Saturday, September 29, 2012

Back in an old familiar campground

Back at the 0ld Martin Manor, as our neighbor says "our second home."  We backed in around 2:00 this afternoon and here it is 3:00 and I can hear the washing machine running.  The bad news this morning was that there wasn't any fog to block the rising sun.  Thankfully I-70 from Salina heads northeasterly which put the sun not directly in front of our noses so I could block the sun with the visor and still see the road.

These next two weeks are going to be busy.  Beside all the laundry we also need to wash the trailer and truck plus get the truck serviced for it's 20,000 mile service and it's only 13 months old.  Wilma is having eye surgery next Thursday so we will go down on Wednesday to visit Lola and stay over to help Wilma.  We also have doctors appointments on this next Friday and then next Monday.

Our next trip was scheduled to start on Oct. 12 but that is going to change.  The first campground called to say that they will not have water in the CG so we will alter our plans somewhat and see what we can salvage of that set of plans.

Here is what Jo found exciting to photograph today calling this album "the mountains of Kansas."

Friday, September 28, 2012

flat lands

Today there is good news and bad news.  The biggest problem with traveling eastward when we like to leave early in the morning and get off the road early afternoon is having the rising sun directly in our eyes.

The bad news is that most of this morning across the remainder of Colorado we had a lot of fog banks to drive through.  One long stretch of probably 30 miles was so dense that we were driving very slow with the emergency blinkers on for visibility for other drivers.  Most of the fog areas were light enough to drive at our normal speed.  We just couldn't see much of the surrounding area.  Having been through this route before we know that we didn't miss any great scenic views.

The good news is that most of this morning across the remainder of Colorado we had a lot of fog banks to drive through.  This blocked the rising sun and when we got out of the fog areas it was high enough above the horizon that our sun visors worked for our comfort.

Jo was trying to get some more windshield pictures but as you all know this route isn't photogenic.  She did get some nice cloud shots and had to get one of the wind generators in KS.  Jo finally got her bobble head tiger mascot in a picture.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Colorful Colorado

Today was a very nice but long drive through most of Colorado.  After the Vail pass and the Eisenhower tunnel it's all downhill toward home.  We had hoped for some fall color through Colorado and we were not disappointed.  (see Jo's pictures below)  This section of Interstate 70 from the Utah line to Denver in my opinion, at this time of year, is the most scenic stretch of interstate highway in this country and we have traveled most of them.  The Glenwood canyon is especially magnificent and an engineering marvel of design and construction of the interstate roadways through this natural beauty.

At the summit of Vail pass and the Eisenhower tunnel the temperatures dropped down to 38° and we were driving through snow showers but the pavement was just wet so no repeat of Monday's surprise.  Our GWF has been right on the job for all fuel stops, campground hookups and departures but she was totally AWOL for about 15 minutes during last Monday's drive.  Her paycheck for this week will reflect that lapse of service.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

relaxing day

It is a nice relaxing day of rest with light showers throughout the day.  Outside temperatures are only in the 50s so we have the heat on.  In fact we haven't used the AC for the past three days.  I got a bit of mandolin practice in this morning and with a good computer connection we have both caught up with all the family blogs and emails.

Tomorrow we cross the Rockies on our way through Denver to the eastern CO lowland plains.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

bad day - good day

Yesterday (the bad day) we crossed Nevada and today (the good day) we crossed Utah.  We are now 26 miles into Colorado and will sit tight tomorrow for a day of nerve-calming rest from driving/riding before we continue the homeward trek.  Last night's stop was right on the border between Nevada and Utah without any cell signal to get my computer connected so I was not able to update after yesterday's travel.

yesterday -
We crossed the State of Nevada on US-50 and the route was good but isolated.  The two lane good surfaced highway started out as a nice drive but soon we got into some rain showers and the temperatures were hanging in the lower 40s.  We did see some fresh snow in patches along the roadside.  On one pass through the mountains in some switch backs the temperature dropped to 36° and the rain changed to sleet and freezing rain with the roadway surface covered with ice.  Our trailer started to jackknife to the drivers side and then fishtailed to try and pull us into the road ditch.  Jo's truck did it's job and with a few instinctive reactions by the driver we were able to get things back on track.  There was a lot of shuffling of goods back inside the trailer, when we were able to check, but we are "extremely" grateful that we didn't end up as a collision with another vehicle or upside down in the ditch.  It was rain showers then the rest of the day.  Our GWF did take care of us while getting set up in our campsite but then the cloud came over when the rain caught up with us and poured down.

Today -
We crossed the  State of Utah partly on US-50 but mostly on I-70.  It was a much more enjoyable drive today except that it was a bit long.  Last night we were just on the time line between PDT and MDT so we had set our clocks to MDT before we went to bed.  When we got up this morning and got ready to travel it was still dark so we were a few miles down the road when we saw the sunrise, as seen in Jo's pictures.  We did see a lot of fall foliage beauty through the mountain passes with yellow, red, orange, and green very striking.  We hope to see more of this fall color as we travel through Colorado on Thursday.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Eastward bound day one

Today begins our eastward trek back to the Martin Manor.  We cut across the NE corner of Kaliforny and got through Reno with both of our shirts still on.  Tomorrow we cross Nevada on Rte 50 and then across Utah before we stop for two nights and a day of rest from riding.

We were unhappy this morning as the swarms of BUGS were also south of Klamath Falls and now our trailer is well coated on the front, when we get home I'll hold the ladder for Jo to wash them off.  Then we were happy to see three Mule Deer in the area of Lava Beds National Monument.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Collier Memouial State Park

This morning we headed to this State Park for a visit and photo opportunity.  On the drive out just like yesterday morning as we were driving by Upper Klamath Lake for several miles we hit clouds of bugs that totally splattered our windshield.  They were not fat and juicy so no big smear by each one but simply by the mass they made quite a mess.  They apparently had shells as each one popped on the glass like small sleet and we could see clouds of them in a vertical columns above bushes on the side of the road.

On the brighter side, the State Park and Logging Museum was very interesting.  Vena sent us some pictures that she took in 2005 in this park while visiting with Bob and his brother.  I tried to take a picture to match one of hers and came close I think, even got the same picnic table in the corner.

Here is her picture in 2005
 And here is mine in 2012

Here are the rest of our pictures from today.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Crater Lake

This morning we visited the Crater Lake National Park.  The day was beautiful with mostly clear skies.  This is a beautiful park with the lake being the main event and there is a rim drive totally around the lake with many pull-offs for viewing and picture taking.  We found out that Jo has a large phobia against heights and most of the rim drive had her side of the truck over a direct fall of hundreds of feet from the edge of the narrow two lane twisty road with no guard rails.  We finished the complete circle, had lunch at a park lodge, and then headed for the trailer.

I need to do some research and see if I can determine just how many National Parks we have visited, we have been to many.  After a quick glance I have counted 59 National Parks and Monuments that we have visited.  At the first National Park that we visited after retirement we purchased the "old folks" Golden Age Passport for $10 and that gets us into all these national treasures for the rest of our lives for free.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

beautiful drive

Today we headed to south central Oregon and after we passed through Springfield, OR we had a beautiful scenic drive cross-country away from the Interstate.  We are in Klamath Falls, OR for the next three nights and plan to enjoy the Crater Lake NP and perhaps a few of the local attractions.  The State of Oregon is beautiful and we have enjoyed several of the different areas of interest.  We will do some grocery shopping while here to make sure we are stocked for the remainder of our trip home.

When we leave here we are headed for the Martin Manor with a day of rest in Grand Junction, CO.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

back in Oregon

We turned southward this morning and are back in Oregon for the rest of this week.  It was a bit foggy this morning for the first couple of hours but then it stayed overcast which is always good for driving.  A bit of hectic driving through the Vancouver-Portland area with heavy traffic but no major problems and we arrived near Albany, OR at the time we had planned.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

maintenance day

Today was a day to take care of a little bit of maintenance as well as rest up from the past couple of days of exploring.  After a quick trip to Wal-Mart for a new long handled squeegee, I got the trailer windows washed.  I had two such squeegees in the basement but they were old and left streaks.  I also adjusted our hitch in the truck bed as it had developed a bit of slop that banged during braking and acceleration, minor adjustment needed.  After a nice bowl of Jo's soup for lunch I had a short nap before dumping our holding tanks.  We have large holding tank capacities and this is the first dump since we started this trip.  We now will be able to manage our needs until the last morning as we head for home.  We always want to get home with empty tanks so we are ready to start any next adventure.

This evening we have a dinner date planned at a local Port Angeles seafood restaurant.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Olympic National Park day 2

We got an early start this morning and it was a good thing we did.  We left around 7:30 am and didn't get back to the trailer until 4:30 pm this afternoon.  This is one humongous park and the only access points are from around the perimeter.  Yesterday we took in the ones along the northern edge of the park and today we drove to the western edge to experience the rain forest and beaches which was a long drive over and back, long but very scenic.  The trails at the Hoh rain forest were a bit difficult for Jo (her cane did help) so she got quite tired on the first one and I took the second one for a few more pictures.  These huge trees were Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock and it was hard to take pictures because we couldn't get far enough away to get the complete tree in one shot.  There were a couple where I took two shots, one from the ground up and the next one of the tops.  Looking up at these monsters got us a bit dizzy at times especially when we had to quickly look back down to see where our next step was going to be.  The one trail that I took was aptly named the Hall of Mosses as there was moss covering most of the trees along that path as well as the undergrowth.  There is another rain forest in the park but it is in the far Southwest corner and we thought we had seen enough and were ready to get back to Port Angeles.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Olympic National Park

We had a great time last evening visiting and getting reacquainted with Jo's cousins.  The dinner was great and not overly crowded so we weren't pushed to leave and just sat around the table and talked for quite awhile.

This morning we headed into some of the entries into the Olympic National Park along this North side of the park.  The first drive went up into the mountains with a steady climb from a little over 400' here in Port Angeles to over 6000' at the top of the drive in 18 miles.  Jo thought that since we were up into the mountains that we would not see any wildlife but as we turned one corner there was a deer doe and her fawn.  They weren't in any hurry and allowed us several pictures as you can see in our album below.  They walked slowly across the road while we both grabbed for our cameras.  Tomorrow we plan to head to the West side and the rain forests and coastline.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

We're Here, finally

Port Angeles, WA was our goal last July when our truck decided it didn't want to go any further while still in eastern WA.  Since it took a week to get us back on the road we canceled this part of that trip and headed back toward the Martin Manor.  Now with JoAnn's new truck we have finally made it.  We want to explore the Olympic National Park and this NW corner of the USA before heading back south and then east.

We have plans this evening to meet with Jo's cousin and her family for dinner, they live in this area and we made contact to hopefully have a little time to visit with them.

It was a beautiful drive up from Oregon today along the west side of the Puget sound.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bonneville Dam fish ladder and fish hatchery

This morning we made a short drive to this lock and dam.  The fish hatchery was great with good views of trout ponds and sturgeon.  One sturgeon was huge about 60 years old and looked to be about 8-10 feet long.  The bad news is that I messed up the uploading of my pictures and only got one before clearing the memory card and losing all the others.  Fortunately Jo got a few fish pictures along with her shots of the rose gardens.

The visitor's center at the dam and fish ladder had underwater viewing windows of the fish moving through the ladder.  They also had people watching the passage through a narrow slot to count the fish as they passed through.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beautiful day

This morning we took a very nice drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway, old US Rte 30.  There were many great waterfalls visible from this route and many more that are reachable with some long hiking trails, too much for these old legs.  There were a couple of short hikes to get these pictures that were on the edge of "shouldn't have gone there" but glad that I did.

After a nice lunch we made a longer drive around the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

river to river

Last night we were on the banks of the beautiful Snake river and tonight we are within a stones throw of the beautiful Columbia river.  Both locations are well worth a return visit.  It was a great twisty drive through some beautiful scenic canyons and high prairies.  We are here for a couple of days to do the tourist thing and intend to find a bunch of waterfalls along the old route 30 that can't be seen from the Interstate, pictures hopefully will follow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This evening we are just a little bit out of Idaho into Oregon.  This morning it was a strong headwind from Pocatello to Boise so the fuel economy was not good.  There were no wildlife sightings today but we did see a few quite large wildfire burn areas.  There were miles of scorched earth areas and just glad that since they were right beside the highway area they were all cleared up and not a problem for our travel.

Monday, September 10, 2012


This morning Jo and I had to visit a grocery store for a few items and then Vena picked us up for a tour around the area.  The drive we took was to the east and south of Pocatello on the way toward Curt's house up into the surrounding mountains.  These pictures are only a sampling of the vistas that were ours to observe.

This is the view from Vena's apartment without the rainbow.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Great Visit

Our drive today was a bit longer than we normally like at 350 miles but other than being a little longer than our usual day the drive was good.  Wildlife sightings today included many, many antelope early this morning and then a little later Jo saw a coyote.

We had a great time this afternoon visiting with Vena, Curt, and Renee.  They put together a great meal of special (Renee's dad's) recipe BBQ ribs.  We were able to get caught up a little on family happenings and then enjoy dining outside on the deck.  After dinner we had a few minutes of music time with Curt on his guitar and me trying my luck on my mandolin.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

coming up in this world

Yesterday we climbed from 1000' to 3200' and then today we rose up to 6600' here in Rawlins, WY.  The highest point on today's drive was a rest area that has a monument to Abe Lincoln in honor of the Lincoln Highway at elevation 8680'.

I-80 has been quite good except for a short stretch around Cheyenne that was quite rough.  Enough that it shook one of the fridge door shelves out of it's socket and we had to use all four hands to keep from putting some things on the floor at our lunch stop.  Those that know this route also know that it  takes very little steering wheel use.

Wildlife sightings today include prairie dogs, red tailed hawks, and antelope.

Friday, September 07, 2012

night two in NE

It shore is a fer piece cross this here corn-husker State.  We're 327 miles west of the Missouri River and have another 126 miles of Nebraska left before we enter Wyoming.  Some of the corn is being cut and the fodder baled for cattle feed and there are some corn fields still being irrigated.

We always have low fuel economy on this route because as I have said it is all up hill and there is usually a head wind, today was no exception.  When we entered Nebraska at the Iowa line the elevation is right at 1000 feet and here in Ogallala it is 3200 feet.  The trip looks like all flat land except that flat surface is on a tilt.

In the urban area around Lincoln we saw a flock of turkeys (8-10) along the right-of-way but that is the total of our wildlife sightings today.  In the past we have often seen deer along the Platte River.  There were a few showers today but not during our fuel-up or other stops.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Happy Anniversary to us

It's a little past 2:00 pm now and if my memory serves me correctly that is the time we stood in front of Rev. Vertz 54 years ago and said we do, and we still do.

We are now just barely into Nebraska having crossed the Missouri River and up the hill to Nebraska City.  Our trip through Iowa (ten miles) wasn't long enough to unfold a map.  John knows the route as this is on the way to the alpaca sale barn.  We usually go up through Macon and over 36 to St. Joe but today we altered that and took I-70 to KC in order to stop at the flying-J fuel station there.  We have a card for Pilot/flying-J that gives us 8 cents off cash price and still charge the purchase with no cut-off limit at the pump.

Tomorrow is a long day across Nebraska to Ogallala and having checked before it is up hill all the way.