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Deadwood, South Dakota

I first heard of Deadwood when the HBO show of the same name came out. I started to watch the first one and the swearing horrified me. I think I watched about the first ten minutes before I gave up.

When we decided to visit South Dakota we discussed Deadwood and put it on our itinerary because it sounded interesting. Some people call Deadwood a place where Las Vegas meets the Wild West. There’s certainly lots of history in the town with names like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock attached to it.
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National Parks in America

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen National Parks I Visited Recently

1. Yosemite, California – just beautiful. I’d visited before but it was much quieter this time due to both the petrol prices and a recent fire that had scared visitors away. We had a perfect day with excellent visibility.

2. Grand Canyon, Arizona. This canyon is awe-inspiring.

3. Petrified Forest, Arizona. My husband and I both enjoyed our first visit to this park. The petrified forests were fascinating.

4. Mesa Verde, Colorado. Hot and dry. Busy but well worth a visit for the peek into the cliff dwellings of the Puebloans.

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5. Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado. I didn’t know anything about this park until I visited but I loved the black rock and the deep canyons. It was stark and beautiful.

6. Rocky Mountains, Colorado. We didn’t have the best weather here. At the top of the pass it was freezing and sleeting. Ranger Michelle answered some of my many questions while I was here and we saw lots of animals at the lower levels before it started raining. A lot of trees are dying here after being attacked by the pine beetle.

7. Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. We walked around the base and saw our first snake here.

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8. Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana. An interesting place to visit although, man was it hot on the day we visited!

9. Yellowstone, Wyoming. This is a huge park and you need to spend a few days to explore it fully.

10. Olympic, Washington. This park covers both forest, lakes and mountains as well as part of the coast. Crescent Lake was gorgeous and we also enjoyed exploring the coast.

11. Mt. Rainier, Washington. I loved my visit here. The spring flowers were in full bloom and it was really pretty.

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12. Lewis & Clark, Oregon. We didn’t know much about Lewis and Clark and after visiting Fort Clatsop we came away much wiser. This pair of explorers had great people skills and seemed well liked by everyone.

13. Crater Lake, Oregon. One of my favorites. It’s so pretty here. I could look at the lake for hours.

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Crater Lake National Park

Our holiday is almost over and I won’t post again until we’re at home. We’ve had such a great time and seen so many wonderful places.

Yesterday morning we wandered around the gardens at our hotel. Here’s a sunflower shot. I like sunflowers. They always make me smile when I see them.

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Crater Lake is beautiful. Mr. Munro and I have visited before and this time we stayed at the lodge. A forest fire made the air hazy but it was still very pretty. We wandered along one of the trails and relaxed, soaking in the views. It’s a lovely place to chill out.

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Mr. Munro has caught the flu and spent all night (or what felt like all night) coughing, sneezing and blowing his nose. He’s a little better today. Hopefully he’ll shake the worst of it off after a good night of sleep. We’re driving back to San Francisco tomorrow to catch a flight home. I can’t believe how quickly the last six weeks has gone.

Covered Bridges and Lava Fields

Another short post today. Yesterday we drove from Prineville to Cottage Grove, passing through lava fields and in the afternoon driving around to see covered bridges. We’re staying the night at a lovely resort called Village Green. We have our own private garden plus there are 14 acres of garden for resort visitors to wander around. It’s really lovely and deserving of a post of its own.

Here’s a shot of the lava fields. You can see where they have flowed around some trees, leaving them standing while the rest of the area was destroyed.

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And here’s a shot of the Stewart Covered bridge with our rental car. The bridge was constructed in 1930 and restored in 1996.

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We’re off to Crater Lake National Park tomorrow. Unfortunately there are wildfires around and some of the roads have been closed. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon

The internet link is really slow today but I think I can load one photo. We visited the John Day Fossil Beds yesterday, which were really fascinating. Scientists are still discovering new species of plants and animals on a regular basis.

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This is a shot of one of my favorite beds. The minerals in the soil (from volcanoes) make the rocks look blue/green in color.

We’re off to look at covered bridges today. Guess what will be in the next blog…

The One About Animals

No photos today since I’m tired and can’t summon the energy to download my camera to my laptop. Last night we stayed at Grand Lake – actually outside Grand Lake – at a campground called Elk Creek in some darling little cabins. Mr. Munro has been very clever with our accommodation and we’ve stayed in a real mix. I was sitting our our terrace having a beer and watched a mouse run across the steps. Mice don’t scare me (unless they choose to run over my feet) so I continued sipping my beer and casually mentioned it to hubby. When he investigated, he found more mice. A family of the wee things. Later that night I kept hearing noises and at one stage shot upright in bed and woke Mr. Munro. It was raining and the patter on the roof had woken me. The mice hadn’t decided to come inisde out of the cold, so I went back to sleep.

Today we drove through the Rocky Mountain National Park. I purchased a book on mountain lions and questioned the ranger for some time. Ranger Michelle was lovely and my story idea is fermenting nicely after all the info she gave me. We saw some moose and stopped to take photos. We also stopped to take photos of some elk. Their antlers were HUGE. I don’t know how they manage to hold their heads up. When we traveled farther into the park, it started sleeting – freezing when you’re wearing shorts! I yanked more clothes out of the suitcase and layered. It worked all right and a hot cider at the information center at the top of the mountain completed the thaw. We enjoyed all our wildlife sightings. Next on the list is bison and beers. We have a list and we’re ticking it off. :grin:

Tomorrow we’re driving into South Dekota. Deadwood – here I come!

Oh, I forgot to say that we had a fun time in Cripple Creek and for the first time in history Mr. Munro and I won some money at one of the casinos. Me – the last of the big spenders who puts $1 at a time in the machines, played poker and won. I’m still in shock.

The One About the Wallet

We’re in New Mexico at the moment and visited Santa Fe yesterday. It’s a beautiful old town and my credit card received a bit of a work out since the shopping was excellent. I’m crossing my fingers that I win lotto because there are a few other things I would have liked to purchase. The art galleries had some amazing stuff – paintings and sculptures.

While I’m talking shopping we also visited the Hubble Trading post. (That’s in Arizona) The original buildings are the same as they were in the late 1800s to early 1930s. The floor creaked underfoot with every step, and as well as things to buy, there were displays of rifles and memorabilia. I like the way the buildings blend into the setting. The outbuildings were interesting too and smelled of hay and horses. They even had a chicken coop. I didn’t get close enough to smell that.

Mr. Munro lost his wallet yesterday. He was frantic and couldn’t remember when he last had it. We turned the hotel room upside down and retraced our footsteps by going to the bar where we’d had a drink. No luck. He didn’t have a lot of cash in it, but the credit cards and driver’s licence were a problem. Last night we did a final search before reporting it to the police. And this is where I start blushing…he discovered it inside my laptop bag. I’ve no idea how it got there, but we were both so relieved we had a celebratory drink. Talk about a stressful day!

No photos today since I need to jump into the shower and pack. We’re heading off to another National Park. Don’t forget I have a guest blogger coming tomorrow, so do pop by to say hello to Nancy Henderson.

Magical Seahorses

Thirteen Things about SEAHORSES

When I saw one of the excursions possible from the ship was a visit to a seahorse farm I cast my vote immediately. I told Mr. Munro we should visit and he agreed since we both love nature, animals and the like, and it was something we can’t do here in New Zealand. I fell in love with seahorses during my visit to Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater world in Auckland. Our claim to fame – I believe Kelly Tarlton’s pioneered the giant perspex tubes that you see in aquariums World wide.

1. Seahorses are generally monogamous and they can’t live alone. They must have a mate.

2. The seahorse is the only animal in the entire animal kingdom in which the MALE has a true pregnancy.

3. The MALE stays pregnant most of its life.

4. Seahorses inhabit the coral reefs and sea grass beds in all the oceans of the world.

5. They’re an endangered species.

6. Over 30 million seahorses are taken from the wild every year for use in Chinese medicine.

7. Over 1 million seahorses are taken from the wild for pets. Most die.

8. They will eat only live foods such as brine shrimp and are prone to stress in an aquarium, which lowers the efficiency of their immune systems and makes them susceptible to disease.

9. A seahorse has highly mobile eyes to watch for predators and prey without moving its body. It has a long snout with which it sucks up its prey. Its fins are small because it must move through thick water vegetation. The seahorse has a long, prehensile tail which it will curl around any support such as seaweed to prevent being swept away by currents.

10. Ocean Rider in Kona, Hawaii started up to breed seahorses so they weren’t taken from the wild for the pet fish trade.

11. As mentioned in No. 8 above seahorses eat live food in the wild. Ocean Rider’s first challenge was to get their seahorses to eat dead food. One brave little seahorse – I think his name was Jack but I can’t remember for sure – tried one and all the others copied him. They moved Jack from tank to tank to train all the other seahorses.

12. Check out Ocean Rider for details on buying and caring for seahorses and register for their bulletin board to get into contact with other owners.

13. A pair of Mustang Seahorses of medium size costs around US$300 for a pair. Mustang seahorses are good for first time seahorse owners. They are tropical, colorful, bold, gregarious, social, hearty and healthy! They all feed EZY on frozen mysis enhanced with Vibrance® right from your hand!!

Ocean Rider has been breeding the Mustang since 1998. They first offered Certifiticates of Authenticity and High Health for the Mustang in 1999. All Mustangs are now shipped with these Certificates.

And finally, here are a few photos from our visit. It was a bit hard to photograph the little blighters but we did our best! These are the tanks and that’s me with my floppy hat.

Sea Horses

Sea Horse

And these are my fingers holding a seahorse. They’re just so danged cute. Ah, that would be the seahorses, not my fingers :wink:

Sea Horse