Travels With Dick and Judy

Follow us in our trials, triumphs and tribulations, while on the road in our motor home "The Liberty Belle". We chose to forsake the conventional lifestyle in our 3,000+ square-foot home to move into a 40-foot Winnebago Ultimate Freedom. Travel with us as we take you on the road with us in our new lifestyle.
I may grow older, but I'll never grow up!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Dream Come True

Beaver Pond - Rocky Mountain National Park (1983)
They say, if you try hard enough, you can make your dreams come true.  Since 1972, we have vacationed as a family in our favorite place in North America. That place is Estes Park, Colorado and specifically, Rocky Mountain National Park.  Both are located in Larimer County, Colorado - not far from Boulder.  Michelle, our daughter, reminded us today that, when she was a little girl, we would tell her that one day we would come back up here to volunteer in the campground as camp host. 

Well, that day has a date put on it!  Today, we answered a call from the Larimer County Park Rangers and, after a 30-minute phone interview, we were offered the position of volunteer campground host for Mary’s Lake Campground just outside of Estes Park from May 15th to October 1st of next year. Tomorrow morning, we start our fitness program to insure we will be in good shape to enjoy the 8,000+ foot altitude we will be living in. The position is strictly that of a volunteer and has the benefit of having a motorhome site with full hookups. Our duties will be to smile, show our fellow campers where to park, and help them out in any way we can, as well as helping the rangers when needed.  In addition, the rangers were interested in utilizing Dick's photography for flyers, brochures and ranger websites and Judy's proofreading for proposals, etc.  We will most likely be on duty three days with four days off, then four days on and three days off. This schedule will be shared with another host couple. The rangers actually said they want us to explore the area and enjoy ourselves on our off-duty rotation. 
Lone fly fisherman surrounded by a herd of wild elk  - Rocky Mountain National Park 2002
Our son and daughter (with their families) are already planning their summer vacations, and we hope others will also come to visit.  We plan to return to Texas/Louisiana next fall and winter to visit family and friends and for the holidays.

This will be a difficult winter to get through!
Elk Meadow - Rocky Mountain National Park (2002)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yesterday was a great day!   Since this is Martha and Lee's last week here, we had them over for dinner.  Martha said she loved Shrimp Creole and Lee said he had never eaten it.  So Judy and I rolled up our sleeves, peeled and deveined a couple of pounds of shrimp and, that evening, we fixed them a "country cajun" dinner.  This isn't what you will normally find in most restaurants.  I like to explain to people that "Cajun" on a menu doesn't mean peppered. It means seasoned and filled with flavor.  You can always add heat at the table via cayenne, Louisiana hot sauce or whatever your poison may be, but don't kill the flavor with pepper and no taste.  We also served smothered green beans with new potatoes and sweet corn.  If I say so myself, it must have been good, because there wasn't much left.  While we visited, I popped the cork on one of my nephew-in-law's first batch of wine and shared it.  It was dryer than my favorites, but a really good rendition of a Chablis. Martha had made a pound cake for dessert, and we topped it with Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.  Guys, you're gonna miss that Bluebell when you get to Maine, and we're gonna miss you guys!
Martha & Lee, with Dick over the Creole
Sitting down to that cajun meal
Monday night, Charles, John and Joan invited the workampers over for a Brat & covered dish get-together.  This was a great time for this sort of thing, because the night was cool and several of our comrades were moving on.  Martha and Lee are leaving this weekend to make their way toward theer next gig in Maine, and Charlie and Paulette are supposed to move on to another campground closer to the end of the month.  Our contribution to the gathering was baked beans (homemade from scratch).  Everyone must have enjoyed them, because we had no leftovers to carry back.  Other dishes were Martha’s Veggie Casserole, Jodie’s corn-filled cornbread muffins (like a baked corn fritter), Terri’s pickled carrots, string beans and dills – I had to mop the sweat from my head after sampling those.  The main course was brats (beef, beer and jalapeno).  The brats must have been really good, because Judy even liked them and she usually shies away from sausage.  Joe provided dessert fare of peach cobbler and apple crunch, and  other workampers provided additional dishes.
Charles John & Paul

Coming together

Joan at the "Stove"
John & Joe - Just Hangin'

 John and Charles built a fire in the fire pit and Joan was our chef-of-the-evening with assistance from Joe.  Later, Charles treated everyone to a brief show of his homemade fireworks that were really, really loud!  There was some excitement when one of the fireworks “miss-fired” and shook the ground with its secondary detonation.  Fortunately, the ground was still wet so no fire followed.  After the miss-fire, things started to wind down and the gathering began to break up.  A few of us stuck around and some really good conversation followed.  All-in-all, things came together really smoothly and it was a good night.

Sue & Dave -
Our Newest Workampers
Lee & Martha
Jodi - Havin' a good laugh!

Jodi & Carl

Chow Time!
The early bird got the worm!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This afternoon, I went to Martha's home (one of our workkamper friends) to learn to do t-shirt braiding.  The company was great and I actually enjoyed learning a new craft that I hope to do more of in the future.  

Judy, Terri, Martha (our hostess), Sue and Mary

Judy getting ready to braid t-shirt
Terri with finished braided t-shirt
Here is another interesting story and another reason we love this lifestyle.  By messaging Gail (Gypsy Turtles) and talking with Martha, both of whom are from North Carolina, we realized that they all met last spring at an RV Dreams rally.  We have been following Gypsy Turtles since we became full-time RVers in June, and they will be coming to Texas in December (when we will meet for the first time).  We met Martha and Lee when we began workamping in late August, and they will be leaving next weekend to return home for a few months.   What a small world!  We will all keep in touch through our blogs and Facebook and, one day, meet again.   ~Judy~
Last evening, Richard and Barbara (our neighbors) and Judy and I got together to try out Denton’s Catfish Caye, a new restaurant that opened last week a couple hundred yards down the highway from us.  The portions were ample, as you can see, and the catfish pretty good. Their hush-puppies I will rate as superior to 95% of all the restaurants I have eaten at, but still far below the deliciousness of those of our dear friend, Linda Whidden, who is no longer with us. Judy, however, being the shrimp aficionado she is, rated their fried shrimp to be just so-so.   Their prices were really good and the location convenient, so we’ll probably be returning soon. 
Barbara, Richard and Dick - Judy was there, as evidenced
 by the ever-present phone, but taking the picture.
While we were there, the weather started building to the west of us and, then, started sprinkling about 10:30.  By 1:30 a.m. this morning, it was raining so hard that I was forced to turn Hulu off because I couldn’t hear the TV for the noise of the rain on our roof - a really welcome sound for these parts.  It’s 10:40 a.m. now and still coming down.  The ground is wet, but still soaking it up as fast as it comes down.  We’re so dry that it will take rainfall like this every week for the next several months to begin to restore the balance.  The rain is supposed to continue into this evening, so it looks like this will be a day spent indoors.  ~Dick~