Back in the east

Tuesday October 13, 2020

I had a couple more days of rain and now I am starting to dry out. I am in North Carolina now. The color is just starting to show and leaves are falling from the trees. I will be meeting up with my Mom tomorrow and Jim will be there the day after. I can’t wait to see everyone.

I tried to hike to a waterfall this morning, but didn’t make it. There was a creek crossing that looked more like a river after all this rain. So I turned around. It was good just to be on a non-dusty trail. Althought there were plenty of roots and rocks…something I haven’t seen in a while.

I am back in the Eastern time zone with the humidity reaching 80%. It is terrible for my hair. I am having bad hair day after bad hair day. Out west I would just wake up run my fingers through it and be done.

Thursday October 22, 2020

Mom’s rental.

I have spent a few wonderful days with Jim and more than a week with Mom. It was a major treat to eat Jim’s cooking again rather than my own. I made some quesadillas for Mom and I after Jim left. I accidentally burnt the last couple. Mom being a mom offered to eat the one that was burnt the worst. She did make a comment about needing a skillsaw to cut through it and used double the amount of salsa that she normally would but she made it through it. Mom’s are the best.

Dry Falls

We spent our time hiking, talking and a whole lot of relaxing. The place she rented this year has a fabulous mountain view.

Tomorrow I am headed up to Asheville to pick up a friend that lives in my home town. She will travel with me on the return trip home.

Rufus Morgan Falls

The sweetest!


Saturday October 10, 2020

Hurricaine Delta and I have collided. It has been a nonstop rainy day. It makes it very challanging for me to get Berkley out. He has a distaste for rain and will not go out in it. I found a couple of shopping centers that had some cover and made due with that. On a positive note hopefully it washed some of the bugs off the van.

I have finished driving through Oklahoma, there is nothing to tell. Arkansas was short and sweet. Definitly more to see. There were tall trees along the highway and fields of beautiful yellow crops. I don’t know what there were. Oh, Tennessee you are so beautiful! I see mountains again. Some fall color is starting to appear. I long to hike your trails, but the rain…I will have to come back another year.

central time zone

Wednesday October 7, 2020

It has started to get fairly cold out west so I have started my return journey back east. I will stop in North Carolina and spend a week with my Mom before heading home. She has rented a place up there for a few months.

I have exited Colorado, traveled though Texas and have just entered Oklahoma. It is flat, boring and buggie. I don’t know what kind of bugs they are but the front of the van is covered. It is like living in Florida during lovebug season.

I am also in the central time zone and my hair is starting to friz again. I had some great hair days out west, but no longer.

I passed by acers and acers of cows packed in fenced corrals. I couldn’t believe the number of cows in each pen. It was a very sad site. This is something all you big time meat eaters need to see. There was no grass, just dirt that I am sure was just packed with feces. The smell was horrid! I’m sure they were all to be butchered soon. I sure am glad I don’t have love for beef. I have watch documentaries on how horrible animals are treated but never I have I seen it in person.

On a positive note…I managed not to burn my popcorn tonight. I think I have figured how to pop it in the van.

Black Canyon of Gunnison NP

Friday October 2, 2020

Deep, steep and narrow that is the Black Canyon. Created by the Gunnison river over the past two million years. With depths over 2,700 feet deep and total length of 48 miles. It is quite the site to see, only I couldn’t get close to the edge and look over.It was a pleasure exploring the park. The crowds were minimal with plenty of parking. The day was over cast with a cool breeze and the folage was showing its fall colors.
I entered the park at the south rim and was able to get Berkley on a short 2 mile trail. Although he only hiked half of it and I carried him all the way back.

Saw this payphone at a gas station in Gunnison, Colorado. It had a card reader.

Cascade Falls

Thursday October 1, 2020

We continue our northern journey up the Million Dollar Highway over Red Mountain Pass. It is even more spectacular than the previous two pass. Although the prettier views also come with more hairpin switchbacks and steep dropoffs, some without guardrails. I was white knuckeling it, and driving as slow as a grandma.

Once safely reaching the town of Ouray, Colorado I stopped to enjoy a short waterfall hike to Cascade Falls before continuing on.

Cascade Falls

Town of Ouray

Heading down the road.

Million Dollar Highway

Wednesday September 30, 2020

I left my wonderful camping spot to travel up the Million Dollar Highway between Durango and Ouray, Colorado. It is part of the 236-mile-long San Juan Skyway that squiggles through the rugged San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. The scenery is stunning. I climb the first pass over Coal Bank summit at 10600 feet, with the RPM’s reaching 4500. It is a slow chug. I pull over multiple times to let vehicles pass by. Once passing over the summit the view is eye popping and I get goosebumps. I pull over to take pictures, becaue some how Mom found out I was taking pictures while driving and it was causing her to have heart palputaions.

