What Goes Up Must Come Down

High Time In The Rockies

High Time In The Rockies

We’ll apologize up front for the length of this entry but it does cover  5 weeks and almost 2,000 miles!

After our week in Durango we began our travels eastward. We began in the Rockies from a high point of 12,126′ at Cottonwood Pass on the Continental Divide while taking a day hike. For comparison that’s 42% up Mount Everest. From there it was all downhill to Charlotte, NC at approximately 750′. We spent 3 relaxing days at Elk Creek CG in Blue Mesa NRA before moving on to Boyd’s Lake SP in Loveland, Colorado

Our stop in Loveland was primarily for RV warranty work on our slides and stabilizing the refrigerator. We also wanted to see why our batteries were not charging while we are driving. That turned out to be a problem with the truck so off to the Chevy dealer. We are finding getting anything but emergency items addressed under the manufacture’s warranty while on the road difficult. Everyone is “too busy”. Maybe I’m getting cynical in my old age but I think it’s really because they don’t get paid for it. More work needs to be done but we’ll wait until this winter in Arkansas. Next was Opal’s overdue visit to Banfield for her yearly checkup. She’s doing great for a 12 year old dog. The visit was a pleasure for both Opal and the vet… NOT! Then there was laundry, groceries and Walmart. All work and no play? Not us! We took in The Bensen Sculpture Garden, enjoyed a 10 mile bike ride on the bike trail at the park and ate at 2 Triple D spots. The restaurants were 451 in Fort Collins and Foolish Craig’s in Boulder. 451 was an upscale spot with good food but more pricey than the usual Triple D places. Foolish Craig’s was an eclectic spot with delicious crepes and other main dishes.

We drove to Rocky Mountain NP twice hoping the pass was open but had to settle for short hikes around Bear Lake and enjoy the elk bugling. On our second trip we stopped at the Colorado Cherry Company and fell in love with their tart cherry juice. We found spots in the RV to carry four gallons with us. We also took a long drive around to the south entrance to RMNP through the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest. We stopped at the Forest Office and as luck would have it talked with the lead ranger who is also the volunteer coordinator. Turns out that his wife is the volunteer coordinator for RMNP too. We exchanged cards for a possible future work camp position.

Traveling East Fall 2016

Traveling East Fall 2016

Bear Lake At RMNP

Bear Lake At RMNP

Girls Day Out

Girls Day Out

Can you Hear Me Now?

Can you Hear Me Now?

Wanna Play?

Wanna Play?

Moving into eastern Colorado we left the beautiful mountains for the open plains. A dramatic contrast to be sure. Here we stayed at John Martin State Park on the Arkansas River. This park has the longest pull through sites we’d ever seen. There is electricity at the site but common water. Steve devised an easy way of refilling our water tank by immersing a marine bilge pump in a 10 gallon container then plugging it into the truck cigarette lighter port. BAM! Only 50 seconds to transfer water. We took time to select photos for our annual gift calendar and relaxed. We did visit 2 National Park sites: Sand Creek Massacre and Bent’s Old Fort. Both were very interesting. Sand Creek Massacre is a relatively new park and in the early stages of development. They have just received funding for a Visitor Center. We were fortunate to arrive just in time for a ranger talk about the event. He was one of the best interpreters we have heard. I wish more people would visit these smaller parks. They are hidden gems. Having been raised on the east coast we never studied or read about these formative events in our country’s history. Bent’s Old Fort was the first permanent settlement in the area and served as trading post and social gathering place in the first half of the 19th century. The building today is a recreation of the fort from plans sketched by a visitor. The rangers are not in the trademark uniform but wear period costumes and give informal talks. The two sites contrast each other: one a site of Manifest Destiny and military might overpowering native people and the other a thriving settlement where traders, mountain men and Native Americans coexisted peacefully.

