Friday, June 24, 2022
There are three routes to Great Sand Dunes National Park. We took 56 southwest to 160 because I had never traveled it. This was the last big travel day getting to the southwest for our extended tour.
As we drove through working communities of Ensign, Montezuma, Hickok and Ulysses, we drove through serious farm land, land that had to be watered to make it work. Huge windmills covered the area for miles. As we drove on, there was also oil production. A train line went between the towns, loading grain from gigantic silos. The road was also busy with tractor trailers. The communities were more like corporate work areas.
The further west we went, the drier it got. We saw abandoned homesteads, small, stone structures. If Rt. 50 through Arizona and Nevada is appropriately named The Loneliest Road, Rt. 160 to Trinidad might come in second. As the land became drier, even if land was given to people, they couldn’t make it work.
We stopped in the rather abandoned town for a bathroom break. Fortunately, I checked the refrigerator temperature. It was 44 degrees. The gas was not lit, so I turned the refrigerator off, switched propane tanks and turned it back on with no effect. I turned on the gas stove, but the flame was very weak. I know the tanks have propane, but now all kinds of thoughts ran through my head. Did the mice chew up my gas line?
In the small town of Kim, we spotted a big propane tank. Stopping to ask if they did refills, a gentleman said no, but the man across the street sometimes does. Looking across the road, I saw a small, house-type propane tank. I went across and knocked on the door. A gentleman with hearing aids came to the door. “No”, he said, “We used to run the propane business across the street for 30 years, but the new owners don’t do refills.” I told him I thought we had propane, but the flame is weak. He said, “Drive the rig over here. You can turn around in the yard, and I’ll fill it for you.”
Bud was his name, and he is the epitome of a midwest or western gentleman. He also has a camper and appreciates the travel and issues you can have. As he filled the not-so-empty tank, we talked about Kim. There was a pretty stone building across the street that was built by the WPA and is now used by Colorado Highway people.
We thanked Bud profusely, and offered $30 for propane and peace of mind. He took the $10 and refused the $20.
I loved driving 160 and all it’s changing scenery. I almost hit a big, strong antelope that jumped in front of us, but then jumped back to the side of the road. The speed limit is 65 and I was going 70, so it wouldn’t have been good. I just got a glimpse of him, but I have a vivid picture of him. Best to have a full tank of gas, water and snacks when driving this road. However, if you get in trouble, there are good people to help.
We stopped for lunch in Trinidad, then turned north on I-25 for 35 minutes to Walsenburg and turned west on 160 again. Pulling into Great Sand Dunes Oasis RV Park, I was a little nervous. When I called to make a reservation, a young man seemed a bit detached. There was no credit card transaction, and they don’t send confirmation emails. We did have a confirmation number. Thankfully, all was well and we proceeded to our campsite.
It was 3:00, so I had two or three hours to work on our plumbing issue. I am now pretty familiar with taking it all apart, so I removed the faucet with the attached water lines and tried to blow them out with our air compressor. No dice. I tried flushing with water with no luck. I then pushed a wire up the hose, but it wouldn’t go through the faucet. Maybe I’ll just buy a new faucet in Moab, but we still don’t know if the problem is in the faucet or further down the line. Maybe I’ll connect a hose to the cold water line, run it out the door and turn on the water pump. If that runs strong, I’ll put it on the hot water line. If that runs strong, I’ll go buy a new faucet or get someone to take the lines off of this one.
We sat watching the views and the sun go down from our plateau campground overlooking the valley and Great Sand Dunes. It’s so unique to see huge sand dunes up against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southern section of the Rockies.