Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Saturday, May 21, 2016

On to Wisconsin

Hi all,
Guess we are slacking a bit on posts, I'll try and do a quick catch up. After Perry Lake, Kansas we drove across Missouri to Mark Twain Lake about 30 miles east of Hannibal. We had stayed at the corp park here in 2009 and thought it was a nice place to return.

 It covers 2775 acres abutting the large reservoir a huge mecca for water activities. It has three different camping areas and we chose the Ray Behrens Recreation Area. It is a pretty nice campground though there is so much foliage you really don't see the lake from any sites.
 As we had done the Hannibal exploration on our last trip here this time we were just relaxing and taking in the park. We did get in a good hike one day but were not impressed with the trails. They were pretty much overgrown and missing signs and tree markings faded. But we didn't get lost and got in some needed exercise.
 So after a couple days we continue our trek towards the land of cheese. But time yet for one more stop, we headed to Illinois and Shabbona Lake State Park. Our real goal here was to visit with Bob and Rose who we camphosted with in Arizona.

 As Bob and Rose are from the area this was their favorite camping spot as their kids grew up and Bob has been hosting here going on 15 years.
 The park lies just south of DeKalb, Ill and 60 miles west of Chicago. It boast a 350 acre lake that is one of Illinois best fisheries. It also has nice hiking trails which we found well maintained and got in a good 6 mile hike one day.
 Sadly the park has had to make many budget cuts and is operating on thin ice. While there we never saw anyone but the volunteer hosts about the park. One wonders how long they can last?
 We got in a great visit with Bob and Rose and they gave us a royal park tour. They also took us to a couple neat small town restaurants for some good food.
 So we finally hit Wisconsin Thursday yea!! Although we know we have a busy time ahead of us we are always glad to be back home.
 We headed up to Wisconsin Dells to attend our Excel Camping club spring outing. We had a good 10 units in attendance which is pretty good. We had a good time catching up with everyone and hearing how the winter went for them.

 Turns out that this weekend is a super big car show with over 1200 cars on display. The roads were pretty busy with cruisers of all types. On Saturday 6 of us guys loaded up to take in the big show. This is one of the biggest car shows in the state and really packs in the crowds.
 As we began walking down the first row of cars I  see my brother in law Dennis and sister Dar, not knowing they were going to be there. Dar then tells me our brother Russ is also at the show so we called and tracked him down and had a great surprise get together.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Getting Out of Dodge.(City)

Hi all,
 Put in the travel cd we are On The Road Again. This is our first year since becoming full time RVers that we haven't been in Custer the first part of May. Our plan this year is to be in Wisconsin June and July then head to South Dakota for August and September. We are changing it up to be in Wisconsin for our grandson Noah's graduation and then a couple weddings in July.
 The past few weeks we had been traveling with former work camper friends Tim and Renee. They had stopped in to visit while we were at Roper Lake in January. As we visited we realized we both would be touring Utah and then heading east about the same time. So we made a plan to travel together for a bit.
  This was the first time we had traveled with anyone since full timing and I must say it has been great. We were able to enjoy some meals together and we had been having game nights that really changes up the routine. We exchanged learning each others favorite games which was fun especially after us guys found a way to win pegs and jokers.
 We ended up parting ways this past week as they were going to route a bit south to catch up with family. We will definitely see them again down the road.)
 Dodge City, Kansas was our next stop. We figured to stay a couple days to check things out. While Dodge City does not have as much historic hoopla as Tombstone or Tucson it still has a bit.
 It was part of the famous Santa Fe Trail and Fort Dodge was established to protect wagon trains on the trail. And of course the city is famous as it hired Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp to establish order.
 They run a trolley tour where you hear the story from the time of a dusty trail town to a bustling cattle and agriculture capital. You get to hear of the people and places that helped create what some called "the wickedest little city in the West." And we got lucky as they were running a free weekend trolley this week saving us the $8.00 pp fare.
playing cards with Wyatt Earp

"El Capitan" a tribute to longhorn cattle leaders

Front Street

The Home of Stone built in 1881
Santa Fe Depot and Depot Theater Company
  Next up was a short drive to Cedar Bluff State Park. We had changed our travel plans to head north because the eastside of the state was expecting storms. Well Mother Nature just does what she wants and we found ourselves in a tornado warning on Mothers Day. Sheesh, last year a South Dakota snowstorm and this year tornadoes- hows that for luck. We hid out by the bathhouse for a bit and did see a rope tornado, about as close as we want to be.

