Monday, May 30, 2011

Home Again, Home Again!

I'm sorry to be slow in getting this last post of our trip done, but I was pooped!  We traveled and reminisced as we went on Saturday, leaving early morning and having some wind issues early but nothing we were overly concerned about.  We gawked at the swollen rivers and lakes and we passed them and felt badly for the businesses trying to recover from the recession with flooding now stopping tourist business.  We get more excited to reach home as the miles accumulate and we see more beautiful weather!

Arriving home about 12:30, I immediately got in the car to retrieve our mail---OMG!!  When I got to the counter to request it, the lady asked if I had a bus!!  She took about 10 minutes to bring out a huge roller cart with our 7 weeks of mail in it!   It took me a while to get it out to the car and load it..can't imagine how long it's going to take to sort through it and process it!  Where's my staff when I need them??

We powered through unloading much of the RV and since I didn't clean the refrigerator before we left, I wanted to do it now since it was mostly empty before we unloaded the RV refer, so I did a thorough cleaning and then loaded our "real" refrigerator again.   It takes a long time to load and unload a vehicle that houses your life for 7 weeks! 

Later in the evening, we sat with a glass of wine and reminded each other of our favorite times and places, our highs and lows and some of the places we'd like to revisit.  During our travels I also made a list of some of the great places we had seen, gone through or just thought were worth mentioning:

We traveled through nine states and covered over 5,000 miles and went through some wonderful sounding places:  Willows, Clear Lake, Woodland and Zamora;  Peaceful Drive, CO and Opportunity,  MT. 

As most of you know, we also had some weather issues, and appropriately traveled through some interestingly-named places:  Hell-Roaring Indian Ridge, MT;  Lightning Ridge, CO; Devil's Canyon, CO; and Wind River Canyon, WY.    There were also aptly named areas and just plain funny:  Horsetooth Reservoir in CO and  Poison Spider Rd outside of Casper, WY.    Also in WY:  Zero Road, Gas Hills Road,  and Chugwater, where appropriately there is a chili cook-off June 18.

We saw the "Save on Groceries & Become a Millionaire Mart" in California;   Shinarump Drive and the Holy Moses Wash,  both in Arizona;  there is also Hoopem-up Hollow in WA and Meyham Gulch in CO.  Where else would you want to go?

Our experiences along the way were rich and our friendships appreciated.  We gained a lot from the trip even though we didn't get to our ultimate destination of the east coast and seeing friends Gerry Ann and Eric, Bob and Jane, Maddy and Jerry, Karen and Mac, etc., but we'll get a chance to see most of them in Las Vegas in October, so it won't be so long.  We'll be taking our moho down then, so we'll blog on this site  beginning again in later September, and we'll be gone about a month.   Hope you will follow  us then!

Jeff reminds me to post that we got 7 mpg instead of the 6 he thought we were getting---he's very proud of that extra mile!

Thanks to so many of you who took the time to catch our blog--we enjoyed relaying our travels and mishaps and fun times;  we had followers from 7 countries--over all we had 672 site views from the US and 16 from Malaysia, 9 from Germany, 9 from Singapore, 1 from the UK, India and Russia. 

Safe travels to everyone and a special quiet  moment for all those who have served our countries well  and are no longer with us.

Friday, May 27, 2011

331 miles to Ritzville, WA

We got an early start Friday morning, on the road by 7:20.  We had wanted to get at least to Coeur d'Alene, ID so we could get home with a long day on Saturday.  We have learned through the weeks of travel to start early to avoid the winds and have extra time to relax before dinner and walks. 

Passing Missoula, MT and traveling on through Montana, we reflect on how much we enjoy Montana and will be back soon to visit Glacier National Park (still my personal favorite NP) and revisit the state that we think is one of the most genuine and "no-nonsense" of the many states we have visited over the years.  We discuss each state as we travel, as probably many of you do.  We talk about the rank of the state for land mass, population and the nickname of the state.  I am particularly fond of Wyoming,  "the equality state" -- the first state to sign suffrage act into law, first to allow women on a jury, first female court bailiff and first justice-of-the-peace, and the first female governor!  You go Wyoming! 

Montana is the "treasure state" and ranks 4th in land mass.  Idaho is the gem state and ranks 11th in land mass but 39th in population!  Washington (the left state) is  of course the "evergreen state" and ranks 13th in population.  We have a ranking system for the roads we have traversed, and Montana and Wyoming rank pretty well!  Idaho does well, too.   California, Arizona and New Mexico, you've got work to do!

We passed the RV Park we were scheduled to stay for 4 days near Coeur d'Alene, ID and could see from the highway that the river was very close to the park and it was continuing  to rain....we felt sorry for them - their full park a week ago had been reduced to zero with the constant rain!  Hope they will make it up over the next few weeks.  The rain/flooding continues to be a problem all through the northwestern states as we cross the border to Washington and see the Spokane River over flood stage too. 

Ritzville, WA becomes our final stop today, 331 miles after our start in Deer Lodge this morning.  It's an interesting park, across the street from a golf course and adjacent to a cemetery!  I went to highschool in Dayton, WA, which was a school that played Ritzville in football every year.  They would always  beat us!

When we settled into our campsite, we were next to a gentleman who was attending his 1961 HS reunion, and remembered playing Dayton in football, too.  He was gracious enough  not to remember our frequent defeats!  He warned us that they were rowdy in high school and would likely be loud coming home...we told him we were okay with the 9:00 noise!!  ;-)

We're watching the Mariners game tonight for the first time in several's against the NY Yankees and so we're glad to see the game on TV.  As we have mentioned, we haven't seen much TV in the last few weeks so it's good to finally see the Mariners!

We're trying to make it home tomorrow, assuming no major weather issues, so we'll do our last post tomorrow, but as we travel in the moho in the future, we'll blog here at this website each time for anyone interested.  Our next trip will be to Lopez Island to see what's happening with our garden planted before we left on our RV trip!  Can't wait to see!

Deer Lodge MT and Western Americana

We journeyed on to Deer Lodge (past where we intended to stay the night, in Butte, MT) to get a few more miles (54).   We got in to the RV park about 5:00 pm, just before closing.  We were glad to land and so was Casey Noodle, who HATES the cattle guards on the highway because of the noise and rumble. 

We wanted to go further than anticipated  because we have learned over the past few weeks  that you travel when there are  low winds (5-10 mph or less) and low traffic.  We were happy to spend what we thought was a catch-up day in Deer Lodge, because there are so many museums and things to see here, even though it's a small town.  We have enjoyed the "just folks" aspect of Montana--it seems to be the most genuine of states.   

