MISSOURI!

Indian Creek Campground, Mark Twain Lake

HANNIBAL — Mark Twain’s home

On September 12 we did a short day trip to Hannibal and enjoyed a walk around the town that Tom Sawyer made famous! It was fun, we had a beer and a HUGE pretzel at a brewery and then John and Keith sat to watch some street musicians while Bill and Joanette did a little window shopping. We all walked to the riverside and watched a few barges heading up and down river.

ST. LOUIS – Gateway to the Frontier — Edmund Babler State Park —

Here we are lounging at Babler State Park! Notice the color of the sunset through the trees — courtesy of all the fires out west.

KATY TRAIL – Crown Jewel of the Rails to Trails — At least that is what our bicycling brother John tells us and that is what he has really been looking forward to. His plan is to do the entire Katy Trail in Missouri. John is feeling like Keith and I are getting better on our bikes and stronger in our legs that we can surely do this leg of the trail, from the Chesterfield Trailhead to where ever we felt we needed to turn around. So on September 14 we headed out not knowing how far we would go! The hardest part was UP AND OVER a bridge over the Missouri River. Joanette hadn’t gotten as good at downshifting as we all had hoped, and had to stop half way up the bridge. But after a rest was able to pedal the rest of the way!!!! Once we got over the bridge we pedaled along the Katy Trail in the shade along the Missouri River. We stopped at one photo op, which just happened to be Lewis and Clark’s first stop after they left St. Louis on their epic journey!! This was too cool! It was so pretty and the ride was easy so we pedaled all the way to the cute little town of Defiance and had lunch. After filling our “tanks” Keith wanted to continue up the trail far enough to make our ride 25 miles. Once we had gotten back to the beginning of the climb back up that pesky bridge we had a long rest and then began the climb! She made it! All the way to the top! We all rode back to our starting point, quite happy and satisfied! 25.57 MILES! Our longest ride yet!

Forest Park, St. Louis, MO – September 15 — home of the 1904 World’s Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics is a beautiful park in the middle of St. Louis. The map below shows our 9 mile bike ride around Forest Park. That was a fun day. Getting Joanette more and more comfortable riding! The sites in the park and sounds of the city around the park were fun, followed by a nice lunch on a city sidewalk table and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!

While in the St. Louis area we met Bills nephew Brad and his wife Sarah for dinner outside of a lovely Italian restaurant and then we had the best St. Louis Style BBQ pork chops in their back yard a couple of days later! Again, we sure enjoyed meeting more of Bills kinfolk!

GATEWAY ARCH — It is unbelievable how many great things we did while in Missouri and the trip to the Gateway Arch was among them. The size and shape of the monument are inspiring and the story of the construction is totally amazing. Pretty cool was the fact that it was estimated that 13 people could lose their lives in the construction, and that not a single person was lost!!

MISSOURI CONFLUENCE VIEW POINT — September 17 — Knowing where the Missouri River begins, having seen the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers back in August, and having followed the Mississippi River since seeing it’s headwaters in Minnesota, it was a great thrill to know that we could actually go to the confluence of the two great rivers, Missouri and Mississippi! We found on a map where we needed to go and there was a bike trail to take us there. Only, the bike trail was not rideable due to several years of flooding. So we took off on the bikes down a paved road, only to find out that it was no longer travelable either. But there was one more option, 11 miles (round trip) on another gravel road, to where we found what remained of a the bike trail (maybe). We went as far as we could, parked our bikes and followed/bushwhacked our way to where the observation deck was. What was left of it anyway. Those two mighty rivers did quite a number on the observation area, but we made it to the confluence!

Back to the KATY Trail – John’s plan to fulfill his dream of doing the entire Missouri Katy Trail (265 miles) involved Keith and I taking John and Bill to the beginning of the trail in Machens and they would ride that first leg back to Chesterfield. Then John would leave Chesterfield to do the next three segments on his own, staying at bed and breakfasts on each night. Then Keith and I would take Bill to the Pilot Grove Station where he would meet John and would ride the last two legs of the trail and we would meet them at Clinton.

