Rain Rain Rain

Typical Colorado Summer…daily afternoon thunder storms. Nice for keeping Colorado green…along with the cannabis, but sure puts a cloud (pun intended) over outdoor activities.

Connie got to ride her new bike a little last Sunday, but the rain and other activities has kept her grounded for awhile. Good news, however, she’s finished with PT and walking somewhat normally.

We’re heading back to Grand Junction Friday (August 11) for 4 days. Sister Cheri will go with us. She wants to look around at some Western Slope real estate. Of course wineries and breweries too. The two girls are planning our meals with provisions from Cheri’s garden. Should be a feast!

On return to Loveland, we’ll drop Cheri off and head out for Wyoming. Stopping at a Raspberry farm in Shoshoni (Harvest Hosts), then Cody, and Gillette through August 22. Will be in Gillette for the Eclipse on the 21st. Gillette isn’t on the main path, so we won’t see the full effect.

In the mean time, Ed drove charter bus, along with 6 other buses, from the Longmont Mormon Stake Center to historic Mormon Trail sites in Wyoming. We drove 300 plus high school youth and their leaders for a Pioneer experiential adventure along the Mormon Trail in Wyoming.

After arriving mid-day, we dropped the group at the Willie Center Sixth Crossing (Sweetwater Junction, WY) The group got in the groove pulling hand carts and camping out that day. Fortunately, the bus drivers drove to hotels in Riverton or Casper. The next morning the group loaded up and we transported them down 11 miles of dirt BLM road to Sage Creek. From Sage Creek, they pulled their hand carts the 13 miles cross country to Rock Creek Hollow where they camped. Then off to Martin’s Cove on Wednesday for more experiential trekking and camping. We bused the totally exhausted group back to Longmont on Thursday.

 

Ouch!

Well…the hardware looks rather uncomfortable, but Miss Connie is handling it quite well and so happy to have the go ahead to put a little pressure on her foot. Doctor tells her if plates and screws bother her, she may elect to have them removed in a year!

She can actually walk on it a bit. The new tie-on support really helps. She loves her PT guy Duane who has gotten her excited about her recovery and getting back to normal.

We’re holed up at Riverview RV park near Masonville, only about 5 miles from Loveland. Located on the Big Thompson River…well next to it. The park was severely flooded with the last Big Thompson flood back in 2013. Consequently it is either dusty or muddy, but…very shaded and somewhat secluded.  We’re parked next to one of the several tiny houses they rent along with RV spaces. We were happy that we were able to book 3 weeks anywhere. Because of our broken ankle change in plans, we’re staying at a variety of places during the recovery. We’ll head back to Mesa the end of October.

In the mean time, Connie finished this Beer Quilt, which is now proudly displayed at the Presser Foot in Longmont.  Pretty neat actually. Check our quilt page for some other pictures.

Our RV Park is on US Highway 34, gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. It gets a lot of traffic this time of year. We pass the Buckhorn Brewery when we venture in to Loveland. While the Buckhorn has been around about 4 years, it is still in it’s infancy, remains a nano brewery.  Dave Beer (may not be is real name) loves his Gruit compilation. Consequently, so does Connie. We stopped by one afternoon while the Sauter family and Mackenzie were here, for a little music in the Beer Garden. A long story about that too…but only available when stopping by and chatting with Dave Beer.

We were hopeful that Obama Care would pay for this therapy bike for Connie’s recovery, but no such luck. No, really we ordered this new Giant Liv Flourish Thursday July 27 and is excited for it to arrive next week. Should help with recovery and exercise too, right? Also ordered a basket and a rear rack.

Making the best of it

 

Wednesday, June 5, we took advantage of our time on the “Western Slope,” and pulled our trailer the 80+ miles from Palisade to Ridgway State Park (Seems like an “e” is missing in Ridgway, but guess not). Our friends, and former co-hosts in Alaska, Texas, and Louisiana are hosting at the park and managed to arrange a “Handicap” spot for us near the restrooms and their space. We stayed 2 nights and had a great time with Cliff and Cyndy Mills. They fed us a wonderful meal from their BBQ and roaster oven on their hideaway patio in the trees.

