Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Actually, we are happy to be back in Colorado. We have been traveling and volunteering as camp hosts for 5 of the past 7 months and we are looking forward to spending the holidays with our friends and family. We like the change in seasons and the Colorado mountains are spectacular when covered in snow.
Here is the best part..... We decorated our tree last May before taking off in our RV. So, we came home to a home already decorated for Christmas.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
That is… time to say goodbye to Galveston Island State Park. Yes, tomorrow we head back home to Colorado. Can you believe we are leaving the beach and 70 degree weather for the snow and cold? Actually, we like the different seasons the special wonders of each one. We really had a great time on the “Island” but we are also looking forward to being back home for Christmas.
A huge thanks to the great staff and volunteers at the Park for making our stay so enjoyable. We will certainly miss the beautiful sunrises and our many walks along the beach and the new friends we met (lots of dominos games). Galveston was a perfect place to explore this past month. Here are some of the images that helped make the memories. JoAnne & Rick
Monday, November 28, 2011
What is a treasure are the hundreds of beautiful beaches that make up much of the thousands of miles of magnificent US coastline. The Galveston sunrises over the gulf are spectacular
Saturday, November 26, 2011
One such experience was attending the Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. We went a bit late in the afternoon, got a bite to eat. We were able to enter two of the pyramids. One has, one of the best Aquariums we have ever seen, and the other was the Rain Forest.
Then when it was dark – the lighting suddenly appeared! How awesome and what joy it brings to your heart to see the creative and most magical lighting displays they have! You feel like a kid again – in awe and wonder! Don’t miss the pictures on this one...in fact if you miss any of the photos you will miss some imaginative camera work! Ha! See Photos Here
One afternoon we saw an advertisement for a “Market on The Strand.” Loving the old Strand, we thought what the heck and off we went. We did enjoy the Strand – the Market…not so much!
Not sure what we were going to do this year for Thanksgiving – since we liked Moody Gardens so well – we decided to have brunch at the Moody Gardens Hotel. Now this was not any ordinary brunch at a hotel. In addition to the delicious food – the customer service and wait staff were first class! We enjoyed our brunch at a “table for two” while listening to the live piano player and songstress.
As many of you know, Rick and I have – scratch that – had an inflatable kayak. Now we have had many great adventures with that kayak – but this time it was the biggest and most memorable adventure.
As we were making our way around the lush, wet, water trails we enjoyed bird sightings and the weather was perfect. As we made our way into Galveston Bay, the waters opened up before us and you felt as if you were paddling out to sea.
Suddenly…I ask Rick…why are we listing on the left side? Hmmmm, says Rick as he paddles ever faster! What happened is we developed a leak! It was a long, hard, exhausting paddle (for Rick) and I cannot tell you how blessed we are, how I am, that Rick keeps himself in top shape! I say…Thank you God and thank you Rick for making it possible to end our adventure on shore instead of underwater. Our next stop? The trash dumpster! We had unknowingly taken our last voyage!
Friday, November 18, 2011
Here is what beach duty at Galveston Island State Park looks like. Yes, we make sure dogs are on leash and that no glass is brought onto the beach. But our main “responsibility” is to help keep the beach clean. (Think about a beach version of adopt-a-highway.) The amount of trash that washes ashore from the gulf is both amazing and in some regards sad. Regardless, we really enjoy traveling up and down the beach in our Gator. The surf, the sunrises, the birds and the ocean breeze – all good!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
On our way, we visited many great Sate Parks in Texas; however, our “final leg” brought us to Galveston Island State Park with one fascinating stop, and an unexpected adventure crossing Galveston Bay.
Our fascinating stop was at Big Thicket National Preserve in Kountze, Texas. Thankfully, the weather was cool and not very humid. Often called an American ark or the biological crossroads of North America, and established to protect its complex biological diversity. It comprises a combined pine and cypress forest, hardwood forest, meadow, and blackwater swamp that all house an extraordinary abundance of species that seem to coexist so well. It’s hard to see or get the feel from the few photos we have the diversity and density of this remarkable place.
Now about the unexpected adventure!
We traveled South on State Highway 87 because our new GPS indicated it is the only highway around Galveston Bay. Well…it became apparent we were on a road to somewhere on the Bolivar Peninsula – we just didn’t know where that “somewhere” was!
