Motoring Across America

With James "Alex" Alexander

with James "Alex" Alexander


If you like what you see, sign-up to receive notification updates and pass this on to your friends.

If you have suggestions or questions, please send me a note.

And don't forget to post a comment if you're moved to do so.


Travel Blog 263: Off We Go to Idaho

Cherry Creek SP to Challis Hot Springs
Vamos Colorado
From Cherry Creek State Park on the outskirts of Denver, we headed north on CO 83, took I-225 North, I-40 West, and then I-E 270 North to I-25 North, all the way to Cheyenne. Here we picked up I-80 West and made our way to Rawlins, WY, and spent the night at Western Hills Campground. 

RV Couple
The next morning we again headed west on I-80 and then US 30, marveling at how green Wyoming was this time of year. We made a short stop at Fossil Butte National Monument and were awed by the size, detail, and quantity of fossils, especially of fish. Just a few miles west of Kemmerer, it is off the beaten path but worthy of visitation. We travelled west into Idaho and stopped for a couple of nights at the Montpelier Creek KOA.
The first mid-afternoon we took a short road trip east on 89, and then on Wood Canyon Road to Bauman Lane, and up to the Montpelier Reservoir.

Montpelier Creek KOA to Paris Ice Cave
After working the next morning, we took a road trip west to Ovid and then south to Paris on 89 South. Our first stop was the Paris Tabernacle.

Paris Tabernacle 
Next we toured the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge and shot a few birds. 
Eastern Kingbird

Juvenile Rock Wren 2

Long-Billed Dowager

Yellow-Headed Blackbird

Mountain Bluebird

Mystery Chick
From there we headed up into the Cache National Forest taking Paris Canyon Road. Jan had a blast identifying wildflowers as we slowly worked our way to the Paris Ice Cave, noted for having ice all year round. We circled our way back on Canyon Road.

Jack and Alex in Paris Ice Cave

Curious Sheep

After two nights at Montpelier, we drove 168 miles west on US 30, and then west on US 26 to the Craters of the Moon KOA located in Arco, Idaho. Pretty trip but not ideal, as the wind gusted more than 40 miles per hour much of the journey.

Montpelier Creek KOA to Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon
We visited this National Monument several years ago when it was hot and there was very little vegetation. Quite a difference this time, with cool weather, overcast skies, and bright flowers everywhere against and among the unique “off-worldly” scenery of this place.
Craters of the Moon Landscape

Craters of the Moon 2

Challis Hot Springs

Cherry Creek SP to Challis Hot Springs

The next morning we had a wonderful 82-mile trip north on US 93. The road was smooth, the traffic light, pleasant overcast skies driving through lush green valleys, by rivers and creeks, and surrounded by mountains.
Our campground was situated on the hot springs property with our site adjacent to the Salmon River. Each evening we walked over to the Springs and soaked in the 105-degree waters.
Little Road Trip to Bayhorse Lake

Challis Hot Springs to Bayhorse Lake

Our first afternoon we took a backroad trip to Bayhorse Lake. Old mines, ghost town.
Big Road Trip to Sunbeam and Back

Challis Big Trip

Our second day at the Hot Springs we took a big backroad trip. Our path took us west of Challis, up and over the Mill Creek Summit, with occasional ruins from mining or the old toll road route, where stagecoach travelers could shave days off their trip by spending $5 per person back in the late 1800s.
See you next week.

Travel Blog 262: Very Sweet at Cherry Creek

We said farewell to Nathrop and headed north again on 285 through the mountains. Near Denver we picked up I-70 East via I-470 West and stopped at a truck stop for a fuel-up and a wash. A short jag east, and then a few miles south on I-225 to Parker Road and our next camping location, Cherry Creek State Park.

Chalk Creek Campground to Cherry Creek State Park

Denver’s Central Park
We’ve stayed here many times and always enjoyed the nature. As it was Black Jack’s first time, he quickly learned to appreciate the vast quantities of rabbits, squirrels, chippers, prairie dogs, coyotes, deer, and birds of all variety.

Wily Coyote

Western King Bird

Bark Park
Another really nice thing about Cherry Creek State Park is their marvelous dog park. Many trails, lots of creek access, and over a four-mile jaunt around the perimeter. We were out there by 6:15 most mornings, but were never the first ones there.

Bark Park Pup

Your Move

Jack just loves to play, especially in the water--nothing more fun than chasing a big canine or a big canine chasing him.

Did You See That?

Run Jack Run

Wet and Wild

He has also learned to play fetch and brings the ball back…most of the time :’>>

Jack and Ball

Mitzy and Jack Tail

Mitzy thinks she is hot spit as she now has new wheels--whenever she gets tired of walking she has a chauffeured buggy from where she can direct the action of both dogs and people from a higher altitude.

New Wheels for Mitzy

Jan’s Art
Interested in seeing Jan’s latest painting? Go to and check out “Skyward” under “Acrylic Paintings and Murals” (the last painting).

See you soon.

Travel Blog 261: Chalk One Up

After our morning expedition to the Great Sand Dunes, we headed north on 285 the 86 miles to Chalk Creek Canyon Campground near Nathrop, Colorado. Once again, a beautiful drive.

San Luis SP to Chalk Creek

Camping at Nathrop
Located north of Salida and just south of Buena Vista, this is one of the prettiest areas in all of Colorado. With 14ers all over the place (mountains taller than 14,000 feet), there were snow-covered peaks in every direction. At over 8,000 feet of altitude, our campground mornings started in the 30s and reached the high 60s early afternoon.

View From Chalk Creek Campground II

Memorial Day with the Grandies
As we had done two times before, our grandkids (and their mom) drove 120 miles to spend a couple of nights with us over the Memorial Day weekend at Chalk Creek. We soaked in the hot springs, swam and slid at the water park, paddled at the Paddlefest in Buena Vista, and quacked at the annual duck race held at the campground. Several kids quickly became friends with our clan, and together they devoured large quantities of s’mores over the campfire and other assorted candies before and after.

Another Crazy Sliding Austin

Chilly Grandma

Guardian Pup

Paddling Fun


Sliding Kelly and Natalie

Sweet Natty

One afternoon after the Grandies had departed, we took a drive up over the Cottonwood Pass down to Taylor Park Reservoir. As we headed up to the 12,000-foot pass, the air thinned, the temperature dropped, and the big piles of snow deepened. Can’t beat it!

Chalk Creek Campground to Taylor Park Reservoir, Gunnison County, CO

No-Name Bird

Red-Shafted Flicker

Resting Bluebird

Sassy Sheep

Pickup Pup

Wonderful holiday weekend.

See you soon.

Travel Blog 260: Great Sand Dunes

Conejos River Campground RV Park to San Luis State Park, Alamosa County, CO

San Luis State Park
We left our Conejos campground late morning, heading east to Antonito, and then north on 285 past La Jara. At Alamosa, we picked up 17 North, and then turned east at Mosca on the county road that led us to San Luis State Park. The views here are incredible, with mountains on three sides and the huge light brown sand dunes of Great Sand Dune National Park adding texture and contrast to the dark browns, greens, and whites of the snow-capped peaks.

View From San Luis Campsite

After settling in, we drove the 12 miles into the park and were soon on the Medano Pass Primitive Road. This single lane, four-wheel-drive road is flanked by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east, paralleled by the Medano Creek on the west, with dunes immediately behind the creek. Narrow at parts, often quite rough, and usually steep, and always a fairly high pace required to avoid getting stuck in the thick sand. Behind the wheel, Jan’s persona transformed from the friendly, easygoing gal we all know, to the focused, determined air of the race professional. Jaw tight, hands firm on the steering wheel, and right foot cemented to the floor, she drove the course like a virtuoso violinist on speed. I calmly gave her encouragement, occasionally gasped, and grabbed hold of my schnauzer.

Jan and Jeep

Sandy Webcast
Since the phone reception at our campground was spotty, I drove to a hill overlooking the dunes the next morning to do a webcast from our Jeep. With charged MiFi and MacBook, I spoke to a group of 100-plus people who probably thought I was sitting in a cubicle somewhere. The only challenge was that every time I looked up at the mountains or the dunes, I momentarily lost my train of thought. Nice way to do business, however!

Great Sand Dunes

Medano Creek
The morning before we left the area, we got up early and drove the Pups down to a very popular section of Medano Creek in the national park. Every midday there are hundreds of people climbing up or sledding down the dunes, and many leashed pups playing in the water. At 6:45 a.m., however, we had the place to ourselves and let Jack and Mitzy off leash to follow the tracks and the sniffs in and around the creek. Great fun.


Green-Tailed Towee

Great Sand Dunes II

Jack at Great Sand Dunes

Mitzy at Great Sand Dunes

See you soon.