Sunday, May 30, 2010


Tomorrow the RV Vagabonds will pack up and move on to Rawlins, WY.  This morning I decided to do a quick online search to see what type of grocery stores were available to see if I should stock up here in Greeley, CO before we leave.  This is what I found:  Davidson's Gun and Grocery.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Day Trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park

My apologies in advance--the video was created with Picasa and it didn't translate well to YouTube for some reason.  The original pictures are sharp and clear and some have been posted on my Facebook page.

Why Are You Here?

A mid-level motorhome pulled into the site next to us last night.  The man--in his mid-30s--got out, did the electrical plug in, connected the water hose, put up the sewer hose--the normal chores that come with setting up.  Meanwhile his wife was busy pulling down every shade over every window and pulling the curtains across the windshield and side windows, totally closing off the outside world.  Her husband removed a scooter from a rack at the rear of the motorhome and having apparently forgotten something (probably his cell phone which from that point was permanently attached to his ear) went to the door only to have to knock because his wife HAD LOCKED THE DOOR, locking herself in and him out!  He came back out, tootled off on the scooter, came back and USED HIS KEYS TO GET INTO THE MOTORHOME BECAUSE THE DOOR WAS LOCKED AGAIN with her inside (no doubt quivering with fear).

Lady!  It's broad daylight and you are in a campground.  Do we all look like bandits and rapists and whatnot?  Seriously?  If you are that afraid of being in a strange place and of strangers, then you really need to stay home in your gated community with your security alarms and your barred windows and triple locked doors.  That is so sad.

Even thought at times we've been in some pretty isolated and sometimes dilapidated campgrounds, I have never felt unsafe or scared at a campground or anywhere in our travels.  Perhaps because I expect the best of folks and approach them with a smile and an open manner I get treated the same way in return.  But if I ever become that paranoid about being in a RV, then I'll know it's time to hang up the keys.

And after the husband has now slammed his 150th bin door since 8:30 this morning doing absolutely nothing, I am now ready for them to leave.  It's going to be a long weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Olde Course at Loveland

Denny and I played one of the nicest municipal golf course we've ever played yesterday at The Olde Course in Loveland, CO.  Despite a brief spate of lightening, increased winds and threat of rain, we spent an enjoyable day trying to avoid water hazards and sand traps and putted on the trickiest, slickest greens we've seen in a while.

There are four sets of tee boxes on the Olde Course and the slope rating for the blue tees is 127/71.3 at 6806 yards.  Denny played from the white tees at 6326 yards with a slope/rating of 123/68.9 and I played from the senior tees at 5752 yards with a slope/rating of 128/72.4.  Because so many people walk the course, they set the speed of play for a round at 4 hours and 25 minutes.  We were going to be well over that until the storm threat came up which caused most of the walking players to stop at the turn, so then Denny and I were able to speed up quite a bit.  The course is extremely scenic with view of the nearby Rockies when there is no haze and no storm clouds.  The course designer even threw in an island green as an additional challenge at the 14th hole, just in case the six ponds, trees and sand traps weren't enough of a challenge to your golf game.

By making tee times online we were able to take advantage of an online coupon which saved us quite a bit.  Prepare to be paired with other players as the course gets a lot of use, even in the middle of the week.  We were paired with Paul, a West Virginia native who has lived in Loveland for many years and he was able to give us some travel route information for better sightseeing on roads good enough to handle our fifth wheel while avoiding the monotony of the interstate.  All in all, a very enjoyable experience and Denny even started to enjoy his new golf clubs a little more with the additional practice.  A few more rounds and he might even start to love them!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Quiet Albeit Windy Week

If Patches and I take the nature trail up the hill that is behind the Beast, we get a great view of Pike's Peak, which is pretty awesome.
 Our campground is a great base to do the standard tourist things like drive up Pike's Peak, which we did the last time we visited this area in September of 2004.  Which is also why there is very little snow in this picture compared to the amount of snow currently on the mountain.

 Colorado Springs is also home to the the Air Force Academy,which you can tour on foot, although you can no longer tour quite as much since that fateful activity in September of 2001.

Colorado Springs is also home to the wonderful Garden of the Gods.  Unfortunately my photos from that trip were taken with the still camera part of my camcorder which was nowhere near the quality of current day digital cameras.  I had forgotten how bad the pictures were.  Now we'll have to go back!

