ANNIVERSARY TRIP DAY 16, RAPID CITY, SD – THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 2007

A few last words about Devils Tower Lodge – it has incredible proximity to the tower. Otherwise you have to stay about 9 miles away. So even though Frank, the owner, was talkative and eccentric and the room was not as clean as I would have liked, I think I’m glad we stayed there. As John wrote in the guest book, “It was a unique experience, not one we will forget.”

Frank's B and B is very close to Devil's Tower

Frank’s B and B is very close to Devil’s Tower


Along with proximity to Devils Tower, there are also lovely grounds and outbuildings.
Picturesque setting

Picturesque setting


At Devils Tower there’s also a prairie dog town. They get very agitated when you walk by. We were barked at by lots of prairie dogs.
Prairie dog town

Prairie dog town


After leaving Devils Tower we stopped at the Aladdin Coal Tipple, an historic site. It is the last remaining wooden coal tipple. Mostly we had to stop because we didn’t know what a tipple was. In case you don’t know, it’s a chute that uses gravity to get the coal down from the mine and sorts it according to size.
Aladdin Coal Tipple

Aladdin Coal Tipple


Mid-afternoon we arrived at Mt. Rushmore. I asked John what we were going to do there. He responded, look at a giant head, then look at another giant head, etc. Actually the museum and video were more interesting.
Mt. Rushmore (Four Big Giant Heads)

Mt. Rushmore (Four Big Giant Heads)

So we are making our way east. It’s only taken over two weeks to get to South Dakota. We are staying at Audries Abend Haus cottages. Our cottage is named Heinrich. George mentioned that we were the only people he knew who stayed in accommodations named after infamous WW2 guys (as in Himmler.) Our cottage has a bison head in it. It also has lots of warning signs like don’t turn the air conditioner past 6, don’t throw things down the toilet, don’t have visitors, no children, unplug the coffee pot and more and more.

The cottage has no internet and no phone so posting will be spotty for the next few days. We are currently at the library at the South Dakota School for Mining and Technology. We stopped on our way to the Museum of Geology which is on the campus.

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 15, DEVILS TOWER, WY – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2007

We left Worland and traveled through the Big Horn Mountains on our way to Devils Tower. The ride through the mountains was really pretty, a sort of alpine scene with towering evergreens and meadows full of lupine. 

When we reached Gillette, we were hoping to take a coal mine tour.  Unfortunately the tours were at 9 and 11 and we got there at 12:30. So we had some lunch and continued on to Devils Tower.

Devils Tower is this monolith rising 1200 ft. above the surrounding area.  It is actually magma that pushed up through the surrounding rock and cooled while still beneath the surface.  Then the softer rock eroded away over time leaving this otherworldly tower.  It is striated with 5,6, and 7 sided columns.  In the rockfall you can see all these rocks with 120 degree surfaces.  John and I do the loop trail around the tower.  Very cool.

Devil's Tower

Devil’s Tower


Hexagonal piece

Hexagonal piece

It’s a real mecca for rock climbers which brings me to our accommodations.  We are staying at the Devils Tower Lodge.  It is a prefab house which used to be the head park ranger’s quarters – so not so luxurious.  It’s run by Frank who is a dedicated climber.  He is quite garrulous. We are the only guests. The other couple who was supposed to be here had car trouble and didn’t make it.

John and I are as friendly as we can possibly be.  Frank tells us a lot about climbing. The three of us have dinner together that Frank has made.  It is quite good, a lentil stew and salad with biscuits.  It’s like home cooking.  Frank talks.  We eat. Frank talks some more.  We eat some more.  Frank talks some more. We eat dessert to be polite.  Around 9:15 (dinner was at 7), Frank gets a phone call.  We scurry into our room and lay on the bed like beached whales. Are we not cut out for this B and B thing?

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 14, WORLAND, WY – TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2007

THE HAZELTON RD./CLOUD PEAK SKYWAY LOOP

Today we did the Hazelton Road/Cloud Peak Skyway Loop. We started out driving out of Worland towards Ten Sleep, Wyoming. The first stop along the route was at Castle Gardens, a twelve-mile detour down a dirt road. At Castle Gardens there were many sandstone hoodoos, rock that has been transformed into odd shapes by wind and ice.

Castle Gardens

Castle Gardens


Along the way we saw pronghorn antelope, even a family with a baby. The hills are beautifully green with lots of wildflowers. On our way to a picnic site we came across a flock of sheep being guarded by a llama. I didn’t know this (but John did) that llamas are employed as sheepherders because they are unafraid of the usual predators of sheep. There was a dog there as well but he seemed to be resting while the llama was at full alert and started herding the sheep away from us.
Llama on guard!

Llama on guard!


We got to a beautiful campground with picnic tables to have our lunch. The ground was covered with lupine and small white flowers.
Lupine

Lupine


We continued our ascent until we reached Powder River Pass, almost at the tree line at 9666 feet. I didn’t do too much exploring there as the altitude made my lungs unhappy.
Powder River Pass

Powder River Pass


From there we descended into Ten Sleep for some postcard and ice cream buying at Dirty Sally’s. Ten Sleep is a really small town with a population of about 450. It is named Ten Sleep because it was half way between a twenty days walk from one major Indian gathering point to another.
Dirty Sally's

Dirty Sally’s

I am not sure what our internet possibilities will be for the next 5 days. Hopefully, I’ll find somewhere to post but if nothing appears for the next few days, keep checking.

On to Devils Tower and the Badlands!

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 13, WORLAND, WY – MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2007

WHISPERING GIANTS AND THE FRUSTRATION OF NO INTERNET OR WIMBLEDON

Today we got up early to play tennis. Since it’s been quite hot here we wanted to get out before the temperature was in the 80s. After playing for about 45 minutes, a guy came who was the tennis program director and told us that he was holding a tennis clinic for kids on the courts. He was very nice and told us to go over to the high school where there were more courts. He also invited us to come play Tuesday evening with their league. Everyone here in Worland that we’ve met has been friendly and hospitable.

Later we went to the library where they have wireless internet service. For some reason because it was a secured network John couldn’t get on but I had no problem. I posted my blog and downloaded some pictures and looked at the tennis scores from Wimbledon. How frustrating it is not to be able to watch on TV! It’s like if your favorite football team were on TV but you were blacked out for every game. Grrrr! I doubt if we will be able to see it in our next two accommodations either.

On the way over to the Visitor’s Information to get some pamphlets on scenic tours in the area, we looked at the wood carving of a Whispering Giant. There are a series of 36 giant Native Americans throughout the West. We also stopped to take a couple of pictures at the Pioneer Park of a tribute to the canal diggers who made the irrigation of this valley possible.

Whispering Giant

Whispering Giant


John and the canal diggers

John and the canal diggers


John and civic art

John and civic art

Then we went off in search of a geologic formation called the Whales. They are supposed to look like giant eels or whales swimming out of the rock. The directions were to take a road heading south out of Worland for about 10 miles. Well, we tried a lot of roads, state highways, county roads, BLM dirt roads and as much as we used our imagination we couldn’t find any whales.

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 12, WORLAND, WY – SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2007

JUST AN ORDINARY DAY

Today we take care of stuff. There is laundry to do and grocery shopping. Also we need to find an internet site. So we drive around Worland, me with my computer on my lap, trying to pick up a signal. It was probably made more difficult seeing as how it’s Sunday. BLM office, nope. McDonald’s, no. High school, no signal. We get a lot of people’s personal signals but none are strong enough. Wait, what’s this? The Super 8, three bars! We pull into their parking lot and I thought we’d sit in the car and use their signal. But it was hot (and who knew that Wyoming would be so hot, about 100 each day we’ve been here) so John goes in and asks if we can sit in the lobby. No problem. So we are able to catch up on mail and, of course, the all-important blogging.

After that we drive around Worland a bit. We check out the fields being watered by giant Zimmatic machines. The picture here is pretty much what this area looks like.

Giant Zimmatic waterer

Giant Zimmatic waterer


Worland is in a river valley that grows sugar beets, corn and barley. The barley is for Coors beer. There’s a big Coors grain elevator just outside of town. They also mine bentonite here. It is used in cat litter. Later we find tennis courts. They are Astroturf with sand as a top dressing, a new surface for us. We plan on playing Monday.
Don't be carrying any other produce!

Don’t be carrying any other produce!


