Day 37 through 39: Shasta Mountain, CA to Klamath Falls, OR to Ontario, OR

Day 35:  Shasta Mountain, CA

The one guy looked like Charles Manson.  He just seemed to stare off into space in a psychotic kind of way.  The other ones, mostly men, had a friendly easy way about them.  They weren’t all camping next to us; some of them were just visiting friends.  I had met one of them, maybe the ring leader of the group while checking in.  He was in his mi- 50s, wore a fedora and a dirty shirt and told me a little bit about the area trails.  He later told me he was from Wisconsin, had driven up here with his kids, and now his wife, daughter, brother in law and a niece have been living at campsite 74 for about two months.  We ended up in campsite 73.  While setting up I talked to one of the visitors.  He had lived in Mount Shasta as a kid, then Florida with his wife, and now, with his marriage “tanked”, with a bunch of people in campsite 74 for an extended period of time.  He was maybe in his mid-40s, had a worn face, and talked to me with a rolled up something or other in his fingers.

Going through Humboldt County we passed through no less than three reggae festivals.  We also saw more people in dreads than I had ever thought possible.  Corey today asked someone what that was all about.  The lady laughed and said it went along with their number one cash crop.  While Southern California is often in touch with their feelings, Northern California is just stoned.

Anyways day 35 was a lot of driving.  We saw Mount Shasta and that was pretty cool.  At any time other than end of the trip, we would have spent a few days here.  It has that earthy and genuine feel we dig.  As our friends at aMaceing Life might say, we could live here.  But my day job starts in two weeks and we are still hoping to spend a few days in the Tetons.  So we bargained with ourselves and decided to do some hiking in the morning and drive a little less tomorrow.  5 weeks out and we are glad you are still with us.  Safe travels every one.

Day 36:  Mount Shasta, CA to Klamath Falls, OR

Today started in circles and ended with laundry.  We headed out of town, but not before stopping at the rangers station for hiking information.  The volunteer working there offered two good choices; hiking on Mount Shasta or great falls in the national forest (but away from the mountain).  After deliberating with my family we chose falls.  Got on Interstate 5 heading south, guided Corey into a truck weighing station and then was reprimanded by a highway patrolman for going too fast (in our defense we thought we were on HWY 87).  After getting to the correct road Corey and I both were bummed not to be going on the mountain so we u-turned and drove past the original ranger station in order to drive up Mount Shasta.  We ended up hiking 1000’ up over 1.7 miles to the base camp for summiting the mountain (the Bunny Flat trail; no we did not see any bunnies).  At base camp is a Sierra Club stone hut from the 1920s, a friendly volunteer who was tenting at base camp for the summer (and was probably in her mid 60s), and a great spring for the drinking.  After good conversations with an assorted group of serious mountain climbers, hikers, and others from the U.S. as well as Germany, we departed ready for the drive north.  A couple of hours later we were setting up camp at the KOA in Klamath and meeting new neighbors.  Yesterday it was harmless hippies, today was a large extended and unregulated family drama (not our family).  Corey struck up a conversation in order to gauge their intentions, and within a few minutes found out mom was on disability, she has three kids and is in the process of moving herself and kids to Alaska via Arkansas, is estranged with her own mother, and her current husband has some kind of recurrent stomach ailment.  Uncle Mike was the best.  Me:  “Do you know anything about HWY 140.”  Him:  “I took it twice but both times I did so in a back of a van.”  A little later:  “Both times I was headed to prison.”  Later Grandma showed up and this resulted in a very loud yelling match and someone driving off.  Corey did want me to add that although she was overflowing with drama, mom and teenage daughter were both quite nice.  One more thing; this KOA also doubles as a liquor store so people come from all over town seeking out King Cobra and the other fine liquors stocked by this establishment.      Another couple more weeks out and I will be blogging about sleeping on park benches.  Anyways, enjoy the pictures from our hike.

Day 37: Klamath, OR to Ontario, OR

Today was a lot of numbers; we drove our 5,000th mile of the trip (and about 375 for the day), had our second oil change, and spent our sixth night at a hotel.  Last night was our 30th night camping so we are one hotel and one campground away from a week and month at both.  In the process we drove through rolling grassy valley (no irrigation needed along most of 140), high dessert scenery, through tight canyons, alongside rives, and past alkaline lakes.  Lunch was an informal thing on a gravel bed looking over Lake Albert (which to us greatly resembled Mono Lake).  Ice cream was another necessary break at a DQ in Vale (the same DQ we stopped at last year on our way to the Tetons).  But the theme of the day was getting somewhere and while we enjoyed the ride, there was not a lot of genuine exploring today.  One nice moment; while eating out for dinner we dined next to a large extended family gathering.  It was a little girl’s birthday and us observing her being fitted with an oversized sombrero while being sung Feliz Cumpleanos was the sweetest family moment that did not belong to us in the longest time.  Tomorrow is probably another long driving day that may end in the Tetons.   Keep in touch.

Day 18: North Rim of the Grand Canyon (and a taste of Day 19 in Vegas)

Well we knew we weren’t in Colorado once the desert set in.  All that driving through lower elevations, sage brush, and mesas led us to the oasis from which I write these words.  The North Rim of the Grand Canyon sits at almost 9,000’.  At my campsite now I am surrounded by pine trees and the road leading to the canyon is lined with Aspens.  Local time is 6:30 but my clock says an hour later (Arizona does not believe in daylight savings time) and my fingers are numb from the cold.  If I were to guess I would say it is in the mid 50s.  All of yesterday until moments before setting up camp the temperature varied from mid 80s to high 90s.  In Cortez we left at 10 and the car thermometer read 93.  Last night looking across the canyon to the South Rim I did not see any trees.  It is hard to accurately read land miles away, but it seemed dry and hot.  It might very well be given that the South Rim is some 1,500 feet lower in elevation.  What it lacks in trees it makes up in crowds.  We met several people who told us of going to the canyon and having to wait for parking spaces, traffic jams, and completely filled campgrounds.  We wandered into our campground sometime around 5 and found it less than half filled.  A campground closer to the rim (we are 20 miles away) and the lodge are completely booked, but it all had a casual feel to it.  The main lodge here is truly magnificent and for the first time this trip I am jealous.  Usually the campgrounds are friendly and more a part of the park, the hotels cold and far away.  Here it is the reverse as the lodge features several decks spilling from the lobby with families hanging out on Adirondack chairs.  The trails also seem to begin at the lodge creating a festive and intimate atmosphere.  It all reminds me of the lodge at Starved Rock (both were built around the same time, both also experienced bad fires).

A little after typing those words I went to the front of the campground in order to pay for another night.  Henna accompanied me and on the way we said hi to a dad and her daughter (whom Henna had met earlier).  This led to a conversation and a quick friendship with the dad, a fireman out of Cheyenne).  Quickly joining in on the conversation was Nena (a teacher near Flagstaff) whose daughter was near the same age as Henna and the other girl.  Nena mentioned needing eggs, we were trying to unload eggs (eggs in our cooler usually lead to drama and we saw no use for them in the next day or two), so I gave her three.  All three of us needed to go to the store across the street so off we went.  At the store I found a cowboy hat better than the one I bought yesterday, but it was too big.  Nena volunteered to add a leather draw string to it (she had the materials in the car), so I gave my oldest, holiest hat to the dad (it was just adding clutter), and Nena said she would leave it under my tent (we wanted to get a start on the day).  All three of us adults were giddy, the three girls were getting antsy, and I was no longer jealous of the folks in the lodge.

In between hat swaps and pining for the lodge we also spent some time exploring the canyon.  Specifically we chose the Kaibab Trail.  Although the views were awesome, the hike was not my favorite.  Dropping 1400’ in 1.7 miles, the hike was almost entirely made up of switchbacks (I prefer the more gradual up and down involved with climbing a mountain).  Going down was easy and exciting as each turn around the bend showed a new angle of the canyon.  Going up, however, was a lot less fun and involved a lot of breaks.   Adding to the mystique of the trail was the frequent burro trains passing us (and kicking up a lot of dust in the process) as well as their droppings which seemed to be constantly under foot.  The trail itself wanders into the bottom of the canyon and then up the south rim (the Colorado River was a measly 14 miles from the top) and attracted everyone from families (us) to serious backpackers planning on exiting the canyon on the south side (3-4 days is typical for that trip).

After the hike we found a comfortable leather couch for Henna to read on, me to fidget on, and Corey to sleep on. The rain, which began as a light drizzle on our hike, turned into a steady pattern and we ended up eating pizza within the lodge.  The rain eventually ended and we enjoyed the cool air back at our campsite.  Woke up early, drove to Vegas, and that is where I am now, typing these words and wondering where to find some free wifi in order to post this.

Note:  Vegas was OK.  Henna liked some of the street performers, especially a spray pain artist.  She hated the loud noise of the casino.  We saw fireworks from our room as well as some from the show at Treasure Island.  All three of us loved the water show at Belagio, we also hated the smelly and drunk crowds roaming Las Vegas Blvd.  I could not stand the nickel and dime nature of it all (want better chairs at the pool, $35- wifi aint free and neither is anything else).  Went to a bank later and met an interesting guy in line who was there for the World Series of Poker.  He said it was 30% luck, 70% skill.  Also met a cool “resident artist” at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  Anyways, I am about to post this from a small and comfortable coffee shop in Beaty, Nevada on way to Mammoth Lakes, CA (at edge of Yosemite NP).  Hope all is well wherever you are.

Day 17: Cortez, CO to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (by Henna)

Hello it’s Henna.  I’m finally writing a post!  Today I was in four states at once.  We went to the four corners.  The four corners are four states that meet together in an exact square.  I was in  Arizona while Mom and Dad were in New Mexico.  There were lots of Navajo Indians selling jewelry.  I got two stone animal beads.  Our next stop was a town called Page.  It was really hot.  Next we went to a place where there were lots of rocks balanced on top of each other.  The story behind it is that a ladies car broke down in the place and she liked the scenery so much she bought the property and made houses kinda with the rocks.  We explored and took lots of pictures.  Me and Mom found a old broken down car buried in the sand.  There were a whole bunch of rusted cans and broken bottles, I found some pieces of an old yellow bowl.  We drove for a long time and finally reached the campsite.  While we were at the campsite a hummingbird perched on our car and then attacked Mom!  Afterwards we had a yummy dinner and drove to the Grand Canyon.  We looked over the edge and we got to drink water from a spring that runs through the Grand Caynon….it tasted really good.  Later we got icecream and watched a pretty sunset at the Grand Canyon Lodge.  We have been on the trip for two weeks and a half and it has been really fun.  Bye for now.  Henna

Day 16: Durango, CO to Cortez CO

Today was all about Mesa Verde.  Before I talk about the Ancestral Pueblo Indians formerly known as Anasazi, I feel like I have a few loose ends to tie up.  First off I really did not give Peter and Colleen (and I do hope that is how you spell your name, if not please correct me) their due.  Methinks the following conversational gems will let you in on the comedic genius that is Peter.

Peter:  “That book (50 Shades of Gray) is horrible.  Just stupid.  I am almost half way done.”

Peter:  (again talking about 50 Shades) “I just read it for the pictures.  You know the mental pictures.”

Then a little later, after being told his daughter is currently reading the book:  “We have to get home right away and stop her.”

Me:  “Well how much is a dinner for one in Australia”  Peter:  “With drinks probably $25.”  Me:  “How about without drinks.”  Peter:  (after a long silence) “I don’t think that has ever happened.”

So anyways, yesterday I mentioned that we would make sucky truck drivers.  Why?  We do not really travel any great distance ever.  Each day this trip I reset an odometer to see how much we drove.  Yesterday it was about 110 miles.  Today was less.  We had every intention of making a quick stop at Mesa Verde and then getting close to the Grand Canyon, but man are we easily distracted.  After doing our usual road time chores such as buying groceries at Walmart (where I also got a new Cowboy hat)  we spent the entire day learning about the Ancestral Pueblo Indians.  When my parents took me to Mesa Verde sometime in the late 70s the rangers talked about the mysterious disappearance of the Anasazi.  Mystery solved; they left the mesa and blended in with other Native Americans to become what are today known as the Pueblo Tribe  (which is actually a very diverse and only loosely connected group of people).  They probably left their cliff dwellings (after only a hundred or two hundred years) due to a combination of drought and over farming.  Anasazi, which was used by the rangers until recently, was the name given by the Navajos and loosely translates to “others”  which is sort of like describing me as “not Mongolian.”

From an earlier conversation this trip I know that within the park boundaries are valleys overflowing with pottery shards and Pueblo ruins.  None of that is accessible to the public.  Instead there are ranger led tours through partially reconstructed cliff dwellings.  Balcony House may be the most stunning (and I remember bits of this when I was a youth) but involves a 20′ ladder.  That was a no-go for Henna.  Instead we did Cliff Palace and Henna did great with the four ladders (one of which was 10′).  We also walked to Spruce Tree House and toured the museum.  All of it was fascinating.  Henna called it the highlight of her trip so far.  I would have to agree.

Around dinner time we left the park and camped at the KOA in Cortez.  My neighbors have become gradually more worldly and I am now writing this with Swiss neighbors to one side and French (I think) neighbors on the other.  This trend began in RMNP and I expect it to continue whenever we are at the more popular parks (in contrast, we met mostly Nebraskans while in that state).

We are ready to say goodbye to Colorado tomorrow.  What a great state, will miss you dearly.  What’s next?  Well we are off to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and then Vegas on the 4th.  After that we think we are going to head to the coast and gradually make our way up.  Stay tuned for more details.

Day 15: Ouray, CO to Durango, CO

Before our trip my mom asked me if I was going to take the Million Dollar Highway.  I shrugged and said probably.  My mom then described that bit of road as truly frightening.  I laughed and said something to the effect of having been on a few windy roads before.  Boy was I wrong to laugh at my mom’s concern.  In the first few miles after Ouray I moved Subie in ways I did not think was possible as tight turn after tight turn was made with no guard rail or other visual marker separating the thousand or so foot drop just a foot or so to my right.  I have never been so scared in my life.  After climbing to the old mining town of Silverton (which is at 9,000+ feet and boasts many genuine 19th century building selling 21st century junk) the road then descended to Durango which sits at a mere 6,000 or so feet.  Silverton was in the low 70s, Durango was scorching at 90 degrees and has nearby forest fires.  The smoke from those fires was choking us as we entered the town.

Ouray exceeded our expectations, but Durango has been a real downer.  It is not just the fires but also the sprawl of the town which features Walmarts, McDonalds, etc.  The pricey change of rear differential fluid (unexpected) to go along with the expected oil change did not help matters any.  We drove about 80 miles today. You can get to Durango from Chicago in about 3 to 4 days pretty easy.  In over two weeks of driving now, we have traveled less than 2,000 miles.  I think that is why I would make a pretty sucky truck driver.


But at the KOA we did make some friends.  First off was Peter and his lovely wife Colleen.  Peter is your typical motorcycle racing Australian grandfather of five traveling the US in a motorhome.  Conversation started with Colleen asking Corey about the book she was reading (50 Shades Darker).  Corey found the first book of the series and gave it to Colleen.  Peter and I then talked about the differences between living in Australia and the US (Peter’s favorite two things in the US are Walmart and Denny’s).  Peter also showed me how to downsize photos which hopefully will let me share more of them with you.  Later that night they shared drinks and cake with us in their RV.  Cool people that we hope visit us some day in Chicago.

The other friend we made was Bruce.  During the great duck race at the KOA (numbered ducks are launched into the creek and your duck’s fortunes could lead to prizes) Bruce selflessly gave up his prize (5$ gift certificate good at the KOA store) to Henna.  Bruce also is in the Air Force which should tell you even more about his good character.  Bruce we thank you for the root beer float as well as your service to our country.

Being a typical Hennacornoeli kind of day there were other people met on the road.  My favorite may have been the salesperson at Silverton who sold knives with exotic handles (dinosaur bone for example) who said, after I asked about one of those knives “I have no idea what a wooly mammoth even is.”  I also lost a game of chess to another clerk and Corey met some great artists in that town too.  Who knows what the road will bring tomorrow but be sure we will share it with you

Days 13 and 14: Ouray, CO

These are the stages we usually go through when finding our dream home:

1)  Fantasy.  This is the first and most intoxicating of the stages.  We ask people on the street about the quality of schools, look at real estate ads, and think of all the townfolk we meet as future neighbors.

2)  Reality.  We like Chicago.  We also like to travel and if we lived in heaven why would we ever even leave?  Plus there is the question of family and friends; how would we keep the ones we have if we lived so far away?  Do any of you guys want to move to Ouray with us?  Seriously, mom, dad, mor mor, let us know if your interested.

3)  Time to go.  Like all parties there is always a time to leave (in our case we are just moving to another party down the road).

For Ouray we paid you the ultimate compliment; we stayed three nights which is one night longer than we stayed in RMNP as well as Breckenridge. Only Rustic Hideaway in beautify S. IL and Waterton NP have earned more of our attention.  Oh the things we love about Ouray:  the free concert in the park on Thursday, the super friendly and approachable locals who often treated us like friends (such as the librarian whom we later ran into at the concert and the owner of Mouse Candies whom we met at the same concert; we also had so many real conversations with so many people about housing prices, hiking, living in a small town, etc), the hiking, the hiking (worth mentioning twice), and the gorgeous historic and chain free downtown filled with interesting resale shops, bars, hotels, and eateries.  A true testament to a great town; people working in the town usually grew up in the town.  For example, the liquor store owner bought the store off his parents (who first moved into Ouray the year I was born).  On our last full day in Ouray we took some time to sit on a bench and watched some of the most interesting people such as the twenty something guy walking past with four paperback books and a 40 ounce thing of malt liquor.  What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.  We will miss you Ouray but rest assure you are our new measuring stick for all future towns.

