May 13-29, 2014

May 13
Got up at 7:30 and left the driveway at 11:15, but left Cay Lawrence at 11:24: garbage stop before we could get started. Mileage was 43,815. Most of the time between waking and leaving was packing the car (which Tommy vacuumed) and last minute packing that couldn't be done before.
We had square dance in Paris last night, so were late getting home – had to stop by Jackie's after the dance. So were too tired to do much packing other than things that HAD to be done before morning.
At the dance I got a phone call from LouCindia saying “they” were at the house; we had known she was coming but didn't know it was to be yesterday! Pleasant surprise! They brought a grocery store with them which was good as we had left the cupboard rather bare and there were four of them.
12:47 – Finally leaving Paris. Needed to leave some things with Angela, but she was not in the office, so we went to Paulette's for lunch (saw Barbara Bucy while we were there) and then still couldn't reach Angela so took the things to Jackie's and left it for her to pick up.
2:12 – Leaving Wal-Mart in Mayfield. Stopped to get a couple of items – some aluminum foil for getting readings off of tombstones and some white foam board to use to reflect light in getting pictures of tombstone inscriptions. Saw Joe Moore and family and had a super visit with them (you meet EVERYBODY at Wal-Mart!). Joe was looking much better than last time we saw him.
(43,886 mileage when we set the trip odometer)
3:15 – Rain found us at Wickliffe, KY. Poured for a few minutes. But we had stopped in Wickliffe to see “what was to the left” in downtown – never had gone that direction, or rather never had the TIME to go that direction. Turns out there is a newly developed park on the site of Ft. Jefferson – point where Mayfield Creek enters the Mississippi River. Beautiful view across the river – got pictures of the storm moving across the river toward us. Watched the bridges slowly “disappear” as the storm swallowed them.
3:31 – into Missouri on the Mississippi River bridge.
7:00 – Stopped at Spurs and Saddles Cafe in Seymour, MO for supper. Food was good – buffet style.
7:50 – back on the road – I drove as Tommy was tired. We stopped at a Shell station in Rogersville where we had gotten gas on our last trip through here; gas was $3.28/gal., quite a difference from the $3.49 we had left back home!
9:00 – Have a room at Hood's Motel at I-44 and Hwy K. Good rate and very nice room.

May 14
We slept really well. Woke up about 6:30 and snoozed till 7:30.
9:50 – Had breakfast at the truck stop restaurant; Tommy said one of the best omelets he's had. Mine was good also. Definitely worth the stop.
10:18 – On the road to Greenfield, MO library to start working on Divines.
2:30 – Left the library and went to “downtown” Greenfield and had lunch at “The Place” - 1950's soda fountain place. Had good sandwiches and a FABULOUS malt! (45 degrees outside and I got a malt!!!)
Found Divine Cemetery but didn't find the people we had hoped to find. Then looked at the map and determined that the Friend Cemetery that we needed to go to was across the field AND across a ditch. The field was over knee high in beautiful grass, so we put on boots and went under the fence and made our way to the spot where the cemetery should have been – and there it was – FENCED – which was good because the cows we had seen on the way there would have destroyed it. On our trek across the field, Tommy found a unique way to put a hot wire across a gap: T-posts on either side of the gap with tall pieces of PVC pipe standing over them. Run the wire into the pipe and out the top and across to the pipe on the other side and down to the fence on the other side. You then set your gaps so the fence will be hot even when the gaps are open. That was a bonus to our cemeterying for the day.
When we got to the cemetery we found that there was a road we could h ave driven to get to it, but it was farther to walk the road back to the car than to go back across the field. HOWEVER – we DID find the grave that we had been looking for – that of James Divine, the progenitor of all the Divines in the area. So left there and went to Dadeville to find the Dadeville Masonic Cemetery – looking for a specific person. Finally found her, but no change in her dates, so left there at 8:30 headed back to Hood Truck Stop Motel, room 208 tonight.
10:15 – back from supper. Still had to analyze what we did today to be ready for tomorrow. Need to find a WI-FI tomorrow.

May 15
Up at 8:00. Had breakfast at the truck stop again and back in the room at 9:47. Going to the library at Greenfield again to look at row diagram of Bethlehem Cemetery, then going to visit cemeteries. 9:55 on the road.
10:32 – back on the road – stopped at Route 66 Mercantile and Antique store at Halltown, MO. All kinds of stuff. Building was an antique itself – built in 1900 – and was full to overflowing with just about anything you could think of in an antique store! Then back to Greenfield library to be sure about a cemetery location and then off to Greenfield Cemetery. This is a HUGE cemetery – no way to be sure we've checked every grave.
1:33 – out of Greenfield Cemetery. Didn't find all we hoped to find. Headed for Lockwood (8 miles) for lunch and then more cemeteries. Lunch at Kim's Breadbasket which is where we had great food last time we were in Lockwood. Only problem was we got there at 1:50 and they closed at 2:00/ So I got a mushroom-Swiss burger and Tommy got a hamburger and fries. So 2:10 we are back on the road to Pippenger Cemetery.
4:50 – done at Bethlehem, but had to go back and take a couple more pictures, so we are 5:12 leaving Bethlehem the second time.
5:39 – Gas fill up at Shell in Lamar – mileage is 44,333 and we got 9.75 gal. Took picture in Lake Cemetery – had to check the map twice and then work to find the stones which were flat and half covered by grass clippings and dirt.
6:13 – We are headed for Wichita, KS by way of US 160 and then US 400.
6:30 – Crossed into Kansas.
7:14 – Oil wells, not pumping; box cars used for storage and now falling apart, dinosaurs made from scrap metal. Following KS 47. Found hills after we left Altoona!
7:37 – US 400 – 87 miles from Wichita
8:40 – approaching Wichita; 9:00 through downtown. Went to the other side looking for motels and finally decided to come back in to the Motel 6 near Dugan Road.

