Motoring Across America

With James "Alex" Alexander

with James "Alex" Alexander


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Blog 150: Old Trucks Gone Wild

If you like to hunt and shoot old trucks, it is great to be in Colorado! Forty-eight new beauties have been added to the collection this week. See the last section of this blog post for a few of the distinguished old girls.

Over 7,700 feet in elevation, the mornings started cool in the low 40s, working up to high 60s/low 70s later in the day. We had an excellent variety of weather: calm and sunny, cold and windy, snowy and sleety, and thundering and lightning. Here is a view from our campground and a view of fishermen right behind our coach.

Campsite View


Sunday Truck Hunting Day
I took Sunday off, and by 8:15 a.m. Jan, the Pups, and I were out the door and in the car hunting old trucks and other good photo ops. We went west to Poncha, and then took highways, scenic byways, gravel and dirt roads north, east, west, south, and back, hard on the scent of rusted steel.

Salida to Hartsel

Our constant guardians, the Collegiate Peaks, were always in the background, and their snowy tops combining with pillowy clouds and perfect light made for some pretty scenic photos.

Old Schoolhouse

Jan Driving

We eventually made our way up to highway 24 and took that east, stopping off at the Antero Reservoir.

Antero Reservoir
The Antero Reservoir is deep blue water surrounded by mountains. Wrapping our coats up tight, we got out to enjoy the view. Here is that handsome devil Jerry breathing in the scenery.

Jerry at Antero Reservoir

Hartsel Lunch Break
At noon we stopped for lunch at the best place in Hartsel (the only place in Hartsel) and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of our meals (Jan had the burrito and I had the house special). Here is a shot of Cindy, the bartender/waitress/hostess/busboy/cashier (however, I don’t think she cooked).

It's Going to Be a Long Day

Monday Mountain Thunder
I worked all day Monday, but late afternoon it was time for a family drive. We took the back roads and found more old trucks. In the outskirts of Salida, I took a few shots. Here is a fun one of a big smokestack from a smelting plant long closed down.


National Forest
After exploring the town, we took a county road that turned into a forest road--left and right, down and up, over and back in the San Isabel National Forest. We found the remnants of an old town called Turret and drove through blowing snow to view the mountains being engulfed in dark clouds lit by the occasional bolt of lightning. Every few minutes the almost-spooky quiet was interrupted by thunder that started as a moaning growl, grew to a rhythmic rumble, and then crescendoed into an angry bellow that commanded both respect and a little fear to all within earshot. Here the term “awesome” does perfectly apply.

Big Thunder

Afternoon Trips
Cottonwood Pass
One late-afternoon family excursion took us up to Cottonwood Pass. At over 12,000 feet, spring had not yet sprung, and there was enough snow to fool you into thinking it was still February. Here are a couple pics from this trip.

Snowy Top

Snowy Landscape

Here are a few shots of pups and other critters.


Fishing Pup

Metal Cow

I'm Not Kidding, Ethel...

Old Signs
Here are three old signs that Jan selected and I shot.

Old Sign #1

Old Sign #2

Old Sign #3

Old Trucks
Here are five old trucks (the others I shot are in the Old Truck Reserve for future weeks when the hunting is scarce).

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

Old Truck #3

Old Truck #4

Old Truck #5

See you next week.

Blog 149: Troubled Toilets and Lightning Strikes

In the Air
A busy business week started Sunday and ended Saturday with trips to Baltimore and Dallas. I had two excellent sessions with fun services personnel from a software client. Mostly my views on this trip were of flight attendants, hotel lobbies, and conference tables, but I did get to see some intriguing vistas outside my airplane windows, and the sharp crack of lightning striking the port wing widened some passengers’ eyes to the size of serving plates at an Amish restaurant.

Flights were smooth except for one glitch: A mechanical problem caused by a running toilet motor that wouldn’t stop triggered enough delay so that I could not get back until Saturday. Oh, well…

Plane Seat View

Baltimore Inner Harbor
My hotel in Baltimore was located in the Inner Harbor, so I did have a chance to enjoy a stroll or two by the water.

Harbor View

Harbor Waitress

Move the Bus
Finally back to the motorhome, we broke camp at the Colorado Horse Park Saturday around 1 p.m. and took an enjoyable trip a couple hundred miles to our next location. Jan piloted the bus south on Colorado 83 and I-25 down to Colorado Springs. On Colorado 115, we drove by the area we stayed at last year among the smoke from the huge wildfire. We continued on down to Canon City, home site of the Royal Gorge, then ambled along side the Arkansas River another 60 some miles.

Colorado Springs to Salida

We are parked at the 4 Seasons RV Park, just three miles east of Salida. This is a magnificent location, as BERT’s (Big Expensive Road Traveler) behind almost hangs over the Arkansas River, while our view from the front of the coach is the Collegiate Peaks, home of eight of Colorado’s 14ers (mountains over 14,000 feet). Here is a shot of our campsite and a picture of a couple boaters floating down the river taken from our picnic table.

BERT Over the Arkansas River


It is going to be a great stay!

Old Trucks
Here are three old trucks--two were parked at our campground.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

Old Truck #3

See you next week.

Blog 148: Baseball, Bubbles, and Prairie Dog Heaven

Baseball Game
Sunday was a “boys-only” Colorado Rockies game. They lost to the Rays, but the weather was pleasant, the hot dogs were tasty, and our third-base view was a fun location for photography.

Colorado Rockies Baseball Game #1

Colorado Rockies Baseball Game #2

Colorado Rockies Baseball Game #3

Baseball Bonding

Quick Trip to New Orleans
I had a quick trip early in the week to New Orleans were I facilitated the U.S. pilot of a new engagement. Smart, fun group--should be a great project.

Redheads and Bubbles
Of course, we had a few times during the week to enjoy the grandkids. Here are pics of Austie and friends going red, Natty in the tub, Natty ‘fessing up, and Natty hanging with Charlie the Pug. And, here is a comic pic of Aaron doing some deep reflection on his future.

Three Readheads

Tub Bubbles

Nattie 'Fessing Up #1

Nattie 'Fessing Up #2

Nattie and Charlie

Charlie and Nattie

Nattie and Daddy

Let's Think This Through...

Prairie Dog Hike
Late in the week the frost disappeared, the temperature rose, and the skies transitioned from rainy gray to vibrant blue. Jan and I took our first 2013 hike in Colorado, traipsing four miles among gentle hills with first spring flowers making their debut poking up reds, whites, and violets against the brown of the earth. Birds of all denominations sang for us and the brilliant plumage of bluebirds darted across the sky like smoke in a breeze.


The hike highlight, though, was a solid mile path right through the most impressive prairie dog town I have ever seen! Well-fed prairie dogs of varying sizes and hues greeted us at the rim of their dens chirping out their intruder alarm. Many times we were within 15 feet before these guardians of the plains scampered down their holes. In case you did not know, our rat terrier, Jerry, loves prairie dogs. He has leapt out of our car window to get close to these large, mobile gophers.

As Jerry tugged at his leash like a sailor weighing anchor, he sometimes drug Jan right to the top of the varmints’ dens. Standing proudly erect like a marine out of boot camp, a broad smile etched on his chiseled face as ripples of pleasure moved up and down his well-muscled physique. I don’ think life gets any better than this for a rat terrier. ☺

Prairie Dog

Hunting Old Trucks
Late one afternoon we piled into the car and headed east in a search of old trucks. There were dark clouds all around us as we drove through the occasional rain shower and watched a stray bolt or two of lightning dance across the horizon--perfect weather for photography! Here are a couple of old trucks from our hunt, plus a cool old truck sign.

Old Trucks #1

Old Truck #2

Truck Sign

See you next week.

Blog 147: Fun Time, Full Time

Fun Time, Full Time
Now that the house is behind us…

Leaving Home

…we took off Sunday morning, heading out on the 2,000-mile journey north from St. James City, through Atlanta, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, and on to Parker. Colorado, Friday afternoon as planned.

Our Travels



Mitzy and Jerry

For the most part, our first full week of full-timing was uneventful with the usual road construction and a couple detours. However, we did experience the coldest, snowiest May day for 107 years across Kansas.

Kansas Snow

Coach Cat
Our efforts to find Chico, our 15-year-old, Mexican-born cat, a new home proved unsuccessful (many thanks to those of you who attempted to find him a home), so we brought him with us. I had envisioned cat-dog fights, hours of endless meowing, and unanticipated hassles. I could not have been more wrong. Chico adapted to coach life like a goat in a landfill. He now acts like he owns the place!


Birthday Bash
We arrived in time celebrate both grandkids’ birthdays. Here is a shot of Austin playing with his buddies, and Natty and her Mom.

Opening Gifts

Natty and Her Mom


Old Trucks
Here are a couple of old trucks for your review.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

See you next week.