Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas

Rick Morgan

.... and may 2012 be filled with safe travels and great adventure.

Photo Credit: JoAnne Morgan - Boulder Flatirons

Saturday, December 3, 2011

From Sand to Snow

Rick Morgan
What's wrong with this picture? We left the sun and sand of the Texas Gulf Coast on Wednesday and arrived home to this. Sound a bit crazy?

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

Time To Say Goodbye

Rick Morgan

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

One Man’s Garbage is Another Man’s Treasure…. Not So Much

Rick Morgan

One of the duties we perform as camp hosts at Galveston Island State Park is to roam the beach in our Gator and pick up the trash that rides in on the surf or is left behind by swimmers, picnickers, fisherman, or beachcombers. This is a picture of just a small portion of the trash we picked up on one short ride up and down the beach and gives you some idea of the sort of trash I am talking about.

I am not sure how any of the broken Styrofoam plates and cups, old plastic water bottles, torn garbage bags, deflated and torn balloons, - well you get the idea, could be considered a treasure by anyone.

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 

and we love walking along the beach watching and photographing the birds. 

The beach and dunes are ever changing and it is fun to explore and experience the transformation the tides and winds bring each day. The beach and dunes at Galveston Island State Park are primitive and as futile as it seems, picking up trash is our small attempt to keep it that way. Come on people we can do better.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lights, Action, Camera

JoAnne Morgan

What fun it has been these several days. We are in a gorgeous setting, having fun, keeping active, and experiencing new adventures.

Our mornings and evenings filled with spectacular light shows of blazing sunrises and sunsets. We enjoy interesting experiences and are able to watch the variety, and often amusing, amazing birds. We are savoring the opportunity to experience the life-style of Galveston Island.

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 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!
One of the things we noticed on this trip to The Strand was noticing the water lines on buildings from Hurricane Ike in 2008. Now we have a clearer understanding of what this community experienced, and appreciate the huge steps forward they have and continue to make in their recovery.

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

There is Beach Duty and Then There is Beach Duty!

Rick Morgan
Here is what beach duty at Ridgway State Park looked like. For the most part, beach duty here meant making sure the no dogs and the no glass rules were being followed. 

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

Motorcycles and Mansions

JoAnne Morgan

Since arriving at Galveston State Park, we have settled into our Camp Hosting routine. Our work here is very different from our duties at Ridgway State Park. For one thing, the Park (and most of Texas) is in a fire ban due to the continuing drought. So, no fire pits to clean. One of the duties we really like is riding in our Gator along the beach – but more about that in another post.

Life at Galveston is pretty laid back. The early mornings, are filled with beautiful sunrises. We enjoy watching the Brown Pelicans fishing in the gulf, the Royal Terns skimming above the waves and the many varieties of sandpipers darting in and out of the surf.

Thinking about the past two weeks – what stands out most was our trip to the Strand and the Lone Star Motorcycle Rally and our visits to both Bishops Palace and the Moody Mansion. The rally is one of the largest in the US and we had a fun afternoon hang’n with the hogs.

Last November as we blogged and shared pictures of the many truly amazing Victorian homes in the National Historic District here in Galveston. At that time, we had not been able to go through the tours of the two mansions. This time, it became a priority…and we are so glad we were able to see these amazing homes.

You might ask what the strange and “unusual looking house” is doing in the mansion mix. We see this on our way from the Island to the Mainland. It has various names, the Ark, Kettle house among them. I don’t have a clue about the history – but I’ll work on finding out.

We also had the opportunity to see the magnificent “tree sculptures.” These old, huge trees, destroyed during hurricane Ike in 2008, are now transformed into beautiful, unique works of art. The sculptures, designed by chain saw artists, and paid for by the owners of these homes with a specific theme meaningful to that homeowner.   

Yesterday Rick attended the naturalist walk along the gulf discovering ghost crabs, ghost shrimp, and a numerous variety of clams.

