Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Colorado Vacation -Mancos

That evening we left Mesa Verde and headed toward Durango. It was getting late and we just wanted a camping spot in the National Forest. As we passed through Mancos, a little town at the side of the road, we found a road with access to the forest, and we went down it. We found a nice little spot in a clearing surrounded by aspens. The next morning we had a hankering for some bike riding. We got out the bike riding map, and sure enough we were just minutes away from a route described on the map. We re-parked the VW and set off on a route on forest service roads. The route went up to a fire tower named Jersey Jim, then continued down in a loop for 22 miles. I misread a sign and we ended up going 4 more miles than necessary. Max was so tired he pooped out 1 mile from the end, and sat down. I had to run and get the van to rescue our tired pups. We then drove onward to a campsite we saw on our ride. Another site surrounded by aspens. Beautiful. The really neat part about the VW van is that it can stop and convert quickly in to a camper. We drive to a spot and check to see if it is level by looking at a bubble level on the stove. If there are any adjustments we usually can find a rock and put it under the tires. The top pops up, and the awning comes out. With the top up we have plenty of headroom to use the sink and stove to cook full-on meals. We usually eat better than when at home. We have a fridge that I converted from the old ammonia filled unit to a super compact heat sink (much like a computer heat sink but bigger) which I disassembled from a plug-in cooler that I bought from Sam's Club for $13. It is powered from a deep cycle auxiliary battery that can be charged from outside electricity, the solar panel or the alternator. It will cool stuff 20 degrees lower than the ambient temperature. With the extra room that we had when I removed the ammonia fridge condenser I had space enough for a 110v power inverter, a battery charger, and a book and magazine library. That night the dogs and Kristi went to bed early. I stayed up and watched a Star Trek on my computer, and browsed the images we had taken so far. Eventually I crawled up to the bunk to the tempurpedic mattress calling my name.

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