Saturday, January 9, 2021

Utah, Colorado River, Estes Park, Colorado, Nebraska

It has been more than 6 months since our last posting. Some of you may wonder where we have been and where are we now.
The last part first. We are now in Maine, on the coast. Living in our first winter in 15 years. Lady Blue is comfortably resting further north , winterized in mid November and eagerly awaiting reawakening sometime in April. Sadly, we will not be seeing our friends in Quartzsite this year. Next year? Who knows.
The picture above is heading east on Route 70 in Utah, mile marker 104, Salt Wash View. 

Above is the view further along , heading down onto the plain.

The highway is cut through the rock. A little idea from the semi in front of us. Lady Blue has good brakes.

Before too long we are crossing the line into Colorado.

Further along, we come across Dillon Reservoir. We are so not in Utah anymore.  There are some wonderful National Forest Campgrounds here, but it only was early June and the campgrounds were closed.  Also we are well into Covid 19 restrictions.

Another view from Dillon

Following along the Clear Creek and Eagle River  through super green hills.

Early June is very quiet at Vail.  Still some snow on the slopes

Passing the town of Vail and the slopes

Close by also is Copper Mountain Ski Area

No sign of activity though.

Route 7 is also know as Peak to Peak Scenic Byway heading north to Estes Park.

There are wonderful stops along the Peak to Peak. From this view coming into Estes Park, there are view of Mount Meeker and this one we believe is Longs Peak 14,255 feet.

In Estes Park we stay at the KOA with beautiful mountain views.
Due to Covid 19, the access to Rocky Mountain Park was limited. Visitor Centers were closed and tours were only by appointment.

Heading southeast from Estes Park, following the river and Route 34 and the Big Thompson River.

The river is down there between the cabin and the highway.

Route 34 is a narrow windy, but scenic road towards Loveland.

Marsha and Mark , a narrow highway with some serious elevation. Yet, the bicyclists push on.

We had stopped again in Brush, Colorado. There is a wonderful city park there that used to be free for the first night.  Unfortunately , not so any more, but still very reasonable at $25 per night. Last year the second night was $10.  Quite a change with the huge drop in elevation from Estes Park in Colorado to this campground in Nebraska next to a huge cornfield.  We held onto our seats as the winds ranged up to 70 miles an hour over night.

A note to our friends.  We had hit the Covid restrictions starting out of Nevada and then severely restricting our moves in Utah. In the previous blogs you note we spent months on the mesas in Utah. Beautiful , but not the trip to the Grand Tetons we had planned. That being said, we were happy to stay healthy as the pandemic pushed on. Rving was one of the safest ways to move. 
We headed east into Ohio and then into Pennsylvania to one of our favorite campgrounds , Ives Run COE . While there, Jan came down with a stomach flu that lasted one day. The next day she was feeling much better, but was short of breath on our walks and her appetite was unusually small.  
We did not think too much about it as we headed into New York and then Maine to our favorite private campground.  Since Jan still was short of breath and low on appetite we made an appointment at our health care spot.  
When they heard Jan's problem, they sent us on to one of their bigger clinics in Portland, Maine where they could test better. Of course, at this time they first tested for Covid and there was no sign of Covid. A check on the stethoscope and the nurse decided an EKG was a good plan because she was hearing a little afib and increased heart rate.  She consulted with an onsite doctor and they both insisted we head to Maine Medical Hospital in Portland.  
This was interesting because we were still using Lady Blue and this was downtown Portland. But the access from the highway to the emergency room was very easy and clear. 
Of course, the hospital was observing strict Covid procedures which meant that I was not allowed to be with her while they checked. The doctors quickly checked and listened and after a while determined a catscan was necessary.  The catscan revealed what they called an Aortic Dissection. Basically, a tear in the aorta that allowed blood to escape , the heart rate to go up.
The doctors consulted with Jan and then called me to indicate that an
 immediate operation was necessary , or an extreme risk of stroke, heart attack, and death.  That really grabbed our attention! 
The doctor indicated that he had his whole team there and they were operating on someone else at the moment, but they would schedule Jan in for an immediate open heart surgery to repair the tear.
And so they did. The doctors were great. The Covid restrictions were tough, but I did get to see Jan after the surgery at 7am the next morning. Also , a big help was the staff who were great. I had parked Lady Blue in the large hospital lot overnight.
Bottom line.
Jan is doing great! We chilled a bit for the summer, but Jan made a very quick recovery, walking 2 to 4 miles by the end of summer.
We decided to stay in Maine because of Covid. A number of the states we would have to pass through were doing a very poor job of handling the pandemic. Maine was and is doing a very good job, even though the numbers are up.
Also, as an added note, we are building a house in Maine that will put us closer to our kids and grandkids. Much better once Covid eases .  We hope all of you are well and share our hellos with everyone at Quartzsite. We are already missing all of you.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs,BLM Land, Cedar City, Utah

