Friday, August 18, 2017

We Got Eclipsed!

Aug. 17 - 22, 2017
Elks Lodge #2227
Westminster, Colorado

We spent the last week in Colorado Springs with our son Derek, daughter-in-law Sarah and granddaughter Sofia. Five people in an RV meant for two poses some problems but we managed to survive the week without a serious disaster if you don't count the toilet getting plugged.

Even though it rained every day but one, we managed to find some fun things to do. Decades have passed since the last time we bowled, and our bodies certainly reminded us of that fact.  I must be aging better than Dave because I didn't have to work too hard to beat him.


We were privileged to be able to attend a dedication ceremony for three sculptures in honor of Sarah's father who had been a teacher and drama coach at the college in La Junta, Colorado.  It was appropriate that this was the one day that we didn't have rain.

After Derek, Sarah and Sofia left to fly home to Virginia, we continued on our trip towards Glacier National Park.  Obviously I'm not very good at planning because I didn't factor in the anticipated eclipse.  Due to large crowds and impossible traffic Colorado has restricted oversize vehicles from the major roads until the eclipse is over. Fuel and food deliveries in some areas closer to the path of totality have been curtailed from today until next Wednesday.  We decided the best thing was just to wait until after the eclipse before venturing into Wyoming.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Driving in the Clouds

Aug. 1-9, 2017
Elks Lodge #2227
Westminster, Colorado

We are waiting in the Denver area until our son & family arrive in Colorado Springs on the 10th.  There are more things to see and do here than in western Kansas.



One sunny day we drove into the mountains for a leisurely break from all the traffic in the Denver area.  We enjoyed the beautiful day at Grand Lake before we drove through Rocky Mountain National Park on the way back to the RV.







Notice the nice RV sites on this narrow piece of land jutting out into the lake.






It was sad to see so many dead trees as we traveled through the forests.  Wild fires and Pine Beetles have really taken their toll on the normally green landscape.



While we were on Trail Ridge Road above the tree line storm clouds quickly grew near.  We planned to seek shelter at the Visitor's Center but when we arrived we found it closed due to renovations.  There was some thunder and a few lightning bolts but fortunately most of it passed us by and the clouds settled in the lower elevations.








Unfortunately we weren't able to enjoy the spectacular views.










Luckily there was a sign telling us about the view we missed.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cavalry, Bugs, and OZ

July 27 - 30, 2017
Tuttle Creek Cove Campground
Manhattan, Kansas

We left Minnesota about a week ago so I am pretty late updating my blog.  We had a rainy drive until we got to Kansas thus didn't stop much.  We are staying at an Army
Corps  of Engineer campground on Tuttle Lake.  Large level sites and good facilities make for an ideal spot to stop for a few days.  We are on a hill overlooking the lake instead of at the shoreline so we are prepared in case of high water.  The last time we were here several of the roads had washed out following a flood.







Yesterday we drove over to Fort Riley and after a criminal background check we were allowed on the base to see the US Cavalry Museum.









This museum was larger and more interesting than we had predicted.  We spent so much time in there that we didn't have time to go to the Custer House or other things on the base.  Both George Custer and J.E.B. Stuart were assigned to this fort.








We went to Kansas State University to see the gardens and the Insect Zoo.  The outside of the building had large wrought iron leaf cutter ants climbing up the stone face.




I should have paid closer attention to the sign outside because I didn't realize that parts of it were a petting zoo.  Have you ever seen bugs as large as a rat?  Did you want to touch them?  Neither did I.





A few miles east of here is the OZ Museum.  Other than the story of the author, most of the other exhibits were memorabilia from the movies and other collectibles.  The bugs and Army horses were more my style.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Long Road

July 1, 2017
Tilly's RV Park
Rochester, Minnesota

We are back in Minnesota following a trip with our grandson to the Badlands and Black Hills in South Dakota and to Devil's Tower and Yellowstone in Wyoming.  We will be staying here for a few weeks so Dave can attend an IBM celebration and we can visit with family and friends.  We will then travel for a while until be meet our son's family in Colorado.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Custer, Presidents, Crazy Horse, Gold Mine, Jewels, Mammoths and Devils

June 23, 2017
Devil's Tower KOA
Devil's Tower, Wyoming

I've been so busy helping Troy with his Facebook page that I haven't kept up with my blog.  

Tuesday we visited Custer State Park and Mt. Rushmore.  We saw many animals at Custer but my favorite were the donkeys.





















Wednesday we went to the Crazy Horse Memorial and the Big Thunder Gold Mine.






After touring the mine we panned for gold.


















Troy and I didn't do so well but Dave found a few specks.









 
 Yesterday we went to Jewel Cave and then to the Mammoth Site where workers were  carefully digging out the bones of Mammoths and other animals that had fallen into this sinkhole many years ago.





Today we moved to Devil's Tower, WY. Troy wanted to know why so many people drove so far to see a big rock.  He was disappointed that you couldn't go inside.  The campground we are staying in shows the movie, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" on an outdoor screen every night.



Monday, June 19, 2017

Badlands and Prairie Dogs

June 19, 2017
Buffalo Ridge RV Park
Custer, South Dakota

Yesterday we stayed at Wall, South Dakota.  Of course we had to visit Wall Drug and all the various tourist sites.  After Wall Drug, we headed out to Badlands National Park. 








Troy really enjoyed hiking on some of the trails. 











I had a much harder time keeping up.























We were lucky to be able to see antelope, big horn sheep, and a coyote.  The coyote was circling around the prairie dog town.  I think he was selecting dinner.











We stopped to see the prairie dogs before we entered the park.  One prairie dog sat
very still while Troy approached him.  It might have something to do with the peanuts in Troy's bag.










Obviously prairie dogs also have a problem with self control.

 I think this guy has had way too many treats.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Corn & Wall

June 17, 2017
Famil-E-Fun RV Park
Mitchell, South Dakota

We have been busy keeping up with our grandson, so don't have time to blog.  Today we drove to Mitchell, SD and visited the Corn Palace.  Did all the silly tourist things.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ready for the Road Again

June 10-16, 2017
Tilly's RV Park
Oronoco, Minnesota

We left Colorado and drove a basically direct route to  Minnesota.  Unfortunately the extremely high winds weren't blowing in the same direction.  Once when we stopped I couldn't get out of the truck because the wind was blowing so hard I couldn't get the door opened.

Last year our oldest grandson, Troy, asked us if he could go on a camping trip with us the next time we came.  We picked him up tonight and tomorrow we leave for Mount Rushmore.  We will see which runs out first; our time or our sanity.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mike the Headless Chicken

June 6-7, 2017
Monument RV Park
Fruita, Colorado

We arrived here a couple of days too late for the annual Mike the Headless Chicken Festival.  We need to work harder at being in the right place at the right time.   My disappointment knows no bounds.

Mike ended up without a head due to his owner's lack of ability with an ax.  Instead of being served as dinner,  Mike toured the country with his owner for a couple of years before his demise.





I love these friendly hay bales in their stylish overalls.


When we arrived at this park, our RV site was not ready.  The owner needed to cut some large low hanging branches from a tree.  I visited with some people while Dave watched the workers ride up and down in the lift and run their chainsaws.  No extra charge for the entertainment.






Today we drove to Colorado National Monument.










I don't think the food is very good at the Visitor Center.  This guy and his horse are pretty thin.













The cactus are just starting to bloom here.









Tomorrow we will leave and head north where the landscape is more varied.  We have seen enough rocks and canyons for awhile. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Black Hole

June 3-5, 2017
Elks Lodge #  1053
Montrose, Colorado

We haven't been doing too much, just pretty much staying off the roads to avoid the week-end crowds at the parks and in the mountains. Today we ventured to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

We enjoyed a beautiful day and appreciated the cooler temperatures.  The rest of the week is supposed to be in the mid nineties.













This canyon is quite a bit narrower than the Grand Canyon, but more than twice as deep.














It's difficult to see the path to the overlook.  I never like heights so I was more impressed with the sturdy railings rather than the scenery.









This is Dave, sitting down again!







Tomorrow we will be going to Grand Junction, Colorado for a few days.


























Friday, June 2, 2017

This Old House

May 31 - June 2, 2017
La Mesa RV Park
Cortez, Colorado



There isn't a direct route from where we were in Utah to the Durango area in Colorado so we decided to take the road that went through 4 Corners.  We haven't been there since our kids were small and thought it was worth a stop.  Now we know better.  What used to be free now costs $10.  Since we had paid our fee we felt obliged to take the tourist photo standing in four states at once.  The one thing that hasn't changed is the parking lot.  It's still the same chunky dried clay with potholes large enough to consume a RV.



Yesterday we drove up into the mountains for the wonderful views and delightful weather.





Most of the mountain towns we remember haven't grown very much.  I guess it's difficult to expand the city limits when the town is surrounded by federal lands on all sides.

Notice the zig zag on the mountain.  That's the road. 











Telluride is one of my favorite towns.  They even have a place in the city park to tie your dog (puppy parking) while you are in the restroom.




The trip back to the campground on a different road wasn't quite as nice.  The normal white knuckle two lane road from Ouray to Silverton turned out to be a white knuckle one lane road most of the way.  There was all kinds of construction along the way and it looked like the outside lane in one area had fallen off the side of the mountain.  Construction crews were busy trying to rebuild the road.  The workers' Porta Potti was right next to a drop off and it had large straps around it to keep it from going over the edge.  The rest of the trip back to Durango was pretty but uneventful.



Today we spent the day at Mesa Verde. 







When we visited many years ago people were allowed to walk through the dwellings near the canyon floor.  In an effort to better preserve the ancient buildings, that is now prohibited.

  There is only one building, Balcony House, that people are allowed to go inside and then only with a ranger.  That sounded good so we signed up for that tour.  



I must have not been paying attention when the tour was described.  Instead of approaching the buildings from the canyon floor, this one was only accessible by climbing down 140' from the top of the cliff.  There was also the 32' wooden ladder to climb into the main balcony section.









And last there was a 12' narrow dark tunnel that could only be navigated by crawling over the stones on your knees.























This is Dave's best side.




 Tomorrow we will be heading towards Montrose, Colorado.