Bill & Sandra Wayne's Travel Pages
Our trip Northwest, July 2011
Sandra's Trip Journal, "TRAVEL TIDBITS & OBSERVATIONS"
Lodging - Holiday In Expresses, three Quality Inns, one Comfort Inn, 2 independents & 3 relatives.
States - Kansas, Nebraska, S. Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas (again - & of course Missouri)
The little numbers are keyed to numbers on the map, which you can open from the previous page if you want to follow along
All went fine for the trip start - horse sitter and cats at vet boarding. Sunny, 6AM, July 5, 71 temp. Headed for Lexington, Mo. to Richmond, 13 north, along the Zack Wheat memorial hiway. Passed signs for the Mormon historic site, Far West. (Little did I realize we would eventually be in the middle of Salt Lake City). By 7:50AM, passing the Ma and Pa Kettle restaurant, Cameron, Mo. Oh yes, received a call from Clinton, Mo. Chamber of Commerce announcing I had one a $100 gift certificate for winning the downtown Treasure Hunt Old Glory Days store front contest of finding objects in 45 store front places. My six hours of looking for the display objects really paid off July 2!
Soon we went thru St. Joseph, Mo., and noticed a metal statue of a pony express rider on horse along hiway 36w near Troy, Kansas. The scenery at Troy is different: Very pronounced field terracing of corn and beans. Also, began to notice white rock outcroppings indicating the Flint Hills were near. Native American locations were soon apparent like in Highland, Ks., where there is a Native American Cultural center and then a Kickapoo Nation school between Hiawatha and Seneca, Ks. We were also in the Delaware cultural area. Fairview, Ks., we passed thru are a pretty little town and looked successful. And, one can buy raw goat's milk near Fairview.
Also, outside of the town of Seneca is another metal statue of a pony express rider. From Seneca we began to notice more crop fields of waterways, but no terracing as we saw before. As we entered the north section of the Flint Hills, we noticed the town of Home, Ks. The town's logo is "There's No Place Like Home" in Home. As we continued the route, we found another sign: "Black Squirrel City" is Marysville, Ks., which has a beautiful tourist downtown with a city hall that looks just like a very ornate huge church of such a height over the 5 blocks of downtown thriving buildings. Would suggest visiting Marysville for a mini vacation. As we traveled on thru that town, we noticed another sign where the pony express station No. 6 was.
As we left Marysville we noticed more rocks along the pastures and fields of wheat. Cornfields were poor in comparison to northern Mo. cornfields. We we entered Nebraska, we noticed that Hebron, Neb., is the home of the world's largest porch swing. We had lunch in Geneva, Neb., Mom's Cafe, which is extremely recommended for home cooked plate lunches and pie at $1.60 a slice. Sure was like Warrensburg's former Corner Cafe. The weather is getting hot and windy now.
From Geneva is a Catholic camp in honor of the first Native American saint (Kateri Tekakwitha) on Hiway 81. Further on is Nebraska's Swedish capital at Stromsburg, Neb. We were soon crossing the Platte river by 1:51PM to the Sand Hills. Also, near Geneva is the Pawnee capital of Neb. before the Pawnee were moved to Okla. First wind farm was near Peterburg, Neb. And, near Petersburg was the Knotty Pine restaurant advertising "booze and food." Another interesting site was a mural on a wall in Albion, Neb. with words, "Wild Bill's Guns and Ammo." What was curious, no Amish around, but stacks of hay or straw in field just like harvesting the old-time way. Windbreaks is this part of the prairie are very numerous, surrounding farm buildings as we saw along the hiway, mostly thick pine trees.
There was no indication why there was a bright red horse statue in the middle of a field near Neligh, Nebr. - going northwest on 275 hiway from Neligh.
Along the hiway around the area of Pine Valley, Nebr., the area looks like Canada to me with all the piney woods in its area getting closer to the Niobrara River. By the time we got to Johnstown, Nebr. we were in the west. The buildings there were one-story with over-hang roofs on the buildings for shade. In this western look area we saw very few trees along the rolling shaped hills. Also on US 20 is a sign "God's Only Cow Country" of Cherry County. Saw many big herds of Angus cattle. In this area was an American flag all by its self secured on a sand dune.
Must not forget that Neligh, Nebr. is part of the state's Cowboy Trail. This trail, like Mo.'s Katy Trail, begins in Norfolk and goes to Valentine, Nebr., and will be 321 hiking miles when complete to Chadron. And another site for Valentine, Nebr., along US20 was a statue in the middle of no where. The statue was of a boy and girl sitting on top of a ravine seeming to be watching the traffic go by.
We headed for the Lakota area by way of Merriman, Nebr. This town is a small town. Then, we went to the town of Martin, S.Dakota, area of the Lakota nation. I visited the Lakota newspaper staff and brought them pencil drawings by a fella who came thru Warrensburg a few years ago, and who I tried to help him return to the Lakota reservation. I had been in contact with his sister years earlier and thought she would like the drawings of her brother who left the reservation. Near Martin, S.D., we saw a sign that read, "Leaving Brake Inspection" area. Then, another sign read, "Born Again Taxidermist" along SD73.
