Snow at Capitol Reef – October 2018

Monday October 8: The overnight low is 36, but it gets colder and begins to snow by 9:00 this morning.

Rollie’s rig in the snow

I go have coffee with Rollie, as his rig is warm, and then walkabout to take photos of the snow. Coat, hat, and gloves are thoroughly wet by time I return.

Going for a snowy walk

After breakfast, Clifford and I go over to Rollie’s to play music – a good day for it. Later I go for a longer walk up to the big rock feature on the north side of the road, and to the highway, to the rock quarry that is further in on the road, and back to camp. Quite muddy, but I picked my way carefully.

Looking down at our campsites
Snow melts making streams and mud
Rock formations

Rollie wants to get out, so I walk the road with him, again picking our way carefully so as not to get too deep into the mud.

Afternoon walk with Rollie

We have homemade soup and rice for dinner, taking it over to Rollie’s so he doesn’t have to come out again. This chilly weather is hard on him. After we eat, we play music again. When Clifford and I get back to Cougar, we discover that the propane ran out while we were at Rollie’s. The burners were on low to keep the place warm, so now it smells bad in here and we have to leave the door open for fresh air in spite of the chill outside. Not he best way to end the evening!

Boondocking near Capitol Reef – October 2018

Thursday October 4: Today is a settling in day. I take a few photos even though it is cloudy and windy. Clifford gets his ham radio antennas up.

View from our front door
A moment of light on the mesa

In the afternoon I do some editing for Ang and make applesauce with the wild apples before Rollie and I play bluegrass music at his rig.

Rollie and Ninja at his rig

After dinner, I get skunked playing cribbage with Rollie and get a blog written before heading to bed.

Friday October 5: I am up in time for photos at sunrise, which is always a delight to me.

Sunrise near Capitol Reef National Park
View from the window
Same mesa, but different day, different camera, and a different effect

We go to Torrey today to pick up mail sent General Delivery only to find that the post office is already closed. The market in Torrey is very small, but has a good bakery. Editing and blog writing are my main activities of the day, and this evening I win at cribbage.

Saturday October 6: I am up earlier than usual, making coffee as quietly as possible so as not to wake Clifford, going over to Rollie’s rig, as he is always up early and his rig is already warm. It is overcast this morning with a forecast for rain. A neighbor from further in stops by to tell us that when the rain comes, it will turn the ground to ankle-deep gumbo. He has been here for awhile and has seen it first-hand. Rigs trying to get out get stuck and tow trucks won’t even come in to rescue them. So, in preparation for the possibility, I find the biggest flattest rocks I can carry and put them under Cougar’s stabilizer jacks, make a rock pathway to the Suburban and a longer pathway from Cougar over to Rollie’s rig.

Preparing for rain. Rig on left is Cougar; rig to the far upper right is Rollie’s FR3

It does indeed rain in the afternoon and into the evening, so I am glad I did the work.

Sunday October 7: It is overcast this morning and I take photos of the mesa shrouded in mist.

Mesa in the mist

I carry on with the rock work since it appears that the rain is going to continue and the high is only 46 degrees. In the afternoon I do some editing. Cell service is very weak here, so no time is spent with cell or internet related activities. More time for editing (until the laptop battery goes dead) and music. I make spaghetti dinner tonight and play cribbage with Rollie before washing up the dishes. Clifford and I go to bed earlier tonight, as it is too chilly to stay up, and we are both tired.

Montana to Utah – October 2018

Monday October 1: I am up by 7:30 and chat with the neighbors at their campfire before making tea for our thermoses. Today is a travel day and we plan to leave from our brief stay here at Divide Bridge Campground and make it as far as the Walmart in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Mist rising in the morning at Divide Bridge Campground
Traveling south through southwestern Montana
Foggy going over Monida Pass into Idaho

It is very windy and we are glad to pull off the highway when we reach Idaho Falls. We park along the grass on the back parking lot and then spend a few minutes picking up trash. It is too bad that some people abuse the privilege of overnight stays at Walmart, and because of that fewer Walmarts are allowing overnighters. There are many RV coming in this afternoon, perhaps because of the wind. We go to Panda for a late lunch and then pick up the groceries and sundries we will need for the next leg of the trip.

Tuesday October 2: We are on our way after making thermoses and tidying up. It is very windy, worse than yesterday, causing slower travel and poor gas mileage.

Many windy miles
Southern Idaho

We stop at the rest stop before the Utah border, the rest stop that I call the Apple Tree Stop. It is a relief to get off the highway for awhile and just walk about. I check out the apple tree, an untended giant of a tree, and see that it is bountiful this year. I poke among the apples that have fallen and gather a bagful that will be made into applesauce.

