The Winchester Mystery House

Have you ever dreamed of a house filled with mysterious secret passages, doors to other worlds, ghosts, and a history that is almost beyond belief? Do you wish there was a place with sprawling gardens, gorgeous arches, and more rooms than you could shake a stick at? Wish no longer, this magical house on the edge of reality exists, and you can visit it any time you want!

The house, of course, is the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California.

grand-estate-tour-photo
An aerial view – we didn’t take this picture

There is nothing like this incredible mansion anywhere else in the world, and has something for everyone. The Duo has dreamed of visiting the house for as long as we could remember, so when we were gifted a year long Skeleton Key Club membership, we jumped right out of our skins! Not literally, of course, skin sort of jumps with you, but you get the idea. We couldn’t wait to get to San Jose to see the house in person, and who better to go with us than AwesomeSauce members, The Doctors of Awesome! The Doctors Awesome are our Brother-From-Another-Mother The Quiz Doctor, and his amazing and brilliant wife, The Brain Doctor. We headed out from our HQ to the Mystery House.

1837
Not the graves of the family. These are graves of guard dogs that lived on the grounds

The Winchester Mystery House was built by Sarah Winchester, wife of the Winchester Rifle heir, “William Wirt Winchester, son of Oliver Fisher Winchester, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut and manufacturer of the famous Winchester repeating rifle.” – http://winchestermysteryhouse.com/sarahwinchester.cfm. After the death of her husband, and their small baby, Sarah did what any rational woman would do, she consulted a medium in an attempt to contact the love of her life. She, however, received a very different message. The medium told her to head west, ALL THE WAY West, and start building a house, and never, ever stop. The house was to appease, and perhaps trap, the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifles, and construction was to continue 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, forever. If construction ever stopped, Sarah would suffer and die. Being a woman of INCREDIBLE means, 2,777 shares in the Winchester company, and a thriving fruit business, Sarah was bringing in $1,000 a day, with no taxes. $1,000 A DAY. That is a ton of money now, imagine what that was in the 1800’s! Or, plug it into an inflation calculator, like we did, and it comes to roughly $24,000. $24,000 a day.

220px-winchester_repeating_arms_co-_ad_1900

With her incredible daily income, Sarah moved from Boston to San Jose, bought a tiny unfinished farm house, and started building. Not only did she hire workers for her ethereal project, she housed them and fed them, and paid them twice what the going rate was. If they didn’t want to live on the property, she would buy them housing in the nearby town. So, free room and board, plus twice the daily rate of pay, it is no wonder she was well liked by her staff – so well liked it is said that some of them remain on the property to this day, working and tending the garden. Construction proceeded as instructed by the medium, and even the ghosts themselves told Sarah how to proceed, through seances and spirit boards. One of the rooms constructed was dedicated to communication with the ghosts, and is one of the most interesting rooms in the house – with an entrance, but no exit. That isn’t a riddle, the door you enter from you cannot leave through, as it only opens one way and locks behind you. You have to leave through one of a few secret passages in the walls, this was to keep Sarah from being followed by the spirits, confusing them so that they couldn’t track her down in the house. This is just one of many secrets in the house.

So far the current caretakers of the house have found 160 rooms. We say so far, because there are rumors that there are more, yet undiscovered rooms in the house. “At the time of her death, the unrelenting construction had rambled over six acres. The Sprawling mansion contained 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens. Carpenters even left nails half driven when they learned of Mrs. Winchester’s death.”-http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/sarahwinchester.cfm As far as they know so far, that is. Construction halted after Sarah passed away in her sleep on September 5, 1922, and it wasn’t until 1973 that construction started again. The house is now on the National Register of Historic Places, and every day there is construction and repair happening on the house. The house requires 20,000 gallons of paint to cover the exterior, and as soon as painters have finished, they have to start from the beginning again! 

