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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Day 5

As requested by Dee

It's been awhile since I posted on this trip - lot's of stuff we've done, and no time to tell everyone about it. Anyway, here is a quick rundown of what Colby and I have been up to.

Day 3: Sunday. We woke up in Colorado Springs and drove to Denver so Colby could say he's skated at the Denver Skatepark, which is somewhat more cool than the Paris one. See flickr for pics. After that, we ate lunch at Casa Bonita, which is famous for its cliff divers, live entertainment, and helium balloons. After that, we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park. That was freakin sweet. I pulled off at a scenic driveoff (ha ha, Jessica) to get pics of the mountains, but instead we saw a herd of chipmunks there. We fed them from hand - it was kewl. I have pics - here is a link to one of them, but there are plenty more. In all, I think the chipmunks were the coolest part of the trip so far. Colby agrees. Then we drove to Boulder and spent the night in a motel with bad internet, which is why I didn't post anything (also, I am lazy).

Day 4: Woke up not so early, and drove to Golden, CO, to tour the Coors Brewery. I tried Blue Moon, which wasn't that bad - pretty good actually. Then we shot off for Gillette, WO - that was a drive, but not that bad. The mexican place we ate at WAS bad, though - I ordered a bowl of queso, and the waitress looked at me like I was crazy, then asked if I wanted it 'melted'. Now, every mexican restaurant I've ever been to serves queso MELTED. I felt like telling her, "No, give it to me on the rocks." Anyway, she later brought out a plate of melted cheese - not cheese dip, but just melted cheese.We tried the chips with the salsa and melted cheese, and it kinda made me think of a mexican pizza. But not so good. Anyway, Colby's Dr. Pepper was flat. He says it tasted godawful - I tried it, and would agree. So we got a room, and it was not cheap - a single at the Budget Inn in Gillette runs $110 - and the lady told me no room in Gilette would be under $100 at all - alot of the miners there stay in motels because the housing market has'nt caught up with the booming mining business yet. And that was Day 4.

Day 5: Today. We got off to another late start, and along the way to Devil's Tower, we took a wrong turn and drove on some road that suddenly became unpaved. But we were determined and pressing forward, so we drove aways on the dirt road, and ran across a herd of antelope. Score one for the Random Cool Photo Op Guys!! Actually, this is score 2 for us, because the chipmunks were totally random. Anyway, we finally got to Devil's Tower, walked the trail for aways, got some good photos (not uploaded yet, Dee) and then took off for Mt. Rushmore. But, along the way, we stopped at Sturgis and saw alot of cool bikers getting ready for the rally next week. Then we went to Mt. Rushmore Cave, which is even more cool than Cave of the Winds. It was alot bigger - pics will be forthcoming. Oh yeah, before the cave, Colby had to stop at the Christmas Village. I don't know why, but i wasn't driving, so I had no choice. I looked for an ornament for Mom but didn't see anything but crap. So anyway, after the cave, we went and saw Mt. Rushmore. Not as impressive as I thought it would be - certainly not on the same level as the chipmunks. Chipmunks Rule!! But we did see some random goats walking around the parking lot - they almost charged me because I got a wee bit too close (I was still using the 14mm lens and was too lazy to change to the 150mm), so i had to get very close. Colby kept 'baaaa'ing and they didn't like that. And then the park ranger pulled up and said we had to get out of the way to give the goats clearance, and that the one goat that was P.O.'d and charged me was having a bad day, which is apparently why she charged me. Oh well, guess I'm not a goat person. After that, we found a room, and then I started this post. While i was doing that, Colby noticed the blood vessel on his foot was pulsing - you could see it. It is kinda weird. Oh well, now it's time to go eat, because we're hungry. So adios, and until next post... -BJ (and Colby)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day 2 - and Day 1

Okay, here's the recap from day 1:

July 27

9:04 AM
Just outside of Oklahoma City
We left around 4 AM, then had to turn right around and go back because SOMEONE forgot the sandwich stuff in the fridge (me), and then the line at Whataburger was kinda long, so we got off to a late start, but anyway, who cares? We're on vacation, so I plan to enjoy every minute! Traffic hasn't been bad so far, but the roads in Oklahoma – geez! I guess we're spoiled in Texas with our pretty decent roads (on the highway, anyway).

The next waypoint of our trip is Amarillo – just a little over 200 miles away now. After that, I hope to find the Giant Ice Cream Cone of Yore – more on that in the next post.

July 27th
11:16 AM
70 miles east of Amarillo
The stretch of I-40 from Oklahoma City to Amarillo has to be one of the most BORING drives in the entire USA. No scenery other than grass, trees, and farms. Ughh, worse than Mississippi. Anyway, the only thing of interest so far happened when I stopped for gas earlier. I thought I gave the cashier a $20, but it was really a $50. I walked off to fill the car before she could give me the change, but good ol' Colby was still inside waiting for the restroom to empty – he got my change for me. What a kid.

3:50 PM (Mountain time)
We stopped at a roadside park for a potty break near Sierra Grande Volcano. The restroom had a sign with two buttons. You could vote for whether it was a good restroom, or a bad restroom. How cool is that?

(Later that day)

We finally made it to Pueblo!! A very long drive, especially when we stopped to check out the Capulin Volcano in New Mexico - see Flickr for pics. There were tiny little fruit flies everywhere there - at least I thought they were fruit flies until they started biting us! When we got back to the car, it was covered with them (see the pic on Flickr)

Anyway, now it's Saturday, and we're spending the night Colorado Springs. Today we did just a little driving - it was much more about the DOING, today! First, we got up and checked out the Royal Gorge near Pueblo. Very awesome - in some ways, even more impressive than the Grand Canyon, since you can walk out over the gorge itself. We met an older couple there from Connecticut, who had been through Colorado Springs already and several other places we had planned on seeing. They advised us not to take the train up Pike's Peak since we didn't have reservations - we most likely wouldn't be able to get a ticket! So we decided to drive up Pike's Peak instead. They were headed for the Grand Canyon, and i told them to be sure to check out Horseshoe Bend. It was like an exhange of travel information - very helpful for all parties.

