Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Time Has Come

There's something to be said for when things all come together.  In this case, the offline tool that we use to create our blog has decided to stop functioning in a useful way.  It functions in a very non-useful way such as taking forever to load absolutely nothing.  But that's o.k. because today we got the call that our campground is getting ready to open up.  So, the timing of the failed offline blogging tool couldn't be more perfect with the timing of we won't have internet for a good long while anyway.  So, since the blog write-up has recently been relegated to online time, here's the skinny on the latest and maybe one or two photos.

We're pertty excited about this volunteer position at Vedauwoo in Wyoming.  Sure, it is a world class rock climbing destination.  Sure, we get to sit in the middle of it for the entire summer.  Sure, we get to climb pretty much every single day.  We won't deny that the set up is pretty dang sweet for two rock climbers.  But we also get to give back to the system that has provided us with free places to camp for the last six months and that is pretty sweet too.

See 'A'?  That's the central climbing area.  See the red 'X'?  That's our campground.
Blue areas are named climbing areas that host about 900 different routes all total.

With our new volunteer gig in the Land of the Earthborn Spirit we're not so sure how often we'll be posting to the blog.  But we'll do our best to gather up and post some photos and chat about Vedauwoo, rock climbing and our first time camphosting adventures at some point.  So, check back now and then.  If you've got our number, feel free to drop us a text or shoot us a call.  We've got reasonable cell coverage at our site and, if we don't get ourselves stuck in a man-eating off-width, we plan to be there at least at night to sleep. 

Climbing Legend, Todd Skinner said, "Vedauwoo filters out the weak, the soft and the spineless, which leaves better company for you."  When all is said and done and Vedauwoo has had its way with us, we sure hope to find ourselves in the category of "Better Company".  Either way, we're pretty darn excited about this latest adventure!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

The W is for WOW!

So, there were all of these great ideas running through Nicole’s head for completing the phrase “The ‘W’ in Wyoming stands for ___”.  Lists of things like Wide Open, Windy, Wild, Western.  And we had every intention of telling you stories of our drive here and how Annie has just turned 130 (thousand miles) and how we can only use between 1/4 and 1/2 tank of gas before we have to fill up otherwise we can’t climb hills and how in downtown Laramie (which we love, by the way) there are beautiful tree lined streets and cowboys in full garb standing in the middle of the road with a drink in one hand and a bullwhip in the other.

Forget flowers… they’re blooming whole trees here in Laramie! 

But none of that matters now.  Because we took a drive today.  Up a big hill (with a full tank of gas for safe keeping), about 1500 feet higher in elevation, up over the highest point on the Transcontinental (Lincoln) Highway where a very possessed looking bust of Lincoln is perched upon a 50 foot high tower…

and then down into a beautiful and lush green valley where mysterious rock formations dot the otherwise very Western and Wyoming landscape. 

None of those other W’s matter now because today… we saw our summer home.  And is it official.  The ‘W’ in Wyoming stands for WOW!

…the valley
…our driveway
… our site
… view from our site
… nice big spot
… at home already
… tent site with a view
… more campground scenery
… looking back as we drive away, anxious to get moved in

It is called Vedauwoo.   Pronounced Vee-da-voo, meaning “Earth Born”, it’s formations are composed of 1.4 billion year old Sherman Granite.  We have volunteered to be campground hosts here for the summer.  The gates are still locked for the winter season so we hopped over, had a quiet walk around and let all of the goodness soak in.

With so much goodness, it may take the whole summer to fully soak in…

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Welcome to the Gun Show…

So, we’ve made it to yet another new state.  Colorado, here we are!2012-04-19 Rabbit Valley, CO
We spent our first few nights at a BLM location called Rabbit Valley.  It is located only a few miles across the border.  It was blazing hot those few days so it felt like we were still in the desert of Moab, UT.2012-04-19 Rabbit Valley, CO (1)
We were visited at the Valley by friends, Lou and Dale.  Sure is fun to see our friends from Georgia on the road full-time and enjoying this lifestyle like we are.  On one of their visits we walked a trail that had some dinosaur bones on it.
2012-04-20 Trail Thru Time, Rabbit Valley, CO (2)
They were right there in the rocks.  Funny how once this stuff gets pointed out you start to see it everywhere and realize you’ve probably been walking right past similar things for years.  Above photo is of part of a spine.  2012-04-20 Trail Thru Time, Rabbit Valley, CO (4)







Closest living relative to a dinosaur that we saw on this hike.

