Friday, August 31, 2012

August 30, 2012

(Once again I was unable to get on line at the ranch... I'm posting this as we drive along Interstate 90 on our way to Mount Vernon.)

Yesterday was dentist day. The best part of going to the dentist is getting to spend some time with our niece Becky who is our Dental Hygienist. She is my Brother Pat's oldest daughter. The mother of two little boys, Becky gets more beautiful every time I see her.

Other then having a year's worth of cleaning to do, we both had good checkups. One more thing checked off our to-do lists. We did get to have a quick lunch with Becky at Dairy Queen before she had to get back to work.

We went home from Moses Lake on Rosenoff Road (we'd come in on the freeway) and had to wait for a flag person who was stopping traffic while these huge poles were being unloaded from a truck --

Evidently because of all the new potato sheds and other farm activity along this road, they are replacing all of the power poles (the new pole is lying on the ground). I have seen large concrete and metal poles as we've traveled, but have never seen these large tapered laminated poles before --

This is the new gate Jeff and the boys have built at the ranch --

We had a "Blue Moon" tonight. This is the second full moon this month. I took this picture as it was rising through the trees in the windbreak --

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 29,2010

I'm posting this from the dentist's office in Moses Lake this morning as I could not get on line last night at the ranch...

Wednesday was moving day once again. We were finished with our fourteen night stay at Ponderosa Falls RV Park, so decided we would head down to the ranch for a short stay. While our farm is leased out, we do have full hook-ups alongside the shelter belt. They only problem is that down in the coulee, we do not have either good cell phone or internet. But we have great satellite TV reception.

It was a beautiful day for driving. There were just enough clouds in the sky to make it interesting as we drove west on Interstate 90 along Sprague Lake.

The columnar basalt along the roadside reflects the beauty of this part of the country --

It's sort of hard to imagine the forces of water and wind that shaped the landscape after the volcanoes spewed acres of rock --

Because of the very brazen -- even in the daylight -- wholesale theft of farm machinery (the thieves cut it up and sell it for scrap metal!), Jeff and the boys have put a locked gate at the end of the lane to the ranch. It seemed a bit strange to stop and unlock the gate, drive through, and relock it as we entered the ranch...

We saw a family of grey partridges along the dry creek bank as we drove in. Later we saw them again along the sagebrush in front of Auntie Violet. I wasn't quick enough to get a picture, but there was a hen with at least five chicks. I scattered some bird seed along this clump of blooming grease wood. Hopefully, they will be back along this way when I am better prepared!

I have NOT been able to get on-line this evening to post this -- I'll try again in the morning.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another Busy Day

Today was eye exam day. We stopped at the bank on the way and deposited a check, then it was over to Group Health's Eye Clinic. Neither of us seem to being showing much if any change. We both have the very early beginnings of cataracts, but they've stayed the same for the last several years. For some reason the clinic was really running slow today. I think I sat in the dark while my eyes dilated for almost 45 minutes instead of the usual 15 or 20.

I did not get new glasses last year when Forry did and I am ready for a new set. My lenses were a bit scratched up before, then I really did a number on them when I took a tumble in Salem, Massachusetts this summer (I had stepped out of a darkened elevator in a parking garage into bright sunshine and didn't see the curb right outside...). Fortunately, the "bendable" frames that I have are still in good shape, so I just need to get the new lenses.

From the Eye Clinic we drove out to Lowes to get a new runner for Auntie Violet's entry as the one we have is breaking up on the back. Lowes is where we got the first one, but after roaming through several aisles and finally asking, we discovered they no longer carry rolls of runners. So we went over to Home Depot to see what they had. They have various remnants and lots of carpets, but no runners. We did find a small striped carpet that may work.

Then it was over to Safeway for groceries. I had a long list of odds and ends that I only needed one of, so a trip to Costco wasn't necessary. By the time we got out of the grocery and back to Ponderosa Falls, it was already seven o'clock. By the time I got supper ready, it was really late. We had some of the corn from Jeff and Barb's garden that was very, very good.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Good Food and Good Company

One of the restaurants we really like in Spokane is Wild Sage. It's a bit pricey, but the food is wonderful. We try to make at least one trip there everytime we return to the Spokane area.

