Rocky Mountain NP and Estes Park


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 31-05-2010

A return visit to the Rocky Mountains was at the top of our list.  Ken was able to book us for two nights in Rocky Mountain National Park which was great.  We arrived on a Wednesday and found out that a mere two days earlier, they had had “white out” conditions.  Not quite spring yet in the Rockies!  We found our camp spot and set up the Motosat  to ensure we had a clear connection to our Direct TV set up.  We weren’t very optimistic as our spot was in the WOODS with no real clear view of the southern sky, a requirement to get a solid satellite connection.  Why was it so important to access our Direct TV?  I have to admit that the girls and I are big fans of American Idol.  We just HAD to see the Finale!!  Well, we could not get a clear shot of the southern sky so I went to the headquarters to see if any other spots were available that might yield a clearer view of the sky.  We were in luck , moved our rig and settled in to  watch all TWO hours of the finale.  We were so happy when our favorite, Lee Dewyze won!
Enough of that!  Now back to nature and being in the Rockies!  We took a drive up 12,000 feet to the tip top of the highest paved road in the U.S.  The temp dropped to a mere 46 degrees and the parking lot of the Visitor Center was still being shoveled out from all the recent snow.  National Parks are our favorite places to camp and this one is by far one of the most beautiful.    Given it was Memorial weekend, we were unable to get reservations past Thursday night so onto Estes park and Mary’s Lake Campground.
We stayed at Mary’s Lake campground two years ago, when we were mere novices at the whole full time RVing thing.  It’s now a county campground so it was a little better than last time but the spaces were still very cramped.  On the upside, it’s just across the street from Mary’s Lake and a short drive into the town of Estes Park.   We took a family bike ride around Estes Lake and enjoyed ice cream after visiting the famed Stanley Hotel, where the movie “The Shining” was filmed.  This whole area is so beautiful and we look forward to returning again one day, maybe with some of our RV friends! 

Golden Colorado


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 26-05-2010

  “Can we please live here?”  A questioned asked by all of us as we feel in love with the town of Golden.  Who would have guessed that the town where the the Coors Brewery brews its marginally good tasting beer would be so special?  Our campground was right on the river  and we were surrounded by beautiful trees and the smell of lilac.  Very idyllic!  Golden has a wonderful bike/walking path that runs throughout the whole town and out into a nature preserve.  Almost everyone seemed to be walking, biking or kayaking and they were all so fit! 

The downtown area was clean and obviously catered to the canines in the area as every other shop had stainless steel bowls filled with clean cool water.  Was it just our imagination or were there more Golden Retrievers than any other breed of dog?  Hobie fit right in and joined us in our enthusiasm for this town. It was tough to leave but we were all in agreement that Golden is at the top of our list of “great places to live.”  Now onto the famed Rocky Mountains! 

Steamboat Springs CO


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 23-05-2010

 When you think of ski areas in Colorado, Vale and Telluride come quickly to mind.  But Steamboat Springs is definitely worthy of a stop and Ken and I actually prefer it to the better known ski resorts.  Our campground, Stagecoach State Park, was about 20 miles outside of the city of Steamboat.  We overlooked a beautiful lake and had views of green rolling hills and snow capped mountains in the distance.   Our arrival at the campground was a bit eventful and added to our compilation for the part of our video that sings, “Thanks for the memories, even though they weren’t so great!”  Ken usually eases into our assigned spot but this time, ease was not a part of the story.  He drove the RV into our spot only to havethe end of our RV sink deeply into a rain soaked hole.  We were not just stuck, we were REALLY stuck.  The park ranger came by and offered help but Andrew and Ken felt sure that their manly efforts would yield great results.  After an hour of such manly efforts, we were still stuck.  (The girls and I were of no help and giggled while we videoed the whole thing.)  The ranger came by again but this time, he brought a big tractor.  He hooked it onto the back of our 30,000 lb. RV and with little manly effort, guided us out of our muddy predicament.  Victory!! 
 Ken and I found a reason to go into the wonderful town of Steamboat almost everyday.  The Yampa River runs through the town and the town folk have done a great job of positioning wonderful little eateries along the banks of the river.  One evening, Ken and I enjoyed a cocktail while the river rushed by us, often times transporting a kayaker or two.  This was the first really warm evening of the spring season and everyone seemed to be in a good mood, including Ken and myself. During another visit to downtown, Ken and I took our bikes and had a greatbike ride down a beautiful long path along the river. 

