Virtual Travel – Texas

Texas!

2015 09 22 35 Amarillo TX

 

Texas is a big state with a great variety of places for photography, therefore this is a LONG posting.

 

 

 

 

Texas Culture

1952     1958     1991     2007     2009     2011     2012     2016

 

 

Austin – State Capital

2009 08 27 63 Austin

 

The Texas State Capitol dates from 1885. The land it is on was acquired in a barter deal, 3 million acres of Texas Panhandle for this land!

Texas shows it’s Tex-Mex history in the state foods…

State Pastries – two – Strudel & Sopiapilla

Apple strudel     

 

State Small Mammal – Armadillo

 

 

 

The city of Austin is proud of it’s motto – Keep Austin Weird.

With the music scene, including a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Congress Street bats it is a great place to be.

 

 

 

Prairies

1949     1969     1972     2013     2014

 

Roads & Bridges

1954     1964     1974     1975     1977     1978    1983     1987

 

I have more Texas Official Highway Maps than any other state. So many this section has combined the Prairies with the Highways which is appropriate because it features Amarillo and Route 66

 

Amarillo

You are half way there – IF you are going from Chicago to Los Angeles, or vice versa.

 

 

The legendary Cadillac Ranch. For more than 40 years people have been spray painting these cars. The good folks of Amarillo liked the planted Cadillacs they have expanded (in different parts of town) to VW Beetles and Combines.

 

 

Mountains

1953     1959     1970     1993     2017

 

 

Terlingua  – The ‘ghost town’ of Terlingua is a former mining town, but is not vacant, as it is a destination for tourist from Big Bend National Park.

Once a year they hold the world’s largest chili cook-off.

 

 

Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. These two parks cover much of the Rio Grande Valley of West Texas. Their natural scenery is stunning.

A plus is being able to take a row boat across the river to Mexico for lunch in Bouillas.

 

 

Marathon – Gage Hotel   We had the good fortune of spending the night in this crossroads town on the way to Big Bend. The Gage Hotel is a historic property that attracts people just for the atmosphere and food.

 

 

Langtry – Made famous by Judge Roy Bean and his Law West of the Pecos, and even more famous when Paul Newman starred in a movie of the same name. The town is pretty much vacant, but the area is scenic.

Nearby is Seminole Canyon State Historic Park. This park holds significant cave art.

 

 

 

Cities & Beaches

1961     1968     2015     2019

 

 

San Antonio. While the city is large, it has a feel very different than Houston or Dallas. The downtown is much more compact, with a significant amount of Art Deco architecture.

 

 

Missions – There are five missions in San Antonio, and four of those are maintained by the National Park Service (the 5th is the Alamo). Mission San Jose is the most impressive architecturally.  Our day in San Antonio included a visit to Mission Concepcion.

 

Alamo – The most famous mission in the state, and likely the country, it is not known for it’s service as the Mission San Antonio de Valero, but more so it’s use as a fort in the Mexican independence effort when a group of Texas soldiers died defending it.

 

 

Houston – The city is the 4th largest city in the country, with 2.3 million people in the city. It is the 5th largest metro area (by some calculations) with 7 million people.

The city has more buildings over 150m (492′) than any city in the United States other than New York, Chicago and Miami.

There are still a few historic buildings downtown, but many have been destroyed over the years as they went taller and newer.

 

 

Houston Art – One of the great finds in our travels was the very cool, quirky art of Houston. From top to bottom. Giant Presidential Heads – Sanctioned Graffiti – Beer Can House – Luck Land – Smithers Park.

 

 

Parks and Rec  Houston also provided some unique ‘park’ experiences – from going under the Buffalo Bayou Park to see the Cistern, to the Botanical Gardens, and finally inside for some baseball.

 

 

Galveston     Another pleasant surprise was Galveston. It seemed like 3 cities in one – the typical seaside resort with amusement rides and motels, a great state park natural area, and finally the historic area on the bay side.

 

 

Dallas – Fort Worth    While Houston gained lots of photos on this posting I have actually been to Dallas far more, just some time ago and without a camera.

Dallas is corporate, Fort Worth is cowboy (I know – stereotypes, but it seems to fit).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Nevada

 

Nevada: Latest updates on Coronavirus | Live Science

 

Unusual State Symbol of the Day.

Official State Locomotive of Nevada – Engine #40 of the Nevada Northern Railway. (photo from Flickr/State Symbols).

 

Deserts

1946     1958     1961     1970     1979

 

Nearly the entire state of Nevada is in desert, offering numerous interesting landscapes.

All photos from Internet sources

Calico basin red rock cumulus mediocris.jpg      Nevada Humanities

Considering a New State? Try Balmy Nevada | Investor Square ...

Nevada für Naturfreunde      The Road Trips That Will Move Nevada to the Top of Your List ...

 

This satellite view of Las Vegas illustrates the vastness of the desert.

Vegas.jpg

 

 

 

Lake Tahoe

1952     1960     1975     2009     2013

 

One of the more beautiful places in the United States is Lake Tahoe, on the California/Nevada border.

2016 05 25 10 Lake Tahoe.jpg

 

2016 05 25 7 Lake Tahoe.jpg

 

 

 

Situated high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains the area is a ski destination (photo from Freestock photos)

Skiing Down the Slopes of Lake Tahoe image - Free stock photo ...

 

 

 

Uniquely Nevada

1953     1972     2017

 

Without a doubt Nevada has their fair share of unique places.

 

Hoover Dam – Completed in 1935, this dam cost over 100 workers their lives, but has provided the water and power that has allowed the massive expansion of population in Nevada, Arizona and California.

Over 3 million cubic yards of concrete was used in the dam, with another million yards used in the power plant. This is enough concrete to build a 2 lane road from San Francisco to New York.

2005 06 27 Hoover Dam 3.jpg

 

Since we visit 15 years ago they have completed the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, routing all the non tourist traffic directly across the canyon. (photo from Wikipedia).

The bridge is silhouetted against the sky with the Colorado river far below

 

 

Las Vegas – Love it or hate it there is no other place like it.

2005 06 27 Las Vegas 35.jpg

 

 

Area 51 – Long rumored to be a site where the U.S. Government has made contacts with Alients, Area 51 is a secret Air Force base. It has a strong following of ‘believers’

Extraterrestrial Highway (Rachel) - 2020 All You Need to Know ...

Are you brave enough to drive Nevada's Extraterrestrial Highway ...

Driving the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada: What You Need to Know

 

 

Burning Man is a massive event that occurs annual in the northwest Nevada desert.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement: Black Rock City's Future ...

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I.L.Y. - Burning Man 2019 by Lindsay Schaefer — Kickstarter

 

 

Nevada State Capitol – Carson City

This quaint building is the Nevada State Capitol. It was built from sandstone obtained from the Nevada State Prison.

Nevada State Capitol.JPG

 

 

 

Cowboys in the Desert

1965     1968     1985     1987

Government State Nevada 1965.jpg

Government State Nevada 1968.jpg

 

A number of ranches in Nevada cater to the tourist trade.

Jersey Valley Cattle Company, Nevada - COWBOY SHOWCASE

 

 

Outdoors in Nevada

1995     2000     2002     2005     2007     2011

 

There are a number of beautiful state parks in Nevada (photos from Wikipedia).

Panaca Formations In Cathedral Gorge State Park Nevada Greeting ...

 

 

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of fire State Park.jpg

Fire Wave Valley of Fire | Earth Trekkers

 

 

Ward Charcoal Oven State Historic Park

Ward Charcoal Oven State Historic Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Nebraska

Welcome to Nebraska, the Cornhusker State.

2012 07 09 246.JPG

 

Nebraska Capitol, History and Symbols 

1954     1971     1987     1991

 

Today finds us again on the Great Plains in Nebraska. There is more to Nebraska however than flat lands filled with corn. But first, let’s check out the State Capitol in Lincoln. (photo from Wikipedia)

Nebraska State Capitol aerial.jpg

 

Nebraska is one of the states that has a State Capitol that is not built in the traditional style. It was the first state capitol to take this approach, having completed this very cool art deco building in 1932. The building is 400′ tall, and can be seen for miles across the prairies of Eastern Nebraska.

The 1954 map celebrating Nebraska’s 100th anniversary is a bit deceiving, it is not for statehood, rather when the Nebraska territory was defined. Nebraska did not become a state until 1867.

Nebraska has one of the ‘coolest’ state symbols, the state drink – Kool Aid! This kid favorite was developed in 1927 by Edwin and Kitty Perkins in the town of Hastings.

Kool-Aid Man

Hastings celebrates this each year with a Kool Air Festival

A sweet escape from reality is found, at least momentarily, in a ...

 

Cowboys

1965     1973

 

Because early cattle drives often took cowboys through Nebraska, the state still celebrates this culture. The town of Ogallala is the center of this culture in the state, although highly unlikely to be authentic. (photo from visitnebraska)

Front Street Crystal Palace Review - front street - ogallala

 

Buffalo Bill Cody spent much of his adult life living in North Platte, Nebraska. His ranch is now a State Historical Park.

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park - Nebraska Game and ...

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park - Nebraska Game and ...

Chimney Rock & Scotts Bluff

1972     1978     1980     2011

 

Scotts Bluff National Monument is located in Western Nebraska, with over 3000 acres of historic trail remnants, as well as the rise that is Scotts Bluff.

It was named after Hiram Scott, who was a clerk for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Scott died near this landmark in 1828.

