What winter must be like in this former bustling city.
With a super wide main street so clean, well kept lawns, but a city lost
Internet file photo
three huge grain towers that were now shut down since the railroad left
town. (We took pictures but they were lost uploading)
US 160 was a smooth good blacktop road. If you want to take
the back roads across this part of the country, this is one you will like.
had planned to stop at Springfield but you know me it was just past noon
and I just kept going. I got on my Droid smart phone (had 3G service in
Kim no less) confirmed that at Ulysses, KS the town had a park next to
a lake (9 sites e/w for $8 a night.)
So yes we kept on trucken.
Crossed over into central time as we got to KS so lost a hour.
But we still got to Ulysses
and their Frazier City Park at about 3:30 PM central time.
As you can see this is a
gem. with 9 level cement pads, 30 amps and water. Oh and did I say
$8 and you can stay for 14 days.
Golf course attached if
you are into that.
We got here early enough
for Terry to mix up a rub to do the rack of pork ribs we bought a few days
Sunday night, great weather,
forecast is looking good for the next few days. Who could ask for more,
Day trip on the
National ByWays Highway of Legends
woke up to clear skies. Just what we wanted for a day trip to the mountains.
How nice of the gods.
Wall painting in Walsenburg.
We left Trinidad and went
west heading to Cuchara. First roadside stop was where we learned that
coal really was a big deal here in the past. When they closed the
mine they sold the houses to anyone who wanted to say.
This was coal country
until they shut down in about 1941. Cokedale
was a big time smelting town.
The views were more than
one could ask for. There is a reason they call this a Scenic Byway after
At the Cuchara Pass we could
see it had probably snowed last night while we had rain in Trinidad.
We had thought about taking
the even higher Byway cutoff over to Aguilar but looking at the wet muddy
gravel road we decided against it. Looking up we were worried the
road might just be blocked due to snow. After all we are in a dually non
4X4 and it gets stuck on wet grass so if we were to run into snow we would
be screwed. As you can see from the map it crosses the pass again at a
much higher level.
Later in the day when we
toured Aguilar coming down I-35 form Walsenburg and saw they had a sign
that the Pass going west was closed. Guess we made the right choice.
So we stayed on the main
route to Cuchara, a small tourist trap. I hate tourist traps, Terry loves
them. So unnatural.
Sure the locals need to
make money so they can live in paradise ALL the time. I know, I know.
We continued on to La Veta
fueled up and head off for Walsenburg. But not until we captured this shot
going north from town.
We stopped for a bite to
eat before hitting I-35 going south back toward Trinidad.
We stopped at Aguilar
on the way back down the front range to see this monument to coal.
Every turn in the road reminded
us of why we do the www.HitchItch.com
Hitch Iitch The
restless urge to see new territory beyond the curve in the road ahead...
It was a great day trip exploring
Sunday we will check the
weather forcast and head out across Kansas if all looks good.
Up and off down
the road we went. At 10 AM that is.
had planned to go east to La Veta and then south on CO 12 to Trinidad.
I had looked ahead and stumbled upon the National ByWays Highway
of Legends on that route. Terry came up with a better idea
as we pulled out of the RV park this morning... How dare my navigator come
up with better routing plans. He suggested we go straight over to Walsenburg
and down to Trinidad and find an RV park and then day trip the Highway
of Legends on Saturday. Why do a hard pull over this scenic road, and
then after we get to Trinidad, wonder what to do on Saturday. I had to
admit that made sense to me. Now stop us, being rational.
The La Veta Pass on US 160
was cloud covered as we got higher up on the pass. It was still clear in
What you wanted a picture
of blinding fog with nothing in it for you to see. This was an easy pull.
Putting it in second gear to hold the downgrade worked well.
I stopped at a Interstate
overpass going south from Walenburg and got out my Droid smart phone and
looked up Trinidad RV parks on the map feature to see if it would find
more RV parks than we had found on the web already. It still found only
three along with the CO state park. We called them all. The State Park
had only one site left with an open view of the south for our sat dish.
But to get it we would have to call another numbr and reserve it. They
couldn't do that while we were on the phone with them. And since when can
you reserve a site, same day. We do not like CO State Parks anyway. Sort
of the KOA of state parks. $24 for a site $6 entrance and $8 reservation
charge. And Yes you have to pay the daily entrance fee even
when paying for a campsite. A rip off.
