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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Pleasantly Surprised

~Monday, October 5, 2020~

Day 113 (Travel Day)

Today we say goodbye to Rabbit Valley (we’re ready), with a desire to get back to civilization. The last few weeks were perfect for resting more, driving less, and just “being”. Now for more doing!

After talking with a few RV parks and campgrounds, at this time last year, the lows at night were around 20 and the highs maybe in the 50’s. Because October camping/RV’ing can be a bit dodgy with the weather, many of these establishments close their seasons by mid September. So I guess we picked a good year to come to Colorado to enjoy its beauty in October, with amazing weather and stunning Fall magnificence. One of the places we found online was Ridgway State Park, just outside Ouray, CO. So that’s where we’re headed. There are 3 entrances. The one we’re headed to is Dutch Charlie.

But first, the dumping station. We went back to the Fruita Welcome Center where we had a very little wait and where we were able to take care of most things...except for the trash (which I get because they wouldn’t be able to keep up). This place is a hubub of activity. Hopefully we see more services like these on our future stops.

Driving out of Grand Junction, the scenery is a little less stunning, which was more industrial along highway 50, until we got on highway 550, closer to Ouray, when you start seeing more magnificence with the grand San Juan Mountains surrounding the area. The Fall colors are gorgeous which we hope hangs in there during our month exploring Colorado. We have much to see as we are considering Colorado as one of our choices of where to live at the end of this trip.

We pulled into Ridgway State Park, but were quickly directed to the next Ridgway Park entrance up the road (about 3 miles). Apparently, the first entrance is their full hookup area, with the second entrance being their electric/water only sites. We were greeted by a very enthusiastic host who was very glad to see us. In fact you can tell he’s very glad to see everybody. I’m telling you, we’ve met the friendliest people on this trip. It’s nice to know that there are alot of happy people out here, despite all the troubles going on in the world. We just have to make the most of each day, be kind to one another and realize life ain’t all that bad. Anyway, sorry got a little side tracked. One thing we learned about state parks in Colorado is they charge an extra state park fee to your reservation(this one was $9/day). He asked us if we wanted to buy the annual state park pass for $90 but we didn’t know how many state parks we’d be staying, so we went for the daily fee. We’re certainly not familiar with this in California. But, every state has their own rules/regulations right?

As we drove in, we became pleasantly surprised at how cool this campground is. The photos that Jeff checked out online when making the reservation, didn’t do it justice. This place, we think, could be in our top 5 so far. It appears nearly every site is full (they have over 100 sites here), and think we were lucky to have gotten in, only because it’s October. If it had been summer, I think our chances would have been next to nil. Driving up to our #115 site, we were a little surprised at how tight the driveway was.

Since this might be more challenging with the trees and the narrowness of the space, Jeff took the wheel. It took 2 tries. Try #1 was met with too many branches brushing the side of the trailer and nearly knocking off the roof antenna, also met with a clogging up of eager RVer’s wanting to get on with their day. Try #2….wider turn and straight in. Yeah! If it were me backing in, we likely would have been at it for an hour. (I definitely need more parking lot practice). Sadie promptly jumped out and couldn’t wait to check out all the new smells and scenery of our new place, especially when there is water. There is a reservoir here which we can slightly see from our vantage point, but unfortunately, no swimming allowed. We’ll have to find a nearby river. While Jeff tackled the outside setup, I worked on cleaning/vacuuming the mounds of dust inside the trailer as I set up. Dog hair and dust are not a good mix so thank goodness for my cordless Dyson which could very well die by the end of this trip. We use it everyday! That’s when I realized that the pocket door to our bedroom had come disconnected from the tab that holds it in place while traveling and in turn off it’s rollers to the point of the screws coming out completely from the top of the door. Another project. The route to get here was quite uneven but we didn’t think it would be enough to do this kind of breakage.

After setup, I finally added an email address strictly dedicated for our FootprintsOnWheels followers. Before resending the “welcome video” that we had originally sent in mid-September, I wanted to tie that in with our new email address of I have come to learn that many of you did not receive the video or that it went to your Spam folders when I originally sent it through Wix, so we’re trying it one more time from our personal email. A little techno glitch, but nothing that can’t be fixed.

Before our taco dinner, we took a sunset walk around the campground loops.

We’re digging all of the activity and meeting new RVer’s/campers again. And there are furry friend travel companions everywhere. We are high above the reservoir which appears very turquoise like, and on the loop are a few side trails that lead you to cool decks that overlook the area. The one we came upon was already occupied so we’ll have to try again tomorrow night. All of the sights are spaced far apart with small vegetation between, but the layouts of each site are nicely set up (firepit, picnic tables, concrete pads). Oh, and there are laundry facilities here too….bonus!! And only $1.50/load-what a bargain. We had a nice chat with my sister Tracy where all is good in Lake Oswego. We had much to catch up on since it had been about 2 weeks since our last chat. Then to cap the evening, Sadie had a MUCH needed bath. Because of the dirt ridden campsites we’d been staying at these last few weeks, she was a dingy brown instead of yellow. This was the longest bath/shower she’s ever had and because of it, I think the gray tank is nearly full and we’ll already need a water refill tomorrow. Thank goodness for the BlueBoy!

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