The Colorado Kids Continue their Adventure, 31st July - 6th August 2013

Our new buddies Ryan and Kierra rushed to greet us on our arrival in Lake City, apparently the remotest city in the lower 48, surrounded by peaks over 14,000 feet. They figured we'd need guiding to the free camp site where they had set up camp and they were probably right. If we'd taken the wrong dirt road out of the “city centre” who knew if we'd ever be seen again.

Our Florida licence plates stood out in a sea of Texan vehicles, was anybody left in Texas at all, we wondered.

Harvey was quickly ensconced next to their much more spacious RV and it was time for dinner, beer, camp fire and the telling of tall tales!

Ryan at work on the campfire.

Downtown Lake City.

Ryan, Robin and Kierra towed a jeep behind their RV and offered to take us on an off-road adventure. This would be a brand new experience for us, as the multitude of dirt and gravel roads littering the backwoods of America were usually off limits to our precious, more delicate Harvey.

First we had to endure yet another day of rain in Colorado. Christine managed to make it back from the arty boutiques in town with her treasure before the deluge started but Phil valiantly fished on through the continuous downpour, returning to Harvey at lunchtime resembling a drowned rat! The weather had postponed our Jeep adventure, so, that evening, we resorted to an evening of shared laughs, game playing and dinner together in our friend's RV. Such a hardship!

OK when is my turn up front???

Here we go then.......

The next day Robin had to work but our great Jeep adventure was on, with Ryan and daughter Kierra as our able guides. We set off on the sometimes bumpy, always dusty and occasionally precarious gravel roads of the Alpine Loop with some trepidation. After a brief spell in the back seat, Phil opted for the front, leaving Christine and Kierra riding in style on the spare wheel at the back of the Jeep. Strangely it seemed more comfortable than the inside seat and the view was priceless, plus, you got to ride a roller coaster all the way!

Factor 10 on the “Wow” scale, I'd say.

Beautiful Aspen Grove.

Our first stop on the tour was at a secret waterfall the family had discovered on their previous Jeep expedition. Completely hidden from view from the road, the falls consisted of about half a dozen small waterfalls, all running into one another. The spot had only been discovered as Robin was a keen “Rockhound” and spent a lot of her time in Colorado and the surrounding states collecting special rocks for her collection. This was the first common interest Robin and Christine found they had, although with the baggage allowances on the airlines, Christine was forced to stick to small pebbles! By the end of the weekend they discovered so much in common it was as if they were twins from different continents!

Kierra and Ryan at the secret waterfalls

By lunchtime we'd made it even further out into the Colorado wilderness and came across an antique truck, which presumably never made it back out again. This was the spot we chose for our picnic.

One way ticket for this old guy, riddled with bullet holes.

Picnic view.

Best seats in the Jeep!


After our lunch stop we were off again, this time in search of Bighorn sheep. Ryan knew a spot where apparently he always saw them and sure enough there they were, two mothers and two babies.

That evening we introduced our friends to the delights of curry before retiring early to bed exhausted after our adventure.

Next day Christine, Robin and Kierra were off again in the Jeep, this time on the paved highway, to the town of Creede, where parts of the new Lone Ranger movie had recently been shot. Their destination was a “Rock Show” and not the type requiring ear plugs!

Sheep Jim, but not as we know them!

Kierra and Robin about to be let loose among the rocks!

The Rock Show was being held in the local Community Hall and seeing the Hall made the trip worthwhile by itself. An old mine had been converted into an impressive Community area, retaining the old rock walls.

So many pretty rocks for sale, more even that Robin boasted in her collection. One stall in particular caught our eye. A man had a mountain of uncut geodes which, in their raw form, merely resembled round rocks.

His stall was a kind of lucky dip. You picked your own rock and he helped you split it in half to reveal whatever beauty was secreted inside. Customers were advised to pick a rock that felt light, as this had a greater chance of being hollow and lined with crystals. The three girls spent a good few minutes picking up rocks, trying to decide which was lightest and finally the selection was made.

Robin breaking the geode in half.

Kierra, proud owner of a newly split geode.

We were in luck and Kierra's selection proved to contain a beautiful lining of shiny crystals.

It was all hungry work, calling for ice cream, so we ventured to town and of course had to check out the selection of shops we passed, after all it was a girls' day out and the fly shops were given a wide berth! Unfortunately by the time we left Creede, heavy rain was falling and a rock-hounding trip with Robin's new rock splitting hammer had to be postponed.

Our friends generously offered to take us on another Jeep adventure the next day but the weather just wasn't co-operating. We were definitely getting tired of the rain, we could have stayed home to get wet all the time! So, we reluctantly decided to start heading for Montana, where forecasts appeared to be much better. We bid our new friends a fond farewell until we see them again in Florida and headed north.

Time for Ice Cream!

Off we set, back over Monarch Pass, a mere 11,312 feet, which Harvey ably climbed like a spring chicken. He'd had a lot of practice by now, his 5th transit! Once we reached Salida and picked up supplies, hard to come by in Lake City, we made our turn north, reaching the town of Silverthorne by late afternoon. Here a little mishap occurred involving Harvey trying to squeeze into a left turn lane not really wide enough to accommodate his girth. Our huge wing mirrors clipped the huge wing mirrors on a pick-up truck in the other lane and the bemused occupants were treated to the spectacle of a shoeless crazy Welsh woman running along the line of traffic to check for damage to their vehicle before the lights turned green. Fortunately no damage had resulted and the other vehicle's occupants couldn't stop laughing. We camped that evening on the Blue River where Phil passed the evening catching tiddlers.

Last year we spotted Ibis, this year Pelicans in Colorado!

Before pushing on northwards again, we made a stop at Green Mountain Reservoir to fish the Gold Medal stretch of water below the dam. As on our previous visit, this stretch of water wasn't for giving up its resident fish. Skunked again, we headed on to the town of Walden, to the gorgeous North Delaney Lake.

This lake, also boasted a Gold Medal and Phil eagerly fished between thunder and rain storms. First he launched the float boat, its first outing this year but in the strange weather, the fish just weren't biting.

Undeterred he was up early next morning to fish from the shore and quickly returned bearing a 24” rainbow trout. This exceeded the 22” limit for catch and release and duly became dinner. Rain was threatening again by lunchtime and we decided to press on into Wyoming.

North Delaney Lake

We took turns trying to stay awake at the wheel through the long and empty roads of Wyoming, only the excitement of whether the next petrol station would come before we hit the big “E” on Harvey's gauge to keep us on our toes. Walmart in Casper became our home for the night again and another half day of driving across Wyoming found us finally in Montana.

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