A Glorious Summer

How would you like to take a summer trip through 10 states, to 10 National Parks, Monuments, and Recreation Areas, 10 cities, 2 natural hot springs and a genuine Navajo Trading Post?  Well, you can! Come along with Phil and me as I share with you highlights of our summer of fun.

Starbucks & Oysters

After returning from our Alaska trip in June, we wanted more adventure so we jumped into our RV in Portland and headed out.  Our first stop was Seattle, Washington where the three main highlights were the original Starbucks, Pike Place Market on the waterfront, and oysters.

IMG_2137IMG_2144

I thought it would be fun to go to the original Starbucks which is in Seattle but we couldn’t even get in the door. The line ran down the street of this, the original coffee house. Never mind – we didn’t really want coffee – we wanted seafood.  We headed across the street to Pike Place Market to see all the seafood for sale there.

One of the fish markets in Pike Place

One of the fish markets in Pike Place

These were the BEST Oysters Rockefeller ever!

These were the BEST Oysters Rockefeller ever!

Oyster Stew at Elliott’s Seafood House. Go There!

Oyster Stew at Elliott’s Seafood House. Go There!

The best of Seattle for us was to be found at Ernie’s House of Seafood. I have had many oysters in my life. My grandpa used to serve them at his restaurant near the beach in North Carolina. There was a huge pile of oyster shells outside where the men would sit, and shuck oysters and imbibe. But who knew oysters could taste this good?

The Crab Cakes at Ernie’s were fabulous

The Crab Cakes at Ernie’s were fabulous

Smoked 1/2 Pig Head, Crispy Fried Ear, Braised Tongue and Roasted Loin at The Radiator at Pike Place, Seattle.

Smoked 1/2 Pig Head, Crispy Fried Ear, Braised Tongue and Roasted Loin at The Radiator at Pike Place, Seattle.

We didn’t eat the boar’s head in the photo ourselves but watched as others did in a hip “gastropub” at the waterfront in Seattle.

TO THE WILDERNESS

We wanted to be in the wilderness and we got our wish at Glacier Bay National Park. Glacier Bay is in Montana very close to Canada. I had never been to Montana, but I was fascinated with its mystique of Big Sky and wide open spaces. I was not disappointed. Glacier Bay and the Park were pristine.

IMG_6156IMG_1588
Widdle enjoys her boat ride

Widdle enjoys her boat ride

And her bike rides

And her bike rides

And I enjoyed the famous huckleberry pie at the Park Cafe in Glacier

And I enjoyed the famous huckleberry pie at the Park Cafe in Glacier

YELLOWSTONE – WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE

Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone

Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone

The iconic Old Faithful Geyser is still spewing tons of water on schedule at Yellowstone National Park.  Visitors come from all over to see.

This buffalo-visitor didn’t even stop to look at Old Faithful as he walked right through the parking lot by the lodge.  Folks were amazed.  You just don’t often see a wild animal of this magnitude walking through the parking lot only feet away from you.  After it was over I asked a ranger why the buffalo came through the parking lot like that.  He responded, “He was going that way”.  I guess it seemed normal to the ranger.

IMG_1695IMG_1697 IMG_1787IMG_1882
Castle Geyser – There were geysers all over the place

Castle Geyser – There were geysers all over the place

Wonderful colors formed by minerals like iron

Wonderful colors formed by minerals like iron

Hot boiling water at Dragon’s Mouth Springs

Hot boiling water at Dragon’s Mouth Springs

Amazing colors In what they call the glory hole

Amazing colors in what they call the glory hole

This was a grueling hike, especially coming back up

This was a grueling hike, especially coming back up

But it was worth the climb to see Lower Yellowstone Falls

But it was worth the climb to see Lower Yellowstone Falls

GRAND TETONS

Imagine the Grand Tetons rising up with no foothills to block the view as you drive down the highway. Here are varying views at different times of the day.

IMG_2050
The mountains loom large

The mountains loom large

Tetons from the backside

Tetons from the backside

BEAR COUNTRY

We were warned repeatedly about bears in the area.  One had wandered into our campground earlier and rangers came round to instruct us on proper food storage.  They said that if the bears got into human food, they would have to put the bears down because they would then become more dangerous. That story got my attention – I sure didn’t want to be the cause of a bear having to be killed.

But…I did get a little spooked about me and my little dog walking around the area without the bear spray. Even on bike trails we would see signs that a bear had been sighted.  I had the jingle bells they sell that are supposed to alert the bear to my presence, but I didn’t take much comfort in that method.  I stuck pretty close to Phil and the canister!

Bear spray – Notice the canister with red tip on Phil’s hip

Bear spray – Notice the canister with red tip on Phil’s hip

We saw lots of  buffalo herds. I kept my distance from them, as we were advised

We saw lots of buffalo herds. I kept my distance from them, as we were advised

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING

Wyoming, home of the Grand Tetons, is also home to Jackson.  It’s a very nice Western town, with some good food and drink.

IMG_23211
It’s 5 O’Clock in Jackson

It’s 5 O’Clock in Jackson

Elk appetizer in Jackson. Yum

Elk appetizer in Jackson. Yum

Rack of lamb at Blue Lion in Jackson

Rack of lamb at Blue Lion in Jackson

The ski run seems to run right on into town!

