Friday, June 30, 2017

Back to New Mexico

The last day on the road.  Coming out of Cortez, CO, I had to find the NW New Mexico landmark "Shiprock".  The formation is located several miles SW of the town of Shiprock.

From there, I drove East to Farmington.  Instead of the direct route on US 550, I drove Rt 371 South.  The goal was to take photos at the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness.  I had seen photos of the unusual rock formation at Bisti.

Was able to drive into the area and got several good photos.  The best shots are actually along Rt 371.

Back into Rio Rancho early afternoon.  Stopped by the post office to get my mail and resume delivery.  Also had a Blizzard at the local DQ.  It is good to be back home.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pizza & Beer

The second evening on the trip I got my "cowboy" on for dinner.  I had a hankering for pizza.  First night in Reno we had some chain-store pizza,  Tonight, I was looking forward to a good, local pizza.  The Main Street Brewery delivered!  Had a tasty 10" medium crust pepperoni pizza with some peppers.  I washed down the pizza with water and a local light amber ale.

Colorado 141

I took the scenic route (Colo Rt 141) out of Grand Junction to Cortez.  This is a beautiful drive and the weather was perfect for it.  Most of Colo 141 is in a canyon.  Some interesting rock formations.  Stopped at a store in Gateway for electrolytes.

At Naturita, CO, my route changed to Colo 145 toward Telluride.  Did not detour into the town of Telluride. I was surprised its so far out in the nowhere for a major ski destination.

Settled into my hotel in Cortez.  Went downtown to the Main Street Brewery for a nice peperoni pizza and a pint of amber ale.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SLC to Grand Junction

Headed out of Salt Lake City.  Was mostly a boring drive down to Moab.    As I neared Arches National Park, I saw signs that the park was closed.  It was about noon. I could see vehicles driving the park road to the exit, but not into the park.  I later learned that it was so hot, they were allowing folks to come into the park early in the morning, but no hiking of the trails.  Then the park closing as it got too hot.

Was planning to drive the LaSal Loop.  The last time I was in the Moab area, the road was closed for construction.  When I neared the road, I learned it was again closed for construction.  Drove a few miles, anyway, to see the scenery.

Back-tracked to Moab.  Found out what's happening at the Visitor's Center.  Drove CO 126 along the Colorado River.

Found my hotel in Grand Junction (would have liked to stay in Moab, but room rates are too high).  filled up the gas tank ready for the scenic drive tomorrow.  Early to bed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SLC Friends

Settled into my room in SLC.  Made plans to visit with Danny & Ricky the next mornig.  They were Nature's landlords when he first moved from Las Vegas to SLC.  Dinner at a sports bar a block from my hotel.

Had a nice visit and lunch.  Went to the Levi's outlet in Park City (wanted a pair of white 501's).  Rested that evening.  Repacked for the last 2 nights on the road.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Great Basin National Park

Sunday seemed to be a good day to check out the Ward Coke Ovens and Great Basin National Park.  When I got to the coke ovens, I saw the state wants $7 for using the state park.  I thought that was a little high, since I just wanted to take a couple photos (which I did).

Stopped at the Great Basin Visitor's Center.  Picked up stuff in the store and checked the park map.  Drove the park road, stopping to snap several photos.  Nothing much else doing there since the cave tour was filled and I was not in shape to do any hiking.  Back to Ely, processed photos and repacked the car.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Night in Ely

After my train ride on the Nevada Northern Railway, I headed to my hotel.  It was time to check out what happens on Saturday night in Ely.  From what the hotel clerk, not very much.

Being Saturday evening, I showered and got my "cowboy" on.  Though it was rumored to ne a little pricey, I needed a good burger and large glass of craft beer.  Rack's did not disappoint me.

It was an nice evening, so opted to eat on the patio.  The burger was served on a "pretzel" bun.  The food was washed down with a 24 oz glass of Angle Creek Amber Ale.

Not much else going on in Ely on a Saturday night.  Anyway, my belly was sated, so I headed to the room for sleep.

Nevada Northern Railway

After breakfast in Austin, I drove through Eureka and on to Ely.  Drove on North to check out the Pony Express exhibit (nothing to write home about).  Made reservations for this evening train ride.  Had some problems with my reservation (they were expecting the week before).

Rested in the room and then headed to the train.  Nice weather for a train ride.  Was a little over 2 hour ride including the "hooky" staged train robbery and skit at "Keystone".