John and Bill have a great travel blog which details the Katy Trail ride and all of our adventures, albeit from a different viewpoint. Check that out at johnandwilliamtravelblog.com. John is a great writer, has different pictures and different memories than Keith and I. We have both struggled to keep up with our blogs, we were just so busy having such a great time, it was hard to find time to sit and concentrate, but we are getting caught up!

DANIEL BOONE HOME – Defiance, Missouri — The day we went to the Missouri Confluence viewpoint, was also the day that John would begin his Katy Trail ride, we took John and Bill to their starting point in Machens after our 11 mile ride to and from the confluence. After we dropped them off at the trail head, we were excited to drive down to Defiance and see the place that Daniel Boone spend the last part of his life. We were so lucky to find out that Daniel Boone had lived in Missouri, near where we were spending some time, and learn that the Spanish government had offered the Boone family land if they would go in and establish roots in the frontier land there. Daniel Boon was a very well known man, world wide by this point, and this would help settle the area. Daniel’s land was in the lowlands next to the Missouri River, but his son Nathan had land on higher ground near Defiance where Daniel spent a good deal of time, actually spending list later years traveling between several of his children’s estates. The house is much like it was in the days that Daniel was there. It is a stately three story home on beautiful grounds. The room where Daniel Boone passed away looks like it did back then!

Bucksaw Campground on Harry Truman Lake – John left us at Edmund A. Babler State Park for day two of his six day trek along the Katy Trail. Bill, Keith and I packed up our rigs and moved to the western side of Missouri to Bucksaw Campground where we would spend several days before ending the Katy Trail ride at Clinton, Missouri. Keith and I took a day trip down to Monark Springs near Neosho, Missouri to see the Church of God National Campmeeting grounds that Keith attended with various family members as a boy. On the way we drove through the little town of Nevada, Missouri where our daughter Kristin attended Cottey College!

From Bucksaw we took Bill up to meet John at Pilot Grove so he could ride the last two legs of the Katy Trail with John. Thus began our duty of “Catsitting” Mouse, the light of their lives. Mouse seemed very content staying with Uncle Keith and Aunt Joanette for a few days!

The day John and Bill were to complete their Katy Trail ride, Keith and I drove to the Clinton end of the trail, got on our bikes and rode toward them. We did it again, a new personal best for us! 27.88 miles! We spent the next few days at Bucksaw recooperating and enjoying the two best campsites in the Army Corps of Engineers Campground!

Missouri, The Show Me state. sure did show us a great two weeks! It was beautiful, the trees were just starting to change colors and we wore ourselves out! On to Kansas!

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa!

It’s o.k. if that line doesn’t mean anything to you. Really. But to those of a certain age, or those who love baseball (or Kevin Costner), those words will mean something!

Keith and I got so excited when we discovered we were not far from the place the movie was filmed, and even more excited when John and Bill were excited along with us! It was a rainy day but we set out for Iowa nonetheless! Baseball fans are optimistic. Baseball is not for sissies!

We crossed the Mississippi, into Iowa and through the city of Dubuque.

On to Dyersville, through beautiful farmland, tons of corn fields, we meandered until over yonder we saw it:

And then we turned into kids! And the rain stopped!

They even had a concession stand called The Stretch, where we indulged in an afternoon drink and caramel corn! Back to Wisconsin where we would pack up camp and the next day head to Missouri! So lucky to get to Iowa and prove that “If you build it, they will come”!!

On Wisconsin!

We most recently were in High Cliff State Park on the high bank surrounding Lake Winnebago. We had a great time there, but it was time to move on to Hahn-a-Lula, along the Wolf River about an hour and half from High Cliff. Anchor Point Marina on the Wolf River is where Brian and Gary keep their boat, Summer’s Suite, (but will be renamed Pair o Docs, soon. Summer’s Suite is a 38 foot Carver built in Wisconsin and boy was she nice! We had a barbeque at the Marina on Friday night, and a nice boat ride and afternoon on Poygan Lake on Saturday. Of coarse that was followed by dinner again, Joanette’s popular Meditteranian style chicken (breasts split, marinated in olive oil and Italian seasonings), served on brown rice and covered in chopped English cucumber, Roma tomatoes, purple onion, Feta cheese and Kalamata olives. Sunday found us at it again, this time going the opposite direction on the river to Butte des Morts Lake. A great time was had by us all. We really appreciate Gary and Brian inviting us aboard, we had such a wonderful weekend!

