New Orleans 3 – French Quarter at Night

The French Quarter of New Orleans is like no place else on earth. The architecture is spellbinding. The history, the food, the music, the smells, the sights. This glorious stew draws the most colorful humans to its embrace. There is a mood here of tolerance and freedom, all the way to delightful craziness. Natives and tourists share this space 24 hours a day. It’s a great place to ride your bicycle on a quiet Monday morning, taking in the sounds of deliveries and the heavenly smells of lunch cooking behind open doors. It’s also a great place to wander on a Saturday night, spinning inside the kaleidoscope of raucous dazzle on Bourbon Street and all its side streets. Here’s a taste of The Quarter after dark. .

IMG_0206 IMG_0334 IMG_0328  IMG_0290 IMG_0287 1 IMG_0284 IMG_0268 IMG_0262a IMG_0250 IMG_0243 IMG_0239 IMG_0227 IMG_0220 IMG_0213 IMG_0209  IMG_0202 IMG_0195 IMG_0193 IMG_0186 20130225_175603

IMG_0302

RiverWalk shopping is a few blocks south of French Quarter.

 

New Orleans 1 – Cafe Du Monde, Antoines, B&C Seafood

According to USA today travel, New Orleans had 809 restaurants pre-Katrina and 1,366 restaurants post-Katrina. You could dine at a different place every night for the rest of your life and never scratch the surface. With a population of 370,000, NOLA is the most restaurant-dense city in the US, a gastronomic explosion of all cuisines, but their signature styles are Creole and Cajun, and heavy on the seafood. Creole: free black citizens. Cajun: French Canadians exiled from Nova Scotia. Here are a few restaurant pics. I will add more later.

B&C Riverside Seafood Restaurant Vacherie LA

20130226_131404

The boy waiter.

B&C is a quaint country restaurant facing the levee on the way to the Oak Alley Plantation.

Girl alligator in ladies room at B&C Riverside Seafood Restaurant, Vacherie, LA

The girl waiter-gater

20130226_131424

Greetings, tourist. You are on my lunch menu.

 

Antoines Restaurant, New Orleans

 Circa 1840 Grand Dame & birthplace of oysters Rockefeller.

antoines rest1 antoines rest 2

 

 

Ageless Cafe du Monde – home of Beignets and chicory coffee.

IMG_0326 a Grab an outdoor table at Cafe du Monde. You’re on Jackson Square facing St. Louis Cathedral across the street, a front row seat on horse drawn carriages, flocks of artists pinning their paintings to the black wrought iron, freeze models with cups, tourists, musicians, and general delightful cacophony.

IMG_0320 a

IMG_0345 a

IMG_0343 aInside the Cafe, its a good idea to stay in your seat or you might be trampled by whirling white coated waitstaff balancing trays with eight cups of hot coffee and piles of hot powdered beignets.

 

IMG_0379 a

Step aside tourist, she moves FAST!

IMG_0375 a

Waitstaff lining up for Beignets, NOLA’s answer to Krispy Kreme.

 

IMG_0317 a

 

IMG_0356 a Next door you can watch your candy being made, and take home a box of fresh, chewy Aunt Sally’s Original Creole Pecan Pralines.IMG_0360 IMG_0364

IMG_0338 aIMG_0365 a

 

New Orleans 2 – Jackson Square

The French Quarter of New Orleans is like no place else on earth. The architecture is spellbinding. The history, the food, the music, the smells, the sights. This glorious stew draws the most colorful humans to its embrace. There is a mood here of tolerance and freedom, all the way to delightful craziness. Natives and tourists share this space 24 hours a day. It’s a great place to ride your bicycle on a quiet Monday morning, taking in the sounds of deliveries and the heavenly smells of lunch cooking behind open doors. It’s also a great place to wander on a Saturday night, spinning inside the kaleidoscope of raucous dazzle on Bourbon Street and all its side streets.

When you are strolling Jackson Square, you might as well be in Paris. I’ve run out of gas for today so I will finish the commentary another day. But here are some photos. . .

 

jackson square1 IMG_1158 IMG_1105 IMG_1030 IMG_1022 IMG_1017 IMG_1009 IMG_1007 IMG_0829 1 IMG_0583 IMG_0571 IMG_0524 IMG_0521 IMG_0520 IMG_0450 1 IMG_0449 IMG_0445 IMG_0444 IMG_0442 IMG_0439 IMG_0434 IMG_0425  IMG_0417 IMG_0413 IMG_0411 IMG_0400 1 IMG_0397

IMG_0420

 

IMG_0395  IMG_0389 IMG_0388 IMG_0387 IMG_0386

IMG_0383

 

 

 

IMG_0385 1

 

IMG_0392

IMG_0567

Notice the big blue lights and silver reflectors – they are shooting a movie on Jackson Square across from Cafe du Monde.

