Saturday, August 27, 2016

Day Three - A Drive on Old Fall River Road

As I mentioned before the National Parks celebrated their centennial while we were in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Wayne and I on Timber Ridge Road, RMNP

On our third day in the park we took a drive up the Old Fall River Road, which is accessible from the Lawn Lake area of the park.  The gravel road is very well maintained but vehicles over 25 feet are not allowed.

The 9 mile one way road provided stunning views as we climbed upward toward the Alpine Visitor Center.

It's a bit late for wildflowers, but I caught sight of a few.  Of course minutes later we were engulfed in clouds and then came the thunder and the sleet!

I thought a video would be better than pictures for this adventure.  I even finally figured out how to add music!  Music is by Jason Shaw and is called Green Leaves.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Campground Review - Manor RV Park, Estes Park

We are staying at Manor RV Park in Estes Park, which is just a few miles from the Beaver Meadows entrance station of the park.

Wayne and Celia 

I chose this campground because of the "pet path" behind part of one of the rows, and we picked what I think is the best site because of the aspen and goldenrod right behind us...and the deer like it too.

We are in site #73 which is also just a few sites down from the laundry room and a short walk to the trash dumpster.

We are also a short drive into downtown and all the amenities.  Of course I climbed up the hill behind the pet path and checked out the view of the mountains that surround Estes Park.

However, as you can see in the photo the sites are very tight together, with no room for your vehicle except jammed up sideways and the last few nights we've all been lined up bumper to bumper in front of our RVs.   Full hookups and free wifi is nice, but at $55 night it is a bit steep.  That is us by the red arrow, at that moment we had no neighbor so imagine it with another big rig jammed in between for a more accurate idea.  The other park we looked at, Elk Meadows, had roomier sites but no wifi and was an additional $10 per night!  Of course the campgrounds in the park are gorgeous, but do not have water or electric at the sites, and no shower facilities either.  There also isn't any Verizon service past the entrance station, so we couldn't even turn on our hotspot on our phones to get internet if we wanted to stay there.  However, if I ever return for a solo camping trip I would definitely stay in the park and go into town for wifi!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Day One RMNP - Fern Lake Trailhead and Bear Lake

Our first day in Rocky Mountain National Park didn't disappoint.  We started with a short warm-up hike in the morning at the Fern Lake Trailhead.

The ranger at the entrance station told us it was likely we'd find parking right up at the trailhead on a Tuesday morning so we bypassed the shuttle bus system and drove right on in.  Other hikers parked further back at the shuttle bus stop and had to walk an extra 3/4 mile on the dirt road to the trailhead, so I was glad we'd gotten the inside scoop and didn't have to experience the dust and the exhaust fumes.

Wayne wasn't sure how his back would hold up, but the trail was mostly level with some minor inclines all the way to the bridge at The Pool.  

The Pool wasn't very impressive, but the views along the way were mighty fine.  Anyone know what kind of bird is pictured below?

Or how about these guys?  They stood so still we might have missed them if someone else hadn't alerted us to look for them.

They could be juvenile Dusky Grouse which are common to the park.  If anyone knows what they are, chime in on the comment section!

And someone took our picture for us, proof that we were out hiking together!

After our morning hike we collected Cory and drove up into the mountains.

Hallett Peak behind Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a subalpine lake that lies within a forest of spruce, fir, lodgepole pine and aspen.  It wasn't the best day for photography, a still cloudless morning will apparently provide lovely reflections, but we enjoyed our walk around it nonetheless.

While Wayne and Cory wandered on ahead, I stopped to see what might be growing this late in the summer at over 9000 feet elevation.

The asters are everywhere, always one of my favorites.

Bear Lake is one of the most popular destinations in the park and the loop trail is relatively flat and an easy stroll at about 3/4 mile roundtrip.

When we entered the park we found out they will be celebrating their Centennial this coming weekend.  Thursday through Sunday are free entry days at the park but since we arrived a few days early we paid the $30 weekly pass fee and are happy knowing our fee helps maintain this lovely park!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The New Deal and the History of Cattle Drives Meet in Nebraska

So now I'm not only behind on reading my emails and reading blogs, but I'm behind on editing my photos and writing my blog posts too!  I did find time to dart into the U.S. Post Office in Ogallala, Nebraska when we spent the night there.

I had to mail my mother her new pair of eyeglasses that I didn't have time to take to her before we left home (why are there only 24 hours in a day, at least in summer?) but I had an ulterior motive for stopping at that particular post office of course.

The oil-on-canvas mural entitled “Long Horns” was painted by Frank Mechau in 1938. From "Ogallaly, Queen of the Cow Towns" :
...once the railroads started across the Plains, they provided a means of carrying the cattle to the eastern buyers – provided the Texas cattlemen could get their rangy, irascible stock to the railhead. and so was born the classic “long trail” and the cattle drive of legend.

 Just as interesting was the two images in the bulletin cases below the main mural.

