Saturday, July 30, 2011


Friday evening around the campfire. The lawn chair circle is fairly crackling with lively conversation. There are folks from all over the United States chatting animatedly, while checking email on their various devices.

If the conversation shifts to who has the best steak, someone will bring the restaurant’s web site up and everyone will take a look. Here is a video look at this evening’s campfire surfin’ session.

Sharing our T1 speed connection around the campfire

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Here is a link to our niece’s blog post about their visit to the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad in our area.

This is a photo of our tour bus;


Yep, it’s that kind of a remote area, we needed the ground clearance and four wheel drive !


Sounds like they had as much fun as we had during our time together, exploring some remote railroad crossings, up around the ten thousand foot high mark !

It is North America’s highest Steam Rail road.

Here is the link to great commentary and photos:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


One of our campsites that is located right down on the banks of the Conejos river, has a wonderful , ancient Ponderosa Pine tree that provides shade.

The tree is very large and has that golden bark color that tells us that it is well over 100 years old.

We have learned over the years that our campers come in all experience and skill levels. But, this year has been a bit different. The closing of two large National Forest and the evacuation of cities due to encroaching forest fires, have sent us a whole new crop of campers. Some of which come from inner cities and have zero camping experience.

Some of our novice campers decided that it would be handy to hang stuff on a tree using a nail. When they left, we found eight of these 10 inch tent stake nails left in the tree.


After our initial astonishment had passed, we figured we needed a way to remove them. Several attempts later we found a way.


This view shows how deep they had been driven.


Our old crow bar wouldn’t stay on the head of the big nails, so we used a pair of vise grips to help with that.


A block of wood provides additional leverage as Betty removes one of the spikes. Here is a closer look. Note that we had slid the green plastic tent loop retainer down out of the way so it wouldn’t be broken.


And, our reward for the effort ? First, we learned something, then, we harvested a few free tent stakes ! However our best reward was seeing that wonderful old ponderosa back to it’s natural look.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


It’s that time again. In our first full year in our Coleman fiver, we traveled 16 thousand miles. So, it’s time to take a look at the wheel bearings again.

We will disassemble, clean, inspect, repack the bearings with high temperature grease and re assemble. Replacing any bearing that may be suspect in any way.

Here is a look at getting ready.


The x chock that we use while parked is removed, and the axle that will remain on the ground is individually chocked. Hydraulic jack and lug wrench are at the ready. Here is the type of High Temperature grease that we use.


This one pound tub of grease is a veteran of many thousands of road miles and we will probably use the last of it during this round of bearing packing.

Here is a look with the wheel off.


The EZ-Lube cap and rubber end plug are still in place.

The two wires in the photo are the two telephone lines that run to the office slide out, our line and the company line.


The lug nuts are stored in the chrome dust cover, to await the reinstallation.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Dumpsters contain the stuff that a bear’s dreams are made of. The magical aroma of a dumpster waifting across a river valley can grab a bear by the nose and draw him in from great distances.

So, just what does a hungry, foraging bear do when he can’t get into a dumpster ? Here is a look:


When he does find a weakness in the dumpster, he will exploit that weakness. This one tore the lid off, breaking the hinges



Now, a bear that can turn a dumpster upside down, or, rip the steel lid off, breaking the hinges, that’s a BEAR !

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Most of our “bear” problems aren’t bear problems at all, they are people problems. These decals are aimed at getting people to do the right things with their garbage. Here is a look at one of our dumpsters, with the decals applied.


When a camper is in too big of a hurry to re latch or put the bear bar back in place, we will have a large mess to clean up. But it can get worse . . . . .

The hasty camper, however, may just have placed a death sentence upon the bear who is simply following his nose to a meal.

The decals are one of the tools we received at our Bear meeting in LaJara at the USFS office.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


The web site , that we all go to when we make a campground reservation, is putting a push on to make it easier for campers to get the site that will suit their needs best. They are adding photos to the site.

Today we took photos of our upper loop which includes sites one through eleven. Here is a look at them in a slide a show:

This is our first attempt at submitting them. Should they be accepted then these will be the official pix of each site.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Sublette station is up high and out of the way. Lot’s of folks never know it’s there as they pass nearby on a rough remote forest service road. We always enjoy prowling around there and each visit seems to reveal new sights to us. Here is a few pix.





Betty gets ready to place a penny on the track.


She puts it on a track splice to get a different look.

Then she hears the train coming.

Hear the train’s whistle blowing !


Here is a look at the penny after the train has passed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


No doubt you have read here about the tiny beetle that is killing trees in the Rio Grande National Forest.

While at Trujillo Meadows for two Summers, we were astonished to view the rapid progress of the beetle infestation.

Here is a USFS informational paper that answered many of our questions and resolved many of our concerns. Your photo viewer will allow you to zoom in or out for more comfortable reading.



Strange that such a tiny ( the size of a grain of rice) insect could so quickly wipe out so much Of America’s forest’s. The bark diagram and explanation is so revealing.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Autumn, Chris and family are on a road trip. They stopped by to see us for a brief visit, here in the rocky mountains. Even a casual monitor of this blog, readily picks up on the fact that Osier Station is one of our favorites for a great lunch.

However it is up high, just below 10 thousand feet, and accessible only by steam train or a rough road. Our Fagan family friends want to have lunch in Osier’s very cool, old, 1800’s train station, up in the remote Osier pass.

Six of us will drive up to Osier in our 4x4 Nissan pickup. Chris and I will ride up front. Chris’s seat will recline should we need to take a rest stop. The extended cab has two jump seats, in addition to the front seats. Autumn and Betty want to ride in the truck bed in lawn chairs for the best view of all.

Here is a couple of “getting ready” for the drive pix.


Cushions and wind breakers at the ready. 100_2783

Ground clearance is a critical component of being able to drive the road up to Osier, so the Fagan’s family sedan will have to be left behind at 8500 feet high.


Britt displays some of her coins that she smashed on the track at Sublette Station.


A closer look.


A quick evening meal after a great day sight seeing.


Saturday, July 9, 2011


We all know what our car or truck sounds like when idling, but, didja’ ever hear a steam engine idle ?


There is something that just says immense power is on tap, even at idle. Here is a look and listen at the Cumbres and Toltec #487 idling during the lunch stop at the 1800’s era Osier Station.

Cumbres & Toltec #487 @ Ossier

It is a rainy day and the cinder smoke drifts out across the valley at Osier Pass. A different look.

Steam Power

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Most visits to Sublette Station reveal different things on the siding as the various crews work on the railroad.


Speeder pulling a welder mounted on a flat car.


Spikes, wheels and other cool stuff.


306 mile marker with rip rap cars on the siding.


Coupling on a rip rap car.


Levers that dump rip rap along the tracks.


East bound tour train departs Sublette.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Nope, not the musician of rock and roll fame. We went to Osier for lunch with Candy and Russ. Russ and I had the meatloaf and was it ever good !Candy and Betty had the Turkey and dressing and really bragged up it’s quality.


Beautiful wood work in this 1800’s train station located up high in the Rocky Mountains.100_2751

It was a rainy day, up high at near 10 thousand feet, but, when we came down lower it wasn’t raining.


The fire truck on rails, nicknamed “sparky” is always trailing along behind the train. Sparky is sitting on the right. The operator / fireman, Max Pacheco, is inside eating lunch. He told me he had gotten a bit wet during a rain storm while climbing up to Osier behind the train. Max has been with the rail road for many years and has a love of steam trains that shows in his broad smile.

Here is a closer look at Max’s fire truck.100_2752

Doesn’t Max have one of the coolest jobs ever !