Tag Archives: American Road Trip

Road Trip~ Treasure Fall and Lobo Overlook

26 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

Day 14, September 20, 2017

 

Tomorrow we would be packing up and heading to the Denver airport, ending the fun week we spent with Rebekah and Pam. Since this was our last day in Pagosa Springs, we decided to stay close to our home base and explore the mountains nearby.

After browsing our accumulated tourist brochures, we decided to visit Treasure Falls, then drive up to Lobo Overlook and have a picnic. There were two trail options to reach the falls. Rebekah and Pam chose one route and husband and I chose the other. Even though it was a very nice trail, it wasn’t a good walking day for my husband. We found a bench where we could rest and enjoy being in nature.

 

 

Rebekah and Pam made it to the trail end and shot some pictures of the falls. I read a hiker blog post about viewing the falls in winter. He said it was 70 percent ice and 30 percent flow. I would like to see that!

 

 

Next stop, Lobo Overlook.  HikingMike.com describes the overlook:

Lobo Overlook with a 3 mile dirt/gravel road leading up – Forest Road #402 is an easy, slow drive (4wd not required) that winds about 1.5 miles to the very top of the 11,760 ft unnamed peak north of Wolf Creek Pass. In winter, snowmobilers take this same route to the top. If you want to go on foot, you can hike the road up, or hike the Continental Divide Trail which starts just west of the road and tracks just west of the overlook. By the way, heading south on the Continental Divide Trail lets you head up the ridge to the summit of Alberta Peak, the top of Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Once you get a chance to look around, you’ll find great views of the San Juans all around. There aren’t many places where you can drive to the top of a high elevation mountain on the Continental Divide!

 

Living in the Western North Carolina mountains, we are accustomed to winding gravel roads.  Although I do have to confess that they still creep me out a bit. As we climbed, Pam wondered if the road might be the one that her son-in-law traveled on horse back with an elk hunting party just weeks earlier. After returning home, she spoke with him and it was indeed the same place. Another similarity is that we didn’t see any elk and they didn’t take down any elk.

The view from  Lobo Overlook gives a spectacular view of the surrounding peaks of the San Juan Mountains and lands that lie within the San Juan National Forest (including Weminuche Wilderness) and Rio Grande National Forest. Near the parking area was a convenient vault toilet. It turned out to be an amusing experience due to the location of the toilet and the swirling winds.

 

 

Nearby there were some picnic tables, and a rough fence surrounded the overlook area. The temperature and strong winds made the air dramatically colder prompting us to pull on jackets over our short-sleeved shirts.  I was in my element, high above the valley, embracing the strong winds and chill.

 

Fun!

 

Unfortunately, the altitude of 1,760 feet taxed my husband’s breathing and we made a hasty retreat to the car, foregoing our picnic. On the way down, we saw this interesting bird. Can you tell me what kind of bird it is?

 

 

We came across these cuties at one of the pull outs.

 

 

Two random pictures taken from road pull outs.

 

 

It was a long, but good day. I was thankful my husband’s breathing settled down and he was able to drive us down the winding gravel road. We were sad to be leaving the condo at Pagosa Springs,  beautiful area and beautiful memories.

 

 

Road Trip~ Mesa Verde National Park

12 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

 

Day 13, September 19, 2017

Another beautiful morning at the condo in Pagossa Springs. After a day of feeling wonky, I felt better and ready for another day of exploring. Today our plan was to visit Mesa Verde National Park. A nice check off on my husband’s bucket list. But first, I need my coffee and quiet time.

 

Coffee at Mesa Verde

 

The drive to Mesa Verde took around an hour, maybe a little more. We weren’t in a hurry and I enjoyed the drive through Durango. I let my imagination roam to cowboys and the wild west. But the people of Mesa Verde pre-date the cowboys by multiple centuries.

From the National Park Service website:

Ancestral Pueblo People of Mesa Verde

About 1,400 years ago, long before Europeans explored North America, a group of people living in the Four Corners region chose Mesa Verde for their home. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they left their homes and moved away. Mesa Verde National Park preserves a spectacular reminder of this ancient culture.

