Life is constant change. We all know this in our heart even though sometimes we cling to the past or refuse to accept what is placed squarely in our view. The last year has been filled with life’s changes for me. At the age of 71 coping with life changes is not easy. However by the start of 2020 it looked like there were more positive changes ahead than negative. Then came Covid-19.
By the end of January the Alaska 2020 trip in our new Winnebago View looked to be a go and I started making reservations along our planned route. Actually most of the trip was booked from April 15 through October 1. Our new Ranger arrived in late February just as Covid-19 was coming to the forefront. In fact we drove it down to Tucson for a week at Lazy Daze as we took in a softball tournament with the Wiegands and their family watching Ally pitch for Illinois Weslyan University. The virus was a topic of discussion but we pushed ahead with having the Ranger all set up as a towed vehicle and attached to the Winnebago. Yes sir all ready to go.As the Covid-19 crises became more urgent it was apparent that traveling in Canada this Spring was going to be problematic. In fact, British Columbia emailed me confirming the closing of the Provincial Parks through to 1 May and beyond. While assessing all this Scout ruptured a tendon on his left hind leg that will require mid-April surgery with recovery time. I caved facing this tsunami of challenges and cancelled all of Alaska 2020 except for the September Washington State portions. Thinking that travel may be easier then.
I think that most of us are still absorbing the impact of the pandemic. Life has changed. Last year the changes in my life (the death of my sister Ann) were very personal causing much grief and pain. This year the changes in life impact us all, making them easier to share and hopefully more understandable as time passes. These are very difficult times for many people and there are many dark clouds on the horizon for the rest of us. Being full time RV folks Peg and I have grown to be pretty flexible folks and roll with the punches in a timely fashion. We do not know what is going to happen; however, we do know what our status is at the moment and we are ok.
We are staying in Apache Junction through to at least May 1 so that Scout can have surgery and recovery time. Once he is released we will assess our travel plans. It would be difficult to stay here through the Summer in our Montana, it just does not do well in 115 degree heat. If we have to we will make that option work. Hopefully, we will be able to travel north in May or June, perhaps being able to use those Washington reservations. It will be what it is.
On a different note. We have been social distancing and using wipes, etc. Trying to do our part. We have have broken out a couple of times. Last weekend we took a trip up to Fish Creek Vista passing through Tortilla Flats. There were still a lot of people out and social distancing was not really in practice. Some of the pictures from that trip are surrealistic compared to how people are acting today.
This Saturday we traveled up to Roosevelt Lake. The traffic was light for a beautiful Saturday. All the parks were closed, most of the restaurants were closed; however, there were boats out on the lake and the parking lots at Walmart and Fry’s were busy. No pictures were taken on this trip. It is notable that life goes on, it is simply different now.
I wish good health to all.
Tortilla Flats and Fish Creek Vista
Our day began with the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex in downtown Springfield, traversing New Salem State Park and ending at the Lincoln Tomb. August 22 was a very pleasant day with sunny skies and cooler temperatures making for a very nice walk through Lincoln’s history.
The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are worth the visit. Situated in downtown Springfield with plenty of parking and a lot of stores, bars and restaurants in the area as well as the old State Capitol building. The museum is wonderfully done with beautiful exhibits and films. It was interesting to see how at lot of the language used in today’s speech is like the language used then to defend slavery and how outrageous the printed political ads were. All things Lincoln were for sale in the very large and nicely presented souvenir shop.
After having artfully maneuvered our way through the gift shop without buying anything, we made our way out to New Salem. The museum is nice and shows how life was in 1820’s Illinois. Lincoln’s time here is very interesting and of great importance in his life. This is where he learned law and became involved in local politics. The structures are replicas of the orginals built in the 1930’s with the exception of one home that is original to the site. The layout gives a good picture of how it must have been to live there. Although, it is hard to imagine what it must have been like to survive an Illinois winter in those log homes! Peg and I spent a good part of the afternoon enjoying the park then back to Springfield to visit the tomb.
Lincoln’s Tomb is a very impressive structure and well done. Walking through the interior to the vault draws respect and somber feelings. It is easy to forget amid the majesty of the monument now run by the Department of the Interior that it was private citizens who thought to remember and honor Lincoln by spending their funds, time and energy to create this site.
