Wyoming Political Statement

Sign posted in area of “Open Range” along Chief Joseph Scenic Highway between Red Lodge, Montana and Cody, Wyoming…

 

 

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Bogie – R.I.P.

Bogie Selfie

On Friday, July 28, 2017, we lost Bogie, our best friend. There were three of us on this on-the-road, full-time adventure. Now there are two, and our hearts are broken.

Bogie came to us about 12 years ago, and was probably about 3 years old even then. He was always more than a companion. And he was always with us. When we had our business, he was our shop dog and customer greeter. He even had his own fan club. People would come into our showroom and we would ask “Can we help you?” Often times, the response would be “Oh, we just came to see Bogie”. Not exactly good for business, but he more than made up for it in what he gave us and others.

When we went anywhere locally, he was always on the center arm rest riding with us. When we traveled on longer trips, whether in the motorhome or in the car, he was with us. And for more than a year since we have become “full-timers”, he has been with us traveling to Glacier National Park, to the Pacific Northwest, to Southern Arizona, to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. He’s even floated on inner tubes with us down the Dechutes River in Bend, Oregon.

Several months ago, Bogie began having labored breathing and fluid build-up in his lungs. He was diagnosed with a heart murmer and an enlarged liver, consistent with old age. Medications were prescribed which were helpful in dramatically improving his quality of life. But we were warned that we were only buying him some time. A few weeks ago, he took a turn for the worse. He would eat less frequently and was dramatically losing weight.

Even so, since being in the Teton and Yellowstone area, we would take him for day trips here and there and he would insist on either looking out the windshield or sticking his nose and entire head out the open side window, taking in the fresh air, and let the wind blow his hair back. He always seemed to enjoy that.

 

Ultimately, time caught up with our dear friend. Part of our decision to stay here for a few weeks was because we knew we would ultimately leave here without him.

On a recent day trip into the back country, somewhat close to our camp, we came upon a spot that overlooked one of the most beautiful valleys we have ever seen in all of our travels.

We know it’s crazy, but Bogie’s final resting place is in this spot. With all due respect to veterinarians, we just could not turn Bogie over to a Vet that we did not know to be disposed of by whatever means they utilize. So, on Saturday, Bogie was buried high in the Absaroka Mountains of Wyoming, just outside of Grand Teton National Park. A beautiful and wild spot worthy of Bogie.

 

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High Country Camping in Wyoming – A Cure for Procrastination

As this post is being written, we are about 10 days into a 16 day stay in a national forest campground in northwestern Wyoming in close proximity to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. There are many ways to approach Yellowstone and the Tetons. We have come into the area on Highway 26, approaching from the east due to our decision to stay awhile in Lander, Wyoming which was the subject of our last post and the place where we spent the 4th of July. We still have great memories of our time spent there.

Having several campgrounds to choose from, we were looking for one that was fairly close to the highway. As is often the case, roads into many otherwise beautiful areas and campgrounds can be fairly challenging. Maybe not for our Jeep, but certainly a bit of a problem sometimes for a 37 foot motorhome. For this reason, we almost always use our Jeep to check out areas before driving the motorhome into a situation that might prove problematic.

In our present location, the campground was just off the highway and, much to our surprise, had a loop, “Loop A”, that included electric at each site and water in close proximity, along with restrooms. Using our Senior Pass, we are in for $10 per day. You can’t beat this kind of deal, especially with an electrical hook-up. So, we decided to stay the entire 16 days that is allowed in national forests in this part of the country.

Located on Highway 26, we are about halfway between Dubois, Wyoming and Moran Junction in Grand Teton National Park. We are pretty much in high country, with the Continental Divide and Towgotee Pass no too far up the road, both of which are around 9600 feet. Our elevation here at the campground is 8,500 feet, which explains the early morning and evening cool temps and daytime temps that are in the low 80s.

