Kansas Bound

Travelling today listening to the usual eclectic mix of music of Elvis, Toby Keith, Darius Rucker; throw in some Australian Crawl, Lee Kernaghan, Dire Straits; sprinkled with a small dose of “not your grandmother's music” (or perhaps even your mother's!) Saddle Tramps and we were on our way to Kansas.

I had my moments in the backseat – not because I was naughty, lol! – to do some car projects behind a slightly more tinted window and away from the glare. Got quite a bit done and Jack could stil see me with his “check on the kids” mirror anyway. 🙂

We took a slight detour into the older part of Wichita and headed for the river. We found 'The Keeper Of The Plains' a 44 foot tall cor-ten steel sculpture that stands at the concourse of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers.

Before we headed to see that, we found ourselves inside Exploration Place. The equivalent to Questacon, in Canberra back in Australia. I had asked at the counter about restrooms and the girl at the counter pointed me to the right direction and for how to get to the bridge to the statue.

I came out of the bathrooms giggling. Here is what I found on the back of the bathroom door. (Sorry, I thought it was funny)


It's no wonder the lady at the entrance, waiting on school kids, was having trouble to round them up as they were probably reading all the doors too.

Anyway, Jack and I decided that it would probably be a good place to visit but the bright spark reckoned it would be quieter on a weekend??!!?? I don't know about that.

Off we headed to the bridge that would take us across the river to a small exhibit and the spectacular statue before us.


Around the base of the statue are two walls of an outdoor exhibit made from granite and other media portraying the American Indian life, culture and language.


The sculpture by Kiowa-Comanche artist, Blackbear Bosin features music in the background and small water mist jets as you meander around the base of the rock it is perched upon. Out the front of the statue on the river are fire pits known as 'the rings of fire' that are lit at dusk which would be a sight to see!


This was one of those places that gave an ambient and serene backdrop to a bustling city beyond the rivers edge.

A must see if you ever get up through Wichita, KS.

Kat xo


Land Run 2018

When we first visited Oklahoma for Land Run back in 2012, we found it to be one of the best matches we had ever been to. We met many amazing, funny and wonderful people, knowing from the start that it was something special.

This year Land Run had its 25th Anniversary combined with the SASS SW Regional (previously Red Dirt Rampage) with one enormous effort by many of the Territorial Marshal's. It is the third largest cowboy match in the US behind End of Trail (World Championships) and Winter Range (USA National Championship).


With 408 shooters from 22 states put into two shooting waves, 10 stages were quickly completed across 2 days.

Thursday was side match day with everything from Wild Bunch, Warm-Up, Long Range, Cowboy Clays, speed pistol/rifle/shotgun/derringer/pocket pistol/duelist/gunfighter and .22 rifle/pistol. It was a feast for play, practice and testing of guns with your first run counting for time. Congratulations to all side match winners!!!

Friday was the start of Main Match and we were met with cool clear skies and sunshine. Eventually we could leave the coat off and enjoy some warmth and less wind.


We were with Posse 18 headed up by Posse Marshal, Cooncan. Jack was a Deputy, as was John Bear and the rest made up of myself, Bertie Winchester, Hicock Holly, Dodge City Dixie, Reno Mustang, Renegade Roper, Sixgun Schwaby, Coyote Cole, Loose Cannon, Grady County Kid, Road Runner, Fannie Kicker, Titus A. Gnatsass, Doc Hurd, Silver, Kent and Fort Worth Dallas.


Five stages – 8 The Church, 9 Stagecoach, 10 The Range, back to 6 Fort Courage, 7 OKc Corral. Fun, quick and varying.


Friday evening ended with an 'all in' shootout. I chose not to enter this year but set to cheer on the fellow lady shooters, opting to spot with Jack and Hurricane Deck for each shooter on the north end. Four ladies and 29 men participated with the winners being 'Ima Quickshot' and 'Matt Black'.

This was followed up with a dinner in the pavilion catered by John Elder's restaurants. No one went hungry and it was efficiently done.

I was introduced to chocolate cake shots too – thanks Complicated Lady!! Yum!

