08.01.15 Touring “The Castle” and visiting a Hutterite Colony

11745872_1142220285793390_4948386386060687588_nSaturday, August 1, 2015 – On Friday we toured the Castle Museum and Carriage House, known by locals as ‘The Castle’.  It is on a hill in downtown White Sulphur Springs, Montana. ‘The Castle’ is an imposing 12 room mansion built in 1892 by Bryon Roger Sherman, and is now the home of the Meagher County Museum. The Victorian landmark is made of hand-cut granite blocks hauled by oxen from the nearby Castle Mountains. The museum is complete with period furniture, clothing and artifacts from the region’s past.

All rooms were laid with hardwood floors and covered with Belgian 11143520_10153313872654939_6778892482954480369_nand Oriental rugs. In the bathrooms were washbowls (painted, as is in vogue again) and stands of Italian marble; the light fixtures were of crystal and brass.

The admission is $5 per person or for old folks like us it was only $3 per person!  The young lady who guided our tour was very knowledgeable about the castle and shared a lot of good information which helped us better appreciate what we were seeing.

They do not allow photographs to be taken inside the castle.  This was not a good thing for someone who goes picture happy when she can.  I did find some photos from their facebook page to share here.


castle entryway staircaseCASTLE MASTER BEDROOM

castle master bedroom

CASTLE PARLORcastle parlor


castle cameraOutside, photos are allowed so we snapped away!

castle front castle historic plaque castle rosalyn

After our castle tour we headed a few miles away down a long long dirt and gravel road to visit the Springdale Aerial of a Hutterite Colony in Cascade County, Montana, USAHutterite Colony and buy some fresh produce and bread.  We thought we must have gotten bad directions after traveling 5 miles down the dirt road and still seeing nothing!   Finally we arrived at a very large piece of property where they live and work.  Here’s a picture of the property they all live on.

We were told that the Hutterites are similar to Amish yet different.  The Hutterites are open to most modern technology, while the Amish shun it. The Hutterites also believe in an undivided way of life, such as what’s mine is yours and what’s your is mine, while the Amish tend to have a more independent lifestyle.  Like the Amish, the Hutterites all dress in handmade clothing of similar style but the fabric seems to be more colorful with patterns and is very pretty.  The little boys wore either cowboy like hats or what I call a soldier style hat.  They are descendents, like us Baptists are, of Anabaptists so they believe in adult only baptism.

hutterite from far awayEveryone there was more than friendly.  They all talked to us, asked where we were from and were very interested in our lives.  There are no signs showing where to go for their produce, etc. so we had to keep asking.  I really think they would sell more of the things they produce if they put a couple of signs up.  People gladly brought us from one building to the other.  We went to one building for the produce, a different building a ways away for the bread and a third building to the kitchen where we purchased the pie.

There were other people buying produce but we were the only people at the bread and pie buildings. We purchased fresh carrots, fresh cabbage, pickled green beans, fresh homecooked vegetable soup, an uncut loaf of bread and a strawberry rhubard pie! I cooked the carrots this evening with our chicken thighs and their pickled green beans and slices of their fresh bread!  Delicious dinner!

I thought that, like the Amish, they didn’t like their pictures taken so I respectfully did not pull out my camera.  I found a lot of pictures on the internet that they obviously posed for or were aware were being taken.  They are most likely not from the Springdale Colony but they may be. Here are some photos I got to share with ya’ll. hutterite childrenHutterites near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Photo by Independent Picture Service/UIG via Getty Images)OB-AP050_HUTCEL_20070829115328hutterite boys 2 hutterite boys hutterite carrot growing hutterite menWhat a nice day we had exploring The Castle and the Hutterite Colony!  Now for two days of RVillage work this weekend!

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07.31.15 Conestoga Campground, White Sulphur Springs,Montana

20150729_200024Friday, July 31, 2015  – We really like Conestoga Campground for several reasons.  A little is that we have all the water and electricity we want here after boondocking for 10 days.

Second is that there are other RVillagers here, and RVillagers are always good people!

Next, this is a lovely park (with real grass) and nice people running it.

Last is that there is a good bit to do in this area.

When we made our reservations here for two weeks all I thought was well 20150728_170625we’ll get a lot of rest since there didn’t appear to be too much here so far away from mountains.  But we really are still in the mountains and I was really wrong about things to do.  Conestoga Campground (a Coast to Coast resort) is  nestled in the Smith River Valley of the Rocky Mountains surrounded by the Big Belt, Little Belt and Castle Mountain.  They have 47 sites – All pull through (Big Rig Friendly) – 33 full hook-ups, 14 water & electric. They also have nice grassy sites for tents and bikers, though there are none here right now.

