“Are there really ghosts in ghost towns?” My friend Scamp was worried as we prowled around the abandoned buildings. No silly, it just means the town has been abandoned. It happens when a natural disaster happens such as drought or floods. A war could drive people from an area, or maybe the main business of the town like a mine or manufacturing plant closes. Sometimes a train will stop providing service or a freeway will change the traffic flow and leave a town isolated. The term was popularized when the California Gold Rush of 1849 ended, but there are ghost towns all over the world. Some have been preserved and have become tourist attractions or movie sets. Others have slowly drawn people back to live and work in the area. No need to be a “fraidy cat”, Scamp, we won’t be ghost hunting today. Purrs, Gulliver
After our tour of the State House, there was time for questions. One of the first things I learned was the building is heated by underground hot springs which come from deep in the earth. Idaho is an interesting state with lots of mountains and rivers. We found out that if all the mountains were flattened out, Idaho could be the size of Texas. Idaho is famous for its potatoes, it grows about 20 percent of the nation’s crop, and about 50 percent of McDonald’s french-fries come from Idaho potatoes.
Everyone wanted to know what the word Idaho means. It is actually a made up word! People in Colorado tried the name out first for their territory, but didn’t like it. Then it was used by miners looking for gold in the territory and it stuck. Idaho became a territory in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln signed the bill, then a it became a state in 1890. In 27 years the Idaho Territory had 16 governors, four who never set foot in Idaho! Maybe that was why so many silly laws were passed, because no one was there to say no to the voters. Purrs, Gulliver
Hello! I am Sasha, Gulliver’s little sister. He asked me to write to you because he has been grounded and not traveling. He apologizes for not sending postcards. Look at today’s postcard. The address is always on the right, under the stamp. First the name, then the street address, next line is city and state, and finally, a postal or ZIP code. Some countries use a different order where the city is listed before the street name. Each piece of mail requires a stamp which is postmarked from the area it was mailed from, along with the date it was mailed. What would you write on a postcard? Meow, Sasha.
Here is a story I heard from a ranger while visiting Yosemite National Park.
Many, many years ago, a Native American couple live in the desert around Mono Lake. Learning about the beautiful Valley of Ahwahnee, they decided to go there and make it their home. Along the way, the couple began to argue. The wife wanted to go back, the husband refused. They argued so loudly, the Creator grew angry and turned the two into stone. The husband became North Dome and the wife became Half Dome. The wife felt bad about the quarrel and the rock she became began to cry, creating Mirror Lake. In Paiute language she is known as T’ssikakka. And that is the story of how part of Yosemite came to be. Purrs, Gulliver
The use of flags goes back 3,000 years. People have raised flags on Mount Everest and the Moon. Red is the most popular color used on a flag, with about 75 percent of all national flags using that color. White is a close second, used on about 70 percent of the national flags, and blue is on 50 percent of the flags. Green, black, orange and yellow are some of the other colors used. Only one national flag uses purple – do you know which one? What would your personal flag look like? Purrs, Gulliver
“Rocky Mountain High…Colorado” sang John Denver on the radio as we drove through Colorado. I tried to sing along, but my mom complained I was yowling too loudly. Such a critic! We headed to the Rocky Mountain National Park to do some hiking and maybe even see bighorn sheep, moose, elk or deer. I don’t want to see any bears or mountain lions – they might eat me! While the Rocky Mountain National Park is in Colorado, the Rocky Mountains are a series of mountain rangeswhich spread more than 3,000 miles from central New Mexico to northwest Alaska and include the Canadian National Parks of Banff, Jaspar, and Kootenay, while in the United States the mountains include Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks among others. I am looking forward to climbing Pike’s Peak, which has such beautiful views it inspired another song –“America the Beautiful”! Purrs, Gulliver
Dear, thoughtful, patient Inez (and Gulliver),
Thanks so much for the postcards for the kids! Everyone was so excited, reading theirs and everyone else’s, sharing the pictures, asking questions…it was a great morning. They were so excited they wanted to come to your house and visit, but I to;d them you were working and Gulliver was probably traveling.
Thanks again and let’s stay in touch!
Judy and the Dragons
I’ve always been a little camera shy, but mom caught me in a weak moment. Happy Trails!
It is always fun when students write back!
For those of you who have a lot of postcards, here is a rainy day activity for classrooms or families.
Create a “bingo sheet” with 25 blank cells. The center cell is free/purrs.
Have each player chose from the list below and enter 24 choices into the remaining cells. You can add to the choices if you can think of other subjects which match the postcards you have. The countries, states and cities are just a few of many that Gulliver has visited.
Where the choice is a color, it can be the predominate color or just visible in the postcard. If a card is drawn that can meet two or more subjects (i.e. red, San Francisco and boat) only one subject can be marked out.
Put the cards in a box or bag and draw one at a time. The first student to make “bingo” wins. You can continue with the same bingo cards for second and third winners, or start over with new sheets.
- Color blue
- Color green
- Animal (land)
- Water (ocean, river or pond, waterfall)
- Building (other than a house)
- Ship or boat
- Color yellow
- Color red
- San Francisco
- Sea creature