Our lives now include living at one of the nicest senior communities in the USA. Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, CA. We will still travel in the RV but not full time.

Archive for August, 2011

Cheyenne, Wyoming-Cowboys and Railroads

Railroad Station Museum – history of Union Pacific and Cheyenne

Cheyenne has fixed up its old railroad station and turned it into a museum about the Pacific Railroad.  The story here is the best of the best.  People in 1860 – 1863 knew the Union Pacific was coming through.  About 300 trappers, business people and other odd ducks started building the town so that when the railroad arrived they were already happening.  Great stories of governors and Buffalo Bill and brothels and wonderful buildings with character in a down town that has been rescued and looks fascinating.  Capitol Street has the Capitol Building (one of the most beautiful I have seen) at one end and the Railroad Station at the other end.  The old down town churches are spectacular.  Lots of historical buildings to tour such as the governor’s mansion.  Ate at the Plains Hotel and some great photos.

Have enjoyed old friends this week who have been most hospitable even through their house is torn up getting new floors.  Hot every day though some evenings cool down and nite is great for sleeping.  I like walking around down town-being a capitol it has good employment.  Also Wyoming has coal, oil and other minerals so is in better shape than many places.  I think the whole state only has 1/2 million people.


Capitol taken from RR Station

Famous brothel

This Methodist Church is older than Pt. Richmond's

Great looking Methodist Building

Ate incredible lunch at famous historical Plains Hotel

A bit much but very real in Wyoming

I love this-the big owner of other theaters first preserved this one

Eastern Montana and Wyoming

Well, I cannot believe I have not blogged for so long,  but am glad some of you go see my gallery of pictures when I invite you to go see them.

Medicine Wheel, truly an ancient and completely spiritual place

We arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming today.  It has been quite a trek south.  The campground outside of the Battle of Little BigHorn was so nice we spent a week.  It saves a lot of money and we are learning to stay a week as often as possible.  Then we drive everywhere in the car.  Russ just checked and we are out of money for the month.  Guess living on retirement is harder than we expected.  One very good thing is that gas in Wyoming has been so much cheaper and our new spot in Cheyenne is very cool, we will stay the week and save money. We have trees overhead and  we are excited to get in a visit with my childhood friend Jim and his wife Paula who was a sorority sister of mine in college.  Jim is the one who got me to work in Washington D.C. and to run for office at U of I.  They are taking us out for dinner tonight.

Guarding the Medicine Wheel were two hawks. One let us approach.

At any rate since the incredible experience at the top of Big Horn Mountain range, where we touched ancient time and spirits at Medicine Wheel, we have traveled down Wyoming and visited sites having to do with “How the West was Won”.  The trails in the dirt, Independence Rock, the Mormon Cart Museum have been fascinating.  Casper, however, was one poor campground.  You all know I loved living next to the train tracks but this was 100 feet close and pretty rough looking.  It was close to great shopping and the car brakes were replaced.  But the wind was wild!  In fact we left after two days and went to a state park last night on the Platte River.

Top of Big Horns and clouds play tricks with us

We have only camped in state parks or federal parks a couple of time as we like being hooked up to everything.  But it can be a big savings and more like camping in the wild.  The reservoir was huge on the Platte, and the surrounding canyon covered with scrub bushes and pines.  We looked out over the lake and did not have a ton of people on each side of us.  I liked it. However, what a wind, lightning and rain storm we endured for the evening.  It was beautiful and scary and the whole RV needs major dusting.

Some nights are perfect!

Little Big Horn Battlefield campground with storms moving from the west each nite

Did I tell you about all the miles of RR tracks we have followed and that in Montana and Wyoming there are trains carrying coal that are about 3/4 of a mile long.  They go north full and south empty.  And yes, coal power plants.  Talk about getting another point of view being out here and listening to the way these people think about energy.  Not that it has changed me, but I have learned a lot!!  Also there are individual oil wells on people’s ranches as you travel along.

Independence Rock where all the wagon trains passed

Walked back from Indep. Rock and was almost blown away!

Another thing I am taking in and thinking about is the Indian Nations I am seeing and the people on them I am meeting.  You talk about a problem and discrimination.  At the 7th RV Park next to the battlefield, the owner told me that if the Crow kids get in a fight with white kids, it is a federal offense and they go to prison!!!!!  If they fight with their own, the Crow nation handles it.  That is one small thing of the many  you run into.  He also could not bear to coach the kids, because of the number of suicides of the kids.  They give up and have a friend drive the pick up fast and then they dive off.

We don't site see every minute or every day.

Well on that note I shall add a few photographs and send my love.  We are still glad to be doing this and we have not killed each other so far.  Most of the time we do great and the girls are true travelers now.