IMG_0380 1 IMG_0369 IMG_0368 IMG_0350 IMG_0349 IMG_0347

Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 (our slightly newer, 2′ longer RV Bus) – Chapter 1

Chapter One!

Steve and I have been out of touch in the last two months. 20140702_203936 @50 We have had the adventure of a lifetime buying a slightly newer RV home. 20141109_134831 ret @20We now live in a 2007, 42 foot Tiffin Allegro bus (on right). We have for sale our beloved first bus – a 2005, 40 foot Tiffin Allegro. Here’s how it went down, from August to November,  2014:

Wed, Aug 6 – 326 mi

Norman, Ok to Marshfield, Mo During the spring months, Steve and I have been visiting our son and family in Norman. We park at Cleveland County Fairgrounds on Robinson.FB_IMG_ @100 I had total knee replacement with Dr. Steven Schultz on June 17 at Norman Regional HealthPlex.  Amazingly, I am in walking distance to the clinic for knee therapy three times a week. Today is my last visit and I take them a big box of cookies from Dara Marie’s. I just love my PT, Dwight and all the other cheerful PT’s there. Steve has our bus ready to head out as soon as I return. We are going to Milwaukee to help celebrate my sister Sharon’s 30th wedding anniversary to hubby Gordy Hinrichs. This party is a big surprise and they don’t know we’re coming.  By dusk on day one, we make it to Marshfield, Mo, RV Express 66, where we have a swimming pool all to ourselves.

Thu Aug 7

Marshfield, Mo to Chatham Il After driving all day we arrive at Double J Campground. It has poured all day here and the big Illinois State Fair in Chatham is rained out on opening night.

Fri Aug 8

Chatham, Il to Jackson, Wi We gas up in Beloit, IL. About noon we park on the street in front of our nephew,  Brian Powell’s house. All our nieces and nephews gather us up for the great Wisconsin fish fry Friday night at MJ Stephens Pub, Hartford, WI.  They have a killer breaded Atlantic Cod but some of us got it covered with hollandaise, crab meat and asparagus!!

Sat Aug 9

Jackson, Wi It’s 6 pm, the guests are assembled, the food and drink flowing, the oompah band poised, the lights turned out. And here comes the anniversary couple down the hall. They both almost fainted.IMG_6959 collage @150 What a great surprise it was!! A fantabulous party, thanks to the planning and hard work of nieces Beth, Melanie and Becky. Everyone got their picture made with the anniversary couple. IMG_7051 best crop @200The Hinrichs, Powell families to honor Gordy & Sharon’s 30th wedding anniv., 08-11-14 .

Sun Aug 10

Mequon, Wi Now that the surprise is over, we can move our bus from Brian’s house to the front yard of Sharon and Gordy’s, on Arrowwood Drive in Mequon. 20140816_192434 ret @100 It is a beautiful house and we have parked here twice before but the bus doesn’t want to fit this time. We sweat bullets trying to make the turn into the driveway without dropping the back wheel in a deep ditch. We finally make it onto the pretty green grass, where we are guaranteed to sink the wheels a bit and tear a few ugly divots. But they always insist. They are so sweet.

Fri Aug 22

Mequon, Wi to Davenport-East Moline, Il – 220 mi After a lovely 12 day visit, we leave our sissy and bro in Milwaukee and head out for the wild west. We park overlooking the Mississippi River at a Corps of Engineers Campground, “Fisherman’s Corner” for $8 !!! We notice when writing a blog that all the sentences start with “We.”  Darn it – wish I could change that. Now WE are riding our bikes to the locks to watch the big barges locking through, and to take pictures of two wild swans gliding through the weeds. IMG_7315 IMG_7348

Sat Aug 23

East Moline Il to Des Moines, Ia, to Kansas City, Mo – 368 mi We fuel up at Osceola, Iowa and head west on I-80 for Denver, Co., when I decide we have to make a major change. My tooth is killing me.  We must turn south and go a thousand miles out of our way, back to Shawnee OK to visit my dentist. We turn south at Des Moines on I-35 and spend the night north of Kansas City at Wallace State Park for $19.

Sun Aug 24

Kansas City, Mo to Shawnee Ok – 385 mi We arrive at day’s end Sunday and park at Shawnee Fairgrounds. I’m at my dentist’s doorstep at the crack of dawn Monday morning. I had a brand new crown put in but it has been catching food like crazy. My dentist saws it off and gives me a lovely temporary cap. Steve and I now drive the old crown straight to the dental lab in Oklahoma City so I can get a replacement in 3 days instead of 3 weeks.

Wed Aug 27

Shawnee Ok Back to the dentist to have the second new permanent crown put in. For some reason, the temporaries work like a dream, but the permanent crown wants to catch food, I mean seriously.

end chapter 1

To find Chapter 2, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”
From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 2.

