Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Estes Park, Colorado

December 28, 2014

Christmas time in the cold, snowy Rocky Mountains!

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All of the kids, their spouses, presents, good food, games, hikes, movies – good times!

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L-R: Austin Mills, Michelle Mills, Amanda Mills, David Kamin, Christine Askham, Lisa Doggett, Lee Doggett

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Some Wildlife!

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From our home to yours, we wish you a Happy New Year!

Cliff and Cyndy

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Right in our own Backyard!

December 9, 2014

We spent almost 7 months traveling through British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska  – all popular areas and known for their scenic beauty and wildlife. We look at our pictures and marvel at what we saw, feeling blessed to have made the trip. We note the ways we have changed and what bubbles to the top as important these days.

We find ourselves living closer to the outdoors, picking where we will go based on the weather and what we might see in that location. In the coming year we will travel back to Alaska, to the Oregon coast, down south to Texas and even explore a bayou in Louisiana. We have developed more of an interest in the wildlife we share our space with and who would have thought we would care so much about a flock of wild turkeys?

Right now we are home in the St. Vrain State Park by Longmont. If you look out your windows on the east side you see I25 and endless traffic. But with your trailer parked right next to one of the many lakes and looking to the west you have a beautiful view of the mountains and lots of wildlife.

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The view this morning from our kitchen table saw two bald eagles.

Bald Eagles – we have seen up to 6 in this tree!

Maybe what we learned over the 7 months was to be content, be more observant   and get to know even the most unlikely of God’s creatures, wild turkeys!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Cliff and Cyndy

 

 

Sidebar – Would we do it again?

Now that we are back in Colorado, having spent over six months on the road I have been evaluating our trip. These are some of my thoughts and I thought I would share.

First, would we do it again?  Would we sell our house and become full time RVers and would we drive all the way to Alaska for the summer. This is the easy question and the answer is, “Yes in a heartbeat.”  In fact, we plan to return to Alaska next summer and we are glad that we sold the house.  Of course, it helps if you’re married to a woman like Cyndy.  Actually it was Cyndy who first suggested that we go full time.

The second question that I’ve been thinking about is did we buy the right RV, in our case a 40’ 5th Wheel by Lifestyle. The answer again is, “a resounding YES.”  We have pulled it nearly 15,000 miles over some pretty rough roads and through some pretty bad weather so we have some strong thoughts regarding how to shop for a RV.

For several nights during our return to Colorado the temperature dropped to single digits, but we stayed nice and cozy. Understand that trailers are designed for many different purposes and when I bought my first trailer they said it was a “four season” trailer.  In RV language that means that if you are camping in the deep south you’ll be fine, but if you experience really cold weather like we did you better buy a RV designed for “full timers.”  There is a big difference.

You also might think that living in something this small could cause claustrophobia but for us you would be wrong. For Cyndy, who struggles with walking, it’s great and both of us would agree that it’s just cozy.

Of course some of the real benefits of living the RV lifestyle are getting to camp where it is warm or if you don’t like your neighbors you just move on. Today we had some great neighbors:

The view this morning from our kitchen table saw two bald eagles.

The view this morning from our kitchen table –  two bald eagles.

As we look at this journey, the odds were against us. Married again while in our 60s, blended families, set in our ways, but I love this lifestyle and love this woman.

Best regards,

Cliff

Back to Colorado!

November 21, 2014

As Cliff and I were getting married we went through a questionnaire designed to discover our areas of compatibility and areas of concern. Cliff discovered that his new wife has barnacle tendencies, she does not like to be moved! And here we are, traveling around the country in our fifth wheel and living the life of gypsies! The barnacle is now attached to the trailer and enjoying that the scenery changes now and then!

We returned to Colorado today after our 6.5 month adventure to Alaska and Idaho. We made a few new friends, ones that we will want to visit again next summer. We traveled the Alaskan Highway through British Columbia and the Yukon, marveling at the beauty and handiwork of the Creator. We found ourselves volunteering and expanding our sense of community and giving back some of the blessing given to us. We had surprises and a few disappointments but the journey was incredible.

We made fun of our trips across I80 in Wyoming as they have been mostly snowy, blowing snow with blizzard like conditions. This time we sailed right on through the state, listening to a book on tape and spending the night in Rawlins.

We are excited to see our family and friends and to attend our church.

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We are not excited about the snow and cold weather and will head to Mesa in early 2015 to bask in the sun! In the late spring, we are off to the Oregon coast to volunteer in a fish hatchery before we head back to Alaska for the summer.

Thank you for reading our blog! Your comments have meant much to us and have helped us to feel connected back to you. We will continue blogging so check back now and then!

We stopped to take this picture as we drove south on I25. It is good to be home!

Colorado

Cliff and Cyndy

 

It’s Snowing!

November 16, 2014

We said goodbye to new friends at Dworshak Dam, spread out the last of the corn for the turkeys and quail and made sure we did not leave behind anything of vital importance or at least that we could not replace. The trailer was in Lewiston to finish the repair work started in October so we left from there to head to Boise.

We had been watching the news and hearing about this major winter storm spreading out over the country with snow and very cold temps. Guess we thought it would not get in our way but we were wrong! We had the cold temps but most of the snow had been cleared away on the drive, all good until we arrived in Boise.

US 95 following the Salmon River

US 95 following the Salmon River

"Time Zone Bridge" over the Salmon River.

“Time Zone Bridge” over the Salmon River.

Moving from Pacific Time to Mountain Standard Time.

Yeah, back to Mountain Standard Time!

We arrived in Boise after dark and discovered lots of snow piled up in our space in the RV Park. Unhooking the trailer and connecting up the water, electricity and sewer is just not fun when you’re standing in snow and your hands are freezing. The night temperature dropped to 6 degrees and yes, we’re thinking about Arizona next year!

Boise

Boise

We will be in Boise for a few days and then continue our travels towards Colorado. At some point we will need to head across Wyoming, really looking forward to another shot at being stranded in the snow!

Cliff and Cyndy

Fall Colors

October 27, 2014

It seems this fall has been long, and it has! We started to notice fall colors in August in Alaska and it was definitely fall in Canada in early September as we made our way to Idaho. The fall colors here in Idaho have been special and the trees are just now starting to lose their leaves. The quilter in me wants to capture all of the fall colors in fabric and I just might!

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Cliff took a picture of the area we are in and pointed out the Visitor Center and our trailer.

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And here is the latest update on the wild turkeys! They are getting bigger and bigger and for a few days we thought something had happened as there were only 11 turkeys instead of 14. But then yesterday we counted 13 turkeys so maybe only one is lost!

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We continue to work at the Visitor Center and maybe have 10-20 visitors a day. A few more because the fishing is good right now and hunting season has opened. It is always good when visitors come in and they are chatty! We plan to leave here about November 15, heading to Boise to spend time with family for a few days. We will then make another stop in Utah to visit friends and then start the trek across Wyoming and back to Colorado. That means another chance to lay over in Wyoming because of a snowstorm but we are pros now, no big deal!

Cliff and Cyndy

 

Sidebar – Building a Dugout Canoe with Lewis and Clark

October 21, 2014

In October of 1805 Captain William Clark and an advanced group of the Corps of Discovery stopped at this spot on the south bank of the Clearwater River just west of the confluence of the North Fork of the Clearwater and built 5 dugout canoes that they used to float all of the way to the Pacific. I have always marveled at the work it must have been to build those canoes, but I never really knew the facts.

They built 5 canoes out of Ponderosa Pines. Four of those canoes were 50’ to 55’ long and between 2½’ to 3’ feet in diameter. The fifth canoes was about 35’ long and 2’ to 2½’ feet in diameter. They had to haul a crew of 34 and each canoe carried a minimum of 7 men and 800 to 1,000 pounds of equipment each.

A display of a dugout canoe at the actual spot where Lewis and Clark built their 5 dugout canoes for their trip to the Pacific.

A display of a dugout canoe at the actual spot where Lewis and Clark built their 5 dugout canoes for their trip to the Pacific.

Consider how much time it would take to chop down a tree of that size and then hollow it out with hand tools. The Indians taught them how to use small fires and/or hot coals to help make the wood brittle and easier to chip out. After making their way over Lolo Pass and the continental divide they nearly starved to death and were then rescued by the Nez Perce Indians.

Today, a road follows the Clearwater from Orofino to Lewiston, where we often shop for groceries. They started down the river in October when the river runs pretty low and the Corps of Discovery ended up pulling and pushing their canoes in ice cold water for much of the first 30 miles. This real life adventure kind of kills my desire to have been a pioneer!

A actual canoe built by the Nez Perce Indians about a hundred years old.

A actual canoe built by the Nez Perce Indians about a hundred years old.

Cliff