Fall in Colorado

Fall in Colorado
Fall in Colorado

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Lazy Blogger...feeling guilty

Well it's been exactly one month since my last post and actually a lot has been going on since then. As I mentioned in my last post we arrived in Gold Canyon, AZ on Oct 5th and got set up at Canyon Vistas RV Resort. We got the rig power washed and I then took 3 days to wax it. It looks really good now after all those months of travel to the NE and Midwest after leaving here last spring. I even installed a new faucet in the kitchen and played some golf with my son, Chris. We enjoyed getting back to our activities here that we loves so much.

Then it was time to head back to the Midwest for some family visiting and watching our youngest grandson, Aiden while Mom and Dad went off on a week vacation with friends to Cabo. We flew from Mesa to Peoria, IL and rented a car. We drove to Bloomington, IL for a quick visit to my Dad and then drove to our daughter, Sommer's home in IN for a few days to see the older grandkids there. Jasmyne is living in MI going to school and working so we didn't get to see her and Brooklyne lives in Georgia with her Dad so we didn't get to see her either. Fortunately we were able to see Caden and Ryleigh the two younger grandkids in Sommer's family. We didn't really do a lot other than hang out and play some card games. We did go to a Mexican restaurant one night and I took Caden to get his haircut. Ryleigh played a lot in her room on the computer chatting with school friends. Caden is big into online video gaming so he spent a lot of time in his room too.

Photo from last summer....Lazy

That's how it goes with older grandkids in and approaching their teenage years. We used to spend more face time with the grandkids when they were younger but now their interests have changed. We understand it and get in as much time with them as they will allow. I did however fix a toilet in their house that wasn't flushing properly. It took a couple trips to Ace Hardware  but I got it done.

After our long weekend with family in Indiana we headed to Bloomington, IL to see my dad and spend some time with him. He's 92 now and beginning to feel the effects of his age and health conditions.

After his hip fracture 3 years ago he's been in a wheelchair and not as sociable as he used to be. We struggle with not always being there for him with our lifestyle and his need for assistance. So far with my brothers help and the help of wonderful care givers at the assisted living home he does pretty good. I know soon he'll need more help and may then have to move on to more skilled care like they have in a nursing home. We make the most of our visits and enjoy some reminiscing. We have additional care from hospice right now and we'll see where that leads us. We appreciated the opportunity to stay at my brothers home while he got away for some time in Florida.

After our visit there we drove to Bartlett, IL to perform our grandson sitting duties. Aiden is 4 years old and still wants as much grandpa and grandma time as he can get. We very much enjoy the opportunity to spend this up close and personal time with him because we know in a few short years he'll too be in those teenage years and will probably be too busy for us. That's life and we know how it works.

Heather and Paul have two dogs. Izzy and Zeus that love as much attention as they can get too. They're up at 6 am and need fed and walked each morning then during the week Aiden goes to Daycare(school) which gives us some relax time preparing for the evening and playing games, hot wheels and trains.

Aiden needed a haircut so we made an appointment at KidSnips in the Arboretum Mall. Cool place where the kids sit in little cars and watch an IPad with movies while getting the haircut. Great concept and after the haircut they get to pick a small prize from  bucket to take home.




Aiden loves trains and his mom has taken him on the Metra train to downtown Chicago and then ride back. We thought that would be a fun thing to do too so after Mom and Dad left on vacation last Saturday we spent that day on the train and some time in downtown Chicago at union Station. It was cold and wet that day so we didn't get to enjoy much outside the train station. However the train station it's self is quite an experience. So many different people. We had a fun time.






The rest of the weekend was playing with Aiden and then getting him ready to go back to school on Monday. On Tuesday we got a call that Aiden needed to be picked up due to a behavior issue. Disappointing but these things happen. It was a pretty quiet day as consequences needed to be enforced. Later in the day we did play some board games but no IPad or TV.

Wednesday was the same since he was not allowed to go back to school the whole day after being sent home. But he did have swim lessons that evening and we enjoyed watching him becoming more comfortable with getting his face under the water and floating on his back. Coach Brian makes sure you get wet.



It was another quiet day but as the day progressed we talked a lot about listening and following the teachers directions. We really got our one on one time. This lead us to buying some new games that Aiden could learn and we could enjoy playing with him. Glenda did some grocery chopping and came across some kid's card games and Connect 4.

Oh my goodness, they worked wonders. We played game after game of Connect 4, Candyland and War(card game). The fun thing is, Aiden was winning most of the Candyland games and a fair amount of Connect 4. The Connect 4 box says for ages 6+.....Aiden is 4. He always had to be yellow and would typically put his first chip in the middle slot to start the game. We would try to outwit him but many times we would outwit ourselves and he would win.

We told Aiden that if he had a good school day on Friday we would take him to his favorite restaurant. 2 Toots in Bartlett, IL. They have booth arranged around a train track with a train that has baskets on the train cars that bring your food to you. He loved it.





On our last day watching Aiden we took him to the Stratford Square Mall where they have a small train that takes kids and parents for a ride around the inside of the mall. Glenda did the ride while I took a couple photos.



I then took my turn on the carousel with Aiden. I actually got a little dizzy going round and round.


 That evening Mom and Dad returned home from vacation and immediately Aiden got them started with the new games.


I got this photo the next day with Heather doing a selfie with a sad face after her 100th game of Candyland. We had a wonderful visit and really enjoyed spending time cultivating our relationship with him.

On Sunday we left early for the drive back to Bloomington, IL for one last visit with Dad before driving to Peoria, IL to turn in the rental car and board the flight back to AZ. It's going to be a while before we see everyone again. November in the Midwest is a crap shoot on weather and we didn't win this year with our fall visit. Wet, cold and windy, Reminded us why we chose AZ to come to for the winter. We left IL in 30 degrees and we arrived in AZ in 60 degrees. The next day I immediately put my jeans and long pants away and got back in my shorts.

Lazy Blogger.....we didn't take any photos while we were visiting our daughter, Sommer and Todd in Indiana and while visiting Dad. I'm so sorry I didn't get that done. I try to capture photos each time we are with family but I really fell down this time and I sincerely apologize to them for that. As you see in my post we did take some(a lot of) photos of Aiden while we did our care giving duties. That doesn't mean we don't love everyone the same just that the little ones seem to get more of the attention and I'm not as focused on photos when we visit. Lazy or not focused? You decide.

Feeling Guilty.....The time went by so fast with everyone and we do wish we could see more of everyone. My brother takes so much responsibility in checking in on Dad and handling his affairs while I winter here in AZ. I do what I can while there but I know it's not the same as the sacrifices that my brother makes. I truly appreciate his willingness to take that all on. I also know the rest of the family would like us to be closer too. We try to make our time count when we're there with them.

One day we will slow down and I hope we've done enough to show them how much we do care.

So there you have it.....I am a Lazy Blogger and have Guilty Feelings. Now you know why.






Saturday, October 21, 2017

Kartchner Caverns State Park...last stop before our winter destination in Gold Canyon, AZ

Our final stop before reaching Gold Canyon, AZ was Kartchner Caverns SP. This is a park we've been too a couple times before as we have moved back and forth across the lower states to visit family in the Midwest and winters in AZ. On our previous stops we reserved a pull through site #4 however this time we were feeling adventurous with our expanding experiences with electric only sites. We reserved a back in 30 amp electric/water site. This site was close to the Foothill trail and there was no other site on our awning side. We must be getting good because we pulled right in without an argument HaHa. Seriously, it was an easy back in with plenty of room for maneuvering.

For those who might consider a stay there we had site #51. Awning facing NW and some shade on the west side. Paved and pretty darn level. We reserved for 2 nights. After setting up we took a walk around the park and enjoyed the surrounding foothills.




The next day, our only full day, we got up early and prepared for a short hike on the Foothill Trail.

The temps are getting hot now that we're in the desert. The trail begins on a connecting path from the campground to the trailhead. It's a trail that winds around the foothills that the caverns are below.  Up and down through washes and over the side of the foothills. Of course we would stop periodically for water and to enjoy the views. 







We've done this trail each time we've been here and we still enjoy hiking the trail. It's not difficult, it's fairly short and it gives you a wonderful feel for the desert again. 




After our morning hike we got our showers and a change of clothes so we could have lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Benson, AZ. Our good friends Ron and Patsy from B.C. Canada had been through here before and told us of Mi Casa restaurant. Here's a LINK to their Facebook page. 

We stopped here the last time we were in the area too. Now a stop for lunch is a "Must Do" for us.

The building sits back from the street with a chain link type fence surrounding it. It you don't look carefully as you drive down the street you might miss it.




Enlarge the photo to see the cowboy tortilla

The interior is very old looking with two small rooms. I think they have about 6-8 tables with each able to accommodate 2-6 people. A young woman will bring out some chips and salsa to snack on while you decide on your choices. After you order it's a short wait before the food arrives. One interesting aspect of the food presentation is they put a fried tortilla with a different figure on your food. It might be a cowboy or coyote or even a saguaro cactus. It looks like they took a cookie cutter to a tortilla and then fried it. Very unique and fun.

Once our bellies were full the owner asked if we would like some dessert. Ah I Don't think I could eat another bite. Then he said his wife makes a carrot cake that is delicious. OK, you twisted our arm but we have to take it home in a to go box for a night time snack. 

We're so glad he talked us into it. The carrot cake was moist and delicious just like he said and it was drizzled with a creamy sauce. Mouth watering right now as I think about it. 

Another successful visit to Kartchner Caverns SP and Benson, AZ. 



We're in Gold Canyon, AZ now at Canyon Vistas RV Resort and getting some projects done before beginning to play. New kitchen faucet installed, rig washed and waxed and a new mattress. It's been unseasonably HOT here but like most desert climates it cools off nicely in the evening. Morning and evening walks and a couple rounds of Pickleball. Getting into the swing of things now. 

Life is Good
Because That's How We Roll

Thanks for following along

Monday, October 16, 2017

Elephant Lake State Park...a change in direction

While in Pueblo, we read a FB post from friends, Mona Liza and Steve, The Lowe's RV Adventures
(thank you) and they mentioned they were at a campground at Elephant Butte Lake State Park. We originally were going to make a more northerly entrance to our Gold Canyon winter home through Gallup, NM then Winslow, AZ but we made a change in direction. We've been to Elephant Butte but didn't know about this campground so we just had to check it out. This was a campground about 10 miles north of the main campground in the town of Elephant Butte. This is the South Monticello campground. They have pull throughs and back in sites and many of them have wonderful views of Elephant Butte Lake. We got on Recreation.gov and found a back in site with those incredible open views of the lake.



Sunset by the lake

Since we were committed to moving on to get to our winter destination we only stopped for 2 nights. We happened to be there when the winds were fairly gusty and blowing at about 20-30 mph steady. That's the chance you take when in an open desert area along a lake. We did our best to make the most of the one full day we had there. We arrived early on our first day and had to wait a about 20 minutes for the prior campers to leave the site before we could move in. After getting set up we took a walk around the campground and even found a geocache near a closed boat ramp.

The next morning after some study of the campground map we saw a trail nearby. We drove about a mile or two and located a parking area. This was a fairly flat wide trail among the cactus and scrub. Unfortunately there were a few sections that had been washed out from prior rains but it looked like it was been worked on to repair the damage.  The temps were heating up now that we were moving southward so we didn't go too far. Again I noticed a few geocaches along the trail and picked up 2-3 along the way.

Well that brought us to lunch time so we had quick showers and made our way into Elephant Butte. As I mentioned we've been there a couple years ago and stayed at the RV Resort in town for a couple nights. While there we found a really cool local Mexican restaurant. Probably more of a take out style but they did have seating in an outdoor area. Great tacos and burritos with beans and rice.

So we knew that's where lunch would be. They were open and we enjoyed a delicious meal.


After lunch we took a little drive to the next town, Truth or Consequences, got some supplies at the Wal Mart and fuel. The town of Truth or Consequences used to be Hot Springs, NM however in 1950 as part of a publicity scheme to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ralph Edwards’ very successful game show on NBC radio, (more info on the name change)  Hot Springs became Truth or Consequences, Mr. Edwards traveled to town annually, celebrity friends in tow, for nearly 50 years to celebrate “Truth or Consequences Fiesta.”  Mr. Edwards has been gone for some time now, but Fiesta continues to this day.

Usually we have all our reservations made well in advance of our travels but for some reason we hadn't been doing that as we moved west. That turned in to a fantastic opportunity to check out a new campground in an area we've been too. Making our plans in Jello. Like our friends Steve and Debbie from Down the Road, we decided to play it Fast and Loose. That's how WE roll.  Now I get it. :-)

Next up, Kartchner Caverns State Park
Thanks for following along. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pueblo CO....Bishop Castle, Royal Gorge Bridge anad Garden of the Gods

We made an overnight stop in Goodland, KS before continuing on into CO. We had been to Grand Junction, Boulder and Durango over the last couple of years so we decided to make our CO stop in Pueblo. We're expanding our types of parks we stop at which means we usually stop at parks that offer electric AND water minimum and the closest park to the things we wanted to see around Pueblo was Lake Pueblo State Park. Lake Pueblo SP only offers electric hook ups. This means we would have to fill our fresh water tank and use the water in it for 4 nights. Many State Parks are like that so if you only limit yourself to E/W parks you really limit yourself in the type surrounding you have when you stop. Actually for a few nights it's nice to know we can do with less. Lake Pueblo SP is a very nice park with pull though and back in sites. Most sites are big enough for larger motorhomes and trailers. The pull throughs are semi circle sites along the main road in each loop.


Our site was on a higher loop with some views of the lake. There was a nice covered table and gravel patio with a fire ring. As we traveled west after our visits in the Midwest, we knew this would be one of our stops so we asked some of our RV friends if they had any recommendations for sights to see.