 Yet another day trip can be the ancient Indian cliff dwellings in Manitou Springs, one of the few places where you can wander around inside the actual cliff dwellings.

Of course, there are mining museums and rodeo cowboy museums and all sorts of other things to do in the Colorado Springs area, along with some very nice golf courses.  This time around, thanks to the weather, we spent a lot of time relaxing and piddling around the Beast.  And that's okay too.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

King's Deer Golf Club

Yesterday Denny and I played a round of golf at the King's Deer Golf Club in Monument, CO.  In the summer this would be a links course, but winds and recent rains and snow run off had made the course a bit boggy and battered so the wild rough wasn't too much of a problem for us.

Notice Pike's Peak in the background.  Nice, huh?  The course is laid out among the housing development, but as you can see in the photos you don't have to worry too much about hitting any of the houses as they are set well away from the fairways.

Playing from the blue tees (yellow, blue, white and red) the course is 6168 yards long with a rating/slope of 70.3/124.  For the women playing from the red tees it is 5054 yards long with a rating/slope of 70.0/129.  There are a couple of holes where water comes into play and several greens protected by sand traps so it can be quite a challenge, especially with gusting winds as we had yesterday.  Visually, the course is stunning when you look towards the mountains and there are some gorgeous homes on the course.

This one had its own separate two story mother-in-law residence next to it.
I was able to make tee times online on the golf course's web page and for the two of us to play 18 holes with an electric golf cart it cost $50 plus tax.  We paired up with a nice young couple who live in the area and except for the howling winds, had a great day on the course.  I'm sure we'll come back someday and play it again.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blogging Gifts

This lightweight handpainted wooden bangle bracelet was in our mail packet this week.  I had come across Gloria's blog through another blogging friend and on the day that I was reading her blog, Gloria mentioned she was having a giveaway for new followers.  So on a lark I signed up and low and behold I was number 100 so I got to pick a free bangle from her Etsy site.  I was surprised the bangle fit as I am large boned (and obviously have 58 year old hands!) and it has beautiful shades of pearlized greens and yellows that glimmer and gleam in the sunlight.  It reminds me of the ocean and I wish this photo did it justice.  But how fun to find a new blogging friend AND receive a gift to boot!  It's making me feel creative so perhaps it's time to haul out my old supplies and try to recreate my lady brooches that I did many years ago.  Hmmmm.....

I have to admit, when I first started my blog I never thought that it would turn from travelogue to diary to my place to rant/whine and back again.  Blogging for me was intended to inform friends and relatives of our travels and what was going on without having to send out ten different e-mails to different people.  Yup, my blog was simply me being too lazy to write e-mails.  But because of starting a blog, I've made new friends both online and in person and have lurked on other sites just to see how others live and deal with their problems/illnesses/children, etc.  Bloggers are a fascinating bunch and I'm thinking I'll probably have blogger-withdrawal when we go on our cruise in August because I'm going to leave our laptop behind.  But it's kind of nice to know that because of a few words typed in a comment box you can end up being friends with some of the most wonderful folks, most of whom you'll never meet face to face, but the friendship is no less real because of it.

So maybe being lazy worked out well for me for once.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


There are times an area resonates with you.  This week Denny and I are parked on the Raton (pronounced Rat-tone) Pass at the Cedar Rail RV Park.  As you can see by the pictures below, we pretty much had the campground to ourselves and boy, did we have a 360 view high up on the ridge!  The Sangre de Cristo Mountains sit to the west of us and the campground elevation is at 7888 feet.  Pretty breathtaking--literally!

Between bad weather, a bad tooth for Denny and a check engine light problem that turned out to be a couple of different things going wrong, we didn't get to explore the area as we would have wished.  There are museums in both Raton and Trinidad, Colorado which is only about ten miles north of us here, as well as state parks, the Capulin Volcano and the Sante Fe Trail (which crossed the Raton Pass).  There is history here as well as geological wonders and we will need to return to see more of it.  The townspeople are friendly, the scenery exquisite and the vibes are indescribable.

