The Dallas Socialites!

Roman-on-slideOur schedule was packed when we arrived but got rearranged several times with schedule conflicts and sick kiddos. The Browns have had more than their share of strep throat and it hit again before Amy, Roman and Esther could come out to the lake to play with us. We had a lot of catching up to do with electronic media and email so it was a welcome change. It did however, mean all our commitments with the Browns would change and we would not get to see Samuel. That part was sad for sure. Matt has not seen Samuel since Christmas! They were part of why we stayed so close to Dallas all winter. The day was sunny and warm but we were tucked into a lovely shaded, cool, oak grove and got lots done. I even went for a bike ride! Continue reading “The Dallas Socialites!”

May Day and the Smashed Angel

May Day! Our lovely Daughter texts this AM, thanking us for great memories of May Days past. A time when we spent days creating gift baskets and leaving them for neighbors, family, and friends. This May Day, I am not making May Day baskets, I am packing our house to head north. A bittersweet day, one filled with tear filled goodbyes with people we have come to love and excitement for what ABBA holds in the next chapter of this reinvention adventure. We have had the privilege of living amongst some great people. The 4 months here at Cottonwood RV Park have been good ones.

We are headed to Dallas today for 4-5 days to meet with mentors, get some BodyTalk done on ourselves, meet Samuel and Amy with their family, a former Home Group member in Dallas for Chiropractic School and that will pack that time I am sure. at least Amarillo today and then to Raton NM tomorrow. Landing in our beloved Colorado mountains around Rye for some alone time and maybe some snowshoeing if there is snow left but that’s another story. Continue reading “May Day and the Smashed Angel”

Wintering at Cottonwood RV Park near Dripping Springs, TX

Cottonwood-Creek-RV-ParkThis little RV Park nestled in a slight depression in the Texas Hill Country has been our home for the past 4 months. A total of 35 sites are dispersed around main section of the park in five separate areas. There are lots of cedar and live oak trees making up small wooded areas such that each of the five areas seems like its own little community. We stayed in Site 22 for the whole time and had six to eight neighbors at any given time. There is also a mile-long nature trail that goes back into the woods to the rear of the property. Larry and Lee are the park managers and Larry helped us get settled in the first day and welcomed us to the park. Lee was recovering from heart surgery so we didn’t see him for awhile.

The slight depression made communications difficult as cell reception was basically non-existent. We purchased an external antenna and amplifier which I installed on a 15 foot mast which allowed us to get service as long as we stayed a few feet away from the amplified indoor antenna. Sure did make it hard to stay in touch with everyone though. Lots of dropped and garbled calls.

Three of our neighbors were there the entire time and we got to know several of them quite well. The Denman family was right next to us and they became very special to us and we developed a great love for James and Sarah and their wonderful children; Grace, Jessiah, and Samuel. Across the way we met Cindy and Lawton who also became close friends whom we had many special moments with; sharing life and much laughter around the campfire. Continue reading “Wintering at Cottonwood RV Park near Dripping Springs, TX”

IOWA Trip Part 2

The winds had decreased slightly by morning, so on the road we were and pressing for Des Moines. Kansas slowly passed by and the winds eventually eased off the further East we went. Late afternoon found us still well short of Iowa, so we rolled into Watkins State Park, south of Cameron, MO, just before they closed the gate. It was a wonderful, little spot for the night. It’s a sweet, little park if you find yourself in the vicinity. Great people, nice sites and lots of beautiful oak trees! The colors this year are gorgeous and so late in the season. Many just turning – reds in many shades and hues along with the usual array of goldens. You’ll have to take our word for it, we didn’t take any pics! Oops! Continue reading “IOWA Trip Part 2”

On to Colorado….

Leaving Montana meant traversing several more mountain ranges as we worked our way back to the East. One of the more spectacular vistas we saw was coming into Livingston, MT where Hwy 89 heads south into Yellowstone NP. (no pictures it was partly cloudy and just after sunset) I cannot imagine a more grand entrance to the park and we had hoped to make the trip into the park. Our initial plans for the trek back to Iowa included Yellowstone and then Mount Rushmore but with the parks being closed from the govt. shutdown and an unseasonable 48″ of snow being dumped in South Dakota we revised our route. Yellowstone remains on our ‘to be visited’ list.

We spent a very frosty night in Livingston parked out beside an Albertson grocery store. It was not a comfortable night and Matt did not sleep well. We ultimately got up quite early, hit a breakfast spot at 5:30 and got back on the road. This allowed us to make many more miles that day and we made it all the way to Cheyenne, WY. As we were pulling into Cheyenne we began to see billboards advertising the Sierra Trading Post factory outlet store. RHonda needed some clothes and we have always had good luck shopping online with them, so we went a little out of our way and gave her an opportunity to do some power shopping. I gave her an hour so we could get back and set up camp before dark. She almost made it (1.5 hrs) but unfortunately, it was nearly dark before we got out of there and that made finding the Famcamp at Warren AFB a bit challenging. We went back and forth in the dark and even got in the right area once but did not drive far enough. Eventually, we found it and got parked. Since it was another night of just stopping over, we didn’t level up, or extend the slideout, we read briefly and went to bed.

