Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Friday, July 6, 2018

UT to IA

June 18-30, 2018

Not having received any confirmations from an of our inquiries yet we decided to head towards UT. We tried to get reservations in Page AZ but Wahweep was full and boondocking was out with the high temps. So on Monday, the 18th, morning we headed to Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane UT. This was going to be a long travel day, 376 miles is way more than we usually do  but we arrived at our destination by mid afternoon. We had a nice large pull thru, FHU, with an expansive view out our door. If only it hadn't been so hot we could have enjoyed the covered patio site WS23 offered.

Hurricane UT is near Zion National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument. Having already been to Zion NP and not wanting to deal with large crowds we headed to Cedar Breaks NM. A beautiful ride with a 2 mile hike on the Alpine Loop Trail at 10,000' was just what we needed.

By the time we arrived home we had an email from Lake Coralville near Iowa City IA. We were offered a position and their Visitor Center, 2.5 days on and 4 days off. Not having heard anything from other inquiries we decided to take them up on their offer. We had paid thru Friday the 22nd and figured it would take a week to get there, 1500 miles to cover. The next few days were spent taking another scenic ride and then get groceries stocked for our mad dash to IA. Looking at the weather we decided to head out a day early and left on Thursday, keeping an eye to the weather we knew we might be moving along quicker than originally planned.

Our first travel day was 480 miles north thru UT to I80 and onto Rock Springs WY, a new state for us. We decided to stay at another fairgrounds, the Sweetwaters Event Complex is home to the fairgrounds and there campground. FHU's for $28/night, we decided to stay 2 nights.

After looking at what was available in the area to do and knowing we didn't want to spend the day riding in the truck we decided to take a short scenic drive. The Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Tour takes you on a butte above Rock Springs. The Rock Springs BLM is headquarters for the Wild Horse Program in Wyoming,  The 24 mile scenic ride on gravel roads not only offers the opportunity to view wild horses but also other wildlife and there are some expansive views to enjoy.



Did you know stallions mark there territory? 3' tall sometimes

Meanwhile while Dave was busy taking pictures I was busy grabbing some geocaches, too bad there was no one there to help me with the 50+ string of caches.
A long distance view from the scenic ride of the rv park
On Saturday, the 23rd, we continued our eastward push, 475 miles and we arrived at the Lincoln Fairgrounds in North Platte NE, $25/night for w/e. We hoped this was going to be an overnight stay, since we got in early enough we headed over to the Golden Spike Tower. Did you know it's not there, but the nations largest rail yard is. After playing the tourist we fueled up the truck and ourselves with a Chinese dinner out.

Lincoln Fairgrounds
Sunday, the 24th, when we got up we saw there was a break in the weather and if we left soon we might just miss the thunderstorms. After driving another 422 miles,we arrived at Prairie Flower Campground near Des Moines, no thunderstorms, just a few showers. After getting set up in the campground we contacted our friends Cindy and Paul who summer here. A great visit and dinner with them, plans for getting together again since we're only 120 miles away.

Monday the 25th we arrived at Lake Coralville IA, we met our contact at Linder Point campground and proceeded to get set up. Well we couldn't get Dish satellite and our Verizon signal only had 2 bars. There had been mention of another site somewhere else, after inquiring about it and checking for satellite and cell signals we moved over to Sugar Bottom Campground. The campground is about 10 miles from the VC but it's so much nicer, I'll gladly do the commute.

We've spent the last week working at the VC, getting acquainted with the area and taking care of mundane tasks (oil change/laundry ect) done. We've already found a Mediterranean buffet, a Neapolitan Pizza place, a farmers market, good grocery stores and have tips on other places to check out.