Why the 2007 42′ Tiffin Allegro Bus has our Dream Specifications, and Newer Ones Don’t

This article covers why we would actually prefer an older bus, 2007, over newer models – say 2010 to 2014. . . and why a step-up of only two years – from 2005 to 2007 – was a good deal for us.

 (Written by the wife, Carolie, with all facts provided by the obliging husband, Steve.) 

20141109_134831 ret @20

Twins!  Old(but loved) 40′ Tiffin Allegro bus on left.               New 42′ Tiffin Allegro on right.

First of all, going from a 40’ bus with six tires, to a 42’ with eight tires (“tag axle”) gives us a lot more room and more storage. But the bus handles almost identically because the wheel base from center of the front wheel to the center of the duals is only 6” longer.  Neither of us would ever want a 45’ bus, the biggest one made, because they are a challenge to drive, to turn corners, and to find RV parks to accommodate. So many RV parks were built after World War II, when RV’s were 30’ tops.

Replacing a 2005 Allegro Bus with a 2007 does not seem like much of an upgrade. But the 2007 was just new enough to have major upgrades, yet still old enough to have features we wanted that are becoming extinct – such as a queen size bed.  Since about 2010, the king size bed has been a no charge option, and most all buyers are taking it.  As the years go by, it’s getting harder and harder to find a used RV on the lot with a queen bed. The king bed might be fine in your home, especially if you have a big dog in the bed with you. But in an RV, the king leaves absolutely no room left to walk around the bed, and no night stands! How can you live without a nightstand for your Bose radio?

IMG_0797 a

We prefer a queen bed with two generous nightstands and spacious floor area, and now we have it!  If you factory order a bus, you most certainly can have queen bed. But we cannot afford a custom build, and we don’t think it’s financially smart to drive one off the showroom floor anyway. So when we say “new” we mean “new to us”!!  A new bus like ours would cost over $400,000, but we paid just $159,000 in 2014. What a deal!

IMG_0896 @200

See, this 2010 Winnebago Tour with king bed has no space at all on left and about 8″ on right. Where do you put your book, coffee cup, Bose clock radio? How do you reach the corner to make the bed without kneeling on it?

Second feature disappearing – gas range. The new motor homes lean toward all electric, or the new induction surface. They are dropping the gas refrigerator and gas range. Who wants to cook with induction or electric? Not us! We are gas or nuthin! We have a 10×22” ribbed grill pan that covers two burners and we use it weekly to make divine steaks and tender crisp veggies – indoors with no muss or fuss. Yes, gas ranges are a pain to clean, but its so worth it. And hey- we’re retired now.

Third feature gone – dual gas/electric refrigerator. If you want to really enjoy the RV life, leave the crowds behind and go “dry camping” in the desert or beside the ocean. This means you have no electricity to plug into. Old style RV refrigerators could handle this – running on electric in town, then switching to propane out in the country, “off the grid!” How can you beat that? We refilled our propane tank once a year at most. (RV’s that heat with propane are a major headache in cold weather.) All the new RV’s use large, all-electric household type refrigerators that the uninitiated female RV shopper swoons over. But you might have trouble dry camping with this electricity hog unless you start your generator every morning to recharge your nearly dead household batteries. (It also depends on how much tv/computer and coffeemaker you use.) One workaround is to have solar panels on your roof, but the reality is, the sun does not shine every day.

(Editor’s Note: Whoops! We actually did have to settle for an all-electric refrigerator on our new ’07, but we took it because the seller had upgraded this bus with four 120-watt solar roof panels We should be able to dry camp without over-using the generator.)

Fourth feature – A bus without a dishwasher is becoming very hard to find. We actually prefer to handwash our dishes for two, and we get the bonus of a huge, deep storage area for all our pots and pans, directly under the stove, sooo handy! But darn it – we had to take a dishwasher on our new bus. I now have pans dispersed everywhere – in bedroom closet, under bathroom sink, above sofa, in hallway. Fun!

 

 Here are the major benefits we enjoy by stepping up from 2005 to 2007 bus:

–Three air conditioning units instead of two. This is a critical benefit. We could barely keep our bus cool in the Oklahoma summer. It can be 100 degrees and humid there for weeks, and it doesn’t cool off at night. Our AC was working nonstop to blow air out of the ceiling vents, and it is so loud you have to holler at your guests, and turn your TV way up.

— 10K Onan generator  vs. 7500. The new one is single speed, more powerful and super quiet instead of noisy. You don’t even know its running.

–3000 watt Xantrex modified sine wave inverter, versus a 2000 watt Xantrex modified sine wave  inverter.

–Bigger house battery bank. The 40′ bus has four six-volt lead acid batteries. The 42′ bus has six six-volt lead acid batteries.

—  Side opening basement doors. This is a biggie for us. To access your bay storage on the 2005 bus, you had to kneel down and crawl underneath a top opening door, which was horizontal to the ground. It could not open any higher because it would hit the open slide above.  It is hard to lift 50 pound tubs when you’re on your knees and can’t get any leverage. The new bus has side opening doors so you can remain standing, no more kneeling on worn out cartilege-free knees. No more bumping your head when you stand up.

IMG_0805

New Way!

IMG_0808 a

Old way!

 

–A separate washer and dryer. 40’ buses have a single, European-style combo unit, which is small and slow. You can’t put more than one sheet in it at a time, so it takes three separate loads to wash your sheets.

— Longer couch for guests. Two can sleep on our new, jackknife style sofa bed. Before, one sleeper had to lie diagonally to fit.

— Spartan chassis (larger radiator capacity for hill climbing).

— Tag axle (more carrying capacity and better driving in the wind).

.–Three windows in bedroom. Steve has his own window for the first time, and we are enjoying cross ventilation).

–Hydro-Hot (new name, Aqua-Hot) Even tho this feature is included on both our old 40′ and new 42′, I have to mention it because it is so critical we could not live a day without it. Hydro-Hot gives us unlimited hot water on demand for showers, and instant cozy heat when we get up in the morning, from the diesel heater booster. This is all radiator hot water heat that doesn’t dry you out like a gas furnace.

 

Here are additional upgrades the seller added to this 42′ bus:

 

  1. — Complete solar setup with four 120W rooftop panels and a 60V controller. This will allow us to watch TV, use our computers, make coffee, and keep the refrigerator running when we are dry camping.
  2. MCD Shades with all-electric remote. This divine upgrade is standard on Tiffins from 2009. It’s truly heavenly to have MCD shades, especially if you’ve lived with the old curtains.
  3. The seller upgraded our new bus to a 3000 watt Magnum pure sine wave hybrid inverter instead of 2000w modified sine wave. We now have more power and cleaner power. It automatically supplements with power from the house battery bank for overload demand, whereas our old bus would just pop a breaker.
  4. The seller upgraded from six lead acid batteries to eight six-volt maintenance free AGM’s. Steve once tried to make me look in a tiny mirror and add water to the old batteries up to a line I couldn’t see at all, without overfilling or splashing acid on my hand. I ended up shaking and crying, “Do it yourself, Steve!”
  5. The seller removed a dreadful large box in the clothes closet that just ruins your ability to hang and store clothes. This box is an electrical cabinet holding two breaker panels and a 12V fuse panel. The box is way bigger than it needs to be anyway. The seller cut a hole in the floor and moved two of the panels into an empty space under the closet floor, adding an access door. Then he relocated the fuse panel onto the far right wall in the closet. What a HUGE improvement this is! Now we have an unobstructed closet like we had in our 2005 bus.
  6. The seller installed See-Level Gauges with read-outs both inside the bus and in the wet bay. The usual factory gauges for black and grey tank levels are notorious failures because their sensors are inside the tanks, collecting muck. They like to read “full” no matter what your true level.  See-Level gauges are outside the tanks and shoot through for accurate readings.
  7. –Two roll out bay drawers instead of one. These are wonderful for accessing your stuff.
  8. — SilverLeaf Engine Management System with read-out on dash. This monitors all engine functions and is programmable to display favorite.
  9. –SWM equipped Winegard satellite (with multiplexed wiring, you can watch two different shows at the same time and record several if you have two DVR’s.)
  10. Bose sound system added to both front and back.
  11. A Kenwood Stereo unit with Garmin GPS was installed in front dash to replace the factory radio/CD player. This thing is amazing! It gives you an IPod input port, wireless telephone, GPS navigation, XM radio as well as AM/FM, and a USB port.
  12. In the wet bay, four heaters have been added to keep our water lines from freezing when we are stuck in snow, as we have often been. Two are pad heaters under the fresh water tank. Two are forced air heaters by the hoses and valves.
  13. Norcold 2.12 cubic foot basement freezer added
  14. The seller hard-plumbed a water line from the city water source into the black tank. so you can flush and clean your black tank with fresh water at the flip of a switch, instead of hooking up a garden hose.
  15. Seller added a fresh water pressure gauge inside the wet bay. This allows you to monitor the city water pressure coming in and to add a regulator if needed.
  16. You must protect all your RV electronics from electrical surges. The standard solution is to buy a $300 surge protector and plug it outside between the power pedestal (“current bush”) and your cord. These hang unprotected in rain and weather, and, sadly, are sometimes stolen. The seller equipped our bus with a Progressive Industries Electrical Management System (EMS) hard wired safely inside the electric bay.
  17. Most RV’s come standard with a whole house water filter, and a second for the refrigerator. This bus has two additional filters. Thus, our kitchen water is double filtered and our refrigerator door ice/water is triple filtered. I cannot tell you how wonderful this is for the clean flavor of the coffee and iced tea we make daily, no matter where we drive to in the country. In our old bus, we went from one crazy water flavor to the next. Sometimes we hauled heavy gallons home. Now we feel so spoiled, and we are drinking a lot more water.
  18. Seller modified the Hydro-Hot system to make it easier to service. My husband worked on the Hydro-Hot in our old bus and had to crawl to the back end of a small bay over three days. He came out bleeding and miserable. On the new bus, the seller moved the vacuum cleaner out of the Hydro-Hot bay, onto the ceiling of the next bay, out of the way. Then he moved a wiring panel on the back wall up, creating a large opening below, directly into the Hydro-Hot. We can’t live a day without the heat and unlimited hot water from our Hydro-Hot, but they do need servicing annually and can wear out. Most commonly, a cracked drain tube (loss of antifreeze) or dead heating element.
  19. The toilet has a maintenance switch that holds the flap open but that switch is impossible to access – it’s up inside the back of the toilet where you can’t get your head to look. Our switch has been moved out within easy reach.
  20. The outside front steps have a switch. If you leave the switch on, the steps will open every time you open the door, and retract every time you close the door. Most people prefer to keep the steps out all the time while parked. Because if you accidentally have the steps in, and then turn the step switch off, you can actually step out of the bus with no step below you and fall! This happened to our guest because we had turned the ignition key on. (Lawsuit?!) There is a light but it is tied to the step switch and only comes on when the steps move in and out. Our steps are always out, and our light has been rewired to come on whenever we open the screen door.  This is a much better, safer scenario for a complex system.

