Daughter gets an education

Well, we’ve hit the road, moved on, and I’m sitting in a new location just south of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  We found ourselves a pretty little spot with lovely views and a quaint little pond; perfect for a two night stay.Glenwood Springs

As I sit outside in my chair watching the clouds roll over, I reflect on my first couple of weeks as homeless a full-timer.  So far, there hasn’t been much down time, which I know will change in the coming weeks.  Mind you, I am not complaining.

Once the house closed, we took a two-hour drive north to the town of Golden, located just west of Denver, Colorado.  I love this small town nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  We spent a week in this area last year and I immediately fell in love.  What’s not to love about a town that installs a cross walk specifically for deer and elk?

A cross walk for wildlife

Last year we played tourist and took the scenic drive up to visit Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum.  Click here to read about it.  It was a pretty drive complete with Paragliders.  Last year the skies were dotted with several Paragliders throughout the day…..fascinating.  During this visit, we didn’t see any possibly due to the extreme heat.


Al and I enjoyed strolling Golden’s downtown more than once.  Coors Brewery sits in the background and is available for brewery tours.  Been there, done that…..pass.  However, we won’t pass on the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market.  We knew we wanted to return for some fresh veggies, flowers, and lunch at one of the unique food trucks.  Daughter joined us at the Farmers Market, which made it even more special.  Al, Ashton, and I each ordered food from different vendors and had fun sampling each other’s tasty morsels.GoldenIf I didn’t have this itch to move on, I could easily make Golden, Colorado home.  The new light rail transit system also makes it very convenient to attend a Rockies Game or enjoy some night life in Denver’s LoDo District and not worry about parking a car.  Oh yes, attending my first ever professional sporting event; a Rockies Game, was a memorable experience.  What a great way to start off this new RV adventure.


GoldenSo let’s recap the first couple of weeks of our new chapter:  Rockies Game, Farmer’s Market, Denver’s LoDo District, Red Rocks Park, Mt. Evans, exploring Golden, meeting new full-timers at the campground, checking out Cherry Creek State Park, visiting daughter at work and having lunch with her and a co-worker, shopping with daughter, dinner with daughter and roomy, test driving some new cars with daughter, researching our next location, more time with daughter……. daughter the best part about our stay in Golden.

Red RocksI had so much fun spending time with our daughter, aside from our memorable Mt. Evans day was the day we went car shopping.  Since I didn’t take photos of the car shopping experience, I’ll intersperse random photos taken this week.

Ashton is still driving the VW Passat we gave her when she was 16.  It’s at a stage where it needs a lot more attention and repair than a young gal wants to deal with.  Later this year, she’d like to buy another car….new or gently used, but she is unsure of what kind of vehicle she’d like other than something with good gas mileage.  Ashton and I have always enjoyed shopping together.  Thus, we decide to go car shopping and try on a few….kind of like shoe shopping.  Our little excursion turned into an interesting experience for Ashton; one she was glad her mother accompanied her on.Red Rocks  The abridged version: 

Our first stop was a Honda dealership with a “no haggle” style.  The salesman was experienced, nice, and very informative.  The prices were clearly marked and not negotiable…..just like buying a pair of shoes.  Ashton couldn’t figure out why Al and I have told her not to buy a car without one of us along to help.  This stop turned into a pleasant experience for her.

Side note; I’ve spent most of my working years in a “commission” based compensation scenario.  As we visited the dealerships, my first comment was, “We just want a quick test drive and an idea on pricing.  We will NOT be buying today and will not take up too much of your time.”  I am always sure to take AND keep business cards for future referral.  I respect folks who work on commission….. time is money.Red Rocks

Next stop was a Chevrolet dealership.  They were advertising “Employee pricing”.  We’re on the car lot looking at some vehicles when a young salesman approaches Ashton and me.  He proceeds to inform us how lucky we are because it’s the 4th of July weekend, and they are having a special sale; offering the public the very same prices and break that employees get.  “Ah, yes…this will be fun”, I ponder!   We take a vehicle for a test drive.  As we return to the lot, Ashton barely gets the car in park when the salesman attempts to go in for “the close”.  “Is this the one?  Red RocksLet’s see what kind of deal I can get you on it”, he comments.  We go inside and sit at the desk. The young kid tries to get us ‘on paper’.  He wants us to make an offer.  I very politely say, “Since this is employee pricing, tell me the price”.  Now in my book, this should be pretty cut and dry, but of course it’s not.  He wants us to make an offer…… Ah, the proverbial “first pencil”.  Ashton sits next to me totally perplexed….. this is so NOT like buying a pair of shoes. 

I’m not sporting this gray hair for fashion.  It’s called experience and this ain’t my first rodeo (I kind of feel sorry for the kid).  Here goes…. “If this is employee pricing than you should know what the MSRP is and deduct the employee discount and voila – my price.  What seems to be the problem?”  “I’ll need to check with my manager”, he says as he leaves his desk.  I bend toward Ashton and say, “Now the desk guy will come over and try to work us.  He’ll tell us he wants us to be happy and will give us the best price he can”.  He’s our friend, ya know!  Yep, that’s exactly the next turn of events.  So now HE tries to get us to make the first move, “What kind of payment are you comfortable with? Did you like the color?  What about the features?” blah, blah, blah…..

As the desk guy finally pauses, Ashton looks at me and says, “Mom, I don’t understand…. what’s going on?  They said Employee pricing.  Don’t they know the price of the car?”  I respond, “Ashton, you have a Business-Marketing degree.  This is called ‘Marketing’.  Ashton’s eyes light up, “Oh, I get it.  The Employee pricing ad is bullshit to get us to come in the door”.   I respond to her while looking at the two guys, the young salesman and the desk dude, “That’s right honey.  It’s their job to get us to make the first move so they can bump us above that figure and push us to the limit.  They want us to get emotional about the purchase and get as much out of us as possible.  AND the advertised sales are usually bullshit to instill a sense of urgency”.  Ashton looks at me, then at the guys.  The guys have no rebuttal.  I think they were a little taken aback by the conversation.  Ashton’s final comment, “Mom, I don’t think I like doing business this way….this sucks.”  With a huge smile on my face, I say, “No, problem.  Let’s go.  You boys have a great day”.  On that note, we got up and left leaving the two sales guys with their mouths open.  And to think, they thought they were the ones going to have fun with these two chicky-poos.

Red Rocks
Ah, ladies….aren’t you going to buy a car???

When we got into Ashton’s car, she started laughing and said, “Did you see the look on those guys faces?  They were still wondering what the heck just happened.  And, mom…..I won’t ever buy a car without you or dad next to me.” 

I totally understand the guys were just doing their job and need to make a living.  However, this was not a pleasant car buying experience or the experience Ashton was expecting.  Fortunately for her, it was exactly what I expected.  It’s kind of the norm in car sales.  With my guidance, she hopefully won’t be taken advantage of due to ignorance when it comes time for her to purchase a new vehicle.  She now understands it’s a process and a game.  If you know the system, it can be quite fun especially for someone like myself who doesn’t get emotional over purchases like cars or houses.  It’s business.  If the numbers work fine, if they don’t…. next.Red Rocks

She still isn’t sure what kind of vehicle she’d like, but now she has the confidence to walk onto a car lot and test drive a few more cars…..after all, you can’t just buy the first pair of shoes – you have to test drive a few.  Of course, there was a lot more explaining / teaching on purchasing a car and the negotiation process as well as the ‘backend’…..another way for the dealerships to make money once they get you in the finance department…. a lot of information.  It was an overwhelming day for Ashton, one that called for Mexican food and Margaritas in the end.Glenwood Springs

Ok I’m back to me sitting outside looking at the ducks on the pond.  Yes, indeed a pretty little spot.  As I reviewed all the things we accomplished in a short amount of time, I realized it’s been a fun filled, eventful start to our journey.  Hmm, this afternoon I think we’ll run into Aspen.  It’s been 25 years since our last visit to this well-known ski town in Colorado.  I wonder, “Will I be every bit in awe as I was all those years ago…. a flatlander from Illinois?”  I guess we’ll find out!

On that note, I’ll leave you with a few more images of Mt. Evans……

It’s Official, I’m in Love…

Ok, it’s not what you’re thinking.  I’m in love with Golden, Colorado…….Where the West Lives.  Golden is nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains just fifteen miles west of Denver.  At an elevation of 5,675 feet, over 246 days of sunshine, and 400 acres of owned open space and another 8,000 surrounding acres, what’s not to love.

