Monday, September 18, 2017

Bracing for Weather

Bob and I have, after careful consideration, decided to stay here in Livingston, MT until Saturday. Weather reports are still predicting snow for West Yellowstone every day from Tuesday to Friday. We called the next campground and were able to postpone our arrival, and we can stay where we are for an extra four days. We are breathing much easier having made that decision.

Last night I warped up my little Ashford Inklette loom to weave a flower band. With a little picking up and pushing down of two center threads, a little flower appears in the pattern.

It's a quick and easy weave. As usual, details on weaving this are on my Ravelry page.

We spent part of today visiting local antique shops, and Livingston has several in the downtown area. There was nothing we needed but it was fun to look.

The next few days will bring rain, rain, and more rain. A good week for weaving, sewing, and knitting projects!

Saturday, September 16, 2017


On Thursday, Bob and I went into Bozeman, a nice little city about a half hour west of Livingston. Bozeman was surprisingly hip, featuring many trendy-looking restauraunts in the downtown area. We chose to eat at the Nova Cafe, where Bob ordered a fritatta and I enjoyed a Vietnamese salad.

I find that I'm really enjoying eating a plant based diet and am having fun trying foods that never would have been on my radar before. We walked around the area after lunch and stopped into an antique store. We were tempted by a couple of items but resisted bringing anything more into our motorhome. It sure was fun to look, though!

Today we went into Livingston to learn a little more about the town. There's a very nice museum here called the Yellowstone Gateway Museum that we wanted to see. The building itself was originally an elementary school, and inside were a lot of exhibits that piqued my interest.

You've all seen pictures of these, called High Wheel Bicycles, but you may not have known that in 1870 people paid $125 (six months' salary) to own one. The phrase "taking a header" was coined by users of this bicycle. If the front tire encountered an obstacle, the front axle rotated forward and the rider was dropped on his head.

In 1915, the Yellowstone Trail was completed, connecting Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts to Puget Sound, Washington. The first automobiles began crossing the country, ending the railway's monopoly on coast-to-coast travel. It was America's first highway, and I'd never heard of it before.

Outside in a separate building are antique vehicles such as this bright yellow surry, used by Yellowstone Park to provide horse-drawn tours to visitors in the late 1800s. There were also two fine examples of sheepwagons, considered "...a marvel of practicality and efficiency." This type was made in the 1880s-1920s and provided the sheep herder with shelter and heat, mobility and storage. Nowadays sheepwagons are still used but are more like a modernized RV.

In front of the museum stands a fine example of a train car. It was surprisingly large and airy inside.

Bob and I are watching the weather carefully. It has been rainy and cold for the last three days, so cold that I could see my breath (a sight that I had thought never to have to see again, to be honest.) There is snow in the forecast this week but hopefully the forecasters are just looking for high ratings. Those of my readers from the mid-Atlantic region of the country know how often snow is predicted that never actually appears. I'm kind of hoping it's the same here, but we'll find out. We move on to our next destination, West Yellowstone, on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


My heart beats a little bit faster just saying the name! Bob and I are staying in a park less than an hour away, and since weather can throw a monkey wrench into the best laid plans we decided to visit the park while we could.

See this photo? This is why we get up so early when visiting a park. The best animal watching time is early morning or dusk, when the animals are feeding and moving around.

We entered through the North Entrance about 7:30 am, and were soon passing through the little village of Mammoth Hot Springs. When what to our wondering eyes did appear, but...ELK! A whole herd of them. We stopped to gawk and were treated to the sight of two males bugling to each other and posturing.

They were handsome creatures!

The smokey haze, drifting from the fires in Glacier National Park had settled over the area, was giving a golden light to the beautiful scenery all around us. These buffalo crossed in front of our car and settled down to graze in front of us.

Everywhere we turned we saw breathtaking vistas. We were struck by the sheer size of this park. The mountains are high and the valleys are wide.

Our plan was to travel straight to the Northeast Entrance, visiting the Lamar Valley area, but when we saw a dirt road off to our right, we took it. The road was 6 miles long and was away from other cars.

Off in the distance Bob and I spied two coyotes running down the hill.

