Much LAZIER than your average blogger  
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11.29.2007 - 44 comments 

On our final stop out of Wyoming we crossed on to Interstate 80 right at Rawlings just about 100 miles east of Laramie, Wyoming. We decided to make a stop at the Territorial Prison there in Laramie. The prison is listed on the National Register, and visitors can spend the day touring the beautifully restored Wyoming Territorial Prison there. It was built there in 1872, the prison held some of the most notorious outlaws in the region in those days. In addition to the prison, visitors can tour the newly restored Warden's House and Broom Factory. The rotating exhibit hall, located in the historic Horse Barn, currently features the story of the first female grand jury (Laramie, 1870), a working printing press, the Laramie Fiber Guild's hands-on studio and an exhibit on the various convict industries at the Wyoming Territorial Prison.

One of the most famous (or in this case infamous) characters to have ever been housed in the Wyoming Territorial Prison was none other than Robert LeRoy Parker (a.k.a. Butch Cassidy) made famous by the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" which was a 1969 Western film that tells the story of bank robber Butch Cassidy (played by Paul Newman) and his partner The Sundance Kid (played by Robert Redford). The film is only loosely based on historical facts though, but it popularized the legends of these Western icons.

In early 1894, Parker became involved romantically with female Old West outlaw and rancher Ann Bassett. Bassett's father, rancher Herb Bassett, did business with Parker, supplying him with fresh horses and beef. That same year, Parker was arrested at Lander, Wyoming, for stealing horses and possibly for running a protection racket among the local ranchers there. Imprisoned in the state prison in Laramie, Wyoming, he served 18 months of a two-year sentence and was released in January 1896, having promised Governor William Alford Richards that he would not again offend in that state in return for a partial remission of his sentence. Upon his release, he became involved briefly with Ann Bassett's older sister, Josie, and then returned to his involvement with Ann.

In 1887, Harry Longabaugh (a.k.a the Sundance Kid) was convicted of horse theft and sentenced to 18 months in the Sundance, Wyoming, jail. Because of this jail time he was called the Sundance Kid. Longabaugh likely met Butch Cassidy sometime after Cassidy was released from prison around 1896. They formed the "Wild Bunch Gang." Together with the other members of the gang, they performed the longest string of successful bank robberies in American and Old West history. Little is known of Longabaugh's exploits prior to his riding with Cassidy. However, this is known: in 1891 Harry Longabaugh was a 25 year old ranch hand working at the Bar U Ranch in Alberta, Canada. The Bar U was one of the largest commercial Ranches of the time.

Although Longabaugh was reportedly fast with a gun and often referred to as a "gunfighter", Longabaugh is not known to have killed anyone prior to a later shootout in Bolivia, where he and Cassidy were alleged to have been killed. He became better known than another outlaw member of the gang dubbed "Kid", Kid Curry, who killed numerous men while with the gang. It is possible that often the "Sundance Kid" was mistaken for "Kid Curry", since many articles referred to the "Kid". The Sundance Kid did participate in a shootout with lawmen who trailed a gang led by George Curry to the Hole-in-the-Wall hideout and was thought to have wounded two lawmen in that shootout. With that exception, though, his verified involvement in shootouts is unknown.

They began hiding out at a place they called the Hole In The Wall, located near Buffalo, Wyoming. From there they could strike and retreat, with little fear of capture, since it was posted high on a mountain top, with a view in all directions of the surrounding territory. Pinkerton detectives led by Charlie Siringo, however, hounded the gang for a couple of years.

Cassidy and Longabaugh, evidently wanting to allow things to calm down a bit and looking for fresher robbing grounds, left the United States on February 20, 1901. Longabaugh sailed with Butch Cassidy and Longabaugh's "wife", Etta Place, aboard the British ship Herminius for Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Historically, the gang was for a time best known for their lack of violence during the course of their robberies, relying heavily on intimidation and negotiation, but nevertheless if captured they would have faced hanging. However, that portrayal of the gang is less than accurate and mostly a result of Hollywood portrayals depicting them as usually "non-violent". In reality, several people were killed by members of the gang, including five law enforcement officers killed by Kid Curry alone. "Wanted dead or alive" posters were posted throughout the country, with as much as a $30,000 reward for information leading to their capture, or death.

One theory is that both Butch and Sundance were later killed by soldiers in Bolivia in November 1908, after the two of them heisted a Bolivian mining company payroll. According to reports, the two were involved in a lengthy gun battle with the soldiers, who had surrounded them inside a building in San Vicente, ending with their alleged death. But the actual events of their deaths are still up to interpretation and very little fact.

