After three consecutive years of troubles making it to Colorado, we have naturally been nervous about this year’s trek across the plains and beyond. The last few weeks have been spent planning, researching, packing, and preparing the best we could. Chuck installed solar panels and an inverter for the many days we will be off the grid.
Although we have been filled with fear, we are so thankful that excitement won. My sore neck and back with two ribs popping out slowed our progress exponentially (this 40 thing is overrated), but we are hopeful that was this year’s breakdown and that I have been through the worst of it, with only recovery on the horizon. My dear friend Cassie gave me a 40th birthday gift that serves as a daily reminder that “the mountains are calling.”
Anxious to get adventuring, we were able to leave 4 days earlier than originally planned. While the list to leave seems to multiply the closer we got to departure day, we were able to head off Subday morning after some last minute preparations.
Our first gas stop was calculated when we saw a large station that would be easy to pull in and out of, but as we got close, we noticed the diesel plaza was in full swing, but the unleaded island was closed. We pulled into the station across the street only to realize we would have to back out… Our first growing pain with our big camper.
Shortly after, we pulled off at a rest stop designed for people like us, and were thrilled with the idea of pulling in and walking right into our camper for a restful lunch break. It may take us awhile to get used to that!
Along the way, we had decided this would be a great night to boondock at a Walmart for the night, so we made a few calls and narrowed our first stop down to three. While it was in the 70s back in IL, we discovered there was a giant heat bubble over the state of Nebraska, which could make for difficult sleeping. We stopped at a KOA to refill our propane tanks to keep our fridge going through the night, a gas refill, and another easy dinner and stretch break at a long awaited rest area.
650 miles later, we pulled into the Lexington Walmart at sunset. It was so easy to roll in and step into our camper for a plush and FREE night of rest!
We woke early, with only Colorado on our minds. You see, there are many times we have driven through the northeast part of Colorado with nasty storms and tumbleweed flying across the highway. Today’s challenge would be here, where the cold and warm fronts met. If living in Colorado taught us nothing else, we knew we wanted to cruise through that area before the afternoon storms gathered!
The storms came through just after we arrived in Longmont, where we lived when we were first married. After setting up camp at the Boulder County Fairgrounds (which is not the most picturesque campground, but very convenient to the Boulder area), we were elated to spend the afternoon walking the Lake Macintosh paths and hanging out at the park we passed on our daily walks near our first apartment. The kids shared our joy, walking hand in hand.
We are so excited to spend a few days on the Front Range with old friends. After arriving without issue for the first time in years, we are cautiously optimistic that things are going to go our way this year. Colorado and beyond, hope you are ready for the Hoffpack!