Tuesday, April 27, 2004



We're within a couple hundred miles of Canyonlands National Park, so we were
going to go there for the weekend, but then we decided to go to Capitol Reef
National Monument, because we haven't been there in several years and we
always like it. Then we got to thinking that it was a four-hour drive to
Capitol Reef, and Moab is only an hour and a half away, so we'd just go to
Moab and hang out there. Got to be lots of four-wheel-drive roads to check
out from Moab. Then, since it was such a nice morning, I decided to go for
a run while we thought about it some more. Then I went to the Park office
to sign up for one more night here, while Judy made lunch. We took a nice
drive up north, in the Jeep, along some roads we've never traveled before,
to Rangely. From there it was only twenty miles more to the town of
Dinosaur. From there it was only twenty miles more to the Dinosaur quarry
at the National Monument. It was a good sightseeing trip. It was a very
steep winding road over Douglas Pass. It would be a very slow trip in the
motorhome. The rest of it was 65mph through brown dirt clay rolling hill
brushy desert canyon country. Desolate. Spectacular. We need to spend a
lot more time at Dinosaur National Monument.

While we were at the visitor center in the town of Dinosaur, we had to get
the binoculars out to check out some birds in the surrounding trees.
Robins, starlings, house finches, goldfinches, brewers blackbirds, and
cassin's finches. Cassin's finches! A new bird for us. One more for our
list. We started this trip with 292 on the life list. No new ones since
the Texas trip in January. Now we're at 293. The drive to 300 continues.
We're counting on getting some black swifts in Ouray, when we get down to
Southwestern Colorado.

Tomorrow. For tomorrow's adventure, I think I hear a lawn chair calling.
We're right next to the canyons of the Colorado National Monument. Maybe
we'll wander up there and see if the white-throated swifts are in town.

Sunday, April 25, 2004



Yeah. It was a cold one last night. Teens. Still snowing. It was an
interesting exercise closing the slides this morning. The slide rooms have
rollout fabric awnings that retract along with the slide. Everything goes
smoothly, even when there is rainwater on them. I think the only time you
could possibly have a problem is when there is ice and snow on them.

We had ice and snow on them.

It wasn't a big problem. We'd roll them in and out a little farther each
time, until all the ice had crunched and popped off, and the slides would go
all the way in, covers rolling along just like they should.

Time to leave. It's off over Fremont Pass, dog on Judy's lap, and the cat
asleep in the cat box. Down to Copper Mountain, up and over Vail Pass, down
through Glenwood Canyon, Glenwood Springs, a quick run around the lake at
the Eagle rest stop, and on to Grand Junction, to arrive way too early. Two
hundred miles. I didn't want to stop yet. But we did stop, at Colorado
River State Park. Got set up, drove back into Grand Junction to locate the
Convention Center for the conference on Tuesday, passed a Krispy Kreme
Doughnut shop, well, almost passed the doughnut shop, and back to the
campground in time for dinner and a little fly fishing on the pond.

Sixty-five degrees.

Matt and Kari picked up their new Alumalite Holiday Rambler, fifth wheel
trailer on Thursday. A couple weeks earlier, they picked up their Ford F350
Turbo-diesel crew cab long-bed pickup to tow it with. We talked to them on
the phone today. They've been in it ever since they picked it up; in their
driveway; in Bear Creek State Park. They're loving it. Now we need to
rendezvous somewhere and circle up.

Ooh. Nice rainbow over the Colorado National Monument right now.

Our weekend business in Grand Junction is done. Tomorrow morning, it's off
to Utah for the weekend.



Our winter wonderland.

Saturday, April 24, 2004



Cold night. No more than half a foot of new snow, though.

We did a lot more driving around this morning. Turns out we didn't actually
find the client location yesterday. We had the wrong building, and the
wrong address as well. Our cell phones don't work up here, so it was a
little tricky working it out, but Judy took care of it, and we did find the
right place to go. I got in a good day's work and got most of the job done.
I'll have to finish up the remainder in the evening or on a weekend. A
couple more hours ought to do it.

Judy went for coffee at the Cloud City Café and Oxygen Bar. She had coffee
and a newspaper. She skipped the oxygen.

While we were driving around, everyone could tell we're not from around
here. We were the ones who brushed the snow off our windows before we went
driving. They don't drive very fast here, so I guess they don't need to see

It is quite the winter wonderland. It snowed all day. Looks like we'll be
able to get out tomorrow morning no problem, though. We're ready for some
warmer weather.

Tomorrow, it's west and warmer.

Road trip

Road trip! Road trip! We're on the road again. The adventure continues.

This is not for fun, though. This is a business trip. Seven clients and a
conference in six weeks. No time for fun there.

To start it all off, we left right at the beginning of a predicted big
spring storm. We drove through scattered rain showers all the way up to the
Eisenhower tunnel, and popped out the other side to dry roads. Rode the
engine brake down the other side to stop and have lunch at the Dillon Lake
overlook. Turned left at Copper Mountain and into the snow. Drove through
snow the rest of the way. Drove over Fremont Pass. No problem. Arrived
and parked nice and early at the Leadville RV Corral, elevation 10,000 feet.
A 100 mile day.

Explored town in the Jeep while it was still light. We haven't ever
explored around Leadville before. Found the road to Mosquito Pass, the
highest 4-wheel drive road in the country. We'll probably drive over that
some other time. Found Turquoise Lake. It wasn't turquoise at all. It was
white. Frozen white disappearing into the snowstorm. It was a little hard
to spot at first. White on white. Found some roads out by the lake that
hadn't been plowed yet for the season. Played in the snowdrifts with the
Jeep. Found the train station. They have an old train station, an old
steam engine, some wobbly old track, and a train ride. Can't ride the train
this trip. They won't open it for another month. Oh yeah, we found the
client office for tomorrow too.

This storm is supposed to drop thirty inches of snow on Leadville. It has
snowed the whole time since we got here, but not much has accumulated. No
way it could snow thirty inches overnight. Right?

We visited with the Park Managers here. They live year-round in Leadville
and keep this RV park open. It's open, but we didn't' have any trouble find
space here. They are preparing to leave, though. Guess Leadville isn't
cold enough for them. They're headed for Alaska. They want to live there
in their trailer for at least a year. He's signed up to be a musher for dog
sled tours. They want 24 hours of daylight. They want 24 hours of
darkness. They want northern lights. They want it all.

Rags made it about 10 minutes before we had to drug him. We moved into the
motorhome three days before we left on this trip to give everyone a chance
to acclimate. It worked for Judy and me. It didn't work for Rags. He gets
motion sick. He has to get used to the motion before he's okay.

This is such a cool idea, to drive around and work with nonprofit
organizations all over the state. But as we drive deep into the mountains
in a snowstorm, I'm thinking it would be an even better idea in July. So,
Jamie, let's plan on a May/June mailing of the flyer again, hoping we catch
the attention of some June year-end nonprofits that might want us to come
out in August or September.

Tomorrow, it's off to work.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Pagosa Springs

The hot springs by the river.

Pagosa Springs

The Pagosa Riverside Campground.

FW: trip25


Another leisurely leaving. A leisurely day. All of fifty miles. Now we're
at the Pagosa Riverside RV Park. Rather rustic, but right on the river.

It's funny. I was talking to a guy this morning at the RV park in Durango
we stayed at, who is driving a coach that cost four or five times what ours
did. Tonight, we're definitely the upscale rig in the park. There is an
upscale park down the road. Class A motorhomes only. They have to know
what you're driving before you get to know whether you can stay there or
not. We cruised it. It's all landscaped and cement. Very clean. We're
happy at the funky one down on the river.

We've seen a lot of birds here already. This is the best yellow warbler
place we've ever been. There is a bird here we don't recognize, either. I
think it's a warbler, but I can't get it to match any of the warblers that
are supposed to be here. I thought it might be a Verdin, but it's not the
right color and they don't live here anyway.

Solved a fragrance mystery. Off and on this whole trip, there has been an
unidentified aroma in the motorhome. Not all the time, but at least once a
day on most days. Tonight we figured out it coincided with the heater
coming on. That was scary. Something decomposing in a heater vent
somewhere? That could only get worse. But tonight it got really obvious,
so we went after it. Determined. Hand and knees. Sniffing. And then ....
There it was.... Pet food. Dry pet food. The pet dish had gotten pushed
right up against an inconspicuous heater vent under the refrigerator. It
was a really handy place for the pet food, but it was right in front of some
really hot air. Throw some pet kibble in the hot air popcorn popper and
you'll see what we were dealing with.

Passed the turn to Chama. Fifty miles away from here, in a different
direction from Durango, there is a town on the New Mexico border that has a
narrow gauge railway station, and steam locomotives, and train rides along
the border all the way to Antonito, Colorado. Maybe we'll get a chance to
go check them out before we leave here and go back up to Silverton.