The grounds and facilities at the prison had been painstakingly either preserved or restored to make it have the feel of what it would have been like to have been an inmate there back in the late 1800’s. Each little area of the prison had posted signs and pictures of not only the inmates, but also gave details about what crimes they had committed to get thrown in there and in some cases what happened to them after they left there.

Right out back of the prison they have built a little town to replicate what a town in that period would have looked like. Mrs. LZ and I also found that to be very interesting as well. I'll try and add a few more pictures with this post to give you the idea of what the tour was like. That's her (Mrs. LZ) walking in front of the place in the first shot. Here are my favorite lines from the movie as they were standing on top of the cliff over the river with the posse hot on their trail.

Paul Newman (Butch): "Then you jump first."
Robert Redford (Sundance): "No, I said."
Paul Newman (Butch): "What's the matter with you?"
Robert Redford (Sundance): "I can't swim."
Paul Newman (Butch): "Why you crazy bastard, the fall will probably kill you."

11.23.2007 - 18 comments 

While we were visiting the Grand Teton National Park we were staying in the Jackson Hole area, but the city itself is just called simply Jackson. The town is sometimes mistakenly called Jackson Hole. That name refers only to the valley in which the town is located, not to the town itself.

The one thing that I really loved about this little town was its little central park which had on all four corners of this “city block” long square park was four of these interesting archways made from what looked like deer and antelope horns. These were called the antler arches, and were very unique (at least to me).

There were several other things that were very quaint about the city, like the very old and Historic looking theatre. This seemed to be the only theatre that we saw in town and even still had current movies on its marquee.

Jackson is the principal city of the Jackson, WY-ID Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Teton County in Wyoming and Teton County in Idaho. Jackson also has a strong local economy, primarily due to tourism, which has allowed Jackson to develop a large shopping and eating district, centered around the town’s square. Within this district, all sorts of goods can be found with businesses embracing the strong western tradition of the region. I’ve never been in a town that I thought had more western themed art in my life than I found in Jackson.

This town also plays host to the annual Jackson Hole Writers Conference founded by author, Warren Adler. Jackson and the surrounding area has long been a favorite destination for celebrities, many of whom, like Harrison Ford, Vice President Dick Cheney, Tiger Woods and Sandra Bullock, maintain part-time residences in and around the town of Jackson. Like I said before on my other post about Moose, Wyoming, we knew that the Vice President was in town, but we never saw anything other than his plane fly into and then parked at the Jackson Hole Airport.

Our favorite place in the city was a little restaurant that we discovered on our final day as we were leaving the city. It was just 1/2 Block North of the Town Square (with the antler arches). It was a place that you had to stand in either one of two different lines just to get into the place. One line was for eating inside the place and the other was for those who were just getting stuff to go. The serving staff there all had cute little t-shirts that read; "Get Your Buns In Here!"

It was one of the best breakfasts I had enjoyed in quite some time. Everything was very natural and I'm sure was environmentally friendly (for those who are into saving the planet). But for us, it was just a very nice place to have a very nice and relaxing breakfast prior to getting back "on the road again". This wonderful little place was called "The Bunnery" and seemed to be frequented by mostly the locals. I say that only because most of the people eating in there seemed to know most of the other people who were also in there.

After we got our bill for breakfast, we just kept adding more and more stuff from their large collection of items that were bagged for purchasing like; their famous O.S.M. (Oats, Sunflower and Millet) bread. Their Bunnery gift baskets included; 1 pound Granola, 1 pound Bread Mix, 1 pound Pancake Mix, 1 bottle Huckleberry syrup, and 1 jar Teton Wildflower Honey. And then, you can't forget their tantalizing desserts. After we added it all up, I decided to forgo what I really wanted... one of those t-shirts that had their famous quote stenciled on its front.

If you ever find yourself in Jackson, I'd definitely recommend the Bunnery for breakfast (and MORE)... like they said in Jackson;

"GET YOUR BUNS IN HERE!" ~ The Bunnery

11.15.2007 - 34 comments 

I could not really forget to blog on the one place in the Grand Tetons that really gave me pause to reflect on the majesty and beauty that our creator bestowed on this area as that which I felt while visiting this tiny little church which was literally out in the middle of nowhere.

As Mrs. LZ and I walked up to this place, we thought "can you imagine people coming out here to worship in the dead of winter oh so many decades ago?" Then we walked up to this little humble building and started to read the sign on the outside of fence around this place, which stated;

"The name "Transfiguration" is taken from the event in our Lord's earthly life in which, during a time of prayer and meditation in the mountains, Jesus appeared to His disciples "transfigured." They saw him no longer as a simple man, but as an intense light they perceived a glory beyond His ordinary appearance.

