This morning we got up and drove the RV over to the exhibit and visitor’s center at Dinosaur Monument National Park. It is one of the best displays of dinosaur bones that have ever been excavated. The official excavation was started in 1906 and continues to this day. Most of the mountain was removed and at least 350 tons of fossilized bones were shipped all over the world. What is left of the mountain, with some of the fossils still embedded in the sandstone, are now housed within the museum. The mountain use to be a stream bed and during a drought, many dinosaurs perished and were eventually swept downstream into a logjam when the rains finally returned. The stream bed was then dramatically faulted straight upwards into a vertical mountain. It is quite impressive to look at, especially once you realize you are looking at the bed of a river that is now rising straight up into the sky. The entire Green River Valley where we are camping, is famous for prehistoric fossils and the rich historical past it shares. The town of Vernal is dependent on summer tourism and a love of all that is dinosaur to sustain it and most of the motels were closed. We felt fortunate we were traveling in our very own RV.
If you have been following my blog, you will know that Callie is on her 3rd session of antibiotics for a hacking cough she has had since early March. It improves with the medication and then gets worse shortly after finishing up the treatment. She has gotten so astute about the 12 hour increments, that she runs and hides! I have to draw the syringe in secret and then grab her with a big towel and wrap her up very tightly in a large bath towel. She is pissed about it now and mad as hell when I pry her mouth open so that Michael can shoot the medicine down her throat. It is for her own good though and she forgives me shortly afterwards. She is also feeling much better again and we are keeping our fingers crossed that she has been healed. If not, she may have asthma or heartworm and will have to go on steroids.
I won’t be able to post my incredibly awesome experience at Capital Reef National Park until I have Internet service, but can write about the drive over from Capital Reef to Dinosaur National Monument.
We drove through Douglas Pass and into a blizzard before we headed back down into Colorado and then back to the Utah side for this campground. We are parked right alongside the Green River and snow is predicted any minute now. I love this RV and it is so comfortable and easy to drive around. It is 24 ft long but feels so much bigger because of the high ceiling. We are tucked in and ready for the storm and Callie is totally loving the travel lifestyle.
We have had a fabulous time so far and have done a lot of hiking and biking with Callie in her basket. It will feel good to relax for a couple of days with the ability of looking at my phone for news and texting. At Captial Reef you are on your own and in the middle of a beautiful valley that still produces wonderful fruit. We had an incredible time there and struck gold after several days of stressful travel.
Capital Reef’s RV Campground is completly full, and has been especially popular since March. When we checked in for availability, we were told to come back tomorrow at 8:30. It is first come, first serve, and the lines are long and the competition, steep. We chose to drive back out of the park and have settled into Sandcreek RV park. The couple who own the place are from Carlsbad, Calif. which just happens to be our old neighborhood when we lived in Encinitas, and we hit it off instantly. We are parked alongside a herd of sheep with ewes and lambs baaaaing and bleating and guard llamas patrolling the pasture for coyotes. Having worked with horses all my life, I marched on over to the fence line and offered them a bribe of granny smith, green apples. They really are attack llamas. If you look at their unshorn feet, you will quickly realize that they could easily viscerate a coyote in no time. They have three toes like a camel and each toe has a huge talon on the end of it. One llama was cranky but the other one was actually quite sweet! I was greatly impressed never the less and respected them from a distance while they chomped down on their apples…. *
Capital Reef National Park is located in south-central Utah, and we are going to get up extra early and try to make a dash for it tomorrow from Mesquite, Nevada. It will all depend on if I can get Michael out the door early enough. Apparently, campsites fill up fairly fast, and I am hoping that because it is Mother’s Day tomorrow, most families will be at home spoiling their mother’s with breakfast in bed, etc. My idea of a wonderful way to spend the day now that my daughter is all grown up, is to go to Capital Reef National Park and bike and hike, and take photographs. I will keep my fingers crossed and go to bed early tonight. Now that Linda and Shaun are staying at our place in Borrego Springs, I can go to bed and not worry about those party animals keeping me up past my bedtime!:)
Callie had a restful day and then went on an hour bike ride with us when it got a little cooler in the late afternoon. It was still 86 degrees out when we biked, but there was a light breeze blowing and it felt good to be outside! Callie enjoyed herself and got a chin scratch and a belly rub for her bravery. It is still a little stressful for her when cars whiz by and I am always on the lookout for loose dogs that would try to charge the bike, but so far so good.
Tonight while taking the trash out and getting ready for our exodus, I looked up at the CasaBlanca main building that is all lit up from above and saw hundreds of bats circling overhead in pursuit of insects. It was almost like there was a cloud of insects and the bats circled and swooped after an infinite amount of food. What an amazing scene unfurling from above and I doubt if many people even notice. I probably won’t have Internet service for awhile and thought it best to post as often as possible while I am able….
I must say that it is difficult to believe that we have once again had to visit a tire store in yet another city. I guess you have to accept that the odds will go up dramatically, if what you are doing is traveling on the road on 6 tires. When you are RVing, the chances are that you will need some kind of road-side assistance on many occasions. It still has come as a surprise though! Fortunately, in this case, it wasn’t catastrophic and we were able to leave the shop with just having all the tires balanced and one tire exchanged out for the spare. Apparently one wheel is bent and the tires were severely out of balance after having driven over rail road tracks just a little too fast. We bounced pretty hard and a kitchen cabinet has detached from the wall and a shelf tried to do the same. All the dishes became rearranged in a not so organized fashion and the RV clunked along at a miserable lurch. We kept vacillating on whether to pull over and seek out help or try to make it to Mesquite. We chose the latter and were glad we did because we were able to party with friends, sleep on it and the next morning, go to Big O Tires, refreshed and optimistic that all would work out just fine…. it did! Callie on the other hand appeared just a little bit perturbed that we were once again parked in a tire stall having tires worked on. The power jack that takes off the bolts makes a loud bang and every time it did, she would look up at me with a worried expression on her face. I assured her that all was fine. I also have to be reminded that these experiences I am having, makes for yet another good story to tell! Tomorrow we head to Canyonlands National Parks — Island in the Sky if all works out. What a great place to spend Mother’s Day!
We got up early on Friday morning and loaded up the RV and headed to Mesquite, Nevada. We arrived around 6:00 and called up our long time friends, Shaun and Linda who live here now. We haven’t seen them in quite some time and we always enjoy each other’s company. It will be the first stop before we head to Dinosauer Monument National Park. We had a fun filled evening meeting their two adorable dogs, Max and Maggy and went out to dinner at the casino at 8:30 pm. That is usually my bedtime, but with Shaun and Linda, it is alway way too much fun and worth the effort! Earlier that day we drove over a railroad crossing off of the 40, hit the tracks too hard and have a shimmy in the back that needs to be looked at. We are going over to have it checked out this morning. One tiny little glitch in our plans that will have to be addressed. Note to self- the RV cannot handle bumps in the road. It is hard on the cabinets too! *
Callie had a fun time resting on my lap and looking out the window periodically throughout the day. She loves traveling in the RV. When we pulled up to the check in line at the Casa Blanca Resort, she stood up in the seat and was astonished at the beautiful water feature in front of the casino. It reminded me of the time when we took our young daughter Lara to Las Vegas to the Lux Casino and it looked like a castle to her. She glanced up at us with a blissed out look on her face and exclaimed “Is this a real castle Daddy?” Callie looked like she thought the same thing….. is this a real waterfall? What a joy it was to raise our daughter and to now have a cat that loves to travel with us after our daughter has flown the nest. Callie has been a great substitute and takes her job seriously. We can watch with pleasure our daughter growing up and becoming independent, and Callie will fill in the void so that we don’t miss her too much! Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there…
* wheels needed balancing and one tire will be replaced with the spare.
It would have been my parent’s 70th wedding anniversary May 10th, and one of my mother’s favorite phrases was “bloom where you’re planted!” Having moved from the beach to the desert and into the middle of nowhere here in Borrego Springs has been a challenge for me; but today’s bike ride made it special. Last weeks rainstorm reinvigorated one more push for cactus and desert plants to bloom before the temperature starts to rise and plants die back until the next spring. I am choosing to bloom where I am planted and try to discover the beauty of where I live so that I can record what I see. Here is a compilation of some of the gorgeous flowers I was able to photograph today. It continues to amaze me how cactus choose to bloom under such dire conditions. All it takes is one small rainstorm to trigger a bloom in the most unlikely places.
Callie spent the day relaxing and is on one more series of antibiotic. If she isn’t completly cough free when we return from Utah, she may have to go on steroids. She seems much better to me though and we shall hit the road tomorrow for Mesquite, Nevada.