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Dixon to Denver to Fort Collins

We left Dixon early Thursday morning (the 16th) and drove up to Taos first for Breakfast, and then on to Denver. We got rooms at a Comfort Suites Inn. I love these hotels. They're reasonably priced and have refrigerators and microwaves and, best of all, data-ports and free local phone calls.

Steve, an old friend of Sandy's, came and picked us up and took us into Boulder for dinner. We ate. We drank. We gawked like tourists, then we went back to the hotel and slept.

After breakfast the next morning at the Cracker Barrel across the street, I took Sandy and Sherry to the airport and dropped them off. Then I headed North.I stopped in North Boulder at Jade Mountain, intending to buy some solar panels for the EVC. They didn't have them in stock, but I picked up a really great solar lantern and a solar flashlight. It's not a real retail kind of place, at least not what I expected from their catalogue or their website, but they were nice. David helped me brainstorm a little while I was there. He turned out to be a Type 2 listmember and VW-lover. Nice kid. Direct any solar questions his way; I'm sure he can help.

I took off heading north again and made the obligatory RMNP drive through Estes Park, then turned around and headed north yet again. I didn't go far. I turned onto SR 14, north of Fort Collins and immediately fell in love with the Cache la Poudre Canyon. There were kayakers everywhere. VW vans everywhere. So cool!

On the way into the canyon, I had a serious cow encounter. A mama and two babies planted themselves right in front of my car. And then they teased me for 15 minutes. If I started to move, (ever so slowly) the babies ran off to the side of the road, and the mom ambled off just to the side. Then when I started moving forward, they all ran back and stood in front of my car. And kind of danced a little. We did about 10 rounds of that. I was trying to be kind to them, and not scare the babies. Finally, some guy approached from the other side in a Toyota 4-Runner, honked a bunch of times, and drove right up on top of them. They moved.

It was getting late on Saturday, and I didn't expect to find a camping spot, but I drove into one just as someone else was leaving. It was perfect and I was delighted. There are small state campgrounds scattered along the river throughout the canyon. I was at Stove Prairie Landing. It was $10 a night and had very clean vault toilets, nothing else but a water pump. There are attendants on site. I set up camp right next to the river. I happily planted myself there for three days. The stars were not to be believed. The river was fast and loud and cold. Most important of all, the altitude was high enough that it got cold at night. I slept well. A German woman came over and introduced herself to me and complained about her controlling German husband. Yeah, right. Tell me something I don't know. I'm German and my entire family is German. I ws solicitous, none the less. :-) She was interested in the EVC; they had owned buses and Vanagons all their lives. She was a very sweet lady.

There were hummingbirds and eagles and falcons all over the place.

Fort Collins

 While I was camping I discovered that I had left the connecter plates for the tent poles behind in Columbus. What a dolt thing to do. Anyway, I moved to a KOA in Fort Collins, called Garth, and asked him to please Fed-Ex them to me asap. The KOA was kind of a culture shock after the river, but it was also nice to have power and a real shower. During the day I explored Fort Collins, which is a really pleasant town. CSU is a pretty school, and everything is pretty much oriented toward the outdoors, so I hit all of the outfitters. I also found a nice bike on sale. I didn't have room to bring mine with me because of all the stuff I had to tote to Columbus. I bought this one and I'll give my old one to Jordan. Then I had to figure out a way to carry it. I bought a Yakima hitch rack, but couldn't find a hitch anywhere to fit the EVC. I ended up driving down to Loveland and having one fabricated. I looked for a kayak, but no one had sit-on-tops. It's too hot in Florida for sit-ins. I thought that I wanted one to play in while I traveled, but I've kind of decided that I'm getting loaded down with crap. I think I'll wait until I get home to get one.

One day I drove up to the Red Feather Lake area to check it out. What I saw wasn't really what I expected to see. I don't need to go back. I did make a new friend, though. He's just a Sunday biker. In real life he's an economist.

I took some time to unload the EVC and reload it. I sent some stuff home that I didn't need, and some stuff ahead to Cheryl's in Seattle that I wouldn't need until deep winter. I brought way too many clothes.

Two nights ago the propane alarm in the EVC went off at 3 am and wouldn't stop sounding. I couldn't get the fuse out, so I got no sleep. And it was hot, too, AND I'm PMS-ing. I got pissed and moved into a hotel room to wait for the tent parts. I found another Comfort Suites Inn that had just opened that day and they gave me a great rate.

I tried to get into Ed Carroll VW in Fort Collins to get my oil changed and tires rotated, but they had no time until the next week. I've never had that happen: that I've been traveling and a local dealer couldn't squeeze me in (and I even had a four day span to work with) for basic maintenance stuff. So, I was not impressed with them. When I asked about alternatives, they suggested that I try The Tire Shoppe. I WAS impressed by these guys. They told me to bring it in the next morning and they would make room for me. They went over everything, rotated the tires, changed the oil and filter, and told me that I didn't need to change my air filter (even though I had requested that they do that). If you're ever looking for service in Fort Collins, don't bother with Ed Carroll.

That was yesterday. I'm still waiting for the tent parts. They seem to have gotten lost somewhere en route. Ugh. I'm getting kind of antsy.

There is a GREAT Japanese fast food place on College in Fort Collins called Wok and Roll. The food is good enough that I would wait for it if it was slow food. And I found 4 (!) health food stores.

As soon as the tent parts are in I'm heading toward the Medicine Bow and then on to Fairy Lake in Montana. I'm running somewhat behind schedule, so I've dropped the schedule. My only committment written in stone is to be at the ferry landing in Prince Rupert on August 20.

Today, rather than kill someone in frustration over the missing tent part, which UPS has LOST, I took a drive up to Horsetooth Park. What a great name!