Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer of Fun: Chapter 4

Utah in mid-July?   Seriously, what were we thinking?   
But fear not, there was a method to our madness.  

The BMW Motorcycle owners were having their annual rally in Salt Lake City.    While Hubby no longer considers this a "must attend" event, our friends would be in the area  and we consider spending time with them worthy of suffering through the off we went...Utah in Mid-July!

Day 1:  Saturday, 7.8
First stop was to say "Welcome Home" to our former babysitter and her lovely family.

 * Bad blogger:   didn't get a good picture of Dr. Caitlin, instead just the hubby and the daughter....and her Oma (who is our neighbor back home, how funny is that...we have to travel 150 miles to catch up with the neighbor friend?)
  For as long as I've known Caitlin, she was determined to become a pediatrician.   And so she did just that, attending med school in VA and residency in PA, she is now back home and both she and her husband will be joining the pediatric practice in Glenwood Springs.  

Way to go, Dr. Caitlin...we're proud of you and what a great example you are showing to those Things you once babysat for...set the goal, chart the course and off you go!
 How's that for a "starter" home?!   
Little Lainey announcing to Hubby "READY READY"...

In our quest to visit as many Colorado State Parks as possible, we spent our first night at James M. Robb Colorado River State Park.   While cell coverage was weak,  and natural shade wasn't as plentiful as one would like (yet, more trees than one expects given the surrounding terrain), it was very close to the interstate, affordable cost and we found this to be a good fit for our needs. 

Day 2-4:   July 9-11 
With the rally not scheduled to start  start until later in the week,  we decided to stay in the Provo area.   The original plan was to try out Utah Lake State Park but we opted instead for a privately owned RV campground near the lake.  

  Reviews of the state park included limited shade, buggy and there would be no wifi options.   Lakeside RV park turned out to be the answer to all of these worries.    The large tree provided much appreciated shade as local temps would start to climb to the mid 90s with little evening cooling off like we enjoy back home.    Bugs weren't bad since we were further away from the water.   And wifi was adequate.   

While in Provo, we  did what seems to  be a pattern to our usual activities when camping:   I spent a little time poolside, reading a book, 
and Hubby managed to capture a few good sunsets.  
When work was done we managed to take a motorcycle ride...
 In search of cooler temps

Majestic views...
and waterfalls...
Success was clearly found on all objectives!  
  I had been told that a certain Provo school has a creamery with really good ice cream.    

And yes, said information was fact, I'd say that was the best scoop of ice cream I've had in a long time.   *Opinion is likely influenced by the hot weather and all the walking I did in search of said ice cream treat.
Day 5:  July 12

It's often been said  that Army friends never say good-bye and instead, it's more of a "see you later"...such was the case with our next stop.  Hubby's Army buddy,  El Guapo (now retired from his job in the Chicago area) and his wife  had recently decided to move closer to their youngest daughter and her two cute little ones.

Yeah, you can see what a hardship it is being closer to these little darlings...
We bartered "driveway camping"  
for side car rides...
 Seems like a pretty fair exchange, right? 
Day 6-8 7.13-7.15  Salt Lake City!
Welcome BMW Motorcycle Owners...
And Hello, Richard...
And Bridget...

Being strangers to the city, without a car, I asked Bridget if she wanted to join me on a city tour..
Expecting a regular bus, it was pretty fun to see this pull up for our trip...
On the tour we enjoyed several landmark SLC sights
From the train station that inspired
 a man named Walt to build a replica at his park in Anaheim...
To a park oddly named "This is the Place" 
where a man named Brigham upon seeing the views, 
declared to the Mormon pioneers that their journey would end in the valley below...

But the real treat of the evening was hearing a choir rehearse...
With a full orchestra in a hall that seats some 20k visitors...
I'm pretty sure had my own mom been offered a spot in the choir, she'd have converted?!

And before we knew it...our friends were back on the road...
and we tried to find cooler air...with another ride into the nearby 
Wasatch Mountains..
Wild Flowers were in bloom...
 Tourists were out in full force...
 and yes, slightly cooler temps...
Day 9, 7.16 Headed Home...
Almost last night of camping at Boyd Lake State Park...where bug spray is key to surviving being so close to the lake...

All in all, it was a wonderful time spent in the company of good people that we just don't see often enough...
Until next time...See You on the Road....

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Right Now: June 2017

I'm listening to:    well, more like watching the movie, Me Before You.

I really enjoyed the book and am finding the movie to be a pretty close adaptation of the book, complete with pulling on the old heart strings and causing the tears to form just a bit.    As I watched the movie, I found myself thinking of a colleague, KS.   This past week, her husband passed away suddenly at the age of 41.   Both the movie and this real life event of sudden loss has me listening a little closer, reflecting on the reality that we all get just one life, it is imperative that we don't settle and wait for life to happen.

 I'm loving:   the lazy days of summer!

 No major travel was planned, no big house projects, just  plenty of time for rest and relaxation.   Even the Things seem to be enjoying the summertime season...
Summer is the perfect time to grill,and I've found that the more food I have on hand, the more often we see Thing 2.

As for Thing 1, silly boy was happy as a clam the day we had to move the furniture into the kitchen so the carpets could be cleaned.     He also proved to be very helpful when it came time to moving furniture.   Collecting carts has helped build some upper body strength!
While I doubt he'll ever outgrow his love for nesting, he did spread his wings just a bit this past month, and tackled the driver's permit test.  Passed the test and conquered a fear along the way, I'd have to say that's cause for celebration for sure!  

 Our RV adventures have been so much fun, as I really enjoy heading out during the week, crowds are less and there seems to be the right balance between go and stay.

I'm needing:  to make sure I don't fritter away what is left of summer vacation.   I report to my new job on 31 July and I still have a couple books I want to read, a trip to take (another short one, although we will wander a bit further this time) and some crafting to do.  Yeah, I suppose I should also figure out how to get back in the routine of exercise.   That would be a good goal for this month. 

I'm feeling:   relaxed and ready.   So off I go, to see what today hold's in store!    

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Summer of Fun: Chapter 3

Fun with Mueller State Park

 Up until this trip, all our RV camping adventures had been just the two of us.  
 Shoot, we hadn't even brought along a Thing or Two on our trips.   However, this trip we'd be joined by not only Thing 1 ...
But we would spend the next few days with our friends, The Machidas...
Thanks to the gift of the internet and blogging, hubby had befriended Richard a few years back.   And while I had met Richard during his past visits to CO, and Dom had met Bridget (during his Alaskan adventure of 2013), Bridget and I had never met...until this past week.

Suffice to say we hit it off marvelously...with common interests of working for the school system, to being married to men who own URALs, it was as if we'd been friends for years.   Bonus points that Machidas have two adorable dogs traveling with them.  (Sidebar:   Nope, we don't own dogs, but I am a bit like that spinster auntie when it comes to dogs...I love on them but return them when the work involved becomes too tedious.)

  Going into this trip, I knew that sidecars had to be involved, and I found myself agreeing to driving the RV by myself, towing a sidecar while hubby followed behind in the spare sidecar.    As I'm not really a fan of driving in the first place (if I ever win the lottery, forget the maid, I'm hiring a personal chauffeur), it was a bit nerve racking, but in the end, all worked out just fine.

Day 1:   Primary objective was to check out Canon City's URAL-friendly, Skyline Drive.   Built along the Hogback hills west of town, its sole purpose was to offer visitors and residents views of the city.   Dating back to the early 1900s, it does indeed offer some one-of-kind views..
at one point you really feel like you are riding off into the skyline, with no signs of the road continuing on the horizon...
While in Canon City, we checked out the Royal Gorge Bridge. 
At  955 feet above the Arkansas River, it is considered to be the highest bridge in the US.   In 2013, a horrible fire took out most of the supporting buildings and entertainment options.  Luckily the bridge itself was spared.   We opted not to walk across the it frugal, call it fearful, call it hot, none of us were really feeling the need to spend over  $20 to experience the thrill first hand.

What we were willing to spend $ on was a quick visit to the Colorado Prison Museum.
Canon City and nearby Florence are known for the plethora of prisons (something like 9 prisons between the two communities) so it makes sense that there would be a museum that explores the history of prisons in Colorado.

 Housed in what had once been the women's section of the prison, the museum is adjacent to the Colorado Territorial Correction Facility which has been in operation since the1870s.     It's a small museum that is perhaps a bit dated in some of the  displays but well thought out and detailed in terms of the history presented.   I'd say it was worth the price of admission!

Day 2:   Hello?!!!!  you have to make sure that the music teacher in the group gets to see the place that inspired the classic song America The Beautiful, so off to Pike's Peak we went today...
 A near perfect day for riding, we bundled up for the cold but found ourselves shedding layers on the way down.

Yes, I've been to Pikes Peak on several different occasions but with each trip up the road, I still find myself amazed by the talent it took to build this road to the top and the efforts it takes to keep this road open year round.   While they've raised the rate to $15/person, I'd have to say this too was worth the cost of admission.

Final thoughts:

  • Mueller State Park is a keeper!   Each spot is spacious and nicely forested to offer natural shade.  Flat sites that even I was able to pull through without too much cursing involved.  From our house to campground was just over 2 hour drive, a great place for a weekend get away.  Yeah, too bad the rest of Colorado knows that to be true, as the place is booked solid on the weekends through this year's camping season.   
    • One thing to take note of:    The park does sit on top of a ridge line, which is ok, except for the campers across the way from us. Lightening struck their vehicle, shorting out something in the computer of their RV.    So, if you are there, and you see lightening and thunder, take immediate cover.  Mother Nature doesn't mess around!
  • Camping (or Glamping) with friends is also a keeper!   Sharing meals and conversation made the time speed by WAY.TOO.FAST....usually a 3 day adventure is enough, but this time I was wishing we had 3 more days to spend together.   But alas, our friends needed to head on to Glacier for what I'm sure will be a fabulous adventure as well.
  • Uma is big enough for 3 of us...I was worried that with another full sized person in the RV we'd be regretting the suggestion that Thing 1 tag along.  Nope, it all worked out just fine and his remark on the trip home was "wow, that was the most fun I've had this summer, we need to go again!"  Yes, son, yes we do...and we will!  

Until Next time....See You on the Road!