Road Trip South  
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After spending the Summer of 2007 back home in Spokane, WA we purchased a used Motorhome to drive back to Mazatlan and our lovely Liberty. As it turns out the plan was a great part of our trip. The 25 year old Class A Southwind Motorhome did us well. Following is the three months trip through the Southwest to Mazatlan. After the trip was complete we sold the motorhome and moved back on to the Liberty.


Holy Cow, it is not easy to step back into the rat race, this past couple of months land based in Spokane has been so full of things that we had to do. We are now two weeks from heading South back to the Liberty in Mazatlan, and we just can not wait. The first month back was full of getting moved out, having a garage sale, putting things in storage, finding an apartment for just 3 months, and visiting. The months of June and July was just as hectic. We no more than moved within blocks of my Mom, (Carl's) to get in some good visiting with her before we head back out cruising for two years and she had a stroke. She was put onto a new heart med and within 3 days she had a stroke. It was pretty scary, she had drooping on the left side of her face, slurred speech and would choke on thin liquids when drinking. Within two weeks of rehab she was doing great, we put her in a nice retirement center and sold her house. Now she is doing so well that she wants out and into her own little place again, and she probably will do just fine even though she is 87. We did find a nice lot for us when we return in a wonderful gated in community by Bellingham, WA. That way we have a place to build on when we get back home in two years. It even comes with a marina and 250 slips so we have a place set for the Liberty when we get home. It is a large lot with a view of the San Juan Islands and Mount Baker, one block from the water. We also picked up a nice used motor home for our road trip South to Mazatlan, when we get there we will just sell it. Why just fly down there when we have two months before the end of the hurricane season, so we will be hitting Yellowstone, and all the tourist attractions South from there. We still have not been able to see and visit with everyone that we wanted to, just has been more than hectic. We did score some nice parts and upgrades such as a new Raymarine Radar, Icom-7000 ham radio, spinnaker pole and a ton of smaller items that we could never find once we leave the States. We will start our bi-weekly email updates again soon once we are underway South. Yvette has been working at the hospital to fill her cruising kitty with fun money for the next two years. Me and the boys have stayed very busy on daily things and all the moving and buying. The boys have enjoyed a nice carefree summer of swimming as there is a county pool right around the corner from us, and it even has a diving board, that is something you don't see hardly ever anymore. Home school starts in two weeks and we will be on the road. It has been bitter sweet to get all the emails from all of our cruising friends that are in the South Pacific now, we are so glad for them and they all say how special it is, we feel a bit left out, but we will have our time soon, and use their notes for the best places.


We are on our way!!!  We left Spokane on the 4th of September, and always feel like there was more to be done there. We visited with so many, but did miss a few and feel bad for that, the time just went so fast, and the pace was even faster. Sometimes you just have to set a date and cast the lines when the time comes. If we all waited until we were confident that everything is in perfect order we would never get the chance to follow our dreams. We made it lickity split to Yellowstone, and enjoyed a number of days there exploring and camping. The weather was warm in the sun by day, and downright cool at night. We even saw frost on the ground in the mornings. Thank goodness for the nice forced air heat in the motor home, it worked flawlessly for us. We took in everything as we now have the time to enjoy ourselves at a pace that will allow us to take a month and a half to get down to the boat in Mazatlan the middle of October. We felt lucky that we got to see a very beautiful prong horn, and even four bears, along with the common bison, elks, deers and moose. We heard everyone else call them grizzlys but really don't know if that is what they were. They seemed smaller than we anticipated. They were brown, with a lighter patch down the back, a slight hump on the back, check out the pictures and let us know. I am sorry that the pictures are so small, but we did get some great videos of them. The boys are now back into school and doing great, we are getting into a nice routine. Presently we are in Salt Lake City, UT, and will be taking in the sights here the next couple of days, then South to "The Arches National Park" for some desert camping. Then it will be off to Mesa Verde to see the "Pueblo Cliffs" After that's on to Silver City to see an old childhood friend Dr. Russ Klienman and his wife. We have not seen each other since we were about 14 years old. Today was Yvette's birthday we had a few presents for her and many have called or written with their birthday wishes, thank you all. We just finished a nice Thai dinner at a very nice restaurant in Logan, UT, yummy Pad Thai there.  Mom is doing better and is in her own apartment now, without hardly any effects from her mild stroke two months ago. We mostly have been staying in State campgrounds, but now that we are in the big city area the next couple of days we were welcomed to stay in the corners of walmart parking lots with other "land yachties" It is amazing to see these huge motor homes, parked just like us, staying the night in a Walmart parking lot. The "land yachties" are a friendly group, but nothing like the real yachties at anchor in a bay. We'll write more in a few weeks.


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Kyle at Yvette's parents house         Saying goodbye to good friends           Elk

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Bison in the campground on port                  Hot pools on a cool day                            We should sell this one for a postcard

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  Old "un" Faithful every 90 some min's now         Sorry, gotta show her how to zoom in, got great videos of the bears though

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The Mighty Grand Tetons                          Jackson Hole WY "Arches of Antlers"           Isn't he just the cutest?

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Jackson Hole from the top of a sky lift         The "not" so rare Jackalope                            Happy Birthday Yvette !!

10/08/07  This last couple of weeks have been a wonderful dance with nature and some of it's splendid sights. It was nice to get out of the city areas of Salt Lake City and South to the Arches National Park area. We stayed in a nice campground in Moab for four days to make sure we take in all the locals sights. Moab is within twenty miles of both the Arches and Canyon Land National Parks. The Arches was a full day of driving the motor home to many trail heads with ample parking. We were however very glad that the big tourist season was not any longer in full swing as kids are now back in school. We could only imagine just what a traffic problem it would have been during the crowded peak of the vacationing season. Taking in the natural arches and balancing rocks on small peaks was a real sight, we did a lot of hiking and the weather was hot. We took the whole day doing the 20 mile loop and following the tour map of the area making sure we enjoyed it all. At the end of the day the pool back at the campground felt great. We went on nice long bike rides and enjoyed the culture in Moab, the boys even got a small petrified dinosaur bone at a local rock shop, that certainly made their day. After four days in Moab we felt it was time to widen our horizons and head South to Mesa Verde. Mesa Verde is known for their Pueblo Indian Cliff dwellings. We got a nice campsite right in the park and enjoyed watching the mule deer and rabbits. The tours through the dwellings was informative and interesting. One of the most interesting facts was just how little is actually known about the cliff dwelling Indians, and where they came from, and where did they go and why. The boys are having some fantastic field trips after school that is for sure. It was cold there, and the early mornings got down to the 30's, we only stayed there two days and one night and then headed off to Durango, CO. We rode our bikes through out the town and took in their many shops. The highlight for us in Durango was the old narrow gauge steam powered locomotive that leaves every morning at 8:30 AM to take tourists about a hundred miles North to the city of Littleton. We opted to just watch the train leave and return and not spend the $230.00 for the days ride. They also have a nice museum with many trains on display that you get to walk through. After two nights in Durango we were off to Albuquerque, NM. What a large growing city that is. We stayed in a RV park about 9 miles out and rented a car to take in the city. We mostly toured the old part of town and found Albuquerque a very pleasant town, the food was good and the people were friendly. Every morning we saw a few hot air balloons enjoying just what the area is famous for, the annual hot air balloon festival that was starting in just a few more days. We took a couple of days just making our way down to Silver City to meet up with an old friend and his wife along with their four Shelties and a Border Collie. Meeting up with Russ after nearly forty years was a great feeling, and other than the normal amount of wear, he hasn't changed a bit. Our personalities still meshed as well as they did when we were kids. Both Russ and Karen are both Doctors and in the process of trying to retire.  They have a beautiful home nestled in the foothills of the Gila National Park, with a ponderosa pine forest on the North and a desert view South to Mexico. The evenings there are one of the best places I have seen for viewing the stars at night. Russ had our weekend all planned out, Friday was full of hikes and a nice drive around the inner circle of the Gila National Park. This area is hundreds of square miles with some of the most diversified sites to take in. We saw more cliff dwellings and some very old small mining communities that have been for the most part deserted. It was fun and a pleasure to have Russ as a tour guide, his pride of the Gilas and New Mexico added so much to our days of exploring. Russ is well known for his many weekly hikes that he takes and probably knows the area better than anyone else. He is well known to the local National Parks office and has counseled with them on many aspects of the area. The past three years Russ has been instrumental in helping local botanists on finding, collecting and categorizing all the plant life of the area. We would only go a few hundred feet at a time and he would have us on our knees telling us about so many plants , their origin, and a unique feature that makes them interesting. Joel and Kyle just loved all the attention and learning. We hiked on old mining trails, up canyons that were just breath taking. The history in this area is just so much more than most text books ever told us about. Some of the stories of the hardships in days gone by were just so interesting, from a town being wiped out by an influenza outbreak to tombs of men that were killed by the Indians. One tomb was just a simple large rock hollowed out and then re-sealed. After Friday and Saturday being full of exploring and hiking from sun-up to sun-down the real fun began on Sunday. We went to Walmart and bought $80.00 worth of head lights, knee and elbow pads and was told that we will be official "Spelunkers" after this day. Karen joined us and we all loaded up in Russ's new Toyota Four Runner and headed out to a Cave that only a handful of people actually know about. After a very hard hike and a tricky climb up the side of a cliff/mountain we were looking into a cave that was so well hidden, we looked at Russ and were just amazed that he even found this place. We all donned our spelunking gear and headed in, the sights can not be put into words, only the pictures following can give it some credit. After an hour or so deep inside of this cave/cavern we came back out covered in thick red mud with grins that will be with us the rest of our lives whenever we relate back to this day. Then it was our muddy selves back into his new Toyota and Russ and Karen telling us not to worry about the upholstery we headed off to even another cave. This one is considerably more difficult to get through. We had to sign our lives off on a National Park form and even check out the key to get through the cave's entry gate. The sights in this one were just filled with large formations with tons of decorations. This one had a very tight thirty foot long section that had to be done solely on your belly, then it opened up to a large den of formations. Only about ten percent was easily seen and then there is a ten foot high wall that so far has stopped even Russ, I bet sometime in the next year or so he will find a way with ropes or so to get beyond that hurdle to explore even further.We felt so very fortunate to not only be able to enjoy these but also to have Russ and Karen to be our guides. We made it back into town after dark and went to a quaint little Mexican food restaurant laughing about the sight we must have been to everyone that saw us, we had so much red clay mud caked on us it was quite the sight. That was so much fun we decided to go to a local gelato place for ice cream to top the day off. I should mention that when Russ and I were about 13 years old I got my Ham Radio License and then he even got the bug too. Over the years he has put together one of the worlds largest collection of morse code keys and "Spark" type transmitters. Many from other countries used for on land, submarines and large ships during the wars. Even a couple from zepplins, he is one of the worlds best known authorities on "The Marconi" times. Karen stays busy with her Doctors degree in Pathology and dog training / handling skills. It is obvious that their home was built around their interests. Many thanks to you two for an incredible weekend, we are so glad to renew our friendship with you two and of course Paulie, Java, Hanapu, Branden and little Robie. We look forward to seeing each other more often than just every forty years!!!  It is nice to think that even after 40 years we can still get just as muddy as we did back when we were kids!!!

