Las Vegas, Lathrup and Home

4 05 2017

Good Morning from Conifer, CO.  We’re home!

Spanish Peaks, Lathrup State Park

After leaving Bottomless Lakes State Park near Roswell, we fought NW winds most of the way across eastern New Mexico to Las Vegas.  The KOA in Las Vegas is just off of I-25, at the intersection with highway 84 which connects with I-40 near Santa Rosa.  The campground is set on the side of a hill among cedar and pinon pine.  There are a handful of long pull-through sites that are very flat.  The majority of the other pull-through sites will require some leveling.  While you’re fairly close to I-25, the noise from the highway isn’t objectionable.  This is a rustic campground – anyone expecting shiny new restrooms, pool or other pubic spaces will be disappointed.  But, for a single overnight, it works fine

From Las Vegas we made the short trip over Raton pass to Lathrup State Park outside of Walsenburg. Roads were dry over the pass, but it was evident that the snow plows has been out during the preceding snow storm that dropped up to 12” on this area.  Even at Lathrup, there were small snow piles in the shady spots.  The Spanish Peaks were stunning with their fresh topping of snow.  With snow showers continuing at home, we opted to spend a 2nd night at Lathrup.

On Thursday we completed the last leg of our 2017 Spring Road Trip, logging nearly 5000 miles and 68 nights at 24 campgrounds and RV parks.  Once again our time spent with good friends was the best- Lost Dutchman State Park near Phoenix, Davis Mountains State Park near Ft. Davis, TX, Big Bend National Park and of course South Padre Island.  But, we’re only home for 7 days before once again hitting the road to return to Lathrup State Park.  More from there…


Las Cruces, NM

15 03 2017

Las Cruces, NM KOA

We’ve arrived in Las Cruces, NM – the second largest city in New Mexico after Albuquerque, followed by Rio Rancho, Santa Fe and Roswell.

We’ve opted to spend our 2 nights at the Las Cruces KOA – PARK MAP.  Located on a bluff west of town, this park overlooks the city and beyond to the Organ Mountains to the east of town.  We’re in site #13, a “View Site” which backs-up to a short rock fence and the amazing views beyond.  These premium sites are $48/night after our Value Kard discount.   Most of the parks sites are large, somewhat reminiscent of one of our favorite RV parks in Taos, with lots of native cactus and plants between sites.   There’s even a small public-use gazebo in the corner, providing extra space between sites #12 and #13.

Las Cruces, NM KOA

All of the facilities are top-notch, including a very clean laundry facility with about 6 commercial top-load washers and 3 or 4 very large commercial front-load dryers.  Washers are $2.00 and dryers are $1.00 for 30 minutes, in quarter increments.  The park offers good WiFi (made better with our WiFi booster) and there’s plenty of cellular coverage too.

If there was any downside, it was the hookups.  All located near the front of the site, the electric was far enough away that we needed to use our extension.  And, the sewer port was slightly above grade, making for a bit of an inconvenience.  But, all in all – a KOA we’d return to.

Eastward across New Mexico

14 03 2017

Lordsburg, NM KOA

With about 450 miles of eastward travel along I-10 in our immediate future, we opt for 3 shorter days across New Mexico with our first stop at Lordsburg, about 2.5 hours from Tucson.  The only RV park in Lordsburg is the KOA.  The typical A-frame building greets you and shows the best potential of this park.  Behind this façade are 7 or 8 rows of pull-through sites laid out on a gravel parking lot.  A few leaf-less trees dot the area and there’s even some grass along the back fence reserved for tent campers.  Pretty much as expected – we’ll spend 1 night here before departing for Las Cruces.

Facilities:  We found virtually no over the air TV, but with a cable connection, we had the major networks, some from Tucson and some from Albuquerque.  The office had a WiFi hotspot, but even with a WiFi booster, the service was unpredictable.  It’d run along at 3Mb one minute and then fails to connect  the next.  Frustrating – but again, mostly as expected.  Cellular phone service was spotty too, with 2G or LTE service – but very little data bandwidth.

We’re off to Las Cruces today – bigger city and better services hopefully – more from there!

Good Morning from Silt, CO!

9 09 2016

wp_20160909_001After a fairly early departure from Vernal, we’ve arrived at this new KOA along the Colorado River by about 1PM.  We’ll have park WiFi and good cellular access here allowing us to get caught up on at least the most critical work.  We last visited this KOA about 2 years ago – with brand new trees, grass and gravel pads, and after an unusual amount of rain the entire park was left a muddy mess.  Deep tire ruts were everywhere, it must have taken the grounds crew some time to fix broken sprinkler heads and fill in the ruts.  Today you’d never know of these growing pains – the trees are healthy, the grass is lush and green, and the back-in sites along the river offer some of the best views of any RV Park.  KOA’s are always a bit pricey, these premium sites are nearly $50 with applicable taxes.  But, the amenities are many, a beautiful pool and spa area, a sparkling clean laundry room, equally clean and tidy showers and a great kids playground.  Sites are long and level and provide a fire pit and picnic table.  And the park provided WiFi isn’t bad, especially in non-peak times.

