Time to relax

We’re here to just relax after being so scheduled by Susan’s surgery, recovery and physical therapy. Nothing to do here but read, journal , fish, eat and just chill. The weather is beautiful. So nice to camp in Colorado!
Rick took his mountain bike up a logging road and is spending other times hiking around. We tried to fish but no bites and Simon is a pain trying to bite the hook.
It was windy this morning and the windscreen worked perfectly to keep the fire going for coffee. Rick is also the best at making eggs for us in the morning but Susan makes better toast!
There’s an area marked off that is sacred ground possibly the cemetery for the town of Garfield when it was an active mining town. Only one headstone is left but it is clear that there are other graves in the area. Steve loaned us a book on the history of the area. Might be fun doing some hiking around here!

Monarch Park

First outing of the season is late because of Susan’s knee surgery. She’s doing so well that we thought we’d getaway. We are here for three days. So far no one is near us in the campground.
The host, Steve, says there are a bunch of downed trees and the campground might be closed next year to make improvements to the sites and do more tree work.
We are happy with our setup here and made a quick trip home to get some of the things we forgot. Our trips this year will need to be carefully planned due to gas prices currently at $4.85-$5.00 a gallon.

Mountain bike ride

Susan offered to shuttle Rick so he could ride back to the campground. He decided to start at old Monarch pass, ride through the ski area and make his way back through the trees. Said to plan on three hours.
An hour later he was back. Not fun! No trails and even the green runs we are familiar with seemed steep. He rode the last mile back on the highway. He’ll stick to his road bike in salida.

Homeward bound

We drove in fog so thick that we didn’t know if we were going up or down. Probably neither but we both felt it. We were so happy to see the sign welcoming us to Colorado! And magically the sun came out!
We traveled 5139 miles through 11 states during this 21 day adventure. We saw so many places and things plus family and friends. We survived a tornado warning, torrential rain, days without showers and lost only one storage box on the front of the trailer. Oops, Rick 😬.
We do appreciate where we live. The weather, the friend and family close by, the environment. We are lucky indeed.

Long travel day

It started raining about 6:30 am and rained hard most of the day. Huge lightning and thunder. Even a tornado warning at St Joseph Missouri. Made it undesirable to get out and see any sights along the way. So we just kept driving.
We arrived at Lovewell State Park near Webber, Kansas around 6 pm having been on the road for 12 hours. We smartly decided not to keep going to Salida.
We picked a nice site, had a quick dinner and at dark went to bed. At 5 am, we were on the road again feeling like outlaws when we exited the park since we didn’t pay for our site. We left such a small footprint that we didn’t feel too bad 😬.

Crossing the Mississippi

Looking west to Colorado and sunshine

Leaving the rain behind us

Lovewell reservoir from our site

Our “free” site

On the road before dawn. Twice

After a mellow drive across Ohio and Indiana, we arrived in Monticello Indiana. Here’s our set up for the night at Walmart.
Rick needs to get up early to make some changes to a client website so we went to bed early to be ready. We left our spot at 5:50 am and used the nearby Wendy’s WiFi. By 6:20 we were on the road.
Just before 7:00 we crossed into central time zone and went back in time one hour. Now it’s 6:00 am again! Time traveling heading west to Hannibal Missouri.
We drove through a huge thunderstorm with lightning and thunder and very heavy rain. Checking our weather app indicates that we will be in rain all day. WTF?

Rock & Roll fun

We visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while we were in Cleveland. If you are ever in the area, put it on your must see list. So much history and memorabilia! Great tribute to Elvis and also the NFL halftime shows. So fun listening to all the music. We felt like we saw all we could in one visit and left to walk around the waterfront. Susan then gave Rick a tour of the east side where she grew up. Trip down memory lane for sure!

Punderson State Park

We stayed here five years ago and remembered it as a beautiful park. We are in site 187 this time. It rained this time which made it not so pleasant but we both enjoyed hot showers (once we figured out how to turn it to “hot”). We packed up in the rain and can’t wait for Ohio to be in our rear view mirror.

Another night in Watkins Glen

We stopped in Watkins Glen for gas hoping to make it to Seneca state forest near Salamanca New York. It was there we realized that our battery in the camper was not charging. We suspected this might happen. We called around and found an Autozone that had the type of battery we needed. By the time we got it installed we decided to go back to the fire tower campsite where we stayed on our way out. The gate was closed! But there was a large field there set up for camping so we stayed with a plan to get up and go early.
We were on the road before 7. I tried to get a good picture of the full moon but the clouds covered it. The sunrise was also covered by the clouds. So we saw both but couldn’t get a good picture. Heading to Cleveland and Susan’s home town stomping grounds.

