Yellowstone National Park

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I have been absent from posting to the blog! We were in Yellowstone National Park and didn’t have phones or internet. Then we moved on to the Tetons and boondocked so had spotty phone service.

Our mileage to Yellowstone from Bozeman was like 90 miles, so it was an easy days drive. We stopped in W. Yellowstone, MT to check out RV parks and see what the town had to offer. RV parks were $33/day to $45/day full hook-ups. After careful thought, we left the trailer in W. Yellowstone and journeyed into Yellowstone NP to see what the Madison campground had. Not many spots were open but we did find one that we could fit in and get sun so signed up for it. Back to W. Yellowstone to get the rig and grab some lunch. Lunch was a disappointment at the Old Town Café. They couldn’t even cook a decent hamburger and fries. Oh well.

Dale went ahead of me to the campground and as I was driving the 45 mph all these cars were stopped on the road. That, as we learned, is “animal spotting.” So I got off on a turnout and found out an elk was busy eating on an island in the river.

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This is a Bull Elk and had an impressive rack. My phone gave him 2 butts!

I also saw my first Bison.

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Our campsite was perfect, except hard to get the TV set up. Too  many trees. But that was okay because we were so tired after a day of traveling over the park. We had to put the dog food in the trailer because a momma grizzly and her cub wandered the campground at night.

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Our first day out included drives off the main road, rivers, waterfalls, mud pots, hot springs, geysers and fumaroles.

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Geyser Basin

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basinAs you can see here in this photo, dead trees. Vegetation just can’t grow with the very hot water in the thermal areas.

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We walked many a boardwalk to look at all these. I easily got in my 10,000 steps.

Our goal for the day was to see Old Faithful. Being at it is so late in the year to be visiting here, most everything was closed. The only buildings open were at Old Faithful. The Visitor Center and Snow Lodge were a gift shop and a grill were open. The lodge had dinners but we were home before then.

When we got to Old Faithful we had phone service. I text by daughter, Lesa, who is in Germany to get on the internet for the web cam at Old Faithful. She did and we shared the moment when Old Faithful went off. This made this moment so very special for me.

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On our way home we took another off-the-road drive and found this geyser. People were around it and we kept driving. However, the thing went off so I stopped to get a photo. The height of the geyser’s cone tells us its age. Usually 1″ is equal to 100 years. This one was taller than Dale.

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The next day we went to the East side of Yellowstone. Called the Canyon drive we travelled up and up. Elevation hit about 8000 and we saw some innovative person work.

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This part of Yellowstone is called the “Grand Canyon” of Yellowstone. Oh my gosh, was it ever beautiful. This is one of the places that “you just had to be there” kind of moments. Yellowstone was the first national forest in the United States in 1872. It became a model for other national parks. Aren’t we fortunate this grand place was saved.

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This is the Upper Falls. They had hikes to the Brink of the falls which is where the water goes over the falls. I went to both.
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Yellowstone River at the Upper Falls.

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This is the Lower Falls and the yellow dot is where I hike down 600 feet to stand on a platform on the Brink of the Falls. Due to the elevation and the almost straight down walk…I was out of breath.

 

 

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This is the canyon colors and the photo doesn’t do it justice. It was so pretty. We were on the other side of the canyon at the top at Inspiration Point.
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This is taken from Artist Point. God’s creation here was so incredibly beautiful.
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This is the Yellowstone River going east down the canyon.
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At the Brink of the Lower Falls.

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Dale hiked the 5 miles from Inspiration Point to Artists Point. Mostly paved trails. We didn’t understand that other than being handicapped accessible.

From here we drove south to some mud pots.

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On the way back home, we saw a bunch of cars off the road, parked and people out of their vehicles. We learned that this is an indication of “animal sighting” and we stopped. Look what we saw.

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A grizzly bear was playing in this field. He wasn’t far off the road but paid no attention to everyone. He was just doing his thing!

The next day, our last in Yellowstone, took us back to Old Faithful and hiking around behind it to many hot springs, geysers and Morning Glory.

 

 

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A clear warning on the path to Morning Glory.

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Star Pool

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Morning Glory

 

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This is the most famous pool. Due to people throwing stuff in it, this has clogged up the springs. This lowers the temperature and allows other organisms to grow and change the color.
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I forgot the name of this geyser on the right. It is said that it formed around a tree.

