Friday, August 31, 2012

Babcock State Park, Day 3

Glade Creek Grist Mill & Pond

Friday, August 31 - Babcock State Park, WV, Day 3 - 48.5 Miles Today, 14,837.0 For the Trip

A pleasant surprise this morning - the internet was back on my WiFi Ranger & I can connect with the control panel. Once we figured out what the WiFi Ranger ID was, Brian at tech support reset my router & reinstalled the latest update.

I was planning to hike along the Narrow Gauge Trail to see a swinging bridge, but after walking down to the trailhead I discovered that it was very muddy. Not sure why since I seems pretty dry here at the campground, but I decided to skip it & visit the swinging bridge closer to the mill. I did take a couple of photos from a standard road bridge near the trailhead. Managed to shoot the first one through condensation on the front of the lens due to the camera still being cold from overnight & the high humidity at the stream. I managed to do the same when I changed lenses when I went to shoot some photos of the Glade Creek Mill from a different location than yesterday. I was hoping for a nice reflection on the pond below the mill, but the floating leaves kept getting in the way. Actually, I kind of like the stream image, but the mill is way too soft. As usual, more photos at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

I also shot a photo of one of the cabins along Old Sewell Road as well as some of the woods along side the road & a millipede in the middle of the road. It was about 4" long - a lot bigger than our upstate New York bugs! The cabins look nice - electric & water & some are on the edge of Glade Creek. There are 28 cabins located in the park, ranging from Economy 2 person to 4 Bedroom Deluxe units.  I found the swinging bridge - it didn't swing all that much, but is cable supported.

I made a run to the nearest grocery store (a Walmart along US 19 about 20 miles away) for some supplies, and came back to the campsite. The reservable sites are starting to fill even though the prediction for the weekend is rain. There was a herd of deer (well, four of them) nibbling along the road next to my trailer. By the time I got out the camera it was down to one, and she got chased away by a vehicle driving down the road.

Since I've been snacking on watermelon and junk food (is watermelon junk food?) I'm just going to have a salad for dinner. I picked up some vegetables to make a pizza tomorrow or the next day.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Babcock State Park, WV - Day 2

Glade Creek Grist Mill

Thursday, August 30 - Babcock State Park, WV, Day 2 - 17.2 Miles Today, 14,788.5 For the Trip

All of today's mileage was done driving around the park. I went to the mill during the morning (while still a pretty building, it sure looks better in the fall, and with a little more water in the creek), drove to one of the lakes, finding a number of trees blown over. I talked with a park ranger & she told me that a bad storm went through on June 29th. While parts of the park look OK, some parts look like a tornado hit it.

I also took a short walk to "Natural Arch". Not quite as impressive as those out in Utah, but a pretty arch made of area stones with much more vegetation than out west. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

I made the stupid mistake of trying to update the software running my WiFi Ranger. I should know better and waited until I got home. After the update I can no longer access the control panel & have no internet connection through the device. I plugged the USB modem directly into the laptop & managed to get a connection, so I should be able to post page updates, but I no longer have a WiFi connection for my iPhone. I'm currently working with WiFi Ranger's tech support & hope to have things back to normal soon. A further complication is the internet connection here at the campground is very slow...

Just realized that today makes 4 months on the road. Time sure flies when you are having fun! Dinner is going to be Orange Chicken with rice.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Babcock State Park, WV

Fall, 2011 - Glade Creek Grist Mill, Babcock State Park, WV

Wednesday, August 29 - Babcock State Park, WV - 184.1 Miles Today, 14,771.3 For the Trip

I wasn't planning on stopping at Babcock State Park because it has been so dry the Glade Creek that runs by the Grist Mill would probably be close to dry. Still, when I started checking campgrounds within a day's drive of Carter Caves in Kentucky, the only one I knew that had openings over the holiday weekend was Babcock. So, off I went. I spent most of the drive on I 64, knowing what many of the secondary roads in West Virginia were like. Even with that, Matilda of the GPS tried to route me on an undriveable road. I said no, and continued to Clifftop on US 60. Even US 60 has some interesting twists & turns, but at least it is paved. One of my earlier experiences with West Virginia & my GPS steering me wrong was in this area.

I'm in site 35 for the next 6 days. The campground has 30 amp electric, but no water or sewer. Not a big problem - I have enough water in the tank to do the week, and even if I go overboard & run out there is a fill station not too far from my site. They do have a nearby rest room with hot showers so I'm a happy camper.

I did drive to the Glade Creek Grist Mill (about 2.5 miles from the campground) and as expected, the creek was just about empty. The mill race had weeds growing in it. I talked with the miller & he said this is the longest dry spell they have had since the mill opened. He hasn't been able to grind corn since early June. I'll probably try for a few photos one morning - the sun sets behind the mill making afternoon photos ugly. For now I'm using a photo from my trip here last fall.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Carter Caves State Park, KY

Yea, We're Back to Campsite Photos!

Tuesday, August 28 - Carter Caves State Park Campground, KY - 124.9 Miles Today, 14,587.2 For the Trip

While much of the driving was on US 68 today, unlike yesterday it was a much better road. A bit wider, fewer twists & hills, and most pleasing, trimmed bushes along the side of the road. I'm in site 22 at the Carter Cave State Park. I did plan to check out the caves, but discovered that I needed to do laundry. The way I can tell is when I run out of socks. Doing laundry was interesting. The price is 1/2 that of Kentucky Horse Park (also a Kentucky state park). While I was washing my 2 loads of clothes, someone came in and threw a bunch of clothes in the two dryers. He never came back. After mine were washed & his dryers stopped, I waited a bit, wondering when he'd be back, then the campground manager came into the laundry & asked if I needed change since my damp clothes were piled on the washer & the dryers weren't running. I said they were full & she proceeded to yank the clothes out of the dryers & said now they are empty. Mine dried for an hour & the guy had still not come back.