Late that evening (as was expected) it started to rain and Saturday we all awoke to a very, very, wet and gloomy looking morning. Cowboy up we did and headed out to complete the final 5 stages. Hand warmers, coats, scarves, slickers, umbrellas, towels, everyone scrambling for what bit of cover there was.

The final five – 3 Mercantile, 4 The Mine, 5 Livery, 1 The Depot, 2 Saloon


Done and dusted! A clean match for me and Jack a few misses, it was up to the scoring system now to see how we faired against a tough pack of players.

The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is the famed setting for Land Run banquets and you couldn't find anything more appropriate for a bunch of cowboy's and cowgirl's. Served meals and waited tables it certainly is in a class of its own and pleasantly surprised a number of new Land Run attendees.


The costume contest ran well and whilst I registered and encouraged entrants, my judge's for this year – Cheeka Bow Wow, Two Gun Johnnie, Shotglass and Tacky Jackie did an exceptional job of getting everyone through and we were all sitting down to hot meals with other halves and friends. I sincerely thank you all again for giving your time to do this.

There were many great costumes and some very excited winners in the categories of Couple, Men's, Ladies, Young Man, Young Lady, Military, Silver Screen and Soiled Dove. Congratulations one and all!

The presentations went off without a hitch as Flat Top Okie does an exceptional job of delivery and keeping to time. Everyone's friends and match photographers, Fly and Just L, chipped in for a raffle of a beautiful cowboy quilt Mean Mary had made. Grizzly Dave won it and promptly donated back for auction. On top of the original $3075 raised, an additional $800 by the generosity of Tacky Jackie and Bois D'Arc who then also gave the quilt to Just L and $500 from a rifle Mean Mary won and donated back for auction. Gorgeous people, all of them and that will go a long way to Just L's continued medical expenses.


In the Silver Senior category Jack finished 5th alongside Don Jorge taking 1st place, congratulations sir!, Aberdeen 2nd and SW Regional champion, congratulations to you sir also!, 3rd Greasy Creek Slim, 4th Lefty Wheeler, 6th G.W. Ketchum and 7th Creek. Congratulations gents!


Jack also came 2nd place in the Best Dressed Men's category wearing his 1890's sack suit!


Out of all the shooters there were only 54 clean shooters which goes to show the conditions on the second day probably had a lot to do with that.

In the Lady Wrangler category, 1st was myself alongside 2nd place Renegade Roper, 3rd Calamity Di Bar and 4th Cheeka Bow Wow. Congrats ladies!


I accomplished an overall ladies win for the Regional this year and with a clean match, finished 14th overall! Matt Black won the men's overall, congratulations!


To all that placed in their categories, won side matches, clean matches, won guns etc (thank you Bond Arms for the .45 derringer) a hearty round of applause to one and all.

To the Territorial Marshal's, Match Director's – Missouri Mae and Flat Top Okie and all the other Marshal's for your assistance during the past week and weekend, without you all, this shoot would not run like the well oiled machine that it is.

Looking forward to next year and if you've never been here to Land Run, get it on your calendar or bucket list!!


See you on the range somewhere.

Kat xo


Kansas to Minnesota

This morning after a fabulous breakfast and great hospitality from our hosts, we hit the road again and headed out for Kansas City.

We are visiting Union Station, just across the border in Kansas City, Missouri.

What a grand old lady is Union Station, with beautiful architecture, ornate ceiling rosettes, grand chandeliers AND Harvey's – a restaurant that once upon a time was a Fred Harvey house. I have a bit of an obsession with Harvey Houses.


Now there is Science City and a current exhibit of Mummies showing but we headed for the 2nd and 3rd floor history exhibits.

Union Station as it is today, replaced a smaller Union Depot that had served the city since 1878. The bigger station was built in 1914 on a new site away from floodplains just south of the central business district.


Just a few facts:

  • Jarvis Hunt, Architect was hired in 1906 for the building of Union Station.
  • When it opened in October, 1914 it was the second largest train station in the country.
  • It takes up 850,000sq ft/79,000m2 of real estate
  • Each chandelier, of which there are 3, weighs 3,500pds/1600kg
  • The Grand Hall clock face is 6ft/1.8m in diameter
  • The ceiling height in the Grand Hall is 95ft/29m high
  • In 1917 during WWI peak train traffic numbered 271 – 1945 during WWII peak passenger traffic was 678,363
  • 1933 Union Station massacre made headlines Frank Nash (notorious gangster, bank robber and escaped convict) along with 4 of his hit men attacked the men who had come to take him back to Leavenworth. 5 men including detectives and FBI agents were killed.

