Travel Days and Boondocking Stays

Seems hard to believe that just a couple weeks ago I was sitting poolside working on my tan in sublimely warm and sunny New Orleans. Now here we are in Ferndale, Washington 2,800 miles away and I’m working on my laptop bundled under the covers at 6:00 in the morning. No, I’m still not a morning person, but this is about the only time we get half-way decent internet service. Yes, that’s a big bummer. 🙁

But, I wanted to share a few pics from our whirlwind travel days. So before I lose my window of opportunity here, let me see how many I can download. 🙂

So long for now mighty Mississippi River … and humidity!

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We’re headed through the high dessert for a few days. 🙂

I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve passed the Continental Divide signs. But this is the first time I’ve had my phone close enough to snap a picture. Not very good quality, but I got it! LoL

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There’s just something about freight trains rumbling along the tracks I just love.

Freight trains in New Mexico.

Freight trains in New Mexico.

Sunset in Shiprock, New Mexico

Sunset in Shiprock, New Mexico

Sunset Shiprock, NM

Sunset Shiprock, NM

We made a quick stop at the Four Corners Monument. I think I had built myself up a little too much for this stop. It was cool, no doubt. But it seemed a little run down and dirty. I’m guessing maybe it was due to being off season?

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4 Corners Monument

4 Corners Monument

It wasn’t very crowded, but I still wasn’t able to get a picture without people or random feet in it.

Four Corners Monument

Four Corners Monument

From there we went on to Moab, Utah. The scenery on the way was stunning as ever.

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Beehive Rock, Utah

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(For anyone keeping score on the time, it’s been 3.5 hours since I started this post. Uggg)

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We spent the night at Klondike Bluff, a BLM area about 16 miles north of Moab on Hwy 191. It’s a trail head parking area as well, so there was a bit a traffic around sunset. It’s a perfect spot for an overnight stay. Dinner with a view of the snowy mountains in the background. There are so many opportunities for outdoor activities there and it’s so gorgeous! We will definitely plan a trip when we can enjoy the area for a few days.

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When we headed out of Moab on Monday morning we started to get a little nervous about some of the steeper grades ahead. So, in an effort to minimize any serious damage to our beloved F150 (with nearly 260,000 miles on her) we rented a truck in Provo, UT to do the heavy hauling for the rest of the way.

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As you can, I got the light load. Nothing but the bikes left in our truck. Thankfully the trip went smoothly for the final 900 miles of our journey. 🙂 How about that Provo sky though, huh? So pretty there!

This is the first time I’ve ever been behind the camper so it was a different perspective for me. Now I have an entire album of the rear end of our rig.  LoL

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Finally, hitting Seattle was sort of like coming home … if there is such a thing for full-timers. It was a perfectly sunny day and traffic was a breeze.

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I know home is where we park it and technically South Dakota is “home” now. But I really love how the Pacific Northwest feels, if that makes any sense at all. It’s such an odd thing for me to wrap my head around because I’m a total beach lover. 🙂

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Well, this is the second day now that I’ve been working on this little post and I’m about out of patience so I’ll stop here. I think a little trip to see if we can find a park with better Verizon service may be in order on Sunday. I’m going crazy not being readily connected at all times! Yikes, I think I may be addicted. Ya think?!?

Thanks for stopping by.

~Cheers~

 

Oh by the way!

Here are the addresses for our  boondocking spots  – (With temps in the teens for our last two nights on the road we stayed in hotels 🙂 )

Night 1 – Camping World in Katy, Texas. Easy access to spaces,safe area, a bit of road noise but not too bad.  (27905 Katy Fwy, Katy, TX 77494)

Night 2 – Walmart, Clovis, New Mexico – Friendly manager, minimal parking lot traffic, just a few big rigs, safe area. (3728 N Prince St, Clovis, NM 88101)

Night 3 – Walmart, Farmington, New Mexico – The manager was very nice, no big rigs the night of our stay, just a handful of other RVs, safe area. With the exception of some kids riding through at about midnight blaring their horns for fun, it was very quiet. (4600 E. Main Street, 87402)

Night 4 – Klondike Bluffs North Parking Area – BLM Trail Head – 16 miles north of Moab on Hwy 191.

 

Logan Canyon to Bear Lake Utah

Looking back it almost seems like we were making our way through the alphabet with our next destination – Antelope Island to Bear Lake. We did stay at a place called Chris’ Campground, but that wasn’t until later on down the road. 🙂

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Our trip through Logan Canyon to Bear Lake in Utah was as stressful memorable as you might expect. As a rule, we’ve decided that when time permits, it’s always best to take the state roads as opposed to the interstates whenever possible. This is usually a good practice as the speed limits are generally lower and the traffic moves along at a much more leisurely pace.

The thing about state roads though, is you need to really mind your maps, especially topographically when mountains and passes are involved. I’ve learned in our travels that the word “pass” truly is a four-letter word…  and by that I mean a nasty cuss. Sure, once you’re up over them the vistas are incredible. It’s the getting up there that makes my butt cheeks pucker.

Before the days of towing a travel trailer with a pick-up truck with 239,000 miles on it, I would have seen the sign for Logan Canyon and thought “Sweet! My little sports car and I would love to go zooming up the twisting turning roads. No worries!” Now, however, not so much.

Oh, the views are still just as splendid. Actually, I suppose they are an even sweeter reward for making it to the top. Being able to breathe that first deep lung-full of air, after envisioning the motor blowing up with various parts spewing through the hood of the truck and us careening backward to a fiery death for the entire incline, is sweeter than iced-tea in Georgia!

Of course, Mr. Gibberish assures me that if something were to happen to the over-stressed engine, he is in total control and we most certainly would not go careening anywhere. Hmmm… I know he’s right. But still.

Here are some pics I managed to take on the way up Routes 91 & 89 out of Brigham City, Utah on our way to Bear Lake. I have to tell you though, getting a good perspective on the incline is hard for a novice photographer like me. 🙁

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See… looks flat, huh?

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Twisting – Turning… no pull-offs here folks!

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Logan Canyon is part of the Cache National Forest. No we didn’t stop – we had forward momentum! 😉

The elevation at the summit was only… (6923 feet)

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which is actually kind of funny because we ended up going much higher in our travels, but I was much less stressed after this one. Go figure.

Once we made it over that crest, this was our reward…

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Bear Lake, or the “Caribbean of the Rockies” as it’s know due to the brilliant blue color of the lake, actually changes color depending on the weather. Sunny = Blue, Overcast = Green, Stormy = Aquamarine. The change is due to suspended limestone particles in the water.

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We stayed at Bear Lake Rendezvous State Park. Unfortunately, the site we were in was disappointing, especially after the incredible site we had on Antelope Island. Besides the fact that it was more than double the price, the site was dumpy, uneven, and over grown. It did, however have a great view of the lake. The night we were there the wind was so strong on the lake, the waves coming onto shore actually sounded like a decent ocean surf.

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There were even tiny little shells all over the place…

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The sheer size of the lake and constant ripple of waves gave the place a very ocean-like vibe…20130531_175951

We even saw a lighthouse on the way out of town. Oddly enough the second one we’ve seen in Utah!

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This was also the first time we came across off-road vehicles driving freely on the main streets.

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We made a mental note to take full advantage of this if we had the opportunity during our travels. (Spoiler alert  — We did in South Dakota!)

After leaving Utah we made it as far as Jackson, Wyoming where we toured the town and spent the night.

More on that in the next post. 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by!

~Cheers~

 

Ramblings from the Road… Vacation Is Over

Time has a funny way zipping by at the speed of light lately. I’m not sure how it happened but I just checked my day planner and we have indeed been on “vacation” for a whopping five weeks and five days. Seriously?? Yes, just double checked.

As I sit here and try to organize copious amounts of photos, videos and notes it does indeed leave no doubt that I’ve been slacking – and enjoying every minute. But the time has come to get back to work and try to capture some of the highlights for posterity. (Ha! yes I used that stuffy old word.) What I really mean is for you all – my peeps!  😀

I guess the best place to start is the beginning…

Antelope Island, Utah.

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I know I posted a little bit about this wonderful park in the past, but I had some more awesome photos I wanted to share. Also, I have to say, if you’ve never had a chance to visit this park and find yourself in the vicinity It’s a must see! Really… don’t worry.

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Lol… okay, so times have changed and we’ve come a long way. But if you’re willing to “rough it” and by that I mean dry camp for a few days, Antelope Island will more than make up for the lack of utilities with its spectacular views, spacious sites, and abundant wildlife.

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This was our little piece of heaven for two nights at the end of May. Did I mention the over-night fee is only $10? What a deal! There is a one time fee of $3 when crossing the causeway to the island but still, what a bargain!

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A rainbow on our first night of the month-long road trip brought us good luck 🙂

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Hey Babe – Check out the buffalo at the next camp site!

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Ummm… what?  LoL It was awesome to see the beasts that close! They are fun to watch as they just seem to graze and lie around all day. We definitely felt a connection with them. 😉

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The view from Buffalo Point Trail out into White Rock Bay was stunning and included a view of a herd of bison. They are hard to see, but they’re down there.

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However, we didn’t need to leave our site, or even the H.O.W. (house on wheels) to see the big brown beauties!

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The view from my desk… not too shabby!

There were some other animals that were a little harder to capture, but I gave it my best shot.

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I don’t know what kind of bird this is, but I can tell you it was amazingly fast! It ran more than flew and when it did it looked just like the Roadrunner cartoon. Cute!

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And hey! There’s Bugs Bunny! Okay, I know it’s a jackrabbit. Again, a super fast creature. Not a great image, but actually, I can’t believe I was able to get a shot of it at all!

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An antelope under the pedestrian sign. 🙂

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This image is a little better. So pretty and delicate, in total contrast to the bison.

And a couple more buffalo pics –

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Sunbathing on the beach – what a life.

As you can imagine the peace, quiet, and solitude was only enhanced by the exquisite views.

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Antelope Island was the perfect spot to start our six-state road trip. One word of caution however – brine flies or gnats. We somehow managed to get very lucky while we were there. We did not have any problem with the gnats and never actually even saw any until we stopped at the U.S. Army Ranger & Air Force Memorial on the way out. But be sure to check your calendar and the Utah State Parks website for the brine fly season.

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Link to info on U.S. Army and Air Force Memorial – Antelope Island 

We had an incredibly relaxing time while on the island and hope that if you get a chance to visit the park you enjoy your time there as much as we did.

That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

~Cheers~

Antelope Island and Bear Lake in Utah…

Hi All!

Just wanted to wish everyone a good weekend and let you know we are in route to our next destination.Our stops so far included Antelope Island and Bear Lake, both in Utah.

A change of plans has us heading toward North Dakota instead of Wyoming but all is well as the scenery is spectacular.

This is just a quick post. I will write dedicated posts to the places we see in our travels once we get situated and our internet connection is a little better. 🙂

We were able to check out Antelope Island…

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That’s the H.O.W. (house on wheels) down there with some brave tent campers in the site next to us.

The sunset was amazing…

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From Antelope Island we’ve been heading north. Route 89 off of I-15 is a scenic highway and I’ve got a lot of pics to show you! But for now I’ll just show you all one of Bear Lake where we stayed last night.

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The water in the lake actually changes color dramatically depending on the weather. I’ll fill you in on the details later. Very cool. Luckily while we were here it stayed a brilliant blue – which means clear sunny skies.

Okay that’s all for now. Like I said, just wanted to let everyone know all is well and to say …

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That’s all for now 🙂

~Cheers~

Fly Over States and Phone Calls from Home

When it comes to fly over states, I’ll take the view from the front seat over first class any day. Scenic Vista Oregon

Scenic Vista Oregon

One of the things I’ve noticed while being on the road over the past year is that phone calls from home seem to have a greater impact on me. I guess back when we were all living within a few miles of one another we really didn’t talk on the phone all that much. When I did get a call from one of my boys I always had that fluttery feeling in my gut that something must be wrong.

Thankfully I never got any calls reporting bad news. Usually it was a question about how to make something, how to spell something, or the ever popular couple of bucks for gas money request. But now that we’re on the road we get a different kind of call from home. Usually it’s my oldest son, Rob, and he’s just calling to say hi and make sure we’ve haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth.

It’s funny how a call from one of your kids can put a smile on your face that lasts for days. We got one of those calls a while back from Rob. He calls a couple of times a month to check in on us, especially when we are on the move. In a way it’s like our roles have switched and he is the mother hen watching over her brood.

This call, however, was a little out of the ordinary. He called to tell me he heard a song on the radio that morning that reminded him of Joe and me and he thought it would be a great idea for a post here on AGG.

Now first of all let me say that I am always touched by his concern for us but this call really blew me away. Not only did he think of us when he heard the song… but he thought about it enough to recommend it as a topic for a post! The simple fact that he takes the time out of his hectic day to read my blog warms my heart. But knowing that he felt so strongly about this song and how much he thinks of us when he hears it was like a great big bear hug though the telephone lines… or… satellite waves… or however our calls are transmitted these days.

The song is “Fly Over States” by Jason Aldean. It’s about what you miss when you’re traveling the country at 30,000 feet and how you can’t judge what life must be like in the middle of nowhere unless you’ve been there. It’s so true. It was like it dawned on me all over again how lucky we are to be able to see this great country of ours in such an up close and personal way.

One trip in particular stands out in my memory as one of those times where we got an even closer look into small town U.S.A. Joe decided to defy the demanding voice of the shrew in the GPS and take a two lane state road instead of the interstate. We got off I-25 in Dwyer, Wyoming and took Route 26 though the south-west corner of Nebraska. The pace was a little bit slower but we were on Main Streets to towns like Scottsbluff, Northport, Broadwater, Ogallala and Oshkosh. I never even knew there was more than one Oshkosh… B’gosh!

We were able to smell the smoky aroma of backyard barbecues wafting through the air, hear kids jumping and splashing in community pools, and see the old timers sitting on benches outside the barber shops and hardware stores lazily fanning themselves with the newspaper. Being able to have a front seat view into these snippets of Americana is just one of the perks of life on the road but I have to say it’s a pretty awesome one!

So… thanks Rob, for reminding me of all we have to be thankful for and how special it is for us to be able to see so much of this beautiful country through the windshield of our truck.

I thought I’d leave you with an assortment of pics from our travels in no particular order. Enjoy:-)

2 mills

 

Really???

Really???

 

amarillo

Western Colorado

Western Colorado

Living in the "middle of nowhere"... looks good to me.

Living in the “middle of nowhere”… looks good to me.

Kansas

Kansas

More Kansas... lol

More Kansas… lol

Oregon

Oregon

Oregon

Oregon

or 8

 

This was taken in Utah. We thought it was cute because Providence, RI is only about 45 miles from our home in CT. Well... that and it's a land locked lighthouse... lol

This was taken in Utah. We thought it was cute because Providence, RI is only about 45 miles from our home in CT. Well… that and it’s a land locked lighthouse… lol

Utah

Utah

No worries!

No worries!

Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington

Moon over Montana

Moon over Montana

 

Freshening up... cowboy style

Freshening up… cowboy style

Umm... no thanks, I'll stay sleepy.

Umm… no thanks, I’ll stay sleepy.

Hand in hand... mile after mile

Hand in hand… mile after mile

ot sure where our next year on the road will take us, but I’m certainly looking forward to the journey.

Thanks for stopping by, more memories to come in my next post.

~Cheers~