Good bye Cheyenne Mountain! We’re off this morning to “Priest Gulch” in S.W Colorado. The “All mighty and often confused” Goggle maps said it would take 6 1/2 hours, so at 7:30 we are on our way.
Being from Florida I am fascinated by the elevation change here. Our last camp site was 500’ above the 6,000 foot elevation of the surrounding “High planes” and our next camp ground is going to be at 8,300 feet. And on the way we reached elevations of 10,000 feet, going over the San Juan mountain chain. I wonder if it’s possible to get “reverse altitude sickness” when we go back down to zero elevation in Florida?
Our plan was to travel around the western part of the famous “San Juan Loop Scenic Skyway, but to get there we first had to travel through the Royal Gorge. Now I’ve been to a lot of places in the Western U.S., but this was unique. The the terrain went from a bare, almost treeless desert look on the eastern side near Colorado Springs, to a combination of the lush forest of Mount Rainier, the amazing red rock formations of the South western desert areas, the steep gorges and vistas of Glacier and even some alpine meadows like Yosemite! It was stunning! A remarkably beautiful drive. And “Thor”, our bad ass motorhome, drove up and down the dozens of 6 mile long 6% grades like a damned boss; maintianing 65 miles and hour with no overheating of the motor or the brakes. I know what you’re thinking… it was sucking down the gas! And although it’s true that we weren’t getting Prius mileage, we were at least getting 1970’s pick up truck mileage, so not so shabby. (At least I wasn’t towing a car.)
When we pulled into our rv camp (which is well forested, well maintained and beautiful!) we soon discovered a couple of potential problems with our advance vacation planning.
1. The camps address was “Delores, Colorado ”, which has a great old downtown with actual stores, but when we checked in, it turns out that the camp itself was a solid, mountain road 25 miles away from the town or anything else. Because we thought we were going to be “peddling distance” from town, we didn’t stop at a grocery store on the way, and so our 6 1/2 hour drive ended up an even 8 hours because we had to drive to the town and back for supplies.
2. Because of the beautiful yet treacherous driving conditions, our travel times are much longer than we expected from “Messa Verde National Park” and Telluride our planned day trip destinations, as well as the nearest town that we thought we would be getting a rental car from. (This is going to take some changes to our plans!)
But right now, we have a good buzz on, we’re sitting in the cool mountain air, under the awning with the dog next to a fire, listening to it gently rain, while a freshly made homemade chicken pot pie that we bought an hour ago, cooks in the oven.
I can hear John Denver in the background… “Rocky Mountain Pie, in Colorado”