July 2016–Short Overview of Our Recent Vacation and Art News:

Vacation and Art News–July 2016

First off was Utah – my goodness, I never knew it was such a beautiful state. Clean too like it was manicured, and NO BILLBOARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!
We didn’t stop to take pictures though as we were in a hurry to get to Wisconsin for the award banquet for the Richeson75 Seascapes, landscapes and architecture competition, of which Bob’s painting was one of the finalists. He didn’t win. The judge picked primarily Wisconsin artists, or so it seemed to us. But…we all know his art is beautiful.
There was no place to pull over either in Utah to take photos. We will go back through Utah another time, cause it would be worth it.

Next was Wyoming, where we had the best sandwich we’d had in quite awhile. Restaurants here, in Mountain Home, Idaho, where we live are not the best. Normally we go to Boise to eat out.
Anyway, Wyoming was beautiful too and again no photos. When we stopped for the night, and FINALLY found a motel – we saw much smoke out the restaurant window. I asked the waitress if it was dust, smoke or smog. I expected her to say dust (it was really thick) and was quite startled when she said – quite casually – “Oh, that’s a wild-fire. They’re working on it.”
All the good hotels/motels were filled up, and we hadn’t made reservations as Bob planned the route and changed his mind right up till the last minute. But we did find one that wasn’t too bad. We saw about 25-30 classic cars – going somewhere – and the waitresses had no information about what was going on. They only knew that they were busy and the motels were all full.
The cars were like the ones seen on the Velocity channel on TV.

Onwards to Nebraska. Which is a lot like Iowa. I’m not going to comment further on that remark except to say it is flat, goes on forever which is boring. That is except where there is road construction which appears to be every one to two miles and continues for about 20 miles. Not conducive to picture taking, but the Plains states are very important to farming, which of course we appreciate.

Then came Iowa. Corn, dairy farms, corn and more corn fields. We had to spend the night in Dubuque because it got dark and we lost our way and couldn’t find a motel for quite awhile. The one we did find was pretty good, and we crossed into Wisconsin from there the next morning.

Wisconsin is beautiful in it’s own way. We liked it. We went to Kimberly, Wisconsin. While killing time the day of the art awards we went to Manatowoc, Wisconsin. We took an actual tour of a submarine at their maritime museum. Great tour and filled with information of stuff we never knew. This was a WWII submarine – the last one left I think. I might be wrong on that, but………………I enjoyed it anyway. It’s something I never knew I would be able to do.

We went home in a different direction to see part of the US we had never seen before.

I am here to tell you that South Dakota is a land of surprises. First off, it’s beautiful which we never knew before. Also, we saw many billboards – but most seemed to advertise Wall, SD and Wall Drug. If any of you have never stopped there, we recommend it. Definitely a tourist trap, but no one seems to mind. We didn’t. After seeing about two hundred billboards all advertising something different for Wall Drug, Bob said we were going to stop. Neither of us gives into sales pressure on a normal basis, but we did this time. The place is great. It’s an indoor mall type of thing, and the western art collection they have is magnificent. 5 cent coffee and free water are the drawing cards. Oh my, the art is all by famous artists, and all over the walls and all great. I want to go back when we have more time. We weren’t expecting something like that in the middle of no where. We did however have trouble finding a motel again in Rapid City (I think that’s where we stayed) Absolutely and completely filled up. The only explanation was that “It gets like this in the summer.” But we drove on to another city and found one eventually. I didn’t care for it, but it was OK

We went into Yellowstone from the south route which we hadn’t seen before, it was full of mosquitos and tourists spraying Deet. We didn’t really stop so I contented myself with photos out of the moving car window. Which turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

First night in Cody WY, we saw a museum that housed antique weapons of all descriptions. From the revolutionary war, civil war, through to WWII. Many were only parts of guns, some showing they had blown up while being fired, some in the process of being loaded/cocked, some with actual bullet holes in the weapons themselves, and all making you wonder what had happened to the person firing the thing to be found in that condition. Extremely interesting and informative.

The Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, WY is amazing. It covers 7 acres and we couldn’t really see all of it in a couple of hours. So we ate lunch and then went back for the rest of the day.
We lucked out and got a motel right next door and paid more than we had for any other room, but it was worth it. They have the most amazing collection of artists who are the ones that recorded the west before cameras that I ever saw. They had Remington’s, Russell’s, Bierstadt’s, Wyeth’s etc, and etc. I never thought I would get to see any of these artist’s works personally. They even allow photos – even flash photos. It was amazing!!
We went into the first room that happened to show small art – and it was a for sale venue and competition. I will explain more of that another time, but the upshot is that the mentor/curator started talking to me (Bob was in the military weapons rooms) and as a result, Bob and I were asked to participate in next years show. We’re still doing our happy dance!
So many people go through there daily. What a privilege to be a part of a show like that – to say we displayed our art in the Buffalo Bill Art Show of 2017 in Cody WY. I was told to call the person in charge right away – which I did – and found out that they only had 10 spaces left that were available. Now down to 8 because we signed up.

Then we went to Jackson Hole Wyoming because I knew a lady who managed that gallery and the one of theirs in Scottsdale, AZ. I made an assumption she wouldn’t be in AZ because it was too hot. But I was wrong. So I still only know her through e-mail. But what a treat it was to see such a quality art gallery as that one was. Trailside Gallery is one of the best I’ve seen in a long long time. To say I wandered with my mouth hanging open is an understatement. Visit their website and look at their display if you’re inclined to. It’s a beautiful place.

Then we came home (through up to over 8000′ elevation) and found that while gone, Bob and I both have placed in a few more art competitions. I entered him in quite a few and myself in only one before we left. These are the really good competitions, not the craft show type.
In one, I placed as a finalist, and he placed as a finalist – they took two of his.
In the other one we heard from they took one of his as a finalist. Now we wait until the awards are announced.
We won’t go to TX for the one we’re both in nor Illinois for the other, but if he gets into the one in Orleans Mass as a finalist – we’ll figure out how to get there.
The competition for me to enter is coming up really soon – 7/8 – but I need to enter sooner than that, so I’m really busy right now.

This has been a very brief synopsis of our 8 day vacation. We have never had so much fun.
—Sincerely, Virgia and Bob West

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