2012-10-22 Our baby's getting new shoes

We are getting new tires for the RV tomorrow morning (trying out the Maxxis trailer tires which seem to have good reviews, though I really don't think it matters!), then back to our "new home" in Coffeyville, KS.

2012-10-09 freeway blowout on our way to Seneca

From Colorado Springs, we headed out to mom's in Seneca, MO. She sold her house, had a 30-day close (ouch) so we had planned to cut short any further exploration of Colorado. It's 12 hours from the Springs to Seneca. Our half-way point would be Salina, KS for a quick overnight stop at a Walmart. Unfortunately, about 1/2 hour short of our destination, we had a blowout on the trailer which took out most of the fender / sidewall as well. And we were stuck on the freeway for 3 hours. Our arrival at Walmart was somewhat later than planned.

New tires are on the agenda when we are set up at Amazon. After much research and investigation, I know the blowout was inevitable regardless of tire brand or mileage - we were travelling upwards of 70mph for 5+ hours, took a corner on the freeway at near 75mph, on 3-year-old tires which had essentially sat with RV weight on them for months. Though they were properly inflated and showed absolutely no sign of cracking / external wear, it was their time. We have learned a valuable lesson and the fender is a small price to pay. No one was hurt and we got to commune with some Kansas cows.

The repair was less costly than we thought; later in the Walmart parking lot I had that fender all fixed up. A little bactine and an advil....she feels much better now.

Limping on our spare, we arrived in Seneca on October 10 as planned. We set up at the new Indigo Sky Casino - Whispering Woods RV Park - $10 per night. Good deal and only a few blocks from mom's house.  Then spent 6 days packing (actually picking and packing, good practice for Amazon). Got about 25+ more boxes packed, and thank goodness Gary and I had packed up so much before we went out to Colorado!

Wish we had gotten everything packed but there was not enough time nor boxes. Mom arranged with the movers to finish the remainder along with the kitchen they had already contracted to pack. Moving day was scheduled for Oct 18 (movers come to pack everything) and Oct 19 (load the truck). However, we had already obligated ourselves to an Amazon start date of Oct 18. So we headed up to Coffeyville, KS.

2012-10 Colorado Springs, CO

On the way from Loveland down south to Colorado Springs, drove right by the Denver Broncos Stadium....on a Sunday.  Doh!  Fortunately, they had an away game. On the way, we went just a few miles out of our way for Hickory House barbeque ribs in Parker, on the south side of Denver. Gary has been craving their ribs since 2 years ago when we discovered them in Aspen. Yummy and a bargain - they have a weekday lunch special $11.95 whole rack with sides. On Sunday it was about $20 for two racks with sides, and it was very busy with all the locals who know this is where you go for ribs! Then another hour south into Colorado Springs.

We had one day to explore Colorado Springs. On our previous visit, we had just a couple hours - so this seemed like a luxurious amount of time. We had already discovered the high cost of just about everything around here, so we were opting for free activities only. First on our agenda is the North Cheyenne Canon Park  http://tfocc.org/ which happened to be just a few blocks from the RV park we were staying at. Enjoyed the scenery and just a touch of the trails. Saw more deer in one morning than we'd seen all summer.
our pics from North Cheyenne Canon Park

Our second big stop for the day was Garden of the Gods; previously we just drove through, this time we walked all around and enjoyed watching the many climbers ascending the walls. You absolutely must walk the paths and get up close...
our pics from Garden of the Gods

We stayed at Foot of the Rockies RV Park; it was very cheap with our Passport America discount and the folks running it were very helful and friendly, really very appreciative of our business and we would gladly go back. However, at the end of our day, we discovered a Rudy's BBQ in town (what a fantastic surprise, felt like I was back in San Antonio!) and just next door to Rudy's was another Passport America RV park, so next time through, I suspect that's where we'll stay, just for the BBQ. Two days in a row of great BBQ. I know where we'll eat if we pass through here again.

