The Final Stretch

Wrapping up summer . . .

After a two-year hiatus I returned to Beaver Creek, my stomping grounds of several of the past nine summers. Met up with Shelley & Brett and just lazed around for a few days. We also met with our friend Dennis (from Puerto Rico days) and his bride in Breckenridge on Saturday. Sunday brought sailing on Lake Dillion. Or not.

We had a 18 footer rented for two hours at the Frisco Dillon Marina but by the time we crawled through ridiculous holiday weekend traffic at the marina and I dropped S&B off to check out the boat while I parked, we were 40 minutes into the rental period before I found a parking spot 3/4 mile away. I opted to just hang in Frisco and prep for the evening’s fantasy football draft. Didn’t make sense to delay them getting out on the water. I was fine with it.

Monday was recharge & refuel day. Synko was parked in the Elk lot at Beaver Creek Resort. Very cool benefit—free, pretty secure parking, albeit without power. I hung out in Synko for an hour or so to let the generator bring my house batteries up to 12.5 volts. The solar panel just wasn’t keeping up and I’m still not sure why. Anyway, that earned me a trip to Eagle to fuel up at Costco, saving 39 cents a gallon on diesel. Savings which I used at one of my favorite breweries: Bonfire. Great place, great always-changing brews, great people.

The final stretch—perhaps “slog” is a better term—back to north Texas took me first 20 miles outta the way to Gypsum, CO for wheel bearing repacks and suspension lubing on Synko. She already has more than 10,000 miles on her and I’m pretty diligent about trailer wheels & tires. Bearings, suspension and brakes were all in good shape; the wheel bearing grease was more than ready to be changed but I caught it in time. After the upcoming trip to Orlando later this month I’ll likely replace her tires, too.

The relatively short & easy drive Thursday to Leadville landed me at the RV park/parking lot in town. I really just wanted a place to watch the NFL kickoff game! So I pulled into the weary & weathered parking-lot-called-rv-park—but within walking distance to Periodic Brewing and with clear skies to the Dish satellites. Turned out to be a poorly played game.

Since it was only a couple hours out of the way home I visited Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. Cool place. I like how the two creeks that run down each side of the dunes carry sand to the lower valley where predominant winds carry the sand grains back to the dunes. Interesting cycle of generating and regenerating the massive dunes.

A few hours later I arrived in Raton, New Mexico and debated just continuing toward home but decided to hang in the utility KOA for the night and set up a 500 mile drive to Brushy Creek Vineyards in Alvord, a Harvest Hosts location. Brushy Creek is a cool little Texas winery with, perhaps, the best Texas wines I’ve had. Turned out to be a great stopover with the Texas/LSU game playing on the outside TV.

And with that, my summer 2019 trip came to an end with an hour-long drive in the morning to arrive at 121 Community Church, just in time for the 9:15 service. Trip summary:

  • Racked up a total of 9897miles
  • Synko hung with me for 7864 miles (79%); lots of non-towing driving in Yellowstone, Ouray, British Columbia)
  • Drove a total of 286 hours
  • Traveled through 9 states and 2 Canadian provinces
  • Crossed the Continental Divide countless times
  • Visited 6 National Parks, 6 National Monuments and 5 Canadian National Parks
  • Lost track of which time zone I was in three times
  • Saw innumerable bison; lots of elk; a couple moose; several bighorn sheep, mountain  goats, pronghorns, eagles; and an otter. And wolves across the Lamar Valley, which were there but couldn’t be seen with the naked eye.
  • Stayed in 45 different campsites, one motel and one condo  over 97 days
  • Averaged 11.6 MPG in fuel consumption (I was averaging 11.8 until the last day of the trip when I had persistent cross winds from Raton, NM to Alvord, TX). Overall, happy with the fuel economy given all the mountain driving.
  • Got oil service and new tires for truck; repacked Synko’s wheel bearings.
  • Used about 50 pounds of propane for cooking & cooling.

I’m now back at the Vineyards in Grapevine, adjusting to the slow-to-end Texas summer. Turned on the air conditioners for the first time this summer!…

Thanks again for your prayers for safe travels and to the Good Lord for looking out for me and blessing me with incredible weather, sights and an always-renewed appreciation for His beautiful creation. I’m ridiculously blessed.

Early Summer Route
Late Summer Route
Initially Intended Route

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