This trip was a little different for us, we used two Bluegrass Festivals as an excuse to spend six weeks in Colorado.

We left Tucson on the first triple digit day of the year. We were quite proud of our timing, that kind of heat in Tucson made it perfect weather in the White Mountains, where we spent the first four days of this trip. On your 70th birthday you can get a FREE Arizona fishing license. My gosh free and we didn’t even need a coupon! We got our fancy laminated cards in the mail and now we were going to put them to use. We threatened a lot of fish in Tunnel Reservoir outside of Greer and even scared a few in Bunch Reservoir but it was peanut butter and jelly for dinner. Since we’d spent quite a bit of time bragging to Zoe about our fishing skills it was a bit embarrassing. We did enjoy the 77 degree daytime temps and gentle breeze, the campground
was practically empty and we enjoyed long walks with Zoe.

The Creek Runs Through It

On the road again to Bayfield, a small community east of Durango, this is a one night stop to connect with water/sewer before another few days of dry camping in Pagosa Springs. This RV park is absolutely beautiful, we’ve never seen so many flowers and the grass was immaculately trimmed. The jewel in this crown is the Pine River that runs right thru the park, there were little water falls every so often along the river and our site was right next to one. We pulled out the lawn chairs, fixed a Margarita and sat next to our bubbling creek. There was a meadow to meander through and a nice place to take Zoe off the leash, there was even a llama across the fence, Zoe wasn’t too sure just what it was but she wanted to get acquainted. I wanted to move there!

Off to Pagosa Springs for the Folk and Bluegrass Festival on Reservoir Mountain. There is not enough room to park on the mountain so we have reserved a spot in the satellite camping area. This was a great spot right on the river walk area of the San Juan River. The river park was delightful and since we were set up on the parking lot it remained mud free. As we soon realized this is a big bonus. The swift water search and rescue team was on practice maneuvers outside our front door. Could there be a message here?

There is an old saying in Colorado, if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes. We have had a lot of reason to hope this is true. There were downpours that would have made Noah shake his head. It wasn’t only the rain but the temperature would drop 20 degrees in a matter of minutes. Everyone was busy dressing and undressing all day long. In Tucson even if it rains hard the soil is so sandy the puddles disappear in a matter of minutes. In Colorado, where they actually have top soil, it all turns to mud.

Up on the mountain, the wood chip crew was kept busy shoveling shavings into the mud puddles the whole three days. Luckily the music was under a huge tent that seats 500. The tent was crowded but many people took their chances setting up picnic style blankets etc outside the tent. They scurried for cover every little bit as another rain squall came over. At one point we were getting ready to head down the mountain when we noticed the rain in the valley working its way up the mountain. That huge tent started shaking and I was concerned we’d all be smothered under it when it came down. My concern was for naught, it all held up and was none the worst for wear. We were glad we waited in the tent as opposed to heading down to the shuttle stop.

There were over a hundred families camped on the mountain in tents and camp trailers and I think they were getting weary of the wet weather. They keep looking at their watches, I think they waiting for the ten minute weather change. I do have to admit Monty and I have a narrow view of good weather, in Tucson you can count on what the weather will be by the month of the year, winter months are sunny and pleasant, summer is sunny and hot. It is only humid during the August rainy season. Not too complicated.

The music was absolutely terrific, there were over a dozen bands and not a clinker in the mix. This talent is amazing to us, so many people play more than one instrument, not only play, but excel, the vocals and harmony were superb.

This festival had late night music starting at 10 p.m., needless to say we missed that! The late night session shouldn’t be surprising, whereas, a lot of the festivals we attend the average age of the attendees is 70+ this is a much younger crowd. The young man driving the shuttle, the one in the shorts and hiking boots with the long dread locks, had attended every festival for the last 15 years. There were a lot of young families, and a play area was set up so all the little ones could play outside the tent on a grassy area. We watched them play hide and seek and of course they found sticks and played sword fight. A big dirt pile was perfect for king of the hill.

Ponytails on Old Guys & Long Skirts on Gals

At the festivals we attend in the winter in
Arizona the attendees are older folks who are snowbirds. They RV to the sun belt from the snowy winter states. They travel around to the various festivals in the Southwest and enjoy the music, four days of camping
is reasonably priced and many of them play an instrument. The festival at Pagosa Springs had a lot of young families, and the older folks at this festival were old hippies. I’m sure they were all at Woodstock!! Almost all of them had gray hair, both men and women had long hair, lots of pony tails, on the men, the women just let the hair grow long and natural. There were long skirts and yoga pants, (on the women not the men!) We felt a little out of place being rather traditional old folks.

Tie Dye Anyone?

We met a delightful mom and dad from Salt Lake City meeting with their daughter and family from Denver. They were all tent camping together and were having a great time. We saw them late in the weekend and they were a little damp but they were still having fun and enjoying the time spent with their daughter and I can’t adequately describe all the interesting people at this festival, from the young woman, who was over 6 ft tall, plus boots, and wearing a sample of every item of tie-dye she was selling; to the Hollywood leading man look-a-like with the trophy wife in skinny jeans with muddy stilettos. We loved the sixty-plus hippy in a tent with a white board advertising Psychic Dream Interpretation. Underneath he scratched, ‘Gone dancin’, back later’.

We met a couple who are full time RVers who travel around and stop at cafes with open mikes so he can perform his original songs, he gave us one of his CD’s. They were in Tucson earlier this year and he performed at the Tucson Folk Festival . We find full timers interesting but this vagabond life would not be for us.

Everyone in Colorado carries a back pack. The changeable weather keeps them constantly putting on and taking off various items of clothing. We were ill equipped and the lack of good rain gear put us at a disadvantage. We actually saw the gal in front of us in the festival putting on rain pants over yoga pants preparing to leave for the day. It was pretty funny because she took off her hiking boots put on the rain pants put the boots back on and then when she pulled the pants up she discovered they were her husbands pants. So off came the boots and the pants and the whole thing started all over again. The people were as entertaining as the music.

Since Monty grew up in Grand Junction he is familiar with a lot of the small mountain towns and the San Juan Mountains. We have spent a lot of time in the Durango/Silverton/Ouray area and love it. Of course we were younger then and we saw most of it from the seat of the ATV . We can’t help but miss those days. The mountains haven’t changed and the people haven’t either. They still dress, look, and act uniquely like the Colorado Mountain folks.

After we said good by to our fellow festivals goers, we spent the day at Chimney Rock National Monument. This is our 3rd attempt to take the whole tour of this National Monument. First time it was closed, the second we got half way through the tour and a torrential downpour kept all of us sheltered under the porch of the restroom. The lightening ended that tour. This time we made it all the way up to the base of

Chimney Rock National Monument

Chimney Rock. A docent who conducted the tour and told us the history of the archaeological site. We stayed that night on the Ute Reservation and met an interesting Native American couple running the campground. They were very chatty and when the husband took Monty around to see the available sites he talked up a storm about current politics and the Indian Nation. I visited with the wife, we didn’t talk politics. She talked about being from the four corners area and how hard it was for her to leave home to come up to this area to help her husband for the summer. She had no interest in traveling anywhere, home was four corners and that was it. There isn’t much in the four corners area so I’m sure she did appreciate the grassy rolling hills leading up to the forest in this area.

We headed over to Vellicito Lake, outside of Durango, to camp in the National Forest there. We found the perfect camp site down a hill and right next to the lake. It was so beautiful there until the rain started. The temperature dropped to 51 degrees and we were wearing everything we brought with us. I was dismayed to discover, you can’t put boots on over four pair of socks! It rained all night and the next morning, after watching our hill turn into a mud slide we decided we’d better get out of there before we were swept into the lake.

We walked up and down the hill several times trying to pick the best route. We decided to get the Honda out first to see how much slipping and sliding there was. After we got it up to firm ground Monty went back down and drove the motor home while and I ran up the hill shouting encouragement.There was lots of cheering when he made it up to the road. I jumped into the Honda and followed until we found a wide spot to take a moment to regroup, and connect the Honda to the RV.

