Sunday, August 22, 2021

Hurricane Henri

We've been parked at our favorite driveway for a little over a week now. It's Located on LBI. (Long Beach Island) New Jersey. During that week it's been hot, cool, sunny, cloudy, and now it's a hurricane.
Just the outer bands of the tail end of a hurricane, but it's a pretty good storm. I'm lying here awake at 3 in the morning, listening to the rain on the roof of the van and feeling the wind rocking us just like if we were driving down the road. The occasional bolt of lightning lights up thru the Windows and I count the seconds before the thunder - CRACK - that one was instant. It was close!

In all the years we've been coming here in august (nearly 20) we've never had predictable weather. Unless you call a little bit of everything predictable. It can go from suffocating heat without a breath of air at noon, to windy and cool at 2, to perfectly gorgeous for the sunset at 8, to a hurricane at 3am.
I feel close to nature here. Maybe too close.😁

Morning after Henri - The ocean has calmed down but there's good surf!

Our spot

Monday, August 09, 2021

Two wenches and a president

We haven't seen our old RVing friend Lynne in several years. She moved from Oregon to Minnesota last year and she said if we come anywhere within a day's drive, she'd get out her RV and come meet us. Well alrighty then, that sounds like a plan. We plotted our course east to use Highway 80 and found a campground just north of Iowa City. It turned out that we would be meeting over a weekend, so I had to make reservations rather than just trusting our luck. This was a COE (Corps of Engineers) park and they are very popular local destinations for weekend travelers. The reservation system ( showed about 80% of sites were open and available during the week, but I snagged the last 2 sites open for Saturday night. Lynne would be arriving sometime on Friday night, we took advantage of the firewood for sale (6 pieces for $5) and started a nice fire in the campsite's fire ring - we had marshmallows now! This took a bit of doing because we had no kindling - nothing to get a fire going. We dug in the trash for some cardboard and it finally took.

As much as we were looking forward to seeing Lynne, anticipation was even greater for her beautiful dog, Finn. We've been seeing photos of him on Facebook for several years now and couldn't wait to meet him. What a joyful pup he is. I'm so glad that Lynne has him as a companion.

Jim's long-lost brother? They have the same mustache!

Saturday morning with our coffee, we asked Lynne if she'd be interested in visiting the Herbert Hoover Presidential museum which was only about a 20-minute drive. She said, "Sure!" So, off we went. Jim and I are big fans of Presidential museums - we've been to every Official Presidential museum, and Hoover's is one of our favorites. 
We left Finn in his air-conditioned RV, unplugged our van and drove it the 20 minutes to West Branch, Iowa, and the Herbert Hoover birthplace and museum. Little did we know that it was "Hoover Days" - Aug 6-7. What a treat. The streets were blocked off and there were tents, booths, and exhibits all thru town. The first item of business was lunch. We found this great bar/restaurant called The Downunder, because it was in the basement. Very cool ambiance with the old brick, good beer and great food. 

If you scan this code you'll get a video overview of Herbert Hoover's life

After a full and very interesting afternoon, we headed back to the campground to take Finn for a walk and relax. 

Lynne has always referred to family and friends as Pirates and Wenches. I'm not sure where that came from, but it's fun. 

We settled in for a quiet evening and wanted to build a fire. We had plenty of good firewood, but still no starter pieces. Lynne had an ax and tried to split some wood into smaller pieces, but it wasn't working so great. At one point, we both bent down and started blowing on the same spot of hot coals - voila! the fire took off,

Who needs fire  starter? All it takes is two wenches to blow..

What a great weekend. I love how RVing allows us to stay connected to friends. I was reminded about why we are friends with Lynne. Not only is she beautiful, talented and accomplished, she is also crazy smart. It was so fun exploring some history with her at the Hoover museum as she added some local Iowa farmer perspectives. We had non-stop conversation well into the night. And, marshmallows over the fire were pretty good too! We Love you, girl! err I mean wench.

After she left on Sunday, we stayed on and did one of our "What Does This Button Do?" shows. Episode 217 - prepare to be offline

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Rocky Mountain high

Time to head east. The normal route east across Colorado is Highway 70 - but it's had some major mudslides and is closed. Highway 50, going east out of Montrose also had some mudslides and is closed during weekdays. They have it open on weekends, so we decided to stay at Heath and Alyssa's one more night and leave on Saturday. Don and Kim recommended a side road over the Cottonwood Pass. We follow their advice whenever possible, so here we go.

A drive over a stunning 12,000 foot mountain pass, camping in a beautiful national forest campground with a nice walk along a creek and a real wood campfire. Then finish it off with a soak in a natural mountain hot springs. That was our last 24 hours

Jim was very happy with the ease at which our Roadtrek climed this pass

This is the Collegiate Peaks national forest campground. We snagged one of the last spots.

It was cool enough to have a fire. Where are the marshmallows?

Collegiate Peaks and Chris' history

This is an area in the Colorado Rocky mountains where there are several mountains, including Mt. Harvard and Mt. Yale, that are over 14,000 feet. Too bad none of them can call themselves the highest point in the continental US because that honor goes to Mt. Whitney in California at 14,495. A looooong time ago, when I (Chris) was a hippie hiker/backpacker I climbed the mountaineer route to the top of Mt. Whitney with my boyfriend, Bob. One summer we also took a trip thru Colorado and did some backpacking in the Collegiate peaks area. I can't remember exactly where, but I found this photo of me on the balcony of a cabin in these mountains. It had a sign in the window to the effect that backpackers were welcome to use the cabin rather than pitch a tent. Cool.

Chris - circa 1975 hiking in the
Collegiate Peaks
Jasper - the dog (left) and Bob


We found a hot springs! Just down the road from our campground. Cottonwood Hot Springs They had several pools, ranging in temperature from 98 to 106 - that's hot! They also promoted the fact that these hot springs were not sulphur, that means they don't stink! They are mineral - mostly Lithium.