Now it’s back to work! See Photos Here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Final Journey to Galveston Island State Park

JoAnne Morgan
Yes, we’re here…we enjoyed a wonderful journey to our destination arrival and have been busy ever since!

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

Here and there...

JoAnne Morgan

The last few days we have visited various Texas State Parks in Northeastern Texas.

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

What Price – Progress

Rick Morgan
Detour – Instead of heading straight down Interstate 35 fromOklahoma City toward Texas, we decided to take a nostalgic trip West alongInterstate 44. I say Nostalgic because 44 traces the old Route 66. In fact, asyou exit I44 at towns like El Reno, Clinton and Elk City it is possible tostill travel on original stretches of the Historic Route 66 – and we did.

The trip along I44 is not just about Historic Route 66 sights. There are also some key American history sites here as well.

Our fist stop after leaving Oklahoma City was Historic FortReno just outside of the town of El Reno. Established as a military post in1876 to help preserve the peace and direct the transition from reservation toindividual farm and ranches and supervised the great Land Run of 1889. The fortalso served as a quartermaster remount depot from 1908 – 1948. That is, it wasa center of specialized horse breeding and training for all branches of themilitary. Black Jack the riderless horse in President Kennedy’s funeralprocession was born here.

But what was the most interesting to us was the fact thatthis fort served as a German POW Camp during World War II. Over 1300 Germans who were captured in North Africa were imprisoned here.

Needless to say – the cemetery was a very interestingchronicle of the fort history.

Our next stop in Clinton and the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum was all about Historic Route 66. JoAnne had traveled from Chicago to LA manytimes on the original Route 66. While I had not traveled to any great extent onRoute 66, it still brought back memories of our family car trips from Chicagoto Montana and Colorado. SEE PHOTOS HERE

Our final stop was the Washita Battlefield outside of ElkCity. (Yes, Elk City is home to the National Route 66 Museum but it was closedduring the time we where there on Sunday.) The Washita Battlefield is the siteof what history as recorded as one of the darker moments in U.S. and Indianrelations.

On November 27, 1868 Lt. Col. George Custer attacked what heassumed was a hostile Cheyenne encampment. In fact, it was a village of mostlywomen and children that was under the leadership of the peace chief BlackKettle, Black Kettle had survived the Sand Creek massacre and had trieddiligently to avoid conflict.

When the “battle” ended approximately 30 - 60 mostlyCheyenne women and children had been killed. Chief Black Kettle and his wifehad also been killed. Custer also ordered the slaughter of over 800 horses andmules.

So, indeed what price do we pay for progress? It was theRailroad and the white expansion West that lead to the Indian Wars. While itwas fun to look back and reminisce about trips across America on Route 66 itwas also a reminder that Interstate system spelled “death” of many small towns and marked the end of an Era. SEE PHOTOS HERE

I get that there we as a society need to evolve and moveforward. Of course there were great benefits to the transcontinental railroadand the settlement of the West. Yes, there are huge benefits derived from ouramazing Interstate system. Yet, advancement regardless of its form has a cost –we pay a price.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oklahoma City

JoAnne Morgan

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

Who Knew?

JoAnne Morgan

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

The Summer of Sandy

Rick Morgan

Admittedly, we didn’t do a very good job of keeping up with our blog this summer.  There is a reason…. we had to say goodbye to our girl Sandy. Much of our time and attention was focused on taking care of her.  While we know we made decisions that were in her best interest  - that didn’t make it any easier.

Sandy loved to travel with us in the RV. She was an amazing companion and JoAnne and I have 13 years worth of wonderful memories of our life with her.

As I write this post, we are planning our next RV adventure. We will be heading down to Galveston Island State Park and will be volunteer camp hosts for the month of November. We camped there last November and liked it so much we wanted to return. We decided to apply to be camp hosts and were accepted. This is a wonderful park and we feel fortunate to have this opportunity.

We want to acknowledge and thank San Juan Veterinary Clinic for their care and compassion.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I’m a little behind…ya think?!