What makes the town of Steamboat great is that real people actually live in the town as opposed to the town owing its existence to tourists and skiers.  The downtown was full of older quaint houses with the size of the house increasing as you drove up the mountain and your view widened. 

One day, the girls and I did a little shopping in town.  Poohnut wore her new shoes (a no-no yet to be learned) so our shopping extravaganza ended early with a soft serve ice cream.  Meanwhile, Andrew had his RC truck out and was attracting all the kids in the campground.  Andrew connected with one of the boys (Aiden)  and he and Andrew hung out the whole weekend, even doing some fishing together.

The downside of this stay was the weather.  While the skies were blue and the temps moderate, the wind was fierce, even causing us to pull in the slides to limit the buoying feeling.  It’s funny though, as I write this, the wind is a distant memory and the wonderful time we spent there trumps it in spades. 

Yampa State Park CO


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 20-05-2010

We are now officially in beautiful colorful Colorado! Maybe it was just our memories filling our minds but we really did feel like the scenery was getting more beautiful when we crossed over into Colorado. Yampa State Park is a small, very pretty state park right on the Yampa River. We were so happy to find a laundry facility and a great playground. We were surrounded by green rolling hills and beautiful aspen and birch trees as far as the eye could see. The sky was bright blue with big puffy white clouds. It was supposed to rain but did so for only 5 minutes so all enjoyed being outside for most of the day after school. It rained ALL day on our second day so we stayed inside, doing school and watching movies. It’s fun when it rains but after a whole day in a 350 sq. ft. RV with the kids and a 100 lb. dog, we all need to stretch our legs. We were happy to see the sun come out bright and early the next day!

We could have stayed here longer but each campground keeps getting better and better so we are anxious to see what’s next!

Bear Lake State Park ID/UT


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-05-2010

On our way to Rock Springs, the van started acting strange and I had a feeling that something was amiss. I was following Ken in the van as we were expecting some snow (yes, snow!!) and we felt it was safer to drive the van separate. I had a walkie talkie and signaled to Ken that we had to pull over as the van would not move. Ken didn’t realize we were not following him anymore until at least a mile up this lightly populated road. Since a place to turn a 40’ rig around was scarce, Ken opted to use the “back up all the way” method to get to our van. Hehooked us up and acted as our tow into Rock Springs. We found a great mechanic in Rock Springs who could fix the transmission and have us back on the road in 6 DAYS!! The only campground in Rock Springs was a KOA which had a lovely view of the highway along with some big metal drums. The spots were tight and the cost was $50 a night! No thanks! The weather front we had been reading about was approaching and we made the quick decision to travel 140 miles to Bear Lake State Park. After all, we had six days to spend and  Ken had heard Bear Lake was a beautiful place to camp.

We arrived around 7PM and had a bit of difficulty finding the state park. Our search took us around Bear Lake which is known as the “Caribbean” of the area due to the lake’s deep turquoise blue color. Amazingly beautiful. We found Bear Lake State Park on the Idaho side of the lake and decided to set up camp. There were literally no humans to be seen and we were the only ones in the whole park. We found out that the park had opened just 3 days before! We fell in love with the place. Idaho really does an amazing job with its State Parks.

The girls have such vivid imaginations and created an “umbrella shop” using old tumbleweeds with “handles’ as their inventory. They even supplied some umbrellas to a widow who had 14 children. (All in their imagination our course!) Andrew found a cool area to make a race track for his RC car and spent hours perfecting the jumps.

The storm didn’t end of coming to our area (although we did get a light dusting of snow that lasted for about 5 minutes). But the snow from a previous storm covered the Rocky Mountains which we looked out on from our RV.  The view was nothing short of breathtaking. It reminded us all SO much of our views in Alaska.

Since we were dry camping, we moved our RV to the full hookup campground on the Utah side of the lake on Friday, just  5 miles away.   During our 15 minute drive, we stopped in the town of Garden City, known for its raspberry shakes. The shakes were indeed very yummy! When we finally found the campground (signage needs to be improved), we set up camp and again found ourselves to be the only RV in the park!

We really enjoyed this campground and also liked just staying put as we had no tow vehicle to move us anywhere else!

Flaming Gorge National Rec Area WY


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-05-2010

Ken is so great about finding these beautiful areas to camp and this was no exception. The campground itself was a bit dated with shelters that reminded us of living in the Flintstone era.   But we got a spot at the end of a row overlooking the lake and loved it. There were only a few other campers and on our last two days, we were the only ones in the campground! There was a little path down to the lake and Andrew was anxious to supply us with fish for dinner. He and Ken took off and returned just a couple hours later with a handful of rainbow trout! Yum!! Andrew was ecstatic!! (The fisherman in him came alive again!) Poohnut wanted some of the action so she took off with him the next day and caught one for herself.   She loves the reeling in part!

