Thursday, December 17, 2009

At Home

We miss our family and friends while we are traveling. It is always a pleasure and exciting to get home. Our friends, Frank and Sandy, had dinner for us. But the excitement disappeared as we entered the house. There had been a LOT of rain this year. The downstairs den, bedroom, etc had a good bit of mold and the living room and dining room roof had leaked - yuck - lots of work ahead for us. I spent a little more than a week washing ceilings, wall and uncarpeted floors with bleach and water. Then had to clean carpets and upholstery. Traveling is more my thing than extensive housekeeping. The furniture is now polished and everything is clean and fresh smelling. We will have a dehumidifier before we leave in January. The roof leak is fixed and I am in the process of repainting. If you live in a house, things just go wrong.

We took a break from house chores and joined other Lazy Dazers at Georgia Veterans Park in Cordele, GA for a few days. Always fun to spend time with LDers, making new friends and renewing old acquaintances.

After a few days at home, we drove Koko to our daughter's home and to help the family out while she recovered some from a bunionectomy. It is very busy with three children, ages 9, 6, and 3 going to different schools. We did a lot of driving in the week and half that we spent with them. Having Koko with us gave all of us a little private time. Had a good Halloween in Montgomery.

We were invited to spend Thanksgiving with our son-in-law's parents. How thankful we are that we all enjoy being together and enjoying our children and grandchildren. We got a tour of their "A" Class motor home - see we have things in common.

Since I had bunionectomy surgery last December, I was not able to really enjoy the Christmas season, so this year I decorated earlier than ever. Don & I are in the Christmas spirit. We have had friends over for dinner and drinks a few times. Our daughter and her family and my brother, sister-in-law and my niece and her family came over for a family Christmas/tailgate dinner during the SEC Championship. We all had a good time. Our youngest niece was not with us, but her new Golden Doodle puppy, Sully came. She is a beautiful and sweet puppy!

Sunday we will have a few friends over to help us celebrate our 40th anniversary. Then Christmas Eve we head to Montgomery to spend Christmas with our daughter and family. Once we get home, it will be time to get ready to leave for the winter trip to Rockport, Texas.

We have done quite a few little mods to KoKo; replaced the kitchen and bath blinds with curtains, a storage shelf for the printer, new storage for the folding table, etc. We never got around to waxing, before it got cold, so I guess that will get done in Texas.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous New Year and safe travels in 2010.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Homeward Bound

Saturday, Saturday 19

We hiked at Tent Rocks. We had been here two years back and wanted to do it again. It’s only a 3-mile RT, but Dorothy was having a bad foot day. It’s very accessible slot canyon, with interesting rock formations, plus a vista view from on top.

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Tent Rocks in New Mexico

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The slot canyon at Tent Rocks


Homeward bound - Cochiti to Santa Rosa SP. Stopped by CW in ALQ to pick up a spare water pump – just in case.


Santa Rosa SP to a city park in Pampa City, Texas. My birthday.


Pampa City to the Wal*Mart in Poco, Texas. We could not locate the alleged free city park in Enid, OK.

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The leprechaun hustling for gas at the gas station


Stopped at a private CG near Mountain Grove. MO. We gain could not find the alleged free city park west of Springfield.


Poco to Lake Wappapello SP near Popular Bluff, Arkansas. A small quiet park, ideal for fishing.


Arrived at LBL, Hillman Ferry CG for the South Central Lazy Daze Roundup. We enjoyed meeting new folks and catching up with old friends from the Baja trip. I will let Dorothy fill in the details of the next five days.


It was a little overcast and warm, not very inviting for kayaking. There was a barbeque benefit in town with several groups cooking and proceeds going to that group’s benefit. We had big, delicious, juicy ribs at Laurel’s Foundation. This foundation was started by a little girl, Laurel, who had had cancer and the proceeds go to support other children going through cancer treatment.

Sunday, September 27

All, except one, have arrived for the Roundup. We have spent time visiting with a lot of people and renewing friendships with some we have met before.


Beautiful day, but cooler and windy. Had fun trying out a new toy, a recumbent trike ; which I really did enjoy and decided I should have one. That is, until I learned the price was $2500 and up! Oh well, so much for that toy.

This is was first official gathering of the group and we enjoyed a great assortment of finger foods.


Again a cool day. We went to a program at the Planetarium. It wasn’t a great presentation. The group had a pot luck dinner.


We went to the Nature Center. I didn’t see how it would be very interesting especially since it is small and the only animals are one that are native to LBL. Was I ever wrong in my thinking! It was great. We had a energetic knowledgeable tour guide talking about the owls, a bald eagle, and a couple of hawks that live at the center, one’s that have been rescued and cannot survive in the wild now. They also have three red wolves that once lived in the area, a very laid back bobcat, a coyote, and an assortment of aquatic life.

Several of the men went on a guided fishing trip and caught lots of fish. So many that we had a fish fry instead of grilling out. They also supplied salad and all we had to supply was a baked potato.

It’s a good group and we are proud to say that we are now members. We will work together to get a multi-regional LD gathering in 2011

Thursday, October 1

Drove home from LBL. I can use all the water I want to wash dishes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Abiqui to Chochiti

Monday, September 14

It must have been another day in paradise. Darn if we can recall what we did during the day. We had a fine campfire with Jim & Mary of Beaumont, Gary and Sukie of El Paso and Pat and Buddy of Livingston. Texans all.


