Sunday, June 15, 2014

Leaving Texas (with a disclaimer)

DISCLAIMER:  For those of you living vicariously through our adventures (and apparently there are quite a few of you) we wanted to explain how often we post.  Since we opted not to buy a JetPak or other fancy internet access device we are at the mercy of our cell phone service and landing point wi-fi.  We are Verizon customers and, overall, have only NOT had service a couple of times the past week.  Since we are trying to keep our costs to a minimum, we don't always stay at parks/resorts with free wi-fi and remain cognizant of our data plan, as we have 2 iPhones, 2 iPads and a laptop.  We do update pretty regularly on Facebook but if you are hooked on the blog (and we hope you are!) then know we typically try to post when we have wi-fi, which should be 1-2 times per week.  Now, on with the show.......

From Dalhart, we drove to Pueblo Colorado via the Capulin Volcano field in New Mexico.  We pulled in to the national monument site, unhitched and drove the Jeep up and around the volcano's narrow winding road. Joy opted to drive up since she didn't want to be so close to the unguarded edge of the mountain.  Kathy took pictures until we both admitted we were not enjoying the drive because of fear.

At the top, Kathy took a few pictures with her phone because the camera battery was dead (which is becoming the norm.)  We listened to the interpretive ranger with the help of a volunteer give a presentation about the types of volcanic rocks formed by this cinder dome volcano long ago.

Kathy drove back down which was a little less hairy because it was the inside lane against terra firma.  At the bottom we discussed if this was a place we would want to volunteer and decided there was no way as we could not make that drive up and down every day!

Back on the road, the Rockies began to tease Kathy off in the distance through the haze of the June sky. Highway driving isn't so bad when the views are this spectacular. Singing with John Denver through Pueblo on the way to Haggards RV park, Kathy realized the truck AC/heat fan wasn't working. After setting up and dinner, Kathy began checking the fuses she had removed the day before while trying to fix the steps thinking that maybe she hadn't put one of them back in all the way.  No luck.  She asked one of the permanent residents who directed her to the owners, Nancy and Matt Fetter.  Sure enough, after a long day working at his own auto shop, Matt, who reminded us of a younger Jim, our friend and master RV tech, was gracious enough to check out the fuses and find the one Kathy had stuck in the wrong slot.  Ta da - fan and AC worked again.

Haggards RV park has amazingly level gravel spaces with refurbished picnic tables and super wi-fi.  We'll be back to check on the other updates this park will be getting as well as using our Escapees discount again.

The next morning, after hooking up, we were doing the light check on the Jeep and discovered that the RV's turn signals were not working.  %@)&!  Once again, we cussed our fuses!  Kathy crawled back into the cab, under the parking brake pedal, to check the fuse box for the 3rd time in two days.  Sure enough, Matt had moved the wrong fuse and the slot where our turn signal fuse was supposed to be was empty.  Luckily, we have a box of fuses so Kathy replaced it, checked the signals, and we were back on the road.

We took the back-roads from Pueblo to Colorado Springs and it was a beautiful drive. Little communities were mostly hospitable to tourists with shops and art stores and we figured they were probably just hippies trying to make a living.  We actually passed an older version of ourselves - a 1970's era Itasca Sundancer. It was in great shape and driven by an elderly gentleman.  We stopped next to it at a stoplight and waved.

Denver was all freeway with traffic jams, construction and heat.  We were once again grateful to Matt for helping with our AC and quickly forgot about the turn signal issue when we weren't baking in traffic.

Beyond Denver we stayed on the freeway until we needed a break.  We stopped at the Johnson conglomerate of RV store, campground and truck stop for a lunch break and dog walk.  It's amazing how good a simple sandwich can be when you're sitting in your RV with your family, watching the world rush by as you munch casually on turkey and cheese and corn chips talking about Alaska, cooler temperatures and our new life in general.

Northbound to Wyoming we listened to John Denver's "Windsong" album.  Unbeknownst to us, the last song on the album is the "Song of Wyoming" which began to play just before we crossed the state line.  Joy kept saying we were meant to be "here" meaning "wherever" we are, together, when she says it.

With the mountains visible in the distance, Joy called the Wyoming parks to see which recreation areas were open and which ones still had spots available.. We rolled in to Laramie without any reservations and had decided to try the national forrest campgrounds which were only $10 since they had no hookups.  If we couldn't find an open spot then we decided we'd simply parking lot camp at the local Wal-Mart.

It's a good thing we called because we found out that two of our possible landing points were closed due to snow!  A few miles later and after driving the RV down a curvy dirt road, we set up camp in the Medicine Bow National Forrest at Yellow Pine Campground.

No electric, no sewer, and no water.  It was absolutely beautiful!  We took a pre-dinner hike with the dogs and, while Joy napped to rid herself of a sinus headache, Kathy built a great fire. As the temperatures dropped, Kathy got the guitar out and serenaded Joy and the pups with tunes by John Denver and the Indigo Girls.  As the fire burned out it was off to bed with the heater set to come on if the RV got down to 66.  Sure enough, we awoke to temps in the 40's and a strong northerly wind. Simply perfect! Kathy traded her shorts, t-shirt and flip flops for pants, a long sleeved shirt and tennis shoes.

After breaking down camp, we were off to the Laramie Wal-Mart to pick up a few items before heading north to Buffalo.  We stopped in Casper, a wonderful historic city, so Kathy could print the dogs' vaccination records at the public library.  We would need them in order to cross into Canada in a few days. Joy took pictures of the fabulous sundial, "Confluence of Time and Place” by artist Matthew Dehaemers and we ended our layover with lunch at the Village Inn, complete with a shared slice of apple caramel pie with ice cream.

Back on the road, we headed north to Buffalo.  Hwy 287 between Casper and Buffalo was beautiful but brutal with 50+ mph winds for miles.  We stopped at one point to make sure nothing had been ripped off the RV and found that the only victim had been the motorcycle cover we were using to cover our bikes on the back of the Jeep.  The winds proved to be too much for one of the seams and there was a good 12-inch tear. We removed the cover, drove on though one hell of a storm (of course) that actually caused it to snow and finally arrived at the Mountain View Motel and Campground.

We drove through a cute little historic downtown on our way to the RV site.  The ground was dry but the air was chilly as we set up - assisted by stoned hippies left in charge.  Althought initialy disappointed that the campground did not have the views shown on their website, it's very quiet and we both got a well deserved sound night of sleep.  We'll be spending two nights in Buffalo and plan on exploring downtown on our second day.

No comments:

Post a Comment