This Week’s Stops: Woodland Park, RVing in Colorado and other nearby areas
When we left off last week I was waiting in Albuquerque for a new trailer tire, which arrived on schedule the next day. Only to discover a split in another tire. I suspect I was sold old tires when I replaced mine last year after buying this trailer. Live and learn.
It took all day but the second new tire finally arrived late in the afternoon and by early evening I departed Albuquerque.
The wildfires in New Mexico were still raging, so I decided to catch up with my New Mexico friends on another trip and headed straight toward Colorado.
The drive was beautiful but ominous.
Wildfires in New Mexico
I was not close enough to see the flames, but the biggest wildfires New Mexico has ever seen filled the skies with dark clouds for miles and miles.
Even from a far distance, my eyes started to burn from the smoke, and the next day I noticed my clothes smelled of smoke.
My heart broke for both the people and the wildlife in the paths of the infernos.
I kept driving, crossed the Colorado line, and stopped for the night at a comfortable rest area near Pueblo. (I must say, Colorado has some excellent rest areas.)
After taking advantage of the strong WiFi connection to join a weekly Zoom business meeting the next morning, I left the rest area behind and took off down the road.
I arrived at my friend’s house in Woodland Park late that afternoon. She had a level parking space ready for me right next to her home.
I was in awe of the spectacular view of Pike’s Peak from the front yard. I could not possibly have asked for a better place to park for the next week or two.
Moochdocking with good friends is one of the best perks of RVing, and when those friends have views like this, it’s on a whole other level.
If you are not so lucky as to have such a friend, no worries. You can’t go more than a couple of miles in this area of the country without finding a scenic RV park. Not to mention all the national forest and state park camping available.
That night and all the next day presented gorgeous Colorado springtime weather. Temperatures hovered in the high 70s during the day and dipped into the 40s at night. I showered and put on a light summer dress.
It was the last time I would use such light clothing for a while.
RVing in Colorado: Weather changes are to be expected
My second morning in Colorado I woke up to a cloudy landscape and a sky that was beginning to spit snow. In late May!
My friend assured me it wouldn’t stick and we took off for a day of visiting friends in Denver about two hours away.
The snow continued, even in Denver, which is at a lower elevation. By the time we returned to Woodland Park in the evening, everything was blanketed in several feet of snow. So much for it not sticking.
It continued pretty much nonstop for three days.
Plan for ALL seasons on long RV trips
As well as I thought I had planned for this trip, Mother Nature was there to remind me I had not planned nearly well enough. I failed to anticipate major snow in late May.
The heavy blanket I had packed away came out of hiding. Luckily, I was able to borrow some boots from my friend, as the snow was over my knees! Ditto a small space heater.
Weather is more unpredictable than ever. When leaving on a LONG RV trip, pack for ALL seasons, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Especially when RVing in Colorado.
Thankfully, despite the snow, the temperatures did not get unbearably cold. If it dipped below freezing at all, it was not for long enough to worry about pipes freezing.
I settled into the warmth and comfort of a well-heated RV.
In the evenings, my friend treated me to the “quintessential Colorado experience:” drinking wine while soaking in a hot tub during a snowstorm.
We decided to put off sightseeing and hiking until the weather went back to normal.
I knew there was a breathtaking view of Pike’s Peak from Linda’s front yard, but it took several more days before the clouds cleared up enough to see it again.
By then the temperatures were back to the 70s and the white stuff quickly disappeared. Except for on the peak of that legendary mountain.
I used the snow days to catch up on computer work.
Always be a good “moochdocker”
I am a firm believer in being a good “moochdocker.” So while my friend was busy at work during the day, I made sure to have dinner on the table for her and the family most evenings.
I was grateful to be able to reconnect with my old friend. And also grateful to have a place to stay where I could wait for my replacement credit cards and driver’s license to catch up with me. (If you don’t know what I am talking about, I lost my wallet during Week two.)
As I have said before, life on the road is all about balance and going with the flow.
I relaxed and took it easy during the week while Linda and I planned an outing at Bishop Castle in the tiny town of Rye on the weekend.
The odd and awe-inspiring Bishop Castle
This odd and unusual attraction is well worth the trip—an actual castle in the forest built by one man with a vision.
It’s kind of a surreal sight to round the bend and see this strange and awe-inspiring piece of architectural folk art towering above the landscape.
Jim Bishop has been constructing his stone and ironwork castle for more than 60 years.
Visitors can explore three full stories of interior rooms complete with a Grand Ballroom, soaring towers, and precarious aerial bridges.
As a former circus aerialist, I have no fear of heights. That said, some of the ironwork bridges at the top of the castle are pretty spooky to walk across. But the views are INCREDIBLE.
Jim Bishop is unique
It takes a unique character to undertake such a project, and Jim Bishop is definitely that. He has some strong opinions, especially about the government, and the rights of the people. These opinions are on full display on signs throughout the castle.
Admission to the castle is free, although donations are gladly accepted. The castle itself is always open. Learn more about Bishop Castle here.
As the snow was starting to melt, and I was still waiting for documents in the mail, I planned to stay at least another week in this corner of Colorado. I had been there a week and not even been on one hike, save the Bishop Castle ramblings. That will be remedied.
Before the week closed, I also took a quick drive to the nearby Florissant National Monument to replace my National Parks Pass. (My previous one had been in the wallet I lost two weeks earlier.)
There looked to be some amazing hiking trails and fossils exploration to do here, but it was a warm day and I had my dog in the car. Sadly, being a national park, dogs were not allowed on the trails even on leash. So I will need to explore another day or another trip.
NEXT WEEK: More Colorado sightseeing: Cripple Creek, amazing hiking, and Royal Gorge Railway
When we visited a couple years ago, we were graced by Mr Jim, himself. Hope he’s still doing well, I know his health was beginning to fail then. What a character! If you enjoy unique sites (and sights), you will enjoy Tinkertown, just east of Albuquerque, on your next visit.
I do not know about Tinkertown (and I was just in Albuquerque). I will have to check that out next time I am through there.
You aren’t handicapped,or emotionally distressed?
? So many today are so they have their SUPPORT dogs. And the government can’t legally ask you to explain your problem. So take your support dog for a walk. Half the people on an airplane are in need of their support animals.
Half the people on an airplane are taking advantage of a good law and the other half are paying for it. There was a time when boats were made of wood and men were as strong as steel. Nowadays boats are made of steel and men have support animals.
The ADA does not recognize emotional support animals. So, not every place allows them.
I am not sure what this topic has to do with this article?
Hi, Cheri. I think Thomas brought it up because you mentioned your dog, and dogs in national parks, in the last paragraph. Have a great day! 😀 –Diane
You should KNOW how old the tires are on your trailer. Check the DOT code, and replace if more than 6 years old. If they’re the original China Bombs (which I strongly suspect, since they’re splitting apart) then you need to replace them ALL, not just one by one as they fail. When one fails on the road, you’re going to be very sorry you didn’t…
You also should get the trailer and tow vehicle weighed by wheel position so you can know how to set the proper inflation pressure for the tires and make sure neither the tires nor the axles nor the vehicles are overloaded. See RVSafety.com or google wheel position weighing for RVs.
I have square danced in Bishop Castle!
That would be an amazing place to do so. In the ballroom I assume?