Monday, August 31, 2015

From Buffalo to Bluegrass

After climbing Independence Rock Friday, we drove on to our destination for the night, Lander, Wyoming.  We had tasty dinner then needed to walk it off a bit. We just took off touring downtown at dusk.  We found this sculpture, which I really liked.  Wyoming is full of buffalo depictions but so many of them have buffalo in violent scenes. This one just seemed quite peaceful.  Maybe that is why I liked him so much.

Lander is not a large town.  I think it is quaint and adorable.  We found a lot of people out walking and enjoying the perfect evening.

The next morning we drove just a few miles out of town to The Sinks.  I hope you can read this very informative bit of information about The Sinks, where water disappears underground for a few hours.

I think it is really cool down there.  The river flows down and just disappears.

This photo was Mike's idea. He likes planning out interesting shots like that.

The area is loaded with boulders.  I'd like to see that place in the Spring when the snow is melting on the mountains. It comes flowing over all those boulders at times.

A quarter of a mile down the way there is the area where the water reappears, The Rise of the Sinks. It is marked "no fishing".  People buy food there to feed the fish, though.  A family with little kids was there throwing fish food over, resulting in a lot of swirling and splashing with all those fish competing.

Do you see that sandbar down there by the fish? Magpies hung out down there. Apparently they like the fish food also.

The weird thing in that canyon is that the North wall looks like this,

And the South wall looks like this.  Why, you ask? Because the North wall gets the most sunshine and so its snow melts and is gone too quickly to grow much.  The South side is more shady so keeps its moisture longer.  Interesting, huh? Really, I was standing in the same spot when I took that photo above, then turning to take this photo below.  It is sort of a bipolar canyon.

After we left the sinks area, we drove on up into the mountains. We saw lots of people riding bicycles up the mountain. Why? Why do people do that? It didn't look like fun to me.

Then, we saw this guy hiking... ON CRUTCHES!  Impressive!

We went higher yet and found a lake.  Do you see those mountains in the distance with the snow on them, above the timber line even? That, my friends, is the continental divide.  

This is my guy.  I enjoy adventuring with him.

We headed back down into Lander and wanted to grab a quick bite before heading back home. We spotted a little bakery/cafe and stopped in. What a lovely surprise we found there!  There was a sweet bluegrass group playing. They were wonderful! I found out, from their mother, that they are a group of 4 siblings from Texas.  They are called the 4 Proches. 

We both really enjoyed listening to them play. The youngest brother could really go on that banjo!

Here's a link to one of their YouTube videos.
I hope you also find them charming.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

24 Hours of Adventure!

One thing I love about Mike is that he is often up for a quick adventure.  Yesterday we had a window of opportunity, 24 hours, to have an adventure.  So, we did!

We headed West... further West.  Our first stop was to Independence Rock. We've been there several times before and always enjoy the experience.  We like walking the trail around it and we like climbing up on top. This first photo was taken from the top.  Those are red ants on that rock!

 Independence Rock is such a unique place.  It has names pioneers scratched into the stone as they moved West!  Now, there is a highway nearby with truck after truck cruising by. Then, though, travel was a different story! Can you imagine travelling 5 months in this early RV?

OK, now is when you come to learn just how lazy I really am.  Instead of telling the story of Independence Rock myself, I took photos of the signs along the trail.


And one more...

I hope you can read those.  If not, here's the condensed version: People followed the trails (think Oregon and Mormon) for months. Getting across Wyoming could not have been easy. This huge rock was a landmark they looked for and it has a little stream nearby.  Many wrote/scratched their names into the rock and some of those names are still easy to see today.  We are allowed to climb up to the top and wander around.

It is a bit of exercise to get to the top, but so worth it for the view!

See, I told you their names are still visible!

 I like the little pools up on the top.

You must be very, very brave to get across the deep crevices!
OK, well, it seemed like a dangerous crevice at the time. 
Mike was laughing at me.
That wasn't very nice, was it?

The trail around the bottom was also beautiful. 
We could see lots of little cave like areas, formed from fallen rock.
We did not go in.
We have heard there are lots of rattlesnakes around there but 
decided we didn't need that much adventure.

We were only there for a short time, then it was time to move further West. 

As we drove along we enjoyed sparkling conversation. You may not know this about Mike but he is a great conversationist.  (My computer is telling me either that isn't a word or I am misspelling it. Oh well. It's my blog, I do what I want!)  After 37 years of marriage you might think we have run out of things to discuss.  Mike sees to it that we don't have that problem. He asks important questions like, "Do you think a sprinter would be frustrated on the moon?"