While in Badlands, at Martin, S.D., we had lunch at the Bingo cafe and small casino. We spent two hours visiting. In Martin, there is a Lakota college, a food distribution office and more related to social services and Sly Two Bulls is running for a political office. We also drove around the Badlands National Park and took several photos.
Now for the ultimate in tourism only at Wall Drug Store of Wall, S.D. We hadn't been to the "Drug" since 1974, and the changes were beyond our comprehension almost. After the dinosaur, T-Rex, came out of cabinet, blowing smoke and growling, I just went hog wild with the fun of the place. I even got on a jackalope (saddled) for Bill to take my picture. The place is now a gigantic magnet for those who love tourism at its grandeur of western, Indian, and other things to buy. I had my free glass of ice water promoted there, and we kept walking thru the stores and stared at amazement. This is a must stop for anyone when T-Rex comes out of his smoke-filled hidey hideout growling every 12 min. Don't forget that.
By July 6 we are headed for the Black Hills from Rapid City, S.D. Rapid City is a very big city, and the reason why is that it is the beginning of the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument. Rapid City is spread out in a big valley and very traffic congested. We were surprised at the city's size. Recommend Perkins chain restaurant while traveling. We arrived early at Mt. Rushmore, just when opening and took pictures and thought all was fine in weather.
We then went to Custer State Park. We were impressed with the creation of "cork screws" or pig tail designed bridges that circled around in loops. At the park temp. was about 70's. Really pretty day for traveling the park's wooded areas and then to the park's headquarters. Surprised by buffalo grazing every where and standing in the middle of the roads. Cars were parked along side of the buffalo, waiting for buffalo to pass by, and the drivers were causing traffic problems by everyone stopping to take pictures. We were doing photos too. As we drove on we came across a small group of wild burros. They were "moochers" and had the begging down to perfection. If one rolled down a car window, some of the burros came right up to the car wanting handouts. Most just waited to be petted, have their pictures taken, and then the burros would patiently wait for tidbits of treats brought by the tourists. Real "moochers" and not definitely not "wild."
During the whole trip we saw hundreds of motor cycle riders on Harley Davidsons (Sturgis is in the Black Hills area). Oh yes, at Custer St. Park is where gold was found which started a gold rush and later caused problems between native Americans and the prospectors. The gold was found in a creek called French Creek. Many businesses had names related to the Custer area - like Custer Bait and Tackle Shop.
After lunch went to the Crazy Horse monument. However, when we left Crazy Horse, we were in middle of a hailstorm! The Crazy Horse monument is financed by private funds only - the film about the family who started the creation of the statue emphasized this.
Now for the excitement: When we left Crazy Horse, hail storm, fog, hig wind, and then rain, but only pea size hail covered the hiway. We headed for a dinosaur museum in Hill City, S.D., The Museum of the Black Hills was the first home of Sue, the T-Rex dinosaur, of intrigue and worth millions of dollars. Sue was taken away by the government and now resides in Chicago. The three paleontologists who found Sue also own the little Museum in downtown Hill City. Sue's story deals with finding her on land owned by who, public, Indian, or private, and the expensive court case resulted in eight million dollars spent, and Sue hauled off to the Chicago Field Museum where Sue is on display. Interesting little dinosaur museum with more to it than the displays.
We are headed for Deadwood, S.D. and casinos that keep downtown Deadwood alive. I didn't really want to go to any of the casinos, but wanted to see a few. Couldn't understand when we got to very crowded downtown Deadwood with an Old West gunfight going on in the street where the casinos were. What a surprise to find out casinos, of small sizes, were in old downtown buildings converted to save the old buildings plus the obvious to keep downtown Deadwood prosperous. Couldn't even find a place to park - too many casino goers and no place to park in sight. Oh well, the 10 min. drive thru Deadwood was challenging in the traffic.
The next stop was Spearfish, S.D. A very stretched out city that seemed to going for miles. Spearfish would be an interesting city to visit, because of its history and tourism destination events, but all we did was try to figure out why it it is called Spearfish. Nothing about fishing in that town, but learned that it was a place where the Indians speared fish in the creek. The winter temp. can go to to minus 30.
Outside of Spearfish was my introduction to buffalo jumps. Didn't take me long to figure out that the local Indians of years ago ran buffalo off cliffs, etc., and that made a tourism attraction. I often saw lots of signs to visit buffalo jumps as we traveled. The temp. at Spearfish about 70 degrees, red soil, red buttes formations in distance, and the start of seeing irrigation of crops, namely alfalfa and wooden square bee hives for bees necessary for alfalfa.
As we entered Wyoming we came to Sundance, Wyo., home of the Sundance Kid (Butch Cassidy and Sundance). We went to Devils Tower and began to see more tourism buses, especially from Japan, as we began to visit more major attractions like Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore. We have entered the west terrain - huge ranches, cattle, few trees, but most are wind breaks, high desert environment, and still looking for a real western cowboy!
Devils Tower is a Native Amer. sacred location. I saw little white bags tied to trees in respect for the natural tower formation. We walked between many Japanese groups all coming on three buses. And, brave individuals were doing serious attempt at climbing to the top of Devils Tower. These climbers were only specks on the Tower, but specks that moved up some, came back down, and seem to rest for awhile - that's how dangerous the climb to the top is.
As we drove into the state of Montana from Wyoming on WY-112, we saw a most interesting sign - "Stoneville Saloon, Cheap Drinks, Lousy Food." We drove 60 miles (all on cruise control) to the town of Broadus, where the restaurant was not Stoneville, thought it would be interesting to check out such a "restaurant." We actually had lunch at a bowling alley, casino, cafe, and arcade, all in one business at Broadus, which is really Stoneville I guess. Also, we noticed a sign on one of the town's buildings, "Beets Country Club," and no country club. And, what was a curious sign was how the Lousy Food restaurant was also known as the Judge's Chamber restaurant (it appeared closed). Along the hiway I also saw my first old-fashioned sheep herder's wagon. Along US212 one can also start seeing the affects of ancient volcanoes – volcano lava rocks all over the landscape just like land around Capulin volcano in New Mex.
After we left Broadus, we noticed small square structure in a field with a solar panel on it. Couldn't figure out why it is there. Along 212 we noticed how we were following the Warrior Trail from a hiway sign. We will have traveled thru many native Amer. reservations: Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Blackfeet, Flathead, Nez Perce & Yakama.
As we headed for the Little Big Horn Battlefield, some land for sale: "Montana land for sale with horses, deer and T-Rexs." One of our important stops was the Battlefield where we were part of a small tour by a Tribal Crow member. When one sees where the Custer's last stand was, the history of the battle and what led up to it is much more understandable.
Also, I learned more about the life of Comanche, the only military horse left alive after the battle that wasn't killed or taken. Comanche was just an ordinary cavalry horse. However, Comanche is stuffed today and on display at the Univer. Of Kan. Paleontology Dept. He lived thru the battle, and Bill and I think we found the area he was left to die on the battlefield when we were there. Comanche was rescued from the battle ground, taken to Fort and brought back to health. Comanche became a symbol of the battle, and with the honor Comanche and his handler was in attendance at every parade and ceremony and other events for nearly 29 years. Comanche's life did not end when he died, because a famous taxidermist of the era preserved him. The story of this unique horse does not end without a few adventures. For example, members of the 7th Cavalry couldn't pay the bill for stuffing Comanche, so they stole him from the fort and ran off with him. Comanche disappeared for awhile, but emerged when someone I guess found him and paid the bill. Now, to my shock, Comanche was on display in an university cloak room closet when I saw him with full cavalry gear on in 2008. Some say he died after twenty years of drinking a bucket of beer a night from the soldiers who cared for him. But, there's lots of stories about Comanche, and I purchased the book about his role in history from the Battle of the Little Big Horn to a horse that represented the history of the 7th Cavalry. (Oh yes, I was told seriously Comanche was up for more restoration, and he was stored in the closet until he was fixed up to look better). I will be back to that university to check on that!
I must mention now that the popular tourism locations are becoming very congested with visitors and tour buses. We became so keen to where the tour buses were that we had no trouble using public facilities if you know what I mean.
While we were at the battlefield site, we met a cavalry re-enactor who was explaining to a military class about the failures of the battle. He brought his horse and other re-enactors had their horses. However, the heat was really on us, so the re-enactor was staying close to the park center and all the horses were in a grove of trees. We had a great tour by our Crow Indian guide, and then we drove around the battlefield going over the military and Indian positions of battle. One thing I disliked was the Crow Indian convenience and Ky. Fried Chicken complex before going into the battlefield area. It was a dirty place and no one was cleaning anything. Where is a health inspector when you need one!
Another incident was when we stayed at the Billings Quality Inn. The lodging was crowded with tour bus groups and other lodgers who brought their dogs. I don't like staying at a motel, hotel, etc. where dogs are welcomed. I told the front desk person there was dog poo-poo in one hallway. Not cleaned up. So, that adds more to my dislike of doggies traveling with owners to public lodging.
We visited a short time with friends who we met in N.Y. and Warrensburg. Rosie and her husband, now retired, reside in Mont., so we enjoyed our morning with them. Rosie is actually a Warrensburger. They enjoy bear statues and other bear related objects. They are a lot like me - I like horsey decor, and they have bear decor along with excellent original art work displays.
We were on our way, after visiting, Rosie to visit with a cousin and her family in Ralston, Wyo. Western landscape very prominent, few trees, and scenes along road dominated by power lines outlining the hiway. Oh yes, along US310, in Frannie, Wyo., pop. 180, has a sign, "Welcome to Wyoming," at the Wyo. Lime Products co.
