Back to Work on the 23rd

Good Day Everyone,

Well today is the first day back to work since taking 13 glorious days of vacation. Actually I am ready to head back up to the mountains, even though it is a lot cooler here than when we left. I somehow miss the pastoral serenity of the mountains. There is something very peaceful about the order of things. Strange about order in the mountains, you never know what is around the next turn, whether you will see a wall of rock blocking your path or a beautiful valley that draws you into its heart.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

37 Years

Good Evening All,

Today Dave and I have been married for 37 years. Been together 39 years total. Go figure. In this day and age that is a rarity. Everything seems to be disposable these days.

No seriously, there is not a day that goes by that I don't count my lucky stars and thank God for giving me such a wonderful man. He is kind, gentle, considerate, warm, friendly, a great provider, a wonderful husband and a fabulous father. I could not have done better. I sometimes wonder how he has put up with me for all these years. But we both give and take, we both share the same interests. Although our signs say that he is fire and I am water we have mixed very well like paint and canvas creating a beautiful picture. I am honored to be his wife, helpmate and lover. He has given me more than I could have ever asked for, and for that I am thankful.

Amore and Arrivederci For Now

Day 10....Home At Last!

Good Morning All,

It was good to sleep in my own bed. Did not get up until about 10:30. Was able to get up and walk like a normal person. Thank goodness the temperature outside had cooled off some. Christie had made coffee so I went and got a cup. It was good. Now to unpack the car and put things away and start getting laundry done. All the fun stuff after a vacation. Dave asked if we wanted to go to the 3:55 P.M. showing of Harry Potter. I said "no" as I was too tired and would not enjoy it. Maybe tomorrow.

We took the car to a service shop and they plugged their little outboard computer into it and the "service engine light" was indicating that the car needed to have the catalytic converter looked at. If we had known that we would have continued on up to Leadville for that "mountain pleasure" "comme ci, comme ├ža" .

So tired but came in and read Bobbie and Jim's Blog and thought I can do this. So that is how this blog of Musings came about. I more than likely will not write in it much except for the special occasion here and there, until we get out on the road. But you never know I might surprise myself.

I hope you have enjoyed following along with our story of our first vacation in some time and the pictures we took. It has been fun! Until next time...

Amore and Arrivederci For Now


Day 9....Time To Move On

Good Morning All,
Big Meadow Lake
In the mountains you have a tendency to retire early around 10 P.M. and start to stir around 5 A.M. as the multitude of birds start their morning song. Even after all the commotion last night Dave and I had a very restful sleep, one of our best since we have been up here. It's just getting up and out of the tent that is the small setback. I have to rock myself up on one knee and curl my toes under then push myself up from a crouch position and then in a bent fashion open the tent door by unzipping two zippers and back out of the tent in tiny baby steps all the while trying to hold my 60 year old bladder. It's hilarious to watch. I made it up to the outhouse and back in fine fashion.

We planned to meet Jim and Bobbie and go to breakfast in town. Got dressed and went to knock on their door. Jim answered and said to give them 30 minutes or so as they were just stirring. Seems they had a bad situation in the campground last night and had to call out the sheriff and stayed up all night to make sure the person did not come back. This is what all the car lights and flashlights were about. I felt sorry for Bobbie as she looked whipped as did Jim, and they had a long busy day ahead of them.

We went over to the lake and watched an early morning fisherman float the lake in his tube. The lake was so still, it was like glass and the reflections beautiful. Dave took some more shots. Some of the animals we have encountered at Big Meadows have been deer, chipmunks, a weasel (I had never seen one before, they are quite small and very fast), hummingbirds and marmots, lots of marmots or as they are better known as whistling pigs. What we have not encountered is bear, moose and elk, thank goodness. If you ever get this way be sure to stop at Big Meadow and take time to take in the view and experience the solitude and wonder of this great country and what it has to offer you.
In one particular spot I spied a plastic bag and some trash in the brush. I couldn't stand it any longer as it had been there all week and so I had to go and pick it up and put it in the trash bin. Why do people feel it is necessary to just let their trash run a-muck. The rule is if you bring it in you take it out or dispose of it properly. Pick up your site and leave it better than the person before you and don't leave the dirty baby diapers in the fire pits! Not too many Boy Scouts out there I guess.

We finally got with Bobby and Jim and put them in our car and went into South Fork for breakfast at the Feelin' Good Coffee shop and Cafe. Breakfast was a little slow as it was Logger Days and there was a big crowd in to eat. But it was good. One of the waitresses was from Newalla, OK and I told her I would send her an Oklahoma Sooner Cup for the restaurants use. Will miss those buckwheat pancakes. Saw two very young bucks trotting down towards us on the road back to the campsite. They actually looked like they did not know what to do. Dave got a picture of them. We got back to camp and started process of breaking down the tent and such. 

