We made it to November! November happens to be my favorite. Paul and I both have November birthdays and I love Thanksgiving! I love the cooler temperatures, the colors, and the smells. It’s great to be back in Texas. I love the travel and adventure, but after the last leg of our trip, I think we were all weary and ready to land for a while.
We made it back to Texas mid-October just in time for well….it was still Summer. Ha! We still had some days in the 90s. It was a little bit of a shocker to go from the beautiful, snow-capped mountains of Colorado to the plains and deserts of Texas in the span of a day or two. Why the hurry home?
After 14,000 miles of adventures since leaving home in April, we hit a few snags in Colorado. We were supposed to have been in Colorado for about 3 weeks. We were there for 2 weeks, and that was too long! It was kind of one disaster after another. Our first stop was Rifle Gap State Park. It is a gorgeous park with huge, well designed full hookup campsites.
Upon our arrival there, the very friendly park host came over to welcome us and kindly pointed out something that we had failed to notice before….our back bumper on the 5er was breaking off! We had to have it repaired during our stay. We found a local mobile welder who was able to come out to the campground to install a new, more substantial bumper. What a difference! So thankful for that park host! It was one of those things we knew from the get-go would have to be replaced at some point. It just wasn’t made well and we carry our toolbox on it. That time had come. The new bumper is a HUGE improvement!
On about day 3 of being there at Rifle Gap, we went out to check out the neighbor state park, Rifle Falls State Park. Unfortunately, they were hosting a wedding that day and we couldn’t get anywhere near the triple waterfall, which no doubt would have been fabulous! So, we drove on up the road to an area that was part of the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery. It looked like there was a pretty little hiking trail, so we decided to pull off and go explore a little bit. It was a beautiful little trail, but when we returned to the truck after about a 20 minute walk, we found that someone had smashed the passenger side window of the truck and taken off with my purse! So frustrating!
UPDATE: I got a phone call from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department today, November 12, 2017, and they informed me a civilian had discovered my abandoned purse in a bush off the side of the road. Everything seems to be in it except for the $3 cash. They didn’t even take the checkbook. Most importantly, my keys are in there! The key to the truck, RV, our storage unit…everything! The gentleman who found it, tracked me down on Facebook to tell me he had turned it in to the Sheriff’s Department, so I was even able to thank him! Praise the Lord! There are still good people in this world! Ethan, blessings on you and your family, Sir. Thank you for being a kind person!
We have parked all over the country in many remote places and never had a single problem until then. I normally don’t leave my purse in the truck either, but we were just going to be gone for a short time. I didn’t really think much about it. That was a mistake. The sheriff said we were the 2nd call of that nature he had responded to in an hour. The park ranger told us there are a lot of transients utilizing/living in/growing marijuana in the nearby BLM land and National Forests. They’ve had a lot of crime in the area recently. So sad for such a beautiful area! It put a stop to our fun for a few days because we couldn’t exactly leave the truck anywhere.
Well, we got the window repaired by a local repair shop in Rifle a few days later. We had to cover it with a tarp in the meantime. We also had some bad neighbors at this park. They had three large dogs who they didn’t keep leashed. It was next to impossible to take our dog, Tipper, out to go potty even without them running over and barking at us. She doesn’t do well with that. The last night we were there, we were sitting outside enjoying a campfire when one of their dogs invaded our campsite, barking at us ferociously. The woman was so busy trying to corral the other two, which were fighting, that she didn’t even realize until Paul yelled across at her. Ugggg! At that point, we decided we’d eat our last 3 nights there, which was already paid for, and head out the next morning. We were kind of done.
We got about 50 miles outside of Denver, deep into the Rocky Mountains, heading up a big, steep incline and the truck overheated big time. We have climbed all kinds of mountains across the country and have never overheated. But, this was the Rocky Mountains and Colorado was not being good to us. Thankfully, a tow truck pulled up in front of us and thankfully our insurance covers the tow. Unfortunately, the tow truck couldn’t tow both our truck and 42 foot 5th wheel, so a second tow truck was needed. Thankfully, that tow was covered by insurance as well! What an ordeal! This all happened on a Thursday evening, so they towed us (truck and 5er) to the Chevy dealer about 10 miles back.
The dealership was already closed so we couldn’t even talk to anyone until the next morning. We slept in the 5th wheel in the Chevy parking lot. The next morning, the dealership said it would be 10 days before they could even look at it. Typical. So, Paul started calling around. He found a place who could get it in that day. So, he drove it over to them. The conclusion? We had played in the dirt a little too much in Utah. The radiator was completely clogged with dirt/mud. Oops! They stripped it down and cleaned it out, and had it back to us by Saturday evening.
Since it was already late and had snowed, we slept in the dealership parking lot one more night, and hit the road on Sunday morning. We decided we were just going to drive until we were out of Colorado. Everything seemed to be running great, and we were all optimistic! The truck was maintaining a reasonable temperature even up big climbs. In fact, it was running better than it ever had….
