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Salida, CO

We're moving again, and as always it's an interesting challenge. Our drive from Colorado Springs southwest to Canon City was sunny and uneventful. We took a four-mile detour off US-50 to go see the Royal Gorge Bridge, but I was disappointed to find that you can't even walk on the bridge without buying an expensive admission ticket to the "Park" that goes with it.

We were only there for a quick look, so instead of going in, we parked up in Lot B (overflow area) with a few other RV'ers and had lunch with a gorgeous 360-degree view of the mountains. From our lofty spot I was able to receive Sprint and get online to do a few last-minutes pieces of business during lunch, which was a bonus.

If you go to the Royal Gorge Bridge area, you will find no end of places to spend money. There's a Royal Gorge Route train that goes through the canyon below the bridge ($39 adults, more for 1st Class or meal service), a narrow-gauge railway that goes near the bridget ($9), a bunch of "western" towns with shoot-em-up shows, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park itself, gift shops galore, and numerous other attractions. One could be forgiven for thinking that the bulk of Canon City's economy is based on the bridge.

Canon City shootings.jpg
Another place that did not get our tourist dollars today

Our plan today was to drive up to Salida to meet with Roger and Brenda Roelfson. We met them last October in Denver and I interviewed them for the magazine. They used to live in Mississippi. You can read their story of fleeing Hurricane Katrina in the Spring 2006 issue of Airstream Life magazine (look for the article "Silver Survival Pod").

About nine miles east of Salida we found the last public-lands campground before town, along US 50 bordering the Arkansas River. Rincon Campground is in the Arkansas Headwater Recreation Area, which intermittently follows the road. It's a pleasant enough spot and a great starting point for fishing or rafting, but close to the highway.

We called Roger from Rincon, thinking we'd spend the night, but it turned out that the house is next to a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Salida. Hmmmm.... pay $14 for a campsite by the highway with no services and have to drive 9 miles back and forth to the Roelfson's house, or pay $0 at Wal-Mart for a parking space by the highway with no services and walk next door to dinner?

So we drove into Salida and here we are parked only a hundred feet from our hosts, on asphalt provided by Wal-Mart. Eleanor went into the store and stocked up on groceries for the next two weeks, thus assuring that Wal-Mart is happy with our presence. And I am communicating with you courtesy of Roger's wi-fi, which I can receive in the trailer using my little Linksys repeater. Not bad.

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