Where are we?
Subj: 192. Where are we?
Date: Friday, September 14, 2007
After spending six nights in or near Denver, we headed out. We didn't
drive too far but we did drive to the second largest city in Colorado.
The city was created as a playland for the wealthy. Although there was
another town in the area (Colorado City), which was really a mining
town. Besides mining, this city is known for a beautiful city park
called the Garden of the Gods, a 14,000+ foot peak (Pike's Peak), and
one of the United States Service Academies. Yes, this is the home of
the Air Force Academy. This city is also know for Cheyenne Mountain
which was command-central for the North American Air Defense Command
We were only able to do a little bit of sightseeing in Denver. Most of
our time was spend shopping at Costco, WalMart, and other stores to
stock up after being in the mountains for about 2 1/2 months. We were
able to spend a little bit of time with Larry's nephew, Brian, and his
wife and 2 children. That was a very pleasant visit but much too short.
Two highlights of our stay in Denver were visiting the Margaret Brown
house, a late 19th Century house that at one time belonged to Margaret
Brown. If that name doesn't mean anything to you perhaps the name that
she was given by the press and Hollywood would mean more. Yes, this was
the home of the Unsinkable Molly Brown. One of the things we learned is
that the movie musical, although based somewhat on fact, doesn't
portray Margaret Brown accurately. It's still a good movie but don't
believe everything in it is based on fact.
The second highlight of our stay in Denver was getting the side of the
RV repaired. About a month after we purchased the new RV, Larry had a
brick wall jump out and scratch the side. Thanks to a camper we made
friends with at Denver Creek Campground, the side of the RV has been
repaired and painted. Larry feels much better now that it has been
Now, where are we? We are actually at a campground about 15 miles
outside of Colorado Springs Colorado.
Enjoying the beautiful state of Colorado
Subj: 193. Where are we?
Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2007
After 5 days in Colorado Springs we decided it was time to move.
Besides, the campsite we had was reserved for Monday evening. We are in
a high, flat, semiarid plain about 50 miles wide and 125 miles long. It
was once the bed of an ancient lake. Irrigated by the Rio Grande River
it is one of the most productive farming areas in Colorado. When the
Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad reached the stagecoach stop on
the cottonwood-blanketed bend of the Rio Grande, it created this town.
This area is probably best known for a National Park and Preserve that
has sand dunes that reach up to 750 feet!
We certainly enjoyed Colorado Springs. There were so many sights to see
we weren't able to see everything, but we certainly saw a lot. Our
first stop was the Garden of the Gods, a city park at the base of Pikes
Peak, where the Great Plains meet the Rockies. This beautiful park is
known for the towering red sandstone formations, as well as the flora
and fauna of the area. It is indeed a beautiful place. We then stopped
by the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. These cliff Dwellings were built during
the Great Pueblo Period and depicts the lives, culture, and
architectural achievements of the Southwest American Indians.
Then we had to go to the top of Pikes Peak. We took the train and it
was a beautiful 2 hour train ride up and another beautiful train ride
back down. The view from the top of Pikes Peak are magnificent. In
fact, the views inspired the words to American the Beautiful. Wow, what
We also visited the US Olympic Complex. This former US Air Force Base
is now the headquarters for the US Olympic Committee and is also a
37-acre sports training center for olympic class athletes. It is really
beautiful and is similar to a college campus, except the emphasis is
actually on competitive sports.
After the Olympic Complex we went out to the World Figure Skating
Museum and Hall of Fame. Near the well known Broadmore Resort, it was
an interesting way to spend so time.
Finally, on our last full day in Colorado Springs, we went out to a
place called Seven Falls. To get there you have to drive up a Box
Canyon and then take either a very long staircase or, as we did, an
elevator to a position where you can see seven waterfalls cascading
down a steep canyon wall.
In summary, we had a good time in Colorado Springs and will probably
want to come back to see even more.
Now, Where are we? We only drove about 175 miles today, first south
from Colorado Springs, and then west. We are in Alamosa Colorado. About
thirty miles from here (and visible from our campsite) is the Great
Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
traveling (slowly) through Colorado
Subj: 194. Where are we?
Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Today is Wednesday, September 19, and we left Alamosa today and headed
west. Although we only drove about 150 miles, we are in a totally
different area of Colorado. The town where we are is referred to as a
natural gateway to one of the more scenic sections of Colorado, the San
Juan Mountains (although they are still part of the Rocky Mountains).
