July 19, 2014

Checking In

I feel a little like I did as a youngster when I went away to summer camp for part of the summer. Mom and Dad expected me to check in occasionally by post card, reporting on my health and well being, and whether I was enjoying my time away from home.

It seems about time to let you know how Betty, Bailey, and I are doing as we make our way across the country. As I write this we are in Ogallala, Nebraska. We have traveled 1,260 miles in the 13 days since we left home. There has been only one problem worth reporting: a malfunction (or my mistake) caused the braking system that helps stop the car we are towing to lock up, ripping big chunks of rubber from one of the car's front tires. $364 later for two new tires and we continue on.

Frankly, it took most of the first week for us to establish a good rhythm and how to have both private and together time in the small space of a motorhome. But, somewhere around Richfield, Utah things for Betty and me seemed to just snap into place, Bailey settled into a routine, and the trip really began. 

The overwhelming reaction so far is amazement at the heat. It has been almost as hot as Scottsdale. We sometimes compare the temperature at home and where we are and find that we are hotter! Except for the first two days in Flagstaff, it has been in the 90's virtually everywhere. In fact, the expected high for tomorrow in this part of Nebraska is 100 degrees! We did have beautifully cool weather in Gypsum, Colorado for one night, and were actually cold at a rest stop near Vail...11,000 feet up in the Rockies does have its advantages! But, overall, it has been much warmer than we had anticipated. Luckily, the RV air conditioner works very well.

Zion National Park remains one of the wonders of the world. It is majestic and awe-inspiring. The rocks has assumed incredible shapes, the colors are spectacular, and the drive is one of the best in the country. Here are a few of Betty's photos:










Have you ever heard of Back Canyon National Park? I'd guess most haven't. About 50 miles south of Grand Junction, Colorado, it is every bit as dramatic as the Grand Canyon though on a smaller scale. The north and south rim are so close together the canyon walls are almost vertical in places. The river at the bottom is beautiful and powerful. During spring snow melt it can carry four ton boulders without a problem.....how about some more pictures to help you see the dramatic views:







One of the the prettiest drives we have  taken so far is Interstate 70 through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Climbing to over 11,000 feet the road weaves between steep cliffs, past roaring rivers full of folks in rafts, and towns that are only a few blocks wide...that's the only space available between the looming rock walls. We wisely unhooked the car and the RV but even so the motorhome struggled to maintain even 50 miles an hour to such an elevation. 

Our RV site for one night was in Gypsum, right alongside the Colorado River and surrounded by the Rockies. 







I must add that I-70 in eastern Colorado is in terrible shape. It shook us so badly two screws vibrated right out of the RV frame. The bad stretch lasted over 100 miles - I felt as if I had had driven twice that distance!

We are off to Grand Island, Nebraska, then Omaha, and points east. The next time I post I may write about a few hidden gems and serendipitous surprises we have experienced along the way.  As a teaser, we had a great time at a county fair that was happening next to our campsite, and found true beauty, both natural and man made, in the small town of Ogallala, Nebraska. 

Till next time......


28 comments:

  1. Glad to hear you've found the rhythm of the road.

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    1. It is surprisingly very different from the rhythm of home.

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  2. I like the color enhancement that Betty applied to the Black Canyon photos. We visited there in late April and enjoyed several hikes on the South side of the canyon. The vistas are amazing. Avoid I70 and take the train next time! :-) Looking forward to your next post.

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    1. She uses a vivid setting at times if the actual colors are a little washed out, like Black Canyon. It does make for a dramatic photo.

      We actually saw the Amtrak train between Vail and Denver and thought of you and Malcolm.

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  3. It's summer everywhere, not just in Phoenix, so you gotta expect the heat ... but if you make it as far as NY, you'll find partly cloudy skies with temps in the mid-to-high 70s. As I mentioned, Zion National Park is on our bucket list -- reminds me of Sedona. But I dunno know about Back Canyon. Gives me vertigo! Anyway, sounds like a super trip. Will look forward to your next post.

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    1. The heat index today for Omaha is to be somewhere near 110. You are right, it is summer and we didn't expect this type of humidity and heat combination. But, looking ahead, a cooling trend starts by the middle of the week.

      I did get vertigo at Black Canyon. There are several overlooks that, even with railings, I couldn't approach the edge - it is straight down over 1,000 feet.

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  4. Bob, you are traveling through my old stomping grounds from the 70s, namely the mountains of CO. And I agree that Zion is absolutely one of the most fascinating national parks in the country. Drove through it at night once, during the winter, in complete darkness with only the stars visible. That can be a little disconcerting at times, but still beautiful. I-70 can be pretty beat up as you noticed. Between the rough winters and the tractor trailer traffic it takes a lot of abuse.

    Continue to enjoy the trip, be careful, and stay safe out there among the English.

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    1. The trucks generally stay in the right hand land, which is where I tend to travel because i stay under 65 mph on a 75 mph highway. That lane has been torn up pretty badly.

      We drove through Zion in both directions. It is amazingly different depending on the sunlight angle.

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  5. A nice surprise to find a new post here! Zion looks beautiful, and Betty's pics are fabulous, as usual! Can't wait to hear more about the county fair-- I love small town events like that--we'll be going to Cornville and Cottonwood soon to pick some fresh corn and attend a fair.

    Enjoy the next leg of the journey!

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    1. Cottonwood, especially old town, is one of our favorite towns in Arizona. You and Ken enjoy!

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  6. Great to hear from you! Betty's photos are as beautiful as I expected. The 100 mile stretch of bad road would have made me nervous. Glad you didn't have any major damage.
    Tell Betty to check out www.mypublisher.com . I used them to make a book for us, and our travel companions, when we came home from our Mediterranean cruise. They do a great job with photos!
    Keep on having a great time!
    b

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    1. Betty has made a note of the web site. She is also talking about getting back into watercolors when we get home. I really try to encourage her obvious talents...talents I wish I had!

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  7. Oh, I am so glad you enjoyed Colorado & the Black Canyon of the Gunnison! It is true ---that particular stretch of I-70 is awesome, although it's not always listed on America's gorgeous drives. That's too bad that the weather is so warm; the at least Scottsdale prepared you. It's also too bad that the eastern Colorado end Interstate 70 is so bad. Maybe that's why the trip through the Rockies isn't more appreciated! ;)

    Thank you for writing to check in & thank you, Betty, for the photos! I appreciate it & am glad all of you are enjoying the trip.

    pam

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    1. I-70 from just east of Grand Junction to the outskirts of Denver is breathtaking. We couldn't stop in Vail with a RV & towed car....just too narrow. But, it looked well worth another visit some day.

      Nebraska has surprised us so far: lots and lots of lakes and everything is very green. I appreciate the flat roads!

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  8. Good to hear from you! What an adventure! And more to come! Look forward to hearing more. Are you homesick at all? Or is life so different and adventuresome, that there is no time for that! Wishing you continued happy trails.

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    1. We do miss family time and dinners together but are willing to trade that for this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Today marks the start of our 3rd week: that doesn't seem possible. Didn't we just leave home?

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  9. Beautiful pictures. I'm reminded of a story that Carrie Elkin (folk singer; worth a Google) told about Ogallala. Her vehicle broke down en route from CO so she spent a few weeks in Ogallala waiting for parts and repairs. She wrote a song about Ogallala that was a big hit....in Ogallala. Good to see your post again.

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    1. I will have to check out the song. Betty and I enjoyed the Ogallala area quite a bit.

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  10. Good to hear from you and love seeing Betty's photos- will have to try the vivid setting on my camera- never thought to even try it, but now I must! Joan T.

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    1. Betty takes many pictures on both regular and vivid settings. Sometimes the vivid is too colorful. Then, she uses Photoshop to tone it down a bit.

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  11. I am eagerly following your posts, and enjoying your stunning scenery! It has been many years since I traveled west. I forgot what I was missing! Thanks for the updates. Glad you are both enjoying your trip.

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    1. Thanks, Jan. We are glad that the intense heat and humidity is just about gone. More seasonal temperatures should greet us in Iowa starting on Wednesday.

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  12. Since I'm getting to this a few days late, hoping you two have traveled far enough north by now to be out of the heat. We got lucky during our recent stint through the plains, only having to run the A/C a couple of days. I've decided the ideal RV'ing range is from about 50 - 89 degrees!

    Loved Betty's photos - please continue the updates as we are having fun comparing notes with you. :-)

    Tamara and Mike

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    1. Today, Tuesday, it is still oppressive in the Omaha area: too hot to enjoy some of the beautiful parks and hiking trails. But, the heat breaks tonight and we expect to be back in the 80's and 70's. The A/C has been on almost full time for the last 6 days (except in Gypsum, Colorado). Luckily it has worked without a hitch.

      I noticed large hail was predicted for South Dakota - glad you and Mike are safely away from there.

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  13. Thanks for sharing this article with us. The pictures are great! Hope you are doing ok..

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  14. Thanks for the update. The photos are excellent. Years ago, we attended a wedding near a waterfall in Zions Park. It was spectacular. I join others here who recommend a Zions visit.

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  15. I have never seen such beauty in such a different enviroment truly beautiful.I feel like we are along for the discovery
    What a great vacation

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  16. Breathtaking pictures, Betty! I love to hear about all the sights - we have recently moved to the Western side of the Rocky Mountains in Canada and I am keenly interested in doing some sightseeing on this side of the US. Colorado is on my list! So glad to catch your blog. Happy trails!

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