Started out the next morning at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch---a former HUGE ranch owned by Conrad Kohrs (a great family originally from Germany).  This rancher originally left home at 15 and sailed the world in the mid 1800's as a cabin boy for a few years.  The quest for gold led him to California and north, and in 1862 to SW Montana.  He got into cattle, and there he began counting his fortune. 

After a few years, Kohrs acquired 30,000 acres where he raised both cattle and horses.  He was active in local politics and later owned tens of thousands of acres of range land.  His grandson acquired the property, ran the ranch and bred clydesdale horses, then finally  sold a portion to the National Park Service,  and they later acquired the surrounding view acres to maintain the mountain views off the veranda of  the main  house.  They have a great ranger-conducted tour of the ranch house (9,000 sq ft at its peak), bunk house, ice house, stables  and blacksmiths. 

We have so appreciated the lifestyle and laid-back approach that residents of Wyoming and Montana have towards weather, life, setbacks and good luck.  We have seen so much good will and even though we didn't really fit in because of what we wore and what we drove, etc.  we felt so accepted and welcomed everywhere we went that we could become Montanans!  

We had a great time touring the ranch buildings and were so impressed with how the Park volunteers  approach teaching children about the "frontier life" and providing frontier-type toys, entertaining them with songs and rodeo-type, hands-on fun.

After the ranch,  we headed to the Old Montana Prison.   In an attempt to "tame the Wild West," a prison was erected in 1871 in Deer Lodge.   It was constructed primarily with convict labor, and was used until 1979 when it was moved west.  Inmates  were not housed as they are today;  often put in a  maximum security cell  after an infraction,  which was awful at best (black cell with no bed, nothing to eat but bread and water).

As you can see, I was willing to have Jeff arrested and jailed (note the casket on the left  as a reminder!!)  if he ever suggests a spring moho trip again!   ; - )     (just to set the records straight, we both wanted to do this trip, and I was probably the proponent of continuing...)

We love moho'ing, we love being together, but the weather was just too much for us this year.  Granted we didn't have the mid-west and southern  stuff,  but we certainly had our share of  crappy weather, snow and wind.  We have cancelled our reservations at Coeur d'Alene  for 4 nights    (they have winds, cold weather and flooding there, too).   We felt bad because we were their last cancellation after being booked to the max and then after the flooding, back to zero (they are right on a river--but it also butts the Coeur d'Alene trail, which we wanted to bike and hike).

We will motor on tomorrow  to wherever we get to, probably Spokane, WA area.  We love the Montana area and would have loved to spend more time here, but weather is just not cooperating.  I've prepared our breakfast for tomorrow driving-- we'll probably have this as we travel along   (sliced grapefruit, hardboiled eggs, V-8, ham/cheese/crackers)   and we will probably go  for 300 miles or so, weather/winds/rains cooperating.  

We are anxious to get home now,  since looking ahead at the we find that there is no relief in sight.  I really want to see my garden on Lopez that I planted before we left, and am anxious, as I know Jeff is, to relax and  enjoy a good-ole NW spring and watch the Mariners, enjoy our neighbors, and do the Waterfront Festival as we have done for several years now, as the beer-garden volunteers for the Rotary fund-raiser---we volunteer in the beer garden---Jeff is the beer "puller" and I'm the "beer wench"---we man (woman) the benign hours (11-3)  but we wield a mighty tip can!!!  We often get the most tips/beers there you go!

If we have this type of trip again (you have to understand that we have been on MANY a trip of dubious and often "special"  risk), we will be SUPER proactive regarding weather conditions, etc.  and LEAVE THE KAYAKS AT HOME!!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park

(We have posted another post just prior to this at the same time; just scroll down and you can catch it.)

Well!!  We finally got some cell phone/wifi coverage!!

We left Cody at about 2:00 pm, after returning to the Buffalo Bill Museum (Jeff did, I went on an hour-long walk with Casey Noodle--we accuse Jeff of going through a museum reading every single sign, including the exit signs!).  We thought we had plenty of time, since we would enter the east entrance for Yellowstone (20 miles) and then head into our RV Park at Yellowstone Lake, which would be another hour at most. I was on my walk, I passed a newspaper stand that had a paper still in it with the main headline "East Entrance Open Now on Limited Basis"......that's not what you want to see as you are headed in that direction!   When I got back from my walk, I went online and checked the status...because of rock slides and avalanches, they road is closed during the warmer hours of the day.  They only open from 8 pm to 10 am...and that's just as of today!  We did not want to wait around until 8 pm, so we decided to go to the NE entrance, which is open year-round. 

We drove 54 miles to the NE entrance, with beautiful scenery along the way.  We felt ok about the time since we had about 30ish miles to go to our RV Park at the Lake.  We get to the park entrance and we had to stop at the gate to show our pass, and the ranger told us that the  main road was closed and we had to go the "longer way" around to the campsite...a mere 3 extra hours!!! It was now 5:00 pm...and about 37 degrees.

We thought...really?  How could it take that long when it was only 90 miles the long way?!    We soon found out why.  The road immediately narrowed to two very narrow lanes with NO shoulder and the white line missing on most of the right side due to failing roads.  There had obviously been lots of weather issues for this road over the winter, and we were well aware!  To add to the mix, this was the major animal-viewing area in the park.  Every car in the park must have been stopped along the side, in the middle, and broadside on the road.  You have to understand that  they probably thought about getting off the road, but with all the rain/snow the park has had, the pull-offs (okay, there were maybe two!) were super soft.  So we are pushed over in our lane by cars gawking at the animals, shuttle buses rushing to their next stop, etc.  It was a harrowing, winding, NARROW, scary trip.  I tried to help Jeff as much as possible with turn warnings, car stopping warnings, etc.  and he appreciated it!!!

We got to the Norris intersection and found the roads much better.  We couldn't believe the difference!  By now we had already spent 2 hours on the narrow, crumbling road and were SO glad to continue on in a normal fashion, particularly with nightfall coming. 

Arriving at the RV Park just before they closed at 9:00 pm, (a mere 7 hours after we started!), they directed us to our site and said   "don't connect your water hose,  it will freeze."  We set up camp and pretty much went to bed shortly thereafter.

Next morning, we drove out south to Old Faithful, of course seeing much wildlife along way, including bison (buffalo),  antelope, more bison, elk, deer, more bison....we got to Old Faithful and since we had been there before (several years ago) we decided to sit on the upper deck of the old, beautiful lodge decking and have a glass of wine as we watched Old Faithful erupt!!  It was a fun relaxing time, and the lodge is so funky and great.  We got the 2:33 pm eruption and headed out again.  We had already logged our 10,000 steps earlier, so we increased our mileage and had some beautiful scenery. 

