Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Canadian Rockies blog # 7

"Then sings my soul..."

I'm reminded of the old song the Fishermen recorded, 

     "I've been on the mountain, I've seen the other side;
       I've been on the mountain, And my soul is satisfied."

   If a prolonged and overwhelming view of the Canadian Rockies doesn't do something to bring satisfaction to your soul you are possibly in deep need. You are right, Don. Those babies are truly awesome.  Way beyond impressive.

   It was a very cold and rainy morning  on Wednesday, the 21st, as we prepared to exit St. Mary and head up into Canada. The "Going-to-the-Sun" road will have to wait for another time. It is not expected to be all plowed and ready for tourists until around the first of July. While pumping gas, Charlotte, the lady who exercised oversight of the whole corner there( Lodge, restaurant, misc. stores, major gift shops, etc), came out to read the pumps. As we talked she
strongly urged that we have vehicle registrations with us as well as all other important documents for the border crossing. All the other stuff we had in hand. Registrations? Home in the desk. Somehow I had just missed them. Cell phones don't work in St Mary. Thought I'd use the phone card at the booth in front of the grocery store. Dead! The lady inside was kind enough to let me use that one to call the Boyle county courthouse in Danville. Very helpful people all around. Ten minutes later the faxes were in Charlotte's office. I picked up a cappuccino for sweet Lynda, who had been waiting all this time while I took care of business. It was a bit expensive but she's worth it. We drove north.

   The young buck at the border had the personality of a decaying cypress stump. However, he asked for neither the registrations nor insurance cards. He did take Lynda's pepper spray, though. People our age and as mean looking as us shouldn't be walking around with such weapons.  Lynda's STILL a bit ticked about that.

   On up through farm country to Calgary. Filled up again at Flying J and drove over to Walmart. The rain never let up. Did a bit of shopping and hung out overnight. Having been without any horns since Minnesota, we decided to try to get them fixed. We were pointed toward Alberta Auto. They said "Yep, no problem." After spending a few hours at the mall we returned. All horns now worked. I'm guessing there must have been three or four guys on that job without a break for all those hours. The bill was...(none of your business). We may however, have to cut our trip about a week short.

   Went and parked at a different Walmart. Went and saw the latest "Indy" flick. I've always liked Dr. Jones. With our PJ's on and ready to call it a day, Security comes by and says we can't park there overnight. Two others got the boot too. We rolled across the street and parked in another lot together. It was still raining. Shades of Gene Kelly.

   Next morning we were out of Calgary early. Headed west over to Banff . It was raining and cloudy and foggy. Almost there, we pulled off to the side and looked up in awe. Can mountains really be THAT high? Secured a nice campsite and drove down to the old monster l888 hotel that we've all seen pictures of all of our lives. Jersey Cow!!! What a building. Truly a wonderful sight to see. We enjoyed it all.

   Later Saturday , we went for dinner at a nearby lodge. Ambience all over the place. High end menu, good waiter and all that stuff and fluff. There goes a couple more days of the trip. But of course as I've said before, " The little woman is worth it." You men reading this, nod your heads in agreement.

   Sunday we drove up to Lake Louise. We bent our knees and lifted our heads in reverent praise and thanksgiving to our Creator. What a setting. I've seen pictures many times but to see the reality is something else. There  is nothing like the Reality.

   The drive yesterday from Banff for nearly 200 miles up through Jasper and beyond defies
description. Saw many animals of course, including three black bears. High, high granite wonders. Almost too much for the human spirit to handle.

   Parked  with others at the IGA store in Hinton last night. One from Bowling Green, OH. We were on the road before 6am. The others were still sleeping. Stopped at the Alpine in Grande Cashe. The sign to route 43 in Grande Prairie points to the left and says, Alaska, even though Alaska is still a couple of thousand miles away.

   We are in Dawson Creek tonight. Milepost 0 is here. Got the oil changed. Cleaned 786 billion bugs off the front end of this rolling condo. Tomorrow we are on The Alaska Highway for about 300 miles to Ft. Nelson. Lynda will get back behind the wheel again tomorrow. We are in British Columbia and looking forward.

From Winston Churchill:

"...I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened."

   Lynda and I are not the only ones on this special journey. There are all sorts of RV's with folks doing the same thing.

   Love and blessings until next time.....Winston  & Lynda

P.S. Just finishing up the Girl Scout cookies, Sydney.  Next time we'll buy all Lemon. They are soooo good.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Western Montana/Big Sky - Blog # 6

   Ya' see,...this ole guy in his nice Rexhall Aerbus pulled in next to me a couple of nights ago when I was parked at Flying J in Great Falls. He stepped out of his coach and I walked around and we said hi to each other.  After a moment I discovered that he too, was headed to Alaska from his home in New York.  I told him I was headed there as well and figured I'd better get at it now before I got much older.

