Trooper’s Log Days 35-42: Heading East Through the Heat of the South ~ The Civil War, Civil Rights, Literary Museums, Mississippi River, Poverty Point, Confederate Statues, Coca-Cola, HOME!

Trooper’s Log Days 35-42 (July 31-August 8)…. Heading East Through the Heat of the South: The Civil War, Civil Rights, Literary Museums, Mississippi River, Poverty Point, Confederate Statues, Coca-Cola, HOME!

If you have been thinking that I have been dozing off and not doing my daily journaling, I am here to surprise you with a final post that takes us from all the Family History Digging in Plainview (why won’t They ever let me dig up anything??), to back home in Bluffton South Carolina, a trek through the deep south with all the heat you can possibly imagine. It was an agonizing decision not to head North to Connecticut and Vermont, but I think this virus thing is getting to them – They wouldn’t be able to stay where They wanted, or visit who They wanted to see… so will hold off on a trek north until another day, when hopefully Life as we know if might return to some semblance of “normal.”

We left off in Plainview Texas where we spent hours looking into the family history – you can read all about that in my previous post, and now for the mad dash home, which will take about a week…

July 31: The next day we head to Vernon Texas, the decision to take all back roads for the rest of the trip whenever possible – we found Route 70 to be in great shape so I could sleep! There was beautiful scenery with rolling hills, churches everywhere, some beautiful ranches, windmills, but then we started to see more trucks and wind and general road insanity with wide farm machinery. This driving a big RV is not for the faint-hearted (as He keeps saying over and over…). Then into Vernon, where, again following the truth of Her constant reminders that every town has something to say for itself: Vernon was the home to Roy Orbison, of “Pretty Woman” fame (so you guessed it – had to listen to Her sing that for the rest of the day…)

And of course, a number of Historical Markers that you cannot possibly actually see while in a moving vehicle – but you can go to this interactive Map of all the Historic Sites in all of Texas! https://atlas.thc.state.tx.us/Map – jeez, if I had an extra 24 hours every day I could go through this and find all the ones we missed!

Other interesting things about Vernon: other than Roy Orbison, the town was actually named after George Washington’s Mt. Vernon and it’s on the route of the Great Western Cattle Trail – as the mighty Wikipedia informs me, “an estimated seven million head of cattle passed through Vernon on this Trail between 1873 and the 1890s.” Here’s a map (she LOVES Maps, so have to do this):

Aug 1: (hey! This is a “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit Day!! – and I actually saw one from the driver’s seat in the early morning – almost went through the window!)  So today we head to Sherman Texas on Route 287, which takes us through Wichita Falls – which is called “The Gateway to Texas” – but the falls unfortunately are no longer there, washed away in an 1886 flood – so because so many people ask “Where are the Falls??” (wouldn’t you ask that if visiting??), the City built a reproduction in Lucy Park – we did not see it, but here is a nice picture so you know that I know what I am talking about) – Fake Falls!! Ha!

Wichita Falls – wikipedia

There were also tornadoes in 1964 and 1979 where much damage occurred – again, I wonder how anything remains anywhere with all these weather disasters…

From Vernon to Sherman, we saw a number of beautiful farms, missed the Tales n’ Trails Museum in Nocona https://www.talesntrails.org/index.html which was just up Her alley, but They kept moving anyway – and then this sign gave Them pause to just keep moving indeed:

“Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Convicts”

Sherman is known for the cyclone of 1896. President Clinton’s father and Frank James, brother of Jesse, were born here. They also liked the name of this restaurant:

FUKU Japanese Grill

We passed horse farms, the Shawnee Trail (another one of those cattle runs – all that cattle out here! – I sort of look like a cow, don’t you think? I wouldn’t want to get caught up in one of the runs to the slaughter house…); They argued over their respective GPSs – he likes the google earth map and have the direction reading like a map; She prefers the plain google map with the direction going from bottom to top like you are going – I had to listen to these dueling GPS voices (I think Hers gave better directions) for this whole trip – His made more mistakes I have to say in Her defense – where it got really insane was watching the GPS trying to figure out where to go when there was a road with 3 or more different names and numbers – total travel insanity!!

Aug 2: The next day we left Sherman for Texarkana (did I mention already that is so bloody HOT every day, They can barely go outside, so every campground was barely noticed…) – via Route 82, which again was a great road, We went through Paris Texas, where, for you movie buffs out there, She tells me there was a movie with that title that She liked very much: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087884/

Some of the things we drove past:

Rayburn Library -wikipedia

  1. The Sam Rayburn Library and Museum in Bonham, TX (Rayburn was Speaker of the House for many years). 
  2. The Town of De Kalb, TX is where Ricky Nelson’s plane went down in 1985 [and then, you guessed it, we had to listen to every Ricky Nelson song She could remember] – this one seems like it was written for Me:

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Texarkana is right on the border of Texas, Arkansas, and close to the Louisiana state line, hence the name. It is here that JFK campaigned in 1960, so She wanted to get a picture of the Federal Courthouse / Post office where he spoke from (it has been said this is the second most photographed Post Office in the US – let’s keep it open and running, please...) – the building straddles the State Line:

Beaux Arts building – Beautiful windows!

There is also a Confederate statue right in the center of town, put up in 1918.

The Confederate Mothers Monument, also known as simply Confederate Memorial, Confederate Monument, or Texarkana Confederate Memorial, is an outdoor Confederate memorial installed at 500 State Line Road in Texarkana. Thought to be the only Confederate monument to include a woman in Texas, it is carved from marble.

The monument’s inscription for the Confederate mother statue reads: “O Great Confederate Mothers, we would print your names on monuments, that men may read them as the years go by and tribute pay to you, who bore and nurtured hero sons and gave them solace on that darkest hour, when they came home with broken swords and guns”. The inscription for the Confederate soldier reads, “To our loyal Confederates”. The soldier faces north.

I don’t know what will happen to this statue as decisions are made about such monuments – but She is expressing hope that either appropriate explanatory signage be made or it is moved to some sort of museum for all such monuments of our collective past that serve only as a symbol of how spectacularly wrong a lot of people were…and continue to be… Regardless, it is a beautiful piece of art…

Aug. 3: Texarkana to Minden, Louisiana: We continued on a highway (Route 49 south, following the Red River) through Arkansas (They had been to Little Rock several years ago [with that other dog Keeper I hate to hear about!] and had seen the Clinton Library, so They decided to take the more southern route home on Route 20) – so a drive by of Shreveport into the small town of Minden, LA – They both rather appalled by the bumpy roads and all the litter everywhere – very distressing for me because I couldn’t sleep at all…  

Aug 4: Minden, LA to Vicksburg, Mississippi: the amount of sprawl is also appalling Them – “What we have done to the country??” – over and over again…and the same fast food restaurants everywhere – Taco Bell, Burger King, MacDonalds, Arby’s, Wendy’s, etc), and Outlet stores, and the Lowe’s and Walmarts, and the like – all spread out outside of each town, with many of the smaller towns looking deserted and litter-laden – They are starting to get depressed…which isn’t good for my well-being…

So, the question she asks is why does Louisiana have parishes, not counties? And, bless the internet, here is the answer! Louisiana is the only state to be so divided:

Louisiana Parish Map – Geology.com

“Louisiana was officially Roman Catholic under both France and Spain’s rule. The boundaries dividing the territories generally coincided with church parishes. In 1807, the territorial legislature officially adopted the ecclesiastical term. Through each change in her history, Louisiana never deviated and the primary civil divisions have been officially known as parishes ever since.” http://vermilion.org/did-you-know/why-louisiana-only-state-have-parishes-and-not-counties

Interesting things we passed by:

The Eddie G. Robinson Museum in Grambling, LA https://www.robinsonmuseum.com/ – Robinson a famous football coach, museum closed at present, and She is not a football fan at all [I don’t mind it – I get to sit with Him during all the games on Red Zone, though now, even that is all on hold…]

A bit north of us, but worth commenting on – in Pioneer, LA, the Poverty Point World Heritage Site: https://www.povertypoint.us/

Bird Mound at Poverty Point- credit Bart Everson (wikipedia)

“Centuries ago, when Stonehenge was built and Queen Nefertiti ruled Egypt, American Indians were building earthen monuments in north Louisiana. Hand by hand and basketful by basketful, men and women shaped nearly 2 million cubic yards of soil into stunning landscapes. The result was a massive 72-foot-tall mound, enormous concentric half-circles and related earthworks that dwarfed every other earthen monument site for 2,200 years.”… [She would have liked going there…me too!]

Crossing the Mississippi!

The big deal on this route of course was crossing the great Mississippi River – so much of history divided here, so many descriptions of things – “the biggest building west of the Mississippi,” the smallest lake east of the Mississippi,” etc… and here we are, suddenly on the other side of it and right into Vicksburg, MS:

Vicksburg of course is the site of one of the turning point battles of the Civil War. Right after the Union win at Gettysburg (July 3, 1863), the surrender in this three-month long battle followed on July 4, 1863. They are not Civil War buffs (though He knows more than Her), but wanted to see how this compares to the Gettysburg monuments – the visitor center was closed but driving around was allowed – beautiful countryside really, much hillier than expected, and similar to Gettysburg with the numbers of state monuments scattered all around the battlefield. You can read all about the battle here:

And it was here that They did the only really stupid thing with the RV – instead of detaching the car and driving around in that, we all drove on ahead in the RV with Mini in tow through the road tour, following a map online [it did fit through the entrance arch] – which of course did not show the road closures ahead that prevented us from reaching the RV / Bus turnaround – so in 99 degree weather, He had to detach the car and back up the RV in order to get out of there and that is how They continued on to the campground… But She did take a few pictures of some of the memorials, the largest being the one from Illinois, which seems to be modeled on the Pantheon in Rome – it was to be “a temple of fame, within the walls of which will be preserved in enduring bronze and stone the name of every soldier from Illinois who participated in that memorable and decisive campaign and siege.” https://www.nps.gov/vick/learn/historyculture/illinois-memorial.htm

 

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Downtown Vicksburg is quite lovely (or so She kept saying! – her pictures from the RV didn’t come out well enough to share!) – a small town with a row of stores and restaurants, everything hurting right now; but Vicksburg also has a waterfront, right on the Mississippi, and after one too many floods, they too built a wall, and taking their cue from Paducah KY (see my post on Paducah here ), they also commissioned these walls to be painted by local artists – all about Vicksburg history, past and present. You can see them all here: http://www.riverfrontmurals.com/muralssponsors.htm

 

You can see how hilly Vicksburg is, which surprised us all!