Ski area tour

We wanted to check out Vermont ski areas just to get a feel for them. Maybe we’d come back to ski them someday.
We went to Mt. Snow, Stratton, Bromley, Okemo, Killington, Mad River Glen, Bolton Valley, Stowe and Smugglers Notch. We even went to the job fair at okemo and rode the gondola at Stratton! Overall our impression was good with Stratton probably at the top of the list. We found the folks there very friendly. Rick seemed enthusiastic about skiing Vermont. Susan not so much.

On to Lake George

We stayed on the back roads from Burlington heading south. Very historic region. We stopped to check out the canals and the actual hull of the Ticonderoga which was used in the revolutionary war.
We are marveling at the beautiful countryside with mowed meadows that look like lawns. The large farms are impressive as are the fall colors.
Tonight we are in Lake George staying on property owned by Rick’s sister Lori and husband Paul. It was perfect and we are happy for no rain so maybe our awnings will dry out. That’s my happy face with the sun on it!

Little River State Park

This is our site for two nights. It’s cold (highs in the 40’s) and raining on and off. Especially at night. We are weary of the weather and crabby. It was raining so hard on our last night there that we quickly cooked dinner and ate it in the car!
Other than that, this park is very nice. Built by CCC and COE, it’s got spacious private sites and a shower house (coin operated.). We think it’s a bit pricey at $24 a night.
We explored the area around Waterbury including a drive over Smugglers Notch. Very cool. We really enjoyed the Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard. No factory tours due to COVID damn it.
We met up with a friend Ryan from monarch ski school who now works at Stowe. Got the skinny on vail resorts. He confirmed what we already knew. He also confirmed that the weather we have been experiencing is typical. We haven’t seen the sun for five days. We are heading south and west towards Lake George New York where hopefully it’s warmer snd sunnier!

Happy birthday on the road

Rick turned 65 on October 13. We went to dinner at his sister DeeAnn’s house and enjoyed shrimp, lobster bisque, cod stuffed with lobster and crab and then cheesecake! We were stuffed!
When we returned to his mom’s house, his entire family was waiting for him! More celebration and of course, cake. We probably won’t eat for days! But it was such a fun time! He’s so lucky to have his family around him on this trip. We are leaving tomorrow with all these wonderful memories.

Grout pond campground

What a gem! Beautiful National forest campground near Stratton, Vermont. Quiet and free! Stayed two nights while we explored the ski areas nearby. Simon chased chipmunks and squirrels just like at home. This must have been a farm long time ago. We found lots of apple trees. They were for the wildlife, not us. We moved our site after the first night to a sunnier spot. Ha! It rained all night and we had to pack up with everything wet. We did manage a hot campfire and leftover fish dinner. Simon had a rough night in the camper cuz he doesn’t like to get wet. Hope tonight we find as nice a place and it stays dry.

Grout Pond

First night

Second night

Rained all night

Packing up in the rain
Pretty cool program

Voter Brook overlook campsite

It started raining around 3:30 as we left Rutland. We were headed to moosalamoo campground in the National forest but when we finally found it, it was closed. A nice young man told us about disbursed camping about a mile down the road. When we found a site it was really raining.
We set up both awnings for some protection and used the hatch over the kitchen for some more protection. We ate some decent food sharing it with Simon and by 7 pm we had to go inside. We were in there marveling at how warm and dry we were and how hard it was raining. Where did all that moisture come from?
The rain slowed down by midnight and at 7 am it was stopped. We packed up everything with the hope that we would find a laundromat. We did. In Waterbury. Made a reservation for two nights at Little River State Park. Hope there’s no rain tonight.

Stopped at NuCamp

We couldn’t make it yesterday before closing so Elsie left our parts outside for us to pick up on Saturday morning. Great customer service as always!
While we were at Sugarcreek we decided to see the world’s largest cuckoo clock. No joke! We made it just before 9:00 and saw the three minute show complete with Swiss music and dancing. Very cool.
We walked around the town marveling at the houses and flowers. Even horses drawn carriages (this is Amish country.) New were the electric bikes which make life easy and inexpensive for many locals. And of course we got some Swiss chocolate!
From there we’re headed north and east to Watkins Glen New York to meet up with Rick’s army buddy.