The top recommendations were Garden of the Gods, Royal Gorge Bridge and Bishop Castle. Well Bishop Castle was closest to us so we started there. Bishop Castle has a long and interesting history. The story begins in 1959 when Jim Bishop bought the land that the castle sits on. Construction began with a cabin and turned into an ongoing build of a castle. The castle is always open and always free.

While we were there we got to  talking to a gentleman who knew Jim Bishop and told us he isn't working on it right now due to an illness. Not sure if he will get back to work because of his age and health issues. 

There is a lot of iron work a couple towers and a dragons head on the front of the structure. Very unique and still very incomplete. It looked like he couldn't make up his mind where to stop and where to finish. There was junk laying around the property, signs for advertisement and some incredible stain glass in the main structure. 








I climbed up some of the iron work stairs to the towers which were of a spiral configuration. You could see through the mesh stairs and it was very dizzying and disorienting as you climb and also coming back down. 





Unfortunately the weather was cold and damp when we were there so we didn't stop long to explore more than viewing a few rooms of the structure and a quick climb up one tower. The castle sits at about 9000 ft. above sea level. 

If you would like to learn more and get details of the castle, Please click on THIS LINK. 

The drive to the castle was scenic and worth the trip to view this unique building. 



We still had most of the day to see more sights so we drove to the Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, CO. The road to the bridge is very narrow and winding. We even saw a sign for a campground near the bridge. They have a large parking lot and a beautiful new Visitor's Center. 


I'm sure during the summer months this is a very popular attraction and very busy but since this was late September with children in school now, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. There were a few other folks around the bridge on both sides but hardly a crowd. 

One thing we thought was a little disappointing was you HAD to pay to see the bridge. What? They had put up fencing around the Visitor's Center and no matter where you walked OUTSIDE the area....no view. 

So we went inside and found out the fee and decided we're there so let's do it. $23 for Glenda and $20 for me(Senior Rate). They have a gondola ride across the gorge which I took and not Glenda(afraid of heights). The ride only take a few minutes and you get some spectacular views of the bridge and thegorge below with the river running through it. 




Once on the other side I walked along a path to a covered structure called Sublime Point. This is where you can get some of the best views of the whole bridge and gorge below. 



If you enlarge the photos you can get a great sense of the expanse of the bridge. 




I then walked back down the path and saw several attractions that I'm sure are highly utilized in the summer months. They have a carousel, a Zipline, a Skycoaster, theater and an outdoor stage where they hold a summer concert series.

Skycoaster

Stage for concerts

Theatre

I started back across the bridge to the other side to meet with Glenda and along the way I noticed signs and flags. Flags for each state. 




Iowa

Illinois

After we met on the bridge I took a few more photos and we walked back to the Visitor's Center for a snack and enjoyed the views a little longer. 

Water Clock

If you're interested in more information, maybe for a future visit yourself, you can click on THIS LINK. 

That wrapped up our day so we drove back to Pueblo and our campground. The next day we had to stop at an urgent care center so Glenda could get her prescription for blood pressure meds renewed.

They charged $190 and you only see a Physicians Assistant. Looking forward to Glenda getting on Medicare next year.

Our final attraction was Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs. They have a great Visitor's Center and souvenirs. The staff is helpful with information and maps to navigate the sights and trails.  The weather was very gray, cloudy and misty but we made the best of what we could see.

We drove around the main loop to Balance Rock and did a little photo op. 




Then we found the main Garden Loop Trail at the main parking area. This is a paved trail accessible to everyone.

The rock structures are ominous and intriguing. As we parked the truck we saw several folks along the road looking up the hill. As we looked closer there was a herd of male Bighorn sheep.

Look at the white dots

I only had my phone camera with me so it's very difficult to clearly see the sheep. You may be able to enlarge the photo to get a better view.

After that sighting we started our walk along the paved trail and noticed signs related to rock climbing. These were caution sign telling folks not to climb on wet rock(which it was wet) and not to climb unless you were We kept moving.




You could see how these rock formations would call to those who participate in that sport.  We enjoyed the many rock formations as we moved around the loop trail. Eventually we worked our way back to the starting point. Along the way we came across a Mule Deer in a meadow near the trail. I believe it was a female since we didn't notice any antlers. 




Thank you for holding so still

Glenda read about the Twin Sisters rock formation so we left the main parking and trail area and drove to a short trail leading to the Twin Sisters. Being misty and rainy, it made the trail a little slick and we hadn't prepared for the mud on the trail so Glenda had to hold onto some bushes in some areas to keep from slipping.


Twin Sisters

You're supposed to be able to see Pikes Peak through the opening...Way too cloudy


Imagine Pikes Peak over our shoulder

It was a fun day and we felt like we accomplished a lot. We plan to spend more time in Colorado in the future so this will be on the list again.

Panoramic view


Our next stop was a change in plans. 

Elephant Butte Lake State Park 

Thanks for following along