One more thing:  two days in a row we hiked and were then chased off the trail by rain and light hail.  Today was the more serious day as we drove up to a trail head, lost the trail we wanted, gained a different trail and found ourselves walking back to town along highway 550 (the start of the Million Dollar Highway).  Once in town Corey and Henna bought new and dry shirts.  Hypothermia solved but we were now separated from our car.  What to do?  Well first we ate a good lunch and asked around about a possible taxi.  There are no taxis in Ouray.  Just when I was about to walk back along 550 then up a steep road to the car we ran into our camping neighbors who drove me where I needed to go.  We owe them a couple of beers for sure.  That’s Ouray for you.

Day 12: Gunnison, CO to Ouray, CO

Well we found Colorado heaven here in Ouray (pronounced you-ray).  You can walk up and down (literally for there is a definite tilt to the town) Main street in about ten minutes.  You can also stroll from Main street to a waterfall, several trail heads, or a large community pool fed by the hot springs.  The latter had a youth swim team practice going on when we checked it out (one pool is the traditional water type, three or four other pools varying in temperature from 80 to 100 degrees).  There are a few condos here, but mostly people (permanent residents and otherwise) live in small cottages that dot the downtown area as well as the hills.  Prices are not cheap, but you can buy a small home here for about 250K; I talked with someone who bought his dream home for around 400K, a nice librarian whose husband teachers in town paid 280K for something that needs work (in Breckenridge I think condos start at over 500K- we found ads in town for homes in Teluride starting at a million).   We ate at a wonderful Mexican resterant last night and the waitress grew up here with both parents teaching at the local school (her graduating class was 25 but she thinks last years was 14).  She goes to school now in Boulder but loves her hometown dearly.  Another person we met owns a liquor store that he purchased from his family (they moved to Ouray in 1973, he was born in 1976 and bought the store from his folks in 1999).  People tend to stay here.

Anyways, we do not have any pictures yet of our new adopted hometown.  On the way to Ouray we stopped at Black Canyon of The Gunnsion NP and did some hiking.  That canyon is amazing; the Gunnison river carved it out and drops more in 60 some miles than the Mississippi does in its entire run.  A lot of power.  Anyways we will share photos and stories from our new favorite town Ouray.  Talk to you soon.

Day 11: Breckenridge, CO to Gunnison, CO

I agree with Corey that it felt good to get back on the road.  The night before I was staring at the map and found, just a tad off of our route, Hitchcock Ghost Town.  Amazingly, it appeared that the ghost town was on a small road that connected 285 to 50 which meant no backtracking!  Well, not exactly.  We followed Mr. Rand McNally to that small country road and were surprised to discover very cute second homes mixed in with the delights of the San Isabel National Forest.  Campgrounds, hiking trails, and aspen groves made up the foreground and a 14,000’ mountain in the background completed the picture nicely.  We pulled over for what we assumed would be an easy half mile hike to the Agnes Vaille Waterfall.  However, steepness, a hot sun, and limited shade made this much more challenging than we expected.  The waterfall jutting out of jagged rocks made for an excellent payoff.   Everything here is beginning to feel a bit Southwest.

But Mr. Rand McNally neglected to mention that the ghost town entailed a five-mile one lane gravel road.  We started it, decided it was getting late, and put it in reverse.  On the way out another Outback made for the same road.  We asked them what they knew about the road and the driver said that her friends said the road was not too bad.  Our road continued to St. Elmo and then ended.  Just like that.  There was no continuation to 50.  We asked a man with an ATV and he said there was no way to 50 except to backtrack to where we started.  He also said that we would have had no chance to make it to Hitchcock in what we were driving.  One gravel road, two opinions.  Maybe that road would have let out at 50?  We will never know.  I hope the other Outback had no trouble.

Before all that we stopped off in Southpark, CO.  A store owner told us that one of the creators of Southpark spent part of his high school years here and modeled the cartoon town after Southpark.  Besides a lot of Southpark stickers for sale there were also a lot of restored building and a seemingly cool museum to go to (we however took a pass). Kenny, however, was nowhere to be found.

