September 21, 2017 Our fall trip to Colorado and New Mexico is around the corner. We plan to leave Michigan on September 26 for Sterling, CO and Lyle's 60th high school reunion, plus family reunions for several days after. Included in this trip will be a visit to the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival. We added it to the itinerary after hearing so many superb reports. The cameras are ready!
Preparations include new tires for the motor home. The original tires still had good tread, but Lyle finally heeded recommendations to change the tires after more than six years. The impetus was seeing two other motor homes in the shop as a result of blow outs. The damage was far more costly than the cost of new tires--which itself is significant! We used the Michelin Advantage Discount through membership in the Family Motor Coach Association. It helped!
September 27, 2017 We left Michigan on schedule yesterday, logging 7 + hours on the road before stopping west of Des Moines. We left in hot, humid conditions and woke up to 47 degrees this morning! Nice, for a change. A shorter travel day today--parking in Henderson, NE after about 3.5 hours driving. Weather is absolutely perfect. Both yesterday and today, our main chores were to remove the bugs from the front/windshield of the motor home. Both RV parks were surrounded by corn fields--something we're getting used to. Yes, beyond the beautiful pond at the Henderson RV park is....a corn field.
September 28, 2017 Pumped water and drain grey and black tanks before leaving Henderson. Visited with neighbor in a Newmar Dutch Star motor home. He and his wife have been "full-timing" in an RV for 11 years. It sparked another conversation between Lyle and Judy. Sparked. Nothing more. That couple winters near Naples, FL and knows friends of Judy's who also winter in the same park. Small world! We traveled to Big Springs, staying on the same working farm that we stayed at a couple of years ago--the McGreer's. Their RV park, right along I-80, is rustic, but handy...and the McGreer family is very friendly. One of the few landmarks across I-80 in Nebraska is the Gateway Monument near Kearney (shown right).
October 1, 2017 It's been an enjoyable couple of days attending functions of Lyle's 60th high school reunion and, today, a family reunion featuring his 99 year old aunt. Cousins put together a delicious lunch and gave us time to reminisce. The plate to the right featured Colorado smoked beef tenderloin. Amazing! Tomorrow, its on to the front range of Colorado for more friend and relative reunions! Temperatures in Northeastern Colorado were mostly pleasant, but we experienced a brief hail storm this afternoon and a significant drop in temps.
October 3, 2017 We encountered rain on the way from the plains to the front range of Colorado--and the cold rain continued into the night. It was good to have the propane furnace on the motor home working (not always a certainty). Last night we took Lyle's grandson, Chase, and Lyle's sister to a well-known steakhouse in Ft. Collins Everybody was disappointed in the quality of the food. By the way, Chase is a freshman at CSU. Lyle's sister recently moved to Ft. Collins after a career at Southern Mississippi University in Hattiesburg.
Today, we met more of Lyle's relatives for lunch in Denver. His 95 year old aunt looks great! She could pass for at least a decade younger. Two of her children also joined us. It was a wonderful reunion. The sun came out for the first time in a week here, so everybody's mood improved! More sun is expected tomorrow! Right: Autumn colors showing along the St. Vrain River RV Park.
October 5, 2017 Yesterday the sun finally came out, so after lunch we headed to the mountains in the rental car to view the autumn colors. Lyle guessed we were a few days--perhaps a week--late, since the colors were not as vivid as those we saw in southern Colorado last year. Still, a good trip from Boulder to Nederland via Allenspark on what is called the Peak to Peak highway. We came back down to Boulder to have visit with Lyle's grandchildren after school.
This morning the sun rose earlier than we did, so the St. Vrain river valley is showing its bright fall colors against blue skies and the Rocky Mountain backdrop. Nice! In an attempt to add color to the landscape we added our red rental car. Also below, the town hall in Nederland.
October 14, 2017 Back on the road! From Albuquerque to Sayre, OK, cutting through the Texas Panhandle on I-40 yesterday and Sayre to a casino resort near Joplin, MO tonight. Good weather and pretty good road conditions. This casino has an RV park attached to it, plus another parking lot for big trucks--all concrete with water and 50 amp power for RVs. A shuttle took us to the casino (for dinner) and back to watch the Cubs. As of this writing, they are ahead of the Dodgers! To the right an Oklahoma sunrise from the motor home on I-40. Tomorrow up I-44 to St. Louis, then catching I-70 across Illinois, then on to Michigan Monday.
October 15, 2017 It was a Walmart night last night. Thanks to the folks at Walmart in Marshall, IL. We reciprocated by shopping there. We avoided the Monday traffic in Indianapolis by using U.S. 231 north from I-70. Good weather helped make the journey home to Berrien Springs uneventful. We have the usual preparations in the next month prior to heading south next month.
November 11, 2017 OUR ANNUAL MIGRATION TO FLORIDA! Cold weather set in with consistency in Michigan, so Lyle was taking extra precaution with the water systems in the motor home--with space heaters in the cargo area (basement). However, it reached 22 degrees at 3 a.m. the morning we were scheduled to leave and Judy suggested that might be a good time to leave. We hit the road less than an hour later and below freezing temperatures did not abate until someplace in Kentucky. Our goal was the Grand Ole RV Park outside of Nashville. Because we had an early start, we arrived early afternoon and had time to try to capture the sleep missed the night before.
We met Spike O'Dell, retired morning show host from WGN, for dinner at Peg Leg Porker. Extremely busy, noisy and the ribs were outstanding. Spike brought along his son Michael and three grandsons.
November 12, 2017 Up early on a Sunday morning and driving through Nashville was a breeze. By the time we reached Chattanooga, it looked like rain. Drizzle started before Atlanta, along with some very heavy traffic for a Sunday. Not happy driving, but no incidents. Our stay tonight is at a nice RV park in Perry, GA. Dinner tonight was left over ribs from Peg Leg Porker! Thank you, Spike!!
November 15, 2017 Our last day of travel was a long one--about 8 hours along Interstate 75. We're back in Ft. Myers Beach and getting settled, which means cleaning and putting stuff away in the motor home. No major incidents on the trip and all systems seem to be functioning. One other thing. It's WARM! 80ish and a nice breeze.
Motorhome Experiences of Lyle Dean and Judy Lebsack
Additions to October 8, 2017 We joined Erik, Joanna, Shannon, Owen and Drew for the annual Punkin Chunkin contest near Aurora, Colorado. Some very innovative ways to launch pumpkins through the air farther than the eye can see! Later, returning to Boulder, we drove to the top of Flagstaff Mountain for the views left and above. As you can tell, a beautiful day. But tonight a storm is moving in with rain turning to snow for our drive in the motor home down Interstate 25 (never fun even in good weather).
October 7, 2017 Had dinner with Lyle's son and his family at their home in Boulder last night. Erik smoked steaks on his Traeger smoker, finished them with butter in a hot skillet. Outstanding!
Left: View of Longs Peak from our front window. Below: Yesterday's view of snow clouds in Colorado's high country above Boulder.
October 10, 2017 Yesterday was a travel day--from Longmont to Colorado City on Interstate 25 through Denver in snow and traffic. A photo to the right pretty much tells the story
It was cold, windy and snowy. The low this morning was 24 degrees. Lyle put a portable heater in the bay that contains fresh water controls/pump and controls for waste water. We had noisy moments this morning when pulling in the bedroom slide. It has a retractable cover that collected snow yesterday after we pulled into Colorado City. The noise of the frozen snow and ice coming off the cover when Lyle retracted the slide was significant. (photo right).
Today dawned sunny, but cold. We headed down I-25 toward Albuquerque on dry, smooth highway, but with signs of the storm yesterday (bottom)
We arrived at the Balloon Fest shortly after noon, parked the motor home in full view of a field where many hot air balloons are expected to land. Tomorrow is an early, early day with the first balloon launches at 6 a.m. We'll try to bring you lots of photos of this spectacular event.
October 8, 2017. We attended Owen's track meet--2.4k event yesterday, then lunched with Erik and the kids. After that a brief walking tour of CSU in Fort Collins with Chase, watched the Cubs at Sharon's place in Fort Collins and tried Serious Texas BBQ for dinner. Really good!