Weeks of repairs, packing, repacking, driving, caregiving and settling in to a new routine will wear anyone down.. We decided it was time for a day trip. So we piggy-backed a little bit of fun onto a trip to pick up the central heating unit for the RV from the awesome repair lady, Debra at Holiday RV in South Fork, Colorado. About 60 miles away from our current home base is the town of Del Norte, Colorado. It was early enough that we took the scenic route on the way, picking up State Highway 15 and winding through farms, ranches, homesteads, and the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, nestled at the base of the Sangre de Christo and San Juan Mountains. The road turned to dirt for a few miles, but we traversed it with ease, as the lack of recent snow and the abundance of sun had dried it out nicely. Around Monte Vista, we picked up Highway 160 and took that the rest of the way to Del Norte. We passed some huge cattle ranches and one charming group of horses, sharing their feeder with a very fat little burro. We had several targets on our list. The first – a dairy farm where I hoped to get some raw milk, looked deserted, so we passed on. Our next stop made the whole trip worthwhile. Colorado, strangely, considering the amount of farms here, has a dearth of organic products in the grocery stores. Big cities like Denver, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins have their Sprouts and Whole foods markets, but the nearest to us is 120 miles away in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In spring, there might be local produce stands, but until then? I’ve been soaking and scrubbing the produce in a vinegar solution and eating oatmeal. So The Organic Peddler was a great find! I was delighted with the large selection of organic coffees, teas, spices and fresh produce. I was hoping for more bulk grains, as I have not had my fresh, homemade bread for awhile. I’ll call ahead, when I get ready to tackle baking in the RV or trailer oven, and make sure I can get enough flour for a couple months. The savory aromas wafting in from the attached cafe were so inviting that we had to go in and have a little lunch. Besides, it was a warm escape from the 20 degree temps outside. The Peace of Art Cafe, built with cordwood and recycled bottles, serves a tasty portobello burger, homemade shakes and custom burritos, all made with organic, local ingredients when possible. Entrees range from $5.95 to $11.95 and an Espresso Bar and Juice and Smoothie Bar are also on site. There is so much more to The Organic Peddler that I have to recommend their website. Dine outdoors in the summer, then take a liesurely stroll along the dog walk/sanctuary by a small creek. The Great Divide Bicycle Route also passes by here. Last on our list, was to check out the honey farm. Haefeli’s Honey has a large store right downtown in Del Norte. Run by 5th generation beekeepers, I found their prices to be quite competitive, the availability of raw honey, a definite plus. Bee pollen, which I take regularly for its “bee” vitamins, is also available for a decent price. I found the price of their beeswax to be fair, as it is already cleaned (I currently clean my own). The result of our outing was a renewed sense of calm, a day of fun and found organic and raw honey resources. The change of scenery was pretty nice, too.
So what about a break from all the sightseeing and touring? How about a place for the kids to blow off steam and work up a sweat? We’re here again, in the City of Williams, Arizona, enjoying an afternoon at the Recreation Center, which also has a separate Skate Park, designed by local youth. All activities are free, just sign a waiver, adult supervision is provided (although I tend to stay here and provide my own supervision for Yak). Unfortunately the swimming pool is not open during the winter. If you find yourself here during the summer, however, the cost is minimal, $4 adults, $2 children for the summer of 2013.
A play park is in the same complex, so there is a little bit of something for everybody. Yak and I enjoyed several games of ping-pong and a few rounds of pool in the rec center one day. For movie nights and other free and low cost family events put on by the City of Williams Parks and Recreation Department, visit the Williams Chamber of Commerce website and click on Events and Community Calendar. You can also find a list of parks at the City of Williams website.
One of the few things Yak and his friends like better than swimming is rollerblading. Since we live about 30 miles away from Williams, it gets inconvenient if we forget something we need there. Not to fear, “The Shed”, as the skate park is called, stocks free loaners of rollerblades, pads and helmets, as well as skateboards. The equipment is sprayed with disinfectant after each use, just like at roller and ice rinks. Still, we’re more comfortable with our own gear.
I hope you enjoy hearing about the offbeat things for kids and families to do on the road. As we prepare to hit the road full-time, I’ve begun to think about ways for my son to continue with his hobbies and interests, and these things will also help him to find new friends as we travel. If you would like to read more about our adventures in downsizing and preparing to homestead, homeschool and live simply while traveling slowly, head over to our sister blog Around the Homestead (by Mrs. D’s Homestead).