Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Woodlands

Although we may be back from our RV trip, Travels with Barry, is not over. How could it be? Everyday with Barry is an experience. That is one of the best things about being married to him. But, then again, on some days, that is the worst things about being married to him.

We are going to the Woodlands to play golf with the Retired Couples Group from our club. Note: Barry is not retired, but I am so I think we qualify.

Ava loves painting her own face.
I left early to go to Houston to visit Ava, Joanie, and Jacob. We have had a fun filled time.  Ava is enjoying the last few months of being the only child and having everyone's attention.

 We were at the mall on Saturday, and Ava decided that she wanted to ride the train. When the door closed she was not so happy.
By the end of the ride, she was waving to everyone.

Barry is riding down with some friends, Andy and Linda Wright. Who knows maybe they will have a Travels with Barry story for me when I meet up with them in the Woodlands.  It wouldn't surprise me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Photos from the trip

If anyone is still checking the blog, we are home and adjusting to everyday life.  Although I posted some photos, in case you are interested, here are more from the trip.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Catching Up

Yellowstone geysers

We were on the go our day and a half in Denver and although I finally had internet service, I didn't get to post. Here are a few more pictures from our trip.

Seeing these geyers flowing into the rivers in Yellowstone makes Barry feel like the world is coming to an end.

Jackson Lake & the Grand Tetons
We drove through Teton National park and
observed the beauty of the park. We were hoping to see a moose, but no luck.

Jackson Hole Square
                                                                           We had our photo made at the square in Jackson Hole. Do you think anyone goes there and doesn't have their photo taken with the antlers?

Of course, we slipped into the Cadillac Bar and took the obligatory photo there.

Cadillac Bar

Our next stop was Denver. We had a nice visit with Bobby. He did say his property value went down 30% after we arrived.   He was probably right. 

We are now in Amarillo, Texas getting ready to head home. I would have been on the road about an hour or two ago, but as most of you know, Barry does not hurry. He actually could spend even longer on a trip, but I am ready to be home. The RV is beginning to feel like an assisted living space for me-something the family tells you is just perfect for you, but you just want to get out. 

I have loved seeing the beauty of our country. But after visiting nine states and traveling over 2500 miles, I am ready to be home.

Didn't someone from Kansas say, "There's no place like home."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Best Traveler of All

I do want to give a shout out to the best traveler on this trip. Bingo has been great. He hasn't complained, been cranky, or asked for anything. He even got to growl at a buffalo, so I am sure his bucket list is now complete.

A Few Moments from Yellowstone

We arrived in Yellowstone in the evening on Friday, September 3rd. We had time to set up the RV, eat dinner, and go to a Ranger Talk. At the talk, we met some people from Texas who were members of Shady Valley Country Club, even though they don’t live in Arlington. Also, one of the ladies had played in a tournament with Mary Norris-Johnson. 
The Ranger Talk was on Fire in Yellowstone. We learned how important fire is to the life cycle of all living creatures in Yellowstone (humans don’t count). This is one reason that Yellowstone does not consider itself in imminent danger from the Pine Beetle. Bottom line-get rid of human interference and nature will take care of its self. 
We also signed up for two tours. One was a photography tour. We met our guide, Doug, at day break on Saturday morning. He taught us about our cameras, lighting, how to use filters, and the best places to get some wonderful photographs and see wildlife. 

lamborghini touring car

He drove us around in this automobile.  We spotted five river otters swimming down the Yellowstone River.

Later, we put the top down on the jeep and drove around Hayden Valley. We had heard they were seeing wolves there. Guess what? We DID see the wolves. Now keep in mind, we had really strong binoculars, a scope, and other people telling us the area where they had been spotted. The wolves were far away, and there was no way to see them without the optics and patience. 
That night we went to another Ranger Talk on Extinction in Yellowstone. Here are the animals to worry about- lynx, pica, & wolverine. I continue to worry about the wolf as the law in surrounding states changes yearly on hunting them. 

