Fishing Weekend on the Green

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The Green River

Spring in Northwest Colorado has been cool and wet this year. Not that any of us will complain after last year’s fires, but still, where is summer?! We are limited where to camp at this point; too much snow in the high country. We don’t normally go to the same places week after week, but adjustments need to be made if we want to camp right now.

We headed to the Green River, again, this past weekend. Our timing was actually pretty good, since the release from Flaming Gorge will be increasing this Monday. Reports say it will go up to 6,000 cfs. Rafters will be happy.

BT looking for the big Brown Trout

Saturday we headed to the river stretch just below the dam (Flaming Gorge, UT). A little busy, but you could still find a spot on the river where you didn’t have anyone close by. Fish were biting, and water was pretty clear. While Bill fished with another friend that joined us for the weekend, I ventured along the river on the hiking trail that goes from the dam to Little Hole; about 7 miles. Beautiful, easy trail along the river.

Wild Flowers along the river trail

Fish were caught, and released! Everyone was happy. We left our campground early afternoon on Sunday to 80 degrees, it was 57 by the time we got home. Glad we had a couple of nice summer days in Utah.

Camp ~ Lily Pad

Vacationing in Portugal

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Typical house façade in Alentejo

Portugal is home, more specifically, Algarve. We don’t visit as often as we would like, but try to go at least every two or three years to visit family and friends. The last time we visited was in 2016. Time to start looking at flights!

Portugal had remained the lesser known of the european countries, until about ten or so years ago, when Portugal was highlighted on several american travel publications. These articles went on to list Portugal on the Top 10 Best Places to Retire and Visit. Of course, it’s been the vacation hot-spot for british citizens for many years, as well as other european nationals. But now we have noticed more american tourists, especially in the larger cities like Lisbon and Porto.

Algarve has over 100 miles of coastline with wonderful sandy beaches, small fishing villages, and many golf resorts. The weather is mild in the winter months. Temperatures start to warm up in March, but July and August are the peak summer months. My favorite months are May and September, before and after the crowds.

But, there is more to Portugal than the beaches. I love to visit the Alentejo region everytime we travel to Portugal. To me personally, it has the best wines. The terrain is hot and dry; perfect for those earthy dry red wines that we favor. The cuisine of Alentejo is rustic and delicious. Pork and lamb are abundant in the area. Should you stop at any of the roadside restaurants, you are greeted by the warm and friendly locals, and great regional dishes. I especially like to stop in the “tascas”; small snack-bars.

Of the many wineries we have visited, we keep going back to our favorites: Esporao, Rocim and Ervideira are just a few. Esporao and Ervideira are close to each other just outside Reguengos, Rocim is a bit more south, a couple of miles from the town of Cuba. This area is rich in history, dating back to the roman times. Well worth visiting.

It seems that two weeks just isn’t enough to do everything we want to do. I think we need to retire so we can travel more. Work gets in the way…

We try to sneak to our neighbors in Spain if time permits. On our last trip, we visited Jerez de La Frontera, were we enjoyed the local sherry and the spanish hospitality. Had a great time golfing at a small golf resort just outside of town. After a few days, we drove down to the coast for some beach time along the mediterranean sea. Stopped in the small town of Estepona, were we enjoyed great sangria and paella; I like to try it in different places to see who makes it the best. (Best sangria: bartender at the beach shack @ Playa de Isla Canela) On our way back to the Algarve, we drove over to Marbella for a quick stop, knowing it would be busy; it’s always busy. It is the place to be and be seen! Next trip over the pond, we want to spend more time in Spain. Trying to plan something in the Basque region. Maybe plan it around the Vuelta!

Spanish countryside outside Jerez de La Frontera

Having grown up in the Algarve, there are many different places I consider “my favorites”. If you are travelling to the area, drop a line. I’ll be happy to share some of my many favorites spots. When is your next trip to Europe?

2019 Camping Season Has Begun

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Blue Heron along the Green River bank

The snow in Northwest Colorado has finally melted enough for us to get our RPod – travel trailer – out of the back yard. It’s always exciting to get ready for that first trip of the season. Getting all the gear back in the camper. Trying to figure out where to go, since the high country is still snowed-in. In the end, all it matters is that we go, somewhere, anywhere! Last year we logged 40 camping days for the season. Let’s see if we can beat that number in 2019.

My first task: organizing the storage space. I had baskets, I had dividers, Command strips – I believe Walmart stock is up due to my obsession with getting the camper organized and my quest to be more efficient this year! Having a smaller camper makes it a bit more challenging to store things. The use of the space is essential to being able to find “stuff” once you packed it all in. After much thought and some rearranging, I think I got it. I was so efficient that I have an entire shelf that is now empty. I question what was there before. Am I forgetting something? In the past couple of years since we purchased the RPod, every inch of it was filled with “stuff”; what I deem important stuff. A home away from home.

“Camping, where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless!”

Vegetation along the river bank

So, off we went to the Green River, middle of nowhere Utah. The weather was beautiful; cool nights, warm days. This part of Western US is the perfect spot for one to disconnect from everything. You have to travel 60 miles either way, East/West, to find civilization. We set up camp at Indian Crossing, BLM campground, just along the river. It’s normally not too busy of a spot. We only had about 4 or 5 other camp sites occupied. The Green River is very popular with both rafters and anglers. Normally you will see outfitters drop off their trailers during the day. Otherwise, it’s a low key spot. I don’t fish; either spend my time reading or taking photos. Bill is the fisherman of the group. Several attempts were made to bring in a nice big brown trout. The one time Bill actually hooked one, it was too big and took off with the fly and the line. I probably don’t have to tell you, he was not very happy! I kept reminding him it’s called “fishing” not “catching”; I laughed, and laughed… he didn’t see the humor. Early morning the river flow was about 900 cfs, but by early afternoon more than doubled. 