The sun came up and some of the haze burned off. We got back on the main road and stopped here by Soda Butte Creek for a bite to eat and to let Auggie stretch his legs.

Patches of blue appeared in the sky. It had turned out to be a lovely morning. A fellow park visitor suggested we enjoy this fine day because a foot of snow is predicted to fall in 3 days. Yikes!

This mound to the left is Soda Butte.

We reached the Northeast Entrance and turned around for the long ride back, where we saw a herd of pronghorn and two mountain goats high up on a mountain. Both were too far away to photograph with my camera lens.

By the way, I am very pleased with my camera, and am learning to use the various settings, little by little.

We arrived home at 2:30, tired but happy. It is supposed to rain now for the next three days (with a chance of flurries on Saturday.) Next week we may see snow as we move closer to Yellowstone but I'm hoping it won't be much.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Visit to the Farmers Market

There's just something about a farmer's market that is so small-town, even when it's in a city. A farmer's market gathers community together. Bob and I went to the Miles City farmers market on Saturday morning.

We came away with more than just fresh vegetables. We chatted with people and enjoyed the lovely late-summer morning as we went from booth to booth. Then we walked around the classic car show that gathered right next door.

I just love antique cars and RVs!

This was Bob's favorite. If we ever win the lottery, I'll buy him one of these beauties.

Later, we returned home and I crocheted myself a pair of slippers. Now I'm all ready for fall weather and cold floors.

While I crocheted, Bob worked on getting a cable signal to the television. We were only getting four stations, even though we were hooked up to campground cable. Something must be loose somewhere, because when Bob ran the cable line out through the edge of the slideout and hooked it up directly, we suddenly got over a hundred channels. I have no doubt that Bob will figure out what's wrong and have it fixed in no time.

Friday, September 8, 2017

WaterWorks Art Museum

Today Bob and I visited Miles City's WaterWorks Art Museum (WAM.) The WAM, formerly the Custer County Art & Heritage Center (CCAHC), houses the WaterWorks Gallery and has been in operation since 1977. Located in a park overlooking the Yellowstone River, the Museum is housed in the concrete basins of the 1910 WaterWorks that produced Miles City’s drinking water for over sixty years.

The museum is downstairs where the water tanks used to be, and it is a very cool place. But it is the artwork that takes your attention. Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

Ross Contway's Little Chief, in bronze, 2010.

Painted Bear-Ghost of the Forest, by Greg Sullivan, mixed media on leather.

Yellowstone Grizzly Study, oil on linen by Jerry Inman.

This giany puppet head is from a workshop for area teens. It is a work in progress and is made entirely from cardboard, paint, and a wooden stake for support.

Bob and I couldn't resist buying this handmade ceramic mug for our toothbrushes. It's a beauty.

The weather here in Miles City has been warm, mid 80s to mid 90s, and tomorrow will be 98 degrees. Nights are in the mid 40s. We have covered our motorhome windows with insulated foil panels in preparation for tomorrow's heat. Temperatures will be dropping a little on Sunday and Monday but we may be staying in tomorrow.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area

Bob and I had a good trip from Watford City, ND to Miles City, MT, except for a rock kicked up by a passing truck which made a large ding in our motorhome windshield. Bob called a local auto glass shop and they came right out the next morning to patch it, and the 3 or 4 other little ones we had, too.

I don't know about you, but I never realized that there are many areas called badlands. We saw them in North and South Dakota, but there are badlands in Montana, too. On Thursday morning Bob and I drove out to visit some more, not too far from our campground.

The Terry Badlands includes 44,000 acres of public lands designated as a Wilderness Study Area and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. There are two roads into the TB, one of which requires a high clearance vehicle. We took the other road which was rough but gave our Honda CR-V no problems.

Scenic View Road runs along the northern edge of the wilderness study area for 5.1 miles, ending at an overlook area. We saw not a single car or human all along this road. But we did see cows grazing, which interested Auggie.

