All posts by Bonny McConnell

July 15, 2015 Rails to Trails

Coming through a tunnel
Coming through a tunnel
A bike ride is in order today.  We are definitely not “mountain bikers”.  I do not like steep hillsides, roots, heights, or hairpin curves.  I like it wide and flat and preferably paved. A restaurant at the end would also be nice. That is why the Rails to Trails seems to suit us.  These are paths, often in the mountains, that are abandoned rail ways that have been converted to bike or hiking trails.
The one we rode today was 24 Km (by the way, I am getting good at converting Km to miles) or about 14.5  miles. It had 36 trestles and 4 tunnels.  It was a nice ride, unfortunately the area had sustained a large wild fire about 10 years earlier and the devastation remained evident.  The good folks of Kelwona volunteered many many hours to replace burnt trestles and make the area rideable.
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To get here you had to take a fire road that was about 5 miles long and just gravel and dirt.  Even with our Jeep in 4 wheel drive and Doug at the wheel, we were fish tailing.  I was sure we would die before we got to the trailhead.  I was also sure that no one else would be there.  To my surprise, the parking lot was full.  My bad….we even found that a small RV had traversed that road…..it was still there when we left.  They were with either really slow or got back to town some other way or died of fright…I didn’t look to check.
Our shadows
Our shadows

July 14th, 2015 Wine Tasting

 

Oliver the Wine Capital
Oliver the Wine Capital
Bonny's bubbly. She finally found a bottle she couldn't finish!
Bonny’s bubbly. She finally found a bottle she couldn’t finish!

This valley is known for its wine.  There are multiple wine trails with 88 winerys total.  Mel, you would love this. And… tasting we did.  Because of the climate in Kelona and the Lake Country region in the northern end of the valley, mostly white wine is bottled there.  We will be seeing more reds as we make our way south.  Apparently it gets more desert like with a longer growing season ( up to 180 more days).  We did go to 4 vineyards today.  Unfortunately, you can’t ship the wine to the US.  You can only bring 2 bottles per person back without paying duty.  We were not able to find out what the duty actually is.  Everyone said simply that it was “small”…no straight answers.  It is a little discouraging to taste and not be able to purchase much.  I can’t do 4 tastings in one day :  (   It was fun seeing all the different vineyards.  Only 84 to go :  )

As I was getting dressed to go tasting, I found I had been wearing hiking boots and shorts for so long, I wasn’t sure what was appropriate.  Putting on earrings, I thought I was really getting WAY too dressed up.
I think I tended to enjoy the smaller vineyards best.  They spent a lot of time answering questions.  I finally have an understanding of how ice wine is produced and the risk that a vineyard takes to produce it. It seems that the vineyard is on alert for picking as soon as the temperature is at a freezing temperature for 48 hours. If the grapes are not picked at the exact time, all is lost and what was to be ice wine becomes simply dessert wine.  this particular vineyard no long attempts to produce ice wine. The one large vineyard, Sunnyhills, that we visited was know for it’s sparklingly wine.  You know I love my “bubbly”.

July 13th, 2015

Today we leave these magnificent Canadian Rocky mountains via the Trans-Canada Hwy.  These 250 miles are probably the roughest Doug has driven.  If I didn’t have such faith in his abilities, I would have “white knuckled” much of the way….winding mountain roads, steep grades, rain, cliffs, two lane only roads,  and roundabouts.  I personally enjoyed the entire trip.  It was beautiful entering the Okanagan Valley.  This is lake country and known for its great grape growing climate-surprise! A Canadian Napa Valley.  Picture green hills covered in grape vine and apple trees, farm land with corn, pastures with cattle and horses edged with beautiful blue lakes.

Arrival in the Okanagan Valley - Notice the vineyards on the hills.
Arrival in the Okanagan Valley – Notice the vineyards on the hills.

As usual we didn’t have reservations or the Internet to search, so as soon as Doug had cell service, he started to call.  Our first choice was full and it even had 500 spots.  That was a little worrisome.  We were referred to Apple Orchard RV Park which was way off the beaten path. It has only 10 sites and is surrounded by apple and cherry orchards.

Sunset at Apple Orchards RV Park
Sunset at Apple Orchards RV Park

We sort of missed hearing the train every 2 hours at night, but the coyotes were out there.  The sunset was awesome and Doug is in hog heaven with access to the Internet.

July 11, 2015 – Happy 37th Birthday Andy

What a fabulous day!!!!  Doug and I seem to get started way to late in the day.  We did a “walk” along what they call the Bow River Loop near our camp grounds.  It actually was too warm and we returned to our site and enjoyed a few hours reading.  I hate finishing a good book.  I have done that twice already on this trip, so have decided to read The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett.  Fall of the Giants is the first of three and I only have 29 1/2 hours of reading left.  Yippee!! Doug is reading a couple of books and sometimes he reads to me.  I love it.

Around 4:30 we decided to do the gondola ride in the ski area.  It was so beautiful, you could see the glaciers above Lake Louise that are not visible from the lake.  The ski area is very nice.  Makes me wish I could ski.

On the way to the top
On the way to the top

The biggest treat of all was Olivia, bear #57.  We saw her below us on the lift and then were treated to watching her forge all around the perimeter of the lift, actually on a trail we had hoped to hike.   Doug got some very good photos of her.  However the “Interpreter” person seemed quite anxious with her bear spray and Walkie Talkie.  There was a similar electrified fence (as at the soft sided camp ground) there that seems to give the visitors (us) a sense of security she didn’t share. She repeated that this bear had gotten very frisky and social and that if she chose to go through the fence she would simply do so.  I was ready to hop on the lift and head towards home.

Olivia's big day!
Olivia’s big day!

Side note…We met a young family and asked them where they were headed…..Redding… to participate in Bethel Church.

