Canada 5, 19th June 2006

I called in at the Ghost ranch in the morning, they have 2 nice small museums, on early cultures and fossils.

In Chama, New Mexico, I picked up information from the friendly tourist office, then spotted some lovely old cars. Here's 3 of them.

The scenery has improved so I dawdled up to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. I hit lucky with the visitor information centre, last time I passed here it was closed. The museum was closed last time and it was closed this time. I found another spot in the National Forest for the night, and froze. I've been used to searing hot nights so I started out with minimal covers but had to add more during the night, also adding tee shirt and socks even my bath towel! Of course it's much higher here, and it didn't help that I'd been feeling a little under the weather, minor dose of a fever or something. I couldn't get the heater to work either.

I wasn't a lot better next day, after the broken night, but I took a short walk to the Treasure falls. Last time I was here I remarked you could get more water out of a bathroom tap. As they are running today, they would fill your bath rather faster than you would wish.

This next photo is looking back towards the falls, close to the summit of Wolf Creek Pass, 10,850 ft, and the Continental Divide. (East of this line, all rivers run to the Atlantic, West they run to the Pacific)

Last time I was here I took a drive to a viewpoint 11,656 ft, sadly the road was closed today.

After yet another visitor centre I headed north on the 149, called the Silver Thread, following the upper reaches of the Rio Grande.

I visited a mining museum in Creede, took a photo of the main street, then thought I deserved a happy hour priced pint in a very pleasant bar. If I lived here I'd probably be a regular.

There had been a rodeo of sorts during the day but by the time I got there any action that there had been had finished. I drove way up the side of the valley to a trail head to park. Although very pretty it was cold again - I was probably over 10,000 ft - and part way during the night decided it was time to get out my sleeping bag. It would have been nice if I could have got the heater to work as well, but instead I piled my sheets and blanket on top of the sleeping bag, and dug out my tee shirt and socks again.

In the morning I switched the heater on, and left it. After a minute or two it started. Oh joy! It used to have a 15 second delay on starting, seems the start delay is now much longer but I can live with that.

I chatted to a friendly couple in a campground, on the way to visit a waterfall. I gave their young daughter some Mardi Gras beads I still had around, when I returned from the falls I discovered they had left me some home made brownies in exchange for the beads......

So, Twin Falls they are called. Here they are.

The road climbed some more

and continued to North Clear Creek Falls.

Over two passes, the first 10,901 ft and another continental divide crossing, the second the strangely named Slumgullion was 11,361 ft high

Yep that's snow on them thar hills. And this is looking from the south side.

I visited the nice little museum in Lake City. Pity they haven't more room, they told me they had lots more stuff. Then to the mining museum. Sort of similar to the one yesterday except I had an excellent guided tour, for my party of one. Now that's personal service. Nice people too, they told me they live near Alpine Texas and ere helping out some friends. Of course I've been to Alpine, visited the museum, had a road test on the van, actually bought a tyre there. They suggested a spot to park for the night, just down the road, next to the river, with a super view.

I'm just cooking dinner. Are you interested? I started with mushrooms vinaigrette (raw sliced mushrooms with my own home made balsamic vinaigrette sauce) Followed by chicken drumsticks and hash browns. Then salad with the same vinaigrette, rounding off with sugared strawberries. All accompanied by an acceptable American burgundy that I buy in 5 litre bag in boxes. I use disposable plates but real knives and forks, and for wine I have a real glass with a stem. Other main courses might be steak - always good in the US - or hamburgers, the best ones are really good. Fresh corn on the cob, with lashings of butter makes an inexpensive starter as does asparagus.

I laugh about my shower system in the van but really I am not all that badly off. As well as my spasmodic central heating I have hot and cold running water, a refrigerator with freezer section, 2 ring gas hotplate, and microwave. that works when I am plugged into the mains. Since that is about never, the microwave comes in real handy for storing my disposable plates. I have an inverter, which gives me mains power, enough for my computer, my hair trimmer or my camera charger, but not enough for the microwave. With 2 new batteries, running the engine and the van entirely separately, I am never in danger of not being able to start in the mornings.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in the USA

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