Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Dragon returns!

Hello there! I'm back!! How are you all???
Plans to blog while we were away were foiled by technology, but now we're back in Scotland & I'm starting to feel right way up again... We had a fabulous time, a mix of sightseeing, visiting with family & friends, & one or two craft shops along the way! We drove over 7,000 miles and took over 4,000 photos over the six and a half weeks - would you like to come see where we have been? Be warned these posts will be photo heavy!
As with most trips these days our "kids" Spike & Soph came with us, here they are waiting in Glasgow airport for our first flight...

It was a long day of travelling complicated by delays, our checked luggage not making the connecting flight, and the car hire company computer being unable to process a rental lasting longer than 30 days (despite the booking being made in February!). However everything looked better after some sleep when we could look out the hotel window and say "Good morning Denver!!!" 
We headed out of the city to the farmland & dirt roads where my sister lives...
A few farms over this HUGE display of pumpkins & squashes had recently been erected at the side of the road...
There were all sizes of pumpkins & a large array of weird looking squashes for sale. We chatted with the farmer & his daughter who explained how the following weekend they would begin the hayrides & taking folks out to the fields to pick & cut their own if that was their preference.
The next day we headed up to Estes Park, the road leaving the flat farmland behind, following the path of the Big Thompson River up into the mountains...

It doesn't look so big right now but last year this river flooded very badly washing away people's homes and businesses and causing over $2 billion in damage. Major rebuilding work along this route is still in progress and will be for quite some time yet.
At 7,522 feet up we reached the little town of Estes Park which is set in a stunning location...
This spot is about 100 yards from shops & restaurants! 
 Thursday morning dawned cold and clear... 

...our checked luggage had finally rejoined us and it was time to head north again...
Can you spot Spike & Soph at the bottom of this photo? 
Wyoming is a beautiful state, this being typical of the countryside we drove through on this day...
We headed east now, on across another state line into South Dakota, Spike & Soph getting in on the act again ;-) 
It had quickly turned into a beautiful warm day as you can probably tell by all these clear blue skies, here seen behind the US & State flags...
We headed into the little town of Hot Springs to visit Heartsong Quilts, one of the stores featured in Quilt Sampler magazine's Shop Hop this summer...
Inside was a world of color & for the most part bright modern quirky fabrics, my photographer had wandered off  was busy outside but you can see more about the store at their website here. Ann and her staff were very welcoming & friendly & I couldn't resist buying a few items including this rich autumnal fabric...
 ...and this cowboy one...
We continued north into open country soon coming across buffalo at the side of the road... 
...and also some smaller mammals - prairie dogs!
It truly was a beautiful drive!
We were headed to a place visited by millions of tourists each year, created by this man...
Never heard of him? No, nor had I! He is the artist responsible for the carving of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It truly was a stunning place to see in the flesh! You approach it down this walkway lined with the flags from every state... 
...under one last arch onto an appropriately named terrace... 

From left to right Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. I love how Jefferson (principal author of the Declaration of Independence) seems to be gazing further up than the others, perhaps envisioning a bright future for this new nation? Meanwhile Washington has the gaze of a General surveying his men and the terrain ahead. I found it a really awe-inspiring sight. Of course Spike & Soph wanted their photo taken too...
After this it was a couple more hours drive back west into Wyoming to our stop for the night, a place full of character...



Boy were we ready for our bed that night!

 Well I think that's a good place to stop for now, I hope you have enjoyed our trip so far! I will be back soon with the next instalment, have a great week folks!








6 comments:

  1. Wow! Wow! Wow! Lucky you... A trip to the USA to visit family and Mt Rushmore! I envy you so much!! Looks like you had a fantastic time. Looking forward to reading more about you fabulous trip xoxo

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    1. Hello Mii! Yes, I am totally spoilt! It had been three years since we were last out seeing all my siblings etc. plus there are some amazing craft shops too ;-) Now I need to get caught up on what everyone else has been up to... have a great weekend!
      Helen xox

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  2. I've been to Estes Park before!! A very close friend lives there. Did you go up Trail Ridge Road? Beautiful country out there and I hope to be able to see much more of it eventually. I'm really looking forward to more of your posts!! Glad you had a great time!

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    1. Hi Terri! What a small world huh?! Yes we did, it is so gorgeous up there!!! Hope you get to go visit there soon. I wonder if we went anywhere else you've been? I am gradually sorting through the pics for the next post, thank you for your sweet comments! Have a great weekend,
      Helen

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  3. Beautiful photos Helen. Spike and Soph look like they had a lovely time ^_^ xox

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    1. Thank you! Yes, they were quite mischievous but received a warm welcome everywhere they went ;-) I think they'll be allowed back ;-) xox

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