As most of you know, I’ve been gluten-free for almost two years now. It’s made a profound difference in my auto-immune challenges. But it’s taken me a long time to feel like I’m not missing out eating the way I do.
Recognizing the extra challenge in this, I wrote an article on gluten-free RVing for Outdoorsy this month. Give it a read and let me know what you think!
A couple of weeks back, we were really blessed to have Ross’ dad visit us from New Hampshire. He flew in early Tuesday, with plans to fly out Saturday evening.
Despite the fact that it was his birthday and he’d flown out to see us, he basically treated us the entire week, so we had to get sneaky if we wanted to pay for anything.
We had an incredible week. Tuesday evening he visited us at the campground and then we headed downtown for an outstanding Brazilian meal that was almost entirely gluten-free. Apparently it’s a chain, but the experience was truly special, with outstanding salads at an epic buffet, an assortment of appetizers (with additional on offer) and then an endless array of meats brought to the table. Finally we saw the dessert tray, and much of it was gluten-free. We highly recommend this experience, even for the less adventurous among us! Outstanding. Also, Happy Birthday, Stephen!
Wednesday wasn’t a teaching day, so we headed to Cheyenne, Wyoming just to say we did. The Visitor’s Center was absolutely outstanding, with amazing exhibits, and then we headed to Dad’s Cafe, an incredible allergen-free cafe where the entire place is gluten-free! We enjoyed our soups, sandwiches and cookies before spending the afternoon visiting local museums. The first was free, and the latter (we treated Stephen) was perfect if you enjoy railroad memorabilia or miniatures.
After our day in Cheyenne, we headed into downtown Fort Collins for some tasty Mexican food (and a great gluten-free menu). We capped it off with dessert at Walrus ice cream because we were too drunk to drive yet! It was okay, but the gluten-free cone was delicious and Stephen loved his sundae.
On Thursday, Jamie spent the morning writing a blog post while Stephen adventured on his own. Then we hit the Museum of Discovery which does an incredible job of creating an interdisciplinary, hands-on museum experience unique to Fort Collins and the area. After the museum, we took a distillery tour, enjoyed a few drinks and went back for more Mexican food.
Friday, Stephen spent the day hanging out while we worked. We had a campfire that night with a singalong, and he helped tend it and took a few train rides with Ross.
Saturday we did more work at the campground while Stephen surprised us and spent the day again. He managed to stay pretty cool despite the heat and we definitely enjoyed the company before he headed to the airport.
We had an amazing week, honestly feeling like it was a vacation for us. Thank you for your visit! It was so great to see you.
We will share further details on some of the highlights in future blogs. Thanks for reading and have an awesome week on your own adventures!
As predicted, we still haven’t gotten our act together on RV repairs, but we’re certainly enjoying our time here. We do get a bit of an employee discount on cabins here, so if any of our readers want to visit us in Fort Collins, let us know and we can get you a discount at the campground. 🙂
One of the best things about Fort Collins is how incredibly bike-friendly it is. There are so many miles of walking/bike/equestrian trails, and if we had bikes, we’d have an easy 3 mile drive to downtown from here. Throughout the city, bike signage is super-clear and bikes are everywhere. They also have a bus system, which is a nice option I imagine, but if we lived here we’d definitely bike 80% of the time – at least until winter!
So this past week, I did some further exploring of the closest bike trail to us. I didn’t walk all the way to Old Town, the historic downtown area, but I walked about three miles of farms, forests, river and housing. It’s a beautiful and very popular trail. It’s also where we buried Bear, the second kitten we lost.
We also visited Dungeons and Drafts. It’s an adorable geek bar where the decorations, menu and activities cater to geeks and weirdos like us. We went to their comedy open mic, which was great. They take musicians if time allows, so we were hoping, but it didn’t. We’re hoping since we stayed until the end and all the comics loved Ross’ laughter, they’ll let us sing some geeky songs when we return.
The bar is fabulous. It’s reminiscent of a medieval castle, with a giant tower of games to borrow and play. (We tried Ticket to Ride, which we loved!) We each had a couple of drinks (which we never do, but it was pretty affordable for a treat) and shared a giant plate of amazing BBQ pulled pork nachos.
We’re looking forward to heading back there. Otherwise, the big excitement might be that Jamie went to Second Friday in Loveland, which was fun but nowhere near as cool as Longmont or Fort Collins, and she ended the night with two chocolate chip cookies with vanilla frosting in between them. Gluten-free goodies from Mary’s Mountain Cookies are legit!
And finally, if you’re looking for a kitten update, we just started eating canned kitten food, but mom is still feeding them too. Stay tuned for cat box adventures….
That’s it from Fort Collins. Have a great week, and thanks for reading!