I will miss this place and boondocking. It is so beautiful and peaceful and cool here. A great place to escape the heat of Oklahoma. We are finally packed. We went and said our goodbyes. Bobbie and Jim will be coming through to visit the Ramirez's around the 13th of October and promised to come by and see us.

We discovered that we had a lot in common. We both like to have the occasional glass of wine. We both love opera, are artistic, see objects and faces in everyday items. You 
Me and Bobbie, my new friend!
have to have an imagination to do it. Guess we are both lucky in that regard. Some people never see the objects or faces in the everyday items.
Christie's thinking rock which is taller than me!
We went up to site 23 where Christie's thinking rock was 21 years ago. It was still there for the kids to play and imagine on. All those years ago she begged us to bring it home for our front yard so she could climb on it and think. 

I remember when the girls were younger they loved camping here, they had so much fun and didn't want to leave. There is so much to see and do. No wonder children love it here.
Moss in bloom

As we were leaving the area I had been wanting to shoot pictures of the moss in bloom. Now I have my chance. I think I got some great shots.

Down out of the mountains we came. Dave asked where I wanted to go next and I said Leadville, it's a great place to go as well. Just thinking about those big cinnamon rolls generally called "Mountain Pleasure" at the Golden Burro Cafe makes my mouth water. Just about that time the service engine light came back on and we both looked at each other and made the decision to head on home instead. We got to Alamosa and filled up with gas, and looked for the little food co-op that Bobbie had recommended. I had tasted some great chicken sausage and raw milk cheese at the Farmer's market in South Fork that was terrific so we made the stop to get some. Dave also found some thick rolled oats and bought a dollars worth, me thinks he should have bought more as I know how much he loves them. I will have to see if I can get the items in Norman. The chicken sausage had chicken, green chilies and chives in it. The cheese was a Sharp Cheddar.

We pressed on through the rest of the day and into the night. Fixed Peanut Butter sandwiches and had chips while the car was in motion. We stopped and got gas in Clayton, NM. I did a little driving so Dave could take a break and get some rest I made it all the way to Dumas, Tx, I'm proud of myself as I am not a night time driver. We made the decision not to stop except for gas and to also take the longer route home down through the panhandle of Texas to Amarillo and across into Oklahoma, as there was cell service should we run into trouble. We did stop to take a break in Dumas, TX at a DQ around 10 P.M. We pressed on into Amarillo which was getting ready to get hit by a big thunderstorm. Somehow we managed to miss it.
                                                                               A Texas Panhandle sunset outside of Dalhart, TX
We're Oklahoma bound at last, made the turn onto I-40 East bound. Once you leave Amarillo there is nothing out there. Thank God for Hollis, OK, A Love's station, with bathrooms and a Subway store. Dave got a 6" cold cut trio and had them cut it in half. It was good. Every little town we came to had a travel plaza of some sort. It was a welcomed site. Got to Norman around 4:30 A.M. July 19th. Could not sleep so for the first time in 9 days watched some TV. Ah sleep, blessed sleep at last after a 16 hour drive and a 21 hour day.

Amore and Arrivederci For Now

Day 8....Car, Poor Car

Good Morning All,
Had to get up early this morning to go to the bathroom in the dark. The moon was up overhead and Venus shown like a single diamond in the sky. It was so bright because the sun was just starting to come up. All the other stars had disappeared.

Jim soon came to say the tow truck was on its way and was coming. Dave and Jim went down to get the food box, ice chests, books, my jeans and take the hitch rack off the back of the car. Boy what a mess.

Got coffee fixed, put fuel in stove and fixed myself some peanut butter honey toast for breakfast. The first piece I fixed I held the bread over the flame with the tongs, the second one I did, I put it on the griddle. It was great!. Yum! could have some more but won't. Am going to read now.

Dave came back to say they were getting ready to leave and he showed me how to change out the photo card on the camera. He is off now. Blew him a kiss and told him I loved him.

Bobbie and I are off to the Farmers market in South Fork this morning. Bought some blueberry, strawberry rhubarb and sweet jalapenos Jams made locally, and an Amish Cookbook, what else is new with me. Purchased some cute pot scrubbers and sun visors. Picked up a few things from the grocery store, one of them being bread.

