Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

Larry on the dock at Cave Lake...

I liked the reflection of the clouds in the water...

We'll be following Steptoe Creek along our way...

Onyx is enjoying the beautiful drive also!

We've climbed up about half way from the valley below...

There are a few flowers in bloom today...

This is the dirt road we are taking today, isn't it pretty...

Check out our little chipmunk friend, he's busy watching us and not...

Snow patches are appearing as we approach Success Summit...

Onyx loved it!

Larry noticed this old 'deer hanging station'...

I found a comfortable stump to rest a bit...

A pretty shot of the aspen/pine mix...

The last time we were on this road it was 2 degrees!...

Someone went to a lot of work to build the 'teepee shelter'...

Our 'wildlife' for today...she is calling them to come RIGHT NOW!

They all obeyed and off they went...Larry says she must be babysitting,...

We ran over this rattler...

And, we stopped to check out these two guys as we drop...

As you can see, the Aspen are all not budded out yet,...

Don at the McGill Drugstore...

One last shot as we call it a day, and what a...


Today we took the Success Loop Scenic Drive, a 37 mile wonderful drive that few people outside of the local area ever bother to takeā€¦let alone know about. The road begins about 8 miles South of Ely. At the junction of Highway 93 you make a left and head toward the Cave Lake State Park. We stopped there for just a few minutes to check out the water levels this year. It's as pretty as ever and we'll be back another day to put our Sea Eagle in for a bit of fishing. And for a bit of relaxation as well. Mom enjoyed it so much last year we plan to take her out again this year.

Just past the lake turnoff, the pavement ends and for most of the rest of the loop it is a well graded dirt road. As a matter of fact they are currently working on parts of it. The guys were on a break as we passed but Larry praised them for a job well done as we made our way around their equipment. After that I think we only encountered two other vehicles the entire trip.

We followed the Steptoe Creek as we made our way up the Schell Creek Range climbing gradually until we finally stopped several times for wonderful views of the Steptoe Valley. We arrived at Success Summit and took the turnoff back a mile or two. There were scattered patches of snow still around and Onyx and Larry had a good time. He threw a couple of small snowballs at her, hitting her with them and she barely blinked. She was too busy running around smelling and enjoying the wide open spaces to even notice much.

We dropped back down the other side about 8 miles North of the town of McGill. If you have time you might want to check out the little community of McGill, a one time company town. Stop at the McGill Drug store on the way back to Ely. Now a museum, you feel like you've been transported back to Smalltown, USA when you cross the threshold. Dan will probably be behind the soda fountain, ready to serve you ice cream sodas, milkshakes or a double scoop cone. "Welcome folks! Feel free to browse through the store, back rooms, everything. Touch whatever you like," says Dan. We saw medicinal prescriptions going back to the early 1900's. They are now available for genealogical research. Dan tells the story of a woman who located a prescription for an ancestor who worked at the McGill smelter. She excitedly told Dan of her discovery to which he deadpanned, "Ma'am, this shows an unpaid balance." Apparently, the woman was not amused.

We walked down aisles lined with old products like Dippity-Doo, Ipanna toothpaste, and several varieties of other sundries. Feminine needs are kept in a separate room in the back indicating the mores of the times. We wandered through the pharmacy, marveling at the empty bottles of opium derivatives, bottles of paregoric, mortar and pestles. There's a bow-making, ribbon machine to liven up presents and a bow tie making machine for the properly attired gentleman. Old Kodak displays compete with the memorable Timex (takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin') display. Nothing in the store is for sale except ice cream products. Dan laughingly told us of the many tour busses which make the Drug Store a favorite stop for tour groups. He boards the bus, gives a brief talk on the history of the store, mentions that it is a museum and nothing is for sale. Invariably, some member of the group walks to the cash register with an item to purchase. In good humor, Dan reminds them that it's a museum and the prices still attached to the merchandise reflect the price decades ago. I figure that people forget it's a museum because unlike any other museum I've ever ventured in to. Dan encourages you to leaf through the old files, hold the apothecary equipment in your hands as you inspect it, read the ingredients in a full, 40 year old bottle of Welch's grape juice. (You wouldn't want to drink it, trust me.) This museum is a wonderful trip back for anyone who remembers a simpler time in America.

If you visit the Ely area, we highly recommend the Success Loop for a short day trip. It took us about 3 hours, but we stopped frequently for photos and just to take in all the sights and sounds. And it smells so good up there this time of year! It's a bit early for all of the wildflowers, but there were a few. And many of the aspens in the higher altitudes were just beginning to bud. But beautiful just the same. We may try to do the loop again in a couple of weeks when everything in in full bloom. If so, we'll start from the other end just to get a different perspective. I'm sure it will be just as lovely on that day as well!



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