Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Homecoming

Bill and I are back in Yellowstone, and yes, it feels like a homecoming.  Our friends, Rich and Ronda, were already in the RV park when we arrived on Sunday.  We hadn't seen each other since last fall, so we had a great time catching up and checking out their three-week-old Itasca motorhome.  They traded in their 15 year old Bounder and have a beautiful new rig.  We are so happy for them.

On Monday the four of us stopped by the Xanterra administrative offices before heading into the park.  We wanted to say hello and let our bosses know we have arrived.  It really was  like a homecoming.  When folks heard our voices, they came out of surrounding offices for a hug and a "welcome back."  It does feel like home.  It's nice when people seem genuinely happy to see us!

Bill and I have been into the park twice since arriving.  (Pre-season we spend a few weeks staying in an RV park in Gardiner, MT, just outside Yellowstone's north entrance.)  Each year I have to take this picture to show we really are early arrivers:

Here are some random shots taken in the park.  The first thing we noticed was the total lack of snow!  Normally, the ground is completely covered in snow, but not this year.

A pair of Sandhill Cranes: 
 A beautiful Pronghorn who posed willingly for this picture:
 Believe it or not, this is Lamar Valley sans snow.

One thing we love about being in the park this time of year…we have it all to ourselves….well, except for the bison.

 Nobody in their right mind would try to enter with this guy on guard.
 And what would a day in Yellowstone be without encountering a bison jam?  Here is our first of many, I'm sure.

Tomorrow morning Bill and I make it official and check in with Human Resources.  We will then go to work…Bill in the Computer Center and me in Campgrounds.  I'll be working to get everything ready to start training our first campground, who checks in on April 17.  And Bill will be installing computers and pulling cable to get Yellowstone up and running for the 2015 season.  It's going to be a blast!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lick Wash Hike - Kanab, UT

We did a short 75 mile drive from Glen Canyon to Kanab, UT.  Bill and I have never stayed in Kanab, just driven through.  So, we picked the best rated privately owned RV park and pulled in.  All I can say is that I am glad we got here early.  There were just two sites available that could accommodate us, and we had to park the truck in their overflow parking area.  The owner said this is the busiest spring she's seen in 18 years…interesting.

We are reminded, once again, of why we don't like privately owned RV parks.  The folks are friendly enough, but we are packed in like sardines.  There is barely enough room between rigs to open the slides.  Plus, remember when I posted about removing the sofa and building in a desk area…facing our big back window so we could enjoy the view?  Well, we've gone from having a beautiful view of Lake Powell to a view of Hwy 89A, a four-lane highway with traffic running all night.

Oh, well, we are here for a reason.  We stopped by the BLM Visitor Center to get hiking information.  The Ranger gave us a great map of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and after a little research on the computer, we selected to hike the Lick Wash.

First we had to drive 16 miles down Johnson Canyon Road, a beautiful drive down a paved road.
And then we entered Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  We've never been in this portion of the monument, so we were excited to check it out.

After the 16 miles of paved road, we drove another 15 miles on a dirt road.  As far as dirt roads go, this one wasn't too bad.  Fortunately, the trailhead was well marked.


It was an easy, mostly level, trail that was actually the wash.  It began nice and wide.

 And then we were walking between high walls, and the trail became narrow in some spots.  With all the shadows and sunlight, I found it difficult to take good pictures.  These pictures do not do the place justice.
 We saw our first bit of snow.  We felt like we were walking through a refrigerator.  It was a bit chilly.

Did I say it got a little narrow in places?
The scenery was just beautiful, and we had the place all to ourselves most of the day.



I was intrigued by the variety of colors of the rocks.  I tried to capture it in this picture…there were pinks, purples, yellows and, of course, white and gray.


This is our view as we headed out of the canyon.  We did about 9-miles total, making a nice day hike.

I saw this posted in a camera shop we visited in Kanab:
 "A portrait photographer tries to improve his subject, while a landscape photographer tries to do his subject justice."
There's a lot of truth to that statement!

I hate that we had time for just one hike while in Kanab.  However, it did whet our appetite and we hope to return.

Today we are heading to Nephi, UT for an overnight.  We just learned that President Obama is in Salt Lake City, so we don't want to get any closer to the city and have to deal with possible traffic, etc.  And, yes, our summer-like weather seems to be over.  Yesterday was cool and breezy (perfect for hiking), but this morning it was 34 degrees when we got up…had to kick the furnace on.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Playing Tourists in Page, AZ

Bill and I are staying, once again, in Wahweap Campground in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area just outside Page, AZ.  This is one of our favorite spots…our site is a huge concrete pull-thru with full hook-ups.  They're proud of their sites too, at $44.11 per night, including a 10% AARP discount.  (Bill never joined AARP, but I did as soon as I turned 50 to take advantage of the discounts.  There should be something good about turning 50…right?)

We have visited this area often but have never explored the town of Page (except for the Walmart and Safeway).  Thanks to TravelAdvisor.com, I discovered there is a John Wesley Powell Museum in town.  The reviews said it was a small but good museum, so we decided to check it out.
Bill did a wonderful job of parking our F350 dually in a tiny parking lot for "museum visitors only."  We go in, and this is what we see:

Our full timing friends, Art and Connie, visit LOTS of museums.  I was looking forward to telling them Bill and I visited one, too.  Oh well…maybe next time.

