Friday (9/29) brought another travel day so after an abbreviated morning routine we lifted our jacks and rolled away from Oakley Kansas.
For today’s travel we decided to take some backroads so we took HWY40 west out of Oakley to HWY 287 that we took south a few miles before jumping on HWY 96 west. We drove 96 to Ordway where we took HWY 71 south until we reached HWY 10 and drove it until we reached Walsenburg Colorado and wiggled our way through to HWY 160 that we drove about 15 miles to HWY 12 that finally dropped us into La Veta Colorado and the Circle the Wagons RV Park after a 284 travel day.
The entire days was spent on very lonely 2 lane backroads, some sort of narrow, some very nice and some ended up very wet as we popped in and out of rain showers. But one thing is for certain like we said, they were lonely, baron and very non scenic roads. But I would take them over overcrowded and congested with scenery I can’t look at anyway because I’m so busy watching for other crazies on the road LOL!!
Once all checked in and set up in our site we had lunch and chilled a bit before heading out for a driving tour.
La Veta is a very small town with a population of just over 800 people and sits at an elevation of 7037 feet. The community was named for a mineral deposit near the original town site, La Veta meaning “mineral vein” in Spanish.
We did a quick driving tour and then a short walk about downtown before heading out into the country side to take in some views.
Before long the wind picked up and the rain came so we made our way home for the rest of the evening.
Sunday we decided to drive the 82 miles loop on the Scenic Highway of the Legends that provided some pretty nice views of the Spanish Peaks which are two peaks that rise high over plains. The West Peak is 13,626 feet tall and the East Peak is 12,683 feet. They were called Huajatolla (Wa-ha-toy-a), meaning breasts of the world.
It also took us through the small former coal mining town of Cokedale. The mine shut down in 1947 and from the looks of things nothing has happened since then.
Cokedale was established as a company town in 1906 by the American Smelting and Refining Company and by 1909, Cokedale had a population of 1,500. Each day it’s #1 mine produced 1,500 tons of coal a day and its 350 coke ovens produced 800 tons of coke. Mining operations at Cokedale continued for 40 years and produced over a million tons of coal but things are sure different now.
The most interesting thing left in Cokedale for us was the remains of the Coking Ovens and Ebony Hills “slag piles”.
Another point of interest was the Devils Stair steps.
I think our favorite’s along the route was Monument Lake and North Lake. Monument Lake is located in the Monument Lake Resort that also has lodge with rooms to rent as well as small cabins. The lake is 100 acre’s and is stocked with browns, cutthroats, rainbows, kokanee salmon, and splake.
Everything was all closed up except the lake while we were there but that’s all we were interested in anyway. We drove around the lake 2 separate times during our visit and saw people reeling in fish each time but we didn’t see anything huge flopping around.
North Lake is a manmade lake constructed in 1907 to create a water supply for the City of Trinidad and is also stocked with the same fish as Monument Lake.
We spent time around North Lake on two separate days as well but didn’t see anyone catching any fish but in all fairness it was pretty windy each day and I think the people that were bold enough to deal with the elements were just fishing in spots that were out of the wind a little and not necessarily where the fish might be, and I can’t blame them.
We made a stop in a small little community called Cuchara on one of our drives but I guess we stopped in a little early because the streets were empty which were good for pictures but 2 other times we drove through the streets were completely packed with cars, enough so that we opted to not stop again.
From what we gathered there are a couple very popular restaurants in Cuchara that are a huge draw which was another part of our decision to not make a stop, we have eaten out sooooo much more this summer than we normally do that we have decided to cut that back a bit LOL!!
Here is a link to more info on the Highway of Legends in case you have an interest.
We enjoyed our short 3 day stay in the area but it would have been much nicer if the wind hadn’t blown so much. It blew so hard at times that it actually made it hard to stand upright to even take a picture. At one point it was even hard to push the truck door open against the wind to get out and then I found myself laughing as I bounced around trying to keep the camera stable. I felt like some of the newscasters you see on TV LOL!!
Monday (10/2) we decided would be another good travel day, the sun was supposed to shine and the wind was supposed to hold off until late afternoon so we took advantage of the window of opportunity, lifted our jacks and drove about 170 miles south to our new home in Angel Fire New Mexico at an elevation of 8400ft.
We decided because it’s still pretty warm farther south we would hang out in Angel Fire for 8 days before thinking about making another move. We have until November 1st to make it to our winter home so we have time to kill.
We also made sure we were all set up at our new home well before Monday Nights football game because Kansas City was playing, GO KC!!!!! What a nail biter, that game stressed me out.