Thursday, July 17, 2014


Thursday, July 17, 2014

We arrived home around 12:30 PM yesterday after a five-hour, 350 mile drive from Baker City, OR.  It’s been a fun and varied two weeks.  As with other trips, it was good to go, and even better to be back.  We logged over 2800 miles, and all but 150 were pulling “Jackson,” our beloved Airstream.

We like to plan ahead, but much of our best life experiences have been the result of spontaneous decisions.  One of them was deciding to drive seven miles off the desolate highway in NE Utah to see Dinosaur National Monument.
Our Campground on the Green River
Turtle rock @ Dinosaur
Morning Bike Ride

What a nice surprise! Very laid back, beautiful, not many tourists, and HOT!   Oh yes, it had authentic dinosaur bones, and the rock formations and petroglyphs were impressive.  We camped along the Green River and went for an early morning bike ride before heading to Steamboat, CO.

Before our insane descent down the mountain
Steamboat Springs , CO is a delightful resort town with an economy that doesn’t depend just on tourists.  We spent three nights there, hiked in a nearby wilderness, rode the many miles of bike trails, enjoyed the hot springs, wine bars, and coffee shops.  We also did something crazy by riding our wimpy cross-bikes down Mt. Warner.

I snowboarded down many of the black diamond slopes 12 years ago, so how hard could it be to ride down a green ski trail on a bike?  Turns out,very difficult, as the mountain bike trails are completely different from the ski runs.

We should have taken a hint when we saw many buff jocks 1/3 our age in full X-Games protective armor on high-end mountain bikes going up the mountain in the gondolas.  Our skills and low-end cross bikes were no match for the curvy 2,000' 7-mile descent, but as we neared the bottom the trail leveled out, the adrenaline subsided, and we started enjoying it. We survived, and now remember it fondly now that the aches, scrapes, and pains have since gone away.

The annual Kelemen Family campout with my four sibs, two nephews, assorted significant others, and eight dogs was the best ever.  No drama, just lots of good conversation around the campfire and beautiful scenery at Sylvan Lake State Park, 15 miles of mostly dirt road south of Eagle (between Vail and Glenwood Springs).  It’s interesting how after 40-55 years, we all have our own perspectives on the family, our parents, and each other.

Sylvan Lake

My little brothers--Neal and Mark

The Kelemen gene pool, minus our daughters
Our campsite at Sylvan Lake State Park
Putting on the hunting jacket to set a mousetrap

Mark and I tried our luck fishing.  As always, the fish  won. After out-of-state license fees, my one little 6" catch-and-release trout came out to be about $175 per pound.  Time fishing and time with one of my brothers?  Priceless!

At age 14, the Denver Post published my letter to the editor protesting the construction of I-70 through the Glenwood Canyon.  With the passage of time, I can now see how necessary the Interstate has become, and I can appreciate how the designers went out of their way to preserve the spectacular scenery of the Colorado River and the canyon.
Along the Colorado River under I-70

Start of the Glenwood Canyon

Glenwood Hot Springs--It's HUGE!
Brothers Mark and Neal dropped us off to ride the beautiful 16-mile bike path along the Colorado River to Glenwood Springs.  Unfortunately, part of the path was washed out by high water. But a nice dip at Glenwood Hot Springs more than made up for it.

So, it’s back to reality, but a good one. Today we clean out the trailer and put it into storage for a few weeks. I  am shipping more books to Amazon fulfillment centers and Kathy gets ready for her Assistance League board meeting in Burbank on Sunday.  Meanwhile, we’re looking forward to the 65th Annual Salem Art Festival and a wedding on Saturday.  Life continues to be good--very good!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

It Was an Utter Disaster

Jordanelle State Park, UT
July 6, 2014

No, I’m not talking about our trip, but rather something we learned along the Oregon Trail on the lonely Highway 78, about 25 miles south of Interstate 84 near Boise.  We decided to take the back roads from Salem as far as we could before being forced to use the Interstate system to get to the annual Kelemen Family campout in Colorado.  So driving along the way, we stopped amid the sagebrush at a couple of historical markers.  One of them was called “The Utter Disaster.”  Here's a link to a photo of the descriptive sign.  Now we know what an "utter disaster"really is. 

Fortunately our trip is just the opposite.  We left Salem late Wednesday to snag a campsite on the beautiful Metolius River, where we return to camp every year.  Our good friends Bob and Lisa Martinsson joined us.  We hiked, biked, ate a lot, and just sat around the campfire.
Along the Metolius River
Bob and Lisa Martinsson

Saturday, we drove the remote Highway 20 from Sisters to Homedale ID, just across the Oregon border.  We enjoyed a beautiful spot on the Snake River amid the heat, humidity, and insects.

Sunset on the Snake River
 Today we completely crossed Idaho and made it slightly past Park City, UT to the Jordondelle State Park.  Both days, Doris Kearns-Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time, about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt during WWII, helped melt the miles and give us a huge sense of appreciation of what it was like back then and where we are today.

Jordanelle State Park, UT
As fun as it sounds, we haven’t been able to completely disengage.  Kathy has a lot of balls in the air with the national Assistance League board and her upcoming CA board meeting three days after we get home.  Two weeks ago, my book, The Confident Retirement Journey,  got the equivalent of “Colbert Bump” from a very nice Wall Street Journal review.  That depleted my inventory at three Amazon fulfillment centers and created anxiety about getting new shipments across the country on time, with glitches along the way. Nice problem! But, the good news is that finally today, all but 12  of the 400 shipped books are presented and accounted for with more than enough daily sales to pay for our campground fees, fuel, groceries, wine, and my Red Bull costs.   

Tomorrow, we hope to visit Dinosaur National Monument and either camp there or near Steamboat Springs, CO. Life is  good!