Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Monday, August 30, 2010

August 22 - 29, 2010 "Swimsuits Optional"

We departed Riverview in route to Rick & Zoe’s, 95 miles southeast of Loveland. We were treated to their top site on Loop C & D, with full hook ups. It was a sad day on our arrival, as we were informed that Betty, Zoe’s best friend and pet chicken, had passed. Betty was trained by Zoe to play Tic Tac Toe, and was a frequent blue ribbon winner at the county fair. Poor Betty, she will be sorely missed. R.I.P. Betty.

The onsite hot tub was frequented often, after dinner, with adult beverages in hand. Bathing suits were, of course, optional. Maybe that’s what they are laughing at. But why would they be laughing at the photographer? The water was warm, I swear. No cold water “shrinkage” had occurred. Really.

We were treated like royalty by Chef Ricardo. When his bride requested blackened rib eye steak with grilled tomatoes, the magic began. The Chef also decided on grilled Iowa sweet corn (brought in by private carrier, expressly for the occasion) and his own version of scalloped potatoes. Add a vintage bottle of cabernet sauvignon and you have the makings for a feast!

On August 26th we departed the Liz Resort in route to Ogallala, NE. I know what you’re thinking. What in the hell is in Ogallala? I’m glad you asked. Actually we are on our way to a family reunion in Jefferson City, MO, and CC wanted to go via Omaha, to see one of her closest friends. So, there; now you know we are not losing our minds. But actually there is quite a bit in the area, IF you get off the Interstate Highway and do some exploring. The Mansion on the Hill was our second stop.

Then it was on to Lake Ogallala in search of future campsites. Passing over the damn, we heard a loud, roaring thunder off to the East. We circled around in the Wrangler, and pulled up to the sight of the thunder. CC thought the “aroma” was like cleaning an aquarium. It had a pungent odor, most likely sulfur mixed with fish excrement. Yea, I guess that is the smell one smells when you clean an aquarium. The ol factory was definitely stimulated, not so much in a good way though.

We ventured further to Ash Hollow and discovered this limestone school house, constructed by locals in 1903, and was used until 1919.

Ash Hollow is on the Oregon Trail, and was used by the early settlers as a notable milestone of the California Road. Here at long last was an abundant supply of firewood, and the most copious supply of pure water this side of the Missouri River. Here were often found peaceful encampments of Sioux Indians.

There is documentary evidence of burials in the immediate vicinity of Ash Hollow, but only a few marked graves survive. The most noted is that of Rachel Pattison, who died June 19, 1849.

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 14 - 21, 2010 - "Rocky Mountain Oysters"

We are now at Riverview RV Park, just west of Loveland, right on the Big Thompson River, the same river that caused massive destruction in 1976, when a dam broke up river, killing 144.

Estes Park Tourist Mecca and Rocky Mountain National Park, are just a short 20 mile drive up the canyon, so with sightseeing and shopping gear neatly packed in the Wrangler, off we went. Words alone cannot describe the magnificent splendor of RMNP.

It has been almost a week since CC has been shopping, so Estes Park was just what the doctor ordered. It always amazes me, how one person, can spend so much time, looking at “stuff”. I assume it’s one of those Venus and Mars things. Oh well, you can’t change the stripes on a zebra, so just go with the flow.

CC decided we needed a new smaller ice chest, due to the fact that we both love our cold beverages, and the ice maker in the rig, can’t compete with our consumption. So it was off to Denver’s Bass Pro Shop. She had never been, and for those of you that have never ventured there, I strongly suggest you give it a try. Not only is it a massive store, with everything from soup to nuts, it is also a mini-aquarium and taxidermist dream.

There is so much to do in the area, our heads were spinning on how much there was to do, and so little time. But one thing was certain; no trip to the area would be complete without a tour of one of the many micro-breweries. Ed, Bev, CC & I chose New Belgium, whose #1 seller is Fat Tire. An amazing success story, and a great brewery.

After touring the brewery, and too many samples to count, our next destination with Ed & Bev was Bruce’s in Severance, CO for their World Famous Rocky Mountain Oysters. This is an amazing place to dine with a colorful history to boot.

I’m not sure how much more of this retirement I can take. People often ask us, “What do you do all day”? To which we reply, “Stay busy”. Until next time…………………………..

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 8 - 14, 2010 - "Boyd Lake State Park"

We departed Jeffco Fairgrounds in route 50 miles north to Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland, CO with provisioning stops at Wally World and Camping World. Boyd Lake is MUCH nicer than Jeffco, but pales in comparison to Cherry Creek State Park. One thing we have learned, campsites on weekends in Colorado are booked months in advance, so our options are limited to 1)What we can get OR 2) Wally World Parking Lot. SO.......we take what we can get.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a diesel pusher MAY be in our future. The Suncruiser is great on the flats, but lacks the torque of a DP in the mountains. We LOVE the floor plan on our rig, so what we really want is our rig on a DP chassis at a nominal upcharge. How much is nominal? Depends on who's asking, but what it all boils down to is, the difference between "value" and "worth". On our journey to Boyd, we passed a few RV dealerships, and decided to go look and see if they had a DP that blew CC's skirt up. (Yea, I know, never use a preposition at the end of a sentence, but the proper way, blew up CC's skirt, just doesn't paint the picture, unless you happen to be a suicide bomber) After a few hours of looking at numerous rigs, we found a DP that we thought "might" work for us. We took it for a test drive (Yes, both of us drove it) and then spent an hour or so taking pictures and examining every nook and cranny. We were both impressed with the drive and the ride; much nicer than our gasser.

We went back 2 days later, after "sleeping on it", and asked if we could "live in it for a few hours". The dealership accommodated us, and when we arrived, the salesman had all systems "on" and air conditioners running at full blast. We spent  about 3 hours in the rig, then dismissed ourselves to go have lunch and discuss our options. We returned, and after 2 more hours, asked the salesman, ED, to "run the numbers". Bottom line, we were $13K apart, so we walked. Goes back to value and worth; it may have been a good value, but it just wasn't worth the extra $$, ESPECIALLY when it wasn't exactly what we were looking for. So.....we're still looking.

While at Boyd, we were joined by fellow Goldwing owners and friends, Ed and Bev, and they brought their rig from Ft. Collins and camped in the site next to us. After catching up, and a few adult beverages, it was time for dinner; and oh what a feast it was. Ed furnished freshly caught Rainbow Trout, and prepared them on the grill, and they melted in your mouth like "butta" (That how us southern boys pronounce butter magnified by 100) Fester & CC provided Albertson's stuffed mushrooms and rice pilaf, and followed the recipes to a T. (as always - no deviations allowed) LOL

It was a great evening, and we plan on spending more time with ED and Bev over the next week, and possibly connecting with other friends from "up north". On the short list right now, Estes Park / Rocky Mountain National Park, New Belgium Brewery (Patrick, this one's for you), Bruce's for Rocky Mountain Oysters, and whatever else might just "pop up". (Again, mind out of the gutter. please)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 1 - 7, 2010 - "Cooler in Colorado"

We departed Bonny Lake in route to Denver via US 36; what a ride! It was like a roller coaster with the ups and downs of the terrain. Not so good on the fuel economy, gaining almost 2,000 feet in elevation while as we were also bucking a head wind, has me seriously thinking about a diesel pusher.

Arrived at Cherry Creek State Park and after set up decided to pay homage to a local culinary landmark, AND a absolute favorite of our old neighbor, Patrick. So, west bound it was to The Piper Inn for the best damn wings there are. Move over Buffalo, you aren't even close.The secret to their crispiness, while not being greasy, is the cooking process in a red hot wok with very little oil added to the process. The chicken wings actually cook/fry in their own oils from the skin.
Later in the week CC made an appointment with her friend (Harley rider and hair stylist) Wendy, to have her ears lowered. Guess this RV lifestyle is just not as user friendly to maintaining long hair as it is in the stix and brix. It looked to me that she left about 6 inches on the floor. (Please, no comments about the 6 inches)

Fester completed his employment with one last "unpaid" meeting in Denver. Following that, we had the rig scheduled into see the Doctor, as we had been experiencing refrigerator and air conditioning problems. We pulled into Steve Casey's service department bright and early on Wednesday, while we excused ourselves to run errands.

About an hour later, Steve Jr. from the service department called with some not so good news. The problem with the refrigerator was two-fold. One, it appears some insulation had come loose and was restricting the cooling fans air flow. Two, they claim the intake cooling vents on the side of the rig are designed for a 2-door refrigerator, and NOT for the 4-door unit we have. Their suggestion on that was "contact Winnebago directly as it appears it is a manufacturing mistake". Fix one required removing the refrigerator from it's location, and re-attaching the foil insulation, cleaning the vent and coils, all to the tune of about $500 for parts and labor.

A few hours later, Steve again called to inform me that the Intellitec Smart Energy Management System had a bad IC board. It is actually a mini-computer that manages the 3 energy systems we utilize and "remembers" the priority of that device, and manages all the other devices in use. Bottom line, if there is not sufficient electricity to run the microwave, it will turn the refrigerator from AC to LP gas for as long as the microwave is running. OK? That, they claim, is why our air conditioner is not performing at optimal levels. The cost, you asked, 'bout another 5 Benjamin's.

With that surgery completed, we made the Jefferson County Fairgrounds RV Park our home for the weekend. Definitely not a resort location, but it was close (and cheap)and we wanted to stay in the area for a few days to catch up with friends, see Dr. Odekirk about Fester's SI joint, and make our change of address with the bank and insurance company.

This was definitely a short week.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

July 30 - 31, 2010 - "Officially Retired"

We departed Lake Wilson in route to Bonny Lake State Park, 25 miles north of Burlington, CO; that is, of course, AFTER our usual provisioning stop at Wally World in Hayes, KS. We stopped for lunch in Wakeeny at Pizza Hut for their lunch buffet, and upon exiting CC decided she would saddle up and take the reins of the big rig. (Get your mind out of the gutter)

We were running low on propane, so Fester searched for a location to fill the tanks. One was located just south of Colby, so a slight detour was in order. As CC went barreling by the propane vendor (at a high rate of speed on a VERY narrow 2 lane highway) I wondered just where we could turn around. About 4 miles down the road, we spotted a young lady mowing on her John Deere. I told CC to stop (Yes, right on the highway) and jumped out and asked her if there was some place to tun around. She gave us directions, and about 2 more miles we were able to turn around, thanks to a farmers circle "driveway". OK, back to the propane vendor; this time a little slower, and we made it into the parking lot. After filling the propane we were once again on the way, and a few hours later arrived at our destination.
After getting set up and settled into our new home location, it donned on me, that this was "officially" my last day of employment, and so, a toast was in order. 29 years at one company is a long time, and naturally emotions were taking their toll on me, as I fought fervently to hold back the tears of despair. It was hard to muster a smile, but after much coaxing (and a martini) by CC, all I could manage was a modest(?) grin.

I say "officially" because this was my last PAID day of employment. We are actually in route to Denver as I have a meeting next week to introduce my replacement to a key account. Who is the idiot now you asked? Guess that is why they didn't quibble at the thought of my retirement. Don't ya just love it when you are appreciated as a valued employee? Oh well, as they say, it's water under the bridge now.