08.28.17 The mountains and landscape around here in Boulder, Wyoming

Monday, August 28, 2017 – Last time we were here in 2015 someone told us about this long, long rough dirt road that leads through the nearby mountains to a very beautiful Boulder Lake and dam.  We went back to see it on Saturday.  Here’s some of what we saw along the way.

This time here in Wyoming, when we saw the tree I remembered that Roy climbed way up there and stood on one of the big rocks.  I asked him this time if he wanted to do it and his answer was a very big NO!  So the photo that is above was this year and the photo below was from 2015.

  The weather here in Wyoming is so wonderful we are loving it!  The picture below is Dora at Wind River View Campground in Boulder, Wyoming.

I took this photo when we were here in 2015.  It shows so much of what this whole area looks like!

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08.25.17 Pinedale Aquatic Center in Pinedale, Wyoming

Friday, August 25, 2017 – Two years ago, in July 2015, Dora, Boots, Roy and I stayed at Wind River View Campground in Boulder, Wyoming.  We’re back!!!

One of the things we really enjoyed back then was going to the Pinedale Aquatic Center.

We went there again today, but this time we had company.  Sue and Lou Mathern were staying at the same RV Park here in Wyoming.  Sue and I went to high school together and have reconnected on Facebook and in our RVing life. We were all in the same RV park back in Colorado. We’re going in different directions but we’ve been able to get together a couple of times.

Pinedale Aquatic Center Lobby with the rock climbing wall

Roy and Sue in the hot tub.  Roy has been wanting to get back here to soak in this wonderful hot tub.  We all made good use of it!

Here’s a short video of Roy making his way along the lazy river.

We were the only people in the pool area for a while until a few children non-school age children and their parents showed up.  We enjoyed the lazy river and the hot tub a lot.  Sue and Lou were both super brave folks who went down the winding water slide like Roy and I did when we were here before.

Here’s Sue at the top of the slide getting prepared to slide down!

Sue and Lou left our park this morning heading north.  Roy and I will be here for two weeks.  We are planning on a good bit of down time which hasn’t happened much this trip.  It is nice and almost cold at night here around the 40 degree range.  During the day it is between 60 and 70 degrees.

We will go back to the Aquatic Center as often as we can during our time here.

Hurricane Harvey is bearing down on Texas and Louisiana.  We ask that you join us in praying for all those in the path of this unusual hurricane.  We have friends in Texas and lots of friends and family in our home state of Louisiana.

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08.23.17 Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 – I’ve heard about Wall Drug in South Dakota. Like a lot of things what I thought it would be like is very far from it.  I thought it would be like a big Walgreens. There is some of that but Wow, it is so much more.

Before you even get there you are treated to seeing mile after mile of what my parents generation called Berma Shave signs.  Here’s a couple that I took pictures of and one with many of them in one photo.  They are really cute and some are funny. This first photo shows the legal miles per hour on this stretch is 80 mph! The popularity of these signs grew to the point where people would ask for copies of them to take home.  Eventually, signs promoting Wall Drug started to appear in Europe.  These signs are now scattered throughout the world.

Wall Drug is so big that they have signs all around showing you “You are Here” because getting lost in there is quite possible.

Beginning as a small pharmacy in a small town (the town population at the store’s founding in 1931 was 231), the wife of the store’s owner had what was, at the time, a revolutionary idea. The store would capitalize on the new tourist rush towards Mt. Rushmore and offer travelers free ice water. Without the benefit of coolers or bottled water, this stroke of genius caught on with travelers, and the store’s popularity grew exponentially.

Today, Wall Drug is a dizzying shopping center occupying several blocks of space.  Still serving up free ice water and coffee for a nickle, it also boasts many tacky souvenir shops, amusement park like games, a splash park, 400 seat restaurant (where you can order Buffalo and something delicious called Sour Cream and Raisin pie), a chapel where weary travelers can worship, and a six foot jackalope (that’s what I’m sitting on in one photo).  Those are some of the things you’ll see in the photos below.  What Roy’s eating in one photo is a Buffalo burger.

There is no way to have an order in which the photos should be arranged.  At any one time we had no idea where we were in the maze of stores. We went through each of the stores in the front, then there is an outdoor play area and behind that another group of shops.  Roy got a gold panning pan and I got some goodies for the grandchildren.

  Roy kept sitting down next to these fancy ladies! I found an old gold miner to chum up to! Brave old me climbed up on top of this “Jackalope” with people watching to see if I was going to make it up and down!  I made friends while there with some of God’s creatures!This old miner tried to talk Roy into going gold mining with him!Another one of those Roy kept sitting down next to! This display depicts Wild Bill and Doc Holliday playing poker.  These guys played some great music and were animated.The coffee is only 5 cents and always has been.  Roy is eating a buffalo burger but you can’t see it!

They have always offered Free Ice Water and we had some!Some of the shops and eateries in the front huge building.     I can confidently say we’ve never been anywhere like Wall Drug.  If you are ever in the area around Mount Rushmore be sure to hop on over to Wall Drug, you’ll be glad you did!

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08.22.17 Sturgis, South Dakota home of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 – Saturday Roy and I went to nearby Sturgis, South Dakota, home of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally where over 500,000 cyclists gather each year.

Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world flock to this town during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  Motorcycle traffic to and around South Dakota typically increases as early as two weeks before the official start date of the event and continues for as late as two weeks after the conclusion.

It’s Biker Heaven…Each year, Sturgis’ Main Street becomes a sea of motorcycles, leather and denim, not to mention, people.

Roy and I rode through the very quiet, very empty town after all of the biker’s had gone home.

The biggest businesses were Saloons.  We stopped at this one to see their gift shop and restaurant and found that only the bar was open.   I took the photo of me pointing to the Budweiser sign kind of as a joke.  We don’t know exactly what all the bikers do while they are in Sturgis but saloons and restaurants were all big and stood out. I sneaked a picture of some bikers at the bar while we were looking at all the biker clothing.  In the gift shop there were these three very unique bicycles.  We don’t know anything about them, just that they are motorized and look cool!

My wonderful hubby Roy always loves staging funny photos.  He took his mini motorcycle off the back of our truck and posed here for a photo.  We posted on Facebook that he was riding his “Hog” in Sturgis!  He knew our son Chip, and our friend Kevin would get a kick out of seeing Roy on his “hog” in Sturgis.  Our friend Leanna said his hog looks more than a piglet. She’s a funny one!! On Sunday afternoon we went to check out what Wall Drug is all about!  I’ll share about that next time!

When this blog post is published Tuesday morning Dora, Boots and her Explorers will be on our way to Casper, Wyoming which is the halfway point in our drive to Boulder, Wyoming where we will stay a week or two.  We originally planned to go back to Yellowstone National Park next, but since we have already been there and there are a lot of new places in Utah we want to see we’re changing our travel plans.  We are as far north in the US as we will go this year.  From here on we will be going south towards Route 66 seeing as much as possible along the way there!

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08.21.17 Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota

Monday, August 21, 2017 – Last Friday, Roy and I went to see the famous Mount Rushmore, in Keystone, South Dakota.

My poor husband has so much to put up with, being married to me. My thoughts of how it would be like to see Mount Rushmore in person did nothing to prepare me for seeing it from a couple of miles away while we were on our way there. When I saw it I screamed (in the car) and poor Roy almost had a heart attack while he was driving! I started clicking pictures and after taking more than 100 photos of Mount Rushmore from every angle I finally calmed down!!!

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a massive sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Completed in 1941 under the direction of Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln, the sculpture’s roughly 60-ft.-high granite faces depict U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

The first thing you see is the Avenue of Flags The 56 flags represent the 50 states, one district, three territories, and two commonwealths of the United States of America. We found our Louisiana flag as we were leaving.

Even though I did some research before we went, I imagined Mount Rushmore to be a place you went to sit or stand in one place and just look at. Yes it was that but it is so much more than that. Presidential Trail is the walkway that brings you to areas closer to the monument where you see it from different angles. This was a nice shaded trail around Mt Rushmore and they have plenty of benches to sit down and rest. It was not an easy hike for me since there are 422 stairs going up and down included in the .6 mile walk. I loved every step we took however, because of what we saw. When we were finished we treated ourselves to ice cream cones and sat outside watching baby squirrels play.

Here’s some photos in the order in which they were taken. Come along with us as we walk and climb around Mount Rushmore. It is free to see Mount Rushmore but you pay for parking. It’s normally $5 a person but since we are old it was only $5 for both of us! Over 3 million tourist visit Mount Rushmore each year!

We enjoyed getting to show Mount Rushmore to Chip and Madisyn on Facebook Messenger.  We love getting to share with our family when we see something cool! This one is a panoramic photo of the area you can stand or sit all day and look at Mount Rushmore! This is where the President’s Trail begins. Its a combination of cement walkways and wooden stairs drawing you closer and closer to the monuments.

I called this the looking up their nostrils angle! Inside a building, at the end of the trail, was a mini replica of Mount Rushmore. It can be seen at the same time as looking through the window at the real Mount Rushmore!

The place we rested and enjoyed some ice cream at the end of the trail!

Here’s some information about Mount Rushmore that I obtained from the internet.

•90% of the heads were carved with dynamite.
•There were nearly 400 workers who helped create this memorial.
•Total cost of memorial was $989, 992.32.
•No one died during the carving of the memorial.
•Rate of erosion of heads: 1 inch every 10,000 years.
•Mount Rushmore is 5,725 feet tall.
•Mount Rushmore was named in 1885 for New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore.

I truly didn’t think we’d ever come back to South Dakota. Since we are here now, I have to say I really like a lot of what we’ve seen in this our official state of residency. If you don’t know about an RVers state of residency, I’ll explain.

When you live in a motor home you actually live all over the country so you can choose whatever state you want as your state of residency. We chose South Dakota almost five years ago mostly because auto insurance in South Dakota is half of what it was in Louisiana. When we are buying coverage for our truck and a large motor home, that is a significant savings.

When we became residents of South Dakota we stayed one night in Sioux Falls, South Dakota which is at the opposite end of the state, around 350 miles east of Mount Rushmore. When we originally became South Dakota residents we were on our way to Minnesota to live for several months so we only got to see South Dakota for one day that time! We set up an account with a mail forwarding service,MyDakotaAddress.com in Madison, SD where all our mail now goes to. When we want our mail we call them and give them the address of the RV park we are staying in and a few days later it shows up. Our drivers license, voting, mail and auto insurance are all South Dakota. There is also no state income tax in South Dakota!!! We voted during the Presidential election via mail with South Dakota. All of this makes living on the road a little bit easier to coordinate.

Saturday we went to Sturgis, SD, the city that around 500,000 motorcycle riders call home for over a week each year. This year the annual event was a week before we got here. Sunday we went to Wall, SD to see the famous Wall Drug. This was another place I had not thought in any way would be like it is!

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08.19.17 Rocky Mountain National Park in Northern Colorado

Saturday, August 19, 2017 – We had not planned to go to the Rocky Mountains until our friend Teddy Forrest mentioned what a great drive the Old Fall River Road was.  That started me trying to find a place around Rocky Mountain National Park for us to stay for a few days.  That search went no where, so we decided that when we left Colorado Heights RV Resort on Tuesday, the 15th, we’d find the nearest Walmart to the Rocky Mountain.  We found one in Longmont, Colorado, went there,  unhitched our truck, went to see the Rockies and spent the night at Walmart.  That worked so perfectly.  The temperature at night was in the 50s and we both slept very well after a day of exploring the Rockies.  I’d never heard of Old Fall River Road so I looked up some information and here is a little bit of it before we go to showing photos!!

Opened in 1920, Old Fall River Road earned the distinction of being the first auto route in Rocky Mountain National Park offering access to the park’s high country.

Primarily gravel, one-way uphill and punctuated by switchbacks, slower-paced, 11-mile-long. The posted speed limit is 15 miles per hour, a clear indication that a journey up Old Fall River Road is not for the impatient. There are no guard rails along this road. Old Fall River Road is ideal for visitors seeking to become intimate with nature.

The graphic on the left shows some of the aspects of this road that make it very unique, definitely not for someone like our Dora to try to climb.  Boots had some rough times but the Explorers (that’s us, Roy and Rosalyn) enjoyed every unusual moment of the drive!!  In case you’re new to our blog, Dora is our motor home and Boots is our truck we tow behind Dora.

This is where the dirt road of Old Falls River Road began.

We got really intimate with nature at our first stop.  We heard water falling as we were driving up and so we stopped.  We climbed all around along the creek where the water was falling, it sounded so pretty.  I don’t climb or even walk very well which Roy thinks is funny so he takes pictures of me like this one! 

These next photos are of the beauty we got to see going up the Old Falls River Road. 

Yes it does feel like you’re going to drive out into the clouds!

When you reach the top, you are at 11,796 feet above sea level.  The Alpine Visitor Center and the Trail Ridge Gift Sshop await you at the top.  We enjoyed coffee and hot chocolate with whipped cream while enjoying the warmth of being indoors! From there you go down on Trail Ridge Road which is a paved road, much less “natural” than Old Fall River Road.

Panoramic shot of the views from the top.

This is the ride down on Trail Ridge Road in the rain.  We were in and above the clouds as the drive went on!

Crazy people that we are, we went grocery shopping after spending a day going up and down the Rocky Mountains.  We were quite a sight being deliriously tired, trying to stay standing up and awake while deciding what we needed to buy.  Mostly junk food came home with us! When we went to check out we realized that we mostly bought junk food, cookies, chips, etc. Being in Colorado (where marijuana is legal) I thought they must think we’re doing a marijuana hunger shopping.  It was the biggest Walmart I’ve ever been in and am sorry we couldn’t stand up any longer than in the grocery section to check the rest of it out. I barely got the groceries mostly put away before climbing in bed at 6:30 and woke up this morning at 10:30 am.

Thank you very much Teddy Forrest for sharing this little tidbit of your time in the Rockies with us.  It is such a totally different experience than going up Pike’s Peak was and I’m so thankful we got to do both of them this time!

When we left there we went to the coolest RV Park for just a one night stay.  Terry Bison RV Park in Cheyenne, Wyoming would be a great place to stay for a week or more but we only had one night there.  Exhaustion from Tuesday’s Rocky Mountain trip carried over to the one night in Wyoming so we did none of the things they have there. They have a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. Another one that serves breakfast, a child’s play land that is bigger and better than any we’ve seen. A wonderful gift shop, train rides to see the bison, horseback riding and so much more. And they have a bunch of camels!!! They accept Passport America so the nightly charge is very reasonable. We will definitely stay here again and longer next time!

I am writing this on Friday, the day we went to experience Mount Rushmore.  Believe me I do realize how blessed we are are that we can see the Rocky Mountains and Mount Rushmore in the same week.  What a week this was!

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08.14.17 Magic Town in Old Colorado City, Colorado

Monday, August 14, 2017 – Saturday, Roy and I went to check out Magic Town in Old Colorado City  We didn’t know about it so I looked into it and was quite intrigued and am so happy we got to experience it!

Magic Town is located in the Old Colorado City historic district in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  It is a 3,000 square/foot, 1/6 scale miniature city, complete with dozens of different buildings, hundreds of characters, and interesting elements – like holograms, rooms that transform right before your eyes, and much more. It took him over a million dollars and parts of four decades to pull it from his mind and get the thing built.

When we walked in, it seemed like it was just a gallery where you could purchase any of dozens of three-dimensional sculptures of the people who shape America.  Michael Garman’s work is exceptional but his work is well out of our spending limit.  We learned that what we were seeing in this big gallery was not the thing we came for.

Magic Town is accessed through a door from the gallery.  We paid the $3 admission and were asked if we’d like to do a savenger hunt and have a bag of popcorn.  We said yes!   When we walked into the Magic Town we were instantly transported into miniature downtown streets, businesses and alleys.

We spent about 1 hour looking at all the amazing details in each building and each window and we could have stayed longer. The various scenes throughout the town, the different people, the holograms, the back alley shenanigans….. It’s a lot to take in with only a short visit. If you ever visit Magic Town, take the time to look at everything…. It’s worth it! If they don’t ask you if you want to do the scavenger hunt, ask them if you can do it. You will feel even more connected with the town and you may feel like you’re actually walking through the town. It’s that much fun!!!!

I took so many photos but I picked out a few that represent the magical town that Michael Garman created!

We were given a piece of paper with four things to look for on it as part of the scavenger hunt.  Here is Roy looking into one of the windows to find an answer! 

This four minute video from their website shows more than any of my photos could.

Here’s their information:  The Michael Garman Museum & Gallery, 2418 W. Colorado Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80904, (719) 471-9391

Sunday evening we were able to spend some time with a friend of mine from our days at JFK Senior High School in New Orleans.  Imagine that, we’re both in the same park in Colorado at the same time!  We enjoyed the time we got to visit with Sue and Lou!  When we came home another couple we met last year at Gettysburg RV Park, that are in Colorado Heights RV Resort with us now, came over for Roy to work on their computer.  They have the most beautiful colored motor home so they will be very easy for us to spot when we arrive at a Resort.  This picture doesn’t even start to show how beautiful it is! I’m hoping we’ll see Sue, Lou, Bob and Diana again in the future!

Today, Monday is our last day in this part of Colorado.  We leave Tuesday morning to explore Rocky Mountain National Park and spend the night in one of our favorite places, WalMart!!  From there we head north to take in everything we can around Mount Rushmore in South Dakota!

08.13.17 Manitou Cliff Dwellings in Manitou, Colorado

Sunday, August 13, 2017 – On Friday we headed out to see the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and then to go to Magic Town in Old Colorado City.  Someone had the bright idea of having a bike riding contest right in the middle of Old Colorado City.  We couldn’t even get close to Magic Town in Old Colorado City so after seeing the Manitou Cliff Dwellings we headed home.

The history behind how this all came together is very interesting.  The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are comprised of Anasazi ruins that date back 800 to 1000 years.

The 40 room site was originally located in McElmo Canyon, which is in the southwest corner of Colorado. The process of relocating these cliff dwellings began in 1904 and was completed in 1907.  The ruins from McElmo Canyon were collected, packaged, and moved by oxen to Dolores, Colorado. There, they were loaded and shipped by railroad to Colorado Springs, and finally brought to Cliff Canyon by horse and wagon. The workmen then faithfully reassembled the dwellings in dimension and appearance to those in the four corners region.  They used a concrete mortar in 1907 as opposed to the adobe mud/clay mortar the Anasazi used. This allows individuals to walk inside and tour through the dwellings.

Besides the Cliff Dwellings, Pueblo Museum, Cave Museum and Gift Shop, there is a Snack Bar and Picnic Patio.

The entrance to Manitou Cliff Dwellings

 

You can see some of the buildings after going through the entrance.  It’s all so well done that it looks and feels like it has all always been right here.

We found a parking spot very close to the Cliff Dwellings

Look at the beautiful mountains as seen from the Cliff Dwellings

A few of the photos we took while inside the dwellings.  

Looking down from the second level of the dwellings

This is one of the entrances to the Museums

This is the Pueblo Museum

The bread baking oven used long ago

 

One of those cute little characters that tells us goodby and reminds us to buckle up!

We really enjoyed the exploring the Cliff Dwellings, the Museums and especially the Gift Shop!  Saturday we went to Old Colorado Springs to see Magic Town which turned out to be a REALLY fun place to visit!

I’m writing this on Sunday.  I got up early to work and Roy got up early to go flying his remote control plane at Pike’s Peak R/C Flying. He’s going to write about the fun he had there in a separate blog post.

When it came near time for Trinity to broadcast the sermon I got my computer set up to watch and listen.  When it never came on I finally realized we are in Mountain Time so our 10:30 is their 11:30 and church was over……………….. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

We hid several painted rocks at Manitou Cliff Dwellings and one was found and posted on Facebook!

I’ll share our visit to Magic Town next!

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08.11.17 Santa’s Village at the North Pole in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Friday, August 11, 2017 – On our way back down the mountain from seeing Pike’s Peak on Tuesday we saw that the North Pole was open and the sun was starting to come out.  We only had about an hour there before they closed but we went in and rode the rides we could while they were open.

These are the beautiful mountains that surround this special place.

More wacky mirrors  Looking down from the gondola

While our time was limited we walked way to the back of the park and climbed up what felt like a mountain to get to where the Santa Clause Zip Line ride was.  That was my favorite ride last time and this time.  You are carried in his sleigh backwards really high and then shot back down the zipline to the beginning.  The ride acts like it’s not going to stop but it goes past the stop point and does stop!!!

I found a YouTube video that shows most of this amazing park from the air.  Near the end they show the Santa Clause Zip Line in action.

This is really a wonderful place for children and adults like us.  Here is a link to our last visit here in 2015 if you’d like to see more about it.  That particular blog also shows the Cog Railway we rode to get to the top of Pike’s Peak.  Having gone up there both ways last time we knew we liked driving it better.

Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole

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