We have used our camp as a base for taking day trips into the national parks. Although we have about a 30 mile drive just to get TOO the Grand Tetons, it’s such a spectacular drive that we have not minded. By comparison, a national forest campground in Grand Teton, with electrical hook-up can be well over $55 per day. Even with our Senior Pass, the cost would be $37.50 per day. Not so bad if your a Senior who is on vacation, but for full-timers, $37.50 per day is a bit much for just electric and community water. Even if we CAN afford it, we’d rather spend our money in other ways.

Even though we have visited the Tetons previously on a few occasions, we are always surprised at how these mountains and peaks rise so dramatically above the valley which is Jackson Hole. And approaching these mountains as we have this time from the east, causes us to climb down from a high pass in which, after many sweeping right and left hand curves of the road, we are suddenly and shockingly looking at the Tetons straight on without warning. Just spectacular.

We haven’t even scratched the surface of the wildlife that is here, and we’ve already seen a grizzly bear, a herd of buffalo, an elk and several antelope. And that’s BEFORE heading into Yellowstone where we’re sure to see more.

 

 

PROJECTS

I guess I’ve always been a procastinator. Anything that can be done today certainly can be put off until later. A great example of this has to do with the front brake on my bicycle. For some time now, the front brake has not fully engaged when I squeeze the lever on the handle bar. I had initially analyzed that the cable down near the brake pads needed adjusting. This is a simple fix. You just use a crescent wrench to loosen the nut, stretch the cable with a pair of pliers and simultaneously tighten the nut. It takes all of one minute, maybe less. Knowing this, why did it take until today to finely get around to it after putting up with less than full braking for at least several months?

Staying in one place for a length of time is not only a great way to wind down from traveling from place-to-place. It’s also a chance to catch up on projects that invariably pile up when on the road like adjusting my brakes. Sharon’s bike has also been in need of a new bicycle chain since her old one broke when we were in Quartzsite. That was back in early March. And, although I had ordered a new one right away, we have been traveling around with the bikes on the bike rack behind the motorhome since then. It’s now July. Time to put the new chain on.

And then, there is the Fantastic Fan in the bathroom. Several months ago, the fan quit working. A quick check of the fuse at the time revealed that the fuse was fine. Then procrastination set in. I rationalized that having the roof vent open was enough. No need for a fan. Today, it gets fixed. Using my multimeter (volt meter), I tested whether I had current at the wall switch. I did. Next, I tested whether current was flowng through the fuse. It was. Then I tested for current through the 3-speed switch. There was current. That left only the wires going to the motor. I quickly figured out that the ground wire from the motor was loose and not making contact sufficiently to allow the motor to run. After tightening the wire, the fan works perfectly. The whole process, including unscrewing the screen frame for access to everything, took all of a few minutes. So why did we put up with an in-operating fan literally for months? Procrastination.

I’m happy to report that I’ve resolved the above mentioned “projects” and have added new ones to my list. I’m thinking I’ll get to those…soon. Maybe tomorrow. 🙂

Happy Trails from Wyoming!

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4th of July in Lander, Wyoming

We never intended to wind up in Lander, Wyoming. Since leaving Flaming Gorge in Utah, we were heading north on US Highway 191 toward the Tetons and Yellowstone. After camping with Linda and Ken, our road buddies that we met in Bend, Oregon last year, we caravaned with them, boondocking at Walmart in Rock Springs, Wyoming. In fact, we boondocked there for a couple of days, all of us being cheapskates. Free camping is free camping.

And besides, it was time to re-supply there anyway. After some good times, shared dinners, and extremely competitive games of “Sequence”, it was finally time to part company. They to Pueblo, Colorado, and us to the Tetons.

Even though we were underway, at one of our rest breaks I took a look at our map and saw that we had a choice about which side of the Wind River Mountain Range we wanted to travel. Regardless, both routes would lead us to the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. We had been on 191 all the way to Jackson, Wyoming in the past. So, it was an easy decision to turn on Highway 28 and head around the south end of the Wind River Range toward Lander.

Not having done our homework, we were surprised that Wyoming Highway 28 followed the routes of the Oregon, Mormon and California Trails, not to mention passing in close proximity to South Pass City and Atlantic City, both known for gold and outlaws. Butch Cassidy is probably the most famous of the outlaws that ventured to the area. In his case, he was captured by the Lander Sheriff and eventually sent to prison. South Pass itself was the route that allowed the pioneers to get over the mountains as they headed west. This area also marked the “Parting of the Ways”, a junction on the original Oregon Trail whereby those heading to Oregon went one way, while another trail led to Utah and California.

Lander, Wyoming turned out to be a very pleasant surprise to us. When you think of Wyoming, you think of cowboys and a “country” way of life. That’s Lander. Cowboy hats, big buckles, plaid shirts, Wrangler jeans, and boots are the uniform of the day.

The town has a lot of pioneer history, with many of its 7500 residents being direct descendants of those who came here either by covered wagon, on horseback, or on foot. This region is also home to the Arapaho and Shoshone indian tribes, both of whom share the Wind River Reservation just north of lander.

All in all, we spent 5 days in Lander, including the 4th of July. The first three days, we camped along the Po Po Agie (pronounced Po PoAshue) River as it passes through the Lander City Park. You can camp in the City Park for free for a maximum of 3 days. On the 4th, we attended a rodeo, and watched the town’s 4th of July parade sitting in our lawn chairs along the sidewalk on Main St. Later that evening, we watched one of the best fireworks displays we’ve ever seen from the top of a hill overlooking the town. Rather than having one professionally produced fireworks “show” at a single location, we were entertained by spectacular fireworks launched by individuals and groups throughout the town and entire valley. Starting at about 9:00 p.m., which is sunset in these parts, the “show” lasted until well past midnight.

There are two museums in Lander, both on the same property. One is the Pioneer Museum, and the other is the Museum of the American West. Both are well worth a visit. One really cool aspect is the “town” that has been recreated outside the Museums, with actual restored buildings. Everything from a Mercantile Store to a newspaper office to a livery stable, as well as an authentic pioneer church and homesteader’s cabin are all on site.

While here, we drove the city looking at the various neighborhoods. We like to do that as we travel. And we love grabbing brochures of the homes that are for sale. It kind of gives you a feel for the pride and economics of the area. We found most of the neighborhoods to be high on pride of ownership. And home prices were quite reasonable. You can find million dollar homes anywhere. But, we found nice homes in nice neighborhoods for $150,00-$300,000.

Lander is not near anywhere. If one needs a big city, it’s probably Salt Lake or Denver, both of which are several hundred miles distant. Perhaps, in a sense, that’s a good thing. We talked with many residents of Lander and all of them loved living here. From the young couple who’s families moved here from San Diego, to “Noni” (short for Winona) who has lived here since 1942, they say Lander has all they need and is a great place to live and raise a family or to retire.

 

We felt that during our short time here. Everyone we met was warm and friendly and welcoming. And you can’t beat the beautiful scenery of the area, including the snow-capped Wind River Range as a backdrop to the town. We’ll be back.

 

 

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First Weeks Workcamping at Flaming Gorge or… “We Ain’t Paying for That @#$%ing Wall”

I promise not to give our readers frequent reports about this “experience” over the entire summer. But maybe occasional updates, starting with this one because the first few weeks is kind of like jumping into the deep end of the pool for the first time.

Our name badges say “Camp Host”. Believe me, we are far more than camp hosts. “Host”ing is a very small part of this workcamping experience so far. Let’s just say we have a whole new appreciation for Mexican migrant workers. If we’re not mowing lawns, we’re fertilizing lawns and killing weeds. Or using a weed-eater. We joke that we fertilize the plants so that they will grow so that we can spray them so that they will die.

So what else do we do here? What do our other duties include? The quick answer is we do whatever needs doing. There are six of us looking after the park, which has 47 designated sites, plus a over-flow area, as well as a vehicle storage area. Two  are the resident managers. They live here year round in a log home that has the RV Park office attached to it. Then there are two other couples, ourselves included. We each live in our own RV on a site that is provided near the office.

