Two-lanes and far horizons and small towns
I’ll admit I had some reservations about the Raton KOA campground when I arrived in town yesterday(Saturday the 26th) around 5:30 p.m. While I did check reviews and look at satellite and street view locations of all three KOA sites I’ve visited on this trip, you still really never know what to make of a place until you’re there, you know? So I knew coming in that this one was a little different in that it’s in Raton itself, tucked into a pocket of the town close to hotels and stores and restaurants and parks and neighborhoods. Maybe it’s because there were people in town for the two-day rodeo which ended last night, but there’s definitely more of an air of the “on-the-road-stopover” to this campground as opposed to a “we’re going camping” feel.
Still, they did have an ice cream social – which, sadly, I missed – and I did get to finish the day with this sunset:
It was still warm when I fell asleep on top of my sleeping bag around 10 p.m., but I woke up about 45 minutes later to some gusty weather shaking the tent. It kept me up for a little while, but it also cooled things down nicely so I was able to comfortably settle into my sleeping bag, and I woke up this morning just before six feeling really refreshed.
I also want to note that I’ve been very pleased with the choice to bring my brothers’ old sleeping mat from their Boy Scout days: It’s only about a half-inch thick, but it’s a nice, dense foam and has provided a surprisingly nice cushion for its weight and flexibility.
After an all-you-can-eat-pancakes-for-three-bucks breakfast, I headed north on I-25 around 9 a.m. It didn’t take long to climb into the neighboring hills, and even less time to realize that I’d soon be putting the hills of the West behind me. I stopped in Trinidad, Colorado for this shot –
– and then started a few hours of mostly two-lane driving through southeastern Colorado on Route 350.
I was unprepared for the beauty and emptiness of the region. I passed even fewer cars here than I had in the Arizona deserts, and several times, I stopped to take pictures without even worrying about traffic, because mine was the only car on the road for miles. Consider this cow I encountered in the Comanche Grasslands:
Yes, you’re seeing correctly: The adult is on the OUTSIDE of the fence.
I passed through several towns which, though marked with signs, were little more than remnants, and hints of long-gone farms.
It really is beautiful country, though.
A railroad runs alongside Colorado 350 for a ways, with a variety of small trestles and culverts and concrete pipes running beneath it. At one point, one of these was a small but fairly elaborate yellow brick construct, with a neatly-mortared archway, and I wish I’d stopped to take a picture because it stood out from the rest.
I spent the afternoon and evening in western Kansas in the company of awesomely creative GeekDad writer, gamer and Etch-A-Sketch artist extraordinaire Jonathan Liu and his family, wrapping up the night with Carcassonne and The Isle of Dr. Necreaux.
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