Tag Archives: Road trip

Road Trip~Pagosa Springs, Colorado to Denver, Colorado.

10 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

Days 15 September 21, 2017

Packing up day. Sad, but leaving with precious memories. I grew fond of the townhouse at Wyndham, Pagosa Springs. It was a perfect harbor after a day of touring. I am thankful for our friend, Pam, who made this trip possible by sharing not only  her time share with us, but also her bright and sunny personality.  I will miss our morning coffee times.

 

 

Our plan for the return trip to Denver was to visit Pike’s Peak. We didn’t have time to visit the peak on a previous vacation.   Unfortunately, husband’s breathing episode at Lobo Overlook caused us to scratch it once again.  The  275 mile journey would be a combination route of our trip a week earlier to pick up Rebekah and Pam at the Denver airport which would be new to them, as well as retracing some of the route we took south from Rocky Mountain National Park.

We of course, were planning to have a picnic lunch along the way and were looking for the park we found on the trip south.We should have done a GPS drop pin on the location, because we couldn’t find it. Finally, an urgent need for “facilities” drove us to find anyplace to stop!  We spotted a smallish parking area with facilities and pulled in. The facilities were adequate, but the scenery was fantastic. It turned out there was another lower level to the parking area and the river was a prime kayaking area. I guess it was a little too windy cool for them to be out that day as we didn’t see any. There were also picnic tables so we had our lunch there.

 

 

The Aspen trees on the drive north gave us a grand display of color.

We arrived in Denver and checked in to the hotel where we had stayed the previous week. We made it in time for their free supper buffet and it was nice to stay in after the long day. When we checked out after our previous stay, I left a bottle of wine in a room drawer. I had purchased it at a winery near Jefferson, North Carolina for Rebekah and Pam to enjoy at Pagosa and lugged that bottle across the country.  When we checked in, I asked if it had been turned in to lost and found. ! They said they would check and let me know. I’m still waiting…..Silly me, of course not!

 

 

 

Road Trip-Sunday Ascent

15 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

I'm a winner

 

 

Day 11, September 17, 2017

 

After our adventure at Night Glow, I wasn’t excited about arising early on Sunday but a balloon ascent was planned to take place at the Wyndham resort where we were staying. I needed coffee!!

We weren’t 100 percent sure where the ascent was to take place so we drove around until we spotted the field where the balloonists were setting up.

 

 

Rain was in the forecast but several of the balloons took a chance and arose into the sky.

 

 

This balloon crew were planning to ascend but the balloonist’s young daughter begged her father to change his mind. She claimed to be able to feel the lightning in the atmosphere. After what appeared to be talking back and forth between the crew, the decision was made to not make the ascent. It was the correct decision as clouds rapidly built.

 

 

We returned to our truck and Rebekah drove as we followed the flights of the balloons that were descending.

Feeling damp and cold we headed back to the condo for a cup of hot cocoa.

 

Pam caught up with Facebook, sharing photos and catching up on texts.

 

 

Rebekah took advantage of the light and captured a great picture of our view.

 

 

Hubby had declared the day, a day of rest (It was Sunday, after all) So the girls piled into the truck and Rebekah drove us around to check out the town and have a girlie lunch at The Rose, one of the local restaurants.

 

I apologize for the time in between my posts. Life moves faster than I can type!

Road Trip~Colorado Springs to Denver, Colorado

14 Dec

On the Porch 

Onisha Ellis

 

 

September 13, 2017 Day 7

Our seventh day on the road. We are moving at a turtle pace, but we are savoring the journey. Tomorrow we pick up our daughter and family friend at the Denver airport and they will spend the week with us. We checked in with Rebekah before hitting the road. She is still without electricity but good news, a friend from church who does odd jobs will be over to repair her roof. I know she will be relieved to have it fixed before joining us in Denver.

I am particularly excited about this leg of our trip as we have tickets to ride the Royal Gorge Train near Cañon City, Colorado, I first learned of this train while reading Go West by DiVoran Lites but never dreamed I would have the opportunity to ride it. To add to the fun, my husband would enjoy the up close view of scenery straight out of a cowboy movie!

 

 

Our seating was in a club car and we began the journey sharing a table with a lovely newly wed couple. Once the train pulled out of the station, we moved to an empty table so we could stretch out.

 

 

Food and drinks were available but we brought a picnic lunch and ate before boarding the train.

 

 

As we pulled out of the station, we passed the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility. The prisoners here ran the first water flues through the gorge to bring fresh water to the town. I wondered if this was the prison where DiVoran’s father once worked.

 

 

As we entered the gorge, we decided to check out the view from the open bed car. We were fortunate that one adjoined our club car.

 

My hair was a mess

The front of the train heading into the narrow opening.

The opening through the mountains is so narrow, the first tracks laid were a “slim gauge,” 36″ between rails;

A bridge was constructed 1,000 feet above the gorge but as cars became larger, it was downgraded to  walk across only. As our train passed under the bridge we saw a brave soul riding a zip line across the gorge, over 1,000 high. For the less brave, there is a gondola. We decided we were content to leave the adrenaline pumping to the more adventurous. We didn’t get a picture but we also saw several groups of people in rafts taking on the whitewater of the Arkansas river.

 

Zip line was almost too fast to capture the shot

The bridge is 1,000 high and they are higher!

 

The railroad provided a guide on the open car to point out interesting sights as well as share tidbits of history. When we came alongside these miniature power poles, he explained them to us. They were not power poles at all. The short lines extending down from the cross tie were in fact, used as a rock slide alert. If a rock touched the line and broke the connection, the train station was instantly notified there were rocks on the track and pinpointed the location.  Clever, yes?

 

 

My husband was fascinated by this tree as we waited to board the train. At the end of the trip, he asked what type it was. Being from Florida, he had never seen a cottonwood tree  and was pleased to finally be able to touch the bark. He enjoys carving and had read that cottonwood was excellent for carving. I wonder where we would find the bark for sale in Florida.

 

 

After all the fresh air and sunshine, we were both craving some ice cream before heading to Interstate 25 to complete our trip to Denver. We went to McDonald’s for a hot fudge sundae, but their ice cream machine was broken. Has anyone else noticed that McDonald’s has a high rate of ice cream machine failure? Not to be deterred from our ice cream craving, we pulled into a Sonic Drive In . Their ice cream machine worked fine and our cones were decadently delicious.

Our hotel for the night provided a free welcome buffet so we ate our supper there, then made it an early night. We were both looking forward to picking up Rebekah and Pam the next day and beginning a new adventure.

 

Road Trip~ Albuquerque, New Mexico to Pueblo, Colorado

30 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

September 12, 2017 Day 6

Our daughter asked on Face Book if any of her friends knew someone who could come over and take a look at her roof. One of her high school friends volunteered her dad and they set up a time to check it out. Electricity still out in most of the neighbors and long lines at restaurants that were open.  I sent up prayers for her day to go smoothly before we began our sixth day on the road.

Judy Wills has mentioned Sandia Peak several times in her blogs and I was anxious to see it. Plus, I had listened to Stealthy Steps by Vikki Kestell and it was set underneath Sandia Crest and that increased my interest.   I was disappointed that we would not be able to take a tram to the peak as it was not running on that day but we were able to drive to the crest, so I was happy.

 

The cafe at Sandia Crest

 

One of the aspects of the Albuquerque area that fascinated me is the diversity of rocks in the different layers.  At the crest, this section of rock looked to me like the earth had thrown up mud piles.

 

 

The elevation where we were standing was around 10.000 feet and we were looking down on these mountains.

 

 

 

To our left we spotted this couple. It really was as dangerous as it appears. Some people are crazy.

 

 

I was surprised and pleased to find these colorful wild flowers after driving through miles of arid landscape.

It is usually chilly on the crest but it was a beautiful day. My husband snuck this picture of me while I was taking a picture. As you can see, Albuquerque sprawls across the landscape below. The city is way too big for this small town girl.

 

 

On the drive up to the crest, I spotted a picnic area and we decided to stop there for lunch before we continued on our drive to our stop for the night in Pueblo, Colorado. We were the only people in the picnic area and we enjoyed the quiet beauty. There is nothing better than the scent of the woods undisturbed by city fumes. I was glad to see that the picnic area included “facilities” as it was a longish drive back to civilization.

 

 

As we left the Sandia area the mountain vegetation changed. From a distance the mountains appeared to be carefully landscaped with squat round bushes.

 

 

To our surprise we came upon the town of Madrid, New Mexico. According to their website:  Madrid is nestled in a narrow canyon in the Ortiz Mountains. Once a historic coal mining town and ghost town, Madrid is now a creative community with over 40 shops and galleries, several restaurants, a spa and museum. 

The town is definitely colorful. One of the things I love about road trips are the unexpected jewels, like this town.

 

While we were enjoying our day, our daughter had met with her friend’s father who inspected her roof.  It seems that Hurricane Irma’s wind had blown up under the roof flashing and it would be a simple and inexpensive fix. She was still without electricity so it would be another restless night for her.

 

 

Road Trip~Amarillo, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico

16 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

September 11, 2017 Day 5

I awoke early, tired from a restless night and anxious to hear from our daughter who had decided to ride out Hurricane Irma alone.  She sent a video text of her back yard around 7:30 am and I was relieved that she was safe and her property as well.  It was with a thankful heart that we began the next leg of our trip.

You can read her story of Hurricane Irma on her blog, Rebekah Lyn’s Kitchen

Leaving Amarillo we passed fields with beautiful yellow flowers. Unfortunately, the flowers were not the scent we were smelling.  Amarillo is  home to of a number of Cattle and Livestock companies. If you would like to know more about livestock auctions, I found an auction house online.

I hadn’t noticed when I was in the planning stages of this trip, how close Amarillo is to New Mexico. In no time we were crossing the border!

 

 

 

Judy Wills, a blogger here on Old Things R New wrote an extensive series about her life in New Mexico and I was anxious to visit some of the places she wrote of. You may enjoy reading her posts, Memories of New Mexico .

Once we entered New Mexico, the cattle ranches fell away replaced by arid landscapes. One of the most fascinating features of New Mexico was the variety or rocks in their mountains. More about that next week.

 

 

We arrived at our hotel in Albuquerque around  3pm and after carting up our ridiculous amount of luggage, we set off to explore. I had asked Judy which restaurants in the Old Town she would recommend. I wanted to experience real  Mexican flavor. We decided on El Pinto. What a beautiful restaurant. It has extensive garden seating with more fountains than I could count and the landscaping was lush. Our server was a delightful young man. He asked where we were from and he was surprised to learn with both grew  up in Orlando!  Even more coincidental, he lived in a subdivision our where our daughter once lived and his grandparents were still there. Small world!  We asked how they fared during Hurricane Irma and were happy to know they were safe. I asked him why he decided to move to New Mexico and he said school and the weather. He hated Florida’s humidity. We could certainly agree with his feelings!

 

 

 

After supper we decided to visit Old Town to walk off some of the delicious meal. There was a lot of road construction in the area, so it took a couple of tries before we made it into the entrance. It is a beautiful and quaint area and we enjoyed exploring it.

 

San Felipe de Neri Church, the oldest building in the city, which was built in 1793.

 

We managed to get turned around leaving Old Town. We went down a couple of alleys that seemed a bit dodgy but eventually found an on ramp to the interstate.

Only one more day of driving was left until we would reach Denver where our daughter and a friend were flying into the international airport to meet us. Rebekah had spent the day assessing  a leak in her kitchen due to the storm and trying to find someone to go up on the roof to find the source.

Road Trip~ Fort Smith, Arkansas to Amarillo, Texas

2 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

September 10, 2017 Day 4

September 10 marked our second day of loading and unloading the truck. Since we were carrying sandwich makings for our daily picnic and other items needing to be kept cold, we had to carry in our coolers too.  What is all that stuff?

 

 

Our route today on Interstate 40 would take us through the rather monotonous plains of Oklahoma. Fortunately, On a previous trip out west my husband had his heart set on seeing the landscapes that were settings in the cowboy western movies of his youth. Unfortunately, our RV broke down and we had to forego stops to get back on schedule for our camping reservations.  I had a surprise planned for my husband on this leg of the trip.  A picnic in a cowboy canyon!

The tiny town of Hinton, Oklahoma, population 3,220, and is the home of Red Rock Canyon State Park. According to their website:

Red Rock Canyon was once a stop on the famous California Trail. Now visitors can enjoy this beautiful western Oklahoma oasis without bringing the Conestoga wagon. Red Rock Canyon State Park is a great place to hike, climb, or explore. Bring the family or bring the whole wagon train!

The timing of our arrival was perfect. We were ready to get off the interstate for gas as well as lunch. Driving into the park we began a sharp descent into the canyon. I was amazed at the abrupt change in the landscape and my sweet husband was thrilled to finally experience cowboy rocks!

 

 

Our daughter noticed that I seem to snap pictures of my husband  while he is chewing. It wasn’t intentional….honest.

 

 

After our picnic, we returned to Interstate 40, excited for our first glimpse of Texas. I am not a fan of hot weather, so all of our previous trips west took a northern route. Not the greatest picture, taken by my phone through the windshield.

 

 

I was surprised at the number of wind mills in Texas! There were acres and acres of them. We ended our day in Amarillo, Texas and I was ready to try some authentic Texas barbecue. I asked at the front desk and they recommended Dyer’s. It was hard to find as it is located in one of those shopping areas where the businesses blend into to setting.

 

Photo credit Yelp Review

 

We enjoyed the atmosphere and ordered a three meat plate. It was all delicious and I particularly liked their brisket and onion rings.The servers were friendly and their sweet tea was as good as my mama’s, strong and sweet.

 

Not chewing this time!

 

After supper, I spoke with our daughter on the phone. She had decided to ride out the storm in her home….alone. Hurricane Irma would be passing over her home in the evening hours. I knew I would not be getting much sleep.

 

America’s North Country Trip~Part 7

1 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

 

Day 7 (Thursday)

 

As I continued west on I-90 next I visited the Crazy Mountain Museum located in Big Timber, MT. This was a small museum in a lovely wooded location, and included a main building which displayed a 1/16th scale model of the town of Big Timber as it looked in 1907. Outside there was a restored one-room schoolhouse, a replica of a Norwegian Stabbur (storage building), and a restored sheep herder’s wagon (these could have been the first RV’s back in the day).

 

 

Continuing west on I-90 next I visited the Livingston Railroad Depot located in Livingston, MT. This museum is in the restored 1902 Northern Pacific Railroad train station and contains a large assortment of local railroad memorabilia. The waiting platform has been converted into a very nice patio café for visitors and locals alike.

 

 

On the way to my next museum there in Livingston, I drove past a Custom Car Restoration garage and decided to pop in to see what was in the works. As it turned out the owner was very friendly and showed me around his shop and some of his projects. He had several classic cars and trucks that were in various stages of restoration.

 

 

While I was in Livingston I also visited the Federation of Fly Fishers Museum just to see what it was all about. This turned out to be a small two-story building where both floors were filled (floor to ceiling) with every conceivable type of fishing fly. The museum owner’s wife was very nice and showed me a lot more than I would ever have wanted to know about fly fishing, tackle and the making of flies. She also introduced me to their National Fly Fishing Hall of Fame gallery which included famous Fly Fishing inventers and celebrities from all over the country.

 

 

Next on the list was the Yellowstone Gateway Museum, also there in Livingston. This museum consisted of a large 3-story building (plus a basement) filled with local memorabilia from the early western Montana area. The museum’s collection included restored wagons, buggies, fire wagons, a shepherd’s wagon, and of course, as with most museums in these Plaines States, a stuffed buffalo. Outside there was a one-room schoolhouse and lots of restored early farm equipment

 

 

Now I continued west on I-90 to visit the Museum of the Rockies, located in Bozeman, MT. This is a very large museum, and as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is known for its paleontological collections. It also claims to have the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the U.S. I was impressed with the number and size of their complete dinosaur displays.

 

 

It was getting late in the day, so I headed west to try to get to the Headwaters Heritage Museum located at the corner of Main & Cedar Streets in Three Forks, MT before they closed. This was a small museum, in a two-story downtown building (I think it was originally a bank), consisting mostly in local early American memorabilia. I was impressed with their display of over 750 different types of “bobbed wire” that has been used over the years. I didn’t spend much time in this museum as I was eager to get down the road to my ultimate destination for the day.

 

 

Now it was on west to visit the Jefferson Valley Museum located in Whitehall, MT. This was another frontier village type museum that depicts the early history and heritage of the local area, including Native American tribes, fur trappers, miners and homesteaders who raised horses, cattle and produce for the area’s mining camps and railroad workers. I opted not to walk through this museum village, and instead headed for my motel there in Whitehall.

 

 

On the way to the motel I spotted a KFC restaurant, and decided to have dinner with the Colonel again tonight. I really do like his chicken. I had their 3-piece chicken dinner again. This time I got cold slaw, mashed potatoes & gravy and I always get one of their homemade biscuits with butter and honey for dessert. What a great way to end a long day on the road.

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

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