Why do I have a picture of a Ford Mustang car as my first picture? Well, there was a car rally this weekend in Sturgis, South Dakota. This is from the parking lot of our hotel. The guy driving the red Mustang wasn’t really trying to make much noise. I wish I would have gotten his real vroom vroom sound. Steve wouldn’t have been. It was bad enough I was questioning theses strangers at 7:30 in the morning! Sturgis is famous for their annual motorcycle rally’s. Hundreds of thousands of people attend.
Here is a little of a vroom vroom. I asked the driver what they did at the Mustang Rally. It is basically a bunch of people showing off their cars and all the modifications that they do to the cars to make loud noises!
Due to the Labor Day holiday we have problems finding someplace to eat. After trying two recommended breakfast places from Trip Advisor that only served coffee and granola we settled on a Perkin’s. I warned Steve about his future heart attack with his breakfast. Mine was bad enough with the fried egg and sausage.
Steve had the scrambled eggs, sausage hash browns and gravy covered biscuit!
After advice from my cousin Larry who lives in the Denver area we decided that we might have time after all to explore Spearfish Canyon on our way to Devil’s Tower. We got Steve his fishing license in less than five minutes at the Minit Man gas station. We passed a pretty waterfall and then Steven picked a spot to try. Success! Steve got his first trout in South Dakota. No pictures though, you will just have to believe him!
Then it was on to Devil’s Tower Wyoming. Remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind? People actually climb Devil’s Tower. Over 100,000 people have climbed DT and there have been only five fatalities. I think that is because they only let people climb it who are well vetted.
Look how buff this couple is!
We didn’t climb DT of course, we just strolled around the base!
If you zoom in on this picture you can see some of the people climbing!
Then it was onto Sheridan Wyoming. We wanted to see the DaVinci horse sculpture that our friend G was involved with.
Steve is going to get in trouble for touching the horse’s hoof.
But since M, G’s wife only reads my current blog post and totally skips the old posts G will never know!
Here is K , who was the impetus for the sculpture garden in Sheridan.
We had dinner with K and his wife M. They had just bought a new house and we had dinner there. They had lots of light switches along with lots of lights and I had fun helping M figure out what switch went with what light fixture!
Would you have been as accommodating as I was and let Steve try to catch a fish in South Dakota?
Can you hear the music from Close Encounters in your head now?
Before breakfast we tried to find the falls that Sioux Falls are named after. They are not what I expected at all. Back east waterfalls are big, these were just a cascading series of water. (This is not my picture, my picture would have been shaky, and uncentered! This picture is from the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce.)
Then it was time for breakfast at The Original Pancake House. Whenever we are on a trip I us the Yelp App on my phone to look for good local restaurants. We have rarely made a bad choice this way.
I had the Dutch Apple Pancake. Does this not look mouth watering? This is very easy to make and since we ate there I have made it at home for myself several times. You sauté some apples in sugar and cinnamon in a cast iron pan. Then you prepare the batter which you pour on top of the apple mixture and pop it in the oven to bake. It is so delicious! Unfortunately I had to throw out my cast iron pan since Steve has a condition that causes him to store iron in his blood, So no iron pans for us!
Steve had the Irish Omelette which is corned beef hash and cheese in an omelette!
After breakfast we stopped in Mitchell to see the Corn Palace.
I had always wanted to stop here, so this was another check off my places to visit list.
The murals on the sides of the Corn Palace are changed every fall. Thirteen types of corn are used along with other grains.
This picture shows the plywood backing that the corn will be attached to.
This picture shows how the pattern is done. Instead of paint by numbers this mural is paint by ears of corn!
We passed by a number of signs for the Laura Ingalls Wilder home in De Smet, but had no time to stop and visit. On the way back we are going to stop at her home in Missouri where she lived with her husband for many years. Perhaps we will come this way again, but I doubt it. That could be a road trip all of its own, as Almanzo was born in Upstate New York and the books took place in many other states including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and her final home in Missouri!
