US Travel · USTravel

And…We’re Off Again

Our previous post, from Western Colorado, actually happened two months ago. What have we been doing since then? Getting ready for our 3 month trip to Europe!

Anyone who knows me well will not be surprised to hear of our plans. Thinking about it and saving for it kept me going through the last decade of work before retirement. In its original conception, the trip was going to be 9 months, plus Hawaii tacked on at the beginning. Why spend a lot of money flying back and forth over the ocean for a few weeks when you can see more in one trip for several months?

Then, grandchildren started arriving. COVID happened, and the purchase of our truck and 5th wheel. We had our trip to Hawaii earlier this year, so now it’s time for the other part of the plan. The trip duration has been reduced to only three months, but three months is still a blessing, and I’m glad we can go.

I started planning for the trip last fall. And then stopped for awhile. COVID variants arrived, waned, came back around again. Ukraine was invaded by Russia. Optimistically, I reserved AirBnbs and purchased plane tickets. Cal was worried about Covid resurgence. And it is resurging again. We have been vaccinated and boosted twice, and have our masks, but who knows? Neither of us could have foreseen the airport debacle that is going on right now in Europe and here in the States. But all plans are made, and we will hope for the best.

What about our truck and 5er? Our RV is going into storage on an air base. What could be more secure than that? We have a nephew in Albuquerque who is graciously letting us keep the truck in his driveway. I suspect he will be enjoying a few drives in it. When we return to the United States, we will be back to our RV’ing life the same as before.

Meanwhile, besides trip preparation, our time in Denver has been filled with the mundane stuff of everyday life. We have been happily enjoying the company of our grandchildren – and their mothers, of course!

Two days after we arrived, we had a late May snowstorm.


A bewildered buck

One place I enjoyed returning to this summer was Denver City Park. There were a couple of walks with friends. I wish I could have joined them more often. This is the kind of weather I prefer!

This year, for the first time, I had opportunity to be in the park twice in the evening for concerts by the Mile High Freedom Band:

In Ferril Lake, the fountain changes colors, and swan boats paddle around it.

As we rose north from Arizona and Utah so did the gas prices, and they peaked during our stay in Denver. We limited excursions to those around town. We were curious about a couple of brown signs we’ve seen on streets we travel often, so we followed those signs. The first was 8 miles out from our summer spot at Cherry Creek State Park to Aurora Reservoir. Despite the cool and overcast weather, people were out fishing and SUP’ing.

We discovered a great trail through the rolling prairie around the lake, and some blooms that looked a little like thistles.

Another brown sign we see on our way to City Park in Denver is for Four Mile Park. I was hoping for a hiking/biking trail until I did some research on it: it is a historical park.

Source: Fourmilepark.org

Four Mile Historical Park is four miles from the heart of downtown Denver and was a last stop on the Cherokee Trail in the pioneer days. This house is the oldest house in Denver. A cabin was built to supply travelers, and then it became an inn and stage coach stop. Women slept in the parlor and the men upstairs, and the upstairs loft was also used for dances. It finally became a gentleman’s farm for a Denver lawyer and his family, and grew to 600 acres. Now there are only twelve acres and it is in the city with apartment buildings all around the outside.

Tim, the assistant site manager, walked us through the house. We could see its transformation over the years. The first room is the old cabin, then there is a walk through the parlor, and finally into the very genteel turn-of-the century home.

The interesting thing is that the dining room and kitchen are in the basement. It’s cool down there, perfect for hot days when the wood burning stove is always lit. The stove also warms the space in winter.

Outside, there are both replica and and original buildings, barns with animals, and a boardwalk for children to sweep when they are visiting.

One thing I like about Denver is that, even when just going about running errands, I can look up and see the mountains when driving westward.

Of course, the best thing of all is the time spent with our grandchildren. Merely gazing at that perfection of a truck is happiness in spades for our grandson.

As with our trip to Hawaii, I don’t know how often I will be blogging while in Europe. We do have some places that we will be settling in for over a week, so maybe I’ll be catching up then.

Do you follow Facebook? If so, Twosna Travels is there, and a search on the name will find me. I may be more likely to post random photos there.

First stop – Belfast, Ireland. Until then: goodbye, slán, tschüss, arrivederci, antio sas!

Destinations · USTravel

Fall 2021 – Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado

Cherry Creek State Park, Denver

I last left my readers in Duluth, Minnesota, but we have been back in Denver since that trip. This autumn season has been packed with things going on each day. It’s been interesting and entertaining, but it hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging. I’m still finding my way through the slowness of the internet and my computer. In these beautiful fall days, I’d rather be outside, pursuing non-computer related activities, or enjoying the little time we have left here in town with my grandchildren!

But to pick up that trip just a little, we had back-to-back stays at state parks in two states on our way back. The first was Platte River State Park south of Omaha, Nebraska. We were here for a family reunion some years back. My oldest brother had to stay at an RV park down the road because there were no RV sites at Platte. That has changed with the addition of a new RV campground, with full hookups, just completed in the last handful of years. This time, we were there to spend some time with my sister Gloria, who rented a cabin in the park. We also went in to Omaha to catch dinner with her husband Chuck. This waterfall is an easy hike, and is one of the centerpieces of the park, besides the Platte River. I also caught a pretty picture of the little fishing lake early one morning while walking over to Gloria’s cabin.

It’s always fun to have a “girls day” (if you identify as a girl, that is) and Gloria and I did that with a day in Lincoln, Nebraska. We toured the Capitol Building. It’s different than others I’ve seen. The original building, which was built like typical domed capitol, actually crumbled while sitting on ground that was too soft. This one was built in the 1920’s and looks much like that era to me. There was a lot of beautiful artwork meaningful to Nebraska laid in the architecture. A guide took us through and pointed out many things I would have missed.

Gloria, looking quite lovely in the sunshine

After walking through downtown to a Mediterranean restaurant for lunch, we finished our day with a visit to the International Quilt Museum. This quilt was one of my favorites.

On another day, Gloria drove us through the Lee Simmons Wildlife Safari, which is just down the road from Platte. I was happy to see this sandhill crane. From late February to early April, over 600,000 sandhill cranes migrate on the Platte River valley before heading farther north. That is something I’d like to see some day – but I don’t know if I’d want to be in Nebraska at that time of year!

After leaving Platte River SP, we headed directly southwest to Tuttle Creek State Park just outside of Manhattan, Kansas. Manhattan was a place we called home for four years and both of our daughters were born at the hospital at nearby Ft. Riley. It is the kind of small university town with huge leafy trees that you would expect to find somewhere farther East, and we loved our day to day life here. We have traveled down memory lane several times in Manhattan, so our purpose this time was to catch up with our friends Gayle, Roger, and Gayle’s niece Annalise. All of the roads around Gayle’s berm home on a hillside are dirt, so they have ATVs. Of course we all had to go for a ride. Cal and I have been on many conveyances in our life, but this was our first for ATV riding.

Here we are with Annalise, who at eleven has her own ATV and rides it around her neighborhood like other kids might ride a bike. We rode to the top of a hill for a great view of the Kansas countryside.

Gayle and Roger are big Chiefs fans, and it was game day.

Gayle kept us on our toes, so we didn’t have a lot of time at Tuttle. It is a pretty park which could use a little TLC. They are building a new RV area, though. It was odd to be overnighting at a park we had only driven around in our former life here. It was too close to home, back then, to camp in.

Early morning view from our site at Tuttle Creek SP
Turkey vultures getting in a little beach time

Back here in Denver, Cal and I have been homebodies this fall, enjoying our grandchildren and keeping busy with day to day life. But we did get in a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. The rumors are true – this park is busy and we had to make an advance reservation. Arriving early morning, the parking lots were already full and we had to use the park shuttle. Sort of makes me miss the days when we would go to a park on a whim and just tool around. We’ve been to Rocky Mountain several times, so on this day we just headed directly for the trail. We took an eight mile hike to “The Loch”, a pretty mountain lake. It was straight uphill all the way with an elevation gain of 950 feet. The Loch was at 10,190 feet. The beauty all around us was incredible.

An aspen glade, about a week before peak fall color
Alberta Falls
This sign, after we had been steadily climbing. “Really? Another 1.3 miles to go???” Needless to say, Boulder Field was out of the question.
Cal giving the thumbs up: “We made it, it’s the lake!”
This stellar’s jay perched right in front of me as I was eating my lunch. It didn’t seem like it was looking for food as much as it just wanted to say hello.
Loch Vale, Rocky Mountain National Park

Back here in Denver…

I’ve been part of a group of ladies called Wonderful and Witty Women. The forming of this group coincided with my arrival in Denver. We are mostly grandmothers who have moved to Denver in order to be closer to our grandchildren. There is a Monday morning walk at City Park with breakfast on the patio at the golf course, another morning socializing at a community garden, a new book group is forming, and there are other activities depending on whatever someone dreams up. Some days several people might be missing, but then there are always a couple others I haven’t met yet who show up. It’s been a great way to stay connected and I will miss my new friends when we leave town. They know I’m a full time RV’er and there are no rules here, so I can just show up again in the spring.

Walking on a summer day in the park
Breakfast on the patio another day
Last walk with the group
City Park, Denver

Other events:

Our daughter-in-law’s parents came for a visit; this is Marion and Josie
We all bought zoo memberships and enjoyed Friday mornings at the zoo
Lots of great RV breakfasts in our DLH attire
Goodbye, Cherry Creek. We’ll be back when spring comes again.

There was also an awesome trip to New Orleans to visit another one of my sisters and her daughter, but that will be blogged another time.

Next time well, I’m not sure about that yet!