Saturday, September 29, 2012

Zion National Park- September 29, 2012

Today, Saturday, we spent in Zion National Park.  This was a National Park free day and there were many people taking advantage of the free entrance fee.  Shuttle buses are used for transporting people through the park.  Luckily, we got to the park early enough to get a parking place at the Visitor's Center huge parking lot.  We took the shuttle from this Center through the canyon to the last stop(#9), Temple of Sinawava.  A nice fairly level 1 mile trail follows the Virgin River to the area that between the canyon walls becomes narrow.  We chose not to continue on across the river on a more strenuous trail.
We returned to the shuttle getting off and on the shuttle back toward the Visitor's Center.  Prior to the Visitor's Center is a musuem of natural history and a 22 minute movie about Zion is shown that we watched before returning to our car at the Visitor's Center.  On the east side of the park there is a long tunnel, a mile plus, that has several turns.  Cars going in opposite directions are able to pass without problems but larger vehicles as RVs can only go through without passing opposing traffic.
Returning to the campground, we saw a restaurant a short distance from the campground, Buffalo Bistro, and thought we'd give it a try.  We stopped and saw signs stating closed so we returned to the campground and while talking to the campground owner mentioned the restaurant being closed.  She said that they should be open and then called to find out that indeed it was opened.  So we returned for dinner at this unique restaurant.  We were seated on the porch and the cooking was done in a corner of the porch.  Tom had a ribeye steak and I had wild boar ribs- they were served with a salad, grilled potatoes and zucchini squash.  The food was very good.  We brought a dessert of apple cobbler back to the motorhome to eat later.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Back to Utah- September 28, 2012

This morning we packed up the motorhome and set out on US 89 north. But first we had to make a stop at WalMart in Page and then we got underway. After crossing the Colorado River at the Glen Canyon dam we were just a few miles until we were back in the state of Utah. We made a stop at the Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument Visitor's Center. We traveled through this National Monument until we were in Kanab, Utah. Vermilion cliffs were much of the scenery along this route. When we got to Glendale (104 miles later and about halfway between Zion and Bryce National Parks) we saw Bauer's Canyon Ranch Campground and got a campsite for 3 nights. The camp hosts pointed out a route a little farther north that went to Cedar Breaks National Monument. We were unfamiliar with Cedar Breaks so after lunch we struck out on the suggested route. After miles of pine treed and aspen covered mountains as well as areas of lava rocks we finally came to the Cedar Breaks National Monument. Wow! What beauty! It was breathtaking the view of colorful rock formations shaped like a huge coliseum 2,000 feet deep and over 3 miles in diameter. It was chilly(52 degrees) there as we were over 10,000 feet so we didn't linger very long. We continued on the mountainous road until we connected with US89 and returned to the campground. It was much warmer with temperatures in the upper 70's at 5pm. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon- September 27,2012

What a busy and fun day we had today.  We started by going to Horseshoe Bend- as the name implies a bend of the Colorado River.  This was a mile and a half hike that climbed up and down a sandy hill.  That sand walking is a real drag but the view was worth the effort to get there.  We then drove toward Lee's Ferry stopping at the Navaho Bridge Interpretive Center.  The Navaho Bridge, a crossing of the Colorado River, opened in the 1920's and is, now, closed  except for foot traffic.  A newer bridge was built in the 1990's to handle the heavier traffic. Two California condors were perched on the trestles of the new bridge- wow, we were excited to see these big birds.
  We continued to Lee's Ferry, an area that was used by the Mormons when they moved into this territory.  Today, rafts floating down the Colorado land here and other rafts going on more adventuresome raft trips take off from here.  Fishermen also use this area to put their boats in the River.  We were surrounded by beautiful Vermilion Cliffs.
Returning to Page, we grabbed a lunch at a barbeque restaurant before going on the Upper Antelope Canyon tour.  Antelope Canyon is on Navaho Reservation and in order to see the canyon an Indian guide must be along.  We were scheduled to go on the 1:30pm tour.  There was a large group assembled to go on this tour but we were divided into groups of 14 or 15 and then we loaded into seats in the backs of pick-up trucks and took off on a 20 minute ride to the canyon (the last 10 minutes we were on a sandy road and felt like traveling through 8-10 inches of snow).  Our tour guide, Rosie, was a real gem as she assisted all of us in taking pictures of this beautiful canyon.    The canyon is a quarter  of  a mile in length.
After that tour we drove out to Antelope Point, the marina of Glen Canyon.  There is a long paved downhill walkway to the marina.  Golf carts also use the walkway and rides are available to the marina.  We chose to walk down but we did ride up - an easier way to get to the top .  The private marina had mostly huge houseboats and a few other power boats.  There were no sailboats.  As we drove from this area we saw another marina that had houseboats for rent.
Returning to Page, again, we stopped for dinner at a Mexican restaurant  before calling it a day and getting back to the motorhome for the night. 

