Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Friends in High Places

August 31, 2015

The title of this blog is NOT a pun on the fact that Colorado now allows the legal purchase and consumption of marijuana, although it is true that today, Joe and I drove through Ridgeway, CO, and there were TWO “dispensaries” with large signs advertising the finest cannabis in the area. In neon. Unfortunately, Joe was driving and we zoomed past the stores (which were opposite each other on Route 550, the only road through town) before I could say “Stop—I need to take a photograph!” So you will have to take my word for it.

Rather, the title refers to spending time with our friends at fairly substantial elevations in the mountains. Joe and I woke up on Monday morning and, after handling all the household and personal tasks necessary before leaving such a civilized campground (full hookups, hot showers, etc), we pulled out of our Ouray campsite at exactly 11:00 a.m.  Two blocks later, I jumped out of Sam and, while Joe drove around the block, I went into Mouse’s Chocolates on the corner to buy cookies. Ben and Miriam had mentioned that Mouse’s Chocolates, where I had gotten ice cream the day before, makes these wonderful cookies called “scrap cookies.” They take all the little scraps of candies left over from their chocolate making, and toss them all into cookie dough. Each cookie is different, and each bite is different, since you never know what you might encounter—chocolate, toffee, caramel, etc. So I bought a half-dozen cookies to bring up to Big Cimarron Campground with us.
Colorado Scenery

We drove north on Highway 550, through Ridgeway (as mentioned above) to Montrose. Montrose is a quite large town—it has both a Walmart AND a Target, lots of other stores, restaurants, etc. You can get anything you need—it’s obviously the center of civilization for the other small towns in the area. We stopped first at a Radio Shack, where Joe found exactly the soldering iron he’d been looking for (he had been trying to repair our tire pressure monitor, and the soldering iron he had was not adequate.) Then we went to Walmart, where we purchased a lot of non-food items for some small repairs, maintenance, upgrades, etc. we wanted to make in the RV, and then more veggies, water, milk, and ice cream. By the time we finished, we were VERY hungry, so we had some sandwiches.  Oh yes, we also spent about 10-15 minutes chatting with another RVing couple in the Walmart parking lot about their towing set up—they have a big Class A and are towing a Jeep, and they had the very set-up that Joe had researched and thought was best. As a result of all these diversions, it was after 2pm by the time we left Montrose and began to look for the Big Cimarron Campground.

Panoramic view of Big Cimarron Road
It was fortunate that I had already put the info into my google maps and paid attention to it ahead of time, because about 10 or so miles outside of Montrose, we no longer had cell reception. We kept an eye on the odometer, and we did not miss our turnoff, which was a 15-mile long unpaved road. It was very pretty, and there was almost no one on it other than cows and horses—we hardly saw another vehicle. We did pass the entrance to a lot of ranches, and the scenery was beautiful, but we were just a LITTLE worried that we might miss the campground itself. According to the map, however, the road was going to end soon—I figured the worst that could happen was we’d have to go back up to the main road and figure out where the heck we were. We were still keeping track with the odometer (there were no helpful signs) when we suddenly came to a National Forest sign with some campground arrows, and right behind it was the entrance to a camping area. We drove in, and stopped, wondering if this was the place, when suddenly Isis and Ben appeared around the bend in the road ahead. We had made it!

We parked Sam in a fairly level and grassy spot across the road from the kids—they were literally the only ones camping there until we arrived. We all hugged and said hello, and then they went to finish collecting firewood (which they’d been doing when we arrived), and Joe did some of the little chores which our Walmart stop had enabled him to finish. I was just about to start reading my book, when a small person appeared outside our RV door. So I went with Naama to “her campsite”, and sat chatting with Miriam and Ben (who also made a campfire).  I surprised them with the “scrap cookies” and with a couple of bottles of soap bubbles we’d brought for Naama—Ben said he was sending us psychic brain-waves to bring both of them! We also experimented with letting Cassie off her leash—Isis and Sampson were both running around free the entire time. It turned out they were better behaved than Cassie, who became so overexcited by chasing something that she briefly disappeared.  She ran back to me only a minute or so later, but we turn out to be worry-wart parents, and we told her she was going to be a leashed dog the rest of the time.  She did like being with the other dogs, I think, though.

At about 6, we all decided it was time for dinner. After a brief consult, we agreed on macaroni and cheese. Luckily we’d picked up those veggies earlier—Joe made curried stir-fried vegetables and rice as well as the mac and cheese. We sat outside at our picnic table and managed to finish the entire 1 pound of mac and cheese as well as most of the vegetables. Naama and Yael really packed the macaroni away! We were very impressed with their appetites, although I have to say none of us actually starved. There was very little left over.

While Joe washed the dishes, we all sat in the RV together, trying to convince Naama that she wanted to leave it and show us “her” tent. However, she wasn’t too convinced. Sampson wasn’t too eager either—he came inside the RV and experimented with every good dog spot. He tried napping on the floor between the two front seats, in the navigator seat (mine), and under the table. He really was quite happy inside and was unenthusiastic about leaving (Cassie, meanwhile, was outside with Isis). We finally got both Naama and Sampson out of the RV and over to their campsite, where Naama made shadow puppet hands while Ben held the flashlight for her. I finally decided I was ready to lie down (Joe was already in bed finishing his book), and we said goodnight. We still had the entire campground to ourselves.

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