September, 2007

We're glad you can join us on our adventure.  One of our favorite things to do is to head down the road, not knowing what's around the next bend.

We're heading to Wyoming - specifically Yellowstone and the Tetons - with a few interesting stops along the way.

(Remember, the photos are thumbnails, so if you want to see a larger image just click on it.  Then hit your browser's back button to return to this page.)

Our first stop was Gothenburg, Nebraska - home of a restored Pony Express Station and the Sod House Museum.  The Pony Express was only in existence for 18 months, until the telegraph arrived. Eighty men rode at once (40 going east and 40 going west), changing horses every ten miles.  The mail route from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California took about 10 days.  The record run over this 1,996 miles was made in carrying Lincoln's inaugural address - 7 days and 17 hours.

P1010008_two story sod house.jpg (226405 bytes)We've seen photos of many sod houses, but no two story ones.  Another photo showed a sod house that in later years had water and electricity installed and was used up until 1968!  I always had thought these homes were just temporary ones until a permanent home could be built - like the dugouts my ancestors used when they first came to Kansas.  Apparently not.


P1010019_Carhenge.jpg (197705 bytes)P1010034_Garner home.jpg (194632 bytes)We stopped at Carhenge - a rough take-off on Stonehenge.  This is located out in the panhandle of Nebraska - a few miles north of Alliance.  We overnighted at the home of a distant cousin of Gary's.  They share the same great-great-great-grandfather.  They live on a small acreage outside of Hemingford. This is the view from the motorhome this morning.  Last night we could see the glow on the horizon from Alliance - 17 miles away.  The stars were magnificent and the total quiet was awesome.

P1010045_Chimney Rock.jpg (151178 bytes)This is Chimney Rock - a landmark for many of the early travelers.  It is located on the Platte River near Scottsbluff, Ne.  The Oregon Trail, the California Trail, the Mormon Trail, and the Pony Express all followed the same route here.



P1010065_Oregon Trail Ruts.jpg (247185 bytes)P1010073_Register Cliff.jpg (177209 bytes)We learned a little more about the Oregon Trail by visiting two different sites in eastern Wyoming.  Approximately a half million people used this 2,170 mile trail. These are the trail ruts that the iron-rimmed wagon wheels carved into the sandstone.  A typical wagon was 4 feet wide and 12 feet long and heavily loaded with supplies.  This is Register Cliff which served as a sort of outdoor guest book for the pioneers.  The oldest signature we found was dated 1849. 

P9150005_Independence Rock.jpg (108928 bytes)P9150013_Devil's Gate.jpg (150903 bytes)On down the road is Independence Rock - so named because the pioneers knew they had to reach this half-way mark by July 4th in order to safely cross the mountains before winter set in.  It has signatures and dates carved in it as well.  Just a few miles away is Devil's Gate - it was formed by the Sweetwater River. 


P9150003_on the road in Wy.jpg (126690 bytes)

What a beautiful scene after driving through miles of this sagebrush-covered North Platte River valley. 



09162007 024_SinksCanyon.jpg (171229 bytes)09162007 008_troutpond.jpg (150554 bytes)Sink's Canyon State Park is just outside Lander, Wy.  The river that runs through here disappears into this cave and appears 1/4 mile later in this large calm pool. 



09162007 009_rainbow trout.jpg (110300 bytes)Rainbow trout who have come upstream find their way blocked, but now stay due to the tourists who feed them.  We are having fun getting to know our new camera - we zoomed in on one of the trout.  No fishing allowed, of course.



09162007 030_wind river canyon.jpg (154752 bytes)09162007 011_mineral pool.jpg (122005 bytes)This is the Wind River Canyon, a beautiful drive up to Thermopolis.  We came to soak in the world's largest mineral hot springs.  Over 18 million gallons of water flow from these springs every 24 hours at a temperature of 135 degrees. 



09162007 008_tepee fountain.jpg (193493 bytes)09162007 036_Supersaurus.jpg (130916 bytes)This is called a tepee fountain.  In 1908 they inserted a metal tube into the spring, supported it with a rock terrace, and let nature take its course.  The water continues to bubble out of the top, and the minerals build up.   Thermopolis is also home to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.  This is a Supersaurus, one of only 2 in the world.  It is 106 feet long, and was found here in Wyoming in 1995.


09192007 013_buffalo bill.jpg (114708 bytes)In Cody, we toured the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  It is comprised of five different museums, the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, and Plains Indian Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the Cody Firearms Museum.  We also enjoyed a part of their special arts celebration -  the Cody High Style - a display of handmade western furniture.  Gary thinks he'll stick to adirondack chairs.


9212007 012_black bear cub.jpg (139387 bytes)9212007 030_coyote.jpg (151936 bytes)Yellowstone National Park - it's taken us 17 years to get back to this amazing place.  This little bear cub ran right across the road in front of us, then stopped to take a look as he scampered up the rock cliff.  Gary was in a meadow with others from our campground watching for bears when he spied this coyote taking it all in.



P9220064_elk.jpg (127061 bytes)9212007 028_bufalo walking.jpg (140919 bytes)The elk are starting their rutting season.  This male had his "harem" wandering around the grounds of Mammoth Hot Springs resort.  He's bugling here, and warning the park ranger off camera to the right to not come any closer.  This buffalo was sauntering right down the middle of the road - good thing we were in the RV - he was as tall as our car!


P9220081_Yellowstone Falls.jpg (132356 bytes)P9220011_aspen.jpg (186695 bytes)And of course a trip here wouldn't be complete without a photo of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Lower Falls!  We hoped there would be beautiful groves of aspens turning, but if they're here we haven't found them yet.  This one sure is pretty, tho.



9272007 106grand geyser.jpg (59216 bytes)9272007 068_morning glory.jpg (153598 bytes)9272007 053_riverside geyser.jpg (153628 bytes)The Yellowstone literature says that this park preserves the largest hydrothermal area on the planet.  Here's three of our favorites - Grand Geyser, Riverside Geyser, and Morning Glory Pool.





9252007 103_flyfishing.jpg (93445 bytes)9282007 048_chapel.jpg (98343 bytes)Fly fishing on the Firehole River.  This scene even makes us non-fishermen want to give it a try.

 This view of the Tetons is through the window of the Chapel of the Transfiguration - built many years ago for area ranchers.



9292007 040_moose.jpg (185055 bytes)10012007 048_oxbow bend.jpg (75933 bytes)We finally saw our moose!  And this is sunrise at Oxbow Bend. The elk bugled for over a half hour, and an otter swam by, popping up his head to check us out.  We shared this magical moment with about 45 other photographers.  We think we could get addicted to this!  We spent an afternoon in Jackson and enjoyed wandering through several photography studios.  We plan on another sunrise photo session tomorrow and then head out towards home.  We can hardly wait till we can return to try for an even better shot!


10022007 053_sunrise.jpg (103900 bytes)10022007 047_sunrise.jpg (69988 bytes)10022007 065_sunrise.jpg (103089 bytes)10022007 066_sunrise.jpg (115239 bytes)Sunrise at the Tetons, Tuesday, October 2, 2007.