Our BIG Adventure…To Tonopah, NV…What a Trip…

April 3-4

    -Tonopah, NV Hotel & RV Park

We only stayed here 1 night. It’s kind of the ½ way point between Las Vegas & Carson City. It is just a dinky little town but we had a BIG adventure getting here!

When we left Vegas we had a full tank of fuel in the truck. There was only 1 gas station between Vegas & Tonopah. It was less than an hour outside Vegas. There’s a sign that lets you know it’s the ONLY station.

Now…because we ran out of fuel…in Texas…LAST summer…just 8 miles from a station, I kind of start bugging Georgie to get fuel when the tank gets around ½ full.

SOOOOO…I suggested we top off the tank at this 1 and only station. He said no, we could make it to Tonopah…no problem.

WELL…wouldn’t you know! Just 6 miles BEFORE Tonopah…only 6 miles…YEP! We ran out of fuel!!!

To say that I was a little pissed is putting it mildly! I just wanted to sit my FAT ASS in the truck & let him walk his HAPPY ASS 6 miles!!!

I couldn’t do that…even though I wanted to! We carry 3-5 gal. gas cans in the truck. I have suggested that maybe we should put 5 gals. of diesel fuel in 1…just in case. Oh no…why would we need that? Why he asks…REALLY!!

So…he started to walk. He didn’t even get 10 steps in front of the truck when a car pulled over, picked him up, took him into town…AND brought him back! They said they were headed to Vegas when they saw him so they turned around. What a lucky break! For me too…and the dogs. I guess we were all happy.

Anyway, we got into town, parked the rig in the only RV park in town, ate dinner…at the only restaurant in town, gambled for about an hour…at the only casino in town, then crawled into bed.

Back on the road first thing in the morning.


Kaibab National Forest in Williams, AZ…

March 15-29, 2017

We left Lake Havasu City, AZ and headed for Kaibab National Forest in Williams, AZ. www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab. This is the most beautiful place we have EVER stayed! We dry camped for 2 whole weeks and could have stayed longer but you are limited to a maximum 14 day period then you have to move at least 25 miles.

We found the perfect spot! We stopped at the Visitors Center in Williams when we got into town. The ladies were very knowledgeable about what the forest roads were like and which way we should head. The elevation is 7200 ft so there was still some snow in areas. Other areas were really wet since most of the snow had started to melt.


Our drive to our spot. And our spot. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! And it was pretty chilly…but beautiful! There was a small patch of snow when we got there. Tori and Annie didn’t know what to think. Annie seemed to enjoy it a little more than Tori. Annie has “bear paws” so we figured the cold didn’t bother her as much as it did Tori.

We were here a week. The snow had melted, the ground was starting to get more solid. We thought…we may be able to get the bikes out!

We woke up the next morning…7 ½ inches of snow! 7 ½ inches! You’ve gotta be f’ing kinding me! Luckily it melted in about 3 days but we were back to soft and muddy again. Still beautiful though! And the “girls” had a ball in the snow!

We decided we will definitely come back here but maybe a month later. But you never know.

Driving through Williams was almost like going back in time. They have 2 main roads and each one is a one-way street. A lot of nice shops, restaurants and breweries. We spent a Sunday down here just walking around…and eating.

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We didn’t see much wildlife like elk, deer, bear, etc. We saw a lot of fresh elk prints every morning. We saw a few deer running across the road one day on the way back to our campsite. There were some prints we couldn’t identify but they were big. Oh…the “girls” did drag some elk parts back…a leg with a hoof and a hip (we think).

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And on to Las Vegas…again…for 4 days.

A Stop in Lake Havasu City, AZ

March 12, 2017

Left Quartzsite,  AZ March 8 because it was heading into the upper 80’s, low 90’s this week.  Too hot for us to boondock.

We are staying in Havasu Falls RV Resort so we can “plug in” & have air conditioning. 

We were only going to stay 3 days but decided to stay for a week.  Trying to figure out where we’re going next.  

We want to continue boondocking so trying to map out areas that have temperatures in the low to mid 70’s.

We think when we leave we’ll head towards Flagstaff, AZ.  Not all the way yet as they’re still gettting snow.

Will keep you posted.

To Las Vegas…and Back….

January 30, 2017

We spent the week of January 20-27 in Las Vegas. Every year we spend Georgie’s birthday there. No different this year except we took our “home” with us. We stayed right on the strip at the RV Park at Circus Circus. (I thought I got some pictures of this park but I apparently did not).

We would definitely stay here again. The sites were a very nice size, easy in, easy out, convenience store, security and a very nice dog park.

As we left La Posa South LTVA the rigs were packing themselves in for the Quartzite RV Show. We still don’t understand why they all park so close to each other when there’s over 11,000 acres to park on.

On our way to Las Vegas we pulled off I-40 in Needles, CA to get some fuel. Man oh man! The price of diesel fuel was $3.74 a gallon. We have paid on average $2.55 a gallon.

Anyway, we pulled off exit 144 since there were 3 stations, a Mobil, Shell & Chevron. We pulled into Shell but realized we were on the wrong side of the pump. We went next door to the Chevron since the price was the same. As Georgie was pumping fuel a young man from Shell came over. He said he thought we had a broken shock. He could hear it when we pulled in and when we pulled out. He and Georgie got under the rig and I’ll be damned…there were 2 broken shocks! He said when we were done we could pull back over to Shell. He’d see what he could do.

We went back to Shell. They were a full service station. They jacked up one right side of the rig. The broken shock could not be repaired. We decided to have all 6 shocks replaced. One of the leaf springs was bent badly so we would have to replace that as well.

We couldn’t have been luckier…they had the shocks and the leaf spring in stock. How was that possible? We found out they have a contract with Penske trucks as well as Good Sam’s RV service. They have to be well stocked in order to keep these contracts.

The young man that came over initially was a licensed mechanic. We were in good hands.

The work done took over 3 ½ hours but they only charged us for 2 hours. As well they gave us a substantial discount on parts as well as another discount for a cash payment. The whole thing was just over $1000. Shocks with a lifetime warranty were used.

When we finally got back on the road we kept saying how lucky we were. Had this young man not come over we may have ended up in a world of shit. Lucky…that’s all we can say.

Because of this slight delay we didn’t get into Las Vegas until rush hour on a Friday night! Oh shit! This doesn’t look so bad but it really was! We made it because Georgie is an expert driver!

We had a great time in Vegas…as always! On Georgie’s birthday we had the breakfast buffet at Red Rock Casino…

And dinner at Batista’s…we love this place! We think they have the best Italian food in Vegas!

One of the best places we found in Las Vegas 14 years ago was Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop! They have the best subs we have ever eaten. We had subs from there 3 times this visit!

We arrived in Vegas a few days before our friends. We, of course, wanted to hit a few casino’s. Georgie decided we would head to Harrah’s. As we pulled into the parking garage there was a height limit. As you can see…WE BARELY MADE IT!!! And…Georgie went all the way to the 6th level with our antenna hitting EVERY SINGLE CONCRETE BEAM!!! It felt like if we happened to run over a small rock the top of the truck would have hit! I was ducking at every beam! He thought it was soooo funny!

As always, driving around Las Vegas there’s always “interesting” things to see. This is one we don’t remember seeing before.

I tried to talk Georgie into stopping here, Puppetry of the Penis! He just laughed and kept on driving.

We passed it a few times with Ray & Jackie during the week we were here…no other takers wanting to stop. Party Poopers!

On our way back to Arizona we passed fields of Joshua Trees that reminded us of our precious daughter-in-law, Ashley Bauman!

On one of our trips out here with the kids we were taking them to the Grand Canyon. We had rented an 8 person van. Ashley was in the very back between Brent & Brandon. We were on the road about 45 minutes when we noticed Ashley didn’t look so good. Apparently she gets car sick. And the fact she sat all the way in the back didn’t help. She never mentioned she gets car sick. Nobody said she was getting sick sitting back there.

Anyway, we pulled over, right in the middle of a huge Joshua Tree field. Ashley quickly got out of the van and made her way up a small hill, sat down, and tried to compose herself & not throw up. While she sat there the other kids roamed around, commenting on Joshua Tree’s.

The rest of the trip the kids made all kind of comments & jokes about Joshua Trees. (you probably had to be there) We laughed our asses off every time one of them made a joke about it!

When we got back to La Posa South BLM in Quartzite, AZ we were hoping our same site was unoccupied…it was! So happy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The check engine light had come on in the truck soon after we arrived in Quartzite. We took the truck to the Ford dealer in Blythe, CA (which is only 20 miles away). They said a vane was stuck in the turbo. They could repair it for around $3000. They also said it didn’t have to be done immediately. Georgie had been researching having the truck “bullet proofed”. There’s a guy in Atlanta that does it. It runs about $10,000 but it’s not actually “bullet proofing” but on the same order.

The real “bullet proofing” is done in Mesa, AZ by Bulletproof Diesel. They fabricate the major components used. We decided rather than spend $3000 to get 1 thing repaired we would spend the money and get it bulletproofed. Georgie got very lucky when he called to make an appointment. They had an opening February 13-17 (it takes 5 days for them to do it). Usually appointments are 4-6 weeks out. Mesa is on the east side of Phoenix, about 2 ½ hours from Quartzite, AZ.

We left for Mesa at 4:30 am since we had to be there at 7:30 am. Watching the local news every day it seems that I-10, the 101 & 202 loops always had major delays. We didn’t want to be late plus we had to stop at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix to pick up a rental car.

Side note on the rental car: We rented a Kia Soul (little hamster car) because our friends, Ray & Jackie, had rented one in Las Vegas. It was really comfy & had good get up & go! Since Georgie dropped me off to pick up the car…I was the only driver…FOR THE WHOLE WEEK! Yeah for me! I really miss driving more than I’ve been doing the past 9 months. Anyway…this car was really fun to drive & had plenty of room for Tori & Annie.

All went well. We picked up the truck Friday afternoon. Nice not to have to worry about something major going wrong for the next 200,000 miles!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Well…it’s time to “pick up stakes” and head a little further north. We’re going to head a couple of hours north to Lake Havasu City, AZ on Wednesday. I need to have something checked on my Harley. Desert Thunder Motorcycle Shop is there. Georgie had to have the volt meter changed on his & they were recommended. He was happy with their service, pricing and speed of the repair.

We were going to boondock for 2-3 days but decided it was going to be pretty warm, in the high 80’s so we are staying at Havasu Falls RV Resort for 3 days…ahhh…air conditioning! We’ll head north to maybe Kingman, AZ or Las Vegas (again) for a couple days. Not sure where to after that.

We were really sad to leave Quartzite as we had our own little piece of heaven since December 29, 2016 (except for the week in January…Vegas). We, unknowingly, were in the “nudist section” of La Posa South BLM. Yeah…our life was very quiet…and…we didn’t worry if we left the blinds open at night…ha, ha, ha!

Luray, Virginia…What a Gem!

September 26-28, 2016

Before I get started…VIRGINIA HAS A HELMET LAW!

We only stayed 2 days (at Jellystone RV Park http://campluray.com/rv-tent-campsites/#RVSITES, just outside of town).

We unloaded the Harley’s & decided to take a little ride through town.  This is definitely a 1 stop light town.

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As we’re cruising through town at 25 mph we passed a cop sitting in a parking lot off to the left.  We didn’t think anything about it.

We were almost to the end of town, which took less than 5 minutes, and Georgie noticed he was behind us.  No worries. 

We get to the end of town, pull in a parking lot to turn around, and the cop follows us.

We stop, turn off the bikes and get off.  He stops and gets out of his SUV.  Georgie asks, “Can I help you?”  The cop is smiling and says, “I saw you ride by me and I noticed you didn’t have helmets on.  I was sure Virginia still had a helmet law but thought maybe I was wrong.  I called the station to double check.  Yep, we still had a helmet law.”

Our faces drop, mouths wide open!  SHIT!  We had been so good about checking each state.  We had only been riding in states that didn’t have any helmet laws. (We don’t own any helmets any more)

The cop asked us if we can call someone to bring us helmets.  We explain that we were just visiting.  We didn’t know anyone here plus we didn’t own any helmets, that we were staying at Jellystone RV Park.

The 3 of us kind of chuckle.  He asked the same thing again.

Georgie asks him if he can just give us a warning. 

He takes our drivers licenses back to his car.  He comes back in a couple minutes.  He asks us the same thing…again.  Nope.  Nothing changed in the last few minutes.  We hadn’t met anybody in the last 3 minutes.  We still didn’t have any helmets.

He hands us our licenses and says, “I’m going to the station…this way (pointing to his right).  You go to your campground that way (pointing to his left).  I’ll leave 1st.”

Talk about luck!  We were damn lucky we got stopped by a really nice cop!

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We rode straight back to the campground and immediately loaded the bikes in the rig.  Done riding in Virginia.

And now…the reason we stopped in this little town. 

This is the little town of Luray, VA. (population 4,895)

http://www.townofluray.com/visitor-information.html

It sits in the Shenandoah Valley at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 90 miles west of Washington, DC, 10 miles east of I-81.

We traveled I-81 coming & going to Pennsylvania more times than I can count.  We never even heard of Luray or their famous caverns.  Guess we were always in a hurry.  Now that we are retired we have all the time in the world to pay more attention to all the sites…both well known and hidden gems…like Luray Caverns http://luraycaverns.com.

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It took us about 1 1/2 hours to go through the caverns.  It was hard to pick just a few pictures so I didn’t even try.  This is a MUST SEE if you are in the area.

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They also had this really nice antique car museum.  These aren’t all the cars by any stretch of the imagination, just some we thought were pretty cool!

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These are just a few of about 50+. 

 

NOW we’re headed to Florida…but this was a stop worth making!

A Year in Review….

It’s been a year since we started this Great American Adventure!  What a wild ride it’s been so far!
I unexpectedly quit my job of 22 years with a 30 minute notice.  Our plan to RV full time got moved up about 3 years.
George put his business up for sale.
We bought our 40′ 5th wheel toy hauler.  Sold everything we owned.  Sold our home of 20+ years & moved into our 5th wheel. 

sold 2015-04-28-11_16_41

 

 

We found a beautiful park to move the 5th wheel to, Timberlane RV Park & Resort http://timberlanervpark.com20160116_081559

 

 

We moved here November 1, 2015 and stayed until July 1, 2016.  George’s business sold & closed in June 2016.

While we were here the motor on our bedroom slide had to be replaced, the living room air conditioner had to be replaced,  we made some changes inside the rig…

before 20160213_155612

 

 

 

One of our Goldens, Daisy, passed away.  This happened in February.   We thought, maybe it would be easier to travel with just 1 golden retriever, Tori, and our cat, Alley.

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That lasted about a week!  Tori was depressed.  We were depressed.  We were a 2 dog family!  We started our search for another Golden.  Daisy was a rescue & was such a good girl we knew we only wanted another rescue.  We ended up with Annie…a goldendoodle!  She was not a rescue but an 8 week old puppy!  We were NOT prepared for a puppy!

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We prepared to take our first road trip…July, August & September.  We wanted to be back in Florida October, November & December.
We spent the next 2 weeks getting the rig ready.  George made an appointment to have the brakes checked on the rig as well as getting 6 new tires.  We took it to A & A Trailer in Bradenton, http://www.aandatrailerhitch.com.
They had the tires off & were checking the brakes.  The brakes were shot!  We not only had 6 new tires put on but we had to replace all 6 brakes!

old-trailer-brakes

 

 

 

 

While we were waiting for the brakes to come in our refrigerator stopped working.  We need a new refrigerator!
Finally…off to some of the western states!  Our 1st stop was St. Cloud, FL.  Our 2 boys & their families live here…5 minutes from each other.
Brent & Ashley (& Lyla) live on 5 acres east of St. Cloud. 

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He put in 50 amp service so we could park at his place.  It’s a 3 hour drive.  We going to stay 3 days…best laid plans!

While there our little Annie was playing outside with Tori, Zoe & Emma (Brent & Ashley’s 2 Goldens).  She ran, full speed, into the L pin on our front leveling jack!

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This is one expensive dog!  1 surgery & $1200 later…

 

 

Now…off to Colorado!

Ran out of fuel in Texas!

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July 15…made it to Cortez, CO!

Had to take Annie to a vet in Durango.  She had an infection where she had been stitched up.

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Another surgery, 2-3 visits for the next couple of weeks & $2000 later…  Plus an extra week’s stay…in Durango.

Found out our “gas tank” was leaking!  It supplies gas to the generator & also serves to fill the bikes if needed.  Patched it.

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Made the best of this unexpected stay…rode the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton & Ouray, CO!

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August 8…off to Cripple Creek, CO

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August 16…off to Cheyenne, WY. 

WAIT!  Only made it to Colorado Springs.  The brakes on the truck were smoking!  BAD!  Had to get new brakes on the truck so we spent 3 days in Colorado Springs.  Made the best of it.  Got to ride up Pike’s Peak!

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August 19…now we’re off to Cheyenne, WY.

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August 26…on to Keystone, SD (Mt. Rushmore)  Took some fantastic rides…Sturgis & Deadwood, Custer State Park, Needles Highway & Iron Mountain Road!

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September 5…headed to Morton, IL to see my best friend…Julie Cleveland!

(More on this & rest of our trip in separate blogs…soon I hope)  We had reservations at Carl Spindler State Park outside of Morton September 8-11. 

We decided to really take our time getting there.  Decided to stop in Waterloo, IA for a couple days.  Ready to head out on the 7th but…the bar that runs across the leveling jacks broke so we couldn’t hook up!  Ended up there until September 9th waiting on the part then installing it!

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September 9…another delay but finally got to Morton, IL around 7pm.

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September 12…on to Pennsylvania to see our daughter & her family for a couple weeks.

She, Fid & the girls had just moved into their new log home a couple days before we got there…oh yeah!  Poor kids. 20160925_185331

 

 

They also had a 50 amp service so we hooked up there a few steps from their place.

September 26…off to Luray, VA…to see the Caverns!  Spent 2 days!  This is a must see!

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September 30…made it back to Timberlane RV Park in Bradenton, FL.  Here until January 1, 2017 but will probably leave December 17 & head over to St. Cloud for an early Christmas with the boys & their families then on to….somewhere between there & Las Vegas, NV!  Meeting our friends, Ray & Jackie, January 22-26 for a well deserved “Vegas Fix”!

Thinking we may not come back to Florida until November for a couple of months.  October this year was SO hot!

Our Adventures in South Dakota…

August 26 – September 5, 2016

Left Cheyenne, WY and got to the Black Hills the same day.  We stayed in Keystone, SD (pop. 347) Pictures of Keystone, SD 2016 and camped at Holy Smoke RV Park.
Holy Smoke RV Park.
This was really a nice little park about 5 miles from Mt. Rushmore, National Park Service Mount Rushmore.  We took some really cool rides while we were here.

More Pictures of Mt. Rushmore, SD
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We rode to Sturgis, SD (pop. 6,883) & Deadwood, SD (pop. 1,270).

Sturgis, Sturgis Website, was just a dinky little town.  Maybe 1 stop light at the most.  I think the biggest business there was the Harley dealership.  We were there the week after the rally (thank God!)  The population in this little 2 horse town grows to over 1/2 million people for this one week!  I don’t even like a crowded elevator!  We’ve been to Bike Week in Daytona Beach, several times.  This is a much, much larger city (pop. 61,000) and they get around 1/2 million people for this!  There’s a lot more room to put that many people!