Teddy Roosevelt visiting Vicksburg

Dedication of the Illinois Memorial

And, here’s bit of trivia to make you the star at your next Trivia event: Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1894 in downtown Vicksburg. The original building is still there as a Museum:  and here is a mural honoring this sweet local history:

Coca-Cola Bottling

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I just wanted to jump into the Mississippi – I wanted to swim across! So I could go from being the Best Dog east of the Mississippi to the Best Dog west of the Mississippi, and then back again – but alas! I was not allowed…

Aug 5: Vicksburg to Meridian LA, through Jackson:

If we were doing this trip in cooler weather, we could have done more about traveling through various points on the US Civil Rights Trail: you can see a map on this website: https://civilrightstrail.com/ – and then each state has its own websites. Here is the one for the Mississippi Freedom Rights Trail where all the Historical Markers referencing Civil Rights are noted: https://www.mississippimarkers.com/civil-rights.html – here is one example:

Jackson is the capitol of Mississippi, and home to the Medgar Evers Home Museum and the landmark Mississippi State Capitol building. They did not get off, mainly because the roads on Route 20 going through Jackson were horrific, coupled with new construction – She got a glimpse of the capitol dome, but here is a picture of the whole thing, courtesy of https://www.state-capitals.org/mississippi.htm

Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson

Jackson was home to Eudora Welty now a literary landmark you can tour [she won the Pulitzer Prize for The Optimist’s Daughter in 1973]:

Eudora Welty House & Garden

Meridian, LA, She was happy to learn, was home to TWO Carnegie Libraries – one for Blacks and other for Whites – how ridiculous does that sound…! – when the libraries combined (finally!) in 1967, the latter became the Meridian Museum of Art, and the library for Blacks was finally demolished in 2008 (see picture below), which seems to have been a very sad mistake. Here are pictures of the library for whites in its day, and now as the Museum of Art: (we did not see these, much to Her annoyance, so the internet saves the day once again):

 Credit: Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Meridian Museum of Art

Demolition of the Meridian Carnegie Library, 2008

Aug 6: Meridian to Montgomery AL, through Selma.

We continued on back roads (Route 80) across the MS / AL border: They are noticing an abundance of Sonic fast-food places, and Waffle Houses [I LOVE waffles, though They never give me any – I am reminded of Donkey and Shrek and feel exactly as he does…] – They didn’t realize there were so many in the country – who knew?? – and then all the Dollar Stores (or Dollar General or Family Dollar) – doing more business than anyone else.

She likes the name of the town Demopolis, first settled in 1817 – means “City of the People”…

Driving through Selma was all part of the plan, so they first stopped at the very impressive Selma High School for some shade (and I could pee!) – the architecture on the main street was quite beautiful – and then over the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge https://civilrightstrail.com/attraction/edmund-pettus-bridge/ which was very emotional – the site of “Bloody Sunday” March 7, 1965 – it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2013 – all the more wrenching as we are still engaged in the same protests, and still being beaten up…55 years later. Why the bridge continues to be named after a confederate general and the head of the Alabama KKK, is beyond even my brain’s comprehension…

Selma High School

Downtown Selma

Edmund Pettus Bridge

As we continued on Route 80 toward Montgomery, we noticed a number of markers noting the farms where the 1965 marchers spent the nights on their 55-mile journey from Selma to Montgomery – you can see the locations and names of the farms on this map:

What we missed in the Montgomery area that She most regrets:

  1. Alabama Capitol building in Montgomery, so much history here:

Alabama Capitol – wikipedia

2. She most wanted to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum:  which opened in April 2018. [virus news: the former is open in a limited capacity, the latter closed until further notice]. The Memorial is informally known as “The National Lynching Memorial” which says it all – But because we couldn’t go, She found this in-depth article in The New Yorker talking about a visit in July 2018, so this will have to do in the meantime.

National Memorial for Peace and Justice – Legacy Museum

3. The Robert F Henry Lock and Dam on the Alabama River: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/robert-f-henry-lock-dam/ – a prime place for walking and birding:

Fitzgerald Museum

4. The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is the only museum dedicated to the lives and legacies of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald in the world.  The Fitzgeralds lived here from 1931 until 1932, writing portions of their respective novels, Save Me The Waltz and Tender Is The Night during their time in Montgomery. Zelda was from Montgomery. We did not visit it, but there are numerous podcasts online you can listen to:
https://www.thefitzgeraldmuseum.org/zeldas-peaches-and-biscuits-podcast

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Aug 7: Montgomery to Perry, Georgia:

We are on our last legs, at least I am – this stop and go every day without a break for real site-seeing (so much closed!) or enjoying the outdoors (I like to pee in new places!), and the settling in and breaking down the RV every day in and day out starts to take its toll – and did I mention THE HEAT??!

Aug 8 – Perry to HOME! – so the last day is upon us – we drove through Perry and hit Route 16 straight into Savannah with Bluffton close by – felt like we have been gone a year…

So we finish as we began – with the Big Thing in the driveway as They unpack – like watching a movie in reverse of the packing up six weeks ago. Me?? – I have missed my daily anole hunt – I live for this – I admit to having caught a few, which completely grosses Them out, but because I get one now and then, I can only just keep trying – and they are everywhere – on the walls, in the gardens, on the patio and driveway – so I have been occupied since our return and why I have been slow to get the end of our trip documented – She has been beginning to nag, so here it is finally…long though it is.

The delicious anole, courtesy of wikipedia

The Hunt is on!!

Thank you so much for following along on our adventures – Stay tuned for our next one, soon I hope, but only if They promise to pack up a few anoles for me to chase after in the RV, and to stop arguing about the hellish but necessary GPS…

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye

Trooper’s Log ~ Days 31-34: Some thoughts on Campgrounds, Cemeteries, Family History, Libraries, Bison, and the Plainview Points!

Trooper’s Log ~ Days 31-34 (July 28-31): Some thoughts on Campgrounds, Cemeteries, Family History, Libraries, Bison, and the Plainview Points!

She was asked about the Campgrounds They find to stay at, so I will give it a try to explain (though all I really care about are the dog spaces and a place to pee and poo) – They have traveled for many years with various camper/trailers (way before my time) – and They are generally very impressed with the campgrounds so far on this trip – many are KOA or Good Sam Parks and all have been in better condition than some in the past – more people taking to RVs and on the move, so quality seems to have gone up. Each place will always have a laundry area, and showers if needed (our RV has its own, thank you very much), and a store with essentials and often gifts and crap (She hasn’t gone in any of them!), and almost always (Yay!) a dog play area or dog park for running around crazy. There is usually a pool, which They avoid like the plague – I’d jump in if it was allowed. There are full-hookups (meaning water, electric and sewer), sometimes cable (they have not watched much TV at all – a break from the NEWS is delightful- I don’t miss Him yelling at the thing with all the current political and medical messes going on). Most have wifi in varying degrees of speed and security. The campsite itself is usually either  a mixture of cement and grass or gravel and grass, with a picnic table and charcoal grill (sometimes – but we have our own grill, thank you very much) for each site – and all have been well-maintained and clean – It’s been too WINDY to actually put out our awning and too HOT to sit outside or eat at the table anyway! All I care about of course is the dog spaces and so far I have been very happy with what’s been on offer….

They decide where to stay each night by figuring out back roads and how long He wants to drive on any given day – then find a campground either online or in this HUGE book of campgrounds and so far there has always been an available spot – but each night most of the campgrounds have been largely full with transients like us.

Amarillo Campground

So now to Amarillo from Guymon Oklahoma:

Windmills everywhere

Slaughterhouses everywhere – enough to make one a vegetarian (well, I do like carrots, so that’s a start)

Passed “Electric City” – good lord, does this feed the whole state of Texas?? – a veritable ghost town, now nothing but a power plant – https://www.legendsofamerica.com/tx-hutchinsonghosttowns/2/

Parts of the road we were on are part of the Texas Plains Trail – all an interesting bit of American history – you can read more about it here: https://texasplainstrail.com/

Back roads generally follow the Railroads, and almost every place of a KOA Journey (they are designed for transient travelers and are mostly right near the main highways) – so every night we hear the sound of a railroad, whistles every night – I LOVE this sound – brings to mind the world of the Hobo. At the Depot Museum in Cheyenne (all about railroads), this guy was tucked into a corner and scared the living daylights out of Her:

In Amarillo we just drove around, felt very honky-tonk, billboards and signs everywhere, urban sprawl that went on forever – didn’t hit country and open spaces until Canyon TX, which is about 18 miles out of Amarillo!

What we didn’t do:

Cadillac Ranch, slightly out of the way – He just wasn’t big on seeing a bunch of old Cadillacs painted in ghastly colors sticking out of the sand – She was disappointed and I am not sure why – She is not a big Cadillac fan…

You can read about it here: https://www.legendsofamerica.com/tx-cadillacranch/

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One of Her endless songs however cheers Her up – every time we pass by a Valero gas station, She breaks into Volare (but substituting Valero), some Dean Martin song or something – there are a lot of these gas stations around and I have learned to put my paws over my ears when I see we are approaching one of them…

Volare, oh oh
Cantare, oh oh oh oh
Let’s fly way up to the clouds
Away from the maddening crowds
We can sing in the glow of a star that I know of
Where lovers enjoy peace of mind
Let us leave the confusion and all disillusion behind
Just like bird of a feather, a rainbow together we’ll find…etc…

Before leaving Amarillo we did another tire check so He can sleep at night – all these RV places – they check the tires and add air if needed and never charge us – that’s really the best thing about America, isn’t it?? (but He always gives them a big tip, which is well-deserved).

There is activity in Amarillo, but no one parked at movie theaters – Walmart seems the busiest of all the stores around (and they are everywhere – where are the mom & pop grocery stores???). People are good about wearing masks and “social distancing” (was that even a phrase before COVID??), except for a woman at Walmart He saw having a hissy-fit refusing to wear a mask and demanding entry. Some people are idiots – you live in a Society and you should be respectful of others as well as yourself right now – hear this: wearing a mask is not taking away any of your personal freedoms. I find that Dogs are much more adaptable in social situations, don’t you?

Seen on the road:

  1. BlueKnight Energy Partners truck – what a great logo! too bad it’s not a Dog…2. Giant grain elevators just outside most all of the downtowns we drove through: [this is from wikipedia because Her photo didn’t come out…]

Grain elevator – Lubbock TX – wikipedia

  1. The town of Happy Texas – makes me smile – also the Happy State Bank – She wonders aloud: who is happier, the Bankers or their Customers?

This is what Wikipedia says: “Happy derives its name from Happy Draw, a stream named in the 19th century by the team of cowboys who were happy to find water there. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names. The town’s motto is ‘The Town Without A Frown.’” There are about 700 happy souls who call it home… The film Happy, Texas (1999) was not filmed here at all, despite taking the name of the town: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy,_Texas_(film)

[Isn’t it great how we jump from roads signs to banks to town names to truck logos to historical markers to movies?? Life is so interesting, how can anyone be bored, even in this state of isolation!]

4. Route 27 is a great road, but a bit bouncy which rocked me to sleep – then all of a sudden a huge pot hole – brain-beater par excellence – pots and pans banging sort of hole (+ my brains) – this repeated every 10 minutes or so – so far the mini is hanging on tight…me too…

Plainview, Texas

Then we arrive in Plainview – one of the goals of this trip since we couldn’t go north – two days – Yay! And the reason for this southern detour – His maternal grandfather is from here and so a visit to the cemetery to see the various family graves – this was easy – the rest, not so much!

We spent most of the time running from one building to the next: City Hall (go to the Library – they have everything); the Library ( (SO HELPFUL!!, but didn’t  have any land records we could see or any of the local history and genealogy stacks because it is all closed due to Covid mess – they sent us to the appraisal office – I thought they said assessor’s office);  the tax/ assessor’s office (go to the appraisal office): the appraisal office (closed to the public) – so you get the picture! What a runaround! Why all these county / city offices could not be in the same building is completely beyond us!

Plainview Library Longhorn

The Library [not a Carnegie Library, but a great library nonetheless) saved the day (don’t you LOVE Libraries and Librarians?!!) – the fabulous librarian found an article from a 1928 paper with a very lengthy obituary of His great-grandfather. Hurrah for the Plainview Librarian who dug this up (I keep telling Them that They need to subscribe to Ancestry.com – there lots more on there) – but true to all family histories (even mine I suppose – where DID my tri-color come from??) – more questions have now been raised than answered, so lots of homework for Them once we get home (Home?? What’s that? A place I can do zoomies in without crashing into something after a 3-ft run?? Home? My dog park buddies; Home?? Where I can sleep all day and not get my brains beaten about – Home? Where I actually have some alone time – I mean it’s great having them around ALL the time, but enough already! Some time to myself would be a nice change….)

Their biggest mistake, as I have politely told Them, was not doing more research before getting here (well, this wasn’t the planned itinerary, so They are excused) – we drove right through Canyon, Texas – and it is there that the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is housed, the largest history museum in Texas! It seems his great-grandfather had amassed a large collection of Native American artifacts which he donated to the Museum (then the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society) many years ago. He was also great friends with the Comanche Chief Quanah Parker:

Quanah Parker – National Archives

We also learned more about His grandfather’s service in WWI and how some of his personal items from the War, including letters, were donated to this same museum – so much to still learn – a return visit is required (just not in the middle of summer!!)

There wasn’t really much else to see in Plainview – we did find an abandoned train depot that (as they always are) is architecturally interesting:

Plainview Depot

 

And then we found this interesting place just down the road from the cemetery: Plainview Points – where a few teenagers stumbled upon these early projectiles in the early 1940s in Plainview: wikipedia defines them like this:

In the classification of Archaeological cultures of North America, the term Plainview points refer to Paleoindian projectile points dated between 10,000–9,000 Before Present. The point was named in 1947 after the discovery of a large cache of unfluted, lanceolate spear tips with concave bases that were found in a Bison antiquus kill site along the Running Water Draw river, near the town of Plainview in Texas, United States.

And there are these really cool bison there that I wanted to play with but found they were only large statues and not in the mood for play at all:

The last thing They found was the location of His great-grandfather’s hardware store in town, the E. Dowden Hardware Company – how cool is that! a hardware store that his great-uncle ran – it was destroyed in a tornado (they happen here a lot – I’d like to get out of town before another comes through) – so the building in no longer there, but here is the parking lot that is on the site that She insisted upon photographing, for what I have no clue, but here it is, a Parking Lot, a.k.a.  the Dowden Hardware Company (it’s the parking lot for a bank building that is being renovated):

We think our weather is crazy now, but in all our travels, we have all been amazed at what has disappeared because of weather disasters: floods, tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes…it’s a miracle that anything remains…

And I was happy to find that Plainview does take care of its Dogs: [I like this – “Nails & Tails” – though I would prefer that any groomer left both my tail and my nails alone…thank you very much)

So this was me this morning:

Really??? another day on the road?

And this is me tonight after a grueling day of cemetery and city buildings trekking, library questions, and bison that won’t play, and more railroad stuff, and the endless bumpy roads – I’m exhausted…They are not in such great shape either…

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye

Trooper’s Log ~ Days 27-30: More Cowboys! More Libraries! Anniversaries! Windmills! and Gunfights!

Trooper’s Log ~ Days 27-30 (July 24-27): More Cowboys! More Libraries! Anniversaries! Windmills! and Gunfights!

Back roads it is again – for the past 4 days – better than the highways in most places (but still a few brain-beaters – I am almost learning to sleep through them, but usually get up, expect some comfort from the Navigator (Her) and then settle down once again – repeat…)

And another bone of contention [I LOVE bones] – there are always these warning signs “Historical Marker!” with an arrow for left or right side of road, but we are moving too fast to get a good enough glance at the sign to read it – and She goes into a History Meltdown “History is passing us by!!” (It’s really vice-versa – “We are passing History by!”) – but not a good time to correct Her – I tell Her to just look everything up on the internet but then one is tied to the computer and what fun is that??

Then somewhere between Ogallala, NE and Goodland, KS, She sees a church that looks exactly like a small replica She puts out at Christmas time – the sign says St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and seems to be in the middle of the corn fields, but She cannot find it anywhere on the internet, so please help Her if you know where this church is (She has to learn to take better notes when listening to my dictations and say where we are…this one is a real slip-up on Her part, so please help if you can).

There is also one of those fly-by Historical markers that says something about “War” and just south of Enders on Rt. 61 and [She’s a genius] this is what She finds – and this story is all pretty amazing, isn’t it?:

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We spend one night in Goodland, KS, then head east to Wakeeney, KS. Goodland is one of three places in the world that has a giant easel in the center of town holding a large reproduction of one of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings:

“World’s Largest Easel (or at least the largest along a U.S. Interstate). It’s 80 feet tall, and atop it rests a 32×24-foot representation of one of Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” paintings. It’s about a half-mile off of I-70, along Hwy 24 near the center of town.”

You can read more here: https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/9183

Which makes me think that every town in the country has something of interest to draw in tourists – this is pretty cool, especially if you love Van Gogh (which She does; He does too, miracle of miracles) – I just have to be patient while She takes a few pictures of this giant thing:

One thing They notice as They travel through various towns is the number of John Deere equipment places – They are partial to John Deere because of the Vermont connection (he was born in Rutland VT and went to Middlebury College for a time, but moved to Illinois where he invented his agricultural machine and empire) – those green and yellow machines look like play toys to me… There is a great history timeline here:

https://www.deere.com/en/our-company/history/

Wakeeney is the only place so far where there have been idiot neighbors in the campground – these people come in at 9:30 at night and proceed to all sit outside to eat and talk and laugh into the wee hours, and then the next morning they were up by 5:15, and outside again eating, talking and laughing – there are Campground Rules people! Quiet time Rules – it is called Courtesy… Interrupting my sleep is not ok + they didn’t have a dog for me to bark at, which is always a disappointment (not that They let me bark…) – then an accident at breakfast with Her Tea – She poured the whole kettle of boiling water onto Her left hand – what a nightmare! But again, Her genius genes came through –She ran cold water over the burns for a long time and then used aloe over and over again – all day in fact – it was sort of annoying, but She was in pain and thought this might ruin the whole trip – but it was a miracle that the next day the burns look and feel nothing more than a slight sunburn… Wow – that aloe is brilliant stuff! She should perhaps stop drinking Tea, but that isn’t going to happen…

Then off to Dodge City for two nights – I like when They do 2 nights, because we unhitch the car and GO PLACES and I get to sit in the car and sweat and pant because it is so ridiculously HOT everywhere – but we drive around and figure out where everything is to visit the next day – they are excited because Their 50th wedding anniversary is on the Saturday night – wow! 50 years with the same person – I guess this is why They have had other dogs before me, difficult as that is for me to accept – but 50 years with the same person – yikes! – and Dodge City was NOT on their bucket list for their 50th – They were supposed to go to London where they had met, but not in the cards for this year, so we shall just pretend that Next year is their 50th and celebrate again – as it turns out they went for the first time on this trip into a restaurant and had a nice dinner outside (I could go too!), but were completely appalled at the number of people indoors, all tables taken up, no masks (wait-staff did thankfully), etc… really scary – it’s so inconsistent everywhere, and cases keep increasing every day, everywhere… [They ate their delicious dinner at the Mariah Hills Golf Course: https://www.mariahhillsgolf.com/ I had a bowl of water and a paper napkin that fell on the floor…]

It was a nice dinner nonetheless – but now back to cooking every night for Her, which is getting very old very quickly – I don’t much care as long as my food is out at 6:00 in the morning and 6:00 at night.

But if you have been paying attention at all to my previous ramblings, you will know that this place will certainly conjure up a song for Her – and not just ANY song, but one of Her favorites, so we have to listen to this for a good while:

Way out west, they got a name
For rain and wind and fire

The rain is Tess, the fire’s joe and
They call the wind Mariah …

It even has its own wikipedia page! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Call_the_Wind_Maria
A Lerner and Lowe song from Paint Your Wagon – She learned it in Girl Scout camp, so you know how long ago THAT was…

[image from Roadside America]

Dodge City is great fun – there are still daily gunfights (which They missed but we could hear the shooting – nothing I like to hear to be honest – I think I am supposed to run after a duck or something when I hear a gunshot, but I’ve never been properly trained for that and I do feel like I am a disappointment to my Springer heritage) – the Boot Hill Museum looks like it was designed just for Her – cowboys and cowgirls and guns and saloons and graveyards and buffalo and longhorn cows and Victorian era clothing and coffins and general store stuff everywhere – and a Church and an outhouse, and a blacksmith shop – all the way it used to be and Miss Kitty and Matt Dillon and Chester (fictional people on Gunsmoke – She likely saw every single episode of its 20-year long run – He did too – it’s so nice They have that in common..