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to determine where I'd be for the weekend. Like all the campgrounds I tried, this one is full. I finally talked with the attendant at Babcock State Park in West Virginia & she said they only have 6 campers in the park & there are plenty of open sites through the weekend. So, I'll skip the caves & head to West Virginia in the morning.

Dinner was a pizza; not one of mine or frozen. They have a restaurant here in the park & I ordered a sausage & mushroom pie. Not one of the best I've had, but it beat cooking!

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lincoln's Birthplace Memorial

Lincoln's Birthplace Memorial

Monday, August 26 - Kentucky Horse Park Campground, Lexington, KY - 157.0 Miles Today, 14,462.3 For the Trip

While I only drove 157 miles today, it seemed longer. Almost all of it was on narrow, hilly & twisty roads. KY 84 & US 68 were better than the earlier county roads, but until I hit Nicholasville, even they were work to drive. I did make another discovery - the birthplace of Lincoln. Maybe I was told sometime in a history class, but I don't remember knowing that both Jefferson Davis & Abraham Lincoln were born in the same state. I stopped & took a few photos at the memorial, then continued east. More at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

I stopped for the night at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground. I stayed here on the way west on my 5th day out (May 7th) in site 245. This time I'm in 84. Good shade, and an easy back in site with water & electric.

It is still too hot to enjoy cooking, so I'll probably do something simple for dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Jefferson Davis Memorial

Jefferson Davis Memorial

Sunday, August t 25 - Moutardier COE Campground, KY - 158.1 Miles Today, 14,305.3 For the Trip

We did have a little excitement after dark last night. It started with a dog barking somewhere in the campground. The barks changed to yips, then a howl. A few minutes later the fragrant odor of skunk drifted into the trailer. It was bad enough in my trailer; can't imagine what it was like for the dog or the trailer he was tied to!

I spent most of the day traveling east on secondary roads through farm & ranch country, passing by the Mammoth Cave National Park & into the Moutardier Core of Engineer's campground. Not too bad a deal - water & electric for $11.00 (with the senior pass). While the campground it near empty, there are reserved signs on almost every site for next weekend. I forgot that it is a 3 day Labor day weekend, and the last chance many get to go camping. Should be interesting finding a site. I guess I'll worry about that when it comes.

For now, this is a very nice stop. I'm in site A50, right on the lake (there are non hookup sites between mine & the lake, but they are low enough that you don't notice them. Other than a few biting flies, it is a great location.

I noticed a structure that looked like a shorter Washington Monument along US 68 near Fairview, KY & stopped to see what it was. It is the birthplace of Jefferson Davis. Took a couple of photos, and drove on. More photos on today's LakeshoreImages Page.

I stopped in Sweeden (yes, that is how they spell it) for some groceries - will be having steak & rice for dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kentucky Dam State Park, KY

Tug & Barges at Night

Saturday, August 25 -Kentucky Dam State Park, KY - 103.3 Miles Today, 14,147.2 For the Trip

True to the campground host's word, there were only two trains overnight. I shot a very grainy photo of a barge & tug going down the Mississippi in the dark. I don't know how they manoeuver the long strings of barges in the day, let alone in the dark. It was interesting to watch the spotlight picking up reference points along the shore. I also have a dawn sunrise photo (well, when else is there a sunrise?) thanks to the 4:30AM train.

I stopped at the showers on the way out of the campground rather than walking to them. I was wrong - only .3 miles, not .5 from the campsite. Still, if you walked, you would be covered with sweat by the time you got back. It was a nice shower - large, hot water, and a good sized drying area.

A relatively short drive today bouncing from state to state and driving into Kentucky at Cairo. I decided to try for the Kentucky Dam campground even though the AAA book (the old & better version) said reservations were suggested. That often means the campground is full on the weekends. I don't know why, but while the place has over 200 sites, there are only about 15 RVs here. One interesting point - most of the sites have the utilities much further from the site than normal. I had to pick & choose a site based on whether my 30' power cord would reach. Even then, I'm on the grass off the end of the pavement in order to plug in. Speaking of electric hookups, I forgot to mention that last night at the Trail of Tears campground in MO, I ran into the first 30 amp GFCI receptacle in all my years of camping. Usually only the 20 amp receptacle is GFCI protected. It worked fine with my trailer, but many older converters will trip a GFCI.

Other than the long run to the utilities, Kentucky Dam State Park is a nice campground. Most of the sites have some shade, clean bathrooms with showers, and $21.50 (with AAA discount) for electric & water.

It is early (3:30) so I haven't given dinner much thought. It is hot enough that I don't really care all that much about putting a meal together. I'll figure out something when (and if) it cools down.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, August 24, 2012

Trail of Tears State Park, MO

Mississippi Mud

Friday, August 24 -Trail of Tears State Park,, MO,122.8 Miles Today, 14,043.9 For the Trip

Ah, the marvels of a GPS. I had set my GPS for Jonesboro, IL since it was in the direction I wanted to go & the map showed a campground symbol. The GPS lets you choose POIs (Points of Interest) near your destination, so I chose campgrounds. It showed the Trail of Tears State Park as only 2.4 miles from Jonesboro. Well, yes, but in another state and on the other side of a big river (the Mississippi). I realized the problem when it sent me across the Mississippi into Missouri, but since the distance was only a few miles longer I decided a State Park was a good stop. Besides, I managed to save about $.50 per gallon filling up in MO, and I can cross back into IL a few miles south of the park at Cape Girardeau. From there it is a short hop into Kentucky where I hope to spend the rest of the weekend.

