Woods & River RV Park

30 08 2020

Wood & River RV Park, Del Norte, CO

We’re parked at Woods & River RV Park, in Del Norte, and only about 15 miles downstream along the Rio Grande River from South Fork where we camped just 12 days ago.  Sites here are classed as Standard ($35/nt), Meadows ($40/nt) and Riverside.  We’re riverside in site #10, a spacious and well shaded site right on the banks of the river.  These sites offer 50/30/20 amp electric hookups and water taps.  Because of the closeness to the river, these sites do not have septic, but twice weekly pump out service is provided for stays of 5 nights or more at no additional charge.

 

Woods & River RV, Del Norte, CO

Meadow sites are in two rows off the river, also with twice weekly pump-out service.  Standard sites are above, provide full hookups, but are much tighter and much less shade.  The WiFi is non-existent in the lower Meadow or Riverside sites, but both T-Mobile and Verizon hot spots worked well.  Satellite aiming is a challenge in the shaded sites along the river, but we managed to find 2 of 3 satellites.

Woods & River RV, Del Norte, CO

Woods & River RV, Del Norte, CO

These Riverside sites are pull-thoughs, but facing the river.  For rear lounge rigs, it would be best to pull in backward and deal with connections on the “wrong” side.  We liked Woods & River, and will probably return.





Dolores River Campground

24 08 2020

Dolores River Campground, Dolores, CO

Leaving Lightner Creek, it’s a very short trip (less than 1 hour) to Dolores River Campground, just north of Dolores, CO.

We’re parked at site #14, a nicely shaded back-in site on the fishing pond, with the Dolores River beyond.

 

Dolores River Campground, site #14

This is a 50/30/20 amp, full hookup site complete with a concrete pad and picnic table.  Most of the sites along the pond are well shaded, which might make for a bit of a satellite dish aiming “challenge”.  The other challenge here is the lack of cellular service and what appears to be fairly low bandwidth WiFi service. The WiFi worked for casual browsing and email, but we had to head back to town to confidently make phone calls or download any large files.

Dolores River Campground

Dolores River Campground offers about 80 RV sites, both serviced and rustic cabins, a 1953 Vintage Airstream, 2 Yurts, 2 beautiful Conestoga Wagons and several tent sites.  We enjoyed our stay and plan to return soon!

Dolores River Campground, Yurt and Conestoga Wagon

From Dolores we’re back to Ridgway State Park where we last stayed early June.  We’re in site #179, up on the ridge overlooking the Dakota Terraces Campground.  The views are great, but the downside to these ridge sites is that you get some noise from highway 550.  We like our last site (#86) better, and it provide more privacy.

Ridgway State Park, site #179

Ridgway State Park, site #179

From Ridgway we’re bound for a 2 night stay in Del Norte.  More from there…





Lightner Creek Campground

19 08 2020

Lightner Creek Campground, Durango, CO

We’re parked in site #34 at Lightner Creek Campground, just outside of Durango.

SITE MAP

Our site is a “30 Amp Creek Site”, with full hookups.  With friends in #33, there’s plenty of room between and in back of both rigs.  Unfortunately Lightner Creek is dry this time of year, but the tall shade trees along the creek provide welcome shade to the afternoon sun.

Other than the full hookups, these sites are fairly rustic with level gravel/dirt back-in area and a picnic table but no pad or fire ring.  There’s a fair amount of deferred maintenance in the park from crumbling asphalt driveways to untrimmed trees.  But, the park did provide trash pick-up at each site – daily at 11AM sharp!

Lightner Creek Campground, site #34

We are configured “awning-to-awning” with a motor coach in site #35. There’s a semi-private wooden fence between the two sites, but it was as if you were in conversation with your neighbors, and their dogs lunged and barked loudly at the fence anytime we walked outside.

Lightner Creek Campground, site #35

Lightner Creek Campground, site #36, premium patio site

The pool and laundry room were open on an appointment basis, all other public amenities closed, dog park, shower house, office, camp store. The pool was cold – even though they advertise a “heated pool”. They told us they have switched to “solar power” (which seems to mean, we’re no longer heating it), but are doing nothing to retain the heat during the cold overnights.

Lightner Creek Campground

Lightner Creek is a nice location, but at a bit over $60/night, we don’t rate this campground as a good value.  Next time we’d probably check out other parks in the Durango area.





Mueller SP and South Fork Campground

15 08 2020

Mueller State Park, site #35

We’re parked in site #35 along Conifer Ridge in Mueller State Park – one of our favorite State Parks.  We last visited Mueller nearly 1 year ago to the date.  Colorado Springs is less than an hour away, making camping reservations (especially with a group) a real challenge.

