Sunday, September 4, 2016

Last Week in Colorado and an Earthquake in KS!



We arrive at Big Meadow campground early Friday morning and secure a site looking over the lake.  It’s still cool, a mist hangs over the mountains.  We are totally enchanted with this new campground.




The run off from the lake makes a lovely waterfall.


Part of the “Big Meadow”.


It begins to rain as soon as we start hiking.


It’s real cold that night. I wake up thinking a window must be open.  The next day a camp host informs us that it got down to 32 degrees.

Hmm.  Maybe it’s time to run the furnace? We have never left it on all night. But we have also never spent the night at 9,225 feet!

That next night we sleep warm after adjusting the thermostat to 53 degrees F.


Sylvester also enjoys this spot as there are numerous chipmunks darting through camp.



Two nights is all we want of the cold weather.  It’s gorgeous when the sun is out, but too cool for comfort every afternoon as the rain approaches.  And it is time to think about the rally in Kansas.  We head east on 160, stopping at a Passport America campground, Woods and River, where we pay $16 for a full hookup. The site is in Del Norte and it’s on the Rio Grande.

DSC_0011 (1)

Rio Grande at Del Norte

John Martin Reservoir State Park in eastern Colorado is our destination on Monday, just a 200 mile drive.





We have time to grill turkey sausages and Brussel sprouts…a new combo for us.

After a long drive on small back roads we see civilization again at I-70. A blogger friend’s former home town has a city rv park, Ellis City Lake Park.  Thanks, Emily!



We sleep soundly after walking to town for pizza.

We are almost to Junction City, Kansas.  We are excited as many of our fiberglass friends are registered to attend the Kansas rally.  We pull into Farnum Creek two days before the Labor Day holiday weekend.  There are 7 big trailers in the camp but no cars.  We are the only ones here!

We know to enjoy the quiet while we can.  This is a favorite camping/fishing spot with the locals.

This area is known for its sunsets.

DSC_0022 (1)


DSC_0018 (2)



Now, the earthquake. 

It is just after 7 am on 9/3/2016. I am barely awake when the Escape’s roof starts receiving hits.  After 4 or 5 loud impacts I wonder if a squirrel is irate and throwing sticks at us. Before I can get out of bed to chase away the furry demon, the trailer starts to shake.  It was over in 10 to 15 seconds and, since our experience of earthquakes is limited, it takes a bit to realize that we have just been through an earthquake!  A 5.6 down in Oklahoma.

But no harm is done.

The holiday weekend ends tomorrow.  All the boats, fifth wheels, tents, dogs, locals and kids will disappear and several dozen little white trailers will replace them.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Living the Dream?


Vallecito Lake

Some of our family and friends have commented that we are “living the dream” and, for the most part, I agree.  But it is being dishonest to not mention some of the un dreamlike parts of the “dream”….like the past three days of rain and cold.  At the moment the sun is shining but the wind is howling and it’s barely 60 degrees.  I am warm, writing while sitting in the truck.  The husband is napping in the Escape…a little distance helps me concentrate.  But rain, cold and overcast skies are not fun.  Ready for some warmth!

Speaking of the husband…a fact I rarely mention is his aging.  I know, we are all aging, but, at almost 79, some days are more challenging than others.  Like two nights ago when he took the trash to the dumpster and became disorientated as to the correct direction back to the trailer.  Luckily he had his phone on and there was coverage.  It was dark and very scary for me when I realized that he was lost.  I see a pair of walky talkies in the future for us.

David’s blood thinner also causes issues when he bumps or scrapes up against objects.  I was not a happy camper earlier in the trip when the sheets were needing daily washing and I was constantly changing bandages.

Hope no one thinks I am complaining.  Gratitude for what we have is practiced every day.  Love that I have a mate who shares my love of the outdoors.  But some days just go smoother than others.

So, backing up a week……

DSC_0013 (1)

The Chimney Rock ruins is just down the road from our camp.

There’s a $12 fee for the tour and we opted to just take one of the two tours.

DSC_0012 (1)

The view from the monument is magnificent!

DSC_0007 (1)



Not sure if this was a kiva….but the tour had many structures like this one.

The next day we head east back to the Durango area.  We plan to ride the train and then, just decided not to do it. The less expensive travel option started sounding uncomfortable.

Instead we pick up meds called into the local Wal Mart.  Durango is a metropolis compared with Pagosa Springs…..what a traffic mess!

We choose to stay at Vallecito, a forest service campground with some electric sites.  It is $14.50 a night with electric and the Senior Pass.

DSC_0018 (1)

The Vallecito Creek runs through the campground.  The electric sites are off from the water but we can hear the creek sing.

DSC_0038 (1)



The creek runs into Vallecito Lake…the largest lake in Colorado at 8,000 feet or higher.

DSC_0034 (1)


DSC_0027 (1)


DSC_0036 (1)

Vallecito means little valley in Spanish.  Our campground is at the very end of the valley….and under a thunderstorm.

We stay 5 nights.  Love the river, the hiking trail, the canyon walls and the blue spruces!  It feels like we are camping in a Christmas tree stand.

And the campground is almost deserted after the weekenders leave.




This catches the blog up to yesterday where we stay at West Fork campground after deciding against crossing Wolf Creek Pass in a thunderstorm.

Today the pass was no big deal with the Tundra pulling the Escape with empty tanks.  Not sure why I was so nervous about it.  It was just 10,000 feet! 

We arrive safely at Big Meadow campground.  Lots of photos but they are all still on the phone.

Hope to get them published before we arrive at the Kansas rally next week.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Pagosa Springs….Saying Goodbye!



San Juan River…downtown Pagosa Springs

We have sat in the cool shade of Ponderosa pines and blue spruces for over a week. It’s time to go to town and find a hot spring (and shower.)  This is a first for us, been in a few hot springs out in the wilds but no citified pools!  Noticing that there is an eight dollar rate for senior citizens we choose a place right across the street from the Pagosa Springs Visitor Center.  It is a bit on the run down side but we just want the experience.  There are several pools to choose from.  (Sorry, no photos.) The sulfur smell is not too strong and it’s truly an enjoyable time.

And we could barely drag ourselves out of the hot water.

There’s a path in the East Fork campground that leads to the river.  It’s kind of scary….part of it goes straight down over a bluff….but I have been wanting to hike it before we leave.



DSC_0005 (1)

The short walk leads to the rushing East Fork of the San Juan, another world away from the campground.  Just the river and me.  There’s evidence that others have been enjoying the space.


We have fallen in love with this place.


DSC_0029 (1)

Sylvester loves it also!  There are chipmunks everywhere….aggressive little boogers….who have even jumped on Sylvester’s carrier.

DSC_0030 (1)

There’s one well at the campground that proves to be quite a work out!



DSC_0025 (1)

Former campers leave us a present…..a tiny hummingbird feeder!  I borrow sugar and spend an afternoon watching three hummingbirds and two yellow jackets bombard each other.


Taking naps is another important part of the day.


And eating!


We decide to attend the Wednesday night Parelli Ranch barbecue…David missed it a few weeks earlier.

There’s good food, beautiful horses with a lovely view and a wonderful guitar picking singer.




There’s only one thing left on our Pagosa Springs to do list…go to the Chimney  Rock ruins. (Next blog).

Our time in the mountains is running out….just over a week left!

(Gotta get this published and hit the road!)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Alone in the Forest---East Fork Camp



The title here is a bit misleading.  We are camping alone, now, but we are not way out in the boondocks alone…..but by ourselves in a forest campground, East Fork.

Since arriving almost three weeks ago we have been with friends and new friends.  First week we were at a fiberglass rally, then shared a campsite with a new friend from the rally.  Then we relocated to property close to Pagosa Springs where an impromptu Kansas rally was happening.


We found a lovely, heavily shaded campground east of Pagosa Springs six days ago and have not been motivated to leave.  We have been sight-seeing, relaxing and doing chores……there are pit toilets and one well with a huge handle on the pump.  A real workout to get a few gallons of water!

Not much to say but the Nikon is being used and I’m finally getting away from the S5 phone photos.

Our first site…had to move after three days due to reservations….is on a bluff overlooking the East Fork of the San Juan River…(first photo above.)


There’s a water falls, Silver Falls, way up the gravel road that runs by the campground.  The above photos were taken of the East Fork while searching for the falls……turned around after about 5 miles…got tired of the bumpy road!

Treasure Falls is on the main road of 160. We  manage to climb up for a proper view.


Wolf Creek Pass is a granddaddy of mountain passes… least someone told me that.  No history of driving in big mountains.  We drove up in the Tundra to check it out.



Our only other big mountain pass was on our way to Alaska.  I need to pull the Escape up and over to get over my nervousness.  (This has not happened yet!)

Views from the overlook returning back to camp.


Another day we drove back up and over the mountain to have lunch with friends who are camping in South Fork.  We stopped at Big Meadow campground to check it out.



If we get motivated to leave East Fork, Big Meadow may get a visit and the Escape will get to cross over the Continental Divide. Oh, joy!

Overall, life is good!