Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Maybell (or Maybelle?), Colorado

On Monday, we traveled a short distance (about 90 miles) west on US 40 to Maybell, CO.

Before leaving the Meadows Campground, Dwayne stacked up the firewood that we had not used so the next occupant of the site we were in would be able to use it. The last couple of days we were there, it was too chilly and rainy to enjoy being outside even with a fire going.
Dwayne took pictures as I was slowly driving down the mountain to Steamboat Springs...
Monday was much clearer than Saturday when we drove the Jeep into Steamboat Springs.

The uphill traffic has a passing lane.

There was a runaway truck ramp about halfway down the downgrade.

The name of the National Forest that we have been camping in.

This shows some of the housing that is part of the town.

The oncoming traffic is getting their passing lane, so we're about to reach the end of the downgrade!

US 40 in town - this was where the car show was on Saturday. Thankful that we could drive straight through on US 40!
Days End Directory and AllStays had both indicated that there was a City Park in Maybell, CO with RV electric hookups, fresh water fill, and a waste water dump.

We made use of the dump and fresh water fill in Maybell Park.

I don't know that you can see them, but the electric hookups are along the side of the road that is inside the park. The marker indicates that there are two campsites per post - each electric post has one 30A hookup and 2 20A hookups. There's about 40 feet between posts - so each RV gets about 20' of parking space. I guess they were built when RVs were smaller.

One of the things we've gotten installed on Miss Doozie this year is a SeeLevel Tank Monitor. The previous monitoring system showed us just 4 measurements in the tank - it had a light at 1/4 full, 1/2 full, 3/4 full, and full. There was space above the sensor for "full" in the tank so full wasn't totally full. The previous monitors measured how full the system was by probes that went through the side of the tank into the inside. If liquid (or "something") was in contact with the probes, it indicated that the tank was full to that point. If something got caught on a probe, it indicated the tank was full to that point. Not to get into TMI (too much information), but, you can probably imagine, it isn't too difficult for "something" to get onto a probe, especially in the black tank. Our black tank would rarely indicate completely empty. And sometimes, just randomly, one of the higher probes would also indicate it was covered - so we might have a light just at 3/4 full, and not at 1/4 or 1/2. It was just problematic.
 We had read that other RV owners had installed the SeaLevel system and were very pleased with it, so we got a system at Quartzsite this year. The sensors are mounted on the outside of the tanks, so there is no physical contact with the contents of the tank. The monitor displays the fullness of the tanks in percentages. It feels like to me that we have more space in our tanks now. Previously, once a grey or black tank got to 3/4 full, we were thinking we needed to find a place to dump. In a similar way, once the fresh got to 1/4 full (which happened when the water level got below 1/2), we would start looking for a way to fill up fresh water. Now we feel a lot more confident with going longer on use of the tanks. The photo above was taken while we were filling the fresh tank. It was down to 18% before we filled.

I want to do some more experimenting with the tanks - the way that we mounted the sensors on the fresh tank it never shows 100% full on the monitor - the fresh water fill automatically cuts off at a point where there is another sensor through the side of the fresh water tank - and that point still leaves air space at the top of the tank (I'm not sure why). The percentage full on the SeaLevel shows 93-94% full (that's why Dwayne has the label next to the monitor read-out). We don't see the same anomaly on the grey and black tanks. However, it seemed to me that when I was doing laundry when we were on full hookups, when I got to 70+% full on the grey tank, it went to overfull (it overflows into the shower) more quickly than I thought it would - I thought each load of laundry took about 17% of the tank, and I had more than 20% remaining when I started the load. So... either different loads can produce different amounts of water, or I mis-read the monitor, or... something! More experimenting to be done, and when we're on full hookups is the only time I want to experiment with filling the grey and black tanks.

The sign for the park - here Maybell is spelled "Maybelle", but this is the only place I've seen it spelled that way.

We took the first site in the front of the park (site 1&2), which doesn't have any sites beyond it (behind us). Our front end is probably about 20' from the next power pole, so if someone with a small rig came in, they could get to site 3&4.
For dinner, I made Zesty Lemon Scallion Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs... we used the outside grill...

They turned out really good, and enough to have leftovers too!
One other rig showed up in the park with us. When I first saw it, I just saw a car hauler, and then I saw a very long tractor pulling the car hauler (it was on the street, not in the park). I wasn't sure whether it was a commercial vehicle or not.

When it drove past us, there was a sign on the door of the tractor indicating that it was a private vehicle, not for hire, licensed as an RV. We didn't have the chance to talk to the owners, but it looked like an interesting rig!

Re: Internet service: I had checked along the route and Verizon's coverage map indicated that they had coverage here, but they do not. Thankfully, with the cellular booster, AT&T's coverage is good.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Steamboat Springs, CO

We have been staying at Meadows Campground, just above Steamboat Springs, CO, for several days, and finally, on Saturday, decided to head down into town.

First - how did the town get named? Well, as you can probably surmise, it has special "springs" - hot springs. From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steamboat_Springs,_Colorado):
Steamboat is home to natural hot springs that are located throughout the area. Upon first hearing a chugging sound, early trappers believed that a steamboat was coming down the river. When the trappers saw that there was no steamboat, and that the sound was coming from a hot spring, they decided to name the spring Steamboat Springs.
As we were driving down into the town, we were surprised at how green it was - it was also overcast and drizzly at times.
 We stopped at the Visitor's Center, and the lady there gave us some good information. She mentioned that US 40 through town was closed for a Mustang Roundup. I asked whether it was horses, and she indicated it was cars. I said, "They close US 40?" and she said that it was surprising how often US 40 was closed through town. Understand that this is not a place where there are a lot of alternative routes - there isn't a "beltway" or interstate that bypasses the town - US 40 is it!

So we headed on into town and saw lots of Mustangs...

And some other cars...

Mustangs were parked all down the center of the roadway...

... and diagonally along the side - looking one way...
... and looking down the other way - on both sides of the road.

We were looking for a bakery, and crossed this stream on our way to it... note that it is flowing westward since we've crossed the Continental Divide.

We found the bakery - with this cute sign outside!

While sitting on their outside patio overlooking the stream, we watched the traffic that was detouring through town due to US 40 being closed. There were several of these large livestock carriers - one of them had a name on the door of the truck indicating it was rodeo stock. We had seen on the event schedule for town that there was a pro rodeo in town on Saturday evening. They had to hold up traffic at the corner (just beyond the range of the picture on the left) because the truck couldn't make the turn if there were vehicles in the oncoming traffic lane (which there were constantly with the detoured traffic going the other way). It was quite the chore with folks directing traffic all over town - so US 40 could be closed for the car show!

Also from the bakery patio we could see something that was on the hill on the other side of town...

It was a ski jumping hill right in town!
 From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howelsen_Hill_Ski_Area):
Howelsen Hill Ski Area has sent more skiers to international competition than any other area in North America. It is the oldest ski area in continuous use in Colorado, and has the largest and most complete natural ski jumping complex in North America. Howelsen has been the training ground for more than 79 Olympians making over 130 Winter Olympic appearances, 15 members of the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame, and 6 members of the National Ski Hall of fame. Howelsen Hill is open to the public and is owned and operated by the City of Steamboat Springs Parks, Open Space and Recreation Department.

The lady in the Visitor's Center also recommended a drive up to Fish Creek Falls...

There were a few walking paths - we elected to use the one to the overlook as the one to the base was rated as "difficult"...

The one to the overlook was rated "easy" and it was a nice, broad, gently sloping walk.

This was interesting because it showed that the water we were seeing would eventually make its way to Yuma via the Colorado River!

I thought this was interesting - specifically about "the average household uses about 600 gallons of water" a day. I recently read that there is a proposal in California that each individual be limited to 55 gallons of water usage a day - to be reduced to 50 gallons at some point in the future. I was thinking, "We have a 160 gallon fresh water tank, and with two people, we can go a week with conservative usage." (We actually don't know whether our fresh tank is 120 gallons or 160 gallons.) Anyway - say that we have 160 gallons of fresh water - if I do 2 loads of laundry, we can go 5 days without needing water. We drink distilled water separate from what is in the fresh tank, and we figure that we consume about a gallon each of distilled water per day. So, 50 gallons per day per person seems like a lot to me... if I assume that this signboard has an average household at 4 people, this would imply 125 gallons of water per person per day. Of course, we don't have kids or diapers to wash... I also know that we are careful about our water usage - I even am when I'm on "unlimited" supplies (like when I was in the hotel in Colorado Springs in April), I turn the water off in the shower except when I'm getting wet or rinsing off, and I don't let the water run at the sink except when I'm actively using it. I guess it just requires thinking more about your usage.
As we got up to the overlook area, there was a Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel who was posing for pictures. If we still had film cameras, I would have thought he was hired by Kodak to use up film!

The falls...

By the time we were in the overlook area, the squirrel had gone on the far side of the rock wall... I read that the difference between the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and a Chipmunk is that the Chipmunk has stripes on his head (https://www.nps.gov/romo/learn/nature/squirrel_chipmunk.htm).

Do you see what I mean...

... about him being hired by Kodak...

... to use up film...

... and then have you pay more for photograph printing...

His contract evidently did not specify any change in terms with digital photography!

As we were heading back to the campground, we stopped at one of the overlooks of the valley and got some pictures. You can't see the town of Steamboat Springs from the overlooks (or in the picture).
As you can see, it looked very threatening, and it subsequently rained almost all night Saturday night. It remained very cloudy on Sunday with sprinkles on and off. The forecast had been for "dry thunderstorms" - where there is a thunderstorm but the rain doesn't make it to the ground because the air is so dry (a concern for starting fires if lightning strikes) - but I guess there was enough rain coming out of the clouds that it is making it to the ground as well.

Miss Kitty enjoying the warmth of the front dash even though it is rainy outside. Note the pay envelope right next to her - we finally got the payment materials when a ranger came by on Saturday afternoon. He stopped to chat with us... he said he noticed that we didn't have a receipt on the post. We said that there were no pay envelopes in the supply - he said, "Really?" He said he had noticed that it appeared that no one had receipts on their post and he wondered why - and that he would need to "talk to" the guy who opened up the gate to the campground and make sure he knew that part of opening the campground was to provide pay envelopes! We had planned to just put a check into one of our own envelopes and into the pay slot when we left if no one came by to check before we left.

Our plan is to travel to a city park in the town of Maybell, CO, for Monday night, where we can dump and get our water tanks filled. We last dumped/filled up fresh water in Nebraska on Sunday a week ago - we've been careful in our usage, but like that we can go at least a week, probably more like 10 days (if we're not doing laundry).
This is the route we are planning (Google Maps link to route).
We're not sure what kind of connectivity we will have at any of those stops... but we'll keep our diary going and catch you up when we get back to "civilization"!