Category Archives: Travels

Miller, South Dakota

After staying in Kennebec we took I 90 to Chamberlin, SD, where we stopped for breakfast at a nice little cafe. We discovered we were very close to the Saint Joseph Indian school where they had a Lakota museum and cultural center. It was easy to find, was beautiful, and wonderfully informational. The small building had exhibits on the people of the ancient Plains gave understanding on how the Lakota tribes and culture. The influence of European explorers and settlers was also discussed. As we broke treaties and more settlers moved into their homeland, they were pushed from one area to another. When they stood up for their rights and there was trouble, they were jailed or killed and blamed for what happened. There was a showing of current art that was on the experience at Wounded Knee. Poetry and writings were combined with visual art and powerfully expressed how the historic event still impacts their lives. IMG_2305

There were beautiful quilts for sale and one of the men taking charge of the gift shop explained to Bridget and I how the women were taught to quilt after all the buffalo had been killed. The large star became the design for the Lakota, representing the Morning Star, an important part of Sioux ceremonies. It represents the direction from which spirits travel to earth and is a link between the living and the dead. Bridget and I fell in love with these quilts we each bought one Bridget’s is pink and mine is green.

We were going to take county roads up to Miller, but missed a turn, so we returned to I-90 and continued on our way. Just before we were going to turn off the Interstate, we saw a sign for a tractor museum. Excited, we stopped and met a lovely 85-year-old man took us on a tour to see all the tractors. There were mostly John Deere tractors in the two barns, but there was also one which came as a mail-order kit and the farmed used an old Model A or T for the mechanical sections. In one of the barns was the metal contraption that was the local jail, only used for the town drunks. There was also a church and one-room school house, each of which had been moved to this location. This man was a rancher who had lived in that area of South Dakota for a long time and made little side cracks one of which was “not all farmers are poor.” As a matter fact, he was going to go up to Miller the next day to get his plane and fly somewhere.

But we were going to Miller using the county road right next to the museum. OK, I hear you asking why. But in Cedar Township of Hand County, SD in the early 20th century (possibly in 1900), my grandfather and his sister, Julia, joined his grandfather, grandmother, aunts and uncles to homestead a claim each. Patrick Dunn was my grandfather’s grandfather and one of our ancestors who came to the United States at about the age of 20. My Aunt Peggy made a copy of her Aunt Kate’s genealogy that stated he “came to America around 1840 from Ireland. The(sic) cam over in a sailing ship. It took six weeks. Settled in Baltimore, Maryland then Ohio and the Illinois. (I think he and his wife, Mary Murray came separately because in the 1910 census it is stated she arrived in 1850, but that is inconclusive.). She (Mary) became a seamstress (and) later went west with (the) Baltimore and Ohio Railway. Stopped in Chenoa Illinois (sic) and bought land and established a home. Later at the encouragement of her brother (they) went to the Dakota territory 1853.” My father (Patrick Flanagan) recorded that they were married in 1850 in Ohio.

We were unable to locate where Martin’s and Julia’s claims were, but the land today is rich and grows good crops of corn, soy beans, and sun flowers. In Miller, we made a visit to St. Ann’s Church and Cemetery. Many Dunns were buried in that cemetery, including Patrick Dunn, our immigrant ancestor.

South Dakota, Days 1 and 2

Hello friends, it’s been some time since we updated the blog. We have been traveling and enjoying life. After we left Rocky Mt. National Park, we drove through Colorado and Wyoming and into South Dakota. (We stopped in Cheyanne, WY at Poor Richard’s Restaurant for lunch.) Arrived in Mt. Rushmore around 6:30 and had planned to go to the lighting of the monument, but by the time we found a room, unpacked and had dinner, we were pooped and didn’t make it.

Up early Sunday morning, breakfast and then on to Mt. Rushmore. It is beautiful, majestic and huge! The logistics of building it were amazing and we were impressed at the work that went into the building of it.  After we left Mt. Rushmore, we went on to the Crazy Horse monument. This is being built in the same manner as Mt. Rushmore, but is privately funded and is still being built.  It was interesting to see these techniques being used. The museum there was very well done and we hope to go back and see everything some day.

Later in the afternoon we drove through South Dakota to Wall. We stayed overnight in Wall and went to the famous Wall Drugs first thing on Monday morning. We then drove on to Pierre, where Kathy spent the day doing genealogy research and I did the laundry. We planned to stay overnight in Pierre, but the entire town was booked. Turns out that there was a county commissioner conference going on and every county commissioner in South Dakota was in town.  At the last motel, we asked another traveler where the next town with rooms might be. He sent us on to Kennebec where we stayed in an old-fashioned motor hotel that had been reconditioned called King’s Inn.  We had dinner at the local bar, The Prairie Dust Bar, which made a great hamburger, and served the coldest beer around.