We took an amazing drive through the Flaming Gorge Recreation Area and were in awe with the breathtaking beauty of the area. The Green River runs through the canyon and the walls of the canyon are red. The contrast of colors is stunning. The drive wove through the canyon, through areas “where Dinosaurs roamed”.

On Sunday (official Mother’s Day), I awoke to coffee in bed (something I could get used to!), followed by a yummy omelet, a fully decorated RV and cards and gifts from the kids. Nikki gave me some chocolate and a People magazine, Poohnut gave me some chocolate (do they know me or what!!?) and a pair of “diamond” earrings with a matching necklace that read, “Mom” and Andrew gave me some fun things for an art project. Ken made me my favorite dinner – pork with verde sauce and desert of red velvet cake. Oh it’s nice to be Queen for a Day!!

Now off to Rock Springs to pick up our mail and do some grocery shopping!

Mother’s Day dinner in Park City


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-05-2010

With Mother’s Day approaching (alright, I admit that I love it when my family turns it into “Mother’s Weekend!”) Ken thought it would be cool to camp outside of Park City and take a drive into Park City for a Friday night dinner to celebrate my motherly existence. Very sweet! The campground was nice and we found a spot easily. The weather is still cool in the area (snow was forecasted for the weekend) so the real masses of RVers seem to be still waiting for the big warm up. Even though it’s May, it feels very off season right now.

After setting up camp, we drove 15 minutes into Park City and walked around the pretty and colorful streets.   The “season” between winter and summer is referred to as “Mud Season” and many of the shops and restaurants were closed. This was very different from our trip here two years ago during the summer when the town was full of visitors. We had a wonderful dinner at a chop house (thanks to the “buy one entrée get one free” coupons we got from a nice gentleman) and really enjoyed being in the town during its quiet time.

We only spent the one night in Park City and now are onto “Flaming Gorge” which is a highly recommended stop!

Palisades State Park Utah


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-05-2010

It’s quite fun traveling to new campgrounds in the west as we are usually very happy with them. Both Ken and I love the open feel of the west and never tire of its beauty and vastness. We took the “road less traveled” to Palisades State Park, through some small picturesque towns which were so Americana. When we arrived at the campground, we found ourselves to be one of only two RVs. The campground was very clean and modern and overlooked the beautiful Palisades Lake. Beside the campground was a golf course which makes this campground the second most popular campground in Utah. The days were sunny but cool and we enjoyed taking many a walk around the lake. Andrew had great fun with his RC car given he had so much space to make it run. The girls spent their free time at the playground, making each part of the playground their “house”.

Great stop and would highly recommend this State Park.

The amazing beauty of Zion National Park


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 03-05-2010

We weren’t planning on revisiting many of the stops on our RV adventure with one exception, Zion National Park. There is something so peaceful, beautiful and spiritual about this park that it compelled us to make another stop. The weather reports were touting possible snow. Ken and I always plan to stay away from snow but the kids were so excited that we kept to our plans and went in spite of possible bad weather. We did get some “snow”, a dusting of the dry stuff that didn’t’ touch the ground and the kids were ecstatic. Doesn’t take much to get them excited!

During our last stay in Zion, Andrew, Ken and I hiked to the top of Angel’s Landing, a strenuous and, in my opinion, rather tortuous hike to the top of a rim overlooking Zion. I can’t tell you how happy I was to say “DID THAT!” as I wasn’t about to raise my hand again for that hike. This time, we did a family hike to the “Emerald Pools” which was really wonderful. Because the area received so much snowfall over the winter, the waterfalls were full and we actually hiked underneath one. The pools were indeed emerald and many people were sitting around them, soaking in the sun. This hike wasn’t quite manly enough for Andrew and Ken so they took off on their own for the “Hidden Canyon” hike which had “long drop-offs and was “not for anyone fearful of heights”. The girls and I had more subdued fun and went shopping in the town of Springdale. No long drop-offs in that town!

One very special aspect to Zion is how different the green canyons and red cliffs look during different times of the day. We camped inside the national park of Zion and although it was dry camping, we were situated next to a beautiful bike path and took daily bike rides. We were also walking distance from the Visitor’s Center so stopped by there a couple times and watched a great film on the area.

All in all, a great stop and it got us all in the mood for more exploration!