Sunday, June 21, 2009

Colorado: June 16, 2009 Capulin National Monument.

Today we explored Capulin National Monument and the area surrounding Capulin, NM.

We were up early and at the entrance to the Monument when the gates opened at 7:30am. Sometimes we like to get an early start when we go sightseeing. A definite benefit to an early start is there are very few other visitors around, so you have the park pretty much to yourselves. The air is fresh and the early morning sun is always invigorating. We are camped at about 6900’ so the morning is cool, about 45*.

Morning view of lupine (bluebonnet?) flower and countryside.

Capulin Volcano

Rises about 1000’ above the surrounding countryside. It was formed about 90,000 years ago when hot gases escaping from far below the ground blew ash and molten lava into the sky.

A picture of modern day volcano erupting just like Capulin did.

Many volcanoes form the typical cone shape form when they first erupt, but then in their latter stages, molten lava flows over the top of the cone, distorting the shape. Capulin’s molten lava stage occurred when the lava flowed out of the base(Baca) of the volcano leaving the top a typical cone shape . The ash that spewed out of the volcano (along with the volcanic bombs) fell around the top reinforcing the cone shape.

Picture of an ancient lava flow at the base. The ripples you see on the ground are caused by the surface cooling and solidifying while the lower part is still liquid and flowing.

Enough of the technical stuff.

There is a paved road going from the base to the very top. If you look back at the picture of Capulin Volcano earlier, the line around the side of the volcano is the road. No guard rail, just a VERY steep drop off at the edge of the pavement. From the parking lot at the top, you can look down to the bottom of the crater. This gave Sharon the opportunity to get out and see down into the crater. The opposite side of the parking lot had a beautiful view looking out over the countryside from this 1000’ vantage point. While Al took the one mile hike around the rim, Sharon stayed in the car and watched the pretty changing light and clouds on the surrounding country side. Al did a little huffing and puffing on the hike. The trail is at 8000’ and just two days ago we were at 700’ in San Antonio.

A few pictures from the trail:

Up in the clouds

View from the trail

Lava bomb beside the trail

A lava bomb is a molten blob of lava which cools and solidifies in the air and falls back to help form the cone.

View into the crater from the top of the rim. You can see the trail into the bottom of the crater.

Wild flower beside trail

A closer look

The rest of the day we drove around the country side and towns looking at general scenery. Nothing much to take pictures of, other than there was a pretty water fall. The rock beside the water fall looks like a cows head

We also had a flat tire on our car fixed. When we first got to the top of volcano this morning, Al noticed one of our tires was almost flat. We carry a 12 volt air pump with us for just these kinds of situations. Al pumped up the tire and upon inspection saw a small nail in the tread. We just left the nail in the tire and drove to a near by town, later, and had it fixed. As long as the nail or screw stays in the tire you can drive for quite a few miles before it looses enough air to go flat again. We probably towed the car several hundred miles, behind the Bug, yesterday with the nail in the tire.

Heading to the mountains near Colorado Springs tomorrow.

Until later,

Al & Sharon

Colorado: June 14, 2009 San Antonio to Capulin, NM. June 14-15, 2009

We left Blazing Star RV Park in San Antonio, Sunday June 14th at 7:10am. We wanted to get an early start as the afternoon temps are forecast to be close to 100*. We were not sure how far we were going to drive today. It all depended on how Al felt after going to the Folklife Festival with Ehren & Sharon yesterday.

Al felt good driving, he wasn't too tired. We took a lot of breaks, stopping at the roadside rest areas & picnic areas every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. We drove about 350 miles, arriving at our overnight stop at a roadside picnic area just north of Post, Tx. about 3:30pm.

Map of todays travels

Just north of IH20 on Hwy84, heading toward Lubbock, we saw a new agricultural crop being raised by the farmers. (Wind Turbines in the background. Click on picture to see larger view)

They are really big.

You don't realize how big they are or how many wind turbines there are until you drive through this area. We must have driven past 500 to a 1000 today. No telling how many Wind Turbines are on the farms and ranch lands away from the main highway.

A few pictures of our overnight parking spot. A roadside picnic area on Hwy 84 overlooking Post, Tx

More wind turbines visible from our parking spot.

Monday, June 15th. Back on the road again about 6:20am. It is easy to get an early start when you don't stay in a campground or RV Park. You pretty much just put a few things away inside and drive off.

It was an easy drive to Capulin, NM, about 340 miles.

Map of todays travels

The high plains in New Mexico. You can see forever. An extinct volcano in the distance.

Our destination is Capulin RV Park.

Capulin, NM is next to Capulin Volcano National Monument, which we plan to explore tomorrow.

Picture of Capulin Volcano

Tomorrow, exploring Capulin Volcano National Monument.

Until then,

Al & Sharon

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Taking Ehren to the Folklife Festival and our last day in San Antonio till October

Today we took Ehren to the Texas Folklife Festival. Sarita & Brett enjoyed going when they were Ehren's age and a little older. One of the highlights of his day may have been riding the city bus. We took the "Park N' Ride" to the festival instead of trying to find a parking place down town.

As always click on a picture to see a larger image!

Ehren on the bus

Pictures of Ehren & Grandpa. Ehren's a goodlooking kid isn't he! Unbiased opinon from Grandpa.

Ehren & Grandpa horseing around. Bumping shoulders as kids will do. You think Grandpa is just a big kid???

Oh! that's a good strawberry snow cone!

There was a large toy rocking horse

And a full sized rocking horse

And one large enough for two people to ride

Ehren did get to ride on a Longhorn Cattle roundup

Of course the important things when you are four years old are:



And, Ice Cream

We are in a heat spell in San Antonio this week. Afternoon highs are between 98 and 100 degrees. To make matters worse the humidity is high. To try to avoid as much of the heat as possible we took the first "Park N' Ride" bus down at 10:30am so we could be there when they opened at 11am. By 1:30 to 2pm it was getting quite warm (can you say HOT) and we could see Ehren was getting tired. Time to take him home! There was a bus waiting at the pick up spot and the air conditioner on the bus must have been set for about 68 degrees. We rejoiced!!!! Most of the pictures of Ehren and Grandpa on the bus are from the ride home. Of course by this time he was hungry. Most of the food at the festival was ethnic food, not exactly the kind of food which excites a youngster! We stopped by the "Golden Arches" and picked up some "good food" in the drive-through and it was back to home.

I think everyone had a good time. Kind of one on one quality time with a grandchild.

Off on the start of our trip to Colorado in the morning. I hope to get started early (8am) in order to try to drive as much as possible before the temperature gets into the mid to upper 90's.

Until later.

Al & Sharon

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer 2009 travel itinerary (Not set in concrete!!)

This is the planned itinerary for our Colorado trip this summer. Most everything in this itinerary is subject to change. Once we arrive in an area we learn about interesting places to visit which we hadn't thought about, or knew about before we got there. So we change our plans on the fly.

Some RV'ers idea of perfect trip is having camping reservations for every place they visit and every day of their trip. Others, like us, are about the total opposite. We almost never make reservations because are we never sure where we will be on a specific date. The times we may make reservations are on major holidays, like Fouth of July, or Labor Day weekends. Campgrounds and RV Parks generally fill up on these holidays.

Al always does a lot of internet research to decide what to see and what to do in the area we have decided to visit. The result of that research is the general plan for this summer.

First off, we plan on leaving San Antonio, June 14th and should take about 5 days to reach the mountains NW of Colorado Springs, near the town of Woodland Park.

Map of route from San Antonio to Woodland Park, about 900 miles.

A map of the area of we plan on staying in until shortly after July 4th. All the black triangles are National Forest campgrounds.

After July 4th we plan on heading to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). We will probably spend 2-3 weeks in the RMNP area. Part of our stay will be on the east side of the park and the remainder on the west side of the park. Most likely in the area of Grand Lake and Granby Lake.

Link to RMNP web site:

Link to Map of RMNP:

The RMNP newspaper has lots of good info about the park.

Most, if not all the National Parks have a similar newspaper.

From the latter part of of July to mid August we plan on moving to the White Mountain National Forest area west of RNMP, east of Meeker, south of Hwy 40 and north of IH70.

From mid August to mid September we will probably be in the area south of IH70 and north of Hwy 50.

From mid September though the first few days of October we plan on being in the high mountains around Crested Butte, Colorado.

We are hoping that the quaking aspen trees will be well into their fall colors before we start back to San Antonio.

The above picture is from Len's Travels Blog:

Go to Len's blog for a lot more pictures of the fall colors.

We are going to take Ehren to the Folklife Festival, Saturday, June 13th. I'll post a quick update with pictures on our way to Colorado. We plan on leaving for Colorado, Sunday, June 14th.

Until later.

Al & Sharon.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fall, Winter and Spring with Family in Texas

September 12, 2008, after our wonderful 5 ½ month trip to the Northeast US and the Canadian Atlantic Provences of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, we arrived at Sarita’s house in Lewisville for a three week visit. We get to park in Sarita’s back yard and use her electric free of charge. We do pay for our parking place by completing a list of “Mommy Do’s” and “Daddy Do’s” We had a nice visit and accomplished most of the “Do’s”.

On to San Antonio in time for Nate’s first birthday!

The remainder of the post is mostly pictures of the boys taken during our stay the last few months.

Nate’s birthday:

Daddy helping Nate open his presents

Enough of this opening presents, I want to go play!

Nate is ready to tear into his cake. See the two hands holding him back!

A special cake had been made just for Nate so he could use his hands to eat it “all by himself”

On to Holloween:

The boys went Trick or Treating as the Mario and Wario video game characters

Nate as Mario(sorry about the grainy picture)

And Ehren as Wario

And then there was Christmas:

Followed by Easter:

Nate found an Easter egg

Ehren takes a break from finding Easter eggs to open one and eat the candy inside.

Several times the boys (and Mom & Dad) came to the RV Park we stayed at and we all swam in the pool.

Ehren, Sarita & Nate

A little horseplay between Al & Brett in the pool

Ehren taking a big jump to Daddy

Daddy throwing Ehren to Grandpa

Nate jumped to Mommy

And a few more pictures:

I just finished a good peanut butter sandwich

Four years old going on fourteen!!

Am I cool or what!!

Is this a good looking family or what! And that is an unbiased opinion!!

That's it for now. We leave for the high country in Colorado, June 13th or 14th.

Until later.

Al & Sharon