little change... The
last update is now at the top. You only need to scroll down if you missed
Saturday May 30
tend to blend into one another, as it's not like we have to get up and
be somewhere. We did on Friday have a family outing. Needed a new
longer sewer hose [the old one didn't reach the septic tank connector]
[our tanks were getting full] and a ht bulb for over the entrance door.
They call that the porch light. I had a tendency to leave it on for days
and it burned out. Two new 921 bulbs were a big $1.50. How can they make
them for that, market them and get them to the dealers. I would have paid
a solid $3.49 for two without blinking.
wanted some sheet metal (must be doing a new project in the metalworking
shop he set up here at his sister's place) and when we drove over to Altoona
east of Des Moines we found the shop was closed in the afternoons on Fridays.
What was that about. So we got to pretend we didn't burn all that diesel
to get there [we took the truck instesd of the car as it was still dirty
yet from winter storage]. Now we get to go go back next week on another
the way back we stopped at Karl Chevy in Ankeny, IA to get the oil changed
in our diesel. We we do that at their fast lube facility. Yes they do diesels
right along with cars. I told them to check for leaks before they change
the oil as we have a history of leaks. This dealer has repaired oil leaks
for us now three times. All under warranty. Well they found more leaks
and put dye in the oil and we are to come back in a couple of weeks to
have it checked out. We are under extended warranty since they do back
up their work. So we shall see what happens in a week or two. Karl Chevy
has gone beyond what they needed to do make things right so we shall work
with them again and see how it goes.
Boy Oh Joy. Its been raining [about 3" this week] so the car is now
clean and we can leave the truck parked. As for viewing the area we do
have to admit the area is GREEN unlike
what we see spending much of the year in the southwest. Vivid green grass,
and corn and bean field crops growing as I type. Spring and early Summer
in Iowa. It gets into your blood from birth me thinks. Must as kids, tasted
the black earth, and it changed us in some way. Just as people in
other parts of this country did the same and are also bonded to where they
today on Saturday Terry headed over to eastern Iowa to spend time with
his family. As the oldest sibling he has been given a couple of projects
to figure out and get done for them on the farm before we leave in a few
weeks. His parents are in their early 80s so he wants and needs to spend
as much time with them as he can get. Two remarkable people as they sure
don't look or act their age, whatever that means. [His brother lives on
site so we can travel as we know they are all fine]. I also
feel of them as family, as they've welcomed me into theirs, now as both
my parents have passed on. Knowing I'm accepted to be a part of their family
with Terry makes me calm in though and mind.
a bitch and then you get over it as they say. But it's not fun loosing
loved ones as we get older. All we can do is take each day as it comes
and stay busy. But you all already know that... I'm not reinventing
life as we know it, just trying to comprehend the meaning of it all.
We have so much to learn and not much time, me thinks. One planet, one
world, people loving their families, now if we could just encourage all
to love each other, as they do their own.
since Terry was off on a field trip, I worked on updating my new 2009 Microsoft
Streets and Trips to accept .est files that I produce from converting
campground locations etc. so they will show up as pushpins in the program.
I'm using the locations in FreeCampground.com and typing them into the
Streets and Trips program and saving them as like [MontanaFreeCampgrounds.est]
file. I am having fun with this but it's a lot of work.
a call back from www.RVdirections.com
today and they told me their program download is about 120 MB (I later
downloaded it and it's only 36 Meg) so I may download it tonight during
my free bandwidth time (2 - 7 AM eastern time). They provide an extensive
selection of .est files for locations that work with S and
T's. Kind of pricey at $45 but may I go for it.
just ordered three books from Amazon.com
Northwest Camping Destinations: RV and Car Camping Destinations in Oregon,
Washington, and British Columbia
West Coast RV Camping: The Complete Guide to More than 1,800 RV Parks and
Campgrounds in California, Oregon, and Washington
Outdoors: Montana, Idaho, & Wyoming Camping: The Complete Guide to
more than 1200 Campgrounds"
you can see I'm getting fired up about getting the jacks screwed back up
and hitting the road ASAP.
travel events to blog about... Don't Ya Know... I know you are tired of
all this Streets and Trips technical stuff...
update below... Friday. 11:30 AM
Thursday May 28
I had a wild hair up my butt and remembered I had been wanting to get a
new version of Streets and Trips (when I retired in 2003 my co-workers
gave me a copy of it) but when back in Navajo Dam at Farmington, NM this
spring none of the big box stores carried it. Well I did a search
and right here in good old Ankeny, IA is a brand new Best Buy and online
it sez they had 4 of them with GPS units in stock. So off we went to get
I have been ingrossed with learning how to use it with the GPS feature,
and improrting (.est files) so it will find campgrounds, Passport America
RV parks, and OMG Super WalMart locations, etc. when we travel. This is
so much fun. I found http://www.laptopgpsworld.com
which has bunches of info and links for Streets and Trips and other GPS
devices. With my new little 10" Netbood computer it makes a small
neat package to have in the truck as we travel. The Netbood has a 9 hour
battery life. It will follow where we go and talk to us and give direstions
or just tell us where we are at. No more asking Terry show me on the map
where we are at. I told Terry I can even put a paper bag over it
and IT will find its way out... unlike the now replaced navigator
I have in the passenger seat. So the bottom line is, Terry has been replaced...
along with his outdated De Lorme Gazetters that he tried to used to give
for info on this company and PCs
This will work for geocashing
Now a little more on life
as we know it on the road...
Remember when after a month
or so with our new 5er our Nexus 32 HD flat screen TV that came as OEM
on our 5er died. We were in Quartzsite and called Nexus service
and got the run around on how to get it repaired. We then as you remember
went to Yuma (Best Buy) and got a top of the line Sony and stashed the
Nexus in the bedroom closet as they said a repair station was in CA 150
miles away and we would have to take it there and leave it. So they said
it would be OK to take it with us and deliver it to a repair center back
in IA in the spring. (We had a case # for reference later so felt good
it would get repaired) Just wanted to get it fixed to give it to Terry's
nephew as a present. NOW that we are back in IA they tell us there
is no repair facility here in the Des Moines area. AND
now they don't even have repair centers anymore for their 32 " TVs. Told
I will have to ship it to them. Ya Right. I don't have the orig. shipping
carton it came in as it was installed in our RV for gods sake. I went though
hell just proving I owned it without a sales reciept as it was OEM and
had to have NuWa call and confirm it to them last winter. This has all
been a nightmare, so called Ron at Nu Wa and explained my frustrations
dealing with Nexus. He offered to call them and see what he could do and
call me back. If I have to box this up at a UPS Store and pay to return
it to Oregon from Iowa I might as just take it to a recycling center and
be done with it.
We shall see what Ron (his
office tag is (RV) from Nu Wa sez he found out when he called Nexus.
Friday 11:30 AM. Ron from NuWa just called. I will have to ship the
TV to Nexus but NuWa will pay for the shipping. Nexus will pay the return
shipping. What a deal. How cool is that.
We have always been more
than happy with the extra effort all the people at Nu Wa have provided
anytime we have delt with them. From the person who answers the phone.
(no menu options, real people ans. their phone) to getting answers to
any questions we might have. You know they are starting up again in
June? Visit www.nuwa.com
and get your order in for one of the best built 5ers you will ever find
and the warrenty service that is the best in the industry. We did get service
a couple weeks ago and Darrel in service treated us great and fixed our
issues above our expectations. We only had a couple of items. And it turned
out to errors on the orig. build and they corrected them in short order.
Way to go Nu Wa service. I think you will have to go far and wide to find
unhappy Nu Wa owners.
Time for a shower and a comfort
food supper... meat loaf and green bean casserole. Terry sez that is all,
but I know there is Blue Bunny fat free, no sugar added ice cream for desert.
it through the big holiday weekend. Went yesterday to Tama to the Indian
Casino to have a buffet with Terry's parents and family.
we did take time to give thanks to those who gave so much, so we could
do just that.
are out exploring this great land as we have a little down time here in
Iowa where the big animals come out and show themselves. This critter must
have had a ruff winter and is, I'm sure looking forward to us getting in
a garden so he can be fed. May not do that, as we don't plan on being here
for it to come to fruition.
me think... What needs to be done so we can get back on the road... Oil
change in truck, front end alignment (think I'll need a new front tire
as it is worn on the inside edge) Why didn't I see that sooner. Ordered
meds so they're coming, Doctor apointments (been feeling good but never
know)(hard to keep that A1C numbr down) Dentist for cleaning and I need
to make a boat payment for him, as a filling fell out this winter. Lucked
out no tooth ache.
