After our month long stay in Grand Junction, hubby and I were ready to escape the heat and head to higher elevation and hopefully cooler temperatures. When our long time friends from Pueblo West suggested we meet up near Gunnison, Colorado, Al and I jumped at the invitation.
With all the RV projects behind us (at least for now), we hook up the shiny, clean rig to the shiny, clean, blue truck and hit the road. It wasn’t but a mere ten minutes into the drive, when Al and I caught ourselves smiling. It felt good to be rolling down the road again to a new destination and new home even though this wasn’t uncharted territory for us.
Years ago our friends bought into one of those campground membership organizations. They made arrangements for us to be their guests at the Blue Mesa Ranch RV Park. We arrived shortly before our friends and were quickly set up in a nice site. Not long after, our friends arrived and set up in the site next to ours. It was a great four days filled with explorations, dining, fun, and general catching up.
The Blue Mesa Ranch RV Park sits across the road from Colorado’s largest body of water. At an altitude of 7519, the Blue Mesa Reservoir is 20 miles long (32 km) and offers 96 miles of shoreline (154 km). It was created in 1965 when the Blue Mesa Dam was built along the Gunnison River.
Blue Mesa Reservoir is part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area and is managed by the National Park Service. There are several park campgrounds, picnic areas, and boat ramps. Although hubby and I have visited this part of Colorado before, we never had the opportunity to survey the various camping options. Our friends wanted to run into Gunnison so that gave us the perfect opportunity to do a little exploring on our own.
We checked out quite a few of the campgrounds and found the Elk Creek Campground the only one assessable for larger RV’s and offering electric hook-ups. The cost is $18 per night, but since this is a federally run park, it’s only $9 for those in possession of the “Senior Pass” otherwise known as “the old geezer’s pass” or “old fart’s card”.
For those of you unfamiliar with this pass and not yet 62 years of age (moi included), for a one time $10 fee one can purchase this lifetime “pass”. It allows FREE access to all National Parks and ½ off camping fees within federally run campgrounds. Hum….I guess there are benefits to marrying an older man…. 😆
We did discover a great spot for a night or two at the Lake Fork Visitor Center located near the Blue Mesa Dam. This paved parking lot is set up for camping complete with picnic tables. No hook-ups so you’ll be dry camping, but there’s plenty of room for any size rig including those pulling a car or boat. The cost is $12 a night or $6 for those of you who qualify. The views are also pretty nice and the location is convenient, just off highway 50.
Our favorite little discovery was when we took Soap Creek Road at the far west end of Blue Mesa Reservoir. This well maintained gravel road is located along the reservoir and weaves in and out of private and federal land.
We stumbled across the Ponderosa Campground and quickly checked it out. Al and I like to explore out of the way campsites without the rig in tow and make notes of places we really like. We thought with a little strategic maneuvering, it’s possible to get our 31′ fifth wheel parked in a site or two at the Ponderosa campground, but probably not a good option for us.
Moving on down the road…..the two lane gravel road becomes more like a one or one and a half lane the closer we got to the Soap Creek Campground. And then there’s the pine trees that could easily leave some damage on an unsuspecting oversized rig. We pulled into the Soap Creek Campground (end of the road) and “oh, man”……the views and setting are beautiful. This was one of those times, Al and I had wished our RV was much smaller. I guess it’s true, “size does matter”. For anyone looking for solitude surrounded by scenery, this is it.
The Curecanti National Rec Area is the perfect Colorado location for camping, boating, and fishing, but if you need to be connected, this is not the place for you. We had no internet service our entire stay with the exception of the rec center at the RV Park using the park’s Wi-Fi. Cell service was spotty at best with one or two bars. The RV Park had a gazebo that was titled “the cell phone gazebo”, as that was the one location within the RV Park with workable cell reception.
With plenty of notes for a future visit (yes, we would definitely come back), we return to the RV and have dinner with our friends. What shall we do next?