Sunday, August 28, 2005


Our blog started getting hit with spam about the same time Donna's did, so I installed the same security tool she and Don are using. I had some issues getting it installed properly, but Don's second pair of eyes helped me find my typo. Thanks Don.

Most of the spam I get is related to prescription drug sales. I don't know why that seems to be so prevalent, but I get almost no pornographic spam at all. Can you imagine how productive these spammers could be if they focused their talent on something beneficial? People say they wouldn't do it if it were not profitable, but I cannot imagine who would look at this stuff seriously, never mind actually responding to these sales pitches.

I don't know what the answer is to this, but it seems something needs to be done. I know it is very difficult to police even if there were legislation in place, since much of it comes from outside the US, but why should we be surrendering so much of our bandwidth and disk space to these people without a fight?

Anyone have any thoughts about this?

Monday, August 22, 2005

We've got pictures!

We finally put pictures of our trip in the gallery so you can now see a little of what we saw. It's very hard to get the scale of many of the sights from a photo so we limited ourselves to highlights. To get there click on Gallery under Other Links to the right. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


to Heather and Mark! We understand we have another grand nephew on the way! We're thrilled for you and pray your pregnancy and delivery are uneventful.

"Chatted" w/Mom Lafferty (I don't know how else to differentiate between them!) this morning and we've decided life's just too expensive to continue living. One of her meds has gone up dramatically and her rent will be increasing soon. Our home phone, Richard's cell phone and PDA have all gone out. Chris and Dayna's house payment and insurance costs have gone up about $550 a month, prompting Chris to look into getting a second job. Darin and Diane's refrigerator is, literally, falling apart at the seams. What else?!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Wash Day

Got our house put back together and cleaned Sunday. It sure needed it. Richard was glad for the day to catch his breath before heading back to work Monday. Had to learn how to wash dishes the old fashioned way, by boiling water on the stove!

He ordered a new controller yesterday and it arrived today. So I've spent the evening doing many loads of wash.

He found his drive to work is 20-30 minutes longer than before we left. Part of that is because school is now in session. He'd really like to find another place to live that's closer. We checked out all the other parks in the area before we moved here so am not sure where he expects to find something. I can certainly understand him not wanting to drive 1½ hours to work. Don't know what the answer is.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

We're Home

Drove Pike's Peak Wed. morning. Another hair raising adventure. I had decided I was going to walk back down the mountain if Richard drove faster than I was comfortable with. Fortunately we were behind a road grader all the way down so it was a nice, slow trip.

We kept watching the temperature drop and it was 45º by the time we got to 14,100 feet. We all enjoyed the breathtaking views from on top.

They are in the process of paving the road; a controversial project for many years due to all the races there. It will certainly make the drive for most people more enjoyable but we can understand the concerns of others.

We didn't get to Cave of the Winds or any place else in the area. Everything in and around Colorado Springs is quite expensive so we just went back to our campground for the kids to swim, etc. in the afternoon. Just to drive across Royal Gorge was going to cost about $35! It's sad to see how much of our nation's natural beauty has become so commercialized.

Thursday we headed east having decided to drive a little out of our way to go to Abilene, KS and see Eisenhower's library. His home is there, as well as the visitor's center, museum, library, and meditation room - a small chapel where he, his wife, Mamie, and their first son are buried. It was quite a history lesson for the kids - for us all, really.

Stayed someplace in Kansas that evening and then pushed on toward TX yesterday. That day's travels turned into quite an adventure! We were listening to our weather radio and were warned about severe thunderstorms in the area we were heading toward. They weren't kidding! All of a sudden we heard and saw a very loud crack/boom and felt the hair on our necks stand up. The truck or trailer had been hit by lightning. The truck coasted to a stop, having lost its electronics. Richard turned the ignition off and, fortunately, was able to restart it. The strike was close enough to "shock" the electronics, but not destroy them. I know it took awhile for all of us to catch our breath after that.

Last night we soon discovered that wasn't the only thing affected. We had no hot water. The controller in the water heater was fried. We'll have to order a new one next week.

Stayed in Kansas, at the Oklahoma border last night, and then drove on back to Denton today, arriving around 3 p.m. We probably drove over 3,000 miles altogether as I know we had to fill up twice. Since fuel prices jumped up dramatically this past week it ended up being a pretty expensive vacation. We are all glad to be home.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Catching Up

We know we need to attach pictures. We've decided we're lucky to get the written word out with our hit and miss internet connections.

Two nights ago we spent the night at a state park on a lake in Vernal, Utah - dry camping. Definitely not my cup of tea. Our batteries aren't the strongest so we had to do with as little as possible in the way of electrical needs. Fortunately it was cool that evening and opening the windows brought in a nice breeze for us all to sleep by.

Yesterday we drove to the Dinosaur Nat'l Monument Quarry so the kids could see the dinosaur bones right in the mountainside. We all enjoyed learning more about those ancient beasts. Dom got a dinosaur model kit and has been sanding each evening on the pieces in preparation to paint it & put it together. He lacks much in the way of patience and this has been a good project for him.

Last night we stayed in Steamboat Springs, CO in preparation for our drive across Rocky Mtn. Nat'l Park today. We paid the most we've ever paid for camping and with fewer amenities. Hate those daily rates.

Rocky Mountain is absolutely gorgeous - even above the tree line. We saw elk and mountain sheep along the roadside.

