Posts Tagged ‘Colorado’

Day 6

Just to let you know, I am posting this post from Seattle. Here I sit in Erica’s back yard on an early (not so early) Seattle Saturday morning. She has a lovely place to stay here and Mummy and I are very comfortable. The house she is sitting looks so much like something out of Domino magazine I had to take pictures of every square foot of it. I’ll use the pictures to inspire my own remodeling project back east.
Day 6 on the road…..well, my notebook is in the car, but that was the day we visited the national parks in Utah. Bryce and Zion. On the way there, we stopped at Big Rock Candy Mountain, which I’m sure was one of the songs from O Brother, Where Art Thou, and we stopped to purchase some things. Now, when my brother Rock, and his wife Luvy, went on his honeymoon in California he made friends with some bears. He’s so good at making friends. When I saw this bear at Big Rock Candy Mountain, I asked him if he knew my brother. He said he’d heard of him and asked if he could have his picture taken with me so that he could say he’d met Rock’s sister. How could I say no?

So, let me tell you, Great Sand Dunes seemed like a protected jewel. There were hardly any other cars on the road to the entrance of that park and when we got there, although there were other people, tourists and campers, comparatively there were very few.
As you approach Bryce and Zion the fanfare surrounding them was a bit unsettling. I wondered if I was entering an amusement park rather than a national park. Billboards advertising gift shops, museums, trail-riding horse camps, RV camp sites, hotels and motels and resorts, ATV adventure companies, etc., lined the entrance road to Bryce. We drove on in, parked in the lot for Sunrise Point, and walked out a short distance through the pines to the ridge. And then…….and then……..and then tears came to my eyes as this emerged before me

Words can’t describe it.
On the other hand, there ARE words to describe people who walk around with bright yellow plastic bags on their heads.

Remember that bold little birdie that tried to beat my car across the road? Well, at a gas station before Bryce while checking my oil I noticed that it’s carcass had fallen from the place where it was wedged below my hood down into a space in front of the radiator. I was concerned that it’s body would rot there, creating an odor that would be somewhat unpleasant. So I wanted it out of my car. So in the lot at Sunrise Point, Bryce Canyon, I decided we’d better find a good stick to knock the dead birdie out of there. Mummy said, “I’m your man.” And she was.

Well, folks. That’s it for now. Stay tuned for a continuation of Day 6 on the road with “The Three Santooches”.


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Day 5

Okay, I know you won’t believe it, but I’ve been experiencing technical difficulties. Yes, technically, it’s been exhausting to try and post in the evening after a fun-filled day of vacation. Also, exhausting after a day filled with driving to our next destination. It’s Sunday now, our 10th actual day on the road, but I’ve only caught you up to day 4. So here is my attempt to get on with day 5 in an effort (which will continue when possible) to get everyone up to date. If you care.
So, we reluctantly left the Great Sand Dunes and I didn’t think anything could be better. I was so happy to have “discovered” them. There weren’t too many people there at all. It was peaceful. My original plan was to do a 4 mile hike there up to the Medano Lake, which was pictured in my NG guide. Unfortunately, the road that led to the trailhead had been washed out by the storm that took out the power at the Travel On Inn the night before. The rangers said that the road wouldn’t be back in use until Friday or Saturday, which was too late in the week for us to consider staying. So I guess I’ll have to get back there someday and do it. As we left the park we looked all around us and admired Mother Nature’s work.

Okay, okay. So there are a lot of you out there who thought you’d never hear from me again. Like, I’m so lazy I gave up the blog altogether. Or, I’ve crashed and died and will never be seen on earth again. Or, I’ve died and gone to heaven out here in the west and will never return. Any which way, you are all wrong. I just have a lot to catch up on. Have I been at all repetitive yet?
So, we’ve seen prairies, sand dunes, mountains, lakes, rivers, oceans, and deserts. Songs that keep repeating themselves in my head (I can’t help it and I don’t know why) are: Bohemian Rhapsody!!!????, Oklahoma! from Oklahoma! (“we know we belong to the land, and the land we belong to is grand”), and Beverly Hills by Weezer. I swear, I’ve listened to some music on the way, and none of these songs represents what I’ve been listening to, or even really what I love, but still, they are on auto-replay.
Here’s what the prairies look like in Colorado peppered with livestock:

