We departed Meredith Lake before the wind picked up and pit-stopped in Dumas for “cheap” diesel. Ruby was running on fumes and needed a big fill – took about an hour to fill up her main tank and slip tank…for a measly $1500 US! From there we started climbing in altitude, through the far NW corner of New Mexico to Raton. Do you know what Raton is famous for? The highest elevation point on the Santa Fe trail and the Capulin Volcano. But let’s go back to the highest elevation point, which was 7834 ft. We started the day at under 3000 ft thinking well we only have a bit of elevation gain so it shouldn’t be too much of a climb! (said no one ever!). Did I mention the winds? We were hoping that when we left Texas, we might be able to leave the wind behind, but NO NO…it was probably the second worse driving day Todd has had. Our 3 hr and 45 minute trip took almost 8 hours…..We arrived in Trinidad, CO and hung out overnight on the street beside the Walmart. We did get there early enough to go for a walk downtown and it seemed like the city had a cool, artistic vibe. We googled the city to find out what it was famous for and there is a lot of coal mine history, its part of the Santa Fe trail (established to haul freight from Kansas City to Santa Fe, New Mexico and to trade with the Spanish.) but apparently the most recent thing it is famous for is that it is the #1 Sex Change Capital of US. OK. Good to know!
Up early the next day, to again, try and beat the wind into Colorado Springs. Departed by 8 am and wind was insane by 9. Luckily this was only a quick 2-hour drive! Ended up at the Garden of Gods Park! Wow! If you ever find yourself in this area of the country, I highly recommend this park. The size of the park is about 1300 acres and include hiking and biking trails through red rock and cool rock formations like the Balanced rock and Kissing Camels. We spent a few hours walking through and checking out all the beauty this place had to offer and took a short video of course: Garden of the Gods
Further north later that day, we managed to squat in a park parking lot in Littleton for a nite – even though it said no overnight parking. We did get a visit from a Sheriff at 11 pm (Jill heard the doorbell ring, but we were in bed, so I didn’t get up) and the next day around 9:30 am. He said (3 times) he didn’t care that we were parked there, but some Karen called to complain and if we left “sometime” today, we were fine to stay. The reason we stayed in this spot, was that we needed a close spot to park for the night (15mins) so that we could attend the sunrise service on Easter Sunday at Red Rock Amphitheatre at 5 am (we had to get up at 4:20). This was very cool! Check this video out: Sunrise Service
We checked in to Chatfield State Park and basically biked our asses off for 2 days. This was a very nice park (if you are a biker, fisherman and/or boater) – luckily we were bikers! The first day we actually took the Waterton Canyon trail. It was relatively flat, so decided to give this 12 mile round trip ride a go. The scenery was lovely, there were lots of spots to stop and at the turn around point, we realized that the entire trip back was downhill, woohoo!
The second day we did the whole 10-mile ride around the lake, across the dam – this was awesome too! We didn’t have much time in Colorado as it was our “going home” week. Here are a few things we learned:
- some groceries are slightly cheaper than Texas and some are more expensive
- you better ride a bike (bike lanes and paths are everywhere, like I have never witnessed in my life – and don’t stop your bike while in the bike lane or you will get your ass chewed out)
- don’t ask for directions or help because people seem to be grumpy / unfriendly / shocked someone is talking to them
- state parks are so much more expensive, and you get less bang in the campground (than Texas)
- Littleton is the home of Columbine High School (the 23 anniversary was the day that we figured this out)
- We miss Texas
A short visit to Colorado and we know we will be back to see more, but we had to boogie home. We made it to the Sheridan Walmart (that had the biggest parking lot we have ever seen!), and then to Sweetgrass, MT – right at the border for our early morning cross.