Golden Colorado
Historic area along Clear Creek
Golden Colorado
sculptures adorn the parks and downtown

With its small town flare, Golden has a population of less than 19,000 and boasts an abundance of amenities. The downtown is home to art galleries, museums, restaurants, and stores for just about anything.  West of downtown is the Clear Creek History Park – an 1800’s experience with old-time buildings and re-enactments

Al and I enjoy exploring the town of Golden and he seems to love this unique town every bit as much as I do.  We have a leisurely lunch while sitting at one of the outdoor patios followed by a visit to the local yogurt shop.  Hubby and I have yet to explore the 29 miles of pedestrian trails, numerous parks, including 2 dog parks, and public golf courses.

There is so much to do and see in Golden ColoradoGolden, I doubt we would get bored spending more time here.  And let’s not forget the big city of Denver is a hop skip n jump away.  Also Golden has super easy access to I-70 and mountain towns.  The Continental Divide is less than an hours drive away.

With that in mind, it is time to move on…….we point the rig west…..westward bound !

Colorado School of Mines
Golden, Colorado
Golden Colorado
Part of the Historic Park

Golden Colorado

Buffalo Bill

Sunday morning in Golden, Colorado, we awake to another beautiful day.  I am anxious to explore. Top on the list today is to visit the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave.

This is an excerpt from the Golden Guide, a magazine highlighting the areas’ attraction.

Buffalo Bill
gift shop

The Wild West comes to life at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, operating near Golden since 1921.  Enjoy exhibits of rare artifacts, try on cowboy clothes, and discover if Buffalo Bill visited your town.  And, of course, visit Buffalo Bill’s grave and enjoy the spectacular view from atop Lookout Mountain.  Complete your visit by browsing through the Denver area’s largest museum gift shop and enjoying a buffalo burger at the cafe.

As we embark on this excursion, we don’t bother to look at a map, which is so unlike us.  We had noticed the directional sign yesterday on our way into town – to Lookout Mountain – and figured there was only one road, which turned out to be true.  So we feel it’s not like we could get lost.  However, we didn’t realize the climb in elevation and the switch backs involved.

Golden Colorado
We drive by the ‘M’

The views were breathtaking and more than once we were at eye level or even higher than the paragliders.  In yesterday’s post, I posted photos of this mountain in the distance.  I had no idea we would be driving by the ‘M’ on the mountain today.  How cool is this!

paraglider above Golden, CO
Buffalo Bill
William and Louisa Cody’s grave

Once we reach the museum and gift shop, we are greeted with views in all directions.  We can see why William “Bill” Cody wanted to be buried on Lookout Mountain.  The scent of Pine fills the air.  Al and I take our time taking in the view and filling our lungs with the fresh mountain air.  We take a well-marked trail through the pine trees to Buffalo Bill’s final resting place.  His wife, Louisa, is also buried here by his side.

After a moment of respect, Al and I return to Buffalo Bills Pahaska Teepee, the gift shop and no it’s not a teepee, but there is a teepee in front of the museum.  The gift shop is filled with every imaginable trinket one can think of.  Al notices a sign, “buy a T-shirt and receive 1/3 pound of fudge free”.  Well, FREE sign me up.  The search for T-shirts ensues.  There’s Al, Ingrid and two kids.  I’m always picking up T-shirts for the kids.

Buffalo Bill
Buffalo Bills Pahaska Teepee – Gift shop

My hunt was somewhat successful with the purchase of two shirts…one for Al and one for me, none for the kids.  Thus, a piece of fudge for Al and a piece of fudge for me 🙂  We head outside, once again taking in the view and air while enjoying our fudge….yum.Paragliding Golden Colorado

Time to head back to camp and await daughters arrival for dinner.  What a fun day!

Exploring Golden, CO

Clear Creek Golden Colorado
Clear Creek, Golden, CO

Wow, it was great sleeping weather last night here in Golden, Colorado.  This morning we even popped the heat on in the RV to take the chill out of the air.  This cooler weather has given Bear a burst of energy and at 6 a.m. he’s ready for his walk around the “mountain”.  With sweatshirt on, coffee in hand, we’re off to tend the morning business.

Turns out this weekend (Aug 18-19) is the annual Golden Fine Arts Festival, as well as Saturday (today) is the weekly Farmers Market.  Well, it’s pretty obvious what Al and I will be doing.  We couldn’t have planned this any better.  AND the weather….oh, my absolutely perfect.

Although Golden is a super friendly dog town, we leave Bear behind for his much-needed morning nap and head into town.  First stop, the Farmer’s Market.  This Farmers Market is three times the size of the Farmers Market we frequent in Canon City.  Al, Mr. Socialite, engages in conversation with several vendors prior to making any purchases.

Farmers Market Golden Colorado
Al visits with vendors
Clear Creek Golden Colorado
tubing in Golden, CO

We enjoy some fresh squeezed lemonade and head on over to the Fine Arts Festival.The Farmers Market is held near Golden’s Library on the north side of Clear Creek and the Fine Arts Festival is on the south side of Clear Creek.  We take the pedestrian bridge across the creek, but not before stopping to watch all the folks enjoying the water.

Tubing….I love tubing, whether in the water or on snow.  I soooo wanted to do this but was not prepared.  Later in the day, daughter joins us and she and I promise to set a date to tube Clear Creek….fun!

Fine Arts Festival Golden Colorado
Fine Arts Festival Golden Colorado

Golden is full of outdoor adventure from tubing or kayaking Clear Creek, to paragliding off Lookout Mountain, to being a bicycler’s paradise. Golden is also home to the Colorado School of Mines.  Thus the large ‘M’ on the mountain in the background.

Coors Beer Golden Colorado
Coors Brewery in background

However……..Golden, for many of us, is known as the home to Coors Beer and still remains home even though our friends to the north (Canada) now own a stake in the company.  In 2005 Coors officially became Molson-Coors Brewery and in 2007 they partnered with Miller now marketing under the label Miller-Coors.  But, Coors is still brewed in Golden with the same cold, crisp, mountain waters.  I remember back in the 70’s when Coors Beer was “smuggled” across State lines.  All of us, under age Illinois kids fought over this famous mountain beer.  This smuggling of Coors Beer was even featured in the movie “Smokey and the Bandit“.  Distribution back then was very limited and the possession of this infamous beer was a status symbol.  It was such a big deal that when Air Force One was stocked with Coors Beer, it even made the news.

Tomorrow we’ll go see Buffalo Bill’s Grave……

Golden Colorado
Daughter spends the afternoon with us

Golden, Colorado

Prairie Dog
Hey, where do you think you’re going?

It’s yet another hundred degree day in southern Colorado.  This summer has been extremely hot and dry.  Al and I haven’t been hiking since our trip to Crested Butte.  Even then, our hiking was minimal due to Bear’s limitations.

Last summer we enjoyed a hike or bike ride along the Arkansas River almost every morning.  Al and I were feeling pretty good and even lost a few pounds (needed and planned).  We’re fortunate to live next door to a State Park, as well as able to travel.  Thus, no excuses for our lack of activity or weight gain  😦    Ah, well sh*t happens!

We decide it’s time to escape, or at least try to escape this summer heat and in the process visit with daughter.  Our destination Golden, Colorado.  Daughter lives about 20 minutes away allowing us to visit as much as her schedule will allow.  We stay at the Dakota Ridge RV Park.  It’s a bit on the pricey side but offers all hook-ups and plenty of amenities, but most importantly a fabulous location.  And very dog friendly.

Golden Colorado
Dakota Ridge RV Park – spaced a bit closer than we like – hill in background provided some great exercise for Al, me, and Bear
Golden Colorado
the trail around the “mountain”

We get settled in.  Not as much real estate as we like – a little more room between rigs would have been nice, but we’ve got exploring to do so we won’t be spending that much time hanging around.  The hill in the background provided some great exercise opportunity for the three of us.  Bear surprised us with his ability to climb and walk around the “mountain”.  Yes, it’s merely a hill, but to fourteen year old Bear, it’s a “fourteener” and he was eager to rise to the challenge each morning.Golden Colorado

Not only is it normally 5 to 10 degrees cooler in the Denver area than the Pueblo area, a mild cold front has come through bringing in some lovely 78 degree temperatures….just what Al and I were searching for.  Now that we’re all set up at the RV Park, it’s time to take a drive and get a quick overview of the town of Golden.  Since this trip was done on a whim without much planning, we’ll assess the area and gather info and then we can plan our stay and activities for the next few days……….

Golden Colorado
Dakota Ridge RV Park, Golden, Colorado – can you spot my rig?