A Recap of the Rocky Mountain LTVers 2020 Fall Rally
Colorado’s western slope is known for its sweet Palisade peaches and is home to Colorado’s grape vineyards and wineries. Pair this with a favorable fall climate, hiking and biking trails, farm-fresh experiences and restaurants, and river access for fishing and floating, and we found a perfect setting for a Rocky Mountain LTVers rally.
Originally billed as the ‘Colorado Mountain Winefest Rally’, the gathering was scheduled to take place during Palisade’s annual wine festival. 2020’s turn of events led to the cancellation of most mass-participation events, so alas, the Colorado Mountain Wine Festival was canceled. A silver lining was that smaller group gatherings commenced, and with a few adjustments we hosted a safe and equally fun rally for LTVers.
We checked into Palisade Basecamp RV Resort on a Thursday. This gem of a campground is nestled between fruit orchards and vineyards along the Colorado River, with picturesque Horse Mountain as the backdrop. The campground is located directly off of the Fruit and Wine Byway of North River Road, and just a mile from historic downtown Palisade.
Upon arrival, rally attendees were provided with hand sanitizer along with LTV goodies, including a luxe LTV matte keyring, an LTV Travelers Club pin, an LTV-branded Contigo water bottle, and Rocky Mountain LTVers stickers. Club members brought their own chairs and beverages as we hosted a socially-distanced happy hour plus meet-and-greet. During this time, we excitedly discussed the days ahead and raffled off door prizes, including rally-themed LTV wine tumblers and other RV-friendly goods. After a quick break, we regathered for a BYO dinner, talking the night away.
Friday morning, several attendees opted to join a casual, curated bike ride. The 23-mile route largely traced the Fruit and Wine byway, with a beautiful river path later in the ride. We opted to stop by the Suncrest Orchard Alpacas and Fiber Works farm along the way. The owner was kind enough to educate us on raising alpacas, and even gave us a private tour of his fiber works business, where he crafts yarn from the fiber of alpacas throughout the region. We stopped in his farm store before hopping back on the bikes, picking up goodies like a potholder made from alpaca fiber yarn and alpaca fiber socks.
As we grew nearer to the Palisade town center, we stopped at Maison La Belle Vie Winery & Amy’s Courtyard. The beautiful shaded patio café served up a much-needed and delicious lunch, as we all enjoyed a flight of wine as a reward for our ride.
Other rally-goers opted for other area adventures on Friday, including a must-see drive through the Colorado National Monument Rim Rock Drive. Known as the Tour of the Moon Scenic Byway, the out-of-this-world views span from Grand Junction to Fruita, taking you through a few tight tunnels and sparking the hope of seeing big horn sheep.
Initially planning to engage another BYO dinner gathering at Basecamp, we pivoted and instead attended Fire Pit Friday at Varaison Vineyards and Winery, just a couple miles from the campground. Upon arrival, we purchased tickets that could be redeemed for glasses of wine, slices of gourmet pizza, fresh salad, or dessert. In addition to great conversation among new and old LTV friends, we were entertained by live onsite music as we enjoyed an al fresco evening.
Saturday morning, we planned a hike on the Palisade Rim Trail for those looking for a little challenge and exceptional views. The trailhead was located merely a mile from the RV park, making it an easy walk, ride, or drive for those who joined. The first mile up the trail was the toughest; as with nearly all trails in Colorado, you typically start by ascending a mountain. Since the trail skirted the rim, we were in awe of even better and better views the higher up we climbed. A postcard-perfect overhead shot of our campground was a cool sight. The icing on the cake was the petroglyphs drawn on several cliffsides near where the 3.3-mile and 8.3-mile loops split. Some opted to take the first loop home, giving them a total of nearly 6 miles by the time they returned to the campsite. A few of us took the long loop home and landed at 11 miles. After showering, relaxing, and even napping, the group of Rocky Mountain LTVers gathered again for an early BYO dinner, where we regaled one another with stories of our adventures. A memorable story from the weekend included a couple who drove the Grand Mesa Scenic Loop, an all-day affair that includes spectacular fall leaf-peeping and sweeping valley views. Their Jeep trip took a turn when they got caught in an unexpected hail storm while on a fishing excursion.
Many LTVers pre-purchased tickets to Colterris Winery’s Coral at the Corral event that Saturday evening, located right next door to the campground. This event included unlimited tastings of three new wine releases, including the Coral, plus never-ending savory appetizers. At this outdoor event, we mingled near the vineyard, music in the background, chatting and laughing until late into the night.
Sunday was the departure day; a bittersweet time for each rally. We catered apple fritters, an array of muffins, and bagels from a local coffee shop to make for an easy gathering as we all packed up and prepared for our drive ahead. Exchanging information and inviting one another on future journeys, we said our goodbyes.
Ever-changing fall foliage shows us that as seasons shift, there’s new beauty ahead. We look forward to meeting new friends, reconnecting with old, and hosting new experiences in the next year.