Perfect Campsite by the Lake

The weather is winning, we are headed to an RV park where we can plug in to electric and use the space heater to keep warm. We found a nice park outside Durango, with huge trees, and a fenced acre for Zoe to run and play in. The best part of this park is the sound of the passing Durango/Silverton train. The whistle of this narrow gauge train is haunting and beautiful. The valley is surrounded by tall cliffs and they act as surround sound. We loved it.

Acting like tourists, we went to the Bar D Chuckwagon dinner and show. We thoroughly enjoyed the western setting, similar to Trail Dust Town in Tucson, the food was excellent and the cowboy performers were entertaining. We spent an evening at one of the local brew pubs in Durango, they had a bluegrass jam and Monty brought his dobro and played and sang. It was a delightful evening on the patio.

We took a day to travel up to Silverton and stopped at our favorite campground, South Mineral Creek. This is the campground we stayed in a few years ago when Tommy visited Colorado with us, and Tricia, Sarah and Rachel came up to spend the day. This campground is usually full but this early in the season there was only one tent out near the stream. There was still some snow on the North facing slopes of the mountains.

Near Mineral Creek

We were only here for a few hours to enjoy a picnic lunch. Without a four wheel drive vehicle this is the end of the road. We miss those days! Riding these mountain trails on an ATV was just so much fun. No ATV anymore but we did enjoy a beautiful green meadow covered with yellow wildflowers and a golden marmot entertained us while he scurried around chewing up the flowers. Monty has always called these marmots whistle pigs, because they make a funny high pitched squeak when startled. They are bigger than a house cat, have long tails, and cute faces, they look a little like a beaver. What ever you call them they are fun to watch.

We had company in the RV park, the spot next to us was recently occupied by a young couple, two kids and two collies. Mom and Dad were pleased to see we were from Arizona, turns out mom graduated from the College of Engineering & Mines at the UA in 1998. Dad was in charge of interviewing students for a mining scholarship from Phelps Dodge, where he worked. They met at the scholarship meeting I set up when I handled scholarships for the College. Here they are now, married with kids. Is this a small world or what!!! Oh, the collies are absolutely gorgeous dogs but not particularly bright. I don’t know about the ‘Timmy in the well’ deal. Maybe Lassie was the only wonder collie.

We moved on through the mountains of Silverton and Ouray and stopped in the state park in Ridgeway. We remember when Ridgeway was nothing but a few old houses and that was it. The state worked on this park for several years and did an excellent job, one of the best state parks we have found. It is beautiful and our spot on the hill was perfect. In the morning we looked out at the snow capped mountains and in the evenings we watched the fish jump down in the lake. This is about as good as it gets, the breeze was wonderful, about 73 degrees in the afternoon and the nights were crisp. There was no rain and we like that.

Whistle Pig/Golden Marmot

The camp host stopped to chat and told us he used to live in Tucson Estates out by Old Tucson. He and his wife spent the summers here in Ridgeway. After she died he spread her ashes here and then decided to move here. He arranged to volunteer at the park in exchange for a spot to park his RV.

We also met a young couple from Germany traveling in a rental RV. They were excited and very animated describing their trek down into the Grand Canyon and back out. They enjoyed climbing the ladders and crawling through the cave in Mesa Verde National Park. We love the chance to chat with visiting Europeans. They are easy to spot in the rental RV’s. She was concerned about the bear warnings in Ridgeway Park. Actually we did see bear scratches on the trees near the visitor center. We didn’t mention it though. We think bears are neat, we’ve seen several while we are camping but they have never bothered us.

Earlier in this trip there was a bit of complaining about rain and chilly weather. Monty solved the rain problem when he purchased a rain jacket. Sunny skies every day since! But there is more rain in our future. Timing is everything! We spent the rain and cold weather in the higher elevations and moved down to the lower elevations just in time for summer to arrive. Temps in the 90’s are nothing to old desert rats like us, but even at lower elevations the air is thin and it seems warmer in the sun. The mornings are still

Zoe and Monty Looking Over the Lake

cool, warm temps last about three hours in the afternoon then it cools down again in the evenings. Pretty nice, actually.