 

So, in summary, we are very happy with our “new to us” 2007 Tiffin Allegro, 42’. This is only the second RV we have owned, and we fully expect it will be our last one. We are going to live in this “BessyBus 2” from now until the cows come home to roost. Please get in touch if you have any questions at all!

Carol & Steve Dwyer

carol1dwyer@gmail.com

steve1dwyer@gmail.com

 

Nov 17, 2014

 

 

 

Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 – Chapter 2


Thu Aug 28

Shawnee, Ok to Hays, Ks – 374 mi

This morning I visit dentist once more for an adjustment. Then we must go! We need to be in Denver by Sept 2 to celebrate Steve’s big 70th birthday with his sister and family.  We fuel up at Tonkawa, OK and park for the night at Wilson Lake State Park on I-40. A big storm rolls in right over this beautiful lake.

20140828_193024 @100 IMG_7390

Fri Aug 29
Hays Ks to Firestone Co – 355 mi

This morning we call Rob B. for breakfast. He is our son’s old roommate and our renter for many years. He was part of our family in Norman but recently got his very first job teaching Philosophy at Ft. Hays State University. Surprise! Rob is packing and leaving for China in two hours. No socializing today. We drive on to Firestone, Co and park at the lovely home of our niece and nephew, Monica and Steve B.

IMG_6881 ret @150 blog

You can see from this photo that Monica & Steve have a view west of the Rocky Mountains from their front door, and plenty of parking for BessyBus with no other houses around. It is spectacular!

We get to see their son darling Camden, now one year older. We love to sit on the living room floor early in the morning, visit and drink coffee while we watch the baby play.

IMG_4298

Rocky Mountains, Front Range view from Firestone & Longmont at sunset. This view is never the same twice, and always breathtaking. You will leave your heart there.

Mon Sep 1
Firestone Co to Berthoud, Co – 21 mi

We move our bus to park on the street in front of Steve’s sister’s house, Karen and Tom Gavin.

IMG_7745 ret @150

They host a fantastic party on Tuesday, Sept 2, for big Steve’s big 70 birthday. All the family is there, including the far flung family – see niece Erika from New York with her two children. And Steve’s brother Paul and Dee from Seattle, with niece Katy from Los Angeles. It’s the first time we’ve all been together in a couple years. Karen and Tom are also celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary this week.

IMG_7705 @150

 

We take in a Rockies baseball game. We enjoy the Chilhuly hand blown art glass exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and drive up to Estes Park for the Scottish Festival.

IMG_7881

Dale Chihuly hand blown glass pieces are planted everywhere among the flowers and foliage of Denver Botanic Gardens.

 

IMG_8138 @150

Heavy armor jousting still exists on giant horses at Scottish Festival, Estes Park, Co!

Karen and Tom keep a huge garden and are wicked good cooks. Karen won the state fair cherry pie baking contest. She has two cherry trees in her back yard, and her mom Louva’s pie crust recipe. No wonder!

20130901_171958 @30 two

sister Karen’s state fair prize winning cherry pie from Karen’s real, not canned tart cherries.