Plus, we get paid. We each work a 40 hour week with 2 days off. Our “off” days are Wednesday and Thursday. Although we had not planned or needed to work while on the road as full-timers, we chose this opportunity because, for four months, it allows us to substantially enhance our savings account by nearly doubling our normal income with little to no expenses.

Photo above right is of Doug and Caroline, the resident managers. The photo at right is of our other “camp host”couple, Pris and Stan.

It’s interesting how life experiences can benefit you when it comes to managing something like a RV Park. Having been IN the business world as employees and  managers, and then owning a retail business for 13 years, has certainly prepared us for the good, the bad and the ugly of customer service.  Fortunately, RV Parks generally are made up of “happy campers”. Generally.

All of our eff0rts initially have been geared toward getting ready for the summer season , and for the recently passed Memorial Day weekend. As this is written, Memorial Day was the best to date. The park was full.  And reservations continue pouring in . We’ve been amazed so far, as to the number of folks that reserve for the entire summer.

Back in our days of having a hobby farm and owning and operating a Kabota tractor, little did we imagine that we would be sitting on a Kabota once again. This time, a commercial grade lawn mower.

For whatever reason, I have become the designated mower, which I actually love. In addition to the many pine, cedar, spruce and aspen trees, a genuinely large lawn area contributes to the beauty of Pine Forest RV Park. All told, the park is about 14 acres, most of which is made up of  lawn area. That’s lots of cutting.  In our case, that’s weekly during the season, usually taking two days. But regardless of whoever does the lawn mowing, we all enjoy being outdoors and are continually amazed at the views and beauty that is here. YIKES! Watch out for that tree!

Being affiliated with Flaming Gorge Resort, with its condos and motel, the RV Park shares a fairly sophisticated computer software system for managing reservations. Fortunately, we are fairly computer savvy. Even so, in this first weeks here, we have spent a fair amount of time learning how the software helps us manage who’s in, who has departed, who is on their way, who’s paid and who has not. Oh, and how to accommodate those without reservations. We don’t like to turn anyone away. And, of course, when it comes to cleaning bathrooms, showers and laundry, it’s usually all hands on deck. This is really not a big deal because the facilities are in first class condition and are always kept meticulously clean.

And then there is the wildlife. Deer come into the Park everyday. And we have Big Horn sheep here.  There was a time the sheep had all but disappeared in this area of Utah. But a few years ago, Big Horns were re-introduced and are now thriving.

Fishing and hunting are very popular here, as well. Because many of our customers fish for Kokanee Salmon on the lake, we don’t have to. We sometimes are given a portion of their catch. A few even filet them BEFORE giving them to us. Here’s a photo of our first gifted Kokanee, ready for the grill.

And we were even given an opportunity to go on a big game hunt. As you can see in the photo to the left, it didn’t take us long to bring home a trophy. Actually, this little guy was brought to us by “Tuna”, the park manager’s cat. She frequently brings her “catch”  to them, everything from baby bunnies to humming birds, all still alive and unharmed.

Believe it or not, we had a storm roll in almost immediately after beginning our first week. It was hard to believe that as we approached June, we received 10 inches of snow while the storm passed through. After the initial snowfall, the sun broke out and we had some of our regular visitors come by. This is “Momma” dear and one of her fawns from last year. We can identify her because she has a notch in her left ear which we suspect came from a tag that may have been torn off. In any event, she comes by nearly everyday for pieces of apple. She appears to be “with child” this season as well. That’s me feeding them pieces of apple.

 

One of the things we really enjoy is the interaction with guests as we go about our duties throughout the park. You know, just as a “camp host” might do. The popularity of Pine Forest RV Park by folks from Utah and neighboring states is quite evident as summer approaches. But even in the off season, folks arrive literally from all over the world, our most recent visitors a young couple from Germany on a 22 day whirl wind tour of  “the West”. And then there was the marathoner from Brazil on her way to a competition  near Yellowstone. And today in the park we have Canadians from British Columbia, as well as from Quebec.

So, that’s about it for now. Although the work can be hard for us flatlanders, we’re still loving it here. As with everything, it’s just a matter of getting into a routine. We can already tell it’s getting a bit easier.

 

Stay tuned. Our next post will be a walk back in time.

 

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Settling In

We arrived at our summer home on May 11th. Officially, we start “work” on Monday, May 15th. Since agreeing last Fall to come back for some summer workcamping, we had always planned to arrive a few days early. It’s a good thing, because after our Delicate Arch hike in Moab, we arrived here with aches and pains in our lower extremities needing some recuperative time. Getting old can do that to you. Particularly, when strenuous exercise has not been at the top of your list of priorities.

We’ll be one of three couples hosting and co-managing Pine Forest RV Park for the next 4 four months. The Park is part of and immediately adjacent to Flaming Gorge Resort here in northeastern Utah. Flaming Gorge Resort is a destination. It is not necessarily on the way to anywhere. You have to want to come here. But once you arrive, oh the beauty and variety of things to do. Or just kick back and do nothing. Cloud watching is very popular here.

Generally speaking, Flaming Gorge Resort is located between Rock Springs, Wyoming and Vernal, Utah, approximately 250 miles east of Salt Lake City. The Resort itself is located at the southern end of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, a lake that extends northward into Wyoming. The lake is about 90 miles in length and is the result of the damming of the Green River. Fishing float trips below the dam down the Green River are extremely popular, and just one of the services provided by the Resort.

This is high country. Our elevation here at the Park is 7,000 feet. The tops of the surrounding mountains are between 9,000 and 10,000 feet. It is SO beautiful here.

Even when it snows, it is beautiful. This photo was taken when we were here last November. Although the surrounding mountains may have snow on the ground late into spring, snowfall here in the Park is usually gone within a day or two.

 

 

This is what it looks like now in the RV Park.

 

No sooner had I written the sentence above, along with posting the photo of “springtime” here, and it began to snow. And it’s been snowing off and on for two days. It’s snowing as I write this, and is forecast to snow until about 5:00 a.m. tomorrow. This, as June is fast approaching.

This snow “event” has covered a wide area that is including Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. And it has caught a lot of people off guard, not the least of which has been some folks that have arrived in the Park intending to stay a day or two but are now waiting for better driving conditions. We’re like the Eagle’s classic “Hotel California”. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

So, we’re almost wrapping up this our first week of workcamping. Lots of things to learn. Stay tuned.

 

 

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Foto Friday

How about a “Foto Friday”? Since we have been on the road, I cannot even count the number of photos we have taken, many of which don’t make it into blog posts due to space considerations. So, maybe we’ll occasionally post random photos as posts of their own.

First and foremost is a photo of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. What is significant about this photo for us personally, is that it was taken by me to mark my successful completion of this “moderate” hike which, although only 3 miles roundtrip, is fairly steep going and coming. Believe me, although seeing the arch firsthand is worth it, many people who attempted the hike on the day we went, did not complete it. The other significance is that you will notice that there are no other people in the photo. This is extremely rare without being at the Arch either at sunrise or at sunset, as most serious photographers will be. This photo was taken midday, at a time when hundreds of folks were in the immediate area. In fact, just moments before this photo was taken, a junior high school gaggle of students and teachers formed up for a group shot under the arch. Just after they were finished, and seconds before others could get into the field of view, I shot the photo.

The next photo is of a mural on the wall backing up the indoor pool and spa at Sky Ute Casino and Resort in Ignacio, Colorado. The pool and spa was one of the amenities we had available to us while staying in the Resort’s RV Park. The mural is actually much larger than the photo shows, extending both right and left probably twice in length of what is shown. The mural depicts a Southern Ute “hunting” party as it crosses a meandering river at the bottom of a valley ringed by mountains. The mural was constructed from actual photos.

The photo below is of a metal building that we came across while out driving the various county roads surrounding Durango, Colorado, something we really enjoy doing.

The building intrigued us and, frankly, has got us thinking about a combination RV garage and small apartment. So much so, that we are in contact with the owner who is providing us particulars regarding this 1800 sq. ft. structure. The photo doesn’t do it justice. The slanting roof with a southern exposure, is perfect for a solar installation, and the height of the building would provide a spacious loft area. Who knows?

 

 

This next photo is of one of the several “goosenecks” that are encompassed by Goosenecks State Park, located between Bluff, Utah and Monument Valley.

 

One of the places we visited was Petrified Forest National Park in northern Arizona, a park that was separately the subject of  one of our recent blog posts. Outside the northern entrance to the park, is a small memorial to the original path of “Old Route 66” as it passed through the area. This relic is on permanent display along with other memorabilia, including a vintage Cadillac grill marking the memorials entrance.

And speaking of Route 66, we have consistently come across preserved examples of the unique and distinctive forms of commerce that travelers experienced all along the “Mother Road”. This photo is of a portion of the Wigwam Motel. The motel consists of concrete “Teepees”, each of which served as a motel room. Although not shown in this photo, the motel’s “office” is actually a vintage gas station situated up front “on the boulevarde”. Back in the day, outside the “office”, as well outside of each “room”, one might find the latest makes and models of automobiles traveling the highway. Today, examples of those same vintage cars are parked in the same places. To see it in person is like opening a time capsule.

 

When you are on the road, you meet a lot of other nomads. This photo is of a lovely couple we met while at a roadside rest stop in Utah. Pastor John, a former postmaster in several areas of Washington state now, along with his wife, form a pastoral team that travels to small towns throughout the west filling in until the particular community finds a permanent pastor. Their most recent pastoral duties were completed after 23 months. Now they are on the road again awaiting their next assignment.

This is a current photo of one of our first and still favorite fishing spots in Colorado. It is Haviland Lake, part of a state park north of Durango. We have camped and fished there on many occasions. It does not have large fish, just pan size. But the sheer beauty of the surrounding bluffs, aspens and wildlife is awe inspiring. You eventually don’t care if you catch anything. You just kick back and take it all in, your cares and concerns fading fast.

We still cannot get out of our heads how beautiful it was on the day we drove over Molas Pass recently. We have probably driven over this pass 50 times over the last 30 years during different seasons, and we still marvel. Part of the “Million Dollar Highway”, this Pass is 11,000 feet in elevation. Those mountains in the photo are near or above 14,ooo feet.

 

 

Sometimes, the most pretty flowers grow in the least expected places. Maybe there is a message there. This flower was growing next to a petrified log in a most arid area in Petrified Forest N.P.

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Prehistoric and Petrified

After eight days in Show Low, Arizona, staying at Fool Hollow Lake State Park, we finally headed east and then northwest kind of making a loop back toward Holbrook, Arizona on highway 180. About 19 miles prior to getting to Holbrook, we arrived at the south entrance to Petrified Forest National Park.

To be honest, we really did not know what to expect in visiting this “National Park”. But we thought that since we were in the area, we ought to at least take a look. In a word, we were “amazed”.

Imagine you are standing at an elevation of 5,000 feet above TODAY’S sea level, and that 225 million years ago that spot where you are standing was itself once under water. This is the location of Petrified Forest National Park. What today looks like a high arid plain was once a rainforest: hot, humid and lush. And there were trees. Lots of them.

Some were small, while others were massive. As the trees died or were knocked down by wind or water, many were carried downstream and buried by layers of sediment and volcanic ash. The logs soaked up groundwater and silica from this volcanic ash. Over time the this combination eroded and replaced the cellulose within the trees and crystallized into quartz, making them “petrified”. Different minerals made the rainbow of colors seen in many pieces. Simply amazing to see firsthand.

 

 

To date, the park road meanders in a north south direction for about 28 miles. All along the route there is abundant evidence of what happened here oh so many millions of years ago. there are entire tree, as well as entire tree segments all in a row where the sheer weight of the segments caused them to split.

 

In addition to petrified logs on the surface, there are many that are only partially exposed as evidenced in this photo showing layers of sediment and volcanic ash that has long been fused together.

Is it me, or is does this photo resemble a cat’s face.

 

Petrified Forest National Park is a vast area, most of which has not been opened to the public as yet, as geologists and archeologists work to “discover” and catalog new finds.

This photo of an area known as “Teepees”, is an example of the the layering that took place essentially burying what was once a vast rain forest.

The following photos show Agate Bridge, a 110 foot petrified tree that was found spanning a canyon. In 1905, a concrete support was fashioned to support this tree in an attempt to prevent its breaking up and falling into the canyon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty much anywhere you go along the road within the park reveals petrified trees, logs and log segments. These photos do not do justice to the varied colors that are evident in each petrified piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we said, we were truly amazed. In our opinion, this is a must-see park within our National Park system. One cannot help but be fascinated by the volume of evidence present that something geologically special has occurred here in the high plains of northern Arizona.

 

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Divine Intervention

Sometimes, destinations are not planned. Sometimes, you just get a feeling that you ought to go there. Such was the case as we were heading east, with a “kind of” plan to visit Albuquerque, and then head north toward Santa Fe. Before even getting to the Arizona/New Mexico border, we found ourselves heading south from Holbrook, Arizona toward the town of Show Low. We had been to Show Low many years ago. Actually, that’s not true. We had been THROUGH Show Low. I’m not even sure if we stopped there. But we did remember how beautiful it was in that area of Arizona.

At the time of our decision to drop off the interstate at Holbrook and head south, we were thinking it might be nice to revisit Show Low and the area along the Mogollon Rim with the intent of getting a better understanding of the area and what it had to offer.

As usual, we were not sure where we would stay once we got there, but we planned to search Campendium once again once we got into the area. Although there were many options, we stumbled upon Fools Hollow Lake State Park. I say “stumbled” because we actually saw a sign for the park BEFORE searching Campendium. Once we read the reviews submitted by users that had stayed there, we felt we were being directed to the park and pretty much ignored the other possibilities that were listed for camping or staying in an RV Park.

We drove in to the park without reservations and were told that although Fool Hollow was EXTREMELY popular most of the time, they did have a few sites available. With us not having a clue about the park or particular sites, the Ranger assigned us to Cinnamon Teal Loop, Site #19. As we found out later, this is one of the park’s most desirable campsites. And it was available.

This is a view from our campsite, which included a concrete pad and patio, fire pit, picnic table, water and electric. All roads are paved, and the park includes multiple boat ramps and fishing docks, hiking trails, showers and spectacular views of the countryside. We felt truly blessed to have found, or were lead, to this park.

 

Independent of our travel plans, Bogie, our Silkie Terrier, had been having breathing issues since traveling at elevations which had been above 6,000 feet for the past few weeks. As we were heading toward Show Low, Bogie began to get worse, becoming lethargic and going off feed. Because Bogie is at least 12 or 13 years old, we were thinking the worst and seriously considered the possibility that we might lose him. After feeling somewhat helpless as to what to do, we finally searched for veterinarians in the area. One in particular was also the closest. Even so, we hesitated. Admittedly, cost was a factor. Taking a sick animal into a vet kind of creates a license to steal. And, besides, we don’t know THIS veterinarian office from any other. So, we procrastinated and otherwise struggled to make a decision. Then, we talked to one of the park rangers who suggested Alta Sierra Veterinary Hospital. He said “they’re the best”. And then added “and they are the closest”. This was the same veterinarian hospital that had nearly jumped off the page in our online searching, even though there were several to pick from.

We walked into the vet’s office without an appointment. The staff listened to Bogie’s symptoms and quickly assigned us to Dr. Lorakate Snyder, one of their veterinarians. She quickly ascertained that Bogie has a heart murmur that she could hear with her stethiscope. She recommended an x-ray.

The x-ray revealed that because of his age, Bogie had a complication of factors contributing to a build-up of fluids in his lungs, all of which were being made worse by elevations of 6,000-7,000 feet. Show Low is at an elevation of 6,330 feet. She prescribed several medications relating to Bogie’s liver and heart, some of which he will need to take for life, literally and figuratively. She said that he should start seeing improvement almost immediately.

Within 24 hours we noticed some improvement and after another 36 hours he seemed almost back to normal. As this is written, he continues to improve. Breathing is normal, temperature and blood pressure is normal, and his energy level is high. We pray this continues and, although we are not religious fanatics, we truly feel we have experienced divine intervention leading us to Show Low.

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Friends Amongst Us

The following post is being posted belatedly and out of chronological order to our travels. I inadvertantly recently posted “Standing On the Corner” instead of this post and have been unable to figure out whether I can rearrange posts once published.

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Although we really enjoyed our week spent at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park in Williams, particularly with all the amenities that it offered INCLUDING a 50% discount for the entire week using our Passport America membership, we are finding that we really enjoy boondocking, also known as dispersed camping.

And, although there are several websites that one can use to research and find all manner of RV camping spots and RV parks, we tend to use a site known as Campendium almost exclusively. So, using Campendium, we found an excellent  boondocking spot close to Williams in a area of forests, mountains and plains. Campsites were available in the woods or, as we chose, out on the open prairie with trees and a vast view in all directions.

Although initially unplanned, we were ultimately joined by two other couples that we originally met in Quartzsite. One couple, Zack and RayeAnne were ending a stay in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, while the other couple, Jeff and Susan were on the western side of the Sierras in California visiting relatives, a distance of over 500 miles.

All it took was this photo and a note saying “wish you were here” and, as soon as they could, they were here. And, yes, that is the moon rising just before sunset.

First, there were two of us, and the next day there were four of us. Although it took an additional day, the folks from California arrived and then there were six of us reunited once again.

Zack and RayeAnne, our friends in the photo below, are from Nova Scotia and will soon be heading north to cross back into Canada via Montana. Unfortunately, although we had a great time together, including trips to downtown Williams for pizza, breakfasts and wandering through shops, as quickly as our group camp began, it was over. But, as short as our time was together, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves taking walks, bike rides, exploring, drinking wine around numerous campfires, and otherwise collecting memories.

 

One of our “trips” was a day trip to the Grand Canyon. We couldn’t believe this was our second visit in one week. As we drove over to the Visitor Center, and then walked out to Mather Point, we spied this fellow (click to enlarge). At first, I thought it was a Raven. Not so. It was a California Condor, tagged number “80” for tracking purposes.

If you could not tell that it was a Condor while it was perched, you certainly realized what it was when it launched and flew overhead riding the thermals along the Canyon rim. With a wingspan of about 7 feet, it was NOT a Raven.

Speaking of exploring, not far from our camp, hidden way back in the woods, we came upon this cabin on one of our jeep trail drives.

The particular tree in this photo is the only one of its species in this area. And it was huge. The cabin was intentionally built to take advantage of the branches and substantial trunk of the tree, as can be seen by the interior photo below.

 

 

 

We just love coming across gems of history such as this cabin, and cannot help but wonder who built it, and when. What was their life like? So many questions.

 

Alas, after our week of boondocking together, it was time to part once again. Our Canadian friends  headed off to Moab and then north to cross into Canada so as not to overstay their visa, while Jeff and Susan were aiming for Four Corners and possibly Moab to catch up with Zack and Rayeanne. As for us, we were headed east.

 

But, as usual, our plans are cast in jello, not sure where the road would take us. For now, it’s time to say goodbye. Maybe the “sisterhood” will get together again in the future. Stay tuned.

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