Arizona to Oregon

April 24, 2018: Say goodbye to Steve and Jenni and others as we depart Twin Palms RV Park around 9am toward Kingman, Arizona.

With months of Arizona dust build up on our home, we decided to run it through the Kingman Blue Beacon Truck Wash before venturing down Historic US 66 about 5 miles to the Desert Diamond Distillery, a Harvest Hosts location. Even though they were officially closed Tuesdays, John and Deborah welcomed us to their distillery and showed us where to park; right along side a quaint gazebo patio area and the vintage Pullman car that came with a story on how the heck they got it there from Kansas… along with their plans to refurbish it into a restaurant.

John took the time to give us a tour of the distillery and an informative presentation on how they distill rum. Afterward, we joined Deborah at the bar tasting room for some samples of their product. Connie favored the Barrel Rum Reserve so we purchased a bottle as a reminder of our D³ (Desert Diamond Distillery) stop.

We met up with John and Deborah for breakfast at the Airport Cafe Wednesday morning. We were able to walk to the cafe as it is located a short distance from the distillery. The area is next to the local airport located in the industrial area of Kingman.

After breakfast at the cafe, we traveled US 95 by Hoover dam and continued though Las Vegas. We hoped to find a truck stop along the route where we could pull in/out easy with our big 5th wheel. Nope! Wound up making a U turn north of town and heading back to a station located in a shopping center area. Got into a rather tight situation, but managed to find an end pump and a couple nice young ladies that were there to pump our fuel. Whew! We were off and going again after about 1/2 hour.

We tried to figure out this spectacular bright light in the desert as we approached Millers Rest Area, 10 miles west of Tonopah. With good cell service we were able to Google that this was the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110 megawatt solar thermal project with 1.1 gigawatt-hours of energy storage.

Just past the huge solar project is Millers Rest Area. Like an oasis in the middle of the desert. Very non typical as no trucks are permitted. There is even a dump station for dumping our holding tanks.

Incorporated next to Millers Rest Area is a large area for overnight parking. We got there mid-afternoon so had plenty of time to relax a bit. It was so much better than a Walmart stop, other than Walmart is nice if you need supplies.

We got settled in to Silver Sage RV Park Thursday night and met up with daughter Shannon and grand daughter Faith where they were staying at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino. Enjoyed dinner with them at the Purple Parrot in the Hotel. The Atlantis enclosed walkway to the convention center made it very convenient to get back and forth to the volleyball games over the next couple days. The convention center is less than a mile from our RV park so we walked to the convention center for exercise as weather permitted.

The “Far Western National Qualifier” volleyball tournament was amazing.  They had 77 courts (see map) set up and games going on continually on all the courts throughout the Friday and Saturday, plus teams waiting for their time on the court. The courts were also busy Sunday  for playoffs. I calculated 77 courts, 12 girls on each court, plus subs and 12 girls waiting for the court…plus coaches and subs…and easy 2000 plus volleyball players and coaches. Connie says there had to be lots of drama ;-).

Grand daughter Faith and her mom were our motivation for being in Reno. Great to see them and great to see Faith play in such rigorous competition. She plays with Colorado Juniors 16. They did well and the team placed 4th out of the 50 teams in their Division.

Colorado Juniors warming up, Faith in the forefront.

We did take a little side tour to get fuel while in Reno. Well…diesel for the truck. But couldn’t resist stopping at the Great Basin brewery for human fuel recommended by friend Annette. Ed enjoyed an “Icky” IPA, while Connie tried their Alpenglow Hazy IPA. The beer went well with an order of wings.

We took daughter and grand daughter to the airport early Sunday evening so they could fly to Denver and get back to their regular life. Then Monday we were on the road again toward our ultimate destination at Big Creek Fish Hatchery in Knappa, OR; near Astoria.

Ed had recently established a re-newed relationship with Lia, his 2nd cousin, when she and her husband Jerry stopped off at our place in Mesa. They invited us to overnight at their place near Klamath Falls on our way to Big Creek. WOW! A fantastic place in the woods outside of Klamath Falls. They made us feel especially welcome and offered full hookups for our 5th wheel.

Now this is hospitality folks. Jerry cooked up some tri-tip meat and BBQ chicken. Lia fixed a salad and mashed potatoes. Doreen, another 2nd cousin came up from California to see us and stay overnight. We had an awesome visit with everyone, and enjoyed the libations along with the company.