1796
Even now the work never stops

The house is open daily for tours, and they often have special tours available, like haunted candlelit tours in the dark, or the Spirit of the Holidays during the winter. We couldn’t WAIT to get inside, and with our fancy Skeleton Key Club Membership, we get to tour the house for free! So of course we took the deluxe tour, featuring inside and outside tours. We brought The Doctors, getting them discounted tickets with our membership, which is awesome, and we headed into the sprawling Queen Ann Victorian mansion built for ghosts. 1853.jpg

We grabbed our tickets and met in the courtyard next to the little cafe. Yes, you can come, sit, and spend a day at the Mystery House without taking a tour, if you felt so inclined. If our HQ was closer, we would be there right now! We met our tour guide, and proceeded into the house. We would love to share with you pictures we took from inside the property, but there is currently a movie being made about the house, and photos of the interior are proprietary. We aren’t even sure we are allowed to tell you how incredible it was, but we will do our best. The House lives up to all the hype, being grand, gorgeous, and mysterious.

1793
The Red Umbrella for House Tours

We were treated to sights of staircases the ended in the ceiling, a staircase leading down that ended in a staircase leading up again, doors to windows, windows to doors, and doors leading to oblivion. One door on the second (or was it the third? Fourth?) floor leads you to outside, with no landing, just a nasty drop to your demise, or a bad owwie at the very least. Don’t worry, you can’t accidentally step out the door, it is clearly marked now. The house was ahead of it’s time in many ways, with indoor plumbing, hot water, and electricity. One of the first rooms on our tour was a huge bathroom and shower, luxurious by today’s standards and mind boggling for the 1800’s. The bathroom, one of 13, has 13 sinkholes in the sink…just one of the many times the number 13 sneaks it’s way into the house. 1857.jpg1858

Remember when we mentioned that Sarah continued to commune with the dead, getting advice on how to proceed with the construction? One of the rooms on our tour was this small room, with the story that “When Mrs. Winchester set out for her Séance Room, it might well have discouraged the ghost of the Indian or even of a bloodhound, to follow her. After traversing an interminable labyrinth of rooms and hallways, suddenly she would push a button, a panel would fly back and she would step quickly from one apartment into another, and unless the pursuing ghost was watchful and quick, he would lose her. Then she opened a window in that apartment and climbed out, not into the open air, but onto the top of a flight of steps that took her down one story only to meet another flight that brought her right back up to the same level again, all inside the house. This was supposed to be very discomforting to evil spirits who are said to be naturally suspicious of traps.” We entered the room through the entrance with no exit, and left through one of the secret passages, whether or not we were followed is still a mystery. 1860

On the second part of our tour we were shown the grounds, and learned more about the practical side of the house. During her time there, Sarah had sprawling orchards of plums, walnuts, and apricots. She ran a successful fruit business, only adding to her bajillion dollars from the Winchester shares. The gardens are incredible, with four fountains, and some of the most beautiful roses in the world. Trees from all over the globe, and Mrs. Winchester’s favorite, daisies. The grounds boast 13 palm trees lining the old driveway to the carriage house and car garage. Sarah Winchester was one of the first people in San Jose to have a car, and a photo of her in the car is one of only two pictures with the heiress.

Our tour guides through the house and the grounds were remarkable! They could answer any questions, had a vast knowledge of the house and history, and were truly in love with their jobs. It was wonderful to see the caring that the guides showed, still in awe of this remarkable house and gardens. It’s hard not to be in awe of such a grand haunted estate with such a rich history.

Adventure Pro Tips:

  1. Be sure to check ahead of time to verify hours and tour times. As of this writing, tickets could be purchased online 24 hours in advance, and at the box office day of.
  2. We STRONGLY recommend the Grand Estate tour, touring the mansion and the gardens. This tour, however, is roughly 2 hours long. While well worth it, it is best to plan ahead. Wear comfortable shoes, and be ready for some walking! If you don’t want to do the walking tour, there is an audio tour. Children 5 and Under are not allowed behind the scenes for safety reasons.
  3. There is, of course, a gift shop! In the gift shop there is not one, not two, but three penny squish machines! If you want a great souvenir that only costs .51 cents, be sure to bring some change and squish a penny! Squished pennies are a fun keepsake, and most places have at least one squisher.
  4. Have fun! This is the only house like this in the world!

