Saturday, December 25, 2010

Our wonderful day

First of all - it stopped raining and snowing; we actually had a beautiful sunny day.  Don, Kenny and I were up early, and I made our usual Christmas morning breakfast of cinnamon rolls. (I'd love to say that I used my mom's recipe, but I needed a break from all the cooking and used Pilsbury!)  We saved some for Theresa, since she wasn't due to get off work until 10:45.  Since there's no room for her to park up here, and her father knew she'd be tired, he picked her up and brought her up here for a few hours. We opened our Christmas gifts, and then ate a hearty meal:  ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and ambrosia salad. I'd made cornbread dressing, but forgot to cook it!  We'll have it tomorrow and for the next few days. 

We took some pics - it had been a while since we had some:

Theresa's now 29, and Kenny is 27.

Theresa got a mini-computer, a case for it, and a gift card to Sport Chalet so she can get some soccer gear.

This was my gift to Kenny - it's an Eleanor Burns Victory Quilt. Since he's in the Air Force I thought a patriotic, military-themed quilt would be nice to throw on his couch. We also gave him some gift cards to use when he gets to Alamogordo and needs things for his apartment.

We're now in a food-induced stupor, our Lakers got killed by Miami, and the Cowboys are off to a bad start against the Cardinals. Theresa's back home, sleeping, since she has to go in to work at midnight.

I hope everyone had a great day! As for me, I'm enjoying some down time, planning our summer trip to Canada!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rain Day #6

It rained all night; this morning it started to turn to snow. It's been snowing all day, but it's wet, heavy snow. Don and I ventured down the mountain to Home Depot to get him some rain gear, and saw the bulldozers and plows at work at 4 different places.

Picture our town: we're in a long, narrow box canyon, with our main road (Valley of the Falls Drive) running through that canyon. It's crossed by numerous creeks and gullies - most of which stay dry most of the year. When it rains a lot, the first to blow out is Rattlesnake Creek - which brings mud and rocks down across the road. There are dozens of piles of this debris - some as high as 15 feet - wherever the bulldozers could put it.

The second to blow is the one above us - I don't know the name of the creek but it runs down Summit Drive, crosses Valley of the Falls, and then crosses Island Drive. Island is a dirt road that goes out to about 15 homes, and when the water and debris come down, a gully is cut out through the road that's about 3-5 feet deep. So the residents of Island Drive are cut off until the storm passes and the 'dozers rebuild their road.

The third spot to blow is Snow Creek, which once destroyed a home on Spring Drive and killed the woman inside. When it comes down hard, you can't cross it because it's between what we call the "double hump," and is running too fast.

The fourth is down near Lower Canyon Drive - and it seems to consistently be mostly mud. There's a couple large trucks parked across the street that are now up to the tops of their wells in mud.

The local amateur weather sleuth told us at the post office that so far, this storm has dumped TWENTY-THREE INCHES of rain on Forest Falls.  Our canyon faces west, so the storms coming in off the ocean and the Los Angeles Basin hit the San Bernardino Mountains, and just empty out. (That's why everything east of the mountains is desert.)

Mill Creek, looking upstream just below Mountain Home Village 

Mill Creek, looking downstream from just below Mountain Home Village. It's roaring through 4 different channels.

We're fine - and so glad that our home is built far enough away from Mill Creek and the larger side canyons.  We do have a small normally-dry creekbed behind our house that is now running, but it's deep and shouldn't cause any problems. On the news this morning, we saw some houses floating down the Virgin River in Mesquite, Nevada - this storm is hitting southern Nevada and Utah hard, too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Unbelievable rain and more rain

We're now on day #5 of this rain - more than we've ever seen, EVER, up here. Even the storm of 2005 couldn't compare to this. The meteorologists call this system an airborn river - it's been flowing out of the Pacific and over southern California and dumping record rainfall for 5 days.  It's not supposed to stop for 3 more days, and this morning it turned to snow for a while. All day we've been getting sleet/rain/sleet - to where it's really slushy now.  Tonight, tomorrow, and tomorrow night we're supposed to get several feet of snow.

