Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dancing toward the Roost

     We left Evanston on 9/15, for Nephi, Ut, where we parked outside Gary’s cousins, Doyle and Ann.  We enjoyed visiting with them, as we prepared for our Fall adventure heading south to Arizona.  The next day we drove on to Great Basin National Park, in Nevada.  This is one of America’s least visited National Parks, located in eastern Nevada, just across the border from Utah.  We easily found a nice camp spot, selecting a handicap spot that had a beautiful level patio.  My ankle really appreciated that and Rusty loved the cement.  We found out the campgrounds fill up most nights, so we were glad we had arrived about 1:30 in the afternoon.  The weather also turned nasty right after we arrived and we waited a couple hours for the rain to subside before we set up our satellite. 
     The next day was all sunshine, with a fresh coating of snow on  Wheeler Peak at 13,063 feet.  We drove up to the trailhead at 10,000 feet and although we started for the Bristlecone Pines, Katy only got a short distance before she realized that wasn’t going to happen.  We forced ourselves to be content with the short and level nature trail through the forest, leaving longer more rugged hikes for the future, with a more reliable ankle.  It wasn’t short on beauty though and we enjoyed the snow and glacier through binoculars while also enjoying the sunshine.
         That evening we attended a great star show, put on by one of the  Dark Rangers of the park.  He had a terrific telescope and we viewed several of the more magnificent sights in the amazing dark skies.  We started with  Alberia, a double star (one blue and one gold), located at the tail of the Swan.  Next we saw the Hercules star cluster, with about a half million stars in the viewfinder.  That was followed by a great view of Jupiter rising, where we could see four of her moons and the gas bands around the planet as well.  The Milky Way was extra bright, as we were looking through the galactic core of our galaxy and then viewed the same part of Andromeda, our nearest galaxy neighbor.  About then, the moon rose, a beautiful sight in itself, and the telescope was trained on it.  As we looked at the terminator,  (line where the dark side meets the light side of the moon), we could see many of the craters and seas on the moon.   It was one of the best telescope viewing treats we’ve had.
    Sunday morning we set out to explore the underside of the park by touring the famous Lehman Caves.  We took the long tour and saw all areas open to the public.  Despite the plural name, it’s a single cavern of limestone and marble.  It is one of the region’s most profusely decorated caves.  We saw the usual speleothems, but also saw the shields that Lehman Caves is famous for.  These are two roughly circular plates that are fastened like flattened clam shells, often with stalactites and draperies hanging from their lower plate.   One interesting spot in the cave, was the lodge room, where the Ely Elks lodge used to hold meetings.  Dances were also help there in the 20’s during the speakeasy era.  It was fun to imagine those goings on in so primitive a place.
     In addition to all the sights, we found three geocaches in the park.  Two were earth caches, which focus on significant and/or unusual geologic sites.  We enjoy the learning required in completing those, as we usually have to do a little research to answer the questions they pose.  The other cache was located at an alien bus stop, a sign of  things to come as we head next to the Extraterrestrial Highway to do some serious geocaching.
     We found a great boondocking spot at Ash Springs.  It was mentioned in the SKP’s Days End Directory.   There are developed Hot Springs there and although the fenced area with restrooms and picnic tables is posted no camping or overnight stays, there was a cattle guard that lead through the fence.  There were no signs on that side, and we parked there.  We stayed 3 nights and thoroughly enjoyed swimming in the Springs after each dusty day of caching on the ET trail. 
      Nevada’s highway 375 was officially designated the Extraterrestrial Highway by the state legislature in 1965.  A power trail cache series was placed there with 1000 caches in a 100 mile stretch.  Due to traffic concerns with snowplows this series was disabled last year.  It was replaced with new caches added in August of this year.  There are now about 1500 caches along this stretch of highway.  We never intended to do the whole thing at once and had no idea how many we would wind up with, as this was our first time on a trail of this magnitude.  The first day we cached for 7 ½ hours and got 231 caches on the trail and even found one where we were staying on our return.  The second day we cached for 8 hours and found 327 caches on the ET trail and the Area 51 mailbox caches as well.
     I must mention the “Little Al E Inn”   at Rachel, Nevada;  It’s in the southern third of the trail and has a great menu.  We reached there about 9am the second day.  The two gals working were sitting outside.  When   they saw our dogs, they offered to hold their leashes while we went inside to use the restrooms.  Gary had forgotten his sunglasses that morning and when we asked if they had any for sale, they said no, but one of the gals went to her truck and found a pair for Gary to use.  We returned them about 4 that afternoon when we returned for their famous Alien burgers on our way home to the Springs.  All in all, it was a fun adventure and brought our cache total to 1900.
     Our next stop was at the home of friends in Kingman, AZ.  Gary had been nervous about crossing the new bridge at Hoover Dam, but as he’d been told we were over it almost without realizing it.  We wound up staying in Kingman for 5 nights.  We visited with some friends from Evanston and Gary got a new pool cue while there.  Of course then he had to try it out, so managed to find two tournaments while we were there.  (Placed 6th and 5th out of about 20 in each tournament)
     The last stop we made was at North Ranch, a SKP park just north of Wickenburg, AZ.  We’re still using coupons from our working days with Escapees, so we can stay for free with full hookups.  We spent three nights, and found 10 new geocaches in the area.  We also drove up to go through the Shrine of St. Joseph, in Yarnell, an awesome recreation of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection. 
     We will arrive back at RoVer's Roost tomorrow, 30Sep.  A little early, but Gary is eager to rejoin his pool league.  My quilt class starts on the 18th and I have a couple orders to get done before then.  We'll be glad to be back, although it's still going to be a little warm for the next few weeks.  All in all, our littlest rolling house, the Class C we bought last Fall, worked very well for us this summer.  It was easier setting up and traveling with the Class C and we loved having the car for running around and geocaching.  
     Dancing toward the Roost.............................
     Hugs, Katy, Gary, Rusty and Spicy   

