For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

May 30, 2010

Where is Jack, Day 49

Well, a bit of an attitude adjustment occurred this morning. No more pity party.

Nancy has been so comfortable on other nights and has slept so soundly that she thought the little heater wasn't coming on. Wrong. She didn't put it out last night and she woke up before dawn shivering. She quickly bundled me up (uh, Nancy I have fur), and I enjoyed it. She turned the thermostat up so she could thaw out and figured while she was waiting she'd try the internet. It is up!  Whoo Hoo.

We've already been for a walk and to our "secret" ball playing field. If they know about it, they haven't said anything, but it's always just Nancy and me, there.

We haven't decided what we're going to do with the rest of our day. Nancy thinks she'll read for a while, and then we'll take another ride up toward Antonito. Maybe even all the way. She doesn't know, yet. There was a grocery store there so maybe a pretty 120 mile drive is just what we need.

Nancy spoke to Susie and Aunt Judy this morning. She saw on Facebook that Michael and Keely ran a race to celebrate the homecoming of a Peachtree City Soldier. We saw a very little VFW building in the town we drove to, yesterday-Tierra Amarilla.

This picture is for Deb. This horse was laying down just like the horse on the Enchanted Loop--see, he wasn't dead.

Nancy wonders if there's any kind of recognition ceremony there. If not, we remember and are indebted to all of our service men and women. There aren't words to thank them. John wrote a very nice letter to our adopted Soldier, Jonathan, on behalf of our family.

I know pictures have been scarce, but we are still enjoying the scenery.

Thought I'd take advantage of the free internet to start a post. Will get back later.

When Nancy went to the laundry the other day, there was an interesting looking road that she thought she'd investigate before leaving. She almost forgot about it until talking to Ms. Beverly this morning. Turns out there's an Elk Preserve not five miles from here and it's at the end of that road. We had the place all to ourselves. I had a blast-plenty of room to run (of course I keep my eye on Nancy). I found three streams to get wet and muddy in--so much fun.
Oh, Look, more water under this bridge!
Look at all this space-I can go anywhere I want!
Can You Believe This? I had so much fun, Nancy said she's taking me back, tomorrow.
Oops, I shouldn't have sniffed that!

What's on the other side of the rocks? On the hike up, a guys gotta do what a guys gotta do. Nancy had no pink bags! Oh, no! Well, she marked the spot with a stick and said we'd have to hike back up after we got them from the truck. Then, she found a dog leash near the stones, but under a bench, with two black bags tied to it. She borrowed a bag for on the way back, and tied the leash to a post in case someone came back looking for it. After attending to business, she reached in her pocket and she had a pink bag, afterall.

We didn't see any elk--they're up further in the mountains. When we stopped at the little blacksmith shop, the guy told Nancy where to go at dusk to see the herd. Maybe we'll go tonight. She took SO MANY pictures, it will take her a while to sort them out and decide which ones she should post. Nancy picked up a couple of hooks for the boys' cabins.
Interesting Shop/Interesting Guy.

Oh, Rich would have loved playing ball up here with me. I liked it when he threw the ball because he could throw it higher. Then, again, I was just a pup, then.

The people down the way invited Nancy over with two couples for watermelon, tonight. All the people here put salt on their watermelon. Some even put salt AND pepper. They invited me, too, but Nancy thought it might be better if I took a nap in the trailer. She just got back. I behaved myself. Tonight, she remembered to put the heater on.

May 29, 2010

Where is Jack, Day 48

Today, I decided I'd chew one of the bones that Susie bought me. I guess that means I’m bored. Nancy took the best part away from me and threw it in the trash. When I came in I took it out of the trash, but she took it away, again. She says it’s too slippery and I might choke.

Nancy found two potato recipes for the crock pot, but the local supermarket didn’t have half the ingredients so she decided to drive 25 miles to the nearest town. No market there. Oh, well chips and dip, it will be.

Someone cut in front of her and the camera went flying—crack! We were sure it was broken, but it wasn’t.