The ski run seems to run right on into town!

CHILDHOOD FRIEND IN SALT LAKE CITY

IMG_2108IMG_2079

My earliest childhood friend Cookie married young and left our Southern Baptist roots to become a Mormon like her husband.   Phil and i went to see her in Salt Lake City.

Of course, we had to see the Great Salt Lake, which really doesn’t look so great these days.

Cookie and I both have gospel music in our blood so we attended a performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. While at the Church’s Conference Center Phil got a chance to use their free genealogy search called FamilySearch.com.  He was delighted to find a number of long lost Spanish relatives, which he shared with his mom, to her delight.

HIPPY DIPPY HOT SPRINGS

IMG_2171

While in Utah, we got to explore some of our hippy roots, and some interesting geology, when we stumbled upon Mystic Hot Springs while looking for a campsite.  Here’s what the web page said about its origins:

Producer/Director/Artist Mike Ginsburg was traveling in his bus back to Denver from the last Vegas Dead shows in 1995, when he stumbled into Mystic Hot Springs. Instantly he realized that everything he was looking for was right there. Miraculously he was able to purchase the resort. Having worked since 1996, he is still at it!  His artistic talent has been used to add new Soaking areas, restore pioneer Cabins, promote many wonderful Concerts, produce DVD’s, create stunning Lampwork glass Jewelery and bring a special energy to this wonderful place.

IMG_2114IMG_2124 IMG_2166IMG_2125

BRYCE CANYON UTAH

IMG_2332

Bryce Canyon is spectacular for it colors and its size.  The rim varies from 8000-9000 feet high.  It has tall pinnacles, formed by frost and steam, called hoodoos. Paiute Indians lived in this region for many years before European Americans arrived.

Entering Bryce Canyon

Entering Bryce Canyon

IMG_2462

There is a sacred oral tradition that states that these hoodoos, or pinnacles, are ancient “Legend People” turned into stone by the trickster Cayote as a punishment for bad deeds.

IMG_2330 IMG_2347IMG_2438

WELCOME TO ZION

Arches say “welcome” to me and Zion also has arches. It’s fascinating how different the rock formations are in different locations.

IMG_2415-1IMG_2528 IMG_2493IMG_2468

Finally, Phil got to see BigHorn Sheep.  He was very happy and took about a million photos. Here are a couple good ones:

IMG_2391IMG_2392

LAKE POWELL

Lake Powell is a beautiful recreation area and reservoir on the Colorado River. It straddles the border between Utah and Arizona and was created by flooding Glen Canyon.  It is now a National Recreation Area and is enjoyed by over 2 million people each year. The favorite way to enjoy Lake Powell is in a houseboat, but we took out a small powerboat for the day instead.

IMG_2709IMG_2610IMG_2682IMG_2508

MONUMENT VALLEY AND FOUR CORNERS

Monument Valley is that spectacular place where so many Westerns were filmed.  The movie usually features some very small horses riding past some very large rock spires.  Unfortunately for us, the day was rainy the day we were there, so no horses or great photos of rock spires.

IMG_2824
Four corners is the only place where 4 states meet

Four corners is the only place where 4 states meet

I am standing in 4 states at the same time!

I am standing in 4 states at the same time!

It was a kick to get to straddle four states at one time!  Four Corners is on a Navajo Reservation, so after the photo we stepped over to the nearby restaurant and had ourselves a bowl of elk stew and some Indian frybread with honey!

NEW MEXICO

This state is very special for Phil since it’s his mother’s birthplace and he still has family there.  We started our visit in Taos where I had to have Doc Martin’s famous chile rellano. From there we went to the hot springs at Ojo Caleinte, with its various mineral pools and mud bath. Next we visited lovely Sante Fe and ended our trip with a special visit with Phil’s relatives. We bought lots of fresh New Mexico chile for ourselves plus we shipped 2 gunny sacks full to San Francisco for Nicole and Diego to roast, peel, freeze and enjoy all year. Like her dad, Nicole loves New Mexico chile.  And like him, for her she likes ” the hotter – the better”.

A Taos garden

A Taos garden

Chile Rellano at Doc Martin’s in Taos

Chile Rellano at Doc Martin’s in Taos

I like my Tequila Chamucos “neat”

I like my Tequila Chamucos “neat”

One of our favorite dishes is Green Chile Stew

One of our favorite dishes is Green Chile Stew

Fresh green chile roasted on the grill.

Fresh green chile roasted on the grill.

The chile is then peeled and seeded and ready for the freezer bags to be enjoyed all year long

The chile is then peeled and seeded and ready for the freezer bags to be enjoyed all year long

CANYON DE CHELLY

Canyon De Chelly is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen!  My photos could not capture the enormous proportions of the rock formations here.

DSC00478

Notice the size of the rock formation in contrast to the ceremonial house.

