Tuesday, September 12, 2017

This is Wisconsin -  Aug/Sept 2017

Once again my blog is falling behind, but have no fear, we're still traveling, living full time in our motorhome and loving this adventure we're on. I plan to go back and post a few blogs from our time after San Diego to present here in WI. 
Those travels included time in Yosemite, Sequoia Nat Park and the Owens Valley in northern CA. We spent a week in Bishop and attended Mule Days. Explored ghost towns and found some great hikes. These were amazing travels. 

This is WISCONSIN, born and raised, and will always be home. 💗

My brother in law checking his corn back in July. Now in Sept it is well over our heads. The crops look very good this fall. Maybe too good, we hear corn prices are down. 

Camping at the home farm.
My sister and brother in law always offer us a spot to camp at the farm. They have switched to crop farming...the cows are gone and the old barn sits empty. Sad to see the small dairy farms becoming a thing of the past.   

DOOR COUNTY, one of the most beautiful places in WI.
Cave Point County Park on the Michigan Shoreline has beautifully colored turquoise water. The caves in the limestone cliffs make it a popular spot for kayaking.

PEACEFUL....my favorite cairn along the Cave Point shoreline. 

DULUTH MN, Canal Park is a great place to watch ships come into port.
The Indiana Harbor is a 1,000 foot long ship, one of the longest on the Great Lakes.  

As a thunderstorm was brewing, this dramatic sky unfolded. 

WI is known for small town festivals, horse pulls and tractor pulls.

Being die hard Packer fans, a trip to Green Bay was in order. The Packer's open practices are popular and draw a huge crowd.
A favorite tradition is the players riding kids bikes back and forth from the stadium to the practice field. Bikes are lined up waiting for the end of practice. As practice ends, kids stand by their bikes and hope to be chosen. 

One happy young lady.

Said to be the world's largest scrap metal sculpture...standing amid a collection of sculptures in the middle of WI.
We enjoy the unusual, and this sculpture garden fit the bill. Tom Every worked as an industrial wrecker taking down old factories and buildings. He retired in 1983 and decided to create from what was considered trash. He earned the nickname Dr. Evermor and named this massive sculpture the Forevertron. One could spend hours looking at all the different pieces incorporated into his art.   
My favorite bird. 
There is a full orchestra of creatures with different instruments.
Tha's all for now, will be heading southward soon, fall weather is setting in.  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

San Diego, May 2017

My blog is lagging behind...will try to do some catching up. 
The first week in May we met up with our son, his wife and our little grandson in San Diego. 

Our campground at Carlsbad State Park...our rig sitting on top the cliff.
What an amazing view we had. 

Carlsbad beach.
This beautiful beach goes on forever and we walked and walked daily.

Our son is always up for quirky things (actually we are too)...so we set out for a day trip to Salvation Mountain and Slab City. Slab City is hard to describe...it's inhabited mostly by free spirits (hippy type) squatters living on an abandoned navy base. All that's left of the base is the cement slabs where buildings once stood, hence the name Slab City. People living there are often referred to as Slabbers. Slab City is totally off the grid, no running water, electric or garbage pick up. The "yard art" displayed throughout is apocalyptic, creative, mad-max, twilight zone and interesting.
The library at Slab City. 
Quite a selection of books, albeit a bit dusty. 

One of my favorites at Slab City is the wall of old TV's and computer screens. Interesting notes painted on the screens. The row of chairs all had remotes on them :).
 Just so happened a man was sitting there reading the screens when I snapped this photo. 

Around the corner from Slab City is Salvation Mountain. The work of a very dedicated Leonard Knight who built a mountain with his own hands and funds, all to share his faith. There's a pathway with steps one can climb to the top by the cross. The mountain is made from straw, tree limbs, old tires, windows and adobe clay. Knight passed away in 2014.  
A quote fom a brochure I picked up...Leonard often said, "Love is universal, Love God, Love one another and just keep it simple."   

It takes alot of paint and volunteers to maintain the mountain. 

Our next interesting stop was the Jacobs School of Engineering. The campus has several unique "sculptures" that were commissioned by the school. This tiny house rests on top a 7 story building. I couldn't stop looking at it.
We were intrigued and made our way up to the 7th floor. Unfortunately, the door going out to the tiny house was locked. There are set times that it is open for tours, how cool would that be. I loved the garden and yard. 

Another work of art "sculpture" on the Engineering campus.

All from San Diego. It's on to Owens Valley and Bishop CA. in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Boron CA & Laughlin, NV... April, 2017

Viewpoint overlooking mine.
The small town of Boron is famous for borax mining. It's an older town with a museum/visitors center that's worth a stop. The museum highlights local and mining history. We had lunch at the 20 Mule diner across the street...tasty Mexican food. After lunch we drove to the mine a few miles out of town. The mine also has a visitors center with informational displays and a short video about this huge mining operation. Viewpoints outside provide an overlook of the mine…a massive hole in the ground. I liked the piles of rocks in the parking lot…rocks/minerals from the mine, visitors could take a favorite or two. I was in rock heaven…but our RV and DH (dear husband) keep me in check. I did get a couple small ones to add to my rock jar. :) 
We learned a great deal about borax that day...
1881- Borax is discovered in Death Valley and mining begins.
Borax was transported out of Death Valley to a railroad hub near Boron using mule power. These were the 20 Mule Team years. These great mule teams traveled 162 miles from Death Valley to the railroad point. Their route took them through some of the most forbidding land on earth, summer temperatures ranged from 136-150 degrees. They covered approximately 16-18 miles a day, the one way trip took about 10 days. The wagons were built big and strong, the rear wheels being 7 ft high with steel tires 8” wide. A mule train consisted of two big ore wagons, a water tank wagon holding 1,200 gallons and necessary supplies. A fully loaded wagon train weighed approximately 36 tons. The Harmony Mine in Death Valley was closed after rich deposits were found in the Boron area, close to the rail lines.  
Borates (borax) are used in cleaning products, glass to increase strength, fertilizers, fiberglass, wood treatments, nutrition and additives in many other products.
The mine in Boron is California’s largest open-pit mine and the largest borax mine in the world. 

Retired truck from the mine, on display at the town museum. The museum host told us this is a "baby" truck compared to what they're using today.

Have you ever seen a speed limit at 37 1/2? 

This was posted on the road into the borax mine. 
Caught our attention which is probably the point.  

 Laughlin, NV

Davis Dam on the Colorado River in Laughlin. There was a beautiful walking and bike trial from the casino strip to the Davis Dam, the city has done a nice job providing outdoor recreation as well as the casino attractions. The road across the top of the dam is closed to vehicle traffic, it's open to pedestrians and bikes. We rode to the top and found a good view and informative signs about the dam. 

We loved talking evening strolls along the River walk, it runs between the casinos and the river. Many of the casinos have large outdoor patio areas, we enjoyed a blues music festival one evening.

We took a narrated cruise on the Colorado, beautiful evening skyline.

Laughlin has an interesting history, the town was started in 1966, hard to believe looking at the hustle and bustle today and think we’re older than this town! Yikes. :)
In 1964 Don Laughlin (from Minnesota) bought a boarded up 8 room motel and built it into the Riverside Resort which opened in 1966. The area was once home to the construction crews that built the Davis Dam, when the dam was completed the workers moved on, the little settlements dried up. Old foundations can still be explored along the walking/biking trail. From what we’ve read, Don Laughlin has donated millions to the community in which he still lives and can be seen frequenting his establishment and chatting with customers.  

A most legendary story about a Laughlin resident. Mrs Lafferty, in her 70’s, had a home on  the Colorado River. Happened to be on the strip where casinos were building. A casino/resort wanting that bit of property offered her $250,000, then $500,000 and later $1million tax free, all to which she refused. It was said she loved her home on the river and claimed there was no place she’d rather be. Then came a offer she couldn’t refuse…$2.5 million tax free, plus a suite on the top floor of a yet-to-be-built hotel tower at the Edgewater Casino, where she could live rent free for life. While the Edgewater was being built she spent some of her new fortune traveling the world and picking out furnishing for her new home. But she was never able to enjoy her new suite, she died a couple weeks before work was completed in 1991. Out of respect for her, the suite has never been rented on a permanent basis, it sits empty most the time. Her suite has the only balcony on the river side. (At the top left and you can make out her balcony.)

Grapevine Canyon… 
A few miles out of town is a great little hike into Grapevine Canyon, a natural spring flows thru the canyon keeping it lush and provides a water source for birds and big horn sheep. On the higher canyon walls are some well preserved petroglyphs that indicate the presence of ancient inhabitants.  


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Lake Roosevelt AZ to Stonington CT

March, April 2017 

The largest and most beautiful barrel cactus we've ever seen, they almost looked artificial.  
Boyce Thompson Arboretum near the mining town of Superior AZ. Thousands of different cactus and plants from deserts around the world. Three miles of hiking trails and garden paths throughout. A beautiful relaxing day. 

Boojum tree in the arboretum.
These unusual tress are found in Baja California.
So intriguing, they looked like upside down carrots. 

Roosevelt Dam bridge, a favorite scenic viewpoint. The bridge is next to the Roosevelt Dam, it was built to take traffic  off the Roosevelt Dam. Along with the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges it was named one of the top 12 bridges in the nation for overall design, size and eye-appeal. It is the longest 2-lane, single span, steel arch bridge in North America. 
Sunset over Roosevelt Lake in Tonto Basin. Photo taken from our campground. 

How fortunate we are to be able to stay in beautiful places like this. More rain than usual this year has the lake up to 70% capacity. We remember last year it was down in the 40% range.  

Here we are at the Flagstaff airport waiting for our flight out to CT to visit our kids and grandson.

The San Francisco peaks are a stand-out in Flagstaff especially when snow capped. There's been more snow than normal this year which is a welcome event for the water shortages in AZ, the forests and deserts are very lush this spring. 

Our kids live in Stonington Burough, the Burough is a very quaint Victorian village set on a spit of land jetting out into the Atlantic. I totally loved walking here. The old massive Victorian houses are spectacular. We walked to the ocean daily, only blocks away in three different directions. March was still a bit chilly, I kept thinking how beautiful it will be in summer. 

A walk to the ocean and commercial fishing harbor. 

Many of the historic houses have plaques on them with dates they were built. This house was built in 1836 by a Captain Willcox, a crew member on a ship that had a part in discovering Antarctica.

Amtrak runs close to their house, our grandson liked standing on the walking bridge over the tracks and watching the trains. 

About an hour north of Stonington is Newport, RI. 
We took a drive to Newport and toured a couple of these old mansions along the coast.  
Inside the famous Breakers Mansion built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1895. Hard to fathom it was built as a summer cottage. Built on a cliff that overlooks the ocean with 70 rooms (many the size of a basketball court). The interior is decorated with marble, rare woods, gold leaf trims...you name it. Whatever it took to make a statement of wealth and status. It was something to see. Although I must say, it was very much for show, over-the-top, and a place I couldn't imagine living in...but then we're far from rich and live in a 30 ft motorhome...and yup, we're very happy.  

Such a great neighborhood for walks. 

The ocean is a block away. 

Back in Arizona.
Our new toy...looking forward to doing some "wheeling" in AZ this summer. 
Our first little drive to the old ghost town of Two Guns. 

I-40 is always a busy route, lots of semi trucks. 
Today we got stuck in a traffic back-up near Kingman AZ, a bad accident miles ahead,  three semi's had tangled and all rolled over. When we finally got to the scene, it was evicent one was carrying beer...Miller beer all over the highway. 
We're onto to Boron CA, going to check out the Borax mine. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lake Havasu, AZ: Winter Blast, Pyrotechnics Show (2/2017)

The pyrotechnics show is a gathering of pyrotechnic (fireworks) manufacturers showing off and testing some of their new and most dazzling creations. Fireworks 4 nights in a row beginning about 6:00 and going until 10:00. The colors and different types were some like we'd never seen before. 

We camped at the Rodeo grounds in Lake Havasu which offers great viewing for the fireworks. Our campsite was located inside an arena, one of our more unusual spots to set up camp. The attendant showing us to our site opened up the gate and ushered us in. I can almost hear some in my family saying....."they finally locked em up", ha ha. 
Hiking with a  friend we've met in our travels.
Hike appropriately named "the crack". Thanks to whoever propped up a ladder here. 

Hike ends with a beautiful view of Lake Havasu.
We plan to return to this event again next year.