No Particular Place To Go

16 July 2008

No Particular Place To Go

For only the second time on our journey so far, we found ourselves at a campground that we really didn't like all that much. Despite its own web site description and closeness to The Garden Of The Gods, the Garden Of The Gods Campground was a little too tightly packed, busy and noisy than we would have liked.

We had planned for a two night stay in Colorado Springs. Our spot on the park was close to the busy Pavillion and games room and with a family reunion in the Pavillion, attended by clapping women, teenagers sporting backward facing baseball caps and men tending smoking barbeques (men are here, we make fire) we didn’t feel at all comfortable sitting outside our RV.

So this morning we decided not to stay and headed out with no particular place in mind to go, feeling very happy at the thought of not being around the campground area. Instead of staying close by and exploring the historic Manitou Springs or Old Colorado City downtowns, we headed west along Highway 24 and towards the mountains and the peace and quiet.

It was fantastic to know that we were carrying everything with us in the RV, we could explore wherever we came across en-route and if we choose to, we could find another campground more to our liking. We could even camp in the wild if we were feeling brave.

The drive along Highway 24 took us through scenery that made us feel that we were really seeing something of Colorado. The driving was easy and the mixture of steep climbs with flat plains were the perfect backdrop to the singalong Dolly Parton album that we pumped through the RV’s radio. We drove around fifty miles west to a strange, small town called Hartsel that is geographically right in the center of Colorado.

What the people of Hartsel do with their time is a mystery to me as the town consists of two stores, Dorothy’s Homemade Tomales, a one room schoolhouse and a derelict jailhouse. But to me, today, Hartsel was the perfect place to be. It was quiet, away from everything and a snapshot of what Colorado might be like away from the big cities and tourist trails. It was also a great place to try out my new Canon 55-250mm lens that I picked up yesterday at a Best Buy.

From Hartsel we retraced our route back east along Highway 24. On the recommendation of a very helpful lady at one of the park’s visitor centers along the way, tonight we are spending the night at the beautiful, quiet and tree-lined Diamond RV Park in Woodland Park. It’s much more to our liking and has an atmosphere much more conducive to breaking out the Travel Scrabble .

Tomorrow we make a big push North to Fort Collins in northern Colorado on our way into Wyoming. This will be the biggest distance we’ll try to cover in one day since we started driving. It will mean an early start too, so the John Wayne alarm clock is set for a yawningly early 7:30am.

By Andy Clarke

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