We finally found the TH for the Rim Trail. The access road is totally unmarked. Sadly you have to hike 2.3 miles to get “ on top” of the rim. So the RT from the TH to the top is a little over our max range. In the evening, at another campfire, the folks in the SOB’s told us about all the problems they had with their rigs. We offered them our condolences and went back and kissed KoKo.


We said goodbye to Kate & Terry. Don took out the new water pump, which died and then reinstalled the old one. He can now do this in an hour and no blood. We had a fine halibut dinner with Chris and Pat in their LD. It was good to put faces with email personna’s.


110% clouds with rain. An ideal day to drive to Santa Fe, do our marketing and then drive out to 110% clouds with rain. An ideal day to drive to Santa Fe, do our marketing and then drive out to Cochiti. At 5, it’s still overcast, but is supposed to clear. We have TV! - the first time in six weeks.

Our laptop died.


Today we went to Dixon’s Apple Orchard, which took 45 minutes to go one mile. Just goes to show that their apples are delicious. We bought them two years ago, so planned our return trip home around this event. Our favorite are the champagne apples. We got enough to share with family and friends.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another Week in Paradise


We drove to Santa Fe, shopped at Trader Joe’s and had a delightful dinner and visit with Bernie and Martha.


Terry and Kate came down from the Ghost Ranch. We went to Abiquiu looking for some mud boots for them. We had a tasty lunch at the Abiquiu Inn and explored an east road to some interesting rock formations.


We drove FS 151 to the end this morning. At the end of the road we found the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert.

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Interestingly, Delorme does not show this road, though it is a first-rate gravel road along the Rio Chama. There are several put-in, take –outs places for kayaks in addition to several camping areas – all free.

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The Rio Chama

Kate and Terry came by for dinner, Dorothy’s chicken enchiladas and Baja salad.


We have achieved a higher-level of slothfulness. With max effort, we can now be “out-the-door” by 10:15. Which we did today. We went up the road, again, to the Ghost Ranch and did laundry in their inexpensive machines. We got back in time for our naps. Next up, will be cocktails. Life is difficult.

Dorothy watched a couple try to put up a tent. It did not work out for them. They left.


We must be really enjoying Lake Abiquiu because today we were able to do absolutely nothing, just like at home. We puttered around the rig doing a few little housekeeping chores and sitting outside. After our nap, we went to see Kate & Terry and borrowed a few movies from them. The first one we watched was “All About Eve”. It’s a Betty Davis movie and quite good.


We today we did a short drive to see the white cliffs. They would have been good, except there were power lines in front of them so we did not take pictures. Again we lazed in the afternoon. We could really enjoying having a home here.

Sunday, September 13

Another day in close to paradise.

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Lake Abiquiu

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Abiquiu, New Mexico

Sunday, August 30

After stopping at Wal*Mart in the horrible town of Durango for groceries, drugs and a haircut, we managed to drive to Chama, NM for the night. It’s fine little park. Only thing is we spent as much for one night as we did for previous three weeks.

We caught up with the rain in Pagosa Springs so the rig is now dirty.



We did laundry and drove less than an hour over La Magna Pass to a private CG near Horca. The CG is rather tacky - filled with Texans for the season. Most of them do crafts. Boring!



Mike and Lisa Sylvester arrived to do preventive maintenance on all the major systems. No problems were found. We both learned a lot from them. We thought we knew a lot about RV’s. Wrong.

We went a few miles down the road to Elk River CG and parked next to Keith and Sandy. Fine CG, but not scenic.



We did a drive with Keith and Sandy in the mountains. Almost as soon as we left it clouded up. We did not see anything of interest and returned to the CG.



We had planned to hole up at Elk River for the holiday. But, after finding nothing scenic yesterday, we decided to head south and escape the afternoon rains, the clouds and the cool temps. Of course, it rained all the time we were driving through the mountains. Once we got near Abiquiu, it quit, but the clouds remained the rest of the day.

At least we are in red rock country. It’s not Escalante, but it beats most of Colorado. The Texans can have Colorado.

Abiquiu is a good value CG. COE. We have W&E for $7. That’s a dollar less than we paid last night for just a gravel pad in the woods. And there is dump in the CG. We have OK Verizon coverage. Excellent AT&T at the top of hill, but nothing in the CG. No TV. Since the place is booked for the weekend, we snagged the ADA site. It has an asphalt pad, a ramada, next to the bathhouse, the closest neighbor is 40 yards away and we have a view of the lake. Oh and a flower bed. Life is good.

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Our campsite at Abiquiu

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We put the yaks in the water before lunch and paddled for an hour. This arduous activity was followed by lunch and a nap.

Later the energy level went up again when Dorothy gave me haircut. This was followed by munchies and cocktails. Which was followed by dinner.


Saturday, September 5

The New Mexico sun favored us today. It was bright and sunny most of the day. The iron and sand colored rocks were illuminated and glowing.

Kate of Choula Red came down mid-morning to visit and took us back to the Ghost Ranch for lunch.

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Sunset at the campsite

Lunch put me in a nappy mood and so we came back to Abiquiu. The afternoon temp was divine for me. Having the right temp always puts me in a mellow mood. We re-found The Bridge on XM whose play list was perfect for the afternoon.

We have decided to stay in the area, probably right here, until we have to head east to LBL. Why? Well, it’s a magical area. Plus Champagne Apples will be ready to harvest about the middle of the month. We got a box from Dixon’s two years ago. Tasty! It seems a shame run off wo getting another box.

Dixon’s Apples

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The Ghost Ranch


Sunday, September 6

The plan for the morning was to hike the Rim Trail just north of us. It supposed to be the best hike in the state. We could not get moving. One thing after another. We made it near the trailhead by 11AM. The thought of hiking wo lunch coupled with the fear of the running out of gas in Pelli before we got to the TH, was enough to spin us around. We found the ONLY gas station in the area and filled up.

We found a great free parking spot next to the Rio Chama. The river is still a class 2 this late in the year. We move there next week.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our Last Week in the San Juan Mountains

Sunday, August 23

Laundry Day. In the evening we went to the Brass Band concert they have every Sunday evening.


It rained.


We drove to Stony Pass with Keith and Sandy. Since they have been coming here for over 20 years, they make fine tour guides. It was mostly overcast all day.

The ranger stopped by the other day to let us know a bear had been sighted. He gave us a pamphlet ‘Living With Wildlife’. In addition to the usual precautions was this one. Abstain from sexual activity.


Mostly overcast after 10am. I swapped the water pump and did some other chores. This has become a real neighborhood, even borrowing vinegar. Another fine campfire.


We drove to the top of Mt. Kendall that is the backdrop for the town of Silverton. This is not a saddle, from the top you have a 360 view of the San Juan’s. Fantastic. Dorothy was a little unnerved by the long narrow shelf road. We left Pelli and put on our hiking boots and walked about 1/2 mile up and had more fantastic views, also it was good to get a little exercise. Which does not take much time at nearly 13,000 feet. Huff and Puff

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Note we are almost as high as 13,500 footers in the background

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On Top of the World


Another scenic drive day for us. The first drive was very easy and we stopped at an old mine (one of thousands in this area) and had great views. We continued on for a few minutes and found more sheep grazing, but did not see the dogs. Then we went to Black Bear Pass. This is another jeep trail that is quite popular and difficult, but we only saw four other vehicles. We got to the top of the pass, which was as far as we could go. You need more jeep than we have to continue downhill. The views were spectacular, probably in the top three vistas of the trip.

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We Made It

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Looking West from Black Bear Pass

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The Road Down from Black Bear Pass

Interesting side note – when we arrived in Colorado, we weren’t impressed at all and I was ready to head home. Now that we have been in the Silverton area, we know we will be back. Most everyone we meet has been coming here for years and years.

Saturday, August 30

On our last day here, we went with Keith and Sandy up Arrista Gulch. This is the site of the Mayflower Mine and Mill, which operated until 1991. The highlight of the drive was spotting six mountain goats high above us.

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Fuzzy Picture of Mountain Goats – 420mm Hand Held

Dorothy is made dinner for Keith and Sandy and they brought a triple chocolate desert.

Today marks a minor milestone, we have not had hookups for three full months.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another Week in Silverton

Sunday, August 16

It was a fun day! The town of Silverton held it’s 28th Rocky Mountain Brass Band Concert this weekend. It started out with the National anthem. Since 9/11, I get teary eyed every time I hear it. To see the audience stand, hands over hearts is moving and if that doesn’t move someone then something is seriously wrong with them. I love Sousa marches and Stars and Stripes ended the concert. Now the important question – how do we get back here next year!

Another good thing, I made cornbread today and it was good. It’s really hard to cook at over 7000’. I think have figured it out but will have to wait and see how I do cooking rice the next time.

A woman was killed by a bear(s) here recently. She had been feeding them for years and had been warned several times. The tragedy of it is that two bears have already been put down and they are looking for more.


We drove the alleged scenic Lime Creek Road today. It was a bust. Perhaps when the Aspens are turning this would be a great drive.

We toyed with the idea of getting dressed up in cowboy and madam outfits and having our photograph taken. Then we wondered where we would hang it.


We spent the morning doing a few chores. Dorothy fixed tilapia sandwiches for lunch, which was followed by a short nap. And then we were off in the Jeep. We drove to Eureka again and turned left to Eureka Gulch. There are a lot of gulches around here. It was splendid drive to 13,300 and the view back the valley was magnificent. We saw a few snowflakes!

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Another meadow in the San Juan’s

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The dog wanted to be between us and his sheep

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One man, five dogs, over a hundred sheep


This was to be a fun shopping day. We drove into Durango about 50 miles south that took about 1½ hours. First we went to Home Depot and then found a Mexican restaurant that was only okay. We wanted to do a few more things, but it was warm and we went to Wal*Mart for grocery shopping. Durango is a way too busy little town, with lots of touristy stores.


We bit off more than we wanted to chew today, but we could not spit it out.

The plan was to drive Cinnamon Pass. Our guidebook said the trail would be no problem for us. When we got to the fork for Cinnamon, one look convinced us to pass it up. Darn it! Moose had been reported along that trail. I came up with Plan B, to head east on Engineer Pass. A mile or so on that trail convinced us to turn around and head down to US550 on the west side of Engineer. Very bad choice. This was the worst trail we have seen and once on it there was no turning around. While Pelli can slide down rock shelves on her skid plates, going up was out of the question. So we spent almost two hours descending to the paved road. Once we had to pile rocks in a hole to have a possibility of passing over an especially irregular section. It was really fun, or something else, when Pelli did a diagonal see-saw on two wheels.