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dancing and Pooling in Evanston, Wyoming

        This was the first summer in nine years that Gary and I haven't worked managing campgrounds.  We enjoyed ourselves attending many things we were unable to, while working.   Evanston, Wyoming is a very active town and there were many local festivals we were able to attend on the weekends.  This included rodeos, Senior Center bar-b-ques at the park, a Brewfest, the Railroad Roundhouse Festival, Uinta County Fair activities, and parades. Of course there were also get-togethers with old friends.
        Most of our summer revolved around pool of some sort.  Gary enjoyed many mornings playing pool at the local Senior Center and several tournaments as well.  He had several 2nds and 3rds, along with a couple 1st places in singles and doubles.  While he was playing pool, I was in the pool most mornings.  The local Rec Center has a wonderful pool and hot tub.  There was a regular Senior Water Aerobics class on Mon, Wed, & Fri mornings and we spent a fun 4 weeks taking Water Yoga on Tue and Thur.  After our teacher left for the summer, we got permission for several of us to continue with self-guided water yoga sessions.  Being a small town, both the Senior Center and the Rec Center are located 1-2 miles from where we were parked at Riki's house.   All that time in the pool was great exercise and wonderful for my ankle.
          We didn't forsake the forest completely, as we met Gary's sister Pam and her family for a week of camping in our old campground both in July and August.  The late winter snows in Wyoming and Utah meant that the flooding in the campgrounds lasted into the middle of July.  Pam always reserves sites along the banks of the Bear River and these sites still had water sitting in them, so we all gathered in one of the great group sites.  By our week in August things were back to normal.  We watched for meteors, tried out new recipes, and just generally enjoyed relaxing in the Forest.  It was so nice with Gary not having to leave to check other campgrounds twice a day, and in case you were wondering, we didn't miss cleaning the restrooms or fire pits one little bit!
      We spent a couple weeks house and dog sitting this summer.  Gary and our daughter Riki's two oldest kids shoveled out and leveled an area on the side of their house, for us to park.  Now we're off the street, but have electricity and water.  We have to move to dump every two weeks, but with the Class C, that's easy to do and the whole moving and dumping process takes us less than an hour.  We've enjoyed being so close to their family with 3 of the grandkids.  The other 3 grandkids and our daughter-in-law, Anna live about three blocks away, so we're close by to both families.
           I was also able to take a Quilt class this summer and was even talked into teaching a class on a spiral table runner.  I also joined a group of quilters who get together and sew on some evenings or afternoons.  It was fun and I sure enjoyed getting to know another great group of gals.  Quilters have to be some of the friendliest people around, along with RVers of course.
           We were able to coordinate a family get-together with four of Gary's kids in Salt Lake this summer.  Our little miracle grandbaby, Bowdie, continues to grow and is a very busy two year old now.  It's hard to believe he was just over one pound when he was born.,  Here he is with a very proud dad.  It was the first time in many years that Gary's, daughter Sharee and her family were able to join us.  They relocated back to Salt Lake this Spring, after living in Alaska for about 20 years.  What fun seeing how all those grandchildren had grown and catching up with the kids.  Riki had a large family bar-b-que over Labor Day weekend (Cowboy Days in Evanston).  Except for Robert's oldest, Cory, being away at college already, it was fun having everyone together.

           Our other wonderful adventure this summer was attending the 51st Escapee Escapade in Gillette, WY.  We had missed the first one in WY, back in 2008, when we were working, so were excited to get to this one.  We stopped on the way to visit friends and spend the night in Bar Nunn, WY and then Gillette before we checked in.  We even got to root for Evanston at an away high school football game.  For those not familiar with Wyoming,  While two towns in the same state sound close, Evanston & Gillette are in opposite corners of the state, about 475 miles apart.  That means we got to see a lot of the state we love, while traveling.  We were on the "Row" for the Wash-Pan chapter (Eastern WA & Panhandle of ID) and promoted them and their upcoming rallies.  I also attended several seminars having to do with Geeky stuff on the internet and a couple craft classes, beading a bracelet and making earrings.  The nightly entertainment was great and of course visiting old friends and making new ones is always the best part.  There were quite a few Roosters there (folks from RoVer's Roost - our winter home), as you can see in this picture.
         Summer in Evanston concluded with Robert's name being added to the Bear River Memorial Grove in Evanston.   This is a serene area designed to memorialize individudals who have enjoyed, been active, or had an interest in outdoor recreation and the Evanston Community.   The Fire Department approached us early in the summer, asking permission to do this and of course, we said yes.  We also helped once again with the Demolition Derby, the major fund raiser for the Evanston Volunteer Fire Department.  We've continued to do this in Robert's name, as a way of carrying his legacy forward.  It's one of those things we know he would want us to do.
        Our plans as we get ready to leave include visiting Great Basin National Park, geocaching a portion of  the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada, visiting friends in Kingman, AZ, and a brief stay at North Ranch, outside Wickenburg, AZ .  Our littlest rolling house (Class C), has worked well for us this summer and we've enjoyed having the car for geocaching and day trips. Now as the nights in Wyoming get nippier (a touch of  frost a couple times), and daytime temps cool to the high 60's and low 70's, it's time to head further South.
      One of the things I learned in a Geeks seminar at Escapade was how to add the gadget that will let you sign up to be notified directly by email when I post a new blog.  It's at the top right side of the blog, so feel free to use this.  Eventually, I'll probably do away with separate email notifications.  Take care everyone and we hope to see you on down the road.
     Hugs, Katy and Gary,  (Rusty and Spicy too, of course)