"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Glacier National Park

Connie, a good friend who was born and raised in Whitefish MT, drove us up the Going to the Sun Road to Logan Pass. Not a bad view, huh? Thank you Connie! It's great to be able to appreciate the views without having to drive. We'll be going back soon, as we will be here for more than a month. Maybe we'll take the Red Bus next.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Flathead Lake, Montana

We have this rhythm now, I guess it's become our travel dance. We stay in a place for about a month, then travel for about 4 days, then stay in the next place for a month. Our driving days average about 200 miles, or 3-4 hours. We pack a lunch, and eat in a rest stop along the highway. We don't meander or sight-see while towing other than the amazing views from Route 90.

When we get to our overnight campgrounds, we have nice leisurely evenings to unhitch, check out the surroundings, find a good place for dinner, take a swim if there's a pool, and walk Kona in the neighborhood.  In Billings, MT we found the best BBQ ribs ever at Blue's BBQ.  Really, the best ribs I have ever had. They were dry rub style, no sauce. Just the right spices, and very smokey. We camped right along the Yellowstone River, in very first KOA in the whole world.

 Once we arrive in our new home, we spend a day or so catching up on chores (like laundry, grocery shopping, repairs) and beginning to get our bearings. Today Rick got up on the roof to clean of the top of the slides and we vacuumed off the window screens to get rid of all the cotton from the cottonwoods we encountered in Buffalo WY.

Last night we spent a little time driving around Polson, and ended up on Polson hill, the glacial moraine dam at the end of Flathead Lake, and took some photos for about an hour.

Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. It is fed by the snows of the Rockies and the glaciers in Glacier National Park. The water is some of the cleanest on the continent.

I used to visit my grandparents here when I was a little girl. They lived in an Airstream trailer in Big Arm and for every meal we ate trout my grandfather caught.  The lake still smells the same.  Fresh water fishy and alive.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Big Horn Mountains

We drove all day, making a loop around and through the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. I'm bushed and I wasn't even driving. Very sunny, dry and high altitudes. Saw two young moose trot across the road (they are impossibly tall!), two marmots, about twenty or more prong horned antelopes. No pictures of any of those unfortunately. Couldn't get them to smile.

Some spectacular scenery in the various canyons and on the high plans.

Shell Canyon Falls
In Buffalo, there was a Basque festival this weekend. Evidently the area was settled at one point by many Basques who were sheep herders. We did see several really huge herds of sheep along Rt. 14 in the high plains.

Wyoming is an amazing place. It's my father's home state so I feel a connection to it. He was born and raised in Cheyenne. Wish we were staying here longer, but we're meeting a friend in Montana before she leaves the state. I think we'll be back in the future. On to Billings tomorrow.

And just for those of you who may think this life is carefree. Well, of course it is in many ways, but we've got our share of pains in the ***.  Today Rick discovered a leak in our second fuel tank. We still have a leak under the kitchen sink. We can't get the mudflaps on the truck, and our spiffy TV that elevates up out of the desk hasn't elevated for days. "Cotton" from the cottonwoods keeps sticking to our shoes and tracking in all over the place. Seems like there's always something that needs fixing, and it often falls to Rick to fix it. It's not his favorite thing to do, but while he struggles with these things I read in the shade, take a pictures, blog a little and offer support and advice. What would I do without him? What would he do without me?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wrapping up South Dakota

We'll be heading out for Montana in a few days, and are finishing up our sight-seeing and getting the RV ready for travel again. We also need to get our truck back from the body shop where almost 100 little hail dents are being popped out and the bed cover is being replaced.

We've been driving around a lot, ranging farther from our home base and hitting some scenic drives we missed on earlier trips. Yesterday we drove west to Wyoming and back up through Custer State Park on Iron Mountain Road, famous for its pigtail turns where the road goes under itself in a 360 degree loop.

Here we're driving out of a tunnel into the top of the pigtail.

And here we're looking up to where we just were and the road loops under itself.
There were also some cool views of Mt. Rushmore from a distance - a perspective you don't usually see.

No buffaloes this time, but we did catch the back ends of some gentleman longhorn sheep.

I think my favorite place is the west side of the Black Hills, as they transition into the flat dry lands of southeastern Wyoming. Lush green, grassy valleys with little groves of quaking aspen.

Back "home," our valley has just been hayed, as have many in this area. 

Tonight we're going into Spearfish for a huge Corvette rally. Who knew?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sylvan Lake and Spearfish Falls

A few days ago Rick, Kona and I drove south through the Black Hills to Sylvan Lake, a small, idyllic mountain lake in the area called the Needles.  Needles refers to these rock structures, which are huge and dramatic. The lake is surrounded by them.

We assembled the kayaks and spent a little time on the water. Kona was in heaven, doing her favorite thing - swimming the whole time. The weather was threatening, so we felt a little pressured for time, and then had to get off the water the sound of thunder.

Disassembling was a struggle, partly because of the pressure to get it done before the rain started. My kayak just doesn't want to come apart so easily. I wish we could figure out a way to assemble them once and then just transport them that way until we make our next move.  We don't have a rack on the truck, and they don't quite fit in the back.  So far, the time spent assembling and disassembling way outweighs the time enjoying them in the water. Bummer.

Here are my intrepid traveling partners on a foot bridge over Spearfish Canyon. We took a lovely mini-hike to  Spearfish Falls.

And a walk along Spearfish Creek. Rick and Kona are real water babies. 
Happiest in and around water. 


I've been going on about the skies and the clouds here, so I have tried to capture just a few with the camera.  The photos don't begin to do justice to the spectacle, but I'm going to keep trying. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Backroad Wyoming adventure

Would you believe that Google Maps actually sent us on this road? It was really our first time driving in deep ruts and mud. But Rick and the truck did fine and the scenery was breathtaking on this indirect route from the Black Hills of SD to Sundance, WY.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Roundup in the Rain

Despite the pouring rain, which the longhorn cattle and cowboys either didn't mind or were prepared for, the enthusiastic citizens of Belle Fourche turned out to watch the ritual cattle drive down Main St. from the comfort of their pickup trucks or the local coffee shop. Although now there are only a handful of cattle driven down the street, "in the old days" Belle Fourche was part of the long trail along which thousands of head of cattle were driven. Interesting how communities recreate events in this ritual way to keep their histories alive. The Black Hills Roundup happens all July 4 weekend, with parades, rodeos, contests, carnival and the crowning of Miss Roundup Queen. We plan on going to the rodeo Sunday night and seeing the fireworks if we aren't rained out.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Where We're Living Now

Rainbow over the RV park.
We have a very slow computer connection right now, and downloading photos is difficult. I'll try again tomorrow. Got a great shot of the Main Street cattle drive in Belle Fourche (say Foosh).