Got back to the campsite and Jim helped me move from site 4(beautiful) to site 40 (not as beautiful) but nice. Had to move because another camper had site 4 reserved. We did not dismantle the tent but put it on top of his truck bed to move it. It was a sight. I got every thing put way. Bobbie brought my groceries over to the site as they are next store to us. I had to go to the necessary shack which was now back up at the top of the loop. Made the hike up and back and noticed that a chipmunk had gotten into my brand new loaf of bread. Had to take out the first 3 pieces and transfer the rest to the old bread bag. Bobbie was an angel. She made me a tuna fish sandwich with Cheetos and some chocolate pudding and some pink lemonade. How did she know I love all of that! And served on the cutest plastic tray. I will have to pick some up from Walgreen's next season. How can we ever repay their kindness? After getting everything put away and finishing lunch I started reading my next book that I had started back at Christmas and was a third of the way through. "Pillars of the Earth" I had read it 17 years earlier. It was one of those books that was hard to put down. All afternoon I chased the shade. The tops of my knees got burnt. I put on my Mary Kay gel for sunburns and they should feel better soon. Charlie Ramirez in site 3 came by and said there was a change in dinner plans and we were invited for home cooked ham and beans that had been cooked all day over a fire in a dutch oven and homemade cornbread. Dave was not back from Pagosa Springs when time came to go down for dinner. Neither was Jim, he was up at Tucker Ponds campground helping out the camp host there. After Charlie said the dinner prayer, dinner was served. Boy was it good. I ate 2 bowl fulls. Then I saw Dave come walking down the hill, he had made it back from Pagosa Springs. The car needed a new fuel pump. Jim was also able to join us for dinner. All of us shared great conversation. There was Stucky and Barbara, Charlie and Dawna and their son Kyle. Kyle had recently finished his stint in the Coast Guard up in Alaska, and was trying to become a firefighter like his dad in Oklahoma City, and Jim and Bobbie the campground managers and Dave and myself. Dave took a picture of the group, Kyle had already left, just wish he could have been in the picture The only other person missing out of the picture was Dave who was shooting the picture. It had been a long day and we made a date to have breakfast with Jim and Bobbie the next morning. The campsite we were moved to (thankfully there was a spot available) was situated where the tent caught all of the car lights as they came back into camp at night. As we were getting settled into our sleeping mat we noticed lots of lights more than normal. The group above us also decided to start setting up their screen tent at 11:30 at night using their outside voices and clanging metal pole together. I wanted to yell "Use your inside voices it's after 10 P.M." but that would have been counterproductive as I would have been just as guilty. Boy what a day! I finally got to sleep.

Amore and Arrivederci For Now

Day 7...Off and running again.

Good Morning All,

Got up this morning , made coffee and a campfire. Have my Oklahoma soccer Sweatshirt on that Christie gave me for Christmas and my new camp shorts that I got at Wal-Mart the other day. Am looking at the map to see where we want to go today. We may go to Durango. On the way is a lake called Valecito Reservoir that I have heard about but have not seen. We are going to have Pizza with Jim and Bobbie tonight in Creede. Should be fun. Had bacon and homemade biscuit's and sausage at our little coffeehouse. Talked to Christie for a few minutes. Made it over to Durango and had lunch at a Del Taco. Went through one area that had sensors along the highway that would detect animals and alert you to their presence. Never made it to the lake. Heading back to the campground to change then over to Creede for Pizza.
Darn! the car quit just as we pulled into the turn off for the campground, thank-goodness it didn't happen up on the pass. A very nice lady by the name of Becky who is from San Antonio, gave me a ride to Bobbies. She is staying in South Fork this year but came up to look at the campgrounds, said that it must be a God thing that she was there to help us. Jim has gone down to give Dave a tow back to the campgrounds. I am making the rounds with Bobbie as she collects the money from the campers who have not paid and telling new campers about the campground rules of "quiet time". The campground is "Full" for the first time since 4th of July and Jim and Bobbie are quite excited about it.

Marshmallow made his usual evening appearance but there were some new campers in the loop with a crew if teenage kids who thought it was fun to run after Marshmallow and chase him. Jim had to go down and give the kids a talk on "you don't chase the animals, they were here first and you are just visiting".

We all piled into Jim and Bobbies truck, a one ton diesel Ford dually and headed off for Creede. Dave and I were surprised as to how well it rode and the quietness of it. Jim said that Dodges were just too noisy. We went to the Miners restaurant. While I was in the BR the crew went ahead and ordered. When I got back to the table the waiter was delivering our appetizer of french fries and Rocky Mountain Oysters. Yep! Heard about em but never set my teeth into one until now. They were quite good. Would not hesitate to have more in the future. The pizza was good, it was an Italian meat pie, a little burnt on the bottom but good.

Found out that Jim is a retired radio man, did everything at the station and a was volunteer firefighter for Alamosa, Co. Bobbie is a retired media person from the library in Alamosa. They have been married for 25 years, and have been full-timers for two years now. Sold everything and hit the open road. They have been living their dream. Both Dave and I have been in the radio business so know what it's all about.