The roads have been washed out in several places; the bulldozers worked all night (we can hear the loud back-up beeps); and the normally dry creek behind our house has been roaring. When you step out of the house, you can hear the roar of Mill Creek. Kenny went down the mountain today and said that the creek is 20-25 feet across (normally it's just a few feet).

One side effect of all this rain is the moisture and humidity that builds up inside the house. We have thermal curtains on many of the windows and they cause a lot of condensation to build up on the inside of the glass. The doors are all swollen and stick when you open and shut them.

I am grateful that this is a warmer system - up at Mammoth Lakes, they've gotten 13 FEET of snow. So I"m not going to complain too much about this rain - until Thursday, and we're shoveling it off our front walkways.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Our son Kenny is home for the winter holiday season. We picked him up at the Palm Springs Airport yesterday afternoon; he'd been on a plane for over 24 hours. He's in transit from his old base (Kadena Air Base) in Okinawa, Japan to his new one (Holloman Air Force Base) in New Mexico.

He's a Staff Sergeant in the AF now; I can't believe it's been 8 years since he graduated from Yucaipa High School and went into the AF. This will be the first time since 2004 that he's been in the states - so it'll be strange to be able to text and phone him on his cell. He never got to use a cell for across-the-ocean use when he was in Korea, Kyrgizstan, Diego Garcia, or Japan. He drove down the mountain today specifically to get a cell phone, and picked up a nifty smartphone (they were out of iPhones) at the AT&T store. I forget what kind it is, but it's made by Samsung.

He has his own truck this time - we picked it up for him before Thanksgiving in Yucca Valley - so he's not "stuck" here at home.  That bit of freedom should make this visit a bit less boring for  him. His sister has already reserved some of his time on her days off, and I intend to take him with me to breakfast with my Friday breakfast club. Don and I might take him out to Joshua Tree for some day hiking, or maybe some fishing up at Big Bear Lake. 

So, I'm already enjoying feeding him, and looking forward to some nice holiday memory-making.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Big Day

Yesterday was what I would call a momentous day.  Three significant events occurred - and I've turned the corner to start the big countdown.

1) At lunch, I met with a friend, Linda, who shared with me her two giant scrapbooks of her trip up the Al-Can Highway to Fairbanks and Anchorage and then back down to the US. It jump-started my planning for our trip this coming summer - and I came back to the office and immediately got online to order a couple of books.  (Milepost and another guide to camping along the highway in the Yukon and Alaska) Now the actual planning begins!

2) At 4:00 a notary came to my office to meet with me and my husband, and we signed all the final paperwork to refinance our house.  This is a big deal to us since we knocked our mortgage payment down nearly $400/month - from $1087 to $709.  We now have a bit more ready cash to pay off some bills.

3) At 4:45 I made it to the district office in time to turn in my retirement papers.  Since the district is offering an incentive, and set 25 as the "magic number" of people it needed for the incentive to "go," I was thrilled to learn that we have 33 already.  So I'm retiring, officially, on June 2nd!!!!!!!!!

As of today, there are exactly 100 school days left to go!  The widget on my sidebar shows how long including weekends and holidays.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Feeling a little bit jealous...

I've been catching up on various things since we returned from Texas yesterday. Today, I decided to tackle Google Reader - where I had 567 posts waiting to be read.  At first, I scrolled through them chronologically - it shows the newest ones first. But after a while, I decided to select various bloggers and read all their posts at once.

I'm a little jealous of the full- and part-timers who have made their ways to the different warm spots they love to live in during the winter - from southern Arizona, to southern Texas, to Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia, and to the desert spots closest to me in Anza Borrego and the Mojave. 

We returned from Texas to 5 inches of snow on the ground, and then last night it snowed another 2-3 inches. We ran the heater most of the morning and then Don got a fire going in the fireplace. So while I'm warm, it's not barbecuing or hiking weather!

My happy countdown continues - and we're looking forward to next winter, when maybe we can track some of these folks down and enjoy a taste of their lifestyle with them. Until then...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hitting the road Friday...

but without the trailer!

We're going to go to Lubbock, Texas to see my mother for Thanksgiving. For the past 10+ years, we've gone camping or RVing - but this year we're just taking the truck and staying with Mom.

Then our son's coming home on leave December 8 and will be here all through winter break - meaning we don't get to go anywhere then, either.

