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.

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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?

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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)

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Are you Ready?

3…

2…

1…

LAUNCH!

AND THEY ARE OFF!
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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?