Random Thoughts on our Western Trip

I FORGOT to write the story about Larry, Chicken Grandma’s husband. I heard him mention Minnesota and asked if that is where he came from.

“Oh, naw!” he said. “I grew up about five miles from here, and Faye maybe ten miles.”

I asked, “Did you go to the same schools?”

“Yes,” he replied. “We were in the same room all the way through. Back then she was just another girl in the class.”

I laughed, because I could hear behind those words, the tone a boy would have used. You know a 10-year-old would have said the word GIRL with disgust. He went no further, because it was obvious his view of Faye changed drastically, and they have been happily married many years.

I kept forgetting John and I are years older than Faye and Lar, maybe because they made us feel young. They mentioned the age of their youngest son, and he is only a few years older than our elder grandson.

I REMEMBERED a trick from rehab days. The most slippery tub we had was in a handicapped room, of all places! John warned me before I stepped in. I put a washcloth where my feet would be and did not slip.

I FAILED to write about going to the Lewis and Clark Experience. This non-museum was in Sioux City, near where the members of the expedition camped. I was surprised to learn that only one man from the group died. He died in that area, and the rest of the men went all the way to the west coast and back without further loss of life. Amazing! The facility was geared for school children. We saw youngsters eagerly stamping their cards and rushing to the next exhibit. I felt the display was disjointed, but that’s a small drawback, since it was obviously exciting to the children there.

I WISHED I had asked John to stop the car when we first saw the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies on the horizon. We passed a small windmill near the road, one I could almost have reached out to touch. Water was running out of a small pipe, and it was the only windmill I ever saw accomplishing anything. Then I saw the solar panel. Although the structure looked like a windmill, it was really a solar mill.

I NOTED a regional food item that we had not seen before. We tried to eat in local restaurants most of the time. I ordered a chicken dish with lemon, spinach, and artichokes one day and saw the same item on the menu at a different place the next day. That did not define it as a regional favorite, but it was worth noting.

I WONDERED about fence structures along interstate highways in Colorado and Utah. John slowed down for me to take a picture of one. Does anyone know what this is for? There was an earth ramp up to the fence, and in the middle of the ramp was a divider. I guessed it would guide wild animals off the highway. The drop on the other side would discourage them from going near the road again. I’d love to know if my supposition was near the mark.

I LOVED coming back to my own bathroom. Have you noticed that public toilets and motel fixtures are designed for a short six-year-old?

We had a marvelous trip, but it was time to get home. The official log showed we drove 4,814 miles in two and a half weeks.

24 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on our Western Trip

  1. That’s a lot of miles! I haven’t seen those sort of fence structures before. I hope one of your readers has some information. Nothing like your own bathroom.

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  2. That’s a long time for a vacation! On a trip like you are taking, where you are changing motels/hotels often, there is no point in going super expensive and yes, the bathrooms in the regular rooms are not the best. On my last trip to San Antonio, we stayed in a B&B and it had a wonderful bathroom. They had taken out the tub and put in a fabulous shower. The vanity was tall. Our room was not for a family with kids. When we got home we redid our shower with some of the same features.

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    1. I thought that at first, but regular cattle should never be wandering next to the highway. Many of the ramps would not have had vehicular access on the outer side.

      It was good to get home. Today we had lunch with a couple we knew on Long Island. They are here for a conference. Next week our daughter comes for a visit. I’m sure there will be more of that later.

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  3. Wow! That’s a lot of miles.
    We have a windmill that is used to aerate our pond. We can also pump water out of the pond to use for irrigation but unless you are watching for the bubbles in the water or watching the hose that the water is pumped out through you may not realize that it is doing anything.

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  4. They catch snowdrifts so they don’t pile up on the road. In some areas you might have seen chris cros fencing and that too is for snow.
    Btw, I’m glad you did the catch up like you did. I will keep that in mind. I forget things on trips too and wish I’d added information I found interesting at a later date. Ya done good.

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  5. Hi Anne, I think you mentioned one time that your family were Tennessee farmers. Sooooooooooo, you probably were not involved in cattle ranching. The dirt slope with the big drop on one side is for loading cattle in a semi to take them to cattle market or move whole herds to sometimes cooler climates for grazing on wheat or corn to fatten before going to cattle sale. The big semi would back up to the drop off. Cattle were moved up the ramp single file into the truck. Usually 60 to 80 head per truckload depending on whether they were calves or yearlings, roughly 48000 to 50000 lbs. per truck. The idea was to save the rancher from having to buy ramps to load the trucks.

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    1. You are right, Ron, we didn’t see big herds of cattle in West Tennessee. My photo didn’t show it, but the interstate was only a few yards from these ramps. It doesn’t make sense to me that valuable cattle would be herded where they might wander onto the highway. I wish I could go back and look at the ramps again.

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  6. I did not even know you had that conversation with Lar! It made me laugh because I am sure at 10 he was more interested in the goose that landed on the schoolyard than he was in girls. LOLOL. Did he tell you we have both been members of the same church our entire lives also? And that we attended sunday school together all those years? Turns out he became a friend of my brother ( who was a year older than me) in high school before we ever started dating. God definitely has a marvelous sense of humor :).

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