Two Plus Two Publishing LLC Two Plus Two Publishing LLC

Go Back   Two Plus Two Poker Forums > >

Travel A place to discuss and learn about traveling

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-18-2015, 09:07 PM   #26
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

I got on a half-day tour down to Cape Point one afternoon. That whole area is a national park. A minivan driver picked several people up around the city, and off we went.

He told of some of the places we were going by--beach towns, a horse ranch, a community whose name meant "We tried our best" in the native language. General info, nothing great in the way of photos.

Got down to the park, and went to the most southwesterly point in Africa (The Cape of Good Hope):

Next stop, Antarctica

Of course, they had the sign there so those who wished could get their tourist photo:

Along the way, we saw a wild ostrich and its young

took the path up to the tower

which had a nice view

Then went on to Cape Point. These guys were all over:

When we got out there, the guide told a young woman with us to leave her bag in the van. Not two minutes later, there was a commotion a few meters away. One of the baboons had stolen some woman's (from another group) purse, and was off in the brush before the park rangers could chase it down.

Apparently, back in the old days, people thought it was cute to feed the baboons. Of course, they associated people with food, and now are very aggressive at taking whatever container you have with you.

Cape Point has an incline tram up to the top where you can spend a little while and take similar pictures to the Cape of Good Hope.

Our next stop was Simon's Town. Turns out Africa has a colony of penguins. Who knew?

There was a boardwalk sort of thing above them, so the humans didn't interfere too much with penguin business. I'd guess in the many hundreds, perhaps a thousand or more.

These guys were called jackass penguins, because their noise sounded somewhat similar to a donkey. Surprising how much volume a little bird like that can put out.

I think I remember the sign at the entrance/exit saying these were the only non-Antarctic penguins in the world.

After that, back to The Portswood. Sunset from my room with the moon out there:

Next: Elephants, hippos and more!

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-15-2019 at 07:44 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2015, 10:14 AM   #27
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 981
Re: golddog runs around

WOW looks like you having a great time, love looking at this thread! Keep it up man, Good Luck on the rest of your journey over the world.
2Powerful4U is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2015, 10:45 PM   #28
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

Thank you. These trips were pretty great.

Just to be clear, Africa was in 2014. There are some pretty good pictures coming up (I don't feel like writing much tonight). So, even though it's not current travels, I thought people reading might like to share.

I'll try to continue to fill in prior travels between any trips I make just to keep it going.

Or maybe I should be more like how I think of chopstick, make travel >= work.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2015, 04:16 PM   #29
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

OK, after a few days in Cape Town, it was off the the wild. Driver to the airport, there was Fuad again. Once again, I let myself get rushed and failed to give him a few Rand (as well as leaving my water bottle in the van. Good thing it was from an ex-employer so I didn't care about it.)

One thing I noticed in South African airports was you didn't go on a jetway for the 'local' flights (as opposed to long-haul). You walked onto a bus, drove around the tarmac, then up the stairs onto the plane. These were regular jets, not some tiny plane. Not sure why they do it that way, but there you are.

An uneventful flight later, we're in Hoedspruit, which is the closest thing to a town out by my reserve. Just a small little place in NE South Africa. Get through, meet Simon and Evans, grab my bag, and we go about a half-hour through the countryside.

I stayed at Shilduli private game reserve. It's not in Kruger, but right up against it. It is the second-largest private reserve in South Africa. So, while it's fenced off, it is a very large area, and the animals are left to themselves within the perimeter. They are not fed or tended to; it really is a wild game spot.

When we got there, Evans took my out to my place and discussed the setup with me: he comes around at 5:30 AM for the morning game drive, we go out, back about 9 for breakfast, lunch at 1, 4:30 we go out for the evening, have a 'sundowner', head back in for dinner. Rinse and repeat.

He told me I was in the honeymoon suite. Not sure why that was, as I was traveling alone. It was really nice. At the end of the path for privacy. Walking around the area, I'd guess from looking at the other places it was 2.5 to 3 times as big as the 'regular' rooms.

Outside shower and private deck

All around the main area was fence to keep the animals out.

This was no more than a meter off of the deck at its closest. A number of times I was sitting out in the tub, just watching impalas or kudus or something doing their thing in forest just beyond.

Outside seating area near the pools

The bar and beyond that, an area where a couple nights the chef had the braai (kind of a South African barbecue)

Of course, the fence couldn't keep all animals out

The main building, where the restaurant, reception, lounge area was:

Big ol' termite mound just off the deck.

I was considering how strange it would be to travel all the way to Africa, and instead of being eaten by a lion or trampled by an elephant, to have the cause of death listed as "termites rotted the deck, which collapsed, and sent him and a tub full of water straight into the electrified fence."

And a little lizard of some type

OK, I've got to run. Next time, the first game drive!

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-16-2019 at 06:08 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2015, 09:48 PM   #30
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

After lunch and wandering around the main area for a while, we took off on the evening game drive, my first. Evans was the ranger/driver for my stay and Michael was the tracker.

Constantly amazed at how they'd find things hidden in the brush, or some bird in the trees across a clearing. A huge amount of knowledge about the animals, some of which I'll try to get across (though it's been just over a year--I hope reviewing the pics will remind me of some things, but take any 'facts' I mention with that grain of salt).

It was me and this British couple out that first evening.

Drove around a little bit, down by the river. Evans went out to see if it was safe to cross. He said it had rained the entire week before (I run good this time), so the river was high.

Turned out to be too high, so we went elsewhere.

You can see a bit from this picture, it's an open-topped Land Rover type of thing with a jumpseat on front fender for Michael and three bench seats in the back for the tourists. The roads varied between dirt roads like we might have in the country in the US (though not as wide) to just tracks through the woods.

So we continued on and after a while saw some impalas.

Which was a big thrill for me, the first wild game in Africa. Within a couple days, we barely slowed down to see impalas (one of us would point and mention it), there were so many.

Went a little way further, and stopped by a pond/small lake, where we saw crocodiles and hippos.

I was surprised to hear that more people are killed by hippos in Africa each year than anything else (I saw a documentary just recently which put the number at 3000).

They are super-territorial, and surprisingly quick even out of the water. If you get between them and their spot, it's lights out. Also surprising to me, they apparently don't trample you, but crush you in their jaws.

So we drove along, getting deeper into the woods. After a while, we came upon these guys:

They just ambled along, so we sat quietly and watching for quite a while. Apparently, lions and elephants are the two things which don't have natural predators in the wild. That certainly seemed to be true; in each case it seemed as if they didn't give a **** about us. They were here and wanted to be there, so they went, not caring if they were being watched or not.