The private RV parks in Trinidad
were after thoughts to motels or a down and out mobile home park. We settled
on Budget Motel and RV park. (not to worry this was not a national motel
chain or even a truck or car rental outfit) $30.88 including tax. 15 sites,
about 5 usable. See picture below. We got the end site where we could actually
extend our slides. The other two RV Parks were worse if you can believe
that. But we have landed and settled. Now watching the weather for
our day trip on Saturday.
Let alone the forecast for
next week when we venture out into tornado alley. Across Kansas.. .no less..
ToTo.. If you remember we have a service appointment at the NuWa factory
at Chanute, KS on Thursday. All this risk to just get a samll screw removed
from popping up in the kitchen floor.
Or if it all goes to hell
and the 5er is destroyed, and we servive. We do have a brand new
replacement policy for five years. We like the one we have just fine.
All together now ... Knock on Wood. At least we would be at the factory
to pick out a new unit.
Back to today... and the
here and now.
Looking at the picture...
there is another staggered site between us and the one you can see with
the connections. Two sites using one set of utilities.
All this needs is white
lines like a parking lot. There is no way you could get other units in
here next to each other with slides. Only if every other site was used.
We got our site, first one in, our heat pump is working and we are happy.
If you want to look ahead,
see this link for Highway of Legends which is a National
The Scenic ByWays road goes
west out of Trinidad on CO 12.
Hoping the weather clears
and we have a good day trip.
It is now overcast with rain
on and off. It has been a long time since we have seen this kind of rainy
We took a getting to know
the area drive to downtown Trinidad
to look around.
The old main Street has
some unique architecture.
Worth a drive through even
if you don't stop overnight.
I found this link to Postcards
from Trinidad: Downtown
Trinidad 1905-1965 VERY COOL do click on it.
These old post cards give
a fascinating glimpse of Trinidad as seen through the eyes of generations
Use the scroll bar to view
Terry is making dough for
a homemade pizza for later while we watch Bill Maher on HBO.
A day trip to
the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
is a National Park right up the road north of us and with my Senior Pass
why not, we get in free, so off we went, but not untill in the afternoon
mind you. In the past when seeing a NP sign we would drive right
on by. But now with my Senior Pass we stop and enjoy the splender.
some road pullouts on the way to the park on CO 150 north of US 160.
This overlook was all about
the Medano-Zapata Ranch History.
In 1806, President Thomas
Jefferson sent Lt. Zebulon Pike to discover the source of the Red River,
which was considered to be the dividing line between the newly acquired
Louisiana Purchase and the Spanish Territories. In the dead of winter,
Pike crossed the Sangre de Cristo Mountains with twelve men. Upon exiting
Mosca Pass, he described his first view of the sand dunes. He said it was
as if one was looking upon a sea. We know from his journals that he descended
and camped in a “copse” of cottonwoods that is now the headquarters for
the Zapata Ranch. Unfortunately, Pike wandered into Spanish territory and
one month after building a fort, the Spanish imprisoned him. Over one year
later, he and his men were released at the Texas border. Read
more about the history of this area... Southern Utes,
Spanish Explorers, Mexican and American settlements.
Next on to the Sand Dunes...
Ok we had to stop. They
had a pullout and see the cement sidewalk right up to the sign for picture
Up the road at the entrance
station the guy was in the main building when we drove up, so he ran out
to the station and when I showed him my Senior Pass he looked at us and
said "You guys borrowed that from your dad didn't you?" I slide my
drivers lic out from under it and he said without looking "I believe you,
and waved us through." without checking to see if the pass and drivers
ID matched. It is the slow season me thinks. How would you like to sit
in a entrance station with no traffic. You signed up for a career as a
park ranger to explore and protect the wilds... and you end up on a tour
at a toll booth in an out of the way NP. Later on the way out a lady ranger
at that station stopped us and asked for our entrance receipt. I told her
the story and she just rolled her eyes and waved us out. He was supposed
to give us a sticker for our windshield.
We stopped at the visitor
center and watched a very well done video about this wonder of nature.
We learned a lot. The park is also preserve to protect the areas vast wetlands.
