Wildflowers and more

I can’t believe it. I had a great long post already to go, and my computer has crashed…not a blue screen yet, but I can’t open anything on it…..want to scream, but I’m in the Gunnison Library and I think that would be frowned upon.

Since our last post, we have been having a wildflower extravaganza! We have explored Black Sage Pass, Marshall Pass, driven along the Arkansas River to Canon City and today drove up to Gothic where the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory studies wildflowers, small wildlife and the ecology of the mountains. The flowers are unbelievable. One of the fields we drove through was so full of yellow flowers that I felt like I was in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy and the gang fell asleep in the poppies.

More of our Oklahoma cousins were up last week and it was so much fun watching the next generation of Whitepiners enjoy the mountains. We now have 4 generations who love the mountains.

Last night, our neighbors Don and Verna put on a fabulous Southern shrimp boil for the whole town. Great food, yummy margaritas, and good company! So glad we were in Whitepine for it.

It’s a good year for wildlife sightings. We have seen deer, elk, marmots (also known as whistle pigs and woodchucks), cottontail rabbits and blue herons. But the biggest sighting belongs to Kathy who saw a mountain lion cross the street at the cabin above ours!

Day 2 to 7

Our second day on the road was relatively uneventful. We did stop in Green River, Utah for lunch at the Tamarisk Restaurant where we have been stopping for as long as we can remember. Our dad always thought they had the best Chicken Fried Steak on the road between California and Colorado. As it was just lunch, and we didn’t want to have a food coma, we didn’t get that but the Navajo taco pizzas were quite tasty.

Our second stop was Montrose, Colorado. We tried to make reservations for the Hampton Inn there, but they did not have any handicapped rooms with 2 beds available. The reservation clerk insisted he could get us what we needed at the Days Inn, Wyndam in Montrose. I checked with him at least five times to verify that the room would be an accessible room with two beds. He verified for me that he had personally spoken with the Days Inn and we were all set (I did spend considerable time on hold). Unfortunately, when we arrived at the Days Inn, it turned out that everything he told us was a blatant lie. He had made a reservation through a computer system for us, but he had never talked to anyone at the hotel and never verified that there was a handicapped room available. It turned out that they only have one handicapped room and it only has a queen bed in it. We ended up taking it because the reservation clerk had already charged our credit card. The staff at the Days Inn was quite nice and tried to help us as much as possible, but I’ve learned my lesson and will never allow some one to make a reservation for me. I am not even positive that I was speaking to someone at the Hampton Inn. I had used google to get the phone number, and I thought it was from their website, but it might have been some kind of reservation company.

Well, after we calmed down, we called our nephew, Casey and got together with him, his wife, Sarah, and their two boys. We had a fun evening visiting and had great barbecue at a local restaurant called Jiggerz. Food was great and portions huge! We tried fried pickles for the first time and they were pretty tasty.

Next morning we were up very early and decided to skip the hotel breakfast to drive on to Gunnison. We arrived in Gunnison around 9:30, had breakfast at the famous W Café, did our grocery shopping and got to Whitepine around 11:30. Thank goodness we were a little earlier that we anticipated as the Water Board meeting that we thought was at 2 was actually at noon. We just made it. The meeting is an annual town meeting with an ice cream social. It was a great time to get caught up with many of the other residents of Whitepine

To our delight, our cousin Michele and her partner Sherman are here in town. We have been doing lots of visiting and catching up with each other. We all went to the annual Upper Tomichi Historical Society pot luck in Sargents on the 4th of July. We had lots of fun with door prizes, pie raffles and more. We all ate too much and went back to our cabins for naps. We decided not to go to the fireworks later in the evening and apparently missed the party of the year. The café in Sargents was packed with Whitepiners, Sargent residents and local ranchers. There was a band and lots of merryment late into the night. Oh well, getting old I guess.

Today is Sunday and we are off to town for Church

On the Move Again

Well, Wild Wandering Women are on the move again. We left Sierra Madre this morning and are currently in Cedar City, Utah. We are on our way to our Colorado Cabin for the Month of July. Plan to be in Montrose tomorrow and hope to have a good visit with nephew Casey and his family. Wednesday we will arrive in Whitepine in time for the annual water meeting, and hope to see lots of old friends. Have not made many other plans, but hope to see wild flowers, and take a lot of day trips. Maybe even a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and to see Joan and Rick. Joan was Bridget’s college roommate, just a few years ago.

We plan to do lots of walking in the mountains, visiting with friends and reading on the porch (this will probably be our main activity.) We also hope some of our Oklahoma cousins will be up sometime during the month. Brother, Terry and sister-in-law Miriam will be coming at the end of July so we will see them for a few days.

Kathy just participated in her 50 high school reunion, and had a wonderful weekend reconnecting with her old chums. Lots of laughs, stories and good times.

We will be posting when we can, but we have no internet connection in the mountains. Every time we get to town we will try to post. Sorry we have been so silent for the last few months. We haven’t done much traveling since our big trip. Bridget did go to Cambria with her son, Matt for a week in April, but other than that we have been homebodies. We are ready for this trip and beyond!

Before we had a chance to post this, we went out to dinner to a locally owned diner named The All American Classic Diner (#allamericandiner). OMG if you are in Cedar City or traveling on I-15 through Utah, make sure you stop here. The food was fabulous. When we walked in, the place was packed, even though it was hard to get to because of ongoing roadwork on Main Street. Almost everyone at the first few tables were eating meatloaf, so Bridget decided to try it. Kathy opted for a ground sirloin steak covered with mushrooms, onions and brown gravy. We couldn’t decide which was more delicious. Bridget is pretty picky about meatloaf and thinks she makes one of the best, but she had to admit that this one was better than hers and the fresh veggies had an herb topping of garlic, salt, red pepper and other unnamed flavors. It made the veggies extra yummy. Kathy’s meat could almost not be seen due to the number of mushrooms and onions that covered it. As good as homemade for sure. Unfortunately, we were hungry and didn’t take pics of our food until Bridget was done and Kathy just had a few bites left….oh well, you will just have to stop by.

Home Again, Home Again, Hippity Hop

Friday, we drove through Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle and into New Mexico.  We passed cotton flowering.  They seemed like little bolls, but what do I know?  We did make one stop in Texas, to have a chicken fried steak lunch at a small restaurant that we found on the road.  Can’t travel this part of the country and not have chicken fried steak!

We arrived in Edgewood, NM around 6 p.m.  This was really our final destination on our journey.  My college friend, Vicky, just moved to Edgewood from Vancouver, WA and we wanted to visit and see her new house.  She, her daughter Kimberley, and Kimberley’s twin boys are living in a lovely New Mexico style home in Edgewood. Kim made us a delicious dinner and we had a wonderful visit.  Vicky had a plethora of points at the local Comfort Inn and treated us to our second to the last night on the road.  In the morning, we met to have a delicious New Mexico style breakfast.  Kathy finally got her Christmas style huevos rancheros and Vicky and I both had chili rellenos and fried eggs covered in green chili.  YUMMMMY!!!

We were on the road by 10 and planned to make it to Flagstaff for our last night on the road, but we made such good time that we made it to Kingman, AZ.  After a good night’s sleep, we hit the road and drove straight home, making it by 2:30 in the afternoon.  Sierra Madre had never looked so good.  The cottonwoods in the California desert were changing colors, too.  Few photos the last few days.  We were in a hurry to be home and to visit the people we were seeing.  So here is a shot:

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This first retirement journey by the Wild Wandering Women was blessed with good fortune.  We had no car trouble, no accidents, no one got sick or seriously injured, and everyone we met on the road was delightful.  No curmudgeons or sourpusses!!  We made contact with old friends and relatives that we haven’t seen in ages.  We fully understand what a beautiful country we live and how fortunate we are to be Americans. Despite all of our differences, most of us are good people, kind, thoughtful and want to do the right thing.  We made sure that we were home in time to vote as this is such a privilege in this world we live in.

Things that surprised us include how much open space there still is in the US.  As people who have lived in cities or suburbs all our lives, it’s easy to forget that not everyone lives this way.  I was blown away by the colors of the leaves changing, we really don’t see that in Southern California.  We were both impressed by how much forest there still is on the east coast.  We are spoiled in California by the produce and plenty that we have and were surprised that this isn’t true through out the country. There are still places that live and eat much more seasonally than we do, salads, fresh vegetables and fruits are not always available.  I think that we both discovered that we are truly California people.  We love visiting other places, but we want to live in Southern California.  As the weather turned to fall, and the temps were in the 40’s people kept talking about how wonderful the fall weather was.  We were freezing–it was as cold as it gets in the middle of the winter in SoCal.

Final journey statistics include:

Days on the road: 79
States: 28
Canadian Provinces: 2
Miles travelled: 10,454
Relatives visited: 38
Friends visited: 17

Brid
Days 77-79

Final Visit With Cousins (not the end of cousins, however)

 

We left Lexington Tuesday morning on our way to Oklahoma for a visit with our cousins Margaret and Michele and their families.  Outside of Versailles (Kentucky, not France), we saw this surprising castle. Might be an interesting story.