We are so delighted to be here in Fort Collins, with full hookups, but we’ve still got lots of RV issues that need addressing and questions that need asking. The biggest annoyance? Our gray water tank hasn’t been able to flush since before we reached Fort Collins- it’s an issue with the valve release, we believe.
No gray water tank means we have no easy way to wash hands or wash dishes. And that got old about a week or so in. After all, we’ve got a pretty nice RV…to have to live like you’re tent camping inside it is absolutely a first world problem, but it gets frustrating, especially when you live in that RV year-round and not just on weekends.
We’ve got a growing list of additional, urgent repairs. We need the housing under the house batteries, which rusted out almost completely and is currently held in place by a fake tourist license plate, replaced in a more secure fashion. We need our house batteries looked at and almost definitely replaced. We need our fantastic fan cover (the one over our living space) replaced – it ripped, probably due to wind, in Florida, and of course we realized it in the middle of a horrible rainstorm. (Thank you, Ross!)
Add to that the usual maintenance – general inspection ideal, and oil change necessary – and we’ve got a lot to do before the winter.
How we do it is still to be decided. We know we will find a Mobile RV tech for the gray tank. My personal hope is we love that RV tech so much that we then ask him to do the other stuff on our list. If he’s able to, we can then take the RV in for at least an oil change when we leave Fort Collins…or even wait and do it in the winter, provides everything else is running well for us.
Our schedule is super-roomy currently, so if you’re in Denver/Boulder/Fort Collins etc., we’d love to get together. But when we are done here in late September, we’ve got a very tight schedule to get to New Hampshire for two months of ukulele classes for older adults plus other gigs and projects.
So I’d really love to get all the repairs done prior to departure, drop the rig off in storage for a couple of months (or possibly at a cheap, safe RV park if that feels like a better fit) and then run back to New England for the fall.
If by any chance you have RV mechanic recommendations in CO or NM, let us know. Otherwise, thanks for reading, and here are a few kitten photos for your troubles!
When you’re gluten-free, any pizza is a treat, but we recently hit the holy grail of pizza places in Fort Collins. For food reasons alone, Colorado is going to be very hard to leave!
Trigger warning: pet death
I’ve been gluten-free for almost two years now for health reasons. Way back when, I’m search of relief from auto-immune issues (both known and mysterious), I began an elimination diet, and the auto-immune protocol really helped me. Gluten was quickly proven to be extremely problematic for me, and as my favorite foods were bread and dessert, going gluten-free was tough.
Honestly, on a day to day basis, it’s become pretty easy, but in social situations and going out to eat, eating can still be really stressful (instead of enjoyable, as it should be). So every once and a while, I enjoy gluten-free indulgences.
This past week has been challenging. On top of training and being trained at work, we lost another kitten, Bear, which was really sad. So Sunday evening, before our grocery shopping run, we decided to treat ourselves to pizza. A quick search of the Find Me Gluten Free app showed excellent reviews for The Garlic Knot in Fort Collins. There are lots of places to get gluten-free pizza here, but when I saw that their menu offered a large gluten-free pizza (you usually can’t choose sizes) and gluten-free garlic bread, I was sold.
They warn that the pizza will take a half hour (if it’s gluten-free), but since we ordered garlic bread, the wait wasn’t bad. Ross got amazing glutenous garlic knots, and I got their gluten-free garlic bread. Wow. The texture of the bread wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it was crispy and quite good, covered in delicious mozzarella and with their homemade marinara for dipping. It was outrageous. It reminded me so, so much of the calzones I’ve been craving since going gluten-free, and it took all my self-control to save half for home.
Ross and I then shared a 14″ pineapple and “breakfast bacon” pizza. The bacon was delicious and very finely chopped. Best of all? It tasted almost like a real pizza crust! The crust is my favorite part, so that is such a big deal to me. Heaven.
Service was great, atmosphere is beautiful but casual and it’s laid out well for pickup or eat in. They also have ice cream available for dessert, as well as other delicious options.
So I think we found our pizza and garlic bread place!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Garlic Knot.
One more non-food update. I’ve been asked to write more blogs for Outdoorsy. 🙂 This paid writer thing is pretty great!
Have a great week, friends, and thanks for reading.
We’ve been having fun and fixing problems during our travels in New Mexico and to Fort Collins, Colorado, plus kittens!, so here’s what we’ve been up to. Apologies for the length of this one, it covers a lot!
Sunday, April 8 we departed Silver City for Deming, and with very high winds in the forecast and a desire to see Deming anyway, we kept things simple and limited our drive to an only an hour. Deming, New Mexico is a town of about 15,000 people, making it a bit larger than Silver City, and for us, the best part of Deming is its location. It’s an easy one hour drive from there to Silver City or Las Cruces, and it’s an easy drive to El Paso or Tucson too. It also has several state parks within driving distance, and there are several wineries, including the largest in the state of New Mexico.