This is our last stop of the 2016 Olympic Peninsula trip.  We’ve traveled nearly 4000 miles, parked at 18 different RV sites and spent 29 nights on the road.  In all, a great trip, and one with many places we want to return to.  Among those would be the Oregon Coast, Sequim and the Port Angeles/Port Townsend areas and Jordanelle SP near Park City, UT.  We’d also like to spend more time along the Columbia River from Ft. Stevens SP/Astoria eastward.

Another Night, Another KOA

16 08 2016
Wendover, NV, KOA

Wendover, NV, KOA

We’re in Wendover, NV at the KOA Kampground.  While only a couple blocks off of Wendover’s “strip”, and right behind the Red Garter Casino, this park is relatively quiet and convenient.  The gravel sites, many with a small shade tree, are wide and include a picnic table and fire ring.  After arriving, we selected a “downgraded” site with only water and electric for about $66/night.  With 30 over-the-air digital channels, there’s certainly no reason to pay for a cable connection.  And, since we’re only staying 1 night, no need to dump holding tanks.  We’re nearly as close as possible to the office, where the WiFi is slow, but seems fairly stable.  There’s also full bars of 4G T-Mobile coverage.

The office has a small on-site store of mostly RV supplies, clean restrooms and showers.  The pool occupies a nice shady spot at the end of the property, and seems popular with everyone in the 95 degree afternoon heat.  As it turns out, this is a big week at the Bonneville Raceway, and the campground is relatively full.

We’ll continue west on I-80 tomorrow, with a stop in Winnemucca tomorrow night.  More from there…

2 Nights in Rock Springs

15 08 2016
Rock Springs, WY KOA (Site #66)

Rock Springs, WY KOA (Site #66)

Good Morning from Rock Springs, WY.  We’ve just packed up after spending 2 nights at the KOA here in Rocks Springs.  With a super friendly staff, including fresh baked chocolate chip cookies at check-in, this KOA is about what we’d expect in this dry desert of western Wyoming.  There are about 100 “short-term” sites and about another 100 long-term sites to the rear of the property.  The dog run on the east side and tent sites on the west side might be the best part of this campground.  The dog run has beautiful lush green grass for Fido’s enjoyment.  The tent sites are individually enclosed in a cedar privacy fence, include at least 1 shade tree, a grassy tent pad, an electric hookup, a picnic table, BBQ grill and nearby water and parking.

The gravel RV sites are arranged in 5 rows that run from east to west.  The front rows appear to be electric/water only.  We’re in the 3rd row with full hookups including about 30 channels of analog cable TV.  There are a few “super-sites” on the east end of these rows that include privacy fencing, a picnic table and BBQ grill – all for about $65 plus taxes.  Our site #66, also an end site on the far west side of the park,  has a couple of small shade trees and a bit more privacy for about $45/night.  Most of the sites share hookup connections, meaning the layout is staggered door to door.  If the park is full, you might end up sharing a picnic table area (with two tables) with your neighbor.    All of the park is gravel, but even with a mild wind, didn’t seem too dusty.  There are two shower rooms, a laundry room,  exercise room and a pool that is popular with the kids.  There’s also a well stocked store onsite, or a nearby Wal-Mart and K-Mart can satisfy most needs.

Today we’ll continue west on I-80, through Salt Lake City and on to Wendover, Nevada.  While we’re not expecting a lot at yet another KOA, we’re hopeful for nearly $72 it’s a bit better than Rock Springs.  More from Nevada!

The Houseboat Capital of Canada

3 09 2015
Sicamous KOA

Sicamous KOA

We’ve just parked at the Sicamous KOA.  Situated on the Trans-Canadian highway, this is perhaps the nicest KOA we’ve enjoyed.  Set in a grove of huge old cedar and pine trees, the owners have done a great job of carving out very private and cozy RV sites with full hookups.  Complete with a swimming pool, store and cabin rentals, this campground is a bit on the rustic side, exactly how a place in the Canadian Rockies should be.

With over 600 miles of Shuswap Lake shoreline, the small town of Sicamous bills itself as the Houseboat Capital of Canada.  With beautiful tree covered mountains all around, Sicamous is certainly different than the Houseboat Capital of the US, Lake Powell. Shuswap Lake, the name derived from the First Nation people that hunted buffalo here,  is made up of 4 “arms” in roughly the letter “H”.  With over 120 square surface miles, the lake is one of the largest in British Columbia.  As with other large lakes, Shuswap enjoys a lake monster legend, this one affectionately named “Suswaggi”.   As with nearly all other places along Highway 1, we have excellent T-Mobile cell service here, but no over-the-air TV.  There is advertised campground provided WiFi, but we find none at our remote sites.

Tomorrow we’ll continue on Highway 1 to Hope, BC…more from there.