Even buying stamps could help the war effort during WWII, something I hadn't heard of before.  I really liked the WWI propaganda poster from 1916 featuring the call to women to help by joining the Navy League.

A quick glance around as I drove back to the camper was all I had time for, guess exploring Nebraska will have to wait for another day.

Back at the new toy hauler we had lots of work to do trying to find a place to put all our stuff.

There is definitely less space for clothes to be stored, but I'm starting to making some headway.

Miss Jewel thinks she's helping, or else she just thought the drawer looked like a great place to make a new bed for herself.  Look at that face!

We've been in Colorado for a whole day and have had so many adventures already I don't know how I'll be able to keep up sharing them on the blog, but I'll do my best!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Herky on Parade and Lobster Emojis?

Friday night we stayed at Sleepy Hollow campground in Oxford, Iowa.  Right on the interstate which is what we wanted for a quick getaway in the morning but the site was incredibly unlevel, difficult to get into and out of, and the electric kept shorting out.  Not on our list of places to recommend, needless to say. 

But we soon put it behind us as we moved on to our next destination of Plaza RV in Bondurant, Iowa on Saturday morning.

There was a toy hauler there that we wanted to see and since we liked it and liked the price we did the deal on the spot! Many thanks to Doug and Dave for making it happen and getting us out of there and back on the road by 5 o'clock.

While we waited I took the kittens for a walk and found a cicada in the grass. The cats had no interest in it, but I did, so I picked it up and took him for a short walk too.  

Of course I put him back where he belonged and our next stop was Walgreens where we saw one of the Herkys on Parade which is a public art project in the Iowa city area.

This one was called father and daughter Herky and was placed in front of an OB/GYN clinic.

Saturday night found us in Council Bluffs, Iowa at the Horseshoe Casino parking lot.  Not a place I would recommend but again we were just trying to get miles behind us. 

$30 a night to camp in their parking lot with electric and water but the shocker was the $50 deposit that was included and which we will not see credited back to our credit card for up to a week according to them. 

We spent the evening organizing the new camper which was quite an adventure as this unit does not have as much storage space as our old fifth wheel. What it does have is a garage for our quad, kayaks and bikes, not to mention four televisions including one outside.  Advice from anyone who has a toy hauler on how they are making the limited living space work would be appreciated.  We gained 2 feet in total length but lost 8 to 10 feet living area which included cupboards most noticeably.

The garage also turns into an extra bedroom for Cory. It might not be fancy but he has his own space now and doesn't have to sleep on the couch anymore.  Pictures of the inside will have to wait for another post we are still quite messy!

Wayne picked up a Pepsi with a lobster Emoji at the gas station in Nebraska and brought it out to Cory today which was something that brought a smile to all of our faces. Things are looking up including our stay tonight at Sleepy Sunflower RV park which has a friendly staff and free Wi-Fi.   Still on the interstate but with the air conditioner running I'm not hearing the traffic tonight. The 2016 Dutchmen voltage V3605 was quite stinky with chemical fumes at first but after leaving the windows open for two days the air is breathable and we will all get a good nights sleep tonight!  


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Naturally Gorgeous

Here is the results of the other portrait session I worked on.  I'll just let you enjoy this naturally gorgeous family.

They live an hour away from me, so they chose the location, just a local park near their home.

This one below is my favorite!

I made sure to get as much as I could as quickly as possible before the baby tired.

She was not a fan of the hat or of the headband but I did get one shot of each that was adorable!

There was a gazebo that made a nice spot for some sitting poses.

And then when the shadows got too deep we went back to their house and discovered that their back yard had some good light left.

And I got a great shot of the ladies while Dad was cooking ribs on the grill for us all to enjoy!

News from the road tomorrow!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Missing Munising Post

Oops!  One more Munising from July that got lost in the shuffle!
We are on our way west later today, but enjoy this little flashback in the meantime.

I thought about taking the ferry over to Grand Island but once I saw that the price was $15 I changed my mind.  I thought it was pretty steep for a half a mile ride which doesn't include a bike or vehicle.  In my younger days I could have swam that distance without even getting out of breath.

So I finished up my return visit to lovely Munising by seeing a few more waterfalls including Scott Falls which is right on the side of the road on M-28 on the outskirts of Au Train.

From M-28 I turned onto Forest Lake Road and took it to the gravel road just before it met up with M-94.  There was no sign that this is the road for Au Train Falls, but if you're coming from M-94 there is a sign making it easier to find.  Just park at the lot a little further along and walk the other 530 feet to the falls.

I don't know whether it was due to it being Sunday morning or because of the rain that was threatening to start up again in the area but I had the falls all to myself.  I walked around and got them from many angles.

A hydroelectric station is located there and this is actually the smaller lower falls.  The upper falls has pipe right across the top of it and I didn't see a way to easily find it .

My favorite shot was of the station from down the river.

It's a great little spot to have a picnic and beat the crowds who are hanging out at Pictured Rocks, I bet that water would feel great on a hot day too!