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Western Holiday Adventure December 2012 - Part One

January 18, 2013  •  3 Comments

Welcome to our newest adventure
2012 Holiday Trip to Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, including Yellowstone National Park

PART ONE - Denver and Mammoth Hot Springs

We begin our trip with some nice Christmas spirit at RDU International

Then off, to Atlanta and then Denver for a snowy Christmas Eve dinner.  I got pictures of dinner, the house, the snow, the plane, but no P&R :-(

A really cool way to drink eggnog!

We took a nice 20 minute walk to a nice little Italian restaurant serving a special 7 course Italian Christmas Dinner.  Highlight was this eggnog,  the trout dish, and my first sea urchin.  Snow started falling during the meal, and we walked home in a beautiful Christmas Eve snow fall.

After a comfy warm nights' sleep we awoke at 5:30 a.m. to 5 inches of snow, and Patrick drove us safely to the Denver airport. 

Here we are driving our Prius rental from Bozeman toward Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.  There is a herd of Big Horn Sheep in the last few frames. 

Of course, a little snow does not phase Denver, and, after a little de-icing, we were off to Bozeman, Montana.


About to land in Bozeman, MT

Cozy Bozeman airport.

Next stop - Mammoth Hot Springs

 is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine in Yellowstone National Park adjacent to Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate(over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution). Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas.

As we neared the Yellowstone area Sheree' spotted these Big Horn Sheep grazing alongside a river.
 The Roosevelt Arch is a rusticated triumphal arch at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, USA. Constructed under the supervision of the U.S. Army at Fort Yellowstone, its cornerstone was laid down by President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. The top of the arch is inscribed with a quote from the Organic Act of 1872, the legislation which created Yellowstone, which reads "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People."

Entering Yellowstone at a very historic location.

Go to the photo album to see there are NO WHEELS on those vans. 

Mammoth Hot Springs would be our home for the remainder of Christmas Day, and we stayed two nights. As soon as we arrived I visited my first ever ski shop to get fitted for cross-country skis and boots. Then off we went, my only lessons being a few YouTube videos, to the groomed trails of the upper springs. Falling was not so bad, but getting up, good grief!  The next day's professional ski lesson cleared that up. 

We enjoyed a tasty Christmas Day buffet in the dining hall, followed by a presentation on the history of Mammoth Hot Springs.


The following morning we went skiing with the bison. 

Most dangerous animal in the park, after humans, and we agreed, it is his road!

Sheree's next place of employment, or where Brian went after skiing?

Quaint little skating rink behind the hotel. 

Our second night in Mammoth. 

Before we departed Mammoth Hot Springs we thought it would be nice to SEE the hot springs. Pictures don't do it justice. 

On our way to Bozeman, and the next leg of our adventure, Big Sky, Montana and Lone Mountain Ranch. 
Hope this gives you a feel for what it was like to be there. 
Click here to see more (full-size) images from Mammoth Hot Springs.  Stay tuned for our next blog - Lone Mountain Ranch and Yellowstone snowcoaching. 


Hendersonville, NC Area July 2012

July 11, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Happy 4th of July
Hendersonville, NC


Click here for
slide show



July 3rd we drove to Flat Rock Mountain Lodge, just South of Hendersonville for a two night stay.
Dupont State Forest We spent the morning of July 4th hiking trails in Dupont State Park
We also hiked trails leading to High Falls and Triple Falls.  These may look familiar as they appeared on the movie "The Last of the Mohicans". Dupont State Forest
Brave man gives perspective Notice the people at the base of the falls.  It gives a sense of how large and stunning these falls are.
There was a covered bridge at the top of High Falls.  Very romantic.

There were over 50 classic cars
lining the streets of Hendersonville.
Sheree was attracted to one of the many downtown bears. "I love bears!"


Rocky Mountain High ---- June 2012

July 02, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

On June 13 I flew out to Denver to visit Patrick and Rebecca, and the Neville's. I left my camera behind on the visit to the Neville's,  so no pics from there.  Be sure to enjoy all the photographs in the slide show.  Hope to write a better blog on my next trip, this one was thrown together as we pack to leave town for Hendersonville, NC. 