We are really impressed with the state parks in Colorado, we have stayed in three of them and it has been an excellent experience. Ridgeway outside of Ouray was scenic with snow capped mountains and a lake; Fruita, outside Grand Junction is along side the Colorado River, which by the way, is almost over flowing its’ banks. Mueller State Park outside Colorado Springs is our third experience with the new improved state park system. We stopped in at the visitor center there and it was on par with a National Park Visitor Centers. Nice displays of early days in the area along with information about the animals inhabiting the park.

In Mueller we were camped on a ridge over looking a valley of huge trees and we could see the snow topped mountains in the distance. This whole park is built on a ridge, so it is long and narrow with camping on each side of the road on the top of the ridge. Everyone has a view, and there must be twenty hiking trails, playgrounds, showers, even a laundry.

We spent several days in Grand Junction to visit with Monty’s sister and of course to see Will our almost two year old grandson. Monty’s daughter and her husband are so thrilled with this little guy and we can understand why. He is adorable, runs everywhere, and talks a lot. Noel spent several years teaching third grade and realizes the importance of giving Will a good start. He knows colors, recognizes numbers and can count. He loves trucks and we got such a kick out of him watching the road and calling out, big rig, red trailer, camper! He had them all covered. Will just started going to ‘school’ three days a week, the building has red trim, so he goes to the ‘red house’. When mom asks about his day he says Happy Happy Day! It was a treat to visit with this family.

Monty grew up in Grand Junction, in 1950’s there were about 14,000 people there. It looks a bit different now that there are almost
60,000 folks. The old downtown has gone through the usual revitalization, for years there was only one mall but now lots of the usual stores have sprung up everywhere. Gone are the days of the mom and pop sporting goods, now they have a huge Cabelas. Monty was happy to see Cabelas, but disappointed to see the demise of the old Gene Taylor sporting goods store.

Will in his Later Gator T-Shirt with Noel

The traffic planners must have a sadistic thing for tic-tac-toe, we’ve never seen so many x’s and o’s. There is actually a double X intersection where a gentle curve used to blend traffic. Round-a-bouts or traffic circles, make up so many of the intersections that it felt like an amusement park. One of them is even a double circle! Merge into the circle, get off at second right, continue to the next circle and get off at second right and you have gone straight ahead. REALLY!

We spent one night at Blue Mesa Reservoir, a huge lake where Monty and his dad used to do some fishing. The lake is very high this year, you can see the tops of trees and some picnic table under water. There are lots of downed trees jamming up the upper end of the lake.

Monty checked the map and picked out a campground on Monarch Pass for our next stop. We’ve been here before and it seemed like the perfect place to do some fishing. The sign on the highway indicated a half mile to our turn for the campground. About three blocks down the narrow dirt road there were barricades where the road was washed away. Good grief, a sign at the highway would have been helpful. OK, there was not enough room to turn the rig around so we start by disconnecting the car, move it in front of the motorhome, start backing the motor home uphill. Thank goodness Monty is a good driver, I, on the other hand, was charged with walking along and keeping him out of the ditch on the right and the canyon edge on the left, (oh, and not get run over). It was kind of tricky at the top, we needed enough speed plus a quick turn to get onto the highway. Dale Junior (NASCAR reference) would have been proud of Monty. I ran down and got the car and off we go again to find a place to stop and connect the car. I never claimed this kind of travel was easy, I just said we like it. (although there are days I question our good sense)

Moving on, we found a perfect spot to snuggle into an aspen grove in the Collegiate Peaks National Forest Campground outside Gunnison. We lost count of the snow capped peaks we could see from this campground. Not surprising in this Collegiate chain each peak is named after a university, Mt. Yale, Princeton, Harvard, you get the idea. Several of these peaks are 14’ers, Colorado has 58 peaks with an elevation of over 14,000 feet, plus there are 86 peaks over 13,000 feet.

