Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

This has been quite the year for blogger meet-ups and the tradition continued in Wyoming not many weeks ago. During the course of a conversation with Deborah of Circadianreflections about my upcoming trip to Wyoming, I mentioned that my husband wouldn’t be coming. She said, “So you have to go alone”, (which is something I don’t mind at all although it’s better when my husband can come too) and I replied, “Yes, unless you want to come out.” And that’s what happened.p, setting up another in-person first meeting with a fellow blogger.

Deborah seems to know almost every flower, bird, and butterfly as well as a LOT about photography. I struggled to learn a bit more about getting off Auto on my camera even though she tried hard to teach me. We even went out one of the last nights to get some shots of the Milky Way. Imagine us with our little headlamps (red so we can see a bit but not destroy our night vision, white for problem situations), trudging around on a somewhat steep bit of land not far below one of the cabins carrying our cameras on tripods, Hopi g not to meet any moose. I told her that if the occupants looked out, they might think aliens had landed. But we survived and once I upload my camera photos, I’ll see if my shots are good enough to share. Yes, Deborah, I still haven’t gotten that done but to be fair, I’ve been doing a lot of work on house, yard, and my Dad’s estate since I got back, and his memorial service was just this last Saturday.

My sole expertise was horseback riding so thankfully I was able not to feel completely incompetent. 🙂 We had some excellent rides, saw and photographed lots of wildlife and flowers, and had fun exploring Sheridan, having coffee and lunch and doing some buying. Here we are, ready to ride, yours truly on the left, Deborah on the right.

There were mountains as I went over Raton Pass, but as it was completely dark, I didn’t see them. I only know they’re not only there but beautiful from return trips when I get to the pass in the afternoon. 🙂 The first year I drove this way, I had no idea what was out there but my eyes were wide open catching for deer or elk bounding onto the highway and even for the curves of the highway itself in the dark.

But day two was all about the mountains. The Rockies from a moving viewpoint (or van-point) north of Denver,

rain over the mountains near Douglas, Wyoming,

a first glimpse of the Bighorns, and finally

the view from near the cabin. By the time I arrived, I felt I’d earned this view after a day of driving, grocery shopping, et al, and the drive up the mountain on a road that requires first or second gear on a rocky road not always quite wide enough for two vehicles, and a top speed of 10-15 mph if you’re in a van rather than a pickup truck or four-wheel drive vehicle. Arrive, unpack, and get away from the heat! Now we can settle in for the visit itself.

No Thursday Doors today, so I’ll get right into the first day of my trip. I left the house at about 4 am, on the road for an hour or so before the sunrise I showed you yesterday. Daylight found me driving along beautiful highway 87 (the Beeline Highway) all the way to Winslow (more on standing on a corner there eventually), on to I-40 (paralleling or part of the old Rt. 66), and through Albuquerque, New Mexico where I hung a left to head north towards Colorado. As I got closer to my destination for the night, Raton, New Mexico, just a few miles from the Colorado border, I not only saw rain in the distance but drove through a mini-storm so intense that I had to slow down quite a bit.

Raton was hopping as it hosted the annual Run to Raton motorcycle rally, which I’d never heard of before. The plan had been to eat at a local brew pub, but that stretch of street and businesses was blocked off to vehicles and appeared packed, so I looked for somewhere less crowded, spotting this bit of street art during my search.

Bruno’s Pizza was my eventual choice. I ordered a pizza to go and a local dark beer to sip while waiting which gave me time to look at some of the paraphernalia on the walls, at least the baseball section. You gotta love Yogi Berra-isms. 🙂 I suppose today you might call him Captain Obvious, but his words will make you laugh. What to read some more? Click here for 50 of his most popular sayings.

Three of baseball’s most famous stars…

Another Yogi-ism, then it was back to my motel for some pizza and R&R before getting to bed early in preparation for another early start. I particularly want to be on the way early on the second day so that I get through Denver with the least amount of traffic as well as get to Sheridan in time to get groceries, gas, etc., get up the mountain, unpack, and still have some time to relax. Good night!

There’s not better way to start the day than to go French at Sweet Wheat. With grandson in the stroller, we relaxed on the patio enjoying pastries, coffee, and baguette sandwiches before heading out for a last walk on a perfect southern California morning, delaying our departure until about noon.

Continuing the French theme, my husband spotted this snail burrowing away in its flower. It was safe from me. Snails aren’t on my menu anywhere I am!

We had a classic morning to take with us on our drive home. Of course this was the last body of water we saw but we survived traffic and manic drivers to arrive safely back, already missing that grandchild. 🙂 Thanks for sticking around through my sporadic posting throughout the long weekend. I hope you enjoyed a bit of the personal.

Started the day with a trip to the farmers market. Why no pictures you ask? True answer… forgot all about it. I was too busy buying whole-grain sourdough bread, green garlic, leeks, and apples. So sue me. (Dictation would like you to believe I bought leaks but I actually bought edible leeks.😁). Then we had a lot of baby time but no trip is complete without at least one visit to Sweet Wheat for panna cotta with raspberries and a mocha.

Speaking of the farmers market, there’s the always intriguing question, at least to me, of whether it’s the “farmers market” because there are farmers there or is it the “farmers’ market” because it belongs to the farmers?

A walk is always good and during this one I caught some light on a leaf creating a little abstract leaf portrait. For all you Thursday Doors people, I also found more doors, but you’ll have to wait ‘til next week for those. 😉. Pretty sure I did not walk off all the calories from the panna cotta and the mocha, but I’m fine with that.

Of course no trip to the beach is complete without an ocean view. View? Great. Days off with family? Priceless!

A number of years ago we while visiting my sister-in-law and brother-in-law we were able to make arrangements to meet an English blogger we knew from participation in the same weekly writing challenge and her husband. At that time, they spent the summer barging on French rivers and were gracious enough to invite us to meet them. We spend a lovely day on the river with them. Here’s a view from the boat and a door(way) which does not drop you into the water if you go through it even though it looks that way. You just end up on the deck of the boat.

If you travel by river, you’ll often have to go through a lock which is really just a door on the water.

If you’d like to read the original posts about the visit and river trip, you’ll find them here and here and you’ll find a lot more photos of the trip as well. Sandra’s also an accomplished writer (we met through Friday Fictioneers, where we told stories of 100 words based on the photo of the week) and her site is here, where you can also click on a link to read about their barging experiences.

Finally, here’s an unusual door, the door to an abandoned wasps’ nest. Isn’t the nest beautiful? I was happy that the wasps were no longer there and in France, if wasps decide to take up residence in your house or garage, it’s against the law to spray them. You have to call the fire department to come and take care of them.

Thursday Doors 4.14.22

No profound post tonight after a long day of driving home, including a stint of much too long a time in a lane of barely moving traffic. But we had a wonderful time, both baby-to-be and mom are doing well, (due date in just under two weeks), and it’s also good to be home.

I leave you with a view from our drive through part of Palos Verdes, California, a place filled with homes whose bathrooms we couldn’t afford. Thankfully the multi-million dollar views are free.

In the second week, the smoke cleared, allowing us the usual views with the usual clarity. Although riding is for me one of the main draws, I also love the mountains and time to relax without house chores hanging over my head. Let’s face it. When you’re at home, if you take time off, you almost always could be doing something more “worthwhile.” But when I’m at the cabin, even though there are things to do, there’s still plenty of time to sit on the porch, reading, sipping tea, thinking, a/o just relaxing and looking. “Just looking” is well worth it, as you can see.

My husband had a red metal Coleman cooler before we met that’s still going strong. You’ve heard of some men being called “babe magnets?” That cooler is a hummingbird magnet, also functioning perfectly as the perfect place to set my mug of tea (although it’s impossible to grab a photo when a hummingbird is 8″ from your nose, something that’s happened to me more than once! It’s quite a noisy and cool experience.

Reminder to self: don’t forget to take the Nikon with telephoto outside and set it on the cooler table because you never know what sort of animals or birds might come into view. Out here, these little guys are cute; in my garden, when I had one in the Midwest, they fell into the category of pest! It’s hilarious to see them racing around the front “yard” on these logs that serve as basic fences to keep the horses out or to see several of the small squirrels in this area chasing each other at lightning speed on the same logs while chittering loudly.

Late every afternoon the horses are taken out to pasture to spend the night and if it’s Thursday, their day off, the entire day. But at some point they’re let out in and around the cabins. Eventually they tend to drift toward the area in front of our cabin. It can also be disconcerting during the night to wake to horse noise right on the other side of your cabin wall!

When there’s smoke blurring/covering the distant views, look down! The close views were still beautiful as these bejeweled flowers perfectly demonstrate. After almost a year and a half in Arizona, I appreciate water drops on flowers (or anything) even more, although while we were gone, Arizona got quite a lot of rain. We did get some rain in the first week at the cabin. It’s quite lovely to sit on the deck/porch while it rains, reading, relaxing, and sipping tea or a beer.

Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”
― Bill Watterson, The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book

Despite the smoke dulling things a bit and the fact that it was August, the flowers were still prolifically colorful.

“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay

Always a beautiful view from the opposite end of the lake looking back at one of the cabins (not ours.)

“A little tranquil lake is more significant to my life than any big city in the world”
― Munia Khan

In the mid-seventies the Sanford-Townsend Band came out with a hit song whose title works perfectly for our first week in Wyoming’s Bighorns: “Smoke from a distant fire.” Normally we have clear views of the mountains farther back but this year smoke from distant fires made them either disappear or turned them hazy. It’s impossible to know which fires caused this, and there were lots of them burning, but considering smoke has been reaching the east coast, it’s no wonder it was worse here.

A shot of the ducks I inadvertently flushed when walking towards the lake would normally look like the photo on the left. This year, however, it looked like the one on the right. There was no smell of smoke except for one day, but it made itself seen throughout week one.

Didn’t seem to bother the horses’ making the morning trip to the corral from the night pasture.