This one made himself a grass hat

That must be a male. They have flatter foreheads than the females. I think it was because of the fighting they do.

You can also see evidence of elephants' "handedness"

They scrape bark off of trees (I think to eat?) and tend to use one tusk, which gets worn down over time. The figure Evans said was an adult needs to eat 200kg of food per day. It's not a very nutritious menu, much of it is roughage.

We also got to see a baby elephant nursing, which is apparently quite rare.

Elephants and humans are the only animals with the mammary glands between the fore limbs. Also, elephants' gestation period is two years, though I don't remember how big the calf is at birth. There was something about danger when they're born because the drop is so high, but I don't remember the details.

Heard some rustling off to the left, and this one was hanging out over there.

He sauntered by no more than three meters from the truck and caught up with his buddies.

After a while, came upon some kudu

and this little bird (I think it's called a European roller)

then Mom and baby rhino:

Later on, giraffe:

The Latin name for giraffe is camel leopard (or maybe the other way). Obviously the leopard is for their coat, but they walk like a camel: both left limbs forward, then both right.

then back to camp for dinner, a couple beers, and to bed.

Next time: Lions!

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-16-2019 at 01:11 PM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2015, 05:18 AM   #31
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 158
Re: golddog runs around

good read man, keep posting!
asmodey11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2015, 06:51 PM   #32
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

Originally Posted by asmodey11 View Post
good read man, keep posting!
Thank you. Here we go.

The next morning, Evans knocks on the door at 5:15 or whatever, and we get rolling a bit before sunrise. Once again, the two guys, me and the British couple.

We're out driving around when we come upon these guys:

Mom and her cubs sitting in a little clearing next to the track. We sat for quite some time, just watching. The cubs were very curious. They would come a few steps over toward the truck, kind of like a puppy, somewhat uncoordinated and playful in a goofy seeming way.

When they got a little too close, Mom would give a growl and they'd scamper back to her, only to let their curiosity get the better of them again a few minutes later.

After a bit, we stopped and Evans told us that we were going to take a little walk to see some cheetahs. How they knew where they were, IDK. Probably 100 m or so off the road. After getting instructions how to behave, that we'd walk single file and Michael and Evans would stay between us and the animals, we went back and found this:

Pretty amazing. When they moved around, you could see how they are totally built for speed. Long, lanky, muscular. Apparently, their claws don't retract for traction (unlike other cats) and the end of their tail flattens out to act as a rudder for stability. 100 km/hr for short stretches. In other words, they run down your car.

We were able to get within about 7 m of them. Of course, the rangers know what the safe distance are for various animals. Any closer and they would start hissing at us, closer than that and they either flee or attack. So we held our distance and quietly listened to Evans giving us good info.

After a little while, we came upon the road near the edge of the Reserve.

Electric fence around and voracious predators inside. I'm thinking, "Life, uh, you know, finds a way."

Shortly after that, we came upon the king.

Really, really fortunate. The sun was, by now, just up enough to give good lighting, but not a glare. Just a fantastic sight.

After a while, he went over by the fence and paced up and down.

It was then we noticed another male lion in the reserve across the way. (Think a two-late state highway, with the ditch on either side as separating us.) Neither of them let out a full-on roar, but each made it known that he had eyes on the other, and they paced the fence, marking their territory.

Just a magnificent beast.

Apparently we saw Zasu (I'm not familiar with Madagascar)

And some giraffes

You can see in this one that the trees they like are very thorny. They've evolved this long, very tough tongue which they wrap around the branch, and the pull in, stripping the leaves into their mouth.

There were also some zebras around. Apparently they and giraffes often hang out, because they can give each other different kind of protection (a high perspective versus more powerful kicks, if I remember right)

Also learned that giraffes and humans have the same number (seven) of vertebrae. Theres are much bigger, of course.

We think of zebras and black-and-white, but they actually have a bronze or gold or something colored stripe too.

Each zebra has a unique pattern as well. Also, when born, their legs are already developed. So, even though they are smaller overall, the young's abdominal area is about as high off the ground as the adults. Makes it harder for predators to pick the young out of a herd.

A nice view for the morning break

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-17-2019 at 03:39 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 07:19 PM   #33
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

So the British couple took off during the afternoon. The next two game drives it was just me, Evans and Michael. Pretty cool to have some private game drives. I ran good.

Here's the truck we were in, with Michael (fore) and Evans (rear)

More giraffes and their friends

This must've been a female. Apparently, you can tell because the males get the hair on top of their horns rubbed away by fighting. So they go bald too.

I think this guy was called a waterbuck. So called because they're always found relatively close to a water source.

We found the cheetahs again. Once again, they were a little ways back in the brush. This time, however, they were having dinner. Nothing too graphic, heard bones getting crunched now and again, but mostly they'd taken apart the impala.

In other good news, the third cub reappeared. When we'd seen them earlier, only two were around and the rangers were worried that something had happened to the third.

We learned that cheetahs pretty much eat their kills on the spot. They are the bottom of the predator chain, and have to chow before something else comes along and takes it away. They are noticeably smaller than the other big cats.

On the way out, Michael noticed the skeleton of a previous kill, probably an impala. Pretty much just a rib cage and spine.

After a while, we'd seen some rhinos wander into the brush. Michael went to see if he could locate them while we had our sundowners. We got a call that the lion was nearby. (All the trucks have radios of course, and when there's something really interesting, a call goes out and those in the area take a look too). Retrieved Michael and off we went.

Got there around dark, and Leo was hanging out in the middle of the road.

Keep in mind that this is a dirt road, probably not quite as wide as a country road in the US. We were parked on one side, another truck across the road, and another on the other side of the lion. I remember us being a way back, maybe 10 meters or so.

Each truck would take their turn shining a light near (but not on, so as not to disturb) the animal. We sat there for quite some time, just checking him out.

Before leaving, my co-workers and I had been joking about my getting stomped by an elephant or eaten by a lion or something.

After a little while, Mr. Lion got up, and walked straight down the road, between us and the other truck. I'm thinking, "here it comes!". No more than two meters from us.

Well, it's not as if I didn't give him a fair chance.

Naturally, I fumbled around trying to switch between my telephoto lens and my normal lens, and completely missed the shot. Grrrr!

When driving near dusk/dawn, Michael sat on his jumpseat with a spotter type light, swinging it back and forth. This was both to warn other drivers that might be on intersecting tracks, and to see if there was an animal near the road we might be interested in.