20150728_165635Gordon & Sally Stewart own the campground and are actively involved in it.  Gordon created all of the silhouette pictures that we see along the fence line.  It is a very neat and clean park, very well maintained.   Wednesday evening, we enjoyed delicious local ice cream at a social they have every Wednesday and Saturday.  Gordon gave a brief talk about things to see in the area.  Very helpful information.

The campground has a store with lots of local things for sale.  Huckleberries are the big there and there are20150728_170300 huckleberry everything (chocolate bars, cocoa, coffee, candy sticks, syrup, jam, soda, etc.) for sale.  I am learning about where they grow wild so maybe we can pick our own.

In the office they also have a brochure rack with lots of information about places to see in the area.  They have a book exchange and a video check out service.  Their camp hosts rotate their days working and there is always a smiling face at the front counter!

20150728_165546 20150728_165759 20150728_165814 20150728_170421 20150728_170523 20150729_185449 20150729_185512 20150729_185528 20150729_185602 20150729_185622 20150729_185654 20150729_185711 20150729_193849  Just after sunset yesterday evening!

20150729_205905 20150729_205914We’re going to visit a Hutterite Colony (they are similar to Amish) nearby tomorrow and tour a local Castle!

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07.30.15 Traveling from Yellowstone to White Sulphur Springs, Montana

11813380_451308798381704_601519213281170641_nOn Monday, July 28th rain fell and the temperatures plummeted as we traveled from Yellowstone to White Sulphur Springs.  The two times we got out of the RV we were just about frozen in place between the wind and the near freezing temperatures.  What a stark contrast to the two nights before when the temperatures didn’t fall below high 70s at the coolest in Yellowstone.

This morning we heard it snowed in Glacier National Park, just a little bit from here.  It’s Juuuuullllyyyyyy and temps for a couple of days have dipped to where it feels like the middle of winter.

26168_1aecThe landscape leveled out with the mountains growing smaller and smaller until all we saw were some hills in the distance.  We took Highway 89 north to White Sulphur Springs where Conestoga Campground is located.  This is a Coast to Coast campground where we’ll be staying for two weeks.  It is really lovely here and when I’ve had time to take pictures I’ll share them.  They actually have grass on the ground instead of the sage brush we’ve seen everywhere previously.

I’ve noticed (just like it happened two years ago) that as we make our way north we see trees beginning to bloom months and months after they do in Louisiana.  When we arrived in Minnesota May of 2013 there were no leaves on the trees, yet in Louisiana leaves began to bloom in February or March!  In early July this year trees in Wyoming were just getting their leaves.

We will be doing what we can to learn more about the area we are currently in (White Sulphur Springs, Montana) and seeing as much of it as we can while we’re here.  Anyone with recommendations of what to see in the mid Montana area please let us know!

I just updated our Visited States Map and here it is.  By the time we get back to Louisiana in December, we hope to have the entire western states covered!!


We “check in” on RVillage each time we pull into a campground or resort and they save it on our RVillage “My Places” map.  Here’s our RVillage map of places we’ve visited since we started RVing.  None of our Walmart sleep overs are on the map however.

rvillage map of our places If, in the future, you want to see the places we’ve been you can see our profile on RVillage by going to: http://www.rvillage.com/profile/289   Do  you see that little number 289 at the end??  That means we were one of the first people to join RVillage.  The new members have numbers in the 33,000s!!!  I met another RVillager today!  She works here at the campground as a camp host.  Her name is Laurie Owens. We visited a little while earlier and I look forward to getting together with she and her husband George to visit more sometime during our stay.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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07.29.15 Boondocking in Gros Ventre and Canyon Campgrounds

11017349_10153457838204939_963602649114849117_n Boondocking in Gros Ventre and in Canyon Campground – July 17 – July 27th.  Eight of the ten nights the temperatures fell into the 50s and it was breezy.  This helped us to sleep really well without any air conditioning and we woke up to cool temperatures making for a great start to each day.  The last two nights were not breezy and the temperatures were in the high 70s which made it more difficult to fall asleep those nights.

We successfully made it ten days only filling up the fresh water tank once.  The tenth day there was only a sputter of20150726_190250 water out of the faucet.   The 8 gallon jugs of water and the water spray bottle we brought with us helped to stretch the 85 gallon water tank.

