The Trail….


This is just part of the trail, no signs or posts, just piles of rocks to point the way.

There is a trail here, you just cannot see it real clear.
I have probably done harder things in my life, survival and POW school in the military, Norm making me run five and ten K races in Miami, but nothing really hard in recent history. It was a real physical challenge for both of us. The temperature was in the low eighties with abundant sunshine and things would have gone a lot smoother if I would have just taken extra water. Our next hike a day and a half after this one (it took us that long to recuperate), we not only brought enough water with us, we carried it back out, so I did learn something.

The Gunnison Route…South Rim…



The person you can barely see is Norm, she is not sure if going down or going up was the worst part.

This is the Gunnision river taken from the bank. We could hardly imagine carrying camping and fishing gear down the “trail” we just came down. This is the most popular unmaintained route to the inner canyon, but it is also strenuous, real strenuous for a couple of RVer’s. It is the route to take for a first time hike to the bottom of the canyon. The hike has an 80 foot chain 1/3 of the way down! That should have told us something. You have to get a “back country permit” before anything can begin. The permit, as was explained to us, meant that if you could not come back the same day, be prepared to spend the night and be rescued the following day. Another warning, not heeded. Here are the highlights of the hike, 1.5 hours on the descent, distance: 1 mile, vertical drop: 1800 feet, ascent: 2 hours, with 3/4 miles of river access, 3 campsites and believe it or not, a compost toilet. We were also informed that the poison ivy could be chest high. After learning all of this, it makes one wonder why we would not only go ahead and do the hike, but are already planning on another inner canyon hike from the north rim next summer.

Day Two/Three…


The Blue Mesa reservoir at first light. A boat was already out on the water trying their luck.
Another view of the reservoir, although the light was not quite right, we had to take the photograph as we were heading out.

When we turned in to check out the campground, a couple of Mule deer were enjoying an early breakfast. The Airstream trailer in the background belongs to the campground host. It is the smallest trailer Airstream makes so I’m not sure a larger RV would have fit in any of the loops. There are three loops in all with loop B having electricity, for a few more dollars a night. The photograph above was taken from the first pull over, Tomichi Point, just past the campground. This quote really sums up what it is like here, “Some are longer, some are deeper, some are narrower, and a few have walls as steep,” writes geologist Wallace Hansen. “But no other canyon in North America combines the depth, narrowness, sheerness and somber countenance of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.”

Day Two continued…


This is the Royal Gorge bridge, it is quite a sight to see.
I had to get this photo approved from the model before I could use it!
This was on the way to our camp site. Norm really liked it.
We went in the gift shop here and had some great ice cream and when we came out it was sleeting, almost snow like.
We had this whole section of the camp ground to ourselves. The Blue Mesa reseivior is off to the left, with the sun setting on it. This is in the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Lots of camp sites all along the highway and marinas too. We hit the rack early for our assault on the Black Canyon of the Gunnision on day three.

Day Two….


We stopped in Canon City Colorado to visit this old prison museum. Norm’s Dad is retired from the Pennsylvania Prison system, maybe it runs in the family. This is the last gas chamber used in Colorado, I think.
The prison used to be a women’s prison, with a working prison located just next door. The cell this prisoner is in is located in the basement, for trouble makers, the sign said. Finally the government gets something right.
This prisoner is in one of the old cells that were in use prior to 1979. One inmate sued the state and all convicts got bigger cells.

After the tour of the Colorado prison museum, which cost seven dollars each for the self guided audio tour, we both think it is a must do if you are ever in Canon City. The photo above is of rafters going down the Royal Gorge. The gorge is west of Canon City and quite expensive to even just walk across. At forty-eight dollars for the two of us, we just walked to the edge and looked over. If you have the coin, you can raft, helicopter over and through, ride a tram, train, do a sky coaster and a bunch of other stuff. We came, we saw, we headed west with our $48.00 secure in Norm’s purse.

Day One….Oklahoma to Colorado….


