Thursday, May 22, 2014

Getting settled in Buena Vista

The weather has warmed up a bit and the snow has melted in the low country. We ended up having several nights getting as low as 18! Our Montana is not really meant for those low temps, but we did just fine. Sean filled our tanks and we unhooked from the faucet to help prevent freezing.  Here are some chilly May weather photos here in our campground.

After the storms passed, we went walking behind the Rv park and found what looks to be a bone yard of dead deer. I am not sure where they all come from but it was kind of weird!

We have finally gotten to do a little hiking.  I had no idea how much the elevation can hamper ones breathing and then consequently, make ones heart go pitter patter!  We have done only two hikes other then walking around here.  Buena Vista is around 8000 feet and it seems most hikes go UP!  Our first hike was close to town and only had about a 500 foot elevation gain but it wore us out and it was only 4 miles.

    Kayaker practicing on the Arkansas river

Our next hike was quite a bit more challenging with a 1200 foot elevation gain.  We hiked up to beautiful spot called Harvard lake and it's final elevation was 10,200.  My ap rated it as a moderate hike but that rating must be by people who live here and are use to the elevation gain! I had to go very slowly to deal with the elevation. Sean is feeling it too but not near as badly as me. Remi seems to have no issues with any of it and loves all the forest smells!  Also most trails are not officially open here until June and we know why now. We came upon quite a bit of snow on the trail and since most of those parts bordered a creek, you had no choice but to plunge through it.  Sean and I had some problems here and there but poor Remi would break through sometimes and all four legs would be stuck in the snow drift. Sean would grab his harness and pluck him out. Ahh the look on his face when he was stuck was priceless! The follies of having only 6 inch legs!

    Harvard Lake

Our job is going well. Sean works with the guys doing maintenance stuff and I work with the ladies cleaning cabins and bathrooms.  I also may help out in the store from time to time and Sean and I have been made the official breakfast cooks.  We cook our first breakfast for the park this Saturday.  People actually will be paying for this breakfast so we are feeling a bit pressured.  It was one thing to cook free pancakes at the Riviera resort in Blythe and another to charge $6 or $7 for a pancake breakfast with eggs and bacon or sausage! Hopefully we are successful. If not, I guess they can ask another one of the couples to give it a try.

One of the couples that we started to work with ended up leaving after only the second day of work.  They were our age and from San Antonio, Texas and had been full timing for a year just like us. Turns out there 10 year old granddaughter was put into foster care and they had to go back and legally adopt her and her half sister so as to spare them from the foster system. So at 50+ they are going to start all over raising two little girls and in a motorhome as they sold their house before hitting the road.  I felt so bad for them! Not that we all don't love our grandchildren and we would do the same, but to start this lifestyle of full time RVing, then have to put it on hold for another 8 years or so..... It had to be hard.  I wish them the best.

Currently we are working 4 days on and four days off, however, we ended up helping out an extra day this go around.  It takes a lot to get a campground ready to go after being shutdown all winter.  This Memorial Day weekend is sort of the kick off to the season and the owners are expecting us to be quite busy.  However, Denver is getting hit with some weird hail storms and tornado warnings.  That might slow some folks down from heading out.  It is clouding up and thundering here now but I don't think the area is expecting the same issues as Denver. Or at least not to the same degree.  We shall see! 

    Deer out our window a few days ago

Sunday, May 11, 2014


We have moved on from Moab and into Colorado! 

 Taken out the truck window

We spent a few days in Grand Junction trying to sit out some colder weather farther north and were somewhat successful not knowing we were going to get hit with a cold blast once we got to Buena Vista. As I sit cuddled up and cozy writing the blog, a storm has rolled into the Buena Vista area and could drop up to a foot of snow on us! But I digress a bit. First, Grand Junction, Fruita and the Colorado National Monument. We had originally only planned on staying a night or two but after we started looking around and seeing all that there was to do, we added a few days to our stay.

