Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks


, , ,

This Thanksgiving finds us safely ensconced back home in Maryland with family and friends.  We have been incredibly fortunate to be able to enjoy our itinerant lifestyle exploring our wonderful nation’s beauty.  From coast to coast, across the Midwest, into the northern tier of the Plains states to the rich verdant glory of the Pacific Northwest and back across the high Sierra and the deserts of the Southwest to the Gulf coast of Florida and now lastly up through the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, we are home.  What an adventure! To be able to take you along with us has been a constant reminder of our good fortune and we are extremely thankful for it.  Most of all, and I have said this many times to people who ask if we enjoy it, the answer is always yes, but we sure do miss our family and friends and being able to cook a real meal. So now here we are squarely in the middle of them for the holidays making “Gramma D Rolls” for Thanksgiving dinner.

Marti and I sincerely hope your holidays are full and joyful and most of all warmed with the love of those who are dearest to you.

While we are here we plan to post some thoughts and remembrances about our travels this year.  We hope you will enjoy these little pieces as much as we will thinking back on our adventure.

Happy Holidays to all of you!

Ed and Marti


Aspen woods in the Kaibab National Forest near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.


The Narrows of the Virgin River in Zion National Park.


Lake Watson in the Granite Dells, Prescott, Arizona.

Oregon ~ Love A Lotta Lava!


, , , , , , , , , ,

Needing to stop off in Oregon’s state capital Salem to get our 60,000 mile Sprinter service (the chassis is a Mercedes Sprinter and the coach is Winnebago) afterwards we had a bit of a walk around town and good lunch at the bar in the Table FIVE 08  restaurant.  The next day we left Salem for the cute little town of Sisters via the very pretty State Route 22E to US 20.  This route is almost entirely in both the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests where the huge B&B Complex Fires in August & September of 2003 burned almost 91,000 acres killing over half the trees.


As far as your eye can see, most of those trees are dead.  Mt. Washington is the pointy peak in the distance.


Slowly over time the forest regrows.

After spending the night at the Sisters Creekside Campground which is in a lovely woods, on the edge of town and walking distance to restaurants, shops and Sisters Bakery, (YUM!!)  we drove west on the beautiful McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass National Scenic Byway – St. Rt. 242.  This road separates the Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas and at the McKenzie Summit is the Dee Wright Observatory where the view across 65 square miles of lava is spectacular!


Looking south from the Dee Wright Observatory, at 5187 ft. elevation,  two of the three Sisters still have snowfields.


The lighter area center/left is a portion of the treacherous McKenzie Salt Springs and Deschutes Wagon Road constructed during the period between 1866 and 1872 and it followed the original Indian trail across the lava fields.

Route 242 ends at St. Rt. 126 where we headed north following the magnificent McKenzie River.  Remarkably clear and an amazing color the McKenzie is one of the prettiest rivers we’ve seen.  There’s a very popular 26 mile hiking/biking trail running along the river and we did a tiny bit of it and would love to do more someday.


Along the McKenzie River.  Note the turquoise blue (not photoshopped) and the clarity of the water. Marti says she was actually enjoying herself very much despite the frown.


Waterfalls along the McKenzie River Trail.


At Santiam Junction 126 joins with US20 where we headed back to Sisters.  If you’re ever close to this area I suggest you put this drive on your MVL (Must Visit List).

Moving down the road about 30 miles to Crown Villa RV Resort in Bend we settled in at one of the nicest commercial RV parks ever.  Not cheap, but lots of space in a pretty treed location with the nicest laundry I’ve used to date, make note RV friends!   Unfortunately the weather became wet and generally unpleasant so we decided to poke around Bend which is considered by many folks as being in the USA top 10 places to live.  We had a damp picnic lunch in Drake Park which has some lovely old homes surrounding it and then walked around Downtown Bend which has the Red Chair Gallery where we may have bought some things🙂  In truth we barely touched town, but what we saw was very nice and probably worth a better look someday. This trip however we were more interested in exploring the immense amount of volcanic landscape here.

I was especially looking forward to seeing the Lava River Cave located in the  Newberry National Volcanic Monument.  To our amazement this is a self guided mile long hike (one way) through an UNLIT lava tube!  No hard hats, no checking to see if you’ve got a flashlight (they do rent very good torches) no Forest Service personnel inside, just enjoy yourself!  We keep asking each other where the liability lawyers were locked up because you’d never see this back home🙂


Inside the entrance to the Lava Tube Cave looking out.


It gets beyond real dark in there.  Like any cave it is total blackness.  The ceiling is bend down low in spots.  In other spots it’s very high too.  I made these cave photos black and white due to the poor color rendition in such low light plus they were taken with my phone!

Next on the “lava list” was a walk at Big Obsidian Flow also in the Newberry NVM.  Ed and I have been to lots of lava fields in many states but we have rarely seen any obsidian and to see a really large area covered with this volcanic glass was sooo cool! As much as I wanted to, I followed the rules and did not help myself to a great big chunk of it🙂


The shiny black layer is obsidian, volcanic glass formed by the rapid cooling of lava with minimal crystal growth. Chips of it are extremely sharp.  The Indians used it for arrow and spear points and knives and modern surgeons sometimes use a scalpel fashioned from obsidian that is much sharper than the steel scalpels.

With the sun at last fully back (it was almost hot), we drove part of the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway.  Along this route is Sparks Lake which Oregon’s Photographer Laureate Ray Atkeson called the prettiest place in the state. With this recommendation we bounced out the dirt NF400 (National Forest Rd) to hike the Ray Atkeson Loop Trail.  It was a lovely 2.5 mile walk with great views and of course lots of lava. The only negative was maybe the worst allergy attack I have ever had!  There’s some kind of evergreen out here that my nose does NOT like.


Sparks Lake with South Sister reflected on the Ray Atkeson Trail. Note the lava in the foreground.


The Fall colors were really pretty contrasted with the lava along the trail.

As I have said in other posts I saw a lot of the west back in 1962 and some of those places have always held a special spot in my heart, one of those is Crater Lake.  Back then we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Dad led us on a hike down to the water and I used my hands to drink out of this incredible pristine volcanic caldera.


Wizard Island in Crater Lake.  The island is itself a cinder cone, a remnant of a later eruption after the caldera collapsed. The lake is at its deepest 1946 ft. and is the deepest lake in the USA. It was entirely filled by rain and snow melt. 

Now, even though there are many, many more people coming here, and even though the loop road was under repair and causing long delays and even though the one path down to the water was closed, it’s still an amazing place.

Pretty much we think you should put this whole post on your MVL!


Some lavas that are very brittle exfoliate into these chunks due to freezing and thawing of ice in cracks.


Marti inside the Dee Wright Observatory which was built out of the surrounding lava rocks by the CCC in 1935. Each opening has a plaque beside it saying what mountain is viewed through it.  It was also very cold.


The lava fields here at Dee Wright Observatory are AA, (Ah Ah) lava. It’s a Hawaiian word.  The pieces are very rough and jagged.


One of many waterfalls on the McKenzie River Trail.


The lava tube cave fills with sand and dirt particles washed in by water seeping through the rock.  The floor was covered with drip holes in all kinds of patterns and lines.


In case you missed it.  The cave is filled with rock and sandy dirt and is currently impassable. 


Ed’s little buddy says, “Put ’em up!”


Trees will sprout anywhere there is dirt and moisture. Marti really thought this one was cute.


The Big Obsidian Flow in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Seated at the top near here, we had a long chat with some very nice young people who were back in the parking lot before us.  As I passed them they handed me a half six pack of various Oregon beers.  They said they really enjoyed talking with us and thought I would like these.  They were right!


A nice mountain view across the meadow and stream on the road to Sparks Lake.


Marti loves these two stick figures, one walking, one crawling up from Crater Lake. She’s a little nuts, but I will keep her anyway.


She likes these trees too…


The orange rock feature on the right is called Pumice Castle above Crater Lake.


The Rim Road travels away a bit from the crater in some places.   Here it passes Mt. Scott which for obvious reasons we had to have this photo.  Mt. Scott is an extinct volcano that was once larger (before it blew up too) than Mt. Mazama which formed Crater Lake when it collapsed.


Goodbye! Until the next post!

Oregon ~ A Pretty Place


, , , , , , , , ,

Heading toward Portland, Oregon but not wanting to get too near the hustle and bustle (and traffic) we opted to base out of the cute little town of Troutdale and the Sandy Riverfront RV Resort.  For you fellow RV’ers this is a nice place even though it is generally just a lineup of rigs, but lots of flowers, nice people, good laundry and easy short walk into town which is always a big plus in our book!

One of the rewards to our bopping around the country is seeing friends we’ve not seen in years and this time it was our young friend Michelle Hiltner.


SELFIE!,  You know who, You know who and our sweet friend Michelle.

She suggested meeting at McMenamins’ Edgefield just down the road, where we had a nice lunch and wonderful visit. They make wine and whiskey here on the grounds and being harvest time we stood and watched the initial processing of the grapes, and then of course had a few tastings  🙂


1. The Pinot grapes are dumped into the crusher and separated from the stems.  2. The skins and juice have dry ice added to help prevent bacterial infection, thus the vapor.  3. The juice is dumped into a vat for fermentation.  Fork lifts are handy.

Troutdale calls itself the Gateway to the Gorge and the old State Route 30 part of the Historic Columbia River Highway was designed by Samuel C. Lancaster to take advantage of the many waterfalls and the natural beauty of the landscape.  Completed in 1922 it was an engineering marvel and we drove the narrow, twisting, woodland part between Troutdale and Dodson (where 30 joins up with I-80).  Not only is it a beautiful drive, we were greatly impressed to learn of the generous benefactors who back in the day, had purchased some of the land containing these lovely waterfalls to hold them as public parks and thereby protected for all of us.


Bridal Veil Falls, Columbia River Gorge

We finished our tour at the once huge Bonneville Dam (there are larger newer dams upstream on the Columbia) where we greatly enjoyed watching the fat salmon and other fishes going up the fish ladder.


The fish ladder zig zags to control the speed of the current because the fish are swimming upstream against the flow.  Salmon prefer 5-7 mph. 

I will admit to wishing at least one of them was on my dinner plate.


There are windows looking into the fish ladder where you can see the fish swimming passed.  In a room the public cannot access, there are observers whose job is to count the fish by species as they pass.  8 hours a day, with a break every hour for 15 minutes.  Applications accepted.

The next morning we headed for Mount Hood out State Route 26 to 173-Timberline Hwy and the historic Timberline Lodge where we had a good lunch with an incredible view!


To be honest, one floor down from our table at lunch.

Afterwards I pointed to one of many paths and told Ed I just wanted to go up a little ways.  What a beautiful place for a walk and the old lodge is magnificent.


The Lodge looking back from our walk.  Next time we are here, we are staying in the Lodge.

Switching gears and directions once again we headed back to the Pacific Coastal Highway 101 where we stopped at a local park (so sorry I am not sure where) and watched the grey whales migrating.  LOTS of whales!!  Granted, pretty much all we saw were them spouting (which by the way is how to spot them, watch for the blast of water from the surface of the ocean), and their tails as they would periodically go deep.  We continued to stop and watch for them, and see them, as we progressed down 101 over the course of several days.  Certainly giving them more anthropomorphic traits then I should, I couldn’t help but chuckle wondering if they have any idea that humans get REALLY EXCITED when just barely seeing a tiny bit of them?


Whale Tail. Isn’t it magnificent!?

Taking the Otter Crest Loop Rd off 101 (it’s one way so coming from the north you just have to watch for it after passing Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint).  This is a lovely less traveled route and at the end is Devils Punch Bowl.


Devil’s Punchbowl.  Oh well, we were there at low tide.

Landing in Newport for the night we found the bay side much more inviting than the ocean side.


Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, Oregon.  Designed by Conde McCollough as were many of the bridges on 101 in Oregon. They feature Art Deco details and are delightfully charming.

The next day we went on to Florence, which is a neat town.  The fog had either rolled in, or was advancing as a wall depending on where we were.


Headed towards Florence, Oregon where the sand dunes become a prominent feature of the coast.  The fog bank creeps in from the sea as a wall over the town.

My photographer companion says it’s often more interesting than bright sunshine.  We did have a good dinner at  Bridgewater Fresh Fish House-Zebra Bar where I kid you not, the young waiter said to me “would you like me to refill your free water?”

