Saturday, August 30, 2014

Colorado Mountain High

It’s been really strange not having internet access – but as the waitress last night in Crested Butte said, maybe it’s just been time to “chill.” 

We are currently camped at Colorado Dream Ranch up in Taylor Park. We arrived here on the 25th after spending 5 days in Ridgway, 5 days on the upper Dolores River above Rico, and 2 days at Priest Gulch on the lower Dolores.   We had originally planned to have 4 days at Priest Gulch, but I’ve been battling some digestive system issues and needed to wait until I got some lab results before we left. (To make the story short, I’ve pretty much determined that it has to do with blood sugar, but I won’t be sure for a while. I’ve started keeping a very detailed food journal using the “Lose It” app, and I think I’ll figure things out after a few more weeks.)

While we were at Cayton Campground on the upper Dolores, these were some of our views.

We went to Telluride for one day while we were at Cayton, but other than that we stuck around camp. I set up the sewing machine and did some piecing, while Don went fishing.  Our day in Telluride was fun – they have a free solar-powered gondola system that runs all summer. We parked at the uppermost terminal in Mountain Village, and rode it up and over the mountain and then down into downtown Telluride. We walked up and down the streets for a while, looking but not spending (wait, I did get a big straw hat) and then enjoyed lunch at Smuggler’s, a brew pub that had a great wedge salad. Don enjoyed a crispy chicken sandwich and the best-looking French fries I’ve seen for a while. I had three so I can attest to how good they were.

After Cayton, we drove up and over the Dallas Divide and down into Ridgway, where we set up at our favorite site in Ridgway State Park. These two pictures were taken at the top of the Dallas Divide, looking south towards the Sneffels Range.

At Ridgway, we were about 50 yards from the Uncompahgre River, and Don spent many hours on it every day.  We did spend one evening in Ouray – finding yet another brew pub. I wasn’t feeling too great, so we walked the streets for just a short while and then went back to Ridgway.  I’d say that the highlight of my stay at Ridgway was going to the Farmers’ Market, where I picked out some great produce from about 8 different stands.

On the 25th, we left Ridgway and after a short stop in Gunnison for some groceries, drove up the Taylor River to where we are right now.  After several stays at the Forest Service campground nearby, we’ve decided to start staying here at the Colorado Dream Ranch – where we have full hookups. The next three pictures are our views from site 53. We stayed there for 4 days, and have now moved over to site 19.

This is our view from Site #19.  The peaks in the distance, and in the photo above, are part of the Collegiate Peaks -- several 14'ers.


Today we drove up to Spring Creek Reservoir, where there’s some great trout fishing.  Isn’t that a pretty little lake?  Don spent about 4 hours in his float tube, and caught dozens of rainbows all afternoon.

Today we're in Gunnison, because we needed to pay some bills using the WiFi at the Bean Coffee Shop, and because I wanted to go to the Farmer's Market.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quick Catch-up Summary

We're currently sitting in site #46 at Destin Army Recreation Area, in Destin, Florida.  We got here on Friday, and have enjoyed seeing friends Tim and Terri who live nearby. Tim used to work for Don 32 years ago at Rhein-Main.  They played football together on the base team.

Here's what's happened since we left Vado: 

Wednesday, March 26  We thought we'd have to stay in Vado another day as wind were forecast, but when we saw that there were no winds in the morning, we quickly packed up and made our escape. The winds started up east of El Paso, but for most of the day they were behind us, working FOR us instead of against us. We stopped for the night at a very nice campground called Fort Stockton RV Park, just east of Fort Stockton.

Thursday, March 27 - Friday April 4  We stayed at Rio Raft and Resort on the Guadalupe River in Sattler, near Canyon Lake. My brother Chuck and his wife decided to come in their 5th wheel, and camped about 5 miles away in the military campground on Canyon Lake. We spent lots of time with them - a cookout, dinner in New Braunfels, shopping, and another dinner in Canyon Lake. It was nice to reconnect. Don fished the Guadalupe River as much as he could; it was just about the end of fishing season there. Our last night we had pizza with Bill, who was in band with me back in 1974 in Lubbock at Coronado High School.

Saturday, April 5  A breezy (no, windy) trip across Texas ended, and we stopped for the night at a nice campground in Vinton, Louisiana. We witnessed a car pull of the interstate, catch fire and burn completely down to almost nothing - the driver got out before he could be hurt.