How lucky does one get….we escaped with our lives and it started to rain just as we exited the lift.  We decided to reward ourselves with dinner out (we see certainly couldn’t BBQ).  We chose a place at The Post Hotel.  WOW.  We were admitted because we had the bottoms of our hiking pants zipped on….no bare legs in this place…..grubby hikers in a fancy French chateau …so we had chateaubriand and a bottle of wine.  Before you start thinking I am really spoiled…we had soup from WallMart for the previous two nights.  What I want to know is, who really lives likes this?  Andy, we celebrated your birthday for you.

Post Hotel Restaurant
Post Hotel Restaurant

The rain is thumping on the roof of the RV as I write.  I feel sorry for all those campers that expected to sit around a bonfire on a balmy summer night and even sorrier for the tent campers. I also wonder what the mosquitoes will be like tomorrow.

 

July 10th, 2015 – The Ice-Field Parkway

The Ice Field Parkway

At last I fell like I finally got to see a glacier up close and personal.  We took the parkway about 90 miles north of Lake Louise just into Jasper National Park. Along the way we saw several glaciers throughout the day.  Doug discovered a new phone app called GPySy Tour that followed our position on the parkway and narrated a description and gave us anecdotal information about what we were seeing…..it was great. I think I finally understand the difference between a glacier and an ice field and have a far greater appreciation of how these beautiful Rocky Mountains were formed. I am now a junior geologist!

Athabasca Glacier
Athabasca Glacier
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Glaciers Everywhere

If we ever are fortunate enough to return, I would like to hike the Wilcox Trail very near the Columbia Glacier Field.  It is about a 3 hour hike with extraordinary views of the glaciers and mountains.  This was recommended by one of the guides at the information center that found the swarms of tourists as unappealing as we did.  There  were long long lines of people waiting to  board a bus onto the Athabasca  Glacier.  As you know, Doug has an aversion to lines….so that was never going to happen.

Our last stop on the way back to our camp was this beautiful and VERY rustic lodge called Simpson’s Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.  If we weren’t expected back at the RV, we would have stayed for dinner.  This was not the “try to look rustic look” but the real thing……I would have liked to stay longer.

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Num-Ti-Jah Lodge
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Num-Ti-Jah Lodge – front yard!
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Another View from Num-Ti-Jah Lodge
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Lake Near Num-Ti-Jah Lodge

We came back for a glass of wine with our new neighbors my from BC.  They have been traveling since 2007 and have seen all of Canada and most of the U.S. wintering in Arizona, Florida, and Texas.  They were leaving the next morning, so we had a lot to learn in a short time.  The weather also changed and we were treated to thunder and lightening and a downpour instead of a camp fire.

A short word about Doug and the RV……He has done a wonderful job of making all of this work…..I have yet to be without power, fresh water, warmth, or a clean windshield.  The many systems on this RV are mind boggling.  Always the teacher, he is determined that I understand the difference between amps and volts and propane and a generator……this may take a lifetime :  )

July 9 th, 2015

Today we went to Banff.  It is approximately 30 miles southeast of Lake Louise down the Trans Canada Highway.  It is much bigger than the town of Lake Louise and dominated by the famous  Banff Springs Hotel. This is a castle like structure several stories high overlooking the Bow River and the water falls down river.  The majority of our time was spent exploring the hotel and enjoying a dinner on an outdoor patio overlooking the valley.  The view was stupendous. As usual, by the time I was starting to look in the shops, they were closing. (Doug here – good planning on my part!)

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Dinner on the terrace
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The Valley View From the Terrace
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Royal Canadian Mounted Police Monument at Banff Springs Hotel

The town consists of several bustling streets overflowing with tourists, just like us. The day was especially warm, according to our server, at 87 degrees with a haze spoiling the view due to a couple of fires some where in Washington and Oregon and another in Jasper.
For this reason, we decided not to take the gondola to the mountian top.  We were rewarded with the opportunity to watch two large deer that decided to hang out in the parking lot. They paid very little attention to the people gathered around.

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Deer at gondola
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Sunset on the drive from Banff to Lake Louise. Taken by BONNY McConnell not Doug McConnell. That would be BONNY – thanks.

July 8th, 2015

Today started off late because of train noise and going to bed after midnight. We can’t seem to adjust to the sunlight at 10 PM! Anyway, took a wonderful bike ride along the Bow River which is right by the camp[ground. Upon our return to our campground we found we had new neighbors – all the way from Long Beach, CA!. What a coincidence. Anyway we had fun trading Long Beach stories. The two couples in their Bounder were returning from the Calgary Stampede.

About 8 PM we decided to go up to Moraine Lake just in the mountains above us. We planned to eat about 10 so we had time for a quick hike and pictures of the lake near sunset. Well, the sample pictures are below and Doug will publish the remainder when we have better internet access. It is a beautiful glacial lake with the same unique aqua coloring due to being fed by glacial runoff. See for yourself!

Canoes at Moraine Lake
Canoes at Moraine Lake
Hiking around Moraine Lake
Hiking around Moraine Lake
Sunset Reflections
Sunset Reflections

July 7th, 2015

Doug and I have discussion “when does a walk become a hike?” We concurred that, if most of the women are carrying purses, it is a walk. Today we “walked” to the end of Lake Louise and then some. Beautiful. Doug’s pictures will prove that!

The lake is a chalky blue, almost milky in color from fine particles of rock that are scraped as the glacier moves down the mountain. The lake is fed by melting glaciers. The silt coming down the mountain is forming mud flats and the sediment that will eventually fill in the lake. The lake will become a meadow when the glacier ends. We wondered how long it will take before Lake Louise becomes a meadow but we will have to wait to get that answer. We believe that that is how Yosemite Valley was formed.