BillThe following day we went on south to Ft Collins and stopped in to see my Uncle Bill. It was great to be able to spend time with him and his landlord, Susan, who is very talented working metals. She does the most fabulous, unique jewelry! Bill is working in a new medium for him. Kristina inspired him with her art pieces and he has started some wood burning pieces. Last I heard, he was preparing for an art show! So cool!

A few miles south of Ft Collins, we experienced a tire blowout! I had heard a variety of horror stories of about this scenario but it was no big deal at all. We lost the left rear tire on the truck and I had no trouble getting slowed down and off on the shoulder of I-25. The major bummer with this part of I-25 is the three lanes wide with solid traffic whizzing by at 75mph. We decided to call Roadside Service and eventually even asked for support from the State Patrol to get people to slow down and move over. The tire had picked up some road debris somewhere and was toast. Continue reading “On to Colorado….”

Montana Connections

Nicole in BoliviaWe interacted with some interesting people in Montana, some new connections and some reconnections. I enjoyed reconnecting with one of the teammates I went to Bolivia with on our Engineers Without Borders trip. Nicole Mosby had relocated to Helena for a new job opportunity shortly after our trip to Suncallo and we maintained sporadic email contact through the years so when our route to Glacier took us close it seemed like an opportune time to reconnect.

As fate would have it Nicole accepted a transfer to Missoula within the engineering company she works for and that made it even simpler as Missoula is the closest “big city” to Darby, about an hour north. We had a great time catching up and sharing over breakfast one Sunday morning and asked Nicole to come down some weekend and see where we were staying. She was able to do so before we left and we got to spend more time together and take in the Apple Festival in Hamilton. Being with her again made me realize how much I missed interacting with her.

A new connection we made was Dan Nelson in Helena. We went up to meet with him on a recommendation from Wendell (a family friend of the Taylors) and look at a new energy balancing technology he is developing. Dan is a physicist with a deep interest in quantum mechanics and has created some fascinating mathematical patterns related to the bodies energy systems. It’s a little hard to explain but essentially it is a revolutionary way to approach the balance, flow and distribution of energy in the body. It could be said that it acts as an energetic form of acupuncture. Dan demonstrated the technology on each of us and we both saw significant improvements over the next few weeks.

We also met Dave Burner, a local resident of Darby who is the retired CEO of BF Goodrich Aerospace, and had some interesting conversations on the local economy. Tamara Rackam, a very talented local massage therapist who also taught us some basic principles in Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) which is another energy balancing modality. And many other folks who were guests at the resort.

Hiking Log Update

One of the nice things about the Bitterroot Valley is the large number of hiking trails that head out through the Bitterroot National Forest towards the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

At 1.3 million acres, it is one of the largest designated wilderness areas in the United States. It spans the Bitterroot Mountain Range, on the border between Idaho and Montana. It covers parts of Bitterroot National Forest, Clearwater National Forest, Lolo National Forest, and the Nez Perce National Forest. The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area is immediately to its south, separated only by a dirt road (the Magruder Corridor). Together with adjoining public land, the two wilderness areas form a five million acre wild region.

That’s a lot of hiking opportunities! We have only been out on a few so far but they have all been rewarding. The Tin Cup Creek trailhead (TH) is just outside Darby and it runs some 20 miles or so up into the wilderness. We’ve only been a few miles up it so far and have yet to get out of the forest although we did see a bull moose in the creek. Too many trees in the way so I did not get a picture. Blodgett Canyon is located just outside of Hamilton and we hiked 4.5 miles up the canyon to the Lower Falls. It was an amazing hike, the canyon is reminiscent of Yosemite and it deserves a post of it’s own.

The picture above was what awaits us when we go back to finish the hike up Little Rock Creek. We found it the other morning while heading to Lake Como for a short hike as we were limited by time and it’s easy. However, on the way to the trailhead I got distracted by a sign pointing to the Little Rock Creek TH which I had read about the other day. Seemed a lot more interesting so we detoured and ended up driving several miles up the forest road and eventually found the trailhead.

Little Rock Creek TrailheadLittle Rock Creek TrailSignLRC-6The trail wound up through a lot of new forest growth (pines about eight feet tall) and then reached a point with a view of Lake Como, back east to the Sapphire Mountains, and west up Rock Creek. It then turned left and provided the view at the top of the post. The trail descended the side of the mountain eventually reaching Little Rock Creek and entering the Wilderness. We continued hiking through the forest but ran out of time and had to return. Definitely want to go back and finish this one if time permits.