Monday July 15: Today is a long day of driving as we leave southern Idaho and cross into Montana, traveling north on I-15, arriving at Divide Bridge Campground in the mid-afternoon.
This is a lovely BLM campground in a very scenic area alongside the Big Hole River, just a few miles from the little town of Divide, Montana. The campground is well-maintained with lawns and flowers on one loop, and left more natural on the other loop. Clean restrooms and good water are much appreciated.
are happy to have arrived early enough to get a spot by the Big Hole
River, in fact it is the spot we had the very first time we stayed
here. It is not so hot here as it has been thus far on the trip, a
pleasant relief. The mosquitoes aren’t too bad when we first
arrive, so once we are set up, we sit outside for awhile, happy to be
here with time to relax this afternoon.
When it starts to rain, the mosquitoes become problematic, so Clifford goes inside to take a nap and I walk about to take photos of the river and the flowers. Back at the campsite, since I didn’t have coffee this morning, I make a French press coffee and do some editing before starting dinner. After dinner, dishes are done, awing is in, herbs are in. We are mostly ready for leaving in the morning. We like this campground and wouldn’t mind staying longer, but we have places to go and people to see…. Family awaits in northwest Montana.
Sunday July 14: As soon as we get up, I make tea and coffee for the thermoses. After yogurt and fruit for breakfast, we pack up the little that needs packing – we weren’t here long enough to really unpack much. Everything is in place and we are ready to leave Diamond Campground, south of Spanish Forks, Utah, by 9:00 a.m. This was such a beautiful spot, I am sad to leave.
Heading north on Highway 6, we soon enter I-15 and everything is good until we get to Provo. Without warning, we enter a construction area where the lanes narrow and curve this way and that, and the speed limit does not slow traffic down nearly enough. We are nearly side-swiped by a semi trying to come alongside, but he pulls back and we make it through okay. After miles and miles of fast-paced traffic, it is such a relief when we finally make it through the Salt Lake City complex.
We stop for lunch at Tremonton, Utah, then continue on north, still on I-15 until we reach the Devils Creek Reservoir, north of Malad City in southern Idaho.
We pull off to check out boondocking here, and driving past the marina and the RV park, we find a fishing access at the far end of the reservoir. We park here and while Clifford naps, I walk down to the reservoir to take a few photos. The water is low, but the hills are very green for this time of year. I talk to a nice family of grandparents, parents, and kids playing and fishing at the water’s edge.
Clifford is refreshed from his nap and we continue on.
A big thunderstorm near Pocatello, Idaho, cools the air from upper 90’s to mid 70’s, but once we are out of the storm, the temperature climbs again.
We are grateful to arrive at the Idaho Falls Walmart and find a spot to park along the edge of the lot where there is strip of grass, a few trees, and thistles blooming on the ridge above. We stock up on supplies and sundries at Walmart, then walk to the nearby Panda express for dinner.
Back at Cougar, we sit outside to enjoy the lovely sunset and the pleasant coolness of the evening, chatting as we watch the moon play hide ‘n seek with the clouds.
A hiss gives us but a second warning before the sprinkler system comes on. Our backsides are soaked by water hitting us full-blast as we dash inside, rescuing cell phones and books as we go.
is not a restful night, as each time the sprinkler comes on, the
water hitting the side of Cougar is deafening. There is also a lot of
traffic, lights, and city noise – but it is convenient and free.
Saturday July 13: Clifford and I are spending today camped at Diamond Campground off highway 6, south of Spanish Forks, Utah. This is a beautiful campground and a day here is a day of restoration before we continue the northward journey for the summer.
a morning walk, I hike to the bluff above the campground, walk the
length of it, enjoying thistles in bloom and various meadow grasses
that live here. In the distance are the mountains of northern Utah.
I find a trail that leads down off the bluff, coming out at the far
end of the campground. As I walk back to our campsite, I notice the
great variety of trees that grow here, providing beauty, shade, and
privacy for all of us who are camped here. After breakfast, Clifford
and I hike a ways on the Discovery Trail, which runs along the creek
and parallel to the campground. Kiosks along the way provide the
history of the area, as well as describing the plants and animals
that live here.
In the afternoon, while Clifford works with his ham radios, I edit manuscripts for the authors I am working with. Sitting outside, Clifford plays his dulcimer and I review photos taken this morning. A thunderstorm with wind and rain causes us to take the awning in and move our activities inside. However, after the storm passes, we are treated to a most gorgeous double rainbow.
at sunset, I head out for one more walk, taking the Discovery Trail
up an incline to a different bluff. My feet and legs are thoroughly
wet from the grasses along the trail, but it was well worth the
effort for the view.
Thursday July 11: I am up early this morning for last preparations before leaving on our summer trip northward. I make coffee, write in journal, and prepare thermoses of tea before Clifford gets up. After smoothies, we finish packing the last minute items, making sure bathroom, kitchen, and lab are in good order.
The to-do list has been very helpful, as most everything has been taken care of ahead of time and what’s left is on a check list so we don’t get down the road and wonder if we remembered such-and-such. It is 1:45 p.m. by time we finally pull out of base-camp, as I like to call our place here in Monticello, Utah.
I take photos as we travel, saying good-bye to the southeast Utah canyon country. It is 100 degrees by time we reach Moab and hot all the way to Price. Increasing winds make the last portion of the journey harder and we are very grateful to pull into the Walmart parking lot, driving around to the far side to park out of the way. Although it is still hot here, it is not as windy in town.
too tired and hungry to feel like shopping, but after taking time for
a late lunch, I go in to buy supplies while Clifford naps. It is
dark but still warm outside when I finish up in Walmart. I put
perishables in the fridge, but let the rest go and head to bed.
Friday July 12: This morning we pick up a few more supplies, and after fruit & yogurt for breakfast, we are on our way. The wind is not so bad this morning, but there is a crazy amount of traffic on highway 6, and we are very relieved to get off this busy winding highway at the turnoff to Diamond Campground, south of Spanish Forks, Utah.
Diamond Campground is one of our favorite overnight places, being located in a scenic valley off the highway. The downside is that most sites are reservation only. We consider ourselves fortunate to find a really great spot with shade on a Friday. It is one of our easiest set-ups with the pads being level enough to not even need the levelers.
After lunch, Clifford gets his ham radio set up and I spend most of the afternoon walking around the campground, hiking the Discovery Trail, and hiking to the bluff above the campsite near sunset.
After dinner I edit today’s photos, grateful that we will be here another day, a day to relax before the big push to Montana.
Sunday May 5: Clifford and I visit with our friends as we pack up, and then we say our goodbyes before we head back to Santa Fe. The wind has come up, but luckily it is not a long drive.
We find our way to our friend Diana’s house and park on the street. It is not a wide street, so we can only have the slide-out out just enough to barely squeeze through from the front room to the bedroom.
Diana fixes us a tasty tortilla lunch, and then Clifford and I go with Diana and her housemate Martha to a lecture being given by a doctor of alternative medicine. It turns out that it is Erica Elliott talking about her beginning years teaching in a Navajo boarding school in Chinle, Arizona. Erica was one of Clifford computer clients when we lived in Santa Fe. We didn’t know that she had had an earlier career as a teacher. She has an amazing life story and it was so fun to listen to her talk of that of time in her life.
After the talk, we bought her book, Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert, and she gave Clifford a big hug. Our friend John is also there, and we all head back over to Martha and Diana’s house after the talk for a delicious chicken dinner and great conversation. Later I start reading Erica’s book and stay up way too late. It is so interesting, it is hard to put it down.
Monday May 6: This morning Diana and Clifford work on a CI project, indexing his notebooks, as Diana is going to participate in this somewhat tedious job. While they are working, I walk along the nearby arroyo.
In the afternoon Clifford and I run our errands to the bank, Trader Joe, and a couple other stops, including the Violin Shop, as I hope to get a different chin rest for my viola. It turns out they don’t have the chin rest that I need, but I buy a better bow, so it was not a wasted trip. We also go to the Santa Fe Baking Company, which has been renamed and improved under new ownership, but what is the same is the apple tree by the outdoor patio seating area, and it is at the peak of its bloom.