Page, Arizona- September 26, 2012

This morning we packed up, hooked up the car and by 9am were pulling out of the campground.  Unfortunately, as Tom tried to turn around a corner in the campground he was unable to make the turn without backing up and backing up with a tow vehicle is not possible.  So we had to unhook the car.  Then Tom could back up and renegotiate the turn and get out of the campground where we rehooked-up the car.  Oh, you'll have days like this!  Once on the road and 123 scenic miles we were in Page, Arizona 2 hours later.  We checked into Page-Lake Powell Campground and then went out for lunch at the Ranch House Grille.  The food was good - Tom had chicken fajitas that had more chicken than peppers and onions.  From lunch we drove to the Glen Canyon Dam and Visitor's Center.  We arranged to go on a tour of the dam that took us down inside the dam where the turbines are located.  After the tour we rode to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, an area around Lake Powell that includes campgrounds and marinas.  A ranger advised us that the best place to watch the sunset was at the Wahweap overlook so we made a point of going to that overlook in the evening and were not disappointed.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monument Valley Navaho Tribal Park- September 25, 2012

Last night we had some storms to move through the area and then again this morning we had more rain.  The temperature had dropped to the 50's and did not get above the mid 70's all day.  Clouds remained in the skies until afternoon when it cleared.  We set out today to visit the Monument Valley Navaho Tribal Park about 4 miles from the campground and in the state of Arizona.  As the name implies this is a tribal park of the Navaho nation.  After passing through the pay stations the first stop is the Visitor's Center.  An outside viewing area allows for a panaramic view of the park.  The dirt road through the park appears to be in good shape but we soon found out that was not the case. Tours through the park could be taken on trucks with school bus seats but we opted to do the self-guided tour. The road is poorly maintained.  The views are beautiful.  This area has been used in Western films, most notably several starring John Wayne.

Leaving the park we returned to the Goulding Lodge for lunch.  The Goulding property consists of a lodge, hotel, restaurant, gift shops, a museum and the campground we are in.  In the 1930's the Gouldings- Harry and wife, "Mike"- were responsible for getting John Ford to film westerns in this valley.  A building depicted as John Wayne's house in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" is also on the property.  After lunch we stopped at the Navaho market.  Little kids belonging to the merchants were playing outside the shops.  Returning to the campground a herd of free-ranging horses were along side the road and a herd of goats being herded by dogs crossed over the road after we passed through. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monument Valley- September 24, 2012

Five thirty or six this morning we were awakened by the rumblings of thunder and then pouring rain. We didn't roll out of bed until an hour or more later and then the stormy weather had passed.  We packed up to move on but first we stopped to refuel at a service station across the street.  When the pumps clicked off at $99.00, Tom didn't bother to resubmit his credit card knowing we had enough fuel to get us to Monument Valley, our destination.  (Cost per gallon for diesal fuel was $4.499).  By 9am we were on our way  down US191 to Us 163.  Driving along through the little town of White Mesa, Ut. we caught a sign at a Mobil service station stating diesal for $4.169- a price we had not seen for sometime. Fuel prices are so unpredictable, within a town we have seen prices vary 30 or 40 cents between service stations.  Tom quickly got turned around and filled up the tank.  Boy, were we glad we did not fill all the up in Moab at $4.499!!  We arrived at Goulding's Monument Valley Camp Park at noon- 146 miles and will be here for 2 nights.  After setting up and eating lunch our first order of business was to go to Kayenta, Az.- 20 miles south.  But first we found that we had some problems with the electric so a maintenance man was called and while we were gone to Kayenta a new breaker was installed.  Kayenta is a small town that I had had prescription medicines (meds that I would run out of before getting home but was unable to order until after we left on the trip) sent to me at General Delivery and we were holding our breaths that the meds would be there and not delay our next move.  Sure enough the delivery was there so a sigh of relief.  Returning to the motorhome we spent the afternoon resting up. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Needles, Canyonland- September 23, 2012

Canyonlands is a large National Park composed of 3 areas that are separated by the Green and Colorado Rivers- Island in the Sky, The Needles and The Maze.  The Maze area is visited only with 4-wheel drive vehicles so is not accessible to most people.  Today we visited The Needles area which is about 90 to 100 miles via the roadways from the Island in the Sky area- Moab is about halfway between the 2 areas.  Island in the Sky had overlooks that looked down into the canyons.  The Needles was like being in the canyon looking up at the rock structures-  two very different areas. Enroute to the Park we passed Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument that has one of the largest displays of petroglyphs of any place.  In the Park at the Roadside Ruin we hiked a short distance to a  granary of stone built by very early inhabitants of this area under the overhang of a large boulder.  A stone structure resembling a wooden shoe was seen on a rocky cliff.  A second short hike to pothole point necessitated a climb onto rocks that had  dried potholes.  Big Spring Canyon was just a quick walk to an overlook of the area. There were flowering desert plants throughout the area.  We took a gravel road with blind curves to Elephant Hill where we ate our picnic lunch.  Cave Spring trail was around a huge boulder that had been used by early inhabitants and later as a cowboy camp.  The trail circles the boulder and then climbing up ladders we got on the top of the boulder.  The weather today was in the mid 80's but cloudy.  On our return to Moab we had a shower of rain which was different as we have seen little rain this trip.  The smoke from the northern fires has lessened but a good rain would really be beneficial in cleaning up the air.

After returning to the motorhome, we drove into Moab for dinner at the Blue Pig- a barbeque restaurant.  The food was good especially since I didn't have to cook! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dead Horse Point State Park- September 22, 2012

This morning we went into Moab for breakfast at the Jailhouse Cafe, good food but a little pricey.  After all our activities yesterday we were in no hurry to get moving today.  We had read about a farmer's market in Moab that is held on Saturday mornings so we made a stop there.  There were a few stands selling produce but most were selling jewelry, baskets and handcraft items.  Talking with one vendor he asked if we had gone to the Dead Horse Point Park and suggested that we should go as it was his favorite park in the area.
After returning to the campground and doing a few things around the motorhome we set off for Dead Horse Point State Park north of Moab and near the Island in the Sky part of Canyonlands.  Like most Park visits our first stop was at the Visitor's Center but before going inside we walked around the outside taking in the views along a pathway.  And the views were spectacular looking into a red stoned canyon that is half as deep and half as wide as the Grand Canyon and also like the "Grand" has the Colorado River flowing through it.  Island in the Sky also has views into this canyon but none with the Colorado River and, I do not believe, are as breathtaking as the views here.  We drove to the Dead Horse Point- this according to legend was where abandon mustangs had died after being corraled on this point- and admired the views.  We were pleased that this park was highly suggested to us for it would have a mistake to have not visited it. 
We had seen large evaporation ponds from the viewing areas in the state park that were part of a potash processing plant.  The ponds were evaporation pools.  We had seen signs just prior to Moab to a road that stated "Potash".  So as we took the road on our return.  The road traveled along sheer rock wall on one side and the Colorado River on the other for 16 miles.  Petroglyphs were on the rocks 12-15 feet high making us ponder how this was accomplished.  The maintained road ended at the potash plant where we u-turned and returned to the campground.

Arches National Park- September 21, 2012

Today, Friday, we had decided to get out to Arches National Park before it became too hot.  Yesterday we had hiked a couple of short trails in the afternoon and really felt the drag of that afternoon heat, about 90 degrees.  So we traveled to Devil’s Garden Trailhead, the farthest point, to hike to Landscape Arch and were there before 9am.  Landscape Arch, along with Delicate Arch, are 2 arches highlighted in park brochures.  Landscape Arch had a big slab of stone to fall from the arch several years ago.  We then decided to continue on to the Navaho and Partition Arches.  The hike was quite strenuous as we had to climb up large boulders at one point- actually going up was not as bad as the coming back down over those huge somewhat smooth rocks.  It was probably about 5 miles.  Starting out the temperature was in the 60’s but ended in the 80’s.
  Our next stop was at the Windows area  where there are 3 arches- North Window and South Window and Turret Arch but again there was a hike about a mile round trip.  At this point we were feeling done in.  We returned to the motorhome for lunch and a much needed rest.
Early evening we took off for Canyonlands National Park- Island in the Sky- which is north of Moab.  Stopping at the Visitor’s Center we were given some pointers about stops in the Park.  We did drive through the park making the Green River Overlook our last stop to view the sunset.  The sunset views are to be spectacular at this overlook but the northern fires smoke interfered once again.

