Monday October 8: The overnight low is 36, but it gets colder and begins to snow by 9:00 this morning.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday September 4: The night was chilly and autumn colors are becoming more pronounced. After a morning walk along the lake, it is warm enough to sit in the sunshine to write in the journal and send pics to my family.
My daughter Katie calls to see if I will come to the sibling and friends gathering in Wallace, Idaho. I had thought I would not go, but it is worked out for me to meet up with my daughter Ang and her friend Rama to ride partway with them. It will be good to see kids and grandkids that I might not otherwise get to see on our travels.
In the afternoon, I continue with editing Ang’s book Princes and Priests. Later, Clifford and I go to the laundromat in the town of Seeley Lake. After the baskets of clean clothes are loaded in the Suburban, we cross the highway to the gift shop for a really good ice cream cone. Back at camp, after dinner and cleanup, we both read/study until bedtime.
Wednesday September 5: Clifford is up earlier today, so I sit out in the morning sunshine to chat with him and then we tend to some CI email. For both of us, it is a day of our usual activities: Clifford works on the CI Legacy Project, plays his dulcimer, and listens to his ham radio; I edit, write blogs, play viola, and read. Dinner is simple and we are happy being here.
Thursday September 6: This morning I make a campfire instead of going down to the lake. Nice to sit here with my coffee and journal.
After breakfast I pack a bag to take to Wallace. As I’m getting my car tidied up, I meet the neighbor across the road, an artist currently living in a tent as she does large colorful lively paintings out in the open. She is quite an interesting and friendly woman, with a great idea for a foundation to help other artists.
I do my walkabout
this afternoon as a storm is moving in with a bit of a rainbow. By
time I get to a spot clear enough to get a shot of it, the rainbow
has faded, but it was still exciting to see.
Breakfast burritos for dinner and then I tidy up our cozy space before heading to bed.
Wednesday August 29: Early morning at the Seeley Lake Campground in the Seeley-Swan Valley of western Montana, I go down to the lake to take photos in the mist. The ambiance of mist and fog appeals to me.
I fix yogurt and fruit for Clifford and myself, make coffee for the thermos, pack a little bag of clothes, and wait for my brother Rollie to arrive with his motor home. He and I are going together to Sun River on the other side of the mountain from the Seeley-Swan Valley where this campground is located. Clifford will be staying at the campsite with Cougar, holding down the fort, so to speak.
Riding in the front of a class-A motor home is quite the vantage point for seeing the scenery, but it feels like a long drive from Seeley Lake to Sun River. There is certainly a lot of variety in the landscape and I especially enjoy seeing the rivers, something that I miss living in Utah.
Although I grew up in western Montana, I also lived within view of Crown view for twenty years, so there is a familiarity with seeing the scenes from the east face of the Rockies.
Once we arrive in
Sun River, we find Matt and a fishing buddy, Lexie. It is good to
see him. After Rollie gets the motor home set up, we all walk down
to the river just to see the river. Tomorrow will be the fishing
I make dinner for
all of us in the motor home and we visit until late. Rollie’s
couch is my bed tonight.
Tuesday August 14: Today is moving day. Although we like where we are at Bass Creek Recreation Area in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana, we are heading to Cabin City, a campground on the Montana side of Lookout Pass. This will allow visiting with my daughter Katie and her family in Wallace, Idaho, without pulling Cougar over the pass.
When we arrive at Cabin City, there is almost no one there, but the spot we would have chosen is already taken. Oh well, that is the way it goes sometimes. We pick another nearby spot that will allow both shade for the RV and access to the sunshine for the solar panels, a bit of a challenge in this forested campground.
After we get set up,
we have tuna sandwiches for lunch and proceed with our usual
activities. In the evening, the hosts, Susi and Tom, come around and
we chat with them for awhile. We met them here a couple of years ago
and discovered at that time that Susi is the youngest sister of a
really good friend of mine from high school days. “Small world….”
Wednesday August 15: Pretty light on the forest this morning, in spite of the forest fire smoke.
Today we are going to Wallace to visit Katie and her family; my son Saul is there, also, doing some work for Katie. My wellness visit is in Kellogg, just 12 miles down the road. The doctor at the clinic there was my doctor when we lived in Wallace and I still want to see her, but it will be the last time, as she is moving to Texas and I am one of her last patients in Idaho.