2012-10 A drive through Poudre Canyon, CO

We met several campers who were at Kelly Dahl only because their regular camping spots in Poudre canyon were evacuated. Many said it was their favorite place to camp. So while in Fort Collins area, we thought we best check it out for a possible future trip!

The weather was getting sketchy, cloudy-cold-rainy, so we didn't have the greatest weather for this drive, but it was the only day free we had. The High Park Fire which raged through this area in late spring and summer really took a toll. There were many signs along the canyon thanking firefighters, and it really was quite amazing that they saved some of these homes around which every ridge was blackened.http://www.denverpost.com/high park fire info

Along the way, we also stopped at Shambhala to check out the largest Stupa in the country. http://www.shambhalamountain.org/

our pics from cloudy Poudre Canyon and Shambhala

2012-10 Cools things to see in Fort Collins, CO

We took time to visit a few breweries...that's definitely a big thing to do in Fort Collins. There are many breweries, but we had very limited time. We stopped in at Coopersmith first, in downtown right next to the visitor center. (Unfortunately, the free Bike Library was closed so we were unable to check out some bicycles for the day!) Coopersmith's had my favorite beer, by far!...the green chile beer was unique, very tasty, a little spice - loved it! But they do not sell any beer except by growler - not sure I could handle a whole growler of green chile beer. http://coopersmithspub.com/
Just across the street from there, we stopped in at Equinox Brewing; really like their logo. http://www.equinoxbrewing.com/

Last, we did the tour at New Belgium - learned a lot, enjoyed the Red Hoptober, and think this would be a fantastic place to work! http://www.newbelgium.com/shift.aspx

I had read about things to do in Fort Collins, and came across this place which should not be missed! Swetsville Zoo is not your normal zoo, the critters are all made of scrap metal, but still a fantastic place for kids (big and small), very entertaining, and best of all...free! (donations appreciated). 

pics around Ft Collins - Breweries and Swetsville Zoo

Loveland, CO on our way out...

We stopped at Riverview RV Park in Loveland, CO to explore Loveland, nearby Fort Collins, and Poudre Canyon. We met two couples at Kelly Dahl who worked here as workampers. We had never been in this area so glad we had a chance to check it out. It is a very nice park; they had wood carvings throughout: racoons, bears, wizards....very neat. We were less than a mile from Devil's Backbone open space for Larimer County, and a short drive to Fort Collins.

pics in Loveland Riverview RV Park and area

2012 Estes Park Scenery and Elk

We very much enjoyed our visit to Estes Park. We were so very lucky to stay for "free" using our remaining 2012 timeshare points which were already paid for and would be lost if not used this year! The Crags Lodge was terrific, had very helpful and friendly staff, and it was particularly fortunate and unusual that they had RV parking for us.

Fall is a beautiful time of year to be in Estes Park; fall colors, lovely weather, fun festivals and the elk rut all bring in large crowds. However, big crowds combined with large unpredictable and unusually iritable wild animals...this generally makes a bad combination. Elk were everywhere (always on the golf course, and a herd in just about every neighborhood). I found it very entertaining to watch (from a safe distance!) a big bull elk trying to keep his harem together while at the same time, chase off all the loitering bulls. Saw one bull lose a couple females who just kinda "snuck off" to a competing bull. Saw a pair of bulls battling (you could hear their antlers crash from the other side of the lake). Of course, we took a few pictures...

Here is a small sample of Estes scenery and elk shots.
pics around Estes / Elk

A few short videos of the elk in Estes:


2012-10-01 Goodbye to RMNP

We made one last drive into Rocky Mtn, drove through the burn area (Estes Park fire this summer, burned 23 homes in one afternoon!), quick stroll around Sprague Lake (this is where you go for mountain peaks reflected in a glass-surface lake - short handicap-accessible trail) RMNP-SpragueLake, went a bit up the Fern Lake trail in Moraine Park protrails.com-fern_lake, and one last swing through Horseshoe Park on Fall River road.