Lia and Jerry not only have a fabulous home, but Jerry gave us a tour of his “Man Cave” where he builds guns and loads his own ammo.

Next to the man cave is a garage where they keep the fishing boat and Jerry makes fishing poles. The man has many talents, including upgrading their kitchen. We think he’s best at hospitality. Here is a picture of Jerry with the cousins: L to R: Doreen, Jerry, Lia, and Ed.

We pulled in to Big Creek Tuesday May 1 at 5pm Tuesday and got settled in after a wee bit of a backing in problem. Ed’s pride was crushed that he didn’t get it backed in with one fail swoop.

Reported for our first 4 hour day on Wednesday and got right to it after a morning meeting. We spread lime pellets on all lawns in around the tech’s homes.

Thursday Connie worked in the flower garden near the entrance while Ed mowed on the John Deere. We’ll take before and after pictures of her garden work next time as she made a big difference here.

We’ve been invited to a BBQ Saturday, hosted by Dustin and Brianna. Dustin is a tech and lives in the green house in the picture. Not counting our trailer, there are six homes in our quaint neighborhood. All for the techs and their families. A great group of folks. Yesterday, Brianna brought muffins over and Travis brought over a salmon filet he caught caught earlier in the day. It’s going to be a good May and June.

Winding Down in Arizona

A well known Mesa landmark that always catches our eye when we’re driving on Main Street is the historic Diving Lady neon sign. It has quite a story. Originally erected in the 1960’s but came down with a crash during a storm in 2010. Mesa Preservation Foundation was instrumental in restoring the landmark in 2013,  and it now stands proud in front of the Starlite Motel…that no longer has a pool.

We’ve had several visitors since our arrival last November. Janet and Nancy from Utah stopped by the afternoon March 10. We took them to the Mesa Beer fest and our favorite BRI brewery.

We got together with Mike and Marva a couple times in Mid March. They are friends we met at Brazos Bend State Park near Houston mid-March. We served with them there Nov-Dec 2015. Mike and Marva parked their RV trailer down the street and we had an awesome time with them in the area…including the Olive Mill Farm, the Pork Shop, and riding bikes to the Gilbert Farmers Market. Great seeing them again.

We are thankful that Colorado friends Jann and Jeff Fox that have their RV parked across the valley (Goodyear) and we are able to see them from time to time. They came to see us Friday April 6, bringing Jann’s sister Jeri and her husband Bruce. Great visit, meatloaf, and beer.

On Thursday March 22 we road our bikes the 4+ miles down the Consolidated Canal path to the Oakland A’s Hohokam Stadium to watch the Rockies beat Oakland 4 to 2. Nice day to enjoy a beer, hotdog and the ballgame.

Ed took Connie to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on Saturday March 24 for her flight to Colorado and a family connection fix. Her flight was 5:15am, leaving Ed plenty of time to attend the Men’s breakfast at Christ Church in Gilbert. He had a great time meeting and sharing with some other Men. Connie enjoyed her week with sister Cheri and daughter Shannon and family.

We took a long drive to Wickenburg and Jerome on Thursday April 12. From Mesa we drove the freeway to Scottsdale Rd and the Carefree highway (highway 74), then over to 60 and up to Wickenburg. We loved walking around Wickenburg a bit, stopping at the Chamber of Commerce located in the old train depot. Shopped a couple antique stores before moving on toward Jerome, through Yarnell and Prescott via winding highway 89. Yarnell is known for the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots that died fighting a wildfire back in 2013. Josh Brolin stars in Only the Brave, a movie about the tragedy.

Drove highway 89A from Prescott to Jerome. Now Jerome is quite an interesting town. Reminded us a bit of Central City, Colorado. An old copper mining town built on the side of a hill. In the old days it was sometimes referred to as the Wicked City. Brothels and such you know.

Our drive happened to coincide with Arizona Bike Week so we saw lots of Motorcycles.

A potter had a few of his things set out in a spot between two buildings. Connie couldn’t resist buying yet another unique cup.

The Wicked City Tap House is up yet another hill we had to climb, but was worth the walk to get a little refreshment. Connie found a stool next to a very bony fellow.

We’re saying good bye to friends and family in Arizona April 24 and going back on the road. God willing, we’ll be back here November 2.

4/24 Depart Mesa. Drycamp at a Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman
4/25 drycamp at Millers rest stop near Tonapah, NV
4/26-4/29 Silver Sage RV Park Reno, NV for Faith’s VB tournament
4/30 Lia & Jerry’s place Klamath Falls, OR
May-June – Big Creek fish hatchery near Astoria, OR
7/1 – Ice Lock Dam & Visitor Ctr near Pasco, WA to see Geidels
7/2 – Boondockers Welcome Pearts Wenatchee, WA
7/3 – Harvest Hosts Esther Bricques Winery & Vineyard Oroville, WA
7/4 – Harvest Hosts DeMille’s Farm Market Salmon Arm, BC
7/5-7/6 Irvins Campgroud Valemount, BC
7/7-7/8 – Whisler CG Jasper – diyr 30GG confirmed no hookups
7/9-7/10 – Tunnel Trl Court CG Banff FHU
7/11 – Boondockers; Canal Flats BC
7/12-7/13 – Glacier Sun Winery Kalispell, MT
7/14 – Harvest Host Miracle of America Polson, MT
7/15-7/16 – Peggy & Tom’s DoubleArrow Golf Course near Sealy Lake
7/17-7/20 – Helena Fairgrounds space 20 w/electric
7/21-7/24 – Sunrise Campground Bozeman, MT
7/25-7/26 – 7th Ranch RV Park Garryowen, MT
7/27-7/30 – Gillette, WY
7/31-8/1 – Spearfish City Park RV campground
8/2 – City Park Wheatland, WY first come first camp
Aug 3-4 Hi-Camp campground no hookkups-Cheyenne for Connie’s 50th HS reunion
8/5 – Cheri’s Loveland
Aug 6-Sept 6 Loveland RV
9/7-9/10- Monument RV Campground , Fruita, CO
9/11-9/13: Ridgway State Park site 18 confirmed
9/14-9/21: Fraser
9/22-10/6: St. Vrain
10/7-10/10: Bear Creek Lake Rec Area Lakewood, CO
10/11-10/25: Chatfield SP
10/26-10/27: Cheyenne Mtn SP Colorado Springs
10/28: Childress, Tx
10/29-10/31: Stephenville, TX
11/1: Las Cruces, NM
11/2: Twin Palms

Family, Friends, and Excursions

Grandson, Hagen Brinkerhoff, from Gillette, Wyoming was working in the area for Komatsu during February and March. It was great that he could come by a few times on Sunday evenings for dinner and a visit. Great because he was working 14 hour days, 6 days a week and it was great to see him.

Also got a surprise visit from Ed’s 2nd cousin Lia, and friend Jerry, traveling through from Klamath Falls, Oregon in their new motorhome. They were on their way to Florida, with a stopover in Stephenville, Texas to visit Ed’s sister Alice. Ed and Lia hadn’t seen each other since Lia was a child.

Weather has generally been nice enough to eat on our little patio. Its especially appreciated when we have more than the four people. Four is about all that can comfortably sit at our inside table. This evening we enjoyed having our local Arizona family: Connie’s sister Carol and husband Roger, Carol’s son Marshall and his wife Amanda, and their daughter Mackenzie.

You meet a lot of new friends when living the RV lifestyle. A couple new ones are Janet and Allen Hlady from Beauseliour Manitoba, Canada. Not shown is their cocker-poodle dog Leo that Connie fell in love with. They are a a fun couple and invited us to stop by when we travel that way the summer of 2019. In case you’re wondering, Allen is not drinking a strange brew, but winterizing their trailer. He knows that it will certainly be freezing, even before they get back to Manitoba.

We also have some old friends we met up with. Jeff and Jann Fox have their 5th wheel trailer parked at an RV park near Goodyear, Arizona. Nearly an hour away, but close enough to arrange a visit. This day we fired up our dually and drove them out to St. Anthony’s Greek Monastery near Florence, Colorado. Note the special attire required to tour the grounds. Only face and hands should be visible. Men may leave the top of their head exposed.

Connie and Jann go back over 40 years to their friendship in Cheyenne, Wyoming! Jeff recently retired (again) and they enjoy their new freedom to travel in their RV. Jann is working through some serious medical problems and we continue to pray for them.

Other friends we met RVing are Don and Doreen. Both retired Navy and avid Carp fishermen. Lots to tell about their story, but Don rebuked me when he saw I posted a picture of him fishing the canal, but didn’t include the picture of one of the fish he caught. So here it is. Wow!

But wait! Just learned that Doreen caught this 34 pound carp on the fourth.

Excursions included a visit to the Wood Carvers gathering at the Mesa Convention Center. We were invited by Doris Trinko, an RVer that parks here. Doris is a widow and active in the wood carving world, specializes in wood burning art. The carvings were fantastic.

Our excursions also included riding the Light Rail to downtown Phoenix. We boarded at the last station east, and found we had most of the train to ourselves, but after passing Tempe and Arizona State University, the train was packed. We enjoyed walking around town some, but didn’t push it as Connie’s ankle has been giving her pain problems from her ankle break.

We stopped in Tempe on our return and enjoyed a short walk down Mill street. Lots of restaurants and shops. A fun excursion for a $2 ticket to ride all day.

Another excursion was to the owner of our RV Park’s home to pick oranges and relax with a cool beer. Picked several bags of oranges that we’ll share with guests at the RV park. Steve and Jenni have 30 orange trees that remain from the original orchard. Great navels that everyone enjoys.

Not really an excursion, but we do need to provide a little labor around the park from time to time. Ed has been working on insulating, or re-insulating all the water risers on the park’s 15 spaces. So far we haven’t had a freeze, but always good to be prepared just in case the temp drops to the high temp back in Colorado 😉


Grand Canyon Visit

We drove up to Williams, AZ the afternoon of Wednesday January 17, 2017. Williams is a unique town right off Interstate 40, but with a lot of US 66 history.

Back in 1984 Williams was the last location where I40 bypassed US 66. We learned there is a stretch of US 66 that is still drivable from Ask Fork, AZ (just west of Williams) to Kingman, AZ, but most of the old highway is history, and even this drivable stretch if now designated “Historic Arizona 66” rather than US 66.

We even found a brewery in Williams. Historic no less. All this just a short walk from the Grand Canyon Hotel in Williams.

After a good night’s sleep at the Grand Canyon Hotel, we strolled down to witness the shootout.

After the shootout, which is next to where the Grand Canyon Railroad boards passengers for the 2 hour 15 minute train ride to the Grand Canyon South Rim, we were ready for the next step of our adventure. The train travels the 65 miles at an average speed of 40mph. Slow enough to fully enjoy the ever changing countryside; from desert sage, juniper trees, and pines, to the Grand Canyon itself. We even saw a bobcat! Thanks to Kathy with a “K” for pointing it out.

Kathy with a “K” was our PSA (Passenger Service Assistant) and did a fantastic job of informing us about how we might enjoy our 3+ hours at the park. She also had tons of other facts about the area; maps, history, trivia and jokes. She certainly helped make the train ride enjoyable.

Sid Hausman, from New Mexico, entertained us on the morning ride with his excellent banjo skills and a song on his “Bones” that he said came from one of the BBQ dinners he went to? This picture gives a glimpse into the “coach” car. There are also first class seats and observation car seats. The car directly behind us was the diner, but we never made it.

Connie had never been to Grand Canyon, and Ed had only been there as a charter bus driver, but didn’t really “see” the canyon. We both enjoyed the spectacular beauty and depth. We were also blessed with excellent weather. Quite sunny, no wind, and a warm 57°. Quite warm for a January day at 7000 feet. Our light jackets were more than enough..

The Colorado River, which runs through the canyon, is rarely visible because of the canyon’s mile depth; it averages 10 miles in width. Its narrowest point is in Marble Canyon, where it is 600 feet wide. Its maximum width of 18 miles is found at several different points.. The blue dot in the center of the bottom picture is all we saw of the Colorado.

It seems that many agree on how many millions…billions of years the earth is, and how many years it took for the Grand Canyon to erode to what it is today…even though they weren’t there. Connie and Ed lean more toward a young earth, much as described in the new “Is Genesis History” movie. But at any rate, we amused from the congratulation sign of our hiking accomplishment.

The train departed at 3:30pm for a 5:45pm Williams arrival, and it was just as enjoyable as the morning ride. Jesse Anderson played the banjo for us on the return. Quite a different style than Sid, but very excellent.

Some of those desperadoes that survived the morning shootout, came along the train on horseback, boarded the train while it was in motion (not the full 40mph) and proceeded through each car, robbing passengers of their belongings. The sheriff was in hot pursuit and I’m sure recovered everyone’s cash and diamonds. He explained that they could claim their stuff back at the old town shootout area if they had the serial numbers from the bills. Actually the bandits got away empty handed.

After arriving back in Williams, we fueled the car and headed home, a 3 hour drive on I17. It was a fantastic 2 days!


Weather is Delightful

Time is passing by fast. We’ve been here (Mesa, AZ) two months and it seems like we haven’t really been doing and going much to truly enjoy the beautiful weather (sorry north friends). But as we look back on some of the few pictures we’ve taken, we can see how we really have taken advantage it. On December 7 we hiked the Lost Dutchman Trail in the Superstition mountains. Got a cool picture of a formation with the moon poking through. Look close, it’s there.

Roland had been on this trail several times and was eager to show us the way to the Lost Dutchman’s gold (failed to find it of course). Susan and Ed tagged along reluctantly, but Connie was eager, as usual. It was a great day…Roland drove us to the trailhead; and Susan provided a tasty bowl of split pea soup on our return. Is that an oxymoron…tasty split pea soup?

Connie hiked South Mountain with sister Carol and hiking friend Kerry on December 11 and we were in the groove of walking a 3 mile stretch of the canal path in early mornings with Roland and Susan…They got sick and had to hold back, and Connie’s ankle was started to give her problems. So our walking routine is on hiatus right now. Oh…but we did walk a block to McDonalds for an ice cream cone.

Sunday after church December 10, we took a lovely trip through Payson, Cottonwood, and Sedona to Harding Springs, primarily to get our water jugs filled, but to enjoy the journey and ever changing beauty of the Arizona landscape. The Sedona area is illustrious with red rock formations and picturesque views, like the Midgley bridge, gateway to Oak Creek Canyon, in route to Harding Springs.

We still endeavor to put in a few hours at Twin Palms RV Park. Connie took on staining the gate entrance from the park to the canal; and Ed managed to change out several site water meters. Before and after below:

We haven’t seen many quail come by this year…at least not yet. But we did have a visit from some Rosy-faced Lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis). Reportedly these fellows were first sighted in Arizona in the eighties. There were actually three that came by.

Geez. What’s this? Fishing the canal? Yep, that’s our old Twin Palms pal, Don, evermore fishing for carp! Yes folks, carp. He doesn’t keep them, or eat them…just releases them back into the canal. Why? You’ll have to ask Don I guess. It is convenient for him though, just a few steps from his trailer and out the gate.

A recent highlight of our life in Arizona was a trip to St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery near Florence…about an hour away. Note St. Elijah Chapel just to the right of the entrance sign. Sister Carol and husband Roger were our guides as they had been there before.

The first thing we see when entering the grounds is St. Anthony’s Church. The inside is quite ornate with many pictures of saints and mosaics. Note the humongous brass chandelier where candles represent the “heavenly church.” There are no lights (except for 2 small ones on the chanter stands). No chairs! Nearly everything is from Greece. Carol, Roger, and Connie stand in amazement as they look around at the incredible fixtures. In addition to the church, there are 5 chapels.

The monks will not allow anyone on the grounds if they have any skin showing other than face and hands. Women must wear a head scarf as well.  The men must wear long sleeve shirts. No sandals. Fortunately, they have a supply of loaner clothing.

The monastery was established in 1995. It is absolutely incredible what they have done to the property in the few short years since. The grounds, fountains, and chapels make up a lush oasis in the middle of the desert.

The interior of one of the Chapels appears very similar in design to the main St. Anthony Church, yet somewhat smaller and exhibits an artistic incredible inlaid wood ceiling.

St. Elijah Chapel, the newest and fifth “chapel”, is still under construction, but attacks the eye’s attention from it’s hilltop setting. Each of the chapels, as well as the monastery itself, have deep rooted history from the early Greek church.

While we don’t attend a Greek Orthodox church, we could be accused of church hopping when we’re in Arizona. We first attended Harvest Chandler, then moved to Harvest East Valley, and we currently attend Christ Church in Gilbert. Actually, they are all the same church, just moving, growing, and renaming. Loving the music and the Bible based messages that dig in to the Bible. We miss Foundations in Loveland, but love Christ Church too.



Our Colorado to Arizona Transition

We pulled out of Bear Creek Lake, Indian Paintbrush Campground in Lakewood mid-morning Friday October 27, 2017 and traveled the short distance to Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs. A wonderful park across from a Fort Carson Army Base entrance. Stayed here one night so we could attend Faith’s volleyball games that afternoon. Our site had a fantastic view of the valley.

We left Cheyenne Mountain SP just before sunrise on Saturday and began our trip back to Stephenville, TX to visit sister Alice and family. We stopped overnight at the Canyon, TX Walmart. Canyon is just south of Amarillo. We left early Sunday, making  an emergency stop to gather cotton decor while traveling US 84 somewhere between Post and Sweetwater.

