That's what we did!
For several years now, the quaint mountain towns of Colorado have seen a steady increase in the number of visitors coming to patronize (in both senses of the term) them. That means grabbing a meal at your favorite mountain getaway could mean long waits or hard-to-find parking -- both things you were hoping to get away from. So what do you do instead? Well, you could have a picnic, but picnics generally warrant cold food, a lot of packing, and a carefully selected place to eat on a temperate day; and a cooler-water brine isn't usually the best marinade. Or you could do the same as my wife and I: we bring our own kitchen, and living room, and bathroom, and bedroom (for that matter) to have a meal in a calmer area. We bring an Emerald Prevost.
The destination we choose to picnic at is not far from the base of Mt. Evans, giving the Prevost a chance to tackle some mountain grades. So we embark on what I thought would be a cumbersome climb full of right-lane, flashers-on, pedal-to-the-floor motoring, but I am gladly mistaken. With 500 horsepower and 1650 lb ft of torque, the Volvo D13 diesel powerplant makes little fuss bringing all 45 feet of Ritz-Carlton up to the mountains. On top of that, its steering feels direct and has a nice weight to it, the brakes are crisp, and visibility is more than adequate. For a few hours, I genuinely consider giving up my old life to cover ribbon after ribbon of good ol' US two-lane.
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Then we arrive at a gravel parking lot complete with a mountain view, a lake, and a wealth of plant life. I get an instant sense of calm as I relish in the fact that this is going to be the view from my kitchen and my backyard for the day. Forget vacation condos -- I now understand why people go all out on RVs.
As for the menu, we're going Mediterranean, because how many people have the opportunity to prepare Mediterranean food in a spot like this? Not to mention, it's one of her favorites. So I get to cubing beef sirloin, chicken breast, and veggies. Cloving garlic, adding lemon juice, and chopping fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary follows. Then I combine them all into a bowl and add a healthy amount of olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. While that starts marinading in the Prevost's fridge, we decide to take a walk. After all, the Mt. Evans recreation area has often been the subject of western landscape painters -- and for good reason.
Our brisk half-hour walk around the lake and up the trail reveals massive snow-capped peaks protruding up from the tree line. Meanwhile, the water on the lake glistens in the sunshine, and everyone else we encounter on the trail wears a big grin.
It is just enough to help us stretch our legs and work up an appetite. So we head back to the rig where I flip a few switches, start skewering the meat and take a bowl of pre-prepared tabouleh (okay I know I'm cheating here, but I didn't want to make too big of a mess in a rig that wasn't mine) out of the fridge. I place a grill pan on the range and in a few minutes it begins to smoke ever so slightly.
The kabobs begin to sizzle and make the Prevost smell properly like a hot Mediterranean lunch. It doesn't take long before the meat is nicely browned and paired with the tabouleh and a store-bought flat bread. At this point, my wife has become a little too cold for comfort, so we elect to eat from the comfort of the Prevost. The view is still just as breathtaking, and we don't have to worry about mosquitos.
And of course, no occasion is complete without a bottle of California's finest. "Now this is the ultimate picnic," I say quietly to myself. Now the only question is where to next?? Let us know in the comments below!!