Yep, we'll be back.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Visit to a Volcano

On Tuesday before our truck troubles started, I made the decision to visit the Capulin Volcano National Monument.  And no, Denny had no choice in the matter, by gawd we were going! Heh.
Approaching the volcano by way of Rt.64/87 you can see the crater of the volcano.  Capulin is the Spanish word for chokeberry, a type of bush native to this area. As we drove towards the volcano from the town of Raton we passed the T.O. Ranch, which a wildlife officer later told us encompasses over 300,000 acres of land on both sides of Rt.64/87.  It's an impressive spread!

Rising almost 1,300 feet above the plains, the views from the top of the Capulin Volcano are incredible.  Once you leave the visitor center (as a National Monument owners of the Golden Age card get in free) the road to the summit of the volcano winds around for two miles.  Of course, going up you are on the outside lane where there is no shoulder and crumbling edges of pavement on the very narrow drive lane.  There is only one pull over about midway up to take pictures although there were no other people at the park when we drove up so we were able to stop and snap a couple of pictures on the way to the top.

The Capulin (pronounced cah-poo-LEEN) volcano is a cinder cone volcano, meaning it was created by huge sprays of lava spewing into the atmosphere, becoming solid and then dropping back to earth forming the cone shaped mountain.  Near the top of the volcano you park at 7877 feet above sea level and then walk .2 of a mile down to the bottom of the crater where you get a close up view of the lava rock.

The two of us in the center of the volcano.  Not quite "Joe Versus the Volcano".

Walking back means a couple of stops for those of us not acclimated to being way over a mile up in the sky!  You can also walk around the rim of the volcano on the one-mile long path, but we knew our lungs weren't quite up to that yet.  So Denny and I wandered to a high point of the path near the parking lot so I could take a picture of the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo mountains, a mere 120 or so miles away.

While walking up to the nearest bench Denny noticed some movement in the brush and what we saw were mule deer foraging.  They were as curious about us as we were about them.

They say that on a clear day you can see four states--New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma from the highest point of the trail.  I believe it!  It was a bit hazy on the day of our visit but the views were incredible.  We were hoping to see a bit more wildlife, but the only other critters were saw were some spotted towhees.
We did have some winds that day, but Denny and I still decided to sit on the wall of the parking lot overlooking the mesas and not-quite-volcanos below us and have our picnic lunch.

For the ride home we came back by way of Rt. 72, a narrow winding state route that lead us by tiny ranches, miles of plains and mesas and herds of pronghorn antelope.
All in all an interesting day.  What was more interesting was receiving an e-mail from a new blogging friend, aka "the Other Linda", who told a story of her then-teenaged brother and a group of his friends who dragged a bunch of old tires to one of the minor volcano sites in the area waaaaayyyy back in the 50s where they then lit the tires on fire.  Seems it caused a bit of a panic for the town folk who thought one of the volcanoes had started to erupt.  Hee!  Sounds like the kind of thing a certain set of cousins of mine would have done.  And I might just have been right there along with them.

A good day, ruined by a check engine light coming on after a stop at the local DQ for a malt and a shake.  That's a whole 'nother post.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

High Winds, High Pain Levels, High Expenses

It's amazing how strong winds gusting to 65 mph can feel when you are set up on a ridge all by yourself with no windbreak. Today it felt like the winds were trying to roll the fifth wheel over--thank goodness it was mostly coming from the south and we're parked a little southeast to northwest so we're not taking the brunt of the winds directly on our side.  But it has been a bit unnerving at times and it's not been a relaxing day for us.

Our morning started with a trip to the local Ford dealer's service center where our problem with the engine light was diagnosed as the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation system).  That's what controls our diesel exhaust, recirculating part of the gases through the air cooler in an effort to reduce emissions.  Somehow the connector holding it to the firewall was broken (possibly when the last service center did our oil change since the oil filter is right next to the EGR) and thus creating a bad connection and severe loss of power in the engine.  Although I don't see why a bad connection and a loss of power are related, but I'm not a mechanic.  Several boring hours later we were back at home with a lighter wallet but with an engine that once again runs smoothly and the check engine light is off.  A quick run into Colorado to hit Wally World since there isn't one up this end of New Mexico and we came back to have lunch and to try a nap since we didn't sleep well in the high winds last night.  That turned out to be a no-go too, since the winds were still at it, clattering the antenna on the roof, the roof vents, the stove vent and anything else it could to make noise and bang things around.  In addition, Denny has developed a toothache and it's reaching epic proportions.  There is one dentist in town and we can't get in until tomorrow at 4:30PM so it appears we'll take our golf outing out of the equation and keep him loaded up with pain meds until he can get in to see the dentist. 