The next morning found us enveloped in snow and cold, and we discovered after picking up a USA Today that Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone NP was the lowest temperature in the US:  26 seems cold weather/rain/snow follows us, but we are so thankful not to have gone on our planned route that followed much worse weather through the flooding, tornadoes and snow that enveloped the midwest, north and south.  It seems we are doomed to cold/snow/wind until we get home!  Our hearts go out to the people of the plains states that have experienced so much loss and destruction as the tornadoes and floods ravage their homelands. 

We feel lucky, even though we have had many a harrowing experience along our way.  We haven't had wifi, cable or cell phone coverage for 3 days (you would think it was boring, but we really filled the days!).  We have been humbled by roads and snow and temperatures below freezing for days on end; fabulously beautiful scenery, so many animals that we don't see except in our national parks, and how vulnerable we are to weather.   Especially in a moho where the travel, sleep, and really, every waking hour is about the weather--today, tonight (do we pull the water hose or not?) and tomorrow (do we leave tomorrow morning early, late, how far do we go, is it below freezing where we're going, are there strong winds?   where do we stay?).  

Our last night in Yellowstone included an evening at the Yellowstone Lake Hotel Dining Room.  What a lovely time!  My sweet husband requested my favorite song from the pianist and we heard it just before we entered the dining room.  We were seated at a window table and had a waiter from West Virginia...there are about 1300 college kids that work here at the park, and what a great opportunity for them!  We got such a kick out of  "JR"  our waiter from West Virginia and had I had lake trout and Jeff had bison tenderloin...we both enjoyed our meal, heading back to a snowy, cold moho.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Home on the Range...Where the Deer and the Antelope Play!!

NOTE:  This post was delayed due to no wifi/cell phone coverage....

We were out of Cody town by 8:30 a.m.  and headed to Shoshoni, WY.   It's amazing how many oil wells are drilled and are currently working along this route and throughout Colorado and Wyoming!  Who knew there were so many in operation in the middle of farmland, feed lots, etc.--we were surprised to see so many just casually placed and working away!

There were certainly a lot of snow fences and "flashing lights when highway closed" signs...we were very glad that the winds/snow was not a big issue this day to ignite the flashing lights.  We did have some wind, but certainly not bad enough to warrant the 'Lorena's super quiet'  mode.  We thought we might hit Thermopolis about 10:00, but we landed about 11:30 and Jeff wanted breakfast and I wanted lunch, so we both were satisfied at a  charming local place where again, everybody knows your name....we were made very welcome by the waitstaff and Jeff had his sausage and eggs and I had.. gasp...a bacon cheeseburger!!!OMG!    When was the last time!!
The trick is, no mayo, lots of mustard, pull off most of the bun and enjoy!

We ventured on to  state hwy 120 that was just great (you  go, Wyoming and Colorado!...New Mexico, Arizona and California--your highways suck!)  and we travelled along a "Rand McNally Best of the Road" Wind River Canyon trip route to Cody, Wy.  We saw many, many antelope (cute white butts!) and also have seen several herd of wild horses.  It's a pretty big deal here to adopt wild horses as it's a problem for them to find adequate food and stay sheltered/warm during the cold winters.  Along those same lines, we have seen more horse trailers go by than trucks!

When we got to Cody, we were delighted to have time to take Casey Noodle for a walk, then stroll the 5 blks to the Buffalo Bill Historic Museum.  This is a super museum complex with 5 different museums a part of it.  It's a Smithsonian Affiliated Program, and very well done.  We viewed the Buffalo Bill Museum portion together (this is a very detailed, complete compilation of Buffalo Bill's life, including his boyhood home...moved from Iowa... and many of his and his family's artifacts, honors and photographs.  Very interesting.  I guess we were always aware of Buffalo Bill and his place in history,  but not the IMPORTANCE of his part in the development of the west...The folklore, the friendship he had with Theodore Roosevelt, the "Wild West Show" they took to Europe for several years in the 1800's.

We were taken aback!  I also went through the Western Art Museum, heavy on Remington art and bronzes, but very interesting and viewable; and took a VERY quick tour through the firearms museum...not really my thing and I don't know anything about guns, just saw a HUGE stuffed  polar bear shot by a woman while in Alaska...and lots and lots of rifles...

I also went through the Natural History portion of the Museum...Jeff calls it 'Natural History Lite.'  The part of the museum that was important for me was the sage brush/prairie dog exhibit....the sage grouse is the king of the area...we were worried (I was worried) about who eats/uses the sagebrush that we see for miles and miles as we travel along--it's the prairie dog, sage grouse and the pronghorn antelope when in dire straights. 

Off to Yellowstone, where we will camp at Yellowstone Lake for 3 nights....

Friday, May 20, 2011

Red Rocks Rain and Wha-hoo Wyoming!

What a rainy day we faced on Thursday...we decided to head to the Denver Mint (Jeff and son Bill are collectors) as an alternative to our planned kayak and bike day.  It was 37 degrees out and very rainy all day.  We went online first thing thinking, in May, that we would have lots of opportunities to get in on the 1 hour tour, but NO!   All tours were full through mid-July!   We nevertheless went to the gift shop and enjoyed it.  We rambled around town a bit and then headed to the Red Rock Amphitheater which we had definitely wanted to see.  The road up to the amphitheater was twisty and slow but we soon got to the entry to the parking lots and found a sentry--he told us there was a graduation scheduled where 963 students were going to go through their ceremonies at 2:30...what a beautiful spot to graduate, but what awful weather to do it in!  All  the parents, aunts, uncles, etc. were walking towards to amphitheater with umbrellas out, raincoats on, and a grim face to the weather!   Here's a picture of the entry to the parking lot of the Red Rock Amphitheater, close to the graduation site...

As we were traveling around Lakewood and the Colorado area, we noticed many, many 3-story houses...they grow big families  here!  As we head out of town after hating to leave our city park campsite, we pass the local "loaf-n-jug" and "Hobby Lobby"...heading out of town towards Cheyenne, WY.    We had great travels along 70, to 76 to 25 and stopped at Terry's Bison Ranch to have our homemade sandwiches in the moho.    We had thought about staying here in Cheyenne, but we were early and the weather was good, so we just motored on towards Douglas and then to Casper.  Along the way we passed sooo many snow fences, road signs repeatedly telling us via flashing lights, detours, etc that this road is often overcome by snowfall, wind and rain.  We passed the Budweiser brewery, which I would have loved to stop to see the Clydesdales, but we were in a hurry, since the rain and wind had certainly started to increase.   We saw many oil wells in fields we passed, and I couldn't help singing the Beverly Hillbillies theme song (Jed was shooting at some food... and up from the ground came a bubblin' crude....oil that is... black gold...) 

