On May 3rd we left Breckenridge and drove the Sherpa over the pass to Loveland, we were so lucky that it didn’t snow, as the pass was closed a few days later. We arrived at the Loveland RV Resort and are staying here for 4 days while we explore the area north of Denver. Our first venture out was to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for the day. The Park was established on January 26, 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson and the CCC built the automobile route in the 1930s. This Park is one of the most visited in the National Park System, in 2018, 4.5 million people entered the Park. We stopped at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center – a National Historic Landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, to get information about the Park. We were not able to do any hikes because of all the snow, but could drive along Trail Ridge Road, stopping to take photos of the many elk still in their winter coats, and to see the views from the Overlooks of the mountain ranges. Continue reading
April 24th, we arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado, staying at the Tiger Run RV Resort for three days, rated a 10-10-10 RV park by Good Sams. The elevation of Breckenridge is 9,600 feet above sea level, and we felt the altitude as we walked around the town visiting the many shops along Main Street. The historic buildings with their clapboard and log exteriors add to the charm of the town. One morning we took the gondola up to the ski area where they are still skiing now. The ski trails were first cut in 1961, and Breckenridge Ski Resort has made the town a popular destination for skiers. Another day we drove along Interstate 70 to the old town of Idaho Springs. The local legend is that the name of the city derived from annual visits to the radium hot springs made by a Native American chief and his tribe who journeyed from there each year from Idaho to bathe in the magic healing waters. We walked around the historical part of town and stopped for lunch at Tommyknocker Brewery, that has been crafting award winning ales and lagers for over 20 years. We enjoyed some of the freshly brewed beer, the Blood Orange IPA. Idaho Springs was first settled by prospectors back in 1859, during the early days of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush and today there are still ruins left from those mines. We saw the Charlie Taylor Water Wheel built by miner Charlie Taylor in 1893 to power a stamp mill. It was moved to this site by Bridal Veil Falls in 1948 and restored in 1988. Continue reading
We left Cedar City, Utah, on April 18th and drove to Grand Junction, Colorado, the drive through the mountains along Highway 70 was really beautiful. We checked into the Junction West RV Park for a week. Our first sight to explore was the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, where we saw the steepest cliffs, oldest rocks, and the craggiest spires in North America. The Black Canyon is so named because its steepness makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate into its depth, and parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day. At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40ft wide at the river. However, we were there on a cloudy day so it was mostly grey in color from deep in the gorge to the sky above. The Black Canyon was officially discovered by Captain John Williams Gunnison in 1853, who was leading an expedition to survey a route from Saint Louis to San Francisco. He was killed by the Ute Indians later that year, and the river they named the Grand was renamed in his honor. In 1881, William Jackson Palmer’s DENVER and RIO GRANDE Railroad, (a narrow 3′ gauge rail line) had reached Gunnison from Denver to provide a link to the burgeoning gold and silver mines. And on August 13,1882, the first passenger train passed through the Black Canyon and continued service until the route was finally abandoned in the early 1950s.
“Such a feat of railroad engineering probably can not be found in the world”.
We left Oceanside on April 15th and headed north, our first stop was Cedar City, Utah. We stayed at the KOA in the city for a few days while we went sightseeing. We visited the Perowan Gap Petroglyphs that are thought to be the work of several cultural groups of Native Americans several centuries ago. The meaning of the designs is still unknown. The Gap is nationally recognized as a “superb gallery of Native American rock art.” We saw geometric designs, images of lizards, snakes, mountain sheep, bear claws and human figures; artwork that was pecked into the rock on the smooth canyon walls of the pass. We also stopped at the Dinosaur Tracks where we walked around the rocks looking for the dinosaur raised footprints, not depressions in the stone. On our way back to Cedar City we drove up to Bryan’s Head Ski Resort and they were still skiing.Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
Arrived in Oceanside on November 1st at Paradise by the Sea RV Resort and we have are favorite site again. Immediately we got back into pickleball at Melba Bishop and joined the Bay Club Carmel Valley, hoping to get back into shape. We also bought e-bikes and had so much fun riding to pickleball and around Oceanside. We did some new fun things with the kids this year after a wonderful Christmas with the whole family. Continue reading