We found an extremely affordable RV park for two nights. We knew we’d be seeing the arrival of kittens soon, so we wanted to be prepared with hookups just in case. This park is actually pretty awesome – although the wifi wasn’t usable at our campsite, it was in their lounge/conference space area, which also has a TV, tables and a chairs and a full kitchen and half bath. There’s also a hot tub – it’s great, although I managed to almost pass out after using it! – and there are roomy bathrooms and super affordable washers and dryers. The owners live on site and the care they take here at what could be a very simple, boring park is really lovely.
The first bit of excitement was that when we arrived, Ross realized he’d left the surge protector in Silver City! So he hopped back in the car while I hung out with the cats and enjoyed the crazy wind. We discussed adventuring out that night, but we were both very tired, so we took it easy…which turned out to be a good thing because at 1 a.m., the blood on my pillow told me the kittens were coming! Ross hopped out of bed and made Squeak comfortable and the babies started coming.
We had three in the first few hours. Ross took a break to sleep (I had laid down after a couple of hours) and I took over assisting Squeak at 6:30 or so…I couldn’t figure out what she wanted, but eventually it was clear a fourth was coming. She’d already moved the first three to a new location (her favorite box) instead of the corner she’d initially found. After a few more hours, there would be a fifth kitten, a runt, although the sweet thing didn’t make it longer than three days. (Squeak’s instinct was to move the runt to the catbox….Ross caught her and stopped her. But maybe mom instinctually knew this one just wasn’t going to be able to make it.)
We then spent the day trying to get some sleep and (in Jamie’s case) still get some work done. By mid-afternoon, we decided we were up for exploring a bit, and the cat situation was under control…plus Squeak had been reluctant to just hang out with her kittens, so we wanted to give her some alone time with them.
I’d done a lot of research on Deming because the monthly rates here are extraordinarily affordable. It will be a good place to come back if we need to save some money and perhaps still do some work in our favorite places this winter. So we visited a great music store/pawn shop (it really was nice), made friends and learned a lot at the Visitor’s Center, attempted to get ice cream (it was closed), saw a bit of the downtown area (it’s seen much better days, unfortunately) and visited Peppers Supermarket, which was honestly probably our favorite part of Deming! We scored some amazing clearance deals and loved the fantastic selection of Mexican products and alcohol here – I found a pineapple hard cider I can’t wait to try.
The quirkiest thing I found in my research is that the library keeps interesting hours….it’s closed Saturday through Monday, but the plus side is it’s open almost twelve hours the other four days.
After our supermarket visit, our plan was to celebrate the birth of kittens at the winery. But we were both very hungry. Rather than distract Squeak with our return, we went to Sonic for a quick bite (there were very limited options for fast food) and then proceeded to St. Clair Winery and Tasting Room.
This place is really beautiful, and we’ll be reaching out to inquire about playing there on Friday evenings. They host yoga and sip and paint and tours (we want to save up for one, it’s a day-long adventure) and they offer 6, 1 ounce tastings for $6. But we were in luck. At the Visitor’s Center, they gave us passes for free tastings! So we could get 6 free 1 ounce pours….and then when you go to the winery, everyone is given two free pours, plus a third that is their featured wine of the day. So we got 9 free pours at our visit! Each!
The wine here is really fabulous. We tried a ton, were offered additional free stuff, chocolate to go with the sweet wines…it was amazing. Realizing how much we were drinking, I suggested to Ross that we buy some cheese (they have some food for purchase, but only the mousse was gluten-free), so we got an outstanding strawberry champagne hard cheese from the Finger Lakes region of New York that paired perfectly with our drinking. We also picked up a bottle of red chile wine that we look forward to enjoying.
The next day we traveled to Alamogordo, and besides an excursion to Walmart when I realized we had a tire losing air, it was a pretty beautiful and uneventful trip. (We’ve been having Walmart Auto Centers fill our tires, and they’ve been amazing!) We did visit a silly travel stop on the way too.
Alamogordo was nice, overall. There were things we loved and things we didn’t, but we’d be happy to visit here for a week or even a month to play tourist or escape to this beautiful RV park in Tularosa, where we ended up saying goodbye to our little kitten. The campground views and nature walk cannot be beat, and with amazing restrooms, decently priced laundry and useable wifi, it’s a really great park.
I did more sightseeing than Ross in Alamogordo. I visited White Sands National Monument (it’s as amazing as I’d hoped), found the local supermarket options (the Albertson’s Market might be the most beautiful supermarket I’ve seen), visited the library, got so-so ice cream at a highly rated local cafe in the historic downtown (most of the town’s charm is in this area, it seems) and visited Nature’s Pantry, which I will be returning to for breakfast (New Mexico gluten-free bagel, please!) and for its insane selection of gluten-free treats. Albertson’s also has a better gluten-free bakery section than I’ve ever seen at a supermarket….pretty great.
After my morning to mid-afternoon wandering session, I headed home to relax for a bit before our gig. Although the wind made us nervous, we had a successful performance at Heart of the Desert Winery & Pistachios (I tasted a couple of wines and a pistachio chocolate, and they were very nice) and we wrapped up the night with a visit to Caliche’s for a hot dog (Ross), nachos (both of us) and a hot fudge sundae with strawberries (me).
The forecast for the next day of driving called for insane winds, more than 35 miles per hour plus gusts. We knew we had to get to Fort Collins soon, but we wanted to be safe. We decided we’d try it and see how we did. We actually did very well, and we found a nice rest stop in the middle of nowhere to teach. Given how windy it was, and how we were truly in the middle of nowhere (Cline’s Corners was the stop), I said to Ross, let’s stop driving and quit while we’re ahead. We also had a great signal here.
Well, that was probably a good call. First we realized there was a hole in our battery compartment (it had rusted to pieces, basically) so we had to figure out how to fix that for the drive. And later we realized we also need a couple of tires filled. So driving really wasn’t an option…and we were in the middle of nowhere…and the winds were predicted to keep getting worse into Friday!
Ultimately, we stayed put for almost twenty four hours. We mostly made due with truck stop food (Subway and gas station fare, but they had great fudge!) and I went to a fabulous, casual restaurant called the Encino Fire House which apparently won an award for best new restaurant in New Mexico last year. I had some delicious gluten-free pulled pork corn tacos and a side salad, and the owners were extremely nice and easygoing. The next day, we picked up bungees and a fake license plate and used them to put our RV back into place…and we called Good Sam for help with the tires. Thankfully, once that was all taken care of, the wind calmed down a bit, and mid-afternoon we drove through the incredible pines on our way to Las Vegas, New Mexico.
(Note to self: don’t drive Route 3 in an RV. Jamie had a pleasant drive, but Ross did not!)
Las Vegas seems like a really nice place. It’s a college town, and we stayed at a very convenient RV park, Vegas RV Park, about which my only complaint was that if there was free wifi (instead of paid), we couldn’t figure out how to access it. We had 2-3 bars of T-Mobile and great Verizon though, so that was good. We were within walking distance of many businesses, including the local gaming store, Playerz, for Ross (he enjoyed it) and it was extremely easy to get to everything in town, including a cute downtown where we had dinner at Dick’s Pub & Restaurant. (The service and food were fabulous!) It doesn’t seem like a big arts town, but it’s only a little more than an hour to Santa Fe from Las Vegas, so it might be an affordable base to check out Santa Fe in the future.
From Las Vegas, we had about a five and a half hour journey ahead by car, so in our RV, with a few stops for gas, lunch and resting, we headed out at 10:30 a.m. and arrived in Fort Collins at our campground a few minutes before 8 p.m. Along the way, we visited an awesome travel center with a retro feel, a Subway, another restaurant, ice cream and antique cars and other fun stuff.
Ross wasn’t feeling Subway, so we sat down at the diner-style restaurant for what turned out to be a very tasty meal. (I had very limited gluten-free options, but my Hot Rod green chile burger and fruit were tasty, and Ross’ breakfast skillet with green chile was pretty fabulous.) We passed through some cute Colorado towns, saw the Rockies and arrived safely. What else could we ask for?
We’ve now been in Fort Collins for about a week and a half, and we’re happy to be stretching our legs a bit after a month or so of RV travel. It’s always nice to settle in…not having to pack up regularly and having full hookups (that we don’t have to pay for) are major perks that make giving up regular travel easier.
Of course, we aren’t the type to sit still! We’ve already visited local music and gaming stores, sampled homemade ice cream and gelato, and today, we visited Longmont, CO’s great downtown and explored a bookstore, music store and a dedicated gluten-free bakery and cafe. (It’s definitely a town we will return to. The cafe was fabulous, and there’s a homemade ice cream place we haven’t tried yet!)
We’re truly enjoying being so close to great food and services with a view of the Rockies in the background. Today the kittens went to the vet…we’ve got a couple of infections to treat and have a couple of medications to give out daily. Squeak was cool as a cucumber the entire time, and there’s really not much cuter than a cat carrier full of kittens and mom.
The campground work is off to a good start, and we’ve got some great employees to work with. It’s a beautiful campground, and I’m especially excited about the nature walk, which I typically walk twice a day. Here are some of the gorgeous photos from my walks around the campground.
We’re hoping to make quick trips to Boulder and Denver, as well as Colorado Springs, while we are here for the summer. We’d also love to book some gigs on our days off.
Want to host us for a night? Have ideas on where we need to visit? Let us know.