Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's time for the amphetamines........

to give me a jump start and get back to life. We did some aerobic activity at Costco

yesterday and left me flattened for the rest of the day. I have a busy calendar coming up (like beginning on Friday) and starting to look at desperate measures to get me moving.......considering maids, cooks and personal assistants as a start.

Meanwhile, we are studying the manual and trying to learn all about f/stops, ISO, exposures, bokeh and lens. It's a bit daunting to my meager brain .... but he seems to get it so at least there would be an in-house source to lean on. We have not purchased anything
yet and still in the investigative/learning stage. I'm not sure I need another hobby and all that 'stuff' that will naturally come with it..............but the end result is appealing....providing I know how to turn it on.

Here's another picture that I love......what a face !!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just a couple more.....

It just might be the beginning of a great artist..........Our Three Sons.... Jon, Jeff and Mike. We are sooooo proud of all they've accomplished. Plus, they are really nice guys........and have wonderful wives and children.
And here's one of my favorite pictures and a happening that I could not have planned
even if the control freak in me wanted to .............Meet our 3 beautiful and talented daughter's in law........
On the right........... Dr. Marybeth Miller
In the middle........ Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Miller
On the left..............Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Miller

That's not a typo................

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Animals Gone Wild

Our friends and neighbors, the Scott's, have a lovely, well thought out front patio space with flowers, shrubbery and a large fountain. The other day, after being gone for a couple of days, they came home to this................It literally looked like a bomb had gone off. Pavers torn out, pipe broken and torn into chunks, dirt everywhere, flowers pulled up. Upon closer exam, all of the soft sandy dirt was covered in hundreds of indentations and prints.....animal prints. And the driveway and other surfaces had animal prints. It looked like a war zone in the animal world. No one really knows what it was but it probably was a bobcat getting a bit overzealous in it's search for prey. According to Wikipedia, they live in this area and search out rabbits and rodents. Something was probably living under the fountain and the cat was very determined....and strong. There was no sign of a massacre.
I took a picture of my foot and the print to give an indication of size. It's kind of scary to think of the strength and determination this predator had.....
Meanwhile, the couch is still looking pretty good. I have moments of normalcy but mostly I am pretty useless.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Living better with drugs...........

We are feeling better.....not great yet but he is going about as usual and I am still enjoying the couch between laundry loads. I think my going to the ER so quickly really made a big difference.....I doubt I could have made it until the Urgent Care Ctr opened in the morning. Well, I wasn't dying or anything but life was not good and it happened so rapidly that it was a bit scary.
Anyhow, home looks really appealing these days and reliving the wonderful trip is a perfect antidote for feeling lousy. And, the main reason for this blog is so we can remember the details of our life. Going back and viewing the trip just ignites the great memories of family and friends and mountains and wild flowers and views along the road. I post very few pictures but those make me go into the archive and relive the moments. Try it.......its much better than a file of dated pictures. I mentioned that we went to Old Faithful but didn't wait for the eruption. I guess that would be like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower . We have seen it erupt a few times and it is impressive. The earthquakes and other geological activity has resulted in a longer, less predictable time between events and we just missed the previous one. It was late in the day and we were needing a campground before dark so we opted to skip it.
Here is a peek at the Tetons.....the clouds were low and misty and we just got an occasional glimpse. We'll just have to go back and see them in all their glory another day.
In reviewing and downloading pictures, I have not been particularly pleased with the results. I know that 99% of a picture is the person behind the lens. And the problem with point and shoot cameras is that we expect to do just that and get excellent results.....I think it makes us lazy. Often, I just stuck my head out a window and pressed the button. Part of this was the mode of transportation.....we just can't pull over anywhere. When I take my time, I do better. Being basically a very impatient person, the iPhone and the Sony Cybershot worked well. Then this spring, I upgraded to the Canon Power Shot. I have been struggling with it since day one. I keep reading the manual and trying new things but still not really getting the results I want. I think it does well on kids and flowers and such but not landscapes. The zoom is impressive but needs a tripod to avoid blurring (which I don't have).
So, my time on the couch has been spent researching a new camera. I don't think I'm much smarter and I'm still very much on the fence about it. I know that a DSLR is heavy and bulky and expensive. And then there is the lens issue...but I kind of know what I would get. And I wouldn't obviously carry it around with me but would love it for special opportunities and travel. Our 3 sons have an impressive array of equipment and I have sought advice. I'm looking at the Canon Rebel if any of you have it and have an opinion. There are a lot of tutorials out there and I plan a trip to the bookstore today if the old body is up for a field trip.
In my reading, I'm also learning that most everyone Photoshops their pics before, I'm going to order Photoshop Elements and see what that does. My brother just had a book made of a few of his spectacular photos.....hardcover with excellent quality......makes a great coffee table book. I'm sure I'm a bit behind the times but wouldn't this make a great birthday, anniversary, baby, special occasion gift ?
OK, I'm going to try and meet the day head on and get something done.......until I need a nap.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HOME never looked so good........

We managed to drive 619 miles yesterday.....rather, HE drove 619 miles , through rain, lightning, impressive thunder and down the "road of many big trucks". We got home about 8ish and I was sinking rapidly. I ended up waking him out of his well earned sleep to drive me to the ER so they could give me good stuff so I could breathe. I knew what it was......pharyngitis with episodes of laryngeal spasm......meaning, your throat is all red and very sore, you have a hacking dry cough and at some point, when you really get into a coughing fit, your throat decides that maybe it will just close up and you are unable to take in air. It also swells some from the irritation which makes it feels like there is a baseball in there obstructing everything. Needless to say, it wasn't fun. Fortunately, it wasn't busy but still took 2 hours for everyone to sit around at the desk and eat their midnight dinner and talk about shopping and schedules and listen to me cough my lungs out. I had a temperature and chills and no voice due to the swelling of the vocal cords but I think they got the point that I was in distress altho they kept saying, your O2 sats are just fine.....wellllll yah, when I'm breathing, it's just that I can't always do that. Anyway, after steroids, antibiotics and the good codiene cough syrup, we came home and slept in our own bed and it felt wonderful.
And now, the daunting task of emptying the beast. I do a bit, rest, write the blog, do some more and rest and and cough....but not so much anymore. It's hot and steamy out there and we put a lot of necessities in it that need to come shoes and more shoes and fancy clothes and fancy face stuff ......and a mountain of dirty clothes (despite the luxury of a w/d on board....I've been sick, remember).
My hero got us home and me all fixed up and I am grateful for that.
I will give you all the statistics another day and maybe even a picture or two.
I hope your week is off to a better start...................

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not soon enough

No pics.....just a quick update. The viral bug attacked again yesterday despite drinking gallons of water and avoiding bodily contact with it's previous owner. It's living in my throat and ears and causing chills and drippy passages. I actually don't feel awful awful, just a bit crummy. And I'm happier curled up with my fuzzy blanket than sitting in the driver's seat.

We spent the night in a Walmart parking lot in Tennessee. As much as I dislike W, they do allow us this benefit, hoping of course that we will shop. He did, stocking up on more Advil. We tried to find a campground but it was raining, getting dark and the only decent sounding one had no pull-throughs and wanted $50+. It just seemed easier to find a spot in the lot of this mega store, open 24 hrs. And we didn't need to unhook the car. We wouldn't do this someplace unsavory but this one was the exception. notice the next time you go near one in the morning or evening, and see how many RV's are there....also semi's. We have electricity, water, the TV, the generator and a water pump misbehaving again. Hoping it will behave for the next 600 miles...and if not, we have a spare.
Hopefully, the next update will be from the comforts of our non-mobile house.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Walmart somewhere

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sneezing across the miles...

We drove 500 miles today. It was on wide open highways traversing Wyoming and Nebraska and it was downhill all the way. We got pretty good gas mileage for a change........that being a relative thing, considering what we are driving. There are no pictures. It was gray and cloudy and foggy and misty and only in the 50's. We crisscrossed the Oregon trail. Somewhere along the way are the actual ruts still visible from the wagon trains. I have pictures from a previous trip.....but can't remember where they are.

Wyoming is an interesting place from the cockpit of the bus. The western part is magnificent and majestic. Then it gradually levels out to scrub brush and hills but the elevation stays around 7-8000 feet. There is no indication of farming but are cattle. Scattered about are odd, large structures that have no identifying signs nor familiar shapes like refineries or mining or manufacturing. They are not all alike but all look fairly recent...10 years or so. It makes the imagination come to life and I visualized even more mystery off in the hills away from the eyes from the interstate. And throw into all of this is the fact that this is Mr Cheney's home state ! Nothing political..........but sinister comes to mind. Oh, well, guess I could google Wyoming Secrets and see what pops up.

I read where another person was killed by a grizzley last week. This being a hunter with another hunter and large guns as they were hunting bear ! Now, if you can't protect yourself with a big gun, what are your chances of warding off the man eating beasts with bells and whistles and loud renditions of "we'll be comin' round the mountain" ? The various guides suggest carrying Bear spray. At $46 a can, you are to spray it in their face and eyes.......yup, I can visualize myself doing that easily. In the guide it says it is NOT a repellent and not to be used to spray your clothes or tent. Darn, it would be so much better if they would scatter like mosquitos. My solution is to not go where the bears go.

The last two nights we have had the good fortune to park ourselves in campgrounds with lousy WiFi and next to the interstate. Both had high ratings but by the time we find this out, we are already situated. So, I've had to produce the blog via the 3G on the iPad which has a very sensitive keyboard and I end up slogging thru with many typos. But It's great for adding pictures. So I am not my usual verbose and witty self when I have to keep correcting every 3rd word.

One of us has a darn good head cold and despite gallons of water, zinc, Advil and TLC from the onboard nurse, he is not feeling great. Fortunately, the roads are good and I can do extra driving duty while he catches a nap, buckled in on the sofa. He insists we continue and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Lincoln, Nebraska

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Catching up...

When last we visited we were going to Yellowstone. It is very large in comparison to Glacier and has very different geological landscapes.
There are waterfalls, from the gentle

To the mighty....

And thundering of the Upper Falls at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Lower Falls is nearby. Most of these gorgeous scenes can be hiked to for a closer and personal view.

There are geysers everywhere. Spouting up along the way and in distant views. Also simmering ,bubbling thermal areas. They are all seen by walking along wooden pathways with warnings of the many dangers if you decide they look more inviting a bit closer.

We headed to Old Faithful but did not want to wait 90 minutes for the next eruption.

And there is wildlife along the way. We saw deer and elk and

the buffalo were posing and causing 'wildlife jams'. we saw no bears. But, the warnings about them are everywhere. There have been 2 deaths of hikers this year by grizzlies. The hiking trails were abundant but since I have this phobia about bears and mountain lions, we stayed on the well trodden and crowded paths.

The fishermen were out. I'm glad we read "A River Runs Through It" was excellent and I will appreciate the rushing river a bit more.

Weather was pleasant but definitely cooler and the fleece and jeans came out. On Thursday, we had a rendezvous with half of the Hatlie couplet as Guy headed back to Manhattan Beach, Ca. from their summer at the lake. Judy flew back a bit earlier. We enjoy running into them here and there.

The clouds did come in and we headed south. On a whim, we pulled into a National Park campground in the Tetons and they had an opening. There were no hook-ups and they keep the bigger RV's separate from
the tents. It was chilly and damp but we enjoyed a fire and were very very grateful for the down comforter. The next morning we stayed buried in until the magic hour of 8 am when generators were allowed. Then it sounded like we were in the middle of a truck stop. We headed over for breakfast at the large historic restaurant. We have found that all tho the ambiance of eating in the National Park restaurants might justify the price, the food does not.

We are currently in Wyoming headed East. We had considered other adventures and itineraries but in the end, decided that it was time to get back to our other life and the realities of hot days , evenings with the Scotts and fixing the golf game.....yes, hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

West Yellowstone

Altho we are happily retired and have minimal obligations these days, there are still annoying blips on the "life is good" radar screen that must be attended to. Nothing of any interest to our thousands of readers but just some bookkeeping and such that needs to be done and in our packing , we forgot to bring them. There was a discussion about flying / driving back to Florida to deal with it all and then decided that modern inventions like FEDEX and the phone might just be the solution. So, the next dilemma (I am a very good speller but that word had me stumped for a bit...who knew it had 2 M's ).....was our itinerary.
We left West Glacier on Monday morning and pointed the bus south. We passed Missoula and continued across the high plains ringed with distant mountains until we came to Idaho Falls, Idaho. Montana really is Big Sky Country. You can see for thousands of miles it seems.......the one thing I've noticed about this trip is the abundance of historical markers along the way. We miss alot of them due to small print as viewed from 60 MPH but when we can read the title or the name or the place, we go to the iPad to Bing to look it up and read all about what we are seeing. ( The iPad's 3G capability is pretty amazing....even out in the middle of nowhere.)
There was only 1 choice of campgrounds in Idaho was OK, not great but fine for overnight. The town is quite nice, about 50,000, and has this amazing fountain in the middle of a round about. You can't see the detail but there are animals in the rocks and an eagles nest with little eaglets in it . It is really beautiful.
When we were packing up that morning, we noticed this unusual camping arrangement. I spoke with the young couple and took this quick pic. They are pulling a trailer with the jeep-type vehicle on a flat bed and this 'house on top'.
They said they like to go 4 wheeling and they found this set-up at a rally. It is made by ARB Touring (because Michael would want to know) and when you push up on the ladder, it folds up the tent floor.

