Joined June 2019 Message
  • Day156

    Change in direction!

    October 24 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    Up bright and early, but Cold Springs Cafe did not seem to be open for breakfast yet, but found one up the road at Middlegate station. This station has the distinction of being housed in the original building. Which as actually kind of cool looking in a VERY rustic way. Plus this was the turn off for to a big change in direction.

    We have been trying to track what sort of implications the "bomb cyclone" forecasted for northern California (and the Pacific northwest) would have on our travels. We were due to cross the Sierras via Donner Pass on Hwy 80 and just felt very reluctant to do so with heavy rain and or snow anticipated. Plus then we were to continue on across Northern California to Mendocino, again in primarily very rainy conditions. SO we opted out for the southern solution, had south and over Tehachapi.

    Kind of disappointed, or trip is coming to end sooner then expected. From Tehachapi we will just head up that scenic Hwy 99 drive from Bakersfield to Fresno.

    Oh well, back in the the long drive south in Navada, down to Bishop on 395. Wow, talk about desolate. It makes Hwy 50 ( the loneliest road) seem like a tourist stop drive. There is nothing out here, besides brown hills and plains. Some cattle, and of course an occasional deserted and crumbling shack or two. But still the road conditions were very good. And we certainly did not have much traffic to deal with!

    It was interesting to drive Hwy 6 out of Nevada along the White Nountains which we always view from 395. Finally 6 and 395 merge at Bishop. Clouds too low to see either mammoth (or Mt Whitney) down in Lone pine), but the valley drive along the white mountains was nice.

    Bishop seemed really busy, so didn't stop there. Filled up in Independence at the casino and only paid $4.40 as opposed to $4.90s everywhere else. $200 is about what it takes to fill the tank, OUCH! So maybe heading home instead of Mendocino, then Fresno, isn't such a bad idea financially!

    Pulled into Lone Pine for an overnight, Boulder Creek RV Resort. Nice park that had full hook ups, and I really wanted a nice park for a good shower! Got in a little early, we have been fighting windy conditions and just thought we were done for the day. Hoping it will let up tomorrow, but does not look promising. But at least it is not buckets of rain or snow!
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    I think you mean Mt Whitney....not McKinley! But they are both monsters...



  • Day155

    Hwy 50, the loneliest hwy

    October 23 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 46 °F

    What better way to start the day then with a hot breakfast that some one else cooks and cleans up? We enjoyed walking over to the cafe and having breakfast served. Nice, clean and quiet. Remember we are out in the middle of nowhere!

    We were going to head straight to Great Badsin to at least drive the park, but the website indicated about 50% of the drive was closed for the season, it didn't even get to the bristlecone pine grove. In addition it was a very gray, and wet looking morning, so we just headed on our way.

    Filled up in Ely, has was over $4 a gallon, and out here your choices are 85, 88 or 91 octane. We were reluctant to buy the 85 for the RV, so we couldn't even go with the cheap stuff...

    Lunch stop in Eureka at a little cafe in a much older building. Most all these little towns have been struggling to survive since the late 1800s, all mining and cattle back then. Not much else even now.

    Evening stop in Cold Springs Station, old time pony express stop. Like the Border Inn from last night, it is a one stop shop. Cafe, bar, store, motel, and RV park with hook ups. They had about 15 sites, but they were all full. So they did let us park there and use the rest rooms for $10. It was just cold enough, low 40s, we used our little propane heater until we went to bed,

    The power source for this stop was pretty much exclusively through solar panels and some generator power. But like so many of these spots, they usually end up being a junk site behind the building. If your car, tractor, trailer is no longer functioning, just park it here and leave.

    But it was very quiet!
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  • Day154

    I-70 out of Moab

    October 22 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Moab, and the weather could not have been better for our visit. Wish we had one more day, because we never spent anytime in the town even though we were parked at an RV location that was well placed for walking on foot to explore. Hope to be back again some day.

    Got started pretty early about 8 or 8:30, which is good for us. Quick stop at Starbucks at the grocery store right next to the campground. Normally like going to local shops, but in our RV with the jeep, easier to get into a grocery store parking lot!

    This part of I-70 is still scenic, but much more high plateau/ desert (dry) looking than the portion we drove coming into Moab. Left 70 as it starts dropping south and drove 50 heading west into Nevada. Really spent the whole day driving and stopped at the state line.

