Wanderings and Side Trips travel blog

Great Sand Dunes

Three different terrains

Janice and Dean, Wes and Jan, Tom and Dianna

Janice, Dianna, Wes and Tom

Parasailing or a kite?

Snow (sand) Boarding?

A real traveling companion

A 14 foot tall Lumber Jack

The Rio Grande, called the Silver Thread

A trip to the Great Sand Dunes was the plan for today. We had visited this National Park about 20 years ago and were glad to see it again. The dunes and the surrounding area are much the same, but many improvements have been made. It is now a National Park and the visitors center reflects that. We had a nice visit with the NP volunteer in the center. He and his wife are part time RVrs with a home in Texas. He was glad to visit with our full timers and thinks they will eventually go that route. They were campground hosts last year and returned this year as NP volunteers.

We spent some time on the dunes, but none of us had the desire to climb to the top. They are actually "mountains" of sand, and they are as tall as mountains. There were other people on the top and several about half way up. As we walked back to the car, another visitor caught our eye. Two motorcyclists, a husband and wife, with their "traveling companion". He was a little dog who rode in a milk crate on the back of the husband's cycle. He wore goggles to keep the bugs out of his eyes. He evidently loves riding!

We checked out the campground while we were there as well. It is dry camping with a dump station and water spigots. Most of the sites are small, designed for tents and smaller RVs or campers. There are quite a few that could hold a 30foot RV, but only a couple for anything bigger than that. There is an RV park/campground a few miles before the entrance that could accommodate larger rigs and it has hookups.

There are other sights in this area, but we just visited the Sand Dunes.

We followed a short cut west from the park to Del Norte and on to South Fork on highway 160. Dianna had heard of a couple RV parks there she wanted to check out. Stomachs were growling by this time, so we stopped at the Hungry Logger in South Fork for lunch. This restaurant was recommended by the NP volunteer. As with the previous restaurant, some really liked it, but we thought it was pretty average. The onion rings, however, were really good. There was a 14 foot Lumber Jack in front of the restaurant. It was carved from a single tree.

We checked out the Family Fun Valley just west of South Fork. It was closed for the season, but looks like a great place to spend some time. Also checked on River Bend, which was a Passport America park. It was okay, but spaces were crowded. There were a couple others we checked on the way home. They were okay, but nothing outstanding. This is primarily a resort area and so the prices reflect that. That said, it is a beautiful area and there are several National Forest campgrounds. We have added this to our "need to visit" list. It would be really nice, but crowded, during the warm summer months. Most parks were already closed or would be in the next week or so.

At stop at the super Walmart for some groceries and at KFC for some dinner and we headed home. A very impressive thunderstorm was building over the mountains as we drove, but we only had a few raindrops. We again opted for an early night. The next two days we are just going to relax and enjoy each others company. No more tours for a while:-)

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