Once we arrived at the entrance to the park, it was another 2o miles to the museum which is a must stop. There you can pick up literature describing the drives and if you have an inclination to take a ranger guided tour, you can pay for your tickets there.

 

Before we made it to the museum, we made a comfort stop. The husband is an experienced outdoors facility judge, so we take a picture of the ones he rates. LOL.

 

Pam and I stayed in the truck!

 

Rebekah and her ever-present camera.

 

Along with picking up brochures and maps at the museum, we stopped in the cafeteria to pick up a necessary adventure supply, I had forgotten to pack.

 

I’ll leave it to you to imagine which one represents me!

 

The park contains over 5000 archeological sites across 40+ miles of roads. After leaving the museum, we chose one of the easy drives through the park. We were there in off peak season so places to pull over were readily available.  There were a lot of Pit houses preserved under shelters.

 

 

Eventually they moved from the Pit houses to tree houses, built into the overhang of cliffs. It must have been exhausting climbing up and down and dangerous as well. I couldn’t imagine a mother trying to keep her children safe. Then for unknown reasons around 1200 A.D. the people let, just disappeared.

Rebekah and her dad. They share a love of photography.

 

 

On a previous trip west we had planned to visit Mesa Verde but the park was hit with a serious forest fire.

 

 

It was a nice walk out to the fire observation tower.

As we were driving slowly along the Navajo Overlook, we felt as if we were being followed. Pam’s sharp eyes found our stalker.

 

 

 

Tree Houses

 

 

 

 

Pam and I taking a break while Mike and Rebekah snapped photos

 

Spruce Tree House

 

Spruce Tree House is a favorite ruin to explore as there is an easy walking trail for closer viewing. Unfortunately, the trail was under repair so we had to view it from this building, which in my opinion was more pleasant than walking!

 

 

We didn’t see all of the sites as we drove through the park. Dusk was approaching and we didn’t want to be driving on unfamiliar roads after dark. We enjoyed a quick meal back at the museum before driving down the mountain. Sunset would be a magical time to drive down, but we were a bit too early.

 

My shadow stalking me!

 

I found Mesa Verde a fascinating place. Echoes of ancient times seemed to whisper in the air. Why did they move into the cliffs and why did they abandon them in a mere hundred years? Where did they go?  The park website has some incredible photos and videos. I encourage you to visit it at NPS.gov

Road Trip~Chimney Rock Monument

29 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

Day 12, September 18, 2017

This morning my body decided to rebel  and sent me to rest for the day. Not wanting to ground everyone else, I suggested they visit the nearby Chimney Rock National Monument.

Since I was not on the trip, I am relying on excerpts from the website:

This undiscovered gem is an intimate, off-the-beaten-path archaeological site located at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains  in Southwestern Colorado. You’ll walk in the footsteps of the fascinating and enigmatic Ancestral Puebloans of the Chaco Canyon, following primitive pathways that haven’t changed for 1,000 years. Archaeological ruins and artifacts, abundant wildlife, and its setting in the breathtaking San Juan National Forest make Chimney Rock a must-see. 

 

Also from the monument website:

Chimney Rock is the highest in elevation of all the Chacoan sites, at about 7,000 feet above sea level. From the base, the hike to the top is just a half mile and it’s rewarded with dramatic 360-degree views of Colorado and New Mexico.

 

 

If you enjoy photography, Mountain Photography has a collection of breathtaking photos.

 

They returned from their adventure with stories to tell and I enjoyed hearing them and felt confident I would be feeling better for our trip to Mesa Verde the following day.

Here is my favorite picture of the day.

 

Rebekah and her dad

Road Trip~ Denver, Colorado to Pagosa Springs, Colorado

11 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

Day 9, September 15, 2017

We enjoyed our road trip to Denver, but this morning we were excited to begin the next segment of our journey, a week’s stay at a condo in Pagosa Springs! This trip began back in the spring during a conversation with our friend, Pam.She has a timeshare and occasionally she has points and no plan on where she would like to travel and it just so happened that we had a slight windfall of cash and wanted to take a road trip. I told her that if she had timeshare points to use, we had funds! After looking at several locations, Pagosa Springs was a good fit for both of us. She and our daughter could fly to Denver and hubby and I, not a fan of flying would drive our truck.

Hurricane Irma update: Before we left the hotel, our daughter checked to see if the power was back on in her home. It wasn’t, but there was hope that maybe by the end of the day.

We decided to avoid the interstate and once we were clear of Denver, began our journey south on US 285.  The ride was pleasant and as the scenery was new to us, the time flew. Pam’s daughter who mountain climbs with her husband had advised us to look for an outfitter store to purchase Acli-Mate for our daughter’s altitude sickness. Since she was still feeling queasy, we were on the look out for one.  I really wish I could remember the name of the small town where we stopped. It had a tiny outfitter’s store but it was filled with supplies. I think the name of the shop had the words Eagle Claw in them so if anyone is familiar with the area, I would love to know the name. We were in luck! The store had individual packets of Acli-Mate  upfront at the register. While Rebekah paid for them, I decided a bathroom break was a good idea. I was a little hesitant, though, wondering how clean the bathroom might be. To my surprise it was not only very clean but had the best reading material! One whole wall was shelved and held a magazine for any type of outdoor sport one could think of, all neatly laid out. I wish I had taken a picture, but it just seemed wrong.

Once we were back on the road, we began looking for a place to have our picnic lunch.  We found a park with picnic tables, but were irritated to read a sign requiring a daily use fee.  After grumbling, we decided to ignore the fee as we weren’t going to be using any other portion of the park. It was windy with a chill in the air so we chose a table in the sun.

 

 

Landscape

 

Our drive south took us through the Pike and San Isobel Forest, then the Rio Grande National Forest and they were beautiful.

 

By robert thigpen from diboll, texas (Stony Pass roadUploaded by PDTillman) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Finally, we made it to our home for the week! Wyndham, Pagosa Springs.

 

Our Unit

 

Once we had unloaded the truck, the ladies headed out to Wal-Mart to pick up some grocery items for breakfast. By the time we returned it was dark and an unexpected visitor had surprised my husband as he glanced out the sliding glass door. I’m glad he was able to capture this picture.

 

Just checking out the new neighbors!

 

We made it an early night as we had big plans for the next day, here is a hint.

 

Minute Meditations~7

31 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

                                                

POSSESSIONS

What is your most prized possession?

Your car?

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Your house?

2

An instrument you’ve scrimped and saved for, for so long you wondered whether or not you would ever be able to afford it?

5

That big-screen TV?

3

That stereo system? That computer? That ipad or iphone?

What about a pet? Is that considered a “possession” to you?

How did you feel after you acquired that prized possession? Did the possessing of it complete your life, like you thought it would? Or were you “let down” now that you had it in hand?

My brother, Bill, wrote about a woman who desired something – something she considered more than life itself:

4In acquiring those prized possessions, if we consider how that possession can be used to God’s glory, then we can use it – “give it back to God” – and know that we have fulfilled God’s desire for us in that instance. We can give God the opportunity to bless us with our use of the possession.

The “essence” of this thought is that, what God gives still belongs to Him – to be used for His glory.

I had never thought about my possessions in that light. God really DOES want to give us the best, and to bless us with it.

WOW!

My Colonial States Trip~Part 21

8 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

After that educational tour, I headed for the rental car office to turn in my car and get a ride to the Providence Train Station for my trip to the T.F. Green Airport. All went well until I arrived at the train station and my train #807 showed no gate assignment. There were four tracks, and I didn’t want to miss my train (12:27) because the next train after that (2:54) to the airport would cause me to miss my flight to Orlando. As I bought my ticket, I asked the clerk which track train #807 would leave from and she said, “That information will be posted on the schedule board about 15 minutes before the train arrives.” So, I broke out my CD player and settled in to wait. At 12:15 the schedule board had not changed and I asked the clerk about the gate number again. This time she rolled her eyes and said, “Sometimes they don’t post that information until 5 minutes before the train arrives.” I thanked her and sat back down to watch the schedule board. By now (12:23) I was about to panic, and go holler at someone, when the schedule board changed showing “Train #807 Arriving On Track 4” and I breathed a sigh of relief.

