One of the things on our bucket list was to attend the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico and when it was announced there was going to be an Xscapers Convergence in Colorado just ahead of the fiesta we thought, why not! We packed up and hit the road Sept. 12 giving ourselves plenty of time to get there. Our destination was the Shavano Wildlife Management Area just a few miles west of Salida, Colorado.
The first two nights, one in Nebraska the other in Kansas, we did our first “Wallydocking” stints. It’s funny, all the time we spent last winter on the road and we never did an overnight at Walmart. However, this time it worked out just perfect. At the Walmart in Grand Island, NE we did our grocery stock up. The next night in Goodland, KS we added some winter apparel. We needed some new gloves and found some fleece thermals that make good jammies too as the nights were getting pretty chilly.
By the third night we had crossed into Colorado and found a great spot near Sugar City, Colorado at Lake Meredith thanks to freecampsites.net. It was like having our own private beach right out our door and the price was right, FREE! It was mid afternoon when we pulled in and the sun was shining. About an hour after we got there we could see some really dark clouds to the west of us. However, it looked like it was going to miss us. Suddenly the wind changed direction and it looked like a dust storm was heading right towards us, however it turned out to be hail. For a little while we really thought it would end badly, shattered windows and solar panels. Luckily it passed and no damage. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset, some homemade pizza and a good nights sleep.
The following morning we made our way westward and upward. This was a beautiful drive, once we got past Pueblo. Highway 50 follows a river up into the mountains. It’s curvy and I think Rod was loving every minute of it! Just before we left we did some suspension upgrades to our rig which included new shocks and what’s called Sumo Springs. It made a HUGE difference and made the ride much more pleasant. The suspension upgrade really deserves it’s own post so I won’t go into detail here, but wow!!
This will be our 2nd time attending an Xscapers Convergence. What’s that?? It’s a way for us to meet up with other working RV’ers, it’s relaxed and informal. There’s usually a few scheduled educational discussions, evening campfires and it’s just fun and a great way to meet people on the road. Our hosts were Brian and Christie Scott, better know as “Spot The Scotts“. They had scouted out this area months in advance and did an excellent job of putting everything together!! It wasn’t a huge gathering but about 14 rigs showed up and the location couldn’t have been more beautiful with 360 degree mountain views.
One of the nice things about attending a convergence is it’s very chill. Nothing is scheduled during the days as most of us are still working. Even the “educational” events are very laid back. It’s really about a topic, your lawn chair and beverage of choice! One of the things we do on the road is take a ton of pictures so we had a great discussion on photography led by Brock Brinkerhoff . The other topic was Social Media led by Christie Scott. Brian and Christie Scott have a large following on social media especially YouTube. Both discussions were good motivators as it got me out taking night sky pictures and we got on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re a Twitter fan, you can now follow us there.
Every night there was a campfire and conversation (maybe some beers too). It’s so interesting hearing everyone’s story, what they do and where they are from. We even met a couple from Holland that have been full time RVing in the US with their children for 7 years. They had this crazy 6 wheel drive military vehicle they pulled their 5th wheel with. It even had an extra 250 gallon water bladder on it, I had never seen anything like it.
On our last night of the convergence we had a great Mexican themed potluck complete with an adult pinata stuffed with mini tequila bottles. It was a blast and lots of great food!!
When you’re out in the wilderness it’s obvious you don’t leave food laying around due to critters, bears, and whatever else and we don’t. However, I had a Tupperware container on our desk with some trail mix in it and I’ll be darned if the second morning we awoke to 2 holes on the top of the lid. We had a mouse in the house!! We headed straight into town and bought some traps. Within 15 minutes we had caught 2 mice and what we thought would be the end of it. Just to be on the safe side we reset the traps and all was good. That night when we went to bed we heard the trap go again, damn another one!! Now I’m kind of freaking out. We need to get more aggressive. Another trip into town for moth balls and Irish Spring Soap.
Rod rubbed the soap all over the jacks, cut up some bars and set them in the jack pads. Then we set out moth balls around the tires. We figured they were getting in somewhere around the engine compartment. We now have 2 traps set in the engine and 4 inside our rig. The next morning no mice, but a live chipmunk caught in one the traps we had in the engine. Rod set him free. But wait, there’s more!! By the time we left there we had caught 6 mice and 2 chipmunks. Oh, not to mention the 1 mouse that hitched a ride with us to New Mexico. We got him though.
We first met Doug and Sue, aka The Destinators, just a few weeks prior when they stayed at our place in Egan, South Dakota. We had a blast jamming out with them for 2 days. When we told them about our upcoming trip to Colorado they informed us they were heading that way around that same time and the odds were good we’d meet up again. As luck would have it timing all worked out and they were able to join us.
They were able to nestle in to a spot close to us and it worked out great. One afternoon we broke out the music gear and played together for hours, until dark even. This was the first time we actually ran everything off our solar system and it worked great! It was so much fun, we totally lost track of time and hope we get to see these two again some day.
To say we enjoyed our time here is an understatement. From meeting new friends to the stunning location was awesome! We took a short day trip to around the town of Salida and their historic downtown area is super cool right on the river. We will definitely return to Colorado and hope to explore a lot more of it.
Our final night here temps dipped into the 20’s and some snow fell in the upper elevations. As you can see by the photo below there was one section of the road on the way out that could be a little treacherous if it were and rain. Since rain was in the forecast it was time to move on and warm up.
Where To Next
We’ve been off grid for 2 weeks so we are headed to hookups in New Mexico just north of Taos. Catch up on some laundry and refresh the tanks. We have a week to kill before we are scheduled to be in Albuquerque for the balloon fiesta, but I’m sure we’ll find plenty to do in between.