After the mill we drove on up the canyon to see BridleVale Falls. There is a huge home built on the cliffs beside the falls(look closely at the photo and you can see the home). We are not sure how they get back and forth in the winter, probably use a snowmobile. Telluride sits in a box canyon and the only way out is back the same way we came, so we headed home after another long but interesting day.
For Thanksgiving the owners gave us a dinner from Safeway and Al, Linda and us had a lovely dinner here in the office which is bigger than our rigs. The other camp host couple had other plans so it was just the 4 of us. We had a bottle of wine, good food and gab session so it was a pretty good evening, plus we got left-overs. We actually had to work the office that day and I even managed to bring in some money, but for the most part it was pretty slow. We finally got some snow - a good trace of it here in town and quite a bit around us, but not enough to open Telluride yet. The snow didn't last long here in town, but there is still quite a bit in the mountains.
We and the other camp hosts (Al and Linda) took a train ride on the Durango & Silverton RR for their Cascade Canyon Winter ride on a steam train 52 miles round trip through the background of winter wonderland in the San Juan Mountains. Since it had snowed the trip was absolutely beautiful and we went through a pass where Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid held up the train (in the movie version) and other places where movies have been filmed. We were in the San Juan Parlor Car - Alamosa that served alcohol and no kids. We had a ball and would really love to have property around Durango, but it is too expensive. The trip was a little pricey and so were the drinks, but it was well worth it.
I finally gave in and went to a Pilates class with the other camp host (Orienda). It was really a great workout so I am going to continue to go. Actually this was at a suggestion from my doctor. She actually wants me to swim but there is no way I am going to get into a swimming suit. Maybe later. The Rec Center here is huge and there are 3 different pools – kids, lap and a large oval one that you walk or swim against the current. It really is a great facility. The doctor is also concerned about my blood pressure so I am keeping tract of it and report back to her. So far it is staying pretty high. Thanksgiving is over and that means that the Christmas season is upon us. We have all our decorations up, including the train around the tree. Every time he starts it up Sophie just stares at it and has tried sniffing it and decided not to bat it and just cannot figure out what it is. She got engrossed with it that when I touched her she jumped so high she cleared the desk and chair.. It really spooks her.
Not much exciting so far. We did have a great blizzard going one night, but here in the valley the sleet didn’t stick around very long. Just enough to tease me as I really miss my snow, but haven’t had any for a couple of years. Telluride did get enough snow to open though. Cortez had a Parade of Lights parade the other night that had more fire trucks than anything and there sirens were going full blast. There were a couple of marching bands and had several floats, but it was too dark out to see who sponsored them. There was a good turnout so it is a big thing here. The night before Bob’s second scheduled craft sale it started pouring and didn’t stop so he didn’t bother going. We were going to be outside and even though we had a tent people wouldn’t have stopped before going into the building, plus they got snow. We heard the show was a success, but we were too late to get a booth inside. He did find a shop here in town that took 10 necklaces on consignment so we will see how that goes. The park has been really slow so we spend most of our days reading, doing puzzles and playing games on the computer. Tough job, but someone has to do it; although it does make for a very long day.
Mesa Verde National Park had an open house a couple of nights ago and featured Spruce Tree House (the only ruin open all year which is right behind the museum) totally lit up and miles of luminaries along the paths and roads. It was really beautiful, but there was no other lights so had to be very careful walking. They also had a barbershop quartet and a Navaho flute player. They both good, but the flute player was my favorite. He used a Plain Indian type flute which has a soulful but haunting sound. He also played a drum and sang some Navaho songs, plus was very funny. There were other activities and food and drink. It is 1 ½ hr drive on a slow, dark and curvy road so we didn’t stay for everything.
The local Jeep dealer called and said he had a truck he wanted us to look at so he dropped it off and we kept it for a day. It is a maroon 2006 Chev Colorado with crew cab and only has 23,000 miles on it. It drove well and they gave us a great deal on the jeep so we are now owners of a pickup. We ordered a shell for it, but it won’t be here until the middle of Jan. so until we get that and be able to put our stuff back into it to give it some weight in the rear end we don’t go into snowy areas. We have had snow off and on, but it never sticks around. It sure has been cold lately though.
We have been looking into property in the mountains of New Mexico and like what we see so we may have to take a short trip down there. Al & Linda went to San Diego for Christmas and we are taking their shift for them so they will owe us, which will give us 10 days, plus the Workhorse dealer is nearby so we can get the RV in. If they can’t find the problem this time we will be going back to WA for arbitration. We had a very quiet Christmas - just the 2 of us since Al & Linda were gone, but I did cook a small turkey with dressing and yams. This is the first time I cooked anything that big in our convection oven, but it came out just fine. We did get a blizzard one night, but melted by the next morning and last couple of days it has snowed off and on, but not enough to get me excited. Last night there was a big thunder clap then it started snowing. I’ve been through all kinds of weather, but that was a first for me. A couple of days later we did get 1 ½ in. of snow and it has stayed cold enough that it has lasted into the new year. We got below 0 and had a lot of rigs to unfreeze, including us, but nothing major. We went out to dinner for my birthday supposedly better restaurants, but nothing I’d go back for. Cortez is sadly lacking in finer dining and the nearest Red Lobster is 70 miles away. We still have a few more places to check out, but not holding our breath. New Year’s Eve the couple next door came over and we had a few hot butter rums so had a fairly quiet eve and since I couldn’t find a Prime Rib Roast in town to cook on New Year’s Day I ended up making ribs. The Safeway here is as big as Sequim’s but is lacking in it’s selection of meats and products. Sofie had lost 7 balls and we went nuts trying to find them (some of which was lost for 3 months) until Bob discovered a small space under the bottom drawer in the kitchen so when Bob took out the drawer he found 3of them under it. He then started looking for other openings and in the space under the sliding door that closes off the bedroom from the rest of the rig he found the other 4. How she ever got those in there we’ll never know. Anyway, she was so happy to see all her old balls again.
The first 2 weeks were pretty much the same as always, but the weather got cold and stayed cold (in the minus figures up to a whopping 30) so Bob has been busy thawing out several of the rigs, including ours. Everyone is taking it all in stride and being patient. The day before we left for New Mexico our truck shell finally came in so Bob got it and the tow bar installed just in time. I had visions of me having to drive the truck to NM behind the RV because we had an appt. with a Workhorse dealer at 10:00 that am for a final try to fix our RV before we were going into arbitration with the Lemon Law. We pulled into a pull thru spot here in the park so we could be all hooked up and ready to roll Thurs. am, but our jacks froze to the ground so had to spend some time breaking them loose and the day didn’t get any better. It was only 81 miles to Aztec, but we -17 temps and our water froze along the way. We got into Aztec on time only to find that the phone number we were given to call wasn’t any good and there were no Workhorse dealers in Aztec and that we were supposed to be in Farmington instead. Bob was not a happy camper, but at least Farmington was only 20 miles away so we got there pretty much on time. While they were working on the RV we decided to get some breakfast and all we found for miles were fast food places, but finally found a restaurant and barely got in in time before the lunch menu want into effect. We wandered around and decided to find our RV park (Ruins RV Park) which turned out to be right next to the Aztec Ruins National Monument.
After checking in at the RV Park we went up the the Aztec Ruins Monument which is just a block up the road from the RV Park. The museum is right next to the ruins themselves, but we weren’t dressed for the 10 deg temp to try to tramp around the ruins, so we just saw the movie and went through the museum. The next day (while I did the cleaning, washing and ironing) Bob took the tour and brought back lots of pictures. The ruins covers 320 acres and early settlers erroneously assumed the inhabitants were Aztecs (instead of Puebloans) hence the name of the town of Aztec. Part of the ruins are 3 stories and there are over 430 rooms and overall very impressive.
Farmington is large, but not an attractive town that is sprawled all over, but it does have one redeeming feature - a Red Lobster. Of course I had to have my lobster that night. Yum! The next night we went out for Chinese. We haven’t been able to find a decent one since we left Sequim. The one in Sequim has several combinations with at least 5 selections each and automatically comes with tea and soup, but all the ones we have been to since offer very few combos and are usually for 2 or more, plus only one choice or 2 choices and no tea or soup. I like a little bit of everything and not a bunch of one thing, but this one at least had a sweet and sour combo that wasn’t too bad so not a total loss. So much for that dissertation. We went back for the RV and they discovered some bad wiring (more complicated than that, but I didn’t understand all of it) so they deemed it fixed. Time will tell. Also, the District Rep. apologized for giving us the wrong directions in the first place. The next morning we got ready to be on our way and our hydraulic system went down so we were unable to bring in our slides or put the jacks up and since it was Sat. nothing was open so we had to call Good Sam and they confirmed that our hydraulic motor was toast. They manually had to bring in our slides and raise our jacks enough to drive. This all took several hours, but we were able to limp back to Cortez. Of course, we still can’t put out our slides which means I can’t get to my makeup so had to go buy new. We have an appt. to bring it in Mon. am. This was the last straw so we will try arbitration and/or trade it in. One way or another it is going to be gone.
The motor was ordered and by the time it got here it was 4 days later - only it was the wrong part so it was the following Wed. before the right one got here only to find out the pump was also bad so it had to be ordered and should be in tomorrow so hopefully we can get it fixed Tues., which will have been 2 weeks we have lived without slides or jacks. It really is cramped and we are on an angle where the pots want to slide off the stove. It really has been a nightmare and even the cat is getting cranky because there is not enough room for her to play. Once it is fixed we are heading to NM to trade it have cost us as much as what we will have to come up with to trade
We had a gaggle of geese and ducks of all varieties that came over from the park across the street which gave us some entertainment and were really fun to watch. The humane society has been trailing them and several days later relocated them to a park where the pond was unfrozen. I kind of miss them.
Today, it started snowing about 9:00 AM and has dropped about 4" already. Right before it started to snow the guy that does the plowing came and plowed everything. That was a waste as everything is all snowed in again. Bob has spent most of the day sprinkling salt on the sidewalks after shoveling them off. That was also a drill in futility.
We left the park Sun am and headed for Tucson AZ. The road all the way through CO and NM was bumpy, wavy and full of chuck holes which was no fun and I couldn’t even read. The terrain was mostly high desert, but through NM there were occasional large rock formations that just appear from nowhere and were quite interesting. There was snow on the ground all the way past Gallup NM. We passed a couple of horrible truck accidents- one where a Fed Ex trailer burnt to the ground and the other the cab and tractor were pretty much sheared off. Gallup was pretty shabby and spread out all over, but had dinosaurs statues everywhere along the highway which were really cute.. We camped SW of Gallup in Holbrook NM at Root 66 (yes. the correct spelling) RV Park that was located at the intersection of Hwy 40 and Route 66 and was really shabby and pretty muddy, but at least had full hookups and we were only going to stay one night.
The next day we went through Apache Sitgreaves National Forrest which was 20 miles of twisty-turny, windy and up and down ranges, but I was back in my beloved tree and snow filled mountains (do I know how to turn a phrase or what). Anyway they were beautiful, especially Salt River Canyon. The next range was Tonto National Forrest which was more high desert and less up an down grades.
We got into Tucson Mon afternoon and finally found our RV spot which turned out to be a second rate mobile home park with 6 RV spots along the back. Some of the mobiles had bars on all their windows which didn't give us a warm and fuzzy feeling. I could never live in such an arid area. There are no lawns and only cactus and weeds and the architecture is very boring. Not my cup of tea. Also, all the exits and on ramps on Interstate10 were closed for 8 miles because of construction, plus there was a huge gem show that spread for miles along I10, so traffic was horrible. That afternoon we went to a wholesale RV dealer and found one unit we could live with and made an appt. to test drive it the next morning. We then found out it was made by Monaco, which we did not want, plus it developed an electrical problem so we couldn’t test drive it and we were supposed to come back later that day. Neither one of us felt comfortable about the situation, plus their figures didn’t add up, so we decided not to return. We went across the street to Beaudry RV and looked at a couple that didn’t really do much for us.