August 26

The Feeling of Fall

Today there was a distinct feeling of fall. When I woke, there was no sunshine streaming through the windows. No sounds of birds, happy and chirping. Taking Geordie out, the sky was grey from horizon to horizon, north to south, east to west. It reminded me of Midwestern late falls and winters. The year of the sun is sinking south, with shortening days.

While most of the week was sunny in the morning. Mid-afternoons the dark clouds filled the sky. Tuesday there was a very heavy rain, with flood warnings for the area. On Wednesday morning, the local radio station mentioned the mountains around Silverton received four to five inches of snow on the peaks.

I celebrated my two year “on the road” anniversary last Monday. Hearing about the snow reminded me of my first camp. It rained and snowed on the mountain peaks back then too. I’ve enjoyed the last two years. Most of the 730 nights, I’ve spent it out in nature. Nothing better than seeing elk, wild burros, coyotes, and moose. I’ve watched meteors, sunsets, lightning,  rain on the horizon, and overhead. I’ve even been near a flooding river and driven around fires.

I never got fished my favorite mountain stream, with all the rain. While fish don’t care if it’s raining, I don’t care for getting stuck in a small canyon, with lightning all around.

That’s about all the words I have for this week. I’ll leave you with some photos of the high country.

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Fireweek
Fireweed

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As you can see, summer is coming to a close.

Thanks for stopping by.

Rob

August 19

New Things and Old Things

New things are always great. The one great new thing is a new title, I am now a great uncle. I mentioned Geordie’s birthday on the 11Th, well my great niece shares the same birthday. Caedyn is her name. Of course, as you can imagine, the whole family is pleased we have new addition.

My new great niece.
My new great niece.

I’ve moved off the mountain on Monday and stayed one night at the KOA in Durango. I was clean out of water and it was a pleasant stay, except for the noise. This KOA is right on U.S. highway 160 and is a major artery for folks going into and leaving Durango. That said, the host there are very friendly and helpful. The grounds are loaded with flowers and they even have a garden with herbs. Guests are welcome to cut herbs for their own use. They even have a couple of pizza ovens and you can order by phone and they’ll deliver to your site. Pretty good pizza too.

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I loaded the water tank and now you find me back at my old camp in the Sauls Creek area. I camped here back in May, of this year.

Aspen understory
Aspen understory

I’ve been thinking of checking my glasses prescription over the last month, and I thought I should get it done with the old optometrist.

Another reason for staying here again is, I want to head up to one of my favorite mountain streams and cast a few flies. It’s a pretty little stream maybe ten feet across in most areas. I’ve caught lots of fish on this stream. Not trophy sized by any means, but beautiful Brook, Rainbow, and a few Cutthroat Trout. Biggest might be in the 10-12” range, but it’s a whole lot of fun catching 20-30 fish in a quarter mile stretch.

Another reason for coming back, is to stock the freezer with a bunch of green chiles. There are so many ways to incorporate green chiles into your food. Scrambled eggs, chicken and chile stew, I even put them into Charleston Crab soup, a recipe I found in the Joy of Cooking. Of course there is nothing better than a green chile on a burger. Just slap on a whole chile on top of the burger with melted cheddar. Is your mouth watering? Yep, mine too!

Playing around with old photo from Utah, with Photoshop
Playing around with an old photo from Utah, with Photoshop

While you can get cans of chiles in the market, you are limited to “mild” and “hot.” Honestly, the “hot” is not. The hot you get from at the farmers market is one you keep your hat on for. It will blow your brains out. At least it did for me. I get the medium chiles. Just the right amount of heat.

After the eye appointment this morning, I went to the natural food market for the Reed’s Ginger Beer I like. They’re the only one that carries it in town. There out front was a chile roaster. I got my chiles!

Now I wait for the new glasses, and I’m set to see the world.

Until next week,

Rob

August 12

Fire In The Sky

I told you last week it rained like h-e-double hockey sticks. Of course with rain in the mountains, that also means thunder and lightning.

Rain on the horizon
Rain on the horizon

Wednesday night, a week ago, it got particularly loud and bright as I went to bed. I’ve said before Geordie has tended to get low and close to me. That night Geordie began to move closer to my pillow, so I put the other pillow over his head. Then a big clap of thunder hit. Geordie found it wasn’t enough so he moved down under the covers and blanket with me, a first for him. I can’t tell you how funny I found this as he moved towards my feet. I just laughed the whole time. It was a long night of rain, thunder, and lightning, and I didn’t get much sleep as he moved around a lot trying to find the furthest point away from the thunder.

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As you can see we both made it, but Geordie is now apprehensive about storms.

I made a decision on Sunday morning. I woke to the worst back ache I’ve had in a long time. “Ding, dong, the bed is gone.” On Tuesday, I got rid of the mattress. Then it was off to the Durango.  I turned into the Mall to check Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Bingo!

What a good morning it was when I woke to a happy lower back. It’s a three inch memory foam pad and is on the firm side which is what works for me.

I found the sky "Nessie"!
I found the sky “Nessie”!

As you’ve seen on my page, I’ve taken to Instagram. It was my niece’s suggestion. So, I added the link on my WordPress page. Hope you like it while you’re waiting for Fridays.

It's round-up time in the high country
It’s round-up time in the high country

This week marked a few dates on the calendar. The 9th would have been my father’s 96th birthday. On the 11th Geordie turned 4. Can’t believe it’s been that long. He’s been a great traveler and he’s visited 11 states so far, and many more to come.

What to do with a 4 year old dog on his birthday? Take him swimming, his favorite activity! We drove down to Summit Reservoir and I threw out his float dozens of times. He was a happy camper! When we got back I gave him a marrow bone. Double happiness!

The birthday dog
The birthday dog

I hope some of you have been looking out for the Perseid Meteor showers. I popped out on Wednesday night. I looked for a few seconds. Those little grains of sand sent out a couple of blazing streaks across the sky. There will be more in the nights to come, but tonight is to be the peak. A good night to head to a dark sky area.

“I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky,” John Denver “Rocky Mountain High.”

Have a great week and thanks for following,

Rob

August 5

More Stuff Falling From the Sky

I have to say this new camp is pretty at different times of the day. Sometimes dappled sun, clouds, and rain, you can see in the distance, or right over head.

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While camp is a bit off the road, I can see the road and the traffic on it. Weekends are the busiest, with all the AVTers, lots of ATVers. Sometimes I wonder about them. A whole caravan comes by with two-seaters and one person, and there are three of them. Why not just hop in a Jeep with the top down? They can swap driving. Humans, sometimes you can’t figure them out.

Sleeping Ute Mountain. The head it on the right, crossed arms over chest to the left, further left the knees, then the toes.
Sleeping Ute Mountain. The head is on the right, crossed arms over chest to the left, further left the knees, then the toes.

I looked at the weather for the week and ran down ( OK drove down) to Cortez on Tuesday to stock up on food, gas, and water. Rain was due on Wednesday at 60% on up through the weekend. Then I saw a flash flood warning.

Here comes more rain clouds
Here comes more rain clouds

Almost finished with H. E. Bates’s ‘Flying Officer X’ stories. A couple of them are broken into parts and both are about downed pilots floating on rafts in the Channel. When you read in one story, that they figured they’d been in the water for more than 60 hours, before they landed successfully back on the English shore. Then they he says they’ll get a few days leave and then back in the air. That left me feeling like I’d never go back up if that happened to me!

The high country wildflowers
The high country wildflowers

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I’ve been looking at the website, Campendium, for a while now. Campers list and rate campsites. I decided I’d write up this site in the ‘Free’ area. I find there is more information about the camps than the other, Freecampsites.net, website. On Campendium, there is a form to fill out, so you get the important information you need. I like that folks can add the cell signal strength for a site, if there is one, for each cell company.

You can look up this camp I named ‘West La Plata Mts.

I’ve been looking at ‘Harvest Hosts’ for next year. I’ve not camped at a host yet, but I had joined last year. I thought I’d use them last summer but never did. Some of the hosts will allow you to stay a couple of nights if you ask and they have no one coming in, otherwise it’s just used as an overnight stop. I’ve even looked at a few in Canada.

Can you spot the 'Flower Pup'?
Can you spot the ‘Flower Pup’?

I suppose I should describe ‘Harvest Hosts’ again. It’s a listing of farms, wineries, museums, that will allow you to camp on their property for free. All that is asked is you purchase some wine or produce from the hosts. The fee for a year is $44.00 or a yearly renewal for $40.00. That’s a night with full-hook ups or two to three forest camps. Some hosts do have hook ups, but most do not. This is for self-contained units (RVs, trailers, truck campers, with bathrooms) only.

On clear days I can see Shiprock in New Mexico.
On clear days I can see Shiprock in New Mexico.