When I was making appointments for massages this week with Cherie, bless her heart, even though she was booked up, she decided she would stay late on Monday afternoon to take care of us both. I agreed on the condition that she join us for dinner afterwards.

I wasn't sure they were open on Monday, but took a chance and called Wild Sage. I was able to get a reservation at 6 PM. Cherie finished up with Forry's massage about 5:40 which worked out perfectly for us to get there. We had wonderful meals, but I must admit I enjoyed the conversation as much as the food.

When we got back home to Auntie Violet, I was pleased to find that the throw rugs I had washed this afternoon were dry and I could put them back down on the bathroom and kitchen tile that I had scrubbed this morning. I'm not the world's fussiest housekeeper, but when it reaches a point that it is making me cranky, I need to do something about it. I really dislike the ceramic tile in that part of the motor home. I know it's considered an upgrade, but I think it's easier to look at then to live with. One of these days, I'm hoping we can replace the tile with wood...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Lovely Day

Even the weather was lovely today. The Sunday School had a picnic after church today. We had barbecued sliders, brautwurst and hot dogs provided by SS, augmented with chips and salads brought by everyone else.

Since it was so nice -- warm but not miserably hot -- we were able to sit outside in the shade and visit while the children and the more energetic (translation younger) adults played games. We had a chance to chat for an extended period of time with some of the folks we don't often get to talk to very often.

About four o'clock we drove on down to the ranch to visit with the family that leases our place. We had a good visit with both Jeff and Barb. Their two boys were out on the tractors, but we talked long enough that we got to see them when they came in as well. They were just little guys when they moved to the ranch, but now they are both big strapping handsome young men. Tyler will be a senior in high school this fall while Colby will be returning to Walla Walla Community College.

I found out who our corn angel was last week. Thank you, Gene!

We lucked out again today as we brought home sweet corn, cucumbers, new potatoes and zucchini from Barb and Jeff's garden along with a dozen fresh eggs from their chickens. Looks like we will be eating very well again this week!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mail Call

Another nice thing about Ponderosa Falls RV Park is that they accept camper mail (many parks don't). We really need to check with every place to find out whether or not we can tell Daughter Mary Mae to send mail to the campground or whether we need to have mail sent to General Delivery at a nearby small town to the campground.

Yesterday, UPS delivered the replacement glass plate for our GE Advantium Oven. had advertised on their website that they guaranteed 2-4 day delivery of products ordered from them. I had missed putting the glass plate back in the oven (the Advantium has two plates -- a metal one for baking and a glass one for micro-waving) during a move a few weeks ago. I think we found pieces of shattered glass for at least a week! We had waited until we were going to be in one place for more than a couple of days to order a replacement.

Today we got a box of snail mail from Mary Mae. I don't know how she manages to pack so much into every box she forwards to us.

In this box were the renewal notices for both AAA and Passport America. I always debate about the Triple A membership because we mainly use it to obtain maps. However, we try to always stop at a Welcome Center when we enter a new state. I like the maps produced by the state tourism departments better than AAAs because they usually have so much information about places to see and things to do in that state. However, during a last year of journeying cross-country, we have used the multi-state AAA maps for planning. Guess I'll go ahead and renew it...

Passport America on the other hand has more than proved its worth to us. We use the fifty percent discount feature a great deal. My only gripe with Passport America is how many of the campgrounds in their network don't honor the discount during their busy season. On the other hand, I can't blame those campgrounds -- if they are full or near full, why should they give up half of their revenue?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mundane Things

Living in an RV full-time doesn't mean we are on vacation all the time. (Which was one of the comments I got today...)

There are mundane things that need to be taken care of. One of those is oil changes for both Auntie Violet and Toad. For many years Forry used the synthetic oil made by Schaeffer for all of his rigs on the ranch. He continues to want to use that particular oil on our rigs.

So today's task was to make the two hour trip to Moses Lake with the Toad to pick up the three gallons of oil that will be needed for Auntie Violet's visit to the Cummins dealer next week to have her oil changed. Rather then make an additional move, he plans to make an appointment to have the job done when our stay at Ponderosa Falls RV Park is over.

While we were in Moses Lake we also drove Toad to the Teddy Bear Car Care shop and had his oil changed as well. Unlike the Cummins shop, Teddy Bear carries Schaeffer Oil, so we did not have to bring any with us.