With friends in sites #30, #31 and #33, we’ve established a convenient group space along the mid-way point of Conifer Ridge.  We like #35, it has a fairly level entry area, plenty of shaded space to the rear and offers a threaded water spigot across the road for any extra water needs.  All though, site #34 is also very nice, with an awesome view towards Pikes Peak.

All sites along Conifer Ridge are electric (30A) only, with the water spigots scattered throughout the campgrounds and at the dump station.  There are vault toilets in each of the 7 main camping areas, plus a large camper service building with hot showers and a laundry room.  There is no apparent WiFi provided by the park, but up here along Conifer Ridge the T-Mobile signal is strong, and provides streaming quality hot spot access.

Mueller State Park, site #34

Mueller State Park, site #34

On Saturday, we visited Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, located only about 12 miles further west near Florissant, CO.  These fossil beds are the petrified remains of nearly 1700 species of insects and plants including huge sequoias that grew here around 35 million years ago on a warm, temperate, wet environment.  Volcanic activity formed the perfect preservation environment for these specimens including the remaining huge sequoia trunks.

Florissant Fossel Beds – The “Big Stump”, 38 feet in circumference!

Florissant Fossel Beds – Giant Sequoia

After 5 nights at Mueller, we’re headed west to South Fork, CO.  We were last in this area in July when we stayed just 10 miles further west outside of Creede.  We’re in site #26 at the South Fork Campground, along the banks of the Rio Grande in a quiet grove of cottonwood trees.  There are about 50 sites here, many are carved out between trees along the perimeter and the central pull-throughs that we’re in. Best sites here would be the back-ins from 8-16 and most any of the riverside sites.  The park offers a small store, propane refills, a dump station, several single tent sites and a group tent area. WiFi is strong, and the free service provided streamable speeds while we were here.

South Fork Campground

South Fork Campground, River Site

South Fork Campground, Site #11

South Fork Campground, Site #26

From South Fork we’ll continue west, over Wolf Creek Pass to Lightner Creek Campground outside of Durango.  More from there…





Devil’s Tower

28 07 2020

Belle Fourche, SD – Geographical Center of the Nation

After departing Deadwood, we’ve made a brief stop in Belle Fourche, SD to see the “Geographic Center of the Nation” monument.  While not quite the center (the actual point is on private property), the city of Belle Fourche has created a beautiful park for the carved granite monument and gift shop.

 

Belle Fourche, SD – Geographical Center of the US

 

Belle Fourche, SD – Geographical Center of the US

From Belle Fourche, it’s just a little over an hour along the scenic route of highway 34 (24 in Wyoming) to Devil’s Tower. We’re staying at the Devil’s Tower/Black Hills KOA.  This KOA is literally at the entrance to the National Monument, and provides a stunning view of the towering monolith.  With over 100 sites, this KOA has something for everyone. We’re parked in sites 162-164, 50A/water back-in sites with good shade on the edge of a central park area.  Beyond with no shade are large 50A full-hookup pull-through sites.  On the west side are some very nice premium back-in “view” sites.  On the north side of the property, along a gentle bend of the Belle Fourche river are beautiful tent sites, KOA Kabins and even 5 teepees.

Within the complex is a camp store for everything from RV supplies to beer, a gift shop for t’s and Indian crafts, a (closed) pool, nightly hayrides and a nightly presentation of Close Encounters of the Third Kind which was filmed in the campground and at other locations around Devil’s Tower.  Besides exploring the Tower Monument, some of our group visited the small town of Hulett and the slightly larger town of Sundance.

From Devil’s Tower we’re headed home with stops at the Douglas KOA, the Wellington KOA and Chatfield Lake State Park near Denver.  We were last at the Douglas KOA in 2017 for the solar eclipse. We’ve never stayed at the Wellington KOA before.  It’s a nice park off of I-25 just north of Ft. Collins that works great for a quick overnight.  However, during our stay it suffered from a strong manure (horses or cows or both) smell and lots and lots of pesky flies.  We doubt that we’d use this park again, the Ft. Collins/Lakeside KOA Holiday is much nicer.

Chatfield Lake State Park, site #36

Chatfield Lake State Park, site #34

At Chatfield we’re parked in site #34.  It’s a nice end site on the center A loop with lots of trees and privacy.  We’d stay here again, or at site #36 which offers a bit more late-day shade and just as much privacy.  This is our last stop on the Cheyenne Frontier Days and South Dakota trip.  We’re at home for a week before once again heading out – more from Mueller State Park!





