Friday, July 3, 2009

Colorado: June 25 to July 1, 2009. Boondocking, Pikes Peak.

We left the RV park near Canon City, and drove 80 miles to a boondocking area about 6 miles north of Lake George off of CR77 on FR287. Elevation 8300’

If you go to ‘Google Earth’ and search for Lake George, Colorado and follow CR77 north about 6 miles to FR287, you will have a good view of where we are.

A couple of definitions are in order here:

Boondocking: In general this means parking your RV at a location without any facilities such as water, electric, sewer hookups, picnic tables or disignated camping sites. You are out in the ‘boondocks’. Boondocking is very popular with many RV’ers. We really love being out in the beautiful outdoors, but yet having all the comforts of our home on wheels.

Most, if not all, National Forests (NF) allow boondocking or camping in what they call ‘Disbursed Camping’ areas. Disbursed Camping in NF means you drive along forest roads looking for parking places off to the side of the road, which looks like a nice place to camp. Generally, you want to look for places which have been used for camping previously so you don’t create another site where the grass and ground have been packed down. In general you can camp anywhere along these roads where camping is not prohibited.

BLM (Bureau of Land Management) areas allow boondocking or camping on most of their lands.

Our drive up here was a challenge! We came up hwy 9 from Canon City. The hwy is winding & hilly, but a good two lane hwy to the top of Currant Creek Pass. A drive of about 30 miles and an elevation gain of 3000’.

The main challenge was passing the bicyclists riding on this road.

Especially when we approached them while they are on a curve of the road.

Driving a loaded vehicle up a grade, you want to keep your speed and momentum up as much as the road will allow. Approaching a vehicle (cyclist) going 3-7 MPH presents a real challenge. You try to time your approach so you can safely pass the bicycle but yet not slow down to the same speed of the cyclist. It was an interesting drive.

Once we got over Currant Creek Pass the remainder of the drive was a smooth easy drive.

We pulled off CR77 onto Forest Road (FR) 287 and drove the ¼ mile to the boondocking spot we planned to stay at.

The campsite was not as level as I thought it would be. Once we finished leveling, the hydraulic jacks had our front tires over two inches off the ground.

We have a very nice site. Our front window looks out across a valley with low mountains and sky about ¾ mile away. In the valley there is a meandering creek (Tarryall Creek) and a pretty green meadow. On the west side of us are pretty ponderosa pines and to the east is a low hill with more ponderosa pines. Very pretty and friendly. And both Sharon and Al are happy here.

View out the front window of the Bug

View after a rain with a cloud side of mountain

View of our boondocking site from a nearby hill.

Sitting outside in the afternoon

Drive to the top of Pikes Peak.

The road is a toll road owned by the city of Colorado Springs. They charge $10/person or $35/carload to drive the 19 miles with an elevation change of 7000’. It is a beautiful drive on a well maintained, paved and smooth gravel two lane road. It was well worth the $20 we paid. We also bought an audio CD for $7 describing the history and sights along the road.

Beautiful views all along the road with lots of pull offs to stop and admire the views.

A view of Colorado Springs, 8000’ below. Way out in the distance, are the plains of Nebraska. Also, if you look closely, you will see a marmot on the rock in the center of the picture.

Closer look at the marmot.

We started the drive at 9am with nice mild 65* temp and light wind. 1 ½ hours later at the top with elevation at 14,110’ it was 35* and the wind was 30 -40 mph. Cold!!

With the wind and cold, we didn’t stay long at the top. The views from the pull offs along the road were better than those at the top.

A view of paved road going down

And of the gravel part of the road

That’s about all for now.

Until later,

Al & Sharon

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