Dillon Travel Blog› entry 60 of 167 › view all entries
Go to bed late, sleep late, leave late, arrive late... ahh, not quite the "early bird gets the worm" philosophy today, but it all worked out well.
It was only a couple of hours drive along I-70 from the State Park in Palisade to Vail. Of course we had to stop in Vail! Parking is free during the summer in both parking lots at each end of town and we chose Ford Park - the kids insisted on walking the half mile into town (bikes would have been great too as there are paths).
We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the river through town, the shops with all their winter fleeces on sale (the girls each got one- they are warm, lightweight, and quick-drying!) and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. We try to make it a point not to miss those since our first one in Durango. Yummy fudge!
I also enjoyed showing the kids the delightful Tivoli Lodge where Ned and I celebrated his birthday in December. The kids are trying to get a winter ski commitment for December 2009, which of course I declined. Ha!
Vail is such a first-rate, beautiful place! I find all the people in the shops to be very nice, as they have foreign exchange programs in place and they're from all over the world.
Then we went up, up, UP Vail Mountain to over 10,600 feet. Okay, we were faster and *actually passed* one truck. AND Ciao Baby made it without stopping or overheating, so 3 cheers for Ciao! (Our campground neighbors tell us that we went over a "pass" and that many mountains cross 14,000 feet. Skip the picture of GPS elevation at 10,600.)
So! We finally found our campground. One *must* be smarter than one's GPS, as Ned says! I had the wrong place (the Ford place- Ciao needs a lugnut tomorrow) in the GPS and sure enough! Ended up right at the Ford place. Of course, it was after hours, but at least I know where to go tomorrow (thanks, Kate!). So we circled the lake on Big Swan Rd (which goes UP too!), and finally made it to our campground.
Colorado has a sad beetle infestation that has killed about half the spruce trees. It would break your heart to look across the beautiful mountains and see how many are now dead! Some of the National Forest Service Camprounds in the area are even closed while they clean out the dead trees.
Our campground, Heater Bay, is delivering free firewood to the sites to clear out the dead trees. Destruction has reigned here. Very sad.
This campground is apparently a Thousand Trails park (membership campground) and is quite full for a Monday. I didn't realize that a National Forest Service campground could team with a private membership group. I guess it is good business for them both. Fulltimers seem to really like Thousand Trails, but we won't use it enough for the expense. Anyway, we'll have to move sites tomorrow, as this site has reservations.
We saw another Lazy Daze when we pulled into the campground and a cheer went up. We plan to go meet them in the morn. Exciting!
The kids rode their bikes around the campground and made a bonfire tonight, barely fitting it in the fire ring. We called Ned, describing to him the view of the snow-capped mountains, the twinkling stars coming out, the light blue sky with darker blue clouds and even darker outline of spruce trees. The air was chilly as we're over 9000 feet here! And the fire was warm. Then it took about as long to put out the fire as it did to make it (long time) and we all came in to a snug RV with the furnace already blowing. The outside temperature now, about 1am (need to get sleep) says 46 F outside!
Tonight I reserved sites at Rocky Mountain National Park for when Ned arrives. I was too slow to get 2 nights at Moraine as it was full for rigs over 21 feet. You snooze, you lose. But I could get one night and I also got one night at Glacier Basin, also in the National Park. It's tricky staying ahead of the timeframe (some require reservation at least 2 days in advance), and I like the flexibility of walk-in, but we missed out at the Arches NP Campground and will be getting in late to Rocky Mountain NP. So now we're all set!
Paula, we saw your question about space in the rig and we all agreed that the size seems just fine for the 4 of us. Sometimes we seem to have too much stuff (you have to move one thing to get to another) and we do need to clean out extras, but with the doors to the wardrobe and bathroom removed, it has really opened up the traffic flow. We're sorry we endured those doors throughout last summer. It would have saved a lot of fussing. Big thanks to my friend, Virginia, for suggesting we remove them! (Brilliant!)
Will try to upload a few pics in the morning.