Today’s post is 1830 words, 16 photos, an 8 minute read. Enjoy!
Welcome to post number 400 of Traveling with Tom. It was on July 25, 2021 that I posted blog number 300. Here’s how I opened that post:
“When I started this blog site in November of 2015, I never thought I’d still be at it nearly six years later. I must admit, the past eighteen months have been challenging. With travel limited, there were weeks I had to scramble to figure out what I was going to post on Sunday at 4:00 PM Central Time. On the other hand, it did force me to dive into my archive of photos to create content worthy of my readership. For all your likes and comments, a big heartfelt THANK YOU!”
I can’t improve on what I said two years ago, only update. The thank you for readers and commenters stays the same. Again, a big thank you!
As I look back at the last 100 posts, I’ll share a few of my favorites photos with you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did writing and visiting these places. Let’s get started.
Door County Maritime Museum
It was the summer of 2021 when we made our first visit to the Door County Maritime Museum. Over the years, we’ve driven by the museum at least 100 times. The main reason for our stop this time was to see the view from the recently opened ten-story tower. We weren’t disappointed as the Michigan Street bridge that connects the south and north sides of the city of Sturgeon Bay lay before us. Another good reason to visit Door County again and again is to see what new features are added.
The Great Parks of the Colorado Plateau
In November 2021, my Traveling Partner and I spent a month on the road from Madison to Death Valley National Park. On our way west, we stopped at several National Parks and Monuments in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. Our first stop was at the Colorado National Monument, one of our very favorite parks. It’s hard to describe the red rock, the land formations, and the scenic beauty. Here’s one photo from our time in this unique and wonderful place.
I often think of the Shafer Trail in Canyonlands National Park. Here’s what I said about it when I wrote the blog post:
“At the first turnout on the 34-mile mesa top scenic drive, we could see the Shafer Trail road winding its way down the canyon wall. I was convinced we could make it but the switch-backs and steep grade looked challenging. We did observe one vehicle driving very slowly on the unpaved, pothole filled road. About that time, another couple about our age, arrived and stood near us looking into the canyon and road. The other fella and I struck up a conversation about how fun it would be to take this road. You could see the adventure and risk in our formerly adolescent eyes! Behind us, our Traveling Partners were saying to each something to the effect “over my dead body am I going down there.” The other guy and I jokingly said to each other: “We could team up!” Too soon our rational thinking, adult minds switched back on, saving us from the risk of an early death or at the very least, a messy divorce if we survived. Time to move on.”
About 35 miles south of Torrey, Utah, we turned off Scenic Byway 12 onto the Burr Trail Road. This would take us into a northeast section of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). Take a gander at the beauty of the landscape.
During our drive we came upon a cattle drive:
Part way into our side trip down Burr Trail Road, we came upon this scene. It was three cowboys, one cowgirl, and a border collie driving about 35 head of cows to a destination a few miles up the road. BLM leases grazing rights to ranchers, I suspect this was the late fall roundup before winter weather sets in. We followed behind for about fifteen minutes until there was a safe spot for the wranglers to wave us through.
Reminded me a lot of the times, I helped my grandpa drive his cattle ten miles from his farm to the summer pasture.
In my blog post on Bryce Canyon National Park, “Who Do You Think You Are?,” I shared photos of the thousands of hoodoos, the main features of this park. Here’s my first impression:
“When we reached the railing and gazed into the Bryce Amphitheater, we had the same reaction that J. W. Humphrey had over 100 years ago: We were stunned by the beauty! The pinkish, red rock, the densely packed hoodoos, the massive scale”.
“I was in Death Valley to meet up with a small group of photography friends that I met at a workshop in 2015 at the Madeline Island School of the Arts, MISA. The group has been getting together once a year in different locations around the country to photograph and enjoy each others company. We hire a professional photographer that knows the area to take us to the places where we have the opportunity to make photos. The gathering in Death Valley was supposed to happen in the fall of 2020. You can guess why it didn’t. With good luck on our side, we gathered after the Delta variant was waning and just before the Omicron variant took hold.
The leaders for our group were Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring. Brenda was our instructor at Madeline Island in 2015. She’s an excellent photographer and teacher, never too busy to answer questions or help participants with equipment or composition. Jed is also an excellent photographer, not afraid to go off the trail to seek a unique photo or angle. We were in great hands and we all looked forward to quality time photographing one of the more interesting places on earth.”
Here are a couple of photos from that productive and fun workshop.
Devils Tower National Monument
On the trail home, we made a detour through Wyoming to see the Devils Tower National Monument. It was a site to behold. Here’s what I wrote in that blog post:
“It was early afternoon as we approached Devils Tower. It’s hard to miss as it protrudes out of the surrounding plains to attract attention. Neither my Traveling Partner or I had been to Devils Tower, even though over the years we’d been close.”
A couple of my favorite posts written about our trip out west were “What’s in a Name” Part 1 and Part 2. In these posts, I wrote about some of the interesting names of towns and places we visited. Here’s what I wrote about Friend, Nebraska and Notom, Utah.
“After crossing into Nebraska and flying down the racetrack, also known as I-80, between Lincoln and Grand Island, the sign pointing out Friend made me smile. What a great name for any town, especially one located on the Great Plains.
Friend is named after one of the first homesteaders, Charles Friend. The original name for the town was Friendville, when the railroad showed up they shortened the name to Friend. Pretty simple explanation.
The population of Friend is just under 1000 people. Much of the surrounding area is devoted to agriculture. When I looked through the list of business in Friend, the Farmers Union Co-op stood out as did a number of trucking companies. They likely haul agricultural commodities, corn, soybeans, pigs, and cattle. I’m guessing Friend is pretty friendly little town!”
“The sign pointing to Notom was about a mile before we reached the east edge of Capitol Reef National Park. Notom is pronounced “note um.” I pronounce it “No Tom” because that’s my first name and I could hear my mother saying those words when I was a child!
Notom was settled in 1883 by Mormon families. It started off as Pleasant Creek but postal authorities requested a change because that name was already in use. Then it became Pleasant Dale and finally Notom. The origin of this name is unknown, my guess it has a Native American connotation. Or just maybe it was a mom yelling at one of her kids: “No Tom!”
At it’s peak, there were twenty-three families in this unincorporated town. Now a ghost town, Notom is part of a sprawling cattle ranch.”
In my November 27 2022 article titled “Interesting People I’ve Met This Year,” I wrote about a happenstance meeting of artist Tom Seagard. Here’s what I said:
“During our month long stay in Door County, we made several trips around the county. One day when we found ourselves in Sister Bay, we parked near the Mill Road Gallery, home of artists Tom Seagard and his wife Brigitte Kozma. As I was browsing around the gallery, Tom came up to me and started talking. Our conversation went on for nearly a half hour, my Traveling Partner came looking for me or I’d might still be standing there talking with this interesting fella.
Tom has been an artist since age 19 when he was studying art and design at UW-Milwaukee. He told me he was injured as a young man, nearly crippled but he turned those injuries, particularly to his hands into opportunities. His current work is of Native Americans. The medium is brown paper, like a grocery bag, stretched over a piece of masonite. He uses traditional art materials as well as common items like bleach, coffee mixed with Windex, and food coloring in his work. Tom has quite a story to tell. Stop in and check out his work. I enjoyed my visit with him. Here’s a link to his gallery webpage.”
In late December and early January, my Traveling Partner and I traveled with The Eldest, The Son-in-Law, and The Youngest to North Dakota for Christmas with our families. After our visit, we headed down to the Black Hills of South Dakota for a little winter tourism. Much to our delight, the weather was much milder than it was in North Dakota. One of our stops was at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Here’s what I wrote and saw:
I’ve been to Mount Rushmore a number of times. The first was in 1964 when my aunt invited my sister and I to join her and her two boys on a five-day camping trip to the Black Hills. I remember looking up in awe at the carved faces of the four presidents. Back then, the facilities were primitive by todays standards but the faces were the same then as they are now. Every time I visit Mount Rushmore, I think back to that first look, I still stand in awe.
This spring, I made my 20th and final trip to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It’s been a good ride that began in 2001. The festival wasn’t held in 2020 or 2021 because of the “damned panic” and I was uncomfortable being in crowds in the spring of 2022. Click here and here for links to my two posts. Here’s one of my favorite photos from this years fest.
Well folks, that’s a quick wrap to the last 100 blog posts. I estimate written over 120,000 words and included 2000 photos (some duplicates). I appreciate your loyalty and comments. It helps me to improve. Here’s to the next 100!
Until next week, happy travels!