Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I never planned to spend the night in Oakley Kansas, but I did. Oakley is home to Buffalo Bill, not Annie Oakley, in case you should be asking. Bill Cody and Bill Comstock competed against one another in 1868 for the title, Buffalo Bill.
I started my solo cross country today, hoping to log a few miles from Denver to Salina, but I got stopped short by a vibrating tire. After a while and conferring with Carl, I decided to get them taken off and rebalanced. My spare is now on the front, since they did not have my tire in Colby, Kansas. I had a separating belt. But I loved the tire place. T O Haas Tire in downtown Colby. Great home town folks wanted to take care of me. Stop by for mud and snow tires if you are in the area.
I liked the store manager, who used to work for a Dodge Dealer and was familiar with my chassis. I always quiz the experts on what will happen next. He said my headlamps (check, already got those), the turbo resonator (fixed twice, and now for good), and the trannie. I said, but every UPS truck has this chassis. And he said, Yep, and all of them have new trannies. Boy, glad we changed the trannie fluid and filter while I was hanging out for the a/c repair! Every 30 k, he said, maybe get a little more life out of the trannie.
I'm on my way again, but a bit short of goal. Thus, a night in Oakley, Kansas, where I was invited to visit and pick from the organic garden, and please, just kick back and relax at HighPlainsCamping.com.
FYI Oakley is home to the Fick Fossil and History Museum, and the area farmers grow wheat, sunflowers, corn, soybeans and milo. And FYI, I am not really all that solo. Carl is working the tire angle with me over the phone, and to jump ahead in time, tomorrow in Wichita at NTB I will find out that I simply have uneven wear from needing front shocks. The effect is a feeling like driving on square tires.
Monday, August 24, 2009
OIY!!!!!!!! I am on a six year old's schedule this week! Seven hours today in Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool, the world's largest, the big daddy of them all. The pool includes two super slides, and they just about wiped out the six year old crowd with me tonight.
Jennifer bought Nathan and Matthew an all day slide pass. She broke even about one hour later. I cannot believe how many times they climbed the stairs to the slide. I went only one time, as pictured, and I took a video. See below. What a day!
Back at the RV ranch, I got help with the dumping from Matthew. Put the orange gloves on him and the whole nine yards.
Tomorrow we raft. I got to get some sleep!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Today Erica and I figured out my relationship to her children Sam and Allison. I am her childrens' great aunt (step). That makes me her aunt (step), and I guess Stephen's aunt (step) in law? Technically, since I am Nancy's sister in law by her marriage to my brother, not to Erica's Dad, that might make me Erica's Step Aunt in Law, and who knows what to Stephen? The only thing I am sure of is I am Nancy's sister in law, Matthew and Nathan's great aunt, Jennifer's aunt. I might have to talk to First Cousin Once Removed Marguerite to figure all this out, since she is so spectacular with family trees. And I will definitely need to talk to my friend Beatrice who speaks Czech to find out the spelling of stářženka, the title given to the Matriarch of the family, so we can properly use it on Nancy. She only claimed the title momentarily when she wanted to sit in the only comfortable chair.
In the end, sometimes families are just matters of the heart and I keep all of these people right here in my heart.
Tonight Matthew and I are watching the Long Long Trailer. It's his night to be in the RV with me. So, goodnight, grand nephew! Sleep tight! Love to all, from Glen Canyon, Colorado.
One of the things Lee told me was where to get another detox treatment. He said he goes to the Tan O2 salon for his detox treatments.
I prevailed upon my friends to go too. We all watched in amazement as the reverse ion process pulled the toxins from our bodies into the warm foot bath. One friend, who shall remain nameless, created an incredible bath of gunky stuff, and then......she dropped her phone in it.
We performed CPR on the phone immediately, but no life. We dried it for several days on the dash of Teregram until our most techie friend, Julia, arrived(so now you know it wasn't me and it wasn't Julia who dropped the phone). Julia said to put the phone in rice for a few days to dry it out. At our grocery stop, the phone owner, still nameless, bought brown rice. It's healthier, you know?
End of story, the screen never came back, but one day my mystery friend hit a speed dial button and found herself talking to home. Amazing! We tried to find the St. Gertrude connection in all this, and we decided that St. Gertrude did not want my friend to call work or listen to urgent work messages while on a retreat. Works for me!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
These are my wonderful lifelong college friends at Ghost Ranch. We gave each other camp names to describe our experiences with each other. Left to Right, Julia Zena Zen Warrior, Linda Joie de Vivre, Dodie Trooper, Carol Heartspring, Mary Rising Phoenix and Margaret True North.
A plug for my friend Carol Stalcup. She just started hosting an internet talk show on Wednesdays on Voice America. It's called Stargazing Stories, about creativity. You can download old episodes to your mp3 or listen to them from the archives. She also has two books you can buy from Blurb. I own Reflective Surfaces, and I read a chapter every day for my meditation.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
My first trip over Rocky Mountain National Park's Trail Ridge, I was petrified. I gripped the door handle as Carl steered Teragram over the 12,000 foot summit with its dropoffs. The second time, I drove Dodie over the top, and I was calmer but apprehensive. This time, I was a tour guide. I knew where the best stops were and what I wanted to do.
First, a night in Estes Park. We left it to the parking gods to choose between a wine tasting and a beer sampling. As we approached the brewery, there was an elk jam on the street. An entire herd was grazing its way through the parking lot and surrounds. There was a magnificent buck loosing his velvet, a tame, calm specimen. I took it as a sign that St. Gertrude wanted me to have a beer.