The horses and riders are dwarfed by the enormity of the rock

The horses and riders are dwarfed by the enormity of the rock

I like to imagine viewing these spires from the road in view down there

I like to imagine viewing these spires from the road in view down there

Notice the dwellings of the ancient Native Americans built into the rock (in shadow)

Notice the dwellings of the ancient Native Americans built into the rock (in shadow)

These are the same dwellings magnified 30X with my camera. It's amazing that they could build houses and live like this.

These are the same dwellings magnified 30x with my camera. It’s amazing that they could build houses and live like this.

NAVAJO TRADING POST

DSC00346
Fully operating Navajo trading post

Fully operating Navajo trading post

Rifles, rugs and books

Rifles, rugs and books

THE BIG KAHUNA – GRAND CANYON

DSC00700

Nothing says “Outdoor Wonderment” like the Grand Canyon, the Grandaddy of National Parks.  We had the good fortune to complete our visit JUST before the government shutdown.  Oh, I felt so bad for all the US and foreign visitors who were turned away – those who had spent thousands of dollars to make this trip.  Imagine having your wedding planned to take place at the park, as some people did and have it subsequently cancelled due to the shutdown!

Much of the park is accessible only by using the park’s shuttle service. This saves congestion and wear-and-tear on the parks. The buses were full of visitors; we were told that the lodging is sold out every day of the year. Hiking down into the Canyon was glorious but what goes down must come up as well!

A very pleasant and easy hike not to be missed was the Rim Trail. Glorious views, level ground and very educational presentations on the park, including examples of the types of rocks that make up this wonder. Did you know that some of the rocks there are 2 billion years old?!

Notice the switchback trails leading DOWN into the canyon – and back up!

Notice the switchback trails leading DOWN into the canyon – and back up!

The Rim Trail has displays all along the several mile walk that are very educational

The Rim Trail has displays all along the several mile walk that are very educational

DSC00656
This big fella got to hike anywhere he wanted to

This big fella got to hike anywhere he wanted to

Our visit to the Grand Canyon was a wonderful way to end our Glorious Summer.  From here we drove to LA to visit Phil’s soon-to-be 101 year old mother, then to San Francisco to see the kids and put the RV back in storage.  We are leaving for beautiful Kauai November 8, with the idea to travel to Southeast Asia to spend the winter. Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Malaysia, India – who knows where we will go. Do you have suggestions for us?

Thank you for taking this summer journey with us.  It was the summer trip of a lifetime that I hope everyone who wants to gets to make!

DSC00815

15 responses to “A Glorious Summer”

  1. rick stetler says:

    Thanks for sharing and in a very professional manner. What did you do with the dog when you went to the far east? I’m enjoying retirement. Bruce Harvey says he is retiring the end of this year. Would love to see you at Huntington Lake. Keep the email comming.
    Rick

  2. Gayle says:

    Aloha! Wow…that was a FABULOUS Summer trip experience, & I really enjoyed ‘going along for the ride’ with you guys! It’s been great seeing you both again here on Kaua’i & I can hardly wait to read/see/share your SE Asian Winter blog! ?

  3. Susan Ullis says:

    I enjoyed the sharing your summer journey. Hoodoos, canyons, oysters and geysers! Now I want to roam too. Mahalo.

  4. Beverly says:

    Awesome photos – interesting that you put the last two together (before you & Phil) – the antlers and tree look so similar.

  5. paul Flora says:

    Phil & Diane,

    I feel like I took the trip with you. Thank you for sharing.

    Paul

  6. Diane says:

    Fabulous photos

  7. Sally says:

    I love your blog!! I think I’ve said that before?? ;0) You went to some of my favorite places, and I enjoyed seeing them again. You also went to some new places….mostly in Utah. Now I want to go too. You
    should write for a travel magazine! Thanks for sharing your amazing adventure with us. Enjoy Hawaii….know that is one of your favoite places! Hope to see you this winter. Hugs!

  8. Pete Hueseman says:

    Sue:
    Wonderful pictures and description of a great trip. Hope to take my wife on something similar in the next year or two.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Pete Hueseman, R.Ph., P.D.

  9. Jeanette Hanson says:

    What an absolutely beautiful trip!
    I was at the Grand Canyon 4 years ago and it was breath taking.
    Alicia said you both visited her & Rick a few weeks ago along with Aunty Tima.
    Fernando & I visited with Aunty Tima about 3 weeks ago. She’s hanging in there, talked about a party for her birthday in Nov., it was good seeing her.
    So where do you both go from here?
    Love,
    Cousin Jeanette

  10. Roberta says:

    What a lovely way to enjoy the good old USA. See you in a week for Book Club on Kauai!

  11. Aloni says:

    How gorgeous. Jack and I just ended a very similar trip. It has given me an appreciation and gratitude for America.

  12. Sabra Kauka says:

    Oh, my! You sure feed my travel bug big time. I really want to make this trip with my ohana, especially the grandchildren. Mahalo for sharing, Carol Sue. Aloha, Sabra

  13. Marjorie says:

    Thank you for letting us enjoy your journey with you through your blog! It’s so inspiring! What an adventure! I love seeing all of the pics and your writings are priceless! Aloha!!!!

  14. Laura Benjamin says:

    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing. Keep safe and happy travels to you both!

  15. phil1 says:

    I love it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *