Fall at Circle the Wagons

26 10 2018

Circle the Wagons, La Veta, CO

It’s been 6 weeks since we arrived back at Circle the Wagons in La Veta and this week was the official closing-for-winter.  Since returning we’ve watched the grove of cottonwood trees turn golden hues of fall before a early frost on October 14th brought all the brown leaves to the ground.  Today, with only 2 campers in the park, things are quiet and peaceful, and almost a bit lonely.  The crunch of leaves underfoot and the nearly constant visits by wandering deer tell us that summer is drawing to a close.  So far we’ve experienced mild temperatures – other than the bitter cold that moved through quickly last weekend, our highs are in the 60’s and lows are in the 40’s.  So far, so good for RVing in fall/winter.

During our time back to southern Colorado we took a short “sun/beach” break to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  We moved the camper out to the Navajo Ranch property on Friday the 5th, just before the La Veta Oktoberfest celebration kicked off.  Then we spent the weekend in Denver before flying to Cabo on Wednesday.  Facilities at the ME Cabo resort were nice, the hotel had good beachfront access and beautiful pools.  We also visited the Grand Solmar Land’s End property – we’d like to stay here if we come back to Cabo.  Returning to pick up the trailer on Monday the 15th, we were relieved to find all systems in good shape after the plunge in temperatures to what was apparently around 15 degrees.

Cabo San Lucas, MX

We’re awaiting final water hookups and septic repair (they nicked the sewer pipe drilling one of the RV port piers) before moving back to Navajo Ranch.  More from there…

Northern New Mexico, Ojo Caliente

15 09 2018

Ojo Caliente, RV sites #6 & 7

Departing from Santa Fe on Friday, we arrive at Ojo Caliente, a unique spa resort located about 50 north of Santa Fe.  The Ojo Caliente Spa boasts a unique combination of four different sulfur-free mineral springs in one location: Lithia, Iron, Soda and Arsenic.  Add to that their full spa services, hotel accommodations, an on-site restaurant and a small RV park for a relaxing weekend in northern New Mexico.

We last visited the RV park in 2012: “We’re in Hot Water” .  A few of the original sites have been upgraded to 50A electric service and new shower house added.  They are also working on what appear to be several vintage trailers that are being set-up for rentals.  We’re parked in sites #6/7, two electric/water only, “pull-in” sites.  Originally expecting pull-through sites, these sites are probably best for motor coaches that can indeed pull-in toward the trees at the end of the site.  For trailers, these sites are probably best for back-in, with hookups then on the wrong side.  With trees to the east, these sites provide morning shade, but full sun during the afternoon and evening.  Afternoon shade can be found on the other side in sites #18 & #19.  Site #17 is also a uniquely private pull through site nearest the river.

On Saturday we purchased the $32 “Water Pass” which provides access to all of the facilities including the Public Mineral Pools, Mud Pool, Steam Room and Sauna.  The Mineral Pools include the Lithia spring, the Iron spring and the Soda spring.  We enjoyed relaxing by the big pool, covering ourselves with mud and then baking in the hot sun and taking dips in the Arsenic pool.  On Sunday we’re headed back to Circle the Wagons for another couple of weeks…more from there…

Ojo Caliente Spa, Mud Pool

Ojo Caliente Spa, Lithia Spring

Ojo Caliente Spa, Iron Spring

Ojo Caliente Spa, Accommodations

Northern New Mexico, Santa Fe

12 09 2018

Trailer Ranch RV Resort, Santa Fe

Our next stop on our Northern New Mexico “loop” is in Santa Fe where we’re parked in sites T-6 & T-7 at Trailer Ranch RV Resort.  These are two back-in, full hookup sites located against the eastern wall.  Unlike some Texas RV resorts where you park on the gravel/grass, here you park on the cement slab and have a gravel patio area.  There’s also a shady grass strip that runs behind all of the trailers that makes for good shady relaxation during the heat of the day.  The water and electrical connections are on either side of this strip, so some rigs will require extra hose or electrical to reach these connections.  The RV Resort is located on south Cerrillos Road, about 6 miles from the central plaza.  Public transport, with a stop right outside the Resort, takes about 20 minutes to make the trip to the central bus station about 2 blocks from the plaza.  While the Resort is convenient to everything downtown, the traffic noise along Cerrillos Road is notable.  But, for access to the many dining options between the RV park and downtown, we’d probably stay here again.  Behind the Trailer Ranch is a large 50+ mobile home park with a few RV spaces.  Availability of these spaces would reduce the traffic noise considerably.