Moab, Utah- September 20, 2012

Before 9am we were on the road leaving the Capitol Reef area and headed to Moab, Utah- 163 miles.  By noon we were in a campsite at Spanish Trails RV Park.  After eating lunch we took the Jeep and went to Arches National Park.  Our first stop was at the Visitor’s Center to get oriented to the park and to buy a new patch. (I have been collecting patches from places that we have been to and on a quilt throw that I made I sew the patches.)  We then traveled through the park. 

Capitol Reef National Park- September 19, 2012

Today is, grandson, Anthony’s birthday and he is now a teenager at 13.  Happy birthday Anthony!
This morning we started out thinking that we were going to drive through a section of the Capitol Reef Park but plans sometimes change.  We came to a pull-off that was for a natural bridge so we parked and found it was a mile hike to the bridge.  A mile was not that far, so we thought, and so we started walking.  The trail was well marked but there were hills to climb and it became warmer as the morning progressed.  But we made it – a total of 2 miles in 2 hours.  The natural bridge was worth seeing at 128 feet high and 130 feet wide, I believe I have those  numbers right.
After the hike we were ready for lunch and it was after 12 noon.  I had prepared a picnic lunch so we went to the area where we had seen the deer yesterday.  The deer were not there but there were other folks picnicking in the area.  There were 2 huge trees in this area with very knotty trunks that seemed unusual to us.
When lunch was finished we took a drive on Scenic Route 12 south to Boulder.  This drive is through green mountains that had patches of bright yellow Aspen trees.  There were overlooks in which the red cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park was visible.  A very pretty drive.  Free range cattle were the only “wild” life that we saw and they, like the buffalos in previous parks, didn’t hesitate to walk across the roads in front of cars.  In Boulder there is the Anasazi State Park that we stopped at the Visitor’s Center.  A good day but tonight we are feeling that bedtime may come a little earlier.

Torrey, Utah- September 18, 2012

We left Salt Lake City this morning and traveled 216 miles to Torrey, Utah.  Capitol Reef National Park is located in Torrey.  After getting into Thousand Lakes campground (we had called yesterday to reserve a site) and eating dinner we took off for the Park.  Both of us did not know what to expect in this park and we were awe struck.  The beautiful colorful rock formations are just amazing.  We stopped at the Visitor’s Center and watched a movie about the Park.  Then we started on the Scenic Drive stopping in Fruita at the Gifford homestead.  Fruita is a desert oasis among the cliffs that fruit trees produce well.  The Mormons developed this farming area.  The Gifford home was built in 1908 by polygamist Calvin Pendleton and the Giffords were the last family to live in the house.  In 1969 the house was sold to the National Park Service and the last family to live in Fruita moved.  Fruit trees remain in the area and fruit pies and other desserts can be purchased at the Visitor’s Center and at the Gifford homestead.  We did continue the 10 mile Scenic Drive taking pictures along the way.

Great Salt Lake- September 17, 2012

This morning we went about 20 miles north of the campground to Antelope Island state park on the Great Salt Lake.  A causeway connects the island to the mainland.  Antelope Island is the largest island in the Lake of 28,000 acres.  Our first stop was at the visitor’s center, a rather rustic structure.  The Lake is so briny that only brine shrimp and brine flies can survive in it.  The shrimp and flies are a source of food for the birds that migrate through the area.  The saltiness is due to there not being an outlet from the Lake- in the spring water from several river sources flood into the lake causing the Lake to rise and then as summer continues on the water level drops due to evaporation.  As evaporation occurs mineral deposits which include salt is left and the salinity of the Lake rises.
Leaving the Visitor’s Center we rode up to an area called Buffalo Point that had a trail to climb higher up.  We walked up a short distance but there was thick smoke from forest fires in Idaho that impaired viewing.   We then drove down to the Fielding Garr Ranch.  The ranch house is the oldest standing Anglo building in Utah.  In 1848  Fielding Garr, a Mormon, had been assigned to establish a ranch on the island for managing the church tithing herds.  The ranch was operated by the Mormon until the mid-1870’s.  A businessman, John Dooly, Sr. bought the island and brought 12 bison on the land.  Sheep ranching was also set up and became one of the largest in the western states with more than 10,000 sheep.  A failing wool market in the 1950s caused a change to cattle ranching was continued until 1981 when the island became a state park.
The ranch is now a museum for the public to wander through.  The bison herd has grown to over 600 and are rounded up yearly with some being sold off in order to control the size of the herd.
This evening we went into Salt Lake City.  We could see the capitol from quite a distance and after driving up some steep hills we were able to park and take some pictures.  From there we went to Temple Square where the Mormon Temple, Tabernacle and Assembly are located.  The monument dedicated to the seagulls that saved the crops from the locust or grasshoppers is also located in this Square.  Quite an impressive group of buildings with beautiful flower beds everywhere.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

North Salt Lake City- September 16, 2012

Well, we finally have landed somewhere that had internet connection that was of a quality to allow Tom to get pictures posted to the blog posts from the past week.
We left Jackson, Wyoming a little after 8am this morning after saying good-bye to Larry and Joanne. We would be going separate ways and do not expect to meet up again until we get home. Shortly after pulling out of the campground we were in Idaho. The hillsides were really pretty as there were lots of red trees among the green pine trees. I thought the only color out here was the yellow of the Aspens at this time of the year. We later came into some farming areas that had acres of newly harvested fields of grain. As we came to the town of Soda Springs we passed a large phosphate mining operation of Monsanto. Eventually, we got on I-15 that took us into Utah and south to North Salt Lake City, 279 miles. The campground, Pony Express Resort, is a extremely nice campground and compared to The Virginian in Jackson, Wy. a real bargain. Jackson was $63.00 a night, Pony Express is $40.00- same hook-ups only Pony Express has much better internet accesss.
Today, being Sunday, football games were on the television and after the continuous going for sometime we just kicked back and laid low. Tomorrow we plan to get out and explore this area.

Grand Teton National Park- September 15, 2012

This morning we started the day by going out for breakfast at Bubba’s in Jackson, Wy. along with Larry and Joanne.  After breakfast we took off separately to travel about the Grand Teton National Park.  Tom and I traveled the Moose/Wilson road into the park and saw 2 moose cows.  We stopped at the visitor center in Moose and then continued on a northerly route in the Park.  The smoke in the area seemed heavier this morning.  We have heard about 2 more fires in the area called the Buffalo fires in the Teton National Forest in addition to the Horse Thief fire in the Gros Ventre mountain range.   After a stop at Jenny Lake we continued on to Jackson Lake and Dam where we ate a picnic lunch.  In the afternoon we took a jaunt off the main road where we saw a herd of buffalo and an area with pronghorns.  On the Gros Ventre road we rode up to the Lower Slide Lake, another beautiful blue lake.  Returning to  Jackson, we stopped in the downtown square and walked about the shops.  Then we went back to the campground and picked up Larry and Joanne before going out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  This would be our last time together before returning home as we plan to go different directions tomorrow when we leave Jackson.

Raft Trip- September 14, 2012

Today, Friday, we, along with Larry and Joanne, went on a Snake River Float trip.  At 9:30am we loaded into a bus along with other folks which took us to an area along the Snake River.  We had to don float vests and then we loaded into the raft.  There were 10 on our raft along with a guide, Danny.  The 13 mile float took about 2 1/2 hours.  It was a very relaxing, interesting float.  After the float we were given a bag lunch and transported back to our vehicles.  We returned to the campground to eat our lunches.
Tom and I decided to cancel a day of our time here as the smokiness of the area affects the beauty of this environment.  The campground refunded our money without any problem.
Later in the afternoon Tom and I drove over to Teton Village to take a gondola ride up the mountain to find that was not running anymore today.  We then drove up through the National Park.  In the Moose area we saw a black bear and then a moose.  We saw a dirt road and decided to take that road.  What a mistake!  The road was very primitive with rocks, ruts, and extremely rough road.  There were some pretty views of the Snake River.  When we finally got on the main road through the park it was late evening.  We drove up Signal Mountain, saw deer and the saw beautiful sunset views on the Tetons from the summit.  Returning to Jackson we stopped at a Wendy’s for a late supper before returning to the motorhome.

Yellowstone to Jackson, Wyoming- September 13, 2012

This day was our moving day.  We had spent a week in Yellowstone so it was time to move on to the Grand Teton National Park.  We left Fishing Bridge at 8:15am and headed south through the Yellowstone and directly into Grand Teton National Park.  We stopped at Flagg Ranch Information Area and at that point Tom noticed the motorhome was dripping coolant fluid.  After checking out the problem Tom tightened a clamp which seem to take care of the problem.  The farther into the Grand Teton Park the smokier it became as a fire was burning in Horse Thief Canyon in the Gros Ventre mountain range near Jackson, Wy.  We arrived in Jackson (104 miles of travel) and checked in at The Virginian Campground at 11:45am for 4 nights.  Larry and Joanne arrived later in the afternoon and we were together once again.  We all went out for lunch at the Snake River Brew Pub-  good food and local beers.  After lunch we went to a Snake River Float Trip Company and made arrangements to take a float trip in the morning.  A ride to the center of Jackson and some time walking about the stores ended the day.

Yellowstone- Day 7- September 12, 2012

Wednesday, our last day in Yellowstone, we drove to the Lamar Valley Area.  A sunny day with some wind and chilly temperatures made eating our picnic lunch a little uncomfortable.  After Lamar Valley we continued through the Mammoth Hot Springs Area and back to Fishing Bridge.

Yellowstone- Day 6- September 11, 2012

Tom continues to feel better each day so we are keeping our fingers crossed that this little scare is behind us.  We again today travelled about the Park and went out the west gate to West Yellowstone for lunch.  We believe we have been over much of the Park.  Today was the first time this week that we had problems finding parking places when we went to The Artists Paintpots and Norris Geyser Basin.  Both of these areas were so full in the morning that we left there and returned after lunch.  We were then able to find parking spots but the lots were all but full.   The wind has continued today and it is not as sunny and bright as the past few days so it is cooler (high 50’s).  There are managed fires that are causing smoke in the Hayden Valley area.  A managed fire is one that is being carefully monitored not fought at this time.  The Park is preparing for winter installing poles along roadways to mark the roads for snow plows and closing some campgrounds.

Yellowstone- Day 5- September 10, 2012

Tom is feeling somewhat better today.  We both question the diagnosis of kidney stones but nevertheless the pain medication has helped considerably.  Again we struck out with me doing the driving for the Geyser Basin Area.  We did stop at the Old Faithful Area to get gas and shop at the gift shop prior to getting to the Geyser Area.  Again today the weather was really nice although breezy.  The pictures tell the tale.

Yellowstone- Day 4-September 9, 2012

Today, Sunday, Tom thought he could get out, still was not feeling great.  So with me driving we struck out for the West Thumb Area and eventually to Old Faithful before returning to the campground.  The weather was sunny and warm(70’s) during  the day and chilly at night (32).  Pictures again tell the story.

Yellowstone- Day 3- September 8, 2012

Well, what a bummer of a day.  Last night Tom started complaining of back pain and had a real uncomfortable night trying to sleep.  Advil was barely touching his pain.  So this morning after eating breakfast we decided we should see someone about the pain.  There are several clinics in the park with the closest one being in the Lake area which is a short distance from Fishing Bridge.  The clinic was not busy and Tom was seen after filling out the paperwork.  After an exam by a physician’s assistant it was determined that Tom probably had a kidney stone.  Pain medication was given and directions to drink lots of liquids.  So we spent the remainder of the day in the motorhome with Tom drinking (water, mostly) and me cooking and reading.  We did take a walk about the campground this evening.  The pain medication seems to be reducing the discomfort.  No pictures today to tell the story.

