May 26, 2022
We leave tomorrow, so we're busy packing up all our stuff. In the morning, we'll put it all in the car, turn the big knob to put the house on autopilot and say adios for now to Las Cruces. First stop, Taos, in Northern New Mexico.
May 27, 2022
Today we left Las Cruces, and after stopping at the border patrol checkpoint north of town, we received clearance to travel outside of our assigned zone. Driving north, we stopped for lunch in San Antonio at the famous (in San Antonio at least) Owl Cafe for their green chile cheeseburgers and fries. Arrived in Taos in the afternoon. Tappas dinner.
May 28, 2022
New Mexico is currently celebrating its annual 'burning of the forests' festival. As a result, all the national forests around here are closed for hiking so we went over to New Mexico's grand canyon for a photo and then spent the rest of the day wandering around town. Lots of little shops and a nice early dinner on the patio at Martyr Steakhouse.
May 29, 2022
Today we took the 'Enchanted Loop' drive out of Taos into the mountains for some great scenery and an explanation for all of the motorcycles we've been encountering. Red River is having their annual biker festival, so we were able to walk among our people and enjoy the festivities. Then onward along the loop back to Taos and asian food for dinner.
May 30, 2022
Today we left our digs in Taos (a hotel in Hilton's "Cash Cow" collection) traveling northward through Denver to Estes Park, traditional staging area for assaults on Rocky Mountain NP. Largely emptied out from Memorial Day, the town had already rolled up the sidewalks for the evening, but we did have a great pizza at Poppy's, then an early bedtime.
May 31, 2022
Another fun day. You now have to get online reservations to enter the park, and so at our assigned time, we appeared at the main gate. Sunny morning driving tour with lots of animal sightings (Moose, Elk, Deer, Big Horn Sheep), along with breathtaking scenery. Later we walked around the town, shopping and being admired by the people. Snow tonight.
June 1, 2022
Freezing rain last night, the clouds were on the deck this morning - the mountain views were gone. So we went exploring in the opposite direction. After a very pretty drive through a mountain stream canyon we found Lyons, walked it in about 10 minutes, soup and sandwiches at the local place. Finished up back in Estes Park for a River Walk stroll.
June 2, 2022
Time to move again. Ft. Collins for provisioning by Trader Joe, then to Chugwater, WY and the oldest soda fountain in Wyoming (Est.1914) for a lunch of local grass-fed burgers with shakes and ice cream sodas (real ones). Then several hours of high speed travel through rolling prairie complete with big skies above and around. Rapid City by afternoon
June 3, 2022
Named after a vain narcissistic failed Indian fighter from New Rumley, OH, Custer State Park is a treasure nonetheless. We started with a rainy drive on the wildlife loop, where Buffalo 🦬 still roam, and once the rain stopped hiked around beautiful Sylvan lake, named, presumably, after a guy named Sylvan. Ended the day with the best pizza in SD.
June 4, 2022
Back to Custer State Park, and the Lover's Leap trail, which is a 4 mile loop taking us up a ridge, down to a mountain stream and back up again with the apex of the hike at the leap itself. Taking the name literally, we looked over the edge expecting to see bodies of lovers, but that was not the case. A picnic followed, and then rainy Mt. Rushmore.
June 6, 2022
Today we travelled out of the Black Hills through beautiful rolling prairie to Devil's Tower. It was carved out of volcanic rock by aliens only 17 years ago. At least it looks like it was. On the way back we took in the Vore Buffalo Jump, a natural sinkhole where native people herded buffalo to their deaths beginning in the 1500's. Burgers downtown
June 7, 2022
Hustled out this morning to beat the daily afternoon thundershowers, heading east out onto the plains. After the obligatory stop at the famous Wall Drug (14,000 billboards told us to go) we entered The Badlands, a long slashing cut into the prairie reminiscent of the Painted Desert and Bryce Canyon. driving along the edge and then down into the cut
June 8, 2022
Today found us back in the park, for our longest hiking day so far. The Lost Trails were once CCC working trails although we found ourselves more confused than lost, but a nice walk anyway. Grace was Calvin's wife and her trail winds along a mountain stream canyon crisscrossing it via narrow board bridges. A series of dams create beautiful ponds.
June 9, 2022
We spent an urban day in downtown Rapid City, probably the nicest small downtown we've ever seen. Full of old local businesses, parks, and friendly people. Completely unspoiled by the usual big box and chain restaurant encirclement. They have statues of all the presidents on the street corners. I'm pictured here hanging out with Martin Van Buren.
June 10, 2022
Hiking today in the national forest. Famous for being less crowded, but also for having less than well-defined trails. As usual we bit off more than we could chew. Opting for a shorter loop hike, we didn't realize that getting to the actual loop didn't count in the advertised miles. So a day of up and down and crossing streams, and beautiful views.
June 11, 2022
Today we left the Black Hills, heading east, covering about 640 miles. The original settlers, traveling via covered wagon, covered about 10 miles per day. Although we were going in the opposite direction, it would have taken us over two months, and I imagine the dogs had to walk. At least until they had to become food. Here's a photo of me walking.
June 12, 2022
Today we became Yoopers. After a late lunch of delicious cheesesteak sandwiches at Jerzi's (best kept secret on 41), we are firmly ensconced in our lovely lakeside Airbnb mini-resort. We lounged by the lake with beverages, relaxing from our two-day voyage. This region has given up its timber, iron and copper, and now it just gives up its beauty.
June 13, 2022
Took a rainy drive up to Houghton, home of Michigan Tech, one of the best mining engineering schools in the world. This is because it snows here most of the year, and then rains for the rest of the time so nothing to do but study. Nice views of mighty Lake Superior along the way. This is reminding us of our Canadian Maritimes trip a few years back.
June 14, 2022
Out of Ishpimeng, past Marquette, Au Train, Christmas, and Munising, lies the Pictured Rocks. Carved out of the cliffs by mighty Lake Superior, long a killer of seaman like those 29 men lost on the Edmond Fitzgerald. Memorialized by Gordon Lightfoot, who apparently is still kicking and not yet ready to be memorialized. Nice hike to Miner's Castle.
June 15, 2022
Spent our last day as yoopers relaxing lakeside at the mini-resort. Path walking, paddleboat paddling, general sitting around, watching other people walk and paddle. The always interesting weather deteriorated throughout the day until evening when the internet went out and we went down to two TV channels and a region-wide tornado watch. Thrilling.
June 16, 2022
Chicago, Chicago that toddling town. Chicago, Chicago I will show you around - I love it. Bet your bottom dollar you lose the blues in Chicago, Chicago. The town that Billy Sunday couldn't shut down... The Chairman of the Board left us a long time ago, but the words still apply. We're here for a while visiting the family before heading east.
June 17, 2022
Still visiting mommy's bros and their families here in Chicago. There was some partying last night so I'm sleeping it off today out on the patio.

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