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Published: September 13th 2014
August 27 – I stayed at a very nice Free campsite right on the banks of the Rio Grande between Creede and Lake City last night. It was on FR 529 off of Hwy 149 and about 9 miles west of Creede.
A deluge came up late at night and I was afraid the river would flash flood so I moved further up the hill and went back to sleep.
This morning I drove back into Creede for another excellent coffee and breakfast burrito at a café called Fardog.
It is only open from 7:30 till 11:30. They have good breakfast burritos and excellent coffee. Everyone seems to be getting ready to leave. The restaurant I ate at is closing for the season after Labor Day. Everyone is talking about where they are headed.
While I was there I heard the young lady at the next table telling her male companion about how a girlfriend of hers was mad at her because her pet coyote had eaten her friend’s dog…..only in Creede.
BTW: the visitor center has free wifi and while I was there they had the password and etc. taped to the window in case
someone came by before they open or after they are closed.
After eating I drove back west and over a couple of mountain passes to Lake City. The scenic views have been extraordinary.
Clear Creek Falls just off the road a bit on the way was well worth checking out. Also the overlook of Lake San Christobol was well worth stopping at. No picture I could take did justice to the color of the water.
Lake City – I am in Lake City at the library using their internet. The library doesn’t open till 11:00 but I am sitting on the deck outside at a table using their WiFi. They have plugs to plug in here as well.
No need to complain about the heat here. I am wearing a t-shirt, a shirt, and my heavy brown long coat and it is still a little chilly on this porch.
After looking around Lake City a bit and making sure my reservoir and radiator were full, I headed north to Gunnison about 50 miles away. The plan is to find a good budget hotel there to stay tonight and rest up a bit and catch up
Also and most importantly I will try and install that cutoff valve myself or find a shop or station to do it for me.
You have to pretty much climb down into the engine compartment to do it and I’m not quite as spry as I used to be. And also these days nobody will let you use their parking lot for repairs. I can’t really blame them, between the threat of lawsuits if someone hurts themselves and the messes some people leave.
The plan is after getting the leak fixed, to ease over to Colorado Springs for later this week to be in position for the Balloon Fest and Air show Labor day weekend.
When I got to Gunnison, I looked around a bit and then headed to the Walmart North on Hwy 135 to get a few things. I had decided to not get a room but to use that money towards the cost of a repair on my truck. I headed up Hwy 135 till it got to Almont. At Almont I went out on CR 742 , also called Taylor River Road. I follow the road northwest checking out campgrounds.
The first few were packed with families and so I kept on going till I got to the Lodgepole Campground which was nearly empty. It was a quiet campgroung and across the highway from the Taylor River where someone who wanted to look at the river or fish could just walk across the highway and do so. I actually after a bit walked across to the river and enjoyed the view a bit and took some pictures of the rushing torrent.
The next morning I asked the park host if he knew of a shop in town that could fix my water leak at a reasonable cost. He suggested what used to be a Chevron Station and so still had those colors but not the sign. It was right next to the NAPA parts store on Hwy 50 about 3 blocks west of downtown. So I decided that I would take my truck there to get the heater core bypass put in.
When I got to the shop the mechanic said he could install the bypass for me but would have to wait till the truck cooled off first so he wouldn’t burn himself with the hot water.
He pulled it into the stall and went to lunch. He told me there were several restaurants in the downtown area 3 blocks East if I wanted to get something to eat while I was waiting. So I walked over 3 blocks to downtown Gunnison, and after walking up and down the streets looking a bit stopped at a restaurant and got a dried out, tasteless Chicken fried Steak with dried out tasteless French fries.
After eating I walked around a bit more and then eased back to the garage and sat in their waiting area on a filthy couch and using my MI-FI got on the internet.
At length the mechanic returned and got to work on my truck.
I had originally thought it was the hot water heater core leaking (or hoped so against my better judgment), but as they were putting in a bypass connection they found the actual leak. It was the coupling for the hot water heater hose on the Intake manifold.
So the guy said he could fix it but it would take a while as he had to get a coupling delivered to fix it. I told him I
couldn’t go anywhere without my truck so I would just wait here in the waiting room for it to be fixed. In a bit a guy drove in from some local parts store with the part and the mechanic got to work on my truck again. I gave the mechanic one of the gallons of antifreeze out of the back of my truck to refill the radiator with after he fixed the leak.
Later - They have it running now so hopefully it is fixed. The guy charged me a fair price of $55 for repair and parts so I was happy with that. I'm still planning on going to the balloon fest in Colorado Springs on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I'm heading on Hwy 50 towards Canon and Pueblo.
When I got to Canon there was a sign up saying the Royal Gorge Bridge was closed so I drove over to an overlook (of a sort) and took some pictures and headed on towards Colorado Springs.
Heading East on Hwy 50 when I got to 115 at Penrose I turned off on it and went Northwest on 115 towards Colorado Springs thus bypassing Pueblo and taking
The summit of Monarch Pass
They have a nice gift shop and snack bar here. A good place to relax a bit and stretch you legs. Fairly good coffee.
the much shorter route on 115 from 50.
10PM - I got my car fixed in Gunnison and then drove it to Colorado Springs without a problem. I'm currently at the Days Inn in Manitou Springs. I'll look for cheaper digs tomorrow or find a campsite off Gold Camp Road. I had first checked out the Travelodge on Hwy 24 that I had stayed at before but it seems to have deteriorated quite a bit since then as well as it had several bikers staying there and nowhere to park as some of the jerks were taking up an entire parking space (for a car) with their bikes by parking in the middle of the parking spaces, instead of doubling up which they could have easily done.
I'll be at Colorado Springs till after the balloon fest and air show and will probably head out again next Tuesday or Wednesday.
August 29 – Friday - I’m at the Days Inn in Manitou Springs till 11AM. It’s a bit pricy for me at $89 a night but very nice. If someone vacations here I highly recommend it. It’s at 354 Manitou Ave. 80828. It’s at an excellent location
right between Manitou Springs, and Colorado Springs on Colorado Avenue. Everything worth seeing is within a short drive. And it is within 100 yards of the Hwy 24 exit/entrance.
When I had checked in they tried offering me the jucuzzi suite and king size beds etc. but I told them I was by myself....what did I want a jucuzzi suite and king size bed for. All I wanted was good internet. I didn't care if the room even had a TV. I told them I wanted the best room for the cheapest rate with good internet. Still it was a very nice room and pleasant stay. : )
Today I will look around for a cheaper place to stay and see if I can get a good weekly rate somewhere.
5 PM – After checking out numerous other places, I checked into the Rainbow Lodge and Inn in Colorado Springs for 4 days till after Labor Day, and then I am going to rent the room for another week at the weekly rate as the weekly rate is not available during the holidays.
To me Colorado Springs is one of the best centrally located locations in
Colorado and would serve as an excellent home base for explorations here, or just for living here. Easy access to the mountains of Colorado, not a huge city like Denver and tons of things to do locally.
Colorado Springs is centrally located for trips to the mountains, New Mexico and Arizona, Denver and points north and has a good airport for connections to Denver airport and the world.
NOTE: If anyone is going to tour the state of Colorado, an essential for doing so is the DELORME ATLAS & GAZETTEER. Also a New Mexico one as well if they intend to tour New Mexico. I have both and have worn out both with use. It shows the roads not shown on regular maps, particularly Forest Service Roads, as well as the uncrowded campsites not shown on regular maps. It also clearly marks the boundaries of National Forest and BLM land. Having this Atlas is an extremely good investment.
I always also use the RAND McNALLY ROAD ATLAS , The LARGE SCALE edition.
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