Because we are starting this blog a year after we started traveling we thought we would start by telling you about our travels last year. After selling our house in Ft. Collins, we both retired on June 30, 2008 and left Ft. Collins on July 4th. We spent 6 weeks in Chama, NM where Rex volunteers on the Cumbres Toltec Scenic Railroad. We had a wonderful time there - Rex really enjoyed his time on the steam train and Nancy took some much needed time relaxing and playing with the dogs, Camille and Cody.

We then headed east to Shreve, Ohio where we spent 2½ weeks visiting Rex’s mom, stepdad and many other relatives. We met up with our friends from Colorado, Bob and Jean, in Dayton and toured the National Air Force Museum – what a great place for airplane buffs.

Next, we headed for Washington, DC where we stayed in a really nice RV park in College Park, MD that had bus tours into the capitol. After spending four days of non-stop sightseeing in the capital we headed to Front Royal, VA where we started our tour of the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway. The 105-mile long Skyline Drive goes through Shenandoah National Park – what a beautiful part of our country and so many trees! We did lots of sightseeing, toured Monticello and even hiked on the Appalachian Trail.

At the end of Skyline Drive starts the 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway which connects Shenandoah National Park and The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Again we did lots of sightseeing to places like Mt. Airy, NC (Mayberry USA), National D-day Memorial and the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

After we finished the Parkway, we headed to Nashville, TN where we toured the city, saw the Grand Old Opry, the Ryman Auditorium (original home of the Grand Ole Opry) and the Grand Old Opry Hotel. We also found some very good BBQ in downtown Nashville and attended a Molasses festival.

After Nashville, Bob and Jean left us to head back to Colorado. We continued on to Sikeston, MO where we had a very nice visit with Nancy’s brother, Bob, and his family. We then headed to Midland, TX to visit Rex’s daughter Jen and her husband Rob. On the way to Midland, we stopped at Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo, TX. The brochures say this is the second longest canyon in the US – it certainly was a beautiful place where we did some hiking. After a nice visit with Jen and Robb in Midland we headed to Carlsbad, NM and toured the Carlsbad Caverns and then headed to Guadalupe Mountains National Park – another nice oasis in dry, dusty west Texas. Again, we did a lot of hiking and relaxing – even saw a tarantula and a javalina on the trail.

We then headed to Arizona and stopped in Benson to visit our friends. Leroy and Jinx. We saw Kartchner Caverns, a newly discovered cavern that the Arizona State Park system is working very hard to protect.

We arrived in Apache Junction, AZ the first week in November and stayed until April 30th. We really enjoyed the warm winter in sunny Arizona. Rex has a part-time winter job working on The Dolly Steamboat, a tourist boat on Canyon Lake about 15 miles from here. The boat does 1½ hr excursions on a small lake in a beautiful canyon. He is a crew member, does maintenance and is training to be a captain. They spot Desert Big Horn Sheep on almost every cruise. He is looking forward to continuing this job next winter. We enjoyed our stay in Golden Sun RV Park and made a lot of new friends. We hiked once a week with a group and also went 4-wheeling with a Jeep Group. While Rex worked Nancy attended a water exercise class every morning, walked the dogs and read lots of books.

On May 1st we headed back to Ft. Collins and spent 3 weeks visiting family and friends and getting check-ups. That brings us up-to-date on our travels. We are now getting ready for our trip to Alaska.


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