Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday

We enjoyed the Fairgrounds. Met some horse people. Met an Appaloosa; Risky. Here is his press release:

We went to meet him in person, but it was early. He still had his jammies on.

Moved to Chatfield State Park. We’ll be here for two weeks.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Along the way

Friday

That’s it for our summertime travels. We’re back in Colorado for the month of September with our kids and grandkids.

We got back to Colorado a little early; four days before our campground reservations. No problem. Our first night back, last night, we spent at St Vrain State Park, but they’re full after that. Today we moved to the Boulder County Fairgrounds for two nights. The accommodations aren’t fancy, but they had a spot for us, and it’s close to Becky’s house in Erie.

It’s a different kind of neighborhood here. We hear whinnies from the horses in the pens across the road. There is an Appaloosa Show tomorrow.

Our closest neighbor tonight is a horse trailer. It’s empty. They parked the horse across the street.

There is a path to and around Fairgrounds Pond. That path connects to the St Vrain Parkway, a trail up and down the St Vrain River greenbelt. Those paths connect to the Front Range network, probably a hundred miles of paths. More than I can explore in my hour a day walks.

Sunday we move to Chatfield State Park by Matt.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Can you spot the.

Can you spot the pronghorn in this picture?

Thursday - Colorado

 

A day’s drive west.

 

We did a good job pacing the trip north.  Lots of stopping.  Multiple days in each place before moving on.  The drive back south was different.  We pretty much just drove.  Stopping a lot makes a better trip.  Life gets a little cluttered if you drive all day… and try to get anything else done as well.

 

St Vrain State Park.  5,240 trip miles.  Dinner with Becky and the gang.

 

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Along the way

Wednesday - Nebraska

 

South on highway 83.  More sharp tailed grouse along the road.  We loved the wide open spaces of North Dakota and South DakotaNorthern Nebraska; more of the same.  Rolling grassland.  Rolling cropland.  Lakes.  Ponds.  Swamps.  The occasional forest.  More water than one would expect in Nebraska.  Horses and cows in fields of grass up to their bellies.  Nice place to be.

 

Stopped at Holiday RV Park in North Platte.  4990 trip miles.

 

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=107013362562471418011.00046ff7cac9ae98ff560&z=4

 

 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Badlands

Hung out. Got some work done. Took a walk in the Badlands.



Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday - Dakota Badlands

 

A rough weather night last night…. On the weather channel anyway.  A strange looking sky overhead.  Tornado warning from the national weather service.  Heavy thunderstorms to our north.  For us… a quiet night.

 

South to South Dakota.  East to the Badlands.  Camping in the National Park is primitive.  We didn’t want that so we’re in the KOA right outside.

 

The sun sets at a more civilized time here.  It was down by 7:30 and dark by a little after 8.

 

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=107013362562471418011.00046ff7cac9ae98ff560&z=4

 

4,735 trip miles.

 

 

 

 

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday - North Dakota

 

The train track campground last night wasn’t so bad.  I heard one train as we were going to sleep and another as we were waking up.  Far as I know, there weren’t any in-between.  (Judy and Annie might tell a different story though.)  The campground had a lot to offer besides trains.  Afternoon shade.  More robins than we’ve ever seen in one place before.  We sampled the indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi and Sauna.  And it had mosquitoes.  More mosquitoes than we needed.  I think they’ve had a nice wet summer in Montana.

 

Continuing east on US Highway 2.  Rolling wheat fields yesterday giving way to rolling grasslands today.  No-traffic two-lane blacktop.  Big sky.  Missouri River to our south.  Tailwind yesterday.  Headwind today.  A weather front traveling faster than us must have passed.

 

Crossed the Missouri.  Turned right on US 85.  Crossed the Little Missouri.  More dotted lines on the map.  The scenic route.  Crossed into North Dakota; a new state for us.  More rolling grassland.  Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  We went on by.  We stopped at North Park Campground at the edge of Dickinson, North Dakota.  Almost got a new bird today.  We saw a family of sharp-tailed grouse.  Only the second time we’ve ever seen them.

 

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=107013362562471418011.00046ff7cac9ae98ff560&z=4

 

4,400 trip miles.

 

 

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday - back in the USA!

East on Highway 3. South on Highway 4. Crossed over at Coutts/Sweetgrass. An easy 15 minute crossing; about the same as our crossing into Canada a couple weeks ago.



South to Shelby. Turned east on US 2. We like Highway 2. In earlier years we’ve followed Highway 2 from Whidbey Island in Washington eastbound through Idaho, and as far as Glacier National Park in Montana. We decided to travel more of the highway, headed east.