We saw lots of "doggies"...that's cattle to you "non cow-punchin" some bison and antelope.
After getting to our night spot, we headed into town and had an old-fashioned steak dinner in a new style  bistro...really good tenderloin plus organic GREAT salad.  We were right on the river (Platte) and after dinner went out to look at the level of the river (we're not comparing it to the Mississippi of course) but they had a full levee of sand bags around the restaurant and we were concerned that they may be flooded in the next day or two.  There was rain predicted for the next week here!  The waiter said that they were 200% over their rainfall for the year ....

We saw many gorgeous skies as we travelled along was so beautiful we had to take a pix of the gorgeous skyline as we travelled along.....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It was a Dark and Stormy Night...

We started out from Golden, CO with high hopes of hiking, biking, and yaking at the Bear Creek Lake Park, and got quickly set up at the campground (we can set up with power only in about 10 minutes flat now!) only to hear the machine-gun hail on our roof to quell our hopes.  We were talking to Barb and Rod yesterday and they were saying they have 310 days of sunshine in the Denver area every's like Seattle only gets drizzles....we have had 4 days out of 5 of rain/hail/clouds in  this area!! What are the odds?? 

We had a nice day anyway---we waited out the rain/hail as we shopped at "King's Sooper" and Costco and then came back to the beast to put things away and then head out on a hike.  We were looking around our small campground (47 sites) and being off-season, there aren't many folks here but there are two tent sites's been hailing, thunder/lightning, rain, etc.  these guys need to rent yurts!!!

The elements were not to deter us and we prepared for an hour hike, rain or not!  Off we went to find a trail and we found one quickly.  The weather was so bad that there were no bikers or walkers, etc and so (don't tell anybody!) we let Casey Noodle off the leash to run and have a blast!  We walked through strong winds and the beginning of rain (hood up!) to have a good outing for both Casey and the two of us...we enjoyed it thoroughly.

When we got back to the beast we got ready for dinner (I promised Jeff I would take him to dinner at Cafe Prague...he still resents the fact that he didn't get to Prague while we were in Europe and Caroline and I this was my make-up!).  I knew he would love several options and he immediately chose the sausage/red cabbage/potatoes/mustard option (the kids will understand!) and I had the trout caught locally....OMG!  My trout was fabulous and Jeff loved his sausages.  I was afraid he wouldn't get the roasted hot dogs he was longing for over the campfire (since it was poring rain and freezing at our fire-ring!).  Unfortunately, the forecast was for 90% precip for tomorrow, too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Denver Airport & T-Storms

Yesterday we had a relaxing morning getting Jeff ready to go and Casey set up for a few hours until I got back to the beast after going with Jeff into the airport to meet friends Rod and Barb for lunch at a diner near the airport.  We enjoyed seeing them--it's been almost 2 years so we had a lot of catching up to do.  They had just spent a month in Italy staying with different families and had good stories.  One of the places they visited and loved was Pompeii which was one of our favorite places too--so intriguing!

We got Jeff off to the airport after lunch and I rode back to  the beast with Barb, as she was headed in that direction.  After Barb got the "extended" tour of the moho (includes the pull-out pantry) she headed home and I got a call from Jeff saying they cancelled his flight and he had scrambled to get a seat on a Southwest flight to LA.  Not his favorite airline!  He wasn't impressed with the service provided on the flight (or lack of).  At least he got to LA in time to catch a ride with a fellow board member and all was well.

Casey and I had a walk through the area and enjoyed some of the neighborhood sights and visited with lots of dogs along the way.  We listened to the Mariner's game (well, mostly Casey) and finally were rewarded with a win. The next morning started with some showers but let  up after breakfast  so we headed out for our long walk.  We have now gone walking in every direction possible, so it's time to move on to hiking trails at a city or state park!   I didn't have a car but had my bike and my feet, so no worries.  After our walk, the thunderstorms began again in earnest.  It sounded like machine gun fire on the roof of the beast!  We are so aware of the weather in this because we are so exposed to it...inside, any little shower or wind sounds like much more than what's actually happening outside...

On my way through the RV park  to get to my walking destination today, I was joined for a while by two little girls on their scooters.  One sister caught up with me and asked me about Casey, wanting to know his name.  I told her and she said "that's my sister's name!"  whom soon joined us.  Her sister told her Casey's name, and she laughed and said "well!   guess whose birthday is today?"  We  determined it was hers ;-), and that she had received a huge (4'!) teddy bear for her 7th birthday.  She was very excited!

I decided to get a make a big salad and get a pizza down the road and bring back to have with my salad.  I ordered one Jeff would like--BBQ chicken-- as I thought he might still be hungry when he got home at 8 or so and I wouldn't eat even half.

Jeff arrived and all was well.  We're pretty sure we're headed to the Bear Creek Lake Park tomorrow. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bear Creek Lake Park and Lazy Day!

Hey, all!  Since we had the kayaks and bikes on the CRV and because we quickly checked out the park yesterday, we headed back to Bear Creek Lake Park after a light breakfast.  We were not real excited about the kayaking or biking prospects since it was about 39 and thunderstorms forecast.  We got a day-use permit (Sr discount!!!) and checked out the trails for possible biking/hiking routes. 

What a beautiful city park this is!  It has dozens of picnic spots (many of them covered), 47 nice camping sites, 3 lakes (2 of them motorless), water ski lessons(!!!), archery, 2 golf courses, fishing peers, stables, horseback riding lessons, and 15.7 miles of hiking/biking/horseback riding trails!  Good job city of Lakewood!

We decided against kayaking the lake in favor of a nice hike and then, hoping Casey Noodle would be tired after that, we would put him in the "Chariot" and do a little biking. So, we chose the Fisherman's Trail, and it was listed as a 1.3 mi hike around Bear Creek Lake.  Sounded good.  Off we went, not taking any water or our lunch, since it was now about 42 and very cloudy--we should be back in 20-30 minutes, tops.  It was a scenic walk around the lake for 1/2 of the trail  (We also didn't bring our camera on the trail, so no pix).   Since it had rained recently, we came upon several detours and changes to other trails due to standing water.  Soon we found ourselves in a meadow that was entirely out of sight of the lake!  So....making our way in the direction we thought to be correct, we followed several different trails (all the while the skies are getting darker and rain just beginning) but couldn't get back across the creek that fed the lake for some time.  Anyway, we ended up back at the car with about 5 miles on the peds.  We were hungry and thirsty by this time and took our lunch to a nice picnic spot and made short work of the sandwiches and chips.