The really fun thing was at the turn around point – lots and lots of sheep and five sheep dogs along with the shepherd from Bolivia. It was interesting that as we stood there watching, the sheep headed downhill toward us. One of the dogs checked us out. He was very friendly but very watchful of his sheep. We chatted with the shepherd for a few minutes and gave him some much needed water.

Had a fireplace discussion about all matters of importance with the our neighbors.


A lazy day. We walked round Silverton checking out the tourists shops and people watching. We had rum cocktails at the Silverton Distillery where they make rum. Another evening around the fire, with Bill & Ruby of Victoria, Texas, Keith & Sandy of Iowa, and Ron and Patty from Utah.


The water pump started doing odd things a few days ago and last night it continued running after it should have re-pressurized. This morning I decided to replace it with the spare we carry. But first, I wanted to try adjusting it before tackling the replacement. Of course, to access the adjustment screw I had to take out the converter to get to it. Grumble. I turned the screw clockwise two turns with no effect. I returned it to the original position and then a quarter turn to the left and bingo the pump cut off. It has worked flawlessly the rest of the day, so maybe I will put the converter back in tomorrow.

Having solved that puzzle, we took Pelli on the Ophir Pass. This proved to be fine road with remarkable scenery all the way to the pass. The road down to Telluride was not so great. Pretty rough. When we got to the pavement, I went south toward Lizard Pass looking for the place where I took a picture in 1994. They must have moved the mountain, I could not find the place.

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On the way up to Ophir Pass. It was clouding up.

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Taken from Ophir Pass. Yes, that’s our road in the foreground

Rather than return via Ophir Pass, a mere 10 ,miles, we drove 80 miles around on the pavement. We stopped in Ouray and had an abysmal and over-priced dinner at a Mex place. But, other than that, a great day.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Black Canyon, Ouray and Silverton

Sunday, August 9

Today we drove to the north rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We had not gone but a few miles when three Lazy Daze passed us. I suppose they had spent the weekend at the state park and were on their way home. Two brown and one gray rig.

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The Black Canyon at Noon

The CG at the north rim is small and quiet. Evidently the attraction here technical climbing on the sheer canyon walls. We drove the rim road and peered into the awesome gorge. Some canyons are longer, some are deeper, some are narrower and a few have walls that are as steep. But, no other canyon combines the depth, narrowness, sheerness and somber countenance of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. That said, we think the canyon is worth only a few hours visit. That is what we gave the south rim in 1994. Overall, we think the Curecanti area is more scenic than the area inside the park.



Finally, correctly fashioned mountains. The San Juans. They have jagged peaks. None of that rounded off mess.

We left the north rim at 9 and did not park the rig for the day until almost 4. We thought we would spend a day or two at an RV park in Montrose and shop, enjoy the library, etc. All spaces were taken by A’s. Plus the traffic in Montrose is horrendous. We tried the FS Amphitheater CG in Ouray – full. We continued south toward Silverton and spotted parking on FS/BLM property right off the highway. We have a great view of the mountains, but no amenities, which Dorothy wanted. But, we are situated to do the four-wheel roads in the area.

Dorothy only drove KoKo for 20 miles and Pelli for 10 miles today, but her foot is very painful. The 10 miles she drove on winding US550 gave her a very bad attitude that took a stiff drink to remedy. She said she would never poop again. I suppose that is something akin to having the poop scared out of you.


Why would Dorothy complain about this road?


They paved it in the 60’s

We saw a green LD northbound in Ouray.



After a yummy breakfast of cinnamon toast, we drove into Ouray to do a few tourist things. We got on the Internet at the library and found a FS CG in Silverton with water. We don’t really want to move, but we will need water before the weekend. And the thought of driving there to get water then coming back on the mountain road is more than we care to deal with.

US 550 from Ouray south-bound is, first, a spectacular drive, second, scary since the curb side white line is missing in a few places. Straight down. Guard rails? They are for sissies. They were winching a vehicle out when we passed at 8:30. They were still winching at 1. Two wreckers. The speed limit varies from 10 to 25 and most vehicles comply with the law. It’s called Million Dollar Highway. I recall it from out 1994 trip here. I also recall smoking the brakes going down into Ouray. You should see the original road bed, it was just wide enough for a wagon. [Photo above]

At four, with Radio Margaritaville playing A1A, we took Pelli for a drive up the Corkscrew Gorge. The afternoon sun was perfect to illuminate the three iron faced mountains. We did not have time to get to the top and make it back in time for dinner, but the views from 11,700 were spectacular. The San Juan’s are the most scenic area we have been in since we left Escalante country. We will spend a few more days here four-wheeling. The trail we took today is rated 4 out of 8. However on the authors scale, more than a 4 requires more Jeep than we have. Pelli did fine and it was an enjoyable and memorable drive.

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Scenes of Red Mountain on the Corkscrew Gulch Trail



Colorado is geared to the tourist. Every town has shops to appeal to the tourist. This is unlike Utah. In many Utah towns there is barely a hint of commercialism, much less business for the tourist trade.

We drove south to a CG just north of Silverton. The FS website said it had water, which we needed. The CG has no water, but the VC in town does, so we parked. We later found out that the CG we were seeking is further down the road the dirt road and the park host is a Nazi. We lucked out again. Great views, friendly neighbors, no traffic and it is free.

It’s very interesting about campgrounds – some are very friendly and there are some where you never see the neighbors. People here are out walking and talking to each other – got to love it.



