Fountain Creek Nature Center

Packing up today. \240 First Stop is a small community just off I-25 called Colorado Ciry. \240 It is also near the small town of Rye.

We have often wondered what it would be like to live in a small mountain community. \240This summer, we will find out! \240We are purposely avoiding the bigger, more touristy towns.

If we rule out real small towns, we may change that, but for now...


We arrived, and drove the town. \240 About 2000 live here, and elevation ranges from 4500-7000 feet (Monument is also 7000 feet) There are a total of 3 restaurants, about 5 churches, and NO grocery except for a gas convenience store! \240According to our waitress, much of the town is retirees and there are some VERY nice houses, a golf course, and drop dead gorgeous landscape. \240 Reminds me of the Colorado mountains when I was a kid; streams and trees and canyons with no tourist traps. \240

Our site has great views over a valley, with nearby mountains. The campground has a pool, miniature golf, horse shoe pits, and a community fire ring and two dog parks

Tonight we went walking, and talked to folks walking their dogs. \240We saw a large group around the campfire, and talked with about 15 people there for about an hour. \240They are an RV club of Coloradans who travel together, and we hit it off so well they invited us to join them. \240 They might be in Salida and Westcliffe when we are, so that would be fun!

One of them had a sister who lived in our same subdivision in Monument! \240I knew her! \240 Right before we moved our Nextdoor group was buzzing about helping find her new border collie that had escaped and lived outside for about a month while all Monument was trying to spot the dog and return it. \240So as the woman here was beginning to explain that situation, I said “I know that dog! \240A border collie lost about 6 weeks ago named Deacon, right?” \240Small world!

Anyway, I love the surprises like this. \240 At home we would have mostly stayed inside. \240 Even outdoors, no one talked much beyond a cheery “hello”.

9050 I-25, Pueblo, CO 81004, USA

Had a great drive today. \240 We drove into the San Isabel Forest to see Bishops Castle. \240 For those who have not heard of it, the castle was built by one man, piling stones and other “found” materials, over 50 years. \240I read the dragon was made of melted lunch trays!

We met Mr Bishop. \240 He was quiet, despite his reputation of yelling at visitors about his political views. We figure he is at least 75 now, small and hunchback, \240and I wonder if he is still actively building? \240 I believe he is. The castle was for his wife, who died in 2018.

I’ll get the photos off my camera soon and add them. \240 Very impressive!

We also saw San Isabel Lake, and had the most beautiful mountain drive Ihave enjoyed in many years. \240 Very green, healthy forrest and \240impressive overlooks. \240 Meadows full of perfect grass and wildflowers.

On the way back, we found a small grocery and stocked up.

At night we sat outside and overlooked the valley. \240 The stars are amazing here, with so few city lights.

Mr. Bishop, his truck and winch to move rocks...

Bishops Castle - near Rye, Colorado. \240 The dragon breathes “fire”. \240Note the walkways near the roof! \240

Lake San Isabel.

Love this poem. \240 Here we are, “finding ourselves” as we travel. \240

Sometimes I wonder, in five years and as we look back - will we miss the house, or be thrilled with the new memories? \240The world is changing so much. \240 How will WE change? \240 What, where, and who will \240become more important, and influence what we want in the next home we buy? \240

I hope we will become better people for the time we have stepped away from everything for a season...

We pray for that.

Today is blistering HOT so we are doing computer work inside, then hitting the pool and putt putt here...

I got a jury summons. \240 Naturally, that would be a big disruption from our plotted course.

It was mailed to Texas, our mail service. \240They Scanned the envelope on Tuesday, and I requested they scan the contents. Wednesday I got the scan of the contents,and well, the summons was for the previous Monday! \240Great, I was now a felon for not responding!

I phoned the #s given, but those were only valid for the day you report. \240 No way to talk to a human.

Then I tried their website links. \240 The first wouldn’t work but the 2nd said “my” trial had been canceled so all jurors were excused!

Boy, that made me happy! Yay, God! \240 Now I won’t have to worry about another summons for a while!

Honestly, our beautiful campground is getting boring. \240By day two (of 7) we had seen the town and local sites. \240I think we can rule this “off” our future home towns list. Just too small.

We are here three more days. \240 Swimming, computer, cleaning and TV I guess. \240(We could “break camp” early, but reservation openings are so hard to find in tourist season and cause a domino effect on upcoming stays, too.)

Our fellow campers are mostly inside due to the heat - been in the 90’s all week; so it is harder to be sociable.

Most paths here are black stone so even walking Tobey without burning his paws is an issue. \240At least mornings and evenings cool down nicely.

I saw 2 bears the other day, about 100 feet off the highway. \240 Nice.

I got Tobey an appointment for a grooming. \240 I’m sure he will appreciate being cooler. \240Surprisingly, that is one of the harder things about life on the road - appointments. \240 Doctors, especially, want you to schedule weeks out - but we don’t stay that long. \240 Haircuts, packages delivered. \240 \240If packages don’t come when expected, we might be down the road - and out the money, as campgrounds will usually not “forward” a package or return it. \240Must be like Christmas to them - “What did we get?”

824 Main St, Westcliffe, CO 81252, USA

Gooooooood Morning, Westcliffe!

We drove here yesterday. \240 Beautiful drive on mountain roads with very little traffic and no buildings save the occasional ranch or barn. \240 Lovely!

Arriving, we have had a great first impression here. \240 Unlike Colorado City, there are a lot of small businesses and activities in this town of perhaps 5,000. \240 It is growing fast, mostly retirees from Denver and Colorado Springs. \240 Nice homes, affordable. \240We shopped downtown a little while, and had a nice meal.

Westcliffe is also known for their “dark skies” for star gazing. \240 They have a trail set up with telescopes that we plan to check out one night.

Today is Fathers Day. \240

We woke and walked to a coffee shop on Main Street. \240 Near there, we saw a deer in someone’s front yard! \240 We walked perhaps 10 feet from her. \240

Tonight, We are going to the nicest restaurant in town. \240It looks like a barn and is called “The Feed Store”. \240 They host music concerts there, too.

We are also going to a local church, partly to get a feel for the locals here. There seem to be several “non-denominational” churches here to choose from.

The mountains surround the town, which is in a high flat meadow. \240 I like that the homes are not surrounded by trees, considering the risk of wildfires lately.

Thanks to those who have commented - it is so fun to stay in touch. \240 My app is weird - I can’t see the comments until I log out from editing. \240 So I am not ignoring you! \240 I’ll get to them eventually

The end of “downtown” Main Street

A nice lunch. \240Really tasty, kind of a food truck between buildings…

I like the trees and grass outside the bedroom!

Our first campground here. \240I like it, but we have to move tomorrow as they didn’t have enough availability at our second park to stay all week. \240It is further from town, but is supposed to be nicer….

What a wonderful evening. \240 We went to the best restaurant in Westcliffe, in what looks like a red barn, called “the feed store”. \240 It had a nice atmosphere, and we ate on their patio as it was cooler. \240They had live music, a guitarist who played mostly 70’s music. \240 The food was really good - an avocado and watermelon salad, cerviche, steak. \240And Sierra had bought us a bottle of wine for Fathers Day -she had called the restaurant and prepaid. \240 It was so peaceful.

Later we sat in the grass by our RV with both pets (Jasper on a leash) and talked with Amy and Chris. \240 Wonderful to catch up with them.

We are enjoying our travels! \240

We love Westcliffe! \240 We have been having so much fun, our campground has drop-dead views, and the people are SO nice!

Yesterday we found a nice shop for coffee and breakfast sandwiches. \240We went t DeWeese Reservoir. \240 It is about 5 minutes off Main Street yet you would swear you are out in the Mountain wilderness. \240Coming back, we saw a wonderful new neighborhood just outside of town. \240 An amazing home was for sale that was 4000 square feet, on an acreage, beautifully kept, for 450K. \240 In Monument, I’m sure that would be twice as much. \240 They were also building some little ranchers. \240One lot, besides the Mountain View, had a old Adobe church like you would expect to see in Sante Fe. \240

We also went to church. \240 Super friendly, about 100 people, and Biblically sound. \240 Their Pastor was away (always, when we visit a church!) and he was pretty good and sound, but extremely ADD so hard to follow.

We also shopped Amazon since we should be here long enough to get packages.

Today we shopped in town. \240We need groceries so Jim can smoke steak for fajitas tonight. \240We discovered their farmers market, grocery, and a butcher shop. \240Those meats were amazing compared to what you see in town. \240 I’m sure they were locally produced. \240

There is a surprising lot of shopping for such a small town (about 5000 but up-and-coming) and lots of entertainment. \240 Art studios, Dance, plays, bowling, star gazing with an observatory, hiking galore, boating, swimming, fitness classes, about 20 restaurants so far, horse riding…. \240All the locals we’ve met say they love it. \240 Weather, according to them, is very like Monument. \240About 800 feet higher. \240There is a health clinic with specialists who rotate in from Co Springs, Denver, and Pueblo. \240They have an EMT and ambulance but most of the populace have insurance for a helicopter ride in an emergency to Colorado Springs or Pueblo. \240

Another surprise - there are Amish here! \240They sell furniture, give buggy rides to tourists, sell produce, and work in the restaurants. \240They also host a dinner for groups where they explain who they are and how they live. \240 Would love to attend one. \240

Jim and I agree we could live here. \240But too early to commit. \240There is so much to discover while we RV! \240

Our campground. \240

The DeWeese Reservoir. \240

Bad picture, but this is an Amish buggy. \240

Jim at a Food truck in Westcliffe. \240 Even the alley dining is good!

Still having fun in Westcliffe.

Yesterday, we attended First Baptist and were really impressed. \240 Good service, and really friendly people who told us a lot about life in Westcliffe. They said there are a lot of professionals here, escapees from Denver and Colorado Springs. \240 They said in the winter it is social season where there are a lot of shared dinner parties and social meetings

Last night we went to the Alpine Lodge, a very fancy dinner in a log type lodge high up a mountain trail. \240 It was all by itself, with a nice overlook of the valley below. \240 Holy cow, what rough roads! \240 Glad we have our 4 wheel drive truck with high clearance! \240 It was raining hard, so we were worried about the road washing out. \240 But no problems going home, and the food was great.

Today, back up another rough road to the Music Meadows ranch. \240We road a small wagon, and learned to drive the horses. \240We both took turns. \240 We had lunch in a meadow, and enjoyed the views and the air that smelled like eucalyptus after the rains. \240

At first, we thought we would ride horses but I was afraid of messing up my knee. \240The damage to my knee is to the outside, and the bow legged posture on a horse combined with the bouncing can dislocate my knee. \240So we opted for the wagon. But I learned their rides are individual, not a group. \240And the horses are not nose to butt trail horses, but spread out and run. \240 I love that kind of riding! \240 And they ride up to the rainbow trail, and a waterfall. \240 So if we come again someday, I will risk it. \240I guess if I get halfway out and dislocate, THEN they can send the wagon for me!

Back “home”, we talked to Amy at length. \240

Great Day!

Alpine Lodge. \240 Will add horse pics later…

Paige, our guide at Music Meadows. \240 Horses are Moe and Joe. \240

Lunch with Jim and Joe

Cindy’s turn to drive! \240

Tomorrow we leave for Westcliffe. \240 We have been mostly catching up on work, mail, scheduling appointments for future campgrounds (you would not believe how badly I need a haircut!) and transferring pictures to my laptop.

I found a few more to include….

Tobey likes our fireplace…

Jasper and Tobey get some fresh air and sunshine.

Westcliffe’s mountains. \240The Sangre DeChristo range. \240 This park is for “dark sky” viewing, but is just blocks from the Main Street shopping.

If we bought a house here, this is the neighborhood we liked. \240 5 acre lots, just behind Main Street and 5 minutes from the reservoir. \240I like the abandoned church in the foreground, too. \240 No, no plans to buy yet - but Westcliffe IS tempting! \240 Very “old Colorado”. Friendly, most are retirees from Denver and Colorado Springs. \240

16105 US-50, Salida, CO 81201, USA

Arrived safe, near Salida. \240Actually, in Poncha springs. \240 Our campground sits above the town, top of a mountain. \240 Pretty, but not green like Westcliffe. \240 More rocky, rugged, dry. \240There are chipmunks all over the campground, so Jasper is glued to our windows. \240I would not like to walk here in the dark, as there are likely all types of wildlife.

We ate near the river walk \240in downtown Salida. \240 They have a very pretty park and shops along the river. \240As we ate, we watched people tubing, kayaking, and swimming in the river. \240Looks fun! \240 We might try it if the weather is not too cold.

Salida sits about 7400 feet. Only a little higher than Monument. \240 It has about 5000 people. \240The population is younger and more liberal than Westcliffe. \240 It feels crowded, as the streets are narrow and not well laid out. \240It is hard to get our fat truck around the streets. \240 Likely to miss 4th of July here. \240 Just too hard to find parking, even on a normal day.

Salida boasts a hot springs indoor pool. \240I love hot springs, so that is on our maybe list. \240 There are also several wineries here.

Riverfront park. \240 Will come here for fireworks on the 4th. \240

A weird selfie. \240 Wanted to show the river more! \240

The river as seen from our restaurant.

Eating again

Our campground.

View from my bedroom window

Checking out a tiny winery near the campground. \240 Small, but very good! \240 Their biggest buyer is The Wines of Colorado, on Pikes Peak.

Co Rd 300, Nathrop, CO 81236, USA

Had to move today, as Salida’s ( actually Poncha Springs) \240campground was full. \240 We moved not far, in Nathrop, between Salida and Buena Vista. \240

We had lunch in B V today. \240 It has really grown since we were last here. \240Population about 3000. \240 Homes are cheaper here.

For whatever reason, we are very tired today, even the pets. \240 So we decided to take it easy.

Tomorrow we drive into Salida for haircuts. \240 I am so shaggy! \240 Can’t wait. \240 Going real short. Jim gets shorn, too. \240 He is hitting his “Einstein” phase. \240

We also have a tech coming out with a new valve for our “grey water” tank. \240A must have, so we don’t dribble our dirty water around…😱😬 \240We also have a lock for him to look at; it is not staying locked. \240Would not be fun to have our grill fall out on the road. \240🔐

The Chalk Cliffs. \240 Many hot springs in this area. \240

I haven’t written recently. \240Just not much to tell. \240

We are in Nathrop, between Salida and Buena Vista. \240 About a dozen homes and the campground. \240The camp is pretty, but nothing going on to draw people from their campers. \240

We have liked Buena Vista in the past. \240 Small town, beautiful area. \240 But according to local, the “downtown” was purchased by a Boulder developer who previously developed Vail. \240 So in the few years since we were here last, it is almost unrecognizable. \240 Cute, upscale businesses - and crowded. \240 Tense. \240 Unfriendly. \240Aggressive driving…. The minuses of a big city, without the perks of more choices in entertainment. \240No thanks.

Tomorrow, onto Montrose. \240 Our most promising stop in terms of a perfect sized city. \240 We will be there a while. \240

Tomorrow will be our longest drive to date. \240 About 3 hours, the recommended maximum for an RV. \240(Tear down, 3 hours of hyper alert driving, then set up is very tiring!). And, we will go over Monarch pass, about 10,000 feet elevation. \240Our first pass. Hopefully, no issues. \240 Don’t wish to try out their “runaway truck” ramps! \240

A riverside restaurant in Buena Vista. \240 Lots of River Rafting from here, into Browns Canyon and the Royal Gorge. \240These smaller rafts started in town, then come out on the sands here to eat, and catch a ride back into town. \240

Mount Anterro, my view each morning!

River Bend RV Park and Cabins, 65120 Old Chipeta Trail, Montrose, CO 81403, USA

We are in Montrose, and our first impressions are good. \240 About 6000 foot elevation, 20,000 population. \240 Very dry here, as they are in extreme drought. \240 Not as pretty as last time we were here, but a nice town, lots to do, nice people, lots of shopping.