Forgot to mention that Keith got his first haircut since Hot Springs! Brian, a doctor, had ordered himself a flowbee in the beginning of the Covid era. Well, he busted it out, hooked it up to a vacuum cleaner and away he went, with our suggestions and our encouragement to Keith! Here are a few documentary pictures!

On Monday before we packed up and headed to our next campground, we took a nice bike ride from Hahn-a-Lula to Lake Poygan and back, about 8.35 miles (with an elevation gain of 74 feet at a time of 46 minutes — thanks Strava). We saw a field full of Sand Hill Cranes, which are plentiful here. We packed up our rigs and headed down toward Milwaukee to our next residence at Waubedonia Park along the Milwaukee River.

The Milwaukee area is where Bill spent his childhood and young adulthood. Bill had lots to show us and family for us to meet! We visited with his sister Kathy and husband John, brother Kip and wife Jill, and had a great socially distant barbeque! We drove up to Cedar Grove, a small village where Bill and John had a lovely home, built by Bill on the bank above Lake Michigan. We did a nice long bike ride with John and Bill and waded in Lake Michigan!

Bill and John’s home on Lake Michigan near Cedar Grove

We spent some time with each of Bill’s Nieces and Nephews in Minnesota, Wisconsin and then later in St. Louis. We enjoyed each of those encounters very much, he has a wonderful fam. After our day in Cedar Grove, WI, we took trips into Milwaukee….

and Cedarburg…..

and Kohler… (aka Toilet Town by the locals, home of the Kohler Corporation, and we toured the Kohler Show Room and got some great pictures and ideas!

And then Keith and I took a day trip to Somers, Wisconsin where long ago Joanette’s Great Grandfather and his children settled. We found his daughters Mary Ann and Eliza and their descendents buried in the Oak Wood Cemetery. That was a wonderful day! But we have yet to figure out where her Great Grandfather is buried. We do know that two of his sons, her Grandfather Joseph and his brother Thomas ultimately settled in the Clearwater River area of Idaho, one in Nezperce Idaho and the other in Weippe Idaho. We will keep up our search!

Our trip is taking a turn now back to the Mississippi River, on the other side of the state of Wisconsin and Grant River Campground, an Army Corps of Engineers campground on the edge of the The Big River! We did have to take one day trip back to Milwaukee to pick up a package, which allowed us to see Lake Geneva on the way over, and the state capitol in Madison on the way back.

The above are pictures of The Grotto in Dickeyville, WI, between Grant River Campground and Dubuque, Iowa. It was perceived and built by the Father of the church there. It was a small park, walkways, and shrines made of mosaic in glass, crystal, beads, tiles, etc. Really quite beautiful!

We spent three weeks of our six weeks together in Wisconsin. What a beautiful state! We have other moments, stories, and pictures we could share but I think we have already journaled enough for today (actually, this blog has been in progress for about two weeks now, our internet service gets spotty, we get busy……)

While we were still in Wisconsin we did a quick trip into Iowa, just outside of Dubuque is the town of Dyersville, but we will keep that for our next blog. Let us just say “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa” and leave you in suspense!

Minnesota (or what we did two weeks ago!)

One last trip through Fargo, North Dakota and we are on our way to Minnesota. Two Rivers Campground and Tubing to be exact where we met up with John and Bill! Six weeks together “doing the Mississippi” is what we call it. Our first campground, Two Rivers, is at the confluence of the Platte River and the Mississippi River south of Little Falls, Minnesota. It is very pretty here, very green and lush, and a little bit humid.

One of our first excursions was a bike ride on the Soo Line Trail. We put in a few miles from our campground and the four of us rode 6 miles to the town of Bowlus where we stopped at a little cafe with the most enchanting gardens and had a cup of coffee. John continued his ride to St. Joseph where we picked him up later in the day. The rest of us headed from Bowlus back to the trailhead, completing a wonderful 12.1 mile trip! (Our longest to date!)

