Wednesday, November 5, 2014

EAST OUT OF YELLOWSTONE - WHAT GOES UP MUST GO DOWN

July 15, 2013

Time to move on to see what is east of Montana.  This is the first day that we are traveling to new territory for both of us.  We have visited Yellowstone before but never farther east than Fishing Bridge.  Today we are explorers.

EAST YELLOWSTONE - Our route from West Yellowstone will take us back through Madison, Norris, Canyon, and Fishing Bridge (Upper part of the Grand Loop).  Challenge for the day is Sylvan Pass, 8537 ft.   As Ray says:  "Its easy to pull the trailer up the pass but its coming down is the challenge."  Evidently brakes and transmissions get hot and we have a heavy trailer (14,000 lbs).

We left early in the morning and had a pleasant ride on the upper part of the Grand Tour road.  Look what we found along the Yellowstone River.

 Couldn't help ourselves, had to take a couple of more pics even though we know there will be plenty of bison in our future.

The little kids eyes in the tour car were huge.  They were surrounded by bison.  Does it get any better?

Passed Yellowstone Lake.  Didn't realize how large the lake was.  The wind was not blowing this morning and it was beautiful.
There are remains of the burn from 25 years ago throughout the park.  The fire went to the lake in this area.  Its interesting to see what a forest looks like without reforestation efforts that we typically see after a fire.
SYLVAN PASS -  The ride up was great.  Beautiful views and easy conversation.  Then the first sign that we might be going downhill...and it was quiet in the cab.   Ray's plan was to take it nice and easy and pull out often.  Plan worked beautifully.  Traffic was light so he went down the pass about 33 mph.  





We would have other 5th wheels and trailers pass us and then we would go a little farther and there they would be cooling down their brakes/transmissions.  I wondered if they thought Ray knew something they didn't...









Made it to East Entrance and there was a 5th wheel just like ours entering the park.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

WHITE MOUNTAINS ARIZONA - where are the cactus?

September 18, 2013

Alright friends,  how many of you thought all of Arizona is desert and hot?  I know, I did too for a long time, but we found a little piece of heaven this week.  Almost feels like home.   Get out your maps, we are in Northeast Arizona in the White Mountains.  The area is mostly White Mountain Apache or US Forest Service land.  There are a few towns mixed through the area that burst at the seams with people in the summer.

We are in the Slow Low/Pinetop/Lakeside area which is a long ribbon of small towns that have grown over the years and their boundaries now touch.  Mixed in with the lodges, restaurants, and antique shops are the box stores ready to assist summer home owners with all their needs.   It reminds me of Bend/Redmond.


ROAD TRIP TO GREER

Everyone says go to Greer! So off we go on a road trip.  The scenery is beautiful.  The landscape is full of pine trees with yellow wild flowers blooming and the sky!



We get distracted easily and have to explore every road.  I did get Ray to agree to no roads with pot holes (Monsoon season is just ending and nonpaved roads can be rather bumpy and washboard.)



 Our first stop was Hawley Lake.  It is on White Mountain Apache Reservation.  This lake has trout and there were a couple of brave fishermen in small boats and float tubes on the lake.  Looks interesting.   There are six other trout fishing lakes in the area!





Pine trees are everywhere and mixed in are patches of aspen.  In a couple of weeks these trees will be golden and beautiful.



ANIMALS - there are signs all over warning about bears, elk, deer... but the only animals we saw were cows and horses grazing on open range near Hawley Lake.  I had never seen horses on open range before but it seemed to work.


APACHE RAILWAY

The railway ran in the 1920's the White Mountains to Holbrook AZ (on Route 66).  It transported cattle and lumber.  In later years it had a scenic railway tour operated until rails deteriorated beyond repair.  The final leg of the railway closed when the paper mill closed in SnowFlake AZ in 2012.   Along our road trip we saw the start of a hiking trails along the abandon railway and this old cattle corral.









GREER AZ Greer is a summer destination for many folks seeking cooler temperatures.  The town is small and has at least three restaurants,  lodges/cabins, and shops.  We enjoyed driving through without all the influx of families enjoying a summer vacation.





 We stopped at Greer Cafe for lunch and Quacker Barrel Antique/Gift Shop.  Greer Cafe was a wise choice.  Another customer was having a Magic Mushroom Pizza that was getting rave reviews from the customer and everyone passed by their table.  We loved chatting with the owner of the Quacker Barrel Shop.

 After five hours of poking around, we headed back to our campsite.  Look at the sky, it was as much fun to watch as it was to look at the trees, animals, villages, and, of course, eat.


The White Mountains are definitely a place we will return to next year.  Maybe I will catch a fish - ha

Monday, September 16, 2013

FUN ON ROUTE 66 (I-40W)





September 9 - 19, 2013

Sometimes you need to challenge yourself and that we did...let's see how fast we can travel to Arizona!  A vacant house and beautiful pool beckons us.  Quickest way is old Route 66.  We will travel from Corydon IN to Nashville TN,  jump on Route 66 (I-40W) and stay on it until Flagstaff AZ.  Should be fun.

September 9 - Corydon to Memphis - 390 miles

Right of the bat, instead of turning right to Louisville (which any logical person would do...), the GPS says turn left and Ray thinks it is brilliant.  Off we go on back roads of Indiana with mail boxes flying by too close for comfort from my seat on the right hand side of the truck.  We literally forgot our rule about not traveling on roads with three digits.

Enough fussing!  I did get to see my first tobacco farms and tobacco hanging in barns -- Ray helped his grandpa hang tobacco many years ago so he provided much information on how to hang tobacco.  We passed century plus old farms and beautiful lakes. We saw villages and beautiful churches.









After an hour or so of seeing places in Indiana and checking the map every two minutes, we crossed the Ohio River several miles west of where we expected to cross.





Happy to see the Welcome to Kentucky sign - now where is I-40?  I experienced my first parkway in Kentucky.









Welcome to Graceland   I was interested in Graceland and excited to see it.  After a little of research on the web, we discovered the mansion is located across the street from the Heartbreak Hotel/RV Park and the only way to see it is to purchase a ticket. ($32 for basic up to $64)  The articles said Graceland is was in a seedy part of Memphis but not to worry because there was a security guard.  That statement causes me to worry.


By 4 p.m., we saw the sign for Graceland.   There was a security guard and he welcomed us  and directed us to the RV park located behind the hotel.  All tours were completed for the day.  We decided to get parked, drink, eat and rest.  We checked the numerous brochures that we received when checking in and decided our trip to Memphis would be a short stop as we were not in a touristy mood.  At least I could say I slept at Graceland - bye Elvis






September 11, 2013 Memphis to Shawnee Oklahoma  446 miles

We're up and on the road again.  Only plan is to keep on I-40 for as long as we could drive.  Highlight of the day will be crossing the Mississippi between Tennessee and Arkansas.  I was waiting to see the mile-wide Mississippi - not that wide here.
Quick trip through Arkansas and was in Shawnee Oklahoma by 4 p.m. 


We stayed at another casino.  My nephew Erik believes all retired folks stay at casinos to play penny slots, sleep cheap and eat buffets.  This theory is one I would like to prove false but the lure of free overnight parking was too much to resist.



We secured the last spot in the row of RVs camping at the casino.  It was ladies' night so we splurged and ate at the casino ($5 off my meal).  Ray had a fabulous meal of southern cooking.  I'm sure my nephew is enjoying this very much.

This is a view of the row of RV spots.  They are directly across from where the truck drivers park.  The upside was 50 amp and water for the night.




This friendly shuttle driver took me anywhere I wanted.
September 12, 2013 - Shawnee to Santa Rosa New Mexico 455 miles YIKES

I loved driving through Oklahoma.  There are signs about BBQs, Route 66 and other interests in the area.  I enjoyed passing through the towns that advertised they were the hometown of Carrie Underwood and other famous artists. 

And then there was miles and miles of Texas... 

Santa Rosa New Mexico  By three o'clock, Ray was talking about finding a place to stay for the night.  We were thinking Albuquerque but changed our plans and stopped in Santa Rosa.  For the past few miles we could see big storm clouds ahead of us.    We arrived at the Santa Rosa RV Park on Old Hwy 66 and settled in for the night.  The lady in the office informed us eight inches of rain had fallen there over the past two days.  The evening news switched between the flash floods in Colorado and local flash floods in New Mexico.  We were praying for a break in the weather at least on I-40W.