Here is more than you could ever possibly want to know about Gunsmoke!: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunsmoke

And then the real people like Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson who were all Doctors and Marshals (like I want to be, even just a deputy) – and a terrific display of Winchester rifles and their history from New Haven CT (where He is from)

– they are not partial to guns, really think the US is quite nuts that we cannot control the manner and use of guns, but She likes to see how they are made, their beautiful wood handles and silver accessories and even the bullets – all beautiful – but has no tolerance for the damage they do – let’s figure it all out like Australia did and stop this nonsense…

The most famous gunfight took place at the Long Branch Saloon on April 5, 1879:

From Wikipedia: Front Street, Dodge City, KS, 1874, with Robert Wright and Charles Rath’s General store, Chalk Beeson’s Long Branch, George M. Hoover’s liquor and cigar store, and Frederick Zimmermann’s gun and hardware store. [This Front Street is reproduced at the Boot Hill Museum].

And here is a grand statue of James Arness who played Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke – this is a fairly new statue and even Celebrity Jane  was quite taken with the Marshal:

Many shops in town were closed or empty, as we have seen elsewhere – the Museum required masks and distancing and everyone seemed to respect that and it was not crowded –(they even took your temperature when you first go in) – of course They had to do the “you go first” thing and sit with Me while the other went in – could have stayed there many more hours – such detail in their displays and such collections of Western memorabilia – many hours could be spent reading each label, looking in every cranny – Her only disappointment is that there is no guidebook to the museum collections – something should be done about that…

So here are some pictures of what She saw:

creepy, huh?

what’s this for? why not just pee on a tree?

Remember when life was this simple??

And She loved this wallpaper – looks like a William Morris, but what would he be doing in a Wild West parlor??

*************

And don’t want you to think you have escaped a Carnegie Library siting – no way, because here is another one right in the middle of downtown Dodge City – the Library was built in 1907 and served as the city library until 1970 – it now houses the Carnegie Art Center, but was unfortunately closed (stupid virus) – but She took pictures as He and I sat semi-patiently in the car…. Kudos to the fine people of Dodge City for preserving the building and not demolishing it… Here are all the Kansas Carnegie Libraries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Carnegie_libraries_in_Kansas

that looks like 1807 but it’s 1907

*************

So another day of adventure – and then today off we go after pulling up stakes and prepping the RV for bouncing along the roads and head to Oklahoma (you don’t want to hear Her singing THAT song for a number of miles – They should have prepped me with earplugs or something – but there is always some song She gets in Her head and off She goes – but this “Oklahoma” was a doozy…I can’t wait to see what She comes up with once we cross into Texas…]

But something we saw over and over again were Windmillseverywhere:

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye

Trooper’s Log ~ Days 23-26: Cowboys! Toilet Paper! Windmills & Libraries!

Trooper’s Log ~ Days 23-26 (July 20-23): Cowboys! Toilet Paper! Windmills & Libraries!

Ended my last treatise heading toward Laramie and Cheyenne Wyoming – so a few words on traveling the route from Rawlins to Cheyenne: we started off with a trip to the Walmart for wine and toilet paper (what else does one need for RV travel anyway – except of course my FOOD, which you will happy to know they have an endless supply) – and NO WINE in this Walmart which they find appalling but off we went and She started Her endless moaning about Billboards – this beautiful countryside of rolling hills and faraway vistas and smack dab in the middle of it A Billboard! – but great roads – Yay Wyoming – I could sleep! Thank you!

Until She starts HUMMING to Herself “God Bless America” – the whole “amber waves of grain” “from the mountains to the prairies” thing over and over… [now look at the picture above very closely – another of Her pet peeves – LITTER on the roadside – even the sign of a penalty of $750 doesn’t deter the idiots…]

Then the Windmills, which are beautiful in their own way (certainly better than Billboards because they serve a PURPOSE) – but windmills mean WIND, which made Him crazy trying to keep the RV within the lines… so even with Her incessant humming it wasn’t that relaxing a trip.

She wanted to stop in Laramie to see the University of Wyoming, and She took a few pictures (one here above) – no students around right now (summer and the virus) and I don’t think there is anything sadder than a college campus without students (well, She said this, so I guess I should feel sad too – no one to jump on). She did however see a cedar waxwing, which was exciting…I guess.

Downtown Laramie

image: Cowgirls of the West Museum

Two days in Cheyenne, so They detached the car (love Her mini, but a bit of brain-beater …) and off we went to explore. She in heaven with all the Cowboy / Cowgirl stuff. Streets seemed busier than in other towns, but the covid thing has its effect – these are the days of Cheyenne’s annual Frontier Days – all cancelled this year (there are a few events planned), and how businesses will be able to survive this loss of revenue is a mystery, and all very sad. So, They were able to drive and poke about with few people around, and They actually for the very first time went to a café and had lunch outside and the place even had a water bowl for me (the waiter gave me a dog biscuit that I wolfed down, and later that day promptly threw up, but it still was a great café) – and so the best way to tell everything They did is to give you a list with some links so you can visit along too – I need these links because as you know I cannot go into any of these places even if there wasn’t a virus, so I depend on the internet to fill my brain with interesting (or not) facts:

  1. She wanted to know if there was a Carnegie Library anywhere (She has an obsession with Carnegie Libraries, I think I already told you this…see my post on Paducah) – here is a list of all the Carnegie Libraries in Wyoming (there were 16 of them – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Carnegie_libraries_in_Wyoming) – the one in Laramie still exists and houses government offices, but the one in Cheyenne was demolished in 1971 (why do humans do that?? FIX the building up you silly people!!) – but here is a picture of what it looked like:

And you can read more about it here: https://www.historicwyoming.org/profiles/cheyennecarnegielibrary

The one in Laramie is here:

And about all the Wyoming Carnegie Libraries: https://www.historicwyoming.org/carnegielibraries

Ok, time for Her to shut up about libraries…

  1. The Cheyenne Depot Museum:  this was terrific – first She went in and came out raving that He had to see it – all about railroads (that whole Union Pacific thing I wrote about last time) – so then He goes in, and I am left in the car with one or the other and nothing to show for it but the few pictures She has taken:

    these painted boots are all over town…”these books were made for walking…”

    Model train upstairs

    [Suffragette statue – see more on this below]

  1. The Wyoming State Capital 

Wow! This was so awesome! They call it “The People’s House” and how terrific They could walk right in, no one around, no security guard seen until She tried to walk into the Governor’s Office (who would do that??) – and you could see the House Chamber and Senate Chamber and all the beautiful restoration work on the building that was just completed in 2019, taking the building back to its original painting colors – and the dome was astounding – Her oohing and aahing got to be a bit much, but then He went in and did the same, so I guess is it pretty amazing in there – here are a few pics – and also an online link above so you can visit too.

House of Representatives

You can read more information here: https://web.archive.org/web/20130823164101/https://sites.google.com/a/wyo.gov/capitol-page/

And here with some great pictures of the original building project: https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/history-wyoming-capitol

She found the information on the bank vaults on the ground floor to be fascinating – manufactured by Mosler Safe & Lock Co. – they for years were covered in ugly brown paint and part of the Capitol restoration included returning these doors to their original condition – each had a beautiful landscape painting as you see above! The persons who originally painted over these doors in disgusting brown paint should be put in the same “place of idiots” along with billboard owners and litterers…even I agree with Her on this one.

  1. Facsinating fact: (well I am a Dog and a male dog at that – well sorta… so this whole story doesn’t really interest me all that much – but She insisted I write about it, because it is HISTORY, it is IMPORTANT, and it is about WOMEN.)

So, it seems that Wyoming was way ahead of the rest of the country when it came to Women’s Rights – even before it was a state!

Esther Hobart Morris

In 1869, Governor John Campbell signed a bill passed by the Legislature of the Territory of Wyoming enfranchising women over the age of twenty-one. A large statue on the grounds of the capital building commemorates this event – the statue is of Esther Hobart Morris, known as the “Mother of Woman Suffrage” (she was also the first woman Justice of the Peace in the United States). When Wyoming applied for statehood in 1890 with woman suffrage in its constitution, a debate ensued in Congress with such comments as “I am unalterably opposed to female suffrage in any form” and “I like a woman who is a woman and appreciates the sphere to which God and the Bible have assigned her. I do not like a man-woman” – it goes on (She’s appalled) – and hurray for Wyoming! the Wyoming legislators declared in a telegram that they would “remain out of the Union a hundred years rather than come in without woman suffrage.” And Congress voted to admit Wyoming nonetheless, making Wyoming the 44th state and the first equal-suffrage state. Wow! this is so exciting I feel like running around in circles – and cannot help but wonder why in today’s world we don’t seem to have a single legislator who can stand up for what they believe in and just say ENOUGH…(well, actually I wrote this last night, and now see this from Alexandra Ocasio Cortez on a cry for decency in public and political discourse [such a novel idea…]:

You see above the statue of Morris – there is a replica in the US Capital  – and also the statue at the Depot which honors this piece of Wyoming history – and then this, in the Wyoming State seal (so beautiful!), on the ground in front of the Capital where “equal rights’ gets its due:

Wyoming State Seal

You can read all about it here at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_Wyoming

Ok, she’s off her bandwagon – this is almost worse than the Carnegie Library thing…

  1. And, can you stand it? – another Train – this one called Big Boy Steam Engine 4004 – the world’s largest steam locomotive and only one of 8 remaining in the country: it was retired from active service in 1956, and now sits here in a Park in Cheyenne:

Don’t I look interested??

More on the surviving eight: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Pacific_Big_Boy

  1. And, she was so excited to see that there is a Cowgirls of the West Museum – but alas! it is CLOSED until further notice because of the stupid virus – but she sees this in the window and it makes up for all the disappointment – what a fine thing this is!And THIS!! Wow! Even I’m excited about this!
  1. And I cannot bring myself to write about this at all – but for the first time in almost 4 weeks, She goes SHOPPING, in a STORE – one of the must-do western outfit stores in Cheyenne, “Just Dandy” – and She whips around in whirlwind spree (mask in place, purell at the ready) and comes out literally 15 minutes later with a bag of goodies – all shirts of a western nature that I hate to tell her the bad news but when She gets home, She will look like an idiot in this western garb and will only have to hope for someone to throw a western-themed party to be able to wear them…you would think She would have given up this Dale Evans / Roy Rogers thing a long time ago… (she would have bought that Trigger lunch box if they’d been open, I am sure of it…)

I do have to say however that I wouldn’t mind being a Deputy Dog or something like that – I mean my name is Trooper after all – having a “Deputy” Marshall or Sheriff badge, just something to show I am appreciated…

Badge image from AllTribes: https://alltribes.com/deputy-us-marshal-silver-star-badge-heroes-of-the-west-replica-1430/ 

What do you think? Any votes for me for Deputy Marshall??

*************

We are now off to Ogallala Nebraska – one of the last of the 50 states they can add to their bucket list – They decided to travel the side roads rather than the brain-beater Route 80, bless them, and took Route 30 the whole way with railroad tracks alongside us (the road is called the Lincoln Highway – it even has its own association! ) and I could actually nod off a little – a lovely road with lots of mirages (Water! I see water!! Where’s the water?? Where’s the water??), so much corn I almost feel sick – but it is so beautiful, lots of historical markers They miss (Slow down She yells! I can’t He says!) – so history passes us by with little understood without a detailed guidebook of every nook and cranny in the country – but it is the farms, the big and the little, that give us all pause as She wonders aloud “Do we give enough credit and praise and thanks to our farmers??” – it is the heartland of America (oh here She does again with the amber waves of grain thing), as we pass through a number of nearly deserted towns where the only viable buildings seem to be either car dealerships or banks – that tells us something doesn’t it?

And today from Ogallala to Goodland, Kansas (Hey Dorothy! We’re back in Kansas! Where’s Toto??) – crazy time zones here – one minute you are in mountain time, then you switch to central time, then back to mountain time – Their phones do not register the reality, I want central time so I’ll get fed an hour earlier, but She a stickler, so MT Time it is – but that will change again tomorrow – I am in state of utter confusion – time is dictated by my stomach and nothing else…

Another exhausting few days…

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye

Trooper’s Log ~ Days 18-22: Family Visits! Cats! Colorado Mountain High! Hard Goodbyes…

Trooper’s Log ~ Days 18-22 (July 15-19): Family Visits! Cats! Colorado Mountain High! Hard Goodbyes!

I am sorry to have been so quiet these last several days – they have been filled with visits to my Big Sis Jess – who had of all things a CAT! Now I have never seen a Cat, so this was a big moment for me – especially because this Cat looked just like ME! Black and white, but smaller of course, so I didn’t think she was my mother or anything, but it turns out this Cat (who is named Snoopy) has a negative view of Dogs and Jess was afraid she might quietly disappear and never return if she got a good look at me, so they kept us apart for family unity – here she is so you know what I am talking about – but I have to say that this Cat acts more like a Dog than a Cat, which is a good thing – and she even does zoomies which is something I am very good at (though limited in this Big Thing – thank goodness for dog parks). I did find one of the Cat’s play mice, which had to be plied from my mouth – again, all for family unity…

But we had a glorious 6 days in beautiful Glenwood Springs and visiting Jess and Aaron and family in Carbondale with treks to Aspen – we even did a Gondola ride up Aspen Mountain –

Can you believe they allow Dogs?? What a wonderful thing – restores my faith in humanity – and the best thing is that they didn’t even charge for me – there are special cars just for Dogs that have a large paw-print on them, so off we went – and I have to say that even after these past few weeks of traveling in the brain-busting Big Thing, that this gondola completely confused me – I didn’t know whether to look up or down or what and She was oohing and aaahing about the view that I could barely see sitting on the floor (which had terrific smells of every previous dog who inhabited our car) – but here are a few shots to give you an idea of the beauty (The British, which as an English Springer Spaniel I am partial to would call this an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty…)

Big Sis Jess and Aaron heading up Aspen Mt – I’m on the floor

Look at that view!! oh wait, I’m looking in the wrong direction…

And because of this stupid virus thing going on, we couldn’t go and enjoy any of the area’s restaurants or sites – drove around a lot, again, so many places of Outstanding Beauty – I could LIVE here, and I love being with Jess and Aaron and seeing Hadley and Grayson made it even better – and I know when we leave in a few days it will be very sad for all of us, though I don’t think Snoopy will much care that I am no longer sneaking around her house…and playing in her yard…[I did like that I peed on the tomatoes and later that day Snoopy came and laid right down there where I peed, so I think she secretly really likes me…who wouldn’t?! I’m adorable]

So here are a few pictures of our adventure – and you will see my Buddy Celebrity Jane here if you look closely:

 

Celebrity Jane and Buddy Will having a truck adventure – our favorite truck!

Celebrity Jane on the Emma bridge in Basalt, CO – Jane gets around

Plus all the Magpies everywhere!

Saying goodbye was very hard – again, with this virus, when we will I see my Big Sis again – we cannot fly to visit (well, I cannot no matter what), so will have to see – but off we went, They crying and all that sentimental crap – well, I felt sad too – I liked jumping all over Jess and Aaron and Hadley and Grayson, and one of the best things we did at the end of our last day was go to this fabulous dog park – the best since home in SC and there was an amazing corgi there named Charley (well, I didn’t ask if he spelled it Charley or Charlie, so please forgive me Charley if you are reading this and I got it wrong! and thank you Charley’s family for letting me post these pictures!) – he was only 7 months old but he stood strong and vigilant against my wrestling attempts and he actually wore ME out before too long – thanks goodness for this huge water bowl that Charley actually stuck his front paws and entire face in! He is young and doesn’t know his water bowl manners yet…Charley’s owners wanted a corgi because of the Queen – how very British of them – I love it!!  Here he is:

Well, I am the water-bowl hog here…

One more tumble, please, ok??

So off we go after a tune-up from our favorite person in the world (Aaron) and his Big Truck (talk about a brain-buster!), and headed to Craig, Colorado – decided to keep off the brain-busting main roads and had smooth travels on two-lane side roads (well, except for a 6-mile gravel construction mess) – I could even sleep – a miracle – and passed, well nothing – there is nothing out here and headed up to 6,193 ft in Craig and saw this big gigantic factory or plant but had to look up what it is (a coal-fired power plant that is scheduled to close by 2030), and only saw on the map west of us that we were missing the Dinosaur National Monument: https://www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm

She finds that (according to Wikipedia) that Craig, Colorado is the “Elk Hunting Capital of the World” – so I am just glad I am not an elk…

Or we could have gone here: The Red Rim Grizzly Wildlife Management Area:

https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Public-Access/WHMA/WHMA/Red-Rim-Grizzly

but I am glad They didn’t – I am not partial to Grizzlies: they are too big for me to wrestle with (Corgis I can handle!) and would probably eat me for lunch…

Beautiful drive – I could sleep again; She was reading for a bit as navigating was not necessary with only one road and NO TRUCKS and we came into Baggs, Wyoming after crossing over the Continental Divide twice at 7,000 ft, and we are now settled in Rawlins, Wyoming. Not too much here either except a LOT of WIND and HEAT and They are not turning on the air because it is only 30 amp here (this Big Thing needs 50 amp)

[You can read about the Continental Divide here: She didn’t get a picture https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_Divide_Trail

She always tries to find something of interest in every place they pass through or stay, and especially now since so many places are closed to visitors – but here in Rawlins She finds that: “’Rawlins Red’ is a red pigment containing hematite, an oxide of iron that was mined near Rawlins. Paint containing Rawlins Red has anti-rust properties and is thought to have been used as the original paint on the Brooklyn Bridge.” I find this fascinating, don’t you? (ha!) – even though we are nowhere near the Brooklyn Bridge…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn_Bridge

And of course everyone knows that the Union Pacific Railroad went right though Laramie and Rawlins and attribute their founding to that endeavor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Union_Pacific_Railroad

The painting by Thomas Hill depicts the ceremony of the driving of the “Last Spike” at Promontory Summit, UT, on May 10, 1869, joining the rails of the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad. They both love the railroad and railroad history and are sorry that the whole railroad thing and all its potential fell apart in America – I wonder if we all traveled by rail if there would be a dog park car??

She has (hurray!) finished her latest book The Splendid and the Vile (by Erik Larson) about Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister, and She is thinking (thank goodness for me She thinks out loud) that as bad as this virus is and how it has changed our lives irrevocably and who knows how it is going to end, that it is nothing compared to the nightly bombing of the London Blitz and all the other English towns destroyed in the air war of World War II – how people lived through that with such courage and stamina and continued their daily lives as optimistically as possible is totally beyond her – I couldn’t have managed it either, and do wonder what the statistics are of dogs lost in all that bombing…

Off tomorrow to Laramie and Cheyenne… more Cowboy country – She is beside Herself – do I dare tell her that Roy Rogers is long dead???

I, as usual, am completely exhausted:

asleep at the wheel…

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 15-17: Finally! Colorado!!

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 15-17 (July 12-14): Finally! Colorado!!

Really? we are on the road AGAIN??

 

Leaving Kansas, as you see here – we can only be grateful that there were no TORNADOES while we were traveling through  – all on Route 70 to the end of our trip to Glenwood Springs – the history of Route 70 is very interesting (or so I am told) – about when it started (1956) as the first route in the Interstate Highway system (and why it is named after that guy Eisenhower – I feel like he is a good friend already!) – the part in Colorado west of Denver to where we are going in Glenwood Springs is considered an engineering marvel – and we understand why – whatever made Them think They could get that Big thing over the Rocky Mountains, I have no clue – sometimes dogs are smarter than humans is the only answer… and not to mention the CONSTRUCTION! Some two-way traffic areas where there are cement blocks on the road, no shoulders and orange barrels – trying to keep the Big Thing on the straight and narrow going way uphill and then way downhill without losing the breaks, was an driving marvel for HIM I assure you – I couldn’t sleep a wink and She couldn’t even read, could only hug the armrests with all Her strength and periodically supply Him with water and energy bars…

This all came after a night spent in Strasburg CO (a nice campground – He did His laundry! – She’s going to show up at Her daughter’s house with two weeks worth…) – Strasburg is just east of Denver where is was still flat with no idea what was ahead – well that’s not really true – Before my time (which as you know I don’t like to talk about), They have been to CO several times and seen the Rockies, skied the Rockies, spent time in the Rockies. Did you know that His Mother was born and raised in Denver? She was a western girl who went east to college and fell in love with a Connecticut Yankee – so CO is in His blood and now that my sister Jess lives there, it just feels like a full circle in life somehow – I don’t have all these feelings (I never knew his Mother!), but I sense that this is what They are feeling…

So we head into Denver which you can see in the distance here – we are now a mile high and then we get our first view of THE ROCKIES – but it’s too hazy to get a really good picture (not to mention all the dead bugs on the windshield which doesn’t help picture quality…)

First view of the Rocky Mountains!

And then up and down for over a hundred miles that took hours and hours (I think the altitude is getting to Them), and such signs as these did nothing to relieve their stress:

But these are the things we noticed from our bug-laden windows: we visited none of the possible sites, so have virtually as you can also do now:

Have to say that the number of Amazon Prime trucks is mind-boggling!

The first sign they see is

“Rocky Mountain Sire Services” – which cracks Her up – She thinks She can rent a Cowboy – I had to tell her it referred to BULLS: https://rmssbulls.com/

His grandfather went to the Colorado School of Mines which you can read all about here: https://www.mines.edu/

This grandfather spent most of his life in South America in all kinds of mining – gold, silver, etc…and his daughters (one was His mother) were raised in Denver by a maiden Aunt – there is all this fascinating family history, which to be honest does not interest me all that much (way before my time!) – but They talk about it ad nauseum, and as I guess like most people, They do regret that no one is around any longer to ask the many questions They have…

This is a hopeful place: National Renewal Energy Laboratory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Renewable_Energy_Laboratory

She would have liked to have stopped here: The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum – but He says, “you’ve seen one quilt museum you’ve seen them all…” – so that was that…

And here: back to our good friend Buffalo Bill: [hey! they have a online poster exhibit and look who’s there!! She is SO excited!! – She’s ridiculous…]

 

Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum: http://www.buffalobill.org/

We saw a mine from the road in Idaho Springs – Argo Gold Mine & Mill:

https://argomilltour.com/

These are always happy signs to see: Rocky Mountain Cannabis

As I mentioned before, the main Highway is named after our buddy General Eisenhower, but there are parts that get other names – we passed the Gerald R. Ford Memorial Highway – Ford is not from CO, so They wondered about that and this is what They find – lots of highways in CO are named after presidents: https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/politics/colorados-other-presidential-highways-stretches-already-named-after-reagan-ford-kennedy

It is here at the Vail Pass Summit (at a mere 10,666’) that they knew how much they had climbed up – the Big Thing handled it all with calm and finesse (much better than Them!) – you can read about this very high place here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vail_Pass

(though They have been higher – They once took the railway up to the top of Pike’s Peak which is 14,000’ + – and They used to hike a lot – and went up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire a few times and stayed at the Lakes of the Clouds hut – but that was only 6000’+ – bunch a wimps if you ask me… The Big Thing even did better than that!

Some scenery:

She reminds me that when we first came over the CO line from Kansas there is a town called Burlington (They are from Burlington VT and so always fun to find the same name in other states (there are many Burlingtons is seems – according to the infamous google, there are 29 ) – but what is here in Burlington CO is ANOTHER Carousel – She having a bird They cannot stop – it’s called the Kit Carson County Carousel:

Isn’t this horse a beauty??

So, that’s the adventure so far – They make it to Glenwood Springs and find the campground after a complete road mess up with the exit actually CLOSED (who would do that to people with Big Things??), so They had to go to the NEXT exit, which is the town of Glenwood Springs (a beautiful town) and drive around in a few circles to get back on the highway to GO BACK to their exit where the campground is – now this exit is called No Name, which, like those Missouri roads that are just AA or F or HH, seems to indicate a lack of imagination in humans for naming things, but No Name it is and the campground appears to be the only thing at this exit with no name – so They finally get to where they are to be for several days – my nerves are shot after than grueling day of travel – but we made it to JESS and will tell you all about our reunion in my next posting (which will be delayed due to lack of wifi in this campground – no wifi, no tv! – what can you expect when you choose to stay in a CANYON right on the Colorado River – even I could have figured that out… again, I think the altitude is getting to Them…

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 13-14: Kansas City to Abilene to Oakley – Corn Fields, Presidents, and Windmills (and Trucks!)

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 13-14 (July 9-11): Kansas City to Abilene to Oakley – Corn fields, Presidents, and Windmills (and Trucks!)

Well, This was a Day! SHE DROVE!! He LET HER DRIVE the Big Thing! I was scared out of my wits and think I shall not recover anytime soon…

But back to yesterday first – we left Kansas City and crossed the great confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers (those Lewis and Clark guys were here again too – I don’t know who is following who…) – headed on through Topeka, the capital of Kansas – it only has two exits, but it still bigger than Vermont’s Montpelier – it has a beautiful Capital building that She just missed getting a picture of from the moving Big Thing, so here is a picture I found for her online:

The bronze statue on top of the dome was placed there in 2002, and is of the Kansa warrior, Ad Astra. Sculpted by Kansas artist Richard Bergen, it is 22 feet and 2 inches tall and weighs 4,420 pounds.

We did pass Leavenworth – They told me there is a prison there and so I decided it was a good time to be on my best behavior – which lasted until we were 10 miles further west…

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We also passed the National Historic Site of Brown v. Board of Education (the case which ended legal segregation in public schools – before that it was legal to have everyone separated by the color of your skin – “Separate but Equal” was the justification, but of course it was really only ever separate but never equal – it’s like when dog parks keep the big dogs and the small dogs separate, but we all know that the side for the bigger dogs is always a better place, so I feel as though those little dogs just don’t get a fair shake – discrimination and prejudice rules the day and no one listens to me, ever…) –  so this historic site, so important in the history of the Civil Rights Movement, is closed but you can do a virtual tour here: https://www.nps.gov/brvb/index.htm

There was also an OZ Museum, which They had never heard of – but is all about some book with a Wizard and a young girl from Kansas in red shoes and witches (some good, some bad), and flying monkeys (He’s afraid of them) – it all sounds rather scary and I for one am glad they kept moving – I didn’t want any run-ins with the Wicked Witch of the West…(It’s enough I have deal with Her every day…) – https://ozmuseum.com/

We all agreed that Route 70 was a disaster – all of our brains bandied about worse than ever – we don’t know how truck drivers do this day in and day out…

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Next stop: Abilene, Kansas

Abilene of course is the home of yet another Presidential Person – Dwight D. Eisenhower (the last guy Truman was President when They were born – that’s how OLD They are – but they actually REMEMBER Eisenhower, and sadly remember the days not so long ago when we had a President who was courteous and kind and had integrity and told the truth and pulled the country together in times of stress – what a novel thought They keep saying … – but like I said before, I can only fain interest in anything prior to May 23, 2018) – we did get to walk around the grounds of his boyhood home and see the exterior of the Library and Museum (no stamp for Her book again)

– and so I got to pee on some very sacred ground – Celebrity Jane was quite taken with General Eisenhower as you can see here:

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There is also in Abilene a famous Carousel, that unfortunately was CLOSED but also They couldn’t even do a drive-by visit because of the road not allowing large vehicles like The Big Thing… but here is where She got her carousel fix:

The Lander Park Carousel, known also as Parker Carousel, Dickinson County Parker Carousel, or Riverton Park Carousel is a historic carousel in Abilene, Kansas. Built around the turn of the 20th century, it is one of only three surviving carousels out of about 68 built by Abilene’s Charles W. Parker Carousel Company, and it is the only remains of the company in Abilene today. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. It is now a feature of the Dickinson County Heritage Center, a local history museum. [from Wikipedia]

Today’s trip (well, now it’s yesterday’s trip – internet wasn’t strong enough to upload all my story yesterday) – (when SHE drove – OMG, my heart is still beating wildly…) was from Abilene to Oakley – now She was very excited that it was a town named after ANNIE OAKLEY, but not the case – the person who founded the town named it after his Mother (that’s so sweet) – but there are all sorts of western things that go on here: https://www.visitoakleyks.com/

There are Monument Rocks and the Little Jerusalem Badlands, and the Butterfield Trail Museum, and The Keystone Gallery, the Fick Fossil & History Museum, and the Smokey Valley Ranch, AND the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center where this huge sculpture can be found: [we could stay here a WEEK, She says!]

So hopefully we can see some of these things tomorrow [we don’t] before we continue on our westward adventure to Colorado! Hurray, we are almost there!! [Kansas was too Hot, too windy (and why they have all these things in the middle of everywhere)]:

– and I only saw one huge dog at a rest area, but do feel as though we have been following in the footsteps of the original pioneers as they searched for new homesteads and farmland (which is what we saw all day long, farm after farm after farm – and why I guess They call this this the Heartland of the country…it really is so beautiful – and I’m happy with that as long as They feed me and let me pee and poop where I want…]

PS: I have to post two other pictures from Abilene: This is on an original Wells Fargo Express Co. building, which She finds very exciting for some reason… and Wild Bill Hickok (he became  the Sheriff in Abilene in 1871):

Did you all know that His middle name is Hickok? He’d look just like this guy if He grew His hair long and grew a mustache, don’t you think??

And we did see this in Abilene: The Greyhound Hall of Fame!:
– I have a friend named Hanna who is a greyhound and I play with her nearly every day – she’s the fastest thing on 4 legs I’ve ever seen and even I cannot keep up with her (I am pretty speedy myself)…I miss her…

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 11-12: Kansas City Here We Come!

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 11-12 (July 8-9, 2020): Kansas City Here We Come!

 

Yesterday we drove from St. Louis to Oak Grove Missouri (just east of Kansas City, or so They tell me). First we needed Gas! Then we took back roads instead of the main highways and despite a few very scary hairpin turns and a few hills higher than expected, this was the way to go – I could actually sleep the roads were so good! And it was nice to see the farms and all the corn fields (corn EVERYWHERE! – I don’t like corn really…though not sure I have ever had any – no table food for me). She did again go nuts over all the billboards and was shocked to see so many defacing the beautiful countryside – She agrees that humans are ridiculous.

Then They found it very interesting the number of roads that are just called A or FF or H or BB – what is THAT all about? A lack of imagination to Name the roads?? She does the google thing and finds of course THE ANSWER: [thank you Wikipedia!] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_supplemental_route#

A supplemental route is a state secondary road in the U.S. state of Missouri, designated with letters. Supplemental routes were various roads within the state which the Missouri Department of Transportation was given in 1952 to maintain in addition to the regular routes, though lettered routes had been in use from at least 1932. The four types of roads designated as Routes are

  • Farm to market roads
  • Roads to state parks
  • Former alignments of U.S. or state highways
  • Short routes connecting state highways from other states to routes in Missouri

Supplemental routes make up 19,064 miles (30,681 km) (59%) of the state highway system….

Wow! That’s a lot of roads with an “alphabet soup” moniker! But I guess it works – at least for them since they didn’t get lost as they jumped from A to FF to H and BB. Even I can read these signs!

