Colorado and the Garden of the Gods

Ever since John Denver I have wanted to see Colorado. We drove through a piece of it – it’s beautiful. At my going away party at State Farm my Manager said that we should  go to the Garden of the Gods while we were driving through Colorado. We adjusted our schedule so that we would and made arrangements to stay for 3 days – we’re glad that we did. The neat thing to is that she texted me a “wave” just as we drove through the Garden of the Gods. The only think I didn’t like about Colorado was the elevation. We were higher than the mile high city of Denver.

Brunch in the Black Hills

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If I had known how good this breakfast was going to turn out I would have taken more pictures.

We’re staying at Rushmore Shadows RV park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We got nearly an inch of snow overnight, but the ground and roads were so warm it didn’t stay long. After living in Texas for the last year and a half, 38 degrees outside is a bit chilly. It’s pretty with the snow on the pines, the fireplace is going and we’re snug and warm in the RV. We slept in late so by the time we started thinking of breakfast it was brunch time. We’ve been eating chia seed smoothies for breakfast for some time, but with this brief winter interlude we were looking for something more like what we grew up on.

My diet is strict – including gluten free, dairy free and sugar free. I was going through recipes to find breakfast cakes and Ray said it was too bad they couldn’t be made into waffles. I had just found the bag of gluten free flour in the cupboard, and the waffle maker, so I Googled Bob’s Red Mill website and found a recipe to try. Since I’m dairy free we modified it using Almond Milk. We used the gluten free 1-1 flour and it turned out fabulous – better than IHop! The waffles are light, fluffy and even taste good plain – kind of like fluffy cookies. Yeah, roughing it “camping” in the Black Hills – this is the way to do it.

Here’s our modified version of the recipe:

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour (we used 1-1)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
1 Tbsp grass-fed Butter
3/4 cup Almond Milk
4 Eggs separated
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions
Pre-heat waffle iron.
In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar together.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks or resembles whipping cream.
In another small bowl whisk together almond milk, yolks and butter. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and blend together.
With a rubber spatula, slowly fold egg whites into the rest of the ingredients. The entire mix should be light and fluffy.
Begin making waffles. Follow the waffle machine instructions or cook about 3 minutes on each side.

We made a couple of eggs in browned grass-fed butter and some bacon in the microwave. We added the bacon grease to the eggs. After taking the eggs out of the frying pan (leaving the oil) we threw in some fresh blueberries (about 3/4 cup) and about two tablespoons of agave syrup. Ray stirred them constantly over a high flame until the blueberries broke down and it all thickened (just took a few minutes). Talk about fabulous! We never did use the maple syrup.

A great way to begin our day – doing up some laundry and looking at more recipes. As we’ve said before we highly recommend this life!

 

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Cimarron and Philmont

Another beautiful day in Raton, NM! Back in the 60’s my Grandfather and Uncles went to Philmont Boy Scout park. It was always spoken of with great fondness as a trip of a lifetime. Since we were about 1/2 hour from Philmont we took a ride to see it. Once again we saw fabulous scenery on the ride. We aren’t sure what the magnificent mountain is in the background. It will take some investigating.

It is very early for the camp and they were still in preparation for their big opening but we were able to drive around and find the Trading Post. They were doing new construction on it but we were still able to go inside and look around. When they get it finished we’re sure it will be an excellent place to visit with lots and lots to buy. It sure is a special place even just to ride through.

On the way back into Cimarron we saw another magnificent sight.  A group of Cowgirls and a couple of Cowboys were herding a large group of horses along side of the road. We think there were probably 100 or more horses coming right towards us. I am going to try to put them together in an animation. What an endeavor! Definitely a sight we don’t see every day, although it might be more common in this area.

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We saw some burros and deer along the way too. Plus a magpie that chased a hawk off the top of a telephone pole. Another beautiful ride in this amazing country!

NRA Whittington Center and a strange kind of cricket

We pulled into the NRA Whittington Center day before yesterday. We love it! It was quite a ride in as we watched the sky. After living in Texas for awhile we watch for signs of a tornado or hail. Even heavy rains can be a challenge, especially when hauling a big rig and going into higher elevations. We didn’t have any trouble though as once again the storm seemed to go around us. I got some great photos of clouds as well as the beautiful terrain along the way. More amazing views!

We got a 50 amp campsite that has a great view of rolling fields and pines. When we pulled in and were unhooking the truck I heard what sounded like a really loud cricket, but I was surrounded by it. It had a slightly metallic sound to it. It drove me slightly crazy as I tried to identify the source and where it was actually coming from since it seemed to be in the air, constantly changing location up and down.  When we were inside and getting set up I heard it again. It was that loud.  Looking out the window to spot what it was, I saw it – a hummingbird! The little stinker flies all around the RV and the area. It’s sound carries for quite a ways and it’s so speedy it is hard to spot. There seem to be a few out there. I Googled the types of hummingbirds in the New Mexico area and found that it is a broad tailed hummingbird. We looked around and didn’t see a lot of blossoms so of course I thought I should set out a feeder with sugar water. But I read more about them and learned a few things. They don’t need flowers or nectar because they catch bugs. We had no idea! Those awful spiders that hitched a ride from Texas might actually serve a purpose! It seems that the hummers like to steal prey from their webs, eat the spiders and even use the webs in their nests.  Aha spiders, begone!

The girls are enjoying this area too. So peaceful and nature all around.

Yesterday we visited the museum and gift shop and talked with the friendly staff.  We are seriously thinking of coming back here to stay and work.

We took a ride out to the road where the mine is, turned off the truck and sat for awhile. What a great reward! The mountain bluebirds are beautiful to watch, and then Ray saw a cinnamon bear coming down the mountainside. A big one.

Next entered two turkeys – possibly what the bear was after? We were hoping to get a closer view, but bears are quite evasive. It moved along the edge of the hill away from us.

As we were waiting for more action on the ground we looked to the sky and saw a few golden eagles soaring.

On the side hill there are some good size holes. As we were pulling away a little fox stuck it’s head out of a den.  Then we saw momma fox walking across the field above it. As she got closer to the den three babies came out and ran up to her, running and playing. What a sight to see! The pictures of the foxes didn’t come out  well because they were moving so fast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we got back to the RV we read up in the manual for different settings on the camera. Maybe we’ll get better shots later?

Oh and I got a good picture of Ray looking up at the eagles 🙂

Los Alamos

We decided to ride over to Los Alamos where my friend works – we’re so glad that we did. The views were spectacular!

Before we headed there we went into Espanola to pick up a couple of things. We always pray together before we leave the RV area and ask for a hedge of protection around us and the RV.  In town I was waiting in the truck and a loud warning went off on my phone – a tornado warning. Really? Ray was just coming out and he hadn’t heard it. We decided to go into the store and wait for the time to pass. The guys working there said yeah, they had the warning too but they had never had a tornado there ever. The warning (not watch) said that it was headed right to where the RV was. We watched on the weather radar as the storm split and went around us and the RV park on both sides. God is amazing – He has been so good to us! We did get a bunch of small hail, and when we drove towards Los Alamos we saw quite a bit on the road.

Later we were able to meet my friend and have dinner. The Roadrunner RV park is on a reservation and they have what they say is the largest casino. They have free valet service from your RV to the Buffalo Thunder casino. We thought that would be a great place to meet but we hadn’t thought about tobacco smoke – everything from cigarettes to cigars. So that didn’t work out. I have been having nosebleeds all morning – not fun. But we went to a very nice restaurant across from the RV park, ate and talked. There isn’t any way to really catch up in that amount of time but it was nice. Maybe we’ll meet up on the road some time since they are getting near retirement age and thinking of traveling too.

Today we head up to the NRA campgrounds – about a three hour drive. Hopefully the weather will hold! It’s chilly – just in 40’s and later in the 60’s today (I know Northerners – that’s warm!).

 

On the road again and Farewell to Texas

We’re back on the road again! Coming to Texas was quite an experience – one that we are grateful to have had thanks to State Farm. We were blessed to have met and become friends with some wonderful people, and it has been very hard to say good by to them. But after a lot of prayerful consideration we have started our full-time RV life again.

Starting our blog up again we see that we need to update our header picture. The one that’s there still has Seth in it – we traded him in before we came to Texas. Surely we will have a good photo op to do so.

It’s been such a blessing to see some different country. We always wish that we could have explored more, but we know that we can always come back around and hit new areas. The growing season in Texas is quite advanced from what we were used to in Upstate NY/PA. Corn was already waist high and we saw some newly baled hay fields as we drove along.

We thought that we were all prepared and were ready to pull out at 8 am, but the RV battery had other plans – it was dead. It was new just a month or two back. Ray put it on the charger and then added the truck to charge, but it would not give us enough power to pull the slides in. We borrowed the next door neighbor’s battery but it still wasn’t enough. He worked for hours on it and we searched online. Another neighbor came over to see why we were still there 🙂 and told Ray how he had linked two batteries together. That worked! So we didn’t get our start out until around 1 pm that day – and we had a 9 hour ride ahead.

Stopping for diesel is usually a challenge – to find a station that will accommodate the large RV and have hoses that are made for pickup truck. In this country the stations are few and far between. We saw the signs for a Texaco station and pulled off the highway. It was across the highway and when we got to it, it had obviously been closed for a very long time.  It was on a narrow road and there was not a place to turn around, so our only option was to keep driving forward and hope it would loop around to the highway again. It did, about 10-15 miles later. We were grateful that the road was paved all the way. We even had a roadrunner run across the road in front of us! Having satellite radio was also a blessing – we had upbeat music to help us bop along this long detour. We know that things happen for a reason. Although we don’t know what this was, at least the traffic was light.

We pulled into the Fort Amarillo RV park around 10 pm. Pretty late for us! It was a very nice park – even had a heated indoor pool, hot tub and exercise area that we couldn’t take advantage of.

We were able to get a good start the next morning and headed to Roadrunner RV park in Pojoaque, NY which is near Espanola and Santa Fe. The views were truly amazing – wide open prairie/desert – flat flat flat – and then the Rockies came into sight.

We went out yesterday – of course to a Wal-Mart – and were very pleased to see that prices were back to what was normal for us. 2-3 dollars less per item than what we were paying in the Dallas area. We have to wonder if people ever stop saying “Wow” to these views. We are going to do some driving around and will post again!

Goose Heaven

We’re staying in Indiana now for two days at New Lisbon Family Campground in Staughton. It’s a beautiful area – very rural. I70 has been the pitts to travel – some of the worst road in the country. The kind of road that takes everything in your cupboards and shuffles them upside down. Not the most fun. It takes a lot out of you!

But we are staying here two days so we had a chance to drive around and see some local scenery. We visited Warm Glow Candles and spent about 2 hours looking at everything. Way overpriced for the most part, but still a couple of deals to be found.

It’s always an adventure seeing how our GPS is going to get us from point A to point B. Today she took us on Goose Heaven road and South Woodpecker road. All in all a pretty day!

The picture of the road is Goose Heaven road. The picture of the field is across the road from the campground. Lots of highway noise, but that also means convenience to get back on the road again in the morning. Still can hear the frogs singing and people still have petunias in blossom here.  This is a very nice site – and we have Internet!! That works! With speed! Oh, and we picked up 55 channels with our antenna last night – even though it is damaged. Hopefully we won’t lose it on the rest of our travels. One of the batwings bent and rides straight up. We need someone who can climb up on top of the RV to bend it back. I asked for an angel to fix it, but he was at least able to keep it from getting worse so far.

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Back on the road again!

After being at Mom’s for the summer and fall, we headed south again to beat the cold.GettysburgBattlefieldResortGettysburgBattlefieldResort_2

First we stopped at Gettysburg, PA. It was miserable there! viewfromcampsiteStoneyCreekBlueRidgeMountainsindistance drivingdowntoStoneyCreekentrance ducksonlake ducksonlake_2 enteringVA mallards_5 sassafras statueofliberty

Then we stopped in Greenville, VA it was SO nice. It felt like home. We could have easily lived there except that it gets too cold in the winter. Then we moved on to Concord, NC and spent some time with family there. Wonderful! But it gets cold in NC too, so it was time to head further south.

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Next we stopped in SC and caught up with more wonderful family.

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Then we traveled to Georgia and Alabama. We spent Christmas and New Years on the gulf coast, but it was quite rainy.

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We then moved on to Old Pavilion RV park in Perry, FL – it was gorgeous! We camped right on the edge of the water – still gulf coast. Then we moved down to Crystal Isles RV Park in Crystal River. It’s where the manatees come in for the winter. We couldn’t find any manatees as they pretty much stay near the springs and in the deeper water – or so we’ve been told. But the beach – again gulf coast – is only 4 miles down the road. CrystalIsles FortTrailKidsScaredBirds FortTrailBoatTailGrackle CrystalIsleBewareAlligators boatsonCrystalRiver3 birdsonFtTrailbeach2 sunsetfttrailbeach

We went for a drive over near the lake, pulling over, turning the truck off and just sitting and looking at the beautiful sight. Ray said “A fish jumped”. I looked and saw the ever widening circle in the water. I’d missed it.  Such a beautiful day. I tried to discern what all types of ducks were floating on the water. “It just jumped again!” This time I was determined to watch until it happened again. Then it did, and it was just like someone had skipped a stone across the water! Fish don’t usually jump like that. And then a little mallard popped up out of the water, gently floating along making very happy mallard-like sounds.

mallards_1If you’ve never watched mallards feeding, bobbing under the water with their bottoms pointing straight up, you’ve truly missed something.  But this little guy was doing more than feeding, he was frolicking.  He bobbed under again, bottom up, little feet pumping like crazy. Then surfacing right-side up and quacking away. Next he started flapping his wings and dancing on the water. Then he dipped under the water again, swimming under, going across the end of the lake and back up. Then dancing on the water again. He was purely having fun, living in the moment, glad to be there as the others continued to bob downwards and upwards, quacking back at him.  What a special thing to have witnessed. Pure happiness. You can’t tell me that animals are not capable of emotions.  We ourselves were filled with the lightness and grace of the moment, amazed yet again at the world our God has created.
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We were also blessed with other beautiful sights here. We saw a pair of shovelbills and at least 8 buzzards soaring over our heads. The sandy bank was covered with oak, sassafras and a tree resembling a hickory nut. Will have to investigate that one further.  I stole a couple of twigs of sassafras and we bent and twisted them to release that special scent like nothing else. I resisted the urge to dig some up for tea! Oh, and I almost forgot the statue of liberty with her light aglow as the shadows overtook her.
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Delight in the special moments….