Friday, November 28, 2008

Visiting Suzanne & Family

Friday, November 21, 2008

Left about 9:30 heading to the Cherry Creek State Park in Auroro, CO, right near Denver. Took SR 83 rather than I-25. A pretty drive through mostly ranchland. The closer we got to Denver, the more developed it became. Cherry Creek is a nice campground if you want to visit the Denver area. Very large, big lake, lots of nice multi-use trails.

Saturday through Thursday:

Drove to Suzanne’s house on Saturday. Arrived about noon time. At dinner that night, we had an early birthday party for Carol. On Sunday Suzanne, Izzy, Oliver & Carol went shopping. On Monday, we all piled in the camper for a day trip to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain NP. First stopped at Estes Lake for a nice walk. It was cold & windy so we continued our drive to RMCP. We all walked the trail around Sprague Lake. Later on we went back to town for lunch. Got take-out from Safeway.
On Tuesday, everyone went mall shopping. Wednesday mostly hung out at the house. Suzanne put the Christmas decorations up. For Thanksgiving, Suzanne cooked a 16# turkey, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, home made cranberry sauce and a wonderful pumpkin pie. We took leftovers for the trip to John/Marge’s house.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Left Longmont at 8am heading for KC,KC to visit John & Marge. As we got to the I-70 part of the route, there was about an inch of snow. There must have been 6, or more, cars, trucks, trailers, etc., turned over in the median. My guess is the snow started last night and the drivers were simply going too fast for the conditions. We drive slow and stop often. At about 4pm, Central Time, we stopped at the City campground in Ellis, KS for the night. The fee is $7/night. The local police officer swings by now & then to collect the fee. Called Johnny and told them we would be at their house about mid-afternoon tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

On to Longmont,CO


Continued on towards Longmont. Stopped at a great Safeway in Trinidad, CO. Finally; a good selection of healthy salads. New Mexico grocery stores seem to be mostly limited to Cole slaw & potato salad. I guess that’s what their market wants. Spent the night at Lathrop State Park near Walsenburg, CO. A nice park centered around two lakes. It costs $24/night to camp at a CO State Park. Except for the $25/night cost at the Balloon Fest, this is the most we’ve paid to camp on this trip. We’re spoiled by the NM Annual Camping Pass. Plus we’re cheap. For the trip so far, our average cost per night camping is just over $10.


Drove to John & Linda Leaches property near Monument, CO. They have a beautiful, heavily wooded homesite. In the near future they plan on building a home. Right now they simply enjoy the beauty of the property from their Lazy Daze. On the way here, we got gas in Pueblo, CO. $1.899/gallon. A few miles further, in Colorado Springs, the price was $1.69!!. The lowest gas price we have seen in quite some time. What a relief. I put 37 gallons of gas in the tank for *only* $71. Not too long ago that would have been closer to $140. A big help especially since we are on the home bound leg of our trip. Will be burning lots of gas real soon.
On Thursday, a cold front moved through. The high for the day was 29*. The low was 21*. There was a light snow. Didn’t stick to the warmer ground, but the pine trees were beautiful.
We had the most wonderful time visiting with John & Linda. On Thursday, we made a pot of gumbo, Linda made a salad & had some wonderful bread. We went to their RV for dinner. Talked about future travel plans. Perhaps we’ll meet up with them near Jackson Hole, WY next summer. Hope so.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Left about 9:30 heading to the Cherry Creek State Park in Auroro, CO, right near Denver. Took SR 83 rather than I-25. A pretty drive through mostly ranchland. The closer we got to Denver, the more developed it became. Cherry Creek is a nice campground if you want to visit the Denver area. Very large, big lake, lots of nice multi-use trails.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Elephant Butte then north

Sunday, November 9, 2008

In the morning we drove to the Elephant Butte State Park near T or C. Once again, we have the beach to ourselves. We’ll stay here until we pick up our mail on Wednesday or Thursday then head slowly north to Suzanne’s house on Saturday.
We stayed sometimes on the beach, sometimes in the campground depending on the weather. Met a really nice Lazy Daze couple. David Roderick and Nola Woodbury from Eugene, OR. They are travelling for a year or so while deciding what to do next. They are heading to Las Cruces to work on a Habitat For Humanity house with a group of Escapees. What a great idea. We’re going to check into it when we get home.
Left Elephant Butte on Saturday morning. A neighbor in the campground suggested we stop at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Socorro. We did and had a wonderful day. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese make this area their winter home. We saw two eagles, some hawks, ducks, one ring neck pheasant, some elk, and of course, endless numbers of cranes & geese.
After that we went to the Sandia Casino off I-25 north of Albuquerque. Treated ourselves to the buffet. Oink! Oink! Staying in the casino parking lot tonight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Deming then back to Elephant Butte


