Here's a look at our trailer at our first campground.
Day 2 (Oct. 16):
When I was first researching RV parks in the Colorado Springs area, I was disappointed to find that all of the ones close to town that I was interested in were booked for our desired dates.
I had to expand the territory in which I was looking and found this gem. It was about 25 minutes south of town, but it was the best I could do.
And boy, were we glad once we saw it.
Nestled in some gorgeous forested hills, it was a true camping experience, not like the parking lot RV parks in town. Our site was enormous and at the back of the property.
Once we pried ourselves out of bed that morning, we wasted no time in getting outside to explore a little. Following a dirt road on the hill behind the trailer, we quickly found ourselves enjoying these views.
The anguish the kids had felt during the long drive yesterday melted away and they were delighted with the fresh mountain air and the gorgeous scenery.
Brief Note about Food:
For breakfasts, I planned very simple meals. Varieties of instant oatmeal, yogurt with homemade granola, or bagels were the fare nearly every day of our trip. We didn't have room to store much milk in our tiny fridge, so cereal wasn't an option.
Lunches, both on the road and for picnics on our outing days, were either peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or lunch meat with cheese, apples or clementines, and often chips.
Snacks included cereal bars, granola bars, trail mix, cheese crackers, that sort of thing. Easy to pack and transport.
Dinners on driving days usually ended up being fast food, because we were always running later than we wanted and wouldn't get to our campsite until 8 or 9:00. For days that we weren't travelling, I had planned ahead and made some freezer meals. Six soups, actually. Here are the recipes I used. I followed them nearly exactly, except to add some beans to the chicken soup.
The six gallon zip-locks with the soups just barely fit in our trailer freezer, but I made it work. So on outing days, I would just pull out the crock pot, empty one of the bags in there (which was easier if I had let it thaw in the fridge overnight, but sometimes I forgot), add a quart of vegetable broth, and set it on low for the day. Couldn't be simpler.
So this first day, I popped a bag of sausage spinach tomato soup into the crock pot and packed up a picnic lunch and we were off to Colorado Springs.
First stop was the Toyota dealership, to pick up the sensor that we needed. A quick install (by Grant) later, and we were ready to go.
I had visited the Garden of the Gods before, but none of my family had and they really had no idea what to expect.
As we meandered through the trails and got a little more adventurous about climbing on some of the rocks, the excitement mounted and everyone was just overwhelmed at the beauty surrounding us.
The kids are sitting on the Siamese Twins - a set of conjoined rocks that you can look through to see Pikes Peak in the distance.
Another view of the Siamese Twins from up the hill further
The kids got so brave about climbing and exploring on the rocks. Made my heart stop a few times, to tell you the truth.
By mid afternoon, we had made our way through the park and decided to take a little detour on our way back to the trailer to see Helen Hunt Falls.
A lovely scenic drive up a mountain led us to this.
We were too tired to attempt the strenuous hike up the mountain, so we just lingered at the Falls for awhile and took some photos.
Just chillin' out
We were getting hungry and were definitely tired, so we headed back down the mountain. As we drove with the windows down, we noticed a squeaking from the front brakes.
We quickly called a Firestone dealer to see if we could get squeezed in to get them checked out before they closed. It was already 5:00. They were open until 7:00, so we were in luck. We made our way to downtown Colorado Springs and dropped off the Sequoia. With no car, our options were pretty limited. Fortunately, we were able to walk a couple of blocks to a nearby restaurant for some frozen custard.
Grant called Firestone and was told the discs as well as the pads need to be replaced. Wow. Providential timing, really, since we were driving over the mountains the next day. Imagine doing that with bad front brakes.
With more waiting on our hands, we did the only reasonable thing we could do.
We walked to a candy store.
Happy kids - with ice cream in their bellies and bags of candy.
Even better, there was a playground right in the square of downtown, so we spent awhile there before heading back to Firestone.
After getting a great deal on the brake job, we were also told that they had tested the battery and it wasn't good. Great. We're only on day 2 here - with our 3rd mechanical issue.
Fortunately, Grant was able to run back into town the next morning while I helped the kids shower and exchange the old battery for a new one at Walmart - for free. That was a blessing.
Now that it was past 7:00, we were really exhausted and hungry again. Back to the trailer where our soup smelled amazing and was ready to be devoured. We ate around a campfire and not a single kid complained about spinach in their soup. Probably because it was so dark, they couldn't see it, but whatever.
It was a really awesome day.