Getting here was a little creepy in an RV. \2403 passes, with the largest being Monarch pass. \240 Lots of switchbacks, steep ups and downs. \240 Our truck handled it fine, and Jim drove like a pro - but, you cannot relax. \240 Rockslides, 8% grades, runaway truck ramps (God forbid!). \240 But, it was also beautiful.

Plus, we had the news in the early morning that Sierra had given birth to Rainer Nash Alderman! \240 Our third grandson, but Sierra’s firstborn. \240She needed a cesarean after a long labor, so just say I had short sleep last night. \240We are so happy for her!

We found there is a Calvary Chapel here, so we will go there tomorrow. \240 We also plan to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison one day. \240Telluride, too, one day if we can. \240We will be in this area for about a month, with side trips into Grand Junction and Palisade.

Rainer Nash

Had a great day today. \240 We went to Calvary Chapel,in Montrose and really liked the Pastor. \240 The congregation was ok, though not nearly as friendly as Westcliffe. \240

Then we went to Ridgway, a town of about 1000 just out of Montrose. \240 It was a pretty drive except for the smoke in the air from wildfires in Arizona, and ongoing drought in the area. \240They had a large reservoir with boating and a swim beach. \240 The town was cute, old Colorado and some new houses. \240We learned this town was used for filming John Wayne’s “True Grit”. Several buildings in town were featured in the film, along with landscape nearby. \240 We ate at the “True Grit” cafe and boy was it good food! \240We shopped a little and saw a small museum, where we also learned many movie moguls and billionaires lived in the area. \240The museum also had a chandelier from the movie, “Gone with the Wind”. Also, when the reservoir was planned they were going to flood the whole town, but later moved the planned reservoir a few miles to its present location.

Then we came back into Montrose and took a detour to see their water park, where people raft, tube and kayak on the river. \240Looks fun! \240

I called Mom, and Sierra.

We would love to do river tubing, but we would also like to visit Ouray and Telluride. \240 Both would be full day trips - \240but Jim is working each day until 3:00 and we “move” on Saturday… Perhaps on our way back through here? \240

We also need to use an ATM and buy pet supplies, which can be hard to find in the smaller cities. \240(Montrose is a population of about 20k, our first “big” city since we left Colorado Springs). \240

Movie set for True Grit

Pioneer museum. The “paddy wagon” in the foreground was also in True Grit. \240

Part of the schoolroom exhibit. \240 That is one ugly kid. \240 Needs a shave! \240

That’s more like it!

Montrose river park

Yesterday we went to Ouray and had a wonderful time playing tourist. \240 We shopped in the mining era downtown, including a really unique toy store where we grandparents could plan ahead for upcoming birthdays.

We saw the hot springs that the town is famous for, but decided not to take the time to soak. \240I swam there when I was young and visited here with my family, the last time I had seen Ouray. \240I remember diving into the shallow end, and hitting the bottom really hard with my head!

We saw Cascade Falls, high above the town. \240Likely the tallest falls I had seen in Colorado. \240The trail there was short but very steep climbing. \240Yay, my knees held up!

My favorite was Box Canyon Falls, which impressed me on the childhood trip. \240The sheer force of that almost-underground waterfall is amazing! \240 An iron walkway lets you get up close and personal. \240 Trust me, the photos do not do it justice!

We had to cross a small bridge with our truck, and for the first time I had a near panic attack at how high we were, over the gorge! \240 But it was beautiful.

Ouray is known as The Switzerland of America. \240 The town is surrounded by sheer mountains. \240Unfortunately it was another Smokey day from wildfires, but I hope the photos will do it some justice…

Main Street, goes further than photo shows.

Cascade Falls

Box Canyon Falls gorge. \240 MUCH deeper than it looks here!

Box Canyon Falls - note there are two tiers coming down. \240

Hot Springs

Walkway into Box Canyon. \240 Really had to watch out heads on those overhangs!

Another view of Box Canyon Falls. \240 The video gives much better idea of the power of the water thundering down. \240

Rainer meeting his dog-brother. \240Sierra says her dog is very protective of the baby already. \240

Palisade Basecamp RV Resort

Now we arrived in Palisade. \240 It is a bedroom community of Grand Junction, and what a surprise it is!

First, it is much more arid here; desert and mesas and cliffs. \240 Today was 101 degrees, and due to the river, a little humid.

Second, we knew Palisade is known for their peaches. \240 But they also have vineyards and cherries galore, and (in our first restaurant here) everything on our plate was locally sourced - beef, salad, potato’s, cucumbers, tomatoes - and wine. \240Delicious!

Third, our campground was unlike any other in our Colorado travels. \240 The “book cliffs” loom just above our campground. \240The light dances off the rocks and paints them in colors that change all day. \240I didn’t know our camp was so near them - one thing I hoped to see was wild horses at the Book cliffs, a place I Turns out the horse area is about 5 miles from our camp! \240 We will go there later this week, in the early evening when they come out to graze after hiding from the heat. \240 I’ve never seen wild horses, and have always wanted to.

Our camp also has a pool, a real blessing in this heat!

The small downtown is nice. \240I hear this is a retiree town. \240 We already met a recent transplant from Longmont.

This town, like Montrose and Delta and Salida and Olathe, has a river park for inner tubing and kayaking. \240 In Montrose it was fast, with lots of rapids. \240 Here the Colorado river is wide and slow and calm. \240We may try that, if we have time enough.

