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Jean Marie
02-08-2009, 10:30 PM
Most of you know that I drove out to CA w/ my pups. Kola Bear and my mom's pup, ok, she's my pup, now! Hey, it has been since August that my mom passed away, so I guess she is mine. Although, every time I say/write that, I swear I hear my mom say, "No she's not. Cassie will always be my little girl!"

Well, who am I to argue w/ my mom? I'm not kidding, I still hear her. A lot :)

I did post about the funny/odd street name, Toad Suck Road. Never did find another one to top it. I'm thinking that's a good thing.

And, I did post about, rather Lady Perks posted about my staying at her house. That was a blast! Her girls are the best and the cutest, ever :D Mr. Perks isn't so bad, either :) Ha!

And, who can forget the memorable dinner w/ OFG and that ever lovin' figment of her imagination!? She's just as funny intimidating in person as she is on the boards. No difference whatsoever. Pictures were posted on both occasions.

Unfortunately, photos weren't posted when I met w/ Mr. and Mrs. Shweta. We had breakfast in a wonderful town in CA, called Julian. It was fantastic. That was on my way out after spending 2 weeks cleaning things out of my mom's house, which was tough.

The time, literally flew by. Before we knew it, 3 hours had gone by and then, my driving adventure began in ernest. I headed out towards Prescott, AZ and actually made it, that night. It's an old town that I'd been to years prior w/ both my parents when they'd lived in Tucson. It's in the northern part of the state. I was on my way to the Grand Canyon, which I did get to, the next day. I do have pics, which I'll have to post. Naturally, I've photos of the pups in each place that I visited. Kola and Cassie, everywhere.

After the Grand Canyon, I went to Gallup, NM to visit my friends, one of which was supposed to go w/ me on the remainder of my Road Trip. Sadly, she wasn't able to, her twin grandchildren weren't feeling well and her husband wasn't able to take care of them. They're only 9 months old and the mom works and goes to school.

Following that tremendous visit, they're my extended family whom I've known for about 20 years, I drove on to Canyon de Chelly (pronounced: Shea, for those who don't know). I drove down the S. Rim, in the dark, got held up by several steer who stood in the road and stared at me. They wouldn't move. I think they were friends of Haskins. I'm not entirely sure, but one of them had a piece of paper hanging from his mouth, could have been a note from Haskins...

Finally made it to Chinle, which is at the mouth of the Canyon and stayed there for the night. The next am, we drove out and made our way along the same path that we'd driven the night before and took lots of pics. Simply stunning. Bluest sky, ever. The Canyon is where the Anasazi Indians lived, a tribe who more or less disappeared leaving little trace of their existence.

Headed north to Monument Valley, still remaining in Navajo Land, bordering on the northern edge of AZ and southern edge of Utah. The combination of red dirt and blue sky makes for intense photos that are unlike anything else. Of course, having 2 white pups makes for red butts, too.

Lots of western movies were filmed in Monument Valley, John Wayne flicks that John Ford directed. Hence, there's a butte named after John Ford. A very bouncy road that you're allowed to drive through. A couple of dogs chased us, which Kola thought was funny.

After that, we headed up towards Jackson, Wyoming. You got it, we took all back roads, the best way to do all of this. Never saw an interstate until much later, and by that time, it was I-90, so that tells you how far north I ended up. It was fantastic!

Once in Jackson, the sky cleared, just barely, so I could take some photos of the Grand Tetons. Positively breathtaking. They're so high that there's a constant layer of clouds running across them. Majorly intense. So much snow that Yellowstone was closed. That's ok, I drove up to the gate, anyway. I stayed there for 2 days and then came the drive from hell.

What began as a seemingly innocuous snowstorm, continued on and then stopped. It fooled me into thinking I was safe, therefore I drove on. Big mistake. My ultimate goal was to make it to Mt. Rushmore. Once you reach a certain point, you're committed, and in this case, I should have been committed.

It turned into almost a complete whiteout and at points along the way, it was. I was grateful to whose ever job it was to place markers at the side of the road, b/c that was all I could see. Each time a car/truck would come from the opposite direction, I would focus on those markers. Also, I'd move over, b/c invariably I'd be on the wrong side of the road, mostly b/c I couldn't see the road. Same thing happened each time a snow plow came by. I began cursing them. They were plowing the other side, anyway. That wasn't helping me! Finks. Oh, and it was dark by this time. No, there weren't any hotels/motels. I'd passed that point of no return I'd mentioned a while back. Also, every now and then there were these signs that said, "If flashing, turn back." Not something you want to see, b/c if that happens, you go back a few hundred miles, and they make certain that you can't continue b/c a large arm goes down across the road. Not good.

My eyes were beginning to cross. I asked the sleeping pups whose idea this was. No response.

I passed where I was supposed to turn, a few times, but managed to make the correct turns.

10 hours later, I found myself staring at Mt. Rushmore, all lit up, and it was still snowing. The most incredible sight I've ever seen. Simply gorgeous. Aside from a snow plow, I was the only one on the road.

Turning around, I found a cabin-type place to stay that took pets. I woke the poor guy up, he was in his pj's. He wanted me to write down my license plate number, couldn't, it was covered w/ about an inch of ice. It's a CA plate and I don't have it memorized, yet. He peered out and laughed. It took a bit to chip it away to let Cassie out. Did I mention that it was - 15? You ever seen a French Poodle do an imitation of a camel? It's pretty funny. That's how cold it was.

We stayed there for 2 days and it was awesome. Went to the Crazy Horse Monument which is another story in and of itself.

http://www.crazyhorsememorial.org/index.html

Please check out the link, it's an intense story. The building of it has been going on for over 60 years and is still continuing. To give you an idea of the scale of it, Mt. Rushmore can fit to the side of Crazy Horse's head. The fact that Korczak's kids are carrying on his legacy of building this is incredible. He was Borglum's apprentice; the guy that didn't get to finish Mt. Rushmore, b/c he died before it's completion. His son finished it. Lots of history in this area. Going through the museum was unbelievable, too. They've collected so many Native artifacts that are so beautiful.

It was funny at Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, too. They were grateful to see me and a handful of others, too. They said they don't get many winter visitors and it gets lonely. Yeah, well I can understand that.

After that, we went to Badlands Nat'l Park. Ok, the Visitor Center was closed. I was very disappointed at that. And, yes, I made the pups get out so I could take their pic. The only other people I saw on that drive was a snowplow and the ranger. I don't get it, no one goes out in the winter time? No crowds, guys! it's great :)

We swung down from I-90 to I-80 via The Great River Road, which runs along the Mississippi River. Kinda weird to see the Mississippi frozen. Everyone kept telling me how pretty it is in spring :) Uh-huh. Got pics of that, too.

Like I said, what a trip!!! Definitely a once in a lifetime trip. Makes me want to do it, again though. Well, all except for the Jackson to Mt. Rushmore during a snowstorm part.

Perks or OFG said they'd help me figure out the pics loading thingie. So, once I do that, I mean, once they do it, you'll see 'em! I do photos the old fashioned way, film.

I hope you enjoy reading about my trip. I did have a total blast! It's hard to believe that I actually did it :D

regdog
02-09-2009, 01:01 AM
Sounds excellent

Susie
02-09-2009, 03:39 AM
Yep, what Heather said. You must've had a ball!

Jean Marie
02-09-2009, 05:35 AM
It was waaaaay cool. I'll work on posting the pics, tomorrow. I promise!

Ol' Fashioned Girl
02-09-2009, 05:51 AM
Better you than me, my friend! I hate driving in that crap!

Jean Marie
02-09-2009, 06:17 AM
Better you than me, my friend! I hate driving in that crap!
When I post the pics, I mean when you post 'em, you're gonna be so jealous that you didn't come w/ me...seriously...

Beach Bunny
02-09-2009, 06:59 AM
It sounds like you had a fun and exciting trip. I can't wait to see the pics (when OFG posts them. ;) )

Perks
02-09-2009, 08:36 AM
BB, you got a Quattroporte? Wowza. All's I ever got was a nice thread.

Anyway, glad to see you made it back safe and sound, Jean Marie. It was very fun meeting you and I think of you often while having my morning coffee now. :)

Williebee
02-09-2009, 08:49 AM
A most excellent trip. I'm jealous.

Glad to hear you're safe and well, and I can't wait to see the pics.