A beautiful morning here in Kentucky as we prepare for our last leg of this journey. As soon as Ron gets out of the shower we’ll hook-up and head out.
Ron just crawled in the truck and said, “Last stop home!” We’re both ready to be home, but only until the next adventure. At 9:07 a.m. Ron drove us out of site 10, we’ll be on I-64 East for the next 7 and 1/2 hours. I did learn, from the young man, approximately 8 years old, the names of the kittens I saw yesterday. I walked up to the store to throw away garbage, he was standing by their cage. I was going to ask him if he had seen the kittens, but I didn’t get the chance. Before I could say a word, he explained why all the kids were hanging around the store, “There’s kittens!” He was adorable. He explained they were inside at the moment, but there names are Tiger, Houdini and Fluff. That is the news of the morning at the Ashland KOA. At 9:12 a.m. we were on I-64 with the sun shining right in our eyes.
At 9:23 a.m. Ron told me to get my camera ready, we passed into Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.
We saw a parachuter near mile marker 23 in West Virginia. The bridge over the Kanawha River was gorgeous.
We passed through Charleston, we saw the Capital building with its gold trimmed dome under repair. I haven’t been here in over 20 years, since I was a flight attendant. We used to overnight here quite a bit. I watched Apollo 13 in the movie theater here when it first came out. I remember walking by the capital building back then and learning about its dome.
Driving through the Appalachian Mountains is as gorgeous as any we saw out west. Especially since their mountain tops are green, versus the brown of the Rockies. West Virginia is the only state that lies completely in this range of mountains. We’re just a little early for the leaves, they’ve started to change colors but are a week or two away from peaking. I can imagine how breathtaking this drive will be then.
At 12:54 p.m. we crossed into our home state. We both saw the sign at the same time. Ron yelled, “Virginia” as I frantically grabbed my phone to take a picture of the sign. We’re happy to be home. Ron played Dave Mathews live from Red Rocks to get us started on our journey across the state, more meaningful now that we’ve been there. At 2:39 p.m. I crawled back into the truck after what I hope was our last potty break for this trip. We stopped at the rest area at the bottom of Afton Mountain, just west of Charlottesville. Two hours and 17 minutes left according to Google, a little longer since we’re in the truck.
We arrived home at 5:08 p.m. we went 4,949.9 miles. We missed 5,000 miles by 50.1, by the time we drop the trailer off at Gwynn’s Island it will be.
By 5:28 p.m. the truck and trailer were unloaded, by 6:08 p.m. the first load of laundry was running, we were unpacked and in the hot tub. With no food in the pantry, we headed to Hilton Tavern to listen to two of our favorites, Johnny and Mike, while grabbing a burger. And that’s a wrap on the Colorado adventure. Until the Morrison’s next outing, which will hopefully be sooner than later, goodbye for now.
Perfect temperature and weather to sit outside and have my coffee this morning in Illinois. I saw these deer off in the distance and watched them play. They started coming near me and I thought I was going to get some great close up shots. But of course, my darling puppies saw them and scared them away. We don’t know where we’ll end up tonight. We’re just getting in the truck and driving until we don’t feel like driving any longer. I love days like this, you never know what fun surprises await us. I do pray they are all fun, no bad ones.
Ron took a sip of his iced tea, did a verbal checklist to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything, then we rolled out of site 8 at 9:16 a.m. CST, destination unknown. We passed into Indiana at 9:23 a.m. CST. We take I-64 the rest of the way home, at 9:49 a.m. CST, Ron said we had gone 4,168 miles so far.
At 11:52 a.m. EST I realized we were back on east coast time. I’m not sure when we crossed the timeline. At 12:21 p.m. we crossed into Kentucky, driving through Louisville as our journey continues. I had no idea the city had so many bridges, none of which match. We crossed the Ohio River, going under the bridge, which seemed odd. Shortly after we came through the tunnel, we saw the graffited sign informing us, ‘Capitalism is Killing Us All.” I googled the phrase just to see what would come up, lots of things came up, none of which I read. We drove by the Louisville Slugger Stadium, as well as the new soccer stadium they are apparently building. Our reflection was on the milk truck as we passed, with the flag, I thought it was a fun shot.
We’ve decided to drive until 4:00, maybe a little longer, depending on where that puts us, I find it hard to calculate that on a map, Ron is much better at reading maps than I am. Honestly, I suck at reading maps. I have no idea how I drove over 50,000 miles a year, for 16 years, with the horrible sense of direction I have. And I didn’t have google maps telling me what to do the majority of that time. Ron can flip the map around in his mind, I can’t. I can never tell if I’m to turn left or right. We’re coming into storms, I’ve been able to see the dark clouds for miles. I just looked at the radar, we might just miss them, hope so. When I opened up myradar to check the storm, it was still on Colorado Springs, made me sad for a second, I miss it already. We made such good memories there together.
The rain started just outside of Frankfort, KY. Unfortunately, the rain wasn’t heavy enough to get the dust off the truck, it did help with the bugs on the windshield immensely. We crossed over the Kentucky River.
The reservation at Ashland/Huntington West KOA was confirmed at 2:09 p.m. We’ll be 448 miles from home at the point. We’ll get home tomorrow around 5:00 p.m., our adventure over at that point, time to relax back into life.
We pulled in to site 10 at 3:48 p.m. A litter of kittens was napping on the porch when I went to check-in. One woke and stretched his little paws, cuteness meter off the charts. The KOA has cute cabins which overlooks the hills. Since we’ll be getting home tomorrow, the time has come to clean the trailer. I vacuumed and cleaned the carpets, then packed up my clothes. A little melancholy, a lot, just ready to get home.
After cleaning the trailer we headed to Smokin’ J’s for an appetizer and drink. They have a great happy hour, 2 drinks for $5.
We discovered, on our way home, we were close to Ohio, just across the Ohio River. Of course we had to do a drive by and say hello.
The last light is fading in Ashland, KY. The trailer is cleaned, all but the bathroom and kitchen floor. She’s ready to take a rest from the road for a bit. Our last night on the road for this trip. We couldn’t ask for a better evening.
My babies, what a wonderful blessing it has been to have them with us. Our trip was so much better as a result.
We are heading to Rest Up Camping and RV Corral in Grayville, Il. The decision was made, going to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s (LIW) museum isn’t possible. We just don’t have enough time, it would take an extra day to work the visit into our schedule and we don’t have an extra day. Therefore, sometime in the future, look for the LIW Adventure, coming to blogs near you (hopefully). At 9:26 a.m. CST Ron said, “Alright,” put his hand on the gear shift and put the truck in drive. Goodbye Kansas City. We enjoyed the visit, the traffic was worse than we expected, but the area is beautiful.
I want to remember this moment, it’s a first for us, but hopefully not the last. We’re driving on I-70 in Missouri, the clock says 10:15 a.m. CST. Ron’s listening to the book, “Rooster Bar,” which isn’t as good as we had hoped, I’m studying. I am actually listening to classical music to help drown out the book and stimulate the brain. I’ve never done this before and for some reason, I find it amusing.
Much more scenic driving in Missouri, although Ron didn’t mind the flat plains as much as I thought he did. We passed by Mark Twain’s Cave Campground and winery, a possible future destination. The cave tours sound fun and Mark Twain’s childhood home is here as well. Lot’s of corn.
At 12:38 p.m. CST we got on I-64 east, we still have a ways to go as you can see by the map below. The 13 hour time estimation is based on averaging 75 miles per hour, which we do not. We average 65 miles per hour. We crossed the Missouri River at 12:52 p.m CST. I loved the bridge, I was so focused on it I didn’t get any pictures of the river. We saw the Top Golf as we drove through Chesterfield, MO. I realized as we were driving past, this is the Chesterfield that would get confused with Chesterfield, VA when I was with Nautica. I can see why they did so much more business than the one in Virginia. This Chesterfield is much larger.
My first view of the St. Louis Arch was at 1:12 p.m CST. Ron had me look up who St. Louis was named after, it was named for Louis IX of France. He was canonized Saint Louis by the Catholics and Anglicans. We can see why the Arch is known as the “Gateway to the West,” we feel like we’re back on the East Coast in the environment around us. The temperature feels more like home, there is greenery everywhere, and the roads seem more familiar. We decided not to stop, just do a drive by, with my vertigo and heights, I didn’t think going up the Arch on this trip would be worthwhile for us. We crossed into Illinois at 1:21 p.m. CST.
We are an hour and 11 minutes from our destination for the day. I missed taking a picture of Plum Creek, significant to me because Laura Ingalls Wilder lived on Plum Creek. The fields are much more colorful here than we have seen in awhile. The lonely farmer out plowing his field in this heat reminds me how difficult the farmer’s life is.
We pulled away from check-in headed to site 8 at 3:50 p.m. CST. We saw the billboard for Westwood Saloon and decided we needed to see it. We had no idea the saloon was part of the campground. Apparently the place is fairly new, only 7 reviews, but all good. The campground is in excellent shape, sites are big and lots to do right here. Ron did his first review, he was so impressed with the campground, now there are 8.
We love our site. The one beside, number 9 is the perfect spot because it’s on the end. There is a little extra space on that site and its not looking out on any neighbors, good for us because we have yappy dogs. We are not complaining in the least, grateful to be here. I would like to find that lake the little fella is sitting beside in the forecast, the afternoon is a scorcher.
We mosied up to the Westwood Saloon with our sturdy steeds. I wish we would have been able to tie them up some way, but hooking them to the wagon wheel was the best we could do. The campground really does have an old western feel. They have really put money into developing an authentic western experience. We are thoroughly enjoying the step back in time.
The newness of the saloon was evident, it looked like they had just opened for business. According to Kristen, our waitress, they have been open about a year. Ron making his grand entrance into the saloon, a little different look from the cowboys of the past.
Kristen is from Cincinnati. Today is her second day on the job. She works full time at the bank “uptown” from here, in her words. She moved here when she married her husband who has lived here his whole life. He works at the Walmart Distribution center in management, which, according to her is the best you can do around here if you don’t work in the coal or oil fields. They met through their pastors somehow. She has the same struggle I do, our husbands are reluctant models for our pictures. We both have to cajole them to let us take they’re pictures. The macaroni bites were good, but wouldn’t have a hard time not getting them again. They weren’t good enough for how unhealthy they are for you nutritionally.
These are our busted faces, from what we don’t know. An empty jail cell just begs for pictures. As we were waiting to pay for our t-shirts I saw this undeliverable letter with a hand written note for a specific person to open. I have a feeling a drama is unfolding but neither party knows it yet. How life happens, by accident.
Marlene brought us our firewood. She’s a retired social worker, that worked too long according to her. She needed something to do, she loves people. She was raised in California, her Dad was military. Her husband was at Camp Pendleton when she became pregnant with their first daughter. They moved here to raise her and their other children in the country. Not a bad choice, from what I can tell. This area and the people we’ve met definitely reminds me of my childhood in Pennsylvania. I am so grateful I spent the first 12 years of my life roaming the hills of PA barefoot, beyond words. A beautiful sunset to end a good day. A cozy fireside chat with my love to wind it all down. The red mud is still on the truck from Santa Fe, a place we didn’t expect to fall in love with, but did.
We pulled out of site 9 at 8:56 a.m. CST, heading to Kansas City, MO. There is barely any wind today, hopefully it will stay that way and we’ll make better time.
I did not expect to get a picture of an oil well in Kansas. Who knew Kansas had produced 6.7 billion barrels of oil and 41.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas through 2018. Not me, when I thought of Kansas, I thought of cornfields. I definitely won’t think that any more. I tried to get a picture of a well in Oklahoma and Texas, I failed. But in Kansas I succeeded. They’re more plentiful here than the other places, I’m quite surprised. Interesting statue outside Hayes, KS.
We passed the Garden of Eden which resides in Wilson Lake, KS. Who knew? From what I can tell, the garden is full of windmills, it’s all we can see.
I am praying for whoever was driving this truck. God let them be ok. We couldn’t tell what happened. There were no other cars, the truck looked like it had rolled. I learned when I worked for Nautica most car accidents that result in death happen on beautiful days like this. People don’t pay as much attention as they do when the weather is bad. Interestingly enough, when I went to verify the last statement and make sure of its truth, I learned that it is no longer the truth. Twenty years ago we didn’t have cell phones, we didn’t text. Now distracted driving is the prevalent reason for fatal accidents. I was just reminded of how old I am by learning that fact. Times have changed, times have changed. I’ve also seen the stats on fatal accidents in Missouri, they have a sign that flashes the number; 587 people have died on the roads in Missouri this year, 60% of the deaths did not have their seat belt on. Seat belts really do save lives.
