Monday, August 1, 2011

California GO--Denver HO!

Inevitably, MovinSue must move on!

In preparation, everything gets a bath;  the RV, the interior, all the laundry and even Cassie!

An unexpected pleasure "happened" the day before my departure.  A fellow GPS afficionado with whom I have been corresponding for years emailed me, not knowing I was in the area.  I knew he had a cabin near Eureka, so we decided to meet!

He found my sister's hidden lane down the hill, parked and was greeted by my sister's husband, who did not know who he was and was not expecting any strangers.  Not sure he was at the right address, my friend, Ryan, said to Norm through the screen window "I'm lookin' for MovinSue!"  With 4 dogs barking in the background and the TV on, Norm replied in disbelief  "You''e here to SUE me?!"

After the laughing stopped and we got my true identify and Ryan's purpose established, Ryan asked if Norm was that big a troublemaker that he automatically expected people to drop by to sue him!   We had a pleasant visit, and oddly, didn't even discuss GPS'ing which we can do anytime via email.  

Ryan brought his camera get a photo to show his friends that he "met MovinSue"!

With sadness, I left my sister and family back in Eureka on the 24th, delaying my departure to permit the "thermic dome" blanketing the middle of the country to lift.

The first night of travel was through the Trinity- Shasta Mountains at an altitude that made sleeping comfortable at night, so I didn't have to find a campground.  Despite that, I did try to find an interesting looking campground--a member of my 50% off network.  I programmed the address into my GPS and merrily went on my way la de da...  

Unbeknownst to me, there were TWO roads with the same name except for "Shortcut" was added to the road name.  My GPS is programmed to take the shortest route...of course, it selected the shortcut road and I unknowingly and carelessly agreed.   At the turn instruction, I saw a well-groomed gravel road ahead and thought "OK...I have taken such roads before without problem".    It was a one-lane gravel forest road along the side of a mountain with forest on either side and was about 2 miles.  

About a mile in, the gravel road degraded to dirt mounds, with deep, ugly ravines carved by water flowing down the slope.  This was a 4 wheel drive road and my moho would never survive it-- plus it might even get worse and I'd be stranded with no cell signal (I checked).
So, I resigned myself to turning around or hiking out for a tow.  Since it was bear and cougar country, I decided to turn around.   Sigh...remembering that  I had passed a lumber road about 50 yds behind me, I started a nerve-wracking reversal.  Crap!  That side lumber road was cut DOWN the mountain slope at an angle and I didn't have much hope backing into it without a really good guide spotting me.   With no other choice, I began to nose down the road and then back uphill at an angle--slowly "scissoring" my way to turn around.   I was limited by the mountainside in back and was looking over a mountain dropoff in front--I think I was sweating.   At least there were lots of trees to stop my descent if I made a booboo.    Around 10 hair-raising maneuvers later, I was turned completely around and headed back out. 

I picked up my route, corrected the GPS and tried to find the campground.  By this time, I needed a rest badly!   Never found it.  The reason I wanted to go there was because it looked very remote and wild on a river so I guess it's not so surprising that I never found it.  The road through the mountains was lush and scenic so I settled for a Rest and Snack Stop.  

I continued on to Redding, CA and stayed at the Win River Casino where I got a Player's Card with a $5 credit,  won $15 and filled up my big insulated coffee mug with their free Starbuck's java!  I love casinos!  Met a truck-driving couple there who were lugging a load of slot machines from there to Vegas and were getting ready to retire after this trip.

And she moved Reno.  Again, weather was mild at that elevation and I stayed at a Nugget.  The neighborhood looked fairly iffy so I parked next to a big Country Coach motorhome, had super TV reception, popped a cork and hunkered down in the RV.  

Continued on through some of the most beautiful land in our country past the windmills in my mind...

..through tunnels cut into mountains triggering a dormant, but thankfully, mild claustrophobia...

...ever vigilant for a shady spot for lunch and some clean, soft grass for Cassie to squiggle in...

...wondering how this rock formation formed and how I have managed to drive my vehicle without mishap while taking photos...

...and the long trek from Green River which is neither Green nor is there any river in sight...

...and approached Colorado where RV's are prohibited from parking anywhere!  Or so it seems--everywhere I go "No RV parking"!   It is so disorienting.

Despite the extreme priciness of the Vail/Aspen/Breckenridge I-70 corridor, I found a campground under $50 and earned a premium spot next to the busy dog run.

I met an cool couple from Texas who were workkampers and offered to dogsit Cassie if I wanted to go on a full day whitewater trip.  Tom and Kaylee traveled with 3 dogs and I knew Cassie would be in good hands.   However, it was too short notice to arrange for a trip so we chatted.  Meeting these nice folks was well worth the campground fee!  Next time, I'll plan better for that section of the trip and arrange for a whitewater rafting trip.  Tom, an experienced rafter, said the river here was Cat 4-5 rapids.

Traveling toward Denver, I passed through dropdead gorgeous mountain country, including Glenwood Springs and Canyon...

...the sportsman were out in huge numbers.  The rapidly-flowing Colorado river was crowded with rafters and tubers speeding down the gushing river...

...a final resting stop for lunch and a shower before arriving in Denver at Dillon reservoir...

...and I finally arrived at my friends Anne & Bills' house.  

We mostly stayed indoors, caught up on our lives and panted.  The temp was 102 degrees, but we did venture out to take advantage of a Staple promo deal on jump drives for $5.99 for 4Gb--Wow!  Hey here's a tip if you like mango--the new McD's Mango smoothie is awesome!

We went to the Red Rocks, a geologically-formed amphitheater about 20 min away where major music groups hold concerts.  It is a unique and beautiful setting where many public functions such as weddings and sunrise services are held.

It is the geologic dividing line between the Great Plains and the Rockies.

The stage is nestled between two large rock formations. 

Look closely in the distance and you can see Denver.

When not in use for concerts, the facility is free to the public to use for recreation; here are people racing to the top.  The elevation is around 6500' and the oxygen content is around 84% of normal.  It's amazing how these athletes have adapted; they must have superlungs.

I added another "must do" to my list; the acoustics at the Red Rock amphitheater are supposed to be perfection and  I just missed ABBA performing by One Day (Aaaack I LOVE Abba!)  Next year, I'll check the performances ahead of time.

Later, we went to a place called the Casa Bonita which is like a Chuckee Cheese for adults.  They have mexican food, margaritas and variety acts that play all the time.  These are the strolling minstrels serenading a birthday group of young women.

A fair maiden freefalls into the indoor dive pool; they present  mini pirate dramas that always involve a fall into the pool.

And here is Anne in Black Bart's cave being a good sport for my camera by acting scared!

Had my final helping of delicious Premium Moose Tracks ice cream; a special blend of premium ice cream with rich additions of fudgy wonderful goodness sufficient to trigger paroxysms of pleasure.  Cassie also had Moose Ice Cream envy...

Tomorrow I'll be deadheading to Hammond LA where I have a service appointment for warranty work on my RV.

In case you didn't notice, I put a cute little widget on this blog that tracks my location by cell phone.   My sister asked me to do this so she could make sure I was still moooov'in and not stuck on any bad mountain road in the middle of nowhere...


  1. Too bad I didn't know yu stopped at Anne and Bill's! Would have asked you to give them a BIG hug for me! Ha ha! Youv'e noticed the land of heat.....! Take care and drive carefully in this monstrous heat wave!! Welcome back to the REAL WORLD.

  2. It was super fun to have you with us, Sue & Cassie. We'll be tracking you, on your widget, and hoping all the trails are happy ones.

    Can't wait until your visit, next year!

    Anne, Bill, & Murphy

  3. July 14th I see you are in California. Haven't had an update for awhile. We hope all is well and you and Cassie are having fun!

    Hugs from,
    Anne, Bill,and Murphy