Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why is Google so F*&^ing Annoying???

Ok, I don't use Chrome - either the browser or the operating system - but when I want to sign in to Blogger; they want be to stay logged in forever.  Grrr! Of course if I wanted to rant I could do so about Microsoft or Apple as well so in the interests of being someone you might want to read, I think I'll just shut up about it all.

I signed up for email from my senator, Harry Reid.  (I'm still getting crap from the idiots in Florida too.)  The FIRST thing I get is an invitation to a conference on the weather; at the trivial cost of $150!!!  Yep, I had to write back telling him he's an idiot.  Completely out of touch with the world as we are living it out here in rural Nevada.  Dumping the entire Congress is sounding better by the minute.  The only problem would be that we would be hiring a new group that we have to pay forever.   Grrr!

We are having what is called a 'gray day' in Seattle.  It's overcast and there are little rain showers here and there.  It's really unusual for the desert. Temp is only about 78F (25C); and that is almost unchanged from last night.  We went to the "Farmer's Market" yesterday and bought a new cactus; it's getting it's first drink of water today.

Since we've been feeding the birds I always feel a little mean when I go outside and scare them all away.  Screwy, I know but I feel sorry for them.  ANYWAY, they got their own back yesterday afternoon.  It was hot, something like 104F (40C), so the birds are all looking for shade just like any sentient being.  Our porch is on the north side of the house so there is some nice shade there.  I go outside and the ten or twelve birds eating at the feeder take off.  Then I go towards another part of the porch and a big flight of another ten or twelve take off.  I'm still moving toward the bbq which is parked over there when three birds took off from just over my head!  Those guys got me!  I know there is a small space up there that is protected from the sun but I sure wasn't expecting any birds to be hiding up there.  I jumped a foot at least.

I'm going to go work in the garage.  It's the first time in days that it is even close to comfortable and I'll get to smell the rain while I'm working.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To rant or not to rant; no, that's not the question.

I was going to write a rant today about all the things I see wrong with our political scene these days.  I got tired of that so decided to write a list of things I find good about our country these days.  Got tired of that as well! 

I've got a question for you all.  In view of the tricks played by reporters and editors employed by Mr. Rupert Murdock in the U.K.; what do you think of the odds that persons employed by him in the U.S. are any more ethical?  Personally I'd have a tough time making the argument that persons in the U.S. are more ethical than in the U.K.  Just wondering.....  Think anyone is checking the 'facts' on Fox News?  Naw, I don't either.

Had a good time in Vegas yesterday though we never did get to that bakeware!  Instead I sat around in the doctor's office longer than I would have thought possible.  Still, the doctor says my eyes are just fine.  That's a nice thing to hear!

Have a good one!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Good to be home

We are still thrilled to be home.  Not that we didn't have a great trip but it's good to be home.  Here's a small photo I took with my phone the other day.
It is certainly warm; over 100F (38C) every day and only getting down to 80F (27C) in the evening.  Now we have a few days of humid weather with a 20% chance of rain.  Here in the desert you get so used to low humidity that you can smell the rain in the air.  It's a far cry from our days in Florida!

We have a quiet day planned for today; watch a bit more of the tv that was stored up for us while we were traveling and eat a few leftovers.  There is even the German GP on tv later this morning.  Tomorrow we go into Vegas; I have a follow-up appointment with the doctor who did the surgery on my left eye.  I'm sure we'll manage to spend a few bucks as well whether we need to or not.  There has been wild talk about some new bakeware if nothing else. 

Have a good one!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


One of the things I like about the RV community is the many different lifestyles in incorporates.  I had just written my previous post about the different parks we have stayed in when I went off to read the blogs of others.  It occurred to me that RV travel can be very different for different folks.  It's really a case of 'what ever works for you'.

Someone like Brian over at RV Boondocking is doing things totally different from us.  He drags his 30 foot 5er places I probably would hesitate to take my truck alone!  They have solar panels and hardly ever stay in a Forest Service campground much less a commercial one. 

Last night I was reading an article in a Trailer Life magazine that came while we were away.  It was about a guy's life long love affair with truck campers.  It's online here.  Again, someone doing things totally differently from me; also different from Brian but it's just another type of RV. 

Then there is Nick who writes the Gypsy Journal; a newspaper for the RV community.  They are full-timers who travel the country and write about it.  Sometimes I think he's got the greatest thing going; other times, when I can't even get a blog post done; well, I figure he's living is some kind of hell on earth!  Nick and his wife have a big motorhome but often stay at Elk's Lodges or the kind of campgrounds that my wife and I use. 

One of the key things though is that the experience is the same.  It's too hot or too cold or the road is bumpy or the scenery is amazing.  An 8 foot camper or a 40 foot motorhome is your own little palace and you get to do it your way.  I'm loving it!

Have a good one.

RV travels

I got a couple comments on my earlier post that I just can't let pass. First, did I go rock climbing?  NO! I feel no need to creep up the sides of mountains on the end of a rope! Hell, just walking uphill is strenuous enough for me.

Second, yes, Rv'ing in the heat of the Southwest summer can be less than fun. Some fulltime rigs are probably more efficient but our trailer a/c is only able to reduce the heat by about 20 degrees Fahrenheit (6-7C). That's not enough if it is really warm. Then again the refrigerator isn't terribly effective either so that's a bad thing as well. Of course, we don't ordinarily choose to travel in the summer. We did this time so we could see our friends before they leave on a trip of their own. The questions did remind me of some of the different parks we've stayed in over the years.

There is the place in Ozona, Texas. It looks like an oldtime drive in movie. It is entirely gravel, entirely flat and each space has a little concrete island that contains your hookups and a 50 gallon trash barrel. It's on the side of I-10 so is convenient but a little noisy!

One of our favorite places was in Big Bend NP. It had no hookups but was in a secluded little grove of trees with the next rig maybe 100 feet away. Unfortunately we didn't realize how cold it was going to be and couldn't stay long with no hookup.

We like the Escapee's parks. They are usually intelligently laid out so you aren't looking into someone's rig and large enough to accommodate any rig.  The bigger parks have lots of amenities like pools, game and exercise rooms,etc.  They are also quite inexpensive, often less that $15 a night for short stays and much less for longer stays.

We stayed in one park in Maine that was a huge field.  Around two edges were permanent rigs left by the owners for use on the weekends.  The center was for transients; we had it all to ourselves!  It must have been a couple hundred yards (meters) to the next rig!

We like rv'ing.  It allows us to have a stability in everyday life that moving from motel to motel doesn't allow.  It also makes traveling with our pets easier.  And it's seldom dull!  Have a good ine.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Home again

We made it home early yesterday afternoon. Our proposed stop at Beaver was canceled since they were full up and had no room for us. My wife/navigator had a backup plan at a park in Kanarraville, UT so we called them and slid into their last space. The people were nice enough but the park was crappy. Our space was perhaps 14 feet wide (4.25m); with the slide out our trailer is 11 feet (3.35m) wide. We stepped off our steps onto the mat that our neighbor had put out. Not good but what can you do. At least it was long enough so we didn't have to unhitch the truck. It was only for one night and we needed to dump our waste tanks. The town itself is no more than a wide spot in the road with hardly any amenities but quiet living.

We had both forgotten how spectacular the Virgin River Gorge was even though we just drove through it 3 weeks ago! Of course, that was going up and this time we got to go down. It is absolutely amazing. You drive down a 7% grade towards this cliff that is almost completely vertical and so high you can't see the top through the windshield. At the last moment, the road turns and you find a little way through the canyon. That goes on for like 10 miles (16km). This part if I-15 shared between Utah, Arizona and Nevada just leaves me breathless.

The trip was an unqualified success. We got to see our friends and got to see some great scenery; what more could one ask? Heck, I even bought the right amount of scotch so that I ran out on our last evening! How's that for planning? (It's a LOT cheaper in Nevada so I took plenty.) We've got almost everything off the trailer and I vacuumed it this a.m. so we can put it away in it's shed for the rest of the summer.

The house is just fine. We have a few dead bugs laying around but that's to be expected I guess. That's why I sprayed before we left, so they would be dead. We left the a/c set on 85F (29C) and it was only about 80F (26C) so our electric bill should be pretty reasonable for the month. (It was 101F (38C) outside at the time.) Last night I put the bird feeders out again and we've had a few visitors so I guess they will forgive us for leaving them for a month.

Hope you've had a wonderful month as well. I'm off to catch up on some more blogs. I'll leave you with one last photo of our Colorado River trip - climbers on the walls of the canyon. Have a good one!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Moat, Utah

We drove from Monument Valley, Utah to Moab, Utah.  It was a pretty good road and had wonderful scenery.  I like the combination!  Plus it was only about 140 miles (225 km).  We have no reason to drive all over the place in a day.

Now we are checking out Moab.  Just outside of town is Arches National Park.  Nice place.  You go up some switchbacks to the top of the mesa then drive around looking at arches and other rock formations.  We were there in the mid-morning so it was hot.  Walking to the various arches was tough because of the heat but we enjoyed viewing them.  This is Turret Arch. If you look closely you'll see some of the many, many stairs!

We got back to Moab about 13:30 and had lunch at the Moab Brewery. The food was good and so was the beer! Overall a very good experience. After lunch we went back to the rig for a few hours with the animals. About 17:00 we left again for a jet boat trip on the Colorado River. Going down the river towards Canyonlands NP was fun. We got to see more cliffs, petroglyphs, jeep trails; all kinds of stuff. Here is a photo of one of the mini-canyons by the side of the river. Our guide said the river is usually about 3 feet deep (.9m); because of all the snowmelt this year the level of the river is about 10 feet (3m) over normal!

After the boat ride we ate a 'chuck wagon style' dinner at the boat landing. Considering the limitations of cooking everything in dutch ovens, it wasn't bad. The beef and the pork were the winners for us, the chicken and bbq pork weren't on the same level.

We are having a quiet day today. We'll check out Moab itself and maybe create some new restaurant reviews. Tomorrow we head for home via Beaver, UT. Have a good one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Roaming around a bit

From Durango we wandered down to Monument Valley (just south of Medicine Hat, UT).  We stayed in an RV campground in the Gouldings area.  This couple moved into the area back in the 1920's and tried to make a name for the place.  Mr. Gouldings made a trip to Hollywood with photographs of the area and talked John Ford into checking out the place for a movie.  It worked and John Ford made quite a few movies in the area over the years.  They have built a motel and campground up one of the side canyons (he died in 1982 & she in 1991).  Here was the view of our campsite.  There were a lot of European tourists in the area.  Probably a third of the RVs in the park were units rented by Europeans.  There was even a sightseeing bus that stopped and dropped off about a dozen tent campers for the night.

We took part of the drive into the valley but didn't complete it. Our 4x4 pickup has about a half-inch suspension travel; that plus the 70 lb pressure in the tires means that we didn't like the road!  This is a formation that, together, is called 'The Mittens'.  

It's an amazing place.  I can certainly recommend visiting if you have the time.  It IS a long way from anywhere and I have to say that the views just from road are amazing.  This photo of Medicine Hat Rock was taken from the side of the road.  Not shabby!

As you can see from the photos, it was unusually overcast and it even rained a bit during our visit.  It didn't really detract from the scenery and made it MUCH cooler than full summer.  Not a bad deal for us 'locals'. 

Have a good one!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Still traveling and having fun....

The Black Canyon was a fantastic place.  The Gunnison river drops a lot more per mile than most so it has carved a very deep, narrow canyon over 2,700 feet deep in places.  We drove along the southern rim and walked to the various view points.  One we especially liked was the Painted Wall.  Different types of lava was forced into cracks in the stone giving a sort of abstract art look to the wall.

You can see the river running waaayyyy down there.  It looked pretty rough.  The North rim is accessible but we didn't go there. The South rim was easily accessible.

Thursday we drove from Montrose to Durango but thanks to some good advice from the manager of our campground we avoided Colorado 550.  550 is a notorious highway, narrow with severe drop-offs and not nearly enough guardrails.  Everyone who knows me knows I'm a coward about heights and my wife is only marginally better.  Not going via 550 was an easy sell.  Instead we took 550 down to Ridgeway then west on 62 to Placerville then south on 145 to Delores then east on 184 and 160 to Durango.  There were a couple uncomfortable miles but that was it.  Nothing tough at all.  There was one high pass but that's just a matter of climbing the hill.  As long as your vehicle is in good shape it's no problem.

Friday was our day for the Durango to Silverton train.  The train is an old steam locomotive that takes you from the 6,500 ft (1980M) Durango to 9,300 ft (2835M) Silverton.  There are actually three trains a day leaving at 08:00, 09:00 and 10:00.  It goes really slowly over the 50 mile (80 km) journey so there is time for photography.  We took over 175 photos!  You get two hours in Silverton - an old silver mining town amazingly enough!  It's enough to have lunch and check out the tourist traps.  There are about 500 permanent residents so it isn't a large place.  550 runs through it; it's the only paved road in town.  The train journey was a beautiful trip.  We chose a one-step-up-from-the-bottom class of travel.  It was $140 a person (wow!) but we felt it was worth it.  There are open cars and closed cars.  We chose a closed car; and when it started raining about half way up the mountain that choice seemed pretty smart.  The woman hanging out the window just in front of us was a slight negative.  There was one other downside:  we got on the train at 09:30 and got off at 19:00.  It was a long day.