But one thing is sure we
will have storms before we can get going. It's raining a cold slow rain
right now so I suggested (or should say declared a new honey do project)
that we get our ground anchors connected to the 5er axles. A little piece
of mind is all it will really protect me thinks. Might leave the
axles in place when the top is gone. Knock on wood the big ones stay away...
but know it's just a mater of time. We lucked out in Kansas at NuWa
in Chanute with fantastic weather coming north the last couple of weeks
right after the big scare in Oklahoma with the Weather Channel storm chasers,
get excited this pic doesn't show the chain connected just yet. Just looped
over the axle. I'm rambling for no good reason so let's make it later.
Arrived early afternoon on
Friday, and got backed on to our pad. It's a long lane around and between
two buildings to get the 5er landed. Have to back all the way from the
gravel road into the property to the spot marked with the red box. No room
to pull in and then back. A tree between the house in the center and the
big Morton building removes the chance to just pull in and back up. Pic
from Google Earth, no leaves on the trees.
Trees on both sides of the
lane. We did it without too much yelling.
Getting back in here is one
reason we don't pull out and go camping on a whim. This spot is
better than most any campground in th area anyway. Once set up right here
we are done moving till we take off again. This summer, sooner rather than
later we hope. We have teh northwest to explore.
Notice the HD DirecTV dish
is up and the internet dish is up and running on the roof. It took us a
couple on minuates longer to aim the HD dish this time as I forgot to change
the zip code in the DirecTV setup screen page to get the the correct azimuth
and elevation setting for it. The tilt never seems to change so don't worry
about that. THE big thing is to get the dish very level. Then just
swing it from side to side till we get the best reading. Takes less than
a minuate when all is level and you have the settings set correctly. Very
slick. Not nearly as hard a I thougt it was going to be. No harder than
settig up a regular dish. This one is just bigger and harder to store.
And here we also get the local broadcast stations in digital amd most have
switched to HD. We can see the towers out our window. Oh and by the way
Showtime is having a free weekend event again. So movie time it is.
Terry got my car out of storage
and it fired right up. He did have to charge the battery which was of course
not left in the car. He is off to town to wash clothes and run the car
through the car wash. First had to scrape the dirt off the windows so he
could see out. It's stored in a shed and not tight to the weather.
While he's of doing his thing
I'm posting and playing on the web with twitter. I set up a account and
wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Not impressed but will give
it time to sink in. My twitter name is Hitchitch. Also a reader sent
me a link to his new beta RV Social Networking software. www.logabout.com
So I'm looking at that also.
I don't think it is meant to be an in depth blog type thing, just where
you have been type thing. I can see he has put a lot of work into it. Don't
want it to compete with my Hitchitch site listings. So trying to understand
its scope. He asked for my input. Not sure I have one yet. Don't
think the author will mind if you take a look.
I've got a backlog of sites
to review for possible listing on Hitchitch so should get to that and Gee
maybe find time to relax. Not to worry will get to the last item in short
order. Might already be there and don't know it...
is how you escape Kansas if you're in Atcheson,
KS (Home of Amelia Earhart). But watch out the only out is to
Missouri. The redeaming factor was diesel was $2.09 in the big MO. 20 cents
below unleaded, about time diesel is cheaper than regular.
we're only doing an overnight stop and had toured the land of the flying
queen several times in the past so onward.
Our destination on Friday
is to be just north of Des Moines and it is just up the road past
this sign. But we are not in a hurry as this is only Thursday.
So we stopped at the Iowa
Welcome center at Lamoni right off I-35. We drove the two miles into the
town to look around. Got a few looks with us pulling the 5er down the narrow
main street. Traversed around the downtown area and headed back out to
the interstate to waunder through the Welcome Center / Amish Country Store.
Terry was still looking for a gift for his mother who is now 80 something
years young. Low and behold they had tons of baskets made by the locals,
So we choose one just right for her, and that was that. Those baskets
were about the only locally produced items. Just like the good old USA
when you turn things over you get a made in China sticker. (In a Amish
gift store for god sakes). This is real Amish country after all, with wide
roads for the horses and buggies.
Anyway connected to welcome
center was a huge MAID
RITE. restaurant. I haven't had one of those in years so we couldn't
resist. One each and a small water. $2.99 What a taste treat. Now
I need to have Terry search the web for a knock off recipe for them.
I got tired waiting, so
I searched.. www.topsecretrecipes.com
If you think what's the
big deal about a Maid-Rite... We're from Iowa and this is a fast food seccess
story that originated in this state.
We've got pigs, beef, corn,
and Insurance companies... But a loose meat sandwich, made some take notice.
What you think a Runza is better! Who came up with that? Ok added the link
to Runza since you
hadn't heard of that either, right?
You have to grab for what
you can get, not being the elite mindset based on the coasts. Great traditions
did start in the heartland.
Sometimes we forget that,
and it needs to be pointed out once in a awhile. Stepping down from
the box as I speak. No need to point out we are now are residents of South
Dakota. Still in the heartland to be sure... Stop rambling, I say to myself...
The gift shop where the
made in China labels almost stuck out at you.
Next just a few more miles
up the road in Osceola , IA was our destination for the night.
As we picked a spot I commented
I wish people would pick up after their dogs. There is shit everywhere.
I told Terry don't track it inside or you're dead meat. AND he informed
me all that stuff was from the critters in the picture below. What a brood
of Goslings to be found. They have been busy. Gambling must agree with
This is very relaxed as far
a checking in and paying for a RV spot. We called the Casino and asked
how to pay and they said, just ride the roving golf cart shuttle later
and check in. No hurry.
the HELP part of the blog... How did we get their
number? Just called Google 411 at 800-GOOG-411 and it asks the city and
state and business and gives you the results and then will connect you
to your choice. For FREE. Very
cool, read more about it at Google
411. We use this all the time as we travel and see a sign on
a business. Just punch up Googel 411 and let IT find the number for us
and make the call. Need a RV park just call 800 GOOG 411 and say
RV parks in the city you are in and it will list them for you ... and call
the one of your choice. So Cool.
Now back to the honking
Geese out our window... Do they have a hunting season on these suckers.
Terry sez YES but they are protected here in the day and fly to the corn
fields at night. I should have it so good...
Our little bit of heaven
for the night. Then off to Terry's sister's acreage north of Des Moines.
And we will have landed for a couple of months while we do the teeth and
doctor appointment thing. Waiting for the blood work test results
is always a trauma producing time. I like to say I'm heading west if they
don't keep me.
We left Quartzsite, AZ in
the third week in March and now getting here just before Memorial weekend.
Not bad for trying not to rush down the blue roads. Been fun and
now to do it again it a couple of months heading to the northwest and points
unknown if the creeks don't rise and we stay healthy and such.
Would you believe I'm not
gambling while at this casino. I have tried it, but didn't inhale deep
enough I guess, as it's one of the few vices I didn't get hooked on.
But I'm a man and could,
I guess, If I have to... I think this is where abstinence really
things first, we had such a bad Pizza in Cherokee, KS from PIZZA HUT, after
the storm went through.
insisted he could do better, and yes he did with this one when we hit Chanute,
Speaking of food and Chanute...
These two terms don't go together. Not even a KFC in this town. Not
that, KFC is great food, but when you crave it,
(that's why they can sell
it, we're suckers for cravings) and when you have to go to WalMart for
it. Stupid move. No need to say more. Their chicken sucked.... I'm embarrassed
to say we bought it from there. Well I did I send Terry to do the dirty
dead, so it must be his fault. Ya that's the ticket...
After we dropped our 5er
off for service on Tuesday, at Nu
Wa Industries Chanute we knew they would have it all day so we headed
out to find a place for breakfast. In Chanute there is ONE place as we
discovered, and it is in the downtown. The Grain Bin.
We thought we must have hit
the jackpot as the place was surrounded with cars and PUs. A sure sign
this is THE place. Well it wasn't. It was THE only place in this city of
9500 people to get breakfast. Yes Google and Terry my research assistant
found that out. Lots of people but the food was to be polite, awful
as far as the Western Omelet was concerned. Nothing it and cover in half
warm Velvetta as in that's cheese? The only redeeming factor was it wasn't
over priced and we had a nice very attentive waitress. Wasn't her
fault the food sucked, so I tipped her very well. People watching was worth
it after we had several cups of Tea for Terry and I decaf coffee.
We wondered why there was
a traffic jam next to a donut shop on the main drag. Glad their is a health
center in town with a portable MRI in the parking lot. People eating
all those donuts may need a scan?
Like they say people are
now eating off the value menu during this recession so to speak. Cheap
food is not good food. Like going to a Family Dollar and seeing the
great prices on all the can goods., and not knowing it is just old regular
high fat and salt content items. Better for you if it costs more... some
just don't understand it costs to eat well.
After our disappointing breakfast
at the Grain Bin we took off for Fort Scott 50 miles to the east to tour
the town as we had all day to kill. We left the camera back in the 5er.
So we screwed that up.
We were surprised with the
grandeur of the area, the city, and the fort. Since we didn't get pictures,
do go to these links. Well worth it.
Scott National Historic Site.
Scott Chamber of Commerce
On our way back from Fort
Scott we got a call from Nu Wa saying our 5er was ready. WOW it was only
a little after one PM.
We got the 5er back and were
very happy with the speedy service and walk through explanation, or in
other words, the hand holding they provided (or should I say trailer side
manner). You know what they say about a doctor that has good bed side manner.
That's what you get with Nu Wa service. If you are a RV owner you know
or have heard about the customer service that Fan-Tastic Fan provides.
Nu Wa (HitchHiker) is the Fan-Tastic service provider of the RV trailer
5th wheel industry. You do know that is the only kind of unit they
have ever made. You want a Class C or MH go somewhere else.
OK so here we go, you say,
after hearing the next statement... Later Terry found a bulge in the kitchen
vinyl floor while we were back in the city RV park. It looked like a screw
was about to protrude through the vinyl flooring. They had just fixed the
squeak in the floor and now this. We called them back, (yes they do answer
their phone on the first ring) no press this or that button, you get a
human right off the bat, and were told by Daryl in service who has been
our contact all along. (hope I'm spelling his name correct) to bring it
back in the morning. Another early day (we're retired and not used to getting
up for a second day so early. Woah is Us... But we are getting good at
hooking up and moving out so we got to Nu Wa 30 min. early. They looked
at the new problem and we all agreed this was probably a new item and not
a result of what they had done the day before. Told to unhook and leave
it, and they would get to us as soon as they could. We knew they had other
units scheduled for service. We left the rig and headed out to Oh My God
breakfast again at the Grain Bin. We asked Daryl at Nu Wa where to go this
time and he said there was only one place, and you already know its name.
We still did drive all over town , up and down the streets and never found
a cafe to eat breakfast at, so back to the Grain Bin.
We sat at the same table
as the day before (seat yourself wouldn't you know) w We had the same server,
she even remembered we wanted hot tea and deceive coffee. After studying
the menus we ordered safe we hoped, hot cakes, sausage, eggs with sugar
free syrup. Now today the cakes were very good. Better than you make
at home. So at last today it was better and we ate good. We say other
still eating the omelets. Must be they just don't know what they are supposed
to look or taste like. Sorry.
We had told the server and
the cashier why were in town (getting our trailer serviced at Nu Wa so
they would know that this local company is still active and bringing customers
to their city and establishment.
The cashier, stated that
is what they figure when they serve strangers, is that they are most likely
staying at the city RV park and getting service at Nu Wa.
This city needs to understand
how important it is that Nu Wa gets back up and running later in June as
planned (on a limited plan) and that it is supported with everything they
do. When at Wal*Mart, hardware store, and the liquor store I told
them why were in town and spending money. They were happy to hear it. Hope
it sinks in. Thinking about it, sure many if not most, knew friends who
had worked at Nu Wa and are slowly being (though in less numbers) being
called back to work. See the NuWa site and the page on NuWa
Production to Resume!
More on Nu Wa is the Owners
Web Forum independent from the company site, where you can and
learn more about HitchHikers and join the forum and ask questions .
We left Chanute after saying
good-by to several people in the City RV park who we had met. RVing is
a family and when in HitchHiker country even more so.
I just to post again this
shot of the city RV park. 48 hours free and then $10.
We headed north on US 59
and landed in Atcheson,
KS (link to CofC) the home of Amelia Earhard.
They have a great, like
to say, non commercial City RV park. $10.
A view of the vast Warnock
Lake Park leading to the RV section up on the hill.
were stopped and set up here by 3:30 PM after leaving Chanute about 10:30
AM. How cool is that.
50 amp and a central
water bib, (fill as you come in) and did I say free fire wood.
New Johns and shelters. Just a nice palce to spend a day or week.
to have a beef pot roast tonight. Terry is browning it and has added the
wine for slow cooking and will add the veggies to make a wonderful comfort
food dinner. And have a great evening watching American Idol. Adam
, Adam all the way. What a rocker. We shall see if America can accept him
as the next great superstar which without a doubt he IS. Even as
a old codger, (Am I really one of those?) I would buy his music, and I
haven't paid money for many years for that. But way back then I did have
a album collection to kill for, and later gave it all away for free along
with the four channel Marantz fancy stereo and state of art 33 rpm record
player. Now trying to remember why I gave all that away and what
I was moving into at the time. Think I was getting into computers and was
loosing it. Just an old 60s to 70s young at heart music lover.
a great night. We will be heading from KS to MO, heading to Iowa to visit
Terry's family and do the doctor appointment thing and hope they don't
commit one or both of us.
like right now a stop at Terrible's Casino in Osceola, Iowa for Thursday
night. Terry looked them up on our new netbook and they now have a buffet.
We have been eating heavy, so the salad bar would be a good bet,
until we see the other goodies. Wish us luck. He likes that we can both
be online at the same time. How did we get away with only one computer
connected to the internet?
been a long day time for a hot shower and then DVRed Idol...
got nervous thinking our service appointment might be for Monday instead
of Tuesday, so waking up at 6:59 AM. I called the factory and the receptionest
had me leave a VM for service. They called back and assured me we were
not due till Tuesday at 7 AM. But could get us in early at One today if
I wanted. I wanted to go back to sleep, so stayed with the orig. deal.
am up and looking out our windows, our neighbor in of course in a HHer
is washing his rig. What is it with these people, yesterday three or four
others were also washing their rigs. And I mean they were not just washing,
but detailing them. Is it mandatory you make your rig sparkle since you
are within sight of where it was built, or should I say born. Get life,
this means all day I'm going to have to debate the cleaning situation of
our rig. AS it is very dirty, damn... Guess it's like taking a shower
before going to the doctor, I mean service department. We shall see. Terry
is even thinking about doing laundry. And you thought life on the road
was all fun and games. We have to make decisions once in a while.
Red Green on his PBS TV show sez. I Am A Man, But I Can Change, If
I Have To, I Guess.
about time a for a mid morning nap, Since I got up so early. If I Have
To, I guess.
let you know if anything more important happens later today...
Sunday May 17
your roving reporter Terry
have landed in Chanute and are relaxing while we wait for our appointment
at NU WA. Meanwhile we are staying at the city Rv Park just down
place is full of campers that have come to Nu Way. One of our neighbors
came by early this afternoon and invited us and the rest of the RVer's
in the park to come over and get acquainted, a Hitchhiker mini rally
if you will. We talked for 3:00 till past 6:00 when I had to leave.
The group was still going strong when I left. Several of us are here
for warranty work, and one couple had come to see the Hitchhiker
for the class C in the front row this could be a Hitchhiker promo picture,
all of the fifth wheel's lined up in your friendly neighborhood RV Park.
