A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Life at Pass Creek

Near Wolf Creek Pass

Home for the better part of a week.

What more could one want for a scenic view?

Next to us was this lush meadow. 
 Beans loved bounding through the tall grass.

Deer would pass by each day.

The only buck that ever went by.

Even had a family of ducks pay us a visit.

Every afternoon we enjoyed a thunderstorm.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Scenic Byway

Highway 160 
Between Gunnison and Pagosa Springs

This reminded me of the entrance into Yosemite Valley

You will notice that most of these photos were taken while driving. 
There were just not many places to pull over.

Their bridge driveway to their home.

Here you can really see how all the pines are dead, probably that pine beetle infestation.

We were able stop at the summit.
Beans was onto something right away.

Scene from the summit. 

Coming down the other side from the summit.
What a beautiful place to live...except in winter.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Monarch Pass

Near Gunnison, Colorado

It was a good climb up to this pass.  Two trucks pulling trailers were stopped by the road, hood up.  Two passenger cars were at the top, hood up, steam billowing out.  The Little House on the Highway did good.  I like to drop in behind a big semi truck that is just crawling along with flashers going. 
Just take it slow and easy.

A big difference from the country we've been in for the pass few months.

I went into the gift shop.  This jacket was so soft.  Wish I were a woman.  I'd buy it.  
Well maybe guys could wear it too?  $50.  $40 for a vest.

I got this instead.  Couldn't resist.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Rest, Recuperate, Regroup

Salida, Colorado

We found a nice little spot north of town after our Banzai run across the Great Plains.
Yes, it was wonderful to be here. No sticky humidity.  Each evening thick billowy clouds would roll in bringing even cooler temperatures, a spattering of rain and earth shaking thunder.

On one of our evening walks we came across this fellow. 
Beans showed little interest in going over to make friends.  I thought that interesting.

I was able to get pretty close (not within spraying distance I hoped) before he even knew I was there.  I had to look it up as to why.  Skunks have poor eyesight but do have good hearing and smell.
I guess my Indian stealthy stalking skills are still pretty good.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Mad,Mad,Mad Run

Missouri, Kansas, Colorado

We were faced with some long days driving to escape the heat and humidity.  It was our best option as with the air conditioner going and a fan running we were comfortable all the way, Beans on my lap the entire time.  Much better than sitting and suffering. We got on U.S. Highway 50 which was a straight shot across the states.  I've done 50 across Utah and Nevada (The Loneliest Highway in America) so now I could add this portion to my map of routes taken.  Kansas was cookin'.  
Nearly the entire stretch across the state each town was pushing 100 degrees. 
At least their humidity was much less. 

As we passed through Kinsley, Kansas I caught a glimpse of this sign.  I had to go back.  I don't know how many laws I broke doing a U-turn through a construction zone on Hwy 50 but I was determined. 
So this is cool. 

There was this museum there also.  I peaked inside and saw that it was a gem of a collection just like some of the others.  Oh it just tore me up that I couldn't explore but I didn't want to leave Beans out in the hot.  The nice lady said I could bring her in.  Gee, I just don't think Beans would enjoy it all that much.  Plus I couldn't really get into looking at things wondering what she was getting into.  
I promised the lady I would return someday in the spring or fall!

I did grab a shot of this bicycle.
Can you imagine riding that 1561 miles?

One overnight stop I heard a cat howling.  I found this starving old guy walking around.  Of course he would not allow me to get close and ran off.  I think he went down into this storm drain.  I left a can of Bean's food out, one she does not like - turkey.  Cow, Chicken, Fish, are fine.  Turkey NOT.
The next day I checked.  The can was cleaned out and I hope he got the food and not some varmint.
You can see the can pushed off of the cement into the grass at the left of the slab.

I've never seen a truck with this sign before.

Another overnight stop this guy pulls in.  The RV had Nebraska plates.  The Jeep had Missouri plates.
The trailer had Mississippi plates.  I so wanted to see what state his drivers license was.

Finally we made it to Colorado but we weren't done yet.
We had half the state to cross before reaching the Rocky Mountains.
And that half did not disappoint.  Near Lamar the outside temperature read 115 at one point.

Ahh....this is where we belong.
As I put together this post an afternoon thunder storm has rolled in.
This is the forecast for everyday this week - afternoon thunder storms.
Beans is happy.  I am happy.  We're so happy to be here.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

We Give Up!

Pinewood Lake
Elsinore, Missouri

This was a Forest Service campground that at one time collected fees but for some reason it is now free.  I'm fine with that.  When we first arrived it felt wonderful.  Although the temperatures were in the 80's the humidity was 25% less; it was a noticeable difference from what we had been putting up with weeks prior.  Shade and only one other camper plus a cyclist, yeah, this will do fine.
Then the late afternoon arrived.

It got hot. The humidity level skyrocketed.  Ever been in a sauna?  Any breeze to be had was nonexistent.  The air was stagnant.  We were sweltering.  Beans was panting.  We had three fans going.  The forecast was more of the same but at increased levels.  There is no fun in this.
It finally broke us.  We waved the white flag and surrendered to Middle America.  It won. 

