WOWZER we are celebrating being Professional Nomads 5 years this month! I can honestly say the time has FLOWN! We have been to most every state crisscrossing across this BEAUTIFUL country! I personally am only lacking 2 states, North Dakota and Vermont 😎. North Dakota made the list this year, Vermont will be next year God willing and the Creek doesn’t rise😉.
Before we became Nomads we made PLENTY of trips to Colorado. We love the state and it has been a destination/pass through for 4 of our 5 years on the road. This year we were heading straight west through Kansas to Colorado. Usually, we are heading east from our adventures out west. The beauty or monotony of the flat land of Kansas is both comforting and boring unless there are straight line winds pushing us around. After the tumultuous weather we experienced in Kansas before we left we were pleasantly surprised by Mother Nature. She gave these travelers sunshine and virtually no wind! What a miracle! The perfect weather conditions gave this Nervous Navigator a chance to change titles for a bit to “Cautious Chauffeur”. Yep, I put my big girl panties on and got behind the helm of our land yacht! It was not as difficult as I had perceived. My Handsome Chauffeur was sooooo comfortable with my abilities he took a quick cat nap. Flat land, familiar surroundings and no wind was just the boost in confidence I needed. As we approached the mountains though I was GLAD to turn over the reins to my oh so experienced better half to get us safe and sound to our home for a week… Colorado Springs Air Force Academy.
The beauty of the Springs never ceases to amaze us. Nestled amongst the pines is one of my favorite places to be. Last year when we called this area home we were so impressed with the entire grounds of the Academy, especially the chapel. We were told last year that they would be disassembling it as there were so many leaks and the reassembling which would take years. Much to our surprise on our arrival we saw the chapel was still standing where we last saw it a year ago. We were informed that the funds that were appropriated to repair the chapel were now being used to rebuild Tyndall AFB in Florida that had been destroyed by Hurricane Michael last fall. We have seen the devastation of Tyndall AFB first hand last December when we traveled through the area. The funding would rebuild housing for active duty families and restore hangars for the planes. I am certain the funding for the chapel restoration will be raised. For now I am thankful they are using the funds for Tyndall AFB families.
We hopped on the Harley to explorer areas that were familiar and headed to new areas we have not explored. The sun was bright, not a cloud in the sky as we left the Academy. A ride through the Garden of The Gods is never a disappointment. The beauty is astounding. Soon we were headed north towards Breckenridge.
Riding the curves with snow covered mountain tops on the horizon it was time to put on our jackets and gloves as it was getting colder as we climbed. Another thing we noticed was rain clouds in the distance. Mountain weather can be tricky. Storms blow in and out on a whim. With our eye on the sky we felt we were going to be spared the rain…. at least for a bit that is!We stopped at a visitor center and met a fellow motorcyclist who encouraged us to take a quick 50 mile scenic ride on a county road to Jefferson, CO. He told us the ride would spectacular and an added bonus …there was a great little diner that had the best burgers! Always in search of beautiful scenery AND yummy burgers at the end we were OFF….next stop Jefferson!
As we were told the ride was amazing, BUT the sky grew darker as we went towards the goal of burgers. Rain was eminent! The winds picked up as well. Not just a bit windy I am talking COLD WIND GUSTS! I was frozen on the back of the Harley! Teeth chattering, nose running cold!!!!! My driver was bent down to try to get wind blocked by the windshield. It felt like we were getting nowhere at all.
Back In the 90’s the movie DUMB AND DUMBER was a movie our kids watched. We would quote some of the lines. At this very time we were living out our own Harry and Lloyd moment !!!We finally made it to the diner. Unpeeled ourselves off the bike and headed for the comfort of the shelter and the deliciousness of a well earned burger.
As we ate and warmed ourselves my driver opened up his weather app and watched the radar as the storms blew through. Soon it was time to hit the road again as Harry and Lloyd. This “Lloyd” added another layer of protection.. my rain suit. The only thing worse than being frozen on the back of a Harley is being WET and FROZEN! My ever optimistic “Harry” said there was no need to wear rain gear as he was assured by his radar we would stay dry. Not that I didn’t trust him, but I was a Girl Scout years ago and I am not above “always being prepare”. Plus the added layer kept me warmer!
Down the “hill” we went from 9000 to 6000 in elevation. Guess who also had our route? Yep, good ‘Ol Mother Nature and her stormy self! My oh so smart driver/weatherman would throttle down and drive slower watching the storm. Soon we took shelter again at a gas station as the sky was turning black. A delivery guy asked if we were headed down the “hill” to Denver and if so he said to be careful as there is hail in the storm along with tornado warnings. We decided to wait out the fast moving storm under the cover of a gas station. Again, my weatherman watched his radar intently and soon it was “all systems go”. We made it down to the comfort of our home at the Academy and much to my handsome weatherman’s superb weather reading skills we did NOT get wet or pummeled with hail! He is AMAZING!
In the course of our travels we spend about 50% at military campgrounds and the other 50% in the civilian sector. Military campgrounds are comfortable in the respect of being amongst a fraternity/sorority. No matter what branch you served, there is a comradery. People share their stories of serving this great nation and recommendations of other adventures to seek. It’s familiar and I have a sense of security living amongst retired and active duty.
Our visit to the Academy came to an end, but not before we were able to visit with a friend we had served with while we were all active duty all those years ago. Years can pass between visits, but we can, and do pick up right where we left off at our last visit without a hitch.
We hit the road bright and early headed further west up very familiar mountain climbs. The over powering and BEAUTIFUL scenery does not help this Nervous Navigator’s tummy from flipping. My calm cool collected Chauffeur assures me we have nothing to worry about as he has driven this plenty of times and for me to sit back and relax while enjoying the beautiful creative work God has provided us to see out our over sized windshield.
Chuga-chug we start our climb. My driver using his lower gears and air brakes to navigate the terrain. My mind starts to wander as it often does of the Pioneers in their Covered Wagons making this trek without the aid of gears and air brakes. The GOOD Lord knew I was not cut out for that particular era of time!
I thank God often for the blessings He has given us and this travel day I am really thanking Him as we chug our way up the mountain. All of a sudden on the climb we LOSE ALL POWER! The Mobile Condo/Circus Train has Q U I T! We both stared at each other speechless as my Calm Chauffeur coasted us to the shoulder near an exit ramp. We had ABSOLUTELY NO WARNING what so ever that we were in trouble. All of our gauges were within normal limits except that the temperature was rising a bit which is expected when going up a grade such as we were. In fact, the gauges STAYED at all of the readings they were showing right before the engine quit! 35 mph, tachometer 15 etc.. WEIRD!!! After we are safely on the shoulder my Chauffeur goes out to inspect what our trouble could be… a belt possibly?? As he was inspecting I was having yet another talk with God! Thanking Him that we were safe and asking for His help and guidance. As I was having my talk with Him I spotted a small white feather on our floor…one of our guardian angels was right with us. I had no doubt as she has left me signs of feathers in the past. I took this as a sign that we were not alone. Soon my Handsome Chauffeur returned from his inspection and found NOTHING amiss! Now we really were perplexed! After a few more minutes he decided to give the ignition a turn and IT STARTED RIGHT UP like nothing EVER happened! HOLY HOLY HOLY was I ever praising God!
So off we go again Chuga chuga… we get into the Eisenhower tunnel and all of our gauges go WACKY kinda like being in the Bermuda Triangle, but the engine continue to run! Praying was incessant! We traveled this area plenty and the knowledge of the grade we would encounter and climbs did not give me ANY sense of peace! I saw a mile sign that said we were 92 miles from our next destination.
I was on my phone typing like a mad woman in Google to search for truck stops that may have diesel mechanic because my Handsome Chauffeur said that right as the engine quit the dash light check engine soon displayed NO DUH! I was batting a big fat ZERO! My Handsome Chauffeur began to wonder if our trouble was fuel or electric in nature and decided to press on to our destination of Glenwood Springs as everything appeared to be running smooth at the time. We would address the issue in Glenwood Springs when and if we made it there.
Going through the Glenwood Canyon is breath taking ….that is if you’re not holding your breath as I was doing at the currently. Traversing the roadway through the Canyon following the river that was roaring due to the melt off of the mountain, I was dry as a bone. All of my saliva was GONE. I sweat through my shirt and my hands were ringing wet. We FINALLY arrived at our campground. I think we both sighed a HUGE breath of relief.
Immediately we started searching the internet to see if any others who have RVs had experienced what happened to us. They all pointed to electrical issues like a ground wire problem. MacGuyver manned the phone and made calls to the manufacturer asking them to email an electric schematic that he could possibly study to discover some lead that may help diagnosis. Much to his dismay he was told when the manufacturer of our coach was bought recently by another manufacturer the new company “threw away ALL that stuff”!😡🤯The only recourse we have is to bringing it into a shop that can look at what code the engine threw when it said service engine soon. In the mean time he started nosing around the battery compartments etc doing his best to try to make some sense of our current situation. Soon he was over investigating the issue. We made plans to have it checked near our next stop. Not much he could do here and there was too much exploring to be done on our Harley. He closed the compartments and decided to have fun and worry about it another time. Me …. on the other hand knew it was 396 miles to go to get it checked out…, I was a bit more concerned, but if he was OK with the decision I would just put another pair if my big girl panties on and not worry until there was a need and keep having my many conversations with the Man Upstairs… after all it’s ALL in His hands anyway!
We absolutely love taking jaunts on our Harley to explorer. There is nothing like it in the mountains. On our first trip out we headed towards Aspen and Independence Pass. The fresh mountain air was magnificent. The sun was shining, Lilac Bushes, Redbud trees were in full bloom and the Aspen trees were leafing out.We got yet ANOTHER chance to see Spring blossoms…..life was good. There was still a bit of snow evident on the ski slopes in Aspen. The town was a buzz with lots of tourist shopping and enjoying the beautiful day
We had climbed from 6000 feet in elevation to 8000 and had 4000 more to go as we made our way up Independence Pass. As we climbed the snow depth increased. The Aspens had no leaves on them and the waterfalls were flowing with gusto from the melt off the mountains There was evidence of an avalanche.. trees broken like toothpicks Independence Pass, according to Wikipedia is a Pass between Twin Lakes and Aspen at an elevation of 12095 ft in which they try to get open by the Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend. It is the second highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide. It offers excellent views to the east of Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak and the second highest mountain in the contiguous United States.
July 4,1879 a group of prospectors from Leadville struck gold in the upper Roaring Fork 4 miles below the Pass. They established a settlement and named it Independence after the holiday on which it was established. It is said that within 2 years of settling there they produced gold worth $190,000 ($4.93 million in modern dollars)!! As we climbed we saw remnants of the buildings which was once the settlement now a ghost town. I can hardly imagine living in Independence back then. The snow and being so far removed from civilization it’s hard to know how they survived. I guess the gold fever kept their spirits high.
The road is paved but very narrow in areas. At times it was impossible for cars to pass each other in opposite directions. We came around some blind curves to meet up with a vehicle and I was so thankful our Harley doesn’t require that much space on the roadway.
The snow became deeperWe finally made it to the summit. The sun was brilliant gleaming off the snow. There were quite a few backcountry skiers and snowboarders having the time of their lives. It was AMAZING!
As we came back down from the summit we saw loads of rock climbers working their skills along with folks on surf boards surfing the waves and fury of the fast moving rivers. What fun they were having.
We too were having our fun enjoying the scenery, and smells of fresh air. As we came into downtown Glenwood Springs the air was filled with a beautiful fragrance. The downtown is decorated with HUGE planters and hanging baskets of Petunias. Not only did they smell amazing, but their bright colors were gorgeous!We took advantage of the Hot Springs for a rest and relaxation kind of day. The therapeutic spring waters called Yampah which means Big Medicine by the Ute Native Americans have been bubbling from the Earth’s core for million of years. There are 15 minerals found in the waters of Glenwood Springs. Besides relieving aches and pains the mineral waters help release toxins from our bodies. There are 2 pools. The largest is 495 ft long by 100 ft wide and holds 1,071,000 gallons of water that remains around 90 degrees F* and a smaller pool that is 100 ft long containing 91,000 gallons of water which is kept at 104 degree F*. Let me say it was a slice of heaven on earth for these Nomads! I absolutely love our life and our Mobile Condo. The only thing I really miss about our sticks and bricks home is my big soaking tub. A day floating in the therapeutic waters surrounded by mountains on a sunny day was good for my soul!
We aren’t the only ones that found relief from the healing waters. Glenwood Springs had a famous resident in 1887 by the name of John Henry Holiday aka Doc Holiday the sharp shooting Dentist. Famous for his part in the gun fight at OK Corral that left 3 members of a cattle rustling gang dead; Doc was avoiding the legal trouble in Arizona and was suffering from Tuberculosis. He made his way to Glenwood Springs to experience the healing waters. Unfortunately, the waters did not heal his tuberculosis. On November 8, 1887 he died at the age of 36 in a hotel downtown. He was destitute. As he lay dying he asked for a shot of whiskey. His last words were “This is funny” as He fully thought he would have died in a gun fight not sick in bed
We enjoyed a libation at the local watering hole named for the famous resident of Glenwood Springs and got educated about the manWe took the journey to pay our respects to the famed gunslinger at his final resting spot. Climbing the rugged dirt path 1/2 a mile straight up!or at least we THOUGHT we were paying respects to him. It appears that when he died he was to be buried in Linwood Cemetery which was located on a hill above Glenwood Springs. However, the hearse was unable to make it the muddy hill. So they buried him at the bottom of the hill fully intending to move the body later. The cemetery records have been lost…, by all accounts he was never moved and may be in someone’s backyard DOWN the “hill“we just climbed to pay our respects to a marker bearing his name😳. At least we got a work our climbing the “hill” that felt like a MOUNTAIN!After a day of hiking the mountain to see Doc we hopped on the Harley to explorer an area south of Glenwood Springs in search of yummy barbecue that was recommended by a friend of our’s we saw in Kansas. First stop Redstone, CO. “The Ruby of the Rockies”This quaint village is nestled among the red colored mountains is home to a population of about 130 people Swiss Chalets homes painted brilliant colors stand out against the red colored rock of the mountains. Most of these homes are on the Historic Registry. The town was developed by a man named John Cleveland Osgood as part of a coal mining expedition. The dominant feature of the village is the “Redstone Castle” a 42 room mansion that Osgood built for his wife that is now used as resort inn. Across from the town we saw what appeared to be HUGE bee hive-like structuresWe stopped a gal walking through town and she enlightened us about these curious structures. These “beehives” were actually coke ovens built in the 19th century. According to Wikipedia there were actually 200 built because the coal in the surrounding mountains was ideal for refining into coke. At their peak they were producing almost 6 million tons a year. After they were no longer used for coke, years passed and it is said “hippies” made them their homes. As far as we could tell they were abandon structures that were being restored as a historic landmark.
As we left Redstone riding the highway that mimicked the flow and curves of the Crystal River we came upon BEAUTIFUL waterfallsMy Handsome Chauffeur was “thirsty”We passed fields of spring bloomsSoon we can upon Marble, Colorado. A quiet little hamlet with a population of around 131 people. There were chunks of of white marble along the winding road as we came into the town Soon we came upon carved statues in yards through the town. We stopped and visited with a local artist who gave us a bit of a history lesson about Marble. The same John Osgood of Redstone entered a block of the marble stone into the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago and the judges ranked the marble among the worlds finest marble. The marble from this area is part of the Capital building in Denver and was also used to make the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with parts of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. Artists from all over the world come here to carve the beautiful stone. The mine is still being used to this day.
After our history lesson from our new friend we made our way to the center of town and enjoyed a DELICIOUS lunch of barbecue that our friend in Kansas had recommended. The barbecue was as good as the barbecue we eat when in Kansas City and a wonderful way to end our adventure for the day. This little town of Marble, Colorado is a special little place.. beautiful marble, friendly locals and delicious food.. what a great way to spend the day.
We are HUGE hockey fans. My Handsome Chauffeur and Son have each spent time lacing up their skates and spent hours on ice over the years. Our Grandson is named after one of our son’s favorite Chicago Blackhawks goalies. Hockey is big for us. Our time in Glenwood coincided with the Stanley Cup Play off and “MY” St.Louis Blues were playing for the cup! We were so excited as we watched them make their way to the finals. Only one problem … we were nestled in the mountains and we were unable to get any air antenna reception on our TV which how we receive network channels. We have satellite TV, but not able to get network channels as our satellite is based out of Florida. Oh and this was the game was aired on a network channel. Nomad struggles🥴! This game was important as the Blues could clinch the victory and the cup. My goodness this was a dilemma… that is until My Hockey Dude figures a way to watch the game on the satellite…. only problem was it was a reeeeealllly little screen shot. 😎This guy stood in front of this little screen on the upper left corner the entire game🤣! Unfortunately, the Blues were not victorious that night and got to play again in a few days. We made plans to go watch the game in town on a much bigger screen! The big screen and watching it with a group of Blues fans was AMAZING… especially because “MY” BLUES won the Stanley Cup!! What a celebration it was!!!!Our time in Glenwood was coming to an end. We had a great time and both said that we would be back! Before we left we took one more ride through the canyon. This time on the Harley. The ride was MUCH more relaxing than when we came through the canyon a week before worrying if our Mobile Condo was going to make it. We truly got to enjoy the beauty.
We are packed up and heading further west… next stop a Cummins Diesel shop for our Mobile Condo to get checked out. Praying that our 396 miles is uneventful. It’s never a dull moment being Professional Nomads and we wouldn’t trade our lifestyle for anything. The places we get to see and the people we meet along the way are worth the hiccups we have experienced or will in the future. We are still smiling and living the dream!