Where does he come up with this stuff?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day Trip to the Relatives

We woke up to a town covered in smoke today!. As bad as it was here this morning, I worry for those living closer to the Big fires.


Today I had the joy of riding with Maria (daughter) ...

and Eric (son-in-law) 

and my beautiful granddaughters for a trip to the town where my Mom lives.  It was a lovely time.

It was a really windy day up there but the girls wanted to be outside a lot anyway. 

Elise made a friend.

Cordelia got a lot of exercise! 

My sister came over. Elise and Cordy gave her lots of snuggles and she gave them both beautiful sweaters she had knit for them.

My niece, Stephanie, was in town. It is always great to see her. She graduated from college
this past Spring and is on the verge of some exciting changes.

We also got to see my nephew, Steven. Doesn't he look like a musician? Maybe that
is because he is. That kid can play a trumpet like nobody's business!

My Mom has a new puppy who was quite the hit. His name is Charlie and he is a fun little guy! 

My Mom and the girls had some mandatory fun in Mom's beautiful playhouse, AKA "she shed".
Looking at this photo I just want to say, "Isn't my Mom pretty?"

Conversation snippets from today:

When my Mom asked Elise what she expected to learn when she starts Preschool she quickly said she would learn about God and Heaven, then added that Grandma Rose is in heaven.  Everyone said, "Aaaaah."

Elise had a LOT to say today. During one long conversation with her she told me that "humans make sense and animals make sense but towels can't talk because they are not alive."  Ok, then.

Having a lot of grandmas can be confusing for little girls. Today Cordelia referred to me as "Plain Grandma".
When I repeated the term with a question mark in my voice she explained that I was a "non-great Grandma".  Funny little girl.

It has been a fun day!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Prettiest Rainbow I Ever Saw!

Last night we were at the home of some friends, standing our on their deck, when a little storm blew through. With it came the brightest, prettiest rainbow EVER!  At one point it was a full double rainbow... So beautiful. I took a lot of photos, trying to capture the breathtaking beauty. None of the photos captured it but you have to give me points for trying.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

More Montana - Helena!

Another fun part of our trip to Montana was a little exploration of the capital, Helena.  Even though Helena is the capital, it is not a very large town. It actually was really pretty quaint.

I need to tell you, in case you don't know, the correct way to pronounce Helena.
It is NOT Hu-lane-uh.  It is Helen (like the name) + Uh (like you can't think of what you want to say next. Really.

One of our first stops was to the capital building itself.

Is that really the governor sitting there? I am not sure. There was a sign welcoming us in but we aren't technically Montana citizens right now so it seemed rude to interrupt him. So, we may or may not have spotted the governor.

Capital buildings are great places to see interesting architecture.

We pretty much had access to all the big rooms as nothing was going on at that time. Mike & I were there in the 70's when our high school sent two classes to watch the legislature in action. I don't think I learned anything then but I'd like to sit in on it now. I'd pay more attention. Back then, I think I was mostly paying attention to Mike.

That is not a real couple up there... it is a statue.

There! Now you can see Mike and Maureen Mansfield. They were very friendly.

Can you see that flower garden? It is in the shape of the state of Montana!

The next day we went through the nation's saddest mall. There were so many empty stores!  The hallway felt dark with all the darkened spaces.

After that, we went on a touristy "train" ride. Here's our engineer who went around greeting folks before we started our tour of Helena.

I love being a tourist. There is so little pressure to be "cool".  Good thing.

We saw a lot of interesting homes!

Many were old mansions with historic stories to go with them. Too bad I can't remember which home belonged to whom. It would have been a more interesting blog, wouldn't it?

He drove us down their "walking mall". They have a hilly downtown area and they've made it an outdoor mall where there are several blocks with no cars allowed. Trains WERE allowed.  Our engineer cheerily rang a little bell and store owners came out to greet us and to remind us to come back later to check out their stuff.  We did.  It would have been rude if we had not.

Aren't they friendly?

This cathedral was beautiful.  Our engineer told us a tale of a pilot flying his little plane between those steeples!  We were told that military pilot was quickly reassigned to the infantry. Who knows how much truth was in that story. Did he turn the plane sideways or what?

We also returned to the cathedral and went inside. They give tours but it was pretty quiet at that moment.

Really beautiful...

I think the ceilings were the most fascinating.

I loved the old, old buildings downtown.

We had a delightful little time in Helena.  I wouldn't mind living in a place like that.

Next up...Gates of the Mountains!  

Featured Post

My Life as a Travel Agent

On a recent morning I was at work and as one of my patients was waiting for his death, I thought again about an idea that keeps popping int...