There are fabulous old photographs, information boards and displays of artefacts on the two levels overlooking the Grand Hall.


Mementos from special exhibitions are also on display along with information regarding the National Memorial and WWI Museum. The view across the lawn and fountain area to the Memorial is mighty fine. Landscape designer, George Kessler, indeed planned a beautiful city back in the late 1800's-early 1900's.


With a visit to Harvey's for extra breakfast (lol, don't need lunch! Have a go at the size of Jack's pancakes!!) we rolled out the door and back to the car to head further North through Missouri and into the state of Iowa.


Iowa is another new state to visit. We took a quick pit stop at Lamoni at the Welcome Centre and Amish store. I thought the buggy and horse were a statue when I saw the buggy parking sign! Lol! The horse must have realised the blonde needed an acknowledgement and with a turn of his head I realised it was real!


How fabulous Amish stores are with all their homemade and harvested fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices. Jack scored some Fig Jam and we got some awesome licorice wheels, YUM!


I head to the other end of the store where there is a neat little cafe set up and more goods. In the meantime, Jack perusing the information stand, finds the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum brochure. Winterset here we come!

Born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, John Wayne is one of the most recognised western actor's history has seen.


This small museum has a theatrette, a gallery with costumes, guns and other items used in films he starred in. It has one of his last customised cars on display, a buggy and beautiful panels from the ballroom in The Shootist.


The wax statue and painted scenes of Monument Valley are excellent. Monument Valley lends the perfect western landscape to many movies. Director John Ford made John Wayne a star in 'Stagecoach' in 1939. John Wayne directed and starred in 3 other films in Monument Valley – 'Fort Apache', 'She Wore A Yellow Ribbon' and 'The Searchers'.


John Wayne starred in 152 movies! (200 actually, including cameo appearances)


The sweet little 4 room house and birthplace of John Wayne sits on it existing site just round the corner on the same block as the Museum and Gift shop. It has been restored and includes period furniture of 1907 when he was born.


Then it was back on the road!

We need to be in Faribault, Minnesota y'all!

Kat xo


Day In Cheyenne

Last night we had a fabulous dinner with Wild Horse John, Saginaw Sue, Trigger Happy Ted and Misty Rider. A good catch up to start off our short stay in Cheyenne.

This morning was a leisurely start over coffee and then off to the country club for lunch on the deck overlooking the golf course.


A visit to the museum made for an interesting afternoon. Passing some of Cheyennes spectacular 1800's buildings, the Nelson Museum Of The West awaits.


With everything from taxidermy, firearms, Hollywood posters, Indian, cavalry, vaquero outfits, Spurs etc it is a fantastic exhibit over two floors, the third floor below – Lawmen and Outlaws display.


Gambling, guns and whiskey were the essentials for outlaws of the time or more likely is what caused the most grief in small railway and cowtown's of the west.


This a neat little museum and worth a visit if you are short on time, you can do it in a couple of hours.

We did get an extra personalised tour into the war bonnet room and the new exhibit acquisition room where they are organising new displays.


Then across the street into the military uniform display, what a collection! Mostly uniforms from actual military members and displayed with their name plate and photo! Such amazing collections!


A little saunter later down the road we arrived at The Plains Hotel for a rest and a beer. Yep, a Saddle Bronc for me, always got to try a local brew, well it comes out of Sheridan which is still Wyoming.


That takes care of today, won't be much to report tomorrow until we are at the airport!


Kat xo


Nebraska – Wyoming

Today we moved on and visited Gothenburg again briefly. Enough time for Jack to get another Pony Express badge, seeing as he lost it somewhere on the range a month or so ago and to send a postcard.


Next we continued on the Lincoln Highway to North Platte. We had also previously been here to Buffalo Bill Cody's house and ranch but this time we stopped in at the Golden Spike Tower.

With views overlooking the world's largest classification rail yard – Bailey Yard (have you been here before Paddlewheel???)


Here you can go up into the observation deck and watch Union Pacific Railroad workers 'sort and connect over 10,000 cars a day on two classification hump yards, with nearly 120 bowl rows and 315 tracks.'


It is 8 miles long, 301 sets of rails covering 2,850 acres.

North Platte was originally “Hell On Wheels Town” in 1866.

Inside the gift shop are historical displays and a short movie. Information boards line the walls of the internal observation deck and in the foyer to the outside observation deck the boards talk of the canteen.


This was a great stop and you could actually see the cars being pushed up the humps to be transferred down the other side into the bowl and let run down a track ready to be attached for their final destination.


It's lunch time and that means getting our skates on! Next stop Ole's for lunch and view some 200 mounted trophies displayed in this Big Game Steakhouse and Lounge.


The brochure says 'Rosser O. Herstedt (“Ole” to anyone that knew him) was one of a kind.' Born and bred in Paxton he seized on a unique business opportunity in 1933. (This part makes me grin) 'On August 8, 1933, prohibition in Nebraska came to an end. At 12.01am on August 9, Ole opened his tavern on Paxton's main street.' Lol!

He was a hunter and soon the lounge became a showcase for his hunting trips and safaris. It is still owned today by another Paxton native, Tim Holzfaster.


An Ole's club sandwich and a side of fries did both of us!!

On to our last stop before reaching Cheyenne, WY, we made a quick stop in Sidney, NE at the Pony Express National Monument which of course is right next to Cabela's….which of course we just had to go into!


Hope you've had a great day or having a great day!

Kat xo


Now, Where Were We?

Oh yeah, so last Thursday we were heading here to Albuquerque, breakfast on the way, making a quick stop in Weatherford at the Thomas P. Stafford Air and Space Museum….as you do.

We have driven past it a number of times and it's the usual, 'we should stop and have a look at that place one day'. So this day we finally did!


In we trotted. To give some small background General Thomas P. Stafford is a well respected Oklahoman, and indeed throughout the nation, a man who was an author, fighter pilot, astronaut and test pilot. He commanded Apollo missions.


Inside the museum there are a number of planes from the Wright brothers days to the Lindbergh non stop Atlantic flight in the Spirit of St Louis, WWI fighters, experimental aircraft and modern day marvels.


Then there is a whole section on space exploration including the Russian joint missions during the space race. There are replicas of satellite launchers from around the world and unique information boards to imagine how much 'John Deere' horsepower it would take to fire up just one F-1 engine.

Go on, you're dying to know right? Try 56,000 John Deere 9620R tractors equivalent! The Saturn V rocket used 5 engines so that's enough tractors to reach from Weatherford, OK to San Francisco, CA or 283,800 tractors end to end.


Anyway, from the information we read in the museum Stafford was a very influential man both in flight and space, not only flying during service, commanding missions in space but teaching others to do the same and his expertise in these fields earned him the highest honours and Congressional Space Medal of Honor.


All in all, this was a neat little museum and is worth a visit, takes about an hour.


Now it's been a wild weekend but I'll get to that tomorrow after the Wild Bunch dinner and awards are done.

Kat xo

P.S. Well it's today now as the bugs were finding the light of the iPad in the darkness last night. Wild Bunch Awards and dinner tonight. Will do Wild Bunch blog tonight! 🙂


What About Wednesday?

Yesterday started out with practice day, Wednesday 'work shirkers' found 13 Cowboys head out to the range to partake in 6 stages.

We did one of single target engagement, a Nevada sweep next and then a 5 round alternate with a 5 round dump. Repeat each stage twice, giving you a chance to perfect on the previous run or change things up. It's good for checking yourself, your equipment and well, really…..just an extra day to have fun shooting!

After burgers and beer, Jack and I headed for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, my all time favourite, to see the headdress exhibition before it finishes this next month.

As we headed down the main passage way the current short exhibition is 'The Artistry of the Western Paperback'. Featuring artists who illustrated covers etc for dime novels and more. Of course we had to get pics of our heads in the photo opportunity novels!


Then we made our way into the exhibition hall where the 'Power and Prestige: Headdresses of the American Plains' is housed. There is no photography in this exhibit but I did take notes!

