Monday, May 9, 2011

Wow! We made it to Colorado Springs!!

What a last couple of days!   We left our beautiful campsite on Sunday morning (via the Honda) to the Great Sand Dunes NP with the thought that we would spend a couple of hours there, having never seen this type of NP before.  It took us 45 minutes to get to the park and since it was so early there was little traffic.  The Great Sand Dunes are amazing if you haven't seen them...we feel like the NP  "poster-oldsters!"  We were blown away (?!) by the formations that the sand makes as it drifts from the huge winds blowing from the west (&SW) as it takes from the river and deposits in front of the mountains.  As we were arriving in the park, we could see folks walking along the upper portion of the dunes, and looking like tiny ants!  

We went through the Visitor's Center  but didn't have enough time to climb the dunes as we would have loved to do.  The US has such interesting and varied terrain!  Back to our Park we were all ready to go and took off in probably 10 minutes.  Off we go to Colorado Springs!  We had a some windy times, but the wind consistently comes from the west here (believe me, we follow the weather religiously!)  and we were going directly east from Alamosa to Walsenburg on 160, so we were good.  There aren't a lot of trees or flags to determine velocity of the wind,  so we thought all was well (albeit we were getting 20 mpg!!!---just kidding!).   We get to Walsenburg and head North on I-25--what a difference!!!!!   OMG!!!

We started out and I have to say it was very scary.  The wind indicators---flags, brush, dust blowing, other vehicles roving into your lane--were very apparent.  We went slowed to about 30 mph on a straight shot and that felt fast.  It felt like we had gone maybe 20 miles, but the mile marker said we had gone 3 miles and we were freaked (well, okay, mostly me) and when I'm scared, I'm very quiet (unless we had the kids with us and then I'm very vocal:  ie: boating and bear issues!!!).  Let me tell you, everything was banging---we had rattling and banging from every point in the moho!!  I was talking to my departed grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. for guidance!  Soon, we had such huge banging on the driver side of the moho that we were freaking...we stopped on the freeway and Jeff got out to check out what was making the noise and didn't find anything, so we continued...again at 30ish mph...when the speed limit is 75 mph!  We were careful to have the hazard lights on  but still we were a hazard ourselves with cars whizzing by at 65+....Soon we had extreme banging that sounded like a sledgehammer banging on our side!  Luckily, there was an exit ahead (an aside:  we were passed by 2 moho's about 2 miles prior and saw the first one at the first exit with their awning flapping in the huge wind---they had unfurled while driving and let's say $1000 in repairs at least, plus what do you do with the awning as you go to the next place??)

So after we were exited we immediately saw the other RV that passed us with  their awning (on the WIND side!!!)  a real problem for them.  We passed them slowly (me  motioning "do you need help?") and decided that we had to stop facing the wind.  We stopped at a great spot under an overpass (tall enough for us, thank goodness!) and talked about our options.  The wind was 50 mph+ and with the kayaks on the car and our pretty  light moho, we couldn't continue 45+ miles to Pueblo as is, guaranteed.  We could go back, we could hunker down there, we could try to find an inbetween spot and wait it out.   We elected to go back, and we were again, very slow.  We made it back to Walsenburg and were rejoicing!  We got in at a State Park which we were really happy with.  We had talked to the Ranger in the mean time and he said if you get out about 6 am you should be fine.  We took that to heart and got to bed early to get that recommended start.  We were gone by 5:45 am and it was calm but okay, picking up.  We soared past the "expect gusty winds" and "high winds"  signs and made it to Colorado  Springs by 7:45 am!  Unfortunately, our RV Park wasn't open.

We decided to go to breakfast to spend the time, and so went into Fountain, CO to eat.  Okay, there were only 3 choices.  We chose the largest.  This is the place where, truly, "everybody knows your name".   The waitress called at least 20 people by their name as they came in or out.  Where can you go where this happens?   There were people that came in that only had water,  and left a tip.  Just to jaw with their friends and the staff....How much better does it get?

Just for balance, we also went out for Mother's Day dinner on Sunday and the only show in town was a Mexican-American place that we ordered our dinners of steak picante and cheese enchiladas.    Good so far, but when Jeff requested tapatio or Tabasco (okay, our hallmark)  and the waitperson said "what's that?''  .... we were pretty worried!....Appropriately.

We ended up with a great spot at the RV Park and Casey Noodle and I took several trips around by the creek, through the wind and back to the RV.  After running errands, doing the usual things at a home, Jeff tried to get in to the moho and found we could not work the door.  This is a problem!!  Luckily, after 15 minutes or so,  he discovered that we just had some loose screws from opening and closing the door with the extreme winds!!

We're  expecting winds tomorrow and then thundershowers and rain/snow...much better!
Thanks to the out of country readers and let us know if you think we should see something in the area?!

Sorry!   We published the picture in the wrong place but don't know how to move it!!!

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