I’m going to try to provide an overview of the trip here, with pictures and some interesting stories.
The beginning and the end of these extended trips to the SW USA always consist of marathon drives. On the way west, I try to be in Denver by noon of the third day, often stopping at WalMart parking lots to take advantage of their tolerant camping policy. WalMarts are very handy places to stop and we often joined half a dozen campers and or trucks in the back of the lot. They have good security, restrooms, and a good selection for a quick breakfast. The only problem for us was fitting eight people into one trailer and two cars. A little creativity made that work adequately. On our first night, though, we were woken up at two in the morning and asked to move because unluckily they were repainting the lines in the lot that evening. Bad luck. We just had to shift to a part they’d already painted.
There’s an excellent resource for finding free rv campsites in North America.
It’s behind a paywall, but well worth it if the information is useful to you. The sample page gives you a good idea of what is provided. We used it a lot.
After a day in Boulder and Denver, we stayed at a WalMart up in the mountains on the third night as well (opting for a regular campground on the second night so we could grab showers –one thing that is unavailable at WalMart). That was followed by a day of driving through the mountains, enjoying the great scenery.
And then we headed for the first of the many National Parks that we would visit on the trip, traveling though spectacular Rocky Mountain Scenery. We arrived at Sand Dunes National Park just after a rain storm, showing us a side of the dunes that I’d never seen before.
Those dunes are pretty high, and our guys went right to the top.