Hello from Waco, TX

Hello from Waco, TX

Wednesday August 17, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

We are in what is called Waco North at the Holiday Inn (Google Map).

{google_map}31.80292 -97.10215{/google_map}

This is the first major stop on our journey to New Orleans for Pat’s conference.  We decided to drive to the conference and make a couple of fun stops along the way.

Waco was at the top of the list for our stops.  We are big “Fixer Upper” tv show fans and, of course the show focused on the Waco area.  We had planned to visit Waco in 2019 with some of her family from the Corning, IA area.  Unfortunately, she was badly injured in a UTV accident just prior to the planned trip and her recovery precluded the visit.  We kept the visit on her bucket list and this is the first opportunity we have had.

Our hotel is about 17 miles north of the center of Waco, but every Holiday Inn property we checked was fully booked.  Indeed, we got the last room at this location.  We booked three nights so that we can explore the area at a leisurely pace.

I was kind of surprised that Waco was booked up his time of year when it is so hot down here (well over 100 degrees each day).  Well, it turns out that this is move-in week at Baylor University.

Our journey here began on Monday when we traveled to Raton, NM.  From there we drove to Childress, TX.  We had planned to limit our travel days to less than 400 miles and those stops fit the plan.  They also had Holiday Inn properties.

If you have followed my blogs, you know that I have developed a love/hate relationship with Holiday Inns.  They have become very expensive in the past few years.  I have made three trips without Pat in the past year and tried some low-cost alternatives, including Motel 6.  Those stays were very marginal albeit about half the price of HI.  For this trip I just could not subject Pat to those kinds of rooms, so we are back to our old faithful — Holiday Inns.  We “love” the consistent good quality rooms (mostly).  However, the hate part of the equation includes the cost factor, and the drastic reduction in the value of rewards points.  I am at the platinum elite status, but that does not seem to result in any significant benefits at least in recent years.

That is all for this post.  More in a subsequent posts.

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Hello from Bonneville, Utah

Hello from Bonneville, Utah

Sunday evening– August 8, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

Well, I am sorta cheating a bit.  I am actually in Green River, UT on my way home from my frustrating trip to Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

I would normally have been at the Salt Flats tonight, but terrible rains threatened to cancel the weeklong event.

My trip to the Salt Flats was via I80 with an overnight stop in Green River WY.  I used a hotel finder application that led me to a less than stellar hotel.  Very worn-out room and the furniture was stained.  At least the bed gave me a decent night’s sleep.

As I approached Wendover UT (Bonneville is considered to be located in Wendover) I ran into some rain.  It turned out to be a pretty heavy rain.  As I approached what is called the “bend in the road” where everybody camps, I could tell that there was a major problem.  The least amount of rain causes the area to become a quagmire.  All the campers were trapped in the mud and some of the tents were flooded.

Rain at Bonneville is not always a problem.  The moisture percolates into the salt/soil fairly quickly and, with a little breeze and sun, the remaining moisture evaporates quickly (assuming it is not a boat load of moisture).

I went down to what is called “the end of the road” where the road ends and the salt begins.  There were some volunteers there and I bought my badge for the meet.  They were optimistic that the weather would let the salt dry fairly quickly.

I located a good camping spot up on a slight mountain road where tons of campers were located.  The surface was level and covered in very small gravel (no mud).

I went online and found that they canceled the Sunday session but were hopeful that the rest of the week would be OK

Into the early Saturday evening, the sky was clear and the temperature was conducive to evaporating the water on the salt.  However about 8:30 a storm (rated severe by the weather bureau) seemed to come out of nowhere.  First it was terrible winds followed by a torrential downpour.  This rain was about as severe as I have encountered and it lasted for close to an hour.

The wind blew my air mattress several yards away and, in the process, punctured a hole in it.  Between the weather and the deflated mattress, I was left with no choice but to sleep in the truck – not fun.

I could tell that the event would be delayed by at least another day and that would have only given me a very short time at the track since I had to leave mid-day on Tuesday.  So, reluctantly, I pulled the plug and started home.  That turned out to be a good decision since they cancelled the meet as of this afternoon.

What a bummer for everyone – especially the racers who had already set up in the pits.  They will be facing a terrible mess to get their stuff packed up.  Some have large “compounds” with all sorts of support equipment.  They, like all of us, spent significant dollars to get there.  The weather forecast was not all that accurate.  I checked it before I left and it looks like very minor rains on Friday and not all that bad the rest of the week.

It is especially frustrating, as the salt condition (prior to the rain) we rated as good.  Over the years a local mining company has really damaged the salt and in recent years the salt condition has been anywhere from marginal to terrible.  So, when you get decent salt, everyone is overjoyed to say the least.

For the past two trips to Bonneville, I have avoided I70 since they often close Glenwood Canyon.  However, I really get bored with the Wyoming route.  I checked and they say there are no road closures in Colorado.  So, I came what used to be our normal route and stopped here in Green River UT.  How about that, two Green River stops in two different states {grin}.

That is all for this travelogue

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Hello from Oakley, KS

Hello from Oakley, KS

Sunday July 31, 2022 (Second post of this travelogue)

I am in Oakley, KS on my way back from the Leadsleds.  I am staying at the Annie Oakley Motel (Google Map)

{google_map}39.1299 -100.8531{/google_map}

In this post I wanted to document a few things relating to this trip.

I broke up the travel to and from Salina by stopping about halfway in between.  I did this for two reasons.  First of all, I was not able to get on the road until early afternoon each travel day and secondly, I just did not feel up to a straight through, nearly 500 mile, drive.

On the way out to Salina, I stopped in Goodland Kansas and stayed at the Motel 6.  As I mentioned in the other post, the cost was less than half of staying at a Holiday Inn.  Of course, the rooms are very primitive but a bed is a bed.

Goodland is an interesting small town.  I drove around and sadly, like many small towns, there were lots of closed businesses.  One interesting location in the downtown area was what looked like a car lot out of the 50s (see photo).  There were several very old cars (mostly out of the 30s through 50s.  All were in less than stellar condition but many could be brought back to life.  There were several 49-51 Mercuries.  This is a sought-after car in the custom car hobby.

My choice on this motel in Oakley is a bit convoluted.

First of all, somehow I lost a day in my thinking about the show.  I have to coordinate my travel with Pat’s travel and that reduced my time at the show a bit.  As it turns out that was not a significant problem.  I did wander around the park where the show was on Thursday, but there were not many vehicles.  I spent most of the day Friday at the show and there were a huge number of cars.  I made several laps around the show until my knees and feet let me know it was time to leave. I spent Saturday morning at the show and there we even more vehicles.  Indeed, it became almost overwhelming.  While my time was a bit less than I had originally planned (erroneously), I was ready to leave around noon and start my trip back home.

The second reason for choosing this motel is even more convoluted.  As I planned the trip home I knew that I would need to stop a bit less than half way because of my late departure from the show.  Oakley Kansas seemed like a good stop.  As I looked for motels it became apparent that somehow this town relates to both Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill (local bar uses that name).  Annie Oakley was born in a very small town close to where my dad was born (Greenville, Ohio).  We have spent some time in Greenville and visited the site where she is buried (Brock Cemetery).  So it seemed fitting to stay in a motel that identified with her.

Oakley is a very small town.  Main Street is about 3 blocks long and with many empty store fronts.  The motel looks like a motel out of the 50s (see picture).  When I first walked into the room, it seemed like a Motel 6 room.  However, it became obvious that it was well equipped and comfortable.

In a few minutes I will start driving towards Denver and meet Pat at the Kassel’s when they arrive from the airport.

That is all for this travelogue.

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Hello from Salina, KS

Hello from Salina, KS

Saturday July 30, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

I am in Salina, KS for the KKOA Leadsled event and am staying at the Holiday Inn (Google Map)

{google_map}38.7803 -97.6112{/google_map}

I made this trip so that I could attend the KKOA Leadsleds (link to KKOA).  I have been attending this event off and on for over 35 years.  Indeed, we first drove the 56 Chevy to the 1987 event in Springfield, IL (and I had attended quite a few before that).

For most of the KKOA events, Pat has been with me.  This year she and all her cousins are having a reunion in Nashville.  I think she told me that there are 15 of them which include a few daughters of the cousins.

I dropped Pat off at the Kassel’s on Wednesday so that she could travel with Lisa and Amanda to the airport early the next morning.  I then drove to Goodland Kansas and stayed in a Motel 6.  That motel was less than half the cost of a Holiday Inn and all I needed was a bed.  I have to mention the fact that the Holiday Inn Priority points are much less valuable than in the past.

There were well over 1700 cars registered for the event.  Some, like me, probably register but don’t bring their cars.  The park is huge, but almost all the participant parking areas (many on the grass) were filled up on Today.  The quality of the cars varies quite a bit.  Many, like the 56 Chevy, are not show cars, but hold their own with a lot of the cars.  Some of the cars are true masterpieces or “works of art”.  Some are pretty crude.  No matter, they are all fun to see.

This year the weather was quite different from last year.  Last year it was over 100 degrees and almost unbearable.  This year it was in the low 80s most of the time.  Humidity also seemed low.  That made the show much more enjoyable.

The last two times we attended this event we stayed in a beautiful Bureau of Reclamation Campground about 30 miles from Salina.  Of course, that was a significant commute each day and the cell phone coverage sucked.

Each time I attend this event I get jacked up to bring one of my cars to a future event so that I can be a “real” participant again.  It might be the ’56 Chevy which we could possibly drive to the event, or it might be the ’50 Olds which we would have to bring on a trailer, as it is not set up for cross country driving.  Both need some significant work and I seem to get “derailed” from getting them completed.

I have included some pictures.

That is all for this post.  More in a second post.

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Hello from Howard, CO

Hello from Howard, CO

Drafted:  Monday Afternoon July 18, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

Posted: July 28.  I am way behind on my travelogues.  I have lots of excuses but that is all they are.  One travelogue that is pending is our trip to Crested Butte for our grandson’s wedding.  I am hoping to get a good picture of the ceremony for the travelogue.  Hopefully, the picture is forthcoming.

We are camped at the Pleasant Valley RV Park (Google Map).

{google_map}38.43106 -105.8125{/google_map}

We stayed here a few days in early June (travelogue link).  As I noted in that blog our site was right on the Arkansas River.  We said that we would come back in the future.  Well, it turns out that there was a big IHC rally in Salida (link to website).  I have attended these rallies in the past and always enjoy seeing what we call the “old Binders” (mostly Scouts out of the 60s and 70s plus a few old trucks).  I am including a few photos.

This photo shows a few of the Scouts on display

This is a long-time friends Traveler with an original diesel engine.

The Traveler is an extended version of the normal IHC Scout.

We drove the truck and trailer down on Friday and we will leave tomorrow.  This campground is so relaxing with the sounds of the rushing water and beautiful views (the grass is very green right now).

Across from the campground there is a rather large house and acreage that has several hundred feet of river front.  One day we watch the owner fly fishing.  In the morning I did not see him catch anything, but in the afternoon Pat and I watched him catch several nice sized fish.  He was quick to release them.  I have watched several other folks fishing in that area, but I have not seen anyone have any luck.

On Sunday Jeff and Julie (Jeff is Pat’s brother) drove down from their home in Guffey.  The is not all that far as the crow flies, but the roads are far from direct to the campground.  The main purpose was just a fun visit/lunch.  However, they were also scoping out the campground for a visit later this year.

That is all for this travelogue.

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Hello from Westcliffe, CO

Hello from Westcliffe, CO

Started:  Sunday morning – June 12, 2022 (Second post of this travelogue)

Posted: 6/18/2022

We are camped at the Grape Creek RV Park (Google Map).

{google_map}38.10838 -105.46430{/google_map}

We made the short trip from Howard to Westcliffe on Thursday (6/9).  This area is known as the Wet Mountain Valley.  The floor to the valley is very green and picturesque.  Out campsite looks off to the west and includes the beautiful valley and the amazing Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

Friday, we made a relatively short tour of the area including the town of Rosita.  Rosita was a mining town founded around 1874.  It became the county seat for Custer County.  There was not much left of the original town.  It is mostly newer homes.  We were able to view several of the mine tailings dumps as we headed north out of town on county road 329.  The mining was mostly copper and silver.

As the population of Rosita declined (mining petered out). Silver Cliff became the county seat and later Westcliffe became (and remains) the county seat.

Our campground is in a large aspen grove which is quite pretty.  Unfortunately, the sites are close together and the aspen do not furnish much shade.  We parked the trailer so that the slides would not hit the aspens, but the awning could not be extended – hit the tree.  This is a pretty area to visit, but we don’t think we will return in the near future.

I have added two photos.  One shows the view of the valley and mountains and the second shows our trailer in the campground.



That is all for this travelogue

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Hello from Howard, CO

Hello from Howard, CO

Wednesday evening– June 8, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

This is our third trip out in our new trailer.  We are camped at the Pleasant Valley RV Park (Google Map).

{google_map}38.43106 -105.8125{/google_map}

We left home on Friday (6/3) and drove to Pat’s brother’s house near Guffey, CO.  Jeff and Julie are great hosts and they have 60 acres of beautiful land.  We went into the town of Guffey two nights for great dinners at what they call “The Bakery”.  One night was pizza and the second night was with some of their friends (Zach and Jen) where we had a great three course meal with the main course being a special beef plate.

Besides wanting to spend some time with the Spring’s, we wanted to try dry camping with our new trailer.  That turned out to be a bit frustrating.

We had three problems testing our dry camping capabilities.  First of all, the afternoons were very cloudy so we did not get a lot of solar.  Secondly, we gave up on pure dry camping and plugged into the Spring’s 120V outlet.  After an hour or two the GFI outlet (not the breaker) would trip. This often happens with campers equipped with inverters – somehow the inverter makes the circuit look like the system is going to ground.  Lastly, we tried our 2000W Honda generator and it went bonkers after a few minutes, acting like it was overloaded. I did not have the proper test equipment, but the inverter data panel would suggest it was not overloaded.  I had tried the Honda with an 1800W resistance heater at home and it did fine.  I will have to troubleshoot it at home where I have the proper testing equipment.  We finally ended up using the Spring’s Generator (Firman 3000 watt (link)).  This handled the charging load just fine.  However, we ran two CAPs and one concentrator (plus some small loads) off the batteries during the night and that let us know that we need to add battery capacity.

We left the Spring’s on Monday and came to this campground.  It is a very beautiful campground.  We paid extra for a river front site and it was well worth it (see photos).  For reference, we are in site 8 but sites 8-10 would work well for us in the future.

We had thought about going into Salida for a day, but it is so relaxing here that we just stayed in the campground.  We tried to see if they would let us stay in the site for another couple of days, but they are booked up.

View from our Patio

View across the Arkansas River (our campsite is in the middle of the photo)

That is all for this post.

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Hugo, Colorado – Epilogue

Hugo, Colorado – Epilogue

After I wrote what I thought was the last post for this travelogue, there were some changes.  The weather prediction for the Denver/Evergreen area for Tuesday (5/24) included snow.  We decided to stay one more day.

We had been observing what appeared to be a railroad roundhouse out our west facing window.  I did a little research and found that it is in the process of being restored (link).  It was built in 1909 and restoration began in 2003.  We decided to drive the truck and trailer over to the site as we departed on Wednesday.

We wandered around the roundhouse site (which is fenced off) and took some pictures.  As we were leaving, a man in a truck hailed us down and asked if we wanted to go inside the structure.  Obviously, we were thrilled to be able to get a closer look.  As you will see from the three pictures, the exterior is fully restored.  The interior is bare and will be the next effort of the restoration project.

That is all for the travelogue/epilogue.


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Hello from Hugo, Colorado

Hello from Hugo, Colorado

Monday evening – May 23, 2022 (Second post of this travelogue)

So why are we staying in Hugo, Colorado?  Well, no real good reason other than it is about halfway home and we wanted to stay out a couple more days.  That turned out to be a good idea since there is still a bit of snow at the house.  We are staying two nights at the Hitching Post RV Park.  That sort of sounds impressive, until you realize that there are only 5 camp spots and the “park” is right on US 287 (lots of traffic and train noise).  However, it is cheap {grin} and it has full hookups.  It also has great truck watching as they travel on 287.  The campground is located (here).  I have included a photo of the impressive campground {fun grin}.

{google_map}39.13571 -103.47330{/google_map}

The weather here is still not all that great.  It is in the 50s and often pretty windy.  For us that does not matter as we planned to spend our time inside doing a bunch of catching up on our projects.

At both John Martin and here, we have had decent internet connection via AT&T.  Verizon was not any good at John Martin and we have not tried it here.  At John Martin the bandwidth was good enough to support a “Teams” meeting that Brandon needed to participate in and we still had a bit left over for poking around the internet.

We head home tomorrow (not the best weather forecast) and then head off to another camping trip on Thursday.  Stay tuned.

That is all for this travelogue.

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Hello from John  Martin Reservoir State Park

Hello from John  Martin Reservoir State Park

Sunday – May 22 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

This is our second trip out in our new trailer.  We are camped at the base of the dam at the reservoir (here).

{google_map}38.07345 -102.93814{/google_map}

We left Evergreen on Thursday (5/19) and will be leaving today.  We are camped with our daughter Lisa and part of her family.  Dan and Brandon are here but Josh and Amanda had to work.

When we first got here it was 99 degrees, but then the cold front moved in.  It has been chilly and rainy since then.  However, that is better than at home where we got about a foot of snow!

The weather has not been much of an issue.  Dan was able to go fishing two days (he caught about 30 crappies).  We got to spend a lot of fun time with all of them during these couple of days.  Lots of good food and some game playing (not me {grin}).

Before we started this trip, I set the engine to a higher HP level (via a programming box).  It sure made a difference, but it also revealed that I will probably have to upgrade my clutch.  That will not be a fun job.  It is not a problem for now, but it will have to be done in the near future.

That is all for this post.


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