Silverton. While we were there, Judy was in a shop visiting with the shop
owner, if you can imagine that. Turns out he's also the president of the
board of a small nonprofit theatre group right in Silverton that is unhappy
with their current auditor. We'll visit with them next week when we go back
up there.

Monday, April 19, 2004


Next day, a drive through Glenwood Canyon in the morning light, an early
arrival in Aspen. We had the choice of staying in a trailer park in Basalt,
with full hookups, and a very congested 20 mile commute to work each day; or
a campsite in Difficult, a forest service camp, with no hookups, no dump
station, no spots really big enough for us, and a very easy 5 mile commute
to work each day. We opted for a campsite at Difficult..... as soon as we
could find one we could get into.

The space itself is plenty big for us. Problem is, the access road is
narrow and heavily forested. I drive past the spot. I put the motorhome in
reverse. I back up until the rear axle is at the left edge of the space. I
crank the wheels, but cranking the wheels left moves the front end of the
motorhome to the right. There is nowhere to the right for the front end to
go. I can't crank the wheels to get into the space. We try other angles.
We try another spot.

While we were trying and failing to get into the spot we wanted to get into,
someone vacated a spot we could get into. The campground host said they had
seen a forty-footer in there before, so the challenge had been issued. We
were going to get it into this spot. It took a few tries, but we made it.

When negotiating a tight spot, there are eight motorhome corners to keep
track of. To do this, we have two side mirrors and a backup camera for the
driver. We have Judy on the outside with a walkie-talkie. It's a good
system. It almost always works. Seven out of the eight corners of our
motorhome remain unscathed.

Difficult. The campground. Deer, fawns, streams, beaver ponds, birds,
butterflies, stars, milky way, quaking aspen, chipmunks, rainbow trout,
brown trout, yellow warblers outside our window feeding their chicks. We're
at eighty-five hundred feet. Warm days. Cool nights. It's all good.

Did some littlefishing on the stretch of the Roaring Fork that goes by the
campground. Shallow water. Pocket water. No graceful drifts. It's fast
fishing. Rainbows and browns. The big fish in the pockets are twelve
inches. Smaller fish in the shallows. Caught a bunch.

With no hookups here, we're dry camping. The critical components of dry
camping are propane, fresh water, electricity, gray water holding, and black
water holding capacities. We have thirty-five gallons of propane, that's
enough to camp all summer. We have a hundred gallons of fresh water. We
can last a long time on that. We have four house batteries to provide
electricity. We don't need much electricity, and if we need more than we
have, we can run the generator once a day to recharge the batteries. The
black water holding tank, for the toilet: capacity is not the problem. We
dump it every two weeks before it gets too smelly. One of these components
is going to be the limiting factor. It's going to be the gray water holding
capacity. This tank is about fifty gallons, to hold dishwater, bathroom
sink water, and shower water. Our dry camping will be limited by how much
wastewater we put into the gray water tank. Judy fed us on paper plates.
She saved any silverware and cooking utensils in a tub of water until it was
time to wash them once a day. Showers were brief. Judy washed her hair
once at the outside faucet to keep the water from going into the holding
tank. Since I'm working, I have to wash my hair every day. Carefully.

Five days. Sunday through Thursday. The job is done. All capacities are
fine. The fresh water tank is still half full. The gray water holding tank
is three quarters full. It requires living carefully, but it looks like we
have the capacities to dry camp for a week at a time. If we're not working,
we could stretch it even farther.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

FW: 24e

The all aboard whistle. It's a steam whistle.

Is it loud?

FW: 24c

And some more scenery.

FW: 24b

A view of the front end of the train from the back end.

And some scenery.

FW: 24d

The locomotive. The train. In Silverton.

It just parks on the street.

Thursday, April 15, 2004



A leisurely leaving from Navajo. The orioles came by for a visit this
morning. The striking black and yellow female, and the striking black and
orange male. They sang to us from the tree. The kingbirds fluttered and
hovered and hawked for insects. We enjoyed the cool morning. We drove to
Durango. Settled into the Alpen Rose RV Park. Located tomorrow's job.
Located the train station for the steam train ride to Silverton. Located
the Wal-Mart Superstore and treated Judy to anything she wanted for Mother's
Day. Got phone calls from the kids. Ate some serious barbeque. Serious.
I mean it! The name of the restaurant is Serious Texas Barbeque. Very good
very different. Very thirsty. Drank water, club soda, ate and drank fruit
cups. Too full to drink any more. Still thirsty. Drank Alka-Seltzer.
Good barbecue.

