Who We Are

We sold our home in June, 2007, and spent the next 7 1/2 years traveling full time in a Cross Roads Fifth Wheel. (We had been traveling during our summers for several years before going full time.) We loved the full-time lifestyle! Each summer we spent a month or two volunteering in State Parks, first in Indiana at McCormick's Creek State Park, near our family, then in later years as the grandchildren got older, at the Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico. We spent 6 months each winter at Cactus Gardens RV Resort in Yuma, AZ, where I worked mornings in the park office. The remaining months were spent on the road, seeing this great country of ours. Our favorite places are our National Parks. Anita loved photography and the freedom of digital photography, taking sometimes hundreds of photos in a day. We hiked as much as our legs will allow. We also really enjoyed square and round dancing as we travel across country, and meeting all the wonderful people who dance and/or travel.

But as in all things, there comes a time for change, and we decided it was time to create roots once more. In the fall of 2014, we purchased a home in Cactus Gardens, and in the spring of 2015, sold the 5th wheel. Anita also retired in the spring. We will continue to travel each summer, but for a shorter period of time. We hope to continue blogging about those trips, but it will obviously be on a more limited basis than in the past.

Please explore our past posts if you are interested in traveling this great country. You'll find an index in the left column. We hope you enjoy our blog, and appreciate all comments

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cut Bank, Montana

A ‘cut bank’ is an erosional feature of streams, or where the swift flowing water has cut away the land into steep banks.  The town of Cut Bank, MT is aptly named.cb1


We spent a few nights on the cliff above the Cut Bank river at Riverside Campground.  We found the owners, who live on site, to be very welcoming.  They own over 40 acres of ground, most of it river front, so we had lots of room to explore the many unusual rock formations on the river bank and cliff.

One walk took us down what remains of an old gravel road to the riverbank.cb3

cb4 On another walk, we decided to climb among the rock formations on the top of the cliff.cb5 cb6 cb7   cb8  cb9

If you look close at the stone banks, pieces of bone and petrified wood can be found.  Ron searched until he had found a few pieces of each.

cb10  cb11


We also enjoyed watching the wild horse that came to graze each morning and evening on the opposite bank.cb12

An interesting metal sculpture sits atop the cliff near the campground.  We never got the opportunity to question the owners.  As it is next to a cross bearing a Bible verse, we assumed it to be a statue of Christ.  With outstretched arms, it resembles many other images of Christ across the country.  If any of our readers has any background information on this particular sculpture, would you leave a comment on this posting, please? cb13 cb14

The last night of our stay we were treated to a wonderful sunset.  cb15

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Great Falls, Montana and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

“When my ears were saluted with the agreeable sound of a fall of water, advancing a little further, I saw the spray arise above the plain like a column of smoke which would frequently disappear again in an instant – which soon began to make a roaring too tremendous to be mistaken for any cause short of the great falls of the Missouri.”  Meriwether Lewis, June 13, 1805

The falls were more than 80 feet high, giving him a view that he described as:

…the grandest sight I had ever beheld.”


Today, visitors see the falls quite differently, as the power of the water falling a total of 476 feet over the five falls has been harnessed to provide electricity, but it is still an awesome sight.  Four of the Falls flow over dams.  Colter Falls has been submerged in the river for several years now.

We visited the Great Falls and Black Eagle Falls.  Both are best seen from island in the center of the river.  Footbridges provide easy access to the island.gf2 SUSPENDED BRIDGE TO ISLAND AT THE GREAT FALLS (RYAN DAM)

The dam is 1,366 feet long and 61 feet high.  The power plant supplies electricity to the equivalency of 45,000 households. (The water is flowing at a rate of 134,000 gallons per minute.)gf3

We drove next to the Black Eagle Falls and Dam.  We walked over to the island and took several photos, but perhaps the best view is from the top of the bluff above the falls:


Inspiring all of us who attempt to keep journals, Meriwether Lewis was meticulous.  Black Eagle Falls is named for one of his entries:

“…below this fall at a little distance a beautiful little island well timbered is situated about the middle gf5 of the river.  In this island on a cottonwood tree an Eagle has placed her nest; a more inaccessible spot I believe she could not have found for neither man nor beast done pass those gulphs which separate her little domain from the shores…”

We were not fortunate enough to spot an eagle, but we did watch this osprey.

