Our very first Official Full Timing Stop was the Cripple Creek KOA in Cripple Creek, Colorado.
I don’t think there is a way to convey just how much we loved it! We ended up added a day to our stay, because the park was so nice. Now granted, we had literally nothing to compare it too, but still. It was lovely. The views from the “Worlds Highest KOA” are incredible to say the least. Coming from Denver/Lakewood we had some pretty great views, but nothing really compares to being at 10,000 feet. The lack of “light pollution” was incredible! It was the first time anyone on the team had seen stars in ages! The evenings were cool, almost chilly, which was a delight for the middle of June, and the temperature during the day was very pleasant.
In addition to having not seen stars in ages, it had also been ages since Saucy G was up a mountain, so to speak. She grew up at 7,000 feet, but had been in the city for too long. Luckily no one got sick, but it definitely winded us whenever we did anything active.
*Adventure Tip: When heading to higher elevations, remember to drink LOTS of water! It is very easy to get dehydrated when the air is thin, and dehydration can lead to nausea, dizziness, and worse. Please remember to also take it easy on yourself when out and about! Your body is being starved for oxygen, so don’t feel bad about taking breaks to catch your breath. If you DO get sick (such as headache, exhaustion, sick to your stomach, etc.) be sure to keep warm, try some Tylenol for a headache, hydrate, rest, relax, and you should be ok. If you still feel gross (like a bad hangover) see a doctor, get some oxygen, or go to a lower altitude. Altitude Sickness sucks. Dying from it sucks worse, so keep an eye on yourself and your adventure mates.
Being our first ever stop, we had really no idea what we were doing. Sure, we had read all the forums, and watched all the videos, but having never done any of it ourselves, we were a little (a lot) nervous. Luckily, we happened to meet Tom from KOA! He was AMAZING! Not only did he answer a barrage of questions, he also took the time to come to our site and show us a few things. He also introduced us to a couple of other full timers (who, conveniently, were parked behind us, and next to us), just in case we had more questions. In hindsight, they MIGHT have placed us there on purpose, closer to other full-timers, so we wouldn’t be adrift in a sea of unknowing. If that was the case, we have Tom to thank for that, too. Everyone was SO NICE! Our neighbors across the way checked in on us, without making it look like they were checking in on us, a couple of times throughout each day. It was really comforting to know we weren’t alone, and it was nice to meet other full timers so quickly! Little did we know that you sneaky RVers are EVERYWHERE! Which is awesome.
What else was there than the amazing KOA you ask? Did we do anything other than revel in our awesomeness of being on the road? Why yes, yes we did.
Cripple Creek was the site of a great “salting” hoax (adding gold to soil to make it look rich), and was primarily used as a pasture after that. Then BAM! Actual wonderful gold was found, and the town became a mining town, as so many were once upon a time. It was a rough and tumble mountain town, with taverns, a brothel, and gold in them thar hills. So much gold, in fact, that the mountains near Cripple Creek are still being mined for gold today! Cripple Creek was the location of the famous “independence load,” one of the largest gold strikes in history!
Saucy G wanted to try panning for gold, but since we didn’t know the laws, and if it was restricted or not, we decided against panning. Instead we hunted down riches in a way we are familiar with, POKER!
In addition to being a town filled with history, mining tours, and a super sweet train ride, Cripple Creek is also one of two gambling towns in Colorado. On the main street through the city, you can find casinos on either side, boasting slots, table games, and our favorite – poker. If you are looking for a poker game, we highly recommend the Midnight Rose. There is a current high hand promotion, a bad beat, and they offer tournaments on a regular basis. Once in a while they will have a promotion where if you play a certain amount of hours (three? It might be three. You should check for yourself just in case) you get comped a room for the night That’s a sweet deal, if you ask us.
Awesome K and Saucy G both sat at the tables, and got some action. We found that it was like stepping into a house game, everyone knew everyone, and everyone played basically the same hands. If you can figure out what the hands are, you are in good shape to make a decent amount of money. What hands are they? That is something you get to find out for yourself! No need to give away ALL the secrets here! The slots are a lot of fun, too. There are pretty much all the games you could want (Saucy G is partial to Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Wonka (surprise surprise, she’s a nerd)), and the table games are all available. Awesome K loves nothing more than finding an empty craps table, and he was lucky enough to find one. A couple monies ahead later, and we were feeling pretty good about our trip.
On our last night in Cripple Creek, we headed down to the “Down Under” buffet, which Saucy G thought was clever because it is literally down under one of the casinos (the Midnight Rose). It was a nice spread, lots of fresh and good looking choices. In addition to the normal buffet fare, there were crab legs, a prime rib station, and a fresh pasta station! The pasta station was a wee busy, which is to be expected if you ask us. Pasta = delicious. (Pasta also = carbs = fat = sad face. Little known fact, though, when you eat pasta at a casino, the carbs don’t count. THEY. DON’T. COUNT), so Saucy G wandered off When she came back, the poor lady running the station was still overwhelmed, but was nice enough to talk Saucy G through the pasta process. Becoming overwhelmed herself, G asked the Pasta Lady to “make her favorite.” Happy that pasta was in the meal forecast, G went back to the table to nom some prime rib. After a while (who knows how long, one does not count time when waiting for fresh foodstuffs in a casino), the pasta was delivered. A tip was given (of course, because anyone who makes your food and/or delivers your food deserves a tip. They make pennies, so you should give them dollars), the Pasta Lady was thanked profusely for the food, and the pasta was admired. For a brief moment. Then it was devoured. DEVOURED. It was SO GOOD! Fresh spinach, delicious bacon, green peas, onions, white sauce, what isn’t there to love?
Little did we know, poor Pasta Lady had had a heck of an evening. People were rude to her, some were down right mean. She was working as fast as she could with her two little skillets, but deliciousness takes time. Something some people forgot, apparently. Kindness was non-existent in her evening. Which is unfortunate.
Saucy Rant: Though you are the center of your universe, you are not the center of everyone else’s. Sometimes things take time and patience. I know you are hungry. You had a bad beat at the poker table. The slots took all your money. Your sweetheart nagged you, and work sucks. Or perhaps it is the opposite. Perhaps the world is the mollusk of your choice, and you are very important! Very busy, much to do. NOTHING excuses nasty behavior to others. Perhaps the food is too salty, then you kindly, and preferably without making a scene, mention that the food might be a bit salty. I bet the person cooking it would make you something more to your liking. Perhaps your food took a while to get to you. What you might not have noticed is that there were four or five people who ordered ahead of you, and even though the station looks empty of customers now, there is actually a backlog of orders. You do not need to berate the person cooking the food. The world can be a hard place to handle. Please don’t make it harder by taking your frustrations out on another life. A little patience, and kindness, can go a LONG way. “Be Excellent to Each Other.” /end rant
We made it a point to let our server know just how much we enjoyed our dinner, especially the pasta, in hopes that maybe he would relay it to her, and boost her evening a bit. Awesome K has many years of experience in the food industry, and he understands just how rough it can get, so we wanted to let her know she was appreciated. Luckily our server happened to be the manager! He let the Pasta Lady know how we felt, and he relayed to us that it “made her night.” Which, in turn, made ours.
So, if you happen to head to the Midnight Rose, and you go to the Down Under Buffet, tell the Pasta Lady we said hello, and be sure to try her incredible dishes. Even though it might take a bit, it is well worth the wait. Say hi to Jon for us, too! He is a pretty darned good manager, and a heck of a server (he will recommend the cheesecake to you. DO NOT TURN IT DOWN! SOOOoooooooOOOOoooo Good! Remember, also, a little kindness can go a long way, especially for the people who prepare and serve your food.
All in all, it was a pretty epic way to start our RV adventures!
Cripple Creek KOA: QUADS – Tom and everyone there was absolutely wonderful. The site was level, the views were amazing, the price was right, and it is close to adventure while still giving you enough distance for a quiet, star filled night.
Midnight Rose Poker Room and Casino: Full House. Sally is probably one of the best dealers around. She is knowledgeable, keeps the game going, and is fun. There is usually some action, and decent tournaments. Table side food and drink service.
Down Under Buffet: Full House. The food was good. The buffet was fresh. The Pasta Lady is awesome – her creations are worth the wait. There can be a bit of a wait, but such is life. We went on a Friday night, so the prices were weekend prices. Service was excellent, and the cheesecake was marvelous.
Cripple Creek Adventure: Quads. We will definitely be back, next time we cruise through Colorado, and we HIGHLY recommend that you check it out. Whether you enjoy gambling, hiking (which there is a TON OF), history (there are a couple of cool little museums, a train ride tour, and an underground mining tour), a not-to-be-missed playhouse, or just getting away from it all, Cripple Creek is an excellent choice. Of course we love the KOA, but if you are not RVing, or want a break from your house on wheels, we also highly recommend the Midnight Rose hotel. We have stayed there in the past, and were pleasantly surprised – AND you might be able to get your room for free if you play enough poker! Be sure to check with the poker desk for details and current promotions.
*- We are not at all licensed medical people. DO NOT take what we say as official medical advice. We speak from experience, and a Google search of WebMD. If you feel ill, or have questions, please consult a licensed physician. We cannot be held liable for any medical, mental, financial, or otherwise unnoted…um…stuff. So. You’ve been warned. Seek a professional.
(None of the pictures in this post were the work of the AwesomeSauce Team)