Rags is a water connoisseur. He can drink his water straight from the pet
dish, but, generally, that is not what he wants. At home, we have an
electric watering dish, that holds water in a reservoir and constantly
circulates it with a pump. It filters it then drops it back into the dish
with a tiny waterfall. He prefers that. He prefers water from unusual
places. His favorite place seems to be the bathroom sink. He'll bug you to
death while you're at the sink, until you give up and set the plug, turn the
water on till it fills all the way up, then turn it off, or better yet,
leave it just slightly on with enough trickle to keep it constantly seeping
out the overflow drain. Leave it like that, and he'll spend an hour lurking
by the mountain lake, drinking to his satisfaction.

Hummingbirds here too. We listened to them before we left Navajo. Nothing
like Sylvan Lake last year, though. At Sylvan Lake, they came in swarms.
We didn't have a hummingbird feeder, so Judy improvised one out of sugar
water, a saucer, and a red Gatorade bottle. It worked. We had hummers
throughout the day. Some kids at a neighboring camp had been there a week
with their feeder, and the hummingbirds were so tame they didn't mind people
at all. We sat right next to the feeder on the picnic table. So tame, we
could hold out a finger in front of the feeder for them to land on. The
weight of a hummingbird standing on your finger? I think you can only
detect it if you can see it.

A fifty mile drive. Not enough for the cat to get used to the motion. He
wandered around and drooled.

We got settled in here. It's a nice park. Paid a little extra and they let
us wash our RV right at our site. As a general rule, that's not allowed.
Got the dust all off it, and the windows clean again. I scrubbed. Judy
rinsed. It's hot and sunny enough, we put the sun screen over the
windshield to help control the temperature inside.

Tomorrow. Back to work.

Sunday, April 11, 2004



This job is not happening in three days. Finished the income and did the
liabilities and equity. Still have the gen file, audit program, and
clean-up to do. Scheduled the exit conference for tomorrow afternoon.

Glad I fished a couple times earlier in the week. The weather is so warm
and nice, the spring runoff has started. The water is higher, faster, and
brown. It'll come back down, and clear back up, at the end of June, just in
time for the Salmon Fly hatch. Big flies, two inches long. Big trout come
up to eat them.

While fishing, downstream from the campground, I heard a swoosh on the water
behind me. Looked back to see a big merganser swimming away from me. I'm
sure he didn't notice me there or he wouldn't have landed so close. He
paddled over to the other side of the river to watch, where he would be

We took a hike tonight across the river on the footbridge, up the hill on
the other side to stand at the top and look back down on the cabins and the
river. The three of us. Rags stayed home. The trail followed a little
stream part of the way. Most of us stayed out of the water. We came back
down by dark, put Annie in the sink and washed her entire lower half. She
was a two-tone, black and brown dog. Now she's all brown again.

There are massive brown forests of aspen trees covering entire hillsides.
That beautiful lime green color is just beginning to wash upward from the
lower altitudes as they reclaim their foliage.

This motorhome is so much bigger than Shamu, our last one. The bedroom is
in the back, and the entire back of that room is one big closet. I knew it
was a big closet, but I didn't realize how big it was until I walked in to
the room to find Judy standing in the closet, with the light on inside,
hanging up and organizing clothes. It's a walk-in closet! Well, if you're
Judy's size, it is.

We have these really nice window shades. Day/night shades. Pull down the
bottom part and you block out the direct sun, but not all the light. Pull
down the next part, and you block out all the light too. Problem is, they
seem to have a three-year life, and our motorhome is three years old. About
a month ago, I pulled the one next to the dinette down and it broke. The
string on the side snapped. Before we could get it fixed, the one behind
the recliner broke while Judy was pulling it down. It cost a bit to get
them fixed. It takes a trained professional to restring them. Then, first
week out on this trip, the one over our heads in the bedroom broke. It's
been broken for a week now, waiting for us to get back to civilization so we
can get someone with shade-fixing skills to take care of it. Until this
morning. This morning, before she even got out of bed, Judy fixed it. She
was lying there looking up at it, got to fiddling with it, and discovered
that the strings on the sides had popped off, and all she had to do is pop
them back on their holders on the bottom. That was it! Problem solved.
The window shade fixer was right here all the time.

Tomorrow. Finish the job.

Saturday, April 3, 2004


Good news. The condors are flying over the Grand Canyon. People gather by Bright Angel Lodge on the South Rim in the afternoons to watch for them.

I see a trip to the Grand Canyon in our future.

Friday, April 2, 2004


It was awful.

We had to take the motorhome in for service. It was gone from the driveway for a week.

Now it's back where it belongs, all ready to go. We just have to get through the next three weeks somehow.