A Carousel for Missoula – and, Bob

Bob at Missoula Carousel

When we travel we like to ride historic and/or hand-carved carousels, from New York state to Oregon we’ve visited these artistic creations. It took four years and over 100,000 hours of volunteer effort before the Carousel for Missoula took it’s first spin in 1995, truly a community effort and labor of love.

We’ve visit this Missoula treasure at least a half-dozen times when traveling through the area. When Bob made his bucket list for this trip high on that list was the Carousel for Missoula. We took two separate spins this afternoon – around and around at a pretty good clip. Afterwards we learned it is the second fastest carousel  in the United States. Bob’s smile was every bit as large as a three-year-old’s. The price was certainly right – 75 cents for seniors. We agree with their motto, “Where happiness comes full circle.”

 Next on the carousel checklist is the one in Spokane’s Riverside Park. Check back in a few days.

Missoula Carousel Door

Idaho Meets Southern Louisiana

Gator Jack’s Sandwhich Shack – Rigby, Idaho

Gator Jack's

We would never have stopped here except it was recommended by out B&B hosts. In fact we had driven right by on our way to the B&B and hadn’t even noticed there was a restaurant in the nondescript building.

Idaho meets southern Louisiana with surprisingly good results. I had the shrimp and andouille sausage jambalaya (small portion which was plenty for a very hungry lady). There was just the right kick in the spice. When I requested a slice of bread or a roll I received two pieces of sourdough (my choice) warm from the grill – no extra cost.

Catus Jack's PotatoesBob had the southern fried chicken dinner. Two pieces of breaded breast, a bowl of mashed potatoes with choice of white or brown gravy and fried green beans. The potatoes were enough to feed a family of four – this is Idaho after all. After tasting the green beans I wished I had ordered a side of my own (not that I needed them)). This probably wasn’t the most spectacular Cajun meal I’ve ever had but much, much better than I would ever expect to find west of the Rockies.

 Big mugs of sun ice tea quenched our thirst. We know is was as advertised truly sun tea as we spotted a big jug brewing on the window sill as we left. An added bonus was the two deliciously soft chocolate chip cookies our waitress dropped off as we finished  our meal. I had intended to order a slice of the made-from-scratch Herman’s German Chocolate Cake but no way could I have eaten another bite.

Service was cheerful and prompt, something we appreciated after a long day of travel. Prices are extremely reasonable for the quality and quantity, our total bill was $25 for two dinners and ice teas. Would definitely stop again when near Rigby.

After a Frosty Night

September 13, 2014

 

Autumn is Coming

Along Teton Park Road in Grand Teton National Park

We drove by this clump of trees yesterday afternoon about 4:30pm. There was a hint of autumn color change, but only a hint. Early morning temps dropped to around 23 degrees. The intense change was a shock as we neared this spectacular sight around 2pm today.

As I was taking pictures another lady hopped out of her car and said, “They weren’t like this yesterday.” No, but fall is a comin’.

Travel Log – September 11, 2014

Centennial, Colorado – Vernal, Utah

Ridge at Dinasaur NM

Although the main goal for the day was putting some miles behind us as we head towards the Pacific Northwest we must have a least one activity. Our last visit to Dinosaur National Monument occurred in 1973, wasn’t it time for a revisit? What was intended as an hour off the highway stretched to nearly three as we explored the southwestern section of the park north of Jensen, Utah.

Quarry Interior Please Touch

The Quarry Exhibit Hall encloses a wall of an excavation site encasing more than 1,500 dinosaur bones including Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodicus and Stegosaurus of the Jurassic Period. To every 4-year-old’s delight, in one area, you’re actually encouraged to touch. Or, see how you measure up to a femur bone.

Skull Bob - Measuring Up

The Monument includes much more than just fossils – canyons and fertile valleys the Green and Yampa Rivers,  ancestral history dating back thousands of years and the remnants of twentieth-century ranch life. We followed the Tour of the Tilted Rocks along Cub Creek Road searching out petroglyphs and pictographs – rock art left by inhabitants centuries past.

Goats & Guys

Rock NecklaceThe longer we study the panels the more details we note. While some images are easy to decipher (goats and men), others are left to interpretation.  Where they messages, historic records or decorative? Looks like a necklace design to me.

The road ends in a secluded, shady vale that was home to Josie Basset for 50 years. Walking through the dirt-floored cabin we can only imagine life as she knew it. We’re enticed by a couple of  trails leading to nearby canyons but it’s time to hit the road towards tonight’s destination – Vernal, Utah.

Josie's Cabin

Remembering 9/11

One regret from today is that we didn’t take the time to capture photographs of two inspirational sights. Two Colorado towns we passed through made special efforts to mark this 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

 In front of the Granby fire station an extra large American flag hung suspended between the outstretched ladders of two gleaming red fire trucks,

 Along the entire length of Victory Avenue (the route of US40) in Craig, Colorado was lined with literally hundreds of American flags, a project of the local Rotary club.

 Stirring sights noting respect, honor and resolve – We will NOT forget!

An Evening with Michael Martin Murphy

 

MMM with Guitar

 

Red River, New Mexico has long been a location dear to the heart of entertainer Michael Martin Murphy. He has now established the Rocking 3M Amphitheater at the location of the old Lazy H Guest Ranch. The venue opened in 2013; for the 2014 season MMM performs twice weekly during July and August. With forested mountain sides and a quiet lake for a backdrop and an enthusiastic audience under an starlit sky Murphy says, “This is a dream come true.”

 

On this August Saturday evening we made our way up Bitter Creek Trail for the chuckwagon-style dinner and musical entertainment. Located north of the western resort town of Red River the 2+ miles of gravel road is rocky and steep in places but nothing the family sedan can’t handle with careful driving.

 

MMM - Front RowFestivities start around 6pm with a barbecue buffet prepared by Texas Reds Steakhouse in Red River. We filled plates with beef slices, smoked sausage, BBQ sauce, beans, macaroni and potato salads and wheat rolls. A special treat this evening was a big dish of stewed fresh apricots. Warm peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream completed the meal; along with hot coffee and/or soft drinks.

 

MMM - ShoppingFour tiers of tables and benches are spread out in front of the outdoor stage – good viewing from any location. A large tent is available in the case of evening rain. When the sun sinks behind the mountain the temperature changes quickly. We were thankful for the fleece and windbreakers we brought along. Many guests arrive with blankets. Between dinner and the music there’s time to check out MMM’s CDs including his latest release, “Red River Drifter”, and art work by band member Gary Roller.

 

MMM & Kids

 

MMM & Nancy

The friendly, relaxed atmosphere feels like joining Murphy and crew for a family barbecue. MMM visits with the guests and poses for pictures – from cute pre-schoolers to silly old ladies eager for a souvenir photo. This evening one extended family included three adorable youngsters prepared for the occasion with straw cowboy hats, stick horses and plenty of giddy-up.

 

MMM & Shaun Richardson

The one-and-a-half hour of music included a balance of Murphy’s most popular and requested songs plus new ones from his latest release. Tonight he was accompanied by Gary Roller on bass  and an amazing young musician Shaun Richardson who made everything with strings sing. Whether playing guitar, fiddle or mandolin Richardson could steal the show from a lesser artist; but it was obvious that MMM loved giving the young man a showcase. Carin Mari is a young lady that Murphy has mentored since she was nine years old. She performed a couple of numbers and joined the band for Murphy’s signature, “Wildfire.”

 

We’ve seen MMM perform in theaters, large venues and with a symphony orchestra but never have we had as much fun as the Rocking 3M Amphitheater. It truly appeared as if he was having as much fun as his appreciative audience.

