Here we are, thirteen days on the road! Today, we knew we didn’t have much distance to travel, so we decided to get some necessary jobs done. After having breakfast in the hotel this morning, we came back to the room, and as it is the beginning of the month, I paid some bills. For years, I have paid as many bills as possible online through either the ABC Credit Union or Citibank, and actually that lends itself very well to staying current with your bills while on the road. The first thing I did before leaving home was look back at recent months, and I made a list of bills that were due at the beginning of the month, the middle of the month, and the end of the month. Then, I made sure that I had the web sign-ons for the various accounts. This morning, I went to the beginning of the month section, checked the amounts due on the various web sites, and paid the bills via the credit union or the bank. Took me about 20 minutes all told, and now we are current.
If you remember a couple of posts back, we decided that we weren’t happy with the cooler we’d picked for our trip. It was too big, both inside and out side, and we said we’d like something smaller, and it didn’t need wheels. Well, as we came into Rock Springs, Wyoming yesterday, there was a Walmart right across from the Interstate exit ramp, so after paying the bills, we decided to go check out what they had. We found a very nice Igloo cooler, about half the size of what we had. Then we went to the grocery section of the store, bought some Gladwear containers for our cheese and pepperoni, and we were good to go. We went out to the parking lot, transferred our supplies from the old cooler to the new, and strapped it into the car. As we went into the store, firefighters from the Rock Springs Fire Department were in front of the store collecting for their “Fill a Boot for MDA campaign”. Yes, it is Labor Day Weekend, and if you are of a certain age, you will remember that this was the weekend always dedicated by Jerry Lewis for the MDA Telethon. Well, I rolled the empty cooler over to one of the firemen and explained that we no longer had a need for it, and could they make use of it. He said that yes indeed they could and thanked me for the donation. He then came over to the car and asked us about our trip. There are nice people everywhere in this country, and not to sound like John Steinbeck in Travels with Charlie, meeting them is one of the great things about traveling like we are!
Then, it was time to gas up the Sonata, and buy some ice for the new cooler. Right next to the gas station was a self service car wash, and I spent $5 there and gave the poor Sonata the best wash it has had since we left Mineola! 3500 miles takes it’s toll on the outside of the car (forget the inside..perhaps we can get that done in Vegas), and I’m not even talking about the bugs! Oh My God…what a mess they make of the windshield!! I have a bug screen on the front of the car, but the poor windshield looks like hell by the time we end our days! Even using the squeegee at gas stops doesn’t get it as clean as the power wash wand at the car wash! We had a beautiful windshield for about 100 miles. It looks like shit again!
We are staying tonight in a Best Western in Craig, Colorado. Today we left Wyoming for the last time on our trip, and entered Colorado, a state we will travel through for several days. We only traveled 180 miles today, because we are setting ourselves up for our passage tomorrow through Rocky Mountain National Park. I know, what were we thinking, hitting the road through the Rocky Mountains on Saturday of Labor Day Weekend? Well, some things just work out the way they do! I originally wanted to go through the Rockies because I wanted Susie to be able to say she’d crossed the Continental Divide. Little did I know that you cross the Continental Divide virtually everywhere in the West! We did it 4 times in Yellowstone, and another 3 or 4 times since then! Hell, we crossed it on the little two lane road from the Interstate to Craig today! Oh well, what can I tell you!
We got to Craig really early today, and after we found the hotel it was still only about 2 PM, way too early to check in. Just as we got into Craig, we passed a building that said it was the Museum of Northwest Colorado. Susie had read about it in some book she’d read about the area, and we decided to go back and visit it. What a wonderful little museum, and were we glad we decided to visit it. It is housed in what was a local Armory for Craig, and it was just a wonderful collection of local artifacts. A very nice lady greeted us and explained a bit about the museum and what was where. We went downstairs to start, mainly because the bathrooms were there, but then there was so much more! The basement was a school room display and we enjoyed it more than we really should have. The display was of an early 20th Century schoolroom, with those desks we all remember as kids and remember having to squeeze into when we were adults at the “meet the teacher” night. But what really got us, was the displays of class photos from the Craig High School Seniors from 1924 to 2008. We really enjoyed looking at the photos from the years we graduated from high school, and realizing they looked exactly like our yearbooks. Looking at the older classes (from the early 50s), Susie commented how old the seniors looked. They almost looked as old as the teachers.
On the main floor were lots of displays about history of the area, including a full size gas pump, a fire engine, a display of Doctor’s tools from the 50s, household items, dolls, clothing, Native American articles, and displays about notable people from the area, including one about the Governor and Senator from Colorado in the 50s named Edward Johnson, Susie’s Grandfather’s name!
Then we went up to the second floor where there were several different displays. One incredible one was called Cowboys and Gunfighters. It was the work of one man who started collecting at the age of 9! There were saddles, chaps, holsters, spurs, rifles, hand guns, knives, ammunition belts, horse bits, hats, and memorabilia from various people. An incredible collection! Then around the side of the floor, there was a collection of Then and Now pictures. Pictures from the area in about 1915 and pictures taken from the same vantage point done in 2014. It was great to see how roads changed, what buildings were in both pictures, and how the areas had grown up over the years!
It was just a wonderful way to spend an hour and a half, and is indicative of the small wonders you can find all across this country. On the way out we talked to the Assistant Curator of the Museum who gave us a little history of the building (it was originally the area’s Armory and then became a Community Center before becoming the home of the museum), and it was nice to be able to tell him how much we enjoyed our visit. Again, like our brief visit with the fireman in Rock Springs, a Travels with Charlie moment!!
Dinner tonight was a real throwback. Years and years ago, when Susie and I would road trip alone, and even when we’d do it with Billy, Krissi, and Kenny, sometimes dinner would just be fast food brought back to the room. Tonight, Susie looked through all the information she could find on restaurants in the Craig area, and unless we wanted Mexican, there really wasn’t a lot. We figured that after Vegas, we will be spending better than 2 weeks in the home of Tex/Mex food, and to do it in Colorado would be silly. Also, we’ve noticed a total lack of Italian Restaurants in our travels so far! Funny, because both on Long Island, and down in Ocean City, there is an Italian Restaurant on almost every other block! Well anyway, since Craig seems to be the home of lots of fast food franchises, our throwback meal tonight was a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken back in the room! It was a really lame KFC, as they seemed to be running out of everything. If we wanted the extra crispy we ordered, it was a 15 minute wait. If we wanted the biscuits that came with the meal, it was a 10 minute wait! We ended up with the bucket of chicken (in a weird mix of pieces), potato wedges, and of course the famous KFC cole slaw! It was a great meal, and only set us back $24!
That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow it’s off to Rocky Mountain National Park, and our drive across the peaks! Wish us luck!