Whew, it’s over! We just had a whirlwind week of activities, socializing and entertainment and now we’re trying to catch our breath. So much fun though. The Salida, Colorado Xscapers Convergence may have been my most fun yet. Or it may be that I’m just getting more comfortable at these things because I’m getting to know more and more people.
This was a big one – about 250 people and almost half that in rigs. We heard that a full fifty percent were newbies (aka convirgins) and this was their first Xscaper event. That isn’t even as surprising as how many people there are just starting the full time life.
I met a woman who has been interested in being nomadic for some time, but her husband had no interest in any of it – especially black tank management. Then they divorced and now she’s happily managing her tanks herself. Another couple I met had a five year plan to hit the road, then one of them got laid off. So they moved their plan up and got jobs after hitting the road.
There were couples I met who started last November, in January, and in May. Lots of people have been on the road a year or less – which supports the idea that this is indeed a new movement. It was wonderful to meet so many new people, but it was hard to keep up.
That’s the downside of an event this large. We’re torn between hanging out with old friends reunion style, or making the rounds to meet new friends. I’m reminded of an old girl Scout song about old and new friends: One is silver and the other gold. So true. I met some great people that I would have liked to spend more time getting to know, but there were just too many people to visit with and it was great to catch up with old friends that gathered.
Plus, we kept pretty busy. Because this was a four day weekend for most, there were activities during the day in addition to the food and entertainment provided at night.
After getting settled in and reacquainted, we took some friends and drove to the “best preserved” ghost town of St. Elmo. Tom loves old mining towns anyway and it wasn’t too far. We had fun poking around the old town along a river and watching the chipmunks and hummingbirds.
On our way back, we stopped at some of the many picturesque waterfalls and lakes, starting with Cascade Falls:
We loved poking around these beautiful places and enjoyed our picnic lunch.
We also checked out the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort (where Tom photo-bombed Mark and Patsy).
One day there was an organized trip up to the continental divide. We went up the more rugged route with the Jeep group and met the others at the top for another picnic lunch.
The day was grey but the scenery beautiful and we took the long way back down and got to see the many Aspen groves – my favorites!
Towards the bottom we followed along a meandering creek and got to enjoy the local wildlife – I mean livestock!
On July 4th we gathered in a downtown park along the Arkansas river and listened to bands, saw a kid’s circus act, ate vendor food, and drank beer.
Then we donned our red white and blue leis, beads, glasses, tierras, bandanas, etc and marched at the end of the parade behind an Xscaper “float” of a big rig pulling a 45 foot 5th wheel, pulling a Jeep, pulling a Casita, pulling a wagon.
It was great fun and the town loved it. They were extremely welcoming to our group.
When we signed up for this convergence there was an opportunity to buy rafting tickets as well. I didn’t hesitate a second when I told Tom yes, go ahead and get them. Then driving here along the Arkansas river and seeing all the white water rapids, I began to get slightly nervous.
The pictures above were taken as we were driving to Salida. I got zero pictures of the big splashy whitewater stuff! I was even more nervous as we got to the outfitters and received our schooling on what to do if you get launched out of the rubber raft into the rushing 45 degree water. Don’t die was top on the list.
It turned out to be a blast even if I did elect to take the wettest seat because it was the safest – in the middle front. Tom rode in back and hardly got wet at all. Because the river was so high and fast, we actually went through one section that was a class 4! Nobody in our group fell out of the boats, but two in our party came close when we hit a boulder. Quite exciting and something else checked off my bucket list.
In addition to all the field trips we had a great time at camp at the fairgrounds. There were dance parties and karaoke sing-a-longs. Even a comedy act was brought in – along with an all-you-can-eat pizza party. The evenings were cool but not cold so it was easy to visit outside after dark. It was just an all around great time and it was sad to see it end and everyone go in their separate directions. Well, not everyone – we’re planning on continuing to camp with friends on public land not far from the fairgrounds. More fun to come!
Peace & Love, Joy