12,000 miles, 22 states, 15 national parks/monuments, 2 oil changes, 32 tanks of gas, and 5 new bumper stickers and we are just getting started.
With a brief stop over in the old country, we’ve repacked, regrouped, and reorganized to do it all over again. This time we are heading south along the Atlantic Coast chasing the sun; our new favorite pastime.
Eric and Lori
Happy Birthday Mr. HumbleWeeds; celebrating from Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colorado.
Birthdays for the Malcolm family are always a day of celebration, food, and fun. We celebrated Eric’s 48th birthday with a night of music under the stars in an extraordinary place.
We started with a the day with a little comfort food and a few beers at The Old Capital Grill in Golden, Colorado. We then headed south to Morrison, a little town with a big event venue, Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Red Rock Amphitheater- Morrison, CO
At an elevation of 6,450 ft, we enjoyed a night at the symphony with the final summer season performance of the Colorado Symphony, titled “End on a High Note.” Our first time to Red Rock Amphitheater, and we were amazed at view, the acoustics, the history…and of course, the music.
Red Rocks is a geologically formed, open-air Amphitheater, the only one like it in the world. Designed and constructed by Mother Nature, the Amphitheatre consists of two, three hundred-foot ancient monoliths (Ship Rock and Creation Rock) which provide acoustic perfection. There was also an on-site museum of the historical past which included performers and evidence of the dinosaurs that once walked among the red rocks.
There are also hiking trails within the Red Rocks “park”. The Will Call Trail, an easy hiking trail, entertains those who arrive early at the Will Call window (that would be us) and want to do a little exploring. Red Rocks Amphitheater and Park is free and open to the public daily.
We would have to say, Red Rocks tops our list of coolest places for a concert!
Music makes the world go-round!
Happy Birthday Eric.
Eric and Lori Malcolm
#1 Look closely in the river, you can see the bison crossing.
#2 Feeling blessed.
“Please keep your hands and feet inside the path at all times.”
Again, chasing the sun one last time before autumn, we set off for Yellowstone National Park in the northwestern part of Wyoming. The day time temps were in the 70’s and nighttime temps were in the 30’s. It was picture perfect, blue skies and fluffy white clouds. Who could resist?
We made our way past Jackson Hole, WY, a last stop before entering the vast wonderment of the
Grand Teton /Yellowstone National Parks. The Grand Tetons National Park boasts a 40 mile ridge line that towers at its highest at 13,775 feet, with visible glaciers from Rt 26. One park leads into another…
Yellowstone National Park
When we entered the park we were provided information about the wildlife and potential dangers in the park. A pamphlet said that numerous park guests get gored each year by approaching wild animals in the park… And over 100 park visitors die each year in the park. We also arrived at the start of the Elk “rut” season, and were instructed not to approach elk for any reason. Yikes, sounds like a real adventure.
Inside the park is the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years. Earthquake activity is also common for the area. Wow, just this year in March, a 4.8 earthquake struck near the Norris Basin no damage was reported. Seismic activity is monitored hourly. This was the biggest earthquake to hit the park since the 50’s. Half of the world’s geothermal locations are in Yellowstone, fueled by the underground volcanic activity. The minute we started seeing the steam rising from the earth…we were intrigued. With that steam also came the smell of sulphur…“hey, it wasn’t me.”
We decided to spend at least one night camping inside Yellowstone on an active volcano, why not? Without reservations, we were able to find a wonderful campsite inside the park at Madison Junction, north of Old Faithful. We set up camp, which was about 120 yards from the Madison River. The full moon provided plenty of light, no need for flash lights or lanterns. As we settled in for the night, I heard a horn, thinking it was some smartass camper who decided to blow his trumpet at 11:00 pm…then we heard it again, slightly different. Turns out, it was elks bugling about 120 yards from the campground, sounding off to show their dominance and to attract the females. You could hear the distinction in each elk’s call. We laughed at the persistence of the Bulls and their ‘lover calls’. This audio session went on until about 5:30 am. As the sun came up, it brought another picture perfect day. We made a pot of coffee and headed down to the Madison River in hopes of stealing a glance at the love sick Elk. We could see the steam rising from the quick moving shallow river, and just then, a huge buffalo approached the water for a drink and then crossed to the other side. It was like a scene from a wildlife movie…it was an awe inspiring moment. Our camera could not capture the intensity of the light, colors, and movement of this stoic creature. What a great way to start the day!
The day only got better as we discovered the geothermal spots in the park. The park service has done a wonderful job of getting park visitors safely to the geothermal activity through a series of boardwalks and trails across the precarious surface. However, it is the responsibility of each visitor to be alert at all times; one false move and one could be over the edge in a boiling pit of earthly toxins. We visited Old Faithful and waited with the hundreds of people waiting for the inevitable; right on schedule. It was funny to see people wait up to 45 minutes to see this famous geyser erupt, and then loose interest and walk away just seconds after eruption, before it’s was even finished! Humans are a funny breed.
We hiked to see the Morning Glory pool, a hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin. The contrasting color of the pool is due to bacteria which inhabit the water. On a few rare occasions the Morning Glory Pool has erupted as a geyser, usually following an earthquake or other nearby seismic activity. It didn’t erupt while we were there, yay! Checkout out blog photos for incredible photos of an incredible park.
We saw amazing things in Yellowstone and survived!
Eric and Lori
Humbleweeds at Grand Junction Colorado
We love a good tale of commitment and loyalty…especially stories of the wild west. This area did not disappoint. One in particular stood out, the story of, John Otto, a man with a passion for nature and the Colorado Monument, located near Grand Junction, CO. The park was first explored by Otto, a free spirit who settled in Grand Junction in the early 20th century. Dedicated to promoting the area, Otto built trails and sent letters to Washington pleading to bring attention to the canyon and it’s beauty. President William Howard Taft made presidential proclamation to declare the canyons as a National Monument on May 24, 1911. Otto was hired as the first park Ranger, drawing a salary of $1 per month. For the next 16 years, he continued building and maintaining trails while living in a tent in the park. Otto started a tradition that continues today, on July 4, 1911 he climbed the 450 foot Independence Monument, located in the park, to plant an American flag. Hundreds of climbers follow Otto’s exact path to the top of Independence Monument each year on July 4th to commemorate Otto’s original climb. Otto married Beatrice Farmham at the base of Independence Monument in 1911. Otto insisted on living in a tent close to his animals which was one reason Beatrice didn’t last more than a few weeks as his wife.
Just down the road from Grand Junction you will find the juiciest peaches one may ever encounter. Sold and shipped everywhere worldwide, Palisade Peaches will literally melt in your mouth. If you see them at a fruit stand, do yourself a favor and try one. Have a napkin handy, they are juicy!
Feeling just peachy,
Eric and Lori
Boo the Subaru from the open road with he HumbleWeeds.
Our journey has taken us from one coast to another and back again, all thanks to our reliable transportation…our Subaru Forrester! During our excursions, our paprika red (orange) Subaru (lovingly referred to as Boo) has served as a storage unit, refrigerator, kitchen, bedroom, storm shelter, and even a laundry room. Boo has carried us to national parks, national monuments, state parks, beaches, and a few off road trails…all in the spirit of our open road freedom. With well over 8,000 miles behind us since the end of July, we owe it all to our dependable Subaru. It only seemed fair to give Boo a little TLC while we took a breather in Grand Junction, Colorado. We contacted the local Subaru dealer, Grand Junction Subaru and set up an appointment for the basic “spa treatment” for a car…oil change, tire rotation, new air filter, and a brake check. We arrived early the next day at Grand Junction Subaru only to have our expectations exceeded on many levels. We were greeted by Zack Gaurmer, Service Advisor, and his staff, with enthusiasm and sincerity. We left Boo with Zack. Once outside we also met salesman Dave, who made us feel at home immediately. We checked out a few new Subarus with Dave but decided we have a good thing with our Boo.
We took a walk around town exploring what Grand Junction had to offer while we waited. Within the hour, we got a call from Zack telling us the car was ready. He went over everything they addressed, including an open recall we were not aware of yet. They even gave Boo a bath! The General Sales Manager, Shawn Harrison, a fellow Marylander from Kent Island, made it a point to meet Eric and I before we left the dealership. He had a great approach to selling cars, for them it’s more about creating a positive relationship from the first hello. And they demonstrated that with us and we were only there for service. We highly recommend Grand Junction Subaru if anyone out there finds themselves in CO in need of service or a new Subaru! Thanks again to all the nice folks at Grand Junction Subaru!
Eric and Lori