On the way back, he noticed this owl right above the road:

It was the smallest owl in the world, or in Africa, or some such. Apparently quite rare, and was special to see.

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-19-2019 at 02:05 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2015, 09:06 PM   #34
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

It's been a year since Africa (earlier this week I went to give blood again, which I couldn't do for a year due to the possibility of malaria). So, I'm getting some of the details fuzzy.

For the rest of the stay at the game reserve, there were various people joining us. At one point we had three asian people who only came in for one game drive. (Seemed like a long way to go, to only go around once). During the end, an Australian couple joined us.

I remember the asian folks because we're driving around through the bush, and one of them takes out his phone and takes a call. Not being super-loud and annoying, but I'm wondering what can be so important to interrupt your one time doing a safari? (Also, how did he get a signal way out in BFE?).

So, this next bit will just kind of cover those times jumbled together.

One morning, we're driving around and get a call that a jaguar and her cub has been spotted. We drive over there and get pretty deep into the bushes, but are unable to locate them.

After a little bit, though, we come across this by the side of the road.

Evans said it wasn't the one we got the call about, but certainly a jaguar. After a little while, it wandered across the road and into the bushes.

As opposed to the cheetahs, you could see how much more powerful these guys were. Michael and Evans knew what he was doing, and drove down the road a bit, then down a little gulley, where shortly Mr. Leopard came for a drink.

(Previously, we'd been parked up and behind this photo; the road wrapped around the edge of this area to the right, and down to where this is).

After a little bit, we wandered over to the hippo pond. Saw an African Fish Eagle up in the tree. Also saw the foot marks and tail dragging marks where a croc had walked across the dirt road, but it was in the water by the time we got there.

Stopped for the morning coffee/muffin type break. I just thought this was a nice scenery picture.

Some baboons a little later:

That afternoon, I spotted this lizard sunning on a concrete culvert sort of thing. I think it was the only time I spotted something first.

Towards the evening, we saw this guy.

Apparently, he'd been aggressive, so we kept our distance. I can't remember now the reason his horn was cut, if it was anti-poacher or something else.

Some birds:

We got to visit the cheetahs again

Towards dark, we got a call the lion was out again, so went to his house

It's kind of hard for me to describe, but we were parked nose-first into a little area where he was just off the road. Off the front left fender was a small stand of trees, then a half-circle of rocks which went up a few meters, then some more trees. We heard some growling up in the rocks, Evans said that was probably the lioness feeding the cubs.

In other words, no way out but back. At one point, he sat up rather suddenly, as if he'd noticed the attention

But shortly he went back to sleep. Back to camp for us.

The next morning was my last morning in camp. Evans said we needed to go see the water buffalo so I could complete the Big Five. OK. Down the road we went. I think there are several reserves nearby under the same parent company. They don't want everybody going to place A, so apparently Evans had arranged for us to be in the other place. It wasn't far, but far enough that Michael had to get in the passenger seat and we had to put the windshield up for the trip down the highway.

Anyway, we got there and shortly found water buffalo. Had to keep our distance. Apparently, they are notoriously bad-tempered, and not afraid of butting into anything, as the horns and very thick skulls protect them very well.

There were also some calves in the group

Then back to Shiduli, where we drove around in the bush for a while. After a bit, we came upon some elephants in a little clearing.

They kind of ambled along down the road. when they got close, Evans would back up a little bit.

At one point, he kind of backed off the road into the grass. I figured he was just going to let them roll by.

Shortly, the big male trumpeted. I wouldn't say they charged us, but they certainly quickened their pace toward us. Evans took off across the grass and got us out of there.

The whole "escape" probably only lasted 20-30 seconds, but it was pretty exciting. Of course, all the time Evans and Michael knew what was up.

As he told us once we got clear, they noticed that some of the elephants had wandered past us in the brush along the road. When something else is in the middle of the herd, they don't know quite how to react, and get aggressive. So, he'd positioned us with an escape route just in case.

Also, he said that this particular male had been doing poorly in contests with some younger males, so was probably in a bad mood to start with.

Anyway, saw some more giraffe on the way back to camp

and a rhino


As we parked, I thanked Michael and Evans for the great experience, told them how much I appreciated it, and gave them what I hoped was a nice tip to split up.

Later that day, Evans drove me into town to catch my flight. Next up, Victoria Falls.

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-20-2019 at 06:01 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2015, 11:12 PM   #35
HankTheBank's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Rolling along
Posts: 882
Re: golddog runs around

Love the photo's, favorites so far are the Owl and Jaguar. Wildlife photography has always flummoxed me, I have little patience and a ****ty camera!
HankTheBank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2015, 11:42 AM   #36
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

Originally Posted by HankTheBank View Post
Love the photo's, favorites so far are the Owl and Jaguar. Wildlife photography has always flummoxed me, I have little patience and a ****ty camera!
Thank you. Today's phones and point-and-shoots are so good, they're all most people need to produce high-quality pictures.

I'm old enough that I used to have a decent 35mm SLR film camera. Back in those days, I'd worry about lighting, setting up the exposure time and f-stop to produce some result I wanted.

Since I moved to digital, I still have an SLR, but it rarely needs to come off auto mode, and then only when I'm not too lazy. Mostly, it just does what I want.

Patience is a good thing, though. Sometimes you have to wait some time for the sun to be in the right place or whatever.

Mostly, it's about being lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Pretty easy to take good pictures when there's a lion/elephant/giraffe/whatever just hanging out right in front of you.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2015, 02:18 PM   #37
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

Interruption of last year's Africa trip to talk about current traveling. Ran up to my hometown in Northern Wisconsin this weekend.

We had a close family friend pass away in December after a long battle with various illnesses. Since the remains were cremated, there was no hurry to have a ceremony.

Our friend was a huge Cubs fan, so one of his sons-in-law had the great idea to have the ceremony right as the baseball season was opening, and we all wore Cubs gear to honor his memory. Brilliant!

Fortunately, it was pretty much as nice as it can be up north this time of year: 30s and breezy, but the sun was out. We had a nice thing at the cemetery and then went for a group lunch.

I'm really honored that his family thought enough of me to include me. Of course, I'd just missed him at the holidays, so this meant a lot to me.

Anyway, just a quick trip for that, in MSP on my way back to Denver now.

For Paul: Cubs win! Cubs win! This is the year!

One nice coincidence of this timing was that I was able to meet a lifelong friend last night and go to see the Wisconsin/Kentucky men's basketball game. So that was pretty fun, hanging out and watching a really exciting game.

I don't really have any ties to the University of Wisconsin, and haven't lived in the state for many years, but I'm cheering for them Monday night for all my friends who went there or are real fans.

Go Badgers!

I see an O/U of 140.5 on, and no line on the game. I think I like the over slightly, and Duke should probably be about -2.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2015, 09:55 PM   #38
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

Another couple stories from Shiduli, then we'll move on.

One day, Evans pointed out how you could tell the giraffes had been around. Some of the acacia trees had kind of a ring of denuded branches about giraffe-head height.

Not so much they were bare, but you could definitely see a level of branches were much more thin with the leaves.

After one morning's game drive, some baboons scampered down the fence separating my hut from the rest of the area and off into the woods. After washing up and breakfast, I went out to the tub for a soak and noticed some sandy dirt around the edge of the tub.

Seemed to me to be paw prints. I think I just missed the hot tub party.

I wish they'd hung out, a monkey hot tub party is probably pretty fun. Banana daquiris for everyone!
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2015, 10:23 PM   #39
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

So, I flew over to Johannesburg. Upon landing, met Patrick from the tour company, who showed me over to the hotel shuttle and told me to meet him there in the morning.

Stayed at Emperor's Palace complex right around the corner. Upon arriving, I noticed a large toll-booth kind of structure across the driveway. Didn't think anything of it.

This complex has three hotels, a casino, several restaurants, and a movie multi-plex. I think there were some shops as well. Anyway, as we passed the restaurant area, I noticed a Hooters there. More America for me I guess.

A really nice afternoon, so I went for a walk, but there was nowhere to go. On one side was the airport, and it seemed to be an industrial area.

Upon walking back through the tollbooth, I asked the person sitting there if it was a security thing or what. No, they pay an entry fee to come in.

Wait, you want me to come gamble at a place with -EV games, and you want me to pay an entry fee on top of that? Pretty good racket if you can get it.

Back to the hotel (the Peermont D'oreale Grande) for a while. It was quite nice, I guess a five-star hotel. They did have a nice lounge down the hall where I got a couple beers that evening, and they had a nice breakfast the next morning.

Lacking anything better to do, I wandered to the casino. Dropped a little on roulette, won a little in blackjack, then went into the poker room.

I had a choice between the four and six seats. Selected the four, and almost immediately the five scraped a pretty big pot with a full house, then flopped trip threes and turned quads for a decent sized pot plus a high hand bonus. Nice seat selection. The game broke up after that, as they were playing a satellite for an upcoming WPT event.

The next morning, got on the shuttle and met Patrick at the airport. Turns out it was Human Rights Day, which is a huge holiday in South Africa, so the airport was a madhouse. Luckily, I had Patrick's expertise on my side, and he knew a couple shortcuts to work around the huge line.

In one of those nice coincidences, when I got home from work tonight, the next T shirt in the closet was one from Victoria Falls.

A pretty uneventful flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Got through customs and found the driver. On the way out, these guys were playing:

Found our way to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, where I had a few nights. A nice place, plain but good.

It was at this point I realized I didn't have an itinerary. Unlike Cape Town, where Fuad met me at the airport, went over what was planned and gave me a printed copy, they weren't quite as ready here.

Fortunately, the concierge was a very competent young woman named Joy. She knew who to call, and a few minutes later had confirmed that I was to go on a river cruise that evening, and someone would be by to pick me up in a little while.

It was a nice cruise. A flat-bottomed sort of thing, we started above the falls and went downstream a little while, seeing a good amount of wildlife, having a sundowner and some snacks. I think there were ten or so tourists, the captain and first mate.

Plenty of hippos in the river

various birds and crocodiles

just a nice ride and evening

Next up, the Falls.

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-22-2019 at 01:20 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2015, 09:26 PM   #40
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

The next morning, I had a half-day trip to Victoria Falls on the schedule. While waiting for the driver, this cab pulled up which had this bumper sticker:

which, of course, made me think of Adam and MJ. Unfortunately, the driver's fare was ready, and I didn't get the chance to ask how he knew about hockey. (It wasn't til later I learned that cars we in the west think are worn out oftern get shipped to and go into service in Africa).

Anyway, I was on a tour through the park on the Zimbabwe side with real nice some people of Indian and Japanese descent. Coincidentally, both groups were now living in Canada. It's a nice walk, maybe 2-3 km.

Mosi-oa-tunya means "smoke that thunders" in the native language, which is certainly an apt description. I'm really glad I'd seen Niagara and Angel Falls before this, because this was much more spectacular.

I don't have the skills to bring it into perspective, but here's some photos. It's about a mile wide. Towards the center, it seemed like what I would imagine it's like being in a hurricane. Water thundering over the cliff causing displacement of the air, which whips around the spray.

People were actually on the pile of rocks, overlooking the edge. I guess it made sense to them to be on wet, mossy rocks on top of a sheer drop.

Of course, the statue of Livingstone

It was in this area that he did his work and was eventually found by Stanley.

Totally soaked by the end, even with the ponchos we were given. Luckily, I'd read up and brought ziplocs for a cameras. Part of the way through, Dr. Khan was having trouble with his ipad; I hope it wasn't permanent.

Remember that Crocs store in Cape Town? I remember thinking, "I wonder if I should get a pair of sandals to wear around? Nah, it will be just more to lug." Of course, my tennis shoes and socks were thoroughly drenched.

Afterward, we were taken over to a sort of craft/souvenir place. Got a couple pieces of jewelry for the nieces.

But I saw this interesting looking tree down the road and walked to investigate.

Upon my return to the lodge, had lunch and sat on the deck. Joy (the concierge) mentioned to me that the vulture show was about to go on.

They take the unused meats and feed them to vultures. They know, too--about 15 minutes before, the sky and the trees near the spot started filling.

So he put the stuff down, and the show was on.

[IMG] DYTyb****0ZdYF5SuQPzj4ky7nC35ze1yX6fPdFCN4zZ5G67xi Sn5W2rOEBSZ8jRcdIoeXW3IdohULalKxV8qCFw=w2400[/IMG]

Ravenous best describes it, I guess.

So then, I caught the shuttle into Victoria Falls, where I'm just going to kick around.

It's pretty much reliant on the falls for its economy, so lots of shops and restaurants catering to the tourists

and took the walk across the bridge to Zambia, because a) why not? and b) to get another stamp in my passport.