So I know that in February, which will be our first opportunity to go somewhere, we'll definitely be ready to go!  Don's already decided we'll try to get a site at Camp Pendleton on the beach at Oceanside.

Until then, I'll just have to dream about this coming summer - when we get to hit the road and not have to hurry back for work in August!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tragedy in Pismo Beach

The full-time RV-ing "family" has lost two of its own - Bruce and Margie. Her daughter posted on their blog this afternoon that both of them were killed in a horrible car accident this morning.  She stated that they were out for one of their walks, and a driver who was suicidal hit them.  The police are treating it as a homicide.

I've been following their blog for about a year now, and Margie has visited mine regularly to make comments - as recently as last night. Bruce and Margie had 132 followers to their blog - that's a LOT of people who called them friends.

My thoughts are with their family as they cope with this senseless tragedy.  I regret not being able to meet them in person.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How do you quilt when you have no electricity?

With this:

This is a Singer 99K hand crank sewing machine. It's an early Christmas present from Don. I'll be able to take it on all our trips where we know we'll be either boondocking or at a campground without hookups.  It was "born" in 1936 in Clydebank, Scotland, and is in pristine condition. I am soooo thrilled that we'll be able to go to all the neat places we've been planning to go to, and I will still be able to sew!

Getting away close to home - Yucaipa Regional Park

I'm sure everyone reading this knows the feeling - when you've been too long in your house and need to get away.  In our case, we wanted to take the trailer out since it had been over 2 months since we'd used it last, and we felt like spending a few days at the regional park. We had a very nice site - we used the newer loop that was built a few years ago.  The site was level, and our big slide window faced the mountains. Our view out front was towards the Crafton Hills and the setting sun - which was lovely on Tuesday night since there were a few clouds.

We set up Sunday afternoon, and stayed for 3 nights.  I went to work as usual - I just had a shorter drive to go "home."

Tuesday night Don cooked Italian sausage on the grill, and I sautéed up a pan of bell peppers and onions to make some pretty nice sandwiches.

The peak in the middle is higher than it looks - that's San Bernardino Peak. We live in a canyon just south of it (to the right).

Work has been interesting, to say the least.  I'm doing my best to not be a "lame duck" president, and some of the battles are just plain silly. Others are extremely frustrating; others make me so angry. I know I have a countdown widget over on the right side of my blog - but there's also the countdown of school/work days - 133!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thinking of George

George's blog, Tioga and George, was the very first full-timer blog I followed, and have been reading his posts about life in Mexico and his travels to Israel for several years. My heart goes out to George this day and for days to come.  After thinking for weeks that his son David had disappeared, he learned yesterday that he was dead.  Such a heartbreaking story and situation. There's not much else to say.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Checkin' In

Horsetail Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon - February 2005
Yes, it's been a LONG time since my last post.  I've been busy with work and just not too interested in posting when I did have the time to post.

First of all, let me welcome my newest followers:

Jessica, who writes a blog called Happily Ever After
Rusted Granny

Thanks for finding me and reading my blog!

As I said, work has been pretty time-consuming. I'm the president of our local teachers' union, and have been busy with the beginning-of-school issues:  transfers, reassignments, class sizes, administrator demands, potty training (kids in Kindergarten who haven't been potty trained!), daily schedules, extra duty assignments, evaluations, budget cuts, layoffs, rehires, catastrophic leave, student discipline, our governance documents review, professional development, dress code, testing - and all that just since August 10.

Things are beginning to slow down some, and this past 3-day weekend proved to be a perfect break between the beginning-of-the-year issues and settling in to a routine. Now that I've made the decision to retire at the end of the school year, there are a few issues I don't get as wound up about - it's more like "take it up with the new guy," since they're long-term issues. I'm still fighting the good fight for my members, don't get me wrong, but I'm focusing on the issues I can handle this year. 

I wish I could fire our governor and state legislature. They're all clowns. Both sides are so entrenched in their positions, here it is September and we still don't have a state budget. There's not one in sight, either - rumor has it that they're just going to let the new governor have that battle.  Until then, schools continue to suffer - more billions cut or deferred. Districts are beginning to have cash flow problems - which means our paychecks are in danger of being delayed - ouch! 

But Don and I have had some great times the past month that we've been back. Now that we've officially made the decision to keep the house, all the unknowns about full-timing are gone. Instead of planning a big trip for next summer, he's going to Orlando to see his father next month, and I'm going to Lubbock to see Mom in November. We'll be home for Christmas, since Kenny's coming home on leave on his way to his new base. He's leaving Kadena AB (Okinawa, Japan) and going to Holloman AFB in New Mexico.

We ARE getting hitch itch, though - and need to schedule a 2-3 night outing somewhere close just because.  I'll check at the Regional Park - that way I can just get up in the morning and go to work. We don't have to schedule a weekend.

I'll post again when there's more to talk about. Until then, we're

Another Day Closer....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Big Falls, 1/2 mile from our house
We're happily home.  We're getting back into the swing of things, and after two nights I'm used to my own bed again.

Saturday night we ate dinner at the Argentine Grill in Rico - and it was wonderful. I had a sirloin, served "gaucho style," which meant it had chimichurri sauce on it. Don had striped bass that had a tomato/pepper relish.  One thing I really liked was that in addition to the butter served with the bread, they served a whole roasted garlic. You scoop out the roasted cloves and they spread like butter - and taste so sweet.  Speaking of sweet, dessert was a Palisade peach tart - made from Colorado Palisade peaches.  Oh, was it good!

Sunday morning we were up at 5 am, and hooked up and on the road by about 5:40.  We stopped at the Ute Mountain Indian Casino in Towaoc for breakfast, and made it to Williams, Arizona at noon. We decided not to stop (except for lunch at a pullout - sandwiches in the trailer), and pressed on to Kingman.  We stayed at the Kingman KOA - not a bad place.  I do hate having to run the air conditioner all night due to the heat.  That doesn't bode well for next summer's trip to Texas and Florida, does it?! 

Monday morning we were up at 5 am again, and enjoyed our last meal on the road at IHOP. We wanted to eat at McDonald's, but the one that the corporate website said was on the corner of Stockman Hill and Airway doesn't exist. 

We made it to Mentone at noon - but had to make a few stops, so we didn't get home until about 1:30. But we are HOME. 

Tuesday I went to both Costco and the commissary at March AB in order to restock the kitchen - and then spent a couple hours packaging the meats with the Foodsaver and putting all the groceries away. Don spent the morning doing laundry - we brought a lot home from Colorado. I've been both relaxing and working - just alternating - and since we lost an hour coming back, we've been going to bed earlier.

So, I"m signing off and going to bed!   

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heading Towards Home

Today is a get-ready-for-going-home day:  Don does practically all the work - putting away the grill and all his fishing gear, unhooking the sewer, and getting the truck ready to go. I did the inside stuff, including the dish drainer and utensils - not much there to do. I sewed a little - quilted a mini and sewed the binding on. It's ready to sew the binding the rest of the way (by hand).

Tonight we're going to Rico to have dinner at the Argentine Grill. It's part of the Rico Hotel, built in 1925 to serve as a resting place for employees of the Rico Argentine Mining Company. The food is supposed to be really good - I'll let you know how it is.

We'll be leaving early in the morning - just getting up and hooking up and going. We'll stop at the Ute Mountain Casino for breakfast - it's in Towaoc, south of Cortez - about an hour down the road. Then we'll make the turn west and go through Teec Nos Pos, Kayenta, Tuba City, and Flagstaff. When we get to Bellemont, Don will decide if he needs to stop there at the military campground, or go on to Williams, Ash Fork, or even Seligman. Then we'll make it home via Needles and Twentynine Palms the next day.

Until then!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Trout Lake in the High San Juans

Back in the 70's, when I was doing my summer galavanting around Colorado, Trout Lake was "closed" to the public. I don't know when that changed, but now you can park, put in a small boat, and fish. They have a small boat ramp, 2 picnic tables (one is covered), and two different parking areas.

We drove up there this morning, stopping first at the top of Lizard Head Pass for a photo of the Lizard Head.

Lizard Head Peak, 13, 113 feet

We then parked at Trout Lake near the picnic tables, and I put out my chair next to the covered one. Don went out on the lake in his float tube, while I enjoyed the sun in my chair.

