Saturday, May 26, 2007

Arches National Park, Utah

Here are some photos from Arches National Park that were taken on Thursday. Friday night we stayed in Mesquite, Nevada and had no Internet access. Last night was our first night in Las Vegas and I should have blogged, but I pooped out. So, I'll catch you up on our last day in Utah for a start.

We got into the park quite early in the morning so we had very little company at first. It's easy to walk around out there and feel like you're the only person for miles around. By the time we left it was getting a lot busier.

And then there's Las Vegas...... quite a culture shock after all our quiet days in the mountains. And who the heck controls the thermostat here?

Dusty and I have decided we have had enough of life on the road for a while, so we're heading back to Oregon when we leave Las Vegas in the morning. We have about 1,000 miles ahead of us. We'll be avoiding the interstates, so we will probably have a couple more motel nights before we reach Salem.

We are curious to see if Malcolm completely ignores us when we get home, or if he will be all over us. (We suspect the former.) We will also be coming home to new kitchen cabinets that my brother Jeff installed while we were gone. As you can tell, the travelers are getting a little homesick!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Lots of pictures tonight from Canyonlands National Park hear Moab, Utah.

The road into the park.

Dusty with two rock formations called the Merrimac and the Monitor in the background.

Beautiful country, this.

A rare sighting of the elusive Kate-person.

No matter what direction you look, there's a photo to be taken.

Blooming prickly pear cactus.

You don't realize how noisy your life normally is until you come to a place like this and can hear nothing but silence.

More prickly pears in bloom.


What can I say? Big rock.

See why they call it Canyonlands?

There is a how-to blogging book called "No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog". Having read the title, although not the book, I've avoided detailing our meals. Besides, what we've eaten on this trip is far less interesting than what we could have eaten, but didn't. In Colorado, we didn't eat buffalo jerky, buffalo burgers, or buffalo meat loaf (with black gravy). Fortunately, the wonderful chocolate shop in Estes Park has not joined the buffalo trend; I don't think I could have handled Double Buffalo Fudge.

In Utah, we haven't eaten Duck Raviolis (or is that Duck!!! Raviolis!!!), Lamb Tacos, Rabbit Sausage with Goat Cheese, Smoked Elk Tenderloin, Pan-seared Caribou medallions with plum, whiskey & habanero demi-glace, or the ever-popular breakfast dish, Pigs in a Pancho. I'll let you know soon what we don't eat in Nevada.

The plan for tomorrow is to go through Arches National Park, then head to Las Vegas for a visit with Dusty's sister, April. Get ready, April!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

In my last blog entry, I completely left out an important part of our trip yesterday: our visit to Mesa Verde National Park. Dusty had always wanted to see the Anasazi cliff dwellings.

You have to drive up about 20 miles of twisty mountain roads to get to where you can view the cliff dwellings. This is Dusty's very favorite type of road to drive on. I think her knuckles are still white.

One of the canyons in the park.

A pit house. Looks cozy, huh?

One of the cliff dwellings, from a distance. Dusty put a deposit on this one for next summer's vacation rental.

A tour group viewing one of the dwellings.

Back down in the valley.

Catching Up

If you're ever in Cortez, Colorado and want to connect to the Internet, do not stay at the Comfort Inn.

I settled in last night, all set for a nice long blogfest, but found that although I could connect to the wireless network, I couldn't actually do anything beyond that. My call to the motel's front desk got me nowhere ("Gee, I really don't know what to tell you.") Next step: calling the wireless company's customer support. I got a very nice young woman in India with whom I chatted amiably for way too long. We tried changing many settings on my laptop, then changed them back. Many questions were asked and answered. My face began visibly aging in the mirror in front of me.

Finally, when all solutions had been tried, I was told that the wireless company has an incompatibility issue with Intel network cards. Hmmm...... sounds like maybe they should go into sheep farming or something. The young Indian woman apologized for not being able to help me, then offered to give me a "case number" so that I could call them back if I wanted to. I felt like screaming "WHY ON EARTH WOULD I WANT TO CALL YOU BACK???". Anyway, no blog last night.

