Friday, July 20, 2012

Back to the shore

Well if you haven't guessed it by the silence...
we are back in the Beauzone.

We arrived home Monday July16.

We left Shawnee SP in Pennsylvania Friday morning and drove 4.5hrs to
visit with friends Hayden, Radeen, Eric & Pat who own Sailboats
that are currently in Rock Hall, Md.

Our Self portrait of the day

To celebrate our arrival there was of course some bubbly

during the day we enjoyed the hospitality of the marina and took advantage of
a beautiful swimming pool.

At night we enjoyed dinner aboard Island Spriit one night and
in our coach (Monty Hall?) another night.

The view out the back window was a bonus.
Across the bay at night was the lights of Baltimore.

Alas..  all good things must come to an end.

Hayden & Radeen were off to Cape May to Celebrate 32yrs of wedded bliss,
Pat & Eric back to Pa to plan their next adventure
Kate & Greg back to Beaufort to park the rig for now.

The morning of departure

Our drive home took about 9.5 hrs and was uneventuful.
Home was just like we left it.

It's sad each time I pull the pin on the 5th wheel at the end of a trip.
Each day when traveling has a purpose and a plan.

Trying to squeeze in the demands of a full time job with the added rigors of
traveling keeps me extremely busy from the minute that I get up to the minute
that my head hits the pillow.

I love the pressure combined with the uncertainty of what our next port of
call will look like.  The constant change.

Getting home is a culture shock.

anyway - thats my next blog.

When I gather my thoughts I'd like to try and recap some of the places that
we've been, the wonderful people that we've met, and the actual numbers from the trip...
Miles traveled... etc.

For now...  I have to go scrub the sailboat...  the birds have made it a mess!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Lincoln Highway

It's Thursday night...  July 12th
We are in Shawnee State Park in Pennsylvania.

Our drive from our last stop in Indiana was 485 miles and took 
about 9 hours with stops.

Shawnee is a very pretty campground...  I wish we had more time to spend here

The change from the pine forests of the west to the lush deciduous forest here in
the east is a bit of a culture shock when it happens so fast.

Our ride today took us down about 30 miles of the Old Lincoln Highway.

The lincoln highway was the first coast to coast highway.
It was a patchwork of trails and roads and was created in a time when
 some people believed that it was not the job
of government to build highways....   sound familiar?

On Sept 1 1928, Boy Scouts from across the country placed 3,000
stone markers... Custom designed cast concrete with a bronze head of Lincoln,
 the highway logo, and a blue directional arrow one every mile.... 
to mark the entire length of the Lincoln Hwy.

9 years before the Boy Scouts marked the road,
in 1919, a caravan of Army Vehicles struggled to cross 
the US from coast to coast as a demonstration of military preparedness.
It took them about 2 months with many mishaps along the way.
Their struggles were widely publicized and helped shape public opinion
that good roads were needed.

Ironically, a young officer in this 1919 caravan had the opportunity 20+ years later
 during World War II to see the German Autobahns first hand.

Upon his return to the US after the war, using the Autobahns as his inspiration,
 he was able to create and sign the Interstate & Defense Act of 1956 
that created our Interstate Highway System.

That young officer was Dwight Eisenhower.

Today the Lincoln Highway, like route 66 -  is just a memory.
There are some reminders however...
If you travel the side roads of America they are waiting for your discovery.

The Lincoln Highway...
Not Forgotten.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Eastbound and down

We are now back in travel mode.
On Saturday we drove from Grand Teton to
Ft Collins Colorado.

We had some really unusual Colorado weather in that it poured rain upon
our arrival Saturday evening and continued to rain all night and much of Sunday.

We took Paul up to Estes Park to see Rocky Mountain National Park but
unfortunately the clouds obscured the main attraction of the park...
The mountains.

So instead we did some window shopping, people (girl) watching,
and went to Penelopes for some Burgers.

Paul had another Bison Burger....  yum.

On Monday I made a farewell breakfast for Paul...
Corned Beef Hash & Eggs,
We spent a leisurely morning, and left our campground at exactly 11am which
was check out time.

Before leaving however, we needed to get a picture of the birds nest
in a corner above the door to the Mens Room.