There was no clothes washing ,so clothes were aired out over night and worn a little longer than we normally do. Now there are huge stacks of clothing waiting to be washed and dried.

20150724_133414We planned our meals for this time period so that little cooking was done.  Lots of sandwiches, hot dogs, ham steak and pulled pork fed us through this time.  Also a lot of fruit was eaten, especially watermelon!  I found we just didn’t eat as much while boondocking.  Definitely not a really bad thing!

Because of the bear alert we didn’t cook outside or sit outside a whole lot like we usually do.  No bear sightings 20150726_135516for us though!

Some RV parks are crowded and cramped and we don’t care for that.  While boondocking, we were not crowded and got to enjoy the natural beauty of our surroundings.

We could, but we didn’t watch very much television since our Satellite reception for shows we like was almost non-existent.  Also watching TV causes the generator to run more often.  That means today was the first day I watched Young and the Restless in 11 days!  A lot changed on that show and I missed it!  We also saw no news and very little facebook.

20150726_135619Costs while boondocking:

While boondocking, the refrigerator runs on propane so we used some propane.  This cost was less than $10.

We also used half a tank of diesel running the generator to recharge the house batteries.  We run off the house batteries for lights and small things while boondocking.   Roy has ordered something to check the batteries because it seemed the generator ran more than it should have.  The cost of this diesel was over $100.

Gros Ventre was $12 per night, total of $4820150726_190231

Canyon Campground was $3.50 per night, total of $21

I believe I’m safe in saying that we could have stayed in a park with full hookups for 10 days for close to the $180 that boondocking cost.  If  you also throw in the Automatic Generator Starter we recently purchased to use while boondocking which cost over $600, it is really too much!

Even thought it didn’t cost less we really saw a lot and learned about other campers while boondocking that we wouldn’t have learned in a regular RV park.

20150724_133319– Lots and lots of people sleep in tents in these places, taking their showers and using the potty in the buildings provided.

  • You can hear lots of laughter and giggles from those who basically live outdoors until they go in their tents to sleep.

  • You can smell their outdoor cooking.

  • While camping outdoors people tend to walk around the park more and we got to enjoy seeing whole families taking daily walks at Gros Ventre and Canyon Campground.

  • Roy surprised a young couple with two daughters with ice cream cones one night and they were thrilled!11025201_10152873790342851_1565006033479973164_n

  • Our life, living in a Class A motor home, is so full of modern conveniences. When you’re without them you realize how nice it is to have them.  We do take things for granted!

  • Once you figure out how to find the information it is not that difficult to find National Parks campgrounds at little cost and Forest Service campgrounds even cheaper.

As we are now back to normal living I appreciate the little things more:  taking a full length shower – every day!!, washing dishes with plenty of hot water, heating a cup of water or blowing my hair dry without turning the generator on,  vacuuming (it was nice not to have to do that!) flushing the toilet without picking up a water jug and adding water.  It may take me three days to catch up on the laundry but when that’s done we’ll have a lot of clean clothes!!

11038689_619005011562806_4429873198491187422_nI think that’s about all I wanted to share about boondocking.  We will of course continue to do that when we choose to stay at Walmart, but for an extended time like 10 days I’m not sure we’ll do that again!

For now we are enjoying have all the electricity and water we want!!  We’re happy to be back in the land of civilization.  Oddly enough we have all the windows open and the a/c is turned off right now!!!  Yesterday was rainy, today is breezy but clear and tomorrow will be perfect.  We plan to get out and see as much as we can of this part of Montana!

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07.27.15 – Day Two in Yellowstone National Park on 07.24.15

1922432_635178163198260_1458712053_nDay Two in Yellowstone National Park on July 24, 2015 – Back down the west side of the upper loop in Yellowstone we went to get to the lower loop (the bigger one).

The Norris Geyer Basin was our first stop on the lower loop. A world of heat and gasses, where microorganisms live in such numbers they change the color of the landscape. This strange and beautiful place is on the edge of a volcano, the Yellowstone Volcano, one of the largest on earth. Boardwalks are seen all over the placed because walking on the ground is dangerous.

b3 b20 b19 b18 b17 b16 b15 b14 b13This is the Colloidal Pool

b12  This is the Hurricane Vent b8 b7 b6 b4As you walk through Norris Geyser Basin you feel as if you’ve landed in a different world. In the basin water accumulates underground, heated by the Yellowstone volcano. The water travels upwards to erupt from acidic geysers, rise from steaming fumaroles, and simmer in pools.

b23 b24 b25 b27 b28 b31 b34 b35 b36We were smarter planners today knowing how infrequent eating places are. We packed a nice picnic lunch and ate as we went along so we weren’t starving by the end of the journey.

