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Old 06-21-2016, 04:18 PM   #491
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I haven't had to deal with a browser check, take off my shoes and belt or be scanned in a few days, so I guess things are back to normal.

Getting things ready for the next trip—six days starting Thursday. Slowly moving along with the kitchen—plywood for the bar is installed and half the tile is in. I am taking a break from it and hope to get the tile in today, but maybe not. Won't make much difference either way.

Second thoughts about the northeast trip. Barb's parents—90 and 91—have been so healthy for so long we kind of think of them as invincible, but they look much more fragile than we have seen them before. They have been in the same house for almost 60 years and suddenly the neighborhood is showing signs of wear and tear. All the old timers are gone and younger, less responsible people are moving in (they aren't as concerned about bluegrass and their lawns are not cared for with extreme measures). We hear about more crime. Because they don't want to "bother" us, we are much more bothered by their stubbornness, refusal to consider moving to a better place and a house with less upkeep. We don't know what they aren't telling us (don't want to "bother" us) and we don't know how to help them. Thus, when one gets real sick or dies, nothing will be ready and everything will be an emergency. Kind of ties you down waiting for the hammer to fall. They are very good people (couldn't ask for better in-laws) doing the things that people do when they get really old, but for us (who aren't so young either) it sure drives us nuts. Hard to help people when they don't want help, but seem to need it.

Gene
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:54 PM   #492
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Check your browser.

Hi, "Check your browser" was the first thing I got tonight as I clicked onto Air Forums, so it is still there. My Dad bought his house in 1950 and stayed in it until 2011 when he passed away. I fully understand why old people don't want to move. They don't want anything moved or changed in their houses as that is how it will be until the end. My last/first house was for 33 years and this house is planned to be my last. I HATE MOVING! I also like to keep my vehicles for 10 years or 100,000 miles or more. My Airstream trailer is/was planned to be our one and only trailer until I can no longer can handle it anymore. People get comfortable a resist change, especially old people. Hope you have a nice trip.
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:05 PM   #493
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You are right Bob. Try and pry my cold, dead hands off the steering wheel! We presently are at our third last house. I do learn some things—it probably isn't our last house, or one of us' last house. Barb will probably want to downsize when I am shipped off in my Airstream urn, so it may be last one, but not hers. But parents are another issue. Their neighborhood has been remarkably stable for generations, but not so much now. The early signs of decay are either there or we are looking too hard for that and things are ok. I really don't see that they will be strong enough to hold out much longer, but will probably live a lot longer. If they have to move, it will be a struggle to find where to go. Everybody seems to have these issues and solutions are many, and many of those are not too good. We now realize we did not buy a house that was convenient for one or two parents to live in with us. Not sure how we screwed that up. I look at my future and knowing that each year I have a little less stamina, a little less strength, I wonder when I get feeble and at the same time am doing as well as anyone. Then I look at older people and some are still getting around well, but many others are struggling.

We are now at Elkhorn RV Resort in Lake City. It was 104˚ in Grand Jct. two days ago, but low 70's when we got here. That is welcome. I picked the best rated CG in town, but it seems kind of crowded in the part we are in. Our dinette is feet from a residential street and someone with a large 4 wheeler on a trailer parked it (facing wrong way) right on the street outside our window. Nice view of an orange macho machine. Are those street legal? They are the size of a small car and remind me of VW's The Thing.

We got into town after a slow trip of about 160 miles and a nap seemed wonderful. It was. I can remember two times we spent several days here and have been through here a few more times. Every time the restaurants are different, so we have to figure out which ones are good this year. Bruno, who is the chef at Alpine Moose Lodge, seems to be the fine dining chef here. Reading the reviews and his responses on TripAdvisor is fun. Bruno takes no prisoners. Appears the food is good, but Bruno can be fiery. Not sure I want to chance it. It looks like the lodge and restaurant are for sale. Bruno has been here a long time and some people will miss him. Five years ago it was the place to go for pizza, now it is fine dining. Try to find a menu for most any restaurant here is a challenge. Like a lot of small mountain towns, there will be one really good restaurant, a lot of "family"/"comfort food" type places with not very good food, a steakhouse, maybe a good breakfast/lunch place, maybe a "bakery" with food beyond bread and cake. The latter two will be run by one or more women who really care about their restaurant and/or bakery and the food is usually pretty good. There are 12 restaurants so far as I can tell. 408 people means every 34 people have their own restaurant to staff and eat at. Obviously people come here for the summer. Never been here in the winter, but at close to 8,661', it must be cold. Average temp in January is 17˚. A one time mining town, it was down to 91 people in 1970, but tourism got bigger and people wanted to move away from cities, so more have moved here.

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Old 06-23-2016, 11:43 PM   #494
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Hi, one more scary thought was, what to do with all the junk collected in the decades of living in one place. After 33 years in our house, we trashed, gave away, and donated truck loads of stuff. At my parents house, we got the job of going through 61 years of stuff. At 98, I'm sure my Dad wasn't going to do it and I'm sure your parents/inlaws in their 90's wouldn't feel like doing it either. [My kids will get that job when I get old, or pass]
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Old 06-25-2016, 02:45 PM   #495
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Our 2nd day in Lake City. Had a fair breakfast—all you can eat for $7 at Poker Alice's—that is cheap here. Decided to drive up to Cinnamon Pass (more than 12,000'), a place we've been to before. Then maybe drive over to Engineer Pass, another repeat. These are heavily used 2wd and 4wd roads and last time we went over Engineer (there are really two Engineer Passes to be accurate, North and South I think) was maybe 7 or 8 years ago. Today, though, the bumpy road hurt my back, I didn't feel good on the shelf road as the drops got higher and higher and I just wasn't having any fun. Maybe better in our relatively small FJ Cruiser, but not in a full sized truck. So we came back to town, had lunch, and will go to the county museum shortly. Lots of photos in a while.

Been hot for Lake City here—up towards 80˚. Clouding over in the afternoon for the occasional thunderstorm as if normal in the mountains in the summer. And the town seems kind of quiet. There's some sort of race today, but otherwise lots of empty parking and quiet restaurants, stores and streets. It may be the high season starts here July 4. Some stores don't open until July 1.

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Old 06-26-2016, 11:33 AM   #496
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Decided to drive up to Cinnamon Pass....

Another excellent trip report. You're on a roll.
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:34 PM   #497
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Sunday: A humid afternoon with thunder far in the distance. We are camped at West Fork CG between Pagosa Springs and Wolf Creek Pass. I can occasionally get one bar, but the signal is so weak I can’t get any data. Photos and this screed will have to wait.

Our time in Lake City was quiet (mostly) and restful. We went to see the X-Men movie and as superhero movies go, it was better than the others, but if you like a realistic plot, forget it. Constant action and weak attempts to be meaningful and to even answer major questions about humanity. The movie theater, the Mountaineer, was apparently rescued from oblivion several years ago. I think it seats 70. Hard to make any money with few seats and few people over winter, but good for them that they could pull this off. They had a digital projector, difficult to afford, and good sound. They even had fairly recent theater seats, though they didn’t recline.

By that evening, Lake City was cut off from the world—cell service was out. We had been told at the CG the whole town had lost cable TV and we never did get any while there. Later that evening, I could get the internet by switching back and forth between our Verizon system and the CG system. That was the norm until we left—intermittent and slow.

The CG was adequate. Some sites, ours included, were small and crowded. Our dinette faced out on a residential street about 5’ away. Since we were either out on the town, reading inside, or napping during the “waking” hours, the CG didn’t matter much. New owners and they seem very eager to please. So, Elkhorn RV resort is not really a resort, but is ok. Most of the CG’s in and near town have only back-ins (maybe a few have some pull thrus, but we didn’t see any) and are crammed together. The next time (we go to Lake City every 5 to 10 years) we might look for a CG with more space.

The town also has a lot of old cabins from the days before RV’s. We stayed in one in town run by a very nice widow in 1990. That was good. We had planned on backpacking deep into the Lost Creek Wilderness west of Denver, but it poured and poured. We hiked back to the truck and drove southwest until it stopped raining (it was the wettest August ever in Denver that year). Never did get back to Lost Creek.

The local museum is much like a lot of small town museums. The collection in the main building was kind of jumbled and themes were not well developed. Many of these museums have the same stuff every other small town museum has. It is a challenge for non-professionals to do professional displays. A very friendly man took our money ($4/senior) and liked to talk. He started following me and I had to stop responding to him or he would have followed us back to the trailer. He parted his hair in the middle like men did a century or more ago; he also had a pencil thin mustache—maybe he was an apparition. They had some buildings in the back with a few interesting things.

This morning we got an early start for us (9:20) and started south. Climbing up out of Lake City is a long slog on a steep highway, some of it like a paved shelf road, to Slumgullion Pass. Slumgullion stew is a collection of whatever food you have in a pot, boiling for hours. The Pass is something like 11,200’, a half mile climb from town. That is the same altitude change from Grand Jct. to our house, but in about half the distance for the steepest parts. One grade was so steep that for the first time ever the Tundra was maxed out.

The highway stays above 10,000’ for a while, traversing Spring Creek Pass and more very high country. Lots of opportunities for dispersed or CG camping along the way. After Spring Creek, we entered the Rio Grande headwaters area and followed the river until South Fork. The river valley widens significantly and pretty soon we saw lots of neutron villages (neutron bombs only kill living things, no other damage). These are places with second homes and no one around—no children, dogs, adults, cars. Along the way was Creede, a former mining town in a very narrow side canyon. The highway goes past Creede instead of into Creede. Soon we were in South Fork, a town made up of CG’s and motels and some restaurants. We passed Fun Valley RV CG, moderately famous in the movie “Vacation”. Then we started up Wolf Creek Pass, a long trip up to 12,000’ or so. This pass gets amazing amounts of snow every winter, 400” seems normal I believe. They rebuilt the road some 10 or 15 years ago and it took a few years of awful, hour long delays. So traumatized by that, this was the first time we traveled this way since.

We arrived at this CG not long after noon. It is an old CG and most of the sites face the wrong way to back in a trailer. Many are for very small RV’s or tents. I just drove into one facing backwards since we aren’t unhitching. This one will be easy to back out of in the morning. This CG is run by a concessionaire who spends no money on it, but instead of the $6 these CG’s used to cost not that many years ago, now it is $18 (half for those of us with a senior pass). Nice, wooded area, pretty quiet and we got a space without a reservation.

Monday we drive to Cortez and hopefully good wifi, cell service and television. I love being in wild and distant places, but I need internet and cable news. This is a problem. But tonight we burn scrap wood from remodeling and can stare into the fire; almost as good as cable news.

Gene
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:58 PM   #498
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This morning, Monday, we got another early start, even before 10 am, and about a half mile from the CG as we passed through old cabins and a small RV park, I heard one of the Equalizer hitch bars hit the dirt. I stopped and the part of the inside link plate that holds the L brackets had broken off. Not a bad weld, a clean metal break. About 30 seconds later a man on a Kobuta 4 wheel thing they use in place like this pulled up and offered to help. He had been wetting down the road. He looked at it and said he could weld it and off we went to a garage about 50 yards away and he welded it. Not pretty, but it has survived 125 miles. Could you leave one bar on and still get some sway control? Neither of us have been able to figure that one out.

There are no Equalizer dealers in southwest Colorado. I called the company and reminded them of their lifetime warranty. They will ship me 2 new link plates plus new bolts, washers and nuts. The design has changed since our hitch was made, so I will get the new design without a box welded on. But I'll have drive home with the fixed part and hope the weld is ok.

Today we are in Cortez at Sundance RV CG. Nice place, we've been here 2 or more other times. Only problem is the TV picture is fuzzy. Back in the heat after several semi-cool days though everyone is complaining about the heat everywhere.

Let's get back to photos.

1. Poker Alice's restaurant. Actually if Alice was still alive it would be a bordello and casino. She, the madam, would be up front with a big cigar in her mouth.

2. Across from Poker Alice is this multi-business: gas, garage, coffee shop, cafe, a big fish next to the pumps must mean something else is for sale, and BBQ. And it is for sale—here's your chance for a new life.

3. This finely restored building is now the library, but was a tourist store 5 years ago. There was a big tree where the cars are parked in front. This close to one end of Silver St., the one time commercial street. Note boardwalks.

4. Further north on Silver. Since the town had several major fires long ago, hard to know whether the buildings date back to the 1870's when it was founded, or much later.

Gene
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Old 06-27-2016, 07:08 PM   #499
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More photos:

1. Some not so good old buildings on Silver St. Most houses in town are small and well kept. This is across from the museum.

2. The museum in Lake City.

3. Detail of the top of the museum main building.

4. The buildings and the Dodge pickup may be old, but the flowers and some of the boardwalk are new.

Gene
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Old 06-27-2016, 08:22 PM   #500
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So what happened to the bird who was attacking our windows? Gone now that I have the angry eyes balloons which I haven't be able to use. They do look cool and I might leave one in the guest room to scare our guests.

Another thing about Lake City—a couple of days ago every cottonwood tree in town decided to pollinate the same day. There was pollen (strangely enough it looks like raw cotton) everywhere and my nose got stuffed and my eyes itched. Glad to be gone from that.

Back to Photos:

1. Now an art center, this formidable brick building looks like a one time hotel. In the right foreground is the town park. Once a group of commercial buildings, when they burned down, it was turned into a park. There are quite a few vacant lots in the middle of town.

2. One of the downtown empty lots has been turned into a flower garden.

3. A grossly underserved population finally gets some help. Let's hope we can get government grants to help husbands everywhere.

4. Lake San Cristobal. Second largest natural lake in the state, created by a gigantic mudflow long ago. The road south crisscrosses the mudflow and I can report it did not move while we traversed it.

Gene
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:16 AM   #501
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enjoying this interesting thread; thanks
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:20 PM   #502
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Rain is back! Some thunder and rain today and it has reduced the heat everyone is tired of. We went to the Absolute Bakery in Mancos for breakfast. Very good food, poor service by the first waitress though we secured a better one by asking her to get the water the first one refused to bring. Toast was hard because it was made and left to sit for the long time we waited for food. But the food was good and we were visiting with an old friend and talking a lot, so the annoyances were tolerable.

Mancos is a small town near the entrance to Mesa Verde NP. It has some tourist stores, the Bakery (breakfast, lunch, bread, pastries) and not much else in the old, modest downtown off the highway. There are more tourist stores and restaurants right along US 160, but take the business route to see the old downtown. The Goodnight Trail Gallery is on the main corner and has some high quality Navajo and other Indian rugs. The woman I talked to is an expert on Navajos, knows a lot of the same people we have met over the years (though she knows them a lot better), so we understood each other right away. We have some Navajo rugs on consignment in Santa Fe and are thinking of moving them, so this is a valuable contact.

We spent the day catching up with the old friend who has moved to Mancos, napping, eating and thinking about going home tomorrow. I decided not to have the weld on the Equalizer hitch checked in town since it has held without any problems for 125 miles. We have about 200 tomorrow. The new parts will be sent to our house and so the assembly on the tongue will be the new style.

Photos:

1. Just south of Lake City, we picked up the road to Cinnamon Pass. This is an area of the San Juan Mountains with many peaks 14,000' and more. I think Cinnamon is more than 12,000' and can be reached on the east side by cars (sometimes carefully) and 2wd drive trucks. We went part way and decided we didn't feel like bouncing so much. We've been there before when bouncing wasn't so hard on our bodies.

2. When mining was big in the late 1800's, this was part of the town of Sherman. There are two buildings like this along the road, but it is on private property and well treed, so we couldn't see if there were more town left.

3. Further toward the Pass, but before we started climbing.

4. Pretty little house in Lake City (for sale it appears). Note that a lot of houses during the mining era have the wood siding right down to the ground instead of elevated a bit on a foundation. In some case, the sidings covers up a log cabin underneath. They often had tall windows, but they were only a foot or so above the ground. There is no porch above the ground in front. And with snows feet deep in winter, the wood siding would rot fast, especially where it contacted the dirt. Lots of maintenance and the houses look a bit sunken because houses haven't been built that way for a long, long time.

Gene
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:37 PM   #503
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More photos:

1. This house was built and owned by former slaves who came to Lake City in the early mining era (1870's probably), worked at a hotel, started their own businesses and built a nice and large home. Besides the bay window which denoted middle class housing, there was a lot more house in the back.

2. Somewhere between Lake City and Wolf Creek Pass. Note dead trees at right. We saw large areas of beetle killed conifers, whole mountainsides. It was very bad south of Lake City, but we saw large dead areas other places too. This was worse than we've ever seen beetle kill in the decades since it started getting worse and worse in the Rockies—same period when temps have been increasing during that period.

3. Camped at West Fork CG. Since I make a lot of wood scraps I burned 2 1/2 boxes and had a nice fire that night. If I couldn't burn them I would have scores of boxes in a few years. Here, the host ran his generator from early afternoon to 9:10 pm.

4. The garage where the hitch part was welded is seen in the center of the photo. Down on the right is the truck side mirror.

More later.

Gene
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:16 PM   #504
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Hi Gene. Great narrative and pictures. Thanks.

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