A small community of fulltimers, all of the rigs are lined up come together
for a day or so then on to the next destination. Sharing stories,
tips and planning the next adventure.
Saturday May 16
little update before we ge on with our story.
we pulled into the city RV park in Cherokee last night a guy came across
the street from his leather shop to say hello and welcome us to the area.
had a good time talking to Phill and waned I to share his card with you.
As soon as I said Terry was into arts and crafts they hit it off,
weather or not.
If you're into leather and
in the area DO stop by as he has a fine leather shop. Right across from
the city RV park on Grand St..
(Thanks Phill for befriending
we go again with the maps and the general route for the day so you can
on US 64 going south from hiding out in Cherokee from the storm and going
east toward Tonkawa. And then to Pawhuska.
below for heading north on HW 99 from Pawhuska.
do take the back roads as you will see. Now don't get lost, or if you do,
email Terry, as he's lost most of the time too. A map reader is not one
of his talents. But he exceeds at all other skills. I can attest
left Cherokee where we survived the storm trauma. The Weather Channel was
replaying last nights events and had live interviews with the storm chasers
who we now hold up in a motel just to the south in Enid, OK. They
have about 40 vehicles in their contingent. Go to The Weather Channel
and see what they are up to with their Great
TWC web site: VORTEX2
The hunt begins! Tune into The Weather Channel and take a 5 week ride with
The Weather Channel's Mike Bettes and scientists from around the world
as they hit the roads in search of tornadoes all in the name of science.
were up close and personal with them more than I ever want to be again.
Their morning live report was that they DIDN'T get to see a tornado last
night and were devastated. They were wet from being out in the rain last
night. Mike Bettes their on air talent, said now they can be off line,
and recoup for a few days in their motel rooms, doing mundane things like
washing clothes. He sort of reached down and adjusted his clothes impling
they needed clean underwear, as he stated they have been working 17 hours
days for some time, chasing the weather. (Hope they poop in their shorts
if they get right in the path of a F5 later). They do several live
updates each hour on TWC. The weather channel's take on reality TV I guess.
Running around the country with 40 cars and big radar trucks with a crew
is probably cheaper than doing a real TV show on like on commerical TV.
It makes for good live TV and this is TWC after all. People will watch
until the big storm hits them
and it's then, not funny or entertaining after anymore.
are set up to rush to any part of the midwest at the drop of a hat with
the forecast. We hope we NEVER see them again, but wish them well as what
an adventure they are on, not unlike what we try to do, but not quite with
the same danger involved.
now onward for us with calm weather... WE checked before we left this morning.
I do love this NWS
site for radar's of the entire country all at once. We have people
telling us all the time how they love this link. Enjoy. When you are over
an area, just click and it will take you to the NWS local regional radar
site for more detail. COOL.
On the road for awhile Terry
as usual expressed his desire for us to stop at a pulloff somewhere, (he
wants to use our onboard john) since he had been drinking his hot tea,
it is now time for his bladder to get attention. (He fixes a thermos of
it each morning, drinking as we go along) That's when I do the water rustling
sound to aggravate his condition while looking over and give a big smile...
Saying... YOU want me to Stop WHEN.
So several miles down the
road we come across this abandoned gas station and cafe. (That was after
passing through a couple of pefferctly good local towns where I could have
stopped along the side streets... I'm cruel) He did say sometime
down the road and not right away. I like him to ask a second time
berfore I take notice. But this time it was a bit more, as the road didn't
offer anyplace to pull over till we got to the location below. By that
time I even had to do the pit stop thing. I had been sipping on a diet
As we filled up at the local
independent gas station when leaving Cherokee (at $2.09 for diesel) I said
to Terry please go inside and get me a Diet
Somtimes you just need a
when hitting the road after a storm event. Check out their web site...
Big bucks spent on that site with all the bells and whistles. Want to research
how to do a site like that. Cutting line stuff. Love it. But they also
have the big money to make it look great.
Gone off track again... No
back to real life... This is the place we stopped for Terry's potty break
High upon a hill with a good
view, here it sits. Me thinks the life dreams of a couple who took over
this old rural gas station, tore down the old building a put up a
new steel building and made it a dream, opening a cafe. See the hand painted
sign. Not a franchise by any means. Now all gone... and only a pull off
for us RVers to to take a pit stop. Terry made us a sandwich, othwerwise
we might have gone inside for a sit-down lunch.
Next we got to Pawhuska,
Plans were to head north to Hulah lake State Park to check out the camping.
Or go further over to Copan COE Lake and if not that, (continue as
this is my mission to just keep on going till I drop) head up US
75 to Chanute and Nu Wa to the free (for two days) city campground.
When we passed through Pawhuska
they were having a what we could see a Bikers Rally Day Event.
On one street they
had a free bike wash setup. The streets were full of happy people, and
a neat old town we would have liked to visit but with no where to park
a big rig, we kept on going. If we had been camped near, in a park, it
would have been a good day trip.
This town claims to have
the first oil well in Kansas, As we rushed by Terry got this shot of the
so called oil well set up for the tourists.
Had to have been rebuilt
several times along with the legend, me thinks. I could be wrong since
I didn't do a google search on this one.
North on very winding but
good blacktop roads we got to the state park. The lakes are in flood stage
The sign sez Swim At Your
Own Risk. Now is not the time to mince words on this warning.
We did go into the camping
area but decided to keep on going. To think we would pass by a nice looking
campsite in a state park in the middle of the day. There were only a couple
of campers in the whole park.
Might have been this shelter
which turned us off. Weather was looking good but overcast, but kind of
reminded us of last night. We moved ON.
The overlook of the COE dam
which supports the state park. See the water on the pavement. And the high
levels going over the overflow in the dam. Shelters and road were under
water. This is not a normal event in northern Oklahoma by any means.
I insisted Terry do his thing
standing on the circular cement bench in the run down visitor pavilion
at the above turnout.
Terry had to take this shot
of a Casy's. General Store. His first one of the season. He gets off easily
on these things.
They are everywhere in the
midwest and it's like we now can see a bit of home turf when we pass one.
By the way they make great Pizza. Unlike the horrible one we had from Pizza
Hut last night in Cherokee.
Just to say he can,
Terry is making homemade Pizza tonigh.
We have landed in Chanute
in the city RV park just down from the Nu Wa plant.
There are a couple of other
HitchHikers and we shall bond I'm sure in the morning.
We are here for our Tuesday
appointment for service. Did I say there is a Supercenter just down the
Have a great Saturday night.
Showtime is having a FREE weekend on DirecTV, so sit back and relax, we
No storms in sight for next
week to make things less stressful.
came across the Oklahoma Panhandle on US 64
and found much to like. Dirfferent from what we expected. Here we go again
finding what is around the curve in the raod again. Learning about the
land and people who live here now and in the past.
we had been worried about the weather forcast from the day before, so stopped
at this road side picnic stop. As Terry was inside making a late lunch.
I broought out our netbook computer from the pickup and placed it on the
road side table. I clicked on the Icon and told the DataStorm internet
dish on top of our 5 er to go up and sync up to the sat 22K miles up.
I love this stuff. What fun. Anyway I, read our email, researched the weather
and all reports siad the heavy stuff would be in the upper midwest. Not
here. So off we went without a worry as the sky condidtions looked good.
Love the Oklahoma DOT.
Makes road side picnic shelters out of used road gaurd rails. Take
a look... Heavy duty to be sure.
Don't you just love this...
As we also traverse the semi, wide open west, that so long in the past
Coronado might have stopped like us at this very spot.
several miles down the road a weather warning came across the radio.
What was this about.
can you do, check and recheck and Mother Nature sends you a new radar blip
to get your butt in gear and pay attnetion, again.
studied the county maps and the reports of where the storms were developing
and rushed to stay ahead of it all. We were going 55-60 and the storm front
movements as they reaported, were going about 25 mph. I have never tried
to outrun a storm, but now was the time to do so as we didn't see
any storms out our windows so we were well ahead of it all.
landed in Cherokee, OK In their city park across from the police station.
