Tuesday, September 30, 2008

City of Rocks

Guess where Oscar & I were yesterday . . .
Oscar thought it was amusing that, just like Florida, you could buy a bag of the state's favorite produce at gas stations near the border. Except instead of a 20 lb bag of oranges, there were 50 lb bags of taters!

We spent the night at a unique state park called the City of Rocks. It is found along a pass the 49ers used to get to the California gold rush. Desolate and beautiful at the same time . . . Here's the Wonder Egg working its way into the park.

Oscar thought the campsite view out our back window was awesome . . .

After hearing a pack of coyotes howling to each other from many different directions, he insisted on going on "patrol" to keep us safe. Here he is on sentry duty . . .

Oscar insisted on remaining on sentry duty all night and when the sun came up this morning, he took this cool picture of the Wonder Egg nestled amongs the rocks. (What a great dog!)

Needless to say, Oscar slept all day today during our journey to Oregon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ohio Pass - Colorado

Greetings from Helper, Utah - a tiny town near a steep portion of railroad track where the "helper engines" were put on trains to assist them in the climb over the mountains.

A few days ago I took a scenic drive up the Ohio Pass in Colorado to see the magnificent colors on display. What a delight for the eyes! Here are some of the day's photos for your viewing pleasure . . . ENJOY!!

Tonight . . . Idaho!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Todays visual displays

As Oscar & I departed the Great Sand Dune National Park, we stopped to look back and take this picture. Out of the middle of nowhere, a 700 ft tall sand dune rises above the floor of the plateau between two mountain ranges. It speaks to eras gone by when this was an ocean . . . unreal!

Then as we crossed the 11332 ft Monarch Pass we were blessed with this splendid display of color from the Aspens on the mountainside.

We have arrived at our initial destination in Gunnison Colorado where I shall try my hand at fly fishing for a week . . . I'll return to the trailer each evening with wonderful stories to share with Oscar and I'm sure his eyes will roll into the back of his head as he says "Yeah, sure Pete, tell me again how big it was?" (He's such a sceptic.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Well . . . here we are in Colorado! "Colorful Colorado" Oscar wondered why they call it that?

He didn't have long to wait . . . seems that rainbows are everywhere out here. WOW!
Look how pretty the sky is from our campsite. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oscar meets the wave . . .

So here we are, near Truth or Consequences, NM at Elephant Butte Lake State Park, where stegomastodons roamed the earth over 100 million years ago. Oscar said he'd like to go to the water's edge. Welllllllll . . . Oscar was surprised as the water came ashore in aggressive waves that scared him. Then he thought they simply wanted to play with him, so he took a flying leap and attacked a wave and was totally amazed that he was . . . WET! . . . Gahst!!!! After being whacked by the next wave, Oscar had enough and abandoned ship to the safety of dry land.

Life is tough when you're a foo foo dog . . .

Westward Ho . . .

The great American vacation, part two, began yesterday as Oscar hopped into his plush accommodations in the backseat area of the Tacoma. He lounges around all day on his thickly cushioned dog bed or goes into his covered cage (aka, faux canine den) dreaming of smells to be smelled in the great wide world as I listen to satellite radio, monitor the GPS, and enjoy the sights. OK, I guess we're both pretty spoiled. But HE'S spoiled WORSE!!!!

Last night we relaxed near the foot of the Davis Mountains in west Texas at Balmorhea State Park, formerly known as Mescalero Springs because the Mescalero Apache Indians often watered their horses at this high desert oasis. The milky way was a lighted path across the heavens until the bright harvest moon washed out the star show and illuminated the earth. We slept with the windows open as the air was cool and fresh. Several times during the night, Oscar went of "full alert" mode as packs of wild coyotes howled and yapped as they fought over some prize they found. I don't think I'll walk him until the sun has come up . . . they might see Oscar as some tasty desert.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Trip Planning - Oscar's Method

Walking near the bedroom, I heard these squeaky, puppy-like, sounds and found Oscar fast asleep, his feet occasionally twitching as he chased imaginary squirrels up imaginary trees. When he awoke, he said "Pete, I dreamed about wondrous things . . . places where the trees grow as big as sky scrapers and cars even drive through them! I saw tall, wide mountains all topped with white stuff and rivers with people standing in them catching fish - I think I saw YOU there! There are ocean drives where you see the beach with huge rocks, as big as houses and the waves crashing on them! There's a city with a space needle sticking into the sky and I saw some slow, slimy creatures called banana slugs and heard cayotes howling at the moon. There are so many new things to see and smells to smell . . . whatarewewaitingfor?!?!?!?!? Lets go again, Pete. REAL SOON!"

By now, you know how insistent this dog can be. There'll be no peace until he sees the all things in his dreams and smells all the new smells. I guess we'll be on our way again . . . looks like we'll be northwest bound.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Home again . . .

3522 miles . . . Whew! We had a great time on the road out east. It was nice to return home and see the Crepe Myrtles welcoming us with a display of color :)

Time to take care of some logistics and plan our trip out west, woohoo!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tales from the Grave

One never knows what treasures await while camping in out-of-the-way places. Take for instance, Many Cedars Campground, nestled deep in the forest along the Buffalo River in Tennessee, a regular destination for trail riders from far and wide. Labor Day Weekend brought 90 horses to traverse the 3200 acres of beautiful country along 65 miles of wooded trails. Generations come here to pass down the love of riding to their children and their children's children.

Oscar and I were the only ones there after the big weekend. I told him about the trails and asked if I could put a saddle on him for a brief trot. If looks could kill I would have been struck dead. He flipped his ears up, hopped into the trailer and said "Go TROT yourself, Pete!" (What EVER did he mean by that?)

So I grabbed the camera and went for a walk. In short order I came upon the Pollock Cemetery.

Here's what I discovered . . . James and Sarah Pollock's resting place - James was here on the earth from Aug 2, 1799 - Jan 19, 1871 and Sarah lived from Nov 28, 1805 - Nov 20, 1858.

Elias and Mary Fite lived in these parts during the mid 1800's. They rest here now.

The Pollock family had a history of military service in the Confederate Army. Here lies young James, who was evidently captured by the Union Army and died while in prison camp in Chicago. He rest now with his clan. Note the refreshed American and Confederate flags that are present today.

More evidence that the Confederacy is still alive in the hearts of many hereabouts . . . another grave site from 60 years ago also still receiving fresh Confederate flags to mark J. Brown Churchwell's contribution to the cause.

There were numerous small markers eaten away by the years that mark the resting places of infants. Hardy people lived here in rugged times . . .

Monday, September 1, 2008

Great Smokey Mountains

Up. up, up, we climbed on our ascent to Balsam State Park in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Here we are at 5020 feet.

The vistas were as breathtaking as the air was rare . . .

200 years ago, German immigrants to this land developed a strong breed of bear-hunting dog, famous for its fierce tenacity against beasts that could tear a man to shreds.
In fact, here's one of those fierce fighing dogs right now, just daring any bear to scuffle with him! Presenting . . . "OSCAR THE BRAVE"

The great thing about grilling out is you can always bring a bit of Texas with you. Here we have an example of a jalapeno-burger on the grill, coming to perfection high in the Great Smoky Mountains. :)

Raccoon Holler

Raccoon Holler Campgrounds Glendale Springs, NC, has been a joyful destination for generations of families. Labor Day weekend brought folks from all over the southeastern US to enjoy cool air, friendship, fellowship, and memory making moments.

Oscar & I settled in on spot 118 and then Oscar "did his thing" making friends . . .

Here we have our friends we went to visit . . . Oscar seems to have made a "special connection!"

Yep, Oscar & Francine both had this smiley thingy going on . . .

Here's Oscar and a couple of new friends in the theater industry. They are on their way to Wyoming to appear on stage together.