The next day we enjoyed a delicious breakfast on the patio at Kate’s Place in Ridgway. Only one negative: Connie crashed her scooter/stroller when the wheels hit a dip in the concrete walkway. She was a little scared at first…we all were…but she got back on the beast and wasn’t about to let it get the best of her.

 

After breakfast, Cliff drove us over Owl Creek Pass where we got a much closer view of Chimney Rock on Courthouse Mountain in the Cimarron’s (picture stolen off the internet). We stopped for lunch at a National Forrest Campground near Silver Jack Reservoir before completing our circle back to Ridgway SP through Montrose. The bottom picture is the Uncompahgre Plateau range. A grand tour, thanks to Cliff and Cyndy.

While the girls struggled to get up the stairs at Ladybugz Quilt Store, the guys walked across the street to the Horsefly Brewery for a little refreshment. How convenient is that!

We came back to the Grand River Winery Friday June 7 and shared more time around Palisade with Jim and Connee, visiting the Sage Creations Organic Lavender Farm, Alida’s Fruits, and the Graystone Winery, Colorado’s Port House. Connie loves lavender and port, so it was a great afternoon, largely in part to our guides Jim and Connee.

Later Friday, we were invited for dinner with new friends we met while at Twin Palms RV in Mesa…Jim and Cherlynn. And a GREAT dinner it was. Lobster, shrimp, corn on the cob, and other vegetables. Absolutely wonderful. Cherlynn prepared each meal wrapped in tin foil, and Jim cooked it up on their grill. We did have some liquid refreshments before hand of course. I think uppity ups call them libations? Some of us just call it wine and beer. Maybe a little scotch when Jim has the urge. Was great visiting with them and hearing about their family and the Fruita area.

We spent Friday night back at Grand River and managed to get this fun shot on the way back from Jim and Cherlynn’s. We returned via I70 back to Cheri’s in Loveland on Saturday. They still haven’t ran us off!

Life goes on back in Loveland. We all went to a free concert at Forte Lagoon Thursday July 13. Enjoyed Irish Folk & Celtic Rock along with many others. All of us included: Connie and her sisters Carol (white hair), Cheri (right of Carol), and Carol’s grand daughter Mackenzie (next to Connie). Mackenzie is visiting from Arizona.

No special handicap battery operated cart for this lady. She gets down the King Soopers aisle faster that a speeding bullet…well…nearly as fast as a kid on a scooter.

Getting Stronger

Connie’s ankle continues to heal well. She started her physical therapy and has several exercises she can do to help in her recovery. In the mean time, she’s got a new way to get up and down stairs or steps.

Ed is able to pick up charter work now and then when we stay around Loveland. This red bus, known as Clifford (like the dog) is special because daughter Kari invested in it’s purchase, helping Grace Coach Lines secure several tours. She loved talking about “her bus.” Ed drove it to Frontier Ranch near Buena Vista and transported a North Carolina Young Life group to the Denver Airport.

The lil’ Red Truck that Could…or thought it could. Cheri has nephew Marshall’s F150 in Loveland and we use it a little to avoid taking Big Blackie. Lots easier to get around. But it’s not quite up do pulling our 10 ton DRV. Big Blackie waits nearby just to rescue lil’ Red when needed.

Missing our summer travel plans to Michigan, Canada, and Maine, we felt we’d like to get away for at least a short trip around Colorado. So we gathered up Connie’s stroller/scooter and crutches and headed to the Western Slope…and the heat! Harvest Hosts generally provides a wonderful opportunity to park at a winery for free while enjoying the area. Grand River Vineyards in Palisade didn’t disappoint and were very gracious. Suzy here, along with the rest of the staff made us feel very welcome. After enjoying their free tasting, we wound up purchasing 3 bottles of wine. Parked with no hookups and 100° heat, it was all we could do to manage. Thanks to our fans.