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This trip has really shown us how dependent we have become on the Internet. So many of my ” why” questions go unanswered. Today we paid $2 for 15 minutes of Internet connection. Tomorrow they are having a special for $5 all day! You have to sit on the sidewalk or on a bench outside a small office called “The Depot” and have a wireless connection. Phone cellular data is crazy expensive. Verizon is selling us 100 megabytes ( megabytes now – 1/10th of a GB) for $25. That translates into $250 per GB. Our Verizon plan in the USA has 15 GB for $50 per month. If we bought that 15 GB here is would const us $3750 a month! I bet there is some fascinating governmental regulatory reason for this amazing  difference.

We have actually considered coming back into the U.S. as we travel west just so we can text or make a phone call. I have even resorted to writing an occasional post card : )

The bike trails here are great, not paved but compact gravel.

This evening we went to a Ranger presentation on the Year in the Life of a Grizzly. Did you know that an adult Grizzly eats the equivalent of 75 Big Macs a day (200,000 Buffalo Berries a day) during the 6 months they are not hibernating? In addition, the sow grizzly will go into labor and deliver up to two cubs during hibernation!  These babies are a little over 1 pound at birth and are hairless.  Apparently she wakes up for the big event. Cleans up the cubs, shows them the food supply and goes back into her deep sleep while the cubs eat and grow. When spring time comes, they exit the den and start looking for Buffalo berries and tourists. Incidentally these cubs are not twins but the grizzly has delayed implantation of embryos from potentially several mates!

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Local Grizzly Photo While Walking

They have done a lot here in the park to protect the bear population as well as the human population. This large camp ground has an area for “soft” side camping and another for “hard” sided vehicles, like our RV. The area for tents is surrounded by a very unobtrusive fence that is electrically charged to keep the bears out of that area ( or is there to keep the people in?) – remember Jurassic Park? Our area is unprotected since we can keep our food easily secured and we can stay up at night counting the bears. (kidding)  There is a train that comes near the park it seems every 2 hours day and night. We could not understand why the engineers seem to lay on the horn. Apparently the trains are the number one killer of bears in the park. Total number of bears counted is 60. The train is also the number one cause of insomnia and eventual psychosis in the campers, particularly if you are trapped inside of an electric fence for the night – !!

Another interesting thing they do here to protect the wildlife is called “twinning”. As we were driving on the highway into the park we noticed what appeared to be very short tunnels on the road. They are actually overpasses for the animals to get from one side of the busy highway to the other side. Does it really work, we asked? We were told that 10 species of large mammals use these. A great way to prevent road kill.

Doug accuses me of changing the subject without telling him where I am going with the conversation…..ATTENTION….. I am changing the subject and going back to our conversation with Harry and his wife (Black Foot chief) of July 4th. We asked them if referring to them as Indians was offensive or would they prefer to be called Native Americans. He was OK with either but prefers Native American. We also talked about all the controversy about current the trend of forcing team names to be be changed to be politically correct. Harry and Jana said the only term that is ” highly offensive” is the name Redskins. I was always taught the it was the Indians that scalped the white man. Harry said it was the English settlers that paid a bounty for Indian skins and scalps first, not the other way around….hence the name “redskin’. He also said that the price paid was different if the scalp was that of a child as opposed to an adult. It seems the brutality was horrendous on both sides. Doug and I have always thought this “Redskins” issue was silly bickering in a world with so many other important issues to address….talking to Chief Harry helped us see “Redskins” through the Chief’s eyes. A good day… a lesson learned and our opinion changed with knowledge of the origin of this name. The chief is fine by the way with Indians, Warriors, Braves etc. Those are honoring Native Americans. “Redskins” is a dark term of slaughter for bounty and the cheapening of human life.

July 2nd – Happy Birthday Karen Hoyt

Chores today.  It is time to wash those things we wear over and over.  We did  made the same mistake we have made many times before….we just can’t seem to get it right.  This trip we made sure we have plenty of clothes for cool weather, after all we are in the mountains….the temperature hasn’t been below 80 during the day.  My one pair of shorts can stand up by themselves.

Here is our camp site at the end of the day. Full moon rising still warm at 10 PM but we have to have a camp fire. Beautiful evening and on phone to grandkids.

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Roughing it Smoothly – calling home by a full moon

People We Meet On the Road of Life

It seems our trips are often defined by the people we meet……enter John Pearson.  We met John while we we getting gas for the Jeep near our camp ground.  I was very interested in how he had attached his kayak to the top of of his Jeep.  After he and Doug had stood and talked at the gas pump for what seemed like and hour…we asked him to join us for dinner.  He was alone  and is a retired U.S. Army Colonel – an Army Engineer.  The three of us embarked on a 20 mile drive to Many Glacier Lodge and barely made it before the dining room closed at 9:30. The evening  yielded a wonderful evening of fried trout and great conversation.

John Pearson Army Engineer and world traveler - new friend!
John Pearson Army Engineer and world traveler – new friend!

A little history. John is 80 years old and resides in Grand Junction, CO.  He moved there with his camera, a revolver, computer, and car after his custom home in Mississippi was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina – that was all he had left!  He travels mostly to do photography and replace his collection of 30,000 photos that were all lost in the hurricane.  As an Army engineer he has seen the world and he  was involved in the rebuilding of Walter Reed Medical Center and many other military facilities.  He then later became a CEO of a engineering company in Saudi Arabia! You can see why Doug immediately connected with him. We plan to possible see him during a wine fest in Grand Junction in September.

 

West Glacier Hike – Avalanche

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Falls at Avalanche Creek

July 1, 2015 Hiked Avalanche in West Glacier

Another trip over the Going to the Sun road to West Glacier…..to hike to Avalanche Lake.  This was a MUST hike according to several people we have met.  It is described as an easy 2 mile hike with 500 foot elevation to Avalanche Lake and 3 waterfalls.  It was more beautiful than we could imagine, but easy, no.  Perhaps our mistake was listening to folks in their 20’s and the 500 foot elevations occurred several times in that 2 mile span.  Only the pictures can tell the whole story.  Hiking with Doug works for me because he stops so frequently to take photos.