Crossing the Missouri – this is a big deal!

Then They see a sign for the National Churchill Museum – what? Here in the middle of Missouri?? How did that happen? He had an American mother for sure, but he was English, and Important, and a Hero (He LOVES Churchill – here we go again with History lesson # 4,520) – but no time to stop (closed anyway) but here is the info:

The Museum is at Westminster College, and this is why:

In 1946 it was at Westminster College that Winston Churchill delivered one of the most significant speeches of his long and illustrious career. That address, formally entitled, “Sinews of Peace,” but best known for that evocative phrase, “An Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent”, effectively marked the beginning of the Cold War and linked, forever, Fulton and Westminster College with Winston Churchill.

You can read more here: https://www.nationalchurchillmuseum.org/

Isn’t this country great?? How these museums pop up because of some local event that has meaning. Do you think there will be a museum dedicated to my travels? – something like The Trekking with Trooper Museum? She has always wanted to follow the path of John Steinbeck in his Travels with Charley – maybe they will someday and I hope I can join them – Charley was a Poodle for goodness sake – Steinbeck should have had a hunting dog like Me (She LOVES Steinbeck – what that has to do with Jane Austen (see below) I haven’t figured out, but there is no figuring out these human brains as far as I can tell…) – and how She can LOVE a book about a POODLE is certainly beyond me…

Then there is this Museum: the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – this is partially opened but They couldn’t stop – but good to know this is there in Kansas City – you can read all about it and why it is here: https://nlbm.com/

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She was here in Kansas City a little over a year and half ago for a Jane Austen annual meeting (She talks a lot about this person, whoever she is – some writer from a million years ago that She likes beyond grown-up reason as far as I can tell – did she write about dogs? is all I care about and She tells me that her favorite Hero, Henry Tilney had Newfoundlands! Now I do know they are BIG dogs, so it is good they are on a page in a book and not in this RV, where there is barely room for Me…]

So, anyway, it is still hotter than Hades and we are limited to sitting in the running car and jumping out to take pictures and nothing is really open as we go on a Truman Trek (He’s as nutty about Truman as She is about Jane) –  so another day of drive-by site-seeing (they are getting good at this!) and me getting to pee now and then, drinks of water, pee again, sit on the car, etc – you get the picture – but I cannot really sleep, so do that for the rest of the day once we get back in the RV – doesn’t this all sound like a Ton of Fun??

We drive to Independence, just east of Kansas City and where most of the Truman stuff is – and this is what we see – and cannot go in anywhere but just gawk at exteriors:

[We do pass a Dept. of the Army Ammunition Plant [you can read about it here: https://www.jmc.army.mil/Installations.aspx?id=LakeCityLocation]

Truman’s Boyhood Home: this is a private home, but the owner came right out and welcomed us and was very gracious saying she loved that people came by and took pictures and then pointed out a tree that was planted there 30 years ago from a seedling from George Washington’s Mt. Vernon – I wanted to pee on the tree but was forestalled from doing so…

The Truman Library & Museum (She has another of those Passports for Presidential Libraries – She has one for lighthouses too, but not many of those in Missouri and Kansas! – even I get that) – but it not only closed for the pandemic but was to be closed anyway for renovations…so no stamp for Them…all sorts of online exhibits can be seen here: https://www.trumanlibrary.gov/ [why we just don’t sit in the RV and do this all day I don’t understand…]

Truman’s House in Independence: https://www.nps.gov/hstr/index.htm

I got to walk around the fence and pee, and Celebrity Jane made an appearance (I like her…)

The Truman Farm

The Truman Farm: also closed but you can visit the grounds here and I got to walk and pee and sniff everything all around the house – sad to see the development of nearly 600 acres of the original farm for shopping centers and such… https://www.nps.gov/hstr/learn/historyculture/truman-farm-home-photo-tour.htm

all I wanted was water…

She loves windows and doors, so I am told I must share this window from the garage with you – I just think it needs a coat of paint, but she insists it is LOVELY the way it is…

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My thoughts about Truman?? well, apparently he wasn’t a dog -lover and preferred to not have a dog in the White House – a supporter from his home state of Missouri (that’s why there is all this Truman stuff here) sent him a cocker-spaniel puppy named “Feller” as a Christmas present – and HE GAVE HIM AWAY! – could you have given this dog away??

I think it was because Feller wasn’t a Springer Spaniel…

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So now to downtown Kansas City – they stopped by the National WWI Museum and Memorial (did you know it was in Kansas City??) – She visited it when last here, so today they just wandered around outside – it was open for visitors with restrictions – but He knew if He went in, She and I would be sitting in the car for 8 hours – so another internet visit for Him (and you should visit it too!): https://www.theworldwar.org/

An amazing place – She couldn’t stop talking about it (I remember that – I was HERE then, I was a PUPPY – and She went away for a week! It was traumatic for me…) – everyone should go here – and the big question is how it ended up in Kansas City?? you read about that online…a very heartwarming story.

I’m trying to be interested, I really am…

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They drove down the Main Street where there is the great Kansas City Streetcar that is free and you can get off and on at certain spots to visit the restaurants and shops along the way – a great economic boon for this main street  – it was working and some of the places were open and lots of masks and social distancing They were happy to see, but we just drove around and took it all in – it was terrific – though I didn’t see a single dog the whole time (when I do see a dog I nearly go through the back window of the Mini – one of these days I surely will… there is a goat where we are staying and I almost had a nervous breakdown it was so exciting – the goat didn’t care at all…I think I am in love with this goat…)

Here I am after this very exciting Truman-filled day, totally wiped, I look like an old man and I’m only TWO: [but I sure am handsome, don’t you agree?)

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 8-10, St Louis Missouri – Baseball and History and Cathedrals

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 8-10 –  July 5-7 – St Louis, Missouri

OK, catching up here – we had a long bumpy ride from Paducah to St Louis, following the Great Mississippi for part of the way and we are now officially “West of the Mississippi,” which seems to be common phrase to describe many things – a Cathedral we visited (well, She did anyway) is noted for being the “First Catholic Cathedral, west of the Mississippi” – I don’t think I am the first dog to be “west of the Mississippi” but I am going to assume I am since I am the center of the universe after all…

Exciting bit was to arrive at the great confluence of the Ohio River and the Mississippi at Fort Defiance, so we stopped to take some pictures there – it is also where Lewis and Clark (remember them from another post? Clark named Paducah)  had a problem with the current here and it took hours to move a very short distance along the river… today it is high and the current is fast – they won’t let me go in (they have never recovered from having one of their dogs [ANOTHER Dog?? – really depressing me to hear about life before Me] jump into the water and go over a 90’ waterfall in Moxie Falls Maine – it was the start of their vacation which they then spent in and around Skowhegan Maine while the dog recouped at the Vet – only a broken leg, a miracle – so understandably they are leery of Dogs and Water… so I shall try to behave…

The town of Cairo, IL seemed completely abandoned, so many buildings closed and nothing going on anywhere – this not just due to the virus, but previous economic hardships…you can read all about it here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/cairo-illinois

A good deal of racial unrest is the reason behind it all, which brings me back to our previous stay in Calvert City – I didn’t know this when we stayed there, but She read about it later and now tells me: It was founded in 1871, but by 1896, Calvert City was known as a sundown town, where African Americans were not allowed to reside. By 1908, the rest of Marshall County had also expelled its African American residents – perhaps this was the reason that in 1937 most of the town was destroyed by a flood – some higher force at work here?

Which brings me to this issue of prejudice against people of different colors, gender, sexual preference, etc… I just don’t get it why people can’t all just get along regardless of differences, honor the differences, and treat everyone the way you would like to be treated (She tells me this is called “The Golden Rule”)  – I mean look at Me – I am black and white with some beautiful sections of brown; I have spots (called ticking), some are black, some brown, and so I don’t get old people not liking the “age spots” they get – they should be proud of them! – but no one treats me differently because I am all manner of color – most people look at me and say “what a beautiful dog” [she corrects them that I am handsome, thank you very much], or “what a stunning dog” etc. – my colors are appreciated and admired and no one is saying that my white parts are better than my black ones – so I just don’t get humans and all their unfair treatment of others – everyone should go back to kindergarten and see how accepting children are of their compatriots, with no noticing of differences, and try to stay that way as grownups…. I mean really, dogs just sniff each other and try to stay away from any other dogs that are aggressive and want to bite ears – I don’t notice a thing about what another dog  LOOKS like or whether they are a boy or a girl, or who they love –

Geesh, I can get really worked up about this, so had better continue with my travelogue…I will say it has been enlightening to see all the efforts of parks and museums to address past inequalities, to show it in words and visually, and to be open about the need for restitution. We cannot erase the past, but we can certainly learn from it by making it all front and center. I just don’t understand it all – makes me very happy to have been born a Dog…

The Two biggest problems with this trip so far (or so She tells me) is the COVID-19 virus which is keeping so many places closed or working in a limited capacity [though this does make it good for traffic reasons!] – the other is how bloody HOT it is – they cannot leave me in the car to go anywhere, so they are doing things separately and rotate sitting with me in the car with the air on – but there is no eating outside anywhere because of the heat, so they keep cooking in the RV (they do have a nice grill I will say, which I would give anything to lick after they are done cooking…) – so they are not seeing some of the sights or eating in some of the restaurants or visiting any boutique shops anywhere – and those give a sense of a place, so much is missed because of this state we are in right now – that said, They both say they are impressed with all the measures taken to keep people safe, masks required, sanitizer everywhere – and one can only hope that these limited openings can continue forward so places are not forced to close – seeing a town like Cairo IL was a sad warning of what can happen…

So the other day as we motoring along, She suddenly cries out that her seat is moving upward and tilting into a ridiculous position – a complete mystery to Them, and I had to confess that it was all my fault – I was leaning on the chair buttons! Ha! – well, I thought it was pretty funny…

Traveled through St. Louis to end up in a campground for a few days west of the city near Eureka, the intention to spend a few days here and explore St. Louis, etc. … again, the Heat and the Virus hindered doing some things, but They trekked on with me in tow – biggest thing was to see Busch Stadium where the Cardinals play [my big brother Starr has loved the Cardinals since he was a little kid – born and raised in CT and then VT, and why this is a confusing matter to me – but it all started when his first little league team was called the “Cardinals” – and that was that – it was the time of Ozzie Smith and Darryl Strawberry – Ozzie was Number 1 which is now a retired number as you can see here). [She kept his team shirt, which is like an antique now or close to it – I wonder if She is keeping all my old bones and collars??].

