Thoughts on our trip. Sept. 22, 2017

We just left the Loveless Café in Nashville for supper on our way home.  I have wanted to go there for a long time and it did not disappoint.  Very good Food!  The fried chicken was excellent!IMG_4153IMG_4157                                                                                                               We feel very blessed and thankful to God that we have been able to take this trip and see so much of our country that we have not seen. We put a lot of planning into this trip and got to do most of the things we wanted and some things we didn’t plan. We have had a great time even though we have missed our family.   We have a few random thoughts in no particular order throughout this trip.

Wish we could have stopped and explored every little town.

There should be more rest areas.

We are in the middle of nowhere.

Is he really taking his pants off?

They should have ice cream.

Wish I had two sets of washer and dryers at home.  Laundry gets done quick.

I wish I had taken a picture of that.

Others nations enjoy our national parks.

Orientals like to model pose for their pictures even in the desert.

Most little towns have murals.

Skunk Point Picnic Area ahead?

Hope we make it to the bathroom before that tour bus does.

Every chipmunk is cute but I’m ready to see a bear or something big.

7 cars in 2 hours.

A school bus sign in the middle of nowhere.  Where are the kids and the school?

God is the great Creator and very creative!

Local Cafes have the best food, friendliest people, and best prices.

I have never seen so many drive thru coffee places.

Love the cooler weather.

A school in the middle of nowhere with sports facility.  Who do they play?

My hiking boots are really starting to smell.

Lets buy febreeze.

Just stay between the lines

I miss my family.

Finally blue skies and not smoke.

Do bugs desire to die on any windshield or just ours.

Miles and miles of apple orchards and not apple stands.

One of our nicest rooms was the cheapest.

Which magnet should I get?

Oh no, ice cream store is already closed.

We were probably the only ones excited to get on this ferry for the first time.

Jigsaw puzzles  on the tables on the ferry to work.

Sign – In case of flood climb to safety.

Pray we make our next flight.

Times flies on vacation.

There are deer crossing signs everywhere.

They shouldn’t put wildlife viewing signs up so if you don’t see any, you won’t be disappointed.

Our best night sleep was in a tent.

We passed by enough corn fields to probably feed the world.

Attendance was up at most of the parks and some were stretching the limits of the facilities.

More traffic?

Would love to go back to Glacier National Park and stay at Many Glacier Hotel for a few days.

The goat tried to go in the bathroom with me.

Hope I don’t step in anything on the way to the bathroom.

Accidentally making the alarm go off in the jeep is not a good thing when your trying to view elk.

Where is Mick Dodge?

Glad to be almost home.

God Bless You All and Love You!

 

 

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St. Louis, Missouri, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and headed home. Sept. 22

We were able to take our time this morning. St. Louis was only a little over an hour away. We had stopped at a little motel last night in High Hill, Missouri.  It was cheap and so very nice.  Will definitely give them a great review on tripadvisor. We found the breakfast place where the locals go and it was really good.

We drove to the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.  They are doing construction around the memorial and you go to the Old Courthouse first. It was neat to see it and walk around.  We watched a short movie. One of the most important cases tried in the American Court system began here in 1846, when a slave family initiated a lawsuit for their freedom. Dred and Harriet Scott’s lawsuit was not considered newsworthy at the time, however this case ultimately reached the United States Supreme Court where the Dred Scott Decision of 1857 pushed the nation into the Civil War. It was sad though, he only was free for a year before he died.

We felt like we did a hike today, an urban hike.  You have to just find parking wherever, and the meters only allow you two hours.  They are doing construction around the memorial so there is no parking there right now. We walked from the courthouse to the Memorial and it was 7 1/2 blocks. It was very interesting and we enjoyed going up in it and seeing the view.  On the way down we were seated in a tram car with a couple from the UK.  They were nice to talk to. They told us we should visit their country and we told them we would like to someday.  They told us they like our accent better than those New Yorkers. We liked their accent. IMG_7388IMG_7389IMG_7390        They were already starting to put decorations out for Christmas.IMG_7395IMG_7401IMG_7402IMG_7404IMG_7413

Travel Day, Sept. 21

We left really early this morning, 4:25 am.  We knew we had a long driving day and would just stop when we got tired.  We have reservations tomorrow for a tram ride in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.  We ended up driving 15 hours and stopped just a little over an hour from St. Louis.  We had some traffic delays along the way. We went through miles of farms, corn and soy beans as far as you could see. We also did a little geocaching.  We did not have one in the state of Nebraska and Iowa so we found one in both states.IMG_7373IMG_7376                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Where’s DonnaIMG_7378               We just happened to see this in Union, Iowa while geocaching. There was a sign you can’t see but it said to stop and take a selfie so we did.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Sept. 20

We were at the Big Horn Restaurant when they opened at 6:00.  That’s where we ate lunch yesterday. It was really good and reasonable. They had blueberry pancakes on the menu. They had a short and tall stack.  I asked if I could just get one pancake and one sausage gravy biscuit.  And this is what I got.IMG_7011     Barry told me I better put my big girl panties on and eat up.   Needless to say I couldn’t finish it, but it sure was good!  We had planned on doing a hike to Emerald Lake from Bear Lake trailhead.  It is very popular and the parking gets full early so you have to get there early. The ride there was very pretty.IMG_7023IMG_7027IMG_7041    We got there about 7:00 and the parking lot was already getting busy.  Bear Lake was a pretty lake.IMG_7046IMG_7133         We went back Nymph Lake and some streams that were pretty as well as the beautiful mountains all around us.IMG_7051IMG_7066IMG_7072IMG_7075      We hiked by another lake called Dream Lake.

We finally made it to Emerald Lake.IMG_7096IMG_7101IMG_7104IMG_7107           We enjoyed the hike coming back down and the view.IMG_7097IMG_7112IMG_7122IMG_7140  20170920_072941   We had planned to drive the Trail Ridge Road 48 miles across the park.  It is the highest road in elevation in the U.S.  The higher we got the colder and windier it was.  I have never seen Barry nervous driving before but he could feel the wind really bad driving and some of the edges were sheer drop-offs.  We made it to the Alpine Visitor Center.  Looking into a valley from there we got to see a big moose bull.IMG_7216      Here are a few views on the way up.  We decided to leave the visitor center and go back down the way we came.IMG_7160IMG_7165IMG_7170IMG_7177IMG_7185IMG_7190IMG_7205             We stopped at some of the little walks toward the bottom and looked around.  We saw this elk on a hillside grazing.IMG_7266            We saw some turkeys.IMG_7271       We stopped and had our leftover fried chicken for our picnic lunch. It was still just as good!  We then went by some lakes and were fortunate to see two young bighorn ewe sheep. A ranger told us that it was rare this time of year to see them.IMG_7284       We went back to the motel for a little bit and this was right across our motel in a residential area.IMG_7296        We went and walked around town for a little while.  We decided to go back to the lakes with something to eat for supper and wait for the elk to come.  We enjoy watching them.  There were several people there already and a ranger was there to give a talk about them at 6:00.  We could see them way off but only a few came to the lake.  The ranger said that about the first of October they start coming for the rutting season and there may be hundreds at a time there.IMG_7304      There was a young bull that came around four young females. They wouldn’t have anything to do with him.  The ranger said the females want the big antler ones and also if an older bulls antler gets broke or deformed they won’t choose that bull. He is just out of luck..IMG_7361       We saw a coyote in the distance and lots of magpies.IMG_7304IMG_7318IMG_7333            It was getting late so we went back to get ready for a travel day tomorrow.  One more stop before home.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Sept. 19

As usual we woke up before the alarm and left a little before 6:00. It was still dark.  We got down the road a little ways and a cute gray fox crossed in front of us.  We turned around to try and see if we could see it good enough to get a picture.  It was off the road a little and just staring at us.  It was just too dark to get a picture. All you could see was glowing eyes.   The sunrise was  in clouds but still pretty.IMG_6869IMG_6871          We were in some pretty scenery when it got light enough to see.  We ended stopping at a rest area.  It said no potable water.  There were no sinks in the bathroom but had hand sanitizer. There were two dryers though.  Couldn’t figure out why.  We drove through a couple of major cities, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Boulder.  The traffic was bad.  We like those scenic two lane roads better. The cities we went through did look like neat places with a lot to do.    It was lunch time by the time we got Estes Park, where we are staying. We went to the Big Horn restaurant. They had a good salad bar and we got fried chicken .IMG_4138 It was so good and we have leftovers for a picnic tomorrow.   We then entered the park.IMG_6888     The park is beautiful.IMG_6909IMG_6942IMG_6945      We wanted to do a hike but they wouldn’t let you in the area.  The parking lot was full so we plan on going early tomorrow to Bear Lake Trailhead and hike to Emerald Lake and then drive some more of the park.  We spotted our first elk.IMG_6936        We love spotting wildlife and taking pictures and watching them.  He was content to just lay there.  We drove further and higher and it got so windy.  I don’t know if I have been in such windy weather before.  We got out at a viewpoint and took a couple of pictures and hopped back in the jeep.IMG_6915IMG_6913       We started back into town but stopped at another visitor center on the way.  I did something Mama asked me not to do. Pet a bear.IMG_4146  I also got a picture of a magpie there.  I think they are neat looking birds.IMG_6954         We went back to Estes Park to check in our motel.  Estes Park is a nice town.  It reminds me a lot of Gatlinburg with all the shops and neat places to eat. Its the first park we have been to on this trip that is like that. Most of the parks did not have many stores or places to eat. Estes Park is really big. This is a picture taken as you come into the area.IMG_6884     We went and walked around a few shops.  We found this and decided not to get it:)20170919_165844    We did buy some ice cream and I found candied grapefruit slices that I love and are hard to find.  We decided to go back into the park around the pond area and see if the elk come to it.  We were told that late in the afternoon they usually come in that area.  On the way past some of the lodges and rooms, we saw this in someones yard.IMG_6957     Barry took this next picture and it turned out great.20170919_175312   We went to the pond area and there were so many people already parked and we had to go further up the road and walk back.  On the way walking we saw these on  the other side of the road.IMG_7001IMG_7006   There were only two elk at the pond and they were both young bucks. IMG_6981     Enjoyed our day and looking forward to another one tomorrow.  IMG_6978