Next day, crossing the rockies again, we experienced Bear Lake, a little jewel in a glacial bowl, and then took a climb to 12,500 feet at Rock Cut, learning all about the tundra plants. I encouraged Terry to take the four mile hike from the Alpine Center to Poudre Lake, and she was up to the challenge. This gave me time at Poudre Lake to work on my painting of Rocky Mountain National Park.
As we left the park, I was remarking how much the valleys looked like a moose should be there, and would you believe we had two different moose mama and baby pairs who were grazing near the road, unconcerned with all of us shooting photos? I have never experienced such a calm and lenghthy moose sighting. Then there was another elk jam. I said enough already, St. Gertrude, enough, we are running out of daylight.
Just south of the park, on the Arapahoe Reservoir, we stopped with an incredible lake view for the night. I noticed that the campground had many tree stumps. Victims of pine bark beetle. Colorado's pine forests are very much under attack. Entire mountainsides are dead trees.
Also for the third time, I visited Hot Sulphur Springs. I was only able to manage 9 of the 24 pools the time I tried to do all of them, but Terry did 18. She's quite the achiever. We shared the pools today with a Keystone Women's motorcycling rally. Oh my. I was glad bathing suits were required. Lots of short short haircuts on those motorcycle gals.
Sad to say, Terry's time with me is ending in the morning. My A/C has arrived in Colorado Springs, praise be, so I will be headed south for the day, and her cousins are ready for her to join them for a family visit. All good things do end eventually.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Terry and I rafted the Royal Gorge today, one of the most class rivers in the world, in my opinion. And we never took a swim, through class IV rapids and the narrows, et al. We talked to several outfitters and chose the one who was shutting down most of their runs due to low water conditions. We respected that, and this was one of the few sections they were still running. It was low compared to June, but we stayed in the boat and only got stuck on one rock. Great guide Tyler was very experienced and told us stories between stroke stroke stroke commands. The gorge is non stop rapids, most very technical. We rerouted our trip south because of the weather forecasts, and we had perfect weather to go with our perfect rafting.
After rafting, we went a few miles east to Dakota Hot springs. Despite our conditioning and ever youthful minds, we were a bit kinked up and sore. I thought it was Tuesday, not Monday, and the recording said Clothes on Tuesday, so I thought that fit pretty well with my age group and outlook. When we got there, it was in fact still Monday, and there weren't many clothes. I think actually it is "closed" on Tuesday, not "clothes", because they drain the pool and clean it. No matter, it was wonderful, and us having clothes on was okay with everybody else who didn't. Everybody included Edgar the resident pool cat, who circled the pool seeking bodies to pet him. He didn't comment on my bathing suit one way or another.
We were going to park the RV there after floating our sore muscles away, but they said since they were "closed" on Tuesday, we couldn't stay; they recommended a truckers lot a mile away. Later they said we could stay, but by then we were entranced with the truck stop lot and not very entranced with the two guys left over from being cool in the 80's that ran the place and invited us to stay. They looked like they were still trying to be Don Johnson.
We arrived at the truckers lot to a sign that said we needed to buy fuel to stay free. No problem. We picked a spot in the middle of a big empty lot and proceeded to cook dinner. Mid dinner trucks began to arrive. They parked right next to us, on either side. Then they started noises. Maybe a/c, maybe generators, maybe reefers? I dunno, but we were very offended. Not enough to move, however. We were too mellow from a great day. We fell asleep to sounds like lawn mowers.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This is my current roomie, Dodie, also my college roomie. She has assumed the camp name Trooper because she earned the Straight Arrow award at Ghost Ranch for being the most helpful camper. She worked hard for it and we all voted. We don't really know what she got for the award. However, I am quick to remind her that after graduation one of my high school friends was removed from the Honor Society for putting the class treasury in an account we would spend for our reunion rather than donating the money to the school. So she's still on her toes, lest she be demoted to ordinary camper.
She's still earning her award by driving for me and being chipper. I needed chipper the last two days after running out of St. John's wort. Not that so much as driving seven hours after dropping off the rest of the gang in Santa Fe so we could get the RV repaired yesterday. Carl wants to know why, when he leaves, everything breaks. The knob came off the kitchen sink (chronic ailment), the window shade stuck in down position (also chronic), the water pump failed (this is new territory) and the a/c quit cooling (also a first). So we spent the day in Colorado Springs amusing ourselves by mostly visiting while almost all the problems were repaired. We had planned to rent a car, but all of them were sold out for Junior Olympics and the Rodeo. If Enterprise had found one to keep our reservation, it would have been $100.
The repairs took a little longer than intended because the retainer employee was assigned to the sink knobs. When we wandered back from our walking and shopping at 3:30 he was still trying to make three hole faucets fit a one hole opening, trying knobs that didn't fit, etc. I said, please go buy a faucet and don't try to save me $10. I need water. He left for Home Depot and was gone forever. Finally, on one of my trips into the office, I was told he ran out of gas on the trip. I had to laugh. What else would go wrong for him?
We had not much daylight leaving at 6:30 pm, and we had been up since 6 am, so we chose a 24 hour Walmart for the night. It's my first time to camp at Walmart. Only issue we have is that we didn't think that they might have drained the water for fixing the pump, and we are REALLY dry camping. Not to worry, it's a 24 hour Walmart. If I could only figure out how to use their bathroom sink, all would be well. I'll post a photo of the Walmart lot later. I know you readers must be needing a scenery fix. By the way, thanks to the Super 8 next door for the wifi coming in strong in the Walmart lot.