Denver to Redstone, Colorado

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July 29th 2013
Published: August 10th 2013
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Denver to Redstone

July 29 – Denver to Redstone – Today I finished loading up the “last minute” stuff in my truck that had to wait till just before I left and headed out on 470 to I-70 and then started the climb up into the mountains. All the extra load that I was carrying in my truck didn’t seem to be bothering it and I climbed on up westward.

Traffic wasn’t too bad and it was raining a “nuisance” rain which just wet the windshield enough for me to have to keep turning the wipers on and off.

I got lucky again and the blasting at the twin tunnels east of Idaho Springs didn’t slow me down or stop me this time. So I continued on climbing up and then over the Divide at the Eisenhower Tunnel and then down into Silverthorn where I made a quick potty and coffee stop at the Macdonalds there.

In spite of the rain the beauty of the mountains alongside the highway was still impressive all the way from Denver to Glenwood Springs. The rain cleared up a bit west of Vail and in Glenwood Springs it was sunshiny. I had intended to stop for a bit in Glenwood Springs but the place was jam packed with families and kids, so I just tried to keep from running over anyone and just stopped long enough to refill my tank and then headed south out of Glenwood Springs on Co. 82 to Carbondale. A bit south of Carbondale there was a sign saying “No gas for the next 60 miles”, so I turned around and went back and topped off my tank again. Driving these mountains burns more gas than usual and I wasn’t going to take any chances of running out of gas.

So after topping off again I proceeded south to Carbondale where I got on Co. 133. This was a scenic road that ran alongside the Crystal River southward and after a bit I came to the Avalanche Creek Road which goes to the Avalanche Campground which is a popular campground. I can’t say I was impressed with the dirt road going off to the east so I decided I didn’t need to explore that way and would stay at the Redstone Campground nearer Redstone. On the way there I passed the Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs and made a mental note to check it out tomorrow. I also stopped at the Penny Hot Springs by a turnout of the road and checked it out.It was full of people and the weather was threatening to rain so I just looked a bit and then continued on to Redstone figuring I needed to get to the campground and stake out a good campsite.

A bit further down the road I came to a sign for the Redstone campground and turned off the road and over a bridge for the Crystal River and about a quarter mile down I came to the Redstone Campground. I turned in and immediately I had to turn either left or right into one section of the campground or the other. I went left and this turned out to be the side for RV’s as it had water and electrical hookups. It cost accordingly and for a site it was $34 a night and with my Sr Parks Pass $19.50. I decided I might want electricity and so rented a site. After taking care of the details and putting their required receipt in a Pint ziplock bag and on the post I took a break for a bit. It is well I did so as it started to rain heavily and then pea size hail as well as rain started to pound on my truck. So I sat and relaxed and waited out the storm.

After it quit raining for a bit I went back down the hill and out of the campground. The storm had peeled the top layer or so of dirt off the campground road for about 30 ft and had carved a bit of a ditch in the county road back to the highway but I knew the main thing was not to stop but to keep on moving and went through both obstacles. I then went on into Redstone to have a look around and get something to eat.

When I got into town it had started raining heavily and I pulled into the parking lot of an Inn with a restaurant and grill. It started to hail and rain heavily again so I had to sit in my truck and wait it out. While waiting I put on my raincoat. After a bit the rain slacked off a bit and I went inside but got my shoes and socks soaked in the process.

I ate at the grill and the food was OK but nothing to brag about. They had a nice dining room there also.

After eating I made my way back to the campground and the ditch in the road was bigger but I had confidence in my truck and in my abilities and gunned the truck and drove through it, then swung left and into the campground road. I had an audience of a sort of about 8 people who came up and told me they couldn't believe I made it through it.

Getting back to my campsite was a different matter. The second flash flood had really washed the road away and it was nothing but large boulders. I looked at them and realized I could not drive through them so I backed up and went right into the other side of the campground. I found a decent site that was unoccupied and put a note on the post in a pint ziplock bag that I had paid for a site on the other side of the campground but could not get to it and so was going to stay there for the night.

After a bit it quit raining and I got some dry socks and a towel and another pair of shoes and dried off my feet, changed socks and shoes. That’s how a person gets sick, by wearing wet shoes and socks in the cold.

I tossed the wet socks and tennis shoes on the hood. They ought to get a good rinse overnight when it started raining again.

So after a bit I ate some yogurt and then turned in for the night.

After a bit I heard road equipment working on the road below. They worked on it all night and most of the next day.

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


damaged access roaddamaged access road
damaged access road

This is the road when I left the campground to go into town. When I came back it was just a ditch full of large boulders.
damaged access roaddamaged access road
damaged access road

This is the road when I left the campground to go into town. When I came back it was just a ditch full of large boulders.
Ditch across county  roadDitch across county  road
Ditch across county road

This was the ditch that the flash flood washed in the county road. When I came back from town after the second heavy rain with hail the ditch was much bigger.

11th August 2013

So Much Rain!
Hope your truck wasn't damaged by the hail. My RV doesn't like hail!! (Neither does my cat!) I think this year may put a dent in the drought for Colo., especially in the southeast. We have had rain every evening this week (again as I am writing this) Poor Manitou Springs has been flooded about 3 times now, with hwy. 24 being closed yet again. I have never explored the area you are blogging about here. It looks beautiful. Your pic of Mt. Sopris is gorgeous. I have never been over Independence Pass either. I will have to put that area on my list!
12th August 2013

Rain and hail
That's what I like about using my truck as an RV instead of "tenting". It can rain and hail all it wants and I am warm and dry in my truck. The flood and road washouts were all part of the experience to me. I was rewarded the next day by beautiful cool weather and sparkling clear air. Readstone was really nice and I may go back in October stopping at the Balloon Fiesta in Alberquerque on the way.
12th August 2013

Too much rain!
Hi William Sounds like you have had quite a different experience down there at Redstone than I had in May. The hot springs at Avalanche Ranch were very good when I was there...and Redstone , Crystal River was deserted and beautiful with a touch of snow.Hope the next leg of your trip is a bit drier. I didn't realise you lived in Texas. Cheerio. Lynne
12th August 2013

There was a flash flood the first day I arrived but the next day was I was rewarded with fresh crystal clear air and a wonderfully cool day. I explored Redstone and really enjoyed the park by the Crystal River. I then explored the area around Redstone. I was feeling the strong pull to go home after about 2 1/2 months away but wish now I had invested a couple of more days in the Redstone area. I may go back in October, visiting the Baloon Fiesta in Alberquerque on the way.

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