Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Really Not A Peeping Tom.....I'm Paparazzi!!

Monday, July 27, 2009 

Ok, some of you who hear this may be a little "alarmed"; may be a little "nervous"; who knows, maybe you'll see the humor in it.  But all I can really tell you is, this is SO here we go.......

Last weekend, our neighbors' adult daughter, (I'll call her "Monica" know, to protect her identity), had come to the lake with her new boyfriend (we'll call him "Chandler").  This was the first boyfriend that "Monica" had ever brought to the lakehouse that we knew of and I also knew that "Monica's" mom, "Rachel" and dad, "Joey" (again......protecting the innocent) had not yet met this nice young man.  So, seeing as "Rachel" and "Joey" were in Seattle for the weekend and having never met their daughters' boyfriend, you can only imagine how excited Liz (heck, why don't we just go ahead and call me "Phoebe"!) was when she was able to meet "Chandler" first......

Still following the story so far??  Try to stay with me here........

Soooooooo.....once I met "Chandler", I couldn't wait to get home and text "Rachel" and let her know that her daughter "Monica's" boyfriend was HOT.  I knew she would be excited!  So, that's just what I did!  We texted back and forth a bit and I tried to describe "Chandler" to "Rachel", but I had only seen him for a total of 20 seconds and was having a hard time describing him to her.  So I came up with, what I thought, was a great idea.  I promptly texted her back and asked if she wanted me to get a picture of him.   She never answered me.  So I texted her again.......still, no answer.  Well, I pride myself in knowing "Rachel" pretty well and know that she has much higher morals than me and would never obligate herself by saying "yes" even though she really really wanted me to get a picture of him.   So I took it upon myself to get a picture of "Chandler".  But how could I do it without him knowing about it??  Hummm.... maybe its the PI in me, but I figured out real quickly just how I was going to do it!

I grabbed my new camera (remember'll be important later) and headed outside.  Since it was 10:30 pm, I knew I couldn't use my flash, so I placed it on a fast speed and went between the houses.  They had the wood blinds open in the living room, every light in the house on and were playing darts.  Unfortunately, there were these pesty shrubs in my way which kept me from getting close enough to the house to get a good picture.  As I scoped out how best to get a picture of "Chandler", I determined I might be able to zoom in between the slats in the blinds to get the picture I was needing.  I tried and tried, but "Chandler" kept moving and without being able to use my flash, the pictures were just coming out blurry.   Errrrrrrrrr............

It was about this time, that "Chandler" and "Monica" turned and appeared to be looking my way.  I talked myself out of the fact that they could see me since I was outside and they were inside with the lights on.  There wasn't any way they could see me, right???  WRONG!  This is where the "new" camera issue comes in to play.  Yep, unbeknownst to me, evidently even with the flash off, my "new" camera still has a "RED" light that comes on when you take a picture.  I didn't know that......they kept seeing the "RED" light from the camera every time I took a picture, albeit, bad picture.  So, as I see "Monica" heading to the front door, I quickly, very quickly, come up with my game plan.  I promptly toss my camera into the bushes and take my flashlight out of my pocket.   Isn't that what you would do???  As I proceed to explain to "Monica" that I was simply out watching the fireworks from the Boyz In The Band's house (I'll save that for another Blog), I feel, as only a women to another women feels, that she's not completely buying what I'm selling.  But she's acting like she is........

In an attempt to make this long story a bit shorter, my pictures came out blurry (see attached); turns out "Monica" knew I was taking a picture of her and "Chandler"; and I got busted. Dang........I hate it when that happens!

Just another weekend at the lake............

Friday, July 17, 2009

One Week Home & I'm Still Not Caught Up....

Friday, July 17, 2009

But I did get my hair cut....and colored!  YEA!  Geeeeezzz...the top of my head was starting to look like a skunk......had that little white stripe going down the middle.  It had been two months since I had it colored & my arm was getting tired from holding my hand over the part on my head....AND I was running out of hats.  The last time my hairdresser colored my hair in May (BTW, her name is Frosty......I'm serious..), she told me about this crayon-looking thing that people use in between hair colorings to color their roots.  Chuck got real proficient at working that little crayon on my part during the 6 weeks on the road......I wish I had gotten a picture of that!

Well, it's been almost a week since we returned home and I'm still trying to catch up.  I have piles and piles in my home office of paperwork....I have the JC Sound pile; I have the C & E A/C pile; I have the Chuck & Liz pile; I have the Mom & Dad pile; and I have the EPPOA pile (I'm treasurer of our HO Assoc & its Dues time).  UGH....AND, I had mail delivered to me while we were gone; 4 times!  I bet I have a total of 6 full sized trees of paper on the floor of my office.  Anyway, I'm starting to see a light at the bottom of the piles (which may very well be a "spark" from the fire I started earlier this week).....

It's been an interesting week.......

SUNDAY; the temperature in the house finally dropped below 95 degrees around 5:00 pm once we got Jon-Wayne Air Conditioning out there (I get such a kick out of that name.....Jon-Wayne A/C....I'm giggling as I type).  It was dreadful in there.  Turns out there had been a bad lightening storm earlier that week which blew our transformer.  Same storm burned down our neighbors boathouse!