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End of Hike! Avalanche Lake
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Along the hike

I cannot begin to tell you how many interesting people we have met.  You know how shy Doug is.  One of our encounters was an engineer working on a portable machine that converts feces and polluted water into electricity and potable water.  The project partially funded by the Gates Foundation.  The other was one of the most gorgeous men I have ever seen.  He was hiking alone and was on holiday from his job as a statistics professor in Colorado, but originally from Wales.  He was buff, with a chiseled face, articulate, about 6’2″ with the most wonderful accent…..makes me want to go to Fort Collins, Co :  ) (Doug here: I do read these things Bonny!)

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We took a nap here on this beach. Lake Avalanche
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Peek a boo!

Out last big surprise of the day was to see two bears along side the road as we were driving back to our campsite.  We are all encouraged to have bear spray.  I even saw the waiter at one of the hotels wearing it inside the restaurant.  Now if I saw a bear while I was hiking, there would be no need, I would simply die of fright.  Even those smiling bulls scare me.

June 30, 2015 In to Canada, Waterston Lakes

June 30,  2015  In to Canada, Waterston Lakes

Today we went up the road into Canada via the Chief Mountain entrance.  The first WOW was the wild flowers…….white,blue, yellow, pink, purple all along the road for miles….the day clear and the sky cloudlessly blue.  We passed range cattle that were casually walking in the road and more than one bull smiled at us.  With the top off our Jeep, we almost have a convertible.

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Entering Canada
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On the Road

The next WOW was turning a bend and seeing the Prince of Wales Hotel perched up on a knoll at the upper end of Waterston Lake.  This is the same vintage as all the lodges built in Glacier with magnificent windows overlooking the lake.  I should like to return for High Tea.

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Prince of Wales Hotel
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Standing on the Prince of Wales patio
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Tea for Two?

Waterston Village is quaint with a Main Street with high end shopping and very appealing restaurants.  There is a small marina, beach, and bike paths.   I want to spend a few days here, but reservations in the in town RV park are not to be had :  (    The guy at the bike shop said in winter the snow reaches the roof of the shop and that only 42 people remain in the town through the winter months.  I realllllly want more time here.

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The local general store
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Waterston Taxi

I was saddened by the news that Paula Blosser died.  She is from Long Beach and an original member of our investment club, Wins.

Two Medicine Lake and East Glacier Lodge

June 28, 2015. Two Medicine

Another entrance to the East side of the park is Two medicine Lake and campground and East Glacier Lodge.  Because of the heat, we simply cannot hike after mid morning.   We find sightseeing in the Jeep with the top off and the a/c on to be quite enjoyable.
A late lunch at a beautiful lodge frees me from cooking dinner…. usually!

 

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East Glacier Lodge – Built 1913
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Lone Eagle East Glacier Lodge
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Running Eagle Falls near Two Medicine Campground

Doug Here: While admiring Running Eagle Falls after our hike there, I met a Stanford classmate at the same observation deck! Small World.
Lesson learned today:  “Do not try to rinse out your black tank with the drainage valve closed and forget that the rinse hose is on”. Doug and I were blissfully taking a nap when there was a rap on our coach door…..we had water flowing from our roof.  Oops. Or should I say “Poops”? The roof is clean and all is well. The EPA will be talking to Doug soon… (No pictures of that event provided. Enough said, Bonny dear.)

East Glacier Lodge

Going to the Sun Road and Logan’s Pass to Hidden Lake

June 29, 2015 Monday.  Going to the Sun Road & Logan’s Pass

Left early this morning for a drive to Logan’s Pass and hike to Hidden Lake.  Logan’s Pass is the half way point on the Going to The Sun road as one heads west across the Park.  The hike was only 3 miles but took up a several hours and crosses the Continental Divide.
The trail was part boardwalk, gravel, rocks, and snow, an easy 600 foot incline to a look out that was a breathtaking view of the valley, Hidden Lake, and several peaks.

Our hiking group in Redding  always say that a good hike has at least on of these features……water, wild flowers, or an exceptional view.  This was everything rolled into one.   The melting snow produced the most beautiful streams and waterfalls and the meadows of wild flowers in white, yellow, coral, pink, purple.  The mountain goats were very friendly and comfortably shared the trail with us.  The snowy areas were only about 1/3 of the trail, but posed the greatest difficulty traversing.  Crampons would have been quite useful!  The array of clothing was quite interesting from complete hiking gear complete with back pack and bear spray to shorts and flip flops.

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Panorama Near the Summit
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Crampons Anyone???
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The Summit
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Sharing the Trail
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Flowers Everywhere
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“Papa Doug you taste good” said this wandering deer.

We traversed the rest of the Going to the Sun road to the west side of the Park (40 miles total) and ate  at the McDonald Lake Lodge.  We scoped out a couple more hikes that we will do later in the week.

We have been “newsless” for the last week…..Doug set up our satellite TV and we were heard about the Supreme Court ruling on Obama Care and the recognition of gay marriage.  The (hopefully) unintended consequences of these rulings are going to have profound effects on this country as we know it.

Day 2 Many Glacier Lodge

June 27, 2015. Many Glacier Lodge

Since it is the weekend, we decided to stay on the East side of the Park and explore where we are camped.  We went to Many Glacier Lodge for lunch and was not disappointed.  The food was reasonably priced and wonderful!  The view from the dinning room was over Swift Current Lake.  It seems that the vendor that runs all the lodges hires young people from all over the U.S. for the summer.  Our server was from Salt Lake City and studying International Business in college.

