Thursday, September 29, 2011


Just sharing a few images today, with a focus on yellow. Enjoy!

Snakeweed...What an ugly name for such a cheery-looking flower

Sunflower (Or is it a Black-Eyed Susan?)

Fall Colors in Utah

Yellow Aspen in Utah

Okay, so technically this isn't yellow, but it does have a yellow border.

Hope this little dose of yellow brightens your day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chipmunk at Bryce Canyon, Utah

I haven't been able to post as frequently as I'd like lately, partly due to intermittent internet connections and partly due to lack of commitment. (Smiles)

Anyway, I just wanted to share this little fellow with you:

Hope he brings a smile to your face today. He did to mine.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rifle Falls State Park, Colorado

Well, we decided to do some traveling again. And that means more photos to share with you lovely people.

Here are some pictures from Rifle Falls State Park in Rifle, Colorado. It's located on Interstate 70, about ninety miles east of the Utah border. It had taken us three days of pretty hard driving to get as far as Rifle, so we decided to stay over an extra day to rest up a bit and visit beautiful Rifle Falls.

This was a scene along the route to Rifle Falls State Park

The park is small, with a few camping sites available. The park's main feature is Rifle Falls, and it was definitely worth seeing.

The boy in the red shirt to the left of the falls lends some perspective to the picture.

The view from a little to the right of Rifle Falls, on the trail leading up over the top.

Wildlife on the trail to the top of the falls

Rifle Falls from the left side

Along the Rifle Falls trail

A quick internet search helped me to identify this little critter as a Banded Woolybear Caterpillar. We encountered it along the Rifle Falls Trail.

That's all for now, but stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Picking Apples

You may recall from this post that our young neighbor, Jimmy, took on our apple tree as a project this spring, pruning it to beat the band, in anticipation of getting the apples from it to make cider this fall. (Actually, I said "applesauce" in the original post, but Doug corrected me later.)

Well, the apples were pretty small this year; and Jimmy's friend who had the cider press didn't get any apples at all on his trees. So the cider-making project was put on hold until next year.

Meanwhile, a young woman and her sister approached Doug one day and asked if they might have this year's apples. Doug told them they could, and they came last week to pick them. They made such a charming picture, as they worked together, that I just had to capture it in photos. I didn't want to spoil the moment by letting them know that I was photographing them, so I did it from our attached garage, shooting through the bug-infested window in the walk-in door.

The little girl would catch the apples in her skirt as her older sister tossed them down to her.

Then she would carefully transfer them to a box.

When they finished picking, they came to the door, bringing a plate of banana bread, with chocolate chips baked in. They had made the bread that morning and brought it as an expression of thanks for the apples. What sweet girls.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Days 35-39: Yellowstone, Big Horn Mountains, and Home

For our last day in Yellowstone on September 11, 2007, Day 35 of our Alaska adventure, we drove the upper loop. The day was sunny, warm, and beautiful, although it had frosted during the night. We were hoping to see wolves and moose, but all we found were coyotes, buffalo, and antelope. We did see a small band of elk come out of the woods in Hayden Valley in the evening, but they were too far away for good pictures.


Pronghorn Antelope

Yellowstone Traffic Jam

We left Fishing Bridge RV Park in Yellowstone on the morning of September 12, 2007, Day 36, and went out Yellowstone's east entrance, beginning the final leg of our journey home.

Along the East Entrance Road of Yellowstone National Park

After a stop in Cody, Wyoming, to get an oil change for Harvey, we took Highway 14 out of Cody and went up through Greybull and the Bighorn Mountains to pick up I-90 at Ranchester. We stopped for photos along the way and spent some time at the Shell Falls viewing area, giving Harvey a chance to cool down after climbing the mountains. A nearby forest fire provided some good photos of helicopters gathering water to carry back to the fire, which was somewhere out of our sight.

Big Horn Mountains

Big Horn Mountains

Firefighting Helicopter in Big Horn Mountains

We had supper at a McDonald's in Sheridan, Wyoming, then drove on to Gillette. It was after dark by the time we reached Gillette. Motels were full, so we looked for Crazy Woman Campground, which we had seen listed in our Passport America directory of campgrounds.

We saw a police car parked in a driveway and stopped to ask the officer where the campground was. The officer said that Crazy Woman Campground was right next door to were we were. When Doug asked if there was a Walmart nearby, the police officer almost seemed relieved and told us that we might be better off camping in the Walmart parking lot. He said it would be free and that there was frequently trouble at this campground. We had seen an ambulance pulling away from the area as we approached, but we couldn't say for sure that it had come from the campground. Anyway, we took his advice and parked for the night in the Walmart parking lot.

It wasn't a very restful night for Doug. With no electrical hookup, he wasn't able to use his CPAP machine; and a semi had pulled in and parked near us, with its diesel engine running all night. The noise wasn't so bad, because it helped drown out other sounds; but we could actually feel the vibration.

September 13, 2007, Day 37, was a pretty boring travel day, with no sightseeing stops. We camped that night at Ron Dee's RV Park in Mitchell, SD. After registering at the RV park, we went to Marlin's, a local truck stop, for supper, before hooking up.

Ron Dee's was a nice, clean, and quiet RV park. We slept in a little on the morning of September 14, 2007, Day 38, getting a bit of a late start on that travel day. We made it to East Moline, Illinois, where we spent the night in a room at a Comfort Inn and Suites. The desk clerk told us the rate would be $109, plus tax; but then he wound up giving us an upgrade to a suite and charged us only $85. Go figure. Later, though, we discovered that the suite's air conditioning didn't work. Maybe he wasn't being as nice as I originally thought.

After a very restful night at the Comfort Inn and Suites in East Moline, we set off for home on September 15, 2007, Day 39 of travel to Alaska and back, making it home by early evening.

For those who might be wondering, we sold Harvey three weeks later. After completely cleaning, polishing, and servicing everything that was potentially problematic on him, we listed Harvey on eBay. At the end of the auction, he went to his new home in New Jersey. And Doug heaved a big sigh of relief.

Thus ends the saga of our Great Alaska Adventure. Thanks so much to those of you who have hung in there with me while I wrote this series of posts. What loyal friends you are!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 34...Continued...Yellowstone National Park

Yesterday's post covered part of the 34th day of our Alaska trip, which involved a visit to Yellowstone National Park on our way home from Alaska. This post is a continuation of that one.

The day was September 10, 2007; and we were touring Yellowstone with our friends, Larry and Jeannette, who just happened to be visiting the park at the same time. In addition to our sightings of elk, a black bear, and coyotes, about which I posted yesterday, we also visited the Yellowstone Canyon overlooks.

Yellowstone Canyon

Yellowstone Canyon and Lower Falls

Of course, there was also a visit to Old Faithful. At the Visitor Center there, we learned that Riverside Geyser was due for an eruption at 10:40 a.m., give or take 30 minutes. It was then 10:10 a.m., and Riverside was a walk of a mile and a quarter away. It took us a half-hour to get to the geyser, but we were in time to see the eruption, which lasted about 20 minutes.

Riverside Geyser

The walk back to Old Faithful was slower. We went to the cafeteria for lunch, then watched an eruption of Old Faithful from the porch.

Old Faithful Geyser

And then there was this large and in-charge buffalo to close out the day's sightseeing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Days 33-34: Yellowstone National Park

We entered Yellowstone National Park at the north entrance at Gardiner, Montana, on the morning of September 9, 2007, which was Day 33 of our Alaska trip. We made telephone contact with Larry and Jeannette, friends from home who were visiting Yellowstone at the same time, and agreed to meet them later in the day.

As usual, there were lots of elk at Mammoth Hot Springs. We drove down the west side of the upper loop, then across the middle of the figure eight to the Canyon Village on the east side. It began snowing while we were there, so we decided just to go on down to the Fishing Bridge RV Park and get checked in.

Buffalo in a snow squall

By the time we had done that, the snow had stopped, and the day was getting pretty again. So we decided not to linger in the campground. We drove to Hayden Valley to try to spot some wolves. We did see a white one that the ranger in attendance said was the alpha female. We saw her moving around in the distance as we pulled into the turnout, but then she lay down and was hard to see. The ranger had a spotting scope set up and was letting people look at the wolf through the scope, but even with that magnification we could see only a white speck where she lay.

Larry and Jeannette were just exiting the campground when we returned that evening; but they spotted us and circled back. We parked Harvey; then we all went together in their truck to have supper at the Lake Lodge Cafeteria.

The next day, Monday, September 10, 2007, Day 34, was just a wonderful day. Larry and Jeannette had invited us to tour the lower loop with them, and we decided to take them up on it. That meant Doug had a day off from driving, and that made him very happy.

We hadn't gone far before we saw a grizzly, with what appeared to be a yearling cub, not far off the road.