A drive up to Little Falls and Charles Lindbergh State Park for a little hike in the woods! Who would have known that Charles Lindbergh grew up near Little Falls, Minnesota! We found a nice trail in the woods that led us right by his childhood home along the Mississippi River.

We also took time to go to the dam in town and watch how much water comes down the Mississippi River, and we aren’t too far from the Mississippi Headwaters.

Speaking of headwaters, what would a Mississippi River Tour be without a trip to the actual headwaters of the Big Muddy? The vote was unanimous and we headed out bright and early for a two (or was it three) hour car trip to Lake Itasca, the source of the Big River. Wow, it was worth the trip! It is beautiful there, and the water begins flowing out of the lake over a “dam of small rocks” where it begins its 2,552 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. We all took the plunge and forded across the Mighty Mississippi just downstream from its source!

After four days at Two Rivers we headed to East Arbutus Park near Black River Falls, Wisconsin for John’s 67th birthday and a surprise visit from his friends Gary and Brian from Appleton, Wisconsin, which would be our next destination in a few days. We celebrated John’s birthday in style at Arbutus Lake, John also got in a nice bike ride with Bill and Brian on Saturday. We took a dunk in the lake which was quite refreshing! (No, that is not us in the photo)

On Monday we all left heading for the Appleton area to High Cliff State Park on the shores of Lake Winnebago. Brian and Gary actually went home for the 1st evening, and had us over for a wonderful dinner in a beautiful home on the banks of the Fox River. I regret that I got no pictures of the river from their home, but it was amazing!

On Tuesday the six of us did an amazing hike on the Red Bird Trail, a total of 3.8 miles.

Next blog post, Green Bay, Wisconsin and camping at Hahn-a-lula and boating on the Wolf River! Then on to the Milwaukee area! Boy time is flying and we are staying busy and too far behind on the blog!

NORTH DAKOTA (and a public service announcement)

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Makoshika State Park near Glendive, Montana. It is a beautiful place with lots to do in the area. Whether a destination or just a stop over, this place should be on every traveler’s list of good places to go! Although our activities while at in Glendive took us into North Dakota a couple of times (previous posts), Coach had not been there yet, so we didn’t really count those as having been to a new state! Keith and his family had spent a couple of summers in ND in the 1960s as his parents were involved in selling land in Arizona to those folks in ND who might want a warmer place to spend their winters. It is a totally new state for Joanette.

Our home in ND is an Army Corps of Engineers campground about 15 miles North of Valley City, ND. There is a very long lake called Lake Ashtabula on the Sheyenne River We are at the West Ashtabula Crossing Campground, on the West side of the lake and a very popular area with the locals. With a boat dock, fishing pier and fish cleaning station. West Ashtabula Crossing is about 16 miles north of Valley City, North Dakota, quite a gem of a small town.

I have to mention here, that we left Glendive, Montana on Saturday morning and arrived here Saturday afternoon. But it is what happened while still in Glendive that we must address. Consider this a public service announcement. When your medical care team suggests you get the shingles vaccination, you should not carry the prescription around with you for months, JUST DO IT! Joanette had seen that Keith felt bad after getting his shot back in June, so she was putting it off until we were somewhere for several days which would allow her to have a ‘down’ day. Well, instead she started feeling a ‘pin prick’ in her right nostril. After a couple of days of that there was this stabbing pain near her right ear, so on Friday, knowing that this was the beginning of shingles and after some tough love from Keith and Paula, she went to the Urgent Care Clinic in Glendive and sure enough, diagnosed with the shingles. Thank goodness I did that! I got started on an antiviral medication and told that if got worse or began to involve the right eye to go to an ER. Well, let me tell you, it got worse! On Monday we made the trip to Fargo to the ER at Sanford Hospital. What a blessing that doctor was! The shingles blisters were in my nose, on the roof of my mouth, my upper gums and in my ear (all on the right side!). And the pain traveled that trigeminal nerve across my face, around my ear and around my head (right side only). Gosh darn it, I don’t want anybody to ever have to feel that pain. Dr. Hushka got me started on a course of prednisone and a few pain pills (that I cut in half and doled out to myself in a very miserly way!)

