On-The-Road Day 6 — Can’t We Just Get Along…

Being as I recently saw that the person famous for this quote from the L.A. riots died the quote has been on my mind.  It seems that  just getting along is a hard thing to do now days. Politics puts one set of beliefs at war with another set. Each thinks that they are wholly right and the other is at the worst evil.  How does this relate to my visit here to Mesa Verde? I have been reading quite a bit about the people who inhabited these ruins over eight-hundred years ago and it seems that they very much just got along with each other.

Here and there is evidence of some group conflict but for the most part each community seems to have been very homogeneous. There didn’t appear to be any significant power struggles so commonly found today. When did we lose the ability to just get along with each other? Can we ever hope to get it back?

Ok, now on to the report of the day.

We hiked to another ruin today. This one is called the Step House. It is one of the less visited one as it is not as big as the others. That made it perfect for me. It was a rather strenuous one for this senior citizen and a very challenging one for my wife. She made it along the wall clinging paths to the house but I was beginning to have my doubts if we could make it back. But of course we did as I am writing the post from our lodge room and an emergency room and my wife is taking a serious nap on the bed behind me. 🙂

The Step House was actually occupied by two different groups the first were the “basket weavers” from 500 – 700 and then the “pottery makers” from 1000 – 1200. Since we were the only ones there for about a half hour we spent much time with the national park ranger there. He gave us quite a tour.  I got to the ruins about 15 minutes before my wife. She told me to go ahead and spend some time there alone and that is what I did. I spent several minutes just imagining what life would have been for those who lived there many years ago. It seemed like a peaceful life to me but also, compare to ours, it was a challenging one. As was common with almost all the ruins here they were built under cliffs in the butte. They farmed the flat land above the butte for their food.

Here are a couple of picture for today.

Colorado On-The-Road Day 3 Cortez Colorado

Here we are settled in for the night at Cortez Colorado. We check in to the Mesa Verde National Park lodge tomorrow for our five-day R&R and spiritual regeneration. We spent today traversing the Rocky Mountains. It was an interesting trip down mainly two lane roads for over two hundred miles. We crossed the continental divide at Wolf’s Pass. It was 56 degrees there and 87 when we turned off I25 south of Pueblo. That was quite a shock to get out of the car with that temperature change.

One of the things we encountered during this leg of the trip was the junky ranches on the way. The ranch consisted of a small house surrounded by farm equipment both new and abandoned; several old cars; and mounds of baled hay. Here is a picture of one of them. It is hard to find the house in this picture. I wonder what the lady of the house thinks about this. Is she disturbed by all the junk around her home? Does she wished for at least a few flowers?

Tomorrow we settle down in our National park lodge home. Will I survive in such a placid environment? We will see.

Kansas Homestead…..

Just a quick post this morning. I got up at 5:00AM (7am body time) so have been cruising the web for a few hours now.  I realize that I have been neglecting on part of this blog and that is my barn pictures.  We got a good one yesterday somewhere in Kansas (I don’t have GPS on my best camera).

On The Road Again…..

Mesa Verde National Park

Yes, starting today my wife and I are on the road again. This time we will be traveling by car to the great State of Colorado. The majority of our time will be spent at Mesa Verde National Park so expect many photos in the next few weeks. We will be staying at the park lodge for six days of R&R, casual exploring and photographing nature. Although they don’t, on purpose, provide any television they do have wi-fi in the lodge, but not the rooms, so I can send the daily posts as always.

We will also likely see some first hand forest fire damage which I will try report that. After leaving Mesa Verde we will travel a little further west to Monument Valley and then back to Denver for a day or two. My wife says I won’t last the six days laying back at Mesa Verde but I think otherwise. At least I hope otherwise. We will find that out together I guess.

So, starting tomorrow expect the special on-the-road reports of our experiences….

On-The-Road Washington DC Day1

Well here we are finally settled into our hotel room at 9pm in Greensburg PA. Since this is the first bus tour we have taken I really didn’t know what to expect. The entire day was spent on the road. That is with stops every two and a half hours. The most noticeable first thing was probably if you did not have white hair you were the minority of this bus load and if you were a man you were most definitely in the minority. About two-thirds were women. When we were loading up this morning there were a lot of guys helping their wives get the luggage in the bus  and then the got back into their cars and went home! First conclusion is I guess bus touring is primarily a chick thing but there were enough other men that I didn’t feel uncomfortable.

We go underway about 7:30am and when we hit the interstate I was settling down with my macbook to do some database work. But our trip director had other ideas. She wanted everyone to play some games. Since I had a different agenda I tried to ignore what was going on. I told my wife she didn’t have to sign what was being said. I went about my business but pretty soon a bunch of stuff (food, books, household items) were being passed all around me. My wife decided to get back at me for not playing the game so I ended up with a toilet brush as my prize after the two-hour game was over!

