Departing the Grand Canyon

4 06 2017

Goulding’s RV Park, Monument Valley, UT

Without a lot of campground options outside of the Grand Canyon, our first night on the way home will be back at Monument Valley, Goulding’s RV Park.  We’ve parked in site #34 for our quick overnight stay.  This is an end site, lots of room for the picnic table and fire pit.

From Monument Valley we headed directly north to Moab.  We’re going to check out Portal RV in Moab, with both short term rental sites and lots that can be purchased.  Located just north of town, the park is set back from highway 191 about a 1000 feet and still east of the river by about a mile.  The rental sites occupy the first 46 sites on the north side.  These sites are gravel and include a concrete pad and picnic table.  There are also grills on some of the sites, but no fire rings.  The 36 “resort” sites are  to the south with concrete parking areas and pads and extensive landscaping.  In the first row of 12 resort sites (#M13-M24), 5 or 6 of these owners have added 2 and 3 story homes next to their RV parking space.  These homes are quite impressive, but leave RV’s parked deep into a site with a 3 story adobe wall as their “view”.  These home sites obviously are not built for living in the RV – you live in the house and simply park the RV nearby.

With afternoon temperatures pushing into the 100’s, and no shade near our parking spots, we opt to check out the swimming pond.  Surrounded by big cottonwood trees all around, the water is a nice cool-down, but not quite as luxurious as the pool on the resort side. If you’re looking to be near the town of Moab, this is a nice park.  Otherwise, we’d opt for a space on Dead Horse Point or even at one of the parks further out of town.

From Moab we’re headed back to a favorite overnight stop, Rifle Gap State Park.  More from there…

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

7 10 2015
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

We’re enroute to Albuquerque for the world famous Balloon Fiesta!  Our first stop is at the Alamosa KOA.  Fairly typical for a KOA, our $37 buys us a fairly flat, gravel space with electric & water – and in this particular site, a bit of a privacy break with a tree and some sage brush on our slide-side.  Facilities appear to work well, the nearby bathroom is clean but the shower house has a bit of a locker room smell – not particularly inviting.

Our second stop is to a familiar RV park, Santa Fe Skies.  We first visited Santa Fe Skies in the truck camper back in 2010.  Our “thumbs up” impressions sticks – this is a nice park, on the outskirts of Santa Fe, with great facilities.  Our $50 here (we’re close enough to Albuquerque to feel the effects of Balloon Fiesta pricing) gets us a fairly long pull-through site (Aster #7), very tight with a huge coach to our curb site and fortunately no neighbors on our slide-site. The site had electric, water and sewer.  Normal rates at this Good Sam park run about $35/night.

Santa Fe Skies RV Park

Santa Fe Skies RV Park

Arriving at Balloon Fiesta on Thursday morning for the 2nd weekend, we find the Premium and Standard RV spaces very full.  With 5 rigs in our group, it’s not immediately clear that we’ll even be able to park near each other.  But, “Bob”, the friendly and more than accommodating organizer finds us a perfect spot in the last row of the standard (dry camping) area.   With new, more stringent fire regulations being enforced, we’re unable to build the previously planned compound with our trailers encircling an open social space.  But, after a bit of finagling of a couple of the trailers, we’ve built an acceptable space that will accommodate all 12 of us.

Our past few trips to Fiesta have brought some fairly miserable weather conditions and plenty of event cancellations. This year’s final weekend is a beautiful example of why Fiesta is held in Albuquerque in early October.  With cool, clear morning skies and afternoon temps in the 80’s, we’re treated to Special Shapes and Mass Ascensions every morning of our visit.  Only 2 Balloon Glows  end up being cancelled due to winds.   On Saturday, the Music Fest kicked off with performances by Two Way Crossing, Gloriana and The Band Perry.  Splurging on “Premier Seating” for $50/seat, we enjoyed an enclosed seating area, a nearby bar and easy access to a huge line of porta potties.  Well worth the extra $’s – especially on an afternoon when the temps were pushing into the low 80’s.  After the concerts we hang around the Fiesta grounds, grabbing some dinner from the Midway and watching one of the largest Balloon Glows in Fiesta history.

On Sunday morning, after viewing the Farewell Mass Ascension from the RV lot, we are making preparations for watching the Denver Broncos at the Oakland Raiders.  With lots of awnings, towel and blankets we manage to make a shady spot for all 12 of us to crowd around a much-too-small TV screen.  After a tight game, but Denver finally squeaking by, we begin to wrap up Balloon Fiesta 2015, bidding good night and good bye to those that have early plane flights and therefore will be departing the Fiesta RV lot way before sunrise.  It’s been a great 44th Annual Fiesta – with good times had by all.

As it typical, we’ll stop on the way home – this time at another favorite southern Colorado State Park – Lathrup.  Impressions of Lathrup are here:  LATHRUP STATE PARK.  This may well be our last trip of the 2015 RV season.  After winterizing and storing the camper away for the winter – we’ll be back on the road next spring as we hit the road to escape the end of the winter weather…more then.

