Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Back where we started

We've been keeping an eye on the rain and wind thrown off by Alberto as it moves north, away from the Gulf.    We had planned on stopping in McKean, Pennsylvania tonight and then drive the rest of the way to the lake tomorrow but made a last minute correction and came directly here while the skies were blue.

So, we're here.    We left last October and have had a wonderful fall, winter and spring exploring the west.     Summers at the lake are beautiful and we're looking forward to a lovely season visiting with friends and chilling lakeside before we head out again. 

our sweet, quiet little welcome wagon lady

Lewis is thrilled to have his giant water bowl back!

our shore is lined with the most fragrant Black Locust trees!

Lew is a big help opening up the cottage

wet feet are the norm 


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Casey, Illinois

We've been at the Casey (CAY zee), Illinois KOA since Friday afternoon.   We stopped here last fall, on our way west and remembered it as a small, green, quiet campground with all the necessary services and not too far from the interstate for ease of continued travel.   It is surrounded by enormous farm fields of corn or soybeans.

site 4

It's still that.....but this weekend it is bulging at the seams.   Kids, bicycles, dogs, tents, campfires, corn hole games, flags, heat and humidity, bugs.     Everyone is having a ball and, surprisingly, we're not having such a bad time.   Just a different time than everyone else.   

People must think us odd.   I guess we are, but that's how we roll.    We have no flags flying, no chairs outside around the campfire, no fishing poles leaning on the tree, no bright table cloth on the picnic table, no barking dog tied outside, no pool towels hanging from the awning.   No awning out for that matter!

We're enjoying a respite from driving miles on the interstate each day.   We're enjoying our heavenly air conditioning, our pretty lake view (no one has put a tent or trailer there. much to our surprise and joy).    We're enjoying making and eating a few good dinners instead of just warming things in the microwave.  We're enjoying watching the Indianapolis 500 on television and we're enjoying not itching from the mosquito population just outside Beluga's door.

Lewis enjoys his spot directly under an air conditioning vent.

Yesterday we drove into Casey's downtown looking for the town's claim to fame.....8 Guiness Book of World Records certified, fully functional,World's Largest Things.

I don't think we actually saw all 8 but we saw enough to satisfy me.    Casey is a small town (less than 3000 people) that had fallen on hard times, as many small mid America towns have.   One of it's residents decided to design and build something to encourage people to stop for a bit on their way past on I-70.  He felt that if people stop to look at the "world's largest......" maybe they'd buy gas, ice cream, lunch, and perhaps even stay overnight.    He began creating.    Each one is placed next to or in front of, a local business.

World's Largest Mailbox
 (with an official USPS mail slot inside, a door that opens and closes and
a flag that goes up)

this colorful birdie keeps a clean cage!

World's Largest Golf Tee sits on the town's golf course.
There are plans to put a giant golf ball on top......

World's Largest pitchfork beside a restaurant inside a beautiful old barn

World's Largest Windchimes

giant replica of the builder's Grandmother's Rocker
We did see the World's Largest knitting needles and crochet hook through the window of the town's Yarn Shoppe, but didn't go inside to photograph them.   We also noticed the fabric actually produced by those giant implements lying next to them.    All these things must be actually usable, the rocker must rock, the knitting needles must knit, the wind chime must make noise, etc.

The town is exceptionally neat and clean, Disney-esque almost.   Each attraction is set upon beautiful and perfect landscaping.   Dave even noticed that the decorative rocks and stones had been lacquered.     Another thing we noticed everywhere were religious symbols and/or bible verses, especially evident on the World's Largest things.      Hmmmm.

We leave here in the morning, refreshed and ready for the final leg of our trip.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Yikes!   Where has spring gone?   We've been moving across the mid west, Kansas and Missouri specifically, and it seems Spring is long gone, or never even arrived.    Summer is in full swing with high 80's, 90 and even a  stray 101 seen on our thermometer.   Humidity outside almost matches....thank goodness for Beluga's air conditioning!

We've been taking it easy, trying not to drive more than 200 miles in one day - there's not much to look at along our route.    Tuesday and Wednesday nights we stayed at a nice Elks Lodge in Blue Springs, Missouri and tonight we're at a sweet little leafy campground in Danville, Missouri.   

We stayed here in the fall, on our way west.   The sites are nice and level, the proprietors are friendly and very helpful, there are enough trees around to give the illusion of being in a cool forest and it's not far off the interstate.

We'll hole up in tiny Casey, Illinois for the busy holiday weekend then continue on through Ohio and Pennsylvania to the lake.    We expect to pull in on Wednesday.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


We're on the road, E is on our compass, we're heading back to the lake.    We're in Kansas tonight.

The drive has been.....a bit boring.    The scenery, while boring, is restful to the eyes.   So much so that I almost fell asleep in my seat today.    I never do that.

Our site at the Goodland KOA is fine and the sun is shining.   No tornadoes or "dangerous" weather patterns at this point.   The trees around us are filled with noisy Orioles and Western Kingbirds.     The next stop on our eastern pilgrimage
will be Russell Kansas, tomorrow night.

Jesse and Erin came over for happy hour last night, then we drove into nearby Littleton for dinner.

Ready to go Erin?

We enjoyed another great dinner together, although the large table seated next to us sounded like they were at a soccer game instead of a lovely little local restaurant.    The food and wine and dessert were wonderful but we could barely hear each other's conversation across the table.

who will get the last bite?

Ah well, you can't dictate how other people express their joy....although it would certainly be nice.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

last few days

I'm really bad.   I just don't remember to take pictures of people, even people I love.    You see Dave in lots of my photos because I use him for perspective.....shhh, don't tell him that though.

So, in keeping with this confession I'll tell you that we had a lovely long lunch with Rick and JoAnne on Monday, and took no pictures.     We drove up to Boulder to meet them at the Met and on our way home we stopped at our favorite Rincon Argentino to pick up a large order of their yummy empanadas.   Most of them made it to our freezer, but we kept some out to share with Jesse and Erin the next night.    We also enjoyed a strawberry/rhubarb Julian pie that we've dragged around with us since January (in the freezer!).   Once again, no pictures.

Then, last night, we celebrated multiple birthdays at another of our all time favorite restaurants in Denver, Mizuna.   We shared lots of wine, Beef Wellingtons, Scallops and most excellent desserts.   We Ubered home.   No pictures.

Jesse and Erin are coming to Beluga this afternoon for an inside Happy Hour (it's been pouring all day long) and then out for one last dinner so I'll try to remember to take pictures of them.   Check back and see if I did! 

  Even though it's been raining constantly, the Lilac Looter was hard at work.   Imagine my surprise when I looked out my window and saw....

cowboy boots guard against ticks in high grass, I'm told....

Thanks to him, Beluga now smells like Springtime instead of a Chinese restaurant.   A good thing.

Thursday Dave and I took rt. 67 through Sedalia with the South Platte River as our destination.

On our way we turned off onto the dirt Rampart Range Road to find a nice quiet place in the woods for our lunch.

We found just the place beside another huge boulder that seemed very out of place.   It was balanced on two tiny points smack in the middle of deep woods.

We wondered where it came from!

see what I mean?   Perspective.....

After lunch we continued on to the River.   This is one of our favorite drives, any time of year, but in the spring there are lots of flowers along the way and the river is rioting along noisily. 

 We found a lovely calm spot and sat on some smooth rocks so we could put our feet in the water.    It was almost 90 degrees outside so the cold water felt really good.

I saw something interesting in the water at my feet so I slid down the smooth rock (a little faster than I'd planned....) and into the water to investigate.  The water was deeper than it looked but I managed to keep the phone in my pocket dry.

I worked the little things along with my foot until I could reach into the water without getting to very wet.   They looked like little bubbles.

I was quite pleased with myself and they have now joined my small rock collection under the Jeep's front seat.

small pleasures

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Into the Woods

The weather here is changeable.   One day in the 50's, or hot and sunny in the morning, death storms in the afternoon.   On one of those hot days we headed for the hills with Lewis and our lunch.

I'd forgotten how wonderful the forest smells....

We drove south on rt. 67 and turned off onto 105 through beautiful horse and cattle ranches.    We were looking for Dakan Road, knowing that it had just opened for the year on May 1.     As we began to climb on the dirt road we saw some beautiful wildflowers here and there.

We stopped for lunch beside a huge overhanging boulder that is a popular camping spot.   We were at almost 9000 feet and the cool breeze was just perfect.

We explored the boulder strewn area awhile before getting our cooler and settling down for lunch.

We watched birds enjoying a water filled pothole in one boulder.

it was a little breeze up there!

Lew watches Dave climb up with our lunch

We whiled away most of the afternoon there so, instead of making it a loop drive, we just went back home the same way we'd come.   I never mind that, things always look different from the other direction!

Lew enjoys a little rub down before getting back in the Jeep.

On Mother's Day we had second cup at Jesse and Erin's house.   Lewis went along for the first time because we had plans for the entire day, followed by dinner, and we didn't want to leave him alone for that long.

He loves Jesse and Erin madly and really enjoyed the freedom of a house and a new toy box filled with different things.      He gets along respectfully with their sweet dog, Tanner, but isn't really interested in interacting with anyone other than Jess.

keeping the proper distance apart while waiting for a hand out!

Lewis found several balls in Tanner's toy bucket!   O Joy!

a door jam hug is always nice

as is a door way ambush!

After making sure the dogs could co-exist, alone the four of us headed over to the newly opened Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art.   I did not take my camera inside so I have only a few shots from my phone.   I was too interested in looking.

The museum houses a fantastic Vance Kirkland retrospective - over 1000 pieces of Colorado's most distinguished modern painter are housed in this brand new space.   Also included are examples of every major design period from Arts and Crafts to Post Modern all displayed in salon style.    The last section of this museum showcases the art work of over 700 Colorado artists between 1880 and the l990s.    Not your ordinary art gallery! 

After we'd seen all we could see, Erin prepared a delicious dinner and we ate and enjoyed and talked about our day.    I can't think of a better way to spend Mother's Day....thanks Jesse and Erin, you make me very happy.