I'm still getting used to our rig and I have to tell you I "white knuckled" pretty much the whole trip today. My back really ached when we got to our site this evening from the stress. Having driven the pickup and tow vehicles I know how much it takes for them to stop. I have no clue how this truck works and why the engine brake works. So when Richard doesn't step on the brakes I'm doing it for him! And then we hit the 5:00 Denver traffic which caused Richard as much stress as I had experienced earlier.

We're camped at Garden of the Gods campground - another expensive place but this one has more amenities. Tomorrow we will drive up Pike's Peak and maybe get to Cave of the Winds. It depends on how early we get up in the morning. We'd also like to see Royal Gorge but don't know if it will fit in our schedule before we head back toward Texas on Thursday.

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Canyonlands Nat'l Park

We got a late start this morning as it was raining. It wasn't coming down hard but it would have been uncomfortable hiking in the rain and mud.

Our first stop was at Dead Horse State Park. A lady at the campground we are staying at told us last evening that she thought it was prettier than the Grand Canyon. So, of course, we had to go and see for ourselves. It is at least as gorgeous and, in some cases, more awe inspiring than the Grand Canyon. We were amazed we hadn't heard of it before.

In Canyonlands we first hiked to Aztec Butte. It was a 3/8 mile walk to the butte and then a 3/8 mile hike up the side of it to the caves and granaries at the top. I knew I was going to have a hard time coming back down and did - coming close to having an anxiety attack. It was steeper than I was comfortable with. But we were all glad we went.

Next was a short hike up Whale Rock. You could see it from the parking lot so only the kids and I went as Richard was in great need of a nap. They have found they really love climbing rocks!

On to Green River Overlook for gorgeous views of the mesas and Green River surrounding Island in the Sky mesa. We then drove to Grand View Overlook to see the White Rim, Colorado River and Needles area of the park. Our last stop was a hike to see Mesa Arch. We only walked half as much today but had had our fill by the end of the day. PoppaNana just aren't in shape for this!

The Colorado and Green Rivers divide the park into three areas - Island in the Sky, The Maze and Needles. They are lazy rivers until they come together south of the park. The Maze and Needles are mostly accessible only via four-wheel drive vehicles, backpacking or mountain bikes. We have all learned a lot about ancient oceans, sandstone, mesas, cairns and crytobiotic soil and the kids have a much better appreciation for the world they live in.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Exploring Arches

Today we continued our exploration of Arches National Park. We drove to the trail head of Delicate Arch and took a strenous 3 mile hike to see it. It was a very tough climb and we were all glad to get there. The formation is one of the most photographed in Arches. On the hike down we took a side trail to see some petroglyphs that are very well preserved.

On the way in we stopped and looked over a cabin that was built by a family in 1880 and lived in until about 1905. It was sure a tough place to live!

Then we drove to the end of the road and took the trail to Landscape Arch. It is amazing that it is still standing. The formation is over 300 feet long and a 60 ton piece broke loose from it in 1991 while some visitors were standing under it. They heard what sounded like thunder, soon realized what was happening and scattered before they were buried. Someone even managed to get an awesome picture of it! Due to the obvious danger visitors are no longer allowed to walk beneath it.

It was only 80º - almost 20º cooler than the average, for which we were all extremely grateful. I don't think we would have hiked five miles today in 100º temperatures. We were all worn out from our hikes so a grocery buying trip into Moab included an ice cream stop.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

On to Arches

We left Mesa Verde and drove north into Utah to Moab where we set up camp. Since we arrived by noon we were able to start exploring Arches National Park in the afternoon. We drove to several overlooks and took a nice hike to The Windows formation which is two arches next to each other. The kids really enjoyed climbing on the rocks and seeing the beautiful arches. We were amazed that that was allowed. We figured we would be required to stay on the trails and view them from a distance.

Then we hiked into Double Arch. It is two arches that are joined at one end but are at 45 degrees to each other. It is neat to stand below and between them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Mesa Verde

We made arrangements for a campground right at the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park and got a good early start. It was only about 50 miles driving which everyone likes. We set up the trailer in the campground and drove into the park.

We visited Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace. Everyone enjoyed looking at the cliff dwellings of native Americans who lived there 600 to 1000 years ago. I think the kids really had their eyes opened as to how primitive things used to be in spite of having read about it in history books.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

White Water Rafting

This morning we drove into Durango for our white water rafting trip. We were loaded on busses and taken north of town where we launched. The four of us and another Grandmother with three kids were the only ones in our boat. Our guide was Shane and he took good care of us, although we all got soaked with the water fights we had with the other boats.

We stopped for lunch along the river and then continued on our trip. We hauled out about 1:30 and were bussed back north to the center of town. The trip took about 4 hours and we traveled about 10 miles. The kids really had a great time.

Then we loaded into the truck and took a drive up to Silverton just to see the beautiful San Juan mountains. Such gorgeous country.

Then back to our campground east of Durango and four very tired people went to bed early.

Monday, August 1, 2005

On to Durango

Jeneane fixed pancakes this morning and we were soon on our way. (It would have been an hour and a half sooner if we could have awakened someone inside before we did!)

Whitney cried when we left and I have a feeling she and Deidra will be corresponding more in the future. It was hard for us all as our friends at Valley View were truly "family" to us.

We drove through Albuquerque and turned north on I25 to Bernalillo where we took the road toward Farmington. It is now a 4-lane highway all the way to Bloomfield. From there we went up through Aztec and into Colorado. We had reservations at an RV park in Bayfield which is about 10 miles east of Durango, and about $15 less than any of the parks there. It was a fine place to spend a couple of days.

We drove into Durango this evening to do some shopping, get ice cream and find out where the rafting company is located so we'd know where to go in the morning.