Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dancing toward Wyoming Spring - 2013

     We left the Roost in Casa Grande, AZ on May 1st.  We had endured temperatures over 100 degrees the last week, while packing up the motor home and summerizing the 5th wheel and shed.  We tried to work early in the morning before it got too hot, but were glad to head to cooler temperatures in the White Mountains.  Since we're looking at Show Low for a future summer getaway, we wanted to check the area out in more detail.  As you drive into the area, you're definitely in the forest.

       I checked out their aquatic center where I found they had about 6 different water fitness classes, five days a week.  I attended one class and was very favorably impressed with the pool, showers, etc.  Gary checked out the Senior Center and their billiard schedule.  There aren't any pool leagues there, but they do have regular tournaments.  He played in two of them at two different places while we were there, meeting a lot of the other pool players.
      Bandit checked out the dog park and seemed to be quite satisfied with the size of it and the number of trees.  It was huge and he enjoyed being able to run and run.  They even had a separate area for timid dogs.
      I had already checked out the main quilt store, but was pleasantly surprised to find there was a new one and a gift shop that was also carrying fabric.  I went to a show and tell at the new shop and heard some of their plans for the future. We also looked at the library, their historical  museum, city hall, etc.  I think it's a great community and we look forward to getting to know it better.
       Show Low is a town named by the turn of a card.  Here is a picture of the statue and plaque commemorating it.  The original game took place in a ranch house at the top of the hill in the background.

      We took one day and drove east to visit the towns of Greer, Springerville, and Eagar.  We were going to do that when we were here two years ago, but the huge Wallow fire prevented it as the towns were evacuated and the roads closed.  Below are mountains above Greer.  They were able to save the town, but you can see the devastation caused by the fire on the mountains.

       Eagar and Springerville are located a few miles apart and together make up Round Valley, with a population of about 9,000.   Located in Eagar is the Ensphere, the only high school domed football stadium in the United States.  It has permanent seating for 3500 and 1500 removable seats.  120,000 sq. feet of unobstructed floorspace provides for a football field as well as seven basketball, volleyball, or tennis courts.  There is a 200 meter track and dressing and locker facilities for simultaneous use by up to four teams.  The dome is 104 feet high.

     We were lucky to have our stay in Show Low overlap the arrival of good friends Suzannah and Frank from Yuma, so we were able to visit with them.  They are the ones who introduced us to this area, and peaked our interest.  We look forward to spending more time with them when we return in July.
     Next it was time to head for Utah.  After spending one night at Canyon de Chelly, we headed for Gooseneck State Park in Utah.  We had visited there before, but not stayed.  The river below makes two huge S curves to form the "goosenecks."  Take these two photos side by side to get the idea.

     Although they list four campsites, there were sixteen units there the night we stayed.  The area is quite large, so no one was right next to anyone else, unless they wanted to be.  All camping was boondocking without hookups, of course.  
     Heading straight north from there is a road to Natural Bridges.  On that road is the Moki Dugway, a 3 miles stretch of gravel road with tight 5 mph curves and 10% grades.  As a result we have never driven that.  We were towing our fifth wheel before, and were not allowed on that stretch.  We had instead driven the long way around that area, adding about 45 extra miles to the trip.  This time, we unhitched the car and went to investigate.  Gary felt that unhitched, we would be able to drive it, so the next morning we headed out.
      Gary went first with the motorhome.   I let him get far enough ahead so I wouldn't be tempted to watch him.  Did  I mention that parts of the road are one lane wide, without guard rails, and a 1,000 foot drop?  Needless to say, I kept  my hands on the wheel and repeated to myself, "Don't look down,"  all the way up.  In the areas where I needed to pass someone, I either went to the inside or waited in a sufficiently wide area until there was  no one else on the road.  Here are some pictures.

     Although you can't see the road, this is the hill we are going to climb.  There really is a road!


This is the road to the one fenced overlook, by the bulge.  You can see a little of the road and fence.

Here is the overlook itself.  A nice wide turn and a good area to pass or let others pass.

And at last, the view from the top!!!  Boy was that a relief. 

    Once we had gathered our wits, and hooked up the car, we continued on.   We passed this area of a northern stretch of the Colorado River and Lake Powell, or what was Lake Powell.  You can see how most of this area that was once under water is now exposed.

     Then it was on to Goblin Valley State Park.  It's a favorite spot of Gary's sister, Pam and her husband, Jim.  They usually make reservations and camp there over Mother's Day weekend.  This is the second time we've joined them there.  It's fun place and this year I could hike with them among the goblins in the valley.  The picture below gives you a taste of it, but it is so big, it is hard to capture it in a photo.

     After several days there it was time for the last part of our trip to Evanston.  It's always exciting to get the first sighting of the snow on the Rockies.

     Driving  up Provo Canyon, we watch for Bridal Veil Falls.  This year I got a really good picture.

     We arrived in Evanston on May 13th and are parked at our daughter's house.  We've been enjoying catching up with family and old friends.  We took a ride out to Bear River State Park today to see the elk in velvet and the five baby bison (buffalo).  Another rite of Spring in Evanston.

     The one sad note to report is that we lost our beloved Rusty.  He traveled with us all 13 years of our fulltime adventure and visited all 48 lower states.  He dipped his paws in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Superior.  A seasoned traveler, he even visited Mexico City and Canada.  Rusty turned 15 years old last month and had gone downhill the last couple weeks until we felt that it was time.  As those of you with furry members of your family know, that is such a gut wrenching decision to make.  Finally on May 16th, Rusty crossed the Rainbow Bridge to join Spicy and run free again in the long grass.  He was such a joy and we treasure the memories he gave us.  Thanks to all of you who sent us notes on Facebook.  Here's a photo I found of  Rusty at one year old, a real charmer!

     That's it for now.  The next few weeks will be busy with two high school graduations and more catch up with kids, grandkids, and hopefully some great-grandkids.  We'll do some camping in the mountains in June and then head for Escapade in Gillette, WY.
     Until then we're Dancing Down the Road in Evanston.......................
     Love and hugs,  Katy, Gary, and Bandit