Posts Tagged With: landscapes

Travels With Minnie: Miles and Miles to Minnesota

The restored 1918 barn houses the Wilde Prairie Winery tasting room near Brandon, South Dakota.

After our Nebraska Harvest Host experience, we popped back up into a corner of South Dakota for a night at Wilde Prairie Winery, another Harvest Host site.

The next morning we spent an endless day of driving into Minnesota, in part because I misdirected Reg down a narrow (paved) road with so many potholes and washboards that it took us a good hour complete the 20-mile “detour.” It wasn’t the only wrong turn of the day but I’ve got to say, Reg is getting really good at maneuvering the Minnie in tight spaces!

We arrived at Gull Lake Recreation Area, just outside Brainerd, Minnesota, for a three-night stay. As we settled into our oversized campsite, we silently thanked the Army Corp of Engineers for understanding what makes a great camping experience.

Tomorrow we leave this beautiful part of the country and continue east into Wisconsin, then down a part of the Michigan coast. We have a week of reservations ahead of us with relatively short drives…according to google maps. Google won’t let us down, will it?

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Travels With Minnie: A Biking Paradise

We stopped our ride along the Poudre River Trail to watch this brave soul test the water. He never took the plunge.

We arrived in Fort Collins, Colorado two days ago, eager to discover if the bike trails were as incredible as we’d heard they were.
Our Friday outing began in the small community of Laporte, just north of Fort Collins. The Poudre (pronounced poo-der) River Trail would lead us 9 1/2 miles downstream along a beautifully maintained concrete trail, eventually reaching Fort Collins.

Saturday we rode a different segment of the Poudre River Trail, joining it just south of Windsor, Colorado and aiming ourselves toward the town of Greeley, roughly 12 miles away.

Another gorgeous river ride on a wide, relatively flat path.

This was another easy ride for Reg, but for someone who hasn’t really ridden a bike much in the last 30+ years (like me), things were beginning to feel a little sore. We turned around after about 10 miles, found a spot for a picnic lunch, then returned to our starting point, convinced that the area bike trails are some of the best we’ve ever seen!

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Travels With Minnie: Great Sand Dunes National Park

A quick trip to see North America’s tallest sand dunes, including the 755 foot Star Dune, was today’s outing. Driving toward the entrance to the park, the Sanger de Cristo mountains dominated the skyline and left me wondering just how impressive sand dunes could be in comparison.

As we got closer, the dunes captured our attention.
It was impossible for me to photograph the entire length of the dunes.
The seasonal Medano Creek, shallow enough to wade across today, flows at the base of the dunes, requiring dune trekkers to get their feet wet.
The park colors are absolutely beautiful this time of year.

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Travels With Minnie: Colorado – Durango to Alamosa

A rare photo of the two of us. Many thanks to Rich.

Three days in Durango, Colorado allowed us to experience a range of weather conditions. Cold nights, windy days, a brief bit of snow while we picnicked and finally, a beautiful spring day.
The high point (literally) of our stay was the hike we took up The Animas Mountain Trail with college friends Emily and Rich. A great day and a long overdue visit!

Sunday morning Durango faded in the distance as we drove east, aiming for the highest mountain pass of our trip…so far. Today was new territory for us and the scenery did not disappoint.

Treasure Falls cascades 105 feet into Falls Creek and is visible from Highway 160. We pulled off for a quick photo, opting not to make the short walk up to the base.

We’ve got Minnie back on level ground for the next two nights, parked in the little town of Alamosa, gateway to Great Sand Dunes National Park. More adventures to come.

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Travels With Minnie: Cohab Canyon Trail

I convinced Reg this would be a short, easy hike today, but it started off with a series of stone steps rising 400 feet above the valley.

Once we reached the top, the trail dropped down into the shaded canyon where the walking wasn’t quite as challenging.

As far as scenery, this trail had a little bit of everything and at just under 3 1/2 miles, makes a nice outing for morning or afternoon.

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Travels With Minnie: Navaho Knobs

While Minnie remained at our campsite, Reg and I set off for a full day of hiking.

The Navaho Knobs Trail is the longest trail in Capitol Reef National Park. The 9.4 mile round trip climbs (relentlessly) about 2,000 feet to an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet. This was no small day hike for us, but we figured we could always turn around if the going got tough.

It took us 2 hours to reach this spot where we finally saw The Knobs.

An hour later (at least) we finally reached the base of The Knobs. The trail led us around to the right where we scrambled up the rocks, as far as we dared, to take in the view.

While many photograph themselves perched atop a Knob, standing above the pile of rubble was good enough for us!
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A Look Back at London

Tower Bridge (built between 1886 and 1894) spans the River Thames and is one of London’s most recognized landmarks.

Climate change activists were out in force in Trafalgar Square, blocking the streets, but otherwise demonstrating peacefully.

Chinatown offered us colorful streets to wander and a welcome break from the more traditional English pub meals we’ve enjoyed.
An evening of entertainment and laughter at The Savoy Theatre.

We topped off our stay with a visit to Kew Gardens. The UNESCO World Heritage Site covers 326 acres and features the largest and most diverse collection of plants in the world. We were smart to wear our hiking boots – from Kew Palace (top left) to the spectacular greenhouses, there’s a lot to see…regardless of the season.

Tomorrow morning we’ll pack up our memories and head to Heathrow to catch our flight home. It’s been quite a trip.
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Prior Park Landscape Garden

The Palladian Bridge represents historic elegance.

Wandering beyond the city walls of Bath we discovered the beautiful Prior Park Landscape Garden. Originally designed in the 1700s, the garden spills down a hillside below the Prior Park Mansion (now a private school). Meandering paths lead through woodlands and around lakes.

On a clear day one can take in stunning views of Bath far below. Weather was not so kind to us.

Restoration work is ongoing in an effort to return the garden to it’s original glory.
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South West Coast Path: A Walk Through History

The morning after our arrival at Land’s End presented a sunnier picture of this iconic landmark.

Our soggy, arrival at Land’s End will forever be imprinted on our memories, a goal we worked extremely hard for some days. However, our last day of walking was filled with visions of the historic remains of the region’s tin mining industry. Fortunately, the rain caused me to pack my good camera deep inside my pack, or I’d probably still be out on the bluffs snapping photos.

The BBC series Poldark films on location along this stretch of coast.

Much like the Doc Martin series put the little village of Port Issac on the map, the BBC series Poldark brings the world to the Pendeen Coast, where the Geevor Tin Mine (closed in 1990) remains open as a tourist attraction.

As we walked out of Pendeen, we were surprised by the number of crumbling remains of a once thriving mining industry. While it all seems very romantic now, history tells a different story of the dangers that lurked underground.

The coast path meandered past a number of remains. We couldn’t help but take a closer look.
Other scenes were best viewed from afar.
Eventually, the path required our full attention.
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South West Coast Path: The Checkered Flag is in Sight

We arrived in the touristy town of St. Ives Saturday afternoon.

As pleasant as the above scene looks, Sunday morning brought horrendously strong winds to the area, foiling the plans of any walker in his or her right mind. Our host was kind enough to keep our packs for us until we could catch the afternoon bus to Pendeen, our stop for the night.

The photos really don’t do the wind justice, but trust me, it was howling. Fortunately, St. Ives is home to the Tate, where we wandered through 10 galleries of modern art, pretending to understand what we saw.

St. Ives has a rich history as an artist colony, and in addition to London, is home to one of two Tate museums.
We discovered Geevor Tin Mine, a Cornish Mining World Heritage Site in Pendeen.

The mine closed in 1990, but a museum and underground tour (complete with hard hats), are both available to the public. We skipped past the big ticket items and wandered down to check out the ruins of the original North Levant mine.

Tomorrow we will arrive at Land’s End, our stopping point and the end of our South West Coast Path adventure. We really hope to walk the last section…rain or shine. We’ll see what the morning brings.

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