Minnesota

This is a photo Jan took on our drive to Minnesota. The yellow flowering pants were everywhere for miles!

minneapolis/st. paul

We stopped in Minneapolis to visit our good friends, Manny and Carmen, whom we met 3 years ago on a boat tour of Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho. We had fun then, so knew we’d have a great time with them here! Carmen cooked us a wonderful Puerto Rican meal.
Manny drove us all over the area showing us the sights. This was Minnehaha Falls in Minnehaha Park.
We also visited the Guthrie Center in Minneapolis where we had a great view of the city. It’s a live music and entertainment theatre. It has a beautiful, welcoming interior.
The General Mills Gold Medal Flower plant in downtown Minneapolis.
Across the river is the Pillsbury’s Best Flour plant in downtown St. Paul. Apparently Minneapolis wasn’t big enough for two competing flour companies!
Another bridge between Minneapolis on this side of the river and St. Paul on the other.
I saw this in one of the parks and thought it was funny.
Carmen resting in the park. Great day touring the city!

the spam museum?/ austin, minnesota

We couldn’t visit Minnesota without visiting the Spam Museum!
Reserved parking for Spam Fans!
There were lots of displays and memorabilia from the beginning of the company to present day.
There was a lot of information about Spam during WWII.
All through the museum you could see this conveyor above you with 780 cans of Spam on it!
Meet Sir Can-a-Lot!
They even had a motorcycle that runs on bacon grease!
Some of the huge array of Spam memorabilia.
There was even this huge Spam RC Rocket!
Of course we couldn’t leave without stocking up with SPAM! I got a case of 12 different varieties plus a can of Portuguese Sausage Spam that wasn’t included in the case.

Colorado Part 3- Colorado Springs & Sterling

We spent 9 days in Colorado Springs staying at our favorite place, at the Air Force FamCamp. We pulled into our site and look at our neighbors! TWINS! (We’re the ones on the left in case you couldn’t tell us apart!
While we were there visiting family we got an afternoon with Aneka. We had a drink at the Broadmoor. Fun day! We saw her a few times while there but unfortunately weren’t there for her debut as a Pikes Peak Rangerette at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo; Maybe next summer, can’t wait!
Aneka enjoying her Mocktail.
Since we missed the rodeo, here are a few pictures from her mom, Kristin. We can’t wait to see her there next summer!
Aneka and her proud papa Rich!
Aneka in action, waving to the crowd at full speed! This photo is from the official photographer at the event.
We got to go see Rich and his band, RetroWave. Unfortunately it was pouring down rain so it was indoors, but still a great time!
Here’s a better pic actually showing Rich!

on to sterling……

We got our favorite spot at North Sterling State Park looking towards the reservoir. We loved spending time with our good friends Steve and Mary Bergman but were having so much fun we forgot to take any pictures!
We loved this campground, lots of space between sites!

Colorado Part 2, Family Time in Palisade

This was our campsite for the week. Right on the Colorado River (although about 100′ above on a cliff)
This was our view!
Before Bryce and family arrived we went into town and they were having a motorcycle show.
An old Harley with sidecar.

colorado national monument

We took a day to explore Colorado National Monument. I’d never heard of it, it’s just up the road a bit from Palisade where we were staying.
There is some pretty impressive scenery here! This shot was looking straight down to the bottom of the canyon. I’m not sure what possessed me to take this shot; anything for a good picture I guess!
Some of these formations defy gravity!
And if you look closely, there’s ferocious wildlife!
This one looks like a chimney
Despite the barren appearance, it was pretty green.
Some very interesting rock layers everywhere you look!
There were several of these brilliant pink cactus flowers in bloom; quite a contrast!

family time in and around palisade

Bryce and crew stayed nearby at a cool farm Airbnb. They were in a nice house shared by Bryce, Laura, Reeve and Laura’s sister Monica and her husband Benjer and their two kids, Autumn and West. This is the pond by their place where the kids enjoyed exploring and finding small frogs.
They had plenty of room to run and play!

riggs hill dinosaur excavation site

While we were there we all went on a hike to see Riggs Hill, a dinosaur excavation site.
Here are the kids standing with a casting of one of the bones discovered here.
It was a fun hike, but not always easy and level!
The view from the top was pretty good though.
Photo evidence that Reeve and Autumn made it to the top!

fruita dinosaur museum

After Riggs Hill we went to Fruita and visited the Dinosaur Museum there. Here’s Laura getting into the whole experience!
The displays here are obviously not real but very realistic! This one spit every so often!
This one was a bit too realistic for some!
Who are you looking at?!?
This was more Reeve and Autumn’s taste!
I saw this at the gift shop and thought it was pretty funny!

pool time

After all day exploring we returned to our campground where they all enjoyed a cool time in the pool.
Of course complete with Super Soaker fights!
While there, Bryce discovered this Alpaca Farm nearby. It turned out to be very interesting!
The Alpacas had been recently sheared obviously!
If you look closely they have very large front teeth!
The process of taking their fur and spinning it into threads and then yarn is pretty interesting too. This is the wool after it’s been cleaned but before it is spun into threads.
One of the many machines they use.
Here are some of the many products they make.
This is their guard dog. He looks pretty docile but the guy who gave us the tour said he’s all work, don’t go near him! He once took out a mountain lion who tried to get to the Alpaca!
The Alpaca Shack! I thought it was nice of these 3 to pose for this shot!
After the Alpaca Farm we stopped at a winery for lunch.
While in Palisade Bryce and Laura treated us to a great seafood Paella dinner in town.
While driving around Palisade Jan spotted this B&B that had a beautiful Rose garden all set up for weddings and other occasions.
The house next door was quite beautiful too!

Back in Colorado!

mesa verde national park

The cliff dwellings here are amazing. How they got up there was quite a feat! There were no stairs, just climb up!
As you can see the terrain is quite rugged!
This was the visitors path to view the ruins close up; I chose to just get my pictures using my 300mm telephoto lens from the top!
Some beautiful succulents here.
The view went on for miles!
Of course I have a picture of a dead tree!

durango/silverton train ride

While staying near Mesa Verde we took a day trip over to Durango to ride the steam train from Durango to Silverton
The scenery along the way was spectacular! I got this shot of our train since we were in the next to last car.
Here’s a cool shot of the engine on a trestle.
A few places the cuts in the rock cliffs were a bit tight!
Some swollen rivers along the way; the spring melt isn’t quite over yet and it’s late May! Here the train is at one of it’s two stops along the way to refill water. These old steam engines used a lot of water heated by a lot of coal! The people you see here are hikers they dropped off; they will hike the rest of the way to Silverton!
On our way again!
We chose the First Class car; not plush by today’s standards but pretty comfortable.
As we got closer to Silverton you can see that the snow is still not melted quite yet. The Aspen trees do have their leaves producing this dramatic difference from their light green leave and the dark green of the pines.
Arriving in Silverton.
Some desperadoes chased the train for a bit!
This is the train station at Silverton; it makes you feel as if your transported back to old western times!
We had lunch at The Lone Spur Cafe inside the Grand Imperial Hotel. A beautiful old bar and restaurant!
A gorgeous had carved old western bar!
While we ate lunch we were entertained by Lacey Black with some great piano music. She’s been doing this since a young girl. We had to get a couple of her CDs!
Need some boots?
Beware of the Moose!
…And the bear!
Back to the train for the return trip.
What’s left of an old mine.
A waterfall from the spring melt.

Part 2 Grand Canyon plus Winslow & Sedona

A couple of pics from our day exploring Winslow. The iconic corner! You can see the reflection of the girl in the flatbed Ford!
Jan and me hanging on “The Corner”! As you can tell, it was a bit brisk!
Sedona was a beautiful place too. The red rocks and greenery were a stunning contrast!
If you looked closely there were other vibrant colors in the cactus flowers!

The Grand Canyon, Part 2

Further out on the eastern end of the south rim is Yaki Point. Do you notice the small flat rock on top of this large outcropping?
This is a closeup of that rock. Apparently put there as a memorial for someone. My guess is maybe they tried and failed to jump across to the outcropping?!? According to the dates they would have been 18!
My pictures wouldn’t be complete without at least one dead/dying tree!
The expansiveness of the Grand Canyon is just amazing!
And the Colorado River continues to etch its way through it!
This out cropping looks like it could topple off any day!
Our last stop was the Desert Watchtower.
The view from there was stunning as well!
While we were staying in Williams we visited our good friends Kevin and Wendy. They shared this picture of them at the Grand Canyon. They had gone while we were there!

Williams & the Grand Canyon

While visiting the Grand Canyon we stayed in Williams, Arizona. Its a cool little town to visit and its right on old Route 66.
Lots of references to Route 66 and the bygone days of hot rods and laid back cities!
Some pretty cool murals around town too.
Nice sunsets at our campground!
They had these cool arches at the entrances to town on Route 66.
It was much colder than normal for the end of May! We even got this surprise rain/hail/snow storm!
Surprise storm; then it all melted away by the next day!
While staying in Williams, we took the Grand Canyon Train Tour which starts in downtown Williams. Its a 63 mile, 4 hour ride from Williams to the Grand Canyon.
This was our car. We opted for first class, which gave us more comfortable seats in an enclosed car.
While we waited to depart they put on this old west show for us. Hokey but pretty entertaining!
Complete with gunfights of course!
Three of the cast with their “victim” (in the baseball hat) from the audience.
Then off we went for our train ride!
Lots of cool scenery along the way, including some Elk grazing near the tracks!
The train dropped us off right at the lodge. This was the beautiful massive fireplace at the lodge.
The day of our train excursion there was quite a bit of cold rain and fog around. It obscured our views a bit but also added some to the pictures.
On our return trip our train was stopped and we were “robbed” aka tips!
A couple of days later we went back and got some of the same pictures when it was a bit clearer.
This rock looks like it’ll just slide off anytime!
They put these markers along the rim path telling you the age of the spot where you’re standing!
It’s a LONG way down!
It was kind of cloudy but I thought they just added drama to the scene!
I was glad to have my 300 mm zoom lens; I got close ups of the river without the grueling trip down into the canyon!
So many layers of different colors and textures!
This is a shot of the trail leading down into the canyon. They say its 2 hours down but much longer coming back up! If you look close you can see the people on the path!
I overheard a guide say this rock outcropping was supposed to look like a rubber ducky; Jan thought it looked more like an eagle’s head .
The expanse of the canyon is mind boggling!
In this picture do you see the red circle? That’s the Colorado River and those are river rafts on the shore. They must be taking a rest from their trip down the river!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Grand Canyon Adventure……..

First Stop- Arizona (mid April)

On our trip from San Diego going towards the Grand Canyon we stopped for a few days in Lake Havisu City to visit with our friends there. They took us out on the lake to see the sights which, of course, included the London Bridge.
It was a beautiful warm day! So welcomed after a cold wet winter in San Diego!
Apparently a good day to defy death too!
There were many of these spots on shore to camp. vault toilets, picnic shelter, fire ring and all.
There were of course lots of boats and other modes of transportation on the lake!
All kinds, shapes and sizes of watercraft!
Safety First- Dog’s got to have a life vest!
And of course the obligatory party barge!

Our Summer in Colorado

I know we’ve been offline for awhile, but we are now getting back on the road! We are heading east for the New England Sates. Here are the highlights of our 2 1/2 months we spent in Colorado last summer

