Travels With Belle, Part 4

Travels With Belle, Part 4

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By Robert Scott

My canine companion and best friend Belle and I are continuing our month-long trip from Edgefield across the country and back again, and we are thoroughly enjoying it. Here are some highlights that interested us; I hope they will also interest readers of The Edgefield Advertiser.

Kansas. It’s a big state, and it takes a lot of time to drive across. Starting just outside Kansas City, there was some rolling and largely forested terrain for the first third, and then high plains with lots of corn, cattle, and highway getting more elevated the farther west. For Belle and me, the highlight was lunch in Hayes. There is a college in Hayes, and when we stopped for lunch at a small Mexican restaurant there were only three people in the ordering line before us; then some forty very fit young women arrived in line behind us. They were the members of the Augustana University Soccer Team, whose bus had pulled in for a lunch break. Augustana University is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and to me it’s a long way to travel from there to Hayes, Kansas, for a soccer match. The entire state of Nebraska is between the two! But in the high prairie, distances are not viewed the same way, and apparently that wasn’t a big deal. But Belle and I were impressed. All of us ate well.

Colorado. We stayed in Denver for three days, and my brother Ralph flew in from his home in Pennsylvania to join us. Our highlight was a day trip through the Rockies and back. At the top, the temperature had dropped from the high 80’s to the low 60’s, and with the very low humidity it was truly beautiful. If you haven’t visited that part of the country, I highly recommend it!

Wyoming. We (well, not Belle, but Ralph and I) have some cousins in Wyoming, and we decided to stay six days split among Rock Springs, Pinedale, and the Grand Teton / Yellowstone National Parks. I’ll wait to describe the parks until next week and write mostly about Pinedale. Our cousin Scott Smith is a retired judge and has a beautiful home in an even more beautiful setting. I am typing this column from his back porch, with a view of the western slope of the Wind River range that forms the Continental Divide in this section of Wyoming. There was a moose who interrupted play on the second hole of the local golf course yesterday, several antelope grazed adjacent to the highway along our drive, and two deer just walked across Scott’s backyard. We took a drive among the nearby mountains and lakes, viewing the nearby highest peak in the state, Gannett Peak at 13,810 feet (did I mention that Ralph is a retired college geography professor?). It truly is spectacular. The economy has taken a downturn due to the fluctuating costs of oil and gas, but, as in Edgefield County, the real estate prices have skyrocketed. Most of the newcomers are either retired or have jobs that enable them to work remotely; Scott’s wife is the only one among our group who isn’t retired, and she is an administrative court judge whose job during COVID times enables her to work from her computer. It’s a strange and wonderful world out there!

From here, Ralph, Belle and I will be heading through the National Parks, then across Idaho to visit a niece who lives in Moscow, ID, then on to the Pacific Northwest for several days in the Seattle area. It’s been a great trip, and having a Geographer as a travelling companion means that Belle and I ought each to be givena college credit for the in-person course we seem to be taking!