We’ve got seasons! Our first snowy winter and we LOVE IT!

1 Mike and Linda

2 Backyard 1 - Summer

Our backyard when we moved here in August

2 Backyard 2 - Fall Rain

Fall colors and a few rainy days

2 Backyard 4 - First Snow

Our first little dusting of snow in November

2 Backyard 5 - Covered in snow

February – Lots of snowfall

3 Driveway 1 - Summer

Our driveway (when we moved in)

3 Driveway 2 - Snow covered

Our driveway when we returned from spending the Holidays in California.  I’m with the car on the street waiting for Mike to get the snow blower going so he can clear the snow.  Unfortunately, it wouldn’t start, so he shoveled the whole thing.  He got the thing working the next day.

3 Icicles

The icicles are amazing.  Looks kind of scary as the huge layer of ice on the roof slides off.

4 My office 1 - Mike clears the path

Mike’s so sweet to shovel the walkway to my office building.  And it’s snowing again!

4 Save the satellite dish 2

Mike attempts to remove the snow from the patio roof before it takes out our satellite dish.  It was quite a job because so much of it is ice.

4 Save the satellite dish 3

4 Spa Deck 1 - snow covered

Yikes!  The hot tub doesn’t look very inviting like this.

4 Spa Deck 2 - Linda clears snow

We’re going to need a nice soak in it after all this shoveling.  And it’s delightful!

5 sun comes out

Everything is so beautiful all covered in snow!

5 sun melts snow on trees

The sunshine melts the snow on the top branches and it creates a domino effect as it falls and knocks the snow from other branches.  This goes on all day and it’s so fun to watch.

7 Lucy 1 - Exploring backyard

Lucy had to learn how to live this new lifestyle, too.  When we moved here, she loved exploring her yard.

7 Lucy 2 - Patrolling

She patrols the fenced in area.

7 Lucy 3 - Gettin Busy

She’s wondering what the heck is going on as it snows on her while she is taking care of business.

7 Lucy 4 - helping clear the driveway

Lucy helps Mike clear the driveway.  She’s thinking that this isn’t so bad.

7 Lucy 5 - Snow path

Wait a minute!  What the heck?  Where’s my yard?

7 Lucy 6 - By the fireplace

I think I’ll just relax by the fire.  Thank you very much.

Introducing Our Mountain Home in Colorado “Happy Ours”

September 2015

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”.

Welcome Friends!

Welcome Friends!

The sellers whom we adore are from Texas. Can you tell?

The sellers, whom we adore, are from Texas. Can you tell?  Throughout the escrow process, we formed a warm friendship with Linda and Sandy that I know will last a lifetime.  They are moving into an RV to do some traveling.  We switched lifestyles!

Our driveways enter from the side street. We have a wishing well and a front porch.

Our driveway enters from the side street. We have a wishing well and a front porch!  I love it.

Splitting to the left is the driveway to our little office building with an extra garage.

Splitting to the left is the driveway to our little office building and an extra garage.  We parked the Bear on that side, until we can sell her.

This is only a portion of the firewood that came with the property. We're ready for winter!

This is only a portion of the firewood that came with the property. We’re ready for winter!

This picture shows the office building without the Bear in the driveway.

This picture shows the office building without the Bear in the driveway.  You can also see the garden tool shed behind the office building.

Standing on the back deck of our house, Lucy gazes at all of our out buildings. There are 3.

Standing on the back deck of our house, Lucy gazes at our three additional structures.  The office, the garden shed, and a little barn for our toys (bikes, kayaks, whatever).

A separate driveway leads to the toy barn and shed.

A separate driveway leads to the toy barn and shed.

Sitting on the back deck is our absolute favorite place. So peaceful!

Sitting on the back deck is our absolute favorite place. So peaceful!

We get lots of little curious friends on our property.

We get lots of little curious friends on our property.

Sometimes they come right into our fenced yard area. We own several acres all around us.

Sometimes they come right into our fenced yard area.  Jumping the fence is easy for them.  We own several acres all around us.

Our little stone patio is so charming. We are so delighted that our home was completely furnished, inside and out!

Our little stone patio is so charming. We are so delighted that our home was completely furnished, inside and out!

Previous owner Sandy certainly has a green thumb. I'm going to do everything I can to keep it looking like this each year.

Previous owner Sandy certainly has a green thumb. I’m going to do everything I can to keep it looking like this each year.

Mike hasn't had to do this in years!

Mike hasn’t had to do this in years!

Let's being our house tour entering from the front porch.

Let’s being our house tour entering from the front porch.

They were definitely from Texas.

They are definitely from Texas.

The living room. Not pictured (on the right) is a TV cabinet with a large flat screen on top.

The living room. Not pictured (on the right) is a TV cabinet with a large flat screen on top.

Mike and Lucy relaxing in the dual motorized love seat recliner.

Mike and Lucy relaxing in the dual motorized love seat recliner.

The dining room table was handmade by a local artisan in Durango.

The dining room table was handmade by a local artisan in Durango.

The dining room is open to the living room and the kitchen.

The dining room is open to the living room and the kitchen.

Love that massive refrigerator. I love so many things about this kitchen.

Love that massive refrigerator. I love so many things about this kitchen.

Instant boiling hot water at the sink. Cupboards that won't slam. Get what you need, give a door a shove and walk away. It gently closes itself.

Instant boiling hot water at the sink. Cupboards that won’t slam. Get what you need, give the door a shove and walk away. It gently closes itself.

Kitchen nook on the right and door leading to the laundry room, and then to the 2-car garage.

Kitchen nook on the right and door leading to the laundry room, and then to the 2-car garage.

Counter height table and bar stools with bay window to the backyard.

Counter height table and bar stools with bay window to the backyard.

BIG energy efficient washing machine and dryer. And a laser printer (1 of 3 printers left to us).

BIG energy efficient washing machine and dryer. And a laser printer (1 of 3 printers left to us).

The master bedroom bay window and door to the private deck with spa.

The master bedroom bay window and door to the private deck with spa.

Lucy loves to curl up here and watch the deer grazing.

Lucy loves to curl up here and watch the deer grazing.

Mike figures out how to start the electric fireplace.

Mike figures out how to start the electric fireplace.

The master bedroom and spa deck is on the main level, but it feels elevated because of the property sloping.

The master bedroom and spa deck is on the main level, but it feels elevated because of the sloping property.

 

It's a 3-person spa and my seat has 10 jets working on me. It's fantastic!

It’s a 3-person spa and my seat has 10 jets working on me. It’s fantastic!

We sit in the spa and enjoy sunset.

We sit in the spa and enjoy sunset.

We each have our own walk-in closet.

We each have our own walk-in closet.

I need to go shopping! Yippee!

I need to go shopping! Yippee!

The master bath is nice and big with his and her sinks, a soaking tub, and a big shower with double shower heads.

The master bath is nice and big with his and her sinks, a soaking tub, and a big shower with two shower heads.

Upstairs is a guest room and another full bath.

Upstairs is a guest room with queen size bed and another full bath.

Also upstairs is our exercise room with treadmill and elliptical machine.

Also upstairs is our exercise room with treadmill and elliptical machine.

With the little DVD monitor they left us I can play my yoga, pilates, and tai chi DVDs. Feeling good!

With the little DVD monitor they left us I can play my yoga, pilates, and tai chi DVDs. Feeling good!

Taking the walkway from the back deck to the office building.

Taking the walkway from the back deck to the office building.

Lucy says "I'm waaaiting!"

Lucy says “I’m waaaiting!”

Gosh I love this place!

Gosh I love this place!

The office was left fully furnished, with all the office supplies, too.

The office was left fully furnished, with all the office supplies, too.  (That’s Gabi Bergstrom, our fantastic realtor)

This room has a thermostat controlled propane heater for those cold winter months.

This room has a thermostat controlled propane heater for those cold winter months.

I had no trouble getting all moved in to my new office!

I had no trouble getting all moved in to my new office!

Even the garage was left furnished for us.

Even the garage was left furnished for us.

At close of escrow, we arrived at our new home to find this ...

At close of escrow, we arrived at our new home to find this …

Champagne and organic strawberries (as well as some Lean Cuisines in the freezer in case we weren't prepared to cook dinner).

Champagne and organic strawberries (as well as some Lean Cuisines in the freezer in case we weren’t prepared to cook dinner).

Real maple syrup and Durango olive oil in the pantry.

Real maple syrup and Durango olive oil in the pantry.

Fresh flowers and candles everywhere!

Fresh flowers and candles everywhere!

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.

The next day we took a walk to the lake near our home.

The next day we took a walk to the pretty lake near our home.

We took the long way back home. It's so beautiful here.

We took the long way back home. It’s so beautiful here.  It’s so right for us.

Our little piece of paradise. We couldn't be any happier.

Our little piece of paradise. We couldn’t be any happier.

Life is good!  Cheers!

Retirement – Chapter 3

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.

Cheers!

 

Colorado – Canyon of the Ancients & Mesa Verde National Park

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!

Mike and Lucy on the

Mike and Lucy on the “Can Do Trail” at McPhee Reservoir

Approaching the overlook and a crew of firefighters doing exercises

Approaching the overlook and a crew of firefighters doing exercises

Can Do Trail 4Can Do Trail 5On 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!

9-Mile Boggy Draw Trail, Dolores, Colorado

9-Mile Boggy Draw Trail, Dolores, Colorado

Boggy Draw Trail 9 miles - 2Boggy Draw Trail 9 miles - 3

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.

Anasazi Heritage Museum

Anasazi Heritage Museum

This is just one of the many rooms below the Museum where millions of artifacts are researched and preserved.

This is just one of the many rooms below the Museum where millions of artifacts are researched and preserved.

Galloping Goose Railroad Museum in Dolores

Galloping Goose Railroad Museum in Dolores.  We will actually be taking a ride on this very train in July.  Should be a hoot.

We drove to the Canyons of the Ancients and hiked the 2-mile loop to view the towers  built by the ancestral Pueblo people around the year 1230 at Hovenweep National Monument.Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 1Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 2Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 3Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 4

We climbed out of the canyon on the Little Ruin Trail at Hovenweep.

We climbed out of the canyon on the Little Ruin Trail at Hovenweep.

We couldn’t resist the temptation of renting a kayak to get out on the water at McPhee Reservoir.  So fun!!

Doc's Rentals in Dolores delivered our kayak to a boat ramp on the reservoir.

Doc’s Rentals in Dolores delivered our kayak to a boat ramp on the reservoir.

Lucy thought it was great to be back on the water.  She is shaded by an umbrella that I held for most of the day to avoid too much sun.

Lucy thought it was great to be back on the water. She is shaded by an umbrella that I held for most of the day to avoid too much sun.

Kayak on McPhee Reservoir 4Kayak on McPhee Reservoir 6Kayak on McPhee Reservoir 2

Mike says my Indian name is

Mike says my Indian name is “Girl Who Does Not Paddle”. That’s the name he gave me when we took a one-week canoe trip on the Green River 20 years ago.

Kayak on McPhee Reservoir - 84

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.Mesa Verde National Park - Park Point 2Mesa Verde National Park - Park Point 3We 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.

Mesa Verde National Park, Cliff Palace Ruins

Mesa Verde National Park, Cliff Palace Ruins

Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace Ruins 2Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace Ruins 3

We hiked the 3-mile Petroglyph Point Trail

We hiked the 3-mile Petroglyph Point Trail

This was an interesting trail!

This was an interesting trail!

Mesa Verde National Park - Petroglyph Trail 3

Yikes.  That's a lot of stair climbing!

Yikes. That’s a lot of stair climbing!

The view from the top of the trail made it worth the climb.

The view from the top of the trail made it worth the climb.

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).

