This morning I visit dentist once more for an adjustment. Then we must go! We need to be in Denver by Sept 2 to celebrate Steve’s big 70th birthday with his sister and family. We fuel up at Tonkawa, OK and park for the night at Wilson Lake State Park on I-40. A big storm rolls in right over this beautiful lake.
Fri Aug 29
Hays Ks to Firestone Co – 355 mi
This morning we call Rob B. for breakfast. He is our son’s old roommate and our renter for many years. He was part of our family in Norman but recently got his very first job teaching Philosophy at Ft. Hays State University. Surprise! Rob is packing and leaving for China in two hours. No socializing today. We drive on to Firestone, Co and park at the lovely home of our niece and nephew, Monica and Steve B.
We get to see their son darling Camden, now one year older. We love to sit on the living room floor early in the morning, visit and drink coffee while we watch the baby play.
Mon Sep 1
Firestone Co to Berthoud, Co – 21 mi
We move our bus to park on the street in front of Steve’s sister’s house, Karen and Tom Gavin.
They host a fantastic party on Tuesday, Sept 2, for big Steve’s big 70 birthday. All the family is there, including the far flung family – see niece Erika from New York with her two children. And Steve’s brother Paul and Dee from Seattle, with niece Katy from Los Angeles. It’s the first time we’ve all been together in a couple years. Karen and Tom are also celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary this week.
We take in a Rockies baseball game. We enjoy the Chilhuly hand blown art glass exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and drive up to Estes Park for the Scottish Festival.
Karen and Tom keep a huge garden and are wicked good cooks. Karen won the state fair cherry pie baking contest. She has two cherry trees in her back yard, and her mom Louva’s pie crust recipe. No wonder!
Wed Sep 10
Berthoud, Co to Kremmling, Co – 146 mi
After ten nights with the precious Dwyer family, we head west up over Vail Pass on I-70. BessyBus is chugging along to climb 10,662 ft. We are going to meet friends that we haven’t seen in five years. We keep in touch online but this is the first time they have been close enough to overlap in person! We meet Dan and Irene at Wolford Reservoir, north of Kremmling, Co, an isolated high plain with few trees, a place of stunning, severe beauty. The town is loaded with hunting outfitters.
Irene is Italian and a fab cook. You should have seen her baked lake trout, served on fine embroidered linens and cut crystal, while we sat parked in the beautiful wilderness beside the lake. Does it get any better than this?
She also served us Trappey’s sweet hot jalapeno peppers on cream cheese on celery. This became an obsession. I later visited about 20 stores looking for it before finally ordering six jars online. We first (and last) met Dan and Irene at twilight in the parking lot of Cape Flattery, Washington, at the furthest northwest land point in the contiguous United States.
We were about to spend the night sleeping in the front seat of our Dodge truck when Irene came along and invited two total strangers to sleep in her bus on the living room floor! She made us a lovely bed with air mattresses. She told us all about their life in Hawaii. She cooked us spaghetti for dinner and bacon/eggs for breakfast. And thus a treasured friendship began. No wonder we are beholden to them and willing to drive over Vail pass just to see them again!
Fri Sept 12
Kremmling, Co to Wolcott, Co – 68 mi (@35 mph!)
We had a longstanding desire to see the Glenwood Canyon area of Colorado on I-70. We passed through there once before in a downpour and saw nothing. To view pricey Glenwood Canyon on a budget, we decide to stay 20 miles east of town at the tiny, cute, very tight BLM site – Wolcott Campground. To reach Wolcott from Kremmling, we take Bessy on the small, scenic state Hwy 134 west through the mountains, past Toponas, Co., then south on 131 and across the Colorado River at State Bridge. This is a land of sheepherders and beautiful wild country.
Also on Hwy 131 near Wolcott is the beautiful Four Eagle Dude Ranch so I’ll have to add two photos of that:
Wolcott BLM costs only $5 per night – what a guilt trip! We stayed here once before when our niece Monica and Steve got married at Red Sky Golf and Country Club nearby. Our bus is sitting right beside the bubbling, sparkling Eagle River. From our bedroom window we can see fly fishermen casting.
Sat Sep 13
Glenwood Springs, Co.
Every day we take our car and bikes from Wolcott east on I-70 to Glenwood Springs, or west to Vail/Aspen/Avon area. You cannot believe the beautiful drive on I-70 through the fabulous Glenwood Canyon.
We did it coming and going several times, with me hanging out the window with my camera, yelling “Slow down!” Glenwood is famous for hiking and white water rafting, and the over-touristed Hot Springs Spa of the Rockies swimming pool. We saw a bear for the first time in our lives and made several shots of him munching on a bush at – appropriately – Grizzly Creek Rest Stop. It was shocking to see tourists walk right up to the bear with their cell phones. One idiot with not even a phone (or shirt) just wanted to feel macho by invading the bear’s space. I wish the bear would have eaten him.
There is no better bike ride than on a trail right along the Colorado River.
We also watched people catching a wave at the Whitewater Park waterfalls near Midland Ave.
We ate at the old grand dame, Hotel Colorado, where Teddy Roosevelt and other wealthy aristocrats stayed while on big game hunting trips.
The hotel tells a charming fable about how Roosevelt was supposed to bring a bear back for his daughter. When he returned empty handed, the staff made a little bear out of stuffed rags for him to give his daughter instead, thus inventing the teddy bear. You can read the truth here:
Before leaving Wolcott, we take a picnic lunch and drive up Bellyache Ridge Road, past the Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club. Up here at 9,120 feet the aspens are at their peak.
Tue Sep 16
Wolcott, Co to Colorado Springs, Co – 183 mi
We drive back down the big mountain on I-70, asking alot of BessyBus to do this twice. We turn south on I-25 to Colorado Springs to spend two days with Escapee friends Brad and Marilyn from Ontario, Canada. It’s another coincidental overlap of friends along our route! We enjoy Garden of the Gods together and park at the super tight Goldfield RV Park.
Brad tells us the story of how his dad owned mineral rights to land around a lake in Canada, and sold the those rights just a few years before millions of dollars worth of graphite was discovered there. Email me for a copy of Brad’s “riches to rags” mining story, with photos.
Wed Sep 17
Colorado Springs, Co to Berthoud, Co – 127 mi
We drive north back to Karen’s house at Berthoud to complete the second half of our visit with Karen, Tom and the Dwyer family. We have a three hour dinner at Star of India Restaurant in Ft. Collins with their dear friends, Vish and Sherry.
end of chapter 2
To find Chapter 3, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”
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