Hecla Junction – AHRA

26 09 2015
The new Truck

Hecla Junction, Tent Camping

Good Morning from Hecla Junction, a small primitive Colorado State Park along the Arkansas River in central Colorado. PARK MAP  For river rafters, we’re just beyond the infamous Brown’s Canyon.  With just 22 sites, this is a tiny campground by most standards.  The only facilities or services at Hecla are clean vault toilets, and beautiful canyon and river views – there aren’t even trash dumpsters provided.  We, along with friends, are in sites #2, #3, & #4 – premium, spacious back-in sites, all with great views to the river and with large tent pads and picnic table/fire ring areas. Sites beyond #7 would be difficult for most trailers or 5th wheels due to a short turning area at the bottom of the loop.  However, site 17-22 would be good alternates to riverside sites.

In a unique situation, we’re tent camping this weekend.  After acquiring a new pickup last week, we haven’t had time to install hitch rails yet. This is our 3rd time at Hecla this season, so it’s obvious we enjoy it.  It’s close to home, without any major highway or train noise, has beautiful dark skies at night and (so far) appears to be off the beaten trail of many RV’ers.  We’ll be back next season!

Taos Valley RV Park

19 09 2015
Taos Valley RV Park

Taos Valley RV Park

We’re parked in sites #56 & #57, just next door to those we had in 2012 when we last visited Taos Valley RV Park.  We enjoy this park a lot – with heavy sage brush a a few small trees, it feels very private in these “awning-to-awning” sites.  These are partial hook-up sites, with electric and water.  We think the full hookup sites #87-92 would be worth trying.  Situated at the back of the property, they look across an open field and also provide “awning-to-awning” configurations.  PARK MAP

Taos Valley RV Park offers a good mix of sites, from shady, no-services tent sites to large pull-through full hookup sites.  There’s also a small convenience store, an RV dump station and clean restroom/shower facilities.  It is also very close to downtown Taos and some great looking restaurants – a few within walking distance.

There is also the Rio Grande Gorge – with nearby Taos Mesa Brewery that we’d like to visit again.  We’d also like to explore nearby Chama including the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad that runs from Chama to Antonito.  And, for spa relaxing, there’s always nearby Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa – which provides RV parking also.

Having delayed our departure from Denver until Thursday, we’re only here Friday and Saturday nights.  On Saturday we bicycle into downtown to visit the Farmers Market in the main square, shop in the some of the rather touristy shops and enjoyed lunch at The Alley Cantina.   The Alley Cantina presents good New Mexico food and looks like a great place to enjoy a happy hour or even a sports evening.

Tomorrow we’ll pack up and make the 6 hour drive home.  Contrary to our “normal” travel pattern of about 3 hours per day, we’ll plan to go all the home since we’re still having trouble with the pick-up.  Our next outing is to Hecla Junction next weekend…more from there.

Lathrup State Park

18 09 2015

WP_20150918_008Good Morning from Southern Colorado.  After a delayed departure, we’ve enjoyed a quick stop at Lathrup State Park enroute to Taos, NM.  Arriving late, and without a reservation, we selected A Loop #32, a perfectly level site, with electricity, a near-by water tap and lots of privacy.  The view to the Spanish Peaks to the south is awesome.   This site is a departure from our normal sites up on the D loop, but we found it offers over-the-air TV (16 digital channels) and good T-Mobile broadband connection.  We’ll be back to this site!

I snapped a picture of the shower coin slot as a comparison to recent prices for campground showers in Canada, a whopping $3 for 6 minutes compared to Colorado State Parks rate of 75 cents. Quite a bargain!

Oh Canada – the 2015 Roadtrip

26 08 2015
Peter D's RV Park

Peter D’s RV Park

We’re headed north!

We’re currently parked at Peter D’s RV Park in Sheridan, WY after spending a quick overnight in our favorite site at Glendo State Park last night.  Today we’ll be joined by friends and family for the short trek up to Billing, MT.  From Billings we’ll head directly north toward the Canadian Border, crossing at Morgan/Monchy, the 12th LEAST used border crossing between the US and Canada.  Enroute, we’ll spend one night at Malta, MT.

This is our first time at Peter D’s RV Park .  It’s a fairly basic park on the outskirts of Sheridan, just off of Interstate 90 at the 5th Street exit.  With about 50 sites, all are long pull-throughs that seem a bit narrow.  We have to relocate the neighbors picnic table to get our slide out, and our awning is only inches from the opposite neighbor’s slide.  Each site has nicely arranged hookups including great water pressure at the tap, a well located TV cable connector and easy to access dump connector.  In the central area of the loop is a shared vegetable garden and ultra-clean restrooms and laundry room.  The laundry facility has 4 or 5 washers and dryers, each $2 (quarters only, no change machine) per load.  Beyond the laundry room there are 5 centrally located pull-through sites which appear to be a bit wider than the rest.  The daily rate of $37.50 includes about 10 cable channels, and limited WiFi (it connected, but no internet access) plus 50, 30 amp service, water and sewer.  A $5 fee was accessed for a “late departure”, allowing you to extend your stay from 11AM until 2PM.

More from Montana!

Warrior Dash and Peak One Camping

15 08 2015

Good Morning from the shores of Lake Dillon!

We’re parked in sites #19, 21 and 23 at Peak One, a federal campground just east of Frisco, Colorado. We’ve camped at Peak One numerous times where we always enjoy the bike paths around the lake and into downtown Frisco. This weekend we’re here to cheer on friends that will be running the Warrior Dash at Copper Mountain.

Before leaving for home on Sunday we check out a few of the recently vacated sites. Sites #55 and #56 offer great lake views from a fairly private overlook area.  And, Site #15 would be a great individual site.