Here’s a letter on the side of a hill in Gunnison, Colorado. It’s for you, Aaron:

We finally made it to Utah on day 5. We pulled into tiny Salina, Utah. Rhymes with vagina. This town is about 30 miles from the mining accident in Utah. Salina is big on coal mining. Just like back home. It’s a real neat little dusty town with one blinking red and yellow light at the only intersection. I really like these towns. It was almost as cool as Plattsmouth and Mitchell, Nebraska.
Anyway, we checked into our room before heading out for pizza. Hey, Aaron, check out our room key!

We went for pizza after I checked out some cowboy boots in the western outfitters store. Still haven’t found the right ones! But that’s okay, I still have Wyoming and South Dakota to hit up!
Next door to the pizza joint was the Big Beep Bar and since I hadn’t had a nice cold beer since I left home I thought it was about time. The Big Beep Bar is across the street from this:

And two doors down from this:

This is the Big Beep Bar:

Granted it was a Tuesday at about 6 pm, but we were the ONLY people in there.

I let Mummy taste my Squatter’s Wheat beer ’cause it was light and refreshing. The bartender told me it’s locally brewed. Hey, his name is Mudsy and he was locally brewed in Indiana, Pa. No kidding. Then his parents moved him out to Salina when he was 14. Here he is:

Stay tuned for Day 6! If I can remember how that day went!

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Day 4 continued…..

For those of you who are curious, this is how I get online when there is no wireless. I tether to the internet via my cell phone. Cool, huh?

So, we had a good time hiking in the dunes.

Everything is so….vast. Can you see Mummy in this one? When you stand out here and look all around you, you are just stunned by the fantastic beauty of it all. It’s so over the top.

This was a great place to introduce my mom to camping out. She said she could have stayed a week.

Chris told us to pack for the cold weather we’d encounter up in the mountains. But just like my grandfather taught me to be, I was suspicious of how cold it could actually be in August. Well, at 8,000 feet, without the proper equipment, you could find yourself spooning with your mother in the middle of the night. At her suggestion.

And don’t worry, your neighboring campers, who are old pros, will be glad to give you a jump in the morning!

Thanks for the jumper cables, Aaron! I accidently left my keys in the car the night before in the first position, which draws power. I was trying to charge my phone up a little, but then I forgot all about it. This guy who jumped us was from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I acted dumb and said I didn’t know how to do the cables because I really just wanted him to do it. He said no problem, he’d been on both sides of this scenario before. But when I saw him clip the red cable to his battery’s black anode before telling me to start my car I had to point it out to him. I said, “So, why didn’t you put the red cable on the red side of the battery?”, all like I was just curious about it. He kinda jumped out of his skin for a second and said, “OH GEEZ!” and quickly straightened things out.

This is the dunes in the morning. In the night while we camped a storm came through. It was only rain though, none of the serious lightening and thunder from the night before. Did I mention that the storm the night before took out the power at the Travel On Inn in Limon, Co.?
Stay tuned for Day 5.

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Day 4

We left Limon, Co. at 8:10 am. We have traveled 1,772 miles to date. Mycol starts our day off with a little Ice-Cube, “Check yo’self”. Gas just keeps getting more and more expensive. The cheapest we saw was way back in Indiana, for $2.57 a gallon. Of course, we didn’t need any gas when we passed that station. We haven’t seen anything less that $3.07 in 3 days. Haha. I just lied. We bought gas for $2.96/gallon in Walsenburg, Co. But still……we would like to be economical, and we’ve stayed in motels so far. The most expensive being $89 and the cheapest being $59. So, we went to Safeway and bought enough groceries to last us a day with snacks left over for $30 and we intend to camp tonight for $7 at Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. But first, here is where tractors go when they die:

And here is what happens to bold little things that misjudge their timing:

He’ll never have the guts to try that again.

(Sorry about that) Actually, on the morning of Day 4 I was feeling kinda like that. The night before I was EXHAUSTED and I hadn’t really caught up yet with my sleep. So I was anxious to get to Great Sand Dunes and spend some time outside in the beautiful country. And as soon as I saw them I knew it was worth it. But I didn’t see them until after I found this for you, Alison:

As for the Dunes, I’d always wanted to visit White Sands, New Mexico, but this trip wasn’t going to take me along that route. I’d purchased a National Geographic Guide to the National Parks which featured Great Sand Dunes, Colorado. I’d never heard of the park, but the pictures were enough to sell me on a visit there. It’s located in the south of Co., so we never actually had to pass through the better part of the Rockies. We did pass through the Sangre di Cristo mountain range. When we got to the park we hiked through the dunes and admired the view for a good long time. The temperature outside was perfect. The sunlight was perfect. We loved it so much there was no question that we would spend the night. It was my mom’s first time ever camping! And she loved it, too. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Alright, gotta get to bed early to get up early. Stay tuned for more from Day 4 tomorrow (even though it will be Day 6 in reality!) Betcha your jealous, though.

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OOOOPS!!! Sorry about that! So, as I was saying, there was something in Alliance that I had to see……CARHENGE!!!!

My mom has been finding money on the ground almost everywhere we go. A quarter here, a dime there. I think that is a fortuitous sign. I, on the other hand, have been finding things along the way that remind me of the people I know, and I’ve tried to gather them up to post here. Like the spawning salmon I saw at Carhenge for the folks at the Fish Market. Here’s something else I found at Carhenge. Christine, this one’s for you!!!!

His name is Tom and he’s from Missouri. He’s on his way to his first Sturgis. We’ve been traveling along side bikers from all over the country on their way to Bike Week. I wish we were going! But Mycol is sooo anxious to get to San Diego. He mentions it all the time. Sometimes he gets so frustrated with me he could throw something.

So we headed on to Scott’s Bluff. The college my mom went to her freshman year was called Hiram Scott. It doesn’t exist anymore and she hasn’t been back to Nebraska since. There wasn’t much left in the town that she recognized, but she thought this looked familiar:

We drove into Colorado (we’ve been on Mountain Time since Ogallala, Nebraska) and encountered a crazy lightening storm that opened up on us in a split second. We’d been watching the lightening burst out in the distance and when the wind started blowing tumbleweeds across the road I said maybe I’d like to pull over and just watch it play out. No sooner had I said that than we were nearly blown off the road ourselves and the thunder was blasting right over our heads and the rain was driving faster than I was. There wuz even sideways rain. My heart jumped into my throat when I realized that a tornado could kill us all in a minute. But I traveled onward. The storm broke just as we approached Brush, Colorado. Tired and weary, we pulled into the Tomahawk truck stop for gas and fuel. We stopped into the truckstop eatery, Digger’s Diner. I started feeling pretty good when I saw this on the wall:

The owner of Digger’s showed us to our seat, right in front of the TV so we could watch the Steelers/Saints pre-season game. The menu had the “Three Rivers Omelette”. Hmmmm. Hey, does anybody recognize this guy?

It’s Jeff Marcus, Gateway Highschool (Monroeville) Class of ’88!!! He’s out here in Brush, Co. running Digger’s Diner and coaching cross-country at the local school. He was real nice to us and gave us 2 Digger’s Diner ball caps. (the Digger is the mascot for the beet farmer – they make sugar out here)
And speaking of Pittsburgh and the Steelers…..this one’s for you, Rocky. After we pulled out of Brush we drove to Limon, Colorado and stayed at the “Travel On Inn”. As I said, there were bikers headed for Sturgis everywhere. When we pulled into the Inn, there they were, all sitting out front with their Harley’s. When I went back out from our room to smoke a cigarette I said hello and struck up a conversation. I said that we’d traveled from Pittsburgh and one of the guys says, “My son played for Pittsburgh.” I ran upstairs and got Mycol to come down and say hello to Mr. Ernie Mills, Sr.

Day 3 was a long day, filled with so much cool stuff that I was too tired to post that night at the Travel On Inn. But there you have it. In a nutshell.
Stay tuned for Day 4 when we will depart Limon, Co. for……? Can you guess where in the world I might be?

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