Just after pulling in to our site (#3) at Trinidad Lake State Park, Lucy is exploring.

Well, we made it to Trinidad, Colorado. This truly feels like the beginning of our journey. I know we’ve lived in the RV for six weeks, but we were still in and not too far from Colorado Springs. Now, we are in Trinidad, far enough to be AWAY. And it feels good! The RV parks we have been at have been, well, RV parks. They were close to the road or the highway or noisy. Not people noisy, but traffic noisy. We are at Trinidad Lake State Park in Colorado. It’s 70-something degrees and beautiful. We have trees and privacy and a view. We pulled in and the campground is much smaller than the online map showed it to be. We had a few tense moments wondering if we would actually fit our 39-foot rig in the space. But it all worked out and here we are. IT’S QUIET. SO QUIET.

Griffin immediately started setting up his tent because he likes his privacy. Too much Mom and Dad is, well, too much Mom and Dad. Sleeping in the tent means he gets to sleep in until 10 instead of 6:30! To celebrate, we had a campfire and some margaritas that were well deserved.

So, this is not our one-month anniversary, but rather our six-week anniversary. But it does feel like the start of phase 2. Phase 1 was moving in and getting settled. Phase 2 is the journey! I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and go look outside.

Top plusses of our first six weeks of RV living: we got to watch the fall drama of several herds of pronghorn antelope. Very cool. Minimal cleaning happens; 350 square feet polishes up pretty quickly. We can work and do school in our small space. Met some new friends at the RV park in Pueblo; we’ll be seeing them again in New Mexico. Waking up and seeing trees and mountains all around is so refreshing!

Top minus; getting used to conserving water is a challenge. Washing dishes and showering without wasting water is new. We learned from an RV vlogger about spraying your dirty dishes with a soap and water mixture, wiping off any food residue, and then rinsing and scrubbing with a teeny bit of hot water. It does the trick. Showering is not luxurious by any means. You get wet briefly, turn off the water, lather up, and then turn on the water to rinse.

The big stressors: will something break right when we need to travel? What if we can’t fit into the site we reserved? How do we turn around on an unknown street? Does the truck stop actually have an air system strong enough to fill our big tires? And so on. I imagine that gradually we will learn these things and relax a bit, but today was a bit stressful and tonight we are celebrating because we made it!

Lunch was a picnic with a view of the lake. So relaxing!

After Trinidad, we headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a few days before heading farther south. We stayed at a nice park called Santa Fe Skies, which had some great views of the mountains, a dog park, and sculpture and old farm equipment all around.

  • Santa Fe Skies

We spent a morning wandering around old downtown, enjoying all the southwestern architecture (of which I took no photos it seems!) and visiting the cathedral and the Loretto Chapel. The cathedral was beautiful and we enjoyed labyrinth in the court and the park next door. I was more intrigued by the Loretta Chapel, partly because it was more intimate, but also because of its famous spiral staircase. Apparently the staircase was built with no nails and no visible means of support. There is no central pole around which the stairs spiral; somehow, the whole thing supports itself. Legend has it that the church needed a stair to access the choir loft, so they began to pray, and an itinerant carpenter showed up with a donkey and his tools and built the stair. No one knows his name. This is no rustic spiral staircase. It is a true work or art!

  • Loretto Chapel Santa Fe

We only had a few days in Sante Fe before the weather was turning cold, so we headed out on a slightly breezy morning to go south to Tularosa, New Mexico. Little did we know that a major windstorm was happening and we drove right into it. Halfway to Tularosa, our awning unrolled while we were driving down the highway in 40 mph winds! We pulled over and tried to retract it, but the winds were too strong. What a helpless feeling. Truly awful. We watched our awning blow out and slam in until the bar broke. Then, at least Griffin and I could grab hold of it and stop it from damaging the side of the RV. It was like holding onto a bucking bronco. A serious workout. The only thing to do was get the ladder out and cut the awning down. So after a half an hour of struggling with the wind and the awning, the thing was finally down on the ground—a 25 foot-long pole and canvas. It was too big to take with us; there was no way to fit it in the RV, and we were in the middle of nowhere! So we had to leave it there and continue on to our destination an hour and a half away. No pictures of this fiasco; too stressful to even think about!

We finally made it to Tularosa and to our Harvest Hosts stop for the night at Tularoas Vineyards. We parked in their field next to a pistachio grove, went in for a well-deserved glass of wine, and bought three bottles, one of which we promptly drank on their deck with another group of RVers who were staying the night.

This was our first try at boondocking, or dry camping, or camping with no hookups at all. All in all we did pretty well. We ran the generator just a bit, but our solar took care of most everything. We stayed here one night and moved on down the road to Alamogordo and the White Sands National Park. More on that in my next post!

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