Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Summer vacations rock!

We had planned our destination months ago. This is the first time we have tried renting one of the properties listed on VRBO, and it worked out fairly well. Here's the full story.

We lost our list of things to bring when we were just about ready to leave on Monday morning. I racked my brain to think of the rest of the things we hadn't gathered. I had already turned off the computer and so I didn't want to turn it back on again to print another list off. We surmised we had everything and took off.
Our drive down was uneventful.  I have driver's license on my list of things to bring, but I had my wallet and had no reason to suspect my license was missing from it, so I had crossed it off the list. I didn't find out about it until I went to purchase my Colorado fishing license in Cortez. I thought my chances of fishing in Colorado had been dashed at that point, and I was a little upset. More upset about not fishing than the missing license itself, but still upset about that too. More about my missing license in my previous post.
We arrived at the cabin near Navajo Lake early in the evening—probably about 5:15. I had told the manager we'd likely arrive between 6-7 and he was still there dusting and stuff. His name was Terry and after a while he finished up and was ready to leave. He was a nice man, full of information about places to fish and eating establishments. He also told us about some roads we could travel to see sites and waterfalls and things like that.
The cabin where we stayed

The rest of the evening was spent trying to get Ann comfortable. The recliner that was in the bedroom was pretty much non-functional for her. It was hard even for me to put the bottom part back in once it had been extended, so you can imagine the difficulty she would have with her RA. We were able to move some stuff around and creatively use pillows to make it work. It was then that we found  we found out that the only significant thing we didn't bring from the list was shoes. The shoes Ann walks in (she only had her flip flops), and my running shoes and hiking shoes. I wouldn't be able to run in the shoes I brought, but I could hike. I stayed up trying to figure out how to photograph the moon. I finally figured it out.
I got the moon with some detail after 20-25 tries. Now if I can get both the moon and the clouds highlighted by the moon, I'll be doing great.

Tuesday we drove up to Pagosa Springs. We stopped at a bakery called the Pagosa Springs Baking Company. I really liked it. Ann didn't. Ann is really the Mikey (remember those old Life Cereal commercials?) of our family, so I wasn't surprised that she didn't like it. She was hungry though so I drove her to McDonalds where she could get something she liked. We then went to Walmart where I was able to convince the sporting goods clerk to sell me a license by showing him my Utah fishing license (which had my DL number on it) and my Concealed Carry permit as I.D. I found out that the clerk there had lived in Price, Utah. I was set for going fishing that afternoon. I had been offered a chance by one of the locals--we'll call him Joe--to go fishing out on his boat that afternoon.
When we got back to the cabin, I made sure that Ann had what she needed for the time I was going to be gone (estimated 3-9pm), took a nap, then left for Joe's house which was just a short drive away.
Out on the boat, we caught some bass. I caught about five to his fifteen or more, but then again, I haven't been bass fishing in about forty years and I was learning a new skill. I watched the way he did it, trying to learn something from an expert. It was great. I had fun both fishing and talking with Joe. I offered to pay for the gas or something, but he wouldn't take it. When we got done fishing, as darkness fell, he asked me if I would drive his boat onto the trailer. I told him that I wouldn't trust me with it, but he did anyway and I handled it fine, though I was a bit nervous about hurting his boat. It was a nice boat and I didn't want to make a wrong move with it.
On Wednesday we made some sandwiches and headed back up through Pagosa to do some dirt road driving and sight seeing. There was a waterfall up there called Piedra Falls. It was a short hike of ½ mile, but by the time we got to the trailhead, Ann needed to use the restroom and there wasn't one. I asked her if she could survive waiting while I hurried up to check out the falls and she said that yes, she could. The sign at the trailhead estimated 15-30 minutes each way. I jogged most of the trail, but especially the downhill portions and it took me 20-25 minutes total. It was raining and I was pretty wet by the time I got back. For that reason, I had left the camera in the 4runner and have no pics of Piedra Falls. We drove down to the nearest campground where she there was a restroom and it was okay. Then we checked out the other fork in the road that went up to Williams Reservoir. That was a nice lake that looked like it would be great fishing, but I was thinking that Ann had had enough and it was time to get back. Those fish will have to wait for another day.
Williams Reservoir
When we got back that night, I made tacos, spanish rice, and some squash for dinner (the only dinner I'd actually end up cooking), then we played Boggle for a while.
Thursday morning was when I went fishing from the shore. I caught no fish, but I know I was getting bites, because I saw the tip of my pole go down and before I could react, my worm was gone. This happened a couple of times and when I reeled in my worms were gone. My worm was gone a third time too, so I got another bite that didn't even rattle the pole. The wind was blowing slightly so it was tough to tell. I got back and made a great breakfast of bacon, fried potatoes, and french toast—the only breakfast I would actually cook. The rest of the day was four-wheeling up to another waterfall called “Silver Falls”. That waterfall was really cool. I had to hike up to it too, and Ann had her Kindle, so she just read. Afterward, our plan was to go up to Elwood Pass as it was supposed to be spectacular, but the weather wasn't cooperating, so with Ann in the car I didn't want to risk getting high centered by slipping into the deep ruts we saw at the beginning of the road. I probably could have made it, but that wasn't the time to try. We had a lot of fun though, Ann included, driving through all the puddles on the road from the night before. She had her window open and I was trying to get a little bit to come in through the windows and hit her and it did. Not enough to soak her, but just to splash her on the arm. I actually had her laughing with delight which is a very good sign. The puddles were plentiful and if we hit them with a little speed, the muddy water would wash over the windshield. We ended up driving up into a place called Quartz Meadow and checking that out because the road was much better than the one to Elwood Pass. We purchased our dinner that night. I got mine from a BBQ joint called “Smoken Moe's” and Ann got hers from a Mexican place called “Ramons”--two of the places that Terry had suggested. They were both good. Later, we played Scrabble.
Silver Falls

Silver Falls closer view
The quakies looked awesome near Quartz Meadows
Friday we cleaned up, packed up, and left. We left some of our home grown tomatoes for Terry along with a note of some possible improvements for future tenants, such as explanations as to how to work the oven (I could never figure out how to turn it on and ended up making some brownies on the BBQ instead), and how to run the DVD players etc. Heading through Pagosa for the last time, we saw another bakery and decided to try it. I had already purchased a McGriddle for Ann from McDonald's, but I didn't want McDonald's so I thought I'd get me something at the bakery. It was called "Two Chicks and a Hippie Bakery and Restaurant" or something like that. My mouth was watering as I narrowed my choices...the cinnamon rolls that were loaded with oozing melting frosting, or a sticky bun. I ended up getting a delicious looking sticky bun plastered with pecans. I decided I couldn't eat that for breakfast though, so I saved it for later (I pieced at it all day and ended up sharing it with Ann. It was fabulous), and bought a burrito at the gas station for breakfast.

We left town and headed up our route home, up toward Wolf Creek Pass. Along the way we stopped at our final waterfall, Treasure Falls. I left Ann parked in the shade while I did the 1/4 mile hike to the falls, but when I got back the shade had deserted her like a sketchy date.

Treasure Falls
We drove up through Creede and Lake City, which was a departure from our original plan, but I really wanted to see both of them and it was a more scenic route. Ann said she hated Creede and then I reminded her of how years ago we used to like to walk the streets of such towns and go into the gift and antique shops and look around at all the stuff. She said that she kind of remembered it, but now that she can't really walk, she hates the towns where you have to do it. I told her "it's not the town's fault you have RA" and that I still would like to walk through towns, but that I feel guilty and rush through them because she's waiting in the car. We were eating lunch at a picnic table during this conversation and a woman by herself sat down  at the picnic table beside ours. Ann told me to go and take my time and look around at the town because I had finished my lunch and she was still eating hers. She said to check with her when I got to the other side of the street opposite her. She ended up striking up a conversation with the woman who was by herself and ended up enjoying herself more than she thought she would. I enjoyed my walk through Creede as well, talking to several shop owners as I made my way through.
Lake City was interesting because a couple of years ago we had wanted to drive there on a four-wheel drive road from Animas Fork, but it started snowing while we were up on top and again, I hadn't wanted to risk it, and for mostly the same kind of reasons why we hadn't gone on up to Elwood Pass. It was interesting to see where we would have arrived. It was amazing seeing how many of the evergreens in that area have been killed by pine bark beetles up in that area. Tragic really.
We liked this different take on the carved bear statues. This was in Lake City.
We arrived at the Rodeway Inn in Gunnison in the early evening, maybe around 6:30, and ordered salad and pizza for dinner. The rest of the night we just hung out. I needed to get Ann as comfortable as possible and you never know what you're going to find in a motel room. The arm chairs weren't high-backed enough. We added some pillows to the top and that helped. We had reserved the room for disabled people and it had one of those stools that you put in the tub to sit down on, and she tried that for the first time, but ended up not being able to stand up. I had to help her, which was fine. I told her that if she ever wanted one of those things, they do make them with adjustable legs. In the middle of the night she was having trouble with her arms and needed something to rest them on so I made some platforms with some of the room furnishings, stacked a suitcase on one and a pillow on the other and that gave her some relief.
Ann's set up at the Rodeway Inn
I got up early on Saturday and went for a walk. I wanted to capture some pics of the sunrise if it was good. I climbed to the top of the highest hill nearby, I saw an Assembly of God church building. I felt good and grateful to God for his Grace and guidance and blessings in my life.  Walking further up the hill I found a spot where a dirt road took off and I had a clear view of the east and down below, the town. I got some fairly nice pics of the sunrise. Here are  some of them.
The first touch of orange on the clouds

The cloud colors get more subtle as the sun comes closer to rising

And, the sun finally comes up.
We ate the free motel breakfast. It was less than stellar, but there was one funny moment. I wanted a waffle and they have one of those waffle makers that you commonly see at motel breakfasts. I cooked a waffle and started looking for the butter. I found a bin with two kinds of things in it. One was called “spread” and the other, I thought was called “margerine”. I decided that margerine was less of an unknown than spread so I got out a package of that and began trying to spread it on my waffle. It wouldn't spread and I thought that they had kept it too cold, so I threw the waffle with the “margerine” on it into the microwave for 15 seconds. It still had a hard time spreading so finally I just poured some syrup on it and began eating it. It was horrible! I ended up throwing it away. Later, Ann wanted some butter for her toast and asked me where it was I showed her and told her not to use the “margerine” because it was too hard to spread. She looked in there and said, “that's because it's cream cheese, not margerine”.  I looked at the cursive writing on the packaging that I thought had said "margerine". Upon closer examination, it said, "regular". We were laughing the rest of the day over that one.
Then we drove home, stopping in Fruita for lunch (at a place called "Munchies" which was recommended by the local mail carrier we stopped on the street. It was pretty good.), buying some peaches in Delta where I also went into an estate sale (the other guy I met from Price). We arrived home at around 7:30 safe and sound. It was an eventful and fun trip all around. Now, to the task of finding my license.

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