Road Trip, “Hi Mom, We’re Home”

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[It’s a long empty way across the state of South Dakota . . . ]

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[Break it up with a visit to the state’s capital.]

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[The capitol, if not otherwise obvious . . . ]

Pierre, 11 years ago . . .

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[With the Supervisor, same time of year in 2004.  BTW, with now two trips to Pierre, we are the first two non-native South Dakotans to accomplish such feat.]

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[And then, before you knew it, we were home, March 30, 2015, and the ice on Lake Darling was beginning to depart until it’s return next November.]

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[It was so nice the next day there was yard clean-up and a conflagration!]

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[And the following morning I found a piece of tumbleweed stuck in the car grill which the Supervisor then displayed with her piece of rock blasted off Crazy Horse.]

Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can’t sleep with the window shut, and a woman who can’t sleep with the window open.  ~  George Bernard Shaw

Up next:  Another road trip is just around the corner ( . . . I heard that!).

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Road Trip, Day Twelve

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[What to do with a full day in Rapid City?  Hmmm, I guess Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse come immediately to mind.  And in the “City of Presidents,” you will find every one of them on a street corner.  These were some of the ones the Supervisor roared by on our way to the three presidents on the mountainside.]

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[We’re on our way!]

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[An over-arching development?]

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[Through Keystone, we have a sighting.]

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[Yup, them’s the guys!]

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[Again, the importance of such facilities cannot be overstated!]

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[Delighted to be here, again!]

Mt. Rushmore, 11 years ago . . .

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[With the Supervisor, same time of year in 2004.]

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[And back in the present.]

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[We’re No. 32!  (And have pretty much stayed there ever since . . . well, except for girls’ hockey.]

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[Hi!  I’ll lead the way!]

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[This year we had time for the history lesson.]

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[Thus is the history lesson.  I believe above was the 50th anniversary in 1989.]

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[Like John, Paul, George, and Ringo, they deserve their individual shots too!  :-)  ]

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[Unfortunately, the change of angles didn’t work for me?]

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[Hi there!  How do you like our presidents?]

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[Despite recent difficulties in her home state, still a proud Hoosier!]

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[Little did we realize you can drive around the monument and get a profile shot of George!]

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[We didn’t understand the squiggly sign?  The rocks above looked pretty much straight up and down to us?]

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[You put “naked” in the name of pretty much anything, it’s likely to sell.  We had Naked Mountain winery not too far from us in the state of Virginia.  Yup, it was a pretty popular place.]

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[From Mt. Rushmore moving on to Crazy Horse.  The sign is not quite correct – an awful lot of Federal signage for the place along the interstates.]

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[Our first sighting!]

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[At the Visitors Center . . . ]

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[And walking around inside therein.  Pretty (there’s that word again!) much self-explanatory.]

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[The story of the white buffalo has historical significance in our family.  This is my paternal grandparents house in north Minneapolis (two siblings standing in front).  Back in the day when we would visit from Alex, the Obert brothers all slept out on the front porch.  Grandpa would softly wake us up early in the morning and say, “The white buffalo is in the backyard!  Shhhh!”  We would tiptoe to the kitchen window to see him. Every time Grandpa would say, “Ohhh, you just missed him!”  That went on for many years.  In fact, I believe he was still pulling that on me when I was on my 30’s . . . never did see that damn buffalo!]

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[I am now going to dazzle (bore?) you with several photos of the same thing.  There is a shuttle bus to the base of the mountain, and a viewing/photo op place when you get there. The bus driver/tour guide advised that Crazy Horse’s expression, attitude, and demeanor all change with the shifting light and seasons.  We had a perfect day here with passing clouds.  Do you notice a change in mood (his, not yours)?]

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[You can take a bus all the way to the top.  Will cost you about $130, about three-quarters of which can be deducted as a charitable contribution.]

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[On the way back to the visitors center, we passed where Korczak is buried – in the middle of the photo at the base of the rock cliff.  Most of his family still works here, his sons working on Crazy Horse.  They will all be buried here as well.]

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[Korczak’s quote.]

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[(Psssstt!  Don’t tell anyone.  I touched it – almost.)]

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[Tree trimming]

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[Watching people watch Crazy Horse.]

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[Just hanging around the facilities . . . and then in for lunch!]

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[A little tatanka stew.  Mmmmm!  (Forgot to ask if it was a white tatanka?)]

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[This was one of the more amazing stories . . . Korczak started the sculpture all by himself in 1948.  It was more than 700 stairs up to his work area, carrying about 50 pounds of equipment with him.  He ultimately realized he needed a compressor, bought this one used (a Buda, as I recall), and he would crank start it and then begin his climb.  But it was not reliable and often conked out – he would have to go back down to re-start it.  One day he did that NINE times!  I can’t even imagine what kind of shape he was in, and he was not a young man.  So, Crazy Horse has been under construction for 67  years, most of that time span by Korczak himself.  More workers of late have made much more progress in the last 15 years than Korczak did in the first 50 years.  Best estimates are that it is still at least 20 – 30 years from completion.  Guess I won’t see it.]