The road leads, scenically,along the river gf6

to the Lewis and Clark  Interpretive Center.  In my opinion, this is one of the best national Interpretive Centers we have visited.


This great, artistic buffalo greets you as you enter.


The multi-media exhibits of the center lead you on an informative, captivating tour chronologically through the 2 year plus expedition.  Several of the exhibits focus on the portage around the Great Falls area.  Supposing they had perhaps a mile to transport the boats and supplies around the falls, the portage became 18 miles of brutal work taking almost a month to traverse.

gf9 gf10

gf11 At one point, they even attached wind sails to the vessels to make it easier.

The Expedition, covering over 8,000 miles was inarguably the greatest single exploration of the United States.

If you would like to learn more about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, here are some excellent sites:

Discovering Lewis and Clark

The Journals of Lewis and Clark

A volunteer at the center suggested we eat at a local drugstore’s Soda Fountain.  We took her advice… had a great sandwich and soup, followed by a sarsaparilla soda …. umm umm … just as good as it looked on the old Bat Masterson television show. gf13




Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Visit with Friends

As we turned north through Montana, we realized our route would take us through Moore, where Leroy and Suzanne live.

We stopped for a visit, and had the opportunity to watch their crop harvest in progress.

A large farm in Indiana is several hundred acres.  A large farm in Montana is several thousand.  The fields seem to go on forever.  Leroy was in the last days of harvesting the winter wheat.  ss1

Like the fields, the equipment is huge.ss2

Leroy’s son-in-law, Warren, was driving the combine the day we visited.

Ron climbed up in the cab and enjoyed making a circuit of the large field with Warren.ss3

ss4 I was amazed to learn that Suzanne prepares dinner each night of harvest for the workers, and delivers it to the field!  Harvest can continue for more than 30 days straight, and she often serves 15-20 people. 

After preparing the meal, the food is packed into coolers and transported to the field in the pick-up, along with tables, chairs and even tablecloths.

When harvest is in full-swing, often the workers switch off for dinner, so that the equipment can keep running.

ss6 There are fewer workers now, as the harvest nears an end.  We start dinner, as Warren empties the combine into the truck and prepares to join us.


Leroy and Suzanne apologized for having to continue work during our visit, but we thoroughly enjoyed the glimpse into their farming life.ss8

ss9 If you happen to be in Montana, be sure to buy bread made from Montana grown wheat.  Who knows, that wheat may have come from Leroy and Suzanne’s fields!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reed Point – the Little Town that Time Forgot

Reed Point, Montana is a sleepy little town that leaves you feeling that you’ve stepped way back in time, as you walk its main street.  Once a booming town of homesteading sheep raisers from Norway, Sweden and Germany, drought soon convinced the new settlers that they were not given enough land (320 acre allotment) to make a living, and most began the migration farther west.

Now all that’s left is a few small businesses, some farmers and a friendly RV park.

re1 re2 We spent the night at the Old West RV Park.   The park is owned by a young couple who live on site.  He was very friendly and even came by later to see if I’d gotten online with the wireless successfully.re3

After dinner, we explored the town.  The homesteading began in 1891.  By 1912 Reed Point had a bridge over the Yellowstone, a railroad depot, post office, general store and a one-room log schoolhouse. Progress was on the move!  Once boasting 54 business, there are now only a half dozen or so. 

The Hotel is under renovation currently.  We looked through the antiques shop and glanced into the Saloon, still open for business. re4 re5

  Two grain elevators stand near the railroad, one still in use (right).

.   re6




The sidewalks are still made of board.

re9We had to chuckle when we spotted the town Library.  It’s sign in the door reads “Open Wednesdays, 1-4” . 








The only time this little town wakes up now is for it’s annual “Sheep Run”, an autumn festival that still pulls in over 2000 people each year.  I found this photo online:

re10 Proceeds from the festival go to improving the town. In the past, the sheep drive has paid for a fire truck, refurbished the town library and supported children's educational programs.re11


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Yellowstone – America’s Playground

Day 1 in the Park

ys1 When I first saw the nickname, “America’s Playground” for Yellowstone, I wondered why   was this park tagged America’s Playground… why not any other National Park in the U.S.?  But after visiting the park, I realized the reason.  It’s not where America goes to play, it’s where America plays!  This park’s ground is alive!  You cannot watch the bubbling mud pots, the frisky geysers shooting into the air until you start toward them, or the exuberance of Old Faithful without smiling.


ys2 Nowhere in the world are there as many aqua thermal spots as in Yellowstone … more than 10,000 of them.  The ground around them stays hot to the touch.  It surprised us that we could be cold emerging from the truck, but needed to remove our jackets while walking the boardwalks in the thermal areas.  It’s like being in a gigantic steam bath.




ys3    The caldera, or basin, measures approximately 30 x 45 miles.  Boardwalks have been erected throughout the areas for the safety of visitors, but they often have to be moved.  New eruptions occur daily, often too close to the walks or roads.  ys4 We actually saw a couple of places where steam was rising through the gaps in the boardwalk, and one place where the road had collapsed.  We were told there is one section of road that they have finally decided to leave gravel.  When they replace the asphalt there, it keeps melting.

ys5 Old Faithful lived up to its reputation of being predictable. We were told it would erupt within 10 minutes of 2:30.  At 2:31, it began.  The show lasted for almost 4 minutes.  Old Faithful’s height ranges from 106 to 130 feet; it erupts every 90 minutes.  It’s mind-boggling to realize that 3700 to 8400 gallons of water are expelled with each eruption.  The temperature at the site just before eruption is 204 degrees.

This shot was just at the start of the eruption (more photos are in the slideshow – link below)


ys6 The main roads of the park are divided into two loops.  We decided to take the lower loop today, which included Old Faithful.  We have parked the trailer for the week at Wapiti, about 30 miles east of the East entrance to the park, so that we wouldn’t have to pull over the mountain passes with it.

Each loop of the park takes a good day to see, with all the stops.  We were gone 11 1/2 hours today.

I took so-o-o many pictures.  Those of  you that know me well can imagine.  It’s been hard for us to choose just a few to put into slideshows to upload.  Day 2 in Yellowstone continues below the slideshow link.ys12

Day 2 in the Park

Our second day started with a bit of excitement when a grizzly was spotted across a field.  We stopped and watched it for some time through the binoculars, but it was too far away to photograph.  We had hoped to see at least one grizzly, moose, and eagle, but this was our only glimpse of either.

Although Day 2 contained thermal features, the topography of the park was quite different than what we saw the first day.

After a brief stop at the LeHardy Rapids (Yellowstone River), we spent quite a bit of time in the Mud Volcano and Sulphur Caldron area.

The first major feature you approach at Mud Volcano is the Breathing Dragon Cave.  It is easy to see how it received its name; you can almost imagine that it’s going to belch forth fire at any moment, and from its accompanying descriptive sign, used to have quite an eruption before earthquakes in the 90s changed its behavior.ys7

A short boardwalk takes you on a loop through the area. ys8 We were there in early morning, and the steam was so concentrated, it was hard to view the features.ys9

Canyon Village includes the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone” and the Upper Yellowstone Falls and Lower Yellowstone Falls.

ys10 Uncle Tom’s Trail (named after an early ranger) drops over 500 feet to near the bottom of Lower Yellowstone Falls.  Decades ago, the trail involved over 500 wooden stair steps and rope ladders.  Thankfully now, there are only 328 steps; at 8000 feet altitude, it’s still considered a very strenuous hike.  With a few misgivings, we decided we had to give it a try.

We were so glad we did; the view at the bottom was well worth the climb back out.

The falls thundering down into the canyon was magnificent, with a “rainbow” in the spray at the bottom; we would have loved to stay all day.


Many colors paint the canyon walls, and it’s easy to see how Yellowstone earns its name. The next photo is a view of the falls from Artist’s Point, just a little down the road.ys13

Seeing the falls from the bottom of the trail was probably our favorite part of the day… but we were just starting the 70 mile loop that was our destination for the day, and it was already after 2 p.m.!

ys14 The road on the west side of the loop climbs through the mountains to Mammoth Hot Springs.

The main attraction at Mammoth Hot Springs is the terraces. Heat, water, limestone, and rock fracture combine to create the terraces.  The area is in a state of constant change. As formations grow, water is forced to flow in different directions. The constant changes in water and mineral deposits create a living sculpture. You almost feel as if the inside of a cave has been transported above ground.ys15

There’s an eerie feeling.  You feel as if you’re in the center of a winter landscape of snow,  yet there is hot water bubbling out of the stone.

We have perhaps been in more beautiful parks, but never a park as amazing as Yellowstone National Park.

For more photos from our second day in the park: