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More Cowboys, Burros, Uranium and Sand Dunes

The Uncompahgre Plateau and the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

We did one additional trip in Colorado before we started for home. We drove over to the other side of the Rockies to the Uncompahgre Plateau.
Tennessee pass

Tennessee pass


(Standing or sitting on the rock markers of the passes is a family tradition)

My mother was intrigued by the columbines growing wild around Telluride- the columbine is the Colorado state flower.
Columbine - Telluride

Columbine - Telluride


Later she would grow them in her garden.

We were someplace having lunch - I don't remember where but it might have been a bar. Colorado had silver dollar slots, and I ask my mother if I could play. So she gave me a silver dollar. I put it in and pulled the handle, and hit the jackpot. The machine spewed silver dollars all over the floor and everything. My mother wasn't happy. Her father was a gambler (he bet on the dogs) and she didn't want me to get the idea that I could get money that way. So she made me play the machine until I lost all the money. This took some time, because I would win little jackpots every so often. Slot machines are not attractive to me now.

In those days the area was fairly rural. My dad's photos showed the cowboys with their horses,
Cowboy

Cowboy

Horse herd

Horse herd

Cowboy and his dog

Cowboy and his dog


He also was fascinated with the genetics of breeding Palomino horses. We had not seen many of them at that time.
Palomino with a palomino foal

Palomino with a palomino foal


There were burros roaming on the roads and we came across two Jennys with a colt. We stopped and we caught the non-mother Jenny.
My donkey ride

My donkey ride


My dad got out his movie camera and I got on the burro and my mother attempted to lead me around - without any resulting movement. the burro was not going to go anywhere. Then my sister got on
I'm not moving - even for a carrot

I'm not moving - even for a carrot


also without any results until my father put down his movie camera and put a loop of the rope around the burro's lip and then she would walk with my sister on her back.

After my "ride", my mother told me to hold the mother Jenny and so I put my arms around the burro's neck.
"Holding" the other donkey

"Holding" the other donkey


When my parents finished giving my sister a ride, they let the other burro go and told me to let mine go too. But I apparently didn't hear that instruction because I retained my hold on the burro's neck. The other burro and the colt started trotting away and mine was going to join them with or without me. She dragged me across the roadside until I either let go or she kicked me off - I don't know which. I had some road rash on my tummy right through my T-shirt, but I was otherwise unscathed.

I had a more successful ride when we came across a stuffed bucking horse for a tourist photo op.
My sister getting off the stuffed horse

My sister getting off the stuffed horse


If you took the photo from the right angle, the post holding the horse up wasn't visible
"Riding" a bronc

"Riding" a bronc

Bull near Nucla

Bull near Nucla

Rainbow near Nucla

Rainbow near Nucla


I think our goal for this part of the trip was the town of Uravan - named because the ore that was mined here Carnotite ore has uranium, and vanadium in it.
Uravan (Uranium - Vanadium)

Uravan (Uranium - Vanadium)


My dad had a geiger counter and since WWII, he was always looking for a possible location of uranium ore. In Uravan there was a fireplace made of the local rocks - my dad's geiger counter went into a frenzy of clicking - so fast you could not hear the individual clicks. Giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "hot rocks'.

Uravan no longer exists. The EPA declared Uravan a superfund site in the 1980s and ordered the mining company, Umetco, to start clearing away the entire town.

Next we visited the Great Sand Dunes.
Sand dunes in the distance-I'm in the foreground

Sand dunes in the distance-I'm in the foreground


The Sand Dunes are on the other side of the Rockies from Silver Cliff, but there is no direct road through the mountains. You had to either go up to Salida or down around to Gardner and around Blanca Peak.
Sand dunes against the Sangre de Cristos

Sand dunes against the Sangre de Cristos


Since we were already in Uravan near Nucha, we just had to come east. At the time I was told that the ocean once deposited the sand, but I know now that was not accurate. The dunes developed from sand left behind after prehistoric lakes receded and blew towards a low curve in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America (750' high at an elevation of 8,700' above sea level).

