Sunday, June 25, 2017

Creede June 4-11

When I first discovered blogging I was mainly interested in quilting and crafting blogs and tried my hand at sharing my attempts at those things along with our travels which at that time were mainly by motorcycle.  But I was also reading Howard and Linda Payne's RV-Dreams Journal and then gradually added more RV related blogs to my reading list.  One of those I recently started reading was Dave and Diane Throwing Caution to the Wind. Last year they visited Colorado and mentioned staying at Mountain Views at Rivers Edge RV Resort in Creede.  When we began making our tentative plans I remembered thinking it might be a good place to stay in an area that neither of us had been. This RV park has both regular sites and leased sites which have improvements such as patios, gazebos and beautiful landscaping.  We were happy with our regular site in the park side but when we come back, we will try to book one of the resort sites that have been placed in the rental pool.  We did have a beautiful view out the front of our coach looking toward the little town of Creede. 

Unfortunately, this was not our view but one from one of the premium sites right on the Rio Grande River.  Maybe next time!

This was our site overlooking the mountains on the way to Creede.  The size is generous and the rock keeps everything tidy, but makes for difficult walking in the evenings.

This is a zoomed photo taken from one of the jeep roads in the area.  You can see our home there on the front row with the tan awnings.
On our first full day in Creede, we made a stop at the visitor center to get information on the Bachelor Loop tour.    While there we met another couple who happened to be staying at the same campground who were interested in driving their Jeep on the loop also.  So we followed them and had a nice afternoon ride.  It was kind of a cloudy day, so my photos on this trip didn't turn out the best.  

My best photo on this trip was one of the current residents of the Bachelor Mine loop!

Meeting new friends led to meeting more new friends and another off-road adventure another day. It was nice to share our time here with Brenda and Scotty and Margo and Chad!  I'm not sure if they will ever read this, but we hope our paths cross again some day!

We enjoyed a visit to the Mac Mine, a little food truck,  and even got a tour of the owner's new tiny house.  Cute!  But I think we'll stick with our motor home!

Our stay in this quaint little town was during their Birthday Celebration which included a Donkey Dash.  A fun way to send our last full day in the area.  We think we'll be back again someday as there is still much more to explore in the area!

 Campsite visitor - A Mountain Bluebird!

A Month (Almost!) in Colorado

We've spent a little over three weeks in Colorado and plan on at least that much more time here.  Possibly more.  But our next move will test our reliance on "devices" and wifi.  We will have to drive about six miles to get a 3G cell signal so blogging might be delayed more than usual.  

We left Kansas and headed west over familiar roads toward Limon, Colorado.  After an overnight stop at the Limon KOA we drove south through the plains of Eastern Colorado and then cut back over to the west where we picked up US 160.  Our next Colorado stop was LaVeta at Circle the Wagons RV Park.  This was last minute choice for a stop near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and we really felt like we lucked out!  A cute little town, beautiful mountain scenery and very nice campground made our short stay very pleasant.  

This was our view of the Spanish Peaks from our walk one evening, just a block or so from the campground.  A beautiful welcome to the Rocky Mountains!

Our long back in site at Circle the Wagons with the sound of the Cucharas River behind us lulling us to sleep at night!

They even had a couple of little vintage campers available to rent for those without an rv. I didn't get a chance to peak inside, but I bet they were cute.

For my quilting friends, I discovered by accident that LaVeta is the home of Ricky Tims' quilt studio where he hosts quilt retreats and special events.  There are several cute shops and nice galleries in this little town which seems to have become a favorite of several artists.

While we were "sort of" close to Great Sand Dunes National Park, we drove the Jeep over to explore the Park.  It was about 60 miles to the park entrance.  Dennis got his NP passport stamp, we watched the informative movie and took a short walk around the Visitor Center. These are the tallest sand dunes in North America and the park covers more than just the dunes.  There is a diversity in landscapes and many more activities than one would expect.  In the Spring the Medano Creek flows at the base of the dunes and a popular place for families to come to the "beach".  There are many hiking opportunities here if one wants to climb the dunes, but we chose to drive the Medano Pass Primitive Road.   If you know my husband, once he heard the pass had just opened up the entire way, he was up for the challenge.  The soft sand wasn't as big of challenge as we were led to believe, but the stream crossings were "exciting"!

The dunes were quite impressive as we approached the park!

 It was a beautiful day at the "beach"!  There were lots of families setting up their sun tents and preparing to spend the day wading in Medano Creek and even trying to sand surf.

We didn't find it necessary to lower our tire pressures, but did require our 4 wheel drive in many places.

This was one of the many stream crossings on Medano Creek Pass.  I tried to upload a video but I couldn't get it to work:(  There were a few times the water came over the hood and we've still got a few remnants of  mud splashes inside!

We made it to the top and I think we were probably one of the first vehicles to come the entire way from the Park this year as they had just cleared several downed trees and opened the road for traffic. 

From LaVeta we moved on to one of our new favorite destinations.  I'll go ahead and post this and tell you about Creede and Mountain Views RV Resort next time!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Indiana to Kansas, Home Base to Home Town

Once we returned to Indiana we had a busy schedule for a few days.  Much of that was fun stuff, like Mother's Day with a wonderful meal prepared by our daughter and son-in-law, meeting their new kitten,  catching up with friends and neighbors, sleep-overs with our grand daughters, ice cream dates with two of the grandsons and picnics in the backyard with family.  But then there were the dentist, doctor and accountant appointments along with some housekeeping and every day chores.  

 Our only regret with this quick stop was missing our two other grandsons!  Since our next stop was for our  45 (!) year High School Class Reunion on Friday we had to get on the road before they arrived at their Dad's.  Sometimes schedules just don't work out, but we've promised to see them when we are back at the end of August.  

So on May 25 we headed West!  With a quick night at the Cabela's parking lot in Kansas City, we made it to our destination of Alton and Osborne, Kansas.  Our parking stop for the next few days was on a farm driveway courtesy of good friends Greg and Sherri.  Many, many years ago, we were young parents together in this small community.  Sherri and I were having babies and Greg was helping  Dennis  on his construction  jobs. Now those kids are all grown up and having babies themselves.  Though G & S are ahead of us on the grandchild count!  

Sherri is currently facing some health challenges so it was good to see her  looking so good!  Prayers are still needed but she is a strong woman!

Friday night we made it to our High School Reunion.  It was great to see all the other "old" folks and catch up on the last few years since our last get together.  It really doesn't seem like it was 45 years ago that we graduated from high school.  Our class only numbered 66 (I think?) and we have sadly lost six.  We took a  fun photo of three of the original four Methodist Girls, who attended Sunday School, choir and youth group together for most of our early years!  Missing our 4th member who still was teaching school in Minnesota. It is a tradition to hold class reunions on Memorial Day weekend in our home town.  It's unfortunate that many who live out of the state cannot attend because they are still involved in school and grandchildren's activities until the first part of June.  Dennis attended grade school and the first two years of high school in the even smaller town of Alton until our two schools were unified.  We also were able to attend a short reunion hosted by one of his grade school classmates on Sunday.

Sadly most of my close family relatives in town have past, but Dennis still has several and we were lucky enough to visit with most of them.  That included a trip out to North 40 Alpacas owned by his cousin.  Aren't these guys cute?  Just stay out of spitting range!

Of course we made a visit to two cemeteries to "decorate" the graves of some of our deceased relatives.  I have many fond childhood memories of this tradition.  It was almost like a family reunion and it seems there was always a photo of the cousins lined up near our Grandparents grave sites.  

It's hard to imagine that this was Saturday night on Main Street.  Forty-five years ago, it would've been busy with kids dragging Main in their cars.  Maybe these old folks were just too early this evening!  

Monday, May 29, 2017

Florence Alabama and The Trace May 2 - 12

Sadly, I am failing at trying to get caught up with blog posts for May.  So I will try to re-cap a few highlights on the remainder of our trip up the Natchez Trace and back to Indiana.  

We made a detour of a few days off of the Trace and over to the east to Florence, Alabama.  The city operates a nice campground at McFarland Park on the shores of the Tennessee River on land owned by the TVA. Evidently they close it down when there is a threat of flooding and it had just re-opened the day we arrived.  

It rained for a most of the time we were there but we enjoyed our stay in this area.  We especially liked our visit to the Rosenbaum House, a home designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright.  There are many things to do in the area and you can check out the city's website to read all about them here.

 A view from the campground one evening after the rain had moved out.

The Rosenbaum House.  A must see for anyone interested in FLW homes and buildings.

After four nights in Florence we moved  back to the Trace and our final stay on the Parkway at Meriwether Lewis Campground.  Of the three RV friendly campgrounds on the Trace, we felt this was the nicest.   The gravesite for Meriwether Lewis is near here and there are also some nice trails. 

There are a few pull though sites, but we chose this wooded, back in site which was quite adequate.  I know  tent campers have as much right to use the same campsites, but sometimes the nicest, long, level pull through sites would be inhabited by one lone tent camper when there is an abundance of beautiful tent sites available.  Sorry, personal rant.  

A nice little hike from the campground will take you to the Meriwether Lewis grave site.

Our travels on the Natchez Trace were complete and a few more miles up the parkway we ended up in Nashville, TN.  We were able to get two nights at the popular Seven Points COE Campground on the east edge of the city.  This was our first time at this campground and will definitely return.  Our past camping stays in the city were much more expensive and not near as pleasant.  We spent an afternoon downtown and checked out the Antique Archeology store and surrounding shoppes.  A very interesting building but the store was a little disappointing in that there were few of the items from the "American Pickers" show.  But they do have a nice selection of souvenir t-shirts, caps, etc. 

We then ventured downtown to Broadway and nice supper at the Acme Feed Store.  We did a little city style hike across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to enjoy the sunset before headed back home.

A final view of J Percy Priest Lake from the Seven Points Campground and the sun sets on our first adventure on the road in the new  motor home.  We continued back to Indiana the next morning and a few days with family and friends before heading out on our summer travels.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Traveling the Trace May 1-May 2

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444 mile long recreational road, similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway, that is restricted to non-commercial vehicles and part of the National Park Service. It travels through three states and follows a historic travel route used for hundreds of years by American Indians, settlers, and soldiers.  Today it is popular with bicyclists, motorcyclists, and anyone wanting a scenic route through some very pretty areas of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. There are multiple hiking opportunities along the way also. If you travel the entire route you will find areas that are remote with no cell coverage and also  larger cities with all the modern conveniences. There are three NPS campgrounds on the route that will accommodate any size camper.  We camped at all three! 

We were glad we waited to begin this part of our journey until the storms had passed as we saw many areas where tornadoes or strong winds had downed trees and power lines.  The first visitor center was closed probably for that reason.  There are many pullouts along the road where you can actually see what is left of the original road and the cuts through the earth and trees.  Some pullouts were not big rig rv friendly however.  Our advice  is to watch closely and don't pull in unless you are sure you can pull out!

After a leisurely drive on Monday we made an early stop for the night at Rocky Springs Campground at milepost 54.  Of the three campgrounds, we found this to be in the worst condition.  There were several pull through sites and a few that would fit a rig as big as ours.  The sites are paved but the pavement is in bad condition. However there looks to be some attempt at repairs.  Of course there are no services here (electricity, water or sewers) but the price ($0 !!) is right. The restroom was clean and in good shape but there are no showers and the second restroom was closed and in need of demolition. Of course we are all self contained and capable of a several nights of "boondocking". 

There is a short trail that begins near the campground that follows the original trace somewhat.  It takes you to the site of the town of Rocky Springs.  There isn't much there but some interpretive signs describing where some of the buildings once stood. However there is an old Methodist Church and an interesting cemetery.  They still hold church services once a month and we signed he guest book we found inside the open doors.  After a quiet night we headed out the next morning for a short side trip to Vicksburg National Military Park.

The park features a road that winds through the hills where civil war battles took place and the monuments and memorials dedicated to those who fought here.  The lady at the front gate thought we could maneuver safely through the park with the RV, but we had briefly driven through here a few years ago on the motorcycle and weren't really sure if that was true.  We probably should have disconnected the Jeep and taken it on the drive, but decided to just go to the Visitor Center and watch the informative movie and get our NPS passport book stamped. 

We headed back onto the Natchez Trace and a calmer, scenic route.  A nice stop along the way is at MM 122 and the Cypress Swamp where there is a self-guided tour among the cypress and tupelo trees on the boardwalk.  We finished the day as we pulled into our next campground, the Jeff Busby Campground at Milepost 193.  This campground was in much better condition than the last having freshly paved roads.  However, we found it very confusing as the sites aren't clearly marked and are just pull offs that don't necessarily feel like they were properly placed.  But, like the others, the price is right and we managed to find a fairly level site amongst the tall trees.  It's a pretty park and we had an evening hike up another nice trail to an overlook.

Our travel continued the next morning as we headed off the Trace again toward Florence, Alabama where we spent several days.  More about that area and the rest of our trip in my next post.  Thanks for following along!