We ended up going back to Sanford Eye Clinic having woke up one morning with a very blood shot eye. It was just that, a broken blood vessel, but the eye doctor wanted to see me the next day also. So all in all, I had one urgent care visit in Montana, one ER and two eye doctor visits in Fargo, North Dakota. I finished the course of antiviral and prednisone and although week one was horrible, week two was somewhat better, I’m feeling 80% better, but the sharp stabbing pains have not totally gone way, the inflamed mouth and gums have run their course. I will refrain from posting pictures of this but suffice it to say, get the vaccination!

After the second eye doctor visit we decided to stay in Fargo and go to the Cass County Historical Society Museum and pioneer village, Bonanzaville. This kept us entertained for three or four hours! It was the pioneer history of North Dakota, Cass County in particular. There were streets with pioneer cabins and homes from the bonanza farms of the day (the bonanza farms were the very large and well managed wealthy farms of the area). There were buildings full of early trains and memorabilia, horse drawn vehicles, fire and law enforcement of the early days.

Friday was the day for us to do the Scenic Byway drive that we had seen on the things to do list of the area. This was a 63 mile one way drive through the Sheyenne River Valley starting near West Ashtabula crossing, traveling through Valley City, Kathryn and ending in Lisbon North Dakota. We deviated getting to Lisbon, but followed the entire scenic route back home.

Educational, relaxing and a bit of rural America. We are enjoying doing and seeing some of the attractions that our beautiful country has to offer at the grass roots level!

On to Minnesota!

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

East on Interstate 94 about an hour from us was the town of Medora, ND, the gateway to the South Unit of the National Park. As we drove in we talked about how it looked like more badlands, but the beauty became apparent as we followed the Little Missouri River through herds of American Bison and wild horses just as back in Teddy’s days here. The story of his heartbreak, both his mother and his wife passing away on Valentine’s Day 1884 in New York, his sadness, and recovery in the Badlands of North Dakota! We followed winding roads and stopped for every hike we could (duly recorded on Strava).

Our first hike was Wind Canyon Trail with great vistas and it sure lived up to it’s name!

We saw several herds of American Bison throughout the park. One large herd crossed the road in front of us, many were way off in the distance, but this herd was lounging right next to the road, personally it was warm enough we thought they should be near or in the river or in the trees over yonder!

The wild horses were a favorite! At first we saw several herds way off in the distance, but on our way out we caught this herd just above the road! Ranchers back in the 1800’s would turn their horses out on the open ranger to live and breed. When needed they would round up the horses and their offspring for use as ranch horses. These are descendants of those horses!

This was a walk we took to the Old East Entrance of the park, through quite a heavily populated city of prairie dogs, and one bald eagle who was feasting, we presume on prairie dog! (see photo with blue circle)

Buck Hill was a great view point. Keith took a 360 degree video, but no still photos other than some modern day cairns (somebody had some time on their hands!) Alas, our blog won’t let us post videos. It was a fairly steep climb, but we are getting our climbing muscles toned up!

By this time we were starting to get tired and hungry, we turned at the sign that pointed the way to the Coal Vein Fire, but didn’t do the walk. We wish we had! A vein of coal burned from 1951 to 1977!

Another great day in the Book of Joiner! Joiner’s Journey continues as we make our way east tomorrow, Saturday, August 8 about 3/4’s of the way across the state of North Dakota to Valley City and West Ashtabula Crossing!

We sure miss Goober!

Yellowstone and Missouri Confluence

Knowing we were going to be in this area for a few days we decided to do a few car trips and see the sights. Other than agriculture there are not a lot of sights over here! But we thought the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers might be interesting since we have seen the Yellowstone River near it’s origins in the National Park and we had been following the Yellowstone River since Livingston. We knew that the Missouri apparently began near Three Forks. We hadn’t even thought about the fact that we would be seeing the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers in September. But that makes our decision to drive almost to Williston North Dakota a good one!