Yellowstone National Park-Day 2- September 7, 2012

Today was a gorgeous day with bright sunny skies and temperatures reaching into the 70’s.  The night time temperatures drop down to about 32 degrees.  Another day of being out into the park.  Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yellowstone–September 6, 2012

Today, Thursday, we parted ways with Larry and Joanne.  We left the campground at 9am and headed for Fishing Bridge Campground in Yellowstone National Park.  Larry and Joanne were also planning to spend the week visiting Yellowstone but they were staying at a private campground in West Yellowstone so we are about 70 miles apart.
We traveled the 79 miles and got into our campsite.  After a little rest we got in the Jeep and started exploring this unique park.  The pictures tell much of the story.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A Day with Buffalo Bill- September 5, 2012

Today, Wednesday, Larry, Joanne, Tom and I spent the day in the Buffalo Bill Historical Center here in Cody, Wyoming.  What a museum!  Of course, there is a hall of exhibits about Buffalo Bill but also halls of exhibits on the Plains Indian People, Yellowstone Natural History, Firearms and Western Art as well as a Sculpture Garden.  The firearm hall had guns of most every description.  The Yellowstone Natural History had displays of animals as they are in their natural habitate.  And the Plains Indian people had displays depicting their life and exhibits of their tools, arms and clothing.

We did take a break for lunch going to the downtown area of Cody to The Irma, a restaurant in a old hotel.  We all had the buffet lunch which we found to be quite tasty, including the buffalo sloppy joe's and spinach lasgne.  A bread pudding with whiskey sauce was the dessert and there sure was whiskey in that sauce.

Before returning back to the campground we drove to the Buffalo Bill Dam and visitor center.  We watched a film about the construction of the dam in the early 1900's.  The dam was constructed during the winter months often with temperatures below freezing since the flow of water was so heavy due to the melting snow in the mountains.

A beautiful day with the temperatures in the low 80's but this morning it was 49 degrees when we got out of bed.  Tomorrow we are going into Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone park.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Cody, Wyoming- September 4, 2012

This morning, Tuesday, we left Sundance and continued west on I-90.  It was 49 degrees this morning in Sundance, 29 degrees in Yellowstone- an extra blanket was out on the bed..  Joanne called that she and Larry had been in Gillette last night and were on the road toward Cody as we were.  We figured we were an hour to an hour and half behind them.  We talked about campgrounds in Cody and Joanne was going to call to see if we would be able to get into the Absaroke Bay campground.  A little later, Joanne had called back that reservations had been made for us at the campground and we would see each other in Cody.  We traveled to Sheridan where we picked up US14 to Cody.  US 14 is a scenic route through some mountainous terrain. 

We noticed a lot of haze hanging over the mountains and had seen a fire burning in the distant mountains as we passed through Buffalo so we believe the haze is smoke.  We saw a badger run across the road in front of us- something we had not seen before in the wild.  I believe I enjoyed the 313 mile trip being able to sit back better than Tom did driving this route.  We stopped in Greybull on a back street to eat lunch in the motorhome.  We arrived in Cody at 2:30pm expecting to see Larry and Joanne but they were not here yet.  It was almost 4pm when they finally arrived.  They had taken another route plus stops had to be made periodically for their dog and for picture taking.  We will be here until Thursday.  This evening we all went out to dinner in Cody at La Comida restaurant.  It was a pleasant evening so we ate on the restaurant patio but a chill is in the air.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Devil's Tower and Vore Buffalo Jump- September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!! We were up and moving early this morning (this happens when we change time zones east to west).  A little past 8am we were in the Jeep headed for Devil's Tower, about 28 miles from Sundance.  Not far from Sundance 3 does and a fawn crossed the road in front of us to a field that had a wire fence around it.

The does were able to jump the fence but the fawn was having a frantic time trying to find a way through the fence and we were adding to his stress so we quickly moved on.  Miles from Devil's Tower we were able to get views of it and the roadside pullouts allowed for picture taking.

Arriving at the Visitor's Center we saw that a ranger led walk around the tower was scheduled for 9:30am so we whiled away some time and then went along on the one and half hour walk.

Periodically, the ranger would stop and talk about the various aspects of the "Tower", the geology, the recreational, the spiritual and the flora and fauna.  The "Tower" resulted from magma that cooled underground causing it to contract and fracture into columns.  Erosion of the sedimentary rocks over millions of years exposed the "Tower".  A horizontal cut through the "Tower" would appear as a bundle of pencils grouped together.  There are hiking trails around the base of the "Tower" as well as over 200 trails to climb to the top.  This is one of many sites in this country that has special meaning for Native Americans and throughout the surrounding area prayer cloths  are seen tied to trees by Native Americans.

