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!
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:
May 5, 2014
A reservation at the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colorado, was the only reason we departed Moab, Utah. We usually feel ready to go whenever we break camp and head to our next destination. But not this time. We just didn’t get enough of Moab. So after spending 2 weeks in and around the Colorado National Monument, we are now back in Moab, excited to spend another couple of weeks here before heading north again.
But this post is about our visit to Colorado. Let me begin by admitting that we were warned by our friend Ingrid about taking The Bear up the Monument. She thought we were nuts. We should have listened to her! The park reservation system said we could fit in the campground. And after Ingrid’s warning about the tunnels, we called the park to confirm we could drive through them. Our hearts skipped a beat when we turned onto the Monument Drive entrance and read the sign warning that the tunnels were only 10’6” high. We measure almost 12 ½ feet! But the ranger at the park entrance booth said, “no problem, just stay in the middle.”
I have to say this was one of the most frightening drives we have ever done. It was only 4 miles up to the campground, but it was the longest 4 miles of my life. The shoulder-less road is skinny and winds up the steep hill with lots of switchbacks. One inch over the white line and you would fall off the cliff. I knew immediately that I would not be going down this road in the RV. We would definitely disconnect The Cub and I would have to drive separately when our stay here ended. Our stay here ended sooner than we had planned.
The campground is too small for a 40’ RV!! We spent 4 hours trying to set up in 4 different sites. They were all so slanted we couldn’t get level no matter what we tried. We finally squeezed into a skinny site, which was really just a cleared parallel parking space on the edge of the road. Our slide-outs hung into the street. There wasn’t a sitting area, but we were level. We were practically on top of the next person. Plus, this is a no hook-up campground. We need to run our generator to charge the batteries. The only hours allowed for running generators is 8 am to 8 pm. I’ve explained in previous posts that it is hard for us to go 12 full hours without running the generator mainly because of our residential refrigerator. We wanted to get a good charge in before turning in for the night, but at 8:04 pm we got a knock on our door by the camp host telling us to turn off the gen. It was against the rules. Really? 4 minutes over?? And the campground was empty. Nine days here? I think not. We were ready to walk away from the pre-paid 9 days in this campground. The money wasn’t worth 9 days out of my life.
The next morning we pulled in the slides and hit the road. I drove separately, of course. The drive was actually quite beautiful from a car. I met Mike at the Island Acres State Park in Palisade, Colorado. We got a very large site in a pretty park next to the Colorado River. We were happy campers and enjoyed walking Lucy along the path next to the river.
Since we were feeling the need to make up for the money we lost at the first campground, we wanted to find a free spot to camp. We went to the BLM office and got directions to some open land out beyond the airport. It was perfect! Wide open spaces, sweeping views of the mountains, level ground, and not a soul in sight.
This area is obviously popular with the ATV crowd. We could see all the tracks on the hills around us. Occasionally a few bikes would come around and jump the hills, but it didn’t bother us at all. It was entertaining. And none of them were camping. We had the place all to ourselves at night. Oh, and I also found out that I was getting a refund for my unused nights at Saddlehorn Campground, so I’m very pleased.
Then we got a weather report calling for high winds and rain for a couple of days. We considered staying put, but the thought of getting stuck in mud convinced us to go to an RV park until the storm passed. We found a Passport America park in Grand Junction and battened the hatches. Then we went to the movie, ate popcorn and watched a comedy. Perfect way to spend a rainy day!
Unfortunately, when it came time to check out, their electrical box shorted and caught fire as Mike was unplugging us. It fried our 50-amp plug and we’re just grateful that we have a good surge protector. Mike just went to the local RV parts store, bought a new plug, and everything is fine.
Our friends, Al and Ingrid from Live Laugh RV, are also visiting Grand Junction. They had a few days reserved at James Robb State Park in Fruita during the same week as us. That was great fun! We had nightly campfires and lots of socializing. And lots of eating! Ingrid is a wonderful baker and we got to enjoy the fruits of her labors (cookies, pies, cake). Mike was in heaven and I have no will-power around goodies like that! The four of us have many things in common and spent hours sharing stories and laughing a lot.
Of course, our time here absolutely mandated that we enjoy the hiking opportunities. There is a lovely hike around the lake at the state park campground which I enjoyed several times. Another nearby hike which Lucy is permitted on is the Dinosaur Hill Trail. The trail climbs up and wraps around a hill where a 70-foot-long, 30-ton Apatosaurus dinosaur was discovered in 1900. The highlight of that hike was spotting a yellow-collared lizard. What amazing colors!
Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails within the Colorado National Monument, so Lucy had to stay home for our hikes on Corkscrew Trail and Lower Monument Canyon. These were challenging and utterly beautiful hikes that we took on perfect weather days. It felt so good to work out like that!
On our final day here, we got the bikes down for 18 miles on the Colorado Riverfront Trail. Going out was great! Coming back was another story. We had 25 mph headwinds that wanted to knock me off the trail. We felt like we were peddling up a steep hill! And I worried about my face getting wind burned. Fortunately, the brewery near the trailhead was having a Blues and Brews Festival that day. So we were able to sooth our weary bones with some great microbrews and replenish our depleted energy stores with beer-battered fish, onion rings, coleslaw, and an angus burger smothered in mushrooms, sautéed onions, and melted Swiss for Mike. We just completely un-did all the good calorie burning from the bike ride.
So here it is, May 5, and we just got settled in our boon docking spot back in Moab. The wind is kicking up to 30 mph today and will go even higher tomorrow. So we’ll just sit tight and wait for this to pass. Beautiful weather returns on Wednesday, and our Moab explorations will resume. Can’t wait! In the meantime, we’re celebrating with margaritas since it is Cinco de Mayo. Cheers!