Steamboat Springs, CO: A Fire-Breathing Fourth (Days 11-15 of 42)

For 112 years now, Steamboat Springs has celebrated the Fourth of July with a myriad of entertaining activities during their annual “Cowboy Roundup Days.”  With over a century of practice, we knew they would have “FUN” down to a science, but how could we possibly have anticipated a fire-breathing dragon, a synchronized female chainsaw team, and a camel!? Our adventures in Steamboat including a crazy parade, pro rodeo, nordic roller ski race down the center of town, ski jump competition, fireworks show and a natural hot springs that literally took our breath away.

The Fourth of July Parade was full of lots of patriotism and unusual entries …

 How about Lady Liberty’s carriage made from a ski gondola?  

Now that’s recycling at its finest!

The all-female, kick-your-butt-in-a-bar-fight Synchronized Chain Saw Team brought huge cheers from the crowd … and why wouldn’t they? … we were unarmed!!

But the most spectacular sight was a real, live, fire-breathing dragon … an amazing creation!  Check out the shiny-side-of-the-CD’s adorning his neck!  That’s a whole lotta Michael Bolton discards!

Prior to the parade, a number of Olympic cross-country athletes (or similarly ridiculously-fit people) competed in a roller-ski race of laps down the town’s main street.

Also competing for our attention in town were a farmers’ market, free outdoor concert, block party, a whole lotta people in the streets, and a summer ski jump competition down these slippery slopes.

Philip wanted to do everything!  All of it!  Whoo-hoo!  Let’s go! (He’s just that type of guy.)  I had to reference a cautionary sign.  (Not that he listened to me.)

Because wait!!!!  There’s even more to do in Steamboat!!! Vanna, show them what else we’ve got!

Like … endless bike riding on the gorgeous, lining-the-river, separate-from-the-road, perfect-for-“Crash”-Miller, Yampa River Core Trail.

Biking not your thing?  How about a lazy-yet-exciting float down the Yampa River, complete with rapid-drops that create mini-whirlpools that grab you and make you cry “Mommy!!” …  Yes please!  Kinda like tubing the Salt River … except with water.  And less baking sun.

Steamboat Springs is a true “Western” town, and the perfect place to pick up a pair of boots.  I cried, “Momma needs a new pair of shoes!!” Except, many of them run into the 1,000’s of $$$.  Yikes!

Being a collector of spurs (since we live in Spur Circle), I loved the City’s logo!  But look closely … the spur itself is a snowflake!  A nod to all the great winter activities and skiing in the area.

Steamboat Springs has been hosting competitive rodeo events as far back as 1898.  Today, they still host a sanctioned Pro Rodeo series, which is not only authentic, but also extremely entertaining.

Particularly amusing was the sheep scramble, where the little-littles were set free to try and be the first to tear a pink ribbon off the sheep in order to win a prize.  The little fella got a solid five laps around the entire arena before succumbing to the attempts.

A cowgirl and her wrangler.

McKnights Irish Pub is owned by the brother of our good friend, Kathy Sandler, and was a perfect location to watch USA beat Japan in the World Cup finals!  ‘Murica!!!!

McKnights Irish Egg Rolls … corned beef, potoatoes, cabbage in sweet chili sauce … ohhh yahhh!


Our final adventure just outside Steamboat Springs was a visit to a very special place, Strawberry Park Hot Springs, one of the most amazing natural mineral springs in the world.  It has a very rustic feel and the aura that you’ve stepped back in time.

You arrive there via a 5-mile jutted 4WD road, lined with these amazing aspens.

See that tiny little spring at the top of the photo below?  It is small but mighty, feeding scalding hot water into a series of pools.  The top pool is the hottest (VERY hot) — like 107 degrees.  Then the cold water from the adjacent river is combined with the hot water through a little gate, to make the NEXT pool a more bearable 104 degrees.  Then the next pool has even more cold water added, so it’s like 99 degrees.  The final pool is cold, and then the river below is numbing ICY cold.  

You can move amongst the different pools as you desire … and as you can bear the heat. The experience of being out in nature, surrounded by old-growth aspens, with the raindrops splashing down into the pools, bordered on a religious experience.  The minerals in the water also leave you with silky smooth skin … a must for our desert-lizard bodies.

Here is a view out the window of the rustic “changing cabin.”  No lockers here!  Also no snack bar, vending machines, cell service, or any of those trappings of a modern society.  Heaven on earth!  Also … if you are so inclined … clothing is optional after dark!  (But, that’s past our bedtime.)

In ever in Steamboat Springs, do NOT miss Strawberry Park Hot Springs!

Lest you think that Steamboat is all fun and games, the government is sure to dampen your fun with signs like this.  Damn, I knew I should have left my drone at home.

And furthermore, we can’t have fun 24 hours a day.  Sometimes ya gotta do chores … like give the dog a bath!  Always challenging in an RV … but not when you stumble upon a self-serve Dog Wash!

Alas, we had to bid our friends the Weed Family “adieu” as they headed south and we headed north.  We loved having their company for the last 8 days of adventures, but Philip/Bella/Sprinkles and I must sally forth alone.  Next time you hear from us, we’ll be in the Black Hills of South Dakota!

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