Aside:  Ok, today , Monday, I am adding the photo’s from last week and taking the day to work on blog and gallery.  Russ is working on RV projects.  Tomorrow our friend Paula is taking us on a little tour.  We already drove downtown and the buildings are incredible.  Will probably do a new blog Thursday all about the Union Pacific Railroad  and this town.  It is filled with incredible buildings and old west stories.  It was quite the wild town in the 1860’s.

Trains carry coal all day long north and return south empty. Coal power is used for energy here.

I just love this picture of Russ at Medicine Wheel

Russ’s Birthday

Tomorrow August 12 is Russ’s birthday, and some of you might want to e-mail him a wish at kristija@pacbell.net.

Canada was too beautiful for words.  Huge clouds always blowing across and darkening in the north.  The rolling plains below the Rockies were covered with grass, wildflowers, wheat and cattle.  We were always being told to watch out for grizzlies.  I guess you have to get up on the high trails to experience them.  We saw ground squirrels and birds.  Oh, yes, on my last day I saw a wolverine.  Not one bear!  Do I name that bad or good??

Russ loved the cool weather all the time in Montana and Alberta.  I loved the cool nights but am ready for some summer now.  On Monday morning we left the Lake Louise campground and headed out. We had loved the campground in the pines and Lake Louise and the ski lift.

view from the ski chair lift

I am doing three Moble Me galleries of our time west of Calgary in the Rockies..  One is Banff and one is Lake Louise and the other is the on the Glacier north of Banff and Lake Louise..

Canadians shop in the USA now because their dollar is worth $1.10 to our dollar.  Their gas is on the higher end too, so it was time for us to get back to the States.  After all we spent a long time just in Idaho, Montana and Alberta.  Russ said that we spent over $700 in August on gas.  Thus we will stay a week and site see SE Montana-Crow Nation and Custer battle land.

I can say that I liked the Canadians and was treated almost special. Of course I already knew from my friend Lori at Crossroads and Jacki, Kay’s friend that Canadians are special.  The Canadians in Alberta seemed to have a lot of pride in their homes and cities.  Houses of the 50’s 60’s are beautifully kept up as are lawns and farms.

Where is all the wildlife I was promised?

I also have met super RVers.  Texans and Oklahomans who could not have been sweeter or more informative.  I was on my better behavior concerning politics.  But people in Canada are so amazed by our insurance costs and how the Americans get nothing but lies about how bad the Canadian medical system is. The Alberta people are very thankful for and praise their system.

People watching-  I have seen more women smoking with kids around them in Montana and Canada than I have dreamed possible.  Idaho, not so much – is Mormon in the south so you really don’t see it.  But in the parks, at RV places, in the shopping malls etc.  Super # of smokers and women of all ages.

Also, Alberta women were generally in great physical shape-it was unusual to see large size people-and boy do they seem to exercise in the summer-everyone rode bikes, in towns, cities and over the mountains. We saw people on bikes, 30 miles from a town and there are trails through the parks next to the highways.  Some just ride on the highways.  I still have not rented to try it out.  I have pushed myself to walk on short trails with hills. Hurts coming down but I do it anyway.  My weight is the same as when I left, I still eat veggies and not so much meat, but too much flour and sugar.   In fact I know where all great bakeries are on this trip.

Water wears away

Banff where we site seed and washed the clothes expensively

Quite a walk to the glacier now!

The glacier was here in 1925

Go See Glacier from St. Mary

Last week Russ and I were on the eastern side of Glacier as many of you saw from my gallery on Moble Me.  If you have already seen these pictures forgive me, but I do need to keep up my blog.  It is so easy to just post pictures on the gallery.  The blog requires that I think.  Oh dear, not that.

At any rate, I do want to recommend Many Glacier and entering the Highway to the Sun from the East side up to Logan Pass.  I found the East side to be more dramatic and you view more glaciers.  The best part was we did not use the free shuttle on this side but instead went in the Red bus, a 1936 invention of the Railroad magnate who came up with the idea of getting tourists in from Europe and his lodge was designed in the
Alpine style.  At first people came in by horseback, if you can believe that.

St. Mary is the entrance to the Highway to the Sun and that was so cool to stay 4 nights and look over St Mary Lake and up to the Mountains.

Then we learned heaps about the Plains Indians and of course we were on the Blackfoot Reservation.  It was a good thing the Red Bus driver, Kenny had been a forest ranger for many years in Texas and retired to Glacier.  One year there and he knew the Blackfoot stories, the flora and fauna and found us a black wolf, beaver dams, mountain goats and explained the millennia of formation of Glacier.  Did you know the Plains were rolled over and down from the mountains?  The Rockies are sediment but not granite and I have added a picture of white covered rocks, with lines from the glaciers eating away and leaving the white sediment, over one billion years old.


I am so into wildflowers as this year has produced more species than most people get to see any other years.  And moving north has meant I did not run into summer but spring.

Buffalo Grass


























Just like the 1930's









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