We had a tour of the lodge celebrating it’s 100 th year.  All of the lodges in the park were built around 1913-1915 to accommodate summer visitors from the East that came by the Great Northern Railroad.  These are pictures of Many Glacier Lodge and of course -us._DHM6649

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Glacier Park Day 2

June 27, 2015. Glacier National Park – Eastside

10:30 pm.  Doug and I simply can’t go to sleep while it is still light out.  They say this has been one of the hottest June’s in many years.  We would like to get to bed early so we would get up and get our day started before the heat picks up.  By 1030 it has cooled down and is time for a fire, but it is bed time.

This was a beautiful critter we ran in to in the parking lot last evening at 9PM leaving Logan Pass.  I thought we had to hike to see these things but they just wander around checking out the tourists!

Local Resident
Local Resident

Doug’s friend found him at the park headquarters!

Doug's New Friend
Doug’s New Friend

(Bonny insists that I tell you that the upper picture is one SHE took of a real Big Horn Sheep while the in the lower picture I’m hugging a statue! Pretty lifelike isn’t it?- Doug)

Redding to Glacier National Park

On the Road Again…..first leg to Glacier National Park…June 23, 2015

At last……….I must have had delusions of grandeur to think that we could get back to Redding on Sunday and, then, be ready to leave for Montana on Tuesday.  Our brief trip to Long Beach was to celebrate MoMo’s promotion to high school,  Bob Carter’s 70 th birthday, and a lovely evening Duffy cruise and dinner with Doug’s sister Patti and her husband Dick.  We also wished Madi well as she departed for a week long mission trip to Guatemala. Family events finished and now onto Glacier and Canada!

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Family at lunch for MoMo’s graduation!
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Two Proud Grandmas
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Bob Carter at 70!
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Captain Patti and first mate, Dick, about to cast off and head to dinner in Newport.

We got on the road for the first leg of our journey to Glacier around 1 pm…only 3 hours later than planned…not bad.  We are hoping to arrive in time to have dinner with Tammy & Joe Florio in Bend, Oregon.  Looks like we are leaving Redding as temperatures soar to 114 degrees this week.

We got off with a BANG….literally.  As we were loading the coach, we dropped and broke two bottles of wine…..not too sticky and fortunately ” white “.  I do hope I am PC….. can I say white?

I will never get tired of the drive North out of Redding.  It is so beautiful going through the mountains and the valleys.  Shasta Lake, sadly, is very low due to the continued draught.

We entered Oregon on Hwy 97 in a lovely valley.  It is haunting how suddenly Oregon is different.  The road changes and landscape is so green.  Suddenly there is water and green green fields.  It is a palpable difference.  Factoid – the entire state of Oregon’s population is about 1/3 the size of Los Angeles County alone.

We have kept moving despite many places we would like to explore….like the waterfalls at Post Falls, ID and the cities of Missoula, Kalispell, & Whitefish, Montana

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Spent the last two nights in Elk’s Lodge parking lots ( RV ) with electrical hookups. Spokane & Kalispell……not beautiful, but the price was right.

The drive through Montana is breathtaking with mountains followed by vast valleys of cattle ranches and farm land and lots of green expanse.  We drove most of the time up Montana along the edge of Flathead Lake.  I didn’t know that it is the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi.  162 miles of shoreline.  We did spend a considerable bit of time following a house that was being moved intact by a semi on a two lane highway – SLOW!!!.   It was way too scary to pass, so we just plodded along.

After a quick dinner at the ELKS club of chicken and ribs ($8), we went into Whitefish. It was well worth it.  Such a beautiful quaint city with Whitefish lake for boating and all water sports and just up the hill is Big Mountain for winter sports.

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Whitefish, Montana lakeside beach

It is 1015.  We are pooped and ready for bed and it is still light out.   I love it!  I’ll bet I would hate the winter.  It is probably dark at 3:30 pm.  I will have to confirm that.

We have been on and off the phone with Melanie tonight.  Apparently she was bit by her dog Teddy today (accident) and has lymphangitis.  She is currently in the ER getting IV antibiotics.

We have about a 150 mile drive tomorrow to reach our campsite at St. Mary on the East side of Glacier National Park.  After 3 days on the road we are looking forward to staying put for 7 days and simply exploring.  We heard the The Road to the Sun just opened last week.  This traverses Glacier East to West and can only be done by car…I think the Jeep will come in handy.

Friday June 26, 2015

Arrived at our camp site at St. Mary and decided to do just a little exploring around 4 pm.  We drove about 18 miles on the Going to the Sun Road and found ourselves at Logan Pass after several stops.  Every turn seemed to get more beautiful.  Even though the visitors lodge was closed for the day, we started on a hike filled with yellow wild flowers and patches of snow and multiple waterfalls. 

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FINALLY! Glacier National Park at Logan’s Pass for an evening hike.

The temperature  dropped as the valley became shaded but the sun was still bright at 9:30.  Back at camp with a wonderful fire ( thank you Doug) we finished dinner around 11 pm.  An early start in the the morning is only wishful thinking for this old girl.

The End or just the begining…..

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I got such a thrill as we rounded a curve just north of Yreka at mile marker 776…….the majesty of Mt. Shasta came into view.  When we left you could hardly see her for all the smoke.  Today she is clear and crisp and snow capped.  She is sort of like God….when you know where she is, you know where you are.

Our Route
Our Route

Miles traveled 1,230

We will be going down (flying) to Long Beach next week to meet our new sweet baby girl, Malia Rose, and to attend a memorial service for a dear friend of Doug’s, John Messenger.  John was a cardiologist at Long Beach Memorial and very instrumental in the development of the Heart Institute.

How we did

I need a hair cut and a pedicure…….My electric toothbrush has died….I am out of clean underwear…..it is time to return to Redding.  Oh did I mention, it is raining?  I don’t particularly enjoy outdoor exploring in the rain.