We are a pair, aren't we? 

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Good Week

For once, everything proceeded smoothly in all our repairs at Connie's house this week.  Today we finished the last bit of framing for the sunscreened lattice we rebuilt for the atrium and the patio cover and as our final lunch out Connie took us to Le Crepe Michel in Old Town Albuquerque.  Because like the folks that stand at intersections with cardboard signs, Denny and I work for food.  We each had something different and tasted each other's meals which were excellent.  Connie's choice was salad and French onion soup (I recommend the soup), Denny had the crepe au porc dijon and I had the crepe a la volaille and then for dessert we shared a serving of crepe David.  I have to say that Albuquerque is definitely a great place to be a gourmand.  Or as my friend Vicki calls me, a food snob.  Heh.

After lunch we meandered the streets of Old Town, hitting the shops with art work and jewelry.  We perused paintings, sculpture made from pressed paper, statues of St. Francis carved from heavy tree branches (I wanted one badly)  exquisite glass wall platters that gleamed with the colors of the desert (I think Connie is going back for one next week).  Denny bought me a lovely pair of earrings that will forever remind me of the southwest and Connie has a lovely ring of multi-colored segments of spiny oyster separated with a delicate band of pave set diamonds on hold.  At that particular store the salesman tried really hard to sell me a beautiful ring of diamonds, hand carved garnet and opals, but our ship has yet to come in so I had to pass on that.  But Old Town is definitely a place to spend a day just browsing the beautiful handcrafted items and being entertained by Native American singers/dancers/pan pipe players and maybe even a wedding ceremony at the gazebo in the center of town.

This week Denny and I also made some new friends.  As a blogger, I make comments on other's people's blogs and Linda here in NM responded to one of my comments mentioning that she lives in Albuquerque, so we got in touch by e-mail and made plans to meet.  Of course, we met at yet another of Albuquerque's nice places to meet and chat; the Flying Star Cafe (which by the way has fabulous bread pudding!)  Linda and her husband Joe turned out to be the kind of folks that you feel you've known forever and we just talked and talked and talked.  Naturally, Denny and I spent some time extolling the virtues in fulltime RVing when the two of them expressed an interest but the conversation jumped here and there and before you know it 2 hours had passed.  One of the things I appreciated about Linda is her interest in the word vert game; word vert is that verification word that you have to type in the box before your comment will be posted on some people's blogs.  The game is to use the word vert word in a sentence.  Some of them easily translate into something recognizable, but some are a stretch so you have to hope the person whose blog  you are commenting on has a good imagination or pronounces the word the way you're thinking.  I guess you have to be there, as they say.  Anyway, Linda plays word vert so she has a twisted mind too. (Linda, if you read this I hope you understand what I mean by that!)

Tomorrow Connie will finally come by OUR place to see the new trailer, visit with Patches and be fed by us.  We have a bottle of champagne to quaff to celebrate new homes, finished projects and family.  And Monday it will be time to move on to newer if not greener pastures.  The RV Vagabonds are feeling a bit of hitch itch and even Patches has gotten bored with the scenery so it's time to head out.  We'll turn Black Beauty's nose to the north for most of the summer, where almost all of the places we'll be stopping will be new to us.  Right now that sounds real good to me.  It's time.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Catch Up

Today is catch up day since as soon as Denny and I hit Albuquerque we hit the ground running and haven't stopped since.  Denny, Connie and I have one more morning of work tomorrow and then the projects at Connie's house will be done.  Yay!  Today we've taken the day off because we could do no more until the painted boards dried and we didn't want to make two 40 mile round trip jaunts to Connie's since we're driving over there tonight to pick her up to go out to dinner.  And we're even dressing up.  *sound of Denny groaning*

I have a bottle of Gruet Blanc de Noirs Brut chilling in Connie's fridge so we can celebrate the end of the honey-do list with a nice New Mexican sparkling wine.  I thought that would be fun, even though it's not Dom Perignon.  After all, we're RVers, not lottery winners!  We've not managed to get in the sightseeing or golf we thought we'd be able to do this time around but we'll do it the next time we're here.  Denny needed a day to just relax, or rather a part of a day to relax after I dragged him out to the store and he had to wrestle the 40 pound propane tank out of the trailer to get it filled and then wrestle it back into position in its little cubby hole.  Currently he's kicked back in his recliner, ostensibly playing games on the computer but occasionally a string of "zzzzzzs" lightly waft through the air from his direction.  I've done laundry and mopped the floors and given myself a manicure and now it's my time to play on the computer--without the "zzzzzzzs" of course.  Or maybe not..........zzzzzzzz