May 16
Awake at 7:00 and up at 8:00. Checking e-mail we found an e-mail from Regions that concerned us so spent nearly an hour trying to find out what was going on – never got a clear answer except that sometime erroneous e-mails get sent out. Comforting. So at 9:42 we are ready to pack and leave. NOT the time frame we had in mind! So next door to Denny's for breakfast at 10:00. On the road at 10:34 headed for Dodge City.
11:35 – Kenneth finished update to Crockett site! Well, that is another story. Before we left on the trip, I had a request to make a change to the Crockett web site. So I made the change and in the process changed the date for the reunion, using an image that had been on the website for quite some time. But then I had gotten an e-mail saying that the new date was wrong and what I had originally was correct. So last night I had opened the web page in Composer and made my changes, but in bringing the file down like that, the program also brought down all the images and made the links to them local to the laptop I was using. I changed all of the links back to what they needed to be – except for one that I couldn't get to come up. So I had e-mailed the page to my e-mail account and called Kenneth and asked him to go to my computer when he got time and then call me and I'd talk him through what needed to be done. So the Crockett site is back where it needed to be and all's right with the world. Thank you Kenneth!!!
11:50 – Restroom break at the Wal-Mart in Pratt, KS. Also bought a bottle of nail polish: chiggers! Now I wonder where we could have found those???
12:50 – Saw the biggest display of whirligigs we've ever seen! Mullinville, KS – all along a fence as you leave town – awesome art AND humor – lots of puns.
1:20 – into Dodge City. Toured the old depot which was restored by a theater company and has a great dinner theater in one end and Amtrak station in the other. City has done a great job with restoration. Lady at the visitor's center said the people originally buried in Boot Hill have been moved twice as the city grew and needed space. Lady at the train depot said there was a story that a cowboy got on a train headed west and conductor asked where was he headed and he said “To Hell.” The conductor said, ”You can get on here and get off at Dodge.”
2:46 – Ready to leave Dodge. Going to get gas and lunch.
4:00 – Finished lunch – ate at Montana Mike's on Wyatt Earp Blvd. Good food, worth a return visit. Getting gas and will be on the road toward Pueblo and then Colorado Spring. Mileage 44,684 – 16.1 gal. gas at Love's station.
4:18 – Back on the road “getting the heck out of Dodge.”
6:50 – Crossed into Colorado
This drive has been FASCINATING!! I had sometimes wondered where all the beef for all these stead and hamburger places comes from. Well, we know now: from feed lots in Kansas! Acres and acres of cows in pens with huge sets of grain bins and huge stacks of hay and huge silage pits. Alfalfa fields all over the place with irrigation rigs. When we crossed into Colorado, though, we found irrigation ditches. Many, many, many abandoned houses and outbuildings; many small farms which no longer exist.
La Junta – 1000 miles. Saw Amtrak at station in La Junta. Tommy talked to one of the conductors and he said the Super Chief and Southwest Limited combined in the 1970's – so Tommy passed through here on his 1962 trip – as he did in Dodge City (which was why we had gone there: to see if we could see the “old town” that he had seen from the train as it was leaving the station).
Got to Kevin's at 9:28. His place is BEAUTIFUL – right out of a decorator's magazine, but with things that are important to him and Lisa, like the picture of the lake cabin that Charlotte painted, hanging in his office.

May 17
I was up at 7:30 – Tommy was up earlier. Had to wash my hair so we are just now getting out at 9:30. Drove around looking for breakfast and found Omelets, Etc. which proved to have a good breakfast (great pancakes) at a reasonable price.
10:50 on our way to Garden of the Gods and Pike's Peak.
Garden of the Gods is GORGEOUS!!! But not to be done on a beautiful Saturday!! Hard to park – people everywhere, some courteous about pictures and some downright rude.
12:50 leaving Garden of the Gods. Need to get gas and then head for Pike's Peak.
1:20 – Got to Pike's Peak just as the 1:20 train blew its whistle so had to wait for the 2:40 train which left the station at 2:47 as late passengers boarded and a Japanese family had some trouble getting everyone together. The ride up as beautiful – water beside us in the beginning and trees – Aspen, Spruce, and Eagleton Spruce which have a silver bark, and later Ponderosa Pine. Boulders were tumbled everywhere and as we gained elevation snow appeared among the trees which eventually became snow and rocks (fewer boulders to ward the top). In places the snow along the tracks was almost 5 feet deep based on the height of the conductor I saw as she stood at a switch as we went by – they had cut out the area around the switch and it was almost higher than her head! I snapped pictures a lot going up. When we got to the top (14,110 feet!) the lack of oxygen hit me hard. I felt light-headed and out of breath and got a really bad headache. We had not eaten since breakfast (which was probably not good) and I felt nauseated. It affected Tommy by making him dizzy, but he didn't get the other symptoms. he got me a bottle of water and my magnet and I took pictures. As we started back down I dozed and felt really bad. Took very few pictures. When we got back – just before 6:00 – I felt really bad. Traffic was hard to get through so we were 6:28 getting to Kevin's. They had 6:30 reservations at The Warehouse so Lisa had gone ahead and gotten the table. We took Kevin and arrived about 6:40. Food was absolutely WONDERFUL!!! Only problem was, I was too sick to eat. I got a bite of my chicken and a couple of bites from my soup, but my stomach said no more – so my supper came home in a box (which was GREAT for supper the next night!!!).
We sat and talked for a good while when we got back, but I was definitely not feeling well and finally threw up what little I did have for supper. I went to bed shortly after that and slept well; gradually the headache lessened and by morning was almost completely gone.

May 18
I got up about 7:30 and got ready for the day then checked e-mail and started doing some connecting on Find-a-Grave that I had not done previously. Fixed ham sandwiches for breakfast and started out about 10:00 headed for Royal Gorge. Tommy called Verna and determined that this afternoon is a better time to visit, so going to her house in Pueblo after Royal Gorge.
11:45 – Got to the train and found that they started boarding at 12:00. We got the club car which was the only thing available besides the dome car. We decided the prices for the food were a little more than we wanted to pay, and we wanted to be out on the open air car anyway, so we sat at the table until the train began to get into more interesting terrain and then moved outside. The gorge is SPECTACULAR!!! The beautiful rocks of every color turned at beautifully odd angles and the water of the Arkansas River sunning rapids all the way through – beautiful, beautiful!
At the end of the ride, we left the train and went toward the bridge and chose to go to the overlook first. Incredible view of the gorge and the bridge – REALLY HIGH UP!!!!! Then we went to the bridge, but it was 4:00 and they had just closed! They do “tours” taking people across on buses, because it is still closed from the fire. They only do this on weekends, so we missed our chance to go across the bridge – one of my goals for the trip; oh, well.
4:50 and Tommy and Chris are talking additions on Chris' house. We are going to call Verna and head for Pueblo.
Found Verna and had a really wonderful visit – talked Divines and a whole lot of other things! Really great to finally put a face with the voice on the phone and the writer of e-mails. Research project: we've got to look for a Nancy Hicks who married a Boyd and filed for pension; Boyd was later convicted of falsifying her application. Possible that Jemima's application on Thomas' service was also falsified. Need more information.
10:30 p.m. – Back at Kevin's. Ate my DELICIOUS supper which I couldn't eat last night – dishes all clean and we are ready to check e-mail and go to bed.

May 19
Tommy was up about 7:00, but I had stayed up to put some pictures on the gallery and so I didn't get up till 8:30. So 9:20 and we are at Omelets, Etc. for breakfast. Heading for Moffat Tunnel, Mt. Evans, and hopefully to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad.
9:52 – on our way. Stopped for gas, so 10:05 on the road toward Denver.
11:55 – at the Devil's Gate Station for Georgetown Loop Railroad. Going on the 12:40 train. Train ride was GREAT!!! We rode in the open car at the end of the train and were first to get on, so got to sit at the very end. Scenery was heavily trees, but the big feature was the tall “loop” track where the train goes across the 100 foot tall Devil's Gate Bridge which has a 30 degree curve. This spiral design was first built in 1884 to allow trains to go between Georgetown and Silver Plume where the mines were located. The need for the spiral design was the 684 foot elevation change in the two miles from Georgetown to Silver Plume – too steep a grade for trains to manage. Building the spiral – with 4 bridges over Clear Creek, two hairpin turns and the horseshoe curve on the High Bridge – made the trip almost 4 miles long, but the grade was only 3% which was easily managed by engines then and now. The 30 degree curve is only possible with narrow gauge trains.
We did not take the silver mine tour, so basically went up the track and back down. At the silver mine station going back down, we stopped to let a group of 3rd graders get back on – they had done a special silver mine tour. The ride was good and the conductor was interesting to talk to and gave a very good history of the railroad as we descended. The trestle that had been there originally was completely torn down when the mines closed and the railroad stopped running. What is there now is a newly built look trestle but faithful to the original design. the conductor said people who had ridden both trestles said the new one was a great improvement as the old one had a definite sway as you went over it.
We learned a little about mining in the area which was originally the reason for the train track being built; gold and silver both were mined in the area; hills all over the place had weird colored” slide” on them – and on the train we learned these were “tailings” - dirt cast out in mining. The “yellow” tailings were gold mines and the gray tailings were silver, due to the fact that silver is found in rock containing galena (lead).
2:00 – Left Georgetown.
2:57 – Got to Moffat Tunnel. As I walked up to the tunnel, I saw three lights in the tunnel: it was a TRAIN IN THE TUNNEL!!!!! GOT VIDEO!!!!! Picked up a rock from the area beside the tunnel to bring back home. The history of the tunnel is interesting as it was built in 1928 to provide Denver with access to markets on the west coast which Cheyenne, WY and Pueblo, CO already enjoyed. The pilot bore for the tunnel eventually became the parallel water tunnel which supplies a portion of Denver's water today.
5:00 – Into Denver; 5:25 – onto I-25 out of Denver. Saw a wreck happen and saw two others; time to get out of Dodge, Tommy said.

May 20
Up at 7:30 to say goodbye to Kevin and Lisa. We had done laundry last night, so had some repacking to do and wanted to take one more advantage of the GLORIOUS shower here! Packed and got away at 10:00, headed for Omeletes, Etc. for breakfast. 10:50 got gas and headed on our way. Going to Florissant Fossil Beds.
11:30 got to Florissant Fossil Beds. Fascinating but a little disappointing. They had specimens on display in the visitor's center, but to actually walk through the beds and see the fossils in the shale you couldn't. But many of them are small and only good in displays, so we understand why. Excavation is still actively going on. It was a very nice display area. And there were huge, fascinating petrified redwood stumps just in back of the visitors' center. Stamped my passport book and then we headed back to Colorado Springs to go south. 12:20 left Florissant Fossil Beds.
1:30 – Off the road in Pueblo to Best Buy to try to get a remote trigger for my camera – other one broke yesterday on the train trip. Best Buy didn't have one but the man gave us directions to the only camera store in town and he had one. We got lucky as he was planning on retiring and had been work on closing the store, only opening for a little time on specific days. Turns out he was working on his stock and happened to see us at the door. Turned out that the remote he had was the same one that I have for my D300, but now I have one for each which is what I had before. Don't like this one as well as my other one for the D600, but it works and that is all that is necessary right now. So 2:20 and we are back on the road to New Mexico. Rough country – arroyos all over, scrub plants, no trees except along water courses.
Stopped in Trinidad, CO at the Safeway to get bread. Then looked for supper. Decided on the Trinidad Diner. I had spaghetti “with our homemade sauce” which was essentially taco filling. So I added ketchup to get some tomato in it, and it was good. Tommy had veal Parmesan which came with spaghetti and sauce – same issue, but he didn't add the ketchup. Both had more than we could eat, so we have left-overs for later. 4:44 and back on the road to NM. In the mountains – 19 miles to Raton – we are on the old Santa Fe Trail.
5:00 – Into Raton. Found the train station, but bus station has moved.
5:46 – leaving Raton to go to Cimarron.
6:58 – in our HOTEL room in the historic St. James Hotel in Cimarron!!! Tommy said he didn't spring for a room in the history side ($135) but we are in a new side ($95.00 before AARP). Got things into the room and then went to scout out Philmont Scout Ranch. Know what we want to do tomorrow – particularly to get early morning pictures of the Tooth of Time. Land here is varied – plains to the east and mountains on the west. Santa Fe Trail (you can see the old ruts!) runs right through the area, some on the Scout Ranch. Picked up a rock on the S.F. Trail as it entered Philmont on the north.