It was a good day well spent. Being downtown around the Old Capitol brought back fond memories of 11 years ago almost to the day that I stood there watching Barack Obama introduce Joe Biden as his VP. A very memorable day of a much better time in America. Its been awhile since I last posted and I hope to be posting more regularly in the future including catching up with some of our trip this Spring. Also, stay tuned for upcoming changes!! Yes Peg and I are evolving after 5 years of full-time RV’ing we are planning new things! Watch for the evolution.
Enjoy the pictures.
Springfield and Lincoln
Silver City has been hosting the Tour of Gila since 1989. The 2019 race consists of 5 stages with stage 5 taken place on May 5. The stage 5 route took the racers past the KOA entrance off US 180 early this morning and Peg, Scout and I were there waiting for them. The first groups through were the amateurs.
These men and women are truly dedicated to the sport. These groups are lead by a single car with flashing lights and maybe a couple of chase cars. Mind you that the Men’s Cat 1,2 and UCI Men are racing about 100 miles across large rolling hills, then two Cat 2 climbs and a Cat 1. Peg and I drove the portion of the climbs and it was real work just driving the F350 up and down. It does give some perspective on the difficulty you see on TV when watching races such as the Tour De France where the racers will do a couple Cat 1’s and a Beyond Cat climb. These are really steep grades. Of course, big climbs lead to big downhill racing at speeds up to 60 mph. We were behind a racer training on the downhill section Thursday and she was flying along right up to the Cattle Guard. Full brakes on and creep over very slowly. I do not know how the men will deal with them.
It was impressive to see the UCI Men and Women who have the full support of the Tour. They get police motorcycle and car support and vans, trucks, and cars of all sorts following them. A lot of these racers will be going on the Amgen Tour of California which starts May 12. It was a great morning.
The pictures in the link below start with the first groups and end with the UCI participants.
Tour of Gila 2019
Second side trip of the 2019 season. Silver City to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument via New Mexico 15. This is a pretty drive of about 44 miles one way up and over the Continental Divide at 7080 feet then back down to 5800 or so at the Monument. We were greeted by Park Service personnel who collected the fee and gave very good advice on walking the trail and information on what to see. The trail is a 1.1 mile loop that ascends approximately 300 feet. On the other side of the Gila River is the beginning and end of the trail, you can go either direction. The trail left is the “steep climb” through the narrow valley with a stream and lots of shade. The trail to the right is a switchback. low stairway climb in the sun. Peg and I chose to take the steep climb due to the shade. Note that dogs and chewing gum are not allowed across the Gila River, so Scout sat in the truck. The park does have kennels available; however, I chose the truck for Scout. Nice breeze blowing plenty of water and he is very comfortable in his truck.
This is a very nice moderate walk with bridges back and forth across the creek with plenty of places to sit. You can see the dwellings way up on the cliff and where the trail turns to climb the rock there is a nice view point. This is where Peg wisely turned back. From there, it is pretty much 18 stories up of rough rock stairs that take you to the caves. This is not for the faint of heart. In point of fact if you are not in at least average shape then either way up to the caves is a bit much.
The cave dwellings are interesting and just looking around at the lay of the land, available water and other resources it is to see why people chose this site. I left the dwellings via the wooden ladder, which creaked and groaned to the point that I was expecting to be a pile of human waste at the bottom of the cliff! However, I successfully transited the ladder. Following the “easy path” down began with some difficult stone steps with no hand holds or railings, difficult travel. Once past this stretch the trail was a moderate decline via switch backs through the forest fire area with wonderful views of the Gila River.
Gila Cliff dwellings is a nice place and we had a good time. When in the Silver City area, i recommend visiting the Gila Cliff Dwellings. However, the traveler needs to be aware that NM 15 is a difficult mountain traverse that climbs up and down close to 2000 feet over the 44 miles of road. There is an 18 mile stretch of narrow road with full 180 degree switch backs with blind curves and few guard rails. This road provides an absolutely stunning view of the surrounding valleys and mountains.
