The week we were at Cuttys was total relaxation even though I was busy getting out last month's newsletter. We took only one sightseeing trip and that was to the famed Royal Gorge Bridge in Cannon City. The surrounding area was full of the typical tourist attractions we usually ignore and we wondered if the bridge was more of the same. The all day admission price is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children 4-11 years old. We wondered what there was to do at a bridge that could take all day. Plenty!
Completed in 1929 this, the worlds highest suspension bridge, is 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River as it rushes through the gorge. We rode the trolley, drove our car (5 mph) and walked across the bridge. The aerial tram ride gave a good view of the bridge and gorge. And the worlds steepest incline railway down to the bottom of the gorge was made more exciting because of the extra treat at the bottom; a long freight train snaked along the river and rafters fought the rapids while we were close enough to touch. The multi-media presentation in the theater was almost worth the price of admission alone. You'll find a rather typical gift shop at either end of the bridge, but unless you're starving, ignore the food served in the snack bars. We thought that walking across the wood planked bridge would be scary. It wasn't. Maybe the breathtaking scenery all around took our minds off the height. It was an enjoyable day and well worth the price of admission.
For any of you who like unique gifts, you might be interested in a shop
we found in Salida. Balloonatics is full of miniature hot air balloons
sculptured out of old light bulbs---many of which are burned out and destined
for the dump. Everyone of them is unique and very beautiful. I wanted one,
but didn't know where to put it; besides they were a little more than I
wanted to spend for a
To get to Colorado Springs, we took route 50 back to Salida then turned north on US 24 & 285 remaining on 24 when they split. This took us over several mountain passes and was truly a scenic route. Home was another Coast to Coast campground just a little north of Colorado Springs in Monument. Our week in the Springs area kept us very busy.
Cripple Creek used to be a boom town with four hundred mines surrounding the area. It used to be a ghost town too, that is, until recently when it became one of three towns in Colorado where limited gambling is legal. The once boarded up store fronts are now alive with the sound of slot machines taking or giving money. There are twenty some gambling places in this town where one can wager on slots, poker machines or play blackjack ($5 limit). One can also visit a real mine or take a ride on the Cripple Creek Railroad and see where some of the other towns and mines used to be. Ron says they are still mining gold in this town, only now it comes from the gamblers pockets.
After having the choice of driving up to Pikes Peak (14,110 feet above sea level) or taking the train, we choose the later. Little did we know that we would share the train with several school busses full of school kids (6th graders we think); the chaperons were not evident. Instead of the kids sitting in a group, they were scattered all over the train and so noisy we couldn't hear the tour guide and she kept asking them to “tone it down.” I got such a headache from the one hour 10 minute ride up that I was willing to be stranded up there rather than ride that same train back.
For over 100 years the world's highest cog railway has been transporting passengers to the summit of Pikes Peak. The fare for adults is $21 and the trip is really worth it. Because it is so steep, there are a pair of cogs between the rails which keep the train from sliding backwards. Several of the grades are 25%. From the summit one can easily see Denver (75 miles away) and New Mexico (100 miles away). It was cold and snowy up there so I decided I'd endure the train ride rather than stay at the top.
We had a big seminar at Pikes Peak Travel Land on Saturday (June 21); there was standing room only, and we met some wonderful people. Rich & Bobbie Brockmann invited us over for dinner the night of the seminar and we talked and talked. They are very eager to full-time. They had had other plans for that Saturday but noticed the seminar information in the morning paper. They dropped everything to attend on short notice. We are glad they did, because we now have new friends. Sunday morning we attended church with them at the Air Force Academy and loved it. If you are ever in the area over a Sunday, we are sure you will also enjoy the experience. Later in the day, we took a tour of the academy. It is a beautiful spot.
On Friday we were interviewed by the Denver Post and on Saturday we drove back to Colorado Springs for the day. We were live on a one hour syndicated radio show (The Great American Road) which originates from that city. Did anyone hear it? After the show we stopped in to meet a Bounder group who were having a weekend camp out near the Garden of the Gods. We are now members of the Rocky Roos Chapter of Bounders United.