After a brief visit with our Stephenville family, which overlapped Halloween (no costumes were needed), we got an early start for our 600 mile trip along I20/I10 across West Texas to a Las Cruces Walmart. A great stopover point. We walked about a mile to the Paisano Cafe for a delicious dinner. A fantastic night for a walk and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation of the Organ Mountains at sunset.

We drove the final 400 miles to our winter home (Twin Palms RV Park) on Thursday November 2, stopping at Blue Beacon for a trailer/truck wash. We were cheerfully greeted by Jenni and Steve with a fruit basket. They were most ready for us to arrive and take some of the park management pressure off.

Since we’ll be here through most of April, we decided having a car, rather than the dually beast, would work much better for tooling around the area. We were originally thinking of just getting a cheap “beater” to get around, but managed to swing this 2013 Rav4 the first week here. Connie Loves it. Ed has only driven it once, riding his bike to Home Depot a lot.

Getting settled in our great little abode.

We attended the blessed wedding of Kevin Sauter and Amanda May on Saturday November 11. Kevin is Brother-in-Law Roger’s son. It was a quickly planned, yet fantastic wedding and reception. Newly certified Roger performed the ceremony. Roger’s wife (Connie’s sister) Carol joins in the celebration and joins in a picture.

Kevin’s son Ryan and daughter Jenna (far right), along with Amanda’s twins Rachel and Maria, and oldest daughter Nina are all one family now. Five children (five 1’s in 11/11/17) plus Kevin and Amanda make 7 (as 111117). How quaint is that?

Roger and Carol are very involved here, including serving as head ushers and Sun Valley Tempe. The natural thing to do after church, of course, is head over to Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in Gilbert. Connie enjoys her Bloody Mary for breakfast. Oh that girl. The place is quite an adventurous experience, but a little loud for Ed.

Otherwise, we keep quite busy here at Twin Palms. We just re-planted and mulched the bed along the west wall. Ed keeps the pea gravel raked up in the spaces and is busy with general maintenance stuff; Connie cleans restrooms once a week and cares for all the flowers. We both fraternize with the residents here.

A Twin Palms RV Park gate leads directly out to the Consolidated Irrigation Canal and walking path. Low and behold, Ed saw this tortoise along the path. Surely not out of the canal! It turns out that he (she?) got out of his yard and escaped! Animal Control had quite a job getting him off the path.

Heading South in the Nick of Time

Thursday, October 26, 2017: Beautiful sunrise this morning here at Bear Creek Lake Indian Paintbrush Campground. A peaceful 50° degrees. But flakes of snow and dropping temps this afternoon. It was 84° yesterday at this time (4pm) and 34° today. Supposed to get down to 18° tonight. Maybe we’re leaving a day late? Will pull out first thing in the morning, but only as far at Colorado Springs. Two more volleyball games Friday, then we’ll continue on south Saturday. Halloween with Ed’s sister Alice and family in Texas, then on to our Winter headquarters in Mesa, AZ. Refer to our winter temp address in the margin.

We attended many Lakewood High School Volleyball games during our stay here. Ed drove a few times for Grace Coach Lines, including Kari’s bus Clifford to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Pays the rent he says.

Any shopping from our space at Bear Creek is quite a drive, but a pleasant bike ride up…up…up…up to Home Depot on a concrete path. Ed rode it 2-3 times. There is quite a view of the area once reaching the top of the ridge. Zoom in enough, you can find our trailer. Red Rocks Amphitheater in the background, as well as Bandimere Speedway.


Making the Most of Bear Creek Lake Park


After Connie introduced Angie to sewing when we visited her and Brian in Fraser on Labor Day weekend, she acquired a new passion. She soon bought a used Bernina (what else) 707, circa 1969, then she made a trip to our digs at Bear Creek Lake for sewing 101 with Connie the following Saturday. While Angie passed her sewing precursor intro on Connie’s machine during our visit there, 101 was a good for her to get started on her own. Yeah Angie!

While  our campground is not convenient to shopping (maybe 6 miles to a shopping center), it is very close to Red Rocks Amphitheater. In fact we can see it at a distance from the park. The campground is also across the C470 highway from Bandimere Speedway and the little town of Morrison. We rode our bikes in to town a couple times for breakfast. Connie went with Jodi Gawf to see Chris Tomlin at Red Rocks, and we can often hear the motors revving up at the speedway.

Red Rocks is absolutely outstanding. Highly recommended for anyone to visit, not only to see the engineering foresight that went in to it, but the newly added (circa 2001) museum underneath. Incredible! Lots of pictures and history of so many entertainers through the years. Best of all…it is free to visit and the views are fantastic!

The Archery Range and horse stables are a stone’s throw from our site, and we ride or drive by nearly everyday. The stable rents saddle horses and provides wrangler led trail rides…for only $40/hour! The archery range is free to use for anyone with a day pass, which is needed to even enter the park.

Bear Creek Lake Park offers a very nice swim beach, along with canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. You can bring your own and play on Big Soda lake for free (must have day pass), or you can rent one. Little Soda lake offers ski and wake boarding lessons…again at a price. The larger Bear Creek Lake reservoir is open for fishing and boating (10 horse power limit).

All in all, we love it here. Nice spacious sites, beautiful countryside and trails. Many trails are concrete and provide excellent bike riding, which many folks take advantage.

Bear Creek Lake Park provides a convenient place to be, only 10 miles from Lakewood High School to watch our darling grand daughter (Faith) play 5A volleyball. So fun. Her mom, Shannon, is very involved as president of the booster club, and we were able to assist her fund raiser booth at the Tiger Prowl. We mostly watched their 2 mutts…ahh..dogs.

Tomorrow, Thursday September 14, we move back to Loveland RV Resort in Loveland. It will not be as convenient for Faith’s volleyball games, but we’ll be back near sister Cheri and a more convenient to Grace Coach Lines when Ed has a driving job. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday coming up. But generally he has time to do retired person stuff.

Future plans now include returning to Big Creek Fish Hatchery near Astoria, OR next May and June. We’re pretty excited about getting back there and seeing the new friends we made.

Oh Where to Park The Beast

After returning to Colorado from Wyoming, we were able to park  at St. Vrain State Park . But we were limited to 3 days as State Park spaces are reserved far in advance, especially weekends, and zero spaces were available.

However, Grace Coach Lines (aka/dba Dakota Bus Service) were fine with us pulling in to one of their bus slots for 2 days while waiting for our reservation start at Bear Creek Lake Campground. Ed drives charter occasionally for Grace, so he was able to get the okay. Actually it was quite nice, with 20 amp service and concrete pad. Thank you Phyllis, Mike, and John. NOTICE: The large “D” and Mobile Suites across the cap is gone, and we are now: In Search of Fun.

After 2 days at Grace Charters, we had 5 days reserved at Bear Creek Lake Indian Paintbrush Campground.  The Campground is 2 miles from the Bear Creek Lake Regional Park entrance on an asphalt road that winds around the Soda Lake swim beach and marina, horse back riding stables and archery Range. The campground has 47 campsites, which is just a small part of the 2600 acre area that also includes miles of trails, as well as Bear Creek Lake. One morning we rode our bikes on a paved path for about 4 miles to Morrison for breakfast.

Connie tried out the new skillet we recently purchased at the Thermopolis Cafe to make a delicious Shepherd’s Pie. Life is good.

Our time in Colorado is mainly driven by our Grand Daughter Faith’s high school volleyball schedule. Faith is lined up with her team for introductions before a game. As a starting team Libero, her jersey must be an off color from the rest of the team. We are proud grand parents indeed to see Faith starting as the only sophomore on a 5A team.

Saturday September 2, we drove 67 miles over Berthoud Pass to our friends place in Fraser. Brian and Angie have a lovely home with a view of the Winter Park Ski area. They were very hospitable, providing us with 20amp service, WiFi, great water if we needed it, friendship and shared meals. A Labor Day weekend to be remembered. Thanks Brian and Angie.

After arriving, we got on our bikes and followed Angie down to the paved pathway to Winter park, and the Hideaway Brewery where Brian works part time.  We were blessed with beautiful weather the entire Labor Day weekend.

We also enjoyed sitting around the barrel fire in the evenings to chat and roast s’mores. Having the fire in the barrel prevented all the smoke smell and was easier to contain. We didn’t miss our popcorn/movie routine at all.

Brian not only works the bar at the Hideaway Brewery, but also does a lot of the brewing. Their signature beer is BruBrew IPA. Very good.

While Brian had to work at Hideaway this September 4th Labor Day, Angie was eager to learn how to sew. Connie was more than happy to oblige. Angie and Brian’s Great Dane Lucy wasn’t quite as interested and was happy just waiting for her walk time.

