|Pikes Peak State Park|
The three and a half hour drive up to Pikes Peak was in the rain, but it was an easy rain that gradually tapered off by the time I reached my destination. Sunday traffic was light except for the interstate highway that connects Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. That was heavy traffic, even on a Sunday. I tootled along, though, having only one odd moment of concern. I was driving in the heavy traffic of Interstate 380N when my navigation hit a dead spot which wiped out the route. I couldn't get the directions back, which was a concern because the screen had indicated that my turn-off was about four miles away. I knew that if I stopped, shut off the car, and then started again that the route would be available or that I could type in the destination again, but I didn't want to stop because the traffic was so heavy. I remembered that my cellphone had been left on the Google Maps destination of Pikes Peak, so with a quick couple of touches to the screen, the phone navigator told me that my turn was just ahead. That was a close call that kept me out of the Cedar Rapids metro area!
The flyer for Pikes Peak State Park says that the park stands upon a "500-foot bluff (1,130-foot elevation) for a breathtaking view" of the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. The beauty of the area has long led people to dub the region the "Little Switzerland of Iowa."
|Bridal Veil Falls|
|An extensive set of stairs and boardwalk skirt the bluff|
Usually on my solo camping trips, I just quietly enjoy the silence of nature, not interacting much with my neighbors. Don't get me wrong, I'm not unfriendly or aloof; I just enjoy some time alone. This time at Pikes Peak was different. Among all the huge bus RVs and double-axle trailers and 5th-wheelers, a small but intrepid band of single-axle trailer owners added an unexpected social element to this trip. With shared time by the campfire, chats by the roadside, and tours of our units, a good look at the breadth of the small and tiny trailer industry was on display at the campground.
|Little Guy Max|
|Viking 9.0 TD Express|
All these trailers epitomized why little and tiny trailers are so popular. The ability to tow with a smaller car and not having to also invest in a tow vehicle was a big factor in the buying process. A lower price tag was another factor for their decision to go small. Even my Basecamp with its hefty price tag is still the least expensive of the Airstream line. Two of the trailers were bought used from owners who had camped with the units only a few times. This mirrors my purchase of the Green Goddess, which was bought used from owners who had traveled with it only once--back from the manufacturer to their home.
Every camping experience is unique, but with this one to Pikes Peak, it was easier to identify the unique qualities. This park provides some vistas not easily found in Iowa. Those long perspectives from a bit of height were a welcome change from rolling hills and flat plains. This stop was a people stop, though; that's especially what I will remember. There was a camaraderie among us as we prepped our trailers and campsites for an upcoming storm. There was a collective joy in the sharing of our individual enjoyment of our small units. Less weight and size but more adventure! I'm glad to be a part of the camping community, and especially the community of those who choose to go the small and simple way.