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Deadwood, Deadwood Website, on the other hand was an old, national historic landmark.  The cemetery, Mount Moriah Cemetery, is where Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, as well as other notable wild west outlaws are buried.
There’s a museum, plenty of gaming halls & casino’s, a gold mine and quite a few places to eat & shop.  20160828_130500
The HBO series, Deadwood, was based on this little town.  When talking to some of the local’s, they said that HBO spent quite a bit of time there doing research on the true history as well as the original saloon where Wild Bill was shot.  The series buildings were modeled after the buildings in town.  Pretty cool.

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We took a ride through Custer State Park, South Dakota Custer State Park.  Beautiful!  We came across a herd of about 200 wild bison.  We had to stop as they walked across the rode…coming very, very close to my bike.  I think I might have shit a little in my jeans.  I didn’t move!  They just meandered by in no hurry at all!
Georgie took a ride the next day by himself (I didn’t mind a little “alone time”).  He called after being gone an hour or so and could hardly speak.  He had been almost trapped by 1000 or so bison!  He said one stopped right in front of his bike and just gave him the hairy eyeball!  He wasn’t sure what to do.  It finally walked off but left him a little nervous.

We rode Needles Highway, Black Hills Needles Highway, part of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, Highway 87.  This road was way too cool!  Only motorcycles or small cars could fit through some of the tunnels…like threading a needle.

More Needles Highway…

Also on our list of rides there was Iron Mountain Road (16A), http://www.allblackhills.com/scenic_drives/iron_mountain_road.php.  It was part of Custer State Park.

 

 

Cheyenne, WY…a Quaint “Little” Town…

Friday, August 19 to August 26, 2016

Made it to Cheyenne, WY. Only a 3 ½ hour drive from Colorado Springs. We stayed at the “famous” Terry Bison Ranch for a week. http://www.terrybisonranch.com

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We saw Bison, Camels, Antelope & Deer. They have a great Steakhouse there as well as Tombstone Café that serves breakfast and lunch.

 

Cheyenne (population 64,000) isn’t a big city. It has a small town feel. There is a historic downtown that’s pretty cool.

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There’s an old Union Pacific train station that is now Accomplice Beer Company. http://www.accomplicebeer.com

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A lot of the original floors and walls are still there. The Union Pacific train runs right behind here. While we were there 5 trains passed. 3 of them stopped to change train engineers.

There is a state museum. http://wyomuseum.state.wy.us

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We spent a couple of hours there. We didn’t realize there was so much history in Wyoming. They found dinosaur bones. A lot of them. As well several Indian tribes, cowboys, etc.

 

We took Tori & Annie swimming at Lion’s Park http://www.cheyenne.org/listing/lions-park/60

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It was 59 degrees out. (not sure of the water temperature) I thought I was going to have to go in and get them. We’d call them, they’d get close to shore, then out they’d go again! They swam for about 45 minutes and loved it.

 

We went somewhere every day. There was always somewhere to go and something different to see.

And On and On and On…Our Time in Cripple Creek, CO

We wanted to ride the Harley’s up Pike’s Peak so we thought we’d find a place to stay in or close to Colorado Springs.  We called every campground around there…Woodland Park, Divide, Colorado Springs, etc., etc., etc.  They were all full until at least mid August.  We figured school would be starting soon so everyone & their brother were taking their last camping trips before school starts.

We don’t book in advance since we don’t know where we’ll be or how long we want to stay someplace.

 

August 8, 2016

 

Left Durango.

We ended up in Cripple Creek, CO.  It’s an old gold mining town.  Before the Gold Rush, this town had a population of 15.  At the height of the Gold Rush the population soared to over 50,000.  The current population is under 12,000. We were extremely pleased with this quaint little town!

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Downtown Cripple Creek                                Wild Burro’s                    Town of Cripple Creek

 

We went to the Molly Kathleen Gold Mine.

They put you in the original elevators the miners took us down 1000 ft.  There were only 6 of us in these but they said 9 miners were in these each time they went down.

We were less than 1/2 way down.  There were many mines below us, 1200 ft below us!  The mine has 22 levels.  We were at level 10.

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20160814_11175920160814_11482620160814_11564420160814_11572520160814_12185420160814_12323920160814_123419Gold mine map