Colorado, 24th - 31st July 2013

Pueblo State Park

Bathroom Supervisor at the Park.

After a night at peaceful Pueblo State Park, we were on the road to the cooler parts of Colorado in search of trout! We drove straight to our favourite free camp ground at Salida. We had just found our camping spot and were in the process of levelling Harvey when we were hit by what felt like the apocalypse! Pea sized hail hammered down on Harvey's metal roof whilst thunder and lightning all around made quite a show.

Of course, all this weather activity immediately played havoc with the river, raising the water levels and bringing water flooding down the river, thick and brown. It wasn't ideal for fly fishing and that idea was abandoned for the day. By the next morning the river was back to its normal clear self although the water level was still much higher than we'd experienced the previous year and the rafting traffic much heavier. Undeterred, the fisherman set off on the hunt, walking the river from pool to pool.

Arkansas River, Salida, CO

Got one!

Lunchtime brought another crazy thunderstorm, although this time the water stayed clear. This was to be a taste of the weather to come for the rest of our time in Colorado. Colorado seemed much more crowded than on our previous visit in the autumn. Every night the local Walmart's car park was packed with people camping in Rvs.

Thats a new one! Looks fun.

Couldn't fit the kitchen sink in that raft as well, huh?

Next we headed to Montrose hoping to enjoy a few days in the excellent fishing spots we'd found the previous year. Again the weather didn't co-operate bringing rain and thunderstorms. When the river wasn't too coloured Phil set off behind Target in the mall, to seek out some trout.

Our second day in Montrose started wet and continued wet all day long. We decided it was time to invest in some new technology to keep us amused. Our T-mobile mobile wi-fi, stubbornly refused to pick up a good signal pretty much everywhere we went so we would have to resort to Verizon and work on our love-hate relationship with that company! We returned from Walmart, our new mi-fi hotspot apparently “ready to go” straight from the box. All we had to do was log on and register our new account. A likely story........

Weird weather at Walmart, Montrose.

Sure enough, the willing little gizmo started flashing right out of the box and connected easily with our PC. All we had to do when we got the start up screen was register our details. We tried and tried, switched the device on and off, removed the battery and reinstalled it. We'd tried everything we could think of but that start-up screen stubbornly refused to appear. Instead we were instructed to contact Customer Services.

We sat in the queue for customer services, watching the balance on our Verizon cellphone gradually disappear as we listened to horrible tinny muzak. Finally a friendly lady named Dakota informed us that as we were currently in an area with only 3G coverage, we would have to drive 50 miles to the nearest 4G signal, a lane on the outskirts of a distant town, where our device would be able to be registered, allowing it to work everywhere. We were unconvinced. The sales lady in Walmart had told us that she sold lots of these gizmos and we found it hard to believe that the customers were all happy to drive 50 miles just to make it work. We asked Dakota for reassurance that this wasn't a wind-up. She insisted she was deadly serious.

We remained unconvinced and returned to the store to ask our friendly sales lady. After proving to us that Montrose was in fact covered by 4G signal, she took her turn listening to the tinny muzak. Finally she assured us that she and her secret-only-for-retailers contact at Verizon had done whatever it took to make the hotspot work. Hopeful but doubtful we returned to the truck and lo and behold we were connected! Thank goodness we didn't make that 100 mile, 6 gallon of petrol, round trip.

Now all we needed to do was set up our online account to be able to add credit and we would have mobile internet service. This too turned out to be a trial as our account insisted that we didn't own a mi-fi hotspot, in fact we had purchased a tablet device and must use that device and only that device to register. Frustrated again we returned in search of our lovely Walmart lady, only to find she'd gone into hiding or at least on break!

Back on Harvey it took Christine and a very baffled Verizon Customer Service Agent only about 2 hours to get the account up and running. Yeah! Well at least we didn't have to worry about how to amuse ourselves in the rain, the day was half over. We'd fared well compared to our friend T-Bird, who had spent around 4 days trying to get a new Blackberry up and running. We were just grateful for that!

Scenic Chipeta Lake, just behind Target.

The next morning dawned bright and we opened our blinds to enjoy our view over Walmart's parking lot. We were greeted by the sight of another RV from Florida and the father of the family who owned it, riding crazily on his Walmart trolley across the car park. We definitely needed to meet these people, it turned out they lived only a few miles from where we kept our boat. Ryan, Robin and Kierra invited us to join them in a couple of days time camping at Lake City, apparently the most remote city in the continental USA. We quickly agreed.

The rest of the day we spent testing out our trusty inflatable canoe fishing on the nearby Chipeta Lake, located conveniently just behind Target. Lucky we tested Sevy out before setting off on a river float, as we had to fix a puncture or two!

Late afternoon, we returned to town, to Ace Hardware, in search of a large washer we needed to repair the catch on one of Harvey's outside lockers. The friendly assistant spend quite a while finding a washer which he hoped would do the job. At the counter we tried to pay the 75 cents but the salesman stubbornly refused to take our money, saying his boss would kill him for ringing up 75 cents on the register. We eagerly rushed outside to carry out our repair, only to find that the washer was just too thick. We'd need to return it to the store for a refund! The by now seriously amused assistants happily exchanged our washer for the 49 cent washer we needed and told us to get out!

We decided to spend the next, drier day down at Ridgway State Park, fishing the lovely stretch of water below the dam, hoping it was running clear. We enquired at the gatehouse whether we could just check out the state of the water before committing ourselves to buying the $7 day pass. Our State Park Volunteer stubbornly refused to let us even squint at the water without paying, so we reluctantly bought our pricey day pass and hoped. We'd be really unhappy if the water wasn't fishable. Luckily it turned out that the water was running clear from the dam and our pricey day pass to the park also gave us the chance to get our laundry done and even take a much needed shower!

Scenes from Ridgway State Park.

One final night at our friendly Walmart store in Montrose and we were eager to meet up with our new friends at Lake City. On the way we just had to stop at stunning Morrow Point, again just below a dam. Christine hiked and gawked at the beauty, enjoying the tranquillity of the spot, whilst Phil valiantly tried but failed to catch any fish. Who cared, it was gorgeous. OK, the fisherman did care, a little.........

Off we set to the most remote town in the lower 48. Our trip would have been a tad less stressful if we'd bought petrol before starting the drive up the wild highway to Lake City but the nearest gas station was an 36 mile detour and we were assured by Park Rangers that Lake City did have a gas station. We kept our fingers crossed......

Duly refuelled in Lake City we made a call to our new friends. Yes, surprisingly the cell phone worked in this remote spot! Our friends excitedly rushed to town to lead us to their camp site.

Beautiful Morrow Point

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