Tongue River State Park

Volunteering Week II
When I got here there were thunderstorms coming through the Park every night cooling things down and stirring things up. Wind gust-fronts coming from the northwest pick up black coal-dust from the mine and whip it into the air. It creates a black shadow along the horizon as the gust-front gets close. Very ominous looking.

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The dark dust is coal dust swept out of the mine by the wind

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Same view without the thunder-coal storm

I’ve settled into the park volunteer routine of trash pickup and bathroom cleaning assistant. I usually get all my work done in the morning so I can take the afternoon off and enjoy the 100*-plus heat wave we’re having these days.

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I’m not having any luck hiding from the heat this summer

 

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It’s 105* AND on fire.  Sweet!

I’ve been letting the boiz out each morning for an hour or so in the cool, crisp air. They have adopted the area behind the RV as their own and patrol it looking for edibles. The park is very quiet on weekdays so they can prowl at their leisure.

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The boiz play-space

 

 

 

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Chaffe CR 194 to Wheat Ridge, CO

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Looking out the window at the nice motel

After 2 nights boondocking in the cool quiet mountains it’s on to the big city for some warranty work on the RV and a visit to the dentist.

We left early Sunday morning to beat the traffic. In Colorado you have to leave early on the day before a holiday weekend ends or you will be stuck in traffic for half a day trying to get into the city. Really sad 😦

The drive was nice. We had a big ole tailwind blowing us across South Park and up and over Kenosha pass. The winding decent down-canyon along the South Platte River was green and the river was flowing strong. There appears to be more snow on the northern mountains than there were on the southern ranges near Salida, but even at that there is not much snow on the high peaks anywhere in Colorado. News reports say 2017/18 is the fifth-driest winter on record.

The boys (all 4 of us) are a bit freaked out that we are in a Motel instead of the RV. The RV needs a roof repair and we can’t stay in it while the shop works on it. In addition to the warranty work (which I might say more about when I write a long-time review of the Outdoors RV) we’re getting a Maxxfan installed.

We checked into the Pet-Stain Motel 6 near where the RV is being repaired and didn’t like it one bit! The area seemed like a good place to be robbed and the motel was so bad I didn’t take my shoes off. Everything was sticky! Long-story-short I moved the RV to a better area for the night and took it to Ketelsen Campers the next morning. We got a much better room at the La Quinta in Westminster for the remainder of our stay. MUCH nicer motel! King-size bed, fridge, microwave, aahhh.

One of the first rules of RVing is if the area gives you the creeps – Get Out of There!

 

 

Marshall Lake AZ to Gallup NM

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Kitty soaking up the afternoon sun near Marshall Lake

Well that was interesting. The forest service told me they were closing the forest on Wednesday because of extreme fire danger. Then business I-40 in Holbrook was closed because of a fire. All of the camp grounds I’ve visited in Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona have fire bans in place. I think we need some rain in the west!

Also, I feel compelled by the bruises on my spine to report the pavement on I-40 in Flagstaff is easily the roughest asphalt I have ever driven over – Argh! The only stretch of pavement that comes close to being as bad are the first few miles of Hwy 287 in Oklahoma.

Since Gallup is just an overnight stop on our way to Ridgway, CO we pulled off I-40 at a truck stop near a railroad crossing. We found a place to park in the dirt lot next to the retaining pond. The wind is gusting to 30 miles per hour and politely swirling dust into the RV. This is going to make our next planned stop in Durango seem like a mountain paradise!

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Got to get here early if you want a spot by the trains

FYI: Gallup Propane has great prices for tank refills. We had a 30# tank filled for only $15! That’s about 1/2 what it would have cost in Denver. Also the best price for gas and diesel seems to be on the north end of town heading toward Shiprock.

Payson, AZ

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Heading north across Arizona this week. We made the trek from Oracle to Payson and reached a tall-trees pine forest. Passed by Roosevelt Lake on the way to Payson and the wind was perfect for sailing.

Had a minor phone-failure along the way and was shocked at how I’ve come to depend on the map function therein. I had to pull over and get the map out from behind the seat so I could see what road I needed. Paper maps are still a good back-up to the all-knowing, all-seeing google!

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The neighbor’s cat is on the roof of their RV.      Fabulous!

I’ve been looking for a way to exercise my cats without letting them run free and this might be a way. I just need to build them a roof access and they can fiddle up there all they want. I think this cat got on the roof by climbing the tree, but if the RV was away from the trees my guys would be isolated on our roof.

New Week – New Park!

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This weekend we are at Chatfield State Park Colorado. There is an open grass field near our camp and I’ve been able to take the boys out for walks. There are also lots of bunnies running around the field which the cats find remarkably entertaining.

When we got here the weather was windy, the fire danger was extremely high, and the temp was over 80º F. A couple days later it had snowed, the high temp dropped into the 40’s, and the wind was roaring through camp! The wind has increasingly become a regular feature of Colorado weather. When I was a kid growing up here the wind usually made an appearance in the fall and created an indian-summer in late October. The down-sloping winds, sometimes called chinook or snow-eater, warmed the plains east of the mountains. For the past 4 or 5 winters the experience has been strong winds from the west or northwest as a storm pushes into the mountains. These storms last several days and create wind conditions one typically associates with Wyoming – strong, seemingly endless wind.