Badlands National Park for those who can’t read signs. But if you are reading this blog, you must be able to read!
Obligatory selfie by spouse with long arms who can’t see themselves in the view finder.
You don’t want to get lost here!
The progression of prairie becoming The Badlands. Eons ago silty deposits of a shallow sea were laid down. When the sea receded volcanic ash was deposited. After years of compaction a prairie was created. Then the land was eroded over time. The Badlands are losing one inch a year. There were comments at the visitor center about air pollution obscuring view. The only air pollution here was from forest fires far away.
We saw our first prairie dogs!
They have a bit of a chirp!
Sunflowers as far as you can see in appropriately named Scenic South Dakota!
There were many road signs for Wall Drug Store, so we had to make a detour.
It was a generic tourist trip, but at least I got my picture taken here!
If you can make any of this out, this is a red wine decanter.
It is 95 degrees outside the restaurant and I can’t stand all these pillows behind me.
What I am looking forward to is my Pineapple Upside Down Martini!
This couple at the table next to us was celebrating their 50th Anniversary! they ordered champagne which came in generic wine glasses. They were so sweet!
Happy 50th Anniversary to our new friends Fred and Libby from Someplace in California! Don’t they look like the happiest couple? I should have exchanged phone numbers, I am sure that they have great stories to tell!
No pictures of our dinner, but here is the delicious dessert. It was called Heaven on a Plate. It was! Ice cream layers, and candy bars covered with chocolate!
Dinner was at Vesper Sky Bar at the top floor at the Hotel Alex Johnson. We spent the night here. There were rumors that the hotel was haunted, but no ghosts visited us during the night!
Do you have to be Irish to eat an Irish Omelette?
Would you drive out of your way to see a tourist trap for the first time? If you do for the second time I believe you are certifiably nuts!
We left our good friends A and M and were off to further points west.
Hello Iowa grocery store.
Then it was time to check out a vista. As you may recall I hate heights and towers. I was very unhappy here. This is my resting “I’m scared, let me go to the ground!”
The view was supposed to be awesome, but I don’t care. This is the Missouri Valley, looking at the Missouri River and Nebraska. It is flat out there.
Steve was very relaxed. Heights don’t bother him.
Then we were in Sioux City, Nebraska and it was time for another grocery store visit. Steve’s brother and sister in law lived in Illinois for years. As such, we think I had visited a grocery store when we visited them, so no grocery store stop today in Illinois was required.
The speed limit here is 80, which is wonderful as we were in the car for a long time. We had a lot of country to cover today! In fact, we drove for ten hours today!
Mushroom flat bread and my blueberry Pomtini. Good thing I took a picture before it was all gone!
Grilled salmon and salad.
Steve had the pecan crusted wall-eye.
The dinner was great except for the fact that we didn’t get bread and butter until after our entree.
We stayed overnight in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Was today’s post too short?
Are you afraid of heights?
Do you like your bread and butter before your entree?
Thanks to my posting on Facebook about our visit to Cleveland our old Optometrist (not that he was old, but that he used to be our Optometrist!) contacted me to find out “how long would we be in Cleveland and could we get together?” Lenny G was busy last night but he could meet us this morning for breakfast. We hadn’t seen him in 11 years, he looked a little bit older and wiser, and Steve had grown a beard. I looked as attractive as ever! Which doesn’t quite mean anything as if you didn’t think I looked attractive before I still don’t look attractive!
We had a great time reminiscing about what had gone on in our lives since we last saw each other. I was devastated when he retired and moved South. He had been our optometrist since we had moved to Poughkeepsie in 1980. L always believed that Steve’s career success was due to the new glasses that Steve got over the years. He always remarked to me that I never changed since we first met. L told me that several patients of his had gotten airs as their husbands careers flourished. I had never changed at all. That can also be interpreted as “Once a schlub, always a schlub”!