After dinner we went to the ice cream shop which use to be the fire station. Dave and I got the coffee ice cream, it was very good. Got back to South Fork and made a call to Farm Tow. They are to arrive here in the morning and take the car over to Pagosa Springs. Said our prayers and Thanked the Good Lord for providing us with new friends. Amen

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

Day 6....Half Blood Prince

Good Morning All,

Got up at 6 A.M. with 8 hours sleep I feel so good today, amazing what sleep will do for you, 51 degrees outside. Harry Potter Day! Finished breakfast at our favorite cafe and now on up into the mountains to explore some more. Jim and Bobbie suggested the Upper Beaver Creek area just south of South Fork.
Went to Million Reservoir, saw where some big game had bedded down for the night. Million Reservoir is a small lake high in the mountains just south and east of South Fork. Just make the turn off of Highway 160 South where it says Apple Dumpling Bed and Breakfast and follow the road to the right. What surprises await you. We pulled into the parking lot and starting hiking to the North up and over rock and tree roots then down to a small meadow and the path is just a foot path that leads to the waters edge and around the lake.
This is the scene that greeted us when we got down to the shore of the lake. Who could not love this?
There were ducks out on the lake lazily paddling around feeding. There were some hikers off in the distance. The water was so clear. The wild flowers leading up to the lake were just dazzling. After getting back to the car we then decided to follow the road on up to
the Upper Beaver Reservoir 4 miles higher up in the mountains and captured this picture on the way back.
There are camping sites all along the road. I love camping in the tall pines. Something about it is very relaxing. After coming down off the mountain we decided to head on back over to Pagosa Springs this time we stopped at the Scenic turnout to take some pictures.
If you look closely you can see a gargoyles head in the center foreground. To the left in the foreground are hoodoos. I learned about Hoodoos when I went to Canada for the first time back in '73. They are created by wind and rain and the only thing that keeps them from fading away is the stone cap on the top so they are very fragile.
In this shot it is a long ways down and if you happen to make a misstep... apparently someone did and we found a flower memorial stuck in the fence. How sad. The fencing is in need of repair there. I think they need more fencing around the area. A lot of the area us unprotected. But the view is spectacular.

As you can see Dave went on up into the unprotected accessible area to capture this picture of the hoodoo's. Amazing how a tree can exist with no soil and bare rock.

We then stopped at Treasure Falls just down the highway about 2 or so miles. be sure to scroll down to read the story of why it's called Treasure Falls. Dave hiked 800 feet up to just below the falls to shoot pictures. I said I would not go as I did not have on hiking boot but sandals instead. But I surprised him and showed up at the observation deck where he was. He was shocked, he didn't think I would come. It is a strenuous hike. I had to stop quite a few times to catch my breath. But of course I am way out of shape. Need to do more hiking. It is good you. Treasure Falls is a neat place, lots of little animals and birds and forest to look at. There are lots of signs that say to stay on the path and to not take short cuts as it distroys the underpinning of the path, but it is interesing to see the adults ignore them and take shortcuts anyways. No wonder kids do what they do when they have such role models. We took our time coming back down the trail, as Dave wanted to get some different kinds of shots with the camera. He was playing with the Macro lens for flowers and fauna.
Notice my hiking shoes and with socks no less. A fashion faux paux according to my daughter.
On our way down we stopped so Dave could take my picture and a very nice gentleman asked if he could take the picture for us and we said yes. As it turns out he is a Forrester from Arizona and he was commenting on how this particular area of forest was dying and without fire it would not renew its self, that basically, man was killing it by not allowing it to burn. He said the forest was about 100 years old. Very interesting guy, to bad I did not get his name. The Forrester also told us that the cankers that you see on this tree indicates that you don't want to put a chainsaw to it as it will collapse on you. Apparently it's already hollow and very dangerous. he actually said not to even touch it as it could collapse on you.

We went on into Pagosa Springs and stopped by the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church that I had seen the day we went to the Hot Springs. I noticed a little courtyard that looked like it had statues in it. So we had to make the stop at the church to see the statues.

Dave circled the block to find a parking spot and we went into the courtyard. It had about 20" high bronze statues of the stations of the cross. They were beautiful. It is very peacefun in the garden, quite lovely.

We then went into the vestibule of the church, an Adoration service was in progress so Dave shot the body of the church through the windows in the doors of the vestibule. I thought that the etched hands in the glass of the doors made a rather interesting picture.

We found another parking spot closer to the downtown area and went to the 3 o'clock showing of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" in the old Liberty Theatre that was an old hotel that had been turned into several businesses on of them the theatre. As usual it was great. After the show we headed back to the campground stopping at the Branding Iron Bar-B-Que Restaurant 3 miles North on Hwy. 160 from Pagosa Springs. The food was excellent, you must try the marinated carrot salad. Yum! I learned all about the many uses of a bandana. This lists at least 50 uses for the bandana. The little buckeroos get to sit on a little saddle to eat their meal. Met another Oklahoma family there at the restauraunt. The young man said that he had never seen so many "Okies" as there were this year. It must be the heat that is driving them to the cool mountains. We got back to South Fork just in time to make it before the Rainbow grocery store closed to pick up a few items and some firewood. Got back to camp, the sunset was spectacular. We had a lively discussion about the Potter movie wondering what the girl and our son-in-law would have to say about it. It started raining but just for a few minutes. That's the way it is in the mountains. Almost time for bed....missed seeing our deer this evening.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

