Camping with Suzi

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Jackson Bear

Few towns I have been to are more populated with great art than Jackson, WY.  Everywhere you go, at every turn, where ever you look there are examples of amazing art.  This bear is one of my favorites.


Does he have a great face?!?!?!

Dixie at Grand Teton National Park

Dixie, our stuffed rabbit mascot, shares many of our adventures.  Here are some photographs of her time in the Grand Teton National Park.

View from the Jackson Lodge

View from the Jackson Lodge

Time at Jenny Lake

Time at Jenny Lake

Beautiful location

Beautiful location



Grand Teton Apple Cake

Had a cold snap hit while visiting the Grand Teton National Park and it seemed like a good idea to crank up the old oven to do some baking.   No eggs but I did have a couple of little “lunchbox” size Gala apples.  The results was the following:

Grand Teton Apple Cake

191_52Serves 9

this recipe was adjusted for the 7,000 foot elevation of our campsite

1 Cup plus 7 Tbsp flour
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1/4 C. cornstarch
3/4 t. each baking soda, allspice, ginger & cinnamon
1/2 t. each ground cloves, nutmeg, and salt
1/3 C. oil
1 T. vinegar
1-1/4 C. water
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced thin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees if using glass or 375 degrees if using metal pan.  Place in 8″ or 9″ square pan flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking soda, spices and salt and mix well with a fork.  Add oil, vinegar, and water.  Mix briskly with fork until thoroughly blended.  Add a layer of sliced apple on the top.  Option:  Sprinkle with some plain white sugar.  Place in a preheated oven and bake 30 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean.   Cool in pan.

Missouri Breaks National Monument

Geologically, the Missouri Breaks National Monument is soooo interesting.  A portion of this Monument is set aside to form the C.M.Russell National Wildlife Refuge and within it is the James Kipp Recreation Area.  It is pretty cool for a basic campground with towering cottonwoods and enough mosquitoes to carry off a small dog.

And there is one other thing – this is what the drinking water looks like:



That jug is full of water fresh from a campground’s spigot, not tea .  The brown color is caused by tiny particles of dirt which do settle into a quarter inch of slug.  In other words, it isn’t drinkable.  Fortunately, we had a full fresh water tank in the motorhome.

What the Hay?

Did the annual “What the Hay?” contest on Sunday.  What a kick!  It is actually an 11-mile drive through the rolling hills between Hobson and Utica, MT.  The contest is a popularity competition where the public, and there were hundreds upon hundreds there, votes for their choice.  There were more than 40 entries which are creations in hay, some sculpted, some full bales, and all fun.   A few made political statements but most illustrated their creators delightful sense of humor.

Here are some of my favorites:



Smart Hay Pants

Smart Hay Pants

Mat-Hay-Tor, the tow truck from Cars

Mat-Hay-Tor, the tow truck from Cars

DespicaBale Me 2

DespicaBale Me 2

Here’s a link to see all the other entries and results of the voting






Central Montana is eye opening

Imagine living at least 100 miles from the nearest Walmart, about 50 miles from your children’s school (and there is a stretch of gravel road between your home and the paved highway), or dealing with almost 200 miles from quality clothing store such as Kohl or Macy. That’s what life is like in central Montana.


This photograph was taken on a stretch of U.S. Hwy 191 between Lewistown and Malta, MT. Glorious country with a surprising number of small lakes and pond and a near absence of trees. You can count all the houses along this 73 miles of 191 and those one-ton hay bales out number the number of cattle grazing in endless fields of grass.


I think this special land needs an equally special person to live here.

Fire, fire, fire – all around

We took a short break from our US Hwy 191-a road less traveled research to get Fred’s laptop fixed.  While doing that, and enjoying some time with our daughter and her family in Ennis MT, fire broke out to the south (the Eureka fire), to the east (Paradise Miner Complex fire), and most of Idaho started burning!  It only took a day for the towering mountains to be disappear in a gray fog.  After a few days, folks started to bail from the campground, looking for someplace with less stuff in the air.

