Every summer we try to take a trip to the mountains to get a break from the Texas heat. We typically rent a house for the week but this year we decided to enter the world of RVing! We bought our 2014 Seneca a couple months ago and we pulled my (slightly modified
) Wrangler along for the ride. Everything worked perfectly. I have to say that this was possibly the best vacation I can remember... certainly the most relaxing.
Based on some reviews received here we decided to stay in Junction Creek Campground (near Durango, CO), Redstone Campground, and then a quick stop by the Great Sand Dunes National Park also in Colorado on the way back to the broiler known as Texas.
The drive though Colorado was beautiful. Some of the roads were right on that fine line between breathtaking and 'holly crap I'm gonna die!'
. We relied heavily on the Mountain Directory and I highly recommend it!
Mountain Directory for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers
Our plan was to drive towards Durango until we got tired and then find a place to stay wherever we landed. We ended up ready to pull over for the night in Albuquerque, NM which was a good first days drive and got us situated for an easy half day drive to our first destination.
My wife looked through some campground reviews in the area and came across Balloon View RV Park. Sounded nice, had a few good reviews, and we were ready for a break. UH... NO
. Not in a hundred million years! I'd rather sleep in a tent (or even without a tent) in the median of an interstate... in bear country... with raw meat tied around my neck. This park was mostly (maybe 75%ish) permanent residences which were very poorly maintained. There were even shirtless guys working on their cars staring at us while we drove through. I was VERY ready to get out of there. If you live there and are reading this then I'm sorry if I'm being harsh- but that place was certainly not for us.
So... off to somewhere else. We switched over to the Allstays app for a little boon-docking action. We found the Sandia Casino right off the main highway and spent the night there. Easy in - Easy out. For a parking lot this was pretty hard to beat! The parking lot was HUGE and you could get very secluded way at the back. The views were great! You had the mountains starting about 1 mile to the east, a beautiful golf course right to the south, a great overlook of Albuquerque to the west and a nice looking casino to the north. The parking lot was constantly circled by security and they were very friendly. I made sure to get permission from them and the front desk before staying.
View From Casino Parking Lot
We made it to Junction Creek Campground near Durango for our first night at a real campsite. There is a fairly long slow drive up a gravel road to the campsite. Probably only 1 mile but is pretty rough and slow going. The hosts were very friendly and showed us to our site. We stayed in the 'E' loop with electricity (50A). The first night we stayed in E1 which was right by the bathrooms and the only water hydrant (the campsites in E do not have water- only power). The site was fairly secluded. We could see one other camper's door pretty close by (maybe 50 feet away) and the bathrooms which were not busy at all. It was a very quiet and beautiful place. We spent the day up at the ski resort. It is really beautiful up there and there are lots of fun things for the kids to do during the summer.
Durango Ski Resort
Site #1 was booked the next night so we moved to E4 for two more nights which was very nice. It was a private double pull through- for occasions where you wanted to bring along a friend with you I guess. It was only counted as one site so no one else would be parked with you but had 2 sets of electric hookups. #4 was much more my style. I could not see any other campers from the pick-nick table or from under my awning. Very quiet and very secluded. There was LOTS of forest to explore. The trees were very thick so there was no view of the mountains in either spot.
We made the move to Redstone Campground in Redstone, CO. We chose the electrical hookup loop which also had water hookups. The hosts were very friendly again and the view was spectacular. Not as many trees so you can rally see the mountains. You were basically nestled in a valley (maybe 1000' wide?) along a river between two very tall mountains. The river (about a 5 minute walk from our campsite had a neat little beach were you could wade out in the water which was extremely cold! There was a really neat hot spring running into the river a few miles up the road towards Carbondale. There were some little pools that someone had made out of rocks in the river where the water was very nice and warm. The kids really enjoyed going from the hot pools into the cold stream.
We visited Glenwood springs and found a really neat hot springs swimming pool. Kinda weird but worth checking out. We also spent a day at the Glenwood Springs Adventure park which was located on the top of a mountain. The views from there were amazing and there were lots of things for the kids to do.
On the way home we stopped by the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It was very strange to see sand dunes nestled in the mountains but it was a really neat place. The dunes are HUGE. The pictures do not do it justice. You can rent 'surf' boards at the Oasis gas station about a mile before the entrance to the park. Be prepared for some cardio! The walk just to get to the dunes is pretty taxing to the out-of-shape (me). Then the walk up and down the (smallest) dunes a few times will wear you flat out. We thought we were going to have to drag our kids back to the motorhome by their legs. They spent all of their energy sliding down the dunes and running back up. They were asleep within 30 minutes of leaving the park.
This was a vacation that we will all remember and was a great start to our RVing lifestyle.