Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Wrap-Up

The primary reason I wanted to make this summer trip was to go into Rocky Mountain high country for some relief from the east Tennessee summer heat and humidity and as it turned out it was above 90 degrees nearly every day while we were gone.  We ended up spending from Aug 10 through Sep 19 in areas where the temps would occasionally creep above 80 and it was between 45-55 at night and as a bonus the humidity was also low.

On the way to the high country we got to visit with friends in Kansas City and Denver which is always a highlight of our trips.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 65-68 Oklahoma City To Home

From Amarillo, we continued on I-40 to Oklahoma City and I was surprised as I thought the drive would be through a pretty brown county side but if I didn’t know better, I would have believed we were in the non-mountainous areas of east Tennessee.  We past several wind farms along the way but one to the west of Amarillo ran for 34 miles.

Based upon a recommendation from a fellow camper and good reviews, we opted to stay on the NE side of town at Twin Fountains RV Park.  It was a pretty nice park and I can see it being a destination place.  Some of the sites were pretty tight and I never could get the wi-fi to work.  Twin Fountains is an RV Park on it’s way to becoming a resort.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 63-64 Campgrounds and Big Texan

We left Santa Fe on Tuesday starting our trip home but first I’ll discuss Santa Fe Skies RV Park.  We really liked the park and would consider it the high end of the mid range between a campground and a resort.  Here are some shots of the park and our nice site – we liked that we had a patio on both side with the drivers side facing west for sunset watching.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 61-62 – Loretto Chapel

We didn’t do much on Sunday making the decision to wait until Monday for a trolley tour around town rather than fight the weekend crowd.  So we headed down to the Loretto Chapel area only to find that apparently everyone else had done the same thing and the noon and 12:30 tours were sold out but we could buy tickets for the 2pm tour.

Since the Chapel was on my list, we went in for a visit – the engineer in me wanted to see the famous staircase.  As the story goes: when  the chapel was completed in 1878 there was no access to the choir loft 22 feet above the rear of the building and carpenters called to look at the problem concluded that a ladder would be the best solution.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 59-60 – Day Trip South

On Friday we finally went south a few miles for brunch at the San Marcos Café and Feed Store – yep, you read correctly as the business was first a feed store then the café opened.  It recently changed hands and the new owners are committed to maintaining what has worked well for over 30 years. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Day 58 – Day Trip North

After returning from Taos the first time, doing some web research, then visiting the farmers market, Bev decided there were three things she wanted to see – the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, and the Taos Pueblo.

Since I still had the cough and didn’t want to be with other people much and we could see them all in one big loop, we decided it would make for a good day trip.  We began by heading up to Abiquiu (yet another unpronouncable word for me) to visit the lavender farm located down a yellow lined dirt road.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 55-57 – Santa Fe

On Monday we just drove around town a little, making sure we could get to the plaza, and we drove out Canyon Road where many galleries are located – it was a typical narrow road lined with adobe structures.  

After that we drove north to the Santa Fe Opera but it was all closed up so it was back home to relax and have dinner.

On Tuesday, we went to the farmers market, picked up a few things and made sure we knew our way around in preparation for a return on Saturday,  which is supposed to be a zoo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 53-54 – Santa Fe & Taos

The day after a six hour drive and setting up camp, I usually just want to hang around Sweetie and relax and since it was football Saturday, that made it easy.  There weren’t really any games on early that interested me so we drove into Santa Fe to see where the farmers market was located and pick up some groceries.  The campground owner advised that this was Santa Fe Fiesta weekend and the plaza area would be packed so we decided to wait until it was over to visit that area.

On Sunday, the weather forecast was for warm and sunny so we decided it would be a good day to head up into the mountains for  a visit to Taos and the ski valley.  Sometime back in the 90’s we came to Taos for a week of skiing and looked forward to a summertime re-visit and Mexican lunch.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 51-52 – Our Last Day In Buena Vista & Snowy Peaks Review

I began our last day in BV by getting a shot of a patch of Aspens changing color on the mountain across the road from us.  They are supposed to peak next week so we’ll miss them but got to see them in all their glory the last two trips to Colorado.

Friday, September 9, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 49-50 – Leadville & Hair Day

The last time we were in Buena Vista the girls went up (2200’) to Leadville and I did not go so I didn’t want to miss the trip this time, but we started the day on the patio of  the Evergreen Café in Buena Vista for breakfast.

I didn’t get any food shots but everything was very good and at a decent price.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 47-48 – St. Elmo & Salida Winery

Even though it was a holiday weekend, we decided to make the drive up to the ghost town of St Elmo and as expected many others had decided to do the same thing – lots of traffic on the road and little to no parking when we got there.

Rather than do a big write up, I’ll just post a few of our thoughts and comments and refer you to Trekking With The B’s who just made a great post with lots of pics on the same trip we took but without the throngs of people.  These are the white “chalk” cliffs at the base of Mt Princeton followed by a look approaching St Elmo.

Monday, September 5, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 44-46 – Buena Vista

September first was moving day so we packed up and departed Gunnison around 11am and headed east to Buena Vista, located about 85 miles away but just across the Central Sawatch Range from Gunnison – about 60 miles as the crow flies.

The drive was uneventful but crossing Monarch Pass required my undivided attention as the 7 mile upgrade and 10 mile downgrade was on a very curvy 6% grade with very few guardrails.  I put Sweetie in 3rd gear and she made the climb at a respectable 35-40 mph to the 11,312 foot pass. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 33-43 – Mesa Campground

Mesa Campground is located about three miles west of Gunnison on US-50 and we had booked 11 nights so we would have 10 full days in the area.  It bills itself as the nicest campground in the area and has spaces for everything from tents to big rigs.  The trailers in the fourth shot are privately owned.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 42-43 – Lake City & Hartman Rocks

The final thing on my Gunnison to-do list was make a day trip down to Lake City and, based upon our Montrose neighbors recommendations, eat at Southern Vittles – it seemed like a good trip for our next to last day.

The drive down was mostly through the vast western Colorado hilly desert with the lush green of the irrigated valleys.  It’s about 50 miles from the campground with little civilization once you turn off of US-50 and on to CO-149.  The road was in decent shape and while there were no mountains, there were some big hills to cross (mtns. back in TN) and plenty of curves.  We saw several coaches and trailers on the road, but I’d have to want to camp in Lake City really bad to drive Sweetie there.

After a quick tour of town, we drove up to Lake San Cristobal and after taking a few photos we began looking for the dam and were surprised to see the water going over the top.  After researching, I discovered that it is the second largest natural lake in the state having been formed by a rock slide about 700 years ago – so no man made dam was there.  

When I got ready to upload my photos, I discovered my SIM card was still in the computer so no shots to upload – here are a couple of the lake, which is gorgeous, from the web.