Paradise Miner Complex smoke plume - one day old

Paradise Miner Complex smoke plume – one day old

Now, I have COPD.  You know that problem in the advertisement with the “elephant-sitting-on-my-chest”.  Well, with all this smoke and soot in the air, there are times when it feels like the elephant has grabbed my ankle and is dunking me deep into water.  There is a sense I’m not getting enough oxygen into my body.  I feel achy.  My head hurts and eyes scratch.  My mood isn’t great.  And there ‘s a slight panic lurking at the edge of my mind.

We are returning to our research and, after being blessed with a couple of afternoons of rain showers, hope the fires have been “tapped” down.  Clear air makes for much more attractive photographs and a happy co-pilot <G>.


Treasures from Navajo Land

Been hearing a lot about “Buy Local.” Well, I did just that during our time in Canyon de Chelly.

Here are my treasures:

Little vase is about the height of my finger or maybe 3-inches

Little vase is about the height of my finger or maybe 3-inches

Plate for my wall - love the four deer

Plate for my wall – love the four deer


Tips and insights when traveling through Navajo Land

Our time in Navajo Land was amazing.  Not only were the sights beyond description but interacting with a different culture eye-opening.   First, we must remember that any Reservation, including Navajo and Hopi, is a separate and sovereign country unto itself – we are guests and should behave accordingly.

Eye contact is a major difference between Navajo and European-American cultures. While eye contact is consider appropriate and polite among member of the European-American cultures, it is perceived as impolite among people of Navajo culture. It is not unusual to observe two Navajo people deep in conversation, standing side by side, looking straight ahead and not at each other. In other words, do not expect eye contact when talking to a sales person. This lack of eye contact does not mean you do not have the other’s full attention but a sign of respect.

Another glaring difference between cultures is the easy of striking up a conversation. From childhood, Navajos at taught not to talk too much, be loud, or “forward” with strangers. This is not the case among family or friends when Navajos are exuberant and jolly.

Physical contact is very limited among the Navajo people. Generally, the only physical contact you will see is handshaking. Note, a firm grip is interpreted as being overbearing and impolite. A light touch is seen as most appropriate.

Individual Navajos do not own the land upon which they live but families do hold traditional use rights under tribal customary law. Nearly all land on the Navajo Nation is part of someone’s traditional use area.

Sheep, goats, cattle and horses are important to a way of life for many Navajos. Much of the Navajo’s land is open range and small herds move about freely, crossing roadways with little thought to the danger of fast moving cars. Use caution, especially at and after sunset. Also recognize dogs are used to protect livestock. If you come in contact with a free ranging dog, do not assume it is someone’s family pet

Four is a sacred number to the Navajo culture. There are four directions, four seasons, the first four clans (Harris, our Canyon de Chelly guide, cites his first four clans with their numbers and other data without a moments hesitation), four colors that are associated with the four sacred mountains which border the Navajo’s land. These mountains are Mt. Blanca, Mt. Taylor, San Francisco Peak, and Mt. Hesperus. The color associated with each is White Shell, Turquoise, Yellow Abalone, and Jet Black respectively.

Digital Medical Records for Dani

Last week, Dani was drinking gallons of water and panting constantly but it was miserably hot. She was sleeping most of the day but we were in our motorhome, driving, alot. But most concerning, Dani wasn’t eating. For a Golden Retriever to pass up food is a rare thing so we took our girl, immediately, to a Vet (Dr. Gostlin of Dog & Cat Clinic of MoaB) in Moab, UT. Fortunately, he accepted walk-ins plus he had had a Golden Retriever (his grown son is now the keeper of Goldens).

The doctor probed, poked, and did all those doctor things to Dani and couldn’t find anything immediately wrong. Dani has a thyroid condition so that was the next thing to consider. Our vet in Bisbee faxed up a bunch of test results and it was decided we should run a blood test for her thyroid. Sure enough her thyroid was off kilter and her medication needs to be adjusted.

The point of this story is to remind you, if you travel with a pet, bring along their medical records. Our vet in Bisbee, AZ was super to fax all those old test results so the Moab vet could have a baseline. If we had digitized those records they would be with us and a solution would have been reached sooner.

So next year, besides a digital file of our own medical records and we’ll have one for Dani and one for Ralf.  Again our thanks to Dr. Gostlin for his immediate and thorough care of Dani.

The "kids" and me - Seeking shade on a hot day at Canyon de Chelly

The “kids” and me – Seeking shade on a hot day at Canyon de Chelly

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