Stopped for the night at the little town of Malta, at the Edgewater Inn and Campground. (We’re sleeping behind the motel.) It’s a nice spot. Cottonwood trees. The Milk River. A train track runs right behind the campground on a bridge over the river. So far there have been about five trains an hour. I’m sure that couldn’t go on all night though…. They probably stop the trains about ten o’clock so everyone can get a good night’s sleep. Right…?


I mean, how bad could it be???



4,060 trip miles.



Check out the map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=107013362562471418011.00046ff7cac9ae98ff560&z=4



It’s interactive. You can drag it, zoom it..



Friday

Red Deer to Lethbridge. Still in Alberta. Got Brother Tom’s 90 degree weather. We decided not to go through Moose Jaw and Medicine Hat in Canada. We’re not going to drive into Saskatchewan. We’re going to drive south into Montana. We did drive right by Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump just north of Lethbridge though.

The house sale closed as we were driving through the town of Claresholm. We sold the Louisville house a year ago. We got the price we wanted… but with a delayed closing for a year, along with a year’s rent. We had to wait this long for the transaction to finalize, but finally it did. Daughter Becky stood in for us with a Power of Attorney and signed every document. Now the house is *really* sold. Thanks Becky. That simplifies our financial lives.


Stopped for the night at Bridgeview RV Park on the outskirts of Lethbridge.


3,760 trip miles.


Tomorrow. Montana.

Thursday



We didn’t prepare to be out of touch. I sent out a flyer to Arizona for work a little while back, and now we’re getting some interesting responses. If people are going to pay attention to what I say, I’d better pay attention to them. Better head back to internet service. Better head south.



We thought about going west into B.C. first, but decided to keep it simple and stay on the east side of the Rockies. Drove east to Edmonton on Highway 16, then south to Red Deer on the QE II. Still in Alberta. Nice roads. Easy drive. The Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper was difficult on the motorhome. A winding, steep road. Very rough. We got pounded. Jasper to Red Deer… not so scenic, but smooth fast road.





3,545 trip miles.



Along the way

Mountain goats.






Bighorn sheep.








Elk.



Friday, August 21, 2009

Strangers in a strange land

 

But we’re adjusting.  We stopped and changed money before we crossed the border.  It was great.  They gave us Canadian dollars for our Greenbacks one-to-one.  Suppose it will come out that even when we exchange our leftovers on the way back?

 

Things seem to cost a little more here dollar-for-dollar.

 

They speak a foreign tongue, but we’re mastering it.  We had a chat with someone from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, and she said we hardly had any accent at all, eh?

 

All the road signs are bilingual; English and French.  Now we can screw up French pronunciations as we drive along instead of Spanish like we usually do in South Texas.

 

I get to drive 100.

 

They measure distance in kilometers.  That’s not a difficult conversion for us.  Kilometers to miles: about 1 to 0.6.  Meters to feet:  about 1 to 3.  We’re even starting to think in metric instead of making every conversion.

 

Fuel is a different matter.  Gasoline only costs $1 per unit, but the unit is not gallons, it’s litres.  I guess since I don’t really know the dollar-to-dollar conversion, there’s no point in taxing my brain trying to convert litres to gallons at the same time.  I just watched the dollars on the pump instead of the gallons (litres).  It cost us $60 to fill up the Jeep, so I think we lost a little ground on that exchange.  Diesel costs less than gas.

 

Temperature is measured in centigrade.  Doesn’t matter to us.  All our thermometers still read Fahrenheit.

 

There is a weight limit posted on a bridge.  4,500 kg.  What are we supposed to do with that?  Does that even mean anything?

 

And road warning signs.  There are some different ones here.  If you see a sign with a drawing that looks like a dead beaver, that means there is a bump coming.  If you see a sign that looks like a whole family of beavers got run over, it means there is a whole rough patch of road coming up.

 

That’s it.  I think we’ve mastered everything except metric time.  How do you tell time to the base ten?

 

 

Wednesday

Glaciers. Waterfalls. Icebergs. Spruce forest. Boreal chickadees. Tundra. Caribou. Caribou? Wow. A big bull. Popped right out from behind some scrub. Trotted down to the trail, and headed off. He came within 20 feet of us. Who knew there were even caribou here? We checked later and found out there are only 150 caribou in the entire park. How lucky is that?





Wednesday

Glaciers. Waterfalls. Icebergs. Spruce forest. Boreal chickadees. Tundra. We hiked all the way through the spruce forest zone and popped out the top.



Wednesday

Still no internet. Guess we should take another hike. The Edith Cavell Meadow Trail in Jasper. Glaciers. Waterfalls. Icebergs. Spruce forest. Boreal chickadees.

See that glacier up on the right? We hiked a different ridge and were looking right across at it.




