Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Driving I 90 along the Yellowstone River towards Bozeman, MT, all the verdant landscape just smacked us in the face.  I don't think I've ever seen so much green.  Is this how Ireland looks?

For our single night stay in Bozeman, we utilized the Walmart parking lot.  Of course it wasn't free with even a second trip inside to buy the things I forgot the first time.  We did have a nice view, though.

We looked in the AAA book and found the Museum of the Rockies which was listed as a 'gem' attraction.

On the grounds, is the Living History Farm including a 1890's original homestead house with interpreters dressed in period costumes.

I don't have many pictures, but the museum had extensive exhibits on a variety of topics.  Dinosaurs are not among my favorite things, but the collection was impressive.

We attended the planetarium show, enjoyed the children's discovery center (where you could cause a volcano to blow), and zoomed through the regional history hall (which contained lots of old stuff).

They also have quite a space exhibit.  My favorite thing was a heat sensing camera which displayed our various levels of body heat on a screen.  I can't believe I didn't take a picture because I was fascinated.  My highest level of heat seemed to be in my head, while Ron's seemed a bit lower in his upper chest.  What does that say?

When we left Bozeman, we continued west on I 90 to exit 274 where we found something no self respecting RVer could pass up, at least judging by the number of rigs in the parking lot.

Ron bought a couple of his favorite bear claws which were okay, but look at the size of my sticky bun!  And boy was it good!!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


We stayed a few days in Billings, MT, at the Moose Lodge which has a huge property and some electrical hookups.  Since it was hot, we were happy to plug in.

In the area are a couple of historic sites.  First we checked out Pictograph Cave.  In 1937, archeologists retrieved 30,000 artifacts from the cave floor.

But the name comes from the pictures found on the cave wall, the oldest of which is over 2000 years old.  Humm, let's see . . .

Well, I do see some red marks and if I zoom in and increase the contrast, there is something there.
 Use your imagination.  It seems the images are obscured by a veil of calcium, but during periods of high moisture, water percolates through the rock and reveals about 30 pictographs.

We also stopped at Four Dances Recreation Area and hiked a short distance to an overlook of the Yellowstone River.

About 28 miles downstream is Pompey's Pillar.  When the Lewis and Clark Expedition returned east, they split up to explore more waterways.  William Clark's group took the Yellowstone River past this sandstone butte and named it for Sacagawea's son whom he had nicknamed Pomp.

On July 25, 1806, Captain Clark carved his name on the butte and due to preservation by the subsequent land owner, his name is still visible today.
Well, it's clearer in person.

Others have followed his example.

The visitor center is surprisingly elaborate with exhibits and a movie, but my favorite thing was a simple binder.  Seventh graders had been asked what they thought the Pillar would look like in 100 years.  There were a wide range of answers from a pile of rubble to something about space ships, but this was my favorite answer.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Zooming thru Montana

We have only been in Montana for 18 days and tomorrow we're moving on to Idaho.  That's just shameful for such a huge and wonderful state.  And what's even more shameful is that I have yet to post anything about our time here.  I plan to post each day until I catch up.  We'll just see how I do with that goal.

First stop was Little Bighorn Battlefield NM.  Formerly known as Custer's Last Stand, let's face facts, it was actually the Native Peoples last stand.  This was one of the few battles they won in a cause that was doomed from the start.

Headstones mark the fallen soldiers

And natives.

And even the horses are remembered.

To me, it's a sad reminder of a tragic, but inevitable, time in history.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sheridan, WY

Well, once again I've managed to fall way behind in the blog.  We're now all the way across Montana, but I have to catch up first, so back to Wyoming.  First, I have to say that people from Wyoming and Montana have to be the friendliest people anywhere.  (Now, I've probably insulted somebody from another state.)

In Sheridan, we stayed a couple of nights in Washington Park, about 1/2 mile from the downtown area.  Free boondocking, with a dump with water available.  It just doesn't get any better.  We would have stayed longer, but didn't want to abuse their hospitality.  It was really hot, so we were thankful for the shade of a giant cottonwood tree from about 1 o'clock on.

We did laundry, went out to eat, and even went to the movies, which is so unusual that we can't remember the last time we did it.  We just couldn't resist the draw of the Lone Ranger.  It was cute and entertaining, but don't expect it to have any basis in reality.  We were lucky to intersect with Susan and Leon who have been on a whirlwind tour of the West.  Their travels make my head spin.  I think they were going in circles at one point.

We also headed out for a hike in Tongue River Canyon which Diana wrote about here.  I should have reviewed her pictures before we went, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The road in was narrow, but very scenic.  You don't even have to hike to appreciate the beautiful canyon.

We admired the 'Eye of the Needle' (far left) and a second arch just down and to the right.

After parking the car, we started up the trail and came to a very substantial bridge where I stopped to take a picture.

Then we continued up the trail.  And up, and up, and up.  I admired this Monarda or Bee Balm while I caught my breath.

We were both pretty sure that we were on the wrong trail, but also curious to see where it led us.  Soon we came to this abandoned mine.  Do you think a bear decided to move in and broke the gate?

And we discovered a whole wall of ancient rock art.

The trail seemed to end there so we made our way back down, across the bridge, and continued up the canyon on the other side.  Even the flowers were smiling at us.

This is more like it.

Although Ron is the one who usually sees figures in the rocks, at our turnaround spot we both agreed that this was a cartoon duck.

One more picture of the Eye of the Needle on our return trip.

Driving home, we had to wait for these Guinea Fowl to cross the road.  Aren't they just the funniest-looking things?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lake De Smet

About five miles north of Buffalo, WY, and just off Interstate 90, is pretty Lake De Smet. For the reasonable fee of $10 a night, you can pick one of the many spots along or overlooking the lake.  (They also have $15 electric sites, but those are just in a row like an RV park.  How boring.)  We picked a spot with a view and I didn't care how much Ron had to do to level up.

Here's our view out the front window.

Unlike the lakes in New Mexico and Colorado, Wyoming's lakes are full to the brim.  We understand that isn't always the case, so it must be a good year.  We stayed there Saturday and Sunday nights and the place was packed with large groups on Saturday.  I love seeing the families having fun together and enjoying the outdoors.  The problems for me (Scrooge that I am) are the smoke from campfires (I'm allergic), fumes from generators (ditto), and loud music.  But we picked our spot carefully and everything was fine.  The people in the RV on that point of land in the picture even set off some pretty fancy fireworks for us to enjoy.

Buffalo is situated at the base of the Bighorn Mountains and the helpful gentleman in the visitors center suggested an interesting drive.  Following his directions, we drove about 20 miles south on SR 196, then turned west on Crazy Woman Road.  Yes, he had me at the name.

The flat scenery quickly became more colorful and interesting.

And soon we were headed up Crazy Woman Canyon on a one lane gravel road.  It was a bit of a challenge for Ron when we met a vehicle coming the other way, but again, it didn't bother me.

We were following the north fork of Crazy Woman Creek past some long ago (I hope) fallen rocks.

After quite a bit of climbing, we met US 16, a really, really nice road, especially in comparison.  We turned west and went as far as the 9666 ft. Powder River Pass before turning back.  The lupins were in glorious bloom.

We returned to Buffalo on US 16, stopping at a scenic overlook that lived up to its name. According to the sign, that's Bighorn Peak (12,324 ft) on the left and Darton Peak (12,275 ft) in the center.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Escapade Seminars

Or what we learned at the Escapade.  I thought I'd list the seminars that Ron and/or I attended and mention just one thing that we took away from each.

Highway History & Back Road Mystery - both of us - Didn't really learn anything, but it was given by Nick Russell (author of Gypsy Journal) who is always entertaining.

Microfiber Made Easy - me - Don't use fabric softener (including dryer sheets) or you'll ruin the cloths.

Clean your RV in one hour - Ron - Clean the toilet with Tang - cleans the bowl and freshens the black water tank.

Tire Safety - Ron - Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to rotate the tires on a motorhome (unless there's a problem.)

Co-pilots (something, something, something) - me - This was an added seminar and I don't remember the exact name just that it had my 'co-pilot' title in it, so I went.  It turned out to be on tow bars and braking systems and since we already have both, I could have skipped it.  However Ron complained at the Blue Ox vendor booth how stiff our hitch has been since its annual reconditioning in Quartzsite this past January and a very nice technician came to our rig and did it again (for free.)

Healthy Living to 100 - both of us - A couple of interesting web sites - for brain games and to find organic food stores as you travel.

What Affects Insurance Rates - Ron - This is a shocker - When buying insurance on a jointly owned vehicle, list the woman's name first for a better deal!

RVing with Habitat for Humanity BOF - Ron - Although this was primarily about the Escapees' BOF, you can go on the Habitat website and see where builds are scheduled and if there are openings.  These are builds specifically for RVers, called RV Care-A-Vanners.  Check out the site here.

Mat Cutting and Framing - me - This was given by an Escapee member and I was just curious to see how he cut mats without a mat cutter.  Well, silly me, he had a mat cutter.  My favorite tip was to use that blue painter's tape to attach the picture to the mat.

History of Gillette - Ron - No tips, but he found it interesting.

Veterans' Benefits Discussion - both of us - We were just curious to see if Ron was missing something.  The tip was if you think you qualify for any veterans benefits, go to your local VFW or American Legion.  They usually have somebody who is qualified to help (and you will need it.)

Escape to Mexico with Chapter 8 - me - Escapees Chapter 8 organizes a caravan to different places in Mexico every year.  This year it's 200 miles down the Baja.  If you're interested, they will be posting the information on

Water, Water, Everywhere - Ron - Hmm . . . Don't flush anything down your toilet unless you've eaten it first?  This was given by SKP Mark Nemeth who writes the Mark, My Words column in the Escapees magazine.  He gave out directions on how to install a pump to move some of the grey water to the black water tank.  Since our black water fills up first, and I don't think you could go the other way (Ha), we can't use that.

Pictures with Point & Shoot Camera - me - Since you can't attach filters to these little cameras, she suggested holding polarized sun glasses in front of the lens.  (You know that sounds familiar.  I think Diana told me to do it years ago.)

RV Preventative Maintenance - Ron - This was given by another SKP and he gave out a terrific handout, but no one particular tip stands out.

Friday, July 5, 2013


For the past week, we have been parked at the Cam-Plex in Gillette, Wyoming, for the 53rd gathering of the Escapees RV Club known as the Escapade.  This year is the 35th birthday of the club and almost 600 rigs carrying almost 1200 people attended.  This was Ron's and my first Escapade, although we have been to other similar rallies.  I don't have many pictures, but we attended seminars, checked out the vendors, enjoyed the entertainment, visited with friends (both old and new), and participated in the various events.

This makeshift band was remarkably good and consisted of Escapees from all over.  I was fascinated by the steel drums which I had never seen before.  They sounded especially cool during the performance of Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

The Chili Cook-off involved lots of friendly competition.  These two got bonus points with me for wearing costumes.

The last night we enjoyed a Birthday Bash dinner with our table mates Frank, Carol, Sherry, and Jerry.

If you want to gather a large crowd of RVers, just offer free food.

The nightly entertainment was terrific with Patty Davidson (a very talented ventriloquist,) a talent show (or Ham-o-rama, as they call it), and the Rivoli Revue.  Both Patty Davidson and the Rivoli Revue perform in Branson, but the Rivolis are famous for a youtube video they created that has over 14 million hits.  If you have ever been frustrated with the current bilingual tendencies in our country, you'll love this video called
Press One for English

Ah, I see Wyoming hasn't escaped the bilingual signage trend.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day

Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Monument
(Lincoln Memorial from the base of the Washington Monument.  Taken in 2007 during our tour around the southern, eastern, and northern perimeter of the United States.)