Scenic Trollstigen Route – Norway 9/26

As Norse legend tells it, the first rays of sunlight can turn the mythical trolls into stone (if they don’t hide in time!) so we will explore where trolls have been in the mountains.
Our first stop was at the Gudbrandsjuvet Gorge.
The Valldøla River has cut large potholes and intricate formations into the rock.
Another interesting viewing area with fun art/architecture to experience the  Gudbrandsjuvet Gorge.
Sign outside the Gudbrandsjuvet: the cinnamon buns were awesome! Still warm from the oven they fortified us for the troll search.
From the Trollstigen plateau, rising above the Isterdalen Valley are the three peaks: Bishop, King, Queen (Bispen, Kongen, Dronninga). which led us to debate if the bishop or queen had the most power…
We passed over the glacial moraines with some snow still left in the upper valleys (where the trolls live?). We arrived at the Trollstigen Visitor Center.
The Trollstigen cafe is undergoing repairs from an avalanche this winter but we could still appreciate the design and the location.
We followed the water cascading to the first Viewpoint.
We detoured from the paved path to follow these Sherpa stairs 1km for a private view point.
What a stairmaster!
Great view of the valley!
And we were able to see the next cantilevered Trollstigen Viewpoint.
And a take my picture balcony with The Bishop and The Queen.
The Trolls Ladder (mostly one-lane) was completed in 1936 after 8 years – an engineering marvel. Imagine working in this valley carved out by the glacier, roaring rivers and multiple waterfalls!
A better view of the waterfall through the vertigo inducing glass railing.
An offer to take our picture resulted in this fun shot pointing to the future!
Our GPS pretty much shows the same curves we have just photographed on this one-lane road. We are here in the morning so have missed dodging the tour buses.
Ready or Not. We will probably regenerate many kilometers on the battery of our EV.
At the end of the valley is another Troll spot: Trollveggen Visitor Center. We recharged the car while we ate a picnic lunch in this beautiful setting (cafe closed for the season).
Europe’s highest vertical mountain wall has several climbing routes.
We could browse for a book in this converted telephone booth lending library.
Ramsdalen Valley: the route following the River Rauma has been named Europe’s most beautiful railway line. Filmed around here is the latest Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One

Rent an electric car! EV in Norway 2/26

We were upgraded to an EV with Eurocar (through AutoEurope). Norway is committed to electric vehicles and as tourists we should be part of this vision. The EV Tourist guide to Norway.
Download an app from Fortum and add your credit card. This app covers several providers, like Recharge, and is what the manager at Eurocar recommended for our route. Many charging locations are at gas stations, near the center of town so plenty of options while charging. We learned later that we could add a non Tesla car to our Tesla account so that could have been a very good option as there were always a lot of Tesla charging stations.
It is much more convenient to use a cell phone to charge so we bought a $5 SIM card at 7-11. For $15, we topped it up with 3GB data use in Norway only for a month (Update: we used  less than one GB for the month.  We added only on GB for second month at $8).
The charging stations vary in power from 50kw to 350kw. The cost per kw increases with speed but the charging time decreases. This car –  VW ID.4 – has a good range: 455 km equals  280 miles. Update: We drove 4396 KM (2732 miles) with our total charging costs being $402 ($.09/KM or $.15/Mile)
All 6 chargers full on a Sunday afternoon – but these are the 350 kw superchargers. All electric cars in Norway, including those with foreign registration plates, can drive through the many toll roads at either a rebated price or completely free of charge. Both riksvei (state own)- and fylkesvei (county own) ferries operate with a 50 per cent rebate for fully electric vehicles (make sure to inform ticket agent that you’re driving an EV to get rebate.) When we rented our car the manager said our AutoPASS charge would probably be less than the $58 we paid to add the second driver for our 34 day rental. (Update: the total charge was $73)

Summer at Home 2021

Columbines blooming are a sure sign of spring. Lots of wildflowers on the trails.


White fluffy clouds just say summer to me.


Day trip to near by Echo Reservoir to enjoy the wonderful sunshine.


Another day trip to Santa Fe – 160 miles one way to the charging station. Oh, and could not pass on some great shopping!


Nice stop for coffee break. Took about 40 minutes to add 140 miles of charge (for a total 225 miles to return home).


Our first restaurant dining since Spain in 2020 – great outdoor patio with spicy New Mexican food.


We built this kayak stand to give us more room in the garage – works great!


Another building project?


A bug hotel for our 6-year-old great-nephew. We had fun painting and decorating!


We did an overnight trip to South Fork and got a hike in together as well.


He also came to see our house and check out the kid size bridge in our Japanese Garden- a fun day of mini-golf, picnic lunch, library summer reading, and a walk along the river.


