Monday, July 31, 2006

" 'Sfor Goat!"

Our newest friend from Los Caminos Antiguos byway! Seeking cover from the storm under a warm but dirty Mountain Girl. She had no intention of leaving, and Craig had to roll the truck forward to get her out! BLEEEE!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Los Caminos Antiguos

Located in one of the most magnificent locations of Colorado, Los Caminos Antiquos, or the ancient roads, stretches from Alamosa, CO to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, through several quaint and hispanic-cultural towns, down to New Mexico through the pass of the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad, the nation's longest and highest narrow gauge railway between Antonito, CO and border-town Chama, NM. The byway meaders through the San Luis Valley between the impressive high peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the San Juan foothills.

Greatly accessible due to high-traffic for most of this byway, the Sand Dunes park is a great place to start. Start with one of their special sand wheelchairs with adapted bulbous wheels and a second pair of strong arms to see this fascinating natural wonder, where the sand of the San Luis Valley floor gets swept up to the base of the Sangre de Cristos and creates miles of dunes against the mountains.

The largest town on this trek is Alamosa, widely accessible in both lodging and dining, and located centrally for either both the end or the beginning (or both!) of your tour. We stayed in the accessible cottage side-house of the Cottonwood B&B (719-589-3882; 123 San Juan Ave, and had a marvelous soak in their hot tub after a long day of travel, as well as an excellent breakfast to awake to on their quaint patio.

The food is especially good in this region, and were especially recommended to the Dos Hermanas Restaurant in Antonito, "the food is out of this world," one customer told us, as the aromas of hispanic flavor drifted out the door.

Don't miss the excellent views of the tour on the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad, complete with one accessible car and bathroom; but reserve early, the car must be booked a week in advance!

Happy Trails!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Behind the 'Boat

Thanks to many sponsors, volunteers, donations, and co-organizers at Adaptive Adventures, our first wakeboard and waterski camp in Steamboat went off without a glitch and was deemed a huge success by AA, pros at organizing these camps all over the state for nearly ten years.

A dozen disabled waterskiers and wakeboarders of all levels got to test their abilities on Bald Eagle Lake, Steamboat’s private waterski lake, owned and donated generously by Ed MacArthur of Native Excavating.

Thanks to Steamboat’s huge support and welcoming attitude to these adventurers, we hope to continue this summer event, as well as our all-mountain ski winter event, on an annual basis. If you would like to know more about volunteering or donating to these two wonderful events, please contact us!

For the 7-minute video of this amazing summer waterski and wakeboard camp, we welcome you to email us! (You will need the latest version of Pando for this quick download.)

Casey Owens, disabled Veteran of the United States Marine Corps from the Iraq War, is pictured here in his first attempt at waterskiing!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway

For our third of four scenic byways to evaluate the accessibility of for Colorado Scenic Byways, we visited the Flat Tops Trail, just barely southwest of Steamboat, and the shortest of our evaluations in total. Unlike the other three on our list, this byway is mostly scenery and four-wheel driving, with only a few very small towns to assess, making Mountain Girl, our rugged Toyota Tacoma, a must for the driving on this trip! Anytime we can get Mountain Girl full of dirt and mud-slinging, we're happy.

The trip follows an old trapper road from Yampa to Meeker, along one of the more scenic roads in the northwestern and somewhat flatter territory of Colorado. Only 82 miles total, this slow road meanders through the White River National Forest, an area abundant in history as well as animals, water, and scenic views. Beautiful in scenery and small historic towns, we found this byway to be quite accessible, even though the two towns of Yampa and Meeker are very small and without many modern renovations.

There is a wonderful cabin complex in Yampa we'd highly recommend, Van Camp Cabins (303 Rich, Yampa, 970-638-4254), that have a huge communal bathhouse that's fully accessible with showers, stalls, a hottub and sauna as well. The cabins have one step up to them, but the owners have a portable ramp they put out when guests with special needs visit.

To our pleasant surprise, Meeker had several options for accessible lodging, including the Valley Motel, the Valley View Motel, and the White River Inn. The most historic, Meeker Hotel (1896) does have two rooms on their ground floor, but with 19" bathrooms, wheelchair-users should find another option.

Don't miss the view from the top of this magnicifent pass! Camping at the top is also accessible; we saw plenty of wildlife up there!