Wednesday, October 12, 2011
We decided to make our last trip this year to the place where we made our first trip last year (are you following this?). So here we are at Ririe Reservoir about 15 map miles from home, but is seems like another world. This is a County Campground with full hookups for $16 a night for us Golden Age folks. It is set high on a bluff overlooking a man made reservoir. The sites are large and paved. The site we wanted was the one we stayed in last year, but it was taken. There is dirt moving work going on adjacent to Loop B. It appears that the campground is being expanded. It looked like all of the other campers were construction workers staying near the job site. We got here on Monday and on Tuesday, our desired site was vacated. So we moved into it today, Wednesday. We took the pups for a walk on a trail leading out from the site. When we returned, Rosie spotted a snake near the back of the trailer. When I took a look at it, I discovered it was a baby rattlesnake about 6 inches long and the thickness of a pencil. It was actually coiled up in striking position. I hate snakes. I really hate poisonous snakes. So I killed it with my mighty axe. Yuk. I don’t like to kill natures critters, but I make an exception for insects and reptiles.
Since we returned from our 6 week reunion trip to South Dakota, we have been working hard on the camper getting it in shape for going full time next summer. We washed down the walls and ceiling inside; then painted the walls a very light tan color. We put in a wallpaper border at chair rail height. The biggest part of the project was adding wood trim to the top and sides of the slide outs. Here are some pictures:
We think the bathroom really turned out pretty nice. In the spring, we are going to replace the carpet with a light beige color. That will really finish off the redecorating project in a nice way.
The plan for this winter is to pack up boxes with the stuff (albums, books, collectibles, etc.) we want to put into storage. In late May, we will have the packed boxes and the furniture in our bedroom and the guest bedroom put into long term storage. At that point, we will move into the camper and set it up at a local campground while we clear out the house. The first weekend in June we plan to have a “We are moving into our RV; everything must go sale.” That should be interesting, selling off most of the “stuff” we have accumulated over the years. Whatever is left, we will either trash or donate to Goodwill. We will keep Idaho Falls as our base by getting a mailbox mailing address at the local UPS store. We can call them and go over the mail by phone at any time and they will forward the mail we want to where ever we are. I checked with the DMV and we can change our driver’s licenses to the UPS address. If all goes well, we should hit the highways and byways in mid June. My family reunion is moving up from mid August to July 6th next year. so we will head towards South Dakota first. Not sure where we will go after that. We plan to be near Simi Valley for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Then off to the California and Arizona deserts for the winter.
This week we have been “pretending” to be full timing; just to try to get the feel of what it will be like to not have a “home” to go back to. We really feel comfortable with the space in the camper. It feels good. We think of it as having a small home, but a really big yard; and we don’t have to maintain the landscaping. We really feel like this will be a final “adventure” in our lives. Hopefully our health will hold out and we will enjoy many years before we have to to give it up and move into an apartment or condo somewhere. So this will be my last post until next year. I plan to keep on writing about our travel adventures. We hope you will follow along and enjoy it with us.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
I last wrote from the campground in Yankton, SD after catching a rather handsome catfish. The other thing I caught on that fishing day was a good sunburn on my feet. After a whole summer of wearing socks and sneakers, I decided to spend a day fishing (in the bright sunlight) wearing sandals. Rosie has been questioning my intellect lately, maybe she is onto something . Several applications of a good Aloe lotion is helpful.
We pulled out of Yankton on Thursday morning on a little over 300 mile push to Lake Maloney State Park south of North Platte, Nebraska. We discovered this place last year. It is a good stopover between Yankton and my brother Bill’s place in Eaton, CO. We already had a State Parks sticker from Chadron earlier in the trip, so the cost for this overnight was $15. It is set on a lake with big sites and wonderful sunrises.
We decided to take the “back roads” to Colorado instead of the interstate. Two event occurred on this journey; first I turned over 200,000 miles on the Chevy and we got a close up look at a lot of corn fields and grain storage silos. These silos are right on the Nebraska/Colorado border.
We arrived at Bill’s home in Eaton about 3:00 pm. It is nice to wonder around a large home for awhile. Bill and Joanie found a real gem in this house last year; about 3,000 sq. ft. with a 3 car garage and a large, beautifully landscaped yard, complete with hot tub.
Bill and Joanie have 3 sons and 6 grandchildren. Sunday afternoon is dinner at grandma’s. It is sort of controlled chaos, but mostly chaos. This Sunday’s feast included pulled pork sandwiches with a lot of good side dishes. I don’t think anyone went hungry. Bill presented me with a large bottle of Stolichnaya Vodka for my birthday, which I reluctantly accepted.
On Monday we headed up the into the mountains southwest of Denver to our old neighborhood in Shawnee, Co. Shawnee is so small that you are required to go to the post office to pick up your mail. There are no retail stores in Shawnee. We set up the camper in the yard of our former neighbors, Mark and Janice Richter. They have a beautiful home on a mountain hilltop.
It is a little tricky getting the camper into their yard, but once there it is a great setup. The builder originally built it for himself and included RV connections, including sewer, in the yard. Obviously he changed his mind and sold the house, but that little feature sure comes in handy. Mark and Janice are great hosts; treating us to a filet mignon dinner the night of our arrival. Mark has a pool table, so I always pack my personal cue on these trips. We based our operations from here for a week. I took the truck into Denver to have major service work done (an expensive celebration of 200K miles) on Tuesday. Also got some personal shopping done while the service was happening. Thursday Rosie went hiking with her old hiking group; followed by a gathering at Shari Sorensens's home in Conifer.
Friday night we and the Richter’s enjoyed dinner out in Conifer. Saturday morning Mark (a former truck driver) expertly helped me get out of his driveway and we headed back to my brother’s home for the Labor Day Weekend. On Saturday afternoon, I had two work events, one in Cheyenne and another in Laramie. Rosie and the pooches went along for the ride. That evening, we enjoyed a great meal in a snazzy Mexican Restaurant in Greeley with Bill and Joanie. On Sunday, Bill cooked up two fantastic pork loins for the family gathering. The food was excellent and the company wasn’t bad either.
It is now Monday and we are in Buffalo, Wyoming for a night stop over on our way to Cody, Wyoming. I have 4 work events in the Cody area and will get them done on Wednesday and Thursday. We are in a great campground in Buffalo with very large sites and full hookups, 50 amp. electric, water, sewer, Cable TV and a good wi-fi connection. The dogs are settling it to a more restrictive environment after having the run of Bill’s big back yard for several days. Rosie and I are settling back into the quiet life on the road. Life is good. We expect to be back home in Idaho Falls on Friday.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Family visiting Niece Jill and Sister Marla
Nephew Chad, me, Brothers Larry and Danny Group photo
Wednesday morning we awoke to a new phenomena, a May Fly hatch. The camper was covered with May Flies.
Fortunately, they were almost all on the outside and only one or two on the inside.
Monday, August 22, 2011
This years attendance was light, primarily due to school years starting earlier and earlier. Many families with school age children cannot attend because of the timing. There were about 40 or 50 blood relatives plus their spouses and additional members of the local community are invited to participate in the Saturday night feast of a pork main course with a variety of yummy accompaniments. There are hay rides on a flat bed trailer pulled by a farm tractor across the fields with at least one stop at the rock on Hoop Snake Hill, where Roger Pochup tells the tale of the Hoop Snake and how the snakes affected the lives of the settlers in the early days. There is always a “posse” of young horseback riders trailing along. There is a silent auction, and fireworks, and karaoke, and lots to talk and lots of eating. I always weigh more on the Sunday departure day than I did on the Thursday arrival day.
Here are some pictures from the event:
This year some of us made a trip into Nebraska to visit an old cemetery where I have several relatives lying at rest. The cemetery is located about a mile off the nearest paved road and is used infrequently these days. Among aunts and uncles and cousins that are buried here, my great grandparents ( my father’s mother’s mom and dad) are here. Here is a picture with me standing between their headstones.
