Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dancing in Show Low, AZ - 2013

     The past few weeks have been very busy, but fun and exciting too.   This was the first time we had traveled in July for several years, spending most of them in Evanston.  Our first stop was the Elks Lodge in Richfield, UT.  We had daily rain storms while traveling,  but most hit in the afternoons after we were parked.
     Since the road south of Page, AZ on hiway 89 is still closed with a lengthy detour, we decided to go south by way of  Jacob Lake.  This area is also quite a bit higher in elevation, resulting in cooler temperatures.   After leaving Richfield, we drove to Fredonia, AZ, where we unhitched the car and took it west to Pipe Spring National Monument.  This was the only major monument in AZ that we had not visited.

     Pipe Spring was a Mormon Tithing Ranch located on the Arizona strip. There a natural spring was forced to the surface of the land and made available for irrigation and drinking.  This made the land around it very desirable.  After conflicts led to several killings of both missionaries, settlers, and Indians, a small stone fortress was built in 1868 as a stronghold against further Navajo raids in the region.

     To connect Pipe Spring to other Mormon settlements and Salt Lake City, the church established a station on the Deseret Telegraph Line.  It was the first telegraph station in Arizona territory.
It was interesting to hear that 16 year old girls were sent here to operate the telegraph station.  It would have been quite an experience, I imagine. One or two families lived at the fort, as well as some in the surrounding areas.  Although the fort was built for protection, they never had to use it for that reason. 
     Because of the remote location, it was also used as a hideout for polygamous wives.  Despite federal laws passed outlawing polygamy, plural wives continued to be hidden there.  Faced with confiscation of church property under the anti-polygamy laws, the Mormon church sold Pipe Spring ranch in 1895.  Its doors remained open to cowboys, traders, salesmen, and neighbors.  A hired girl of the time recalled baking pies, cakes, and breads for the many people in the area.  It's potential as a stopping place for weary park visitors to the Grand Canyon, caused it to be added to the National Park System in 1923.
     Following our tour, we drove back to Fredonia and drove both vehicles to Jacob Lake Campground.   This is a National Forest Campground, located by the main road leading to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It's elevation is about 8500+ feet.  We stayed there two nights and enjoyed the area.  We had a heavy rainstorm after getting settled in the campground and discovered a leak about the head of the bed.  Gary re-parked so that area was uphill slightly and the water wouldn't pool there.  The next day he re-calked the leaking area.  In the meantime, we dried out everything that had become wet.  In exploring the area, we found Jacob Lake, the area is named after.  Most lakes in this area are actually sinkholes formed when the limestone dissolves and the earth collapses into the hole.  As the ranger explained though, any area that retains water year round is special.   We also found the original Jacob Lake Ranger station built in 1910.

On Friday, I drove into the North Rim, while Gary watched the British Open Golf Tournament.  He'd been to the North Rim previously.  I can never get enough of the Canyon and enjoy seeing it every time I get the chance.  It brought back memories of our hikes there as I looked over the top of it.

Kay and I hiked the N. Kaibab trail, running along the bottom of this canyon.
     As we descended into the Vermillion Cliffs area, we crossed the Navajo Bridge.  Originally built in 1927, it was the only crossing of the Colorado River in 600 miles.  The first bridge was 834 feet long & 467 feet high.  The new bridge was built in 1995.  This is a fun panoramic shot of the two bridges.

Saturday, we headed for Meteor Crater, where we worked in 2005.  We had a great, although short, visit with old friends and coworkers.  The crater remains the same, although they are doing some major remodeling of the the facilities there.

At long last, we were heading for Show Low on Sunday.  We stayed at Scotty's Reservoir again.  This is a place we found through the Escapee's Day's End listings and allows free camping for up to five days.  It gets really busy on the weekends, but is nice during the week. 

Since Suzannah and Frank first showed us this trailer last October, it seems like it's taken a long time to get here.  We were excited and eager to finish the deal.  We met with the seller Monday morning at the bank and went together to the Arizona Dept. of Transportation.  Their computers were all down, so we were able to get the sellers portion done, but had to return a few days later to finish our portion.  Benny, the seller, left Tue morning and we were there at 9am to start moving in.  Although we kept telling ourselves we didn't have to do it all at once, we were eager to get settled.  By that afternoon, Gary had the trailer wired for the satellite and both TV's working in the living room and bedroom.  Here are some pictures of our new (to us) summer base.  We still plan on traveling, but this will be a nice base, and is only 185 miles from Casa Grande.  The elevation here is about 6,500 feet, the same as Evanston.  This means that while it is 100+ degrees in the Valleys of Arizona, it is only  in the high 70's or 80's in the mountains of Show Low. 
Kitchen and back of TV in living room.
Kitchen with "real" fridge.  (What will I do with all the room in it?)

Living room with 2 recliners and large hide-a-bed sofa.
Bedroom with walk-around bed.
Large dresser in bedroom.
Our Patio
Our Front Parking Area
     Now that we've been here a week, Gary has played in a couple pool tournaments, played one of the 6 or 7 golf courses in the area, I've been to a few water aerobic classes, including aqua zumba, registered for a quilt class at one of the two quilt stores, and Bandits been to the dog park and loves it. We're starting to get to know our neighbors and of course enjoy the ones (Frank and Suzannah), we already know.  This last weekend we went to a car show and art fair in Snowflake, about 20 miles north of here.  We also visited with AZ friends, Bob and Lorrie, who have settled there.
     That's it for now.  Our official mailing address remains the Rapid City one, but since we expect to be here until October, if you are mailing something before then, you can mail it to us in Show Low.  Our address here is:  1051 N. Central St. #272
     Show Low, AZ 85901
      If you're in our area, we'd love to have you stop by.
Until fall, we'll be dancing in Show Low, AZ...........................
Hugs, Katy Gary, and Bandit too.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dancing thru Wyoming - Summer 2013

     We had a really fun 2 1/2 weeks traveling through Wyoming this summer.  We started out spending a night in Bar Nunn, just outside Casper, parked at good friend Betty's.  She usually spoils us & this was no exception having a dinner of shrimp & crab legs ready for us.  Since we wouldn't be in Wyoming when the state health fair came to Evanston, we stopped at their lab in Casper & had a quick blood draw the next morning.
     Following  this, we headed to Gillette, where we parked at another friend's home for two days, until it was our turn to go into the Camplex, where this year's Escapade was being held.  We managed to stay busy visiting  a quilt shop, touring a coal mine, & swimming at their recreation center.
     The Visitor's Center in Gillette sponsors a tour of a coal mine.  We arrived at 9 the next morning & boarded a bus.  There were about 20 of us as we headed out.  Many were SKPs, also here for Escapade.  On the way to the mine we learned that there are 13 active coal mines in the Powder River Basin.  Of these, 12 are in Campbell County where Gillette is located.   An average of 85 coal trains move out of the basin daily to power plants in 37 states across the country & accounts for approximately 35% of the nation's coal production.  While Eastern coal mines average a sulphur content of  between 3 & 10%, Wyoming coal averages between 0.2 & 0.55%.  This means the coal burns cleaner.

Wyoming's coal seams can be more than 120 feet thick & are relatively close to the surface, allowing for low production costs. 

We couldn't resist the typical tourist picture.

A 57 ply tire costs $38,000 each and lasts about 10,000 miles, or 2 years.

A coal delivery truck carries 240 tons.  Here's one parked by a regular size van.  Replacement costs approximately $4.3 million.  Fuel tank capacity is 1,200 gallons of diesel.  Weight empty is 185 tons.  Loaded approximately 425 tons.

Each train car holds approximately 120 tons of coal.  There are 115-140 cars per train.  The average tons on a loaded train is 15,000 to 20,000.  Each train is 1.5 miles long.  It takes approximately 65 240 ton truck loads to load one train.

All in all it was a terrific tour.  Oh, and besides we found an earthcache where the shovel and tire displays were and a geocache at the Visitor's Center.

     That afternoon we visited the Gillette Recreation Center.  It is a beautiful building with just about any kind of equipment you could ask for from walking tracks, to climbing walls, to exercise room, all kinds of courts and a great aquatic center.  Nicest was the fact that admission is free to all those over 62 years of age. 

We really enjoyed the "lazy river."  This is an area about 3 1/2 feet deep with a strong current going around the river.  You can walk with the current or for lots of exercise walk against the current.  All the water guns are operational when the kids are in the pool, but turned off during "walking" times.  There was also a regular lap swim pool and of course a wonderful hot tub, although the water in the river was kept at about 90 degrees, so it was very comfortable.  We used their facilities a couple times while in Gillette.
     That Saturday it was time to "move" into the Camplex for Escapade.  We were parked very close to friends from our AZ park.  We had a meeting with others working on the Row that afternoon, did a parade practice with our banners, and had dinner together that evening.  Sunday was the opening.
      There were 586 rigs in attendance with a total of 1198 individuals.  There were a total of about 30 Coops, chapters, and Bof's on the Row.  They had the usual row game with each booth having a stamp unique to them.  The attendees filled out a bingo card as they visited and then completed cards were entered into a drawing for prizes.  The row was open for 3 hours a day Sun-Wed.  We really enjoyed ourselves and it was easy to sing the praises of our Coop.  Here we are on the row.

Some of the other doings at Escapade follow.

Kay Peterson,  SKP #1 speaking at the opening ceremonies.  She is a real delight to hear and assured everyone she is well and continues to enjoy her life at 86 years young. She kept us all laughing as she joked about her current condition and the common questions she gets from us all.
The main sessions were all well attended.  There were over $17,000 in door prizes given out.  This was our fourth Escapade and we continued our non winning ways.  Maybe next time.

I took two craft classes, making a Fresh Twist necklace and Kumihimo braiding.  New fun projects to take back to the Roost for the winter.

A pet parade show this cute little guy with a cowboy riding along.  Very appropriate for Wyoming!

The final night was a birthday party as Escapees celebrated 35 years!  A banquet was held with approximately 1100 being fed.   There was also cake and a champagne toast with souvenir glasses for all.  It was a fun evening and capped off with a terrific fireworks show.  The weather all week had been on the warm side, but clear.  About five minutes after the regular fireworks started, God started his fireworks and we huddled under umbrellas in front of our rigs (for a windblock) as we watched the lightening and listened to the thunder all competing with the fireworks.  It was an impressive show, if a wet one, and quite an ending to Escapade.
     The next  morning we left Gillette and headed toward the Big Horns.  We towed the car to Buffalo, Wy and unhooked there.  Gary took the Motor Home and headed for Sheridan, where he did all our laundry to date.  I took the car and continued the Wyoming quilt shop hop.  I went to the two stores in Buffalo, stopped at one in Story, and then went to the two stores in Sheridan.  It was good timing as we both finished about the same time.  We stayed unhooked as we drove up into the Big Horns above Sheridan.   On the way, we passed the hotel where Buffalo Bill Cody sat on the porch and auditioned acts for his Wild West Show.

      This being Friday of 4th of July weekend, we knew the campgrounds would be full.  Not knowing the area, we weren't sure about finding a dispersed camping area, so we stopped at Arrowhead Lodge on the top.  Surprisingly, they had 3 spaces with water and electricity for $15 a night.  We took one and had a great spot for the weekend. We were at elevations of 8,500 -10,000+ feet for the weekend.
     The next day we  headed for the Medicine Wheel.  This is the one major Wyoming attraction we had not visited.  We took the car and headed down what's known as the "Oh, My God" highway to Sheridan.  It was ten  miles of 10% grade followed by another 8 miles of 8-10% grade. The wild flowers were incredible with fields of blue lupine and all the other colors mixed in.  It was hard to get a picture to do it justice.

At that elevation there was still snow on the ground, on the north faces.
The views were incredible!  As you can see, I've learned to take panorama pictures with my iphone.

It is estimated that the Medicine Wheel was built between 1200 and 1700.  It is not known for sure who built it or why.  It was formed by laying rocks in a circle approximately eighty feet in diameter with twenty-eight lines or spokes radiating from the center to the outer rim.  The arrangement of the stones in in the form of a wheel.

While the white man calls it the Medicine Wheel, the Native American Indians call it "the Place Where the Eagle Lands."   To many people it is a sacred place. Some people believe that this is a vision quest site, a presentation of the Sun Dance Lodge, or a place to mark the summer solstice.  It continues to be used today by Native American Indians for ceremonies and a special permit is required to enter the circle.  There are six cairns around the circle.  Four face in, one faces east, and one faces north.  The exact purpose of these are not known.
After driving 1 1/2 miles off the main highway, it is another 1 1/2 mile hike to the wheel.  However with my handicapped placard, we had permission to drive to it.  We definitely felt like we were in a spiritual place.
     Following this, we continued down the OMG hill to Lovell, Wyoming and another quilt shop.  We made it a circle by driving to Greybull (& another quilt shop) and then back up past Shell Canyon and Shell Falls. 
   The views continued to be fantastic, whether going downhill or uphill!

    Sunday we drove to  our favorite Wyoming RV Park, the Fountain of Youth, in Thermopolis, Wyoming.  This area has many mineral hot springs flowing.  The pool at the RV park is about 50 feet wide, 100 feet long, and five feet deep throughout.

There are three sections.  The first is 98-100 degrees.  The second is 100-104 degrees.

The last section closest to the springs is about 110 degrees.  The water comes out of the ground at 124-130 degrees.  It flows at 1,370,000 gallons every 24 hours.  During the winter it turns over the water in the pool two times a day.  In the warm summer months, the flow is lessened so it only refills every 24 hours.  The water not coming into the pool goes into the Big Horn River.   

The State Park is located close by and has many majestic formations and the world's largest mineral springs.

Finally it was time to head back to Casper for Gary to participate in the Senior Olympics.  Betty was kind enough to host us again in Bar Nunn for the week.  Gary and his partner won gold in their age group doubles and then went on to will the overall doubles competition defeating all others.  When they played singles, Gary won his age group, and then in the overall competition ended up playing his doubles partner in the finals.  Gary had to settle for a Silver in that one.  He would up his competition with a gold medal in the Golf Tournament.
He had some company on the golf course. 
      While Gary was busy winning  his medals, I visited four  more quilt stores, two in Casper, one in Douglas, and one in Lusk.  I had already visited six quilt stores before our trip and I managed to get to 11 more on our trip for a total of 17 quilt stores.  Now for some time to work on the projects I have lined up. 
     We  had a great time on our 2 1/2 week tour of Wyoming and were ready to head back to Evanston.  Now we're ready to leave tomorrow, heading south to Show Low, Arizona.   Everyone continue to have a great summer.  We're sure enjoying ours.
     Dancing south (?) to Arizona.............................
     Hugs, Katy, Gary, and Bandit too!