Monday, April 6 - Thursday, April 10 Keesler Air Force Base FamCamp in Biloxi, Mississippi.  That's a pretty nice campground for military only, and the attendant was extremely friendly and helpful. I was able to see a friend from Kaiserslautern American High School, from when I was in 9th and 10th grade. Lisa was a cheerleader with me, and she lives in Gautier, Mississippi. I stopped by to see her on Tuesday, and then Don and I had dinner at their house Wednesday night. Don got to do a lot of surf fishing, though he really didn't have much luck. We enjoyed a couple of local restaurants, trying out the fresh seafood.

Friday, April 11 - Sunday, April 13  Destin, Florida. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rockin' and Rollin' in Vado, New Mexico

On day 3 of our trip to the East Coast, we're stuck for two days in a little town south of Las Cruces/north of El Paso, called Vado. We spent last night in a campground in back of the Coachlight Inn in Las Cruces, and when we got on the interstate the winds were really strong. We made it 20 miles - Don was worried about being blown off the road. We stopped at a truck stop in Vado, and after I checked the weather report, which showed the winds not subsiding, we decided to call it a day.

Let me back up and describe the trip so far.  If you're not a friend of mine on Facebook, then you don't know that we're going to numerous places for various reasons - reunion, fishing, family, and friends.  Don went to Augsburg American High School in Germany, and they're having a 60's grads reunion April 27-30 in Savannah, Georgia. We decided to go to the reunion, and built a trip around it. We originally planned to be in Balmorhea, Texas, tonight - for 3 nights - but this wind has made us cancel that stop. (We were going to go to Fort Davis and the McDonald Observatory - now we can't.) 

We have reservations beginning Friday at a campground on the Guadalupe River in Canyon Lake, Texas, for a week. Don will be fly fishing the river and I'll do some sewing. From Canyon Lake we'll head across Texas to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, stopping to see some friends and family. Don's father and brothers live in Orlando, so we'll visit them for a week. From there we'll go to the reunion, and then go to North Carolina to see my sisters, nieces, and a nephew. When we leave North Carolina, we'll stop to see a friend in Tennessee and an aunt in Oklahoma.

But for now we're stuck. And the weather report calls for much more wind tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas in New Mexico

We stayed in New Mexico from December 22 until December 29. We camped at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, which is 8 miles south of Alamogordo. We visited Kenny and Robin on Christmas Eve, and Kenny took us out to the flight line where the base was having a community day. This is where the public and family members can come look at some of the aircraft flown by the units at Holloman. Then on Christmas Day, we were invited to spend the day with Kenny and Robin. 

Looking east across the Tularosa Basin from our campsite

Site #2.  Oliver Lee Memorial State Park. Those are the Sacramento Mountains.

One of the drones flown by Holloman AFB.

Kenny and Don looking at an F-22


Another drone - this one's the largest

Kenny's view from work - Sierra Blanca (I used to ski this mountain a lot during college)

My two favorite men

Sierra Blanca

Don got a 6-pack of exotic beer from Kenny and Robin

They gave me a beautiful bottle of German Riesling

Robin and Kenny

This is the wonderful spread Robin did for lunch - she's Italian, so this is all yummy Italian stuff:  caponata, prosciutto, black olives, artichokes, Italian bread, ham, turkey, Romano cheese. We thoroughly enjoyed it.  For dinner, she and Kenny cooked chicken Parmesan and pasta Alfredo from scratch.  It was pretty nice not to have to cook!  I'm very proud that they both cook - too many young people don't. 

Last Days in Arizona

Our second day in Willcox was rainy - so we decided to go visit the Amerind Museum (which includes a research center, library, and art gallery) in nearby Texas Canyon. One of the first things we learned was why Texas Canyon is called by that name:  it was settled by a family from Texas.

I would love to be able to show a bunch of photographs from the museum, but they're not allowed for various reasons.  So my pictures are from outside.

After paying our entrance fee of $15 (8 for me, 7 for Don) we were told to visit the art gallery first. I was ambivalent about that, but once I was looking at the artwork, I was really glad I was there. Most of the artwork had a southwestern or Native American theme, and up on the second floor was a temporary exhibit of quilts.  Quilts!  These were some of the quilts from the Arizona Centennial Quilt Project.  They were all stunning.

The art gallery

The main museum building

Looking north

Looking northeast

Museum building
We spent about 3 hours in the museum - longer than I've ever spent in a museum. In addition to looking at Native Americans in Arizona - the Navajo, Hopi, Apache and the Tonto O'odham, the museum exhibitions "tell the story of America's first peoples from Alaska to South America and from the last Ice Age to the present." There were exhibits related to archeology, history, culture, and more. We even watched a movie about Geronimo and the numerous times he and his people were betrayed by the U. S. Government. 

I strongly recommend a visit to this museum if you're ever in Willcox or Benson.  For more detailed information, visit their website :  Amerind Museum