Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Saturday, August 7, 2021

More on our Summer Escape

 At Dolores River Campground, Dolores, Colorado...

It's hard to believe we're in our sixth year of this nomadic lifestyle--moving about the country as we like, following the sun or running away from it...moving from one beautiful or interesting place at our whim and staying as long as we wish. The odd thing is that it now seems normal, and the thought of being tethered to a single place again--while it may cross our minds from time to time, it has little appeal. We know, of course, that day will come, but we try not to think about it. 

Yes, I know...buying the place in Hondo seems like we're moving in that direction, but we consider that a home base--a place where we keep our stuff and where we will likely spend more time in the winter as the limitations of age creep upon us. One thing we've noticed is that we don't travel at a breakneck speed as at the beginning. We tend to go somewhere we like and stay there for perhaps a month or more at a time. There are a couple reasons for this: 1) We've already seen most of the things on our bucket list, and 2) spending a long time at a destination allows us to thoroughly investigate all the area has to offer.

This summer is a good example; Dolores, Colorado is a tiny town, yet it is close to some of the most beautiful areas of the country.  A big plus is that we have escaped the oven-like summer in Texas and wake up most mornings to a temperature like this:

Yes, it's 56 degrees outside as we warm up the coach inside with the furnace. The temperature on the warmest days may reach the mid-eighties, but the humidity is very low. 

There is only one problem with our campground--which is the best Dolores has to offer--and that is that it is too far from town, thereby making cell phone operation unreliable--a big no-no for us. The cell towers are on the opposite end of town, and that seems to be the issue. It would have been nice if they had been placed midtown--then we would have no reception problems.

For that reason, we will probably move to an RV park nearer to Cortez (about 10 miles away) next summer. That will solve all our connectivity problems.  Unfortunately, we wont have access to the Dolores River, as depicted below at our current campground:

This cold, clear mountain stream is something we could enjoy for hours. The rest of the world seems far away.

The setting sun forces us to return to our rigs, as it is getting too cool to be outside without a jacket.

Fortunately, traveling with good friends Jackie and Steve, we frequently have some sort of activity going, or it could be nothing more than sitting out beside the coach enjoying the company. They, like other friends with whom we travel, are so flexible and easy-going, adding to the enjoyment:

Occasionally, we have the good fortune to run across other friends during our travel, and sure enough, Don and Linda, members of the Tiffin RV club to which we all belong, came by to see us. We had a nice visit with them and many laughs to boot:

One of our side trips involved a visit to Telluride, which we accessed via the steep gondola ride from nearby Mountain Village. This is always a fun and unusual way to get down to this old mining town that has become a haven for the rich and famous. Among the residents and/or landowners are Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Keven Costner and Ralph Lauren:

Tiny Dolores could seem like anything but a destination place, but its proximity to Cortez and the magnificent San Juan mountains makes it a perfect spot to find things to do or to do nothing. For example, on Wednesdays, we can go to the farmers' market on the town square, where you can find a little of everything among the vendors:

There are also days that we call "down" days, wherein we just relax and perhaps do a few chores. Steve's and Jackie's coach is parked next door to Phannie, and Steve is forever cleaning or piddling with it, making me, of course, look bad, as I view inactivity as a a sort of, well, activity. 

In order not to appear totally indolent, I decided to polish Phannie's headlight lenses. As you know, these appear to get filmy over years of sun exposure, and I had had a polishing kit for some time, waiting for the inspiration to use it. Steve's endless fussing with his coach became the catalyst. I have a couple of before-and-after photos that show this effort turned out pretty well.  This is not a very good comparison, but I forgot to take a "before" photo before I polished the lens, so I had to find this one from last year and blow it up:

Here's the way it looked after using the Sylvania kit I bought from Amazon for about twenty bucks:

Pretty cool, huh?  Here's what the kit looks like and yes, it takes a little work; I had to take the rest of the day off to recover. But guess who ordered a kit of his own?  Yep, busy bee Steve; just watching him is wearing me out.

No, those are not stock headlamps. I had these installed when we began fulltiming, thinking they made Phannie seem a little less dated. They work well, too.

Well, that's about enough for today. This is beginning to seem a little like work, and you know how I feel about that!  I'll leave you with another magnificent sunset looking west from near Dolores. I never get tired of these, and I intend to save as many as possible for that time when I will only be able to remember them through photos:

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I fail to appreciate it each day as I should.

We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing. 
 ---George Bernard Shaw

"I get up every morning, and I just don't let the old man in." ---Clint Eastwood



  1. Mike, you'd better hope Sandy isn't keeping track, because it sounds like Steve is going for the gold on the Chore Score. If your cooking skills are more highly developed than Steve's, I'll keep my fingers crossed that it's by enough to keep you out of the doghouse. By the way, I'd be hanging out in those Adirondack chairs by the river all the time - it looks so peaceful and relaxing! Enjoy!

    1. Well, fortunately, Sandy's interest in the outside of the coach is minimal, so I trump Steve by a long shot by cooking and doing dishes. (It looks like I've inherited that chore for good.) That was a cool place there by the river; we've really enjoyed it. Our best, always, Mary.

  2. Dolores, Colorado looks lovely and your spot A-1!
    Interesting about the gondola ride down to Telluride! Kevin Costner you say?? *sigh*
    Bill is another Steve, I think in many ways but me, I'm like you I do what needs to be done but don't look for things that class as work. I like the pages of a book - it takes effort to turn them, right? Enjoy!

  3. Ah, a kindred spirit! You and I are on the right track, I think. I've worked enough in my long career. Got the T-shirt. Always good to hear from you, Patsy!

  4. We are very familiar with Delores. Friends of ours built a house there years ago, and we've visited them a few times. There's a campground north of about 2 hrs on 145 that has stunning views. Enjoy your stay. We summer 1 hr south of Jackson Hole, WY. Love it. Winters for us are Round Rock, TX. Best of both worlds. Gotta have a place to store your stuff, and Austin area is a good place to be for Real Estate appreciation right now.

    1. I think we have stayed at the place you described south of Jackson hole. (Star something? Nice!) Yes, we have similar situations—except we’re still traveling a bit, but definitely slowing down. Thanks for following along with us.


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