Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 1
18 July 2008
Not a propitious start. A migraine woke me up at 5 am. I managed to sleep again until
almost 6 am. Excedrine migraine dulled it to a mere headache so off to work I went.
My short list soon grew. Only one item went undone. I just could not face bending over to
finish unpacking that last box in the office.
I stuck it out until 5 pm. I started/resumed packing soon after I got home. Chris brought
supper from Outback and I stopped long enough to eat. Thank goodness I’d already written
my packing list. This migraine makes it hard to think. I finally set out at 9:20 pm, only
two plus hours later than I’d intended.
It’s 11:30 pm now and the van is packed. I’ve pulled my nightclothes and tomorrow’s
outfit and then my bag went into the van.
Up and out by 5 am. Time for my aching head to rest. Long day tomorrow.
Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 2
19 July 2008
Hickory, NC Cracker Barrel
I set my internal alarm clock for 4:30 am but my bladder was set for 3:30 am. Good thing, because we left at 4:37 am.
I napped some and read some before the sun rose. Car was a little cool so I wrapped up in the quilt from Kathy’s first husband’s family.
We smelled skunk, in passing, as we headed for the highway. Dad almost managed to miss the dead one on the road. That is an incredibly rancid smell. The van still has a whiff aobut. I suggested driving through tomato sauce. No one took me seriously.
We stopped at about 6:17 am to have breakfast. Our waitress’s name was Annette. I ordered hot tea and drank from my own supply.
Welcome to Tennessee. We stopped to get historic pamphlets for friends of Dad & Kathy. Hoowally homeschools his boys and they’re educational materials.
~11 am local time Crossville, TN
Lunch at McDonald’s – nuggets, diet coke, apples slices & 2 apple pies.
~12:30 pm CDT near River Bend?
Finished second round of snood. Kathy’s driving and Dad is listening to a Neil Diamond cd.
I finished Death in Holy Orders by PD James earlier. After lunch, but before I picked up my tatting. I hope to leave the book at our next stop [Bookcrossing.org].
1:47 pm CDT
Narrowly averted accident?
Saw a guy in big pickup pulling a large trailer; we smelled smoke. Then it’s obvious that the rear-most right tire is shredding. Kathy waited until a straightaway, hit her flashers, flashed her headlights and as we came even with the driver, she honked her horn as Dad gestured. Soon after, we saw the guy flip on his hazards and he slowed down. We were out of sight before he pulled off the road but we’re fairly certain that he did, soon afterwards.
[poem in pencil]
Summer sun, so much light
Reflects off chrome so bright.
Waves of heat from the road.
Rivers of asphalt that have flowed
From pens and pavers of DOT’s
Like streams to both seas.
Carrying travelers of business and pleasure
Vehicles of commerce and leisure.
Travelling west on vacation
No longer station to station
On the ribbons of steel.
Instead, motel and fast food meal.
The less direct route,
See what’s about
Road digressions along the way
Museums and parks and shopping, yay.
Time to talk.
Stop to walk.
History and stories of family and nation.
Take time for relaxation.
Take a look at scenery.
Admire the greenery.
Not just the goal, enjoy the journey.
It’s true, not just corny.
Truckers thread the states
Entire country, all the dates.
Like quilters who stitch
With lane, lines, median and ditch.
Patching the towns and days
Build community, a nation to raise.
From Manteo to Modesto, Key West to Point Hope,
The roads like threads, string, twine and rope.
4:23 pm CDT Memphis TN
La Quinta on Macon Cove, off Sycamore View Rd.
~6 pm Corky’s on Poplar
BBQ ribs & so forth
***** Small dining room, great food, BBQ slightly sweet
Had BBQ (pulled pork of course) sandwich and banana pudding. Huge sandwich and rich dessert.
9:45 pm Almost in bed
Check two of my email accounts. Caught up on eTatters; released a book on bookcrossing; IM’d with Bill F; and briefly checked Facebook.
Dad and Kathy hit the pool. They came back as I was about to brush my teeth.
I am very tired. And I forgot my card reader. Unless I find another way, I will not be downloading my camera until I get home.
Tropical Storm Cristobal is hitting Eastern NC with rain. If it stays that way and followed the predicted path, it will be a good thing.
Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 3
20 July 2008
6:47 am CDT, Memphis, TN
Dad woke up and turned on the lights at 5:52 am. That’s 8 minutes early. At 5:55 am, I gave up and got up.
I’ve showered and other ablutions and repacked my bags. I’m not used to living out of a suitcase.
8 am and we are leaving the hotel. I have left Planet of Whispers at the hotel for Bookcrossing. There’s a couple Little League Teams in the hotel & I feel that DeSade’s Valet is not a book for 13-14 year olds to find. Not a book that I wanted to read, myself. It came for free in a bag of books.
Leaving town, we passed St. Jude Hospital Complex. That includes the Memphis Grizzlies House (housing for families of St Jude patients, funded by professional basketball team). Visually striking is the Pyramid, the glass & steel pyramid arena.
8:20 am Arkansas border
Skipped the Arkansas welcome center.
12:30 pm Oklahoma border
Ozarks look like the Blue Ridge Mountains, but spread out.
On 3rd round, got a knot in the thread & can’t close the ring.
1:26 pm arrive at Sallisaw, OK and have lunch at a Taco Bell/KFC.
In town, I saw a carwash converted to a barbershop. Small town, with some historical sites.
~2 pm stopped for gas at a Phillips 66
2:30 pm McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System – transportation & flood control
[I’ve had to start keeping memo notes to look things up and then write in my journal later]
~2:40 pm We hit road construction, about 10 miles of it, ending at McIntosh County line.
3 pm Passed Lake Eufaula
3:30 sun behind clouds and the temperature dropped by 4F, from 101F to 97F
Soon after saw first oil well, then two more soon afterward.
~3:50 pm I took a picture of clouds, once with sunglass lens over camera and then once without.
4:54 pm Howard Johnson in Oklahoma City, next to the Cowboy Museum. Formerly the hotel was a Gardens Inns & Suites
6 pm off to supper at County Line, next to hotel. Took pictures.
Formerly it was the Kentucky Club and it’s been around about a hundred years. It was a dance and gambling club, run by the Mob. It still has some of the old fixtures and lots of old posters & ads.
It’s also haunted. “Russell” haunts the fireplace; he was killed there. A medium said that a female presence was in the women’s bathroom. The medium would not go into the basement; ‘not happy’. Our waitress doesn’t like to go down there either.
The food and service were great. Our table was in one of the old gambling niches. From the windows in the bar you could see the Capital dome.
So far, the trip looks a lot like NC, but without the kudzu.
I downloaded videos from Dad’s camera and we watched them. I wasn’t able to erase the disk, though.
I did the first tat demo for Kathy. I just showed her the knot. We were both too tired after futzing with the videos to do any more.
Never got a good internet/wifi signal, despite the hotel clerk’s attempts. She reset the router twice.
Oklahoma highway speed limits have one speed for cars & another one for trucks.
Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 4
21 July ‘08
6:40 am Light breakfast in the HoJo library. I had their cinnamon (packaged) bun and my tea, Majestic Morning. I’ll be hungry later.
Met National Guard Army guys, during breakfast. They’re in OKC for Search & Rescue Training. Very nice guys.
7:30 am All packed and ready to load car. Laptop still exiting.
8:30 am Off to the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. I took pictures of the mural on the western wall and of our hotel (HoJo0 from the museum parking lot.
1st pictures inside: Triptych of Yellowstone. 1 to establish size, 1 for ‘close look’ of 1 of all three. There were more triptychs in the banquet/meeting room but a meeting was about to begin so I didn’t want to take too long taking pictures. If you looked at the center painting, ‘closely’ you could see two individuals on the overlook. I overheard someone pointing them out, otherwise I would never have noticed them. They were that small.
Into the gardens: otter sculpture “Ring of Bright Water”, tiny frogs, koi, koi, Buffalo Bill, water people statue (look for dragonflies on the spears), heron statue
I took pictures of the military officer’s dress helmet & great coat. I want to show Chris but without flash, I’m not certain how well the pictures turned out.
Parade saddle: I’d love to know how much it weighs.
Canyon Princess statue and End of the Trail.
Colonel Tim McCoy, early actor in Westerns. He was an actual Army Colonel c. WWI and was fluent in multiple Native American dialects. Early Westerns (pre-Depression) frequently had real Native Americans as extras, for realism. I learned this in the Westerns in Hollywood & TV section of the museum.
I got a little lost in the Prix de West section. It was art/sensory overload.
~12:30 pm we had lunch at the Museum restaurant. I had shepherd’s pie and fruit salad, which was cut up fresh fruit. I decided against the buffet because I wanted a light lunch. Then the food was so good that I couldn’t stop eating.
At the gift shop I bought a couple shot glasses for Rosemary’s collection and a t-shirt & a couple pins for myself. I found nothing for Chris, coworkers, Leela, Hailey, Anitra or Steve.
[sticker from museum: black silhouette of cowboy with yellow bandanna and belt buckle against yellow mountain silhouetted against royal blue sky, all next to ‘National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’]
This is the sticker so that they knew that we had paid to tour the museum. If you were just going to the restaurant, you got a round green & gold sticker.
101F but it’s dry. That really does make a difference. For once ‘they say’ is true.
We left the museum ~1:30 pm and I napped. Dad woke me at 2 pm because the terrain had changed.
The wheat has been harvested. It’s very flat, more pastures with cattle or a dozen horses loose in the pastures. Lots & lots of sky.
And the state troopers use SUVs.
~2:30 pm We’re paralleling Route 66. I see a lot of streambeds, arroyos?, that are dry. Is there a drought or are they seasonal?
The grain silos are huge. They are more like silo complexes.
Before the Texas border, we passed a wind farm, big wind turbines. And a dust storm, or cloud, hit us, brief and orange.
2:45 pm I saw the 2nd, or was it 3rd, Cherokee Trading Post. It has gas $3.69.
I saw a truck “soil farming” but it turned out that it was just the company name.
Clouds splatter across the sky like paint flung from a brush.
4:22 pm Crossed into Texas panhandle
Don’t see any more farms, it’s ranches. There are fewer trees, a few clumps, but they are scattered.
See a barn, or shed, with murals painted on the walls. Very pretty. Wish I could have gotten a picture.
Soon after, see my first longhorns in the field.
The travel center is 100 miles inside the border, near Amarillo. No welcome center. 1st rest stops are picnic shelters only, no bathrooms.
At the first real shelter with facilities, we stopped. I took a panorama shot from the overlook. I also took pictures of the neat picnic shelters there.
They had a warning about rattlesnakes on the doors and about fires on the notice board. The interactive windmill exhibit was not active (couldn’t turn the display model) but it had neat info.
“Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.”
Texas highway speed signs have a day speed and a night speed.
Near Groom, TX (~exit 110)
Leaning water tower, used to be functioning. Made to advertise a now-defunct service station. Also saw a giant cross with a life-size Jesus Journey to Cross behind gift shop [looking back at my note, I remember the water tower and the giant cross but not the rest of that].
5:45 pm Finished 4th round of doily, despite problems. I ran out of thread 3 rings too soon, etc.
6 pm Amarillo, Ritz Airport Plaza Hotel
The Texas Travel Center closed at 5 pm.
Dad’s not feeling well, upset stomach. About 7 pm, Kathy & I went to Big Texan for supper. Kathy & Dad went there the last time they went to Colorado. The restaurant’s claim to fame is their offer; as home of the 72 oz steak, if you can finish the whole thing, plus fixings, in an hour, they’ll pay for the meal. They charge you ahead of time, so they refund your money. Some guy finished it with 10 seconds to spare when they were there last time.
No one was trying it while Kathy & I were there. Certainly, we didn’t. We both had the 6 oz Austin Lady cut steak. Soooo good, steak sauce would have been a sacrilege.
We hit the gift shop. I found a perfect lunchbox tin for Gretchen. Yes, I am enabling her storage container addiction. But it’s such a cute tin, the perfect size for tatting.
We came back to the hotel room and I watched Hogan’s Heroes while catching up on email, etc. Dad was feeling a little with judicious application of ginger ale and crackers.
Very good towels
No iron in the room, had to ask for it
Breakfast had been canceled with no recompense
2 lamps unplugged (of 3)
Entry light almost burned out
Alarm clock not plugged and never found an outlet for it
Once a great hotel, lobby chandeliers are gorgeous. Gift shop was closed. It has an interior garden/atria but showing signs of neglect.
Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 5
22 July 2008
7:30 am Breakfast at Waffle House. The waitress put songs on the jukebox: Neil Diamond, Genesis, Patsy Cline, Eagles & ELO.
8:30 am Leave town, 78F
Many overpasses are painted and have “Amarillo” with cowboy boots for the two “l’s”. It’s very attractive. Lots of RV parks around. There was one that advertised itself as horse-friendly.
Saw, and smelled, my first feedlot. Did not know what it was at first, just that it was not the usual terrain.
9 am See another windfarm, Oldham C. more longhorns.
9:15 am Vaga, TX, gas; $4.10 per gallon. Ouch!
Dad’s stomach insisted on a slightly longer stop so I bought a Rte 66 t-shirt for my collection, plus 3 Texas ones (3/$10) .
9:40 am See a plane crop-dusting
9:45 am Terrain has changed again. It’s still scrubby but now it rises and falls. Here are mesas, hills that rise to a flat top-like cut with a knife. The sides are rumpled folds.
Sometimes there are buildings in the distance. There’s always a fence next to the road and frequently, there’s a dirt road or old roadbed alongside. More often than buildings, there are windmills and/or cattle.
Bushes polka dot the plains.
10 am New Mexico border
Speed 75 mph & time change, now it’s Mountain Daylight Savings Time. Set clocks back an hour.
Welcome Center is only 8 weeks old. It has no shelters and no plants. There’s just the building. It’s very pretty. The water is currently non-potable. So they proved the purell stuff.
Trees freckle the mesas.
10:13 am construction, 55 mph, until 10:24 am
½ hour nap, so tired
Flat bottom clouds like scows scudding across the sky
Once they reach us the temperature drops 6f.
11:43 am Clines Corners
Elevation 7200’ and 79 Degrees
There are barn swallows under the overhang. Neat!
I had a cheeseburger with toasted bun and fries. Our waitress, Mariam, is from Capetown, S. Africa.
Clines Corners was founded in 1934 [I read the history on the menu] at the intersection of 2 highways. Then Rte 66 came through and Ray Cline relocated. They lost the apostrophe but they’ve bee on the same site ever since then. It’s a huge, emphasis on the huge, tourist trap.
12:45 pm leaving
Rain is sprinkling down. 1st rain on the trip. Since the land is so flat you can see where patches of rain are falling. There’s even some lightning in the distance.
Power & light poles are not creosoted. No insect protection needed?
Changed to highway 285 to go to Santa Fe when we left Clines Corner.
Bush-like cacti along the road. Some are in bloom, some pink and some yellow.
13 miles from Santa Fe I see my first Adobe. The highway retaining walls are pressed/imprinted to look like rock.
Adobe is everywhere, including the Walmart & the McDonald’s. I wonder if it’s like Cary or if they did it voluntarily?
1:45 pm Santa Fe Sage Inn, but the room’s not ready yet. We called the Art Van Gogh shuttle to take us downtown. The shuttle is part of the hotel package.
1st stop: Governor’s Palace [I wish I’d taken more pictures] Since 16-something, Indians came to trade and they do to this day. There are 71 places for native artists to spread their wares on blankets. Better to buy directly from craftspeople. Very nice people.
Dad was talking to the husband of one of the artisans. If more than 71 people show up, they draw lots to see who gets a place. Today, one nice older man (with gorgeous & pricey pots) split his spot with a woman working in beads & silver. If I had had the money I would have bought one of his pots especially because of that. They were beautiful, a bonus. Or would the beauty be the key & his kindness a bonus?
I bought a pottery turtle for Steve and pottery cats/tiny bowl for Maya (Richard & Kathy’s little girl – her own ornament). I bought some jewelry for myself; a turquoise barrette (her son is a Marine at Camp Lejeune, finished 2 tours of Iraq); an earrings & necklace set of turquoise & other stones; silver earrings; silver & turquoise ponytail holder with water symbols; and a pendant from Mable, a very sweet older woman. She has the softest hands.
Kathy & I roamed the nearby shops, including an art gallery. I found presents for my co-workers, magnets of wood with a turquoise chip. I also found a wolf décor thing for Chris. I got a Santa Fe tee for myself & finally found a summer hat; a black straw cowboy hat.
We met Dad at 5 pm and set off to find a restaurant for supper.
~5:30 pm Coyote Cantina & Café
Downstairs (2nd floor) was not open so we went up to the roof to eat. It was cheaper up there, too. Gorgeous view.
I had the Taco el Pastor, a 2 on the spiciness scale of 1-10. It was still almost too much, but very good.
Live jazz started playing in the plaza downtown. We were all tired to Kathy called the Van and we went back to the hotel to unpack the car.
I had trouble downloading the video from Dad’s camera. It took me over an hour and I finally gave up on trying to read the disk directly and hooked up the camera to my laptop.
I read a little bit and played a round of a computer game before going off to sleep.
Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 6
23 July 2008
6 am wake-up call and 6:50 am breakfast in the main office area. Funny enough, Boy Scout troop 15, from Charlotte, was there. I had another light breakfast; fruit yogurt & granola, toasted waffle & a boiled egg.
7:45 am We left the hotel and it was 68F. We stopped for gas immediately.
Low mountain ranges are visible in the distance.
On US 25
8:15 stopped because Dad’s stomach is upset. Kathy took more video.
Low Rockies on either side. The ones on the right, E/NE looked speckled green but the tall one on the left looks black. Is it densely green?
I see multiple dry stream beds. See a few with water in them, or at least traces.
Spotted conveyor, going alongside the road and then under. It carries rocks, where & why?
9 am Change to US 550, speed 70 mph except in towns.
Crossed Rio Grande. It looks very small and shallow here, in Bernalillo.
Passed at least 2 Pueblos, including that of the Zia Zuni, home of the sun symbol used by New Mexico.
Unfortunately, many billboards with PSA regarding drug and alcohol abuse.
Also see lots of casinos & casino signs.
Striped cliff face, bands of cream and white and yellow and green, then layer of dark red above a wide light red band, to a tree-filled slope at the bottom. It looks like the face fell off the mountain, creating a cliff.
9:20 Passing White Mega. It really is white, at least at the top. I tried to take pictures. There’s water in some of the streambeds here, from the recent rain?
10 am Cuba, NM, bathroom & soda break
I saw 2 ravens. I will always be able to differentiate crows from ravens now. Despite both being black birds, they really do look different.
Van of Mennonites were there, too. They were an older coupls and lots of kids (tween to teen) and a young mother with a toddler.
7000 feet elevation – lots of pine trees.
10:30 am Continental Divide
We did the tourist thing & stopped to take pictures. We crossed the highway to get to the old wood sign. We took pictures and it’s a lot more descriptive than the modern sign. It’s a shame about all the litter and graffiti, though.
10:40 am Passing Jicarilla Apache Res
Spotted a llama in the distance, all by itself. First non-cow, non-longhorn, non-goat & non-horse that we’ve seen out here. I wonder if there was a herd, out of sight?
It’s gotten flat. Very flat. Mountains are low grey silhouettes on the horizon.
I’m seeing irrigation & crops again.
Noon – LUNCH! 78F
Bloomfield, NM at a KFC/Conaco
Next, Aztec, NM
Welcome sign (partially) read “Home of the #(missed) Friendly People & 6 Old Soreheads”
Stop at park, Aztec Ruins; which is a misnomer. It was built by ancient Puebloans.
1 pm Park Ranger, Lisa Ann, in the Great Kiva, talks about the evolution of a community. The park service rebuilt the kiva and it’s remarkable inside. The support & roof timber were brought down from the mountains on the shoulders of the men who built it. Not exactly a short stroll or small logs; what a community effort it must have been.
After her talk, we went on the walking tour. I bought one of the books, so we had explanations of the numbers the park service had posted. Since the Great Kiva was #20, of 22, we did it in reverse. It’s a good thing that the book has a map, too.
We stopped at the trading post down the road. They had souvenir stuff; cards, shot glasses (I bought 1 for Rosemary), work from local craft people (I bought a tatted lace bookmark w/ a ribbon, made by a lady in Farmington), & materials (leather, beads, cords, etc). I bought a turquoise stone, brown & green, with a hole drilled in it.
At the ruins, I bought a tee, a cd & a pack of postcards. I need to address & mail those to my correspondents (aunts, etc).
We left at about 3 pm and it was 93F, hot! Glad that I have my hat. It’s also humid, the rain yesterday. It feels like home. Alas.
3:18 pm Colorado border
S. Ute Reservation
The road is 2 lanes but there’s construction. Maybe they are widening it.
I got some pictures of the mesas. The road is climbing and it’s 3-lanes.
There’s rain ahead, with lightning.
Road is 2 lanes again.
Words can’t express the view of the mountain covered with trees, and the mesas. The view of the valley and river gave me déjà vu though.
3:30 temperature has dropped to 80F
3:40 stopped at Durango Wally world. I bought a card reader, a pack of DVD-RWs, a new camera card & an outlet charger for my laptop; plugs into a car’s lighter slot. I also bought some personal stuff, like some moleskin.
I left a bookcrossing book in the electronics aisle.
As we were leaving the parking lot, we saw a truck pulling rafts, Flexible Flyer River Rafts, and each raft had a name; Eddy, Flo, Bob, etc.
4:30 pm Leaving Durango, 69F, heavy wind, some rain.
I saw an elk crossing sign. I’ve never seen one before. Considering how much damage hitting a deer is, I would think hitting an elk would be worse.
Looking at these mountains, in the clouds & rain, how could Dad bear to leave? The utter, aching beauty.
4:40 Passing San Juan National Forest
4:45 pm Ears pop and I see aspen trees, which are the type used by the Aztec residents as part of the roof (‘l’ word, lateyas?)
4:50 I spotted patches of snow above the timberline, as the road descends & then climbs again.
Hair pin turns, 10,000’ elevation, still climbing 52F
~5 pm Coal Bank Pass, elevation 10,640’
We stopped and took pictures in the rain. It’s very foggy & cloudy, 50F. As we were on the scenic overlook, we heard a teen boy exclaim, “Smells like Pine Sol.” His mom laughed & so did we. She replied, “Where do you think they got the smell?” It’s all the Ponderosas, no doubt. Ponderosa pines weer used as the ‘vegas?’, main roof timber supports, by the residents of Aztec.
There’s a bathroom at the stop, it’s permanent but it’s a chemical toilet. I’m not certain if I’m fascinated or horrified.
The road is in the clouds and I just spotted a bird flying lower than us.
Saw a sign – Lime Creek Burn 1879. I will have to look that up. It’s too rainy to stop.
Roads are very scary – lots of hairpin turns, 2 lanes wide & just cliff face & drop off.
5:30 pm, ~3 miles from Silverton
Waterfall down the mountainside. Behind a Honda, a Goldwing maybe, going slowly.
Elevation 9318 & then descend to Silverton, over/around Mineral Creek.
5:45 pm gas, 54F, Silverton Conaco
4 pictures of view from gas station.
~6 pm patch of blue sky in distance.
Caught behind tanker, 10-15 mph and my neck hurts from rubbernecking.
Dad says that he never driving this road again. Very narrow, very high, very hairpin, very pretty.
Tanker pulled over to let us pass.
Behind blue sedan with Utah plates – slowed down a lot, even on straightaway.
D: “If he went this slow, how did he make it over the pass?”
K: “He started two days ago!”
We all laughed.
6:44 Hot Springs Inn in Ouray, 54F and still raining
7 pm supper at the saloon in the Western Hotel
I had chicken vegetable soup and the spaghetti with meatballs. Good food, didn’t finish.
Face on the barroom floor (1 of several around Colorado, one in Central City). Supper was $20 with tip and tax. I wanted a shirt but it was $22.
8:30 Finished unloading the van and time to download. I got my pictures but Dad’s video camera was as frustrating as usual.
The room is gorgeous. Beds are waist high kings. Balcony looks at river.
Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 7
24 July 2008
Woke up before alarm at 6:30 am. The window open all night but still warm most of the night.
Breakfast in the lobby – Got picture over rooftops of sunrise’s light on mountain.
Room keys don’t work, got them reprogrammed.
8:10 am River walk, stopped on bridge for pictures. Water’s lower since last night. I’m wearing my new silver earrings.
Pictures: Tree – river birch. Waterfall – very small & then hole in cliff face.
River water is very cold. Sun just crested the mountain and I took a few shots of a Western chipmunk; but I don’t know how visible he is in the pictures.
Yellow blossoms (after the blue) is mullein, then mullein after it dies back and dries.
Mountain top with ½ moon, river, more mullein and unknown plants
8:56 am time to load van
9:33 am Going to swim in the hot spring swimming pool. 74F
It warmed up quickly once the sun rose. Pool opens at 10 am so we went shopping.
I bought magnets for my co-workers as mementos. I also bought a t-shirt for myself and presents for others. Kathy bought a gorgeous necklace at the same shop, Gumpshun Gallery, where I bought a leather jacket. My jacket is black and tan leather with elk bone trim. James and Jess, father and son, run the shop; both are very nice.
At the art store, I bought a calligraphy pen, extra ink cartridge, and some pens to write on photos. At the Gator Shop I bought some beads for a bracelet (Gator Emporium and The Painted Marmot)
11 am Off to the pool
How do they get anything done? Cupped by mountains; everywhere you look up and see scenery, beautiful scenery.
11:30 am In the pool, we rented towels and lockers. They had three pool temperatures; cool (normal pool temperature), warm (bath warm, comfortable), and hot (102F-106F). They are separated by low walls.
I sat in the hot section a couple times, including once that I ‘braced’ by following it with a dip in the cool section. Dad spent all his time in the warm, mostly talking but he also exercised his knees.
I swam in the cool and warm some. We talked to Pam from Montrose, a nice couple from Highlands Ranch, a Denver suburb, their daughter Monica and her son Zach.
Monica exchanged stories of a website that we’d both visited. It was pretty funny.
By the time we got changed after the pool, it was almost 1 pm. I guess we were in the water about an hour. I got buzzed by a dragonfly once.
1 pm lunch at Goldbelt Bar and Grill.
I had a hot dog and sparkling black berry Izze. We ate outside. I held the table while Kathy & Dad ordered the food.
Ice cream was really big in Santa Fe. It seems almost as prevalent here.
I took a couple pictures of the mountains from the deck of Goldbelt. Looks like I got a little sunburn on my cheeks and nose.
1:36 pm leaving Ouray, 83F & it’s pronounced ‘You-ray’ by the way
1:50 pm In Ridgeway saw Rodeo grounds, like some towns have a baseball diamond.
Ridgeway State Park and lake, but I missed the name
2 pm Montrose Co – spotted what was probably a deer
2:15 pm stopped briefly in Montrose
3 pm Past Cimarron, saw sheep for the 1st time
I’m sleepy but first I’m finishing the book that I’m reading. I can’t get good pictures because I reflect in the window.
3:20 pm Stop at scenic lake, Mesa Lake maybe? We stopped to let a semi pass us. He’d been hugging the bumper for miles.
Dad took a quick nap, maybe 10 minutes, while Kathy & I read the signs about mesa formation and took pictures. A French-speaking family stopped to take pictures, too.
Mesa – sparse coif of trees with buff low scrub and dirt on the face with fingers of green where the runoff flows.
Almost 4 pm Gunnison
Big white ‘W’ on hillside. Western State University. Looks like a bustling town. Traders Rendezvous has arch made of antlers.
On the way into town saw two old cars and in town saw 1 in a parking lot. Model T’s maybe [learned old car rendezvous in area]
There are a lot of horses out here. Just saw one field with horses, cattle and llamas.
4:15 pm lightning and rain ahead, some 50 miles from Salida
Hills look dry but flats look lush, with streams meandering through.
4:20 pm outside Doyleville, maybe saw buffalo herd in distance. Stocky to be cattle
4:45 Monarch Crest, raining, slept about 20 minutes
Still on outside lane, ski trails visible, cut through the trees on mountain. Continental Divide again. 49F
San Isabel National Forest 52F rain has let up some.
More than halfway on the 5th round on the doily. Caught behind semi until Poncho Springs. Even a camper passed it when it had the chance. One of town’s stores had a huge silver horse statue, life-size or larger.
Salida – log cabin Sonic
5:4 pm We’re 30-some miles from Cañon City. It’s raining lighter now and there’s less traffic on Hwy 50 now.
We’ve been paralleling railroad tracks and the Arkansas River. The cliffs and canyon walls are very rocky – like earth elementals at rest. 75F
Almost 6pm 82F rain almost started again
6 pm finished 5th & final round; it needs only the last join.
This afternoon I saw rock climbers, two cars pulled off and 1 guy on the cliff face with others on the ground. Later we saw people camping. They looked like a white water rafting tour who had stopped for the night and set up camp.
We’re going to have to skip Royal Gorge. We still have to stop for supper and we would like to get to the hotel before dark, which the rain will ahead of us will complicate. We did spot the bridge form the highway though.
6:26 pm Burger King in Cañon City, went through the drive-thru, 83F currently not raining.
Did we miss our turn/exit? We’re going to have to stop and check the map. Yes, we did. Luckily the backtrack didn’t take much.
6:45 pm Hwy 15 the mountain range is to our left and we are on the plains.
6:53 partial rainbow to our right. It’s getting longer and more intense. There’s sunlight ahead. Oooh, rainbow arc completed. Then the 1st end started fading, too bright to see it. 6:56 pm 70F
6:58 pm signs of a fire, Rainbow almost gone
7 pm just as I was about to take pictures of another burned area when my camera batteries died.
~7:10 pm passing Fort Carson, looks like a nice base.
~7:15 Colorado Springs – break out TomTom to find Manitou Springs.
7:30 pm Eagle Motel – It’s a very small and old motel
Door uses a real key, there’s no wifi and the continental breakfast is in the lobby, the very small lobby. We took our food back to our rooms or sat outside to eat. There’s no tub, but the shower has very, very good water pressure. It comes across as quaint, rather than rundown.
As I was finalizing one of the video camera disks, the plug came out of the wall. That disk will now require a professional to extract the data. I did one disk download and wiped. I downloaded the pictures from my own camera because it was full.
It was after that I learned that I had also gotten a little sun on my shoulders.