Thursday, April 9, 2020

A postnote from Montana

Date: August 29, 2019  Great Falls MT

After visiting Montana once, we return to head to Glacier National Park.  From Cody, we made a stop in Great Falls, MT. Barb Sponn's dear friends were kind enough to put us up for a night. Don't have much to say about Great Falls. Cold as hell in the winter.  Military base.  And home of Sip 'n Dip, where you dine with mermaids.  Why.  No where near water, high plains and a nondescript bar on top of a hotel. 

Glacier National Park was beautiful, with wildlife (no bears) and beautiful vistas.  Wish we had spent extra time here as well.  We attempted to find Fred's memorial plaque along a stretch of road but we were not successful.  Glad I wasn't driving....

Monday, October 7, 2019

Wrapping things up

After Nashville, it was time for relaxing and visiting good people. We spent a couple of days in Greenville, SC with my uncle and aunt. They live a low key lifestyle, maybe due to their surroundings which are rampant Trump supporters that are vocal. But, we hung and drank and ate delicious food(thanks Carol!) while Karen did a bike ride into town and back. I sat on the porch and read.
Off to Raleigh to visit our former library colleague and her husband.  Spent some time with my Maddie; attended a gay pride parade-basically slowed down our pace.  Our last leg was to the outer banks of NC, where we spent a glorious week beachng it, hanging at the pool, hot tub, games, great food, and the company of my family and some of my favorite friends.  It was a great way to end an epic road trip.
Things I've learned in my travels:
This is a beautiful country with many miles of empty vastness-flat farm land and large ranches.We drove through high plains, mountains, beautiful lakes, deserts, oil fields, valleys, all unique and breath taking.  Favorite spots were Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, Glacier Nat'l Park, Yellowstone, and Crater Lake.

There is a world of talented musicians.

6 hours of driving a day is my max.

We stayed with many kind folks who gave us a warm bed and meals.Thanks to Lori in Pontiac Michigan, Cheryl and Calvin in Great Falls, Montana, Cathy in Portland Oregon, Dave in Steamboat Springs, CO, Marji in Dallas TX, Bob and Carol in Greenville SC, and Nancy and Mike in Cary, NC.

Best quirky pit stops: Meow Wolf Museum in Sante Fe, Mermaid Bar in Great Falls, MT, and Roswell, NM

Best beauty: Yellowstone National Park and Mackinac Island MI

Best music: Memphis

Best view: Columbia River Gorge

Best historical moment: Meeting an 85 year old Native American on our way to see 5 peaks where he shared his knowledge and history of the area.

Best meal: Salt Lake City at the Mormon Office building

Best cultural experience: Gunther theater in Minneapolis MN

Friendliest city: Milwaukee WI where they have greeters in the city helping you have the best experience.

Total number of miles: 10,250
Total number of legs: 33
Total number of hours driving between legs: 144
Number of states we covered: 22
Number of capitals we stopped in or drove through:  11
Musical stops: 8

What a journey!!  Thank you, Karen, for agreeing to this epic adventure!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Arkansass for a quick minute and tennessee

Yeah, we had to break up the trek from Dallas to Memphis so we made a pit stop on Little Rock AR. The only thing I knew about Little Rock was Clinton’s library-so, we went to that. And even though it was not on my bucket list, I crossed it off anyway. It, as most presidential museums are, was a tribute to all his accolades on his 8 years on office. I know more about Clinton than I ever knew, or wanted to know. I did ponder, when I looked at the daily itineraries for Clinton, what Trump’s would look like. Had an egg McMuffin. Watched Fox News. Tweeted. Sent some insults out to dignitaries. Tried to have sex with Melania. More news. More McDonald’s   More tweets....
Arrived in Memphis in time to tour Sun Studios. Such greats came out of there. Bb king, Johnny cash, and surprise to me, Bobby blu bland. Good stuff.
Today was all Graceland. 4 hours of every piece of memorabilia ever for Elvis. The 2 things I did not see. Elvis in his later years after eating peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, and Priscilla Presley. I do have a better appreciation for his talent and passion for his art. House is over the top. Gaudy as you would suspect.
Then for some serious business-Civil Rights museum which is part of the Lorraine hotel where MLK was assassinated. Boy, a little intense to be that up close and personal. It reminded me a bit of the Kennedy assassination where you see where he is shot and the viewpoint of the sniper. Museum will change your perspective on what civil rights are in this country. So good. Yet very moving.
Our final stop is Nashville, which I did a quick visit to a few years ago.  This time, we hit grand olde Opry for a background tour and a LATE  night on Broadway, looking for any music that wasn’t country. Great success for the most part. Next day was country music hall of fame- so we hit both country and rock and roll. Another night of music, but a way earlier night. Joys of senior life. Lol. I think our last 4 legs did us in. It was a great end to our music journey.
On to SC. THEN Raleigh NC. and then the beach!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Big Texas

Yowsa. It’s hot. It’s big sky. It’s music, cowboys, and oil. After a trek through south eastern New Mexico and north western Texas, I get the oil wells. Pumps everywhere. I believe we crossed into one of the largest oil basin in the world. Flat, oil drills, and horses.
First stop was San Antonio, a charming downtown with a river walk and the Alamo. We arrived early afternoon so our bus ride took us to the Japanese Tea Gardens. It was beautiful and very grateful for the air conditioned bus.
Riverwalk hosted a boat parade to celebrate their Texan independence. The Alamo was a refresher of American history with the true story behind it. Have a greater appreciation of an important event in our country.
Austin was spent partially in a sports bar watching the ravens beat the cardinals (many thanks to karen the non sports woman). We had a chance to hear some great blues that night and Austin won my heart. I would to go back and spend more time.
Dallas is as I remember it. Except hotter than hades. Did the Kennedy museum, water gardens, a museum, and cowtown. And some much needed downtime thanks to marvelous friends like Marji.
Another down day, laundry, and a movie,  we will head to Arkansas!  I have concluded I will never live in a state that begins with a vowel.
Mileage....a lot....

Friday, September 13, 2019

Alot of New mexico

FINALLY-we left NM!  It was a journey of 4 stops...wasn't planning on Taos, but worth the side trip..This is 3 days of NM...

September 10

Today, we drove down to Taos as a local in Steamboat Springs suggested we spend a little time there.  We approached from the north and as we entered New Mexico, terrain changed drastically.  No more mountians.  And a road that was the longest straight road I have ever traveled.  A huge valley, with distance peaks on each side.  Every once in a while, you would see a lone trailer in the distance-right in the middle of nothing.  Karen and I both thought we had entered the land of Breaking Bad-I was just waiting to see a man running down the 2 lane highway in his whitey tighteys.
Just as we made that observation, we passed by the Earthship community.  Oh yeah, right out of an alien film..strange houses built into hills. Got to hand it to them-total up-cycled homes that use solar and wind for power.  They may be the only community standing if we don't get serious about our planet...

September 11
Santa Fe- Such a cool little desert town.  Filled with adobe houses, Native American jewelry, and the coolest museum I have ever been in-the Meow Wolf museum.  George R R Martin ( yes from Game of Thrones) bought a 25,000 sq. foot building and invited over 200 artists to install art pieces that are interactive and well, very strange and quirky.  Fabulous experience and highly took 4 hours to go through the whole thing.  And we probably missed some things, as it was room after room after room...

September 12
Thought of passing through this fine city, but Karen wanted to see the petroglyphs and the Nativre American Cultural enter.  I also had the chance to catch up with Marlene, an old friend who was in my wedding.  We had some great quality time together and I had  chance to meet her hubby.  After the heritage center, in the hottest part of the day, Karen and I went out to the petroglyph National Park, which had some trails with many drawings from many many years ago-don't know how long, as I was more concerned with looking for rattlesnakes and keeping my balance on a mountain that challenged my vertigo.Karen enjoyed it, but the heat drove us back to the hotel for r and r and a swim.  We had dinner with Marlene and her hubby which was quite a nightcap for the visit,

Update on the miles:close to 6500 miles!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Steamboat springs

land of the rich ski trend setters in the winter. And then you have the locals, who are so nice, down to earth, and real. It is a sweet town, lined with restaurants, shops, and of course, mountains. We took an awesome hike though the woods at Hahns Peak Lake, a small drive from downtown. We stayed in the downtown area with Karen's Ex-husband, walking distance to everything.
Time well spent- we met some awesome folks and onto a new adventure!  By the way, the show Southern Charm filmed an episode here. . I know this is an interest to some of you 🙂

Friday, September 6, 2019

Reno and Tahoe

Reno. Land of casinos and....casinos. Kinda like a mini Vegas. We did get to downtown and did a little river walk along the Truckee River. They are trying to bring some outside space to downtown, where most people are holed up in dark casinos watching flashing lights on their machines.
The next day, we headed up to Virginia City- an old mining town from the late 1800’s, where they felt compelled to bring buses of tourists in with tacky gift shops, fake gun shows, and a museum called “the way it was”. Stupid us, we thought it would be the way it was during the Comatock Lode. Yes, there was some info about that. But also sold welcome to Montana signs, Buffalo Bill trinkets, and Yellowstone pictures. I was confused. Seems most of the merchants in Virginia City were tired of tourists, as we only encountered one pleasant individual in the whole place. We took a trolley ride- driver was sitting on the trolley with no one else on there.
Me. “Do we need a ticket other than our receipt like the train?”
Driver. “Did you buy a ticket?” “Then get on!!”
Karen. “Are you the tour guide?”
Driver. “I’m the driver! Been sitting here for 2 hours. Get on the trolley””!”
All righty. I am feeling so welcomed....
Went into a shop and the owner had on a Maryland T-shirt on. He was from Waldorf. Now, how the hell so u move to bum fuck Virginia city- giant tourist trap on the middle of no where and open a movie poster shop?”  What are u hiding???
Today was Lake Tahoe. Gorgeous walk along the lake, breathtaking views, and cool temps. Again, we are so lucky !
Advice: skip Virginia city.