The drive to Colorado was interesting. The roads in Kansas were smooth, and you could barely hear the road, which is a stark contrast to the drive in Colorado. You would think Colorado would take some of that tax money from marijuana and fix their roads…nope! As soon as we crossed the state line, the roads became bouncy and full of potholes. They should change their motto to “More potholes than potheads, Visit Colorado!.” All the bouncing caused one of our stabilizers to drop and scrape the road. We had to pull off the highway to assess the damage and to see if we could find a solution. There was no damage, even though it sounded like we ripped one-off. We were not far from the campground we were staying at, so we continued on the surface streets for the remainder of the drive, which wasn’t much better. We stayed in Colorado for four days, so this is a long entry. Buckle up!
Sunday, we had plans to see Kori‘s paternal cousins, but the AC and heat attempted to derail our plans. The temp in the RV started to rise around 10 am and never stopped. The single AC unit in MandDy was struggling to maintain a comfortable temperature. The high for the day was forecasted to be 98 degrees, and it had only risen to 85 degrees outside, so we quickly realized that the AC in the RV was only going to struggle and the inside RV temp would continue to rise above 80 degrees. This resulted in us deciding to get a secondary portable AC unit from the hardware store to assist with the cooling. We decided to name him ACworth. When we returned to MandDy it was 87 degrees inside, so we quickly made a vent for ACworth to exhaust hot air and put him directly to work. To aid in the cooling, we changed the campground site to one with more shade. Satisfied that the changes worked, we were able to leave in the car (aka Rollerskate) with the dogs to have dinner with Rebecca, Hamid, and their daughter Ada.
We are so glad we could make it because dinner was homemade and delicious. The shade of their back patio made for a perfect dinner venue. We continued to monitor the WiFi thermometer to ensure the temperature was cooling down. After dinner, the 5 of us walked down to the main street of their little town and enjoyed some delicious shaved ice at Punch Buggy. The clear weather (minus the Cottonwood pollen blowing like snow) allowed us to stroll, talk and enjoy our shaved ice treats together. When we returned to their home, we enjoyed a little more conversation until it was time to get back in the car and drive back to MandDy and the cats.
Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) requires a timed entry pass which we were able to secure for Monday but we were very fearful that the afternoon heat would overtake the RV once again. We intentionally missed our entrance time because we were verifying that the temperature would plateau and not rise to the 87 degrees the day before. Once we were satisfied with the temperatures, we left for RMNP. We were pleasantly surprised that the gift shop and visitor center were open later than advertised, and we didn’t need an entrance appointment after 3 pm.
We started our adventure at the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station and drove 21 miles up the winding, steadily rising road to the Alpine Visitors Center at 11,796 ft above sea level. Driving next to the cliff and looking out at the other mountains is almost dizzying, and you lose your perspective of distance. It’s like watching a movie because it doesn’t feel real. The perception of distance disappears as the mountains and the sky envelop you. Surrounded by bald, towering giants that are ignoring the passing of time, you wind around the endless roads with a view that is beyond spectacular. It is both figuratively and literally (altitude) breathtaking. As we made our way to the top, the sun was warm but even in mid-June, snow piles persisted and slowly melted in the day, only to refreeze overnight. Once we reached the Alpine Visitors Center, we hiked another 200ft up the path to the top of the Fall River Pass. Looking down at the road we had just driven and the trees that now seem so far away, you can genuinely feel the immensity of this place. It was a pleasant 60 degrees at the top, and I pondered that just below me in the canyon, it was closer to 85 degrees and almost 2 miles down in elevation. In Denver, it was sweltering at 98 degrees. “It’s a dry heat,” they say, but we say, “Hot is Hot.” We arrived back at MandDy to temperatures below 70 degrees and were satisfied with the day’s events.
Tuesday, after I wrote most of this entry and Kori had a couple of meetings, we explored Red Rock Amphitheater and the surrounding area. Red Rock was gorgeous, but our time was cut short as they were recording a live podcast there in the evening, and we had to be out 30 mins after arriving. The Rollerskate was unhappy with the hills and struggled with the heat and the altitude. On our way home, we picked up a few groceries, and Kori found out her favorite burger place had opened a restaurant on our drive back to MandDy. So, of course, we had to stop at In-N-Out Burger. The Double-Doubles were just as expected, delicious! Yes, we had dinner in the fridge waiting to be cooked, but we just had to stop at the first In-N-Out we found, and yes, it was worth it! We arrived back at the RV around 8 pm and decided to use the commercial washers at the campground instead of the portable unit we have in the bathroom. The portable one works great but is slow and only has a spin dry.
Wednesday is a new day, and there is a new destination to visit but before breaking camp Kori was able to secure an entrance time pass to Yosemite, a campsite for next week, and a campsite near Redwoods National Park for the beginning of July. The drive to Rock Springs, WY, is 387 miles away. We chose to stick to surface streets and US Routes on our way out of Colorado because I am not a can of spray paint that needs to be shaken! Hopefully, Wyoming’s roads will put Colorado to shame.