Monday, July 11
The crew gobbles up the breakfast of chicken chunks that I prepared yesterday. I don’t bother making myself a pot of coffee. We have a long (for us) drive today and I’d like to arrive at our next camp before it’s hot. All the outside packing-up was also completed yesterday and I never unhitched, so an early start is easy.
We pull out of our campsite at Mogote Campground shortly after sunrise.
Mogote Campground, San Juan National Forest, west of Antonito, Colorado
On our way out of the campground, the crew and I stop at the water spigot where I fill up ten one-gallon jugs with drinking water.
The campground isn’t fully awake yet.
The only ones stirring, besides the chipmunks and birds, are two fishermen quietly packing up their tent and gear.
The Perfect Tow Vehicle carries us and the Best Little Trailer eastward about 12 miles to Antonito. I buy a cup of coffee at a gas station and we keep going.
Turning northward, Route 17 crosses through flat terrain of San Luis Valley. The crew naps as we travel from town to town . . . Romeo, La Jara, Estrella, and La Fruto.
North of Alamosa we zip past the turn for Great Sand Dunes National Park.
To the right of us, the white dunes lie like rumpled blankets at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Too hot for sand dunes today! We’re on our way to a cool camp!
Further along, I stop to let the crew take care of their business. The grassy ranch land and dark, grey mountains of this part of Colorado remind me of eastern Nevada.
Sangre de Cristo Mountains
About 13 miles south of Poncha Springs, the PTV conquers Poncha Pass. The climb to 9,010 feet is easy-breezy for the PTV and, I’m happy to say, also for me and the crew.
I’m a confident mountain traveler since yesterday’s success at Cumbres Pass!
A few miles beyond Poncha Pass, we turn left toward Ohaver Lake.
The dirt road is narrow and bumpy with several tight switchbacks that are also ” blind” turns. The washboard isn’t too bad.
However, the deep holes in the road, up where the road is steepest, are the worst I’ve ever driven through — no, make that the worst I’ve ever driven in and out of. Big, deep, unavoidable holes! The Best Little Trailer bounces and jounces and hops while her tongue is tilted upward, poor girl!
“Look, crew! There’s Ohaver Lake!”
“Bridget, forget the camera, honey. We’re here!”
“Isn’t the blue pretty . . . . “
We slowly cruise one of the campground loops.
“Boy, this place is packed!”
The camp host pulls alongside in his golf cart and tells me there are only three sites vacant. Shortly thereafter the Best Little Trailer backs into a campsite between two big rigs. Children run to and fro.
I pay $10 for one night using my 50% discount, senior pass.
The design of the campground permits us to see the lake through aspens from our site.
A pleasant view from our picnic table and from our doorway . . . .
The camp host has raked the site to perfection.
He has a big job here. As soon as a camper pulls out, he cleans up the site and someone else moves in right away.
About an hour after we arrive, he puts up the sign, “Campground Full.”
I go into the BLT in order to open up the windows and the ceiling vent, and also to move the drawers from the floor back into the three storage cabinets.
“OH, NO! What a mess!”
The tumultuous trip up the horrid mountain road apparently threw my dishware around until the cabinet popped open!
All the dishes, bowls, glasses (plastic), and coffee cups flew out of the cabinet and crashed to the floor. Also my colander full of grapefruit and oranges hopped off the bed where I had them wrapped in a blanket. Shards of broken dishware mingled with fruit are all over the place.
This is hilarious! It looks like the aftermath of a very bad, domestic argument!
Later Bridget, Reggie, and I walk the campground road along the lake shore.
(I try very hard to keep people out of my photos which gives the incorrect impression that there aren’t many folks here. We encounter several people and vehicles on our walk.)
Bridget rides in her car, not because she is hurting or reluctant to walk. Her slower pace and frequent stops make it difficult to manage the crew among so many people and distractions.
Besides, Bridget hasn’t had a ride in her car in a long time and she enjoys the luxury. Here she is at the ramp to the fishing pier.
At 9,200 feet, the air is cool for midday in July.
Bridget doesn’t like the camera today so I take the next photo and then give her a break from the lens.
Reggie is super excited!
Lots of people! People with dogs! People with children! New places to explore! New smells!
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On the return to our campsite, I lift Bridget out of her car so she can exercise, too.
Together we enjoy the shade of the aspens.
(Bridget sees the camera and immediately darts for cover in the grass.)
Around three o’clock the breeze becomes stronger. Very refreshing, at first, and then . . . . Man, that wind is COLD!
We go inside until it subsides. I wish there were internet here . . . .
Later I prepare our bed for the night.
The sound of an over-tired child screaming and crying next door along with an occasional vehicle driving by mixes with the grumbling of generators from both sides of our home.
The lake is pretty and all, but I’m glad I paid for only one night. I can acclimate to altitude; people and their noise? Not so much.
Hey . . . Why won’t this cushion line up right? Oh, for heaven’s sake . . . too funny!
I pluck an orange out from between the cushion and the wall.
“Okay, tired babies, the bed’s ready. In you go!”
NOTE: For those of you for whom details are important, the lake is spelled two different ways, Ohaver and O’haver. The campground sign spells it Ohaver. I tried unsuccessfully to find the history behind the name.
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Ohaver Lake, south of Poncha Springs and southwest of Salida, Colorado