We are at Seven Feather’s RV Resort on the I-5 North of Medford.  It’s claim is that it wants to be the best RV Park in Oregon.  It is connected to the Seven Feathers Casino and is run by the Cal Creek Band of Umpqua Indian Tribe.  So far I am impressed.  When we arrived (in the dark) we were escorted to our site by a guy in a golf cart ( gratuities appreciated).  The cost per night is $36.  We have found that our cost per night on this adventure has been in the $20-30 range.  We have just decided to stay for the day and explore when the rain lets up, make a pot of soup, cozy up and read.  Coincidently The Bucket List is on the TV.

Doug and I have been on the road together in approximately 400sq.  feet for a little over 3 weeks.  He is very easy to get along with.  There is a definite division of labor.    He does everything on the outside and I do everything on the inside.  One of the things I made very clear before we ventured out was that I absolutely could not live for long in a messy coach.  For those of you that know Doug, I am not exaggerating when I say, Messy is his middle name.  He has blown me away with the pride he takes in the coach.   Wonders never cease!!!!  The cupboards are organized and the wood is polished.

One of my goals on this trip was to learn how to cook in a combination microwave/convection oven. The microwave broke shortly after we left and one burner on the stove just doesn’t seem to want to turn on.  I have actually done quite well with one burner and a bar-b-q.

Every where I go, I think it is the best.  I think of the kids and grandkids and how much they would enjoy each place.

One of the acquisitions Doug has made this time around is a little round thing that I thought was a white covered bar-b-q.  It turns out to be a satellite dish with much newer technology than our 10 year old RV has.  On this trip we are returning much less news depleted.  At this time in the news we are 3 weeks from the mid-term elections. There are 3 cases of Ebola in the US.  The nurse that contracted Ebola graduated 4 years ago and has worked in Critical Care and is one of 70 people that had cared for Mr. Duncan, the first to die of Ebola in the US.  Leon Panetta has just released his book. BO still stands firmly on “no boots on the ground” as ISSIL moves in on Baghdad.

I am learning that there are about four different kinds of camp sites….at least those in Oregon.  The first is the state or county parks with gravel pads, lots of trees, sometimes grass, a well worn picnic table, and a REAL fire pit…….places that make you want to hang out at your campsite.  The next have little or no trees, concrete or asphalt pads, very clean with laundry facilities, not much character but reasonably priced and put you near a city or attraction  you want to spend the majority of your time.  For me that would be Portland Fairview RV Park.  The third are very very nice “resorts” with flowers and all the amenities with very strict rules and no children or fire pits in site.  Many of these places only allow class A or C rigs of a certain age (Pacific Shores RV Resort).  Perhaps the price and word “Resort” are the clues.  The last are simply “parking lots” like the Walla Walla Elks or Whisky Town at Oak Bottom. This Seven Feathers might just be the best of everything……we will see when it stops raining.

As this trip comes to an end, we are talking about our next outing.  We are thinking of starting at Quartzite in Arizona which is a meeting of about 20,000 folks with Tiffin RVs.  This is on BLM land and is completely “dry” camping.  Waste is trucked out and Water is trucked in.  We were thinking it would be a good starting point in January for a tour of the South West ending with a visit with Matt in Dallas, Texas.  I have never set foot in Texas.

3 days in Newport, Oregon

133 miles of Oregon coastline from Astoria to Newport…….I enjoyed the scenery, Doug, however,  was white knuckling it for most of the trip as he maneuvered 62 1/2 feet and  38,000 pounds of vehicle  on the 101 Coast Highway.  He is really quite a good driver.

Oregon is my new favorite state and I think God’s favorite color is green.  The lushness of Central Oregon and the coast is unsurpassed.  I know I look forward to returning and enjoying the many bike trails that are everywhere in the state.

We stayed at Pacific Shores RV Resort.  This was the most pricey of our sites at $70 in the off season.  Unlike other parks, each site is individually owned.  There was an indoor pool, spa, and gym ( none of which we used :  (   ) BUT, the view from the front seat of our RV was spectacular with a trail down to a beach that we mostly had to ourselves. For future reference, space 128 is the most beautiful with ocean view, grass, and a forrest to the right.

Yaquina Lighthouse
Yaquina Lighthouse as seen 20 ft from our RV!

We spent a day at a state park thats main attraction is a beautiful lighthouse………Yaquina State Park.  The sea was very rough that day with anticipated storms.  We were warned to be careful of Sneeker waves which are exactly that.   We never saw one, but our previously mentioned acquaintances, Neil, said he and his wife were drenched by one near the beach.

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Yaquina Head Light House – Operational 1873
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Stormy day with rough surf – any sneaker waves nearby?

 

The Best Part of This Day—-Welcome Malia !

Welcome to Malia Rose deMetropolis – Born 10-09-2014

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The day has been long as we were updated periodically about Lindsay’s progress in labor.  Then…………at 7:52 pm came Andy’s text….. It’s a girl!   Wait a minute……I predicted it was a boy!   Never, never take me to Las Vegas.   Janice says she looks just like her big brother, Dylan.   We can’t wait to see her.   With the miracle of texting, we ALMOST feel like we are there.   For those of you that aren’t in and around Long Beach,  Andy is my youngest son and Lindsay is his wife.   He is a Long Beach fireman and Lindsay is an RN and works in the ER at Long Beach Memorial Hospital.   This sweet girl weighed in at 7-14 and is 20″ long and HEALTHY.

Dylan Meets His Sister
Dylan Meets His Sister
Malia's First Selfy
Malia’s First Selfie!
Happy Day!
Happy Day!

 

 

The Cannery

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Bonny’s Big Catch!