For dinner, Diana, Martha, and I go to Dion’s Pizza. Clifford is napping, so he misses out. Later in the evening, Clifford plays his dulcimer and I stay up reading until midnight. Being in Santa Fe and doing stuff with friends sure has been fun, but tomorrow we start the final leg of our journey back to Utah.
Saturday May 4: Clifford and I are staying another day to visit with our dear friends near Las Vegas, New Mexico, as it is not often that we get to see them. After sharing a potluck lunch, they take us on an outing to a place they call Hidden Valley. It is a fun drive into the deserts of New Mexico.
Later afternoon, back at their place, we watch a documentary on some of the relatively unknown, but very interesting, aspects of secret societies and other such stuff. We visit while sharing dinner, then Clifford and I return to Cougar. Clifford works on his music project and I edit photos before packing for an early start tomorrow, hoping to beat the wind as we head back to Santa Fe. It has been great visiting here with these special people, but it is time for us to continue the journey back to the CI lab in Utah.
Wednesday May 1: It is really windy today, but Clifford and I are leaving Rancheros de Santa Fe RV Park/Campground where we have been camped the last week for the Santa Fe event where Clifford was a guest speaker. Today we are heading east to visit dear friends from our Santa Fe years when they and we lived outside Santa Fe, getting together on a regular basis for breakfast at Harry’s or visits to their various homes. We are excited to see them, as it has been awhile, with lots of water under the bridge since our last get-together.
we are traveling east on I-25 between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, NM,
right at the junction to highway 3, we hear a great loud bang and our
whole rig – Suburban and 24-foot Cougar travel trailer – swerves
nearly out of control. The on-ramp of highway 3 gives us a bit of
leeway to get slowed down and stopped. With adrenal pumping, I get
out to survey the damage. We have a bad feeling that part of Cougar
must have ripped off, but it turns out to be a blowout on the right
rear tire of the Suburban. It is not a good scene, but fortunately
there was no traffic as this was happening, we didn’t wreck, and
Cougar is fine.
It is a big deal to get Cougar unhitched, get to the jack and spare tire, and get Suburban jacked up. We put out warning cones and flags, and luckily the on-ramp gives us a little buffer from the traffic on I-25.
After we get the ruined tire off, the spare on, tools packed up, and Cougar hitched up again, we head on to our friends, much later than planned. There is no cell service in this remote area of New Mexico, so we can’t even inform them of our delay.
Once we arrive, they happily show us their new place, a spot is found to park Cougar, and we have dinner together. All is well as we chat through the evening before heading to our respective beds.
The next couple of days are spent visiting and catching up on past and current events in their lives and ours.
Clifford and our friend run into the nearby town of Las Vegas, NM, to look for tires for the Suburban. It is a bit time-consuming checking out places where the damaged rim can be replaced and new tires can be had, but eventually the right place is found and new 10-ply tires are put on. This is what we should have had all along. Live and learn. Learn and live, might also be said.
Wednesday April 17: I go for my usual morning walk at Percha Dam New Mexico State Park where Clifford and I are now camped. The Rio Grande draws me, as the water, the reflections, and the great trees all feel good to my soul.
at camp, Clifford and I take care of CI business, most especially the
CI newsletter, which has been rather time-consuming. My daughter
Becka calls, and it is good to talk to her. I even have time for
playing the viola.
The afternoon light is quite nice, so Clifford and I decide to hike the trail along the Rio Grande, even though it has remained quite breezy today. With the nice lighting, I get photos that I like of the river and the light on the west-facing buttes reflecting off the river. It was especially nice hiking with Clifford.
had started chili earlier, so by time we get back, dinner is ready
and we sit out at the picnic table in spite of the breeze, glad for
the stone-walled shelter that protects us a bit.
the evening, I start going through the photos that I took today,
culling some and sending a few texts with photos to family and
friends, a good way to end the day.
Friday April 12: It is calm this morning at City of Rocks New Mexico State Park where we have been camped for over two weeks, our leaving having been delayed by extremely high winds in New Mexico. Since we have a ways to go today to get to our next destination, we skip part of the normal leaving routine, taking time only to finish packing and to make a thermos of tea for the road. We are on our way by 9:15, almost a record for us.
arrive at Perch Dam State Park about 11:30 and there are only a
couple of electric sites left. The first one is too tight for us,
but the second one is fine. The sites here are quite close together,
but all are pull-throughs around a loop with a view outward rather
than toward a neighbor. We have a nice big tree by our shelter and
are grateful for electricity.
Saturday April 13: It is sunny this morning as we make a trip to the nearby village of Arrey, picking up our general delivery mail and sending a birthday card to my daughter Merri.
Back at camp, I work on a CI fundraising campaign, take care of email, start the next CI newsletter, edit photos, and write/post another blog. Being here with electricity and decent cell service means we can take care of things that have been brewing on a back burner.
In the afternoon, we see increasing wind and big storm clouds building up. It looks like it could dump a ton of rain or hail, but all we get is wind and blowing dust.
By evening, the storm has passed on.
Sunday April 14: As I do a morning walkabout, I see that the campground has been improved and is looking quite park-like. I call Merri for her birthday and send a photo of flowers by text.
We make a trip to Truth or Consequences, the nearest town big enough to get supplies. Back at camp, we take advantage of the power and cell service here by working on a variety of projects: more CI business, another blog posted, and so on. Clifford is quite focused on the talk he will be giving in Santa Fe, as it is only a couple weeks away.
Wind and scummy skies continue throughout the day, so not many photos are taken.
Monday April 15: Today is mostly centered around domestic chores of cleaning and food preparation, as well as working on the CI newsletter. We make ANOTHER trip to T or C, as Clifford needs something that he didn’t know he needed yesterday when we were there, so we also pick up door mats to cut down on the dirt being tracked in.
a very interesting day photo-wise.
Tuesday April 16: I walk to the Rio Grande first thing this morning to take photos of reflections on the river. I can only imagine what this river was like before dams and irrigating stole its essence.
focus is the newsletter; I also send a few text with photos and post
another blog. Clifford works on his talk. In the evening after
dinner I play viola awhile. Although the days here are not too
exciting, it is a productive time.
Tuesday April 9: After breakfast, Clifford and I go with our friends to the Botanical Gardens here at City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico where we are all camped. Then we hike through the rocks, not on the trail, but wherever our meanderings take us. We find a big “cave” in the overhang of a large boulder and spend time here in the shade as we visit.
the afternoon, we all work on our various projects. Our friends make
dinner for all of us this evening, which I especially appreciate,
since I am most usually (like nearly always)
chief-cook-and-bottle-washer. It is nice to have someone else take on
this important responsibility.
We have been checking the weather frequently, as tomorrow was to be our leaving day. However, we see that it will be too windy for us, with gusts up to 60 mph on our intended route. There is sleet in Montana where my brother Rollie is headed, with a forecast for snow, possibly a lot of snow from the “cyclone bomb” that is hitting Colorado tonight and tomorrow. It is normal to be windy on the east side of the Rockies in the spring, but some of weather we are seeing and hearing about goes way beyond normal.
Wednesday April 10: It is windy and windier, with a temperature variation between the low last night and the high today of only 2 degrees. The sky is pale with dust, no doubt from the high winds. Our friends left very early to try to beat the inclement weather and high winds, but we heard later from them that it was a very harrowing drive for many miles. It would have been worse for us in the direction of our next destination. During the day we notice no one (other than our friends) leaving and no one coming into this usually active state park. We are staying beyond the 14-day limit, as are others who cannot travel today.
The wind is wearying and I head to bed as soon as the dishes are done. I have scarcely had time to fall asleep when Clifford wakes me up to find out where the mouse traps are. Traps are set and a mouse caught before I am even back asleep. Hope that was the only one!
Thursday April 11: It is not quite as windy this morning, so I go for a walk and take a few photos with plans to go back when the sun is in a more optimal position.
However, by afternoon it is too windy to go hiking in the rocks again. We work on CI projects: MeWe, Friends of CI for our fund-raising platform, and start the quarterly newsletter. In the afternoon, we go for a short walk, very chilly, and back at the campsite, we pack up all the outside chairs, tables, solar panel, and so on, as we intend to leave in the morning. Other than the wind, we have enjoyed our stay here, but it is time to move northward. We have things to do and people to see!