We stopped in Gunnison at an art gallery and met the owner/photographer from South Africa. We bought a nice print of aspens to frame when we get home. We checked at a music store but no jams this week. All was not lost though, we headed up to Crested Butte and had lunch at a delightful outdoor cafe. We’d been here a few years ago and it was good to see the place doing a brisk business. This is a beautiful mountain town, very small, one main street, with delightful brightly colored shops, cafes, etc. This is a ski destination in the winter and mountain bike/hiking haven in the summer.

We visited Cripple Creek, a mining community established in the 1890’s. First stop was on the scenic byway to photograph a couple of big horn sheep jumping from one rock ledge to the next. Hopefully we have at least one good picture of them. At the hill top above Cripple Creek is the Cripple Creek Heritage Museum. We almost drove by but the ‘free admission’ sign brought us to a stop. What a great place! Dozens of old pictures and story boards describing mining life in the 1800’s. An excellent board about aspen trees and I discovered our aspen grove was actually all one tree! Each tree is a sucker that springs up from a large underground root system. When the earth is disturbed by fire or grading the aspens are the first trees to spring to life.

At one time Cripple Creek and the neighboring town of Victor were a thriving community of over 35,000 people now Victor is almost a ghost town and Cripple Creek is made up of casinos. I have to give the casino builders credit for maintaining the old west culture though. To name just one, Bronco Billy’s, was made up of several old time store fronts that looked like Trail Dust Town in Tucson, at first glance the old main street looks like it might have looked in the early 1900’s but a close peek in the window and you can see the slot machines twinkling.

The town was preparing to celebrate Burro Days. There are many descendants of the original burros brought here by the miners years ago. Like Oatman, Arizona the burros run free through the town. This morning the towns folk were gathering them together in a temporary corral. A pickup truck with a feed bag held out the window was encouraging them along main street and into the corral.

Thinking about the burros brings to mind the hundreds of horses we have seen, one ranch had about thirty of the most beautiful paint horses, and there were three little guys standing on wobbly legs next to their moms. Colorado is the perfect place for horses, standing in the tall grass, I swear they are smiling! No dirt or pesky cactus to annoy them. We even saw some miniature horses outside Gunnison, they were about the size of a Great Dane, don’t know about the house breaking deal, though. They sure were cute.

Happy Horses

On our trip from this area outside Buena Vista pronounced BUUUUna Vista. This is the strangest thing, although there are a lot of Spanish place names here, none of the old timers or native Coloradans use the Spanish pronunciation. Del Norte is Del Nort with a hard t at the end and Mesa Verde is simply Mesa Verd. It takes some getting used to, but they will correct your pronunciation if you use the Spanish version.

I got off topic, I want to tell you about the most perfect picture moment we’ve ever seen. We are riding along a narrow, hilly, two lane road and off to the left are miles of green grass land. In the distance were snow capped mountains. Now that the scene is set, we drive past a small group of multicolored cattle standing by a small pond, in a flash of perfection we see the green grass, cows, and the reflection of the snow covered mountains in the water. It was a God moment, so beautiful, we both saw it at the same time and cheered. We would’ve loved to photograph it, but turning around was impossible, and no place to stop. We will always carry the image though.

We loved Colorado Springs, temps about 82 and pleasant evenings. The area itself is lovely, lots of trees and green rolling hills with Pikes Peak in the background, but the RV park we were in left a lot to be desired. We keep repeating, it is all about location, and this location is perfect, we are close to several things we plan to see. Manitou Springs is right up the road and we actually walked Zoe in Old Colorado City in our neighborhood. I’m just thinking out loud here, but the problem could be the store across the street that has a sign advertising 1/8 for $25.00. After passing stores fronts with names like Emerald Forest and Maggie’s Farm, with securely barred windows and realizing we weren’t looking at a floral shop or a produce stand, we caught on. Although recreational pot is legal in Colorado not all counties voted to sell it. We didn’t notice these stores in the Durango area and we know Grand Junction voted down the ballot proposition to sell it in their county. Apparently stores have sprung up around Colorado Springs, like well, weeds!

