Our New Home Base – Denton, Texas!

We’ve been traveling around this great country for nearly 4 years and much of that time has been in our 37 foot RV. While we took two city breaks in Portland, OR and Cincinnati, OH, we’ve relied on Crush to be our main home and she’s taken good care of us.

We’ve learned that we love to travel, and love to travel with our dog Samantha. We’ve also learned that at about the 6 month point in the RV, we start to crave a little bit of space. The mantra of life is great if 80% of the RV is in working order gets a bit old, and things that used to be fun, like flipping switches to decide if I get hot water or clean clothes, gets annoying. After a break, all the crazy that comes with RVing is A-ok again!

Samantha in front of Crush in Kansas
Samantha in front of Crush in Kansas

Renting with a ‘vicious’ German Shepherd is hard and as the rental market gets tougher across the country, it makes it tougher for us to pick a random city and take a break from RV living. Our two previous apartment stays we bought ikea furniture and then donated it when we were through, but that gets expensive and a bit old as well.

We decided it was time to own a home again, but we wanted a small, affordable home as we still plan on traveling 4-6 months out of the year. A house would give us a place to land when we are craving space, and a home base so we can get involved in the community a bit more. I miss doing local theatre and want to return to college to learn a language, and Keith is looking forward to getting involved with tech groups. It will also be nice to get into a better exercise routine!

The beautiful Denton courthouse in the square
The beautiful Denton courthouse in the square

So why Denton? It’s a college town which brings a lot of energy and we like that. The downtown square has some great bars and restaurants and is becoming quite the hub of activity. It’s a music lovers town and for the size, has a lot of festivals. It’s only 45 minutes to DFW which will support our international travels quite nicely, and it’s centrally located in the country allowing us to still RV during the summer months.

We initially only wanted to be within walking distance to the square, but we quickly found that the homes were either too close to the college, or needed way too much repair for the price. We’ve expanded our search some within 5 miles of the square, which is reasonable biking distance. We’ve found a subdivision (I know, I know!) that doesn’t completely suck and is within a mile of restaurants. We’re being picky as we don’t want to back right up and only see the neighbors roof as our view out the back, so we’ll see how this all shakes out.

So, that’s why Texas…in July. It’s prime house hunting season and we’ve been traveling since last September which means we are past due for a break. We’re struggling a bit as the temps soar and have had a lot of AC issues – we’ve been dealing with 84-92 degrees INSIDE the RV. We currently have two NEW AC units after weeks of struggles and are now much more comfortable.

When we announced we were house hunting on our personal facebook feed, many people were sad that our traveling was over. Believe me, it’s not! Texas summers are a killer and I have designs next summer to RV across Canada. Like I also mentioned, we want to step up our international travels as we loved our time in Italy so hope to find a great dog sitter or nice spot to board Samantha for those trips.

Along with house hunting, we need to plan on RV shopping as we are pretty sure downsizing is in our future. The best part of downsizing is knowing it will be easier to secure state park reservations!

I look forward to highlighting Denton on this blog, maybe even highlighting some of our home updates and of course still highlight all of our travels we plan on doing.

Campground Notes: Royal View Campground

After spending some time near a city center in Santa Fe, it was time to be out in the country. I took some time searching for a campground that would be willing to give us a monthly rate and ended up splurging a bit on the site at Royal View Campground.

View out our front window
View out our front window

For Class A RV’s only, you can pull into the spot and see nothing but mountains & trees. The first two weeks were glorious – perfect views to watch the storms roll in, and reasonable temperatures. And then, it was 90 degrees and we had no shade.

Impressive storms rolled in almost daily.
Impressive storms rolled in almost daily.

It’s tough in hot weather when you are a large 37 foot Class A, with 30 AMPS. While we have 2 AC units, they just barely keep up in that kind of heat. We then have to use gas to heat the water and for our fridge so we don’t trip a breaker.

Our lunch walk - the dirt road next to the campground with beautiful views.
Our lunch walk – the dirt road next to the campground with beautiful views.

Other than that, we really enjoyed our stay. While some reviews had some negative things to say about the place, we had zero issues. Keep your site cleaned up and pick up after your pup and there shouldn’t be a problem here. The park itself was nicely kept up and we walked the trails in the meadow and the loop every day.

Our rig at Royal View.
Our rig at Royal View.

The park wifi is spotty at best and due to their location, this was something I was warned about when we booked. Don’t plan on free interwebs for netflix here. Since we travel with a Verizon mifi, this was not an issue for us.

It was an easy drive into Canon City proper but far enough away to enjoy the scenery. If only we prepared for such heat in June!

Canon City, CO, the Royal Gorge Route & a Mountain Drive

Our time in Colorado passed quickly. We had a beautiful drive up from Santa Fe and settled in quickly just north of Canon City. The first two weeks were especially beautiful – mountain sunrises and a steady breeze made the weather just about perfect. And then, like a switch, it was 90 and sunny during the day. I didn’t expect it to get so hot, so quick in June, but at least it prepared us for what constant AC sounds like as Texas was our next stop.

Downtown Canon City, CO
Downtown Canon City, CO

We spent several afternoons walking around the city of Canon City. It’s a great historic town with enough businesses to bring people down, even if I wouldn’t classify it as vibrant. One of the best views of Canon City and the surrounding area comes from taking the short Skyline Drive. If steep edges with no safety rails make you nervous, you may want to pass but it really is worth the slightly hair raising drive.

Beautiful views from Skyline Drive
Beautiful views from Skyline Drive

We adore train travel and even though we don’t necessary like ‘scenic, tourist’ trains as much as regular passenger trains, we decided to give The Royal Gorge Route a shot. It really was a great ride and the highlight was being outside in the open car. After baking outside for some time, we returned to our seats and had a wonderful chat with a couple from Tulsa. It’s funny – when we talk about the choices we’ve made to older folks, we generally get two reactions. It’s either – good for you for being so smart & traveling while you can or it’s oh, must be nice to do that (or outright anger that we’re not “paying our dues”). This couple was delighted we were traveling and now that they’ve retired, they want to travel a lot more. We swapped stories & enjoyed the ride back to the station.

Beautiful views of the train, gorge & bridge!
Beautiful views of the train, gorge & bridge!

Since I went to Minnesota, and Keith had to travel a week for business to Nashville, we both explored Colorado Springs and Pueblo with Samantha – but not on the same weekend! The nearest airport was about an hour away in COS so it just made sense to stay in the area & explore. Both towns had a neat historic area & we both enjoyed walking around. I especially loved seeing Pikes Peak in between the buildings!

Impressive storms came through every few days
Impressive storms came through every few days

We also managed to take a nice mountain drive on an especially hot summer day. In Cripple Creek, we were up so far that instead of rain we got hailed on! It was a refreshing change from the heat however – never thought I would be so happy to see super cold temps in June. Our way down the mountain towards Manitou Springs, we had a really great meal at Adam’s Mountain Cafe.

Views over Cripple Creek
Views over Cripple Creek

Towards the end of our stay, I really had designs on going river rafting. The rapids were so impressive that they closed down the river to rafting because the flow was so fierce. I suffer from a crappy back so I hemmed and hawed for 2 weeks and decided to pass. I probably could have been fine on the family rafting trips through Class II & III rapids, but I decided to not take a chance. I really need to focus on strengthening myself so I don’t miss fun opportunities in the future!

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Two Geeks and an RV