Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My Trip part V: Route 66 and the drive to Colorado

Driving to Flagstaff, AZ after the skywalk on June 9th, we stopped at the Roadkill Cafe for supper.  Jerry wasn't gonna pass up the chance to eat at a restaurant called that!! Food pretty decent, and the menu was a hoot.. all the food had roadkill names.  Roadkill is apart of the legendary Route 66 and we bumped into Route 66 Stuff several days of our trip in the AZ and NM areas.  (We spent a lovely afternoon in Williams AZ on the 8th, lots of route 66 stuff to enjoy!) On June 10th, we took another slight detour, this time to see a meteor crater about 45 minutes outside of Flagstaff .

a panoramic photo. I adore being able to make these!!

The museum attached to the site is really nice and informative.. we all enjoyed this stop.  It's considered the best preserved meteor site in the world.

The rest of the 10th was a few more fun route 66 stops, and lots of driving.... we did visit the Four Corners monument where you can stand in 4 states at once.

 and we enjoyed yet more gorgeous scenery driving on to Colorado.

taken from the car while driving.. it turned out great!! 

 We spent the 10th in Cortez CO so we could go another 45 minutes drive to Mesa Verde National Park bright and early in the morning - Next Blog

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Trip Part IV: The Grand Canyon!!

 The grand Canyon is beyond beautiful! and I have to say my hat is off to the wonderful national park system that tries to make such majestic sights as accessible as they do.  In the actual national park they had shuttles running to various look outs and several of the trails where wheel chair accessible.    No body should be denied these sight in person.

We spent the 8th at the National Park, and the 9th we went to the skywalk.  I don't have skywalk pictures, because they make you pay for them... and we did buy a couple, but I prefer the ones we took ourselves mostly at the National Park.

I adore the panoramic views you can get on the iPhone!

This sight just really called to me, 2 trees forming a cross on the rim of the Grand Canyon

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My Trip Part III: New Mexico has volcanos

The volcano from the top rim (that's Jerry walking toward me)
True love!!! walking up the volcano!
 When I planned the trip, while I wanted to leave time each day to explore unknown treasures at the side of the road... I did look on the web for stuff that would be interesting as well.  One of things I found was the Ice Cave in Grants, NM.
Signs of volcano!

Now it's not a BarronMiller Trip if we don't tour at least one cave.  Sure, the Salt Mine on June 4th would probably count, but the Ice cave was on the way and it promised 4000 + year old ice.  What I didn't know til we got there is the ice cavern is also the site of a volcano.

Before this trip Jerry and I had no idea New Mexico had volcanoes.  They actually have several including a national park one we drove by on Sunday  (we got there too late to actually go in the park as it closed at 4:30)  So were were primed to see a volcano.. we wanted to see a volcano, we had already missed a volcano.... and to have one gift wrapped as part of something we were already planing to do???? serendipity my friends!

It was really cool and fabulous and I recommend you run out right now and visit a volcano.

This was the point of the trip I figured out that my asthma and high altitude doesn't necessarily mixed.  The walk up the side of the volcano was daunting, but I did make it, I'm very proud of that.  It probably took me twice as long as anyone else, but I did it with my own 2 feet, and barely functional lungs.  The Ice cavern was kindof --- cool.  hehehe! Seriously, the part you can see isn't very big, and you can't really go into it or you destroy the ice.  The science behind it was very interesting!

The rest of the day was mostly driving, and the scenery was so gorgeous! The mountains in the distance , just looking at them was so very peaceful!

Another place we stopped was the Wild Spirits Sanctuary.

boy I get around!  (wolf names)
Not sure which one is "me"
We spent the night of the 7th in Tusayan, AZ which is just outside Grand Canyon National Park - which is next blog.

Friday, June 24, 2016

My Trip Part II: OK, NM and a touch of Texas!

June 5th was mostly a "driving day" .

To be honest, I really can't say much about the rest of Kansas... don't get me wrong, KS is a great state, but the route we were driving on was flat, flat flat and sad.... most of the towns were tiny and dieing or dead.  The route took us through the panhandle of Oklahoma, and Jerry noticed we were maybe 45 minutes away from Texas, and he's never been in Texas... so we took a Slight detour mainly so we could take a picture of a sign of Texas.  Hey, after all flat and sad even a detour to Texas sounded fun!

added about an hour to hit Texas from OK.

peppers and "land of enchantment" ... could be misconstrued no? 

 The Detoured really paid off though, because it meant we drove through ( and stopped and had supper) at Des Moines, NM!!!   So I think the detour was totally worth it.  Food was pretty good.
The view of our room from the courtyard

Jesscera Slept in, this is me taking her picture from the outside!

Our room was the originally the master bedroom - huge!

Jerry catching up on facebook in the lovely courtyard
 The Bed and Breakfast is called Casa del Gavilan and located in Cimarron, NM.  Cimarron is famous for being the location of Piedmont, the Boy Scout urber camp.  We actually drove by it 3 or 4 times looking for our hotel... by that point it was raining cats and dogs and we literally missed the sign.. and when we found the sign, it was a locked gate.  The phone reception was non existent and we missed the little sign telling us to use the buzzer.. which we couldn't see either through the rain.

Still after a few more scenic near night tours of the surrounding countryside in torrential rains, we finally figured it out.. The rain stopped basically :)

View from the back yard of the Bed & breakfast
As you can see from just a few pictures, the house was gorgeous and comfy and the next day was bright and sunny and just amazing.  The Mountains as our back yard?? Splendid.

