Archive for September, 2011

The ROYAL ROAD TRIP – Day Three: Delta to Fort Bridger – The Long Way

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2011 by Queenie

Caution… Get a cup of coffee or your favorite adult beverage – this is a long one – lots of pictures. Consider yourself warned. Also remember you can click on the pics to make them bigger. And now, all aboard for Day Three. Definitely a Wow. And more about those Wows a little later. You should know – I decided I needed to add some of TheQueen’s images to round out the storytelling here, identified with just that on her photographs. And here we go!



Be careful if you ever land in Delta, Colorado, for if you have any affinity at all for art or old cars, you are in for some serious trouble – or fun. Well, that is, if you have to be out of there on a time table or anything resembling such. We had noticed when we did our run through of town on our arrival Saturday evening that this indeed was an interesting little town. Clean as a whistle, with lots of revamped storefronts and antique buildings brought up to date, and why in the world do I have not one picture of such things? I suppose at the time I wasn’t looking at this journey as the travelogue that it has become, and wasn’t doing such a good job of taking what is known in the biz as “establishment” shots. (Do I remember that correctly? Possibly not, since I don’t seem to take or pay much attention to them.)

We thought we had some form of agenda when we arose on Sunday morning. When we had done our drive through on Saturday evening, we were impressed with this little town and its evident transformation, especially when we started noticing all the murals. They were everywhere, on so many buildings, and they were very well done. And there was lots of other art everywhere – statuary on the street corners – that sort of thing.  It already being late-ish, we said we’d make sure to peruse and photograph all the murals in town in the morning.

And so, after our morning ablutions and getting ourselves together, we loaded out, but still we couldn’t quite get out of the parking lot of the Westways, which we could now appreciate in daylight. It’s a good thing when you can be equally impressed with something, (be it human or architectural), when viewed in the light of day. There followed the obligatory shots around our latest nighttime stopping place, just as charming in the morning sunshine, and danged if the place hadn’t filled up overnight since now there was a No Vacancy announcement attached. Lucky us, once again.


Before we depart the lovely Westways Court, I have to leave you with the link to their website, for there you can click and actually see the iconic flashing neon sign. Like I said, just about my favorite stop, motel-wise. Not much better for pure Western Americana, and their theme is an homage to the Old West theme that I love. Click and enjoy, and they even have some music from the Grand Canyon Suite on there.

So, finally then we were headed into town, and the murals. But that was before…..the old cars. We didn’t make it very far. There it was, on the left – Orval’s Used Cars. And we were goners. The murals would have to wait. Anyone who knows anything about me, knows that I have this thing about rusty old cars. May I say that we stumbled upon at least a piece of the mother-lode that had somehow located itself in Delta, Colorado.


As for the murals, there were, fortunately, at least two of them gracing the walls of Orval’s or we would’ve been totally bankrupt of mural images. In fact, the murals had gone straight out of our consciousness when we were presented the plethora of rusty old cars, right there, ripe for the pickin’. Why, THANK YOU!


I got an entire gallery’s worth of images, and here are but a few. I suppose I have a new rust collection.


And a strange ghost image cross on an old ambulance…


We stayed a long time. We took a lot of pictures. It got very warm in the sun. We still stayed. Until we just had to call it done. But what a trip – even an old Chrysler – with a crown! And under the crown, it said, no kidding, Fluid Drive. Well I never.


Even after calling time on the cars and forsaking the murals, we still couldn’t get far out of town. The evening before I’d had a hard time trying to park somewhere to get a shot of the local aliens while we were cruising the outer edges, and trying not to get Ponygirl in traffic trouble, I gave it up. But there it was again, and I decided I would not allow defeat. Morning was better, and there was less traffic and more aliens than I originally had spied. In fact there was “art” all over this guy’s property, but we had to claim a small victory and beat feet. Late, you know.


We didn’t even take a picture of Delta Pawn. But once you’ve seen it, the song won’t stop in your head. Are you old enough to remember that song, either by Tanya Tucker or Helen Reddy, depending on which brand of radio station you tended to listen to? Whichever, I’m betting now that the song is rattling through your brain cells, and for that, I apologize. Poor Queen, she wanted to stop at pawn shops all through our journey, but somehow we never had the time. Perhaps our next excursion will have a Pawn Shop theme, but somehow I think Rocks will win out. Finally, we got out of town, but I liked Delta for sure.

We found ourselves in what could be described as undulating plains, with different sorts of rocks and landscapes. TheQueen told many tales of  her rock collecting adventures, and her various expeditions to retrieve specimens. Believe me, I may have brought home lots of rocks in my time, but compared to her exploits I am strictly an amateur. I was enlightened as to the term “floating material.”  In some quarters, floating material could be of dubious merit, but in rock world, it’s a good thing, perhaps best described as pieces or collections of rock that are lying on top of the ground, as apposed to being imbedded in the dirt or layers below. Maybe that’s sort of it, and rather sad, since once upon a time ago I was a geology major. Whatever it is/they are, we saw lots of it, but no collecting yet.


Northwest was the new direction, and out we went, skirting Grand Junction, on our way to a smaller road, 130, that would take us due north and within thinking distance of Wyoming. Even so, we still had a bit of Utah to negotiate, and we were still in central Colorado. North of Grand Junction and along the way, the landscape changed considerably, flattening out again, and looking like some foothills in the almost desert. Stopping on the edges of Grand Junction we continued on with our meet and greets of the various characters of the four-footed variety. It’s always good to get a Fur Fix when you’re on a ramble and missing your critters, and isn’t this just a great smile? Happy pooch, on vacation with her people.


Once one starts heading toward the northwest corner of Colorado, you are in dinosaur country. There is indeed a town named Dinosaur, and you are in the vicinity of Dinosaur National Monument. We didn’t go. We were, um, late. But we did see a dinosaur.


The little road that leads north out of Fruita, on the way up to Rangely and Dinosaur, soon became a new all time favorite. It had everything. It starts out flattish and dry, but not boring and very promising.


Then it’s back up into foothills, then up further into the mountains again. Vistas were superb, and then we stopped at Douglas Pass, for one of the best views we’d had.


We spent a while there, taking more pictures, amusing the wildlife, and just soaking in the magnificence.


Here’s what TheQueen was up to with that Royal Wave. She went and made a video with that new camera. Courtesy of TheQueen, here’s a moment, with accompanying background by Raul Malo, (who, you may remember, is the one at the end of this six degrees of separation of Queenie and TheQueen, though I don’t think there are even six):



And don’t you know she was just danged proud of herself.  And, well, we were having just a bit of FUN.


I don’t quite remember where this was, somewhere in the neighborhood, but it was a nice shot, again captured by TheQueen. When I get it figured out, I’ll amend as necessary.


Time to dispense with fun in one place, and onward toward our destination. We were finally approaching the northwest corner of Colorado, but it was time for a late lunch break. And then there it was…..Rangely.

I have to say, Rangely, Colorado rates as one of the more curious towns ever encountered via road trip experiences. We dubbed it Strangely Rangely, and jettisoned ourselves appropriately out of there. Well, we did stop and have that lunch at an equally strange little park on the edge of town, somewhere in the throes of construction, which had the oddest rocks as part of their walkabout area – artificial rocks manually constructed, then painted equally oddly I suppose to look natural, (and they missed) – and why bother when there were countless magnificent rocks all around? Art has no bounds. And I, strangely, (yet again), have no pictures.

Typical lunch fare, and I assure you there was chocolate.


And my posed commercial for Laughing Cow Cheese. I’m not sure it’s entirely a good thing to model, smiling, for a product named Laughing Cow. But we did like the cheese, even if the setting was a bit strange…(ly, Rangely.)


Having refueled, we set out for the Utah border, looking very forward to the promise of one of the more anticipated scenic wonders in our path. But first we had to get out of Rangely. No pictures of the weird rocks at the park, nor did we take any pictures of the Kum and Go convenience store. It could be that I remember there were a number of questionably named businesses and points of interest in town, (Loaf N’ Jug), but what we didn’t see was made up for in our imaginations, and it kept getting worse. It was time to get the holy heck out of Rangely, and aim toward Wyoming. No place in Colorado has a right to be that weird. After all, we were supposed to rest our weary selves in Wyoming that very night, and it was still two states away. And between us and it was Flaming Gorge. I seem to remember several non-sequiturs about it being but one letter away from Flaming George, which seemed rather humorous at the time, (and reminding me of how my father got chased out of a wrestling event by Gorgeous George the Wrestler, and that’s another story entirely), but that escapes me now. Obviously a side-effect of the Strangely Rangely Mind Bending Syndrome — and just think what could’ve happened if we’d been forced to get a motel there that night. We might have been assimilated!

The landscape changed a few times as we wended our way north and west. Out of Colorado and then into Utah, and we thought, (however foolishly), that we were finally closing in. The Rangely Effect got us again as we took a wrong road out of Vernal, but we caught it quick this time. Due North now, heading for Flaming George, er… Gorge, and we just weren’t prepared for how BIG it was. And how fabulous. And how we needed two more days.

Light was really tricky at Flaming Gorge. It was doing wonderful things in the distance, but it just wouldn’t get to the lake. We were already pushing the limits of being “late,” along with the fact that we were to meet up with my friend Evelyn who just happened to be in the neighborhood also – from Massachusetts, mind you, so it wasn’t like we could just put this off for another day – well, in those cases you just take what you get, and we got just fine.

While this isn’t supposed to be a discourse on Photography, (you’ll get that soon in my OTHER new blog coming soon to a computer near you), I will point out that one style I seem to have developed is a retro one. I’ve found some magic buttons to play with that take my work, some of it, to the old Arizona Highways look of the 40’s and 50’s. Painterly, you might call it. It’s working on most everything I do, from rust to some landscapes, and all I need is some old snappy automobiles of the touring variety to throw in now and again. I get them, but they’re usually very rusty and not at all roadworthy, as you have already seen.


So here then, the vista at Flaming Gorge in very north Utah. Quite the scene. As said, I wish we could’ve spent two or three days around here. We but skimmed the surface, and never got close to the water, and those red rocks!


We no more than left the Big Vista Viewpoint and had gone not so many miles when we were blessed with more wonderful rocks and trees and hills and clouds and grasses and, well, the list goes on. From our Sheep Creek stop, where Ponygirl patiently waits.


Running Mousie Cloud.  Maybe this is Speedy Gonzales.


TheQueen disappeared for some time while I played with the trees and clouds. There was one big rock outcrop separated from the rest, with fabulous light on it. I got it from this side…


And when I got back around, there was TheQueen halfway up the hill, doing her own take on it. After a while I wondered if she was ever coming back, and wouldn’t you know, when she did, she had fabulous rock presents for me. Beautiful pink rocks. Thank you, Queen.


We had to go. We HAD to GO! But it was a wondrous afternoon of light and rainshowers and vistas. We couldn’t get anywhere. After we left the place of rain and sun on rocks, we then got the rainbows.

TheQueen’s Rainbow. Surely this must’ve been a grab shot as I was trying to get us down the road to Wyoming, because I sure didn’t get this one, or even remember it. Nice job, Queen.


And my own rainbow, a few more miles down the road. But shortly thereafter, I found bones, and my focus shifted. You have to grab those bones where you can get them – art projects, you know – and for some reason there was some sort of deer dying ground all along that fence. I could not believe how many had ended up there, and why. But I collected the bones with thanks, and now art awaits. Boneheads, anyone?


After that we went after the grasses. TheQueen found them first while I was bone scavenging, but they were surely beautiful, and I followed suit. Note how low the sun is in the sky. Time ticketh.


Time to GO! My river buddy was waiting for us in Green River, and we were past late. The scenery wasn’t done with us, however, as we caught last light at the northern end of Flaming Gorge Reservoir.


TheQueen’s award winning shot of the far northern reaches of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Somehow we had at last actually made it into Wyoming.


After the last farewell to the sun, we were finally able to head for our rendezvous with Evelyn without further distraction. Darkness has a way of helping you along the road when you can no longer see the wonderment.

Still many miles later we pulled into Green River and found our meetup place – inglorious for sure, but everyone can find McDonald’s, right? Kudos to my friend for waiting hours for us while we were caught up in the magic light. (We photographer types are mighty generous when allowing for the Magic Hour of Light, and we’d had it all afternoon!) We had a most pleasant reunion – I hadn’t laid eyes on Evelyn since we all departed the river trip down the Grand Canyon over a year ago – and now here we were in Green River, Wyoming. She was in the midst of her own adventure, driving all the way from Massachusetts to our mutually beloved West, and how kind of her to alter her plans enough to meet with us for a visit before she headed back East. Quite a meeting of the girlfriends, out in the wilds of Wyoming. Who’d ever thought we could pull off such a thing, but pull it off we did. We thought we’d have dinner since it would be too late to find anything open by the time we’d manage to make it to Fort Bridger, and Evelyn said she’d join us, and so we inquired as to what would be our best bet for dinner in Green River, a sizable enough little town. Penny’s Diner, we were told, and off we went.

Now I know the Penny’s Diner franchises – they happen to have one in Alpine, where I have been known to hang out in West Texas – only I always call it the Shiny Diner since it looks somewhat like an Airstream trailer, all cylindrical and metallic, and usually rather shiny. And there it was, another one for sure. And yes, the neon looked inviting.

May I say, with all appropriate aghastment  and disbelief, that we would probably have been better off at McDonalds? I mean, aside from orange juice and taking advantage of their restrooms, I have little or no truck with Mickey D’s. But here is your word to the Needing to be Wise: Don’t eat dinner at Penny’s Diner – well, a simple sandwich, maybe. Breakfast would’ve been safe, I think, but a late night dinner of “real” food? Don’t ask what they can do to an innocent piece of salmon – it’s criminal – and that fish surely died in vain, but we just enjoyed the company and the catching up, and stuffed down the fish and something resembling vegetables in a previous life. Plus we were “entertained” by the foul mouthed youths sitting down and across from us who couldn’t say pass the salt without adding f**k in some form to every sentence uttered. Withering glances did nothing, except perhaps encourage them to further pester the old ladies. Not so old we couldn’t whip their sorry butts if we’d wanted to, I think. Or at least beat them at their own game with far superior vocabularies.

TheQueen took some pictures outside the shiny diner after the not so shiny dinner, we said our good-byes, and off we went in our opposite directions. Bless you, Evelyn – what a trooper! And goodness, some of us in particular look particularly road-whacked….and it wasn’t Evelyn.


We were at least and at last in Wyoming, our destination state, and Fort Bridger was one leg away.  We’d already called ahead to the Wagon Wheel Motel, (perhaps about the only motel in town and I’d already made reservations), and told them we’d be frightfully late, and they were leaving the door to our room unlocked for us. Not much of a crime factor in Fort Bridger, obviously, and we headed out into the darkness.

A while later, down some smallish roads, wondering what was out there, we finally saw it – the city limits sign: Fort Bridger, Population 150.  I knew it might be small, but jiminy.

We rolled into the motel parking lot, found our room, unloaded and tried to sleep. It was late, well after midnight, and it was the 4th of July already. Not our best room, but at least it was the least expensive of the entire trip, and we were to spend two nights here. Home, for a little while.

And we WERE there!  We’d made it. Morning was almost arrived already, and what would we wake up to? What did the landscape look like? Were there mountains around? Big skies? Broad plains? Mountain Men?

Visions of buckskins danced in my head, and we were in Wyoming, trying to sleep, but too tired and excited to do much of that. Fort Bridger. Really and finally and for true. And what would the morrow bring to the weary travelers?

We tried to sleep with images of the day dancing around behind our eyeballs. What a ride. Soon I’ll have to tell you about The Wows. But now, time to try to sleep…. but still thinking of the day, and Flaming George.