Trail of Tears State Park is right on the Mississippi River (well, there is a train track between the park & the river; more about that later.) The good - a nice location, not at all crowded (when I arrived the only other trailer in the park was the campground host's, however now at 8:30 there are about 5 other campers.) At $24.00 for full hookups, the price was good. The bad - the bathrooms are about 1/2 mile from the campground (but they do have a shower). And, of course there are those tracks I mentioned. First bad sign - they are shiny (shiny means used). Second - there is a crossing at the edge of the campground (about 150' from my trailer - you can see both in the crossing photograph). Trains are required to blow their horns at crossings. I don't mind the sound of the engine and the clacking of the wheels, but that horn! The campground host noted that there are only 2 trains after 11:00 at night & he doesn't even hear them. Of course he also mentioned that he is further from the crossing & he takes out his hearing aids at night! We'll see how it goes. The only other problem with the park is hornets. As I've mentioned before, I like to sit outside and read - while I was never stung, many hornets were buzzing around, landing on my legs, etc. I was hoping that as it got dark they would go away; they did, but the mosquitos arrived.

The river is very low - I heard on the radio that is was 35' below normal. The boat ramp (the reason for the railroad crossing) is like the one at Turquoise Lake in Leadville, CO - it stops well before it reaches the water. There are a large number of cars & trucks parked by the ramp. I couldn't figure what they were doing until the campground host said they are workers on the dredging operation going on just up river. They are dredging many parts of the Mississippi in order to maintain barge traffic.

More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a couple of cheese brots - I'm trying to get rid of the unfrozen meat since the temperatures in the refrigerator are higher than I'd like when the outside temperature is over 100°F, which it has been during the peak of the day lately...

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

The Gateway Arch, St Louis, MO

Thursday, August 23 - The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St Louis, MO, 218.4 Miles Today, 13,921.1 For the Trip

I took a couple of photos of the Osage Beach RV Park at Dusk. Tried to capture the hot evening feeling with the blurry moon, etc.

The last time I saw the Gateway Arch was on a trip to Colorado in 1972. I don't have any photos of the arch, so I decided to make that the destination for the day. I love the design of the arch, Eero Saarinen, the architect who designed the arch has been a favorite of mine, in fact I "appropriated" the arch for part of a design for the play JB that toured with the Southern Illinois University Design competition while I was a student at Oswego.

I shot a panorama of the arch looking up from the center of the span, but Photoshop couldn't deal with putting it together, so it will have to wait until I have more time back in Oswego. It is too bad the area around the arch is as run down as it is. While the grounds of the memorial are fine, the parking, at least for trailers, is along the river in a garbage strewn area. There is a river boat ride, a bicycle rental place, a few food stands & both horse drawn carriage & helicopter rides but all in all, pretty ugly until you hit the memorial grounds. I felt like I had to rush through the memorial so I could get back to my car before it was stripped to the chassis!

I did take a few photos of the displays in the rooms under the arch - I don't believe they were there, or, at least were as impressive when we were there in the 70's. These and more photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

By the time I got back to the car from visiting the arch (both the car & trailer were still there) it was already 2:00, later than I usually stop. I didn't want to stay in a St Louis campground since the reviews for all of them described asphalt parking lots without bathrooms. I looked for the closest campgrounds on the GPS & it sent me to a KOA a few miles north of the city. While there were shiny railroad tracks just .2 miles from the campground, that wasn't a problem since the campground wasn't there!

I continued on & found a review for the Red Barn Rendezvous RV Park in Edwardsville, IL, about 30 miles in the general direction I was heading. The review was favorable, other than noting that there was traffic noise from nearby I 55. Traffic noise won't be a problem since I will probably be running the AC all night. It was 102°F when I pulled in and now, at 5:15 it is only down to 96°F outside. The 11,000BTU AC in the trailer works great - in just a few minutes it has the temperature in the trailer down to 78°F. The refrigerator is working hard to keep up. The freezer climbed to 4°F while in the temperature in the lower section of the door is at 46°F; a little warm, but that is the warmest part of the refrigerator. All in all, not too bad for it being 100°F outside!

I haven't decided what to do for dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Osage Beach, MO

Site 40, Osage Beach RV Park, MO

Wednesday, August 22 -Osage Beach RV Park, Osage Beach, MO, 172.6 Miles Today, 13,702.7 For the Trip

I've mentioned it before - those that know me know that I'm sometimes "Directionality Challenged". I can pull into a gas station & pull out going back the way I came. It does wonders when hiking alone! Anyhow, even I noticed that ending up in Osage Beach when the plan was to head towards Cedar Key, FL might just be the wrong way. This morning I mapped out the route to Cedar Key, then back to home, and decided that I'd have to drive too many miles per day & have too short a stay at Cedar Key to make it worth the trip. Of course the 95°F + temperatures as I headed south didn't help (although I'm not doing any better here - the outdoor thermometer hit 101°F today however the sun was shining on the Propane cover it sits under). My last excuse for wimping out is the word that a tropical storm that "might" turn into a hurricane is possible. While it isn't all that likely, I sure don't want to ride one out in my trailer!

So, I plotted new directions, and headed northeast. Osage Beach, MO in the heart of the Lake of the Ozarks looked like a good place to stop for the night. While I would have preferred the atmosphere of the near by state park, they didn't have hookups. Did I mention 101°F? So, I'm at the nearby commercial park that looks like a redone KOA. There are two campsite photos  at the LakeshoreImages page for today - they put me in site 49, a full hookup pull through site, however it had no shade. Since I like to sit outside the trailer and read as well as cook outside, one of the back in water & electric sites (#40) looked much better & the office reluctantly let me change.

I do have an announcement for the day - at day 112, I have now been on this trip longer than last years trip. Not as many miles since I parked the trailer for longer stays this time.

Sorry there aren't any more interesting photos - While the lake looked inviting, there wasn't much in the way of a photo op on the drive through town. Dinner tonight will be a steak, snap peas & macaroni & cheese.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Zan's Creekside Campground, Joplin, MO

Sorry, Just Another Campground Photo -
Zan's Creekside Campground, Joplin, MO

Tuesday, August 21 - Zan's Creekside Campground, Joplin, MO 196.5 Miles Today, 13,530.1 For the Trip

Hey, I can't call it boring driving today (mostly on US 400) since I discovered an unknown Oswego (the name of my hometown). I know about Oswego, IL, Lake Oswego, OR, but today on US 160 I drove through Oswego, KS. I looked for a library with no luck; did find a historic building, but it was closed, so I had to turn to Wikipedia for information about the town. According to Wikipedia, the name of the town comes from my hometown of Oswego, NY where many of the early settlers came from. It is a small world!

I also caught a short part of historic US 66 as I left Kansas & crossed into Missouri.

While there is a KOA here in Joplin, I decided to check out Zan's Creekside Campground at the suggestion of my GPS. It is located on Shoal Creek, lots of shade, which is good since it was 95°F when I arrived, inexpensive ($24.00 for water & Electric), although the water is a stretch for my 30' hose, and very questionable bathrooms & showers (the toilets are outside behind a wooden fence). Still, it its more my type of campground than most KOAs.

I had a huge breakfast at an IHOP in Wichita, so dinner is going to be something small & simple; probably a salad.

Until Tomorrow -


Monday, August 20, 2012

USI RV Park, Wichita, KS

Site B2, USI RV Park, Wichita, KS

Monday, August 20 -USI RV Park, Wichita, KS 176.9 Miles Today, 13,333.6 For the Trip

Another fairly boring day driving mostly east on US 50, US 400, & US 54 to Wichita, KS. I stopped at Eddy's Toyota for an oil change. They also checked the color of the transmission fluid & pronounced it OK. After that it was a quick search for a nearby campground, and the best recommendations from RV Park Reviews, my favorite "find a park" web page, was for USI RV Park in Wichita. It is pretty much a standard commercial park - spaces close together, full hookups (I did need to drain my tanks) a little shade, but nothing like the recent state & national parks. In any case, I'm here and will continue on in the morning. I hope to find something to photograph - I'm getting bored with campsite photos!

Not sure what dinner will be - there is no picnic table, and I haven't decided if I want to find & drag one to the site, set up my own tiny table, or skip the grill & just make a sandwich and eat inside. It is still (at 6:30) hot - 90°F outside. I know that is cooler than it has been in the area, but still hot compared to where I've been for the last couple of weeks.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dodge City, KS

Site 2, Gunsmoke Trav-L-Park, Dodge City, KS

Sunday, August 19 - Gunsmoke Trav-L-Park, Dodge City, KS 160.0 Miles Today, 13,156.7 For the Trip

Over 150 miles on US 50 heading east today. I could have done more, but decided to stop in Dodge City. I don't plan on hitting the city's "Frontier Town" attractions this trip; Carol & I did them on a previous trip in 2004. I did unhook & made a short trip to the local Walmart for some stove fuel, a couple of books, and a package of Bubba Burgers. After that it was back to site 2 at the Gunsmoke Trav-L-Park.

The "plan" is to head to Wichita and the local AAA office to get some maps for the rest of the trip. Of course, to do that I have to make up my mind what the rest of the trip will be. Even though it will be hot, my current thoughts are to head to northwestern Florida & Cedar Key, then up the coast to home. If I can't stand the heat I'll head north sooner, but I really do want to see Cedar Key.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lamar Sportman RV Park & Horse Motel, Lamar, CO

Sand Dunes After a Storm

Saturday, August 18 Lamar Sportsman RV Park & Horse Motel, Lamar, CO 202.2 Miles Today, 12,996.7 For the Trip

Somehow, I have developed the ability to change the weather. Unfortunately, not the way I want it. The method revolves around my blanket. Normally, I have sheets & Vietnam era poncho liner on the bed. I also have a full size blanket that is too big for the bed. I generally store it in one of the front under-seat storage bins, but if it is cold I'll add it to the bed before I go to sleep. If I do that it will be warm & I'll have to stuff it down at the bottom of the bed or get up & put it away. Of course, if I put it away, at 4:00AM it will be 44°F in the trailer & I'll need it!

We had thunderstorms & rain in the late afternoon. It made some interesting pictures on the dunes, chased everyone off them, and cooled things off. It broke long enough for me to cook my brots on the grill.

I left Great Sand Dunes National Park around 8:45AM, stopped for some final photos under morning light, and headed east, eventually getting on US 50. I ended up in site 12 at the Lamar Sportsman RV Park & Horse Motel in Lamar, CO for the night. Full hookups for $25.00. I'm not used to both electricity & water - it will spoil me. Of course it isn't anywhere near as pretty as last night's site, but I did get to do laundry. Since I was down to one last pair of sox, it was time!

Since I have electricity. I'll bake a pot pie in the toaster oven for dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, August 17, 2012

Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

Friday, August 17 - Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO 182.4 Miles Today, 12,777.4 For the Trip

Well, the ranger yesterday was half right - all the reservable sites are booked, but loop 1 is non reservable & was only half filled when I arrived at 10:00AM. I picked out a nice back in site that has a bit of a slope, but nothing unhooking & using the tongue jack couldn't cure. The site has a great view of the dunes & afternoon shade for both the RAV4 & the trailer. While I unhooked, I'm not going anywhere. I already have dinner & while I am starting a shopping list, there is nothing on it I need today. So, I spent the day goofing off. I did meet a couple that pulled into the site across from me - they are from Switzerland,had their own RV shipped (a Eura Mobil). They are spending 6 months touring the US & Canada, including a trip to Alaska.