Wed Sep 10
Berthoud, Co to Kremmling, Co – 146 mi

After ten nights with the precious Dwyer family, we head west up over Vail Pass on I-70. BessyBus is chugging along to climb 10,662 ft. We are going to meet friends that we haven’t seen in five years. We keep in touch online but this is the first time they have been close enough to overlap in person!  We meet Dan and Irene at Wolford Reservoir, north of Kremmling, Co, an isolated high plain with few trees, a place of stunning, severe beauty. The town is loaded with hunting outfitters.

IMG_8253

Fancy log cabin of the lone pioneer on Wolford River, later dammed to Reservoir

 

Irene is Italian and a fab cook. You should have seen her baked lake trout, served on fine embroidered linens and cut crystal, while we sat parked in the beautiful wilderness beside the lake. Does it get any better than this?

20140909_190938 @50

Irene’s freshly caught baked lake trout.

 

IMG_8267

Our two RVs, parked all alone at Wolford Reservoir, with a sweeping view of big game country

She also served us Trappey’s sweet hot jalapeno peppers on cream cheese on celery. This became an obsession. I later visited about 20 stores looking for it before finally ordering six jars online. We first (and last) met Dan and Irene at twilight in the parking lot of Cape Flattery, Washington, at the furthest northwest land point in the contiguous United States.

IMG_4204

Walking path to the tip of Cape Flattery

IMG_4215

View of Pacific ocean from tip of Cape Flattery

We were about to spend the night sleeping in the front seat of our Dodge truck when Irene came along and invited two total strangers to sleep in her bus on the living room floor! She made us a lovely bed with air mattresses. She told us all about their life in Hawaii. She cooked us spaghetti for dinner and bacon/eggs for breakfast. And thus a treasured friendship began. No wonder we are beholden to them and willing to drive over Vail pass just to see them again!

20140910_144330 ret @30

Cute log cabin on Hwy 1 southwest of Kremmling Co

 

 Fri Sept 12
Kremmling, Co to Wolcott, Co – 68 mi (@35 mph!)

We had a longstanding desire to see the Glenwood Canyon area of Colorado on I-70. We passed through there once before in a downpour and saw nothing. To view pricey Glenwood Canyon on a budget, we decide to stay 20 miles east of town at the tiny, cute, very tight BLM site –  Wolcott Campground. To reach Wolcott from Kremmling, we take Bessy on the small, scenic state Hwy 134 west through the mountains, past Toponas, Co., then south on 131 and across the Colorado River at State Bridge. This is a land of sheepherders and beautiful wild country.

a 57AU6492q colo river at state bridge @40

Looking down on Colorado river and rafters at the tiny town of State Bridge, Co on Hwy 131

a 57AU6345 ret crop 2 @90

This Great Pyrenees is so fearless and fiercely loyal, he will kill any wolf or tourist who comes near his sheep. There were warning signs saying “Do not approach the dog!!

a 57AU6376 herder peru @70

Even tho he spoke not a word of English, we had a long conversation with this sheepherder from Peru. See his wagon house in background.

a 57AU6384 @90 blog

We are driving our car on the primitive Hwy 700/Muddy Creek Road, in the mountains above Wolcott. Far down below is the sheepherder’s wagon.

Also on Hwy 131 near Wolcott is the beautiful Four Eagle Dude Ranch so I’ll have to add two photos of that:

a 57AU6508q porch breaking bronc 600x400

Wolcott BLM costs only $5 per night – what a guilt trip! We stayed here once before when our niece Monica and Steve got married at Red Sky Golf and Country Club nearby. Our bus is sitting right beside the bubbling, sparkling Eagle River. From our bedroom window we can see fly fishermen casting.

 

Sat Sep 13
Glenwood Springs, Co.

Every day we take our car and bikes from Wolcott east on I-70 to Glenwood Springs, or west to Vail/Aspen/Avon area. You cannot believe the beautiful drive on I-70 through the fabulous Glenwood Canyon.

a IMG_8446 glenwood canyon @200

We did it coming and going several times, with me hanging out the window with my camera, yelling “Slow down!” Glenwood is famous for hiking and white water rafting, and the over-touristed Hot Springs Spa of the Rockies swimming pool. We saw a bear for the first time in our lives and made several shots of him munching on a bush at – appropriately – Grizzly Creek Rest Stop. It was shocking to see tourists walk right up to the bear with their cell phones. One idiot with not even a phone (or shirt) just wanted to feel macho by invading the bear’s space. I wish the bear would have eaten him.

a IMG_8348 bear @140

Hi, I’m cute.

 

There is no better bike ride than on a trail right along the Colorado River.

a 20140915_172123 bike ride @30

Our bike trail is right on top of the Colorado River in the Glenwood Canyon on I-70.

We also watched people catching a wave at the Whitewater Park waterfalls near Midland Ave.

a IMG_8508 @100

We ate at the old grand dame, Hotel Colorado, where Teddy Roosevelt and other wealthy aristocrats stayed while on big game hunting trips.

a IMG_8461

Lobby of grand old dame Hotel Colorado, built in 1893. Has its own ghosts, of course.

The hotel tells a charming fable about how Roosevelt was supposed to bring a bear back for his daughter. When he returned empty handed, the staff made a little bear out of stuffed rags for him to give his daughter instead, thus inventing the teddy bear. You can read the truth here:

http://durangoherald.com/article/20120108/COLUMNISTS02/701089997/The-teddy-bear-truth-unraveled-

Before leaving Wolcott, we take a picnic lunch and drive up Bellyache Ridge Road, past the Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club. Up here at 9,120 feet the aspens are at their peak.

IMG_8585a

Tue Sep 16
Wolcott, Co to Colorado Springs, Co – 183 mi

We drive back down the big mountain on I-70, asking alot of BessyBus to do this twice. We turn south on I-25 to Colorado Springs to spend two days with Escapee friends Brad and Marilyn from Ontario, Canada.  It’s another coincidental overlap of friends along our route! We enjoy Garden of the Gods together and park at the super tight Goldfield RV Park.

a IMG_8639 brad

Happy RV friends Brad and Marilyn

a IMG_8676 gods

Garden of the Gods park, Colorado Springs

Brad tells us the story of how his dad owned mineral rights to land around a lake in Canada, and sold the those rights just a few years before millions of dollars worth of graphite was discovered there. Email me for a copy of Brad’s “riches to rags” mining story, with photos.

Wed Sep 17
Colorado Springs, Co to Berthoud, Co – 127 mi

We drive north back to Karen’s house at Berthoud to complete the second half of our visit with Karen, Tom and the Dwyer family. We have a three hour dinner at Star of India Restaurant in Ft. Collins with their dear friends, Vish and Sherry.

end of chapter 2

To find Chapter 3, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”
From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 3.

Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 – Chapter 3




Mon Sep 22

Berthoud Co to Rock Springs Wy -292 mi

Time to travel! But where should we go? Don’t laugh – we have another set of Escapee friends who are spending the summer work camping in Daniel, Wyoming. This is the only destination we had actually preplanned to see friends. So we head north out of Fort Collins through Laramie, WY, where our niece Jessie R. got her PhD in Astronomy and taught undergrad. Then on west to Rock Springs WY, a barren looking oil rig town, to overnight at a KOA, the only show in town.

Tue Sep 23
Rock Springs Wy to Daniel, Wy – 114 mi

We are headed north for three days with Tom and Diane, the camp hosts at a petite BLM park, Warren Bridge Campground.

a IMG_8856

Warren Bridge on Hwy 189/191 crosses the Green River north of Daniel, Wy.

a IMG_8752

BessyBus parked in Wyoming’s big sky country at Warren Bridge BLM Campground with our camp host friends Tom and Dianne.

a IMG_8762 carol bike warren b

Steve and I get a daily bike ride around the campground on crisp October days

IMG_8756Near us is the tiny, adorable western town of Daniel, Wyoming. I wanted to shoot every cute little storefront but a downpour hit and drove me back into the bus after only a few shots. Rats!

IMG_9114a ret

Daniel Gas Station

IMG_9116a

Small residence. Daniel, Wy, has a dozen very small buildings actually used by mountain men.

Near Daniel is Pinedale, Wy., the mountain man capital of America and the site of historic mountain man gatherings. They have a fantastic museum to preserve it all.

IMG_8820a

IMG_8831a

I love the Pinedale motto . . . “All the civilization you need.” There is no Wal-Mart within 100 miles of here. (Must go south to Rock Springs.)

aIMG_8781a

Green River winding through the rolling hills around Pinedale, Wy. This was the favorite spot in the whole US for mountain man gatherings in the 1800’s.

 

a IMG_8813a

Herd of antelope with nary a hunter in sight!

a IMG_8803a

Modern day grouse hunting camps along the Green River

Thu Sep 25
Daniel, Wy to Jackson Hole, Wy – 40 mi

We take a side trip in our car to Jackson, Wy. It’s just 40 miles north of us, but what a spectacular drive!

IMG_8879a

We haven’t even made it to the Grand Tetons park yet. This is just the view on Hwy 26 driving north toward Jackson, Wy!

We cruise all over downtown Jackson, nestled in the valley called Jackson Hole, and notice that we are the only non-millionaires in town. We eat breakfast at the national historic, wood-floored Cafe Genevieve. Their homemade hash is so divine, we take an extra order and eat it for lunch. We stop next door to buy true French bread at Persephone Bakery, then spend the day touring Grand Teton National Park.