Every year I start looking for stocking stuffers on January  1st.  It can get expensive when you are filling 16 stockings!  I saw some Chinook Salmon that I thought the boys might enjoy but it was $14 a can at the museum store.  My quest……..to locate this item at a more reasonable price.  This led us to this small cannery on the Skipanon River.  It is referred to as a micro- cannery.   These are quickly disappearing from the coast.  Josh, the manager,  greeted us and gave us a great personalized tour.  Fridays are busy for them as they get ready to go to Portland for Saturday Market. The canning machine they use was built in 1917.  He says it works perfectly but he is finding it difficult to get parts and a mechanic that can actually work on it.  I think he said he has to fly in a mechanic from the mid-west.  Besides learning about the hand packing and smoking process, I was fascinated by their best butcher ( is that what you call someone that filets fish?).  She is 81 years old.   She is also the chief  sharpener of all the knives.

I saved a little at $9.50 a can.  Merry Christmas boys.  Please don’t feed it to the dogs.

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81 and still working!
81 and still working!
Won a State Award!
Won a State Award!
Made in 1917 and still running daily!
Made in 1917 and still running daily!

 

 

Thoughts From Astoria

Today Doug and I are waiting on word of the birth of Andy & Lindsay’s second baby. It has worked out by design that Janice (our other daughter-in-law) will be taking care of her at Long Beach Memorial. Sweet anticipation! We feel very comfortable with her under Janice’s watchful eye.

Yesterday we visited the Maritime Museum here in Astoria. What an educational day it was. We learned a great deal about the Coast Guard and the vigorous and dangerous training. The area here where the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean meet is considered one of the most dangerous in the word calling it the “Graveyard of the Pacific” with over 700 ship wrecks and countless loss of life. What makes the Columbia River so important is its ability to provide transport of goods to inland America as far as Lewiston, Idaho. Imagine! Today we are going to learn about the discovery of this area by Lewis & Clark.

Looking back at the pictures Doug has posted, it looks like we are always wearing the same thing….it is true. When we left Redding it was 100 degrees and we packed accordingly. It had been so long since we saw temperatures below 80, we couldn’t imagine needing anything but flip flops and shorts. Lesson learned.

One of the things I love about Oregon is the GREEN. It actually rains here. We have several umbrellas, but not a single one in the RV.

I don’t really have an obsession with Costco. When I meet someone that lives in Redding, I will often ask what made them choose Redding as their home. One of the answers I found very interesting was from a fellow hiker, Linda Katlin. They have travelled extensively around the US (looking for a place to settle in retirement). Gary is an engineer. They narrowed their search to only places that had a Costco, believing that that community would have the level of goods and services that they felt necessary to establish a home. They built their own home in Cottonwood. They live in the country but know that civilization is just down the I-5.

The Art of Racing in the Rain…..recommended read on many levels. I now can’t look at a dog without wondering what he or she is thinking. I know more about race car driving than I ever wanted to know & never ever give up.

Astoria

I woke up this morning completely surrounded by fog.  It was delightful sitting up front watching the sun rise and the fog lift on the beautiful golf course that we have called home for a few days.  I have always said that one of the best things about retirement is “sleeping until I’m through”.

Today is our anniversary….14 years.  We have had a lot of fun and I can honestly say, still, that I have never once been bored!!!  I would gladly sign up for another 14……that should put us into our mid 80’s.

Yesterday we visited the beach communities of Seaside and Cannon Beach.  (Pictures are here – just click) They are typical beach towns and very different from Astoria just a few miles to the North.

Astoria is built on a hillside near where the Columbia River meets the sea.  Most of homes are Victorian and some are 200 years old.  At one time the population was as high as 100,000  with a thriving logging, shipping, and canning industry.  At that time the town was build on wooden piles  over the water.  A huge fire in the 1920’s destroyed the city as it swept under and burnt the support the city was built.  Today the population is 10,000, however, Doug and I spotted a Costco which tells us a lot about the surrounding community.

 

Columbia River Gorge

October 3, 2014   Columbia Gorge

Today we returned to the Columbia Gorge……..we simply ran out of time yesterday watching the sunset on our day from the Vista House high above the Gorge. I love how God ends his day with the sun peeking through the leaves, the deepening red of the sky followed by the twinkling of a million lights.

We started with brunch at Multnomah Restaurant. It is a beautiful lodge like structure with a huge fireplace that always seems to be well fed. We ate in the room next door that is a sun room with a steep glass roof.  We seem to find beauty everywhere we look….a beautiful cloudless day, a bit windy with white caps seen on the Columbia River. The Multnomha  Falls are the 2 nd highest year round water falls in the US.  Doug and I walked up to the 1st of 11 switchbacks.  Since we had planed a bike ride, we decided that was high enough.

Oregon provides many miles of bike riding trails for its citizens and we only got a very small taste. Today we did a trail that is dedicated to bikes and runs from Dobson to Cascade Locks. It is 8 miles long. As beautiful as it is, it follows the freeway and is noisy. We started from both ends and would recommend beginning at Cascade. It is away from the freeway and is dominated by tree covered tunnels………it is like riding your bike into Heaven.

On our way out, we stopped at an outdoor market for fresh fish ( or folks selling fish out of coolers in a parking lot). It is very interesting that the Indians in the area have no restrictions on fishing and can use nets as well. The smoked salmon didn’t last very long, yum.

Tomorrow, Astoria.