MONDAY, ahhhh... this was a wonderful day as I got to see my Meals on Wheels friends.  I wish you guys could meet them....they may be old, but they are COOL!  Also, we saw a fiery accident on the highway which I video'd with my cell phone.  Check it out at and type in MurphysMom1 to see the raw footage.....and I do mean "raw"......please don't judge my lack of video abilities.....

TUESDAY; Errrrrrr......that's when I opened all 543 pieces of mail and sorted.  I believe that is the day I actually started the "spark" under the piles.

WEDNESDAY; HAIR APPOINTMENT!  Hallulujah!!  I told Frosty to go ahead and cut it off while she was at it!  I can always tell when Frosty thinks its time to cut my hair.  I've been going to her for 13 years now, so I know her pretty well....and she knows me even better.  She knows when, psychologically, its too soon for me to cut my hair.  She says, "Let's cut it next time; I have a full schedule today." But when she sees my hair and is disgusted by it, she says "To heck with my schedule; we're cutting your hair today!".  So this week, she was disgusted with my we cut!  

I was able to spend the afternoon with Mom on Wednesday and we had such a lovely afternoon.  We ate pizza and ice cream and shopped a little; just like old times.  We talked and caught up and it was just a special, beautiful, very good day.  And to top the day off, I spent the night at my friend Carla's house.  It was so good to see Carla.  She and I used to see each other every week and we haven't done that in FOREVER, so we got fast food Chinese, sat in the living room and caught up on the last year and a half.   Awesome evening!  

THURSDAY: Locked myself in my office.........came out around 10:00 pm. 

FRIDAY: Locked myself in my office.......came out around 4:00 pm.  

And so here I am.  Friday evening......still have a few piles hanging around the office floor, but I needed to come up for air; and to Blog to my good friends.  I miss Blogging to you guys each day; taking you with me on vacation and having something happen during the day and thinking how much you would enjoy hearing about it.

Well, I guess we'll just have to head back out on vacation.........GET IN THE RV, CHUCK!!

Have a GREAT weekend, friends!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

DAY 41: Mt. Vernon, TX - Home Sweet Home...

Saturday, July 11 - Mt. Vernon, TX

Well folks, we're home.  Yep, we pulled the rig into the neighborhood this afternoon around 5:00 pm and were greeted by happy neighbors who helped us get settled in.  Even made dinner for us (thanks Kim!!!!).  But first, let me tell you how the day went on the road....

We slept in a little this morning; our last morning of the adventure; and finally got on the road around 9:30.  We said goodbye to Wichita Falls and headed to Dallas to see Mom and Dad for a few hours.  Easy drive; Chuck slept most of the way (I think the lull of the engine just puts my boy right to sleep...).  At one point, he woke & decided to make a bathroom run to the back of the RV which usually isn't a problem; however, he picked the time I was about to turn from South to East.  Yep, I tried yelling back to him to "hang on", but he couldn't hear me.  I made a cloverleaf turn and heard some racket and a lot of "talking" coming from the back.  Couldn't tell what he was saying or who he was saying it to, but I think I have a pretty good idea.  Anyway, he finally made his way up front looking a little disgruntled and simply said, "What was that???"

I also find it interesting that we made it 6000 miles in the RV, 3000 miles on the motorcycle and never had to use my horn once.  I get into Dallas and I have to use it not once, but twice! People cutting me off everywhere.  One would think they would be a little intimidated by my size, but NO, they were daring me to hit them. Errrrrrrrr......Anyway, stopped and had a great visit with Mom and Dad and then headed home on the final 2 hour stretch. 

We get home to find the air conditioning is not working in the house. its not hot enough......poor Chuck, he being an A/C guy, hot, tired, and having a lot of trouble walking today, was about at his wits end.  He and two of our neighbors were up in the attic trying to figure out what was wrong with the house A/C......He finally yelled down to me to call Jon-Wayne A/C (you got to love the name....only in East Texas); a local air conditioning company.  About this time, I inform him the bedroom side of the house isn't working either.  Fan is blowing, but nothing cool is coming out.....the thermostat said it was 93 degrees in the bedroom.   It was even hotter in the rest of the house.  So he grabs his gages and heads to the other side of the house to check the unit.  After quite a bit of time and checking everything, it was determined that the thermostat was left in the "fan" position instead of "Cool".  Oops.....

And if that wasn't enough, now the back A/C in the motorhome isn' t coming on.  The front one is working great, but can't get the RV bedroom one to come on.  That is SO not what he wanted to hear.......I think it was about this time that I said, "See, I told you we should have headed north!".  and he replied with, "Yes, I should have listened to you."  I asked for that statement in writing.........I'm still waiting for that.  Turns out, a breaker was flipped and it was as simple as flipping it back. YEA!!!

Anyway, we had such a great evening with our wonderful neighbors, Mike, Kim and their son Uno (dog); Troy & Becky (Godparents of Murphy); Steve and Kris and their kids Whitney & Bailey (dogs).  All of these great friends helped us be able to make the trip we did and be gone the amount of time we were.  Mike and Kim fertilized the yard while we were gone; Troy & Becky picked up our mail; mailed it to us and kept an eye on the house; and Steve and Kris and their son Dylan mowed our yard every week (sometimes twice a week) as well as fed and watched over our elderly dog Callie and our cat Kruger.  They even cleaned up our house while we were gone.  How many people have neighbors like that???  We are so blessed.

So you see folks, its always nice to travel and see places you've never seen before, but its equally as nice to return home to people who care about you, watch over you and love you.

Thank you to our WONDERFUL neighbors who always give 200% to Chuck and I.  We love you all very much...

Friday, July 10, 2009

DAY 40: Wichita Falls, Tx - My Lance Is All Grown Up....

Friday, July 10: Wichita Falls, TX

Today we were so anxious to get out of the mosquito infested, mad-cow smelling, hot as haites, armpit of Texas town known as Dalhart that we didn't even shower before heading out.  We just pulled in the slides, fired up the engine and took off.  

We were headed to Wichita Falls, Texas, where my nephew Lance and his girlfriend, Sarah (I remembered the "H" this time!) are attending college at Midwestern State University.  He is a Senior this year graduating in December and Sarah still has a couple years left before graduation. Once we arrived in Wichita Falls, we stepped outside just to be hit by a wall of 110 degree heat!  Mercy!  Who turned the oven on????  It is ridiculously HOT here....  After a couple hours of running both A/C's on the coach, the temperature finally came out of the 90's in the motorhome.  UGH.....Even Murphy was fanning his monkey & John McCain doll. 

We had such a good time visiting with Lance and Sarah over dinner and then were given a tour of the college campus as well as Lance's apartment.  I love ya, Lance, but you haven't been taking my decorating tips very seriously.  I'll send ya a couple more later this month....

Chuck and I couldn't be more proud of both of these guys.  Lance will be playing his final season of football for Midwestern this fall and then graduating in December.  He plans on preparing to take the grueling test to become an officer in the Marines.  He is passionate about this decision and has been working towards this goal for almost a year now.   It seems like yesterday that he and I were heading down the road singing "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round"....except we would change the words to, "The Gunman on the Bus Goes Bang Bang Bang".  It was back in the time when DART buses in Dallas were getting held up all the time.   See, he grew up just fine in spite of my bad example!  Sarah, his girlfriend of almost 6 years, is studying Business and working a full time job.  She is a lovely young lady and is an independent thinker.  She sets her mind to something and she accomplishes it!  They both have visions and goals and we have no doubt whatsoever that both will not only meet but exceed these goals.  They have their heads on straight and we love them both very much. 

Well, only one more day of our adventure.  I feel sad, yet excited to be home for a bit, and looking forward to the next journey down the road.  We are hoping to make a trip to the Upper East Coast this Fall.  Look out Annie Lou & Don, here we come!

One more day............

Thursday, July 9, 2009

DAY 39: Dalhart, Tx - Why Can't We Head North Where It's Cool????

Thursday, July 9 - Dalhart, Tx

Let me tell you about what happened today!

Yep, nothing much happened!

But we did head out of Colorado today....but not before trading RV war stories with our RV neighbors, meeting new neighbors, fixing one neighbors' air conditioning and finally leaving just before noon.  We met some real nice people at this campground that we hope to see again in the future.  The weather was about 70 degrees when we left Manitou Springs and 108 degrees when we stopped in Dalhart.  Ugh......A difference of about 250 miles and 38 degrees!!  That's just wrong!  We need to turn this bus around and head north......

We landed in Dalhart, Texas.  I've only heard of Dalhart; didn't really know anyone actually lived here.  Let me describe our campground:  It's actually not bad looking; all gravel but clean and smooth gravel and such a good price:  $21 a night and you get free Wifi and cable with 50 amp service.  So, what's the catch??!  Glad you asked cause I'll tell you what the catch is.  Once you step outside, the smell of cows is the first thing you notice.  I mean RIPE cows....UGH.....and then you have to swat off the mosquitos that are smelling fresh meat (that would be ME).....but we have a TREE.....not too many people at this park have a tree, so we are one of the lucky ones.  There is a good breeze cause there's nothing between here and New Mexico to stop it.  It's an interesting place.

Met the guy parked next to us.  He's got to be around 90 and in a Blue Bird coach that was built in 1984.  Classic guy to match his classic coach.   His name is Don Key.  Now, like he told me, don't try and say that real fast.........oh, go ahead........too funny!

I'm attaching a few pictures I took from the RV today on the road here.  You know you're back in Texas when the ant mounds are the size of small hills and I took the picture of the clouds to show what 108 degree clouds look like (I was bored; what can I say??!).  It's been awhile for us.

That's about it.  Murphy is sitting here in my lap watching me type and Chuck is wishing he was watching Sci-Fi.  We're a pretty boring group tonight!

Tomorrow we continue heading home......

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

DAY 38: Manitou Springs, CO: Our Last Day in Colorado....

Wednesday, July 8: Manitou Springs, CO

First:  Happy Birthday, Joy!!  I miss you and love you very much!

This is going to be a short Blog today cause my butt is sore and I'm tarrred, as we say in Texas.  We rode longer than we've ever rode the motorcycle in one day; 435 miles, however, they were 435 beautiful miles.  

I think the thing I noticed the most about today was the sky.  It was such a fabulous blue and every picture I took, the sky is what you noticed first.  But the ride was equally as beautiful.  We rode through snowy mountains, hot canyons, waterfalls, visited Aspen for the first time (you know they want $50 to take the ski lift up the mountain???  Are they crazy???) and had some super twisty roads to zip the motorcycle through.  Poor Chuck; I was stopping at each corner taking pictures of everything and he would just patiently wait......of course, it didn't hurt that he brought a snack bag with him so the stops gave him an opportunity to eat.....

It took a couple hours to get from Manitou Springs to Independence Pass, which is the twisty, curvy, mountain road that dumps into Aspen from the south.  You know its going to be a GREAT road when the sign says "Absolutely nothing over 32' allowed on this road".  Those are the signs you look for on a motorcycle!!!  It was spectacular.  My words cannot describe it adequately.   Just trust me; if you ever make it to Aspen, take a drive on the south road.  Most people don't know about it.  Chuck suggested that instead of going back the way we came, we ought to go a little further north to I-70 and take it into Denver and then south to Colorado Springs.  That sounded like a longer way back to me, so we checked the 4" x 4" GPS (I can hardly see it with my glasses on!) on the motorcycle.  This is where we had a difference of opinion.  He thought it looked like it was about the same amount of time to get back (mostly hwy), although a longer distance.  I thought it looked WAY longer even with being mostly hwy.  We did it his way.  Turns out  I was right.....we added about an hour coming back even with going mostly 70-80 mph.  Highway 70 was a gorgeous drive, though, and definitely worth the extra time.  It was the heading into downtown Denver in early evening that didn't thrill me.   At least my microphone on my helmet isn't falling off anymore.  We ended up placing a sugar packet under the connection and its done fine ever since.   Hey Deb & Brady, kinda reminds me of the paperclip that's keeping your motorhome running......

Anyway, that was our day.  We started our journey today at about 10:30 am and arrived back to the RV at 8:15 pm.  Very long day for Murphy too.  He had to "hold" his water all day in the RV and did a fabulous job of that.  He's still carrying his John McCain doll everywhere he goes, but I haven't seen any "action" between the two, so this is very good.  

This was our last day in Manitou Springs.  Tomorrow we raise the jacks, pull in the slides, retract the awning and tell our new RV friends goodbye.   Sad to be leaving this beautiful place, but excited to see our family and friends that we've missed at home.  We should be arriving home on Saturday evening after a stop in Dallas to see Mom and Dad. 

We'll see where we land tomorrow night.....

Hey Sara and Lance, are you guys going to be free on Friday evening for dinner?  We'll probably be staying in Wichita Falls.......

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

DAY 37: Manitou Springs, CO - My Honda Man Is A Harley-Want-A-Be....

Tuesday, July 7 - Manitou Springs, CO

YEA!  I talked Chuck into 1 more day here.......we were scheduled to leave tomorrow and start heading home, but I convinced Chuck that we could stay one more day and still stay on schedule.  I have a big motorcycle ride planned for him tomorrow!  The biggest problem was talking the manager of the RV park, Margie, into letting us stay.  She was full up with more coming.  We just love staying at this Park mainly because of Margie and Chris, the managers.  They are, hands down, the nicest managers of an RV park we've ever met.  But she told us to go ahead and run our errands and do what we had planned for today and she was going to see what she could work out.  She was talking about moving a smaller RV from a larger spot and putting them somewhere else and moving us into their larger spot, etc.  It was incredible what they were willing to do to make this work out for us.  When we got back home a few hours later, she met us outside and said it all worked out.  So, we're good to stay one more day.......I'm not ready for vacation to end.....

First stop; Wal-Mart of course.  Chuck had some prescriptions that needed to be filled, so off we went to our second home, Wal-Mart.  Chuck stayed on the trike while I went to drop them off.   When I got back to the trike, he was talking with some dude from Virginia who was yacking about how great it was to be from the south and how these Colorado people don't like or appreciate people from the south and that his lady boss had withheld his check because he was from the south and that S. American people were the same way.....blah blah blah......I think he was a little, what we call in the south, "simple".  Could not get away from this guy.  I put my helmet on; he's still talking.  Started up the trike; he's still talking.  Told him to have a good day; he's still talking.  Told him goodbye; he's still talking.  Started to drive away; he's still talking.  

Anyway, Chuck wanted to head to this huge Harley store in Colorado Springs.  He's been chomping at the bit to go there and check out what they had since we've been here.  On a side note, you need to know how hard this is for my guy, Charlie, to be on a Honda instead of a Harley.  I truly feel for this guy.  He is a Harley rider at heart and here he is on a Honda trike.  Not that he's complaining, cause he's not, but in his heart of hearts, he so badly wants to be able to ride a regular Harley and he goes in and out of convincing himself that he can, yet he knows he shouldn't.  For those of you who don't know Chuck that well, he has MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and has no feeling in his legs.  His balance is practically non-existent, yet he refuses to give in to this.  So you can see that even though he knows the reality of this is he can no longer ever ride a 2 wheel motorcycle, his heart and mind so desperately wants to.  Bless his heart......I wish I knew how to help him.  I have told him we could get a Harley trike, yet, that's not what he ultimately wants.  He wants that feeling of riding a big, loud, chromed out two wheeled Harley where you can lean hard on the curves and look cool wearing leather.