We were now in a good rain and so took a tour of the rest of the park--we were taken with the campground--we decided that we would try to stay a couple of nights after Jeff gets back from Long Beach  Tuesday night.  We thought it would be great to be right at the park to really spend some time yaking, biking and hiking.  They have fire rings, and we're still hauling around the wood we brought from home, so another good reason to stay there! 

As a side note, we often don't have television at our moho.  We have 2 tv's, but they are the old-fashioned analog and we're too cheap to get the satellite hooked up.  Some parks have cable, but not many.  We've had television maybe 6 or 8 days since we left home.  Not that it's a big deal, and we miss it less and less.  We actually enjoy listening to the Mariner's games on radio more than TV, and it's a chance to catch up on our reading as well.  When we get home we'll have a new novel to read, "Simone"---a debut novel by our friend Steve Dennis.  Congrats, Steve!

Having said all that about the TV, we elected to watch a movie in the evening  ;-).   We Redboxed "The King's Speech" which we both enjoyed.  Hard to believe Elizabeth is still Queen!

Sunday we went out to breakfast (thankfully, Jeff doesn't choose restaurants often, but he wanted to go to this biker breakfast buffet this morning --all  you can eat for $7!!) but it was closed, darn!, so we went down the road and had a pretty big meal; not really good, just big.  After, we played catch-up with laundry (4 loads--we're a dirty lot), cleanup, floors, etc. and then decided to take a drive to Central City/BlackHawk.  We enjoy taking a drive to a new area on a cold, rainy, overcast day and this was the ticket.   Beautiful scenery along the way, and again more trails to explore later.  Gambling was the order of the day once we arrived at Central City (very much like a little, historic Reno) and we lasted all of an hour.  Jeff doesn't like to gamble but tolerates me on my two or three times/yr,  hour-long binge!  He's a good egg.

This area is called "the richest square mile in the world"--you couldn't prove it by me, but it certainly boasts many gold mines in evidence.  It's amazing how much gold and other minerals were taken from the west and southwest back in the day....must have been a heck of a wild west!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garden of the Gods and Golden!

Garden of the Gods was revisited by us as a "wasn't it wonderful" kind of park....this time we had more time  to hike some of the trails throughout and  Casey "Noodle" had a good time hiking with us.  He's been a good trooper!  We packed a lunch and had it at one of the sites along the way that accommodates horses and dogs, etc.  We haven't really mentioned it, but there have been a lot of deer or elk (mostly mule deer) that have been on  or near the highway (at least a dozen or more) -- it's a constant vigil for them!  We don't want to be the accused in a roadkill lawsuit! 

Garden of the Gods, if you  haven't been, is a beautiful geological phenomenon that is pink and red and orange and white and gorgeous all over!  It is actually a city park, given to the city in the early 1900's by the family that owned the property---the children of Charles Elliott Perkins followed the wishes of their father and donated the land to the city for its citizen's use,  but to be free of charge.....which it remains!

We drove through historic Colorado City (really authentic-looking and inviting) on our way back to the beast.   Here is a picture of one of the many historic/attractive buildings  that populate the main street:

Next day, Friday, was our "test" day for all our new-fangled stuff---the front-end alignment, the tire balance and the steering stabilizer....we left our RV Park  in Colorado Springs heading for Golden, CO about 9 am and for the first time in a long time, did not have any wind!   It was hard to tell how much change all the repairs/additions made, but over the ruts and bumps it seemed to be more stable and less "squirrley"--you know what we mean--lots of play in the steering wheel as you're trying to guide it on the right path! 

We arrived at our Park just outside of Golden, CO and set up camp and then headed by foot up a trail next to us and to the top of the butte and over a dried-grass grazing area to soccer fields!
 Casey "Noodle" got the to run around a million-ways-to-Sunday and sniff and pee and have a great time!  We got some good walking in under beautiful skies,  and then headed back to check out laundry facilities, dinner and the next day's activities.

I call my parents every-other day or so, and on the road is no different.  They, as most of you know, are 97 and nearly 93, so it's not a small worry to leave them and travel, but they love to hear about where we are and what we're doing so I keep them  up on the "haps" as we go along.  Of course, we always talk about  Mariners baseball, which WE catch via XM radio and they watch on cable, and about gardening and cooking and what we're seeing,  and we send postcards most weeks as well.  They are remarkably healthy and happy,  don't need any assistance walking,  and do cross-words and search-a-words, I'm sure better than I could!  We're so happy they are doing well.  I have a friend who is doing a great job in transitioning her parents (of a similar age) to an assisted living center, and I know she is doing a better job than I's a difficult transition.  Sandwich generation--that's us!

We have settled in at our Golden, CO Park and are happy here for 5 nights.  We'll see how we do in our kayaks tomorrow, then biking later (there are some fantastic bike/hike trails here!!!) with Casey "Noodle" in the carrier behind  (no, it doesn't have airbags!).

Happy Friday the 13th!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A beautiful hike and a long day

Jeff has an old friend that he went into the Marine Corp with back in the day...Pat lives in the Colorado Springs area and they were able to meet for dinner and catching  up.  It was a nice break for Jeff (and for me)---seeing someone he hasn't seen for 15+ years!  So very thoughtful, Pat found the Marine Corp Recruit Depot yearbook for Jeff and Pat's bootcamp!  He found it some time ago in Iowa (where they were from)  in an antique shop (gasp!!)...and he knew it must be Jeff's, since they were they only two from the area that enlisted in the Marines from that timeframe, so he purchased it and presented it  to Jeff during dinner!  How thoughtful.

What a gorgeous day Tuesday was!   We took the beast in to Camping World first thing in  the am to get the steering stabilizer installed and took the Honda to Pike National Park to do some hiking there.  We had packed our lunch and Casey "Noodle" food and parked at a great NP campground to hike to another campground that included a small (but full of wildlife) lake.  With our lunch and waters in our backpack we reached our lake destination in about 40 minutes and hiked the perimeter of the lake and then had our lunch viewing pelicans and beaver houses and dams.  Initially, we couldn't believe pelicans were here, but we've seen them several times in CO.  Below is a pix taken on our hike,  looking out on a great example of a beaver dam in the middle of the picture.