Trailer project

We arrived at Rick’s mom’s on October 10. Everyone is so excited to see him that it has been non stop company ever since. By Monday night, he had seen all four of his sisters and their husbands. A bit overwhelming!
He and his sister DeeAnn managed some great quality time while putting our new tongue box on the front of the trailer. It required some clever skills to make new holes for the propane line and battery hookup which the two of them figured out. When they were all done, everything worked first try! Great job, you two! And the new box looks so nice 👍

New campsite/Old friend

It took a few years, but Rick and Mike S were finally reconnected after finding each other on Strava. They served in the Army together in the late 70’s and kept in touch for many years until life got in the way. They relived old memories and made some new ones. We might just stop in Watkins Glen on our way home.
He told us about the free campground outside Watkins Glen where he lives. Beautiful site with flush toilets, picnic tables and fire rings. We didn’t climb the fire tower due to the heavy fog.

Plan A, B, C or?

We probably shouldn’t plan. We were on course to stop somewhere near Columbus Ohio until Rick remembered to call Dana at Missouri teardrop trailers for an update on parts he wanted. The part is available but we are too far away to get to NuCamp before they close. Oh well. So plan B was to have the part shipped to his mother’s house in CT.
Then NuCamp called and said they would leave the part for us to pick up on Saturday morning. 😀. So plan C had us driving to Cambridge Ohio where we boondocked at Walmart again.
It was a little bit out of the way but Rick is happy that he’s getting his new part for the camper.

Boondocking in vandalia, Illinois

We reluctantly left our site at Knob Noster heading to St. Louis. We took a side road to follow the Missouri River that was a scenic highway on the map. It was a beautiful ride following a bike path and was also part of the Lewis and Clark trail. We were so taken with it and also listening to our audio book that we (I) missed the turn for I-70. We didn’t even take any pictures. They wouldn’t have done it justice.
We got outside of St. Louis and thought it might be a good idea to give Simon a bath. We found a self wash place and gave him the treatment. He hates it but he is so clean and fluffy. The smell of skunk 🦨 is still evident but only when he’s wet.
On to the arch! Finally found a parking lot and walked to the arch park right on the banks of the Mississippi. Amazing structure. The ride to the top was sold out and Rick thought it was getting too late for him to visit the museum so we left with a promise to return on the way home.
Stopped for the night in vandalia, Illinois at Walmart. Unhooked the camper and took two spots where we were by ourselves. The hum of the air conditioner was like white noise and drowned out some of the street noise and trains. Woke up to heavy fog and humidity. My sandals had puddles of moisture! Not sure where we will end up today.

Knob Noster State Park

We were on the road before dawn which was at 7:45 local time. While searching for a coffee shop we stopped at a small bakery. All they served was instant coffee! We left. Found another place full of high school kid’s getting their caffeine on. Tomorrow we will make our own brew.
We traveled highway 96 which is pretty much a straight road through Kansas. The towns along the way are representative of Americana for sure.
When we got near Kansas City we decided to stop by Missouri Teardrop trailers where we got our camper. Rick has some ideas for more upgrades. Dana told us about this park about 30 minutes east.
Five stars! We needed a reservation and the person who helped us picked site 67. There’s no one in this part of the park. Some nice folks came by asking for a tour of the T@G. They are getting ready to buy one.
It was dark by 7:15 and that’s when the raccoons are out🙀. They didn’t even wait for us to go to bed. Everything was put away by then but they sure were persistent!
Cost was $11 and we both took hot, hot showers! No quarters, no time limit. Simon got to sleep outside so he could keep the raccoons away.

Heading east

Our trip east has begun. We headed out on highway 50 towards Pueblo. Thought we would explore Bents Old Fort which on the map looked close to the highway. Not so. Went about 15 miles to the fort which was built as a trading post in the 1800s. It’s out there in the photo. We opted out to tour it since it was getting late in the day and all the tours had ended.
Got to Lamar, picked up some dinner and ate while driving towards Scot State Park in Kansas. Got to Leoti and decided to stop for the night. We are parked behind a building that looks safe. Plan to get up early and get coffee in town before figuring out where to next.
We were pleasantly surprised by the farmland east of Lamar. Lots of big tress and green (not brown). We could see for miles in all directions and the sunset was spectacular. Note: listening to a book really makes the time go by.

Home again

Almost 1400 miles, 8 days on the road and a million memories later, we are back home. Simon was so happy to see us! The Grand Canyon was everything we expected and so much more. The weather was perfect. The campsites lovely and affordable. We plan to visit again someday but have other places on our bucket lists first. Here we are taking a break from our mule ride on the North Kaibab trail.