Lou and Dale invited us to visit them in town at the RV park.  While there, we played a game called Bloing Ball.2012-04-24 Lou and Dale, Clifton, CO (4)
2012-04-24 Lou and Dale, Clifton, CO (6)

2012-04-24 Lou and Dale, Clifton, CO (8)2012-04-24 Lou and Dale, Clifton, CO (10)The objective is not to look like all of the other players when you throw the ball.  That just sort of happens.  Your goal is to wrap these string-tied golf balls around the bars for points.  Different points per bar.
2012-04-24 Lou and Dale, Clifton, CO (11)


We did alright for ourselves!


One afternoon, Dale had a kayak to test paddle before he made a decision to buy it so we headed to the park.
2012-04-24 Lou and Dale, Clifton, CO (22)
Fits one tall man and a dog… SOLD!
2012-04-24 Lou and Dale, Clifton, CO (27)
It was such a beautiful day, we enjoyed a picnic…
2012-04-24 Lou and Dale, Clifton, CO (24)
under the trees before heading back to our rigs.

It only takes a few days in town before the urge to get back out to the peace and quiet of public lands starts to gang up on us.  So, before long, it was out to Little Bookcliffs BLM area for us.  We found a nice level spot just off the road with some great views.
2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (1)
We could still see snow atop the Grand Mesa.
2012-05-01 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (7)
Close-up of snow on the Grand Mesa.
2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (15)
Little Bookcliffs is a wild horse sanctuary so we kept a look-out. 2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (26)







If you squint your eyes and lean your head to the left, it sort of looks like a horse.
Alright, so we didn’t see any horses this day.  But we did see a LOT of…
2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (34)
bullet casings.  These were shotgun but there were 22’s, 45’s, 40’s, 38’s, 9’s and a load of various sizes from rifle’s, as well.  It seems that some public lands are not just used for boondocking!  What?!  You’ve got to be kidding.  OK, we knew that but up until this point most of what we saw was a lot of OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) use.  We also had not yet seen a display such as this one.  Give a guy (or gal) some public land and a gun and besides the standard beer bottles, cans and plastic containers, they’ll shoot the oddest of things.
2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (3)2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (10)
We admit, the bowling ball trick must have been pretty cool to see and we sure hope there wasn’t a guy in the sneakers (there was a pair) when it all went down.
2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (8)2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (6)






The eggs above were apparently un-harmed during the experiment but we can’t say the same for many others we saw.  Skeet discs seem to be the target of choice and they are reportedly biodegradable being that they are made out of clay (we’ll hold our tongues on that one).
2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (22)2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (36)
Wasn’t there some song a long while back about blowing up your TV?  And, the yellow pages… really?!  What did they ever do to you? 

Besides the above items, the ground in the area was literally peppered with casings and trash of all kinds.  As users of public lands ourselves, we are happy that they are being offered so generously to outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.  However, seeing things like this, pretty sure it used to be a fridge,
2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (16)
and other piles like it does make us take pause.
2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (21)
More and more public lands are being closed in exchange for pay areas that can be monitored and regulated by paid staff.  With examples like this one we can surely see why.  It would take some serious regulation or better yet some personal responsibility on the part of the public that is permitted to use this land free of charge to prevent the kind of environmental impact that is happening here.

Just saying… and that’s all we’ll say but really, think about it people.

While we are saying that… one morning we had just finished breakfast when a whole bunch of trucks rolled up and blocked us in our spot.  They hopped out, introduced themselves in a very friendly manner and proceeded to inform us that they were from a shooting group and would be shooting in our spot for about two hours.  Up went the skeet set up and out came the shotguns of every variety!
2012-04-28 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo, CO (5)
Another round of… where’s Annie?  Can you see her?
2012-04-28 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo, CO
These folks were a hoot.  Super friendly, inviting us over and over to try it with them and to join in with saying “It doesn’t kick that hard, really.”  With four months of climbing coming up we opted to save our shoulders and to just watch.  We had a great time for the two hours that they stayed and played a host of various games of elimination.
2012-04-28 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo, CO (3)
After the guys were through with the baby stuff… shotguns, rifles, handguns…
2012-04-28 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo, CO (6)
the Birthday Girl pulled out the BIG GUNS and showed ‘em how it was done!

