Monday, December 31, 2012

Sprout Brook Adventure on New Years Eve Day

Leslie and I set today aside for geocaching as our way of celebrating the last day of 2012.

We met up at ten a.m. at her house and with her at the wheel, we set off, heading towards Cherry Valley. We stopped for several geocaches, but many of them were not at all accessible because of the high piles of snow left by snowplows. We did, however find three geocaches.

We stopped at The TePee, hoping it was open, but it wasn't . The snow piles were too deep for Leslie to find "Go Meet TePee Pete". But at least she was able to see the TePee.........she had not been able to find it before when she looked.

The high point of the day (for me) was finding Sprout Brook and the store/restaurant. The store does not look old, but an elderly man, who was born in l930 remembers it from the l930's and was able to tell us the owners name at that time.

I had a reuben sandwich and potato soup and Leslie had the chicken and biscuits and we split a piece of fresh baked cherry pie. Everything was very good.

The owner was hesitant to let me take pictures inside, but she eventually relented and gave me permission.

We arrived back in Oneonta a few minutes before three p.m.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

October 18th and l9th, 2012

I left early in the morning on Thursday the 18th and headed across New York State to meet up with my sister for our flight to Albuquerque on Saturday morning the 20th.  I stopped to find three geocaches along the way (all easy ones that were hidden in or near large bells, mostly Meneely's). 

I noticed some really nice "fall color as I drove into Lockport, so I stopped to take pictures."

Country Club

 Later on that night I went to the annual CareNet Banquet at Salvatore's.  The meal was delicious, the company was perfect, and the topic/issue very important and timely.

This morning (Friday the 19th), Peggy went off to work and I stayed at 17 and did several things.  I somewhat organized both Peggy's and my trip information, getting rid of many duplicates and unnecessary stuff.  I cleaned a few cupboards and put some of my items from home away.  I ran a few errands and met my sister Gail for lunch at Tom's D ner.  That night Peg and I went to Mikes house for pizza and wings.  We had a good time.  The countdown was on for our southwest USA trip!!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012 DAY ONE OF FALL TRIP

Almost every year, my sister Peg and I take a trip together.  This year our trip plan was to fly to Albuquerque and drive west to see Route 66 stuff and then go north through Arizona to Canyon de Chelly and then into Utah to see national parks and then end up in Vegas and fly home ten days later.......little did we know.......but thats another story!

Early in the morning on Saturday October 20th, Mike and Janie took Peg and I to the Buffalo airport for our flight.  Our layover was in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.  I think we had a three hour layover.  We had lunch at a WOK-N-ROLL while waiting for our second flight. It was very good.  We tried to find out if there were any geocaches in the airport, using Peg's smart phone but we were not successful.

We arrived in Albuquerque mid afternoon.  After getting our rental car (a beautiful Lincoln Town Car), we went to a Mexican Supermarket that we found two years ago when we were in Albuquerque.  We purchased picnic type items and had fruit drinks.  Then we headed down towards Chloride, New Mexico.

The clerk at AVIS had told us about a restaurant she likes in San Antonio, New Mexico, that had been

featured on the Food Network once or twice.  So, we stopped in San Antonia to have supper there, but it was closed.  We found another place, right around the corner THE SAN ANTONIO CRANE.  We purchased meals to take out.
I drove while Peggy ate, and then decided to drive all the way to Chloride.  It was dark by the time we arrived.  We located someone to let us into our cabin (THE PYE CABIN).  While Peggy brought stuff in from the car, I ate my Navajo Taco, which was very good.  The cabin was great!  It had a fully stocked kitchen, two bedrooms and a living room.  If only we could find lodging like that everywhere!  It was a long and tiring day, like most first days of a trip are.  

Sunday October 21st

This morning we woke up in Chloride, New Mexico where we had stayed in the PYE CABIN, the oldest building in Chloride.  After breakfast, we decided to drive a couple of miles to Winston, New Mexico to explore.  In Winston, we found an active general store, and lots of abandoned buildings and businesses.

Then we drove back to Chloride and visited the PIONEER STORE AND MUSEUM, and the gift shop next door.  We checked out the entire town taking many pictures.  Then we headed towards the semi ghost town of Cuchillo.

In Cuchillo, we stopped at a small farm stand and purchased an item or two.  Then we drove back to the CUCHILLO BAR AND GENERAL STORE, which we thought was abandoned.   It sure does not look like anyone would be living here!

We were poking around, looking for a way to get in, when the owner came out.  After a few minutes of conversation, he offered to give us a tour for ten dollars each.  We accepted.  We really enjoyed the tour and the opportunity to take many pictures.  Here is a picture of the owner at the bar:

After that, we went to the semi ghost towns of Monticello and Placita.  In Monticello, I think the neatest thing we saw were the burned ruins of a huge old school.