Nancy took her shower very early this morning, but she said it was freezing. It’s 72 degrees, now, with a beautiful breeze.  People aren’t as friendly as Nancy remembers—she and Rich used to meet couples in RV parks all the time. Not so, here.

John, Nancy’s been meaning to tell you that if you have designs on a car from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and you don’t mind some body rot, New Mexico is the place to get one.

Nancy finally watched “Constant Gardener” last night.  We’ve both become bored. When we used to travel with Rich we were always busy and they were such good company for one another. They really didn’t need anyone else. So many of the people who stay here are “Friends of the Railroad” so they all know each other.

Nancy says nothing seems quite as beautiful or interesting to her, as everything once did. I guess that’s natural. She’s not sorry she’s making the trip, but it’s very different. It’s probably this campground. It’s full, now, no internet and only three TV channels; one without sound. We’ve done all the drives we can do unless we go to Durango, so Nancy thinks we’ll just leave early and go there. So, she dug down into her stash of movies to get us through the weekend. She’s reading a book, too, “Queen of the Road”, but her eyes get tired. Pantless called earlier—it was good to hear from her.

We were supposed to stay here until Friday, the 4th, but now we’re thinking we’ll leave Tuesday or Wednesday. Nancy has to get in touch with bj. When she originally thought she could camp with bj, she thought Susie was coming out on the 5th and leaving on the 10th--she misunderstood. That would have worked out fine. bj had one week she couldn't make it, so Nancy has to go back in her email and see what week that is. Since she works, we might have to just fit in a cup of coffee--unless we only stay at Aunt Dorothy's a couple of days. We'll have to see how it works out. Maybe, Nancy and Aunt Dorothy could go over to see bj--Aunt Dorothy might enjoy that.

May 28, 2010

Where is Jack, Day 47

Nancy’s beginning to think that she signed up to stay here for too long. She has the itch to go—but the holiday is upon us.

Nancy watched the Hornby Island Eagles this morning (Lisa told her about them). It was scary because the mother ws screaming and the baby didn’t look like it was moving.
She checked back later and either the Mother or the Father were feeding the chick, so everything is okay.

There’s something in the air that’s making Nancy cough and sneeze. She cleaned the trailer from top to bottom this morning. She’s very glad she brought along a vacuum and the swifter. I look like a sticker bush—these things drop off the trees and they stick to me, then I go inside and they drop all over the place, including bed! Oh, the humility…oh, no, she’s going to take a picture.

We laid around most of the day except for a couple of walks in the park. It was warm this morning, but it’s turning out to be a cool breezy day.

This morning, Miss Beverly, Boomer’s human, asked Nancy if Boomer and I could meet since I’m so docile. Nancy said, yes, but it would be better in a neutral place so we met in the road. Boomer seemed nice enough in the beginning—you know, we did what all dog’s do—sniffed and smelled. His tail was wagging so I thought he liked me, but then in a flash things went south. Nancy and Ms. Beverly pulled us away, quickly and Nancy got between us. I think Miss Beverly had tied the long end of Boomer's leash to a tree and held the short leash just in case. There's no way she could hold him because he's bigger than she is! He didn’t bite me, but he was scary. I don’t think he’s been around many other dogs, but I don’t know why he decided to get nasty. Nancy said, “All dogs can’t be as nice as you.” She feels lucky to have me. Boomer must be in big trouble because he hasn’t been out all day-at least I haven't seen him. Ms. Beverly told Nancy that Boomer doesn't like big dogs. Maybe he's afraid they'll hurt her so he is protecting her.  Any way, he's still my friend.

Nancy noticed that the lady next door was spinning yarn. What a coincidence, one of our best friends, Gail, took spinning up not long, ago. If Gail hadn’t explained it on her blog and on the phone, Nancy would have thought the lady was spinning steel wool. Gail said she had a Louette Spinning Wheel, so Nancy went over to talk to Jill a little while ago and it turns out that she has an S10 Louette, the same as Gail! She doesn’t quilt like Gail does, though.  Nancy called Gail to tell her about Jill spinning and Gail said she has the S10 Louette, as well. What a coincidence, huh? While on the phone with Gail, John called. Everybody is okay at their house—Lisa’s off for the summer (Yeah!) and the girls are all busy doing their thing, Nancy was telling him about the Eagles and Lisa said that her sister Kathy had called and said when she watched, she couldn’t see the baby chick. We’ll have to check back later.