We scored by going here! First we learned a great deal about the importance of these two rivers to Lewis and Clark, the exploration of the frontier, the fur traders and the Native Americans. Adjacent to the interpretative center was Fort Buford, established by the US Army in approximately 1866 as a major supply depot for military field operations, to protect overland and river routes of the westward bound settlers. We were able to walk the grounds of Ft. Buford, and see several of the original buildings, had our own personal tour guide. Although it was hot outside, it appears that the breeze in North Dakota seems to be fairly constant!

Also adjacent to Ft. Buford was the cemetery where soldiers, civilians, (family of soldiers and laundresses) and Indians were buried, each had a marker with their names, date of death, and cause of death (illness, suicide, murder, etc.) Out of the several hundred that were buried there, eight remain, the others having been moved to the cemetery at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, or back east where their families were.

Nearby were the remains of the first Masonic Temple built in North Dakota. Not much remains other than the four corner markers. But in the works is a memorial to commemorate this.

As we drove toward the interpretative center earlier in the day we had passed a sign about historic Fort Union so on our way home we detoured down that road and stopped there. What a treasure. This old Fort Union had been restored by the National Park Service, no entry fee, and as there were no other visitors we had, once again, free rein of the fort and the employees were available to answer our unending questions. This was a trading post, established by John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company, to supply the local settlers, trade with the local Tribes and buy from the fur trappers and hunters.

As we were leaving Ft. Union we saw the signs denoting the Montana-North Dakota state line and just couldn’t resist taking pictures of us straddling the state line!

We returned home exhausted and happy from our adventure. Tomorrow on to Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

BADLANDS

Glendive, Montana, Makoshika State Park, geology, paleontology, walking and rock climbing! It’s beautiful here in an odd way. Rugged, rocky, layers upon layers of earth! Our first adventure was to drive as far as we could in the state park (which is Montana’s largest state park). We investigated some hiking trails, but they all looked dangerous for us older less experienced hikers! But we took lots of pictures!

The second evening we noticed a bench across the draw from our campground and asked several of the returning hikers how the trail was. They responded in agreement that we were capable of making it! So off we went! Early on we had an option of going “Grassland” or “Badland”. Grassland was .2 miles longer, but we opted for that. We use an app called Strava to document or walks, hikes, bike rides, which is a really cool app and as long as you remember to set it as you start off, it gives you a really great detailed account of your activies. Friends and relatives who also have Strava can ‘follow’ you and you give each other ‘kudos’ on activities completed!

After crossing the grassland we started our ascent, it seemed grueling, but we made it up, first to see the hadrosaur vertebrae (circled in blue) then continuing up to the bench! We met a nice young lady and her corgi Winston. She was kind enough to take pictures of us. Proof we made it to the top!

We made it to the top! We made it back down! We did take the “Badlands” segment of the trail on the way back. We sure enjoyed ourselves and our accomplishment!

We stretched muscles that hadn’t been stretched for a great while, we were sore and slept like babies! Tomorrow, northeast to the Yellowstone and Missouri Confluence Interpretative Center!

CANTON, ENID AND FT. SUPPLY

We decided to lay low for a while and found an Army Corps of Engineers park about and hour and a half northwest of Oklahoma City. We had it again, lake front views, electricity and water! Our reservation was for about five days, but we were enjoying the lazy days with no travel so we extended our stay for another week.

In the meantime we did do some exploring, we went to Enid, OK to replenish supplies and do laundry. While we were in Enid we drove by the house that Uncle Leslie and Aunt Sylvia lived in when Leslie was preaching at the Church of God there. We did a nice walk in Enid finding a ‘prairie’ exhibit, pictured here.

On our way to Enid we passed a road sign telling about “The Original Sod House”. Of course, on our way back from Enid, the lady in Google Maps had us go a different route and we didn’t drive by it. It was decided that we would do that on another day. And we did! What an interesting little gem. It is actually the last remaining sod house built by one of the original homesteaders of the Oklahoma Land Run. It is in a climate controlled ‘museum’ and we enjoyed it immensely. The curator was a knowledgeable lady who told us more about that time period, the gentlemen who built it, and so much history of the land run. I’ll include a lot of pictures, because they are well worth studying!

ROMAN NOSE STATE PARK — about 28 ago years Keith, Jason, Jaime and I did a three week vacation and we stayed at Roman Nose State Park! We discovered that we were not far and there were several hikes in the park we could do. We did indeed drive to Roman Nose twice to hike, saw no rattlesnakes, but met a nice lady with a beautiful white schnauzer. The lady was Stacy from Whitefish, MT! Small World! And her dog was adorable!

It had been about a week now since we met our new “Little Fellow”. Ken sent us a new picture of him at about four weeks of age!

The title of our blog today is Canton, Enid and Ft. Supply, well we will keep the part about Ft. Supply short. We found another Army Corps of Engineers campground northwest of us in the panhandle. It sounded like it had history, hikes, and wasn’t too far from Boiling Springs State Park, Woodward, OK, and Little Sahara, a sand dune filled area of fun! We were excited and reserved another site there for a week. Well, the “winds sweeping down the plain” became relentless, the temperature was predicted to fall into the 30’s and there was even a chance of snow in the week we would be there, so footloose and fancy free, we cancelled that reservation and headed south to Hereford Texas!

Why Hereford Texas one may ask. Bona fide question! They are the only town in our great nation with the name Hereford. Their high school mascot is the Whiteface, and they are known as the Hostile Herd and this little town is known as the Beef Capital of the World. Also known as the “town without a toothache” because of the high content of naturally occurring fluoride, but mostly it was the fact that the City of Hereford has a park that has six RV spots with full hook ups for a maximum of three nights, FREE! We checked in on Monday, did a walk around the ponds here at the aquatic center where we are parked. Did I mention that there are a ton of stockyards here? Cattle waiting to, well, waiting to do what cattle do. The smell, not too bad, there seems to be a gentle wind most of the time and the fresh ‘dairy air’ so to speak doesn’t linger!

Tuesday we drove to Amarillo (by morning!) and took a lovely walk in a park situated by the hospitals and medical professionals. Medicine Path, I believe it was!

Ken sent us a new picture of our boy, at five weeks. Up until now we have been calling him Little Fellow, but the decision has been made, his name will be “Chief”! We cannot wait to complete his transition into our clan!

Our last day in Hereford, (today, and our blog will be up to date!) we went for a walk down town to see some of the sights.

Tonight we are off to pick up a couple of beef brisket sandwiches (while in the beef capital…), tomorrow we are off to New Mexico and a Harvest Host winery. Hopefully in the future our blogs will not be so far in between and, therefore, a bit shorter!

Catching Up

Once again, we are playing catch up on our blogging! Days go by without internet, or too busy, or tired or lazy! But here we are in Glendive Montana, going to spend a few days with the dinosaurs in Makoshika State Park, we came into town to the Glendive Public Library where the internet is strong. Great day for a blog!

We were so blessed to spend our time in Hot Springs with Jim and Paula Stobie! Randi and the Grandkids, Audrey and Kason too! They kept Goober while went to a family funeral in Oklahoma. They blessed us during our hard time of Goober’s passing. While still in Hot Springs we made a weekend trip to the Deer Park / Chewelah area in Washington, to see our friends, Tommy and Patty (Joanette has known Tommy since they were wee little children and worked with Patty in early adulthood; Keith and Helen go clear back to when they were young Navy couples)! My oh my, we are getting old! We did three walks with Tommy and Patty, around their wilderness area outside of Deer Park/Clayton, Washington, Bear Lake over on Hwy 2 north of Chatterroy/Riverside and a real hike at Riverside State Park outside of Spokane along the Little Spokane River.

We spent a nice evening with a great supper at Helen’s house, she even gave us 1/2 gallon of raspberries, from the plants Joanette gave her years ago from her Mom’s patch in Coupeville, WA! Our trip to the inland northwest was complete! We left Hot Springs with heavy hearts on Wednesday, July 22, but with excitement of our journey east to meet brothers John Joiner and William Jacobs in Royalton, Minnesota for our late summer early fall sojourn down the Mississippi River!

We thank Jim and Paula for the hospitality, the great RV site! But we were needing to get started on our journey, so we said “See you in the spring”. We sure could have spent more time in Hot Springs, so many people we were not able to get together with. Next year, our friends, next year! We promise!

We started heading east by venturing all the way to Granite County, to spend about a full week at Georgetown Lake (Philipsburg Bay Campground) near our daughter Jaime and family. We were greeted upon our arrival by this guy (who was a frequent visitor to the campground)!! Gotta love moose!

We enjoyed some nice walks, bicycle rides, a trip to Deer Lodge to visit good friends, Scott and Ericka Grieco, and their kids Maddie and Caleb! Always fun to see them, took a tour of the ranch, and saw a badger!

Daughter Kristin and her guy Steve drove over Skalkaho Highway to spend a day with us and then two days later we drove over Skalkaho Highway to spend some time in Hamilton with them, got to see the home they will be moving into in the next few days. We were accompanied by Grandson James, and returned to Georgetown Lake via Missoula where we picked up our washing machine that was being repaired, we are sure glad to get it back, laundromats get old pretty fast!

James, Gma and Gpa at Skalkaho Falls!

Another few days with Jaime, James and Tyler, and a quick visit from Bailey and her little one Kona (who hadn’t forgotten us!).

We celebrated Keith’s 64th birthday in style, then we packed up on Wednesday to continue our eastward journey. This time we were headed to Cooney Lake State Park, south of Laurel/Columbus and north of Red Lodge where we were going to spend a couple of days with Granddaughter Bailey, meet her boyfriend Keegan, and do a little touristing!

Lesson learned, to get to Cooney Lake, go all the way to Laurel and go south, do not go south through Columbus, unless you want to drive about 12 miles on a gravel and rock road. (Personally, we’d skip Cooney Lake next time. Nice place if you have a boat, but we’d probably drive up to the ski slope outside of Red Lodge and boondock there, it was pretty, and much closer and paved all the way!) We spent the first day wandering the beautiful little town of Red Lodge with Bailey and Kona while Keegan worked ‘on the van’. Later than evening the two of them came out to the state park, we barbequed burgers and had a mini birthday celebration (Keith’s on July 27, Keegan’s on August 2 and Bailey’s on August 11)! Fun Times!

Day two in the Red Lodge area, we had asked the kids if they wanted to “do the Beartooth Highway” with us, but they begged off, to get more done on the van. Bailey suggested we pick up some peanuts for the chipmunks at the first view point. Great idea Bailey!

We sure enjoyed these little critters. Yes, we know better, but there were no signs saying “do not feed the wildlife”, and these little guys were really fat, they needed more peanuts!

The Beartooth Highway is something everyone should do, at least once in a lifetime, in a good vehicle, with good brakes, binoculars, and a camera. Stunning! The climb up the mountains in Montana, full of hairpin curves, rock walls, all built in 1936, but well maintained, into Wyoming up near the top and back down into Montana arriving at Cooke City (just outside of the northeastern entrance to Yellowstone) There were so many views, high mountain lakes, we took hundreds of pictures. Here are a few of our favorites:

The Beartooth Highway was a full day, we got back to see that they had accomplished a lot on their van and had a bite to eat at Mas Taco in Red Lodge Great California style Mexican fare eaten outside on the patio with two wonderful young people. Our blessings to them as they begin their own journey in a restored 1969 VW Van! Hey you are only young once, Keith and I just waited longer!

Yesterday morning (August 1) we packed up Coach, hooked up Toad and headed north and then east. We arrived in Miles City, Montana for two nights. We stayed at Tongue River Winery with hosts Bob and Marilyn. A beautiful vineyard just outside of Miles City, luscious fruit wines, cherry, plum, choke cherry, rhubarb and some grapes they grow here, or are grown in the cold northern climates. Definitely not California wines!

We’ve taken Miles City Montana off our bucket list! On to Glendive, a day trip to Williston to the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, a day trip over to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, more blogs to follow!