Wednesday, May 27, 2015

They are Potholes in Life--Not Canyons to Cross

I cannot believe I have not written a single thought, observation or review in 3 weeks.  OUCH!

Getting and maintaining the little details of life can be more challenging when you full time vs. staying in one place.

We came back home to Colorado Springs area in early May.  There are so many “life tasks” when we come back.  We have caught up on doctor and dentist appointments.  We have made arrangements for prescriptions.  We needed some work done on the jeep, including a new windshield.  This week we have most of our tasks complete. 

At 67, George takes NO prescriptions—it is crazy!  At 53, because of my fibromyalgia, migraine headaches and high blood pressure, I have multiple prescriptions.  In the past two years we managed these through Wal-Mart pharmacy.  I called ahead and ordered prescriptions at the closest Wal-Mart and they took care of transferring the prescription.  When we pulled into town, they were generally waiting for me to pick them up.

I have struggled with migraines for several years—historically having 7 to 8 migraines a week.  The neurologist has finally successfully gotten me on a preventative medicine I take daily and now I am down to 1 or so a week.  Additionally, I take a powder pain med that stops the migraine generally within 15 minutes.  We are thrilled with this.   

I take tramadol for fibromyalgia pain.  I am not sure I could function in life without these particular drugs.  The first year we had no issues.  The next year, Tramadol was moved to a “Controlled Substance” drug.  It can only be transferred one time—making the Wal-Mart pharmacies impossible.  I checked into having someone pick them up for me in Colorado Springs and mail them to us around the country.  After researching and reading other peoples’ experiences; I am not convinced it is a good idea to get these mailed to us (it may be illegal to have a private party mail any kind of prescription—particularly a controlled substance).

So finally after spending hours on the phone with our insurance, Kaiser; I am set up for Mail Order pharmacy.   They have assured me that it should be easy to get all of prescriptions and all of my A-Pap supplies mailed to wherever we are.  We will wait and see—but I am optimistic.

It is all just the little hiccups that come with a fulltime life.  None of these are canyons to cross, they are just the potholes of life.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spring in Colorado--Gotta Love it!

Three weeks ago we were in California hanging out at the pool and wishing that it was just a little bit cooler.   I love how life changes.  I love different seasons and was frankly a little disappointed to have missed the season change of Colorado spring.   Be careful of what you wish for…
Yesterday I went shopping with my friend, Sue.  After shopping, laughing and just enjoying our day together; I headed back to the RV.  By the time I reached our campground in Monument it was snowing!  It was beautiful.   I love the spring snow.  White covers the ground and the trees, it glistens like glitter covering everything.  The great part of snow this time of year is it doesn’t stay on the roads for long.  The bad part is that it is generally heavy, wet snow that weighs down trees and plants; it can cause some high water levels.  For me, today, I am just overwhelmed by the beauty.

When we went to bed it was still snowing, so we were sure we would wake up to snow on the ground.  We had about 12” of snow of our vehicles.  The roads were wet, but there was no ice so it didn’t change our Mother’s Day plans. 

We went into Colorado Springs to join our family for Mother’s Day.  We start by going to church together.  After church we went to the Paul and Catrina’s house and enjoyed Mother’s Day lunch with the entire family. Christian’s in-laws and Sue joined us for the day.  It was a great day.   We stayed in and ate, talked and played games.

Monument is about 30 minutes away and because of potential ice on the road, we didn’t want to drive home on ice.  We left about 7:30 and headed home.

It is a great end to the day…  And there is still snow on the ground.   Spring in Colorado—Gotta love it.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Snow plows—Are you kidding me???

We have spent the last 5 months in warm, desert climates.   We had rain day 2 days during this time.   So we were not ready for the cooler temperatures of Colorado.  It has rained every day since we have been back.  More challenging than the rainy weather are the cold temperatures.

Today it has not gotten above 50 degrees and we hear snow is forecast in the next couple days.   

It rained so hard this morning we could barely carry on a conversation.  Then the thunder and lightning starts.  I HATE thunder and lightning—I don’t mean I dislike them—I HATE THEM!  Then it happens… thunder booms and lightning hits.  It sounded like it was 2 feet away from our RV.  Instantly all of electricity went off.  We waited and it didn’t come back on.  We realized the campground has very likely been hit by lightning.  We also had no water.  The campground water comes from a well that is pumped using electricity.  And now we realize our generator is in the back of our truck—that we left at the Massey house yesterday.  It just keeps getting better.   So we head out from Monument to Colorado Springs (about 30 minutes) to get some water and get our truck with the generator—in the event the power doesn’t come back on.

As we leave the campground the sky opens and the hail pounds down. At places it is almost impossible to see the road and the vehicles around us.   The traffic on I-25 was creeping, barely moving.   We get off the interstate and although the traffic is moving—it is barely moving. 

The hail is almost a foot deep in several places.  There are flooded areas along the road.  The drains are full; water and hail are everywhere!

We were shocked to see the snow plows out, plowing the hail.
It took us over an hour to get to Catrina’s to pick up the truck.  We visited for a while and then headed back to Monument.  The hail had stopped, but there was standing water everywhere.

We were glad to be home and glad to have the generator and extra water if we need it.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Two long travel days

We came back to Colorado for a month or so.  We are back to enjoy our granddaughter, Amber’s, graduation the end of May. 

We had 2 long travel days to get back home.  We pulled out of our campground in Utah about 4am Sunday morning.  We do not usually start our days this early, but we generally only travel a couple of hours.  Today we are not sure how far we will go, so we want to get an early start.  We are about 12 hours from Monument, Colorado—our final destination.  We stopped multiple times to stretch our legs and do a quick “walk around”.

We were ready to stop for the day after about 6 hours, but we were not able to find a place that could handle our Big Rig.  (It does not make me wish for a smaller RV, but this is one of the consequences.)  I had spent hours looking for campgrounds between Utah and Colorado and had not been successful finding anything after Grand Junction.  When we reached Grand Junction it was too early to stop.  We kept going and I felt confident I could find someplace to stay for the night. 

I researched campgrounds, multiple free camping options—including Wal-Marts.  When I called the Evergreen, Colorado Wal-Mart the woman that answered the phone said they would absolutely welcome us staying in their parking lot.  We found a great spot, and it was only 10 feet from a McDonalds—SCORE!  George was so happy.  Free parking and a McDonalds, life is great. 

We started our 2nd travel day after breakfast at McDonalds.  We only have 2 hours to our Monument campground, but we wanted to stop to weigh the rig before going in. 

We had weighed in Arizona and discovered that we were 1,000 pounds over the acceptable weight.  We have spent 2 months reducing the weight in our 5th wheel and in our vehicles.  Being overweight can cause tire blow outs, issues with braking and it compromises the integrity of the 5th wheel.  We were happy to see that we had dropped most of the 1,000 pounds.

We pulled into Colorado Heights RV Resort about 11am.  Because it is off-season, we are able to get a really nice sight.  We are able to fit the 5th wheel, truck and jeep all in our sight and still have room for visitors.  

Because traveling seems to create a layer of dust, we spent about an hour cleaning and setting up.  We love how quickly we are able to completely clean our little home.

My best friend, Sue, had taken off the afternoon to see us as soon as possible.  I was so excited to see her.  We sat and visited as if we had just seen each other yesterday.  Then to make this day even better… about 3pm Catrina and Amber came up to visit and hang out.  What a treat to see them both.  After enjoying dinner with Sue, we were ready for an early night.

It is great to be home with the people we love.  

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Zion Canyon: Mt. Carmel Highway—Don’t Miss It!

