Like jumping into a cool tropical pool after a long sweaty hike, hitting the road with the new camper is exhilarating, eye opening and refreshing.
While we are officially homeless, we no longer feel that way. On the road our tiny house on wheels provides shelter, privacy and protection from weather, wild animals and weirdoes in the wilderness. Like the native tribes of Colorado, we are now a mobile family unit with a camp that can be broken down quickly, making travel an efficient endeavor.
We open our old Rand McNally atlas to piece together a trip plan. First stop is Pike National Forest to camp a night with a Trenton’s buddy Corey Dolson and his family – a childhood friend he hasn’t seen in 20 years.
The evening at the Lone Duck Campground was full of firsts, from popping up the camper roof, cooking on the stove, sleeping in the bed and getting Scrappers used to being on a leash. After setting up camp, around a roaring campfire we share an evening full of laughter and reminiscing and a few (too many) shots of whisky. As night ends we retire into our little home with happy hearts knowing camaraderie lives among true friends, even after years of absence.
After breaking camp the next morning we set out to discover the Colorado countryside. Trying to adjust to life on the road, Scrappers shuffles around trying to secure a comfortable spot to sleep. He settles on my lap, his choice providing him full days of petting.
We travel up and down steep passes on yellow daisy-lined highways, among white Aspens, aged pines and blue velvet skies. The scent of wild sage and pine-pitch infuses the air like aromatherapy. Waves of weather push and pull through these high elevation ranges, colliding into mountaintops and surging through valleys.
From the historic gambling town of Cripple Creek, through the deep red rock cliffs of Phantom Canyon, from Buena Vista and over the high peaks and hairpin curves of Cottonwood Pass, from every direction the fourteen thousand feet Collegiate Peaks frame the sky.
Pulsing stars and lightning storms fill the evening sky. We settle for the night at Lottis Creek Campground in Gunnison National Forest. After getting Scrappers settled in the camper, we relax around the campfire letting the flickering flames entertain us.
A coyote cry cracks the silence. I pick up my Ukulele and strum a few cords back to answer him with a little off-the-cuff cowboy poetry lyric:
Campfires and coffee
Campfires and wine
Campfires and whisky
Some of the time…
The smoke swirls around like signals stirring thoughts of the Native Utes who once roamed this land. Like them, we are camping these vast areas, traveling their established routes. A couple of nomadic travelers, high in the Rocky Mountains, high on life and appreciating the beauty and bounty of this great land.