Even though I live in a beautiful place in the mountains, Chateau Chaparral doesn't always provide the solitude and peace I often crave. Lucky for me that I can hop in Wanda and find those things not too far away.
My recent getaway took me first to Canon City where I went to a gathering to celebrate the retirement of my cool, funny and sweet friend, Betsy. I got to see old friends and make some new ones, share some great food and wine, and enjoy the amazing scenery along Grape Creek. After the party I popped Wanda's new top and unzipped the window coverings. From my bed I had an amazing view of the full moon which tried to keep me awake, but I finally fell asleep to the music of the creek. The next morning I got to share coffee with Larc, who is just as cool, funny and sweet as Bets (actually, all my friends fit that description) and then headed uphill to find some cooler temperatures.
There are always a couple of glitches when first getting back into Wanda, and this time they were pretty much self-inflicted. I had forgotten that I put RV antifreeze in my fresh water tank when I came back to Colorado in February. (Note to self: Don't Come Back Until May). Before I left on this getaway I put three gallons of fresh water into the tank with the forgotten antifreeze. Duh! It is never a good idea to wash your face or dishes with pink water, just saying. I would never dump that stuff on the ground, so I bought some extra bottled water and decided to deal with cleaning out the now five gallons of pink stuff when I got home. The second issue was my propane tank handle which would not turn. That meant I didn't have any way to make my morning coffee. Disaster! Propane is not something I want to mess with but being a big girl I decided to Google it to see what was wrong. Google warned not to use a wrench and Google is always right, right? Two places I contacted did not want to deal with it, but when I called Amerigas in Alamosa a nice lady said if I could arrive when they opened at 8:00 a.m. they could take a look at it. The technician put on a fancy, grippy glove and managed to open to valve. He speculated that the increase in temperature had created a vacuum, so it was no biggie and there was no charge.
The night before I got to Alamosa I camped at the Sand Dunes Pool in Hooper. It was nice to have electricity (for microwaving my coffee water, I have my priorities). Camping there got me 50% off on the pool entrance, and I spent the entire morning floating on a rented noodle and pretending to do water aerobics. After taking a lunch break in Wanda, I paid $3.00 to go into the adults only Greenhouse area. Hot mineral spas, a good book, free wifi, a glass of wine and olive tapenade – a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
The rest of my journey involved camping in National Forest Campgrounds along the Rio Grande and Lake Fork of the Gunnison rivers, or boondocking in the San Isabel National Forest. I stopped to have a soy latte and avocado toast in Creede. I pulled off at most every roadside point of interest I saw and explored a couple of small museums, one in Del Norte and one in Creede.
Most of the time I did not have cell service which of course meant no wifi either. After a lot of deep breathing to get over the panic attack, I realized that not seeing any news pop-ups and knowing that nobody can find you is very liberating. While camped I did a lot of reading, played my ukulele, went hiking (with my bear spray), watched a couple of pre-downloaded Netflix shows, and even took a couple of naps.
I enjoyed conversations with strangers, like Bob who had inherited some money as a young man and proceeded to travel the world, stopping to live in the Himalayas and India. He chose to live in Alamosa when he ran out of money. Jim asked my advice on fly-fishing. Based on my knowledge it was a very short conversation, but when I saw him later in the day he had caught a fish, and a beer. I met another Carol who has been full-time in a Class C for seven years. We swapped phone numbers and I hope to see her on the road.
Being in Wanda is when I am most content, and getting to explore this beautiful state I call home is the cherry on the sundae. Please check out my pictures, then get out there and discover the beauty of this great country, even if it is in your own back yard.