We had to come inside because it started to thunder out. It looks like it’s coming our way so Nancy had to go out and put the chairs away. When Nancy got back in, the wind started to blow. It's too bad because we were going to take a "sunset" ride to see if we could get some good pictures. Maybe it will clear up by then.

May 27, 2010

Where is Jack, Day 46

Another beautiful day! Nancy's going to look on the map to see if we can explore something nearby. We watched a movie last night--Downloaded "It's Complicated" from Amazon. Enjoyable movie.

I can't remember if I told you, yesterday, but Nancy got so hungry that she just had to forego the Lean Cuisine and get a good, filling meal at High Country. It was good.

Well, we were trying to decide what to do with our day, today. Nancy decided we'd pack a lunch and walk up to the train station (there's a little picnic area). It was a nice walk. Up to the town, Nancy let me stop and smell everything on the way there. On the way back, though, we got some exercise--no fooling around.

We found this sign on our way-
In case you can't read it, it says, "1881 Log Bunkhouse Oldest
Building on Railroad

1924 Coal Tipple 70 ft. High
Holds 60 Ton, Fast Empty
The Only Wood Tipple Left

1907 Water Tank Holds
50,000 Gal. Unique Style
With Two Waterspounts

The people who volunteer come here every summer and work all summer keeping the railroad up and improving the town.

When we walked back into the campground, a few people came running out and said, "You're coming on Monday, right?" Nancy was kind of taken back and said, "It's mostly couples, isn't it?" They said, "Nah, c'mon and have some fun."

So, when we got back to the trailer, we headed out to get something to bring with us. Nancy's doing what's simple and easy--the old Sour Cream Dip with Potato Chips trick. She thought of doing something more elaborate--but it was a fleeting thought. Then, Susan called and suggested her 7 Bean Dip which is delicious and it was tempting to make, but it's a pain in the neck in the trailer. She may decide over the weekend to go ahead and do it if she has the recipe.

So, all and all, we had a quiet day. It's a little on the warm side, today and it's overcast. They predicted thunderstorms, so we'll see. It was breezy a little while, ago, but it's very still, now. Nancy puts the chairs in the truck at night, but coming through town we saw a couple of rain drops on the windshield so it might be a bood idea to get them in early.

It seems like a long time ago since we were sitting on the Mississippi, ducking tornadoes in Arkansas, or watching the wind pick two wheels of the trailer up in Amarillo. This has been a quiet, restful stay.

One thing I've been meaning to mention is the hundreds of humming birds that are here. Today, it looked like one was going to land on Nancy's ear, instead he hovered looking into her ear. The other day we saw two golden orioles. They are the color of marigolds-just beautiful. Nancy googled hummingbirds of New Mexico, and it seems this state has more species than most. What amazes us is that they are so unafraid to come so close.

May 26, 2010

Where is Jack, Day 45?

It looks like another beautiful day. I had a nightmare last night--I don't remember what it was about, but Nancy woke me. I was standing in the middle of the floor crying. I think I thought I was lost.

I have a new friend. His name is Boomer. He is BIG. He's a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Great Pyrenees. He is very handsome. People think I'm big, but Boomer is as tall as the picnic tables. He likes Nancy, but his human, Beverly, says he doesn't like men. Nancy said she's going to take a picture of him, today, for my blog. She gave him one of my gigantic bones that I haven't been chewing. He's lovin' it.

Okay, Nancy, c'mon back over here. He's handsome but you don't have to make such a BIG fuss over him.

We went and got the laundry done, today, so that's a big load off Nancy's mind. She also spent hours routing the trip from here to Las Vegas, trying to figure out how she could stop at the north rim on the way. She thinks she's got it figured out. One of the other campers came over, and he put his stamp of approval on her route. She found out that the skywalk is on the west rim. That works out well because Nancy will be coming the northern route past the canyon.

It's been a lazy day. Nancy's going to take me for a walk in a little while.

We're back.  The nice man stopped by, again, to tell Nancy about the Memorial Day BBQ telling her to make sure she goes. I don't think she's going to unless she can bring me. I told her to go ahead, but you know how she is.

May 25, 2010

Where is Jack, Day 44

Today was Pagosa Springs day. Nancy packed a lunch for herself and a couple of cookies for me along with a bone she thought I’d like. I hid it while I was in the truck, and now I can’t find it.

The ride to Pagosa Springs was only about 47 miles, pretty, but not spectacular. Nancy had a crick in her neck—felt like tension, but it might have been the way she slept.

As we pulled onto the highway to Pagosa springs, we spotted the black smith store—it had two departments.

We crossed the continental divide halfway there. About four miles from Chama, the landscape changes dramatically for a few miles.
The weather is gorgeous, here. I’m typing this in word, first, because the park router is out, again.  Nancy’s getting to a point where she’s going to go down to the office and raise cain. (Ut oh) She’s paying for it, she should have it whether or not the owners are interested in it or not.

Nancy’s main mission in going to Pagosa Springs was to find a safe place where we could play ball and I could swim.  We looked and looked, and finally found a recreation area with a beautiful lake.

We found a clear space to play ball and we were having lots of fun when suddenly WHAM! I ran right into a barbed wire fence that neither of us saw. Nancy was very upset and I went running to her and put my head between her legs. She looked me over and I didn’t have any cuts or anything. I think it surprised me more than anything.

We picked a spot and we had a picnic lunch. Then, I got to go swimming. I had a blast. I forgot all about the barbed wire fence—what a stupid place to put it. The lake was pretty—lots of fisherman. One guy pulled up and had a good size fish within a couple of minutes.

After we tired ourselves out, then we got back in the truck and drove home. Nancy stopped to buy some fudge in Chama (not good for her diet), but what the heck—it’s very good.

The rest of the day we’re going to veg and later we’ll watch a movie.

May 24, 2010

Where is Jack, Day 43?

We awoke this morning and it was crisp and cold. Nancy donned her Heidi hat and we went for a walk. We came back and she went up to the showers. Though it's cool out, the sun is strong and bright so I wanted to stay outside. Nancy joined me after doing a little housework, with her book in hand. She's reading another Patterson. She put the iPod player on and we mostly listened to Jimmy Buffet and James Taylor. It's very pleasant here. The guy that stopped Nancy at the gate the other day came by with some of the other men who are working on the grounds and they were kidding her about where her hair went. Then, along came the train and we waved and watched them. The men come by to see me whenever they are in the area. When the man stopped her about the tag that's supposed to be on her mirror, she forgot that there was a gate down. It's below her line of vision in the truck so she nicked it with a tire. No damage done, though she offered to pay if there was. They always tell her how much they like me, and how every dog should be as well behaved as I am. (snicker)

There most likely will be no pictures, today. I think the only place Nancy plans to go is to the grocery store--not enough laundry, yet. Well, I was wrong. We did go to the grocery store, but we really laid around most of the day. I like to people watch, too, and the men are always doing something around here.
While we were on one of our walks, Nancy said she's still fascinated with how pretty the dandelions are. Strange how we  do everything we can to eliminate them back east. If we left them alone, I think they're prettier than most lawns.
When we went into town, Nancy decided to take a picture of Vera's. There was a time when Nancy didn't like ANY Mexican food. She remembers Rich laughing because she ordered fried fish (which was awful) and he said, "Who orders fried fish in a Mexican restaurant?" Nancy swears that he used to time his driving to hit Vera's either for lunch or for dinner. He was funny.

I may have told you this before, but someone, here, was telling Nancy that Vera passed away a year or two ago, the children wanted nothing to do with the restaurant, so the building is being neglected. The building out back is already collapsing.

