More Mountain Views

Since picking up our new van in Colorado, we’ve been on the road back to New England. To read about the beginning of our journey, check out Maiden Voyage and Whirlwind Visits and Mountain Views.

After leaving Rocky Mountain National Park, we stayed overnight in the parking lot of a small pottery shop in Loveland, CO. The next day we drove from Colorado, through Wyoming and Nebraska, all the way to Hot Springs, South Dakota. The mountains gave way to flat land stretching all around us for miles. The crosswinds tried to shove us off the road a few times, but we prevailed. Dixie Chicks’ Wide Open Spaces played in my head. I may have sung a line or two. 😉 Grazing cows and baby calves dotted acres and acres along the highway. Life Is A Highway by Rascal Flats joined my internal playlist, followed closely by Woody Guthrie’s This Land, when we saw what could only be described as a “ribbon of highway” in front of us.

We set up camp in Hot Springs, at the first of many KOAs. By “set up camp” I mean we replenished our water supply, did laundry, and figured out how to open our awning. Right before it started raining.

The rain would stick around all the next day. We started at The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD, in the morning. It’s the site of an actual archaeological dig uncovering piles of Woolly and Columbian Mammoth bones. Fascinating!

It continued to rain as we drove north to Custer State Park through the Black Hills of South Dakota. From Custer State Park, we took highway 16A up around steep curves, hairpin turns, switchbacks, pigtails, and tunnels to Mount Rushmore. Not a drive I’m eager to repeat. Eeek!

Mount Rushmore was impressive, even in the drizzling rain.

That night we stayed in another KOA in Rapid City, South Dakota. Another adventurous day on the road. And more to come…

Maiden Voyage and Whirlwind Visits

My husband, Mark, and I flew to Denver last week to pick up our newly converted Sprinter van from Titan Vans in Boulder, CO. I was immediately reminded of the day we drove our firstborn baby home from the hospital thirty five years ago. As we pulled away from the curb way back then, my first thought was They’re just letting us leave?!

It took several minutes to figure out how to put the new van in drive, so the mild panic was justified. Neither of us have ever driven a Mercedes, so it’s a bit like learning to maneuver a spaceship. We’re also complete camping novices, so we’re very much out of our element. Other than that, we’re good.

Using our Harvest Hosts membership, we headed for Lawson’s Adventure Park in Dumont, CO, to spend the night camping in their parking lot. Dinner at Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub in Idaho Springs hit the spot. Mark enjoyed their Juicy Blood Orange double IPA. He also picked up an assorted six-pack of the Juicy, the regular Blood Orange IPA, and their Sour Peach.

The first night in our van is a story we may laugh about someday. I’ll save the details ’til then. The next day, we took ourselves straight to the Mercedes dealership for the inside scoop on hidden compartments and useful information.

We spent the rest of that day visiting family in the Denver area. It was so great to meet up with cousins who’d moved across the country when we were young.

First, cousin Michael and his girls explored the van.
The girls were celebrating their last day of school, so we had a quick visit.
We stopped at cousin Donna’s house, then headed to cousin Barbara’s for dinner.

My Uncle Donald and Valois graciously invited us to spend the night at their house. We appreciated the warm bed, the hot showers, and their generous hospitality.

The following day, on the recommendation of my cousins, we drove to Red Rocks Amphitheatre. What a fascinating place!

Thanks, Mary & Ruth!

After Red Rocks, we set out for Thornton, CO, to visit some friends. Mary and Ruth used to sing in the same chorus I belong to. It was great to see them and catch up. They took us out for Mexican food and invited us to stay overnight. Another opportunity for a warm bed and hot showers. Score!

That’s all for now. So many more adventures and so little time to stop and write…

Gratitude Spiral: Day 239

Today, I’m grateful for small adventures.

I roped my husband into riding around town the other night, trying to find a clear spot to view the passing comet, Neowise. We found a spot and saw the comet using binoculars. It was low in the sky, very light, a faint smudge, really. But we saw it. And the best part was that we had a mini-adventure together. Isn’t that always the best part? 🙂

What are you grateful for today?