Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back to Denver

We left Redstone Monday morning at 9:10am, early for us. We (Gail) always say we'll be on the road by 9:30 and we usually leave about 10:00. Not sure what takes so long, because we typically spend about 25 minutes getting things put away and another 10 minutes getting the truck hooked up to tow. :) I think we spend too much time watching the Today show while eating breakfast. Anyway, we surprised ourselves this time. Had an uneventful drive to Denver. Stopped at a rest area for lunch, stopped for fuel and drove a whole 197 miles and arrived around 2:30. And we're in the same site that we stayed in in June. And our campground hosts remembered us from our June visit.

The weather is perfect. High 70's and low 80's and lots of sunshine. Right now we plan to leave here on Thursday morning. I spent today cleaning the inside of the motorhome. This campground has paved roads and concrete parking pads, so I thought I should get rid of some of dust we collected in Utah and western Colorado. Love staying in national forests and on BLM land (the price is right and the scenery is unbeatable), but the gravel and sand sure make for a dusty interior. Even the vertical surfaces had to wiped down. And I washed the throw rugs and some towels. We put three small rugs on the dash when we're parked because Kasey likes to lay on the dash and look out the front window. The rugs help control his shedding, so we don't have dog hair flying all over. He spends a lot of time outside and loves to watch the comings and goings in the campground. He really enjoys people coming over to pet him. And we do get lots of visitors because of him. He's a real part of our family; even if he does shed enough for a whole kennel of dogs. :)

We're going to dinner with Jean and Steve tonight, so better get this posted before they get here.

More later.......

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Camping with the Boys, S'Mores and Moving On

After a very busy week of grandkid sitting and going back and forth from the campground to Carbondale and back again, we had a very relaxed Saturday. Tim, Karen, Elijah and Isaac came out to the campground Saturday afternoon for a weiner roast and s'mores. The boys really seemed to enjoy themselves as you can see from these pictures.

We'll be leaving Redstone on Monday, the first day of fall, and heading on toward Illinois. Sure will be hard to leave these boys and this beautiful scenery. So here are some more pictures of the drive from Carbondale to Redstone. I just can't get enough of this. :)

View of Mt Sopris going south from Carbondale

Crystal River looking north

Crystal River looking south

Another mountain

View of mountains from our campsite

View of our campsite from our front door

So it's back to the flatlands of Illinois for now.

More later........

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah and Colorful Colorado

We left Idaho on Sep 10 and stayed overnight at Yuba State Park at Scipio, Utah on our way to Colorado. We decided at the last minute to visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and planned to stay at Dead Horse Point State Park which is located right between the two national parks. Their campground was full so the ranger directed us to Horsethief Campground just outside the state park on BLM land. This park is in the high desert and was just fabulous. No water, we already had a full tank because the state park doesn't have water; but 30 amp electric. Here is a picture of our site at Horsethief CG.

And with being so far from any town, and no artificial lighting in the park, I was able to get some great sunset pictures from our site.

We spent one day exploring Canyonlands National Park from the "Island in the Sky" mesa at the north side and another at Arches NP. Both parks really require a lot more time, but we had tentatively told the kids we would arrive on Saturday.
Here are slideshows from both parks. The first two are from Arches NP and the last is Canyonlands. Place your mouse over the bottom of the picture to bring up the toolbar.

We did do some "off the main road" driving and walked several short trails. We will for sure be going back to spend more time at these two beautiful parks and will probably stay again at the BLM campground.

On Saturday morning we left the high desert of southeastern Utah and headed for Colorful Colorado and its tall mountains, mountain rivers and tall pine trees.
We arrived at Redstone Campground in the White River National Forest about 3:00 pm after a really easy drive. The campground is about 15 miles south of Carbondale, CO where Tim, Karen, Elijah and Isaac live. Tim is our oldest child and if you've been following our blog you know we were here in June/July to help them get moved into their new house. They moved from flat, hot, high humidity McKinney, Texas to mountains, rivers, fly fishing, low humidity Colorado. And they seem to have settled in real well.

Dan's brother, Larry and his wife Phyllis, arrived on Sunday and parked right across from us at Redstone.

Don't you just love that scenery?

Redstone is a National Forest Campground (managed by Thousand Trails), so our Golden Age Passport allows for 1/2 price camping. Regular price is $25 + $5 for electric. We pay $12.50 + $5 for electric. We use 2 small electric heaters at night rather than use the propane furnace. There is one non-hookup loop and 2 loops with electric and water. No dump station so we have to be sure we have empty waste tanks when we come in. They do have showers with solar heated water, so at this time of the year it is wise to take evening showers because the water really cools off overnight. :)

Tim and Karen were especially glad to have us visit again since Karen's boss had called her back to Memphis for 2 days. Karen works from home for Hilton. He wouldn't tell her the reason she needed to come back, but did say "it is all good." Dan took her to the Aspen airport Tuesday morning R 7:30 and she'll return Friday morning. Soooo, we are all waiting to hear from her tonight. Elijah started in a new preschool on Tuesday, so Grandpa and Grandma are spending the days with Isaac at home. Elijah's school is in El Jelbel, about 20 minutes from their house, and on the way to Basalt where Tim works. Elijah really likes his new school. He was missing going to school and having a routine to his days.
Meet Isaac and Elijah

