Another family trip to Colorado. The State is actually 'one of' the most fantastic, in terms of scenery, of the 'lower 48' collection. The young Rocky Mountains are still rising, so hang on!.
We loaded the RV and left ABQ with 2 granddaughters, and headed North for Fun Valley RV and cabin resort, just west of South Fork Colorado in the San Juan mtns, 280 miles north of ABQ NM, at the Eastern base of Wolf Creek Pass.
The first miles were up past Santa Fe New Mexico, through Espanola which lies along the Rio Grande River below the world famous, 'once secret', Atomic Scientific Laboratory known as Los Alamos. When I say 'past Santa Fe' I mean it. Several years ago a 'bypass' was built from I-25 around the Northwest perimeter. I recommend that you use it, if not interested in the 'Ambiance' of Santa Fe traffic. The 'Santa Fe relief route heads north off I-25 south of Santa Fe (near the racetrack) and then turns East to intersect back into the hwy 285 (opera house) north towards Espanola.
Espanola is another one of the Govt subsidised cities I rant about from time to time. Not much happens there because of the lack of incentive. Of course there is always a rare exception.
The 'Casinos' that redistribute existing wealth (Zero Sum?) are visible between SF and Espanola. The new highway overpasses are works of art. And I do mean 'Works of Art'. A vandal left his 'mark' a couple of years ago. You have no idea how much 'wrath' was spent to find and prosecute that 'individual', THEY GOT HIM. But true to the Legal System of today, it was 'Catch and Release' just like the fishing of today.
Just past Espanola is the easy choice to drive North on hwy 285, climbing in altitude toward Alamosa Colorado. The terrain is ancient seafloor as is most of the western states. (see http://blogengeezer.wordpress.com/) Mountains surround the valley and high mesas. At Alamosa the hwy 160 heads west toward Wolf Creek Pass.
This drive was interesting for one thing very obvious. From Alamosa to South Fork, the railroad which is no longer in use, now is storing about 50 miles, yes 50 miles, of 'Spine Cars', UPS? .com/FR8_Cars/Loaded_A2.html once used to transport 18 wheeler freight truck trailers.Truck drivers hated them because they said the 'spine cars' eliminated drivers.
It did not matter that they saved millions of gallons of fuel daily, and sharply curtailed emissions. There are heavy politics involved in cutting emissions and saving fuel. Another of which is the endless use of 'Mowing Crews' along the Desert hwys of the Southwest. Politicians 'Talk the Talk but Never Walk the Walk'. Way to many 'Special Interests' are involved.
The first night was spent in our 4 night RV destination, Fun Valley Family RV and cabin resort, parked under the trees near the river. http://www.timberman.com/PARKS/FunValley/FUNVAL.htm
The two girls that rode up with up with us, rode around the large park on their bicycles to get oriented. Security prevents any unauthorised 'cruisers' from intruding on the safety of the hundreds of kids with their parents and family vacationing there. After making our beds, the early morning drive in the Jeep up over Wolf Creek Pass to pick up the third girl, was a visual feast of green valleys spreading out below the over 10,000 foot Pass, surrounded by magnificent peaks. The 'SonLight Christian' youth camp http://www.sonlightcamp.org/maps_weather/index.php is north of Pagosa Springs Colorado, turn at the 'Subway sandwich shop, onto 4 mile road North and drive about 6 miles. Yep that's what I said.
What a fantastic hidden little camp in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. The third young girl, standing at the top of the road, waiting patiently, was very excited to see us drive up. The still enthused directors had a continental breakfast ready for us. 'Mary' had made cinnamon rolls just like my own Grandmother made many years ago. I had not had that type of roll since I was a little kid. I had an instant memory recall back to my Grandmothers fantastic kitchen the instant I saw them. Cream cheese and bread dough, is wonderful with cinnamon wrapped inside. Great coffee was welcomed as well.
The third young 'Happy Camper' excitedly showed us the entire layout, the old 'Crafty bus', and also including her own little groups cosy 'bunk house'. Songs were sung and a slide show presentation documented the entire past weeks festivities. Now the other 2 young girls are excited and pressuring their parents to attend.
The return back over Wolf Creek Pass was a lesson in Colorado driving. The Aircraft Spotter high over the pass alerted the 3 hwy patrol cars to stop speeding and aggressive drivers to stop them with a discrete roadblock at a scenic overlook. We witnessed tickets being issued like an assembly line, very efficient.
The Fun Valley Family RV and cabin resort, just east of the Pass, has paddle boats, lots of various fishing, horseback riding, dancing, hiking, inner tubing, miniature golf, a pool hall, snack shop and restaurant, gift shops of course and all manner of socialising for all ages. All in all, it takes days to do all of the amenities. This area is surrounded by a million acres of National Forest, so no 'boredom' is allowed.
The girls each caught a 'fish by the inch'. They were so excited to get to do this on their own. The girls all hated to leave but want to return next year. They rode their bikes about a hundred miles during the 4 days. No license required in the well stocked pond. Other ponds and of course the 'catch and release' river flowing through the park, is serene.
Serious golfers head to South Fork.One night the girls even got to do a lot of dancing. The next nights were adult dancing accompanied by the 'Fun Valley Playboys'. (A big group in Texas Flag shirts). Those folks are sure enough real 'Pickers' from everywhere. Even real church services on Sunday, with lots of gospel music and a great visiting preacher. This place is big so the attendance is impressive.
Real great people. Some even had businesses set up around the park. Windshield repairs included, by 'Bill'. About 100 people are employed part time, to keep this place functioning like a clock.
Be sure to visit this unique Fun Valley Family RV and cabin resort in Southern Colorado while driving through the fantastic Western States. See Ya' round the campfire.