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[Time to begin the drive back through the Black Hills to Rapid City . . . ]

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[Made it.  And now the drive past some more presidents . . . ]

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[Heading for home in the morning!]

Every time I close the door on reality it comes in through the windows.  ~  Jennifer Unlimited

Up next:  Going Home

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Road Trip, Day Eleven

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[We awoke in Green River . . . which was great because that’s where we went to sleep.]

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[With a voucher from the motel, we drove all of 20 feet to Penny’s Diner to make sure our tanks were as full as the car’s.  As one might expect at such as place, our server was a real character.  ;-)  ]

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[Everybody’s tanks topped off, we hit the road for South Dakota.]

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[Toodles, Green River!]

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[We tunneled our way out of town.]

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[And then we were in the wide open spaces again.]

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[A household that wants no neighbors.]

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[Miles from nowhere, sightings of water and snow.]

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[The moon.]

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[A rest stop . . . with some historical significance.]

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[Plus, I availed myself of the facilities.]

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[Then back to the moon . . . with occasional clumped water.]

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[Pronghorn!]

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[Signs of civilization.]

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[I feel the earth . . . move . . . under my feet . . . ]

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[Our is 10 times bigger!  ;-)  ]

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[More pronghorn, the most we have ever seen on a trip.]

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[And our second Sundance!]

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[When asked early on whether we went to Devils Tower, the answer was nope (again, dreaded time constraints).  I was amazed however that you can see at least the top half of the Tower driving by on I-90 and looking north from at least 30 miles away.  I was on the wrong side of the car, and we were going to fast, to get a photo.  However . . . ]

Devils Tower, 11 years ago . . .

It rises over 1,200 feet above the surrounding terrain.  Our neighbor’s, Arnie Lee, daughter Barb has climbed it more than once.  Again, not comprehensible to me!  ;-)

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[With the Supervisor, same time of year in 2004.]

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[And back to Sundance in the present.]

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[And we’ve made it to SoDak!  :-)  ]

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[In lieu of another visit to Devils Tower, this time we’ll drive through the Black Hills for the first time . . .]

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[And went stompin’ at the Savoy . . . ]

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[Until Deadwood.]

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[A cute little town of some historic import.  Now mostly for gamblers, smokers, and bikers.  I don’t gamble, smoke, or bike . . . gee, what a dull life!  Do chocolate malts count as excitement?]

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[Then on to Sturgis . . . also famous for bikers . . . ]

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[And ultimately to Rapid City where the Super got us this super room for under $90 – for TWO nights.  So, we stayed two.  But first, after a long day on the road, a chicken pot pie as the perfect complement to March Madness!]

All the reasons of man cannot outweigh a single feeling of a woman.  ~  Voltaire

Up next:  Day Twelve.

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Road Trip, Day Ten

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[They kicked us out!  I guess it’s true what they say, guests, like dead fish, can begin to stink if they hang around too long.  But seriously, Jeanne and Ken were great hosts, we had a lovely time, but more of their family were arriving on this day (well, at least that’s what they told us?  ;-)  ).  So, we hit the road north . . .]

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[This was our first stop up I-15.  It’s actually the northern extension of Zion.  The ranger told us it’s actually better to drive through here in the afternoon because of the lighting. Boy, was he right – but we didn’t have an option.]

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[I found it somewhat amazing that after all this time in the West we didn’t know a single person at this overlook?  ;-)   ]

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[To a quick stop at Cedar City, home of Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.]

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[In case you hadn’t noticed, out of Cedar City we’re heading toward snow-capped mountains and Provo.]

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[I shot out the side window for a while until we hit the mountainside “Y.”  If you can identify what the “Y” stands for you win a dry roasted lightly salted peanut.]

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[We drove around a bit in “Y” country, so by now you know we’re on the campus of . . . ]

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[Women . . . for rent?]

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[One could say the “air game” was born here.]

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[Amazing tectonic activity here!  As a geography major who also took Rocks 1 & 2 in college, I know the technical term for these rolling striated strata is “bread dough spun with a spatula.”]

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[The technical generic term is “water falls.”  The world nods in agreement for that choice of term.  This one specifically is Bridal Veil Falls, of some repute.]

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[This is all along scenic US Highway 189 between Provo and Heber City.]

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[And this is where we ran across Bob’s place.  Robert “Sundance Kid” Redford, we just call him Bob, holds his annual Sundance Film Festival here.]

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[So, let’s go up and take a look around at Bob’s place.  Maybe he’ll be there?]

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[We had a good time looking around.  Unfortunately, Bob wasn’t there.  I left my card lest he need promotional advice in West Central Minnesota.]

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[Onward (east) toward Heber City.]

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[Past Deer Creek State Park . . . ]

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[Our first night layover.  You may recall we stopped in Green River, Utah, on the way out.  This one is in Wyoming, about the size of Alex and more than just a Subway for dining.]

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[Their museum featured a statue of John Wesley Powell, the intrepid one-armed explorer and surveyor, and outlaws of the area, including that Butch Cassidy Gang.]

The American girl makes a servant of her husband and then finds him contemptible for being a servant.  ~  John Steinbeck

Up next:  Day Eleven.

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Road Trip, Day Nine

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[Our last day with our hosts in Utah.  Where does the time go?  More Howell family members were arriving on this day, so again we thought it best to get out of the way so Jeanne and Ken could prepare for their guests.  Something about quilting . . . ?]

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[Zion was handy so we decided on another visit there.]

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[Despite a relatively late arrival, we found a parking spot amazingly close to the one we had two days previously.  We decided on a shuttle ride through the park again.]

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[Another beautiful day for a ride in the park.  We got off at the first stop, the Zion Human History Museum (the building above) because we hadn’t the first day and wanted to see the film on the park.  While you can get on and off the shuttle at every stop, everybody usually takes it all the way to end to begin and then get off and on at the other stops on the way back.  So, when we got back on this time, nobody got off so I had to stand all the way to the end.  Something to remember.]

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[This is the end of the line, the shuttle turn around point.  The Super and I would have had the shuttle all to ourselves going back except for the woman sitting on the right and a woman friend.  I over heard them talking, i.e., I eavesdropped, on the way back.  They were serious rock climbers – something totally beyond my comprehension.]

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[Reminder:  This is the most important facility you will find at any park.]

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[We’ve completed our tour.  If you just ride the shuttle up and back, it’s a little less than an hour and a half round trip.]

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[Then just outside the park, we wanted to pay a visit to this place – we missed it on our previous day here.  I recall this from years ago, going by when the gentleman had a little more pride in his first name – back then it was the “Obert C. Tanner” theater, not the totally less interesting “O. C. Tanner” theater.]

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[Unfortunately, “Obert” locked us out!?!]

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[This, apparently, is what the place looks like.]

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[So we looked for a nosh in beautiful downtown Springdale, just outside the park, and found this Mexican restaurant with this not too shabby view.]

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[We passed through Virgin on the way home (Virgin Books has so many connotations).]

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[And that pretty much covers everything you ever wanted to know about Zion National Park but were afraid to ask.  I feel like (‘feel’ is the operative word) I’m a real expert having visited here four times now.]

A man who has never made a woman angry is a failure in life.  ~  Christopher Morley

Up next:  Day Ten

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Road Trip, Day Eight

WARNING:  This is the 666th blog posting.  It’s about Las Vegas!  Coincidence?  Or are there more sinister things afoot??

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[We left our neighborhood (actually, this is Washington, Utah, but Hurricane, Washington, and St. George pretty much blend together) on this day to give Jeanne and Ken some quiet time to catch up on their cross stitching.  We were going alone to Las Vegas, a place to which Jeanne and Ken would go multiple time with family.]

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[They did advise that the road to Las Vegas (120 miles from St. George) would be among the most scenic on our trip so far as I-15 follows the Virgin River gorge through the Beaver Dam Mountains.]

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[And they were right!  With even better photos on the trip back.]

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[Then we came out of the canyon and soon were able to see Vegas in the distance and the Sheep Mountains.]

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[Now before I go any further, I have to report that . . . ]

Las Vegas, 43 years ago . . .

My first visit was in 1972, I had just been discharged (for good behavior but nary a medal) from the Army and stopped here on the way home.  I was here again sometime in the 80’s, and the place still looked not unlike the following photos.  The original Caesar’s Palace marked the end of The Strip.

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[Grandma and Grandpa Obert met me there.  They were on their annual vacation, March 1972.]

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[Back in the here and now, we weren’t really sure what we wanted to do here.  I just wanted to drive around to see what all the hoopla was about – how much it had changed!  The Super was not beyond going in some place to eat and maybe wagering a bob or two (I’m not a gambler – way too cheap).  After driving up and down The Strip and environs for about an hour, we ultimately determined there is absolutely no public parking anywhere in this city (be aware of that if you go).]

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[So while she drove around, I took pictures.  No need for explanation.  If you’ve ever seen a movie or watched any TV, you already know all these places!  :-)  ]

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[Americana on steroids!!]

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[In a mall parking garage?  Plenty of parking spaces.  Why not?  So we did, and it was perfect.  The Super wanted to dine at the Venetian outside on the canal.  The Venetian was kitty-corner from where we parked.  Luck smiled upon us.  Let’s go for a walk . . . ]

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[The Super is now so happy!!]

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[This was a structure at the mall.  We would dine here momentarily . . . ]

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[The Super is still so happy!!]

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[Even the people who served us here didn’t know what this was?]

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[Walking to the Venetian.  Like the Twin Cities, there are skyways here.  But they are open air . . . but necessary for old people cross multi-laned city streets without becoming hood ornaments.]

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[We entered here into a grand foyer.  There was a huge room ahead, and to the left and right.  Each room was packed with poker tables and each table was packed with poker players.  A hint of tobacco smoke filled the air.  My kind of place – NOT!]

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[We went back outside to the canal, which really is a marvel.  And all the while, here and throughout the trip, I kept asking myself – where are they getting the water?]

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[She wasn’t excited about the outdoor dining at the facility . . . ]

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[So we decided to head back to the mall . . . ]

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[And that’s where we delightfully discovered a Maggiano’s, the No. 1 Italian chain restaurant, out on the mall deck under the “flying saucer,” and with a view of the Venetian.  A little pizza, a little beer, and we were good to go!   :-)   ]

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[A final goodbye to New York, New York, another hour driving through the city, paralleling the freeway but finding no entrances (they don’t want you leave!!), and we were on the scenic drive home.]

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[As I recall, the Howells greeted us with a home-cooked meal upon our return.  :-)  ]

She was so glad to see me go, that I almost have a mind to come again, that she may again have the same pleasure.  ~  Samuel Johnson

Up next:  Day Eight

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Road Trip, Day Seven

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3-24-15-8 - Copy[Next it was time to explore the neighborhood.  Zion National Park was only a little over a half an hour away.  Get an early start, beat the crowds.]

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[And we picked up two more Alexandrians when we got there.  Before we all left, we discovered Kathleen and Bruce Pohlig would be at Zion, staying at a local lodge, this very day, so we made arrangements to meet up with them for park exploration.  :-)  ]

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[Actually, we were arriving . . . ]

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[We’ve boarded the shuttle for the ride in the park . . . ]

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[Shot out the window . . . ]

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[Shot out the roof.]

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[Go Cardinal fans!]

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[Our photographer.  I believe his name was Fred.  But that’d just be a guess.]

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[This is where we were.  The end of the line, The Temple of Sinawava, where we will hike along the Virgin River Trail.]

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[Kathleen and Ken . . . ]

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[The river . . . ]

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[The walls . . . ]

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[A lovely stroll, beautiful cool weather to do it in.]

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[Hanging gardens . . . (subsequent DNA evidence proved the gardens innocent and they should not have been hanged).]

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[I think I was shooting the hikers by the water but not successfully.]

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[Kathleen believed the object at hand to be a tree, a flora of the woody variety.]

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[We had to be alert at all times for dangerous critters – this guy (or gal) had absolutely no fear of us.]

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[Bruce contemplated a two-and-a-half gainer with a full twist but decided the water was too cold.]

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[You know, they do fall . . . eventually.  And you wonder about that.]

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[“Scoop” Howell in action.]

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[Duck!!]

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[Reminding . . . it’s still desert.]

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[Kathleen checks our Triptik.]

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[One of the most popular, if long and strenuous, “hikes” in the entire country.  If you look closely at the closer-upper shots, you can see lines of people working their way up on switchbacks.  We didn’t do it this time. so let’s take you back to those glorious days of yesteryear . . . ]

Zion National Park, 32 years ago . . .

We visited Zion National Park twice on this trip, during which time I regaled our captive audience about the time I climbed Angels Landing. It was exactly 32 years ago (pre-Super), and my traveling companion in those days was Basketball Dan. It’s a strenuous, 5-mile, 5-hour uphill hike, and now there is a sign at its commencement noting that 6 people have died from falls on the trail in the last decade! Oy!

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[With Basketball Dan, same time of year in 1983.]

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[Back in current time, the group is on the move from the Grotto (eyeballing Angels Landing) to Zion Lodge.]

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[And at the Lodge we took this trail.]

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[As you may know, Continental Bridge out of Alexandria, Minnesota, was previously Bruce’s company, and many bridges such as this all over the country have his trademark on them.  Whenever we came to a bridge, Bruce hustled up to see if it was one if his.  He has some here but not this particular one.]

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[The view from “not Bruce’s bridge.”  And those are our ‘peeps’ on the bridge.]

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[And here we have “Scoop” Howell in action again, under the watchful eye of his producer/director.]

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[Did you see Kim Kardashian?]

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[Goodbye for this day, from another “not Bruce’s bridge.”]

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[So let’s have a little outdoor lunch before we say goodbye to the Pohligs.]

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[Pterodactyl?]

In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man – if you want anything done, ask a woman.  ~  Margaret Thatcher

Up next:  Day Eight.

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