To be continued…

Kathy Day 23 and 24


And Away We Go

Well, we have finished our 2 and 1/2 weeks at our cabin in the Colorado Rockies. Time without internet, telephone, TV or other interruptions.  Spent time with our brother, Terry, and our sister-in-law, Miriam, as well as my son, Matt. We went on great jeep trips, took multiple long walks, not quite hikes but I did use my new walking stick, and our annual scrabble tournament. Saw many old friends and had a wonderful time.

We left on Wednesday and brought Matt to the Denver airport. He’s returning to Sierra Madre after working for a year in Gunnison, Co.  And we are actually beginning our wonderful adventure. Yesterday we spent the day with my college roommate, Joan and her family in Lyons, CO just a few miles from Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Today, we spent the whole day in the Park. Miriam hooked us up with the RMNP Conservancy and we took a tour with Alexis, our guide, three other Conservancy employees, Kathy and me. It was an all day tour of the park and we learned all about the geology, geography and history of the park. We were in and out of the van multiple times and the people on our tour were wonderful, helping Kathy get out, bringing her walker to her and helping her with the terrain and helping me get back in the van.  We saw gorgeous scenery, lots of elk, pica, and marmots. What a wonderful beginning to our trip. Tomorrow we take off for Mt. Rushmore and other explorations in South Dakota.

Day 19, 20, 21

Yellow Jeep

After days of rain, that permitted our reading of many books (We are all re-reading “The Cat who ….” books, in order.), the day was a glorious, high altitude, blue sky with bright white clouds moving across it. My brother and nephew decided it was time to release the Yellow Jeep from its Winter home and see if it would still run. Well, the ’52 Willys did run and they moved it to the flat lot across the street from our house.

Soon there were three old jeeps pulled into the lot and the old men of town (note, they are mostly in my age range) were having a discussion. I wasn’t part of it, but soon after three or four of the men took off for Battle Park (or above) with three big dogs. One of whom not only does not ride in the jeep, she runs carrying a log (not a branch—think 5 or six inches) the whole way and continues to run the whole time they are there and then back home. One day, she even ran with the jeep to the top of Tomichi Pass and back home (about 3 miles and from 10,000 feet to about 10,450 ft ).

Later that day Brid climbed over the driver’s seat and onto the bench in the back because there is no passenger seat and the floor on that side is not only a little rusty, but rather high to climb into. Her son drove her up beyond Battle Park and back. She enjoyed the rough ride and they are trying to use up old gas so new gas can be put into the tank.

Day 8

A Day of Food and Company

A nice day, rain in the morning and a trip to Gunnison for laundry, groceries, lunch and whatnot. On the way out of town, I saw a car at the yellow cabin, so we reversed and found out that my cousin from Oklahoma City and her significant other had arrived. We are so glad to see them. We made sure she knew that there was another town dinner at the Kubiak’s that night and that they were invited. Then after spending a long time on the road talking, we took of for Gunnie.

After the chores were completed, we stopped for lunch at The Alpine High Brewery and let me tell you, that if you are ever in Gunnison, this a definite place to stop and eat. We did not have any of the brews, but we shared three plates. First, we had a chartucuerie plate that included a garlic salami, excellent ham, duck rillette, a goat white cheddar, a raspberry white cheese, figs, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, a cranberry compote nuts and dried berries. You probably won’t get this exact plate because it changes according to what they have, but definitely a great share. The second plate was their sausage special of the day. It included their homemade mustard, homemade sauerkraut and two grilled, sliced sausages. Their house sausage was a pink color and very flavorful. The other was a pheasant, goat and apricot sausage that was equally delicious. Our third plate, on the strong recommendation of my nephew, was their Fig and Pig pizza with figs, prosciutto, arugula and a basaltic drizzle on a thin, crispy, but still chewy crust. Mmmm! Go ahead, put this in your list of someday, when I am in the area. You will be happy.

That evening was filled with more great food made by Jen (chicken marsala, parsley noodles, fruit salad),good company and great conversations. All around a long table created from multiple tables down the middle of the living room. We found out that one of our neighbors, who I had not known, had been an actress. My nephew told that he had begun watching the “Dick Van Dyke” show with his great aunt while spending time with her. He was surprised and pleased at how much he enjoyed it and how good it was. Our neighbor informed us that she had been on his next show—Diagnosis Murder—but only as a victim, not recurring, and that it had been fun to be on set. Another neighbor was heading back to British Columbia for the start of school. She was getting one new class, Textiles, for which she was developing the curriculum. We talked and brainstormed ideas that she might be able to use, of course, there were more developed than anyone could use, but it was fun to be back thinking in those terms.

Day 6

To the Cabin

After grocery shopping and dinner, we left Gunnison for the cabin. The only place the had road construction to worry about was just before the turnoff for the road to the cabin where Highway 50 shrank to one lane—with tow temporary traffic lights!

We drove up the road of the Cross-Bar Ranch looking for elk and other animals. We say a few chipmunks. Oh well, we have more chances before we leave. We pulled into Whitepine about 7 o’clock. It was 56 degrees! Quite a difference from earlier that day, to say nothing of the last week in California.

After greeting a couple of people, Brid and Matt unpacked the car with no slowing down by me. I sat out on the new back porch that my brother, Terry, worked on last year and finished in June. It is beautiful, overlooking the forest on the mountain behind us. Inside, over the stove was the most gigantic, multilayered spider web. “A work of Art,” stated Matt. “A gross mess,” replied his mother. So today, the spider web is no more.

Last night, as we lay sleeping it started to rain. We awoke to sunshine, then gray skies. But Bridget and Matt walked up to the bridge: 2558 steps round trip. I cleaned, so I got a little movement done, too. Then it rained again. We are hoping that it is raining where the fires are and helping the firefighters.

Tonight neighbors are having a luau for the whole town. This should be fun. Meanwhile, books are being read by all.

Day 4

First Leg of Travel is Coming to an End


When we left California, there was lots of smoke in the air, and we expected that because of the local fires. However, the skies were hazy with smoke in Nevada, Utah and Colorado. The three Utah fires affected it, but so did the Northern California ones. Colorado also has fires, but I don’t think any down in the area we were in (at least currently). We could not see the Rocky Mountains until we were in Ridgeway – and Ridgeway is in the mountains. Anyone with asthma should not vacation here right now.

We stopped for lunch at an old family favorite in Green River – The Tamarisk – where Flanagans have been getting their chicken fried steak for over 60 years (probably the restaurant has changed names in that time). My bite was delightful, as was my BLT on homemade bread. Brid enjoyed her green chili burger a lot. We all had local watermelon for our side; then as we left town we stopped at one of the grower’s trucks to bring a watermelon and casaba to Colorado.

On our way to. Montrose, we texted our nephew and his wife (Casey and Sarah); so they and their darling boys met us at the motel for visiting and an attempt at swimming in the pool. But it was SO cold, only the six year old could play in it and he kept going in and out of it. There is a nice picnic area at the Red Arrow Inn with a very good Mexican restaurant next door. We ordered a mixture of soft tacos, beans and rice…and, of course chicken strips and fries for the little ones. However, after munching what they wanted they started demanding rice and beans off their father’s plate. The eighteen month old never stopped running which meant someone had to run after or with him all the time. He has no fear and even if he falls, stops crying quickly so he can go again.

Today, we had breakfast and drove down to their town of Ridgeway and were surprised because Casey was free to join us (his worker called in sick and he could not do the construction job on his own). Yeah! We went to check out his shop: San Juan Marble and Granite. It is small, but effective. He has an old forklift for carrying things around, but the boys found it much more fun. Lots of horn beeping and imaginary driving. As we were leaving, his neighbor came out and we got to see a Grammy in the making. Yep, the Grammy statutes are made in a small American shop in Colorado. It was cool. After the hungry ones ate brunch, we went on a scenic drive into the National Forest to Silver Jake Reservoir. We passed some sculpted mountains named Courthouse Rock and Chimney Rock. It was our first “jeep trip” of our vacation and we had not even unloaded the car!

Then we went our different ways and are now in Gunnison, with Brid buying some groceries and the person who has difficulty walking writing up what has happened. We will be at the cabin where there is no Internet, but will keep up the blog whenever we can. I will try to add some of the photos, but I must learn how to add more than one featured one.

Days 2 and 3

And They’re Off…

Well, we hit the road this morning, after we went to our #Pasadena830 Weight Watchers meeting (both of us had good weeks despite multiple celebrations), said “Adios” to all of our buddies, and received a summer charm from one of our friends. Then we headed home to our packed car (Thanks to my darling son, Matt). We had wanted to be out by 10 and we actually left before 11.  So for us, we were on time!

First stop was Corky’s in Rancho Cucamonga for a hearty brunch. Then on to I15 and a drive through the desert. We stopped in Baker for drinks and gas, passed the solar generating station near State Line and drove straight through Las Vegas. We made it to St. George, Utah by 7:15 local time. Good first day on the road.

Tomorrow takes us into Montrose, Colorado and a visit with our nephew Casey, his wife Sarah and their two tiny Flanagans.

Someone ask if we were going to Zion and Bryce, but we are not this trip. We have spent time at both parks on multiple trips so we will save those for another time.


Saturday, August 18, 2018  Day 1



Hi, this is Bridget. Just wanted to give you all a brief update on our trip. We are leaving for our cabin in the mountains of Colorado a week from Saturday. It will take 3 days to get there as neither Kathy nor I want to spend 12 or more hours in the car. First night to St. George, Utah, on I15, second night to Grand Junction via I70 or Montrose, CO where we will spend some time with our nephew, Casey, his wife Sarah and their two wonderful boys. Then we are on to Gunnison on Highway 50 to grocery shop and up to the cabin off of Highway 50, just before the ascent to Monarch Pass. We will spend a couple of weeks before we take off for our long trip. We don’t have internet connection at the cabin, so we will only be posting sporadically, when we go to town.