Monday, May 25, 2015

Salty Lakes and Glaciers

We left Moab last Wednesday, May 21st, headed for Hill AFB north of Salt Lake City. They have a nice RV park on the air base and we used that spot as our base for exploring Salt Lake City. We spent all day Thursday and part of the evening exploring Temple Square, a nearby museum of modern art (some of the art was VERY modern), and the railroad station where the east and west lines met for the first time.
We caught a movie in the afternoon (Mad Max) and got a tour of the Mormon conference center where we got a great view of Temple Square from the roof. We could not go inside the Temple but we did see an impressive model of what the interior looks like.

After the tour we dropped by the Mormon Tabernacle to watch the choir practice for a bit. It was fun to see the choir director throw up his hands and get excited when the choir did not sound the way he thought it should. A wonderful 'behind the scenes' view of one of the best choirs in the world.

We left Salt Lake Friday morning headed for Glacier, over 600 miles away. Since Charles was still fighting a cold we decided to stop for the night at Walmart in Missoula, MT. That left us an easy 115 miles to cover the next day. We arrived at the RV park and relaxed the rest of the day.

Sunday we took a trip into Glacier from the West side and drove part of the way on the 'Going to the Sun' road. We're always here too early for the road to be open, one of these days we'll see Logan Pass and the hidden lake.

We took a few nice walks and had a quiet visit on the northeast side of Lake McDonald, away from the crowds. Topped off the morning by visiting the lodge for coffee and huckleberry pie (the best huckleberry pie we've had so far).

We headed to Big Fork for the afternoon to catch the last part of the Whitewater Festival. The races down the 'wild mile' from the dam to the lake were really exciting and we got some great photos.

Another day of chores and sightseeing then we head north on Wednesday morning. Our next stop is the Canadian border!

For more photos visit our collection on FLICKR.




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

UFOs and Ancient Rocks

We spent an extra day in Artesia, NM so we could visit Roswell and check out the UFO tourist attractions there. We had a great time acting like kids and the photo ops were great! Here's a fun movie we made about our UFO adventure:

Video here:

While walking around town we found lots of interesting, non-UFO things as well: Roswell is a major hub for cattle and the oil industry, is home to the prestigious New Mexico Military institute with some famous alumni, was Robert Goddard's home and rocket launch location for his most successful rocket designs, and has has a very active art community. There are a number of nice museums and a small community playhouse that has regional notoriety.

We visited the Anderson Museum of Cultural Arts when it opened at 1pm and were lucky to be able to listen to a jazz group practice as we enjoyed the gallery. A number of the artworks are viewable on their web site here -

Our next stop was Moab, Utah but it was almost 700 miles away. That's about 16 hours of driving so we decided to stop at dusk and spend the night in a Walmart parking lot in Cortez, NM. For those of you who don't know about Walmart parking, most stores allow campers to park in the outer lot for the night and we take advantage of them the break up long trips. Also a great chance to stock up on supplies!

We made it to Moab before lunch and hopped in the car to visit Arches National Park. We have seen the Grand Canyon and Zion but this park was unique in its stone formations and famous arches. The arches are unique in that just the right amount of salt, sand, water, and time were required to make them appear. The area is also geologically stable allowing the delicate arches to remain erect. Quite a feat considering all of the extinct volcanoes and fault lines nearby!

We're on the road again today, headed for Salt Lake City. The drive through the mountains on hwy 6/191 is quite beautiful. At over 7000 feet we are close to the snow line!



Saturday, May 16, 2015

From New Orleans to Carlsbad Cavern in a week!

We're moving quick but packing in a lot of fun!

We left New Orleans last Friday and managed to squeeze in a trip to the Alamo,

two full days (and 15 miles of hiking) in Big Bend National Park, 

a tour of Ft. Davis National Park ( Gold Rush, Pioneers, Buffalo Soldiers, and Apaches), a visit to McDonald Observatory, a drink at the Paisano hotel in Marfa, TX (toasting James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson of "Giant" fame),

 and a 3 hour stroll 1000 feet underground at Carlsbad Canvern. Whew!

Tomorrow we head to Roswell, NM. Stay tuned for some 'out of this world' photos!

Friday, May 8, 2015

New Orleans in 3 Days

What a great city!

It was a quiet week between two big Jazz festivals and the weather was perfect. We spent some time wandering around the French Quarter and then made a point to see more of the city and learn some history. We took some guided tours and learned a lot of new things. Also saw a LOT of wonderful live music - from street performers to performance hall.

Did you know?
  • Architecture in the French Quarter is mostly Spanish.
  • The muffuletta sandwich was invented in New Orleans by an Italian.
  • Johnny White’s bar on Bourbon Street never closed during Katrina.
  • The bridge across lake Pontchartrain is the longest continuous bridge in the world (24 miles)
  • “When the Saints come marching in” is a funeral procession song.
  • There used to be a streetcar line on N. Rampart street and its last stop was Desire. The final destination is always displayed on the front panel. New Orleans is rebuilding the N. Rampart streetcar rail line so you’ll soon be able to ride “the streetcar named desire” again.
  • When the Levys broke during Katrina many homes were under 8-11 feet under water. Since much of the upper and lower 9th ward is many feet below sea level, these homes stayed under water for weeks until the water could be pumped out.
  • Mardi Gras actually started in Mobile.
  • Marie Laveau’s grave gets more visits than Elvis Presley’s.
  • Louisiana is one of only two states that does not have counties. They prefer the term parish. Do you know what the other state is?
  • The TV show “Swamp People” is filmed in just 3 weeks in October (official alligator season). Ever wonder why those alligator hunters wear the same clothes in every episode?

Because over 80% of New Orleans is Catholic, the city is below sea level, and the church only recently started allowing cremation, most people are buried in tombs above ground. The oldest cemetery is “St. Louis” on North Rampart in the French Quarter. Tombs are marble but the inside is open to the soil. Bodies goes in simple pine caskets and Mother Nature soon does the work of turning bodies to bones. That’s why you’ll often see a tomb with a dozen names inscribed where it looks like it might only hold 3-4 people. If you have a family tomb and are unlucky enough to die within months of another family member, the undertaker has to store your body until Mother Nature makes room. They say you must wait a year but rumor has it that it really only takes July and August.

See you in San Antonio!