Sand Creek Massacre Location

Sand Creek Massacre Location

Native American Monument At Sand Creek

Native American Monument At Sand Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View Of Bent's Old Fort NHS

View Of Bent’s Old Fort NHS

A Demonstration Of Knife Making

A Demonstration Of Knife Making

Trading Post At Bent's Old Fort

Trading Post At Bent’s Old Fort

Now we move on to Kansas. We found a fabulous place to stay at Cedar Bluff SP. Some sites offer full hookups for $19/night. It is a busy park in the summer however in late October only lightly used. For most of our stay we were the only RV in our loop. Opal enjoyed her off leash walks. Now, being the only dog in the park is the way I like it! (Opal) Many folks simply rush across Kansas. This is our third visit to the state and we have found interesting things to do each time. The closest town of any size is Hays, KS. On our way there for errands we noticed a sign for the Walter P. Chrysler Home Museum. We stopped in Ellis on our way back to see it. Turned out to be a great small town museum to their most famous son. We didn’t know much about him but after touring his boyhood home and learning about him we’d like to read a biography. Two of the most interesting displays were his own car (#6 off the line) complete with wooden wheels and his desk.  Another “self made man” story. 

Museum In Ellis, Kansas

Museum In Ellis, Kansas

Chrysler's Car

Chrysler’s Car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desk Used By Chrysler

Desk Used By Chrysler

One More For The Reading List

One More For The Reading List

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While in the central western area of Kansas we also visited the Santa Fe Trail Museum, Fort Larned NHS and Nicodemus NHS. The SFT Museum detailed travels of pioneer families during the westward migration of the mid to late 1800s plus those who used the trail before them. Well worth stop. Fort Larned is another of the NPS sites dedicated to the series of forts built as protection and evidence of ownership as what was thought of as “The West” moved onward. At first you look at all the names carved into the buildings as graffiti but later realize this is an archive of those who passed through here. Before the NPS took over and restored the site locals came here often to picnic so many names are post fort and early to mid 1900s. The site is large and beautifully equipped with all the items one would find at an active post of its day. Nicodemus is a relatively new NPS site about former slaves who formed settlements in the midwest and west post Civil War. There are 5 remaining buildings of which 2 are open to the public.

Fort Larned Architecture

Fort Larned Architecture

Graffiti Or History

Graffiti Or History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larned Harness Shop

Larned Harness Shop

Fort Larned Hospital

Fort Larned Hospital

Quarter Master's Office

Quarter Master’s Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Commissary

Post Commissary

nicodemus-vc

Nicodemus NHS

Our final stop was for dinner in Hays. The area was originally settled by German immigrants and still has strong ties to its heritage. We decided to try a local micro-brewery/restaurant called Gella’s Diner. Steve had sauerkraut soup and a bratwurst platter while I enjoyed a potato soup and local specialty called a bierock. What’s a bierock, you ask? It is a meat, cabbage and onion mixture in a pastry. It is served with a sharp cheddar/ale sauce. MMMmmm good! We certainly do a good job of traveling on our stomachs!

Gella's Diner In Hays, KS

Gella’s Diner In Hays, KS

Next stop: Oologah, Oklahoma. This is our first trip to the state of Oklahoma. Now we only have 4 states left in the lower 48 to have the RV. Our reason for coming here was to visit two of Steve’s cousins. Unfortunately one of them was in the process of moving and not able to come. We had planned to stay closer to Tulsa at a USACE park but at the last minute noted on the website a comment about low branches. Oh no! Been there, done that. So we chose Hawthorn Bluff USACE CG on Lake Oologah. We’d hoped to stay a week but the campground was closing down for the year on 10/31. So we quickly booked three nights at another USACE park on Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas. Besides seeing relatives we visited two sites about Oologah’s most famous son, Will Rogers. The first was his birthplace and the other was the Will Rogers Museum. I know who Will Rogers was but didn’t know much about him other than his witty sayings.  He began as a trick roper and later added his trademark humor and wit at the suggestion of his wife. He was always very proud of his Cherokee heritage. He progressed on to lectures and newspaper columns until perishing in an airplane crash in Alaska with Wily Post. The museum is huge and has some fantastic videos of his roping tricks. You can easily see why he “never met a man he didn’t like”.

He Never Met A Man He Didn't Like

He Never Met A Man He Didn’t Like

Will Rogers Birthplace

Will Rogers Birthplace

Will Rogers Statue

Will Rogers Statue

Will Rogers Museum

Will Rogers Museum

 

 

Extensive Exhibits Can Be Found Inside

Extensive Exhibits Can Be Found Inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course we had to go when we found there was a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives spot nearby called Clanton’s. The owners are the fourth generation to run this Route 66 cafe since 1947. Known for their fried chicken and chicken fried steak, you best go early or plan on waiting in line. On our way home I spotted a sign for a Folk Art site. Steve asked “Do you REALLY want to go? He was hoping Chari would say no (meanwhile thinking of Lucas, KS). Yes she said. So off we went. The “artwork” by Ed Galloway was several concrete sculptures including the world’s biggest totem pole. The totem pole is 90′ tall, 18′ in diameter and displays 200 carved images. It took eleven years to build. We were there only a few minutes when the caretaker had to leave on a family emergency. Steve was VERY relieved!

Clanton"s Cafe On Route 66

Clanton”s Cafe On Route 66

This Is Triple D All The Way!

This Is Triple D All The Way!

He Liked It!

He Liked It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World's Largest Totem Pole

The World’s Largest Totem Pole

More Ed Galloway Art

More Ed Galloway Art

In The Eye Of The Beholder

In The Eye Of The Beholder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Corinth, MS we finally caught up with our reservations made before leaving Utah. We were there visiting Chari’s relatives. Previously we had stayed at J. P. Coleman SP. However, knowing the park we felt our new trailer would have difficulty maneuvering into the sites even though they were technically long enough. So we chose Piney Grove CG, a USACE park on Bay Springs Lake. The lake is part of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Canal project built during the late 70s for barge traffic. While it has never seen the volume of traffic hoped for it does provide a wonderful recreation area. 700 acres of my first husband’s family farm was purchased for what is now called Crow’s Neck. There is an environmental Education facility there.  The RV sites at Piney Grove are large. The only downside is the thick tree cover making TV reception minimal.

We were lucky enough to have arrived for the Grand Illumination Celebration. This used to be an annual event in Corinth but with budget cutbacks it had not been held for three years. The Grand Illumination acknowledges casualties from the Battle of Shiloh and both Battles of Corinth for control of the railroad by placing 6,000 luminaries around town and at the NPS Civil War Interpretation Center. Each luminary is a casualty of the conflict. This year the Interpretation Center had a speaker on the topic of “The Role of Camels in the Civil War”. That’s right… camels. So here is the tale of Old Douglas. Old Douglas arrived by ship from the middle east in the 1850s. He was purchased to work on a plantation. When his master joined the Confederacy so did Old Douglas. Don’t get the idea he swept into battle Lawrence of Arabia style. His job was to carry the regimental band instruments. Old Douglas was in Vicksburg when he was shot and killed. Vicksburg had been under siege and soldiers were reduced to eating their boots. Let it be known Old Douglas did not die in vain. One thousand pounds of meat was a blessing to soldiers and civilians alike. We also visited two of the five Civil War era homes that remain in Corinth.

luminaries

Then we had the last two long driving days to get to the Charlotte, NC area. Our overnight stop just north of Atlanta was a very nice USACE park named McKinney CG on Allatoona Lake. We’ll remember this one for a future visit to the Peachtree state. Likewise our stay at Ebenezer County Park near Rock Hill, SC was great. We cleared out our storage unit. All of our worldly possessions now fit either in the RV, truck or a 3’x3′ storage cube.