On the way to the NP, we stopped at a "Jug'n'Loaf"--(like a 7-11), and encountered several interesting characters!  So many groups travel together based on interests....we've seen a group of  probably 12 or 15  "mini-Coopers"  driven by a group of Italian enthusiasts; a group of 20 or so Harley-Davidson devotees from France that had rented the HOG's from a vendor that travels with them and carries their luggage (we actually were with these guys twice so far--they're very enthusiastic travelers!).  There are many small groups that hail from the same area travelling together as well. 

On the way "home" from our hike we were called by Camping World (CW) and told that we have a significant tie-rod problem and that they couldn't install the stabilizer but that a chassis repair shop could fix it and align the front end.  To facilitate the process, we went to the shop, got it "diagnosed"  and arranged for tomorrow,  then were back with the beast at 6:30 pm or so.  Still very windy and expecting snow/thundershowers overnight and next morning.

Today we woke to a rocking moho (due to the strong winds) and headed out with the moho to the repair shop 15 miles away.  They were to complete it within 3 hours and then we had to pick it up and take it back to CW for the stabilizer install....well, suffice it  to say we got it all  done, but got back to the Park at 5:00 pm, having been gone from 8:00 am inclusive......ah the many joys of mechanical/automotive things!

We're tired but really enjoying the areas we are visiting and the views/attractions/parks we are seeing.  We have been to Pike's Peak via the cog railroad previously (with some of our good ACEC friends) and also to Garden of the Gods.  We enjoyed both, and thought tomorrow we would make a trek to Garden of the Gods again and renew our enjoyment of that area.  We are planning on heading to the Denver area Friday where we hope to stay in a state park for 5 days (2 of which Jeff will be in Long Beach for a board meeting).  Those of you who have been to the area north and west of Denver, let us know what you think we should see as we travel back to the NW.  We're debating our route now...Along those lines, we have many folks that are reading the blog that are not listed as followers--that's okay,  you can still give us advice! 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wow! We made it to Colorado Springs!!

What a last couple of days!   We left our beautiful campsite on Sunday morning (via the Honda) to the Great Sand Dunes NP with the thought that we would spend a couple of hours there, having never seen this type of NP before.  It took us 45 minutes to get to the park and since it was so early there was little traffic.  The Great Sand Dunes are amazing if you haven't seen them...we feel like the NP  "poster-oldsters!"  We were blown away (?!) by the formations that the sand makes as it drifts from the huge winds blowing from the west (&SW) as it takes from the river and deposits in front of the mountains.  As we were arriving in the park, we could see folks walking along the upper portion of the dunes, and looking like tiny ants!  

We went through the Visitor's Center  but didn't have enough time to climb the dunes as we would have loved to do.  The US has such interesting and varied terrain!  Back to our Park we were all ready to go and took off in probably 10 minutes.  Off we go to Colorado Springs!  We had a some windy times, but the wind consistently comes from the west here (believe me, we follow the weather religiously!)  and we were going directly east from Alamosa to Walsenburg on 160, so we were good.  There aren't a lot of trees or flags to determine velocity of the wind,  so we thought all was well (albeit we were getting 20 mpg!!!---just kidding!).   We get to Walsenburg and head North on I-25--what a difference!!!!!   OMG!!!

We started out and I have to say it was very scary.  The wind indicators---flags, brush, dust blowing, other vehicles roving into your lane--were very apparent.  We went slowed to about 30 mph on a straight shot and that felt fast.  It felt like we had gone maybe 20 miles, but the mile marker said we had gone 3 miles and we were freaked (well, okay, mostly me) and when I'm scared, I'm very quiet (unless we had the kids with us and then I'm very vocal:  ie: boating and bear issues!!!).  Let me tell you, everything was banging---we had rattling and banging from every point in the moho!!  I was talking to my departed grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. for guidance!  Soon, we had such huge banging on the driver side of the moho that we were freaking...we stopped on the freeway and Jeff got out to check out what was making the noise and didn't find anything, so we continued...again at 30ish mph...when the speed limit is 75 mph!  We were careful to have the hazard lights on  but still we were a hazard ourselves with cars whizzing by at 65+....Soon we had extreme banging that sounded like a sledgehammer banging on our side!  Luckily, there was an exit ahead (an aside:  we were passed by 2 moho's about 2 miles prior and saw the first one at the first exit with their awning flapping in the huge wind---they had unfurled while driving and let's say $1000 in repairs at least, plus what do you do with the awning as you go to the next place??)

So after we were exited we immediately saw the other RV that passed us with  their awning (on the WIND side!!!)  a real problem for them.  We passed them slowly (me  motioning "do you need help?") and decided that we had to stop facing the wind.  We stopped at a great spot under an overpass (tall enough for us, thank goodness!) and talked about our options.  The wind was 50 mph+ and with the kayaks on the car and our pretty  light moho, we couldn't continue 45+ miles to Pueblo as is, guaranteed.  We could go back, we could hunker down there, we could try to find an inbetween spot and wait it out.   We elected to go back, and we were again, very slow.  We made it back to Walsenburg and were rejoicing!  We got in at a State Park which we were really happy with.  We had talked to the Ranger in the mean time and he said if you get out about 6 am you should be fine.  We took that to heart and got to bed early to get that recommended start.  We were gone by 5:45 am and it was calm but okay, picking up.  We soared past the "expect gusty winds" and "high winds"  signs and made it to Colorado  Springs by 7:45 am!  Unfortunately, our RV Park wasn't open.

We decided to go to breakfast to spend the time, and so went into Fountain, CO to eat.  Okay, there were only 3 choices.  We chose the largest.  This is the place where, truly, "everybody knows your name".   The waitress called at least 20 people by their name as they came in or out.  Where can you go where this happens?   There were people that came in that only had water,  and left a tip.  Just to jaw with their friends and the staff....How much better does it get?

Just for balance, we also went out for Mother's Day dinner on Sunday and the only show in town was a Mexican-American place that we ordered our dinners of steak picante and cheese enchiladas.    Good so far, but when Jeff requested tapatio or Tabasco (okay, our hallmark)  and the waitperson said "what's that?''  .... we were pretty worried!....Appropriately.

We ended up with a great spot at the RV Park and Casey Noodle and I took several trips around by the creek, through the wind and back to the RV.  After running errands, doing the usual things at a home, Jeff tried to get in to the moho and found we could not work the door.  This is a problem!!  Luckily, after 15 minutes or so,  he discovered that we just had some loose screws from opening and closing the door with the extreme winds!!

