The Great American Eclipse

19 08 2017

Douglas, WY KOA

Good Morning from Douglas, WY!  We’re parked at the KOA and within the 70 mile wide eclipse totality shadow that will streak across North America from Oregon to South Carolina on Monday.  The last eclipse of this magnitude was in 1918 when the totality shadow entered the US over Washington and exited over Florida.  The next on April 8, 2024 will enter over Texas and exit over New Hampshire.

Organization and planning has been in high gear since well over a year ago here in Central Wyoming.  Our reservations were made last May at the then current rates of $40/night for full hookup sites.  Online websites are now offering dry camping locations nearby for $250/night with a 2 night minimum.  The Casper KOA is rumored to have increased their pricing to $900/night!  We’re very happy to be here in Douglas with the very accommodating and friendly staff.

If all goes according to predictions, the Wyoming state population of around 585,000 could double this weekend through Monday. Neighboring states are also expecting to feel the impact on roadways and other traveler services.  Leaving the Denver area on midday on Friday, traffic seemed about normal all the way to Douglas, with a few more sightings than normal of Wyoming State Patrol. We’ll get settled here and report back as we enjoy Douglas…

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Concerts, Cowboys and Carnival

22 07 2017

Cheyenne Frontier Nights

We’re back in Cheyenne for the 121st performance of Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, Frontier Nights and the Carnival Midway.  Unlike in the past, attending 1 or 2 concerts and making a long weekend of it, this year we’re all-in – arriving on Friday the 21st and staying all 10 days of Frontier Days until next Sunday the 30th.  We have tickets to 4 concerts, Little Big Town on Saturday evening, Luke Bryan on Wednesday, Thomas Rhett on Thursday and Jason Aldean to wrap things up next Saturday.  With more than a week in Cheyenne we hope to enjoy more of the events that we’ve missed in past years – Rodeo, Pancake Breakfast, Grand Parade, Indian Village, Chuckwagon Cookoff and the USAF Thunderbirds.

Last Year, 2016, Cheyenne Hail

And, once again we’re parked at AB Camping, one of our favorite RV Parks.  We’re in sites S13 & S14, in the middle row of the southern section.  These two sites along with several others provide welcome shade during the warm July afternoons.  Last year for the Florida Georgia Line concert we were in sites S10 and S21 for the “Mother-of-all-Hailstorms” – that produced about $10,000 damage to every RV roof in the campground, tore down tree limbs, shattered auto glass and totaled tow vehicles.

After a great 10 (hail-free) days, we’ve already opted to return next year.  Thanks Marc and Jane for once again doing a great job of hosting all of these RVs during a VERY busy time.  From making sure we had shuttle services when the city cancelled just 3 days before CFD opened, to providing us early morning breakfast burritos and late night BBQ snacks and everything else you do – a very heart felt Thank You!

Oh, our success rate was fairly high.  We had dinner on the Midway, attended a Rodeo, saw the Indian Village and Frontier Town, listened to Micheal Martin Murphey at the Sidewinder Saloon and of course checked out the Buckin’A Saloon a few times.  The USAF Thunderbirds airshow was cancelled due to weather and we still haven’t had a Pancake Breakfast or watched the Grand Parade or tasted at the Chuckwagon Cookoff. More for next year!

S-1

 

A list of “southern section” sites with shade trees…

East Row: 1 (end), 2, 4, 5, 7, 8;

Center Row: 10 (end), 11,12, 13, 14

West Row: 19 (end), 21, 25, 26, 27 & 28 (end)

 





July 4th at Lake Pueblo

1 07 2017

Sunset over Lake Pueblo

Happy Independence Day!  We’re parked at sites #9 and #10 at Arkansas Point campground near the South Marina at Lake Pueblo.  Site #9 is a back-in site with great views over the lake to the north and the cliffs and hiking trails to the south.  It’s also very private since neighboring site #7 is blocked as an overflow site.  Site #10 is a pull-through site across the street and also shares the gorgeous views across the lake.

Arriving on Friday, we’ll spend 5 nights here since the 4th falls on a Tuesday. With temperatures approaching 100, we’ll plan on spending days on the beach and evenings around the campfire.  On Sunday we’ve rented a pontoon boat (thank Shawn!) and will get to play on the water just as we used to with the ski boat.  Pueblo was always one of our favorite boating lakes, plenty of open water for skiing and nice quiet coves for hanging out and enjoying the water.

Friday afternoon we take the short trip down to Walsenburg to meet a realtor from La Veta, CO and look at 5 parcels of land in the Navajo Ranch area.  Newly on the radar, this small southern Colorado town may become our next home!

Spanish Peaks from Comanche Drive

After viewing awesome firework displays all around the lake on Tuesday evening, on Wednesday we’ll back up and make the trip back to the Denver area.  It’ll be a short overnight at home, on Thursday we’ll jump on a flight bound for Quito, Ecuador for a 10-night Galapagos Islands cruise-tour. After returning from the Galapagos, we’re home for 4 days before heading to Cheyenne Frontier Days.  More from Cheyenne…

 

 





Frisco BBQ Fest

18 06 2017

After having enjoyed the Frisco BBQ challenge in 2014, we’re back this year to enjoy BBQ, beer and bands on Frisco’s Main Street.  And, once again we’re at Peak One campground on the shores of Lake Dillon in sites #16 & 17.  These are dry back-in sites with a fire ring and picnic table.  Sites #15 and #17 would be optimal.