   He said, "I'm 72"
   I said, "Me too."
   "My birthday's in May"
   "Mine too", I quickly replied, "The seventh.
   'Naw, you've got to be kidding", he laughed. "The 7th? That's mine. 5-7-36.
   "That' right", I said. "That's the day I was born, 5-7-36
   "Well I'll be", he said, shaking his head, "Isn't that something?"

   A few minutes later we parted and I thought to myself as I walked away, "Isn't life strange and ironic? Here we are, a couple of healthy, happy and handsome old buzzards, born on the same day, running around like a couple of loose chickens chasing our dreams."  Life doesn't get much better then this.  Is God good or what?

   We left the rv park in Gardiner , just out the north entrance of Yellowstone, on Monday morning and headed up US 89 through high hills and expansive and gorgeous valleys that made us both cry out in absolute delight and wonder. Lynda has now lost her heart to both Wyoming and Montana.  But that's alright. She has the great capacity to wrap her arms and heart around to much of this beautiful land, and she does it with such excitement. We are so blest to be able to make this voyage together.

   Yesterday morning, about half way between Great Falls and Glacier, we stopped at a roadside rest area for an hour or so, sat at the picnic table and had a bowl of  Wheat Chex, with banana, and just hung out for awhile. A state worker stopped by to check things out and to do the first mowing of the season so we talked with him for a spell. He said they grow a lot of barley in this part of the state.  We saw so many hugh grain fields encompassing thousands of acres. He was  so personable. We have come across so many folks like this. It is a nice side benefit.

   Arrived in St. Mary early yesterday(Tuesday) afternoon. It is sort of Nowheresville but has beauty beyond words. We are parked on the upper level of Johnson's RV park and straight out the windshield are the massive, and I do mean MASSIVE , mountains of Glacier National Park.  Last evening we drove a dozen or so miles back Many Glacier road in between these tremendous granite hills. Early this morning we headed a short distance up Going-to-the-Sun road and watched two herds of elk out for their time of grazing. What a delightful sight.

   A hard wind blew all  night and continues unabated. Picked up some  cold medicine at the general store. Nice green box of capsules. Opened it up a few minutes ago and a green powder came out all over the place. Whoops! Lime Jello. Wrong box.  They did look similar. Sweet Lynda made waffles and Pike Valley Farm sausage for breakfast. She just put chili in the crockpot for later. Now she's making muffins. What a wife!

   Hope the mail arrives today. We intend to head up into Canada to Calgary tomorrow. No phone service here. We're using this Wi-Fi courtesy of our neighbors next door. Until next time.

Love and blessings.....on the road with Winston & Lynda

P.S.  Lynda's grandson, Johnny B. slammed a home run the other night.   Way to GO!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The best of the west...

I think I just sent a title all by itself. Oh well!

   At this early Saturday morning hour these bleary peepers  are gazing at the most glorious row of "ladies" ever created by the Almighty. These gorgeous beauties are clothed in all their best winter finery (snow) from top to bottom and are truly a sight for these aging eyes. When  I first saw the Grand Teton range in May of 2000 from the windshield of Ed & Peggy's motorhome I just about lost it. It was an extremely emotional moment. It still is! Even as I type this I seem to be trembling a bit...and it's not from old age. Such majesty, beauty, power and steadfastness. Just like the God who made them. Truly a feast for the weary and searching soul.

   It is 31 degrees this morning in this valley where we are camped just east of the mountains. The sun rises a bit earlier here. We had supper last night at Hatchet's Resort and Restaurant just down the road. Before that we washed the car, which was nearly beyond recognition from being pulled through the winter weather over the Bighorn mountains.

   Sweet Lynda seems to love Wyoming. She carries on and on and on about it. It's hard to disagree. The fifty mile drive from Cody to Yellowstone, along the Shoshone river, is truly a TRIPLE Scenic Byway. One of the very best. While filling up with fuel (ouch!) in Cody, we met a gentleman from Switzerland who is touring the country for a few weeks. Saw him again a little farther down the road at breakfast and talked with him a bit. As a travel agent, he has visited here many times and loves this country. We also talked with a delightful couple from England as well. They feel the same way. So do we. What a country!  Our breakfast break was at a place
called Pahaska Lodge, just before Yellowstone. The new lodge is nice but the original, built by Buffalo Bill in 1904, is still standing. Pahaska (long hair), was a nickname given to Buffalo Bill by his friends.                                          

   In Cody, we took time to check out the Buffalo Bill Historical Center which consists of five separate museums. Hundreds of guns, Plains Indians, Western art, etc. Also a fine gift shop. So well done and well worth the time. We were impressed.

   Met some folks yesterday from New Mexico who are also on their way to Alaska. Gave them our card. Maybe we'll see them again in Anchorage.   Tomorrow morning I reckon we'll worship here in the park. Hope to do lunch at the Old Faithful Inn on the western side of the lower loop in Yellowstone and then on up into Montana by late afternoon. 

   From Louie L'Amour and his book, "Jubal Sackett"
        "That is how I would remember my father. There was never a place he walked that was not  the better for his having passed. For every tree he cut down he planted two."

   You've got to love the Sackett series.

   It's now a bit passed 8am. The lovely ladies mentioned earlier are now standing at full stature in the bright morning sun. Lynda is anxious to get rolling. Much to see today. No time to waste.

   Whoever is reading this, We hope you have enjoyed sharing a little of the journey with us. 'Til next time.

Love & blessings....on the road with Winston & Lynda 

The best of the west...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Black Hills

   We have been parked at the Crazy Horse RV park, about a mile north of Custer, SD, since Sunday afternoon. There are several other units in the park as well. The couple next to us, Andy and Cathy, are from near Calgary, Alberta. They are full-timers and delightful people.

   We have enjoyed so much our time in this area, even though it's been chilly with a flurry of snow now and then. Had a cup of coffee this morning at a restaurant in town where all the "good old boys" hang out, shoot the breeze, and solve all the country's problems. If only they were in Washington everything would soon be taken care of and back to where it should be. The theme in the place was Betty Boop. Some of the more mature citizens reading this will remember her.

   The drive over the Needles highway this afternoon was beyond description with rare and unspeakable beauty, especially the eye of the needle and the neat tunnel that was a part of it.
We drove Iron Mountain road yesterday with it's Pig-tail bridges and rock-hewned tunnels, one of which, as you drive through, looks across the miles-long valley into the faces of George, Thom, Teddy and Abe,also hewed out of rock. Traveled the Custer State park Wildlife Loop yesterday and saw Bison/Buffalo, all over the place along with ten-zillion prairie dogs darting all over the place. Fascinating.

   Took Sweet Lynda down into Wind Cave for a seventy-five minute tour in the bowels of the earth. A constant 53 degrees.  The hundreds of steps went down, down, down. A very unique experience. Fortunately, the elevator at the end went up, up, up. This National park is very nice and well-kept.

   Also spent some time today at Mt. Rushmore. We can report that the presidents are doing ok. We had both been there before but it was again, as special as ever. A very patriotic moment. Had lunch there and Lynda decided to try a buffalo burger. She seemed to like it just fine. We topped it off with one over-sized scoop of praline/pecan ice cream. Superb.

  Tonight it was left-over beef stew and fruit salad. Lynda is finishing up the dishes and putting things away. I'm doing this blog and Bill O'Reilly is carrying on on TV. This has been a wonderful day for both of us and we are thankful.

   Ready for another Louie...ism? 

     "He who would see the far land must carry the far land in his heart. The heat, dust, and struggle are a part of it; these were what made the beauties worth having."

                                                                                         from: The Walking Drum

   Well, that's about it. Tomorrow we are off to check out the Devil's Tower in northeast Wyoming. Then it's on to Gillette, Buffalo, up over the Big Horn mountains and on to Cody. There's a SuperWalmart there. We can hardly wait.

...on the road...with Winston & Lynda


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wall"ed" in

   We (I) did an addition to the travel blog yesterday but touched something on this computer somewhere and everything went away , never to return.I'm still new at this business.  Besides that, this Mountain Standard Time has us all messed up. It is almost 5am and we are both up and going.

   It's cold in Wall, SD.  Never got out of the thirties yesterday. It rained hard. The wind blew wildly and rocked this Georgieboy Cruise Master at will. Sweet Lynda prepared lots of nourishing food and we ate well throughout the day. She does not allow me to have too much junk food. Smart wife and good cook, that Lynda.

   Talked to the KY farm yesterday. Only if I stand facing a certain way and don't move a muscle, does the cell phone work.  Kristen, Grandson Daniel's super-wife, is in KY for a couple of weeks
while Daniel is with the army in Peru.  She is carrying in her slightly protruding belly the greatest gift from God that the couple will ever receive.  Due around the end of October or so.
We are all excited. This will be our first great-grandchild.