The main reason I picked this location?   One of the planned stops for June 6th was Elizabethtown, NM, one of the more than 400 ghost towns hanging out in New Mexico.  E-town, as it's called, is about 1 hour away from Cimarron.

Tombstone in the Elizabethtown graveyard, about the only thing of real interest in E-town
 Sadly this was a disappointing stop.  Most of the town is gone, just 1 building remains in ruins and the gift shop was closed on June 6th.   The graveyard was kind of interesting.

 Actually June 6th was sort of a wash -- quite a few businesses in the area were closed for Monday.  I guess tourists are supposed to travel Tues -Sat only judging by the signs.  There were several interesting artsy shops in Cimarron we didn't get to go to, because they weren't open.

Still, most things were in Red River, NM which was a blessing, because we had a small issue driving around the mountain roads... a hole big enough to ruin the tire.  Red River seemed to be a tourist trade kind of town, and had a full auto shop.  What could have been the biggest monkey wrench on our trip was only a couple of hours side-tracked.  Jesscera and I went shopping! Jerry ended up buying 2 replacement front tires, so it was sort of expensive, but seriously, just think if we had to stop out in the middle of no where on a back mountain road with a busted tire!!!! The rest of the day was pretty uneventful and we jumped on a interstate to make up some of the time... last stop of the day Grants NM.  Grants is right off Route 66 stops and home to the ice cavern, which was the "big" stop for June 7th.  I'll tell you all about the surprise at the ice cavern next blog!

The river is really small at this point in NM, but the gorge is huge!!!! and deep

Jesscera and Jerry enjoying the rock formations around NM!

This was the toilet in the malt shop in Red River, NM.  what a hoot!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

We interupt my travel blogs ......

OK, I know, I'm a horrible blogger -- I promise to finish my trip entries just got busy with real life and this weekend is Central Iowa JunkJaunt and since I don't have a show this weekend, Jerry and I will finally get to do this!!! It's 5 cities in Iowa, and surrounding areas that will feature antiques and repurposed items all weekend!! over 20 stores / spots are on the map, which is printable ( and it's been printed)

See ya out pickin' this weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Trip Part I - on the road again!!

OK, I’m back!!

The Kat always comes back you know.  But boy, what fun we had!!

I started planning this trip in January, because after 3 years of 1 income and no real family vacations, I thought we were due.  A quick quiz session on what and where, and we decided to go to the grand canyon.  None of us had seen the Canyon before, so it seemed a natural target.

The Grand Canyon is approximately 1400 miles away from Des Moines IA.

So logically we should fly, right?

Well, I really don’t like flying.  And we enjoy rambling road trips where we have time to stop and look at something that sounds fun from road signs.  So we decided to do a long ( 13 nights, 12 days) driving trip.  The plan, which we did more or less follow - was to drive through MO, KS, catch the tip of the pan handle of OK, drive almost the entire length of MN, and then AZ and the canyon.

To make it interesting we would circle back through AZ, and cut through the Rockies in CO.  (and if the timing was good… hit 4 corner’s monument, which is where CO, AZ, NM, and UT meet) (are you counting states yet?)   After a 2 night stay in Denver we would drive straight home through NE and then finally back to sainted IA!

(if you were counting, it’s 9 states)

For those who know me, I am a planner.  So I had all the hotels booked and some pre-paid by the end of January ( actually for those who are not planners… if you are going to the Canyon booking the hotels 6 months or more in advance is a really good idea.. The hotels fill up fast, and they get more expensive the less lead time you have)

The longest day of driving planned was 7 hours… but most days I tried to plan 4-6 tops, so we would have time to meander and stop at stuff that looked interesting.

Because getting time off is hard when you have a day job, we left on June 3rd at 5pm central time… when I got off shift.

That first night was pretty uneventful -- the only thing of note is that first hotel was below my normal standards.  I went by price since my normal stand by ( holiday-inn express ) wasn’t available.. In Topeka KS.

We tried to take pics of all state signs, but we missed Kansas.... 

June 4th: the plan was to spend the day in Hutchinson.  When I was researching the trip, I tripped over a salt mine museum that sounded interesting, and it had a link to another place of interest in Hutchinson -- a space museum

Who Knew?

The area of the museum is HUGE .. this pic gives you some idea.  it's probably a 3 or 4 foot ball fields wide.  all 600 + feet below the surface.... 

The salt mine was very interesting - It’s 660 feet below ground - and it’s still a working mine, though you only get to tour the old part they don’t mine anymore.  We actually got to meet a few miners who got off shift, and they seemed like a really nice bunch.  
Anything that goes down to the mine won't come back up, 2 expensive .  This tire got recycled as part of the displays

This wall of the ladies' bathroom is all SALT - OK, some of the lines of black is other sediment.  Still... SALT

The Space Museum was really lovely and surprising cool.    It's called the Cosmosphere and it started out as an observatory in the early 60's and just well, grew, into a very nifty place.  The first thing you see when you walk in is a real Blackbird.  You can actually touch the nose of it!

They have a large collection of real artifacts from space, rockets, and the space race.
Real space suits from the Apollo program!

 They have some mock ups as well, but it's surprising how much is real.  You just don't expect to find a gem of a museum like this in the middle of - well - Kansas!.  Seriously, if you are in Kansas Hutchinson is worth the trip.
Part of the Berlin wall.. I've never seen parts in person before

Next blog - New Mexico !