May 21–June 2, 2019

The weeks we spent downsizing and cleaning out our tiny rental home were filled with so much fast-paced energy that it was hard to believe the time had already arrived to launch.

After a tearfully joyful going away party at our fave hangout Highland Tavern (you must try the tots!) and the most awesome cake (thanks Meredith) from Le Bakery Sensual, we said goodbye to close friends, informed family of our tentative plans, and set sail on the four-hour drive toward Ruedi Reservoir in Basalt, CO, where we booked space months earlier.

“Fuck a bunch of that noise!” the Universe replied, and promptly delivered us a big fat blowout while coming down Loveland Pass.

Weirdly, no one in our car even realized what occurred until a passing motorist flagged us down and let us know something wasn’t right.

As we looked to our right, we saw a long trail of thick, white smoke pouring from the RV’s wheel well, so Derek quickly pulled over onto the steeply inclined gravel shoulder.

Then, we all sat there for a second, took a deep breath, and quickly realized we had zero frigging idea what to do. Despite all our planning and purchasing, we failed to question whether or not our truck’s jack and tire iron would work in the event of a flat.

In fact, we’re embarrassed to admit that our truck was so new, we hadn’t even learned the jack and tire iron’s location!

Derek trying to calm down and assess the situation, while the girls process what’s going on.

Jamie was thinking clearly and called our Toyota roadside assistance (thank goodness we purchased it at the dealership!), and after less than 20 minutes, Adam from Ryan’s Recovery out of Breck arrived. He had us back up and running in no time. FYI. We know how to change tires, but thought an RV might be different. IT’S NOT!

Adam also let us know that our truck’s equipment was perfectly fine to change out the RV’s tires, and gave us a few handy pointers (like, don’t hit potholes after a particularly cold and snowy Colorado winter).

As it turned out, Adam and his parents toured the country in an RV and homeschooled him when he was younger. What the hell are the odds? As a result of the experience, he told us he loves helping stranded travelers in the high country.

Although our tire was nearly shredded off the rim and still smoking, Adam reattached it to the spare spot at the back of the RV and assured us that nothing would catch fire and that it would cool as we drove down the road.

The blowout set us way behind, so we didn’t pull into our spot at Ruedi Reservoir’s Mollie B campground until about 8:30 PM, and quickly set everything up to beat the 9 o’clock quiet time.

Still, the spot was very un-level, with the RV’s front almost touching the ground and its rear stabilizers fully extended—even with blocks underneath, so it took a bit of trial and error. Thankfully, no other campers complained.

As the sun dropped behind the mountains—and the shredded tire continued smoldering and stinking, we snuggled in at 8,500 feet elevation, with temperatures in the 20s, crazy good stargazing, and a peaceful end to an exhausting day.

The next morning, we slowly woke up to beautiful weather and clear skies. And that goddamn tire still stinking! Again, no one complained, so hopefully, it didn’t dampen anyone’s camping experience.

We eventually made our way down to the water, which was probably 20 feet lower than usual but still jaw-droppingly beautiful. Ava and Olivia played in the mud, while Derek and the girls threw different sized sticks into the fast-flowing streams that feed snowmelt into the reservoir, and guessed how far they would make it before getting stuck.

Jamie basked in the sun’s warmth. Nacho the pit bull joined us for a while, who played with Ava the dog whisperer and smiled from ear-to-ear the whole time.

We became obsessed with an antique set of binoculars passed down from Derek’s late father. Through its lenses, we spotted bear cubs and the plumpest fox you can imagine, which was scavenging the nearby shoreline for any signs of food.

The pair of binoculars Derek’s dad had as a kid worked great for spotting wildlife — and maybe a bit of people watching.

As the sun went down and the wind picked up, we moved all of our gear back to the RV for dinner and snuggled in for another cozy night. Before falling asleep, Ava told us, “this is the best experience ever!”

Despite the rocky start, maybe—just maybe—we’re doing something right.