Iowa to Colorado to Utah

After Mark Twain Lake we headed back to Iowa to visit family. We got to have dinner with all the Iowa kids and grandkids and spent some time just wandering around the area. We even went to see a couple of condo/town houses to see what the market point looks like. Eventually we intend on moving back there so the kids can watch our house/condo while we are gone for months at a time LOL!

Leaving Iowa we spent the first night at a Walmart parking lot in Grand Island, NE. I really don’t like staying in parking lots, but I also don’t like spending $30 or more for a few hours sleep. We then headed to Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland, CO. We had hoped for stay 3 nights, visiting Rocky Mountain National Park too. It is a nice campground, but the gate attendant put us in a site only available for two nights. Rather than moving to another spot in the campground, we decided to go on our way. We had a great trip to Rocky, though for only one day. The weather was unseasonably warm and sunny. Trail Ridge road opened up to Rainbow Curve, and we drove up it as far as we could.

2855A5D9-D8B3-4B43-B646-21006FD08B1BThe scenery is always gorgeous.

429D7253-5CA7-4045-A84A-773DE39B8349I particularly liked this rock at the Bear Lake Trailhead.

07B1900F-37DF-4900-AE80-67CFEC285C65A Gray Jay came by to see if I was sloppy with snacks (I wasn’t). I walked a little of the Bear Lake trail then went to enjoy the sunshine while Kevin walked around the lake.

D5D96B7C-CB19-4A39-8B83-B24F0F51F193Looking across Horseshoe Park is always lovely.

14ACA446-0C08-447E-B933-A714B43715B4There was certainly snow in the high country.

After leaving Loveland we headed south on the Peak to Peak Highway. It was slow and lovely, well worth the extra time. We eventually got to I-70 and headed west. We spent Tuesday night at Colorado River State Park in western Colorado. It was lovely and mostly empty this time of year, though I think it would be almost unbearably hot in the summer. The park ranger seemed lonely and was happy to see us! He said the park has sites open all year and even has water in the winter available at the entry office. We will definitely remember this place for spring and fall trips.

23B1E647-5881-4A9E-876B-2E32E432F31EI love the cliffs.

24DD15C9-9520-4384-B3B8-DBD47A3A36EEThe cottonwoods were a brilliant gold.

6E9F2108-9669-4ACF-B3E6-B72535A8ACB0There was a nice path along the the river. We road our bikes around and around the campground and along the river.

We finally got home on Wednesday (yesterday). I love travel, but it sure is nice to be home. Kevin got a bad surprise this morning though. As he was getting the propane tank off the trailer he noticed two shackles were broken on an axle! The RV place couldn’t get us in time, so he found an axle specialist who says it can be done in time for our next trip in a week. I hope!

Running from snow, Central time, and a closed campground

We had a great time with friends from the Wasatch Mountain Club this weekend at Antelope Island State Park. I led a paddling activity with 3 tandem canoes, two inflatable kayaks, and a white water kayak. The 9 of us had a good time. A few pictures taken by someone else:


Obviously the day was a bit rainy, but the significant rainfall held off until we were all safely back at camp. We even ended up with a gorgeous double rainbow!


This also was taken by someone else using a panorama mode on their camera. Impressive!

We left on Sunday morning to head to Iowa. As we got farther into Wyoming there were warnings about a winter snowstorm headed our way. Instead of stopping for our normal night in Laramie, we decided to run ahead of the storm. We ended up in Sydney, NE at the Cabela’s parking lot. Nice place and free. We set our clocks to Central time and decided to just stay on that for the next few weeks.

We were up and out early, planning to overnight at Adventure Land park in Des Moines where we stayed last year in mid October. We got there, and they had closed the campground to prepare for some Halloween activity! Even though it was after 6:00 pm we decided to drive the remaining 125 miles to the town our daughter lives in. We are now comfortably established in at Squaw Creek county park in Marion where we will stay until Wednesday. One of the cats doesn’t seem well so we are taking her to the vet too. Sigh. It is a laundry day too. We get to see our daughter, her husband, and our grandson tonight too, a real win.

Nebraska, I wronged you

I generally travel across Nebraska on I-80. With the exception of the hills along the Missouri River and the Sand Hills area, I have always found it pretty boring. This trip we are traveling across Hwy 20, and until the middle of the afternoon today, my beliefs seemed justified. This we came into the area around Ft. Robinson State Park, and it is gorgeous. Badlands, rolling hills with pine trees, incredible broad meadows with bison and longhorns grazing, pronghorn, and deer. Wow!

Looking along the Smiley Canyon Scenic Drive
Bluffs with the sunset gold on them
Even more sunset
Did I say something about sunset?
The bluffs yet again

They have a lovely campground. An electric site was $20, but there was an additional daily Parks Pass fee of $8 for an out of state resident. The fort itself is wonderfully preserved. There are many original buildings and a number of reconstructed ones. The old officers quarters have been converted into rental units. They are full many weekends, but not during the week. We road our bikes all over the main part of the fort. Of course we also included the University of Nebraska museum with a lot of fossils. I hadn’t realized just how close this place is to the southern Black Hills. I definitely am going to plan a longer trip that will include the wonderful southern Black Hills plus this area. There are a number of National Monuments and Historic sites.

I wish I could post an audio recording of the campsite as I sit outside on a warm summer evening. Lots of birds (including a mourning dove) plus a small babbling brook at the edge of our site. Quite nice!

Into Nebraska

We left Iowa this morning. Yesterday’s baptism went really well. Darling Clay slept through much of the service, but he woke up when the pastor poured the water over his head! Isn’t he adorable?

Dad, GS, Mom, and the two pastors.

You can see the long skirt that buttons onto a romper. There are actually three sets of pintucks, each 7 rows.

The romper part of the baptism outfit.

The romper has 13 sets of pintucks down the front.

Regarding Iowa, I said I would post some wildflower pictures.

To give some help with scale, the yellow rockets are higher than my waist.

These pictures were taken on the bike path at Pinicon Ridge County Park, but Squaw Creek (where we camped) was the same.

We decided to head toward Gros Ventre campground in Grand Teton National Park. We also decided to not head out on I-80 but instead take Hwy 20. I must admit it is not the scenic path, but at least it has the advantage of newness. We are now camped at Carney City Park in O’Neill, NE. What a lovely little place!

Shade, concrete pad, electricity, and water.

There are quite a few sites available. It is on a voluntary donation system, so we left 10 dollars. We won’t use any facilities except the electricity so it seemed fair.

A change of plans

We headed out of Iowa a little after 9:00 am, planning on going to Oklahoma. Then we saw a huge flock of pelicans in Nebraska. When I say huge, it was at least 1000 birds, some wheeling in the air and even more on the ground. Amazing! I remembered how I had been in the middle of the great bird migration in early March almost 5 years ago while on I-80 in Nebraska. Ummm. It was almost March. Was it possible the migration was starting early? There is a bubble of deliciously warm air over the Great Plains, so we turned north to I-80 instead of Oklahoma. We aren’t in the middle of the main migration, but we did see a lot of birds. Take a look at this picture. All that almost solid white are birds completely covering a borrow pit along the side of the highway.

As usual, it isn’t the best of pictures, but it shows how thick the geese were. These were mostly Snow Geese with a few other geese and even some ducks stuck in the middle of them. During the main migration, this kind of scene occurs in fields and ponds for well over 100 miles. Sadly we only saw the geese and ducks, no sandhill cranes.

We are spending the night in North Platte, Nebraska at Holiday RV Park. Definitely some traffic noise, but it is convenient and pretty cheap for electric, wifi, and cable. Central water, and there is a sewer hookup we don’t need yet. Normally they are full hookups (we have stayed here a few times before), but they are leaving the water off for the season. Since today’s high temperature was in the 70’s, it doesn’t seem reasonable, but it is still February. From here we plan on heading to Colorado, probably Loveland. I’d like to see Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter, but I sure don’t want to camp there. Lowland camping with electricity and cable sounds a lot more enjoyable. Then again, we may change our minds!

Oh, and I have picked up a rotten head cold. I am coughing a lot, and I have a sore throats from the drainage. Ugh.