AwesomeSauce Rating:

SOLID 4 of a Kind (Quads). This is an exceptional tour, and well worth the drive, and the dollars. It can be a little steep if you are not a member, and not everyone enjoys walking through history for two hours. We loved it, and we are sure you will, too.

 

Want to learn more? Check out:

WinchesterMysteryHouse.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Mystery_House

 

From Bad to WTF

Many of you have asked on the status of our RV. WELL! We have a doozy of a story for you!doozy_of_a_day_tucker_dale

As you might remember, our RV was stolen back in June of 2016. After being recovered, it, and the tow trailer for the Smart Car, were taken to Camping World Las Vegas. Where it sat. And sat. And sat some more. Baking in the Nevada heat in the dead of summer. Do you know how hot it gets in the Nevada desert? The average is 104, but it can, and did get up to 114 degrees. 114. They have weather advisories for the extreme heat!  We have all heard the joke about cooking an egg on the sidewalk, well, in Nevada, you could  do just that (on the asphalt. The average temperature for an egg to cook is 158 degrees. The asphalt can get up to 2oo degrees on a 114 heat day. TECHNICALLY you can’t cook an egg, because the heat source needs to be constant, but you get the idea).

If the temperature could do that to an egg, imagine what it can to do unprotected tires, and roof. Yup, destroy them! The roof has sustained damage while sitting at Camping World, but they are not going to fix the roof, because “They cannot prove the roof wasn’t damaged before hand, the roof wasn’t damaged during the actual theft…” and they don’t care. They refunded us the inspection report money from Camping World Colorado, saying that Camping World in Colorado did not do a quality inspection of the roof. So, even though their company inspected the roof, okayed the roof, DID NOT report damage to the roof during the initial inspection in Las Vegas, they are saying they have no liability for the damage that happened on their lot. So that’s fun. We don’t even know the state of the tires. Why is that you ask?

BECAUSE THEY DON’T INSPECT TIRES! Yup. Even though they claim to install and inspect tires, and tire pressure monitoring systems, they don’t actually. You know how we know? We were told, and received an invoice showing, that the replacement tire pressure monitoring system was installed. It wasn’t. There was no explanation for this, other than “we don’t work on tires.” So why does it say, on the invoice, that they do, and that they did? Are they lazy, lying, or negligent?

2016-10-27.png
Tire Pressure System, Programming, and labor hours. For something that was not completed.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Awesome K went to retrieve the RV, and attached towing trailer, on Friday, October 21st. Camping World had the RV and trailer, in their possession, on their lot, for;

  • 112 days
  • … or 16 weeks
  • … or approx. 3 months

Between July 1, 2016 and October 21, 2016 (exclusive) there are:

  • 77 working days (616 hours),
  • 35 non-working days including:
    • 16 Saturdays,
    • 16 Sundays,
    • 3 federal holidays falling on weekdays

(https://www.calendar-12.com/days_between_dates)

The numbers of weeks, months and years are rounded down to the nearest full value. The number of days is always exact.

In that time frame, in addition to not completing all the work, the roof baking off, the tires melting, and the remainder of our stuff being cooked inside the RV…they “lost” our towing trailer. THEY. LOST. THE. TRAILER. Yup. “Lost.” After searching the lot a few times, calling managers, calling more managers, and more searching, Camping World told us that we “should probably go ahead and file a claim with our insurance, because they lost the trailer.” So Awesome K filed another police report, filed another claim with insurance, and left. Without the RV, because he had no way of driving it, and the car, back to where we are now.

What about surveillance? Maybe someone saw something?

Nope. Turns out there is absolutely ZERO security of Camping World. No cameras. No guards. No gates. Nothing. The locks we had for the trailer were in the center console of the RV. So someone there unlocked it, then they lost it. Perhaps they took it to the desert to bury it? Maybe they sold it? Maybe they tried to put it in a blender? yes it will blend.jpg

The world will never know, because of total and utter lack of security. Oh, and they keys to our RV? In the ignition, with no doors locked. So someone could have driven off with our RV, too. Again. They wouldn’t even have had to destroy the steering column to do it this time, either.

Our insurance said to “just buy another one.” Oh, ok. Sure. Oh wait! This was a custom built steel trailer, from Nebraska, made specifically for a Smart Car. Not to mention we are…for lack of a better term, broke. We don’t have thousands of dollars to “just get another trailer” with. So that’s fun.

Words cannot begin to describe the way we feel (but the below gif does). This nightmare will never end, thanks to Camping World. hulk_smash_loki

Please. If nothing else comes of this, learn from us. DO NOT use Camping World for anything serious. At all. Ever. Even their prices for products is too damn high! Everything they sell there you can get on Amazon.com, or any number of places. It may seem like they have the monopoly on RV resources, and literally everyone you talk to will refer you there. PLEASE DON’T DO IT!

We will compile a list of reputable places, at some point, and post here it. Eventually.

Who loses a towing trailer? Ulgh.

228_LasVegas.gif
These guys. These guys lose a trailer.

 

 

UPDATE! Found and Lost, and What Now?

Today has been a crazy whirlwind day! This is on top of a crazy whirlwind week!

A couple of days ago we found out that the Worlds Greatest RV had been stolen from where we parked it behind Bally’s. We weren’t even supposed to have parked behind Bally’s, but due to A/C issues, and melting Mews’, we had to get a hotel room. So there we were. Us and the Mews’ in the hotel room, and the World’s Greatest RV in the East Parking Lot, under a light and a camera, with security driving periodically through the lot.

We reported our loss to Bally’s security. Metro PD. Most importantly we reported to you. The wonderful world of social networking! Thank you! Your sharing of our story, your keeping your eyes peeled and ears to the ground (not literally, it is 1000 degrees outside). A wonderful person out there FOUND our BABY! Metro was alerted, and officers responded. Without you, it might not have been found. Certainly not as quickly. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you!

It was found in what looks like a residential neighborhood close to the Sam’s Town Casino. I don’t think Metro asked around to any of the houses, but who knows. Maybe they did. IF they did, no one mentioned it to us. Anyhoo…Before we could get to it, the World’s Greatest RV was towed. At first we were upset, but it turns out that it is a LOT safer in the tow yard than it is anywhere else. The lot has barbed wire, electric fences, and 24/7 security. It LOOKS like RV jail, but it should be safe there.

So, we rallied ourselves together, and headed down to the tow yard to assess the damage. We were honored to have Michael Burton of Action News Las Vegas on scene with us, covering our story! Michael and his crew mate (who was amazingly nice, but we don’t remember his name) did a very good story on our blight for the evening news. It didn’t really have the happy ending they, or we, were hoping for.

Seeing the RV was terrifying, wonderful, and nerve-wracking. Going inside was sickening. Violating. We felt/feel defiled. Our home was destroyed. You hear about places getting “tossed,” but until you see it for yourself, you don’t really get the devastation. Every drawer was pulled out and emptied. Every cabinet thrown open. Literally thrown, some of the hinges were pulled off. What little furniture there was, was literally thrown around. A stranger, a “Bad Guy” literally touched, and destroyed everything we own. Most of the stuff was taken. Again, you hear anything not nailed down and don’t think about it, until you realize that most of the stuff wasn’t nailed down. If the couch wasn’t literally bolted to the floor, it probably would have been taken, too. Which would haven been fine, it’s not a comfortable couch.

A lot of the stuff we expected to be gone. The 400 DVD’s and Blu-Rays. The 100 or so video games. The PS2, PS3, and PS4, and original Nintendo were, of course, taken. The flat screen TV’s (the 32″, and the backup little 12″). Our printer/scanner/all in one fancy thingy was taken. Obviously, it was a fancy thingy. Jokes on them! That thing is nasty to connect to! HA! Take THAT BAD GUYS! *ahem* Anyway. They took our fancy new pots and pans that we had used only once. It was our first ever “big kid” set of pots and pans. They took dishes. They took shoes. Clothes. Our ottoman from Amazon. ALL of my fly-fishing stuff (four fly rods, some Abel fly reels ((one that was engraved with Saucy G’s name, and info from when she was on the Junior USA Fly Fishing Team)), flies – some that G’s Old Man had tied. They tossed books. They turned over the medicine cabinet. Everything was defiled.

The most heartbreaking, gut wrenching, disgusting part is that they torn open and ransacked our parents.

There were seven urns in the RV. Why? Why so many ashes? That seems morbid. Well. G’s great grandparents passed, and their ashes went to G’s grandparents. Then they passed before the ashes could be spread. The ashes went to G’s mother.
She was diagnosed with cancer, and passed before she could spread them. The ashes of five people were then passed to Saucy G to spread them.
She has her great grandparents, grandparents, her mother, and her cat, Secret Agent Sam. Awesome K has his father’s ashes.

One of our stops was to spread them in Catalina, CA, and Reno, NV. Looks like some of them are stuck in Vegas. Maybe some ashes got on the Bad Guys, and it freaked them out. Maybe now they will be haunted by a VERY angry Marine. Who knows? Mostly it hurts because we know they were looking for valuables, and the urns are boxes, but the urns are also clearly marked with their names, and their death dates. Now they are all over the RV. 

1352
After we found all the urns and tried to clean them up as best we could. 

The Bad Guys stole our home. They tossed it. They took everything we own (even some souvenirs, like crushed pennies from each of our stops), and what they didn’t take, they destroyed. The police treated this as a stolen vehicle, not as a robbed home. It’s true, it is a vehicle, but it was our lives. Our goals. Our dreams. Our family. Everything.

So here we are. We are staying at Bally’s until Saturday, then we don’t know where we are going. Next week is the 4th of July, which is a huge holiday. We won’t be able to be in the RV, so we have to find a place to stay in Vegas. We would take the RV, but the window was smashed, the ignition trashed, and who knows what else was damaged. We aren’t sure it is even driveable, and if it IS drivable it isn’t safe until we get things repaired. Even AFTER it is fixed, it still feels…wrong. Someone was in our home. Someone touched all our things. They sized us up and took what they wanted. They destroyed what they didn’t want and they destroyed our sense of safety; our sense of trust. People talk about feeling fear when they enter their home after it was robbed, and we feel fear. What if it happens again? What happened while they had it? There is so much uncertainty. There is so much missing. For goodness sakes they took socks. SOCKS!

sock thief

So that is where we are at. Insurance probably can’t cover the thousands and thousands of dollars (roughly 40k) worth of missing things. No one can replace the urns and the missing bits of our parents.

We will figure out what to do next, and keep you updated. Thank you for sticking with us, and for helping us getting our home back. Hopefully the Bad Guy gets caught, but we doubt it. This guy seemed to be a pro, or ballsy. He took our home at 10:45am. Either way.

So here we are. In shock. Tired. Confused. But we are safe. The Mews are safe (they even took the cat beds. CAT BEDS! WHO DOES THAT?!). For now we will wash the clothes we have, put some food in our bellies, and be thankful that no one was hurt.

Here is the story that 13 Action News ran on us:

“Couple heartbroken after RV stolen in Las Vegas”

AwesomeSauce Rating: 

This is a High Card. They say they worst hand is poker is 7, 2, two different suits. This is that hand. If there could be a worse hand, this would be it.

