A Travellerspoint blog

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Camping in Colorado

Footnote From The Future

I can't believe I didn't write anything in my journal about the fantastic campsite we found in Colorado! I must have been preoccupied over those 3 days after leaving Yellowstone and before arriving in Boulder. I’ve got some great photos though, and will fill in the blanks from what I remember.

Just south of Yellowstone is Grand Teton National Park. We walked along Jackson Lake, with the Grand Teton mountains on the other side. Very beautiful. Then spent the night in Smoot, Wyoming.

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Now it was time for Violet to start driving east, heading back to Georgia. My plan was to continue westward, but this trip was all about being open to what comes up, with no deadlines, so I said I’d travel with her for awhile longer.

We drove down into Colorado, and in the town of Craig we treated ourselves to a night in a motel! A real bed, shower, and TV!

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The next stop was Steamboat Springs. Someone told us that the hot springs there were all turned into fancy pools surrounded by resorts. But they told us about one that had been left alone and had just a few rough campsites by it. Now, in 2014, I don’t remember the name of the place. Looking at my marks in my atlas, all I have to go on is the yellow highlighted route and a star for where I stopped at night. But sitting here thinking about it I remembered going north of town and it was at the end of a road. With the help of the Internet and Google Maps, I was able find it! There are two parks there now that—judging from the photos—have been fixed up a lot over the last 30 years, and probably changed names, but I'd say it was here:

Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Hot Springs Adventures - Strawberry Park

One of the reviews said they had heard the place could get overrun with a bunch of hippy campers and the place would look like Woodstock! Here’s a satellite map of the area:

Google Map

To get to our campsite, we had to bring our gear down to a bridge across the creek that ran from the hot springs. It was very secluded and had a place for a fire right in the natural rocks. No doubt the best campsite of the trip!

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We just walked upstream a bit to get to the hot spring. We were told it was “clothing optional” at night! We weren’t sure about that so we wore our suits. But there was some baring of skin going on there that night.

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Some notes from my little calendar where I jotted down where I gassed up, my mileage, where I stopped for the night. When I filled up with gas before leaving Yellowstone, I noted that I had used 10 quarts of oil since I left Minnesota. I had driven 1,537 miles, so that's burning a quart of oil every 150 miles!

Posted by VANagain 10:06 Comments (0)

On to Colorado

After driving through the Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park in Colorado...
Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park

Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park


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Violet and I decided to head for the big city: Boulder. I was leading the way in the van at about sunset as slowly the city grew around me. I turned on the radio and had all kinds of stereo music to choose from, all coming in perfectly clear. I rolled down the window and took a deep breath of the evening air and it tasted great (if you can believe it after all of our country camping). Lights of the city spread out in all directions. It felt good to know that things were happening out there. I could enter the city and be a part of it; slip in the cracks.

Posted by VANagain 10:27 Comments (3)

Goodbye Violet

I met Violet Tuesday, July 24th, in the Badlands of South Dakota. We made a good couple for traveling. We parted ways, after two weeks, Monday morning, August 6th, in Denver, Colorado. While in the city, we went out to a movie (Indiana Jones - Temple of Doom). She splurged for a nice hotel in Denver. She was perplexed by how much time I spent that last night finishing this drawing to give to her:

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She left me a tent, a frying pan, some good advice, and fond memories. And this poem:

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Moving Man
A moving man, looking for
what he lacks.
Just moving on, a slipping
through the cracks.
Wants to lose these bleak
cold winter blues.
Seeking nothing free, is
willing to pay his dues.
Stretching out to get a feel
of the land
Liking the feel of the wheel
under his hand.
A moving man, seeking
to span
His mother country
in a little blue van.

And she wrote this in my journal:

Rich,
I am so glad you took time to step in the badlands, otherwise we probably would never have met. As I began the interlude, I saw myself spending these two weeks alone communing with nature and sorting my thoughts. If I had sat down and listed attributes of an ideal travel companion, I do believe they would have described you rather well. Sharing with you has made the trip an adventure and a delight.

Now as you venture forth in your quest for a place to put down roots and find your golden tomorrows, remember what Strider said in the trilogy:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Nor all who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither
Deep roots are untouched by the frost.

Continue your quest remembering to accept today for today, ask for what you want and love freely and unconditionally. Knowing that nothing golden can stay and that which we seek to grasp slips away. So keep your hands and heart always open.

This golden interlude has passed too quickly and now I will close with a toast I gave you --

I wish you health
I wish you wealth
I wish you love
But more than those
I wish you the time to enjoy them.

Your loving friend,
Violet

Posted by VANagain 23:32 Comments (1)

Denver to Colorado Springs

After saying goodbye to Violet Monday morning, I hung around Denver the rest of the day, seeing another movie that night (The Lost Starfighter).