Stopped at an RV supply store to buy the legs for our new heater. Camping World was also out of them. After that we drove to the Elephant Butte State Park near Truth or Consequences, NM. One of our favorite campgrounds. We are the only people camping on the entire beach. The campgrounds with electrical hookups are about ½ full but there is no one on the beach. Wonderful. We just open the door and let Gopher out. She loves it. The weather is supposed to turn much colder tomorrow with lows in the low 30’s. Will get to put our new heater to good use.


Enjoyed a quiet, off-the-road day. Caught up on the mail. Made phone calls. Took care of business. Did some repairs. It’s very, very windy. 25 to 35 mph. Sand & tumble weeds blowing everywhere. A cold front came through today. Supposed to get near freezing tonight.


Drove to Deming and stayed at the Rockhound State Park. Toured the visitors’ center. Rockhound SP is in the Little Florida Mountains. “Visitors can find a variety of rocks and minerals, ranging from silica, quartz crystals, chalcedony, agate, common opal, jasper, thundereggs, and geodes. Visitors are welcomed to take 15 pounds of rock per person from the park”. My father would have really enjoyed this place. He collected rocks from all his travels.


Went into Deming. Stopped by a very nice City park that used to be a gravel pit. It’s been landscaped and has a very nice multi-use path. Searched around for a grocery store other than Wal-Mart. There are none. There used to be two but they had to shut down after Wal-Mart opened. Stayed at the Dream Catcher RV Park in Deming. It’s an Escapee park. Escapees is an RV organization we belong to. The RV park isn’t much; basically a parking lot with utility hookups. The people here are very friendly. Several stopped by to say hello.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

In the morning we drove to the Elephant Butte State Park near T or C. Once again, we have the beach to ourselves. We’ll stay here until we pick up our mail on Wednesday or Thursday then head slowly north to Suzanne’s house for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Gallup to Elephant Butte SP


Drove into Gallup to Wal-Mart for shopping. One thing I wanted to get was a bathroom scale. Carol & I both have weight goals and I wanted to see how we were doing. Both of us were right on target. We were relieved. Tomorrow morning we have an appointment at Camping World in Albuquerque to get a small, high efficiency, propane heater installed. We passed through Grant, NM and spotted an Asian restaurant that was very crowded; generally a good sign. Had lunch. It was OK, nothing special, but a nice break from the typical Southwest fare.
We continued to the Route 66 Casino which is located about 10 miles from Camping World. Since we are doing well with our weight, we treated ourselves to the dinner buffet. The salad bar was excellent. I don’t get nearly enough salads while travelling.
Tonight it’s us and a dozen other RV’s camping in the casino parking lot. Everything from a modest truck camper to an $800,000+- Prevost bus conversion. Actually casino parking lots make for a good camping spot. The lots are very well lighted, covered by cameras and patrolled by security. Tomorrow morning we only have a 15 minute drive to CW.


Arrived at CW about 9am. They started work about 10 and expect to be finished by 11:00. Then the “fun” started. First they didn’t have the right gas fittings. Off they go in search of the fittings. About 1:00 the parts runner comes back with the wrong type fittings. He got fittings for a water system, not a gas system. They send him off again. It’s close to 2:00 when he returns. Then the guy installing the fittings installs one incorrectly. On & on. By the time everything if finished it’s 5:30. We’re both worn out from all the waiting so we simply go back to the Route 66 Casino and have a sandwich for dinner. Tomorrow will be more fun. 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Capitol Reef to Gallup, NM

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Continued the drive along beautiful UT Hwy 12. Route 12 is like driving on a roller coaster. Steep grades and tight turns. A narrow road with very few guard rails.
We stopped in Torrey at the Visitor Center and inquired about a grocery store. There was one. As it turns out, today is the last day they are opened until next March. Bought some very good, freshly made bread & a package of hot dogs. The shelves were about bare of anything else. We haven’t seen a decent grocery store since we left Page, AZ. I wonder where these people shop. Found a Subway shop at a gas station and had lunch. We then drove to the Capitol Reef National Park just a few miles east of Torrey. The campground is in a place called Fruita. It was an old Mormon settlement from the late 1800’s. The original house was built in 1908 by polygamist Calvin Pendleton. The Gifford farm as it is commonly known is “…a sudden, intensely green little valley among the Waterpocket Fold, opulent with cherries, peaches and apples in season, inhabited by a few families who were about equally good Mormons and good frontiersmen and good farmers”. There are two accessible trails. One running along the Fremont River and another running through the farm & orchards. We walked them both. A very nice place for Carol. Gave her lots of interesting places to walk.