A visit to the Sand Dunes (like a visit to the Garden of the Gods and to Silver Cliff) a family tradition when we are in Colorado.
e3d4e280-e4b3-11ea-aa2e-4d1e9f0e9fd0.JPGSand dunes

Sand dunes


My dad took my mom on their honeymoon and she said there was an electrical storm and her hair stood up straight on her head. Nothing like that happened this time.
c9c3e940-e4b3-11ea-aa2e-4d1e9f0e9fd0.JPGSand dunes with tiny people on the top

Sand dunes with tiny people on the top


President Hoover signed a bill to make the Great Sand Dunes a National Monument in 1932, but they weren't made a National Park until 2004
Flowers growing in sand

Flowers growing in sand

Sliding down the dunes

Sliding down the dunes


My sister and I had fun sliding down the sand hills, like we did in previous years on the Cape Cod sand dunes (14 years later President Kennedy would establish the Cape Cod sand dunes as part of the Cape Cod National SeaShore)

After this we left for New Mexico

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:42 Archived in USA Tagged cowboy sand_dunes palomino columbine uravan uranium Comments (2)

The Final Dash Home

Carlsbad Caverns, the St. Louis Zoo and Driving for 24 hours

The Indians that we saw at Garden of the Gods were not "from" there - that is from what I remember they were not local indians - those indians lived in pueblos south of Colorado. I remember that after we left the Sand Dunes, we visited their home pueblo - I do not know what the connection was with our family. There is no genetic connection for sure, but when my father was working on Professor Wallin's cabin, the other instructor with him was an Indian.

In any case, the next photos I have are of pueblo dwellings which may have been in Taos.
large_2d6454b0-e4f2-11ea-9741-9faf38329fa5.JPGOverexposed photo of the pueblo

Overexposed photo of the pueblo


Pueblo

Pueblo

Beehive oven

Beehive oven


The next to last place we visited was Carlsbad Caverns. This is almost 500 miles south of Colorado. I'm sure the trip took a couple of days.
Carlsbad - buildings from parking lot

Carlsbad - buildings from parking lot

Me near the cavern

Me near the cavern


We went to the cave at sundown in order observe the bats flying from the cave.
Moon Rise (or Set)

Moon Rise (or Set)


This was cool, but hard to photograph.

The next day we went into the caverns. Some of the formations were floodlit
Lighted formations

Lighted formations


Stalactites

Stalactites

large_4745b270-e4f2-11ea-a8ef-c508abcf79be.JPGCavern

Cavern

large_43708e90-e4f2-11ea-9741-9faf38329fa5.JPGBig dome in the main cavern

Big dome in the main cavern

Sideways Waterfall

Sideways Waterfall

Carlsbad Emerald Pool

Carlsbad Emerald Pool


Some of them had names
Elk head

Elk head

Same without flashlight

Same without flashlight


Now we were on our way home. Our next objective was St. Louis which was over 1000 miles from Carlsbad. We visited one of my dad's old girlfriends
Hazel and her husband - Dad's old girlfriend

Hazel and her husband - Dad's old girlfriend


someplace in Oklahoma or Texas and I think we also stopped - maybe at Fort Sill to see some of the family that had adopted my grandfather. But I have no photos of them. I remember crossing the vast hot and boring expanses of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas on the way to Missouri. Our parents were going to take us to the zoo.

In the spring of 1946 or 1947 my parents left us with our maternal grandmother while they went to meetings in St. Louis. At that time, they discovered that in those days the St. Louis zoo had something like circus acts with the animals. So we stopped to go to the zoo.
Elephant act

Elephant act


Ponies ridden by monkeys

Ponies ridden by monkeys


Lion act

Lion act


The zoo was our last stop before home.

We had been gone several months. Now my dad had to be back for sudden new deadline at the University of Maryland Medical School where he taught. We had less than 48 hours to get from St Louis to Baltimore - over 900 miles without any interstates or limited access highways. I think we went back partly on the Pennsylvania Turnpike which was fairly new and we thought it would be faster than driving back on US 40 through the mountains of Western Maryland although it was a little longer.

My parents did the driving in shifts. My dad made the back seat into a level bed. One parent and one child would sleep while the other parent would drive with a child in the passenger seat beside him. The child's job was to read the map (how far to the next town, did we have to make a turn to stay on the correct highway) and talk to the driver to keep him or her awake. I directed my dad. My sister read the map for my mother. We did stop to eat and get gas (and go to the bathroom). We drove this way for over 20 hours. We did make it back in time.

Our next big trip was in 1950 when our parents took us to Europe

Posted by greatgrandmaR 20:50 Archived in USA Comments (8)

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