While staying in Denver, we got to take Reeve to one of his favorite places; The Denver Aquarium!
Reeve was excited to see all the beautiful displays
He really got “into” this one!
Captain Nemo Reeve!
Reeve’s favorite part of the aquarium visit, the ice cream Sunday of course!
We also had a day at the Bow Mar beach where Reeve and his cousin Autumn had a great time with us and Nana and Papa! (Laura’s parents)
Stand up paddle boarding with Papa.
Papa and Reeve returning from their cruise across the lake.
Reeve especially enjoyed the slide into the lake!
Reeve and Autumn played in the sand too of course!
We went to the downtown fountains by the train station for ice cream and cooling off in the fountains. It was a hot summer.
While we were staying in Golden, Reeve and family came out for some river tubing. Reeve just couldn’t get enough of it! They must have made the trip 20 times!
Bryce and Laura’s neighborhood holds a Fourth of July parade every year. The kids love it!
One of the big events was of course Reeve’s 5th Birthday!
Cake and Ice cream are always a hit with Reeve and Autumn !
One happy Birthday boy!
Autumn and Reeve having fun with the giant bubbles!
Reeve’s birthday was a big event; two different parties! One at their house and a second one at our campground in Golden, which Barb, Zach and Holland were able to attend. Here’s Reeve and Barb coloring with the new colored markers she got him.
This was our present to Reeve; a truck and fifth wheel RV Lego set! Just like the Red Hulk!
Reeve wasted no time in getting the kit assembled!
Laura and Reeve, the Red Hulk and the completed Lego set!
Zach, Barbara, Holland , Bryce, Laura and me. We were so glad that Holland was able to come out for this momentous occasion!
We also spent time in Colorado Springs to visit with Rich, Aneka and Kristin’s family. We attended some of Aneka’s training sessions and two big events; the El Paso County Fair and the Colorado State Fair. Here Aneka was practicing here sliding stops.
Now THAT’s a stop! YIKES!
Aneka practicing her steer roping under the watchful eye of her trainer Autumn.
After all that training, it was on to the County Fair. Here she’s riding Chex Please in one of her events.
Doing some jumps with Chex Please in her English event.
This was one of Aneka’s favorite events, cow cutting!
Another of her favorite events, barrel racing, with her horse Dolly! She loves going fast!
A little love for Dolly!
Horsemanship is a family event; here’s Aneka and Chex Please talking with her Grandma Laurie while waiting their turns to compete.
Aneka and Chex Please during the Showmanship event.
In between horse events we got to see Aneka in action playing volleyball.
Aneka poised waiting for that slam dunk!
While down in the Springs we attended another momentous occasion; Aneka’s 13th Birthday party at Hell Scream. Her step-dad Vince owns Hell Scream, which is an event center and Escape Room year round.
We stayed at the Pueblo State Park, while we attended the Colorado State Fair. This was the view from our campsite. It was only five minutes away from all the action.
Aneka and Dolly during one of her events.
Cow cutting.
Aneka and Chex Please resting between events. Chex Please trying to give her a little kiss!.
Apparently you’re not allowed to invite your horse to lunch here!
Aneka and Chex Please during their Showmanship event.
Aneka with Dolly
Whoa there!
Ranch horse competition.
English competition with Chex Please.
A little mother/daughter time between events!
Resting up between competitions!
This picture should be a commercial for Coke!
All the spoils from 4 days of hard work and competition! Congratulations Aneka, Dolly and Chex Please!
Aneka’s top prize for her efforts; this beautiful buckle for State Champion for her age group!
Aneka was the Champion, but she couldn’t have done it without her crew; Mom, Kristin and Grandma, Laurie!
Bryce, Laura and Reeve came down to see Aneka’s events at the State fair. Reeve of course had to see and experience the fair!
He loved these huge floating balls!
and of course the Merry go Round!
While in Colorado we also got to visit with other friends. Here, Mary, Pat, Jim, Debbie and Jerry came to our campsite at the Air Force Academy for lunch.
We had dinner at Daphne’s house with Mary. The three of them met when they were 11! Forever friends.
And we met Daphne’s new puppy Mia.

Our second week exploring Greece with Joni, Morgan and Clayton

paros

We boarded a ferry in Athens to take us on a 4 hour trip to Paros. It’s a bit confusing, because in our first week we visited POROS which is in the Saranac Islands. PAROS is in the Cyclade Islands.

This ferry was massive! they had everything from mopeds and motorcycles to cars to large trucks and construction equipment board!

The lounge area was very plush; much like a cruise liner!

I snapped this picture because they misspelled ANEKA(our granddaughter’s name)!

The host from the VRBO that Jan booked for us picked us up at the ferry landing that night at about 10:00PM! What service! This was where we stayed for our week in Paros. A very nice home overlooking the town and water.

Each of the 3 bedrooms had an adjoining patio area as well as this one off the front of the house.

Nicely appointed kitchen.

Living room.

Two very nice bathrooms.

Our bedroom was spacious!

While we were lounging at the house one day these people were having a bit of a problem. It looked like the guy driving the lead ATV took the corner a bit fast and hit the stone wall. No doubt who won that battle!

The next morning, Sunday, after our arrival, our host took us into town to do grocery shopping. Again, what service. Monday morning he again took us into town to get our rental car for the week. This beach picture was taken after we began exploring the town.

In our exploring we found this lovely little upstairs restaurant to have lunch. Those are grapevines in the rafters.

While exploring the area we noticed this guy delivering potatoes to the restaurant we just ate at.

ALL of these were delivered; they go through a LOT of potatoes apparently!

Some views from the park across the street from that restaurant.

We loved the traditional whitewash and blue with all the beautiful flowers!

As we explored the island we found this Butterfly Valley. Very interesting!

The butterflies looked more like pretty moths in their shape. It was difficult to capture on camera, but in flight the underside of their wings were bright orange.

This isn’t butterflies, but I liked the interesting stone patterns!

In our travels we came across this interesting use for an old VW convertible!

Back in town we did some walking, exploring the streets of Paros. A beautiful town!

And of course Morgan and Clayton found another “friend”!

While exploring we found the Frankish Castle. They’ve built the structures on top of its ruins, leaving much of it intact! Pretty cool!

Notice the pigeon deterents?

One of the many small shrines we came across in Greece.

And one of the many old churches. All very interesting!

Nice old Harley!

One of the high speed ferry boats!

On one of our last days there we visited this beach which was a short walk down the hill from our house.

Lunch and a cold beer on the beach; Life is Good!

day trip by boat to delos and mykonos

We went down to the harbor and took a boat for a day tour of Delos and Mykonos.

the island of Delos, in the center of the Cyclades, is one of the most important islands in Greek mythology according to what I’ve read. Very interesting to see in person for sure!

And, of course, more cats!

And lizards!

These drawings and explanations help decipher exactly what you’re looking at.

This was a very hot, dry area; it’s amazing the plants can grow right out of the rubble and rock!

This guy could care less, he has his shady spot!

Some more pieces waiting until they figure out where they fit.

This is part of the extensive underground viaduct network.

This green area was a lake that supplied their fresh water.

Some more of the viaduct network.

One of the many wells.

This loan sea shell was just sitting on one of the walls!

One of the tile murals, still partially intact!

Inside the adjacent museum they had the more delicate pieces they wanted preserved.

This is an overview map of the area.

This was “interesting”!

Back outside, this place seemed to go on forever; it was huge!

This entry stone was well worn after thousands of years of footsteps on it!

Some of the carvings were amazingly still pretty much intact!

Yet another cat of Greece!

Our grandson Reeve, who is a whiz at Legos, could help them put this area back together in no time!

Cleopatra even had a place here!

I really was intrigued with these plants! They’re kind of a thistle I think.

Well, back to the boat and on to Mykonos.

mykonos

We could see right away this was a pretty ritzy place! I wonder if “this is ┬áMine” belongs to the ex husband or ex wife?

The town was beautiful in the Greek traditional theme.

Mega-Yacht row!

I think that Shark is Jimmy’s cousin!

Gelato Joni!

One more traditional blue door!

Well, back to Paros and home soon!

antiparos

Jan, Joni and I decided to make one last side trip on the way to the airport to Antiparos. It was a short 15 minute ferry ride. Most of that time was the ferry turning around to dock! Antiparos was gorgeous and not crowded at all!

On a suggestion from a local we went to this seafood restaurant on the other side of the island; about a 10-15 minute drive. So glad we did!

The view was wonderful and so was the food!

drying fish and octopus. YUM!

The water here is so amazingly clear!

One last water view. Goodby Greece, we love you!

Part 3 of our week aboard the Anna II

aegina and moni island

Arriving at Aegina.

Our carriage awaits! (Not really, I just got the photo)

Toys, toys, toys!

A floating produce stand!

While we were there, Jan, Joni, Teresa and I decided to take this boat trip over to Moni Island. It sounded like an interesting trip!

While we did that, Clayton and Morgan chose to try an ATV tour of the area. Clayton, where are we going again?

Joni’s coming prepared for the beach!

Here’s the luxurious pier at Moni Island!

The beach view from our shaded chairs; beautiful water!

Joni enjoying the refreshing water!

Jan even convinced me that water in the 70’s was warm enough!

The most unique thing about this island is the free roaming and very friendly reindeer ( the sign said wild goats called Kri kri, but all we saw were these reindeer!) and peacocks!

I took a short hike to the other side of the island to see what was there.

From up there you could get a good overall view of this beautiful cove and the beach.

Others were watching too!

This view is looking towards the other side of the island; apparently where all the mega-yachts hang out!

This one had its own floating pier to relax on!

In contrast to all the beauty was this abandoned structure up there. Apparently used for clandestine night partying!

I liked the contrast in this photo of the dilapidated structure with the multi-million dollar yacht in the background!

Back in Aegina for our last evening together. What a fabulous week!

After a fun day of exploring Moni Island and the others doing their exploring it was time for our last evening dinner together. Jorge and Kathy knew the perfect place!

Time for dinner and we’re all starving!

The place Jorge and Kathy took us did NOT disappoint! So much scrumptious food!