Archive for July, 2009

Little Donkey, Little Donkey Carry Me Away

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2009 by carshamus

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Last night we headed into the city to have a look around Temple Square and took a guided tour around the Mormon buildings. The Tabernacle and Shrine was beautiful. The acoustics in the tabernacle was amazing.  We walked around the cathedral like building and saw as many as 20 couples having their wedding photos taken. Both the Bride and Groom were dressed in white.  We then walked around the city for a while.  Lovely wide streets with lots to see.

This morning we set on a scenic drive to a place called  Bear Lake. We headed off and faced getting out of the city via the freeway ( interstate) once again.  We drove for a while and stopped at a town called Huntsville. It was a small town with many wonderfully historic buildings. Many of which were on a lovely lake. Talk about awesome views.

We rounded a corner to see 5 miniature donkeys in a field. We stopped and had a chat to them. I fed them some grass and one pushy one tried to give me a bit of a nibble…. lol bad donkey.  They were so cute and took all the scratches on the head we would give. Did you know when you scratch a donkeys ears they go straight out sideways. LOL : ) TRUE!!!!!  Unfortunately not all of them would fit in the jeep so we had to say goodbye to them.

 

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( meet Manuel)

 We then headed to an even smaller town where I broke ( not my fault, honest, all I did was press a button) their cappuccino machine. So no coffee there now. We skedaddled as fast as we could.

We came over a hill to a lovely place called Bear lake. The water was such a vibrant blue and many people lined the shores, swimming, skiing, jet skiing and having a great time.  We stopped here to walk around the local fair and saw many interesting handy crafts from the local area. I could have bought a dozen lovely patchwork quilts. They were lovely.

We then headed to the local lookout to take shots of the lake. The houses up on the ridge had the best views of all. We also got coffee here and no broken machines did I make.

When we got to the freeway the traffic was basically at a standstill. We saw helicopters and was not sure what was going on. We finally saw that there had been an accident with five cars being towed away. There were 16 people involved in the accident with 10 being hurt. The worst being a 2 year old baby that was in a car that had rolled. He was airlifted out by a helicopter with head and neck injuries. It was on all the news. Sad. Apparently a bike had fallen from a car and one car had swerved to miss it and rolled. Another braked and the others hit that car. And p0of a pile up.

We were glad to get back to the motel and be off the road today.

Travelling by donkey is safer : )

Car in Salt Lake City.

 

 

Salt, Salt and more Salt in Salt Lake City

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2009 by carshamus

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We left Boise and headed towards Salt Lake City. We had a long drive and took a small detour to Hagerman Fossil Beds and took in a short movie about the history of the area and looked at the Fossil Collection they had there. We also found a post office in this small place and I was able to post my postcards finally.

We got to Salt lake City and fought the battle once again on the freeway to get into the hotel area that we are staying. We got settled and went and had a wonderful Chinese banquet for dinner. It was delicious.

After a great sleep and yummy breakfast we headed today to the Bonneville Salt Flats. We were interested to see what this historic place was like. ( lots of salt I imagine. lol)

The salt plains went on forever. We stopped at a rest stop and walked out onto the salt which caked itself to our shoes. There was so much glare it was impossible to see without sunglasses. It was pretty amazing.

We then drove out to Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway. This is where jet and rocket cars exceeded 500 and 600mph in the early 1960’s.

We drove out onto the speedway and clocked a fast 55mph. LOL

It was the strangest place I have been to. No plant life, just white on white. We had a bit of fun out on the salt with the shots. Oh what a feelin’ Bonneville.

We then headed to Wendover which is just next to the Salt Flats. It is on the Utah/ Nevada Border and on the Nevada side it looks like a mini Reno or Vegas. It is all casinos.

We decided to head back to the motel and we are going to go into the city this afternoon and have dinner and see a bit of the city.

 Car in Salt Lake City.

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Walking on the Moon

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2009 by carshamus

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Leaving Idaho Falls we were heading to Boise for the night with a stop on the way at Craters Of the Moon National Monument. Before we left we went down and looked at the falls just a few blocks from our motel. It was lovely. We arrived at the Craters of The Moon at about 10am. We thought it was only going to be a quick stop, but after we headed into the park and
looked at the visitors  centre we ended up staying there  a good four hours or so.

It was a really excellent and different place to visit. Apparently some of NASA’s Apollo Astronauts learned basic volcanic geology there in 1969 as they prepared for the moon missions.

