June 10-15, 2015: The mountains on the way always make me smile, but once I got to Denver, smiling was not as easy.
I planned a week in Denver for this part of the trip to Yellowstone, mainly because I had repairs to get made to Kismet (my motorhome). That included a stop at Competition Recreational, listed with Splendide as an authorized service center for my washing machine. Thankfully, that part turned out great for me, because after getting the diagnosis and determining the parts and labor would be about the same as replacing the machine, my extended warranty company, XtraRide, authorized a new machine for me. I had wondered if buying that when I bought the motorhome was a good deal, but I’ve heard from two service techs now that they are the Cadillac of the extended warranty companies and so for sure now I’m glad I have that coverage. I also highly recommend Competition Recreational, not only for the great job they did, but I really appreciated Diane (office manager) and Jolynn (the owner) and how they fit me in and took care of all the details with the extended warranty company.
After that bright spot, though, all in all, my stay in Denver was very stressful with me having to stay at horrible RV parks because none of the good parks had availability for the week I was there.
At first, I ended up at South Park Mobile Home Community and RV Park in Englewood and that was just the first of a series of disappointments in Denver. At about $39/night, I thought they were grossly overpriced for the tight spots, torn up concrete pads and horrible road conditions, both within the park (huge speed bumps and drainage ditches that no matter how slow you go over them, it bounces everything in the RV and even knocked some things off my wall) and the Denver highways getting there – I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much road construction in such a wide area as I have here.
I ended up needing a new tire, so after the first visit for the washer diagnosis, and getting the authorization from XtraRide to replace it, that resulted in me driving the motorhome in Denver rush hour traffic on two highways in the rain. But, trying to grab on to the positive, I have a new tire now and found another service in Denver I was impressed with enough to recommend to my friends: A&E Tire. Ed Mahler was more patient than I was trying to get through to the tire coverage section of XtraRide for authorization – that was a long process that I was not impressed with and it turned out I had to pay A&E directly and wait for reimbursement from them. But I truly appreciated how Ed helped me out from start to finish because I was pretty frazzled by this time.
After the washer was replaced on Friday, I went to meet Edna with Innomax, the company who made my Ideal Rest bed. So far, I hadn’t liked this brand as much as the Sleep Number I had before, but good customer service and being willing to try to fix problems goes a long way in keeping me a happy customer. My problem was weird and when I first spoke to Edna about the “dip” in the right side of the mattress that made me feel like I was sleeping in a pit, she had never heard of such a thing happening and neither had the engineers when I sent in this picture (and it was much more uncomfortable than it appears here when I was laying on it). After taking everything off and verifying it was not a leak in the air chamber, the only conclusion we came to was that the mattress topper had broken down somehow (either the gel or the other filling) and they were willing to replace it even though no longer under warranty. And since it turned out I was coming through Denver right by their facility, they delivered the new topper there and installed it when I arrived. Now I’m much more comfy and I really appreciate the attitude and willingness to go the extra mile for their customers that Edna exhibited!
After I was through there, I moved on to Jefferson County Fairgrounds just to rest for a couple of days from all the stress before heading out toward Yellowstone. I thought surely their sites couldn’t be worse than South Park, but boy was I wrong:
The sites were tighter than I’d ever been in before and basically these 50 amp sites were just parking spots on the side of the road. For $40/night for electric & water, I have to say this is the worst deal I’ve ever encountered in a “campground.”
I was totally ready to say goodbye to Colorado, but I did get a kick out of this rest stop I made in Virginia Dale:
This was not an official rest stop, but I hadn’t come across one since I left Golden, so when I saw this large parking lot where the abandoned Virginia Dale Post Office once lived, I pulled in here despite the sign that said “Emergency Parking Only.” I figured a full bladder was emergency enough, but I didn’t take advantage of the easy chair left here. And of course, as soon as I was on the road, there was a real rest stop within a mile.
My next destination 230 miles down the road was in Rawlins, WY and this is about where the wows on the road escalated. I don’t know what there is about snow capped mountains, but they just seem to be crowned with an extra special beauty:
I was ready to stop once I reached RV World Campground, and this campground impressed me more than these quick overnight stops usually do.
I wish more campgrounds understood the importance of a sincere, friendly greeting upon arrival and a quick check-in. I had called about 100 miles out to make sure they had a pull-through site and I ended up reserving the last one. They had all paperwork ready for my signature and it was a totally smooth process to check in. I appreciated being led to the site by owner Dave, and as I pulled in, he asked if I wanted to teach a class since he said I looked like a real pro making those turns. I laughed and said after 14 years, I better know what I’m doing! He even gave me a couple of Andes Mints to put on my pillow – way cool! What a great idea that they even will lend you an SUV to go to town if you don’t want to unhook. This is a family owned operation who lives onsite and are totally focused on customer service. We RVers really appreciate that!
I planned my next stop for only 125 miles because I wanted to time my arrival the following day at Grand Teton National Park early in the day to be sure to get a site.
I had heard about Wind River Casino, and when I called they said they welcomed RVs, had plenty of parking in the lot, and even had electrical hookups on some of the poles toward the back away from the hotel.
Since it was only an 110 volt box and I would have had to unhook my car to get to the few poles with connections remaining, and my inverter was good enough for any 110 volt needs I had, I decided to just pull into one of the large RV/truck spots toward the front.
I also figured it was time to start exercising my generator more in preparation for the boondocking I will be doing at the campgrounds in Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Park.
Next stop tomorrow (June 16), Grand Teton National Park!