After we got settled in, we wanted to do a hike with Remi, and the Colorado National Monument, like the last few national parks we have been in, was not pet friendly. So I used a new ap I downloaded called AllTrails. It uses GPS and locates you then comes up with a list of hikes with details, directions and some reviews. I found one that sounded interesting as it was a canyon with a creek, a waterfall and many sightings of mountain sheep AND it was pet friendly so it seemed to fit the bill.  The canyon is called Dominguez Canyon and it was a little over an hour away. The drive was nice and we hit the trailhead with great expectations. However, other then it being a nice day and a well worn path, the hike was a bit disappointing. You only hiked next to the creek for about a mile then it veared away. We stopped and looked frequently on the rocky side for mountain sheep but we never saw any. Lastly we kept waiting to see the waterfall and we never did see that either. We thought that maybe what the ap was referring to was what looked like could be a waterfall during a rain or maybe once the snow pack starts to melt, but for now it was just a rock carved out.  Even Remi seemed a bit disappointed since we were the only people on the trail and he didn't get to see any other dogs.  But it was 7 miles of sun and forest so one really can't complain!

Nice path

Maybe that was the waterfall?

Some guy I picked up on the trail...

The next day was very windy and chilly so we did some grocery shopping and a drive by trip of the Colorado National Monument. We stopped and looked at a few things but after having just been to the Grand Canyon and Arches, this monument paled by comparison. 

We saw this rig in Arches too. We think he may be ready for the zombie apocalypse.

The next day we decided to check out Fruita and some of the local winery's.  We wine tasted at two winery's (however there were many, many more) and shared a calzone at a local eatery. We also walked around a bit and checked out the local architecture.  Fruita had some really cute old Victorians and many orchards. I would like to be here during the harvest season as I know you can get some great fruit and other produce.  My sister in law Yvonne, grew up in the area and I remember her and my brother coming here and getting tons of fruit she would take home and then can. I have not canned and certainly won't start now, but I would love some fresh peaches!

The next day was our final day and the weather was still iffy so we decided to stay close for our hike and did one in the monument. It was a beautiful hike and as we were almost to the end and we thought we might get cheated on the wildlife watching again as there were about 60 or so kids broken into three groups hiking and mountain climbing. However we lucked out and spotted this snake. He was going pretty slow due to the cooler temps so we could snap some photos.

We pointed him out to a couple hiking behind us and he actually picked him up. We stopped and chatted with the couple a bit. They were on a one year camping trip in a smaller travel trailer. They were very interested in our full time life so we chatted for a bit and moved on the trail together to then spot the holy grail of animal watching....the Colorado Rocky Mountain big horn sheep!! Yeah! Our hike was a complete success!!

Me being eaten by another rock monster

The next day we packed up and headed onto the final leg of our trip (at least until September) and were shocked to see so much snow on Vail pass! Colorado got plenty of snow this winter and on into spring. The locals are hoping for a banner rafting season.

Brrrrr.........! Hard to believe it is May

We got to our summer work camping job at Arrowhead Campground and met our summer bosses Joe and Cathy.  They are close to our age and very nice.  We moved into our spot and got set up and ready for the snow storm that is here today and tomorrow.  Yesterday we drove to Buena Vista and Salida to just reacquaint ourselves with the area. We lived in Canon City which is about 80 or so miles away back when the kids were little.  The area hasn't changed too much and it was sort of weird being back where we had camped so much with the kids.  We saw this sign in Salida and thought it was words to live by!

We should be starting our jobs tomorrow so the blogging may slow down a bit but meanwhile we are staying cozy in front of our fireplace! Happy Mother's Day to all!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014


We have been in Moab far longer then we planned. We arrived early to beat wind and cold weather and the next day we had to move campsites. The next day we moved into our Slick Rock site for 5 days (plus our extra night that we came in to beat the storm), and got comfortable. We went out on a 4x4 ride with David and 4x4 Xtreme, which is more fun then you should have with your clothes on! I am so proud of David. He is the epitome of career success. The old saying is if you do what you love, you never have to go to work again. That is David! He is a self taught 4x4 extreme engineer. He has built from the ground up a machine that know one else here can rival. When you ride with him you pass up all the other 4x4 tours in the area. Just smile and wave because they are NOT having more fun then you! If you can come to Moab, go see David and have the time of your life.

The next day we did Negro Bill Canyon with Remi. Perfect hike for dogs. Cool and plenty of water, though it was plenty cool anyway. The next day Sean and I did  the hardest day hike in Arches National Park. The first part was a little challenging,  but the hike home was on a primitive trail that literally you had to climb over boulders and look for for the trail cairns.  I was ready for the hike to be done after six miles but it went on for over eight.  Between the 6 mile hike in Negro Bill Canyon and the 8 mile extreme multiple arch hike in Arches National Park, I was WOOPED! So to top off the already exhausting day we went out with David again! This time I sat shotgun and got the heated seat and it felt good on my sore muscles. I have never felt so pooped, so the next day was a ride in the truck and check out in more details some of the cool places David showed us on his tours. 
Negro Bill Trail
Arches primitive trail

After a day of driving and recooperating,  we either had to leave Moab or find another campsite. Slickrock Campground is not very nice and we don't recommend it. Very little space and dirty,  but it was the only place we could get a site when we were looking. During our drive, we found  a BLM campground on the Colorado River that would actually fit our rig. We kept driving through and found a rig that was due to leave the next day. We claimed our spot and moved over the next day.  This required us to "dry camp" which means we don't have any hook ups. No electricity and nowhere to dumpy your grey and black water. We had only planned to stay two days so we knew our batteries would hold up and we didn't need to worry too much about dumping, as two days was a short time and our tanks could hold all the waste. We had filled our water tank 2/3 full so we were good to go! We have never "dry camped" before because we don't have a generator yet, (though we have one ordered) and we are not sure how long our batteries would last. 
Our BLM campsite

The next day we did a 32 mile bike ride. The longest ride we have gone on so far. Sean says the whole 32 miles doesn't count because on the last five we stopped and got a beer and a few slices of pizza but hey, even our truck gets fuel and we needed those calories to get home!  The ride was all paved but there were many trails you could take off on. We chose a very easy one mile trail ride so we could claim to have mountain biked in Moab!

Since we don't have electricity, we had a campfire every night and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery. And of course we had to eat roasted marshmallows. 
Remi passed out after a day of hiking

We decided to do a local hike the next day so we could take Remi. The national parks don't let you take dogs on the trails or even at the scenic overlooks which really stinks for us. So we chose to hike to Fisher tower which though under 3 miles one way, it was pretty difficult. At one point we had to climb a ladder to get over a crevice. We hoisted Remi up the ladder but we couldn't figure out how the huge dogs before us had crossed. At the end of the trail we asked one of the hikers with a big dog and she said there was a trail that went over the ridge so you didn't have to take your dog over a ladder. Duh! Remi did great but the day was in the 80's and he tried to rest in the shade whenever possible, which was rare. He drank plenty of water and as always was the littlest dog on the trail. He is small and cute but tough as nails! We were all glad to get to the truck and crank the air. It was hard to believe we had been freezing a few days before.

On one of our off days, David and his girlfriend Stephanie, invited us on a trip up the canyon with a few of their friends and guides. We had a great day cruising up to a place called Base Camp Advebture Camp, a bed and breakfast that unless you have 4 wheel drive, you have to take a boat or a helicopter to get there. He is out in the middle of nowhere and yet he still stays busy with visitors. In guess if you want to get away from it all, that is the place to stay. He keeps as a giant tortoise as a pet. He is over 150lbs and only about half his eventual size. Unfortunately, it was cold and the tortoise would not come out of his cave to say hi. Everyone brought their dogs and they all just ran around the Base Camp area having a great time. We went up to some caves and decided to let Remi off his leash too, so he could be like the big dogs. He did great. Running around with their dogs and yet staying pretty near us, and returning when he was called. This was a big first for us since we know he tends to run away. But where could he run to in the middle of nowhere? I think he realized that he would be coyote bait if he left. Hopefully it was just because he loves us so much. Lol!

On another drive day we did the Canyonland National Park. It was kind of boring compared to Arches, but we drove home on a back road called Shaefer Trail, that was very frightening in our big truck! The road was rough but it was very skinny and at times it felt as if we were going to fall off. Sean even had to stop and back up a few times to make it around a few corners. I felt sick to my stomach looking over the edge! Sean loved it as it was as close to 4-wheeling we got in our big Silverado.
Look! Another Arch!
Panorama of Canyonland
You can't see it, but that is where we drove the truck down the Shaefer Trail

By this time we were past our two days and had decided to extend another two at the BLM campground. Sean was worried that our batteries would drop too low so we asked David if he knew someone who had a generator we could borrow. Luckily he did, and we borrowed it and charged our batteries. We thought we were fine with our grey tanks and water but since none of our sensors ever works, we had no idea. On the last day I was washing Remi because we were getting ready to leave and I wanted him clean for the trip, when the water stopped! We were out and we still had one night to go. Sean brought a gallon of water we keep in the truck and I finished with Remi. Up the road a few miles is a natural  spring where we saw people filling up their water containers. Sean headed up there to fill up our two five gallon water containers. We siphoned the water into our tanks and were good to go!  The next day we hitched up and headed to Grand Junction Colorado!