Around the walls are some beautiful photos of tribal chiefs and warriors. There are also some drawings that were done by captured Indians being held in forts. Many depicted warriors and horses.

The headdress, like other forms of clothing or jewellery in other cultures, is a symbol of prestige, power, wealth and position in a tribe.

Some of the headdresses were made with the traditional eagle feathers with porcupine quills, horsehair, leather, silk and/or beads. There were smaller ones made with deer tail and one split horn piece covered in weasel fur. This one (photo courtesy of National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum website) made using ring-neck pheasant feathers.


There are also 5 distinct styles of headdress; flared, swept back, stand out, straight up and trailer. The trailer headdress are exquisite but I would think there would be a fair bit of weight in these also as they are the ones that usually reach the ground. There is an exceptional exhibit of one in another section of the museum that we have seen before.

As we made our way to the next exhibition I spied a familiar bronze statue. It was indeed a Frederic Remington! (Remember the Winter Range trophies from previous blog?!!) here is a collection of Frederic Remington works including, bronze, drawings, art and facts and tales of the artist himself. A chance meeting I do declare! 🙂


On into the 'Hollywood and The West' exhibit. What a stunning collection of photography by John R Hamilton. (Also no photography in the exhibit.)

His many views through the lens of some very scenic sunsets, snow, monument valley backdrops, are beautiful but it is his candid shots of the many western actors that he captured both during filming and off set that makes for an excellent (photo courtesy of National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum website)


For movies from the silver screen era such as Hombré, Silverado, El Dorado, Stagecoach, The Searchers, Sergeants 3, Revenge and more. Featuring none other than John Wayne, Paul Newman, Kevin Costner, Henry Fonda, Kirk Douglas, the 'rat pack', and of course the lovely ladies Shelley Winters, Anne Margaret, Bridget Bardot and a very young Natalie Wood.


From here we could see another interesting exhibit with that all familiar cowboy accoutrement – the bandanna. Aptly named 'A Yard of Turkey Red: The Western Bandanna' just had to be viewed while we were here. (Photo courtesy of National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum website)


The neckwear that became the most recognised cowboy attire, was usually used to keep dust and dirt out of the cowboys face whilst herding cattle. They kept their best bandannas for outings and like other species, some were more colourful in hopes of attracting the ladies.

Turkey red was a colour produced for dyeing cotton with the root of the rubia plant. An arduous process apparently in the 18th and 19th century, it was imported to England from the Middle East in the 1700's. Later even cochineal was used to dye and produce magnificent reds also. Indigo also featured in later years.

Around the walls the photos and cabinet cards feature Cowboys sporting their bandannas and although black and white you can clearly see the distinctive patterns on them.

The display cases house a number of different bandannas, some dating back to pre civil war (paisley pattern)1865. The thing that caught my eye however was a bolt of fabric still with its stickers on it. A gorgeous red with cream and what appeared to be navy, continuous floral design motif. Made by SH Greene Warwick of Rhode Island, it was gorgeous and I found myself looki at the end of the bolt to see if I could work out how many yards were left on it!

It was interesting to note that many of the later bandannas had dot or geometric designs on them. The paisley design came in around 1808, so named after the town it was produced in – Paisley, Scotland. However paisley is an English word for buta or boteh, the teardrop shaped design is actually of Persian origins. As we know it is probably the most significant or recognisable detail on the bandanna.

Later productions of bandannas had pictures and were often used for souvenirs or advertising. There was a bandanna with a castle featured but I didn't get the details of this one. I did however find on the Internet that a bandanna with Washingtons picture on it was produced in 1776.

All in all a great way to round out the day!

Kat xo


Winter Range Wrap Up

The week began with Sunday being somewhat wet and miserable still with folks hoping it would dry out ready for Winter Range to start last Monday.

Heading out to the range later that day to register and pick up packs, it as sunny but cool and the waddies were desperately trying to create drains around vendor tents and pump water off ranges.


