Tuesday, August 31, 2010
We left our suite at the Microtel in Independence KS at 10:30am and are driving as far as Joplin MO, with one stop along the way.
Our stop today will be to visit Laurel Kane at her Afton Station in Afton Oklahoma. Afton Station is on Route 66 and anyone who is driving Route 66 should stop here.
We stopped here 2 years ago when we did our Route 66 Road Trip, however the doors were locked and we could only peer in through the windows.
We contacted Laurel a few days ago by email to make sure that she would be there this time. We were warmly greeted by Laurel as we walked in through the door. The front of the restored DX Gas Station contains all of Laurel’s Route 66 memorabilia and items for sale. The back of the station contains about a dozen old Packard cars.
Here are some pictures of the Packards.
Karen posed for a photo with “Tripper” the station mascot.
We stayed and chatted with Laurel for an hour and posed for a photo of us together.
We said our goodbyes but before we left, I took some more photos outside.
Thank you Laurel for your hospitality and we will be back to visit on our next road trip on Route 66.
Laurel writes a blog about being a business owner on Route 66 and if you would like to read it and follow it, here is the link.
Ramblings of a Route 66 Business Owner
After leaving Afton we headed to Joplin MO where we will stay the night. Tomorrow morning we will visit with Gary Turner at his Sinclair Station on Route 66.
To see all of our photos from today you can click on this link to my FLICKR site.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
As we drove from Hays Kansas to Independence KS this is some of the scenery that we saw. Lots and lots of wind turbines, and it was very windy as we were driving with gusts to 40 mph. I would love one of these planted right in my yard at home.
At one of the roadside rest areas we saw this sign… I have always liked the TV show Rawhide, and they always drove their cattle along the Chisholm Trail… so maybe another future road trip could be to try and follow the Chisholm Trail… just an idea….
In case you didn’t know or hadn’t noticed, we are no longer in the Mountains… Kansas is pretty flat.
The Sunflower is the official flower of Kansas, but we have not seen any sunflowers yet. We have seen wind turbines, cows, horses and corn.
Now I don’t typically use this blog to endorse products or brands, but I do want to say that I have been really impressed with Microtel Inn & Suites. We typically stay at Days Inn or Super 8, but occasionally we have stayed at a Microtel. All three are part of the Wyndham Group of Hotels and we earn points for each night stay and can use those points for free nights from time to time. The few times that we have stayed at a Microtel, we have always found them to be modern, bright and clean. They are however a bit small but we didn’t mind that. I just figured that was where the word Micro came from in their name… small rooms.
When we book, we always just book the standard room at the cheapest rate. At our last Microtel that we stayed at we peaked into one of the suites and thought, wow that is pretty nice. So I inquired at the front desk how much more a suite costs over what we had just paid. I was guessing maybe $30.00 more and I couldn’t believe the answer… just $5.00 more. The suite, is twice the size of their standard room and includes a little kitchenette.
So tonight we are staying at another Microtel and this time we reserved the suite… What a nice room and we are here for two nights. We could stay here a month and be quite comfortable. Here are some pictures of our Microtel Suite.
We have stayed at other hotels for twice the price that weren't even half as nice as this, so from now on we are going to check for Microtel’s at our destinations before thinking of booking at any other hotel.
To see all of our photos from today you can see them on my FLICKR site.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Crossed the line from Colorado into Kansas.
And now some photos between the Kansas State Line and our hotel in Hays KS. Where are the mountains ?
We are heading South and East, our plan is to head for Afton Oklahoma on Route 66.
To see the few photos that we took today, you can click on the link to my FLICKR site.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Karen did laundry today and we ordered a pizza for delivery to our room for dinner.
We will be back on the road again tomorrow, heading South and East. Our plan is to get onto Route 66 and to visit some of the places that were closed on our Route 66 trip in 2008. We will also re-visit some of our favourite spots and people that we met 2 years ago.
Only 4 Photos taken today, the camera is having a well deserved day off.
Here they are, first one is of me at my laptop plotting our route home from Colorado Springs. The others are photos that Karen took outside the hotel.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
We only took 56 photos today, far short from our usual 300 plus photos per day. The scenery is less spectacular, so I think this accounts for the drop in photos. Here are some of the photos that we took today.
The road we are travelling on has a 7% grade, feels like we are running level compared to that 16% grade a few days ago. There is a runaway truck lane ahead just in case a truckers brakes fail.
We are now driving on the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway… Here are more scenery photos as we drive along.
Our original plan for this afternoon was to go for a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, however when we arrived, the driving in the area around the railway station was a zoo, everyone was jostling for the few parking spots that there were and boarding time was 20 minutes away. It just all seemed too overwhelming to me, and I just wanted to get away from the madness. We will have to do further research and plan to come back for a ride in a less busy season.
We then went to visit and drive through the Garden of the Gods. This is a little park in Colorado Springs. We stopped at the visitor center to buy some postcards.
We saw Balanced Rock.
And a few other rockscapes.
But I guess to my eye and after seeing Monument Valley, Mexican Hat, Yosemite NP, Zion NP, Yellowstone NP… etc… I know it is unfair to compare those National Parks to this city park, but I was quickly losing interest and after making a wrong turn and not knowing which road to follow, we gave up and headed for our hotel in Colorado Springs CO.
We will be leaving Colorado in a couple of days and continuing our return Eastward towards home. We will be leaving the beauty of Utah, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado behind us. As we travel East from here we won’t see much beauty in the landscape unless you like the flat prairies of Kansas and certainly after we cross over the Mississippi, we will be into all that urban sprawl of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ontario. We have made lots of notes and written down lots of places to return to, things to do and see on our next vacation to this part of the USA.
To see all of our photos from today, you can find them on my FLICKR site.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Today we will visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This is the newest of the National Parks, Bill Clinton changed it from a National Monument to a National Park in 1999.
We entered the park and showed our park pass, then went to the Visitor Center.
At the visitor center is the first viewpoint of about 12 viewpoints along the South Rim Road.
Next was Pulpit Rock Overlook. It took 2 million years for the Gunnison River to carve these canyon walls. It is about 2000 feet to the bottom.
Painted Wall. This is the highest cliff in Colorado at 2300 ft. The patterns in the rock face were created more than a billion years ago when molten rock filled the fractures and joints in the existing rock, then cooled and hardened.
High Point. This is the end of the road and we turn around and head back towards the visitor center.
From the visitor center we head out on the East Portal Road. This road will dead end in about 12 miles, but it promises to be a great drive. The sign says extreme grades and sharp curves.. sounds like fun. We have driven on steep grades before, but never as much as 16%
At the bottom of the road is the Gunnison Diversion Dam which was built to divert water from the river through a 5 mile tunnel through the mountain and out the other side to provide water for the fields and homes in the Uncompahgre Valley.
And a bit further along is the Crystal Dam. You can’t see too much because the area is fenced off.
We turned around and headed back to the top. Climbing the 16% grade was a bit of a chore for our car but we made it.
When we got back to the top, there were several cows in the road blocking our way.
We got onto US 50 and headed towards our hotel in Gunnison CO. US 50 passes through the Curecanti Recreational Area.
To see all of our photos from today, you can find them on my Flickr site.