This week, Ann-Christine asks us to share your special finds. She writes, “Something found in your grandmother’s closet? Second hand is very popular in the Nordic countries right now. Do you find museums intriguing? Or, maybe like me, you love special, surprising finds in nature?” You can find her entire challenge post and collection of her favorite finds here.
This post, scheduled and published on September 1, 2020, finds Lynn and me on the road with my niece and her husband. For the last three years, the four of us have spent an entire month traveling the country to visit those places we’ve heard about but haven’t seen before. We like to take the roads less traveled, the scenic byways, the places that the average traveler bypasses in their hurry to visit their bucket list items. We look for those lesser-known places and places we’ve discovered that have a surprise for us.
For example, in the image above, we visited the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Steven King fans will recognise that this hotel is the inspiration for King’s novel, “The Shining.”
Our find on this stop is that the hotel was built by F.O. Stanley, one of the partners in the Stanley Steamer company. In the garden in front of the hotel, a statue of F.O. Stanley is displayed, his back to the hotel and viewers. The reason for this placement is that he loved to stand in that garden and enjoy the view of those spectacular Rocky Mountains.
On one of our journeys through Montana, we stopped overnight at Cut Bank, Montana. At breakfast, I noticed a photo of a large trestle bridge on the wall of the hotel. Being the bridge fanatic that I am, I asked the desk clerk where that trestle is located. He responded, “Go out the north exit of the hotel and take a look to the west.”
The bridge couldn’t have been any closer. It didn’t take me long to launch the drone so I could get a good view of the bridge from above. Only a few moments after the drone was airborne, I heard the sound of a train horn. It was fantastic luck for me to be able to catch a Burlington Northern freight train crossing on the trestle.
Heading back to North Dakota after our visit to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, we planned a route that would take us by Wyoming’s Devil’s Tower. As we proceeded east from Moran to Riverton, Wyoming we passed through the city of Dubois. From there, along U.S. Highway 26, the scenery got ever more spectacular. We were to learn that we were in Wind River Country. Turn north at U.S. 20 at Shoshoni Wyoming. The Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway ends about 40 miles (64 km) north of Shoshoni at Thermopolis.
In 2021, we left the International Peace Gardens to travel to Williston as we headed south and west out of North Dakota. Along the way, we stopped at Mystical Horizons near Bottineau.
For centuries people have marveled at the mysteries of Stonehenge. Jack Olson of Bottineau was a pilot and aerospace engineer. He envisioned a 21st-century version of Stonehenge, and he even selected a point in the Turtle Mountains to bring it to fruition. Though he didn’t live to see his dream come to fruition, his modern Stonehenge is quite popular during the solstices and equinoxes. When we arrived on September 9, there were very few people there. Of course, that meant that we would miss the celestial alignments that were created in those stone pillars.
My last favorite find is an image I captured in a chapel at Bellwood, Nebraska. Several Steiner family members emigrated from Luxembourg in the mid-19th century. One branch of my family tree settled in and around David City, Nebraska. About 15 minutes north and west of David City, at Bellwood, family members helped to build a church. We visited the church in mid-January and I was surprised to find my great-great grandfather’s name on one of the stained glass windows. He and several other Steiner family members are buried in the cemetery just outside the church. My only disappointment in getting this photo is that the holiday decorations were still up in the church so I couldn’t get a full-on view of the window my family provided.
Thanks to Ann-Christine for this week’s Favorites challenge. Next week, I am hosting the challenge and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite modes of travel and reminding everyone that it’s about the journey as much as the destination.