Monday and Tuesday were for Wild Bunch. Ten stages were done, along with some long range side match and speed. Our posse for Wild Bunch was Half-A-Hand Henri, Long Swede, Dixie Bell, Constable Nelson, Rooster Cockburn, Medicine Creek Johnny, Big Foot Billy, Deadwood Fred, Wolf Gang, Haole, Paniola Annie, Kid Rich, Shirttail Bess, Mad Dog Mark, Mar-Lynn, Matchlock, Ottercreek Bushwacker, Yellowstone Vic, Flyin' Shootist, Brushy Creek Bill, and Major Pain.


Tuesday afternoon was spent helping out with the Doily Gang Clinic, giving some coaching to ladies wanting to improve their transitions. I Posse'd with Dixie Bell and Whirlwind Wendy and we had 10 beautiful ladies to teach. I spoke to a few of them throughout the week and seems all are happy to have taken away something from the clinic and are excited about their matches.

Wednesday, it's warm up, side matches (which we didn't do this year), shopping, eating, catching up with more cowboys and the opening ceremonies. The fly over of 11 war birds lead by Lt. Col Scratch in his Nang Chang was spectacular and I bet those Cowboys that were chosen to go for a ride were absolutely loving it!


Thursday, Friday and Saturday were main match days. Four stages each and at the end of the 12, Jack and I were pretty satisfied with how we had shot our matches and would eagerly wait to hear the results. We had a great Posse, Posse 30! Alvira Sullivan Earp and Virgil Earp (our Aussie friends), Bois D'Arc and Tacky Jackie (Oklahoma friends), Chugwater One Shot, Coal Train, High Country, Honest Henry, J.B. Corn (and his lovely wife Aurora who kept all our scores for us), Just Marshall, Kerman Kid, Lazlo Scarr, Little Joe Dalton, Marshal Law, Pill Peddler, Sgt. StroDog, Standpat Steve, Valrico Kid and of course Jack and myself.


Friday night was Saloon night and this year they had craps tables, black jack, Texas hold 'em and the infamous Doc Holliday (we saw him when visiting Tombstone a few times) with his Faro table and regaling people with his stories. You handed your chips in, when you were ready to leave, in exchange for prize tickets of which I was lucky enough to win a voucher with Wild West Mercantile!


Saturday is of course the day of relief I guess, the match is done and everyone now gets to enjoy the Banquet and side match awards. Costume contest is on and I had the pleasure of being a judge this year. I stepped aside from my judging duties for Pea Patch to step in when a couple of ladies presented in costumes I had made for them. Costume Judges this year were myself, Goodness Grace, Cowtown Scout, Skinny and Capt.


The shoot off participants for Wild Bunch and cowboy were announced. Making it into the sweet sixteen with 3 other Lady Wranglers meant it was going to be a close match for us all.


This brings us to yesterday, I had one run in the shootout with fellow Lady Wrangler and my main competition Echo Meadows. She shot well and made it through to the next round after I left 3 plates up.

For the Ladies the shootout was won by Molly Magoo and for the Men's, Slick McClade.

So onto the awards and first up the SASS Wild Bunch presented the Wooly Award to the Winter Range Board for their 2016 match.

For Wild Bunch, the overall winners were Captain Sam Evans for Men and Texas Tiger for the Ladies. Jackaroo placed 9th for Wild Bunch Senior Modern and I finished 3rd in Ladies Traditional.

This year's Cowboy match had 111 people from 749 shoot a clean match! That's no misses, no procedurals etc! Outstanding effort and was achieved by three of the Aussie's – Frank James, Renegade Ty and Rooster Cockburn.

Out of the 10 Australians participating, 8 of them (sorry if you did too Renegade Ty but I didn't catch that one) placed in their categories. Constable Nelson, 8th Place in Forty Niners. Frank James, 9th Place in Senior. Alvira Sullivan Earp, 5th Place in Ladies Silver Senior. KC Woody, 7th Place in Senior Gunfighter.

Jackaroo finished 7th Place in Silver Senior and 60th overall! He shot a great match and wasn't too far off me.

I'm ecstatic, I achieved my goal for this match finishing 1st Place Lady Wrangler, 2nd Lady overall and placed 57th overall.

AND the 2017 Winter Range US National Champions overall with a huge congratulations goes to SASS Kicker for the Ladies and Deuce Stevens for the Men.

Here's congratulations to all the competitors who placed at Winter Range and we will see you again somewhere down the road for the next one.

Kat xo


Remembrance Day

We held our minute silence on Friday 11th at the 11th hour in memory of all veterans both past, present and across continents.

Saturday afternoon however, we took a quick trip to the Australian War Memorial in our nation's capital. This trip all I wanted to do was to at least see the Hall of Honour, the reflection pool and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


Simpson's donkey is covered in red poppies from the previous day's memorial service. A bronze tribute to John Simpson Kirkpatrick. Recognised for his bravery and compassion, he and his donkey carried water up to troops through Shrapnel Gully and many wounded soldiers back down to Anzac Cove.


The flags even seemed to fly with pride in the clear blue skies and moderate winds, against a backdrop of Anzac Parade, through to both the old and new Parliament house's.


There are many visitors coming and going as we make our way up the stairs and into the Reflection Pool area. The wreath's still lay around the pools edge, and it's really nice to see all the Australian native flowers used in many of the display's.


There is much chatter outside by some but I was glad that upon entering the tomb of the Unknown Soldier everyone was respectfully silent. This hall has always been my favourite with its beautiful stained glass windows, ornate ceiling, tiled pictures and reverent setting.


Out into the Hall of Honour the bronze name plaques are filled with poppies and soon I managed a moment of next to no one in these areas for a better photo.


Jack and I decided we should stick our heads in the main museum doors and were surprised by some very new artefact showcases and interactive displays! NOW we need to come again and spend the full day and a bit that it would take to see it again.

We spent almost an hour just in the first entrance to the ANZAC display.


Let us all be thankful for our men and women who have served and are serving.

Lest We Forget.

Kat xo

Nov 12, 2016


Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

We are now in Thurmont, Maryland.

Taking a short trip up into Pennsylvania, Tuesday and Wednesday were spent at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Sensational! To say the very least!

The first thing we did was bought tickets to the Film, Cyclorama and Museum.

The film was narrated by Morgan Freeman (love his voice) and there was so much to see on the big curved screen, my eyes were darting everywhere trying to take it all in.

It was pure genius, a visual sensation, beautifully done by the History channel, the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The Civil War battle that took place over July1-3 of 1863.

Total casualties for the three days (killed, wounded, captured, missing) of fighting were 23,000 Union, 28,000 Confederates.Incredible numbers fought, lost and won during that 3 day campaign with Robert E. Lee as the Confederate commander and George Gordon Meade, the Union commander. 70,000 Confederates went up against a Union army of 93,000 on that 1st day in July.


Next when you exit the theatre you are taken up into the viewing room of the cyclorama. (Cycloramas – a 360deg view panoramic painting of a scene, viewed from the centre, often with music or narration, first developed in 1787 – popular in the early 19th century)

A spectacular vision of sound and light, as if you were standing behind Union lines. It is the largest oil painting in America. Painted in 1884 by Paul Dominique Philippoteaux, it came to Gettysburg in 1913.

The 377ft painting debuted in Boston 132 years ago and in 2008 restoration began for this project.


It truly is magnificent and the detail incredible. The artist has even included himself in the painting as his signature. See the picture below of the bearded officer leaning against a tree with sword over his leg,


The Museum section has many artefacts, beautifully displayed with excerpts of speeches, letters and legislation surrounding the walls. Timber plaques have also been printed or etched with pictures and text,


A number of interactive displays run through the 3 years of the war on screens of varying size throughout the museum.


It is an exceptional place full of history and if you ever get to this region it is not to be missed! A very comprehensive display. They weren't wrong when saying you would easily need a couple of hours for the Museum alone.

The weather was divine on Tuesday but turned a little overcast and on the cool side on the Wednesday.


However that did not deter us from making our way back to Gettysburg and taking the 24mile auto tour of the battlefield.


There are 16 tour stops along the way and instead of purchasing a cd at gift store we found an app that ran off the GPS and would talk to us once we reached the spot on the map. Relaying information regarding the battle for the point we were at, we could then get out and view the magnificent monuments, fields and take in the terrain that would have been encountered by so many on foot back in the day.


An extremely humbling experience.

Kat xo

Sept 28, 2016

This is only a small sampling of pictures taken. So, so much to see. Loved it.