After the movie, I headed south of I-25 towards Co. Springs. Spent the night on a side road. Tuesday morning, 8/7, I saw the Air Force Academy (a waste) and visited the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

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I called information to get the “800” toll-free phone number to Data Card, the job I had left in MN. I talked to Kelly (whom I'd always been infatuated with) at the switchboard (she said she wouldn’t tell on me for calling this number), my tech-writer friend Jack, and Rick, my replacement. It was good to hear some familiar voices.

Then I moved on to Pueblo where my friend Kerin now lived. She’s the younger sister of my old high school buddy, Sean, and like him, a real character. I called her house and left a message with her step-mom, who called Kerin’s school and had a message sent to Kerin in class saying I had arrived. I couldn’t believe that my arrival was that big of a deal.

While waiting for Kerin to get done with school I cooked up a good lunch in a city park and wandered around the Pueblo mall while I had some photos developed. It’s funny how all the malls are the same, no matter what state they’re in. I still like to spend the day “window shopping” in a mall. Anyhow, it was my second 24 hours alone on my trip. I wonder how the next will be.

Posted by VANagain 05:37 Comments (1)

Kerin in Pueblo

Today is Aug. 13th. I’ve departed on a Monday again, this time from Pueblo, CO. I ended up staying about a week at Kerin’s place. She lives with her step-dad Frank and his wife Nancy, in their mobile home. Frank and Nancy came across to me as simple folks who extended a very nice welcome into their home.

Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge

Pueblo Reservoir

Pueblo Reservoir

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Kerin and I went to the Royal Gorge, and another day to the Pueblo reservoir where we hung out on the shore/rocks and I painted a watercolor for her of the cliffs at the reservoir. We went out to this steak house bar and I drank a little too much (always dangerous when I’m with a girl I like!). And I did some work on the van.

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It was very nice to get back to civilization again for a while. They had at least half a dozen cats in their house (plus a few dogs, too) and I enjoyed them and drew all their pictures. I also went to where Kerin works at a stained-glass shop, in a studio beneath a framery. It wasn’t a real big deal but it got me inspired and made me realize the importance of getting into the “art-circles.” If I’d had the time and the desire, I could have been talking to other artists in the area, maybe had a few paintings hanging in the framery, and maybe a studio of my own set up. And Kerin was kind of asking me to stay in Pueblo. But I got a strong urge to be on my way. I told her I’d put Pueblo on my list, but I felt more that I have to get serious about my search for a new place to live. It was good to stay in Pueblo for a while. I got a good feel for the place. It’s a relatively big city with a small town feel to it. I heard that the majority of the city is Chicano. It was also real dry (in the summer, at least).

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Here is what Kerin wrote in my journal:

You got here on Tuesday the seventh. I was sitting in class, and I got a note from the office. RICH WAS IN TOWN! I was pretty excited to have you finally in (or on, should I say) “my part of the world”! I had a good time having you here. Let’s see, what did we do?

We went to the Mozart (bar) a few times, we went to my school, my work, I took you to the Royal Gorge, we talked for quite some time looking over the “vast” emptiness of the Gorge. We saw many things, talked about "many" things. You tried to straighten me out, fix my life and make me get over all of my so-called fears. Because I’m PERFECT, ha ha, and I have the world by the “short hairs” (as you put it anyways!). I have to admit though that it was a bit strange to be here in Colorado and see someone I know from “the past.” I’ve gotten the opinion that you think my life is boring out here. But I’ll tell you, I really enjoy my life now and I feel better about myself, not drinking all the time and going to college. You don’t want to hear about that stuff though so I’ll go on.

My parting thought: TOO BAD YOU’RE NOT NICER TO ME!!!!!!!!!

Have a nice trip!!

Kerin

ONE MORE little thing - always be the “Leader of the Pack” - Don’t ever be a “follower”

I’d go with you, but you don’t want me. Wa Wa Weep Weep

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After reading Kerin’s entry in my journal, I realize that, for better or for worse, my stay with her didn’t really go as I had wished. I had wanted (as always) to get closer to her, but found (as always) that this was very difficult. And perhaps I was a bit hard on her about her hang-ups. I guess it’s because of the frame of mind I was in after being with Violet. She caused me to face some of my irrational fears and realize that life can be better without them. I suppose I tried to make Kerin realize this also. But really, what business is it of mine? She has made a life for herself, and I have to admit that it is better than it was in MN.

But for some reason I really object to the way she was running it. Maybe I had some selfish reasons behind my arguments. Well, we did have a good time together. A lot of laughs and spent a lot of money. Maybe she’s right and I should be nicer to her, but then I feel that I would be going against the “one more little thing” she wrote in her note.

As I’ve said before, I’m kind of glad to be away from Kerin again. Her nice body and great sense of humor always keep making me want more from our relationship. And I see no way to get any closer to her. Well, maybe I’ll stop by Pueblo again on my way back East. You’ll have to look ahead in this journal to see about that... P.S. I really wanted to get a photo of her, but she wouldn’t let me. So I got a couple of the cats.

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Now, back to roughing it.

Posted by VANagain 08:34 Comments (0)

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