We head back to Bear Creek Lake Campground Tuesday, September 5. We’ll be there until the 14th when we move to Loveland RV Resort for a full month!

So Much To Do, So Little Time

While Ed was driving charter bus on a Mormon trip, Connie and Cheri met Debbie for a little Kayaking on a small lake by Debbie’s home on Tuesday August 1. They had a great time. Thanks to Debbie for providing the kayaks. The girls don’t go anywhere without their wine. Can you spot it?

August 11 through the 14th we pulled the trailer back to Grand Junction. Cheri tagged along this time and we parked at the RV Ranch in Clifton. A very nice park. Cheri was contemplating a move to the Western Slope, so we did a lot of driving around to look over real estate, stopping a some wineries along the way of course. Visited Grand River Winery in Palisade again (first picture), as well as several others. Palisade is great wine…and peach country so we had to buy a box of peaches while we there too.

Stopped for a little impromptu lunch on a fantastic trip to the Grand Mesa. Spot the wine? Ed took his first selfie. Enjoyed some incredible views to the valley below.

We pulled the trailer back over I70 on Tuesday August 15, dropped Cheri off in Loveland and continued another 125 miles to Wheatland, WY. We love Wyoming (minus the wind of course). They are very RV friendly. We parked for free (donation) at Lewis City Park. They even provide 50 amp service! A nice evening after the long drive over the mountain.

Wednesday, August 16, we traveled 216 miles to the DeLight Raspberry Farm near Shoshoni. A real hidden gem we discovered on Harvest Hosts. Raspberries were ready and thick. We picked 2 pounds at $4 per pound…our total expense for staying there. We ate a lot and froze some so we can continue to enjoy.

From Shoshoni we traveled a short distance (126 miles) to Cody, WY, stopping for a great breakfast at the Thermopolis Cafe. They served our skillet breakfast in a 8″ Lodge skillet, and gave us an extra plate so we could split it. We’ve been in search of a good seasoned small skillet, so Ed asked if we could buy it! Wow, surprisingly, they sold it to us for $5.

We stayed at Parkway RV Park while in Cody. Quite nice and very reasonable, especially as the Eclipse frenzy was building. After dropping the trailer, we drove 6 miles west of Cody toward Yellowstone on US Highway 14 to see the spectacular Buffalo Bill Dam (formerly Shoshone Dam). Standing 325 feet high, it was the tallest concrete dam in the world when completed in 1920.

Wyoming weather was perfect for strolling around downtown Cody a bit. Connie’s ankle is nearly totally healed now. Ed admired the clever special offer on the sandwich board at a local coffee house.

Of course, a little walk demands something cool and refreshing. Pat O’Hara’s brewery provided what was needed. Very quaint and Cody like.

Friday was Cody Night Rodeo time. They do a great job. Rodeos most every night during the summer, keeping the tourists happy as they search for “authentic” Buffalo Bill related venues.

We sat directly behind the chutes so were able to see cowboys mounting their broncs and bulls…and getting bucked off. It was a fun time.

We crammed in a lot for only being there 2 nights. To help relax, we enjoyed a concert in the park.

A real highlight of our stay was a visit to the nearby Heart Mountain Japanese Confinement site. Heart Mountain can be seen in the lower picture, hence the name of the camp. It housed over 10,000 Japanese between 1942 and 1945, making it Wyoming’s third largest city. Many were Americans. An incredible and well done interpretative site.

We hooked up and pulled out of Cody by 8am Saturday, heading for Gillette for a few more days of F.U.N. Traveled via US highways 20 and 16 through Greybull, Basin, Worland, Ten Sleep and Buffalo. Ten Sleep is a delightful Big Horn Mountains foothills town (pop 250) that boasts a brewery on the edge of town. It is located on the edge of a hay field picturesque setting below the red sandstone Signal Cliff.

While Gillette was not in the total eclipse path, it was certainly convenient to sit in our son’s driveway to view the 98% eclipse on August 21. Even at 98% it was fantastic to view as many others can attest. Son Shelby even had our viewing glasses ready for us. Shelby is the one that looks like Chewbacca. Grand daughter Brittani is on his right. Not sure who the other dude is.

These antelope hang out in Shelby’s yard where they can be viewed off his deck.

Wednesday, August 23, we head back to Colorado, parking our Mobile Suites Rollin’ Retreat to a variety of RV sites.