Welcome to our Adventure...

We packed up the kids, dog and the trailer and headed out for adventure, learning and helping others. During our adventure we will try to update this site as often as possible to keep everyone interested involved in our travels and to keep a journal for ourselves. The plan is to be working, schooling, helping and sharing on the road for a year.
Please feel free to post comments and questions! Thanks for following!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Arches Auto Repair & Arches National Park

Brock took the Yukon back to the repair shop right on time this morning and they were kind enough to bring him back to the campground so he could wait with us since it was a small shop and they didn't really have a waiting area. The sensor replacement went as expected and the bill was what they quoted, which wasn't too bad and they came back and picked Brock up so he could go pay the bill and when he got back from the shop with the Yukon, we all hopped in and headed for the Park.

It was a little after 10 am which wasn't as early as we would have liked since the temperatures were already in the 80's, but we were just glad to get to be seeing Arches which was one of the items on my "list" since the beginning of the trip.

We followed our same strategy, not stopping at any of the pullouts until we got to the area with the Delicate Arch. We all got out and grabbed a water bottle, put on some sunscreen, and headed out on a moderately strenuous hike, 1.5 miles each way to get a close view of one of the most famous sights in the Park.

On the way up...

It was challenging for us since most of the way there was uphill and it was pretty hot, but everyone did pretty well. I was proud of the kids.

When we got to the Arch, we took a bunch of pictures. Brynna and Spencer decided to hang back a little on a flatter area and Brock and Brighton, Skylar and I headed on a sloped area to get a closer look. Skylar accidentally let go of his water bottle and it rolled down, down, down into a bowl. Brock and Brighton looked for a way down to go get it, not to try to save the water which had all spilled out, but so that we wouldn't be litterbugs. It didn't seem like there was a very safe way down from where we were so the guys decided to look for a way around from the other side when we were on our way down. Thankfully, I had really rationed my water and had enough to share with Skylar for the way back because he seemed to need it more than I did.

See Brighton in his red shirt??

Here's a nice shady, somewhat flat portion of the trail. Notice the sheer drop on the other side??
Brock and Brighton were able to successfully climb down into that bowl from the other side of it. They retrieved Sky's water bottle and saw that his wasn't the only one that had made its way down there. They grabbed another one that wasn't in the bushes (they were a little concerned about snakes) and met us towards the end of the trail back. We'd stopped to talk with a very nice couple that were celebrating their anniversary this week and so Brock and Brighton were able to catch up to us. They'd gotten a picture with Brock's phone of the Delicate Arch from the bowl side.

We got back to the parking area pretty tired, sweaty and thirsty. Thankfully we could all grab a second water bottle from the cooler. Those got sucked down pretty quickly too. We had some snacks and continued our drive a little further down the park road to the end where there is a campground that smaller rv's and tents can stay at, as well as some pretty awesome rock structures in an area called Devil's Garden.

Fiery Furnace area

From here, we started our drive back the way we'd come and stopped wherever we wanted for pictures. Nobody was much in the mood for more hiking so we didn't get as close to some of the photo ops as I would've liked, but it sure was an awesome day!

Balanced Rock
Boys who must always climb higher and further than I'm "comfortable" with. ;o)

We drove back into Moab thinking we might take a drive into a canyon that follows the Colorado River, but there was road construction there and so we bypassed the area and headed back into town where we stopped at a diner for ice cream. Most of us got shakes which were huge and incredibly refreshing. Sky chose a double cone, side by side scoops. We were some pretty happy campers as we headed back to the trailer to relax for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Small Portion of Arches National Park

We got up and going fairly early to be able to explore Arches before the hottest part of the day. We got out successfully which always feels good with this many people. :O)

We paid our $10 per vehicle admission fee and were so excited to be driving into the park anticipating all that we would see.

Our strategy was to drive all the way in so that we could do a couple hikes in the cooler morning temps and then stop at different sights as we drove along the way back out.

We got about 10 minutes in when Brock noticed that our oil pressure gauge read zero! He pulled over and checked our oil and it was a little low. He couldn't see anything wrong, but without knowing if it was just the gauge or something more seriously wrong, we couldn't continue into the park, so we turned around and drove out. I snapped a few pictures just in case we wouldn't get to come back. I discovered later that Brynna got some really good shots real quick just through her window in the back seat. She has a good eye for photography.

We drove back into Moab and stopped at the Chevy dealer, but they couldn't fit us in today, so we headed to a small repair shop that our neighbors one site over at the campground had used for a repair they needed. They agreed to take a look at 2 o'clock this afternoon. We headed back to the campground.

Brock did some internet research and believed that it was just the oil pressure sensor, but it is NOT an easy part to reach and so we didn't think we'd be able to make the repair ourselves. Plus, no one in town had the part in stock today.

