Colorado Once Again

Last year was exceptionally bad for truck and camper maintenance issues. This year the only real issue we had was that our camper batteries needed to be replaced. They said we would get 5 to 7 years out of the batteries and they are on year 7 so it was time. We scheduled an appointment at the Earthroamer plant to get new batteries, rotate our tires and get a new roof hatch motor, which was sounding bad and it too usually lasts 5 years.

We stopped in Fort Collins at the Coppersmiths Brewery for another round of beers and a Rueben. Both were very good. The Front Range was in the 90s, which we didn’t expect for September weather, especially after dropping out of the cool mountain air.

We camped at the Boulder County Fairgrounds the first night. This was quite a change from the quiet campsites we had the previous weeks with the Longmont traffic and trains. Plus, the fairgrounds always has something going on, which is a nice thing.

Our truck took more than a day to finish so we camped the second night at St Vrains State Park. This is a beautiful bird sanctuary very close to the Earthroamer plant, but unfortunately is right next to I-25 so the freeway noise drowns out the birds.

The next day we met up with my cousin Fred, and his wife Cathy who were in Denver visiting Matt, their son. We all went out to lunch at the Bierstadt Brewery and spent the afternoon catching up on family news. We picked up our truck that afternoon and decided to camp at the Fairgrounds again.

They had a Roller Derby tournament ongoing for the weekend at the fairground’s exhibition hall and we watched Denver take on a team from Victoria, Australia. Both were ranked in the world and Victoria edged out Denver in a close game.

The next morning we walked over to the farmer’s market on the fairgrounds and stocked up with some produce before hitting the road west.

We left Longmont and headed over the front range into Rocky Mountain NP. It was a beautiful Saturday and there was a lot of traffic into the park. We were just passing through on our way to northwest Colorado, which is another benefit of the Parks pass – the ability to drive through a beautiful park without paying every time.

Fall colors were out in force along the drive to Steamboat Springs. The aspen along the mountain slopes and cottonwood trees next to the rivers were all golden, reds and orange.

On our way to Streamboat Spring we ran into the Silver Creek Fire, a lightning started fire which has burnt over 12,000 acres and is still uncontained.

Our original intent was to head to Dinosaur NM and camp there, but Pam found Juniper Hot Springs off the beaten track just outside Craig, CO. We camped there the night and enjoyed soaking in the funky pools that night and the next morning. While the pools looked black the water was actually crystal clear.

We were greeted to gorgeous sunrise the next morning before our soak in the hot springs.

We packed up and headed south to visit with some friends in Fruita, CO.

Wyoming North to South

We turned south back into Wyoming and drove along the beautiful Clarks Fork Yellowstone River valley before climbing over Dead Indian Pass. The view from the top was spectacular.

We headed into Cody to do laundry and were greeted by the owner who knew everything there is to know about doing laundry correctly and a lot of other interesting facts on the various people visiting his place of business. Who said laundromats can’t be fun.

We dropped out of Cody into Thermopolis, WY. It’s known for two things: hot springs and dinosaurs. We got a camping spot in town at the Fountain of Youth CG, where they had their own hot springs right at the campground. I’m not sure it worked since we both got more wrinkles the longer we stayed in – lol.

The hot springs in town is part of a state park that is very interesting to see.

The other major attraction is the dinosaur museum that has an incredible collection of dinosaurs and fossils from all over the world.

We also visited the new local brewery in town – the One Eyed Buffalo. The beers and food there were good after soaking in the hot springs.

A few of the hot springs within the park charge entrance fees and have slides and other attractions. Pam and I enjoy the simple Bath House with just the pools. It’s also free, or $1.00 if you want to rent a towel. Which we do so that our own towels don’t smell like sulfur from the hot springs.

From Thermopolis we made our way to Bert and Leigh’s place along the Wind River. Their pet longhorns are still there and based on their age will be there for another decade or more.

I helped Bert load up some firewood that was way up in the mountains northwest of Dubois, WY. We hauled three full loads off the mountain so they are set for wood for awhile.

We also took a drive up into the Absaroka mountains north of their place to see the beautiful scenery.

Their jeep got a flat and while Bert and I changed the tire, their Blue Heeler, Shamrock, found a “stick” in the woods for Pam to throw. It was now his new, best chew toy.

After a few days on the Wind River we headed south again due to scheduled service on our rig at the Earthroamer plant in Dacono, Co. We stopped to camp at one of our favorite places, Sugarloaf CG in the Medicine Bow National Forest west of Laramie, WY. The place is just gorgeous and our campsite had an awesome view.

We hiked around the next day with the beautiful mountains and many alpine lakes. The elevation there is over 10,000 feet.

While warning signs are up for the bears in the area, the only wildlife we saw during our hike was a couple of marmots, a western version of the groundhog.

We also ran into two women with five Bernese Mountain dogs and a Golden Retriever. On the way out we came across three moose in the clearing.

This area is high on the campsite list for a reason. What a great place.

Firehole River – Yellowstone NP

We travelled south to a dispersed campsite we both enjoyed along Beaver Creek, between Hebgen Lake and Earthquake Lake. It has been a couple of years since we last camped there and the creek had carved a new path in the canyon, so unfortunately our favorite spot is now day use only. We were camped a ways from the water, but it was still a nice night even with the creek noise much further away.

The next day we entered Yellowstone NP and got a first-come spot in Madison CG for the night, at the junction of the Madison and Firehole Rivers. We spent the day exploring the Firehole River geysers. It’s been a couple of years since we have been to Yellowstone. You forget how beautiful and iconic the place really is. We hiked to one geyser that, like many of the geysers, empties into the Firehole River.

We also saw a herd of bison off in the fields by the river.

The geysers stretch for many miles along the river, but a lot of the smaller roads do not allow RVs, trailers or buses. Forest Fenn’s treasure could be hidden near here in the land of his summer youth, but the Roamer is not the vehicle you want to explore the many remote areas.

The geyser pools vary in size and color due to the mineral content. The water looks clear and blue, but very hot.

We pulled off the road and set up a table in the shade for lunch while we enjoyed the views there.

The largest geyser in the string of geysers is Old Faithful which erupts regularly a few hundred feet into the air. You quickly realize that many of the folks watching Old Faithful are from all over the world.

The next day we decided to head west and leave the park via the Lamar Valley and the northwest exit. On our way there we ran into a little congestion when a herd of bison decided to use the road to pass through the canyon.

The Lamar Valley is a beautiful area with wildlife all over the place.

We spotted herds of pronghorn and bison, but no wolves or bears.

There were several hundred bison in various herds along the valley.

We left Yellowstone and headed east towards Cody, WY. We camped just outside the park at Soda Butte CG, near Cooke City, MT. Due to the local brown bear population, no tents were allowed. As I was talking to the host in the morning, the lady next to our camp site came up and told the host that someone had stolen her husband’s shoes from under their camper in the night. The host explained to her that it was the local foxes that will take anything with salt on them. He had already lost two pairs of work gloves that year when he mistakenly left them out. Based on the look on her face, I’m not sure if she believed him or not.