The road ended at the ferry landing. There we were - - in line, no clue what the cost, schedule, or requirements were…and no way to turn around. Now I know we’re all about the “journey” not the “destination” so we were ready for a most unexpected adventure for sure!
Our line inched forward. It was our turn. We asked all the questions we had earlier wondered about. RV’s are okay, and remarkably, in today’s world an unexpected surprise for sure…IT IS FREE, plus were next in line to board. Before we knew it…in 18-minutes and 2.7-miles, we crossed one of the busiest waterways in the world, and landed on Galveston Island.
Once here, we met with Rangers, have an assigned camp host spot, uniforms, and assignments, tools, and a “gator.”
Our days, filled with meeting new people, exploring new places, my favortite is riding the “gator” up, and back the Galveston Island beach looking for trash – but what do they say? One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Enjoy the PHOTOS HERE!
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Among them was Cooper State Park, located in a “funky” little old town who boasts a traditional soda fountain run by a 90-year old resident.
Daingerfield State Park was nice but nothing too exciting. We are currently camped at Martin Dies Jr State Park.
In general, we have been taking it easy hanging out, resting, reading, taking a few hikes, and a few naps, just enjoying our journey in Texas before we arrive at our destination point, and adventure at Galveston Island State Park.
Of the three parks visited this last week, we really enjoyed our current location. Today we took a canoe ride around the lake. The brochure cautions to beware of the alligators, however since it have been a bit on the chilly side (I’m not complaining since back home they had 8 – 10” of snow), the alligators seem to have been hibernating.
We are heading out tomorrow and truly looking forward to camp hosting on Galveston Island State Park.
We will keep you posted! See Photos Here
Monday, October 24, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
It had been years since we traveled through Oklahoma City. “Through” is the operative word – we had never stopped here.
This time we stopped and we are glad we did. Our first surprise was the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. As far as museums go this is a gem. As you would imagine it has galleries covering Native American life, a replica of a frontier town, a tribute to western performers from the movies (John Wayne, etc,), American Rodeo, the Cowboy hall of fame, and some wonderful works from Cowboy artists such as Remington and Russell. Lucky for us our visit coincided with the Cowboy Artists of America 46th annual sale and exhibition, as well as, the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association 13th annual sale and exhibition. The art was amazing (and pricey)! Considering many paintings were selling for more than we paid for our RV, we were glad to leave with a Christmas ornament and some postcards.
Last evening we headed down to the Oklahoma National Memorial & Museum. On April 19, 1995, we were riding bikes down Haleakala on Maui. We stopped in a small island grill at the end of ride and found everyone glued to the TV. Now 16 years later visiting the site of the bombing of the Murrah building was as poignant as ever. The lighting of the 168 chairs makes a visit at dusk that more impactful. I think this was the event that added the term “home grown terrorist” into our vocabulary. The Gates of Time are twin gates that frame the 9:02 a.m. bombing. The East gate represents 9:01 the innocence of the city (and country) before the attack. The West gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever.
An interesting day for sure…SEE PHOTOS HERE
Friday, October 21, 2011
Ever hear of Lindsborg Kansas?
Who knew? In the central plains of Kansas in what seems like the middle of nowhere we stumbled upon Lindsborg. The town, founded by Swedish immigrants in 1868 has maintained their cultural heritage.
After lunch at the “charming” “The Butcher, the Baker and the Candlestick Maker” we spent a fun few hours walking the town looking at all the wonderful “public art”, shopping in the many craft and antique shops, and photographing the herd of wild Dala horses. What is a Dala horse you ask? It is a Swedish icon, a bluntly rounded, tail free horse originally whittled out of wood during long Scandinavian nights.
Remember the Cows in Chicago? No cows for Lindsborg! The Dala horses are on every corner and in front of every shop – all individually decorated. Very cool!
On our way out of town, we headed to Coronado Heights that is a “fortress like” structure on top of Smoky Hills, bluff. The area is to honor Francisco Vasquez de Coronado who visited central Kansas in 1541. The views from the top are of the surrounding farmland… they reminded me of the”amber waves of grain” verse from “America the Beautiful”. SEE PHOTOS HERE
Our camp for the night was at Cheney State Park about 20 miles West of Wichita. Check out the Kansas Sunset! It is getting chilly here – time to head further South.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
We have been so busy since July 4 I have to admit I have been negligent in my postings. So much has happened, so many adventures.