Next posting is headed back inland and it is going to be HOT….well….it was hot a long time ago!  You’ll understand soon🙂


One of several waterfalls along the Rt 30 in the Columbia River Gorge.


Latourelle Falls in the gorge.  The bright yellow on the right is a lichen.


Vista House in the Columbia River Gorge. This is still navigable waters from the sea.


Over there, those are the windows we looked through at lunch in the Timberline Lodge.


This is the beginning of our walk, at 6500 ft. elevation, after lunch.


Coming and going.  Can some of our birder friends confirm these are Magpies? They were very busy and squawky…


Along the Oregon Coast on 101


These potholes are worn by the sea and tides.  The water flows in and out underneath.


Here the sea erupts out of one of the same potholes as the tide rises. 


It was a windy, stormy day.


Two fishermen looking for salmon running.


Devil’s Churn along Hwy 101


Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area on the coast starting at Florence.


They are big!


Low tide at the beach…


Water reflects the sunlight in so many random ways on the coast.

The Last of Washington and the Beginning of Oregon


, , , , , , , , ,

Hello from Nevada!  I know, I know last blog post was from Mount St. Helens Washington so what’s with Nevada?  Truth is we are so behind in our posting we have decided to skip quickly (fewer words, more of Ed’s photos) through our travels in Washington, Oregon and California…yeah we’ve physically already covered that much territory!

After Mt. St. Helens we broke our normal pattern and got on Interstate 5 and did a hard drive north to St Rt 20 and the very lovely Anacortes City Washington Park.  Sitting on the west end of Fidalgo Island there are lovely views of the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains along the 2 plus mile loop road we enjoyed walking.


San Juan Islands and a ferry looking from near our campsite on Fidalgo Island and the Anacortes City Washington Park

Driving on down 20 we took the Coupeville Ferry to Port Townsend (yes fellow RV’ers you’ll fit) which is a town we recommend for a short visit. However, plan ahead as the Port Hudson Marina & RV Park, right on the edge of town is small and popular and sooo convenient.


Our evening sunset lights up the clouds to our east at Port Townsend from our campsite.

Wandering around town we especially recommend Insatiables Books (rare & used where Ed bought a copy of Winnie the Pooh in Latin), Forest Gems Mill & Gallery (wonderful wood works and raw wood), Better Living Through Coffee (dark chocolate mocha!) and dinner at Alchemy Bistro & Wine Bar.  Oh and if you’re into handmade wooden boats, Port Townsend is the place for you!  The wooden kayaks built here by Pygmy Boats are just beautiful!! Although we missed it there’s the famous Wooden Boat Festival every September.


There is also some really cool architecture in Port Townsend.

Being in the neighborhood so to speak we drove out lovely Rt. 112 to the Makah Indian Reservation and Cape Flattery the most northwestern point in the contiguous US.  Put this place on your MVL (Must Visit List).


We wandered off the path and the point beyond Marti is Cape Flattery.


and this is the view west from Cape Flattery at that point behind Marti.

Next up was the west side of Olympic National Park and the Hoh Rain Forest. I remember being fascinated by the temperate rainforest when Dad brought us west in 1962 and it hasn’t lost any of its charm.  Truly lovely in its remarkably green mossy mantle, it’s easy to believe that “thing” over yonder was a sasquatch, and boy oh boy are carvings, and drawings and businesses in on the bigfoot craze🙂


Sasquatch is everywhere….

We drove the famous coastal highway 101 which by the by is not all coastal, but lovely regardless, eventually ending up at Cape Disappointment State Park for our last night in Washington State.


North Head Lighthouse from the beach just north of Cape Disappointment 


Astoria from the Astoria Column.  The bridge from Washington State across the Columbia River is in the distance.

Our first stop in Oregon was Astoria where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.  One of the most dangerous crossings in the world, the bar here where the Columbia flows into the Pacific has sunk many a ship earning it the Graveyard of the Pacific name.  Reading about past and present stories of trying to cross during storms and the bar pilots who bring ships across is well worth your time at the interesting Columbia River Maritime Museum.  Afterward, do stop by Clemente’s Café for a good meal and to watch the boats.


The remnants of the wreck of the Peter Iredale a victim of the Columbia River bar on October 25th, 1906.

Ed in particular has a fascination with Lewis and Clark having a number of years ago read simultaneously Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage and Lewis & Clark’s Journals, so we had to visit Fort Clatsop National Memorial.  This is the site where the Corps of Discovery encamped in December 1805 until March 1806 when they headed back east.  There is not only an excellent small museum the fort has been replicated on the exact spot (they believe within 2 feet) as it was originally.  We highly recommend a visit here.


Fort Clatsop from outside the gate.  We asked why in such a rainy climate the roof was pitched inward and the answer was that the US Army protocol was to blame.  The roof is pitched like this so soldiers inside the fort can have a clear shot at invaders coming over the top.

Hope we’re not moving too fast…and do look for another posting soon!


Marti walking among the coastal cedars at Washington Park on Fidalgo Island.


The next day we sat along the water and watched the Sun set and the ferry’s go back and forth.  Marti really likes silhouettes. 


At Cape Flattery just to the left of the point.


At Cape Flattery we had the great joy of sighting extremely rare Sea Otters.  Four of them!


Still at Cape Flattery we saw these sea caves that are full of Cormorants squawking up a storm.  There were hundreds of them in this cave and the stench was noticeable. 


The walkway out to the point was laid out by an artist.  It was simply beautiful and perfectly proportioned following the ups and downs of the landscape.  It was the prettiest woodland walkway we have ever been on in our lives. 


Marti thinks these are two giant woodland creatures sitting side by side.


Then there’s the Winged Snuffleupagus.


We saw all kinds, colors and shapes of Banana Slugs all over the Olympic Peninsula.  


Along the road to and from Cape Flattery.


Ed thought this was interesting as it shows how long it takes to grow a forest.  Timber is the biggest industry in this part of the world.


In the Hoh Rain Forest on the west side of the Olympic National Park, Marti found a lovely walk.




Along the Moss Trail in the Hoh Rain Forest.


Very pretty mushrooms.


Pick Up Sticks in the rain forest…?


Temperate rain forest is green.


On 101 Ruby Beach is littered with driftwood as is the entire coast.


At low tide the Sea Anemones are exposed at Ruby Beach.


Sea Stacks on Ruby Beach at low tide.


Further down the coast towards Cape Disappointment.


On 101 between MM 162 and 163 there is a sign for Big Cedar Tree, so we went to look. They weren’t kidding.


A sea stack at North Head.


The Astoria Column, 164 open grate steps just about did Marti in. It’s not the climbing, it’s the opens stairs.  The artwork on the side portrays the history of Oregon.


The beach near Ft. Stevens south of the Columbia River bar.


The Captain’s quarters at Fort Clatsop.


The courtyard inside the fort.


In Astoria, there is a trolley line and this sign warns bicyclists who may have been drinking about the tracks.

Mount St. Helens


, , , , , ,

Heading towards Mount Saint Helens from Ellensburg we drove south on State Rt. 821 which follows along beside the Yakima River through huge grass covered basalt mountains.  It was a Saturday and even though it was cloudy and just barely warm the river was full of folks individually, or tied together in groups, tube floating down this lovely wide river.  It’s a delightful drive and we highly recommend it over the parallel route of Interstate 82 and the rafting part looks like great fun.


A small stretch of the Yakima River without tubers.


As we left the Yakima River Canyon we found this orchard of espaliered apple trees. This is something you usually see in formal gardens. Why they were espaliered we don’t know but they sure were pretty. 

From there we took the beautiful US Hwy 12 to get to St. Rt. 505 then St. Rt. 504 (Spirit Lake Hwy) up to Johnston Ridge Observatory 5 ½ miles from the blast site of Mount St. Helens.  This drive affords spectacular views of the forest destruction, lahar mudflows, ash fields, surrounding landscape and of course, the still active but quiet volcano herself.


Mount Saint Helens


This is one of the lahars from the eruption.  A lahar is a type of mudflow or debris flow composed of a slurry of pyroclastic material and water.  The material flows down from a volcano, typically along a river valley. In this case the North Fork of the Toutle River valley covering 25 square miles.    A video is here.  

The observatory is named for David A. Johnston the USGS volcanologist who was killed while manning an observation point 6 miles from the volcano near this spot. The display of photographs, and timeline of the eruption on May 18, 1980 is very interesting, and the section with the stories of survivors and what they saw and went through is fascinating and incredibly sobering.


Johnston Ridge Observatory.  Flying rocks, over three feet in diameter, moving at 300 MPH ripped this tree apart. 

There are ranger’s talks held about every 20 minutes and we decided to listen to one. Like many of you dear readers, back in that spring of 1980 we had followed the news articles detailing the destruction, the many lives lost and the effects of the aftermath, but we had no idea really until we listened to Ranger Todd (who’s been here 30 years) tell about the eruption.  With encyclopedic knowledge (and humor) he explained the astonishing speed and power of the explosion and destruction accompanied by first hand photos and accounts.  Quite literally jaw dropping!!  Ed and I both agree he is one of the most fascinating, informative and delightful people experiences we’ve had on this adventure!  Absolutely put a visit to Mount St. Helens and the Johnston Ridge Observatory on your MVL (Must Visit List)!!


Our first view of Mt. Rainier from the Yakima River Valley.  Shortly after this it was obscured by clouds never to be seen by us again.


A typical view along HWY 12.


Before May 18th, 1980…


and now.  This is from the Johnston Ridge Observatory.


The soft ash is easily eroded by snowmelt and rain.  You can see some vegetation is coming back.


We walked out along a path that ran along a very, very steep and soft hillside.  This tree is one of the remaining examples of how violent the explosion was at this distance from the volcano.


A pretty detail along the above path where we stopped to chat with an older couple who were sitting to enjoy the view.  They come here often to see the rebirth and remember because they lived through the eruption.  The gentleman told us that on the night of THE day he got up to check on things and  also to drive down to check on their neighbors. Down the road the mud flow was high enough to come to his floorboard so he turned around and went back home.  He said  “I got her up (pointing to the lady) and said wake the boys and get the 3 dump trucks and go! ”  At that point the pickup would not start again so they left it and fled in the dump trunks!!!   


A view of snow covered Mt. Adams on the left, 25 miles away where a hiking party on the summit witnessed the eruption.  They heard no noise whatsoever because they were in the so called “quiet zone” due to the complex response of the eruption’s sound waves to differences in temperature and air motion of the atmospheric layers.  Others heard the boom as far away as British Columbia, Montana, Idaho and northern California.  Prevailing winds blew the ash cloud towards them and static electricity from the dust particles charged every metal thing they had with them causing it to hum including a 14 year old boys braces.  Then debris began falling on them and barely escaping with their lives they ran down the mountain.


The volcano is still active with live steam vents in the crater and some recent rumblings.  Winds kick up the ash creating a haze around the crater.


Harry Truman, who owned and operated the Spirit Lake Lodge refused to leave and is buried under more than 150 feet of debris.  He is one of 57 dead or missing.

Washington State ~ Orchards and Mountains


, , , , , , , ,

After our Spokane goodbyes we headed north for the town of Republic via US Hwy 395 toward Kettle Falls Washington where we’d again pick up US 2.  This is where the Kettle River flows into the mighty Columbia which is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest.  Having lots of time we decided to investigate the Kettle for a while so stayed with 395N which follows the river all the way to Canada.  Not wanting to go that far we crossed the river at Orient onto Orient Cut Off then south on Pierre Lake Rd and back down to Lake Roosevelt created by the Columbia River’s Grand Coulee Dam 144 miles downstream!  It is a pretty drive on mostly good dirt roads.


Pierre Lake Road down to Lake Roosevelt

Heading west on US 2 over Sherman Pass we got into Republic in time for a late lunch at the Knotty Pine (very good bacon cheeseburger) and a visit at the Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site. Turns out right here in town there’s an extensive plant and insect fossil site dating from about 50 million years ago. For a small fee we’re all invited to come look for them, and even keep up to 3 finds!  We didn’t know about this interesting fact and consequently did not allow time to go digging….but I will if we ever get back this way🙂

The next morning we continued on State 20W through big hills/mountains covered with dry grass towards Tonasket where we started seeing orchards of apples, pears and cherries.  We cut back into the hills to look at the countryside and orchards.


Fruit orchards use reflective mylar to bounce sunlight back up to the bottom of the fruit to even out ripening.

On Pine Creek Road we drove past a place completely surrounded by high, screened fencing with cameras posted everywhere….HOLY COW IT’S DOPE!!… Yup, this is Washington State and it’s LEGAL cannabis!  Welcome to Empire Experience, marijuana growers! And yes, it certainly is a bit of a shock to folks who grow up in the 60’s, but we couldn’t help laughing!!


Cannabis, Marijuana, Dope, Pot, Grass, Weed, 420, whatever.  It’s legal!

We spent the next few days at the nice enough Pine Near RV Park (a really easy walk into town) in Winthrop which is a touristy town, but cute enough and GOOD home-made ice cream….have you noticed a theme with me yet🙂

With Winthrop as home base, we drove out beautiful 20W, put this road on your MVL (Must Visit List), into the Okanogan National Forest.  This route takes you by the Washington Pass Overlook where a short walk goes out to a wonderful view of the mountains, and the road you’ve just ascended.


Looking down on HWY 20 from the Washington Pass overlook. 

Further west at the edge of Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Ross Lake National Recreation Area, where we turned around for the day, the view over Ross Lake looking into the North Cascade Mountains is just fabulous, and with more glaciers than at Glacier National Park!


Ross Lake looking north towards the Cascade Mountains

On the return trip we had to stopped for a short hike in the woods at Happy Creek Trail….I mean with a name like that🙂


A picture of Marti taking a picture of Happy Creek.

Continuing on our trip west we back tracked a bit and picked up St. Rt. 153S through the Methow Valley along the Methow River down to where it joins the Columbia and we picked up 97S.  Lots more orchards and grapes growing, at least until we got on US 2 west and back into the mountains of the Wenatchee National Forest. From Coles Corner we wandered up 207N to pretty Lake Wenatchee where we drove out lovely NF65 (National Forest road) which while paved allowed for no errors.


Along NF 65 in a wide spot.

Back tracking again, we camped at Icicle River RV just outside of Leavenworth, which is a tourist town I salute.  Seems back in the early 1960’s this struggling logging town decided to do something to save itself and formed a committee, Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone).  Looking at their lovely alpine mountain location and taking a cue from a California town which had “gone Danish” they became Bavarian!  New fronts went onto buildings, Bavarian artwork, food, festivals and crafts were produced and promoted and they are now doing just fine thank you!  Pretty clever I think🙂

The next morning we drove on out US 2W, by the way also put this road on your MVL, to visit Deception Falls and walk the loop trail.  Not only is it really beautiful, but the parts of the trail that had steps were designed by someone who actually placed them at the correct height and stride, very rare!


Along the loop trail at Deception Falls.

After this we drove almost to the town of Index where we stopped to hike the Bridal Veil Falls trail.  Turns out it was a good bit further and up than we thought so although we never quite made the falls we had a gorgeous walk in the woods!


We are amazed at the ferns.

We took a couple of days to have a nice visit with Marguerite a newly discovered 3rd cousin of Ed’s, in Ellensburg and then headed out for our next blog posting… Mount St. Helens, Coming Soon!  🙂


Heading back into the hills where they grow the cannabis.


A spectacular view of the Cascades with nice green meadows.


Happy Creek Trail


Happy Creek


Washington Pass on our return trip in the afternoon.


An interesting intrusion of quartz?


Ferns in the late afternoon light along the Bridal Veil Falls Trail


A tree on a stump.  The loop trail along Deception Falls


Can you see the cat peering out from the stump?


Below Deception Falls on the loop trail


A log bridge over the creek below Deception Falls


The water of this creek at Deception Falls is nearly sterile of life due to a lack of nutrients.  The stream flows over granite which is high in silica, a mineral which does not easily dissolve in water and thus does not contain many nutrients.  Combined with low light this inhibits algae growth essential as the basis of life in the water. But it sure is clear.


The end of the day’s hike on Bridal Veil Falls Trail. 

Washington ~ Spokane and the Polouse


, , , , , , , , ,

With our arrival in Washington, Ed adds one more, #45 to his almost completed list of states visited.  We headed straight for Spokane (spoKAN) to visit with Moni (Monica) & Fred Spicker.  Moni and I became “blood sisters” back in junior high school but missed each other’s wedding because we got married on the same day. Although we have rarely seen each other since our early 20’s we still start right up where we last left off.  Fred was in recovery from an involved shoulder surgery and so Moni went into tour guide mode and showed us the surrounding sites.


Moni and Fred outside their cute Craftsman house beside Corbin Park, Spokane.

The geology of Eastern Washington is a fascinating result of almost unimaginable huge flows of lava followed much later by equally huge floods of water.  At the end of the last Ice Age in western Montana, a glacial ice dam that had blocked the Clark Fork River for thousands of years broke.  The estimated 500 cubic MILES of water that was Glacial Lake Missoula came roaring out of the mountains of Idaho scouring, reforming, redirecting and gouging the landscape around Spokane, the Columbia Basin and eventually into the Pacific.  Geologists estimate there were as many as 40 of these floods over about 2,000 plus years!

Our first day Moni took us to the Riverside State Park and the Bowl & Pitcher for a short walk around the lovely Spokane River.  Great basalt rock formations and cliffs make an interesting and unique landscape that invites climbing but closer inspections of potentially loose rock keep me on the trail.


The Bowl and Pitcher on the Spokane River in Riverside Park, Spokane.

Having worked up a bit of an appetite, we collected Fred and went to Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle for lunch.  Their specialty is milkshakes and we do recommend them…in fact that’s all I had for lunch🙂

The next day we went to Manito Park in the South Hill neighborhood of Spokane and had a nice walk around the various gardens and greenhouse.  The Rose Hill area of the gardens was especially nice.  Unlike so many rose gardens we’ve been to, here instead of a single plant of each they did large groupings and the effect of a mass of say Queen Elizabeth next to Mt. Hood was wonderful. The scent on the soft breeze was pretty darn nice too!


While Marti and I agree this is an exquisite photograph of a beautiful rose, she’s irritated that I did not take a picture of the overall garden, but she loves me anyway.

That evening we had a delicious dinner at Wild Sage where Ed and Fred enjoyed the attentions of possibly the most lovely and exotic Cleopatra-like waitress ever.

On day 3 Moni (being a dedicated Whack-A-Mole Wheels blog reader) loaded us and some good sandwiches up and headed out to show off the kind of landscape she was sure we’d love.  She was right!  The incredibly beautiful Palouse prairie with its layers of varying depths of loess (windblown silt) lying on top of Washington’s ever present volcanic basalt is like nothing we’ve ever seen.  It’s a unique landscape, there is nothing else like it in the world.


Amber waves of grain, the Palouse.

While vast amounts of wheat, barley and chick peas are grown here it is the Palouse that is the most important lentil growing region in the US. For miles and miles the undulating hills of crops are only broken up by spots of ground too steep to plow, often faced with exposed basalt.  These “eyebrows” add a delightful feature to this fabulous countryside.



Moni drove us to the top of the 3,612 foot tall Steptoe Butte sitting in isolation on the Palouse.  This quartzite protrusion of bedrock is 400 million years old, having withstood the much younger lava flows of the basalt layers under the surrounding layers of loess.  The view, well, put it on your MVL (Must Visit List).


View from the top of Steptoe Butte. It’s just magnificent.

On the southern end of the Palouse is the Snake River, where the farming stops because basically the soil ends.  Then about 4 miles upstream from the confluence with the Snake and the Palouse River we visited the beautiful Palouse Falls State Park and had our picture taken🙂


Don’t step back…

All in all, a perfect start to our Washington State adventures.  Thank you Moni & Fred!


Spokane, Washington, a really nice city.


Spokane River in Riverside State Park.  


Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden in Manito Park.


The formal Duncan Gardens in the same park.


In the greenhouse, I did not note the name of this really cool flower.


Steptoe Butte at 3,612 feet elevation it’s a good spot for radio towers but the view is still nice.


On the Palouse…


Piles and piles of grain, the harvest was underway.


Lentils from Steptoe Butte. It goes on forever.


Steptoe Battlefield where a fight with Indians occurred in 1858.


Our view from our picnic site on the Snake River.


and the Palouse Falls on the Palouse River just above the Snake.

Montana ~ The Mountains


, , , , , , , , ,

As we traveled west along US Highway 2 the Rocky Mountains that are Glacier National Park rise up from the flat plain with almost no fanfare, they just are THERE.  We camped at Glacier Meadow RV Park  which is not quite equal distance between two of the three primary entrances into the park. Saint Mary is the eastern end of the famous 50 mile long Going To The Sun Road and West Glacier is the western end of the road.


Driving up US 89 to St. Mary’s, the eastern entrance for Going To The Sun road.

Even though the weather was mostly cloudy and very hazy, our first day we headed east on 2 to Browning where we picked up US 89N to the St. Mary’s entrance.  This route is all on the Black Feet Indian Reservation and is open range country, so if you drive this be sure to watch out because there are lots of cattle and the calves especially can be unpredictable and would make one heck of a dent in your vehicle! In fact, our campground neighbors hit a steer on that road while we were there.  There is a shorter route from US 2 to US 89 via Rt. 49 but the vehicle size restriction is 21 feet and at 4 ½ feet over that we didn’t push our luck. That same size restriction is why at this entrance of Going To The Sun Rd. we could only drive in 6 miles.

After that we headed on up 89N to Rt. 3 and the Many Glaciers entrance where we were allowed to drive all the way in to the end at Lake Sherbourn and the old Many Glacier Lodge.  This was a lovely drive even though our weather was very hazy and gray and the crowds of people…wow! Oh, and we saw a bear!


Edge of Lake Sherbourne at Many Glaciers Lodge.

Next day (more sun but still hazy) we headed to West Glacier and up Going To The Sun Road for just over 16 miles where once again due to size restrictions we had to turn around at Avalanche Creek Campground.  The road runs beside the long and beautiful Lake McDonald, with pull outs for viewing both McDonald Falls and Sacred Dancing Cascade.


Lake McDonald looking up to the Avalanche Creek turnaround on the western side.

We took a walk back into the woods along McDonald Creek where my crazy husband decided to take a dip in this glacier fed stream!  The look on his face as he settled down….PRICELESS!!


Nuff said.

Truth is we had not planned on going to Glacier National Park but when in the neighborhood….SO…

Our tips for visiting Glacier National Park


This is not a place one can just drop by especially if your only vehicle is a motorhome.  There are campgrounds for RVs but they are filled fast or way in advance.  Many of the park campgrounds are first come, first serve and unfortunately we were there over a weekend when it seemed the whole country had come to Glacier.


Travel time needs to be considered.  It was over an hour drive from our campground just to get to the east entrance of Going To The Sun or 45 minutes to the west side.  The park service states the trip from end to end over its 50 miles will take 2 or more hours!  That is not including stopping and sightseeing etc.  ALSO remember you have to get back to where you’re sleeping that night!


The free park service shuttle works if you are looking for a ride to a trailhead to hike, or you just want to see a specific place in the park. They are NOT for just traversing all of Going To The Sun.  They are first come, first served so if one comes, it may not have room and they come roughly every 20 to 30 minutes.  From the park service web site:  To travel the entire length of the Going-To-The-Sun-Road from the Apgar Visitor Center (west side) to St. Mary Visitor Center (east side) and back, or vice versa, is approximately 7 hours.

We do not mean to dissuade anyone from going to Glacier National Park. The place is beautiful!  Even though between mediocre weather, heavy haze and not being able to actually get very far into the place, we are glad we went and we will be back!  Next time however we’ll plan ahead and get a room at the Many Glacier Lodge (I asked when we were there and they almost laughed at my hopes they had any vacancies) and we will book a tour with the Red Bus Tours.  Without a car this is the way to go and it clearly is worth going!


An approaching storm at our campground just down from Maria’s Pass, the continental divide.  William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) named the pass for his sister.

After our couple of days at GNP we continued on to poke around Columbia Falls, Kalispell and Whitefish. Whitefish is a cute touristy town, and Columbia Falls has Perfect Cuts which we recommend for excellent local meat and jerky.  Kalispell is a nice enough town with a great used book store and I finally found a pair of cowgirl boots that fit!!


Main Street Whitefish, Montana.

We drove up 93N to the cute town of Eureka and had a very good lunch at Café Jax  where they offer old fashion milkshakes….yes and YUM🙂

We continued on US2 which we highly recommend as an excellent route west. We stopped at the Kootenai River Falls where we walked the trail back to these wonderful stepped falls and then over a swing bridge lower down the river.


At Kootenai Falls, Ed is standing very near the edge. A big deal for him.

Further west on 2 we took a cut up NF 508 (National Forest road) which runs along the Yaak River.  A beautiful drive which offers a stop at the Yaak Falls which roar down huge slabs of flat sedimentary rock turned up on their sides and/or laid down in stair steps.


Yaak River Falls are not a sliding falls place. The landing would hurt.

If you make it to the itty bitty town of Yaak have lunch at the Yaak River Tavern and Mercantile.  The bar alone is worth the visit. Maybe 40 feet long, 2 feet wide and 4 inches thick it’s a single white pine slab!  The owner is a delightful lady and just “nice folks” and the pizza was good.

All in all this last third of Montana is truly amazing!  We have never seen such crystal clear water all of which is flowing at amazing rates (I know it’s all coming down BIG mountains) and it’s everywhere.  Big rivers, little creeks and all incredibly picture postcard perfect.  In fact, put this entire area on your MVL (Must Visit List)!


The water in all these streams and rivers is crystal clear, even at great depths you can see the bottom and fish.


Looking East from near the Many Glaciers Lodge… where


we saw the bear.  An appropriate distance away.


Hiking in the woods beside McDonald Creek and watching for bears. Ed’s plan was to let Marti go first.🙂


McDonald Creek. 


Marti suns on the rocks at McDonald Creek.


The path back along McDonald Creek.  Big rocks and tall trees.


and a lovely bunch of Indian Pipe.


The Continental Divide at Maria’s Pass elevation 5213 feet.  


A lovely mountain meadow at Maria’s Pass.


Loosestrife in Glacier National Park


Yaak River Falls.


The swing bridge below Kootenai River Falls and yes, it was wobbly.


Looking upriver from the swing bridge on the Kootenai River.


Ed wandered up a logging road where he executed one of his famous 14 point turns to go back down.


And Goodbye to you from Montana!

Montana ~ At Least the First Two Thirds


, , , ,

Montana, Big Sky Country. It was a bit of a surprise, though I have to say, out in this part of the world Big Sky Country fits several states.  We had visited Little Big Horn during our Dakotas trip in 2006, put it on your MVL  (Must Visit List), and thought we knew what the eastern part of the state looked liked.  We were not only wrong, the further we drove the more surprised we were, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Continuing on US Hwy 2 which runs through the top quarter of the state the gas & oil drilling stopped as did most of the crop fields and the landscape became more hilly and drier (this too will change).  Just east of the small town of Wolf Point we dropped south on Rt 13 and pretty quickly took Hwy 528.  Highway here is just a name not a fact.  Running south of the Missouri River this little road turns to gravel almost at once, but good and firm.  Abutting the base of lovely dry grass hills on one side and cropped flood plain on the other and a few open range cattle, for you city folk, that means they’re not fenced into a field but can wander where they please🙂    Eventually the road turns into the hills and if there had been any rain in the last few days we’d have been done as the gravel stopped.  This area is all gorgeous open range and there were lots of good looking beef cattle.


Beef! It’s what’s for dinner!

Hwy 528 ends at paved Rt 24 where we headed north to our campsite, Downstream COE (Corps of Engineers) Project at Fort Peck Dam.  This astonishing engineering feat was part of Roosevelt’s New Deal Work Projects.  More than 40,000 people came to the area creating 18 boomtowns.  In 1936 there was a work force of 10,564 workers directly linked to the dam project!  The Fort Peck Dam, the largest hydraulically-filled dam in the world is 50 feet wide at the crest and 3,500 feet at the base and is 21,026 feet long!


From these four towers of the spillway, the curve into the distance is the dam that runs almost four miles long.

There is a very good museum here which tells the story of the dam project details, boom towns, and one massive earth slide disaster during the construction. This being Montana, home of some major dinosaur fossil finds, there is also an excellent dino section at the museum.  I would say if you are out here, do put this on your MVL.

Our next day’s drive included another detour off US Hwy 2 onto O’Brian Rd….road is being polite!  Nobody without 4 wheel drive is going down this if there’s been any rain recently!  Rutted and rough dried mud it had a delightful photo opportunity of an old falling down homestead.  Always a beacon to us🙂  20160804-_EKP8415-Pano

We had, and recommend, the daily special lunch at the West Side Restaurant in Malta; homemade tomato soup, chopped steak sandwich, coffee, $20 with tip!!

In Havre, where we stayed for the night, we got the guided tour at Wahkpa Chu’gn (walk-pa-chew-gun)  Buffalo Jump.  Overlooking the Milk River this prehistoric Indian buffalo jump was discovered in 1961 by 14 year old John Brumley.


The buffalo jump cliff is on the upper right and today is somewhat filled in from what it was when in use. Each of the red buildings houses archeological dig sites.

Three different Indian groups used this site at various times in its 2000 year history to drive buffalo over the cliffs, a much safer way to provide dinner, clothing, tools and survival in an often harsh land!  This is the second buffalo jump Ed & I have seen, this is however the only one in the country that is displayed as an “open” archaeological site. Because of this, you can see all the layers as they appeared as they were unearthed.  It is very interesting.


Note the upper concentration of bones and then mostly dirt and below another concentration of bones showing the passage of centuries.

The next day was one of those times when all I seemed to be able to say was,  “I just can’t get over this, it goes on and on and on forever!”  20160805-_EKP8422-PanoField crops were back in acreages that make Iowa look almost second rate.  Farmhouses were further apart as were roads.  It is pretty with the different crop colors and planting patterns but over all there is a much more lonely feeling brought on by the overwhelming vastness to this landscape.  We kept asking each other how did this land, when only endless grass and Indians, affected the pioneers.  Can we even begin to imagine, as we zip across this land in our fully equipped motorhome, the courage, determination and surely fear these men and women in their wagons and on foot must have felt?  I suppose some might find this landscape boring, but we find it truly humbling… and a reminder of what a great country this is and why we are on this adventure.


Crops and sky.  Those tiny bumps on the left are the Sweet Grass Hills a sacred place for the tribes of the plains.


Along “Highway” 528 into the hills.


On THE intersection of Highway 528 and a very long “lane” is this sign posting which direction and how far the local ranches are.  Our favorite name is Ortie Twitchell 8.1 miles west.


This, boys and girls is mustard ready for harvest.  Can’t say if it’s Grey Poupon or Frenches… but it has a bite to it, yes, we tasted it to confirm it was mustard.


In the Fort Peck Dam Museum display about the horrible earth slide.  Eight men died.  Six were never found and are interred somewhere in the dam.


A derelict windmill.


O’Brien Road off of US Highway 2


Old farmhouse off O’Brien Road.  Note that something big knocked it off its foundations.


The oldest layer of bone debris at Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump.


Ed trying his hand at throwing a dart with an atlatl throwing stick.  This is going to take practice before dinner makes it back to the teepee.


Approaching the old farmhouse along O’Brien Road.


The harvest is on and they do grow a little wheat out here.


And the prairie comes to an abrupt end at the Rocky Mountains in the distance where Glacier National Park begins our last third of Montana.

North Dakota ~ Crops, Oil & Gas


, , ,

Ten years ago in 2006, Ed and I took our “two Dakotas trip” and enjoyed ourselves very much.  That time out we were mostly in the middle and southern part of North Dakota. Side Note: this is where one of his most popular photographs, “Trotters Church” is from. 


Trotters Church, North Dakota

This time we drove a northern route pretty close to straight across coming from the east on State Rt. 66 and dropping down to US Hwy 2 at Rugby for most of the remainder.

From Wikipedia –
“A large portion of the western segment of US 2, and a shorter piece of the eastern segment, follows the old Theodore Roosevelt International Highway. This auto trail, named in honor of the late former president and naturalist Theodore Roosevelt, was organized in February 1919 to connect Portland, Maine with Portland, Oregon.”

Along this way there are endless miles of crops; several kinds of grain, sugar beets, corn, canola and some sunflowers although not as much of them as we saw before farther south in North Dakota.   As in Iowa the country is generally flat but the farmsteads are farther apart and many of the towns are really only a few houses and maybe a grain elevator, perhaps a church. Not too much going on.


Canola fields. North Dakota is the #1 producer in the country.

The land varies with sections sometimes offering softly rising hills and then back to total flat, we started seeing Prairie Potholes, glacial ponds mostly small at first then larger ones as we went west.  These water sources are everywhere and make this land vital to migratory birds.  Even so, what remains is only half of what once was and there is a real effort to save the ones not filled in over the years by agriculture.


A large prairie pothole.  The farmers plant around these vital waterfowl habitats.

We spent two nights at the Dale & Martha Hawk Museum and RV Campground outside of Wolford.  While we do not recommend this as a campground (it’ll do but don’t expect much and bring your BUG SPRAY) we do recommend coming to see the museum, five bucks a head will get you in.  In fact, if you have any interest in old machinery and farm equipment not to mention STUFF and more stuff, put it on your MVL (Must Visit List)!  We wandered around and around just flabbergasted by the amount of restoration work and attention to detail.  We were flabbergasted by the unbelievable numbers of antique tractors, harvesters, cream separators, cars, blow torches, drill presses, hand tools of every kind, fire trucks, machine belts, typewriters, carriages, old washing machines, on and on and on, building after building, and that doesn’t touch the doll collection, the clock collection, the old church, the old one room school….it’s just flabbergasting!  It’s also FUN!


For those of us who have spent time riding a tractor, notice the radiator and fan are turned sideways to blow the hot air out the side instead of back across the operator.

As we headed down US Hwy 2 we noticed a lone church about a quarter mile up a dirt road in the middle of nowhere (there’s a lot of that out here). It was so lovely in a classic picture book church way we had to go see.  Although aesthetically more refined then Trotter’s Church it has the same sense of simple, honest faith and beauty.


The Tunbridge Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church built in 1915 by Norwegian settlers, services have not been held here since 1988.

We saw more and more oil and gas derrick pumps and fewer crops as we got further west.  Many of the vehicles on the road were related to this industry.  To the credit of the drilling companies, most of the pumps, rigs and buildings are painted to blend into the surrounding landscape but the gas burn off flares mark the location of many.  It’s not the booming gas and oil market it was but there are still lots of jobs to be had.


Up and down, pump, pump, pump.

We spent our last Dakota night at the Lewis & Clark State Park in Epping and recommend this spot to both RV’ers and tent campers alike. The drive to the park down scenic County Road 1804 slides into the N.D. Badlands and is especially pretty after the flat country before.  The park on Lake Sakakawea, a reservoir formed from the dammed Missouri River, has a lovely campground and we had no visible neighbors.  We had a short walk and met our friendly camp hosts Curt and Sheila, one of the plusses of our travels.  It was a nice goodbye to North Dakota.


The beginning of the North Dakota Badlands along our walk at the Lewis and Clark State Park.


Sunflowers, you just cannot help but smile…🙂


At Rugby, N.D. it’s the geographical center of North America.  You know, Mexico, USA and Canada.  This might give you an idea of how large Canada is if the middle of the continent is all of Mexico and way more than most of the USA.


and literally in the middle of nowhere, near the middle of North America is the lovely old Tunbridge Church.


The sign on the door invites you to enter but please be respectful.


Still sitting to the left of the alter is an almost in tune piano.  In the dust on the piano bench and the pews behind it,  it is obvious people have sat. Ed asked me to play Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”.  I tried but it’s been too many years and my fingers forget how.


North Dakota is #1 in the country in honey production and we saw hives everywhere.


This is the only operational Hackney Auto-plow in the country. Many of the machines here are still operational.


This 1929 Model A Roadster with mail carrier’s attachment was originally used by Wallace Froelich a mail carrier in the Crary, ND area. This is what’s known as American Ingenuity.


1923 (possibly) Horse drawn hearse converted to a Model T pickup was once used as a chicken house by May Bristol. More American Ingenuity.


Some of the 1350 blow torches in the collection all donated by the same man.


A thing of beauty, while not the surrey with the fringe on top it was nice to have the shade.


A wooden thresher.  In its day, it was what the modern combine is now but stationary with the wheat brought to it by human harvesters.


A one room schoolhouse that had all 12 grades.


A tall case clock decorated with ball point pens that is a must for the serious collector.


A North Dakota landscape of grain.


Okay, so not all the pumps are painted camouflage but note the gas flare and the one in the distance.


A greener form of energy, windmills are more and more prevalent across this breezy country.


Marti is cooling her heels in Lake Sakakawea on the Missouri River.