Today’s Excellent Adventure

We departed the North Rim yesterday following the route that got us there. We stopped for the night at Sand Creek campground right off the highway near Bluff. $7.50 with our senior discount. Set up fast, enjoyed a delicious steak dinner and went to bed early.
While enjoying our coffee, Jeff and Karen from St . Louis stopped by with their 2016 Silver Shadow. We spent a while showing our mods and sharing stories. They invited us to see them in saint Louis when we travel east this fall. Nice folks.
At the campground was a wall of petroglyphs. It’s always interesting to see this old art.
Took back roads from Monticello to Naturita ( highly recommend) then from Nucla to Delta. Then to the top of Kebler Pass and a disbursed campsite. We hoped Lost Lake was available but unfortunately not.
Tomorrow we head to Crested Butte and home. Showers will feel so good and can’t wait to see Simon!

Our day to hike

We’ve been wandering around the park getting the lay of the land and finally decided on the hike we wanted to do.
We drove out to Cape Royal and walked a couple of short paths, Angels Window( can you see the Colorado river through it?) and the connecting Cape Royal path. Just a warmup for the Cape Final trail.
It’s listed as 2.1 miles each way. Beautiful forested path through the tall ponderosa pines. When we got to the end of the trail, the views were yet again astounding. This time we had to climb up a rock cap to the top to see those views. It was very windy and Susan was not too sure about it but managed to smile while up there. We hung around for about thirty minutes before starting back. Ricks Runmeter was telling us we had already gone 2.4 miles so by the time we got to the car, we had gone nearly five miles. A great hike but we were very tired. Glad we had done some practice hikes at home.
We got back to the campground and cleaned up with our warm sun shower water including washing our hair! Feeling like humans again and ready for heading east to Colorado.

People of the campground

During our two days in the campground , we encountered a few interesting types. I’m putting this here so we won’t forget about them. First was the Odd Couple. They set up two tents. “Oscar” was done in about 20 minutes and was having a beer in his camp chair. “Felix” meanwhile had to have everything just right so he fussed and tweaked that tent until finally Oscar wrapped it up for him. We watched that for about an hour.
Then Betty Crocker was on the other side of us. Perfectly groomed and dressed and wore was frilly apron when cooking in her site.
The Creeper was across the road in a huge RV. He had a full scraggly beard and liked to walk around without his shirt on. His site was right on the path to the bathroom so you had to walk right past him coming and going. We didn’t see him leave while we were there.
Our favorite was the group of twenty somethings who got out of a rented RV at the lodge parking area. The self appointed leader said “we came all this way, we should go to the actual actual Grand Canyon. Ya know? Guess you had to be there but it was pretty funny.
Sorry no photos. Use your imagination.

Busy day

Up before dawn to pack up and drop the trailer in time to meet up for our mule ride into the canyon at 7:30. We rode about 1800 into the canyon to a place we would not hike to. Again camera cannot capture the beauty of this place. That’s Rick with Kitty our guide. We learned a lot today about the canyon and the geology.
After our ride we set up our new camp in site 16 at North Rim campground. Ate a huge lunch and crashed for about an hour.
Took a drive to point imperial the highest point in the park at 8800’. We are in awe here.
We celebrated tonight for our campsite, for being here and how lucky we are in life. Tomorrow is our last day here so we will hike and a drive to point royal for more amazing views.

Rick was feeling lucky

We headed out early to the park to get the lay of the land so to speak. We walked out to Bright Angel point to get our first view of the Grand Canyon. And grand it is! Our teachers in school never told us just how grand it is. Susan felt vertigo on the narrow parts of the path but soon got over it. Pictures don’t do it justice.
We decided to book a three hour mule trip into the canyon for tomorrow morning at 7:30. We’ll see more of the canyon on a trail we were not going to hike. Then we took a drive through the campground. On a whim, Rick said let’s go see if there are any cancellations. Sure enough, we were able to get a “premier site” on the rim for tomorrow and the next night. Score!
So it was then that he said let’s see about the Demotte campground near our disbursed site. It was raining pretty hard at this point but we found a nice site (37) for the night. Rick admitted that he really thought our disbursed site was too “uncivilized.” So here we are for one night for $11. Our site in the park is $12.50 per night.
Did I mention that our disbursed site was about 6 miles from the park gate? And then it’s another 10 miles to the lodge and campground. We will save a lot of running back and forth by getting that site in the park. Good thinking, Rick!

Site 37, Demotte campground

Visual overload

What a day! Monument Valley, Vermilion cliffs, scenic roads. Camera can’t capture what we saw today.
We found a spot to camp in the kaibab National forest but may change/move tomorrow. We found out we are near the Arizona Trail which goes from Mexico to the Utah border about 800 miles. Tomorrow we start our exploration of the North Rim.