Our friends Jane, Ty & Beth Fouchey, Lois & Hal Leslie, and our daughter Andrea and her husband Roger brought our grandson Caleb to visit with us for a week. It was all great! I have to say it went by in such a flash however, I am thankful to have the photos to help bring back some wonderful memories!
Caleb and Rick went kayaking, and fishing, and while I was working in the visitor center, the two of them cleaned campsites. Caleb also worked on his volunteer hours here at Ridgway State Park, and earned his Junior Ranger Badge. We also were able to go to the Railroad Museum in Ridgway, the Ute Indian Museum and swim beach here at the park. We are very proud of him, and extremely grateful we were able to help celebrate his 9th birthday with him while he was here camping with us.
The whole group went on the Bachelor-Syracuse Mine Tour. What an experience that was! It was interesting but most definitely NOT for anyone who is claustrophobic…like me! Gold pannin’ - Caleb was the only one who found gold!
The 4th of July fireworks in Ouray were amazing! They began the event by Jeeps’, decorated in everything right, white and blue…and red flares proceeding down the Million Dollar Highway towards the town of Ouray. What a site!
When that procession was completed, the fireworks began. The sound just bounced from one canyon wall to another; along with the incredible display…well…it was breathtaking!
The quiet hours here are from 10PM to 6 AM – but that did not stop our nightly campfires!
It was wonderful to see, and be with everyone! I hope you take a few minutes to share in our memories!
|Jul 16, 2011 I'm a little behind...Really?!|
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Every month, on a rotation basis the seven Camp Hosts and various Volunteers take turns in what’s, affectionately called, “Swim Beach Duty!”
Now before I go any further…NOOOOOO it is not like “Bay Watch.” Beach duty involves sitting at the beach and making sure no one breaks the rules. There aren’t many, but these are the top ones: NO dogs on the beach, NO fires on the beach, NO fishing on the beach, NO glass allowed, and the biggie…STAY within the buoy lines.
We’re there as a precautionary measure to prevent avoidable incidents, and be present in case there is an emergency. Moreover, the best part of all is we get a “big old” bullhorn!
We bring our cooler, some snacks or lunch, and for the most part, relax, enjoy the sun and the wonderful breezes – and of course the people watching.
As you can see from the photos, people come to swim, even though the temperature of the water is still a bit cold, relax, sunbathe, picnic, and enjoy more of the amenities here at Ridgway State Park.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Speaking of troopers…During the storm, yes during the storm, some of our friends and fellow Camp Hosts decided to enjoy a dinner in the rain!
However, as they say - at the end of the rainbow lies a pot of gold. OK…maybe not a real pot of gold. When the sun appeared for a few brief moments, the lighting produced a magnificent rainbow, and then turned to a double one. How peaceful and beautiful it all felt then!
Who knew there were so many single moms and dads who come to Ridgway State Park to camp with their kids? I knew there were some, but always felt the majority of campers were families with mom’s, dad’s, and the kids. However, that’s not the case.
We have seen and met some remarkable people, but to see the joy the “family unit” has camping (no matter what the definition), warms your heart.
This past weekend was Father’s Day weekend. We were amazed at the “family campers” who camped here were moms with their kids, dad’s with their kids…and dad’s who just wanted to spend some real bonding time with their kids alone – without the mom. What beautiful memories!
Ridgway State Park not only provides all of the amenities for families to enjoy their camping experience, they encourage it! Some of our volunteers love to help with this event.
One event they host is the Huck Finn Day. Kids can come to the stocked fishing ponds and fish free. Rods, reels, bobbers are all provided. If they leave with or without fish, they have a great time! Enjoy the Photos
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Oh boy! What can I say about our poor girl other than it is so hard to help one of your best pals when they are hurting.
Yep, she somehow tore out all of the stitches in her eyelid. I hate to report this so if you have a weak stomach…better skip this blog post.
It looked like you had a piece of raw meat, and sliced it in half!!! Totally GROSS!
So, we rushed her to the vet where she had the entire surgery redone. The good news, she was not put entirely under, there are double the amounts of stitches, they are much smaller, and will dissolve.
We are going back to the vet this Friday for a recheck. We pray this is going to work as they said this was our last chance at repairing the incision. I guess we didn’t want to know what happens if this doesn’t work – so we are going with this WILL work.