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           The Arches                                                                     Kyle is getting to be a big boy                                              The rare picture of all of us

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           Welcome to the Campground                      Hold ON !                                                   Mesa Verde

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                                                                                   All Aboard                                                Still works after a hundred years

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             Russ and Carl                                      Russ and Karen                                   Yvette in Spelunking mode

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     That's A Happy little boy                                      It's Alive !                                        Fellow spelunkers

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           Russ and Karen with Java and Robie                                                             Indian Petroglyph (is that spelled right?)

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    Local wild visitors                                        YES, this is New Mexico              Russ's parents, Dr. Ralph and Aggie

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       120 years old   what detail                    Old mining town of Mogollon                          Remnants left behind


  After leaving Silver City we first stayed a week in Alamogordo, an Air Force military town on the edge of White Sands National Park. This was the home of a lot of testing for NASA and the Military. We enjoyed a day at the Space Museum complete with an Imax Theater. The boys were so intrigued by everything, it was fun to watch them take in all the displays. They even got a chance at a real space shuttle simulator, only Kyle was able to actually land that thing without plowing into the ground like the rest of us. We saw the grave sight for "Ham" the first monkey that was sent into space. The four hour drive from there to Carlsbad was a beautiful drive over the mountains and even through a ski resort town of Cloudcroft. Carlsbad Caverns are very well kept by being a National Park. The city of Carlsbad and White's City are very old and getting run down. There just isn't as many people anymore taking in the big hole in the ground we guess. We first enjoyed the tour to the King's Palace, then took the elevator up 750 feet to do the two mile walk back down into the caverns through the "Natural Opening". The formations were just awesome and so beautiful, unfortunately the flash of cameras doesn't reach and all pictures come out very dark. After a full day of hiking around the caverns we took a couple hour break and read up on the history of Jim White that found the caves back in the late 1800's. It's a great story to read, if you come upon the story read it sometime. We do know that we had a better appreciation of the caverns after spending the time with Russ and Karen spelunking a couple of weeks before we got here. That evening we went back to the Natural opening and with about 30 other people we all sat quietly and watched dense swarms of bats coming out to go feed. The swarms are just breathtaking to watch, like thick black smoke whirling around, millions of bats came out. We watched it for about an hour, and when we left, they were still coming out. You could see their cloud like groups flying off in the distance to go to the lower valley grounds to feed on bugs around the Rio Grande. We are now in El Paso, and have been for 4 days, not a lot to see or do here so we have just relaxed and swam in the RV park pool a lot. We have made sure we have everything in order and are well provisioned before we cross the border. We will not be back into the States for another year and a half except of course the island of American Samoa, if you want to count that.

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Baby Porcupine          Carlsbad Caverns       The Natural Opening       Enjoy !

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                       We could sit for hours just stairing at these formations           Happy Haloween


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