Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Even Though the Man Said "Head West Young Man", We're Headed North

Lake Mead NRA, NV

That's where we are today, but not where we'll be tomorrow. Tuesday was our last workday for the 'winter season' at Lake Mead. Thursday I have a follow up appointment with my cardiologist and then we're headed north. Our first stop will be Mesquite, NV where we'll spend the weekend while I'm playing in an ISSA Softball Tournament. Then Monday we're meeting our friends (and summer co-workers) Dave & Maxine of the Wandering Wingers just north of St George, Utah from where we'll caravan to Torrey, Utah. We'll both be staying there for about a week while exploring such places as Capital Reef, Goblin Valley, Wild Horse, and the areas near Escalante and Grand Staircase. That will hold us till just after Easter at which time we should be getting an update on when and where we'll start our summer jobs.

I think I shared with you that our other friends Jim & Barb of JimandBarbsRVAdventure would be working with us this summer. But in the last few weeks Dave & Maxine have also accepted a position with the same company. So all 3 couples will be 4-wheeling & blogging together through Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and possibly Oregon. I wonder does that make us the 3 coupolas? Is that even a word? Oh well, who cares, it should be a blast!

It is definitely Spring in Lake Mead! Joan has 'burned up' the digital memory and batteries of our cameras taking pics the last 2 weeks. You wouldn't think there would be such color in the desert, but there is. Check out some of her pics.

Last week we were Road Monitoring in an area called Cottonwood East along Mojave Lake and we spotted some of the local wild life....a family of burros

Alas, not all was well in their little paradise as there was another male suitor attempting to impress the young female

Our friends Ginny & Don
Lake Mead really appreciates their volunteers and there are always perks being offered to us. One of the numerous tourist venues is a paddle wheel ride on Lake Mead that gives you a great view of Hoover Dam from the lake side. Last week several of us volunteers got together and took a ride on the Desert Princess. It was a great 2 hour trip with narration about the building of the dam and the history of area in and around the dam.

Hoover Dam (from the lakeside)
with the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat 
Tillman Memorial Bridge
in the background
Lunch at the top of the dune
Joan and I also had the opportunity to participate in a plant survey. We went out with a group of 5 others taking a boat from the Boulder marina to a small cove across the lake called Sandy Cove. Once there ,we broke up into 2 groups, each hiking up elevation several hundred feet from the lake to the top of several large sand dunes. Then we began doing the 'Tim Conway' shuffle walking square grids of 30 meters as we counted a small plant called the 'threecorner milkvetch' which is only known to grow in a small area near Las Vegas.

Look as high as you can and that is
the 2nd dune we climbed
(almost as high as the 1st dune)

In some grids we counted none, while in others we had as many as 900+. We did this for about 5 hours at which time we both decided plant surveying is tuff! And once was enough for us..But we did enjoy the company, the opportunity to participate and the boat ride!

We also managed to sneak in a little bowling with Leslie, Chris, Ginny and Don. Boulder City has a neat little bowling alley that was built in 1963. We had a great time and hope to get more of the volunteers interested in some outings here when we return in the fall.

Well that's about it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come.

PS...shout out to breakfast buddy while I was visiting family in Florida 2 weeks ago!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Friends & Family - Enjoying the Sights Before We Leave for the Summer

It's been a fun 2 weeks with a quick visit from Joan's sister in law Angie. Angie was in Las Vegas attending a medical conference and extended her stay for an additional day to explore the area. We packed as much as we could into a little less than 24 hours.

A drive through Lake Mead NRA and a visit to Valley of Fire Saturday afternoon. While in VofF, I convinced Angie to take a little climb.

Still dressed in her comfortable shoes (not hiking or climbing shoes) she took on the challenge and it was well worth it for the view from the top.

Then on Sunday morning a stop at Hoover Dam before dropping her at the airport .

Last weekend we took a 2-day trip to Utah with some of our friends and co-volunteers:

Joan, Don, Ginny, Christine & Herb
Kolob Canyon
Rather than take the interstate the entire route just after passing Mesquite and entering Arizona we turned off I-15 at Littlefield and took Hiway 91 into the mountains and southern Utah This was our first time on this road and it is a great alternative to driving I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge. Don't get me wrong; I think everyone should drive through the Gorge at least once, because it is spectacular. But there are no pull offs to stop and enjoy the scenery; and if you're driving a large RV you really don't have time to look around. Hiway 91 is very scenic, just not so dramatic; and you're able to set a more leisurely pace to enjoy your surroundings.

91 brings you into the western side of St George where you can choose to return to I-15 or cross over to the eastern side of the interstate and take some of the scenic roads through northern Arizona and Utah on your path north and east. We stopped at Snow Canyon State Park while we were in St George.
Snow Canyon

We chose to take I-15 north about 30 miles and enter Kolob Canyon, a part of Zion NP only accessible in a vehicle from the interstate north of St George, not from the park itself.

After Kolob we continued north and stopped for the night in Cedar City, Utah. In the morning we headed east on Hiway 14 into the mountains towards Cedar Breaks Park (still closed for the season). The temps dipped down to 16 degrees at one point and there was still several feet of snow along the roadsides the entire drive over to Scenic Hiway 89.

We turned south on 89 and headed for the eastern entrance into Zion NP. None of our friends on this trip had ever been to Zion so it was a special treat to see them enjoy the sights as much as Joan and I have over the last 3 years.

There was still ice in several of the streams and the patterns created in the ice were intriguing.

Joan made a couple of snowmen during our tour. What do you thiink?

Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come.

Just a couple of ol' Crows