Thank you again to everyone who shared our story! You got our RV BACK! You got our story out there. Without you, we wouldn’t have even gotten our home back. Thank you. We are humbled and honored to be a part of such a wonderful community of people. Thank you for the love and support. We love you, too. 

If you’re reading this, I’m lost

After leaving Meteor Crater Park (post coming soon), we headed to Vegas Baby!
Every year the AwesomeSauce Duo go to the World Series of Poker, held at the Rio in Las Vegas. This year would be no different. Well, a little different. We were bringing our house, belongings, and the Mews team with!

We prepared for the heat (we thought). We had tested, and retested the “house” air conditioning. We had it inspected by professionals. We bought a secondary floor unit for when we were plugged in. We had been making ice for days.
At the KOA at Sam’s Town, we plugged in and cranked it up.

Then the circuits blew.

Then they blew again.

Then the Mews started to melt.

After trying everything, and calling everyone in the city, we decided it was safer to put us and the Team up in a hotel. The Mews are too important to be left in the heat.

We were told by the hotel casino security to park our beloved RV in the oversize parking lot. There are cameras, lights, and security checks the lot periodically, so we felt sort of ok leaving our home there. We took some clothes, our cash, our Team, and checked in.

We checked on it Friday. We checked on it Saturday. We checked on it Sunday.

Our home was stolen on Monday.

It was stolen from the parking lot at 10:45am on Monday, June 27th.

It is white with blue trim, with two large logos. Our family crest on the back that says “AwesomeSauce Duo” with cats, bacon, playing cards, etc. The other large sticker is the link to our website on the drivers side, http://www.AwesomeSauceAdventure.com

We filed reports with Bally’s and Metro PD.

Everything we owned (basically) was in the motorhome.

One of the things that hurts the most was we were  transporting  seven urns. My (Saucy G) great grandparents, my grandparents, my mother, my father in law (Awesome Ks dad) and our cat, former Head of Security, Secret Agent Sam.

The remains of Saucy Gs family were left to her to spread their ashes in Reno and Catalina, CA. All we really want are the urns back. They mean a lot to us.

There was a lot of other stuff, too, but we know that recovery of that is less than likely. The fishing gear that belonged to Saucy G that had so much sentimental value. The book of crushed pennies the Duo was collecting at each stop. The books. The photos. The dvds, games. The travel scrapbook. The hand made quilt and blanket, the AwesomeSauce pillow that were wedding presents. Everything.

Not only did someone steal our home, and our relatives remains, they crushed us emotionally. We had just started this incredible adventure after years of planning, saving, and dreaming. We are devastated.

We are trying to keep our sense of humor, though. We are ok. The Mews are ok.

In addition to our home, they took the Smart Car trailer that was attached to the back.

If you happen to see a motor home with large AwesomeSauce stickers, Colorado Plate MQT-304, please contact Metro police and reference event number 16 0628-2051. Telephone 702-828-3204

image

image

Thank you so much for your time, and any help would be greatly appreciated.

TL:DR, Motorhome/house and trailer were stolen. Giant AwesomeSauce Duo sticker on the back. Please call police if spotted.

Cripple Creek, Colorado

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.

no idea

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?

cat past

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!

AwesomeSauce Ratings:

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)

Are you Ready?

3…

2…

1…

LAUNCH!

AND THEY ARE OFF!
image

 

Yup, we did it. We finally hit the road! With a lot of help from our friends and family, of course. We were very fortunate to have Mama AwesomeSauce, Michael the Painter, and Sir Christopher Knight and Mews Guard of House Fluffington to see us off. We cracked a bottle of champagne (we would have broken it over the hull, but we were scared of what that would do to the engine, and tires, and street, and what nots), toasted to our travels, then the AwesomeSauce Duo and Mews HIT THE ROAD! It was a tearful farewell…so many emotions! Sad to say goodbye – Saucy G has lived in Colorado her whole life! Scared of what was ahead (terrified, if truth be told). Excited to finally be on the road after years of planning and hoping and saving and and and…

We pulled ourselves together, and headed west! Our first stop? The KOA at Cripple Creek, Colorado. I know, not very far for our maiden voyage, however we had a few reasons for the semi-close to home stop. We wanted to make sure our first day of driving wasn’t too long and strenuous for us, and mostly for the Mews. We wanted to see how the A’Tuin would handle the road, and we wanted to be able to test out all of our hoses, connections and everything else in a park that was sort of familiar. We have never been to a KOA before, but we had been to Cripple Creek, so if something went horribly wrong, at least we would be in familiar surroundings, and close enough to “home” that if the rig blew up we could get back ok. It was sort of a security blanket stop, as well as a test run before we “got serious” and left the state.

Boy are we glad we did! We didn’t have any major disasters, thank goodness, but that first day was a learning experience! First, just because it looks cute while you are parked does NOT mean that the decorations or whatevers you have are practical while driving. Items shift while in transit (we should have listened during all the in flight safety talks), and those items WILL find a way to the floor. Or will move to against the door of the cabinet, like a booby trap in a kids Christmas movie.
image

Adventure Tip– Secure ALL THE THINGS. Seriously stuff will move around.

Secondly, no matter how much you plan, and prepare, something will go wrong and/or possibly break. We made sure we had solar for when we weren’t plugged in, we checked our roof, we made places for Mews to sleep and hide, we had two different inspections on the rig itself JUST to make sure everything was ready to go. Feeling smug and secure, we plugged into our first ever site, got the water and electricity going, and settled into a “normal” house. We washed our hands, a lot, we cooked in our fancy new cookware (this stuff is truly amazing, more on that later), and we did dishes.

Then…it happened. Like a scene out of a horror movie. It crept. It slowly seeped its way into the kitchen. The unsuspecting couple, minding their own business, living life unawares of the threat that lurked around the corner….

A LEAK!
https://www.instagram.com/p/BGueLRGtAbH/
WHERE?! WHAT! WHY?! Where was the water coming from? What is going on? Why won’t it stop? AHHHHH!

We quickly shut everything off, sopped up what we could get to, then went hunting for the Moist Menace. We ended up ripping out part of our cabinet under the sink to get to the problem. It was HORRIFYING! There is was. A HUGE CRACK in our drain pipe going to our grey tank. HUGE. How did it get there? Was it from winterization? Perhaps when the big box company was installing the new toilet, they cut the pipe without noticing? Or goblins snuck into the rig and sliced the pipe, just for a laugh (I KNEW I should have burnt some sage before we left). Whatever the cause, there it was. Now the kitchen sink and the bathroom sink were inoperable until we get it fixed.

Worry not! We didn’t let this get us down. Until we can fix it, or get it fixed, we have come up with a solution. Tubs! There are three tubs, one for each sink. When we wash dishes we have a soap tub, and a rinse tub. There is one it the bathroom for catching water, also. Luckily the shower seems to have its own drain into the grey tank, so we end up emptying our tubs into the shower after use.

After that frighten, we checked every other connection we could find! Pipes, hoses, (almost) everything.

Again, we missed a spot. Later, when we were leaving our second KOA stop, we, well, couldn’t leave. The engine wouldn’t start! OH NO! DISASTER! Where do we get a new battery? Is it the battery? Is it the alternator? Is it some deep engine problem that Saucy G knows nothing about? AHHHHHHH!
image

Nope. It was a loose connection on the battery. A VERY nice man at the Santa Fe KOA (our second stop) found the problem, tightened the connection, jumped our battery, and sent us on our way.

SO, as the old saying goes, something something mice and men, planning…and…err…um….

You and never plan for everything ever, because something will come up. Turns out this Full Time Lifestyle has a whole new way of life to learn! So many new things, new problems, new solutions, new new new! Who knew?! The best part is that it is all worth it. The leaks, the creaks, the battery, all of it are worth it for the adventures.

Speaking of…

Are you Ready for an Adventure?