Sunday, August 19, 2012

Where I've Been Standing - Time Flies

Whoa!  I have been unbelievably absent from my blog the last few months.  Here's why...after enduring the heat of the midwest during the month of June and part of July, we thought it would be a great idea to use the RV (we so dearly pay for) and "fly the coop" - "get the heck out of Dodge" - "look for greener pastures (and that ain't no lie)". So off we went - WEST.  Here are a few of the 1267 photos I took on this trip.  Boy, do I have painting material for winter studio time!  We were gone 28 days and went 4668 miles - give or take, because we towed my Jeep and went touring in it, as well.
 Our journey WEST started in the mountains of Colorado.  Last year we held a 'birthday' campout for us and our kids and families.  Same this year.  Everyone had a great time.  Our three grandaughters are growing fast!
 This is our campsite. We were here for about a week and the kids joined us for a couple of days on each side of the weekend.
 We are always excited to get to view the local wildlife each day.  This particular day there were three of these guys to watch.
 The whole crew (minus my son-in-law - who had to work). 
 (My sister-in-law and her horse)
Next our journey took us to New Mexico ( to visit with my in-laws and to visit DH's 95 year old mother).  It was a good visit! 
All the brothers were together to be with their mom. 
DH and me on our annual trip to a 'day in Sante Fe" ate a great Mexican fare at Maria's!  His bro and my step daughter were with us.
 From there we winded back to Colorado, into Wyoming - stopping in Idaho in Montpelier and then near Glenn's Ferry.  We stayed at an RV park near Glenn's Ferry (historical site) that was part of the Carmila Winery.  I did some tasting there and bought some great wines to bring home!
 From there we went on ~ to Oregon.  This is Mt. Hood from the highway that leads into Portland.  I didn't take any photos of the Oregon and Idaho fields, but they were just INTO wheat harvest, where our's had been over a month before.  Interesting to think about the difference in the growing seasons.
 Our favorite stopping place is the beaches of Oregon.  We stayed four days and nights right on the beach (well, just over the sand dunes) at Cape Lookout (3 Capes area) near Tillamook, Oregon. Love it there - but it's the busy time for this particular campground - Cape Lookout.  We didn't have nearly as much fun as we usually
do - due to the abundance of people.
 However, you can't beat those Pacific Ocean sunsets.
 We took the 3 Capes drive that we have never taken in the other two times we have visited there.  Many lighthouses dot the area. This photo is one.  I couldn't go down to see this one ~ the incline was too steep for my ankle, but DH was able to come back with photos so I could enjoy it that way.  AND...I will have to say I went many places, I didn't think I could go - it was challenging at times. I still don't always walk the best...but I do most of it without help of any kind.
 The last day we were there, I walked on the beach barefoot.  I went into the water, too. It was so nice and cold.  Good for what ails you...
good for the mind and soul, as well!
 We met so many interesting and friendly people.  A lady was walking the loop with her Macaw, named Myah.  Myah and I hit it off.  She is a lovely bird.
 We left the Cape Lookout area and headed south down Highway 101, into California.  Destination? Klamath River, where it joins the ocean.  Here are some highway photos along the coast.

 We stayed one night at the Oregon Dunes area.  Lots of ATV/OHC activity.  In 'the day', this would have been a fun place to play! 
 I bet if you live on the west coast the lumber industry is taken for granted, but I was amazed at the 'wood product' areas and it's evidence up and down the coast.  I appreciate the 're-forestation and management'
that seems to occur when one area is cut down - they replant it, post when it was planted and you can observe the regrowth. 
 This fellow snuck up on me quick...but I was able to snap a clear one.
 Above is a lovely spot where we spent time. It is at the Klamath River RV Park.  This was our view right outside our RV front window, and of course, we spent a little time sitting out in the open there..just drinking in (oh, did I say drinking?) the view.  Much time was spent touring the area.  A part of the Redwood National Park is nearby.  These trees are so magnificent and awesome. We couldn't get enough of the trails and special sideroad/dirtroad trips one can take!
These trees are SOOO big!
 History - and more history - can be taken in. I am standing at one end of a bridge that was wiped out in the 60's by a flood on the Klamath River.  It must have been a great bridge with all this neat concrete work.  There was a bear on the other side of the entrance here.  From this landing place, we began our trip back Eastward.  We saw lots of northern California and again some Oregon forest areas, then back to California and down to Nevada.  As we made our way East from Susanville, Ca. into Nevada we joined  the "Loneliest Highway in America" (Highway 50), seeing 4 different wildfires as we went.  Devastating. Sad.
In some areas we traveled through - very smokey and a little scary. 
 Back into Utah, we reconnnected with what we were escaping - HEAT.  We had troubles overheating with the RV. Didn't stop us, but kept us on our toes to manage the heat from the cockpit (which included turning OFF the AC and turning on the Heater) - you have to understand how a diesel engine works with it's air flow and coolants, etc.   DH we made it back to Colorado -
without too much discomfort. 
 Of course the 'grades' we traveled accompanied with "the heat (110)", didn't help and you have to take into consideration OUR load...pulling a 'toad' (our Jeep Cherokee), as well.
However, this is NOT a 'toad', but evidence of our last stop, where we had started.  Just couldn't get enough of the quiet and peacefulness back in the Colorado mountains.   I think we are so spoiled, living where we do, in a very unpopulated area.  And this place, being in a similar area, we just love it. These 'guys' were right around our camping spot off the river this certain afternoon, eating the willow leaves. 
We found a Jeep trail and followed it up the mountain about 5 miles.  It was very scenic and pristine.  I walked aways back down the path to capture a scene on my camera - and, of course, my little Chaco wanted to know where I was..he can't stand for me to leave him.

 I didn't get as much painting time in ~ as I would have liked. There was just so much to do and see this trip and we were definitely NOT on the clock but ready to take in wherever we went.  I let my camera and memory do alot of the cataloguing of images.  I did paint at this stop both times.  I took watercolors on this trip, instead of oils. Not my choice for plein air, but less mess in keeping it somewhere and not spilled,  when we traveled bumpy and winding roads.  By the way, the Western US roads aren't fairing too well in our book.  I think someone needs to pay a little more attention to our infrustructure in the U.S.A..  Nevada's roads are the best
(wonder if it's all that gambling revenue?)
Southern Colorado roads and Northern New Mexico's are  the worse.
This is our final photo from the Colorado mountains.  We would like to travel this trip again, next year, if we can put it together. It is OK being back at home - temperature wise, we have only had to use the AC one day out of the last seven - so we really DID escape the HEAT.  Some people are 'snowbirds' escaping the snow, we must be 'sunbirds' escaping the heat, huh? 
Or is there another name for that?  I wonder...
On MY bucket list is a trip to the EAST coast - maybe I will win the lottery someday to afford that one.  Fuel was our biggest expense this trip.  Up around average $4.00 per gallon/diesel, the nearer the coast we traveled. 

Something that I missed while I was traveling, was the Olympics.  I saw 'opening night' in Montpelier, Idaho and we saw several evenings if we were staying at RV parks along the route where we had electric - sporadic at best,
but we did a lot of 'boondocking'
(not hooked up to electricity or utilities in any way) as well,
this trip - so I missed much of it. 
We spent up to 4 days at a time,  with only battery power or generator.  On those days, I felt like a traveling'gypsy'!  If it weren't for my studio HERE in Kansas, I think I could live in an RV and do the traveling away from the weather I didn't care for - hoping to find that 'perfect spot'!!!  I love my studio, and couldn't trade it for anything else these days, except a studio in a cooler place...ha!
For now, it's back to the studio!!!


Leann said...

What a wonderful trip!! I'm so glad you're walking well and on your own, that was a long road to recovery! Time to start painting.

Pattie Wall said...

Thanks Leann. More surgery to come in I will be 'not walking again' for awhile. I DO need to get to the studio...and will. Have a couple more shows to give it "a go" and a figurative workshop to teach - right around the corner.