    Our hope was to stay close to Baker, Nevada (state line) and have a brief visit to Great Basin Natl Park. We found this nice cafe/store/casino/motel/RV park right on the state line. Very clean, pretty spartan, but they offered full hook ups, restrooms, showers and laundry room for $28 a night. We were happy to take it! We really like having electives power on these colder nights. The RV heater is sort of noisy compared to our portable oil heater!
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  • Day153

    Canyonlands Natl Park

    October 21 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 50 °F

    Another great park! Definitely different from Arches, but a lot of the same colors!

    Actually started our day at Dead Horse State Park, which is on the way into Canyonland. Nice state park, lots of bikers here. Campgrounds and yurts. The primary overlook gives you a view of a big bend in the Colorado River. This is a great warm up for some of the views we got at Canyonland.

    Got to Canyonland and started at the Island in the Sky visitor center, exhibit and movie were closed again. But we did get the rental CD to listen to as we drove through the park. There is hiking here, but you experience most of this park in the overlooks. Unless of course you want to hike down a canyon wall and back up.... Since Kristi and Steve aren't with us we just did the overlooks!

    They were all great and the CD gave us a little background about each. Enjoyed our lunch at Mesa Arch, which is their iconic arch picture you often see. Lots of visitors. We did save the best for last, Grand View. It is a big view of the canyon, specifically the Colorado River. This stop does have a mile long rim walk that you can make that gets you to the end of the plateau of this "island in the sky". It is the end of the plateau because it is at the confluence of the Colorado and the Green River. The walk doesn't allow you a view of the confluence just a merging of the canyons formed on either side of the plateau. Just fabulous views!

    Back to the RV later than we expected, showers and leftovers for dinner. But only after Auggie got some of his walk time!
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    Linley Brinker-Harding

    I love this picture! 😄

    Linley Brinker-Harding

    Great pictures! & I really like the views here too!!

  • Day152

    Arches Natl Park

    October 20 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 46 °F

    What a great park! We loved our day, the weather was perfect, mid 60s, bright blue sky, perfect backdrop to the canyon colors!

    Got into the park at 8 am, a pretty early start for us. We decided to drive all the way through to the end of the road and work our way forward. It's about 30 miles into the park and the road ends at Devils Garden. Got a parking spot and hiked back to see Landscape arch, one of the world's longest arch spans. See a couple of other Arches on the hike out. About a 2 mile plus hike. Pretty good number of people visiting, we were never alone in our walk. I really liked this arch the best because of the long, long arch, awesome.

    Just kept working our way out of the park stopping at almost every arch turn out. Skyline arch, Sand Dune arch, Delicate arch, Panorama point, Balanced rock, Garden of Eden, Double arch, North and South Window arch, Parade of Elephants, Turret arch, Courthouse towers, and Park Avenue. Everyone is entirely different and all require a short hike or more. I have a thousand arch pictures, just like all my glacier shots, you can never take too many. Anywhere from up close to far away. Sunlight was great so we had lots of color in the stone and plateau, and we had a wonderful view of the snow covered LaSal mountains in the distance.

    Can't imagine what this park is like in the summer....a couple of times we had to be patient in finding a parking place. And this is practically the end of October. But more importantly how great the temperature is for hiking and viewing the park right now. Trying to imagine 85 or 90 degree day with that full intense sun. Wow!

    End of the day we finished at the visitor center and were disappointed to find the exhibits area closed, and only the gift shop remained open. Not sure if it was due to Covid, or staff shortages. But interesting to see that the gift shops are almost never closed!

    Back to the RV with a breif stop at the state owned liquor store! Our typical jug bottle of Woodbridge is $16 out here. Ouch! Still tastes good...
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    Sounds like a perfect day! I loved Landscape Arch too - well actually all of them are terrific! Did you hike to Delicate Arch, and was it crowded too?


    I did the shorter overlook hike, wanted to make sure we saw most of the park. with all the short hikes still got in 20,000 steps, which is typically just under 10 miles for me.


    Great sounds like you did get to a lot of arches

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  • Day151

    Into Moab

    October 19 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 52 °F

    Continued our drive to Moab, Utah. Since we missed getting into Arches on the way out to Michigan we really wanted try to and get into the park on this trip. And it looks like the weather is going to cooperate! Forcast shows sunshine with partial clouds, low 60s.

    About an hour from Moab stopped at a scenic pull out that had a little interpretive walk that we could take. "Walk thru Time", a short walk through some ravines that had been explored and excavated for fossils. Felt good to be out walking and just enjoying the scenery. Ate some lunch in the RV and started looking for housing options in Moab.

    Called ahead to get an RV park and was surprised to find that some were full, and pretty expensive here. Up in the $70 range. I am getting so gun shy trying to pick these parks online... the pictures are often a little misleading, and the reviews vary widely!

    Anyway ended up at Canyonland RV Resort with out realizing that I had picked one right in the middle of town. But as I figured that out, the clerk had already indicated that if we stayed 2 nights we would get the 3rd night free! So we stayed with the reservation. As it turns out, the park is tight, but trees petty mature, and it's kind of nice to know we can walk for dinner or a coffee. Think we will be fine here, and we are at the back of the park. Laundry and restrooms clean.

    Got in early, about 3, and since we will be here a couple of days, I got all caught up on laundry. Should be okay until we get to Mendocino. Actually made a meatloaf and baked potatoes for dinner!
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    I'm thinking that if the RV parks have visitors, you should make sure to get to the park early enough to get in this time! Maybe catch sunrise at the park?

    Linley Brinker-Harding

    Sunrise??!! Geez Kristi… what about a gorgeous sunset with the blazing colors? 🌄😁 But it sounds as if your spot in town could be convenient, like you said a walk to coffee or a meal. Grocery store… all the amenities nearby….

    Linley Brinker-Harding

    & the hint of a thumb to come! 😂

  • Day150

    I-70 out of Denver

    October 18 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

    So today was all about driving, but what a beautiful drive! You don't often see an interstate being noted as a scenic drive but this one is.

    We drove south out of Torrington, through Cheyenne and down to Denver. Then picked up I-70 going west. Grabbed some lunch at Panera as we got of west of Denver.

    After climbing a little bit out of Denver we pulled over and decided to have me drive the jeep so the RV didn't have to drag the jeep up and down these grades which are pretty steep, 7%, which isn't bad in a car, but is more challenging for an RV towing the car! Loved this drive and the weather was perfect. The Eisenhower Tunnel was pretty dang impressive, maybe a mile long? And pretty steep grades either way. Interstate was nice and dry so no problem with road conditions.

    All the towns along the interstate look inviting, but they are all sort of jammed between the intestate and the mountains that they access for skiing. So many beautiful hotels and apartments that either get the mountain view or the highway view! Not alot of RV options so just kept driving on through Glenwood Springs. Particularly loved the Glenwood canyon drive, about 3 miles long with the Colorado River running right beside the interstate. The bright yellow color of all the golden aspen against the dark lines or juniper, or dark mountain are awesome. We are really enjoying the fall color here, no red maples, but lots of contrast!

    Finally found a nice KOA (in Silt, Colo) on the Colorado river at about 6:30. Office was closed, but they did have 3 sites left for late registration. Just nice to have power, had a pretty cold storm come through again. It was windy enough that we actually brought slide-out in because the wing kept snapping the small awning that covers the slide-out. But was very comfortable even with slide out in.
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    long driving day....

    Linley Brinker-Harding

    That is a beautiful drive, once you get out of the Denver traffic! 😬 I’ve been lucky enough to have driven it a number of times now! First time in 1976, with Bridget, before the interstate was finished!! Must be getting old?! 🤓 Once with you 2, we stopped & put our feet 👣 in a cool Colorado River not too far east of Glenwood Springs, that was a warm/hot summer day! Drove it with Clarke, early spring & snow on the mountains, I70 never disappoints in Colorado!

  • Day149

    Moving on to Wyoming

    October 17 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 61 °F

    Last day in South Dakota, but one more stop in Custer State Park before we left for good. We wanted to do a little more of the northern section of the park, which does not have as many animals. This section has more of the badlands look with the needle like looking rock out croppings, plus there is a beautiful lake up in this section, Sylvan Lake. Great drive in, had to drop the jeep and drive in with it because the tunnels sizes were too small for the RV.
    Drove in the Needles Hwy to the lake. They have an older lodge, not the original one that was located right on the lake, but really nice. Couldn't to much walking because of the residual snow still on the ground. Headed out of the park and grabbed some lunch at Calamity Jane, a cute café in Custer,SD.

    Said good by to the Black Hills and drove south into Wyoming. Left behind rolling, wooded areas and drove through straight out plains. Lots of ranches with cattle, or grain fields. Speed a couple of small herds of antelope again today.

    About 4 decided to just find a place to stay for the night. Hard to do in the middle of nowhere, we were still north of Cheyenne. And we really want to find sites with power since the evenings are pretty cold. Nice to have our portable (quiet) old heater and not the RV heater which is louder and tends to cycle on and off all night.