We haven't been spending much time in the campground, but are looking forward to having the kids come out on Saturday for a weiner roast and s'mores. The boys should really enjoy that, especially since there are lots of chipmunks in the campground and they may get to see some deer. I bet their dad does some fishing in the Crystal River which flows right past the campground. :)

I think that just about gets this blog up to date again. As I've said before, we are really enjoying this lifestyle. Not sure where we'll end up after leaving here. Will check out the maps and see what tweaks our curiosity.

More later........

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Catching up and Sadness

I sincerely apologize to everyone who keeps checking the blog to see where we are and what we are doing. We are just fine. In excellent health and just enjoying the freedom of this great lifestyle. But,,,,,, you knew there was a "but"

When I last posted, Stephanie and Erin had left Seattle and Lucy and her parents were in Florida; and we were expecting to leave Seattle around the 27th or 28th of August. The O'Byrne's arrived back in Seattle on Sunday, August 24th (Gretchen's birthday) and we had decided that we would leave on Tuesday or Wednesday, staying just long enough with Lucy to reacquaint with her, but not so long as to get back in a routine. Leaving a 2-year-old can be difficult for all concerned.

So we were making sure the webcams worked and talking about leaving when we received a call from Dan's older brother on Monday, August 25th telling us that their nephew, Scott Brogdon, Dave's forty-one year old son, was missing. Dave is Dan's younger brother. Scott had talked with some family members about ending his life. When we learned on Monday that Scott's body had been found in the Illinois River, Dan decided to fly back to Illinois to be with his brother and family. We were able to get a flight leaving on Tuesday through St. Louis and into Springfield where our wonderful neighbors picked him up at 9:55pm.

Scott ended his life by walking into the Illinois River, probably on Saturday, when he last spoke to his family. He had a long history of problems with alcohol and apparently just was not able to cope with his life as he saw it. He leaves behind a 20 year old son from a previous marriage and a current wife and her children, plus his parents, a brother and two half-sisters, and aunts, uncles and cousins. He will certainly be missed. We continue to keep his family in our prayers.

Sooo, Dan returned to Seattle on Saturday, August 30th. I spent the time while he was gone just being with Gretchen and her family. We didn't do a lot, but just hung out together.

We left Seattle on Labor Day for the southeastern part of Washington and spent several days near Pasco, WA at Hood Park, a Corps of Engineer park, near the confluence of the Yakima, Snake and Columbia Rivers. This park is one of the most beautiful parks we've been in. Since southeastern Washington doesn't get much rain, irrigation is everywhere. So the parks are just beautiful. There is a lot of space between the sites at Hood River with many large trees. We did not have satellite TV, but I was able to get on the Internet with my aircard. But I just couldn't get up the energy to bring the blog up to date. We really just chilled out and enjoyed the scenery. Went for several drives and visited Sacajawea State Park where Lewis and Clark camped and otherwise just generally hung out.

We had been pretty busy since we left home on June 2nd with a wedding, an RV rally, visiting with family in Denver and Carbondale, Co, having Erin with us all summer and spending a month at Lucy's house, plus the sadness of Scott's passing.

We then spent the last few days at Three Islands Crossing State Park near Glenns Ferry, ID. This was the site of the last and one of the worst crossings of the Snake River for the pioneers heading to Oregon. Another beautiful park with lots of space between sites. I know, I sound like I don't like neighbors, but that's not true. We both enjoy visiting with fellow RVers and go out of our way to meet people, but we have lived in a subdivision for many years and really enjoy looking at the scenery and not the side of an RV parked next to us. So, we really like COE, national forests and state parks.

We're moving to Massacre Rock State Park, close to American Falls, ID tomorrow for a few days. Plan to visit the replica of Fort Hall at Pocatello, ID. Fort Hall was one of the last opportunities for the pioneers to restock supplies. And there are some scenic drives in the area. We have really enjoyed following parts of the Mormom Trail and Oregon Trail. And we've also crossed part of the Lewis and Clark Trail. And we are really enjoying our mode of transportation as compared to those early settlers. :)

I'll post some pictures of the contrast between the farm land and mountains in this area. This part of Idaho gets very little rain and relies entirely on irrigation from the Snake river. The main crops are sugar beets, potatoes, hay and straw. The green of the irrigated fields next to the dry, sagebrush, tan/brown mountains is quite a contrast. There are huge stacks of BIG bales of straw in the fields. And since the rainfall is so scarce, they are are not covered with tarps like they would be in Illinois.

We're making our way toward Carbondale, CO to visit with Elijah and Isaac and their parents again as we make our way back toward Illinois.

Really do like this slow pace and the freedom of this lifestyle.

More later.......