 Friday the Thirteenth - Santa Rosa to Grand Canyon 524 miles

The weather became a big issue on Friday.  We needed to travel through NW New Mexico and news stations were warning about flash flooding.  We kept an eye on the weather and pushed forward.  West of Albuquerque, we saw state troopers along the road.  They had closed the left hand lanes.  As we drove by, we saw a huge sink hole in the median.  Oh Boy -

By mid-afternoon we arrived in Arizona.  Ray looked at me and said Welcome Home.  Its something he has said when returning to Oregon from our big trips...




Consequences of being drifters

We are truly drifters,  we make plans week-to-week, day-to-day.  It allows us to stop when we are tired or take a u-turn when we have the urge.  Sometimes it makes us scramble.  The idea for Grand Canyon was one of our "drifting" ideas.  Time to stop and rest before hitting the heat of Phoenix and fixing up the house.  I decided I better call the Trailer Village and make sure there is space - there wasn't.

SO we decided to drift to the White Mountains of Arizona for our quick rest.  Luck was with us and we arrived at a lovely RV park in Pinetop, AZ  Hon-Dah RV Park  (Yes Erik, there is a casino across the street.)  We were greeted by John and Ann, the campers next to our site. The weather held until we were settled and then a huge thunder/lightening storm.  We settled in for the night which is turning into a week because we love it here so much.


Monday, September 9, 2013

CORYDON INDIANA, RAY'S HOMETOWN

September 3 - 9, 2013

We are in Ray's hometown.  Corydon is in southern Indiana located just north and west of Louisville Kentucky.   They call this area Kentuckiana.  Its always good to visit your home town and connect with family and friends who knew you when...  Ray has enjoyed every minute.  This was one of our best decisions.


Wednesday - Visit with Uncle Pete.  Uncle Pete use to take Ray fishing, hunting and had Ray working on his farm.  His favorite joke is to say "I taught him every thing he knew..."  after telling hilarious stories about Ray.


We always try to go to Farmers Market where ever we are.  This trip brought a surprise of seeing childhood friends - at least their brother and husbands were Ray's friends.  It went around town quickly that Ray was back.


The evening ended with BFF Lester.  They acted like they live next door instead of cross the country.


Thursday and Friday was bow shooting, chatting, and more time with family and friends.  John and Ray spent time doing all things Ray has missed.


Saturday, Ray invited everyone to his John's house for a BBQ.  We treated everyone to glorified hotdogs, chicken and all the fix'ns.  Ray's niece, Lisa, helped with the food.  We had a great day visiting with friends, family and everyone that dropped by -


 Bob and Teresa (who has more toys than Ray) and Ray's G'niece Ashley)
 Lisa, Ray, Missy, and Uncle Pete
 Lester and his lovely wife, Vickie
 Ray's sister Brenda and her partner Linda
 Me and our daughter Missy
 Ray & Vickie - what cigar?
 John - Ray's brother-in-law for over 45 years
 Lisa and Steven

What I love about houses in Indiana is the yards - they are all mowed and large.  This is John's back yard.  The kids loved running and chasing each other and doing a little archery.  

Duck Dynasty folks would of been proud of the girls.


Missy and Brandi




Ray got a little G'pa time.

Sunday - The RV Park we are staying at has a pool....guess what we did on Sunday?

 The kids we not the only ones that had fun.......

 and the stories continue
 How did they talk G'pa into the back of the truck?
Missy, Ray's most favorite person in Indiana. 


Grand Trails RV Park - I am thankful that Corydon has a trailer park.  It was convenient for us to be close to everyone.  The park was adequate.  I wish they would do ground maintenance. I think it is the only piece of grass in Indiana that has not been mowed.  
So, I know why it is called Grand Trails - the three campers in this picture were all Grandparents visiting family in Corydon.
 The downside of the campground besides the tall grass, was the approximately to Tyson Foods.  In the evenings we would try to guess what they were cooking.  Chicken nuggets?
 We are next to Indian Creek.  It is against city regs to wade in the creek.  Ray said they did it all the time a hundred years ago.  I'm not disappointed over this fact, just found it interesting.  This bridge is a slab bridge which is very different from what we see in Oregon.  When the river is high, Ray used to wash his car in the creek.


Next stop - Memphis - we're going to see Elvis