Tag Archives: Colorado

Summer Art Camp

Summer Art Camp

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There was an upside of the RV being broken down and having to return to Lake City to work on it.  I was able to attend the first day of Art Camp with my step-daughter Alicia.

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Every year, Lake City does a weeklong art camp, one for kids and one for adults.  For the adults, every day covers a different medium.  For $10 per day, this year, you could learn about drawing, print making, painting, sculpting and weaving. Class was held in the Lake City School art room.  Martha Reyburn, our instructor, had us a little concerned when she started the class with a picture book about art.  Clearly, she teaches the kids classes, too. But, we quickly got down to business when Martha taught us how to make our own sketch books using just copy paper and a pair of scissors.

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In addition to shading and contouring drawing, we also practiced lettering.  I went with my cowgirl nickname, Dixie.  Alicia is very artistic. I love how she made her “A” into strips of bacon.  Sign of a clever – and perhaps slightly demented? – mind. 🙂

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Mike and I are planning to return to Lake City next year and stay for a while – on purpose, this time.  I hope we go during Art Camp so Alicia and I can do the full week together.

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Henson Creek RV Park (Lake City, Colorado)

Henson Creek RV Park (Lake City, Colorado)

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We were on our second day of attempting to repair the RV’s fan belt. We were about to head to Gunnison for parts when Mike’s former brother-in-law informed us that we could no longer boondock in his yard. Some sort of issue with the neighbors. We scrambled to find a place to go, a park that would let us check in in the morning.  (Normal check-in times are around noon.) We were in luck when Henson Creek RV Park told us they had room and we could come down right away.

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We had driven by Henson Creek on our way to Woodlake, when we first arrived in Lake City, and frankly, we hadn’t been that impressed.  Although it was centrally located on the main drag, it looked cramped. But this time, we were grateful to have a place with full hook-ups where we could work on the RV.

When Mike checked us in, he was pleased to discover a small selection of RV supplies in the office. Friendly managers Joe & Judy Hoover guided him into our spot.

Later that afternoon, with the help of a new friend, Mike was able to get the fan belt on. The motorhome was fixed! (Well, except for the a/c compressor, which we will fix in the next couple of months.)

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Henson Creek is small, designed more for the fifth wheels that line both sides of the park.  Motorhomes take up the few spots in the center. The park is right next to the actual Henson Creek.  We only stayed one night, but we really enjoyed walking Meeko and Sadie along the edge of the water.  I also enjoyed a run around the area the morning that we left.  For Sunday morning worship, there’s also a charming Catholic church, built in the 1800s, around the bend from the park.

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Our initial impression of Henson Creek was right… and wrong.  The park is a bit cramped. But, the facilities are great.  There’s 30-amp electric, a laundry room, and showers if you need ’em.  The managers are nice and helpful, and the location is fantastic.  At Woodlake, we were too far out of town to do anything but drive.  When we come back to Lake City next year, we’re going to stay here so that we can walk or bike to all the fun stuff in town.

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Our first breakdown

Our first breakdown

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After a fun week in Lake City, Colorado, spending time with Mike’s middle daughter and his former brother-in-law, we were on our way to Denver to visit friends. About five miles out of town, the engine started over heating.  After a couple more miles, we found a large enough spot to pull over so Mike could diagnose the problem.  The news wasn’t good.  The air conditioner’s compressor had seized and snapped the fan belt.

With our Coach-Net membership (Triple A for motorhomes), we arranged for a tow to Gunnison, about an hour away from LC.  Coach-Net told us that the wrecker’s shop could fix the problem for us.  With six hours before the wrecker arrived, we headed back to LC in the Jeep, did some work at Mean Jean’s and grabbed a late lunch at the Cannibal Grill.  When the tow truck arrived, we learned from the driver that his shop could not repair our problem. In fact, he didn’t think there was any shop in Gunnison that could repair it.

Change in plans again.

Because it was mostly downhill and not far away, Mike decided to drive the coach back to LC with me following in the Jeep and the wrecker following me, just in case.  We boondocked at Mike’s ex-brother-in-law’s place.  Mike researched belts and then drove to Gunnison to pick up three different lengths.  In a diesel pusher, the engine is under the bed, so we had to pull everything off and lock Charlie in a carrier to make sure he didn’t jump down to the ground through the engine compartment. After lots of elbow grease and cursing, Mike realized that none of the belts were the right size.

Not our best day.

Mike called around and found out that the belt he needed could be shipped to Gunnison, and we could pick it up in the morning. We thought the day’s craziness was over.

We were wrong.

While I was tidying up in the kitchen, I noticed Meeko, our 3 1/2-year-old rat terrier/Australian cattle dog mix, had his head stuck in the handle of a grocery bag we’d been using for trash.  (Meeko has a trash fetish.  He loves to get into the trash. He is not happy when you tell him he can’t; our normally sweet, easy going bark baby snarls and bares his teeth.) I touched him on the nose and told him no and then moved to remove the grocery bag handle from his head.  He bit me.  Hard. Hard enough to draw blood.  He made a deep gouge in the pad of my thumb and broke the skin on my index finger.  More than the pain, the sadness and disappointment were overhwhelming.  It’s hard to remember that our domesticated “babies” are, deep in their DNA, wild animals that react instinctively. Mike made it better by bandaging me up and putting on “Mary Poppins”.  “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!”

Lesson learned.  No more trash where Meeko can reach it.

We’ve been to Gunnison and back today, returning the other belts and picking up what we hope is the right belt. Mike is working on it as I write. Fingers and toes crossed that this does the trick.

Mean Jean’s

Mean Jean’s

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There are only two coffee shops in Lake City, and Mean Jean’s was strongly recommended to us by Mike’s daughter Alicia. Mean Jean’s is located on Gunnison Avenue, the main drag in Lake City.  With a front deck and a back patio, it’s a great spot to people watch and enjoy the beautiful summer weather while you sip a mocha and munch on a butterscotch cookie.  We especially appreciated the free Internet access because the service was spotty at Woodlake Park.

There’s a limited selection of sandwiches if you’re looking for something other than sweets.  And, in the evening, to accompany live music, Mean Jean’s offers beer and wine.  We really enjoyed our many visits to Mean Jean’s during our time in Lake City.  Alicia was right!

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Woodlake Park (Lake City, Colorado)

Woodlake Park (Lake City, Colorado)

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En route to Mike’s next gig in Rapid City, South Dakota, we stopped in Lake City, Colorado, to visit his middle daughter. When our first-choice campground didn’t have any openings, we settled on Woodlake Park, two-and-a-half miles south of town. The campground turned out to be great, but getting there proved to be rather challenging…all because we followed the GPS.

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The GPS took us halfway up Highway 149S.  The Silver Thread Scenic Highway, as 149 is also known, lives up to its name.  It is, indeed, scenic and beautiful.  However, south of Lake City, it becomes steep and windy, not particularly RV-friendly.  Thinking we were almost to the campground, we didn’t worry too much, although we weren’t looking terribly forward to driving back down.  However, when we got to the bend in the road where the campground was supposed to be, there was nothing but trees… and no place to turn around.  With drizzle accompanying us, we continued motoring up, until we found a state park we could turn into.  About a 1/2 mile in, we found a spot to unhook the Jeep, back the rig up and turn around.  Heading back down the mountain, we easily saw the sign for our campground.  Because it was set back from the highway, it wasn’t visible going up, but it was clear as day coming down.  Whew! What a relief!

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We were assigned spot J on the forest side of the park, which is the new side.  The full-hookup spots are very roomy, plenty of space to spread out and have a little distance from your neighbor.  Trash cans are discreetly positioned throughout, and we were intrigued by the posted signs that advised us not to put any trash into them after 7:30 p.m.  When we saw that the garbage truck near the office was surrounded by an electrified fence , we put two and two together and realized that these were precautions for keeping the bears away.

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The river side of the park.

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The forest side of the park.

There’re plenty of hiking trails around the park that are also terrific for running or bike riding.  Mike and I rode the bikes one day, and I ran and hiked on the others.  Although it’s secluded, the area is safe.  The main thing to be aware of is the altitude’s impact on your breathing.

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Garbage truck surrounded by an electrified fence

Staying at Woodlake, we were perfectly situated to venture into Lake City to grab a coffee at Mean Jean’s, wander the shops, or see a play at the Mary Stigall Theatre.  We also had easy access to the four-wheeling trails in the area.  After the day’s activities, we could return home to our peaceful spot, lulled to sleep at night by the burbling river and welcomed each morning by the fog-topped trees.

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