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!

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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!

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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

 

 

Our Ride to Silverton and Ouray, CO

Monday, August 1, 2016

Moved from Cortez, CO to Durango, CO for 2 reasons.  1st, Annie still had to see the Vet in Durango.  2nd, we wanted to ride the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton then on to Ouray.

Got settled into our new park, Alpen Rose RV Park by 2pm.  20160803_175622 20160803_180542 Alpen Rose RV Park Durango

 

 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Well…we left the rig at 9:15 am to ride the Million Dollar Highway.

Before I go any further you have to know that I have only ridden in Florida…it’s very, very flat!  Very flat!  We have to look hard to find a road with curves and rarely find hills let alone mountains.

Anyway, we got to Silverton at 11:15 am.  It was only 41 miles but it took us 2 hours!  Parts of this road were terrifying!!  No shoulders on some parts and NO GUARDRAILS…ON 20160802_115511 20160802_115441 20160802_115352 20160802_115320SWITCHBACKS, some were double switchbacks!!!!  I mean to tell you…when you looked down…you couldn’t see the bottom. 20160802_124704

Georgie decided he would pull over at an overlook…on a huge incline…on a curve!  I just kept on going!  Again…are you f***ing kidding me?  I pulled over about ¾ of a mile further…where it was a little more level.  He caught up.  He said, “What the hell!  I thought you’d want to take some pictures.”  “NOT THERE!” I said.  Maybe on the way back…where the overlooks where on the side where there were mountains…not humongous cliffs.

When we stopped in Silverton, Georgie said to me, “did you see blah, blah, blah?”

“Are you f***ing kidding me!  I kept my eyes straight ahead!  I wasn’t looking at anything but the road on those curves!”

20160724_11083220160802_113356 20160802_113838 20160802_112203 20160724_110931 20160724_113016 20160724_105358We walked around Silverton for about an hour.  Picked up a couple of Harley shirts then back on the bikes to head on up to Ouray, another 25 miles north…on the same road…with more switchbacks…double switchbacks…a lot of them!

We didn’t even stop in Ouray.  We just turned around to head back…because the sky was black as coal…it was going to rain.  Georgie wanted to stop, I said no way!  And get caught in the rain, on this road…with all the switchbacks…and no guardrails!

I’ll bet if I said it once I said it a hundred times on the way up…to myself but out loud…HOLY F***!!!

It wasn’t as bad going back. We got back to Silverton without hitting rain.  We stopped for gas.  Talked to a few people on bikes going both directions.  They asked how it was.  Good thing they talked more to Georgie than me.  I did say it wasn’t bad coming back.

We left Silverton and headed home.  The sky was still very black.  Georgie, as usual, said we’d be fine.  The rain was behind us.  WRONG!  It started raining, a little, about 20 minutes in.  Not too bad.  Well…it just got worse and worse.  It was howling and very cold!  I worked out ok for me though.  I was more worried about just seeing the road rather than the curves…or the speed limit.  It felt like sleet hitting our faces.  I was sure I would have bruises on my face.  I didn’t.

We were about 23 miles from home when George pulls over on the shoulder.  It’s still raining mind you.    As we’re riding at 60 mph his bike shuts off.   He got it running in about 5 minutes and it ran fine.  Never did figure it out.

It finally stopped raining about 15 miles from home.  The sun came out and dried our jeans.  Now they were clean I thought.  Good thing we had our leather jackets on ‘cause it was really cold riding, not to mention the freezing cold rain.

I kept thinking, if I could ride this road, especially in this kind of weather, I could ride any road!  Bring it on!!

A Little “Ditty” We Kept Passing Between Cortez, CO & Durango, CO…

20160721_110747Abandon Sinclair Gas Station

37001 US 160          Mancos, Colorado 81328

 

 

You can’t miss this huge “toxic site” on the drive along Highway 160 in between Mesa Verde and Mancos/Durango.
The signs warning about toxic contamination and blaming the state of Colorado for a massive fuel spill are pretty jarring.
Located on Highway 160 in between Mesa Verde National Park and the town of Mancos, CO is a former Sinclair gas station and “Wild Wild Rest” general store. All that remains, however, is a shell of the station and store and a contaminated plot of land after residual fuels flowed from gasoline storage tanks into the ground during a tank removal process in 2006.
Frustrated by the perceived inaction of both the gas station’s operator and the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety, land owner Ray McCarty placed signs–bracketed by skull-and-cross bone flags and graphics–declaring the area a “Massive Petroleum Spill, Toxic Site,” a “State-Chemical Landfill,” and warning “Benzene, Cancer Hazard” in 2013.  

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