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Old 08-14-2009, 04:08 PM   #197
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Back on the road, we travelled with friends to Lake City and camped at county owned Wupperman Campground. This was the first time we had caravanned (is 2 vehicles a caravan?) with anyone. They have an early '90's 24' Fleetwood that they have taken good care of. Since they drive slower than me, our gas mileage went up one or two miles per gallon.

Lake City is a town of about 300 year 'round and 1,000 or more in summer, most of the summer visitors Texans. It is strange to be in a Colorado town and hear Texas accents everywhere. It is the county seat of Hinsdale Co.*, pop. around 700. It is located in south central Colorado at 8,661'. My guess is the campground is 1,000' higher. These little mountain towns and counties have a tough time sustaining any kind of economy other than low paying tourism jobs and low margin ranching. It is in a beautiful area surrounded by mountains and a number of roads, some 4wd, further into more beautiful places. It's located on the Lake Fork of the Gunnison R. at the south end of a long, sometimes narrow, valley. Long ago it was a center for mines. Many historic buildings have been preserved, especially one block off the state highway. The nearest city is Gunnison (15,000 people) which has a state college, airport, and is on the road north to Crested Butte.

Wupperman stretches a couple of miles along the east side of Lake San Cristobal, 2nd largest natural lake in the state. The access is along a sometimes quite narrow dirt road. You would not want to meet another RV on some sections (we didn't). One hill featured a 5" jagged metal pipe sticking up at the edge of the road. Some sites overlook the lake from above, some are in the trees, some are down at the lake. They do have a dump station, $10 charge. Sites are $15/night. No hookups. The views from the sites we had right down at the lake were great and someday I'll download a photo or two. There were two Airstreams at one of the sites far above the lake, but we were camped a mile or more away so we never met them.

This was a good place to camp—good views, cheap sites, about 7 miles from Lake City. Our friends brought a couple of bikes for me to try out. I rode a mountain bike about 3 miles on the steep hills from the campsite and although you never forget how to ride a bike, I had forgotten some muscles that were unhappy afterward. We were having a good time hanging out, eating together, talking about this and that. We got much more careful with grey water, using a dishpan in the sink and throwing than down the toilet.

Barb went off with Sydney to ride around the lake (Sydney's husband had fallen the day before, gotten scratched up a bit, and decided to take a nap). I wanted to work on something for our water company and let my new found muscles relax. But, Barb came back several minutes later to tell us Sydney had crashed. This other couple are very experienced riders, having ridden coast to coast and do long biking trips all the time. For both of them to fall in 2 days is extraordinary. But…she hit a pothole, front wheel stopped cold, and she flipped over the handlebars and cut open her knee and elbow. I got the truck and drove to pick her up. Her husband fell down when he got out of the truck sliding into the ditch—crazy things happen sometimes—but was ok. So I ran over to the "patient" and saw her color was good, she was calm, and no blood was pouring out of the neckerchiefs she was using as temporary bandages. I was relieved to see no arteries or major veins were involved We loaded up her and her bike and started to Lake City.

The obvious question was whether there were any medical personnel in Lake City—everyone thought it, but no one said it out loud. I figured a nurse practitioner might visit a couple of times a week and we'd probably have to drive to Gunnison about 65 miles away. We stopped at the visitor info center and were guided to a clinic a block away. We later discovered it had a full time doctor, nurse practitioner, X=ray technician, and visiting doctors and a dentist. We spent 4 hours there while Sydney was evaluated and sewn up (20 stitches). There was a lot of gravel and dirt far into the lacerations—they were big and deep and just south of the patella. Elbow was just cut up and needed no stitches. She also had a bruised rib. A lot worse could have happened—going fast downhill, flying over the handlebars adds to the impact. She didn't hit her head (she had a helmet too), didn't hit the bike, didn't bleed much somehow missing major blood vessels, didn't break any bones, didn't get more cuts. She was lucky.

So, our peaceful adventure changed radically. She'll heal and get back to biking. We'll do this trip again someday. Not sure I want to ride a bike again after seeing what can happen to experienced riders, but maybe I'll get over it.

Lake City restaurants: We had breakfast at the NoName and I thought it was ok. Two others ordered eggs over medium and got basted eggs undercooked. There are only about 2 places for breakfast in town. We had dinner at the Alpine Moose. Chef Bruno presides and loves acting the chef part, though we didn't ask him for documentation showing he was certified or whatever it takes to be a "chef". We shared a pizza and an entree. Both were too rich; less rich sauce on the entree and less cheese on the pizza would have been better. If you order pizza you have to sit in the bar and not the dining room (Bruno seems to have his rules) and the bar was very hot even though it was cool outside. This is called "faint praise". Some will like it and Trip Advisors reviews are mostly very positive. We'll look for somewhere else for dinner next time. Restaurants come and go in Lake City since they have to make all their money in a 4 month season.

Next week we go to Jumbo Campground in Grand Mesa NF with a couple who have a conversion van. No bikes.

Gene

*Hinsdale Co. is known for late 19th Century cannibal Alferd Packer. Yes, it's most often spelled "Alferd". Trapped in the winter of 1873-74 with six others, Alferd ate his companions. He claimed one of them went mad, killed the others and Packer had to kill him. There was a lot of litigation and he was eventually convicted of manslaughter in 1886. He got 40 years, but was paroled in 1901. He died in 1907 said to have become a vegetarian. More recent speculation is that he didn't kill anyone but the one who supposedly killed the others, and simply preserved himself, thus he was telling the truth. It was said he ate 5 of the 7 Democrats in Hinsdale Co., but the party came from Utah. Many stories about Alferd are myths. There is a restaurant in Lake City called the Cannibal Grill and the restaurant at the Univ. of Colorado student center is named after him too .
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:46 PM   #198
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Gene, Just finished your travelogue, don't know how I missed it! Great posts, brought back some cross country memories.The Trans-Canada Highway was a great trip for us....last century. Glad to hear it hasn't changed much.

Did you get to Bflo. or Fort Bridger Wyo.?
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:48 PM   #199
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Thanks Bob. We went through neither town in Wyo. We drove straight south from Cody, went through Thermopolis (didn't stop) and made our way down to Craig, Colo., and then south to get home.

Gene
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:48 AM   #200
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Gene:

Great 2009 adventure so far, I wish we could take in as much camping as you do. Sorry to hear about Barb's accident but glad that the injuries weren't too bad. We're planning a trip for Labor day weekend and are leaning toward the Lake City area. It's one old town that we've never seen and we've read about some nice ghost towns and hiking in the area. Would you recommend Wupperman and do you think the first come campgrounds would be full for the weekend?

Charlie
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:50 PM   #201
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Thanks Charlie. It wasn't Barb that was injured, it was our friend Sydney. She's healing nicely.

Wupperman has sites both right down on the lake and way above it with great views. There are also some sites (they looked a little small for a 25'). There a dump stations for $10 with water. The sites are $15/night. Given that a lot of kids are already in school, Labor Day may not be as crowded as in years past, but I'd get there early, maybe trying for Friday. I think it's open to mid-September. There was a campground host who was somewhat helpful in telling us what sites to look for. The private campgrounds all looked pretty crowded with small sites. There's a FS campground—I think it's up the Cinnamon Pass Rd—with basic sites and I don't think it has anything but a place to park, but you can check the internet and campground books.

Gene
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:51 PM   #202
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I've got some photos of Wupperman and a campground on Grand Mesa, but somehow downloading them into the computer hasn't happened. I'll have to take pictures of the newly shined Safari so there's more to forget to download. I don't know how to set up the camera to do it and Barb isn't home right now.

Yes, the annual trailer washing and polishing started the other day and today I completed putting paint sealant on it. 4 hours to seal, 2 or 3 to remove bugs and wash. The Griot's paint sealant has lasted more than one year by a few weeks and that sure makes it easier to keep the trailer clean. We've washed it several times over the past year and the dirt and bugs came off easily.

Yesterday I discovered one of the plastic rock guard windows was coming out of the frame at the bottom (have to take a photo of that too). Most of it is still in. These are the guards that have been cracking, so it appears Airstream has been buying junky supplies again. Some of my time has been taken up lately reading old threads about problems with QC and cheapened manufacturing. If you thought separation was a thing of the past (i.e., rear end separation in the 1970's), I learned that the newest problem is front end separation and goes back years and continues: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ion-35237.html

If I'd known this when we decided to buy an Airstream, I would have looked for a used one since paying for a new one doesn't make sense.

But I digress…

We camped at Jumbo CG on Grand Mesa a couple of weeks ago. The NF's have been leasing campgrounds to concessionaires or closing them. This one had added electric sites. Another one a few miles away is being rebuilt and will probably be the same. It came out nice and we were joined by friends who have a conversion van. After rattling around in our trailer, their van felt like a closet. They have a stand up screened room they set up and use that to be in.

We had a good time walking, eating, and driving. We found some good boondocking sites on a moderately 4wd road on the northwest side of the Mesa when we went exploring. Had breakfast one morning at the Grand Mesa Resort. The food was fair, atmosphere better, waitress feisty, and the best part was that dogs were allowed in the restaurant. In fact, one was sitting on a barstool. I know some people wouldn't like that, but the dogs were well behaved.

Next week we go to Arizona for the Hubbell Trading Post Auction near Ganado. Many Navajo and Hopi items are auctioned in this twice a year event. Hubbell was one of the 19th century traders and the trading post has been kept as it was years ago as a NM. Our interest and weakness is Navajo rugs. Prices are somewhat lower than the best I can get (most of the time) in retail stores. Prices on the rugs have dropped in recent years, so we're hoping for some good deals. After that, Canyon de Chelly near Chinle, then onto Heron Lake SP in NM, and then to Pueblo. That'll give us about a month to prepare for another warranty trip to JC, then to the Fla. Keys, across to Texas (not straight across, but by road) for Austin and San Antonio. Maybe to see NO again. Not sure how to do all this in 4 weeks or so.

Gene
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:12 PM   #203
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Have a wonderful trip, and drive safe.
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Old 09-13-2009, 07:40 PM   #204
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Gene:
Thanks the tips on the Lake City area. I got home from work a little later then I had planned so we didn't make it to Lake City until after dark. I should have taken better notes on finding the place because it was very difficult to find at night. There was no sign for the campground near the first dirt road entrance, and one that wasn't easy to spot on the back side of the lake. We didn't notice the back entrance until the next day but we decided to try the first entrance thinking it must lead to the campground. I had some second thoughts as I was pulling up the hill of the narrow dirt road at night, but luckily it was the right road. Camp fees were cut in half since the water had to be shut off for some unknown reason. It was a nice campground with good proximity to everything in the area. My wife had broken her foot a couple of weeks early and was in cast so we weren't able to hike, but the four wheel drive roads were awesome. I think the ghost towns we saw going up the Cinnamon pass and around the Alpine loop were the best we've seen to date. It's amazing when I think of how difficult these towns are to get to now with a road of sorts and a 4 wheel drive vehicle, that people were able to build these towns near 12,000 ft. before the roads actually existed.
Anyway, we had a great time. It's a place that had been on our list of things to do, but we probably wouldn't have done it if we hadn't read your post.
I hope you enjoy Arizona this week.
Charlie
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:58 PM   #205
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Charlie, glad to hear you enjoyed yourself. Yeh, the CG isn't marked well. Sorry to hear you wife broke her foot and hopes she heals quickly.

Gene
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Old 09-14-2009, 08:37 AM   #206
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Camping in Austin

Gene,
I do not know if you plan to stop in Austin when you go to the Keys, but here are a couple good campgrounds in Austin. McKinney Falls State Park is on the South East part of the city. Emma Long Metro Park is along Lake Austin, West of downtown and is a nice park. Both parks are water and electric only with a dump station. As long as you are not here around a holiday, these parks should have plenty of sites available. Here are the web sites to view information about them.

TPWD: McKinney Falls State Park

City of Austin - Austin Parks and Recreation Department: Emma Long Metropolitan Park

Another park about 25 miles north of Austin is Cedar Breaks (Corps of Engineers) park in Georgetown which is inexpensive at $9 with the Federal Senior Pass. We have camped there twice this year and enjoyed the view of Lake Georgetown.

Dennis
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:25 AM   #207
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Thanks Dennis. We only have a rough idea of what we're doing and if we go everywhere we have talked about, it may take 3 months, or driving 1,000 miles/day or some other insane solution. But the trailer is clean and shined and it rained so much last night (finally, after a couple of months with maybe 10 minutes of rain in all) the truck may have been nature cleaned. I've gotta go over the map and make a plan for the Oct-Nov. trip.

Gene
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:57 PM   #208
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We'll be interested in the Texas itinerary . . . lot's of great backroads in this state!
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:02 PM   #209
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I promised photos a long, long time ago.

#1: taken from dinette looking at Lake San Cristobal at Wupperman CG, Lake City, Colo.
#2: At Jumbo CG in Grand Mesa NF.
#3: A WPA era building near Lands End, Grand Mesa NF. It used to have info and some food, but cutbacks in the NF have closed a lot of things.
#4: The piece of paper shows how the rock guard is coming out of the frame.

Coming attractions: Canyon de Chelly and Hubble Trading Post auction.

Gene
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:32 AM   #210
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Gene,
We were in Lake City right after you were. We arrived on the 12th..
I noticed the next week (after we left) the temp were dropping into the 20s at night..
We were going to move into Wupperman, but we found our shower was not working so we stayed at Castle Lake CG on down the road from Wupperman. They had showers..
We did take our canoe out on lake (see pic) there at Wupperman. It looks like a great CG.

Looks like you are having a great trip! Hopefully someday we will have some nice long trips in our AS.
Jeff
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