Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hitting the Highlights from Wisconsin to Colorado

We've covered a lot of ground in the last three weeks.  After crossing South Dakota and southern Minnesota, we reached Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Thursday night, September 19th, and spent the next ten days enjoying time with my family.  We were happy to have a chance to visit the Milwaukee Art Museum, situated on Lake Michigan.  Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the museum is a dramatic piece both outside,
and inside.
I especially enjoyed the paintings in their collection by the German masters, and also discovered that they have an extensive art library on the premises.

We were also lucky enough to catch a Rock, Gem and Mineral Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  There we got to make new friends, learn more about specimens from the Midwest, share our Mexican stones, and bring home some Michigan copper.  A fun and rewarding day!

After leaving Wisconsin, we traveled through Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska before reaching Colorado.  Expecting some boring scenery, I was in for a big surprise.  We had beautiful weather, with bright blue skies and temperatures in the 80's, and each landscape offered its own unique charm.  We tried to stay off the main interstate, and instead took smaller roads, which offered wide open spaces, gentle rolling hills and nary a car in sight. 
A noteworthy dinner that first evening of catfish nuggets and coleslaw with home made apple crisp for dessert was had at "Big T's" in the tiny town of Brayton, Iowa.  Charming, friendly, inviting and downright delicious,  we love supporting local businesses.

Traveling to Abilene, Kansas the next day, we had another delicious dinner at "Ike's Place", and then spent the next afternoon exploring the large number of antique shops in town.  Notice this trash can that I spotted outside one of the shops.  Auntie Em, Auntie Em!  Can Toto come, too?
Ironically, we met several dealers in Abilene that love to visit both the Pasadena City College and Long Beach Flea markets in the Los Angeles area, to bring back treasures for their shop in Kansas!

Crossing the border into Nebraska, we happened upon a farm that was raising buffalo, and we stopped so I could snap their picture.  As I approached them, I noticed one of them was peeing.  Moving closer yet, suddenly they all started peeing at once!  Even though they seem so big and burly, I must have scared them.  As soon as I stepped back a bit, they stopped.  The things you learn.
We enjoyed a beautiful Nebraska sunset on the drive that evening,
and landed in Limon, Colorado, where we spent the night at the very economical (we're talking $37.75 per night including tax) First Inn Gold, managed by Lee and Tamara Martin, US Air Force retirees.  Although the hotel needs some work, it was overshadowed by the Martins warm, welcoming nature, and their interesting history.

As we got deeper into Colorado, we spent our next night in Monte Vista, elevation 7,664 feet.  It was our amazing good fortune to happen upon the Rio Grande Motel, where owner and bow hunter Tom was kind enough to pose in the lobby with several of his trophies (and Eduardo).
He shared a lot with us about his deep love for the outdoors, and about both the joy and the hard work he experiences with bow hunting in the nearby mountains, at elevations reaching 11,000 feet.  We admired his amazing spirit and passion. 

After a great dinner at "The Mountain View Restaurant" we settled into our cozy room which was charming and photo worthy.  The space heater (which we needed that night because the temperature plunged into the low 30's) was cute as can be,
as were the "fish" sheets.
You know we are all about economy when we travel, and at around $50.00 a night, I would highly recommend the Rio Grande if you are passing through Monte Vista.  And say "Hi" to Tom for us.  He'll remember us as the ones who asked all the questions!  He was a very patient man, indeed.

Our final stop in Colorado was the town of Creede, a small mining town close to the New Mexico border, which sits at an elevation of 8,852 feet.  Time to take out the winter jacket and gloves!  The drive to Creede was as pretty as picture postcard, especially with the Aspen trees changing color.
The town is equally picturesque, with shops, restaurants and galleries, most of which close in October after the tourist season closes.  The exception was the beautiful "Rare Things" gallery, which stays open all year round, featuring jewelry by many different artisans, large preserved and mounted insects, and rocks and gems from around the world.  The owner also has a particular love of bats, and had many unique and beautifully preserved bats in the store.  I hadn't seen that before!
At the far end of town there is a narrow one lane dirt road called the "bachelor's loop", where you can drive past the mining museum,
as well as several mines.  The town once produced silver and gold, but is now known mainly for its production of "sow belly agate",  so named because of its resemblance to bacon.
The road out of Creede was, of course, gorgeous.
We traveled through South Fork and Pagosa Springs and the drive was breathtaking.  Deer and elk abound in this area,
and we got to enjoy the aspen trees one more time.
We bid farewell to Colorado and all its natural beauty, and crossed the border into New Mexico, where we spent the night in nearby Chama.  It is there that I will leave the story for today!  Thanks so much for following, and I wish you all sweet dreams and buenas noches.

xoxo Linda

1 comment:

  1. you guys have the best road trips!!! thanks for bringing us along!! :)