After the reunion, we hitched up the camper and drove east to my home town of Yankton, South Dakota. We are set up in Chief White Crane Campground, a South Dakota State Park. We always take a day or two to adjust to the increased humidity. For some meteorological reason that I do not understand, the humidity goes up dramatically as soon as you cross the Missouri River. Anyway, we are here and comfortable with 50 amp electricity to run the AC and everything else we need. Tonight, Rosie and I are hosting a gathering of the Sathe Clan, two of my Sathe brothers and my sister and a nephew will join us at the campground for grilled burgers and fixings. After that we are headed for Colorado to visit more of the Sathe clan and our old neighborhood in Shawnee, Colorado.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Rosie is always happy at a trailhead. Our camper is in the center of the picture.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
The day before our departure date for South Dakota and Colorado I did a really dumb and clumsy thing. I was walking around the camper parked in front of our house. I had my gaze on the ground and my mind on my next task. I ran my forehead smack dab into the open bedroom slide on the camper. That knocked me out. I fell backwards hitting the back of my head on the pavement. I came to with one of my neighbors kneeling over me asking if he should call 911. I said “No, I don’t think so, but let me lie here for a minute and think about this”. I was dazed, numb and had tingling sensations in my neck, shoulders and upper arms. He helped me to my feet and I went in the house and told Rosie she should drive me to the Emergency Room. The first thing they did after giving me an initial evaluation and hearing my story, was to put me in a neck brace. Those darn things are exceptionally uncomfortable. I was in the neck brace for 3 hours; first waiting to get into the room for a CT Scan, then waiting for a doctor to come in and give me the results. I was a worried dude. Finally, a nice doctor walks in, reaches to remove the neck brace and says “I ‘m the good news guy”. I did not have a concussion or a broken neck. What a relief that was. He also gave a full thumbs up to driving, even pulling a fifth wheel, the next day. I had been lying there in Bed 16 of the Idaho Falls Regional Medical Center Emergency Room fully expecting that the trip was off; and my camping days were over. So dramatic! Anyway, my fears were not grounded. I survived the experience with some shoulder and neck pain, sorta like whiplash, only whiplash while walking.
This morning we pulled out of Idaho Falls about 8:00 am. We headed east for Jackson Hole and then north alongside the Grand Tetons to Moran Junction. Then east over the mountains, with Highway 26 undergoing major construction, to Dubois, WY.
The Snake River south of Jackson
The Grand Tetons over the top of my truck. Sorta goes with the Alpenlite decals, eh!
A buffalo next to the road on the way. Rosie is getting to be a great wildlife photographer.
We arrived at the The Longhorn Ranch and RV Resort about 2:30. This was our second visit here this year. When we were here in June, the river next to the campground was rising. Now it has subsided to something more resembling normal. We really like this campground, but their rates went from $29 in June to $45 in August. Ouch! However the setting is great. The dogs love it. Rosie loves it. What could be better?
The river. Our site in the shady trees.
I now have to show off our little Annie’s new look. We took her to the groomer for a bath and a hair cut. She is a different gal.
Tomorrow morning we continue east to Douglas, WY. I have a couple of farm inspections for an insurance company along the way. I will be back with you in a couple of days.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Almost a week has gone by since my last update on our travels.
Monday was pretty much a work day for me. I had 6 insurance surveys in Carpinteria. I got back to the site about 3:00. I wrote up a couple of my reports, then spent the rest of the day relaxing. Tuesday we were hosts to Rosie’s sisters, Helga and Gigi and their husbands Fred and Harlan, and Helga’s grandson, Shane. We prepared a campfire dinner of chicken, potatoes, and veggies with some cream of mushroom soup and a little wine all mixed together and wrapped in six layers of heavy duty foil. After 45 minutes over an open campfire, everything was fully cooked and ready to eat. Add some French bread and butter and top it off with an apple tort baked by Rosie and we had a meal. We sat and visited for a couple of hours enjoying the surroundings and each other’s company. Of course we had to take a group photo.
From left to right; Fred, me, Rosie, Gigi, Helga, Shane and Harlan.
Wednesday was a day without any commitments or plans. I wrote the rest of my reports and we chilled out at the site. Thursday I had 2 surveys in Santa Barbara scheduled, but one of them cancelled while I was driving up the coast to Santa Barbara. It has been at least 18 years since I have driven the Pacific Coast Highway. It was strange to see the ocean again after living inland all these years. I had also forgotten how crowded Santa Barbara is; small homes on narrow streets are the rule until you get into the mansions in the foothills. Thursday evening Heidi had us over for dinner; she picked up chicken and fixings from El Pollo Loco, one of our favorites. We put our pooches in the back yard and Heidi kept her three little canines in the house during our visit. It was good to spend some more time with our grandsons Robert and Tyler. We are looking forward to being able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with them this year, since we have decided to spend the winter in our camper exploring warmer winter climates. We stopped at Albertson’s in Simi Valley for a final stock up on groceries for our trip home.
Friday morning we hooked up and pulled out of the Ventura Ranch KOA, our home for the last 10 nights. This is the longest we have stayed at one location since we started camping. It was a good experience. We had a great site. There were many places to walk Sammy and Annie. The local wildlife consisted of little bunny rabbits and peacocks. The peacocks are birds with extraordinary color patterns. This one came right into our camp one morning.
Friday was the beginning of our desert journey home. We stayed Friday night in Barstow. The campground did not have a single blade of grass anywhere. Puppies like to pee on grass; so we took a ride to a local park where they could take care of all their business on lush green grass (a rare site in Barstow, CA). We continue to meet Europeans in our travels. A large Class C rental RV set up next to us. A family from Switzerland; husband, wife and two sons. Their English was pretty good, but their German was better. Rosie really enjoyed a long conversation with them Saturday morning as we were getting ready to go.
I was dreading driving through Las Vegas; but it was not so bad. The major road construction they have been working on for the last few years is completed. I was able to stay in one lane all the way from the south to the north end of town. The temperature kept climbing all day, by the time we reached our destination in Mesquite, NV, it was well over 100 degrees. The only RV resorts in Mesquite are connected with Casinos and Hotels. This means they are cheap, $20 with full hookups, because they expect you will drop some money at the tables. The RV area is a large paved parking lot. We lucked out with a corner site that is very wide and very level. I plugged into the 50 amp circuit and we fired up the main air conditioner; and the circuit breaker in the camper tripped. Not a good sign. So I reset the circuit breaker and set the fan to low on the AC. That seemed to make it better. After about 30 minutes I set the fan to high and it has been running good every since. Then I turned on the front (bedroom) AC. After five minutes, that circuit breaker tripped. I have been trying to run the front AC on low for a couple of hours and it always trips after 10 or 15 minutes. Finally, I said to heck with it, I will run it on high for as long as it will go. It has been going for about 40 minutes now without failure. Maybe it is because it is cooling down outside and it doesn’t have to work so hard. We were thinking about hitting the slot machines for a bit, but decided it was not a good idea to leave the pooches alone in the camper if the AC were to trip the breakers it could get too hot for them.
Sunday we headed out about 7:00 am for Nephi, UT. We came upon a serious accident on I-15. A SUV was upside down in the center median and many motorists had stopped to give assistance. We saw one person sitting up against the vehicle holding a towel to his head; unable to tell if there was anyone else still in the vehicle. First responders had not yet arrived, but many folks were talking into cell phones. These things are always a reminder to us of how fortunate we are and how your life can literally be turned “upside down” in a second. We arrived in Nephi about 2:00 pm (back in Mountain time now) and are set up in the High Country RV Camp. We have a shady site on level gravel and are able to stay hooked up to save time in the morning. Both AC units going full blast with a good 50 amp connection and no circuit breakers tripping in the camper. Temperature is a cool (compared to Mesquite) 90 degrees. Also have 26 channels of “over the air” digital television from our roof antenna. How good is that?
So, part of our “lessons learned” on this trip now includes avoiding desert travel in the summer. We will head home in the morning and be there for almost three weeks before we head for the family reunion in Colome, SD followed by a trip to our old neighborhood in Shawnee, CO.
I will write next time from Chadron State Park in Nebraska.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Concrete Deer Real Peacock
Rosie Joy Gigi Heidi Tyler with Scoobie