Pics from our last day in RMNP

2012-09-28 Estes Park Twin Owls

This is an easy 1.5 mile loop hike in Estes Valley to get a good view of the "Twin Owls". This rock formation can be seen from nearly anywhere in downtown Estes Park, including from our lodge. There are countless Estes Park businesses which share the name "Twin Owls". It is a popular climbing spot and grants you a fantastic view cross Estes and the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Yes, we walked to the bowels of the owls. If you want a short hike with fabulous views, this is a winner!
Our pics from the Twin Owls view trail

2012-09-27 Seeing the results of the Lawn Lake dam failure

At 6am on July 15, 1982, the earthen dam failed on Lawn Lake at 11,000 feet, releasing a torrent of water down the Roaring River Valley. A camper on the river below heard the deafening roar coming and scrambled for higher ground; he made it but his friend was killed. Further down, the flood then caused failure of Cascade Dam on the Fall River, and the waters destroyed Aspenglen Campground. There the rangers had warned and evacuated campers; tragically, two campers returned to recover their camping gear thinking the danger had passed, and lost their lives. Many years later, the evidence of this flood is still striking and dramatic. A huge alluvial fan of boulders and debris is spread across this portion of Horseshoe Park.

30 years have passed since this horrible flood, and there are beautiful spring colors growing, the temporary "fan lake" created by the debris is now gone....the scene is peaceful and lovely.

Still, being a regular camper and occupant of natural areas, I find this story so very unsettling...we opted to skip the Lawn Lake hike.
Our pics of the alluvial fan, more beauty in Horseshoe Park

2012-09-25 Gem Lake from Lumpy Ridge Trailhead

The rain was moving in over the rockies, so we chose to do this hike in the hills north of Estes, behind the Stanley Hotel. protrails - gem lake info  The hike offers endless views across Estes and the rockies, plus fearless bunnies (this really reminded me of a scene from a certain monty python movie and I couldn't stop laughing), the best view from an outhouse we've ever seen, elk destroying local residents' landscaping, and views to the north towards Poudre Canyon where the High Park Fire did a lot of damage this summer. The hike is short but does have a lot of steps, so folks with knee problems, be careful! If I lived in this area, this would be a regular hike for me.

pics from Gem Lake Trail

2012-09-24 RMNP - Fall River Road to Alpine VC

We had heard of this drive but never had a chance to do it on our last visit. A very easy drive for a passenger car; the 9-mile one-way (up hill) road has lots of switchbacks but is smooth and well-maintained. It was a bit tougher to make the switchbacks in our truck (22ft long, road limit is 25ft). We had to back up a few times to make the turns.

Unfortunately, the Chasm Falls Trail was closed for trail maintenance, but do make sure you stop to see this, which is said to be the best falls on the east side of RMNP. Fall River Road / Chasm Falls

Fantastic views and dramatic change from valley floor to top of the continental divide.This makes a great scenic loop, from Estes going up Fall River Rd and down Trail Ridge Road back into Estes.

Pics from Fall River Road - Trail Ridge Road

2012-09-24 RMNP - Bear Lake and Alberta Falls

We've hiked up to Dream Lake, Nymph Lake, Emerald Lake before, plus we also did the hike from Bear Lake over to Cub Lake / Moraine Park last time we were here. This day we just strolled around Bear Lake and then went up to Alberta Falls / Glacier Gorge. We were heading up towards Mills Lake but the sky was getting dark so we headed back.

I remembered the fantastic aspen grove on Alberta Falls trail from 2 years ago, so this was a must see in the fall. A really good choice for fall colors!

pics from RMNP Alberta Falls - fall colors!