Tomorrow we are scouting. \240 We will drive Grand Junction to see what else the area has to offer. \240 We have both never stopped in Grand Junction, though we have passed through on other trips.

All in all, a busy week! \240 And Jim has some vacation time he must take, or lose. \240 Great timing! \240We have a lot to see before we begin to mosey back toward Colorado Springs.

We explored Grand Junction today. \240 The town is about 60,000. \240 We had lunch downtown and then drove through Clifton, which we liked a lot. \240 It is between Grand Junction (big enough city for any needs, like a hospital and entertainment) and Palisade ( mountains and farms).

On the way home, we stopped at a street fair/farmers market in downtown Palisade. \240 We bought bacon, peaches 🍑 and peach 🍑 salsa. \240Jim “tested” some wineries.

We also stopped at a lavender farm. I tested some essential oil of theirs - heavenly!

Later in the day, we went to a vineyard next door to our camp to taste their wine.

We passed on the cannabis farm near our camp. “happy camper” is their name! \240Seems pretty busy….

We are loving RV life with its surprises around every corner. \240 I miss some of my “stuff” and people, but the RV itself is comfortable and always someone to talk to.

(Though I might “pass” on the obviously drunken woman at 8:00 am who was gushing over Tobey, or the man who went into a long description of a motocross accident that nearly killed him and apparently left him a bit brain damaged).

Wine tasting at the vineyard Nextdoor.

Today we went to see the Colorado National Monument, a drive through canyon area similar to Bryce or Zion in Utah. \240 It was beautiful, though the hairpin turns and narrow roads without guard rails was a little unnerving in our wide Ford truck. \240We enjoyed it, and walked short trails to amazing overlooks. \240 I’ll add photos later as I need to get them off my camera first.

I noticed on the map the C. National Monument is very near Moab. \240

After the canyon, we passed through Fruita, a nice town on the other side of Grand Junction.

Jim and I returned exhausted after our 3 hour outing. \240 Perhaps the heat, around 100 degrees again.

We HAD wanted to see the horses on the Book Cliffs, but learned the road there is quite rough - and we don’t want any issues with our truck. \240 Palisade also offers horseback rides to see the wild horses, but they are 4 hours of riding in 100 degree heat. \240 Reluctantly, we decided we could not do that.

Same for River tubing/rafting trips. \240 They were 3 hours or so, and though the water would feel delightful we don’t want to deal with sunburns. \240Do we sound old, or what?

Guess we are both a little discouraged today. \240We miss family and have gotten few calls. \240 The campground is lonely as everyone hides in their RVs due to the heat. \240

Our AC is holding up well, thankfully - though our maximum cooling gets us to about 80 degrees, still warm-ish. \240 If we close our blinds early in the day it is better.

The pool was a big plus, but today it was shut down for repair. \240 Supposed to reopen tomorrow. \240

Uncompahgre River RV Park, 804 S Church Ave, Olathe, CO 81425, USA

Tired tonight. \240Kinda blue. \240A moving day, now in Olathe Colorado - home of the best sweet corn in the state. \240Olathe sits between Montrose and Delta, both bigger cities. \240 It means we have turned around and are slowly headed back toward the Springs.

Olathe is largely Hispanic, about 67% of its population of about 2000. \240 There are few restaurants, and little to do. \240 Unknown to us, it is a very poor area. Kind of rundown and unkempt. But it seems safe, and will be a good base to visit nearby towns from.

At least our mobile park is pleasant. \240 Trees and park- like. \240 This is our first 55+ park. \240 The people seem very nice.

We have noticed this is a very Republican part of Colorado. \240 Lots of Trump signs!

When we arrived and put out our kitchen slider we had a mishap. \240 A cabinet must have opened at floor level, and caught on the slider as it opened. \240 It tore a cabinet door off its hinges and has separated some of the wooden frame around the kitchen slider. \240 Something more to fix. At least the wood seems Un damaged, it just needs new nails and glue.

Tonight I miss “home” but often that means I am merely fatigued. \240 Tomorrow is another day….

Still in Olathe. \240 We are using this time to catch up on needed work. \240Besides Jim’s job, I was balancing checkbooks. \240I figured out how to deposit my paychecks online. \240(Photo of the check).

We also had a virtual meeting with our financial planner to invest our house money rather than let it sit in the bank. \240Let’s see, would we rather it get eaten by inflation or risk a stock market correction… \240I really need a crystal ball to make such predictions. \240 Trusting God to watch over us…

Anyway, we have papers to electronically sign. \240Some need a “real” signature, which means we must print it, sign it, scan it back in… and our brand new but small printer is a real pain to use as it only likes a certain network setting that the rest of our electronics will NOT work with.

We have been trying to fix our slider. \240Cosmetically, we have it all put back together except for the cabinet door. \240We cannot find the new hinge we need.

We also got screws as some trim on the outside was working loose.

I cooked in the oven today! \240I made chocolate chip cookies. \240The oven will only hold one tray. \240It is gas, and cooks somewhat unevenly. \240 Many RVers don’t use their oven, except for storage. \240I can limp by as long as I watch the narrow edges so I don’t burn my hands when I pick up the hot pan.

Tobey got his first shower.

