Durango, CO

Forest River Salem 22rbs parked in the woods

Spring Bar Down

Not only did we survive boondocking by Blanca Peak, we thrived, so we decided to stay even longer off the grid in our own private spot in San Juan National Forest just outside of Durango, Colorado. Why go to Durango you might ask? To hike? To raft? To explore historic downtown Durango? Nope. We needed a FedEx!

Let me go back a few days to when we were driving down I-25 South to the Great Sand Dunes. An incredibly unfortunate thing happened. We lost a spring bar! For those of you who don’t know what a spring bar is (I didn’t a few months ago!), they are what keep our travel trailer more stable while towing and enable our trailer hitch to safely tow a certain weight. We have the Reese weight distribution hitch and we thought we had put both bars in correctly, but when we stopped and were unhooking the trailer, we were down a spring bar. Calling around to every RV store in a 100-mile radius proved futile. Most places didn’t carry the brand Reese and the ones that did wouldn’t break up a set and sell just one bar. We considered buying a new hitch, but it was over $700 and the earliest they could get us in to install the hitch was over a month away. Bryan called Reese to explain the situation and lord, honey child, they get 10 million stars for customer service! They also didn’t have a way for us to order one bar, but they told us they would honor that we had put the bars in correctly this ONE time and assume that the bar had malfunctioned. Bryan looked up FedEx and Durango was the closest one.

Fast forward to leaving Alpacalypse Ranch. We had been tracking the spring bar and the tracking system showed that it had arrived in Durango. I won’t bore you with the details of how many times Bryan called and got a different answer from FedEx on what address he needed to ship to, because we use a virtual mailbox and don’t have a physical address, but long story short, the answer he followed was incorrect. This lead to an incredibly tense hour of towing the travel trailer all over the exceptionally busy town of Durango trying to locate our spring bar. Bryan finally found it after they checked the truck about to take off and it had been marked “Return to sender.” After opening the box, making sure the spring bar was in place about ten times, letting our heart rates come down and laughing about how insane the past hour was, it was finally time to find our new home.

Madden Peak Road Dispersed Camping

The thing about boondocking is that you are never guaranteed a spot. It is first come, first serve and you hopefully timed your visit just right. We also rely heavily on reviews from other travelers to make sure there is a strong cell signal and each location we stay is safe. Our GPS took us down the bumpy, dirt road and our hearts sank a little bit each time we drove by an awesome spot that was very much occupied. Luck was on our side when we found a secluded site that had ample room for us. Most dispersed camping sites have a fire ring to indicate it is a viable spot and this site had a large stone fire ring. We scouted out the best direction to park, leveled out, and then got to explore our new home. There were many fire bans over the summer making fires illegal, but luckily we had a ranger drive by and he told us it was ok to have a fire within the fire ring. Also, being in the middle of a forest, there was ample firewood for the taking. I grew up on an acre and a half of land and we always did our own yardwork. I couldn’t help but smirk as I eagerly made a pile of firewood, thinking about how proud my dad would be to see me cleaning up a national forest.

Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy in front of a fire

This site was amazing. We had beautiful trees surrounding us, no other RVs in site, we had easy access to town, full AT&T signal, and it was so peaceful. Until the weekend. A particularly rowdy bunch settled down the road and blared their music until 2 am Saturday night. Bryan and I enjoyed sitting by the fire, drinking some summer shandy, and guessing each song within the first few bars. At least they had good taste in music!

We really enjoyed slowing down our travel pace a bit, getting some DIY projects done around the trailer, exploring Durango, and planning out our travels to all of the national parks in Utah. Catalina found her inner Zen and her new favorite spot in the trailer.

Catalina Wine Mixer asleep by a window
Catalina Wine Mixer asleep by a window
Catalina Wine Mixer asleep by a window