Ponderosa pine trees and an oak tree grow about the base of the "Tower"- the oak is seen from this elevation and lower and the ponderosa in higher elevations.  In the grassy lower level near the park entrance prairie dogs abound.  Porcupines live around the base of the "Tower" in the piles of rocks and in the winter eat the bark of the ponderosa trees.  Rattlesnakes, coyote, cougars, deer and squirrels also frequent this area.

Leaving the "Tower" we continued on a circular route through scenic rural Wyoming.  In the little town of Aladdin (population of 15) we stopped at Cindy B's restaurant for lunch of burgers that had been recommended by the campground personnel.  The food was good.  Their pie is supposedly very good but we were too full of the 1/2 pound burgers to partake. 

Continuing on our next stop was at the Vore Buffalo Jump.

This archeological site was discovered when Interstate 90 was being built in the 1970's.  The sink hole was used by the Native Americans to stampede the herds into the hole that resulted in the death of the animals and the butchering and processing of the meat in the hole.  There are 7 layers of bones that are being uncovered by University students during the summer months.

A building has been erected over the dig area.  It is overseen by a foundation set up ny the Vore family on whose property this area was found.

Tomorrow we will move on to Cody, Wyoming.  We should meet up with Larry and Joanne there as we have been hopscotching across the country with one another.  We will be going into Yellowstone on Thursday and should get together a time or so while there.  We will be staying at Fishing Bridge in the park, Larry and Joanne in West Yellowstone at a private park.

The weather has been very pleasant here.  The high today was 81 degrees with sunny skies.  It was 59 degrees this morning- great for sleeping and no air conditioning needed.  This sure beats the 100 degrees we saw in South Dakota 2 days ago.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Badlands and Wall Drug- September 2, 2012

We awoke this morning to see a beautiful sunrise over the prairie at Presho, S.D. 

By 8am we were on the road once again and shortly after starting out we were in Mountain time so we gained an hour.   We passed huge fields of sunflowers this morning in South Dakota as we had passed yesterday in Minnesota.   

Leaving the interstate we drove the loop road through the Badlands.  We had taken this drive before but the views continue to be amazing and beautiful to us. 

Leaving the badlands we were immediately in the town of Wall, S. D., the home of the famous Wall Drug Store that has billboards all along the interstates.

We had been here once before but decided to stop again and, like before, found nothing to get overly excited about.  Back on the road we stopped for fuel and a short while later at a rest area for lunch.  Entering Wyoming we made a stop at the visitor’s center to pick up a state map and gather information about Yellowstone and Grand Tetons.  Two hundred sixty-eight miles of travel, the last 20 miles into the state of Wyoming, and we made our stop at Sundance.  We will be here for 2 nights- time to catch our breaths and get a side trip to Devil’s Tower tomorrow.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Corn Palace and Missouri River- September 1, 2012

Just a little past 7:30am we left behind the land of the Jolly Green Giant and continued west on I-90.  Before leaving Minnesota we passed wind farms with those big windmills.  

Today’s 319 mile trip took us into South Dakota.  Before noon we were in Mitchell, South Dakota and stopped to see this year’s Corn Palace decoration.  The title of the decoration was “Youth Activities”.

We have seen this palace several times previously but it was always late spring or early summer after the decoration had been worked over well by the birds throughout the winter.  The display we saw today was newly done this summer and very little picking had been done by the birds yet.   It is amazing to see this knowing that the pictures are entirely of different colored corns and seeds. And each year the theme and pictures are new.  After stopping for lunch at Culver’s and filling up with fuel we continued on.

Before crossing the Missouri River there is a rest/viewing area that we stopped at.

To me this is one of the more scenic areas on I-90.  The blue water of the river surrounded by the golden hills as the road descends down a lengthy hill is breathtaking.  It was quite warm and windy as we walked to the viewing area at this stop.   Along the way we saw large fields of sunflowers with their heads drooping in the afternoon sun.  We did stop at Presho. S.D. for the night at New Frontier Campground.  Not the cheap camping tonight- $28.89- but we have full hook-ups and some laundry can get done.  The temperature at Presho reached 100 degrees today and it is quite windy.  Winds are usually blowing steady across the grassy plains.