Per the sign we needed to go to the City Hall, to register for the RV park.
was right across the rstreet.
why were we stoping in Cherokee for the night when we had panned to go
south to the Great
Salt Lake Plaines state park. But as you can see from the clouds
this was no time to continue on the road, and this seemed a good place
to stop. City RV park right across from the City Hall Police station building.
Do notice the semi truck
traffic did pull over and take notice of their surroundings.
After they started up again
they waved to us big time acknowledging we had the good sense to stop and
take cover in the City RV Park right on Main Street.
rushed across the street to the police station to see if we could park
in the citry RV park... not in a regular designated site but along side
a couple of them as I didn't want to be positioned north and south with
the upcoming wind hitting us on the side from the west. The police
chief came out and looked across the street and said Ok.
here is the kicker... This was just in time as we passed the National
Storm Chasers just north of town waiting with their big rigs waiting
on the side of the road, for the storm clouds to unwrap on us all.
got set up and raised our auto DataStorm dish just in time to watch The
Weather Channel to see the same weather chasers liveon
TV... ME thinking this is just nuts as we are right in the
middle of a major event and will be blown away as that is the reason
they are here.
police station is right across the street (I went to pay for the City RV
site) and I had a good conversation with the police chief about if it was
OK to park like I did. The police station is open 24/7 for us to seek shelter
if needed. What could be safer than a police station despatch center right
acrosos the street in time of need. Think we made a good deciesion.
Once in a while we do good. We felt safe even though we might be toast.
Greenburg, KS came to mind. We have been their before and after and not
a pretty sight. Could happen to any of us.
whole event is more than I wanted to experience in one day. We tried to
not get into this situation as I tried to explain above.
relaxed we found a Pizza Hurt in town searching the net and we went out
and got it. Terry is eating PIZZA as I post, as I'm doing this post
to keep you all informed.
Pizza for me... Take care...
is another day and we shall see what direction we want to travel... Life
is a trip... One last thing the town of Cherokee did us good to provide
shelter in their city RV park, BUT the park is very rundown and was $20
a night. But who am I to now complain about money when we are sill alive,
and not blown away. This was all as we went for Pizza... we saw a partial
Rainbow... Must be safe...
kidding aside, we did find the local city office and police chief very
friendly and helpful. Thanks and Cherokee, OK.
It was time to move on, and
so we did. A short wait for the pilot car to let us on the HW going east
as they had gotten the entrance of the campground with the blacktop surfacing.
Off to points east and out and across the National Grasslands in NM. How
boring this drive though this is vast area, must be experienced. I know
each mile when fulltiming is supposed to be a treasure, but at times it
gets to the point "Get me past this".
Terry got excited when he
spotted a Tree.
Our plan was to get to Clayton,
crossing over on US 56 form Springer as we left Cimarron and fill up with
fuel and groceries and head up to Kenton on paved roads to Kenton to Black
Mesa State Park. in Oklahoma. The road was paved but a little bouncy.
I'm sure the locals are happy to just have a paved road to the outback
and don't care how rought it is. Gravel is good, but rough paved is better
me thinks for THEM. Did I say that kindly enough... Our 5er is now
broke in and road worthy. The off paved road was only from Clayton to Kenton
on the above map.
By the way the Dorsey Mansion
State Park does not exist in the above map. Otherwise we would have stopped
We stopped a car Kenton to
ask directions to the park. There is only one road and we were on it heading
east. But we saw no signs and my tusty navigator was a little lost
as we don't have a OK Gazetteer, as if that would help.
She said 6 miles up the
road, can't miss it. Later after 6 miles the right turn sez 4 more miles
of wilderness to the park. No way did I think we would be going
this far of the beaten path
to a State Park. We could
have gone just north of Clayton, NM to Clayton
NM Lake State Park that we have stayed at before and found
it to be VERY nice.
But here we were go again...onward
looking for what's around the UP and Down Cruves in the Road Ahead. As
we have progressed over the years from vacation while still working, to
fulltime we are now into the big rig stuff, but still TRY to find the off
beat places to explore. Back roads are for us if we can just get TURNED
Should have stopped in to
the Kenton Merc store to look around. We live and learn. Need to to stop
at these places and at least get (a forbidden ice cream cone). The last
one a Eagle Nest was soooo good. See the neon cone sign in the window.
Screwed up again.
This is the picture of the
Black Mesa park which I saw on the OK state web site. If I had only known...
The picture was way off,
as the Lake is almost DRY. Should have paid attention ot theNOTE:
that appeared on the state web site.
This park is in Oklahoma's
panhandle and got its name from the layer of black lava rock that coated
the mesa about 30 million years ago. The Nature Preserve is located 15
miles from the state park and features Oklahoma's highest elevation at
4,973 feet above sea level. Black Mesa State Park is adjacent to Lake Carl
Etling and offers RV, tent campsites, picnic facilities, boat ramps and
a mooring buoy, trout fishing in season, a playground, restrooms with showers
and a group camp with bunkhouses.
There is no boat access to Lake Carl Etling at this time. For
specific lake conditions, please contact the park office.
Now for our picture of the
lake. Even this picture looks like there is water in it. NOT. It
is a nice park way out of the way, but without the lake, no reason to go
there. So don't waste your time and fuel. There is no water like in the
above state site picture.
So are we upset, Nah we are
here, and are living fulltime in our wonderful RV. What's to be upset about.
It does help Terry is doing frying chicken in the oven and I'm having
a second vodka adult beverage.
There are wild turkeys,
mule deer, antelope running around the park and not about to be upset with
us watching them.
There is a big diesel pusher
with FL plates in another site, they must be lost big time, or wise beyond
our means. Otherwise this vast state resource is very empty.
Think we got off... just
a tad bit too much this time. The roads are ok (paved) but we will remember
just how remote the panhandle of OK can be.
Never knew that , and NOW
we do. We are learning as we go and as I post this, we are glad we
did this side route to find out more about this land and the people who
still live on it and the ones who proceeded them. Tidbits from the park
Black Mesa tells the story
of a people that once inhabited the region. Over 65 million years ago,
dinosaurs lived in this very swampy area.
Native Americans lived here
for thousands for years and hunted buffalo in this region. The historic
Santa Fe Trail crossed near Black Mesa.
Ruts can still be seen in
Oh and by the way camping
rates in OK parks are reasonable we think. Base Rate $10.00 per night/per
site Utility Fees (where applicable)
Water Service: $2.00 Electrical
Service (30 or 50 amp): $6.00 Sewer Service: $3.00
So our site is $18
Our drop dead is under $20 for full service... Dump is fine at a central
So it will be Friday tomorrow,
and us fulltimers NEVER try to land at a campground right at the weekend.
We shall try as we are not staying here two nights. AND it all depends
on the weather forecast as were are heading out across the great unknown,
Oklahoma and Kansas in mid May. God help us. We did just find our weather
radio and put new batteries in it.
Our plan for right now is
to head out for another OK state park... Great
Salt Plains State Park Which is just north of the red star on
the big map.
Now if the map makes your
mind go where is that...
This is the extreme panhandle
We are now on the right of
the map around Kenton and think this would be a good days drive. We shall
se how far we get.
Time to shut this down and
get an off blog life. You all take care...
we did leave our great spot at Wild River and headed up HW 38 to Red River.
This ski town is only about 15 miles up from the cutoff of HW 522 at Questa.
Time to insert our little map again. Don't Ya just love it.
So here is main street Red
River. Quite a bit of activity so far from Taos. From the looks of it,
this place must boom in the winter. And do not so bad in the summer also.
I like this place. Did I jsut say tourest trap... Naw...
Looking back at Red River
going up the mountain side and I mean straight up, then some more forever.
Road crews were clearing falling rock and saw me coming and let me by.
Thank god I didn't have to stop and then start from a dead stop. I was
able to keep momentum going. And I'm not going to describe going down the
other side. To just say I was in 2nd and thinking of trying 1st. Enough
said. Made it fine and am here to tell about it. Have been on worse and
am sure will be some again soon. I don't get scared, just have to concentrate
so I don't screw up and over heat the breaks or something. I would take
this route again. No traffic so wasn't holding up anyone and could go as
slow as I wanted. I am confident in the Chevy 3500 Duramax w Allison transmission.