Old friends from Montana came to the rescue! Picked us up soon after our Palisade arrival, then off to the Palisade Brewery where they enjoyed a Dirty Hippie Wheat, and we both had an Off Belay IPA. After a brief tour around Grand Junction, Jim and Connee took us to Kannah Creek Brewery for more refreshments and dinner…supper if your Roland and Susan. By the time we got home, temps were tolerable. Thanks Jim and Connee!

The Moffatts came to the rescue again on Tuesday July 4th and we were grateful again to not only spend awesome time with them, but to see and learn much more about Palisade, Grand Junction and Fruita. We drove around peach & cherry orchards, grand tour around Fruita, and stopped at Anita’s Fruit Stand, and a few wineries. Many places were closed due to the 4th.

One last watering hole stop before heading over to the Moffatts for dinner. Surprised to find Peach Street Distillers in Palisade. Connie and Connee had to squeeze in to taste 3 of their liquors. The liked the third one, but not enough to purchase a $68 bottle.

Lastly, we were invited for a delicious BBQ pork tenderloin dinner at the Moffatts. Very nice evening. We drug out our visit until 9pm, but our trailer was still very warm…well hot…when we returned. It did cool down some a little later and we managed to get a good night sleep. Now, on to Ridgeway State Park Wednesday July 5, 2017.

 

 

Back in Colorado

Connie’s surgery went well on Wednesday June 14 in Denver. Our trailer repairs were completed that same day and Ed started his journey back to Connie’s sister’s in Loveland. A week had passed since the awful break, and here we are parked in front of Cheri’s in Loveland with surgery and repairs behind us. God is good.

The surgery involved inserting a metal plate along her ankle to act as a support. It took a lot of stitches. Thanks so much to daughter Shannon who met Connie at the airport and transported her everywhere needed. Also thanks to sister Cheri for helping as care giver now.

On the other side of the ankle, the surgeon used a couple screws to pull the break close to the bone. All this hardware can be removed if they become uncomfortable after full healing…a year or more.

Connie remains in good spirits and has her pain in control with a little help from the Norco pills. She doesn’t like taking the pills and is tapering off. She’s learning to get around well on her crutches, and its hard to keep up with when she’s on her stroller/scooter.

She has some limited up/down movement in her ankle and is starting a self exercise recovery while waiting for her appointment Monday, June 26, to have the stitches out.

Not sure what the future holds for us, but we hope to make a few short excursions around this area, but we’re quite comfortable parked at Cheri’s. The trailer is parked on the street. Cheri and Ed walked the block talking to neighbors about whether they had any qualms of us parking there. So far, so good.

Going our Separate Ways…Temporarily

Connie had a good night’s sleep after she was treated at Monroe Clinic Hospital on Thursday. On Friday, she felt energetic enough to make a brief visit to the new hilltop New Glarus Brewery as well as a drive-by around the old one, which does maintain some presence. After all, we had to visit the brewery…it was one of the reasons we included this stop as one of our adventures. The new hilltop site is quite impressive. Very nice open patio with views of the area. We enjoyed (sorta) listening to a couple guys play (blow) their alpine horns, which added to the Swiss theme throughout the New Glarus Township and the brewery. We loaded up with Spotted Cow, Moon Man and Scream II IPA (scream when you hear the price); mostly for some Colorado friends…and some for us! After all, the brewery makes it well known that they are “Only in Wisconsin.”

We made it from New Glarus to our BoondockersWelcome host near Winnebago, IL on Saturday June 10, dropped the trailer then drove the 80 miles to Madison, WI airport. Connie had a pretty good trip and is staying with daughter Shannon, Tim and Faith for a few days. She has surgery Wednesday, and follows with 12 weeks of PT. In the mean time, she has a “Stroller” to get around. She still has crutches but they are hard on her body. She’s smiling because that’s just what she does, but relieved that her surgery is schedule and she can start the mending process.

Ed returned to the trailer in Winnebago and pulled it to Lake Forest, IL on Sunday to visit with George and Mary Ann Hartnett; son-in-law Tim’s folks. Very nice visit, brunch and mini tour around Lake Forest and Lake Michigan before hitting the road again.

Got back on the road headed to Lippert Components (LCI) in Goshen, IN for the first stop to repair the trailer’s  mis-aligned king pin hitch box.  Lots and lots of traffic and road construction driving down around Chicago, so didn’t arrive in Goshen until 9:30pm EDT. Wound up boondocking in Lippert’s parking lot; up at 4:30am to make room for incoming workers. On a positive note…the Scream IPA tasted very good. Lippert Service  pulled our trailer in early Monday, finished the repairs and I soon got on the way to the second repair stop at the DRV plant in Howe IN.  I must have passed at least 20 Amish horse drawn carriages along the 36 miles of county & state roads. Amazing site for a Rocky Mountain boy.

Very impressed with the setup at DRV. Fabulous full hook up sites while here for service. They pull your trailer in the shop at 6am, and return it to you for the night around 2:30pm. Very nice lounge and Wifi. Hoping the repairs go as well. Note the water tower in the backdrop…not our new satellite receiver.

Journey is over!

We had a wonderful Boondockers Welcome site at a farm near Elk Mound, Wisconsin Wednesday June 7. Hosts were very gracious. Connie was able to help Eileen a bit with her quilt and we had a nice visit with her and Elton John…really.

We got in to New Glarus, Wisconsin about 2pm Thursday and were able to park in the Chamber of Commerce lot for two nights. We had arranged to do that earlier. Very nice small town and the home of New Glarus Brewery, our main reason for stopping here.

But then something awful happened. It sprinkled a wee bit and just after setting up, Connie slipped on the step as she was stepping out and her foot slipped into one of the steps as she fell to the pavement. Ed managed to get her into the back seat of our truck and rushed her in pain the 20 miles to the Monroe Clinic ER.

An excellent team of nurses, doctors, Xray techs, and even pharmacy folks did a fantastic job of getting her ankle back in place and in a cast. However…the break is so severe that she has to have surgery right away. So Connie flies back to Denver from Madison, WI to Denver Saturday. Daughter Shannon and sister Cheri will assist from there. She has an appointment with an Orthopedic surgeon on Monday. Ed will take the trailer to Indiana in order to keep the repair appointments that were scheduled several months ago, then pull the trailer back to Colorado.

We are very sad that our continuing trip is cut short, but so thankful to the Lord that it wasn’t something that could have been a lot more devastating.

South Dakota to Minnesota

We left Oacoma Saturday June 3 and stopped at the Chamberlain Information Center just across the Missouri River. A picturesque stop with great views, and an incredible sculpture of Sacajawea with her back to the Missouri River.

We still had some mud and road grime on our unit, so opted to swing into the Sioux Falls Blue Beacon truck wash before finding our overnight stop at the Louise Avenue Walmart. However, the Walmart sprinklers came on during the night and totally spotted the left side of our truck and trailer with ugly water spots.

Susan and Roland came by our Walmart digs Saturday afternoon  and gave us a bit of tour around Sioux Falls, including “the Falls” and a few breweries. Then took us to Dinner (they actually call it supper….dinner is lunch) at Jacky’s, a favorite Mexican fare eatery, Guatemalan really, but much the same. Susan and Roland are friends we spent time with at Twin Palms RV Park in Mesa. Thank you Susan and Roland for a great time.

We’re getting spoiled. Sunday morning Fay and Ken Fisher came by and to get us, then took us to Abiding Savior Free Lutheran church for a wonderful morning of worship and fellowship. We knew Fay years ago when we lived in Tooele, Utah and her adult boys were pre-elementary. Her son Sean lives in Sioux Falls and joined us for Breakfast after church at Kaladis. Thank you Fay and Ken for a wonderful Sunday morning, including breakfast!

The older we get, the more we learn what we don’t know. We left Sioux Falls after the Kaladis breakfast, heading north toward Alexandria, MN to an RV park that former co-hosts (Colorado Bend, TX), Bob and Twyla co-manage. Bob suggested we stop at Pipestone National Monument on our way. The monument is a little north of the small town of Pipestone, MN. What a delightful side trip. We learned that Indian Tribes from around the nation come here to quarry for pipestone rock to make peacepipes. It is quite laborious work and only available to native Indians, and only by application. They have to hand quarry through all the hard granite to get down to the small vein of pipestone, which is quite soft. We saw a native making a pipe by hand, and saw a few pipes for sale at the visitor center. No…we didn’t buy one.

We ventured a little further north toward Prairie View RV Park, a stone’s throw from Prairie Edge Casino neat Granite Falls.  A fabulous park and one of the nicest we have ever stayed…and maybe the most reasonable…$25 a night for full hookup, concrete parking pad and patio, new tables, yard lights, WiFi, personal trash receptacle and recycle bins, very nice bath house and landscaping.

It was a beautiful day Monday June 5, and since we only had 88 miles to travel, we decided to do a little house cleaning. Both inside and out. Ed gave the truck and trailer a hand bath to get the water spots out, while Connie scrubbed the floor and gave our throw rugs a thorough cleaning. A great morning. Thank you Lord for providing. We pulled in to Oak Park Kampground in Garfield Minnesota, 6 miles from Alexandria, Monday early afternoon and were greeted by our friends, Bob and Twyla.

They took us in to the Boulder Tap House for a brew and burger. Very nice, especially visiting with our ol’ buds from Colorado Bend State Park in Texas. Oh…the tap house has zero connection to Boulder, Colorado!

Tuesday, Bob and Ed drove the 6 miles from Oak Park Kampground to the Legacy of the Lakes Museum in Alexandria. Bob, being from this land of 10,000 lakes had actually built a few boats himself, and was a member of the museum support group, so was quite familiar with many of the boats on display. He made an excellent tour guide as we explored the museum. Bob pointed out the predecessor to the jet ski in the foreground of the top picture. Thanks Bob.

Jay and Gail Kulp came out to the park later Tuesday. They took us back in to Alexandria for a brew and burger at Raapers Eatery and Ale. An older hole-in-the-wall restaurant where they knew many of the folks. No wonder…Gail grew up in Alexandria and graduated high school there. We had a wonderful visit as we reflected on some Utah memories from back in the 80’s. They drove us around the area, pointing out many of the lakes. They finally agreed there were 351 fishable lakes in their county.

Bob and Twyla came over for a pancake breakfast Wednesday morning before we departed for Wisconsin, but we failed to get a picture while they were there. Got this quick snapshot of Twyla on her pool duty just as we were leaving. They love it at Oak Park, but not so much after October. So we plan on seeing them again when we all get back to Arizona this winter.

South Dakota

After a wonderful visit with family, we pulled out of Gillette on Thursday June 1 heading east toward Sioux Falls, SD. As we neared SD in eastern Wyoming, we saw how lush the country was with green grasses, along with cattle munching away. We were reminded of a time long ago by this historical marker at a rest stop along I90 and thought it gave travelers, including us, a bit of history of the area.

Pulled in to Spearfish Canyon City Campground  Thursday afternoon to a beautifully landscaped RV campground near the heart of town. The babbling Spearfish creek  was right out the back of our spot.

The DC Booth Historical Fish Hatchery is directly across from our park on Spearfish Canyon Road. Managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the hatchery has 10 campsites reserved for volunteers that serve as guides and cashiers at the various sites at the hatchery. We walked around a bit for a short time with a promise to spend more time there on our way back in August.

