Thursday, May 4, 2023

How We Spent Our Winter Vacation

October 19, 2022 to May 4, 2023 – South Chief Mountain BLM CG, Caliente, NV

How we spent our winter

We began this series of travel segments running from snow and now on May 4, 2023 at South Chief Mtn BLM Campground, we find ourselves right back in it. The difference though is back then we were worried about being trapped in snow for weeks, and now we’ll just wait a couple of days and it will be all warm and sunshiney again.


We have proclaimed this 2023 adventure to be about finding a place we would like to spend summers. Maybe not a place where we just go and sit for the summer, but a summer base from which to explore.

While we are not having trouble finding camping spots, there have been places we would like to stay but we get shut out by the “weekend” campers. We are finding that we like to stay places longer, one week or perhaps even two, but that’s a no go because of “weekend” campers. It’s great if you only want to stay somewhere Sunday through Thursday. But weekends? Forget about it!

So we’ve been reading about some RVers that are buying unimproved properties around the country  just so they will have a place to land if competition for campsites gets worse. That’s something to consider as we search for a summer base. Maybe a half dozen folks or so could form an exchange program, swapping stays at properties they own. Hmmm, just a thought.

Obligatory cat picture follows:


Friday, October 21, 2022

If It’s Wednesday, It Must Be Mosca

October 19 to October 21, 2022 – San Luis State Wildlife Area, Mosca, CO

Palisades to San Luis SWA

As we have said before this is another one of our favorite campgrounds. It is basically free, with the exception of a $10 per person annual pass. And, this is a really big AND, it has free 50 amp hookups. There is no water at the campground. The water system broke down years ago and after it went from being a State Park to a State Wildlife Area, it was never repaired. There is a dump station, but no water to flush with. The nearest water source is the Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is about 30 minutes away.

Last time we were here we couldn’t get our favorite spot because it was already occupied, so we choose a double site next to the camp host. Guess what? This is now our new favorite spot and we were able to get it again this time.

We made several observations this time around. When we were last here 3 weeks ago, there were half a dozen rigs that were here that are still here. But there is a 14 day stay limit, how can that be? Another observation is that it is mainly older people that stay here, not young families with screaming kids. (Yay!) That means the campground is very quiet. (Double Yay!)

I asked one of the folks that seemed to be here well past the 14 day limit about the rules. The response I got was the camp host is cool, just move to a different spot every 14 days and one one will hassle you. Hmmm. We will have to remember that next time.

Since both Verizon and AT&T cell and data service is very good here, we decided to get busy with planning. After all, that was one of the main reasons for coming back here. And dang it, we discovered the weather was going to deteriorate significantly over the next five days. Snow, freezing temps and wind. So that certainly lit the fire under us to come up with a plan.

The other thing looming over us was we had to get our mid-term ballots from our mail service so we could vote! No way were we going to sit on our fannies and let the other side win. We had to get to a Post Office somewhere warmer that would accept General Delivery. It’s a common misconception that all Post Offices accept General Delivery. You have to call or go by the Post Office of your choice to find out if they accept it at that location and to find out how they want it addressed. Sometimes you even have to fill out a form before they will accept General Delivery. One Post Office we found wouldn’t accept it unless you had a PO Box with them. What? If I have a PO Box what do I need General Delivery for? So, as you can see, it’s a process.

But, the weather was going to be great for the next couple of days, so we become tourists. We didn’t make it to Great Sand Dunes NP last time we were here because the road connecting to NP with our campground was under construction. This time it’s open. So we mosey on over to see the dunes,


and go for a hike.


We also went to Zapata Falls Campground, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Everything I read said the road to it was horrible, you needed a 4-wheel drive and high clearance vehicle. Apparently the information I was reading was very old. The road is paved all the way from Colorado 150 to the campground. This is a no reservation, first come first serve campground, that has 2 or 3 spots that Miss Mosey would fit into and the views to the west are amazing. We will be back.

Well, the weather is going to be getting nasty, so it is time to head south.

Obligatory cat picture follows:

Cat on a cold tin roof

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Peaceful Palisades Paradise

October 6 to October 19, 2022 – Palisades NFCG, South Fork, CO

South Fork to PalisadesAfter enduring a week of screaming children hell, we escaped to a small Forest Service campground that happened to still be open this late in the season. Most Forest Service campgrounds in Colorado close in early September just because. No real reason, just because. During September and most of October the weather is often quite pleasant. But alas, these dates are carved in stone, and must not be altered.

