26 August, 2016

Heading East

One last brief “catching up Khronicle” (with lots of photos) brings us home to Blacksburg.  Then we'll be back on our usual, totally random schedule.

Location: Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

We crossed the Canada / US border and got through customs with no problems at all. Now that we're experienced RV border crossers, we know what to eat or get rid of before re-entering the US, and we passed through with flying colors.

Teton National Park - where we met up with old cruising friends who were heading west as we headed south and east

Arches National Park – awesome

Canyonlands National Park – also awesome

Then up the hill to a BLM campsite in the Price Canyon Recreational Area – long, steep, but really nice. Walk up to old growth bristlecone pine grove. Some of these trees are over 1000 years old. Met a very interesting fellow who claims to be one of the top Ponderosa pine guys in the world.

Cortez, Colorado to visit ex-boater RV friends we met in Baja California, Mexico. Ended up staying for 2.5 weeks to work on camper and hang out enjoying each others company.

Mesa Verde National Park – also awesome.

Great Sand Dune National Park – pleasant surprise.

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve – bison, ticks, and very tall grass.

Memphis, Julie's old stomping grounds.

And finally, back to North Carolina and Virginia to our kids and grand kids and our house in Blacksburg.

Whew! Fast trip, eh? We traveled 30,000 statute miles in the last year and a half. Crossed the country coast to coast twice, and from the tip of Baja California, Mexico to Vancouver Island, Canada, visiting lots of places in between. It took us 8 years to go 25,000 nautical miles in Rachel. Traveling sure is a lot different at 50 mph!

We hope you enjoy the following photos.

 Mount Ranier, Oregon
 Craters of the Moon National Park

Experimental Breeder Reactor-1 (EBR-1), the world's first nuclear power plant
 Photo of operator using the remote grippy things
 Mark gets to try the remote grippy things - not as easy as it looks
 An unscheduled visitor to EBR-1
Another visitor - a fox trying to race with us beside the RV - it was surprisingly fast
 Grant Teton National Park
Lovely to spend a couple of days hiking and having fun with old cruising friends
River boating with same friends on the Snake River
 Antelope Island near Salt Lake City, Utah
The island sits in the Great Salt Lake and is accessible via a 14 mile causeway.  Home to one of the largest herds of free range bison in the US.  Also lots of pronghorn and bighorn sheep, mule deer and many varieties of birds. 
Great trails on Antelope Island but unfortunately in the July heat we only took advantage of a couple of short ones in the early morning
 Bristle cones at Price Canyon Recreation Area, Utah
 1,000 + year old bristle cone pine tree
Arches National Park

 Careful! Don't push too hard!
 A double rainbow

This trail led up a precipitous path to a spectacular arch.  Luckily is wasn't too busy so we got to hug the high side and walk really slowly! 
Visiting friends in  Cortez, Colorado and doing RV repairs.  Can't have fun ALL the time
Cathleen & Derek - look familiar?
We came across this herd of sheep on a back road to Tulluride, Colorado
 ...about the ride up to the ski slopes in a gondola.  Julie said she's much prefer the Venice variety.
Last day in Cortez with our ex-boater RV friends whom we met in Baja
Mesa Verde National Park
We never realized there were so many cliff dwellings here

They are littered all over the place and very spectacular 
Great Sand Dune National Park. We had no idea this was here. There are two rivers that carry sand down from the mountains.  In the spring, they erode the dunes, carrying sand downstream.  
 The rivers dry out in summer, and the prevailing wind carries the sand back to the dunes.  An amazing cycle of erosion and renewal.

 Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.  Cow and nursing calf
 That's some tall grass!
 Loose buffalo?
Oh, now we get it

 Julie and her new friend in Branson, Missouri
 Mark signing Elvis' wall at his (Elvis', not Mark's) home in Memphis, Tennessee
Nearly home now