Taos Leisure & Tastes

A leisurely summer Sunday in Taos started with breakfast at Guitz. We first tried this locally popular cafe a couple of times last year and it was high on the list for a return visit. The menu includes creative combinations after one gets past the Basic Breakfast and French Toast (which I so recommend). Bob ordered the Scrambled Egg Tower – scrambled eggs, mushrooms, spinach, diced tomato & Manchego cheese – served with Guitz potatoes & mixed green salad.I selected the Spanish Tortlla – Spanish omelette baked with onion and potatoes, topped with warm cucumber mushrooms & tomatoes, drizzled with basil pesto, served with olive tapenade & crustini. Great way to start the day.

 

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Between time reading and drawing at the casita we explored back roads and drove out to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Spanning the gorge more than 500 feet above the Rio Grande River the is the 7th highest bridge in the U.S. The gorge slices the Northern New Mexico landscape for approximately 50 miles with depths up to 800′. Designated in 2013 as the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 74 miles of the Wild and Scenic River is a draw for whitewater rafters, anglers, hikers and artists.

 

Kilborn Studio - Sunday Night 2012The evening started with an opening orientation session for Bob’s workshop with artist/potter Stephen Kilborn. Always a good time catching up with the Kilborns and seeing friends made in previous classes plus several new participants.

 

Afterwards we joined friends Dolores and Orrel for dinner at Doc Martin’s in Taos Inn. We noted that the menu selection were fewer than in previous years and missing the ladies favorite watermelon gazpacho. Our waitress provided cheerful, excellent service.

 

Taos Inn - 8:17:14

A Day of Favorites

Taos, New Mexico

Sunflowers - Taos Farmers Market

 

Eggplants - Taos Farmers Market

Saturday morning started with a visit to the Taos Farmers’ Market. Local growers, producers and purchasers fill Taos Plaza. Even though I don’t plan to do much cooking this week I’m tempted by almost every vendor. Just walking through the market and admiring the artful displays provides pleasure. We left with watermelon and cantaloupe from Rocky Ford, CO, red ripe “Happy” tomatoes, a perfect bunch of radishes and a giant sticky bun for tomorrow’s breakfast.  A bonus was running into one of the artist Bob’s painted with at previous workshops.

 

Taos Country FurnishingsOur second stop was to Country Furnishings of Taos, north of downtown Taos. I can always find something to fall in love with at this charming shop filled to the brim with everything from hand carved chests to hand lotion, many from local craftsmen. I actually started my Christmas shopping here today. I’ll probably return a couple more times this week to add to my stash of gifts from merchandise not found in every store and reasonable prices.

 

 

Claire Works

Next destination was the village 0f Arroyo Seco seven miles northeast of Taos. Our initial purpose was to place a custom order with jeweler Claire Haye. Her creative designs fill the Claire Works shop – necklaces, bracelets, pins, rings earrings. With my “assistance” Bob shops for future gift occasions. We were surprised to see friend Holly working today and Bob at Taos Cow 2011grateful for the, “Try this necklace, it looks so good on,” suggestion. One more holiday Bob has covered – if I can wait that long.

 

We cross the street to indulge in the best ice cream in New Mexico at Taos Cow. They didn’t have my favorite flavor today, caramel piñon nut, but the generous single dip cone of coconut did not disappoint.

 

 

Orlando's 2 - Taos

Mid-afternoon found us at Orlando’s Cafe for a late lunch. For almost 20 years this has been my favorite spot for traditional Northern New Mexico cuisine. Bob had the soft shell chicken tacos and I selected the smothered shredded beef burrito accompanied by beans and posole. I was never a posole fan until Orlando’s version. Half the large burrito came home with me for a weekday lunch. Orlando’s is another business we’ll return to this week.

 

We finish the afternoon with visits to three galleries along Kit Carson Road – Angie Coleman’s Studio/Gallery, Mission Gallery and Bryans. After a full day of visiting all these favorites we happily retired to the casita for a peaceful evening and a New Mexico sunset.

 

Taos Sunset

 

 

 

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