That’s why it is such a pleasure to find one that is still open. This one is an older campground as most of the sites are quite small. There are few sites suitable for big rigs. At this time of year the water is shut off and there are no other amenities. Just the way we like it. And there is this one site, a primo site, that just happened to be open. So we snagged it. This site is well away from the rest of the campground and is so quiet you can actually hear the Rio Grande River happily gurgling and splashing as it makes it way over the rocks on its southward journey to the Gulf of Mexico.

After we got set up we just had to snap a picture out the window. This is the Rio Grande right next to us.

River View

And another view to show our isolated spot. No screaming kids, Yay!

No 1 spot

The only drawbacks to Palisades is that there is no cell or internet service. But you know what? We did just fine for 13 days without it, well excepting forays to the brewery to pay bills and the visitor center to plan our next move. I generally check blogs I follow and the news first thing in the morning. But here, I catch up on magazine reading and just enjoy the view. And yes, it is a little chilly early in the AM.

Frank Reading

One of the things I did was to cut and chop lots of firewood for the evening fires.

Frank and ChainsawFrank and Axe

And we get to enjoy the fruits of my labors. I did my best to keep the bear box full of firewood.

EJ CampfireFnEJ Fire

EJ got caught up on assembling puzzles.

Halloween Puzzle

But lest you think it was all fun and games, tragedy did strike! Miss Mosey’s fresh water pump failed. This happened several times on our previous motorhome and we learned a lesson. We had a spare! Two actually. For without a working water system, life in Miss Mosey suddenly isn’t so carefree anymore. No water for the icemaker, no ice for the adult beverages, things could get ugly real fast!

So, out with the old,

Bad Pump

and in with the new.

Good Pump

Occasionally we do have fits of responsibility and must do adult things. Like EJ paying bills while simultaneously enjoying a brew at Three Barrell Brewing in Del Norte, CO. My job was to keep her company.

EJ Bill Pay

Back at Miss Mosey, we attempt to plan our next move using the road atlas, but apparently someone is having none of that. She likes it right where we are..

Gabby Map

She would be happy to sit and stare for hours. Here she is daring a ground squirrel to come closer. The squirrel (chipmunk, whatever) is sitting on the stump to the left. It was smart enough to not accept the challenge.

Gabby and Chipmonk

We also continued our quest to see all the yellow aspen we could. This involved EJ pointing me up various sketchy roads so we could get real close to the yellow.

EJ Aspen100


More Aspen

As a bonus, we even got to see some wildlife.

Pal Deer

Towards the end of our stay it started to get a little colder and we decided it would be a good idea to get a little lower and get back to somewhere with cell service and electricity so we could more easily keep warm and plan our next more. So back we go to San Luis SWA in Mosca, CO. But before we leave, one last look from our perfect campsite.

Last Look at Paradise

Obligatory cat picture follows:

It's early



Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Yep, They’re Yellow!

September 29 to October 5, 2022 – Aspen Ridge RV Park, South Fork, CO

Lest our last blog left the opinion that our South Fork adventure was a bust, it wasn’t so. While the Aspen Ridge RV Children Fun Park hinted at a bit of the Lord of the Flies, our time away from there was filled with exploration and fun.

As we mentioned before, the purpose of this leg was to catch the changing of the Aspen leaves. We had a secret spot to which we returned to seek out the Aspen transformation. Here, EJ is absorbing her first up close view of the colors.


The drive through the woods was quite full of yellow.


EJ collected some leaves to show the various stages of the leaves.


Everywhere we looked it was yellow.


We also indulged in our favorite hobby, geocaching. Although, I must admit, hiking to a cache at 11,000 plus feet is breath taking in several ways, gasp, wheeze.


And of course a picture of the intrepid explorer wondering how far it is back to the car.


EJ telling me she found the cache. Apparently I was looking in the wrong place.


This was a nice sized container, an old ammo can in fact. Lot’s of times these things are the size of a pill bottle or smaller.


Sometimes I get a wild hair and want to go explore places we haven’t been. EJ is generally willing to put up with these excursions because they end up with awesome views.


Obligatory cat picture follows.




Tuesday, October 4, 2022

You can’t go back again!

September 29 to October 5, 2022 – Aspen Ridge RV Park, South Fork, CO

Mosca to South Fork

Warning and disclaimer: I am a grouchy old coot, a title I wear proudly. (You have been warned)

You know how you have idyllic memories of places you once visited and you would like to go back and and live that experience all over again?

