We fell in love with this property the second we saw it. We knew this was IT for us. We closed escrow and moved in a little over 2 weeks ago and we are still pinching ourselves to make sure we’re not just dreaming this. We can’t wipe the smiles off our faces because we are so happy to be here, to enjoy this comfortable home and soak in the beauty that surrounds us every minute. I’ll be sharing a lot of pictures, but I have to say that a picture alone cannot capture the entire experience. To breathe the fresh mountain air; to watch and hear the hummingbirds coming up to our feeders just a few feet from us, robins, blue jays and other little birdies flitting from tree to tree; to feel hypnotized by the gentle breeze blowing through the pines, aspen, oak and maple trees; and to see the deer grazing out back, the groups of wild turkeys just passing by, the chipmunks and squirrels playing in the trees. I can’t take a photograph that activates all those senses. (Although some people I know can do that.) And to be honest, I haven’t really even tried. I’m so thoroughly in the moment here that taking pictures doesn’t even enter my mind. So here is a collection that will give you a little tour of our new home which we have named “Happy Ours”.
We then began discovering all the treasures left for us in every room, in every cupboard and every closet, and we were speechless. For several days, we continued to discover amazing things. We would hear the other exclaim “Oh my god!” from another room and realize something new was discovered. And once again feel overwhelmed by their generosity.
Life is good! Cheers!
We have been planning this family vacation since last year. All the kids juggled their crazy schedules so we could spend a week together on a houseboat on Lake Powell. We had so much fun and made memories to last a lifetime!
Memories are made of this.
Retirement Chapter 1 – Sailboat … sailing to exotic places in foreign countries
Retirement Chapter 2 – Motorhome … exploring the natural beauty of the USA
Retirement Chapter 3 – Mountain Cabin in Colorado … WHAT???!
Surprised? I didn’t think you would be. I’ve dropped enough hints about how much we love Colorado, especially the Durango/Bayfield area. On this visit, we casually looked at a few places we saw on Zillow that were interesting. You know, just to check out the market and to do a little homework for future reference. We always thought we would probably end up here.
But then … there it was … it was perfect! And it felt right! So we bought it. We can’t wait to begin Retirement Chapter 3. But we must wait until escrow closes at the end of the summer. I’ll post pictures then.
In the meantime, we have listed The Bear for sale on RV Traders. If you know of anyone in the market for a highly upgraded motorhome, click here to view our ad.
June 18-23, 2015
We camped at McPhee Reservoir in Dolores, Colorado for a week so we could explore the Canyon of the Ancients. The heat wave was just getting into full swing, so we tried to get started as early in the day as we could (which isn’t very early). We were able to get in some great hikes even though the heat was pretty brutal. A short, but very pretty hike in our campground took us to a view over McPhee Reservoir. We came upon a group of firefighters doing their calisthenics. Cute!
On another day we did a 9-mile hike called Boggy Draw Trail in Dolores. We were under a time constraint because we were scheduled for a ‘basement’ tour at the Anasazi Heritage Museum. So we did this hike without stopping for any breaks. Glad it wasn’t very difficult!
We joined a ‘basement’ tour at the Anasazi Heritage Museum. It was interesting to see how they catalog, file, inspect, research, preserve and store all the millions of artifacts at this museum.
We couldn’t resist the temptation of renting a kayak to get out on the water at McPhee Reservoir. So fun!!
We drove to Mesa Verde National Park a couple of times. The views are amazing! We enjoyed a picnic lunch at Park Point, which is the highest elevation at Mesa Verde and has a 360 degree view.We went back on another day and toured a number of the ruins, as well as hiking the Petroglyph Point Trail, for a total of 7 miles hiking.
We very much enjoyed our week at McPhee Reservoir, which included several happy hour gatherings with fellow campers (I didn’t get any still photos, as I was busy taking video of our entertaining group).
We are now settled in for a much anticipated month in Bayfield (near Durango) with a full calendar of events to enjoy. So …. Cheers!!
June 4-18, 2015
We love being in Colorado. It’s just so darn beautiful here! We are hiking and exploring as much as we can (between all the rain and thunderstorms). Ohhhh, but when we get a few hours of sunshine, it is glorious! When I returned from my week in California, we headed to Ridgway State Park for a week. We stayed in the Dakota Terraces Loop, Site 20. We hiked a total of 15 miles around the park.
We drove to Ouray a couple of times to hike to the beautiful waterfalls there. On a cloudy day we did the short hike to Box Canyon Falls. Then returned on the next beautiful day to hike the 6.5 mile Perimeter Trail which climbs the mountain and encircles the town. A fun hike!
We avoided taking The Bear over the “million dollar highway” as we work our way toward Durango. That’s just too, too scary for me .. and dangerous. So we took Hwy 62 over to Hwy 145 and headed south to Cayton National Forest Service Campground (about 20 miles south of Telluride). Got a fantastic site (#17) for a week right on a roaring river. I loved listening to the rushing water.
Animals were regularly spotted. I usually wasn’t quick enough with the camera to get a shot before they would run away.
We made a number of trips into Telluride to walk around town, do some grocery shopping, check email (since we didn’t have wifi at the campground). On one visit, we took a 6 mile hike up to Bridal Veil Falls. It rained on us a little during the hike, but it was worth getting a little bit wet and the sun dried us out quickly after the shower. Then we got soaked again from the spray of the waterfall!
Near our campground, we took a 10-mile drive on a jeep road to reach the Navajo Lake Trailhead. It was a beautiful drive, but the trail was too muddy to hike, especially since we had Lucy with us. We started the hike, but turned around when it became apparent that it wasn’t going to get any better.
So we took another 45 minutes on the dirt road to drive back to the highway and head up to Lizard Head Wilderness Trail. We were about 2.5 miles into the wilderness when the sky opened up again! We turned around and hiked the now muddy trail, with stream crossings, while the rain drenched us for the next hour as we returned to the car. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of Lucy at the end of that hike! I wrapped her wet, muddy body in a towel and held her til we got back to the RV where she got a nice warm bath.
After our rainy week at Cayton, the weather cleared completely on the day we departed. We are now at the McPhee Reservoir National Forest Service Campground looking at 90 degree weather all this week. We’ll be exploring the Anasazi Heritage Center, Hovenweep National Monument and Canyon of the Ancients.
I flew out of Grand Junction, Colorado, leaving Mike and Lucy to fend for themselves while this California girl enjoyed a week with daughter and family.
My regularly scheduled skin cancer screening appointments with my dermatologist in California give me a great excuse to fly home for a great big dose of loving warm fuzzies from the family.
I was welcomed by my granddaughter Paige with a trail of these love notes leading up the stairs to her bedroom which she shares with me when I’m in town: “First of all, I love you!” “I love your smile” “I love your laugh” “Your smile makes me smile” “Your laugh makes me laugh” “You are such a great photographer” “You are a great mom” “A great wife” “and a great grandparent” “I don’t know what I would do without you” “You are so thoughtful and caring” “You are so motherly” “Who can resist? No one” “My friend and I agree that you look 50” “I love your hugs” “You give great advice” “I am so lucky to have you in my life” “I can’t wait for the summer trip” “Please stay longer” “I love you no matter what” And the final note pictured below:
I intentionally planned my trip home to coincide with my granddaughter Kailyn’s school play. She played “Tootles”, one of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan. Kailyn is a natural on stage. (She also belongs to Toastmasters and the school chorus) She has a strong, clear speaking voice, a pitch-perfect singing voice, and a beautiful face. It was quite a production (3 hours!) that the cast and crew have been working on since September, complete with set changes, lighting and sound crew, intermission, and all the stuff that goes into a professional stage production. They performed the play once for all the students during school hours, 3 evenings, and a Saturday matinee. She was, of course, fantastic.
Garrett’s high school baseball season has finished, and now he has been recruited to play on a Garciaparra Baseball Group team. GBG is a premier high school level baseball club focused on development for college recruitment. He will be traveling with the team to Phoenix for a week of tournament play in a couple of weeks. We are so excited for him to have this opportunity.
I was so excited that Paige had a soccer tournament that weekend. She is a defender, and she’s very good at it. But she loved that she got the opportunity to play forward during part of one of the games in the tournament, and she got the assist on a goal! It was so fun to watch! Her team went undefeated all weekend and won the tournament. Woo-hoo!
Blake plays high school varsity soccer, but that season ended months ago. He earned the MVP Award at that time. Since then he has been playing on an adult club team after being recruited by his high school coach. I caught a pic of Blake as he was coming home from a practice.
This is a pic of Garrett and his girlfriend, Briana. She is an outstanding softball player who was featured in the local paper for her athletic skills. She is the only freshman on the Varsity Girls Softball Team at their high school.
And, not to be outdone in the ‘girlfriend’ department, here is Brady with just one of his many princesses at the Fairy Tale Ball.
May proved to be a big month for accomplishments and awards for everyone. My family is a motivated and dedicated group of people who just LOVE what they do!
Lance and the Ventura County Fire Department win 2nd Place in the Annual Fallen Firefighters Tournament in Las Vegas. Sean completes his first full marathon.
Paige gave me a parting gift which was a little compact mirror in a mesh gift bag with the following note:
I really think that Moab, Utah will be on our travel plan every year. We just love this place. It has a vibe that we can relate to. We spent 3 weeks here this time and tried some new adventures. I’ll begin our Moab recap with some of our scenic drives and a little hiking.