   We drove the Badlands Loop. Lynda's first viewing. She went ape. To be honest, it is absolutely AWESOME!!!  It was lousy weather so photos were so-so. If the sun comes out we might drive a few miles back in this morning.  Following that, we stopped at the Wounded Knee museum here in town. The massacre took place on December 28, 1890. A sad event in our history. Certainly worth reading about. Then it was back to Wall Drug store to finish up. Picked up a couple of Louis L'amour books I didn't have. Ready for some Louie-ism's? Here goes.

     "For land beyond the mountains is ever a dream and a challenge, and each generation needs that, the dream of some far-off place to go."

   That' s all for this morning. We are off to Custer later today. This is Sunday. " This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."

Love and blessings ..... Winston & Lynda

Friday, May 9, 2008

T he Black [and now rainy] Hills

Hi friends and family - A friend  asked  Thursday about Murphy's Law - guess we had to test it as you will son read.  We had noticed a loud noise - one sounding like a motor fan which we got checked out Thursday by 2 or 3 different places.  It would be so helpful if  one dealer could identify the problem and have the parts ,  and be able to fix it.  Anyhow, the last place diagnosed it as the compressor for the horn needed to be replaced.  Being late in the day he could not get it overnighted for Friday [here's Winston to take over]

   We stayed at a nice campground Wednesday evening on the southside of Minneapolis and the next morning (yesterday) spent a few hours at the Mall of America. Interesting to say the least.
However, I get my fill of Malls and  shopping rather quickly. So it was on up I-94 toward ND. Lynda's paragraph above happened along the way. And as you might suspect, I am a driver who from time to time has need of a horn. Will try to get it repaired soon. I really didn't figure repairs in the budget. Will have to cut back a little somewhere.

   Big news today; Sweet Lynda  finally got behind the wheel of the motorcoach. About ten miles the first time and another 35 or so later. Had to pry her fingers from the wheel. She loves it. As for me, I'm a nervous wreck.

   Rolled through some lovely farmland today. Early in Minnesota, then about a hundred miles worth of southeast ND. Stopped for breakfast at the Hot Cakes cafe. Old barns and out-buildings long neglected and rusting machinery the same way dotted the landscape. Some of those structures were obviously very nice at one time. Farmers were planting in fields that were dry enough. Drove into  South Dakota from the north, then west on I-90. We are camped at Wall for the next two nights. Tomorrow, the Badlands, Wounded Knee Museum and more of Wall drugstore.  Ended the day awhile ago with a sundae from the local Dairy Queen. Wish you were here to share in the festivities.  

   Talked today on the phone to Evans, Everett & Cathy, Barb, Sherry and maybe another one or two I can't remember at the moment. At the moment it is raining hard upon the roof of this home on wheels but my lovely wife and I are warm, happy and content within these walls. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.     

Until next time...love and blessings to all,                                

Winston  E. & Lynda T....on the road...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Indiana: ...Heading west

   We are supposedly on a vacation of sorts but today was very busy. After hanging out at Flying J near Stony Ridge last night we discovered about 5 am that  the generator would not start, the interior lights were dim and the air horn only operated on one "lung."  We headed over the Indiana east-west toll road, stopped for coffee and ended up at White Pigeon, just over the line in Michigan.  After doing maintenance on the leveling jacks, the technician "suggested" that the coach batteries were probably shot.
   Michiana RV was nearby on the north side of Elkhart.  In an earlier phone call  they said, "bring it on b y."  They quickly confirmed that the batteries needed to be replaced. That done, along with a new slideout switch and we were on  our way, relieved of a few hundred dollars of our sacred traveling funds.
   We are parked at the Elkhart campground.  The "techie" came by and replaced the slideout switch a second time because the slide was only half extended and wouldn't move.  "These are the times that try senior saints souls."
   After a brief nap and it was off to see the RV/MH museum a few miles away. These folks have gone way out of their way to build a first class facility with plenty of room for future expansion. We were impressed.
   We hooked up with Fred and Barb Paulus in Goshen for supper. They are a part of the Ohio camping club and absolutely delightful folks. We all enjoyed top-notch barbecue together followed by a little ice cream.  Talked so long we missed most of the "Dancing with the  stars"episode.  Tragedy!!!
   Tomorrow we intend to roll through downtown Chicago and on up to Elkhorn, Wisconsin to spend an evening with Gary and Harriette, friends we met at Pioneer Village in Ft. Myers, FL.
   This is our first shot at doing anything like a blog. Be patient with us. Don't know exactly how often we will update this.  Will just have to see how it goes.
   Just one more thing. It was wonderful to see the folks at Greensburg Church yesterday. You're the best. The pie was good too, Wilma.

More later...love to all,

Winston and Lynda