travel tuesday: take the long way home

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We’re not kidding around when we say we’re taking the long way home. After weekend visits with our daughter in Denver and son in Colorado Springs, we took the scenic route back to our home in New Castle. This included some of my favorite scenery in the state. Continue reading

months 10-11: back where we belong

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Are you “back back?” That’s the question we’re getting a lot these days when we run into friends in Glenwood Springs, and the answer is yes. Our life as vagabonds has come to an end, at least for now. We are settling into a house sans wheels in New Castle, Colorado, nine miles west of Glenwood.

Our original plan was to travel for a year, but we ended up cutting it a little shorter for several reasons. First, we noticed that houses in our price range were starting to sell very quickly. Our house was on the market less than 24 hours before we made an offer! Second, we wanted to be back for our daughter’s college graduation in June. And third, we were homesick. Continue reading

month three: these are a few of my favorite things

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McCall, Idaho, on the shore of Payette Lake.

McCall, Idaho, on the shore of Payette Lake.

We’ve been on the road for a little more than three months now, during which we’ve been to 17 different states and traveled more than 12,000 miles. Coast to coast, Portland to Portland, Newport to Newport. In honor of our first three months, here are my three favorite… Continue reading

colorado cheeseburgers i love

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Horsefly Brewery

A couple of 50/50 burgers, a Six Shooter and a Bug Eyed Blonde at Horsefly Brewing Co. in Montrose.

Happy National Cheeseburger Day! In honor of this national holiday (it is a holiday, right?), here are my five favorite Colorado cheeseburgers, in no particular order. Continue reading

month one: the good, the bad and the ugly

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Taylor Park Reservoir

Our longest stay was at Taylor Park Reservoir in Colorado.

The first month of our year-long road trip has come and gone, and boy, oh boy, it was a busy one. Our schedule was dictated by some events that were already on the calendar, including getting to watch our daughter compete in a volleyball tournament in Steamboat Springs, a vacation with family and friends, visits to both kids, business meetings and doctors’ appointments. In short, we packed a lot into our first few weeks on the road. Continue reading

a summertime visit to leadville and twin lakes

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Here are a few photos from our stay in Leadville and Twin Lakes in July. Such a beautiful place to spend a week. Read my campground review for more details. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more Tales From the Empty Nest. Continue reading

campground review: White Star Campground at Twin Lakes, Colorado

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Whitestar Campground at Twin Lakes

White Star Campground at Twin Lakes

Why camp here? Tucked away in the San Isabel National Forest on the banks of the Twin Lakes Reservoir, the scenery alone makes it a destination in and of itself. Throw in the largest glacial lakes in Colorado, excellent fishing and proximity to Leadville, Buena Vista and Aspen via Independence Pass, and the better question is “why not camp here?” There are trails for hiking, biking and OHVs, boat tours to the historic Interlaken Resort, kayak and canoe rentals and the well-stocked Twin Lakes General Store. The Dayton Room at the Twin Lakes Inn is a real treat; call ahead for dinner reservations during July and August. Continue reading

i am NEVER going camping again!

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Camping at Taylor

Roughing it at Taylor Park Reservoir

Oh, the irony. Sixteen years ago this month, we embarked upon our first family camping trip. Much like the Griswolds, we were ready enjoy the open road with the kids. Our destination? Taylor Park Reservoir, a dirt-bike-riding mecca that friends and family members have been enjoying since the 60s. The same spot where I’m sitting right now, writing in our camper.

This took place in 1998, so the kids were 4 and almost 6. The perfect ages to get them started on the joys of camping in the mountains, right? That was the plan. We lived just north of Kansas City at that time, in Smithville, Missouri. Escaping the heat sounded pretty good. Continue reading

saying goodbye

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View from our Home

The view from our former home.

Leaving home is always tough, but leaving home and completely changing your lifestyle is a doozy. We’ve been full-timers for a little over a week now. I’ve been thinking about this post the whole time and believe I’m ready to write it without crying. If you don’t know this about me, I cry a lot. Television commercials make me cry, along with buying greeting cards and seeing anyone else cry. Don’t even get me started on weddings, babies and funerals. (Watch for upcoming blogs posts, “Things That Make Me Cry, Parts I, II and III.”)

Traveling around the country in the RV is a long-time dream of ours. It’s on the official bucket list. I am truly grateful that we have this opportunity while we’re this young. That being said, it’s still a lot of change. Change is good, right? Continue reading

campground review: Yampa River State Park

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Yampa River

The Yampa River near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Why camp here? We camped here because it was the closest we could get to Steamboat Springs on one of the busiest weekends of summer. Our daughter was playing in the Steamboat Doubles volleyball tournament, and the Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park were also going on.

Although this wasn’t our first choice since it’s 45 minutes west of town, the Yampa River State Park Headquarters Campground is a nice option. Our experience in Colorado State Parks has been very positive over the years, and that proved to be true for this campground as well. Lots of upsides, but a couple of downsides to point out as well: mosquitoes and a train that runs regularly right next to the park. We got used to the train pretty quickly, but the skeeters were an issue. Our site was located near some ponds, so the sites closer to the river might be a better option. Continue reading