While the campground was pretty empty this morning, it has filled up during the day. While there are a few sites still open, at 2:30 most have been taken.

While dinner won't be up to last night's marinated pork chop, rice & salad, a couple of grilled brats & beans sounds OK. If it cools off I may venture back out on the dunes. They are fascinating - wonderful shapes, huge, and the light changes throughout the day.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Thursday, August 16 - Lake San Luis State Park & Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO 182.4 Miles Today, 12,777.4 For the Trip

I left the Rendezvous this morning around 9:00. Some of the group were moving to a singles gathering at Baby Doe campground at Turquoise Lake, others are heading out in all directions. I had a great time and while I will be staying on the east coast next year, I hope to make the 2014 Rendezvous.

I stopped in Leadville to get a tank of propane, say goodbye to Dick & Anne, and headed south towards the Great Sand Dune National Park. I dropped more than 2000' and you can tell by the heat. Don't know what it will be like tonight, but it was 86°F when I reached the park. I decided to stay at the near by San Luis State Park because the sites have electricity & the bathrooms have showers ($.25 per 4 minutes, but still, showers!). It is almost completely empty - could be because so is the lake. They also have very strange sites. I'm in B24, however if someone pulls into B23, they are stuck behind my trailer. OK for non towed RVs, but tough for a trailer.

In any case, after setting up I headed out to Great Sand Dunes National Park, about 14 miles from the state park. The dunes are something else. You get the feel of being in the desert. I climbed about 1/2 way up, took a bunch of photos, including a large panorama that I won't process until I get back to Oswego. The last photos of the Rendezvous, San Luis State Park & Great Sand Dunes National Park are at today's LakeshoreImages post.

I drove through the campground & while there were many open sites, I checked with one of the rangers & he had the list for tomorrow - the campground is full. I'll drive through on the way out of San Luis to check since it looks like a nice place for another night; if I find something I'll stay, if not, I'll head out.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 3 - Rocky Mountain Rendezvous

The Pot Luck Dinner

Wednesday, August 15 - Camp Hale, CO 0 Miles Today, 12,595 For the Trip

Day 3 at the 2nd Rocky Mountain Rendezvous. I didn't do much of anything today - did some reading, walked around parts of the campground, and showed the trailer to both fellow campers & a couple that came to the park just to look at trailers.

We had a "happy hour" then the 4 "singles" got together for a dinner of buffalo burgers. After dinner we sat around the fire talking about places, things & people. Dick & Anne stopped by and were thanked for supplying the kitchen for the making of the blueberry pie.

That was about it for the day. Tomorrow I'll stop by Dick & Anne's to say goodbye & post the last couple of day's pages, then head south. The eventual goal is Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Until Tomorrow -

2nd Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, Day 2

Around the Campfire

Tuesday, August 14 - Camp Hale, CO 55.4 Miles Today, 12,595 For the Trip

Day 2 at the 2nd Rocky Mountain Rendezvous. We had a "gathering" to share stories, wine & treats under a couple of tarps. While the rain finally stopped during the night, it was the coldest while here in the Leadville area - 33°F. The trailer got down to 42°F before I fired up the furnace at 6:30AM.

After breakfast I headed into Leadville to make a blueberry pie. I had given my recipe to Anne so she had most of the ingredients, with the exception of those I've added since I gave it to her. She picked a bunch of my blueberries before they left Oswego so I was able to make a pie with my own berries a couple thousand miles from home. They were frozen, which makes a sloppier pie, but that's the breaks. Speaking of breaks, I learned something about cooking pies (at least blueberry) at 10,000'. Since the boiling temperature is lower with the increased altitude, the filling boiled & top of the pie erupted. A logical result, but one I didn't plan for! So, it is a bit messy, but we will find out tonight how edible.

On the way back from Leadville I stopped at the Tennessee Pass sign. They have information about the 10th Mountain Division (who are now stationed at Fort Drum, close to my home town of Oswego) as well as a back hoe covered sign for Cooper Mountain Ski Resort, where Anne worked & they both have lifetime passes. After driving back to the campground I ate some lunch, hung out & read for awhile, then made a round of the trailers photographing most of them. Photos of the trailers & the gathering are at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

Later that evening we had the traditional "Pot Luck" dinner. Plenty for all with great combinations of side dishes, main course & dessert. I always find it amazing that with no planning there is always a good variety of types of food. After dinner we sat around the fire & talked until the cool evening drove us back to our trailers.

Unfortunately, there is no cell service here at the Group Campground at Camp Hale, so there won't be any page postings until I head back to Leadville.

Until Tomorrow -

Camp Hale, Day 1

Camp Hale Group Campground

Monday, August 13 - Camp Hale, CO - 22.3 Miles Today, 12,595 For the Trip

I had a nice surprise when I got back to the Tabor Campground after a visit with Anne in Leadvile - a former student & friend Phil was waiting at the trailer. He and his family had been camping in the area, but his son got sick & his wife took him home. We had a good talk about old times, catching up on things & life in general. Phil stayed in a tent next to the trailer with the blessing of the campground host.

Over coffee in the morning we did much the same, then he headed bach to Denver & I was off to Camp Hale for the 2nd Rocky Mountain Rendezvous. Unfortunately, is will be difficult to update the page - neither AT&T nor Verizon has a signal at the campground. So, I'm disconnected from the world until I drive into Leadville, about 14 miles to the south. It isn't the most pleasent of mornings - a steady but light rain & cool, about 48°F outside at 12:00. I'll probably drive into Leadville to see Dick & Anne this afternoon & hope things clear up later. The solar panel is in the sun (well, not quite correct - it is not in the shade, but the sun is hiding!) and cranking out a measly .4 amps, enough to very slowly recharge the batteries. I hit them pretty hard this morning making a full pot of coffee. They are back up to around 95%...