We took Pelli out on the trails again. We first went to the “ghost town” of Animas Forks and then continued on over California Gulch and finally down Corkscrew Gulch. The last trail was the one we partially did Tuesday afternoon.

The terrain was rugged and breathtaking. The only rub - the skies were overcast all day.

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Lake Como

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More of Red Mountain(s)

This small area of Colorado had hundreds of mines in the late 1800’s. Some of the mines were little more than a hole in the ground. Others had miles of tunnels and produced more than a million dollars of ore a month. Most of the mines closed after the US went off the bi-metal standard and the price of silver plummeted. Remember WJ Byran and his Cross of Gold speech? The hillsides are covered in the remains of the mine structures. We saw one gold mine that is still in operation.



It started raining last night and has continued off and on most of the day. The radar shows more rain coming in from Utah. No jeeping today.

We had a double rainbow. The lower one was barely above the tree tops.

Rain, however, does not dampen a hummingbirds interest in feeding. We have a stick clamped to the ladder and the feeder hung from the stick. The “little darlings" are less than six inches from the rear window. We have Black Throated, Broad Tailed and Rufus varieties. [Our bird guide says the Rufus does not live in these parts] We get a lot of enjoyment from a cup of sugar.

We had an enjoyable lunch with our neighbors Jerome and Ann of Andalusia, AL. This is first place we have been with a wide assortment of license plates. Next to us we have Arizona, Arkansas and Alabama. The area has a LOT of Texas plates.


Saturday, August 15

The sun is back! We got a late start on another 4WD road to Clear Lake. There was a knock on the door as we were getting ready to leave and it was an Alabamaian. He asked where we lived and we said Hoover. They live in Hoover also. They invited us to call them when we get back and join them for Square Dancing. We have one of the requirements for joining their group – an RV. They are a RV Square Dance group. It’s great exercise, right Nancy, so we may just give it a try.

The views were dramatic at Clear Lake. The lake was most camera-friendly.

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This is the way I like my mountains to look

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At 12,000 feet, Clear Lake. And yes, the wind was  blowing.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Rockies and Curecanti NRA

Sunday, August 2

We drove south to Buena Vista Sunday and parked with Lee and Debbie, a Lazy Daze couple on their lot. The lot has a fine view of the surrounding mountains.



We followed Lee and Debbie in their tricked up Jeep north to Leadville and then over Mosquito Pass, the highest unpaved road in Colorado. Lee said the road is rated 3 out of 5 in the four-wheeling guide. It’s not difficult, but it is very rough. Thankfully they took us west-to-east as the opposite way is more difficult. Pelli did fine, she only light scraped on a skid pad in a few places.

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What the road looked like

We had some good mountain views all during the tour. While the mountains are 13-14 thousand feet, they are gray granite with dark green Spruce below the timberline. They are not especially photogenic to me any more. My tastes have changed since 1994.

Next we went to a goat farm, where we got to pet the woman’s many Nubian goats and a dozen or so cats. We had more fun than our grandkids could have had. We bought some goat cheese spread.

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Our final destination was half-way up another mountain to a grove of Bristlecone Pines. These are different from the variety in the White Mountains of California. Their bark is white, not golden with resin.

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Lay Day – We did shopping and Dorothy got a haircut. Dorothy cooked a fine meal for the four of us and Lee and Debbie had one of those big birthday cookies for Dorothy.


We went 24 miles south to Salida, dumped and got a few more groceries at Wal*Mart. Judging by the people we saw, there has been a lot of inbreeding in Salida. We find these towns from time-to-time.

Before noon, we were in a campsite on the east side of Monarch Pass at 10,500 feet – the highest we have parked. The elevation will be helpful as it warming up today. Sadly, the CG is not much.


90 miles west of Monarch Pass is the Curecanti NRA. We had never heard of the place until we noted it on a map last week. [We are truly winging it in Colorado, we did not study on places to go and we have made no plans] Anywho, this NRA is on the Gunnison River. You have probably heard of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison NM, well not all of the canyon is within the monument, part of it is here. It is a deep canyon, but the walls are not as dark as it is in the monument.

Our parking spot is really nothing but a striped off place on an asphalt parking lot right on the water. The view is pretty good. The best part is a water hydrant right next to us. Yes, water, cool clear water. All we want. Plus there is a dump a hundred yards away. Water to clean KoKo, Pelli, the yaks and long showers for us. We are in luxury.

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View from parking area

The FS CG’s in the area must not like RV’s as there is only one dump located in a remote area and water is available only through hand pumps.


We took a short drive to see the Curecanti Pinnacle, which is not all that great from above. It may look fantastic at river level. The view into the canyon is much better. At the overlook for the pinnacle, two streams join the Gunnison, so you have a four-way intersection of canyons. The effect really messed with my perception. It appeared that one of the streams was running uphill to me.

Dorothy developed a migraine? headache and that shut her down for the rest of the day. I amused myself patching the seat in her kayak and other little chores.

At 9:45 a travel trailer pulled in right next to us. Dorothy had just gotten to sleep. I went near ballistic. There were 50 equally good empty spaces he could have taken. I went outside and gave him a piece of my mind. He was pleasant. His wife wanted to kill me. They moved. All we needed was to listen to them level the trailer for a half hour. The next morning she put the evil eye on us. Plus they had a slide! No way was it going to fit.