Day 5...Travelin the Roads and Reading

Good Morning All,

Had a restless sleep. Dave woke up around 4 with a headache and I hogged the bed. Hmmmm Bad Me! He took some Tylenol and went back to sleep, I got up around 6 and fixed coffee and shot some pictures of the critters. Dave has been teaching me how to use the camera and change out the lenses so I have been having fun with it.
Here are some of the pictures that I took. This is a series of early morning shots at the campsite. I thought that the color of these clouds were especially nice since the sun was just starting to come up over the ridge of the mountains. It was very early and the campground had yet to stir. Quiet time is between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

This little fellow was enjoying some Bing cherries that had become a little too ripe. (Fermented) He was a little wobbly as he left his perch. Actually it was somewhat funny to watch him. At one point he sat and barked at me with a woeful voice, it was like he was trying to hold on to his perch with all his might while chewing me out for making him drunk from Bing cherries...too funny!

There was plenty fodder for the fire. I managed to get it started with a single sheet of newspaper. It is so pretty here. We saw a weasel last night inspecting the wood Dave brought back then it chased off a chipmunk. Apparently chipmunks are on their diet. I did not know weasels were yellow with black tipped tails and very small. I found out that their diet consists of chipmunks and the one we saw was chasing a chipmunk. I love the play of light amongst the trees. The filtration of the morning light is nice. If you see red marks on the trees it means that they are going to be removed once the campground has closed for the season. They are going to install a water system for the area and enlarge the lower loop to accommodate more handicapped campers. Our stimulus dollars at work.
We spruced up a bit around the campsite and then we went in for breakfast around 11:30. A little late for breakfast but the girls at the Coffee shop accommodated us. Definitely a Facebook must. Love those Buckwheat pancakes.
Heading into Alamosa today for gas and ice. Wal-Mart time, going to get some tomato soup to have grilled cheese & soup for lunch. Going to take it easy today and do some reading and just rest. Had another bout with Travelers D yesterday, sure makes you feel punky. Hmmmm...Just the word Punky made me think about the time Christie, many moons ago had to have Punky Brewster Shoes. Just got a call from the girl again, had to transfer more money into her account to keep her from overdrawing. She needs to get a job. She said she killed two wasps today out by the trailer. She also said that all the theatres at the Warren were sold out for Harry Potter for the midnight showing. Drove back to the campsite and along the way we stopped at a DQ in Monte Vista and got chocolate malts MMMMMM Good!
Dave built a fire and I started reading. Am trying to finish my book "Shelters of Stone" by Jean M. Aule. Took a break and fixed dinner, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup & Baby Dill Pickles with Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips. Good Stuff Maynard! Had a real treat this evening, Marshmallow and a friend came into camp this evening. One of our neighbors Frank, from Tuttle, OK walking his Cocker spaniel "Chelsea", dropped by to chat and pointed out the two bucks that were laying down in the grass up by the outhouse that I had just departed from. They then got up and moved into one of the campsites where the people were feeding them marshmallows. One was a 6 point and the other and 8 point buck. it was a delight to see the two of them. I went back to my book as Dave put another log on the fire. It was overcast so no stars tonight. It got cool enough for me to move into the car to finish reading my book. I am ready for the next and last book in the Earth Children Series. Went to bed at 10:10 P.M.

Amore and Arrivederci For Now

Day 4....Hot Springs Here We Come

Good Morning All,

Did the coffee thing this morning and went into town and got breakfast at the Feelin Good Coffeehouse and Cafe. Service much better. Food good, I think they are getting it down.

We went back to camp and got our stuff for showers & swimming.
Went over Wolf Creek Pass and the Great Continental Divide to Pagosa Springs. Stopped at the ranger Station and purchased a book on Colorado Wildflowers and a wildlife guide. Dave happened to overhear 3 guys talking bout hiking and such with the Ranger and thought to himself, professor types. He wanted to go over and ask them were they taught, but he resisted.

We then went on to the Visitor center to pick up some items on the springs and such. Talked to a real nice man who helped out at the Visitor center. I asked about Mexican food and he told us about Ramon's which was 4 stoplights west of town. Little did we realize there was a mile in between each stop light. It sits cati-cornered to Micky D's and is tucked in behind it.

We ate lunch at Micky D's and then went on out 17 miles to Chimney Rock Archaeological area. to buy some magnets for the kids. The magnets are handmade and each one
has a different design on it. All of them are in native hieroglyphics of the Anasazi Indians. They were really cool to look at. Lots of wild life around. We arrive just before the last tour of the day. But decided not to go as I did not have on the right kind of shoes and it was really hot and the altitude was starting to get to me. From a distance the chimney looks huge. But the closer it get it seems to change in size.

How we ended up here was that Bob at the visitor center recommended it as we had been looking for something to take back to the kids. It is fun to watch the birds here. The humming birds pay no attention to us humans. They dart in and out of the feeders defending their territory. As soon as one leaves another is there to fill his spot. It is so fun to watch.

