I served 20 years in the USAF, mostly overseas, and then ran my own business for some ten years, then lost my wife to cancer, remarried, and moved to Wisconsin. So there is much of the United States I have not seen. In fact, I am a bit embarrassed that I have seen so little.
Once in a while now, according to what the budget will tolerate, I manage to go out of Wisconsin to visit our wonderful country. I have found some great places and, of course, taken some interesting photography. I confess having grown up in the east, I lean toward going west! I'd like to share these with you. I began this project on December 17, 2015.
I have so much more to see and photograph.
The Continental Divide at Loveland Pass, Colorado
Cheyenne, Wyoming. On my way back to Wisconsin from the Denver area, I decided to slide up to Cheyenne, Wyoming and visit for a day or so. I loved it. As an easterner, though one who has traveled around the world, Cheyenne fit my expectations of what things are like out west. The city does "conjure up images of cowboys, rodeos and trains" just like the Visit Wyoming website suggests. Those are the things I lived for when I was young, and the feeling doesn't change when one gets up in years. As is always the case with me, I did not have enough time to see everything I should have, but I spent enough time to fall in love with the place.
Palisades State Park, South Dakota. Located in the town of Garretson, is the second smallest state park in South Dakota. It is about 15 miles northeast of Sioux Falls as the crow flies. It is located on Split Rock Creek. The Coteau des Prairies, a flatiron-shaped plateau formed by glacial movement, is home to the park. It is one of the few places in the nation that contains catlinite. This mineral, also called pipestone, is found in the matrix of quartzite and is used by Native Americans for making peace pipes, or “calumets”. Known as Sioux quartzite formations that vary from shelves several feet above the water to 50-foot vertical cliffs. The park itself is very welcoming. A worthwhile stop. I'll give you a photo tour. October 16, 2016
Fargo, North Dakota. Several of my friends kept talking about how they were taking their wives to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Florida, and all that. Well it was March and here in Wausau, we were anxiously awaiting spring, though we knew it was a far piece away. I finally tired of it all, and told my wife, "Marcia, we're going on a trip, no not to Florida, nope on Hawaii, of course not the Caribbean. None of that. I'm taking you to Fargo, North Dakota! It's only a one day drive. What a guy, eh?" She roared with laughter, and a few days later we went up there from Wausau. It was March 2015. We drove through pouring rain all the way through Minnesota, got to Fargo, it was dry but overcast. Most of the photos I took were of the downtown area, which I learned reflects the importance the citizens place on preservation of historic buildings. All kidding aside, we really had a lot of fun. January 18, 2016
Lake Itasca, Minnesota. If you were an early explorer looking for the source of the Mississippi River, you would be in for a very tough time in northern Minnesota. By all accounts, the river's source and headwaters are at Lake Itasca, and we visited there. If you look at a map of the area, however, you might be so focused on the fact that the river largely flows southward tot he Gulf of Mexico that you would fail to realize that at the outset, she meanders out of Lake Itasca. And then, when you finally to there, you would be flabbergasted to see her source. January 11, 2016
Keystone, Colorado area. Keystone, Colorado is the largest ski mountain in Summit County, consisting of three mountains, Dercum Mountain, North Peak, the Outback, and 5 Bowls (Independence, Ericsson, Bergman, North and South Bowls). Keystone's location at the base of Loveland Pass, a location for the Continental Divide, and just a few miles off I-70 makes it extremely convenient for anyone traveling from Denver. Keystone is also the closest place to stay for those who would like to ski Arapahoe Basin, where a summit altitude of 13,050' insures the best snow conditions in Colorado. December 21, 2015.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota, and since 2000 has been a fast growing city, now over a quarter million strong. The history of Sioux Falls revolves around the cascades of the Big Sioux River. The falls were created about 14,000 years ago during the last ice age. It is in the southeast corner of the state, close to the Minnesota border, and an easy day's drive from central Wisconsin, in my case, from Wausau. I had never been to the state, and was unsure what I would find. I found a great state, a fun state, and a wonderful city in Sioux Falls. December 19, 2015.