There is also one of Lex & Cassie that is terribly cute!
On Saturday we left Lebanon and headed for Pensacola. Had a pleasant stop at Chez Brustad and then found night's lodging at a cheap place in Ft. Walton Beach where we slept like logs after a busy day of driving. Sunday morning we headed out Highway 98 and the last leg of our journey.
Sadly, Panama City Beach is not the town of my childhood. Looks more like Myrtle Beach than anything else.......Incredibly south florida is a different story - not so much sprawl and more of a true beach community. Crystal River and the Nature Coast were nice, we plan to head up there for a weekend soon to swim with the manatees.
Today has been settling in and a short trip to the beach. Tomorrow is official BEACH DAY then I have some interviews later in the week.
I have some pictures to post and will post them soon, tonight I need to get back to organizing!
We hit town around lunchtime, checked into Ye Olde Knights Inn Resort & Suites (note humor here) and then met our friends Jill and Rose for lunch. Lots of fun and great conversation! After a stop back at the room to freshen up and change we met Lana, Egil, Lara, Dave and young Lex the Conqueror at Cafe Coco for more catching up and fun conversation. The evening was finished in fine fashion at Jill's house where we got to see Kim, Corey and Mary, and met a new gal whose name is escaping me this morning unfortunately. It really was just like old times - even a bellydance video playing in the background!
This morning we head down the road to Navarre Florida where we will stop at Chez Brustad, then on Sunday it is the final leg of the trip down the coast to Ft. Myers.
I loved seeing all of our old friends, and I miss them. Hence the subject line, happy but sad. At least now we will be in close visiting range!
Melody keeps bugging me to make a post here, so here's one from ol' shiroken:
It's hard to be a good ninja when your equipment beaks down at the most crucial moment, and stealthy silence is absolutely essential. I mean, imagine; you have broken into the castle in the dead of night, accomplished your mission, and now you are ready to sneak out into the darkness undetected. Suddenly, just as you are about to rappell down the castle wall, your ninja-to comes apart in your hands, the blade falling to the floor with a metallic clang, waking everyone in the castle.
Okay, that's a stretch, but it's pretty much how I felt this morning as we were leaving the motel in Rockport, MO. We had successfully smuggled the animals in, now all we had to do was sneak them back out throught the side door, get them into the car, and *zoom* we were gone! Simple.
Unfortunately, the best laid plans.......
The large carrier we have been putting Rowan and Thorn in has been nothing but trouble from the beginning; it's poorly made, and the clips holding the bottom to the top have been coming apart. We thought we had it fixed; I bought some duct tape last night (we're back in the south now, where duct tape fixes everything), and we had the whole thing strapped tight. Into the carrier the cats went; I picked it up and melted into the hallway, gliding invisibly down the hall, past the morning cleaning crew, who were staring at me wide-eyed as if they could actually see me. I got outside the door, stepped silenty toward the car, when suddenly the entire crate separated in my hands, the carrier door came completely off the hinges, and Melody and I were frantically pushing kitty butts back into what was left of the carrier as I lifted my voice in a futile howl to the heavens.
Although we did make our getaway without further incidident, I have a current fantasy:
I want to take that carrier to the desk of the CEO of the company that made it, ram it all way up his rear end, and say, "Don't worry; the freakin' thing comes apart with the slightest pressure, SO YOU SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM GETTING IT OUT AGAIN!!!!"
The journey continues.
We have been driving against high winds all day, which has resulted in terrible gas mileage. Hopefully tomorrow it will be better. Most of eastern South Dakota and all of Iowa was spent driving against terribly high winds. In a word, UGH.
Instead of paying the ridiculous pet fees we snuck the babies into the hotel. The kid working the desk did not seem as if he would be the type to mind much anyway. Thank the gods for side door entrances! Our mission was almost compromised when the carrier fell apart halfway to the room, but we managed to get it together and get the babies in without a hitch. Tomorrow a little duct tape surgery will have that carrier as good as new!
I'm driving in the south again.......UGH!
Pictures of the badlands will go up on the Flickr site tonight. Link is in previous entry (I am too tired to paste it). A nice long bath after a few days of roughing it is calling my name............loudly..........
Thanks to the gods for looking out for us!
First, upon Lana's request, more pictures may be found here of yours truly:
I was also finally able to upload the sights from the past couple of days. I think what I have captured with the film camera will look better, but these are not terribly bad.