We went to the Air Force Academy and enjoyed the visitor center and the movie about a year in the life of a cadet was eye opening. These kids are tough, no doubt about it. June is the beginning of six week basic training for incoming freshman, and we saw some of them drilling on the square. Yes, the senior cadets were yelling at them, one thing for sure they may have arrived as individuals but they will graduate as a team.

The architecture of the chapel is magnificent, spires are laced with stained glass. The sun shining in creates interesting patterns and as you walk down the aisle, the stained glass seems to take on different shapes in the ceiling. The many windows are tinted and it takes a minute to realize you are looking outside, it all seems like a mural. We had to hurry to see the inside because they were preparing for two weddings in the afternoon. There were no fancy decorations there, just some lovely white flowers on the altar.

Air Force Academy Chapel

The Valley of the Gods is a great city park, filled with juniper, ponderosa and cedar trees along with acres of grass. The red rocks are the main attraction for the camera buffs. The visitor center has awesome displays, a cafe and shop with a red rock motif on everything from earrings to shot glasses. The park was given to the City of Colorado Springs, by an old timer who said they could have the land if it would always be free for everyone to use. I’m sure the cafe and gift shop are real money makers for the city but otherwise it is acres and acres of free space with bike paths and hiking trails. We were there on a Saturday morning and it was bumper to bumper traffic driving through and no available parking spaces to get pictures. Hopefully the bugs on the windshield will make for some interesting pictures!

Monty’s daughter, Noel took her first job after college, for a company located in Colorado Springs, she lived in Manitou Springs and rode her bike to work through Valley of the Gods. What’s not to like about that! My sister also lived in Manitou Springs in her early married life. It is a delightful little town. Lots of young people, I think that’s because it is so hilly you have to be young. They walk or ride bikes everywhere, the tourist traffic makes the narrow streets very congested. In fact we never found a parking spot so we could walk around.

On Sunday, we rode the cog railway up to the top of Pikes Peak, the trip was fun, the view spectacular. We saw a small group of big horn sheep and a herd of about 60 elk. In addition two special things happened to make the day perfect. First, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb was held the day of our trip up the mountain. Cars have been racing up to the top of Pikes Peak since 1916; the road was gravel in the beginning then partially paved for many years. Even though the road is completely paved now it is still a daunting trip with a 4,000 foot elevation gain, 156 turns and no guard rails! This race against the clock includes, several different classes of cars, and motorcycles. When the train arrived at the top of the peak we were thrilled to see we were at the finish line for the race. We saw sleek racing machines taking the flag at the finish line. We watch a couple of cars slow after the flag and turn into the pit area. The third car to come through was really flying and when he applied the brakes he was fish tailing all over the road. Sirens were sounding and he was struggling for control before making the final turn. It was exciting in a scary kind of way. Monty had the hots for one of the silver Porches but we came home by way of the railway.

Screaming into the Finish Line

Pikes Peak is one of Colorado’s 14er’s, the view is spectacular, like being on top of the world. It is a bit chilly up on top but they sell sweatshirts in the souvenir shop. Really! a souvenir shop! Monty and I have taken the ATV up several of the really high peaks via the 4×4 road (no T-shirt shop at the top). The views are spectacular. The race cars and brawny drivers hanging out at the top, were icing on the cake for this scenic stop.

The second neat thing was our seat mates on the railway. They were from the UK and our visit with them was priceless. Monty and Gary talked about the cars at the top and wouldn’t you know it he produced pictures of his racing car that he races in the UK. It was a replica 1956 D Jaguar, both he and his brother race and do hill climbs so that made the trip home fun. He was a jolly guy that made us smile.

I’m eager to share their story though. Cue Nicholas Sparks! This couple were probably our age, maybe a bit younger, they have been together for about eight years. They met in a support group for Alzheimer’s care givers. Both of them had mates with early onset Alzheimer’s and died about eight years after first discovering the disease. Now they are together as a couple, but they each live in their former homes, so they remain independent, but travel together all the time. They’ve been to America many times, doing the East coast as well as the West coast and taking a train from coast to coast. They have learned the Happy Happy Day lesson and are enjoying every day, they are well aware how quickly life can change.

Mary said this trip was to meet her cousin from Boston in Silverton, Colorado. Mary’s mum died a few years ago. Mum was an only child who was given up for adoption by her mum as a baby. Mary and her sister got interested in genealogy and took to social media and to track down anyone who knew their grandmother, their mums mum. In the meantime someone else had posted the same request for information. They connected and found a cousin in Boston. Mary, her sister and the cousin kept searching for information and finally pieced this story together.

Grand mum was a 18 year old unwed mother. That was certainly frowned on in those days and since she had no support or anyone to help her she ended up living in a workhouse, a place for the poor who had no means of support. Mary and Gary shook their heads in unison and explained that was the lowest of the low in England and a terrible fate to endure. Grand mum had no choice but to leave her baby in an orphanage.

Grand mum struck out for America on her own in the early 1900’s at 19 years of age. She found her way to Silverton, Colorado and ultimately married and had another family. Mary and her cousin were able to identify the old house where grand mum lived and raised a family. Mary had tears in her eyes when she told about her mother never knowing she had half sisters. This was just such a touching trip for her and she was eager to share the story. It was a joy talking with them.

We left Colorado Springs and headed down to Pueblo for a couple of nights at the Lake Pueblo State Park. It was a nice park and we enjoyed walking along the river park in the City of Pueblo.

Arts & Crafts Fair La Veta

We’ve arrived in Mayberry, and I think we’ve met Andy and Opie and we are on the look out for Barney Fife. Actually we are in the little town of La Veta, Colorado, population 800. We’ve met up with our friends Dianne and Stuart from Texas and plan to spend the week here. The park is very nice and the town is delightful. We spent July 4th at an arts and crafts show in the park, ate BBQ and watched the parade. This parade couldn’t have been more down home. Kids on horses carrying the flag, a husky dog pulling a little circus lion cart with a cat inside, the Shriner’s were there in their tiny cars, and then all the town machinery, yep, tractors, new and antique, backhoes, anything diesel that ran, plus the town fire truck and ambulance all complete with sirens. The street was lined with town folks and people from nearby communities. We cheered and waved and had a great time. The parade participants threw candy to the children lined up on the street, and just to keep it interesting they used squirt guns and super soakers to shoot water at us.

We went fishing a couple of times and even caught enough for dinner. On Sunday we went out to celebrate Dianne and Stu’s anniversary. Going to really step out and drive to Walsenburg (30 miles) for dinner. Hummm is there really only two restaurants in this town? yep!  We have two choices, Mexican food at Corinas or Carl’s Junior. We opted for Mexican and the Carl’s Junior was closed at 7:30 when we left town. Time to roll up the sidewalks.

Next stop was to an even smaller town, Westcliffe. We are going to the annual Bluegrass Festival there. We’ve been to this festival a few years ago and loved it so we anticipate a good time. The festival was everything we hoped for, great music, spectacular scenery, friendly people and a good time. There is no ‘down’ time at this festival the music starts at 10 a.m.  and runs straight through until 10 p.m. It was hard to find a time to leave the music to eat. Every band was excellent and we didn’t want to miss any of it. We left the festival and went with Dianne and Stu up to their next destination stop, Nathrap, about 60 miles away. We spent the evening recapping our week in La Veta and in the morning Monty and I headed home.

Sangre De Cristo Mts. Westcliffe, Co.

This was an interesting trip, for some reason there was more frustration than we are used to, most of which we will blame on the inclement weather. We just aren’t big rain fans and everything looks much better in the sunshine. At one point we were fishing in the rain and cold, I mentioned Will’s mantra, ‘It’s a Happy Happy Day’, Monty quickly responded Happy Happy Day my ass I’m fed up with rain. He makes me laugh, I love him. In reviewing the trip we loved visiting Will, Noel and Paul, and really enjoyed spending time with Dianne and Stu. We’ve spent time with them on our travels but this was the first time we have had the opportunity to spend some quality time with them. We enjoyed it tremendously. We couldn’t have asked for better music festivals. The music was excellent and we loved every moment.

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