I am including some pictures of our charming cottage. Even though the stove doesn’t really work well enough to cook dinner and the bedroom is a bit cramped, I would recommend the Herzburg Hideaway if you happen to be traveling through Worland, Wyoming.
The charming Herzburg Hideaway

The charming Herzburg Hideaway


At the back of the cottage, there is a large garden, a picnic table and chairs and also a wagon full of geraniums.
Back of the Herzburg Hideaway

Back of the Herzburg Hideaway


This is the living room. The television only has basic cable. Since there is no internet and no Weather Channel, we actually have to go outside to discover what the weather is like!
Basic living room

Basic living room


Finally here is our eensy bedroom. I have to crawl over John to get out of bed to go to the old-timey bathroom. It’s like I’ve been transported back to my childhood house.
Eensy bedroom

Eensy bedroom

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 11, WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT – SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2007

I am posting this a day late because when we got to our next lodgings there was no internet! So this afternoon (Sunday) John and I got in the car and I turned my computer on and we drove around looking for signal. Currently we are sitting in the lobby of the Super 8 Motel. The people here were nice enough to let us use their signal even though we are not staying here.

But on to yesterday’s adventures…

After a bad night of my not breathing well, we decided to depart a day early for the lower altitude of Worland, WY. I think a combination of breathing a lot of gases from the geothermal features, the altitude, and the exertion irritated my lungs. So I am coughing and a little breathless today.

On our way out of Yellowstone (which took forever. People! It’s only elk!), we were impeded by a herd of bison. Once again they ignored the warning signs about keeping away from humans and walked within ten feet of our car. There must have been twenty or more, and babies too. Very cute but a little scary that they were so close to the car. Mother bison can be very protective.

Eek! These bison are too close!

Eek! These bison are too close!

Then we went on to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It was amazing! It is a very deep, colorful gorge with two waterfalls from the Yellowstone River. On the way out you descend down about 3500 feet. They are doing road construction on this piece of the road right now so it was all gravelly with no guardrails. It’s not my favorite place to be. There are no pictures since I wasn’t looking.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

We got to Worland around 5ish. The Herzberg Hideaway where we are staying is a charming little cottage set in a large yard with lots of flowers and trees. The house itself is filled with country-type antiques – old canisters, photos, dolls and even a handmade quilt. Although I think it was probably constructed for smaller people with less stuff, we are finding ways to fit ourselves
Big drawback is no internet! Tomorrow John and I are going to troll around town with our laptops to see if we can pick up a signal somewhere.

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 10, WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT – FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2007


Mud Pot

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Today we spent looking at waterfalls, geysers, fumeroles and mud pots. This is a picture of a mud pot. You can see the mud flying up into the air. The surface is reminiscent of Mario Batali’s description of spaghetti sauce reaching blupanage. We hiked around several of the sites such as Artist’s Paintpots and the whole Norris complex. About 2 PM we decided we were geothermaled out. Tomorrow we are heading west out of West Yellowstone to see some Lewis and Clark stuff.

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 9, WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT – THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2007

Today John and I toured the lower loop of Yellowstone National Park.  Right away we saw bison.  We pulled in and I took probably ten pictures of the bison as they got closer and closer.  Then I put a car between myself and the bison.  Little did I know that we would see lots of bison and that while people are supposed to keep 75 ft. between them and the bison, no one seemed to have told the bison about staying 75 ft. away.

Obey the rules!

Obey the rules!


We also saw elk.  In fact by the end of the day we were commenting, “People, it’s only elk, keep moving!”

There were so many wonderful geothermal features.  My favorite one was Prismatic Lake.  The steam rises up in all the colors of the rainbow due to the multicolored rock. It’s amazing to think that all this activity is going on under your feet.  It’s like walking on a time bomb.  We also saw many geysers from ones just sending bubbles to the surface of a pond to Old Faithful which shoots up about 180 ft.  By the end of the day these geezers were geysered out.

Blue steam rising from prismatic pool

Blue steam rising from prismatic pool


Geothermal pool

Geothermal pool


Old faithful with a geyser behind him

Old faithful with a geyser behind him

Tomorrow we do the upper loop.Hopefully by the end of tomorrow we won’t be saying, “People, keep moving.  It’s only a bison!” 

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 8, WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2007

This morning we bade a fond farewell to Teton Springs and traveled on to Grand Teton National Park.

So here’s a funny story (at least to us.)  Many years ago we were traveling in Arizona and we came across  pointy mountains named Dos Cabezas. What could cabezas mean?  We decided that cabezas must mean breasts  because that’s what the mountains looked like. Hah, were we stupid!  Cabezas means heads.  But now, here in Wyoming we have found the real cabezas, I mean tits. Because that is what Tetons means.

The real cabezas

The real cabezas

We drove through the park and found a place for a scenic picnic. We had some leftover organic sausage and some yummy Grandma’s bread from Bountiful, Ut.  It was quite idyllic.

We also learned some amazing geology here. The uplift of the Tetons was simultaneous with a sinking of the valley floor.  The actual distance between the sandstone that was the lake bottom before all this geology happened is on the top of the Tetons and buried below the valley – thirty thousand feet apart!  There has been so much erosion that the now the distance appears to be less.  Plus, as you can see in the picture (I know, there’s no picture), there’s an amazing inclusion in Mt. Moran that was molten rock being forced up. It’s the dark stripe in the rock. John and I love this stuff!

Molten lava inclusion

Molten lava inclusion

From Grand Teton NP we drove into Yellowstone NP.  On the way there natural feature after natural feature was named after Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  We could only imagine that as they approached each new feature Lewis called out, “dibs!”  And thus we have Lewis Lake, Lewis River, Lewis Falls, etc., etc. John and I decided that Meriwether as a lad hated his first name (having wished to be called Louis Lewis or Louie Lewie) and therefore for had a need to mark everything with Lewis rather than Meriwether. What was Clark doing during this time.  I have no idea, but since my maiden name is Clark I am assuming his was taking the higher ground and letting Lewis have his way.

We made our way to West Yellowstone which is an ugly, over commercialized place whose only reason for existence is to feed and lodge all the visitors. After finding out that our reservation had been cancelled (huh?), we played the it’s our anniversary card and got a better room at the same price.  We got some KFC, watched So You Think You Can Dance (I know, Ryan, lame), and exchanged the Best Western’s scratchy sheets for our own.

Tomorrow the real Yellowstone adventure! 

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 7, VICTOR, ID – TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2007

GRAND TETON BREWERY

This section of my post is a little out of order. We visited the brewery last today not first. We noticed this little brewery across the street from the Teton Springs entrance. The sign said they had free tastings. Well, we are all for the free stuff. They brew  several different beers mostly in the ale-type category. They were quite good. The beers have interesting names like Bitch Creek and Mammoth Mai Bock.

John outside brewery

John outside brewery

THIS BEER’S FOR YOU

Here’s John at the tasting station. He knows a lot about beer ( a lot about a lot of other stuff, too). He and Rob, who seemed to be the owner, talked a lot of technical beer stuff. I would have been impressed but I was too busy with the tasting.

Bar man

Bar man

POPPIES

The one time we were in Vail, CO we noticed that all the flowers were really brilliant. I mean really, really brilliant. John says it has to do with the altitude. Here are some poppies in a field in Victor. They are incredibly brilliant too. Maybe not as colorful as Vail but we’re only at 6500 feet here.

Poppies

Poppies


HIGH ALTITUDE TENNIS

Both yesterday and today we went over to the club here to play a little tennis. Yesterday we bought special high altitude balls. Otherwise the balls really go flying. For a special price (read expensive) you can buy a can at the clubhouse. They are even labeled with the Teton Springs logo. Another thing that high altitude tennis does is leave you a little breathless and feeling a little nauseated. Such fun!

Special Teton balls

Special Teton balls


SERVING TIME IN IDAHO

Here’s a picture of John going up after his serve. John has less trouble with the altitude than I do. Probably because he is in better shape. I hit some serves too but I won’t let John take a picture of me doing it.

John serving

John serving

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 7, VICTOR, ID – MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2007

JUST AN ORDINARY DAY

Actually we didn’t do much today. Didn’t take any pictures. Bought some halibut, made insulated fish for dinner (the best! even better with Chilean sea bass), did the laundry, played tennis in some very windy and cool weather and generally just vegged.