We soon visited with my cousin Judy and Jay, her husband, and family. We stayed up until 11PM sitting at a picnic table in their front yard working on genealogy research and drinking beer, figuring out who was who connected to whom in the family tree. Judy and Jay took us on a tour of their town Ralston, Wyo., and then relatives came for a big barbeque! Judy and Jay also took us to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Refuge where we were told that we might not see the mustang herd, mustangs had over 1,000 acres to roam. Wrong. Just a short distance into the refuge here comes 3 mares and an amorous stallion following them. The horses just ignored us at we stopped to admire them. The stallion had much more on his mind. He had sex right in front of us and then off the mares trotted and the stallion right behind them! These mustangs cannot be fed any hay or grain and must survive on their own. They must stay wild and continue the pure Spanish mustang line which I saw first hand in the making!
In several areas, I saw the word "shebang". Near Cody, Wyo., is a shebang site and that means a temporary military location during the late 1800s. We said goodbye to Judy and Jay (our age), and headed eventually for Yellowstone. Now, I know why my Adams' kinfolks left Mo. I thought it was due to Civil War reasons, gold mining, but nope – just the relatives went west for a better future. Darn, thought I would hear some real wild west and cowboy stories from them. Jay sure looks like a cowboy, so I told him "he was my cowboy!"
While in Cody, Wyo., we went to a laundromat, saw over 100 Harley Davidson riders meeting in Cody for a Vietnam veterans' rally, and had breakfast with Judy and Jay, we went to the most impressive western museum I have ever seen. The museum complex has four buildings, and we took two hours touring it.
Bill had reserved a partial A-frame unit at the lodge area that Buffalo Bill Cody created for a hunting retreat. Lots of Bill Cody history, but the teepee lodging I would rate as a rip-off. However, we made the most of the poor lodging and had a read nice dinner at the lodge itself. We only chose the Pahaska lodging, because it was the nearest to Yellowstone. Next time lodging will be at the facilities in the park. We wanted to go to park early and sure enough we were in the park by 7AM stopped in the middle of the road by a big buffalo looking at us!
The park's mountain slopes still had snow, but temp. was about 70's. We took all the touristy pictures at Yellowstone. I really liked the Norris Basin, and Old Faithful didn't go off on schedule, it's 1hr.1/2 now, and we have seen Old Faithful before.
Before I go on - know what the term "it's a small world means?" Here's what happened - met a couple from Joplin at the Pahaska resort, then met a couple from Holden who knows people we know there, and then met a gal named Anna who was riding her Harley across country and she was having breakfast at Cody, Wyo. Where we were, and she saw our Mo. license plate and asked if we were from Warrensburg. She knows someone at Economy Lumber, Wbsg., and then met a family at Mt. Rainier - the husband was a student of Dr. John Emerson at the university here, so we talked about how great Dr. Emerson was.
Now for silly tourism things: Huge traffic jam along one of the scenic drives at Yellowstone. Thought it was huge accident, so Bill sends me off with the camera like every one else was doing. I had a suspicion that it wasn't an accident. Eighty cars or so and more tourists than that had converged on a black bear eating grass ignoring them. I took pictures of the bear, too. Then, the scenic drive got crowded again when the bear crossed the road to see what the grass was like on the other side of the road. And, the final traffic jam was when a crowd of tourists headed for a male elk in velvet munching on grass ignoring his entourage of tourists with cameras!
(Buffalo hanging around in the middle of a park roadway at Custer State Park really got a good traffic jam going, too. I think the buffalo all lined up along side the road for their pictures to be taken. It sure looked that way to me!)
The Museum of the Rockies is in Bozeman, Mont. I liked that town, a college plus numerous streets of Victorian homes. The museum is an important center for dinosaur research in the west. The theories of dinosaurs relating to birds originated at the museum due to scientific studies of Dr. Horner and his staff at the museum.
When we were in Bozeman, met a fella with the cutest little Jack Russell terrier named Scarlet. A real lap dog except for one talent, her owner took Scarlet hunting. Best hunting and killer of gophers he ever had! Gophers are a problem on ranch land, and I soon found out that lap dog was no lap at all!
Now, here is a sign that stirs one imagination. Outside of Bozeman, I-90, is a sign: "Bridal Registry at the Adam and Eve's Gentlemens Club." And, here's a sign outside of Townsend, Mont. to attract visitors to the county's Historical Society: "There's Gold in Them Thar Hills!" All the rivers and streams were full throughout the trip, All that water headed for Missouri. At Three Forks, between Bozeman & Helena, we were at the starting of the Missouri river - actually small rivers converging into one big one.
Also, went past a camp for individuals not recognized on any Indian tribal member rolls. The camp is called White Earth on way to Helena, Mont. As we got closer to Helena, there was a sign on road: "You're In Prime Beef Country." The reason for going to Mont.'s state capitol was to visit the State Hist. Soc. there and see the Charles Russell art collection. We did that plus Bill toured the Native Amer. exhibit there and everyone there had a chance to find out just how heavy and warm a buffalo hide robe was. It was very difficult to wear the coat for awhile, heavy and warm.
Also, at the State Capitol building there was a large group protesting gas and oil drilling, etc. by saying to everyone, "Earth First." We also traveled to Great Falls, Mont. to visit the actual home and next to the home was the actual log cabin art studio of Charles Russell. Found out all about his personal life and professional career. Collections of his paintings showed his fondness for humor and the western life style. One exhibit explained how Russell had a desire to keep areas in the west free of development. Russell's family were connected to the famous Bent family of St. Louis.
Charles Russell was in love with a 16yr.old girl in his younger days. The girl's family would not let them marry because they thought Russell was not good enough for their daughter, so Russell married someone and that marriage lasted over 30 years. However, Russell and his sweetheart of many years before still remained friends and they happened to be in St. Louis often at the same time so goes the romance story of Mr. Russell. Oh yes, Great Falls, Mont., is only 120 miles from Canada. And, the outdoor life of Mr. Russell was his lodge and vacations at Glacier Lake. He was very fond of entertaining and camping.
St. Mary Lake at the entrance to Glacier NP was so pretty even though really cold, windy, roads closed and cloudy. It was quite a tourism destination during Russell's time, and I enjoyed how families, celebrities, and tourists called the lake a paradise vacation. I was amazed at all the outdoor activities folks of that era did.
When we left the Great Falls area, we noticed the Indian Hammer Vet Hospital and another shebang temporary fort historic site. Crops varied in the high desert and often irrigation was how crops survived. But, at Fairfield, Mont., I saw huge grain bins of barley. I saw fields of hop growing, too. Now, we all know where beer comes from. Also, along US89 saw a metal life-sized statue of a cowboy cutting out a steer. This statue was in a very odd location, not where many would see it.
Near Choteau, Mont., is the Roxy Theater and Grizzly Sports Shop. And in Bynum, Mont., there is a Wildlife "Bar" Sanctuary. In Browning, Mont., there are statues of two Blackfeet tribal members holding an American flag. Also, the Blackfeet Antelope Society is in Browning near the Browning Public School for Indians. And, there is another sign: "Drinking and Driving Leads to Empty Lodges." The real name for Blackfeet tribal members is Piegan.
Locals around Glacier National Park have an opening day tradition - a drive along the mountain, narrow road called Going to the Sun Road. We didn't know that, and sure enough everyone had to take the Sun hiway all the way. The road was opened, repairman were along the road (parts of the road during the winter had slid off the side of the mountain, and we were in the middle of hundreds of drivers taking the road - it is tradition to drive this road on opening day). What a drive we had! When we got to the top of the mountain, the rest break areas weren't opened yet and the snow walls were over 10 ft. tall. But, besides the chilly weather and traffic jam of everyone going to the top, there was a bighorn ram standing on top of the snow mounds wanting his picture taken. That added to the mass of tourists taking his picture and really confusing where anyone could park, drive around, or just wait for summer. Sure enough that ram was a mooch and eventually stood in the middle of the parking lot over-flowing with more drivers. That ram knew what he was doing - he was waiting for potato chips and more yummy snacks!
The biggest natural fresh water lake west of the Mississippi river is the Flathead lake. And, if one wanted to, one can purchase at Burger Town there a Flathead Monster burger. We stayed with a cousin, Dwight Lamm, near here. He has a business with fancy equipment to place rock or soil exactly where one wants it.
At the entrance to Lolo Pass we learned about Ft. Fizzle, a fort set up by militia to block the Nez Perce as they tried to escape the army in 1877. The Nez Perce (who turned out to not be a threat to the settlers in the valley, anyway) bypassed it on another trail so the militia went home and the fort fizzled out. Saw first moose crossing US12 from Lolo. And the Running Mountain River is really running as were many streams and small waterfalls.
There is a wonderful town, called Powell, in Idaho with only one business - a lodge named Lochsa and a supply and grocery store with several cabins around the lodge. That's it. Bill and I had a really good pulled pork with sides. We are traveling along the Bitteroots hiway, US12, and the Nez Perce trail. The Nez Perce call themselves the Nimiipuu.
We are now on way to visit another cousin family, Georgia (who I called hot mama on a 4-wheeler), husband, Phil, and their grandchildren. They have a pretty house in the town of Kamiah (on the Nez Perce reservation), and a dog named Ginger. I was smitten by Ginger (part blue heeler, tail like a golden retriever, and some German shepherd). Ginger is a rescued dog with an unusual talent if Georgia and Phil aren't watching it. Ginger is a herd dog and will herd all the neighbors' calves into barn and herd whatever is around except the cats around the house. Cats don't herd well and the cats had Ginger well-trained about that fact. To keep Ginger from sneaking off and going herding at night, they keep her inside on a very fancy dog bed. However, I told Ginger I wouldn't tell anyone when I caught her sleeping on the fancy divan.
Georgia and Phil showed us their family farm and drove us around the countryside. The town is in a valley with many steep hills around it. I would say going up and down those hills would be exciting in an Idaho winter. Georgia wanted to show me the farm better by 4-wheeler, and I thought maybe, maybe no, but it was too late Georgia, nearly 70 in years, took off with me clinging to her in fright! She showed us her favorite elk hunting stand, the front portion of a 1950 or so truck. She is an avid hunter and so is Phil. They know every elk in the country side and look for just the right one for meat on the table not trophy. I called for Bill to help me get off the 4-wheeler so he could ride. Ran like rabbit to Phil, who had a '74 truck that came from Alaska, so I thought the adventure was over. Oh no, the truck is a creek climbing truck and what fun we had in that old truck!
Georgia has her appaloosa mare, but for other livestock they told me the cattle were somewhere. Since they know many Nez Perce tribal members, since they have lived on the reservation for generations, she was asked by the tribal leader if he could ride her appaloosa in a big parade. She felt very honored - I guess most of you know the appaloosa was bred by the Nez Perce.
We had a time at cousin Georgia's house and earlier with Judy and Jay, but one cousin, couldn't make it to the family gatherings – he is the one with the big ranch in Wyo. We had also spent the night with Georgia and Phil's son Dwight and his family. The family resides in a little town called Bigfork, Mont. We stayed with them before arriving at Kamiah, Idaho. Beautiful home Dwight and his family have, plus pretty horses. We took them to dinner that evening and soon found out the "little" town of Bigfork is on a big lake with a thriving tourist downtown with theater for performances. Plus, I was amazed at the retiree population there. The lake really impressed me.
When we left cousin Georgia and her family we stopped at the Nez Perce cultural center and saw some interesting metal horse statues along the hiway near Lewiston, Idaho. The statues were in honor of horses. The Nez Perce don't really like that term because the tribe never pierced their noses which that word means, and they were never farmers as some thought. We were traveling along US12 when we saw a huge amount of wind power windmills and few were working. Oh yes, lunch at Dayton, Washington, and saw how tourists can take carriage rides pulled by mules in that town.
Another story: Judy and Jay told me about an aquarium little black fish they bought at Walmart that eats only algae in the tank and the tank never needs cleaning. However, the little fish gets bigger and bigger and the strange looking little fish grows more and more and is put in stock tanks to keep them clean. I wondered what would happen if the little black fish outgrew a stock tank. I didn't ask that question.
When we entered Washington, we saw a "teapot dome" geological outcropping named in honor of the "teapot dome" national scandal of the 1920s in town of Toppinsh before we arrived in Yakima, Wash., home of every fresh picked cherry I could find.
First noticed a hiway sign that read: "Goldendale Klickitat Valley. Kickitat Hay and Alfafa over 3,000 acres." Soon advertisements read - apples, cherries, hops, pears, etc. What fruit stand should we stop at first! I was getting all that fruit first before Warrensburg shoppers! I chose Rainier and bing cherries, and made a pig out of myself!
The areas of Oregon and Washington are full of Lewis & Clark history and signs are regular about where the exploratory party went. Also, irrigation is very apparent. But, the miles and miles of fruit trees gave me a real education on the produce industry. I did buy $1.50 sack of Rainier cherries and cherished everyone. Right now, price for the same cherries is at $4 lb. My sack was over a pound and purchased fresh picked from the trees that morning and sold at a hiway fruit stand.
We headed for Mt. Rainier and soon realized we were in the rain and right in the middle of a northwestern rain forest! About 80 Boy Scouts were near us at the ranger station as Bill decided that we might not see the mountain. Oh well, clouds, rain, fog, didn't bother me. We decided to photograph whatever mountain could almost see! And, when the clouds cleared you could see folks getting ready to ski in July! Loved to look at the tall cedar trees and the effects of northwestern rain on the forest under growth. In the rain, we did see a black bear that saw us, and the bear took off fast.
After Mt. Rain-i-er, we went south to the Columbia River valley, where the river has been turned into a series of locks and dams. We left it heading south and noticed how the round top of the hills had wheat planted in circles around the tops - we wondered how a someone driving a tractor could handle that strange way of planting. Fruit trees were also planted on hill tops. The scenery was pretty with planted wheat and trees, but how did the tractor drivers do the planting and harvesting. We had no one to ask why the hill tops were worth the efforts of planting, so we just pondered that technique. We were headed for a "river run" town called Maupin. We had a little cabin. We knew right away it was a town for rafters and fly fishing. But, the town was little, but pretty, and we found folks really friendly plus in town we had a great pizza and beer was only a dollar glass. We only drank one glass and then returned to cabin to visit with other tourists.
The Maupin area is on the Deschutes River. Many from Washington & Oregon go there to ride the rapids for a night or two. Some couldn't understand why we didn't do the rapids. Riding the rapids and riding a 4-wheeler would have been too much fun at one time!
Just wanted some of you to know the area is range land, orchards, wheat and alfalfa fields, and the climate is arid and desert like out of the populated areas. All irrigation. Also, so interesting to see the extend of volcano flows. I thought New Mex. had a lot of volcano debris, but amazing how far the lava flowed. We listened in the area to the American radio of Culture - it's a station dedicated to Native Amer. music. A LaPine, Ore., here's a sign, "The Outdoors At Your Door." Also, there is a Buck Fever drive on Hiway 97 out of LaPine.
We soon were at Crater Lake, and in the area saw this sign, "Moo Moo Belle." A cow image painted on a storage tank. Didn't see a cow around. And, Mrs. Beasely's restaurant is closed. But, saw several Oil Can Henry's businesses.
Temp. at Crater Lake, really cold, windy, cloudy, but a lot of tourists around us. To warm up, one can get a Rodeo lunch at the El Rodeo restaurant, south back on the hiway. Crater Lake was beautiful, and we have good photos, but down right freezing to get out of the car. Snow is heavy in the Crater Lake area. As we were going to Klamath Falls, Ore., from Crater Lake, we noticed the "Klamath Tribute Center." Such an old name for the funeral home. And, Wubba's BBQ Shack was open. Also, a bar along Utah 140 was selling "wild west Angus."
I found the Plum Tuckered Out antique store near Bly, Ore., and noticed there was a litter control yellow truck near Grey, Ore. Guess there is a serious litter problem in that town. Finally, saw a real cowboy and his dog at work near Lakeview, Ore. Along the American Hiway 140 we saw the cowboy herding a bull from a pasture.
Entered state of Nevada eventually and still the desolate arid terrain, few trees, high winds, few fences, public land, not an area to run out of gas and drinking water. Even saw a hang glider area from a butte, and that was about it for scenery. And, saw a lot of big dust devils.
Had lunch in Winnemucca on way to Elko, Nev. Temp. 98degrees (desert heat). Most temps. during trip we from 70-80 degrees, but 40 degrees or so at high attitudes.
Story time: In a popular song are the words "waiting on the corner," in Winslow, Ariz. I've been to Winslow and a lot of tourists "stand on the corner" next to a bronze guy "standing on the corner." To me, this is the funniest tourism attraction I have ever seen. Hundreds of tourists flock to Winslow for their "standing on the corner" festival. Now, if that can happen as a tourism gold mine for Winslow, then my idea should tourist money grabber. Country western singer, Hank Snow, had these words in one of his songs about being in Winnemucca (plus other places he sang about), as "I've been every where, man." So, I wanted Bill to take my picture next to the Welcome to Winnemucca sign that proved "I had been everywhere man." Darn, couldn’t find the welcoming sign in Winnemucca. Maybe the Winnemucca chamber ought to create a tourism attraction promoting, "If you've been in Winnemucca, then you have been 'everywhere' man."
An unusual green saddle in a sign promoted three acre ranchettes in the desert area on way to Elko. Desert land and no water acres for sale at $1,000 acre. Saw a couple mine operations along I-80 to Elko and a little geyser letting off steam just in viewing distance of a rest stop. In the middle of the desert is a geyser, how strange.
When we left the rest area, hot, and very windy, Bill had tire trouble, then a flat tire in the middle of the freeway going to Elko. Flat tire, hot temp., and to the rescue were two highway patrol officers. They had been traveling along the hiway and noticed us off the side of the road. One officer completely changed the tire, and the other assisted with parts. Changing a tire of a SUV to spare tire is not easy. I told the officers I would write them a thank you note and asked them for location of the best Mex. restaurant in Elko. Elko is a "string" city, everything including the down town is all on one street plus the big casinos. I started to believe every Nev. Town had a casino, small and big. We had to go to Elko's Walmart and got a new tire and then went to the Mex. restaurant recommended - and there the patrolmen were who rescued us, so we joined them for dinner and talked about Elko and Mo.
West Wendover, NV is another town with a lot of casinos and all are right on the line of Utah. A lot of good Mormons I betcha were in those casinos. Also, we saw the Bonneville Salt Flats, where cars, etc. are tested for how fast they could go. The white salt sands of the area looked like lakes (not surprising, as it was one once).
Oh yes, this is strange. Just past the Nev. Welcome Center is a huge pail (bucket) set in concrete with huge balls of green tones attached to the top of the bucket on I-80. Our drive thru Salt Lake City (we hope to never again drive thru it) was down right scary with several lanes of traffic full of cars & trucks and seeing how the built up area kept going on and on past where we got off at Spanish Fork, Utah. Didn't see much of the Mormon historic buildings, had to keep going with hundreds of other drivers. Salt Lake City is at the bottom of the small mountain area, and we stayed on the hiway going thru the mountains, past Price and stopped at Green River where they had a giant slice of watermelon (with a door in it) on a trailer. Leaving Green River, drove parallel to the Book Cliffs scenery of which the cliffs are suppose to remind Mormons of certain books in their Bible. Was glad to arrive in Grand Junction, Colo., finally after over 500 miles of driving!
When we arrived in Grand Junction, I saw a sign off of I-70, "The Wow Effect" antique store. Didn't have any directions to it. Oh yes, a town in Colo., has a strange name, Parachute, but in Rifle, Colo., there is the Rifle shopping center (Bill was tempted to stop & see if they had any rifles). Headed for Aspen, Colo. after Grand Junction, and to one of the largest tourism towns we went to. Aspen, I had a feeling, was for richy folks. We drove thru the upscale downtown, then past a small airport filled with private jet planes, and major traffic jams getting into town. We were headed for Independence Pass, part of the scenic byway of the Rocky Mountains.