We bought more cat food. \240 Jasper has been ridiculously picky! \240 Often I can’t find his favorite in the local stores. \240Then he turns up his nose at the new stuff and will go days without eating! \240I have taken to ordering his favorite brand online, but I think they are discontinuing it.

Anyway, such is the tedium but this is the perfect time to catch up a bit…

Ta ta. \240I miss you all and hope you are well…

Including a pic of my grandson Rainer… isn’t he cute?

Today we had no plans, and decided to go into Montrose for their county fair. \240 But arriving, there was little to do there other than admiring cows, sheep, lambs, pigs. \240They didnt have many exhibits or anything else - the fair was nearly over. \240So we left and had a nice lunch. \240 Then we decided to see the Black Canyon of the Gunnison nearby. \240It was wonderful! \240Beautiful vistas and some good hiking to the outlooks. \240 The exercise felt good, and it was cooler today. \240 What a pleasure! \240 Sure beats TV at home!

At one point, driving along the canyon rim, a gold eagle flew just at eye level alongside our truck for perhaps a mile. \240 Breath taking! \240

Montrose / Black Canyon Nat'l Park KOA Journey

Here we are, back in Montrose. \240We are on the opposite side of town now. \240We have spent a long time in this general area as Montrose interests us as a possible area to buy a home. \240

Not a lot of plans this time; just hanging around wnd making ourselves citizens.

Our most ambitious day will be Saturday. \240We plan to drive an hour and a half to see Telluride. \240 Never been there! \240 We are as close as we will ever be. \240

Today we went to Telluride. \240 Our first time! \240It was about an hour and a half drive from Montrose. \240 It was beautiful, the whole way- “virgin” Colorado - not commercialized at all; rivers, green trees, red cliffs, and wildflowers! \240Perfection.

The downer was it was also very Smokey from California wildfires. \240 The colors were muted, and sometimes the skies were so opaque we could not see nearby peaks. \240At all. \240 The news said Denver was the most polluted city IN THE WORLD today, and surely Telluride was little better. \240Our eyes burned,and you could smell the smoke. \240Not a great day to spend outdoors!

But it was worth it. \240 The town is charming, surely the prettiest mountain town I have seen. Everything was clean, groomed, landscaped. \240The shops were inviting. \240We didn’t shop, though, as our dog Tobey was along - no where to leave him for that many hours. \240We ate lunch at an outdoor restaurant.

Then we took the gondola. \240 Yes, Tobey too! \240How I wish we could have had blue skies and seen the peaks! \240 But what we saw was still beautiful, and it was fun. I took pictures and will post some later if they turn out due to the skies. \240 At home, I googled Teluride for pictures on a clear day. \240 Put what I saw today, and the blue sky stock photos together, and I feel I “saw” everything!

We shared our gondolas with two locals, and talked. \240One was an adult in his 20s who rode the gondola to work but also first, to the top for a bike ride down each day. \240 There were many trails below, full of bikers and hikers. \240He said the elevation was 10,500 feet and the population there about 2000. \240

Another was a 15 year old snowboarder who had lived there for years. \240 Fun lifestyle! \240 The locals use the gondola, which spans the ski mountain, the town, and the ski village, like a shuttle. \240 It is free, fast, and very comfortable. \240 (Except when I got off and skinned my heel badly)

Today was also Amy and Josiah’s birthdays. \240 The first time we have missed their celebrations, though we phoned. \240 A little sad.

I wonder how long we will RV. \240 Very torn about now. \240 This lifestyle is fun, and do-able - but not cheaper, as we anticipated it would be. \240 Park fees and gasoline and repairs are more expensive, though we no longer pay for (heating) gas, electricity, water, or cable.

With the drumbeat of scary news, sometimes I want to hunker down among people I know, not galavant around the countryside. \240We might need our emergency supplies, and they all sit in our storage locker, far away! We might want to help our loved ones and be too far to come quickly…. Worry, worry. \240 Sorry, it comes too naturally!

But - our goal is not yet complete. \240We still need to know where we would want to buy again, and we are hoping for a price drop first. \240 So here we are.

We feel God is behind this growing season of our lives. \240In the quiet I can begin to put pieces together again….

Lessons unique to RVing:

Ok, so I realize we are the guinea pigs for many of you who have only considered our retirement solution.

We just had a weird initiation experience.

I was washing dishes while Jim was trying to recuperate from a bout of diverticulitis, a frequent issue for him.

Suddenly we smelled an obvious gas odor. \240 No, not Jim’s contribution! \240 It was very strong, and I was afraid we had a propane leak although the oven and stove were off. \240We went outside to turn off the propane tanks and opened windows. Oddly, the smell seemed most noticible through our air conditioner vents.

Fumes were still present; and I felt dizzy.

We researched and Jim found it was likely septic tank gasses coming up our water pipes. \240So he went out and created a “P trap” with water in a bend of our waste hose. \240I also added water in out toilet and sinks to prevent gasses from coming up. That prevents the gas from moving up the hose and into the RV.

That did the trick, finally! \240 But honestly, I was afraid for a while to light a match or create a spark - it was THAT strong.

We’d never had anything like that before, not even minor odors. \240So I assume it was either the very hot weather or the campsite hadn’t emptied their holding tanks in a long while, or they were positioned poorly, or \240? \240 ….

Kinda scary. \240 But now we know what to look for and do next time.