The name is apt because, in the presence of this magnificence and grandeur, some small hint of that eternal majesty is conveyed to those of us who pause and, in quiet, worship. Like the disciples on the mount 2,000 years ago, we would like to stay here. We cannot ~ we must return to our lives - but, like those disciples, please take away with you the vision of the power and beauty of God's presence in the world."

After we read this sign and then walked inside this tiny chapel, we were simply blown away by the gloriousness of the setting of the Teton mountains, which were the real GLORY of this place. If you click on the first and then second shots of this place (below), you can get at least some idea of what worshipping in this place must be like. It’s just almost too beautiful to be able to perceive. Neither words, nor photos does this place the justice its beauty truly deserves.

The Chapel of the Transfiguration is located within Grand Teton National Park on property owned and maintained by St. John's Episcopal Church of Jackson, Wyoming. The chapel is one of the most visited religious structures in America and has been seen and admired by thousands of tourists from all over the world who have visited the Tetons each summer since the chapel was built in 1925.

The chapel was purposely built in the center of the dude ranch country. It was erected through private contributions as a venture of faith, and is an example of how the early settlers in the valley met their needs by sharing resources. The land was donated by Maud Noble, money was donated by the dude ranches, and labor was donated by those the chapel would serve. It is part of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places 4/10/80.

At this time before the Thanksgiving holiday, it seems only significant to show our thanks for all of the beautiful things that God has truly blessed us with! May you ALL have a THANKS filled week! ~ lz///

"And Jesus took Peter, James and John and He led them up a high mountain... and He was transfigured before them and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white." Mark 9:2&3

11.08.2007 - 35 comments 

After our Chuck Wagon dinner and a restful night in our hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming Mrs. LZ and I decided to check out this beautiful National Park. Located in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park (just about 60-70 miles south of Yellowstone) preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic mountains, pristine lakes and extraordinary wildlife. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Teton Range contrasts with the horizontal sage-covered valley (read: desert landscape) and glacial lakes at their base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year.

Several things about this park (as compared to Yellowstone) were that this park seemed to be static as opposed to the "ALIVE" state of the Yellowstone Park. If we were going to do this trip all over again, we would more than likely spend one less day in Grand Teton and one more day in Yellowstone. Don't get me wrong, I could have enjoyed either park on its own, but having just done Yellowstone, made the Grand Teton less impressive than it would have been just on its own.

There were several things that really struck me as unusual about the park. The first of those would be that there is an organization called the U.S. Alpine Climbing association. I never really thought about being able to climb Alpine Mountains in the United States, but as I looked at those mountains and the glaciers that are on them, I said, "Well... why not?"

Another thing that struck me was the shear size, the breadth and the width of this mountain range was almost too much to comprehend. Yet one more thing was the lush looking land at the bottom of the Tetons, but yet just a mile or two further east, it looked like a desert.

Grand Teton (13,770 ft.) is the highest mountain within Grand Teton National Park, and the second highest in the U.S. state of Wyoming. There is also Middle Teton (12,804 ft.) just south of it and then South Teton just south of that. One of the more formidable peaks is Mt. Moran.

The mountain is named for Thomas Moran, an American western frontier landscape artist. Mount Moran (12,605 ft.) dominates the northern section of the Teton Range rising 6,000 feet (1,830 m) above Jackson Lake. Several active glaciers exist on the mountain with Skillet Glacier plainly visible on the monolithic east face.

In addition to 13,770 high Grand Teton, another eight peaks are over 12,000 ft above sea level. Seven of these peaks between Avalanche and Cascade canyons make up the often-photographed Cathedral Group.

I must say that I had all of my cameras and lenses out to capture all the truly beautiful things I saw in almost every direction. Grand Teton National Park is home to one of the most recognizable mountain landscapes in the world and is often in the national and international spotlight. Many special events and activities happen in this high profile park.

With the Veterans Day Holiday coming up on Sunday the 11th of November, I do want to take some time in this post to say a few words to my fellow Veterans. On August 22, 2007 in a speech given to the VFW, President Bush had these words to say which are much more eloquent than mine would ever be to celebrate this occasion.

"As members of this proud organization, you are advocates for the rights of our military veterans, a model of community service, and a strong and important voice for a strong national defense. I thank you for your service. I thank you for what you've done for the United States of America." ~ George W. Bush

11.01.2007 - 30 comments 

Now what can you say about taking a picture of a moose in a place that is actually called Moose, Wyoming? I call it appropriate. I would have really rather found a moose with a huge rack that looked more like a big buck moose, than this one this one that I managed to catch a shot of as we were leaving Yellowstone and just on the edge of Grand Teton National Park.

