Quick Update

Riley and I are in Albuquerque after a GREAT time with the Ladeze (the Lazy Daze ladies) up near Taos.  We came to ABQ for an appointment at Statkus Engines.  It’s time for some 60,000 mile service on my RV and Statkus is a very respected shop.  They did a front end alignment for me last year after Balloon Fiesta and wrote up a quote for a bunch of 60k stuff, so am back and getting it done.  Plus, I had a list of other things to check/replace/flush, etc.  It’s so much work that it’s taken all day today, and will continue tomorrow.  I said ‘I am living in it’ and they let me stay the night where they were working on it.  So, here I am, on the lift where they finished at 5:00.  At least it’s down on the ground!

StatkusMy Lazy Daze friend Kathy was here today getting work done, too.  Last night we had dinner in Old Town with Lisa, another Ladeze attendee.

Lisa-Kathy

Lisa and Kathy on the way to dinner at Church Street Cafe

Today Kathy and I toured around the Old Town Plaza and shops while killing time waiting for our RV repairs.

Kathy-OldTownWe will be in Albuquerque through the Balloon Fiesta (Oct 4th-12th).  I have been organizing the Lazy Daze group at the Fiesta, so we will get there early and stay to the end.  Hope to get some blogging done between now and the end of the month.  I have lots of pictures to sort through from Santa Fe and Ladeze.  More later….

By the way, I know I am severely lacking in pictures of Riley lately.  So, here’s one from earlier this month, on a morning hike in the hills behind Iska’s place in Santa Fe.

Riley Hike

Project – Solar Upgrade

FYI – This post may only be of interest to a few people – those wanting info on solar, or Lazy Daze owners interested in our specific rig upgrades.  Feel free to skip or skim.  🙂

My 2001 Lazy Daze came out of the factory with the optional solar package that was available at the time.  It had one 85-watt BP Solar panel and a Heliotrope RV-30S charge controller/monitor.  The system helped to charge the batteries a bit, but wasn’t great for the serious boondocking that Riley and I like.  I needed a solar system like my dad and I put in the prior rig.  When I got back to Texas in November we talked through the project, deciding what to do the same as last time and what to change.  Having a bit of experience helped.  Having a different floorplan didn’t.  We realized the prior 22′ twin-king floorplan was a super simple setup.  The wires could come from the roof down the fridge vent, straight into the battery box below (and below that to the extra battery set in the old generator compartment) and then to a cabinet directly inside where the controller, monitor and inverter could be housed.  In this 2001 RV we would have to pull at least part of the existing wire and route new.

For a visual help, this is my 2001 Mid-Bath floorplan

For a visual help, this is my 2001 Mid-Bath floorplan

First things first, I ordered the panels, controller and monitor in December.  Last time I got the panels with wiring harnesses from AM Solar, a great company for solar.  But, I noticed they use Grape Solar panels, which I had seen for sale on Amazon.  This time I looked at the Grape Solar website and scouted out their dealers for a good price on panels.  Eventually I settled on two 160 watt panels from Home Depot (Amazon was out of stock on the 160’s). Turns out that Home Depot sells them, but they are actually shipped directly from Grape Solar.

Brand spankin' new panel

Brand spankin’ new panel

My dad removed the old panel with a small power saw.  He just cut off the mount, rather than removing the goop and taking the mounts off completely.  The new panels would cover these spots anyway.

Removing the old panel

Removing the old panel

The AM Solar panels we used last year came with wiring harnesses and mounting hardware, but I was able to buy that stuff separately from Amazon this time.  I did get the charge controller and monitor from AM Solar, as they had the best prices on the ones I wanted.  Also, they have a good combiner box for the wires on the roof to go into the fridge vent.

Solar panel wires go to the fridge vent combiner box

Solar panel wires go to the fridge vent combiner box

Solar panels all wired up

Solar panels all mounted and wired up

The original charge controller/monitor was located inside on the side of the cabinet above the kitchen sink, directly across from the entry door.  The wiring to the solar panel went from there, through the cabinet, behind the microwave and through a hole in the cabinet next to the fridge.  They came out on the roof through a vent cap, the same type used for the black and grey tank vents.  We removed those wires and put back/sealed up that cap.  The wires from the controller to the power center and batteries went the same route, but to an area behind the fridge to go down towards the floor.  The battery box is directly below the fridge and the RV power center is under the kitchen sink.  After thinking of how to use the existing wire or run new, we decided we didn’t want to pull out the fridge to run wire back there.  Instead we put the new controller under the kitchen drawers, in between the power center and the battery bank.  It would be easier to abandon the original wiring and run everything down along the floor.  We were able to drop the wires down the fridge vent, to the access panel on the outside of the rig, and inside through the back of the battery compartment.  Under the fridge inside is a drawer and cabinet.  By pulling out the drawer we were able to get in there to work on the wiring.  Also, I decided to add an on/off switch, so I could easily disconnect the power from the panels if needed.

Inside wiring

Wires come in from the battery box (the black part) and to the left towards the charge controller.  The orange wires are for an inverter on the right side.  The white stuff is Dicor to seal holes.

On/off switch

The positive wire runs through the on/off switch.

New Controller

New charge controller, just above the LP gas detector.  Blue Sky 2512iX-HV

The fresh water tank is behind this wall above, under the oven and kitchen drawers.  There is about 4-5 inches of space between the wall and the tank, so we were able to attach the controller and run the wires along the floor inside there.  I rarely have to look at the charge controller, so it can reside near the floor.  I’d rather have the monitor at eye level.

For the battery monitor I purchased a Blue Sky IPN-ProRemote.  It’s the same kind Chris had and seemed like a good one.  Also, it’s made to work well with the Blue Sky 2512 charge controller.  We decided to mount in in the space where the old charge controller/monitor was.  There was a large hole in the padded side of the cabinet where the original controller/monitor was, so we had to create a mounting plate since the new monitor was smaller.  We made the piece below from some 1/4″ scrap my dad had and stained close to the color of the other wood.

Monitor

New monitor and mounting plate.

We put the fuse for the controller on the side of the power center, just inside the access panel door.

Controller fuse

Controller fuse

On my prior rig I had a 2000-watt Xantrex inverter.  It worked great. I could even run my microwave and toaster from it (for just a minute or two).   But, that seemed like overkill since I have a generator on this rig.  I already had a 400-watt inverter on hand that I had bought to charge my laptop, so we decided to use that.  If I decide it’s not enough power, I can get a larger one later.  We mounted it on the side of the wall next to the refrigerator, behind the driver’s seat and across from the dinette.  It’s about 2 feet from the batteries there, which is good.  And I can use it for charging stuff up front.  (I have a 150-watt inverter in the back, mounted in the old TV cabinet, plugged into an existing 12-volt plug.)  Because I’m not sure the 400 watt inverter is going to be enough, we used big wire – 2/0 welding cable – so that I can easily upgrade later without having to rewire.  That’s the orange wire seen in the wiring picture above.

Inverter mounted next to the fridge.

Inverter mounted next to the fridge.

The parts we used are gathered in the Amazon store I put together of the items I use in my RV – Amazon.  All together the system and parts cost just under $1,200.   Plus, the inverter was about $25 when I got it last year.  And, I can’t thank my dad enough for doing this project.  He finds it fun (25+ years as an IBM Electrical Engineer, this is his kind of thing), but I really appreciated all his time and efforts.

Next up, the last of the major projects my dad and I completed – a new pantry closet.

Albuquerque and the Balloon Fiesta

Last year I skipped the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.  I was in New Mexico, at Bluewater State Park, but hadn’t made camping reservations with the Lazy Daze group, so skipped the area.  When it was over I went to Elephant Butte State Park, where I camped with Christine and Andy, then to Caballo Lake State Park, and had a great time with CB, Randy, Tish, Carol, Myrna, Laurie and Christine.  (Really, it’s Chris, “Vermont Chris” as we call her, but I will call her Christine to differentiate from Chris of my recent posts.)  Last year they had all spent a couple of weeks at Sandia Casino and Resort watching the balloons for free!  The casino lets RV’ers camp there and it’s on a hill not far from the balloon park, so they could see the balloons from there.  After hearing what a great time they had, I made it part of my travel plans.

Anyway, I got to the casino late in the afternoon on October 1st, after having my scooter service done in Santa Fe.  I wanted to get there well ahead of the Fiesta start date of Oct. 5th, since I had heard the place fills up and wanted to be able to get a spot near my friends.  Carol and Christine were already there when I arrived and I was able to get a spot nearby. A security truck was making patrols through the parking lot, registering rigs and passing out a welcome letter.  I got my window sticker and info on services at the casino and hotel. They really treat RV’ers well at Sandia.  Of course, they rely on a certain percentage of the visitors leaving some of their cash in the casino, so it’s a win-win.

Sunset over Sandia Peak

My spot at sunset

Right away I met Pat and Buddy, friends that Carol had made there last year.  Super fantastic folks.  We all made plans to go to the buffet for lunch the next day.  It’s $5 on Wednesdays for seniors (anyone over 50) with a casino player’s card, so I made sure to get my card right away.  And what a fantastic buffet they have.  Wow!  We all loved it.

I was able to get the scooter unloaded off of the carrier by myself.  Making progress with that.  Gravity is my friend, so it’s easier to get it down than loading it up, but my goal is to be able to load and unload by myself.  Anyway, we all hung out and visited for a few days, ran errands, etc.  I wish I had been able to take a picture of all of the rigs parked at Sandia.  There must have been a few hundred. It was PACKED!

On Saturday the 5th I woke around 3:00 AM when I started hearing helicopters overhead.  I looked out the hatch above my bed, but didn’t see anything.  Eventually I got up a little before dawn to see the balloons going up.  The helicopters and small planes would fly around every morning during Fiesta.  I got used to it and it didn’t wake me up later on.  There were so many balloons, I couldn’t believe how many there were.

Balloons - Day 1

Balloons – Day 1

Balloons over the Arroyo

Balloons over the Arroyo

The arroyo (in the photo above) between the golf course and our parking lot was a great spot for playing with the dogs.  We weren’t allowed on the golf course, but at about 6:00 PM Christine and I would take Riley and her dog Edna down to the arroyo and let them chase balls and run off some energy.  We had a morning walk area on the other side of the parking lot to a natural area were the dogs could sniff and wander.  Sandia was a nice area for dogs, and there were lots of other dogs for Riley to meet.  He loves making new friends!

I hadn’t made reservations with the Lazy Daze group, but when we were camped at Abiquiu with John and Linda (organizer for the group at BF), she mentioned there were a couple of unexpected cancellations and might be spaces available if I wanted to come over for a couple of days. The Lazy Daze group was at the Balloon Fiesta Park RV camping site, down close to where the balloons take off. So, I arranged to move over for Wednesday-Friday.  There weren’t any balloons on Thursday morning due to weather. I woke Friday late, about 7AM, and opened the hatch above my bed to see the balloons all over above our site.  I quickly got dressed and headed out with my camera.

Balloons over the Lazy Daze site

Balloons over the Lazy Daze site

Wow!  Many cool balloons

Wow! Many cool balloons

There was something about the weather that morning and the balloons were coming back down very quickly.  Especially the large special shape balloons.  Some of them were landing very close to us.

Balloons Landing

Balloons Landing

Caution - cow crossing

Need one of those ‘caution – cow crossing’ signs right about here

I ended up staying an extra day, until Saturday.  On Friday evening I went with Jimbo, Kathy and her brother to the “Glowdeo”.  Just after sunset the balloons stay on the ground, the pilots fire up the gas and they light up.  Very cool, but it was too dark already to get good pictures.  Jimbo got better pictures earlier in the week.

Glow1

At the Glowdeo

On Saturday morning I got up early, early, like 5:00 AM early.  I wanted to go to the field to wander amongst the balloons as they are inflated and take off.  What a sight!  It was cool being down in the middle of several balloons being filled with hot air, and all the people down there doing the same thing. I could not believe how many people were there.  It wasn’t even light yet and there were masses of people.  Tons of people had made a real effort to be vertical well before dawn.  Amazing.  It was nice to be able to walk to the field.  The traffic on the way to the park was terrible!

Arrival

Approaching the early balloons

Amongst

In the middle of the balloons

Excited riders.  It costs a few hundred dollars to ride, but look how happy they are!

Excited riders. It costs a few hundred dollars to ride, but look how happy they are!

The take-off coordinators are called Zebras, since they wear black and white outfits.  Their job is to coordinate the departures and control the crowds.  They clear a cone-shaped area, based on wind direction, where the balloon is expected to travel as it rises.  Some of these folks are dressed more elaborately than others.  I tried to get a picture of this guy with a zebra shirt, zebra jacket and large zebra hat.  He was the best dressed.  Zebras move fast and this was the best picture I was able to get:

Zebras

Zebras

I also visited the midway, which was huge.  Lots of food and stuff for sale, which I didn’t need, but I got an official 2013 Balloon Fiesta pin.

Later that day I turtled up and moved back to Sandia, stopping at the Giant Conoco station on Alameda that has a free dump station.  Things were winding down at the casino.  A lot of RVs had headed out already.  It was a lot less packed than the prior weekend.  All of my friends were still there, but were each leaving within the next few days.  I was planning to stay a while more, since I had an appointment on Thursday at an Albuquerque Ford shop, Statkus Engines.  I was having an alignment problem and Statkus is known to be a good shop. Over the next few days I got some shopping and errands done (stocked up at Trader Joe’s) and finally did some gambling in the casino.  I didn’t hit big, but turned the $25 free-play money they give into $25 in my pocket.  It was super windy one day and that evening we had a weird super-glowy sunset.  Like something out of an alien movie.

Crazy Albuquerque Sunset

Crazy Albuquerque Sunset

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Salida, CO and an Update

First an update – I’m in Santa Fe, NM for some warranty work on the scooter.  It wouldn’t start one day, and rather than drive over to Sportique in Colorado Springs I got an appointment at Centaur Scooters in Santa Fe.  We were already heading to New Mexico to meet some Lazy Daze folks at Abiquiu Reservoir on Sept. 20th, then to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta in Oct.  I just had to do a little side trip before getting to Abiquiu.  Good news – the problem was a failure by the starter solenoid and was fixed less than 2 hours after I dropped it off yesterday.  They diagnosed it quickly and had a solenoid available to use.  Also, they filed the warranty claim so I wasn’t out of pocket anything and was able to load up the scooter and be on my way.  Sometimes you get an early failure on a part, so I’m not worried about the scooter.  I really liked Centaur when Chris and I visited in June.  We had stopped in there to look at scooters and see about putting a rack on my prior rig (which ended up not being possible).  It seemed like a great mom and pop shop, well stocked and well run.  They sure did well to get me on my way with no delay.  So, I have scheduled my initial 200 mile service with them, before heading down to Albuquerque on Oct. 1st.

Anyway, after Leadville we moved down to Salida.  We had stopped in there for a week or so back in late June, early July.  There is a free BLM boondocking spot just east of town, on the Arkansas River.  Leadville was nice and cool (highs were in the high 60’s, low 70’s), but really cloudy and rainy.  My 85 watt solar panel couldn’t keep my batteries charged with just an hour or so of sunshine per day.  So, Salida seemed like a good next stop, usually sunny, hopefully not too warm at 7,000 feet, plus we had enjoyed it before.   Salida has a Walmart, dump station/water at the Chamber of Commerce and a decent laundromat.  I utilized all of them on the way to the campsite, that way I would be set and not need to move for 10 days.

Salida Campsite

Salida Campsite.  The Arkansas River is right behind our rigs.

Arkansas River at Salida East

Chris had fun fly-fishing in the Arkansas River near our site.

Chris and I unloaded the scooter that afternoon.  I was really excited to have it at this spot, since the town is cool (cute with a funky vibe) and just a couple of miles away.  The next day (9/6) I made a quick trip in to get something at the True Value hardware store.  The next morning was Saturday and I was looking forward to scooting to the Farmer’s Market and the big Fiber Fest (yarn and roving, spinning and weaving, etc.) in Riverside Park.  Unfortunately, the scooter wouldn’t start even though it ran fine the day before.  Everything worked except the starter button.  We checked the battery, fuses, whatever else we could see, but couldn’t find the problem.  I was quite bummed.

Then, I turned on the water heater and it wouldn’t start.  What is up with these failures?!?  I checked it all over, researched online for possible answers, cleaned the connections, etc.  When nothing worked we took the circuit board off of Chris’ unit (same Atwood model) and hooked it up to mine.  It fired right up.  So, it seems I needed a new board.  The RV dealer in nearby Poncha Springs quoted $323 for a new one, but I ordered one from Amazon for $124.  I had it sent to PakMail in Salida – they do package acceptance for $5.  (Some mail can come general delivery to the post office for free, but Amazon usually ships UPS or FedEx, which can’t go to the post office.)

Later in the day I rode into town with Chris in his truck.  We really liked Cafe Dawn downtown and went several times while in Salida.  Afterwards we drove by the park and Fiber Fest was still going on.  It was much bigger than I expected, lots of booths.  There was some really nice yarn, fiber art, felted hats, lots of interesting stuff.  I kept thinking how much our friend Melinda (who is on her way to Balloon Fiesta after summer in Alaska) would have loved it.  I meant to get a picture, but failed.  Here’s a shot I took of our favorite coffee place on July 4th:

Cafe Dawn

Cafe Dawn

Next on my failure tour, the batteries didn’t seem to be holding a charge, even though we had more sunny days in Salida.  Checking the cells with a hydrometer showed the batteries were only 50% charged.  I called my Dad and also my friend CB for advice.   They are both smart engineers and had good info, things to check/do.  Also, I spoke to AM Solar, the servicer for my solar controller.  I decided to check into the RV park next door and plug in for a day or 2 and get up to 100%.  After 2 days one battery was up to 75% and one was still barely above 50%.  There must be something wrong with them.  I had just gotten them at the end of August in Steamboat Springs, so I swung by Napa after leaving the RV park and explained the situation.  They had to order a set that would arrive the next morning as they didn’t keep the 6 volts in stock.  I asked them to put a slow charge on them and I would come by in the afternoon when ready (something I should have thought to do with the Steamboat Napa).  I picked them up Friday, the 13th, and this set seems to be doing fine.

While at the Salida spot Chris and I took the opportunity to wash and wax our rigs.  It takes a while using just buckets of water.  The wax didn’t seem to do well on the silver/grey paint on the part I waxed, leaving swirly streaks where I applied it.  Figures, everything that could go wrong was going wrong lately.  Now I had ruined part of my paint. Terrific.  I read online that 3M makes a restorer for heavily oxidized paints and was able to pick some up at Napa.  Haven’t had a chance to try it yet.  Hopefully it will work OK to restore the silver.  Chris’ rig looks really good all washed and waxed, though.

When I got back to the campsite after leaving the RV park I found that my friend Carol, who I had met in Caballo Lake last year, was camping near us.  I didn’t remember that she was from the Salida area.  She makes really beautiful sets of cloth napkins and potholders and had a booth at the farmer’s markets at Salida.  I drove in to town on Saturday to do the market and run errands. It had been raining for a few days and more was forecast, but it turned out to be a really nice morning, great for the vendors.  I hoped to get some cranberry/almond/cinnamon swirl bread at the baker’s booth.  I had gotten some in July and had lusted for more ever since.  Luckily they had some and I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast.  If you ever get to the Salida farmer’s market look for it, it’s fantastic.

Salida Farmer's Market

Lovely day at the Salida Farmer’s Market

Carol at the Farmer's Market

Carol (on the right) at the Farmer’s Market with her beautiful napkins and potholders.