In this whole Yellowstone adventure, the stop Roy has been looking forward to the most was Old Faithful Geyser which is in the southwestern corner of the lower loop. This in itself is a major attraction with lodges, gift stores, dining facilities, and groceries. An enormous seating area surrounds the spot where Old Faith erupts every hour or so each day. We waited 45 minutes for her to erupt this day and it was truly a sight to behold!You are looking

b37 You are looking at the people’s backs a they sit waiting for Old Faithful to errupt.  We worked our way to the front of the people to sit right in front of the geyser.  My hubby is good like this at finding great spots! b40

This is what it does when it’s not erupting.  Steam comes out and people get all excited anticipating the big event!b42

Looking at the circle of people from the front!b44

The initial signs of eruption occurring!b45 b46

The sounds of awed people when the eruption was in full force was goose bump material!b47 b47b

Two old geysers, Roy and Old Faithful!!!b48Several other geysers were seen along the way. Yellowstone information states there are over 10,000 geysers in the area.  We were constantly reminded that we were traveling atop a volcano which is difficult to get our mind wrapped around. God’s creations always amaze and humble us.  He is so great and we are mere mortals living in His world.

We stopped at the Mud Hole where mud comes bubbling out of the grown.  The Dragon’s Mouth Spring is interesting to see and hear the sounds like a dragon breathing!  The signs by each spot give so much good information about what you are seeing that I’ve included some.b51b50

b58  b55 b54 b53 b52Roy especially enjoyed seeing the mud bubbling up.  Guess it’s a male thing to like playing in mud!  And then on to the Sulphur Cauldron.

b562832_461_Sulphur_Caldron_Yellowstone_Park_mdLots of other Yellowstone beauty wrapped up today’s adventure. The first is a geyser right by the side of the road.

bgeyser along roadb70 b79 b76 b75 b74 b73 b72 b71 b70 gysers from a distance b69 b68 b66 b64 b63 b62 b60 Our last stop was at the Tower/Roosevelt area where we splurged and each got a double scoop ice cream cone! Perfect way to top off a perfect day in Yellowstone!

Even though we started out at 9 am today, we returned home again at 8:30 pm. Friday became our day of rest. There is so much to see and so many stops to make.  We certainly got a lot of walking exercise in these last two days.

I slept till 10:30 on Friday and worked on the blog and sorting out pictures all day. We took over 500 pictures in 11755753_10101594553244814_5225846400486456906_nYellowstone and it took quite a lot to get it down to 40 pictures of day one and 80 pictures of day two. That’s not including the videos I want you to see.

Saturday and Sunday were work days for me but we did go out Saturday afternoon to visit Gardiner, MT which is a really unique western town.  We stopped at the Buffalo Burger restaurant on our way home and Roy got a buffalo burger while I got a regular beef burger.  He loved it so much we went back on Sunday for him to get an Elk burger.  We were told by a friend, Al O’Connor to try Huckleberry Soda and this is one of the types we found.  I’m now a big Huckleberry Soda fan!

11755180_1104875829527108_5610528709934304113_nWe both bought cowboy hats on Saturday and are enjoying our new western gear!! Roy rarely wears tshirts so we finally found him a Yellowstone polo type shirt!  Cool cowboy dude!!

11745751_10101594497262004_4633191480468470521_n11755883_1104313162916708_3748508710849683891_nYa’ll come back now, ya’ hear!
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07.26.15 – Day one in Yellowstone National Park on 7.23.15

yellowstone figure 8 loopBefore we came here I only knew that Yellowstone had mountains and was beautiful.  I knew nothing of what it really is so I want to share some of what we learned with you! First a little information about Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is 2.2 million acres in size. Shaped like a figure eight (see picture to the left), the upper loop and lower loop combined are approximately 142 miles long with the average speed limit of 45 mph.  I doubt we drove over 25 mph most of the time. They are anticipating over 4 million tourists in Yellowstone this year.

Yellowstone is way larger than Grand Teton and is very different in many ways.  In Grand Teton it was all about the big mountains and driving around to get different views of them.  In Yellowstone it is about the amazing things around every curve in your journey through the park.