In Victoria Falls and all along the border area, you're approached by many people trying to sell their wares, typically some craft type thing they created. All very friendly, not overly aggressive. The only times I felt as if I was being set up (for lack of a better term) was the guy who told me his children wouldn't eat tonight if I didn't buy his thing and the couple who told me the young woman wanted to get a picture with me.

As you may have noticed, I'm not interested in being in my pictures, and for some reason my spidey sense told me that he was going to run off with my camera. So, I politely declined.

They have some bungee jumping in the middle of the bridge, but I declined that as well.

Anyway, by this time the falls part is over, and it's the river rushing through the gorge.

Monkey needs a soda

After clearing their customs and whatnot, I got an entry into the national park on the Zambian side and went down a couple trails.

The little display about the park's trails

I wasn't in a super hurry, but it's a few km walk back to catch the shuttle, and getting toward the last one of the day. So, I never did find the pool. Apparently, there's a spot at the top of the falls where the rocks are situated such that it makes a natural pool at the very edge, and it's safe (ish) to soak in there and look right over.

The gorge downstream on the way back

and back into Zimbabwe

Both sides impose a small fee when entering ($20 or $25 US, I think).

Warthogs snuffling about

Upon return to town, I had a few minutes to kill before the shuttle, and wandered into the Invuvu Bar across the street. Who should I run into, but one of the people would had tried to sell me his wares. Bought he & his buddy a beer. The soccer match was on, then we went out in the courtyard and chatted for a few minutes until I had to go.

This reminds me of one piece of information other travelers might find interesting: I got multiple offers to trade a shirt or my tennis shoes for whatever over there.

I tend to bring shirts from my other travels, so not really interested in trading them. But, that might be a thing for other people: bring shirts you'd be interested in trading for something they have instead of buying those things.

Had dinner that night at the Boma, which means "The place of eating." I think traditionally it was a place where several groups would come together and meet for a festival. This is a buffet-style thing of mixed African and Western dishes, along with some entertainment, like music and dancing. Quite good. The only thing I wasn't interested in trying was the kettle labeled, "worms". Warthog, impala, some other game, all very good.

Next up, Chobe in Botswana.

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-23-2019 at 05:01 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2015, 09:55 PM   #41
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

The next morning, I had a day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana scheduled. Abiyat was the driver, who took me and a few others over to the border, where we crossed through customs and hopped in another minibus.

Along the way, we saw these birds

Went along through the area, apparently a big teak forest. In Botswana, we dropped the Euros at the local airport, where they were off to Okavango Delta, I believe. I continued on to the lodge, where our day was a river cruise in the morning, lunch, then a land game drive in the afternoon.

The river cruise was real good. Interesting to see hippos up pretty close from that perspective, and there were a number of other animals about. It was me, three Korean folks, and four Peruvians.

When we stopped by a group of hippos, the Peruvian women (who were much younger than the men) got toward that end of the boat for a picture. But, they weren't just in the foreground; they were posing, kind of like a model would stand. Anyway, the combination of it creeped me out a little, but I imagine they were nice enough people. Maybe that's a common thing there, I don't know. Seemed a little Humbert Humbert.

It was kind of interesting to watch the elephants. They'd rip up a mass of weeds, and swing them back and forth against the water, to clean them up a bit before eating.

Also, the notion that an elephant "knows when it's time to die" and goes to the "elephant graveyard" to pass on is inaccurate. Elephants get three sets of teeth in their lifetime. As the last set is wearing out, they can't take the rougher stuff on land, and gravitate toward the water, where the plant life is more moist and easier on them.

After the trip, we went back to the lodge for lunch

This was our skipper and the boat

After lunch, wandered into the gift shop, then me and the Korean people met near the entrance, where we were supposed to meet the truck for the afternoon. After a while, some guys asked what was going on, made a phone call, and the truck came up, with the Peruvians already in it. I don't know if they got out there and told the driver to take off, but it seemed kind of fishy.

No harm done ultimately, we rolled off to the afternoon drive. Many more elephants

One of whom came by to say hi

This guy they'd been tracking (radio on his neck)

They like to get covered in mud, as when it dries, they have a protective covering the bugs can't get through so easily

African Fish Eagle. Unfortunately, never saw one get a catch.

Giraffes have a hard time getting a drink

This gives a little idea of how much game there was there. Apparently, it was a very good time of the year to be there. Just after the rainy season, so nice weather, but plenty of water to attract the game down to the river.

and a land tortoise on the way out

Back to the border, where Abiyat was waiting. On the way back, it was just he and I, so we had a nice conversation for the 45 minutes or so it took. This is where I learned about our cars coming to Africa. He asked some things about America, I asked some about Zimbabwe, it was a real nice ride.

As this was my last real night in Africa (at the Johannesburg airport tomorrow night), I was thinking about my next adventure when I saw these clouds.

Kind of looked like Great Britain and Ireland to me. Maybe that should be next. (I found out a few weeks ago a good friend is going there with his family this summer).

When Abiyat dropped me off, I gave him $15 as a tip for such a nice drive. He gave me a huge smile, hearty handshake, profuse thanks. I don't know what they get paid, but it was nice to see such sincere appreciation.

Back at the lodge, tried to capture my last African sunset.

Next up: travel hassles. My rungood ends.

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-24-2019 at 05:08 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2015, 09:33 PM   #42
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

So, the morning of my last day in Africa, I get up, get some breakfast, finish packing, and show up to the front area a few minutes before the driver is scheduled to show up.

After a bit, she shows up. We wait around a while, then she says she's got another family and goes to check. Comes back after a while and says they're still packing.

This family of (surprise!) Americans finally show up. By now, we're behind, but there's plenty of time. It's not as if this is an early-morning time, though. I think our ride was scheduled for 10 or 10:30; really no excuse.

We wander into town and pick up another family, who obviously knew these guys. Through their interactions, I learned that the son of that set was or had been a football player at UCLA.

Get to the airport, grab my bag, go inside, and the line wraps down the hall, several hundred meters. This is an airport with just a couple gates.

Somehow the late people wandered in front of me in line. The line's not moving. We were in line two hours or more til we got to the front. It took me twenty minutes to check my one bag and get the boarding pass; something was going wrong with their computer systems (printer, I think), so it was painfully slow.

Over to security, get through eventually. Across the tarmac, up the stairs and the line stops.

Naturally, the same family is clogging up boarding because they've each brought a roller and a smaller case, and can't find room to stow them, because we're the last people to get on, because they made us run late to start with.