Some days on a vacation you just need a regular day. A down day, a vacation from the vacation kind of day to re-energize so that you can appreciate the wondrous things you’ll see next.

Tomorrow it will probably be another slow day with some tennis, maybe a massage and a visit to the local brewery. On Wednesday we are off to Grand Teton National Park and then to Yellowstone.




Victor sunset

Originally uploaded by marymompics

SUNSET IN VICTOR, IDAHO

Last night we were treated to this spectacular sunset.

Peggy on 6/18/2007 at 6:37 am said: Edit

What a beautiful sunset! We watched a Marco-like sunset on Shaw bay on the 15th…it really got its act together by the time you saw the one on the 17th. Looked up some moose dishes in one of my cookbooks…all I could find was the french version “mousse” which isn’t quite the same……
Marymom on 6/18/2007 at 7:59 am said: Edit

Haven’t found any moose in the grocery stores here. Perhaps like deer/venison, it has a more palatable French name – elan du Canada.

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 6, KEMMERER, UT TO VICTOR, ID – SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2007


Afton Arch

Originally uploaded by marymompics

THE HORN ARCH

Today we left Kemmerer for Victor. We passed through Cokeville, WY. Cokeville High School is the Home of the Panthers. John thought a better name might be Home of the Dealers. I suggested the Home of the Users. So many choices, such a mundane result. Then we passed through Afton, WY the site of an antler arch. These are antlers from elk who died of natural causes.




Largest Arch

Originally uploaded by marymompics

AND WHAT’S THE MOTTO FOR THIS TOWN?

John has suggested “the horniest town in America!”


Teton Springs

Originally uploaded by marymompics

A HUMBLE ABODE

So we’ve left cellblock K in Kemmerer and now we are ensconced in cellblock W (W for WOW!) This house in Teton Springs, ID has 4 bedrooms, a great kitchen, a beautiful great room and a glorious view. John and I are thinking that this may be a great place for a summer vacation for a couple of weeks next summer. Perhaps this will be our vacation away from our vacation this year. Great house, great view, tennis courts, golf course……


Kitchen

Originally uploaded by marymompics

HOW TO COOK A MOOSE

First rent an incredible house that has an incredible kitchen and a great view. Find a moose. Opt for a steak. Buy a couple bottles of wine. Yeah, I think we can manage here.




Living Room

Originally uploaded by marymompics

LIVING LARGE

So we think we’ll be comfortable here. (duh) We’ve got two DSL lines, a comfortable couch, TV and, perhaps we’ll visit the Tetons some time soon. Maybe not tomorrow though…..

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 5, KEMMERER, WY – SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 2007

FOSSIL BUTTE NATIONAL MONUMENT

Today we go to Fossil Butte National Monument. The buttes around Kemmerer were once the lake bottom of Fossil Lake. I don’t know how they knew it was called Fossil Lake. Fish tend to not name things. Anyhow, at the visitor’s center there are many examples of flora and fauna discovered at Fossil Butte. There’s a video that explains how it all happened and helpful rangers. We decide to head out to the Fossil Lake Trail and explore.

Fish Fossil

Fish Fossil


FOSSILS SEEKING FOSSILS

Leaving the visitor’s center, we head for the Fossil Lake Trail. This is a 1.5 mile loop with a 300 ft. gain. The gain is in the first half mile. Now John and I haven’t done a lot of hiking lately. And we haven’t done any at 7000 feet. So there is a lot of huffing and puffing especially by me. John picks up one piece of rock that has a black line on it and we decide it is a fossil of a leaf. Probably not but we are grasping at straws, or leaves.

John at the start of the Fossil Lake Trail

John at the start of the Fossil Lake Trail


BULLWINKLE

And what do we see on our hike? Fossil fish? No, a moose! It is quite exciting. Our tromping down the hill must have bothered the moose and he takes off crashing out of the Aspen thicket and racing across the street. I had said to John that my goal was to see a moose and voila, a moose.

A moose!

A moose!


WHOA!

As I said yesterday, we didn’t whoa the first time around. The Energy Inn looks pretty bleak from the ouside. No landscaping, no portico to pull under as you check in, even the parking lot is only partially paved. But you can’t always tell a book by its cover.

Whoa!

Whoa!


CELL BLOCK K (for Kemmerer)

So here it is, our motel, The Energy Inn. To be truthful, although it is kind of bare bones, it’s not too bad. It’s clean enough, the showerhead is high on the wall (a must for John), the beds are comfortable and at least two pillows are okay. There’s even a refrigerator and a microwave. I’ve taken some additional pictures so I can post them on TripAdvisor. I figure people should at least be able to see what they are booking.

The Energy Inn

The Energy Inn

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 4, LEHI, UT TO KEMMERER, WY – FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2007

EVANSTON, WY

Today we make our way to Kemmerer, WY (the fossil fish capital of the world) with a stop in Evanston, Wy. It is a good day to get out of the Salt Lake City area since it is supposed to have record heat and the smog is already hanging thick in the air. Evanston seems like a good place to stop for lunch. And it is. They have an historic downtown where the buildings have been preserved even though converted to other uses. John and I take a walk around and then have lunch at the Main St. Deli. The picture is of a building on Main St. built in 1887.

Main St., Evanston, Wyoming

Main St., Evanston, Wyoming

THE HOMESTEAD

Then we go the rest of the way to Kemmerer. I have been a little concerned about our lodging in Kemmerer. We are staying at the no-picture-on-the-internet Energy Inn. As we pull up we can understand why there is no picture. We drive by and look around Kemmerer and Diamondville to see if there is a more palatable choice. The other choices are much scarier. So we come back and check in. It’s not great but I think we can manage. We then take a look around Kemmerer.

First we go to the Fossil Country Museum. They have lots of exhibits of early life in Kemmerer. I love looking at ads with prices like $5.60 for a wringer washing machine and $.08 for a meal. Then we visit to the J.C. Penney home. He lived in Kemmerer when he established his first store.

Penney Homestead

Penney Homestead

THE MOTHER STORE

The store which is in its third location is one of the longest continually operating department stores in the U.S. Inside it just has regular Penney merchandise. I want to buy something historically significant but there’s really nothing here that I can’t buy in the Penney’s at the mall at home.

Tomorrow we go to Fossil Butte National Monument for some hiking and fossil watching. Then I don’t know what else there is to do here.

Mother Store

Mother Store

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 3, LEHI, UT – THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2007

SOME ARE SAVED

Today, as promised, we do not hike up 1000 ft. in a mile and half. Long ago we did something stupid while hiking and we do not want to repeat our mistake. Instead we engage in urban archeology. We pick up a brochure about Lehi, UT and decide to look for some of the places that are listed. The first place we visited is the train station. Only ten years after the transcontinental spike was driven in, the foresighted Mormon elders extended a line down to Lehi. An economic boom was the result.

The refurbished Utah Southern Railroad Depot

The refurbished Utah Southern Railroad Depot

AND SOME ARE NOT

While the depot has fared well with being restored and all, the bank which later became a hospital across the street has not. We go downtown after seeing it and find a book in the library with pictures of the old buildings. The bank building was very elaborate with an embellished pediment, finials and beautiful windows. Later it was whitewashed and turned into the hospital. You can still see the “Hospital” sign on the side. After a new hospital was built, it fell into disrepair. But there seems to be hope. Workmen and dumpsters are at the site this afternoon.

The old bank/hospital in disrepair

The old bank/hospital in disrepair

The final picture is of an old sign painted on the side of building downtown. It’s for Keeley’s Ice Cream. We saw a picture from the 1930’s with the sign. Unfortunately most of the old buildings downtown have been replaced with ugly 50’s, 60’s and 70’s buildings. The main street is a truck route with giant gravel-type trucks roaring through. What could have been an historic and quaint downtown has been lost. We see very few people on the street.

Keeley's Ice Cream, Lehi

Keeley’s Ice Cream, Lehi

In the afternoon we go to see Pirates 3. We enjoy it. It is kind of convoluted and hokey but that’s okay. Then we go out for sushi. Amazingly all three of our meals here have been pretty good.

Tomorrow, we’re off to Kemmerer, WY, fossil fish capital of the world!

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 2, LEHI, UT – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2007

THIS IS THE PITS!

No actually this is one giant pit. The biggest in the world. So big you can see it from outer space. It is the Kennecott Copper Mine. If you look at the large size of the picture, you’ll see a tiny yellow dot by the pond at the bottom. It’s a school bus! The pit, which used to be a mountain, is 3/4 of a mile deep and 2 1/2 miles wide. This was really interesting. There’s a museum about the mine and an overlook and, of course, a gift shop. We spent a few hours here. John learned several new things. I learned thousands of new things but have already forgotten them.

Pit at the Kennecott Mine

Pit at the Kennecott Mine


We followed our mine adventure by going to the Thanksgiving Point’s Museum of Ancient Life. First we saw a 3-D Imax movie about dinosaurs. Except I didn’t see it in 3-D. Stupid mono-vision eyes refuse to let me focus correctly. But John enjoyed the 3-D and we learned stuff about dinosaurs. Then we went on to the museum which has the most totally intact dinosaur fossils in the world. We really enjoyed the exhibits .
And then a dinosaur ate my head

And then a dinosaur ate my head


We then tour the 55 acre Thanksgiving Point Garden. The gardens are pretty nice. Not as nice as say, Longwood Gardens, but pleasant. We enjoy the koi pond and the water lilies pictured here.

Tomorrow we are supposed to hike from 6000 to 7000 feet in a mile and a half and then do a cave tour followed by hiking down 1000 feet. But we’re tired. I think we are going to the movies instead.

Water lilies

Water lilies

ANNIVERSARY TRIP, DAY 1, ST. GEORGE TO LEHI, UT – TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2007

Today I’ve been to Nephi, Lehi and have just connected using Wi-fi.  There must be a limerick in there somewhere but I am too tired to figure it out right now.

The trip gets off to a rousing start. We leave about 9 AM and stopped at an overlook to take a picture of St. George. Uh oh, camera doesn’t work.  Battery is dead even though I just charged it yesterday. So, although there were supposed to be myriad pictures adorning this first post, it’s just going to be text.  ( I think I did something wrong yesterday.  Tonight after charging the battery again, it seems to be working.)

Today’s venture encompasses about 280 miles, one of the longer daily mileages of the trip. Around lunchtime we pull off in Fillmore, UT.  Fillmore is named after President Millard Fillmore.  Apparently Fillmore appointed Brigham Young governor of the newly established Utah Territory and, Young, trying to suck up, named the first territorial capitol, Fillmore, and the county that it’s in Millard.  This didn’t work so well since it took another 40 years for Utah to become a state, the whole polygamy thing didn’t set so well with Washington, you know.

Anyway, they partially built a territorial capitol building in Fillmore which they used for one year.  It has a park around it and we decide to have our picnic there. It’s quite pretty with rose gardens, picnic venues and the capitol where you can take a self-guided tour.

One of our goals on this trip is to be friendly. John and I are not very outgoing so it takes some effort to do this. There are these older women setting up for a picnic lunch shortly after we get there. So I talk to them. They are from a Red Hat Club. (Don’t get me going about Red Hat Clubs. It is an oxymoron that women form a club so they can all be individualistic together.)  The trouble with talking with people is that sometimes they don’t want to stop talking to you.  As we back away towards the restrooms, one of the women is still talking.

We get to the Lehi Best Western Timpanogos Inn around 3.  It’s okay. Sheets and bed are comfortable. We are on the second floor with no elevator so there is a lot of schlepping. After we get all our stuff upstairs, we promptly take a nap.  Good times!

We eat at McGrath’s Seafood House for dinner. I ask for scallops rare and they are actually rare.  Yay! We talked to a guy who was there checking out jet engine repair. He went to MIT and was there at the same time as John.  Small world.

Tomorrow we are off to the copper mine and the dinosaur museum. We are having fun!

READY, SET ….

Today’s the day! At last! We’ve packed our stuff. And checked our lists. And eaten all the food in the refrigerator. Now just pack the car and we are gone. As you can see from the picture, I am a very organized person. I have a folder full of lists, lists for going to Utah, lists for going back to California, lists for vacations, probably I need a list for lists. Some important things on the list this time include my tea, a waterboiler for my tea, sheets and pillowcases in case I can’t stand the sheets in the hotels, mugs (because who likes drinking out of styrofoam) and on and on. Yeah, I’m a little anal but it keeps me calmer and I don’t forget stuff.

Lists!!

Lists!!


Goodbye fish! We have several fish in the pond behind our house in Utah. The solid pinkish white one is Edgar and the large multi-colored one is Chauncy. When we are in St. George we feed them each afternoon. They are little piggies hanging about our portion of the pond from about noon on hoping that we’ll come out and feed them. We’ve been through quite a lot of fish in the past 4 years, heron and kingfishers take their toll. So it’s always sad to leave them because who knows how many will be left when we get back. Edgar and Chauncy have been a constant. I think they are too big to eat.
Edgar and Chauncy

Edgar and Chauncy

So goodbye fish! Take care. Watch the sky.

PRE ANNIVERSARY TRIP TRIP PART 2

On Wednesday night we stay over in Tonopah, NV. It’s the only place between nowhere and St. George that has accomodations. We have been staying at the Ramada where you can roll three dice to see if you get a free room but we decid to try the Best Western Hi-Desert instead this time. Much better. Comfortable beds, decent sheets and free breakfast. Also, importantly, it has a microwave. That means that instead of eating in the few horrible restaurants, you can go to the store and buy something to microwave. Much better. We dine on macaroni and cheese and a pasta dish.

One thing that I have always found humorous is their high school mascot. Tonopah High is the Home of the Muckers as you can see on the side of the gym. A mucker is the guy who shovels out all the ore and stuff that the miners have extracted from the mine face. Anyway, you can bet that opposing teams have made up some mighty interesting cheers rhyming with mucker!

Tonopah High School Home of the Muckers

Tonopah High School Home of the Muckers

As we leave Tonopah on US 6, we pass the Tonopah Rocket Test Range. We’ve always kind of wanted to go down this road and see what they are doing. Maybe next time.

Tonopah Rocket Test Range

Tonopah Rocket Test Range

We turn down NV 375, also known as the Extra-Terrestrial Highway. So sad, the sign proclaiming it as such has been taken down at both ends of the highway. The only one that remains is the one near Rachel, NV. This area is all open range. That means while traveling at 70+ mph down the road, it is perfectly normal to spot a cow crossing the road. Why did the cow cross the road? Perhaps in the hope of becoming ground beef.

Ground beef on the hoof

Ground beef on the hoof

John and I continue on the Extra-Terrestrial Highway to Rachel, NV. As the sign says the population has 98 humans and ? aliens. What category shall I put John in? Hmmmmm…..

Alien John

Alien John

Most people outside of those who travel the deserts of Nevada and California have never come across the Alien Fresh Jerky signs. In fact, you can order some for yourself by going to www.alienfreshjerky.com. The base of operations is Baker, California, a dismal little town on I-15 in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Baker’s other claim to fame is the world’s tallest thermometer.

Alien Fresh Jerky!

Alien Fresh Jerky!

PRE ANNIVERSARY TRIP TRIP

On Tuesday we leave for St. George, UT. We have some business to attend to (such as renewing our car registration) before we leave on the real anniversary trip 6/12/07.

We think it will be fun to take the shorter distance but longer duration trip to St. George through Yosemite NP. We pack a picnic and decide to picnic by Lake Tenaya. Picnicking turns out to be a bad idea. Here’s a picture of John braving the elements at Olmsted Point. In the background is Half Dome, a granite dome sheared away by glaciation. It is so cold. Probably in the 30’s with the wind howling. We picnic in the car.

John enjoying the summer weather at Olmstead Point in Yosemite National Park

John enjoying the summer weather at Olmstead Point in Yosemite National Park

On a nice note, we ask a German tourist to take a picture of the two of us. We get to talking (in English, of course) and he tells us that he had just retired and this is his first trip to the United States. He’s been visiting for 5 weeks and tells us what a great country this is. That makes us feel good. With all the negative reaction around the world to American interventions and culture, it’s nice to find someone who still thinks we’re pretty okay.

We also pass Mono Lake. It’s a catch basin for the runoff of all the mountains around it. So there’s lots of inflow and no outflow. It’s full of salts and minerals that get more and more concentrated due to evaporation and the fact that Los Angeles has been sucking out the watertable below it. The level of the lake has dropped incredibly since the 50’s. There are weird mineral towers sticking up out of it called tufa.

Mono Lake

Mono Lake