Category Archives: Travel

Montana

The last day of July I headed to Kalispell, Montana to join my daughter, her boyfriend and his parents for a vacation. I was super excited and looked forward to using my new full frame camera.

My flight was delayed resulting in my missing my connecting flight in Denver so I spent the night there and completed my journey to Kalispell the next morning.

After unpacking, we hiked the Avalanche Trail the afternoon I arrived.

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The next day, Tuesday, we hiked Piegan Pass.

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Surprisingly after 2 days of hiking only my feet were sore.

Wednesday it was 60 degrees and raining so we changed plans and toured the Conrad Mansion Museum.  Charles E. Conrad and his brother William established a shipping and freighting empire in Fort Benton, Montana Territory that eventually became the most important transportation center in Montana.  When Charles moved to Kalispell he had an impressive 13,000 square foot home built.

Thursday we drove around Flathead Lake admiring all the beauty. Then I headed back home.

Woody Fest

In Okemah there is an Woody Guthrie festival and we attended the 19th annual this year and shared a campsite with one of Keith’s high school alums.  We saw a huge tree next to a park.  Wonder what stories it could share with us!

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We found a great spot in a cool air conditioned spot in the Brick Street building and listened for several hours as folk singers performed.  Keith bought CDs of these two artists.

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Wink Burcham

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John Calvin Abney

Then we attended an evening concert as well.  Thankfully, the sun was going down and so was the temperature.

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This is a festival we think we’d enjoy attending again.

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Red Rock

We enjoyed an extended weekend of camping in Red Rock Canyon.  This is the area where Keith’s great grandfather C.E. Garee found the Caddo Maple tree as he explained in his account:

History of Caddo Maple (Acer saccharum – Sugar Maple) Hard Maple About the late twenties I found in some canyons in Caddo County, some acer saccharum (sugar maple) that did not turn brown in August, but held the sap in the leaves so they could turn brilliant red and yellow at the approach of frost. I soon began selling a few of them, but cannot trace any of them now, except one. About the mid-thirties, Howard Jenson and I spent a Saturday in one of the canyons. Howard was head of the O.U. Landscape Dept. While I was getting small seedlings to plant in the nursery for later sale, he spent the day searching out and digging larger trees to plant on the campus. If you want to see any of the 16 trees resulting from that day’s work, drive over the campus on the approach of frost. You will not need to have them pointed out. Every one will show itself.

Recently, Robert Rucker, head of the Landscape Dept. and his foreman, Joe Peters (now deceased) have planted a lot of them and have grown a small nursery of them near the south edge of the grounds.

I have dubbed it “Caddo Maple” to distinguish it from hard maple from any other source, which up to now, have never failed to brown and lose their beauty in August. — C.E. Garee, Ed Garee’s Stories, page 13

Interestingly, the canyon is the only remaining site of native Caddo maple trees.  I think it’s fascinating to retrace the steps of our ancestors.

This canyon area was a stop on the California Road and there are wagon wheel ruts still visible.

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We enjoyed visiting a local museum, walking around the canyon, a relaxing campsite and hotdogs cooked on the outdoor grill.

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The entrance/exit is quite steep and winding road and our truck did a great job pulling our trailer.

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Wild West in Pawnee

When we heard about the Pawnee Bill Original Wild West Show happening this weekend at the Pawnee Bill Ranch we decided to take our RV to Pawnee Lake for the weekend and see the show.  There was plenty to see and do for 2 days was a wonderful experience.

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From the observation tower

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Pawnee Bathhouse and Waterpark

A few pictures from the Pawnee Bill Original Wild West Show.  We had seats that were close enough to be hit by the clods of dirt during the chariot racing.

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The show ended with fireworks.

The next day we enjoyed time at our campsite looking at the lake with a friendly dog.

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Water’s Edge

Oklahoma has more than 200 lakes created by dams, which is more than any other state in the United States.  So, we have plenty of lakes to choose from and this weekend we went to Lake Murray with my Dad and step mother.  Our campsites were very close to the water’s edge and here you can see their trailer is in the foreground and ours is in the background.

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This was our first camping together and I hope we have many more opportunities.  2016-05-13-08

Saturday morning was very windy and chilly so we stayed inside and played cards most of the morning but by late afternoon it was a nice day.

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The sunset was gorgeous!

Mother’s Day weekend

For the second weekend in a row we went camping near Stillwater but this time we stayed at Lake Carl Blackwell, which was quite pretty.  My mother’s day weekend included time with my kids, receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers and special dark chocolate candy.  My daughter and I worked on her flowerbed, it’s her first one ever.

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That evening we had a nice meal and played dominoes as we watched the sunset.

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photo by Keith

Breezy and Cool

For our first away from home camping in our RV we went to Lake McMurtry, which is near Stillwater where our daughter lives.  2016-04-30-10

We had a very shady campsite and Saturday, Keith and I enjoyed basking in the sun with a gentle cool breeze.

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On our drive into town there we several turkeys and I managed to snap a pic of one darting across the road.

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Note: The same day we bought our RV my brother and sister-in-law shared that they are expecting a baby girl in September!

It’s a Cougar

Over the past few years we’ve been toying with the idea of getting an RV.  We borrowed my step-father’s motor coach after Thanksgiving 2013 and enjoyed a few days of RV camping.  This past fall we rented a 25′ RV for two weeks to sightsee and experience a different type of RV.

In March we went to the RV show at the fairgrounds and learned a lot.  We’ve done a bit of RV shopping for new & used and over the past several months Keith’s been researching and asking lots of questions of others who have an RV.  Then last weekend we rented a bumper pull type trailer to try yet another type of RV.

Now that we sold our boat and have been doing lots of researching we are ready to get serious about purchasing an RV.  Yesterday morning Keith noticed that there was an RV for sell that seemed pretty close to all the features and price we are looking for so we made a small road trip to Enid to see it. We looked the RV over pretty thoroughly then decided to sit down and discuss it over a nice cup of coffee at a local cafe.

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We loved the coffee and decided we love the RV.  We agreed upon a price and will pick it up later this week.

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Sitting behind our truck, here’s the 2013 Keystone Cougar Xlite 25′ RET that will soon join our family.

Weekend rental

We rented a bumper pull trailer to test out our truck’s limit to tow and did a bit of sightseeing at Lake Ouachita, Arkansas.

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We arrived late on the first evening and didn’t have a site that had full hookups so the next day we moved to a different site. The lake was steps away at both sites.

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My favorite camera lens stopped working properly right after I took this photo so the rest of my photos for the weekend were taken at a ridiculously high ISO or with my cell phone.  Guess I’ll need to see if it can be repaired or buy a replacement lens.

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Along the drive to our second campsite was this old railroad track.

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Our journey this weekend had some interesting twists and turns that overall helped us feel more comfortable about a decision to purchase a trailer.  Who knows what’s around the corner for us!

Fall Road Trip

We signed up to use Tripcast, which “lets you share your travel photos with the people who want to see everything, not just the highlights.”  We’ve really enjoyed using it and highly recommend it.  For the purpose of this blog I’ll just post a few photos from our trip.

We flew to Seattle where we rented an RV for 2 weeks.  We headed toward Pasco, Washington to meet up with some friends.

We enjoyed a private tour on this 55' boat on the Columbia river. We went through the locks at Ice Harbor bay, which was a fascinating experience on a gorgeous day.

We enjoyed a private tour on this 55′ boat on the Columbia river. We went through the locks at Ice Harbor bay, which was a fascinating experience on a gorgeous day.

Next we ventured on toward Spokane and stayed at Coeur D’Alene Lake, which was quite lovely.

I was taking a photo of Keith sitting in the chair facing the water when a woman in the RV park came up to me and said it was no good taking a picture of just one of us and that if I'd set my camera up she'd just push the button. I said sure and told her it was our 26th wedding anniversary and then she began telling us what to do for the photos by saying things like "look at her", "hold hands", "turn around" while she snapped several photos. She was a hoot.

I was taking a photo of Keith sitting in the chair facing the water when a woman in the RV park came up to me and said it was no good taking a picture of just one of us and that if I’d set my camera up she’d just push the button. I said sure and told her it was our 26th wedding anniversary and then she began telling us what to do for the photos by saying things like “look at her”, “hold hands”, “turn around” while she snapped several photos. She was a hoot.

The next day we drove to Missoula, Montana and I got to spend time with Carol, who was a good friend when we were in Junior High in 1973 & 74. The last time we saw one another we think was about 1985.  She and her husband graciously entertained us and we had a wonderful time.

McDonald Lake at Glacier National Park

McDonald Lake at Glacier National Park in Montana.

We had intentions of touring around Glacier National Park but most everything of interest was already closed so we headed on to Yellowstone where we spent two days then visited Cody, Wyoming and another day at Yellowstone.  I have a ton of photos that are scenic as well as of wildlife.

The bison were pretty much everywhere and we were able to get pretty close to them.

The bison were pretty much everywhere in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and we were able to get pretty close to them.

Deer that just crossed the road near the east entrance to Yellowstone.

Deer that just crossed the road near the east entrance to Yellowstone.

Driving through Yellowstone National Park there was a mama grizzly bear and her cub beside the road. I had a pretty good view and as they were walking by the posts they each stopped to scratch their backs.

Driving through Yellowstone National Park there was a mama grizzly bear and her cub beside the road. I had a pretty good view and as they were walking by the posts they each stopped to scratch their backs.

After Yellowstone we headed for the Grand Tetons.

As the couple in the canoe paddled by Keith called out and thanked them for helping make our photo opp complete. –at Jenny Lake in Grand Tetons still in Wyoming.

We enjoyed roasted marshmallows (actually Swirlmallows caramel & vanilla) over an open fire.

We enjoyed roasted marshmallows (actually Swirlmallows caramel & vanilla) over an open fire in Montpelier, Idaho.

The National Oregon/California Trail Center in Montpelier had a simulated adventure along the old Oregon trail that we did. It was entertaining and educational.

The National Oregon/California Trail Center in Montpelier had a simulated adventure along the old Oregon trail that we did. It was entertaining and educational.

Google maps said we could take a 16 minute longer way to Garden City. Thinking it would be more scenic we opted for it but little did we know we'd be on an I paved road. It brings new meaning to shake rattle and roll when you're in an RV. On the way back we took the quicker route.

Google maps said we could take a 16 minute longer way to Garden City. Thinking it would be more scenic we opted for it but little did we know we’d be on an I paved road. It brings new meaning to shake rattle and roll when you’re in an RV. On the way back we took the quicker route.

Saturday morning we headed for Salt Lake City, Utah.

Spent an afternoon at Park City and enjoyed the Alpine slide and coaster. Pure fun!

Spent an afternoon at Park City and enjoyed the Alpine slide and coaster. Pure fun!

Monday we returned the RV in Salt Lake City and flew back home.  It was a grand trip with friends, fun, food and freedom from work.