Once I finished with the trailer updates, it made sense to take it on a trial run. So, our first camping trip of the season was a simple long weekend. But where to go ended up being an interesting question.
Colorado is well known for beautiful scenery and outdoor activities like camping. Unfortunately, in recent years, Colorado is also known for having an exploding population. When I went camping as a kid, one would load up the trailer and head for a campground or area of choice and setup camp. These days, if you want a camp site, you apparently have to reserve them months in advance via Recreation.gov or a private campgrounds website. If you want to camp in other than developed campgrounds (what they call "boondocking" in the camping world), you take a big risk of not being able to find a spot.
|Image from CPR article on Denver traffic|
We actually went on a couple of scouting day trips prior weekends to see what it was like trying to find boondocking sites that would work for the trailer. Anything we found within a few hours of home was always occupied. Even worse, many of the ones closer to metro areas seemed to be occupied by people that appear to have been in those spots for well over the 14 day maximum stay. I guess the homeless problem in the Denver area has spread into the nearby mountains. So much for getting away.
We decided the best bet was to head up to Wyoming in hopes that there would be fewer people there. We found a couple options and in June gave it a try. Our first choice of a camp site was one a little off the beaten path in the Snowy Range area of the Medicine Bow National Forest. Unfortunately it had been rather rainy in the area and it didn't take long on the forest service road to determine it would be impossible to tow the trailer to the camp site without ending up stuck in the mud.
|The Snowy Range in Southern Wyoming|
So we turned around and backtracked to the Vedauwoo campground. This area was lower altitude, drier, and paved so the muddy roads would not be a problem. Not the ideal place, but suitable for a weekend test run of the new camper systems and...well...it was at least out of the house. By the time we got back to Vedauwoo, there were only a couple spots left, fortunately we did fit in one of them. So this is where we parked the trailer for the weekend.
|Our camp site (and our dog Tucker |
waiting to get in the camper)
For a designated campground just off of I-80 in an area that upon first blush isn't what one would call scenic, it is surprisingly nice. The camp sites aren't as dispersed as one would hope, but the area has some nice rock formations and more woods than one would expect when looking at the area from the interstate. There are a number of hiking trails to keep one entertained as well.
|A nearby tent camp site.|
|A hiking trail just behind the|
above camp site.
Testing the upgraded electrical system went well. The inverter worked as expected. The solar panels, setup facing south at a low angle, kept the batteries topped up the entire trip, and when not using power hungry things like the tank heater, we never went below 80% capacity based on the new battery monitor.
I feel a bit sorry for Wyoming...as we were far from the only people from Colorado that were trying to escape there for the weekend. Just as we were trying to get away from the hordes of people flooding into Colorado, I'm sure those native to Wyoming would probably like it if they weren't pouring into their state every weekend.
Other than the mass return to the Denver area on Sunday, the trip was a nice escape for us and we are happy with how the camper performed for our needs.