So now I am back in the tent.  Understandably there are still no campfires allowed by us.  Parts of Colorado did get some rain today, but I am not sure if the fires got any relief.  While making dinner however two separate storm fronts moved in with big gusts of wind and quick drops in temperature.  Only a few drops though. The owner of the KOA here is quite colorful.  With a red face and a very loud, theatrical voice it is hard to tell if he is overly friendly or inebriated.  Either way he later let us into his backyard where Henna befriended two German goats (Fritz and Dieter) and a very friendly steer.  Henna called this her favorite campground ever. Later we drove to a very cool park that had one of the tallest slides ever.  Although crowded, we were the only tourists there.  Hints like that of real life as well as the friendly but sequestered feel of Gunnison really made us like the town.  Tomorrow it is off to Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP and maybe Ouray.  We have high hopes for Ouray, we will let you know if it lives up to our expectations.

Day 10: Breckenridge, CO

Our first (and only) full day at Breckenridge and began with a hike that started just a few yards from where we are staying; the Burro Trail.  There are other, more dramatic hikes in the area, but we were hoping for an easy one that would allow for maximum pool time later.  About a quarter-mile in Henna’s foot began to hurt (probably bruised, we bought her new shoes and her foot now feel s fine).  Corey saw how excited I was to be on a shaded, soft ground trail that followed a creek uphill and volunteered to take Henna back alone.  I took her up on it and followed the trail past the meandering creek, up switchbacks, and high enough to get some great views.  A mile or two away from the trailhead I had the trail to myself and felt a little nervous.  I so did not want to get lost.  I did have a cell phone signal (and periodically texted lies to Corey about how ugly the trail was) and civilization was never far, but man I would never hear the end of it if I got lost again.  I did not get lost.  I did feel a little guilty for not being able to share the awesome trail with Henna and Corey.  Here are some photos from the hike.

After the hike we watched various cooking shows on the food network including a bit on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives featuring Chicago’s Tres Kronor which we had eaten at after a St. Lucia festival.  Henna and I also rock hopped across the stream which is part of the city park (how cool is that) and then Corey felt dehydrated and is now resting.

Tomorrow we return to the road.  Some second guessing here on our SW heavy route; we are yearning for a little respite from the heat.   Thank you again Mom and Dad for giving us they two well needed days of rest here at Breckenridge.  Any time you wanted to borrow our tent feel free to do so.

Day 8: Moraine Park Campground, RMNP to Stillwater Campground (just a few miles west of RMNP)

Along the Trail Ridge Highway

Yesterday was all about altitude and heat. We left Moraine Park, but not before I saw a giant hawk devour his morning breakfast (an unlucky chipmunk) on the way to the bathroom.  Every morning on this trip I have woken with the sun and sometimes I have seen the darndest things.  It was hot by the time we left but very cold and windy along the Trail Ridge Road (at +12,000′ high it is the highest public road in America).  Besides glaciers and peaks, we also saw are first views of the wildfires.  Terrifying.  And the bits of over heard conversations were not at all comforting (“Jumped a highway, hell the fire jumped a river.”)  Not much we can do to help other than obey all the fire restrictions and get out of the way of those who can help.

We dawdled then drove down back to the scorching sun and camped at a pretty lake we think was Arapaho Lake.  The Colorado River comes into this valley wild and is tamed by a dam into a giant lake (with a trickle allowed to continue and eventually pour through the Grand Canyon).  There were few trees (Pine Beatle Infestation), a high sun, temps in the high 80s, and a very cold lake.  So we baked at the beach then explored Gramby where we dined on yummy pizza slices.  The laid back owner told us of a children’s fishing pond at the park and away we went.  Henna caught two little fish.  I caught an even smaller fish.  Returned to the campsite and listened to a great cover band playing outside at a nearby bar.  By 11 a less talented but louder band began to play.  They played until past 2 with me drifting off to sleep only to be jerked awake by a sudden guitar riff or someone yelling into the microphone.  By that time the sun was long gone so I shivered mightily listening to a lousy band play on and on and on.  But I did not feel homesick (and Corey and Henna never stirred from their sleep).  Rather it felt like an adventure and that morning, after waking with the sun at 5:30, I returned to the tent to snooze past 7.

It is very nice to be writing this post in my parent’s timeshare at Breckenridge.  Corey is frying up some sausages to add to a pasta dish Henna and her thought up.  8 days’ worth of laundry is making its way through the laundry machines and I feel cleaner than I have ever felt before.