On our way back from Morning Glory we came upon this in Firehole River beside Riverside Geyser.

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And she/he kept coming. So we boot scooted out of there.

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After our hike, we hit the grill for lunch. Great burgers and salad.

 

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Ceiling decorations. A busy place.

 

It was a great day for us. The sun was out and the day was in the high 60’s. Actually, the weather was excellent. Cold nights and mornings but nice during the day. I enjoyed this adventure and I still have that smile.

Life is sooooo good. God’s creation is just breath-taking.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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Remember that movie with John Candy and Steve Martin? So funny!

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That is what this RV park feels like. The Sun Rise Campground. The closest RV park to the center of Bozeman. Nice little park as far as RV Parks go. Facilities are clean as is the park.

 

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Where do the Plans, Trains and Automobiles come in? Sun Rise is on Frontage Road. That right there tells you it is next to the freeway. I 90, the one that runs through Montana! The freeway is at the back of the park.

Trains. What RV park doesn’t have a train? The one here is on Frontage Road. Yep, right across the street in front of us. This section of train tracks seems to be where trains wait when another train is  “coming” into the train yard a few miles down the road from us. There are many coal trains passing through here. The coal is coming from southeastern Montana and heading up through Idaho and Washington to Canada to be shipped off to China. So it is a bit noisy here day and night with train whistles and screeching brakes.

Planes. We seem to be in the air traffic path for landing planes. Overhead. These aren’t as often as the trains but the noise is still there. Our ear plugs have come in handy this stay. At least we sleep well at night.

However, what RV park doesn’t have a train track or freeway! I’m so glad we are boondockers and can get away from all of that.

We are off to Yellowstone tomorrow. Check mark off the bucket list coming up!

Life is really good! We are covered in God’s grace and mercy.

 

Our Third Day of Traveling

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On our journey beginning in Sutherlin, Oregon to Clarkston, Washington the road is 566 miles long. On our third day we drove from Ukiah to Clarkston.

We have friends in Clarkston and our trip to Bozeman was a good reason to stop at their home. We were excited to see their new home instead of just catching photo’s on Facebook.

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Milton Freewater

 

We buzzed through Milton Freewater and Walla Walla. Sort of got lost in Walla Walla looking for Hwy 12 but it all worked out in a timely fashion.

We stopped at a rest area, Alpowa Summit, for lunch. It was quite windy but sunny.

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Another Lewis and Clark sighting!

We arrived in Clarkston and had a heck of a time finding Wayne and Char. Their directions were spot on but a right turn is always difficult with an RV especially when you have a woman screaming in the walkie-talkie that a right turn is to be made right now!

Wayne was our site manager when we took a job with CLM in California 3 years ago. We have kept in touch. So it was great to be able to spend time with them at their house.

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After getting set up behind their house we were given a tour of their beautiful home. It isn’t finished yet, but they are getting there.  They took us to dinner at Roosters, a local restaurant. The town of Clarkston has a park and walkway all along the Snake River and clear over to Lewiston which continues the park. We decided to eat out on the patio along the river.

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Our food was excellent! I had a chicken breast served with this wonderful sauce and it was sitting on a bed of asparagus. It was topped off with crab that was very sweet. A side salad came with it. Since I am going to lose some pounds, this meal was petite and just right. Dale had his favorite Blue Cheese Burger with garlic fries – that were served with real garlic. Yummy.

Wayne then took us to Lewiston, which is just across the river. The two towns merge. We had a delightful evening.

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The next day, we bummed around all morning and then went to lunch at the Tomato Brothers, which is an Italian food restaurant. Dale and I raved about our lunch and our food the night before. It wasn’t very expensive for the robust taste of the food that we experienced.

On the way out we saw this vending machine.

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This was a vending machine for jewelry, artist cards, and bookmarks. Since these were all handmade, they were quite expensive. Some cards were priced at$25 and up.

The evening was spent – Dale, Wayne and Char at Wayne’s mom for pizza and the football game between Seattle and Kansas City. I stayed home with my dog and just chilled.

Good friends and good food make for a life that is good!

 

A Fantastic Day

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of family and history.

Saturday turned out to be a “family” day with some sightseeing planned. Carol and Larry O’Daniel, Joe Cole, Dorana and Doris Prohaska flew into Bozeman for a family reunion. We drove from Sutherlin to Bozeman to join everyone.

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Our first dinner all together. Left side of the table: Doris, Joe Cole, Carol and Larry. Right side of table: Dale, Ralph, Dorana, Alex and Volney at the head of the table. 

Our second dinner at Dave’s BBQ. Delicious ribs!

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We begin Saturday for breakfast at Ralph’s house (Volney’s old house). Ralph cooked the O’Daniels, Joe Cole and Prohaska family a delicious breakfast. Volney and Alex joined us after we had eaten. Ralph’s house was up a canyon and the scenery was incredibly beautiful.

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If you look closely, you will see Owl Rock.

About noon, the O’Daniel’s, Joe Cole and us took off to go see Three Forks State Park. When we arrived, some 33 miles later, we discovered we were really looking for The Missouri Headwaters National Historic Park/State Park. But we did go through the town of Three Forks and they are big on the history of Lewis and Clark.

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Sacagawea Hotel

Before we went to the park it was decided we needed to grab some sandwiches to take for a picnic at the park. So down the freeway (I90) we went to find The Wheat Mountain Bakery/Deli. We arrived just in time because as we were ordering somehow the line was out the door.

Doris and Joe, cousins.
Doris and Joe, cousins.

We found a great spot for a picnic at the headwaters of the Missouri River.

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After lunch we walked the short path to where the Jefferson River merges with the Madison River and the Missouri River is created.

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Madison River on the left. Jefferson River in the middle and the Missouri River begins to the right.

Morgan was able to get out and walk with us. She enjoyed her time “loose” and we had to keep an eye on her so she wouldn’t go swimming. A couple of fishermen were out trying their luck.

We drove down the road to the Interpretive Center.  The State Park was beautiful and well made. Trails led to a gravesite of pioneer children that had died of the Black Diphtheria plague. A climb to the top gave us a nice view of Lewis Rock and the Galaitin River that merges with the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark topped this mountain in July, 1805 to view the rivers. The rivers changes the surrounding land all the time so it probably looked different to them that what we see today.

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A little farther down the road we came to the boat ramp. Lots of fish in this river. Doris, Dale’s mom, was born and raised in Monett, Missouri. Here she gets to stand next to the beginning of the river with the name of her home state.

sat4After enjoying this beautiful place that has been kept so very nice, we set the GPS for Buffalo Jump State Park. We chose the “fastest way” on the GPS and when it said 48 minutes to go 8 miles we were suspicious but we followed it anyway.  It was a great shortcut. However, it turned to a gravel road for 6 of those miles. When we came to the turn, on to a paved road, we saw that we could have done this one different. We did see some of the beautiful land, homes, ranches, dairy farms along the way. Another adventure.

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This state park was different. No restrooms; a grassy area with one picnic table and an information board listing fees for out-of-state visitors! We walked up the 1/4 mile trail to another interpretive plaza to gaze out at where once the Indians of the land ran buffalo off the cliff to get their winter food.

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The Indians used every part of the buffalo for food, clothing, blankets, sewing thread (tendons) and bones for many things. They did not leave much when done. They then burned the carcasses to ready the place for the next winter.

 

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The hazers would position themselves on the top of the mountain to herd the buffalo to the edge then scare them to go over. At the bottom, the buffalo that lived would be clubbed dead. The women would then skin and cut chunks of meat and haul it down to the camp (at the base of the mountain) on their backs.

 

This was a very interesting site and part of the Indian heritage. Many different tribes would use this site to gather their winter food.

We drove back to Bozeman to deliver Morgan to the trailer before leaving for the retirement center to have one last meal with the family. Goodbyes were said, hugs given and “see you next time.” Although the older generation seems to feel this is their last time together. They think they are “too” old at 86, 89 and 92 to travel!

Life is good. God brought in a huge storm while we were eating. It poured rain and the wind was blowing leaves off the trees in bushels.

Traveling Day 2

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After leisurely get up and having breakfast, we broke camp and headed toward Sisters. This is always a beautiful drive. We were not disappointed of the wide vistas as we climbed up the Sanitam Pass. Three-finger Jack stood out against the clear, blue sky. Mt. Washington stood tall as we saw once again the ravages of the fire back in the 90’s. In the photo below you can see the bright colors of fall on the roadside.

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We stopped in Sisters to buy fresh veggies and stretch our legs. Sisters was busy as usual but we just pulled through the town heading for the cut off to Redmond.

It is amazing how Redmond has grown – 26,000 people. We were hungry and saw Izzy’s right off so we stopped for lunch. Buffet style, but for $7.99 can’t beat a good lunch of salad, chicken and cooked veggies. Dale partook of more than that and was satisfied when we left.

We decided to take the back roads instead of going up 395 to I84. We went through so many small town: Prineville, Mitchell, Dayville, Mt. Vernon, Dale and many others with names but no post office. Many old buildings and farms in this area. The scenery was breath-taking!

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Prineville as we come down the steep incline.

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Smoke rising between mountains. As we came around this area, a controlled burning was probably in the works. Maybe farmers burning off their fields.

We passed by the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (Painted Hills) which too us through a canyon with mountains on the right side and mountains high on the left by the creek. We say where the John Day River was just a creek.

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Can’t you just see the American Indian roaming these hills among these great rock formations?

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This town look almost deserted. Don’t know if this old church was in use or not. Many buildings were dilapidated.

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This is the little town of Dale.

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The quaint town of Mt. Vernon where we turned onto 395 toward Washington.

We thought there would be many places to camp but we were wrong. Not many logging roads heading off into the hills. We came to a state park in the Ukiah-Dale Forest district and found an empty camp spot. The park price was $6 to camp and $7 for the extra car. Not sure why campgrounds charge a price for extra cars and people. We took off at 8 a.m. the next morning to go have breakfast in Ukiah.

Our day was a long one – 6 hours of driving and only 235 miles! We were both worn out but the scenery going up Hwy 26 was worth the time we spent.

Life is good. God granted traveling mercies.

South? North? East?

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What’s the deal? Usually snowbirds head south for the winter of fun in the sun. Not the Prohaska’s!

The day before we left Sutherlin and our beautiful lot at Timber Valley SKP Park of Oregon, Christie got a few gals together for a sendoff lunch! I was happy to eat with these lovely people that have become like family to us.

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Mary, Irene, Trudy and Christie all had a very good tasting lunch at Whitehorse Café. Irene and Trudy shared the big 1# hamburger and soup. It gave us all a good laugh while they tried to take a bite.

We left Sutherlin Friday morning around 8:30 to go the first let of our journey to Montana. Yes, I said Montana! A family reunion takes us there or otherwise we would be heading south and not north/east.

In Eugene, we had breakfast at Elmers by the Gateway Mall. Easy in for Dale but not so easy out onto a busy 4 lane highway. We had already decided to stop at REI to return some things so knew we would be in Eugene for a few hours. What we didn’t count on was having to get some legal papers notarized and shipped out Fed X. So we had to find a Wells Fargo Bank and then a Fed X office. Polar opposites in Eugene!

We weren’t able to get out of Eugene anytime soon, so drove the busy streets back and forth. Finally, around 1 or so, we headed out past Springfield to the McKenzie Pass.

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As you can see, we had a beautiful day to travel. About 2:30 we stopped near McKenzie Bridge store for a dink and walk for Morgan. I was ready to call it a day. We found a campground called Trail Bridge on the left near a reservoir. We can hear the traffic noise from Hwy 126 but I wear ear plugs so that isn’t going to stop me from having a good sleep.

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Dale setting up!

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Out our front door.

Time for a hike through the campground and get my 10,000 steps in!

Life is good. God is faithful.

Time To Move On

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Yes, it is time to put those wheels on the pavement and head down the road for the winter.

Dale and I are busy getting the Blue Heron trailer ready to travel and get our home base put away for the winter. We have enjoyed our patio so very much this summer. We will put it all away in the shed to keep it out of the winter weather.

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The block stairs up the side of the hill have worked very well to take Morgan out to do her duty. Dale had to do some aligning a few months after this photo as a couple of stairs were very deep and made for a BIG step.

We are heading north to Montana to a family reunion. Praying it doesn’t snow up that way! We hope to go to Yellowstone National Park and check that off our bucket list. Also to the Grand Teton National Park. Another bucket list check!

Grand Teton National Park
Photo from mapquest.

We are both excited to get on the road again. It has been a long, hot summer.

Life is excellent – better than good! God is still blessing with miracles. Just ask me!