Limestone fence posts along Kansas road

Cedar Bluff Reservoir

Mothers Day storm

  We found Cedar Bluff Sate Park a pretty nice park. They have 121 hook up sites plus quite a few primitive areas. It is situated around the Cedar Bluff Reservoir a 6,900 acre fishing mecca. Although as with much in the west it is experiencing extremely low water levels.
 One more move east of Topeka to Perry Lake. They have quite a few campgrounds around this 25,000 acre reservoir including private, corp of engineering and state parks. We chose the Slough Creek Park. While we found it nice and quiet, we thought things looked a bit run down. We also thought the pit restrooms needing good cleanings. Roads and campsites were in rough shape also, not as nice as other corp parks we have stayed in.
site at Slough Creek

Friday, May 6, 2016

Lake Cochiti and Tent Rocks

Hi all,
Rolling right along we left the Four Corners area and camped at Farmington, NM county fairgrounds. This stop was to catch up on wash and some serious grocery shopping after hitting so many little towns in Utah. OH boy! Walmart! I told Wendy she should have a book like the national parks and get a stamp for each new Walmart.)
 We are still traveling with Tim and Renee and funny that we were the only ones staying at the fairgrounds today. They have over 575 RV sites plus some dry sites, how crazy is that?
 So a couple days there and a little more planning for our trek north. Our next stop was Cochiti Lake a Army Corp of Engineering Park. Located on the Rio Grande about 50 miles upstream from Albuquerque, NM.
 Cochiti Lake borrows the name of the people that have been present here over 700 continuous years. The dam that has created the lake is one of the 10 largest earthfill dams in the U.S. The length of the spillway is 5.5 miles and 251 feet high. Interesting also the 1,200 acre lake is a no wake lake so make sure to bring your paddle board when you come.)
Darker area is the dam
 We have found most corp parks to be extremely well laid out with plenty of space between sites.

 But the best thing Wendy was reading about the area was Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. This is one of the newest monuments in the west being formed in 2001. And it was only a 5 mile ride to check it out.
 The monument or KKTR area actually covers over 4000 acres but some is still privately owned.
 She had read there was a 1-1/2 mile loop trail that she wanted to do. Sadly Tim had been a having a leg giving him some problems they had us go on our own.
 So off we went on a beautiful sunny 80 degree day for the short hike, or so I thought. We walked along admiring view after view of amazing spired rock the map showed a spur off the loop that entered a slot canyon and who doesn't want to hike a slot canyon?

 Our plan was to just go up the canyon a bit and turn back if it got to steep. We went along pretty good and the impressive views just seemed to get better. We did pretty good I finally called it as my water was getting low as we only planned on the 1-1/2 mile and were now doing over three and mostly up. Wendy went up a bit further and got a couple more pics.

 The return trip was nice( down hill) and we finished the loop going past a cave that was dug in the soft stone and still exhibited smoke stains on the ceiling from prehistoric times.
 Not done yet, there was a 3-1/2 mile drive to a scenic overlook down the road. We contemplated not doing this as the road had turned to gravel and a small stream crossing was at the start. But heck we got 4WD why not. Turns out other than getting a bit narrow in spots we made it easily and were glad we did getting more great views of the area.
 I want to give a big thanks to John and Rita fellow RVers from WI for giving us the idea of including a stop at Lake Cochiti.
 And last but not least a big Happy Mothers Day to Wendy and all mothers for all they do and have done. RIP mom, love and miss you.

Monday, May 2, 2016

On to The Four Corners

Hi all,
 One thing I know packing up in the snow is no fun. Wendy said I never even did that deer hunting in WI in November.
 We thought about delaying our departure from Torrey but the forecast the next three days was the same or worse so on we went. Good decision only about 20 miles down the road we escaped the snow.

 We had thought we might head over to Moab but a car show had the campgrounds all booked up and their weather forecast was not good. On to plan B, we headed to Bluff, Utah thinking we could hit the famous for corners and do Monument Valley if Tim and Renee wanted to.
 We took Hwy 95 south which is part of the Bicentennial Scenic Byway. It had great views with the Henry Mountains down to the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. It passes over the Dirty Devil River and the Colorado River.

Colorado River

Jacob's Chair Butte

 We were a bit concerned if we would run into steep grades but it never got to bad. And just seeing the cool scenery we were glad we took it.
 So we pulled into Bluff and on the sign it says founded 650 AD, wow. We set up in a small mom and pop campground called Coral Sands, not much here but at least full hook ups and we only planned to stay a couple days.
 We let Tim and Renee decide where to go for a ride, the Four Corners or Monument Valley were both about 50 miles, they chose the Four Corners.
 The drive was okay but we sure got spoiled looking at all that pretty red rock. The Four Corners Monument is the quadripoint of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. It is the only place four states meet. It is on Indian land and fee is charged to visit. It also is meeting line of the Ute and Navajo Indians.

 Surrounding the monument they have areas set up for the Indians to sell their crafts.
 Back in Bluff we took in the visitor center and museum. This was the most impressive visitor center we have ever visited. Volunteers take you on a well set up tour and a short movie. They had a good display set up outside but a good rain prevented us from exploring it.

 And lucky for us the museum was holding a performance of six young Navajo girls singing native songs this evening. These girls really put on a nice show and their proud grandpa was the speaker giving us the background behind their songs.

  Our next stop is Farmington, New Mexico to do exciting things like get mail, do laundry, and grocery shop- you thought all we do is have fun.)
 Thanks for following along.

Twin Rock Café in Bluff