We were ready to be home, but very excited to see our cousins.  We decided to just jam on the road to get there.  Filled our coffee cups with Starbucks and hit the road.  We drove through the rest of Kentucky, Tennessee and on to Arkansas. Our travels took us through Nashville and Memphis but we were so anxious to make it to Oklahoma, we decided not to stop.  I think we will make another trip to the area as we enjoyed spending time with Kelly and Shelagh.  Sounds like we might need to take the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky with them sometime.  We will do Nashville and Memphis on that trip. We were heading to Fort Smith, but didn’t quite make it because we were too tired.  We finally pulled over in Russellville, AK, finding a room at a La Quinta motel around 7. We had a good dinner at the Ruby Tuesday’s next to the motel, and a good night’s sleep.

Wednesday morning we took off for the final leg through Arkansas, Texas and on to Oklahoma. It poured rain most of the time that we were driving.  Absolutely the worst weather we had on the whole trip.  A few times we couldn’t even see the car in front of us.  We knew we had short day, as we planned to be in Oklahoma City by midafternoon.  Shortly before we got to OKC, the rain stopped and we made it to our cousins, Margaret and JB Phipps’ house with no problems.  Margaret’s sister Michele came over and we spent the rest of the afternoon talking non-stop.  It was Halloween night so Margaret’s daughter, Megan brought her two youngest over and we got to see them in costume, after a short visit with Megan and Jason, and Margaret’s other daughter, Margo, (unfortunately, we did not get to see Mara and her family, but another time.) the family left to go trick or treating (fortunately, the rain had finally stopped).  Michele’s partner Sherman came over for dinner and we watched all the dressed up princesses, ghouls and goblins come to the door for a treat. We stayed up very late talking and had a wonderful time.

Thursday morning we got up and did our favorite thing, laundry.  Margaret took JB to a doctor’s appointment, so we had the house and all there appliances to ourselves.  When they got home, Michele came over and we all went to lunch.  We had a fabulous dining experience at a restaurant called Vast. It is on the 49th floor of the Devon Tower in OKC.  The day was beautiful and sunny, and the view from the restaurant was fabulous.  Lunch is served as a buffet, but this in not like any buffet you have been to before. They call it a daily table menu. The menu changes weekly.  We were treated to a beautiful salad bar with homemade dressings (the tomato vinaigrette was outstanding and I want the recipe!) with homemade rolls, homemade hummus and pita. There was a wonderful cheese and apple soup with pecans (another recipe I want).  Hot dishes included roasted potatoes with feta, braised cabbage and onions, green beans almondine, pasta alfredo with shrimp, chicken in a mushroom gravy, roasted pork and roasted lamb.  The desserts–brownies, crème brulee, banana cake, raspberry mousse, and 3 or 4 more that I can’t remember–were all good and cut into small pieces so you could taste everything.  Good thing I don’t live in OKC because I think I would go every week! We had been enjoying our visit so much, talking and laughing that we forgot to take pictures (argh!)

After lunch, we took time to go to the Oklahoma City National Memorial.  Michele, JB and I spent time walking through the chairs and looking at the reflecting pond.  At either end of the pond is a black gate. On the east wall, the time 9:01 is etched, symbolizing the last moment of innocence in OKC.  On the west wall, the time 9:03 is etched, symbolizing the moment rebuilding began.  In the unnamed moment, 168 men, women and children perished at the hands of a domestic terrorist on April 19, 1995.  The memorial is incredibly moving.  We didn’t go to the museum, but we did stop at the church across the street.  Old St. Joseph’s  Church was badly damaged in the blast and installed a beautiful statue “and Jesus wept” on the corner. The whole experience was moving.

Then it was back to the Phipps and more visiting.  BBQ for dinner later that evening and late to bed.  We were up early next morning because Margaret had to go to work.  We wanted to say good bye before we took of on the final leg of our journey.

Brif
Days 74-76

Folk Art and More Cousins

Then we hit the road early on Sunday.  We had planned  to go to Gettysburg, but because of the rain, we scrapped that plan and just started toward Kentucky. We drove through Pennsylvania, Maryland and on to West Virginia.  Stayed overnight in Charleston, WV and continued on to Kentucky on Monday.

Because our cousins wouldn’t be free until late afternoon, we took our time and stopped at the Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University.  What a wonderful place.  One of my secret passions is folk art and this museum has wonderful examples of traditional as well as modern folk art.  We spent a couple of hours enjoying the exhibits and then it was on to Lexington, KY.

Kathy Insert:  When I was checking up on some of the artists, I found articles describing the difficulties currently affecting this historical and contemporary museum.   In an article in Louisville Magazine…”the Christian Science Monitor called it a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for understanding the evolution of folk art.”  Unfortunately, in 2016, when the University was having budget problems, it cut its $100,000 in support.  This year the state of Kentucky eliminated the rest of the museum’s funding by cutting its $200,000 appropriation.  They were 5 employees, including a curator-grant writer, and are now down to one contract employee.  Other institutions have offered to take the museum (Berea College which has a history of preserving Appalachian folk art and culture and KMAC (founded as the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts) in Louisville, but the University is not discussing this.  Here are photos of work at the Museum (they said we could take photos and now I am very glad I did.)

We then met up with our cousin Kelly Cassidy in the late afternoon, and later joined her sister, Shelagh and her family for dinner at a nice gastro-pub.  We had a fun dinner sharing food and trying flights of cider.  Then we 4 ladies returned to our hotel and stayed up talking until midnight.  Kathy and Kelly spent some time talking genealogy and family stories.  It was a great visit.

Bridget – Day 74

Pennsylvania Dutch Country and More Cousins

It was late afternoon when we arrived in Lancaster, and we had not eaten lunch, so we interrupted our search for a hotel to find somewhere to have dinner,  We discovered the Good and Plenty, a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant that serves family style. We were seated at a long table with two other families. The meal started off with appetizers that included chow chow (sweet and sour vegetables), peppered cabbage (like a coleslaw with no mayo), chicken salad, apple sauce, homemade bread with butter, apple butter and cottage cheese.  Main meal was fried chicken, pot roast and a local sausage, with buttered corn, browned buttered noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, and carrots. This was followed by dessert of blueberry pie, shoo fly pie, cracker pudding, cheesecake and ice cream.  It was all you can eat….We thought the appetizers were good, the fried chicken was exactly what you want fried chicken to be, the corn and noodles were the highlight of the meal.  Both of us were underwhelmed by the desserts and wished we had chosen more noodles over the desserts.  The food was bountiful, but the only seasonings used were butter, salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar, so it was a little one note for us.

With our tummies full the hotel hunt continued.  As we have been learning, there does not appear to be a slow time for many destinations…baby boomers are traveling.  It took quite a few stops to find a place that had a vacancy for the four days we planned to spend in the area. Finally, around 8 PM we found the Courtyard by Marriot and moved in just before the rain began.

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Cheryl Brooks, Bridget, and Kathy outside of Say Cheese!

Earlier in the week, I had contacted Cheryl Brooks, a friend from Sierra Madre who had moved to Bethlehem, PA about 15 years ago.  Luckily, she had Thursday free and we made arrangements to meet for lunch in Reading, PA.  Cheryl’s son, Greg and his wife and baby live in Reading, so he suggested that we meet at a little restaurant called Say Cheese.  I have known Cheryl since our children were very small.  We were both involved in early childhood religious education at St. Rita. It was so wonderful to spend time with her and to catch up with her.  We spent a few hours talking and eating. I am so glad that she had time to meet us.  I’m not sure, but I think we actually overdosed on cheese as every dish had cheese.    After we left Reading, we went to the farmers market in Bird-In-Hand, PA. Lots of meats, cheeses, crafts, jams, jellies and even some fruits and veggies. We tasted a few things and bought some fruit and veggies for the hotel room.

Friday, we made arrangements to take a buggy tour through Abe’s Buggy Rides.  Our tour guide, Sam, was a retired Amish farmer who thoroughly enjoyed telling us all about the Amish way of life and showing us Amish farms,

businesses and schools.

He told us about a wedding he had attended the day before, which lasted about 10 hours–along with prayers and two meals, there are two singing sessions that last 2-1/2 hours each, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

IMG_3610After the tour, we continued to explore the area on our own.  The scenery in Lancaster County is unbelievably beautiful.  We discovered a weaving and yarn shop and Kathy was lost for an hour or so looking at the the hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns (lots of new yarn, Christmas presents????[Kathy: No.]).  The weather was worsening with threats of torrential rains so we returned to the hotel in the late afternoon.

IMG_3618Saturday, we went to a weight watcher workshop in Lancaster, then out to breakfast at a local diner.  We took a wrong turn on the way home and had to go through a covered bridge.  Because the weather was so bad, we decided to take care of personal business for the rest of the day.  Three loads of laundry, working on the blog, and paying bills….fun stuff.

Bridget
Days 68-73

Adventures, travel and genealogy of a couple of retired ladies.