So now, we are in West Yellowstone. It was a nice easy drive over and we are in a beautiful campground. Grizzly RV Park is large and within easy walking distance of restaurants, shopping and museums. The sites are large and filled with high end luxury coaches as well as the camping trailers. We had a reservation and glad we did as they have been full every night. Weather is a bit cooler and it rained overnight. We did a short drive into the Park, just on the outskirts of this small town, and found the landscape much different from Glacier. We followed a river with many fisherman on it. Then came to stopped traffic to view the buffalo meandering along the road. Farther along, we saw elk and more camera wielding tourists.
Hoping to spend the day in the park but looks like more rain might be coming. More than anything it will hamper the quality of my photos.....they are amateurish enough without clouds and rain. It will be the first rainy day of our trip if it continues.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Today's post is BELOW the Glacier Park post of yesterday. I sort of explain how this can happen to even the best of us........but it's still very annoying.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Glacier National Park

Few words today, just pictures. We did the Going to the Sun hwy yesterday. With frequent Kodak moments and construction stops it was slow but worthy of the slow pace. It is about 50 mi one way. Reminder to click on pics for better viewing. We did see bighorn sheep at the summit but no good pictures.

Hazy here too.

Waterfalls and rivers diminished so late in season

An example of the early road building in the '30's. They are now doing some widening and restoring the rock walls lining the roadway.

Shelf road most of the way. Many bikers.

Only 26 glaciers remain out of 150 and the Jackson glacier in the pic above is only 25% of it's original size.

There are 2 large lakes within the boundries and many smaller ones.

Many Glacier Lodge. Done in Swiss Alp style and being renovated.

Some parts have significant intimidation factor if you are on the outside.

The iconic Red Bus tours. They are 7-8 hours long and all were filled when we inquired. I would enjoy the narrative. These are the original 33 buses and Ford restored them about 7 years ago and now they run on propane.

Wild flowers were in abundance.

I hope these meager pics have inspired you to plan a trip soon. It is awesome.

Location:Glacier National Park

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ignore the's really Sept 12th

I know that I might appear to be a computer whiz but really, it's all a facade, just like my hair and those wonderful eyelashes I wore to the wedding.......anyway...(.and sometimes I do go on and on before I get to the point), we sent Jon a boat-load of old know, the ones in the large Rubbermaid tub that 'someday' you were going to put nicely in organized albums.....and 'someday' is looong gone. Anyway, we just didn't send them off C.O.D or anything, he actually requested them. And now he is scanning and downloading to flickr so that we can all laugh at our younger selves. ...and that hair !! So, I tried to move this pic from flickr to my iPhoto, all without success. Jon gave me a hint, and I was able to move it to blogger.....but anytime you start a new post, that date stays there and even if you continue a day or two later , the original date never changes........ But you might be saying, "well, just delete and start anew on the right date !" and normally, that would be the right thing to do, BUT, it all goes back to the picture and the fact that I'm not sure how I got it on the blog and if I start over, I might not get it back.....and the picture is the best part of today's posting.

So, here is the picture......P and I rented this about 25 years ago !! Scary how time flies sometimes......... we picked it up near San Francisco and drove to my parents. Jeff was living in California at the time after high school. We drove this to Seattle and then over to Denver. Don't remember how long we were gone but it was something we always wanted to do and now so many years later, we have moved on to bigger and not always better when it comes to actually driving the thing. But it was a fun trip and I guess it got in our blood.
Yesterday was a day of rest. We read, we loafed, we fixed, we cleaned and we laundered. ...and we might have napped. We loved the beautiful weather and the smell of pine. Later, we did some back road wandering and looked at Park campsights. Surprisingly, there were some big rigs parked in those trees. There is no electricity or water or sewer at the sites and generators are very limited in their use........I would not be happy if I was in a tent and some MH had the noisy generator on at all hours. Thinking the crowds for dinner might be less on a Sunday night, we wandered into Lake MacDonald Lodge. The tour bus out front should have been a clue. But, we were able to get a table at the bar and could choose from the dinner menu or the bar menu. We started out ordering a chardonnay.....the waiter said "we are out of chardonnay"....I thought he meant the house wine....he says no, we are out of All chardonnay. So we ordered a reisling, which was actually better anyhow and then we were served in tiny little wine glasses.....he said, "we are out of wine glasses also" and then brought over the rest of the bottle of wine.....The weather has been so nice and the crowds so much bigger than usual, that they are running out of food and drink and glasses. They close on the 29th for the season.

When we were up on the mountain Saturday, waiting our 20 minutes for our turn to pass on the one-lane only road (construction), P overheard a conversation. A large white diesel truck was at the head of the line, idling and being noisy. Next in line was a smallish SUV type car with a very elderly thin lady standing next to it. She says to the guy by the truck, "Your truck is running" and he explains that it has something to do with the turbo thing and it runs better , etc. She says " well, you are polluting" and he looks back at her and says " And what are you riding, a horse?? " You had to be there, it WAS funny. But, we did notice that he turned off his truck the next time.

I'd tell you our plans for today and tomorrow and the rest of the week, but as of last night , we haven't a clue. We'll spin the dial on the compass and see where it lands......and we'll take you along.

Plan B

We went to bed with a plan to head south towards the Tetons and possibly a trip into Yellowstone. When we awoke, the smoke and haze was evident (there was ash on our outdoor chairs) and the forecast was for it to continue all weekend. Paul, who had pondered various routing at 2 am, was ready with a new plan. It was a good one but just to be sure, we actually called ahead and made campground reservations.
We then headed NORTH. It was a pretty drive with some haze and in a short while we saw the Mission Range in the distance. We followed it for the rest of the drive
and then came to Flathead Lake. It is a huge body of water... 27 mi long and 15 mi wide. It is a natural lake, slightly larger than Lake Tahoe. We followed the lake until
we approached Glacier National Park. Our campground, the West Glacier KOA, is beautiful. Only 2 miles from the Park entrance, it has every amenity , including a restaurant, pool, hot tubs and flowers everywhere. We chose a premium site and it was worth every penny. It has a table for 6 with large umbrella and a shiny new gas grill. It is paved and has a firepit with benches. I've decided that I am going to live here for the rest of the season (it closes in 2 weeks ) !
It was a beautiful warm day and while the driver took a nap, I continued my read of "A River Runs Through It". A neighbor came over to remark on our very large MH. She and her husband are in a small rental RV and are from the UK. They are used to small caravans and she was fascinated by all the large and varied types here. After the driver's nap, I gave her a quick tour and she called it 'palatial', which compared to small British vans, I guess it is.
Altho tempted to just sit and enjoy the ambiance of our site, we opted to drive over to the Lake McDonald Lodge in the Park....a short few miles. We have the Golden Eagle senior pass for which we paid $10 several years ago. It is the best bargain ever and gets us into all Federal parks and landmarks. It is no longer sold according to the website. Anyway, it saved us about $25 as we passed thru the entrance.
The Lodge is typical of national park lodges altho I think this one is a bit smaller than some. The flowers in hanging baskets and window boxes and pots were magnificent. Paul came to Glacier several times with his father and siblings and camped in tents and hiked many of the trails. He remembers thinking that only really rich people stayed and ate here. About 15 years ago, we passed through here late in the season and they had a room available and we stayed and ate here. Which proves that his theory of only the rich allowed in was very wrong.
We sat out in the lovely warm air with some wine and watched the launch come in from a tour of the lake. It's all reminiscent of bygone years when trains brought the tourists in and the lake tours and Red Bus were the way to see the Park.

If you go to Disney's Wilderness Lodge, you will see that they patterned it after these romantic turn of the century lodges , down to the very detail.
Reluctantly, we headed back to our home- away- from -home as the sun was setting over
the lake and fired up the shiny grill for some salmon and chicken.....and enough for leftovers. Or, if you had joined us we'd have had plenty to share. Later, as the almost full moon rose over the mountain, our British neighbors joined us around a blazing campfire.......(note to self, get smores.)
Today we will head out for more exploring and I will use the real camera. The iPhone works very well much of the time and is so handy but I can do better with scenery and distant shots with the Canon.
It is 45 degrees this morning but will get into the 80's. The tent campgrounds are full and I feel guilty waking up to hot coffee and an electric fireplace when they are wearing wool and using an outhouse. I remember tent camping and while it had its appeal (I won't go into detail on that aspect), it isn't fun to change a soggy diaper or find a tree for a little boy in the middle of the cold night. Nor to hear strange sounds and the imagination takes hold and suddenly bears are about to attack and herds of deer are going to run amok. Maybe getting old has it's benefits after all..............