We were going to high 12,000 altitude, and the park was crowded with campers, bikers, and just tourists driving around like us. However, none of the tourists were happy at the 12,000 level. I didn't want to do much hiking, so Bill took a picture of the sign of altitude not me. I didn't really have an altitude problem, but Bill did. This was a long drive thru the mountains.
Story: We were told by a convenience store clerk to drive the Independence mountain road and stop at the Independence ghost town. We found the ghost town which was several log cabin buildings and sign of a mining area. The park officials have the town open, and you can walk around the buildings. However, here's the sign, "Ghost Interpreter on Site." I waited for my 'ghost interpreter' to show up, but I guess our ghost had already vanished in thin air.
We enjoyed the mountainous drive and headed onto Buena Vista and onto Trout Creek Pass along US24. We could see part of the Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak in distance. At Hartsell, Colo., there is an unique jail, because there are no window panes. Still along US24 at Florissant, Colo., there is a real, big pasture of pink plastic flamingos all placed as if in flocks. I’m not kidding.
We arrived at the AF Academy during a storm in Colo. Springs. Since Bill is an alumnus of the Academy, we toured a couple of buildings and found many tourists buying AF souvenirs. Actually, there was a lot of rain (and thunderstorms) during our trip, nothing serious. During that evening we saw two rainbows after the storm. The next day we headed for Abilene, Kan. On US24e, sunny, 67, no wind. Along the way, we saw the sign for Punkin Center, Colo., and a sign that read, "No Snow Removal from 7PM-5AM." As you might figure with double fence snow breaks and ranch buildings surrounded by cedars and pines, lots of snow. Traveled US40 from Eads, Colo. to Kit Carson, Colo. Went thru First View, Colo., and no buildings in that town, but a barn. This was 50 miles past where we last saw Pike's Peak, so there's no first view at First View.
At Cheyenne Wells, Colo., was a great rest stop that was also a city park, and one can go there by turning on the truck route thru town, about as big as Leeton. The Colo. State Lottery income built that rest stop and park. A sign was posted, so stop at Medicine Arrow City Park. And, my uncle, Murray Kugler, may have relatives in Cheyenne Wells, because there is a Kugler Fertilizer Co.
Soon we saw more oil wells along US40 and saw a sign for Mt. Sunflower, the highest point in Kan. At Sharon Springs, Ks., is the Western Vista Scenic Hiway, and we passed Ft. Wallace, named after a general killed at Shiloh. The fort was built to protect travelers to Colorado.
My favorite museum in Kan., is the Fick Museum, Oakley, Ks. Mrs. Fick was an artist who walked the prairie picking up fossil shark's teeth (Kan. was an ocean once) and making art pictures of scenes, flowers, etc. She placed every little tooth in place for hours and hours. Also, other art pictures, mainly eagles, were made with shark's teeth and rattles from rattlesnakes. You must go to that museum, which has Kansas pioneering items and history plus Mrs. Fick's artwork. After lunch at a pretty good truck stop, we were on I-70. We stopped in Hays, Kan. for break and saw a statue of a Roadrunner.
Now seeing stone posts and oil wells. Drove past a very historic church of the pioneers - The Cathedral of the Great Plains, a Catholic church. Here's a billboard sign - "The Largest Czech Egg Will Soon Be in Kansas."
We spent our last night on the road in Abilene, Kan., home of Pres. Dwight Eisenhower. The Eisenhower museum and complex was closed, but driving around the complex and town was interesting. It's a pretty town to visit and very active downtown. A community art event was happening downtown that night (only 105 degrees or so), but many were there where children seem to be having fun and doing artwork. Recommend a drive to Abilene to see the Eisenhower complex. Right before Abilene is a sign that reads: "Free Land For Industry."
One of my favorite signs is the one in Hope, Kan. "There'll Always Be Hope in Kansas." And, the town has a Ladies Lounge building (I wonder - was this for quilting bees or shooting pool and drinking beer), but it was closed. Going from Hope is an art metal display of a covered wagon pulled by oxen and nearby is a rider on a horse on Kan. Hiway 4. This ornate statue is on a hill, so travelers on hiway could see it. Nothing else around it. Also, on US 56 is a metal statue of three Indians on horseback near Council Grove, Ks. US56. And, near US56 west of Osage City, Kan., is a statue of the Indian bent over on a horse with its head down, which is called End of the Trail. This statue sets far back from the road.
Three stops seem so interesting: Chuckie's Chuck Wagon on KS268 from Osage City and others, Leroy's Smokin' Chokin' Barbeque and Buzzard's Pizza. However, the Hog Heaven BBQ is closed near Osage City.
No more "tidbits, observations, trip info, and comments." Thank you for enjoying our trip journal. We arrived home Friday, July 22, 12:30PM, and took a while to make sure we were home!