Friday, April 29, 2005

29 Degrees and Snowing

Here's the scene from the bedroom window this morning. And from my office. And out the front door. I'm speechless.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

We're not in the desert any more.

When we got up yesterday, we were in Grand Junction, Colorado - about 3-4,000 feet. It was a sunny, warm day. We wore shorts and t-shirt. We looked at the map and saw that our destination was over 250 miles away. We planned to cover that in 2 days. The Rocky mountains were ahead of us and we figured we'd stay somewhere in the mountains. Those of you who know the Rockies may be laughing already. Highway 70 goes over 2 passes as it crosses the mountains, one at Vail - elevation 10,603 and another just before Denver - elevation 11,158. It's April - people are still skiing in Vail - campgrounds are closed. The ride started out just gorgeous as we followed the Colorado river into the Rocky mountains. We started looking for campgrounds around Vail - about the halfway point - but there were none to be had. Nada. Zip. So we just kept on going - having no clue what was up ahead. Here we go. It took 1st gear to get us up to the top of this one, but we made it. We breathed a big sigh of relief - that was something! I have been on this road before - but it was 25 years ago. I found myself saying, 'oh yeah, I remember a big, high pass ... Loveland pass right?'. hmmm, that sign back there didn't say Loveland pass did it? Maybe Loveland is on another highway. I study the map. Guess what? Loveland is still ahead of us, and it's over 11,000 feet! Oh my, maybe we should unhook the car and drive separately over this one. We both agree and I start getting the walkie-talkies out, but before we see a good place to pull off, we're headed up the pass. Back into 1st gear we go. I didn't get any photos of the road at this point because it was seriously snowing by now, and the windshield wipers just smeared our view. But here's a couple taken out the side window... Eisenhower tunnel marks the very top of the pass. Loveland, technically is a few miles away on a side road. So, we made it thru the tunnel. Yeah, Yippee Now we must go down. The signs say, "Truckers, are your brakes adjusted and cool? Steep grades, sharp curves, 11 miles" and "Trucks, steep grades, sharp curves, next 5 miles. Use low gear" and "Truckers, don't be fooled, 4 more miles of steep grades and sharp curves." and, finally "Truckers, you are not down yet. Another 1 1/2 miles of steep grades and sharp curves." I found a great website for map and road geeks that has photographs of all these signs. Yes, we could smell our hot brakes by the time we got to the bottom, but we made it just fine. Usually on a longish day of driving like today - I would have driven the last hour or so. Ha! No thanx! But, I'll fix Jim a well-deserved a drink when we get parked. Here's the scene where we're parked this morning: We should have stayed in Moab. Naah ... adventure, that's what it's all about right? Yeah, but ... I like *warm* adventure! It's 4pm now and the temperature hasn't gone above 37 degrees.

Leaving Moab

We LIKED Moab. We could have stayed there a month. Hey Diane and Andy - this town has your name written all over it. Biking, Hiking, Kayaking. A very young, active town. When you work in the RV community, you get accustomed to a lot of older folks. I think we were the oldest ones in Moab! But, alas! We are scheduled to give our seminars at Dakota Ridge RV park by Denver starting Saturday, and you know we hate to rush. So we left Moab. The road follows the Colorado River until you get back to highway 70. What a cool road. I think we passed all of 5 cars in 50 miles! And, look at this scenery! Within a couple hours, we were in Colorado. Not a very 'colorful' sign is it? We found a place to stay for the night in Grand Junction and went to visit one of their many wineries - Two Rivers Winery Man! was that good! Good thing we don't have a lot of money and a lot of storage space - I would have bought a case of their Merlot. That was about the smoothest low-cost wine I've ever had. Yum.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Corona Arch

Anyone who works from a home office can relate to the first part of our day yesterday. I've worked from a home office every since I sold our computer training business in 1996. It has it's drawbacks - I am known to complain about the fact that you never get away from your work - but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love home office. So, yesterday, I got up and grabbed my bathrobe, made the coffee and sat down at the computer. I am completely immersed, emails, database work, web development work, photos etc. Jim is setting up and testing various WiFi antennas and system settings. We're both making phone calls. The next thing I know, the clock says 3:30 pm and I'm still in my bathrobe! Here's where having your home office in a motorhome turns your life to magic! Odie needs a walk. So, I go to that website of 'Pet-Friendly' hiking trails in the Moab area and find the closest one that is less than 4 miles long. Within 15 minutes we were heading out on the 'Corona Arch' trail. It starts by going uphill on the banks of the Colorado river. The flowers are astounding. I've never seen so many cactus flowers. I find the combination of rock and flowers just fascinating. Strength and beauty, power and grace. As we climb up on top of the rocks, you see all the 'Arch Wannabees' as Jim says. Baby arches, arches in training. Big indentations on the canyon walls that will, someday ... some century ... some eon, become an arch. With 'Bowtie Arch' you see how the process works. Isn't this an amazing sight? And, Bowtie Arch is just an extra thrown in sight along the way to Corona Arch. Can you see the little blue dot below the arch? That's a person standing there. Sometimes it's hard to see the arch when the rock on the other side is the same color. So, here's another view. Here's Odie and me at the foot of the arch. Edward Abbey, in Desert Solitaire says it all so much better than I ever could:
A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like the Arch has the curious ability to remind us - like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness - the out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted, for if this ring of stone is marvelous then all which shaped it is marvelous, and our journey here on earth, able to see and touch and hear in the midst of tangible and mysterious things-in-themselves, is the most strange and daring of all adventures.
Did I mention the flowers? At one place the trail became vertical and you had to hold onto a cable to pull yourself up on the footholds that had been carved in the rock. Another advantage of having a small dog. Jim carried him down this part.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Arches National Park

Yesterday (Sunday) was a cold drizzly day. We just stayed home and did computer stuff, reading, grocery shopping etc. Today looks like it will be the same ... in the 50s. But, that's OK, I haven't shown you the rest of the photos from Saturday! After that great hike, we took a drive thru Arches National Park, then we took Odie home and went back to Arches at sunset time - 8pm. Arches is primarily a chunk of desert ... if you happen to be looking east, you see a chunk of the Rockies (La Sal mountains actually) in the background. Then there are the rock formations. These are called the 'Three Gossips'. Then there's the formations AND the mountains. Then there's the arches! I like the photo above showing you the 'stairway to heaven'. But, you have no idea how big this arch is without some people in the picture for perspective. Can you see the person in this one? That little white speck in the lower right corner? And, here's another one. That's me,that red speck in the lower right. How wonderful it was to be here at 8pm. The temperature was delightful, in the low 70s. Very few people there compared to earlier in the afternoon. We went back for sunset but there were too many clouds in the west. But, hey, what's this? The moon ... it's coming up. As we started to walk back to the car, we caught the moonglow behind the arch. oooohhhh, aaaaaaaahhhhh

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Pet Friendly Hiking

As I've mentioned before, the National Parks don't allow pets on trails. As I was perusing websites about the Moab area, I ran across a link that said 'click here for Pet Friendly trails'. So I did. It looked great. So we picked a trail that went to Morning Glory Bridge. A bridge is like an arch but it was formed by water. I can't imagine any trail being more spectacular. And, it's very unusual to have such a nice, fresh stream. I was a little worried about Odie's ability to handle this hike ... stamina is not his strong point ... 4-5 miles is a lot more than he's ever done before. But he was just as frisky at the end of the hike as he was at the beginning. It must have been because he got to cool down every time we crossed the stream. Since this was a pet-friendly trail in the midst of so much land where pets aren't allowed, I think everyone on the trail had at least one dog - Odie was very sociable, sniff ... sniff. Here's our destination, the Morning Glory Bridge. This is 243 feet long and the sixth-longest natural rock span in the United States, according to the website's description. And, here is a view looking up from directly below the Bridge: Along with the spectacular scenery was the everpresent wildflowers. Here's a type of Paintbrush called 'Slickrock Paintbrush'. And, this looks like some kind of rose. And, if this isn't called a 'Fireworks Flower' - it should be! I wish someone would invent a 'scratch and sniff' screen so I could share the frangrances with you as well. One of my clearest memories from years of backpacking in the west is the smell of sage ... I love that smell. Just pick a little piece, rub it between your fingers and keep putting your hand to your nose. Delightful. I considered changing favorite smells to Juniper when Melinda reminded me that they make gin from Juniper. Pick a berry and scratch it, then hold to your nose. The original 'scratch and sniff'! On this trail, we had both so I could compare. The sage still wins. What a great hike.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Greetings from Moab, Utah

We specified Moab as a mail drop, so our first visit was to the Post Office. This town is PACKED! There are lots of mountain bike events here and this weekend is apparently a popular one. We tried 3 RV parks before we found one with a vacancy. "Would you like Internet with that Pizza?" It is amazing all the places where you can get Internet these days.