As for today's jaunt through the middle of the country, I bring you a few thoughts before turning in - oh my dears we have lots to talk about today:
1. Sheridan, WY is a very, very small town, full of nice people who do not apparently make alot of money. Quite simply because they do not have to. Honestly I do not see that as a bad thing...........very, very nice people. The Sheridan KOA was not bad at all. It was literally infested with little bunnies - Cassie was thoroughly amused by said bunnies. We drove into downtown Sheridan for dinner at Pablo's Cantina and then washed the bugs off the car before turning in to sleep like logs!
2. Devil's Tower is quite something to behold. We did not drive up to the base - the reason? National Park entrance fees. The whole concept really sticks in my throat - I am, after all, a taxpaying citizen. I should be able to enjoy the national parks free of charge - yet it costs $10 to drive up a hill to DT, $10 to see the monument at Little Big Horn and $25 to drive through Yellowstone. See more about this on my Badlands point...................Regardless of being offended at the way our government nickels and dimes its citizens to death Michael and I enjoyed our stop at Devil's Tower. :)
3. From Devil's Tower we drove to Deadwood, SD - when we arrived we walked to the Old No. 10 Saloon and saw some of the other sights. I got some good pictures of the town and even managed a shot of the old saloon with some re-enactors walking in front of it, sans tourists! Along the way to Deadwood Michael told me the story of Wild Bill - it was great to hear while driving through the hills and it made our stop more interesting!
4. After Deadwood it was on to Wall, SD - we did the obligatory stop at Wall Drug. If you are wondering why this is obligatory google Wall, SD. :)
5. We finally arrived at the Interior exit for the KOA campground - to get to said campground one must drive through part of Badlands National Park, which means more entrance fees! Cripes! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr - and of course it is not like they tell you in advance when you book the site - said site already being 15 miles off the highway instead of "right off the interstate" as it was advertised online. Regardless it is a lovely night and annoyances aside we are having a great time.
By the way there is a church retreat camping next to us. Michael and I plan to have a naked moon dancing ritual as soon as the night settles in. Hey, it's only fair, we had to listen to their devotional service during dinner.......(evil grin)
The moral of the story is this: Our government is really slimy for charging it's citizen's entrance fees to their own parks. Perhaps if they were not waging useless wars around the world they might have the money to maintain the parks without gouging citizens no?
Also, when camping, try to avoid doing so next to religious retreats whenever possible!
My Carl Hiasson novel is calling my name, tomorrow it is on to Omaha, NE!
The morning started simply enough. Packing the car and heading out on the next leg of our journey from West Yellowstone to Sheridan, WY by way of Little Bighorn Battlefield.
We decided that, to save time, we would cut through Yellowstone and take the North Entrance via Gardiner to Highway 89, which would bring us back to I-90. My reasoning was that I did not want to take either of the available passes over the Bighorn Mountains, plus if we took Highway 14 through Cody we would have to backtrack to Little Bighorn.
So, we set off toward our next destination. I was already familiar with some of the route through the park, and the lady who checked us out of the KOA assured me that the roads north were “fine” and I would be okay driving them.
Yeah, well, she’s a liar and I want to pinch her nose!
For those familiar with the park you probably know what I, She Who is Afraid of Heights, encountered. At first the roads are just fine, a slow steady climb toward the north end of the park. We saw Reindeer and Bison, and nearly ran over an errant chipmunk. I even got up the nerve to stop and photograph a gorgeous waterfall from a scenic overlook that was VERY high. Then, as we approached Mammoth, I began to get nervous. We passed through a gate that indicated road closures in winter. My stomach began to twist as I was certainly dreading what I knew was inevitable.
Yeah, well I had no idea…
As we crested the top and began to descend toward Mammoth the air became noticeably cooler. We rounded a curve and I nearly lost my cookies. We had to be about 8,000 feet up and there was a freaking bridge glued to the side of the mountain. I had to now drive over said freaking bridge. Thus began my slow and steady traverse of one of the highest passes in Yellowstone. Here I am thinking I have avoided Beartooth and Bighorn, yet I find myself driving one of the scariest roads I have ever been on in my 38 years. By the time we reached the halfway down point at Mammoth Hot Springs I was shaking. But, I did it, and I made it, I conquered my fear. I still want to throttle the lady who said to take the road, but I am proud of myself for seeing it through.
Terrifying mountain roads aside, we also stopped at Little Bighorn Battlefield today. I got a few pictures and was in awe of what that place must have looked like in 1876. Because I am Cherokee I have mixed emotions in such places. We also saw Wild Mustangs while visiting the location – that was very cool! No rattler sightings thank the gods!
Now we are safely tucked in at the Sheridan Bighorn KOA. Mountain passes are behind me and this makes me happy for two reasons: (1) gas mileage should improve; and (2) no more 8,000 foot drops!!!!