It was actually really neat to see these folks having such a great time.  They even cleaned up after themselves… an added bonus.  Afterward, we were invited down to the river for a Birthday BBQ but opted to take in what was left of our day in peace and quiet.

2012-04-20 Trail Thru Time, Rabbit Valley, CO
Obligatory, peaceful flower photo.
2012-04-20 Trail Thru Time, Rabbit Valley, CO (1)
Followed by quiet flowers in the meadow.

The next few days were relaxing and rather uneventful.  Then Lou and Dale came to visit a few times.  We had some fun setting up targets from the trash laying around and shooting them with Dale’s 22 rifle (which is much quieter than a shotgun and has zero kick).  Nicole and Darlene had collected 30 skeet that had been missed by the shotgun folks and we set them and some random trash items that were laying around at varying distances and took turns.  Yes, we admit that the last of the Easter Eggs pictured above finally met their end during this process.
2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (15)2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (18) 2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (17) 2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (28) We had fun coming up with individual ways to steady the rifle.  Dale improvised with walking sticks, Nicole curled up in a ball and braced on her knee.  Darlene took a one leg up on the trashcan stance and Lou basically kicked back and relaxed.  Before long, the up-close targets just weren’t cutting it in the one-up department and challenges with items smaller and further away started being set.  Example, a golf ball in a tree 250 yards away.  For those unfamiliar, after about 100 yards, the scope on the gun is basically useless for anything other than to ‘see’ the target item and possibly a measure of how to adjust each shot. This sort of challenge required some serious sniper mentality.
2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (23)

We shot round after round at the golf ball set in a dead tree 250 yards away. In this photo of Dale, a rectangle is drawn around the tree where the golf ball sat.  The rectangle is around the whole tree to give you perspective.
 2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (30a)
On day two, Nicole had one bullet left when Dale told her if she shot the ball out of the tree he would eat it for dinner.  She shot the ball out of the tree!  Once we figure out a way to sautee it just right… Dale will eat ‘Top-Flite’.  Another perspective of our shot is below.
2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (33)
This is the tree the ball was in.  If you look ahead of Dale and Bonnie you can see Annie in the distance.  We were shooting from right in front of her.  On the third day, Dale managed to whack the ball out of the tree and Nicole got a second shot on it knocking it out of its perch yet again. 
2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (12)2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (31)Darlene and Lou held their own shattering skeet after skeet at similar distances in the 200+ yard range.  Boy did we have a blast (pun not intended but we’ll take it) and yes, we did clean up after ourselves and then some!  The fun didn’t stop there.  Lou and Dale also brought their compound bows for us to play with.  After a few lessons, one in which Lou showed us how to group three arrows in the bulls-eye,
2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (2)2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (3)Nicole was managing to get it in the target and Darlene was matching Dale’s arrow for arrow challenges like a pro!
2012-05-01 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO
2012-05-01 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (5)
Darlene nearly took the ‘feathers’ off of Dale’s arrows in the challenge.

Well, all that gun and bow toting can wear a girl out.  There’s nothing like a little hike to look for wild horses to relax you.
2012-04-29 Little Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (1)
We plotted our course.
2012-04-29 Little Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (2)
And off we went. 
2012-04-27 Little Book Cliffs, Cameo,  CO (26)
Maybe if you squint and lean your head to the right this time?  OK, still nothing.

How about this then?
2012-04-29 Little Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (3)
YES!  We finally saw one.  A loner wearing white socks on his back feet.  Apparently he was new to the desert because we can’t seem to keep our socks white out here!  We sat atop a cliff watching this beautiful one graze near the river for a while before the wind started blowing.

Well, they say that all good things must come to an end and so our time here shall come to a close.  In a week or so we will arrive at our summer destination where we will be volunteer campground hosts until September.  So, we’re on the move, yet again with more details to follow.

Until next time…

2012-04-30 Bookcliffs, Cameo, CO (20) Keep your eye on the ball!