 Two seats on one side and one on the other.  Quite comfortable and kind of old time style.  They had a concession car that sold soft drinks, wine, mixed drinks & junk food. 

 For the most part we followed the Animas River criss-crossing it on mostly modern bridges.  A docent said that the river is running at about 130% of it's normal volume.  There is usually rafting on the river but because of the high water they are only rafting in the quiet areas. 

There were plenty of sharp turns on the trip.  This photo is taken from our car; about the tenth back from the engine.  The railway company has done a lot to reduce the danger of fire from these old steam engines.  First they have filters on the exhaust then they have mist-ers that extinguish as much as it can.  One of the boxcars following the engine has water and pumps for firefighting.  Finally, they have another engine (diesel) following along behind, mostly out of sight(!), with more firefighting equipment.  They get to use it too, along the rails we saw occasional black spaces of a couple square yards (meters) where a small fire had been extinguished.  They don't do all this out of altruism.  In 2002 the train was closed down and lost $4million in revenue due to fires in the area (NOT started by the train).  They sure don't want to start anything though.

Today is a day of rest.  Reading email, writing to friends, just resting.  Gotta go.  Hope you are having as good a time as we are!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Nice day....

We left Colorado Springs this morning and drove West on CO 24.  It was a really nice road.  We went as far as CO 558 where we went south a bit then turned west again on US 50.  All were well maintained roads.  Except for the fact that we went up over 11K feet again (over 3,400M) it was just fine.  The truck doesn't really like those altitudes but we managed it ok.  We probably didn't need to stop for diesel but we don't like running low so we stopped and filled up in Gunnison.  One time returning from California we were stretching to get to another city before filling up; we came WAY TOO CLOSE to running out because of the variability of the mileage between flat roads and mountain roads.  We don't want to do that again!

The scenery was amazing.  We saw tight canyons, beautiful trees, fantastic rivers.  It is a beautiful area.  Now we can say we've driven through the heart of the Rockies.  There were two or three moments when we were a bit uncomfortable but it really wasn't bad. 

We ended up in Montrose, CO for the evening.  It's a P/A park so we paid $34 for two nights with full hookups.  The spaces are pull-through and are nicely spaced.  You really can't beat a deal like that.  We are planning to visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison tomorrow then leave on Thursday for Durango.  As the site says "No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths offered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison."  Should be fun. 

Gotta go.  I'm going to need my beauty sleep for all that canyon viewing.  Take care.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!!

Thank you to all who are serving and those who have served before.  The military has always been the hard shell protecting our precious liberty.

We have been visiting friends here in Colorado Springs.  Lots of talking and eating; not so much sightseeing.  We did manage to get to the Air Force Academy.  Unfortunately there isn't a lot to see.  Since Osama was killed most of the base is off limits to casual visitors.  You can check out the visitor's center, gift shop and the chapel.  That's it.  Still, the chapel was very beautiful.

It's an interesting building.  The largest chapel is the non-denominational Protestant chapel upstairs.  This is the one where you see the soaring ceiling.  Directly below that chapel is a Catholic chapel; it is about two-thirds the size of the protestant chapel.  Finally, there is a small Jewish chapel and an even smaller Buddhist chapel behind the Catholic chapel.  It is a very interesting plan trying to make room for all faiths under the same roof.  We visited on a Friday and there were some people in both the Protestant and the Jewish chapels preparing for weddings.  Life goes on.

The weather has been extremely unusual.  There have been wind and rain storms almost every afternoon.  Saturday our friends came to show the RV to their grand-daughter.  She was interested in this combination of house and car and inspected it carefully!  While they were here a storm blew up.  Ordinary rain is noisy in the RV but today we got hail!  It was so loud you could hardly hear yourself think much less carry on a conversation.

Tomorrow we leave Colorado Springs and head towards home.  We are planning on going west to Gunnison, Durango and more.  We are planning on taking the Durango to Silverton Railway among other delights.  Then we'll try to see Monument Valley; John Ford made so many movies out there that we just have to check it out.  Finally, we'll head up north to pick up I-70 and go on home.  Should be fun.

Gotta go.  Hope you are having a good one.