Saturday, August 8

I noted on the Delorme map that the Lake Fork River drains into the Gunnison. The canyon is supposed to be fiord like. That sounded just right for paddling the yaks. I found a road that went to head of the canyon. We were off. The road along Lake Fork was originally the bed for an 1890 era railroad. We passed a dozen people fishing the river and one fellow with small gold dredge. The scenic drive ended about a half mile before we had access to flat water. Plus a few hundred yards downstream was a huge log jam. Foiled!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Flaming Gorge and the Flat Top Mountains

Sunday, July 26

We drove north on US191 from Vernal to Flaming Gorge. We picked Fireman’s Memorial CG which seems like the best of the many in the area. By luck, we got a good site. It’s quite a large site that has two views of the reservoir below. And it’s cooler here. The afternoon high was 84.

This is a boaters and fisherman’s paradise. It is not as scenic as it is billed. I recall the north end of the Gorge as being more striking.

We plan to do a scenic drive on one day and paddle the yaks the other. Then it will be decision time. Head west and camp in Unitas mountains or head east to Colorado.

There is a Magpie here and it sounds like the very annoying noise you hear on the radio when Civil Defense does it monthly test.

I think Utah could change it’s flag. A truck towing a travel trailer, towing a trailer with ATV’s would better depict what Utahans are all about.

I never thought about Utah as cow country. They are everywhere as it’s open range. You are hiking in an area where mountain goats do not tread and there are cow patties. Nothing green in sight, but cows were here. I’ll bet the ration of cows to humans is high in Utah as they have so few people.



Dorothy writes: We got on the road before 9:00, looking for a place to put in the yaks. We found a ramp and away we went. We had a great paddle. I think Flaming Gorge is just fantastic. This is one place where I wish we had a motorboat so that we could explore the Gorge. No one has asked us to go boating or share the fish they have caught. I am getting a craving for salmon, so guess we will have to find a store and buy some.

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We did a scenic drive today. The first part of the drive took us through Hideout Canyon, which is a excellent canyon. When we came out of the canyon, we were at Flaming Gorge Reservoir, the part called Sheep Bay. This is one fantastic vista. See picture. It totally beats the view from Red Canyon. There are two places to overnight here, both overlook the water. They are nothing but dirt, but the view is great and it’s free. Note to self, come back here in cooler weather.

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Wednesday, July 29

Into Colorado

As we crossed the state line, the odometer read 28,122, 3,162 miles since we left home. [Pelli has about the same number of miles] That means we have averaged about 40 miles a day in KoKo on this trip. That’s about four gallons of gasoline a day.

When we stopped in Craig, CO for groceries, it was noticeably cooler even though we were at the same elevation, 6,300, as at Dinosaur. I don’t know why it’s cooler, but it sure feels good.

Not having a clue where we wanted to be, we picked the closest FS CG to Steamboat Springs - Meadows CG just off of US40 at 9,300 feet. It was a long pull up Rabbit Ears Mtn from Steamboat Springs to the CG.



Dorothy writes: We are near Bear Creek Campground near Yampa at 9700’. For those of you at lower elevations, I will explain the difference. I am wearing jeans, socks, long sleeve t-shirt and a light-weight flannel shirt and I am very comfortable.

I said were are near the CG as we are dispersed camped, but with a difference we have not encountered before. These dispersed sites have fire rings, picnic tables and gravel parking pads rather than just an open place in the forest. And they charge for them – a buck 50 a night.

Why are we here? Well without any research on Colorado, the Flat Top mountains sounded interesting and close by. Besides, I could not resist going to a place named Yampa - the Ute word for big medicine.

From a pamphlet about the area: Nathan Meeker, a Government Indian Agent, arrived in the White River valley in 1878 with visions of developing a rich agricultural business. He saw the Indians as threat and vowed to plow up their lands and convert the Indians to farmers – thereby “civilizing” the Ute.

This conflict, known as the Meeker Massacre, led to the killing of Meeker and ten government employees. The massacre resulted in the eventual removal of the Ute’s from their homeland to reservations. And was the last major Indian uprising in Colorado.

A political note from Dorothy: Theodore Roosevelt was responsible for much of the public lands we enjoy. He did this, not for political gain, but because he thought it was important for everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy the wilderness. Franklin Roosevelt created the CCC, of course, buying votes for the next election. But these young men built things that still stand 70 years later. He helped create roads into these public lands. There is no way this would happen today. First, young people probably aren’t willing to go without their “comforts” – cell phone, wifi, etc. for a very small amount of money, half of which had to be sent home. Second, any construction would have to have union members. Probably no other presidents have done so much for the public lands. Can you picture some of our “modern” day presidents and congress people getting away from it all!



We drove into Oak Creek to do laundry and had a yummy pizza for lunch. I wanted to give the Flat Top Mountains more of a chance to charm us so we took the scenic drive. This turned out to be mostly a drive through fir trees. When we got to Dunckley Pass at 10,000 odd feet we overlooked and decided we had seen enough and turned around. I have ruled off the area for future exploration.

The Flat Tops are black basalt on top, carved by glaciers and covered with dark green firs on the slopes. This makes getting a decent picture of them futile for me.


The west has lots of dead trees. Consider that Yellowstone had a major fire in 1988. The trees are still standing. The fir trees in this area were attacked by beetles - in the 1940’s. They are still standing. The Indians used Cedar and Juniper as roof supports. Some of those logs are still laying across the ruins – 1000 years later. Now consider how long it takes an Oak tree to decompose in Alabama.

Wildlife – closely following camper’s need to build campfires in the summer, is taking pictures of wildlife. Well, not all that wild. In a film we saw at a FS VC last week, the narrator mentioned wildlife and on the screen was a freaking chipmunk. The same damn varmints that I shoot in my backyard. Perhaps I should start feeding them and charging people to see our wildlife? Perhaps it would increase the value of our home?

Marmots are everywhere here. When they hear a car coming, that signals them to exit the weeds and cross the road.

Big Horn Sheep

We would leave here in the morning, but it will be Saturday and on weekends finding a decent place to park can be difficult. Weekends are the bane of retired travelers.

We will drive south to Buena Vista Sunday and meet up with a Lazy Daze couple and do some four-wheeling.



Dorothy is officially old today - a Medicare recipient. She starts it just when Congress wants to transfer funds from the near bankrupt Medicare to fund health insurance for those here illegally.

Today also marks two months without hookups.

We had our second hailstorm last night. This one lasted for about 15 minutes with BB size hail. A brochure for this area says “Summer days normally begin with sunshine, but thunderstorms often form by later afternoon. They are usually short-lived and skies clear quickly for a fresh and cool afternoon”. In our brief time here that has been the case. But, there may be participation at other times also.

Today has been rain free with blue skies.

We managed to do a two-hour huff and puff hike this morning. We never acclimate to elevation and at 10,000 feet getting up is often a problem for Dorothy. The trail we took goes to the Devil’s Causeway, a narrow path linking two buttes. Why it is so popular is beyond me, but it is the most popular trail in NW Colorado. The popularity is also evidenced by the number of vehicles passing our campsite on the way to the trailhead.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dinosaur NM

Monday, July 20

Our drugs arrived! So we kicked the tires and lit the fires and drove WAY north to Dinosaur NM to meet up with Betty and Terry. Our travel time was 7.5 hours. Of course that includes Wal*Mart, hunting for propane, lunch, etc. Still, we were tired puppies when we got to Deer Lodge CG, which is just over the line in Colorado. Three high balls later, I was in much better shape.

The CG is not much - a dirt parking lot. If you are tenting, you have some tall grass for your tent site. However, it is right on the shore of the Yampa River, which is a fast moving shallow river, entirely appropriate for rafting and yakking. The first night there were three of us there. Full house, the next night, seven.

The deal is Dinosaur is low, 5 to 6 thousand feet and so it’s warm.


We all piled in the Peli [blessed a/c] and drove the phenomenal Yampa Bench Road. It’s only 30-odd miles, but the loop is over a 140 miles. It took us seven hours. Four very tired puppies.

However, the overlooks have some of the most spectacular views anywhere. Plus we had near ideal weather for photography.

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Terry woke us up at 5:45 to prep for moving and hiking. We drove east to the Harper’s Corner Overlook and hiked the one-mile trail out to the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers. SPECTACULAR! Sadly, the fine weather we had yesterday did not continue. It was sunny with a blue sky, but hazy, so we could not take any decent pictures.

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After the hike we continued west to the Green River CG in the west end of the park. It’s even lower, 4,800 feet and so it is warmer. We are going to try to put up with the heat and enjoy the park.


We started slow today, not getting into the Jeep until 9. Our goal for the day was to get a “Play Permit” which allows you to float/paddle the Green River through a section of the park. We thought it would be a cool way to spend part of the day. By the time, we got the permit and located both the put-in and take-out points it was getting warm, so we explored some other places in the park and made it back to KoKo in time for lunch and a nap before the heat arrived.

During the afternoon heat, we enjoyed the a/c of Lowe’s and the library.


We all piled into Pelli and drove to view the petroglyphs at McKee Springs. They were well worth the trip. In the afternoon, it was too hot, 97, to do more than drink cold water and sit.

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Saturday, July 25

We kept putting off the yak float. Today was to be the day. We awoke to a very light drizzle and completely overcast skies. Without the sun, the trip would not be scenic and so we are sulking around the CG. However, it’s much cooler without the sun, low 80’s.

In the morning, we will head to Flaming Gorge and our tour guides, the Woods, will go to Jones Hole to hike down to the Green River.

We plan to come back here, when it’s cooler. Maybe next May.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cathedral Valley, Kent Lake, Indian Creek

Sunday, July 13

We spent the night parked next to the Fremont River. Regrettably it rained several times during the afternoon which brought out the mosquitoes and yellow flies, so we stayed inside and listened to the river babble.
Like most western rivers, the Fremont is only 20 feet wide and two feet deep, but the water runs speedily.


We did it. We parked KoKo with an overlook of Cathedral Valley. We woke up to blue skies with a few alto cirrus clouds. By 10am cumulus clouds were starting to appear. The jet trails were wide, indicating a lot of water vapor in the air. Drats, I was hoping our third foray into Cathedral Valley would be clear for some good pictures. Oh, well, you play the hand you are dealt.

In addition to the water vapor there was a small fire just south of us that added a little more haze. Still the sunset view was worthwhile. The cathedral rock formations were just below us maybe three miles off. To the south, we could see Boulder Mountain and in the distance were the Henry Mountains. To the north, we think we could see the San Rafael Swell.

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Our company was a truck camper parked two miles distant at Round Lake and a cowboy who went by with three saddled horses and two Blue Healers.