L always delighted in winding our kids up during their eye exams, and leaving me to try to calm them down the rest of the day. I think the Lant family contributed vast sums to his retirement. With four family members all needing glasses we kept L’s office busy!
All too soon, it was time for us to depart. We were going to meet M and A who we had met at Brush Creek Ranch our very first visit in September of 2011. We had stayed in contact with them over the years, and I asked if we could meet for dinner on our trip out west. They cordially asked us to stay at their house overnight.
We left Cleveland and drove across the state of Ohio and then into Indiana. We had looked at the map earlier in the day and said, “Let’s go to Notre Dame!” I had always heard about Touchdown Jesus and the Golden Dome. Now we would see them!
That was a little bit harder. We had to find a visitor parking lot first.
Then we marched around the big and beautiful campus in the 91 degree weather. As I wasn’t wearing a hat, I tried to stay in the shade. If you are a brunette like me, you head heats up quickly. We saw the Golden Dome in the distance and headed closer.
There it was! The Golden Dome!
Next up was Touchdown Jesus! This is a mural on the outside of the library. It’s called Touchdown Jesus, as Jesus is standing with his arms up as if signaling a touchdown.
There it was, and here is proof that I was there!
Here is Steve in front of the Golden Dome. The Golden Dome is atop the main administration building. Atop the Dome is a stature of Mary, considered to be the Mother of God by Christians. Notre Dame means Mother of God.
Afterwards we went to a grocery store in Indiana before we found the house of A and M.
We had much difficulty finding the house of M and A as they lived in a gated community. We couldn’t figure out the pass code or what turns we needed to make once in the development. M had given us the wrong pass code. We ended up following a car ahead of us at one of the community entrance gates. It was a good thing that Indiana was not on Summer Eastern Time Zone. Otherwise we would have been late!
After meeting A and M’s beautiful children and nanny we went out to dinner at Gamba Ristorante. That was some decanter for the red wine!
We had tomatoes with mozzarella.
Grilled Caesar Salad. No, your eyes are not out of focus, my hand was shaking.
Roasted veal with pea purée and broccoli.
Here we all are in A and M’s beautiful house. M is the beautiful blonde, and A is the handsome brunette. A is a real fashion plate and there have been spreads on him in Chicago magazines. I was dying to see their closets as they are quite fancy dressers (as you can see from the picture) but they were traveling to Italy in two days and they said their closets were a mess. Maybe next time!
Have you changed over the years?
Would you consider yourself schlubby?
Have you had a fashion spread on you because you are so attractive?
As I explained yesterday this is a trip from years ago. Just like everyone else I hope to be traveling again soon. I would say that that’s the reason I have an unpacked suitcase laying in one of the spare bedrooms. That would be a lie however, it’s just not unpacked from my trip to Belize in January! Now that is lazy! Today our plan was to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was an easy walk from our hotel. But first we needed to have breakfast.
As usual, fried eggs for me.
Steve went on the wild side and had an egg quesadilla.
You already saw my picture in front of the museum. Here is Steve. Plan to see a lot of these outfits!
We enjoyed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although I liked the Country Music Hall of Fame better. I think it would behoove me to watch the Ken Burns Special to learn more about Rock and Roll. I will have to watch Krush Groove the movie about the founding of rap also, as I know nothing about rap! No pictures inside the museum, you will have to visit so you can see what is inside.
For dinner we ate at Muse, the restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton. I tried the Farmer’s Market Prix Fixe dinner. My dinner had a peach theme to it. It started with grilled peaches, Serrano ham, micro basil and dehydrated vinegar.
Steve went out on a limb and got a Caesar Salad.
My entree was pork tenderloin with peach brine, peach wood smoked jalapeño peach tomato salsa, peach moonshine gastrique memo chives.
Steve had swordfish with white beans and escarole.
Steve had cookies and cream ice cream for dessert. Man this picture should have been cropped better! When we were in Chile years ago we met a famous wildlife photographer who went crazy about my picture taking. He kept telling me to make sure that my pictures of food didn’t have any extraneous items in them. I think I have at least 5 faults in the above picture!
Peach crepes with blueberry mascarpone and cinnamon anglaise.
Sorry the day wasn’t that exciting, but not everyday can be like yesterday and meeting my inebriated gambling girl friend!
Have you ever been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Have you ever been to the Country music Hall of Fame?
Due to COVID-19 Steve and I won’t be traveling for awhile. So I have gone back to the far reaches of my pictures (over 29,000!) to bring you another recap of a trip. This is an old adventure, but I still considered it blog worthy. If you don’t care to read about my old trips don’t bother to read this one!
Now that Steve and I are retired we have more time to travel and go on more Excellent Adventures. We decided to drive West and see the country, Steve would do a little fishing, and I hoped to see some beautiful sights and meet some interesting people. We were going to end up at some higher elevations and Steve and I thought that by driving to higher elevations gradually I might not suffer from altitude sickness like I have in the past.
So Steve and I loaded up a the van. I love my Toyota Sienna. It has lots of leg room and comfortable seats with great lumbar support. Although it has three rows of seating, we would only use the two seats in the front as we had a lot of luggage. Steve was bringing lots of fishing equipment and I brought everything that I might possibly want to wear!
The second row seats in the van are really nice as they have full up and down foot rests, and you can tilt the back, although they are definitely not lie flat seats! I have a tendency to get claustrophobia, so the second row seats are ideal for me. Unfortunately Steve doesn’t like me sitting in the second row, so for the whole trip I never sat in the back. Of course, the whole van had lots of luggage in it, I don’t think I would have been able to sit back there anyway!
Our first day of travel would take us out Interstate 84, connect with I-80 and we would end in Cleveland for the night. Plans were to spend two nights there and then travel onward. After a long day of driving we finally made it to the Ritz Carlton in Cleveland.
Here is my view from the Ritz-Carlton. Not a great view, but a view of the river nonetheless.
We were hoping to have a cocktail at a local bar called Speakeasy before dinner but unfortunately it was closed.
There were many cute shops and restaurants in the area. We were near the convention center and also a casino was nearby. More about the casino later!
We had dinner at Lola’s. Although it did look charming outside, we ate inside. I usually prefer to sit inside.
I ordered the Kentucky Gunslinger for my cocktail.
Not surprisingly, the drink looked very much like the picture! There was bourbon and some other stuff in the drink. The drink was very good.
I ordered a green salad with peaches, blue cheese and red pepper flakes. The red pepper added quite a bit of zing to the salad!
My entree. I had the salmon, with leeks, peas and potatoes.
Steve’s entree. He had gnocchi. I have no pictures of Steve’s appetizer. Nor do I remember what it was!
Although we didn’t order dessert, we were given chocolate truffles with peach jam inside.
When we got back to the room we found these chocolates. I felt very welcome. Steve not so much. I guess I should have put Steve’s name on the reservation! I think the hotel wants my repeat business.
The lobby of the hotel.
I think that I should get one of these lights for our house in Lake George!
Our first night on the trip and I got to meet my first interesting person on our way down to our dinner reservation at Lola’s. While waiting for the elevator a woman told the desk clerk she would be back again as she had 23 nights left to stay at the Ritz-Carlton. Now I must start out with the fact that she appeared very inebriated. I think that she must have had one too many sangrias at Happy Hour in the lounge. (Of course she had to be back to the hotel as she did not have her suitcase with her!).
You know by now that I had to befriend her so I could find out why she would be spending another 23 nights at the hotel. Yes, it was nice, but an additional 23 nights?
After we got on the elevator she mentioned that she was on her way to the Casino attached to the hotel.
“How much do you gamble, and have you won anything?” I asked.
Well she had gambled $2000 last time she visited on the slots at the casino. The next day she continued to gamble and she won $500. The casino gave her three round trips to Atlantic City and one to New Orleans. The casinos gave her $500 for each trip to gamble and also a flat screen television. (Back in 2015 a flat screen television was much more expensive than it is today). Every time she went her stay was comped at a Ritz Carlton. She told me that night she was only going to gamble the $35 she had in her wallet.
So after dinner on the way back to the hotel, I told Steve I wanted to look for my new friend at the Casino. As she was drunk to start out, I was worried about her getting back to the hotel okay. After looking at almost every slot machine in the casino I finally found her playing her last dollar at the slot machine.
There was a man next to her on the neighboring slot machine. I asked him if he was her spouse, as he was listening to our conversation. He wasn’t, and high tailed it away from the three of us! It was hysterical! We offered to escort her back to the hotel as by this time she was even more drunk with all the free drinks that the casino had offered. I asked her how much she gambled at a time on the slot machines. She told me $25, $40, or $8.88 at a time. Now wonder I am never comped at casinos! I only bet on the penny slot machines!
We also asked her if her husband gambled. She told us that he stayed in the room while she gambled. He would lock her credit cards in the safe. He didn’t gamble as he considered that marrying her was a gamble in itself!
Should the light stencil for the Lake George floor be “The Lant Shack”?
Some of the delicious fruit from Fruita near by. This is the famous fruit growing area in Colorado. I got sick of taking pictures of the food and just wanted to focus on the wonderful fruit.
We said goodby to our hosts at High Lonesome Ranch and were off to Beaver Creek.
We decided to drive up and through The Grand Mesa and take the long way to Beaver Creek instead of just driving straight on I-70. Did you know that it is the largest flat top mountain in the world? It is around 500 square miles! The mesa rises 6000 feet above the valley. There are about 300 lakes up here! The top layer of the mesa was volcanic basalt which prevented it from eroding like the area around it. This is a view of the surrounding valley from part way up. That is a smaller mesa below in the center of the picture.
It is 50 degrees up here. Below in DeBeque (where High Lonsome is) it was likely 82!
One of the many lakes up on The Grand Mesa.
The Aspens in full color change! Did you know that each aspen grove contains one or more clones? As they are genetically linked they all change color at the same time!
The chopped up stones in the foreground is called scree. Thanks to Steve! He knows lots of stuff that I don’t know. But I know lots of stuff that he doesn’t! That makes us great guests at candlelit dinner parties!
Our highest elevation for the day.
A lake. The lakes were probably caused by weak spots in the rock layer. They were gouged out by glaciers and then filled in with the melting ice.
Beautiful wild flowers.
A little history of the Grand Mesa National Forest.
A mesa is a large expanse of land with a flat top. If it eroded it would become mountains.
Steve was hungry and inpatient. Enough with all these photos! We were in Paonia. I would describe it as a left wing hipster town.
My cup of cappuccino. I needed it to stay awake for the sunny afternoon ride to Beaver Creek. Sun and a car ride puts me to sleep if I am not driving.
The inside of the cafe. It was very small with lots of art work.
I had the spinach and ham quiche for lunch.
Lots of arty stuff on the walls. Your guess is as good as mine as to what this represents!
A cheery sign in the restroom!
The outside of the restaurant.
There was not much going on in this town!
The Paonia Reservoir in Gunnison County.
We passed near Somerset. There are lots of coal mines here, but you can’t see them in this picture!
We passed Glenwood Springs. Always pretty with the red rocks along I-70.
On our way to the hotel in Beaver Creek we stopped at a Tru-Value. I wanted a sparkly cow girl belt to wear to the pre wedding party.
We found our hotel easily.
My hat looked great with the flowers!
Here is the Hi/Low look that I rocked. Lucchese boots and a Tru-Value belt. Its’ called Hi/Low as you mix hi cost items with low cost items!
Tasty passed hors d’oeuvres.
There was a great buffet.
The food was great and the speakers were wonderful! Such a great start ahead for this wonderful couple and their families!
After the Pre Wedding party there was a private concert! Way cool!
The desserts were yummy.
Off to bed! We have a road trip to Aspen tomorrow, and then the wedding!