There is a storm to the north of us, nothing in front of us, the wind is already picking up from the south. I immediately start praying there isn’t a tornado, that is how fast my mind can go to worst case scenario. Constant mind battle for me. Ron quickly explained there was no worry of that For me, the only thing I know about the Midwest storms are the really bad ones. Whenever it makes national news is what I know. But those storms don’t happen every day. For instance, Ron and I were talking about Midwesterner’s. Ron said how friendly they are, so easy to talk too. I on the other hand said, “Yes, but don’t trust them.” I made this statement because I was close friends with three mid westerners earlier in my life and they hurt me deeply. Therefore I assume all mid westerners are the same way. But that is not a fair assessment, just because some people act that way, doesn’t mean all of them are that way. Or that we don’t grow and change. We were all much younger then, I’m not the same person I was 30 years ago, I’m sure, neither are they. I have met and loved so many mid westerners that are amazing people, maybe it’s time to go with the majority instead of the minority. How easy it is to focus on the bad and miss out on all of the good!
On and on it goes. I’ve studied, I’ve researched. Ron’s listening to the book, and forward we roll. An hour and 43 minutes to go.
We just passed through Topeka a little after 1:00 p.m. CST. I was reminded it is the capital of the state. Kansas City Turnpike, here we come.
We entered Missouri by way of Kansas City just after 2:00 p.m. CST. Ron happened to notice when we drove past the Kansas City Royals stadium, we were both looking the other away at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes building which sits across the street from the stadium. The Public Relations project I’m working on for my class is to promote the Regent Royals, the new athletic program that launched in 2017. The Kansas City Royals and Regent both share the same colors, and similar logo’s. Kansas City is the most traffic we’ve had the whole trip. The traffic patters here are confusing. When we got off the interstate to go to our campground, we almost got hit by an 18-wheeler. Th intersection sort of x’d, very hard to explain, but it would take some getting used too if you had driven it before.
The movie theater was empty, I thought it was just going to be us, but a Mom and 2 kids came in after it started. A good movie, quotable lines that I’m sure will be heard in days to come. We went to Sinclair’s afterwards for a bite to eat. We noticed on the back of the bar seats were plaques with different people’s names on them. I asked the waitress what that was. They needed new bar stools and couldn’t afford them, so they asked for sponsors. Within a week they had enough to replace all of their old ones. The cost $50 + $20 shipping per bar stool, then they received a $50 gift card to the restaurant. Basically they paid the shipping. A creative way to solve a problem. We met the owner, and bought a t-shirt.
Finally a fire, the one thing we have not had a lot of this trip. The one thing I thought we would do every night. This is only our second fire, the first at Mama Gerti’s campground. We didn’t bring a fire pit with us, we didn’t think we would need it. But we do, the majority of campgrounds have required one. Last night in Kansas, you weren’t allowed burning fires at all because of the wind. All in all, a good day.
After slight problems with getting our back jack up, we pulled out of site P2 at 9:37 a.m. MST. I have loved our time here, but it feels good to get back on the road. God forbid we stay long enough to grow roots. Definitely a place I hope we’ll be back to sooner than later. Of all the places we’ve been so far, Colorado Springs has been my favorite. Ron’s is Nashville because of the music. We both loved New Mexico more than we expected. Ron loved Colorado Springs too, especially the lack of road rage. We have gone 3, 125 miles at this point. Ron said that seems really high, but we’ve done lots of day trips to different places.
Ron has loved looking at the map while we’ve been gone. He loves seeing how far from home we are.
This is our view for the next few hours according to Ron. He wasn’t wrong, not a lot of interesting sights as we head north east to I-70 which will be our pathway home this trip.
We stopped at Burlington, Colorado for gas and potty break. Some guy came up and told Ron about a great place to go camping, Dillon Lake. I think it’s a little more camping than what we do. He told Ron they don’t have water or electric, you can pick up water from the local fire department before you go up in to the campground. I’m not sure Ron and I are ready for complete boon docking. Although, as I told Ron, I wouldn’t mind getting to that point. We would both have to get in better shape, that’s for sure.
We crossed into Kansas at 12:49 p.m. MST or 1:49 p.m. CST. We crossed the timeline as well since they are one and the same. So what time is it really? It’s hard to tell. It’s a weird feeling to cross a timeline, and realize without doing anything, you have just lost an hour of your life. On the way out here, it was fun to gain an hour as we crossed timelines, not as much fun to lose an hour. But in the end, it all balances out. My Mom used to tell me that all the time, I now understand what she meant.
I was very sad to see the “Leaving Colorful Colorado” sign as we exited the place we have made so many great memories. Ron and I were just talking, this trip has really bonded us together. I think I will have a hard time giving him back to the world when we get home. I’ve loved having him all to myself.
I have witnessed the truth of the Western Skies. I’ve always read about the vivid blue skies, but now I’ve had the privilege to see them. The sky brings everything else to life. I also learned Kansas is the largest producer sorghum in the world. One third of the grain is used to feed livestock, 1/3 exported and 1/3 used for food. This crop is a high energy, drought tolerant crop which makes it perfect for Kansas.
I’ve also realized how lonely a truck drivers life is. We’re having fun on our little trip, but I wouldn’t want to drive a truck back and forth on these interstates. There is nothing out here, it just goes on and on. I imagine that would get old quick. But there are those who love it, good for them, that’s awesome.
I had to take pictures of the corn, as monotonous as it is now, I’ll miss this one day. Ron says it looks the same as it did 30 years ago when he did this trip. One of the reasons I love him, his sense of adventure.
When Ron was getting out of the music business he did a six week cross country trip in a green Geo Metro. He had booked a conference in California before he decided to quit the business. The decision to leave music was made at the Exxon station at the corner of Old Towne and Richmond Rd. in Williamsburg, VA. I’m not sure if the station is still an Exxon, but it was then. He decided to go to the conference anyway. So he did, by himself, camping his way across the country and back. My favorite story from that trip, the night he slept in the Geo on the edge of the Grand Canyon. He was snowed in during the night, he couldn’t get out of the car the next morning when he woke up. He had to roll the window down, push the snow back and climb out the window. He has no idea why this is my favorite story. I’ll tell you why, because who wouldn’t want to be with a man who has a sense of adventure like that. I know I do.
And as the wind picks up, the trailer begins to blow, and the mileage begins to slow, it was time for a book.
I am in Laura Ingalls Wilder territory now and I love it. I love understanding exactly how strong the prairie winds are. I’ve read about them, but now I understand them. I have new perspective of the loneliness of the pioneers who settled this land. I understand why there were so many cases of people going crazy. People today can get out and see people, back then, the few miles that parted them were too long a distance to be traveled often. I used to hate being single in Williamsburg, being single out here would be worse I think. But I don’t live here, I could be wrong.
We have seen them working on the road like this a couple of times on this trip. I have never seen a road paved like this. My Dad used to work on the roads. One of his favorite terms came from those days, “augershit,” that’s the stuff that’s left over after they roll the road out. The leftovers kind of look like a crumbled oreo cookie, except it’s tar and rock. Dad used to use that term a lot, especially in the phrase, “Dumber than augershit!” I had no idea what he meant for the longest time, but now I do
We’re staying in WaKeeney, KS tonight at the KOA. We’re not going to unhook if possible. The wind is crazy, it’s blowing us all over the road. Rarely do we ever feel the wind when we’re driving the trailer. The rig we have is the easiest one we’ve owned yet. The travel trailers definitely feel the wind, and it doesn’t have to be much. Ron is an excellent driver, he’s very conscientious and safe. I’m very grateful. I haven’t driven any yet, but I will probably the last couple of days so we can make good time, maybe get home a little early. I’m about to pitch Ron on changing our entire trip, writing about Laura Ingalls Wilder made me look up where her museum is. If we don’t go to St. Louis we could go there instead. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sell Ron on this or not, tune in tomorrow to find out.
I wish I could take a picture of the wind, I hope I never forget how this feels. It’s an arm workout opening the door. The pups aren’t big fans I don’t think. I’m ready for a quiet evening, today was a tiring day for some reason.
I had a conference call for my class. The call ended at the perfect time. I walked outside to check the weather and the sun was just setting. What a privilege to sit and watch the sun sink here in Kansas on this beautiful night.
I’m so excited about the day ahead. I have no idea what we will be doing. I’m very touristed out at this point, but I am enjoying the beauty of my surroundings. I love just sitting in the fresh air, with the mountains all around me and writing. Ron’s going to play pickle ball and give me time to do just that. Ron and I did have a very difficult conversation, I don’t like pickle ball as much as he does. I just don’t find it fun like him. I don’t mind playing every now and then, but not nearly as much as he enjoys it. He’s sad, he was hoping we’d play together. Overall, a nice way to start a long week of driving.
We went to Colorado Brewing for lunch. The first thing we saw was the massive fireplace, my eyes immediately honed in on the three crosses. I find that very interesting in the midst of the chaos.
The Venison Egg Rolls were delicious as an appetizer. Ron didn’t want to get them. I persuaded him by asking, “When have you ever seen Venison Egg Rolls on the menu before?” He let me order them and he enjoyed every bite far more than he wanted to admit. The Blueberry BBQ was incredibly delicious, surprising actually. Our waitress Alexis reminds me of our friend Kelly back home. She has the same sweet smile and pretty face.
Ron had the Cobb Salad, I had the Southwestern Salad with Chicken. They were huge, neither one of us finished ours, we’ll be eating the leftovers for dinner. Delicious!
We debated about going to the Ghost Town Museum, Ron really didn’t want too. However, it was across the parking lot and seemed silly not to take advantage of the opportunity. Ron was satisfied when it was only $6.50 per person, and $11 for the t-shirt. I loved it. I love taking steps back in time and see how people used to live. Ron made the comment, 100 years from now they’ll have things memorialized from how we live. People in the future will think we lived as crudely as we do the people of the 1800’s. I learned how to type on a typewriter when I was in high school, one more advanced than these, but far from the laptop I use today. I could feel the problems that had been solved in the country store, men standing around after a long day’s work debating them. Sometimes, I think they’re the lucky ones, they didn’t have all the distractions of today to deal with like we do.
The sweet lady in church yesterday told us Glen Eyrie Castle is a must see. She made it sound so appealing, we ditched Pike’s Peak. The truth is, neither one of us were in to Pike’s Peak. You can drive up there or take a shuttle. Ron didn’t want to drive the truck up there, not knowing what the roads would be like. I’m not big on a shuttle and sharp drop off’s when I’m not in control. They’re working on the tram, we decided we’ll wait until next time and take it. By the way, Ron is reading my blog just to see what I say about him, I think it’s cute. Another gorgeous weather day.
The Glen Eyrie Castle‘s mission is to inspire wonder by “knowing Christ and making Him known,” now I know why she recommended we come see the place. Ron said it’s a great place for a woman’s retreat, I agree. The castle is actually a hotel. We couldn’t go inside because they had so many events going on. There were smaller meeting houses around the grounds. Definitely an air of serenity and peace here.
We drove by this house several times in our travels. How would you like a boulder for a back yard? I zillowed homes in the area. The cheapest we saw was $164 thousand, going upwards to $310,000 for an average home. This was the only one we saw with a boulder for a back yard.
We went for a bike ride along the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail. All flat, followed along the creek, easy ride. The trail was much longer than the part we road. We did find a homeless population at the end of it, which made my heart ache. I tried to make eye contact, but they were diligent in not meeting my gaze. They were very settled in, I could tell it was their home. They weren’t begging, they weren’t doing anything wrong, they were just living their lives. I have not worked with the homeless much in my life. I do not know a lot about them. I am learning there are a lot of wonderful programs that are available all over the country. I’m also learning, some people want to live that way. I always assume it’s economic circumstances that cause people to be homeless. I’m learning there are a lot of other reasons why people are homeless as well. I’m still learning and researching, it’s a very difficult topic, with lots of opinions. I just want to make sure I’m following God’s lead on all of this.
We went to Mother Muff’s in Old Colorado City, we passed Beth’s Boutique on the way. I have a feeling I probably wouldn’t shop much in Beth’s Boutique, my wallet probably doesn’t agree with her prices, but this is an assumption. We did not stop. We just wanted to have one last drink in Colorado Springs. We’ve had a wonderful vacation, but we miss home, we’re ready to head that way.
And then there is this gentleman. Honestly I didn’t notice he had shuffled by with his walker until I saw the waitresses help him sit down. I heard one waitress ask if he wanted a margarita, to which he responded “Yes.” He must have been a regular, the way he was being treated. I noted the Korea Veteran hat he was wearing. I immediately thought of the Korean Vet I met in Asheville, NC at the beginning of this trip. He was 86 years old, had been drafted in 1952. I didn’t get to buy him a drink, but we bought this Vet one. I asked the waitress to put in our bill and keep it anonymous.
We decided to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner, since it’s our last night. We discovered in Colorado Springs they have drive through liquor stores, that was interesting. As we were waiting at the light the gentleman with the flag walked by. I saw him yesterday when I was sitting outside working but didn’t have enough time to get a picture. I’m very curious what his story is, I’m sure it is one that could fill pages.
I almost forgot, shout out to all my peeps in Tidal, PA. I thought of all of you when I saw the sign below.
Sunday’s our my favorite day of the week. I’m so grateful for how my parents raised me, I’m still doing their routine today, or try too. We were never allowed to work on Sunday’s, no chores, they had to be done on Saturday. We went to church as a family, it was the only time I saw Dad in a suit. He had one gray suit, he wore it every Sunday to church, I believe he is buried in it. My favorite image, him standing at the Tidal Presbyterian Church steps, smoking a cigarette before going into the service. After church, more times than not, Mom had roast beef cooking in the crock pot. We’d go home, she’d whip up 5 lbs of mashed potatoes and we would have hot roast beef sandwiches for lunch. The rest of the day we got to play, it was a day of rest. My favorite day of the week then, still is now. Of course, in life it’s inevitable that I’ve had to work on Sunday, but on those Sunday’s when I don’t have too, those are the best! And at this point in life, the only work I do on Sunday’s is work I want to do, which is playing for me.
Sunday has started off the same way for us. We slept in after the concert last night. I spent a little quiet time with God. I read this verse this morning, it made me laugh. “A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate” (Proverbs 15:17 NLT). I was actually thinking how my 50th birthday dinner was nothing fancy, but it was the best meal in the world because I was with Ron.
The views around here have not gotten old. I’m always amazed. I’ll be talking to Ron, not paying attention to what is around me, and then look up and am shocked at the beauty. The same thing happened on the way to church today, we only had to drive 1.1 miles, I still had my breath taken away from me. We were welcomed so warmly into church this morning. I can’t remember this particular lady’s name, so many people introduced themselves I couldn’t keep up with them all. But she sat beside us to make us feel welcome. During the meet and greet, she asked me what beautiful things I had seen since we left home. I immediately teared up, this trip has been so amazing, I can’t choose just one. I have a very grateful heart. She was a very sweet lady.
We attended New life Church in Manitou Springs. I must admit when we walked in, I was skeptical. Carl (guy in red shirt) was reading scripture as we walked into the sanctuary. There was music playing which reminded me of a funeral. I was a tad bit nervous But then I just let the rhythmic sound of the Scriptures wash over me. I thought, “We’re here now, might as well go with it.” Glad we did. Worship team was fantastic. I learned a new song, “Whole Heart (Hold Me Now).” I knew when I saw the Pastor on his knees praying during worship, the message was going to speak to me. I had no idea how much. I made sure after the service to encourage him, being a Pastor ain’t easy. The Pastor’s name was Brett Davis, he was exuberant and full of life, an energetic message. I love how he showed the original letter Paul had written to the Philippians to highlight his points. I was grateful to take communion with them, we both were. His invitation to partake spoke to both of our hearts. He said, “This isn’t New Life’s table, this is Jesus’s table, come and partake.”. Mmm, so good!
(As a side note, when I tried to link Brett’s bio to his name, I learned he isn’t one of their teaching pastors. He’s actually in charge of congregational care. I guarantee you, from the passion I saw today, he cares for his people.)
We went to Amanda Fonda’s for lunch. In my opinion, none of the Mexican restaurants we have visited have stood out. The menus are all similar, only slight variations. What makes Amanda’s unique is the location. The restaurant sits on a little, picturesque stream with a great outdoor seating area. And you can bring your dogs. On the other side of the stream is The Timber Lodge, it has the cutest little lodges. One of them is an A-frame, some have kitchens, some don’t, there is a bridge that takes you across from the restaurant. A lady was sitting out in front of her A-frame, she told me it’s a wonderful place to stay. I’m putting it on the list in case we ever come back.
I am so glad RVing life means dogs travel with you. I would not be able to enjoy this trip nearly as much if they were back home. I don’t think I could leave them this long. This morning when we returned from church, we only had enough time to give them a potty break before we went golfing. This was them trying to look pathetic, playing my heart strings so I won’t go. They play me like a fiddle.
Ron and I’s conversation on the way to golf was about the evolution of travel. I wondered what someone who reads my blog 50 years from now, God willing, will think of this trip. I know compared to the trip my Mom took over 50 years ago, travel has gotten much easier. Ron disagrees, after visiting the RV museum, he doesn’t think it has changed as much as I do. I said the covered wagon was the first RV. Ron made a good point, he didn’t know if people would have considered crossing the country in a covered wagon, recreational. When you think about it from that perspective, he’s right. We aren’t missing much in the way of creature comforts. A covered wagon’s creature comforts were the tarp over the wagon and the hay and blankets where they slept, not very recreational.
We played nine holes at Patty Jewett Golf Course. They have three nine hole courses, they rotate which ones you have to play for 18, which ones are 9 holes. We played the Prairie today. Gorgeous views, beautiful weather, crappy golf score. The beer was expensive, $5.50 for a can of Michelob Ultra. Other than the price of beer, I’m not complaining.
I have a conference call in an hour, and then we’re planning on a relaxing evening in the camper. Tomorrow is our last full day before we start the trek home. God has blessed us with an amazing vacation. I hope it’s only the first of many more to come.
Post Script: While I was on my conference call, a man walking his Golden Retriever walked by me, I was sitting at the picnic table in front of our camper. His best friend decided he needed to poop, right in the middle of the intersection. Of course, that is when a big fifth wheel pulls in and has to wait on the dog to do his business, and then for his owner to clean up after him. I felt bad for the poor guy. It gets even better though, on their return from their walk around the campground, the dog does the exact same thing again, right in the middle of the intersection. No traffic this time, but I think I might start walking my dog along the side of the road, instead of the middle. Entertainment while on my conference call.
Rocco helped me edit my birthday blog. He was very insightful. Sophia is tucked in beside me under the blanket, some of the best moments in life right here.
We had fun touring a little of Colorado Springs today. Ron wanted to find Pickle Ball courts, and hopefully play while we’re out here. His search led us to Monument Valley Park which is beside Colorado College. You can access Pikes Peak Greenway Trail from this park. We got lost, which was inevitable, and ended up on Cascade Ave, the picture of the street with two white lines, it reminded me of Charlotte, NC. This avenue is part of a network to allow multi-modal transportation throughout the city. We did a driving tour of the college after stopping by the Pickle Ball courts to discover the lay of the land. People start at 7:00 a.m. each morning and play until noon. The courts were packed, the people we talked too said they’ve turned all of the tennis courts in the area into pickle ball courts. According to the lady I spoke with, this is one of several pickle ball facilities. If you’re a Pickle Ball fan, this is an area for you.
We found ourselves at the Historic Old North End of Colorado Springs. Never knowing what you’re going to find, we decided to drive through the neighborhood and find out. The neighborhood dates back to the 1800’s, according to the website, it is the “most charming neighborhood in the entire state.” I finally realized, the mountain I keep taking pictures of, to the the best of my knowledge at the moment, is Pike’s peak.
Ron discovered Shuga’s for lunch, it was a good discovery. The food was delicious, the environment laid back, the staff friendly and accommodating. I may plan the trips, but I let Ron decide what we do when we get there. His taste is impeccable, he always manages to find the gems. The restaurant had lots of eclectic pieces scattered around, my favorite was the telephone booth with the typewriter in it.
I wasn’t going to have a glass of wine until I saw “Crappy wine of the moment” on the menu and knew I had to try it. I can confirm, it was crappy wine. I had the Aracelli Salad, made with salmon and all kinds of goodness. The waitress talked me into the Roasted Beet Gazpacho with Creme’ Fraiche, not a fan favorite for me, but worth a try. Ron had the Northwest Pita, basically the same salad I had except on a pita. He had to try the mac and cheese with jalapeno’s, I tried it with out the spice, it’s hard to go wrong with mac and cheese. I felt very “healthy” as I ate my lunch, everything good for me, except maybe the wine. I did eat some type of Almond Butter Cake for desert, a big almond cookie baked like a pie. Ron helped me finish it, a little dry, but good.
Our check came in the Field Book, it’s their version of a guest book. People sign it however they want, some business advertisements, some hellos, mostly reviews. Fun idea!
Gorgeous weather as we head to Red Rock Amphitheater to hear Greensky Bluegrass. We almost postponed our trip until the 29th when Lauren Daigle is performing, but I wanted to be here over my birthday. The timing just didn’t work out this trip. I did just learn from my husband, Red Rocks is located in Morrison, CO which makes it my favorite venue. We drove by the Air Force Academy, framed perfectly within the mountains. We’ll be passing by Castle Rock, which was my first introduction to Colorado 20 years ago. I came here to work at the Castle Rock Outlets for a week, I was deciding whether or not I was going to move here. I was working for Wallet Works at the time. I was tempted but they filled the position with someone local who worked for the company, they didn’t have to pay for them to move. That was the week I fell in love with Colorado.
Ron wanted to drive into the middle of Denver, so we did. I loved the walk ways that were built over the roads. Not a great shot of the skyline, but it is a shot.
As we were driving down the hill into Red Rocks, the view was spectacular. The amphitheater opened in 1941 and was once one of the Seven Wonders of the. Geological World. We arrived at 5:20 p.m. MST, plenty early. We went to the Trading Post where the Colorado Hall of Music Fame is located. Great tribute to John Denver and Dan Fogelberg. I talked Ron into buying a shirt, none were appealing to him, but he needed a Red Rocks t-shirt with his music background. He loved when the ticket agent told him he, “Owned the town” when he saw his last name.
As we were walking into the Trading Post, I scared this little guy out of his hiding place. He wasn’t more than 5 feet from me. Poor thing, he didn’t know what to do, there were people everywhere. He just crossed the street and ran off, away from people.
The doors opened at 6:00, we got in line about five minutes til. Everyone was tailgating, and people in line took their drinks with them, something you definitely don’t see in Virginia. I have never entered a concert like this before. Ron was mesmerized with the Red Rocks. He was calculating their angle, which he thought was 45 degrees, and the years of wind that had worn them down to this shape
I had to walk to the top to see the view and I wasn’t disappointed. Denver skyline can be seen in the distance. I was winded and had to sit for a break, but I’m glad I made the effort.
Of course we had to take the obligatory selfie.
The opener was Rayland Baxter. I was surprised when I read the sign about marijuana as we were waiting for the show to start, then I remembered where we were. Just after reading the warning, I looked to the right, a young guy sitting in front of me smoking a joint, apparently he didn’t read the sign. He wasn’t the only one, no one seemed to be concerned. We haven’t seen anyone smoking in public anywhere else so maybe the venue is why, or I just hadn’t noticed, which is also possible. Ron did indulge in a Dale’s Pale Ale beer, bargain price of $12.75. I loved when I checked us in on Facebook, the location said, “Morrison, CO.”
I don’t think I can ever put into words what it feels like to be sitting here in this moment. Music is not my world, I don’t have the understanding of it Ron has, but I’m beginning to understand why he loves music as he does. He said he misses doing outdoor shows more than anything else. I can understand why, especially on nights like this, the weather is perfect, the crowd relaxed, the music heartfelt. I’m learning to be comfortable outside of my comfort zone. I would definitely say the feeling of the crowd is a free spirit atmosphere, reminiscent of Woodstock. I didn’t realize the ’70’s fashion had made such a comeback until I saw all of the cute young things in bell bottoms and head scarves. We all know what a fashionista I am, not at all.
The moon was incredible. I was focused on the band when Ron nudged me and said, “Look at the moon.” I knew the moon was going to be full again, but wow, what a view. The pictures don’t do it justice, but I have to say, the camera on my phone isn’t bad.
Greensky Bluegrass took an hour to come on after the opener finished. We had to leave early because of the 1 hour and 15 minute drive home. The pups were waiting for us. We came, we saw, we got the t-shirt:-). Walking down the stairs as we left seemed endless, then the hike up to the car, great way to get exercise.
Wow, as my husband asked me this morning as we snuggled in bed, “Did you ever think you would turn 50?” That would be a hard no for an answer. But it is starting out so good, I hope and pray the next 10 years go even better!
We’re up early, because of the time change. Ron made me breakfast in bed, my favorite WW friendly morning meal, Breakfast Tacos. Lowfat Eggos, scrambled eggs, a dash of fake syrup and cheese. Delicious! Now I’m going to snuggle up in bed a little longer and have some quiet time while Ron watches his morning news.
Still in bed, getting ready to do some writing. Perfect birthday so far. Ron keeps refilling the coffee cup and I get to keep working. Couldn’t ask for more!
Ron is spoiling me badly, he’s even doing the laundry, and trust me THIS is not normal for him. On top of that, he’s making sure I don’t have to get out of bed, which isn’t easy. The bed on the RV lifts up for storage, we use it for our dirty laundry. I’m sitting at the top of the bed working. When he said he’d do the laundry I said, “I guess I’ll have to move.”. He was adamant I didn’t have to, he could work around me. And he did. That is one good man right there, I know I’m blessed . I did eventually get out of bed around 9:15 a.m. MST.
Weather today is perfect. We’re off to Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond, this is life at 50. We’re heading to Garden of the Gods this afternoon for a festival. Since it’s my birthday and I get to do whatever I want, I talked to Jill on the way to Walmart. How could my 50th birthday go by without hearing her voice? I wouldn’t be where I am today without her love and support.
My birthday means a hat shower, just throw on clothes and go. I’m wearing my shirt from Pete’s event last Feb. I’m praying for him today.
Ron said no on bringing home ice melt:-(. I thought it would be good to have on hand for the one snow a year we get, apparently, he does not agree. The view when we walked out of Walmart once again surprised me. Then again while sitting at a light on our way to Bed Bath and Beyond, I look right and am once again surprised. I’m still not used to seeing the beautiful mountains everywhere I turn.
Ron grilled us delicious burgers for lunch. I wrote out some postcards, and chilled with the pups. A lovely first morning of this new decade for me. I was serenaded by Leslie, and after her chemo treatment none the less. She is an amazing woman.
Thought this fella was cute we saw in the campground when dumping trash. I loved the flowers. And we are in Colorado, not surprised to see these chairs.
The weather is perfect for a visit to Garden of the Gods. Colorado Springs is 6035 ft. above sea level. I had to google what the PPM and PPA stickers on the car in front of use meant. PPM is Pike Peak’s Marathon, PPA is Pike Peak’s Ascent. I’m thinking the guy driving the truck is in pretty good shape. The traffic is very slow around here, no one is in a hurry, which is good. An opportunity for me to practice patience like I don’t have at home.
When I checked in yesterday, they had a flier for a Folk Arts Festival to benefit the Historical Rock Ledge Ranch. The event started today at noon and runs thru Sunday. I thought it would be a fun way to spend my fiftieth. Bless Ron’s heart, all he wanted to do was go check out Garden of the Gods, but he was a trooper and let me go to the festival first. I would have never known I wasn’t in Virginia, or Pennsylvania, or anywhere I’ve attended this type of thing. The merchandise is similar, the food is similar, there’s usually some kind of unique local food you can’t get anywhere else, other than that, similar. On my 50th birthday, I thought a funnel cake was acceptable:-). Of course, there is one thing that is like nowhere else, the view. Turning around and seeing the Garden of the Gods is amazing!
I’m wearing my “A Mile for Pete” shirt; when we were handing our tickets over to the lady at the entrance, she asked who Pete was. I was surprised when she asked, I’d forgotten what shirt I was wearing. I must of had a look on my face that told her more than my words, because she had such a loving reaction. I told her he’s a friend battling cancer. The instant understanding that came across her face made me want to cry. I don’t know whether she had fought the battle personally or someone close to her had, but she knew it’s not an easy battle. I could see the knowledge in her eyes. When we were leaving, she caught my eye and gave me a very special smile. I have a feeling Pete has another prayer warrior praying for him.
Rock ledge Ranch was not at all what I expected, but then I’d never heard of it before yesterday so how could I have any expectations? On the path on the way in we had the rattlesnake beware sign, my first time ever seeing one. I loved the wagon the best, all I could think about was Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family crossing the prairie in one of those. She is truly my hero. My favorite part in the series of books is the one and only time she ever talked about Almanzo, her husband kissing her when they were courting. We didn’t get to hear the presentation the sweet lady below was doing, but she was making something that looked interesting. I loved the authenticity of the museum. I could still feel the people from the past in the rooms as we walked through them. Life then was so different from what we know now.
Finally we set out on the bike ride Ron so desperately wanted to take, only to find out because of the festival it was closed. Plus, we were both afraid of seeing a rattlesnake. There were other trails we could have ridden, but they were narrow; narrow means snakes to me. I did not want to meet a rattlesnake on my 50th birthday. We also thought they might be more mountain bike trails than Townie bike trails.
And I had an amazing moment, truly for me. I haven’t even told Ron yet, he’ll find out when he reads this. We had gone as far as we could on this particular path, Ron road ahead of me while I was taking pictures. I was trying to get a good picture of the windmill, I didn’t even notice this big boy in the corner. He didn’t notice me. I heard him snort and I turned to see him. My instant reaction was fear, but then his magnificent beauty over came my fear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful beast before. I was mesmerized with him, when I realized he had just noticed I was there. Before I could say stop, he ran off. I realized then this huge beast was more afraid of me than I was of him. People have told me this before about horses, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in there eyes. My heartstrings were touched by the moment.
I’m sorry I keep repeating myself, but breathtaking is the only way to describe Garden of the Gods. I’ve had so many breathtaking moments on this trip, I’m sure it sounds old. The good Lord just amazes me, so many breathtaking things He has done in this world. We were too tired to walk the trail through the garden today. The temperature had risen as well. We’re going to try and walk the trail one morning before we leave. The look on Ron’s face as we drove by the big red rocks for the first time was priceless. He was completely captivated with them. As a post script, I learned the next morning there was a climbing accident with 3 climbers on my birthday, thankfully none life threatening.
We arrived back to the campground just as our new neighbors were backing into their sight. Their camper is an Imagine, the same type my brother has. I loved my texting conversation with him on my birthday. As a disclaimer, no one thinks Imagine’s are “Shitboxes,” it’s an inside joke because of how easily things break on an RV in general. My little brother’s text below Matt’s made me cry. My brothers made me feel very loved today.
We stayed in after our very physical day. Ron grilled pork chops. I worked on my blog for awhile, then we had a double feature movie night: ” Little Big Farm” and the”The Hustle.” The first movie was an excellent documentary I highly recommend. The second one, neither of us made it through, we both fell asleep. The time change is messing with us a little bit, we’re up at 5:00 a.m. and tired by 7:00 p.m. The air is extremely dry, definitely need to bring a humidifier on the next trip.
Thanks to my sister-in-law Bonnie, I learned there was a nationwide full moon tonight. A nationwide rare full moon on Fri 13th won’t happen again until August 13, 2049. The last time one of these occurred was on Oct. 13th, 2000. Another fun fact, if we were at home, I wouldn’t be able to see it technically until Sept. 14h at 12:33 a.m. Because we’re in Colorado, I get to see it on my actual birthday! I started praying a new prayer; may Ron and I live to see the next one together. I’ll be 70, he’ll be 71 and 3/4, may it be so!
And that is a wrap for an extremely blessed 50th birthday. My brother’s prayer for me came true. I had the best birthday ever, so fantastic, it will live in my heart forever. Ending the day with a heart full of gratitude.
And we’re finally heading to Colorado. This has been such a fun trip, exploring all of these new places, meeting so many new people. At 8:34 a.m. MST, Ron backed up the trailer slightly to give us more room to turn as we pulled out heading northward. Danny and Chris have their gnomes loaded in the jeep, as we part ways with our new friends.
We drove through Las Vegas, NM. The town sits at 6,425 ft. above sea level. As you can see, quite different from the one in Nevada:-).
Ron and I have had so many great conversations on this trip. One of my favorites took place just now on I-25 North just outside of Maxwell, NM. I was telling Ron how, when I’m in a situation, I ask God what He’s trying to teach me. Until today’s conversation, and we just celebrated 7 years of marriage, I never thought of God trying to teach us together as a couple, neither had Ron. That is a whole new concept for both of us, one I hope the Good Lord above will be working out in us for decades to come.
The electric poles had the glass conductors on them, I didn’t think they were used any more. Although, as Ron explained to me, they are actually insulators, meaning they do not conduct electricity. By using glass to pass the electrical wires through, it prevents the pole from becoming electrified. At least that’s how I understand it, I could be wrong
We entered Colorado around 11:45 a.m. MST. Ron had John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” qued and ready to start as we crossed the state line. I was snapping pictures and then had a moment of vertigo from driving in the mountains and the steep decline on each side. The state line is at 7634 ft. above sea level. Of course reception isn’t great so the song started to screw up. Ron was trying to fix the song, I’m freaking out, so we didn’t get to hear the whole song, but the moment we have waited so long for was definitely memorable.
The reason my vertigo was kicking in was because of the turns pictured below. We had had several of them in the miles leading up to the state line. As we approached them, it made me feel as if we were driving off the edge of the world. Of course we weren’t, it didn’t bother Ron at all driving. I wasn’t prepared for my reaction to them, but it definitely is fun!
I had to get a picture of the moose sign. I thought the mountains in the background were snow capped, Ron said no, it’s to early. Either way, the landscape is breathtaking.
Tomorrow I turn 50, God willing. Ten years ago today, Leslie, the Leslie I had dinner with last night, and I were in VA Beach. We had rented a room on the oceanfront to celebrate my 40th birthday. The next day, on my 40th birthday, we sat on the beach and I cried. I didn’t think I would ever be married, I thought my life was what it would always be. Wow, how God has worked in the last 10 years. If you had told me I’d be on this amazing journey with a man I adore, my husband, I would have never believed you. I am one grateful woman. Lesson learned, don’t ever give up!
We are 18 miles from our destination, and we have run into a back up, one of the very few we’ve had. There is an accident ahead which has us slowed down. We’ve driven 2,840 miles at this point, nothing to complain about here. We’re at the city of Fountain at the moment. Ron and I have been talking about what it must have been like being a pioneer. God bless them for the courage they had to make their journeys, none of them were easy.
We’re just minutes from the campground and the anticipation is building. I just told Ron I feel like I did on our wedding day. I never actually thought the day would happen, I was sure Ron wouldn’t show up for our nuptials, even if it did. I can still see my first glimpse of him that day in my mind, he looked so cute in his tan, linen suit and flip flops. And now I’m having similar feelings as we exit the interstate and head to our campground. I have loved Colorado my whole life, it has just always appealed to the pioneer girl in me. We planned, we prayed, we worked hard to make this all come together, and we are finally here. Thank God we didn’t have to make the journey in a covered wagon! Praise Jesus. Even once we were on the road, it still seemed so far away, yet here we are. Grateful.
We pulled into Garden of the Gods RV park at 2:52 p.m. MST. Of course, there was a back up when we arrived and we had to wait. But we all know, good things come to those who wait. We are in site P2 right beside the pool. When I walked out of the camper after setting up and looked left, my breath caught, the view of the mountains surprised me.
We are in for the evening, the weather is gorgeous, the park is quiet, life is good. We did a little sight seeing when we first set up, just to get our bearings, and decided to call it a day. We have been doing so much in the past two weeks we can’t keep up with ourselves. The whole reason why I wrote this blog is to help us remember. When we get home and try to remember the details, we can look back at the highlights of the trip to help us recall the details. The shortest pencil, or in this case, laptop, is better than the longest memory. As I close out my 49th year tonight, I’m closing it with a heart full of gratitude. I told Ron earlier, I feel like I’m living in a dream. I didn’t study the whole way here today, I was so excited to get to Colorado. Visually, other than the mountains, the drive was very bland, but we had awesome talks. I’ve got studying and writing to do tonight. There is no other way I would want to end the decade of my 40’s, no better way to begin my 50’s.