JoAnne Morgan


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

Flowers from a New Friend

JoAnne Morgan

I am now finding one of the many Camp Hosting benefits is getting gifts from some EXCELLENT campers! LOL
Seriously, the people have been awesome!
A nice man and his son were staying with us; we had talked and joked around. As he was pulling out of the campground, he called me over and said I wanted you to have these. You are the nicest Camp Host I have ever met….Awwwwwwwww…how sweet was that?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Swim Beach Duty

JoAnne Morgan

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

At the end of the rainbow…

JoAnne Morgan

We experienced a horrible storm here last night! It really poured and the soaking continued until late this morning. We felt so badly for the people who were in tents. Some and I say some of them stayed. What troopers they were!

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!

Families + Fun = Wonderful Memories!

JoAnne Morgan

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

Surgery for Sandy...Again!

JoAnne Morgan

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!

The Sites

JoAnne Morgan

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!

The People

JoAnne Morgan

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.

Sandy had Surgery...What do we do?

JoAnne Morgan

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.

Poor baby!

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.

Dennis Weaver – “Ridgway’s Best Kept Secret”

JoAnne Morgan

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

OK…this is some kind of work!

JoAnne Morgan

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

Back in action!

JoAnne Morgan

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 and on Twitter @rjrvtravels and SEE PHOTOS HERE

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let The Adventure Begin!

Rick Morgan
On Wednesday May 18 we shifted Tiger II (our RV affectionately known as T2) into “D” and started our 340-mile trek to Ridgway State Park, in Ridgway, CO – just outside of Montrose, Ouray and Telluride. While we had lots of heavy rain on the way, the good news was NO snow - even the passes were snow free.

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.

As camp ambassadors, we make the rounds in “our” little section of the park in our (park provided) nifty golf cart to help us navigate, and welcome campers to the Elk Ridge Campground. With the provided tools and our “wheels” we clean out fire pits and pick up any trash left behind by previous campers. We also serve as a support to the excellent camp rangers making sure the park guidelines are being followed - stuff like making sure the leash law is being adhered, no ropes strung between trees, and no collecting firewood from the grounds. In the evening, we sell firewood with the sales benefiting “The Friends of Ridgway” – a group that helps to provide additional resources and programs for the park. I know many of you are wondering if we have to clean bathrooms – the answer is NO. Ridgway has a paid staff that takes care of that…and along with the entire staff here they do a fantastic job making sure all visitors have a fabulous, positive and memorable experience.

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.

Since we arrived, we have added an addition to our 26’ home with a 10 x 10 outdoor-screened room. And now that we are settled in, our future posts will share pictures; experiences and stories about our new summer home in Site 98 at Ridgway State Park.

Oh… We would love to have you join us on Facebook at and on Twitter @rjrvtravels.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Being a Camp Host - Pretty Soon!

Rick Morgan
In less than a month we will be taking Tiger II (our RV) out of winter storage and heading up to Ridgway State Park in Ridgway, Colorado. We are going to be camp hosts for the summer!

We have been talking about being camp hosts for a couple of years. We became more serious about the idea while we were in Texas last year. We talked with rangers and camp hosts at several Texas State Parks. The more we talked the more it sounded like fun and something we should try. When we got home to Colorado, we went on line to the Colorado State Park Volunteer site. We picked several parks where we thought we would enjoy volunteering and submitted our application and resume. In mid-December, the head Ranger at Ridgway State Park called us and after the interview process, we learned we had been selected to be camp hosts.

Several of our RVing friends are planning trips to Ridgway to camp and visit. Our grandchildren will also be coming up to camp and to spend time with us in Tiger II.

This is our first camp host experience and we really don’t know what to expect. Yet, we are excited about having the opportunity to volunteer at one of our amazing State Parks.

I hope you will join us here or “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter as we share our summer adventure.

Photo: Rick & Joanne at Ridgway State Park in August 2010