Nearing the end of our stay at San Luis SWA Campground we were refocusing on the reason for this leg of the trip, “To see the Aspen leaves change color”. The choices were to go North, West or South from here. North from here was too peoplely (I made that word up) with Leadville, Buena Vista  and lots of popular boondocking spots. South from here is primarily high desert and less opportunity to see the Aspen leaves. So the only direction left is West. in the direction of South Fork, Colorado. We had been to South Fork three years ago and remembered that there were lots of Aspen trees higher in the mountains on the back roads. We wanted to relive that experience.

During our former visit we had stayed at Aspen Ridge RV Park. It was at the very end of the normal camping season so the Park was almost empty. We had a spot on the back row tucked away in a corner where it was nice and quiet. (Did I mention we really don’t like commercial campgrounds but they serve a purpose when you need to dump, fill and wash clothes?)

So this time as we arrive we notice the entrance is nicely adorned with Halloween decorations. We check in and the owner is very friendly and talkative. During our talk she reveals that they are hosting a Fulltimer Families Rally and they are expecting 100 kids. Oh boy! That sets all kinds of alarms in my head! But she goes on to say they won’t be showing up until the end of October just in time for Halloween. Well, heh, we should be long gone by then.

What she failed to mention was that families attending the rally would be trickling in well before the end of October.

So she assigns us a spot, the same spot we had last time, and we walk over to look at it. It’s a nice spot, good view, but it’s right next to the area where they are setting up more Halloween paraphernalia for the kids to play with. Uh, no! We request another site away from the children. Oh, the children are supervised they say. We still request another site.

So they put us in a row where we are the only RV. Ah, this is great. Room to spread out. Then a pack of kids walks by. Not having any children ourselves, there is a lot we don’t know about them. One thing we learned as the pack scurried by is that girls apparently love to engage in contests to determine which girl has the loudest, screechiest, most penetrating scream. A contest which is immediately disputed by the loser and the challenge begins again. Thus ends our first day at the Park.

The next day is a full day of exploration for us, seeking the perfect photo opportunities for yellow leafed Aspens. 20220930_130455

Upon our return to the Park we discover the owners, whether through evil intention or just downright apathy, place a RV right next us in this empty, but for us, row. An RV filled with three hyper energetic boys and one girl who, you could tell, really didn’t want to be sharing an RV with three icky boys. This girl is apparently like honey to the other boys buzzing around the Park. So now the pack decides future congregations will take place next to our RV. The screeching contests continue.

Every day we leave the RV Park and return to find even more RVs with children have arrived. Other older RVers are giving up and beginning their exodus to escape the noise and shenanigans. The pack grows to a herd. We are still keeping an eye out for that adult supervision that is supposed to be taking place. I suspect the adult’s are hiding as are we.

So, sadly we realized our ideal revisit was unobtainable. It’s true, you can never go back again.We managed to last for 6 days before we abandoned Aspen Ridge RV Park and headed for the wilderness.

Ahhh. Peace and quiet. No more screeching contests.Just a cat constantly wanting to go out and explore. That’s more my speed.


I know Gabby is in the above scene but the obligatory cat picture follows.




Friday, September 23, 2022

Purple Anniversary

9-23-2022 – San Luis SWA Campground, Mosca, CO 

Mosca, CO

EJ and I were discussing that we had been RVing a good part of the time since 2010, when we bought our second motorhome, “Big Guy”, a 34 foot Winnebago Itasca Meridian Diesel Pusher. “Big Guy” was named thusly since he was almost twice as long as our previous RV, a 19 foot Class B Roadtrek named “Roadie”.

Just for fun we decided to tally up the amount of time we have actually lived in our Motorhomes since we really started RVing in 2010.

RV Living

The numbers show that we have lived in our RVs 65% of the time over that 11 year period.Wow! That’s enlightening. So for 11 years we have been paying property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, HOA fees and who knows what else for something we only live in 35% of the time. But that is a thread for another time.

As those of you who follow this blog, you already know we spent a good deal of time in 2019 and 2020 taking care of my Dad and handling his estate after he passed away. That convinced us of two major things. 1), live life to the fullest while you can. 2), we all have a bunch of stuff that we don’t need.

So in 2021 we spent the year getting the townhome ready to sell and getting rid of everything we absolutely did not need. It was not an easy task as the things you hang onto have emotional meaning and memories. But we finally got it done.

So as we were discussing our RV lives we decided we needed to define the moment we became full timers. To us, fulltime means you are living in your RV, sleeping there and eating there. So we needed a milestone to identify when that happened. We decided it was September 23, 2021.

Why that particular day you ask? Well it involved a wrestling match. Our opponent emulated a 160 pound slab of Jell-O that was so wide in 2 dimensions that there was no way for us to grab it. It was so limp, there was no way to pick it up. It would just there like a puddle of pudding if you tried to lift a corner or a side. It was so heavy we could not carry it even if it had cooperated with us.

We finally decided the best way handle this beast was to hog tie it. This thing was 6 foot 8 inches by 5 foot by 1 foot. So we wrestled and grunted and sat on it and finally got it rolled up and tied up only to discover it would not fit through the 28 inch wide doorway in the RV.

Cursing our opponent, we took a break to consider a new strategy. There are only the two of us. And neither of us was particularly strong and at our ages, the likelihood of us getting any stronger real soon was remote. So, we were going to have to man up and tough it out. Our bodies will pay the bill tomorrow. While our opponent was trussed up, we drug it from the house to the door of the RV. (On a moving pad of course as we wanted to leave no evidence of the struggle).

Once at the door, we untied the varmint and tried to get it to stand up. Imagine if you will, trying to stand a cooked spaghetti noodle on it’s end. It doesn’t work. And similarly our opponent was incapable of supporting itself in anything but a horizontal position. We were going to have to be lifting this thing if we needed it in an upright position. Which, of course, is necessary to get it through the RV door. Oh, and to add to the challenge, the floor of the RV is 3 feet above ground level. So not only do we have to wrestle our adversary through the door, we have to lift it 3 feet in the process, and lest I forget to mention, go around a 90 degree corner. I’m about plumb wore out just reliving the experience.

So we grunted, we pushed, we swore, we lifted, we cursed, we pulled, we sweated, we said foul things about the ancestors of our adversary but in the end we persevered and somehow managed to get this 160 pound slab of Purple Jell-O into the RV and onto the bed platform in the bedroom.

This item, this thing, this adversary that almost did us in, is the most comfortable mattress we have ever slept on. It is the Purple 2 queen size foam mattress with a 2 honeycomb layer on top that supports you in ways you never thought possible. For this reason we fought this battle and knew we had to succeed at all costs. Our muscles and joints would be delivering their opinions the next day.

We had moved the Purple into the motorhome in preparation for a trip to Kansas to meet family and scatter my parents ashes. We swore, this being the second time we moved the Purple into the RV, that we would never move that mattress again.

The townhome now being bedless made easy the decision that from this date forward we would be sleeping in Miss Mosey. Thus, September 23, 2021, became the first day of our full timing lives.

Obligatory cat picture follows:

Gabby Asleep




Saturday, September 3, 2022

Well, That Was Disappointing!

September 3, 2022 – Lonsdale, AR

StudDuck Trip


You all know my preference for nano-breweries. While staying in Hot Springs, AR I thought I had found one that checked all the boxes. It was small, check. It was out in the middle of nowhere, check. It had a small, but interesting, variety of beers, check. It looked like the perfect example of what I seek.

The StudDuck brewery is about 10 miles outside of Hot Springs, AR. As we drove there on a Saturday afternoon, the day was almost perfect. Sunny, a little but not unbearably so, and we were with new friends, Johnny and Tina Roush. As we neared the brewery the last turn off the paved road took us down a single lane tree covered gravel road. This fit the dream, the image I had of a small brewer tending his hobby out of his spare room or garage.

StudDuck Road

Upon arriving at the parking lot there were four other cars. OK, this is a good sign. It means other beer lovers are here so it can’t be too bad.

The premises consisted of three 40 foot metal shipping containers arranged in a u-shape.. They housed the brewing equipment, a seating area, storage and a big opening cut in one of them to create a stage for visiting bands.


StudDuck normally offers 7 selections. They were out of two of them. Does this mean they were so good they couldn’t brew them fast enough? Thus encouraged, we ordered a flight of four that had interesting descriptions. There was a Hefe, one with 3 spices, a nut brown ale, and another I don’t remember. As it turns out the owners were excellent wordsmiths. The descriptions they created for each beer almost made your mouth water.But there wasn’t even one beer I would order again.


So my hopes of finding the perfect nano-brewery in the woods were shattered. Instead I got beer that tasted slightly off, even a little musty, with definite leanings towards being of the sour family that none of our group liked.

But I have to applaud the brewer and his wife. They are pursuing their dream. We wish them well and hope they find customers who appreciate what they’ve brewed. They welcomed us with open arms, told great stories and had lots of friendly dogs (always a plus). They just didn’t have any beer I liked. But the worst part was that I drug EJ and our friends along for this little misadventure. My apologies.

Obligatory cat picture follows.