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!

Monday, October 29, 2012

We Are In One Of Those Black Holes of the World Wide Web

For you guys wondering why we haven't updated our blog, our only internet link is a telephone hotspot, and we are in one of those "fringe" areas that relies on a roaming connection with another service. As a result, to post a single picture takes waaaay too long.
As soon as we can we will resume posting, but that may take a while. We travel to our next camp ground in January, sooo...

In the meantime, we will be posting a few pics on FaceBook.  Hope you like them!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Final Days of July!

It's hard to believe it is the last week of September and we are back in Texas and visiting family, but that story is for another day!  First, it's time to complete the story of Michelle and Logan's visit to Colorado - old news to some, but memories for me!

Since Logan was completing the Junior Ranger booklet and had to see as many birds (and other wildlife, etc.) that he could, on Friday, July 27th, we decided to visit our friend and fellow workamper Donna at East Portal Campground (just down the road from the YMCA camp - for those who have been there).  Donna's feeder attracted up to 15-20 hummingbirds at a time, many of whom would land on her fingers.

Logan, Dick/Grampa and Donna at the feeder
From there, we drove up Highway 7 to treat Michelle and Logan to spring water directly from the pump.

Our day ended with hanging out at the campground, which Michelle truly enjoyed!

Dick and I were on duty the next 3 days and, after being on the road since their arrival, Michelle and Logan were content to relax (Michelle) and play on the rocks and at the playground (Logan).  On Saturday, July 28th, we did just that until Donna told us there was a big black bear in a tree a few miles away.  We headed that way and, when Dick later went for viewing and pictures, the bear cooperated and stood up; however, for us, he only slept, but it was still cool to see and another item to check off in Logan's Junior Ranger booklet.

Approximately 400-pound male black bear
Logan and Michelle - waiting for a better picture!
Michelle and Logan - still waiting!
Back at camp, we were treated to another awesome rainbow!

That evening, we had another campground program on bears and mountain lions, which was perfect, since Logan had to attend a program, write about it and get a ranger's signature for his Junior Ranger badge.  Thank you, Ranger Howell, for your sign-off for Logan!

Campground program on bears and mountain lions
Michelle and Logan at campground program
Logan and Dick/Grampa discussing campground program
On Monday, July 30th, Dick was on duty for both of us, and Michelle, Logan and I went "shopping" in Estes Park.  We first stopped at Dick's Rock Museum where Logan picked out a Geode to be cut.


Once in town, we bought homemade candies and Blue Bell ice cream - yummy!  When we returned to camp, Logan talked me into playing pool - first time since college - and it was fun!

Logan playing pool at the game room!
Judy/Grammy playing pool, too!
Well, all good things must come to an end so, on Tuesday,  July 31st,  before heading for the airport in Aurora, CO, we went to the Fall River Visitor Center for Logan to be tested by the ranger and sworn in as a Junior Ranger.  He was asked some pretty tough questions and aced them all.  We were so proud of him!

Logan really was pleased and proud of himself, too!
And off they went back to Houston!
  August was a much quieter month, with only 6 weeks left before heading back to Texas for the fall and winter, and that story will be told in another posting.

I hope you enjoyed visiting with us and please come again!  Until next time, see ya!  ~judy~

Friday, September 7, 2012

More of visit from Michelle and Logan!

Since over a month has passed, I have been wondering if I should post more of Michelle and Logan's visit during the last week of July (especially since Dick has now posted more recent events).  Finally, I decided to back-track with this posting, since my plan has been to "memorialize" our travels and, therefore, I must include it all.  I hope you enjoy "traveling" with Dick and I!

As many of you know, Dick's latest hobby is making cigar box guitars and, before heading out on Thursday, July 26th, one of our campers, Ben, stopped by to see Dick's first creation and to show off his guitar, as well.

Dick with his first cigar box guitar (which has been sold)!
Ben playing a tune for Logan!

Finally, Dick made the decision to travel over Trail Ridge Road ( through Rocky Mountain National Park with Michelle and Logan!  This is a must-see drive while visiting the area, and the weather was perfect - clear and calm.  I must admit, though, that I was just as nervous on the road with drop offs as I was many years ago.

RMNP Trail Ridge Road Map

On Trail Ridge Road! 
Michelle and Logan at one of the overlooks!

Finally, we reached the Alpine Visitor Center - at the Top of Trail Ridge Road - where we shopped for souvenirs, had a snack and went to the visitor center.  As you can see, it gets cooler as you travel upward, but it was no more than "hoodie" weather on this day.

Here's proof that Dick made it to the top!
Logan at the top!

After leaving the Alpine Visitor Center and continuing our drive on Trail Ridge Road, we first saw a herd of elk in a field, but got really excited when we saw a nursing fawn and, then, watched the fawn and her mommy stop traffic to rejoin their herd.


Traveling on down the road, we saw this beautiful deer - another picture-taking moment!

Note the deer on the hill behind
Michelle and Logan!
Note the rack on this specimen!
Grampa used this stop as a teaching moment, too, since Logan wanted to take some shots himself!

Our next stop was the Continental Divide, which splits the park, giving the eastern and western portions of the park a different character.  The east side of the park tends to be drier, and the west side of the park is wetter and more lush, with deep forests dominating.  Guess where our campground was located - and it was not in the deep forest!

After passing the Continental Divide, we stopped for a picnic at Lake Irene, and these critters tried to share our lunch.  I know Dick has previously posted pictures, but I'm kind of proud of my shots, too!

Gold-Mantled Ground Squirrel
Carson Nutcracker
Michelle took a walk along the path and sat and reflected on the beauty around her.


We had decided to drive further along the road until we could, hopefully, observe moose.  As we tell our campers, if you see cars parked along the road, stop and ask what they are watching.  Well, it worked!

Logan thought the moose were awesome, too, and notice the one laying in the grass beyond the pond!

Mission accomplished so we began the drive back along Trail Ridge Road and were treated to more awesome views of the Rocky Mountains.

The end of our 2nd full day of Michelle and Logan's visit - roasting marshmallows around a campfire!

As you can see, our first two days were very full, so I will close for now and add more later.  I hope you have enjoyed your visit!

See ya!  ~judy~

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Well, as usual, we have been getting too comfortable here and not doing the hiking and sightseeing we promised ourselves.  So this past Saturday (last weekend), we opted to get out and head up the Old Fall River Road.  We got a late start, as usual, being delayed by the sighting of a new critter next door at Chuck and Michele's campsite. At first, we were calling it a mole or possibly a vole, but after not finding anything on Google that matched up, I sent a picture and query over to Colorado University at Boulder and one of the professors answered that, although he could find no reference to anything with similar spots, he and colleagues determined it was a Northern Pocket Gopher.  The spots make it extremely rare if not totally unique, so, it was quite the trophy.
Northern Pocket Gopher????
The Old Fall River Road has always been a challenge for me, so I dutifully took my anxiety meds as we started out on our trek up the one-way gravel road.  The last time we took this route (about 20 years ago) the narrow, winding road with no shoulders and steep drop-offs firmly etched itself into my memories.  I guess the medicine did its thing, because this time around, despite the challenges, it was a joy.  Beautiful vistas, quick rushing waters and wondrous rock formations bathed our senses throughout the 9-mile trip.
Looking down Endo Valley towards Estes Park

The small rivulet below is the Fall River.  We would be 
traveling up to its headwaters about 2000 feet higher

About five miles up the road, we stopped for a relaxing picnic next to some of the head waters of Fall River.  The sound of water is one of the most relaxing sounds of nature and this instance held no exceptions.  There was an air of strangeness about it all, though.  The last time we took the drive, we had two kids to keep track of.  This time, we were able to totally enjoy the moment with just the two of us.
Chicken-fried-chicken sandwiches, yummee!
After lunch...the white noise of rushing waters and a good book!
As we began the short walk back to our SUV, we took a slightly different path back through a boggy area in search of my wildflowers and bugs.  Just a few feet into the bog, I was surprised to find some very fresh animal tracks.  On closer examination, I determined them to belong to a black bear that must have exited as we arrived. Black bear are not usually aggressive, just hungry in search of food, and usually choose flight.  I am somewhat surprised that he didn't challenge us for our lunch and ice chest during our picnic.

This photo doesn't show it, but moisture was starting to seep into the track...fresh!
A short way further, we came to a pull-off that had quite a few cars and opted to stop.  Rather than join the throngs that belonged to the cars, Judy and I picked a path that led off in another direction.  At the end of the path, we found a fairly large cabin. We soon learned from a couple of women who were weekend guests that it was a "rescue hut", used as a station during the winter for the rescue rangers and during bad weather for workers and rangers, just to "hunker down".

From the station, we could see the Alpine Visitors Center up on Trail Ridge Road, looming above us as we proceeded toward it.

About 8 miles into our journey, we broke out above the tree line and were treated to brand-new vistas.  Short, stunted brush-like trees, tight, short grasses and a cool, almost chilly breeze was the new "climate" here above on the tundra.

We had started up the Old Fall River Road at about 1:00 p.m.  As we turned into the Alpine parrking lot, it turned 5:00 p.m.

Rest stops are never quick and, in after another half  hour, we headed back down the hill.  It wasn't long before we came across an area strewn with boulder rubble and a couple out in the middle of it taking pictures.  We stopped.    That choice to stop was indeed a good one.  I met the couple, Dick and Paula Orleans, a local photographer and his wife, and soon Paula was pointing out the hordes of elusive Pica running about gathering straw for their winter nest.  Only in this case, they weren't so elusive.  As I sat still, waiting for one to show himself, another sneaked up on me and began to attempt to "harvest" my boots and jeans.  Judy was amazed at how, after 40 years of trying to spot them, they were all around us.

It was hard to tell where they were, their calls were coming
from everywhere.

Cute lil' fellas
This one sneaked in and tried to chew my shoes.  When unsuccessful with shoes, he switched to Levis!
Hopefully you enjoyed joining us and sharing our short outing.  Our next outing is to the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve near Long's Peak.  So stay tuned and we'll be asking you to join us on this hike as well.

See Ya!   ~dick~