FUN TIMES IN COLORADO LEADING UP TO THE GOPRO MOUNTAIN GAMES
Once we got into Colorado, we made it from Denver to Buena Vista for our first event of what we call the “Colorado Tour”, the BV Pro Freestyle Kayaking event and CKS Paddlefest. The drive from Denver to “BV” really is a reminder that “we are not in Kansas anymore, Toto.” We go up in the mountains and the snow goes from what you see “up there” to what you see all around you. The open valleys when you come out of the passes are my favorite part of the drive. You can see for miles and miles in what looks like a big bowl surrounded by mountains, snow, and water. Springtime is my favorite time for driving through Colorado as the snow is still covering the peaks, but the driving is easy. We did have one short burst of rain and then snow in our final pass on the way into BV that slowed down our drive a little due to limited visibility. It adds to the adventure, however, and is something you remember. Just a few miles from BV is where I start to get excited about being in that awesome “river town.” Restaurants like Eddyline Brewery, Evergreen Café, and the Asian Palate are favorites of ours that, in combination with Kristine’s cooking in the RV, give us something to really look forward to. The Eddyline Brewery has epic burgers and pizza, and they make their own beer. The “River Runner’s Pale Ale” always gets my attention. If you can get a table, the Evergreen Café is the place for breakfast. The Princeton Benedict (sausage eggs benedict) is amazing. At the Asian Palate, everything is good, including their Mojito and their specialty Sushi Rolls.
We spent a few days in the RV, parked in the back of the South Main community by the BV Whitewater Park. They are very RV friendly and appreciate people coming into town for the events. It is only 50 yards to the Eddyline Brewery and 25 to the river. Lots of kayakers were in town for the event and the outdoor stage had bluegrass bands playing for three days straight. The stage was only 100 yards from where we had the RV parked, making it easy to enjoy music, but also to get to bed without having to drive anywhere.
I was competing in the kayaking events there as well, and tied with my world champion son-in-law, Nick Troutman, for first place. My current world champion son, Dane, was third in the Giant Slalom event. In the Freestyle event I got 6th place, just missing the finals, but got to announce for the finals and it was a great show. The events were over on the weekend and we headed to Glenwood Springs. This was a fun trip also, passing “Homestake Creek,” the site of the GoPro Games Steep Creek Championships. There is a very high arch bridge that goes over the Eagle River that is worth a slow drive to take in the view. Just before you get to Glenwood Springs, you enter Glenwood Canyon where the highway follows the Colorado River. That’s where the river plummets down the steep rapids and is known as Barrel Springs. You can see these rapids while you are driving along and it is amazing in the spring! They get less violent as you get downstream to the section of river known as the Shoshone Section. We made our way to Ami’s Acres Campground, which is one mile downstream of the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park, home of the 2015 USA Freestyle Kayak Team Trials. This campground has full hook-ups and Wi-Fi, making the time here easy and productive, since I still have Jackson Kayak to take care of while I am on the road.
The training the week before the GoPro Games in Glenwood Springs was awesome. Every day the water was rising, starting at 6,500 CFS the day we arrived and going up to 9,000 CFS in only four days. This made the waves we were surfing get bigger and better each day. The Colorado is by far the biggest river in this state.
One of the big attractions in Glenwood Springs is the big “Hot Springs Pools” in downtown. My 6-year-old KC absolutely LOVES these pools. There are three pools- a kiddie pool, a 104-degree “hot pool” and a 90-degree warm pool. The highlights for KC are the awesome high-speed twisty slides, the pizza and root beer by the pool, and the diving board. KC, Kristine, and my daughter Emily, her husband Nick, their 2-year-old Tucker, and I spent some quality time at the Hot Springs.
Glenwood has some epic restaurants in the “Underground” area. Pullman Restaurant is our favorite. The Flatiron Steak, the Oysters on the 1/2 Shell and local beer are my first choice, while Kristine prefers the Pierogis, and KC likes the burger.
Late May is a great time for Colorado as the weather seems to get warmer each day, but it isn’t hot. The RV is great, as you can leave the windows open during the day for perfect temps, and the heat only kicks on at night if you want it really warm. Air conditioning isn’t needed, so using the generator or plugging in isn’t that important. Having a solar charger makes you even less dependent on the generator. My kids have one and it powers everything without needing to run the generator. I have a small unit I use to keep my laptop, my GoPro cameras and my phone all charged every day without needing external power. I still use my generator when I am using the microwave, watching TV, etc. But having a solar unit makes life much better in the RV, I think. Of course our RV has an awesome generator, but it is pretty sweet being able to go solar!
Glenwood to Vail is only about 1 hour but an awesome drive. We head back East through Glenwood Canyon and can easily view the “upper death” and “lower death” rapids of the Colorado, which in spite of their names, are runnable, but only by the top pro paddlers. After the canyon, you pass through Eagle, Avon, Eagle-Vail, and by some epic looking golf courses. I have played the Eagle Vail Course with my kids a few times and, while we didn’t stop this trip, we had some great memories just seeing them as we drove by. Finally, after two epic weeks of Colorado, we are in Vail, and the GoPro Mountain Games are about to begin!
Do you have a favorite event or place to visit? This event is certainly one of ours!
Go RVing is following champion kayaker, Eric Jackson, on his journey to the GoPro Mountain Games. In his next post, Eric competes in the GoPro Mountain Games! Have any questions for Eric? Ask away in the comments or @GoRVing on Twitter.