By now, morning was over and we had a three hour drive to get back up to Route 66/40.   Mid afternoon we finally got back up to the area west of Albuquerque where we wanted to be.  We headed towards our lodging in Grants, New Mexico, stopping along the way to explore ghost areas including these
abandonments in Laguna and Parage (or Parage), New Mexico.  s
In  the town of San Fidel, we found a geocache. San Fidel really appears to be a ghosts town, but it still has a post office. It was getting dark by that time, so we headed to Grants and our lodging at THE SANDS HOTEL.  We had supper at a chinese buffet in Grants.

Monday: October 22, 2012 Grants to Chinle

This morning we left our lodging in Grants, New Mexico.  We had stayed at an old Route 66 motel called THE SANDS MOTEL.  It was a bit run down, but clean and cheap.  Before leaving Grants we explored Route 66 a bit.  We were able to do some urban exploring of the Desert Sun Motel, which is empty and abandoned.   Then we headed towards Gallup, New Mexico.  Along the way we were able to see many remnants of the Old Route 66 including Paradise Acres.  which also offered
RATTLESNAKES!!!!!  Some of the scenery along 40/66 was spectacular!!!

Once we arrived in Grants, it was lunchtime and we had lunch at at SONIC.  I had never eaten at a Sonic before and I wanted to try it, but I decided I do not really like being served in my car.  The food was fine, though, as far as I recall.

In Grants, we went to the EL RANCHO HOTEL, THUNDERBIRD BEAD STORE and geocached a bit before heading west towards the Arizona border.  There were more opportunities for seeing "ghosts of Route 66" (we explored an abandoned trading post near Thoreau)as well as some very colorful Indian shops and beautiful rock formations close to the Arizona border.  We did some geocaching in Arizona, just across the border and then headed north towards Chinle, Arizona for our lodging.  
Before Chinle, we stopped in Ganado to find a geocache hidden on an old fire truck.  We were too late to go to the Hubbell Trading Post, it had just closed when we arrived, and the driveway was barricaded shut, so we didn't even get to see the outside of it.  

Once in Chinle, we checked into the Best Western and then had supper down the road at Garcia's.  The food there is VERY good and we had enough leftovers for lunch the next day.  It was a very good day!!!

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 Canyon de Chelly

This morning we checked out of the Best Western in Chinle, Arizona and headed directly to Canyon de Chelley.  Upon arriving, we stopped at the Visitors Center for information.  Then we drove to several lookout points along the south rim.  After that we headed to the White House Trail Lookout Point.  We decided to take the hike down into the canyon (the one the girl at the Visitors Center is NOT strenuous).

The hike down was spectacular, but it really is strenuous. Here is Peggy in a short tunnel that is on the trail.   It is only a little more than a mile walk, I think, but it seems like much more, and I think it took us an hour and a half to get down to the bottom of the canyon. I was exhausted when we finally got there, but the walk was so scenic and the views into the canyon were so spectacular, that it was worth it.

At the bottom of the canyon we found restrooms, the White House Ruins and several indian vendors selling jewelry and painted rocks.  Our original plans had been to hike back up to where the car was parked, but I knew the hike up would be more strenuous and more time consuming, so I asked one of the women vendors if she would consider giving us a ride up to our car.  She agreed to do so after a certain jeep tour made a stop around noon.  In the meantime, Peg and I looked at the jewelry and both of us purchased several pieces. Here is Verlita making some turquoise bracelets for me.

Around 12:20 Cindy and Verlita packed up their wares and they, along with one of their male cousins (or some other relative) drove us up to our car.  Along the way, they stopped to show us several areas of petroglyphs and/or rock art.  I have to admit, both Peggy and I were a bit nervous about this ride.  When they stopped and suggested we get out of the truck to walk closer to a certain area, I was not sure we SHOULD get out..........what if they abandoned us there at the bottom of the canyon?  However, it all worked out well and after about a 45 minute ride/tour we indeed did end up at the parking area.  Peggy took Cindy's address so that she can send her a postcard of Niagara Falls.
Cindy and Peg at the TOP of the canyon

After that we headed back to Chinle and then headed towards Monument Valley.   We stopped in Kayenta, Arizona to see the Navajo Code Talkers Exhibit at the Burger King where we had a snack.  The drive through the Monument Valley area was quite nice although some areas were a bit hazy.   We didn't go to the scenic drive at the Navajo Tribal Park for two reasons 1. we probably did not have time and 2. we wer concerned that our rental car might not be suitable for that drive.    We stopped at a small indian jewelry store, I think it was very close to the entrance to the Tribal Park.  After crossing the Utah border we stopped near Mexican Hat to find a geocache.  It is hidden right near this huge rock formation that I believe is known as MEXICAN HAT !

