Our Fantastic Three Week Vacation, June 2004 Page 1
Dave, Deanna and I left Havana, Kansas on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 at 8:00 AM. We drove west, headed toward Dodge City, Kansas. We encountered strong winds in western Kansas and really strong odors from the many stockyards in and around Dodge City. We stopped in Lamar, Colorado at the Visitors Center to pick up maps and brochures. We saw a huge blade for the wind-driven windmills lying by the railroad tracks and took photos of it. We found an empty parking lot and decided to eat our lunch there. Then we continued on to Fountain, Colorado, which is just south of Colorado Springs and arrived there at 7:15 PM. We set up our camp in a beautiful KOA RV park. We took a lot of pictures of the mountains and other scenes that were so beautiful.
The next morning, June 16, we visited the United States Air Force Academy. I was really impressed by the chapel, which holds services and has three different chapels for Protestants, Catholics, and Hebrew religions. There is also a separate room set aside for other religions, such as those found in the Far East nations. In the afternoon, we went to Royal Gorge and rode the incline railway down to the Colorado River. Deanna thought it would bother me as I have a problem with heights, but it went slowly and steadily, so I had no problems. We took pictures of people in rafts, the tram over the gorge and the Skycoaster. No one was using that as it was so windy. Even the bridge over the gorge was swaying enough that I could feel it vibrate under my feet. We took the Scenic Skyline Drive at Canon City Colorado on the way back to camp. BOY!! Was that scary!!! I was sure glad to get back on fairly level ground.
We drove into Manitou Springs on our third day and rode the cog railway up to Pikeís Peak. It was misty and cloudy so when we got up on the peak, we were looking down on the clouds! We saw a marmot while the train was stopped to allow another train to descend the mountain. We didnít see much wild life there as it was so cold and rainy.
When we got back to the station, we drove to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. There we were able to go inside the dwellings and three Indians performed with a flute and did several different dances. We then went to the Garden of the Gods and walked around taking photos.
June 18. We left the RV Park at 8:00 AM and headed north toward Denver, Fort Collins, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. This was our 4th day of rainy weather, which made traveling more difficult. We saw lots of prong horn antelope both east and north of Rawlins, Colorado. We stopped at Dubois, Wyoming at the Riverside Campground. I took a lot of pictures the next morning. The sun made the mountains so beautiful!
Magnificent Yellowstone Pictures
On June 19th, we left Dubois at 9:00 AM and headed for Yellowstone National Park. This is fantastic scenery of mountains with snow on top and many, many, fields of horses. Wyoming is known as wild horse country. We saw lots of log homes built right up on the sides of the mountains. We crossed the Continental Divide about 9:45 AM mountain time. (One hour earlier than our time at home.) Dave and I got our Golden Age passes about 10:50 AM, as we entered the Yellowstone Park area. We reached the Flagg Ranch Village at 11:30 AM and set up camp, then ate lunch. We then went on to Yellowstone Park and crossed the Continental Divide three more times. We saw what we thought was a moose at 2:00 PM, but werenít sure as it was so far back in the field.
We visited the West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Lake and Kepler Cascade (waterfall) before reaching Old Faithful. there were many benches for visitors to wait on and we sat down to wait for Old Faithful to blow. It had been raining off and on all day and was cool, so we had on our jackets and had an umbrella. It began to rain hard, then sleet and hail began to fall on us. We got soaked through and through with only one umbrella for all three of us to huddle under. Suddenly, Old Faithful began to spew and the sun came out long enough for us to video and photograph the event. WOW!!! Magnificent!!! After Old Faithful, we went on to the Hill of Geysers and the Midway Geyser Basin to see the Prismatic Springs. This is a really big area with board walkways and bridges where you can view many different forms and colors of geysers, some more active than others, There were signs warning people to stay on the boardwalks as the ground was so unstable. It almost looked like an alien planet, it was so different from ordinary ground. We headed back to camp at 5:40 PM and reached there at 6:15 PM.
There was some road construction along the route, so that delayed us each time we came or left
June20th was on a Sunday. We slept in a little and didnít leave camp till 9:05 AM. We headed north, stopped at Grantís Village to mail a letter and buy souvenirs. Each time we went north, we crossed the Continental Divide three times going and three times coming back. We took pictures of some buffalo, the Firehole Spring and cone and the White Dome Geyser. As we continued down the road we were confronted by a large herd of buffalo, many with calves. All traffic, both ways, was brought to a halt. This is known as a "buffalo jam". Traffic was backed up both ways for at least three blocks until the herd finally got off the road.
We continued on our way and stopped at the Madison Junction picnic area for lunch. We had sandwiches, chips, and pop with us in the cooler. We saw Gibbonís Falls, which had a lot of coal-black rocks in and around it. We stopped and took pictures of ground squirrels and a herd of elk. We saw Roaring Mountain, which hisses and roars; the Obsidian Cliffs, which are black; the Golden Gate Cliff, yellow; a waterfall; the Burn Mosaic; then came into Mammoth Hot Springs. We took pictures of the upper and lower terrace from the overlook and the New Blue Spring.
We then drove on to, and took pictures of Angel Terrace, the back side of upper terrace, Liberty Cap, Opal Terrace, and visited the Mammoth Springs visitor center and general store. Gasoline was $2.20 a gallon there. We saw Beryl Springs, Firehole Falls, the Fountain Paint Pots, and Volcanic Geyser land. We stopped and took photos at the Continental Divide Sign and were back at camp at 7:45PM.