After finishing our lunch at the Visitor Center we took the 12 mile scenic Mt. Carmel Highway.  The highway starts just past the Visitor Center of Zion National Park.  Unlike the first part of Zion National Park where we had to ride a Shuttle Bus; we were able to drive the jeep on this road. 

There are pull offs that offered spectacular views.   We were definitely more comfortable being in our own vehicle.  We stopped to take pictures at almost every opportunity.  The textures in the rocks along this road were unlike any we had seen before.

It was easy to see the different layers of sandstone that made up the formations.  In many areas it is easy to see the layers that were splitting and falling down the slopes.   Many places it seems as if a small wind could send an entire rock formation plummeting to the road. 

The road was narrow, with steep climbs and had very sharp switchbacks and curves. Luckily I trust George’s mountain driving. 

At one pull off we saw a group of Big Horn Sheep.  It was amazing to be so close to them.

The landscape from Mt. Carmel Highway is spectacular.  Yet another day to experience the "Glory of God".


 One of the viewpoints reveals a park landmark, Checkerboard Mesa.  The hill is about 900 feet above the Mt. Carmel Highway.  The face resembles a giant, extended checkerboard of orange, brown and white.   The left to right indentations are due to north to south winds.  The vertical cracks are from weather: freezing and thawing.

After a short distance, we came to a 1.1 mile tunnel that follows the profile of the canyon.  The tunnel was constructed using mining techniques rather than the traditional blasting tunneling techniques. There are “windows” sporadically through the tunnel that provide light and some ventilation.  These holes also provided a place to empty the rocks from the tunnel construction.  The tunnel is rock-faced, with concrete reinforcement throughout.  At the time of its completion it was the longest non-urban road tunnel in the United States.

We thought the views from Mt. Carmel Highway were even more picturesque that the other sections of Zion Canyon.   Most of the Highway allowed us to be close to the beauty.

Another beautiful day comes to an end.  We are exhausted and yet exhilarated by the beauty and nature that we have been blessed to see.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Zion National Park

We left about 7:30am headed for Zion National Park.  We had read that the parking lots are generally full by 10am.  We have heard that many of the National parks are moving toward using Shuttle Buses to reduce the vehicle traffic in the National Parks—to reduce traffic problems, parking issues and pollution.   We get to the park about 8:30am.  We got one of the last parking spaces available…CRAZY!

We hop on a Shuttle Bus to see the sights.  We found out that the Museum doesn’t open for Zion until 10am; so we decided to take the bus to the end and work our way backwards. 

We started at the Riverside Walk viewpoint.  This trail is paved and 2 miles long. Riverside Walk trail runs along the Virgin River at the bottom of a very narrow canyon.  There were short bursts of incline, but they were very easy to manage.  George, of course, had no issues with this trail.  I was really proud of myself; I was able to easily manage the trail.  My challenge was not stopping to visit with everyone on the trail.
Around each bend was a different sight to behold.  Peeking out from the rocks were lush plants that created the hanging gardens along the path.  In several places water trickled down creating a shimmering masterpiece.   The trails ended at the river, where many hikers start the next hike—right down the middle of the river!  As we were walking, we were trying to find out why people were hiking in waders and waterproof shoes—now we know. 

Zion elevation goes from about 3,000 feet to over 8,700 feet—which allowed for a cool day to be walking and hanging out taking in the beauty.

There are multiple viewpoints through Zion; each offering beautiful sandstone formations and lush vegetation.  The rocks are a variety of glorious orange, red and tan.  The landscape and views are amazing. 

Unlike other canyon parks that we have visited; Zion National Park has rim viewpoints AND trails that allowed us to walk along the river at the bottom of the canyon.  The views from the rims are stunning.

Using the Shuttle, we were able to stop at all of the viewpoints.  Each stop offered a unique perspective of the park and the landscape.

We went back to the Visitor Center, found a great spot to enjoy our picnic lunch.  The weather was perfect.  We watched the squirrels, lizards and the people.  (Honestly, not sure which was the most entertaining. J

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