Wonderful wild apple tree

We reach the Perry, Utah, Walmart in late afternoon and park along the edge of the lot. We can see a huge storm to the west, and we learn from my brother Rollie that he is in the midst of it on his parallel route through Nevada. Eventually the storm moves over us and I’m glad we are parked and not trying to drive through the downpour.

Last sunlight on the hills at Perry, Utah
Last light of day at Perry, Utah

Wednesday October 3: We leave Perry and begin the journey through Salt Lake City, and even though part of it is on a bypass that we have discovered, the rest of it is the main I-15 corridor made worse by construction. I am ever so grateful when we come out on the south end of this huge city complex and stop for lunch at Cracker Barrel in Springfield.

Sky over Salt Lake City

After lunch, we continue south of I-15, new country for us, a day of clouds and rain storms. We leave the interstate at the junction to Utah State Hwy 50, then take Hwy 24 to the small town of Loa where we are meeting Rollie.

Rollie arrives before us and as soon as we get there, we all decide to head onto our intended destination outside Torrey, Utah, near Capitol Reef National Park. Arriving at the BLM road, Beas Lewis Flat, where we plan to stay, we park and scout on foot, finding a couple of pullouts that will accommodate both rigs. We will have lots of privacy here, as well as great views.

After we get set up, I make chili for dinner for all of us, glad to have the driving over for awhile and happy to have found such a scenic place to call home for the next couple of weeks.

Divide Bridge Heading South – September 2018

Saturday September 29: We get up a little earlier than usual and I get tea made for the thermoses. We have a quick breakfast of yogurt and fruit before we finish packing, and we are on our way before 10:00. We are leaving the Bass Creek Recreation Area in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana where we have been camped for the last couple of weeks. Our destination today is Divide Bridge campground in southwestern Montana.

Destination in southwest Montana

The wind is fierce as we go through Hellgate Canyon on the east side of Missoula. We are relieved that it lets up some as we head further east, but even so, stopping for gas at Deer Lodge, we are surprised at how cold the wind is.

Reaching Divide Bridge Campground, we find a spot with grass still green and shrubs showing autumn colors. Our set-up is minimal, as we won’t be staying long.

Cougar at Divide Bridge Campground
Autumn Colors
Visit to the Big Hole River

Of course, I visit the river right away.

Big Hole River

In the evening, we work on our projects – dulcimer and CI Legacy for Clifford, while I continue editing Princes and Priests and prepare another blog of our travels. We have nachos for dinner, as that is easy and tasty, and head to bed earlier than usual. Travel days are tiring, but at least we have a pretty place to stay.

Sunday September 30: I am up early to use the restroom and see that it is a drizzly morning The neighbors have a nice big campfire, so I go over to say “hi.” We have a nice visit before I go back to Cougar to make tea for the thermoses, as we are planning on leaving to meet Tye and Tammy at Lewis&Clark Caverns.

Saying “Hi” to the neighbors who are set up by the river

However, the drizzle turns to sleet, which turns to snow. Since we don’t have a current weather report, we are a bit undecided about the wisdom of driving over Pipestone pass to meet them, not knowing what the weather is on the pass or on their side of the mountain. In the end, we drive out to the highway where there is cell service and cancel our plans to meet them. I am very disappointed, but again, discretion is wise.

Snowing at Divide Bridge Campground
Snowing at Divide Bridge Campground

By afternoon, the weather clears up and had we had communication, we might have been able to still pull off a get-together, but oh well, sometimes things don’t work out the way I’d like them to. At least it is pretty here and I spend time walking about, taking photos of the snow on autumn colored leaves in the morning and photos of the river in the river in the afternoon.

View from the campground

We are short on power today; I edit until the laptop battery is dead, then play viola for awhile. Dinner is cooked and eaten by lantern light. Even though we normally use our electronic devices a lot, there are always things that can be done without power. Tomorrow we will be continuing south and we will see what the weather brings our way.

Last Days at Bass Creek – September 2018

Wednesday September 26: I go down to the creek first thing this morning; I will miss being here. Back at camp, I make a campfire and sit outside to write in the journal.

Morning visit with Bass Creek

Today we take care of little projects like hanging towel racks, stuffing steel wool in any openings we can find underneath, and spraying the gasket around the slide-out. Then I clean out my car and pack it with the tubs of music and books that will remain in Montana. Nancy and her husband Dick will be babysitting my Forester this winter.

Autumn foliage at the campsite

Thursday September 27: Text a happy birthday message to my youngest son, the nomad. Then Clifford and I head to Missoula for a last day of errands, shopping, and laundromat. We have quite a few things to take care of, as well enjoying a stop at Book Exchange, so it is late by time we arrive back at camp.