So a few pictures of a completely deserted Ballpark Village – it must be absolutely insane when people are actually here! The pubs, the restaurants, the shops, the Baseball!! The Stadium is literally right downtown!

 

Store not open!!

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We also took in the Gateway Arch – which everyone knows what that is – but again, because of me and the Heat, They decide to just walk around outside, take a few pics (the Tram was supposed to open tomorrow July 8, but this next phase has been delayed due to rising cases) – not very many people here at all, but I do have to say, it is an impressive sight – you can read all about it here: https://www.gatewayarch.com/

Thankfully after walking around town for 2 hours, we were all exhausted from the Heat (They are so good – they bring water for me wherever we go – They are dying, but I take precedence for the water…I lucked out with these two) – so we drove around for a while in the cool Mini (literally Cool, figuratively Cool too) – but she insisted on seeing the two main Cathedrals in St. Louis – I was not allowed in any of those, but here are the pictures She wanted me to show you:

The Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France [The Old Cathedral]: this is the “First Catholic Cathedral West of the Mississippi” I already told you about – it started out as a log cabin in 1764! Read its fascinating history here: https://www.oldcathedralstl.org/

She oohed and aahed til I was sick of it, but I have to admit, it’s awful pretty in there:

Then after seeing the Arch and the Stadium, They headed out of town toward the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis: more oohing and aahing, this time for all the mosaics, one of the largest collections in the world, created by 20 different artists and covering 83,000 square feet! Thankfully, She had the sense not to photograph every single one of those 83,000 sq. ft, but I can tell it was hard on Her not to do so – you can read about this Cathedral here: http://cathedralstl.org/ where there are many options to explore the interior and the mosaics online (and I have to say the images are better that Hers… hope She doesn’t read this…)

She is always most moved to find in any Church, a series of the Stations of the Cross (They were recently in Jerusalem and were able to walk along the real path there – I did not go on that trip but was instead visiting friends in a kennel called Green Dog, where I had a fine time despite them…) – and so just offer one picture here:

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A few impressions that She says I should record for you:

  • The roads in downtown St. Louis are ridiculous – I wasn’t even in the RV, but in the Mini and my brains were severely shaken.
  • Lots of construction going on: road (but not enough of the ones downtown if you ask me), new and renovating buildings everywhere…
  • Billboards: They hate billboards and are proud to hail from Vermont where the state government had the good sense to outlaw them years and years ago – so many beautiful places all over this country marred by this nonsensical advertising of motels, attractions, lawyers, Jesus Saves, etc…

She is put in mind of Lady Bird Johnson, when everyone sort of made fun of her intention at the time to “Beautify America” by planting wildflowers along roadsides and open spaces… what a novel idea [you can visit her Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin https://www.wildflower.org/ – and you read about her efforts as First Lady here: https://www.pbs.org/ladybird/shattereddreams/shattereddreams_report.html What a surprise that such a plan for beautification should have gotten political – people up in arms against each other about how to make parks and roadsides more beautiful (Lady Bird didn’t like billboards either) – again, I really am glad I was born a Dog…people are ridiculous…

Today we wandered off again to visit the Ulysses S. Grant Historical Site, She very excited to get another stamp in her National Parks Passport book (I swear, she acts like She’s 10 years old sometimes, almost a Junior Ranger)) – so here again, we have History – He very excited because he has read a lot about Grant – this was the home of his in-laws where he and his wife lived before the Civil War – the back part of the property was sold in 1903 to Anheuser-Busch and is now run as Grant’s Farm (closed right now however – there is a great deal to do here in St. Louis for kids – a Six Flags is near us – and while it is open with limitations, not many people are around – the campground we are in is nearly empty and would normally be filled with kids going to the amusement park – everything feels like we are on a deserted planet…)

[Hey, that’s Me up there on Grant’s porch!]

But the Grant White Haven house and grounds was terrific – and I got to walk around the property and there was a HUGE bowl of water out there just for me to lap up – so I liked it here very much – they each went inside to the museum but just walked around the house – some pictures for you to give a sense of the place – an important stop for anyone who has an interest in Grant – his family was completely divided about the Civil War – he never wavered in his belief that slaves should be freed, despite the fact that his home here in Missouri depended upon slave labor – you can read about this history here: https://www.nps.gov/articles/slavery-at-white-haven.htm

Ulysses S. and Julia Grant

And She has a thing for carriages, so here is one of the Grant’s, minus the Horse unfortunately:

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So back to the RV to get COOL, to find that the electricity had gone out and it was as hot inside as out – yikes!! – it took the campground over an hour to repair it – but thankfully we have a generator so were able to cool off in a bit – He’s about to take me swimming – hurray! I can cool off but They cannot – no reason enough to do into a pool right now – it is open but with limited access – again, I am glad I am a Dog and can just jump in water when we find it (and as long as there are no 90’ waterfalls around anywhere…)

Tomorrow we are off to Kansas City – more Hot days in the offing – They are losing their marbles I must say…but Colorado here we come – getting closer and closer – would be better if they let me lick that grill…but one last thing that is fun here: part of the road they are on is the historic Route 66 – it goes right through St. Louis! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66_in_Missouri

And you can read all about the whole route here: https://www.historic66.com/

I don’t know why They are so excited – I mean, I’m not allowed to even WALK on any road, historic or otherwise…just a Kamp K-9 for me…

AND we found two possible Beaux for Celebrity Jane!

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 5 and 6 (July 3-4): Paducah, Kentucky – Quilts and Crafts and Heat

Trooper’s Log ~ Day 5 and 6 (July 3-4): Paducah , Kentucky – Quilts and Crafts and Heat

Left Nashville, and as you can see Celebrity Jane insisted on a photo at this guitar, a tad bigger than hers, but she feels she is at her roots here in Nashville…

But we had to amble on to our next destination – Paducah, Kentucky (well, actually we are staying in Calvert City, just east of Paducah) – Did you know who named Paducah Paducah?? William Rogers Clark! – yes, THAT Clark of Lewis and Clark! They are so excited – who were those guys anyway??

So more banging my brains around in the RV – the roads from Nashville to here varied from smooth (I slept!) to raging potholes (my brains still hurt) – problem with an RV is that you really need to be in the right-hand lane and that’s where all the trucks go and that’s why that lane is in the worst shape – then there’s the construction with changing lanes and closed lanes, and all sorts of road nightmares – He’s ready to have a nervous breakdown; She’s navigating to no avail – if they asked me (which They didn’t), I’d say “get off this road and find me a dog park” – but we finally after a few circuitous routes made it to Calvert City – we are right on the Tennessee River and where it meets with the Ohio.

And today is the 4th of July – They are reminiscing about former July 4ths with family and friends in various places, on beaches, on boats, fireworks of all sorts – big ones, little ones, humongous ones (especially in Burlington VT) – as a youngster, young Starr called the last blow-out of fireworks “The Grand Fanny” (well, he meant the Grand Finale, but at 3 years old that was a mouthful) – They still laugh about this, EVERY year – before my time, so I don’t really care…

So today, with me in the car (the Mini is still intact!), we went into town to hopefully see some of Paducah, a UNESCO Creative City site, with its own School of Arts & Design, Lots of boutique shops filled with craft items, lots of antique shops, distilleries, breweries, restaurants, tea shops, and the amazing Wall (more on the Wall later) – but just like as in the other places we have been, there were only a handful of people roaming about, a Farmer’s Market with no one there – it made for easy parking and no traffic, but it again felt like a ghost town and we all wonder how some of these small businesses will survive.

Here are some of the best things to do here: https://www.southernliving.com/travel/kentucky/paducah-ky

And here is Wikipedia on its history and culture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paducah,_Kentucky

One thing She insisted on seeing was the National Quilt Museum – He, not so much – so He and I sat in the car (well, he would have gone in but he had to stay with me with the car running because it is so bloody HOT out there – and She did a speed visit to see the quilts and was completely Wowed, as She keeps saying (ad nauseum) – the Museum has just re-opened with all sorts of COVID-19 restrictions: limited numbers, social distancing and masks required – not many people were there, so it was easy to roam around (or so She tells me – dogs NOT allowed)

She took some pictures which I shall show you shortly, but the special exhibit on “OURstory: Human Rights Stories in Fabric” was so moving, words cannot express it (well, with my limited vocabulary anyway) – a quilt to me is something to lie down on, not hang on a wall and ooh and aah over, but I guess this is the difference between dogs and people… that said, I do admit to liking some of these quilts. You can see more here – https://quiltmuseum.org/ourstory/

[see below for more pictures of quilts, in case you are interested…Me? I am ready for a nap…]

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But the really cool thing in this town is The Wall (no, not trump’s wall silly) – the Army Corps of Engineers built a cement wall on the river’s edge after the 1937 flood that nearly destroyed the town, cresting to over 60 ft – you can read about the Ohio River Flood of 1937 here: [They love history – to me, anything that happened before May 23, 2018 is irrelevant] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio_River_flood_of_1937

I’m a good swimmer, but even I could not have handled that…

But look at this Wall: Here are a few pics She took (me, dying of the heat in the car)

 

“In 1996, the Paducah Wall to Wall mural program was begun by the Louisiana mural artist Robert Dafford and his team on the floodwall in downtown Paducah. They have painted more than 50 murals addressing numerous subjects, including Native American history, industries such as river barges and hospitals, local African-American heritage, the historic Carnegie Library on Broadway Street, steamboats, and local labor unions.” [Wikipedia]

 

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Tonight She is berating Herself for not knowing there was a Carnegie Library in Paducah – She takes pictures of these wherever She goes – She’s furious with Herself… (it wasn’t My fault I say) – so here’s pic She found online – that’s cheating surely?? [But now finds that the building partially burned down in 1964… more on this another day….I’m exhausted enough trying to be excited about quilts, not She’s off on Libraries…I cannot keep up]

Source: https://digitalcollections.mclib.net/luna/servlet/detail/McCracken~1~1~92~313:Carnegie-Public-Library,-Paducah,-K

More quilt pics, because She says I have to share these with you:

[She’s going to tell me all the artists’ names tomorrow and I will add them in…fireworks are now sounding off around here and I have a headache – tomorrow we are off to St. Louis, another day of brain-beating travel, but I do Love that They are with me all the time and that They let me up on the couch – big surprise when we get home where I am not allowed to do that… ]

Happy July 4th one and all!

©2020 Trooper Hawkeye