Not to be discouraged, we stopped by the Glen Canyon Visitor Center and inquired about a tour of the dam.  They had spots available on the 1:30 tour.  We put our name on the list and came back at 1:15 to pay our $9.00 and get our tickets.  Such a deal at $9.00…$5.00 for me and $4.00 for Bill (he got a senior discount.)

The group gathered and went down an elevator 100 feet to begin the tour.  We walked out on the dam itself.

Here is the bridge crossing the Colorado River.  We had never seen it from this side before.  This bridge was the first thing built before the construction of the dam began in 1957 to have a means to get supplies across the river.  Prior to this bridge being built, it was a 200 mile drive to get across the Colorado River.

After exploring along the top of the dam, we took the elevator down another 530 feet.  We were actually inside the concrete dam.
Now this is definitely a view of the bridge we had never seen.
 And this is the generator room.  There are 8 generators that create electricity.   Canyon dam also serves as a water reservoir and provides water to California, Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.  As Rachel, our tour guide, told us, "as long as there are people living in the southwest, dams like this one will always be needed."  

Here we are, looking up at the dam. 

And then the 45 minute tour was over. 

Bill and I both found this tour very interesting.  If you're in the area, you might want to check it out.

We didn't know wildlife would be included in our tour, and I can't promise you will have any, but check out this bat….
Tomorrow we are heading over to Kanab, UT to spend a few days. At just 75 miles, this is one of the shortest drives we've ever done.  And looking at the forecast it seems our summer weather is coming to an end.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

And They're Off!

Well, almost…Bill and I will pull out Monday morning.  In my last post when I said we'd be pulling out on April 1, I had a feeling we'd be leaving a few days earlier.  On Wednesday of last week we fulfilled our remaining commitments…dentist appointments, hair cuts, etc.  Since we wanted to go to church once more, we decided we would leave on Monday.

I don't normally talk religion on the blog; however, if you find yourself in the Benson/Sierra Vista area of Arizona, and if you want to be inspired, encouraged, and yes, challenged in your Christian walk, do yourself a favor and visit Calvary Chapel Sierra Vista.  I hate that we will miss the Easter service next week, but work calls!  We can always watch it on the computer, if we have good wi-fi.

Bill has been busy getting the truck and rig ready to roll.  He checks the tire pressure and cleans the truck inside and out.  The outside of the rig will get washed once we get to Gardiner, since we always have "weather" to drive through.

While Bill was busy outside, I've been busy inside…cleaning.  Everything looks so good!  The last thing on my list is to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the road.  (The second pan is in the oven as we speak.)  Bill really likes his chocolate chip cookies.  And, just like the banana walnut muffins I made recently, these cookies are grain free and sugar free.  You can't really compare them to a "Toll House" Chocolate Chip Cookie, but they are pretty good.  With the health benefits Bill and I have gained since removing grains and sugar from our diet, it is well worth it to us!

The truck is packed and ready to go.  All we have to do is hook-up the rig!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

More Home Improvements

Bill blames it on watching too much of the HGTV and DIY channels on TV.  He may be right…watching those home improvement shows can be inspiring.

I posted earlier about the desk area we built across the back of our fifth wheel.  Well, we didn't stop there.  We bought a new memory foam mattress for the bed and new recliners for the living room.  And just a few days ago, we had the carpet cleaned.

After we had the desk area in and knew we wanted to get rid of the sofa, Bill placed a Craigslist ad.  In the past, we've had very good luck with Craigslist, and this time was no different.  We gave away sold the sofa, coffee table, two end tables and the love seat.  We didn't get much money, but our main goal was to get rid of the furniture, and we did.

However, we still had almost a week before we could pick up our new La-Z-Boy love seat in Tucson.  Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to get of the old love seat, we simply brought our LaFuma recliners inside.  At least they kept us off the floor.

 And here is our new La-z-Boy love seat.  Each side reclines independently, and the size is perfect!
We have really changed the look of our fifth wheel.  And, in case you were wondering, those are banana-walnut muffins cooling on the wire rack on the island.  The muffins are grain-free and sugar-free and made with almond flour and coconut flour…but that's another story for another day.
Tomorrow we are pulling the rig to LaMesa RV in Tucson for its annual check-up.  We are getting the wheel bearings repacked and the brakes checked/adjusted.  I have read many bad comments on-line about LaMesa.  All I can say is they have treated us well.  We bought our Cameo from them, and they have been the only facility to service it.

While the Cameo is being serviced, we are taking the truck to a nearby Ford dealer for an oil change.

Wow, it sounds as if we are getting ready to hit the road.  Our planned departure date is April 1…unless we get a little antsy.  Only time will tell.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Simplify

In an effort to simplify our web presence, Bill and I have decided to take down our webpage (www.billandcap.com).  We haven't updated it in years,  and there are other webpages out there providing a lot of great (and more current) fulltiming information.

If you access our blog via the webpage, please bookmark this page instead.

I will continue to post to this blog and am always willing to answer questions about our fulltiming experience.