Who knew there were wetlands along with sand dunes. Very interesting area.
See their visitor
and of course the glossy
handout you get at all NPs. See the History
& Culture and Nature
& Science sections.
So there you have it, everything
you might want to know. There are creatures (that exist nowhere else on
this earth). Only here.
Click the Nature & Science
above link to see them.
Now you know we would never
try to climb to the top of the dunes. It is about 8200 ft here, and they
are about 750 feet higher.
SO I borrowed a picture
from the gps.gov site.
As we always do, toured the
campground loops. The place was overrun with kids in tents. Hundreds and
hundreds. Some huge group of some sort.
The sites were small and
only a couple sites big enough for an RV could get into. This was one,
it was empty with a great view no less.
is a private RV park high overlooking the whole area before the NP entrance
station for bigger rigs.
looked it up so don't have to. Great
Sand Dunes Oasis RV spots $28 with great views.
are now back in our little (PassportAmerica) $10 price is right RV park
in Blanca, CO. Next time might hit the above private RV park.
since the weather went overcast in the afternoon, glad we are hiding out
for less. It was still about mid 50s so not that cold.
is cooking chicken gumbo with sausage and other good things.
in the morning after checking the wearther will head on out to the plains
A clear and calm
morning so off we went.
long hot showers last night and clean flannel sheets we sleep well.
had talked about getting up early but only managed to hit the road about
have over a week to kill before we have to be in Chanute, KS so what's
the rush was our thinking while still in bed waking up.
our map of the day... US 64 from Navajo Dam to Chama and up CO 17 to US
285 and then Alamosa and now at Blanca, CO
Taking CO 17 makes a good
shortcut. We will do this route again. Anything to keep Terry out of Taos.
And right away this one.
CO 17 north of Chama is a
fun road to drive. Colorado must have money as the entire route had its
markings repainted. We did drain most of our fresh water tank when we dumped
at the campground to reduce the load over the passes. (We once drove west
up the 10% grade from Jaskson Hole, WY with a full tank of water, Never
Again.) We stopped and told the campground host at Cottonwood campground
at Navajo Dam who was out and about visiting with campers that the water
mess at the dump station was fresh water and why we drained it. But
I don't think he understood as his reply was "That's Good" which didn't
make sense to us. We just drove on around the campground loop. As we passed
by our old site another host was already gathering our left over campfire
wood which we had gathered from the neighboring site and not used. Was
a slow day for the hosts me thinks.
Our Duramax diesel did not
even groan on this route into Colorado. It sure helped we had changed the
fuel filter a while back.
We had plenty of power.
Like I said before I like the back roads when even with the switch backs
so I can slow down and put it in 2nd and then brake when I get going a
little fast for my liking. I don't have to worry about the engine downshifting
and revving up. There was no traffic at all, had no impatient drivers on
We followed the narrow gage
train tracks of Cumbres
& Toltec Scenic Railroad for some of the drive. We have wanted
to take this train trip but they don't startup till May 26 and end in late
Oct. so we our travels have never meshed with their schedule. But when
it does we sure will book a ride. We have been on the the Durango
& Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad trip several times and know just
how great these trips are.
After we got to flat country
at 7816 ft (the pass was 10230 ft) (My Droid Altitude App confirmed it)
we stopped in Alamosa at where else Walmart and then on about 15 miles
east on US 160 to Blanca to a Passport America RV park. At $10 a night.
Just a place to stay, and we got satellite service but no 3G cell data
service. The woman in the office was very friendly.
I got to try out my new Droid
Incredible smart phone with Navagation as I stopped south of Alamosa and
told it to use my current location and take me to Walmart. (I really didn't
know where the store was.) As it talked to us, it did just that. It would
be cool if I could program it with Terry's voice so I would think he was
giving the driections. He hates FREDs that outshine him...
Looks like we are not level
but we are not very far off. We jacked up the hitch a bit so we can unhook
easily so we can be on the go for a day trip.
From just out our door this
is the view. Terry took this shot.
We are now planning to stay
here a second night and tour the Great
Sand Dunes National Park on Thursday which is just north of where we
are at. What's the rush, me thinks...
where we are at right now. DataStormUsers
map ID 98
Have question or
comment about our blog life... We love email. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org