I continue on white knuckled through hairpin turns and exposed sections without guardrails to Molas Pass at over 10900 feet. Again I stop for more pictures.

I descend into the town of Sliverton and find a place to camp just a couple of miles outside of town near Mineral Creek.

Our camping spot.

Our view of the area.

Cold Weather

Tuesday September 29, 2020It was a chilly freezing 33.7 degrees in the van this morning. I stayed tucked in until 7:30 and Berkley had the same idea. He wasn’t climbing out, not until I made the first move. I hopped up and through clothes over the thermals that I went to bed in. I find that is the easiest way to get ready quickly and not freeze to much. I exited the van and put my temperature gauge on the outside of the van. I was curious to see what the outside temperatue was. I left it there while we went for our morning walk.We are surrounded by mountains so it took a short while for the sun to reach us, but when it did things started to warm up quickly. I took a few pictures while we were out walking. The fall colors are starting and it is so very rare for me to see such beauty. I wanted to capture it.When we got back from our walk the temperature gauge was reading a warmer 35 degrees. We went in and turned the heat on and I proceded to make myself a cup hot chocolate. The sunlight was beeming in the front windshield. I sat up front in the warm sun drinking my hot chocolate and enjoying the beauty surrounding me. Soon I was turning the heat off and stripping down to my thermals. Things were heating up quickly. It is forcasted to get up to 76 today. By 10:30 I am in a tshirt. By 11:15 I was in shorts. Yesterday I stripped down to a tshirt and underwear and just sat in the entryway enjoy the warm sun on my skin. I suspect I may be doing that again today.

Natural Bridges NM

Friday September 25, 2020

This national monument was a delight. There were far less people here than at some of the other parks I have been to. There was parking at every parking area and few people on the trails.

Sipapu Bridge. It is hard to see in this picture with all the background rock.

The first hike to Sipapu Bridge was a bit to technical for me. I attempted it and made it down the first two sets of metal stairs. But the ladder had me turning around. I don’t like heights or ladders. The ladder was made from old tree limbs and I’m sure it was probably solid, but I decided best to avoid it. I am hiking alone and I have Berkley waiting in the van. So if something happens to me Berkley could be in big trouble. Plus there were a total of three ladders to descend.

Natural Bridges NP has a 9 mile one way loop. Offering guests numerous lookouts and hiking trails.

Next was Horse Collar Ruin, inhabited by ancestors of the Puebloan people. It was a view from far away. You may have to zoom into the photos to see it better.

Kachina Bridge was another challanging hike with many steps down into the canyon far below. It did have one small ladder, that I managed well. Once down and standing under the bridge it is mindblowing to see just how big it is.

Only one small ladder on this hike, but the stairs were plentiful.

Owachomo Bridge was the smallest of the three bridges and easiest to hike to, but still very large.

This little angel is fast asleep. It was a busy day for him.💜


September 19, 2020I spent two days and quite a bit of money having some maintenance work done on the van. I needed an oil change which cost me $100. It is the most I have ever paid. It is usually around $65. The tires also needed to be rotated, which was done at a reasonable price of $30. The cabin air filter needed to be changed, $23. I did this myself after watching a youtube video on how to do it. I also had one headlight out $20. I did this myself after watching a youtube video, but I have to confess I was nervous about this one. It involved removing a few pieces, but I am happy to say it all went well. Then about a week later the other headlight goes out and needs to be replace. Now I am a pro at changing the lightbulbs!I also did laundry, got my propane tank filled and went grocery shopping while in town.

Mesa Verde NP

Sunday September 27, 2020This was another National Park that was a delight. It far less crowded than some of the other parks I visited. I am also reaching the end of the season which helps. I was able to finding parking at every place I visited.Mesa Verde is most famous for its cliff dwellings built by the Ancestral Pueblo people in the late 1190’s to late 1270’s. They first settled in the area about AD 550 and lived in pit houses, a pit dug in the ground with timber used to support the walls and roof. But as time evolved so did they dwellings.My first stop was Cliff Palace. It is the largest dwelling with 150 rooms and had a population of approximatley 100 people at some time. I was surprised to see how empty the parking lot was when I pulled in. All guided tours have been cancelled because of covid so you can only walk to an overlook and take a picture from here. And unfortunally my timeing with the sun wasn’t the best for taking picture of the dwellings, therefore the quality is really poor.The next highlight was Square Tower House. It is noted in my park map brochuer that much of what we know of these early residents are clues found in the garbage heap at the bottom of the cliff. It is though that the population of this area many have reached seveal thouseand over the years by the fair amount of discarded trash.Lastly was Spruce Tree House. Again poor picture quality of sun and distance for site.This was truly a remarkable park. There were so many places to stop and get out and view sites it was exhausting. Thankfully the weather was perfect. A sunny, cool and breezy 70ish day allowing for many stops. After doing a short hike and the dozen or more stops I made I took a short nap in the van.