Unless it clears up, there won't be any photos other than the usual campground shot:

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Turquoise Lake, CO

Turquoise Lake at Night

Sunday, August 21 - Leadville, CO - 14.5 Miles Today, 12,572.7 For the Trip

After the race was almost ended I headed back to the campground, with a pork chop & scalloped potatos, thanks to Anne. Cooked them up for dinner - it was great. I read a bit, talked about the race with my camping neighbors, then shot a couple of sunset photos.

After that it was time to relax until dark. The skies were fairly clear, so I wanted to try for some night sky images. I took a couple, however the sky wasn't as clear as I would have liked so I had to use a failry high ISO which added to the grain (alright, it is actually noise- I'm an old film photographer!). In any case, they were fun to do. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Until Tomorrow -

Leadville 100 Bike Race

1St Place Winner
Saturday, August 11 - Leadville Trail 100 MTB Bike Race, CO - 24.5 Miles Today, 12,568.2 For the Trip

The Leadville Trail 100 MTB bike race takes place today. It is a 100 mile trail bike race that also includes sections that are more like a road bike race. Overall it includes riding on dirt & paved roads, power & pipe lines, and a climb to the top of Mount Columbine, 2500' higher than the start of the race. In between, there are a number of climbs & drops. Lance Armstrong didn't ride this year, but has done the race in the past. He stated it is the most difficult race he has ever ridden.

More info about the race & the results are at Leadville Trail 100 Bike Race.

More photos at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

By the way, many of the riders will be taking part next weekend in a 100 mile run, also here in Leadville!

I left to head back to the campground around 7:00 & drove through part of the tail end of the race - they were still coming in.

Until Tomorrow -

Tabor Campground

The View From My Campsite

Friday, August 10 - Tabor Campground, Turquoise Lake, CO .5 Miles Today, 12,533.6 For the Trip

I may end up posting more but I have moved, and while it is only 1/2 a mile from my previous campsite, the Verizon connection is much slower. Don't know if it was a move to a different tower or traffic is heavier, but posting is difficult. Anyway, I'm now in site 12 at the Tabor Campground. It is a first come, first served site & in many ways nicer than the last one. It is true I no longer have a picnic table, and it is a longer walk to the dumpster & bathroom, and it is essentially a parking lot for boaters (although not too many are using it since the lake is so low the ramp is not usable), but my site is at the end, isolated from the main parking area & the view is worth a million bucks!

I'll relax for a bit, then head into Leadville to see Dick & Anne.

Until later!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Leadville, CO

Sunset Over Turquoise Lake, CO

Thursday, August 9 - Leadville, CO -22.5 Miles Today, 12,533.1 For the Trip

Not much news for the day. I did get my haircut, and stopped at the coffee shop Anne recommended; good coffee & a nice carrot cake muffin. After that Dick, Anne & I went for a ride over parts of the 100 mile bicycle race they are working on this Saturday. It is quite an affair - it combines mountain biking with road biking, including a climb from around 10,000' to 12,000'+. Lance Armstrong ran it 2 years ago & won, but last year his time was beat by a number of riders. I'll look for the DVD of last year's race just to show a friend back in Oswego who likes to ride.

No photographs today, so I used one of the sunsets from last night.

Dinner was a hash to use up the last of the steak & vegetables. I had to cook it in the trailer - as soon as I started cutting up the ingredients it started to pour. At least I remembered to put the smoke detector under my pillow so I didn't have the alarm going off in the middle of cooking. Of course as soon as I had it going on the stove the rain stopped.

Tomorrow is moving day - I have to be out of my site by 12:00 for the people who reserved it for the weekend. I hope to find room at the Tabor Campground, which is just a parking lot. There are a bunch of empty sites, however a number of RVs have been through this park looking for spaces, and moved on. If Tabor is full in the morning I'll head to Camp Hale. There is plenty of space there, however every time I come back to Leadville to see Dick & Anne I have to go over Tennessee pass & wait for the light at the one lane section of US 24 where the sink hole ate one lane.

Until Tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Leadville Mines

An Old Mine, Leadville, CO

Wednesday, August 8 - Leadville Mines, CO - 26.4 Miles Today, 12,510.6 For the Trip

It was even colder this morning - 37°F when I woke up at 6:30. I didn't bother to turn the furnace on during the night, but with the inside of the trailer at 44°F, I fired it up before climbing out of bed.

Dick and Anne are in Denver today but they gave me a key so I could do laundry & take a shower. I have still managed to find a way to avoid trying to shower in the Escape trailer. Not that it couldn't be done - there is hot water, a shower head and all, but the space it pretty tight for my 6' body.

After doing a couple of loads of laundry & my shower I headed out to the east side of Leadville to photograph some of the old mines. As far as I know, all but one of them are no longer active, but the weathered wood & colorful tailings piles are fun to shoot. The roads are all either gravel or dirt & the back of the RAV4 looks like it did in Utah, except the dust is grey rather than red.

The view from the mines is magnificent. Even if they didn't find what they were looking for, I can't imagine the miners not appreciating the surrounding mountains. Of course they probably also cursed them since they had to find a way to get up & down them! While the mines are no longer producing minerals, some of them are open for tours. I included some photos from the Matchless Mine & Baby Doe's Cabin. I didn't take the tour.

There are a couple pictures of the Mineral Belt Trail. It goes all the way around Leadville, passing many of the mines, complete with signs identifying some of them. It is paved and open to walkers & bikes. After returning to town on 7th Street, I stopped to take a photo of Locomotive 641. At the station where it is parked they are still offering train rides through the countryside.

As usual, more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Crystal Mill &Ghost Town

Crystal Mill, Crystal, CO

Tuesday, August 7 -Crystal, CO - 6 Miles Today, 12,484.2 For the Trip

The 6 miles for today was my drive from the campground to Dick & Anne's & back. We actually did far more that that in his 4 Runner.