Lastly we headed to Chambersburg, PA for Thanksgiving with Steve’s family. Our only non family activity was a visit to Gettysburg Military Park and the Eisenhower Farm. We didn’t know that this was a special weekend celebrating the anniversary of the declaration of Emancipation. The park had several authors of historical fiction on hand. Steve met one of his favorite authors, Jeff Shara. The town of Gettysburg had a parade with over 500 re-enactors dressed in a variety of uniforms and period dress.

Gettysburg Diorama Scene

Gettysburg Diorama Scene

Abe, Mary and Winfield Scott

Abe, Mary and Winfield Scott

Drummer Boy

Drummer Boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Long Parade

A Long Parade

Union Troops

Union Troops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Confederates

The Confederates

women-in-parade

Women Marchers

Zouave Unit

Zouave Unit

 

We packed a lot into our trip east and hope you have enjoyed this leg of our travels as we visit the icons and hidden gems across the USA.

London Bridge Isn’t Falling Down

Lake Havasu City

View Of Lake Havasu City From The London Bridge

So far our Spring travels through Arizona had been full of mishaps. So as we headed to Lake Havasu City on the AZ/CA border would it be third time is the charm or three strikes and you’re out? We are glad to report that all was well and we had a fabulous week. Our campsite at Lake Havasu State Park was one of the best we’ve ever had. The weather was glorious and you can see why this is another snowbird Mecca. You are immediately identified as a visitor if you say Lake Havasu as the residents simply slip over the the second A and say Hav-su.

London Bridge, Arizona, history

1831 London Bridge At Lake Havasu City

The icon of the area is the London Bridge which was moved here from London during the early days of development at Lake Havasu and opened in 1971. The developer needed a bridge from shore to an island resort. Hearing the London Bridge was for sale he purchased it, built an inner structure of steel then moved the exterior blocks to Arizona and rebuilt it. Each solid granite stone was numbered, transported and reinstalled. Some numbers are still visible. I had the bridge tour on my list of things to do. I thought it would be very touristy and trivial but being a “good hubby” I agreed to go. The tours are given only a few times each week and last about 90 minutes. It starts with a bit of history. Here we learned that there have been several London Bridges over the centuries. The children’s song “London Bridge Is Falling Down” refers to when the Vikings came up the Thames and rammed the bridge causing it to fall into the river. Then we walked around and over the bridge while our British tour guide gave a very good talk. We learned that the lamps on the bridge were fabricated from Napoleon’s cannon after his defeat by the British. There is even a spot where two American G. I.’s carved their initials during WWII. Much to my surprise the tour was excellent and well worth taking. Told you so!

Architectural Drawing Showing Numbered Blocks For Demolition And Reconstruction

Architectural Drawing Showing Numbered Blocks For Demolition And Reconstruction

Old Drawing Of London Bridge Opening In 1851

Old Drawing Of London Bridge Opening In 1831

Walking Across London Bridge

Walking Across London Bridge

From Guns To Lamposts

From Guns To Lamposts

Picture From The London Bridge Visitor Center...What Fool Would Be Out Here?

Picture From The London Bridge Visitor Center…What Fool Would Be Out Here?

We did also enjoyed the local community theatre production of Sweeney Todd, local ice cream and did some shopping as we’d be heading into sparsely populated areas in the near future.

We visited the Bill Williams NWR and planned to return for a kayak trip but then got busy with other things and never returned. A good reason to return if we need to have an excuse. The refuge is located with the Visitor Center on the lake side and wonderful wilderness trails across the road in a desert area. What a contrast!

Bill Williams NWR

Bill Williams NWR

Six months ago Chari had reconnected with her second cousin, Kathy, who lives near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Although they have been e-mailing they have not seen each other in forty years. Kathy and her daughter, Emily, were spending a long weekend in Las Vegas which was about three hours away. We decided to meet halfway in Laughlin, NV. Kathy has become the Manchester family genealogist and has discovered lots of interesting history. I never knew I had an ancestor from Switzerland or that there was a family farm in New York only 100 miles from where I grew up! We met for brunch and had a great time.