May 21
We were awake at 6:30, but got up about 7:40. Our room comes with a coupon for $12.50 off of our breakfast, so that is going to be our next stop.
9:15 – DELICIOUS BREAKFAST!!! And FREE!!! Prices were VERY reasonable and so our coupon covered the whole bill! Going to look at our itinerary – need to be sure we are in Albuquerque on a week day and we are a little ahead of schedule.
So decided to do our run to Taos today as planned and then head for Albuquerque tonight, do our research there tomorrow and the head for Durango. 9:52 leaving the room.
Went straight to the museum at Philmont. Tommy happened to ask if there were tours of the Phillips Mansion and the lady said yes – one in 15 minutes!!! So we got tickets and headed to the mansion for the 10:30 tour. There was a young man who did the outside part of the tour which was an introduction about Waite Phillips and his wife and the building of the mansion and eventual bequest of it to the Boy Scouts of America. Then a girl who was to be our “inside” guide came. We were waiting for a group of 12 who were supposed to be coming for the tour, but they were not appearing, so, to make conversation, the boy asked where we were from. Tommy told him “Buchanan” thinking he would say where is that, but the girl said what a coincidence: she was from Murray, KY! And she KNEW where Buchanan was!!!! Her brother had just gotten married over the weekend and the ceremony was in the mansion's gazebo where we were sitting; her brother and sister-in-law were on staff at Philmont for the summer. Eventually they gave up on the group of 12 and the girl took us on the tour of the mansion. We had to take our shoes off because of the rugs in the house, but the tour was awesome!!! The mansion is beautiful and full of things that were special to Waite and his wife. And, of course, with their money, there were some priceless items there. The tour included the “trophy” room which Tommy had remembered from when he was here as a Scout; there were stuffed specimens of all the types of wild animals that could be found on the ranch – which is why it was the “trophy” room. I have LOTS of pictures!!! As we were coming down from the second floor, we met the group of 12 who were being escorted by the other guide. Again we were lucky and got a private tour of the mansion by a girl who lived near us (relatively speaking anyway).
So at 11:35 we were leaving the mansion headed for the museum. Saw a large group headed there, so we are going down the road and will do the museum later. Saw the museum, got a magnet and a fleur-de-lis cut metal hanging, then went to the Scout Trading Post where I got a T-shirt and another magnet. So at 1:42 we are headed for US 64 and Taos.
3:21 – at Taos Pueblo – well, no dice there: they close in 30 minutes and wanted $14.00 entrance fee. Going to look for lunch.
4:11 – Pull off at Rio Grande Gorge to have lunch. Pull off was also a boat launch point, picnic area, and had restrooms. So we made ham sandwiches and then went walking along the Rio Grande River. Beautiful area – perfect place for a picnic. The two lane highway followed the bottom of the Gorge – when we emerged from the Gorge, the road was 4-lane and stayed that way the rest of the day. Seeing all the adobe houses was not a surprise, but was certainly different from what we are accustomed to. The landscape was fascinating – at one point we were marveling at the flat land between us and the distant hills. Then I noticed an escarpment above and just beyond the flat area. But as we drove this, the space between the escarpment and the flat area got larger and suddenly we rounded a curve and there was a canyon! This got wider and then became the Rio Grande Gorge. Really fascinating to watch. And always mountains to the left – close – and mountains in the distance to the right.
Santa Fe was very much adobe style buildings and there were several casinos. We took the bypass around the west side so did not see the state capitol building. So overall for the day, we got daytime pictures of the Tooth of Time at Philmont and got a totally unexpected PRIVATE tour of Waite Phillips' mansion. Taos was VERY artsy and we didn't stop there except to almost go walk through the Pueblo. But it is kind of like my trade-off yesterday: didn't get to go across the bridge at Royal Gorge, but saw a train coming through Moffat Tunnel. Everything is balancing out. Ready to do research tomorrow.

May 22
We were awake at 6:30, but didn't get up till 7:30. So now 8:33 and heading for breakfast at Waffle House.
9:24 – leaving Waffle House. We wound up with an extra waffle because my first one was almost burned and the waitress who turned in the reorder did it as a double waffle. So we are FULL!
9:30 – Found the library, but it doesn't open till 10:00 and we don't want to go into the parking garage too early and waste any of our limited free time that we get from the library. Main Street here (Old Main, now Central St.) is old Route 66.
10:00 – We were the first people through the door. Found a death certificate for “James B. Boyd” and two obituary notices in the Albuquerque Journal. First steps in achieving our goal.
11:17 – leaving the parking garage headed for French Funeral Home to see if we can find WHERE in Mountain View Cemetery James Henry McFall (James B. Boyd) is buried. We went to the cemetery, but only found many many old funeral home markers, most of which were so badly deteriorated they could not be read; there was even a bunch of them which had been pulled up and put into a pile in the middle of the cemetery. The only thing we came away with were shoe soles FULL of “goat heads” - these are dried seed pods from a vine that grows in the area and have EXTREMELY sharp spines which will stick on ANYTHING! We had to use Tommy's knife to dig them out! They are called goat heads because the spines make the pod look like a goat's head. They are nasty things, to be avoided at all costs; but apparently the cemetery was COVERED in them which we didn't learn until we got back to the car. [Having read up on them since then, they have been known to be the cause of punctured tires on bicycles!!!]]
12:05 – out of the French Funeral Home – they didn't have the records we needed. They are going to search and get back with us. Now going to the LOCATION of the Exeter (Fitzgerald) Funeral Home.
1:08 – so French couldn't help us and we went to Daniels Funeral Home which is in the building where Fitzgerald Funeral Home was (Fitzgerald took over Exter which was the one in charge of James' funeral). They were helpful, but did not have the Exter records that they knew of. They did contact someone who is going to try to find out if anyone has a map of Mountain View Cemetery where we could see where James is buried. Going now to see what is currently located at 108 Yale where Exter Funeral Home was back in 1941.
1:34 – Stopped at Saggio's for lunch. Very much like Imo's in St. Louis. Really good stromboli for Tommy and shrimp Alfredo for me.
2:22 – Had a call from French Funeral Home – cemetery is now maintained by Sandia Foundation, 6211 San Mateo SE. So on the trail . . . Found Sandia Foundation, but they aren't even sure how the acquired the cemetery property!!! They had a number for a lady in zoning office who had been in contact with the man who owns the middle part of the cemetery who said the online listing was not complete. So we left a message with her to call us.3:30 – Got gas and are heading for Durango. Tommy wanted ut to look for a conveyor we saw yesterday that ran under the interstate. He suddenly looked up and realized he's missed the exit for US 550 which is what we are following to Durango. Then, he was heading for the next exit so we could turn back when he suddenly said there was the conveyor! So apparently we missed the exit so we could see the conveyor again – TWICE!!
3:50 – on US 550 headed for Durango.
4:40 – stopped at the Dollar Store in Cuba to get some cheap 2-liters for Tommy. No restrooms so we went across the road to the K quick Mart – it was locked. So down the road to the K station/McDonald's and used restrooms there. So 5:15 back on the road to Durango at 7000 feet and still climbing. Land leveled off at that point – rolling but fairly level with rock mesas in the distance. Oil and gas wells all over the place! No farming much until we started won off the plateau. Lots of irrigation once we got into the Animas River Valley. Had been following the River Valley on the other side, but when we crossed the Continental Divide we were in the _____ River Valley.
7:40 – Into Durango.
8:30 – Got a room at Durango Lodge, a block from the train AND where we are parked will be all right for the train trip tomorrow! Hooray! Tommy has been working on tickets for the train tomorrow. We will leave at 8:00 on the train and come back on the bus. That puts us back here at 1:45 and not 5:15 (by train) which puts us on the road sooner. Oops – it said we could print out our ticket: not in THIS room! Going to get there early tomorrow and be sure we have tickets!!!

May 23
Up at 5:30 to be sure we get everything done before we have to pick up tickets at 7:00.
6:38 – Decided against the bagel shop hoping for something else at the motel at 7:00. Boarded train at 7:30 and train left right at 8:00. 1:35 – back in Durango (Took bus back). Looking for lunch at 1:50. Train ride was incredible! We were on the “river side” away from the sun but the river (Animas River) seemed to be on the other side more – HOWEVER – when it was on our side it was going through the gorge, so it was really wild. The conductor said the water was at LEAST Class V rapids and some were more than that – HUGE waves going over rocks you could not see. Of course the rock walls and mountains on either side were beautiful too. Some peaks were nearly 14,000 feet – and, of course, had snow. As we got higher in elevation, there would be patches of snow and in some places waterfalls cascading down huge cliffs – running out from a snow pack higher up.
So we had lunch at Oscar's – probably best Reuben I've ever had and Tommy said best mushroom Swiss burger he'd had definitely worth a repeat. Then we got a strawberry-rhubarb pie for dessert and that was almost heavenly! In Durango you need to eat at Oscar's!!!
So 3:00 and we are leaving Durango headed for Chama where we have tickets for the Cumbres and Toltec train tomorrow. Today we rode in the open air gondola car so cinders were a necessity. Tommy's hands were black, but I had my gloves on, so mine were not. HOWEVER – I apparently have a black mask around my nose and above my eyes! I sat down twice early in the ride and each time Tommy said “look” and I missed something. So I didn't sit down any more except once when we stopped to take on passengers. So I stood up basically 3 1/2 hours on a constantly swaying train. Took over 1 gig of pictures I think. We had come prepared for cold weather: Tommy had his flannel shirt and had his heavier jacket in the backpack. I put on my long john britches and brown pants with a t-shirt, sweater, polar tec and my new green stadium coat – AND my “glittens.” AND my Alaska knit cap. So we were comfortable and weather was perfect. No rain until we left from lunch at Oscar's. Temperature went from about 61 when we went in for lunch down to 46 when we came out (with a WIND!). Pretty scenery, but too much rain to get pictures.
5:00 – in Chama. Got tickets for our train ride tomorrow. Looking for motel room at the Branding Iron Motel – getting room for 2 nights so we can rest a little before starting our ride back home – by way of Taos: going to try the Pueblo again. RAIN! We had gotten ahead of it, but it has followed us and settled in. Going to be wet unloading.

May 24
Up at 6:30 and ready to go look for breakfast at 7:00. Going to ride the bus up and ride the train back down to Chama.
The train ride was FANTASTIC!!! Different from Durango. This ride was more mountains and rocks and HEIGHT – a 150 foot high trestle and two tunnels and numerous switch-backs: one where you could see three levels of track all at once and most where you could see the track across the valley. There was a visible remnant of a 19__ toll road which we could see at various places. We stopped in Osier for lunch which was very good – and a good break on a long trip. We spent most of the trip in the open gondola car. This car had no canopy, so when we got out of Osier and ran into a snow shower, it was hard to take pictures and keep the camera dry. I went in for a little while during the hardest part of the shower, then went back out after it quit. We saw a dormant shield volcano which was the source of the rocks we were passing by. There were two other volcanoes far in the distance to the north. So the rocks we saw were really interesting and beautiful.
One special thing about our run: it was apparently the inaugural run of the lead engin, #312. Also it was a “double header” meaning we had two engines. This is not usual until later in the tourist season, but our run was doubly special as the docent in our car said he had never seen these two engines together on a run. Both were D & RGW engines (Denver and Rio Grande Western). At one point when we came to a trestle, they stopped and let the front engine go ahead to both engines would not be on the trestle at one time; then WE were stopped ON the trestle while they hooked the engine up again. At the last trestle, they did the same, but that time the front engine went on ahead of us – so sometimes we could get pictures with the front engine in the distance.