On Wednesday we decided to visit the “Margarita Trail”,  a unique tourism Santa Fe concept dedicated to highlighting some of the best hotels, restaurants and drinking establishments in the city.  With over 30 participating bars and restaurants, it’s easy to find someplace nearly anywhere around Santa Fe. And, of course, there’s an app for that!  We started our “trail” at the lobby lounge at La Fonda, one of the oldest hotels in the city.  After purchasing our passports (for $3) which are stamped at each location, we ordered up their Don Rael Margareta.

La Fonda Hotel, Bell Tower

Finishing our first stamping, we moved to the Bell Tower at La Fonda for their Bell Ringer Margarita.  From here we visited the rooftop bar, Bar Alto,  at the Drury Plaza hotel for their signature Sangre de Cristo Sunset Margarita.  We finished our tour at the Coyote Rooftop Cantina enjoying their Norteno Margarita along with several wonderful appetizers and a great view over Santa Fe. On Thursday, having our fill of Margarita’s, we hopped on the city bus to The Railyard, a newly renovated historic area of art galleries, restaurants and a world class Farmers Market.  We enjoyed the outdoor patio and a few brews at the Second Street Brewery at the Railyard.  The Railyard  also provides the northern terminus of the Albuquerque to Santa Fe Rail Runner commuter rail service.  Next, we’re off for Ojo Caliente…more from there.

Rail Runner at the Railyard, Santa Fe

Northern New Mexico, Taos

9 09 2018

Today we’re off on a 7 night loop of some our favorite cities in Northern New Mexico.

First stop is at Taos.  We’re parked in sites #43/44 at Taos Valley RV Park, a park that we first visited in September, 2015.  We’re in these sites reversed from normal access to provide awning to awning space between our two RV’s.  These sites work well for this, with a large shade tree in the center with a small grass patch and picnic table below.  These are electric/water sites only so with a power cord extension and extra water hose, the reversed entry is easy to accomplish. On Monday while in the central plaza area we enjoyed lunch at The Gorge Bar and Grill followed by a cold beer at Eske’s Brew Pub and Eatery.

Eske’s Pub & Brewery

On Tuesday we’re off for Santa Fe, more from there…

Back to Hecla Junction

23 08 2018


Our cruise to Norway was the maiden voyage of the new Azamara Persuit.  In a very unique celebration at the port of Haugesund, Norway the Pursuit met her “big” sister, the Azamara Journey.

Azamara Sister’s Meet

After returning from London, we’ve spent 7 nights at Circle the Wagons in La Veta before a long weekend at Hecla Junction, one of our favorite campsites in the Arkansas River valley.  Located just a few miles north of Salida, Hecla is one of the put-in/pull-out sites when rafting the Arkansas.

Hecla Junction, Arkansas Headwaters State Park

It’s been 2 years since we were last at Hecla, and it’s great to be back!  We’re in Site #4, a riverside site, a large back-in, with a lower firepit, picnic table and tent area.  There are no facilities at Hecla except pit toilets – no water, no electric, not even any trash service.  And, no internet access.  A very weak Verizon signal finds it’s way back into the river canyon, but not enough for much but short text messages.

On Friday we spent a few hours catching up on email and phone calls while parked under the shade of the trees in the Buena Vista city park with good T-Mobile coverage.  On Saturday we returned to Buena Vista to visit a favorite, Eddyline Brewery for a few excellent beers and lunch.

After Hecla, we’re back to Circle the Wagons through Labor Day weekend before embarking on a week long circuit of Northern New Mexico starting at Taos.  More from there…

Hecla Junction, Arkansas Headwaters State Park

Hecla Junction, Arkansas Headwaters State Park


Cheyenne Frontier Days, 2018

20 07 2018

Welcome to Cheyenne and the 122nd edition of the “Daddy of ‘em All”, Cheyenne Frontier Days.  Just as last year, we’re parked at AB Camping for the full 10 day run of CFD.  We’ll attend 5 concerts this year, starting with Cole Swindell on Saturday night, followed by The Charlie Daniel’s Band, Eric Church, Toby Keith and Dierks Bentley to wrap things up on the following Saturday.  We’re also hoping to see the Air Force Thunderbirds that were rained out last year, attend a Pancake Breakfast, eat some carnival food on the mid-way, drink a cold beer (or two) at the Buckin’ A Saloon and see more of Cheyenne and surrounding areas.  We are also looking forward to a VIP Chuckwagon experience where we’ll enjoy an authentic chuckwagon style dinner.

Cheyenne Frontier Nights

5 Days of Concerts

Air Force Thunderbirds

Air Force Thunderbirds

On Tuesday we decided to check out Curt Gowdy State Park about 25 miles west of Cheyenne.  About 7 different camping areas are set around Granite Springs Reservoir.  Many of the entrances and exits into the camping areas are steep and narrow – and not all of the sites will accommodate much more than a tent.  Pick your site carefully!  Continuing west to I-80, we stopped at Vedauwoo Campground in the Medicine Bow National Forest.  28 sites set among pine trees and rock outcroppings make for some attractive spots.  Several non-operational water taps and vault toilets are about all provided in this primitive area.  But, it’s close to I-80 and would easily provide a nice overnight spot on the way across southern Wyoming.

Vedauwoo Campground, site #9

Vedauwoo Campground

Vedauwoo Campground, site #2

After Cheyenne, we’re off to Chatfield for a quick overnight, then back to Walsenburg to drop the trailer off before a flight to London.  More after our return from London and a Norwegian Fjords cruise aboard the Azamara Pursuit…

On to Northern Colorado

19 07 2018

After departing 2 nights early from La Veta due to the Spring Fire, we spent those nights at the KOA in Colorado City.  This is a nice park, with lots of amenities-  pool, hot tub, snack bar, mini golf, a nice community pavilion, a dog park and more.  During check in we were told that since we were 30 minutes early we’d have to pay an early check-in fee of $10.  We opted to just stay parked in their driveway for 30 minutes.  However, we were blocking traffic for other check-ins and they waived the fee and showed us to our site.  Of course all of the “great staff” reviews for this KOA drift away when you’re asked to pay $10 extra – for a site that is already available!  Seems like poor way to start off a client relationship.

Colorado City / South Pueblo KOA

The sites in our row were tight.  The neighbors sewer port was nearly under our street-side slide.  It appeared that some of these narrow sites had been created by adding a second power and water connection to existing utilities and doubling up in a back-to-back configuration.  But, there are some nice sites – our recommendation – pick carefully.  And, the facilities are in good shape and the WiFi adequate for email and web browsing. Overall, not a bad experience, but it started off a bit rocky!

Colorado City / South Pueblo KOA

From Colorado City/Pueblo we spent two nights at Chatfield State Park before moving to Boyd Lake State Park near Loveland for the July 4th weekend. Sites at both State Parks are spacious with full hookups at Chatfield and electric with shared water at Boyd Lake.  Both are urban parks, with Chatfield just south of Denver and Boyd Lake just east of Loveland.  As expected, all facilities were packed for the mid-week holiday.

Boyd Lake, Site #7 (in backward)

After leaving Boyd we spent a week in site #143 at Riverview RV Park on the west side of Loveland, just at the entrance to the Big Thompson canyon. Set in a large grove of cottonwood trees and on the edge of the Big Thompson river, the park offers some beautiful back-in sites at the river’s edge.  Other parts of the park offer an interesting mix of overnight RV, long term RVs, rental cabins and a few tiny homes.  This is one of the only parks in Colorado that welcomes tiny homes.  Even with a lot of deferred maintenance, this park is quiet, provides the necessary amenities including streamable WiFi.  Some of the best river sites include: 24, 35, 155, 160 – pick your site carefully!

From Loveland we made the relatively short trip up to Ft. Collins returning to the Lakeside KOA for 5 nights.  Just as on our last visit, we’re parked in a back-in site on the east side of the park. Spacious, quiet and clean!  This KOA has undoubtedly one of the largest and nicest laundry rooms we’ve ever used.  And, all the amenities that you’d expect of a KOA Holiday, mini golf, bumper boats, paddle boats, an inflatable slide and bouncy pillow and more.  On the downside, we noted several sites that need trees trimmed.  Our picnic table was warped and peeling red paint.  The WiFi, provided by TengoInternet, is unusable.  But our T-Mobile Hot Spot worked fine.

Next up, our favorite RV park in Cheyenne, AB Camping for Frontier Days. More from there…