Sunset colors as we drive back to camp

Friday September 28: This morning I put the clean clothes and sundries away before heading out to see Ang one last time. My grandson Oden is there, and it is wonderful to see what a great young man he is becoming. We have lunch and I’m happy that I get to see them again before leaving Montana.

Oden and Ang
A very special young man

On the way back to camp, I drop my car off at my sister Nancy’s place and Clifford picks me up there. Back at camp, we pack up all the outside stuff in preparation for leaving tomorrow. We have a ways to go, so hope to get an early start. It has been good being here in Montana with its rivers, lakes, and mountains, great seeing my kids and their families, my siblings, and long-time friends. I wish we could stay longer, but weather considerations indicate that it is time to move on.

Good-bye Montana – see you next summer!

Sister Hike – September 2018

Tuesday September 25: One of the best things about camping here in the Bitterroot Valley is that I get to see my sisters, Lillian and Nancy. Both sisters have come out a couple of times and we have visited with our brother Rollie who is also camped here. I had planned to meet Nancy for another visit and hike, but that is being cut out by our leaving early. However, I do get to see Lillian one more time before Clifford and I leave Montana for the season.

Lillian and I meet for lunch at a nice place in the nearby small town of Florence and sit outside in the sunshine in the enclosed patio, protected from the breeze. So nice to have the time to visit with no rush to be somewhere else.

After lunch, she comes back to our campground and we hike up the Bass Creek Trail to the quiet spot on the creek where I hiked earlier this week with friends. We both take photo of the waterfall that is usually hidden and then continue on up the trail, taking photos of each other. What a fun day!

Bass Creek Trail
Hidden waterfall on Bass Creek
Bass Creek

Clifford went on a cross-country hike by himself today. It is good that we are both getting out and hiking some. He also made progress on the CI Legacy Project. After dinner, while I did the dishes, he played the dulcimer, which is always nice to hear. Most days I play the viola, but not today. Sister visits are more important!

Kootenai Creek Hike – September 2018

Monday September 24: The low last night was in the mid-30’s and the high today is only 59 degrees with a cumulus cloud cover. In looking at the map and the forecast for cooler weather in Montana with rain and possibly early snow, we decide that we will have to leave Bass Creek earlier than planned and begin the journey south. I am not so happy about this, as it means a change of plans as far as seeing family goes, but I do understand the wisdom of the decision.

In the afternoon, Clifford and I drive to one of the other main drainages in the Bitterroot Range, Kootenai Creek, just a few miles further south in the Bitterroot Valley. It is a lovely hike with lots of autumn color and the creek seems especially lively as it tumbles around boulders and over rocks that form the creek bed. We left camp a little late for getting sunlight on the foliage, but at least we are here and have the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful scenic trail before we leave this area.

Kootenai Creek Trail
Kootenai Creek
Kootenai Creek
Kootenai Creek

Bass Creek – September 2018

Wednesday September 19 to Sunday September 23:

Clifford and I are camped at Bass Creek in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. We sure do like this campground with its mix of wooded creekside campsites and open ponderosa forest campsites.

Autumn colors at our campsite in the Ponderosa forest at Charles Waters Campground at Bass Creek Recreation Area

My brother Rollie is camped here, also, but leaves on Thursday. I make breakfast for the three of us and then we say our good-byes for now. It’s been fun playing music with him, sharing meals and playing cribbage almost every evening. We will see him again this winter in Arizona.

Brother Rollie and Ninja

I’m having issues with my brand new cell phone. People can call me, but I can’t call out. I spend a long time on Clifford’s cell talking to Verizon trying to figure things out. Eventually it is somewhat resolved. I also send a few texts to family and friends from the new cell. I take a few photos, but have other things going on, so don’t really have the time to devote to it right now.

Bass Creek with the new cell phone

On Saturday we make a trip to Missoula for errands before driving out Petty Creek to see my daughter Ang, grandson Oden, and Ang’s friend, Rama. It is good to see them and have dinner together. We don’t stay long after dinner, as they were up late last night and we would like to get back to Bass Creek before dark.

My favorite display at Book Exchange in Missoula
Wildlife on the road to Ang’s place
Ang’s greenhouse flourishing

Sunday morning I make coffee and a campfire, planning to sit out to write in the journal – and then it starts to rain. I hang a tarp over the clothes line for a shelter and sit out for awhile with the fresh air and the rain.

Campfire and shelter from the rain

In the afternoon, long-time friends, Ken and Shelley Anne, come out to the campground to have lunch with us. After we eat, Ken, Shelley Anne, and I hike up the Bass Creek trail to a spot where the lively creek is calm. This year it is also very low and we are able to step down to a spot where we can see a waterfall that is normally out of view. It is so wonderful to spend time in this setting with these dear people.