We're  expecting winds tomorrow and then thundershowers and rain/snow...much better!
Thanks to the out of country readers and let us know if you think we should see something in the area?!

Sorry!   We published the picture in the wrong place but don't know how to move it!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Alamosa: Beautiful Cow Country!

On our drive today we got a good start after a granola breakfast, intending to stop for lunch at Pagosa Springs (since it's so cute!).   But, we had to stop at Durango (doesn't it sound like there sound be some country music intro associated with just saying it?) because I forgot my zip fleece on the train the day before.  Unfortunately, no fleece found...

After the 30 minutes it took us (I was the culprit!) to get that done, we decided not to go to a restaurant for lunch but just have cheese and crackers, tuna spread and veggies in the moho.
We fueled up and hit the road to the  pass.  The Wolf Creek Pass through the Colorado Rockies rises to 11,000' and we didn't know what to expect as far as road conditions and traffic.  We headed up and were waved at by a couple of truckers so that was worrisome...usually they're flipping us off or screaming by us.  We soon found the roads to be wide, smooth and little traffic.  We headed up at about 20-25 mph for most of the way which was really just great with us.  There were 2 lanes going up , so no passing issues.  At the top there was lots of snow--but only one overheated RV that we saw.  The pass must be very difficult mid-winter and mid-summer.  Very pretty.

Down the pass, we cranked 'er up to 30mph!   That story about the semi losing control down the I-160...which we were on....was going through our heads!  We came out of the 9 mile long 6% downgrade just fine (thanks to my husband's fine driving skills).  As we headed through the next area, again we were gawking at the beautiful fences and entrances to the many ranches.  This is definitely a "4x4'in,  log-house buildin',  bear-and-elk huntin',  trout-fishin' " kind of place!  It's beautiful!

We landed at a park where we have a panoramic view of the Rockies from our site. Getting here about 4:00 pm we had enough time to have an adult beverage and enjoy the scenery outside before doing all our chores.  Relaxing! 

We decided to hit the Great Sand Dunes NP tomorrow morning when it's calm and cool.
The people here have been so nice; really, all through our trip people have been really great.  There was the lady in Santa Fe who found a hurt dog on a trail, took off her new coat and wrapped the dog up, took it to the office and called Animal Control for it to go to a no-kill shelter.  She cried when they took the poor thing!  Also, the man who saw that we didn't get a brochure at one of the churches in Santa Fe and proceeded to  volunteer lots of  information about the church and described the interesting facts about the Hollywood faction contributing to the church coffers.  Many nice people seeing we were new and helping  us with everything from nozzle-detachment advice to coin-op laundry know-how.  Everyone is proud of their community and gives us great advice about restaurants, things to see, and what to avoid.  Great folks!

We're so impressed with our Mariners!  (now, we know most of you have GOOD teams, but we had such little possibility that we're happy that we're close to 500!)  It doesn't take much to make us happy. 

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers tomorrow!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ma and Pa Kettle Ride the Rails!

Cinco de Mayo found us back at Mesa Verde NP for a motor tour (they give you a great guide to several stops that are a short hike from the road) which we did Thursday from our car (minus the kayak "sails").  Really interesting history of the Four Corners (NM, CO, UT and AZ) pueblo settlements and then migration.  One of the stops on the motor tour was the "Mummy Lake" which was actually an artificial reservoir built to collect water for the residents of the pueblos and used from AD 900-1200.  FYI:  The reservoir was 90' in diameter and 12' deep and included stone steps for a "walk in" area for people to fill vessels with water and take home. 

Friday was our Ride the Rails day!  Jeff is a big railroad buff, having spent 3 years working for Southern Pacific when right out of college.  This rail line (Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad) was constructed  in 1881-82 and still looks the same ;-).   No, but the cars have all been restored for the most part!  We rode 26 mi up to a great picnic area owned by the RR.  Beautiful scenery on the way and fun to be in the last car so we could go out the back door and stand and take pictures. 

Really a great example of how difficult it must have been to travel any distance in the era following the Civil War.  This is a bumpy, jerky, really fun trip--highly recommended but in the Spring as opposed to Summer.  Today was the last day of the "spring rates" and it was funny to see them raise the prices of everything including the parking for the next day (nearly twice as much for everything!).

Quick story:  At 7:00 am (keep in mind that the train leaves the station in the summer at 8:00) in June 1987, the driver of a commercial truck loaded w/20 tons of potatoes lost control of his vehicle coming down Hwy 160, 10 mi west of Durango.  The grade is 6% and the driver tried to slow his speed by scraping along the guardrail, but at the bottom  of the hill he went through a green light at the intersection going about 110 mph (according to the book)--he reached the edge of the RR yard and went airborne!  He collided with locomotive #473 that was ready for the days run.  This stopped the truck from heading into a trainload of passengers, but because this was a 127-ton engine, and luckily not a direct hit on the boiler,  explosion was avoided.  So, the driver ducked down, only suffered a broken leg and the townspeople got lots of free potatoes!  The driver reportedly never got behind the wheel again and became a preacher.  I rest my case..... I keep telling Jeff to watch out for the trucks going downhill!!!

Ma and Pa Kettle are off to Alamosa, CO tomorrow and will see the Great Sand Dunes NP in the afternoon.  We're enjoying this little-wind thing!  Okay, just to let you know that these things happen, our RV neighbors here told us of a tornado they went through in OK that picked up and moved their moho around on the road but did not topple them.  They had about $50K worth of damages to their moho though.  Whoa!

Personal note:  Thanks to all of you who have been emailing us telling us you are enjoying the blog---we really appreciate your emails and glad we can make you smile a little.  We're enjoying ourselves and hope you are, too.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellers

We took two park-ranger guided hikes in Mesa Verde National Park today.  The first was "Cliff Palace"...if you have been here you know it's a spectacular.  The largest cliff dwelling in the park (and the largest we've seen) is very sophisticated for the time frame (about 1100-1250)--where in excess of a thousand people lived.  The tour took us right into the dwellings area--you could reach out and touch (although not literally) the adobe walls.  These dwellings and kivas were amazing!  Constructed of handmade sandstone bricks and mortar made of ash, dirt and water...although during the drought period, apparently they conserved their fresh water and used waste water for the liquid in the mortar.

The second hike was to "Balcony House," which really gets you into the dwellings themselves.  These are really interesting and exciting tours and part of the reason Mesa Verde NP appears on many lists as a must see.  These tours are probably not for everyone...the Cliff Palace tour is only 1/4 mile total, but involves climbing 5 10 ft ladders (made of branches and small tree trunks as they might have been originally).  The Balcony House hike involves climbing a 32 ft ladder to enter the dwellings and then crawling through a 12 ft long by 18" wide tunnel, followed by a 60 ft climb up the open cliff face using a 2 10-ft ladders and a series of stone "steps."  Easier than it sounds, but again, not for everyone.

Interestingly, there were NO "danger" or excessive lawsuit-avoiding signs, guards or fluorescent know what I mean--the kind that makes you think...."really???"
What a nice departure! 

The other great part of these tours and traveling to some of the gorgeous National Parks and other attractions in the US, there are so many folks from other countries... interacting with them is really a treat.  There were people from Holland, France, Germany and Canada on this 40-person trip, making for funny, happy communication.

We got back to the moho and then took a short trip into the small town of Mancos.  Some fine examples of early 1900's architecture there, although many of the buildings are falling into disrepair. 

After dinner we were talking about the differences in trailers, mohos, 5th wheels, etc.  There is really everything  you can imagine.  There are also some tent campers in many of the parks.  There was a commercial group that came in late one evening on one of the very windy days in NM.  This is a group that goes from LA to NY and reverse.  These are trips for 18-38 year-olds from Europe, Japan, US, etc., and last 64 days and start in LA, go east across the US and back up through Canada, down from Seattle and back to LA.  They travel in a 10-12-person van and camp most of the way across the US.  Even though we thought it would be great fun 30 years ago, we were VERY glad we weren't a part of this group at our age!

We have encountered so many genuinely nice, thoughtful people on this entire trip--we have been very lucky and feel like we live in a truly beautiful country. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crossing Into Colorado

So this morning we started out, after having our "granola breakfast," hooking up, pulling in (the slides, the water, sewer, power, etc) about 9:40 am.  We felt SOO good about starting out on a long journey today since it was sunny, clear and NO WIND!!!  First time in many, many days we did not have to wear wind gear to go outside.  FANTASTIC!

Just like you all, we have noticed the price of gas going up, up, up.  It's interesting to see the price differences from state to state.  We loved AZ and NM for their prices compared to CA.   But as we left NM we filled the moho (which most places will only let you put in $50 or $75 max, so we occasionally have to move the moho to another pump to fill 'er up) and it was $3.84/gal.  She's a thirsty gal!

We moved from the sand and rust colored adobe buildings (even the apartment buildings are the same colors, adobe exteriors with flat roofs) of NM across the border to CO's more ranch-style homes with all those huge barns!  This southern part of CO is beautiful; we were treated to gorgeous canyon/mountain views and a land of pretty ponies and fancy fences!  This area must be populated with folks with some moolah!

Each ranch we pass has these enormous, fancy entrances that are each named:  Yellowjacket Ranch, Lightning Strike Ranch, etc.  Who knew?  But believe me,  the roads here in CO are much better than either AZ or NM.

We passed through "downtown Pagosa Springs" which Jeff tells me was part of a song from "the 70's".  So we look it up and sure enough, it was the final destination for two truckers in the '75 country song "Wolf Creek Pass."  Apparently the road we were on goes through a vertical drop of 5,000'and is described in the song as "hairpin county and switchback city."
I don't know how he comes up with this stuff, but there you go.  (We both thought the road was great, albeit hilly and snakey).  How can he remember this and not remember I don't take my vitamins until after I have breakfast? 

Casey "Noodle" note:  So we get here at our RV Park and Casey is so excited (since he slept the whole driving time) to be stopped, we get set up and he has his ball (that he has torn off a "tail") so that he has a handle and is throwing his ball everywhere in the RV--I mean it's up to the windows, onto the couch, back through the kitchen) and the RV is rocking and rolling side-to-side.....I'm sure the neighbors are thinking, wow!.. they are really an active couple!

So, tomorrow is Mesa Verde National Park.  We will see more cliff dwellings (Jeff loves these) and hopefully have some hikes that will take us through some beautiful surroundings.  Talk to you in a day or two!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Snow in Santa Fe!

Sunday was a day that dawned (okay, poetic license there...after we got up about 8:30 am!) about as cold and windy as we've seen any morning yet.  As we were having breakfast the snow started flying!  

We went on errands and did a very cold hike.   We went out to dinner at "Harry's RoadSide Diner" back up and let you know how this came about, we are at a Park about 8 miles outside of Santa Fe and pretty "national park-y" in that the sites are very large and filled with trees, dirt interior roads, and a long hiking trail around the perimeter.  We're 5-6 miles from any commercial development to speak of, and not many houses out here.  So, a place to eat close by is a good thing and we're willing to overlook "gourmet fauxpas"--fly in the soup, etc.  ;-)

We got to Harry's and couldn't believe the # of cars there...we walked in and were pleasantly surprised to see three different rooms, each decorated differently and cute, plus the lounge area.  Rather than wait 20 minutes for dining room seating, we nabbed a couple seats at the bar.  The menu was not huge but do we want to see a large variety of fish on the menu, being from Seattle?  No....we both were very happy with our dinner, and had conversations with several people near us, including the bartender, who was absolutely amazing in terms of memory of orders and super multi-tasking! 

When we returned to our car, the snow had started again and was got down to the low 20's overnight and even though we had removed the water hose from the moho, we placed it on the picnic table and found it frozen solid the next morning!

Today (after thawing out our water hose) we headed to the Pecos National Historical Park and took in the visitor's center and the very well done walking tour (self-guided) and Casey Noodle was able to go with us!  We decided to have lunch before going out the next site, the Civil War battle of Glorieta Pass.  We asked the park ranger for a recommendation and he sent us to the Shell gas station...okay, I'm willing to take a chance on "Harry's" (which turned out great) but a gas station???   He suggested the burrito.  We were envisioning the burrito that you get from the cold case and nuke.  Walking in we noticed the huge grill area/kitchen that took up 2/3 of the gas station interior!  The "chef" was clad in a clean white apron with a hair net on short, neat hair and a huge walkin cooler just for his kitchen!   Jeff did indeed have the burrito (there were a dozen choices of same) and I had the avocado sandwich--yummm!  So, there you go, you can find good food in all kinds of funky places!

So, in looking at for travel tomorrow, we find that we are not in a Wind Advisory mode, so that's good, but now we're under a Freezing Advisory.  I feel so sorry for the farmers around here.  We just saw an apple farmer on the news talking about his complete crop loss due to the cold and snow.  His orchard was covered with 8-10" of snow while the apple blossoms were still out.  Having grown up on an apple orchard, I can really understand how he feels, let alone the monetary loss.  He said this was more snow than they had all winter long!