Thursday, September 30, 2010

A beautiful autumn day in the San Juan Mountains

 We arrived at Alpen RV Park here in Durango, CO yesterday.  Another lovely campground that is well tended.  The RV park sits at the foot of the San Juan Mountains.

Today we took a hike on a segment of the  Colorado Trail.  This trail was built and maintained by volunteers and stretches from Denver some 500 miles to Durango.  We only covered a tiny slice of the trail.  

It was a perfect day.  Light breeze and sunlight, no bugs, flies or mosquitoes .   Most of our 75 minute hike was alongside of Junction Creek. A  babbling brook is a nice addition to any trail.  At the end of our hike we drove about 2 miles into the San Juan Forest and had a picnic lunch in the forest.  Beats a day at the office.

Tomorrow we will drive from here to Albuquerque, NM for the Balloon Festival where we will meet up to with friends Mike and Bev Heine and Lexie, their sweet Labrador Retriever.

Here is what we saw:

A collection of rock cairns often built in memory of someone special.
Part of the trail.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park

From Moab, Utah

In the past few days we have visited Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park.  The outstanding features of both of these huge parks are the vast vistas and deep canyons.  We had originally hoped to camp at Dead Horse, but it is a small park and was full when we got into town.

Here is some of what we saw.
The Colorado River

Our trail is the smooth area.
The water at top center is a potash processing area

Lizards, rabbits and chipmunks are prevalent

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mind-boggling stone formations

From Moab, UT

The other day we went into Arches National Park.  We were truly amazed at the variety of rock formations.  Most are immense.  Some remind me of  a building constructed a couple of thousand years ago and now partially worn away by the elements.  Others look like hooded figures in a religious rite. 

There is an incredible display of Nature's handiwork and we barely scratched the surface of what there is to see.

Stay tuned

Saturday, September 25, 2010

No more foggy windshields

From Moab, UT

Last time we were in Nacogdoches, TX I walked through every Foretravel on the factory lot. You know how it is, you want to see what other models look like. Maybe pick up an idea or two.

I saw a coach that had two six-inch chrome fans attached to the underside of the front TV.  Ding, ding, ding. I liked that. When we travel on chilly, rainy days we have had some fogging of the windshield. This is never good and our windshield defrosters just are not up to the task. So I said to myself: just how hard could this be?

With the input from the Foretravel ForeForums I found a pair of fans I liked on eBay and bought them. When we were in Montana, my cousin, Jerry McDonald and I located a 12 volt supply up near the TV (thanks to a good suggestion from  Foretravel friend Gary Omel) that was not too difficult to access. So now I had two sets of wires hanging down from the TV cabinet.

A few days later I made an attempt to attached the fans underneath the TV. What an impossible job that was. With little clearance to use a screwdriver, little space to tuck extra wire and two wire nuts into the shallow base of the fans I could not get the fans attached.

After thinking about the “problem” for a day or two I reasoned that if I could get a disc of walnut to use as a mounting block that in the comfort of an outdoor picnic bench workshop I could attach the fans to disc and then run two screws up into the mounting disc to secure the whole assembly to the TV cabinet.

I turned to ForeForums to find some walnut discs. A Foretravel owner in Texas made two discs of walnut for me.

When we arrived in Moab, the discs were waiting for me at the post office.

The installation process was still not a piece of cake. Sandy is an excellent assistant (although there was some grumbling about having to work on a Saturday). To make the attachment of the discs of walnut to the TV easier, I made a paper template for use in drilling my two holes in which I would run the brass screws to attach the fan assemblies. Ding, ding, ding. It worked.
This project demonstrates to me just how an valuable it is to have the resources of other Foretravel owners. 

Stay tuned

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

There is more to mountains than meets the eye

From Manila, Utah--

When we left Illinois last September, among the many things we were looking forward to seeing were the mountains out west.  We have discovered that when we drive up and into the mountains that we see a whole lot more than we anticipated.Today's trip into the Uinta Mountains was one of those days.  Viewed from our KOA park in Manila, UT the mountains are not that much to look at, but take Utah Highway 44 up into the mountains and the scenery becomes quite dramatic.  Within the Uinta Mountains is the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.  It is remarkable for its many, many camping and hiking ares, fishing and boating, small lodges, private ranches, streams and stunning rock formations.  We spent a good part of the day exploring a small part of this area.

We turned off the main highway into Sheep Creek Canyon Nature Trail and found ourselves on a small road with canyo walls on either side.  The rock formations were beautiful to see.

Can you imagine the forces that created these rock formations?

Aspen trees on a ranch at over 8,000 feet
We saw a few turkeys
And a chipmunk enjoying a warm spot in the sun

We took a hiking trail down into this canyon and then along the beautiful Green River. 
We had our picnic lunch looking at the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.  When the dam was completed in 1961 President Kennedy activated the turbines that produce electricity. 
From a scenic overlook we spotted this canyon
It is supposed to rain tomorrow.  We had planned to travel to Moab, but instead will stay here, play games, read and watch TV.  Not a bad life.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 20, 2010

From Jackson Hole, WY to Manila, UT

What a great early autumn day we had for a 255 mile drive.  Generally speaking we average about 50 miles in an hour.  We never push the speed limit.  Not only is that dangerous, but the old MPG rate suffers when we exceed 62 MPH -- so that is where we set our cruise control.

The driving was mountainous and hilly with a few plains scattered along the way.  The roads out here are under used, and we often drove for 10 minutes or more without seeing another vehicle.  We like that. Once we got set up in the little KOA park here in Manila, Utah we took a drive over to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area that stretches from northern Utah all the way up to central Wyoming.

We saw some majestic vistas and captured a few to share.  I like the deep blues of the water against the red sandstone.

Do you think this is a stone cabin or a natural formation?
A few Aspens in golden splendor were on display

From about 7500 feet elevation.

Stay tuned

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Turning in a southerly direction

Moose cows enjoying a suburban front yard

Tomorrow we begin a leisurely pace that will take us back to Illinois in just eleven weeks.  Hard to believe we have been gone well over one year.  Monday morning we start our trip over the length of Wyoming and by the afternoon we will be in Manila, Utah.
Jackson, Wyoming is a beautiful location.  The town is thriving.  The summer season is just about over and the merchants are getting ready for the influx of skiers that will arrive as surely as will the snows. Saturday morning we visited the farmer's market that is alongside of the town square park.  We found some great sweet corn, tomatoes that taste like tomatoes, fresh raspberries, lettuce and new potatoes. Delicious.
Each corner of the square is accessed through an arch made of elk antlers.

This little guy was all decked out in a hat to match his Mom's

That's all for today. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grand Teton National Park

So far we have been to Yosemite, Glacier, Yellowstone and now Grand Teton National Park. They are all beautiful and have unique qualities.  So far, our favorite has been Glacier and we will go back there in 2012.

Consider this comment about our natural resources:

"Surely our people do not understand even yet the rich heritage that is theirs. There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, its groves of Giant Sequoias and Redwoods, The Canyon of the Colorado, The Canyon of The Yellowstone, The Three Tetons; and the representatives of the people should see to it that they are preserved for the people forever, with they majestic beauty unmarred."  Theodore Roosevelt – 1904

Here is our look at Grand Teton National Park

A final thought:

"Those who have gone before us have set an example to us as stewards of these vast natural resources. We owe it to those yet unborn to continue to preserve and protect what can never be replaced" -- author unkown

Stay tuned