Monthly Archives: October 2013

Coffee, Please.

Let’s take a break from the travelogue, of which there are three more parts.

And talk about COFFEE.

Morning coffee-making has changed radically over the years. I remember when it was a percolator on the stove, and the formula was 8, 8, and 8—eight cups of water, eight teaspoons of coffee, perked for eight minutes. Then came the electric percolator. Plug it in and come back for coffee.

Then the advent of the drip coffee maker. Great! Except the hunt was then on for what brand of coffee maker made coffee I actually liked.

Then came the frustration of heating elements going out and glass carafes breaking.

I succumbed to paying $50 for a replacement carafe once! When that pot broke I fritzed out and looked for an alternative way of making coffee—GOOD coffee.

Being old and crotchety, I looked back to the good old days and bought an electric percolator. Yeah, what was so great about those days? Metallic-tasting coffee? But we adapted; we’d paid out the money.

But then we came to the end of our rope with so-so coffee. I mean, if your cup of joe doesn’t grab your attention first thing in the morning, what’s the point? If I wanted coffee-flavored dishwater I could get that cheaper out of the sink.

What to do? The search for a new coffee making system was on AGAIN. I won’t bore you with all the details of the quest, and believe me, it’s boring. Coffee making has gone nuts: all these high-priced, single-serving gizmos, and so many bells and whistles, gaskets and pumps to go bad.

Solution: my husband hit on it. Twice-perked coffee. Twice-baked potatoes are good, so why not twice-perked coffee? Dave makes the coffee before he goes to bed, lets it perk three or four minutes and unplugs it. Then he lets it go through the full perk cycle in the morning. Voila! Good, strong coffee! Strong enough to mask the metallic taste. So we’re keeping the stainless steel percolator and saved the $100 of a “coffee station.”

You’re rolling your eyes, I know. But you should see me without coffee.

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American Road Trip, Part 6

WONDERS OF YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK.

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Buffalo in the Lamar Valley

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Firehole River at Midway Geyser Basin

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Midway Geyser Basin

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Norris Geyser Basin

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Elk in the Madison River

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Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

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Old Faithful Inn Opened in 1904

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Old Faithful

It never gets old.

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American Road Trip West, Part 5

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West at Cody, Wyoming is a Smithsonian-quality museum. Don’t go through Cody without visiting it. Western art, firearms, history of the plains Indians, western geology, natural history, and all things Buffalo Bill Cody under one roof. Plan on spending no less than four hours here; your ticket is good for two days.

Only upon reflection did I realize what was missing from the history of the West—there was only a nod to the explorers and pioneers pushing West. One wonders if telling their stories would necessitate exposing the ugly side of people and events—best left untold in a family venue? Or are we tied in knots by political correctness? The sins were great on both sides, as was the extraordinary courage. One side may prevail, but no one wins at war.

Nevertheless, it’s a five-star museum of the West. Enjoy the photos.

Buffalo Bill Cody and an Indian Chief telling a story in sign language.

Buffalo Bill Cody and an Indian Chief telling a story in sign language.

Annie Oakley's trunk from the Wild West Show.
Annie Oakley’s trunk from the Wild West Show.

Native American Clothing

Native American Clothing

Turkey Vulture in a rehab raptor demonstration.

Turkey Vulture in a rehab raptor demonstration.

Fine Art of the West

Fine Art of the West

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear

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American Road Trip West, Part 4

Cowboy Country!

Cowboy Country!

“Let ‘er buck!”—the battle cry of the University of Wyoming athletics fans. It means: Bring on the bronco and let her (or him) buck! Metaphorically it means: Face adversity and try to conquer it, even if it throws you around. A put-up-your-dukes, stick-out-your-chin, bring-it-on attitude. And why not? A tough land makes people tough.

Wyoming—state of vast sage-covered land and really big mountains. It’s a thrill as the Bighorn Mountains, a subrange of the Rocky Mountains, rise in the distance. Take Highway 16 out of Buffalo and in no time you’re in the mountains.

100+ year old cabin.
100+ year old cabin.

On this trip we revisited places from a trip 30 years ago.

The South Fork Inn, a few miles into the mountains, has changed but not in a bad way. The name is different, but still recognizable, South Fork Mountain Lodge and Outfitters. The new cabins are neatly folded into the landscape. And the 100+ year old cabin we had stayed in is still there—a bedroom on either side of a center kitchen with a wood burning cookstove (now unusable).

Crazy Woman Canyon Rd.

Crazy Woman Canyon Rd.

After having a look around the South Fork Inn we trucked on to the next revisit—Crazy Woman Canyon Road—the reason we drove our 4-wheel drive truck. Single lane, gravel, and rutted. Not a road for cars with low oil pans. It’s a crazy road leading to fantastic scenery and gorgeous campsites (bring your own water or water treatment tablets). No facilities—I mean NO facilities—if you know what I mean. This eighteen-mile road can be driven in either direction, from south of Buffalo, or from Hwy 16 in the mountains, or you can just turn around like we did.

Highway 16 in the Bighorn Mountains

Highway 16 in the Bighorn Mountains

By this point in the road, (photo at left),  I wasn’t feeling so good—a bit of a headache and mild nausea. OK, I’m a flatlander, and it takes me a bit to adjust to the altitude, but not long. Fortunately, my husband did 97% of the mountain driving. Well, fortunately, I think. He likes to drive, which means I was sucking in my breath or closing my eyes on occasion. Mountain driving is much like aging, not for sissies.

Down in the valley, me driving, a storm piled up black clouds and raced across the open range; a wall of rain bounced off the dry ground. Storms in the West are like that: fast, frequently in the afternoon, and sometimes violent. A beautiful storm.

At the Irma Hotel, Cody, Wyoming

At the Irma Hotel, Cody, Wyoming

Hot and tired, but exhilarated from being back in the mountains, we pulled into Cody, Wyoming. Cody is for tourists, and we fell right in step, enjoying a gunfight staged at the Irma Hotel.

Next morning—whoa, we’re not in the city anymore!

Out for a morning stroll in Cody, Wyoming.

Out for a morning stroll in Cody, Wyoming.

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