Tomorrow, we'll definitely go to Pagosa Springs to see if we can get a memory foam pad for this table bed. Aunt Judy thought that was very funny for some reason.

Sometimes we miss people, but we talk to one another all the time and keep each other company. Then, there are books--I can't read, but I don't mind sleeping a good deal of the afternoon if we're just hanging around--that's what dogs do, you know. There really isn't TV, but Nancy has  a gazillion DVDs even after weeding out half of them. We watched "Lovely Bones" the other night and morning. We watched "Precious" one night--too violent. Strange that Oprah recommended it. Nancy says she thinks she saw "The Constant Gardener" but she doesn't remember so we'll probably watch that, tonight. She still gets mad about leaving the one at Walmarts in Amarillo.

Well, I'm going to go see if I can tear her away from "Jimmy" long enough to go for a walk, and maybe if I'm lucky, I'll even get to play a little ball.

Well, I got lucky!! I'm really staying in shape with all the excercise I'm getting this trip. Susie is going to bring me NEW BALLS!!! I will be so glad to see her. It won't be long, now.

May 23, 2010

Where is Jack, Day 42

I can't believe I accidently erased everything I've done for the last two hours.  Well, I'll try to piece it, together.

I am going to start, tonight, with my favorite picture of the day. This is between Chama NM and Antonito CO. 
Nancy said it's very difficult to capture the scenery with her camera. Even with a good camera, a photo is like looking at a very small piece of a masterpiece. It's hard to relate the vastness in these mountains. She and Rich always loved the San Juans.  Nancy once read that originally the Rocky National Park was supposed to be located in the southwest part of the state, but there was too much privately owned land.

Starting out on our journey, we came across this sign. It has so many bullet holes in it, it can't be read. What a shame.
We wanted to go to Antonito to see where the end of the Cumbres & Toltec ended. We had a great ride. We discovered that we are only 7 miles to the border of Colorado.  We went over passes that were over 10K high. The day was beautiful, but it was prudent to be cautious when coming down off the passes--wind.

Along the way we passed by outfitters, tackle shops, and what looked like cabins that could rented along with permanent homes. beautiful streams and glorious colors as spring begins in the rockies.
Streams that Feed the River

We passed a little town called
Magote on the way, and another community (no stores except a tackle shop) called Fox Creek.

Boy, I'm getting tired and Nancy's already asleep. I'll keep going, though. Here's a church that has seen better days.
The Cumbres & Toltec takes a full day to get to Antonito and return to Chama. The road follows it for a time, but then it goes off into the mountains.
Antonito RR Yard
Water Tower RR Yard
We saw elk, but we weren’t in a place where we could stop to get a picture. I was surprised at how many trail heads were along the route. One was Duck Trail, Something Hole, and Red Something (those are only the ones we saw). I imagine they are for seasoned hikers—lots of room out there to get lost.

Along the route of the train we saw some little houses. My sense was that they served as shelter during bad weather, but I could be wrong.  Nancy nor I saw any signs stating what they were--the winter weather knocks down some of the signs.
We passed a number of private RV parks along with the state and national campgrounds. This is one I would have liked to have stayed in.  Nancy said if the other gals were still with us, we could have chosen one of the national parks where they could hike and fish.
When we got to Antonito, Nancy gave me water and took me for a walk through town. Following are the pictures of Antonito. It was a small town, but it had a small park, and of course the main attraction was the Cumbres and Toltec.
RR Yard

Right where the town park was, there were water towers which displayed some great folk art.

On the way home, by chance we caught the train returning to Chama.

Well, that was our day of travel. When we got back to camp, Nancy took me for a walk and then played ball with me. I just knew she had a ball hidden in her pocket. She said I musn't bark because then the owners would discover I am off leash. We go way down to a vacant part of the park where we don't think anyone will notice us. I'm going to sleep, now. I'm very tired, especially after losing all this the first time.

(We discovered after we were home that there was a fire on the bridge just north of the campground, and the train couldn't run. It happened not longer after we left the area.
History and Fire )