About Me

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Our names are John and Cathryn.  We live in Kalispell, Montana and recently came back from a year long RV trip together around this beautiful country.  We traveled over 31,000 miles and drove through over 35 states.  It was an adventure to remember and one that sealed a friendship between us that began twenty one months ago that we hope will last the rest of our lives.  As we adjust to living together in our home in this beautiful part of Montana, we are happy, content and enjoying life one day at a time to the fullest!  Life is good!

Friday, October 11, 2013

MY SUMMER WORKAMPER ADVENTURE ENDS

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The end of Summer came quickly in the far north mountains of Montana.  There is fresh snow on the mountains now and the air is cold and crisp in the forties. 


You are looking at the sun, rain and snow competing for space and heading my way!






Yesterday was my last work day and Bob and Diane had me over, along with their friend Marty, for drinks and snacks last night.
We had a great time and it was difficult seeing it end.  Everyone here have been very nice to me and treated me like family this past four months, which has made my new unwanted lifestyle a little easier to adjust to.  I will miss our daily talks and laughs but I will come back here again just to enjoy their company soon.  I hope we will keep in touch.

Marty wants me to come back next summer so we can go out for beer and pizza in Whitefish.  I think he is planning to fix me up with someone or at least present the opportunity.  Maybe by next summer I will be open to that suggestion……not just yet, if ever.

Bears!  Finally I see bears!

Today Dexter and I rode up to Many Glacier to try and see a bear before we leave.   We saw five!!  They were all black bears and pretty far up the hillside but viewable.  I also saw a bunch of mountain goats on the high perches of the mountain side.  I may not have met my Grizzly face on but this was good enough.  Next time  I come back to visit I plan to take some hikes I didn’t take this summer and go fishing  so I will have another chance.  After seeing these big boys, I will just keep my bear spray for that time.





You have to squint but those are mountain goats up there on the hillside.
 Final farewells

Tony and Woody came back this afternoon to say good-by and Woody and I are going to breakfast before I leave in the morning.  Bob said he would come by before I leave too. I am really blessed to have met such nice people while here. 

Tomorrow I will drive to Lolo, Montana, about 250 miles down the road, to a state park where Lewis and Clark camped on their return to Missouri.  I think it will be interesting to see.  After that I will camp in a Forest Service campground for a few days and then head on over toward Washington and then Oregon.  I plan to stay in some neat areas and take my time going to Prineville, Oregon where I will visit with my friends, Don and Margie for a few days.

I will miss my little camp spot and view but not the res dogs!

Ready to roll and the weather is perfect for my road trip.
 Lolo, Montana and the Lewis and Clark Trail

I made it to Lolo but my information was wrong about there being an RV park or campground here.  The place where Lewis and Clark made camp is a day use area right in town.  I continued up Hwy 12 looking for a forest service campground and found one about forty mile up the road.  It was a real nice campground and only cost $5 so I stayed overnight.

Hwy 12 going from Lolo, Montana to Lewiston, Idaho is the direct route taken by Lewis and Clark on their way to and from the West Coast of Oregon.  By all accounts on the information boards along this road, this route was one of the roughest ones for them due to the steepness of the mountain sides and the bad weather. 















The Native Americans of the Nez Perce tribe and other tribes and bands, led by Chief  Joseph, one of the greatest Indian Chiefs of all time, took this same trail when they fled from their lands in Southwest Idaho and Northeast Oregon.  They were being pursued by a Calvary General named Nelson who had orders to capture them and take them to a reservation in Oklahoma.  Mostly on foot and with women and children, they made it to within 40 miles of the Canadian border before they were captured and many on both sides died in the ensuing battles.  It is a sad chapter in our American history and not one to be proud of.

Truck vs Deer

I am just rolling along Hwy 12 almost to Lewiston, Idaho at 45 mph when this monster buck deer came running across the road at an angle towards me!  I hit my brakes but I also hit the deer and he was a big one. Some good old local boys stopped and shot the deer and removed him from the road and said they would call Fish and Game. Sure they did.  It could have been worse so no complaints.



Back home in Oregon for awhile

I finally got through the beautiful but desolate and vast wheatfields of Eastern Washington and headed south from the Dalles on Hwy 97 into my beloved Oregon.  It really felt good to be back in Oregon for some reason....maybe because it's been a whole year.  I just feel at home when I come back.

Mt. Hood in the distance....beautiful.
I stopped in a beautiful new isolated state park called Cottonwood Canyon.  I stayed for two nights and took some hikes and it was real peaceful.  I plan to come back here and fish for Steelhead some year.  I then drove the back roads into the small town of Fossil, aptly named because of all the fossils in the area.




Country courthouse in Fossil, Oregon

50 MYA stands for fifty million years ago.

I had to climb a pretty steep trail to see all the fossils on the rocks on this hillside.



Prineville, Oregon

When I was in Rockport, Texas I met a bunch of really nice folks at the RV park.  One couple was Don and Margie from Atlanta, Georgia.  They had been on the road about six years and were planning a trip to the coast of Oregon after spending the winter in Texas.  Well, long story short, they came to Central Oregon at my advice and loved it so much they bought a home and sold their RV. I spent a few days with them and enjoyed Don's good cooking and their warm hospitality.

They sure did get a great view, comfortable house and nine acres....all for $125K.  Not bad.  I need to do the same in a few years but I still have too many places on my bucket list to stop now.  

180 degree southern view.

I could get used to looking at this view.  And in the evening the mule deer come to visit.  And elks bugle in the distance.

Sorry for such a long post.  On to Portland to visit with the family for a month.  I wish the Central Oregon winters were warmer....I would stay for awhile.  I will be back again.














Monday, September 23, 2013

FINAL DRIVE THROUGH GLACIER NATIONAL PARK


Going To The Sun Road to Logan Pass

Last Thursday I had to go into Kalispel to stock up before my trip to Oregon this Friday…a week later.  I decided to drive back to East Glacier through the park on the famous Going To The Sun Road over Logan Pass.  The road was constructed in 1932.

I had been across this road ten years ago when Pati and I took an RV trip up here and again a few months or so back when I went across to the west and on up toward Canada to the tiny town of Polebridge.  They are closing the road for the season in a few days so I did the drive, which is not for the faint-hearted.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  I just wish I could have seen a Grizzly!

There is about a thousand foot drop a few feet from the road barrier.



Notice the waterfall at about eight o'clock.
  

You can see the road I came over along the mountain side.

That's the road again.


Goose Island when I was almost through the park....very pretty.

Self explanatory but amazing.  This is  the only place in the US that three rivers are fed by the snowmelt and rain.



Triple Divide Peak as I was looking at it.

After leaving Glacier, I was approaching the town of Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and that is the Harvest Moon rising in the East with the sunset reflected above it.
 It has been a very busy and interesting Summer here and one I won't forget soon.  Keeping busy and responsible helped me have the strength to continue forward on my new life journey without Pati.  I feel good and lost twelve pounds and a bunch of inches.  I will definitely come back some year soon to visit with the wonderful friends I made while working and being here.  

Thanks Bob, Diane, Marty, Tony and, especially Woody, for making me feel so welcome.  I wish you all Happy Trails and good health.  




Friday, September 13, 2013

WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK, ALBERTA, CANADA



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Well I finally got my passport card and headed for the north end of Glacier in Canada.  It is about 90 miles from East Glacier where I am staying.  I didn’t have any problem going through customs into Canada but I did leave Dexter at home just in case.  I did have a little issue coming back into the US.  The custom's agent saw a deer rack in the back seat of the truck and got a little upset with me claiming I cannot transport animal parts across international borders. 

Excuse my attitude and language but I think he is full of crap and was just jerking me around.  Hunters and fishermen do that all the time!  Anyway....I had the deer rack because my friend up here, Bob, gave it to me so I can mount it in my trailer.  It will look real nice.  The young smart ass agent said it didn't sound like I was lying but he could sure make it a bad day for me if he wanted to.  I don't care for people with big egos, especially people of authority.  Had he looked for weapons or illegal immigrants under the cover of my truck bed, as I expected him to, he would have found two other deer racks....but he didn't even look.  Not so good border security in my opinion.

Waterton is a very pretty area and I have some pictures of the boat ride I took on Waterton Lake.  Unfortunately, my nice new expensive Cannon EOS camera let me down again.  I was driving up a canyon known for the wildlife viewing and saw a bunch of folks looking over the side so I stopped.  There was a big black bear swimming in the creek below us.  I got some great shots and continued on through the canyon looking for moose and bear.  The next time I tried to take a picture the camera card was not accessible so the camera would not work.  The screen told me to format the card, which is what happened before when I had pictures of the mountain goats on it. 

Since I had other pictures on it I decided to not use it and try to recover the pictures by downloading them to my computer when I got back home.  That didn’t work either so I lost the pictures of the bear and some great shots of three loose horses running free through the neighborhood and my  front yard where I am staying.  First it was dogs and now it is horses…….can’t wait for the cows and buffalo's and wild pigs!

Anyway, I had tickets for the boat ride so I took my little Nikon Coolpix.  I got some nice pictures but missed my chance to capture a bald eagle in its nest at the top of a tree because it was bright and difficult to see on the screen what I was shooting.  We didn’t see any other wildlife on the boat ride.

When I got home and was trying to recover the bad card’s pictures I discovered I could have switched the two camera’s cards and used my Cannon on the boat ride.  Live and learn.  I am going to buy two new cards and carry a spare so I don’t have this problem again.  

Here are some pictures of the area.  Been there….done that….not going back.  It is no better than down here and the cost of everything is very high.  I had a tall beer and some chicken wings after the ride at a local place in the village and it cost me $35.00 Canadian….not sure of the exchange rate but that is a little over my budget for lunch!


Prince of Wales Hotel.  The winds actually knocked this hotel off it's foundation a few times.

Our group disembarking the boat at Goat Haunt for a look around and break.

Upper Waterton Lake view from Goat Haunt

We were on the Canadian side but one can hike a trail to Goat Haunt and has to pass Customs.

This could be the most boring customs job in the world!  Those are custom agents sitting there checking hikers in and out of the two countries.

Very interesting rock formations along the shore line.



Looking toward the customs station from the  boat dock.
I only have two more weeks here so this will be my last blog for awhile.  I intend to find a very quiet and secluded forest service campsite somewhere in Idaho on my way to Washington and Oregon and just hang out and decompress for a few days.  My ears are ringing from all the noise around here or maybe I'm just getting old!

From there I am heading to Prineville, Oregon for a short visit with my new friends I met in Rockport, Texas (actually they are from Georgia), Don and Margie, at their new home.  They bought a home on nine acres near Prineville and I can't wait to see it.  That's an area I am considering for a small home or cabin someday.  I will tell you all about that later.  From there I go to Portland and hang out with my family for a few months.   

Happy Trails......

Sunday, September 8, 2013

THREE MORE WEEKS AND OREGON OR BUST!

SUMMER AND MONTANA ARE BOTH COMING TO AN END FAST!

FIVE FOR FIGHTING – “I JUST LOVE YOU”

Have you ever heard the song, “I Just Love You” by the group Five For Fighting?    That song is one of my favorites because it always reminds me of the days when I had to travel for work and be away from home and family.  At the time it was what I thought had to be done.  Now….looking back, and knowing I can never get those days and nights and moments and events and memories back, it was not a good use of my time.

Pati used to always slip little notes in my suitcase and my pockets before I left on a business trip and I would find them while on the road.  Little love notes.  I loved those notes.  My boss, Jim Goss, and I traveled together now and then and he thought I was the luckiest guy in the world to be married to Pati.  I knew that then and now.  I wish now I had kept those precious notes but I do have the memories forever.  It’s like this song was written for us.  I always remember Pati asking on the phone when we talked, when I was coming home.  

It sure is easy to get caught up in the busy work or business world we live in and end up giving more of our time to our job than our family.  If I had it all to do over again, I would never take a job that required me to travel away from home and my family.   Those missed moments and missed events can never be repeated and are lost forever.  It is a selfish act.  Actually the moments and events are not really known except to the kid who missed his Dad or Mom being there for that special time or your wife or husband handling issues that should be shared together.  Kids grow up too fast to miss their childhood.

What’s done is done but if I had that “do over” I spoke of recently, along with replacing Pati in Heaven, not being there for her when I should have been would be on my list of things not to do.

MANY GLACIER TREK LOOKING FOR BEARS

Dexter and I drove up to Many Glacier hoping to see a bear last Friday but no such luck.  The park was very crowded and I couldn’t even find a place to park so I think I will wait until after the Labor Day weekend to go back and take a hike.  The locals say crowds will reduce very much after that and it will be much easier to park and hike.

Until then I am going to spend some of my off time waxing my trailer and the truck before I leave here.  Once I get to Oregon it will be too cold or too rainy to do anything like that and I need to protect it from the winter gloom.   

Today my friend, Tony, came by to say hello and show me his new (old) car he just bought.  It is a 1934 Studebaker, the same one Bonnie and Clyde used when they did their bad stuff.  It is all original and Tony doesn't want to restore it....just enjoy it.  



Tony and his car.
 Today is Monday, dump day, and I was shocked when I opened the dump valve and “stinky stuff” started squirting out of the older waste hose at various places.  I had planned to replace it but had not gotten around to doing that and it was a little bit of a mess.  I got through it and cleaned up but I have to go to Kalispel this Thursday and buy a new hose.  I have a new one but it takes two hoses to reach the dump pipe so I need to get me a 10 foot hose for when this issue occurs.

The local kids had been playing around my place and I noticed they had stomped on the hose so it was going to break and it did.  One of the locals stopped one day  and introduced himself and told me he had chased the kid off.  I wish he could chase the dogs off!  This is an experience I will not soon forget.

Speaking of experiences, last night I went to bed at around 9pm.  I always leave my canopy out about four or five feet to keep the dew or rain off the chairs.  Well, it started blowing and I knew I was in trouble if I didn’t bring in the canopy.  I went out and put it in and put my little grill stove down under a table and made sure all was secure.  It’s a good thing I did that because it started blowing like I haven’t seen since I was down in Texas!   My trailer was rocking and rolling and I was getting a little concerned but it eventually slacked off and a little rain fell and that was it.  Pretty scary.   I don’t like high winds!

They tell me the winds can get up to 100mph around here in the winter and I think this is just a little sample of what’s to come.  Add to that up to six feet of snow and down to thirty below zero.  I sure don’t plan to be here then.   I just hope I can get away before a big snow storm in September.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I had to drive to Kalispel yesterday to buy a new sewer hose.  I decided, since I got my work done quickly, to drive over and get things done.  All went well and I did get the hose plus some other items I needed etc.  It was about 85 degrees in  Kalispel and I always feel bad leaving Dexter in the truck although I leave all the windows cracked about three inches and put the sun visor up and leave him water and rush to get my shopping done.  Anyway I found a little 12v fan in WalMart that fits in the cup holder and plugs in the lighter socket and works like a charm to keep the air cool and circulating.  That pretty much solves my problem and Dexter is a happy guy although he wasn’t complaining at all.  He was just glad to be with me.

So….today I cleaned up everything and put on my new sewer hose and we are in good shape for a few years as long as no more kids play hop scotch on my hoses.  On my way home from Kalispel I stopped and picked up a Huckleberry pie at a resort called Glacier Haven.  It is known locally that they make the best pie around.  It is a small cafe and cabins and RV campground in the middle of nowhere about half way to Kalispel and Bob and Diane are friends with the owners and refer business to them.  Anyway the pie is a thank you gift and we are going to partake in it this evening, with ice cream if Bob didn’t eat all of it.  I am looking forward to seeing if Huckleberry pie is better than Marionberry pie.  I will give a report later.

It rained today and rumbled and was nice and cool and enjoyable for a change.  It has passed now so tomorrow I think I will leave Dexter at home and go for a real hike at Two Medicine.  I would like to go to Many Glacier but it is still too crowded so that will wait until after Labor Day.

This Saturday I was invited to a Brisket and Biscuit get together at the Spiral Spoon, a local shop that sells hand made spoons.  (Good idea for Christmas presents!)  Charlie and his family own the business and I met them early on when I first got here.  Charlie is from Texas and likes his brisket.  I was told he used to put on a big invite every month for anyone that wanted to come but the folks around here would not bring anything like beer or booze to help off-set his costs so he stopped doing it.  Now he does it, but only by invitation and I was lucky enough to get invited.  I will let you know how that went too.  I may want to come back some year for his little event so I intend to take a twelve pack with me…..ice cold.

He is doing this for a special reason.  Four horseback riders are coming through town this weekend and they are doing a documentary about riding through the Rocky Mountains and back country from Mexico to Canada on some wild mustangs they broke.  It is interesting and it looks like they are having a pretty good time.  Anyway, Charlie is doing this in their honor and to support their adventure.  You can follow their adventure at this link:


I AM READY FOR FLY FISHING

I had the last two days off and it was a little rainy and overcast so I decided to get some things done I had been putting off.  I finished waxing the side of the trailer so now I am half done with it.  I also took all my fishing gear out of the truck and inventoried it and cleaned it and got familiar with it again.  I made myself a little fake fly out of yarn for practice purposes.

Now, I may never catch a fish, but I am a natural at putting that fly and line where I want it.  I could not believe how easy it was.  I was so intimidated by it that I had not even practiced but once I started, it is a piece of cake.  I know there is a lot more to fly fishing than throwing the line out and putting the fly where you want it but that is a big part of this thing.  I have been reading the Fly Fisherman’s Bible (I need to spend some time on the real Bible too) and I am catching on, at least in theory with both Bibles.

I am going to practice my casting this week and I am going to put the hook in the water at Two Medicine Lake next Thursday or Friday or both.  Dexter and I drove up to the lake on Friday and checked out some places to fish from the shore.  I think I can find a place, if the weather holds, to practice with a real fly in the water. 

I recently bought me two Copper John fly’s and I am going to use them.  I got the idea from a beer bottle!  If you look closely at the picture of my empty Cooper John Scottish Ale bottle, you will see a picture of a fly on the neck and a fish being caught on the label. That's the fly I bought.  The beer is really good too.  The beer is made in Montana and the fly is made in England.





I got to thinking about this thing….fly fishing…..and making fly’s during the winter in my rig could be a good use of my time and keep me from going stir crazy.  I will have to get some basic equipment and supplies but I have to start somewhere.  That’s a plan.  Maybe I can name my fly’s after me, Pati and the boys and the grandkids.  I will work on names later but this is a good plan and I intend to take it forward so you will be hearing more as time goes by.

My first plan is to catch a fish with someone else’s fly.  Who knows….maybe I can sell my fly’s on line and pay for my gas and space rent.  Or…better yet, start a business and advertise on the back of my trailer and sell my fly’s where ever I go or at RV shows and write this whole “running around the country”  life style off.  What a deal.  I may be onto something.  Now all I have to do is learn how to make creative fly’s!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Huckleberry pie was very good but no better than Marionberry or Razzleberry.  At least now I know what it tastes like.  Those bears that eat the berries really have to work hard because those berries are pretty small…kind of like blueberries.

Bob and I went to Charlie’s Brisket thing Saturday night.  Bob dropped me off and went back home to celebrate his daughter in law’s birthday.  His son and family were here visiting for the holiday weekend. 

Anyway, I felt out of place for sure since all the invitees were local folks that knew each other.  Don’t get me wrong; they were all nice enough but I just felt like I didn’t belong plus I didn’t have Pati there with me to make it feel right.  I don’t think I will ever like going to events or anywhere again without Pati.

Charlie put out a very nice spread and I got my fill for sure.  The evening turned real cool and I was sitting outside with Charlie’s daughter, Amber. and a nice little 10 year old girl named Katie so I was glad when Bob came back and we decided to leave for home.


Bob, Amber and Katy.  Bob is a real Montana cowboy and Amber is from Texas but has a great tan.  Little Katy is local.

I got home around 9:30 and decided to just go to bed.  A while later, I thought I was dreaming but I wasn’t.  I was hearing the sound of someone beating a tom-tom and chanting Indian chants and yells.  It was very Native American but it was the middle of the night!  Add to that noise the sound of the coyotes yelping and the dogs barking and the trains going by every ten minutes and the truckers coming down the hill into town with their jake brake noise and it was louder than Grand Central Station.  I am certainly not going to miss the noise around here.  It is a beautiful place (the area, not the town) but the noise is more than I can tolerate for much longer….especially the dogs barking all night and day. Speaking of res dogs, here is a sample of a few I caught on camera.
They're everywhere!








I am not going to publish this yet just in case the weather allows me to go fishing this Thursday or Friday.  If I am lucky enough to catch a fish, I don’t want to miss the chance to show off….regardless of size. 

A Reel Fish(ing) Story!

Saturday, Sept 7, 2013

Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed.  Thursday I had everything inventoried and prepped and ready to go fishing so I got up early and I was at Two Medicine Lake before 8am.  Here is what it looked like….mirror perfect….great day to go fishing.

Two Medicine Lake.  Very beautiful and peaceful. Notice the mirror image.
I decided to start my fly fishing experience from the shore of the lake and go from there.  I was able to pull some line out and start my casting as I had practiced.  All went pretty well but the line was difficult to pull from the reel so I tried winding the line back in.  This reel I am speaking of was given to me by my friend Rick in  Texas and it is very old.   However, it worked perfectly while I was practicing outside my trailer.

Anyway, the reel froze up and would not bring the line back in.  I gathered everything up and tried all I could to free it but no luck.  So….I gave up and drove back to the trailer and picked up Dexter and headed for Kalispel….85 miles away to buy myself a new reel so I could go fishing.

When I got to Kalispel, I decided to treat myself to a Five Guys cheeseburger.  While sitting in the parking lot with Dexter, feeding him most of the fries, I noticed a Verizon store close by.  My internet had gone out the previous day and I figured it was a cell tower or something so I decided to drop in and ask what the deal was.  It was a good thing I stopped at the store because they told me my phone was locked by corporate fraud division because someone in Florida was using my cell phone number to call someone in Cuba.  I had been hacked!

The bad deal was no one called me and informed me of the issue.  The fraud department said that should have happened but I got missed somehow.  Anyway, I got it all squared away without too much of a problem and they will credit he charges.  Isn’t is funny how things happen….had I not had a reel problem and drove to Kalispel to buy a new one, I would have had to come back to Kalispel again to resolve the phone problem. 

It all worked out….to the tune of some stress, fifty dollars in gas and another sixty for the new reel and thirty dollars for a peculator coffee pot so I can have coffee when boondocking.  I am spending way more than I make and it is going to catch up with me someday.

So……I got home too late to try any fishing so I went over to Bob and Diane’s with my new bottle of Buffalo Trace Kentucky whiskey and we had a few.  Then I  was too nimble fingered to transfer my line from the old reel to the new reel so I went to bed. 

A storm came in during the night and it rained and boomed so it was not going to be a good fishing day the next day.  I got up and got my new reel ready in case of a break in the storm but no such luck.  It rained all day Friday.

Friday night it rained more….and more…..and the sound of the rain on the roof of this trailer is magnified and loud and I did not sleep well at all.  Today is Saturday and it is still raining and dark and cold.  It didn’t get more than mid fifties today.  I think it will clear up soon and maybe I will still get in my fishing attempt with my new reel. 

In addition to fishing, I want to go to Waterton Lake in Canada and take the boat cruise to Goat Haunt since I finally got my passport.  It is rumored that is a very nice cruise and I have the option of taking a pretty neat hike half way there…maybe not but we will see.  The brochure shows that bears and moose are viewable from the boat if I am lucky.

And this is what I hope to catch before I leave Montana…..it is a catch and release Bullhead trout but I couldn’t eat that much fish in a year if I was lucky enough to catch it!   As my friend Jeff said....OMG, don't go fishing, that fish can eat you!

1-north_idaho_bull_trout