After Royal Gorge, we drove up to Colorado Springs to see Garden of the Gods - now that was awesome (see Flickr for pics, although I haven't posted those yet, ha ha). From there we checked out the Cave of the Winds (as suggested by Mr and Mrs Connecticut) - again, an awesome tour underground of some majestic rock formations.

And then finally, we drove up Pike's Peak. 20 miles of windy uphill (and then downhill) roads. It was 34 degrees at the summit! See Flickr for pics - again, these aren't posted yet, so it'll likely be tomorrow before you can see them.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Quickie post

Too tired to post much, or write in complete sentences. Will post tomorrow. Tired, sunburned, and all drove out (about 15 hours of driving, including stopping at places)

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Trip

Well, we made last minute plans and kinda got the 'schedule' (if that's what you want to call it) ironed out. Colby and I will leave about 4 AM this Friday, drive up the Indian Nation Turnpike, hit I-40 W through Oklahoma City, continue through Amarillo, turn onto US 385 (I think) at Vega, drive up through New Mexico and into Colorado, winding up at Pueblo sometime that evening, or afternoon if we push it. Then Saturday, we check out the Royal Gorge Bridge and Garden of the Gods, and possibly Pike's Peak, or that may be Sunday. Sunday for sure we will do a drive through of Rocky Mountain National Park, plus Pike's Peak if we don't manage to get it in Saturday.
Monday will be some driving, all the way up through Wyoming to see Devil's Tower. Probably spend the night in Gillette, then Tuesday and Wednesday we will tour South Dakota (Black Hills, Jewel Cave, tour an old gold mine somewhere, and the Badlands). After that, we will begin the long journey home through Nebraska and Kansas and Oklahoma.

In other news: I was watching a Lunesta commercial last night. You know, the one with the glowing green luna moth that flies around the insomniac people, hovers over them, and then they fall asleep right away. I have to tell you - if I ever woke up and saw a glowing green moth hovering over my face, I would probably yell out very loudly. That would totally creep me out, ha ha. Of course, the luna moth is supposed to make you sleep (since you took Lunesta) so I probably wouldn't wake up, so everything would be copacetic, even if the glowing green moth appeared. I wonder, if you took Lunesta and set your alarm to wake you up, would you see the moth? Hmmm....

Friday, July 20, 2007

One week to go

The title says it all - one more week to go until the Great South Dakota Journey. The plan is to leave about 5 AM next Friday morning, and drive through Amarillo, up through New Mexico (Dad says I'll go by the giant ice cream cone - Robin knows what I'm walking about) and into Colorado, and make camp in Colorado Springs the first night. Spend a few days in Colorado, then head through Wyoming (Devil's Tower!) and into South Dakota to check out Mt Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Badlands. After that - we'll just have to see what happens. I am SO ready to go - I could just travel forever, given the opportunity.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I've Got A Bad Feeling About This...

I took the Star Wars Personality Test as seen on Dee's blog - here's my results. I really thought I was more of a Vader/Emperor person.

You are Boba Fett

Boba Fett
Darth Maul
Luke Skywalker
Darth Vader
Han Solo
Qui-Gon Jinn
Emperor Palpatine
Because of your dark past
you don't say much, and you don't
have many close friends,
but man do you look cool!

(This list displays the top 10 results out of a possible 21 characters)

Click here to take the Star Wars Personality Test

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fireworks and the Fourth

Although the annual fireworks show put on by the Paris Rotary Club (what is a rotary, anyway? Dale Martin has the answer, but I can't mention it here) was canceled due to -- guess what? -- RAIN!!!!---- I was still able to see some cool fireworks at the Hutchison-Killingsworth Annual Fireworks Show, featuring Robert Dyer as the whiring dervish of blackcats (see the picture).
Robert tied a pack of Black Cats to about 6 ft of string - lit the cats, then whirled them around and around like a crazy man. I captured it in a long exposure - I just wish I'd brought my video camera!!

Don't forget to check out my other fireworks pics here.

In other news, the next great vacation has already been planned - this time, not westward, but north! An incredible journey or perilous proportions, northward through Colorado, Wyoming, and ultimately to South Dakota (and perhaps further into North Dakota if I feel like it). Things to see: Mt. Rushmore, of course, but my personal favorite thing to see right now seems to be Devil's Tower in Wyoming - I'd like to have a Close Encounter with it (pun definitely intended - if you don't get it, well, explaining it would simply devalue the joke more than it already is). Launch date is set at July 27th as of yesterday - already counting down the days. I could just travel for the rest of my life - go see things, come back for a bit, then head out and see some more. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Hope to get some great pics, even to rival my Grand Canyon series from earlier this summer.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Something Different

Among all the usual editorial topics - people complaining about whatever - I found this gem.

From The Paris News, July 3, 2007.

To the Editor:

This is an apology to the lady I went ahead of (Friday, June 22) at the Paris Family Physicians Clinic to have blood work. I am so sorry and didn't realize that I had gotten ahead of you. Even though I was 85 April 1, that is no excuse for my rudeness. It has really bothered me and I get very emotional when I hurt someone or when I've been hurt. If you had just spoke up I would have gladly waited. I didn't realize you was upset with me until I was told after we left. There's to much sadness and hatred in the world. I wish we could all love one another and be happy. Please forgive me.

Fay Lancaster

Just thought I'd share this with everyone - thought it was kinda cool.