Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More travel

My last post ended up with us visiting friends in Colorado Springs.  I'm not sharing any photos for two reasons:  privacy AND I was too dumb to take any!  Grrrr!  Haven't seen those folks in three years and then to not take any photos is practically criminal. 

Well, enough whining.  We left Colorado Springs and headed south in I-25 ending up in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Santa Fe in a nice town.  The park we stayed in was in town on a main street so the bus was just outside the gate.  Seniors get to ride all day for $1 - $2 for you younger folks.  It was a great deal since parking isn't real plentiful.  The name of the system is Santa Fe Trails.  Here is the bus stop sign.

Pretty cool huh.  Until you look closer!
Whoever cast this concrete was having a little trouble with spelling!  They had the E first and had to fill in the bottom bar then chisel out a part for the F that needed to be an E.  LOL  What a hoot.  I can't spell to save my ass but I'm pretty sure I could get FE right. 

Once in town we enjoyed some of the museums and art galleries.  We didn't buy anything; they seemed to have a really good stock of $8-10,000 paintings.  Oddly, I didn't value them at quite that.  We also visited the cathedral and the Loretto Chapel.  The Chapel is fairly small but is known for a spiral staircase that has no visible means of support.  Here's a photo of the staircase.

The only disturbing thing is that we were charged $3 each entry fee to visit the Chapel.  Visiting the Cathedral was free.  What a rip-off.  So that's my $6 photo-of-the-day. 

While in Santa Fe we made a day trip to Taos.  It seemed to me to be another town full of galleries looking for customers.  We did actually buy a small vase but that was it ($25).  The high spot of the day for me was the views of the Rio Grande River and it's canyon.  I didn't take any photo of the canyon worth sharing but we did see this guy and his dog enjoying a day on the river!

That gets us through Santa Fe and Taos.  We have one more really great place to visit but I'll  leave that for another day.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Home Again

We arrived home again a couple days early as usual.  Once we get within about a day's drive "Dobbin smells the barn" and we head for home.  However to go back a couple weeks I've got some photos I'd love to share. 

We left North Dakota impressed.  The state was much more beautiful than we were expecting and, of course, the vibrancy that is a result of the oil boom was pretty cool.  One thing I didn't get a photo of was the huge fields of sunflowers that are being grown.  Of cousre I know all that sunflower oil has to come from somewhere but, jeez, some of those fields were at least several hundred acres.  Very amazing! 

We left Dickenson, ND and headed for Newcastle, WY to spend the night.  There we made a major error and stayed at one of the worse places ever:  it was a small park associated with and behind a motel.  Just getting in was a hassle since the whole thing is built on the side of a hill.  Access to sites was limited by overgrown trees and about a third of the sites were closed off with traffic cones anyway.  Needless to say they weren't level!  Lousy sites with a busy road on one side and a train on the other.  They didn't move many trains in the night but in the morning and evening there was literally one every 10 minutes.  The odd thing is that they still haven't charged our credit card!  Who knows! 

The photo shows the hookups for FOUR rigs:  ours, one either backed up to our rig or pulled up right behind (if it was a Class C!) and two more in spaces 6 and 8.  Thank goodness there weren't other rigs trying to stay that night.  We carry two sets of leveling planks:  a 2 inch one and a 4 inch one:  we needed the 4's here.

The next night we stopped in Loveland, CO.  Amazingly enough we found another park with problems.  The sites around the outside of the park were all wide, deep and nicely treed.  The ones inside were short, perpindicular to the road and narrow.  Our living room slide was lless than 18 inches (.5m)  from our neighbor's bedroom slide.  Thank goodness that the guy knew how to park his rig. 

The stay at Loveland was prompted by a desire to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.  We aren't real fond of roads with drop-offs so avoided the higher parts of the park.  We know that we miss a lot but the stress of traveling the roads overcomes the enjoyment.  The lower elevations were beautiful though.  Even the lower elevations were 8,500 feet (2,600 m) so it's not like the air wasn't a trifle thin. 

We stopped in Estes Park for a meal at "Smokin Dave's" bbq place.  HIGHLY recommended!  We split a 3 meat platter with ribs, pulled pork and brisket with two sides.  Everything was excellent.  Driving back down to Loveland we were in the canyon created by the Big Thompson River:  very impressive.

After Loveland we took a short trip down I-25 to Colorado Springs to visit friends.  We haven't seen these folks since 2011 so it was time.  To our amazement, the trip through Denver was pretty simple.  Turns out it was just our day:  we were south-bound; the north-bound folks got treated to a miles long backup.  "Sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug."

I'll do more on our trip later.  That's all for now.  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Travel finally!

We've been moving on.  After escaping Utah without accident, we moved on into Idaho and Montana.  This was mostly Interstate driving as we were really trying to get a few miles up the road.  All these states are fixing roads because, after all, doing so in winter isn't much of an option.  In Montana I noticed something kind of funny.  They are working on some bridges and typically close one lane, reduce the speed limit and get to work.  We came over this ridge and saw work going on down in the valley.  They reduce the speed limit to 55 mph; I've always figured that I'd be an idiot to get a speeding ticket while towing 8,000 lb of trailer so I'm pretty sure to be below whatever the limit might be.  Well, this time there were three or four white vehicles and one black one way at the end.  I was doing about 52 mph and guess what, the black vehicle was a police car!  The guys behind me who had been probably cursing were now probably pretty happy.  That was a nice ending.  Then it happened again the next day!  These cops are having just way too much fun. 

Our objective on this trip was to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.  It was a great place!  We stayed in the town of Medora, North Dakota.  It's pretty much a tourist trap for folks staying at the park.   We stayed at the Red Trails Camp Ground; nice enough place but average.  We had lunch in one place that was great; then we had dinner at a place one of the locals recommended that was worse than awful.  Amazing.

The national park is divided into a North and a South portion.  We only visited the South.  There is a 36 mile drive going around the park; fantastic views all over the place.  There are hiking trails all over the place but we didn't do well with them.  We tried two and each started with a bunch of steps carved out of a hillside.  We flatlanders just didn't want to do that.  They brag about the number of buffalo; we only saw them at a distance until nearly the end of the loop when we rounded a corner and there was a big bull dining on grass in the ditch.  We were so shocked we didn't even get a photo.  They brag about wild horses; didn't see a one.  They 'brag' about having lots of prarrie dogs; well they sure have them!  We also got to visit the Painted Staircase area:  it's got some great overviews of the park.

Here's a buffalo - far away and showing us his ass!

It's a tough place even for a tree.

Here is an overview of what much of the park looks like.  It was taken from the Painted Canyon ranger area.

Anyway, we moved on to Dickenson, ND.  Dickenson is living the oil boom.  Shale oil workers and money are making the town exciting.  There is lots of building; the restaurants and service industry people are doing well.  It all makes us folks who live in the slow growing areas envious.  I guess the oil industry can inject a lot of money in an area. 

From Dickenson we took a quick trip on the Interstate to check out Bismark, ND - the state capital.  It was weird.  First of all, it was Labor Day so everything was closed.  Secondly, the state capital building was strange:  it looks like an office building!  So we ended up having lunch at Pizza Hut just because there wasn't anywhere else but McDonalds.  

We'll be moving south now.  More info later!  Have a good one.