It has been a while since I last posted here. That is not because I haven’t had anything to say, but more because we have been busy.
When last I wrote, we were crossing the two-month mark and were still in Mesa Arizona at the Mesa Regal RV Resort. We were there for a month and loved it so much we plan on going back next winter. However, as much as we loved it, we got Charlie and went full time in order “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations,” and as it neared the end of April the weather was getting warm, it was time for us to move on.
Mireille had made reservations for us at the same RV park in her hometown we stayed in 10 years ago when we first got the idea of RV’ing full time. The reservation was for June 2, so we had a destination to get to and a month in which to get there. That may seem like plenty of time, but since I am working and need to be stationary with good cell coverage during the week, we planned on driving the weekends and setting up someplace for the week. We also needed to go through Sioux Falls, South Dakota to get Gretchen (our tow vehicle) tagged as well as to get our drivers licenses. So we had about 11 travel days to go 3000 miles.
We planned to stay our first week at Pikes Peak RV Park in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Saturday night we parked for the first time in a Walmart parking lot in Bernalillo, New Mexico. I could not find a good, out of the way spot for us to park so we did not extend any of the slides. Because we did not put the slides out Mireille was worried I would not sleep well since the foot of the bed fits under the closet when the slides are in, shortening it by at least a foot. To make sure I got a good night sleep Mireille slept on the sofa. It was warm, and since I did not leave the generator running all night, we went without the AC. I slept fine but Mireille was not comfortable. The next morning in her log of our travels, she wrote “me no likey!” so we pretty much decided not to do that again.
Pikes Peak RV Park is a tiny, very tight, very basic campground that happens to be right down where you want to be in Manitou Springs.
We were within walking distance of downtown Manitou Springs and easy driving distance of lots of other places, and after driving by the other campground we saw which was close, Pikes Peak was the right choice, even though the traffic noise is constant. Now that we have stayed a week there, however, if we were to go back, I am not sure I wouldn’t look to see what there is in the way of RV parks in Colorado Springs as an alternative. Manitou Springs is basically a suburb of Colorado Springs, and there is a free parking lot downtown, so if you want to spend time in Manitou Springs, you can quickly do it. They have free shuttles in Manitou Springs that run up and down the main street constantly, and there are lots to see and do in Colorado Springs as well.
If you decide to go either place, you must take in the Garden of the Gods. It is just amazing. Get out and walk, it has a beautiful trail, is well maintained with something new to see around every corner, and it is free to boot. There were lots of people walking when we were there, and chances are if you go you will see some rock climbers doing their thing as well.
One “rule” Mireille and I have tried to follow in our travels throughout our married life, especially since the kids moved out, has been to steer clear of chain restaurants and what we know. We want to try new things and see what different places have to offer. Following a rule like this can be a double-edged sword, but for the most part, we have never regretted what we have found. When we are in a new spot and do not have anything to go on but online reviews sometimes we wind up at places that have great reviews which we would not normally consider. At some point, I want to write an application that reviews reviewers, but that is for another post. At any rate, following this rule and relying on online reviews is how, one afternoon, we found ourselves eating lunch at the Bust Colorado Kitchen.
The Bust Colorado Kitchen is in Bust Colorado, which touts itself as “Colorado’s newest and smallest town, elevation 7500′ population 2.” This makes the Bust Colorado Kitchen the proverbial wide spot in the road/hole-in-the-wall. It is on the west side of highway 24 north out of Manitou Springs just after passing through Cascade. There were a couple of cars in the gravel lot, so we knew it was open. We stepped in, and there were a UPS driver and another gentleman eating and no one else around. We walked through the “gift shop,” they appear to be a large importer of Mexican tourist wares, and on out to the patio out back where all shapes, sizes, and colors of Mexican flower pots are on display. There we met a little grandmotherly Hispanic lady and told her we were there to eat. She showed us a table and gave us the menus.
Mireille and I were discussing the choices when the UPS driver volunteered his favorites. We ordered, and the little lady went to work in the kitchen, which was separated from the dining room by a counter and a refrigerator.
Before too long, she was back with our food. I cannot remember what I ordered by name, but it was covered with green chili sauce and was good. Not excellent but good, and the serving was substantial! Mireille liked her meal as well. They do not serve adult beverages here, but this is one place to check out. I feel like you will be in elite company if you do, it is not a place that I think most people would stop on a whim.
Speaking of adult beverages, while we were in Manitou Springs we stopped in at the Manitou Brewing Company.
Mireille and I like beer. One thing I have noted from some microbreweries is that their beer does not have much depth of flavor, by that I mean that you get an initial hit of hops or whatever, but the finish is missing. That is very disappointing to me. There is no lack of depth in the beers we tried here. These people brew delicious beer!
They also have some food. We tried the nachos and tacos. The nachos were good. On the server’s recommendation, we got the pork belly tacos. Pork belly tacos are not something I would want every day. They are not something that Mireille would wish to eat ever again, but I liked them, and they met the criteria of being something different.
Overall Manitou Springs has a vibe to it which we both enjoyed a lot. It is almost the perfect amalgamation of tourist trap, artist colony, and what I would imagine a nouveau Haight-Ashbury wanna-be might be like, with just the right amount of humor mixed in so that it doesn’t wind up as too cloying.
Traffic can be a pain, but you can walk almost everywhere you might want to go downtown.
Walking is the best way to see the town because then you can go through every door and talk to the people there and find out all kinds of good things. Mireille is excellent at this. We had a good time in Manitou Springs Colorado.
Right up until we left.
We were packing up and getting ready to leave early Saturday morning, wanting to be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the next week. We had to pull Charlie out to hook up the tow dolly and then put Gretchen on for the trip. I thought I had everything sorted out and done, and Mireille and I strapped in and headed out.
The Pikes Peak RV Park has a one lane wood bridge over a small creek that runs through Manitou Springs. We were on that bridge, almost ready to pull out into traffic when a young woman walking her dog started yelling at me. I opened my window, and she said the guy working on the landscaping on the passenger side was trying to get my attention. It turns out we were driving along, almost ready to head on down the highway, dragging the tow dolly ramps on the ground. I had forgotten to put these back on after I had the car loaded up!
Immediately I am in full panic mode. I am on a one-lane bridge in a 36-foot motorhome with another 20 plus feet of car and tow dolly behind that. People wanting to get out of the RV park, a big pickup and another class A motorhome, were stacked up behind me, and anyone wanting to get in had no way to do it.
I jump out and run back to the tow dolly to put the ramps where they go, but then I realize that the large wing-nut that holds the metal ramps onto the dolly is missing. I run past the guy in the pickup, apologizing to him as he sits there laughing at the situation, then past the other motorhome, shrugging my shoulders at him since his window is closed, and start looking all over in the gravel for my wing-nut. I find it before too long on the ground about ten feet from where I thought it should be, then run back again past everyone waiting as well as the growing crowd of those who have come out to enjoy the spectacle and quickly cinch the wing-nut down, jump back into the RV and get into my seat and try to get my heart to slow down. It’s over 5000′ elevation after all, and I am not built for running, even the slow plodding which I consider to be running now.
So, I have one more thing on my checklist (put the wing-nut in my pocket when I start putting the car on the dolly) and one less thing on my list of things I have never done which I can now cross off my list. More things I can cross off that list to come so stay tuned!