Patrick moved to Colorado last year and this was my first chance to visit. First things first. Patrick has met a wonderful woman, her name is Rebecca, and you will see these two smiling faces a lot in the photographs to follow.


This is Rebecca's apartment, about 4 blocks from downtown Denver.  Living downtown has so many advantages and tempts me to give up the country life. Downtown Asheville calling?

Rebecca's Apartment in downtown Denver
Boulder Creek
Rockies Baseball Rebecca took me to a Rockies game while Patrick was working. It was hot, and the smoke from the Fort Collins fire was in the air, just a little, but we had a very nice time talking and watching the "little league" effort on the field. The stadium is within walking distance of the apartment. Sweet!
Boulder Falls Boulder Falls
Nederland, CO I took a drive-about one day while Patrick was working. This is the town of Nederland, CO,  about 30 minutes west of Boulder. I also visited a very crowded Estes Park. 
Coming in to Nederland Nederland, CO

The three of us took a 2 1/2 day road trip west of Denver, with stops at Glenwood Springs, Black Canyon National Park, Gunnison, Salida and Leadville CO. 

Craft fair in Glenwood Springs

Street Fair in Glenwood Springs

South of Glenwood Springs was amazing Black Canyon NP, rivaling the Grand Canyon and Yosemite Valley. It is the blackest, the steepest and the most unassuming canyon, until you look down that is.  The picture at right was our first overlook, little did we know it was mild compared to the scary places yet to come.  Check out the entire slide show for larger images. 





I had to bail on this hike.

Out of shape.

Next time! Bet on it!

Along the river was an old wagon.

Wish it could talk!

Most of our drive did NOT look like this, as many, many trees, up to 60% on some mountain-sides, were dead due to the pine bark beetle.  Different from the tree devastation in our NC mountains, this is caused by a native species. I fear for Colorado in the years to come, the fire risk is extreme.  
Typical Colorado countryside.

The town of Salida - home of outdoor sports competitions, kayaking through downtown (see right), mountain biking, running, snowmobiles etc....

Salida CO

Salida CO
Leadville, CO

Leadville, CO - once a city of 50,000 (gold rush days), now about 2,500.  Just recently one of the largest mines re-opened with 300 new jobs, mining molybdenum.

The Climax mine, located in Climax, Colorado, United States, is a major molybdenum mine in Lake and Summit counties, Colorado. In its heyday, the Climax mine was the largest molybdenum mine in the world, and for many years it supplied three-fourths of the world's supply of molybdenum. After a 17 year shutdown, the Climax mine has reopened and made its first shipment of molybdenum on May 10, 2012............... from wikipedia


Old mining operation in Leadville, CO One of many abandoned mines up the mountainside from Leadville, CO

Climax Mine

Climax molybdenum mine
Parting pictures from the Boulder and Denver area. Check out the slide show for more and larger  images
Highland Square in northwest Denver
Downtown Boulder
Downtown Boulder Above Boulder


Spring Break 2012 - Wilmington, N.C. to Charleston, S.C.

April 22, 2012  •  Leave a Comment


Hi all, 

Sheree and I took off Saturday, April 1 for a six day spring break trip. Sheree drove the Outback and I drove ye ol pick-up, pinball machine riding in the back.  A very nice day except for the pouring rain on the way down from Durham. We spent a nice afternoon with Corey and Joanna, delivering the pinball machine and truck to their new house, and later we went out for yummy fondue in downtown Wilmington We spent the night at the Inn at Wilmington. We left Riley at home at a kennel and took Cierra with us, but also kenneled her in Georgetown and Charleston SC.

Our trip: Wilmington to Charleston

Corey and Joanna's first home.                         Click here to zoom in on the house and surrounding area
Sunday, April 2,  we drove south toward Myrtle Beach, SC, making a few stops along the way and eventually arriving at Myrtle Beach State Park. We camped for two nights. It was crowded but fairly quiet, except for the occasional jet (campsite at end of runway!) This was my first experience using a CPAP machine in a tent. Best tent sleep in years. Great weather. (Actually, a little too hot Monday(88))
Walking path: Wilmington park Myrtle Beach campground
Greenfield Park, Wilmington NC Campground site - Myrtle Beach State Park Myrtle Beach just south of the maddening crowds.

Monday and Tuesday - Highlights of this area were Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park. We had wanted to camp at Huntington Beach but we(I) waited to long to make reservations. Brookgreen Gardens was a wonderful surprise we enjoyed for two days. Check out the slide show for many more pictures. 

Thirteen baby alligators: Huntington Beach
13 baby gators on this little island at Huntington Beach State Park Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historic Landmark with the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world and has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of the Carolinas.
Charleston 2012 Brook Gardens
The names and narratives are countless and fascinating, but no story is more interesting than that of Brookgreen Gardens' visionary founders, Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. Read more ....

Video - out back of the gardens......


After staying two nights, we headed to Georgetown SC and the Mansfield Plantation.  If you are familiar with the movie "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson, many key parts were filmed here. Very unique B&B. We took a nice bike ride and few short hikes.  

Slave quarters left and right as you approach the main house.  Look for this scene in the movie  "The Patriot" School house at Mansfield Plantation. Room on right was our bedroom We slept in the old school house. B&B Mansfield PLantation Sleeping in a classroom. ;-)
In 1718, a 500 acre plot of land was granted to a family on the outskirts of the bustling new village of Georgetown, South Carolina. Construction began on the main house fifty years later, and soon after, Mansfield Plantation blossomed into one of the largest rice plantations in South Carolina.

Today, Mansfield Plantation covers nearly 1,000 acres and is recognized as "one of the most architecturally intact rice plantation in South Carolina." It is a member of the National Register of Historic Places and is now owned and operated by the descendent of the original Parker family owners, John Rutledge Parker, and his wife, Sallie Middleton, Jr


Click here to learn more about Mansfield Plantation.  Visit our slide show to see more images. 

Next, off to Charleston SC and the 1837 B&B. In Charleston we walked, ate dinner, took a ghost tour and rode rickshaws.  Just before the ghost tour was to begin a rather serious thunderstorm delayed our departure, which required sitting in a quaint little pub until skies (almost) cleared.  Great atmosphere for a ghost tour.

Plantation stop on way to Charleston Charleston B&B 1837 B&B Charleston
Just another southern plantation on the way to Charleston 1837 Bed & Breakfast - very cozy and delicious. Web Site.

On Thursday we met Sheree's brother Scott, in from Clemson, SC, and birded a few natural areas. Really awesome. 

Breakfast was yummy at Charleston B&B A sample of a raft of fifty or so gaitors It's the french blood in him
Breakfast About 75 alligators !! Little Blue Heron Scott and researcher discuss birds.

And last but not least, Riley tells his story - "Kennel Hell"!

Picking up Riley: 30 miles of whining

Hope you enjoyed our Spring Break adventure. Remember, many more images at SLIDE SHOW.

Until next time,


Brian and Sheree'

Two Years Old

March 18, 2012  •  1 Comment

Good day all,

Sheree and I took a few minutes out of our busy schedule to celebrate our 2nd Anniversary, carrying take-out sandwiches over to Lake Crabtree to enjoy a nice sunset, and each other's company. We have each  been working 50-60 hours per week since August so grabbing a little time to ourselves was very nice indeed. With Spring Break now two weeks away we are looking forward to our six days down south, traveling from Wilmington, NC, where we will visit Corey and Joanna and their new house, and continuing south along the coast, eventually arrive in Charleston SC  for a few days at a B&B.

Sheree' recently enjoyed five wonderful days skiing in Vermont and in June I will be off on a solo trip to visit Patrick in Boulder. CO.

In late July we will head north to Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

That's all for now, thanks for visiting and reading our first blog posting.  


Brian and Sheree'

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