After the doctor visit, Clifford and I go to dinner with Katie and her friends. There are several conversations going on at once, so it is hard to talk to Katie to see how she and her family are doing. We’ll be back next week, so will visit more with her then. It is late by time we get back to Cabin City, but I read until midnight before heading to bed. Clifford, as usual, stays up with his projects until the wee hours.
Thursday August 16: Today we take care of the mail that we picked up in Wallace yesterday, having forwarded it there. Later, we make a trip to post office in St. Regis, the nearest town with a post office, and then dinner at the famous $50,000 Bar & Grill at the nearby Haugan exit. The food is plentiful and the gift shop has lots of fun stuff. I buy a top for myself and a T-shirt for Clifford, kind of a splurge, but worth it.
Back at camp, I walk about taking photos and then read most of the afternoon. While it might not be the most productive way to spend time, it good that I have the option to do just that.
Friday August 3: We finish moving out of Terry (our 30-year-old RV) and into Cougar (our new-to-us RV) in the Bretz RV parking lot in Missoula, Montana, where the two are parked side-by-side. We wait for my daughter Ang and her friend Rama to arrive, as they are taking Terry to give the old gal a good home and keep her in the family.
It is afternoon by time Clifford and Cougar are ready to head across town, while I follow in my Forester. Reserve is a very busy main street across Missoula, and we get separated when I stop at a red light. It is a bit nerve-wracking for us, as Cougar is a lot big bigger than Terry, and the backup camera is not working. Due to the traffic, it takes us a good long while to get across town, but finally after Clifford has made it highway 93, I catch up to him and we continue southward down the Bitterroot Valley, arriving at the Bass Creek Recreation Area in late afternoon.
Coming into a popular campground on a Friday afternoon is not the best timing, but unavoidable in this case. There is only one spot available and we are grateful that it is a big pull-through. There is not much shade at this site, but the sun will be good for the solar panels and since we now have have an awning, we will be fine. Our view is a good-size meadow with a hillside of trees across from us. By time we get set up and have dinner, it is quite late. We are happy to be here.
Saturday August 4: I spend much of the day putting things in place, unpacking and relocating, trying to find room for everything. In the afternoon, I hike a ways up the trail, but decide not to go too far alone since a bear and cub have recently been seen in the area.
By evening, everything is pretty much in place. We sit out on our patio, enjoying the warm evening air and the view. Bed before midnight.
Sunday August 5: I go for a walkabout first thing this morning and take a few photos. This campground is one of my favorites, being in the mountains with a creek nearby and a good hiking trail.
In the afternoon, Clifford and I meet Ang and Rama at the Lumberjack on Graves Creek Road for a late lunch. It is great to see them, and the hamburgers here are quite good.
Returning to Bass Creek, we see that Rollie and Ninja have arrived and he is setting up in the spot right across the road from us, which will be handy for getting together to play music.
After Rollie is set up, we hike up the trail a ways to that sweet spot where the creek is calm. Sure is good to be here.
at camp, I organize and reorganize, still figuring out where things
go in our new space, and then catch up on my journal, as writing got
behind last week as we moved from Terry into Cougar. That was a big
deal and other activities were pushed to the back burner. Before
heading to bed, I finish reading the James Doss book that I started a
few days ago.
Thursday July 26: Today we are leaving Lolo Creek and heading south through the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana to attend the Hardtimes Bluegrass Festival, held on a ranch south of Hamilton. We arrive about noon and are very fortunate to get a good spot, almost exactly where we were last time, on the edge of the ravine and under a big ponderosa pine tree. My brother Rollie arrives a bit later, parking in the level lot below where we are set up.
making lunch for the three of us, we wander around to listen to some
musicians jamming and to visit
with people Rollie knows –
and he sure does know a lot of
Friday July 27: Clifford and I run errands in the morning, then listen to the scheduled bands on stage in the late afternoon and into the evening. Dinner is super late, but it was a fun day.
Saturday July 28: I am up by 7:30 and walkabout to take photos while things are quiet.
I text Becka to wish her Happy Birthday. After breakfast, Clifford studies and plays his dulcimer while I edit.
In the early afternoon, we head down to the stage area to listen to the bands that are playing today. All the bands are good, but we do have our favorites. The music ends about 10:00 p.m. Back at the camper, Clifford fixes himself a late dinner and I read until after midnight.
Sunday July 29: After I get up, I go for a walk so Clifford can sleep awhile longer. After breakfast, we head to the stage area so we can watch the bands that are playing gospel music. Rollie has been jamming with a group that will be playing this morning, so we want to be sure to watch them.
In the afternoon we go listen the last of the scheduled bands, and Clifford buys us tasty saucer sandwiches for lunch. After the last band finishes up, many people in the audience help with tearing down, including Rollie and me. Clifford is dealing with an injured shoulder, so is not able to join us. Before the kettle corn vendor tears down, I buy two big bags of popcorn for the price of one – best popcorn ever!
Monday July 30: As soon as I’m up, I start packing the outside stuff – tables, chairs, and so on. We have a quick breakfast and then finish packing up, as we are heading out this morning. Today is an exciting day for us, as last week when we were on our way to Barnes & Nobles in Missoula, we stopped in at Bretz RV on a whim. To make a long story short, we bought a newer and bigger RV. We have been considering this change for several months, looking at a few RV lots and doing research online. Bretz had a 2009 Cougar in the size, weight, floor plan, and price range that we need.
We didn’t have time to move from Terry (our 30-year-old RV) into Cougar before the bluegrass festival, so today is the day we start moving from one to the other. We park Terry and Cougar side by side in the Bretz parking lot and begin moving preparations.
Tuesday July 31: We spend all day moving from Terry into Cougar, making trips out to get containers and shelving, as well as new bedding (Cougar has a larger bed than Terry). The saying that one has to scramble eggs to make an omelet sure describes the process. By evening, I have things orderly enough for us to sleep in our new bed, but there is still a lot of stuff to move.
Moving continues over the next couple of days, and by Friday we are ready to take Cougar on her maiden voyage. We give Terry to one of my daughters, so the old gal will stay in the family.
Thursday July 12: Today we are leaving for Montana. I have spent several days getting the camper packed and things ready for us to leave, but there are always last-minute things to take care of. Clifford has to pack lab items and he has a call with a CI consultant. It is 4:00 in the afternoon before we are finally on our way.
After a brief stop in Moab, we continue on north. The route between Moab and Price, Utah, being rather barren, is not my favorite part of the state and I’m glad when we reach the Price Walmart where we’ll spend the night. We set up in the back lot with a tree beside us, balancing between the hiss of the street light and the rumble of a semi engine. We pick up a few supplies, then opt for an easy soup dinner tonight.
Friday July 13: We finish stocking up and get a much earlier start today, winding our way through the scenic canyons of Utah south of the Salt Lake City complex.
We arrive at Diamond Campground south of Spanish Forks in early afternoon. Although most spots are taken or reserved, we find a pretty spot with shade and privacy.
It seems quite hot here after having gotten used to the cooler elevation of Monticello. After a tuna sandwich, we take naps, avoiding the pesky bugs for awhile. Later on, we play frisbee, which I’m not very good at, but it was fun. After dinner, I have my usual routine of reading and writing in the journal before bedtime. Clifford always has books to study and his ham radio gear to work with.
Saturday July 14: We are spending the day here at Diamond CG so as to make our run through Salt Lake City on a Sunday morning. It is quite delightful having a day to hang out – reading, writing in the journal, playing viola, playing frisbee and going on a walkabout on the nature path with Clifford – like a real vacation!
Sunday July 15: We are up at 8:00, and soon packed and on our way. It does help to get across Salt Lake City on a Sunday morning, but even so, it is my least favorite part of any trips we have made north and south. Sure wish there was some other efficient way to get from Montana to southern Utah.
We arrive in Idaho Falls, Idaho, in the later afternoon and get set up along the stretch of grass and trees bordering the side parking lot at Walmart. After getting a few supplies, we go to Panda Express for dinner, as I am too tired to cook tonight. It is too hot to feel like doing much. This sure would be a good time to have a picnic table in the shade!
Monday July 16: We leave Idaho Falls about 10:00 a.m. and it is always exciting to cross over into Montana.
We stop in Dillon to see my cousin Bill and his wife Sally. Sally has a small, but gorgeous yard. We can’t stay long, as we need to reach our next camping spot and get set up, but it was nice to see them for a little while.