I just don't worry about roads that much anymore. But I am pulling our
home around with us so need to take that into account.
The high views on the drive
are somthing else.
Slowly heading down into
the high valley and below the first sight of Eagle Lake.
Credit: Michael Gorback
This above one from the
Nest Chamber web site. Looking at the town from the south.
We came in from the north
in center of teh picture.
And did I say Eage Nest is
at 8200 feet. It takes all the energy I can muster just to get from the
truck to the Ice Cream parler.
Update: Later today, when
we came back to town to make cell calls, we had our first cone in months,
I sent him in while I waited in the truck in the alley out back by the
fire station. No fire alarms went off telling the world, here we were,
splurging on forbidden treats.
Double chocolate with marshmallow
chips. It was a small cone. Damn.
We had thought we would first
check out the Eagle Nest State Park as they were adding a new visitor center
and campgrounds on the lake. But we could see they wre not ready as the
campsite shelters were still stacked up in the construction area.
We toured the loacl RV parks. But nothing turned us on so we said lets
head down to the Cimarron River Canyon state park just a couple of miles
east of town in the canyon and check that out. We kind of figured what
we found. The only sites that we could fit in were taken and not a very
pleaset place anyway. No water and the rest rooms were locked. This is
the middle of May isn't it.
SO I'm close to one of my
let's just keep on going routines. So we did heading east adn not back
up to Eagle Nest. Down river I like to say. Look what we ran into. It gave
us time to comtemplate our next move.
We had stayed in a lower
campground in this state park in the only spot that we couild fit into
years ago and had great sun for solar and satellite access and right on
the lakes. Why not try for that. This 5er is longer and even if the site
was open would we fit?
Well as you can see we found
the site open and we got this 5er into it. The trailer tires are right
up the the parking blocks.
Notice the little lake in
the background. Internet locked on and HD dish up and pointed. We are set
for some great campfires and Terry fishing his heart out untill we have
to head out into the midwest and get serious again.
Oh did I say Terry fishing?
We are still in NM and his license is still good.
They had a fishing durby
last weekend so the place is stocked to the hilt. The river is a
class act above and below the samll lakes, and he can explore it while
I enjoy a fire. We have a whole stack of firewood and all set. May stay
here for a few more days before we have to start thinking about our trek
into the unknown plains to see what mother nather can throw at us. I'm
not looking forward to heading across Kansas Toto! One of those nasty
wicked witches could take a liken to us. Don't they know we're not very
tender. We might have been raised on corn feed beef, beeing from Iowa and
all, but we don't need to spread that around, now do we.
Now might be a good time
to do a search for our trusty Radio Shack weather radio and get fresh batteries
in it me thinks.
I think we still have one
more safe stop just inside the OK border at Black
Mesa State Park. at Kenton, OK.
A background note...
if you can see a soapbox appearing... We drove back up to Eagle Nest so
we copuld get cell service because I need to call the SS office back in
SD as they wanted to talk to me before they would approve my app. for SS
benefits. We got up there and I had a good sig. so I called and didn't
even get voice mail. Talked to them as they had a couple of income questions.
(Imputed Income for Terrys health Ins.) I get a W-2 for that and so I had
to explain to them how that worked. I have to pay income taxes (wages)
for the value of his health Ins. The IRS screws us on that ruling, but
I gladly pay it, as I'm happy to just pay taxes on it instead
of paying the total cost of it. Health Ins. in this country... How many
could retire and go fulltime IF they had a way to get decent Health Ins.
That would open up jobs for others. No, now people are working right up
to 65. That is if they even have Ins. while working, if they still have
America is great, but parts
of it are totally screwed up. But it is getting better day by day by day...
I'm done... Terry is
out fishing and a campfire is in my future... Then later American Idol
recorded on DVR.
Not live but Memorex. Remember
that old saying...
pickup didn't even get started today as we just lounged around the campsite.
If you are late tuning in we are in Wild River Rec. Area. Check below for
the link. Have been here since Thursday and planing to head on out in the
morning over to Eagle Nest, NM. Also see the map below. And yes we
are off the grid here just like we like it. Really quiet only a few vehicles
go by each day. You can count the hours between them. One thing we
do have is extended cell service as we can see the tower way across the
valley. (See the white spec in the center of the picture below. Right between
the photo blending bars in the center. Not sure we would get away
with extended service all summer if hosting here without Verizon complaining
we were off their net for too much usage. I was surprised I could call
up voice mail on extended service. Have had trouble with that before.
that the logistics are over...
take a short walk (won't call it a hike) to check out the other campsites
in the section. Wanted to see what the views were like from different locations.
Esp. to check out the camp host site since it is empty. One of the volunteers
told us the lady who has been host here for somthing like 19 years would
not be back this year. So for now the site was empty. The rest of the volunteers
are camped back behind the visitor center. Those must have a pool and hot
tubs or something since no one has scarfed up this one. We wanted to see
what she must have experienced sitting in her site comtemplating life as
only she knew it, all those wonderfull summers. Can you imagine the memories
she must have aquired offering her time to the betterment of the Wild
River Rec. Area. We say many thanks to her, whoever she is, and
wish she could be here, one more year, this year.
water, dump, storage shed, covered patio, wind - privacy fence, and phone
connection. Home in the high country. Alt. 7500.
Needs a little work as things
are getting grown up a bit. Bet this looked immaculate when she was here.
had another visitor in the campground this afternoon.
Me thinks you guys should
leave me alone... I'm trying to take a rest on the trail right now. After
all this is MY park. Get Lost.
Saturday May 9
here we go again, so busy we didn't post for awhile. But we did take
pictures along the way. There are times when you get to a point in your
travels where you are just so relaxed you just want to step back and unplug
from all this electronic stuff. Even though it has been our life. Kind
of like people who have a hard time getting out of the vacation mode of
travel. At times us fulltimers need to get off of the online mode of travel
and just chill out as they say. So now posting our travels
over the last few days. Now on Saturday night in our $7 a day
campsite in Wild River National Rec. Area. It includes the $3 a day use
left Orilla Verde Rec Area on Thursday morning after a fun couple
of mid week days watching the 2009 Rio Grande River Guides Rendezvous come
into the group site area next to us. We got to watch them entertain us
from the comfort of our RV. They had one of there own cater the whole
event with food, etc. We could see Native
Sons Adventures had their act together. They even had the open sides
to the group shelter boarded up so the wind would not effect them.
One their last day they all
took off and headed down the river and we later caught a picture of them
below on the river.
Later that same day on Thursday
we hooked up and headed up the road through Taos. We had orig. planned
to go straight up US 64 over to Eagle Nest and the State Park but Gordon
and Marlene Richards emaild us and said to we should stop at Wild
River Rec Area further up north so we checked it out and said that's
what we should do. Might as well do the north and south access points of
the Rio Grande.
Stopped in Taos, dumped for
$10 at the RV resort behind ACE hardware and got food at Albertson's and
headed north. I worried about teh tight fits on the narrow roads in Taos
but Albertson's parking lot was not full on a week day so all was cool.
Except the prices in the store. They don't take their national Shoppers
Discount card. The check people say we give discounts to all.Don't need
teh Card. Good Luck.
Next we stoped at one of
the overlooks on our way into at Wild
River Rec Area. WOW. I normally get campsite anxious and
don't stop at anything untill I get my "I can be happy here" campsite.
But this was right off the road and we wanted to see what we were in for
and if we would have views to write home about.
They camp down there after
a long hike down. At 7500 feet on the rim I'm short of breath just getting
to the overlook let along hiking down THERE.
The campgrounds below on
the river on a zoomed in picture. If you have the strength and body to
do it, the cost is day use $3 and to camp another $2. A big
$5. They should pay us to do that. The trails are more like
climbing a ladder then a nice hike. This is big time and some people do,
do that and love it. More power to them and the BLM for providing them
We are at the site we found.
When you drive up this one you no longer need to drive on looking for a
better one, you know this IS the one, and hit the break and tell your partner
to get out and help you back in.
Gordon and Marlene Richards
told us this was the one in their email and it was.
Terry sitting with his tea.
The next day on Friday we
had to take a drive again as Terry had been studying the maps. We were
off to points unknown as he didn't tell me where. Going south on HW 522
we came to Arroyo Hondo and the road to the canyon crossing that was one
of the original stage coach crossings across the Rio Grande. Below is the
John Dunn bridge. Here and further south where we stayed at Orilla Verde
(Taos Junction were the crossings). Can you believe people had so much
trouble crossing this Gorge.
Must have been a tough time
getting around in this wilderness a hundred years ago. This was one of
the only ways to Taos back then.
Now we get to explore with
ease in our truck and think nothing of it. See the road going up the far
side to get up and out to the west on the other side of the Rio Grande.
This gorge is a big barrior to movement in the upper land now called New
The bridge across the river.
No camping here.
On the far side the road
or should I say narrow 4X4 trek up the west side. I said to Terry NO way
am I going up that.
This was bad enough just
getting back out from where we had been.
Now an overlook stop on the
raod back in the Wild River Rec Area.
The overlook where the Red
River and the Rio Grande come together.
It was super windy here and
hard to even look down at the canyon. The thermals work there thing here.
Where the Red River and Rio
You want to take this trail.
The trail head warning sign sez Very Difficult and we could believe
it. 1.2 miles down. A little further we saw metal steps that looked more
like a ladder than a trail. The kick I got was a the trail sign it said
no bikes, jeeps. or horses. (Standerd BLM signage) ... but jeeps and horses
with a red alash in them) You could try but you would have to carry them
on your back. Good Luck.
I was winded just walking
to the trail head from the parking lot. We met the ranger who was showing
a new campground host around and asked us what we though about the big
hole in the ground. Me thinks it is a little more than that. Might be \
time for a new assignment.
I do wonder how many times
a year he and his rangers have to go down and rescue people and carry them
out. Or just climb down and clean the outhouses and add toilet paper.
Let alone maintain the trails. This could be a tough assignment. At 7500
alt. me think you need to be in good shape and really love your BLM position.
Do they make the volunteers take to the trails while the stay in the visitor
center. Me wants to read the duties of a volunteer at this park before
I sing up to be a host.
Terry later went for a hike
next to our campsite where there are other trails and came up with these
Do you think you would like
to take this one.
Time for supper ... more
Tuesday May 5
your roving reporter Terry
"high" point of my day, doing laundry in Taos.
found this laundromat when we came through a couple of years back.
The other laundromat that we found on the south side of Taos was not very
appealing, this one has an attendant on duty to keep everything cleaned
up. Just across the street is the Smith's grocery store,
which we have used in the past, and a fly shop around the corner to look
through while the laundry slowly circles the washing machine door in a
pool of suds.
took up most of the morning, not a very strenuous job but lots of
hurry up and wait time, followed by a bit of folding and hauling to the
truck. People watching is about the best part of the whole ordeal.
you get a cross section of the local populace to watch and observe while
waiting for the machines to do their thing.
did not want to go to Taos, but did not care if I spent the day strolling
the plaza and going to the museums. Went to the Millicent Rogers
Museum, they were supposed to have a large collection of native american
silver jewelry. There were a few unique pcs, but I was not overly
impressed by the collection, It was nice enough, but there is better
browsing in the galleries and antique shops in town.
the way home i stopped in the St. Francis plaza to see the old adobe buildings.
there is a very large adobe church surrounded by other historical
adobe buildings. Most of the buildings are in very good shape and
are well maintained, but a few of them are in various states of decay.
Stopped in the bead shop at the entrance to the plaza. The shop proprietor
was very friendly, and wanted to talk about Quartzsite, Az. when he found
out that Ron and I winter there. He has set up in the Main event
at Quartzsite in the past but did not go this year. He wanted to
know how things were going in Q, and he talked about setting up at Desert
Gardens next year.
mission church of St. Francis.
picture from hwy 68 South of Taos, with a view of the Rio Grande Canyon.
there is a rest area here with picnic tables and sun shades.
a final view of the town of Pilar from the Hwy. Our campground is
on a side road going along the river, and we turn here at Pilar.
receipt on our campsite post said we were paid up to today. We had
decided we would stay another night and go from there. Terry wants
to do laundry and that will take a day. So we are staying longer. He can
also explore Taos without me. He loves tourist traps and I just tell him
to go and if need, stay overnight. Have fun. That's when he sez "Wait a
to trip plans. We need to find a place to dump in Taos when we leave here.
No dump in this Orilla Verde rec. area, so researched that. We had the
wild idea since we have that 50 gal type blue boy we could pump our stuff
to it and visit the camphost site (that have a dump connection) since they
were not here yet. But they showed up right on que on May 1. As a
rule of thumb fulltimers don't need those tank level indicators, we just
know how full we are of it don't ya know. (They don't work well anyway)
We are good for several more days and not a problem.
like we found Taos Valley RV park for $10 + tax, Sierra Village RV at ?,
and the ACE hardware store ?. We need to call them when we are nearer when
we get cell service. The other day I said no Verizon service in Taos. Might
have been just my phone. I think Terry's might get a signal.
though we would maybe stay at a RV Park at Eagle Nest for the weekend and
dump there. We have been to this area several times and love it but the
(new) Eagle Nest Lake State park has no camping and no dump and the local
RV parks are shall I say expensive. About $40 a night. Sure this is a resort
type area and they need to make a living in a few short months, but those
rates are not for us. So we'll pay to dump in Taos and end up at Cimarron
Canyon State Park in a dry site (they only ones they offer, no dump) and
We may stay here even over
the next weekend and head to Eagle Nest on next Monday (need to check the
extended weather forecast for Eagle Nest as it is much higher [8.2K] there
and could get cold and nasty) It's 6K here. We have learned not to move
and try to compete with weekend campers.
Another view of this campground.
Terry like his hikes an got this. We are not in the picture, this is of
the campground host site on the south end. We are to the right behind the
We are not as they say in
vacation mode. Think we got over that. That is until you get me behind
the wheel and I just don't want to pull over and stop early in the day
and go till it gets late which causes the grumpies setting up in a campground.
It's that, just wanting to see what's in the road just around the curve.
The need to see what's ahead that's neater than what we just passed. That's
my only fulltiming flaw that I admit to, today anyway. That's why I started
so I could see what others have already found around that next curve in
the road ahead.
It is calm and sunny and
warm and a perfect day in this Taos area right now.
A shot Terry got while on
his hike above the campground. .
We at last went today for
our High Road drive. From Orilla Verde Rec Area where we are camped, headed
down US 68 to Espanola and over to Chimayo on HW 76. 76 on up to HW 75
and all the way over to the Mora area. Deadheaded back on 75 and after
a detour up the Ja Junta Canyon (detour trip details below) headed back
up HW 518 to Taos. All and all a very good drive and it really does goes
way up on top. Very modern paved roads. If you are ever in Taos do take
their published High Road day trip adventure. Taos
Also take the Circle Drive
(we have done it in the past) North from Taos to Questa east on HW 38 to
Red River - Eagle Nest and back to Taos on US 64. Another easy day trip.
Now on with our day adventure...
Winding high roads that just
go on and on. We can see why this is a popular weekend drive for locals
from Taos or Santa Fe. And not to mention the motorcycles out for a day
trip. It is still early in the spring up here and many of the tourist shops
were not open yet. Terry wanted to have lunch on our drive, but we didn't
We saw several Mission churches.
Across from this one were a bunch of dogs [above] guarding their
fire hydrant. Not a worry in the world except when they had to use the
When driving HW 75 we just
had to take this side canyon road. Just because. Sure glad we did.
We found: But don't tell
anyone as we want to come back and find it all to ourselves.
National Forest web site for more of that read more about it.
Here is a review of the La
Junta Canyon Area this campsite as reported in
Click on the graphic for
much more info on forest campgrounds.
We love this site and have
had it listed in our RV
Travel Resource section.
La Junta Canyon Area
From Penasco, NM, take State
Rt. 75 east 4.8 miles to "T"
intersection (State Rt.
518). Turn right onto Rt. 518 (unmarked)
and go 8.3 miles to La Junta
Canyon (Forest Rt. 76) sign. Turn
left at sign onto Rt. 76
(dirt and gravel) and go 0.2 miles to
campground. The elevation
is 8,200 ft.