2012-09-23 Estes Park Autumn Gold Festival

This free festival was pretty good, really enjoyed Cowboy Brad Fitch (does a lot of John Denver tunes) and the Wendy Woo band. info on the Autumn Gold festival The park downtown is a easy walk down the river from our lodge, nice to avoid the traffic and parking mess (which is always the case on weekends).
Pics from festival, around Estes

2012-09-20 Rocky Mtn - Wild Basin hike

We asked some locals where they recommended for good fall color, and they sent us to Wild Basin area. RMNP - Wild Basin info  This is back on the Peak to Peak Highway about 8 miles or so south of Estes Valley. It is part of the national park, thus requires fee or pass, same as the primary park area. We hiked the Ouzel Falls trail, including other falls and cascades along the way. So glad we took this hike - the colors were beautiful and the hike very pleasant. The waters in the creeks, cascades and waterfalls were all very low, due to the drought. This is a popular area so trailhead parking fills up early!

We saw a mule deer on the road in, but the ranger told us there were two moose there earlier in the morning....darn it, we missed them!

pics from Wild Basin - Ouzel Falls Trail

2012-09-18 CO Rocky Mtn NP, Estes Elk

We took a drive into Rocky Mountain National Park. It was unbelievably brown and dry compared to our last visit 2 years ago. Still, great to see the fall colors starting to show.

Then we stopped at Estes Lake to walk the trail and perhaps see some elk. Turns out they're not kidding, the elk really do live down here in the fall. Big herds and constant bugling. It was quite entertaining to watch the big bull elk, never a moment to rest...round up the girls, chase off the boys...woops, now round up the girls again....

Some pics from RMNP and Estes Park

2012-09-16 Estes Park - Crags Lodge

We lucked out and found a "free" place to stay. Using our Diamond Resorts timeshare, the Historic Crags Lodge in Estes Park had a week open for us in a 1-bedroom unit, and RV parking! So we will hunker down here while we decide on a fall / winter location...

Upon entering Estes Park, the welcoming committee came out to say hello. Right there at the turn onto the main drag - there was a 10-point bull elk! And I'm not talking about the statue. (I heard elk regularly walk through town here.)

Our lodge was built by the "father of Rocky Mountain National Park", Enoch "Joe" Mills, in 1914. They just remodeled the pool area and put in a hot tub....nice! The staff has been very helpful, and it's a good jumping off point to explore RMNP.

Pics on the way into Estes Park

2012-09-14 Two Days in the Valley

On our way to Estes Park, we stopped for 2 nights in Peaceful Valley. Info on Peaceful Valley  Wow, the fall colors are really coming on strong! A nice little campground, leads into Camp Dick which is much larger (and slightly less peaceful)  - lots of 4-wheelers, it can be noisy and hectic.Info on Camp Dick  This is a very popular spot because of the 4-wheel drive roads and the great hiking trails (some of which can be hazardous - I believe two people have died on the trails from Camp Dick this summer). It was a easy one-mile stroll up the Buchanan Pass trail from Peaceful Valley to Camp Dick, which I walked the evening we arrived. Info on Buchanan Pass Trail

Surprised to learn they have not spotted a bear in Camp Dick since June. Where are all the bears??? According to the news, they are down in the suburbs of Boulder and Golden where the eatin's good, which can be very unfortunate for the bears. bears visiting Golden,  bear in Boulder

We really enjoyed our 2 night stay, hiked up to Timberline Falls, and enjoyed an evening around the campfire with fellow hosts Miles and Adina who are taking over these two campgrounds starting Monday through the end of October (in addition to Rainbow Lakes which they have been managing all summer).

pics from Peaceful Valley

2012-09 End of summer at Kelly Dahl

We started out September with a dog. It was just a one night stand but of course I fell in love! Someone found this lab mix running on the highway just outside Kelly Dahl, and brought him to us. We took him in temporarily, thinking he might live in the immediate area or even belong to a camper. It was labor day afternoon; I posted found dog ads on Craigslist, boulder humane, etc., while Gary posted a sign on the highway and searched in Ned for lost dog signs. No luck. We brought this doggie into our RV for one night. Housebroken, impeccable manners, very sweet, lovable, we called him "Ned".

Such a terrific dog, we knew someone had to be missing him! First thing the next morning, we took him to the Ned vet; yes, he had a chip. I was simultaneously thrilled for his family, and crying because I had grown very attached in just one evening. (this is why it is best I avoid shelters...) Anyway, his owner came by later to thank us - an elderly gentleman who lives the next road south of us, on Shoshoni near the Shoshoni Yoga Retreat. He said he has no fence, and has trained the dog that he can "only go to the lake to swim, and never to the highway".  With this dog, I believe that might really be possible. I hope Ned (whose real name is Miller) stays home and away from the highway from now on.

We tried to see a few more sights in our last weeks at Kelly Dahl, but mostly kept busy in the campground. On a quick evening trip down the mountain, I went by the Century theater in Aurora and saw the memorial; there was nowhere to park except a couple blocks away and it was dark, so just got pics from the roadway.

pics from Kelly Dahl area and Aurora

2012-08 A quick visit to Idaho Springs

The day we drove up Mt Evans, we also toured the little town of Idaho Springs. We toured the Indian Hot Springs (indoors, not really to our liking) link to Indian Hot Springs, had lunch at a pizza place in town (no comparison to Woody's in Golden!), and walked down the main drag. The old train engine and water wheel were both worth the stop. City of Idaho Springs

pics from Idaho Springs, CO

2012-08 Mount Evans - don't miss it!

The Mount Evans scenic byway is a road to the top of one of Colorado's 53 "fourteeners". It is the highest paved road in North America, and is listed by some as the number one attraction in Denver area. http://www.mountevans.com/  It is well worth the $10 fee charged by the forest service (National Park Annual Pass gets you in for free), and worth going out of your way for! Wow, what a view! If you get vertigo, standing at the top and looking down at Summit Lake might make you swoon. But you can always just hang around the parking area and visit with the mountain goats...

Spectacular views on the road to Mt Evans

Mid-August afternoon at Estes Park

On our second trip to Estes Park, we stopped by St. Malo's Chapel on the Rock, built with native stone and the magnificent backdrop of Longs Peak. Chapel on the Rock  We also spent a few minutes at Eagle Plume's which is all authentic native american arts & crafts. Their basket collection is amazing! http://www.eagleplume.com/  While Gary fished Estes Lake with his little Zodiak boat, I did laundry (why is it he always has fun while I work?), then I cruised the main shopping district (mobbed as usual) and stopped in a local thrift shop. Estes is a busy place, a bit too congested for my tastes! But the surrounding scenery is spectacular.

Estes Park area

2012-08-13 Mitchell Lake at Brainard Lakes Rec Area

This was a short hike just to get a way for a few hours  Mitchell Lake Trail....we never did have time to do the longer hikes at Brainard. Maybe some year! I've heard Lake Isabell, Blue Lake, and Pawnee Pass are all fantastic. See Blue Lake

There are so many more hikes to do!

Pics from Mitchell Lake Trail, Brainard Lakes Rec Area

2012-08 Scenery around Ned - Caribou, Rainbow Lakes

We had only a few hours to get away most of the time, so we toodled around Nederland area, up to Rainbow Lakes info on Rainbow Lakes , Caribou ghost town link to Caribou info, and the general vacinity of Nederland.

Had an hour or so at Miner's Days on a Sunday, firemen having a hose and barrel contest; spent a couple hours at the Gilpin County Fair, and a Sunday afternoon at NedFest which was a fantastic music festival. Lots of fun activities to do during the summer in Boulder and Gilpin counties. The Gilpin County Community Center ( http://gilpinrecreation.com/ ) is incredible with lap pool, big water slide, indoor basketball courts, gym and running track....guess that's one good thing Black Hawk and Central City casinos contribute to the county, in addition to the Public Library http://www.gilpinlibrary.org/ . I think Gilpin County would be a great place to live.

Scenery around Ned - Caribou, Rainbow Lakes

Ned area - Festivals and Fairs

2012-07-12 - Crater Lakes Hike from Moffatt Tunnel

This was one of our favorite hikes of the summer. Crater Lakes Trail The trail is mostly shaded and follows south Boulder Creek for 2 miles, then cuts off to the right another 1-2 miles up to Crater Lakes. Gorgeous area, wildflowers in bloom, and several lakes to enjoy. We headed out early and headed back down when clouds were threatening, as is common in the summer afternoons.

Pics - CO Crater Lakes Trail

2012-07-11 Short hike around Long Lake, Brainard Lakes Rec Area

The campground at Brainard Lakes has been closed for a couple years, being completely redone. Would be a fantastic place to stay, because of the many lakes and great trails. But it is a very busy, crowded place....if you get here past 10am, expect to park outside the gates and add a couple miles to your hike. Although we noticed folks hike early and leave around noon, so parking spots open up sometimes. It's like a busy day in December at the mall, folks parked in the aisles waiting for a parking spot. info on Brainard Lakes Rec Area  Trails are well marked and maintained, still people ignore the signs and trapse all over areas blocked off for re-vegetation.

We did just a short walk around Long Lake on our first visit.Long Lake

Pics from Long Lake at Brainard Lakes Rec Area

2012-07-07 A brief visit to Golden Gate Canyon State Park

The fabulous state park we visited for just two days in 2010, now it is just 6 miles south of us on the Peak to Peak Hwy. link to Golden Gate Canyon SP  We decided to head there for laundry one week, as they have an excellent laundry / shower facility in Reverend's Ridge Campground.

Had to pay the $7 state park fee, so we went ahead and did a little exploring too. Gary fished Dude's Fishing Hole while I hiked the Snowshoe Hare Trail. Trails are fantastic here. Golden Gate trails

Pics from Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO

An early July trip up to Lefthand Reservoir, CO

Gary tried some fishing while I hiked around this lovely reservoir just up from Brainard Lakes Recreation Area north of Nederland, near Ward, CO. The road is very rough going, 4WD high clearance only, but we didn't regret it. It was a lovely trail around the lake, lots of moose marbles but not a single sighting this day. Absolutely beautiful scenery though, lots of folks come up and take canoes across the lake to a dispersed camping area, this is really getting away from it all.

We did get hit by a huge downpour and lightning storm, you gotta really watch the skies in high elevation Colorado. :)

Pics from Lefthand Reservoir near Ward, CO

2012-06 June wanderings

We took a trip up to Estes Park (45 miles each way, approx) and Gary fished while I did laundry. This didn't quite seem fair! No luck on fishing but the $5 launch fee was much more reasonable than Boulder Reservoir's required $300 permit!!! And Dad's Laundry is an excellent clean facility. We won't drive here just for laundry though....

Pics from Estes Park and more around Kelly Dahl...

2012-06 A Mid-June hike to Lost Lake near Nederland CO

Lost Lake trail starts just outside of Nederland, up past the little town of Eldora. The trail is only a couple miles long each way, but you gotta add on the distance to the trailhead from where you park.  Suggestion: Arrive Early.  This was our first real "hike" since arriving in Colorado and the shortest one around. We were luck to see the moose, though the lake alone was reward enough.

Pics from Lost Lake Trail / Hessie Trailhead / Eldora, CO

2012-06-20 Our First Moose for the Season!

We finally broke away Wednesday morning for a quick hike, up to Lost Lake just outside Nederland, come around the bend, and there he is....a young bull moose. Much smaller than the magnificent fellow we saw two years ago (just the other side of the mountain, same Indian Peaks Wilderness but on the west side of the Continental Divide). This young bull spent the whole hour + while we were there, happily munching away on the edge of the lake.  What a special treat for us!


2012-06 Around the Peak to Peak Hwy

We've taken a couple drives into Boulder (for a big market trip) and Denver (to return our Dish Network equipment - Hurrah!!! Good Riddence!!!) Along the way, the scenery is pretty spectacular. We also checked out some of the other local campgrounds so we could be somewhat knowledgeable when folks ask, and Gary also took some morning trips to check out other fishing possibilities. Lots of beautiful places...here are some of our pics from the surrounding area, doesn't even scratch the surface as we have been so busy, but what a fantastic area:

Around the Peak to Peak Hwy

2012-06 The charming mountain town of Nederland

Nederland is a great little mountain town 3 miles north of us on the Peak to Peak Hwy (Peak to Peak Hwy info  ).

Pictures around town: Our local sights in Nederland CO

It has multiple cafes, a nature / ecology center (http://wildbear.org/  ), smokehouse-brewery, museums, a beautiful carousel with all hand-carved wooden animals, a cafe in old train cars, an ancient steam shovel, a skate park and even a yoga center, all to intice weary travellers to stop in for a closer look. And well worth the stop.  http://nederlandco.org/

The Carousel of Happiness absolutely is a must-see. At $1.00 a ride, it is a bargain and special treat. http://www.carouselofhappiness.org/flashcarousel/flash.html

Also, turns out the fishing has been pretty good at Barker Reservoir!
Barker Reservoir in Nederland CO

Cannot complain at all about spending 4-5 months here. We are very lucky!

Now transmitting from Kelly Dahl Campground...

It's been over a month since I got to the blog, some catching up to do. We are enjoying our host position at Kelly Dahl. Great area, nice site, lots of nice people to meet, and only 1 camper arrested so far. Good thing only 1 in 250 is a bad egg. 

We have a terrific market nearby which puts their organic produce in the clearance bin regularly, never had so many good veggies at one-quarter price! Also great fishing, as Gary has been providing fresh trout for dinner at least two times a week. Woo hoo!

We're just now starting to get out and expore, hike, etc....will post those pics later.

Here's a few pics from Kelly Dahl:
Kelly Dahl Campground, Colorado

2012-05-15 Central City / Blackhawk, CO

These two cities, separated by about 1/2 mile, have been feuding like Hatfields and McCoys for a very long time. It was snooty opera-house Central City vs. working-class Blackhawk; now the tables have turned somewhat - it is old-time charm, small casino Central City vs. glitzy big chain casino Blackhawk. Folks from Denver coming up the 119 will stop in Blackhawk and never make it further up the hill to Central City! Now Central City has built a parkway to get traffic directly to their town, but avoiding any easy connection to Blackhawk. In fact, they would not connect the KOA directly to the parkway because there is a dirt road from here going down to Blackhawk which bypasses Central City! So getting to the KOA is a bit of a round-about, up and down some seriously steep climbs.

Background on the feud over the parkway: Modern-day feud (LAWSUITS) over the Central City Parkway. Certainly an interesting area and a lot of history here.

Our pics from Central City, Blackhawk, and KOA

Never stayed at a KOA but after making our way up the incredibly long and steep climb following the blue campground signs, we decided to try it for a couple nights. The staff here is excellent and very helpful, park is outstanding, 5-star all the way. Plus they will shuttle you into either of the two towns if you give a buck or so for gas.

We also enjoyed the cheap food - $5.99 for prime rib at Red Molly's in Blackhawk, or $7.99 at Century Casino in Central City where the casino staff was very friendly and helpful, and the drinks were free.

So, I guess we didn't pick sides.

2012-05-14 Geology Museum a must see in Golden, CO

We really enjoyed our time in Golden, this is a town I would be happy to live in. When we stopped at the Golden History Center, they recommended a visit to the Geology Museum at the School of Mines. http://www.mines.edu/Geology_Museumat   Wow, what a fantastic treat - I highly recommend this for an hour or so if you visit Golden. Free and quite an expansive display.

Our pics from the Geology Museum and final day in Golden, CO

2012-05-10 Kayaking on Clear Creek

Gary had a good time kayaking this little stretch of Clear Creek from our RV park down to the Coors Brewery. It is very short but provides lots of eddies to practice handling your boat in and out of the rapids. There were lots of folks tubing, rafting, and kayaking. It's really a terrific free playground if you like to tube or kayak.
Pics from Kayaking on Clear Creek

2012-05-09 Hiking Clear Creek Canyon

We went for an early morning stroll up the creek, and ended up hiking for 5 hours! This trail begins in Grant Terry Park and follows a canal built into a canyon wall. It is still in development and will eventually connect with the Continental Divide Trail. http://jeffco.us/openspace/openspace_T56_R33.htm

Gary thinks this is his favorite hike ever, mostly because it is scenic and yet mostly level and easy. The area is frequented by black bears and mountain lions; we saw several fresh lion tracks in the wet mud from our rain 2 days prior.
Our pics from Clear Creek Canyon - Canal Zone

2012-05-08 Move to Clear Creek & met some new friends

We moved on Tuesday morning to Clear Creek RV Park (managed by the city) which is fantastic, right on Clear Creek in historic downtown. Fabulous location. In my mind, definitely beats out "the Best RV Park in Colorado", Dakota Ridge which was just across the street from our previous park Golden Terrace South.

We had just sat down to rest after the move, and here comes a fellow Titanium pulling in (we don't see many of these). We walked over and introduced ourselves as fellow Ti owners, and made some terrific new friends.

Charlie and Terry are from Ontario, Canada, and are heading west to watch the Solar Eclipse on May 20. We spent the afternoon and evening hanging out with them and had a great time! They gave us a tour of their RV - WOW! They have the superkitchen model our neighbors in Newport Beach had, the model which originally convinced us to shop for and buy a Titanium. And I love Terry's African theme, their RV is beautiful, plus we got lots of terrific upgrade ideas...Gary's got some work to do.

Pictures of our new location and new friends

Hopefully we can hook up with Charlie and Terry again somewhere down the road! 

2012-05 Lookout Mtn and Lariat Loop, Golden CO

Our neighbor Don recommended a terrific scenic loop and wow, it was a treat.
Pictures from our day: Lookout Mtn and Lariat Loop, Golden CO

We started with a quick visit to Dinosaur Ridge in the morning (http://dinoridge.org/). The we headed up Lookout Mountain Road which is incredibly popular for cyclists. A quick stop at Buffalo Bill's Museum and Gravesite (http://www.buffalobill.org/ ), then a short but wonderful trail (half mile) over to the Lookout Mountain Nature Center ( http://jeffco.us/openspace/openspace_T56_R14.htm), enjoying incredible vistas along the way.

We passed near the Mount Evans area (would love to do the scenic drive up that mountain, which I heard is the best place in Colorado to see Mountain Goats. (http://www.mountevans.com/)  Then through lovely and charming Evergreen, CO. We absolutely LOVED the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater (http://www.redrocksonline.com/ABOUTUS/PhotosVideos/PhotoGallery.aspx ) - will definitely be heading back there sometime to hike, and perhaps take in the Crosby Stills and Nash concert in August! Last stop on the loop was the Mother Cabrini Shrine (http://www.mothercabrinishrine.org/).

The entire loop included many more things than we had time to fully enjoy...there are parks and hiking / biking trails, museums, plus the views, views and more views.

There are so many parks with trails for hiking / biking, wish we had time to enjoy them all: http://jeffco.us/openspace/openspace_T56_R108.htm

More info on the loop: http://www.lariatloop.org/

2012-05 Golden, CO on the edge of wilderness

Met a neighbor who has lived in our temporary base park here in Golden for 29 years. He is about to retire, they've sold their little mobile home overlooking Golden, and are hitting the road as full-time RVers in a big toy-hauler. We've enjoyed visiting with him.

Spent all day yesterday in downtown Golden. Terrific place to stroll around, very scenic with lots of sculptures, museums, shopping, dining...could spend a couple more days down there.

A day in downtown Golden

2012 April-May Kansas to Colorado

We are on our way to Colorado for a hosting gig at a national forest campground. An uneventful drive is always a good thing. We used our Coast to Coast points for all our stays so no $$$ out of our pockets as it was all pre-paid a couple years ago.

Pics across Kansas / eastern Colorado

Now in Golden CO just west of Denver, very close to our new home at Kelly Dahl.