Sunday, more touring on our own. This is the day Barry actually took the photo of the Lower Falls that I posted yesterday. There was a cloud cover the day before, but Doug had told us to try again. We also walked the 500 foot drop and 300 steps to the bottom of the falls where another rainbow forms most of the day. 

Later that afternoon we took a Wildlife Tour. I recommend these tours. It is not that they take you to areas you could not go by yourself, but they have lots of good information and know where sightings have been. Of course, nothing is guaranteed. Wildlife sightings are mostly luck.
 As luck would have it, this black bear was cooperative. 

We headed into Lamar Valley, and on the way back it started sleeting then snowing. Barry said we would see elk once it started snowing, and he was right-as usual (he makes me say that). 

That night it was twenty seven degrees. Another lucky thing for us was that a fellow camper mentioned we could use our heat without the generator running. We did not know this, but it certainly came in handy since generators can only be used between 8am and 8pm in the campgrounds. Aluminum cans get very cold in freezing weather. 
Monday we headed to Old Faithful.  We visited the new Visitor’s Center there and other geysers. The geysers are not Barry’s favorite thing in Yellowstone. He is very worried about the next volcanic explosion which will probably end life as we know it (I hope that didn’t bring you down) 
At this point, I must go back in time-just a little. When I was a little girl, my family made a trip to Yellowstone. Things were very different then. The main difference was that people could feed the bears. There were so many traffic delays because of bears on the rode, you might have to wait for hours. There really was not one good thing about this policy, except that you got to see a lot of bears. On this trip we also stayed at Old Faithful Inn in a room that overlooked Old Faithful. We got to watch it erupt all evening. It was very impressive, and so was the Inn. I would wander all around and loved all the stairs made out of a lodge-pole pine cut in half. The amount of people visiting Yellowstone now has taken its toll on the wood flooring and carpeting in the Inn. The beautiful staircase steps have been covered with rubber to keep guests from slipping on the them. But, the Inn is still great, and we enjoyed having lunch there. 
There is a Barry story about the lunch though. The special that day was a French Dip sandwich. I am a big fan of French Dip sandwiches. As we were walking to the Inn Barry said he knew I liked them. I pointed out that when I get them, he always tries something else and ends up liking my FD sandwich the best. At this point, imagine a look of denial from Barr. We ordered. Barry got the buffet, and I got the FD sandwich. Guess what Barry liked the best. 
We drove back through Canyon (there is a great Visitor’s Center there also) and headed into Hayden Valley to see if we could find the wolves again. No luck on the wolves, but three bald eagles flew in and hung out below us for awhile on the river bank. Then a grizzly made his way out of the woods and down an embankment. Again, you needed luck & good optics to see him, and he was only visible (far away) for a couple of minutes.
Summary of Yellowstone:
Ranger Talks
Lots of Buffalo-herds much bigger than when we were there 15 years ago
River Otters
Black Bear
red squirrel
red-tailed hawk
blue sky
blue rivers and lakes
Bobby was kind enough to find out his password for me, so hopefully, I will be blogging more this evening. Right now I am trying to keep Barry and Bobby on task. Have mercy on me. 

We are in Denver at Barry's brother's house. He does not know his wifi password!
I am going to the Apple store tomorrow to use
their wifi.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

From Yellowstone to the Moon

We left Yellowstone this morning, went through the Grand Tetons, had lunch in Jackson Hole, then drove through Wyoming. Or, as Barry put it, "the surface of the moon." It has been a cultural shock for us to leave the beauty of Yellowstone and stop here in Rawlings, WY. While central Wyoming may not have much in the way of scenery, it does have electricity, television, and wifi. I have to admit, I was in need of some wifi. Tomorrow, I will post about Yellowstone. For now, I am heading to bed, but will leave you with this wonderful photo Barry took of the Lower Falls in Yellowstone and the rainbow that appears for a few minutes in the morning.
We are on our way to Denver. I don't think we will be staying at a great RV place tonight, so look for a post with photos tomorrow. This is from my iPhone. Yellowstone and the Tetons are beautiful but so is electricity and wifi.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yellowstone or Bust!

And the Winner Is....
There were only two entries in the Sonic Gift Card contest. Neither one of them got all the answers correct, but they both got 9 out of 10. I will post the answers later if anyone is interested. Brett Brier and Miles Schneider are the winners. They will each receive a gift card. I did not realize that these questions were so hard, but was informed that it took about an hour to research. Next time the contest will be much easier. 
We are in Yellowstone National Park. As I am typing this, a kind samaritan is helping Barry put air in a tire that we have going flat. Then Barry is loaning him our dump hose as his rental RV did not come with one. We have now traveled 1700 miles, and Barry tells me, I was thinking we needed new tires on the RV.” I am thinking maybe that should have happened before this trip. 
I am glad that we made it to the park as there is a place at the fishing bridge where we are staying that may be able to fix the tire, and if not, we have Good Sam’s Roadside and a few days for them to get here.
I am still uncomfortable about the bears. I just don’t know how the RV is going to keep them at bay. They may be very attracted to our Rice Krispie treats and pretzel M&M’s. (the verdict is still out on those for me) I think if we make it through our first night, I will feel better. 
Now if you have time, I would like to go back to the past few days. 
Wednesday, we decided to alter our route a little and go to Little Big Horn in Montana.
We visited the battlefield and saw the graves of the 7th Cavalry led by G.W. Custer. 
The Ranger talk was very informative and made one think about issues then and now. 
I could ask an essay question from that talk, but will spare you.
Thursday, we headed to Cody, Wyoming.  We checked into the RV park they told us we needed two nights to see Cody. However, I looked at everything and decided we could get it all seen. I think we hit the high spots. We went to the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum (and, yes, you probably could spend two days there, if you wanted). It is fabulous. We ate at the Irma Hotel (built by Buffalo Bill and named after his daughter).
We watched part of the gunfight (and that was enough). Then went to Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Review.  
I know this is not an exciting post, and I do have pictures to post. But at the moment I have hacked in to some internet that had a lock on it. I am proud that I figured out the password-just like Lizbeth Salinger. (sp)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Giveaway #2

We met up with Bob and Mary for dinner Monday night.  On Tuesday, they went to see the sites we had already seen, and we met up for the evening program at Mount Rushmore. Today they are heading to the Badlands, and we are heading to Little Big Horn. We have internet here tonight, but are limited on uploads. I will try to post photos tomorrow. We will probably be entering the land of no internet soon. 
Giveaway #2
I was hoping to come upon some treasure from the Black Hills that everyone would want to possess. All that I saw that was interesting was Red Ass Rubarb Wine. I wasn’t sure that was something anyone would want, so I am sticking with the $5.00 gift card from Sonic. 
Here are the rules:
  1. Answer all ten questions correctly
  2. Send answers to my email to hide your answers. (but continue to comment on the  blog)
  3. All entries must be in by September 2 at 6:00pm CST.
  4. Winner will be chosen by a random draw of correct submissions 
  5. I will get your card to you when I return home.
Mount Rushmore Quiz
1.Why did the U.S. government remove the American Indians from the Black Hills and force them to live on reservations in 1876?
2.Who was the sculptor chosen to design and supervise the carving of Mount Rushmore?
3.Match the presidents with the history they represent at the memorial.

1. George Washington
a. the expansion of a nation
2. Thomas Jefferson
b.developement of a nation
3. Abraham Lincoln
  1. birth of a nation

4. Theodore Roosevelt
d.preservation of a nation
4.Work on Mount Rushmore began in 1927. How many years did it take to complete the project?
5.How many feet long is Washington’ nose?
6.Approx. how much did the project cost?
7.Who was the sculpture’s favorite president?
8.How many more faces will be carved into the mountain?
9.What did the workers do to relax?
10.a.Why was Theodore Roosevelt awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1906? 
     b.Why was Obama awarded the Noble Peace Prize?
Barry says it isn’t worth a drink or two at Sonic to answer these questions. (but he would participate, I know he would!)