And then it was on to Bluff where we had a room reserved at the RECAPTURE LODGE.  It was still light out, so we tried to find a geocache near a tourist attraction, something like a fort, but were not successful.  We checked into our room at the Recapture and then had supper at TWIN BLUFFS.   Our meal was very good and we shopped a bit in the gift store before heading back to our room.  I was able to go on the internet in the lodge lobby and log our geocache finds.  There were two German men who were having problems with their rental car, and further problems communicating the problem to the rental car agency over the phone.  I felt really bad for them.  We really liked the had the look and feel of a hostel, and offered a very good breakfast.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 Bluff to Moab, Utah

This morning Peg and I left our lodging at the RECAPTURE LODGE  in Bluff, Utah.  We really enjoyed this place.  Our room was a genuine motel room, but the place had the "feel" of a hostel, with a common room with a piano, computer, books, couches and chairs, etc.

Before leaving Bluff, we decided to try to find a couple of geocaches.  We went first to THE GREAT KIVA, but we could not find the cache.  We enjoyed seeing the ancient kiva.  Then we found two geocaches A CACHED LUNCH and LYDIA (which was in an interesting cemetery).  Before leaving BLUFF, we stopped at the restaurant we had supper at the previous night TWIN ROCKS CAFE.  Because it was dark when were there, we missed out on this spectacular sight:  

Then we headed north towards Moab and ARCHES NATIONAL PARK.  We stopped in Blanding and looked briefly for a cache at an old church without success, but just around the corner we found IN THE SHADE OF A TREE.  We continued north and stopped in Monticello and found two geocaches FORK IN THE ROAD and FIRST GEAR.

We hadn't planned to stop at THE HOLE IN THE ROCK, but it was too interesting to pass by.  There is a tour of a home built inside a rock, and lots of other touristy things to see.  After that we continued on to MOAB and ARCHES.  Before we got to the national park, we stopped to see another arch:

Once we got to ARCHES, we took a couple of short hikes to various arches.  Then our troubles began, when it started to rain and get windy.  We stayed in the park to drive to various viewpoints and attempted another interesting looking hike, but had to give that up due to the rain and wind.  Here is one of the arches we hiked to.  

Peggy wanted to call it an early night anyways because she wanted to watch SURVIVOR on  television.  We found our lodging and I told her that if she went out to pick up supper at Pizza Hut, I would do our laundry.  It was a deal.  She missed the first few minutes of SURVIVOR because of picking supper up.  She also picked up a large salad at McDonalds, which we split.

It was a good but tiring day.

GHOST TOWN DAY: October 25th, 2012 (Thursday)

Today we left the Motel Six  in Moab (where we stayed to be close to ARCHES NATIONAL PARK).  We headed towards the ghost town of Cisco.  Just before Cisco, we found a geocache.

 Cisco was absolutely amazing.  Its just hard to describe!  So many abandoned homes and businesses and a very tiny Post Office which was abandoned and unlocked.  According to an article on the internet, there are still a few residents, and we think we saw the home of one.  It was the only place we saw that was being maintained and taken care of.  Cisco was used for filming parts of VANISHING POINT AND THELMA AND LOUISE.  We spent a couple of hours there, exploring and taking pictures. 

Cisco Landing Store
I think what was so great about Cisco is that Peggy and I were able to partake in three of our favorite things: ghosttowning, geocaching and urban exploring!  Yes!  There is a geocache hidden just outside and old, abandoned auto repair shop!  I wonder how long this store has been closed:

We decided it would be worth our time to take a bit of a detour and drive to Colorado to find a geocache or two, since we had never geocached in Colorado.  So we went up to Interstate 70 and headed east a bit until we entered Colorado and we found two geocaches, one on each side of the Interstate.  And then we headed to the semi-ghost town of Thompson or Thompson Springs.  We found a geocache just off the interstate before we got to the town.  Then we drove through Thompson to this school where we found another geocache. Thompson Springs turned out to be  another SPECTACULAR place.........many abandoned businesses, several abandoned homes, a few residents and a character named CECIL!!!!
 Cecil lives in Thompson Springs and seems to have a lot of time on his hands.  He motioned us to stop and we chatted for a few minutes.  I asked him if any women lived in T.Springs and he said there are several widows.  He pointed us in the direction of the old abandoned jailhouse.

From Thompson Springs we headed north a bit to another ghost town: SEGO.  Here is a picture of the road to SEGO.

