Sue and Mo at Harris Beach

Sue and Mo at Harris Beach
Sue and Mo at Harris Beach

Friday, May 18, 2007

Traveling West to Colorado and Utah

Transcribed from our old red leather journal in April of 2011

May 18th, 2007

Lincoln 093 Once we arrived at Edna’s place things got a bit strange for a time. Her dog got all upset about Abby being there and piddled on the floor. Edna acted like it was because of Abby, but as time progressed it became clear that the dog has been doing this at other times. It surely was a bit uncomfortable for a time though. Then the homeowner’s association had a problem with the MoHo being in front of the house and we had to move it to another area.

On Thursday we all had breakfast with Edna and Tom and visited with his mom a bit before we went for a walk with Abby in the Bear Creek green belt. Edna took a nap then and Mo and I decided to take the bikes and go for a bike ride. We left Abby in the car and of course she barked, but it was out of the way so hopefully it didn’t bother anyone. The bike ride was really beautiful,Lincoln 105 and the trail went for many miles along the creekside, though neighborhoods and around a golf course to the dam. We went back home and waited for the big dinner that Edna has planned for the family at a local restaurant. It was a nice restaurant, but very very loud and we were seated in a long table fashion so no one could really talk to anyone very easily. We were glad to get home. Mo and I told Edna that we would be leaving very early the next morning so we didn’t plan to get together for breakfast.

Up Friday morning feeling free and wonderful because we knew that we didn’t have any more people to please and that we were now totally on our own. We drove west over I-70 and really enjoyed the views of the mountains, the stop along the Colorado river and the feeling of getting back out west. We got to Torrey in the early evening and found our little camp ground with a site at the edge of the park and a view of the cliffs. We had to move the next day but that first night it didn’t matter to us. Slept like babies again in that place.

Lincoln 007 Lincoln 002 Saturday morning we got up early and headed west on 24 to 72 to go north to the turnoff for Cathedral Valley. It was a good thing I knew about where the turn was because it wasn’t marked at all along the highway. The air over the valley was pretty smoky, in fact all the west seemed fairly smoky and we couldn’t figure out where it was all coming from. Maybe southern California? The road over Thousand Lakes Mountain was much better than it used to be and I carried the gourd with Shera’s ashes over the mountain while we took photos and really enjoyed the views. The Cathedral Valley campground was completely empty and there wasn’t another car on the road in the entire area. We parked at the base of the trail and since no one was around we were able to take Abby on the hike to the mound where I spread Shera’s ashes in the perfect place where I know that she wanted them. It was a simple and good experience. Much easier that it might have been a year ago, so I was glad that so much time had passed since Shera died.

Lincoln 118 We then traveled east on the Caineville Wash road to the Lower Cathedral Valley and out again to HWY 24 by afternoon. We stopped at the Visitor Center again, and then home to a really amazing dinner across the street from our camp site at the Café Diablo. It was really fancy and fun and our food was so pretty that a tourist asked if she could take a photo of it. That was good for us since she emailed the photos later.

Lincoln 122 Sunday morning we decided to go south to the Burr Trail and headed down HWY 12 over Boulder Mountain and the spontaneously decided to take the Devil’s Backbone road back into the mountains. It was a great ride, and we came out into Escalante and drove back up HWY 12 to Boulder where we had a great lunch and met an Italian couple on their honeymoon. They were traveling all over the US and Polynesia for several weeks and were lots of fun to talk with. We drove down the Burr Trail, now paved of course, so it’s much easier than it used to be. Then took off on the side spur to Upper Muley Twist canyon and the Strike Overlook. It was my first time at the strike and I hiked up there without Mo and Abby since there wasn’t any place that was shaded enough to leave her in the car and it was pretty hot. When I came back down however, there were no more people any where around so Mo and I hiked back up to the overlook with Abby and that was great because then Mo got some photos of me up there. She laughed and said that there are a lot of photos of me on high places sitting on a rock.

Lincoln 142  We drove down the switchbacks and then back up the NoTom road over all the washboards, checked out Cedar Mesa campground and then one more time through the park headquarters on HWY 24. We then went on a great hike out behind our area and found a good place for walking without worrying about Abby being on the trail. Once more we had the place all to ourselves, which is pretty amazing for Memorial Day weekend!

Lincoln 174Monday morning we left via HWY 72 to I-70 and then back across Nevada to Ely where we stayed at the KOA campground just out of town. We went in to town to try out the casinos and I won50 bucks almost immediately. That was fun. Then trying to buy a salad at the local McD’s was interesting. I guess most of Ely is reservation and the accents were really hard to understand. The town itself looks as though it has seen better days as well. But Cave Lake and Cave Creek were really beautiful, with a lovely dry camp campground that we would like to stay in sometime. The sites were level and the trails were really nice as well. Abby like the stream and the whole area was really pretty.

Lincoln 185 Tuesday morning we made the short trek from Ely to California. We found a Scenic Byway to the Lunar Crater and took a side trip there and had fun hiking and looking for desert things and driving the baby car on the flat smooth salt flat of a dry lake. Over the mountains we decided to unhook the babyLincoln 202 car so the MoHo wouldn’t have to work so hard and drove the eastern portion of HWY 120 west to 395. That was a really beautiful drive with open space and roller coaster humps and no other cars. It came out in the vicinity of Lee Vining and Mono Lake where gas was 4.18 per gallon. The highest on the trip. We spent the night at June Lake in a campground where the owners were full of rules and all snooty and put us in a crummy site, but it didn’t really matter because we were headed home in the morning. Drove home over Tioga pass after unhooking one more time, and then go to Jamestown early afternoon. Great trip with no problems at all, and only one close call with Abby.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Teaching in Lincoln and visiting Branson, Missouri and my son

Transcribed form the little red leather journal in April 2011

May 14th, 2007

Lincoln 048 While we were in Lincoln I worked during the days and Mo checked out the town. She found Pioneer park where we rode our bikes one evening after work. She found another lovely park with a lake where Abby got to go swimming until Mo later saw the “no swimming” signs. Then at Pioneer Park Abby went swimming again, although for Abby it really is more like wading.

One evening we went to dinner at what used to be the Fireworks Grill and had steaks with Charlie (a fellow teaching soil scientist) but it turned out to be a real disappointment. Evidently the real Fireworks place has moved out of town on the south end somewhere and we never could find it. Bummer. I ended up eating out with the survey people several nights, including a night at the Cajun place, a night with Doug and Jim and Doug’s wife at the Italian place, Mo and I had pizza at Chicago Pizza and that was really great! Mo also got a chance to see the Haymarket park and sculpture downtown and to visit the capitol.

Lincoln 055 Lincoln 054 When the weekend came, we decided to leave for Branson on Friday night so that we could get there early enough of Saturday to get settled in before time for our shows. I got off work at 530 and we took off south towards Missouri. We got to go into Iowa as well on the way so we could get another state on that trip! I drove a little bit but got tired and went into the back to rest. Loved that part, although it was pretty bumpy and I finally got up around midnight and Mo said she was looking for a place to pull over. Those roads in southern Missouri don’t have much shoulder so it wasn’t easy to find. We were really surprised when we turned a corner and there was a Wal-Mart just waiting for us! Mo said, hope there are some rv’s there and as we drove around the parking lot we found a lineup and we pulled in and settled in for a good nights sleep! Thank goodness for Wal-Mart. In the morning we had a MacD’s breakfast since it was right there and then decided to take HWY 65 all the way south past Branson to Arkansas so we could get that sticker as well. The gas by the border wasn’t too expensive. Back to Branson to find our campground and we were really glad that we had switched since the other one I had originally wasn’t nearly as nice. In spite of the chain link fence, it was a comfortable place.

Lincoln 056 We settled in and didn’t have much time to get ready for our 3pm Broadway show. Decided to leave Abby in the motorhome rather than the kennels and I made sure all the windows were closed in the MoHo and we took off. Turns out that I opened the window instead of closing it and when we got back Abby had jumped out of the truck, was running around on the highway until someone found her and brought her back to the park. She was down in the kennel barking like crazy! What a horrible feeling that was. Just too close, too close to losing her. She was pretty contrite after that and we could tell she was a bit depressed and even more worried than usual.

