I have decided to change my format of my blogs. Keeping it simple. One photo, a tid-bit of information and a personal connection. Nothing more, nothing less.
Willie Nelson sings that “If you don’t like this rainy weather you better pack your bags and move.”
The wind howls and screams past our little home, rocking her uncomfortably. Rain and hail pelt the windows as we wonder at the difficulty of packing up and leaving during a crazy prairie storm.
Limon KOA is located on the Colorado’s High Plains. A beautiful, clean and quiet park, 90 minutes from Denver and Colorado Springs along I-70. We stopped there on our way from Kansas. They provide a playground, bike rentals and swimming pool (seasonal). Many of these things were being worked on or were closed due to Covid-19. Pets are welcome. Sites are pull-Thru RV sites, a little close but easy access. The store has some RV supplies, groceries and gifts. Our most memorable moments? JackaLopes. We had Kaelin believing jackalopes were real. https://koa.com/campgrounds/limon/
This photo, taken at the beginning of our Summer 2020 adventures, represents how I feel right now. Sad to be no longer traveling in our little home. Sad to be back in the oppressive heat of Florida. Sad and watchful of how things are in our world today and scared of the upcoming storms.
We have planned. We have prepped. We now pray. And this being spring and summer of 2020 we do a lot of praying. It’s inevitable. Something will happen, it’s going to and nothing you do stops it. When the Coronovirus hit we prayed majorally. We prayed, like everyone else, for it to be some big mistake. Then school was cancelled. Being teachers we went into panic mode – they were going to cancel our summer! The very thing we looked forward to the rest of the ten months of the year. When one state after another shut down, we prayed they wouldn’t cancel our reservations in Michigan. They did. We heard that campgrounds across the nation were closed and it didn’t look like an end was in sight. We prayed for an alternative. Our prayer was finally answered in the form of Riverview Campground in Loveland, Colorado. Being a private campground they were able to open sooner than the state and national parks. Hallelujah! We were on our way.
Then the praying was kind of superficial. You pray for what you might have forgotten to pack. It can’t be helped, you will forget something. Usually, we forget something important. Our classic was when we forgot to pack coffee and the coffee pot into the Chrylser, our sailboat. You don’t just run over to the local Wal-mart from a sailboat! Coffee is Important!! That has never been forgotten by either of us and serves as a reminder every year to check twice. This year we did very well, primarily because our planning and prepping paid off. We only forgot a drill and our new “We’ve Camped There” stick on map. Livable mistakes. Make a list people; can’t stress it enough.
You pray for good weather and safe roads. We really had both this year, so far. For the most part, we have managed to steer clear of any real major rain. We had lots of wind in Kansas and one crazy storm in Limon, Colorado. Even the other day, coming back from seeing the Pawnee National Grasslands Buttes (which are amazing) we managaed to skirt around a really bad storm system. We could see it off in the distance, always keeping to the right of us. It made for some impressive skies. I don’t know why Capt’n Jim didn’t want to constantly stop for me to take pictures.
You pray that your travels are uneventful. Well the laugh is on you. Something always happens. Last year it was our wheel bearings seizing up on Betty Deux. We had to leave her at a rest stop overnight and Jim had to take off work to fix her just enough to get her home. The whole ordeal was awful! New axles, bearings and tires later…
This trip was no different. “Oh darn, I don’t think we turned off the water pump.” “It will be alright until we get to our stop.” No, I don’t think so. Several hours later, we stopped to get gas and turning the corner Jim saw water pouring from the camper. Water pump no problem, until something bumps against the kitchen faucet and turns the water on into the covered sink. 40 gallons of water throughout the camper. We spent the next several days soaking up as much water as possible. At one point, Jim even had to suck water out of the heater vents. As far as we can tell we got it all. Pray? Praying no further damage shows up later down the road because we didn’t follow our checklist. Of course, now it’s a joke every time we pack up and leave. “Is the water pump off?”
Yes, you pray. We pray that we are making a safe choice this year due to Covid. But we are taking our precautions. We wear the dreaded mask any time we are in public. We keep our distance. Hand sanitizer is our new go to after store trips and yes we follow the arrows! Well, most of the time.
We have seen many people, for example in Missouri, not follow guidelines and it’s very disconcerting. Colorado, however, has been great. Very few people don’t follow the mandated protocol. Very few. We are outdoors, in some of the freshest air we have smelled. (Well, maybe except for Greeley, Colorado. But, that’s for another story.) It’s beautiful here and so worth it. Yes, we pray for our health, but knowing that we have partaked of the great outdoors of the Rocky Mountains and it’s surrounding area, I think we are good.