See those little dark dots just above the lake to the right of center? Those are ice caves.



With people in them!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tuesday - Jasper



Well. Going north certainly did the trick. Sunday night in Banff, the low was 37. Monday night in Hinton, outside Jasper, the low was 61. Balmy weather. Borderline internet, but it’s too nice to leave. We’re going to explore here for a few days before we reestablish contact with the outside world.



No birds at the KOA, but Jasper was nice and birdy. Started off with a common loon and a bald eagle on the drive to the National Park. Took a walk around a lake, Lac Beauvert:




Lots of little birds in the forest, but none of our target birds yet. Guess we’d better go back tomorrow.



Meanwhile, we left Annie in the coach and Miles from the KOA staff watched her for us while we were in the National Park. I think Annie spent most of her time at the office and riding around in the golf cart.



It gets dark late here. It’s not really dark until 9:30. It stays light really late in June. In June, the sun sets at 11:30.



Monday - Jasper

A drive up the Icefields Parkway. A quick trip out east to Canmore first for fuel. There are gas stations in Banff but we scouted them. Not easy access for us. We need a station with a truck island.


Stunning scenery. Mountain goats. Bighorn sheep. Common Ravens. That’s our bird (singular) for today: the common raven. Civilization tonight. The KOA in Hinton, just outside the park. Full hookups. Fifty amp service.

Our Trip Map:



3,275 trip miles.







Sunday - Calgary
















Day trip. Went the opposite way today. Out of the mountains onto the plains. Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. Nice place. Lots of birds to look at. They have wood ducks (in eclipse plumage).

No boreal chickadees, barrow’s goldeneyes, or spruce grouse. Building the Canada bird list though. Nice excuse to drive to Calgary.

Internet was slow again, so we repointed the dish. The dish went way out of whack so we decided to stow it to reboot it, then put it back up again. It stalled. It stalled in the “UP” position. Trouble. Can’t move the coach much with the satellite dish fully extended. A few phone calls from Judy on a Sunday afternoon and Dave, the guy who takes care of our dish when we’re in south Texas, talked our dish into submission. It’s down, but it’s not going up again until we’re in the vicinity of a repair man. Don’t know when or where that will be. Not many places work on this satellite dish. No internet on the air card either. Before we crossed over into Canada, Judy called and asked about cellphone and air card rates in Canada. Verizon said the cellphone will be $.65 a minute and we should take the air card out and put it away so we can’t accidentally use it. If we use the air card from Canada, it and all the other air cards at our office, will go to international rates. We don’t know how much international rates are. I guess we don’t want to find out. So until we cross paths with an internet signal, our trip reports will just go into a holding pattern in the ozone.









Meanwhile, back at camp…




A good size black bear munching his way through.


Still cold, cloudy, off and on rainy. Guess we should head north.

trip reports

Back to civilization (and communication);  for this evening at least…

 

I need to send out a couple trip reports.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jasper

I think we went too far north.  Minimal sporadic internet.  I can send or receive the occasional email, but can’t upload, download, or attach.

 

Will head south soon.

 

 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

FW: Banff

This morning’s campground view



Watching for northern birds. Spruce grouse, boreal chickadees, and rosy finches. Still don’t have any, but we’re enjoying the search.






Friday, August 14, 2009

Wildlife

The elk forgot the rule about not approaching close enough to make the animal change its behavior. First, he approached the road so close, we stopped our car and took a picture out the window. When we then drove on past and stopped ahead of him so Judy could get out of the car and take a picture head-on (with the telephoto), the elk again broke the rule. He walked straight at Judy in such a manner that she altered her behavior again and jumped back in the car.




The bear… we were in a car… in a bear park. Here’s another bear picture (from the car).









Rain. Cold. I can still work; we have satellite internet, but it works at a crawl because of the thick clouds (and the angle we have to point through them because we’re so far north). Cabin fever. That looks way too much like snow on the nearby peaks for August.



We had to switch our internet dish to a different satellite for Canada. The one we use in the states is too low on the horizon for here.

I bought some music to download. It didn’t download. It took ten minutes of troubleshooting to figure out that I bought music to download in the U.S. It wouldn’t allow a download to our current location. Guess I’ll get it later.

Broncos preseason. New coach. New team. Hardly a name we know.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tunnel Mountain Campground

It’s named after the mountain. The mountain that doesn’t have a tunnel in it.

The mountain was supposed to get a tunnel. For the railroad. The survey proved there was no way around it. It was all set to go. They did another survey. The second survey found that if they routed the tracks a few kilometers to the north they wouldn’t need to dig any tunnels at all.

The mountain, (and the campground), got to keep the name.