There are ATV’s everywhere. No self-respecting Utahan would be without two. Kids drive them on the highways. No plates, no license, no one cares. Dorothy was talking with a man who moved here and bought an ATV. He said he could strap on his .45, get on his ATV and go to town and no one gives a damn.

Today was our longest drive since we got to Utah. It would have only taken us an hour, but there was a mountain in the way, so we went around, 2.5 hours. It took us all day, as we went to the grocery store and washed clothes along the way. We drove on concrete, both I70 and I15! And us shunpikers.

Tonight we are at Kent Lake in what is termed the Beaver Canyon area, just east of Beaver, UT. The Beaver River runs through the canyon, but we think all the beaver were made into hats long ago.

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We had cocktails with the camp host Janice and Ray. The first humans we have chatted with in weeks. While chatting with them, they asked if we fish. Everyone fishes except us. I gave the standard reply, “No, but we sure like to eat them.” They brought us some of the trout that Ray caught the previous week and had frozen. It is always a good thing to beg!


We came here to do a drive through the mountains that our back roads guide said was spectacular. We drove a boring forested road, finally breaking through the trees at Big John Flats and got a view of the 12,000-foot bald peaks. A few miles up the road, just beyond Poison Creek a gate was closed. Something about too much snow and rain. Arg! They could have put a sign at the beginning of the road announcing the closure.

Dorothy got some reading material at the pawn shop - the only retail store in Beaver.


Since the weekend is almost here, it’s was either move or stay at Kent Lake, which is an extremely busy area. Since people were already walking through our campsite to get to the lake, we decided to move.

After a long time (for us), we arrived at Indian Creek CG. It’s very small, 7 sites, and certainly off the beaten path. There are three of us here. After getting settled in, it was time to fix dinner. This is the first time I have ever pan-fried trout. We were given four large trout and two medium size pieces. Since it was all frozen together, I had to cook it all. It was delicious. We had corn on the cob with the trout. Corn is very cheap here, ranging from 15 – 20 cents an ear and delicious.

A comment on the un-paved roads here. Since we left red rock country, the road surfaces have been much better. However, they are quite dusty. This part of Utah was volcanic. There are lava flows all over the place. Crushed lava rock makes an excellent road bed. The deal is the dust sticks to the car like glue. Poor Pelli stays gray.

I mentioned that everyone here has two or more ATV’s. I forget to mention everyone also has a camping trailer. Most of them are medium age, while some of them are decades old and look it. The forests are littered with trailers. It’s a Utah thing to camp in the mountains and ride ATV’s.

Looks boring to us. At least the ATV folks in Oregon, California and Arizona ride on sand. Here they just ride down a road, that they call a trail, we don’t get it.

Strangeness on I70 – Perhaps this only happened because we are not accustomed to driving on concrete. We were eastbound from Richfield going into a canyon whose walls were increasingly higher. The illusion was that BOTH lanes appeared to be going downhill. This went on for miles. The river along the highway flows west, so unless gravity was suspended we were going uphill and the GPS confirmed it.


Our goal for the day was to drive the Skyland Drive and swing by the post office and pick up some drugs. We failed at both tasks.

The drive started well enough. The Skyland Drive goes down the spine of the Washatch Plateau mostly above 10,000 feet. There are superb views of the valleys below on both sides of the road. After about 15 miles, the fine road changes to ‘Native Surface’. Which means they scraped the vegetation off the rock sometime in the past. We elected to continue. After another 15 miles, just before we were to cross the highest pass, we were stopped by a snow bank. Drats!

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When we turned around we had driven 40 miles in four hours and faced another four hours back. Arg! After about five miles, we noted a road winding into the valley heading directly for our CG. Our GPS showed it as better road than we were on. We took it. It turned out to be a goat path down the mountain. Once on it, there was no turning around. Near the bottom, it improved dramatically and it did cut three hours off our travel time. If only I did not damage the tires on the rocky road.

We reach a milestone tonight – 400 nights in Koko and we still love it and think it’s one of the best purchases we have made.

Walter Cronkite died today at the age of 92.


We finally had a successful scenic drive. It was through “rock” country. We drove from Castle Dale through parts of the San Rafael Swell, which is an anti clime, or to us, a rock formation that was pushed up.

Along the drive we saw the “Little Grand Canyon” of Utah, some really clear petroglyphs, rock formations that are superior to Valley of the Gods and canyons that are a cut above those at Natural Bridges and rival those at Capital Reef. All this on BLM land that can be accessed in a passenger car, on a smooth gravel road that rides as well most paved roads and had near zero dust.

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If we get back to area in the fall or spring there are several camping spots near “The Wedge”. The sites are scattered over several square miles. I don’t think any are closer to one another than a half-mile. The only vehicles we saw on the road were three ATV’s and the Sheriff.

The air temperature was 101, so we did our sight sighting from the car. Pausing every so often to step out at an overlook and take a picture. A late afternoon shower just north of us, cooled things down to the upper 70’s.


Sunday, July 19

We drove down into the valley to be close to the Post Office. Hopefully our drugs will arrive in the morning and we can head north. We are going to try to hook up with Betty and Terry. No way to contact them, so will park at one CG in Dinosaur NM and see if they show up there.

Parked at a Utah SP near Castle Dale. TV, cell coverage, SHOWERS, no hookups, 88 degrees.