This Monday will mark 3 weeks here at BLM Land above the Parowan Gap near Cedar City, Utah.  A number of people have visited here to look at the Petroglyphs.  You can almost read their minds, trying to place themselves almost 2,000 years ago.

The signage is great here, explaining the geography and Native American history.  200 million years ago the bedrock lifted up through the wind swept sand dunes that covered much of Utah. An ancient river flowed across the land. As the bedrock layers lifted, the river cut through them. Changing climate dried the river and the Gap became a Wind Gap.

Looking back from the north side , snow covered mountains, app. 10,000 feet or so.

Indian tribes lived here for the past 12,000 years. However, the petroglyphs were created by the Paiutes around 500A.D. Interestingly , the symbols used were mostly universal to all Indian tribes throughout America.

Click Pictures to Enlarge
Above: Remember that the icon language was known to most tribes. The upside down bulb represents the leader , who is dead. The gray line represents the travel to this area( a crack in the rock) Other petroglyphs show the sun, the fields, rain and lack of rain, the seasons, and more.  Also, there are different interpretations , even by the experts.

For example: showing the Equinox, and multiple solstice. Showing the valley, narrows , and cairns ;rather than the head and neck.

One interpretation is three figures(upper left), another that they are the three moons of winter.

Before the water dried up for farming, note the abundance of wildlife. Including bighorn sheep, antelope, rabbits, and squirrels. Also , besides harvesting wild crops, they grew corn and other crops.

Some of the circular coils represented various tribes. This is sacred ground for the Paiute and Hopi.

The above crosses might represent birds in flight or tracks. The signs indicate that 
golden eagles, peregrine and prairie falcons, red tailed hawk, and great horned owls live here. We did see a large hawk on one of our hikes.

Seemingly tentatively balanced boulders at the Gap.

Jan on one of the dirt roads leading from the Gap.

Bruce on one of our hikes above the Gap.

Short video from a hike above our camping spot.

A different video from above our area.

Our version of Full Time Rver Social Distancing.

And while relaxing in Lady Blue, a family passes by on a horse ride. Looks like Dad and young son in front. Giving an extra horse some exercise on a lead, And perhaps a daughter on her own horse.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Snowbird Mesa, Overton, Nevada; Interstate 15 north into Utah, Parowan Gap BLM land, Cedar City, Utah

Above is our spot at Snowbird Mesa in Overton, Nevada; just a few miles up the road from Valley of Fire State Park(which is closed for Covid19).  

We were here for 32 days. As many of you fully realize, the parameters of the Covid19 shutdowns kept changing almost daily. It became suggested and expected that customers would wear masks in the stores, so Jan and I looked up how to fold a mask. Jan's was from a dishtowel(note butterflies) and mine (not shown) was from a blue bandana.  Being fulltime RVers, we do not have an option(out here on BLM land) of food delivery, UPS,Fedex,etc. So we have to mingle with other people at a dump station, propane station, grocery store, and laundry. Luckily Overton was a small town and had no Covid 19 cases(as far as anyone knew)while we were there.

A bonus of our stay was being ably to catch Prickly Pear blossoms and other plants as well.

These tiny flowers pop up among the rocks. The blossoms are smaller than a dime.

Not sure of the name, but this plant has a sage like color with beautiful blue/purple flowers. Could be a variation of Schott's Dalea or a Lupine.

Look close!!!
The little guy--about 5 to 7 inches long is a Horned Lizard. We would see a number of these every day, but only after they moved. They would blend perfectly with the rocks and seemed to be like chameleons in adjusting their own color.
Southern Desert Horned Lizards

The plant above we thought was definitely an alien from outer space or a 1960's sci-fi movie.  But it is a Desert Trumpet.
Very strange!

This picture is taken from our longer walk over on Poverty Flats Mesa. You can see that Lady Blue is being very conscientious about Social Distancing.

It was a beautiful clear evening for the Supermoon on April 7th.
With the RVs at the bottom of the picture, you have an idea how large it seemed in Nevada.

32 days on Snowbird Mesa. The first few weeks were quite pleasant with cool evenings and days in the 70's or low 80's and about 7 to 12 per cent humidity. Some heavy showers would pop up and some very,very strong winds(50 to 60mph) But then around April 20th, it started to get much warmer. By April 24th, we were looking at temps close to 100 degrees and staying fairly warm at night. When we saw a forecast for April 29th of 103 to 105 degrees, we decided it was time to try to find another place.  Remember that we are boondocking on the mesa--no electricity, sewer, or water. We had a great 4000 watt generator on board, but you do not want to run it all day and night.  So we checked and saw a possibility of BLM land northwest of Cedar City, Utah at the Parowan Gap Petroglyphs. The elevation at Snowbird Mesa in Overton was around 1200 feet and the elevation at the Petroglyphs is 5500 feet. The difference in the temperature forecast is a comfy mid 80's for April 29 versus 103 degrees for Overton. We decided to try it. We head north out of Overton on Route 169 and then north on Interstate 15. It does not take long to begin a climb(in a small northwest section of Arizona).

Another scenic highway in the west, cutting through some rugged mountains.

We see that this road follows the Virgin River and the Virgin River Recreation Area. You can see the muddy brown river below.
Virgin River Recreation Area info via Trip Advisor
Note that the above link was through Trip Advisor which gave us a number of beautiful pictures. Try another search if it does not work for you. if you sign up for Trip Advisor you will get emails.

Beginning to see some of the red rock associated with Utah.

This part of the highway easily follows the river and valley created over thousands of years ago.

In Utah, we begin to see natural grasslands, Juniper trees and snow covered mountains ranging from 6700 feet to 11,300 feet.

A number of stops have been necessary, including dumping tanks, filling with water and propane, and also some grocery shopping. Eventually we reach Cedar City, happily fill with much less expensive gas($2.12 per gallon) and head out on Route 130 towards the Gap.

Thousands of years and an ancient river cut through the rock here. The river dried up, but the petroglyphs are still here.  Pictures coming in the next blog.

Lady Blue is quite happy with her new spot!

The view above us includes a picturesque hiking/atv road, and views of the high snow cover mountains.

Much happier with 70's and 80's weather. The nights drop into the 40's but quickly warm up to the 60's in the morning. When it was 105 degrees in Overton, Nevada, we had mid 80's here and then cooling nicely overnight.  Ahead the forecast is low to mid 70's which is fine with us!  Still trying to find out what our plan might be for May and June. Alison sent us a link for Maine that indicates strict closures into May and 14 day self quarantine for all of June. The restrictions on private campgrounds are still not clear and state park openings are still not clear. Same still for New Hampshire and Massachusetts and Rhode Island and Connecticut.  

Many miles available to hike! And all with beautiful Utah views.