    So we ended up in Torrington, WY. at the City Slickers RV park, which is basically a gravel lot of of an alley. The did have a restroom with showers that was clean, and we just had to leave $20 cash in a lock box. Torrington must be a cattle distribution hub, because the air had that barnyard smell, not offensive, but pretty evident.
    Did take a walk with Auggie and found access to the North Platt River down the street. We had to stop a couple of times to pull thorns out of his paws from the weeds!
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    loved the look of Sylvan Lake - the needle rock shore looks really striking!

    Linley Brinker-Harding

    The lake is really pretty. Is it large? It doesn’t look very big, but smooth as glass water! I like the Jeep going through the rock opening, I can see how your RV wouldn’t fit! 😱


    Beautiful! [Lynn]

  • Day148

    The Black Hills

    October 16 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    Beautiful blue sky! A great day for sightseeing!

    After a slow start, (we are very good at this), we took off for Mt. Rushmore. We had been there once before (with Linley) but I just love seeing this monument! Breath taking especially as you experience it through the avenue of the flags to the grand viewing platform. Had hoped to do the Presidents Trail for a little closer view, but it was closed due to snow. We enjoyed the video presentation and the exhibit about the work itself. Just a fascinating story.

    Then headed into Custer State Park for some animal viewing. The drive to the park, a scenic forested highway, and the drive through the park (rolling, wooded plains) were both beautiful. As we drove to the park they had a couple of overlooks that gave you a view back to Rushmore. Passed through some rock tunnels that were less than 11' clear, crossed over big wooden bridges, and just enjoyed the mix of pine and yellow colored birches.

    The park did not disappoint. We stopped at the visitor center and watched the park video and then pretty much drove a loop (maybe 30 or 40 miles) through the park. Most of the bison were pretty much down at the south end of the park due to the time of year. Apparently they"round up" the vision and driver then to a larger coal area where the animals are given a check up and shots. Then they do pull the older and less healthy ones out. But sure where they go....
    But the remaining bison are slowly let back out into the park. So we did run into a number of bison that had been let out from the corral area.

    Also down in the corral end of the park were a friendly herd of burros. We had lots of fun trying to pet them and get pictures. We also saw a large flock of wild turkeys, more of our favorites, the little, busy prairie dogs, prong horn antelope, and some mountain sheep. A really fun and beautiful drive with great views as you drive up and down the rolling plains. Sun all day, air was clear, so colors were great! Not quite like Michigan with all the hardwood tree mix that had so many red and oranges. These were more like subtle mix of greens, rusts, and yellows.

    Back about 6 to the RV still unsure about tomorrow, really want to see another corner of the park and get a view of some of the "needle rocks" in this area. Got to work with calendar and map tomorrow...
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    Linley Brinker-Harding

    Even with a dusting of snow there are other visitors! But I bet the numbers were very manageable 😁 Looks like a great day!

  • Day147

    Heading into the Black Hills

    October 15 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 46 °F

    Cold, crisp morning, but still nice and clear. There is still plenty of snow, but it is definitely melting. Auggie and I had a nice slushy walk this morning. So glad I remembered to pack my Ugg boots!

    We headed to the High Plains Heritage Center as per our plan. The museum is built up in this hill overlooking Spearfish and as we drove up the hill it looked deserted. Snow drifts on the walk but they had plowed the parking area. We were the only vehicle. So turns out they were delaying the opening until noon because of clean up from the snowstorm. They were closed completely the day before. But the onsite manager let us in anyway! So nice! So we toured the museum by ourselves, they even ran the introductory video in the theater for us.

    Spent about two hours enjoying the exhibits. The center covers the 5 plain states and had lots about cattle, cowboys, Indians and the frontier. It was not as professionally staged or lit like a big city museum, but there were so many personal history stories about families that have had multiple generations living here. Tons of memorabilia, and the world's largest barb wire collection!? Despite not being interested in barb wire, the rest was great!

    Gassed up both vehicles, $3.60 a gallon. Seems like prices have jumped about 50 cents since we left Michigan. Grabbed some lunch and got on the road again. Only went as far as Rapid City, just the outskirts because we want to visit Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park.

    Got in fairly early for us, about 2 p.m., and happily the snow had already melted here. Used this early stop to actually get on their wi-fi and do a little finance and email catch up. And Auggie and I had a nice long walk with out snow!
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    Linley Brinker-Harding

    The sheep herding wagon looks a “bit” rustic! Can you imagine if they all had POW back then?! 😁 I missed seeing a photo of the barbed wire display 😉 Glad that the museum was so accommodating to you & Tom, & that the snow is disappearing as you continue your travels ☺️


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