Although this town began as a mining and smelting center during the
gold and silver booms, it is now a crossroads for local industry,
ranching, commerce, and culture.
We enjoyed our two night stay in Alamosa. The main attraction at
Alamosa is the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The sand dunes here are
quite different than the sand dunes we have seen before (Death Valley,
White Sands National Monument, and the sand dunes between El Centro
California and Yuma Arizona. First of all, they are not white, but kind
of a light brown. Also they a much higher some of these sand dunes are
750 feet above the surrounding area. Finally, they cover about 30
square miles! That's a lot of sand.
The drive from Alamosa to our current location was really beautiful. We
had to go over the Wolf Creek Pass (again crossing the Continental
Divide at over 10,000 feet). We can't say we made good time (30 to 40
miles an hour going up Wolf Creek Pass and 25 to 30 miles an hour going
down), but the breathtaking vistas made us glad we weren't in a hurry.
It turns out that the most economical campground to stay at (with our
15% discount) was a KOA. It also turns out that we had met the owners
of this campground when they visited the Manchester Beach KOA. Jay and
Carol are really nice people and remembered us.
Now, Where are we? We are in Durango, Colorado, at the Durango KOA.
Getting ready to explore the San Juan Mountains
Where are we?
Date: Sunday, September 23, 2007
Today, Saturday, September 22, we left Durango and headed west. We are
now in town that has been a trading center for 2,000 (yes, that's two
thousand) years. The area is probably best known for the ancient
archaeological sites near by, including one which is a National Park.
When we spent the summer at Denver Creek, high in the Rocky Mountains,
in North Central Colorado, many of the people we met claimed that
Southwest Colorado was even more beautiful than where we were. Guess
what, we think they were right.
The big thing we did while we were in Durango, is drive about 70 miles
of what is called the San Juan Skyway. The San Juan Skyway is a 236
mile loop going through the San Juan National Forest. We drove the part
from Durango, to Silverton, and to Ouray. Wow, what a fantastic drive.
Especially after we were high enough to be where the Aspen trees were
turning yellow. We have certainly decided that as gorgeous as it was
near Granby, this area is the best of the best.
Both Ouray and Silverton are old mining towns. But, imagine a town in a
high mountain valley. On all sides were huge mountains and the towns
are less than 1/2 mile wide and maybe about a mile long. Near the towns
are hot springs, waterfalls, and lots of history. Even though Silverton
was fascinating, our favorite was certainly Ouray.
Now, a couple of interesting things about our trip so far. We left
Denver Creek on September 6, 16 days ago. In the last 16 days, we have
traveled a bit less than 500 miles in the motorhome. That means we have
averaged traveling just over 30 miles a day in the motorhome. That's
not much. What that really means is that we have been staying in one
location for several days and enjoying the sights. This is really the
way to travel.
From Durango to our current location (less than 50 miles) we left the
gateway to the San Juan Mountains and are now in a high desert. In
fact, we are still at an elevation of over 6000 feet. The terrain is
relatively flat but there are hills and mesas. Mesas are hills with
very flat tops. We are also in American Indian Country, both the Navajo
and the Ute Indians have reservations and towns nearby.
All we can say is that Colorado is a majestic, varied, and very
Where are we? We are in the Southwestern Corner of Colorado in a town
Still in Colorado
Subj: 196. Where are we?
Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Well, today we drove the RV more than another other single day since we
left Denver Creek. We are now in a different state (having been in a
total of three states today). Now we are in what has been called the
"roughest, toughest, most lawless, bloody town of the old west!" We are
in a high desert at an elevation of over 5000 feet. Fortunately, this
town doesn't display any of it's wild beginnings.
Cortez Colorado was great. The day we arrived, it was early enough to
visit the Four Corner's Monument. This is the only place where four
states touch at a single point. This is where you can stand on two feet
and two arms and be in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado at the
same time. The monument is actually on Navajo land. We saw some
incredible art work being done.
The next day it rained all day so that was a good time to relax in the
RV, and get the laundry done.
The day after the rain we finally had a chance to see Mesa Verde
National Park. Mesa Verde means "green table" in Spanish. Imagine a
very high (7000 feet in elevation), relatively flat area with lots of
green trees (at least before the fires in the past 15 years). Now
imagine the relatively flat area having some 600 foot deep, steep sided
canyons created by rivers. That's a fair description of the Park.
American Indians inhabited the area for about 700 years. They lived on
the mesas initially, then, for an unknown reason about 1200 AD they
built living areas on natural shelves in the cliffs. These shelves, or
coves, were about 50 to 150 feet below the mesas. At that time they
built their houses out of sand stone blocks and cemented the blocks
with mud. Because of they way they lived in the 1200s, they are now
called Cliff Dwellers. They are also called the Anasazi, or the ancient
ones. Verde Mesa was a fascinating place to visit.
The next day we drove up to an old mining town called Telluride. The
drive itself was beautiful, especially with the Aspens turning yellow
and the snow on the mountain peaks. Telluride has changed from a mining
town to a major summer and winter resort area. It's part of a drive
designated the San Juan Skyway, a 240 miles drive that also includes
the towns of Ouray and Silverton which we visited while we were in
Durango. Telluride is in a box canyon (a canyon with only one entrance)
with a huge waterfall at the closed end of the canyon. Telluride has
expanded to include another town, a higher town developed a few miles
south of Telluride called Mountain Village. There is a free gondola
ride between the two towns. Although Telluride is expensive, it's cheap
compared to Mountain Village. We looked at a real estate magazine and
the least expensive thing listed was a three month time share for
$300,000! The least expensive home we saw listed was about $3,500,000.
Both of these are a bit out of our budget.
We really loved the summer in Colorado. Every place we were in Colorado
Where are we now? We are in Northeastern Arizona (the three states
we've been in today are Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona). The town
we're in is Holbrook Arizona. It's the closest town to the Painted
Desert and Petrified Forest National Parks.
In the high desert of Arizona
Subj: 197. Where are we?
Date: Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday we left Holbrook and headed West again. We had to change our
original plans because we missed our turn and had to drive an
additional 30 miles. Well, that's not really true. We called a
campground to make reservations and they told us they had plenty of
spaces and we didn't need reservations. When we got there, they didn't
have anything available (this was about 30 minutes after we called). We
called some other campgrounds in the area and they were all booked.
When we called this campground (30 miles away), they had space
available for us, so we continued our drive for another 30 miles.
Where we are now is named for a mountain man and trader. The town is on
the Historic Route 66, Interstate 40, and the Southwest Chief Amtrak
train route. This small town was the last town to have its section of
Route 66 bypassed. It was in 1984 that Interstate 40 was opened around
the town (I-40 has three exits into this small town) and the following
year the famous US 66 was decommissioned.
We actually ejoyed our stay in Holbrook. Our main purpose for staying
in Holbrook was to be able to visit the Petrified Forest National Park
which includes the painted desert. We spent about 5 hours wandering
around on the 26 miles road through the park. It was really great. The
Painted Desert (north end of the part) is really magnificient. The
south end of the park is primarily where the Petrified Trees are
located but there are petrified trees throughout the park. It was well
worth the time spent there.
The second reason for staying in Holbrook was to get the oil changed in
the motorhome. I have to mention that this is not as trivial as getting
the oil changed in a gas engine. Our Cat 350 diesel takes about 5 or 6
gallons of oil, not the typical 5 or 6 quarts for a gas engine. It
seems to be a 2 to 3 hour job to change the oil. So while the oil was
being changed, we went for a drive. Although it wasn't planned, we
ended up at the Hubbell Navajo Trading Post, a National Historic
Landmark now operated by the National Park Service. That was a great
stop. The Trading Post has been an active trading post since before
1876 when John Hubbell bought the post. It is still a Trading Post. We
even took a tour of the place with a young Navajo guide. It was really
a great treat for us.
Now - Where are we? We had intended to stop for a few days in Flagstaff
but, because the RV parks were full, we continued west to Williams
Arizona, a town also known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon.
Subj: 198. Where are we?
Date: Monday, December 3, 2007
The last time we sent out a Where are we? was when we were in Williams,
Arizona in late September. It's now more than two months later but we
haven't updated anyone. Right now we are in a place where we spent
three seasons. Yes, we are on the Northern California Coast enjoying
this beautiful place again and visiting with some good friends.
Since our last email, we have been in Camp Verde, Phoenix, and Yuma
Arizona, Ridgecrest, Bakerfield, San Diego, Valencia, and Pomona,
California, and, of course, our current location. We were able to spend
time with all the kids and grandkids in Southern California, including
taking four of them to Disneyland with two more grandsons joining us.
It has been a really busy two months but, as always, we've had a lot of
Now, Where are we? You probably guessed we are at the Manchester Beach
KOA in Manchester California, but Why are we here? We have planned to
visit Manchester for over a year to attend a Quinceañera. Norma,
the daughter of Yolanda and Sergio Orozco, celebrated her 15th birthday
in a huge way, a Quinceañera! A Quinceañera is an
Hispanic tradition to celebrate a girls transition from childhood to
womanhood. It is often described in our culture as a cross between a
Sweet Sixteen Party and a debutant's coming out party. The
Quinceañera started with a special Catholic Mass, transitioned
into a wonderful carnitas dinner. The birthday girl is presented with
her last doll, and her first pair of high heel shoes to symbolize the
transition. This is followed by a traditional dance performed by the
birthday girl and her court. Norma's court consisted of six chamberanes
(male escorts) plus her escort and six damas (maids of honor).
We think it was a great honor for us to be invited and to participate
in Norma's Quinceañera.
Subj: 198. Where are we?
Date: Wednesday, January 2, 2008
It's been almost a month since our last "Where are we?" and we are
certainly late in updating everyone. But things have been very hectic.
Regardless, we want to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas, and we
hope you have a wonderful New Year. We are certainly looking forward to
As we write this we are in Southern California not too from from Los
Angeles. The RV Park we are in, if you can call it that, is very small,
difficult to fit into, but very convenient, and has full hookups. We'll
leave it like that since we haven't done much exploring in this area.
Adrienne has had stomach problems for several months now. It really
became severe on Thanksgiving. But that didn't stop us from going to
the Manchester Beach KOA for the Quinceañera, an event we really
didn't want to miss. After we left the KOA, we drove to Eugene Oregon
to visit with Larry's older daughter, her husband, and two wonderful
grand children. Adrienne had asked Michelle to get an appointment for
her with Michelle's Doctor. Well, that couldn't be done but it was
recommended that we go to Urgent Care.
The same day we arrived in Eugene, we took Adrienne to Urgent Care. In
four hours, Adrienne was seen by a physician, had blood tests, an EKG,
an ultrasound, and had the results. The ultrasound showed "a mass" on
her gall bladder. The doctor recommended that she have another
ultrasound in a month. Well, since we are very mobile, we decided that
we should get copies of the test results so we had the medical
information for a follow up where ever we were. When we received the
test results the next day, the radiologist's report stated that the
mass might be cancer and that she should either get another ultrasound
in a month or have gall bladder surgery. The doctor had never mentioned
the surgery. This all of a sudden created almost panic.
We called Adrienne's oldest son, who works for Kaiser Hospital in
Southern California and asked him to check to see if there were some
recommended doctor's in Southern California. After asking some surgeons
he respected, we were given the name of a Surgeon at City of Hope in
Duarte California. We also learned that we could apply for admission
on-line. On Sunday, December 9, we submitted an application via the
City of Hope web site. Monday morning, a clerk from the City of Hope
called us, wanted some more information, requested that we fax the
reports we had, and said someone else would call us within 48 hours.
Monday afternoon, another City of Hope clerk called and said Adrienne
was accepted and had an appointment at 2:00 PM on Wednesday December
12. Since we were in Eugene Oregon, Adrienne asked if we could have a
later appointment and an appointment was set up for Wednesday December
Adrienne's Doctor is the Chief of Liver Surgery at City of Hope. We
checked out his credentials and he is a very well respected surgeon.
After seeing the doctor on December 19, and undergoing a series of
tests (CAT scan, blood tests, X-rays, etc.) on December 20, an
appointment for surgery was set up for January 3. The diagnosis was
that she had a polyp in her gall bladder and the it didn't appear to be
cancer. That night Adrienne was in a lot of pain so we took her to the
Emergency Treatment Center at City of Hope. She was obviously in a lot
of pain and slightly dehydrated. She spent two nights in the hospital
and was sent home with antibiotics, pain killers, and some anti-nausia
pills. Plus, her surgery was moved up to December 27.
On December 26, we moved from the Pomona KOA to our current location.
Then next day Adrienne checked into the hospital and had her surgery.
The surgery went extremely well. It was indeed a polyp and it was
benign. On December 30, Adrienne was released from the hospital. She's
still recovering from the surgery but is really doing quite well.
Some of you knew what was happening and we want to thank everyone
for their prayers and concern.
Now, Where are we? We are obviously still in Duarte California and we
are parked at a very small RV park at the City of Hope. It is less than
a 5 minute walk from the RV to Adrienne's hospital room. When I say
this RV park is small, it really is. Getting a 39-foot motorhome into
our spot took about 30 minutes of very careful maneuvering.
while Adrienne's recovering