Left Fruita about 9:00 intending to go to Goblin Valley SP. Stopped at the Behunin Cabin in the Capitol Reef area. Look at the picture and read the sign! A family of TEN lived in this cabin. Next time you think you’re cramped for space, think about poor Mrs. Behunin & family.
We stopped in Hanksville to buy some cranberry juice and hamburger. While there we were able to get cell phone service; first time in three days. There was a message from Suzanne saying the Post Office had returned the mail she sent to us at Green River, UT. Since there was no longer a real need to go to Green River, and since I had already been there before and knew it wasn’t much, we sat in the grocery store parking lot and reviewed our plans. Carol was tired of being cold and had seen enough Utah rocks to last her a lifetime so we decided to head south to New Mexico. The road to NM took us right by the Hite access area to the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. Hite is where the Colorado River enters Lake Powell. So now we have been to both the beginning and end of the lake. We camped right on the lake. Mostly mud & rock. Not nearly as nice as the sandy beach at Lone Rock near the dam. It was us and two other RV’s along the entire lake. That’s one of the reasons we enjoy travelling off season; no crowds.


Today was mostly a driving day. Stopped near Bluff, UT at a BLD campground called Sand Island right on the San Juan River. Had lunch. There was a group of rafters heading down the San Juan River for a three day trip to Mexican Water. Continued on through UT then AZ. Most of AZ is through the Navajo Reservation. The poverty on the reservations is extensive. Shacks, old trucks, lots of men standing idly around just talking. Every vehicle they have ever owned is parked next to the house. I guess they simply drive them until they can no longer be driven.
We stayed the night at Chinle, AZ. Chinle, like Shiprock, has a huge outdoor market place. Cloths, household goods, etc. The Canyon de Chelly National Monument has a free campground next to the Visitors Center.


Drove to Gallup, NM today. Between yesterdays drive and today, we went mostly through the Navajo Reservation. Drove through several towns we remember from reading the Tony Hillerman series of mystery books centered on this part of the Country. Mexican Water, Chinle, where the Holiday Inn the characters had coffee at is located, Gonado, the location of the Hubbel Trading Post, and Window Rock, the Capitol of the Navajo Nation. Read in today’s paper that Hillerman passed away last week. We really enjoyed the books. Granddaddy (Gil Wagner) introduced us to them. In Gallup we went grocery shopping, did laundry and went to our all time favorite bakery; Glenn’s located on Route 66. They also have take-out lunch so we got burritos and a green chili Philly cheese steak. What a treat that was. Bought gas. $2.29/gallon. The cheapest gas so far on this trip and only the second time gas has been under $3.00/gallon.
Went to the Red Rock SP campground just off US-40 east of Gallup. Met an interestinf fellow. From Fort Collins. He & his wife must be at least 80. They are in a very old motorhome. Two years ago, they weren’t feeling very well and figured their travelling days were over so they sold the RV. A year later they were visiting family in Cheyenne, WY and went to a neighborhood garage sale. It turns out that part of the sale was their old motorhome!!. They bought it back. They figured it must just be their destiny to travel so they are still on the road. Heading to Tucson, AZ for the winter. Neither one is in great condition but they figure they would rather be warm then cold.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bryce Canyon

Monday, October 27, 2008

Drove to Bryce Canyon via routes 9, 89 & 12. A beautiful drive through small towns & farms. Toured the Visitors Center which included a small museum and an interesting movie. Checked into the campground then drove the 18 mile road through Bryce. The view areas were all accessible so Carol could enjoy the scenery. Took lots & lots of pictures. I was here with Gopher three years ago. It was in March and there was several feet of snow on the ground. Today it was in the mid-70’s and sunny.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Zion National Park

