My first couple days back in the US, I’m sick. This doesn’t come as a surprise, it’s pretty common to catch a cold in an airport. But the timing leads me to believe that I probably caught this particular bug in one of the hostels in Costa Rica before flying. Either way, my first weekend back is pretty low key. I hang out at my boondocking spot near Flagstaff, AZ and sleep a lot. When I venture outside, I look like I’m prepared for a blizzard. Don’t laugh too hard, I’ve been living in 90 degree weather without A/C and 60 feels very cold relatively speaking!
But by June 1st, I’m over my cold and ready to meet up with some of my RVing friends. I depart from Flagstaff in the morning and take 160 into Colorado. I end up at a boondocking spot east of Durango, CO that night in an oil drilling area. A herd of deer come by my camp spot after sunset and I watch them through my window in the fading light.
The next day, it’s east from Durango towards Pagosa Springs.
While I’ve taken 160 as far as Durango before, this is my first time seeing what lies farther east on it. The Pagosa Springs area is beautiful… but the mountains between there and South Fork are incredible.
When I first hit the road, I did a lot of planning on travel days. I was new to trailer towing, was less sure of my driving abilities and knew less of what to expect. As I gained more confidence I planned less knowing I’d be able to successfully wing it. And now that I have the an even smaller trailer, winging it becomes easier because my truck is so overpowered for towing it that there are few situations that can actually cause me trouble. (Which is certainly not the case for everyone, so don’t take this as advice – do what works for you and your rig!)
As it turns out, there’s a pretty considerable mountain pass between those two towns.
160 climbs up and up, past the snow line. And then keeps going up. This would cause a lot of RVers anxiety, but not with my setup. Bertha has no problems towing Tribble up to Wolf Creek Pass at 10,856 feet. She also has no problems coming down the other side, with plenty of breaking power for a trailer this light. I later learn that Wolf Creek Pass is one of the last passes in Colorado to clear of snow. I can believe it, there was a lot up there.
I join up with some of my Xscapers friends at a boondocking area outside of Del Norte.
For newer followers, Xscapers is an lifestyle group of Escapees RV Club that is targeted to the active RVer. I’ve been a member since Xscapers came into being in 2015, and have made a lot of connections with other younger, working-aged full-timers through them. It’s nice catching up with nomadic friends, we pick up right where we left off in January when I saw these people at the Annual Bash down in Arizona. There are evening walks:
Trips to the brewery in town:
And a hike up in the mountains.
All in all I spend almost two weeks here, mostly catching up on stuff I put on the back burner while down in Costa Rica. The most memorable part of my stay here had to be the snakes though. I never saw one myself, but several people in camp saw rattle snakes on several different days. We conclude that maybe there was a nest around. Otherwise, it was a pretty neat boondocking spot, very open with ample solar power and lots of little trails around to explore.
The night of June 15th, I visit my first Harvest Hosts site.
Harvest Hosts is a membership website where businesses (often wineries, farms, etc.) will let RVers stay overnight on their property, and in exchange the RVer is expected to buy something the host makes. I know a lot of RVers who love Harvest Hosts and say it’s more than worth the annual fee, but as I prefer to camp on public land and travel as frugally as possible, it’s not my cup of tea. But one of the Xscapers who was with the group of us at Del Norte has a membership and he found a brewery that is willing to let our whole group spend the night.
So I find myself at The Colorado Farm Brewery near Alamosa on a Saturday night. It’s a neat little place and we manage to cram 11 rigs into their parking lot. The brewery is more than happy to have our group though, we spend a fair amount of money that night. I rarely drink alcohol, but their craft sodas are very good and the bbq food truck is decent. In the below photo taken by drone, you can see all our rigs, the brewery in the lower right, and I’m in my green jacket standing with Marshall, Jesse, and Peter in front of the food truck waiting for my bbq. Despite being chilly with periodic sprinkles, it’s a fun night!
The next morning, our rolling caravan heads for the mountains west of Salida.
Serendipity brought me here before, my first year boondocking when Bertha had her one and only (knock on wood) breakdown, leaving me stranded up in Leadville over Labor Day Weekend in 2016. I didn’t have a vehicle for three weeks and a kind couple towed my Casita down to the Xscapers convergence that was happening here in Salida, when I should have been already working at Amazon. I was out a couple weeks of pay that holiday season, but getting to see Colorado during autumn was beautiful.
This time of year, the Aspen trees are wearing green and the rain and higher than usual snowfall last winter means that everything is GREEN. Some might complain about being stuck inside on rain days, but I’m happy because maybe it means the fire season won’t be as bad later this summer. The west could use a break after worse than usual fire seasons the past couple years.
During the week and a half I’m here, there are trips into Salida for food and beverages, off-roading trips that are more often than not truncated by snowdrifts, and a pretty epic tiki themed birthday party.
More and more Xscapers arrive in the area for this year’s Salida convergence that is starting near the end of the month. If you’ve never been to one, Xscapers Convergences are a pretty awesome experience, but this time I have somewhere else to be. Destination? The first Hiker Trailer rally, and from there to Yellowstone!
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