SEASON 2018: Trip #1 (Part 1)
We finally were able to get the “ORAH” Chalet out of storage and out for its first outing for the 2018 season. AND . . . without any major issues!!! WHOO HOO!!! At least none that ruined our trip!!!
As we get to travel the country, I will try to post as many pictures of the campgrounds that we stay at and give a review for them as well. On this trip, there were several campgrounds that we would definitely return to and one that we will NEVER go to again!
I hope you enjoy this journey as we travel this beautiful country.
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
Thursday and Friday were spent in Amarillo (our home) gathering all the stuff from the apartment that we had not been able to take to the RV. We also got the truck and RV inspected. Then we took the RV to our local RV park, Fort Amarillo RV Park, . . . our favorite “staging” park . . . where we gave it a much-needed bath and got her all loaded up. We love having this nice RV park fairly close to us but it sure stinks that we have to pay for 2 nights just to load and unload the RV when we leave or return from a trip. Since we don’t have anywhere at the apartment to park the RV to do that chore, we just don’t have any other option. It just another cost that we factor into our trips.
A little bit about Fort Amarillo RV Park:
Per the Website: At Fort Amarillo RV Park & Resort, you’ll enjoy an authentic western setting, complete with a stream-fed fishing pond, illuminated walking paths and sunsets so breathtaking, even the most eloquent cowboy poets don’t do them justice. Huge pull thru sites, free WiFi & be sure to shop at Lizzie Mae’s Mercantile. 10% discount to members of Good Sam, AAA, AARP, KOA, FMCA, TACO and the Military. Daily Rate: $42 | Weekly Rate: $210 If you need more than 2 weeks, please call for price and availability.
My Review: The staff is very friendly and helpful. It is a really clean park, there are trees on most sites, full hookups, large level gravel sites, most are pull thru (I believe the back in ones are mostly for live-ins), laundry, really clean bathrooms/showers (hotel quality), there are two spaces that can be rented for parties, one of them is for guests with tables for cards, there are movies/books, a small kitchen (I believe it’s free to use but rentable for parties), a lit courtyard with BBQ, basketball court, tennis court, playground, indoor pool, game room, a small fish pond with nice grassy area and BEST of ALL there is an AWESOME gift shop called Lizzie Maes!! It is soooo cool!!
All of the sites have a concrete patio with a table and a fence that blocks the other site. They are gravel but they are level. AND, the roads around the park are gravel and well kept as well. Even tho the sites are close together, the fence blocks the utilities from your campsite so you are not staring at the sewer or hoses while you are enjoying your patio.
It is near I-40 making it an easy on/off stop but far enough away that it’s not noisy. Because of the wind in Amarillo, the trees and fence around the park help to serve as a slight wind block. You are close to a lot of eating places and shopping. If you are into walking, you could walk but it would be easier to drive because most everything is South of the I-40 (the park is on the Northside of I-40) CONS: No firepits or grills (but many bring/use their portable grills), all gravel roads inside and at the sites but they are level.
On Saturday morning we got all hooked up and headed out of town only to have a tiny issue just as we got on the highway . . . the rubber stripping around the front Cap was flapping in the wind!!! I guess the power washer from the RV wash pushed it out of the track. We pulled off the road and hubby stuck it back into place. Hopefully, this would be our only issue this trip. Well . . . actually, we did have one issue that hubby would try to fix when we get or our first major stop . . . the water to the ice maker wasn’t coming on because the cut off valve must be broken. No matter which way you turn it, there was no water to the icemaker. He used to fix valves like that on coffee makers in his previous life . . . so he felt confident that it would be an easy fix . . . if he can get is big hands in that tiny space to fix it.
Our first overnight stop was in Lamar, Co at Sportsman’s RV Park and Horse Hotel. Normally when we go to Castle Rock, CO to see hubby’s sister, we go thru Raton Pass. This time we decided to take another route to AVOID the Pass! Not sure we wanted to take that pass for our first outing after having so many other truck issues. We thought that staying on flat ground was the better option this time out and chose to take Highway 287 thru Boise City, OK up to Lamar, Colorado.
As soon as we hit Oklahoma on Highway 287, the roads were REALLY ROUGH!! The expansion joints were rough and the tire lanes were really rough. I actually drove with my passenger tires on the shoulder and my drivers’ side tires in the middle of the lane . . . it was still rough!!! No potholes . . . just washboard type roads. In any case, they SUCKED!!!
We thought it was going to shake everything out of the cabinets of the trailer and shake all the bolts loose. The only disaster we encountered was a 12 pack of cokes that fell out of the case inside the truck. The case was open and they all fell between the seat and door. I had to open the window so hubby could use his long arms to reach them instead of opening the door and having them all roll out and ‘spew’ everywhere. The only thing that happened inside the trailer was that the bedroom closet door opened and two small items fell out . . . nothing major! WHEW!! Oh . . . later, we found out that a cabinet shelf where we had more 12 packs of Coke had broken. No worries on that one tho . . . we only put our cases of drinks in that one. They can be stacked. Once we hit the Colorado border, the roads were like “butter” . . . either that or they just seemed like “butter” after the Oklahoma roads. So . . . for reference, try to stay off Highway 287 from just North of Stratford, Texas to the Colorado border!! Seriously, when you hit Colorado, the roads were AWESOME . . . 2 lane but wide lanes with wide shoulders. THANKFULLY it was only about 50 miles of bad roads.
Instead of driving all the way to Cherry Creek in Aurora, CO in one day, which was about a 7 hr drive from Amarillo, we decided to break the trip up and spend a night in Lamar, Co. That way IF the roads were really slow or we ran into trouble, we’d have plenty of time to adjust and adapt. It’s nice to get somewhere and not be really tired from driving all day and just sit back and relax . . . which we both needed desperately. In fact, we have decided to drive about 200-300 miles per day OR to be parked somewhere by around 3pm. . . . whichever comes first. That way we have time to set up and relax. . . or adapt our plans if needed.
The weather was AWESOME in Lamar, Co. . . . nice and cool!! They apparently they had some major wind, rain and hail come thru here the night before. We went from the 99-degree weather at home to the 60’s here!! AWESOME!!! We had the windows open with no A/C running . . . GLORIOUS weather!! There was a little bit of wind but nothing like we are used to. They say that Chicago is the “Windy City”!! I beg to differ!!!
One of the first things we had to do was to cancel a Retirement Gift for my husband from our daughter. She knows that he has always wanted a Porche 911, 6 speed, Convertible. This was her 3rd attempt to get him a Retirement Gift. The first attempt was an Alaska fishing trip with her husband, Jon Nite, who was going there to write songs with someone. But it fell through. Her second attempt was a trip to St. John. However, the Hurricanes had other plans. Her third attempt was to rent a Porche 911 Convertible for him to drive for a day. She knows that he has always wanted a Porche 911 and thought it would make a great gift for him. However, once we realized the dates she rented it for, where the dealership was in relation to where we were camped, the logistics just were not workable, we had to cancel it. The dealership was about 87 miles from where we were going to be and that day was going to be a “moving day” or us. Had we gone to get it, the entire day would have been driving back and forth to the dealership. Which would be over the allotted 100 miles per day limit and we’d have to pay $1/mile after that for the gas . . . waste of money to not fully be able to enjoy it. Some may say “Third time is the charm” . . . not in this case . . . for now. Maybe next time we go to the Denver area he can get it. When he first heard he was getting this gift, he was all ready to take it up Pikes Peak . . . which, after seeing a video of that road, he would be going without me!!!! There is NO WAY I’d go up that in a ‘race car’!!! Apparently, it wouldn’t have happened anyway because later in the trip we found out that they have actually closed Pikes Peak to most traffic. You have to park and ride a passenger van up to the Summit now. The only ones that can drive up Pikes Peak are anyone with kids who need a car seat and the elderly who need assistance. Their vans cannot accommodate those persons.
UPDATE on Pikes Peak as of July 10, 018:
In the next episode, we will continue on Highway 287 and pick up I-70 to Cherry Creek where we stayed for 4-5 days. We have family in that area who we visited and even celebrated with a Niece who had just graduated from college.
Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .