Thursday, October 16, 2008
Randy has told me he has to go to a school for his work that last 5 days and will be held on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It is about 70 miles from home and I usually can only spend a few hours there. I am trying to make arrangements to go with him and while he is in class I will visit some of those places that I would like to photograph. Hmmm...oh yea and the casinos are there.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
We are headed home today and sad this adventure has come to an end.
Moab is such a great place to visit. There is so much to do here. You can go biking, or skydiving, or ATV'ing. You can visit all the little shops or try a variety of foods from the many restaurants. There are tours and guided trips, jet boats, rafting or dinner cruises. I can't begin to cover all the things to do here. Today we visited Arches National Park. We were here 2 years ago and it is still just as beautiful now as it was then. There seemed to be a little more traffic in the park than last time but since it is October it is better than summer travel. For some reason the La Sal Mountains seemed a little closer than before but this time there was snow at the top and they had a purple hue. We heard on the news that it snowed 2 1/2 inches in Yellowstone so we are glad we left when we did...no snow tires.
We also went to Dead Horse Point today. This is a place where wild horses were corralled on a high bluff, 2000 feet above the Colorado River, and were forgotten and left to thirst to death. Can you imagine being within site of water and not able to get to it. They all died there and it has been preserved as a state park.
We also went on a dinner cruise up the Colorado River. Actually we had dinner first then boarded a jet boat and went up the river about an hour then on the way back down were given a light show on the canyon walls about the history of the region. It was especially nice when they turned off the light and had nice music playing and we just floated. The stars seemed so close. It was truly beautiful. No photos or videos of the boat ride.
Monday, October 6, 2008
We arrived in Moab around noon today and got a cabin in the same camping area we stayed in last time we were here: Moab Valley RV Resort http://www.moabvalleyrv.com/ . It is located at 1773 N. Hwy 191 and their telephone number is (435)259-4469. It is gated and very clean and well kept, has a pool and playground, cabins, RV sites and tent sites.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
We are in Yellowstone for the 2ND day. It has been pretty cold here today and raining. The weather channel said a high of 52 but I don't think it ever got that high. We drove the Grand Loop today and it took about 8 hours with the stops for photographing animals and a couple of hikes to see thermal gardens and pools. I looked a little more closely at the map they gave us upon entering and saw a purple dashed line indicating the rim of the caldera. This is one huge volcano. There were a lot of elk and the bucks have large racks and are very protective of their harem. When we got to Mammoth Hot Springs there were elk everywhere and the police were very busy trying to keep the elk and the tourists separated. Some people are so stupid. There are signs everywhere telling you not to approach the elk , buffalo or bears and making it clear they are dangerous but there are still those people who push the limit.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Yellowstone has got to be one of the most spectacular places on earth. If I lived nearby I believe I would spend every spare minute there. Animals are everywhere and are of primary concern for the park service. It's nice to see there is a place, so large, that benefits both animals and humans.
We had to use Interstate 90 for a short time then turned onto Highway 16 also called Red Cloud Scenic Byway. It cuts across Wyoming on a path toward Yellowstone. There is more variety in the landscape here.There are deep canyons, rivers, jagged rock faces, more hairpin turns and historical markers along the way telling stories of the old west and things that had occurred in the past. One marker told the story of a hunter gone missing and when they found him a week later it was discovered he had tried to get a mountain goat and had fallen to his death. Today there is a memorial on top of the canyon rim placed there years ago by his friends.
We made it to Cody, Wyo. and stopped to have my camera cards put on Cd's. It took so long we decided to spend the night here and go the last 50 miles to Yellowstone in the morning. We got a room at the Kings Inn on Hwy 16. This is the only smoking motel/hotel in Cody. It is nice but expensive, more than $80 after taxes. They love their rooms here and all of the rooms here are high. Location, location, location.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
When we left Custer State Park we followed Iron Mountain Road because you are suppose to be able to see Mt. Rushmore from a distance, and you can. The road is a narrow 2 lane scenic byway with hairpin turns twisting and spiraling through the Black Hills. You eventually end up at an overlook where you can not only enjoy the spectacular view but can see Mt. Rushmore some 10 miles away. Mornings in the Black Hills are cool and crisp this time of year but as the sun gets higher so do the temperatures. By 9 AM we had the top down on the car with the wind blowing through our hair and chapping my lips.
We Stopped for breakfast in a little place called the Sugar Shack. Man, this place had the best food we'd had since we left Mississippi. The food was good the coffee was good and the people that work there were very nice, friendly and made us feel very welcome. The atmosphere is comfortable as well. The other customers seemed to be mostly local folks but they seemed very pleased with their food too. They chatted with the 2 employees, Daryl Kunzi and Hope Prostrollo, as if they had known them for years. They may have but they talked to us the same way. It was a very home like place in a foreign place.
Mt. Rushmore is one of our nations symbols of democracy and is located in Keystone, South Dakota. The 4 faces are: Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln and were carved out of granite They can be seen for miles as they gaze out over the valley and the Black Hills. The monument is quite large with each head being taller than a 6 story building. This monument is truly inspirational and a site to see. There is a very nice visitors center a museum and sculptors studio where original models can be viewed. It is easily accessed from Rapid City and from Custer State Park. If you get a chance to see Mt. Rushmore...go, you won't be disappointed.
Our next destination was Deadwood. I have been watching cowboy movies all my life and Deadwood has frequently been the town these movies were about or made in. Legends were made there and lie there today...at Mt. Moriah Cemetery...aka...Boot Hill. We did a walking tour of the graveyard and I got so many photos I lost count. The best ones were of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. They are buried side by side, together for eternity. People leave all kinds of things on Wild Bills Grave: whiskey bottles, rocks,pennies,casino chips, cigars. It really is kind of weird seeing graves of people that legends are made of.
There were a lot of other graves there, as well. There was a mass grave for some 13 people who had died in a fire and an area where victims of small pox, I think, are buried. Only 1/3 of the graves are marked. The terrain is very steep and I kept thinking about how difficult it must have been 100 years ago to bury someone up there, but, the graveyard overlooks Deadwood and a beautiful valley and is peaceful, shaded and well cared for.
Devils Tower, Wyoming is only about 60 miles from Deadwood. We arrived there in time to see mountain climbers attempting to reach the summit. This monolith is more than 1200 feet tall and more than just a big rock. It is a spiritual place. There is magic there. It looms over you and makes you feel so small. You can't get to the top unless you climb so that leaves me out. The eagles, hawks and vultures fly around the top ...around and around and around. One of the park rangers said they seem to especially fly around when there are climbers up there. Wonder why ? We sat there in amazement with binoculars and camera in hand and watched as 3 climbers slowly made their way closer to the top. They still had a long way to go when we left.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Today we took a road trip on Needles Highway. There are these great spires as the road twists along a winding mountain road. The trees are orange, red and yellow as fall is here. Traffic is minimal. There are many areas to pull off of the road for photographic opportunities. If you have the chance to take the tour allow yourself at least 3 hours. The road is only about 14 miles long but frequent stops for the views will definitely slow you down.
Our next stop was the Crazy Horse Memorial. Awesome place. This monument has been in the making for more than 50 years and will probably not be completed in my lifetime. Crazy Horse was a Lakota Indian who was stabbed and killed by an American soldier while under a flag of truce. He was a defender of his people and the Indian way of life. The memorial is a tribute to American Indians of all tribes and represented by this inspiring work of art. The memorial is being carved out of an entire granite mountain and is entirely funded by visitors to the memorial and donations. It is quite a site to see. Later that night we attended a laser light show at the memorial....my first light show. Very cool indeed. Randy also got to take the helicopter tour around the mountain which he said also included a fly over a herd of buffalo. He loves helicopters.