Mighty fisherman

We did some exploring in the area after lunch on Saturday. In this vast area, one can easily get lost. It’s easy to imagine outlaws in the 1800’s hiding out. It hasn’t changed much. Apart from some curious cows grazing by Red Dirt Creek, no living creature was around for miles and miles, in any direction. Red Dirt Creek was flowing nicely. We also stopped over at the Jarvie Ranch on the way back to camp; always fun to walk through those old building.

But, not everything is fun and games when you camp. It wouldn’t be a camp trip without some “issues”. This trip was no different. I turn on the water pump, and no more than 5 seconds later, I have water everywhere. It’s coming from the wall! What the heck!?! I’m fortunate to have a very handy husband. We investigate and discover it’s the fitting in the shower faucet. Of course, you can barely fit a tool through the opening behind the faucet. Who builds these things? How can they not think we will need to reach behind pipes and faucets. Anyway, after some work and yoga moves, we manage to get it fixed. Good as new!! Life is good again.

We now start planning our next trip. Summer is Colorado doesn’t last long. We have to enjoy every minute of it. Time is wasting. Where is your next trip? Do you prefer established campgrounds or dispersed camping? Drop a line…  Happy Trails! 

Weekend Getaways Are The Best…

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Redlands Mesa Golf Course – Grand Junction, CO

This time of year we tend to get a bit “antsy” . We want green grass, sunny days and warmer weather. Most of us living in the Colorado mountains haven’t left our towns in months and just want to go…somewhere, anywhere!

We checked the weather forecast around us to see who had the best weekend forecast and jumped in the car for a quick getaway. Grand Junction won the coin-toss; the weather was warmer and golf was the activity of choice.

We stayed at Two Rivers Winery just west of town and near our favorite golf course; Redlands Mesa Golf. The winery has a chateau with 7 or 8 beautifully appointed rooms. The rooms are decorated in a french-country style. Comfortable and spacious. A wonderful breakfast is provided from 7:30 am to 9:30 am in their breakfast room. Staff is great and very friendly. If you are looking for a relaxed atmosphere, something more than the basic hotel chain, this is a place to consider.

On previous trips through Grand Junction, we had the opportunity to stop in for a wine tasting. The Two Rivers wines are wonderful; I’m partial to their reds. The tasting room is open every day from 10:30 am to 5 pm, and noon to 5 pm on sundays. I would highly recommend it; worth the stop!

We tasted their 2016 vintage on saturday; all the reds. My favorite was the Syrah: “This savory vintage offers complex aromas of coffee, cedar, baking spices and salted caramel. The rich, round mouth-feel finishes with an earthy minerality and flavors of molasses and vanilla. Pair with grilled items, game or rosemary crusted Colorado lamb.” The 2016 Vintner’s Blend was a close second: “This complex and well-balanced offering brings together two of our favorite grapes: Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Acids and tannins collide and mellow, creating an opulent red wine with earthy aromas and complex flavors of berries and spice. This vintage is highlighted by a delicious, creamy and fruit-filled finish. Pairs beautifully with caramelized foods; try roasts or grilled meats and onions.” Cheers!

While the skies were a bit cloudy early saturday, that didn’t stop us from heading to the golf course for our 10:30 am tee-time. For early spring, the course was actually in decent shape and surprisingly busy. For us, it was just wonderful to be outside. A couple of hours into our game, the sun made an appearance. Mother Nature was good to us! I did hit some great shots and some not so great… Basically a typical golf game for me. A quick bite to eat at the club house with a John Daly to celebrate our day out on the course, concluded our outing.

Views from the balcony @ Two Rivers
Views from the balcony @ Two Rivers

As we leave sunday morning, in hopes that we don’t hit another snow storm, we are grateful for this repreve from all the “white stuff”.

What’s your favorite weekend getaway? Drop a line, share your thoughts and keep on traveling!

In the end, what’s really important…

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Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday. Like many american families, it’s a day for us to gather with family and friends, enjoy the tradition of turkey, too many side dishes and football. I forgot the pie; must have pie, or three!! On this day we slow down our busy lives, and give thanks for all that we hold dear and remember those no longer with us.

Since the holiday is not celebrated in Portugal, the first few years of being in America its meaning was not apparent to me. But like any good portuguese, any holiday that revolves around food, is my kind of holiday. I soon found myself researching its history, the why, the when and how.  As shocking as it may be to some, my first turkey was not memorable. Or maybe it was! I still recall it being semi-frozen the morning of since I didn’t realize it takes a week to defrost the dang thing; I might of forgotten the “bag” in the cavity too. I’ve since evolved! Fast forward to current times, I now take the holiday serious. I spend weeks planning the menu, table arrangements and the wine… Always the wine!

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The wine takes center stage at our house, since it’s an opportunity to blend american traditions with my portuguese ones. This year, Rocim Amphora is my choice for the big day. Rocim is among the fine wine producers in Alentejo. We have visited the estate twice in past visits to Portugal and love all their wines. The red Amphora blend includes AragonezTrincadeiraMoreto and Tinta Grossa varieties. Everytime I open a bottle, it brings back memories of Alentejo. I’m very partial to Alentejo wines; not that I say no to any wine, but wines from the Alentejo region are my favorite!

So, in the end the important thing about Thanksgiving is being Thankful. Thankful for what we have. Thankful for our health, for the friends and family around us.  I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given. Mostly I’m thankful for my wonderful husband, for our sons and their significant others, for our wonderful family, and the amazing friends we call family!

Wishing you all the happiest of Thanksgivings. Cheers! Or as we say in the old country, Saude!

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