Because it was such a visual landmark, it served as a destination for travelers on the Oregon Trail, California Trail and Pony Express. The bluff rises 800′ above the surrounding prairies.

 

2012 07 09 45 Scottsbluff Nebraska.JPG

 

Chimney Rock is another landmark of Western Nebraska. This unique geological formation rises 300′ above the North Platte Valley.

2012 07 09 109 Nebraska.JPG

 

 

 

Regions of Nebraska

1979     1981     1983     1993     1997     2007

Omaha is the largest city in the state, with a metro population of nearly 1 million. (photo from Children’s Hospital of Omaha). The largest employers in the city are government and hospitals.

 

The top rated attraction according to Tripadvisor is the Henry Doorly Zoo. (photo from Wikipedia)

File:Desert Dome Omaha Zoo.jpg

 

 

Carhenge is a replica of Stonehenge in the middle of the Nebraska prairies. There are 38 automobiles in a circle 96′ in diameter.

2012 07 09 121 Alliance Nebraska Carhenge.JPG

 

 

The Nebraska Outback is in North Central Nebraska. This is a recent named used in a tourism campaign. Attractions include: (photos from Wikipedia)

Nebraska National Forest

 

Smith Falls

 

Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge

Fort Niobrara Refuge (12294375056).jpg

The Sandhills – Mixed Grasses covering sand dunes.

Nebraska Sandhills NE97 Hooker County 3.JPG

 

 

Outdoors & Rivers

1985     1989     2001     2003

 

The Platte River is the major waterway through the state. (photo from Wikipedia)

Middle Fork South Platte River

Platte River | river, Nebraska, United States | Britannica

 

 

There are vast areas of non developed space in Nebraska. The views below are from far western Nebraska near the Wyoming border.

2012 07 09 168 Nebraska.JPG

 

 

 

Toadstool Geologic Park is located in far northwestern Nebraska. It is essentially a badlands area but with very interesting formations.

2012 07 09 212  Toadstool Geological Park Nebraska.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Montana

2015 09 09 1.jpg

Welcome to Montana – unfortunately by the time I got around to going there they had done away with the No Speed Limit laws!

 

State Symbols

Animal – Grizzly Bear

Grizzly bear

 

State Flower – Bitterroot

Bitterroot flower (Lewisia rediviva)

 

State Grass – Bluebunch Wheatgrass

Bluebunch wheatgrass

 

 

Glacier National Park

1947     1957     2009

 

One of the most scenic areas of the state is in Glacier National Park. Sadly from the 150 glaciers that were in the park in the late 1800s they are down to 25 active glaciers, with the expectation that those too will be gone within 10 years.

The year of our visit was a bad year for forest fires, so there was a smoky haze over the entire area. Still with the lack of glaciers and the haze it is a beautiful place.

 

This photo from Wikipedia shows a much clearer view of the scenery.

Mountain Goat at Hidden Lake.jpg

 

 

 

Outdoors

1954     1958     1971     1994     2002     2003     2011     2013     2016

 

Montana is the 4th largest state in area, but 8th least populated, making it the 3rd least densely populated state (behind Alaska and Wyoming). With all that open space, the wilderness is a big appeal for residents and visitors.

 

Makoshika State Park in far eastern Montana. It is the largest state park in the state covering more than 11,000 acres of badlands.

The park is noted for the dinosaur fossils located there.

2015 09 09 7 Glendive MT

 

 

The Yellowstone River traverses much of Eastern Montana.

2015 09 09 32 Miles City MT.jpg

 

 

Not far from Billings is this outcropping known as Pompey’s Pilar. Standing 150′ above the Yellowstone River, it has an abundance of Native American petroglyphs as well as signatures of many of the pioneers who passed this way. Most noted of those is William Clark, of Lewis & Clark fame.

2015 09 09 110 Pompey's Pillar National Monument MT

 

 

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is an amazing spot in southern Montana. The canyon is 1000′ deep.

2015 09 10 20 Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area WY MT

 

 

Beartooth Highway is in the southwest Montana mountains, providing scenic views all along the way. (Photos from the internet)

Beartooth Highway, Montana, Part 2 - Roc Doc Travel

Dramatic Scenic Drive on Beartooth Highway to Yellowstone - My ...     Photos that Prove that the Beartooth Highway is the Most Beautiful ...

 

 

 

Cowboys and Bison

1985     1989     2007

 

The Cowboy culture is alive and kicking in Montana. Robert Redford has added much of the current mystique with movies such as A River Runs Through It and The Horse Whisperer.

 

As a result rodeos are a big deal throughout the state. (photo – Moon Travel Guide)

The Best Small Town Rodeos in Montana & Wyoming | Moon Travel Guides

 

The University of Montana even has a Rodeo (photo from University of Montana Rodeo Team).

 

Visit Great Falls Montana - Behind the Rodeo Chutes in Montana's ...