 First we found a geocache in the Sego Cemetery
and then on to the where the town used to be.   There are only a couple of buildings still standing, the ruins of the company store
 and a fenced in homestead.  Heading back to the interstate, we went through Thompson Springs again and once again Cecil motioned for us to stop.  He encouraged us to consider moving to Thompson Springs.  I felt like saying 'this is a hellhole........I would NEVER want to LIVE here", but I didn't.  He told us about the hanging tree in Sego, where "they hung a whore in l930".  It so happened that I had taken a picture of that cottonwood tree.  He also told us about how his house was burned down and how he is knows who did it, and if cops don't get the guy before July 4th, he is gonna kill him.  YIKES!!!

We left Thompson Springs in the late afternoon and headed towards our lodging.  We made a brief stop in Green River, and Peggy bought some melons at a farmstand.  We stopped in Hanksville and had supper at
STAN's BURGER SHAK  and then on to our lodging: a very nice Rodeway Inn in Cainesville, Utah.    It was a great day!!!!!

Friday, October 26th, 2012

We left our lodging in Cainesville, Utah (a very nice Rodeway Inn) and headed towards Capital Reef

Our original plans were to just drive through Capital Reef, but it turned out to be so beautiful and interesting that we made many stops.  We found two virtual caches, (THE BIG CLEANUP and THE OLD HOMESTEAD)  visited another old homestead, took a couple of short hikes and took a BUNCH of pictures.  Here is the FRUITA SCHOOLHOUSE 
There are ruins near the OYLER MINE:  

Capital Reef Scene
What was nice about Capital Reef was that we were able to "get up close and personal" with the surroundings via trails. 
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The scenery from the roadway was equally beautiful: We actually picked up a hitchhiker, Guy Bombardo, a D.J. who was retracing a trip he took twenty or so years ago.  He was travelling by motorcycle and he did not want to drive his bike down a rough road.  It turned out to be too rough for our rental car, too and we had to drop him off and turn around.

After leaving Capital Reef, we stopped for some geocaching in Torrey, Utah. One was successful and the other was not.  Then we headed west towards Tropic, Utah (where we had lodging for that night). Stopped briefly in Boulder, Utah to take a picture of an interesting small building.    After that, we drove along the edge of GRAND STAIRCASE-ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT and stopped a couple of time to take pictures.  We also stopped to take a few pictures in the city of Escalante.  After leaving Escalante, we were stopped the the Escalante Chief of Police who claimed Peggy was speeding and that she crossed a double line, and also passed him while he was going after another speeder.  Thankfully, he did not give her a ticket.   I am quite sure Peggy did NOT do what she was accused of but she may have exceeded the speed limit a bit.

We stopped in Cannonville, Utah to find a geocache at a cemetery and found another one called Loseeville, which was not too far from Cannonville.

Finally arrived at Bybee's Steppingstone, our motel in Tropic, Utah.  It was still kind of early, so we decided to drive right up to BRYCE.  We saw as much there as we could before it got dark, and had supper at RUBY'S LODGE.  The cowboy buffet was great!  Then it was back to Tropic for a good nights sleep.

Saturday, October 27th: Heading to Zion National Park

Before leaving our motel in Tropic this morning, we purchased gas and some groceries.  And then we hit the road.  We headed north towards Bryce Canyon and decided to spend a bit of time there in the early morning sunlight, before heading to Hurricane, Utah and Zion National Park. BRYCE NATIONAL PARK, with its hoodoos was spectacular.   After leaving Bryce, we drove through the Red Canyon area which was beautiful. We saw an abandonment (I think a small ranch) along the way, not too far west of Bryce and stopped to explore a bit.   I don't think we made any other stops until we got to Zion.  Once there, we stopped at a few viewpoints, and then we took a hike on a trail.  It was magnificent?  Then we went to the Visitors Center and hopped on the free shuttle bus which takes visitors to several points in the canyon.
free shuttle bus at Zion National Park

  I think we stopped at every stop to look around and take pictures.    thoroughly enjoyed Zion.  My complete set of pictures are here:

Before going to Hurricane, Utah for our lodging, we decided to try to find the ghost town of Grafton, Utah.  We were successful and enjoyed the old buildings and took pictures, which can be seen here: 
These two buildings in Grafton have been restored and are fenced off.  Peg and I THOUGHT there was a geocache hidden near these buildings, and while looking, Peggy found the keys to the buildings.  She quickly replaced them, and we moved on to explore the rest of Grafton.

Before going to our lodging in Hurricane, we had supper at a place called something like Mr. J's Diner.  It was very good!

Our lodging in Hurricane was a bit of a disappointment since I had requested a first floor room and were given a second floor room.  This would not have been much of a hardship except that the hotel did not have any elevator.  Anyways, the room was nice, and I was happy to be able to use a computer with internet near the lobby that night.