29 June 2016

Has anyone seen "This Guy"??

Missing in Action: Steven C. Kaczorowski, Travel Blog writer extraordinaire. Last posted on 17 June 2016.

Well... I am not missing in action. In fact, there has been so many things going on, I have not had a chance to write for 17 days. A small side trip to Alaska with several friends, as well as NO EFFING INTERNET in Alaska, makes it hard to stay in touch. 

Right now, Rebecca, Mitchell and Reese are visiting us. We picked them up in Boise; now in Wendover Nevada, and heading to Salt Lake City, then Yellowstone.

Hopefully, I can catch up tomorrow where I left off. I will be continuing the Travel Blog in the order we are traveling. I may be writing until Thanksgiving, but I will have the highlights of the whole trip on here.

Talk to y'all soon

12 June 2016

Not Just A "Big Hole In The Ground"......

This post will contain two stories and two sets of pictures pertaining to one National Park. 

Grand Canyon National Park

If you don't know the story, G'ma and I were out on this side of the country in the mid Seventies. (1976?). We hooked up an Apache hard-sided pop-up behind an old red and white Chevy van and took off for two weeks. Our route took us through the heartland, (pretty much rather quickly, I might add), to Reno NV. From Reno, we went to San Francisco, then down to visit family in Los Angeles and then we turned east and headed to Vegas. We wanted to stop and see the Grand Canyon, but time and money prevented that. (I forgot to mention: we had a fifteen month old baby, and G'ma was 'in the family way')! As bad as it sounds, it was not a bad trip, and it did not scare us away from traveling. We just needed bigger stuff!
Knowing this story, it was imperative that we hit the Grand Canyon on this trip. If we hit NOTHING else after it, we fulfilled a long time wish. We truly consider everything after this stop, BONUS. 
When we arrived in Williams, as noted in another post, we set about seeing the town and made a list of things to do over the eight days we were here. 
The very next day, we took a ride to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in the BAT, to scope out 'El Christo Rey Catholic Church'. We did this because I made a promise to G'ma that I would take her to church as often as possible. While setting up this trip, I checked and found a church that was supposedly right on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Well, it's there. In a school gymnasium. In the part of the park set aside for the employees, both full time and part time, of the park. In other words: a bust. We did go to church that week, but it was in Williams AZ. 
After we found our way our of the employees residential area of the park, we headed for the nearest observation point along the rim. 
Every time you hear 'Pictures don't do it justice', know that statement to be fact. I have over a hundred pictures and none of them capture the grandeur and glory of this natural wonder. It does take your breath away. It does make you stop and 'ponder'. It is NOT just a big hole in the ground. 
We spent about three hours between sitting on the rim and visiting the gift shop and visitors center. 
On the way home, we stopped at the local McDonald's for a little bite. Quarter Pounder (Royale with Cheese), Not the meal; the burger: $6.95. One small Vanilla cone $2.95. Obviously, the cost of living near this National Park is out of control. 

Her: Watch for moose in the road! Him: Huh? Her: NO! NOW, watch for moose in the road! Him: Oh.

Go ahead, Gasp. I did again when I saw this pic.

Go ahead, laugh. I'm used to it.

One of the hundreds of choppers we saw doing air tours.....

Grand Canyon Railroad

First, a little back ground. The Grand Canyon Railroad is a privately owned railroad that some rich guy bought back when trains were deemed out-of-date. He restored the track, the trains, the stations and everything pertaining to this adventure. It has been bought out by a large entertainment chain (Xterra) and includes a Hotel, Campground and Restaurants. If you are going to visit the Grand Canyon, this is a First Class way to do it. It is also expensive. But, it is a choice; not a necessity.
The original plan during the planning of this trip was to take the GCRR for our trip to the canyon. I'm glad we drove there, but taking the train was so much more fun.
The train station was only two blocks from our campsite, but the campground runs a shuttle to the train station, right from your site. We dropped a dime to the concierge and within ten minutes the shuttle was at our trailer to deliver us to the train station.
Before the train boards, they have a little "Western Show" with bad jokes and bad acting. It was fun listening to all the Senior Citizens groan at the jokes, but the kids loved it. It really was a great start to this trip.
Because this adventure appeals to all folks, including those with little humans, we decided to upgrade our package to First Class. Comfortable trip, with no brats. Worth every penny. Also, in First Class; (Who hasn't wanted to say they traveled First Class? C'mon, really), on the trip to the canyon, they provide juice, coffee and continental breakfast, along with a cash bar! Since it was a two hour ride, I did have to try one of their cocktails! As part of the ride, there is a Tour Guide present in every car proving banter and answering any questions that came up. He also doubled as my bartender. He also told some bad jokes, too. Must be part of the Employment requirements.
During the ride, there was on-board entertainment. We got a 'fiddler'. Even though he was running behind, we did have a great time with him. He seemed to like to pick on me, so I had to back him up on some of his jokes.
As we were pulling into the station, the guide announced that if we started our tour at this one end of the Rim and went this way, the trip would be all downhill! What he neglected to tell us was that we would still have to go uphill to get back to the train! It was a challenge, but we did get back to the train in time for departure.
While at the Canyon, we ate at a very nice place that almost every table had a view of the canyon. We had two waiters: water Eric and food Eric. Made for some good fun during dinner.
On the return trip, we were provided with refreshments as well as a cheese and vegetable tray. We were also provided more entertainment in the form of a 'Cheerful' woman and her accordion. She took a liking to G'ma, so the two of them had a great time singing polkas for everyone on the car. I had more liquor.
And what old west train ride would be complete without a train robbery? Since this is 2016 and OSHA probably wouldn't have allowed the robbers to just jump off their horses onto the train, the train had to stop and pick up the train robbers. It was all in good fun, and we were told we didn't have to 'contribute' if we didn't want to. I didn't want to. 
All in all, corniness aside, it was a very nice trip on a great old, albeit restored, train. I would highly recommend this to anyone who comes out this way.

Look. You can just write in any corny joke you want. They did....

NOT First Class

First Class

"Them jokes ain't so bad now!"

Fiddler...not on the roof

One more step back....Almost there....Damn

This photo is a 'Close up' of the next photo

Yep. This guy scared G'ma...but then, so do I....

"Stop the train, stop the train. This robber needs to get on!"

Mama's got a squeezebox, Daddy doesn't sleep at night!

Gimme yer money! Or don't. It's OK.
 Next Post: VEGAS BABY

Welcome to the Green Table....

Mesa Verde National Park

One of the items on my 'bucket list' was to drive up Pikes Peak. This trip did not take us near Pikes Peak. But Mesa Verde N.P. will count as fulfilling that dream. In fact, the fact that this Park was not on out itinerary made it even better. We noticed the signs for Mesa Verde, (Green Table), when we were in Cortez, CO getting the oil changed. We had time, so we took a ride to this park. It was a worthwhile addition. 
After stopping at the Visitor Center and picking up a pamphlet, I noticed the park road was....'twisted'. Once we read that the park road would take us us to 8500 ft above sea level, I knew why the road was so 'twisted'. I do not recall the exact mileage of this trail, but I know it was probably the best 'drive' of this trip. The twists, turns, switchbacks, and elevation changes made me think that this must be what Pikes Peak must be like. 
One of the signs in the park showed a U-turn to the left, and warned you to slow down to 10 mph. I had to turn the steering wheel one WHOLE circle to make the turn. I know that driving the BAT on this road is different than it would have been driving ANY sports car, but I was totally satisfied enjoying the road.
When we got back to the trailer that night, every muscle in my arms, shoulders and neck were sore. Worth every ache.
Bonus: I only scared G'ma eight or twelve times. Sorry.
Besides the road, the Park was very beautiful. We even got out on the trail that took us to the top of the world!  


Official U.S Geological Survey Marker: 8572 ft above sea level. Very Cool. Very hard to reach.

"I Loves Me Some Curves"!

Next Up: Grand Canyon.