So, he left the Harley store a little sad.  Thought I'd cheer him up by going to Arby's.  He loves Arby's.  So he got a roast beef sandwich and felt much better!  We then headed up for our 1:20 reservation to the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to take the train up Pikes Peak.  We have driven the road up Pikes Peak last October on the motorcycle which was WAY cool....but thought we'd try the train this time to see it from a different view.  Well, we got there early as they requested and discovered the 1:20 train had been canceled due to mechanical failure. they put us on the 4:00 train.  Now this train ride is 1 1/2 hours up and 1 1/2 hours down with a 45 minute wait at the peak.  We went back to the RV, walked Murphy, who, by the way, is VERY attached to his John McCain doll; went and had another ice cream downtown and then headed back over to the train.  Finally got on and what a lovely ride up the 14,000+ mountain.

Once we got home, it looked like they were having an RV Social Hour around the park....everyone was sitting out visiting and so we jumped right in the middle of it and met a bunch of new people and visited with the old ones we knew.    Just a lovely evening!!

Tomorrow is a full day of riding on the motorcycle......Hope to have some awesome pictures to share with you and great stories to tell!

Monday, July 6, 2009

DAY 36: Manitou Springs, CO - I Thought You Were A Different Liz!

Monday, July 6 - Manitou Springs, CO

Well, everyone will be happy & relieved to know that Chuck FINALLY found his pretzel sticks and chocolate covered raisins!  Yep, we found a Sam's Club.  Oh happy day!

AND, he was so happy about finding a Sam's Club that he installed an Ipod adaptor in the dash of the motorhome for Liz.  HOT DOG!!  And now I'm really happy!

Yep, today was a good day....after finding the Sam's Club and Chuck installing the Ipod adaptor, we headed into downtown Manitou Springs for some ice cream to celebrate.  Picture this; temperature around 75 degrees with a soft breeze; sunny with fluffy white clouds; quaint ice cream shop in the midst of unique little boutique stores along Main Street which has cute little ice cream tables and chairs perched on the sidewalk......are you seeing it in your head???  Good!  Are you TOTALLY jealous right now??  Good!

We had arranged to have dinner tonight with a nice guy named Israel that we met last October when we were up here in Colorado.  We had met him at the Honda shop while getting a tire replaced and, what made him unique was he was riding a Harley.  He wasn't there shopping for a Honda, he just liked the Honda store.  So, we struck up a conversation while the tire was being replaced; exchanged email addresses and went on our separate ways.  Soon after that trip, we would occasionally email each other, but just every so often.  Well, several months ago, the email communication became more frequent and we all were getting to be good friends via the internet.  Since we were coming through Colorado Springs, and he was keeping up with the daily Blogs, we all decided to meet at a Mexican Restaurant close by tonight.  We connected up with him, had dinner and talked like we'd known each other for years!   We were talking about this, that and just a little bit of everything when the subject came around to how we all started communicating with each other in the first place.  I relayed the story of the Honda store and the conversation we had there when Israel asked, "You mean, we've met before?"  I was kinda surprised as I figured he remembered what I remembered, and I said, "Yes, you don't remember meeting us at the Honda store?"  Well,  I think he had the same surprised look on his face that we had on ours, and then said, "I thought you were a different Liz".  Chuck and I looked at each other and broke out laughing.......Soooooooo, to make this long story slightly shorter, he didn't remember us like we remembered him, however, we all know each other now and I know we'll be friends for a long time.  Classic story, though, don't ya think??

After we left Israel, we headed back into Manitou Springs to see the Seven Falls.  The drive to get there was pretty cool all by itself.  The canyon you have to drive through is incredible and worth the trip on its own, but once we got to the Seven Falls, we were really impressed.  You take this elevator (14 stories tall) that is "inside" the mountain up to a vantage point where you can see this huge 181' waterfall that makes a total of seven distinct waterfalls coming down a solid cliff of pikes peak granite.  About now, its getting to be dusk and I had heard that after sundown, they put colored lights on the waterfalls giving it an even neater look.  Now, I must mention that you can "choose" to take the mountain elevator OR you can walk all 5 million steps getting to the top.  Chuck and I chose the elevator.  SURPRISE!!!   But it was just a beautiful site to see both in the daylight and at night.   Personally, I think the colored lights "cheapened" it, but hey, who am I???

And that was our day.  Poor Murphy had a bummer of a day staying in the RV, but we did pick him up a stuffed Senator John McCain doll while downtown since Murphy is a Republican.  Check it out........I just hope he doesn't start the "humping" thing again......

Dad, thanks for the awesome deep email today.  I love these kind of conversations with you!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

DAY 35: Manitou Springs, CO: Charlie's In Love......

Sunday, July 5: Manitou Springs, CO

Yep, my Charlie's in love........with a Llama.  Actually, he likes to think its an Alpaca....he's always wanted an Alpaca....thought the Alpaca was the cutest animals on earth... has talked non-stop about getting an Alpaca; no one knows why, but he has.  So today, as we were driving, we came across a field of Llama's.  In his mind, they were all Alpaca's.  We now have more pictures and video of these Llama's than anything else on this trip.   He felt they were "communicating" with him by shaking their rear ends and winking at him.  I'm not making this stuff up, folks.  And yes, I am worried about him.....

But prior to the Llama field, we headed up the neatest, curviest, best motorcycle road ever.  It was the road up to Winds in the Cave or Cave Winds or Cave of the Winds; I don't know, we didn't go in we just drove up the road.  Check out the video on YouTube once I get it on there.  Those are the kind of roads I like; 26% grade with turns every 100 feet......awesome!  So Chuck loves Llama aka Alpaca's and I love curvy roads!  Who knew!!!??