I was up early today - I actually set the alarm for 6:00AM, although as usual, I woke up about 15 minutes before it went off. The plan for the day is to drive to Crystal, CO to see the old air compressor building & the town, which, while officially a ghost town, is full of people. Because Crystal is 6 miles from the town of Marble on a 4 wheel drive road we took Dick & Anne's 4 Runner rather than my RAV4. I know the RAV4 is called a 4 wheel drive vehicle, but it is really only designed for good quality roads. It has no low range, no skid plates protecting important parts, and not any where near enough ground clearance. If you are tempted to try the road in a "citified" 4 wheel drive vehicle, don't! Lots of large rocks to climb over, loose gravel & rocks, long drops off the edge of the road (there is a photo of a truck that went over). In short, you don't need a super modified 4 wheeler to do the drive, but you do need a real 4 wheel drive vehicle & an experienced driver. We had both & it was a great trip.

We took US 24 north out of Leadville, got on I 70 & got off at Glenwood Springs, headed south on CO 82 & CO 133, then took FR 314 to Marble where we followed the 4 wheel drive trail to Crystal & the Mill. We made a short stop to see some coke ovens in the town of Redstone along CO 82. I have photos of the restored ovens as well as some in the original condition. After that it was on to Marble. Marble produced some of the highest quality marble ever mined. It has been used for many statues, the Washington Monument & the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. While the quarry closed for awhile, it has reopened and is still producing high quality marble. Another interesting point - the Crystal River runs along side the road & every once in a while you can see what looks like a truck load that fell in.

After a butt busting 6 mile drive from Beaver Lake at the edge of Marble, you first reach the "Mill". While often called a mill, it was actually designed to produce compressed air used for drilling a local tunnel. While not the best time of day for photos (late afternoon would be better for lighting the face of the building) I took some photos, then we made the short drive to the town of Crystal. While at times it had hundreds of residents, it currently consists of about 10 buildings, all of which are summer homes. I bought a book on the history of the town & mill from the author's sister who spends the summer in one of the buildings.

After eating lunch in Crystal (we brought our own; although there is a small store there, it was closed) we headed back to Leadville. We stopped to photograph a small waterfall that probably looks better with spring runoff, and took CO 82 through Aspen & Independence Pass to get back to Leadville.

Photographs of all are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a partially frozen Salad - I defrosted the refrigerator and it works really well! Of course part of that is because it went down to 42°F last night.

Until Tomorrow!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Father Dyer Campground, Leadville, CO

Hand Drilling, Boom Days, Leadville, CO

Monday, August 6 - Father Dyer Campground, Leadville, CO, - 28.3 Miles Today, 12,478.2 For the Trip

I did make it out to Turquoise Lake this morning in time to get a site - While I can't stay over the weekend when all the sites are reserved, I'm in site 8, at the Father Dyer Campground, one of the many scattered around Turquoise Lake. A pretty pull through site, and one of the few that has enough openings in the tree cover to keep the solar panel happy. It is interesting - I have a stronger and faster Verizon here in the campground (out in the middle of nowhere, although a beautiful nowhere) than I did in the city of Leadville. I also have a good AT&T signal.

After setting up the trailer I headed back into Leadville. The plan was to get a haircut today, but I couldn't get an appointment until Thursday. Instead, I found a car wash and took a layer of road dirt off the RAV4. I am still getting Utah red sand (dust) washing out from under the tailgate every time I wash the car. Will it ever go away?

Nothing other than a campground photo today so I'm using one from yesterday's Boom Day Celebration. Hope for something interesting tomorrow.

Dinner will be meatloaf at Dick & Anne's - I'm getting lazy not cooking for myself!

Until Tomorrow!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Boom Days, Leadville, CO

A Stubborn Burro, Boom Days, Leadville, CO

Sunday, August 5 - Leadville, CO, - 160.3 Miles Today, 12,449.9 For the Trip

I got a late start, partially because I drove to Craig's City Market to see if they had my favorite ice cream. They did, so it was worth the trip. In any case, I climbed up & down along US 40, and CO 24, including the highest so far for the trip going over Tennessee Pass at 10, 424'. Not the highest for the trailer - that was11,158' approaching the Eisenhower Tunnel on I 70 last year.

I met Anne at her house in Leadville, parked the trailer in the National Mining Hall of Fame for the night, and headed into the center of the city to attend "Boom Days." They have all kinds of things going on over the weekend. Today was some drilling competitions, the Burro Race, and a gunfight. More photos on today's LakeshoreImages page.

The burro race was interesting. The burros have minds of their own. Even though they were some of the first to complete the course, when they hit the final 100 yards they decided to stop. It was great fun watching the drivers trying to get some of them across the finish line. Others just trotted across.

I'm going to spend the night in Dick & Anne's spare bedroom - first time in 94 days in a real bed. Don't know if I will be able to stand it, but I'm up for trying!

Until Tomorrow!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Craig Campground, CO

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, WY & UT

Saturday, August 4 -Craig Campground, CO - 249.4 Miles Today, 12,289.6 For the Trip

I changed my mind & drove down the east side of Flaming Gorge on US 191 because I didn't want to shoot into the sun & I wanted to see Firehole Campground. Wish I had know about it before I stopped at the KOA - much nicer, and although they didn't have hookups, they did have showers & a dump station, all that I really needed. Oh well, next trip! You can see the smoke from upwind wild fires in some of the photos. I had thought of staying at one of the Dinosaur National Monument Campgrounds, but the one I wanted was not recommended due to the smoke.