Peak One, SIte #16

Peak One, Lake Dillon

Peak One, Site #15





Rifle Gap State Park

5 06 2017

Rifle Gap State Park Aerial

We’re parked in site #27 and #28 at Rifle Gap State Park.  These are beautiful full hookup sites on one of the upper terraces of the Lakeview campground.  Full concrete pads with asphalt roads through the campground, rock areas surrounding the water, sewer ports and electric connections, covered picnic tables, fire rings and meticulously raked gravel tent pads make these sites some of the cleanest, most appealing we’ve stayed in.

Along with great shower house facilities and the gorgeous lake views – this park has it all – except cellular signal. Located only 6 miles from the city limits of Rifle, but literally through “the gap”, no TV or cellular signals seem to make it to the campground.  Even with our booster and antenna, the return to town is required for any type of email or work access.

Tomorrow we’ll pack up and make the final leg of the 2017 Grand Canyon trip.  Indeed a grand trip!





Departing the Grand Canyon

4 06 2017

Goulding’s RV Park, Monument Valley, UT

Without a lot of campground options outside of the Grand Canyon, our first night on the way home will be back at Monument Valley, Goulding’s RV Park.  We’ve parked in site #34 for our quick overnight stay.  This is an end site, lots of room for the picnic table and fire pit.

From Monument Valley we headed directly north to Moab.  We’re going to check out Portal RV in Moab, with both short term rental sites and lots that can be purchased.  Located just north of town, the park is set back from highway 191 about a 1000 feet and still east of the river by about a mile.  The rental sites occupy the first 46 sites on the north side.  These sites are gravel and include a concrete pad and picnic table.  There are also grills on some of the sites, but no fire rings.  The 36 “resort” sites are  to the south with concrete parking areas and pads and extensive landscaping.  In the first row of 12 resort sites (#M13-M24), 5 or 6 of these owners have added 2 and 3 story homes next to their RV parking space.  These homes are quite impressive, but leave RV’s parked deep into a site with a 3 story adobe wall as their “view”.  These home sites obviously are not built for living in the RV – you live in the house and simply park the RV nearby.

With afternoon temperatures pushing into the 100’s, and no shade near our parking spots, we opt to check out the swimming pond.  Surrounded by big cottonwood trees all around, the water is a nice cool-down, but not quite as luxurious as the pool on the resort side. If you’re looking to be near the town of Moab, this is a nice park.  Otherwise, we’d opt for a space on Dead Horse Point or even at one of the parks further out of town.

From Moab we’re headed back to a favorite overnight stop, Rifle Gap State Park.  More from there…





Exploring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

1 06 2017

Duck on a Rock, Grand Canyon South Rim

After getting settled into our campsites overnight, our first outing the next day was to the Visitors Center.  It’s about a mile walk over to the Visitors Center or a short ride on the Blue shuttle.  From here you can explore along the rim all the way to the South Kaibab Trailhead, out to Mathers Point or return to the Market Plaza.

Logistics: There 4 shuttle bus routes operating along the South Rim.  The Village Route (blue line) handles stops for the Market Plaza and Village areas.  This includes stops at both Mathers Campground and Trailer Village.  The Hermits Rest Route (red line) interchanges at Village near the Bright Angel trailhead and continues for 9 stops along the rim in the western direction to Hermits Rest.  Coming back eastbound, the shuttle only makes 3 stops between Hermits Rest and Village Transfer.  If you want to see all of the rim overviews, make sure you are jumping on and off the westbound shuttle.  The Tusayan Route (purple line) runs from the Visitors Center out of the park through the south entrance to the small town of Tusayan.  The Kaibab/Rim Route (orange line) runs from the Visitors Center between Yaki Point to Yavapai Point.  Private vehicles are not allowed along the Orange (to Yaki Point) or Red lines, shuttles are the only way to see these South Rim vistas.

El Tovar Lodge, Grand Canyon South Rim

After getting an overview at the Visitors Center, the next day we jumped on the Blue line to explore the Village area.  Most of the Grand Canyon accommodations are found here, from the luxurious El Tovar Hotel, the more casual Bright Angel Lodge and the Maswik Lodge.  There are some gorgeous overlooks at Lookout Studio and Kolb Studio, both perched on the very edge of the rim.   Catching the Red line at the Village Transfer station, we stop at several of the view points on the western route including Hopi Point, The Abyss and Pima Point.  Hopi Point is the first place along this route that you can see the river below.  The Abyss is known for its almost vertical view down the canyon, looking into the Monument Creek drainage.  Pima Point is an overlook that provides great views and sometimes sounds of the Colorado River below.

Working in the Park:  There are many WiFi access points scattered throughout the park including the Visitors Center, the Market Plaza area at the Yavapai Lodge and the camper services building at Mather.  Unfortunately none of these connections worked well enough for real access.  Phone email seemed to work slowly, but that was about it.  Verizon cell service is spotty throughout the park, but like the WiFi, very limited in bandwidth if you are able to connect.  We ended up driving out of the park to Tusayan and using the fee-based WiFi service at the Grand Hotel.  We did have T-Mobile access in Tusayan, but only slow 2G roaming services limited to 100Mb of data.