We made a stop in Ritzville on our way and paid a visit to the Farm Services Agency to sign papers. It seems there are ALWAYS papers to be signed there.

Near the freeway exit we noticed a fruit and vegetable stand that had a sign saying they had Hermiston cantaloupes, so we bought two. I sliced up one of them for dessert tonight and was it ever sweet and good. I don't know what it is about the soil and weather conditions in Hermiston, Oregon, but they have some of the best cantaloupes and watermelons I've ever tasted.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


What a delightful evening we've had! We met my Nephew Jared and his family for pizza at the Flying Goat near Audubon Park in Spokane. It's been over a year since we have seen them -- and it was the first time we had met our new great-nephew Ryan. This is Jared with our great-niece Ellie --

 Jared's beautiful wife Becky --

They both look pretty serious in this picture, but little Ryan was full of smiles. And is he ever wiggly!

Ellie is very much a Daddy's girl, but she did sit on my lap long enough to get a picture!

My brother Patrick is the youngest in our family. The nicest thing about it is that he's now having grandbabies while the rest of us have grands that are quite a bit older (our youngest two are now eleven!). It's always a joy to get back to the area to spend time with the newest additions!

Not only did we have a delightful visit, but we had some VERY good pizza. One was a pulled pork pizza with coleslaw in the middle and the other was one that had mild Italian sausage and arugula with a medium egg right in the center! Both had extremely good flavor.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I knew that when I started making appointments for all of the stuff we needed to get done when we got back to Spokane, that we'd have some busy days. And I was sure right!

Today was the appointments with our primary care provider at Group Health. We had to be there by eleven. The doctor was running behind and we didn't help. By the time, she finished up with us, she was definitely late for her lunch meeting!

Forry needed to get some back x-rays and some more lab work done after our visit with the doctor, so we got that done, then headed for Cherie's. It was my turn for a massage -- and oh, did that feel good!

After my  massage, we went back to Group Health to pick up our prescriptions. We had a bit of a wait, but not a long one. I am so thankful we have good health insurance.

Then it was off to the grocery store. We went to the Rosauers on the South Hill that we used to shop at when we lived here. I couldn't find anything! They have totally remodeled it to include a pharmacy and a liquor department. (Washington State passed an initiative last fall that closed the state-owned liquor stores and allowing groceries to sell alcohol.)

When we finally got back to Auntie Violet, it was definitely time for a nap!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A VERY Busy Day

Looking at this beautiful yard, would you believe this is where we are going to go to get a haircut? For more years than I can remember, Sarah has been cutting my hair. It started when she used Daughter Mary Mae's thick head of blonde hair in a competition -- or was it a licensing...? Anyhow, she was working at a beauty shop downtown. Later, we followed her to her own shop which was a little house where she used the bottom floor for her shop and leased out the upstairs to another beautician for her shop. Daughter Dawn got her haircuts from Sarah when she was still in Ritzville and even Forry started having Sarah cut his hair. Now he refuses to let anyone else touch it!

Then several years back, Sarah and her husband purchased and remodeled this little house on Magnolia Street for her shop and sold the other house. Her husband Rick has his construction business next door. Sarah most definitely has a green thumb and always has a yard and porch full of flowers.

This was a pretty barren strip of land when Sarah first moved here -- it's certainly not that now!

I was delighted a couple of weeks ago when I called Sarah from Montana and found out she had a cancellation and would be able to fit us in. She has a closed practice, but as long-time customers she works to fit us in. Sarah cut four to five inches off of Forry's hair -- though it's still pretty long -- and trimmed the split ends off of mine. Much better!

From Sarah's we drove on out to the Idaho state line to Cabela's to get Forry a new pair of shoes. Now, shoe-shopping with Forrest is normally like those cartoons where the lady is trying on pair after pair of shoes while the boxes stack up higher and higher. A few years ago, we went through this routine at Cabela's and he found a pair he really liked. So, the next time he needed a pair of shoes, he went back to Cabela's with the model number and got another pair just like the first ones. Today he did it again. It's sort of boring, but a lot less hassle...

On our way back to Spokane, we stopped at the AT&T store at the Spokane Valley so that I could upgrade my iPhone. I've been eligible for an upgrade since last winter, but wanted to wait until we were back here to do it. Just because we really like the service and the friendliness of the the staff there. When we were in Iowa, our friend Leslie got Forry intrigued by her use of Siri which allows you to ask for information verbally. Since he doesn't like to type, he thought that was really neat. So now we each have an iPhone! Going to be quite a learning curve I think...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Time Alone!

We've been married for almost 54 years. And for the last five of them we have been pretty much together 24/7. I occasionally fly away for a few days to go to a Board meeting, but that only happens three to four times a year.

I usually get up an hour or so before Forry does and I enjoy that quiet hour alone with my cup of coffee, reading the paper on my Kindle.

This morning Forry had an appointment with his dermatologist at 11:30, then I had made him an appointment for a massage with Cherie at 2:30 this afternoon. I chose not to go along and encouraged him to just stay in Spokane until it was time for his massage instead of returning the 7 or so miles to Ponderosa Falls RV Park.

So what did I do with those almost six hours by myself? Not a whole lot!I spent most of it enjoying the quiet -- no TV! -- and working on genealogy records. has been a big help in trying to document some of the information that we have about family. Today I discovered a picture of Forry's maternal great-grandparents, Edward Martin Steffen and Friedricka Grechau Steffen that had been posted by a distant relative:

We had a family picture of them with his grandmother, also Friedricka, when she was about fifteen or sixteen, but it was a delight to find a picture of them at an older age.

I could hardly wait for Forry to get home so that I could show him what I had found! So much for being alone...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Trip to Menno

I was up before seven this morning, putting orange rolls in the oven and sausage patties on the grill. We were getting ready to leave a bit after eight in order to drive the 90 miles from Ponderosa Falls RV Park to Menno Mennonite Church. The church is out in the country about halfway between Ritzville and Moses Lake. It's actually about three miles from Tree Heart Ranch, Ltd., our wheat ranch and home for over thirty-five years of our married life.

We lease the farmland and the house out, but still have hookups for the motorhome there. We will most likely move there for a few weeks after we finish with all of our Spokane appointments. It looks like harvest is pretty much finished in the dryland areas near the church.

How wonderful it was to walk into the church this morning. It's when we knew we really have made it home! There are no Sunday School classes during the summer time, so there was plenty of time after worship to visit and catch up with local friends.

Because Forry loves to talk, we are always one of the last ones to leave. When we got to Toad out in the parking lot, we discovered that some kind soul had left a large sack of fresh corn for us. I fixed four ears of it for dinner tonight and it was delicious. Thank you, whoever you are!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dinner With Sean...

This afternoon we emptied enough stuff (the lounge chairs and my trike) out of the back of Toad to enable us to put one of the back seats up so that we could take Son Sean out to dinner with us. We wanted to visit the HuHot Mongolian Grill out on East Sprague that our friend had told us about.

But first, we wanted to visit the new Camping World that we had noticed near Liberty Lake when we drove into Spokane from Idaho. You could see it from the freeway, but we could not find a frontage road or a way to get to it. I tried the Yellow Page app on my iPhone, but found nothing. We tried using our GPS, but found nothing there either. The 411 phone number service had no listing.

Finally, I thought to look on the Internet with Safari on my iPhone. The Camping World website used our location and found the nearest store. Viola, we had an address! The location on Cataldo is on a frontage road that takes off from the front of a service station -- it's hard to spot and really doesn't look like the entrance to anything...

Turns out the store has only been open for a week and will actually have their official Open House on the 29th. We were able to restock my supply of laundry detergent for the Splendide washer as well as the stuff for the holding tanks. Forry finally broke down and bought the new Thetford SmartDrain sewer hose system he has been eyeing for some time.

From the Camping World store we drove back to the HuHot Mongolian Grill. We had eaten at one in Altoona, Iowa with our friends and really enjoyed it. Bill discovered that there was a franchise in the Spokane Valley and sent me the address. Unlike the restaurant in Iowa that asked that you use just one bowl for your raw ingredients, this one had no limits. The guy in line in front of us filled FOUR bowls, two with just meat. A while later I saw him go through the line with two more!

Sean really enjoyed eating at HuHot. He went through the line three times!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ponderosa Falls RV Park

We have stayed at Ponderosa Falls RV Park many times. It's part of K/M Resorts. Our "home" park, Neskowin Creek (where we are Charter Members) is part of this group. So it's an inexpensive place for us to stay for two weeks at a time. There used to no charge at all, but a couple of years ago all of the parks started charging $2 per day for electricity...

I did notice something when we drove in this time. There is a sign down the road where you make the turn to the road into the park. But, there is no sign where you actually turn into the park. This sign is just inside the lane...

This is the lane going along the hill to the park --


As you drive along a bit further, you can look down the hill into the park and see the buildings --

As you can see, there are lots and lots of pine trees in the park. I am amazed that we are able to get satellite TV coverage from our site!

We made an early trip into Spokane this morning to visit the lab at Group Health and got our lab work done for our appointment with our primary care physician next week. Since we had to be fasting for the blood work, I was looking forward to going over to Frank's Diner for a late breakfast. When we got there, we got the last parking place. It was 10:30 on a Friday, but the place was packed and the line was out the door. There were at least twenty people waiting outside.

Hungry and cranky, we decided we didn't want to wait another hour plus to eat, so decided to just go over to McDonalds. But, they stop serving breakfast at 10 AM! (I've never been able to figure that one out, but they claim they cannot do breakfasts and lunches at the same time.)

We checked out another place we knew over in Brown's Addition, but they were closed. I was getting pretty surly by that time, but Forry finally remembered Knight's Diner out on Sprague. It ended up being the best breakfast I've had in a long time. I had some French toast that was so good it didn't even need syrup. Forry had his usual biscuits and gravy and he said it was good too.

We were so full, we didn't even eat any samples later on our Costco run!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Very NICE Day!

I had a list of things we have to accomplish now that we are in Spokane. Doctor, dentist and eye exam visits, of course, top the list -- and then a haircut for Forry and a trim for me. We've really lucked out, we were able to get appointments for everything within the next couple of weeks.

Very high on my list was a trip to visit my favorite masseuse, Cherie. I was able to get appointments for us for next week. But then, my friend Cathi told me she was not going to be able to keep her appointment with Cherie this afternoon as she had to work. When she asked if I wanted to take her appointment, I jumped at the chance!

Now you have to understand that back in another life, when I was a working woman, I took the advice of another friend who just happens to be Washington's Secretary of Health. Mary told me that one of the best things I could do for both my health and sanity would be to get a weekly massage. I took her advice and had a standing appointment with Cherie once a week. Along the way, with much coaxing, I was able to get Forry to try massage. It made his back feel so good, he too, became a regular.

One of the hardest things I gave up when we sold our house in Spokane and became full-time RVers was that weekly appointment. Over the years, Cherie has become a very good friend -- one of those people that you may not see for ages, but when you do, you pick up chatting right where you left off. I have occasionally had other massages, but nobody does it quite like Cherie.

So you can see why today was a VERY NICE day. That hour just flew by. And I feel so good.

And I still have those appointments I made for us next week...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We Made It -- Washington State!

It took driving through three states to do it, but we've finally made it back to Washington State. Okay, it's not as bad as it sounds -- the panhandle of Idaho can't be more than a hundred miles across!

It was mostly mountain driving today, the foothills of the Rockies along the Clark Fork River --

There's some pretty rugged rocks along Interstate 90 --

And some with gorgeous colors --

I lost count of how many times we crossed the Clark Fork as it winds its way along. I'm sure we crossed it more than a dozen times!

We finally saw the last of Montana. I was so glad to see the Welcome to Idaho sign. And even happier to see the little sign that said we were now in the Pacific Time Zone!

Would you believe I MISSED the Welcome to Washington sign?! We were so busy pointing out landmarks to each other, I forgot to pick up the camera in time... ;-(

With the gain of an hour with the time zone, we were able to pull into Ponderosa Falls RV Park a little after three thirty. With our KM membership, we only had to pay the $2 per day electricity charge for our two week stay.

Those two weeks will be busy. I have been able to make all of our appointments for doctor visits, eye exams, dental visits, haircuts and massages! It seemed to be good timing for everything as there were either openings or cancellations that would fit us in everywhere. Now we just need to get a clear date for our AHEC gathering!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Still in Montana...!

We certainly had no desire to hang around this morning at the nasty campground we were at in Big Timber last night and were out and on our way by 9:00 AM -- very early for us!

We were definitely in cattle country today, though we did see a few flocks of sheep. Most of the cropland we saw was alfalfa or grass and we saw lots of bales being hauled.

The countryside was more rugged then we had seen the last few days --

And we started to see rows and rows of snow fence, designed to keep that white stuff from drifting across the highway --

There continues to be a great deal of hazy smoke in the air -- it's hard to even see the mountains ahead --

The median between the freeway lanes is full of bright yellow sunflowers --

We were at 6363 feet when we crossed the Continental Divide.  Lots of ups and downs today.

Always there is road construction! I don't know that we've driven a single day without running into it somewhere along the way. It's a good thing.

I love this part of the drive. The upthrusting rocks are spectacular. (Actually for many of them, the soil around them has eroded away, leaving them behind...)

In some areas, the trees do not look very healthy and there were a lot of dead ones. I suppose this is the result of the pine beetle that we've been hearing about...

The big copper mine pit in Butte. The air was so smokey you could hardly see it!

In contrast to our reception last night, our arrival here at the Deer Lodge KOA was delightful. The staffer acted glad to see us and made sure we liked our site, offering to change it immediately if we could not get satellite reception. The park is right along the bank of the Clark Fork River and on the edge of town. The sites are extremely clean with NO paper or cigarette butts lying about. The electrical and water hook-ups are in good repair. So nice!

Because of our quick start, we arrived here quite early this afternoon. It was very warm, but the wind was too gusty to put out the awning, so we ended up running both air conditioners in order to keep the inside down in the eighties. It has cooled off enough by 8:30 that I am going to be able to go take a walk along the river bank before I finish watching the baseball game.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Truckin' on Through Montana

You forget how far it is across Montana. It doesn't matter if you're going east to west or west to east, it takes forever!

We saw lots of stubble fields as we drove along I-94. It looks like harvest is pretty much finished in this part of the country. If you can judge by the thickness of the stubble, the crops were pretty good.

We're getting close enough to Spokane to start making doctor appointments and to look at getting in to get haircuts and maybe even a massage. I really like that Group Health lets you make appointments on-line. I was able to schedule our appointments, then send a secure email to our doc letting her know the date so that she could order lab work ahead of time. I also made appointments on-line for eye exams as well. I can hardly wait to get a new pair of glasses. Mine are really scratched up. I thought about doing it before we left last Fall, but didn't want to take the extra time.

I had to use the phone to call Forry's dermatology office and was quite surprised that I was able to get him in next week. Usually, appointments are two to three weeks out and we end up waiting around for them.

As we got closer to Big Timber, we noticed more and more haze in the sky. It really began to look smokey. It's hard to tell where the fires are as the smoke can travel for miles --

I'm sure glad we only made a reservation for one night at the Big Timber KOA.When you make a reservation on-line, the KOA web-site asks what kind of rig you have and what size it is, then shows you what sites are available for you. We had the choice of a 50 amp full hook-up pull through or a 20/30 amp pull-through site with water only. (The other sites they had listed all had red remarks saying they were not acceptable for us...) Since I knew we would be emptying tanks before we left Miles City and it was only going to be one night, I opted for the 30 amp site. The website also requires a deposit for the first night which we paid.

When we arrived here, the teenager in the office seemed skeptical about the 30 amp site and went for his manager. She insisted that the "fire marshal" did not allow them to rent 30  amp sites to big rigs that were designed for 50 amps... When I said we had been using 30 amp sites all across the United States, she made a rather sarcastic remark about "how they must not have fire marshals who know their jobs." She also remarked to the teenager that we should have known we wouldn't fit into the site we had requested...

We should have just kept going and found somewhere else to stay, but Forry was tired, so we paid them the additional $11 they wanted for their 50 amp site.

The teenager lead us to the site. The little grass there is is all dried out and there was quite a bit of trash on the site. I picked up several large pieces of paper and wrappers as I was guiding Forry in. The kid just sat on his golf cart and watched, didn't even offer take the garbage with him as he drove off. Then when I went to spray the water faucet with my bleach spray, I saw a pair of used surgical gloves laying there!

I don't know which disgusts me more, the idiot who carefully puts on gloves to empty his black water tank, then throws them on the ground for someone else to deal with, OR the campground operators who don't even walk their campsites after someone leaves to make sure they are clean!

Needless to say I will NOT be giving this campground a good review NOR will we ever stay here again!

It's too bad because we generally like staying at KOAs. Even the older ones have had very gracious, helpful and friendly staff and we've had clean campsites.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Yesterday it was sprinkling as we hooked up to head west and we drove in rain almost all the way through western North Dakota and into eastern Montana. It was chilly enough that I actually put a sweatshirt on for the first time since last November.

The western part of North Dakota near Teddy Roosevelt National Park has some of my most favorite Western scenery. We have camped in this part of the country before and enjoyed it immensely.

Several years ago I flew out to North Dakota for a Friday meeting to work with their rural providers to assist them with formation of a state rural health association. In those days, you often got a much better airfare if you stayed over Saturday night. The ND group loaned me a car and I spent Saturday exploring Teddy Roosevelt's North Dakota haunts -- and in the process fell in love with the ND badlands. I think they are more dramatic and colorful than the Badlands National Park in South Dakota!

We only skirted the edges of the badlands yesterday, but you could still see the incredible bands of color, especially the reds...

Even through all of the downpour, the hills are gorgeous!

This was the scene this morning. Mainly blue skies with scattered clouds that soon left. The Miles City, Montana KOA is located in the midst of what they describe as "mature" cottonwood trees. It's very pretty. Some of the trees are very old and have huge trunks -- if they could only talk!

We did drive around a bit this afternoon (after sleeping in VERY late this morning!) and went to take a good look at the Yellowstone River which flows along the edge of town.

It's a fairly large river, but according to the locals it is very low as evidenced by all of the exposed beaches and sandbars.

The Tongue River runs along the edge of the KOA kampground. We followed it down to where it flowed into the Yellowstone --

It got quite warm today, into the nineties (no sweatshirt today!). They were lots of rigs and boat trailers parked along the Yellowstone's sandbars and we saw a lot of people wading and swimming.

If we weren't getting anxious to get back to Washington State, we would certainly be lingering longer in this part of the world.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

General George Custer

As I promised yesterday,the other attraction at Fort Abraham Lincoln is the home of the Fort's Commander as it might have been in 1875, the year before the General perished at the Battle of the Little Big Horn (Custer's Last Stand).

The home features guides uniformed as cavalry soldiers of the era, who do a very good job of remaining in character during their tours.

The Commander's house is a bit fancier than the standard Army issue. The original house where the Custers were living had burned the year previously, so General Custer made many modifications to the new home while it was being built.

One of the most noticeable was this fancy bay window put in for his wife --

As the Fort Commander, the Custers entertained all of the important visitors to the post, though Custer had the builders combine two of what were supposed to be guest bedrooms upstairs into a large game room with pool and card tables for his and his officers use.

This is one of the many portraits of the General in the house (he dearly loved having his picture taken!). Seated beside him is his wife. Behind them is the General's brother, a lieutenant at the Fort.

Mrs. Custer was fond of music and had both a pianoforte and a harp for musical evenings --

The docent explaining the formality of meals at the Custer house. They had not only the services of the soldiers at the Fort, but also employed three female servants, former slaves, that they had brought west with them.

While the house had no indoor plumbing, Mrs. Custer did have a bathing room (also added to the plans by Custer), complete with this hip bath that was filled - and emptied - by hand.

I remember seeing my Grandmother use this type of curling iron that was heated in the chimney of a kerosene lamp --

There was a display of period clothing laid out on one of the beds, but I was more interested in the chamber pots (or thunder mugs) conveniently located under each bed --

This is the General's portable desk, which went into the field with him. Note the ornate helmet on the left top --

Custer was a big game hunter. Some of his gun collection is displayed on a rug made from a grizzly bear shot by him.

The wardrobe in the Custer's bedroom included a heavy coat made of buffalo --

As the wife of the Fort's Commander, Mrs. Custer dressed in the height of fashion --

Another portrait of Custer detailing his long hair. He had his dress uniforms tailored out of black velvet...

After Custer's death the next year and a short stay in nearby Bismarck, Mrs. Custer decided she could not live adequately on his pension. She went to New York and went on the Speaker's circuit.By then, the true story of Little Big Horn was beginning to be told and she gave speeches defending her late husband. It is said she died a very wealthy woman. The Custers had no children.