We then drove an hour and a half to Denver International where I navigated our rig
among all of the rushing travelers were we dropped Paul
off curbside, and then continued out of the airport and headed east on I70.

It was pretty funny to watch the cops as we drove into the airport with our rig.
They all at first looked a bit surprised then smirked as I gave them a wave 
as we passed them by. 
 I don't think they see a lot of 56' long, 13' 6" tall
 5th wheel combos there!

Kate and I then drove about 300 miles to Cedar Bluff State Park in the middle of Kansas.
It was a nice little Oasis of trees and water in the middle of the Treeless Plains.

We had a wonderful cool breeze blowing and finished off the day
with a beautiful sunset over the vast prairie.

Today we woke up early, packed up camp and were on the road by 0830.
This was the view from our campsite this morning

We had about 470 miles to drive and we arrived at our current locale - 
Graham Cave State Park in Missouri around 430pm.

We are tucked into a dense Oak Forest on the side of a mountain, and have the
campground to ourselves...  no one else is here.

It was 94 degrees when we arrived and the campground only has 30amp
service so I have to manage our power usage so as to not
blow the power box supplying the coach.

Run both A/C's but not the microwave...
Turn off one A/C to make coffee...  etc

Tomorrow we have a short day - only about 275 miles
to another state park - this one on a lake in Indiana.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Garmins Gone Wild

Has your GPS ever talked smack?

Does it have a potty mouth?
Mine does...

First a warning...
If you are offended by bad language 
do not click the link below.

My GPS has developed a bad attitude and has been cursing at us
while we drive down the road...

Click the link below and see for yourself.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Goodbye Yellowstone - Hello Grand Teton

A couple of days catching up to do.
Weds - July 4th was our last day in Yellowstone.
We traveled the entire southern loop road and spent time visiting
the West Thumb Geyser Basin & the Lake Area.

The West Thumb Geysers are right on the shore of Yellowstone Lake and
that backdrop adds some interesting visuals.
Last year when Kate and I visited, it was also loaded with Elk.

We then drove North along the lake shore till we found a nice quiet
spot in the woods to have a picnic.

We continued up the Lake Shore and eventually into and thru the Hayden Valley
making a big loop till we exited the park once more thru the West Side.

The next morning - Thursday - we packed camp and drove about 2 1/2hrs back thru
the park, exiting the south gate and into Grand Teton National Park.

This is a shot of the road heading south in Yellowstone with the
Tetons in the distance.

In Yellowstone you get to see virgin forest - untouched by loggers.
Quite a beautiful park.

If you look back thru the Yellowstone pictures, you see all sorts of thermal events,
wildlife, snowcapped peaks, lakes, wildlife, streams meadows & forests.
Its quite an expansive and beautiful ecosystem.

We arrived at the Colter Bay Campground in GTNP by 2pm.
After dropping the trailer we headed down to Jackson for some shopping and
an early dinner.  While there we had some rain.  Our first real rain in almost 2 months!

This morning the crew hit the road to see the sights in GTNP

This is looking across a bay in Jackson Lake

A few shots from Jenny Lake.

The now abandoned Mormon Settlement along
Antelope Flats Road
It was first settled in the late 1800s and was once a thriving community.

Further up Antelope Flats, we went 4 wheeling into the mountains.
We climbed up Shadow Mountain on the East side of the Valley
where we could let the Doods run for a bit and get a great vista of the
Valley floor below.

We drove about 20 miles on the dirt mountain road..  at times the trees limbs overhead
 would rub the roof of the truck and the road was only wide enough for one vehicle
in many places.

Eventually the road started down the mountain, and turned back west so I
figured that we'd come out somewhere near a highway and soon enough
we were back in the valley, out of the trees, and into the sagebrush country.

We paused for our self portrait of the whole crew.

Tomorrow as wagon master I have to roust the crew out of their bunks at
an early hour so that we can hit the road for our 8hr drive to Ft Collins, Colorado.

On Sunday we will visit Rocky Mountain National Park.
We will probably travel thru the area burned the last few weeks by the large
Hyde Park Fire.

See you back in Colorado.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mayberry Revisited

For those of you who might not know...
Andy Griffith passed away today.

He was just one more piece of Americana that is slipping away.

I was extremely fond of him and all that he represented.
On October 10, 2010 we posted the following blog and I think that 
today would be a good day to repost it.

Do you recognize this car?

Ok let me warn you right off.   I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today so I might start waxing philosophical.

One of the reasons for our visit here at Stone Mountain State Park was our desire to visit Mt. Airy, NC the birthplace and home of Andy Griffith.  It was Mt. Airy that Andy used as the basis for Mayberry.  Many of the places mentioned in the series - Floyds Barbershop, Snappy Luch,  well they are right here in Mt. Airy.

I don't know about you, but I grew up watching Andy, and Opie,  Aunt Bea, Helen and of course Barney Fife.  There was always a lesson to learn, and a value to be gleaned from each and every show. Tolerance, Compassion, Responsibility....   it had them all.  We might not have realized it then, but looking back it's hard not to see.

It was a special place and time.   Those of us who were able to live then, and share in that special place were truly blessed.

They say you cant go back home - and I for one am a believer in that.  Try as I have, I've learned that lesson the hard way.  So todays adventure - while not truly going back to that place and time, at least was a fond remembrance.

Our Day in Mayberry started with Lunch at Snappys and of course that means their Pork Chop Sandwich with the works.  This is not a meal for the faint of heart.  This is not Nouveau Cuisine.  No this is good old down home Southern Cooking with all the cholesterol that you can handle.  But boy was it good!  They say this place is unchanged since Andy sat here as a young boy and the recipe is the same.

Walking the streets with the Doodles is always good for meeting people, and while Kate went in and out of all the stores, I stroked my Doodles on Main St and got to meet all the local characters.   I have to tell you, one deputy who called him self Barney wanted to give me a ticket (just for fun) and one other gent who was the spitting image of Don Knotts in his later years stopped to welcome us to town and tell us how glad he was that we were here.

I have to say this just might be the friendliest town that we have ever been to and we've been to some friendly ones.

Several times we saw the Mayberry Squad Car drive by.  There were several of them.  Ford Galaxy 500's.   I don't have a clue to what the year is but they are the real deal.

On the way out of town we stopped by the Andy Griffith Museum where they have this bronze statue out front.   Remember the opening scene where Andy & Opie walk hand in hand to the "fishing hole".  Well here it is preserved for all time.

It was a great day with alot of fond memories.  Thanks Mayberry.

Back at the State park, I just had to show you a picture of the road with all the Rhododendrons everywhere.   This place is just loaded with them.  We have to come back here when they are blooming.  It has to be out of this world!

Yellowstone Day 2

Our travels into the Park today was another mixture of colors, wildlife,
thermal springs, and scenery.

On the way to our first stop we came across two large bull Elk grazing alongside
of the Gibbon River.

After enjoying them for a while we continued north to the Norris Geyser Basin.

The view from above before you descend into the basin.

At the bottom...  more colors.
Todays colors are a bit more pastel compared to yesterday.

The colors come from a mixture of minerals and algae that manage to thrive in
the hot springs.

After Norris, we headed over to the Canyon area of the park to visit
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The colors of the Canyon wall are always a crowd pleaser.

The Falls however are the main event!

This is the view from Artists Point.

A closeup with the telephoto.
You can see the viewing platform on the right side where we were
just a few minutes earlier.

 Artists point was also the setting for todays self portrait.
Unfortunately Kates Melon is blocking the falls!

After the falls, we set off for the Hayden Valley...
Named after a friend of mine..
In search of elusive wildlife.

On the way we spotted this trio of Bison.

The wildlife has been spotty this trip...
I think the mild winter has allowed a lot of the game to remain in the high country
and out of site.

This is a view of the Hayden Valley.
One of the most beautiful places on mother Earth.
I never get tired of seeing this view!

A bit upstream from the Hayden Valley along the Yellowstone River...
We found a quiet spot to hang for a few.

Todays journeys was a bit rushed... I had a Ton of work issues to deal with
that consumed much of my day so we were unable
 to see all that I had scheduled.

Tomorrow is July 4th so I will have the whole day 
to get caught up on my other job...
Western Tour Guide.

We will continue the search for wildlife by revisiting the Hayden Valley, plus
tour Yellowstone Lake and visit some of the Thermal Springs in the
West Thumb Area.

Andy Griffith....  RIP

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Colors of Yellowstone

Last night was pretty interesting...
About 9pm or so we went from a calm cool night to screaming gales in the span
of about 30 seconds.
The winds howled for a couple of hours and then calmed down.
We are waiting to see it tonight the scenario repeats or not.

We woke up bright and early and enjoyed a relaxing morning topped of with
some Oscars Bacon & Egg Sandwiches.

After walking the Doods we headed off to our first full day with Paul in
my favorite place on this Earth...  Yellowstone National Park.

I've been here at least 30 times and I've often said that I
never get tired of Yellowstone.... Today was no exception.
Everytime that I visit it blows me away!

First we found a nice quiet stream.

As usual...  I had to get my feet wet...

Paul found a warm sunny spot for reflection...

Kate went in search of that perfect shot...
She found this Dragonfly.

After all of this we had worked up a hunger and it was off to the Yellowstone Lodge
for Lunch.  If you've never seen the lodge you can see pictures in our blog last June.
It's a beautiful old historic building.

Paul & I both had some yummy Bison Burgers, and Kate had some sort
of Pear & Proscuito Panini.

After lunch it was outside and a short walk to see Old Faithful...
the site of todays Self Portrait.

I continue to ponder the question:
Does Old Faithful erupt when I'm not there?

We topped off our day with a visit to the Midway Geyser Basin,
and the main event there - The Grand Prismatic Spring.

The source of todays blog title...

I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Tomorrow its back to the park to visit:
The Norris Geyser Basin,
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,
Yellowstone Lower Falls,
The Hayden Valley (named after a friend of mine) in search of wildlife,
Yellowstone Lake,
and the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Off to Yellowstone

A bit of catching up from the last couple of days...
Paul arrived Friday.

His plane landed at 1530..  we cleared out of our space at the
Dakota Ridge RV Park in Golden, Co at 1100 so we had some time to kill.

First we drove about 30 miles north to Longmont, Co where we were able to
drop the trailer so we didn't have to drag it thru the airport.

Then we drove back down to the Denver Metro and I took Kate on a tour of
all the places that I used to live.
I had to keep reminding myself that it's been 30 years since I moved out of
Colorado since all of my old neighborhoods, homes etc just did not look
anything like the picture that I held in my mind.
The trees were bigger, the houses were older....  and so am I!

We stopped by the Arvada (my old town) Recreation Complex.
It is amazing!
Pools, hot tubs, exercise machines, climbing walls, cafes...

Heres a shot of one of the pools

After a few hours of driving around the old haunts it was off to pick up Paul
at Denver International Airport.

We then drove up to Longmont, hooked up, and drove 3 1/2hrs to Rawlins Wy
where we stayed in a small RV Park next to I80 for the night.

The next morning (Saturday) we drove 5 1/2 hrs to Jackson, Wy where we found
a site in Grand Teton National Park for the night.

We headed into Jackson for lunch and a little sightseeing before arriving back at
camp just in time for cocktail hour.
(you can see poor Lucys head in the screen door waiting for us to let her outside too!)

Some other campers with a Montana stopped over later that night and we spent
several hours chatting as the day dwindled away to night.

Soon it was time to hit the sack.
The temps dropped down to the mid 30's - a welcome respite from the heat that
we'd been experiencing in Colorado recently.

In the middle of the night Lucy Doodle decided that she'd had enough of 
Kate and I and decided that she would rather spend the night with Uncle Paul.

When Paul awoke, he grabbed a hot cup of Joe and headed across the road to
a vacant campsite in the sun to warm up.

Soon we broke camp and headed north thru Grand Teton NP

Our route took us thru Yellowstone, entering thru the South Entrance and exiting from
the West Entrance.

From there another 15 miles west on US 20 took us to our new home for the next
4 nights - Lake Henry State Park in Idaho.

This is a picture of the campground

This is a picture of our site.

We have great internet and this will make a great base for showing Paul the
wonders of Yellowstone.

Since picking him up Friday we now been in Colorado, Wyoming, 
Montana, and Idaho.

Now on to the main event!