Friday, July 13, 2012

7/11-13 Rocky Mountain National Park

(Wednesday)  Got here yesterday afternoon after a very stressful drive along U.S. 34, through a canyon that followed the Big Thompson River.  It was very winding and steep, so I gathered a line of cars behind me several times.  I tried to pull over when I could, but sometimes I just couldn’t and focused on the road instead of what was behind me.  This beast does accelerate uphill, but it does it slowly and by downshifting, so it is also very noisy.  One very good thing is that the temperature gage stays right where it is supposed to be.
Got to my no-hookups campsite and got set up very quickly because there was nothing to hookup, not even any electricity.  My two big coach batteries do an excellent job, but no TV, DVDs, microwave, or AC.  It is cool here since they had the rain last week, and it was positively chilly last night—got down to 50-something outside and 60 or so inside.  I have lots of down comforters, but only needed to supplement my coverlet with my down throw to be comfortable.  Tonight I will close the windows earlier, but the cool air does feel nice for sleeping.  
Campsites here in the park are wooded and fairly far apart, which is very nice.  You can see your neighbors but not what they are eating or hear what they are saying.  I took a long walk to the shuttle this morning and went to the visitor center and then into Estes Park to check on a tour of Trail Ridge Road for tomorrow.  I could drive it, but since it goes over 11,000 feet,  I would not be able to enjoy it, so a tour is a better option than this lumbering beast. 

Dinner tonight is steak with mushrooms and a tomato salad.  Got way too much food in the refrigerator, so I have to focus on eating it up!
(Thursday)  Enjoyed my tour of the Trail Ridge Road through a non-profit nature group.  It was supposed to start at 9:00 am and go until 3:00 pm, but ended up not getting done until after 4:00 pm.  Very good tour leader who was Audubon member and very knowledgeable.  Only problem was that she talked a bit slowly, hence things taking longer than expected.  Really beautiful scenery, especially in the Arctic Tundra region at the top.  Saw elk and a lot of smaller animals.  The rain they have had almost every day for over a week has made the flowers bloom and the grass turn green—very lush.

Had a disaster as I drove back from the visitor center to my campground.  I have been having problems with my coach door not locking, but it has mostly been latching. (I have not been able to get a dealer to fix it as all have said they are booked for at least two weeks and I have not wanted to sit somewhere for that long waiting.  I complained last week to the factory, with little success, about the dealers’ lack of willingness to help with this.)
Anyway, as I hit a bump, I heard an enormous crash followed by a second even louder crash.  The side door had swung open, deploying the steps, which stuck out far enough and low enough to hit one of the small logs the park service has placed just over the white line to prevent people from stopping and viewing wildlife in certain areas.  I pulled over as soon as I could and discovered that the steps were badly bent and would not retract.  I had no choice but to slowly and carefully drive back to my campsite.  Not a good night's sleep! 

(Friday)  This morning I was still extremely upset by this and other warranty issues I have had difficulty getting repaired, so I called the factory.  The lady on the phone was the most helpful anyone had been.  She said to call a mobile RV repairman and get the steps fixed or removed so my vehicle was drivable and she would help me get an appointment at a dealer in California or someplace closer on Monday.   I also was to send her a list of all the warranty issues and photos, which I did this evening.  They will reimburse me for the emergency service and any emergency repairs.  I was lucky there was no damage to anything else. 
The park people have been extremely helpful in finding me a service person who came right out and removed the stairs.  They have also been by several times to check on me and make sure everything was OK, and even offered me a spot to stay if I had to extend my visit, even though the park is full.  My door is now tied and bungeed shut, so I will have to enter and exit through the cab, which is awkward, but at least doable. 

I will post photos of the park and the high road tomorrow.  Instead of taking a more mountainous route to Dinosaur National Monument, I have decided to take freeways and a more level, if there is such a thing, route through the mountains.  Don’t want any more events. 


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