Left Lone Rock about 8:30 heading for Zion National Park. Did some last minute grocery shopping in Kanab and topped off the gas tank. This is a very rural part of UT. Towns are few & far between. There is a mile long tunnel leading into Zion from the East Entry. Oversized vehicles, i.e. RV’s, need to pay a $15 fee to use the tunnel. Oncoming traffic is stopped so you can drive down the center of this narrow tunnel.
Our campsite is nice. Lots of privacy to the rear plus a short walk to the Virgin River. Just outside the entry to Zion, is a group of shops, a deli, ice cream store, etc. Took a walk out there and bought an ice cream cone. Carol said this is her type of National Park. Electric hookups in the campground, nice places to walk and an ice cream store.  In addition, the main Visitor Center is right next to the campground.
There are two paved, accessible, trails in Zion. Pa’rus and Riverside Walk. Dogs are allowed on the Pa’rus Trail. We walked along some of the Pa’rus trail today because it starts near the Visitor Center. This trail follows the path of the Virgin River. We inquired if Carols scooter could get on the shuttle bus. It can!!. Tomorrow we’re going to take the shuttle to the end of the line and walk the Riverside Walk trail.


After breakfast & walking the dog, then waiting for it to warm up some, Carol & I took the park shuttle. The shuttle has a ramp/lift that extends to allow a scooter or wheelchair, to board. Very nice. We rode to the last stop; the Temple of Sinawava then walked the Riverside Walk “A beautiful, shaded walk that meanders through forested glens, following the path of the Virgin River into a high-walled canyon.” It was a very enjoyable 2 mile walk. The entire thing was paved with only a few steep places where I pushed the scooter up the hill.
The shuttle ride was very enjoyable. The driver narrated the ride so you knew what you were looking at.
After dinner, we walked to the store for an ice cream cone.

Saw a bumper sticker on an RV today. “When there is a storm you can either stay inside or you can dance in the rain”.

Another perfect day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

About 11 am we went for a walk on the Pa’rus Trail. About 3.5 miles round trip. Mostly it followed the path of the river. Now & then we would stop to let Gopher cool off and get a drink. It was in the mid-80’s this afternoon. Carol just loves it

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gopher pictures from Lone Rock

We met this really nice fellow at Lone Rock. Joey Yuan. He had a very sophisticated camera and took some great Gopher pictures.
Here are a few of our favorites.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lone Rock

It was cool in the morning. 41*. Gopher saw the two chocolate labs playing and ran down to say hello. On & off for the rest of the day, Gopher, Tinkerbell & Zane ran, swam, played, and chased after thrown sticks. Tinkerbell & Taint are female & male chocolate labs from the same litter. Two well behaved, and high energy, dogs. A good match for Gopher. The owners are from Flagstaff, AZ.


Woke up to 37* but no wind at all. Carol enjoyed sitting in the sun. We used the scooter and took a nice long walk. The sand was hard enough in most places so I didn’t have to push much. A guy parked nearby with his dog, Whisky. A lab mix. The dogs had a good time playing chase. Strange for a lab. mix, but Whisky wouldn’t do into water he couldn’t stand in. Another nice day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Glen Canyon Dam + Lone Rock

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Left the campground about 9 am heading for Page. Went to Wal-Mart, Basha’s grocery store, an excellent place to shop, filled up with gas and propane, ate our Basha’s take-out lunch of burritos, washed the camper, I got a haircut then we went to the Post Office to get the mail. Took care of all our chores by about 2 pm. Then we went to the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, i.e. the Glen Canyon Dam. Just as we went in, a tour of the dam was starting. We joined in. Very interesting. We went all the way to the lowest level of the dam. Saw the turbines and huge generators.
After the tour, we went to the Lone Rock primitive camping area. This time of year there is no charge. You simply park anywhere on the beach you care to. This is among the most beautiful campsites ever. If Gopher could speak out, she’d probably say it was her favorite campsite to date. No lease required, a huge fresh water lake and lots of open space to run. As the day went on, it became very windy. Probably in the 25 to 35 mph range. Tumbleweeds were blowing everywhere. Gopher chased them until I guess she decided it wasn’t as much fun just chasing a weed as chasing another dog.
There was a guy zipping around the beach with a scooter towed by a large kite. Another couple with two retrievers of some type, incessantly chasing their water toy. A guy with a small sailboat. A lady driving an ATV with her Border Collie as the passenger. A thoroughly enjoyable day. We’ll be here through Thursday.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lees Ferry Day 2


Another warm & sunny day. In the morning we walked around some of the old stone buildings from the active days of the Ferry. Because of the quality of the trail, we couldn’t get to the actual site of the ferry. Talked to our camping neighbors. One very active couple in their 80’s from San Diego and an apple orchard owner from North Carolina. The signs posted in the Blog give a lot of the local history.