Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Okay – Now What!!

The now what turned out to be visits to Nevada (Mesquite, Laughlin, and Avi) and Arizona (Bullhead City and Fort Mojave) before we headed back home.
We were surprised how hot it was! Another Passport America discount RV Park in Fort Mojave offered the cooling vibes of the air conditioner. It was 90 F when we left Bullhead City.
Strange Trip Home: Never can we say our trips home are without incident!
First it is so-o-o strange to stay in Motels or Hotels! And expensive! Holy Cow!
Then - Snow, you say, in September?
A Progression of Our Trip
We started to see snow
And more snow
And cars off the road

Slow Down, Fred!
I never realized how different everything looks this time of year!
The blazing red Burning Bush
The outstanding Montana skies
And then there are the views from our front window!!
The Sunsets!
The Changing Colour of the Leaves!
Life is Tough!!
(We got home October 5th and after the first snowfall looked at each other and said. “What are we doing here?”
We took out the calendar, called the Travel Medical Insurance people and set up the date-to-leave sooner rather than later).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Old is New Again

September 20 to 24

Zion . . . Lake Mead . . . we are drawn to both places and managed to visit on this trip as well.

Zion is my favourite American National Park and the Lake Mead area is always a place we like to stop on our way home in the Spring. BUT we have never been to either place in the early fall of the year.

There is always something new and wondrous at Zion. I feel like I belong here! I’m nestled in the canyon surrounded by these magnificent protective pillars . . . it feels so safe!

As usual we jumped on the shuttle to tour around the park.


Again we managed to travel with a driver who loved the park and loved to tell us about all the different sights.

We saw wild-flowers we had never seen before and learned about them:

The Angel’s Trumpet was growing everywhere along the roadside . . . we had never seen them before and asked the driver. She told us that they are a poisonous plant called Angel’s Trumpets or Devil’s Trumpets. And it appears they have hallucinatory qualities as well. According to the U.S. Forest Service Botany Program, they are also called Jimsonweed, Thornapple, Moonflower, and Sacred Daturas (Datura spp.) and have hallucinogenic properties. The Tohono O’odham shamans of south-central Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico perform a song-poem ritual

“Pima Jimsonweed Song”

“At the time of the White Dawn;
At the time of the White Dawn,
I arose and went away.
At Blue Nightfall I went away.
I ate the thornapple leaves
And the leaves made me dizzy.
I drank thornapple flowers
And the drink made me stagger…”

It illustrates the great significance and nature of Datura plants in the oral and sacred traditions of many native cultures. Archaeological evidence shows that Datura has been in use for at least 3,000 years.

The climber scaling the wall


The Temples and Towers



Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam

Lake Mead is part of the Colorado River system and was formed by the Hoover Dam. When it is full (which hasn’t happened since 1983) Lake Mead is huge . . . about 112 miles long with 550 miles of shore-line and over 500 feet at its greatest depth  . . . but droughts  have changed these dimensions.

The staff at The Flaming Gorge told us that while the level of the Flaming Gorge River has fallen 100 feet, Lake Mead has fallen at least 146 feet.  


The Bridge across the Hoover Dame is finally completed.



No, no, you can't jump across there!


 Okay – now what!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sometimes Change Just Sucks!

Fred and I don’t deal with disappointment very well. When our friends said that they were going to Colorado to visit Jer’s Mom and would not be in Truth or Consequences when got there, we were sorely disappointed. Spending quality time with them was one of the goals of the trip. 
Knee-jerk Reaction?!
“Let’s just go home!”
After a night’s sleep and some sober second thought we realized that it was DUMB to head home considering we were already south. 
Out came all our maps and we went back to the drawing board.
Considering our adventures with gorges, passes and winding roads, the lure of a wide, straight Interstate Highway was undeniable. Our first stop on Interstate 15 was Beaver, UT.

Unusual Treasures in Unusual Places
The unusual place is Beaver, Utah. Beaver is merely a fly speck on the road to warmth that we travel every winter.  How did we find this place? The Beaver Canyon Campground is one of the few discount RV Parks along the way.
It’s a funky little park where each site is unique and each is decorated according to the whims of previous occupants with treasures rescued from the latest yard sale or other peoples’ throw-aways.
It really hasn’t changed much from the first time we stopped there way back in 2002 although the signage has definitely improved.
When we drove up to register, a young fellow was flitting back and forward like a buzzed road-runner trying to keep (or get) things organized. He was kind of panting as he explained to us,”There is only one site left - way in the back – is that okay? You would need to come up here to the rest rooms and showers?”
“No problem,” we told him.
“I’ll be back is less than five minutes. You can fill out the form sitting on the counter in there” he said, as he ran ahead of another RV escorting it to its site.
Five minutes later, he and his faithful dog Blue were back standing on the front porch. All registered and ready to go, Blue and his faithful human walked us to site C24. A pull through – yes, but not overly level or wide.

We wandered around the park admiring the creativity and ingenuity of the folks who had decorated the sites. Some sites have fences surrounding them, others have covered patios and almost every site has some sort of decoration wall.

The Park comes along with a built-in fabulous Mexican restaurant run by Maria – the wife/mother part of the ownership. Truthfully, we have never had better Mexican food and even the local folks told us that it is the best place to eat in town. 
Talking about local folks, we always try to explore a community we visit. Well, Beaver is not what you would call a thriving, robust community but we did manage to find a unique treasure . . . the Love the Art Gallery.
We went into town to check out the WiFi at McDonalds and noticed this interesting sculpture sitting in front of (what looked like) an abandoned service station. The Gallery is in that old Service Station. Love the Art is a warm family owned business. Almost all the pieces are created from local materials and Tina, her Dad and uncle have done most of the work housed in the Gallery. They have one of a kind, Hand Carved Rock Sculptures, Animal Carvings, Gifts, Jewellery, Chainsaw Carvings and much more.



The Gallery has only been open since 2012 but they have been in the gemstone business for 35 years.

 Our next challenge was to find more National Parks to explore and decide what we would do next.