Friday, July 4, 2008

15-08 Pagosa Springs Colorado

15-08 Pagosa Springs Colorado

Campground: Hide-away Rv Park. $450 per month “premium” pull-thru site. Some back in sites for $350 but I didn’t make reservations early enough. Great views, creek running through property and they have some horses and horse paddocks for guests.

Since I will have reached my Summer destination, I thought I’d share some of the living expenses and diesel costs that have skyrocketed over the past couple of months.

Month 2008, Rv sites, Avg. daily, Rv site, Gas cost per mo., Avg. MPG

March, $435, $14.50, $141, 18

April, $419, $13.99, $435, 13.735

May, $546, $17.62, $644, 13.6

June, $388, $12.94, $769, 13.81

Totals costs, $1788, $1989

My average MPG has ranged from a low of 9.7 to a high of 20.5 mpg. As you can tell, by using my Passport America and Recreation USA half price memberships, I’ve been able to save lots of money at campsites. The month of May was a bit higher because I wanted to stay at a number of State campgrounds.

Also note that I spend easily about $1,000 for food, misc. and entertainment each month. It still comes out to a pretty reasonable way of life. When I first started full-timing, I averaged about $500 each for gas, food and lodging. My lodging has pretty much stayed the same, but the food and gas costs obviously have risen.

I hope these figures will enable fellow campers an idea of the costs of full-timing.

Pagosa Springs Colorado.

After heading north from Bloomfield New Mexico, the scenery began to change quickly from high desert sand and barren rock to cool mountains as I entered Colorado.

The contrast is so striking. The elevation kept climbing as I continued on hwy 550 then heading east on hwy 160 to Pagosa Springs. The brief view I had of Durango on my way to my summer home was spectacular. Durango sits in a valley completely surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. But my goal is to get to the Hide-A-way Rv park just outside of Pagosa, a mere 88 miles. I’ll be visiting Durango throughout my stay in the area.

I expected good views around Pagosa, but the closer I get the larger the mountain ranges and the more spectacular the views. Ponderosa pines cover the mountain ranges. Slivers of white snow packs still remain on the higher elevations. I’ve made it, I’ve arrived at my new summer residence for the next two months. Rivers and streams splash and tumble their way down the mountain passes and valleys, heading both east and west, since I’m right on the continental divide.

Unfortunately, as I was unpacking at my new “home”, I dropped my Olympus camera and now I’ve had to send it off for repairs. Thanks goodness it is still under warranty, by a couple of months. So you guessed it, there won’t be any pictures for a couple of weeks, until they repair and return the camera. So you’ll just have to picture some of the scenes in your mind until I get the camera back.

I drove into town today to mail off the camera and have lunch. How cool, the hot springs are right there on the other side of the river, flanking the town. They tell me it’s one of the largest thermal hot springs in the world. I’ll be enjoying it throughout my stay here.

The town was re“discovered” in the late 70’s and has seen a boon in building. Lots of log cabin type home and expensive retirement and vacation homes dotting some of the landscape. But I’ve got to tell you, there’s still tons of wonderful forests, mountains and I understand a whole slew of great waterfalls. I’ve already met some great folks who live in the area.

From Fernando (his father named him after a popular song back in the hippie era) and his wife who own the Rv park I’m staying at. He’s originally from Chili, Patagonia specifically, moved to Spain for a while and headed to Calif. Where his job in the construction industry was so hectic, that he has a permanent ulcer at the young age of 38. His doctor recommended a simpler life and he ended up here.

The waitress at a local diner who is 3rd generation to live here and she’s lived here all her life. Through the sometimes heavy snowfalls of winter, last winter was particularly heavy and through the wonderful summers of moderate temperatures and cool evenings. It was 85 at noon the day I got in, 68 degrees by 4:30 in the afternoon and it dropped to 49 the first night I was here.

Oh and I met Ann Oldham working at the Historical Museum in Pagosa Springs. She’s an author of a couple of interesting books on the local area and characters. One of which is currently being written into a screen play and could someday be become a movie. How cool is that? Ann told me about some of the wild life in the area, the bears, mountain lions, elk and deer. They tell me the occasional moose can be seen in the area as well. She was working in the museum one day and had the doors wide open. A bear came along side the building, and walked across the parking lot. A customer hurriedly came inside and asked if she knew there was a bear outside. It had apparently walked right outside the window she was sitting near. She told of a local drugstore that had it’s front and back door open (the weather is really great here) and a bear walked in the front door, right through to the back and out again and didn’t damage a thing.

You don’t hear stories like that living in bigger towns now do you?

I was thinking about my dear friends Ray and Ruthie Hemrick. They both enjoy a good game of golf and I saw the most beautiful golf course on a small lake, lush green grass and those wonderful vacation homes dotting the landscape right outside of Pagosa Springs. Huge mountains with those wisps of snow still on the top elevations completing the view. I just know they would have a grand time exploring the area and playing a round of golf.
And my friend Peter would really enjoy the classical music concerts that are performed out here throughout the summer months. All outdoor venues.

Looking out my big picture window I notice the sky getting really dark, and suddenly I’m looking at a bright rainbow. I run outside, wishing I had my camera and look at a most awesome full rainbow against a dark menacing sky. I think we’re in for some rain tonight.

The creek and ponderosa pines climbing up the side of a steep mountain ridge opposite my camper are the views I usually look out at. Along with a couple horses the owner keeps on the property. The white painted mother and her foal got loose today and Fernando had to go chase them back into their fenced area. Someone had left the gate open.

I’ve only been in Archuleta County for a couple of days, but I’m already starting to feel an affinity for the mountains, the wonderful Ponderosa pines and Spruce climbing up the sides of the mountains. Driving into Durango today so I could purchase a small digital camera until mine is fixed and returned, I realize how high up in the mountains I am. The drive to Durango is a gradual decent of a couple thousand feet, around winding roads following the natural valleys and mountain passes, past broad valleys of rich green farm lands bordered by those thick pine forests. Cows grazing, well actually relaxing and lying around in groups, probably having a coffee klatch, chewing the cub so to speak. They look very happy and content. Neat old barns dot the landscape along with newer log cabins sitting atop hills on the edges of steep outcroppings. Signs pointing to side roads every couple of miles direct the driver to national forest roads, leading up into the mountains. Hidden gems waiting to be explored.

After picking up my spare camera, I couldn’t let my readers down by not having a couple pictures in the next article could I? I realize that Durango, although it has all the connivances of a bigger town, I like Pagosa Springs even better. Durango has a real western town feeling, but has all the trappings of a bigger town. Parking meters, lots of stop lights and one way streets, a highway running north and south, east and west through town. It seems more active and busy.

Although I’ve only been into Pagosa Springs twice so far, I’m charmed by it’s small size. And it has all the basics one would need. The shops, local restaurants and the hot springs too boot. You enter the town after coming over a mountain pass that has some of the newer grocery stores and shops along the main highway. Descending into town the road turns left onto the main street. Lots of free parking on your right, with the river and hot springs on the other side of the river. Traffic stops as soon as you start walking across the street.

I went back to the small museum to check things out and discovered they had a great selection of used paperback books for 50 cents each. What a deal. They had a quilting exhibit and one of the displays showed the patterns that were printed in the Morning World Herald, Omaha Nebraska. The display showed the patterns that were printed in the paper between 1941 and 1942, costumes of many nations. What a great idea for a newspaper. One block of a quilt design could be printed in the paper and worked on during the week till the next weeks addition came out.

The museum worker’s daughter owns the local newspaper and is doing a similar thing in the local paper. The designs are of local wild flowers.

One of the quilt designs had the swastika with a history lesson attached. Apparently the swastika was an ancient design for a cross and had been used by the Romans, found on Buddhist idols and even on Chinese coins in 315 BC. It originally was considered to be four “L’s” which stood for Luck, Light, Love and Life. Of course it will never recapture it’s original intent. An interesting and odd piece of history to be found here in Pagosa Springs Colorado.

There will be lots more reports from Pagosa... If I could, I'd find a way to get all you readers out here.

No comments: