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Author Topic: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018  (Read 896 times)

Sun2Retire

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Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« on: October 05, 2017, 10:55:37 AM »
We're in the early planning stages for an August 2018 loop through Colorado, escaping the Phoenix heat. The tentative routing would have us coming through Moab, heading towards Vail, then Aspen, Ouray (went through there many years ago) & Durango, then down to Taos (where we just left, had a great time).

Looking for destination ideas, things to do, and campground recommendations. Probably spend about 4 full days at each destination, would alternate between dry camp and full hookup. I presume some reservations will be required so trying to get an early start.

Thx all.
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
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halfwright

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2017, 11:14:00 AM »
I think the prettiest place in Colorado is Steamboat lake. There's something going on in Steamboat Springs every week. There's a PRCA rodeo every weekend.
Jim And Darlene Wright
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Sun2Retire

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2017, 12:12:11 PM »
I think the prettiest place in Colorado is Steamboat lake. There's something going on in Steamboat Springs every week. There's a PRCA rodeo every weekend.

It's been added to the itinerary, thanks!
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
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VallAndMo

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2017, 01:56:07 PM »
Howdy Sun2Retire,

What a coincidence! We too will spend a lot of time around Metro Phoenix, but plan on heading to Colorado during summer.

We've therefore been researching Colorado destinations for quite some time, here's what we've come up with:

We also second Halfwright's suggestion for Steamboat Springs, it came up a lot during our research.

Hope you find the above useful, and if you find other CO (or other) nice wintering places convenient to someone coming out of Phoenix, please let us know.

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.

AStravelers

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2017, 02:07:25 PM »
Here is a link to our blog for our 3 1/2 month tour of Colorado in our 40' DP in 2008.  The vast majority of our trip was dry camping or boondocking. 

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/2009/10/colorado-october-7-2009-summary-of-our.html
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Sun2Retire

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2017, 02:20:55 PM »
Wow, thanks for all the great info everyone 👍
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

ArdraF

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2017, 05:32:27 PM »
Scott, if you're not already aware of it, the Ouray to Silverton part of the loop is on what they call the Million Dollar Highway.  It's beautiful but some people don't like to drive it in RVs because of steep drop-offs and several high passes.

ArdraF
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Sun2Retire

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2017, 05:57:46 PM »
I think the prettiest place in Colorado is Steamboat lake. There's something going on in Steamboat Springs every week. There's a PRCA rodeo every weekend.


Suggestions on where to stay? The state park sounds nice
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
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Heli_av8tor

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2017, 06:05:38 PM »
Scott, if you're not already aware of it, the Ouray to Silverton part of the loop is on what they call the Million Dollar Highway.  It's beautiful but some people don't like to drive it in RVs because of steep drop-offs and several high passes.

ArdraF

My DW calls it "Dead Man's Highway" and having traveled it in the toad, forbids me from taking the MH on it.

Tom & Theresa
2004 Pace Arrow 37C, Workhorse W22, 8.1 Vortec
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Sun2Retire

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2017, 06:38:03 PM »
Scott, if you're not already aware of it, the Ouray to Silverton part of the loop is on what they call the Million Dollar Highway.  It's beautiful but some people don't like to drive it in RVs because of steep drop-offs and several high passes.

My DW calls it "Dead Man's Highway" and having traveled it in the toad, forbids me from taking the MH on it.

No, wasn't aware Ardra. How does it compare to Hiway 1 north of San Simeon?
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
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halfwright

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2017, 06:40:25 PM »
Scott


Google pictures from the park and see what you think. I have volunteered there twice for a total of 8 months. I love the place.
Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, half poodle-- half garbage disposal
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter

rnjump

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2017, 06:50:54 PM »
  We just came from a campground north of Cortez, south of Telluride. Its call Priest Gulch RV park. This is the prettiest, well kept and landscaped place I have seen yet. The Delores river runs right by your bed room window. I was so impressed we reserved for next September already.

taoshum

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2017, 06:55:15 PM »
Might wanna spend a day touring the "Black Canyon of the Gunnison".... 2000'+ deep canyon that's spectacular.  KOA just north of Ouray was nice; Several Bur Rec campgrounds around Gunnison Lake plus several private RV Parks along the shoreline.  Hot Springs in Pagosa are nice as well as the Public Park Hot Springs in Ouray.  Telluride is always a kick but often crowded.  Canyon of the Ancients near Cortez and the Anasazi Vistor's Center are great for history buffs.  Golf courses in or near all these places are first rate but especially in Breckenridge where the bicycle trails are plentiful.  Mining Museum in Leadville tells some amazing stories.  Narrow gage RR between Durango/Silverton gets a ton of interest every year.  River runs on the Arkansas between Buena Vista and Salida can be exciting.  Great Sand Dunes NP outside Alamosa would be worth a visit... adjacent to come of the famous fourteeners.  Mesa Verde NP just east of Cortez merits some attention.  Of course Rocky Mt NP up north has the honors of NPs in Colo.  If you get a Colo State Parks Pass you could mosey from one to the next and have great campgrounds at a reasonable cost.

Probably enough for several months.
07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

ArdraF

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2017, 07:00:56 PM »
I suggest you Google Million Dollar Highway Elevation/Photos/etc. and you'll see people's comments.  Terrifying is one word I've seen used.  But, other people drive it with no problem.  Best you judge for yourself.  Can't remember that part of CA 1.  The Million Dollar Highway doesn't have many guardrails so a mistake would be really bad for all concerned.

ArdraF
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 07:02:52 PM by ArdraF »
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rnjump

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2017, 08:12:33 PM »
I suggest you Google Million Dollar Highway Elevation/Photos/etc. and you'll see people's comments.  Terrifying is one word I've seen used.  But, other people drive it with no problem.  Best you judge for yourself.  Can't remember that part of CA 1.  The Million Dollar Highway doesn't have many guardrails so a mistake would be really bad for all concerned.

ArdraFIf you travel from the south it isn't bad. You will be against the canyon wall. If you are heading south you will be along the edge. There are no guardrails for easy snow removal. I remember about 25 years ago stopping at the top of Red Mountain pass and looking off the edge of the road down in the canyon floor and seeing a couple of cars at the bottom! It scared the hell out of this flat-lander.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 08:27:54 PM by Sun2Retire »

Sun2Retire

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2017, 08:36:18 PM »
I suggest you Google Million Dollar Highway Elevation/Photos/etc. and you'll see people's comments.  Terrifying is one word I've seen used.  But, other people drive it with no problem.  Best you judge for yourself.  Can't remember that part of CA 1.  The Million Dollar Highway doesn't have many guardrails so a mistake would be really bad for all concerned.

Aye caramba! Ya, I'm pretty brave, but think I'll avoid that. Yikes. Makes Highway 1 look like a freeway.

Looks like we'll be going Ouray-Taos via Dove Creek!

My DW calls it "Dead Man's Highway" and having traveled it in the toad, forbids me from taking the MH on it.

Especially southbound, she'd be looking over the edge!
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 08:42:45 PM by Sun2Retire »
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

taoshum

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2017, 09:26:29 PM »
Aye caramba! Ya, I'm pretty brave, but think I'll avoid that. Yikes. Makes Highway 1 look like a freeway.

Looks like we'll be going Ouray-Taos via Dove Creek!

Especially southbound, she'd be looking over the edge!

Via Dove Ck would be about 100 miles further than via Durango or even back thru Gunnison and Monte Vista...??
07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

Sun2Retire

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2017, 10:58:00 PM »
Via Dove Ck would be about 100 miles further than via Durango or even back thru Gunnison and Monte Vista...??


I hadn't checked the mileage via Gunnison/Monte Vista. When you say via Durango, are you talking about via Rico and Dolores?
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
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2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
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NewmanRacing

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2017, 09:33:38 AM »
Penny Hot Springs, Near Aspen. Hard to find, tough to beat!

https://www.uncovercolorado.com/hot-springs/penny-hot-springs/

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AStravelers

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2017, 09:37:58 AM »
The million dollar highway is a normal width highway.  The fastest most people drive a RV is about 45mph.  In the sections with the drop offs w/o guard rail we drove it at 30mph or slower.  There is no reason on a normal width highway driving at 30mph, or maybe 20mph, to drive off the edge of the normal width highway. 

However for folks with limited or no mountain driving this is not a route to take.  You must be comfortable in down hill driving in the mountains.  That means starting down a steep incline, by manually selecting 2nd or 3rd gear, letting the engine do almost all the braking, only pressing hard on the brakes for 10 seconds or so to drop your speed by 15-20mph then staying off the brakes for at least 60 seconds, or better yet get into a low enough gear and low enough speed you only have to press the brakes every 2-4 minutes. 

Keep in mind, you are going to be driving on roads like the million dollar hwy all over Colorado, they just don't look so scary because they usually have 10-20 feet of gravel between the pavement and the drop off.  Because of the snow removal requirements a lot of the highways don't have guard rails. 

Even taking I-70 though Colorado, if you don't use proper engine braking procedures you WILL encounter very long steep downhill stretches where your brakes can over heat and brake fade will cause to loose braking ability.   
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2017, 09:41:38 AM »
BTW, Silverton, CO on the million dollar hwy is a great place to visit.  Lots of interesting history.  Good boondocking places.  Many of the gravel roads are suitable for 2 wheel drive vehicles for many miles with great scenic views.  Just use caution when the road starts getting rough and requiring high clearance and turn around before damaging your vehicle. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2017, 09:44:06 AM »
An alternate route from Ouray to Durango many RV'ers take is going through Telluride and Delores.  Not as steep and the drop offs are not as bad.  It is still a very scenic route.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Sun2Retire

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2017, 10:24:49 AM »
An alternate route from Ouray to Durango many RV'ers take is going through Telluride and Delores.  Not as steep and the drop offs are not as bad.  It is still a very scenic route.

Thanks. When others originally pointed out the issues with the Million Dollar Highway I just took a quick glance at alternates and saw the route to the west that's a lot longer. Our next destination will be Taos so don't need to pass through Durango (although maybe we should?). If we skip Durango looks like Gunnison/Monte Vista would be the shortest route

That said....

The million dollar highway is a normal width highway.  The fastest most people drive a RV is about 45mph.  In the sections with the drop offs w/o guard rail we drove it at 30mph or slower.  There is no reason on a normal width highway driving at 30mph, or maybe 20mph, to drive off the edge of the normal width highway. 

 You must be comfortable in down hill driving in the mountains. 

When I found the picture I attached (previous post), I'm now thinking the picture made the road look much narrower than it really is. When I did several Google streetview looks, in many of them there are 35-40' coaches with toads, along with full-sized semis. In every shot the road is substantially wider than California Highway 1 north of San Simeon, which I've driven - takes full concentration but as you say, no reason to drive off the edge. (I have to admit though, wouldn't be a good time to blow a front tire. Not that there is a good time.)

I would like to see both the views from the highway, and Silverton, so will have to give it more research and thought. Will step through the entire route with streetview to get a full sense of it.

Re steep downgrades, I've had the coach on as much as 18%. Down to first at the top and exhaust brake, with some braking. Slow but worked out fine.

I do appreciate everyone's comments on this highway, whatever route we end up taking.
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

ArdraF

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2017, 06:08:57 PM »
Scott, I highly recommend getting a copy of the Mountain Directory West for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers .  There's also one for the east coast.  It's arranged by state and each state map shows the problem roads by number which is accompanied by narrative describing the road.  It mentions length of ascent/descent, types of curves, speed limit, etc.  It does not recommend the Million Dollar Highway for large vehicles like trucks and motorhomes.  When you're in Ouray you're likely to smell someone's brakes as they come down the steep descent into town.

ArdraF
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ArdraF

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2017, 06:15:02 PM »
Quote
ArdraFIf you travel from the south it isn't bad. You will be against the canyon wall. If you are heading south you will be along the edge.

Rnjump - HA!  You can do it if you want to, but not me.  We were just there in August for the Ouray rally and there's a section going north that I would not want to be on in a large vehicle.  Each to his/her own!  But not this kid....

ArdraF
ArdraF
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LarsMac

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2017, 12:14:39 PM »
I suggest you Google Million Dollar Highway Elevation/Photos/etc. and you'll see people's comments.  Terrifying is one word I've seen used.  But, other people drive it with no problem.  Best you judge for yourself.  Can't remember that part of CA 1.  The Million Dollar Highway doesn't have many guardrails so a mistake would be really bad for all concerned.

ArdraF

Search Google Maps "Red Mountain Pass" You can get a nice "Visual Tour" of the highway.
My stepson drives our 18-Wheeler. He prefers to drive it at night.
 
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Heli_av8tor

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2017, 01:38:57 PM »

My stepson drives our 18-Wheeler. He prefers to drive it at night.

That reminds me of my flight instructors advice on night-time engine failure landings. He advised: "Turn on the landing lights about 50 feet above ground. If you like what you see - land. If you don't like what you see - turn them off". Fortunately I never had to try his advice.

Tom
Tom & Theresa
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2014 Honda CR-V Toad, Roadmaster -5 Base and tow bar
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AStravelers

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2017, 01:40:31 PM »
Thanks. When others originally pointed out the issues with the Million Dollar Highway I just took a quick glance at alternates and saw the route to the west that's a lot longer. Our next destination will be Taos so don't need to pass through Durango (although maybe we should?). If we skip Durango looks like Gunnison/Monte Vista would be the shortest route

That said....

When I found the picture I attached (previous post), I'm now thinking the picture made the road look much narrower than it really is. When I did several Google streetview looks, in many of them there are 35-40' coaches with toads, along with full-sized semis. In every shot the road is substantially wider than California Highway 1 north of San Simeon, which I've driven - takes full concentration but as you say, no reason to drive off the edge. (I have to admit though, wouldn't be a good time to blow a front tire. Not that there is a good time.)

I would like to see both the views from the highway, and Silverton, so will have to give it more research and thought. Will step through the entire route with streetview to get a full sense of it.

Re steep downgrades, I've had the coach on as much as 18%. Down to first at the top and exhaust brake, with some braking. Slow but worked out fine.

I do appreciate everyone's comments on this highway, whatever route we end up taking.
Here is a link to our blog of the drive from Montrose to Silverton in our 40' DP with a few views of the hwy.  Note, the picture of the 10mph curve is misleading.  On this curve and a couple more, the width of each side of the pavement is 15'-20' so you can swing wide.
http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/2009/08/colorado-august-19-2009-travel-from.html

The 2 newer blog entries following the one above show a couple of the side trips we took in our toad in the Silverton area. 
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 01:42:27 PM by AStravelers »
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Lou Schneider

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2017, 04:31:06 PM »
The Royal Gorge Bridge near Canon City is worth a visit.  Walk across the bridge, take the tourist train through the bottom of the Gorge and visit the territorial prison museum in Canon (Canyon) City.

There are several RV parks west of Canon City near the Bridge park, they're around 7000 ft in elevation (about 1000 ft higher than Canon City) so they stay cool in the summer.

Although I missed it this time, there's also the Cog Railway and the scenic drive to the top of Pikes Peak in the Manitou Springs area.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 04:33:40 PM by Lou Schneider »

Sun2Retire

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Re: Destination ideas for Colorado mountain areas, summer 2018
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2017, 02:47:14 PM »
Google pictures from the park and see what you think. I have volunteered there twice for a total of 8 months. I love the place.

Jim, looks like the are two camping areas, Dutch Hill and Sunrise. Recommendations? The current plan is 5 nights, for longer stays I prefer back-in, or better yet pull-in with views out the windshield. Thoughts on that?

Since the only hookup is some with electric, and with an average high of about 80 and low of 45 doubt we'd need AC so could probably make it mostly on solar. So non-elec sites OK too.
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

 

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