Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Bloom Where You Are Planted

I would be the first to admit that I wasn't exactly jumping for joy about returning to Orlando, now that we are here however, I have to say it is nice being amongst the familiar. Coming home to this has been pretty sweet.
Yesterday, after a thorough cleaning by Bruce, I rode my bike for the first time in a year, and that felt good. Bruce is oh so happy to be back in his favorite desk chair, surrounded by all of his beloved office things, and fishing. Boy, has he enjoyed that!
Seeing familiar faces and places has been nice too. Saturday when we went to a garden center in Winter Park, I never expected to run into anyone because I was not looking my best. Yup, ran into Todd and Ron and had a very good chat. Yesterday, looking somewhat better, much to my surprise I  ran into John and Tammy at Foreign Accents on Orange Avenue. Sunday night, in Bunker and Cathy's absence, Lisa and Oren hosted happy hour at their lovely home. The gang was mostly all there and it was as if we'd never left. So, those things have been good. Bill and Fallon took us out on Sunday for a welcome home lunch which was super great seeing them together as newlyweds. Although they had lived together for some years, I'm still calling them newlyweds because there is just something so special about being married. At least that's how I feel about things. Speaking of marriage, Mr. Peck and I have an upcoming wedding anniversary--#45! The years do fly by, don't they?

In my last post, I talked about the grandeur of the West and that theme will continue today as we make our way through Montana and Wyoming. Beginning the day in Great Falls, MT, we continued our westward trek through countryside that is so vast as to be unimaginable to us folks from the populated South.
As this was to be a nearly 500 mile day, we needed to make time, but rest was paramount too. Stopping at a roadside park, Bruce took one of his famous "power naps" while I roamed with my camera, coming across what I'm thinking is a Magpie, a bird I'd never seen, and you know how happy that makes me, don't you?
While that was great, seeing a Cottontail rabbit was right up there in the excitement range.
Eighteen minutes is all it takes and Bruce is ready to rock and roll. Seatbelts fastened, we were once again on our way. Except, "wait honey, can we pull over?" How could he say no to this scene?
He couldn't is the answer. One of his favorite movies of all time is A River Runs Through It, and here was the real thing right before us!

I think one of the things that was so remarkable is how vast the landscape is. That song, I Can See for Miles kept running through my head.
Finally, another spot to pull over and another power nap. I don't know exactly how cozy this place is, but in the vast empty landscape, seeing a bit of civilization was not totally unwelcome.
How could I not know that Bruce is "goal oriented" whereas I am "experience oriented"? Naturally, I do know that, but being on a long road trip it became more apparent as each day passed. If it had been up to me, we probably still would be on the road, what with me wanting to stop all of the time, whereas Bruce was all about getting home. That, in a nutshell, is one secret to our successful marriage--compromise. We made it home with both of us getting our way some of the time.

This my friends, looked to be a very dusty operation.
Well, hello, Wyoming!
And how do you tell one state from another? Generally separated by rivers, we did somewhat notice a change in rocks, either the shapes or the colors. Wyoming seemed to have more orange in the soil.
Absolutely mind boggling thinking of the early settlers who braved untold hardships to open up the West, blazing new trails. Traveling in an air conditioned automobile, at the legal limit of 80 MPH, makes one feel like a wimp compared to these hardy folks.
There is nothing, nothing, nothing, and then there is a small city. In this instance, we stayed in Gillette, WY. Why there? Well, because towns are few and far between, finding lodging, as I mentioned is tricky. That said, we stayed in Hampton Inns for nearly all of the trip. Thus, Gillette had a Hampton.
According to this, it is a small city of 36,000 people who make better wages than you might expect. When I look up places, my favorite entry is the "notable people" section because it constantly amazes me that people who do interesting things with their life oftentimes come from tiny places. Is this the American Dream we speak about?

I couldn't wait to get on the road the following morning because our next stop was Devils Tower. What pray tell is this thing of which I speak? Well, according to the National Park service website it is not only astounding, and the first National Monument in the United States. Hilly, winding roads lead you there with Bruce catching sight of it long before we arrived as it rises way above the surrounding landscape.
Seeing the varied rock formations all during out time in the West, I kept thinking I wished I'd absorbed more from the Historical Geology class I took at Valencia. At the time, it seemed pretty irrelevant to me, but after this trip, I've gained a much greater appreciation for rocks. Speaking of historical, there are varied theories as to how this formed, most of which involve a long ago volcano. Thinking of what has been happening in Hawaii, it seems all the more possible.
Seeing it from afar, you never imagine that surrounding it are boulders so large that I never even imagined existed.
Because this was to be a short driving day, we took our time, strolling around the perimeter walkway, seeing it from every angle. You can totally understand why it has been a sacred place for many Native American tribes. Awe-inspiring comes to mind. 

Seeing the valley below was pretty awe-inspiring as well.
Early climbers used wooden ladders, however, ropes are the equipment of choice these days. The tiny speck on the upper right is one such climber.
What sets this apart from other rock formations is the long almost tube like rocks which you can see break off now and again.

Every angle is different and equally as amazing. Those boulders I mentioned? A small child is climbing on one which is about the size of a twin bed!
As you walked along the pathway, you could also see evidence of a controlled burn in the forest. And more boulders which presumably spewed out during the initial volcano. Who really knows?
One last thing to see in the park is what they call a "prairie dog town." Here are the dry facts about such a thing, and here is what it looks like.
There are multiple places to stop and watch their playful behavior which we would highly recommend.
Both of us were pretty enthralled and frankly, surprised, at how happy we were to have made time to visit Devils Tower. Should you find yourself in the NE corner of Wyoming, go and see for yourself!

Then it was back on the road again.
South Dakota!
That sign was all true as you will see soon in my next post.

In our 45th year of marriage, we are going to bloom where we are planted and that is in our new space in Orlando which will be easy to do. I'd almost forgotten that this place is like living in a resort that you never have to leave!

your friend,

Gail


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