Posted in Campgrounds, Parks, RV Living, Travels, Wildlife

West to Flaming Gorge

We continued our westward travels, left Ft. Collins, CO, spent a couple of nights in Rawlins, WY, and then moved to McKinnon, WY for Labor Day weekend. We stayed at the Red Desert Rose Campground in Rawlins, this was our first experience at a “western” campground; dry, dusty, treeless!  They have a fenced dog park, but it had very little grass.  There is sagebrush all around town, I kept my eyes open for wildlife, but to no avail.  The staff here were ever so nice.  Although the sites were all gravel pull-through’s, we did have full hookups and took this time to catch up on laundry and and life!  From the middle of June, Barry has been working a ton, both here in the RV and traveling around each area making lots of calls; this is our first stop to just settle down and catch our breath.  Rawlins is an interesting old town, lots of cowboy references and old “Mom & Pop” type motels; it is the first exit off I-80 to Jackson, WY and further on to Yellowstone NP, it is also a shipping location for cattle and some historical sites are here also.

On I-80 near Laramie, WY – I see snow-capped mountains! And lots of cattle grazing!

I made reservations earlier this spring for a campsite on Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming for Labor Day, this was our next destination.  My parents were NP Rangers at Dinosaur NM just south of Flaming Gorge in the early 1990’s and we have not been back to this area since that time; I could not wait to relive some of those memories!  We pulled into Buckboard Campground on Friday and prepared for a weekend of sight-seeing.  This is a State Park Campground, again, dry and dusty with very few trees and little clam-shell covered picnic areas.  We had a 50 amp, electric only site that was not very level but had a little look at the reservoir from the front.  There was also a full hookup private RV park nearer the water for only a few dollars more; I would have rather parked there had I known in advance.  We also found the Lucerne Campground further south on Flaming Gorge that will be our first choice the next time we visit this area.

View from the picnic table, see the step turned around backwards due to the parking bumper? Still so far off the ground in front.
View from the campground of Flaming Gorge….see those things in the air? They are markers on the power lines over the road!

Saturday was the start of the College Football Season (notice that is all caps?!!)  and we spent the entire day watching all the games we could possibly see!  But, in the afternoon, I needed a project and took that time to work on the bathroom backsplash.  (Refer to my post RV Life, April ’17 –http://corgishopperblog.com/2017/04/27/rv-life-april-17/  )  I had found a product called Smart Tiles online, purchased them at Home Depot, and decided to apply them today.  All-in-all, it was an easy finish to this project; I used my math skills (whaaat?!!)  and lots of measuring before cutting, but ended up with great results, can’t wait to finish the rest of the coach with it!

Much better!

Sunday was going to be all about traveling around Flaming Gorge……..please enjoy these photos that brought back so many memories for me!

 

They named it Flaming Gorge due to the red stone colors all around it!
Only bridge over the reservoir!

Flaming Gorge Dam
Same bridge from up high, the dam is on the left out of the photo


So many more photos and memories from this area!!!  It was so good to be back!

Posted in LIfestyle, Travels, Wildlife

Poudre River Fun

After I saw bears in the mountains, Barry could not wait to go out into the mountains with me!  We spent a day driving northwest from Fort Collins along the Cache la Poudre River valley on Highway 14, aka, Poudre Canyon Road.  This is just a lovely drive that follows the river through the canyon alongside lots of rushing water and pull-out spots.  At one such spot, we noticed a car stopped and a man standing outside with his camera pointed upward into some rocks.  We slowed, then pulled to a stop on a bridge and we jumped out of the car to see a bear in the bushes along the river there!  Barry grabbed my camera and watched and photographed that black bear!

Barry’s bear!

That bear got tired of photos and climbed further up and over the hill and out of sight…..we returned to our much more lovely drive!

 

Yes! We drove through this Huge Rock!!
Barry – without the bear!
Very Cold Water doesn’t scare me!!!!


We found a little spot right on the river to stop for dinner, The Mishawaka.  It is a concert venue / bar / restaurant, and truly just eating here alongside that wonderful water made the food delicious!  On the opposite bank, the hill rose up high to a solitary cross but I kept watching for wildlife as we enjoyed dinner.

I would love a Chieftains concert here with this lovely backdrop!
The aftermath of a forest fire……so very sad……..

 

We left Poudre Canyon Road and climbed up and up on Stove Prairie Road that would take us back to Horsetooth Campground.  As fun as the river road is to drive, this road is equally delightful with so very much to see!

Love to see horses in a field!
Such a fun fence!
I could look at this vista everyday (unless it was snowy!)

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Posted in Campgrounds, Parks, RV Living, Travels, Wildlife

Bears in the Mountains!

We left Broken Bow and headed to Sydney, Nebraska to stay the night at the only Cabela’s campground anywhere!  Sydney was the site of the beginning of Cabela’s business, and they have a monster property there with a campground, horse corrals, and a store with everything!

 

Even the Corgis liked this spot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we began the real drive across the prairie and headed toward Colorado!  If you have ever driven in snow country, then highway closures are nothing new to you; but to us, they serve as a reminder of the power of Mother Nature!  At most of the  exit ramps, were signs warning of the closure of the interstate ahead — Get Off The Highway Now kind of signs!

They even have gates to block the highway closed!

 

After miles and miles of prairie, we crossed into:


We continued on I-80 westward until we came to Cheyenne and headed south towards Fort Collins, Colorado to spend a few days near the Rocky Mountains!  Horsetooth Reservoir Campground is west of Fort Collins, nestled in the foothills of the Rockies and is a county park property.  We had 50 amp electrical service only at our dusty campsite, but had a lovely view of the reservoir and surrounding mountains outside the coach.  South Bay site #17 had big shady trees that helped keep the coach cooler in the hot summer heat, but none of the amenities — WiFi, cell service, water or sewer.  It did have frequent mule deer visitors though and delightful views of water, mountains and sky!


On the first day, while Barry worked, I took advantage of the proximity to the mountains and headed west toward Estes Park.  I had been this way once before, on a trip here with Barry & Tyler about 15 years ago and remembered the upward drive through Big Thompson Canyon and into Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).  It is still a fantastic drive between narrow canyons and alongside the Big Thompson River, winding higher and higher into the mountains.  I was going to try out my back-packing skills for the first time, hiking at elevation with a loaded backpack; I left the highway and followed McGraw Ranch Road up and then down to Cow Creek Trailhead, just inside the boundary of RMNP.  I hoisted my pack on my back and headed off to test my skills on the North Boundary Trail.  After only hiking about 1/3 mile, I turned and retraced my steps back to my car, thoroughly disappointed with myself.  But I did learn!  I could do this, if I worked at acclimating to elevation without my backpack, I might be able to try again.

One side is the RMNP boundary, Comanche Peak Wilderness is on the other side!
The original McGraw Ranch house

I left this area and headed over to Estes Park to explore the little touristy town a bit.  It is the “end” of summer and lat-minute tourists and traffic crowded the town……..time to leave!


After leaving Estes Park to return down Big Thompson Canyon and back to Barry, I chanced to find a little pull-out park alongside the river, Sleepy Hollow Park, and stopped to see the water!   I love the sound and feel and smell of running mountain water and will take every possible chance to get close.  No other cars were parked in the small lot, the map marked trails nearby, a few picnic tables dotted the grassy area:  Perfect!!

​After I finished filming a video of the running water, I noticed some movement in the bushes at the turn of the river.  As I watched, a black bear and her two cubs popped out of the bushes and began working their way along the river toward me!!!  For the next 15 minutes, I watched the three of them move along the rocky areas above the river, looking for berries to eat along the way.  She kept an eye on me as I backed up to lean against a tree and stayed still as they scrambled along the rocks; I made sure the car was unlocked and I could make a speedy retreat, if necessary!

A small Black Bear sow
The smaller of the two cubs
This larger cub gave me a long stare before moving off behind the other two bears!

Too soon, they turned and made their way up the rocky incline and further away, I returned to my car and left, with a smile on my face from ear-to-ear!  I had seen bears in the wild!!!

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