May 25
Awake at 6:45 and up about 8:00. Washed my hair after the 2 days with the knit cap on my head.
9:34 – We are going to get breakfast and then chase the train a little way as we head for Taos. Eating at Foster's gain.
10:10 – and we are on our way to chase the train (decided against Taos).
12:58 – leaving Antonito – stopped at the gift shop and got hat & T-shirts. Headed “home.” Got some great videos of the train. Used the tele lens as well as my regular one.
1:00 – passing through Manassa, CO heading north to Romeo. In Manassa saw the birthplace of Jack Dempsey and then the name “Manassa Mauler” made sense! Museum there, but we didn't stop. Mountains in the distance are TALL with snow! Beautiful, though the land around is scrub land with no trees. Open range land, but no animals visible. Speed is 65 mph and road is really straight (State Hwy 142).
3:03 – I-25 at Walsenburg. At 2:50 we stopped at Walsenburg to get gas before getting on I-25. Heard a train – saw freight cars and went looking for the engine. Found it! Found THEM – 3 engines!! There was a track we had just crossed but it was WAY below where we were seeing the freight cars! So . . . w had to “chase” this guy to see what was going to happen. And sure enough – we got to a point at the main street – Tommy pulled off and waited and then – there were the engines to the right at the end of the street and freight cars still coming around the hill ABOVE us to the left!!! turned on the video on the camera & got the train in both spots and got a 4th engine pushing! What a horseshoe curve!!!
4:05 – pulled into Capulin Volcano National Monument. AWESOME!!! ASESOME!!! And, of course, it closed at 5:00! Got my passport stamped, got my magnet and then started the DRIVE to the top!!! Unbelievable views!! Got to the end of the road and . . . DARN . . . 1 mile loop TRAIL around the rim!!!! No Time, so we took the north trail and went about 20 minutes up it to where we could see a cauldera I had seen on the way up the road coming up. Just incredible views – and everything all around here is volcanic – all from lava flows, some dating back a million years, but Capulin's last eruptions was just 60,000 years ago – when there were mammoths in the area. We could look into the cauldera of Capulin and – if we'd had time – could have hiked down into it. Really a fascinating park!
Left the park at 5:00. Into Boise City, OK at 7:30. Found a Dairy Queen at the east end of the town. Had supper there. Then checked into the Townsman Motel. Nice room with micro & fridge which we've not had in some of our more expensive rooms.

May 26
Up at 8:00. 9:10 out of the room – went back up the road to the Rockin A Cafe and had a delicious breakfast.
9:52 back on the road – heading for Muskogee. There were many signs in the cafe. One said “Guns Welcome. Please keep weapons holstered unless need arises. In such case, judicious aim is appreciated.” Another said, “For sale: 10 open heifers and 1 gay bull.” And the man sitting behind Tommy talked about a man he knew who had been in jail and his job while in jail had been to drive a truck into Los Angeles, spend the night and come back. So when he had served his time and got paroled, they put him in a halfway house and someone said well, he could drive an over-the-road truck, and the parole people said, oh, no, he could not cross the state line! Go figure!
So we are going through the Oklahoma “Panhandle” and came across a reference to “No Man's Land.” The following is from the web site for the OK Historical Society's No Man's Land Museum in Goodwell, OK:
When the Territory of Kansas was created in 1854 its boundary was set at the 37th parallel. When Texas came into the union, being a slave state, it could not extend its sovereignty over any territory north of 36Ί 30' North. The Missouri Compromise specified that territory North of this line would be free-state territory. This situation left a narrow strip of land 34 miles wide between Kansas and Texas extending from the 100th parallel on the East to the 103rd parallel on the West, a total of 168 miles in length. At the eastern end of the area was the Cherokee Outlet and at the western end was the Territory of New Mexico. Since the area was claimed by no state, it was soon given the name of No Man's Land.

In the mid 1880s drought and depression caused many to leave heavily mortgaged farmlands in western Kansas. They became squatters in what was in time to become the Oklahoma Panhandle. Townsites were organized and trade centers and villages began to spring up. While the settlers could not receive legal title to the land they settled, precedents in other territorial regions indicated the Federal Government would in time recognize "Squatter's Rights." Under the leadership of Dr. Owen G. Chase, the settlers of No Man's Land began to think of the possibility of establishing a territory. Congress felt the planned Cimarron Territory was not large enough to justify the creation of a territory, and in 1890 No Man's Land was attached to Oklahoma Territory becoming known as Beaver County. No Man's Land Museum chronicles the struggles of the settlers as they established their own government and developed their communities.
11:45 – stopped for gas in Woodward, OK. Also took picture of MCM Rentals sign!!!!!
1:45 – finished lunch at Chicken Express in Woodward. Headed wat again still on US 412.
4:30 – stopped at the service center on Cimarron Turnpike for restroom break
4:37 – Rain – going to be rain all the way through Tulsa looks like.
6:45 – into Muskogee. Found Motel 6, then went to look for Best Buy so I could get a new lens cover for my camera (it did not fare well with the coal dust and rain/snow on the Cumbre/Toltec trip). They had two and I got both. So, 7:10 and we are headed back to Motel 6 and then will look for supper. Getting through Tulsa was a MESS! It was POURING rain, so hard sometimes you couldn't see the road. Made one wrong turn but corrected at the next exit. However, decided against taking the turnpike to Muskogee – thought US 64 and the OK 16 would be the better route witht eh rain. I had my camera set up to take lightning pictures, but, of course, the only two bolts we saw were not where the camera was pointing. Would have expected more lightning, but we certainly saw plenty of rain and awful puddles onthe roads. FOR NOW (Tommy is getting the motel room) it is not raining. Don't know how long this lull will last.
9:00 – ordered pizza from Domino's – too tired to go out and eat after the long drive today. Had a gift card that covered the cost!

