Fun With Family – June 2022

Our Destination – Seeley Lake

In mid June, Clifford and I leave Divide Bridge Campground near Divide, Montana, where we have been camped for several days. We travel north to I 90 and then west to Missoula where highway 93 takes us south through the Bitterroot Valley to my sister Nancy‘s place. Several years ago she and her husband had horses, but the back pasture is now a beautiful big lawn bordered by trees. We are grateful for the safe trip here and this is where we will park for the time being.

Once a Horse Pasture

After we get set up, Nancy and I walk along the road and I take photos of the wildflowers and the ponds left from rain a week ago. We hear news that the Yellowstone River in southern Montana has flooded and caused much damage, including the closing of Yellowstone Park. That is Flooding!

Daisies Along the Road
Roadside Beauties

I am grateful for so many things: Pieces of Perfection, as I call them. A friend of ours comes out with greens and good cheese from the farmers market and then we all go out to my daughter Ang’s place. She cooks tasty pork loin steaks over a campfire and we look at the spot she thinks would work for Mountain Cougar, the used RV that Clifford purchased last fall. The spot needs cleanup and leveling, but it will be a very nice spot when all is said and done. Ang and I stay at the campfire after the others leave, have great leftover meat sandwiches, and I go to bed in Terry, the 30-year-old Terry Resort RV that used to be our RV, so it almost feels like home.

As Ang and I have  coffee on her deck in the morning, I admire the raindrop covered blossoms. Such a beautiful time of year in Montana.

Raindrops on Iris

I do dishes while she and Rama work on the wind tunnel greenhouse until it is time for Ang and me to leave for Seeley Lake where we are meeting with my daughter Becka, who is visiting from Hawaii. The landscape is lush and very green. The rivers are high, but not flooding.

The Land is Lush and Green

We find the Airbnb that Becka has rented for us on the edge of the town of Seeley Lake, not far from where my daughter Merri is staying with her husband at a job site.

Becka at the Airbnb

When we walk down the road to find Merri, a little piece of perfection that the job site is so close to the Airb&b, we discover a city park nearby and despite the rainy weather, the wood pile is dry enough for us to build a bonfire and hang out as we watch a pretty sunset.

A Pond at the City Park
Carol and Ang
Bonfire at the Park with Becka and Ang
Sunset Reflections
Becka, Merri, and friend Miles Enjoy the Bonfire
Colorful Sunset

Although the next day is cool and rainy, my son Matt arrives and we all go to Seeley Lake so Becka and her friends can go boating and those of us on the beach build a little campfire.

Matt Arrives
Warming Wet Feet at the Bonfire on the Beach

Back at the Airbnb, we visit and play cribbage, snack on all the good food that Becka and her friends brought, and enjoy having time together out of the rain.

Journaling at the Airbnb Out of the Rain
Cribbage With Becka

The following morning is sunny for a change and we all go to the lake to enjoy sunshine, boating, and great views of the lake and the mountains.

Bridge Where the Clearwater River Flows into Seeley Lake
Cruising Along the Shore

After snack time, Ang and I say goodbye to Becka and her friends before we head back over the mountain.

Mountains to Cross

It sure was a fun couple of days having time to spend with several of my kids and I am very grateful for the opportunity.  Although Clifford has kept himself busy while I’ve been gone,  I am thinking he will be glad to have me back at Cougar.

Carol and Kids

Divide Bridge, Montana – June 2022

Road into Divide Bridge Campground

We are pleased to have arrived at Divide Bridge Campground along the Big Hole River in southwest Montana. This is one of our favorite stopping spots as we travel north and south as full-time “snow birds.” We pulled in here yesterday afternoon in time to set up before dark and for me to take photos of the river, the trees, and the rocky outcrop overlooking the campground right at sunset. Soft golden glow added to the peaceful tranquility of this place. Even though the history of this land is not so peaceful with deadly fighting between the Nez Perce Indians and the US soldiers in 1877, at this present time we feel safe and are happy to be here.

Evening Sunlight on the Outcrop Above Divide Bridge Campground
Early Evening Sunlight on the Big Hole River
Poplars Touched by Evening Sunlight
Last Light on the Big Hole River

The day after our arrival is a day to relax, enjoying being in one spot for a few days. The Big Hole River is full and lively, aspens and willows have leafed out, and although it is mostly overcast, it is still pleasant to sit outside with my journal, a cup of French press coffee, the river flowing along right in front of me. I love the smell and sound of the river, the happy bird songs, and the sunlight playing on leaves and water when it peeks through the clouds. I am very happy to be alive and to be right here now.

The Aspens at Divide Bridge Campground Newly leafed Out
French Press Coffee and Journal at the Big Hole River

Clifford enjoys sitting out as much as I do.  One of the days here, we finish the second Mountain Man shirt.

Clifford Sitting Out
Mountain Man Shirt at Big Hole River

The next morning is very cool and overcast but still peaceful.

Overcast but Peaceful
Overcast but Peaceful

The river flowing by so close is mesmerizing. I’d like to have my home by a river. Even though it is chilly, (the high was 53), there is enough sun peeking through the rapidly moving cumulus clouds that I am excited to be out walking and taking photos. I meet one of the neighbors walking his dog and walk to the day use area with him. It is nice to have someone to walk and chat with.

Walking to the Day Use Area

Later I walk up the hill to the tree line and get one bar of cell service. I am able to connect with my daughters for texts, which is what I hoped to accomplish. Along the way, I find several varieties of wildflowers and enjoy photographing them despite the wind .

Wild Buckwheat
Old Man’s Whiskers

Near one cluster of rocks, I find an old grave with a wooden marker. What a beautiful place to have a remembrance of a life lived in this valley. The rocks on this slope are covered with with lichen more colorful than any I’ve seen anywhere else.

Grave Marker for Dennis O’Boyle – Irish Angel
Colorful Lichen

Brief glimpses of sunlight coax me out on many short outings during the day. Each day I notice the river getting higher and higher.  A spot where I found mushrooms nestled in tree roots is totally under water the next day.

Nestled Mushrooms
Big Hole River Higher and Getting Higher

Our last full day is again chilly and blustery, but I am grateful for the cooler temperatures compared to the heat wave across much of the nation and Europe. I am grateful that Cougar (our RV) is warm, the yerba matte tea is hot, and the view of the river is enchanting.

View of the Big Hole River

I finish reading The Tao of Abundance. It is good to read about and understand a much more peaceful and authentic way to live. In my journal I have a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh that supports this understanding of a harmonious way of life.

Happiness is possible only when you stop running and cherish the present moment and who you are.”

Divide Bridge Campground Views

I am grateful for the days we have had camped here at Divide Bridge and I am looking forward to seeing family soon.

Pioche, Nevada, to Divide Bridge, Montana – June 2022


Traveling North

After spending two weeks at Meadow Valley Campground east of Pioche, Nevada, Clifford and I pack up Cougar (our RV) and head back to Pioche at the beginning of June, again finding a spot in the RV park on the edge of town. I definitely miss the scenic setting and the wild flowers at Meadow Valley, but I think an important step to inner peace is not to lament what has been left behind, but to be open to new “pieces of perfection.” I sit outside after going for a walk, appreciating the gorgeous blue sky as I enjoy a cup of french press coffee and write in my journal.

Pioche City RV Park

Pioche gives us a chance to get caught up with email and other internet related activities before we begin the trip north to Montana. While here, we take time to explore town a bit more, noticing old buildings including the original Lincoln County Courthouse built in 1872 at great expense to the town. The Overland Hotel and Saloon was originally a boarding house and bar, which burned to the ground in 1940 and was replaced in 1948. A few miner’s cabins still remain.

Lincoln County Courthouse, Pioche, Nevada, Built 1872
Overland Hotel and Saloon, Built 1948

Mining Related Building in Pioche, Nevada
Privy in Pioche
The Leaning Cabin

We have  lunch at Gunslinger Subs. This building was once the blacksmith shop and its original construction is still evident. It is a bit of a museum in itself.

Gunslinger Sub Cafe with Tintype of Billy the Kid

We plot our journey to Montana and decide not to try to make it to Seeley Lake in Montana by Father’s Day. It was tentatively a destination with family, but too much of a push for us to get there in two weeks.

After just a couple of days, we begin the journey from Pioche to Ely, Nevada, mostly a straight shot north on US highway 93. Except for Connors Pass over the Schell Creek Range at nearly 8,000 feet, it is a relatively easy journey.

Nevada Landscape North of Pioche, Nevada
Nevada Landscape North of Pioche, Nevada

Ely is a one-night stand to do laundry, go to the market, and we park overnight at the Silver Sage Truck Stop. It’s very trashy on the perimeters of the parking lot but at least it is quiet.

Our next one-night stop is about 10 miles north of Wells, Nevada, at a pullout that provides some privacy from the highway behind a small stand of junipers. I pick up trash along the fence where we are going to park, and then we take advantage of the internet to catch up on email and texts.

Pullout North of Wells, Nevada off US Highway 93
View to the South from Pullout North of Wells, Nevada off US Highway 93

Our next night is spent at the Burley, Idaho, Walmart. We are happy to find a spot along the edge of the lot next to grass and a tree. This is the opportunity to get stocked up on supplies and groceries. Despite our travels, I have kept up with Duolingo this past week and rise to #1 in the Diamond League, which is especially rewarding since I lost my streak while we were two weeks without internet at Meadow Valley. I have also kept up with Qigong live classes as often as internet allows.

Burley, Idaho, Walmart

From Burley we travel to the rest area at Dubois, Idaho, about 50 miles north Idaho Falls, off I-15.

Lava Fields Near Idaho Falls, Idaho

Dubois Rest Area is a good stopping place as the rest rooms are clean and the lot is large. The first time we stayed here, it was almost empty, but now it is a paved lot and fills with travelers and semis by evening. We are fortunate to get a spot on the outside next to the grass median. I always pick up a bag or two of trash when we are here, which makes a more pleasant place for us to spend the night and nicer for the next travelers. It is here we discover damage to our storage rack, grateful we didn’t lose anything, and it is repaired with wire and gorilla tape.

Evening at Dubois, Idaho, Rest Area.

A week after leaving Meadow Valley, we arrive at Divide Bridge Campground in southwest Montana, about 40 miles north of Dillon and 15 miles south of Butte. What a relief to be here! Not only are we here, but one of the sites right alongside the Big Hole River is available. These sites are always my favorite. The river is high and I am looking forward to walking about to take photos the next few days.

Campsite Along the Big Hole River at Divide Bridge Campground, Montana