At 11 am the sun was still shining but the clouds were building.

I cross stitched for a couple of hours, while a group of 4 ladies set up their easels right behind me to paint the gorgeous view.
They stayed until the sun was completely obscured.
Don came in for lunch around 11:45, and went back out to fish for a while. The clouds continued to build, and we could hear the thunder from the south. At 1:00, it was clear that the rain was on its way.

Not more than 10 minutes after I snapped this picture, the winds whipped the lake into whitecaps and the rain hit with a vengeance.

Don quickly paddled in, we packed up our stuff, and went back to Priest Gulch.  Our day was shortened, but the few hours we had up there were just heavenly.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Maybe a BIG change in plans...chapter 2

We've had a lot of time to do some more talking, planning, calculating, and speculating - and we've come to a tentative agreement on what we're going to do when I retire. (Notice I can't keep from using negotiations jargon?) I had said earlier to a few friends that this summer trip was "practicing" for retirement - and it has helped us come to some realizations and decisions.

Here's the biggest one:  we're going to keep our home in Forest Falls. Why?  It's "home."  Just as with all of our previous trips, we're looking forward to going "home." 
I miss: 
- my recliner
- my huge new refrigerator
- my kitchen
- my bedroom
- my sewing desk and crafts area
- our deck
- Costco
- Trader Joe's
- the commissary at Norton AFB

Don misses:
- his recliner
- his bedroom
- working outside (chopping wood, landscaping, watering, even shoveling snow! He said so! - He says it keeps him fit and gives him satisfaction)
- hiking up the canyon from our house
- having a permanent place

I'm sure I can think of more, but those are the ones that come to mind.  We can get away in the deep winter and hottest summer, and stay home when the weather is more temperate.

A few changes have to be made - we have to rush to pay off the Jeep and 2 credit cards in the next 14 months - while I still have a decent paycheck from work. We also have to practice cheaper eating - and us the savings now to help towards those bills. Then we'll already be used to cheaper eating when I retire.  When we get back next week we're switching Don's cell phone to Verizon and cancelling the home land line - it's stupid to pay $40/month to Verizon and $25-35 a month to AT&T long distance for a land line. I'll keep my iphone for now since my job pays for it, but then I'll give it up completely when I retire. I'll miss it - but it's a luxury we won't need.  Don turns 62 in November, so we'll start getting his Social Security - that will help towards the mortgage payment.

I won't bore my readers with more details - this has already been boring enough - but I just felt it was a significant decision for us to make and needed to put it in writing.

We're still at Priest Gulch Campground in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado - the fishing's still wonderful and the weather is still great.  However, it's a bit wetter than we expected! Every day the clouds build up and the thunderstorms roll through - last night was a drowner.  The main road through the campground turned into a river, and was flowing through a site at the end as the water made its way to the Dolores River.  The people in the site had to leave it; they took hoes and dug some trenches to channel the water. Today the campground maintenance people are patching all the big holes that developed in the gravel road, and it looks like they've re-directed the channels down in that flooded site.  I'm enjoying staying at the trailer - I have the computer, my sewing machine, the TV, and good books. Don is up at Trout Lake - I chose not to go because there's no shade and the flies are horrendous up there. I have to keep reassuring him that I'm fine staying here; he tends to feel guilty about leaving me alone.

Two days ago, Don went up to Priest Lake - a very small lake near Trout Lake. He brought back dinner - brook trout!  Brook trout aren't really trout - they're a member of the char family, and have pink flesh. They're pretty tasty, and I tried a new way after hearing about it from a neighbor here at Priest Gulch.
Grilled Trout Almondine
Grilled Trout Almondine

salt and pepper
sliced almonds

Preheat grill. Clean the trout.  Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil - for 1 or 2 trout, depending on size.  Sprinkle a few almonds on the foil, then put the fish on the almonds. Put a little butter in the abdominal cavity of the fish; sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and top with more almonds. Seal the foil. Grill, about 10 minutes on each side, until fish is done (it'll flake easily with a fork).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument - Part 2

From Lowry Pueblo we moved on to Sand Canyon Pueblo.  This was our favorite one of the day - though many people would think we're nuts.  You see, most of the ruins that people get to see these days are cleaned up, sometimes restored, and generally in good shape. You can see the outlines of rooms and kivas, and can easily imagine people living in them many centuries ago. But Sand Canyon Pueblo is different.  It was excavated in the 1980s - the crew exposed about 1/4 of it - and then covered everything back up after carefully mapping and documenting it all. So when you walk around it, you have to really use your imagination to picture how it used to be.  We enjoyed that very much.

The pueblo was built at the head of Sand Canyon - a south-facing canyon with a stream that flows into McElmo Creek, a tributary of the San Juan River. It's a U-shaped pueblo with 14 towers and many buildings and rooms, situated around a small spring.

This is looking down the center dry streambed towards the location of the spring. It's marked by the stand of 6-7 aspen trees - the only aspen in the whole area.

This is part of the outer wall that ran all along the northern edges of the pueblo.
The trail that runs along the western edge ends at a cliff top. This is looking back across the canyon to the east and the other side of the pueblo.
Yours truly - and if I backed up 3 feet I'd fall over a hundred feet.
Looking south down Sand Canyon
Remnants of buildings
The edges of an old kiva

Now we're standing up on the eastern edge, looking back down at the western edge where I had my photo taken.
Don up  on the eastern edge looking down the canyon.

We were blessed by mostly cloudy conditions which kept the temperature fairly cool.  As we left to go back to Priest Gulch, we could see the thunderclouds building up to the north. By the time we got about halfway upriver, it was raining hard.  When we pulled into the campground, the river was running red again. We'd heard yesterday that it was not due to flooding in feeder streams, but a landslide that washed the red dirt into the river. 

Dinner was soft tacos - I had a craving for Mexican food - and we're relaxing watching two of our favorite shows - "The Closer" and "Rizzoli and Iles."  I feel pretty good - we must have walked 3 miles today - which doesn't seem like a lot, but it's a lot more than we'd walked recently. 

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument - Part 1

I missed the creation of this monument.  It was created 10 years ago, and takes up most of the southwest corner of Colorado (west and northwest of Cortez). For many, many years, only little Hovenweep National Monument existed, with several ancient sites to visit in Utah and Colorado.  But this new monument, administered by the Bureau of Land Management (Hovenweep falls under the National Park Service), has over 6,000 documented sites, and the experts are sure there are many more.

I recommend that you start your visit at the Anasazi Heritage Center, a relatively new museum and visitor center built on the hillside above Dolores and McPhee Reservoir.  

This is the Dominguez Pueblo (named for Father Dominguez of the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition of 1776). It's right in front of the Anasazi Heritage Center. Built around 1123 A.D., it had three rooms and a kiva and housed a family of 3-4.

We spent over an hour in the museum - it is full of artifacts from the local area, especially all the settlements that were excavated before they were covered up by the creation of McPhee Reservoir, along with numerous other exhibits.  We were impressed by how nice this museum and visitor center was. 

Before we left the museum, we hiked up to the top of the hill behind it to the Escalante Pueblo (I bet you can guess who that's named for...). It's a half mile hike with only 100 feet of elevation gain on a paved path.  

About halfway up the hill you get a good view of Sleeping Ute Mountain southwest of Cortez.  The highest peak is his folded arms, and you can see his feathered headdress spread out to the right. There are a couple of small volcanic dikes at the southern (left) end, which represent his feet.  

 Also at the top, you have a nice view of McPhee Reservoir.

 One edge of the Escalante Pueblo, at the top of the hill.

The Escalante Pueblo had 28 rooms, along with the kiva (below).

A kiva  is a subterranean room usually used for ceremonial purposes.

 From there, our next stop was Lowry Pueblo. It's a short drive up the 491 (which I remember as the 666 - but it was renamed due to pressure from religious fanatics) to Pleasant View, then 9 miles west on a mostly-paved road. The last 3 miles are good gravel.  There are six very nice picnic tables in the trees, and some restrooms. 
The Lowry Pueblo was initially constructed around AD 1060, and was inhabited for about 165 years.  

It started with just a few rooms and a kiva, but continued to expand. By the time it was abandoned, Lowry Pueblo had 40 rooms, eight kivas, and the Great Kiva.