IMG_8866a

We luck out and hitting the aspens at their peak at Jackson Hole, Wy.

Here are the Grand Tetons from the highway:

a IMG_8915

The pioneers found the best view of the Tetons in the park and built a log chapel there in 1925 with a big picture window up front framing that breathtaking view.

a IMG_8936 chapel of transfiguration in teton park @200

Picturesque Chapel of the Transfiguration inside the park. Great spot for a wedding!

a IMG_8927 a

View of mountains with Chapel on the left.

Also in the park there once was a busy ferry crossing the Snake River, built in 1892 by Bill and brother Holiday Menor. Their home and general store are preserved and still selling dry goods today to tourists. Of the two Menor brothers, one was menor than the other.

a IMG_8989 ret

Dry Goods for sale, Menor Ferry General Store

a IMG_8970 a a IMG_8992 a

On our way home, we stop for 30 minutes to visit our friends Nancy and Dave, “Shadowtracks.” They are summer employees at Jackson Hole Tourist Center, and what a madhouse that place was!!!

IMG_9105 Crop

Big Steve with Escapee friends Dave (“Shadowtracks”) and Nancy, on 4pm lunch break from their job at Jackson Hole Tourist Center.

At night we invite a 20-something couple to come over from their pup tent and sit with the four of us at our campfire. They are both engineers from Prague, Czech Republic, speaking perfect English. They share with us their homemade drink, Slivovitz, and we, luckily, have a loaf of true French bread to give them.

On Saturday morning we bid adieu to dear friends Tom and Dianne, who are also leaving the park. It’s the end of their summer job as camp hosts. Old Man Winter is driving the Polar Express into Daniel, Wyoming.

20140313_193023_ret crop @

Sat Sep 27
Daniel, Wy to Provo, Ut

Now I have a problem. My lip has a small sore that hasn’t healed in three months. Dianne gives us a great tip about a lovely Elks Club in Provo Utah where we can live cheap but comfy, and the town is just the right size to visit a dermatologist. My other choice would be Jackson, Wy, where prices would be more Hollywood-style. I call Provo and get a Monday morning appointment at Central Utah Clinic, which has several dermatologists. We drive to Provo and park at the Elks on University Ave with Brigham Young University all around us.

2014 10 03 elks provo

The beautiful Elks Lodge, downtown Provo. They made chicken soup for me on the day of my surgery, and passed the hat in the bar. What fantastic people, our Elks friends!

Provo is a fascinating town with a gorgeous bank of Wasatch mountains that runs for miles right alongside Main Street, so close you can reach out and almost touch them.

0 a provo main st w mountains IMG_9868

The beautiful Wasatch Mountains run right alongside the main street in Provo.

 

a sunset from provo mall 20141012_184929

The gorgeous Wasatch Mountains at sunset. You can see this view from anywhere in town, including from our bus parked at the Provo Elks.

aaa

 

0 bubble football IMG_9924 ret @150

Hilarious game of bubble football on the campus of Brigham Young University.

The much-loved jewel of downtown Provo was this spectacular Mormon Temple built in 1883 in Gothic Revivial style. Tragically, it burned in 2010 but is actually being rebuilt. It wouldn’t be Provo without her.

provo-utah-tabernacle-mormon

The queen of downtown Provo is this magnificent Provo Temple built in 1886 and burned in 2010. It is being retuilt on the same spot with subtle improvements such as vast underground parking.

 

0 20141012_113704

Impressive construction underway for the new temple, renamed Provo City Center Temple. For a fascinating video of this architectural feat, see……………… http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/provo-city-center-temple-stilts

 

Tue Sep 30
Sundance Lodge

We drive up the mountains on Provo Canyon Rd. to Hwy 92, the Alpine Scenic Highway. Halfway around the loop you arrive at Sundance Mountain Resort, the movie festival and ski resort owned by Robert Redford.

a IMG_9154 @200 a IMG_9174 @200 a IMG_9182 @170

 

We have an elite lunch there with movie directors, socialites and Robert Redford wannabes. This place is indescribably beautiful but what we most enjoy is the fascinating history — land surveyers (Scott and John Stewart) came in the 1890’s and picked this mountain valley as the most beautiful of everything they had seen out west. They bought it for their own homestead. In 1944, their sons opened a ski resort with a T-bar rope tow. Redford bought it in 1969. There are tons of wonderful photos online.

0 IMG_9155 ski lift

Sundance Ski Lift

While we are here at Elks we take advantage of our fixed address to order Tupelo honey from the tupelo flower that grows in Tates Hell Swamp near Apalachicola, Fl.  There is nothing in the world like it.  I got four one pound jars for $10 each from Smiley Honey. Tupelo honey will never crystallize on your shelf.

DSC_0139_large

end chapter 3

To find Chapter 4, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”

From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 4.