Over half of our long journey from lovely Colorado to winter work in Kentucky is now in the rearview mirror. There are only 700 miles and couple of unknown campsites left to drive and to find. As part of our obligation to fellow full-timers, we must report on three very nice places to park your rig that come with electrical hookups, drinking water and a dump station. Two of the three are well shaded, and two are free.
None are in garden spots, but all are in states that must be crossed to reach the more scenic parts of the world. All are welcome oases in the blaze of August’s heat – you can run your A/C all night, for you will likely need to.
Our trip to Kentucky began in an all-day thunderstorm which moved east with us from Allenspark, CO. The first ten miles were 8% grade, downhill, and the rain was relentless. The weather turned chilly as we crawled through the suburbs of Denver surrounded by traffic that could have been imported from Houston. We drove five hours and landed in an RV park in Stanton, CO. It wasn’t scenic but full hookups are nice now and then, and with Passport America, $17. Kat caught a spectacular rainbow from the door of our ‘Stream as the storm finally passed.
The following day required another long pull, this time to Ellis, Kansas, 40 miles west off I-70 from the boyhood homes of Arlen Specter and Bob Dole (Russell, KS). Ellis has a population of 600 with less decay than most rural villages, a brick-paved Main Street, and a little city park with a narrow gauge train that rides kids around on Saturdays. The little RV park is on a small reservoir, covered by a cottonwood canopy adored by all RV air conditioners. The showers are old but clean, and they’ll entertain you with an endless loop of 7-day weather forecasts, punctuated here and there with “Possible severe thunderstorms with wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph.” Legend has it the Ellis police come through late at night directing visitors to the city tornado shelter when twisters are likely.
Lyons, KS is about 50 miles southwest of Salida, and is our first free full hookup campground. There are perhaps a dozen spots, each with electricity, all set right next to a gem of a baseball field, the home of the Lyons Lions. It’s 350’ to dead center, with shady dugouts and a dark green batter’s eye. Alas, the season ended a few weeks before: no ballgame. There’s a community dump station and a potable water source, plus ample shade. You could stay there for up to two weeks, but ‘Hey, Toto: We are in Kansas.”
El Reno, OK is a westside suburb of OKC with a new Cherokee/Cheyenne casino, The Lucky Star, featuring free full hookups, and just as much shade as a Plains Indian would have expected 150 years ago. They issue new players $10 each in slot tokens, and seniors get another $10 token on Tuesdays. We put our $20 into $1 slots (the payout is better on bigger denominations) and cashed in $15. We then adjourned to the sports bar to see a couple of innings of Braves baseball while savoring Heineken.
It’s a pretty good life, even if you don’t work all summer.