Desertscape Walk

Desertscape Walk

Kelso, Mohave Desert Preserve

Kelso Depot At Mohave Desert Preserve

Another day Steve and I went for one of our “day trips” of 150 miles or so to visit the Mohave Desert Preserve NPS site. We were enchanted by the desert landscape and spoke with the ranger in charge of volunteers about the possibility of working here during the winter of 2017. We’ll stay in touch. We only had time for a quick visit but did watch the park movie which shows the varied areas of the park. Kelso Depot is an old train station (1924) from the days when the town of Kelso was a thriving community. Kelso was where trains headed west stopped to pick up their “helper” engines to climb the steep terrain of the Providence Mountains and reload with water for the steam engines. The depot was also used by Union Pacific RR workers as a dormitory and recreation facility. Kelso faded away after WWII when the more powerful diesel engines became commonplace and was closed in 1985. The depot was saved from demolition and became the NPS Visitor Center in 2005. During WWII Kelso was also the home of workers from the nearby Vulcan Mine (iron ore). Between the RR workers and the miners Kelso had many drunken residents who wound up spending a day or two in the town’s jail. The jail had been moved to the backyard garden of some Barstow residents after the depot closed but was returned and donated when NPS took over.

jail

The Kelso Jail

Kelso Post

Kelso PostOffice

Rt. 66

Opal And Steve On Rt. 66

Another day of exploring took us to one of the best preserved sections along former Route 66 between Kingman and Seligman in Arizona. As we approached the town of Oatman, which had been touted as a picturesque town on 66, we found several creosote bushes with decorations left from Christmas. A local custom we presumed. We arrived in Oatman and parked in the city lot. You need to pick your way carefully through town as one of the “attractions” are the “wild” burros. The burros are used to being fed hay cubes you can buy and are not shy nor are they reluctant to leave the remains. Step carefully! When we arrived a show for all the tourist buses had the one and only street blocked so we checked out some shops. Only one description is needed for this place: Tourist Trap!!! When the road finally opened we continued along Rt. 66 and did find some real wild burros, great scenery, Yucca plants in bloom and an interesting remnant of days past called Rock Spring. It was a former gas station along Rt. 66 now a convenience store and museum. There was a lot of interesting memorabilia here. It has retained a lot of its character because, much to the owners dismay, the tour buses can’t negotiate the tight turns between Oatman and Rock Springs.

Rt. 66, Arizona

Leftover From Christmas

Tourist Feeding Burro In Oatman

Tourist Feeding Burro In Oatman

 

 

 

 

 

Yucca In Bloom

Yucca In Bloom

 

 

humor

Roadside Humor On 66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Burros On Rt. 66

Wild Burros On Rt. 66

Rock Springs Drawing

Rock Springs Drawing

Cars From The Past On A Road From The Past

Cars From The Past On A Road From The Past

A Pegasus On 66

A Pegasus On 66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock Springs Gas Pumps

Rock Springs Gas Pumps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rt. 66 Memories

Rt. 66 Memories

Time to leave Arizona for this trip. Next stop is Lake Mead National Recreation Area which is only three hours away.

Roadside Trivia #11

We haven’t posted a trivia question for a while. So put on your thinking cap. Obey the rules and no running to Google or Wikipedia!

This is a two part question:

1) Who invented Lincoln Logs?

2) Why were they named Lincoln Logs?

OK….. Ready…. Set…. Go!

Da…Da…Da……….Da….Da….Da……..Da…de..da.da.da (repeat twice)

Got it?

No?

Need more time?

Oh, I just hate it when you whine and beg!

OK. OK. Here’s the answer…………………..

kids_lincolnlogs

Lincoln Logs were invented by John Lloyd Wright, son of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1920. He got the idea while watching his father design the Imperial Hotel in Japan. The hotel was built on a foundation that allowed the building to move during an earthquake. The name Lincoln Logs was given because the senior Wright’s birth name was Frank Lincoln Wright. He took the name Lloyd later in life from his mother’s Welch ancestors. His buildings often have the initials FLLW on them.

imperial

See what interesting things you can learn on the road?

Roadside Trivia #10

Sorry that we’ve not been posting much recently but we were dry camping for the last 18 days. During most of that we were in poor cell signal areas which for us means no internet. Plus we were out and about seeing some great places in Montana. So while we attempt to catch up, here are a few fun facts from our recent stops.

1) What did car giant David Dunbar Buick invent before getting into the automobile industry? Hint: it is something you probably have in your house today.

2) Cows have a terrific sense of smell. How far away can they detect water?

a) 2 miles  b) 3.5 miles  c) 6 miles  d) 10 miles

3) In 1918 what US state created the system for route numbering (now used internationally) that we use today?

a) New York  b) Wisconsin  c) Texas  d) California

4) What 2 foods you probably have eaten are made from cow hooves?

Are you ready for the answers?

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Mmmmmm… maybe a little anticipation to build the drama!

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Stop begging!

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OK, OK!!

1) David Dunbar Buick invented the process for adhering porcelain to cast iron and gave the world the white bathtub.

trivia, travel, cars

Roadside Trivia #10
Question 1

2) Correct answer is c) 6 miles

cows, sense of smell, Montana

Roadside Trivia #10
Question 2

3) Correct answer is b) Wisconsin

Wisconsin, trivia, route numbers

Roadside Trivia #10
Question 3

4) Remember Bill Cosby and J-E-L-L-O? Also Gummy Bears!

collagen, jello, gummy bears

Roadside Trivia #10
Question 4

Scenic Drive: Gravelly Range Road

Montana, Gravelly Mountains, wildflowers

The Gravelly Mountains

The Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge’s northern border meets the Gravelly Mountains. The Gravelly Range Road is a dirt road running through the mountains from approximately 7,000 feet near Ennis, Montana to 9,300 feet at the highest elevation. The area is known for deep snows and is closed to vehicles until July 2 and occasionally later. During the second week of July the Rangers from the Madison District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest lead an all day wildflower tour of the Gravelly Range Road. We were lucky enough to attend this year. Much of the time we felt we were back in school taking Botany 101. There were 26 cars and about 60 people and several dogs on the tour. It is free and no registration is required. just show up at their office in Ennis before 9AM on the day of the tour. With all the folks milling about and not wanting to miss the Rangers information we decided to return a few days later for photographs. A high clearance vehicle is required for this road.

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Gravelly Range Road, scenic drive

On The Gravelly Range Road Wildflower Tour

Surrounded By Wildflowers

Surrounded By Wildflowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opal Likes Wildflowers Too

Opal Likes Wildflowers Too

 

 

 

 

 

Sorrel, Bistort, Flax and Little Sunflowers

Sorrel, Bistort, Flax and Little Sunflowers

The tour made four stops and we were given a map of the area which proved very helpful when we returned on our own. The variety and extent of the wildflower fields was fantastic. At one point we saw the tiniest wildflower called a Pygmy Bitterroot, no larger than a Buttercup and only a half inch in height. While at the last stop we found out we had a flat tire. Fortunately the Forest Service had anticipated the problem as most years this happens. Extra personnel was available to help change the tire. We didn’t want to drive back to the refuge on our spare as flat tires seem to happen regularly coming in/out of the refuge. So we headed to Dillon hoping we could get to the tire store before they closed at 6pm. We took a road off the Gravelly Range Road called Warm Springs Road and this led to Sweetwater Road. We knew we didn’t have time to stop so put those spots on the GPS for “when we come back”. We did make it to the tire store where they were able to patch two punctures. When I asked what did I owe, the man shrugged and said nothing.  I repeated nothingTo say the least if we ever need tires and are in the area we would certainly give them our business.

Sticky Geranium

A Sea Of Wild Geraniums

Flower Jazz

Flower Jazz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common "Cow" Parsley Near Warm Springs

Common “Cow” Parsley Near Warm Springs

Cactus On A Sod Roof

Cactus On A Sod Roof

On our next day off that week we returned via our route to Dillon then retraced our steps to the tour stops. We stopped for a picnic lunch at Warm Springs while Opal went swimming. We found an old homestead and what looked like a root cellar built into the hillside with cactus growing on the roof. The views and groups of wildflowers are hard to describe so we’ll let the photos speak for themselves. I’m going to apologize for the last picture. It got into the blog in the wrong place and I’ve tried to delete it. It doesn’t show up on my last saved copy but keeps showing up in the preview so I’m guessing it will publish. I give up! The computer wins. If any of my computer guru friends can tell me how to get rid of it, let me know.

Scarlet Falsemallow

Scarlet Falsemallow

Sunset Over The Gravelly Mountains

Sunset Over The Gravelly Mountains

 

Linaria "Butter and Eggs" With Prairie Smoke

Linaria “Butter and Eggs” With Prairie Smoke

EARTHQUAKE!!!

earthquake, Quake Lake, Montana, Google Earth

Location Of Quake Lake By Google Earth

We thought that would get your attention. Yes, there was an earthquake in this area of Montana but it happened 55 years ago next month.  The quake was so strong that it was felt in towns 200-300 miles away. We had a couple come to Red Rock Lakes who remembered feeling the tremors in the Livingston and Flathead areas of Montana.  Today Quake Lake is the only reminder of this incident. The lake was formed when a hillside along the Madison River collapsed and choked off the river’s exit from the valley near Rt. 287 in the Gallatin National Forest.  A new Visitors Center has a movie and multiple exhibits detailing the story from personal recollection and geological displays.

A week ago we had two geologists come into the Visitors center at Red Rock Lakes. They were looking for data about earthquakes. They said “this area is due for a big quake.” With my usual sense of humor I asked “Can you tell me if it will happen before 8/14/14 as that’s when we leave the refuge?” Of course we are only going about 50 miles away! If you want to look at the map more closely, click twice over the picture to bring it up full screen. Other photos of the incident used here are from the Quake Lake Visitor Center. Wonderful sketches at the Center are by the same artist who created Smokey The Bear.

Imagine it is 8/17/59 and you are spending a glorious summer weekend camping along Hebgen Lake. You go to bed and just before midnight you are awakened by your trailer bouncing like a ball. The earth is moving and before you know it trees, dirt, tents and buildings are hurled down the hill. The quake caused the Hebgen and Red Canyon blocks to subside and tilt, a process called block faulting. There were places where the height difference between the blocks was 12 feet. In response huge waves in Hebgen Lake crested the dam while destabilized shorelines demolished buildings and caused Rt. 287 to collapse. As Quake Lake rose rapidly, campers rushed to tend the injured, rescue stranded campers and head for high ground convinced Hebgen Dam would collapse soon.

Collapsed Roadway Over Fault

Collapsed Roadway Over Fault

damaged building following quake

No Match For Mother Nature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With roads out of the campground cut off the Forest Service sent in smokejumpers to assist the trapped campers. Over the next 18 hours search and rescue operations continued, seriously injured people were evacuated and an emergency road was built so survivors could leave. In all 28 people perished in the quake. Personal stories from survivors displayed at the Visitor Center made you feel as if you’d watched it happen all over again. For instance, Grace Miller who ran a lodge had to jump across a widening fissure with her dog just before her house fell into Hebgen Lake. Another story was the recollection of a young child who watched her mother being carried away by the Madison River.

In The Nick Of Time

In The Nick Of Time

 

Remains Of A Trailer

Remains Of A Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fearing that the Madison River  backup would cause Hebgen Dam to collapse the US Army Corp of Engineers began construction of an emergency spillway around the slide. The spillway was completed two months to the day after the quake. It still carries the river around the slide today. Time is causing the river to eat into the slide debs. An estimate by the USCAE is that in one hundred years the river will cut a new channel and Quake Lake will be no more.

Madison River Canyon Before The Quake

Madison River Canyon Before The Quake

Madison River, earthquake

Madison River Canyon After The Quake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While at the Visitor Center we spoke with a Ranger about their use of volunteers. We’ll keep this in mind for future reference as a work camp possibility. It certainly would be an interesting place to work.

View Of Slide Area From Quake Lake Visitor Center

View Of Slide Area From Quake Lake Visitor Center

Quake Lake Today

Quake Lake Today

Opal Enjoying Quake Lake

Opal Enjoying Quake Lake

Map Showing Original And Drifted Locations Of Cabins

Map Showing Original And Drifted Locations Of Cabins

 

View Of Cabins From Overlook

View Of Cabins From Overlook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following time at the Visitors Center we took the Auto Route around Quake Lake. There are planned stops with kiosk displays detailing that awful scene. Walking to the overlook we went through a wonderful wildflower field. Many of the flowers have been noted in other posts but here are three new ones.

wildflower

Western Valerian

Mountain Sorrel

Mountain Sorrel

 

Gromwell

Gromwell

OK, now for some earthquake trivia….

1) Where was the strongest earthquake located?

A) Chile  B) California  C) Japan  D) Ireland

2) How many times stronger is an earthquake measured at 6 on the Richter Scale than one at 5?

A) 10   B) 20  C) 30  D) 50

3) How many seismograph stations are required to locate the epicenter of an earthquake?

A) 1  B) 3  C) 4  D) 6

4) What reading on the Richter Scale is required in order to feel an earthquake?

A) 1.5  B) 3.0  C) 4.0  D) 5.5

5) Which two states have the fewest earthquakes?

A) Montana and Idaho  B) Alaska and California  C) Nevada and New York  D) Florida and North Dakota

6) How fast do tectonic plates move?

A) As fast as a turtle walks?  B) As fast as an ant walks?  C) As fast as your fingernails grow?  D) As fast as the world turns?

So how did you do?

ANSWERS:

 1) A

2) C

3) B

4) B

5) D

6) C

Make That Two For The Road

RV, fulltimers, travel,

Chari And Steve’s Travels For Year Two On The Road

WOW!!  Can it really be two years since we pulled out of our driveway in Charlotte, NC leaving life as we’d known it for a modern day Travels With Charlie or in our case Opal? The answer is yes. We have 65,500 miles on the truck to prove it. In 2014 we stayed in 39 campgrounds and travelled 33,500 miles with about 30% of the time pulling the trailer. If you want to look at the map above in full screen just double click over the picture.

The Gypsy And The Vagabond

The Vagabond And The Gypsy

We made our first international trip to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Chari has learned to hook up and disengage the truck and trailer. As of last week she now has driven interstates, backroads and into a truck stop. Learning to back into a campsite is a goal for year three. Real women drive RVs! After eighteen months of being east of the Mississippi River we’ve now crossed over to explore the west for a few years.

We’ve also experienced the down side of mechanical failure and accidents. Even this hasn’t caused us to question our decision to continue the RV lifestyle. We love it. We’ve seen and done so much only to discover we’ve barely scratched the surface.

We are officially SoDaks now, that’s residents of South Dakota. This is one of the most popular states for full timers to use for residency.

Most of all we hope you’ve enjoyed traveling with us. What will Year Three bring our way? You’ll just have to pack your virtual bags and come along.

And now we return you to your regularly scheduled blog…

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We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!
(Year 1 Yellow and Year 2 Red)