I really liked Salida.  It’s a good size, has a nice Safeway and a Walmart, walkable area downtown with parks and residential nearby, renovation of historic buildings downtown, etc.  As I said, it’s got a funky vibe.  There are a lot of cool refurbished vintage bicycles that people ride around town (didn’t get a pic), they have thrift shops with names like “Free The Monkey” and “Wanderlust Road”, and houses of different eras are intermingled, like Victorian next to a mid-century craftsman, next to adobe… I loved looking at the houses as we drove into town:

Salida Houses

Salida Houses

Salida House

Salida Houses

Salida’s a town that I could live in, but it’s been ‘discovered’ and real estate seems to be  pretty expensive.  Well, it’s a nice place to visit for now.

House

The little house in the middle with the for sale sign was about $300k!

Just before leaving we had more Lazy Dazers roll in.  John and Linda (and Sadie), who stopped to see us at Rabbit Ears Pass, stopped by on the way to Abiquiu from their home in Colorado Springs.  Also, Frank and Cookie, who I had briefly met in Quartzsite, were traveling with them, so we had 4 Lazy Dazes at the campsite for the night.  It was great to have a visit with them, and we all went out to Amica’s Pizza for dinner.  Great pizza and company, a terrific evening.  Can’t wait to spend time with them and a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers in Abiquiu over the next several days.

Hanging out with Cookie, John and Linda (and Riley and Sadie)

Hanging out with Cookie, John and Linda (and Riley and Sadie)

I think/hope the troubles I have had recently are done.  Sometimes trouble comes in waves.  Hopefully it all doesn’t sound like too much of a bummer.  These things happen, sometimes all at once.  Just the normal life of an RV’er.  It’s all probably less than when I had a house to take care of – when the A/C went out a few times (replacing the whole HVAC was fun), sections of fence falling over in storms, having to fix sprinkler heads, replacing the roof, etc.  You have a moment of upset, breathe, figure it out, maybe replace some piece of equipment, and move on.  Literally – you move on to some new piece of real estate that offers stunning mountain views, or forests, or lakes and rivers.  You move to where the weather is nice and the town is interesting.  It’s all good, and I’m loving it.  🙂

Back to the Mountains

After Denver we went west on I-70 to pick up Hwy 40 past Idaho Springs and head north.  It’s a pretty steady climb to Idaho Springs, and then Hwy 40 zig-zags up to Berthoud Pass at 11,307 ft. elevation.  That’s a tough climb.  We were heading to Hot Sulphur Springs where we would meet Chris at the city’s Pioneer Park.  They have campsites in the park, right on the Colorado River.  We spent 2 days there and Chris had a good time fly-fishing right near our site.  It was a great spot, except for the train tracks next door.  Lots of trains, lots of train horns, including overnight.  Other than that it was a nice little spot.  Tiny little town, nice to walk around it in the evening.

Colorado River at Hot Sulphur Springs

Colorado River next to our campground at Hot Sulphur Springs

Next we were going to a spot that Chris had heard of called Rabbit Ears Pass.  It’s on Hwy 40 on the way to Steamboat Springs.  I checked the Escapees Days End directory and saw a few listings for the pass area.  Looking at Google Maps, there seemed to be  a couple of good boondocking spots right at the top of the pass.  We pulled in and really liked the site.  We were back in the forest, yay!  It’s at about 9,700 feet elevation, so the weather was very nice and cool.

Rabbit Ears Site

Rabbit Ears Site, Routt National Forest

By the way, while in Golden we were packed in like Sardines at the Golden Terrace RV “Resort”.  But, my neighbors were all just great, and the other residents I met at the dog run were really nice.  Again, glad to have a site for a month for $500, no complaints, but it was good to be back in the forest with no one around.

Golden Terrace RV "Resort"

Neighbors (L-R) Jerry, Jay, Jim and Carol were all super nice.

There was a trail-head just across the highway from our site and it took us to the Rabbit Ears Trail, which we hiked part way.  Then, on another day, we drove to the trail-head and hiked the full trail.  It gets pretty steep near the top.  The views up there were great!

Rabbit Ears

Rabbit Ears

Rabbit Ears View South

Rabbit Ears View South

Rabbit Ears View East

Rabbit Ears View East

One of the rabbit 'ears' up close.

One of the rabbit ‘ears’ up close.

    - "Riley, you stand by Chris for a picture."     - "No, I want to stand over there by you."

“Riley, you stand by Chris for a picture.”
 “No, I want to stand over there by you.”

While we were at Rabbit Ears the USA Pro Challenge cycling race came through.  Rabbit Ears Pass was a ‘King of the Mountain’ site for the riders to earn points.  We could see it from our site, but we took our chairs out by the road and sat with another couple that had parked there to watch the race.

Rabbit Ears King of the Mountain site

Rabbit Ears King of the Mountain stage from our spot

It was a great viewing site as the riders came over the hill and started the descent into Steamboat Springs.  Jens Voigt had built up a major lead up the mountain and he was first past us.  He would later lose the lead as the Peleton caught up to him within a mile or 2 of the end of the stage.

Here comes the leader, Jens Voigt.  And the camera person, and lots of support vehicles.

Here comes the leader, Jens Voigt.  Plus the camera person, and lots of support vehicles.

The Peleton goes whizzing by.

Later the Peleton went whizzing by.

It was really cool to be so close to the action of the race.  I had never seen a bike race in person.  The number of support vehicles that precede and follow the race was phenomenal.  The couple we watched with (they were from Florida) followed cycling and were able to tell us who was who and what was what during the race.  It was nice sitting with folks who could answer our newbie questions.

One day we had a visit from our friends John and Linda.  We had met them at the Lazy Daze gathering in Quartzsite in January.  They were on their way back to Colorado Springs from a trip to Grand Tetons National Park.  Their route back home took them pretty close to us so they swung by and spent a night at our spot.  It was so good to visit with them again.  The day they came I was working on changing out my house batteries, which were about 6 years old and not really holding a charge anymore.  So, Chris and John took them out and I drove Chris’ truck to the Napa in Steamboat Springs for a couple of new 6 volt golf cart batteries.  Then the guys hooked them up. Linda took a picture in the middle of it and she posted it on her blog, Adventures with Sadie. Our visiting got cut short by rain in the evening, and the next morning it was very foggy when they were about to leave.  But, I still got a pic before they took off.  Looking forward to visiting with them again in Abiquiu, NM later this month, and at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque in October.

Chris, John, Linda

Chris, John, Linda

View from my site with low clouds

View from my site with low clouds

The next morning was Saturday, so we went in to Steamboat Springs to go to the Farmer’s Market and stroll the town.

Steamboat Springs Farmer's Market, next to the courthouse lawn

Steamboat Springs Farmer’s Market

It’s a really pretty town.  They must have strict ordinances about buildings, even the McDonald’s looked like a ski chalet.  There were some very nice statues around town.  I liked the ones of Abe Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. at the benches on one corner.

Bench Statues

Bench Statues

Mark Twain

Mark Twain, with Tom Sawyer and Rebecca

View down the main street, toward the ski mountain.

Lincoln Street and ski runs shown on the mountain

Lincoln Avenue and ski runs shown on the mountain

While camped at Hot Sulphur Springs and Rabbit Ears Pass I/we did some work on the rig.  We (97% Chris) changed my water pump, which was starting to fail.  I hung an IKEA LED light above my back window like I did in my prior RV, and another of the same light above my dinette (I love that light fixture.)  I put in a gooseneck faucet in the kitchen, same fixture as my dad and I put in the last rig.  Mostly I was able to do it myself with Chris supervising and checking my work.

Next we wanted to go to Leadville.  I had found a couple of possible forest sites west and southwest of town and, at 10,000 feet elevation, should be cool enough.  On the way we stopped at Wolford Campground near Kremmling.  I needed to get a full charge on my new batteries (my 85 watt solar panel wasn’t cutting it) and needed a plug in site.  The Wolford site was better than a cramped RV park.  Chris did a little fishing in the lake, but he prefers fly fishing in rivers.

Wolford Reservoir

Wolford Reservoir.  Chris is there – a dot along the shore towards the right side.

Will write about our visit to Leadville next.

Is this a perfect site or what?

Is this a perfect site or what?