We dodged some summer storms but managed a few evening concerts in the park.


Wandered downtown on 4th of July to see all having fun floating along the river.


Cruised downtown for the car show – dressed to match so owner wanted a photo.


But mostly we enjoyed our solitude


Having some quiet Zen moments at home


And the serenity of our wonderful sunsets.

Tesla Model 3: Electrifying!

Tesla Model 3 is our choice for our new electric car! It is a very smooth and high tech ride.

We ordered with an 8 week delivery but were offered a show room model so we headed out to pick up with our lunch stop at Lathrop State Park – gorgeous day.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at beautiful Pueblo Lake State Park.

After many months of research we had decided that we would go all electric as it is important to lead the way into mitigating climate change.

We arrived well rested to do a thorough walk through of the new 2021 Tesla.

Our first Tesla supercharger stop in Poncho Springs, Colorado – we saw 5 other Teslas pull in while we were there. A happening spot!

We made time to take a walk at Sand Dunes National Park.

A favorite photo under 14 thousand foot Blanca Peak, south of the Sand Dunes. Very red white and blue! Wonderful to buy an American car of such quality.

We also had time on our way home to see some of the Sandhill Cranes in Monte Vista on their northern migration.

The glow of the setting sun as we start our adventures with the 2021 Tesla and the 2016 Travato.

3/5: White Sands NP/Organ Mountains NM

The clouds and remaining snow made a revisit to White Sands National Park feel unique.

The gypsum sand does not look so white under the snow.

The winds shifted the clouds into different formations.

It looks dark and stormy over the mountains providing contrast with the sand.

There was some fresh snow at Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks NM but is suppose to warm up.

Test (la) drove a Model 3 and marveled at the design details. Electrifying!

Hiked Pine Tree Loop into the foothills of the Organ Mountains.

Very unusual clouds and sunset lighting as the moisture rose.

The Chihuahuan Desert and all its amazing diversity.

Enjoying the picnic area from our #1 site at Aquirre Spring Campground.

Poncha Pass and Salida, Colorado

There is the Travato on a hill on Poncha Pass – it is a level spot with a great view and the MINI Cooper is sitting behind it.

We walked a mile or so to O’Haver Lake which is quite pleasant. We hung out at the day use picnic tables but there is also a campground.

This aspen grove was quite dense and interesting.

This is the stone bridge for the turnoff to Marshall Pass road – 7 miles to the pass is a bit much for us to hike with the looming storm clouds.

Salida Fly In – a gorgeous morning and some very fine planes.

Some fun Russian nose art that we had not seen before.

The propellor is polished to such perfection that there are reflections!

Super Bee tail art – the nose looked like a cute smiling bumblebee.

Take off – we thought they were going to fly around in formation.

And maybe give us a bit of an airshow – but we didn’t see it.

There were also some beautiful old cars – this 1940 Buick in from Wyoming.

This was an original Colorado State truck that delivered the fish to stock the lakes – very nicely restored.

Michigan Visits


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Visitng family and friends – and a class reunion. It is very hot!

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The architects

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The new Frederick Meyer Japanese gardens with fun sculptures

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Beautiful reflections…

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Not a selfie!

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How far did we walk to see this Caulder sculpture? How many times has Mom done the walk? Ha! At least we got to relax for a nice water front lunch. Also we toured the recently renovated Gerald Ford Museum…did not see any mention of Vail.

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Some 1950 Fords – what fun colors!

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More fun reflections…

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Cherries and blueberries and sweet corn. Yum! We are eating well 😉

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High School friend took us around Crystal lake – fun to relax there and hang out!

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A wonderful 101 year old friend of the family and his daughter – how fun it was to visit and give a hug.

Historic Sights In Illinois

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In Moline, Rock Island Army Base had an interesting Arsenal Museum and Corp of Engineers Waterway museum at the Mississippi Lock. We were lucky to see this 2-part barge and tugboat going through.

The historic bridge pivots to let the tugboat through after the two barges reconnect. We were thrilled with our timing to see this during the hour we were there.

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Further down the road we stopped at Hennepin Canal State Park to see the locks on this historic canal.

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The bridge had a 4-ton limit so we were good for crossing!

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We parked overnight along the canal with this picturesque view.

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Pullman NHS near Chicago is a new addition to the Park System but the community has been working on conserving it for many years. This factory will be the future visitor center.

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It was a factory town but constructed to entice people to be a part of the community.

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A variety of housing styles.

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They used different bricks on each home to provide individualism.

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There is awesome community spirit. Most of the homes have been restored by their owners.

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Indiana Dunes national Seashore provides a view of the distant Chicago skyline.

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The bog area adjacent to the Dunes has been preserved as well.

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St Joesph Harbor Lighthouse was our chosen spot for our evening stop.