About Us

Chris and Dennis are traveling around the country seeing the sights and occasionally volunteering at select locations. We avoid the interstate as much as we can and tend to stop for squirrels and shiny objects. Ask us where we are going and we're apt to simply point and say "That away."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Flaming Gorge 2016 – The Return

overlook1Nearly a year ago Chris and I came to this wonderful place as our very first experience as volunteers. We only spent a month the first time round but it was enough to enchant us with the desire to return; and so we have.
There are the familiar places, having not changed in the big scheme of things and other places where the change has been stunning. For example, the visitor center had a remodel planned and the various exhibits were just coming in when we left last year.

IMG_20160828_093939143IMG_20160828_093946942This year a seemingly whole new center welcomed us with all sorts of interesting displays reaching out to grab our attention.
IMG_20160827_131447627The kids had a great time sending messages to the fire lookout tower via carrier pigeon.
Sheep_greet1Of course not to be outdone, the local sheep just had to swing by to say hello after we had set up and there hasn't been a week go by without them paying us a visit. Between the sheep and the deer it is always a good idea to open the door slowly in the mornings so as to not scare them or ourselves. Let's face it, having an angry turkey gobble as a wake up call puts a whole new perspective on life.

This year the ranger has decided to give us a bit of variety and has shifted our jobs to encompass more of the recreation area. As I mentioned before, most weekends find us manning one of the boat launch area booths and its launching ramp. Since these are usually separated by at least a half mile our only means of communication is via walkie-talkie. I mention this only because Chris is a really fine judge of character and never fails to warn when the characters are enroute to the ramp.
IMG_20160825_082534530IMG_20160826_111547690What a stark contrast it can be! The professional guides quickly back their dories down their selected ramp lane with little to no correction. They get their boats launched, towed over to the waiting area, and then are off to the parking area. Time on the ramp, 5 minutes or less. The local fishermen may spend a little bit more time on the ramp but for the most part can rival the pros in backing and unloading.
Then come the rafters. Usually arriving around 10am and only on the sunny days these intrepid water enthusiasts will arrive with their rented rafts that are floated only after the requisite taking up of two or three ramp lanes, 20 minutes of unloading and absolutely no idea of just how cold the river is. A_launch3(That last part changes quickly and is usually accompanied with a high pitched squeal – regardless of the age or gender of the water tester.) The launching of the rafts reminds me of a holiday weekend with new RV'ers arriving at a campground. Thankfully, the ramp has benches for the spectators. (Sorry, I was just too busy un-clustering to take more pictures.)


Another job the ranger will be having us do in the coming weeks is collections. We'll be traveling the roughly 257 mile circumference of the reservoir visiting each launch and fee area to collect the iron rangers. We are definitely looking forward to seeing some the territory that is called Flaming Gorge.
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Sunday, August 14, 2016

We have returned – Flaming Gorge 2016

 A_birdWhat a busy two weeks!

As we were pulling out of Champoeg we received a call that our replacement air conditioner was in and we had been scheduled for a service call. Still riding the high of selling our house this extra bit of good news came as a wonderful surprise and really eased my mind about handling the hot weather of the high plains deserts of Utah and Idaho. So, with a quick routing change we headed back to Coburg staying at the Premier RV Resort and using this bit of downtime to hit up Costco for a last chance at stocking up - sales tax free.

 

A_snowflakeWe had planned to take our time using a route we had not traveled before but with the loss of two days we were “forced” to head east taking the quickest way possible. Did you believe that? I hope not.

Leaving Coburb going due east takes us through to the Sisters and close to Bend. Of course from there it is pretty logical to take highway 20 across Oregon to Boise and lookee there, with an ever so slight detour there just happens to be Crystal Crane Hot Springs at about the half-way point. Detour? Stop?

 

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Oh yes we did!

A_motorhomeReluctantly we could not stay any longer than overnight. We did manage to hit up the ponds for a couple of soaks and admire a glorious sunset that changed the colors of our motorhome.

 

 

Even though we both grew up in the area, neither of us had taken the I-84 route between Burley Idaho and Brigham City Utah so here was our chance, bypassing Pocatello and seeing new country. Eh, not so much; scrub sagebrush intermixed with alfalfa fields look very much the same regardless the route. To be honest though, once we started getting into the hills most of our view was obscured by smoke and haze from nearby wildfires. At one point, the smoke was thick enough to warrant headlights and a bit of a slow down to be safe.

A_townA_barn_2With different routing came an opportunity we couldn't pass up – a visit to the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, Utah. We wrote briefly about this place last year but this time round I received a personal guided tour from my brother-in-law (his name is also Chris) who works here. This family friendly, educational and fun place makes for a wonderful inexpensive stop for any traveler. Access is RV friendly with parking and plenty of room for even the largest rigs. (Sorry about sounding like an advertisement but this gem deserves the exposure.)

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Four days of refreshing family ties and catching up brings us to this blog's conclusion and our destination for the next two months – Flaming Gorge. Over the past year there have been some significant changes. The visitor center we worked in last year has been remodeled with new flooring, exhibits and furniture. We'll get more into that when our schedule has us returning to working there after Labor day.

A_launchA_fishermenFor now though, we are split up and working a booth at the dam's spillway boat lauch and down on the launching ramp. These two spots are about a half mile apart and with no cell or other phone service available; portable radios are our only contact.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Champoeg (Sham Poo Ee) The Departure

DSC_0015Trying not to sound like one of those old time travelogues I watched as a kid (yes, television had been invented back then), we do bid a fond farewell to the Champoeg Visitor Center and the new friends we've made while here. We'll be heading east for the annual family reunion and then a bit further yet to end up back where we started at our first hosting gig – Flaming Gorge.

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DSC_0266There is a whole gamut of emotions we've run through this past week. First are the obvious ones of sadness as we part company with a whole bunch of new friends. Special mention goes to the Rangers we worked with: Dan, Janet, Kim and Kevin; a more dedicated group of folks would be hard to find. We learned a great deal from them even though I still failed the walk and chew gum course. Our fellow hosts are awesome people and we sincerly hope we meet up again sometime in the future on our travels.

DSC_0241DSC_0235Overriding the sadness though is the excitement of heading back to where we started the hosting adventure – Flaming Gorge. After a short stay at the annual family reunion (also pretty durn exciting) we'll be heading up into the back country to host once again at the Red Canyon Visitor Center and at the Green River boat launch.

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Putting icing on the cake is absolute joy finally being houseless! After a whole year, countless teases and a couple of earnest offers and final change out of realtors we actually closed on our house. This has been a tremendous weight lifted from us and without the anchor of a house holding us back we are now free to really cast off and explore in our land yacht.

IMG_20160730_163827490_HDRSo, we're east bound and down, loaded up and RV'ing. Stay with us, its sure to be a fun ride.