Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Nebraska--to Marysville, Kansas

Before turning south on my return to Tucson for the winter I had several more stops to make.  One stop was all the way across Nebraska to Lincoln where I planned to look up some very special people that I had not seen in years. 

Here are three of the cutest, cleverest, brightest kids I have met to date.. 

...Isaiah, Zachy and Sean....

...and their equally cute and clever parents, Patrick and Rachel.  I worked with them in Monterey 15 years ago and even though we kept in touch over the years I especially wanted to meet their boys.

Rachel had arranged for me to park at the church across the street from their house which gave us a little more time for catching up on our news.  It was terribly hard for me to finally drive away--these folks were so welcoming. And their boys absolutely touched me--each so smart, creative, and brave in ways that I will always remember.  Daisy thought they were pretty neat, too.

Yep, I'm in Kansas.

The 34th president of the United States, Dwight David Eisenhower grew up in Dickinson County, Kansas.
"When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing and, as we sat there in the warmth of the summer afternoon on a riverbank, we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up.  I told him that I wanted to be a real major league baseball player...and he said that he'd like to be president of the United States.  Neither of us got our wish."  D.D. Eisenhower

I wandered off the main highways in Kansas and found some lovely little mid-west towns that time forgot.  One special feature of several parks that I came across was free overnight parking plus free dump stations.  I took advantage of both.
In the park above, while dumping my tanks I failed to securely latch the door, and Daisy got out.  Her bolt for freedom lasted about an hour as I chased, bribed, ordered and cajoled.  I was exhausted and very out-of-breath before she got hungry enough to meekly climb back into the RV.

If she had broken loose in the park in Marysville, Ks I would never have coaxed her back.

The park had free parking, free dump, free water and lots and lots of free and independent squirrels...

Posted at the park:

CITY MASCOT:  (a) The black squirrel is designated as "Marysville City Mascot" and hereafter shall be accorded all the rights and privileges inherent to such designation, including the freedom to trespass on all city property, immunity from traffic regulations, and the right of first choice to all black walnuts growing within the city.  (b) Anyone who knowingly or willingly maims or kills a black squirrel or, who without permission from the governing body, entraps a black squirrel within the city shall be guilty of  a misdemeanor, the conviction of which shall be punishable by a fine and imprisonment.

BLACK SQUIRREL DAY:  The mayor of the City of Marysville, annually at nut gathering time, shall, with the advice and consent of the city council and the business community, proclaim a "Black Squirrel Day" on which day city employees and officials shall devote their errors to the planning of and participating in this day of celebration, parading, pageantry, feasting and other nutty or squirrelly activities appropriate to the day.  Ord. #1027, August 28, 1972)


There was also an abundance of red-tailed squirrels as well. 

There is a legend behind the origin of the black squirrels....

In the year 1912, The McMahon Carnival came to town and, as an added attraction, they displayed a cage containing some black squirrels.The squirrels attracted the attention of a young native lad who felt sorry for the caged animals.  A member of the band that furnished music that day reported that he witnessed the lad opening the cage door and releasing the squirrels.  The rest is history.

Black Squirrel Day was set for the last weekend in October but I had to get to Ft. Worth for Aunt Louise's 97th birthday party.  I will just have to come back some day.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Wyoming to Medicine Bow National Forest

There are two reasons why this blog is so slow this week: first, I cannot seem to catch a good signal.  I completely finished this posting when, suddenly, a message came up showing I had no wifi connection.  The next morning the entire posting I had worked on was gone.  GRRR!
Second, I hate to do a posting twice.  I am never as creative the second time around. So, Sorry.

This summer I have been trailing behind Tony and Karen. Their blog called "Rolling in a RV-Wheelchair" is over there on the right of this page and has been a wealth of ideas and insight for me.
  The drive through Wyoming was so boring I decided to check out their blog to see if they could inspire me with something of more interest than sagebrush and semi-trailer trucks. 

Well, it seems they were bored with the drive as well and opted to leave the freeway at about Walcott and head for the Snowy Range in Medicine Bow National Forest.  Of course the weather was quite a bit warmer when they headed up into the mountains but I was willing to gamble that the weather would hold for me too.  Anything to get away from the roar of the trucks on the freeway.

Once again I used the RV Golf Club free night stay at this delightful little resort in Saratoga.  They have the usual golf course, plus cabins, bar, restaurant, this cute outdoor chess game, and a pool fed by a natural hot spring.  I was all ready to spend an evening luxuriating in a hot pool but could not find my bathing suit.  I had packed it away somewhere and boy did I look for it--but no luck.  I was afraid that if I improvised with something like cut-off jeans I might get tossed out--so I skipped the spa.  

But, I am finding that bathing suit before another opportunity presents itself.

The next town on the road to  the Snowy Range and Medicine Bow was Encampment.  Just as I drove into the town I was met by a herd of steers.

And Daisy went ballistic jumping from window to window and barking her annoyance at those big dogs.

Now I was beginning to enjoy Wyoming.  

(Grand Encampment)
Elevation: 7,323 ft
Population 450

Once a favorite hunting ground of Prehistoric man, later 'Camp le Grand' became a noted rendezvous of indians and trappers.  
In 1897 mining began and in 1902, during the mining boom, the longest aerial tramway in the world was built to convey ore 16 miles from the great Ferris-Haggarty mine to the smelter at Encampment.  In 1908 the mining industry collapsed.

There is a wonderful museum that includes many of the old homes and buildings from the more prosperous days.

While I wandered around I noticed there was a person up in the tower watching for wild fires I presume.  He never once stopped scanning the horizon and I realized how critical that job has become.


The station was located on Lake creek at its confluence with the North Platte River.  Built in the 1870s it was used as a way station for the U.S. Cavalry stationed at Ft. Steele.

The absolutely best part of this town is that it provides free parking for RVs with a dump station that asks only for donations.  Now, how welcoming is that?

The weather was turning threatening and I wasn't sure I had made a good choice to drive over the Snowy Range.   It was a long way to turn around and go back to the freeway though and besides, I was starting to see lots of antelope.

This little guy convinced me to tackle the mountain pass.  I would just not spend the night in the mountains but continue on to Laramie.

Not only was the temperature dropping but the trees were broadcasting autumn.

We climbed another 1000 feet and I started to wonder where I had stashed my jacket.  Probably the same place as the bathing suit.

Boy, was she puzzled.  

Where's the grass?

There were some snow flurries but the road stayed free of ice.  I am sure, however, that I needed to be down from there before nightfall.

The sky was as breathtaking as the mountains.

 This is NOT a black and white photo.

Nor is this one, taken at the very top.  

I am very glad I ventured off the freeway.  This was a wonderful diversion.

Thank you, Karen and Tony for the inspiration.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Salt Lake City to Wyoming--Contrasts.

If you look on a map of Utah, in the most Northern part of the State, you will see a small lake that extends across the state line into Idaho.  Bear Lake and the tiny towns along its shore are about as far off the major highways as one can get without hiking.


I reached this interesting area by traveling a very narrow and winding, but scenic, drive through Logan canyon west of the town of Logan, Utah.

The lake is quite high in altitude and is as picturesque as any one could wish for.

There was still a hint of smoke in the air but it just made the scenery look ethereal.


Bear Lake and the Logan Canyon historically provided food and shelter to the Shoshone Indians.  Today it is a somewhat remote recreation area that is still mostly natural.  For a while the canyon became a mining area but returned to its more natural state when the mining petered out.

"Four species of fish are found in Bear Lake and nowhere else in the world.  Isolated geographically for at least 100,000 years has resulted in the evolution of four species of fish that have adapted to the unique Bear Lake environment.





 The weather was turning cold (something I welcomed after so much heat) and I spied snow capped peaks coming up in my travels.

Daisy welcomed her new warm covers. 

In very short order I was in Wyoming and the change of scenery was striking. It is no wonder why the  Mormons and other early pioneers pushed on to Utah where water was more plentiful.

"This marker on the Overland Trail, Platte River Crossing , Nine Miles West, 1861 to 1868.'

An Interstate Highway circa 1860.

The wind and rain were becoming fierce so I found a spot near a truck parking area and got far enough away that the constantly running motors would not disturb my sleep.

 The next morning I woke to rumbling, raised my shade and saw this.  I was completely engulfed by semis, so close to me the diesel odors competed with my morning bacon and eggs.  UGH!

I did not hesitate to get back on the road though the weather was definitely ominous.