Tonight we are in Moab, Utah, with a wireless connection that works - hallelujah. So time to post yesterday's pictures and a few from today.

The last picture from the cabin in Estes Park. I had to show you the lighted snowshoes. If there's someone on your Christmas list who is hard to buy for, this is the answer.

An old stone church on a mountainside south of Estes Park.

The drive between Montrose and Durango, Colorado was great. The mountains are the San Juans.

More San Juan mountains.

This pictures was taken in the Uncompahgre National Forest in Colorado. Dusty and I just loved saying this word, so we said it over and over for hours. Occasionally we even pronounced it correctly. We also practiced saying Ouray (a town we drove through in Colorado, pronounced you-RAY). So it was "Uncompahgre, you-RAY" all the way down the road. Driving does not have to be dull.

I'm sure there's a good caption for this picture, but I don't know what it is. Dusty looks like she's trying to sell someone a river.

The trip from Montrose to Durango involved ascending several times to just under 12,000 feet, where it was still a little wintry.

This morning we drove through the Four Corners region (where the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona all meet at one point) then through Arizona a ways and up to Utah through Monument Valley. Unfortunately, it was very rainy all morning, so all the fantastic geological formations in Monument Valley were shrouded in clouds. As we got a little further north, it started clearing up. Above is Mexican Hat Rock.

Along the road driving up to Moab, Utah.

A mini-arch. Tomorrow we'll see the BIG arches in Arches National Park.

Dusty and the mini-arch.

We are staying two nights here in Moab, since we want to see both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National park.

For those of you who are leaving comments, first of all, thanks! Secondly, the comments don't show up on the blog until I "publish" them, which I do as soon as I know about them - but that might be the next day. This is to prevent comments showing up that I don't like, such as "What a stupid blog!", or "I can't believe I wasted my time reading this.". All extremely positive comments are encouraged though.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rifle, Colorado

No photos today, folks. We've taken so many scenic mountain pictures this last week that they are all starting to look the same. Tomorrow will bring a change of scenery however. Dusty's mom told us that the drive between Montrose and Durango, Colorado is wonderful, so that's where we're heading. I'm sure there will be lots of photos to share with you tomorrow evening.

We are staying tonight in Rifle, Colorado, at a motel called The Rusty Cannon. Sounds noisy, doesn't it?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

More elk and ....... ghosts

We'll be leaving Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow after a wonderful stay. We've already decided to come back again in the fall sometime, when the aspens are changing color.

We did see some bighorn sheep, but only at a distance. Unfortunately, no moose!

Here's a coyote skulking around the edge of an elk herd. The elk were keeping a pretty close eye on him.

A big boy crossing the river

There was a minor crime at the cabins yesterday. A group of golfers who rent cabins here have held an annual golf tournament for several years. They put a big sign out by the road advertising this year's tournament, but this morning the sign was missing - apparently stolen by vandals. The sign read "The Annual Elk Poop Golf Tournament". I am not making this up.

The historic and supposedly haunted Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

Stephen King wrote half of "The Shining" while staying for five months in room 217 of this hotel. The second filming of "The Shining" - the TV mini-series - was filmed here. The hotel is said to be haunted, although the spirits are friendly, not evil as in King's story.

The fourth floor is the old servants quarters and is particularly ghostly. Children are heard playing in the narrow hallways when no children are present. Room 418 seems to be the center of activity, with many noises coming from it and impressions left on the bed when no one has been in the room. (Cue music from The Twilight Zone....).

The ghost of the original owner is sometimes seen in the billiard room and his spectral wife is heard playing the piano in the music room. Stephen King himself says he saw the ghost of a young child roaming the hotel looking for his nanny. But then we know what kind of an imagination he has.

Well, now I've scared myself silly and I'll be up all night.