Cheyenne Frontier Days & the Black Hills

24 07 2020

Crazy Horse Memorial, Crazy Horse, SD

We learned in late May that the 124th presentation of Cheyenne Frontier Days had been cancelled due to Covid concerns.

Still wanting see friends and support the owners of AB Camping, we’ve kept our original arrival dates, but cut our stay short and added a South Dakota loop to explore the Black Hills.  Our cancelled concerts of Thomas Rhett and Blake Shelton have already been rescheduled for 2021, which is already know as the 125th anniversary.

After a couple of nights at Boyd Lake State Park to visit family, we’ve arrived at AB Camping in Cheyenne.  We’re parked in the South section, center row, site S10, with friends in S11, S12, S19 & S20.  While certainly different than past years, we enjoy the relaxing times and a fun evening at the Accomplice Brewery at the historic Cheyenne Train Station.

Departing Cheyenne, we’ve spent 2 nights at Glendo State Park, a favorite and this year, in electric sites TM46, TM47 & TM48.  While these sites aren’t as visually appealing as the cliff-side sites, it’s sure nice to have A/C as temps push up close to 100 each afternoon.

Whistler Gulch RV, Deadwood, SD

After our relaxing time at Glendo State Park, we’ve arrived at Whistler Gulch RV Park in Deadwood, SD.  This 100+ site is tight, but affords a unique location just on the outskirts of town.  Built up a long gulch, the park offers a (closed) swimming pool, a long row of tiered pull-throughs along with some back-ins where the gulch widens a bit. Along a narrow dead-end road to the front of the park are 10 of the best view sites.  It’s about a 20 minute walk into town but the regular trolley service stops at the office and is only $1 for each trip in or out of town.

Whistler Gulch RV, Deadwood, SD

 

We’re in Deadwood to explore more of the Black Hills after being here at a family reunion about 15 years ago. We’ll see the typical sites of Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial plus make the beautiful drive along the Needles Highway in Custer State Park.  We’ll wander through the “old western” town of Deadwood and check out the beautiful painted buffalo statues in Custer. And, we’ll be entertained by a boisterous “pro-Trumper” at the RV park in Deadwood!  After Deadwood, we’re headed to Devil’s Tower, WY.  More from there…





Cottonwood Cove Guest Ranch

2 07 2020

Wagon Wheel Gap Station from wikipedia.org

Welcome to Wagon Wheel Gap, Colorado!

Located along the upper Rio Grande River about half way between South Fork and Creede, we’re parked at Cottonwood Cove Guest Ranch and RV Park. Cottonwood Cove provides a comfortable oasis of 27 guest cabins and 21 RV spots along this gentle curve of the Rio Grande.  During “normal” times, an onsite restaurant and gift shop are available.  Currently only the pizza parlor and ice cream shop is open.

Google aerial view of Cottonwood Cove Guest Ranch

 

Cottonwood Cove Guest Ranch

Driving north towards Lake City, the summit of Spring Pass and the continental divide are at 11,000 feet. Here the headwaters of the Rio Grande eventually flow nearly 1900 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.  And, just beyond are the headwaters for the Lake Fork of the Gunnision River, which joins the Colorado River on it’s 1400 mile journey to the Gulf of California & the Sea of Cortez.

Continuing north you reach the higher Slumgullion Summit at 11,500′.  The north side of Slumgullion has the steepest grade of any continuously paved road in Colorado – 9%!  Named for the Slumgullion earthflow, a gigantic landslide whose yellowish soil reminded early miners of slumgullion stew.  This slide was so large and cataclysmic that it blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River and created Lake San Cristobal, Colorado’s second largest natural lake.

Slumgullion Slip

Lake San Cristobal

Along the way, beautiful North Clear Creek Falls make the dramatic 100 foot drop over a volcanic ash cliff that was deposited during an eruption about 27 million years ago!  The new observation platform, paved parking and restrooms make this an easy, must-see when visiting the area.

North Clear Creek Falls

We enjoyed the South Fork/Creede area and will be returning to South Fork in mid-August.  But, before that trip, we’re headed to Cheyenne for the now-cancelled 124th Cheyenne Frontier Days.  More from Cheyenne…

 





Island Acres & Ridgway State Parks

28 05 2020

Island Acres site #12

Island Acres is located in the narrow De Beque Canyon just east of Palisade, with railroad tracks on one side and busy I-70 on the other.  Sounds great huh?  Well, even with this “location” problem, we’ve spent time in this beautiful park at least 4 times.  De Beque Canyon was formed by the Colorado River and all of the sites are within easy walking distance of the river. RV facilities include 80 sites, both Full Hookup and Electric only.  All sites are 30Amp except 61-63 and 79 & 50 which are 50Amp.  There’s a swimming beach, stocked fishing lakes and a guest services building with showers and a laundromat.  All campsites provide a fire ring, a picnic table (some covered) and a grill.

In the past we’ve tended to select low-number sites, along the river and as far as possible from I-70.  This weekend we’re in site #12, an interior back-in site.  Friends are in site #16 and #20.  Site #12 has a nice shade tree to the east – however, after being parked under this tree for 4 days, we understand how messy a honey locust can be – dripping sap and lots of fallen branches make for extra clean-up work on the top of the slides and in the outdoor mats and chairs.

Ridgway, Elk Ridge, Site 86

From Island Acres, we’re headed to Ridgway State Park, only about 2 hours away, and just south of Montrose.  We think Ridgway is one of Colorado’s most beautiful State Parks.  There are 3 campgrounds along the Uncompahgre River and Ridgway Reservoir, Dakota Terraces with sites 1-79, Elk Ridge with 80-187 and Pa-Co-Chu-Puk with 200-280.  We’re parked in site #86 in Elk Ridge.  The back-in site provides 30A electric along with a paved walkway to a gravel tent pad and a large shady area with a picnic table and fire ring. Ridgway’s website, updated in May 2020: “A cell tower in the park permits most carriers to have good reception in the park. There is NO T-Mobile reception.”  The Verizon hot spot worked well and they are right, absolutely no T-Mobile service.

Ridgway, Elk Ridge, Site 86

After Ridgway, we’ll make one more stop at the new Cool Sunshine RV Park in Alamosa.  Located just behind the main train station in Alamosa, this park provides a great location for short walks exploring downtown Alamosa.   After 9 nights traveling through south western Colorado, we’ll make the quick trip over La Veta pass and back home.  It’s been a great “first of season” trip. In 3 weeks we’ll return through Alamosa for a trip to Creede, CO.  More from there…

Cool Sunshine RV, Alamosa, CO





Blue Mesa Recreation Ranch

27 05 2020

Blue Mesa Recreation Ranch

After Alamosa we’re headed to Blue Mesa Recreation Ranch, a private membership only campground nestled in a canyon overlooking Blue Mesa reservoir, the largest empound on the Gunnison River. With over 250 sites, PARK MAP this campground offers a bit of everything:  Cottages, Cabins, Tent sites, Premier sites, a playground offering shuffleboard, horseshoes, mini-golf a fishing pond and even a tranquil adults only area with a pool and hot tub.  Internal roadways are paved, with wide graveled sites.  Sites offer a cement slab with a picnic table and surrounding sage brush to provide a bit of privacy.

Blue Mesa Recreation Ranch

We’re parked in site 374, high along the northern edge of the ranch with great views over the lower sites and beyond to Blue Mesa.  Nearly all sites are very long back-in’s, with all utilities at the rear.  This configuration makes good sense from a construction standpoint, but generally takes extra lengths of all connectors.  Running along this same utility corridor, WiFi access points are mounted on posts above every 10th site or so. With both excellent signal and speed this WiFi network had no problem handling an IP phone and Roku streaming TV.  This is a nice resort, we’ll be back!

Blue Mesa Recreation Ranch

Blue Mesa Recreation Ranch





Alamosa KOA

26 05 2020

Island Acres, James M Robb – Colorado River State Park

With friends returning from a month on the Oregon coast, others that are picking up their trailer from winter storage in SW Utah, and a few more “locals”, the Grand Mesa area of western Colorado looks like an ideal meeting point.  We’re bound for Island Acres, a section of the James M Robb – Colorado River State Park.

Enroute to Grand Junction and on a fairly quick overnight, we caught up with friend that are now the owners of the KOA in Alamosa, CO.  We last visited this park in 2015 on our way to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.  Just a few miles east of Alamosa, the park offers nearly 270 degree views of beautiful Colorado mountain peaks. With nearby Blanca Peak on the southern stretch of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east and north, and the rugged San Juan Mountains to the west – the views are spectacular!  Especially from the parks premium end sites.  We’re parked at #24, centered in the park, complete with a fire ring and picnic table and even a couple of shade trees.  The full hook-up sites offer conveniently placed water, sewer portal and electrical.  The free WiFi runs along just fine even for Roku TV streaming!  An in-progress expansion include 14 new sites including 5 patio sites.  Things look great Les & Deb, thanks for hosting us for a quick overnight!