We DID enjoy the campground’s hot tub later, and talked with a “neighbor” from Round Rock Texas (where we go soon to visit family) and the other “neighbor” was heading to Colorado Springs, so we offered our expert opinions on what to see…

Let’s just say every day is unique, and I find that appealing. \240 Challenges mixed with discovery and fun. \240You never know what comes next. \240

Gunnison KOA Journey

Today we are in Gunnison, a mountain (and collage) town of about 5000 people at 8000 feet. \240

Our first impressions are really good. \240 Nice houses, wide streets, a vibrant downtown. \240 It seems conservative, although a mix of retirees and college students. \240

We ate at a really good restaurant, High Alpine Brewing Company. \240 Their food was amazing!

Our camp is fun - there are donkeys and goats roaming the grounds! \240 The spots are very wide and have trees and actual grass instead of dirt, rocks, or weeds. There is a pond, with Adirondack chairs on the lawn. \240Tobey is loving it! \240I let him and the cat “meet” their donkey and goat neighbors.

Tomorrow we plan to drive (truck only) to Crested Butte for a day trip. \240Like Telluride, it is a beautiful ski area. \240Never been there, but they are also known for their wild flowers.

Crested Butte is now my favorite Colorado mountain town, \240hands down! \240 Not to live in - expensive and touristy. \240 But so fun to visit. \240 A beautiful town, with well - kept old buildings, nicely landscaped, and lots of flowers. Yards and alleys were inviting with seating areas, decor, and streams .

On the hills, verdant grass and the remains of flowers, as this area \240is known for its abundant wildflowers. I’d love to see it in its peak, mid -July!

The mountains were stunning, despite (alas!) the ever-present smoke this summer. \240At least it was much less murky than Telluride.

We mostly shopped the town, then drove to the ski resort base. \240We walked to the ski lifts, but declined riding

as they charged $29 each to ride to the peak. \240Then we drove the area a while. Beautiful. \240Stunning. And so uncrowned compared to other ski destinations. \240 It is only 40 minutes from Gunnison, where we are camped. \240No traffic on the one lane road there. \240About 2000 feet in elevation gain along lovely country roads.


Back at camp now. \240 I have not yet mentioned, but we are right beside the Gunnison airport. \240 Not a problem as their flights are few. \240 But it seems odd to get the RV shaking vibration from a takeoff, look out, \240and see a plane so close!

Yesterday, for several hours, a military two-prop helicopter kept hovering just outside the campground. \240 At first we thought it was a search; but often they were only 20 feet off the ground!

Later we learned this was “touch and go” practice for the military. \240 Gunnison is about the same terrain and elevation as Afghanistan, which has heated up since President Biden withdrew troops.

We really like Gunnison so far. \2406,000 people, 7800 foot elevation (only a little higher than Monument), lots to do nearby. \240 The downside is that, although they get less snow than Monument, they sit in a bowl that gets the deep cold in the winter. \240 Gunnison is often one of the coldest spots in the nation.

Well, \240better go. \240 Many emails to catch up on…

Odd day today. \240We had to move our RV to a new spot in the campground, as we wanted to stay here longer and our previous “spot” was already reserved by someone else. \240 The new spot was only about 100 feet directly in front of the old one. \240

You still have to do many of the same tasks for a full move - put breakables away, clear the area by the sliders, sweep the floor for debris, unhook electric, water, sewer. \240Secure items in the fridge. Secure the doors and the chairs and the TV. Close windows. \240Bring in the sliders - pets outside first. \240Bring up the stairs.

Bring the truck near the RV. \240 Lower the RV to the level of the hitch. Lower the tail gate. \240Back into the hitch. \240Secure the cables on the hitch. \240Do a pull test. \240Unchock the tires. \240Pull out, carefully so the trailer doesn’t hit a tree or post.

Move the trailer to the new spot, then reverse all the above!

Took us a bit over an hour. \240We were nearly done, and the office help came by and told us, no, that spot was in someone else’s’ name. \240We said it had all been approved. \240At that point, had they required us to move to another spot, we would have had to do most all the above over again!

Fortunately, it was their error. \240 We get to stay and the other party (in a much smaller rig) gets a dfferent spot. \240

The planes and helicopters were busy today. \240 The whole trailer vibrates. \240The runway is about 500 feet away, just on the other side of a tall fence. \240 We keep seeing the tops of the helicopters as they hover.

Today we rest and Jim does his work. \240

Tomorrow, Thursday, \240we are river rafting! \240The run, 3 hours, ends almost exactly at our campground as we are also near Gunnison whitewater park. \240Ours will be move a scenic float trip in a small raft; no big rapids.

Friday we move to Woodland Park, a harder drive as we cross Monarch pass again (scary steep) followed by a long but fairly flat drive.

Many have asked about gas prices. \240 Yes, our truck gets poor milage. \240 But it uses diesel, less expensive so far. \240And we now “feed” one car, not two. \240Once we reach our camping destination, almost always 1-3 hours away, we really don’t drive near as much as we would have in sprawling Colorado Springs… we putt around small towns. \240So, so far it works.

Gunnison restaurant

White water park about 2 miles away

More campground animals

Besides the goats and donkeys, there are pigs, horses, and a lamb! \240About half are free roaming. \240

River rafting! \240 We went to the Gunnison river and enjoyed a 3 hour scenic float with our guide, Andrew. \240 Really scenic.

The day started cold, and about an hour in, we got enough rain to wet and numb us. \240But Judy when we were at the point of requesting the shorter trip rather than the 3 hour, the sun came out and it was all good.