One of the rooms along the side of the pueblo.

This little door allows visitors to enter the inside of the pueblo, which is currently covered by a huge wood and metal roof to protect it from the elements. 

This kiva is known as the Painted Kiva, as it used to have intricate designs painted on the walls. They're gone now, though a portion was successfully removed and is in the museum.

This is the firepit in the kiva.
One last view of Lowry Pueblo.

Once back outside, a short trail takes you to the Great Kiva - one of the largest ever found - which the experts believe was used for large gatherings instead of private ceremonial events.
I couldn't get all of it in one shot!

These two stone figures were mysteries to archaelogists until a Hopi visitor informed them that they represented Winter and Summer People.

Mmmm Mmmm! Olathe Sweet Corn

First of all, I'd like to welcome follower #21, Wayne of Wayne's RV Travel Blog.  Wayne and his wife Maureen are on their way to becoming full-time RV'ers, and will be doing it in a 22-foot trailer.

Second, I wanted to show you what we had with our hot dogs last night - Olathe sweet corn.  One of the highlights of being in Colorado during the summer is the corn.  It's famous.  It's soooo good!  And right now it's 5 for $1.  So we ate 5. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hello from Priest Gulch

Site #92 at Priest Gulch Campground.  It's not ON the Dolores River, but about 50 feet away from it. 
There's a row of sites right on the river.

Friday morning we enjoyed a last cup of coffee and breakfast at Ridgway State Park, and then leisurely packed up and left for Priest Gulch.  It's only 72 miles, so we didn't have to hurry at all.  The route took us up and over the Dallas Divide (the high country just north of the Sneffels Range), down to Placerville on the San Miguel River, then past Telluride, up and over Lizard Head Pass, and down to Rico. It's then 11 more miles to Priest Gulch Campground.

We stopped in Rico for lunch - there used to be a cafe/grill next to an old theater, and many years ago they made wonderful hamburgers.  It's now closed; another grill a few doors down didn't open until noon (it was 11 am). We looked across the street, and noticed the Mine Shaft Inn, which had a coffee shop/tiny restaurant in front - it had a big sign in the window that said "FOOD."  What a pleasant surprise this place was. Think of bed and breakfast without the breakfast.  There are tables for 3-4 in the front room, then down the hall past one of the bedrooms is a kitchen with tables for 6 more people. We were greeted by the very friendly proprietor, who made us fresh coffee in a French press. It was soooo good.  The food was limited:  tamales, quiches, or burritos.  It comes from the Hi Desert Bakery in Dolores, and is organic.  Don had a beef enchilada quiche, and I had a broccoli quiche that had black olives and chilies in it. The couple who came in right after us had one of the tamales and one of the burritos, and we noticed they both were substantial in size.

After we came out of the inn, we noticed the darkening skies - and realized we'd better get on to Priest Gulch so we wouldn't have to set up in the rain.  We made it just in time!  We pulled into our site, got unhitched and leveled, and had just enough time to plug in the electricity and pull out the awning before the rain began.  We experienced the biggest thunderstorm of the summer so far - huge, loud crashes of lightning and thunder and a driving rain that forced us inside since it was coming under the awning. The storm lasted about an hour - the roads of the campground turned into rivers and most of us had little lakes under our rigs.  After it was all over our neighbor across the street motioned us over to come look at the river.

This area of southwest Colorado is on the southeastern edge of the Colorado Plateau - which as many of you know, has lots of red sandstone. The Dolores River runs through several miles' worth of those red sandstones between Rico and Priest Gulch - and when the area gets heavy rains like it did Friday, the river runs RED. It has cleared now, and Don has had two successful trips upstream to do some fishing. There are many small feeder creeks, too - and we'll take a couple days to give them a try.

This is the very pretty view out our back window. There's a large patch of purple flowers (which are not Columbines but very similar).

We're going to be here until the 3rd of August - which is the day we head for home. Tomorrow we're going to go visit some Indian ruins - Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients National Monuments are southwest of here, with access to some of them by passenger car.

I'd like to welcome two more followers to Wanderlust - Amanda of Amanda's Veranda,  and Rod and Loyce  of Retired Rod.  Thanks for being interested in my writings!