March 29 – May 31
These are strange times indeed. If someone had told me at the beginning of the year that we would spend all of April and May at an RV park, I would have laughed in their face. Of course, if someone had told me that we would spend half of the prior year living in Connecticut without our home on wheels, I would have laughed even harder at the unlikeliness. Just goes to show that life likes to throw curveballs and sometimes all you can do is try to go with the flow and make the best of the situation.
Overall, I think Palisade Basecamp RV Resort was a good choice for us to ride out the majority of the Covid-19 stay at home orders. When we first arrived, it was the end of March, the trees were bare, the night time temps chilly (we let our water hose freeze twice – amateur move, I know), and the park was practically empty with never more than a dozen occupied RVs at one time.
I will admit that when the RV park started to get busy in mid-April we were a bit thrown by it all. At that point, we were still not socializing with anyone or going anywhere aside from necessary trips to the grocery store. The stay at home order in CO was changed to a safer at home order around this time, and while the governor was (and still is) recommending that people recreate 10 miles or less from home, it was obvious that many of these people were not local. In fact, we learned from a few casual conversations that people from the Denver area and various mountain towns were coming to camp in Palisade because it was one of the few warm areas of the state with open campgrounds.
The increased busyness of the park also heightened the feeling that we were living in the middle of a fishbowl. The major downside to this park is the complete lack of trees and anything to indicate a separation between sites. We’ve spent enough time in desert environments that we don’t get too worked up about a lack of privacy at campgrounds these days, but after nine weeks it got really, really old. And don’t even get me started on the constant lawn mowing and those stupid sprinklers that often woke us up in the night when pelting the side of our RV with a steady stream of water at 1 am. Yes, it became abundantly clear after the first month that long-term RV park living is not for us.
Which is why we struggled for a long time to make a plan for the summer. For us, it was an obvious choice to not travel as usual. Even as more places re-open, we’re not interested in visiting tourist hot spots like national parks, nor are we wanting to contribute to the possible spread of germs by traveling to a different place every week or two. So we devised a plan to stay in Colorado and recreate locally until we feel okay about moving around more (or the weather forces us to head south).
For a time we thought it would be fun to stay at a couple of RV parks for month-long stretches in the mountainous areas of the state where we knew there would be plenty of outdoor recreation to keep us entertained. But when the park in Palisade started getting busy and articles were suddenly popping up everywhere about camping being the “safest” way to travel and vacation this summer, we had a change of heart. If everyone in the country with the means to own or rent an RV is going to be camping this summer, maybe we want to sit this season out.
So we started looking seriously into renting a furnished apartment for the summer. Colorado is actually a great place to find a furnished rental because there are multitudes of condos located around the ski areas. We honed in on Steamboat Springs as a place we already knew we liked and would enjoy getting to know better. And we found a couple of cute, one-bedroom condos in our price range that would have worked out fine. But we couldn’t bring ourselves to make the commitment. The main issue was the lack of social options. We don’t know anyone who lives in Steamboat Springs, and with most of our full-timing friends curtailing their travels this summer, it seemed unlikely that anyone would be visiting. So that meant we were facing a summer of living outside of our home with little opportunity for socializing with anyone but each other.
Which is why when our friends Robin and Jeremy offered us the full hook-up RV spot in the driveway of their Colorado mountain home, we were equal parts relieved and excited. Relieved that we didn’t have to deal with the downsides of an RV park or condo, and excited that we would be spending the summer with great people who share many of our same interests and world views.
With that settled, we finished up our time in Palisade feeling excited about what was to come next and determined to make the most of our remaining time in the high desert environment of the western Colorado slope.