Our guide was good at pointing out the animals, though we failed to spot the river otters. \240 Those are my favorite zoo animals. \240 I’d have loved to see then in their natural habitat.

He also mentioned how geologists said the huge cliff we passed had been tossed there from 30 MILES away when an ancient volcano blew its top! \240Wow!

All in all, a great day!

Woodland Park

Back on the Eastern Slope! \240 We traversed Monarch pass and passed Buena Vista and Salida again, and are now in Woodland Park, nearly home to Colorado Springs. \240 We stay here about a week, as we want to decide if this town could be one we’d want to live in.

We are tired. \240It was a long drive and required intense concentration. \240 Our new park is very crowded, and we notice the hurried pace, the aggressive drivers that we have not had for 2 1/2 months.

I also noticed the thick pine smells here.

The Western Slope had more deciduous trees.

So far the plus is the deer in our campground…

Top of Monarch pass, looking East.

Tomorrow we head back to Colorado Spring for about a month of visits and preparation for the next, much longer, leg of our travels. \240 We have a lot of Dr visits as we are due and all that is much harder on the road.

Annual physical, dental, skin exam, bloodwork…. \240Fun, fun. \240 Plus truck maintenance and a visit to our storage locker to drop some stuff off that we don’t use and to try to locate a few items we could use.

Woodland Park has been a bust. \240 Traffic here is bad in town, and the drivers as aggressive as in the Springs. \240 It is close enough to home that nothing feels new and fun to visit, so we are largely staying in the RV and letting Jim work. \240 We are listening too to the constant bad news on Afghanistan.

My biggest joy was seeing the deer in camp as I walk Tobey each morning, \240 One day I got to watch, from perhaps 15 feet away, as a deer suckled her fawn! \240 That was wonderful! Wish I had been carrying a camera!

We are hoping breaking camp tomorrow goes well. \240 Our space is uneven which will make hitching a challenge, and the whole campground is tight, with lots of RVs and pine trees. \240 We are one of the biggest RVs here. \240 So I hope we can maneuver out without hitting something.

Wish us good luck. \240Jim is a very good driver!

We did get to enjoy a favorite restaurant here, The Wines of Colorado. \240 It was fun to see the wines they stocked from places we visited this summer. \240

We also enjoyed a tapas restaurant in town.

8100 Bandley Dr, Fountain, CO 80817, USA

Back where we began. \240 Fountain, Co KOA. \240 Not the best location, just off 1-25 and near Fort Carson. \240 But very well-run. \240Clean, fun activities, and much more affordable. \240 Colorado Springs does not have many campgrounds, so they tend to be pricey. \240

We’ll be here two weeks, catching up on appointments and visits….

Feels odd to be back to the big city after months in the mountains. \240 But, good in some ways too. \240Home. \240

Today was the hot air balloon lift off in prospect park, near downtown Colorado Springs. \240

I was in the RV and heard the unmistakable sound of an after burner. \240 One was flying right over our RV at low altitude!

I went to get my breakfast then (Jim was at church, playing piano) at the food shack in the camp. \240While waiting for my order, 4 more balloons flew over low enough to wave at the balloon passengers. \240Beautiful. \240They lit in the fields just beyond the camp. \240Sure wish I’d had my camera! \240

We have kept busy here - visits to family, shopping, Dr. visits, church. Our car goes in Tuesday for minor issues and a health check.

Since we were in this campground longer, it was a perfect time to get deliveries from Amazon - hard to do when we move often. It feels like Christmas! \240One item was a pet playpen to allow my buddies to be outside more often. \240 They get a little “cabin fever” sometimes.

We are also trying to evaluate what to take to our storage FROM the RV - things we have not been using. \240 And thinking of what we hope to find in storage to bring for the next leg of our trip. We expect the next loop to take most of the year. \240We need to get somewhere warmer for the winter! We will sunbird in Florida!

Next weekend we move to a cheaper camp on the east side of Colorado Springs, in Falcon. \240We want to experience that area, and while there we will also visit our Loveland family and stay in a hotel. \240A bathtub! \240 Oh, glory! \240

We really did not like the heavy traffic and potholes while bringing our RV to Loveland last time; \240so instead, we will take a brief “vacation” from our RV. \240 We will leave Jasper alone for two nights with lots of food, and take Tobey with us. \240Cats are so much easier to travel with…

Our RV

Camp playground and water park

Fountain Creek river on one side of our camp

Remote balloon launch we saw in Prospect Park the day before. \240 We had the real ones fly over today. \240

11159 US-24, Peyton, CO 80831, USA

Last stop on this leg back to the Colorado Springs area! \240 We are now in Falcon, on East Woodman. \240 This campground is much cheaper, and not much to write home about. \240 But, we are running a lot of errands from here and it meets our needs for now. \240 Also, we are near Meridian Ranch. \240 We want to see if that would be a place we would consider. \240 Seems most of our homes have been on the outskirts of town. \240 Breathing room.

Our next leg takes us to New Mexico and Texas. We hope you enjoy riding along!


By the way - Must use “httpS://“ and “www.” \240or these will not link….

You can also go to our first entries as we begin to RV at -


Or, skip to our 2022 Florida trip at

https://journo ha.com/journo/Florida-2022-44386

Copy and Paste the above into your browser; rather than just clicking the link above. \240The link FROM Journo and INTO Journo seems to get confused. \240 Dumb app!

Told you…