Dora, Boots, Roy and I are staying in Canyon Campground (part of Gallatin National Forest which connects to Yellowstone National Park.  It is about 20 miles north of Yellowstone’s upper loop (just a little north of the top of the circle around the figure 8 loop.) Our journey to Canyon Campground took us through the entire east side of both loops. We entered at the South Entrance and exited at the North Entrance to get to our campground.

After such a stressful, draining drive yesterday we slept in and left to explore the park at 11 am. We planned to take it easy and just see a bit of the area around Mammoth Hot Springs which is at the north part of the top loop. There are roads out from Mammoth called the Upper and Lower Terrace roads. We set out in Boots our truck first to see that area and four hours later we’d seen all of the Terrace Road and boardwalks!  Before we got to the terrace roads we saw all this. First two are called Liberty Cap, a dormant hot springs cone

1 liberty cap a dormant hot springs cone34 (2)4Maps of the Upper and Lower Terrace roads and boardwalks. It was quite a long trek!

2221These Dangerous Ground signs are at each stop. B1These pictures and others are of fumaroles. A fumarole (ultimately from the Latin fumus,” smoke”) is an opening in a planet’s crust, often in the neighborhood of volcanoes, which emits steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen sulfide. The steam forms when superheated water turns to steam as its pressure drops when it emerges from the ground.  This is a world of heat loving miroorganisms called thermophiles. Billions of them live, die and are buried in Mammoth Hot Springs.

20 19 5 6 7 (2) 7 From there we drove around the entire upper loop. While you can just drive the loop without stopping and getting out, you will not see but maybe 10 percent of the beautiful sights. Time after time, what looked okay from the road took our breath away when we got out of the car and saw it in its entirety.

This is Orange Spring Mound where water and minerals from underground bubble up and when pouring out causes the mound to continue to grow bigger.  24 25

One of those times we almost passed up because we couldn’t see anything from the road turned out to be a magnificent water fall!26 27 28

Further along the ride the mountains took front stage.  Seeing so many of them stretching out into forever was amazing!29

I wanted a bouquet of these purple beauties but I had to settle for a photo!  They were everywhere throughout Yellowstone.  30

This is the petrified tree.  Not too impressive to look at but the fact that it was wood and turned into stone is kinda cool!31

Roy enjoying the magnificence of this spot and the rushing river below32 34 35

Another fumarole (one of the hundreds) alongside the road.  You could walk up to it if you were crazy or hadn’t read the Dangerous Ground signs everywhere!36

Another amazing roadside waterfall.  Roy climbed out to it for the second shot!37 38Further along the road were these amazing sights!     We were given a very helpful paper map when entering the park. We used that along with our phone’s map to guide39 us along.   The paper map showed most all the important spots that are must see locations along the journey. The phone’s map helped us see up ahead what was coming. There are probably 20 must see locations in the upper loop and 30 must see locations in the lower loop.

Some of the sights were quick to see and some took us down almost 2 mile boardwalks or on hikes through the area to the sight. Everyone was worth the effort, even for us two old folks! We walked A LOT today!

We met a lovely couple with a child from London along the way. They rented a Class C RV for their visit to this area. I loved their accents and we enjoyed talking to them.

Around 5 pm we arrived at Canyon Village where they offer fine dining, cafeteria dining and burgers. We chose the 40cafeteria dining. Oh my goodness were we shocked at the cost. It was very good food and we were starving by the time we stopped there (didn’t take any food with us on the trip) and our eyes picked out everything possible to eat. The total was almost $50 for two people at a cafeteria!   This was the only restaurant area in the entire upper loop so there were hundreds of people there and I guess they can name their price. We ate very well and left quite content with our full tummies, but empty pockets!

We saw several sights along the remainder of the upper loop. A lot of the drive back was on a road under 44construction so what should have taken us 30 minutes to return took 2 hours! We appreciate their desire to keep the roads nice but wish they had done it some other time!! We arrived home at 8:30 pm which made for another long day at 9 ½ hours! Roy did say this drive in Boots was much less stressful than the one the day before in Dora.

One thing I’d like to tell you about now is that we took over 40 videos this day and are working on a way to share them with you. So much of what we saw is moving (like the waterfalls, steam and minerals coming up from the travertine areas, bison, rivers flowing over the rocks, etc. so I want you to see them that way also!