The Broadway show was really good with lots of great costumes and fun singing. We enjoyed it. We came back to the MoHo and settled in after the trauma with Abby and got ready to go for our evening show which was “that 70’s Show”. Well, what a shock that turned out to be. The venue was a crummy old restaurant in a Ramada Inn that had been converted to a dingy bar, exactly like the 70’s. We knew something might be wrong when a tall thin woman in a very bad blond wig and heavy makeup waved us in from the parking lot. There were probably 20 people altogether in the audience. Funny thing, though, with the free cokes and popcorn and the campy entertainment, it actually turned out to be fun, with some good singing and lots of comedy. We ended up really enjoying ourselves.

Lincoln 060 Lincoln 072 Our next show wasn’t until 11 pm at the downtown Owens's Theater. We walked around early and watched the fireworks on the River Front but when we got to the theater, the show had been cancelled. We were pretty tired anyway and so it wasn’t too hard to just go home and crawl into bed after that very busy day!

Sunday morning we got up and got ready for my son Johnny and his wife Linda to arrive, cooked a good breakfast and sat out on the covered deck overlooking the Branson trees with our morning coffee. A really lovely moment. The kids got there around 10 or so and we had a great visit. Took them first to the Duck rides. It was great fun and we all enjoyed ourselves. Then Johnny drove us around the different places where he had lived and played as a young boy and we went to the little town of Harrison? For lunch. We ate rather boring food at the Olde English Pub restaurant and then just went back to the campground and visited until they headed back for Joplin.

Lincoln 064 Mo and I got ready for our big night out at the Mickey Gilley show. This one was interesting, and kind of fun, but the people were really really old who were there. It was country music from the era after the Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Jr time and before the current time so we didn’t know the music that well, but the entertainment was still fun. Sort of campy Branson kind of entertainment I guess. I would imagine that you have to have tickets for the special appearances and special shows, some of them were already sold out when we ordered our tickets so the shows that we saw were more ordinary. After the show we walked down to the riverfront area and really enjoyed seeing how nicely they have upscaled everything there. I could definitely spend some time in that place for sure! We were really lucky because while we were in Branson it wasn’t too hot and didn’t rain or anything unpleasant at all.

Lincoln 079 Monday morning we got up and had cereal for breakfast, broke camp, and headed north by traveling across HWY 65 through the Ozarks into Oklahoma (another state) and along the eastern border of Kansas on what was called the Military Road. It was interesting to see Fort Scott and the restored buildings where 160 people lived at what was once believed to be the final frontier of the west. Back to Lincoln that evening and off to work the next morning for the field day with the students.

Tuesday evening was our chance to ride our bikes at Pioneer park and it was really lovely. Cool and breezy and very pretty and green, with a truly wonderful paved bike trail. Mo finally figured out that we could put a muzzle on Abby and she does ok in the car waiting for us. The muzzle seems to keep her calmer than when she gets herself all worked up and barking.

Wednesday morning I worked, met with the lab people, and managed to get out of the center at 11:30 when Mo picked me up in the MoHo. We bought a taco on the way out of town and headed west to Edna’s house. The trip was fairly uneventful, with clear skies and some cloudiness as we approached Colorado, but we managed to miss all the big rain storms that Edna was getting.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Off to Lincoln, Nebraska, to teach Basic Soil Survey

May 10 2007 Thursday

Lincoln 020 We left Jamestown traveling east to Winnemucca Nevada. Drove to Jackson via HWY 49 and then up 88 over the mountains. It was a great day with beautiful weather. The pass was open and the highway was clear. Abby did well on the trip and everything seemed fine. In Winnemucca we found our space, and even though it was near the highway with traffic sounds, we slept well. We made dinner in the motor home,  pretty sure we had hamburgers but I am sure that we didn’t eat out. We then went for a long walk through town via the highway. It was sunny and warm and the wind was blowing hard. We walked back behind the tracks and found the street where the Basque restaurant was that we saw last year. Quiet uneventful and delightful evening Lincoln 025in the MoHo for the first night out