We headed up to Cripple Creek, Colorado which is the neatest little town.  First off, you drive forever in the middle of nowhere on the west side of Pikes Peak, top a hill and  WHALLAA.....there is this great little town that has EVERYTHING.  It truly is in the middle of nowhere.  Remember that old motto, "If you build it, they will come"??  Well, this little town built some CASINO'S.........and boy-howdy, did they come!  People everywhere; stores everywhere; cars everywhere......  When we first drove into the town, we just saw a bunch of cars parked along the road.  We thought maybe they were having a church bizarre or something.  But nope, it was just people everywhere hoping to get lucky (get your mind out of the gutter; you know what I meant!).   

And yes, we got soaked again today.......riding back from Cripple Creek, it poured on us while on the motorcycle AGAIN.  We could see it coming.  It doesn't help that we're at an altitude of 9000 feet which means the rain gets to us quicker than it would back home.  I have decided, from experiences throughout this trip, that I am going to develop windshield wipers for motorcycles.......& helmets.  Why has no one done this yet??  I know Harley riders are too cool to have windshield wipers on theirs, but this could be a huge seller at the Wing Ding next year for us Honda riders.  I'm going to get right on that as soon as I get home!  (BTW, a Wing Ding is a Honda Goldwing you know why they call it a "Wing Ding???")

Anyway, made it back to the RV in time to dry off and head into downtown Manitou Springs to shop a little.  Such a neat little town.  Murphy went with us, of course, cause Colorado is a very dog-friendly state and you can take that little mutt with you pretty much anywhere.  He prefers, when riding on the motorcycle, to have his back feet on Chuck's lap; his front legs on my shoulders (I'm driving); and looking cool while heading down the road, especially with his cute little sweatshirt on that says, "I Only Bite Ugly People"....(his definition of "ugly" is "mean").  Anyway, he was quite a hit!

The coolest thing happened after we got home to the RV.  I took Murphy for a long walk to the park and as we were walking along, we see a deer grazing on the grass over by the pool.  Now, out here, you see deer, fox's and all kinds of animals everywhere.  But this deer wasn't the least bit afraid of us.  Murphy even barked at him as we approached him, but he simply looked up from eating the grass, made eye to eye contact with Murphy, which caused Murphy to stop barking and actually shy away from the deer.  I don't know what that deer said to Murphy with his eyes, but I'd like to "can" some of it  and take it home with me.  We sat down on the sidewalk, about 20 feet away from the deer, and watched him for a few minutes.   Amazing!  

So, let's see.  Charlie's in love with a Llama; I'm going to patent windshield wipers for the motorcycle & helmet and Murphy met his match with a deer.  Overall, I'd say it was a pretty good day!!

Hey James, Talked Ellen Into the RV Lifestyle Yet????

Saturday, July 4, 2009

DAY 34; Manitou Springs, CO - A Perfect Day!

Saturday, July 4 - Manitou Springs, CO


Oh how I love this place!!!   We were here in October of last year and fell in love with Manitou Springs.  It sits just at the base of Pikes Peak and the town is just a small, quaint town that is magical to me.   

We left Cheyenne bright and early cause we wanted as much time here as possible.  Had an easy drive here as it was only 180 miles drive.   As we pulled in to Pikes Peak RV Park, we were met by the managers, Chris and Margie, who welcomed us back with a hug.  Unfortunately, we got here about an hour early as there was still someone parked in our spot, so we pulled the rig over to the side of the park, unloaded the trike and waited.  While we were waiting, we caught up with Chris and Margie as well as met several other people staying there.  Chuck made a new friend that was asking lots of questions about the trike, etc.  After about 20 minutes, Margie came up to me and whispered that Chuck was talking to the guy who was keeping us from getting into our spot.  I had made friends with an older guy who was from Gilbert, Az which is near where my friend Mable lives.  I asked if he was single and; Mable are you listening, turns out he is!!!  I told him all about you and I might have you a new guy!  Finally got Chuck and his new friend apart so we could get him on his way and us into his spot.  Speaking of getting into his spot, this was not one of the easiest spots to get into it.  It was a back-in which required me to back down a narrow gravel roadway (I use that term loosely), manuevering around parked vehicles and 5th wheels.  And yes, everyone was out watching this happen.  Anyway, got the rig in there with no trouble.  Even got a clap from Margie and a "good job" handshake from Chris.

And then it rained.  Didn't matter; we were in Manitou Springs, Colorado and couldn't have been happier about it!  Good time to give Murphy that bath we'd been promising him & he so desperately needed.  The rain finally slacked up and we walked across the street to our favorite little Italian restaurant and watched it rain even harder while there.  Finally, the rain slowed down a bit and we started the walk across the street to our RV park.  Unfortunately, we didn't take into consideration how much water was on the road and, while waiting to cross the street, were soaked by a passing car.  It was one of those "slow motion" moments we've all had.......saw it about to happen.....then the water coming towards us......then hitting us smack on.....I looked at Chuck and he looked at me, and we just broke out laughing. 

After drying off, we finished up the day sitting on the couch watching the fantastic fireworks show from the RV window.  Perfect!  Oh ya, the temperature is in the upper 50's.  Can you say "Perfect"??!!  Hey neighbors; we'll be home the end of September!

Here's what the pictures are you're looking at:  1) Fireworks from RV window  2)  Murphy getting his bath  3) You can't see me; I'm still in the RV and getting a handshake from Chris & his wife, Margie, cheering me on  4) This picture is for my friend, Jana.  She used to live off this exit and I know she misses this area a lot.  Thought this might give her a taste of home  5) This is a bridge we went under just outside of Denver.  Notice the 13' height marker?  We are 12'11" high. Ahhhhh...that was toooooooooo close.

Tomorrow??  Who knows.  Maybe Pikes Peak on the Cog Railway or Garden of the Gods or maybe just a stroll down main street Manitou Springs.  It won't matter what we do; we're in Manitou Springs!

To My Dear Friends, Jana & Glenda, who used to live in the Denver/Colorado Springs area.  I can't imagine how homesick you both must be not living here anymore......

Friday, July 3, 2009

DAY 33: Cheyenne, Wy - Our First "Repeating" State...

Friday, July 3 - Cheyenne, Wyoming

Well folks, for the first time on this trip, we're in a "repeating" state.  This means we've been here before on this excursion.  We are in Wyoming which was the 5th state we visited in June.  We had originally planned on going from California down to Arizona over to New Mexico and home to Texas.  But I got to tell ya, word from home is its blazing HOT and we had enough of that in Vacaville, CA.   We also know its more than blazing HOT in Arizona, and since my friend Lee and Cliff from Phoenix decided to go on an cool Alaskan cruise during the time we had planned on being in Arizona (which, I've got to say, was a very smart move on their part!) , we made a detour to cooler weather.  I love the fact that we have no set itinerary or game plan and can change our minds at any time and go wherever.  I can feel my neighbors "cringing" right now wondering whether we're ever coming home and relieving them of things like mowing our yard, picking up our mail, feeding the dog and cat and my Meals on Wheels.  Of course we are.  Someday.........(just kidding....)  At this point, I would REALLY like to turn North instead of South and start this vacation all over again.  But Chuck tells me we can't do that.

So, Cheyenne is simply a stopping point tonight as tomorrow we are heading to my favorite place; Manitou Springs, CO.  Can't wait to see friends we made last October while visiting there for the first time.  I just love this little town of Manitou Springs.  It's at the base of Pikes Peak and just a neat little quaint town with Garden of the Gods nearby (we actually changed the name to Garden of the Dogs after Murphy was there) and wonderful motorcycle roads that will take your breath away.  So, tomorrow we'll be up and at em' early to get there!

Today was a major driving day.  Drove for 8 hours up and down mountains, through canyons and tunnels and even taught Murphy how to drive for awhile (see pic).  Beautiful drive from Salt Lake City to Cheyenne.  After we arrived in Cheyenne, we decided to stop at our favorite gas station, Flying J (you may recall it was a Flying J in Montana where the RV wouldn't start after gassing it still makes me nervous pulling into one, so now, we never turn the RV off.......we'll show it whose boss!!).  Crazy stuff always happens while we're at Flying J's, but this time, it wasn't ME!    You know, I never wish bad stuff to happen to anyone, but I've got to tell ya, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO relieved this happened to someone else and not me.  This poor guy (I'm suspecting he's a rookie RV old pro like myself can always tell!) pulled his motorhome into the regular vehicle gas bays instead of the trucker or RV bays around the back.  Mistake #1.  He was pulling a vehicle behind the motorhome and when he went to leave, the motorhome cleared the gas tanks but the car didn't.  Mistake #2.  Yikes!!!  It was really stuck.  Several men were jumping on the bumper of the car trying to free it from the tank and the wife was just standing there, hand over mouth, shaking her head.  So now, the motorhome was pulled forward and blocking all traffic from being able to get in OR out of the Flying J.  I must remind you at this point that this was happening at 5:00 pm on a holiday Friday and everyone and their mother was at this station.  The best part of this long story was I was in the RV bay where I was suppose to be and it didn't affect me whatsoever.  When I went in to pay the cashier, I mentioned I was sure glad it wasn't me.  She smiled and said, "Ya, me too.  I just hope the station doesn't blow up....I have a big holiday planned".  

We arrived at our camp site for the evening.  I told Chuck, "Look, its snowing here" and sure enough, it looked to be snowing when we drove up.  Turns out, they just went crazy when they planted the Cottonwood trees on the property.  They are literally everywhere.  Chuck was saying how much he loved Cottonwood trees and how they pretty much kept his A/C business going for 20 years.  Nothing like stopping up the compressor unit outside with cotton from cottonwood trees!  He loves cottonwood trees!!

That's about it for our day.  Tomorrow will be great....Manitou we come!!

Hey Mike; Murphy now knows how to "sit" and "lay down" on command.....we knew you'd be proud of us!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

DAY 32: Salt Lake City, UT - Nothin' Like A Ride In The Rain....

