Pony Express Route

[BackStory] Pony Express Trail Riders – Orphans Preferred!

We visited St. Joseph, Missouri for only one reason. We wanted to visit the Pony Express Museum at the place where it all began. This is where the Pony Express Trail Riders started their westward journey. Visit the Pony Express Museum at St. Joe I love the stories of the people who built America. Some were rich, making their millions while building big things like the railroads. Some were adventurers, exploring trails that would later become major highways. All of them were people who stepped out of their comfort zone and tried something new. The Pony Express was definitely something[…]

Read more

Trail of the Ancients Day 3 – Mesa Verde, Colorado

We spent a month in the four corners area of Colorado, exploring the ancient history and beauty of this surprising area. The Mesa Verde National Park was a full day trip all by itself.  It would not be hard to enjoy two or three days just in this one park, especially if you choose to hike into all of the accessible ruins. Anasazi Trail – Day 1 Anasazi Trail – Day 2 Mesa Verde National Park is located about 20 miles east of Cortez, Colorado, very close to the borders of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Getting Organized The park[…]

Read more

Trail of the Ancients Day 2 – Hovenweep, Anasazi Heritage Center and Lowry Pueblo

Staying in the Dolores/Cortez area of Southern Colorado gave us a great opportunity to explore the Trail of the Ancients in Utah and Colorado. We took a second day to explore three sites very close to our campground in Dolores.  Hovenweep, Lowry Pueblo and the Anasazi Heritage Center are all partially reconstructed ruins of the Anasazi, otherwise known as the “Ancient Puebloans”.  If you love ancient history, you don’t need to go to Mexico or Peru to seem some classic examples.  (Although Mexico and Peru are both worth a trip, if you can get there!) Day 1 of the Trail[…]

Read more

Transcontinental Railroad Tycoons Got Rich Using Government Money

If you needed a railroad to cross 1800 miles of barren countryside, would you ask the Railroad Tycoons to build it? The controversy the swirled around the funding of the Transcontinental Railroad started the day the first spike was hammered in. It continues to this day. In truth, the debate highlights our national discussion about the appropriate role of government in major projects and how it is that the rich get richer. Why Build a Transcontinental Railroad? California became a US Territory in 1848 with the end of the Mexican-American War. The California Gold Rush started that same year. Between 1848[…]

Read more

Visit Douglas Wyoming – Home of the Jackalope

We are staying in the Casper area for the month of July.  Only 90 degrees!  As always, we use the Jeep to explore the area and quickly came to the little town of Douglas.  Douglas is about 40 miles east of Casper on Highway 25.  So tell me … Have you ever seen a Jackalope? Home of the Jackalope One of the things we always do in a new town is find the local history museum.  I love to ask two questions. First, we ask about why the town was founded?  The second, similar question is “why is the town[…]

Read more

Exploring Trail of The Ancients – Day 1

The Trail of the Ancients, a Beautiful Drive While spending June in Dolores, Colorado, we had what my husband calls a “target-rich environment”. So much to see! The Trail of the Ancients is a designated National Scenic Byway that runs through Colorado, Utah and a bit of Arizona.  The total route is 480 miles long.  We spent 3 separate day-trips exploring it.  Even so, we “left some for next time!”  The blue pins on the map, below, show the stops we made on this very long day.  The other colors are separate day trips. Day 2 of our tour Interesting Anasazi sites[…]

Read more

Exploring Aztec Ruins – Not Aztec, Anasazi!

While staying in Farmington, New Mexico, Bill and I decided to explore several of the Anasazi Ruins in the area.  Our discovery of the Aztec Ruins, just 15 miles down the road was a sweet surprise!   Interesting Anasazi sites in the 4 Corners The Spanish Named it Aztec The ruins are located in the town of Aztec, New Mexico.  The name comes from the early Spanish explorers who came through this area in 1540-1542.  They were under the impression that all ruins in the area were built by the same builders as those in Old Mexico and so named[…]

Read more
Destinations - Salmon Ruins

The Trail from Chaco – Visiting Salmon Ruins, NM

Ancient Residents of Chaco Canyon move to Salmon Ruins in Bloomfield New Mexico While staying in the Farmington, New Mexico area, we had several opportunities to explore the amazing culture that flowed from Chaco Canyon near the turn of the millenium, around 850-1200 AD.  We continue our series on the Anasazi culture here in Bloomfield at the Salmon Ruins.  See Visiting Chaco Canyon – Where did the Anasazi go? to start our tour at the beginning. Salmon Ruins marks the transition between Chaco and what happened afterwards.  The Ruins are what is left of a Great House directly North of Chaco Canyon,[…]

Read more

Visiting Chaco Canyon – Where did all the Anasazi go?

Chaco Canyon – Home to the Anasazi I have always loved visiting ancient civilizations. I climbed the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru as a high school student. We spent our honeymoon climbing Maya and Toltec ruins in Mexico.  Chaco Canyon is North America’s version of these wonderful, mysterious sites. This amazing National Historical Park, just south of Farmington in New Mexico, is a ‘must visit’ location for those of us who crave the mystery of ancient wealth and glory, now covered in sand and myth. So where did the powerful, creative, sophisticated residents of this 11th century ruin all[…]

Read more

Devils Tower – Oh the Stories They Tell!

Driving on Highway 90 in Wyoming, just west of the South Dakota border, you can’t help but see it.  To the north, jutting straight up out of the plains of Eastern Wyoming stands a rock tower,  known as Devils Tower, over 800 feet above the floor of the valley.  Even at 80 miles per hour it stays in your vision for several minutes, drawing you in for a closer look. For centuries, Native Americans have lived around the tower and been drawn to it’s presence.  Early explorers, trappers, settlers, all commented on it as they passed by.  Eventually, it was[…]

Read more