A week earlier it dawned on me what was going wrong.  In the past every trip back east that Sinbad and I had done was in the spring and the fall.  We'd always return home for the summer when the vacationing families were turned loose.  The Midwest, Mideast, the South, is no place to be in the summer.  Every local I have talked with all confirmed with me that "you don't ever get used to it". They don't like it one bit.  That was nice to learn.  I thought I was a wimp.  I've learned a BIG lesson where NOT to go in the summers from now on.

We're heading for the Rocky Mountains.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Butler County Park

Woodbury, Kentucky

I wasn't expecting much driving to this location and was prepared to do some more driving to a spot to camp for a few days.  I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.  Best part?  The shade beneath these towering sycamore trees.  They helped a lot against the heat and humidity.

The worse part was the litter strewn about.  This was a new park dedicated in June of 2017.  There were two trash cans ($21.78 - the price tags were still on them).  Both were overflowing and the animals would get in digging around and thus the litter.  It appears the County never comes by to empty the cans.  I picked up all the litter at my spot, stuffed in into the can and was able to get the lid on.  The other trash can after cleaning that mess, I had to leave a large black plastic bag on top.
The next morning the animals had ripped into it.

There were lots of butterflies about and very few mosquitoes.  And too, fireflies.
I love those fireflies.  I'd come back to the Mideast for the fireflies alone.

Then there were these guys.  Cicadas.  They were huge and loud.  
They gave the whole scene a tropical jungle like atmosphere.

It was here that Beans caught her first frog but it got away.

Where did it go?
Frog catching requires a whole different skill set.

Nearby was this disused lock.

I talked with a local and he told me the dam washed out 15 or so years ago and they never rebuilt it.

 Boat traffic ceased and everything was abandoned. 
 The "jungle is slowly reclaiming it all.

 A tree growing around one of the geared arms that open and close the lock gates.

This was all along the Green River which was pretty green.
I thought best not to swim in it
Who knows what lurks in those murky waters?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Dumpster Divers

Richmond, Kentucky

It is two o'clock in the morning and I have to get up and do what most of us do at that hour of the night.  As normal, I can't get back to sleep so I get back up and sit at the table eating some grapes.  A car zooms into the parking lot, does a complete circle around then parks by the dumpsters.  Earlier in the day when Beans and I were walking around this dumpster had all of the appearances of one of the stores being cleaned out for some new tenants.  Full of big black trash bags and two rolls of carpeting and carpet padding.  A man and woman get out of the car, the guy climbs in the dumpster and starts rooting around with a flashlight in his mouth.  He tosses out a couple of the trash bags and the woman picks them up and tosses them into the other dumpster which is empty.  What is he looking for?  A marked bag full of drugs?  This was the drop-off point? Finally a roll of carpeting is ejected from the dumpster.  The woman picks it up, goes around to the back of the car, pops the trunk lid, folds the roll in half and stuffs it inside of the trunk!  Oh, they are after the carpeting.  Their trailer must need new carpet.  Hey hon, it's 2 am, lets go get that carpet. The guy is struggling to get the other roll of carpet and padding out but finally succeeds.  The woman hefts it around to the back, folds it in half and starts stuffing.  Ever try to fold in half a roll of carpet?  No easy task.  Then the rear door of the car pops open and out steps Mom.  I'm sure it was the woman's mother.  With a cigarette dangling from her mouth she helps with getting the second carpet inside the trunk.  It ain't going.  So the old lady climbs in on top of everything and starts jumping up and down on it then pushing her shoulder into it like a lineman on a football team!  Boy, don't mess with women from Kentucky!  The two women finally get it in far enough that they can close the trunk lid after a dozen slam attempts.  Just in time too because a cop rolls up.  Busted!  While he is taking notes and checking ID's back-up arrives.  Meanwhile Mom is in the back seat and none of the cops ever knew.  In fact they never even had them open the trunk!  After some talking the cops leave and the dumpsters divers start up the car with no left rear tail light or brake light working and drive off for home.  
Tomorrow the trailer gets new (to it) carpeting. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Abraham Lincoln's Boyhood Home

10 miles north of his birthplace in
Hodgenville, Kentucky

There was a land title dispute with the homestead to the south and the Lincoln's lost the land that Thomas Lincoln (Abe's father) had paid $200 for.  They moved north and this land proved to be more fertile.  So maybe it was a good thing after all.
Now this is the kind of site I enjoy.  Sure, this is another replica cabin and it may not even be on the exact spot, but I'll take it anyway.

And here the farmland is left alone.  You can easily imagine the Lincolns working this land growing corn, pumpkins and vegetables to basically survive off of.

I did not know of this tale.  
It can be said Austin Gollaher was the most important figure in our history today.  
If it wasn't for him being there that day can you imagine 
how different the course of our history would have went?

I walked down into Knob Creek which was pretty dry.

I didn't go any further as a sign pointed out that Copperhead snakes live here.  Okay, I got that!

This large building is an inn/tavern that was built in 1928-33 for travelers who came here to see Abe Lincoln's boyhood home.  You can read more about it below.

More informational signs for those of you like me who read these things.

I thought this funny.  These nice fancy drinking fountains and the water is bad.
So at one time they were being used and then someone got sick?
Okay, that isn't funny.  I've been there after having bad water long ago.