Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sept. 18 - Day Trip to Rocky Mt. National Park

It is a nice ride to Estes Park and to Rocky Mt. National Park, but it is a treat to be in that national park. When you ride up to the Alpine Visitors' Center, you go up to almost 12,000 ft. above sea level on a road that frequently has no shoulder. It was cold up top. When we were there a year ago this past June, there was still a lot of snow left from winter, and we saw a skiier. Although there are snow fields and even fresh snow from this past week's cold front, there wasn't nearly the amount of snow we saw last time we were there. It was a nice day. Phil is sad to leave the West. He just loves this area of the country. I do, too, but I am ready to explore the Northeast, Nova Scotia, etc. We may come back next summer if Hayden wants to come with us. We'd love to be able to bring all our grandchildren when they are around 11 to the West and show them the wonders out here.

I got an e-mail from our neighbor who is getting our mail for us. She said I got a jury summons for Oct. 4, so tomorrow morning, I will be calling the clerk of court. I was supposed to fill out a form and mail it back to them within 10 days. We will not get back until Sept. 27. If they can e-mail it to me, I'll be able to print it and mail it to them.

Tomorrow we head to North Platte, Nebraska. We will stay two nights and then head to Gretna, near Omaha for two more nights. Then we will head for Rock Island, Illinois, for two nights. The last two nights will be in or near Cincinnati.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sept. 17 - Update from Cheyenne, WY

No photos, just an update. We spent one night in Rawlins after the three nights in Vernal. Last year when we stayed at Rawlins for the night, Phil was passing a kidney stone and does not even remember the stay. He remembers this year, so that is a good thing.

We are staying in Cheyenne for three nights; one is free (love it). We are going to the state museum here today. Phil went to Sierra Traders yesterday after we got set up, but he did not buy anything. Tomorrow we will take a day trip over to Estes Park, CO, and Rocky Mt. National Park.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sept. 13 and 14 - Vernal, Utah, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah Field House of Natural History

We have really enjoyed this beautiful area! We had never been here, and I really enjoy a new adventure. After we survived Hwy. 191to get here, we have thoroughly enjoyed Dinosauar National Monument and the Utah Field House of Natural History.

Sept. 13, we rode the road trail through Dinosaur National Monument that showed the beautiful terrain and the petroglyphs. We were amazed how many we saw, even some that were not in the brochure. It was so much fun. I love stuff like that! We also went into the temporary visitors' center. The brand, spanking new one opens in two weeks. Wouldn't you just know? Oh well, it will give us an excuse to come back. They have a huge wall of actual rock taken from the quarry here and technicians have removed a lot of the rock to really expose the dinosaur bones, but it is in the new visitors' center.

Sept. 14, we went back bright and early to Dinosaur National Monument and caught the shuttle to the trail to the quarry (only way to get there). We hiked up the trail and saw the Morrison Formation where the dinosaur bones are found. It used to be an ancient river bed. Besides dinosaur bones, we saw lots of fresh water clam fossils. Then we hiked further up to the Stump Formation. This was once an ancient arctic ocean. There we saw some small clam fossils. They reminded me of the little clams you see in the ocean as the tide comes in and goes out, right at the edge.

On our way back down, we stopped at the Mowry Shale level, where the ocean came back over the land and was about two feet deep before volcanic ash from the Sierras showered down and made the water so muddy and thick, the waterlife died. I saw shale with worm tunnels, a squid-like fossil, and a fish scale. The ash is what later became the shale. I just love geology! This area visibly shows the different eras of our continent and the result of tectonic movement, shifting, bowing, lifting, etc. and changes due to volcanoes, and oceans, rivers, etc. People from all over the world come here to participate in the digs and to see what they produce.

 Split Mountain here is unique. The Green River literally split the mountain. Geologists cannot figure out why the water would not have gone around the mountain, in the path of least resistance. I'd love to get a book of geology for dummies about this region! I don't want to know all the chemistry, just the big picture to remind me of the two geology courses I took in college.

love the jewelry

This was a whole wall of them - didn't get them all in this photo.

Lizards were quite popular. Maybe all the beginners had to do them.

This flute player was my favorite!

large dinosaur bone!

a large bone! I think she said a femur, but not sure of what...

a spine
We have really enjoyed our stay here and will be heading to Rawlins, WY, tomorrow. We have figured out a way to avoid going back on Hwy. 191. We sure hope it will be easier!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept. 12 - A day of ups and downs - Colter Bay to Vernal, UT

Anyway you look at it, today was definitely a day of ups and downs. We were very down when leaving the Tetons, and we never like getting up at 7:00 a.m. THEN, on Hwy. 191 from Rock Springs, WY, to Vernal, UT, was constantly up and down, the steepest grades we have traveled this summer and grade after grade after grade. There were 7 percent grades, 8 percent grades, and 9 percent grades. The last one had nine switchbacks (hairpin curves). Poor Phil was exhausted, and his right leg was pretty numb by the time we got to Vernal. That made us decide to leave Vernal Thurs. instead of Friday to get across Flaming Gorge and let his back and leg rest before heading to Cheyenne Friday.

Having said that, I must say that the views were spectacular, and we have not seen anything like the Flaming Gorge. The colors and deep reds are beautiful. Every curve (and there were many) held a different scene of beauty. What an awesome God to have thought into being so many different and beautiful and interesting landscapes!

Outside of Pinedale, WY, a charming little town

some of the views from the 9 switchbacks...

I did not get any photos of the Flaming Gorge. The photos are all from outside Flaming Gorge toward Vernal.

Sept. 11 - Antelope Flats and Jackson

Our last full day at Colter Bay. We are always sad to leave here. If this place were a person, I would say it is a kindred spirit to us. When we are not here, we long to be here. Here we feel the peace and beauty God intends for us to have and see.

us enjoying one of our campfires

Finally a huge herd of bison!!! It went on for miles!

Part of this barn is made of logs - on Antelope Flats Rd.

Pronghorn Antelope on Antelope Flats Rd.

On one side of the road were lots of horses, and on the other was the herd of bison.

One of the townsquare elkhorn arches in Jackson.

At the National Elk Refuge
We went to Jackson Hole to eat at Bubba's BBQ. On the way, we drove the Antelope Flats loop, and finally did see some prong horn. Before we got to that road, we finally saw a huge herd of bison on one side of the road and a herd of horses on the other. The bison herd stretched for several miles. That was the most we have seen on this trip. The smoke still hinders the view, but beautiful it still is. When we got back from there, we started putting things in place for the long ride tomorrow to Vernal, Utah. We hope to spend four nights there to see Flaming Gorge and the dinosaur monument. We have loved the cold nights here and will miss that! It will be warmer in Vernal, no more nights in the 30's!

Sept. 9 – Jenny Lake and MOOSE Junction

Jenny Lake

Phil at Jenny Lake

Bull Moose at Moose Junction

view from Dornan's while eating pizza
After lunch, we decided we would ride over to Jenny Lake and Moose Junction. We had good luck last year seeing moose at Moose Junction, although the moose were always in the shrubs. Since we have been here, the views have been a good bit hazy because of wildfires in this state and surrounding states. Still, the views are spectacular. As we were approaching Moose Junction, we saw a crowd on the bridge looking at the opposite side where we saw all the moose last year. There was a spectacular bull moose in plain view. Phil let me out while he went to get a parking spot. Wow, what a blessing it was to see that bull moose! After he parked and joined me, and I got loads of photos, we went right around the corner of the bridge to Dornan's and ate a Greek salad and pizza. Helen and Mike like to eat there and recommended it to us. The view was awesome, but we like Leek's Marina pizza and Greek salad better (although Dornan's was good, too). Leek's Marina Pizzeria closed Sept. 5 for the season. Then we came back to the camper and built a campfire, a perfect end to the day. A few days ago, we got a nice stack of firewood left at one of the group campsites, which we have put to good use. We hate to spend money on firewood, so our campfires have not happened until recently. We thoroughly enjoyed our day! Phil had two really good back days, and then yesterday was problematic, as was today. The back is unpredictable and will definitely need attention when we get home!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sept. 7 - Yellowstone day trip

There were fires near Fishing Bridge.

The poor old fellow

nice waterfall

We rode to Yellowstone and ate the lunch buffet at the Old Faithful Inn and saw Old Faithful and a couple of other geysers near there. Then we rode to Fishing Bridge where we saw the bison herd last year in August. They had already left except for one fellow. He was probably old. When they get old, they separate from the herd (don't move with them) and are frequently attacked by a wolf pack. Sad old fellow! It was a pleasant day, nonetheless! Now Phil wants to stay through Monday at Colter Bay. Bill and Barbara want us to join them at Deer Run in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. We will have to see how Phil's back is doing Monday morning.