Bass Creek Trail
Bass Creek along Bass Creek Trail

During these days, I have also been editing for Ang and have prepared the first draft of a query that will be sent to literary agents for her epic fantasy novel Princes and Priests.

Our days are jam-packed with interesting and fun things to do. I am looking forward to a few more days here before we begin the southward journey to southern Utah.

Jam-packed days at Bass Creek

Back to Bass Creek – September 2018

The week of September 12 through September 18: We move from our great spot at Seeley Lake, returning to Bass Creek in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana.

Cougar and Clifford back at Bass Creek
Living in a forest

We make a couple of trips to Missoula for errands and shopping, including picking up the new cell phone that I ordered. I am hoping that photos taken with the Moto Z2Play will make it easier to share photos via the net and cell service, since that is the primary way of sharing nowadays. I will be comparing photos taken with the cell and photos take with the little Canon. I see that many really outstanding photos are now being taken with cell phones, even by professional photographers. I have been reluctant to make a cell phone my primary means of taking photos, but it is certainly easier to carry a cell phone on a hike, which was a determining factor in putting my money toward a new cell phone (which I needed anyway) rather than a new camera.

Walkabout to try out the new cell phone camera
Hillside behind our campground
Morning light on wildfowers

Another highlight of the week is a “sleepover” with my daughter Ang, with steaks cooked over a big bonfire, and then spending the night in Terry, our old camper that we gave to Ang when we got Cougar in August. Morning coffee, time spent in the greenhouse, and working on editing issues fill the next day before I return to our campground at Bass Creek.

Sleepover with a bonfire

This particular week culminates in another sibling/spouses gathering, this time at brother Rollie’s campsite, also at Bass Creek, with everyone bringing food for a potluck and a big campfire. Rollie and I play a few bluegrass tunes, but mostly it is fun to be part of the conversation and laughter as we listen to tales and almost tall-tales of our growing up years. I sure do love this group of humans and am so glad we had time together again before we go our separate ways. Rollie will be leaving Montana in a couple of days; Clifford and I will be leaving before the end of the month.

Last Days at Seeley Lake – September 2018

Monday September 10: I walk to the lake in the early morning, appreciating the peacefulness with the first light of day on the water. There are a couple of benches that provide places to sit or one can stroll along the beach or take the path through the woods along the lakeside. Over the course of our time here, I have done all of these. Back at camp, I make a campfire so I can continue to be outdoors.

Today Clifford and I go for a drive to other campgrounds along the stretch of lakes in the Seeley-Swan Valley. The campground at Lake Alva has numerous empty spots, but no view of the lake that we can find. Lake Inez has some camping spots along a road above the lake, but it is not a campground and spots would soon fill, so we wouldn’t try to come here with the camper.

Lake Inez
Lake Inez
Autumn colors near Lake Alva
Autumn colors near Lake Alva

Back at Seeley Lake, which we still like the best, at the suggestion of a friend, I do an energy clearing ceremony, wading out in to the lake and letting bits of bark and cones float away, representing a releasing of tension and negative energy.

Back at Seeley Lake
Back at Seeley Lake

In the later afternoon, I finish reading the novel I had started before going to Wallace. After dinner is the usual bedtime routine and it is always surprising to me how long it takes to take care of all the loose ends before getting into bed.

Tuesday September 11: I got up kind of late this morning, but walk down to the lake before breakfast anyway. I make my way toward the bridge and get several shots of the lily pads that line the bank there.

Lily pads along the lake shore
Lily pads along the lake shore

Back at the campsite, I visit our neighbor, Ana, an artist who is outside painting. She is an interesting woman and we have enjoyed our visits.

Today I take out the ¾ cello that I brought back with me from Wallace where it had been stored. At one time, I had hoped to play cello regularly as we camped, but cellos are too big to play indoors in an RV and often the weather is not suitable for playing outdoors. This one, even though not full-size, still takes up a lot of room. Being a rather inexpensive instrument, one I was willing to take camping, also means that it does not have great sound. I haven’t enjoyed playing it as much as I hoped I would, which is why it ended up being stored in Wallace. But now it is with me and we’ll see what happens next. I sort the rest of the stuff in my car, stuff that we brought back from the basement of my daughter’s house where we lived for about four years. Some of it is packed to go to a second-hand store in Stevensville, some will go back to Monticello with us, and sadly, some things just go in the dumpster.

Our last day at Seeley Lake
Our last day at Seeley Lake

We pick up outside stuff – chairs, tables, and such, as we will be leaving tomorrow. It has been great being here, but I am also looking forward to going back to Bass Creek so as to see more of my family before we begin the journey south.