trip report: Colorado and vicinity - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-26-2018, 01:17 PM   #1
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trip report: Colorado and vicinity

A scheduled business meeting in Salt Lake City this month gave me a good excuse to go camping! I camped all the way there and back. First day saw me through OK to the western tip of the panhandle, where I overnighted for free at a national grassland picnic area just south of Felt, OK. As usual, I had the place to myself. It's a gravel parking lot adjoining a grassy area with picnic tables and a pit toilet. Nice and quiet, other than the sound of an oil rig's motor in a nearby field (which one quickly forgets), and a good view of the stars at night.



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From there I headed over Raton Pass into CO and turned west through Canon City (where it was raining buckets), Salida, and Buena Vista. My next campsite (for 2 nights) was Miner's Park, a free area north of BV and the site of last year's "Reunion" rally. A number of other campers were already here when I arrived, but I found a spot that even included a bit of shade for my folding chair.


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After dinner I strolled down the road through the light rain patter and took some pictures of the neat tunnels.



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Old 07-26-2018, 01:21 PM   #2
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During day 3 the Hauley stayed put at that place while I drove to a trailhead at the ghost town of Hancock and attempted to bicycle up the trail to the site of the old Alpine RR tunnel. I say "attempted" because I had to walk my bike up the trail at least 1/3 of the time through the roughest patches. I had no idea how rough this trail would be for a bike!

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It was a nice day and a beautiful climb, despite it being roughly (pun intended) 3 miles each way and an elevation gain of 600 feet. Quite a workout, considering the low oxygen level at 11,000+ feet.

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I had envisioned taking photos of the tunnel entrance. Well, there's what's left of it....


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All in all, the climb was uplifting and the return trip was a letdown... if you get my drift! Gravitational payback made that return trip much easier, despite having to coast over tree roots and rocks much of the way. If going up made me question the wisdom of taking the bicycle, going down validated my decision.
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Old 07-26-2018, 01:49 PM   #3
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For an area in drought and covered by burn bans, I certainly hit the rains. As I mentioned, it was raining hard by Canon City. And it rained each evening while I camped at Buena Vista. Here is a picture that will give you some idea of the clouds.


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On day 4, I moved a few miles north and paid to stay at the Sunnyside NF CG along one of the Twin Lakes. This CG is just a gravel lot, but it was nice to have a bit of a lake view. Since I got there around 10 am, I spent some time exploring along Clear Creek Road, returned to the trailer to each lunch, and then set out over Independence Pass.


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Coming down the west side of the pass, I stopped to walk around the remains of an old mining town.


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Continuing west to Aspen, I arrived at the entrance to Maroon Bells a bit too early, 4:15 pm. So I killed some time until 5:00 rolled around, and then I was able to drive into the area. Light rain moved in for about 15 minutes just as I got to the parking lot, then it turned nice and I walked to the end of Maroon Lake and back. It's a pretty place.


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Old 07-26-2018, 01:59 PM   #4
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The "Maroon Bells" are the mountain peaks which surround Maroon Lake. It cost $10 to drive in (or one would pay $8 for the bus transport between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm), but it's worth it.


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A group of Canadian tourists apparently had flown in to enjoy Maroon Lake as well....



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On the way back to my campsite, I ran across this unusual vintage trailer, being towed by an equally-vintage pickup truck.


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Old 07-26-2018, 02:03 PM   #5
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I arrived back at my Sunnyside campsite just in time to catch the last rays of sunset.


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Old 07-26-2018, 02:19 PM   #6
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On day 5, I needed to head toward SLC. My chose route took me north through Leadville, then on 131 to Steamboat Springs (a pretty town), then west on US 40. I'd read about some wood carvings at the Craig municipal park, so I stopped to see them. Apparently they'd held a contest about 8 years ago, and some of the wood carving submissions were quite good.


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Unfortunately, time and wear-n-tear (I saw a teen climb to the top of one totem) are taking their toll and some pieces have already deteriorated substantially. This one was my favorite, but as you can see, a chunk has sheared off the front. Note the expressive face, though....


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I'd planned on overnighting in a free CG west of Craig, but it was mid-afternoon and 97 degrees, with a forecast low temp of just 75. I have no A/C in the Hauley. So I pushed on through Vernal UT, and found what I consider the nicest campsite of my entire trip. It was in Ashley NF at Whiterocks NF CG, located on a dead-end dirt road many miles from civilization. Only one other camper was present. There were, however, some cattle just outside the CG, and one cow bellowed incessantly for an hour because her calf had gotten itself on the wrong side of the CG's split rail fence. Eventually the calf found its way back and they all moved off before dark. This was a great place with big shady pine trees. I could smell the pines quite well. A stream could be heard chuckling along nearby. And the dead end road (no cars whatsoever) was a great place for an after-dinner walk. The temperature was perfect for sitting out and watching the evening light disappear over the canyon wall and seeing the stars come out.


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Old 07-26-2018, 02:32 PM   #7
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Day 6 was my day to arrive at SLC. We were treated to dinner and a night at the Hyatt. Thank goodness! I needed a shower! The morning of day 7 (after free breakfast) was taken up by a meeting. Then I grabbed a bite of lunch at BK as I headed out of the metro congestion, and made my way past Moab, to a boondock site on the shoulder of LaSal Mountain.


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I took it easy on day 7, meandering southeast past Cortez CO and finding another pine-shaded campsite at Turning Tree NF CG near Mancos.


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Day 8 was a longer drive, all the way to Eagle Nest Lake State Park, NM.


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And finally, on day 9, 12 hours on the road enabled me to reach home again.
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Old 07-26-2018, 03:00 PM   #8
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Mike,

You took some nice roads to see some of the less traveled parts of CO.

Btw, we will count you as a Reunion "Late Arrival" attendee!!
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Old 07-26-2018, 05:58 PM   #9
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Very nice write up Mike
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:49 PM   #10
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Thank you!
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:44 PM   #11
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Mike McGee, you camped in some beautiful country in Chaffee County and Lake County. I know this since Leadville, CO is my home town. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us!
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:10 AM   #12
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Great trip report! Brought back some good memories... Mike
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:31 AM   #13
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Thanks for the write up. I that a LIL SNOOZY? Pretty cool looking.
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:14 PM   #14
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My Li'l Hauley is an empty Snoozy shell. I did put some cabinets up front so it will take the same size mattress as a Snoozy, and I built some basic shelves along one side. That is about it for the interior, though. Also, only a small window on each side. I wish I'd gotten at least one large window, alas.
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Old 07-31-2018, 10:41 AM   #15
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Thank you, for the great pics and narrative.
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:30 AM   #16
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Mike,


Great report and enjoyed the fine photos!!!
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