Golden is an adorable little city nestled up against the mountains and home to the Coors Brewing Company. Of course we had to take the tour, and it was wonderful. This family owned brewery has a great history, and we didn't know that they produce 12 different kinds of beer. One of the things that impressed us was the large bouquets of fresh flowers everywhere. We were told that one of the sons of Adolph Coors knew his mother loved fresh flowers so he built greenhouses to grow them. It is part of the tradition..
The old mining towns of Central and Blackhawk are only a few miles up into the mountains from Golden, and the locals as well as tourists flock there to visit the 36 gambling casinos. Only a mile apart, the Central/Blackhawk area was once referred to as the “richest square mile” because of the hundreds of million dollars worth of gold mined here. Even now, all along the route from Golden one can spot new age prospectors panning for gold. The best time to visit these towns is during the week, because they sit in a narrow valley and parking is at a premium. All of the store front casinos beg for you to use their valet parking lot where the requirement is that you validate your ticket in their casino every hour.
Another nearby mountain trip is the drive to Mount Evans which is a little south- west of Golden. At 14,264 feet it is not the highest peak in Colorado, but it boasts the highest paved road in the United States. In fact there is only one other paved road which is higher in all of the world, but that is in Pakistan. Mount Evans is 28 miles from I-70 and every bit of it goes up. The last 14 miles are narrow switchbacks with severe drop offs and no guard rail. We choose to take the trip there when it was at least 95 degrees down below. It was a refreshing 50 degrees or so on the top. We were impressed with the bikers who biked to the top. There are lots of rugged bikers in Colorado, from what we have seen.
Right in Golden is Lookout Point which has been made famous because Buffalo Bill is buried on top. We wondered why he was buried there when all the information in the Buffalo Bill Museum on the hill says that his only connection with Colorado was that his sister lived here. He was more famous in Nebraska and Wyoming. The story is that he was visiting his sister in Denver when he died penniless. A man in Denver whom he was indebted to buried him on the hill which overlooks the plains to the east. At one time it was rumored that folks from Cody, Wyoming, were going to steal the body in order that he could be interned in their state. To prevent the removal of Buffalo Bill, his grave was encased in cement.
While in Golden, we presented our seminar at Stevinson RV and again had a great turnout.
Denver is flatter than Manhattan; it is on the plains side of Colorado, but always the mountains form an appealing backdrop to the west. The tall buildings of the downtown area stand out easily when viewed from the mountains. It is a well cared for modern city with lots of culture, gardens, malls and beautiful homes.
Since we had planned to camp somewhere near Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, we took a quick drive up to look over the area, but we didn't do any real touring. We thought we would save that for the time when we were “living” there. But now it looks like we won't get there for a while. (Please see Change of Plans on page 9.) Traveling up to Estes Park, we stopped in the rustic town of Nederland for a quick look and the best lunch ever at Annie's Cafe and Bakery.
We'll see more of Colorado before we leave and will report on new sights
in the next issue. So far, I could easily live here and I am---for
a while. What a life! It seems we saved the best of the contiguous states
(Please remember that this report was written many years ago and the campgrounds may or may not be in business or as they were.)
This month's campground update will be more positive. Our experience with Colorado campgrounds has been excellent. The two CC campgrounds we stayed at were outstanding and although the commercial campgrounds in our report were fine, they are a bit expensive.
Cutty's Resort, Coaldale, Colorado, CCC page 98. This is one of the most beautiful resorts we have ever stayed at. Nestled in the woods with snow capped mountains as a backdrop, the resort has all the amenities, including an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and great hiking trails. The hookups are good, but big rigs will have trouble with trees. If your rig is over 30 feet, it may be advisable to go during the slow season when there is a better choice of sites. The last two miles into the resort will be on a well maintained gravel road, but your vehicles will get dirty. It's worth it.
Colorado Heights Camping Resort, Monument, Colorado, CCC page 103. This is a great location for visiting the Air Force Academy (south on I-25) and Colorado Springs (18 miles down I-25). Although wooded, the sites are easy to get into and the hookups are good. The interior road system is confusing and the heavy rains we experienced probably contributed to their poor condition. Since they do take general public campers, it may be full in the summer.
