2015 Travels travel blog

Carpes boondocking beneath Blanco Peak

Spanish Peak at 13,626'

We cross North La Veta Pass at 9,400+ feet

From US 160 we took CO 150 north

Colorado 150

Carpe Diem boondocking far from everything

We visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park

Highest sand dunes in North America

Wed, 09 Sep: Another road day, this time a real shorty...

Despite being parked just off Federal Highway 160 at the western city limits of Walsenburg, we had a restful nite. There was only one other vehicle parked in the huge parking area, an 18-wheeler with its engine idling. We call it "white noise" and we missed it when it left at "dark o'clock" in the morning.

We awoke to a chilly cabin and, for the first time in months, used our gas furnaces to take the chill off the air. Since we were boondocking we used the stove and kettle to boil water for tea. Breakfast was likewise cooked on the gas cooktop.

Once finished with breakfast we went thru our checklists and got Carpes ready for the road. Sandi released the parking brake a few minutes before nine and headed west on US 160. Just west of Walsenburg (elevation 6,211') we started climbing into the Rocky Mountains. Today's high point was North La Veta Pass at > 9,400'. Carpe did a stellar job climbing the hill, only dropping to 40 mph at the steepest part of the climb.

Once over the top the "scary" part starts—downhill. Thankfully, Carpe Diem has a powerful two stage engine brake that kept our downhill speed well within the "unpuckering" range.

A few miles west of Blanco we turned north on Colorado 150 a few miles to a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) site just off the road. We found this spot using the Day's End listing and it suits us perfectly. We are pretty much alone in a large, level area looking up at Blanco Mountains at 14,565' (the easternmost peak greater than 4,000 meters on the U.S. continent.)

Our plans call for us to spend several days enjoying the solitude of this remote location. Highway 150 has very little daytime traffic and we expect it to be virtually deserted come nite. Might even try some stargazing if it doesn't get too cool too quickly as the overnite low is forecast to be in the upper thirties.

Today's drive was a very relaxing sixty miles with a mountain-climbing fuel economy of only 6⅔ mpg.

Thu, 10 Sep: We visit another National Park...

We had a relaxing day & nite boondocking along Colorado 150 south of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The highway had very little traffic during the day and after dark it was pretty much deserted. We had the turnout all to ourselves and the dark and quiet were conducive to a great nite's sleep. Add in the cool temps (high thirties) that called for snuggling under extra blankets and it is no wonder that we didn't get up and at 'em till well after eight.

Following a good breakfast (Sandi made omelets) we loaded our camera equipment in Carpe Dinkum and drove north on CO 150 to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The park entrance is a dozen miles or so from where we're boondocking so the park visit was quick and easy. We drove around the park getting the "lay of the land" and decided to return closer to dusk when the light would be better.

Back to the coach for lunch and a relaxing afternoon. The sunlight was plentiful with few clouds so our solar panels provided sufficient power to not only fully charge our batteries but also run our computers, printer, and charge all our "toys".

As planned, around 1830 we returned to the park and took many pix of the highest sand dunes in North America. These dunes are in excess of 2,000 feet high, but are dwarfed by the 13,000' mountains to the north. Pix taken we returned home for Happy Hour and a lite dinner.

We're back on the road tomorrow...

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