A link to pictures of the trail is below. Enjoy.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Our 2019 travels begin at Silver City, New Mexico with our first stop at the Silver City KOA. Silver City is about 6000 feet up with the cool mountain desert climate. This is where the Continental Divide trail begins (or ends, I guess) just a couple of miles outside town. This is Silver, Gold and Copper mining country. There are big open cut mines all around us and a rich history of mining going back to the 1880’s. Our first side trip takes us back to the “old” days of Whitewater Canyon about an hour north on US 180.
The weather was absolutely perfect today, sunny in the low 70’s with scattered clouds. Our journey followed US 180 to Glenwood where we turned onto the Cat Walk Road which took us to the Catwalk National Recreation Trail. The Apache Geronimo hid out here as did Butch Cassidy before the miners took over. This is a nice park with picnic tables, water, and easy access to the river. The trail is listed as 1.1 miles; however there is ongoing construction about halfway which is not passible by the casual hiker. I would rate the trail moderate as it does climb up some. The trail is asphalt and concrete for the most part and the catwalks are steel and easily walked on with multiple rest stops. We had a fine time and Scout was in Golden Retriever heaven with a fast flowing river to play in. If you are ever in the area, this is a must see and do.
Enjoy the pictures!
Scout loves rivers!
Whitewater Canyon Cat Walks Album
On October 31 Scout turned 1 year old. Scout joined our adventure just before Christmas 2017 and has been a great addition. Looking back at the pictures of the last year brings lots of memories to life.
Peg was so uncertain of having another dog until she got ahold of Scout. He melted her heart on the spot and they have been quite a pair ever since. From Monument Valley through Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Eastern Colorado to Banden by the Sea and beyond, Scout has traveled on with us.
Scout has developed normally, except, he is a little timid. He has grown from a 12 pond puppy to an 80 or so pound almost adult. Loud noises and things that move oddly definitely get his attention. He has a thing for the RV ceiling fan and finds he must check it every so often to be sure it is not after him. Windshield wipers are a real irritant, turn those things on and he better be in his harness seat belted in because he is going through the windshield to get to them raising cain all the way otherwise!
Water has become his favorite thing to be in. We were at Riverside RV in Oak Ridge, Oregon on the W. Willamette River when Scout found himself playing in the water with 4 other retrievers. It was really heartwarming to see him play and swim, having so much fun and developing confidence in his swimming skills. There has been no keeping him out of the rivers, lakes, and the ocean since. The Pacific Ocean has become his favorite place to play and swim.
The link that follows is to an album of pictures from our first meeting through to 10/31. Enjoy.
Ps. Scout says he will be paying our his own story soon. Hmmm…
Tuesday Peg, Scout and I took a road trip up to Sequoia NP. This is about 120 miles from Bakersfield through Oil City, the vast orchards of nut and fruit trees and small towns to the western entrance. The approach is over very winding and twisting roads heading up from a couple of thousand feet to a maximum elevation of just over 7000 feet. The countryside is very dry from the prolonged drought in this part of the world and it shows in the dry lakes and creeks. We didn’t see the vast forests of dead trees like at Yosemite; however, it is obvious that a lot of the trees are under stress.
There are wonderful views of huge granite monoliths, canyons and valleys as we twisted up the mountains. At one point, the road was under construction and down to one lane where there was a flagger. We had to wait the better part of an hour there. Which was ok as Scout made some new California friends on the road. Of course the highlight of the trip was seeing General Sherman, the large Sequoia. The tree is about a half mile from the parking lot down a wide paved trail. It is amazing to see these huge old trees. The General is estimated to be some 2000 years old.
Due to the construction, we decided to take the road on through Kings Canyon to CA 245 back to Bakersfield. The day was getting late so we only drove by Kings Canyon. From the road you could see that here was a lot more dead trees and much fire damage, which is sad to see. We almost missed the turn off to 245 as it was not marked that clearly and that should have been a sign to us. CA 245 is 50 miles of switch backs, tight turns and seemingly endless curves. The Bronze Brute was lock to lock on the steering wheel on a great many of the switch backs and more than once I thought we might to do some back and forth to through. I love this kind of driving and thank goodness there was no one on the road with us (another sure clue) as I used all the road!
It was a fun and interesting day and I got a few pictures which can be seen from the link below. Thanks for reading.