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Portland

October 1, 2014

Portland

Portland…..where the weather is predictably unpredictable.  This is definitely a “layering” city.  Yesterday we experienced light rain, sunshine, warm sunshine, clouds, rain in the sunshine, twinkling rain.
We spent the day seeing the city that my friend Maggie loves and I can see why.  First we toured her house which is a very small cottage, but is surprisingly spacious with a loft for her bedroom and a basement for everything else.  The gardens she has created in the front and back are ever so inviting.  She offers it on occasion as a B & B which delights her guests.  The neighborhood has homes of varying size, many Victorian and Craftsman homes and tree canopied streets.  It is near Reed Collage which is a small, very expensive private school.  She thinks it looks like Hogwarts.
Our first stop was the tram which extents over the city from the waterfront to the Medical Center on the hill overlooking Portland……breathtaking.
Aerial tram to OU Medical Center with view of Portland
Aerial tram to OU Medical Center with view of Portland

Portland

September 30, 2014

Portland

Our first real day in Portland.  My friend Maggie Chandler ( she was a nursing school friend that went on to become the librarian at Poly until her retirement ) spent the day as our personal tour guide.  You can tell she loves Portland.  Doug & I agree.  It is a fabulous place with just about anything you could want to do.
We started the day at the aerial tram that travels from the river up to the medical centers on the hill overlooking the city.  It is the best way ever to get a lay of the land.  We traveled around town on the metro buses.  I think what I love best are the trees that line the down town streets.  The city is really clean.  One of our stops was along the river where Maggie and 19 of her closets friends meet 3 times a week to paddle in the Dragon Boats.  You should see her biceps and lats!!  They do this in rain or snow.   Makes me feel like a bit of a wuss since you will only find me kayaking in fair weather.   Saw Powell’s Book store, famous for it’s size and  three stories.  We wonder how the electronic books affected it’s sales.  We ended the day at Jake’s for happy hour and fish tacos.
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Portland Area RV Park

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Eugene to Portland

September 30, 2014

Leaving Eugene for Portland

Hi everyone,

I can see I am getting a bit delinquent in my diary.  One of Doug’s goals on this trip is to create and maintain a blog about our adventures.  This will be a separate web site you can go to ( or not).  Some of you have voiced interest in our travels, others are getting this simply because you are related to us.  This is created so WE can recount our days.
The past few days have be spent in Eugene, Oregon at at a wonderful county park called Armitage County Park.  We had the last of 31 sites.  It was one of the best places we have ever stayed.  The sites are very spacious with trees all around, surrounded by a county park on the edge of the Mckenzie River.   We met a lovely couple that have been full timing it for 16 months in a 20 foot trailer.  They managed to transport their 2 bikes, an 18 year old cat, and a 2 man kayak.  We are impressed.  We felt so “out in the country” but Costco was less than 5 minutes from our camp!
Sunday we did a bike ride along a Willamette River Trail and through the Univeisty of Oregon campus. We  both agree that we have to come back to Eugene.   It is a very interesting culture here.  People watching is quite entertaining, especially at The Saturday Market.
Monday September 29, 2014
Arrived in Portland to intermittent rain ( although, they don’t consider it rain here).  We met up with my friend Maggie and joined her and friends for Happy Hour at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and on to the Oregon Symphony.

To be continued……….We are anxiously waiting for news from Andy & Lindsay about Dylan’s new brother or sister :  )

Enroute to Eugene

September 27,2014

Enroute to Eugene

Hi everyone,

Doug and I are on I-5 headed towards Eugene, Or.  We have spent the last 4 days in the Rogue Valley State Park.  After a day of rain, the skies are beautiful and most everything is refreshingly green. I think we both needed a few days to just chill. We rode our bikes, visited my friend from nursing school, Linda Hanson, saw a couple of movies, cozied up and read, and I refamiliarized my self with the coach.  I also took a tour of the kitchens and packing facility at Harry & David’s.  I learned that they are the major employer for the city of Medford.  I have always loved their products and like them even better now.

Doug has done a great job fixing  up the coach and preparing for this trip.  We even have a reverse osmosis system (I thought the same thing-SO?????).  It completely purifies the water………no scum in the shower and clear ice cubes, not to mention completely purified water to drink.

Of note.. Jacksonville is a delightful must see.  We had lunch and spent the afternoon with Linda at a great little resturant called The Bella Union.   It has also become quite an area for wineries. We sat under a huge fig tree that covered the entire patio.
We saw the movie The 100 Foot Journey.  Don’t miss it.  It is a delightful story that takes place in the South of France.  I just finished reading 11/22/1963 by Steven King.  Would recommend it.  It is about traveling back in time and preventing the assassination of JFK.
Last night we started dinner about 830 after a trip to Costco for some good rib eye steaks (as you know we are both carnivores ).  We looked like the 2 Stooges trying to build a fire and bar-b-q.   The fire just wouldn’t cooperate and we couldn’t see a thing to cook.  We are learning  :  )   Where is a fireman when you need him?  You boys are always good at starting a bonfire.
Saturday September 27, 2014
So far the promised 73 degree, mostly sunny day, has not materialized……maybe it will be laundry day :  (
(Doug here – that was damp wood – really it was)
Bonny
Rogue River Sunset from our campsite (20 ft. walk)

The Trip Starts – Finally!

September 23
2014 The Trip Starts – Finally!
Hi there,

Well we are finally on the road.  Doug and I were so tired from packing the RV on Saturday that we parked in the Redding Elk’s and went out to a movie and pizza.  We left for Oregon on Sunday,  September 21st, refreshed.  We drove 168 miles to the Rogue River State Park between Grants Pass and Medford.  The ride was nice, but the ravages of the draught were very apparent with huge areas of tree not turning to fall colors, but dying.  The fires have left the skies smokey as the worst smoggy day in LA.  Our little spot at the Rogue River has lots of healthy trees.  The best part of all is that we can have a real fire.  We bought 2 bundles of firewood.  Hey!!
Today is the first day with absolutely no agenda except a bike ride to explore the town of Rogue River.  Tomorrow we are having lunch with a gal I went to nursing school with, Linda Sprague Hanson.  She lives in Central Point.  She says she still has horses that are descendants of the horses she had when we were in school over 45 years ago.  I am so looking forward to seeing her.
Bonny and Doug