Thursday, December 30, 2021

Finishing up year with Friends, Food and Photos...

As we close out 2021 and the travels for the year, we did our last trip to the town of Palm Springs California.  We have a Time Share, and needed to "close it out" for the year as well, so a week over Christmas seemed like a fitting way to do that.  


We have friends who have a second home in Palm Desert that invited us up early for a couple of days so that we could visit before we checked into our Time Share Condo.  It had been a year since we had seen them, so it was really nice to be able to visit and just catch up.  Other friends live just down the ways from them in their RV Resort, so all of us got together for breakfast the next day.  They had moved into a new resort, so we all went over to their place afterward and "oohed and aahed" at how beautiful it was!  

We quickly learned the challenges of eating out while here...seems Palm Springs has adopted the rule that one must show their COVID Vaccination ID to sit inside their restaurants, while all the other outlying towns only mandate that you wear a mask.  Of course, we were staying in Palm Springs, which means we had to drive a half hour each time we wanted to eat (and it limited which restaurants).  Annoying to say the least.  On the plus side, we found new places we wouldn't have tried!  ;-)  

A couple of days after we checked in, my niece and nephew-in-law drove in from San Diego to visit with us for the day.  He had some work to do during the day, so my niece and us just wandered around town and then that evening we all went to a nice dinner.  Once again, wonderful to be able to see and catch up with them!

Some friends of ours from Happy Trails where we live, moved from here to a condo in Palm Desert, so we went to visit them in their new home.  Very nice, and of course very different from living here.  They had it completely remodeled, and had been living in dust and construction for months.  We got to see the finished job, lucky us!  

The following day we did a "sit in"...a lazy day of doing nothing!  Jack read, I watched TV all day!  Wow, can't remember the last time I've done that!  It was a cloudy, cold day and we just didn't feel like going anywhere...so we didn't!  Felt good!  ;-) We did have lovely views from our window though...

Christmas, we were joined by our dear friends Kay and Everett, as we had in years past.  We had found a lovely restaurant in El Mirage called Acqua California Bistro.  What a wonderful meal!  Four courses, with several choices each...all lovely...and no dishes to wash!

 

The last day there, we drove out to Borrego Springs Desert to see the metal sculptures at Galleta Meadows.  We had been told about them from our friends and it sounded just the sort of place we like to venture out to.  I found a map online that took us right up to them..wow, what a treat!  We lucked out with the weather, and even though it was the holiday week, it wasn't to crowded.  We stopped at almost every one of them (130).  I ended up taking almost 60 pictures!  What a wonderful find!  An interesting back-story too.  Seems that the owner of Avery Stationary hired an out of work welder (Ricardo Breceda) to promote Galleta Meadows Estate (land lots).  I don't think the lots really took off, but the sculpture's fame did!  Funny how things work out. 

In spite of the ups and downs of the crazy weather and what seems to be the on-going COVID on-again-off-again restrictions, we managed to enjoy traveling this year.  I was bound and determined to finally get to see the Gold Coast of Georgia and the Carolina's and we did, plus some.  We not only got to see family but friends that we hadn't seen in many, many years.  Even after having camped in all the lower 48 states, we still managed to find new places to discover, to camp and to enjoy, along with revisiting "old favorites.  With all that said though, both us and our sweet RV are getting older and these cross-country trips have taken a toll on us.  We did inform everyone this year that this is our last "long-haul" trip, that future ones are now on them.  Time for them to come out west for a visit!  We will continue to travel, but it will be closer to home, and shorter trips.  Us, the RV and the truck all deserve it now...

We stayed at 41 campgrounds this year and drove over 9000 miles in the RV!  

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https:/https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/albums


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Time to say goodbye to our Summer Trip...

We did have one last lovely camp-out with friends just before heading home.  Four days at Catalina State Park in Tucson.  Nice sunny days with cool breezes and lovely sunsets.  Another couple friends of theirs joined us, so we made new friends as well, which is always fun.  We even got in a couple of games.  Tried to play cards in spite of the wind, which was a challenge.  I think we laughed more about that than the game!  