Our first morning stop was at a McDonald’s and was primarily a pit stop but as you can imagine with 35 senior women and one toilet it was a long one. The second stop was for lunch at Cracker Barrel. I am not much of a fan of that place but since that was the scheduled stop that is where we ate. A couple more stops during the day we ended up in our hotel room about thirteen hours after we started.

Not having to do any driving was nice but the bus was not as smooth as I had imagined. Since the bus was a 2004 it did not have any conveniences such as cup holders, USB connections or pull down trays.  I could only hope that my laptop batteries would last and they did.

So far I’m not sure if the convenience of not driving is better than being told when we are going to stop and where we will eat. This trip could be more regimentalized that I am comfortable with.  But I should not be too hasty to judge it just yet. After all the real trip starts tomorrow when we spend the afternoon at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. The real action starts on Saturday with a tour of the White House at 8:00am (got to get up awfully early for that one) and the a full day of tours after that.

More on that later….

On The Road – Omaha (Day 6) More on Boy’s Town…

A rather  boring day today. We left Omaha about 10:00am and made almost 400 miles of Interstate driving before settling down near St. Charles MO. But given that there was little walking it was good for my aching knees. Tomorrow we will visit the picture puzzle super-store and then likely make a dash for home.

Since not much happened today I thought I would give you a little more about Boys Town.  Here is the info on the sign in front of the history center. It does a pretty good job of providing a short-hand version of the history of the place. This picture to the right is that famous saying I quoted yesterday.

A warm welcome to the Boys Town Hall of History. This museum is a cherished place for us at Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home.   It houses our precious memories of the earliest days when we were a small shelter for a few homeless boys from the streets.   It graphically depicts our joys and sorrows, our trials and tribulations, as decade by decade we have welcomed homeless, neglected, abused, and handicapped children.   We have changed with the times.   Today we care for boys and girls, for high risk inner-city youth, and for children with speech and hearing handicaps.  

Our story is one of struggle, growth, and change.   But what has not changed since 1917 has been our deep trust in God, our love for the young, and our goal-to impart the values of family living to generations of troubled young people whose own families failed them.   We are proud of these efforts and hope that they may inspire you, our visitors, to believe as we do that there is no such thing as a bad boy or girl.

One of the billboards in the center talked about even in the 1930s they stood strictly against segregation. They welcomed everyone.  Around 1980 they changed from a dormitory type living to more of a family centered approach.  They currently house about ten kids in a family unit headed by a very well-trained husband/wife and often kids. To the right is one of those houses. There are probably fifty of them on the campus.

I pray that Boys Town continues to be funded into the future. They certainly fill a need..

On The Road – Omaha (Day 5)

It was a very interesting day today. We spent the first part of it at Father Flannigan’s Boys Home and then went to the Spirit of Nebraska Wilderness Project in the downtown area.

It is nice to see that the Boys Town is still a thriving mission and that they have been welcoming girls for over thirty years. The story of the place was quite inspiring and the history center did a good job of relaying how it has changed over the years. One thing that hasn’t changed is their dedication to wayward kids. They currently have over 200 there now.  Here are a few pictures.

The Wilderness Project is made up of bronze bigger then life statues of wagons, buffaloes, and geese spread out over a six block area.

Of course we had dinner in the Market District again; Mexican this time at Trini’s. It was good as usual. Yvonne and I both carry pedometers now and discovered that over the past three days we have walked over 17 miles!  Not bad for two old people I guess.  We are back in our hotel in time to get the evening milk and cookies and then veg out for a few hour before calling it a day.

It has been a very nice three days in Omaha; it will rank in the top three places we have visited on our April vacations of the last 26 years.  One surprise about the city is how windy it has been since we have been here. It seems that it blows between twenty and thirty mph almost all the daylight hours.  I don’t know if that is typical or not? I know they get a lot of fronts moving through this area but the wind was a surprise.

We will get a good rest and then it is another road day tomorrow heading for St. Louis and the 25,000 picture puzzle store.

On The Road Again…..

We will be on the road again in about a week and I am going to do my usual “on the road” daily blog posts giving you my observations and experience of what we visit.  This time we will be visiting Omaha Nebraska. We were there during our month long vacation in 2009 and decided to save the city for its own vacation. What we saw in 2009 was a beautiful city with a fabulous restored warehouse district.  We will be staying at a renovated one hundred year old  hotel.

“On the road” posts are a different thing for me. I generally do the initial write of my posts about two week ahead of publishing them. That gives me time to think about the topic and do several edits.  On the road posts are usually posted the day they are written.  I know that several of you who have been following my various blogs have enjoyed my trip reports.  So, starting next Tuesday April 3 and for about a week thereafter look for these unique posts.

One nice thing about doing this is that any time in the future I am then able to identify where all the pictures we take were taken by checking the timestamp with the trip log postings. 🙂