Julie in Michigan

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Lava Hot Springs, ID

Well, I thought I was going to Thermopolis (Thermop to the locals) but I guess not. That twelve hour, practically non-stop drive up here kicked my butt, my sciatic nerve to be exact. I now solemnly swear to myself that I will never do that again. I will stop every hour and a half to two hours at a rest stop to walk around, do some stretches and feel the sunshine (not in NV). This morning I went into town and signed up for a deep-tissue massage. I don’t know where this woman trained but I have never in my life had anyone work so deep and make me cry in pleasurable pain as I know that this is going to fix the problem. Then I got a manicure and had lunch at the Main Street Artisian cafĂ© and gallery. Everyone in this town has been so friendly – quite a contrast to the anonymity of life in Vegas. I could fall in love with this town. There will be a bluegrass festival in about 2 weeks and the following week is the hundred year anniversary of the railroad station. I hate to miss it. Saturday apparently broke all records for low temps. I nearly froze to death while I saw teenagers walking around sleeveless with shorts and flip-flops. Ah, youth is wasted on the young, I remember those cold, cold nights that we walked around the Shores, half bare, indifferent to the cold, our minds on other things. But, today is beautiful and this town is Americana at its best. Now, the point of this blog post is to tell you that popular opinion in this town is that Lava Hot Springs, although 3 hours west of here, in Idaho, is the better attraction. I looked at google maps, topographical view and as I see this three hour drive, curving around waterways and mountains, I know I’m in for a spectacular drive. I think I’ll leave early in the morning and treat myself to a night at the Riverside Hot Springs Inn . My Boost phone does not work in Wyoming anywhere. No pay by the month plans available. I can buy a prepaid at Walmart, sign up for a contract with Verizon, connect my Magic Jack and find the headphones or pay for service with Skype and find my headphones or maybe have better luck in Idaho. I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Evanston, WY

Left Vegas about 4am on Friday, stopped to sit down and relax for the first time on this trip, as soon as I crossed the Wyoming state line. That’s about 12 hours of stops for gas, water and restroom – 2 coffees, 2 donuts and a bag of veggie chips sustained me. It wasn’t planned that way – just happened. I finally chose to stop and rest for a bit at a day-use State Park in Wyoming. There was a picnic table where I made myself a cup of tea. Then I had a nice walk along a path with a rushing stream running parallel. I chatted with a fellow about my age regarding his Harley. He told me there was a Bike Rally in town this weekend. I didn’t even know there was a town. So he gave me directions and recommended an RV park. I had a good time listening to live music, looking at bikes, talking to the tat and piercing people, bought a hand-carved leather case for my phone and watched the antics. Saturday I explored further into the town of Evanston and fell in love with a little quilt shop. I bought stuff for two projects and promised to come back and hang out with the girls in the sewing room, from ten til closing most days. I experienced the best service and customer interface with a Pharmacist ever at City Drug. Excellent barbeque brisket and slaw from a street vendor and entered into a contest where a brand new Harley is the Prize. Winner will be notified October 6, 2012. I’m also entered into a drawing back in Vegas for a 1977 Firebird. Either one will make me happy. The trip up here was unbelievable. The images were parallel in beauty only to Alaska. Utah was spectacular. I had difficulty driving because I was so distracted by the beauty of the mountains, water and vegetation. The abundance of water was totally invigorating after having spent the past 2 months in the desert. From Provo, UT northward, the distractions were doubled as the landscape continued to expand and grow phenomenally more beautiful and construction was going on and those silly obstacle course posts were all along the roadway. Not one placed called for me to stop, just admire as I went through. So now it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m still in the little RV Park in Evanston. It’s owned by Grandpa and Grandma, grandkids run the place, but it’s a very pleasant little roadside stopover with Wi-Fi, cable and electricity provided. I just paid for another two days so that will give me time to take my knitting project to the quilting shop and learn what all those terms mean AND 5 needles for a pair of socks??? I noticed there is a therapeutic massage spa in town and my legs are in dire need of some deep tissue massage while I just relax for a couple more days. I thinking I’m, heading north when I leave here, to Thermopolis where the Fountain of Youth is open to the public for hot tubbing. I’ve already had to break out my hoodies, hats, jackets and gloves. My blood is pretty thinned out due to the triple digit weather in Vegas when I left.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What I found in Vegas

I’m still in Vegas. I thought, as a non-gambler, Vegas would be a waste of time and energy for me. I thought I had no real interest in visiting the Entertainment Capital of the World, but I do. I arrived about six weeks ago and have been overwhelmingly pleased with the sheer number of people in my age group who are living an active lifestyle here.

I’ve never been a couch potato, always busy and love to travel, enjoy shows and new experiences. For me, Las Vegas tops the list of best places to live and I didn’t even know it until I arrived and worked myself into some gatherings and meet-ups. Then, there were more opportunities at church and additional local social networking groups.
I’ve attended shows, visited galleries, bookstores, herbal markets, dined and bowled! Bowling alleys it seems are frequently built into Casinos. So, I walk past the slot machines, obtain my ball and shoes from my storage locker ($44 annual fee at Santa Fe) and get into my exercise routine, for $1 a game, daily until 3pm for seniors. Hard to believe, but I do qualify.
I’ve received discounts for haircuts and shows. I’m thinking that if I stay long enough I will find more, easily done if you are a gambler. A card is issued by the Casinos, much like your supermarket discount card, and records the money you spend at the slot machines. This enables the Casino to focus on the members who visit regularly and receive gifts in the form of discounts for food and lodging at the hotel/casino. Unfortunately, for me to start gambling would amount to working at new job and pulling a lever doesn’t do a thing for me, sorry, just the way it is.
Las Vegas is not just for gamblers, so I’ve found. I love the new friends I have met, women my age who are not interested in becoming a rocking-chair-grandma nor a couch potato. But, Michigan beckons and I will be on my way soon. I’ve delayed long enough and everyone is understanding – they say, “We’ll see you when you get here”, but I know my presence is desired, especially at Ma N Pa’s in Watervliet. My son and grandchildren are awaiting my visit in Chicago (right around the corner in Illinois) and a sister who is 17 years older than me who is finally a friend. I’ve got nieces and nephews and friends from Clarkston to Ann Arbor.
I’ll be leaving soon. I think I'll be heading north to Cody, Wyoming and then east to the Fountain of Youth in Thermopolis, WY, where there appears to be more than a few natural hot springs. I need the healing waters. Cody was the destination for my Great Aunt Ada, who in the late 1800's traveled west, from Michigan, to visit her brother, Asa, a photographer there. These two individuals are featured on the labels of my Avalon Herbaly hand-made soaps. I'll get that home-based-business up again soon. I haven't made soap in awhile, but while I'm in Michigan I just may do it.
I’ll keep you posted.