Saturday, June 25, 2016

Vacation Ruins You

Mike and I ran out of coffee the day before in Colorado.  We hastily packed up and bid adieu to our camp friends for a little while.  We scooted to Mexican Hat for breakfast.

Goodbye Valley of the Gods.

We hit the road and made it to southern Arizona by 4PM.  We've cleaned the trailer, have done a million loads of laundry and settled back into the house.  I've already return to work.

While I wasn't as melancholy during our return as I normally am, I still feel like vacation ruins you.  As a friend put it: "It gives you a moment of clarity where you just look out in the distance and ask "WTF am I doing here?"

And with that, I bid you adieu until the next adventure.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

The end may also be the beginning

It was a lazy morning.  Elly and I stayed in bed a few minutes longer.  After all the rain from the previous night, we needed to wait for the awning and tents to dry.

Once on the road, we pushed fast through Colorado and back into Utah.  We went from tall pines and creek water to the surface of the moon.

From the surface of the moon, to the surface of Mars. Even with the heat, we decided to pay a visit to the first camp spot on our trip in Valley of the Gods and stay the night.

Elly and Rommel were dramatic about the heat, but as soon as the sun set behind the monument the shade was nice.  We all took showers in order to drain out the water from the tanks in our respective camp rigs.  With the added benefit of washing off the sweat and dry red dirt.

We set up both my Nikon and his GoPro to take a million shots for time lapse.  It took a few days, but I managed a video of the Nikon shots.

The dogs slept outside most of the night, with the exception of a bad dream Elly suffered and a few hours napping with mama.

The moon rose late in the night, the air barely cooled and only warranted a sheet to sleep.

It was fitting to end our trip where it began.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Beginning of the End: Roadside Creek Camping

We packed up and left Woodland Park for the last time.  As as before, the theme for today was CONSTRUCTION.  Ugh.  We easily wasted an hour stuck in construction traffic.  After making it through, we passed through several quaint towns that warrant a visit next time we have, well, time.

We hit another first on this trip: hail.  As Mike put it, what the hail?! It was loud.

Pete lead today and ducked off into the Rio Grande National Forest.  We easily found a camp spot (free!!) right next to Park Creek.

We set camp up in sporadic rain storms.  But they didn't last and we enjoyed sun before dinner.

Bocce ball was played, walks were taken and the creek offered ample entertainment for Rommel.

After taco soup and biscuits, we lounged before turning in.  It was a long day on the road, and only the start of our journey back home, but at least we managed a fantastic camp spot.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pikes Peak

In reference to the last two days, Mike said "I came to Colorado Springs just to do Pikes Peak".  I am sure is was purely coincidental that we ended up here during the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Mike is a car guy to the core, so we know the PPIHC well.  We paid our fee and started the climb.

We pondered aloud if we would see Aaron Kaufman since we watched his first attempt of the PPIHC on Fast and Loud.  Before we could finish our statement, down comes a F250 hauling a trailer with Aaron's Falcon on it!  And I wasn't fast enough to snap a picture.  

I took a million photos.  Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed every mile of the climb.  The views were incredible, the twists and turns fun and the weather phenomenal.

As usual, I wandered too close to the edge for Mike.

At the top, we wandered around for a bit before we said farewell to our adventure friends for the rest of the day.  We wanted to spend as much time on Pikes Peak as possible.  Mike bought us some homemade donuts (man they were amazing) and we munched on them on the way down.

We hit just about all of the turn offs and view points.  And of course played in the snow with Rommel.

At Devil's Playground (named for the incredible lighting shows that occur there) I separated and explored.  

Find the marmot!!

By the time we got back into the Jeep, rain was obviously moving in but didn't actual hit us until the bottom.

About ⅔ of the way down, there was a stop where an attendant measured the temperature of brakes and would stop those that wore their brakes too hot to continue.  The attendant was very proud of us, praising us for 106* brake temps.  Imagine that, we got a proverbial gold star for having a manual transmission.  HA! 

We hit Colorado Springs and fled westward.  "The curse of cities is that they root people in one location and make them blind". Ogadai Khan

We drove through the rain to Woodland Park where we stopped at the Ute Brewing Company for pulled pork sandwiches and a few frosty beverages for Mike.  After wandering a bit through town, we finally finished our day back at Painted Rocks Campground.  

It rained off an on.  We had a light dinner and finally turned in.

Today was an incredible day.  We had a blast on Pikes Peak and today made the whole trip to Colorado Springs worth it.

PS: While we didn't take video of the drive, here is a super relaxing video of one of my favorite race cars climbing Pikes Peak.

Big Red Pikes Peak Test Day 2016 from Big Red Camaro on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Seven Falls and Frustration

Prior to departing Arizona, Mandy and I found Seven Falls on the internet and it looked beautiful.  We packed up the rigs and headed into Colorado Springs hoping to find a good camp spot after Seven Falls.

We hopped on the complementary shuttle to the falls.  They happily allow dogs and the fee was not astronomical.  But it was humid.  And when the sun was out, forget it.  We climbed the 185 steps to the observation deck in spurts.  Elly and Rommel were toast in the heat and I was a worried mama.

We stayed at the top for a bit and laid them down in the shade.  Mike bought me a fossilized sand dollar, because the way to my heart is rock.

Thankfully there was an elevator so we took that down.  In retrospect we should've taken that up, but bravado got the best of us.  We stayed in the tunnel leading to the elevator to let them cool down even more and it allowed Mike ample time to read about the falls.  We brought 40oz of water and bought another bottle in the park and wiped it all out before we made it down to the bottom.

We did not climb the second set of stairs on the actual falls.  But Mandy and family did, so I'll link over to her photos later on.  Come back for those.

On the way back to the shuttle, we let them cool off in the creek for a bit.  After their first and second shuttle ride, first elevator ride and an exhausting day climbing steps, Elly and Rommel were done.

According to the map, the boys hoped to find a camp spot in Colorado Springs.  A washed out road and asshole drivers frustrated us to a breaking point.  We tucked our tails, and headed back to Woodland Park.

Back to the Painted Rocks campground it was.  Another $20 down.  Oh well.

Tonight we were happy it rained, as it cooled things down.  A hot meal, good conversation and some relaxing commenced before bed.

While it wasn't an ideal day, it was a day well spent.  I'm not going to lie and say "OMG you must see the falls".  I was slightly disappointed only because we've seen some incredible falls (for free) throughout Colorado.  I see this as a must for those that don't really offroad and want easy access to some certified beautiful Colorado scenery.  I don't regret going, only wish we waited until dark to see it while lit up.

Tomorrow is another day, and ripe with adventure!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ugh - It was one of THOSE days

We woke to a chilly but sunny morning and packed up.  Farewell Silverton.  Little did we know, but we should've just stayed.

The theme of the day was construction.  We hit construction three times today, delaying us big time.  We sat here long enough for me to make lunch for us both and for us to leisurely enjoy it.

We spent all day in the Jeep.  ALL DAY.  And it was boring country to drive through.

By the time we hit Woodland Park the sky was ominous.  By the time we realized that the National Forest shown on the map was some mythical and unattainable land it was pouring rain.  Apparently, the government decided that the people do not need access to Pike and San Isabel National Forest.

We were stuck paying $20 (a night) for a campground.  Desperate, we picked spots, set up and tucked away from the rain in our respective camping rigs for the night.