I’m not a good passenger

When we finally got out of Kansas, (after getting our tires filled with air at a truck stop) we still had to get through the flats of eastern Colorado.

But this time, I got to drive. It was then I realized that part of my problem with RV life is being a passenger. I’m not a great passenger in a car, let alone a 14k pound rectangle on wheels.

Driving Dolly, even on the flats of Kansas and Colorado, was 10 times more enjoyable than ridding shotgun. That is, until we got into downtown Denver.

Now, why we thought it was a good idea to drive the RV into the city is a separate matter. Eric had an event he was supposed to attend in the city. He had made us reservations at a hotel attached to the convention center.

But, after maneuvering Dolly through the city streets we discovered that the hotel had nowhere to park a big RV. We sat in a public lot near the hotel, watching homeless people tweak out on who knows what… so I made the executive decision to hightail it out of Denver and head straight to Boulder. I booked us a hotel room online and got the hell out of Dodge (with the lesson that RVs don’t ever need to be driven downtown).

The Karma Curtain

As we drove north out of Denver, we finally got a glimpse of the mountains that had been shrouded by Denver smog and wild fire smoke.

Someone just told me that when you travel into Boulder, driving north from Denver, you go through a “karma curtain.” I’m not sure if that curtain washes away bad karma or delivers on the karma you’ve built up, but Boulder was exactly the refresh we needed.

Dropping into Boulder reminded me why I used to love to travel (I say used to because the beginning of this trip had me wondering if maybe I just didn’t enjoy traveling anymore). I love traveling. I don’t enjoy the middle of the country and I’m more of a van girl (nimble and inconspicuous) than an RV lady (weighty and full of shit we don’t really need).

But once I got into Boulder—out of the RV and into a nice hotel room with a margarita in my hand—I remembered my wanderlust roots (acknowledging here that the luxury hotel with free coffee stations in the lobby didn’t hurt matters at all and that this van girl might really just be a resort girl in training.)

We spent Saturday evening, Sunday and Monday in Boulder, exploring old haunts from Eric’s youth, eating Mexican food, staring at the flat iron mountains, and swimming in the hotel pool. We left Tuesday morning and headed south for Monte Vista, Co.

The hemp trail over the mountains

In Monte Vista, we got to meet the fine folks at Formation Ag, who are on the frontlines of hemp innovation. They build machines that process hemp into fiber and even into fine particles for plastics—a bunch of engineers and visionaries in the middle of nowhere doing good work. After that we got to drive over Wolf Creek Pass—which was scary (because we're in a huge RV) and beautiful—on our way to Mesa Verde KOA.

Today we woke in the KOA and, after a morning of meetings, we got on the road to check out Mesa Verde National Park. The drive through the park was an unreal series of switchbacks taking us up 9 thousand feet. I annoyed Eric with how often I said “please slow down.”

We checked out the cliff dwellings and read about the Pueblo people. Hazel said that when she she gets older she wants to travel back in time and live in a cliff dwelling for a little while.

I told her if she gets to do that in the future, then right now it means she has already lived there—that she’s one of the people they’re writing about in the pamphlet. She’s been thinking about that for a while.