Many may wonder why we picked IA, first off they were the first to offer us a position that we'd want to take on. When we applied we looked at the location and then who was in the surrounding area. Friends Cindy & Paul are 120 miles west, meet ups already planned for somewhere in between. Our friends DuWayne & Jackie are about 125 miles north of us in WI. Friends Mark & Nancy are directly 90 miles east of us just over the IA/IL border, they already had reservations at this project and now we've got plans for later in the season with them. Since we've been here Curt and Glenda have made plans to stop in for a few days, we're hoping to hatch up a travel plan for mid September.  Last but not least is the relative closeness of my folks, they are 300 miles southeast of us. With my folks hanging up their keys for any long distance traveling we hadn't had plans to see them this summer...originally they had planned to drive to CO for my nieces wedding, which has been cancelled. We now have two reservations at the COE project we worked at last year where we were near my folks. We'll be able to celebrate their 60th anniversary with them in August. So looks like it's going to be a busy summer in Iowa.

Until next time....

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Jiggling......Again With The Jello

June 1-17, 2018

On June 1st we got out for our next hike. Just 1/2 mile up the road behind Alpen Rose is an access point to the San Juan National Forest. We headed out to find the waterfall and trails, the trails we took are part of the trail system we hiked early on in our stay. 

As we were almost off the trail guest from the rv park were hiking up, they commented on the smoke behind us. This smoke would soon become the 416 Wildfire and would impact on our lives. They have not determined the cause of the fire. The Durango Silverton Railroad shut down indefinitely and they closed the San Juan Forest to all activities. 

On June 3rd our friends Mike & Liz arrived at Alpen Rose. We first met Mike & Liz on our AK caravan in 2016 and last saw them on the AL Gulf Coast in April 2017.
We had to work a few days so we left them to their own devices but once we were off it was time to get out on some jeep trails. Our first drive was in the Vallecito Lake area on Middle Road. Beautiful scenery in the Rocky Mountains.

Due to the 416 Fire the road north of Durango, US 550, is down to one lane (8am-6pm) and sometimes closes depending on winds and where the fire is. Any time the road is open pilot cars are mandatory, much of the area 5 miles north of us has been evacuated. We wanted to do the San Juan Scenic Byway, a 240 mile loop, so up and on the road so we can be some of the first through the fire area. Police pilot cars take 10 vehicles at a time, with enough escorts to take 50+ vehicles at a time. 

Conversation on the front porch every afternoon was about the fire, all the while managers are encouraging us to leave when we felt uncomfortable. There are more cancellations than reservations, the park's occupancy rate has dropped, the park is mainly made of workampers, evacuees and a few who came despite the fire. On June 9th mandatory evacuations are only a mile up the road, the smoke came into the valley in the evenings permeating the rv, ash would be on everything in the morning, smoke settled into the valley and remained until later in the day. A few days after the start of the fire we started doing some prep in case of evacuation, on the 9th we moved into full travel mode. On the 10th we let the managers know we were relocating 55 miles to the south and we'd keep an eye on the fire and head back when things cleared up. 

After 90 minute ride, along with Mike and Liz, we were settling at the San Juan County Fairgrounds-McGee Park in Farmington NM. 500 sites, $30/night 50amp and water, some sites are 30amp only, dump station on site, 24 hour security that was present. It worked well especially considering what was in the area. 
Our neighbor for our stay; we didn't see here as we were backing into our site but soon learned she was there. We all came to an understanding and we enjoyed checking on her from inside the rv. 

We did some tourist things while in Farmington. One day we took a ride to 4 Corners since Liz and Mike had never been there, we've been there a few times over the years.
2018 Mike & Liz

2004 Our son Tom

Took a jeep ride near Farmington looking for arches.

Tomorrow, Friday the 15th,  Mike & Liz head on and we will hang out here through Father's Day. We had a great time with Mike & Liz and look forward to more good times when we see them in FL this winter. 

We'll not only celebrate Father's Day but our 33rd wedding anniversary is the 15th and Dave's birthday is the 17th. Always a fun time of the year.

416 Fire Time Line Pictures 6/1-6/9











To date no lives have been lost and no structures burned. Many thanks to the firefighters who worked tirelessly.

For a variety of reasons we've decided not to go back to Alpen Rose and to find a position somewhere else. We've put out inquiries at UT State Parks, Laramie County CO and COE IA where we saw they might be needing help. Meanwhile we've made reservations in UT to carry us through 4th of July. 

Until next time...