It didn't seem as if they were purposefully inconsiderate (i.e, we're in first class and everyone else sucks), just the kind of people who never ever think about how the consequences of their actions affect others.


Anyway, goodbye Victoria Falls, it was nice.

Flew down to Johannesburg, and had several hours to kick around the airport. Noticed a large poster of George Clooney in a perfectly fitting tuxedo selling tea or coffee or something. Made me think of the photo shoot from Lost In Translation.

Anyway, bought a bottle of South African wine for my brother and sister-in-law, some spices and other touristy junk for people.

After several hours went over to the gate. The Lufthansa people had a small disagreement with a young man, telling him this area was reserved for passengers on this flight.

It turns out he was on the next flight from that gate, and couldn't understand why he couldn't just hang out. I didn't either; it's not as if he can get on the Lufthansa flight w/o a boarding pass. But, they insisted, and after a while, he went elsewhere.

As expected, Lufthansa boarding went very well. I got on, and I'm in the right-hand aisle seat directly in front of the bathroom/galley area. Open the overhead, and one of those hard cases the attendants use for their stuff is taking up most of the space, so I threw mine above the row in front of me.

Now, my backpack isn't huge, but it's a little bulky. Inside the backpack is my smaller camera case, and the bottle of wine I bought. After sitting a few minutes, I thought, "hey, I can be a nice guy. I'll take the camera case out of the backpack, so the backpack will lay pretty flat, and stick that and the wine around the hard-sided case above me." Fooled around a little, and got everything in there.

At some point during the flight, I went up there to get something to munch on. Unfortunately, managed to drop the wine on my neighbor in doing so.

Luckily, it hit his thighs and not his head or something. I apologized profusely, and he was very good about it, telling me, "I've been kicked harder than that playing football."

Stressed and feeling bad, I didn't sleep much. Get to Frankfurt, through customs and immigration, early morning (5 or 6 AM). Notice a rough-looking guy toking his bottle of wine in the food court. Eventually find something to eat and the ticket station, and get my tickets for the train to Heidelberg.

Gliese (track) 5. No worries, it's right downstairs, and it's leaving in just a few minutes.

Naturally, I ended up on the train to downtown Frankfurt.

Once I realized my mistake, I asked a conductor what to do. Of course, the European train system is awesome, there was a train just a few tracks over which would head to Mannheim (where I was supposed to transfer anyway). Sehr gut!

During that journey, a passenger and the conductor both motioned that I could sit down. I explained that I'd flown all night without much sleep, and was afraid I'd fall asleep and miss the stop if not standing. They both laughed and nodded, and said o.k.

Find my way into Heidelberg mid-morning. Kind of gray, foggy, cold, not very nice. Wandered the wrong way from the train station, went the other, and eventually found the Holiday Inn Express I was booked into. A kilometer or less from the station, it was a nice spot, and apparently was a newly-opened hotel.

It was nice. A good spot, walking to train station and the old town the other way. Fortunately, the room they had me in was open, so I got in, washed up, then went to find the laundromat. Pretty boring morning, did the laundry, found a Turkish place to have chicken and some awesome fries for lunch (paprika maybe? Maybe I was just super-hungry, but they were great).

Didn't really do a lot in Heidelberg. I've learned through my travels that going straight through on the way out is o.k., because you're pumped to get there and can run on adrenalin.

On the way back, however, it's better to stop for a little bit somewhere. You're already run down from going like mad on vacation, you need a day or two to rest instead of being stuck on a plane for two straight days again.

Anyway, Heidelberg was a pleasant enough town. They have the ruins of a castle up on the hill, then old town below that with the touristy shops/restaurants/etc. The university is in old town which, if I read the plaque on the statue correctly, was where Bunsen of Bunsen burner fame taught.

Anyway, one day I wandered across the Neckar River, then back over to old town.

This is the altebrucke (old bridge) and original gate into the city

Mostly old town was like this

though I was surprised to find an American living in there

I did go up the hill and walk around the castle grounds. They have a tour of the castle itself, but that sort of thing doesn't interest me.

Came across these two stands on the grounds. From an American's stereotype of Germans, I found it pretty funny

The one on the left is selling pork, beef, or chicken sausages; the right is wine or beer.

Old town from the castle area

Some houses I found interesting

City hall

One of the evenings in the room, I saw what seemed like a news station interviewing people in front of a train station, with the title below saying something about Warnstreik. My German is very touristy, I probably caught about 25% of what was being said.

So, one morning, I wandered down to the train station and asked if they were going on strike. The gentleman in the customer area explained to me that it was Lufthansa, not Deutsche Bahn.

Oh. That's worse. If it was the train, worst case I could find a cab or bus or something to Frankfurt. The flying part, though...

Well, I'd been running good the whole trip.

Back to the hotel, and Jose and Teresa at the desk help me understand what's going on. Apparently, it's a thing in Germany that some unions will go on a one-day strike to show how bad it would be if they don't get a deal done.

Naturally, that day was my return day.

In my other travels, I've never bought travel insurance. However, on this trip, with all the connections in the developing world, I thought for sure something would go wrong in Africa, and it was a good bet.

Turns out something went wrong in the first world, but the bet paid off. Nothing like being results-oriented.

Anyway, back to the hotel. Paid for some wifi access, up to the room, and called the number in New Jersey to talk with the insurance company.

Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to make a collect call on the German phone system, so that cost me 40 Euros or some such. (The insurance company would've accepted the charges if I'd figured it out).

But, got through. Turns out I was the first person to call about this; they did some research, verified the flight was cancelled, then got to looking for alternatives.

After a while, the person said she could put me on Icelandair to Reykjavik, then direct to Denver from there. I had to buy the ticket and submit a refund request, but I'm on and home more or less on time.

As we were booking, she tells me that for the second leg, she can put me in middle of the plane, or in row 42, second from the back, but that row is currently empty. Let's go for the latter, maybe I'll get extra room.

Uneventful train to Frankfurt, get my boarding pass and find my way on. Cloudy on the way in, so didn't get to see much of Iceland. A quick layover, and on the plane to Denver.

Unfortunately, the back part of the plane filled with 15-20 German teenagers, going to be foreign exchange students in Denver. They were good kids and all, but they were super excited (naturally), hollering across the aisles at each other, moving about to check on their other friends, et cetera. More run bad.

After about a half-hour, the stewardess came out and asked them to keep it down and calm down. To their credit, they mostly minded. It wasn't very restful, but I can understand; probably their first big trip anywhere, naturally, they're very excited.

Luckily, the skies cleared over Greenland and Arctic Canada. I didn't think to get my camera out of my bag and try a few through-the-window shots, but it was pretty spectacular.

Huge glaciers with mountaintops poking through here and there; icebergs and ice floes floating about. Just amazing.

I learned upon returning that Icelandair is the only airline flying there, and the direct-to-Denver service was relatively new, so I guess I got a bit lucky there.

If anyone goes to Iceland, understand that you pay for everything. It's kind of like Spirit or Frontier has become.

I also learned much later through a thread in LVL about Icelandair's Saga class, where you can bid to upgrade to business; so, you might get an upgrade for less than the normal cost, if you're lucky.

Through customs and immigration painlessly. Just missed the bus, so hung out in the airport for almost an hour, but when I got out to the suburbs, the local bus was right there, so good there--it was pretty cold, and I hadn't brought anything too heavy.

The next few days are rather foggy; jetlag really got me on this one. I was waking up the middle of our night, and not able to sleep right for quite a while afterward.

All in all, a very good trip. Highly recommend if anyone has the chance.

That will probably be it for a while unless somebody makes some specific requests or questions; I mentioned some of my other travels several posts back. Not planning on traveling too much this year, but you never know.

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-25-2019 at 01:00 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 09:53 PM   #43
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

I'd been looking around for a cheap weekend flight on United to keep my account active. (I have about 85K miles, I keep thinking I'll be able to go somewhere interesting before too much longer). I didn't want to take time off from work, so a Friday night to Sunday sorta thing.

Turns out Albuquerque is only an hour flight, and relatively cheap, so I went down there for a little bit this weekend.

First, got a room in this fine establishment:

It wasn't as bad as Breaking Bad would have you believe, but it is a cheap hotel, no doubt. It's right on I25 and Central, so quite a bit of traffic. Therefore, not very good sleep. It's a dated place, but I didn't notice any meth-addled hookers wandering about the lot.

They do have signs mentioning extra charges for visitors though, so maybe that is a problem.

Walked up and down Central a little, stopped a couple of places for a beer, laid down for a while. In the morning, started my tour.

Had breakfast at the restaurant Mike used to go to:

Some random kind of interesting art

which happened to be right in front of Vamanos Pest Control

Found the law offices of James McGill

which was in a pretty seedy part of town. This strip mall had this building, which was in ok shape, then another one which was all boarded up and graffiti'ed. Surprised they didn't use more of that, gave it a rougher feel to me.

Anyway, wandered up to the dam

Downtown from up there.

Saul Goodman's office is now a sports bar

but they kept some of the old flavor

Found the White's house.

I kind of felt bad for this guy. There were several 'private property', 'please stay out' signs, motion detectors, cameras.

One the one hand, I bet there have been plenty of dumbasses ringing the bell, asking to come in, maybe even throwing a pizza on the garage roof, totally disrespecting their privacy.

On the other, they kind of signed up for (possible) attention when the production company gave them however much money to use their place for filming.

Anyway, I just took a quick snap and hoped I wasn't disturbing them too much.

The place next door is for sale. Zillow thinks they're trying to profit:here.

Have an A1 day!

The laundry

Vaccum cleaner guy's place

Wandered into Old Town for a little bit

A band in the plaza

But mostly it's art galleries, restaurants, and really tacky tourist shops.

Continued to the Dog House

Unfortunately, nobody there handing out $10K stacks.


It's actually kind of a hipster coffee and sandwich place.

Chuck's house from Better Call Saul is nearby. The park across the street (where he & Jimmy were sitting when they cracked the Sandpiper Crossing thing) is really just a small oval of grass and trees which the neighborhood street loops around.

It was all fenced off. I wonder if I just missed filming.

Anyway, the spot where Jimmy and the skateborders tried the accident is close too:

Wandered over to the plaza

And down to Los Pollos for lunch

In real life, it's a burrito-and-burger fast-casual food place. The kind where you go up to the counter to order, and they bring it out, but use real silverware and plates, so a step up from regular fast food. Quite good, too, the red sauce had a nice, spicy flavor, but not overwhelming.

I was surprised that they hadn't figured out a fried chicken recipe. Seems like they could profit just from selling that to show fans.

As I was having lunch, a tour bus of 20 or so folks came in.

Back into town, got a room at the Econo Lodge near Old Town for the evening.

Walked down to the Rio Grande:

Those little spots downriver are people wading around. Pretty sure there's a joke there somewhere.

ABQ is filled with these old little hotels from the Route 66 days, many of which seem to be fading into the past:

(This was fenced off, I'm on a little wall to see over the chain link).

Spent a few hours in Old Town wandering the galleries. It's like this:

I was surprised it wasn't busier on a Saturday night. For both nights (sample size), ABQ seemed to be a pretty quiet town.

The oldest continuously-used church in North America (? Maybe US or NM). From 1706, anyway:

Wandered around the shops, talked with a few artists, who seemed more than willing to pass the time chatting. I especially remember an older guy named Ron, because he had a golden (Homer) in the shop, who was golden-like friendly and wanting attention.

He invited me to pull up a chair, asked me about myself, what do I like about art. Probably only ten minutes or so I sat, but it was a real nice conversation. He seemed like kind of a lonely guy who just wanted someone to chat with. I felt sad about leaving, but I was really tired by now.

Anyway, back to the room, which was much nice than last night's:

On the way out of town the next morning, I saw the coffee shop

and the Denny's

I don't know if this was a Denny's in real life and has closed since, or was just some building they made work for the show.

Not much to ABQ's airport. That's the whole thing. Surprising for the 'big city' of New Mexico:

Anyway, I found Albuquerque to be a pleasant place. Not as big as I thought, pretty easy to find your way around. Really nice weather, warm and sunny.

Seemed kind of gritty, I think, a bit rough-edged, but maybe that's because Gilligan et al picked those areas specifically for that reason, and that's mostly where I was.

It might rate a re-visit, as I'm researching places to be a possible winter spot after I retire.

The problem is, it's a long way from anything, and I don't think they have many direct flights to other interesting places.

On the plus side, it's easy to get to from Denver (assuming I'm still here), and the small airport makes security a breeze.

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-25-2019 at 11:13 PM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2015, 02:17 AM   #44
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 695
Re: golddog runs around

Very cool thread. Thanks for putting it together.

Just a comment: it would be cool if you could mention costs once in while. Specifically for something like the game reserve lodges, guides, etc.

Any interesting food experiences, maybe in Africa?
maddog876 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2015, 09:31 PM   #45
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

Originally Posted by maddog876 View Post
Very cool thread. Thanks for putting it together.

Just a comment: it would be cool if you could mention costs once in while. Specifically for something like the game reserve lodges, guides, etc.

Any interesting food experiences, maybe in Africa?
Thanks maddog. Woof woof!


In terms of costs, I'd rather handle that on a by-request basis because a) nobody's interesting in hearing staying at the Crossroads Motel in ABQ cost me $39.95 and b) I can't always give a good breakdown.

Africa's a good example. Looking at my emails, it looks like airfare was ~USD$2400, and the land stuff was USD$6200. USD$438 for travel insurance and USD$192 for the hotel in Heidelberg. I don't see anyplace where the package part was broken up though.

That was a package through a place called African Travel, and I can highly recommend them. Or maybe it was my local travel agent just made it smooth. Anyone in the Denver area who'd like, PM me and I'll find Gina's contact info for you.

Anyway, I've used Gina to help me arrange some of my more complex trips over the years. She's very good at listening to what I'm interested in, developing a plan, suggesting other things, and not getting frustrated when we iterate several times until we reach an itinerary.

On this trip, she had worked with specialists over at African Travel. We probably went through 3-4 iterations til we landed on my itinerary.


In terms of food, not too much. The lodge at Victoria Falls included one dinner at something called the "Boma", which is kind of a traditional meeting place. Dinner, some traditional song and dance, that kind of thing. Quite nice.

In that, there was warthog and impala, the game-type stuff you'd expect. They also had small iron pots (like you might see hanging above a campfire in an old Western) which said they had some kind of worms in them.

I'm getting better about trying things, but I didn't go adventurous on that.

Thanks for reading!
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2015, 09:56 PM   #46
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

I'd never been out to Eastern or SE Colorado. With the three-day weekend, I decided to take a little camping trip and make sure there's nothing to look at out there.

Got as far a Limon, CO this evening. Staying at a KOA campground. It's ok, I guess. Just off I-70, so a bit of traffic noise. $33.90 for a tent site seems a bit much, but there isn't much for either towns or scenic campgrounds out in the middle of nowhere.

Haven't camped for three or four years, so it was a little frustrating trying to remember how to put up the tent. But, got it done, heated up some dinner, went for a walk, and now just relaxing having a beer..

Was initially pretty bad mosquitoes and sand flies, but they've died down with the cooling of the evening. I don't think the sunset's going to turn into much except possibly rain (oops), so no pictures.

The weekend's plan is to drive around this area some more, camping as weather and sites allow. We'll see how much ground gets covered, maybe I'll get up to the mountain areas before Sunday or find something worth taking photos of out here.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2015, 10:52 PM   #47
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

On top of two states.

When getting going today, I noticed the highest point in Kansas wasn't too far down the road.

Called "Mt. Sunflower", it's really just a rise in some farmer's field where they've put a couple of markers, a picnic table, and a mailbox with some notebooks for people to sign.

Wandered around SE Colorado afterward. Happened to stop in Springfield and have a sandwich on the shady side of the square block which holds the Baca County offices (oddly enough, across the street from where I'm staying tonight).

Anyway, this older woman drives up to me, pulling up across the lane of traffic (it's a small town, no traffic then, or at any time, I imagine), and asks me if the county courthouse is closed today.

I don't know why my location would give her the idea I'd know that, but I pointed out that it was a national holiday. "Is today the Fourth?". "No, but the Fourth is on a Saturday, so Friday is normally made the holiday. I suppose that's what they did."

Anyway, struck me as odd--I thought that was pretty common knowledge.

Looking at the atlas, figuring out what to do with the afternoon, I noticed that the highest point in Oklahoma was about an hour away.

Went down there. Turned out to be a 4.2 mile hike to the top of Black Mesa. Not a terrible hike, only a relative short part of that is up the mesa, most flat (though the flies were really annoying).

Kind of nice scenery, reminded me of some parts of Colorado with scrubby vegetation and bluffs.

They have a marker which shows how far away stuff is in each direction. Colorado, 3.7 miles north. New Mexico, 1299 feet west. So this spot is just barely the highest in Oklahoma.

Then driving back north, the road turned into gravel in Colorado, and there was no sign of human habitation. If you're familiar with the term "BFE", I was outside BFE. At one point, there was a herd of cows, and one stood there across the road without moving for about five minutes, just kind of looking at me.

I wasn't sure if cattle might charge and smash into me like I've heard bison will. I just gave a couple of quick toots every few minutes, and pretty soon it ambled off.

I certainly didn't want to get broken out there, no cell coverage, pretty much no idea where I was, and the sun was setting. I was pretty much going with the theory that if I kept going roughly north, eventually I'd come across pavement and could then find a town or something.

Pictures later, I'm too tired to deal tonight.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2015, 09:56 PM   #48
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

In South Fork, CO tonight, and the grand view campground. It's would be a nice peaceful place to camp, but some people across the way have what sounds like real fireworks (a very loud report, at first I thought it was a gunshot.

Anyway, started out in Springfield, CO, took some gravel roads and saw back country up to Las Animas. Followed the Arkansas River to Pueblo, and it was just coming up on lunch, so I went into the mountains. Wound up through Silver Cliff, Salida, Gunnison, and Lake City before finding my way here.

Looks like it might rain, so I'm going to put the laptop away. I'll try to upload photos and give a description (if anything turns out) next week.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2015, 09:13 PM   #49
golddog's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 3,087
Re: golddog runs around

OK, some photos. First Mt. Sunflower

Sorry about the back side, the front picture I cropped the top of the sunflower. As you can see, it's pretty indistinguishable from the surrounding countryside.

Came across this on the way to the OK high point. Seemed a lot nicer when Jake and Elwood were playing it.

The view on the way up. There's a lot of nothing out there.

Horny toad:

Here's the marker

On the gravel road for something different, not much out there. Amber waves of grain

And the occasional abandoned structure

Didn't have very nice light, but this one near Lake City came out ok

Saw a nice buck up there too

Some waterfalls

and Colorado scenery


On the last day, started following the Arkansas River back east

Then turned north. This is South Park:

Just moseyed along the back roads to Denver. Got back home about 3PM. It was a nice trip to see some different stuff.

Last edited by Bluegrassplayer; 03-27-2019 at 01:29 AM.
golddog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2015, 10:56 AM   #50
WithnoSenSe's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: est
Posts: 724
Re: golddog runs around

awesome pictures
WithnoSenSe is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:33 AM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2008-2020, Two Plus Two Interactive