What a nice place to graze for these cattle--I wonder if they appreciate the views! I brought my new camera (a Canon EOS Rebel T5i) that arrived by mail yesterday, and I was excited to try it out. All I can say is, I have a lot to learn! But I was pleased with the images I got and look forward to getting better with it. I told Bob that the camera accessory I'd like next is a Jeep so we can access more hard-to-visit places to photograph, but I'm not going to hold my breath!

We saw some neat rock formations.

Not all of this area is treeless.

At the end of the road was a lookout area with breathtaking views.

We came across a group of trinkets, brought as offerings perhaps. We left them undisturbed.

Driving back out I took this shot of the hills to the north. What a beautiful place this is, and it was not even on our radar before we got here.

I was pleased to see that the smoke that the campground host warned us about has dissipated and the air is nice and clean. We hear that Glacier National Park has suffered much from the wildfires this year. Such a sad thing. Our prayers go out to those affected by the fires, floodings, and hurricanes. This has been a tough year for natural disasters and I fear that with unchecked climate change, these will become the norm.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Our Last Visit to TRNP

Bob and I took advantage of the skies clearing (since they were hazy for most of the week) to visit the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park one last time. I captured these images on my iPhone 6.

I loved these wind-blown rock areas.

Sagebrush and flowers contrast in the foreground of this hauntingly beautiful scene.

At Oxbow Lookout, the last point of Scenic Drive. You can see the curve of the Missouri River from here.

Saying goodbye to the Badlands of North Dakota! Today we are packing up and heading to Miles City, MT for a week.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Fort Buford

We have decided to hang out here in Watford City, ND until after the holiday weekend.

The sites are not huge by any means, but it is pretty quiet here and people are friendly, so we are content. And with full hookups there's no pressing need to move on. We'll travel to Montana on Tuesday.

Bob and I took a drive yesterday to visit Fort Buford, outside Willliston, ND. Fort Buford is situated at the confluence of the Missouri River and the Yellowstone River. It is known for being the spot where Sitting Bull surrendered, and you can stand in the very room where it happened.

We had a great time there. A guide named Archie took us around the fort and regaled us with stories of life in the late 1800s. He has been volunteering here for over 20 years and knew his subject very well.
Above you can see one of the barracks; Fort Buford at its peak housed about 700 soldiers.

This is where the Sergeant lived on Post.

The metal frame represents the guard house, where as many as 70 soldiers would be locked up at a time (especially on pay day when spirits were high.) To the right is the Officer of the Day's hut.

There was also a very nice Interpretive Center where we visited a museum and saw a film about the fort. This bag shown here is woven from corn husks and was made by a Nez Percé Indian.

All in all we spent about three hours here, and could have spent more time wandering around. It was an interesting place.

This morning I warped up my Seidel Card Loom with bone tablets I had purchased from the vendor Strange Hours Atelier at the Fiber Fest in Wooster, OH this spring. I was a little nervous about weaving with these, since they have no markings to tell which side is which, but it is going quite well.

This is a simple 4 forward, 4 back pattern. I think I would want marked tablets for anything more complicated.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Baby Rattlesnakes in TRNP

I heard a whirring, rattling sound and looked down. Three feet away was a nest of baby rattlesnakes.

One slipped into his hole but the other two posed for me. We were at Oxbow Overlook in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

When Bob and I set of this morning out of Watford City we marveled at the large, red sun coming up over the horizon. Even after starting off on the wrong road, we still arrived nice and early and only saw two other cars on our drive. The road through the park at the North Unit is not a loop like at South Unit, so we got to see the sights twice and in differing morning light.

We were not disappointed. The views were magnificent.

Auggie stayed in the car while we stopped to walk along short trails to the overlooks (and after the snake incident, we were very glad we had not brought him with us!) He waited patiently for us to return, and enjoyed sniffing out bison.

Auggie was such a good rider in the car. Not a single bark at the many bison we passed.

We told him that very few dogs from Philadelphia ever get to see a bison, and he was suitably impressed. Of course, he was probably the only Schnorkle that this buffalo had ever seen, too!

The photo above shows "Cannonball Concretions," unusual geological formations shaped like balls formed within rocks by the deposition of mineral around a core.

The North Unit of TRNP feels wilder and more isolated than the South Unit. I'm glad we got the chance to see them both.