Now for those of you who have pets, and the vet puts one of those x-ray type collars on them after surgery – we found a great one the animals can see through, isn’t sharp, and is padded around the neck and all exposed edges at Petco.
So far…this seems to be working without the dog (or us for that matter) going insane!
I’ll keep you posted on her recovery!
On some “down time,” we decided to take a drive through Colona to Ridgway over Log Hill Mesa. By the way - Log Hill got its name from the settlers who drove their wagons and had to tie large logs behind them to slow their descent down the hill. They left those logs at the bottom of the hill and soon the Mesa became known as Log Hill.
This little fact was one we learned at a Ranger program here at the park. We had Jane Bennett, a local storyteller as a speaker. The talk was on the early ranching days in Ouray County.
From there we drove through the mountains to the south of Ridgway.
Nothing special…other than the most beautiful scenery this area has to offer!
One of the fun and memorable things that we experience as Camp Hosts is meeting some wonderful people! Now that’s not to say they are All fun and wonderful…but the ones I will share with you are!
Probably the most fun and memorable person for me was an adorable, precious five-year-old girl who was traveling with her grandparents for a week. Her name was Olivia and the night before they left Elk Ridge Campground, she came over and said “I have something for you” – she handed me several pictures she had drawn and one especially brought tears to my eyes.
She drew a picture of our mobile home, golf cart, Sandy (our dog) and various other items, which I am sure, will be self-explanatory when you look at the drawing. LOL
It made me miss my own grandchildren even more than I already do! Moreover, it made me feel blessed to possibly, have made a wonderful and memorable camping experience for her. The next morning I went to their camper and dropped off a stuffed animal, and a butterfly pin. Hope she likes them!
For Rick, it was Jerry Funk, who wrote about his quest to climb all 55-14,000 foot mountains in Colorado. Rick had some long discussions with him and even bought his book.
The other “celebrity” we met and were both fascinated with was Jake Billingsley, who was on Survivor Thailand (2002). He had some interesting stories, and if you would like to read more about him, click on this link.
Then there was the father and his little girl who had gone fishing, caught some trout, and knocked on our door and offered us some fresh trout for dinner.
Or, the couple we met from Chicago who had an amazing custom made Teardrop Camper with a private, screened entry who we were able to share lots of camping and hiking stories.
The Brown’s – the Harley motorcycling family from Palisade, CO who owned a peach orchard and told us all about Colorado peaches and offered to bring us some tree-ripened peaches in August! Yum…can’t wait!
Now all of the people are not famous, and haven’t written books, or been on TV or in the movies – some every day, sweet, kind people come to the mountains to camp, enjoy the Colorado outdoors and one another.
Another time I will write about the Rangers, Camp Hosts, and Volunteers we have meet while here at Ridgway State Park - but for now I wanted to share some special memories with you.
Well…wouldn’t you know it!! The dog has cracked her premolar (large tooth on the top in the back) and has a huge benign tumor over her left eye. She had to have surgery today at the San Juan Veterinary Clinic in Montrose, who came highly recommended to us by our Boulder vet, Alpine Hospital for Animals.
We had to have her there at 8:00am and were able to pick her up around 4:00pm. So what do we do all day in Montrose, CO? Explore of course – one of our very favorite things to do.
We went to the Montrose County Historical Museum, which is located in the old Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Depot - What an unusual museum it was…tons of exhibits inside and outside of the building. The people we met there were so nice, and extremely helpful in giving us more of the area history.
Now being lunchtime - We were waiting to cross the street and this little old woman looks up and down the street watching all of the traffic go by and says, “What has ever happened to my town?” Clearly, Montrose was becoming much larger than she wanted it. Rick asked her where the best place in town to eat was and she told us – the Daily Bread of course - so on to the lip-smacking, local “mom and pop” restaurant. The homemade buns, along with the food we ordered, were some of the best we have ever had.
After our lunch break, we drove the outskirts of Montrose and found (with the help of the historical museum folks) the Montrose Botanical Gardens. WOW! Who knew? The gardens are new being established in 1995 – but boy-oh-boy, we could only imagine how this must have looked when the flowers were all in full bloom. The photos hardly do it justice.
We then headed to the Montrose Library while we waited for a call to pick up our girl.
On our way home and we were invited for a watermelon and cake treat by one of the other Camp Hosts. That’s one of the nice things here – you do meet kind, (not always, but mainly) and interesting people.
