Archive for July, 2013

A short trip to the coast

Earlier this month my friend Susie and I decided to pop down to Lincoln City, OR and visit her brother David and his wife Penni.  I love the beaches in Mexico but every once in a while I need a North West beach fix.   The kind of beach you bundle up in a sweatshirt and walk along the sand.  This trip was just what I needed!

David and Penni are such wonderful hosts!  They have a beautiful place right on Olivia Beach.  We were treated like Queens.  David is a wonderful cook and prepared the most delicious meals.

Beautiful tablescape

Beautiful table scape

We sat and talked and laughed for hours as well as taking lots of walks along the beach.

Susie and I standing on the stairway down to the beach

Susie and I standing on the stairway down to the beach

David and Penni look for agates while they walk and have found tons of them.

Looking for agates

Penni, David & Susie looking for agates

Penni, David & I

Penni, David & I

On one of our walks we encountered and interesting thing.  A drone flew right up to us!

Drone checking us out

Drone checking us out

It was flying along the coastline and stopped right in front of us to check us out.  So of course we had to wave at it 🙂

Waving at the drone

Waving at the drone

Not being sure it was a drone, when I returned I googled drones and saw this picture posted on a site.

Picture of drone found on line

Picture of drone found on-line

Low and behold there was an article in the newspaper telling how the NOAA was testing drones to fly along the coastline to monitor sea birds and survey marine debris.  Well, they got a look at us too!

The night before leaving Lincoln City to head to Ocean Shores we checked out the sunset.  The sun was dancing on the waves and made such a beautiful sight.  What a great ending to a wonderful visit!

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Next morning Susie and I drove up Hwy 101 to Ocean Shores.  A doe and her fawn greeted us by walking right across the road in front of us.  I got my camera out just in time to catch them walking into the brush on the other side.  Look closely and you can see the doe.

Doe and fawn crossing the road in Ocean Shores

Doe and fawn crossing the road in Ocean Shores

The next morning we drove right onto the beach to drink our coffee and enjoy just looking out at the water.  Then we took a long walk along the beach.

Gotta love those seagulls!

Gotta love those seagulls!

Wading in the COLD waters at Ocean Shores

Wading in the COLD waters at Ocean Shores

Soon the fog started rolling in and we could barely see in front of us.  We did manage to find our way back to the car by following our footsteps.

Susie with the fog rolling in in back of her

Susie with the fog rolling in in back of her

All too soon we had to head back inland and to Wenatchee.  Thanks David, Penni & Susie for a much-needed trip to the beach!

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July 26, 2013 at 10:39 am Leave a comment

Safe Summer Outings for your Pets

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  • While your pup may leap at the opportunity for a joy ride, leaving any pet—dog, cat, rabbit, etc.— alone in a parked car during warm weather can be deadly. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car, even with the windows cracked open, can reach 102 degrees within just 10 minutes, and after 30 minutes the temperature will reach up to 140 degrees. Even when the temperature outside is a balmy 72 degrees, the temperature inside your car can rocket to a fatal 116 degrees in less than an hour.

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  • Your four-legged friend needs exercise too. However, exercising in the summer heat can be just as uncomfortable for your pet as it is for you. Take your walks in the early mornings or late evening, not in the heat of midday, and remember that hot pavement can burn the pads of your pet’s paws.

Dog in moving car

  • Keep your pet inside moving cars whenever you travel. A carrier is the safest place for your cat. Letting your dog travel with his or her head outside the open car window is dangerous—flying particles and debris can cause eye damage, and some pets have actually fallen out of moving vehicles. And dogs should never ride unsecured in the back of pickup trucks, regardless of how slow you are moving.

 

July 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm 1 comment

South Dakota Road Trip – Wall Drug, Badlands, Mount Rushmore & more

Mount Rushmore lit up at night

Mount Rushmore lit up at night

Mount Rushmore at night

After leaving Custer State Park Karen and I headed to Mt. Rushmore for the evening lighting ceremony held in the amphitheater.  The National Park Service sponsors a special program Memorial Day through Labor  Day.  It consists of a 10-minute talk followed by a 20-minute film.  Then the narrator called down all active service men and women in attendance while the mountain was lit.  It was very touching and emotional.

Mount Rushmore evening lighting ceremony

Mount Rushmore evening lighting ceremony

Wall Drug

The next morning we were off to Wall to see the famous Wall Drug store.  I’ve always loved the story about Wall Drug.  Ted and Dorothy Hustead bought the store in 1931 during the dust bowl.  After 5 long years of hardly any business, and the family ready to give up and close the store, Dorothy had an idea.  Put up signs along Hwy 16A, like the old Burma Shave signs (if any of you can remember them) advertising free ice water.  Maybe that would get people to stop.  The very day the signs were put along the road, the store was filled with people.  The following summer the Husteads hired 8 girls to help out in the store and today, with nearly 50,000 sq. feet of selling space, there can be as many as twenty thousand people stopping by on a good summer day.  Now that’s a success story!  And a place I just had to stop in at.

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Wall Drug.  Much bigger than when it opened in 1931!

Wall Drug. Much bigger than when it opened in 1931!

Yes, I got my free glass of ice water :-)

Yes, I got my free glass of ice water 🙂

The Badlands

Badlands National Park with its 240,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest grass prairie land in the United States. The contrast between the prairies and the harsh and desolate hills and valleys is amazing.  Water has been carving away at the cliffs for the past half million years or so.  Today an entire inch or more in some places erode each year and, because of its soft and sandy texture, the Badlands will eventually disappear.   I can’t say that The Badlands is a beautiful place, but it’s the most unusual place I believe I’ve ever seen.

The Badlands

The Badlands

Prairie meets the Badlands Wall

Prairie meets the Badlands Wall

Unique landscape at Badlands National Park

Unique landscape at Badlands National Park

Ridges formed from water erosion

Ridges formed from water erosion

Mount Rushmore

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Mount Rushmore during the day is a much different experience than during the evening.  The weather was beautiful and warm so we walked the Presidential Trail to get a closer view of the monument.  We stopped along the trail and inside a cavern to get this awesome shot of George Washington.

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And of course we had to get a shot of us with the presidents.  Do I look stately?

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Hill City

We made a short stop in Hill City to do a little shopping, check out the local sculptures and have some lunch.

One of the sculptures in Hill City

One of the sculptures in Hill City

Bumpin Buffalo Bar & Grill

Bumpin Buffalo Bar & Grill

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse Memorial

Then on to Crazy Horse.  One of the biggest highlights of my trip!  Crazy Horse was a legendary warrior and leader of the Lakota Sioux, celebrated for his battle skills as well as his efforts to preserve Native American traditions and way of life. Resisting efforts to force the Sioux on to reservations, he fought alongside Sitting Bull and others in the American-Indian Wars, and was instrumental in the defeat of Custer’s forces at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. After surrendering to federal troops in 1877, he was killed amid rumors of a planned escape.

Still so much to be done

Still so much to be done

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial on June 3, 1948. The Memorial’s mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.  Ziolkowski’s 10 children along with his wife Ruth have worked on the monument since that time.  Korczak passed away in October of 1982 but Ruth, along with several of their children still have a major role in continuing his work at Crazy Horse.

Helen our 'tour guide' with Karen

Helen our ‘tour guide’ with Karen

We were so fortunate to meet up with a friend of Karen’s who took time out of her work schedule and took us on a two-hour tour of the campus.  The facility is huge and growing every year.  There is a welcome center, an Indian museum of North America, Native American Educational and Cultural Center, Korczak’s original studio and home, conference centers, a restaurant and gift shop.  We talked with Native Americans who were making and selling crafts and we took the bus tour to get a closer look at the memorial.

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Thank you so much Helen for showing us this amazing place!  I’ll never forget it!

Custer City

After leaving Crazy Horse Memorial we drove through Custer City with all the beautifully painted Buffalos throughout downtown.  The Custer Stampede Buffalo Art Auction is a public art project created to showcase original bison artwork by artists from around the country.  The buffalos are auctioned off in September during the Buffalo round-up for the cultural and economic benefit of Custer City.

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Hot Springs

Our next stop was at the Double D Bed & Breakfast Cabins a short distance from Hot Springs.  Boy did we get lucky in finding this amazing place!  It was so much fun visiting with our hosts Cindy and Stoney, and we thoroughly enjoyed their big country breakfasts they served us each morning.  The rustic cabin we stayed in was made from local rough cut pine and was clean & quaint, squeaky floors and all!

Our cabin at the Double D Bed & Breakfast

Our cabin at the Double D Bed & Breakfast

A perfect cabin

A perfect cabin

Quiet and peaceful.  I could have stayed a week!

Quiet and peaceful. I could have stayed a week!

Close to Hot Springs was the Mammoth Dig Site.  The world’s largest mammoth research facility with the largest concentration of mammoths found anywhere!  To date, 59 mammoths have been identified, along with the remains of a Giant short-faced bear, camel llama, prairie dog, wolf, fish and numerous invertebrates.

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Karen in a replica of a hut made from woolly mammoth bones and skins

Karen in a replica of a hut made from woolly mammoth bones and skins

We also stopped at Cascade Falls, a roadside rest area outside of Hot Springs where there is a swimming hole.  The temperature of the water was at around 75 degrees from the hot springs flowing into it.  We didn’t get our swimsuits on but we did have a refreshing wade in the pool while watching lots of others swim and play in the wonderful warm, clear water!

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Another end of a wonderful trip with a wonderful friend!

July 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

South Dakota Road Trip – Custer State Park, the Wildlife Loop Road & Needles Highway

State Game Lodge

Recently I met my friend Karen and we took a road trip through the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota.  As often as I’ve traveled, and many times driven through Montana, North Dakota & Minnesota, I’ve never actually gone to South Dakota.  Well, I decided it was time!  Oh my gosh, I don’t know what took me so long.  It was such a fantastic trip!

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We stayed in a little cabin at the State Game Lodge in Custer State Park.  It was the perfect setting!  Just rustic enough to feel like we were in the great outdoors, but with all the comforts of home.

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The State Game Lodge is famous for its presidential visitors. It served as the Summer White House for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 and was visited by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for several Days in 1953. It was built in 1920, and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.  It’s a beautiful stone and wood lodge with only seven rooms in the actual lodge.  We were fortunate enough to get to take a quick peek at them, including the rooms where Eisenhower and Coolidge slept during their stays.

Eisenhower Room (photo taken from Tripadvisor.com)

Eisenhower Room (photo taken from Tripadvisor.com)

A friend of Karen and mine that we met while working in Alaska several years ago, as well as her sister and husband, were working at the Lodge so we got a chance to catch up.

Mary, Karen and I

Mary, Karen and I

Wildlife Loop Road

The three of us took several of the scenic roads around the Custer State Park.  The first was the Wildlife Loop Road.  Boy did we ever see the wildlife!

Buffalo!

Buffalo!

With their new calves

With their new calves

Note the number on him

Note the number on him

Every year in September more than 1,000 buffalo are rounded up.  I’m sure it’s a spectacular sight!  This is a critical management tool in maintaining a strong and healthy herd.  After weeding out the older and weaker males, the young buffalo are branded with the year they were born.  The buffalo above has a 5 branded on him, showing that he was born in 2005.

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One of the most colorful characters along the Wildlife Loop are the band of free-loading burros.  When we saw them there were about 30 grazing in a beautiful meadow right along the road.  They were coming right up to people in hopes for a snack or two.

Pronghorn Antaloupe

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope

Big Horn Sheep

Big Horn Sheep

Prairie Dog

Prairie Dog

We saw hundreds and hundreds of Prairie dogs and also saw lots of Mule and White tail deer.  We even saw a turtle crossing the road!  How random is that :-)!

Needles Highway

The Needles Highway is 14 miles of narrow, windy roads and tunnels through unique high granite “needles” and pine-covered mountains.

Granite "Needles"

Granite “Needles”

 

Beautiful Pine covered mountains

Beautiful Pine covered mountains

 

The Needle’s Eye with its signature ‘eye’ formed by countless years of rain, ice and wind and the Needle’s Eye tunnel were two of the highlights on the road.

Needle's Eye

Needle’s Eye

Mary and at the entrance to the Needle's Eye tunnel

Mary and I at the entrance to the Needle’s Eye tunnel

And the picturesque Sylvan Lake and Sylvan Lake tunnel were amazing too!  It was so much fun driving through these tiny granite tunnels!

Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake tunnel

Sylvan Lake tunnel

Tomorrow we head out to see more of South Dakota and the Badlands!

July 1, 2013 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment