Missouri – Show Me Sue’s family

2016-09-26_07-31-26My dad was the fourth oldest of 16 siblings. Although most of the family settled and still live somewhere in the northeast and a few retired to warmer climes, two escaped when they were younger. Both moved around quite a bit, and both eventually made their way to Missouri.

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Eternal sorghum fields

Kansas would be different. We don’t know anyone in Kansas. There are no National Parks. State Parks are all about fishing. It’s mostly flat farm country. Still, our memories of traveling through Kansas in 1984 is that every town has a town campground and that the locals are curious, fun to chat with, and friendly. We planned to drive back roads, reminisce and cross the state in whatever time it took, then visit family in Missouri.

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Leadville CO

Leadville, CO

From RMNP, we headed south to Leadville CO, the highest incorporated city in these United States, and the westernmost point on our journey. It’s two miles above sea level, and the temps dropped into the mid 20’s both nights we were there – our first encounter with sub-freezing temperatures since we left home. We woke up to snow at the higher elevations (above about 12,000 ft):

Snow on the peaks
Snow on the peaks

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Based on a limited sample of 5, our impression is that our National Parks are located in gorgeous places worthy of a visit, well operated and maintained, and extremely popular. As we approached Rocky Mountain National Park (known by locals as Rocky Park) after the kiddos had gone back to school, we expected diminished crowds and lots of options. Ha! A few days before we expected to arrive, we checked the on-line reservation system and found that of the 3 campgrounds remaining open in September, there was exactly 1 site available, at Moraine Park. We booked it, not expecting much. Turns out… it may have been the most beautiful campsite in the park!

The last available campsite...
The last available campsite…

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Colorado Drive-Thru Blues Jam

Since we were coming through the Boulder/Denver area, I got in touch with a couple of my Blues Guitar Unleashed friends who live nearby. Sue and I had a great afternoon with Chris and Frank. Chris generously hosted us all, providing both lunch and jam space. We played through a bunch of blues standards, switched around on various instruments, and tried a few things out in preparation for “The Show” (that’s my name for it), the annual BGU Live gathering which we will all be attending in Memphis in early October.

Blues Jam
Chris, Doug, Frank. Sue is behind the camera.

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Four states in two days

You can’t make this stuff up, unless you make it up as you go along…


As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t have much of a plan – we’re letting this adventure unfold as we go along. After our visits and sightseeing in SD, we had a chance to arrange a visit near Boulder, CO. The folks we were meeting were only available on the weekend, and somewhere in there we needed a day or so to take care of a few things on our own. That was tight (at least for us, given our typical travel habits), but it appeared that, yes, we could be there with a little bit of hustling.

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Badlands National Park

Coming from Hot Springs, we decided to enter the Badlands National Park via the southeast entrance, seeing hints and badland teasers as we approached. Nothing could have prepared us for the view as we crested the hill and dropped into the area known as Cedar Pass. And, we were staying at the Cedar Pass Campground. Cue the squeals!

Cedar Pass
Cedar Pass

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Me and My Uncle

Dayton O. Hyde, Douglas V. Shick
Dayton O. Hyde, Douglas V. Shick

Dayton O. Hyde is an author, conservationist, rancher, cowboy, former rodeo clown, photographer, and the founder of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in Hot Springs, South Dakota. He is also my uncle. A college buddy of my dad’s, my “Uncle Hawk” introduced his wife’s older sister to my father. The sister soon thereafter married my dad, and a little later became my mom, so that introduction turned out to be an auspicious event for me and my brothers, if nothing else.

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