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


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!


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

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:

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.

To Las Vegas and back 2016 – Day 19

The kitchen we came home to
The kitchen we came home to

We started the day by having our last complimentary continental breakfast at our motel. We were in a rush to get on the road, so we got onto Interstate 44 and headed northeast. Cindy started out driving. We planned on her driving through St. Louis, and then I would take over for the rest of the way home.

As we drove through Missouri, we noted once again that there seems to be more billboards with signage selling knives and other cutlery than in other states that we have visited. You also see more signs for walnut bowls. I wonder what type of signs people find unique when they drive through Indiana.

Cindy became increasingly frustrated with all of the semi-trucks on the highway. As the day progressed and as we got closer to St. Louis, the number of trucks increased. In St. Louis we got onto Interstate 70 and crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois. We pulled into a rest area and I took over the driving.

Illinois was kind of a blur. We took I-70 to I-57 and headed in a more northerly direction, At Champagne, Illinois we caught I-74 east and drove it the rest of the way across Illinois, and into Indiana. We got off of I-74 in Crawfordsville, Indiana and took US 231 north to Lafayette. And then we were home.

The picture is of part of our kitchen. As you can see, the vinyl flooring has been removed so that we were walking on the underlayment. The green piece of equipment you see is an air scrubber. There was also a dehumidifier in the kitchen, as well as another set of equipment in another part of the ground floor, and another in the basement.

Our vacation was over, and we were back in the world of trying to get our house back into a livable mode. That journey continues.

To Las Vegas and back 2016 – Day 18

Pops in Arcadia
Pops in Arcadia

We left Shamrock, Texas early the next morning and returned to Interstate 40 heading east. Fifteen miles later we were back in Oklahoma, though further south when last we were in the state. From there we drove to Oklahoma City. And there we took Interstate 35 north, searching for an exit that would lead us to Arcadia, Oklahoma. Trina and JR had told us about Arcadia and suggested that we stop there to see the Round Barn, and to eat at Pops. We had originally thought to stop there on our way out to Las Vegas, but we got sidetracked north to see the Will Rogers Museum Memorial. So we decided to stop and see the sights of Arcadia on the way home.

Well, we missed our exit and drove many miles north of where we needed to be, so we stopped for gas, turned the car around, and headed south on I-35. I thought I saw our exit and got off of the Interstate only to find th road was closed for construction going in the direction we needed. So once more we got onto I-35 south. At the next exit we got off and headed east. This road also led to Arcadia, so some of my self-directed anger faded. The road we were on, in fact, was the road that lead us to Pops.

Cindy and I had both assumed that Pops was a roadside diner that had good, home-cooked food. We were not prepared for the restaurant that we found. In fact, we drove past it before we realized that we needed to turn around once again. Pops was actually a large metal and glass building with hundreds, probably thousands of bottles of soda pop glued to glass shelves in the main window. This picture is of a very large sign? lit statue? in front of the building. We were there in daylight, but pictures taken at night show the pop bottle to be colorfully lit after dark. This was the only picture I took this entire day.

We ate our lunch at Pops, and then got back onto the State highway, not the Interstate. We were now on historic Route 66. We drove to the Round Barn, but neither of us was inclined to stop. We have both see round barns in Indiana (there are more than 100 of them in Indiana), and were more inclined to move on. When I was young I heard it said that round barns were designed to keep the devil from getting you into  corner. I love that story, but I’m wondering why, if that is true, I have never seen a round farm house to go with the round barn. What types of devilish mischief was a farmer liable to get up to in a barn that he wouldn’t in the house. Hmmm.

But we drove on eastward on state highways all of the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Tulsa we got onto Interstate 44 because home was still beckoning to us, and we drove to Springfield, Missouri to spend the night. We found a nice motel and a Ruby Tuesday restaurant a couple of doors down from it. They had a good salad bar. We went back to the room to get a good night’s rest before driving home the next day.