We had a somewhat relaxing, but deflated, afternoon waiting around the trailer for that 2 o'clock appointment. Brock took the Yukon in and the shop used a code reader to diagnose that it was the sensor. They could order the part and have it in the shop in the morning and so asked Brock to come back at 8:30 am tomorrow.

We decided to stay an extra day so that we could have the opportunity to try again to see Arches tomorrow if all went according to plan with the repair. We checked in at the campground office and unfortunately, our specific site was reserved for that extra night so we agreed to move one site over for tonight and tomorrow night. That sure seemed like a lot of work to move over about 15 feet, but oh well. ;O)

The rest of the day we just lazed around, watched some TV, looked at houses online and generally hoped tomorrow would go well.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Spanish Trail RV Park

Today is Brock's full work day for this week. The plan is to take tomorrow off so we can explore Arches National Park. Then, we'll begin the long drive back toward Bend the following day.

The kids and I haven't done any school work for pretty much this whole month...and we aren't going to start today. LOL

The plan was to get some laundry done in the afternoon, but first I needed to finish up the curriculum shopping for next year's books this morning. I also made Sky's orthopedic appointment for when we return and then some orthodontic appointments for Bri and Bryn for later in the month. It's so weird to think we'll be back in Bend after 13 months away.

We ate a quick lunch and then Spencer and I cycled the laundry through the campground laundry room. It took a little longer than going to a bigger laundromat since there were six functioning washers and only three functioning dryers, one of which was already in use by another camper. But, we stuck it out and got it done.

Long story to tell you that today was a rather boring day. Not much to report. We didn't go anywhere.

It rained off and on today.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

On the Road to Moab

After Brock's morning meetings, we pulled out of Clear Creek RV Park right at 11 am and headed out of town. We had about a 6 hour drive over the Rockies.

The Yukon did great, pulling our beast of a trailer without much trouble.

We did, however, discover that both our propane tanks were emptied this morning. Within the last few months, we had started leaving both tanks open so that the regulator would automatically switch from one to the other when the first ran out, but we hadn't kept a close enough eye on the level and had run them both dry. No eggs for breakfast since we couldn't use the stove top. Also, no opening the fridge today since it needs to function as an ice box with no gas to run it on the long drive.

The mountains were sure beautiful, so many trees and awesome rock walls. I was teasing the kids because in one area, the canyon walls looked to me like Minecraft blocks. They looked up from their screens long enough to see.

After we crossed the mountains, we stopped in Grand Junction for gas and decided to eat a late lunch/early dinner out. We chose quick and easy and went in to a Wendy's. The food was ok, but I think it was the most disorganized, poorly managed restaurant we'd ever seen. They had the hardest time figuring out how to fulfill our whole order, then tried to give us two more burgers that we hadn't ordered. My patty was pink in the middle which may be ok at home, but not on a mass-produced meat like that. We saw just about every customer return something while we were there. The staff threw away a ton of food. It was sad, but at least we didn't have rumbling tummies anymore.

We finished up the drive, passing through the town of Moab to our reserved RV park. Spanish Trail RV Park is a Passport America participating park. Our rate was a little higher due to the per head charge for each person over the first 2 people, but it was still a decent rate for a park in this area. It is one of the only ones to have real grass between sites and some nice shade trees which is a good bonus. All the services work well and are placed well for our trailer. The wifi works decently too. Right across the highway was a Shell station with an LP fill station so we are now back in business. :O)

We met a nice couple in the site next to us who are "traveling buddies" after their respective spouses passed away several years ago. They reside in California, but had spent the last month traveling together some in BC and some in the American southwest. They were so nice. They gave us their advice after having explored Arches and Canyonlands in the last couple days. The lady brought us over some fresh peanut brittle that she had made and asked us to help them eat it. Then, she gave us a little bag of biscotti that she had made as well. We enjoyed visiting with them into the evening.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Family Visit and Lookout Mountain

We had a leisurely morning around the trailer until it was time head out for our lunch time appointment with Darrell and Polly, my uncle and aunt on my dad's side. They have a nice home in the foothills above the city of Golden.

When we got there, Darrell and Polly greeted us in the driveway. It was so nice to see them. I think it had been two years since we saw them last. Polly had made a really nice lunch and set the table so beautifully. We really felt like we were getting the royal treatment. We even had chocolate cake with ice cream for dessert. It was all delicious, but my favorite part was getting to talk with them. They are always so positive and encouraging. 

We ended up staying there and visiting for a good part of the afternoon. I hope we didn't overstay our welcome. We all posed together in front of their amazing view off their back deck.

When we left Darrell and Polly's, we took the Yukon up the incredibly wind-y and narrow, but really beautiful road up to the top of Lookout Mountain. We stopped at the top to enjoy the 360 degree view and we took a look at Buffalo Bill's grave.
Looking down and spotting our RV park from the top of Lookout Mountain

In front of the Buffalo Bill Museum, which was closed.
On the way down the other side of the mountain, I had to laugh at just how tightly switchbacked the road looked from above. Then, on the way down we saw this crazy square of a rainbow which seemed to be hanging above the Coors factory of all places.

We headed back to the trailer to feed Heidi. This RV park has been so nice as far as the utilities and location. It is very crowded though and the creek and bike path are very well traveled. The boys had watched hundreds of people use the creek during the course of the days we've been here and they asked if they could swim in the creek before we left. With all the rain that has fallen, the water was much faster and muddier than it was when we got here, but I agreed to go to the water's edge with them and check it out. They didn't get too wet, as the sun had gone down and I think the water was chillier than they thought it would be, but we had fun playing around.

Spence and Sky got cleaned up and into their pjs. There was even enough time in the day for Brock and I to take Heidi for a nice stroll in the moonlight on the bike path. When we got back to the trailer, the little boys ate a few snacks since we didn't really have dinner after our filling lunchtime meal. Then to bed they went, and the rest of us watched one of the channels that we could get over the antenna which was showing the Clint Eastwood movie The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. What a classic. LOL

Friday, August 23, 2013

Taking Care of Business Day

Today was a hang around the trailer day. We took turns taking Heidi for walks. Brock worked a full day. I was able to get some business done including doing some curriculum shopping and ordering and list making. I did some doctor and insurance research to find an ortho doctor to do the followup on Sky’s arm including removing his cast when we get back to Bend. I did a little housing research both for sale and for rent in the Bend market, not really yet seeing anything that I’d classify a favorite.

More thunderstorms moved through the area in the afternoon.

We made plans to meet Eric and Deshika for dinner at El Senor Sol Mexican restaurant. It was a good time visiting with them and I enjoyed not having to cook. The food was just ok.

After dinner, Eric, Deshika and Leo came back for a tour of our trailer. We’d been describing it, but they’d had a really hard time envisioning it. I think they finally believed after the tour that we really aren’t “roughing it”. ;o)

We all laughed a lot this evening, talking and playing with Spencer’s tablet and his photo lab software with which you can completely distort someone’s appearance. Eric was a very good sport. ;o)

It was nearly midnight when the Adkins left for their long drive home and we all crawled into bed, happy and exhausted.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Living in Golden for the Day

Today was a regular morning around the trailer. I got a call from my aunt and uncle who live here in Golden. I talked to Polly on the phone for awhile, telling her a little about our trip. She and Darrell invited us to come by their house for a visit this weekend.

The kids and I took over the little playground that is at Lion's Park just down the street from the campground.

Bri is getting a little big for the slide.

We headed back to the trailer, ate lunch and then the kids and I went out for a shopping excursion at Costco. That was fun since we hadn’t seen a Costco for a couple months at least. I took my time and cruised up and down aisles, but we didn’t buy much since we don’t have much room in the trailer. We finished off the shopping trip with Brynna treating us all to some soda pops. It was really hot and the skies were clear and blue as we left Costco.

We got back on the freeway to return to the trailer, and Brock, and found that he’d made plans with Eric for us to head back up and possibly go for a mountain hike. The skies were getting grayer and cloudier by the moment as we began our drive to meet Eric at his house. Traffic was really heavy along the highway we took last night, so Brock decided to take a detour on a different road that would join back up with the highway. We were seeing some spectacular lightning strikes in the skies as we wound our way up the curvy mountain road through the Red Rocks Park area. There were some lightning bolts that seemed to just hang in the sky for 5 seconds. It was awesome! Then, it began to rain. It was raining hard so that made it a little harder to enjoy the skies.
The rain lightened up as we joined back up with that original highway with lighter traffic now. However, as we climbed the mountain we began to be pelted by pea-sized hail. It was all very exciting! We saw a poor guy on a motorcycle who’d had to pull over to the side of the road. He was holding an umbrella against the hail which instantly snapped up in the wrong direction due to the wind. There was one spot just as we reach the peak of that hill, where the road was white with the hail and we had to slow way down in case it was slippery.

Once we pulled back up into Eric’s driveway, it was just lightly sprinkling and the main storm was not around. It didn’t however look like much hiking would be taking place tonight as the lightning and thunder were still very present.

Everyone took turns greeting Peaches who was very patient with us bird newbies. We were kind of intimidated by her, but Eric stayed close by and Peaches was very gentle and patient with us. She was, however, much more comfortable and relaxed atop Eric.

Deshika and Leo arrived home and we all greeted them. We all visited and played with the Adkins’ family pets. The kids watched a couple cartoons while Eric and Deshika prepared dinner. It turns out Eric is pretty good with the BBQ as his steaks and marinated pork were delicious.

We enjoyed the Adkins’ family’s company and conversation and periodically checking out the storm which continued throughout the evening. They have big sun room windows which were perfect for lightning watching.

We eventually headed back down the mountain feeling ready for bed before we actually got back to the trailer, but we waited patiently and everyone crashed once we got there.