Scenic Rock RV Park, Golden, CO. This well maintained campground
is very handy to Denver (about 10 miles) and it is immaculate with spotless
rest rooms and laundry. The sites are narrow, but all are paved and the
hookups are the very best. Negatives would be the high cost ($27 less G.S.),
road noise from highway 40 and the worst private pay phones.
Clear Creek Campground, Golden, CO. City owned, the park offers
G.S. discount (nightly rate is $21). This well managed campground is popular
because of the beautiful setting along a river and its proximity to Denver.
It's a short walk to historic downtown Golden and the Coors Brewery (tours).
Sites are narrow, but hookups are good, and you will feel like part of
I don't understand why Michigan with three times the population of Colorado only needs six digits on it's license plates while Colorado sometimes uses seven.
Also, maybe someone can explain why they are building a new baseball stadium for the Colorado Rockies that only holds 50,000, while their average attendance is over 55,000. I'm confused why they are building a stadium at all, because Mile High Stadium is beautiful and every seat has a terrific view.
Barb thinks that I'm prejudice (Army vs Air Force), but I think that the AF Academy is a little too modern although in a beautiful setting. I was more impressed with the ivy covered historic buildings and tradition of West Point.
Speaking of Barb. She's at it again.Now she wants to settle down in Golden ---next month it will be Montana or Washington or .......
Driving around Denver I couldn't believe it when I heard Ernie Harwell (former voice of the Detroit Tigers) on the car radio. Gosh, it was great to hear Ernie again as he was broadcasting the CBS game of week.
We know our way around Denver very well. I recently commented that there aren't many major cities in the U.S. that we don't know our way around.
Looking for an investment? How about a campground in the Denver area?
Actually, any investment in this area would do well. The Californians know
this and they arrive every day.
(Remember that this report was written many years ago and the restaurants may or may not be in business or as they were.)
These are all in Colorado
Annie's Cafe & Bakery, Nederland. Do not miss this place.
We stopped for lunch and had a hard time deciding which of the gourmet
(yet moderately priced) sandwiches, salad or pizza to order. We decided
on the Cup of Soup and the “Half” ($4.50) which was very substantial. The
homemade corn chowder soup was so delicious that we debated having another
cup for dessert. For this item, we had a choice of four sandwich halves.
Barb choose tuna melt while Ron had the turkey club. Both were huge and
fresh. Other choices were grilled ham and cheese or warm veggie which is
billed as “sauteed vegetables and melted mozzarella on a grilled french
roll, with sundried tomato spread.” Other unique veggie sandwiches on the
menu sounded divine. Try to leave room for the tempting fresh desserts.
We split a sinful piece of lemon cake.
Mug on the Hill, Monument. Very friendly pub type place with great specials.Thursday is BBQ, steak fries and a wonderful pasta salad for only $4.99. There was plenty to eat too. Each night's specials looked good and the regular menu was interesting as well.
Silver Heels Southwest Cookery, Golden. The inviting sidewalk
cafe first caught our attention. Then we noticed their menu which mentioned
their specialty item, stone age cookery. It is raw meat, wine and
seasonings delivered with a very hot stone; you cook the meat yourself.
We choose a more traditional meal and it was very tasty. Ron had the ribs
and I had sirloin cordita. This very pricy restaurant is more affordable
during “Early Bird” hours when many entrees are only $9.95.
Park was Suspended
It was a pleasure to meet you and receive our autographed copy of your book. Great book! By the way soon after we left Red Arrow in Edgewood (where we met you), we discovered that Coast to Coast has had that park on “suspension” for several months. So you see, some one other than us has also been more than a little bit disappointed there. Oh well, at least it was a place to stop and catch our breath....
Ruth & Larry Templin
A different perspective
Thanks for your note welcoming us to the world of full-timers. It is, indeed, a total change of lifestyle, but also we are tackling it from a bit different perspective. Chuck will continue his full-time job as an insurance marketing rep covering the state of Texas and the “house” and I will accompany him most of the time. So far, it's working. The really difficult part is trying to explain to others what we are doing and why. The only solution to this predicament is to just avoid getting into it.
We both enjoy your newsletter and look forward to each new issue. I have been an editor (and prior to that a proofreader) for two computer magazines. If you would be interested in some help in this area with your newsletter, let me know. We plan to be in Livingston for about a month commencing June 3.
Dianne & Chuck Harlan
Lots of questions
I heard you Saturday morning on Action Line in Albuquerque. I was on my way to work, unfortunately. I am sorry I missed your seminar at Myers RV, but I did go right after work to buy your book.
I haven't read it all yet; however, I want you to know you are living our dream! Obviously, you are enjoying it!
My husband retired from the State of Texas in 1991. I can retire from the US Government in 2004! That is our problem. We don't want to wait. We are not older, financially independent, retired people like you. We could sell all of our investments and put the money in Larry's retirement, but we don't want to live off that money.
Is there a newsletter or a group that you know of that support themselves on this lifestyle? We were interested in being a host family until I read that you can't make enough money to buy groceries. We don't need much. We can pay off our motorhome and we enjoy the little things. We don't mind hard work, but I want to see the country and enjoy what we see....
I was so sorry I missed you when you were here. You are probably lucky; I would have tried to bend your ear for hours. Since you have family in New Mexico, I hope you get a chance to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in October. It is fabulous.
Janet & Larry Gordon
Dear Janet & Larry,
Great U.S. Visit
We got back on the 6th [of May]. And had the most amazing and wonderful time. Got to Chico [SKP Rally] briefly though could only manage a very short stop. Did a good deal of research on various coaches here and there and I think we will probably try to find a used Foretravel Unihome 36' at the right price. No, the house isn't sold, dammit, but maybe this summer....
Ready to get going
...You are right. Now that we have our new home and are living “full-time”, we have the urge to get going. I really think it will be within the year and possibly even before Xmas. Wayne's job is getting “beyond the stress level” and I told him “enough is enough.” The new issue of Workamper News has become our most recent friend! I'm putting our resume' together!...
And another thing you're right about---we have all we need right here. I have not missed anything we got rid of and have since, got rid of more!!! All that “stuff” in the storage shed I thought I'd need for our new home...WRONG! Aside from some new towels (to match), and some new throw rugs (to match), I'm perfectly content. Now I'm reorganizing---bought myself a file (5"x 8") and some lined, file cards to transfer my recipes. No room for the 15-20 cookbooks I have in the shed....
Book is a primer for full-timers
...Thank you for your thank you note....We have been recommending your book as a primer for anyone really anticipating full-timing. We ran into the Coles' at a Maryland campground and they brought over a bottle of wine and spent the evening asking questions. You may well be hearing from other folk we have met along the way.
Jim & Gill Murray
Anxious to read about Colorado
This card describes the way I felt camping in my 24' Triple E in a site surrounded by dense forest but overlooking the water at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island in Washington. I wish I could extend the feeling by taking up the full-timing lifestyle, but retirement is still at least five years away. Meanwhile I spend as much time in my Triple E as I can, sharing my travels with my three golden retrievers! ...Keep your newsletter coming. I read every word of every issue and full-time vicariously through your adventures. I can hardly wait for the day when I can take off myself.
Right now I am using my RV to travel to dog shows and obedience trials. I not only show my own dogs in obedience competition, but also judge the competitions. In early May of 1995, I will be judging a competition in Denver. Although the club would pay for me to fly there, I'd like to go in my RV and make a vacation out of it. I'm looking forward to your next issue which I hope will be filled with information on RVing in Colorado. I'm particularly interested in what the weather is like that time of year and its effects on driving conditions and desirable routes. Meanwhile, you are living my dream. Keep it up!
Snakes and bugs
...We are still stuck here in Mississippi on the same job. Gosh, it's been almost 3 months in one spot and we can't stand it either. We will be out of here in a week or so. Boy I feel like celebrating. Mississippi probably has a much brighter side than what we have seen. It's been hot, humid---many storms---too many snakes and bugs galore.