Saw a Colorado Blue Bird, sad to say Dave did not get a picture of that one. But he did get pictures of the hummingbirds. Ruby Throats, Broad tails and Grey Hummingbirds.

It's not often that you get to see one of these little guys sitting still especially a gray hummingbird.

Headed back into Pagosa Springs, was told to go get our Senior Citizens Cards at the Senior Center to get into the Hot Springs as it would save us money. We did, and are now senior members of Archuleta County...and we saved about $10.00. We had a wonderful 3 hours at the hot springs and met the wives of the professors that we saw at the ranger station that morning. Talk about a small world. We then went and had our showers. It felt soooo goooood to get clean again and to wash the hair. We then went back out to Ramon's, I had the chicken Enchilada Suisse which was recommended by Bob at the Visitor Center and Dave had the Burrito Grande with shredded beef. The food was very good and the atmosphere great.
We finished dinner and headed back to the campsite, built a nice fire, our first, and reminisced about the day and watched the stars pop out in the evening sky. Then we retired for the night.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

Day Three...July 12 Heather & J's First Anniversary

Good Morning All, a cool 48 degrees,

We're trying to adjust to the sleeping mattress being on the ground.. Had a fairly good sleep until I had to get up to go to the bathroom. It was like a comedy of errors @ 4:30 in the morning. Dave got up as well, I couldn't get up without his help, Old knees! The birds were starting to sing their morning song. In looking up, the black sky was filled to the brim with a gazillion stars, what a wonder to behold and I swear that the Big Dipper got bigger up here in the mountains. I then got into the car with my pillow and blanket as it was hard to get down on the mat again, and put the seat back and snoozed for another 45 minutes. The birds were really sounding off as the sky was starting to lighten up. Of course Dave went back to bed and slept for at least another hour and a half. Some people are just able to do that. Unfortunately I am not one of them. I got up and made camp coffee. The little single burner camp stove operated much better, it fired right up with a good solid flame, last night it had trouble getting going, but of course it hadn't been fired up for 6 years. I would be a bit cantankerous too if had not been fired up in that amount of time. 5 heaping spoonfuls of coffee for the little coffee pot. MMMMMM Good Camp Coffee!

Got camp secured and went into town for breakfast around 9. Went to the Feelin Good Coffeehouse and Cafe. Lots of people there and the staff seemed swamped. They had a large mission group in from Kansas for breakfast. The group is in South Fork building a church. Unless the food is super this one won't go on my Facebook site. However I will say the coffee is really good. So far the food is good and plenty. Had one egg over medium, hash browns, bacon and a buckwheat pancake, Dave had the same. Service is just a tad slow although the coffee kept coming. Just found out that the place just reopened last week and they haven't got their system down yet. Will give it a C for now. We will try it again tomorrow to see if there's any improvement.

Big Meadow Campground Manager Bobbie Chapman and her husband Jim.

We went back to the campground as the Camp Manager Bobbie Chapman suggested that Dave get a Senior Pass Camp Card as it allows us to stay in National Campgrounds for half-price and get into National Parks free. She called up to the Creede Ranger Station to see if they still had one. They did, so we headed out to Creede, just beautiful countryside. If you have not been, take the time and go. We got to Creede and toured around. Gas was cheaper than in South Fork. South Fork - $2.85 a gal. Creede - $2.59 a gal. then 3 cents off if you paid with cash. Every little bit helps. Creede is a rather interesting place, in town lots of curio shops, eateries, a performing arts theatre, mine tours etc. and the Bachelor Loop, a 17 mile drive on a very narrow road visiting old mines in behind Creede. we took the girls on the drive when they were young. Decided not to do it this time. Once was enough.

We decided to have a picnic and drove up to the Rio Grand Reservoir, 17 miles up a dirt and gravel road into the mountains. 20 years ago when we came up with the girls the reservoir was totally empty. There was a little trickle of water across the bottom of the reservoir with animal tracks going across it. Keep in mind this is a very deep lake. This time the Reservoir had lots of water in it. I would say that it was still down about 30 feet but it was beautiful. We drove to the end of the lake which is 6 miles long and then on another 3 or 4 miles. Had no idea how far back in Forest Road 520 went but it was getting to be more like an ATV trail plus it was starting to rain and we were not sure what the condition the road would be like and we did not want to get stuck so we turned around and headed back. Besides there's no cell service up there.
After we passed 30 Mile Campground which is below the dam we finally stopped at a fishing site and had our picnic lunch. Dave had some pickles, cheese turkey slices and a peanut butter & honey sandwich. I had a turkey sandwich which Dave said looked like a Dagwood sandwich. I didn't think it was "that big" We took lots of pictures of the valley and lake. Spent time looking for a rock that I saw on the way up that was a beautiful green with a rust red stripe across the top. It was like trying to find a needle in a huge haystack. We never did find it. It would have been perfect to take back home for our garden. There is not a good way to show how big these boulders were, but if I were to stand beside one I would be dwarfed by them. This is the deepest part of the lake. Believe me when I say it is a long ways to the bottom as I have seen this thing empty 20 years ago. It's amazing to see water in it now.
This is the Rio Grande river heading out through the mountains onto the plains. It looks like a gentle river but it is not. On the way back into South Fork we saw a little open car type of train for sight-seeing. It's a Silver Thread project that is yet to be completed. When it is it would be fun to come back up and ride it. We got back into South Fork and drove east to see what eatery places there were for dinner later on. We passed several that were closed and saw one called The Shaft. We had a big laugh over that one and wondered how people came up with these names. We then stopped at the malt shop and got a chocolate malt. It was good. Christie called to say hello. She was on her way back from Tulsa where she went up to see Heather & J at Uncle Frank and Auntie Karen's place. Karen made Grandma Teena's lasagna. Chris said she had two helpings of it. Russ was making chili for Frito Chili Pies for Monday for Heather and J. and the family. After calling Heather and J and wishing them Happy Anniversary we went on back up to the camp site. I piled the sleeping bag and comforter on top of each other on the sleeping mat and took a nap. I finally got comfortable and had a good snooze. Dave went down to the office to get firewood. Earlier in the day when Bobbie was calling over to Creede, I asked her what you had to do to become a full-timer. (A term meaning living out on the road full time) She was so
excited that she gave me a book called "Take Back Your Life, Travel Full-Time In An RV", which is out of print now.Great Information! It was waiting for me when I awoke from my nap. Here is another one about how to work out on the road.We decided to go into town for dinner and saw Bobbie and her husband Jim and asked them where a good place would be for dinner. They both said The Shaft". We had a huge chuckle over that one. Dave and I split a chicken-fried steak dinner. It was very good, lots of food and filling. One leg of the table was held up by a stack of dinner plates. I never said these places were fancy, they just have great down home cooking. Went back to the campsite sat for a bit and looked at the stars. Wow what a day. Time to call it a night.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now

Second Day....Wow What Scenery Via The Spanish Peaks

Good Morning All,

Had a crappy sleep until it cooled off inside the car. Yes we slept in the car. 4:30 A.M. woke up and watched a man put his boat together for a day of fishing, strange. Well back to bed. Woke up at 7:30 A.M., very cool outside. Ah the smell of the pine trees, sweet! I love that smell, makes you think of something very fresh and clean.

Trinidad - Finding a place to eat. The hotel manager recommended the Country Kitchen across the way, we went there and Dave had an immediate reaction to the musty air so we just got up and left. We went on into Trinidad and got gas for $2.41a gal. While we were filling up I looked off to my right and saw a ranger truck with a bear trap, so I had to have a picture with Bob the Ranger.
Ranger Bob said there were a lot of bears in town this year so he was staying busy catching bears. We then asked where a good place would be to have breakfast. He hemmed and hawed and said he lived there and couldn't recommend much but he did say there was a place where all the construction guys would go to eat. Bob & Earls up on route 12. It was good, good? It was Great! If you’re not careful you will drive by it. It is a small off white building that looks like its been added on to. The corn beef hash breakfast was awesome. Good home cooking. Worth every penny! Back in the car and headed up the Scenic Highway of Legends. Attached is a link so you can read about the Highway of Legends. It's an awesome drive and one of the most beautiful in Colorado. At the bottom of the Cuchara Pass is the entrance to the Blue Lake and Bear Lake (4 mile drive up the mountain) campground areas. It’s $13.00 a night to camp, $6.50 if you’re a Senior Citizen. Being 62+ has its perks. It brought back memories of 20 or so years ago when the girls were little. We took some pictures, they should be great.
The wild flowers up in the high country were spectacular. Colorado
had received lots of rain this past Spring.
While driving up to Blue Lake the scenery was beautiful. Around each turn in the road was a different picture worth taking. Dave got this shot of Orange Sneezeweed. I did not bother getting out of the car to check whether I was going to sneeze or not. I think Aspens are one of my favorite trees. The area was loaded with them. Dave and I get put out with people defacing the trees. We managed to find this one next to the road that had yet to be defaced.
It saddens me that people are not more protective of their environment.
This particular shot is an Aspen Grove dotted with Giant Red Paintbrush. Just to the right of this picture is a small canyon with a rushing brook. It would be quite a fall if you were to miss step. We arrived at Blue Lake. There were lots of people fishing. We then went to the campground to see if we could find the spot where we camped all those years ago. We had a little couple, The Longs, in our neighborhood that would camp at the blue lake campground and they were the ones that told us about the Spanish Peaks. They had a map on their wall that would let you feel the mountains and valleys of Colorado, so of course I had to get one.

From the Blue Lake campground it is another mile up to Bear Lake and an half mile to the Bear Lake Campgrounds. 20 years ago there was not much of a campground there but I was very impress with what I saw there and Bear Lake looks like it is a bit bigger that Blue lake. This picture is a shot of the 4 to 5 mile trek up this scenic road to Blue Lake and Bear Lake and their respective campgrounds. There is so much to see. You forget how beautiful it is up here and how sweet the air smells and what surprises await you around each turn. People who don't camp don't know what they are missing. I sometimes think that people seclude themselves too much. They need to broaden their horizons a bit and see what is out there. The farther you go up this road the more foliage there is, and when I say tall pines I mean TALL pines. Hey who are these two people? Ah such scenery. This is the view coming down from the Spanish Peaks.
The sun up in the mountains was hot but the temp was in the high 60's with low humidity. We came down off the mountain to the little town of La Vita, 88 degrees. Stopped at a road side stand at La Vita and got some honey from Pueblo, CO and Bing cherries. Yum! Just before you get to La Vita there is a natural arch in a rock formation. If you were to remove one stone the whole structure would come down. What is interesting it that this whole area of rock is only about 8 ' wide. Amazing that is has stayed in one place for all this time.
It's 2:17 P.M. 76 degrees. Heading towards Fort Garland. Have seen several deer by the roadside. Not many food choices in Fort Garland so have decided to push on to Alamosa. Dave has an itch for a good hamburger and fries. Lots of desolate country between Fort Garland and Alamosa. I don't understand why anyone would want to eek out a living in such harsh conditions. But I understand that the farming is great in this area. Lots of potatoes and carrots and other crops. Alamosa at last, went in search of gas. Got a City Market card to get it at $2.62. Asked a store clerk where a good place would be to get a good hamburger and fries. He recommended Wise Apples at State street & Main. So we turned around and went back into town. As it turned out it was a bar but the hamburger and fries were absolutely AWESOME. I highly recommend it. The best $6.00 burger I ever ate (Sorry Goldie's). After that we went across the street to a book store to look around and then walked down to the visitors center to pick up maps & such. We found the local Wal-Mart on the way out of town and picked up a few things. The people in front of us at the checkout stand were from that "Other" school in OK. They were on their way to Lake City, CO, "Alfred Packer" country, here is some history on good ole Alfred for your late night reading definitely flashlight and blanket stuff. Dang, forgot the ice so Dave went back in and got some, put what we needed into the coolers and gave the rest to another family who were heading up to Lake City. Got another history lesson on Mr. Packard from an old-timer, such fun. I can remember when the girls were little and we stayed at a campground in Lake City, the girls were terrified that Alfred Packard's ghost was outside scratching on the tent trailer sides. What imaginations!
We got on the road again and headed to Monte Vista, went by a twin screen drive-in, the Star Drive-In on W. Hwy. 160 in Monte Vista, CO it had a two story motel built facing the screens, the motel is wired for sound and they will put you in a room of which movie you would like to see. Then we passed through Del Norte, who has a guy who does steel art.

Mr. Webb has some rather interesting stuff and he's very talented, all the main street light poles display his art work.

Ah, finally South Fork, headed South for about 11 miles on Hwy 160, Passed a place called Fun Valley, full of RV's packed in like sardines, sorry but I like my space. We turned onto forest service road 410 and two miles to go. Ugh, washboard city. Ah, what a site for sore eyes, we're there! Big Meadow Campground. Got a campsite in the first loop, #4. As it turns out we're surrounded by retired firefighters from Oklahoma City. All of them, very nice people. We called it the Okie Loop. We
found out there's no water here so we had to drive back into South Fork for some supplies. Got back to camp and fixed Southwest Veggie soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner it was good. Had a delightful surprise, a young buck came bounding through the vegetation and came within 30 feet of our campsite. Dave got some awesome pictures of Marshmallow (We later learned that was his name given by the campers in the area). Decided to set up the tent and pull the sleeping mattress out of the car. I swear that silly deer was posing for us. He stood there for the longest time waiting for Dave to go get his camera. Our neighbors across the way came over and introduced themselves to us. That is the thing I like about camping. People are so friendly and if they see something out of the ordinary they get concerned. There seems to be a real brotherhood amongst campers.

Dave and I debated on whether to set the tent up or sleep in the car. As you can see we set the tent up.
It gets quite nippy up here. I hope I brought enough warm clothes.

I decided to take a break and do a little reading after getting camp set up and finishing up dinner. Dave was playing with his camera when he looked up and snapped this picture. It sort of says it all at the end of a beautiful day. What more could you want?
It's dark now, so time for bed. I'm tired and I know Dave is. I had my pedometer on and walked 3440 steps today. Need to do more of it. Trying to get use to this altitude at 9540 feet. Had a few raindrops fall from the sky, looking for good sleeping weather. It was a good day today.

Amore & Arrivederci For Now