Temperatures and time zones

When we left Salida, the expected highs were in the low 90’s. On the way to Jacob Lake, it was between 95 and 100. When we got to our campsite, it was a pleasant 73! And last night we needed an extra blanket. Probably low 50’s when we got up. At 8000’, we do not expect it to be too hot for us while we are here. We crossed into the eastern edge of the western time zone and our bodies are confused. It was dark at 7:10 last night and the sun was up around 5:45. That’s about a whole hour difference from Salida. Oh well, early to bed…


Didn’t plan to stay here but we weren’t pleased with what we were seeing for disbursed camping. So here we are in the same site we stayed in last year. So quiet, hardly anyone here and clean bathroom! Best deal for $7. We miss Simon but we know he’s in great care with Sadie. Deciding our route to the north rim. Gotta get more ice.

Family Time near Steamboat Springs

Karen and Cristin and their families joined us on private land in Clark, Colorado. We went back and forth between campsites for coffee, cocktails and just hanging out.
Karen and Cristin and Jett went on a mountain bike ride on Sunday while Travis and McKenna hiked. That left Dylan and Sedona with us to hang out with Julian and Calvin. We took them for ice cream and heard lots of stories during the ride. We also fed them dinner while listening to more stories. Dylan was the best uncle!
Rick went fly fishing with Dylan in Steamboat Lake and learned more about this new venture of his.
The place we stayed had a barn on the Routt county Historic registry which was very special. There is also another smaller cabin that was recently moved there and is being restored. We dealt with the smoke from all the wildfires in California but it didn’t dampen our spirits. Just irritated our eyes and throats.
It was a fun weekend full of storytelling, throwing the football, laughing and just enjoying each other. Lucky us!

Today’s activities

After learning about a trail from campground host Steve, we headed out late morning to check it out. It’s an old stagecoach trail abandoned a long time ago. More interesting was the tribute to Bill Jeffries, Mr. Monarch Pass, who had a camp in a beautiful meadow while he engineered old monarch pass. This was summer 1920. His family set up the tribute in 2000.
We followed the trail a little further until it dead ended. When we got back down our gps showed that we were just about parallel to the start of old monarch pass. Pretty cool.
When we got back to camp, our friends Dave and Janet were there after gathering firewood. We had a nice visit while we picknicked.
We took a drive after lunch to old monarch pass just to get an idea of where we were on our hike. Walked into the ski area but couldn’t get a good look at the new paradise parking lot.
We decided to head into Salida to get mail, take a shower, water plants and resupply before going back for the night. Big thunderstorms forced us inside but not before we stowed everything away to keep dry. The Yakima awnings are working out great. Busy day!

Spontaneous trip

While Susan was in Denver visiting her daughter, Rick thought it would be a good idea to take the camper to Monarch Park for some fishing. When Susan arrived home around 5:30, they left to spend the night so Rick could fish in the morning.
Ruck was up and at ‘em early and a few minutes later announced “there’s no fish in there!” So now what?

Bishop’s Castle

Terry had never been here. It’s always fun to see the look on a first timers face. They are building a new gift shop since the other one burned down. Other than that, it looks about the same as it did the last time we were here. The owner, Jim bishop was there. First time I’d seen him there. No one was spouting rhetoric against the government or using foul language. That would have made it more interesting!
We stopped for lunch in westcliffe. Nice break before heading back to camp. Not supposed to rain today. Good thing cuz everything is all dry now. Silver lining: saw a mama bear and two Cubs on the way back. Cute.

That’s Tim at the top

Disbursed camping, westcliffe, CR 173

We looked at the weather and decided to go anyway. Tim and Terry couldn’t make it up a pretty steep incline to a site so we all decided on a site lower down that worked for us. We got set up just in time for it to start raining and at times it was a steady downpour. We were able to get a fire going and stay lit with some imaginative tarp work on Tim’s part. By 8 pm it was only dripping every now and then but everything was pretty wet. Hoping for a drier day tomorrow.
We are glad we brought our smaller canopy but it needs to be replaced. Our two awnings worked great. Silver lining: no mosquitoes!

Wildflower hike

We headed up independence pass to north fork creek. What a beautiful area! It seemed like every turn showed more and different flowers. Really too many to properly capture. Sadie and Simon enjoyed the creek more than we did! We could have gone further but we would have had to cross the creek and no one felt comfortable trying it. Great adventure!