I continued south on US 191 to Vernal, UT, then took US 40 east. While they call US 50 "The Loneliest Road", US 40 can't be too far behind. Very little traffic in either direction until I reached Craig, CO. Neither the map or the AAA/Woodall books listed campgrounds in Craig, but my GPS did list Rocky Mountain RV Park in Steamboat Springs. I set it for that & it lead me to Craig Campground just outside Craig, a city the GPS couldn't even find. It is interesting that if you do a city search the GPS can't find most small cities, but if you do an address search it has no problem. I suspect they limit the city size to make a search easier since they don't let you choose the state first & you would have to scroll through a large number of cities to find the one you are looking for if it is a popular name. Of course, letting you choose the state first would solve the problem, but who knows why Garmin doesn't do it that way...

Anyway, I stopped for the night at the Craig Campground, Site 3. Good shade, full hookups, and while a bit expensive at $38.00, it is the only campground in town. Evidently, there is a balloon festival going on in a park here in town. I may try to find it after dinner to see if they plan an evening launch. Since it seems to be fairly windy, they may only launch in the mornings...

Dinner will be a steak & potato salad - there is a Safeway in town & I stocked up on supplies. If I'm lucky, I'll make it to Leadville tomorrow. If not, it will be one more day.

Until Tomorrow!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Green River KOA, WY

Bison Along Gros Ventre Road, Grand Tetons, WY

Friday, August 3 - Green River KOA, WY - 192.2 in the Park Miles Today, 12,040.2 For the Trip

Rather than bore you with the only photo I took today ( the campground) I'll use one from yesterday.

A change of plans - after taking a second look at the map & talking with John, a fellow camper at Gros Ventre, I decided to take US 189 & 191 to the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and cross Colorado on US 40. I stopped for the night at the Green River KOA, site 76. Not the nicest KOA I've been in since it is basically a gravel field with hookups and enough wind to rock the trailer even while still hooked to the RAV4 & the stabilizer jacks lowered. Still, it has showers, which will be nice after two days without them, and with the hookups, I got a chance to drain the tanks.

I'm not sure which side of the gorge I'm going to drive down tomorrow - WY 530 looks to be closer to the gorge than US 191, but in the morning it will be photographing into the sun. After talking with the campground staff, I'll probably drive down the west side on WY 530 & hope for the best.

For those observant of the campground photos, you may notice that in yesterday's photo the white tire cover on the RAV4's spare is missing. It shredded while driving through the Tetons. It wasn't all that inexpensive, and I would have expected to have lasted longer that 12,000 miles - maybe I'll look for a metal cover...

Dinner will be a salad & tuna fish sandwiches - trying to cook in this wind would be a waste of time & I want to use up the rest of the onion & sweet pepper I used to make the hash the other day.

Until Tomorrow!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Grand Teton National Park, WY

Grand Tetons National Park, WY

Thursday, August 2 -Grand Teton National Park, WY 187.0 + 51.5 in the Park Miles Today, 11,848.0 For the Trip

Driving along US 20/26 I passed the three Buttes & stopped to take a photo of the largest, Big Butte. Lots of antennas all over the top. I continued on 20/26, then 26, then 31 (quite a climb over Teton Pass - 8,431'.) After that it was into the park & Gros Ventre Campground. I'm in site 92, a dry (they all are) site not too far from the bathrooms. No showers, so that will have to wait another day.

There was a herd of Bison along Gros Ventre Campground Road - I stopped twice to take some photos. I also drove out to Mormon Row for a couple of images. Not the best time of day for it. I also made a couple of stops at places I haven't been to before - I drove to Deadman's Bar where they were digging out the boat ramp with a Payloader, and Schwabacher Road, both of which give a nice view of the Tetons over a stream.

This is the latest I've visited the Tetons, and I miss the snow on the mountains. There is some there, but much more impressive in June & July.

After that I came back to the trailer to download the images & post today's page. Alas, although I do have a Verizon signal here at the campground, it is not fast enough to upload the images & pages. After I build the pages I'll drive into Jackson to post them. I also want to fill the RAV4 tank since the plan is to head out on US 26/287 tomorrow.

Until Tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID

Lava Cascades at Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID

Wednesday, August 1 - Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID -161.2 Miles Today, 11,609.5 For the Trip

Whether it is cool enough or not, I'm in Carters of the Moon Campground for the night. It was 89°F when I stopped, but now at 4:35 it is 93°F (but DRY HEAT, at least that is what they tell me!) I'm hoping that at this altitude (almost 6000') that it cools off once the sun goes down. I won't be able to shoot the milky way like last year since there is a full moon that will wash out the stars.

I didn't get the site I had last year (site 38) because it was already occupied (there were 2 people in the campground when I got here) but I have a better site - 25. I could have kept the trailer connected, but I wanted to see a couple of the areas that were closed last year. I climbed the Inferno Cone which I skipped last year (not because it was closed, because I was lazy) but did get to see the Snow & Spatter cones and hike out to the Tree Molds, both of which were closed last year. By the way, if you hike to the Tree Molds, don't believe the 1 mile description. It may be one mile as the crow flies, but the trail is more like 1 1/2 or more.

You will have to put up with lots of tree photos - love the shapes of both the live & dead ones here in the monument. They are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

As to dinner, of course it is going to be the rest of the pork loin. I'm really sick of pork loin sandwiches, but being a cheapskate, I won't throw it out. So, I drove to the grocery store in Arco (40 miles round trip - money spent on gas doesn't count) and bought some vegetables to make hash. After that, even tightwads toss what ever is left over!

I hope the wind dies down. I had to close the awning since it was rocking the trailer so much I was missing the keys while typing (well, maybe a bit of an exaggeration) In any case, it is windy. The campground is starting to fill up. A large shadow maker (the name some fiberglass trailer owners give to 40' Class A's) is 2 sites down from me but all the surrounding sites are still empty. Since it is a full moon tonight, maybe there will be an interesting rise to photograph.

Until Tomorrow!