George and Janet Wilken, some old friends we knew from Tooele, UT back in the eighties live in Spearfish. It was a real treat to have them come by and say hi and take us to dinner later. A memorable Spearfish visit for sure.

We’ve seen these Wall Drug signs as long as we can remember traveling our nations roadways, so it was only proper to take a little time to pull in the Wall, SD and see what Wall Drug Store was all about. Wow! It’s pretty incredible really. Lot and lots of notions, knick knacks, clothes, boots, donuts, ice cream, and the stores go on and on. We didn’t notice any drugs at Wall Drug Store however. It was very crowded as we weaved our way around other curiosity seekers.

After surviving Wall Drug, we made our way to our first Boondockers Welcome location. Boondockers is made up of RVers from around the country that share a place they have to park an RV in return for being able to park their RV at similar places when they travel. We don’t have a place to share, but pay a modest annual fee to be part of the group. This first stop did not disappoint. Park on a hill overlooking the Missouri River. Fantastic!

Travel Wyoming

Before leaving Berthoud we took a fun walk around town. Berthoud is a great little town between Longmont and Loveland and boasts TWO breweries! We love City Star and their American IPA. City Star is located just next to the US flag in the picture.

We also had to make one last visit to Aleworks in Loveland. They now include sour brews; an up and coming trend. We’re not quite there yet.

Also had to make a quick stop by Laughing Ladies Quilt store in Berthoud. A quaint place with added charm because its located in one of the Berthoud’s older buildings and maintains a rustic appeal.

We began our journey north on Friday morning May 26 with a delicious egg and bacon sandwich at Cheri’s in Loveland. Then up to Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Cheyenne to visit the Tilton gravesite. Cheri drove separately and met us there. It was windy of course, so Connie’s hair was out of control. The stop was especially fitting for this Memorial Day weekend. Harold Tilton, the girl’s father, served in WWII and landed on Normandy Beach. The small U.S. flag honors his service. The ashes of their beloved mother Vera are buried next to him.

We continued our trip on Friday to Huntley, WY? Uhh? Where? Almost to Lyman, NE. Uhh? Where? Actually a beautiful wide open and green area of our country. The Table Mountain Winery boasts being the only commercial vineyard in Wyoming. They use Frontenac grapes, a hybrid vine especially vibrant in colder climates, formed from  a cross-breeding process developed at the University of Minnesota. This was the first Harvest Host stop we have ever made, but we have a few more in line as we travel east. Patrick and is mother Lori were very gracious, serving us in a wine tasting as well as welcoming us to park for free…with WiFi. Their smaller vineyard is next to the tasting room, and they have a much larger vineyard just over the hill. The family also farms.

Long roads out here in the west! Maybe a car, or an antelope now and then. Seems that there are places one can go to get away from the stop and go, and long waits in traffic. Wyoming is the least populated state, with only ONE U.S. representative (Liz Cheeney). When Mile High football stadium is full, the population would be the largest city in Wyoming.

We pulled in front of Shelby’s home in Gillette mid-afternoon on Friday. It had rained all night at the vineyard and we had to use 4×4 for over a mile to get back to the pavement. Our truck and trailer were covered in mud. We used Shelby’s hose to wash off most of it.

Shelby loves his basement, which is always decorated for Halloween. We raised a strange kid. The basement is set up with an awesome big screen TV, not to mention a bar, electronic darts, pool table, regulation card table, and commercial size popcorn maker. He’s pictured with his girlfriend Kerri.

We lost our daughter Kari to cancer in February. Her husband Warren was killed on a motorcycle in 2012. Way too early for both of them! We visited their gravesite on Memorial day with the Gillette family, pictured here are Kari and Warren’s adult children, Hagen and Brittani. Warren served several years in the National Guard so a small flag had been placed next to the cross at the foot of his gravesite; just a many others graves were marked this Memorial day.They served and honored their country.