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Old 12-09-2010, 11:27 AM   #1
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Okay...so SilverHoot is on the road and we want to keep this going, so here goes:

Tag...you're it CrawfordGene!

1. Before you had an Airstream, did you camp? In what?

2. Have you always lived in CO?

3. What is your ideal camping spot? Boondocking or campsite? Where?
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:39 PM   #2
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1. I first started camping with a tent while doing wilderness backpacking. There was some tenting in upstate NY (not much wilderness there), but mostly in Colorado starting in 1976 during a visit. In the mid '80's my knees started to give me problems and we began driving to remote areas and camping in a tent. The tents got larger since we didn't have to carry it. It was no longer comfortable to sleep in a bag on the ground right under the tent, so pads came along, then an air mattress. In the 00's, even that became less desirable and an alternative was necessary and that was an Airstream.

2. Although I had been to most states, it wasn't until 1976 that I first visited Colorado. I moved to Colorado in 1978 and have been here for 32 1/2 years.

3. If my body had remained young, I'd prefer backpacking. Being far into the wilderness is inspiring and incredibly beautiful. When I first hiked in Colorado there were far fewer people here, so one could walk all day and never see anyone. One of my indelible memories is hiking up to a 13,000' pass some miles south of Aspen, and looking across mountains spreading endlessly in all directions. It felt like the top of the world and we were the only people in it. When I came back there 10 years later, we saw many more people and with more people, the national forest had rules that made enjoying things more difficult.

RV parks and boondocking each have their place depending on what the goal is. We frequently drive long distances and after days of driving, the simplicity and comfort of an RV park with wifi and hookups helps renew us for another day of driving or seeing destinations. Sometimes it's good to get away for a few days boondocking. Short trips from home are good for that, but sometimes one or more destinations work that way. For example, when we drove to Alaska's Brook's Range, the BLM campground was boondocking and that was the way to be there. Unfortunately the mosquitos kept us inside or running to the truck as fast as possible. The campground at Denali was also boondocking and worked well for us (few mosquitos there, so we could walk around). Some private and public parks only have electricity or water, so that's semi-boondocking and that can work too. Or, driving down a dirt road and pulling up at a flat spot off the road can be the best thing to do. All have their place.

Gene
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:52 PM   #3
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1. If someone were Airstreaming locally to your area of Colorado, where should they stay?

2. What should they see?

3. Where should they avoid?
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:14 PM   #4
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Dave,

1. Crawford State Park is on a BOR reservoir and is a nice park. Since it's near me, I have never stayed there, but Colorado has nice state parks, though they get pricier every year. Black Canyon National Park may have RV spaces on the North Rim, but you'd have to check whether they do. They would most probably be primitive. The North Rim is about 210 miles south of Crawford.

Grand Mesa, about 45 miles west of Crawford, has many campgrounds. One has been leased to a concessionaire who put in electric. That is Jumbo CG. I believe there's another one with electric. Once camped, you can explore the Mesa and the back country has many 4WD roads.

The national forests have CG's in various states of repair. Some have been closed in recent years because most Forest Service money goes to forest fires and a lot was allocated to speeding up oil and gas development. Uncompadre NF is to the south, Gunnison NF to the north and east, Grand Mesa NF to the west and northwest. Paonia State Park has CG's, but I don't know if they have RV spaces. More info is easy to find on the internet.

There are private CG's near Hotchkiss and Delta. Delta has 3. I haven't stayed in any of the private ones.

2. Grand Mesa, said to be the world's largest flattop mountain, is not entirely flat and full of places to explore, hike and backpack. In winter, plenty of places on top to cross country ski or snowshoe. There's a small ski area on the north side, closer to I-70.

Black Canyon NP was upgraded from a national monument. It's a really deep canyon and a good place to find out how scared of heights you are. The view of the Canyon is better from the more developed South Rim (accessible from US 50 east of Montrose), but the North Rim is very quiet. North of the Park on the north side there's some BLM land that may be good for boondocking, but you have to look around. No trees, so it's quite exposed to intense sun.

The northern part of Delta County has 3 small towns, Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford. It's called the North Fork Valley. This is cow country, though the ranches are being subdivided and retirees are moving here. Paonia is the largest of the 3 and most progressive. Hotchkiss tends to be a speed trap at times. Crawford is the smallest (about 350) and retains its cow town character. Paonia has the best restaurant, the Flying Fork. Unfortunately most other restaurants have greasy breakfasts and 1950's food. It's good to have your own kitchen with you.

The drive from Crawford to Blue Mesa Reservoir (41 miles) follows the Black Canyon for 27 miles and is a spectacular and not well known road. It even has some guardrails, though not enough. It is fairly narrow and very winding, but we've towed the trailer along it many times. Once you get to the reservoir, you can continue to Gunnison on US 50 east, or to Montrose, Delta and Grand Junction on US 50 west. Gunnison County has Crested Butte. You can simply explore the national forests which surround us.

3. Avoid most restaurants. In Delta, Tapatio has decent Mexican; DaVito's (not sure of spelling) has fairly good pizza. Not so sure about Ocean Pearl (sometimes called Ocean Peril) for Chinese as the last time wasn't so good. In Crawford, Black Canyon Cafe is very inconsistent, but is reputed to be better on Thursday-Saturday. But if you like '50's food, this is the place for you. Buy gas in Delta, Montrose or Grand Junction. The North Fork Valley is down to 3 expensive gas stations. Don't let your dog run loose on ranch land—they shot them here on sight.

Gene
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:16 PM   #5
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What are your hobbies? If multiple, which is your favorite down-time pastime?

What do you like to read?

What is your favorite food?

Maggie
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:34 PM   #6
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Maggie, there's no one answer to anything.

1. I like to remodel the house, but I'm finished, so I have to sell it and buy another one. Reading is big. I am working on restoring some Victorian chairs, but the caning is going badly, so I have to figure that out. Travel is a big part of our lives. I can't say which is my favorite. Oh, the Forum serves for relaxation from working on stuff.

2. If I had enough time, I'd read lots more stuff that I do. I used to read a lot of science fiction and some novels, but now I have don't seem to have time for that. I read the New York Times (and that takes a lot of time), some really bad local papers, Fine Homebuilding, High Country News (an environmental periodical), travel information for planning trips, and the internet.

3. If I have a favorite desert it is chocolate cake with cherry filing or chocolate chip mint ice cream. It is not good to eat these things every day. Another answer is anything my wife makes because she is an incredible cook. I do make better omelettes and granola than her. I like lots of fruit and veggies, Italian, Mexican and Chinese food. I like food too much and have to control myself, something I never had to do until I got old and slow.

Gene
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:37 PM   #7
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Okay, I'll ask again.

Where did you meet your sweet wife?

Where did you go on your first date?

How long have you been married?


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Old 12-09-2010, 03:57 PM   #8
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Gene,

What do you do (or did you do) for a living?

Do you have children?

Please disregard these if you don't care to answer.

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Old 12-09-2010, 05:03 PM   #9
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If too personal, please disregard and my sincere apologies.


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Old 12-09-2010, 05:26 PM   #10
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Maggie,

1. Back in 1986 I was sitting at home enjoying reading and went outside to enjoy the sun and cool breezes. The yard was far above the main drag and I could hear the music from the Little Bear, a somewhat sleezy saloon that often had good rock 'n' roll. It was the day before Memorial Day. I didn't really want to go, but something drew me to it. I had to go. I don't care for crowds and looked for a place in the bar with fewer people. So, I was there for about 20 minutes and was leaning against a large post and looked around to the other side. I was not looking for a girlfriend.

There she was—tall (5' 9 1/2"), slender and magical, the magic that had called to me. I was not unfamiliar with women, but I was tongue tied like a teenager. I said something to Barb that as soon as I said it sounded idiotic to me, but it didn't matter. After about 10 minutes I knew this was something that was going to be a major relationship. I was a goner. We've been together ever since, just over 24 1/2 years. Next May, 25 years. Was it love at first sight? Just about.

2. We did make a date to go to the People's Fair in Denver six days later, but things moved faster than that.

3. The official date of our wedding was April 30, 1988, but we started getting married right away and it took us a while to adjust. The official date was the public recognition of it. We celebrate the date we met as the most important one.

Gene
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:32 PM   #11
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Brian,

1. I most recently practiced law, but have been a journalist, urban policy analyst, history professor, mine superintendent. Being retired is what I do best.

2. No children. Some dogs and cats might qualify.

Gene
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Maggie,

1. Back in 1986 I was sitting at home enjoying reading and went outside to enjoy the sun and cool breezes. The yard was far above the main drag and I could hear the music from the Little Bear, a somewhat sleezy saloon that often had good rock 'n' roll. It was the day before Memorial Day. I didn't really want to go, but something drew me to it. I had to go. I don't care for crowds and looked for a place in the bar with fewer people. So, I was there for about 20 minutes and was leaning against a large post and looked around to the other side. I was not looking for a girlfriend.

There she was—tall (5' 9 1/2"), slender and magical, the magic that had called to me. I was not unfamiliar with women, but I was tongue tied like a teenager. I said something to Barb that as soon as I said it sounded idiotic to me, but it didn't matter. After about 10 minutes I knew this was something that was going to be a major relationship. I was a goner. We've been together ever since, just over 24 1/2 years. Next May, 25 years. Was it love at first sight? Just about.

2. We did make a date to go to the People's Fair in Denver six days later, but things moved faster than that.

3. The official date of our wedding was April 30, 1988, but we started getting married right away and it took us a while to adjust. The official date was the public recognition of it. We celebrate the date we met as the most important one.

Gene
What a sweet story! And reads like something out of J Peterman.


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Old 12-09-2010, 06:18 PM   #13
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1950's Food

CrawfordGene Paonia has the best restaurant, the Flying Fork. Unfortunately most other restaurants have greasy breakfasts and 1950's food.



Good story/history. But, just have to ask.. What is 1950's food??

thanks,
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:35 PM   #14
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TB,

A slab of overcooked or undercooked fatty meat, boiled peas, mashed potatoes drowned in gravy and boiled corn. Add great gobs of butter to the veggies. White bread. No spices except for salt and pepper. The only pasta is spaghetti with tomato sauce out of a can. My mother used to make this kind of food, much of it out of cans or frozen (frozen French fries were soggy and really bad). Food was often overcooked. Iceberg lettuce covered in creamy salad dressing if there is a salad.

If you weren't around then, you may not know there was very little variety, fish was generally heavily breaded and not served often, Mexican food was unknown (except maybe in the southwest), Chinese food had little variety too. It was very hard to find vegetarian options. All my father really wanted was meat and potatoes despite high blood pressure and a family history of cardiovascular disease—as a doctor he should have known better—and learned after 2 heart attacks at 57 (he lived 25 more years and took better care of himself). Looking at the family history I decided to change my eating habits radically. So I'm pretty sensitive to food and restaurants. One reason we bought the Airstream was to bring our own food. Restaurant food everywhere often has sugar and lots of salt added—after a couple of days of it we both feel bad.

This County in many ways hasn't changed much over the years and the oldtimers want to keep it that way. Restaurants reflect that.

Gene
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