Since I’ll be, for the most part, flying across the country heading to Nova Scotia next year, Harvest Hosts will be a great convenience.

I saw another great sighting last week. While elk are a pretty common sight, I just found this bull elk spectacular. On a drive to look for new camps, I took a curve and there standing in the road was this magnificent bull with a tall rack of antlers all covered in velvet. I can’t remember ever seeing an elk in velvet. He was a very healthy elk as well. Shiny smooth coat. Then off he went, into the aspens.

Nice camp when the sunshines
Nice camp when the sunshines

Someone needs to develop a camera stuck to your forehead that you can mentally use your brain to capture the shot. All this picking up of a camera or fumbling around in your pocket for your phone won’t cut it. Animals don’t wait for you to get ready!

Thanks for reading,

Rob

July 29

Staying Cool in the High Country

I’ve been up in the mountains north of Mancos, Co. for almost two weeks now. It’s been a mix of weather here. Actually, it’s been more rain than sun, but it’s nice to see the rain.

Geordie has had a little trouble with the thunder. He tends to stand under the dinette table. He doesn’t shiver from fear, but likes the den-like cover and having me close by.

One of the draws to this area is the old fire tower “Jersey Jim”. You can now spend the night in the tower, and if it has the views I’ve seen driving around, it would be a nice, memorable, overnight stay. Of course the outhouse is down the steps, and when I took this photo, it was seven AM. They must see the sun very early, being so high, and no shade until sundown.

Early morning at Jersey Jim Fire Tower
Early morning at Jersey Jim Fire Tower

With the rain, I’ve been going back and forth reading two H. E. Bates books. H. E. Bates was a prolific English writer, both of short stories and novels from the 1920’s through the 1970’s.

If you’re not familiar with H. E. Bates, you may have seen British shows based on his writings. “The Complete Uncle Silas Stories” is one of the books I’m reading, and was made into a TV show in Britain, and also aired on PBS under “My Uncle Silas.”

I’ve read it was based on his great grandfather. Silas is what you’d call a bit of a rogue, and a tall-tale story teller. The stories are in the voice of his great nephew. I’ve seen the TV series and own the DVDs. Silas is played by the great Albert Finney, the perfect actor for Silas. The episodes are almost spot on. Sometimes they have blended the stories together.

The other book I’m reading is a compilation of stories Bates wrote for a newspaper. He wrote  under the pseudonym, “Flying Officer X,” during WWII. He was commissioned by the R.A.F. to write about the men flying bombers and Spitfires, and was moved around the different aerodromes. He would get to know the pilots and write about the boys and their experiences. It was put into a book called, “The Complete Flying Officer X Stories.”

Another well known Bates TV adaptation was, “The Darling Buds of May” based on “The Pop Larkin Chronicles.” A young Catherine Zeta Jones played the eldest daughter. I’ve only found the stories in audiobook form and the show is on DVD.

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Many of H. E. Bates books are on Amazon in Kindle form and range from $4.00 on down. His other books are available used.

They’ve been good reading during the rains.

I moved camp this morning higher up with a great view of the lower elevations near Cortez and Mesa Verde.

Looking down from the high country
Looking down from the high country

Thanks for following my wanderings.

Rob

July 22

Moved South

Not a lot to write this post.

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

I took a few days moving south, and now am down near Mancos, Colorado, not far from Mesa Verde National Park.

I’m glad to be a 9,500 feet with the weather heating up around the country. It’s rained here for the past few nights. Big thunder and lightning.

Happy to say that other than the thunder, it’s been ‘all quiet on the (South)western front.’ The odd ATV and motorcycle, but no guns going off.

I’m a bit under the weather myself today. I don’t normally have allergies, but I woke this morning to my sinuses giving me trouble.

Next week I’ll tell you about the area I’m camped.

Found this at one camp. Someone has talent and a sense of humor
Found this at one camp. Someone has talent and a sense of humor

Thanks, as always, for reading and using my Amazon link.

Rob

July 14

Nash 17K Review

This will be a four month review of living in the Nash 17K.

First of all is the ride. Driving with a trailer that has suspension is a real dream. It doesn’t knock you around if you hit a big bump. Because of the suspension, inside is the big change. I bought those 3M Command hooks, the ones you can stretch the plastic tab to release it. I hung up two kitchen towels, and not once have they fallen down. No holes in them or rubber bands around them!

Storage is just right. The back dinette benches have a lot of space for books and other gear. The storage in the cabinets above the bed are great for more books and clothes. I have Geordie’s stuff in the little cubbies at the end of the bed. Food storage is great. The cabinet beside the fridge can hold a month or more of food.

Photo by Northwood
Photo by Northwood

I think the 6 cubic foot refrigerator is the only way to go for long stays. Having the freezer is a great way to keep extra perishable foods like breads and meats or seafoods.

Outside, the pass-through compartment is great for the camp chairs, tables, water hose, chocks, and levelers. There is a side, rear compartment that can be for a generator. I only have a few things inside there.

Back inside, of course the great thing is the back window. I measured it and it’s three feet high and five feet wide. While I try and face the back to the East for the early morning sun, sometimes you just have to point it to the best view.

Mount Elbert
Mount Elbert

The kitchen really does have great counter space. I often use the six inches in front of the sink to make sandwiches. It’s the perfect space. The right side is good for a drain rack for dishes.

Photo by Northwood
Photo by Northwood

While I know one person who doesn’t use the oven, I do. It’s great for pizzas and the few frozen dinners I’ve eaten. I’d like to bake bread, but it’s too small, and I rather not use the propane for an hour.

I really appreciate the “dry bath.” In many RVs, a shower in the bathroom means the whole room is a shower, so  everything gets wet. That means you have to remove things from the bathroom you don’t want soaked. The Nash has a separate shower from the rest of the bathroom. Nothing needs to be moved!

Photo by Northwood
Photo by Northwood

Comfort is the key to this trailer. I thing a couple would find this the perfect size. This solo traveler also  finds it just right. If there was a third person, that would be the only time you’d need to assemble or disassemble the dinette/bed combo. Nothing else needs to be converted.

The Nash has a 50 gallon fresh water tank. I’ve often fill it to just over 1/3 and it seems to take me two to three weeks to empty it. I’ve never filled it for the weight factor. I don’t want to drive over the Continental Divide with a full tank! I really could stay out for a month or more with a full tank of water.

Setting up the trailer is as easy as any other trailer. Level side to side, pull it off the hitch and level front to back. Drop the stabilizers, then turn on the propane and the refrigerator and your done.  Oh yeah, lift the shades to your view!

What would I change?

I would like Northwood to offer a better mattress. The “camper’s mattress” looks great at the start but the mattress is a lot of fluff. I have two body size divots and they don’t spring back.

I’m contemplating one of the new foam mattresses, but the cheapest is $600.00. I’ve slept on a futon for most of my adult life and may look at those again for the Nash.

My other pet-peeve is the cabinet knobs. While I like the strength of the latch system, pulling on the knobs and getting my fingers stuck and pinched is a rude awakening in the morning.

The customizing it did.

I’m glad I added the two extra “charging centers” (two USB ports and one 12 volt outlet). One is in the small night table, the other on the front face of the dinette bench.

One thing another Nash owner did was add a propane line for a ventless heater. I’m going to add a Camco Wave 6 heater. I found a blog that talks about how to install a line for one.

http://roadslesstraveled.us/rv-heater/

As you can tell, I’m very happy I upgraded to the Nash.

RVers are interesting folks. I’ve read blogs where some folks have started very large then went very small and finally found the right size. Then others find the right size and trade in every five to seven years.

As for me I went small, and it was great on the short trips. When I went to full-time, I needed a little bit bigger and more rugged. This will be my trailer for years to come.

Some folks are fine with campgrounds. Others want full hook-up RV parks. Then some, like myself, want farther out camps. RVing can be anything you want it to be.

This is an early post because I know I’ll be without internet for a few days.

Thanks for reading and using my Amazon link.

Rob

July 8

Last Post Was About Peace

I wish I could say, after moving camp, that peace was still out here.

I moved camp and was having a hard time. I was looking for a turn-around and a nice guy said there was a camp about 100 yards beyond his and his girlfriend’s camp.

About eight at night, all hell broke lose. He began shooting. it went on for an hour then stopped. Then a half hour it began again. Off and on until three in the morning the shooting continued.

Six in the morning it began again, then he whistled and then a truck started up about seven. The shooting began again.

I was making coffee, and I debated whether I really needed it, because I was already buzzing from the night.

By 7:30 I was packed up and moving camp. I drove by their camp and three more vehicles were parked there.

Who has an all night shooting party? What the hell are they going to hit in the night? And how would they know?

Luckily nothing hit the trailer or me.