When we reach Divide Bridge Campground, I am excited to see a spot available by the Big Hole River. This is exactly the spot I was hoping for, but when I get out to help guide us in, I find that the mosquitoes are abundant and voracious. So, we drive to the far side of the campground away from the river, but don’t see any spots that we like. The compromise is the row of sites in between the dry side and the river. It is nice here with lawns and shrubs, but not so many mosquitoes. We find a spot with a tree and after getting set up, we sit out at the picnic table with cool drinks.
I am happy to be in Montana, and soon I’ll be seeing my kids and my other siblings. Montana, here we are!
Thursday May 10: We are leaving for Tucson today to participate in the StopGeoengineeringTucson Conference in Tucson, Arizona, an event being put on by activist Matt Landman. Clifford has been invited to speak, along with several environmental activists.
It is a hot dry windy drive from Monticello through the barren land of the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Atrizona. Sand/dust twisters are frequent and we are even hit by one that crosses the highway, shoving us over at least a foot or two.
As we approach Snow Flake, Arizona, just north of Show Low where we will be spending the night, we see ponds, trees, and green fields. What a difference!
We arrive in Show Low in the early evening, find our motel, then meet up with our webmaster, Kaylee, who will be joining us at the conference. While Clifford naps, Kaylee helps me make small changes to the CI website, as well as setting up a gallery on my photography website. Good to see him and to have such personalized web assistance!
We go out for a late dinner, visit awhile – lots to catch up on – and then bed way too late.
Friday May 11: After showers and making tea for the thermoses, we are on our way. It is even hotter today, still dry and windy, but at least the landscape is more interesting, especially as we go through the Salt River Canyon. I would have liked to stop for photos, but the pullouts are on the wrong side of the highway, and Clifford is eager to get to Tucson.
Arriving in Tucson, we find our air B&B. It is locked and we can’t get in, so we hang out in the little courtyard. Eventually, in a round-about way, we are given the combo to unlock the door. The place is funky in a grungy sort of way, but it was the only place available this weekend. So, we will make do, including me giving the kitchen a cleaning before it is suitable for our needs. We are joined by others who will also be participating in the event.
Saturday May 12: We leave our B&B early, without breakfast, so we can get spots in the parking garage at the event center. We had been told there would be a food court open, but unfortunately, this is not the case and finding food during the day takes a bit of a scrounging around. A Panda open nearby and a Starbucks are most helpful.
The conference goes well, as all the speakers are exceptional as they speak on their topics.
After the conference, we all help with cleaning up the auditorium. Back at our B&B, a group of folks gather in the small front room and interesting conversations ensue. Later we all walk to a street where night-life is active and we find a place where food is still being served. It is way too noisy for me (and Kaylee, also, I’m thinking), but everyone else seems to have a good time.
Sunday May 13: Mother’s Day. Many of those who attended the conference, either as speakers or audience, turn out for a protest against the environmental toxins that are being deliberately introduced into the atmosphere. It was interesting to see teenagers, young families with small children, middle-age folks, and the senior group all participating in this protest.
There are lots of us who are aware and care about what is being done to our Mother Earth and her delicate atmosphere.
As the protest winds down, we say good-bye to our friends and begin the trip home. It is not as hot and windy today. I am excited to see saguaro in bloom for the first time, but it sure is hard to get photos as we drive. A brief stop at a possible camping area helps out.
At Salt River Canyon, we stop at a couple pullouts, but the shadows are already too deep for good photos.
We also stop briefly at the Visitor’s Center at the bottom of the canyon.
Beyond that, the landscape is quite barren and I knit more than watch the scenery.
Tonight we enjoy a nice room at Motel 8 in Holbrook, Arizona. The long drive through the hot dry desert, as well as lack of proper nutrition and sleep these past few days, has been exhausting. I am glad for the comfortable room and head to bed as soon as I can.
Monday May 14: After the continental breakfast, which was quite good, we hit the road – another 325 to Monticello, most of it through the deserts of northeastern Arizona.
We take a break from driving when we cross the San Juan River in southern Utah, exploring the campground there.The river is a joyful sight to me!
Although we are now in Utah, we still have a ways to go.
We arrive in Monticello in late afternoon. It was an important and jam-packed few days, but I’m really glad to be back home.