Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pawnee National Grassland & Boyd Lake State Park

The Sterling, CO Wal-Mart is the quietest Wal-Mart I’ve ever stayed at!  A few truckers came in and one other RV.  There was no bass kicking drag racing through the parking lot, no delivery trucks, nothing!  I didn’t sleep as well as I do in a campground, but much better than I expected at Wal-Mart!  It even got cold and I used needed my extra blanket! 

With no picnic table to sit at I took my coffee into Wal-Mart and did some shopping while I drank it! :-)  Picked up a thermometer for the RV and nice new shirt!  By about 7:30 I was on my way to the Pawnee National Grassland. 

I headed out CO 14 from Sterling and soon I saw a sign “No Fuel for the next 60 miles”.  It struck fear in me.  I knew I had more than 1/2 a tank and would make it all the way to Loveland on what I had, but I still had the urge to turn around and top it off!  I didn’t though, I forged ahead.  Very soon I was crossing a vast expanse of nothing.  Just mile after mile after mile of fields!  Grain fields I think.  The road was straight and the speed limit was 65!  It was a little unnerving being out in the middle of nowhere.  What if something happened?  Car trouble?  Luckily I actually had better cell service out there than I did in Sterling!

Soon I arrived at the only developed area in the Grassland – a small NFS campground.  I pulled in and parked Roxy and got out to explore.  There were a couple small trails – one for birding and one that lead onto the prairie.  It was very Laura Ingalls!  I walked out onto the prairie until the trail gave out and then walked back.  It was a nice cool morning, but the sun was intense!

Little Van on the Prarire! 

Little Van on the Prairie




The Grasslands was a nice place to visit and it was a great spot for a walk and some sightseeing  on the way, but there wasn’t a lot to do there and soon I was on my way to Loveland!  I had even more “nothing” to cross through before I got here though!  I even lost cell phone reception for awhile.

Around 3am the fridge alarm went off.  Whenever the fridge loses power an alarm goes off to alert you that there’s a problem – it keeps your food from spoiling! I was having an issue with the fridge in Shenandoah in May – it would suddenly not be able to ignite (I run it on propane when I’m dry camping) and I didn’t know why.  I hadn’t had an issue with it again until now.  Sterling is at almost 4,000 feet, and so it could be the elevation…   So at 3am I simply turned the fridge off and turned it back on this morning.  It was fine until the middle of nowhere.  I could hear the alarm going off over the radio, but I couldn’t pull over to do anything about it, so I just turned the radio up! 

Between the fridge alarm and the seemingly never ending nothingness I was getting frustrated.  I was ready to be done with the driving.  Then I noticed in front of me…the haze looked different, more solid…I couldn’t believe my eyes….MOUNTAINS!!!!!!!  We’d made it across The 1000 Mile Flats! I hadn’t expected to be able to see the mountains from so far away so I was extra excited!


P1130552 Look carefully, you may be able to see the mountains in the haze.

Soon I was at I-25 heading south to Loveland and Boyd Lake State Park.  It was only 10:30 am but I was able to check in and get my site!  First I had to dump (the black tank had reached totally full!), and fill my fresh water tank and then get settled in the campsite.  This involved a lot of driving around the campground, sometimes going the wrong way, but I got it all accomplished. 

Mom and Dad are driving 400 miles from Moab, UT and should be here soon, traffic is bad since it’s the night before a holiday weekend.  I spent the rest of the day at Boyd Lake, doing laundry, finding out info about the area, drinking water to help me acclimate to the elevation (Boyd Lake is 5000 feet!) and generally recovering from the long trip across the country!  

When I was doing laundry I met a couple from PA – Mercer, PA to be exact.  That’s just a few miles from where I went to undergrad at Westminster College!  Small World!

No idea what we will do tomorrow…

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