I didn’t post over the weekend, so I have some catching up to do. Friday was our last full day in Greeley, Colorado. We decided to take our chances on getting caught out by an afternoon thundershower and rode the Spyder into town. Our first stop was the WeldWerks Brewery on the corner of 8th Avenue and 5th Street. It’s a very nice taproom and the beer is brewed on site.
I started with a West Coast-style IPA, then followed up with an IPA called Juicy Bits which is a little sweeter, almost fruity. Donna had an apricot gose, then had a five-ounce pour of a beer called Berlinerita. Berliner is a beer style, in this case lime was added thus the ‘rita name.
Donna’s little Berlinerita next to a full size glass
At WeldWerks they have something I haven’t seen before – they call it a crowler. If you’ve been to brew pubs, you’re probably familiar with growlers, which are usually 32- to 64-ounce refillable glass jugs. The crowler is a 32-ounce can of beer canned on site – it isn’t refillable though. This was a very popular take-out item!
After trying a couple of beers, we moved a few blocks away to Santeramo’s Italian Restaurant on the corner of 10th Avenue and 13th Street. This is a family-owned restaurant opened by second-generation immigrants, Lawrence and June Santeramo. Lawrence died in 1968 and June kept the restaurant going until she retired in 1987 and then the restaurant closed. A son and grandson bought the original building in the 2008 and reopened the place. It’s an old house on the corner. The ambiance was casual and very homey. The service was great and we enjoyed the food – Donna had lasagna with a big meatball and I had linguini with marinara and Italian sausage. The pasta was made in-house.
Donna enjoyed the lasagna
On Saturday morning, we made a quick run into town again for the Farmers’ Market next to the Chamber of Commerce on 7th Avenue. We bought some honey, elk sausages and Cajun andouille sausages. We also had Philly cheesesteak-style breakfast sandwiches made with thin sliced steak, cheese and eggs on a soft hoagie roll.
We came back to the RV park, I loaded the Spyder and dumped our tanks. I also filled the freshwater tank – that’s how we like to roll – fresh water full, holding tanks empty. We exited the park just after 11am.
Our first destination was the Blue Beacon Truck and RV Wash in Denver. There are only two Blue Beacons in Colorado. We were badly in need of a wash. The thundershowers while we were set up in a dirt/gravel site splashed dirt up the sides of the coach. Runoff from the roof also left streaks. I had a coupon from FMCA for a free Rain-X treatment at Blue Beacon, so we went there by driving down US85 to I-70. Getting in and out of the place was a little tricky. It’s in a lot behind a Pilot/Flying J Travel Center. You have to drive through the travel center and follow signs to find the entry to the wash bay. I figured it out without too much trouble. But when we left, I made two laps of the travel center lot trying to find the exit. The signage pointed me back to the Blue Beacon. Donna asked a trucker walking by and he explained we had to exit next to the Blue Beacon under the elevated freeway onto an access road. It looked like the entrance to a warehouse to me, but it worked.
Our next stop in Denver was an area called Englewood where Donna’s friend, Ann Koerner, lives with her husband Jim. We planned to park in front of her house for the night so Donna and Ann could spend some time catching up. The last time she saw Ann was in 2006 when we visited her in Santa Barbara while we were touring on our motorcycles.
Ann lives on a fairly wide street and there was plenty of room to park without blocking her or her neighbor’s driveway. Her neighbor is an RVer and didn’t have any problem with us spending the night there. Some people refer to street camping as stealth parking. But we aren’t exactly stealthy at 64 feet long. Getting us level wasn’t entirely possible with the slope and road crown, but I got it close enough. I waited until after dark to put out the passenger side bedroom slide. I left the other slides in – they would have extended into the road too much. The passenger side bedroom slide allows us enough room to walk around the foot of the bed, which is oriented east-west in the bedroom.
Traffic cones on sidewalk to prevent anyone from accidentally walking into the bedroom slide
Ann made a delicious grilled lemon-chicken dinner for us with a fresh salad from her garden, corn on the cob, quinoa salad, roasted broccolini and brownies. Thanks, Ann!
On Sunday morning, Ann and Donna loaded their bicycles in Ann’s SUV and went to the South Platte River Trail for a bike ride. Meanwhile I watched the Formula One race from Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. There was a horrific high-speed crash at the Eau Rouge corner that Kevin Magnussen thankfully walked away from. Later I caught the first half of the Chargers – Vikings game before it was time for us to move on.
We headed south on I-25. The portion of I-25 from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Puebla, Colorado runs just east of the Rocky Mountain Front Range. As we drove along heading south, towering mountains were on our right side and endless plains to the horizon on our left. We had a few slow-downs where I-25 squeezes down from four lanes to three, then to two. The high point between Denver and Colorado Springs is Monument Summit – also called Black Forest Divide Pass at more than 7,300 feet above sea level.
We arrived at the Elks Lodge in Colorado Springs a little after 3pm. This Elks Lodge has RV sites with hook-ups for Elks members and also allows dry camping. I checked in at the lodge and found all of the first-come first-served RV sites were occupied. We joined a few other rigs in the back of the parking lot and we are dry-camped with them. To the west of we see fresh snow on Pikes Peak.
A thundershower arrived in the evening and grew to a large storm after dark. The street behind us flowed like a river and the parking lot had a couple of inches of standing water as it came down faster than it could drain. Our smartphones had severe weather alerts beeping. Lucky for us, it didn’t get very windy and there wasn’t any hail involved. Late afternoon passing thundershowers are common in this area at this time of year. We’ll have to do our sightseeing and shopping earlier in the day to avoid them.
Today we have partly cloudy skies and expect a high temperature in the mid-70s. Although we’re at an elevation of over 6,100 feet above sea level, the overnight low will be in the mid-50s. Perfect for us.