Up to my neck in the luxurious bubbles of lazy, commitment free hours, I spend my first week in Benson doing as little as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast with my incredible friends and our adventures all summer. I felt like a debutante swirling through the height of the social season in a cloud of fun experiences.
From weekly Bluegrass concerts in the park across from my RV, pot luck dinners, Black Hills sight seeing trips and voluntarily playing music at the hatchery and with friends, my days have been full of joy and lots to do!
So Hard to Say Goodbye
The thought of how much I will miss my new and old friends here, sends me running for the tissue box. Here are some photos of a few favorite moments from this summer. If you are very observant you may notice a trend related to my love of eating!
On the Road Again
The couple of weeks leading up to my departure from Spearfish are pretty stressful for me. I have to give myself little “self talks” constantly. I emphasize to myself that I must stop worrying about every possible disaster that might await me on my upcoming trip and just enjoy the ride.
In spite of my efforts, there are some daunting obstacles ahead of me. The first gauntlet I face is taking I-25 safely through Denver. This is a feat that many of my RV friends tell me is impossible. In fact, Stormy refused to travel through Denver on I-25 unless we did it in the middle of the night. If memory serves me correctly even at midnight the maniacal, speeding Denverites nearly took us out through the downtown section.
The Denver Dilemma
I consult with Monte who is staying south of Denver before planning my trip. He shares with me a route that amounts to a toll-free beltway around the east side of town. This will allow me to avoid the scary downtown section of I-25. On the day before “Operation Drive Denver,” I stay at an overnight stop about an hour north of Denver. At 4am, I drowsily begin my pre-trip checklist. Poised behind the wheel, I pull out at 6am as dawn’s first dim rays provide enough light for me to see that my trailer is following me. I glide into Denver at 7:30am on a Saturday morning. Thank goodness the Denver traffic is tolerable at this time. It helps that I have Google Earthed my route the night before and know just what lanes to be in at each split.
To my dismay I learn that I ended my virtual preview prematurely. As I-25 takes a left away from me, I find I need to cross 3 lanes of traffic to catch up with it. If I do not make the last minute switch, I will wind up on the toll road headed back north from where I just came. My GPS has abandoned me. Although she has been prompting me for lane changes all around Denver, she remains mute at this critical juncture giving me no warning of the needed lane change. Had it not been Saturday morning I may have become snared in an loop around Denver. How long would I survive endlessly trying to get off that toll road and headed back toward Colorado City? Either that or I may have been the center of a massive traffic catastrophe.
The Great Sand Dunes
Once I get settled at the KOA in Colorado City (excellent place to stay), I have a busy two days planned with Monte and friends. First I enjoy a neighborhood party at the ranch – thanks everyone for great food and company!! On Monday, Monte and I trek out to the Great Sand Dunes National Park for a sight-seeing day trip.
This is definitely a BIG sand dune. If you have the inclination and enough lung capacity, you can certainly hike 5 hours or so to the top. In order for me to make that journey, there would have to be a pretty awesome ocean waiting for me at the edge of the dune. Unfortunately for us on this day, even the little steam that sometimes flows near the parking area for the dune is totally dry.
Luckily, when Randy and Sandy learned that Monte and I were headed to the dunes, they told me about nearby Zapata Falls. They helpfully included a warning to wear waterproof shoes. I don’t remember them mentioning that this hike starts a little above 9100 feet and an oxygen tank might also be helpful.
Gasping and tripping over small boulders, I crawl my way up the rocky 3/4 mile track. After I reach the stream, the hike continues back and forth through the icy water. Finally, I squeeze into a cave for a private viewing of the falls (there is not enough room in here for a crowd!).
After a fun day with Monte, I head out the next morning to complete my trip to Benson. I follow I-25 through New Mexico on what is a monotonous, scenery deprived interstate. When I pull into Benson, both me and the RV are still in one piece and ready for a nice rest!