An observation I have to make here is that a lot of the time we felt like we must actually be in Japan or China 45instead of the USA because there were so many Japanese/Chinese people touring the place and working here. Probably 3 out of every 5 tourist was Asian there were that many.   You will hear them chatter in most all of the videos when I share them.

I believe that a lot of Americans, just like us, have never taken the time to explore America outside of our own area. We’ve always gone to either Disney or Atlanta on vacations and no where else. How very much we now regret not having taken our sons this this amazing part of our country when they were growing up.

Yellowstone and Grand Tetons are wonderfully exciting and educational vacations for families. The kids are as amazed as the wonderful beauty as their parents were.   I’d urge families to plan their vacations outside your usual spots and see this beautiful area. Don’t wait until it’s harder to get around to do this. The amazing beauty of this country that God created for us needs to be seen and appreciated.

Wednesday we again traveled over the west side of the top loop to get to the bottom loop which is larger.  We explored the entire lower loop which brought even more amazing wonders!  Then we traveled over the east side of the top loop to get back to Dora. Old Faithful is there amongst lots of other wonders of nature.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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07.24.15 Our journey to Yellowstone National Park on 7.21.15

26ba7_2df2We woke up early Tuesday, July 21st and planned to leave the park around 8 am. We stopped at the dump station to empty our tanks and to the water station to fill up our fresh water tank.   This was an opportunity we didn’t know we’d have when we planned to boondock so we gladly took advantage of it.  Unfortunately Roy filled the fresh water tank up with the water you’re supposed to use just to clean out your gray and lack tanks. This is considered contaminated water and not fit for human consumption. Oooops! He seldom make errors and  this one only cost us an hour of our time since he had to dump all that water and flush out the fresh water tank with clear good water and then fill it up.

So at 9:30 we pulled out of Gros Ventre Campground headed to Yellowstone and hopefully a great place to boondock for a few more days.

canyon campgrund signAt 6:00 pm (deliriously tired) we finally arrived at Canyon Campground (a National Forest Service park) where we’ll stay until Monday morning, July 27th. It is a beautiful campground with only 17 spots. We parked Dora right next to a huge mountain with beautiful tall mature pine trees and enormous boulders all around and of course sage bush.

The sign where we turned in says Rattlesnakes and Bears seen in this area. It is very beautiful here and very wilderness like yet has asphalt roads and is about 150 feet from a highway. I kind of think this is as wilderness as we’re going to get!

Our drive here was way longer than we anticipated since the roads through Yellowstone are narrow and extremely curvy. The beauty of the park is breathtaking.  However, poor Roy was so stressed the whole drive I don’t think he got to enjoy any of it, and I only enjoyed some of it. We are going back through the park (and it is a massive forest) in our truck and probably break the drive up into two days.

yellowstone entry signGetting into Yellowstone meant a brief wait in a line of cars.  It is $30 per vehicle for a seven day pass, but since we have a Senior Pass it was FREE!!!!!  Yay for being old!!!20150721_110526 (Small)

We saw close to a hundred bison in different places. You could tell where they were because dozens of cars were pulled off the side of the road to see them.   The first group of bison were not far from the road with some in the river. Across the river from the other but on our side of the road was one lonely bison and we got good pictures of him. You can see how large they are. To take the photo of the bison by himself we pulled up alongside him in the RV and I opened the door and snapped the photo.  Had I know about the lady that was just attacked this week by a bison when taking a selfie, I probably wouldn’t have been so brave!

20150721_132348 (Small)20150721_131809 (Small)20150721_132700 (Small)This is me somewhere along the ride!  I love waterfalls and when Roy said for me to get in the picture in front of the waterfalls I had to squint my eyes to see these tiny waterfalls!

20150721_113108 (Small)A lot of the ride that day was along Yellowstone Lake which is beautiful!20150721_121243 (Small)Several years ago a terrible forest fire killed a lot of the pines in Yellowstone.  They have since planted small ones that have grown a lot, but not enough to hide the dead ones.    Most of the park does not look like this but some parts do.20150721_141508 (Small)These are some of the sites that caused us to stop. We’ve since been back to each of the sights to enjoy them further.

20150721_141200 (Small)20150721_143223 (Small) 20150721_143236 (Small)20150721_152121 (Small)20150721_151813 (Small)We tried our best not to stop along the way since it was such a long drive but we got so overwhelmed with the sites we did stop a few times. In front of the beautiful old Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel were several mule deer (look like deer but larger) and they didn’t seem bothered at all by all the people passing by! They were there every time we passed by that hotel.

20150722_121611 (Small)20150722_121340 (Small) 20150722_121345 (Small) 20150722_121500 (Small)For RVers, if you look for Canyon Campground around Yellowstone there are two.  One is a National Parks Service (NPS) campground (like Gros Ventre was) where you pay to boondock and there are hundreds of spots.  The NPS campgrounds are inside Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and take reservations but we couldn’t get one.

The Canyon Campground we are in is a United States Forest Service campground which you only pay $3.50 a night if you have a Senior Pass (which I’ll explain another time but highly recommend you get if you are 62 or older.)  and you boondock here. There are only 17 spots and it is a first come first service park.  This one is in Montana in Gallatin National Forest, just across the state line.  It’ is 15 miles north of Gardiner, MT on Highway 89.

We’ve finally gotten some internet service here so I’ll post this one and hope it goes out!  In the next few posts I’ll share the beauty and wonder that is around ever curve in Yellowstone!  This is absolutely the most naturally beautiful place we’ve been to.  God really outdid himself here!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear! I will praise him psalm 28 7cooltext1838781539Click on the links below to go there!

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07.20.15 The gloriously beautiful world of the Grand Teton!

Monday, July 20, 2015 – Not far from our campground is the beginning of a beautiful 44 mile scenic route around the Grand Teton.  All of the turnouts and stop off spots are nicely done and easy to get to.  The pictures below are in the order of the scenic route.  The drive today was 4 hours long and every stop was breathtakingly beautiful!  When I can remember I’ll point out where we were!

20150720_102914 (Small) 20150720_141647 (Small) 20150720_103111 (Small)  Snake River Turnout and Snake River20150720_103708 (Small) 20150720_104003 (Small) 20150720_104032 (Small) 20150720_104311 (Small) 20150720_104418 (Small)Next stop along the way – I loved the lavender wildflowers here

20150720_110057 (Small)Oxbow Bend Turnout – thank goodness I took pictures of some signs!!20150720_112536 (Small)20150720_112152 (Small)Jackson Lake Dam and Reservoir

20150720_113642 (Small)20150720_113410 (Small) 20150720_113430 (Small) 20150720_113917 (Small) 20150720_114127 (Small) 20150720_114735 (Small)On both side of the resevoir there were Life Rings.  Nothing prevents you from going right down to the water so I imagine they might be used often.20150720_114911 (Small) 20150720_115036 (Small)We packed a picnic lunch and at by the other end of Jackson Lake which was beautiful.

11173332_10101585715201324_6576285925696858168_nNext stop was the Chapel of the Sacred Heart – beautiful old Catholic church where they actually still have Mass. This lovely bench was outside and Roy and I enjoyed some resting time there!20150720_121133 (Small) 20150720_121211 (Small) 20150720_121414 (Small) 20150720_121526 (Small) 20150720_121746 (Small)

Signal Mountain and Lake20150720_124049 (Small)

Fairly close up pictures of parts of the Grand Teton20150720_125147 (Small) 20150720_132329 (Small)Leigh Lake – this was the most congested of our entire drive.  Hard to find a parking space and lots of people around and in the lake having a wonderful time. 20150720_134102 (Small) 20150720_134238 (Small) 20150720_134537 (Small) 20150720_134545 (Small)There are more wildflowers in this park than I’ve ever seen (along with too much sage bush).  At the visitors center I purchased some wildflower seeds from this area to plant at our house in Amite when we return.  One of the flowers I bought is the one in the picture below.    20150720_140203 (Small)

Jenny Lake –  Jenny lake and Leigh lake were named after a woman and her husband who were among the first settlers (we learned this from the Forest Ranger on Sunday).  She was a Shoshone Indian  who had six children with her husband.  They took in a young woman and child who happened to have small pox.  It spread and killed Jenny and all six children.  Her husband married again and had three more children but they didn’t name anything after them.  20150720_141311 (Small) 20150720_141601 (Small)We are plenty tired from all this beauty!!  Tomorrow we head out to Yellowstone.  We have no place to stay there and could not get reservations anywhere.  Hopefully we will find a good boondocking place just outside the Yellowstone park area.  We did a lot of research and found 12 campgrounds outside of the park where we might be able to boondock if they are not full when we get there.  We’re getting up bright and early Tuesday to get out of here and cover the 113 miles between our campground here and the ones near the north entrance of Yellowstone.  Gonna be a fun time!!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!psalm 27 1cooltext1838781539Click on the links below to go there!

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07.19.15 Worshiping God in the Amphitheater! and visiting Jackson, WY

acmnpSunday, July 19, 2015 – Sunday evening we attended the National Park Service’s Interdenominational Worship Service at our campground. It was held in the amphitheater here in the campground.  We are parked right next to the road leading to the amphitheater so we walked to church!

I did not know they did this until now.  There are over 200 young people who love  Christ and give of their time to have Worship Services in many of the National Parks.   The group is called A Christian Ministry for National Parks or ACMNP.

A quote from their webpage says it perfectly.  “Whether you’re passing through the parks with your family, live nearby, or are working seasonally, we’d love to worship God together in the beauty and splendor of the great outdoors!”

I know a lot of people who read our blog live in RVs and may not know about this20150719_153357.  Here’s a link to their main webpage http://www.acmnp.com  and here’s a link to the list of parks and times of their services, http://www.acmnp.com/news-events/service.  Our park is Gros Ventre Campground and what they have listed for times has changed so be sure to check on that when you check in at your campground.

We sang hymns and other worship songs from their song book and they read scripture and had a sermon.  Sitting out in the open with God’s beautiful trees and other beauty around us was wonderful.  I will definitely choose to attend one of these rather than go inside a building any time we’re in a National Park.  Here’s a picture of two of the three young people who lead the service.

20150719_192805After the worship service a whole slew of people joined us for the Forest Ranger program.   A charming lady ranger told us the story behind some of the mountain, valley and area names.  Seems Jackson Hole is the valley between all the 20150719_19344320150719_195926mountain ranges and Jackson is the town within that valley.  The area we are currently in is Gros Ventre, pronounced “Gro-Vant”  (the a is like open your mouth and say ah!) which is a far fetch from what we were calling it!

Something I never imagined was what Grand Teton means.  Here’s the story from the internet.  French trappers are responsible for naming the three peaks now known as the South, Middle, and Grand Teton. They called the mountains “Les Trois Tetons,” or “The Three Breasts.” The Grand Teton—the tallest of the three—literally means “the big breast.” 

We learned more about what to do if we see a bear.  We also learned you can buy bear spray at $45 a can……….  I guess if I was confronted by a bear I’d wish I had spent that $45 but we didn’t.    She gave a very interesting one hour presentation taking lots of questions throughout from the audience in the amphitheater.

That’s what we did in the evening Sunday but during the day we drove into Jackson to see more of the town.  It’s just adorable and every building has such a charm you can’t help but snap pictures!  I was driving (which I like to do because Roy won’t go where I want to go!!) so not too many pictures were taken.

20150719_150046   20150719_133227 20150719_132513After driving all around Jackson and seeing all we wanted to see we headed to the local Albertson’s.  We have an Albertson’s in Hammond so we thought we’d shop somewhere familiar.  This Albertson’s did not look or feel anything like the Hammond one.   It was huge but we found our way around and shopped for things we could eat this coming week without using too much electricity.

IMG_1560When we returned to the campground we drove through it to see more than we saw coming in.  This is a huge place with tent camping, electric RV hookups and mostly dry camping.  Probably over 500 individual tents or RVs in the campground.  Here’s one of the Be Bear Aware signs! 20150719_151955You can see Dora in the center of this picture across the big field of sage bushes as we enter the campground.20150719_152108

Some of the dozens of small tents here.  I just can’t imagine sleeping in a tent with bears around or sleeping in all the bushes with other critters around……..20150719_152747 20150719_152752 20150719_152926Here’s Dora amongst the multitude of sage bushes that are truly everywhere!20150719_153200On Monday we toured the Grand Teton Mountain Range and took hundreds of pictures, all jaw dropping beautiful sights!  That was an amazing adventure for Dora’s Explorers and I can’t wait to share it with ya’ll!

I am running out of photo storage space for this blog.  I’ve been shrinking a lot of the photos sizes to make some space since I don’t want to have to buy any!  If someone wants to foot the $200 cost of increasing our space we’d welcome it!!  I’ve seen on some people’s blogs where they direct you to an off WordPress site to see the majority of their pictures. I may try that. When we’re on the road I write almost every day and you’ve seen how many pictures we include.  I want to be able to continue doing that so you may see some changes in the blog to accomplish that!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!

11738094_10153005908341961_149235026880705252_ncooltext1838781539Click on the links below to go there!

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