Near La Junta Colorado the United States operated a Japanese internment camp. We passed it east of La Junta, but the sign did not say what it was so I didn’t stop. Next time we will check it out.
If you have ever seen the wind power everyone is talking about, this is just one of the three blades that go around. It is located at the Colorado visitor center in La Junta. Very friendly folks, will give you anything you would ever need to know about Colorado.


Our first RV park was a KOA off highway 50 in La Junta. Usually my last resort for an RV park is a KOA, but the folks here were more than friendly and generous since we really do not fall into an RV or a tent site, so they gave us an RV spot for much less. The park was also very nice with good showers, a pool and a large recreation room. As a bonus, a Wal-Mart was within walking distance, which we would make good use of the next morning. We discovered in the morning, that our old sleeping pads were no longer good for us. I think they worked real well when we were in our forties. Not now! Our ice chest also proved to be not camping ready, so we purchased a new air mattress and a new ice chest, both worked beyond our expectations. The truck tent turned out to not be water proof. Waking up in the morning, we noticed the tent sagging with heavy dew, just then a large drop of water hit Norm and as I was laughing, one hit me. So, we beat it out of the tent and as Norm was in the shower, the sun came up and dried the east side of the tent. We left the tent on the truck and drove at a snails pace to the Wal-Mart parking lot and positioning it to the west side, shopped for our new products. When we came out, eighty-eight dollars less, the entire tent was dry. We fired up the diesel and turned west ward.

Truck Camping…


Here are just a few of the items we packed to take with us on our very first, and the start of many, we hope, of a truck camping trip. We have an aged tent that fits (kind of) on the bed of our truck. I will publish photos of it in a future blog. We have two aged thermo type pads that we Velcroed together for a double bed. To fill out all the other old equipment, we borrowed back an old sleeping bag that we had given to our son when we moved into the RV.
This is pretty much what our truck will look like as we head north west out of Oklahoma City. We will be driving into Colorado and plan on stopping at as many things that we find interesting. We plan to hike, drive over as many mountain passes as possible, ending up in Denver Colorado to visit our friends, Bruce and Becky.

Hinton Oklahoma….


We snatched our grandson up and hit the road west out of Oklahoma City for a visit to the Hinton Historical Museum and Parker House. It is located at 801 S. Broadway in Hinton, which for some reason, my GPS could not find. So I located it the old fashion way, I stopped and asked for directions. The museum has an old farm house (that we had to pass up, as one in our party had enough visiting) a 25,000 square foot two story barn filled with lots of state and local history showing how people lived from the late 1800’s forward. They have Oklahoma’s largest buggy and barbed wire collections.
This is a fire extinguisher, I guess one of the first on wheels.
This is the first “station wagon” or so we were told. We had a private tour given by Art Peters. He has a great slide show and really explains the canyon system running east to west and how it was used in the 1800’s. The original wagon tracks are still visible in a few of the canyons.
This is a copy of “rules of conduct” for riding the stage coach. I hope you can read them, pretty interesting.

A lot of small towns in Oklahoma have similar paintings on some of their buildings, and we think they look really neat.

Bananas….




Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!This is interesting.After reading this, you’ll never look at a banana in the same way again.Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes. But energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.PMS: Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood. Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.Hangovers: One of the quickestways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a “cooling” fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say to: “A banana a day keeps the doctor away!” From www.defensenutrition.com/forum. I hope this is all true, because I really like bananas. So does Leo!

Route 66


We have been trying to visit Route 66 while we are here in Oklahoma and, again this week, I am working ( maybe) on planning a trip later this week. I seem to do much more planning and thinking, and little to no action. The photo above is not from the real Route 66. This photo is from one of my regular sites that I like to read, www.michaeltotten.com. This site gives the reader a good view of the middle east and Europe. The Route 66 signs in this shop window is located in Pejton, Prishtina, Kosovo. The story is titled “An Israeli in Kosovo.” Kosovo is a Muslim-majority country so seeing Route 66 signs and Israeli business’s seems strange, but I think it is a good thing. Michael’s blog is always a good read, well written, great photography and entertaining, sadly, everything this blog is not. But, we will keep trying to improve.