After leaving Ami’s Acres we continued east on I-70, entering the extensive White River National Forest. This included a significant climb up trough the Vail Pass, 10,600 feet in elevation, which we took very slow with a couple of stops to verify coolant temp along the way. Big Kahuna managed it without a problem, giving us confidence in the even higher elevation we would experience a few days later crossing he Continental Divide.
Of the many campgrounds in White River, one of the more popular is Heaton Bay, nestled on a large aquafer only a few miles off the interstate. We had been unable to secure reservations, butfrom the online site we could see that a number of first come first serve spots should be available. The hook up loop was completely full, but we managed to snag one of the few available spots in the dry camping loops. This campground reminded us of how much we like the national recreation areas and forests for short stays: affordable, accessible yet remote enough to feel in nature, and generally beautiful.
Our site was quite large and reasonably level. The spots were spread out with plenty of green between them all. The camp host was very helpful, personally greeting each new arrival to get them set up and take payment on the spot rather than the national forest/recreation area process of filling out payment slips and dropping them off at a central location.
We remained at Heaton Bay for two days before continuing east towards the continental divide. Just as we had with the Vail Pass, we took it slow, often down at 14 mph, but cleared the clearing the 11,158′ elevation without incident, and entered the Eisenhower tunnel and the downhill run into east Colorado.
On the outskirts of Denver We turned north on I-25 towards Boulder in order to visit Rosemarie’s cousin, Daniella. It was surprisingly hard to find a campground near Boulder, with only a few private parks and a handful of state options, and every one of them was full. Talking to some of the RV park managers, they had no idea why but this season has been unusually full in Boulder. Our last option was the county fairgrounds, and we were fortunate enough to grab one of only a couple of spots available due to no shows.
Daniella picked us up for a night in town with her and boyfriend Andrew. Boulder reminds me a bit of Portland OR or Asheville NC; lots of street activity and very music and arts oriented. We attended a small street festival with live music on Pearl Stree, had a nice meal at a local restaurant, and finished the evening at a great local pub.