Sleepy Town

I knew it was  too far to drive from Reno to Ely and still see the sights.  Overnight in the sleepy town of Austin, NV.  Food establishments close by 4m and 6pm.  Had lunch when I got in town (bacon cheeseburger & fries).  checked out the Stoke's Castle (local landmark). Early to bed.

Breakfast at the same place (the other place in town is owned by a "Trumper" (signs all over the building) and I would not patronize their place if it was the only place in town.

On down US50 toward Ely.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Banquet

Attended the 199th LIB Reunion banquet.  The hall was bitter cold - I was not comfortable.  When I got my food and sat back down, I was shivering.

Good turn-out.  I estimate over 200.  Will write more later.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Virginia City

Wednesday I headed up to Virginia City to play "tourist".  It was about noon when I got theer and just too busy on the main street,  (no parking) so I went back to Reno, planning to try again Thursday.

Did some walking down the street.  Suddenly, the stomach was giving my problems.  I knew I had to kill the tour and head back to the hotel.  Was able to get a couple photos before I had to head back.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Recovery Day

Slept in a bit, getting a good night's sleep.  Was thinking of having a breakfast.  When to the hospitality room and had a donut and cup of coffee.  That seemed to satisfy my hunger.  Visited in the hospitality room for a while.

About noon, I headed to the room and car to exchange luggage.  Needed to get a bag of clean clothes. Also took a nice nap before thinking of a early dinner.

Checking out the offerings at the hotel(s) I settled on the Brew Brothers Microbrewery.  Had a 22oz glass of their "Redhead Amber Ale" and their BBQ Bacon Burger w/ fries.  The amber ale was a little hoppy for me, but tolerable. .The burger was great - just enough sweet BBQ sauce to flavor the sandwich, while not overbearing.

The best part of the meal was the price.  I happened in there during "happy hour".  My burger & fries was only $5 and the big beer was also $5.  The hotel gave us reunion attendees $10 per day chits for food and drinks. So, dinner cost me $2.50 with tax and tip!

Short visit a couple other vets in the hospitality room (3/7th guys).  Pill time and call it a day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

199th LIB Reunion

Short drive Monday from S. Lake Tahoe to Reno.  Checked into the hotel, thankfully may room was available even though it was wat before check-in time.  Went to the 199th hospitality room and picked up my registration packet.

This was the first problem I had with my registration.  My name was spelled correctly on the registration envelop,but both the last name a location was wrong.  Got that corrected.

Settling into my room.  I could not log onto the hotel wi-fi,  Kept giving me an error message.  Had problems understanding the IT person (eventually asked for a person without the heavy accent). As it turned out, someone had spelled my name wrong! Guess they do not check my ID and credit card at check-in.  On top it all, when I turn on my TV, they have my name wrong.  URGH,

Back to the hospitality room for the memorial and opening session...The session was supposed to last 45 minutes, but the Chaplain was too long-winded.  Besides, I did not understand what he we trying to preach about as it did not make sense for me.  Ended up with pizza party hosted by the reunion. 

Bodie State Park

Just a few mile from Lee Vining was the road to Bodie, CA.  The ghost town of Bodie.  The dry climate has helped the preservation of the structure in this town.  The state has turned in into a state historic park.

It was very interesting to see this old town in the mountains of California.  Walked part way in town, until my legs were telling me to turn back because I still have to walk back to the parking lot.  Did take s rest and visited for a California local before the return walk.

Drove the mountain roads to South Lake Tahoe.  Too early to find and check into my room.  drove the roads around the lake.  Took at some photos on the California side of the lake.  Back in S. Lake Tahoe, it was time to find my room and settle in for the night.  By the time I got into my room, I was too tired to think about finding food.   Processed the day's photos and crashed into bed.

On to Reno and my Army Reunion...

Lake View Lodge

 While it was an expensive room for my budget) it was a nice, large room

Sandwich , salad, & brew at the Epic Cafe.  Just what I needed to end the day in Lee Vining, CA.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mono Lake

Had a full breakfast (eggs, sausage, hash browns, toast & coffee between trips to the car reloading from the room.  Was going to have a dinner last night, but just too tired from the boring drive.

The drive today wasn't much better until I get closer to the mountains and Mono Lake.  Checked out the view at the first view area along Rt 120.  Not to see there.

A little further down Rt 120, I found the South Tufa area of the lake.  Was ready to pay the $3 fee, when they asked if I had any of several card (like my National Park Seniors Pass).  Was a bit of a hike to view the formations.I grabbed my walking stick and headed down toward the lake.  Exhausted by the time I was back to the car.  Glad I also was wearing my knee braces.

Room was not ready, yet.  Treated myself on to a ice cream (soft-serve) cone.  Also drove a little further North from the village of Lee Vining to see if there were any other formations I could see and photograph.  Thought of driving over Tioga to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, but the pass was closed because of the high snow pack received this year..

Got to my room.  It's the last down the end of the hotel, closet to the cafe.  That worked well for me.  Settled into the room and walked pver to the cafe.  Had a bottle of local brew, Black Forest ham sandwich with Caesar Salad.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Extraterrestrial Highway

I had some cereal and coffee at the hotel, packed up the room, and headed down the road toward Nevada.  In Nevada, I bypasses Las Vegas by taking Rt US 89 (Great Basin Highway) and the Extraterrestrial Highway.

 When I turned off the Great Basin highway into the "ET" highway, there was a sign warning the next services were 149 miles in Tonapah!  There was nothing much to see along the 100 miles of the "ET" highway. The was one little village, a ghost town Joshua Trees and scrub bush.

Checked into my room at the Tonapah Station (urgh - confusion with the room,keys, etc) and steps to get up to the room.  Processed photos from the drive. Thought about some dinner, ended up sleeping until 9pm.  Might as well call in a night and get a good breakfast in the morning.

Some Food and Accommodation Photos

Spaghetti and meat balls at at Canyon King Pizzeria. Two pieces of garlic toast.  Washed down with water and Sierra Mist.

Jacob Lake Lodge Patty Melt with fries.
Hearty breakfast at the Jacob Lake Lodge.  Scramble eggs, hash browns (a little dry) mome made wheat toast, and awesome patty of pork sausage.  Added water and coffee.  Food decent. service left to desire.

My half-cabin at Jacob Lake
Double bed side of the room
Rest of the room.  The door was to the stool and tight shower stall.

No grounded outlets, no wi-fi, no TV, no radio - and of course, no microwave or fridge.  And a "steal" at about $100 a night.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pipe Spring National Monument

Hungry, I ordered sausage and eggs for breakfast (I was at the lodge just after they opened at 6:30).  Food was good (portions are too big), service not so good.  Took me over a hour.  Thankfully, I was not in any big hurry.

At breakfast this morning in Jacob Lake, I noticed that I would driving past the Pipe Spring National Monument.  A visit to this monument will give you understanding of the life of earlier inhabitants.  There were Ancestral Puebloan  people, Kaibab Paiutes, Missionaries, Explorers, and Mormon Pioneers.

Thankfully, my St. George room was available early.  Unfortunately, it is in the 2nd floor (thought  I requested first floor).  Most places I  stay at automatically put 69 year old guests on the first floor and near the services.

Worked on my web site and block.  Headed out for some ice cream (the thermometer in the car said it was 107!)  Tomorrow is scheduled as a day of driving - to Tonapah, NV.  Think I and going to get comfy wearing basketball shorts for the drive.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Canyon Sunrise

Got a good night's sleep in my little cabin.  Dressed and headed out at "O-Dark-Thirty" and drove the 45 miles to the Grand Canyon.  Was set up in time for the sunrise.  Did not hike to the best view area, because my legs were still sore from the day before.

After sunrise, I packed the tri-pod back into the car and drove the Cape Royal Road.  Was able to get some great photos without a lot of walking.  By the time I was back to the main road, I was exhausted.  Was back at my cabin about 8am and crashed into bed.

After much needed sleep, I processed my photos and worked on my website pages.  ent to the lodge and had food at the counter.  Had one of my favorite burgers - the patty melt.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Verillion Cliffs & Grand Canyon

A short driving day was on the agenda Tuesday.  Dropped down from Page to Marble Canyon od the Colorado River.  This area started the Vermillion Cliffs formation and the National Monument of the same name. Took some photos of the canyon, river, bridge, and cliffs.

I was too early to check into my cabin at Jacob Lake.  Headed on down the 45 miles to the North Rim on the Grand Canyon.  Checked in at the Visitor's Center.  Verified sunrise and picked up walking stick.

Took several photos.  By the time at got back to the car, my legs were "toast".  Checked into my cabin and settled in.  This is an old little cabin.  No grounded outlets (luckily there was a power strip with cheated on the end in the room.  Further amenities missing from the cabin was any TV, Radio, or internet connection.

Figured out how to make my phone a mobile "hot-spot".  It allowed mt check e-mail.  I did have facebook on my smartphone.  Did not want to run up my usage charges, so decided to wait for make large posting when I got to St. George, UT.

Upper Antelope Canyon

Got a good night's sleep at the Holiday Inn, Chinle.  Needed the rest from all of the walking at Chelly.  Splurged with the breakfast buffet.  Did not take me much time to packed - on the road by 9am.

Not in a big hurry, this morning.  I would be gaining an hour with a time change between Chinle and Page.  There were some boring stretched of the road, interspersed with some interesting red rock scenic. Most of the drive, I had the cruise set at about 55 mph (with a highway limit of 65 mph).  While slow to the traffic, I enjoyed the drive more.

Found the parking lot  and staging area for the Upper Antelope Canyon tours.When I got to the tour area,I found the tour 00cost is $40 the $8 (parking?).  I thought it a bit steep, but I stopping in Page for doing the tour.  Further, my room in Page is on "points".

When it was time for the tour, we were loaded on special pick-up trucks (12 per person) for a ride to the entrance to slot canyon.  Once at the canyon, we were herded through the canyon.  At time it was crowded in the canyon.  By the time we got to the top end of the canyon, I had enough if the tight quarters and crowds.  I was about ready to tell the guide to pick  me up on the way back, when were were out of the canyon. Glad I had the point&shoot camera and my DSLR - I used both on the tour.

It was a quick walk back through the canyon to our transport (no photos on the way back).  Was a struggle getting up into the truck.  I was thinking of doing the lower canyon tour the next day.  With my legs being toast and the cost, I decided it would not worth the price and time.

I was treated by an big room (suite) with  my points at the Days Inn.Settled into the room and started checking my photos.  Found food just a few blocks away (not having to drive into downtown) and had spaghetti and meat balls at  Canyon King Pizzeria.  Finally, crashed into bed about 8pm local time.

On to the Grand Canyon North Rim.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Canyon de Chelly

First stop of my Army Reunion trip was Canyon de Chelly National Monument.  Unusual for me, I was able to get a decent sleep the night before heading out.  Was well rested and headed out of the house about 3:45 in the morning.  Stopped for breakfast in Gallop, NM.

Just across the Arizona border, I turned North on Rt 12.  The map shows the road is a scenic route.  At Tsaile, I headed SW on Route 64, another scenic road.

This road included access to a couple view areas of the canyon.  Stopped by and walked to Mummy Cave and Massacre Cave Overlooks. The trail to Antelope House Overlook was 1/4 mile from the packing lot, so with my knees, I skipped that overlook.

Turned onto the North Rim road.  There, I found many more canyon overlooks.  At the first overlook, I purchase a souvenir of the trip.  A local was selling painted rock telling the story of the area and its inhabitants. My knees did surprising well for all of the walking to the overlooks.

By the time I got to the historic trading post, I was getting tired.  Did a little shopping and headed towards town to find my lodging.  The Holiday Inn is just out of the park.  Registered and settled into my room.

The rest of the day was spent processing the day's photos.  Stretched out my legs on the bed.  Started creating the website pages for the trip.  Finally, wondered of the the restaurant for a late light dinner of chili and frybread.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Local Art Souvenier

At Canyon de Chelly, I met a local artist.  He showed my some of his art.  He had painted the history of the area and it's people on the rock.  Very unique souvenir of my visit the National Monument.

Friday, June 9, 2017

199th LIB Reunion

In 2 days, I will be on the road to an Army Unit reunion.  Back in 2004 I attended my first reunion.  That reunion was a reunion for one company - Echo Company 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, 199th LIB.  This was the group I lived with in Viet Nam.

With some personal reservations, I made plans to attend the reunion in Columbus. GA.  I was hoping to re-connect with some of my buddies from 1970.  Over the years of attending that reunion, I have been able to reconnect to some of the guys, met other that preceded me, but to date, have not been able to reconnect to some of the old hooch buddies.

This year, the Echo Company reunion is scheduled for St. Augustin, FL, where I have previously visited.  Further, its over 1500 miles from my new home in New Mexico.

I have become "facebook friends" with a couple of other vets that were assigned to the 199th.  The 199th Brigade reunion is scheduled to start in about 10 days in Reno, NV.In 'Nam, I was actually assigned to the Brigade HHC.  I have made reservations and will be traveling to Reno to atted the Brigade Reunion.

Meeting other members of the unit does not bother me.  My concern is if my old Chaplain should decide to attend.  He has not attended any of the Echo Company reunions, but I do not know if he has ever attended brigade reunions. I know over the years, He had logging into the brigade web site.

Why is this bothering me?  It's because I have no use for this man.  When I worked for him, he was a "holier-that-thou", bully.  I hated working for him.  I have many bad words about him in my memoirs.  I just hope I do not meet him at the reunion.  I am afraid I would tie into him, should I see him.