Vacation 2017 – Part 5

Montana or Wyoming?

Here is a problem. My notes on the trip fail to mention where we stopped to stay for the night after we left Yellowstone National Park the previous day. And my memory is such that I don’t recall if we stayed in Montana or Idaho. I believe it was Idaho, but…

Anyway, we started out the next morning with the goal of getting into Oregon because we needed to be on the northwest coast the following afternoon. For some reason I made absolutely no notes during our trip that day. I don’t even know where I took the above photo. I just know that I was in the passenger seat and took the picture because of the black wall. That day we drove to Bend, Oregon, where we spent the night.

I got on the laptop that night and tried to pick a route that would keep us away from the wildfires. I found a very useful website that indicated the fires and the relative size of the fires on a map.

***

From Bend, we drove northwest on US 20 until we found the junction of OR 22. We were driving through beautiful country, but there was a lot of smoke in the air. A few times we were warned by signs that we were entering firs activity areas, but the roads were open.

Detroit Dam
From the top of the dam

We stopped at the Detroit Dam and lake. There was so much smoke that the visibility was terrible. I adjusted the 2 photos above to bring more clarity to the pictures.

We arrived at our destination, Gearhart, Oregon, in the mid-afternoon. We stayed in a condominium that was rented while the owner was out of town. I saw a notice in the office where we checked in that said to be on the watch for elk. It was rutting season and that they didn’t like to be disturbed. Interesting. Lee, Michelle and Wyatt were in another condo about a three minute walk or a five minute drive from the one we were in.  Both condos were on the ocean and we only had to walk up a slight rise to see it. It was time to relax.

Cindy at rest

 

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Vacation 2017 – Part 4

Who would have thought

I never thought that I would write a sentence, let alone a paragraph, in praise of a highway rest area. And yet, here I am writing about the Lusk Rest Area in Wyoming. Cindy and I agree that this was the prettiest and the cleanest rest area we have ever visited. Due to our travels, we have seen many over the years. If awards are ever given to rest areas, the Lusk Rest Area deserves to win. Well done, Wyoming!

Cowgirl

We continued on in Wyoming. The haze from the western wildfires became more noticeable the further we traveled. We stopped to spend the night in Dubois, Wyoming. This statue was one of many in the town. I failed to get the name of the sculpture and sculptor. We had a good dinner at the Nostalgia Bistro, where we celebrated my entrance into the ranks of septegenarianhood (it may not be a recognized word, but it should be…write your Congressman).

***

The next morning we headed out for the Grand Teton National Park. While we occasionally had clear skies, more often the views were partially obstructed by smoke and haze. The following picture is one that I took in the park. I played around with the contrast and saturation in order to get a clearer view of the mountains.

Grand Teton Park
Old Faithful

From Grand Teton Park we drove  few miles north and entered Yellowstone National Park. There were so many delays for road construction within the park boundaries, I started to fear that we would run out of gas. Finally we came to the Yellowstone Inn where we filled the gas tank and then our bellies in the restaurant. We decided that you can never see Old Faithful, the geyser, too often, but we almost missed it. I took this picture from a distance while it was winding down from its most recent eruption.

Vacation 2017 – Part 3

A view from the bridge

We continued on in Nebraska, heading more or less towards the northwest corner of the state. We saw a sign that indicated that there was a historic bridge on a road that branched to left of the one we were on. So we decided to drive over to see it. We found the Bryan Bridge which was built in 1932, It is an arched cantilever trussed bridge that is connected in the middle by a single pin. It was designed by a Russian emigre who graduated from the University of Nebraska Engineering, and was named for the then Governor of the state. I took a number of pictures from the bridge but only realized after we go home that I never took a picture of the actual bridge. You can see a picture of the bridge and read more about it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Bridge.

We continued on to Valentine, Nebraska where we stopped at the pretty city park to eat a picnic lunch. We had packed food in our cooler so that we would not have to eat every meal in a restaurant or pick it up in a fast food drive-through. With the exception of a stray cat that wanted to join us, it was a pleasant meal.

From there we drove on to Chadron, Nebraska, where we decided to spend the night. Before checking in to a motel however, we drove a few miles south of town and went into the Chadron State Park, which was the first state park in Nebraska. In parts of the park you can still see the effects of a fire that happened in 2012. It was in this park where we first noticed the haze/smoke in the air from the wildfires that have been burning in our western states this year.

Vacation 2017 – Part 2

Inside the mill
Inside the mill

We had spent the first night in Anamosa, Iowa. When we got up the next morning I pointed out to Cindy that we were across the street from the National Motorcycle Museum, but she wasn’t inclined to visit it. So we left town after partaking of the free continental breakfast. If you want to visit the museum, it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Our drive through Iowa was uneventful, as was a large part of our time in Nebraska. We weren’t on the Interstate, so we didn’t feel as if we had to rush anywhere.

When we arrived in Neligh, Nebraska we found the Neligh Mill. It was a a mill built in 1873 by John D. Neligh. It was originally a water powered mill that produced flour and animal feed. As the years passed it was upgraded to also produce electricity. The mill was also modified to no longer depend on water power and the grind stones were replaced by steel milling machines that were electrically powered. The upgrades allowed the mill to produce more flour and feed that was marketed outside the area under a number of names.

The mill is now a historic site operated by the Nebraska State Historical Society. For more information about the mill you can visit this website: http://www.nebraskahistory.org/sites/mill/index.htm

I’m short on text today, so I’ll add a couple more pictures.

An exhibit
The original power source

Vacation 2017 – Part 1

On the road again

I’ve been back home now since Thursday night. Usually I am in a rush to start posting about our trip as soon as I’ve had a good night’s sleep, but not this year. I am not sure why I’ve put off writing, but I haven’t had any desire to sit at the keyboard and pour out my stories. Still, if I don’t start soon I may never get around to doing it. Unlike past years, I don’t plan on doing a day by day breakdown. I may well skip over some days, or cram three or four days into one post. I’ll just play it by ear.

Once again we headed west, but not to Las Vegas this year. No, this year we drove to Oregon to spend a week with Lee, Michelle, and our grandson Wyatt. In the picture above we started our drive going west through Illinois. Please note that we are not on an Interstate highway. We had to share the road with trucks, but certainly not as many as we would if we had taken an Interstate. Plus we had seven days to make the trip. There was no reason to rush any more than was necessary.

Having plenty of time was good. Cindy took it to mean that we could leave later on our Tuesday start date. I’ll only say that we left later than the 8 a.m. that I preferred. Oh well. I love her. It was a cool, cloudy morning. We stopped and ate (a late) breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants before leaving Indiana and heading into the wilds of Illinois. The trip across Illinois was uneventful. We crossed the Mississippi River and drove into Iowa in the afternoon. We stopped and spent the night in Iowa.

A short trip…part 5

Today’s post combines our last three days on the road for a couple of reasons. The first shallow reason is that I took no pictures on Friday. The second and third reason is that very little of interest happened on Saturday and Sunday.  

Day 5, 4/14/2017

Our original plan was to leave for home on this day but (no surprise to me) Cindy decided to put off our departure for a day. We would spend one more day with Barbara, Michael and his family. Rather, we would spend about half a day because Cindy and Barbara both sleep later than I do.

I went out that morning searching unsuccessfully for something scenic to photograph. I must have driven in the wrong direction or I was being too picky in my choices. So I stopped and filled the car with gas so that we could make a quicker getaway on Sunday. Then I went back to the apartment to read some more of my reading challenge book.

We drove to Michael’s home in the afternoon. He was preparing a farewell dinner. We were having fresh from the boat fried shrimp, French fries, and home-made coleslaw. It was great!

After dining we played one game of Oh Hell. Since it was only one game I only had to give away a portion of my cash. Then it was back to Barbara’s apartment to get some sleep before leaving the following morning.

trip album page…the road home

Day 6, 4/15/17

We left early-ish on Saturday morning. We planned on driving to Memphis, Tennessee; which was around 460 miles. With breaks for lunch, gas, and bathroom breaks we expected to be on the road about eight or nine hours.

I drove until we were about two hours from Memphis, and Cindy took over. I settled into the passenger seat, and despite the lovely scenery, I dozed off. About 80 miles down the road Cindy told me that she couldn’t keep her eyes open and wanted to stop fr the night. So we did.

Day 7, 4/16/17

We were on the road early Sunday morning because we still had at least nine hours of driving ahead of us. I had been driving for around an hour when Cindy realized that she had left her earrings in the motel room. So while she called the motel and asked them to secure the earrings, I turned around started back to where we had stayed.

We arrived at the motel, where they had taken Cindy’s earrings to the office. She quickly collected them and then it was back on the road.

We got home between 8 and 9 p.m. We decided to leave unpacking the car until the next morning. It was time to collapse, so we did.

Things to remember before we go back to Louisiana. 1. Plan ahead for what we want to do. For instance, if we had gone a week earlier we could have gone to the Dave Robicheaux’s Hometown Literary Festival in New Iberia, or if we go back in November we can attend the Abbeville Giant Omlette Celebration. 2. Manage time better so that we can do all that we want to do. 3. Take more pictures. That’s my list. I don’t know what Cindy has on her list.

A short trip…part 4

Day 4, 4/13/2017

trip album page

Cindy had told Michael and Jenna that I liked visiting graveyards and taking pictures. She is correct; I do like visiting and taking pictures of graveyards. So on the fourth day of our trip Michael took us north to Lafayette, Louisiana to view the graveyard at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

Before we left Abbeville however, we stopped at a gas station for breakfast. That’s right, a gas station. The eatery was actually in the same building as the station. The food was very good.

The pictures above are just a few that I took while we were at the cathedral. Michael told us that among the among the graves was one of a Confederate War veteran who was famous. Actually there were a number of Confederate veteran graves. Evidently they weren’t all famous.

I noticed that there were a lot of Landry and Broussard family members in the graveyard. At first I assumed that they were large contributors to the church, and perhaps they are, but a little research showed me that those names are very common in Louisiana. So much for my powers of deduction.

It was an enjoyable trip to a beautiful cathedral. I wouldn’t mind going back sometime to see more of the buildings.

That evening we took our hosts out to eat at a local restaurant.We chose a Mexican restaurant, and the food was wonderful, though Jenna’s meal failed to arrive with the others. Beyond the food, Cindy found the margaritas to be to her taste.

We returned to Michael and Jenna’s house where I was coerced into playing a couple of games of Oh Hell. It is a game of luck and a little skill. Cindy and the others love it. I see it as a way to give some of my money to other people. I guess it depends on your perspective.

Along with the cards, Cindy chose to consume some wine. It was good that I was driving.We repaired to Barbara’s apartment where she and Cindy quickly fell asleep and I got in some reading. It had been a pretty good day.