We couldn’t resist getting out on the Colorado River this year. There are many options offered (kayaks, rafting, tour boat, jet boat). We decided to do the sunset 2 hr jetboat ride and had a blast! Our driver made sure to give us a beautiful, as well as exhilarating ride. So fun!
Our next big adventure was renting a Jeep for a day. This year, in particular, we have been to so many places where having a Jeep would have been so perfect. Now, after trying it out, we feel pretty sure that we will trade in our Ford Edge for a Jeep. We’re excited!
While waiting for our favorite boondocking site to become available, we spent a few days at Ken’s Lake Campground. It’s a BLM operated campground so we get a senior discount of 50%. We had a great site overlooking the lake.
We learned of a nearby waterfall which was within hiking distance from our campsite, so we headed off to see it. We were wondering if we took a wrong turn because I couldn’t hear any water. When we reached the location, there was a trickle of water and the rocks looked wet. But that was it. This is the waterfall we hiked to see.
We started hiking back down to the campground and I heard a roaring sound. I turned around a saw this! If I had stayed at the rocks two minutes longer, I would have been soaked (or worse)!
Our favorite boondocking spot north of Moab was empty, so we headed over as quickly as possible and snagged this premium location minutes after it became available. The previous occupants left a large pile of firewood behind, so we were all set for our 2+ week stay. Whoopie!
We were joined by Al and Ingrid (Live, Laugh, RV blog) for Mother’s Day weekend. Much to our delight, Ingrid cooked a bunch of her yummy goodies (healthy, too). She prepared a skilletini breakfast for all of us on Mother’s Day and then we drank mimosas the rest of the day! Oh happy day.
We’re currently in Grand Junction, Colorado. I will be leaving Mike and Lucy here and flying to California for a week with my daughter (and to get my regular dermatologist screening). Can’t wait to see the family!
April 22-26, 2015
The cliff walls of Canyon de Chelly (D’Shay) dramatically rise to over 1,000 feet above the streams, cottonwood trees, and small farms of the Navajo people below. People have lived in these canyons for nearly 5,000 years. Canyon de Chelly National Monument protects nearly 84,000 acres within the Navajo Reservation, and is administered by the National Park Service.
The national monument preserves the history and the culture of Dine – the Navajo people. To the outside world it is known as Canyon de Chelly. To the people who live here it is Tsegi (SAY-ih), a physical and spiritual home. An Indian guide is required to enter the canyon. We HAD to go down there! It was so beautiful and our guide, Terrill, was fun and informative. But I must admit the jeep ride itself was a blast. Mike and I have been talking about getting a jeep and this really helped push us toward it even more.
We drove past little homes, farms, animals grazing and stopped many times to view the ancient ruins and petroglyphs.
We took our own car on the 34-mile North Rim Drive, and the next day we took the 37-mile South Rim Drive. We stopped at all of the pull-outs, some of which required a short hike to get to the overlook. At several of the overlooks you will find local Navajo selling their beautiful artwork (jewelry, painting, sculpting).
We had ZERO wifi or cellular service for the entire 5 days that we stayed here. I can NOT believe that we lived without it for 7 years on the sailboat, because 5 days off-line about killed us! We were having major withdrawal, so we left on a rainy day and headed straight to Moab, Utah. We will spend 3 weeks in this favorite place of ours.
April 12-21, 2015
Continuing on our trek toward Utah, we stopped in Cottonwood for 9 days. We enjoy boondocking on the BLM land off of Thousand Trails Road. Apparently, so do a lot of other campers. It was quite full when we arrived, but we were able to snag a great spot.
Looking at the picture I just posted (above) reminds me of the story about that shirt. I went to the Columbia outlet store when we were in Phoenix to pick up a couple of new SPF long sleeve shirts since I have to stay completely covered when outdoors. I was telling my brother-in-law how cool this shirt is because it has a little velcro tab on the front for my reading glasses. I was excitedly going on and on about the convenience and demonstrating how it works, when he softly said “That’s for your fishing pole.” It then occurred to me that this shirt was in the fishing section of the store. He explained how the whole fishing pole thing worked, but since I don’t fish it sounded crazy. Reading glasses, yes. Now that makes sense.
Our friends, Debbie and Dan were spending the weekend at their Prescott house, so we went up for the day. They jogged/hiked with their dog and met us at Goldwater Lake for a picnic, then we went back to their house for chocolate martinis. Totally kicked my butt. They tasted so innocent! (and delicious) I drank lots and lots of water that night, and fortunately didn’t have a hangover the next day. We always have a great time with Debbie and Dan and we were so glad we got to spend more time with them.
With Cottonwood as our base camp, we made several day trips to Sedona to do some of those beautiful red rock hikes.
Next stop, Winslow, Arizona. We are huge Eagles fans, so of course we had to see the “Standing on the Corner” statue.
My next post will be on our visit to the beautiful Canyon de Chelly.