Later, we saw elk and a black bear that seemed almost to be playing with part of an animal carcass. He would grab it and start to drag it, then turn and run away from it. Doug thought maybe he was stealing the carcass from another animal, probably a grizzly, and was afraid of being caught. Or maybe he was just afraid of all the human bear watchers. But, whatever, it was a special treat to watch him. We also saw a coyote, close to the road; and, of course, there were the ever-present buffalo.

Bull elk napping in the woods

Black bear, apparently studying how best to steal an elk carcass

He would drag it a ways, then run off as if being chased, always to return and drag it a little further.

Here, he had dropped the carcass and run and jumped up on this log, looking back as if to see whether anything was chasing him.


Our day was filled with even more experiences; but, rather than try to share them all in this post, I'll save some for the next one.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Days 31-32: Calgary, Alberta to Great Falls, Montana, then to Gardiner, Montana

We left the Calgary West Campground about 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 7, 2007, which was Day 31 of our Alaska Trip, and headed on into Calgary on our way south. Calgary is a city with a population in excess of one million, and Friday morning traffic was terrific; but we made it through to Fort McCleod, then to Lethbridge, where we stopped at the visitor center to be sure we were on the right road and to take some pictures of the High Level Bridge.

High Level Bridge at Lethbridge, Alberta

The High Level Bridge was built between 1907 and 1909, to carry trains over the Oldman River. It is over a mile long and 314 feet above the riverbed.

Storm Along Canada Highway 4, Between Lethbridge and the U. S. Border

From there we headed on down to the U. S. border at Coutts, Alberta. We arrived there a little after 2:00 p.m. and found ourselves in a long line of cars and trucks, waiting to be checked through Customs. It took about 45 minutes to get through.

Then we were on our way to Great Falls, Montana. We had considered pushing on a little further; but we encountered some incredibly strong winds just outside of Great Falls. Plus, it had been raining during the last hour of the drive. So we decided to treat ourselves to a night in a motel. This was only the second night in a motel during these 31 days of travel, and Doug deserved not to have to hook up in the wind and rain.

We checked into the Hampton Inn, then went across the street to a Golden Corral for supper. Back in our room, taking advantage of having cell phone service, which had not been available in Canada, I made a few telephone calls to friends and family.

We slept well at the Hampton Inn. It was very clean and nice. The next morning, September 8, Day 32, we left Great Falls and drove to Helena, where we did some shopping at a Walmart Supercenter. From there, we went on to Bozeman, Livingston, and then to Gardiner, Montana, which is at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

South of Great Falls, Montana, on Highway 15

In the previous picture you can barely see this bridge. 
This shot was taken from the same place but with a higher zoom.

Butte, Montana

The "Devil's Slide," near Gardiner, Montana

When I talked to our friend, Pat, the previous night, and told her that we were planning to visit Yellowstone National Park, she said that Larry and Jeannette, mutual friends, were in Cody and planned to go into Yellowstone on the 8th. Well, she must have then talked to Larry and Jeannette about our plans to visit Yellowstone, because Jeannette left two messages on our phone. They were staying at Fishing Bridge RV Park, inside Yellowstone National Park, with full hookups. So we called and got ourselves a reservation there for the next three days.

We stayed that night at Yellowstone RV Park, a very nice campground in Gardiner. The campsite was so level that Doug didn't even have to put leveling blocks under Harvey. It had been a long time since we'd done laundry, so we took care of that chore at the campground laundromat.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 30: Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Canada

September 6, 2007, Day 30 of our Alaska trip, was another beautiful travel day, once we got past the power outage at our campground in Grand Cache. The power went off at 6:00 a.m. and hadn't come back on yet by the time we pulled out three hours later. It meant that our electric heater wouldn't work, but the furnace took the chill out so we could crawl out of our warm beds and get dressed.

The day's travel was all in the province of Alberta, as we drove from Grand Cache to Jasper National Park, then to Banff National Park, and on to Calgary. The drive between Jasper and Banff on the Icefields Parkway was just awesome in its beauty. So many startlingly beautiful peaks, lakes, and rivers in such a small area. Following are some pictures from that part of our drive.

We stayed at the Calgary West Campground, a huge campground with 325 campsites on a hill overlooking Calgary, a city of well over a million people. It was a bit of a culture shock after some of  the tiny campgrounds we'd been staying the one with only five RV sites on Day 28.

The view from our "dining room" window at our campsite in Calgary West Campground

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