Thursday, April 27, 2023

California, Denver and moving East!


We have generally visited Zoë's home in Palo Alto, CA in the fall so it was a nice shock to see the hills around their area green! We did several walks in the Arastradero Preserve just above the city.

We had a bit of a challenge backing into our small site at Ridgeline RV Park in Denver but the suggestion of our neighbor Rick solved the problem. It was a back in site but we were able to drive through as it was on a corner and flat. I've been cooking down the refrigerator so we went out to dinner at an excellent restaurant not far away, Smokin Fins in Littleton (very pretty little downtown). On Monday we drove to the airport early and parked in a Long Term Economy Lot, grabbed a shuttle and checked in. Although it was very crowded we found a good place for breakfast. It was a bit late getting to the gate though so we were forced to check in our carry-on bags. It's only a 2 hour flight to San Francisco and after picking up our rental car, we were on our way. By that time it was well past lunch so we stopped at a fast food Chinese place before continuing to Zoë's. 

Chris, their foreign exchange student from 
Denmark and our grandson, Tommy

George, Tommy and Zoë (Tommy loves to 
show off his height)

George made dinner our first night and then each night another person has responsibility. They have a Danish foreign exchange student staying the year with them, Chris, who is at high school with their younger son Tommy. So Zoë only has dinner duty two nights a week, which she loves. And I took one of them for her, chicken schnitzel, which is a family favorite. Saturday night we celebrated my birthday and our anniversary (44 years). Scott made his famous Oreo ice cream cake - yummy! 

Heather's Birthday cake that Scott made

During the week we went on a hike everyday and sometimes a walk around their lovely neighborhood as well. Chris is on the lacrosse team and we attended our first lacrosse game one night. Then on Sunday Scott, Zoë, and I drove up to Merced to visit our grandson Nick who is a sophomore at the University of California there. We visited his very spacious apartment, met his roommate and took him out for dinner. It was a great time but a long day driving, 2.5 hours each way. Monday we flew back to Denver, picked up the truck and drove back to Baby. But this was my actual birthday so we went out to dinner again at Smokin Fins as we'd liked it so much. And our waiter arranged a complimentary dessert with candles. Terrific end to the week. 

Scott & Zoë on the trail.

One of our hikes was at the Foothills Reserve
also above Palo Alto

Every where we saw California poppies in bloom

Celebrating my birthday at Smokin' Fin

Next morning we were off early and headed east. It was a long boring day on Interstate 70 to a KOA at Wakeeney where we had a nice level drive through not far from the highway. Off again early it was another boring day to Walnut Grove RV Park near Kansas City. We had planned to see the WWI Museum the next morning but it was not to be! When we arrived, I noticed that the lights were out on our refrigerator. After Scott investigated the connections inside and out, he was stumped. But the office gave us several people to call and a bag of ice for a temporary fix. For a change, the service men were very responsive. The first man spent quite a bit of time with Scott over the phone eliminating many possible problems but couldn't come over. The second person not only spent time with Scott on the phone, but picked up the necessary part in the morning, came over and fixed it. Hooray! But that meant we got a late start and we got to our next KOA in Granite City, near St. Louis, later than we like. 

Having dinner at the KOA Granite City outside!

Part of the line up for the pods to the top of the
Gateway Arch 

Scott enters the tiny pod

Inside and trying to be brave!

We stayed here two nights and spent the day in between touring the Gateway Arch National Park in the morning and the Busch Brewing Experience in the afternoon. Between them we had some excellent BBQ at downtown Smoke N Bones. We could see (and admire) the arch as we drove into the city along the river. It's set in a park right on the waterfront. We felt it was a different combination of National Park and Private Enterprise. There were Park Rangers and a nice museum exhibit but the ride to the top and the movie cost money. The former was difficult for me but I did it. I'm claustrophobic so when faced with entering a tiny pod for 4 people and riding up to the top inside the arch, I almost panicked. Another large gentleman near us did: "No way, I'm getting in that' he said and bolted. The nice couple we shared it with helped by chatting away and keeping me occupied. The views from the top were great and I'm glad I did it - but not again. 

It's a small area at the top for viewing and the 
windows were long and narrow. Here's the view
on the city side of the old Capitol.

And on the other side of the river.

The arch itself, right on the river banks. 

The Brewery Tour was fun, but the main interest for us was the history and the beautiful buildings on the campus, not the beer. Bud is not a beer we'd ever buy or order. But we did drink most of the samples they offered during the visit! And they now own many other breweries so we had a chance to try two craft type beers as well. One was Big Wave from the Kona Brewing Company - pretty good. 

Scott and Heather on tour

One of the famous Clydesdale Busch horses

The buildings at the Brewery campus were 
beautiful and hardly looked like beer factories!

Here's one of them for example.

The next morning Scott had an appointment nearby to get the oil changed on our truck and what good luck again. They checked a few other things and found we had a nest in our air filter from some creature who had moved in, probably while we were in California. That could have caused some big problems! Next we headed east again, this time to two one night stands: Tipsaw Recreation Area in St. Croix (!) Indiana and then the Outpost RV Park in Salt Lick, Kentucky. The former was very nice and the very helpful hosts gave us a better site and led us to it. We drove down to see the lake on our way out and walked around the campground as well. The second was very spacious and welcoming although the lake is far away and we didn't even see it. Through all this we've been traveling with the cold weather. Everyone told us, "It was 80 last week." We had freezing temperatures at night and highs in the high 40's during the day. So that's all for now folks - on to West Virginia next.

Tipsaw Recreation Area - view from Baby
The Outpost RV Park - our site
At Chris' lacrosse game - notice the different tolerance's for the cold - Zoë and I are bundled up, George has a light fleece and Tommy is in a t-shirt and shorts!
Scott took this from the top of the hill at Arastradero Reserve with his telescope lens. That's San Francisco Bay in the distance over the city of Palo Alto.

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