Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, April 21-23, 2016

It's our national parks 100 birthday and now that we are not traveling in Joel's 40' Beaver and  have a smaller RV that is "hill" friendly and fits within most National Park sites with 30' limit I am ready to roll.   Every time I have visited my son's ranch near Tierra Amarilla I have wanted to continue north to Alamosa to see the Great Sand Dunes.  In fact, one time I did make it to Alamosa with my daughter-in-law  to go shopping but we didn't have time to take in the Great Sand Dunes.  They are visible in the distance when you are in Alamosa.  This park is just a little off the beaten path.

We left the RV Park in Chama and headed north on Highway 17 and I drove  the trailer crossing over two passes: Combres and La Manga both over 10,000' with lots of snow.  The roads were clear and dry.  I feel so much more comfortable towing the trailer than I ever  did driving Joel's motor home towing the Honda, and it seems easier than the Born Free towing my jeep, which are long gone.   

We stopped to admire the snow which had fallen just a few days before and was still pristine.  It was definitely a "blue bird" day.  The area is very popular with snowmobilers, back country and cross country skiers and snowshoers.  Darn.  I left my snowshoes in Verdi!:)

 Living the dream! (Maybe I should send this one to Airstream :)

I drove through several small country farm/ranch towns and stopped at the Alamosa welcome center to try and get an idea where to park for the next few days. All the campgrounds I had researched were still closed and with night time temperatures still around the freezing marks I thought it best we try for hook ups. Even though the solar is working great, when the heater runs all night, the batteries do tend to run down below my comfort level.  The volunteer at the visitor center made several suggestions and I  followed up on them and found only one campground was  open,  but at $38 per night it was a little above my price point.  (I found out later, although it was open, the water had not been turned on because the nights were still in the low 30's. )

View of the Great Sand Dunes at the entrance to the park. 

We decided to continue on to Great Sand Dunes National Park and checked out the campground.   We liked what we saw. Much to our delight there were several sites with "front row views", so we decided to endure the night time cold temperatures and stay.   The views from the trailer were panoramic with clear views of the sand dunes  and views of the snow capped mountains behind us. There was a short path to the river and dunes.

As we were setting up a young couple stopped by to ask us about the Airstream.  They were traveling for the next three months in an Airstream provided by Airstream, gathering stories from Airstream travelers/owners which they hoped to put together an  a travel blog. The next morning they came back with their video and camera equipment and spent about an hour interviewing us.  

The sand dunes are continuously changing due to the winds, clouds, and time of day.  I walked down to the river but didn't hike the dunes. I was perfectly happy to just sit and take it all in. So was Joel and Tara.

   The dunes seemed to take on a life of their own depending on what time of day.  I was mesmerized to say the least. 

This is the Medano river which drastically changes with the season.  Apparently it has surge like waves similar to ocean action which is due to the anti dunes. Water backs up against the anti dunes and eventually the water pressure breaks through causing a wave like action.  I really didn't see this phenomena, but maybe the water wasn't running fast or deep enough.

By Saturday, the park was filling up, so it was time to hitch up continue on down the road.  Also the winds were really kicking up and the trailer rocked and rolled all night.  

This is looking west towards San Luis Valley at sunset. 
 Sunset over the dunes.

 My biggest challenge was to sort through the hundreds of photos I took over the past few days and determine which ones I wanted to include in the blog this blog. 

Whats this? Tara explaining to Joel she really is a lap dog? 
I headed over to the dump station to dump and fill but it was closed for maintenance.  I checked with the ranger and he told me that the water had not been turned on for the season due to the cold temperatures.  Darn!  Wished the ranger had mentioned that when we came in.  I would have been more careful with the water! Next stop will be somewhere in Alamosa or wherever "dump and fill. " 

No comments:

Post a Comment