I rolled into Lamar, Colorado late on Monday night. A buddy of mine in Denver had called ahead to the Lamar Sportsman RV Park, Campground, and Horse Motel for me. When I arrived in Lamar it was around 12:30am and I did not have access to wifi. I forgot to look on Google maps to find out where the Sportsman is and I didn’t have access to internet at that time of night. I got a sandwich and drink and waited under the awning at Walmart for the light rain to settle.
Waiting for the Sun
Once the rain stopped I found a fairly secluded spot behind an accountant’s office and hung the hammock. The rain had stopped falling but the lightning and near hurricane force winds that accompany storms in this area were still kicking. The loose bits of my hammock that were not wrapped around me, were flapping in the wind all morning. I finally crawled out of my little cocoon around 5am.
The edges of the rising sun were just beginning to greet the sky far in the distance and the colors that materialized were golden. I could barely make out the falling rain in the distance and hoped that is was soaking Kansas with everything it had. I thought about where I was and then smiled as I knew this was just the beginning of nature’s show here in Colorful Colorado.
The train tracks across the street kept calling for me. I heeded and strolled through a gravel clearing to hitch a ride on the sunrise express.
When I crawled up the ladder of the train cars, I stumbled upon the fiery sunset that was being showcased through the curtain of still falling rain in the distance.
I sat and waited on top of the train cars for a good 30 minutes watching the sunrise. When the number of passing cars started outnumbering the minutes that passed, I climbed down and went to hunt a wifi spot and locate the Lamar Sportsman.
Once I got the address I headed over to the park and this is where I have gladly spent the last 3 days.
The Lamar Sportsman
People make the difference. They make ALL the difference in the world. Put me in a campground with beautiful people and I’ll gladly recommend it to friends and write about how wonderful it is all day long. Put me in a five star hotel with a snobby staff and I’ll long for the company at the campground that put a smile on my face.
I soaked up smiles and good conversation at the Lamar Sportsman starting Tuesday morning. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, Don Turner came out and introduced himself. That’s what he does.
Don told me the best way to deal with people is to be nice. Don also jokes a lot with people in a way that makes you feel like you’re part of the family. “Either they get mad or they joke back.”
If you’re too uptight and get mad you’re better off polluting the air somewhere else. There’s a sign on the front of the check-in desk that tells people to be nice or leave. There’s no need to complicate life.
The Sportsman is owned and managed by Don Turner and his daughter Stacie. “Stace” works in the office during the day. Don runs it at night after he gets back from his day time job selling Ag. insurance.
Don started looking for a place last July. He was looking for a roof over his head and stream of income. He had been watching the property for years and in October made the purchase.
Since then, folks in town say “the place has never been so busy”. People make ALL the difference.
Another reason that Don purchased the property was to give Stace a place to hang her entrepreneurial hat during the day. Stace runs her salon in a corner of the office and has customers from Lamar and other towns in the area drive in for a trim.
Many of the RV customers that come in looking shabby, also hit Stace up for a Sportsman style makeover. With people traveling through from all over the world, the scissors she wields may have seen more foreign locks than some hotel keys.
Don has a big fascination with old tractors. When I was here, he had almost sold one of them to an eager passerby but then backed out because,”that was my father’s last tractor. I actually bought it from him twice. His mind had always been real sharp and about a year after I bought it from him, he asked me when I was going to pay for it. I didn’t want to let him know he had forgotten, so I paid for it again.”
At the Sportsman, you’ll see a few of the tractors around the yard. The rest are in a barn where he stores them for tractor pulls. Some people use sculptures or gardens for decoration, Don prefers tractors. Looking at them for any period of time brings whiffs of nostalgia whizzing through the air and thoughts of ancestors working the land.
A lot of people come in off the road just to take pictures of the old work horses.
The Sportsman has hook-ups for RV’s, a small cabin and plenty of space in the back to pop up tents. Rodeo season is coming up and horses will soon call the stalls of the horse motel home for a night or two while they’re moved from city to city on the circuit.
People on the Move
Don and Stace both enjoy the environment of the campground. People seem to gravitate toward them. Big hearts and bright smiles have the tendency to do that to people.
Don says, since October they’ve had customers from all over the world. There was one couple that flew to the States from Denmark. Part of their package deal was a brand new camper that they drove from the east coast all the way to Denver. Once there, they dropped it off and headed back over the Atlantic.
Emperor Fred is a good story that had me rolling next to the pool as he told me about this strange vagabond. I sent that one to the guys at BigTippers. Keep an eye out for that one on their blog.
It’s so hot…..
I got three pretty solid days rest. My first day here, I left the bike against the front of the building. The heat is still pretty wicked. Mid afternoon, Iwent out to get a drink on the side of the building.
As I passed, I said hi to Hobbs and decided to move him around to the shade. When I grabbed the handlebar and pushed him forward, there was some dead weight. Next to the building is a bunch of gravel and I thought he may just be stuck. Another push gave way to a quick inspection and the discovery of a flat front tire.
I popped him on the rear wheel and got him in the shade for a closer look. The heat had caused the air to expand so much in the tube that the stem of the tube shot straight through the rim.
There’s a comedian on the Blue Collar Comedy circuit named Bill Engvall. Bill does a bit about stupid people. When he was changing a tire once, someone stopped and asked him if he had a flat. His response was,”Nope! I was driving down the road and the other three just swoll up on me.”
I always thought that was funny. Not anymore.
Tires are changed. Bike is good. Of again tonight toward La Junta.