Moose can also be seen along waterways and in clearings. These large animals may weigh up to 1400 pounds, stand 7 1/2 feet at the shoulder, and have antlers which may spread up to 5 feet. They feed on willows and aquatic vegetation such as water lilies.

There, (close to Moose, Wyoming) we also found Dornans which is a third generation, family-owned resort located in the heart of the Jackson Hole valley, on the Snake River inside the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park, and just 40 miles south of Yellowstone National Park.

The western ambiance is an essential part of Dornans, they have a host of services ranging from two restaurants, an outstanding wine selection, alcohol and beer options, grocery and deli, gasoline, ATM, gifts and dining to guest lodging, and adventure sports equipment rental and sales during the summer. The winter months see the gift shop add the rental of cross-country skis as well as snowshoes, and Adventure Sports closes during the winter months. The Dornan family has been serving folks in northwestern Wyoming for fifty-nine years. They are starting their 60th year and reunion events are scheduled for next June.

If you find yourself driving through the Grand Teton National Park or Jackson Hole and you find that you are in Moose and in need gas? Food? Ice? Liquids? A snack? A meal? An ATM? Lodging? Groceries? Internet access? A telephone? Then you can take a relaxing break and stop in at Dornans and browse, grab a bite, and stretch your legs.

There is also the Snake River Angler fly-fishing shop and raft trips, “Moosley Seconds” mountaineering shop, and Barker-Ewing Scenic float trips add to your enjoyment.

You can let the Dornans offer you the chance to experience this beautiful country first hand, and indulge you with true western hospitality too. I’ll discuss our “Chuck Wagon Dinner” that we had there later in my post.

Speaking of Western... there are also several Dude Ranches in and around Moose, Wyoming. For example, the Triangle X Ranch is an authentic working dude ranch. It is a perfect example of Wrangling, haying, raising, breaking and shoeing stock are a few of the traditional activities of the ranch. It is a way of life that the Turner family wants to share with you.

The Triangle X Ranch offers one of the most complete outdoor recreation packages of any facility in the Mountain West. You can enjoy horseback riding, river, float trips, pack trips, fishing, cookouts, square dancing, hiking, scenic tours, photography and even a special children's program. Everything is planned to make your vacation truly memorable and relaxed.

Located in the heart of spectacular Jackson Hole country, in the shadow of the magnificent Grand Teton, the Triangle X offers you magnificent mountain scenery, abundant wildlife and a quiet, relaxed pace. Whatever your outdoor challenge...your outdoor dream...you'll find it at the Triangle X Ranch. In addition to the Triangle X Ranch, there is also another Dude Ranch called Lost Creek Ranch & Spa is a privately owned guest ranch nestled between Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The ranch combines outdoor adventure for the entire family and the comforts of a world-class resort in the region's most spectacular location.

With all of the excitement of a traditional ranch to the luxurious comforts of a full-service spa, Lost Creek offers personalized attention to ensure an experience that will make memories. With nearly one staff person for every guest, we tailor a vacation to exceed your expectations. Most of the guests there have been coming to Lost Creek for generations; they invite you to join them in making a week at the ranch part of your family’s traditions.

One of the most enjoyable (and perhaps the most unique to us) was having a Chuck Wagon Dinner while in Moose. We sort of just found this place by the smell (and) it smelled delicious. Maybe I’ll attach the picture of it that I took as Mrs. LZ was going through the line. Although, for some reason this shot is really out of focus, but I am still not sure why.

I think it must have been because I was juggling my plate, my drink cup, my silverware and my camera (and it is just out of focus, so please forgive me). I was thinking about my palette and my stomach and I never even looked at the shot until later that night in our hotel room. It may still help you get an idea of what the experience was like though.

The food was cooked out in these huge cast iron pots with what I can characterize as a “long wood burning fire trough”. There was quite a bit of smoke and ashes blowing around the area, but the pots were covered and it certainly did not negatively affect the taste of the food (which was excellent by the way).

The food line contained beans, stew, ribs, corn, potatoes, biscuits, a full salad bar and then the final local favorite dessert of huckleberry cobbler. You can go back through the line as many times as you want as long as you bring a new plate with you. We had to eat at picnic tables under a big tent, but with the Grand Teton as a backdrop, you could not ask for a more beautiful venue for a Chuck Wagon Dinner!

While we were sitting there having dinner, we saw a plane coming in for a landing just a few hundred feet over our head that turned out to be "Air Force TWO". Come to find out, Vice President Cheney was flying in to Jackson Hole Airport for a ceremony the following weekend in Jackson Hole to celebrate the 58th anniversary of the Teton National Park or something like that.

“Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau