Thursday, August 25, 2011

Road Trip: Through the Rockies

Last night when we got to the hotel, to top off the day we had, we found two crickets in our room - that were still alive!  We thought if a cricket on the hearth is good luck then one (or two!) in your hotel room must mean your luck is going to change.  Mike rolled up a towel and laid it by the crack under the door because he figured they were coming in from outside.  It worked because we never found anymore in our room - and we had a much better day today! We packed up to go load the truck and as we were walking out the door, we noticed lots of dead crickets on the ground outside the door and around the base of the building.  It got colder than it had been the previous nights, according to a worker we talked to, so he thought they died because of that.  We thought maybe the hotel management hired the Orkin man because of complaints by the hotel guests!  
 Just next door to the hotel was a Goodwill store.  So before we hit the road for the day, I had to hit the Goodwill!  Nothing like looking for stuff when you are fresh - I scanned the shelves and was out of the store in one half hour - Mike was so proud!!  (Note the sarcasm!)  I actually found some wonderful things at great prices!  Just a note: the internet in the hotel went down half way through downloading my pics so a few are missing until I can get more service!
(picture of Goodwill finds)
A vintage medicine cabinet with glass shelves for, a two tiered metal serving piece, a David Frykman Santa, a light green depression glass egg dish, a Scarlett O'Hara figurine, a vintage cut glass honey pot, and a cute seahorse brooch - total cost: $24.78!  Feeling successful, I packed the treasure box with all the goodies and we hit the road.
We passed field after field of corn in Nebraska - the fields are planted right on the rolling hills and amazing to see - corn grows so fast the weeds can't compete so the fields look really clean! No wonder Cornhuskers are so proud of their state!
We also passed a few fields of alfalfa hay.  In our neighborhood, the hay is cut, dried and then baled.  Here, it is rolled into huge rolls.  The rolls sit in the field until time to load and deliver.  If there is a surplus of rolls, the farmer rolls them to the side of the field so he can harvest his next cutting.
(picture of Sweet BBQ Lays chips)
Hay is not the only thing that is a bit different.  During one of our stops, we noticed a few snack foods we have never seen before in California - but it could be because we don't eat chips often! First, we saw this one in Missouri - Sweet Southern Heat Barbeque.  We bought a bag to taste - too hot for me, but Mike loved them!
Then we saw these Ruffles Hot Wing Potato Chips in Nebraska.  Again - too hot for me, but Mike loves the heat.  I wondered if these were the same chips the call 'chipotle' in California and 'Cajun' in Louisiana! That would be pretty smart marketing - same chips, but different regional packaging! Maybe these small towns are test markets . . .
It wasn't long until we were over the Wyoming State Line.  Again we had to stop at a truck scale, but this time, we had a seasoned scale officer.  He checked out paperwork and we were on our way in minutes!
Just into Wyoming, we saw these traditional haystacks!  Being a first grade teacher for years, they reminded me of the story of Little Boy Blue, asleep in the hay!
The terrain started to change and things started looking a little drier again.  We had been driving through so many lush corn and soybean fields it was a pretty stark contrast.
The skies were full of fluffy white clouds - and there is a lot of sky in this part of the country!  I could take picture after picture of beautiful cloud formations but one will have to do here!
We made it to the capital of Wyoming, Cheyenne.  We chose not to stop because we needed to catch up after the challenges we had yesterday.
(picture of rocky mountains)
The hills turned to mountains as we traveled along, and again we were seeing some gorgeous rock formations.  It was a steady climb in elevation out of Cheyenne along Interstate 80.  We are only getting about 10 miles per gallon now with our 25,400 lb load!
When we reached the summit at one side of the Continental Divide, we saw this 13 1/3 foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln.  It was made by an University of Wyoming Art professor Robert Russin out of 10 tons of clay and 11 months of work to create. Passing it by as we moved over the backbone of our country gave me a sense of pride.
The elevation at the summit was 8,640 feet - and what goes up, must come down! Mike was concerned about what downward grades lay ahead for us as we had never driven this road!  The road started with a gradual grade down and then we reached a part with a 5% grade and the truck started making scary grinding noises - was our transmission going out?!  Westopped the truck and got out the owner's manual and Mike re-read the "Tow/Haul Package" section.

Having read the specifics about how the electric tow/haul package works part on steep downward grades, since we live in the flatland, we felt a little better and continued down the road.  Luckily, it was a gradual grade all the way down to Laramie, and we needed a break after driving 250 miles!

Laramie is one of my favorite towns I visited so far on this trip!  It is a college town and the University of Wyoming students had just come back to school this Monday so the town was hopping.
 This is picture of main street - it looks like a typical western town out of the movies like Gunsmoke!  And it has lots of cowboy bars as well!
Before we got to Laramie, I had checked my GPS for 'Antiques'.  We forgot to update our GPS before we left and it only offered one store - Ann's Antiques and Pawn.  We drove into town and found it immediately since it was on the main drag.
But the sign only indicated 'Pawn'.
My curiousity told me I had to check it out. The front of the store was classic western - wagon wheels, a front porch, vintage signs, an Adirondack style bench out front and the running horse weather vane on top!

I walked in and this was clearly a pawn shop - behind the counter were rows of guns, the glass case contained knives, and watches.  Another glass case contained vintage china, tea cups, depression glass, and some jewelry.  Not seeing any sales people, I stepped up to the counter and got a fright!
This is Huck! According to Anne, the store owner, he is the 'greeter'!  He 'paws up' to the counter to welcome guests as they step up to the counter - and he gives high fives on command! He was a sweetheart but we all know why he is really there!
Anne was great and gave me some suggestions for stores to visit in town with antiques.  I thanked her, gave Huck a pat, and was on my way.
As I walked around downtown, I saw numerous painted murals.  This is one on the side of a Cycling Shop building!  I love  how the bike hangs out like a sign - definitely eye catching!
Anne had suggested I find the store called Mimi's. 
 I walked around a few blocks at all the cute little shop but couldn't find it so I went into this store "Back of the Wagon Antiques".  As soon as I walked in I could tell they dealt in vintage western antiques.  I had so much fun walking around the store and seeing vintage Roy Rogers bedspreads and Dale Evans dolls!  
Beautiful antique furniture from the old west anchored every vignette.  This chest of drawers was one of my favorites!  I just love the grape motif pulls - but I wasn't in the market for a chest of drawers!
They also had lot of vintage kitchen tools and tools you would use around the campfire, and lots of vintage and antique tools.  This stove was in perfect shape and anchored the kitchen tool section!
(picture of tiny glass bottles and vanity tray)
I talked to the girl working, who was a third year U of Wyoming student.  She was a business major from Iowa and she did lots of the displays - I told her they were beautiful!  I bought some tiny glass bottles for a client, and a vintage vanity tray.  She gave me a map of downtown Laramie, showed me where Mimi's was and told me she loved Mimi's - the anticipation was killing me!
I found it and it did not disappoint!  The store was a lot like Melange, the store I am a vendor in.   Look for my complete post on the store in about a week! But, as always, here is a sneek peek!
 Mimi's is a consignment store that specializes in vintage dresses and hats - and oh the hats she had! Absolutely funky and gorgeous! They are also in perfect condition! Anyone who loves vintage hats and dresses needs to go visit Mimi's!  She carries lots of other consignment items as well. 
(picture of china plates)
I found a mid century tea cart and a set of 9 vintage china dinner plates I could not leave behind!  As soon as I get home I will add pictures since the hotel internet is down again!  I just don't think big sky country is big internet country!!

Mike had been reading up more about the Tow Package on his truck, checking the straps and chains on our load, and surfing the internet for hotels on the road ahead.  We both we starving since we had nothing to eat since breakfast, except to taste the bag of chips and it was 5:30 pm.  I had passed some cafes when I had been walking around to find Mimi's, so we chose Lovejoys' Bar and Grill.
We ordered the asiago cheese and artichoke dip to appease our growls right away. It was delicious! I thought to myself, "pretty smart appetizer for college town - carrot and celery sticks for the girl on a date and the focaccia bread and bowl - great for a guy - and girl to share!"  We both ordered sandwiches after our appetizer and gobbled them so fast I didn't get a picture - but his Ruben and my Patty Melt were both delicious - I recommend this place if you are ever in Laramie!!
Back in the truck again with full bellies, we were prepared to spend another 2 hours on the road. We made up a lot of miles today and had some great stops.  I'll leave you with a Wyoming sunset until tomorrow - I've got to get some sleep!

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