Iron Horse

Locomotive on display in Wyoming Welcome Center

Wheels roll, full steam ahead, though not too fast

Metal clanging, chugging, pulling struggles behind

The iron moves, clinging to track unfurled, whistles with blast

Past the horse, natural worker, attached by family, farm and beauty.

Now is beauty full of metal – stronger, no need to eat or rest

Only controlled by owner, feeding water, fuel and direction

Iron horse arrives, relieving hooves that tracked the countryside

Antique work wagon at Dubois, WY museum

It pulls its load, no complaint, no holding back, no need to force the struggle

I’m thankful for the iron horse, the progress through life, achievements to ease the burdens.

I’m thankful for the horse, its beauty, natural flow of free spirit and life, its willingness to carry the load.

Horses and stable at Grand Tetons, WY

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Journey west

Example of conveniences developed for western travelers. (Display at Wyoming Welcome Center)

Can you imagine the journey west as the pioneers and settlers traveled thousands of miles from the eastern U.S. to explore the west, looking for further freedom to claim land, pursue their dreams and establish homes with families?

Native American lives were impacted greatly as the frontier was being explored by those seeking better lives. Let’s not forget their struggles and desires to live peacefully and pursue their dreams as well.

Tipi at the Wyoming Welcome Center

Imagine the hardships, rocky terrain, streams, wildlife and challenges along the way. Many lost their lives. Many fell short of their dreams. Many arrived. Many fulfilled their dreams.

Persevere!

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Settling or camping?

Wagon on display at Wyoming Welcome Center

Isn’t it interesting how years ago when the western part of the United States was being settled, they had their share of camping. Do early settlers compare with modern campers?

Settlers must have been mobile campers for sure. Wagons filled with commodities, sleeping in the open wild; exploring ever-changing terrain, using gifts of strong and mild.

Camping display at Wyoming Welcome Center

Campers may come and go, explore on foot, motor – through heat and snow.

One is necessary to begin new life, the other for pleasure, to ease the strife.

Explore if we will, love the land, embrace life around, protect life with a zeal.

These thoughts were generated from visiting the Wyoming Welcome Center during a recent visit there.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

A large prairie place

Apparently a “large prairie place” is what the word Wyoming is based on – by the Algonquin Indians, according to Ben’s Guide to U.S. government Kids pages (and https://statesymbolsusa.org/wyoming/name-origin/wyoming-state-name-origin). 

Wyoming is the 10th largest U.S. state by area, the least populous, and the second most sparsely populated.  It became the 44th U.S. state in 1890. 

StatessymbolUSA also mentions that according to the Wyoming Secretary of State, “The name Wyoming is a contraction of the Native American word mecheweamiing (“at the big plains”), and was first used by the Delaware people as a name for the Wyoming Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania.”

If one is traveling from Colorado to Wyoming, toward Cheyenne, I recommend stopping at the welcome center.  It has excellent information on Wyoming. 

Wyoming is a wonderful place to visit.  I’ll post photos and information during my next several posts.  I’m glad to have you along with me on the journey.  Let’s explore the area, shall we?  I’m amazed. 

Partial photo of mural in Wyoming Welcome Center

By the way, some of the history of Wyoming can be found at https://www.wyohistory.org/

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Fort Morgan along the way

While traveling into Colorado on Interstate 76, one of the stops for the night was at Fort Morgan.  We had dinner at Cables Pub & Grill.

I usually have to work around the menu due to staying on a gluten-free and yeast-free eating regimen.  It’s a challenge sometimes but one has to be creative.  Cables was a pleasant restaurant with ample variety. 

Trip Advisor has good reviews at https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g33427-Fort_Morgan_Colorado-Vacations.html

I always like to search for something unique wherever I travel.  We didn’t have much time to stay in Fort Morgan so I researched on Wikipedia. 

Fort Morgan began as Camp Wardwell, and was established in 1865 along the Overland Trail to protect emigrants and supplies going to and from Denver, and the mining districts.

The fort was renamed in 1866 by General John Pope for one of his staff, Colonel Christopher A. Morgan, who died earlier that year. 

During our stay I noticed a unique smell in the hotel during the night and wondered what it was.  I discovered we were across the street from the sugar factory.  I didn’t even notice the plant beforehand.  

Naturally, I had to research a little on the factory.  The “Great Western Sugar Factory” was built in 1906.  An early photo and more information is at https://www.cityoffortmorgan.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2185

I was confused a little as I read about the sugar factory; and then read about sugar beets.  So, does sugar come from beets?  According to Quora.com and Michael Shaw, a plant person, 😊 the typical red beet is certainly different from the white-colored sugar beet. 

Sugar beets are processed to make sugar.  They are not intended to be eaten as a vegetable.  However, they are the same species as garden beets.  More information can be found at https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-difference-between-Beta-vulgaris-and-Sugar-beet

While leaving Fort Morgan, I just had to have a couple of photos of the processing plant.  I would have been interested in taking a tour if I had time along the way.  Still, it’s amazing what we can learn if we take a little time to check things out. 

Also, this I didn’t know: “Today, sugar beets account for HALF of all refined sugar production in the United States, and around 20% of all sugar in the world! Cane sugar and beet sugar are the two processed sweeteners that most of the world’s processed food industries are built upon, ” according to Healthy Home Economist.

The Healthy Home Economist website has additional information about sugar beets.  https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/beet-sugar/.  Do you have any further insight? 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Wild Horse BBQ

Okay, where is the horse? Actually, the name reflects a quaint, little barbecue (BBQ) place tucked away near Interstate 40 in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.

The restaurant is nestled in the foothills of the Wild Horse Mountain range in eastern Oklahoma. Maybe there are some wild horses still in those hills.

Artifacts are displayed on the walls of Wild Horse BBQ – including these two with Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood in their younger years.

If you travel along this area it is worth stopping for tasty food with quick and friendly service in a rustic environment. The menu is limited and simple. I think the brisket sandwich is their most popular item. The plate includes some very tasty beans too.

Wild Horse Mountain BBQ sauce is excellent and has been over 50 years. It is available online as well. https://www.wildhorsemountainbbqco.com

I also liked the surrounding area with old relics that take you back in time.

Trip advisor also has reviews on the restaurant at https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g51633-d2392413-Reviews-Wild_Horse_Mountain_BBQ-Sallisaw_Oklahoma.html.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Different drum beat

Metal drum ends provide wall art at Hampton Inn, Mulvane, Kansas.

When I saw these metal drum ends with rust mixed with color in Kansas I thought of our Native Americans in North America.

Not knowing much about Indian culture, I have become more interested during travels across the United States. It is amazing how many various tribes were populated across this vast land. I suppose many of the generations are scattered now and it’s more difficult to determine pure tribes aside from reservations.

As I pondered these pieces of art I wondered if they were made and painted by Native Americans, or even if this artwork is indeed similar to the Indian culture in this area of Kansas. From my own simple analogy, this area is where the Kiowa Tribe was predominant, and a remnant still remain.

So, does the different type of “drum” that is painted trigger any particular thoughts with you?

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Mulvane Hampton

Reminder at Hampton Inn and Kansas Star that in the west a handshake is as good as a deal.

If you travel through Kansas near Wichita in the U.S., and desire a place to rest, with built-in “entertainment,” then Hampton Inn & Suites in Mulvane, Kansas is a good choice. 

The hotel is just off Interstate 35 near Wichita, Kansas.  It has the western U.S. flair along with the Kansas Star Casino and Arena. 

There are a few restaurants inside the casino that should satisfy each appetite.  The hotel staff are friendly, the rooms are very nice and comfortable and the hallways present a fresh appeal. 

I always enjoy the complimentary breakfast with excellent choices and dining comfort.   

https://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/kansas/hampton-inn-and-suites-i-35-mulvane-ICTSCHX/index.html

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Columbus’ southern culture

Columbus, Mississippi, ever been there?  How about old antebellum houses, downtown stores still preserved over time, some older, some newer; tucked away with rich historical heritage and classic southern architecture, food and hospitality?

Antebellum home in Columbus, Mississippi

Columbus was voted number six in the Best Small Town Cultural Scene category of USA TODAY’s  10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest, according to http://www.visitcolumbusms.org/

The Luxapallila and Tombigbee flow effortlessly, picking up the soil saturated beside; many times swelling with the onslaught of rain and outlets that drain.  The bridge sometimes over trouble waters, or with peace below; it often matters. They move beyond, constraints no more, spreading their power, looking for new shore.

Tombigbee River walkway bridge and scenic path in Columbus, MS

The big ditch flows just the same, sometimes low with often overflow.  So peaceful at times, then raging through the vines.

“Big ditch” flooding in Columbus, MS

The 82 and 45 move us along, meandering around, looking for that which wets the mouth; ahh, we found it, not much to see driving swiftly by, but just a little place, wood design, no time to waste.

Old Hickory Steak House on Highway 45 in Columbus, MS

It may not entice you to stop, just looking at the décor; come evening you can tell – it’s special as many come through the door.

The best steak all around, some of the best – tender, juice, tasty and right. Chef prides over coals so hot, sizzling – to the perfection of each one.  While traveling through Columbus on Highway 45, don’t forget to stop by Old Hickory – in the evening it comes alive. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Reach en pointe

Ballet en pointe demonstrates dedication, hard work, strength and grace to achieve to the highest point. (Ballet Cinderella and Fairy Godmother)

Dance recitals are upon us,

Behold the beauty, grace and flow

Of the rhythm, steady movement,

Labor of love, satisfaction, persistence that only family may know.

Reach above – focus, draw strength from the one who loves.

En pointe desired by one

Who yearns, grows, prepares to reach,

Upward toward the highest,

Rise up, reach for the dream, achieve – I beseech. 

(Images from 2019 “Cinderella” production by Heather Loveland Dance Academy portraying “Cinderella” and the “Fairy Godmother.”)

Blessings along the Way!

Ron