On our days off (Tues & Wed), we have been visiting local sites. One of these was the beautiful and interesting “Dennis Weaver Memorial Park” - many of you may remember him from “Gunsmoke,” “Gentle Ben,” or McCloud.”
The park is nestled along the Uncompahgre River, with the San Juan Mountains as a backdrop. For us it was a place of quiet, and serenity.
A trail runs from Ridgway State Park all the way to the town of Ridgway, where along the way either walking or biking, you can stop and see the magnificent eagle, and visit the Memorial.
The PHOTOS don’t give you “the feeling” of being there – but I do hope they help you to get a good overview of the park. Maybe next time you are in the area, you will make a short detour.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Well by the title you would think we are non-stop, however not the case at all!
Saturday we did “our rounds” in the morning, again in mid-afternoon, and once more in the early evening. Therefore, we had tons of time to hang out, take a few small hikes, photos of wildflowers, and enjoy our first campfire with a beautiful sliver of a new moon shining through the trees.
Sunday, today we had an added duty in addition to rounds. We had swim beach duty! Now before I go any further…NOOOOOO it is not like “Bay Watch.” Beach duty involves sitting at the beach and making sure no one breaks the rules. There aren’t many, but these are the top ones: NO dogs on the beach, NO fires on the beach, NO fishing on the beach, NO glass allowed, and the biggie…STAY within the buoy lines.
It’s merely a precautionary measure to prevent any accidents and be present in case there is an emergency. Moreover, the best part of all is we get a big ole bullhorn!!!!! However, with the water levels in the lake so low waiting for the run-off, the water was extremely cold, and hardly anyone showed up! Then back to camp, took a nap, a short hike and wrote this blog.
Of interest, when you see the photos of the mountains, they make look a bit hazy and that’s because we are getting the smoke from the Arizona fires, along with the smell. Maybe the winds will pick up and clear the valley.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Whew…What an adventure this past 17 days has been!! From my computer crashing, sending and receiving it back from Dell, visiting the Ute Indian Museum, receiving our uniforms, two-way patrol radios, golf cart, leveling the RV (yet again), taking the dog to the vet (who is scheduled for surgery on the 8th), getting my blood work done, learning the procedures, working in the visitor center/gift shop, Rick working on a Facebook page for Ridgway State Park, meeting almost all of the rangers along with the seven other camp hosting couples, attending park sponsored meetings and events, adjusting to the unpredictable mountain weather, Rick leaving for Boulder for a day and a night to run his 33rd Bolder Boulder with our daughter Andrea (leaving Sandy & I taking caring for the campground), and last but not least…our microwave is broken and in for repairs with an uncertain future date of its return!
So – there you have it! Officially, you are current with us, and our new adventure!
Now I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong vision of our lives here as camp hosts in Ridgway State Park – we are LOVING IT!!!
Even though we woke to the two-way radio hearing…a car is in the lake, send for a probe and a diver, or there are cows in the campground, and headquarters there is a bear sighting! The radio’s, preliminary use is for communicating to the rangers who really run the park in coordination with the camp hosts and excellent staff. It all makes for one really fantastic team!!!
We are at site #98 in the Elk Ridge Campground, so if you are “in the neighborhood” please stop by and say hello! If you’re not in the immediate neighborhood, please join us on facebook.com/rjrvtravels and on Twitter @rjrvtravels and SEE PHOTOS HERE
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
We pulled into site 98 in the Elk Ridge Campground at 4:00 PM. Our first impression…this is really a beautiful place, lots of trees, overlooking the reservoir, with the San Juan Mountain Range as a backdrop. This would be a “good thing” as this little spot in paradise will be our home for the summer.
We woke Thursday morning to snow. Yes, snow! We spent the day meeting some of the parks staff, rangers, and the other camp hosts and were given a basic orientation of what it means to be a camp host. We also, checked out the 38 sites that will be under our watch along with a quick tour of the entire park.
We are “official” now and Friday was our first day on our own. So, what do we do? As a camp host our job is to make sure campers arrive to a warm welcome and a clean campsite.
This past Saturday and Sunday we had our formal orientation and training. We met all the other camp volunteers, hosts, staff, and rangers – probably 50 plus people. It is amazing to see how many people, that work as a family, and their overall effort to run the park. Oh… Did I mention the weather was great on both days? No rain and plenty of sunshine.