For once, Jim feels the truck and camper is completely ready. He worked tirelessly over the past several months making many alterations and upgrades. He’s excited about our new cell phone booster. Boy will be doing online classes again this year, so he will need the extra connectivity.
In addition to the booster,, he also installed shock absorbers for the axles to smooth the ride. In addition to the shock absorbers, he put two new tires on the trailer and new heavy duty axles. We had the horrible experience of the bearings burning and caused the axle to bend. This is not an experience worth repeating! So, of course, prior to this trip all wheel bearings were greased and lubed. On the lighter side he installed a poop hose holder, cleaned the ac and the vents, replaced the thermastat with digital.
We also did a complete bathroom upgrade. I noticed that we were having a lot of separation of the vinyl wallpaper. We have had that issue in the main living area from the time we bought it and then it showed up in the bathroom. I was concerned for moisture getting into the walls and causing mold. I removed the wallpaper (with a hairdryer) and applied 4 coats of really good paint. Jim installed a real (not plastic) water faucet and then he installed a stone backsplash (again, real, no press on stuff) behind the sink. This was done after he also raised the bathroom cabinet higher. He was tired of bumping his head everytime he brushed his teeth. New caulking, new shower curtain and a few pretty photos and voila, new bathroom.
Cooking prep has begun: hamburger for taco salads in a jar, hamburgers premade, rice cooked and frozen for cauliburgers. I make salads in a jar which gave us an easy healthy alternative for a couple of nights. They can be made ahead and kept for up to 5 days. I baked muffins and egg/sausage “muffins” for easy breakfasts. Freezer was packed.
Clothes were packed at least a week ahead. I told everyone to wear it twice if you have too! We did buy a few clothing items to have some fresh wear on the trip. I never had the chance to do that in my earlier years so I like to take advantage of summer buying and then again right before school.
All laundry is done! House is cleaned (no one wants to come home to a dirty house.) Dishes cleaned. Coffee pot emptied (believe me that is not cool to come home to!) Mail stopped. Lawn guy hired. This was a new one for us and hopefully it will be helpful to come home to a nice mowed yard and not a jungle. I’m sure the neighbors will appreciate it. Betty Deux (camper) gets washed and waxed. Bertha too. That’s our truck. You know because she has a big butt!
Then comes the last two days. That’s when it gets real. Gas tanks filled. Toiletries and meds in. Pillows and of course Boy’s blankies. Cameras, printers and computers go in. All those little things you couldn’t put in ahead of time. We also turn off the AC and the water heater in the house. I empty the fridge and we turn it off. My daughter laughs that she needs to keep some room in her fridge for my yearly purge! If you are going to be gone an extended time why pay for utilities that you aren’t going to be there to use. We do put a light on a timer. That helps for safety purposes and have someone check your house often or use securtiy cameras connected to your phone.
Prepping takes time and is best done over time. Don’t wait until the last minute. It will not be worth it. Use your list you created in the planning stages and check it multiple times. Have your partner check it too. We really followed the list well this year and it helped tremendously. I think when it came down to it we only forgot a couple of things. We forgot the drill for doing the levelers, but bought another one at Walmart. We also forgot my new sticker map. I was so sad about that, but I’ve been informed that we can just buy another one as it wasn’t that expensive. YAY! Can’t wait to start inserting all those places we have stayed on the new map. (Oh, and if you are wondering, we are from the “It’s where WE have stayed overnight” camp.)
Wanderlust settles in me like a too tight favorite jacket. I’m excited about wearing it, but it pinches all the same. School wraps up this week and the countdown begins. With that comes intense anxiety. Can I get everything done in time? What will I forget? I’m adding to and amending my packing list constantly. That, I think is finally almost publishable!
On the other hand, my mind plays previews of roads not even traveled yet. Open highways, mountain views, and quaint towns. My excitement can hardly be contained. Jim watches lots of YouTube videos and travels Google Earth in preparation for the trip. I think this is his mental meditation.
We have a destination and a few weeks ago we weren’t even sure we would be going any where. Originally we were to go to Michigan, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic we had to change gears. Now we are Colorado bound!
In the past, travel took the form of short burst, several days to several weeks at a time. This year we reserved a month at Riverview RV park in Loveland, Colorado where my daughter lives. We stayed 2 days there last year, so know pretty well what to expect. Of course even this causes that anxiety jacket to pinch again.
It’s the unknown that rubs at my nerves. It’s also the unknown that makes it exciting. I am reminded that the goal is not the destination, but the journey.
This is my first post in a long time. I find writing blog post time consuming and always seem to find excuses. Perhaps this year will be different. That being said, I would like to change the name of my blog site. 2bikes1boat served its purpose, but no more. I would like something that reflects our traveling ways, our sense of adventure and wonder. Ideas Welcome!