May 27
Tommy was up about 7:00, but I went back to sleep after 5:00 and didn't wake up till 7:30. So we got out about 9:00 after doing a little pre-research. Denny's was just up the road, so that was an easy do for breakfast.
10:00 done with breakfast. May not do Denny's again soon: for my 2 eggs scrambled with cheese they charged cheese on each of my eggs - $.69 EACH! I was trying to avoid paying for bacon AND sausage which I didn't want and wound up paying a premium for cheese! Not again.
So 10:23 found gas at a Kum & Go – couldn't find a name brand other than PHillips. Heading for Stillwell, OK, county seat of Adair Co. which is where we are going to look for something on James Calhoun Divine. 10:38 – on the road to Stillwell.
12:15 – into Stillwell and found the library (afterasking, though we would have found it because we were headed the right way). Nothing there, though, so now at the Historical and Genealogical Society at the train station.
2:30 – Left the Historical Society and went to the site of the end of the Trail of Tears. Now going to eat lunch (3:05) at “Somethin' Sweet Ice Cream Parlor & Diner” that we found on the road to the Trail of Tears memorial. I got a club sandwich and Tommy got a mushroom Swiss – he got a cherry fried pie and I wanted an aprico one but they were out, so I got a malt instead; hand dipped ice cream and it is THICK!!! GREAT MALT!!!
3:44 on the road – got into Westville and decided to go to Alberty Cemetery where the Devines are buried.
4:46 – leaving Alberty Cemetery, headed for Arkansas.
5:00 – called Ron. He is still working so best to visit this afternoon, so going to let “Gert” navigate us to the house. We must be headed right – so far she hasn't said anything.
6:45 at Ron and Linda's
8:03 – leaving Ron & Linda's – had a great visit. LInda gave me some records that Joe Moore had given her when she through she might do som calling. Got to meet Justin (their grandson) – he is staying since he is out of school to give his mom a break.
8:27 – at Motel 6 in Rogers, AR (hope they have a room!) Room 204! Used to be another motel chain, so we had inside roowith interesting arrangements. But great bed.

May 28
Awake at 7:00, up at 7:30. Shower was great as this had been a Sleep Inn before, so not typical Motel 6 shower. 9:13 out to get breakfast.
11:33 – didn't do breakfast – went to library. Didn't find much new, but lady there found some Internet things that may prove helpful.
So Tommy decided he wanted to go to Subway, so we went into one and I stepped up to order and asked for Provolone cheese. Didn't have it; didn't EVER have it. So we left. Found another Subway, same story. So . . . Linda had told us yesterday that she like to go to Village Inn to eat on Wednesdays because they give you a slice of pie free and they have strawberry-rhubarb. So, having struck out on Subway, we wen to a Village Innn that was close. The food was EXCELLENT!!! And the pie was DELICIOUS!! Tommy got apple and I got my strawberry-rhubarb. So at 12:55 we left Village Inn headed for Conway to meet Jerry and Carolyn. Carolyn doesn't get off till 5:00 and we figure we'll be there about 4:30 or so.
2:18 – stopped at rest stop at exit 35 on I-40.
2:26 leaving rest stop (3590 miles on our trip)
3:48 – gas at Sinclair in Conway.
4:00 at China Town Buffet where we will meet Jerry and Carolyn. Turns out this is their usual Wednesday dinner place!
7:00 – left the restaurant and Jerry and Carolyn. Had a great visit!! Catching up on 50 years of not being together. Must do this again soon.
9:28 – crossed into TN; went across the old Bridge – I-55 – so we could come in Poplar to the Hampton Inn where I stayed when I went to Lindy's funeral.
10:05 – into the hotel room – 310, same room # as my college dorm room!

May 29
We were awake about 6:45, but watched the news and weather and then Today show and got up about 9:00. So it is 10:00 and we are going to have waffles for breakfast downstairs. Waffles, eggs, yogurt & fruit. Great!
10:43 – leaving Hampton and going to the shop.
12:15 – had a great visit with Joe. It was his birthday and CArol came in with lunch and a birthday balloon. Joe is a year older than we are.
Headed home.
2:38 – Bevil Cemetery to look for some photo requests from Find-a-Grave.
3:12 – Trollingers for milk.
3:23 – done at Lakeway IGA, headed home
3:37 – HOME!!!!!!! 4009.7 miles total