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park, Sept. 18

We left Moab, Utah a little before 5:00.  It took us a little over 3 hours to get to Black Gunnison.  It is a very deep canyon. We did several overlook walks and one hike that had several different views .  We talked to a ranger where we started our hike and he said he had seen several bear this year and 3 mountain lions. We had no such luck while we were there but enjoyed the park.IMG_6553IMG_6567IMG_6599IMG_6605IMG_6608     And here is a picture of our dream job.IMG_6623                                                               We left there for Great Sand Dunes National Park. It was over 4 hours but the scenery the whole way was incredible.  Colorado is a beautiful place.  We got hung up in some road construction where you had to wait for a pilot car to lead you through and it took awhile but the scenery was gorgeous around us.

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We finally made it and for miles away we had been looking at the dunes and wasn’t sure that it was the dunes.IMG_6823IMG_6826  There is really only place there that is the store, gas station, restaurant, and handles the accommodations, The Great Sand Dunes Oasis.  I knew they made Navajo Frybread Tacos so we waited and ate a late lunch when we got there.  We shared one because it was so big.IMG_4136  We checked in and went and found our room.  I thought they had a motel.  Its mainly tiny cabins, rv sites, and tents you rent. They all share a bathroom house.  What I had rented was not a motel but a room at a duplex.  We had passed a building that said duplex on it and it was all by itself.  It was right near the park and the Great Sand Dunes was our view behind us. It was really nice and we had our own bathroom which is always nice to have.IMG_6747        And to the left side of the duplex was this view and we had a big window you could look out and see it.IMG_6834            Then we decided to go explore the dunes but we got lost and ran out of water.IMG_6804IMG_6807         Barry happened to find some wood somehow and had his pocket knife and with what energy he had left, whittled us a sand sled and we slid our way out.IMG_6752IMG_6772IMG_6759.JPGIMG_6778      Ya’ll know I’m kidding. Had to throw in some drama.  The sand sledding was so much fun but very tiring.  We had to walk at least 2/3 mile and then climb up dunes to sled.  We couldn’t do it many times.  It was so tiring walking back up the dunes and then back when we got finished.  Felt like we had hiked 10 miles.IMG_6762IMG_6784IMG_6791IMG_6810IMG_6812IMG_6825       We had a blast and here is  a sunset picture out our door.IMG_6842

Canyonlands National Park, Sept. 17

We got up really early to go watch the sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands. So did a lot of other people and their professional camera equipment.IMG_6321There were a couple who would move out of the way and offer you to take a picture and I appreciated it. I know my pictures probably don’t compare to what they got but I did get a few.IMG_6297IMG_6310IMG_6382IMG_6362    The scenery was so pretty.  It reminded me a lot of the Grand Canyon.IMG_6406IMG_6416IMG_6424IMG_6438    We did Grand View Point hike that went around the rim with great views.  We then went and hiked Aztec Butte.IMG_6470    We didn’t realize that you actually hike to the top. It was a neat hike.IMG_6454IMG_6458IMG_6459        On the way back on the trail we took a side trail to an old Pueblo Granary in the top of another butte.IMG_6473IMG_6476   When we left there we went and hiked up Whale Rock.IMG_6490IMG_6499IMG_6501IMG_6506      We met the nicest couple on top of that rock.  They were from Oregon but his wife is from  Mindanao, Philippines. They had a little boy with them that was not scared one bit of the climb or height we were at.  We had a wonderful chat on top of that big rock.  We took turns taking each others photos.  We took a few more photos on the way out.  It was dark on most of our way in the park and we didn’t see a lot of it coming in.

IMG_6511IMG_6541      We got back early and ate a late lunch at a food truck that we heard was really good and it was!IMG_6547IMG_6535      Just a couple of wildlife pictures today.IMG_6423IMG_6432IMG_6443IMG_6445