Wish I had a more upbeat post but five hours later I still have the buzz/jitters and ringing in my ears.

I found a new camp down the road where someone was camped when I came in. I can’t hear any shooting now. Let’s hope it stays that way. I’d like to spend a couple of weeks here.

I guess the whole country is in a shooting craze.

Have a peaceful week.

Rob

Post Script: I now realize that the post I’d planned for yesterdays post, was about the peace after the 4th of July weekend. With the nerves frayed yesterday I failed to notice.

July 1

I’m Back in the Saddle Again

I found my boondocking mojo again!

After two nights at Wolford State Park, I went north and finally found a boondocking spot.

While it’s not as far off the road as I’d like, I’m nearly surrounded by Aspens.

Not a bad spot
Not a bad spot

Mornings are crisp and the bird-life sounds great.

To say its summer in the high country, would be an understatement. If I had some winemaking equipment, I could make a good amount of dandelion wine.

I also find Larkspur, wild Geraniums, Lupine, and best of all Colorado’s State flower, the Columbine. It’s all over the place.

Larkspur
Larkspur
Wild Geraniums
Wild Geraniums
Columbine
Columbine
and more
and more

Sunday morning, after coffee, I took a drive up the road to the Continental Divide. While I found no signs stating the divide, the Benchmark Maps told me when the road divides that would be the spot.

While the divide was uneventful, the wildlife was not. Two (2) bears jumped onto the road from the downhill side. My guess is a weight of 300-400 pounds. They each had cinnamon coloring on their shoulders.

With the back windows open for Geordie, he found the bruins fascinating, bouncing from one window to the other.

I laid my hand on my camera and brought it up, and they both bolted. For such a large animal they surely put some distance between the truck and themselves.

That makes two major sightings of wildlife in three weeks. I’m waiting for a Moose now! After that…, maybe Sasquatch?

Wouldn’t you just know, that a few days after starting this post, I went out because I heard a low rumble on the road. All of a sudden out of the trees (cue the theme from “Northern Exposure”), trot a cow Moose and calf. I jumped back inside for my camera and the rumbling came closer. I was able to capture the cow in the Aspens and turn to see a road grader drive by.

Mrs. Bullwinkle?
Mrs. Bullwinkle?

Today, Friday, there is rain, and I can only hope that inhibits from others driving up this way.

Over the week the daily average of vehicles driving by it about two a day with more last weekend.

Have a great holiday weekend.

Rob

June 24

One of Those Months

I don’t know why, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to find a nice boondocking spot.

At the moment I’m back in Colorado. I’m outside of Kremmling.

I note on my calendar the places I camp, and this month it looks a mess. There are a lot of one, two  and four night stays. Often, I’ll camp in a campground in a new area, to look for a spot to camp farther afield. I was looking for a spot to the west of Laramie and the Forest Service has seen fit to close roads. One reason could be all the beetle killed trees. Those damn Volkswagens!

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From what I’ve seen, the dead trees seems to be getting worse the further north I go.

I debated whether to go all the way to Rapid City, SD to register to vote. There is no other way than to go there and camp in the county to claim I’m a resident. Yeah, screwy isn’t it.

So, I’m asking if someone will vote for Alfred E. Neuman for me? He’s really the only ‘mad’ candidate out there.

I went to the Forest Service office in Saratoga, Wy to find an area to camp and I found out that there is a fire where I once was in North Park Colorado. Well, not exactly. I was camped for a couple of days at Big Creek Lakes campground, and just north of there was where the fire started. I learned they have evacuated the campground now.

Going south through North Park, the smoke from the fire was more than evident. I even wondered about all the motorcyclists riding in all that smoke.

I’ve been thinking of looking for a camp in an area south of Steamboat Springs. There is a road that runs about 20 miles in the forest. I must be able to find a camp there? Plus I can fish the creeks.

Would you believe I’m sick and tired of looking at maps! I love maps, but I’m feeling dismayed at striking out, trying finding a spot to camp.

I’ve been looking at forest maps and driving to what I see on Google Earth only to find downed trees across the road. All of them have been cut, but only wide enough to get the truck through. I really don’t want an aspen branch through the side of the trailer.

Other areas, I find the unimaginative campers right along the roads. What a hateful place to camp, with everyone looking into your camp and the road dust enveloping your camp.

I’m going to take a break in posting for a couple of weeks. I need to relax and find a nice spot to camp again.

Have a nice Independence Day weekend.

Rob