There was a seven mile drive around the park with many stops along the way.
 
Our first stop was at the Devils Orchids nature trail. We have been to so many Devils things ( Devils Garden- near Pikes Peak, The Devils Cornfields- Death Valley and  Devils Playground – Arches National Park)  There certainly is a lot of Devil-ing going on around here.  This was a small trail with lots of interesting rock formations and plant life.

We then headed to the Inferno Cone, an extinct volcano a very steep climb to the top, but, the view of the surrounding area was amazing. The whole cone was just black and made of small volcanic rock. We then went to view the spatter cones and big crater area. These are miniature volcanoes that spewed out rivers of molten larva that eventually formed caves and lava tubes. There were all these things called Larva bombs everywhere. These are big globs of larva that are thrown out of cinder cones that harden in flight, forming larva bombs that can take many shapes.
 
Oneamazing thing we witnessed was this deep crater in the middle of all this desolate rock that was filled with hardened ice, never unfreezing because of the strong cold winds blowing through an underground larva tube.

We then headed on a walk to the caves and walked down Dewdrop cave, a small open to the air cave. We then walked along and went down into Beauty Cave. It was really cold and dark down there. With hang Larva Stalactites. Unlike other stalactites these are not a product of dripping  water. (although there was dripping water in this cave) These are formed by recedinglarva leaving molten rock on the ceiling and the heat within the tube can cause the ceiling to remelt. The molten rock then drips and hardens, forming small stalactites. I used the flash to get some shots of the cave and see what was in there as it was pitch black down there. After leaving a really warm day above it was a beautifully chilly place to be.

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We met a couple heading into the cave from New Jersey that had a brother living in Melbourne and we chatted to them for a while.
    
We then left the craters of the moon after having a really great time and stopped in a very small town called Carey and had an old fashioned hamburger at a small (an the only) food place in the town. We wanted to have an “Atomic” Burger at Arco, a place known for having over 50 Atomic reactors being built in the area, apparently this is the highest concentration of reactors in the world in one area,  but it was too early and we didn’t want to glow in the dark afterwards. lol
 
We arrived in Boise and ( after a stop at the airport – long story) we found our motel, a nice place on the Boise river and settled in for the night. Another day with one eight to go. How time flies.
Car in Boise.

 

 

Braking For Bison in Yellowstone

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2009 by carshamus

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We left the motel after breakfast to head to Yellowstone National Park… (how many parks is that now??) On the way we stopped at an Antique Flea market that was set up on the side of the road. I bought a Garden of The Gods foldout Postcard from about the 1950’s and a miniature crown camera measuring about 4cm across in its own little leather case. It is so cute, I couldn’t resist. I shall have to look it up on the Internet as I know nothing about it.

We coffee’d up and then headed to West Yellowstone, buying a $5 foot long, ( that cost $9) don’t they love to hike the prices in places like that. We entered the park and drove shortly by a bald eagle sitting in its nest. Wonderful to see these wonderful  birds in the wild and surviving.

We drove to the Lower Geyser basin and walked around the amazing bubbling hot springs and spewing geysers. It was like walking on the moon to me. Nothing like anything I have ever seen before. Later we stopped at a field to watch proghorn frolic and one mum feed her baby.

Old faithful was the next stop and we took our lunch in and waited with the crowds for it to erupt. We ate lunch and a couple near us who had been there for two hours said it was due to go off. After I ate I went and sat on the edge of the viewing platform and 5 minutes later there she blows. It was pretty spectacular, but I got wet. LOL The sulphur smell is so strong. We timed that perfectly as we were only there 10 minutes.
 
We pulled over quickly to get some wonderful shots of a small heard of bison with a mother and her calf feeding. I was only a few metres from them. Amazing. They seem to be shedding a sheep-like coat.

We drove around the west side of the Yellowstone Lake and we stopped to get some awesome shots of the still lake and the clouds reflected in the water with the Tetons on the horizon.  I was nearly carried away by the little bugs that swarmed everywhere.

It had begun to get a bit stormy and we had a little rain as we drove up to a place called the Sulphur Cauldron. This place was amazing. You looked down on two large sulphur pits and laying ( rather like my doggies do with legs in the air) were three Bison (a day at the spa) sleeping and snoring happily on the warm ground. They were pretty cute for big hairy cow like creatures. lol

We came to standstill of cars banked back a long way only to realise that Bison were crossing the  road to get to the Yellowstone river at the end of the  day. It took about 40 min of stopping and starting to get through this part of the park. We had Bison so close to the car you could touch them. And no i didn’t. lol We had to stop when one ran down having left at 7am and it he hill and then stood in front of us on the road and just eyed us off. Some rolled in the dirt and caused a dirt storm, two males butted each other in a rather forceful yet playful way and many snorted and made the most interesting of noises. It was the highlight of the day.

We stopped at Lower Falls and wondered at the crystal blue/ aquamarine of the water flowing from it. We walked out to artist point and was amazed at the mass of colours in the  Yellowstone canyon. You could see why it was called such a name. We raced up to the car as the clouds were looming and rain was starting to fall.
 
As we were heading over a peak in the mountain and passed the Roosevelt Lodge the rain became so heavy we had to pull off. The next thing the rain got white and it started to snow. Car passing us were covered in white and the ground turned white. At first we thought it was hail but it was light and fluffy. Now this may not be very exciting for you but for two Aussies in the American summer, we were rapt with fascination. lol Snow in summer. It didn’t last too long as we drove through it but i think it would have been pretty cold on the mountain that night.

The rain continued as we drove and the sky was dark. It was getting late and we were now into a twelve hour day having left at 7am and it was now 7pm. We really wanted to see Mammoth Hot Springs, but the rain was heavy.hot spring terrace which
Luckily for us the sky cleared for about 30 minutes when we got there and we were able to view the upper hot spring terraces which were like looking at the moon. This was my favourite thing of the whole park. The blackened trees and the colours of the water, the crystal like formations, that reminded me of budding corals was just so interesting and really like nothing I have ever seen. The steam rising from the hot springs gave the whole place an awesome atmosphere. I really loved it here. And the quaint town and buildings at the base of the springs was somewhere I would love to explore. The sulphur smell was so strong and I had flashbacks of Biology class and Bunsen burners and such. : )
We then headed out of the park and back toward Idaho falls. We picked   burger just near the motel and collapsed at 9:30pm when we got there, another huge wonderful day.
Car ( and the boison) in Idaho Falls.

 

Leaving Denver and The Grand Tetons

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26, 2009 by carshamus

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We  left Denver and had a huge day of driving. We drove leaving Colorado and into Wyoming. Were headed to Jackson, a town just out of The Grand Teton National Park. We had a huge drive and were greeted with the beautiful snow covered peaks of  The Grand Teton and Mt Morgan as we drove by. We stopped at a place called Cunninghams Cabin and walked around the area. Cunningham Cabin is an old historic area of Grand Teton National Park. It is lower than the upper shelf road that goes to Jackson. The cabin was the scene of a shootout in 1899 between a posse and two horse thieves, who were killed at the scene.  We were walking about the cabin when we saw a little (rat type creature) popping in and out of a hole in the ground. I got some good shots for identification. Then we heard a rustle in the thickets and we got a quick glimpse of a Raccoon. Then we saw a badger playing in the field and we followed him and got a few flying shots of him trying to get away from us. 

We drove to Jackson Hole a completely over run town with so many tourists it took us ages to get through the main street. We got to the motel and crashed. It was a huge day.

Waking up in Wyoming and another early morning we headed out to the park and drove to the visitors centre in Grand Teton National Park. It was a massive place made of wood and glass and was architecturally beautiful. It was filled with interesting facts and stunning paintings.

We  headed to Lake Jenny and took the boat over to the west side of the lake and took quite a long hike to Hidden Waterfall and Inspiration Point. The views were wonderful. We sat up on some rocks and enjoyed watching the Chipmunks playing there. The boats dashed back and forth all the while were were there over the lake.

We walked back down to the boat ramp and across the lake. We got some lunch and bought a few t-shirts and caps at the General store and headed off to find a place with a view to eat.

We drove around to the Lake Jenny overlook and stopped at a viewpoint to take some shots of the lake, I walked down to the water, which was crystal clear and still.

We then drove up and passed Jackson lake and then back round and passed the tetons again. We saw a turn off for Signal Mountain Road and headed up the the most beautiful overlook we had seen the whole day. It was stunning, An amazing view of the snow covered mountains and lake below. It was stunning.

As we were heading back down from the over look we came to a few stopped cars on the side of the road and two rangers directing traffic. It was then that I got my first sighting of a BLACK BEAR.  I jumped out of the car and got a couple of shots, nothing great as it was kinda dark, but evidence that I had seen him. He was strolling through the forest floor. HOW EXCITING!!!!  ( happy dance)

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We then headed out of the park and back through crazy busy town of Jackson Hole and towards Idaho Falls, We went over a pretty steep mountain range which took the life of three cars that we saw over heating, one of which was spewing that much steam and smoke you could hardly see the car.

We left Wyoming and passed the border to Idaho and I suddenly felt like a potato. lol  We are now in a farming area with beautiful green rolling hills.

Car in Idaho and BEARY happy.

  

 

The City of Rabbits & A Few Squirrels

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2009 by carshamus

 

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We slept late and then headed to breakfast for a much needed coffee. As I was toasting my bagel a man asked me if I was english.   Grrrrr ( hush Brian) lol I said no Australian. We got to talking and I mentioned that we were heading to Yellowstone. Bob said he had been there many times and came over and offered us some great suggestions as to where to visit while we were in the YEllowstone and Teton ( pronounced tea-tonne… not tet-on) National parks.

We spent a bit of time chatting then headed back to our room and then out for some shopping and lunch. We really have been tired and lethargic here and were not too mtoivated to have a huge day.

After a bit of retail therapy and some grocery shopping… we headed back for an afternoon nap. lol

I saw my first swipe your groceries and swipe your card self serve counter today. The thing of the future where you will not need peoiple to serve you. The end of the checkout operator is neigh.

We spent some time working out our next few days and looking at accomadation, I had washing to do again before we left Denver in the morning and I took sometime to pack up the room and get the Jeep clened out somewhat. I talked to the squirrels and the bunnies at the bottom of our stairs, but alas I did not catch one to take home with me for our puppies to play with. lol I have done all my postcards but have not seen a post office , and I have been looking to post them. So if you were expecting one I will send them as soon as I can.

I had a chat to mum and dad  on yahoo messenger, what an awesome thing to be able to do.Clear as a bell.  Brooke rang and we talked for ages, she was very cheeky. lol   It scares me to think of Brian and Slug out in he English wilds taking shots of god knows what. I hope you two behaved.  I hope you got me some pretty flower shots. Tanty the goat did not get all sexy on me lol thank you very much, but your comment made me laugh.  Tomorrow we are off to the Grand Teton national park and then Yellowstone, both huge days and I cannot wait. 
Off to dinner it is now 9pm and I am hungry..we eat so late here.
Car in Denver. ( the city of rabbits and not much oxygen)

High Enough for Mountain Goats

Posted in My Trip on July 23, 2009 by carshamus

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We decided to head to Pikes Peak today, a mountain with an elevation of 14,100ft.  It is a mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, 10 miles (16 km) west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in El Paso County.  Drivers race up the mountain in a famous annual race called the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Just before you enter the park you drive past Santa’s North pole. : )  Interesting looking place. A sign said Santa was in and busy making toys.

The drive up the mountain was horrendous, steep switchbacks, tight curves and steep hills.  There were very few guard rails and times the road looked as if it was going straight off the edge and into cloudage.

There was snow on the mountain and also a lot of road works. Made  it interesting to get past huge graders on a small road that mostly was dirt.

When we got to the peak the air was thin and I was pretty dizzy. It really was high. The views were amazing. A cog railway ( you can see it in the shot I  posted) travels up to the peak carrying many passengers, but I think the drive was worth it. I had to stop a lot and have rest breaks walking around the area. It was croweded when the train arrived but really great when it set off again.

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We then headed down the hill again and about halfway they stop you and take a heat reading from your brakes. Ours were at 180, and the ranger said GREAT mountain driving. Go the jeep!! We saw mountain goats grazing on the tundra and they happily posed for photos for me.

 We then headed for a drive through the Garden of the Gods, which I liken to a mini Arches National Park. But way too crowded with about 50 people on average on each rock formation. No idea why.

We then headed to Castle Rock and stopped at this massive outlet shopping town, it was huge. We had lunch there and then headed back to the motel. I had a bit of a headache and was sniffly and had a long sleep. I do think that the heights here in Denver does not agree with me. The upside is that I sleep like a log.

Sleepy Car in Denver.

 ps. LOL at the cartoon on one of my first posts and how it relates to this post.

https://carshamus.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/fear-of-mountain-goats/