Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks

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mayor al
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Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sun, 05/7/06 8:36 PM
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Day 1- 597 miles, Louisville to Pittsburg, Kansas with a stop to walk the dogs around the Arch in St Louis and a 4 hour break to visit two elderly relatives in Rolla. MO. Had a Czech Dinner with them this afternoon and a stop at Brams in Pittsburg for a sandwich and some ice cream when we checked into the motel. Gas Prices $2.70 in Louisville last night...and $2.57 in the Joplin, MO area this afternoon. Not much exciting on Day 1, But tomorrow we chase the Santa Fe RR and Trail across Kansas!

Poverty Pete
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sun, 05/7/06 9:49 PM
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If you go through Elkhart, call on my Uncle Ben. He'll take you out to the VFW for a fine steak dinner.

enginecapt
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sun, 05/7/06 11:12 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen
Gas Prices $2.70 in Louisville last night...and $2.57 in the Joplin, MO area this afternoon.
$3.29 in Fontucky.

1bbqboy
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Mon, 05/8/06 1:55 AM

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Mon, 05/8/06 9:08 PM
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Day 2- Pittsburg KS to Dodge City KS, via Wichita. 400 miles. A good Days Ride. Rain in the morning turned to sunny skys and 80 degrees for the afternoon. Lots of small wildlife near and on the road, pheasants, buzzards, Deer, Bison and Llamas on various farms and. a host of roadkill Armadillos. The last 200 miles were Stop and Go and Back and Forth chasing trains on the BNSF Mainline for Photo Op’s. We arrived in Dodge City about 5PM.
Unlike our first day we hit two unknowns for Lunch and Dinner today. We batted .500 in our choices. Lunch was great and Dinner was barely OK.
In Wichita, we saw a sign for HOG WILD BBQ and recalling some comments on the web-site about it, but forgetting what was said, we headed for HOG WILD. It was closed on Mondays, but just about a block down the street was Two Brothers BBQ (3750 N Woodlawn Rd). It was just opening when we arrived. The young lady working the counter (one of the owner’s wife) told us a bit about the place and showed us the buffet and the choices available. The do their own smoking and the results are quite good. We swapped stories about the internet BBQ websites and then got down to eating. Jan really liked the smoked chicken and turkey…and the sliced beef brisket. For me it was the Pork Loin, and Pulled Pork, and the beef ‘KC Style’ Burnt Ends. They also had homemade chicken and turkey salads that may have been good on a sandwich, or when scooped onto a veggie base, but plain on a plate wasn’t ‘good’ for me. Scalloped Potatoes were a big plus but the beans were canned and tasted like canned beans!.
Pork ribs are extra on the lunch buffet. I wanted to check the ribs so I ordered a ¼ slab as a side. When they arrived I was amazed. A BIG real pile of bones heavy with meat…for the price of a side dish ($1.50).

1. Here is what to look for in that little Strip Mall on Woodlawn.



The Staff was very helpful and friendly.



The Price were reasonable



The Meat was great and most of the sides were quite good. Look at what the call a "side" of ribs $1.50!!




I would urge anyone wanting a decent BBQ lunch to stop in on the North side Of Wichita to check this place out.

For dinner here in Dodge City we went to EL CHARRO a Mexican place near the center of town. Plus side gets the TACO (great) and the Enchilada (6 on a 10 scale) The Down-side got the Chips and salsa..Stale and a watery salsa. The Chimichanga was cold throughout, must have been sitting for awhile from another order. No photos as we weren’t to happy and didn’t want to bother.

Tomorrow we are off to Pueblo or Canon City CO.

UncleVic
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Mon, 05/8/06 11:42 PM
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Nice report Al! Though I'm not sure how you can log so many miles with meals like that... I'd be ready to take a nap after all that..


Sundancer7
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Tue, 05/9/06 4:33 AM
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Al, thanks for sharing. I see you took your own picture on the second pic from the top.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

roossy90
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Tue, 05/9/06 2:27 PM
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Now, that's the ribs that I am looking for!
Jealous here!

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Tue, 05/9/06 4:49 PM
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Day 3- 350 miles. Dodge City KS to Canon City CO. We quit early today to take some time here in the eastern foothills of the Rockies. Had a good lunch at the HOG'S BREATHE SALOON in La Junta, CO. Really good 8 oz. Ribeye Sandwich with skin-on French Fries and Iced Tea. Total bill for two of us (same menu choice) was under $20 (plus tip).
We want to find some good Carnitas tonight here in town. The dogs are behaving better than my kids did on one of the trips the were with us.
Tomorrow we will do the Black Canyon and other scenic stuff on the way over to Montrose,CO for the night.
I had forgotten how it feels to be able to see for 100 miles in each direction...I kinda miss it, although Eastern Colorado is a lot like the end of the world!
We counted over a hundred Pheasants playing along the shoulder of US 50 in western Kansas. Jan spotted several antelopes and I got a mess of photos of coal trains heading east on the Santa Fe RR.
Dinner report will be added later if it warrants attention from the group.

Sundancer7
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Tue, 05/9/06 4:59 PM
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Al, I am enjoying your trip reports. I would enjoy seeing so many pheasants and the antelopes are always a sight to see.

Be sure and take some good shots of the Black Canyon up close. It has been a while since I was there but I recall crawling up to the edge to peer down.

Enjoy and keep up the reports.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

EdSails
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Tue, 05/9/06 5:00 PM
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Looks like a great trip so far......keeep up the good reports----and enjoy!

CheeseWit
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Tue, 05/9/06 5:40 PM
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Good, fact-filled reports as usual, Al! I'm enjoying reading about your trip. Take care and be safe.

Poverty Pete
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Tue, 05/9/06 7:38 PM
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You were in La Junta? Oh, oh, oh ,oh...1967...stealing watermelons...tippling cows...being shot by a shotgun filled with rock salt...Ruth...holding hands with Ruth while crossing a train trestle over the Arkansas river...It was the summer of love...in fact, the Beatles were singing..."All you need is love...." wah wah wah wah wah..."

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Wed, 05/10/06 8:25 AM
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Pete- Ruth was our waitress at the Hog's Breathe Saloon!! She is looking mighty fine. She told us about that summer when I mentioned that I knew you. She asked us to tell you that she and the kids are just fine...boy named Po'Boy and girl name WELFARENA look just like Pop!

We have snow(lite dusting) on the hillsides here in Canon City this morning. Supposed to be 70 and sunny today as we head west.

The Mexican dinner last nite turned out to be very good. EL CHAPAOLA in Canon City (1028 Main St) Tacos al Pastor and Pollo Carbona both well prepared and served piping hot!! A couple of good Margaritas hepled settle the travelers in for the evening.[|)]

mr chips
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Wed, 05/10/06 10:22 AM
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Keep the reports coming. Did you visit any old west sites in Dodge City or Bents Old Fort in La Junta?

Tony Bad
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Wed, 05/10/06 10:28 AM
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Sounds like a great trip so far. Keep up the reports so us desk jockeys will be able to follow along!

Sundancer7
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Wed, 05/10/06 10:32 AM
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I am looking forward to Al's pics of the "Black Canyon". This is a awesome place.

http://jewishworldreview.com/0506/dickson051006.php3

http://www.nps.gov/blca/

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN


Bushie
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Wed, 05/10/06 11:20 AM
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This is great Mr. Mayor! Live-blogging your trip.

Thanks for taking us along with you!

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Wed, 05/10/06 11:27 PM
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Day 4-

Canon City CO to Montrose, CO, 300 miles, including some side trips. Started the day with light rain and 39 degrees…but it brightened up and warmed up as we climbed into the Rockies. We crossed the Great Divide at Monarch Pass, 11,300 Ft. Elevation. Needless to say we both were short of breath for awhile. (me more than Janet). The dogs loved rolling and playing in the snow at the Summit turn-out.



Then it was down the western slope to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. We shot a bunch of neat photos along the Rim Drive, then took the steep, narrow road down into the canyon. Since our last visit about 9 years ago, they have paved that road so it feels much safer. It is still a cliffhanger with 4 miles of 16% grade and no guard rails!! My brakes were smoking hot when we finally reached the floor of the canyon.





Then it was down to Montrose for some shopping (Russell Stover Store) and lunch, then later dinner. We ate at the RED BARN a place recommended by one of the folks who responded to my plea for suggestions. Lunch consisted of a Buffalo Burger with Onion Rings for me and a Bacon Cheeseburger with Rings for Janet.






While my BuffaloBurger was a bit overcooked, it tasted great. Janet said her Bacon-CheeseBurger was outstanding. The total was less than $20 plus tip so we were happy. After our errands in town and giving the dogs some time at the motel we decided to return the the RED BARN for dinner. Jan enjoyed a grilled chicken Caesar Salad, while I wanted the Chicken Fried Steak. The salad was great. The CFS was pretty heavily battered and none of the batter stayed with the meat. It was good, but tasted like the ones I try to make at home. A couple of Coors bottles brought our total to $30 even (plus tip)

To answer some of the queries in the thread. Yes we looked around Dodge City. Matt and Miss Kitty would be surprised at how large the Mexican population of the town has become. More signs in Spanish than English all over town.
We also checked out Bents Fort and stopped to view the wagon tracks of the Santa Fe Trail. La Junta was an interesting stop as Poverty Pete can tell!

Now it is sundown in Montrose. The snow-covered San Juan Mts. are visible to the south. Tomorrow we head south on US 550 thru Ouray, Silverton and Durango to Mesa Verde National Park, then on to Cortez, CO for the night.



roossy90
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Wed, 05/10/06 11:33 PM
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Mr Mayor,
Is there a motel on the other side of the Red Barn?
It looks like where I may have been when I was going thru there.
Or maybe just the cow on top looks familiar.
Great photos.
When I had a buffalo burger, the restaurant advised me, if I had never eaten it before, to order it med-well, as a first time taster.
I enjoyed mine also. I like the side of guacamole on yours. Wish I had some with mine.
I am so re-living my trip from 1993 thru your eyes and words. It was a very sentimental trip for me.
Thanks....

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Wed, 05/10/06 11:47 PM
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Tara
The Black Canyon Motel is a short block on the uphill side of the Red Barn. Thats where we are right now. AAA Rate $50 plus $5 for the dogs. Not bad and a comfortable night.
AL

mr chips
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 2:16 AM
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Beautiful photos. The canyon looks stunning. And yet another example of the Stern's rule about the quality of restaurants with animals on the roof.

acornlover
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 5:48 AM
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What wonderful pictures and trip reports, keep 'em coming! I would love to travel with my dog, she is who I miss when I am away...


KB

Sundancer7
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 7:26 AM
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Al, as usual, your pics are super and I enjoy traveling with you. You have some great vacay's.

As I recall, just outside of Dodge was a huge place where they fed cattle all they could eat (feed lot). Past that was a lot of alfalfa farms.

I only wish I could travel with you.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

minilops
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 10:26 AM
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I finally remembered the name of the restaurant we ate at in Cortez, Co. It was called the Homesteader and it was on the main street in Cortez. That was about 15 years ago, but I remember the food being quite good. My husband had the ribs and I had the rainbow trout, both specialties of the restaurant. I also seem to remember that this restaurant was reviewed by the Sterns in one of their earlier books. Anyway, it might be worth a try. Happy travels!

Allison

V960
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 12:32 PM
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Thank you...basically all I can "say". OK thank you very much.

BigGlenn
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 1:31 PM
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Al, How far west Ya coming?

We are waiting for Ya......

Be Safe and Good Eats!

Glenn

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 10:44 PM
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Day 5-

Another beautiful spring day. 300+ miles from Montrose, CO to Cortez, CO, via Silverton , Durango, an Mesa Verde Nat. Park. The ride thru the mountains from Ridgeway to Durango was breathtaking ! We stopped several times to shoot some photos and to let the dogs play in the snow.


We also stopped in Silverton to wander the shops and see what growth has done to the town. While it is larger than 10 years ago, it seems to ‘act’ the same. Here’s the Main Street about 11 am. Pretty quiet til the train arrives from Durango.


After leaving Silverton we passed a large Hot Spring beside the road, so we had to test the water!! It was quite warm.


We ate at the Serious Texas BBQ in Durango, recommended by a Roadfood member. It was a good choice. The wood pile outside told the story of the quality of the Que!


Janet had a Texas Taco..filled with pulled pork and cheese ($6). I got the sampler plate($12) to taste a little of everything. Very good BBQ. The Blackberry cobbler was good too. We would come back again for sure.


The place was filled with local (Texas-style) reminders of their heritage, and the staff was friendly and helpful at explaining the menu items. They had a cherry-chipotle salsa that was delicious…..we bought some to take home.!


Then it was on to Mesa Verde to see the cliff-dwellings and other sites for the start of our ‘desert’ circle tour. That place is amazing. We learned a lot about the early residents of the area.


Thanks for the vote of confidence about a traveling log. I am amazed at how easy this is to do with the wireless internet in so many motels now.

Glen, we will be in the Hi Desert in Sept or early October. This trip is an in-depth look at the red-rock county of Utah!!

Now we are in Cortez,CO near the 4 Corners. Tomorrow we will enter Utah and check out many of the sites along the Old Spanish Trail, staying in Blanding Utah. Enjoy the photos. That’s the end of the snow til we finish the tour in 2 weeks.

Tony Bad
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 10:58 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Sundancer7

Al, as usual, your pics are super and I enjoy traveling with you. You have some great vacay's.

As I recall, just outside of Dodge was a huge place where they fed cattle all they could eat (feed lot). Past that was a lot of alfalfa farms.

I only wish I could travel with you.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN


Just east of Dodge City was a roadside turnout at the top of hill overlooking one of those huge feedlots...I stopped and when I opened the door the smell darn near knocked me out...WOW!!

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 11:07 PM
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The dogs consider cows to be "dinner on the hoof", so a feedlot becomes a huge buffet in their little doggie minds. Boy do they tell us when we pass one that we need to stop and eat !!

Add to the trip log. We ran into our first $3.00 gas in Durango. I am told it will be cheaper in Utah...We'll see.

We decided to skip dinner tonight and consume a bunch of fruit and avacados we got in Montrose. The Homesteader was our goal, but will have to wait til next time. Thanks for the tips. NO losers yet from a roadfood recomendation!

UncleVic
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 11:21 PM
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Al, the food pics are awesome... The tour pics are priceless...

cornfed
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Thu, 05/11/06 11:41 PM
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I know you're a big train buff. I was wondering if you passed through Chama, NM. It's quite close to Durango. Really interesting historical railroad town. The roads in this awe-inspiring area can be quite a twisty nightmare, though.

roossy90
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 3:39 AM
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Thanks, Mr Mayor, I wonder if that is where I was.
I guess 13 years later, there are many more places to stay and eat in Montrose.
But I am not so sure about the KINKY governor photo in your last batch of photos..
But it is so great to read about you and your loved ones travel's.
BTW.. I was on vacation while in Colorado last August when I "found" roadfood.

Dipstick
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 7:52 AM
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Al,

I can't thank you enough for your pics and descriptions of your trip. Makes me excited to get to work and log in to the computer each morning. Well....almost! Keep up the great work!

Don

Sundancer7
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 7:55 AM
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Al: You should have been a photo journalist. As usual, great pics and dialogue.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

LindaW
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 8:19 AM
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Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful trip with us...making me hungry with all the food pics...and can anyone question that we live in "America the Beautiful"????

Hope your trip only gets better and better.

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 8:25 AM
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Cornfed,
We didn't head over to Charma this trip. We have enjoyed the ride on the Durango and Silverton RR a couple of times in the past , so this time we stayed with the truck. Our main target yesterday was Mesa Verde and it was worth the time! It is so hard to believe that those people built the pueblos right into the cliffs so many years ago.

OK another adventure begins today as we follow the tracks of the Old Spanish Trail Northwest from here. Photo and journal will be added this evening in Blanding Utah.

garryd451
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 9:50 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen


Cornfed,
We didn't head over to Charma this trip. We have enjoyed the ride on the Durango and Silverton RR a couple of times in the past , so this time we stayed with the truck. Our main target yesterday was Mesa Verde and it was worth the time! It is so hard to believe that those people built the pueblos right into the cliffs so many years ago.

OK another adventure begins today as we follow the tracks of the Old Spanish Trail Northwest from here. Photo and journal will be added this evening in Blanding Utah.


Great Job!!!! You should of been a professional travel editor!

I hope You don't mind the question, I gonna ask.

Do You eat breakfast? I havent seen You mention breakfast on this trip.

pcdiva
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 10:47 AM
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Hi Al and Janet!

Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I'm so jealous! The pictures are so great, and you provide a wonderful narrative.

Wishing I was out West!
Alice

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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 4:15 PM
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Great report, and fantastic pics. I'm lucky to live in such a beautiful state. Unfortunately I don't get to see as much of it as I'd like to, so I love seeing current pics.

More dog pics! (Yeah,like you didn't see THAT coming!)

Greyghost
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 5:32 PM
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Outstanding report and I also like the Scotty dog pics as well.

Allow me to go off topic for a moment: I have a virtual Scotty dog on my computer, which is actually a free security program called WinPatrol that will detect any changes to your computer. There is a low cost paid version as well but the only difference is the paid version gives you access to a data base that will tell you what exactly Scotty has found. Either free or paid I find the program highly effective with a lovable interface. http://www.winpatrol.com/

Mr. Mayor, you seem to cover a lot of ground in a day, are you sure you are going the speed limit?

wanderingjew
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 6:49 PM
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Excellent Scenery- and I'm not only talking about the Topography. It feels like I'm there with you!

Michael Hoffman
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 6:59 PM
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Ah, Al, I once spent a very pleasant night in the Cortez jail. The police were very nice and allowed me to crash overnight after the Power Wagon I was driving broke down right outside of town.

Sundancer7
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 7:07 PM
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I personally would like to acknowledge Al as our best by far photo journalist. He truly does an excellent job. He missed his calling.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 7:33 PM
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Garry- The breakfast question is a valid one. We don't normally do a breakfast stop. We will take a couple of pastries or bagels and some O J in my travel mug...Janet does a couple of cups of coffee instead of the juice (from the motel breakfast ). That will keep us going quite well til lunch.That's a life-long habit for both of us..not just a trip thing.

Pwing... Colorado is beautiful. We will stretch our time by a day on the return in a couple of weeks.


GreyGhost- I stay within 5-10 MPH of the limit on the open road, much closer to the limit in these towns where speed traps are a way of life. While my big Ford Supercrew will still deliver 17-18 mpg at 75mph (Legal speed in some western states)we tend to stay a bit slower...especially on these twisty-turny 2 lane roads.

Thanks to all for the applause! We are having a great time and will post tonight's adventure once I get the photos selected and uploaded. Thats not as easy as it sounds, we shot 95 photos today in this area.

Check here in a couple of hours for Canyonlands Part 1!

Sundancer7
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 7:36 PM
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I cannot wait until we see the pics Al.

Thanks for your update. I wish I were there with you.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Fri, 05/12/06 10:17 PM
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Canyonlands National Park Part ONE

Day 6

Cortez CO to Blanding Utah, 300 miles due to several extra side trips .

Another warm Sunny Spring day. Hi hit 85 degrees and it felt great. We started the day with a truck-wash in Cortez to get the bugs and grime off the truck! Then it was up US 491 (used to be US 666 but they changed the number to prevent the constant theft of roadsigns with the 666 symbol. Gassed up for $3.09 a gallon, a new high for us.

We headed north from Montecello Utah on US 191 to the road that runs into the southern part of Canyonlands National Park. On the long drive up the entrance road (35 miles each way) we sighted some Mule Deer and a group of Pronghorn Antelope. The Pronghorn were quite a distance from the road, but the photo caught them pretty well.



About 12 miles in from US 191 is Newspaper Rock a Petroglyph site where Utah has a Historical marker. There are hundreds of the etched figures on the rock telling stories of the ancient as well as the more modern Native Americans.


After reading all the news that’s fit to etch, we rested by a small creek to allow the dogs a bit of recreation. They thought the water was too cold and demanded a warm bath when we got to our motel this evening. Now they are squeekie clean and sleeping soundly for the night.


We continued into the Needles area of Canyonlands N. P. where odd rock formations are the order of the day. Colors and shapes make these rocks appear like a Martian Landscape.


We had a reunion of sorts with a Park Ranger at the Visitors Center. He saw my shirt and Janets hat (both cisplay Moonlite BBQ logos and symbols and started telling us about how much he enjoyed the Moonlite BBQ on his trips "home". The BBQ World really is a community of its own !!

On our way out of the Park we came across Wilson’s Arch on US 191. We will see many more of these in the next few days, but this is the first one for this trip


Before checking into our motel we took another side trip down to Bluff Utah to see the Navejo Twins, another rock formation that overlooks the town.. Then it was back to Blanding. We will be here tomorrow night also, allowing us to do a circle drive thru Natural Bridges N.P. and up to see the Goosenecks on the San Juan River and Mexican Hat.

I am not posting any food photos today because we ate lunch at the Homestead Steak House here in Blanding. The food was OK. Janet had Navejo Fry Bread (w/honey) and a bowl of Chili. I had what was called Salmon Fritters, but was turned out to be a Salmon Version of Catfish Fingers. There were three on the lunch plate with ‘Tater Tots’. I had locked my camera away when we stopped so no photos this time. We may try it again tomorrow. The name sounds like a ‘real’ restaurant, but it is a converted fast food ‘sit-down’ stand. We were kind of under-whelmed by the appearance, but the food passed our muster.

Now to upload the photos Enjoy.


Pwingsx
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 12:59 AM
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Wow, Al, those photos are amazing. Just amazing. Your landscapes are just beautiful, and the picture with Janet and the dogs -- the contrast of colors, the red of her shirt and the black of the dogs -- that is one fabulous camera you've got there. Of course, it's only as good as the user -- and in this case, it's DAMNED good.

How I envy you! Hope you guys are having the time of your life.

Hit any bad weather yet? You seem to have been quite lucky thus far.

Jimeats
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 4:06 AM
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Al, it must have been a bitch to pack for this trip, in the snow a couple of days ago now on the desert. Photos are great, what are you useing for equipment? Happy Trails, Chow Jim

tarragon
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 8:44 AM
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Mayor & Janet, I am enjoying reading your trip reports, especially the photos - beautiful scenery (and love seeing the two scotties! glad to know they're having a grand time as well!). Thanks for sharing with us all, and looking forward to more reports and especially more photos. Enjoy!!

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 9:12 AM
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I am using my Canon 20D Digital SLR. So Far the only lens I have used this trip is the standard 18-55mm lens that came with it. I have a 28-300mm long lens with me, but haven't had it on the camera so far this trip. I wish I had it on yesterday for the antelope shot, but the normal lens is much better for the panoramas, so I work with it most of the time. I shoot in the 'Large JPEG Format' which means that the size of the photo would be 32x48 inches if printed 'whole'. That allows me to crop and 'shrink' the photo to a useable size while saving as much detail as possible. I use Photoshop 7 to process the photos and get them ready to post. A typical photo file comes out of the camera at about 4 megs in size. I shrink them to about 3-400 kb to make them emailable.
So far we have created about 350 photos in the 'hold file', to be dumped or processed when I get home. I have done the full job on the few posted here and on a few sent to family (about 25 total so far) but won't delete anything til I have the time to examine them in detail at home.

About packing...Janet is the organizer for this part of the journey! We have two storage bags with clothing-that stay in the truck, and one bag that comes into the motel each evening. We have enough 'essentials' with us to cover 8 days without doing a laundry. It will be a task in Page,AZ(Lake Powell) to use a coin-op laundry to put us back to 'go' for another week or so. We have winter coats and gloves etc in a small bag that hasn't been touched..and probably won't be considering the weather we are enjoying. We did use sweatshirts in the Rockies for awhile each morning,but it warmed up enough to peel them off by mid-morning. As you can see in the photo that shows the truck, we have a lockable cap on the truckbed, That makes for a very large 'trunk'! We have a kennel cage for the dogs back there too, Haven't had a need for it yet as the motels we stay at all have welcomed dogs. At the north rim of the Grand Canyon we will use the kennel cage as we don't have a reservation there and will be 'camping out' for a nite. A large cooler and 'library' box are part of the outfit too. The dogs use the back seat and we are up front. All in All It is a pretty comfortable ride. The computer and camera equipment stay in the cab to prevent any hot-weather damage.
Thats the update this morning. Except for a brief foggy rain-snow mix on the eastern slope of the Rockies and some rain in Kansas we have enjoyed beautiful weather all the way.
In Blanding it is now 60, headed for a high of 85 again. I better get out the sunscreen!

Davydd
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 11:23 AM
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Great pictures. I take it if you are heading to Page, AZ that you will be threading your way through Monument Valley? If so, more great opportunities.

EdSails
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 1:59 PM
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Great photos, Al. And Janet's meal of fry bread and chili sounds like the stuff dreams are made of. Yum!

lleechef
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 4:52 PM
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Al, fabulous pictures as always and great reporting. What a cool trip. I agree with Sundancer, you should be a professional photographer. We hope to take the same trip one day when we retire.

Happy trails and happy eating. Keep those doggies happy, too!

Donna Douglass
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 5:15 PM
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Al, I join with everyone else in complimenting you on your photography, and your daily journal. It is great traveling vicariously thru your descriptions. And the doggies are great travelers also. I know how that is appreciated as we have a 16-1/2 year old Mini Dachsie who loved to travel and who is a fine traveler. She has been cross country many times in her life and enjoyed every minute of it.

Continue to enjoy, being safe and being happy. We're all with you in spirit.

Donna

mr chips
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 7:30 PM
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Great photos,Mr. Mayor. Mesa Verde was on of the most memorable places I visited 30 years ago. I envy you this trip.

CasperImproved
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 8:07 PM
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Mr. Mayor... as a new person to this site, I wanted to thank you for reminding me of some of my happier memories. I stayed at Mesa Verde with my two sons (6 & 8 at the time). The history lession they gained, I like to think as the reason why they are both in colledge now, and want to be grade school teachers. Both are sons to be proud of...

But I also wanted to thank you for reminding me of the beauty of that area, and the history. I love hostory and nature, so a place like Mesa Verde is a perfect place to spend some time. My son's and I were lucky enough to do the "tent" thing, make puggie pies (pie iron pies over the open fire), feed the deer that brazenly walked into our campsite fresh peaches, and which they consumed within the time it took to streach out your arm... had a hard time explaining to my 6 yr old why feeding them potato chils was a bad thing :-)

Many of the mountain passes, and vistas's beauty can not be captured with a camera, however nice a camera it mught be. I envy you for that. I have a vivid memory, but the views you have seen, and are seeing are worthy of mention in anyone's book.

BTW, I don't think I read of you mentioning tasting one of the best items in that area (green chili). Before you leave the upper southwest... please give it a try as I have not had it's like since leaving the area, and am jealious you can.....

Thanks,

Casper.

ConeyIslandLou
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 9:03 PM
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Mayor, may I add to the chorus of compliments here! I spent several summers with my grandparents in Salina, Ks. The highlights of these stays were the trips they would take with us to the Rocky Mountains, including stops at various relatives in various Colorado towns. In 1969, however her sister was living in Chama, so we stayed there about a week - the week of Apollo 11! We got to make 'side trips' to Mesa Verde and Santa Fe,plus a visit to a friend of theirs on the Jicarilla Apache reservation, where we saw an Indian rodeo....

These pictures bring back many fond memories!

BTW...the night Armstrong set foot on the moon, we were in a motel in Salida, Co....

One nice thing about traveling with them also (to bring this back to food),was that they almost always ate (when possible) at 'nice' small town cafes..so at 7-8-9-10, I was being spoonfed loads of RF,and didnt even know it! And the odd thing about that also is that it happened to be on one of these trips that I experienced my very first Mickey D's at a unit on E Colfax in Aurora.....

ConeyIslandLou
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 9:10 PM
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Oh yes...one more thing Mayor..you DO know that the UP Kansas Main is a very busy line these days too..Salina seems to have some decent action there....One fairly neat thing in Salina is the Salina-McPherson branch, which literally splits 4th st in Salina into two separate sections. The line itself has one up-and-down train which runs sb in the morning, then returns in the late afternoon/early evening. You could see this from my grandma's front yard - which gave a VERY bored kid somehing to do!

mayor al
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RE: Trip Report- May 2006 AZ,Utah,CO Natl Parks - Sat, 05/13/06 9:46 PM
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Day 7 - The Blanding Circle Tour 150 miles- Slight Overcast and 85 degrees.

This day was a bit different from the rest of the trip (so far.) This was our first two day stop in one place. Blanding is a remote little town in S E Utah. We picked this place as it is central to many of the places we wanted to visit in this area. Today we headed N W to Natural Bridges National Monument. As we headed out of town on Utah Rt. 95 we came across a sign of the times… This is OPEN RANGE country. Cattle were frequently beside or in the road. We held our speed down on hills not knowing what would be in the road around the next curve.


We also took care not to let the dogs (or us) make any contact with the little ‘critters’ in the area after reading a posted warning about rodents carrying plague. YUCK!!


We visited the National Monument, but the overcast prevented any quality photos. Luckily later in the morning the clouds dissolved and the sun gave us a pleasant day. We shot our first view of Monument Valley from the Mulie Point Overlook . Since both Janet and I are ‘Nervous Nellies’ near the edge of any cliff you won’t see any straight down the cliff photos here.


The dogs wanted to run around and chase lizards, but they stayed on the leashes like good little dogs.


We found more range cattle on the cliffs. Some were a bit aggressive and the dogs had to tell them to move on…The Scotties were quite brave(as long as they were in the truck!!).


Then we continued down RT 261 to Mexican Hat. The road drops down the edge of the Mesa in a series of steep drops and Hairpin turns. It is a gravel road, adding to the excitement!


At the bottom of the Mesa and a few miles west of Hiway 261 is a Utah St Park (Goosenecks) You have probably seen this photo before. I think it is in every Junior High Science Book I have ever seen. This is where the San Juan River has eroded the rocks into a series of sharp bends. It takes the river several miles to go a few hundred yards in a straight line.


The little town of Mexican Hat is named for this rock formation just outside of town. It was a good place to enjoy an ice cream and run the pooches a bit.


We returned to Blanding on US 191 late in the afternoon. It was dinner time, so since we picnicked for lunch out in the Boonies, we selected the ‘other restaurant’ in town for dinner. The Old Tymer was ‘OK’. Clean and the kids working the near empty dining room were definitely Mormon Polite and helpful. Janet had a large salad with a side of Fry bread and honey (the Hush-Puppies of S W Utah). I settled for some good Chicken Gumbo soup and some homemade Blackberry cobbler. (and a few spare ribs that escaped the camera !!)






We rated the food as average. Blanding apparently lives up to its name in the culinary department.

We looked around the town and spraywashed the bugs off the truck before returning to the motel for a quiet evening. Tomorrow we hit the Trading Posts in Monument Valley to satisfy Janet’s shopping urge, then up to Page Arizona for a two night stay and a little play time and boat tour on Lake Powell, before our first ever visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. P S The dogs are eating better than we are at this point in the trip!

I am trying to respond to the many questions that I am receiving from all of you. Please be patient, I will answer as soon as I sort out the info. Lou, We enjoyed southern Kansas coming west, and will stop in Wilson and Abilene on the return later this month.

Enjoy today's journal entry!



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