McPhee Reservoir

McPhee Reservoir

We are now settled in for a much anticipated month in Bayfield (near Durango) with a full calendar of events to enjoy.  So …. Cheers!!

Colorado – Ridgway, Ouray, and Telluride

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.

Ridgway State Park in Colorado

Ridgway State Park in Colorado

Hiking by the lake at Ridgway

Hiking by the lake at Ridgway

Ridgway State Park

 

A 9-mile hike over the peak

A 9-mile hike over the peak

 

 

Ouray, Colorado - Switzerland of America

Ouray, Colorado – Switzerland of America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Ouray Perimeter Trail

Ouray Perimeter Trail

05 Ouray, CO Perimeter Trail

On the footbridge over a canyon on the Perimeter Trail

On the footbridge over a canyon on the Perimeter Trail

The trail included a series of steep stairs down the cliff after exiting a tunnel.

The trail included a series of steep stairs down the cliff after exiting a tunnel.

07 Ouray, CO Perimeter Trail

Cascade Falls on the Perimeter Trail

07a Ouray, CO Perimeter TrailWe didn’t take Lucy on this hike, so we were free to visit the Ouray Brewery where we enjoyed lunch on their upper deck.

Ouray Brewery

Ouray Brewery

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.

Cayton NFS Campsite, Rico, Colorado

Cayton NFS Campsite, Rico, Colorado

This is the view from our window.  The river is right beside us.

This is the view from our window. The river is right beside us.

We took a 5-mile hike on Basal Pass Road behind our campground

We took a 5-mile hike on Basal Pass Road behind our campground

Animals were regularly spotted.  I usually wasn’t quick enough with the camera to get a shot before they would run away.

12 Moose13 Marmot13 marmot 313 Marmot 212a Deer14 Elk herd

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!

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado – See the zig-zag trail up the mountain and one of the waterfalls

We begin our hike on the River Walk Trail through Telluride

We begin our hike on the River Walk Trail through Telluride

Half way up the mountain, looking back at Telluride way in the distance

Half way up the mountain, looking back at Telluride way in the distance

Getting close to the waterfall

Getting close to the waterfall

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

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.

Driving to the Navajo Lake Trailhead

Driving to the Navajo Lake Trailhead (another reason to get a Jeep!)

Navajo Lake Trail - too muddy!

Navajo Lake Trail – too muddy!

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.

Starting out on Lizard Head Pass Trail.  We should have noticed the clouds coming in.

Starting out on Lizard Head Pass Trail. We should have noticed the clouds coming in.

After the meadow, we head into the forest on the Lizard Head Pass Trail.

After the meadow, we head into the forest on the Lizard Head Pass Trail.

I got this one picture when the rain started, but then I had to protect my camera in a waterproof bag.

I got this one picture when the rain started, but then I had to protect my camera in a waterproof bag.  We got soaked and muddy!

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.

McPhee Reservoir in Dolores, Colorado

McPhee Reservoir in Dolores, Colorado — Our home for the next week

Cheers!

 

Quick Trip Home to California … Waaaaayyy Too Quick

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.

I left Mike here at James M. Robb State Park in Colorado.

I left Mike here at James M. Robb State Park in Colorado.

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.

Me and My Daughter Kimberly

Me and Kimberly

Paige and Kimberly

Paige and Kimberly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

10 California Visit - 0511 California Visit - 06

Garrett, Kailyn, Brady, Me, Paige, Kimberly

Garrett, Kailyn, Brady, Me, Paige, Kimberly at Brady’s 7th Birthday Party

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.

Kailyn, as Tootles in Peter Pan

Kailyn, as Tootles, one of the Lost Boys in the stage production of Peter Pan

12 California Visit - 60 12b California Visit - 64 12c California Visit - 69 12d California Visit - 70

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.

Garrett playing First Base

Garrett playing First Base

Got it

Got it

 

 

 

 

15d Garrett GBG Conejo Baseball

Proud Parents, Lance and Kimberly

Garrett (r) receives Most Inspirational Player Award at school

Garrett (r) receives Most Inspirational Player Award at school

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!

16a California Visit - 13616b California Visit - 128

 

 

 

 

 

16e California Visit - 14816d California Visit - 152

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champions!

Champions!

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.

Blake looking disheveled after soccer practice, but still handsome as ever!

Blake looking disheveled after soccer practice, but still handsome as ever!

Blake and Holly - Prom Night

Blake and Holly – Prom Night

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.

Garrett and Briana

Garrett and Briana

And, not to be outdone in the ‘girlfriend’ department, here is Brady with just one of his many princesses at the Fairy Tale Ball.

Brady at the Fairy Tale Ball

Brady 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!

Garrett earns the Leadership Award at school.

Garrett earns the Leadership Award at his high school HSA program

Paige qualifies for the 125-mile club for running

Paige qualifies for the 125 Mile Club for all the miles she ran this school year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kailyn earns awards in Math, Reading, and the 6 Pillars of Character

Kailyn earns awards in Math, Accelerated Reading, and Exemplary Character

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.

Lance on the Ventura County Fire Department baseball team win 2nd place in the Annual Fallen Firefighters Tournament in Las Vegas

Lance

Sean completed his first full Marathon

Sean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paige gave me a parting gift which was a little compact mirror in a mesh gift bag with the following note:

The person pictured in this bag is one of the most special gifts in my life.  I love you.

The person pictured in this bag is one of the most special gifts in my life. I love you.

The kids got up early to say goodbye as Kimberly and I headed to the airport.25 Blake Garrett Paige and Mamma26 Kimberly and me

Goodbye for now, California

Goodbye for now, California

Hello, Colorado

Hello, Colorado

 

 

Colorado National Monument

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.”

We took the Bear through this tunnel!

We took the Bear through this tunnel!

Winding road up to the Saddlehorn Campground

Winding road up to the Saddlehorn Campground

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.

This is a campsite?

This is a campsite?

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.

Our spacious campsite at Island Acres State Park next to the Colorado River

Our spacious campsite at Island Acres State Park next to the Colorado 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.

Free campsite on BLM land in Grand Junction

Free campsite on BLM land in Grand Junction

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.

A little daytime entertainment

A little daytime entertainment

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!

The typical parking lot style RV park, but we felt secure here for the storm

The typical parking lot style RV park, but we felt secure here for the storm.  This was our view.

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.

Burned up the 50-amp plug

Burned up the 50-amp plug

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.

Our site at James Robb State Park in Fruita, CO

Our site at James Robb State Park in Fruita, CO

The view from our bedroom window

The view from our bedroom window

BBQ dinner with Al, Ingrid, and family

BBQ dinner with Al, Ingrid, and family

Aren't these lovebirds cute?

Aren’t these lovebirds cute?

A night-cap.  Al builds a fire, Mike brings the Frangelico.  Oh yeah.

A night-cap. Al builds a fire, Mike brings the Frangelico. Oh yeah.

Lucy enjoys a run on the grass by the lake

Lucy enjoys a run on the grass by the lake

Ingrid and I take a stroll around the lake

Ingrid and I take a stroll around the lake

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!

Hiking around Dinosaur Hill - excavation site in view

Hiking around Dinosaur Hill – excavation site in view

Yellow Collared Lizard

Yellow Collared Lizard

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!

Climbing the switchbacks up Corkscrew Trail in the Colorado National Monument

Climbing the switchbacks up Corkscrew Trail in the Colorado National Monument

The view from Wedding Canyon trail

The view from Wedding Canyon trail

Enjoying the scenery on the Lower Monument Canyon Trail

Enjoying the scenery on the Lower Monument Canyon Trail

Wildflowers covered the ground

Wildflowers covered the ground

View of Independence Monument

View of Independence Monument

We saw lots of big horn sheep, but I didn't have my good camera with me, darn it!

We saw lots of big horn sheep on the hillsides, but I didn’t have my good camera with me, darn it!

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.

Riding our bikes on the Colorado Riverfront Trail

Riding our bikes on the Colorado Riverfront Trail

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!