The campground stretches
4.5 miles up through the canyon with
sites scattered along Junta
Creek in grass fields or under
spruce. The campground
is composed of two sections, one of which
is called Upper La Junta
where the sites are more formally
designated. The other
area is along the road (sites numbered 1
through 30) and has a more
dispersed camping feel. This section
may have cattle wandering
among the sites.
CAMPGROUND SITE CONFIGURATION
No. Combined Sites (Tent
or RV): 23
Group RV Sites: Yes
No. RV Pull Throughs: 8
Waste Station: No
Average Parking Apron Size:
The parking aprons are grass
and dirt. The aprons are poorly
defined and irregular in
shape. Access to some sites is not
La Cueva Lake #8 (foot,
horse, mountain bike & motorcycle) - 4.4
Rainbow trout (stocked)
Now a look at some of the
campsites and road conditions.
And to be sure fishing should
be fantastic. Look at this beaver dam amoung many.
The whole area is more than
anyone could ask for in an outdoor camping and fishing adventure. This
is why Cabela's made it big. It brought back thoughts of our many years
camping in pop-ups in places like this in Colorado. A little spoiled now
in our big 5er but I can dream can't I. And here we could get our big unit
in and stay awhile me thinks...
This campground was across
the river and since at this time of year it is high water, didn't think
we wanted to risk it. It was a couple feet deep and very swift. Could you
see our truck pushed right off the slick crossing and down in the hole
next to it. That would not be a a good camping day for us. There are tents
back there. And we see tire tracks on the drive. BUT not somthing we would
attempt. So does that make us whooshes, me thinks NOT. Just cautious. I'll
try it if you all promoise to send big bucks to replace our water logged
truck. No takers, didn't think so...
Guess I got used to the
AZ road signs "Do Not Enter When Water Present"
Spent too much time in Quartzsite.
One of the campsites a trailer
would fit nicely. Right on the river. Now that's a site I could fall in
love with. As a matter of fact I liked any spot big enough that I thought
we could our 5er in. And the larger point was if we could get it out again.
We continued up the canyon
as far as we could till the road turned into 4 WD and muddy from melting
It was a fun day and we found
a new area in Carson Nation forest we would like to came back to someday.
But remember it is 8200 feet up here and a long pull to get here. Let alone
going back down.
By Ron as if I had to tell
Plans as you all know
are meant to be broken. No Terry didn't screw up, this time, nor did I,
it was mother nature... How could she. It started out with a sprinkle
this AM and we checked the
National Weather Service Enhanced Radar Image Loop (this site is better
than sliced bread) after the nation radar loop view, zoomed in on NM and
saw rain in our future. So we decided we would just drive into Taos for
today. Look around and get some supplies for next week. As we were
leaving it started to hail. Yes I did say hail. So today's drive on the
High Road south of Taos was for sure not in the cards. Glad we had made
that decision earlier. Going to regroup and plan it for Sunday.
No if you thought it was
just us upset with the weekend weather how would you like to be the multitudes
who were rushing around to do their rafting trips today down the Rio Grand.
They thought it would just be a sprinkle or two and after all yesterday
it was in the low 80s. They are on a white water rafting trip after all.
This would be great fun
on a hot day in summer but today me thinks this could be torture.
But we won't go there.
Now if these pictures turn you on. Go to LOS
RIOS RIVER RUNNERS as they say New Mexico's oldest, most experienced
rafting company. They have overnight trips and fishing float trips.
But later in the day we
could see they would not be in a good mood as it was about 45 on the temp
sensor readout on our truck rear view mirror, and a steady cold rain. How
would you like to be caught out on a river under those conditions? Not
me, nor them I'm sure. It was a bitch just getting across the Albertson's
parking lot in shorts [I had them on as we left the campsite and thought
like the rafters it will get nicer... Wrong] and my hooded sweatshirt.
Much later as we were
heading back to our campsite, we saw bus loads of them returning with the
rafts towed behind. Don't think they were singing Kum By Ya. More like
get me the hell out of here... I'm cold!!
This has been the routine
we have found in the last few spring weekends in campgrounds where the
locals come out for a couple of well deserved days off, to find shitty
weather, till of course on Monday, when they are all gone and it turns
clear and perfect. . So sorry. These people need to work flex days
this season I guess. As I have posted before, we used to be in the same
boat and watch fulltimers still spread out having fun when we had
to leave on Sunday as still working stiffs.. But now we are on the other
side and loven it.
Sorry. Your time will
The one event that sticks
in my mind is once in IA as we were leaving a state park after a nice weekend
of camping in our very small Jayco trailer. We were at the dump station
and a fulltimer was just coming in and we were both dumping side by side
and talking about how they were just getting there, and we were leaving.
It reminded me my dream was to be able to do just that. Come in as
others were leaving... Now we do it all the time and it seems now like
no big deal. BUT it should, because we are living our dream and IT
does happen just like that.
By Ron as if I had to tell
We relaxed and I applied
for SS Retirement Benefits online. How simple was that. First payment will
be deposited in my bank this August. In five days I can log back in and
see how the application is going. It was user friendly. No appointment
to a SS office for me, thank you.
Before I share today's road
trip. I just have to post this picture scanned from the Taos Vacation Guide
we picked up at the visitor center. Now I see they have an online site
(click on the graphic)or
this link Taos
Do go there... a very slick
This picture is looking
south to where we are camped on the south end of the picture down in the
canyon. We drove across this bridge on US 64 going to the left to Taos.
That is the rest area on the SW side of the bridge.
See below as we are going
for a day trip drive in the mountains to the south... later..
Read more about it from the
Taos County Historical Society.
Rio Grande Gorge and the Geology That Formed It
Feeling good we next decided
to go for a ride up and out of the canyon. Per the map below north out
of Rio Bravo campground to Taos Junction Bridge. and then up and up and
up on a very washboard, narrow road. Never try to pull a trailer up or
down this thing. At the top we drove over to Carson. A rundown wide spot
with a house or two and an old rural schoolhouse.
Below is the Taos Junction
bridge and campground and the road just goes up from there.
We did drive along the river
north of the bridge investigatiing the camper trailer we saw yesterday.
It was a spot for a campground host for the primitive camping area. No
power for this host. The other hosts in all these campgrounds have power,
water and sewer. How they go someone for that spot as it gets very hot
in the summer down in this canyon.
Looking down river to the
south from again above the Taos Junction campground like above.
This is the corner where
the above pictures were taken. Not a good place to stop as one lane and
blind for traffic.
The view form the top as
the road tops the canyon and come to flat ground. The view back down.
The old school house at Carson.
Looks well built in its time. This side of the Rio Grand is pretty isolated
with crossing over to Taos way up to the north on HW 64 at the Gorge.
A little further up the now
paved road is a convince store. This is where we turned around and headed
back to drive back down the fun filled canyon drive.
As you come to it form the
flat, a warning sign, but you would not believe what is just around the
Wonder how may people come
tooling down the flat smooth blacktop road, hit the gravel, start down,
and regret it BIG TIME.
Back at the campground and
waiting for more campers to show up on a Friday night. Looking for some
excitement. esp. if a huge group of tent campers move into the group site
next to us. Last year a group of Air Force recruits camped and went rafting
down the river. This stretch of the river is huge on rafting and now with
high spring runoff the rapids are looking very adventurous. And did I say
the temps are around 80. Warm but we don't need the air. Kind of nice.
Now for a sneak peek of an
upcoming road trip to the high country southeast of here on Saturday or
We are in the Pilar area
in the center of the map. By the way there is a super Wal*Mart in Espanola.
Going down 68 and back up 76 and 518 should be a fun trip. Of course without
the 5er. which will stay in the campground.
So later it is...
Much later on looking at the map when we leave the area, we will be going
east on HW 64 over to Eagle Nest and points east. Just for reference...
you just clicked on the May post to get here...
click on Go BACK
for our late April posts on how we got to this great location.
click on Go to INDEX
to see what else you missed.
are having, fun so should you...
where we are at right now. DataStormUsers
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