September 30

September 30, 2021 – Comanche National Grasslands to Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

Upon waking up, I noticed that the roads were definitely wet, but not in terrible condition. I was worried about some of the low-lying areas leaving though. I really didn’t feel like getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.

But, there’s only one way to find out if the roads are passable. If they weren’t I would drive back to the camping area and wait for the roads to dry.

Fortunately, while there were some spots that were a little muddy, my van was able to get through it all with no problem.

I was headed for the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I had no plans on actually climbing the dunes or, as a lot of people do, sled down the dunes. But I did want to see it, just to see what it was like.

I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s pretty underwhelming, so I didn’t have very high expectations for it. I’m glad I went in with those low expectations because when I got there, I actually thought it was kind of cool!

Here are some pictures I took while I was there.

I’m glad I made the decision to drive by. I probably wouldn’t have spent a ton of time there anyway, but it was super windy and much colder than I was expecting with a temp in the low 40’s.

Next, I decided to try to find a camping spot in the Rio Grande National Forest near Del Norte, Colorado.

I was pretty disappointed because I found several amazing places to set up shop for the night, but I was not able to get any usable cell signal which means I would have no internet.

The good news is I’m so glad I made that drive. It was a really scenic drive up a mountain where I was greeted with some amazing fall colors and even snow!

I decided though to head to a spot I knew had good cell signal and would still offer me some cool scenery. So, I went back down the mountain and headed for the Old Spanish Trail Dispersed Camping area operated by the Bureau of Land Management in Monte Vista, CO.

I got there late, but this was an amazing place to call it a night. It was one of the quietest places I’ve ever stayed.

This was by far my favorite drive of the trip so far. You can check out highlights of the drive here.

Here’s a full time-lapse video of the drive. The first 5 minutes and the last 5 minutes are worth the watch.

Here are some things I did during the journey.

This isn’t really the route I took as I took several side trips, but it gives you an idea.