On our way south we stopped to visit Yosemite National Park. We stayed in Chowchilla, off of Hwy 99 at The Lakes RV and Golf Resort. October 31st was a beautiful fall day to drive to Yosemite for a wonderful hike in the Park. When we headed up the Valley where we stopped to watch the climbers on El Capitan. The we headed further into the park and did the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls, a 3 mile hike featuring approximately 600 stone steps, some up to 1 foot high. The Mist Trail is one of the most popular short hikes in the Park following the Merced River, starting at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley, past Vernal Falls and Emerald Pool, to Nevada Falls, a 7 mile out and back hike. We hiked along the Merced River, a tumultuous mountain stream, with enormous boulders, some the size of a house. As we climbed the 600 stone steps we were awarded with fabulous views of Vernal Falls. Continue reading
In October we were staying in Ferndale, WA at the Cedars RV Resort, and we decided to take a short vacation from our RV and visit Orcas Island, considered to be the most beautiful of the San Juan Islands. We drove to Anacortes, WA, and caught the early ferry to Orcas Island. We watched the sunrise on beautiful Mt Baker from the ferry, spectacular morning glow. We arrived at Orcas Village, still early to be able to enjoy breakfast at one of the many restaurants We ate at the Orcas Hotel, that first opened its doors in 1904 and to this day retains all the charm of its Victorian heritage. Then we drove one mile north to our B&B just up the hill from the village, we booked into the Kangaroo House Bed & Breakfast, the longest running B&B in the San Juan Islands. Each guest room is named after the wild birds that flock to the backyard wildlife sanctuary, we were in the Goldfinch Room, a beautiful king bed with a sleigh headboard greeted us as we entered the room. Continue reading
While we were staying in Aldergrove, we took a few trips to Mt Baker area in Washington as it is close and has fabulous hiking trails. One of our most favorite hikes is the Yellow Aster Butte Trail within Mt Baker Wilderness. We went in October and the alpine flowers covered the foreground in reds, yellows, oranges and purples which you can see from the photos is the best time for the brilliant palette of fall colors. We also enjoyed spectacular views of Mt Baker, Mt Shuksan, and the Border Peaks, Mt Larrabee and the western portion of the High Divide. We started the hike at the Tomyhoi Lake Trailhead and switchbacked up through an avalanche path, gaining elevation until the trail breaks out to a flat bench in a meadow. After a steep half mile trail we finally reached the windy summit of Yellow Aster Butte with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. It was a perfect day with a few clouds hanging above the peaks in the distance. Another time we would love to backpack here as there are phenomenal tent sites located in the meadow with tarns for camping next to and time for a day hike up Tomyhoi Peak. It’s a 7.5 mile R/T hike, with a 2,550 ft elevation gain. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
Tuesday, Sept 4th, we arrived in Vienna early, at the Hotel Stephanie, located in the Old Town. We all gathered in the meeting room and the manager welcomed us to Vienna and discussed all that we could see and do here. After checking into our most spacious room we went out to explore Vienna. We walked to one of the main squares called Stephansplatz, where the famous St Stephen’s Cathedral is located, originally constructed in 1147. We went inside the church and gazed at the distant High Altar, that took over seven years to build from 1641 to 1647, in the baroque style, representing the stoning of the church’s patron St Stephen. We wandered around marveling at the impressive nave with the organ and huge pulpit and the many side chapel. Continue reading
We started our day with a boating adventure on the most popular river route in Europe. We cruised through the famous Schlonger Schlinge in Austria, where the Danube snakes through steep, forested mountains in a series of sharp and scenic bends. The weather did not cooperate however, and it was cold and wet on the top deck of the boat, where we spent most of our time watching the scenery, cruise boats and towns pass us by. It was fun going through the locks as it was the first locks I have been through on a boat. Watching as the water lowered, then the gates opened and we passed through to the other side. We began biking at Schlogen along the Danube, and headed toward Aschach through a beautiful forest. Loved seeing the wild swans following us on the Danube as we pedaled along the bike path.
We stopped for lunch at the bakery, Cafe Konditorei Weltzer Aschach, just as the rain began to fall. Aschach is an old town in the state of Upper Austria, first mentioned in history in the year 777. We had a delicious Austrian sandwich and the famous Austrian Linzer cookies (Linzerkekse) for dessert. The rain stopped after lunch so we continued riding along the bike path, and crossed over the Danube on a dam.We rode to Ottensheim where we were transfered by private coach to our hotel at Weissenkirchen, in Austria’s Wachau Valley wine region. This charming village is dominated by St Michael’s Church, which dates to 987. The small white steeple on the church is the name given to the town, meaning White Church. Our hotel, the Raffelsberger Hof is one of the many Renaissance buildings with a romantic inner courtyard. We checked into the hotel and then headed out to explore the town and have dinner with some of our group. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading