Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No Playing Around With Pumkins Where I Come From!

"All Saints Day" became more significant in my life after my Grandpa died.

Grandma and I would spend the evening in the cemetery burning candles like everyone else, who considered this to be a very solemn holiday.

All Saints day is celebrated on the first Saturday of November.
The cemeteries are quite beautiful that night.
Everyone cleans around the graves of their beloved and decorates with fresh cut flowers.
Candles are burning on many of the graves that night, while people are praying.

The day after All Saints Day is "The Day of the Dead"
or All Souls Day.

On this day, the cemeteries must be silent. No-one is allowed to go there for any reason what so ever. The departed people must be left alone.

On this day, the souls of the faithful which at death have not been cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for mortal sins can be helped to do so by prayer so they can attain the beatific vision in heaven.

News From Budapest

My best friend, Agi, is curious about how I will vote.

She read that Sarah Palin had spent a lot of the campaing money on clothes for herself.
Good job Sarah!

If Obama would have spent some of the money on clothes, his wife could look like a potential first lady with some more coverage.

But Obama spent the money on buying more looters to support his party.

When I was growing up in Budapest, idiotic news was never published.
Who said censorship is bad?

Agi With Daniel and Noemi

Monday, October 27, 2008

Helicoptering on the Marine Base

Mark had a special project at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base this fall.
They were installing a new design of towers on distant mountains all over the base.
Mark had to be helicoptered to the tops of these mountains because there are no roads available.
If you know him, you know how much he enjoys flying... NOT!!!

They had him flying around in fear for 3 days from sunrise to sunset.
This is really top secret, so that's all I can say about it.

Overlooking a Volcano

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mark & the Plumbing

Are there any men out there that likes to work on plumbing on a Sunday morning? husband is not one of them.

He would even take the helicoptering instead.

A little bit of a clugged sink stressed him out so much yesterday morning,
he had to spend the afternoon watching a video with Spitzers.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Into the Snow

Cold Sierras Vacation

Winter 2006

We are looking for a place with snow, bereft of tourists where dogs are allowed to do anything they want to. The choice is the east Sierras, south-west of Bridgeport.

Into the great, white north!

We just want to get there! Driving with only a few stops, we arrive on location by late afternoon, in the dark.
The dirt road we are driving on is covered with snow. We follow it until we come to a closed gate. We are somewhere in the Toiyabe National Forest.
Getting out of the truck for a minute is enough to conclude, this is not the place to settle for the night. The wind is blowing so hard, even with the mild temperatures of about 34 °F we freeze in the matter of seconds. We seem to be on some sort of hilltop, because the truck is swaying in the wind.
Let’s get out of here!

We find a flat area next to the snowy road we are following. The Buckeye Hot Spring gaging station is very close to us.
It is still extremely windy but the idea of having a hot springs nearby comforts us and we pick this place as campground.
We quickly eat some dinner and climb into the camper.
Buck is outside guarding, while Spitz, Mark and I are spending the night inside.

The morning is still very windy. The temperature is not terrible low, but the wind sure makes us cold.
The tarp from outside blew away during the night, so Mark takes the dogs to find it.
They locate it in the nearby creek, Eagle Creek.
The creek is not what I will jump into for a quick bath tonight.

Eagle Creek

Mark is trying to fish out the tarp, but he falls through the ice bridge he is standing on and returns to camp with frozen pants and boots.
That was the only pair of warm boots he brought. He has to wear his ski boots or his tennis shoes for the rest of the trip.

We are trying to find a way to warm up. There is not enough snow to ski on and the wind is too uncomfortable to be exposed to.
We take a drive to Twin Lakes. They have a nice little community around the lakes.
People seem to be occupying their homes only in the warmer months, because there is no-one around. They have cabins to rent, but not this time of the year.

We are eager to try out the Buckeye Hot Springs.
The seeping water is very hot, trickling down the hillside next to our trail to the creek.
The little pool, built in the creek to capture the hot water, is pretty shallow.
We jump into it anyway. The extreme wind is cooling down the water to bellow body temperature. We are too cold to stay in but the thought of getting out is worse. Our clothes and towels are several steps away. Still, we cannot stay in a lukewarm pool until the wind stops….

We are almost brave enough to get out, when a family is climbing down the hillside.
Now, we are stuck. Both of us are trying to submerge our bathing suitless bodies into the 16 inches deep pool and trying to cover up somehow.
Getting up to reach our towels and clothes is now out of the question.
We are hoping that the family will not hangout too long in the cold hot spring.
They are enjoying it though. We suffer for what it seems hours before they finally decide to go.

To warm up, we take a long walk with the doggies. It is getting dark. The wind is blowing like crazy and it starting to snow. At last!
But if all the snow is being blown away, there will be nothing left to ski on.

In the morning, we have a nice layer of snow everywhere. The wind calmed down and the sun is trying to peak out. Buck is happy, playing in the snow and ready for some adventure.
After a quick breakfast, we pack our daypacks, put the skis on and hit the snowed in trail.
Beatrix on the Trail

The sun is no longer out, but the temperature is perfect. Buck and Spitz are loving the not too deep snow.

This trail is going on forever. We discovered that there are a couple of campgrounds at the beginning of it and in the summer, they have horse riding tours along here.
How did we find that out? From the signs. Luckily, there is no sign of horses walking through here at this time.

We are thinking about sledding back here tomorrow, with all our gear, to camp in the wilderness.
Sledding our gear does not mean we hook up a loaded sled behind Buck and Spitz and let them pull it. Fat chance! My doggies would end up sitting on the sled and letting us pull them along. That’s the kind of sled dog team we have.

Buck Needs a Break

This beautiful forest trail is opening into meadows near the creek. It is probably still the Eagle Creek, but there are many forks of it.

This is so far the perfect day!

We keep going and wondering where the trail leads to. There is an ideal place for our planned, sled-back camping trip. It is near the immaculately clean water source; it is protected from the wind and hidden away from human activities. Only the bears will find us.
The Boys in the Great White North

Spitz is not tied to anyone this time like he normally must be if we want him to stick around. He is surprisingly following along instead of running back to the truck.
We love this place! No “No Pets Allowed” signs anywhere so far. I didn’t know places like that existed in this country any more.

The trail is going further than we have the time for to explore. We need to leave enough daylight to make the trip back to camp.

We chose the place for the following night camping and turn around.

Mark Found a Place to Camp

Skiing back always takes longer. We went a long way out there.
We need more resting on the way back because my foot starts hurting.

Spitz the Snow Dog

The babies still have a lot of energy left. Especially Spitz. He takes off sprinting in the meadow and having a good ol’ time.
Buck is a little slower, but he is enjoying this winter environment. It reminds him of Siberia. I’m not sure how he would have a recollection of that, but why not!
Cool Runnings

I am starting to do more limping than skiing if that’s possible to do on skis.
I somehow injured my right Achilles tendon and it hurts like the Dickens.
No time to rest it now, we have to keep going. I might be the one that needs to be sledded around for the rest of the trip.

Back in camp, we sit around with my feet up and chilling. Literally! The temperature is dropping rapidly since the wind stopped. The sky is getting clear, but now we wish back the wind and the heat of the 35 ºF. The map shows the trail we followed. We could have traveled for five days to find the end of it. It goes back to the Emigrant Wilderness, west of here, and it eventually ends up in Pinecrest.

We all crawl into the sleeping bags leaving Buck outside. It’s too early to sleep, so we watch poor little Buck shivering out in the snow.
He does not like Siberia that much!
We feel sorry for him and put him inside the camper with us. Normally, he would not tolerate this confinement, but this time he is happily cuddling up with the rest of us.

We are having a two dog night.

If we had more dogs to keep me warm, I might have had some sleep.
I was too cold to sleep all night. My foot hurting did not help either. I wanted to cuddle next to Mark to stay warm, but the dogs took that place. Spitz was in his sleeping bag and Buck was halfway in there himself to stay warm.
The windows of the camper had to stay slightly open to let the moisture out and to circulate the air. We had icicles hanging from the inside near the window screen.

Against our will, we had to get out of the warm sleeping bags. The water in our containers was frozen of course, so Mark sent me to fetch some of it in liquid form from the creek, to make oatmeal for breakfast.

Don’t Stick Your Finger in There!

I am not walking too happily this morning, but nevertheless, I am limping down to the creek to see if there is any of it left flowing or is it only good for skating.
To keep the bottle in the creek in order to let it fill up, my finger has to be in there also. I cannot find another way to do it. I wish I had a pair of pliers but no tools with me.
By the time the bottle fills up, I cannot feel my fingers.
Sticking the blue fingers into my gloves does not help too much.
I limp back to camp crying from pain. If I put lotion on my hand, the rubbing will help to warm it up…I’m thinking…
My hand lotion is also frozen. I cannot believe this! It is very cold indeed, but I did not think it cooled down to absolute zero. I think absolute zero was established based on the freezing point of Jergens body lotion. Or was it another cosmetic product? Mark says I need to take a closer look at the chemistry text book when we get home.

Mark cannot stand my whining any longer, so he puts his skis on and leaves me behind after breakfast. The dogs go with him.

I am collecting myself from the trauma. The ski/sled back camping is not going to happen with my foot injury. I rapidly start packing up everything for a journey back home before other decisions can be made.

The pants, Mark wore on the day of dipping into the creek in attempt to fish out the tarp, is solid as if it were made of iron. It is probably bullet proof at this point.

By the time the boys get back to camp, we are ready to go.
The truck is not starting! Battery is too cold. Great! Now we are dead!

Next time, we need to rent a cozy little cabin with a hottub and a fireplace.
I would not be such a whimp if my feet would not hurt…and my fingers would not have frost bite….

We finally manage to crank up the truck and pointed it toward Pine Cove.

Made it home eight hours later and we have more snow on our yard than we had up in the Sierras. Too bad I cannot ski for awhile.

Foot pain does not limit one from shoveling, so Mark goes to ski while I clean the driveway, the decks and the walkways.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Utah & Colorado Christmas 2005

December 24th:

We went on a family hike in our mountains, Mount San Jacinto, instead of packing for the great adventure we were planning to start tomorrow.

Mark and Buck on Our Hill

Christmas weather this year was unlike one would expect in December. It was more of a summer day we usually have in July or August. It was hard to get into the skiing mode on such a bright, warm and sunny morning. We love to hike around in our forest, so we were debating whether we should just stay home for a week to relax and to find projects around the house. We spent Christmas Eve at home by the fire. After a wonderful and stuffing dinner, we all opened our presents. I had a rich Christmas this year; Santa-Mark brought me many beautiful presents. Mark’s Christmas was not so wealthy, because my budget only allowed Santa-Bea to create homemade crafts. He appreciates those more than purchased gifts anyway. We both had many precious little items under the Christmas tree, which we received from the family. Buck was on center stage next to the fire. We made the exception of letting him come inside to open his edible gifts.

Happiness is Edible Christmas Gifts

In exchange, he left many little presents for us throughout the house, millions of hairs to clean up. We watched part of our new video, Gulliver’s Travels, under the new, cuddly quilt we got from the Price family, while munching on the chocolate covered nuts the New Hampshire Houghton family sent. Mark was trimming his nails with the new compact tool kit he received from Mom. I was hiding my new sewing scissors Mom sent, into the sewing box, to be used for fabric cutting only. Buck was preoccupied with his rawhide cane instead of paying attention to the movie. We all had a wonderful time and a nice family home evening.

December 25th:

We woke up to another sunny, warm, summer day. The sun was already way up by the time we got out of bed. Some Vacation! We still had nothing packed for the skiing trip we were supposed to start today. It is always a hardship for us to get out of the house. We love to be home and to sleep in, so we did. It was mid afternoon by the time we started packing. We followed our long pre-planned packing list and by the evening, half of the house was loaded into the truck. We had an early BBQ dinner and soon after, we hit the sack to get our beauty sleep before the trip, hopefully, next morning.

December 26th:

All our gear got rained on last night. I was up at 6:00 am to get ready for a wet camping trip. Mark was uncertain about going anywhere. He finally dragged himself out of bed at 7:00 am. We looked up the weather report at our destinations and we saw, there was snowing in Utah and in Colorado. That was encouraging. We had breakfast and packed some lunch for the road. We got in the truck before 8:00 am and he drove and drove and drove and drove. We traveled through the Mojave Desert, made very few stops in order to get across the Arizona border and to get to southern Utah as quickly as possible. In Kingman, Arizona, we bought groceries at Basha’s and fueled up the truck. We stopped in Flagstaff to buy a bike lock (we have about three of them, but we did not pack any) and continued our driving to Kayenta. We had a lovely Burger King dinner in this funky little town and Buck met lots of Res. dogs to sniff and to play with. On the horizon, evil cloud cover was hovering over southern Utah. We did not see too much of the beautiful red rocks and bluffs along the way, because by this time it was late in the afternoon and we had no daylight. Mark drove on to Mexican Hat, where it started to rain and the wind was blowing 100 mph. Mark was singing Fagan’s song from the musical “Oliver”: “I’m reviewing the situation…” He thought about the cozy, warm bed and the cozy, warm fireplace at home. He was calculating the time it would take to drive back home. Nevertheless, we drove to The Goosenecks of the San Juan River, which we did not see, because it was pitch black at night. Our goal was to see The Goosenecks in the morning. We were going to camp there but the wind would have carried us all the way to NYC by the next day if we did set our camp. We had to proceed to plan 2, which was to go further north into the mountains, where we hoped to have the protection of trees and brushes. We drove through the Valley of the Gods, but since they were not home, we continued to drive up on the scary and steep mountain road, called Moki Dugway, towards Grand Gulch Primitive Area. Up on the plateau, we found a little dirt road, Snow Flats Road. They were not kidding. The road did have snow on it. It was far less windy up there because we were in the Juniper and Piñon Pines. The 30°F temperature decrease didn’t even bother us. We set up our tent with all the necessities inside it and around it. We lost Buck for a while on account of the numerous deer and rabbit habitat. Mark and I were identifying the constellations and watching black clouds moving around. When we finally got too tired after our busy day, we crawled into our cozy, cold tent and slept like babes.

December 27th:

Buck and I were awake before Mark was. We took a little walk before daddy woke up. We strolled out of the forest onto an open plateau where we had a grand view of the Sleeping Ute, a mountain outside of Cortez, CO. The smells of breakfast (oatmeal) woke Mark up. After our warm meal, we loaded the house up and drove to Natural Bridges National Monument. We talked with a couple from Tennessee at the visitor center. They told us, they drove up on the same mountain road in the morning we did the night before. The road scared them to death. Good thing we couldn’t see the danger in the dark. We visited all the lookout points to the three bridges and to all of the cliff dwellings. Some walks were longer than others. We took pictures of everything. We could not walk down to any of the bridges, because puppies are not allowed on the trails.

Buck Wishes He Could Go to the Bridge

Next stop was Buttler’s Wash, which is an Anasazi cliff dwelling monument.

Anasazi Cliff Dwellings at Butler’s Wash

This monument is located between Natural Bridges and Blanding, Utah. It is much less visited than other points of interest. Many southwestern locations like this were repeatedly occupied and abandoned from 9,000 to 700 years ago. The Anasazi Indians built these cliff dwellings within the canyon walls. Ancestors of the modern Puebloan
People moved onto the mesa tops about 1,300 years ago. They were relying on natural precipitation for farming since the creek on the bottom of the canyon was not running year round. Along the mile long hike to the ruins, all the flora and fauna was described. Buck particularly liked this location because he was free to go anywhere he wanted. To our expectation, this got him in trouble more than once. First, we had to pull out cactus thorns from his paws. Shortly after that, he ran down to a small pool in the canyon to have a drink, but he forgot the fact that wet paws do not work very well walking up on the sandstone. Mark had to go rescue him by pushing the doggy butt up the canyon wall.

Buck Investigating Small Pools

It was about lunchtime and we still had a long drive ahead of us. We stopped in Blanding, Utah to eat at A&W. Mark had a Papa Burger and I had a Hot Dog, since we were on a health food diet. Buck had snackies form his Christmas package. He was the healthy one in the family. We drove to Moab, Utah, where the truck got fed also.

Soon after we passed Moab, we turned on a road that was following the Colorado River. We were driving northwest to Fisher Towers. This section of the river is highly traveled by kayakers and rafters during warmer days, but these times many sections of the water were frozen.

Ice Covering a Section of the Colorado River North of Moab

Partial View from Fisher Towers Campground

It was semi daylight when we set camp at the Fisher Towers campground.
We were all alone. After Mark built the house and I decorated it with sleeping bags, pillows and thermarest pads, we built a campfire to warm up. Buck took his usual camping residence, on the porch of the tent. After a long shaking in the bed of the truck, he was in much need of a little nap. Later on in the evening, not to our desires, a neighbor arrived. He turned out to be very quiet. He was alone and was planning to climb one of the towers the next day. Our gourmet dinner consisted two cans of Progresso Soup and Wheat Thins. Buck was cleaning the dishes and gorged on his favorite, Iams puppy food. We hit the thermarest early and Buck was guarding us through the night.

December 28th:

For variety, we had oatmeal for breakfast. After “reviewing the situation”, Mark decided to drive up to the snow. We took the famous La Sal Mountain Loop Road through Castle Valley to Geyser Pass, which is way up in the mountain, at about 10,500 ft elevation. We finally had the long desired snow. The road was very icy all the way up. We had spectacular scenery of the Colorado River and the Green River Canyons.

View from the La Sal Loop Road

Right before our destination, a group of youngsters in a truck pulling a kid on an inner tube ran us off the road into a ditch. Mark was not too happy. His eyes were shooting flames but he kept his composure and as a gentleman he convinced (not by physical force) the kids to pull us out. Luckily enough, we had chains and towropes. After we were out of the ditch, Mark was happily driving away while Buck and I were left behind in the snow dust. We ran after the truck for miles and miles (okay maybe only 300 ft) until we stopped at the highest parking area. For the first time, Mark got to put on his brand new, beautiful, red, glossy back country skis. The snow was nice and powdery. We skied back onto a gorgeous meadow, where we were practicing skiing on small hills. Buck was following his daddy up and down until he figured out that it is a trap. He had to fight his way up in the relatively deep snow and daddy flew down on the slope quickly, while Buck was floundering his way down.

Buck is Floundering in the Snow

After he repeated this 4-5 times, he was suspicious of the game and sat down to cuddle into the snow. Mark fell twice and I fell once but mine was a big one that kept me on my back for long enough to saturate my clothing. In the parking lot, we met a local geologist, John, whom we talked with for a while and found out not only that we could get mud- logging jobs with an oil company starting tomorrow, he also told us where we can take a shower for $2.00 each. The shower seemed much more important after two nights of camping. Buck had cleaned himself silly in the snow but Mark and I didn’t exactly smell like perfume. The shower was in a Moab Hostel. After scrubbing ourselves, sparkling clean we picked up groceries and firewood in Moab. It was raining. We drove back to camp at Fisher Towers, 25 miles north of Moab. Along the way, by the bridge across the Colorado River, a natural spring provides drinking water for all the lunatics who prefer camping to staying in warm motel rooms. Thus, we filled our 7-gallon water jugs. Dinner tonight at camp was home made. It was my “kicked up notches unknown to mankind”, Hungarian Chilly with cheese, sour cream and chips. We built a nice campfire. Later in the evening, a new neighbor arrived. He was another climber. He came to talk to us and told us, his truck was falling apart. Mark gave him pointers on how to fix it. He also turned out to be a quiet neighbor.

After we retired to the “Taj Mahal”, our spacious, comfortable tent, we experienced a cycle in the car wash. First it was pouring rain for a short while, then, an extreme wind came through to dry us. It was the wash and dry cycles. Fortunately, we did not have the under carriage wash. After the cycles were complete, I told Mark, I smell smoke. He pocked his nose out of the tent and he said the area was in flames started by our campfire. He jumped from his sleeping bag and promptly poured all of our fresh spring water out of one of the 7-gallon jugs onto the remaining campfire and came back to sleep in the Taj Mahal. The rest of our evening was relatively eventless. Buck came out dry and clean from the car wash and spent the night curling up on his pillow on the porch of the tent.

The Taj Mahal in the Morning

December 29th:

To my regret, I suggested that we visited Arches National Park, because it is too close and too pretty to miss.

Traveling Through Arches National Park

Considering the time of the year and the weather conditions, there were still too many tourists visiting the park. Buck was not allowed on any of the trails, so we rapidly drove through the park route, stopping at the viewpoints and taking pictures. We felt like hiking up to the view of the Delicate Arch, leaving Buck in charge of the truck and the bikes.

At the Viewpoint of the Delicate Arch

We finished with Arches in about an hour and a half. I said, Canyon Lands are also close, right across the road, and it is also too spectacular to miss. Nobody got really excited on this comment. We drove to the turn off to Canyon Lands, where maps and regulations of the parks were displayed. When we found out the rules against doggies hiking on the trails, we decided to forget about Canyon Lands. We drove up northwest of our campsite and parked by the old, historical Dewey Bridge. We took our bikes off the rack for the first time during this trip and rode them across the bridge. After that, we followed a dirt road, Shura Road. The dirt roads from the Dewey Bridge go all the way to Colorado. We had fantastic scenery while following the path down to the Dolores River, where Buck had a big drink and got himself good and muddy.

Buck in the Dolores River

One of Buck’s favorite activities is to chase the bikes. It was a nice, long bike ride, which we all enjoyed. We wished we had started the day doing this instead of playing tourists in Arches. We collected pretty rocks on the uphill sections of the ride, where we had to push the bikes, which allowed us to see what was on the ground.

Our Biking Adventure

By the time we got back to the old bridge, it was getting dark and time to go back to the Taj Mahal. The kicked up Hungarian Chilly was a big success last night, so great that we had to feast on it tonight as well. We had little amount of firewood left, so we planned to go to bed early. Our climber-neighbor with the faulty truck was still present and still quiet. We were kicking back by the warmth of our last few logs, when new neighbors arrived with loud and silly music pumping out of the doors of their vehicle. That was a bit of a concern. Mark seemed calm, but I could not relax by the campfire with such a mad noise. I got up and said: “let’s go say hello to the neighbors!” Nobody wanted to join me, so I went off to the battle alone. As I approached, I saw, there were three young climbers sorting their gear near the trailhead, getting ready for a morning climb. I welcomed them to Fisher Towers and told them to keep the noise level down because it echoes through the canyon. They apologized and they were quiet after that. Mark followed me with a loaded gun incase of a war, but he did not have to fire after all. The rest of the night was peaceful and as we planned, we hit the sleeping bags before The Big Dipper came up behind the cliffs.

December 30th:

We woke up early and cooked breakfast. Mark was ready to start driving back to California. I told him, I have a fabulous idea. It is so great; it will make his head spin. He said: Go ahead and share your marvelous idea. He was unsure whether to follow it or not, but when we turned east at the La Sal Junction, I knew he loves me. We hit the 350,000 miles mark on the truck outside of Moab and instead of driving toward California we redirected ourselves onto the road to Colorado.


We drove through a number of radioactive communities between the La Sal Mountains and the San Juan Mountains. These towns were started during the Uranium mining. One of the greatest adventures on the road was a heard of cattle cruising on the highway outside of Bedrock, Colorado. Following the livestock for some distance, we arrived at Norwood, where we had lunch and we picked up some local topo maps. Our goal was to get clean once again. The San Juan Mountains had a bit more snow than we have seen so far, so we were excited. We drove through Dallas Divide, down to Ridgeway. We were seeking the proper site to set the Taj Mahal. We drove up on the snow-covered dirt road to Miller Mesa to pinpoint our sleeping location for the night. We came upon a breath taking mountain-view.

Whitehouse Mountain, Potosi Peak and Tea Kettle Mountain

After that, we came back to Ridgeway to get some supplies from the Mountain Market and to call Tom and Martha Ann McKinney, my old friends. They were not home. They were probably on their usual winter trip, in San Diego, to get warm. We soaked our bodies and set in the sauna at the Orvis Hot Springs for a large sum of crisp, clean, American dollars, while Buck was waiting in the back of the truck. I was so overheated by the hot pools and the hot shower I wanted to add the upper layer of my clothing outside of the facility, called tailgate dressing. To my great surprise, it was snowing out there. I panicked. We have to set camp in the snow! By the time we drove back up to Miller Mesa, the snowfall stopped. We had our two cans of gourmet soup in the freezing cold weather and Mark built the house and I decorated it. We took a long walk in the snow and we enjoyed the spectacle of the lights of what could have been Ridgeway or Montrose or a new town, Dallas, they started recently. Shortly after our walk and washing dishes, we had to retire in the Taj Mahal again. Buck loved his running after the deer on the mesa most of the night and when he got tired of doing that he was sleeping on the porch on his pillow.
December 31st:

We woke up to the best San Juan Mountain views.

Mount Sneffels Viewed from Miller Mesa

Mount Sneffels, the highest peak in the San Juans at 14,150 ft, was right in front of us. Since Miller Mesa did not have enough snow to ski on, we packed up the lodge and headed to Red Mountain. The only trouble we had is the puppy did not want to leave. We tried to get him into the back of the truck, but he ran away to hide in the bushes. He was too much in love with this snowy meadow and its wild life. We rode in the truck and he ran behind us because he loves us also. Sometimes he passed us and was in the lead. He was looking back often, making sure we did not pass him and leave him there. Buck got tired before the truck did and we finally got ahead.

Buck’s Marathon

After he ran his doggy Marathon, he got so tired; he was resting in the snow. We were finally able to lift him into the back of the truck and rode up to Ouray. We had breakfast in the deli that was a video rental/deli years ago, but they changed it to a restaurant. We stuffed ourselves before we drove up to the Ouray County Road #31. The road is slightly before Red Mountain Pass, closed in the winter because it is fully covered with several feet of snow. We parked and put our skies on. The county road becomes a trail and it goes up to an old mining cabin. Around there, we had many small and large hills to test our cross-country ski abilities or the lack of it.

Affordable Housing on Red Mountain

The snow was tremendous. It was soft, fluffy, powdery and not too deep. Not too deep for Mark and I. Buck is another story. Any snow deeper than he can touch bottom is too deep for him. The minute he got off the track of the skies or previously made tracks of snowshoes, he was whining and complaining. It was way too much fun to watch him trying to get through the deep snow and sinking down to his little belly. It would be so much easier if they made skis for dogs.

Buck Slides Along on His Little Belly

He ran and stepped onto the back of our skies every chance he got. He enjoyed hanging out inside of the old mining cabin, which gave him a break from the snow he loves so much. Silly puppy! When we came back out to the parking area, Buck was more comfortable on solid ground. He took off running on the road the moment he saw the truck. I dropped my skies and poles, and in my ski boots (which is not the most comfortable for highway running) dashed after him. He stopped the traffic in both directions on Red Mountain Pass. People in the cars were smiling and waiting until we got him on the leash. Silly puppy! When we finally got him under control, we drove down from Red Mountain.

We had our family pictures taken on Molas Pass, south of Silverton, by a man who was fascinated with the cuteness of Buck and he had to film him with his video camera.

The Happy Family

We drove to Durango. We had a late lunch in a place where people throw peanut shells on the floor and there are a million TVs screaming football games at you. I had a Pizza and Mark had a Calzone with Canadian bacon and green bell peppers inside. No one can duplicate a Big-Barron from Barronies. The Denver Broncos were playing against the San Diego Chargers. The score was 14:7 when we left. We were driving for many hours that night passing through Farmington, Gallop, and windstorm New Mexico. Windstorm is not an official name for a town but it should be. We planned ahead to camp by the Meteor Crater or the Petrified Forest because a new storm was coming in and we wanted to be on lower elevations. These lower elevations were so windy, unless we were planning for the state of New Mexico to open up another tourist attraction, The Petrified Tourist National Park, we had to find another location to set camp. We drove to the other side of the mountain, passed Flagstaff, hoping that the wind was calmer there. It was. We found our residence for New Years Eve beyond Flagstaff on Deer Farm Road. It was a bit noisy with distant train traffic. I was so tired, I asked Mark to hand me my earplugs as I crashed out in the Taj Mahal. He gave them to me and I fell asleep with them in my hand while he was out there having a great old time with the stars.

January 1st, 2006:

The truck is very dirty. Happy New Year!

Time for a Wash!

We woke up to a warm, sunny morning. We were able to dry out our camping gear, while cooking and eating breakfast. We had a long drive ahead of us. Driving home! We stopped at Kingman to eat lunch at Arby’s. We bought diesel and drove and drove and drove and drove again.

Welcome to California!

Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Almost home, back to our beloved little house. Buck slept for the next 36 hours to recover from all the fun we had.

Dog Tired!!!