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Getting There

We were almost finished with the patio cover at Denny's sister's house or so I thought.  But once on the beams, Denny decided he didn't like the raw edges of the sunscreen he stapled down, so now we're going to buy some framing lumber.  Which means I'll be priming and painting more boards so Denny can install them over the edges of the sunscreen fabric which will also secure the fabric better.  Howsomever, I THOUGHT we were done today.  *sigh*

 But we did go from this:

to this: 

which caused Connie's cat Callie to look like this:

but we ended up with this:

I also thought I had finished with the atrium when I had all the beams painted and helped Denny install the new lattice and sunscreen fabric.  But Nooooooo....we had to fabricate a frame to secure that lattice panel and screening so I worked on getting the framing boards primed and painted for that today and we'll get that installed or rather RE-installed tomorrow.  (Is anyone getting the impression that I HATE to re-do something I've done once already?  Okay, good.)
So here is the finished yet still unfinished atrium shot.
Since tomorrow will involve waiting for paint to dry (insert joke here) we won't get it all finished as we had hoped.  Tomorrow afternoon Denny and I have a date to meet a fellow blogger who is not a RVer but a blogging buddy of a blogging buddy.  Yeah, that made sense.  It may turn out that we'll not have all of our projects done until Saturday, because Connie (Denny's sister), Denny and I are going out for a real dress up kind of dinner Friday night as an early celebration of Denny and my 25th anniversary so we're taking the day off from working.  We may even get in a little sightseeing that day since we'll be leaving here on Monday to head to northern New Mexico.  Time flies when you're having fun, ya know and the RV Vagabonds are feeling a bit of hitch-itch.  We're ready for some new scenery and a little more leisure time.  Or maybe a lot more leisure time.  Heh.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Braun's Construction Work

Not long after we arrived at our campground and got all set up, Denny received a call from his sister Connie who was checking to see that we made it safely.  She suggested we come over to see her new house (and get our "honey do" list), so we did.  It's a cute hacienda-style home, a good size for a single gal and very attractive, but at 30 years old there's always things that need to be done.  

Originally Connie's plan was to remove a few bad boards from the overhead trellis that formed a roof for her patio.  However, a closer inspection showed that we needed to remove all the boards, lattice work and sunscreen that provided shade and cover and replace the whole top section.  And so that's what we've been doing this week. 

You can see the dry rot on the boards.

Half the boards have been removed.  We had to leave the other half to support the framework.

Denny installed a few of the new boards we cut, primed and painted so he could take down the rest of the old boards.

All the old boards and lattice have been removed and more of the new boards have been installed.

While Denny was removing the old roof boards, Connie and I were painting the new ones.  Denny had to fabricate a pair of sawhorses for us out of the old timbers so we wouldn't have to bend over to paint.  We have a regular assembly line going; prime boards, allow them to dry, 2 coats of brown, prime the next set while Denny is installing the newly painted brown boards. 

All of that came to a screeching halt this weekend when the snows came and the temperatures dropped.  Connie's garage is unheated and even though I brought over our space heater, it was too cold to paint.  So we're taking a break this weekend and will start again tomorrow.  In addition to the roof, Denny has also managed to put up new towel bars in the bathroom, leaving me a new job to paint the wall repair he had to make when he discovered a hole behind the old towel bar.  So one job done, a new one created.  Checked off the list is the recalcitrant patio screen door which now slides smoothly (and Denny fixed the patio screen door to the atrium which had the same problem--2 for the price of 1), new carriage bolts in the gate making it more secure and sturdy in addition to adding more screws on the other side to secure that side.  Still to go are painting the shed door (I've got that scraped and primed), paint the overhead wooden beams in the atrium (scraped and primed) and fabricate a new sunscreen covered lattice top for the atrium, and finish the patio roof with the boards, lattice and sunscreen.  

And people wonder why we bought a new fifth wheel and aren't settling down in a house again.  Hmmph. 
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