Back in the cocoon

When we pulled out of Grand Junction, Colorado, it was another overcast day. I must say, the fickle, inclement weather was getting a little old. Let’s face it, excessive rain can easily put a cramp in any hiking and exploring plans. I am, however, grateful we were not caught in any floods or tornado’s and my heart goes out to those who haven’t been as lucky.

Basalt ColoradoSo looking on the bright side, we moved on to our next destination  making the most of whatever breaks we could get in this crazy weather.

Two hours east of Grand Junction was our first stop.  We stayed on private land about 15 miles south of the town of Glenwood Springs.  This was our third time staying here and it was the perfect venue to hide over the Memorial Day Weekend.  As much as I wanted to revisit the Maroon Bells, the weather had other plans.  Thus, Al and I stuck close to home with the occasional stroll up to the grocery store and back.  It was fun spending a few days living in a residential area.

dry camping

Not a bad view. Perfect place to spend the holiday weekend.

Once the holiday weekend was over, we hit the road for our next stop; Dillon, Colorado.  I’m never fond of driving Vail Pass and more times than not the weather is ugly.  This time was no different.  Around noon on May 26th we experienced a little rain, then a little sleet with a snow flake here and there for a touch of added drama.  Oh, and let’s not forget all the semi-truck traffic and occasional potholes as we summit at 10,662 feet in elevation (3,250m).  This stretch of Interstate 70 is a major east west route through the country and I’m always a bit of a white knuckle driver passenger along this stretch of interstate.Dillon Reservoir

With Vail Pass behind us, we safely navigated to our reserved campsite in the Heaton Bay Campground at the shores of Lake Dillon.  Talk about glorious views in all directions.  We spent some time here last year as well and love the area.camping near Breckenridge

One of the things I didn’t give much thought to when setting up our May schedule was  weather in the high country.  Last year we visited Dillon in June and it wasn’t quite as cold.  When we pulled out of Phoenix, Arizona, on May 7th our travels took us on a continuous slow uphill climb in elevation.  And that meant a temperature change….  a drastic temperature change.  Let’s see, where have we been during the month of May…..

  • Phoenix, Arizona              elevation 1,124 feet  (331m)   day temps 90+
  • Moab, Utah                      elevation 4,025 feet (1,227m)          60’s
  • Grand Junction, CO         elevation 4,593 feet (1,397m)          60’s
  • Glenwood Springs, CO    elevation 5,761 feet (1,756m)          60’s
  • Dillon/Breckenridge CO   elevation 9,115 plus feet (2,777m)   50’s

In early May, we were basking in temperatures in the 90’s (32c) with clear, blue sunny skies in Phoenix.  Even the night-time temps were in the upper 60’s.  I had the bed made with crisp cool cotton sheets topped with our medium to light weight comforter.  Every night we slept with the windows open….. aaahhhh!

And then we moved up to Moab where we were greeted with cool overcast skies and cold nights which required us to add our couch throw on top of the comforter for just a little extra added warmth for sleeping.

Onto Grand Junction where a steady stream of storms rolled through bringing with it rain and cold.  We occasionally woke up during the night due to the cold and would need to flip the furnace on.  Brrr….. and to think, we’d be venturing into even colder territory.  I know, what was I thinking?

Camping near Breckenridge Colorado

That’s us – middle right. Heaton Bay Campground on the Dillon Reservoir … only 20 minutes south of Breckenridge.

With the temperatures getting colder, it was time for me to bring back the “cocoon”.  By that I mean, I brought out the flannel sheets and the second comforter.  If you’ve never tried flannel sheets, I highly recommend giving them a try next winter.  The bed cocoon was ready for some great sleeping.  Keep in mind, when we’re dry camping we really don’t want the furnace running and zapping our batteries. Thus, we set the RV furnace down to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night.  We keep it on to assure our belly/pipes keep warm just in case temps unexpectedly drop below freezing.

Breckenridge camping

Frost on the picnic table.