Thursday, July 2 - Salt Lake City, UT

My day started REAL early.....5:30 am!  When we checked into the campground last night, the little lady showing us to our spot told me about an awesome event that doesn't happen often.  She said the Morman Tabernacle Choir was putting on a Dress Rehearsal today at 7:30 and that they had a free shuttle from the RV park to the Tabernacle.  I was quite excited to hear this as this would kill two birds with one stone: 1) I could see the Tabernacle and 2) I could hear the Choir.  WOW! I remember asking her AM or PM and she said AM, so I get Chuck up (who, by the way, I gave a "pass" to as he really didn't want to go.....but he needed to drive me to the office as its a LONG way up there).  We left the RV about 6:50 am and headed to the front.  I thought it was strange that only one guy was sitting up by the office.  Where was everyone?  Did the shuttle leave already??  Did I forget to turn my clock forward an hour??  I thought maybe it was just too early for them and they would all catch the next shuttle; afterall, they run every 30 minutes.  I asked the guy sitting outside the office if he was waiting for the shuttle to hear the Choir and he just had a buffugled idiotic look on his face and shrugged. we waited.  Fortunately, Chuck decided to wait until the shuttle got there before heading back to the I did what I always do in these type of situations......I call my sister.  So she and I talked and talked and talked and then a lady came to open the office.  I asked her about the shuttle to hear the choir and she had that same buffugled idiotic look on her face too.  That's when she broke the news to me that its at 7:30 PM.  Ugh.......I can hear my sister on the other end of the phone laughing and I can also read her mind.....she's thinking, "That's my sister; God love her!".  So here we are; up, showered and dressed and its not even 8:00 am yet.  Thats a record for us on this trip.  So.........we washed the trike...AGAIN.  

We went back to the RV and scheduled our day.  It was suppose to rain this afternoon, so we wanted to get some riding done this morning before it rained.  We located some fantastic motorcycle roads in and around Salt Lake City on the internet and headed out to find them.   And we were not disappointed.......WOW!  Fantastic........check it out on YouTube when you get a chance.....the video doesn't even begin to show what we saw.....seriously amazing.

As I'm oooing and aaahing around each corner, I feel Chuck messing with my shirt behind me.  I finally ask him what he's doing and thats when he asks me if I knew my shirt was on inside out. No way!!  Well, Yes Way!!!  Errrr... sure enough, my shirt was on inside out.....see, that's what happens when I get up too early.   Anyway, we had a beautiful ride, however, we weren't able to outrun the rain......nope.....we got soaked.   

Got back to the RV and cleaned up a bit (turned my shirt right side out) and headed back up to the front office to wait for the shuttle.  Finally got the time right and headed downtown to the Morman Tabernacle.  Once there,  two young ladies were waiting to be my guide and take me personally all around the area.  They were adorable (see picture).  I don't know many Mormans, but I have to say, they were the nicest group of people I've ever met.  Once I was finished with the tour, I was fortunate enough to sit and listen to the Morman Tabernacle Choir at dress rehearsal along with the orchestra.  How many people get to do that???  Too cool.......

Anyway, caught the shuttle (barely) back to the RV park and here I am telling you all about it.  I wish each of you could have been there with me experiencing was so much more than I had ever thought and the beauty can't be described.  Chuck was suppose to give Murphy a much needed bath while I was gone, but as I'm looking down at Murphy right now, he has had no bath (see picture).

Well, tomorrow we unhook the sewer hose and head on out of town.  We'll see how far we can get before calling it a day....I think it's a mountain climbing day in the RV.....Ugh......

P.S.  I love my new camera!!!!!

I Love You Sissie......And Wish You Were Here Cause We'd Be Getting In Trouble Together!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

DAY 31: Salt Lake City, UT - Great Time For the Camera To Die...

Tuesday, July 1 - Salt Lake City, UT 

Well, here we are in BEAUTIFUL Salt Lake City!  WOW is the closest word I can use to describe the surroundings.  We drove today through what they call the High Desert and it was the best driving I've had on this trip.  Fairly straight road - cruise control; construction most of the way, but very little traffic; scenery I've only seen in magazines; the Salt Flats were incredible.  Looks just like snow.  We drove right through the Bonneville Salt Flats as we arrived in Utah and pretty much most of the way to Salt Lake City.  It was so neat.......I wanted to take a right turn and drive the RV out onto it, but Chuck insisted I not do that.  

Just as I was grabbling the camera to capture some of this for ya, the camera started acting up. Wouldn't stay on, errrrrr, therefore, I did what anyone would do; I panicked.  I then grabbed the camcorder, the battery was almost dead..AGAIN.   Grabbed my cell phone and started snapping pictures with it.  Anyway, I got you some pictures of this through the cell phone, but don't expect much.   And we did get some video that I'll put on YouTube for you to see.  Long story short, we set up camp in Salt Lake City at an awesome KOA camp (usually the word "awesome" and "KOA" don't go well together, but this time was an exception).  We rushed out to Best Buy and checked out their cameras and Liz got her birthday present this evening.  A neat little Nikon Coolpix P90.  Way cool.  So expect some awesome pictures from now on!

Ok, I've gotten quite a number of responses regarding how I managed to get the RV out of the parking spot in Vacaville, CA.  No one got the answer right and I'm quite disappointed; no faith in me whatsoever!!  The answer is........wait for it........are you ready......can you handle this........I popped that puppy right out of the spot THE FIRST TRY by myself.  No backing up, no hitting a caboose, no hitting the monster Chevy PU next door, didn't nail the 5th wheel across the street (if you want to all it a street) nope.....nada......none of the above......piece of cake!  I should have been a truck driver!  Shame on ya'll for not getting this right!

Tomorrow I get to do something you guys will all (well, maybe not you men) be so jealous'll just have to wait and read.  It's going to be awesome......