5/11 2007 Friday

We got up early and had cereal and coffee before filling up with gas at the Maverick right in town. Our next destination to be Evanston, Wyoming. The day across the rest of Nevada was fun and then when we hit Utah the salt flats were really really what Melody calls “white hot nothing”. The Utah pavement couldn’t hold a candle to the Nevada pavement, though, and the bump bump bump was a pain. We stopped at a small rest area and made tuna sandwiches and took photos of the salt flats. There was an  interesting piece of sculpture along the highway that at first looked like some kind of radar tower, but as we passed it, we could see that it was some kind of intentional art. Completely out of place out there in the desert. Then, as we crossed the Nevada-Utah line we saw signs for Drug Dogs Present and all kinds of cop cars and random drug stops. Laughed to notice a few cars stopping and turning around before they got in the thick of it. As we went through it didn’t seem to be that big a deal, but the signs evidently did their trick.

Lincoln 036Later we managed to get through Salt Lake traffic without much hassle and the real hassle was driving over the pass up to Park City. It was long and steep and the MoHo really felt the pull. Finally on top as we reached Wyoming, things leveled out and got really pretty. Our little campground in Evanston was fine except for the owner who was a very old man and accidentally charged me 313 instead of 31.30. I got it straightened out later, but it was a big surprising when I found the ticket. We found a walking trail just a couple of blocks from our camp and took Abby on a nice long walk to town. Evanston was a sweet little town, with lots of museums and restored buildings all around. The park had a bandstand and the river walk was paved and signed well and full of flowers. Walking through the town was interesting, people were all lined up trying to watch an old theater being demolished that had burned. We asked what was going on and the people lined up on the sidewalk all said, “I don’t know”. Funny. Another quiet and peaceful evening in our little MoHo.

5/12/2007 Saturday

Lincoln 040 Up early since this was going to be a long day over 500 miles to North Platte with a stop in between to visit Mary Ann and Gail in Laramie. Wyoming was really lovely until we hit the over thrust belt where there were a lot of refineries and gas and oil wells. Then it got pretty again as we climbed up toward Laramie. We crossed the continental divide a couple of times and wondered how that happens. The best part was what we called the meringue mountains which was actually the back site of the Uinta range in Utah. They were really dramatic and lovely and I took a photo of them as we passed. Mid day we arrived in Laramie to visit with Mary Ann and they took us to lunch in town. Laramie was also quiet and clean and altogether enjoyable. I enjoyed seeing Mary Ann again, since we have been friends for more than 15 years now.

Lincoln Moana 013 Leaving Laramie at 2 we headed on east into Nebraska toward North Platte. About half way there we dropped down a few extra miles to get into Colorado at the little town of Julesburg just so we could put our Colorado sticker up. We had great fun adding the stickers to the MoHo window. Arrived in North Platte to another fairly simple and nice campground and made dinner again in the MoHo before a good night’s sleep.

5/13 Sunday

Mother’s Day. I wasn’t using my phone much so I didn’t talk to the kids on this moms day. We got up early again and had eggs and potatoes this time, cooked outdoors over the Lincoln 043camp stove and set out for our adventure to the Sand Hills of Nebraska. It was a nice drive, although we had to turn east on HWY 2 and didn’t have time to really explore all the way up to Valentine. Decided that it might be nice to try that sometime. We enjoyed the trip, but the winds of Nebraska are something neither of us will forget! Buffeted the old MoHo around pretty badly along HWY 2. Nebraska was pretty flat and boring, but we managed to find a small town along HWY 34 that we took to avoid the I-80 traffic and trucks. Looking for something to eat for Moms Day we found this great little Midwest place and had a moms day buffet. Just in time. There was corn fed amazing pork, fried apples, really really good corn on the cob and all sorts of goodies for 10 bucks each. Turned out to be really really fun and nice. A surprise.

On in to Lincoln along that back road and found our campsite at the CampAway park right by the freeway. It was a really nice place as well, with good facilities, close to town and Lincoln 046lots of parks and grass for Abby to play right outside our site. Even with the traffic of the freeway, the huge trees muffled the sounds and the wind sounded wonderful. I slept great there. The park was full of huge trees and green grass where Abby could play ball in the afternoons with Moana. There was a big park across the street that had Frisbee golf and we walked there one evening and watched people playing. Abby loved the walks.