Probably a good thing that we kept the furnace running as we did experience cold enough overnight temperatures that we woke up to a thick layer of frost covering the truck and picnic tables on more than one occasion.

camping near Breckenridge

Toward the end of May, water is let out of the reservoir to allow for snow melt. Each morning we were there, the lake was rapidly receding. All part of water management.

During our stay in Dillon (the last week in May), high’s were in the 55° to 62° range with night-time temps dropping into the thirties.  Even though it was rather cold getting out of bed in the morning, while in bed we were snug as a bug and comfy in our cotton flannel cocoon and slept great.

Lake Dillon

the hiking and biking opportunities around the towns of Dillon, Breckenridge, Keystone and Frisco are endless. Gorgeous country that we find ourselves returning to each year.

Did you know, the average snowfall for the month of May in Dillon is 7.3 inches? (18.5cm)  And to think, Phoenix gets on average 7 inches of rainfall a year.  As beautiful as it is around Dillon and Breckenridge, I’m ready for those crisp cool sheets again.   I think we’ll save future visits to Dillon, Colorado, for the months of July and August.  So lower elevation here we come.  I can’t wait to see all the signs of summer!bumble beeFor those of you interested in camping info…. There are four campgrounds situated around Lake Dillon aka Dillon Reservoir and they are all part of the White River National Forest. Lowry Campground and Loop C in the Heaton Bay Campground offer electric. The rest is dry hiking near Breckenridgecamping only. Prospectors and Lowry Campgrounds are located near Keystone, while Peak One and Heaton Bay are located in Frisco.

Also note, the campgrounds are run by an independent concessionaire and camping fees are actually $21 a night instead of the $19 listed on the Forest Service website – half off with the senior pass. $2 more a night for holiday weekends (info as of May 30, 2015).   I’ll hold my tongue about these private entities and their free rein.

We chose to forgo an electric site because Loop C is near a highway and the Interstate and therefore a fair amount of traffic noise is heard. It’s also the busiest, meaning without a reservation, it’s tough to score an open site in Loop C.  Lowry campground is located high above the lake and is not as picturesque as the other campgrounds and therefore folks find it the least desirable.

Larger RV’s might find it challenging navigating around here (at all four campgrounds), not to say there aren’t sites large enough, it just takes some looking around and a little creative maneuvering.  We barely had enough room to park our truck on site E78.  Our 5th wheel is 31 feet long.

Heaton Bay has paved campsites while the others are gravel.  There are vault toilets and the occasional water spigot scattered throughout the campgrounds.  No showers and no dump station but the scenery is spectacular.  Shopping is close by, location is great, and the outdoor activities are endless.

Heaton Bay Campground

Heaton Bay Campground – Site E78

Pinzon Lightweight Cotton Flannel Sheet Set – Queen, Floral Grey
Coleman Water Carrier (5-Gallon, Blue)


I’d love for you to visit my food blog over at   Dally in the Galley

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61 thoughts on “Back in the cocoon

  1. We had dreams of driving our coach up “there.” Bill knew he couldn’t drive our truck/5th wheel, though. Thanks for bringing us along since we now know our beast won’t work now!
    Again, incredible photos!!!

    • Thank you. Hmm, not sure what you mean….. Vail Pass or Dillon Res? In either case, there’s plenty of 40′ diesel pushers running around. I highly recommend a Colorado visit and can certainly offer suggestions. If you’re not comfortable with the National Forest there’s always the Tiger Run RV Resort (pricy though). Let me know if I can help 🙂

      • It’s the Rockies!!! We are headed to the Smokies, and hope to take the route of least resistance! We will see how we do on this trip, maybe we can reconsider the Rockies Wednesday. We spent time at Beavercreek and Glennwood Springs and just loved it. Not to forget we have family in Colorado Springs.

    • Thanks Anne. Fortunately the past few days have been lovely. Now if only I could shake this cold, I’d be one happy camper 🙂

  2. Ingrid!
    Lovely stuff… but thanks for reminding me about frost and snow and high elevations!
    And the bee photo… just terrific.
    Gtreat info. Nice nice photos… but frost on the table… yikes.
    Gene

    • Thanks Gene…. yep always important to keep those elevations in mind. FYI – your gravatar is still linked to your old blog. Thus, my readers can’t find your new site.

  3. If you love the flannel sheet sets you would LOVE the sweatshirt fabric ones they now have out. 🙂

  4. There is nothing like sleeping with the windows open on a chilly late spring might snuggled under blankets – I always awake completely tested and relaxed. Stay well and enjoy the season.

    • I totally agree. We’ve been enjoying some great open window sleeping weather here in Denver but I’ve left the flannel sheets on for now as those temps keep fluctuating 🙂

  5. Look at you with that cute squirrel! 😀 We do pretty much that same routine with the heat overnight when we camp in the winter months here. Sure don’t want the pipes to freeze up! We have some friends that hubby works with that bought a brand spankin’ new trailer last fall, and they store it where we store ours. Hubby tried and tried to get them to blow out their air lines before the first hard freeze, but they thought since their rig was newer, they wouldn’t need to do that. Well…. you can guess what happened. Bad, bad results! Felt sorry for them.

    • Yep, feel badly for your friends. One of the major lessons we’ve discovered in this RVing gig is to learn to take care of the equipment ourselves and not trust others. Not to say we don’t need a dealer/service center to work on things – we follow every step of the repair or service getting things in writing. We learn something new all the time. I guess it’s all part of the adventure 🙂

    • Since arriving in Denver, we’ve been met with much warmer temps, but you are so right….. those views are worth any mild discomfort and we will be returning 🙂

  6. Ice cold sheets…I dream for those! Ours is the called the “magic blanket” old as heck, but grandkids attest they each will inherit it :)!

    The cooler temps I bet causes for plenty of goodies from the oven! Loved the private parking…dreamy!

    • A couple more rainy days in our future and I’m sure the RV oven will be working overtime. This weather has been so unusual. Oh well, this too shall pass 🙂

  7. Lovely to see you looking so healthy and happy in these pics and the landscapes are gorgeous too. Obviously all this this travelling is good for the mind and body, even though the weather can be quite changeable. 🙂

    • Awe thank you. Switching over to a Paleo Diet has made a huge difference not to mention some of the challenging hikes we’ve tackled. Love Colorado 🙂

    • And I can tell you the exact location if you too would like to feed those cute little guys 😉 When the kids were younger, I loved taking their ‘Christmas photo’ at this location. By early November there was already plenty of snow and no signs of Chipmunks.

  8. All your photos are just incredible, but that 2nd one is quite a view! Am jealous! Also can’t believe you could hit all that weather in such quick succession going through that pass…..how strange!

    • I grew up in Illinois with the concept of driving north for cooler weather and driving south for warm weather. That’s not the case in the west. It’s all about altitude and north/south plays no part. Arizona is the same. You could be in Phoenix in 90 degree heat and just two hours away the temp will drop 20 degrees. I’m always checking elevation when making travel plans 🙂

  9. Hmmmm….we were going to comment on how much we love our flannel sheets, as we needed them a LOT last winter in Michigan…but Debbie has us thinking about fleece!

  10. As far as the cold temps go, we have a down comforter on our camper bed, as we do at home on all our beds..They are light weight (I have leg problems) and easy to throw off in warm weather, but amazingly warm in the cold. All we have on the bed is sheets and the comforter..We have a queen bed, but you need a King comforter for a good fit. As for the flannel sheets…not for me..I don’t have a thermostat anymore in my body, and I heat up like a firecracker!!

    • Haha…. luckily I don’t heat up like a ‘firecracker’. It’s nice to find a product and figure out what works because there’s nothing worse than freezing your mum off while trying to sleep and have a fun travel experience 🙂

    • Thank you Sylvia. We used to use flannel sheets when we lived near Chicago and I’m so glad I remembered how much we liked them and bought a pair for the RV…. very cozy!