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I got to the T.F. Green Airport Station at 12:43 and figured I now had a little over 2 hours to wait for my flight leaving at 3:30. But, when I went to check my bag for the flight, I was told that the plane had had mechanical problems and they would have to bring another plane to Providence, and the new departure time for my flight was 4:50. What a bummer! All that anxiety over missing the train was for nothing. So, what else could I do, but call DiVoran to tell her my flight was delayed, and that would make it too late arriving for us to go to dinner there in Orlando, as we had planned. She said, “No problem, I’ll just whip us up an omelet when we get home.” Well, that was fine with me, so, I broke out my CD player again and settled in for a little longer wait this time. As it turned out, it was almost 9:00 before we got home and that ham/cheese/mushroom omelet was just what the doctor ordered.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love going on these trips, to see different parts of our wonderful country, visit interesting places and museums and meet my American neighbors no matter where they live. But, it is always good to get home to the company of my lovely wife DiVoran and sleep in my own bed. I hope you have enjoyed reading about this trip as much as I have enjoyed re-living it in these blogs. I’m sure I have left out some important details of the trip, but if I remember them I’ll just have to include them as some kind of a “Post Script” or “Addendum” to My Colonial States Trip at some later date. In the meantime, keep smiling because GOD loves YOU and has a wonderful plan for your life.      

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           —–The End—–

My Colonial States Trip~Part 17

11 Mar

A Slice of Life
 Bill Lites

My friends from Boston and New York had advised me not to use the George Washington Bridge if I could help it, but that’s the way “Greta” took me on my way back to the west to visit the Aviation Hall of Fame in Teterboro, NJ. So, it was across the Throgs Neck Bridge, thru the Bronx, over the Hudson River on the G.W. Bridge to the museum. As it turned out, it must have been my lucky day for that crossing, because that trip was pretty much of a breeze and I made it to the museum in good time. This museum, located at the Teterboro Airport, displays historic aircraft and spacecraft equipment, artifacts and photographs along with a model aircraft collection, honoring the many New Jersey men and women who have helped make the aviation industry what it is today. There is a room filled with medallions honoring the over 160 inductees to date.

I woke up to rain the next morning. Up until now the weather had been perfect and I had just assumed it would be the same for the whole trip. Silly me. What was I thinking? Well, it rained that entire day as I sloshed my way toward Connecticut. I figured “Greta” would have routed me back across the G.W. Bridge and up I-95 to Bridgeport, CT before turning north. But I wasn’t ready to try my luck getting across the G.W. Bridge again, especially during the morning rush-hour traffic in the rain. So, I decided to take the northern route, using the Garden State Parkway, and then crossing the Hudson River at the Tappenzee Bridge. Well, wouldn’t you know, I missed the exit for the bridge. I stopped at a service center and asked how to get back to the bridge exit and the guy said, “Just take the next exit and do a “U” turn.” Right! It was 20 miles to the next exit and it ended up taking me 30 minutes and another 30 miles back to the bridge exit (all this in the pouring down rain).

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I finally made it to the right exit, across the Tappenzee Bridge, then thru Danbury and Hartford, CT to the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. That ended up taking 1-½ hours longer than I had planned. What a waste of time that was! The museum displays over 60 beautifully restored aircraft and related artifacts/equipment in three hangers. As I followed a group into the B-29 hanger, I overheard someone say that the small group was honoring their 95 year old uncle who had been a navigator in B-29s during WWII. The elderly gentleman was overwhelmed by the occasion and the size of the aircraft. I heard him say, “I don’t remember it being so big!” What a nice thing for a family to do for their uncle. While I was in the area, I had planned to visit the American Museum of Aviation in Stafford Springs, CT but I discovered that visiting the museum was by appointment only. I was behind schedule anyway, so I just headed south to my next stop, at the New London Customhouse in New London, CT which is operated by the New England Maritime Association. This turned out to be a very small museum, so I didn’t spend much time there.

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—–To Be Continued—–

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