We made it to Pueblo. Well, we made it about 30 minutes south of Pueblo and the truck decided it didn’t want to switch gears. That’s a problem. We pulled off on a side ramp out of the way of traffic and called the insurance company…again. They were going to arrange for a tow. In about 30 minutes, they called us back and informed us that due to it being a Sunday, they were not having any luck finding a tow truck for us to tow both the truck and 5th wheel. Oh joy!
Next thing we know, a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputy was pulling up behind us. He was truly an angel in disguise and helped us off and on for the next several hours. He even went out on another call and came back to check on us. He was a ROCKSTAR! We were able to get the truck running for a brief time and he followed us on the interstate as we crawled along attempting to get to the nearest RV Park he had recommended. Then, when it gave out again, he gave us the name of someone who could tow us. It took a while, but we were able to arrange for our insurance company to approve the towing company. We called the KOA, which he had recommended, and they were super accommodating. We had a taxi come pick the kids, the dog, and myself up and take us to the campground while Paul waited with the Sheriff for the tow truck.
The tow truck towed our entire rig into the KOA. That was a sight! They got us into a pull through site and he did a fantastic job getting us into it. We detached and he towed our truck back into Pueblo to a diesel mechanic whom the owner of the KOA had recommended to us. I can think of worse places to be “stranded”!
Long story short, it was a computer issue on the truck possibly damaged when the truck overheated. They replaced a box, and everything worked great. We ended up staying at the KOA until Thursday, when we finally got the truck back. It really is a nice place. Wish we had been there under different circumstances.
So, with our empty pockets, we were so ready to get out of there! LOL! We left on Thursday morning and arrived in Amarillo, TX that evening! We did our fair share in supporting the state of Colorado’s Small Businesses!
In reflection, I’ve said all of this to say that I remain thankful! I am thankful for each person that God placed in our path through those trying times. I’m thankful that He always kept us safe. I’m thankful for the beautiful scenery we saw along the way. I’m thankful for the park ranger that hung out with us and talked to us about our journeys while we waited on the Sheriff when we were broken into. I’m thankful for the kind man who repaired our window. I’m thankful for the tow truck driver who appeared at just the right time and waited patiently while we sorted out insurance stuff. I’m thankful that he came back and checked in on us when he saw we were still there a couple of days later. I’m thankful for the little repair shop that cleaned out the mess we made of the radiator. I’m thankful for being able to camp in the Chevy dealership parking lot while our truck was being fixed. I’m thankful for the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputy who hung out with us, cracked jokes, gave the kids Gatorade, and offered recommendations for towing and campgrounds. I’m thankful for the hospitality of the kind owner and staff of the Pueblo South / Colorado City KOA who checked on us regularly throughout our stay. He even took Paul into town to pick up the truck when it was ready. I’m thankful for the young couple I met on the playground as our sons played together. I’m thankful for the great conversation about our Savior and how he works in our lives, even through the difficult times. (If you are reading this, I am still praying for y’all!) I’m thankful that although Colorado was way more expensive of a stop than what we had planned, God provided. I’m thankful that we had trip interruption insurance which covered the cost of the RV park and our cancellation fees for reservations we couldn’t make due to being stranded.
As much of a pain as this last leg of our trip back to Texas was, we have so many things to be thankful for! God has been so good to us at every turn. He has provided exactly what we need, when we need it.
A couple of blogs ago, I talked about how sometimes God changes our trail. He does. Sometimes things don’t go as we plan. We know that is always a possibility, and I’m not just referring to our travels. We all have times in our lives when things just don’t work out the way we had hoped or planned.
The thing of it is, when you carry your home around behind you, it doesn’t matter if you are in a Chevy dealership parking lot, RV park, rest stop, or public land, we still sleep in our own beds and do our thing. Likewise, when you carry the Savior around with you, it doesn’t matter what life throws at you. You can still rest in His presence even through the darkest of times.
For us, this fulltime RVing lifestyle is all about going with the flow and learning to trust God for everything, and in every circumstance, while acknowledging that this world is not our home. We trust Him to place us where He wants us at any given time. It’s truly incredible to see His hand as we land in different places and meet different people along the way. Our faith isn’t something that we put on for church on Sunday mornings. We walk by faith every single day. We don’t have everything figured out. We aren’t extremely wealthy, but we work hard, and God supplies everything we need. There are difficult times in life, but through this incredible journey God has us on, He constantly shows us His unconditional love, grace, mercy, and provision. We know that everything isn’t always going to go perfectly, but there is always something to be thankful for! For that, I am thankful!
Be blessed, friends, and remember that no matter what path you are on (even if you feel stranded, frustrated, stressed, or lost) there are always things along the way to be thankful for!
Today, I’m thankful for propane and the awesome man at Grogan’s Farm and Ranch who got out in the freezing rain to refill my canisters because although it was over 90 degrees two days ago, today, it hasn’t pulled out of the 30s in San Angelo, TX! Brrrr!!! What are you thankful for today? 🙂