9. Hot time in the cities!          

As soon as we got out of the truck in Omaha, we noticed something was different.  The weather had changed!  Before it was hot, 90 degrees or more, but now it hit us like a brick wall.  HUMIDITY!  It was not bad doing things outside like biking or hiking but now the same exercise seemed more difficult.   Kelly said it was “hard to breathe”.   I don’t know how the locals do it each summer.  Kelly met our “neighbors” camping next to us.  A really nice local couple who were just camping for a couple of days.  Right away they gave us advice on what to do and what highways to take to get there.  It was so nice to have them next to us.

Whenever we get into a town I like to check Trip Adviser for the top ten things to do in that town.  The zoo came highly recommended so we decided to check it out.  It was voted best zoo in the world!  It was better than San Diego and other zoos that we have been to.  Our favorite was the monkeys.  One of the guides there told us that the gorillas are playful and like to play a game with the guides.  She was wearing a green shirt that the gorillas recognize.  If the guides turn their back against the gorillas then the gorilla will pound the glass really hard to scare the children she is with.  Kelly happened to be wearing a green U of O shirt, turned his back and BAM!  The gorilla slammed the window and scared the grown man next to Kelly.  It was really funny.  You would have had to been there.

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We left Omaha the next morning, and said good-bye to our new friends.  Before Kelly left Seaside, our home town, he joined the local chapter of the Elks.  His best friend, Loren, encouraged him to join and to be apart of the organization for his retirement years.  We found out that some Elks lodges let you stay in their parking lot for a fee per night.  Since we wanted to stay near the city core of Kansas City Missouri we contacted the lodge.  A couple had beat us to the only 50 amp hook up and water but they did have 20 amp available for us to use.  We used our own reserve water and had to dump the sewer later. The group of people who worked there were very hospitable and made us feel apart of their lodge.  They told us about the “Hollywood” night dinner and Elvis impersonator show that they were having the next night, so we bought tickets.

My father Robert, was from Kansas City and over the last 8 months I had been working on my Dad’s family genealogy.  I mainly worked on his Mother’s side of the family, my Grandmother Opal.  My sister and I really knew nothing about her since our Father never spoke about her and she died when he was only 16 years old.  I asked the lady at the local visitors center about the Kansas City Library but she recommended going to the Genealogy Library.  So the next morning we headed there to find out more about my family. I would encourage you to find out about your own family history, it is really interesting!  It is kind of like being a detective and solving a mystery.  After a couple of hours, all Kelly and I found was an obituary for my Great Uncle Carl, whom I had met when I was 8 years old.  I found out he had a son, our second cousin??  It is always hard to figure that out.  Still have to pursue that lead. The librarians told me to go to Vernon County by the town where they lived (about an hour away)  and check out the local library which I was planning to do anyway.

Later that day, to beat the heat and humidity, we decided to go to the President Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.  We have been to President Johnson’s house outside of Austin, Texas and home of John Quincy Adams outside of Boston.  When we were Boston, we also went to the John F. Kennedy Presidential library. They all were just fascinating and very educational.  I learned a lot about him.  Of course he became President after President Franklin Roosevelt died. He was the President during the final months of World War II and made the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  He also helped form the United Nations and after North Korea invaded South Korea he sent troops over there and we became part of the Korean War effort.  He had to make very hard decisions during his Presidency some popular and some not.  He did not have any formal education and was a self taught man (the last President elected without a college education.)  He had a famous saying, “the buck stops here!” The saying basically meant, that he had the ultimate authority to make the decisions and that he would accept the responsibility for those decisions.  Unlike a lot of politicians today!

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Kelly at the Kansas City Elks Lodge.

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Hollywood night with Elvis and other celebrities at the Elks.

While we were in Kansas City, Kelly went to the World War I museum, I went to Union Station, we took a trolley downtown and ate at the famous Jack Stack chain of BBQ restaurants.  Our last day in Kansas City all we wanted to do was to stay cool.  We decided to go to a water park, but the water temperature was almost the same as the outside temperature.  As soon as we got out of the water we started to sweat!  That morning, we also took an 9 mile bike ride.  The shady bike pathway was nice but as soon as you stopped the sweat came.

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Union Station is where my Father came home by train on his leaves from the Army.

Our next stop was Stotesbury, Missouri where my Grandmother’s family is buried.  I have been working on my families genealogy on my Grandmother Opal’s side and wanted to learn more. I have traced back to her Great, Grandfather.  Her two brothers and their wives plus her parents are all buried at East  Liberty Cemetery just outside the small town.  

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The town were my Grandmother Opal’s family was from.  We found it no longer exists even though there is still a sign off the highway.

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Kelly decided his way was a better use of time and more direct, than my way. But because of a low bridge, we had to go down a gravel road with the fifth wheel.  At one point, I drove while he went on the roof of the trailer to hold back branches from hitting the air conditioning unit. It was the worst road we will ever have our fifth wheel go on!  The last mile I ended up riding my bike over the railroad tracks to the cemetery, but later found we could barely make it over these tracks to get to the main road.

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I wish I was closer to help maintain this small country cemetery, like we do with Kelly’s family at the Yoncalla Oregon Applegate Cemetery.

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My Great Grandparents.

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My Grandmother’s plot.  I wish I could have met her.  After going to Vernon County I did find out that she taught school in a one room school house on the boarder of Kansas and Missouri.  We found an original perfect attendance certificate that she signed.  I wished they would let me have it but they made me a copy. 

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Then we went to Fort Scott Kansas just over the border from Missouri. This was where my Great, Great Grandfather is buried at the National Military Cemetery there, he died of small pox at Fort Scott.

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His real name was Thomas Jefferson Denton I, but he went by Jefferson Denton.  He died when my Great Grandfather was just a baby.  He fought for the Union side and died during the Civil War.   His brother was a confederate solider, which shows how the war tore apart families.

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It was a real surprise to find that Fort Scott was still mostly in tact.    We took a self guided tour in the buildings that we could go through.  This was the back of the hospital where my Great Great Grandfather died.

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My Great, Great Grandfather could have died in this room, but with so many causalities during the Civil War, they also had to set up tents in the field in front of this hospital.      Now onto Arkansas….

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We made it to Eureka Springs Arkansas on top of the Ozark Mountains.   Eureka means “I found it” in Latin, so the town became popular after European Americans discovered that the several springs surrounding the town had healing powers.  It is also called “The Little Switzerland of America” because of its mountainous terrain and the winding up and down paths of the streets and walkways.  It has a unique character since many Victorian homes are still in the village today and other houses have an alpine look to them which is from the influence of the first Europeans to settle here.

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The town reminded me of Cannon Beach with well kept gardens and art abounding.

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This church is the only church in America that you enter through a bell tower.

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The 1886 Crescent Hotel is considered the most haunted hotel in America.  It was also a Cancer hospital, College for Young Women, a morgue and a sanitarium.  It has been featured on several TV shows because of its scary past.

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Because of the threat of health risks the government made the city cement in all the springs so that people would not get sick drinking the room temperature water which could contain bacteria.

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We saw the 68′ statue of Jesus and toured the bible museum there.  If the statue was any taller it would have had to have lights on Jesus head, so the sculptor decided it was tall enough.  It is the 45th anniversary of the statue and you can also enjoy the Great Passion Play which is also part of the whole complex.

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With over 6,000 bibles in this museum, this one page was one of the most valuable at $100,000 and was written on calfskin.  The collection was 2nd to the largest and most complete to the only other collection which is in Washington DC at the Library of Congress.  They had bibles written in 650 languages.  They have a first edition and 1st printing of a King James bible and that is worth $500,000!   The most valuable to us as Christians are the God given words in the bible that are used for guidance and the words also give us encouragement to live our life the way God intended us to.

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Another classic Victorian home!

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It took two hours for us to drive to Branson Missouri from Eureka Springs. I had visited the city 10 years before with a senior group when I was a travel agent and a lot had changed since then.  The town now has two by pass roads because the traffic is so heavy at times.  The best time to go is still Spring or Fall.  The first night we went to see Jim Stafford.  He is now 72 and you might know some of his once famous songs like “Spiders and Snakes” or “My Girl Bill”.  Well his singing is more of just a spoken word,but his guitar playing is still very good.  We also saw the acapella group Six, a 60’s song review tribute band, and a magician.  Most of it was good.  If you go to see an act at the same venue they give you a discount, so we took advantage of that. 

On Sunday, we headed off to church.  It was a mega church.  The Faith Life Church with pastor Keith Moore.  I did not know it was going to be so big, (it was close to our KOA.) Turns out the service is televised and the other day while we were flipping through the channels we saw him preaching on our TV as well!  The church had a very professional feel to it and Pastor Keith preached a very good sermon.

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We took a “Ride the Ducks” boat ride and went up four wheeling to overlook Lake Taneycomo.  Kelly got to be captain for 5 minutes of the ride.  We also went to Silver Dollar City.  A western themed amusement park outside of Branson.  Kelly got to go on his roller coasters and I watched.  (I did go on one, but my neck can’t take it.)  The park also has musical and dancing shows to watch.

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We had a good time watching these performers imitate famous singers at one of the shows we went to.  Can you guess who they are supposed to be?  It was our son’s Andrews birthday that day and I Facetimed him while “Michael Jackson” sang Happy Birthday to him.  “Taylor Swift” also wished him a great birthday. We had a good time in Branson, but it was time to move on to Little Rock….. More later.

8. More Wild West…

So we took our fifth wheel into the dealer in Billings to get some things fixed.   While it was in the shop, we went to downtown to the Chamber which was voted the number one Chamber for customer service in the Nation.  One of the perks for stopping by is the use of their “Cannondale” bikes free of charge for the day!  After riding the $1000 (approx value of the bike), I wanted one!  The ride is so smooth, because the seat has shock absorbers in it.  

We rode to the Moss Mansion first.  The home was built in 1901 and had a lot of the original artwork and furniture.  The mansion was ahead of its time as far as electricity and other modern conveniences.  For example, it had a secret buzzer for the maids in the floor where the lady of the house could step on to call them without any of her guests knowing.

The Moss Mansion in Billings.

After seeing the mansion, we asked our tour guide at the home what restaurants he liked in Billings.  He recommended “The Burger Dive”.  We rode our bikes over to the restaurant and it was packed (which is a good sign.)  The only space left were two seats at the counter so we took them.  We asked a man behind the counter what his favorite burger was and he recommended the “burger bash winner” burger.  I noticed the Food Network symbol on the menu and he told us that in 2014 that burger was voted the best burger in the Miami food show.  We met his son, the owner and head cook, and spoke with him.  He wanted to know what was the best burger we have ever had.  So we told him that last summer on the Isle of Butte in Scotland, Kelly had an amazing burger at the Kingarth Inn.  This was where his Great Great Grandfather worked as the Inn’s veterinarian for the guests horses.  Everything was made fresh, the cheese, buns and it was grass fed beef.  The owner of the Burger Dive now wants to go there.  HA.

Overlook on ridge path where we rode our loaner bikes.

After lunch, we rode our bikes on a 8 mile loop to Boot Hill Cemetery.  This is where local legends in Billings history are buried.  We had to return the bikes and pick up our fifth wheel at the dealer.  We had trouble “hitching” up so one of their salesman said he would help and jumped into our pickup and pushed our trailer both forward and backwards with the front landing gear down.  We did not think to check it out before leaving the dealership and went on our way to the next KOA.  When we checked the landing gear they would not work, so the next morning we had to head back to the dealer and ask them to fix it again.  We learned a valuable lesson, when in doubt, check it out before moving on!

We still finished in good time so we decided to move on.  Kelly wanted to make sure we made it to the battlefield of Little Bighorn.  As some of you may know, this was a major battle between the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians against the United States Army.  The tribes were trying to keep the land where they have lived on all their lives, but the Army under President Grant’s administration was instructed to remove the Indians and take away their land so they could live on the reservations.  This is the place where Lt. Colonel died during the battle, (Custer’s last stand.)

The battlefield where Custer died.

We made it to Gillette that night and stayed at a Walmart.  Gillette is a really boring town and the only thing it has going for it is the coal mine.

Gillette Wyoming coal mine truck tire.  Kelly’s sister Linda drives one similar to it in Nevada.

Scoop from coal mine shovel.

We got up early to head to Deadwood South Dakota.  I was really looking forward to it. This historic western town was discovered when Custer led an expedition into the Black Hills and announced the discovery of gold there.  At first, the town was considered the most “lawless town” in the West, but eventually Deadwood lost its rough and rowdy ways and developed into a prosperous town.  We just loved it.  We spent the entire day there.  Some of the things we did:  took a bus tour about the history of the town, went to Kevin Costner’s restaurant and watched a play with a gunfight about Wild Bill’s demise.  

 

Overlooking the town of Deadwood.

Downtown Deadwood.

After saying goodbye to Deadwood we arrived just outside of the city of Custer about dinner time.  We settled into our site at the KOA and planned our next day’s adventure to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument.

Crazy Horse Monument.  Still has a lot to go on it,but it is huge!  It is taller than the Washington Monument and wider than two football fields!  They are already on the third generation of family working on it.  Much bigger than Mount Rushmore.

 Keystone is a former mining town before you get to Mount Rushmore.

The gold rush was started in 1883 but women and children were not allowed until later.

Custer State Park was one of my favorite parks.  Animals everywhere, if you don’t mind sharing the road.  The scenery was beautiful and it was very different than Yellowstone and not crowded!  We saw elk, deer, antelope, rabbits, prairie dogs, red fox and buffalo.

The wild animals were not so wild.

Part of Custer State Park.

The “needles” are jagged rocks that look like they should be on another planet.

We made it to Mount Rushmore!  They have changed some things over the last 32 years!  A new trail to look at different views of the monument, huge gift shop and restaurants.

Say cheese!

The next day would be a travel day for us to Omaha NE.  One the way we had to stop at two landmark places.  The famous Wall Drug and Mitchell’s Corn Palace.  Wall Drug is like an amusement park for truckers and weary travelers.  It has pretty much everything you could ever want and more!

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One of the photo opts at Wall Drug.

Mitchell South Dakota’s Corn Palace.

The Corn Palace is a multi use facility that has murals of corn on the inside and outside.  The designs are only up for a year because eventually they dry our to much and drop off the walls.  A new design is planned each year.  This year was Willy Nelson’s turn.  Now onto Omaha!

7. In the Wild,Wild West.

After leaving Great Falls Montana, we headed for the state capital of Helena.  There we went into the capital building and saw the architecture of such a stately structure.  We like touring each state’s capital when we go on a trip, because it tells the history and stories of that state.  

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 That night we ended up in the little town of Gardiner.  After calling all morning for a site in we finally found a campgrounds in that area.  It had a different feel to it and found out that it was run by a church and it was their yearly retreat that weekend.  Some of the members were dressed in all white and the New Age group came from all areas in the world.  At the camp site the air was filled with little flying bugs EVERYWHERE!  It took us three days to kill them all inside of our fifth wheel.  I did manage to snap this beautiful picture before the rains came into the campsite.

The next day was Yellowstone National Park.  We got there early 8:00 am, so we could beat the crowds and get a decent parking place.   The Annual Park Pass we had bought earlier for $80 for both of us was going to start paying off.  Just to get into the park it was $30 but we just showed our card and drivers license and away we went.  The ranger said this year they should see 5 million people visiting the park!  A new record breaker.  Later in the afternoon her words proved true.  The roads were full with cars and crazy people not following any signs or rules.  At times it was chaos!  We did manage to go on a five mile hike to Beaver Pond and we also saw bubbling mud pools and steam geysers.

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We decided earlier that some issues on the fifth wheel needed to be looked at.  So we made an appointment back in Montana to get them fixed in a couple of days.  We did not want to go to far with the problems and opted to go to Jackson Hole Wyoming for the 4th of July.  

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The route we had to go over had a 10% grade.   We had to give the truck a rest halfway, because the breaks were so hot from going down the steep mountain pass.

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In the morning we went to the annual parade.

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Explored the western themed town, and saw a gunfight.

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Went to the rodeo.  Kelly and I met at a rodeo dance almost exactly 38 years ago!

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We also visited the Grand Tetons which was not far away from Jackson Hole.

Then we went back into Yellowstone and I think everyone had the same idea.  People everywhere after the holiday weekend.  Kelly decided to go on a hike and bike ride while I stayed with the truck and trailer.  We had to put my bike out behind the trailer so no one would block us in.  Right away a man started to move my bike even though I had a note on it.  He asked me who’s bike it was and I told him it was mine.  Some how the bike got dropped and it still has some issues.  Speaking of issues, one of our tires on the trailer had a slow leak and about every 200 miles we would have to pump it up.  We ended up going to the same garage that Kelly’s best friend Loren worked at in Yellowstone for a couple of summers.  A horseshoe nail had pierced the sidewall of the tire so we had to just buy a new one.  The guys there were great, and within an hour we were back on the road for Cody Wyoming.  

Cody is a great town full of history and scenery.  That night we stayed at a private campground that was brand new.  They had Tepees that you could rent on airbnb.

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The next day we both wanted to see different things, so we split up. Kelly went to the Wild Bill Cody Museum (5 museums in one) and I wanted to see a cooking demonstration and a recreation of the original town of Cody.

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“Cookie” Bob demonstrating how to fix a typical chuckwagon meal of coffee, beans with salted and cure bacon and sourdough biscuits all in dutch ovens.  It was really interesting to watch and taste.

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I got to go into one of the cabins Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid stayed in.

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After our mornings adventures we went into downtown Cody to have lunch.  Kelly opted for the buffet at Irma’s restaurant.  She was the daughter of Buffalo Bill and the original bar that was a gift from Queen Victoria was still there.

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Then we left the Cowboy and Western themed city for Montana again to ride off into the sunset.  More to follow…

6. We are having fun…

It has been two weeks since my last post.  Being on the road, I have learned that Montana and Wyoming are not exactly the best place to rely on internet service.  The population of the whole state of Montana is 1 million.  Compare that to Portland, Oregon (just the city) is 600,000!                                                                

 I left off in Coeur d”Alene Idaho.  Today we decided to please our inner child and go to Silverwood Theme Park.  The park opened in 1988 first with just carnival rides but now has more than 65 rides and a water park.  When I got up to the gate,a man came up to me and asked if I needed tickets.  I said “YES” and asked them how much he would ask for them.  He said “just take them”, so I did!  We saved $100!  Then another man asked if we wanted a drink bracelet that he would just give us.  Again I decided why not?  That started the day off nicely.  The roller coasters where fun.  I decided to try two of them and never experienced anything like it before.  If you wanted to see a video of one of the roller coasters you can see it on my Facebook page.

On Sunday, we visited a wonderful church called “Heart of the City”.  The non-denominational church had an amazing worship service and the pastor was very approachable and down to earth.  He gave a very motivational message to the audience and we felt very welcome.Then we packed up and left Coeur d’Alene and headed to West Glacier Park, about a 6 hour drive.


One of the places Diners, Drive-ins and Dives recommended.  On a scale of one to ten, it was a five.  Not that good.😦

Since the weather has been warmer than we are used to, we decided to go for an early morning hike.  Visiting the National Parks this has been challenging with all the crowds showing up for the Centennial celebration for all the parks in the United States.  We have had to leave our campground before 8:30 am just to make sure we will be able to find some kind of parking space.  We left early to hike a trail called Avalanche Creek.  The morning air was still cool enough so that it was not to hot to hike the partly shaded trail to  on a magnificent clear lake with glaciers above it clinging to the mountain.  On the way back we met a couple from Salem, OR. to walk back with.  He was a Chiropractor and she worked with him.  It seems almost everywhere we go we meet someone who lives in Oregon or has relatives or has vacationed there.  

  


The next day we decided to take a loop drive and visit the Dude Ranch that Sundial Special Vacations goes to.  (Where I worked when I was a travel agent.)  My boss Terry Conner loved to go there as many times as he could before he passed away.  I was supposed to go with him the last year but he was to sick.  It is beautiful and the $3300 per week per person price includes meals, all sporting activities that you can imagine, arts and crafts, cooking and of course lodging.  Here are some pictures to prove how nice it is!


We then went into Kalispell and rode our bikes around and shopped, ate dinner and then went to see Independence Day the new movie.

Since there is so much to see at Glacier National Park, we had booked three more nights at East Glacier at St.Mary’s.  We checked into a KOA that we had reserved months ago and found that they had just paved the street which through off the approach up the hill to our site.  It had the perfect view that we had to give up to go to a more level spot.  Our “new” site was more crowded and had a grouchy neighbor who had a sign on the front of his pick up that read “Don’t Poke the Bear!’  




In the morning,we got up early and drove to Logan Pass which is in the middle of the park.  We saw the Continental Divide and went to the Visitors Center.  The hills were covered in little yellow mountain lilies. The snow was around but much of it had melted.  It was a really majestic view!
Then we went on a 4 mile hike to Virginia Falls.  The trail was steep at times but was shaded and had views of 4 waterfalls along the way.  We decided to eat lunch at the trailer and then drive on up to the Iceberg Lake trail.  It was a 10 mile hike and since I had already walked 6 miles (according to my Fitbit) I decided to take a boat ride instead of hiking 10 more miles and besides I had another 2 miles to walk to where I was going to meet Kelly.

 

Kelly had a different adventure then he bargained for.  While he was listening to his music and jogging down the path, he met a group of hikers that started to back up as Kelly was coming towards them.  He said “what is the matter, do I have a bear by me?” They all said “YES”!  A girl that Kelly was hiking with snapped a picture of it.  We think it was a female Grizzly bear.  He since has learned of all the things you should NOT do while hiking in bear country.  See Facebook for photos.

After leaving Glacier, we decided to camp at our first Walmart in Great Falls MT.  Once we found our “spot” in the parking lot, we rode our bikes to the Lewis and Clark Museum about 5 miles round trip.  The museum showed the journey of Lewis and Clark’s trip from the beginning in Missouri to the shores of the Pacific Ocean and Fort Clatsop.  It was interesting to see information and already know and see some of the same exhibits we have back at home. We also biked to a park for a festival called “Music on the Mo”. (The Missouri River)  It was good, but had a few glitches to work through since it was it’s first festival.

Well I will end this post this for now.  More to come as long as I have Internet access.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. And we are off…

Kelly finished his last day of school on Friday, June 17th, after 36 year of teaching!  I wanted to honor him with a surprise retirement party at Champoeg State Park near Newberg OR.  I invited friends and family 8 months ago to the “surprise” event, but over time Kelly found out about the party anyway.  It was a wonderful day filled with great stories, a BBQ meal and photos.  Loren Hall, Frank Lewis and Darlene White spoke about Kelly with both admiration and shared about some of Kelly’s antics over the years.  Many others praised him and spoke about some of the ways Kelly has inspired them over the years.  We had about 55 guests that day!  Leo Rood was the head BBQ master, and Matt Forney, (Kelly’s nephew), took amazing pictures of the party.  Jeanene Hall and Tarie Berger were both big helps for me setting up and cleaning up.  There are so many people to thank that I will not remember to thank them all, so THANK YOU EVERYONE!  Kelly said, “It was the second best day of his life, after our wedding day.”  Here are some of the pictures Matt and I took of the day:  

A great park for reunions!  This park was the famous site of the meeting at”French Prairie” where Oregon established its government and was no longer part of the wild west, but a civilized state.  The town was destroyed by flood and was named for an Indian food root (like a carrot) by the Kalapuyan tribe.

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Almost all the gang.  A great time to be had by all.

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Relaxing around the camp site.

On Sunday, we went over to Rich and Charlene’s house for a high school graduation party for Crystal.  She is a very impressive girl!  She is smart, athletic and has a bright future!  We wish all the best!   


After the party we headed towards Seattle to meet Andrew, Becky and Gayle Morphis to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.  We had a great dinner at Preservation Kitchen in Bothell, WA.  Great food and company, what more could you ask for! 

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Saying good bye is hard to do…


 Leaving Lake Pleasant RV Park in Bothell WA.  Next stop Grand Coulee.

This is where we stayed in Grand Coulee.  When I called the office they asked if this was Brooke.  I guess they don’t get a lot of visiting campers!  Most of the campers are semi-permanent workers on the dam or loggers that will be in the area a few weeks.  The host, Tim, even drove us (the only guests) to the dam to see the laser light show.  I would recommend this campground but we had the only spot that would accommodate the 54 feet of truck and trailer!

 Here is a shot just before sunset.  President Roosevelt started the dam as a project to keep people employed during the depression in 1933.  They built this dam for $60 million dollars and worked round the clock to finish ahead of schedule in 1942, and a little under budget.  Something this big now would take millions more and take years and years to complete!  The dam is one of the largest concrete structures in the world, containing 12 million yards of concrete!  It serves three purposes irrigation, power production and flood control.

On our way to Spokane.  This shot was taken out the window of our pick up!  The scenery was so beautiful!

For the next three days this campground will be home(in Coeur d’ Alene, ID).  All we had to do was look for the tall trees to find it.  This campground is only 3 miles from downtown and has a Home Depot, Costco and other businesses surrounding it.

Took a long bike ride to town and around the lake on part of the Centennial Trail.  This trail was created following the Expo 74. The Expo was the first environmentally themed world’s fair held in Spokane.  It is 37 miles long and the recreation trail was made just in time to celebrate the Washington and Idaho state centennials in 1989 and 1990.

Enjoying the 74 degree sunny day!  Next blog will continue our stay in Coeur d’ Alene as we go to Silverwood Theme Park the largest Theme Park in the Northwest.

I just wanted to say thanks to my son Cameron, for setting up this blog and giving me guidance on how to do it.  It has been fun and a great learning experience.  I love you Cameron.  More blogs to come….

4. Last trip before the big one!

Oregon’s newest state park L.L. Stub Stewart State Park opened in Buxton in 2007.  This park is the perfect park for biking, hiking and horse back riding.  I had to book this popular state park 9 months in advance to secure one of two pull through sites in the campground, but they still had a few other RV sites and tent sites available for the weekend.  It is only 34 miles from Portland and has over 1800 acres to enjoy.  On Hilltop Day Use Area, you can see a beautiful view of the Coast Range below.  It also has 6 miles of bike trails and while we were there a huge group of bikers were practicing for a 100 mile race that they will participate in at Lake Tahoe.

We camped over the Memorial Day weekend and the park was pretty much full.   Kelly made friends with a really nice man who helped him with the satellite.  People who camp are usually just the friendliest people you could meet!

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Plan a trip to see this impressive State Park, even if you just go for the day!

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We hiked 5 miles that morning before it got to hot.

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This s the life for Kelly!   Hiking, biking and the outdoors!

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Our campsite was big and the campground was filling with activity with lots of children riding bikes going to park programs like “The Beaver”.  The guest speaker dressed up as a Beaver and even had a tail.  The kids seemed to love it.

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Mocha loves to camp and always stays in the sun!

3. Camping in Silverton, OR.

On our fourth trip, we decided to camp near Silverton, Or.  Both Kelly and I have loved the beautiful state campground and hiking trails leading to the 10 falls in the park.   The actual campground was already filled by the time we figured out what the weather was going to be like for us.  It was surprising since it was still winter and definitely NOT the peak time to camp.  We stayed Silver Spur RV Park and it was a very nice facility near the state park.  Check it out at-  www.silverspurrvpark.com

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Kelly saw 10 falls this morning running on the trails.

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Silver Falls State Park.

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Schatzie on the trail.

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Silver Creek

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Silver Falls

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Morning fog.

On our way to the campgrounds we stopped in the cute little German town of Mt. Angel.  The town was established in 1850 and had a large number of Bavarian immigrants settle in the area.  Mt. Angel is the English translation of Engelberg.  That was the name of the city that the Benedictine monks in Switzerland came from.  They then established the Benedictine monastery and seminary school.  We went into a church service and saw mostly foreign seminary students training to be priests.  It was an interesting walk up the butte to the top of the monastery as we passed all the “Stations of the Cross”, which are scenes depicting Jesus on the day of his crucifixion.

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Monk school.

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Mt. Angel monastery cemetery.

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Church in Mt. Angel.

Then we checked into our campground and explored the community by walking all over the neighborhoods and parks of Silverton.  We were even thinking about relocating there at one point, but realized the property taxes are very high in that area.  The Silver Creek runs right by the downtown area and we looked in antique shops and restaurants as we explored the quaint little town.  Kelly even bought me a necklace from one of my favorite brands of jewelry, “Firefly”, for Valentine’s Day.  We also went to the Oregon Garden but it had just closed for the day.  We did go into the Oregon Garden Resort and decided that would be a great place to getaway to during the peak blooming season. They had a really nice menu in the resort dining room also and the rooms looked very comfortable.

After our stay in Silverton, we decided to take up the offer to store our RV at our friends farm in Gaston.  I don’t think Rick and Kathy Pugh realized how tall and big our fifth wheel was.  Let’s just say we had to do some trimming of trees to make it into their apple farm.  It was tight fit but we made it!  Thank you Rick & Kathy.

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Trimmed to fit.

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Tight spaces!

Next trip- Stub Stewart State Park for Memorial Day.Stubb_Stewart_State_Park_1