Most of the rest of this summer is promised out in jobs north. We will be in MI, NY and Wisc. Not going to get much vacation time this summer. Oh well. We are glad to have the work too!
Pam & Bob Flint
Have wanted to visit Silver City
...Just received another newsletter from you and enjoyed it as usual! We are at Canyon Lake [Texas]—13 miles from New Braunfels---between the two CC [Coast to Coast] campgrounds....
Our granddaughters have already been down once and we hope they will be coming back much more. We have a nice spot set back in the trees. Have had a couple of deer in the yard late at night. Put out our bird feeder and hummingbird feeder when we first arrived. Had some hummingbirds within the 1st hour. Several squirrels are around and fuss at our cat when she's out. Course she's on a leash---unlike others running around the campground---that's one of my pet peeves!
Silver City is one place I've wanted to visit ever since one of my girlfriends from grade school lived there for several years. She had really enjoyed living there...and one day we'll have to make it there. I guess one of the reasons we've not been there is something you said... “it's not on the way to anywhere.”
We've enjoyed Albuquerque, the Atomic Museum, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Bandelier National Monument, Taos---have friends who live in Angel Fire, but haven't been to Red River. Sounds like another place we'll have to visit!
Now we're anxious to hear where all you've been in Colorado. We really enjoyed our time there and did manage to cover a great deal of the state. If you get to Mary's Lake Campground tell them “hi” for us.
Cal & Liz Mc Gee
Anyone going to Cincinnati?
Your book... is super. It has really opened a lot of doors to us....
We would like to know how we can contact a full-timer to talk to? We are going to take the big step in approx 1 year. We currently manage a 250 apartment retirement complex in Cincinnati. If you know of a full-timer who would like to boondock in our parking lot a few days while checking out Cincinnati and sharing full-timing with us, please let them and us know. We, like all new comers, have tons of questions....
Garry & Dee Hahne
Didn't enjoy the FMCA rally at LSU
...We didn't enjoy the rally at LSU. The campus is so spread out that they had people parking on grass and in the mud all over the whole campus. Plus they got 1,500 more motorhomes than expected and they had to put people at the fair grounds and shuttle them to LSU every half hour. Being from Baton Rouge we did enjoy being there. Especially since Wally graduated from LSU he enjoyed being on campus again. But LSU is not a desirable spot for a huge rally like FMCA [Family Motor Coach Assoc]....
Wally just got back from a 200 mile, 18 day hiking adventure. He lost 9 pounds and really enjoyed himself. No mishaps. He spent about $1,000 getting the right equipment, but has no regrets. I got caught up on computer finances and met a couple of really nice ladies and had a good time while he was gone....
Lucy & Wally Marroy
Thank you for the enjoyment you give us each issue. We look forward to another year visiting with you. Keep up the good work and enjoy your trips.
John & Jerre Rutherford
On one of those hot days, the news was that it was the last day of the ski season. Honest! The last day was June 12th this year. Last year they skied all the way to July 4. No, it's not the best skiing in the world at that time of the year, but the die hards do it as long as they can. It was kind of refreshing just to see it on the news. For a minute, we were cooler.
They say that winters in Denver are not bad. It snows, then the sun comes out and melts it. The coldest days are in late November, I was told. After the first of the year, it starts getting warmer every day. Should I believe that? I don't think I'll stick around to check it out.
Some good news and bad news. Good friend Don Ryding (remember last fall
when we were with them in Tampa, Kansas?), has been diagnosed as having
lung cancer. At first the prognosis was bad---one year at the most---no
hope for a cure. They took off for California to seek another opinion and
after just a couple of chemo treatments, the spot has disappeared. Our
prayers have been
Some people complain about doing laundry in the laundromats and I got to thinking about that the last time I did mine. I figure that it takes the same amount of time to do one load as three or four especially when you can use that many machines. We have enough undies and such to make it through about 14 days before I need to wash. That means that only 26 times out of the whole year do I need to deal with a laundromat. Why have a washer and dryer in the RV and have to wash all the time?
The campgrounds have been very busy here in the Denver area. Almost every night the campground has several rigs in overflow (no hookups). Getting one rig in isn't so bad, but it seems that many travel in pairs, and I would think that that complicates getting into a campground. These folks are not usually full-timers, just vacationers. At busy times, what if there is only room for one?
I not only survived another permanent, I got the very best one ever. Deborah owner of Village Hair Designers in Golden is special. For the first time ever, I was given a perm before my hair was cut. She trimmed after and it is just right.
There are a couple of full-timers here at the Clear Creek Campground in Golden that we have gotten to know quite well. Managers Dan and Debbie are young, working full-timers and do they ever work. I told them that I wished I had had employees like them when I owned my business. Having traveled in a trailer and spending time in campgrounds, Debbie knew what campers want to know. She went to a lot of extra effort to fix up several bulletin boards attractively with all sorts of information and maps. Want to know where the nearest barber shop, beauty shop, ATM, grocery store or shuttle bus to the gambling towns is? It is posted.
Ron & Joyce (originally from Saginaw, Michigan) are also working full-timers. They are registered nurses and say it is easy to find work especially in the south in the winter and north in the summer. Right now Ron is working at University Hospital while Joyce is the assistant manager here. Ron also helps out on his days off. By the way, just after we met them they went out and traded in their 26 ft Class C for a 1994-34-J Bounder.
I'm glad we are not leaving the Denver area yet. There is so much we haven't seen like the Natural History Museum, Botanical Gardens, Molly Brown's historic house and many of the nearby towns. And if we don't see all we want this time, we will the next time.
Thought you'd like to know how our book business is:
We will go into the 4th printing on or before August 1.
Three big publishers are looking at our book.
Camping World headquarters has asked us to do our full-timing seminars at their 22 stores across the country.
The Tattered Cover Book
Store, in Denver, one of the largest independent
Media Play, a large bookstore downtown Denver is also carrying our book, and we did a nice book signing there on June 29. Met many nice people.
The Denver Post did a wonderful story on us, the lifestyle, and our book which swamped Publication Services with orders.
One radio station here wanted nothing to do with our story. He asked if we had ever been behind a slow moving RV that was tieing up traffic and didn't seem to care. That got me to thinking that RVs do have a bad name because of the inconsiderate ones out there. Please promise me that you will keep an eye out for lines of cars behind you and pull off as often as possible to let them pass. Will you help us compile a list of other polite things RVers can do (like not running generators in a tenting area)? We will publish it. Maybe we can help educate everyone.
In the next issue, I'll introduce you to a full-timing family (the two children are being home schooled) and their unusual motorhome.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
One of the reasons we have stayed in Colorado longer than planned was that I was able to go to the world renowned National Jewish Center for Respiratory Diseases as an outpatient. For a week, I was tested, evaluated and tested again to determine the best treatment for my asthma. It had been getting worse.
Sinusitis complicates asthma and I had that problem worse than I thought. Now with medication that will clear up.
They discovered another problem that isn't as easy to clear up. I have GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). The name is horrible; I'll try to explain. The muscle at the base of the esophagus opens up at the wrong time and allows the contents of the stomach to splash up into the esophagus. Believe it or not this also complicates asthma. My GERD is worse than normal---that muscle at the base of my esophagus stays open all the time. As one doctor explained, the only organ in the body that can stand the acidic contents of the stomach is the stomach. It isn't good for the esophagus.
Medication cannot fix my problem. Surgery has been scheduled for July 5. Since I will be in the hospital for 5-10 days and need to recuperate at home for at least 6 weeks after that, we will not be leaving Colorado for a while. What a better place to be stuck!
We preach the benefits of this lifestyle all the time and getting good
medical care is one. I asked where in the whole U.S. was the best place
to get this done and they said---University Hospital, Denver. I will be
in good hands, just laid up for a while.
Denver Trivia Quiz
1. There are ________ miles of interconnected creekside trails for self propelled off street enjoyment in the city of Denver.
a) 30 miles b) 56 miles c) 85 miles
2. Denver is ______ in the nation for college graduates per capita.
3. On the average there are ______ days of sunshine per year.
4. Denver is the birthplace of the cheeseburger. True or False
5. The median age of Denver's residents is _____.
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