  11. Great Photo’s, I need to crank up the Motor Home and get away for awhile. I’ve got Cabin Fever. Maybe Idaho Next week for a few days.

    • Idaho sounds perfect. That’s a state we’d like to explore more of. We’ve only been to Sand Point and Coeur d’Alene on a quick vacation while flying into Spokane. Time to get the RV there 🙂

  12. If you love flannel, you’ve GOT to try fleece! You’ll never go back to flannel. They don’t stick to you or slide around. You’d never want to get out of your cocoon! I also didn’t keep the elevations of Colorado in mind, so we are skipping it this year and we’ll spend 4 – 6 months there next year. Looking forward to it. I’ll be referencing your blog a lot! Thanks for the great info and the campground tips!

    • Thanks. I’ll need to check into those fleece ones. Please let me know if I can offer any recommendations on Colorado beyond what you find on my blog. Elevation definitely needs to be taken into consideration when planning 🙂

  13. Phoenix gets on average 7 inches of rainfall a year, I had no idea… I, too, enjoy the flannel sheets. 🙂 Beautiful photo of the bee and the pink flower. Love the capture of you feeding the squirrel. 🙂

    • Thank you Amy. That chipmunk was amazingly gentle. Yep, 7 inches of rain total a year in Phoenix and here in Colorado I’ve seen it snow well over 7 inches in an afternoon. Such diversity, love it – isn’t that why we travel 🙂

  14. You sure have become familiar with the wild, wild west Ingrid–that’s impressive. Enjoyed your post and hearing about the variations in weather and altitude. And I always appreciate your incredible photos. 🙂

    • Thank you Jet and after calling Colorado home for over twenty years, one would hope I’d understand this elevation thing by now 😆

  15. I feel like a broken record when I tell you that I love your photos, but I do love them!

    I am planning to head west this year, and am planning to have winter in the southwest instead of Florida. My plan was to head for higher elevations when the weather got too warm in spring. Thank you for the reality check of what that could mean! I am not a fan of cold weather (and my definition of cold is anything below the mid 70s) so now I will pay extra attention to elevation in my travels! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    • I’m so pleased you enjoy my photos and I never get tired hearing that folks like them 🙂 Yes, elevation plays a HUGE role in temperatures and so many people don’t realize what a diverse state Arizona is. It could be 80 degrees in Phoenix yet snowing at the Grand Canyon. It seems like there will be a fair amount of bloggers hanging around the SW this winter, us included 🙂

  16. A good portion of the country has been having fickle weather. I would much prefer a little chill than hot temps, which we are experiencing right now. Lovely photos Ingrid.

    • I’m with you and can handle the chill. If it gets too hot, I seem to get dizzy hiking…. not good. Right now, after all the rain, the bugs are out in full force – also not a fav of mine 😉

  17. YOU and the Chipmunk or small squirrel… THAT IS A SHOT to remember! FABULOUS! Hoping for warmer weather and clear skies for you both. That Header Picture is a keeper! Beautiful landscape even though it was a bit “chilly!” 😀

  18. Looks like a fine place for a stopover, although more than a little cool – I can imagine those flannels felt good.. During our skiing days, we spent many happy hours in Summit County – around a dozen trips there – and saw it in the summer for the first time three years ago.

    • Summit County sure is beautiful and I always enjoy our visits to this area whether it be in summer or winter or even fall. Sounds like another Colorado summer visit for you guys?

  19. That really looks like a beautiful place. I wasn’t a huge fan of where we stayed in Colorado last year, but that looks really nice.

    • Hmm, I’ll check your blog and see where you stayed. If you ever need a recommendation, please ask. I think I have a handle on what you like 🙂

  20. I love your header photo. We may be out that way next fall. We want to visit that area but when the temps are a bit higher than yours.

    Oh my gosh…that photo of you and the chipmunk is adorable.

    • Thank you Marsha. Fall colors in the high country usually peak around the 3rd week in September and remember the snow can also start flying then as well. Thus, keep elevation in mind with your Colorado travels. Let me know if I can help with the planning 🙂

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