It was pretty there with the Datura plants in bloom and mesquite trees everywhere...but the biting bugs...ugh!  I'm not sure what they were, gnats, or mosquitos, or flies (lots of those too) or ?  But I am still itching from those bites!  They had had quite a bit of rains prior to our visit because you could see the residual dried mud runoff, so maybe they were from that...or from the plants?  Don't know, but they sure liked us and made sitting outside a challenge.  ;-( 

All good things come to an end (so the saying goes)...and so does our "Summer Trip".  We rolled back into Surprise earlier this week and was greeted with lovely mild sunshine!  So nice to come home to low 80's instead of "triple digit" weather here in Arizona!  Wow, such a nice arrival and a great way to have to unload and do all the trudging of bringing everything back in plus cleaning up the 6 months of dirt on the outside of our little home!  


We did have wonderful neighbors who watched our little home while we were gone, watering our few potted plants (they even added some for us!) and ridding the weeds.  But our ground plants have grown out of control...so we have our work cut out for us...might even need an ax to get to them!  lol

Well, I think it's going to be awhile before we go out again, but you never know, so we keep our baby "ready" just in case an offer to good to pass up comes along....so I won't close up the year...just yet!  ;-)

Until then, we are home in Arizona,  Marie

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Utah isn't just about Red Rocks!

 After days of cold, windy weather with nothing to look at but flat sagebrush, we finally left the southern area of Casper Wyoming and headed to Utah.  We no sooner crossed the state line and within a half hour began to see beautiful fall foliage color all along the hillsides.  What a wonderful site!  One of my friends had posted some pictures on Facebook of it, but she lives higher up in the mountains of Utah, so I hadn't expected to see any on our trip into the state.  I am so used to just seeing the state's wonderful red rock forms, that coming in from Wyoming, I guess I've never caught the mountains and canyons filled with trees...and at this time of year, now filled with color.

Once we settled in, we decided that since the weather was so glorious, we would look into where we could go see the trees even better.  After doing some research I found that there was an Alpine Loop Scenic Drive through the American Fork Canyon that took you up into the mountains and canyons that was supposed to be a great place for "fall color viewing" as well as various picnicking and hiking.  We decided that Sunday was the perfect day to do it, the weather was ideal at about 85 degrees, slight breeze and a clear blue sky, so off we went!  

Wow, New England doesn't have anything over Utah, and for us "westerners", it's a whole lot closer!  The road was an easy drive, not to many curves, traffic not to bad, lots of places to pull over so I could pull out my camera and snap away at leisure, as well as a number of picnic areas and even some campgrounds.  A number of hikers and climbers were out having a great time too.  You could tell that this was "early fall" and in another week or three, it will be even more spectacular, but it was mighty great for me.  I love the swath of Aspen groves in amongst the hills, that bright yellow is so eye catching against the reds, oranges and greens.  I will admit, Aspens have always been my favorites, and to see them outside of Colorado is an extra treat.  Of course I took way to many pictures, but here's a small sample (the rest are in my flickr account if you have an interest).  


Another fun "eye candy" was across the street from our campground.  We always stay at the Lakeside RV Campground in Provo (one of our favorite campgrounds) and just across the street and down about a half a block is the Lakeside Storage (once owned by the same family).  The owner is a "collector" of gas station signs, pumps, some old cars, a couple of small planes, kids rides, and a few various other things he may have found "interesting".  Hundreds of them...enough to make you go "wow!"  We first noticed it (you can't miss them) when we started coming to the campground back in 2012, and each time we came, we noticed the amount seem to get larger.  This time (it's been a few years since our last visit), it seems much larger, so we decided to venture over and see if we could actually visit inside and meet" and learn about this strange collection.  

We had a delightful chat with the on-site manager who shared with us that the owner now lives in Hawaii while she and her husband live on site.  He owns this while his daughter owned the campground down the street, but she sold the campground a while back.  He still comes into the storage company and is planning on turning the property across the street (his place is on both sides of the street - one for garages and across the street is open space for RV/Boat storage) into an special event area.  He just keeps adding pieces all the time, she said.  He certainly has the space!  What an incredible collection, we'd never seen anything like it.  It was really fun strolling all through his collection.  


For such a short visit, we sure had a lot of fun there, and actually hated to leave!  We are off to Kanab for another quick stay before heading on to Arizona.  Hopefully the sunshine will continue to follow us!

...on the road in Utah,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https:/https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/albums

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Once again in Wyoming...

We have made all of our final reservations to end our "summer trip" this year, ending with a meet up with friends who are camping in Tucson.  In order to match their days, we needed to stretch out a couple of ours here and there, so ended up staying in Wyoming a bit longer than usual.  

We had always planned on re-visiting Cody, so that worked out fine.  There is so much to see and do there, adding a couple of days (and being able to!) worked out well there for us.  But where else, we asked ourselves?  Well...we'd never been to Casper, so decided to add that town to our agenda...why not? So added a week there...

Last time we were in Cody was in 2016 and we loved it!  We happened to be there during one of their Indian Pow Wows and got to enjoy that as well.  There is so much to see and do not only in Cody, but within a short drive from Cody - we never got to see it all!  So, we were anxious to come back and see what we didn't see last time!  


The first thing on our agenda was to get back to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum.  It's actually five museums in one.  They have now made the ticket a two-day ticket, which is a good thing, because it really does take two days to see and enjoy it!  As we entered the lobby a bright red 1959 Corvette was being displayed...as a raffle!  Well, I couldn't pass that opportunity up!  I'll let you know if I'm the lucky winner, as the drawing is next week!  Wish me luck!! 

Well, from there, Jack and I split up...he, to the Cody Firearms Museum, and I to the Draper Natural History Museum.  

Two years after our visit in 2016, the Cody Firearms Museum totally redid their displays.  Jack had read all about it, and was anxious to see it "in person".  He was not disappointed.  I had visited it back in 2016 as well, and took a "quick peek" this time and could really see what a huge difference they had made.  The biggest, I felt (amateur that I am) was how they displayed the arms in clear  cases from all sides.  Cool.  But that is only one observation, and this museum is HUGE.  

Now, my visits...the Draper Natural History was beautiful...truly beautiful.  They focused only on the west and did it in little scenes.  The taxidermy was done so well, the animals looked almost alive.  This museum wasn't as large as the others, but done just as well.  

The namesake...The Buffalo Bill Museum.  You are greeted at the entrance by Bill himself (via a full-size motion activated screen) welcoming you, then on you enter, to learn about him and his show.  It was extensive, with maps showing you where and how many shows they put on in the years they traveled, a miniature display of their entire show requirements from housings to arena; films, photos, old billboards, costumes, etc.  Very well done, of course.  

On day two, we finished with the Whitney Western Art Museum, which was quite extensive, and like the others, beautifully well done.  It was a pleasure to have the time and really enjoy two full days in these wonderful museums.  


Once we "finished" with all that, we were ready for a little music!  Of course there are several options to choose from, but after doing some sleuthing, we went with the Cody Cattle Company Dinner Show...and we were so happy that we did!  What a great time we had (and a good dinner too!)  As I've shared before, we have been to several "western" shows, but this one was nicely different in that it not only had the required  western songs and humor, it threw in some really, really old ones (the ones my Dad used to sing to me when I was a kid), but also (surprise) some non-western, new songs (from out of nowhere)  that made you go "what the heck?" and laugh!  Wonderful mix and some of the best guitar and fiddle playing we've heard in a long time!  The lead, Ryan Martin, also lives and plays in Apache Junction AZ at Barleens (also a fun place!) in the winter.   Very fun night!  

We also decided to take the short trip out to the Historic Buffalo Bill Dam.  Now, I've seen a number of dams, and I'm not usually impressed with them...it's just not my "thing" really....but it is Jack's, so I go along...Well, I have to say, after watching the video on how this dam was built, what these men went through to build it, etc.  I'm impressed.  Out here in Wyoming, it's pretty much dry dust, at least in this area, and Bill Cody saw that.  He instigated and helped finance the dam idea so that people could get water to their land and farm.  It was that simple.  It wasn't for power or money, it was for survival.  It took five long, hard years to build.  When it was finally completed it was the tallest dam in the world (at that time).  It has no rebar, only cement and boulders in the construction.  

One of the things that it left me with was the reminder of what the generations of men before us have gone through to build - our dams, our bridges, our roads, the very buildings we live/work in, and drive on every day.  We take all this for granted as we go about our day, but many people gave their lives for these "conveniences".   Next time each one of us crosses a bridge, or enters a tunnel or sees a dam, let us remember that and send up a "thank you". 

After we left the Dam, we decided to continue on with a short drive and do a little scenic loop.  We choose the East Yellowstone Loop, one we hadn't done before.  It didn't turn out to be much, but a couple of little things...some interesting rock formations - called "The Holy City", a pretty creek here and there, a very unusual home up on a hill that I found out later was built by a man called Frances Lee Smith, who worked on it for 12 years, never getting it quite right.  He obsessed over the project so much that his wife left him.  In 1992, while working on the balcony, he fell to his death. The house remained empty for 30 years until it sold in 2019.  And finally...an old Bob's Big Boy statue, placed on a pedestal out in the middle of a field!  No fanfare, no sign, nothing, just him in all his glory!  I checked on that one too...It seemed it just appeared one day.  No one knows how, or why.  That one made my day!  ;-) 

never getting it quite right. He obsessed over the project so much that his wife left him. In 1992 while working on a balcony, he fell to his death.

Read More: Weird Things You Can Spot From Wyoming Highways | https://y95country.com/weird-things-you-can-spot-from-wyoming-highways/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral
never getting it quite right. He obsessed over the project so much that his wife left him. In 1992 while working on a balcony, he fell to his death.

Read More: Weird Things You Can Spot From Wyoming Highways | https://y95country.com/weird-things-you-can-spot-from-wyoming-highways/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral



We finally left Cody and drove on to Casper...a long, long drive.  We booked a week here at a CG called River's Edge, hoping that as the website said, it would be a nice respite along the river.  Well...it is along a river, but not exactly what I was picturing....

Turned out that Casper, at least while we are here, is dry, very windy and dusty - almost all of the time.  Sitting outside is pretty much out of the question.  We did manage to take a walk down to the river, and I'm guessing that maybe? in the late spring, it's a pretty place, but right now...not so much.  No shade, lots of white rock (to bring out more of the sun's glare) and stir up that dust along with a few small trees.  Oh well....

The city, and that's what it is, does have one thing going for it...a great museum, called the National Historic Trails Center.  It is all about the migration of the people coming west in the 1800s - The Oregon Trail, the Mormons, the Pony Express and finally the Train.  It has some of the signatures of the folks that celebrated arriving at Independence Rock, an actual Pony Express Saddle showing the wear and signatures of the riders, some fun "rides" in moving stagecoaches and wagons crossing the North Platte River, movies to watch, walking wagons to pull, backpacks to lift, several dioramas, stories to listen to and read.  It was very well done.  They also have an auto tour guide you can do on your own if you want to continue on and see the various areas that these folks traveled through.  Once again, another reminder of how the people "before us" paved the way for us, and were hardy, brave people!  God bless them!


...on the road in Wyoming,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https:/https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/albums






Thursday, September 9, 2021

Heading Home....

 As we turn the calendar pages into September, it's time to start thinking about turning our sweet rig in the direction of "home".  "Which way?" is always the question we ask ourselves...This year has especially been the challenge with all the awful northern fires still blazing away.  So sad to hear about, causing so much damage and smoke - not only in the areas they are burning, but miles beyond.  Routes and states that we were planning on driving to and through, we have changed, several times because the smoke is still so thick.  My heart goes out to all the people and companies that this has affected.  

Having traveled and camped now for so many years, there is not to many areas that we haven't been to, so for the last few weeks we have just been "taking it easy" and tootling through South Dakota and into Wyoming, not doing much of anything, really. 

While in Sioux Falls, we celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary at a very nice restaurant called Morrie's Steakhouse.  It was wonderful!  The following day, we were able to catch up with a couple of long time friends I had worked with years ago that just happened to be in the area on a job for the week!  (thank you Facebook)!  What a treat that was!  One just never knows "who" you are going to run into while traveling!

We also made a quick trip over to Wall, to the "famous" Drug Store...always worth a visit...just for fun!  Other than those highlights, we've just been relaxing and sitting back enjoy reading!  That was one of our goals on this trip...to just take some time and  s l o w   d o w n!  We've tried to pick campgrounds that help with that, green grass, trees that bring shade, a little breeze, and peace and quiet.  Nice.  Once the Labor Day Weekend was over, campgrounds seem to empty out, big time.  Prices haven't gone down (darn) but space availability sure has, so that's good.  

 

We are trying our best to travel roads, and back roads, that we haven't traveled before (or in a very long time) as much as possible.  While here in Buffalo WY, we decided to go check out a small town called Kaycee, about 45 min. from here.  The article that we read said it had a lot of interesting history, so, why not go see??

Well, "small" was an understatement...wow.  Maybe 2 blocks, if that?  And that included homes, the tiny Post Office, their museum and park.  The two things worth visiting.  

The park was a beautiful little Memorial Corner Park dedicated to Chris LeDoux, the World Bareback Champion rider and Country Western singer.  He wasn't born in Kaycee, but he and his family came there to live after he gave up riding, and he died (and is buried there) in 2005.  His wife and 5 children still have a farm there.   

Across the street was the Hoofprints of the Past Museum, that we decided to check out...and was glad we did!  What a great museum!  The detail and cataloging of the "old west" in their area was fantastic.  Everything from arrowheads to wagons.  They had the complete insides of stores, a blacksmith shop, a home, the first Homestead home, the oldest school in Wyoming, along with chuck wagons, sheepherder wagons and farm equipment.  They had the complete detailed rundown on the Johnson County War and the Wyoming Range War (c1889-1893) - basically the "homesteaders vs the cattle barons.  Wow, tough times.  Anyway, great museum and a great stop...just shows you that you never know what you can find  hiddin in a small town!  

Not much scenery in these parts but rolling hills of yellow "grass" (?) and fields of sorghum and sunflowers...

Well, we are off to Cody tomorrow, one of Jack's most favorite stops!  We will be spending more time in Wyoming this time as Idaho is off our itinerary due to the fires.  So, we shall see what new adventures we find!

...on the road in Wyoming,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Capturing Capitols!

 One of the things that Jack and I like to visit while we travel is State Capitols.  We found early on, that each State's Capitol can really reflect the time it was built, the people it represents, and the area of the country.   They are all so very different from each other, it's not only been fun to see them, but quite an education!  

When we first started out, I only took pictures of the outside, not realizing how interesting or how important the insides were; boy was I wrong!  It was only later that I discovered that the history was really about the insides!   Who, what and why they put on the insides to impress and showcase, makes the Capitol what it is, otherwise, it's just a couple of "meeting rooms".  A good example of this is North Dakota.  Their Capitol is just that, a basic business building with meeting rooms for the Senate and House of Representatives along with offices for the Governor, etc.  Plain, no decor, straight business.  Only Capitol we've seen like that.  

Most, however, are quite the opposite.  As were the two we just visited, first in Kansas (Topeka) and the second in Iowa (Des Moines). Both beautiful, lavish and full of great art.  Both were built during the late 1800's and have the refined Renaissance style that give the impression of strength and dignity combined with utility.  Both were built after the Civil War, but proud to be part of it, although on the "edge" of it, so to speak.  Both Lincoln supporters.  Both are supported by "country farmers" and their politicians are "part-time" and paid accordingly.  


At the Kansas State Capitol, we were left on our own to view it.  Given a nice brochure and friendly greetings by the security staff.  We entered in the ground floor, which isn't unusual these days (after 9/11).  They use this "basement" area as gallery area,  This is where we found the State Seal, as well a chair made from the Cottonwood Tree (state tree), and John Brown's sword (the abolitionist).  

From there we moved up to first floor and got to admire the Rotunda and Overmyer murals.  One of my favorite things, is to look straight up to the Dome from the middle of the Rotunda!  It's always the highlight for me!  I love seeing what they put up there, what effort they have gone into.  

Surrounding the Rotunda were eight  beautiful murals painted by David H Overmyer of topics significant in Kansas history.  Adding to that, another large mural by John Steuart Curry created Tragic Prelude" featuring abolitionist John Brown, and "Kansas Pastoral", which depicts the life of the homesteader. 

As with most Capitols, the Senate  and House of Representatives Rooms were impressive.  The House featured marble, gold leaf and pink columns made from a faux marble process.  Allegorical murals painted on the ceiling along with the names of 10 prominent figures from the Kansas Territory era.  The Senate chamber featured several types of marble, the original native Kansas wild cherry wood desks, and massive hand-cast columns with ornate circular grills that once encouraged air circulation. These were unbelievably beautiful, a combination of bronze, copper and silver, and with such detail!

They had a nice Law Library, and other areas, but those are the "highlights", so I will move on to Iowa...


We lucked out and got an actual tour of the Iowa State Capitol!  I love it when they do that as you learn so much more that way!  Diana was a great guide and really took her time with us. Another unusual thing about this tour was that we actually got to go up to the Dome!  A first!  Because we had a couple that had done the tour the day before, but couldn't do the Dome (not sure why), they asked if it would be alright to start there so they wouldn't have to do the whole tour all over again - she agreed, so off we went!  Luckily we took the elevator up the 3 stories first, as the winding stairs to the Dome was another 97 (steep)!  Phew!  What a thrill though to look down for a change!  We still had quite a bit of the Dome above us, of course, but it was an interesting view to see the detail of the statues and paintings along the rim, as well as the banner that hung across it, closer.  

And the Dome from below looking up!

One of the things that impressed me about this Capitol was their attitude of "pay as you go".  As Diana explained it, that is one of the reasons it took 14 years for them to build the Capitol.  It's also the reason why many of the walls lay "bare" for years before they have art on them.  All that said, however, it's absolutely beautiful inside and out.  The Grand Staircase, made of granite, is one of the prettiest I've encountered, along with tile flooring set with wonderful designs throughout the three floors.  

The Senate Chamber and the rest of the rooms are original to the building except for the House of Representatives.   In 1904 a fire was started when the gas lights were being converted into electricity and the House of Representatives Room was lost.  All else was saved (including the furniture from that room). 

I have to say that he most impressive room was the Law Library though.  It was hard to capture it on camera, it was so large - five stories high, and two wings wide!  It reminded me of the pictures you see people post of "dream libraries" that you only fantasize about.  It was beautiful...

Diana explained that the spiral staircases (one at each end) were so old now that only the librarians were allowed to climb them.  They also had a few very rare "non-law" books on display in a showcase: a 14th century hand lettered book and a book printed in 1742 by Benjamin Franklin. 

Both these Capitols were wonderful examples of our Country's pride.  Each taking care to showcase their State, while still representing the Country as a whole.  I'll leave off with this quote that Iowa had over one of it's doorway's that I thought was quite good...


...and now we are on the road in South Dakota,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https:/https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/albums





Saturday, August 21, 2021

Kicking Back in Kentucky...

 

Still waiting on our car part, we moved from Lexington to Elizabethtown to Calvert City, which is near The Land Between The Lakes of Kentucky.  We finally found a campground that could take us for more than a week (just in case that darned part continued to take it's time getting here!).  At least here, there were places to drive around and see, as well as nice weather to enjoy!

Like I've shared, if you have to be "stuck" some place, Kentucky is a great place to have it happen!  I'm actually writing this today, because it's the first time we've gotten rain since we've been here...so, we changed our plans and are staying inside!  ;-)

One of the first things we did when we arrived here was to take a drive into the town of Paducah and visit the National Quilt Museum.  We had read about it, and having some close friends who are quilters, we have become very appreciative of the art.  In our travels, we have been to all types and sizes of museums, and have learned to keep an open mind.  The size of the town, nor the brochure isn't always a true indicator of the true quality of the museum.  It is always wonderful when you discover a "true gem"...and this one was that.  The beauty and quality of these quilts were truly jaw-dropping.  To be able to get up close and see the detailed stitching without them being behind a case was also special.  Each displayed with good lighting and descriptions of the artist, details of the quilt and it's "history".  There were hundreds on display to enjoy.  What a treasure this place was!


One of the things we love to do when traveling is find local music...and so far this summer, we haven't had that pleasure, and I've really missed it.  Usually it's been in the south, and we haven't spent much time there this year, so when I saw an ad for The Kentucky Opry, I looked into it!  They had a performance playing the first weekend we were here of "100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time".  Sounded perfect, so I got us tickets!  

Wow, what a night!  Such fun!  Clay Campbell is the main singer, along with a great band (one is his son), two additional men, two women, a guest violinist and a couple of his young students who "clogged".  They were all great.  It was a two-hour show (with very comfortable seats, I might add!) and had us toe-tapping and hand-clapping all the while!  So glad we went!  

We took the scenic drive around The Land Between The Lakes one day.  The lakes here are HUGE!  Lots of boats and marinas...hardly anyone out on the water though (even on weekends!).  Sure seems a shame...We got a chuckle along the way I have to share...about half way through the drive is a "Bison & Elk Prairie" that you pay $5 per car to enter.  We thought, "what the heck, why not?" So we went in. We, along with about six or eight other cars, all driving about five miles an hour, driving along this loop, all craning our necks, looking for the bison or elk...nothing.  The ONLY thing we spot are about a half dozen wild turkeys!  So, we leave there and go on down the road.  Now, we end the "scenic drive" of Kentucky and crossover to Tennessee and are just about to turn around when Jack spots a sign saying "Bison Reserve".  We chuckle...but then, just beyond the sign, he spots a whole herd of them!  No fee, no drive, they are just there, all along the fence!  We drive over to them and laugh...I joke and say "well, now we know what happened to the Kentucky bison, they wondered over to Tennessee!"  

On our way back, we stopped at Lake Barkley for lunch at a cute little cafe called Buzzard Rock.  I have to admit that we chose it for the name, but we were glad that we did, because the food was great too!  

Speaking of food, I got to try a "regional" dish the other day.  I love doing that!  This one is called The Kentucky Hot Brown.  I had heard of it before, but never had the opportunity to try it.  The waitress said that it's really only from this area of Kentucky, as it originated from Louisville.  It's basically "leftovers":Bread (toasted), covered with turkey, smothered with a very rich creamy, cheesy sauce, topped with tomato slices and two strips of bacon and then browned/broiled on top.  Very Rich!!   I couldn't eat it all, and it turned out to be to rich for my system, but it was good!  

Patti's 1880's Settlement in Grand Rivers (about 15 min. from our cg) had signs all along the roads, brochures in every establishment and Ads in every booklet.  The Restaurant even suggested making "reservations".  It certainly created a "must see" factor.  We saved it for our least busy day, thinking it would take us most of the day to see all of the "settlement"...what ever that was...

Well, when we got there, the parking lot was pretty busy, and a bus had unloaded it's guests and was standing by.  Lots of people were walking around...but it took us a bit to figure out what it was we were actually looking at?  A town with a hotel?  Some ordinary shops (that all seemed closed)?  So, we went into the hotel to see if there was a map of sorts to find this "settlement".  Turned out that they use the term Settlement: "for their unbelievable menu." ...to continue:  "Our atmosphere is magical, filled with history, taking you back in time to a slower paced, relaxed setting.  Our beautiful gardens and unique gift shops, situated behind the restaurant, all have a story of their own on how they found their way to be a part of what we call Patti's 1880s Settlement."  Well,  that said, we walked through to the other side and wandered about..."their Settlement".  Many of the buildings closed, but cute on the outsides.  Nice gardens, Koi pond, Waterwheel, etc. but nothing like advertised.  The restaurant seemed nice, big, pretty, but the menu was a bit to heavy for lunch we thought, so we passed it up.  Nothing else in town was open, so we left.  

Since we had the rest of the day "open", Jack had discovered a bookstore downtown Paducah when he was having the truck serviced called Books-A-Million and suggested we go back there so I could check it out.  Well, you don't have to ask me twice!  Big mistake, big, big mistake...two bags of books later and I sheepishly thanked him for taking me to the store and promised not to spend anymore $$ for awhile!  ;-)

Well, we finally leave Kentucky on Monday and start our trek west.  It's been a great visit, but we are ready to roll once again! 

...on the road,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/albums/72157717012988911