Monday, June 17, 2013



Saturday, June 15, 2013

After over 3000 miles I finally arrived at East Glacier Park, Montana on Monday, June 10th, where I will spend the next three and a half months Work-kamping.  But before I talk about what I will be doing I want to tell you about my trip getting here.

However, before I tell you about the trip coming here to Glacier, I have to pay big respects to my BFT, Big Ford Truck.  You may recall I traded in my Jeep for a big one ton Ford truck to pull my LTR (Little Travel Rig) while I was in Texas.  Well, that was the best money I ever spent, even if it was more money than I should have spent and I loved my Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland.  My BFT runs like a dream and pulls my LTR with no effort.  I am very pleased.

About the trip.....I had planned to travel north from the Dallas area through Oklahoma and Kansas and Nebraska but after the Moore, Oklahoma tornado I decided to play it safe and go west and then turn north.  It a wise choice on my part as numerous more tornados and violent weather occurred right where I had planned to travel.  

It was a pretty uneventful trip from Dallas to Hurricane, Utah where my brother Mac lives.  I do not normally do freeways but I ran I -40 most of the way right along with the eighteen wheelers and my truck did great.   We had a nice visit with Mac and Susan and their cat, Mo, for a few days before I headed north through Zion National Park toward Bryce Canyon National Park.  I had seen Zion on previous trips so I drove right through it. 


Bryce was an interesting park and had some really neat rock formations that are only visible in Bryce.  There is a place called Red Rock Canyon just before Bryce that I thought was just as nice and that is where I got this shot of the antelope.  I couldn't believe he didn't run.  I even had time to switch to my longer lens.

From Bryce I headed over the Grand Staircase (Escalante National scenic highway) towards Capital Reef National Park.  That portion of the trip was beautiful albeit a little draining due to the switchbacks and altitudes.  I was as high as 10,000 feet at times.  Here are some of the views I enjoyed.


My BFT and LTR.  They seem small in this vast area of the USA


Capitol Reef  National Park  is one of my favorites.  Pati and I came here in our big motor home about ten years ago.  I only stayed here for two nights and left early because I was having some battery problems on my travel trailer.  I noticed the lights dimming when I turned one on so got concerned I may not be able to put in the slide on the trailer or raise the electric jack, both of which are 12v.  I actually had to use my hand crank to get the trailer hooked up to the truck so I knew I had to do something soon and I was in the middle of nowhere. 

Here are some pictures of Capital Reef.  I took many pictures so these are a small sample of what you see should you visit. 

The original schoolhouse for the first Mormon settlers.

The Castle

I headed for the nearest big town to try to find some batteries for my LTR.  I had to drive all the way to Rock Springs, Wyoming before I found what I needed.  I had one 12v battery on the trailer but decided to put two 6v golf cart batteries on it hooked up in series so I could get more amps from them.  It was a costly thing but one I had to do if I plan to do any boon-docking in the future, and I do plan to do that. 

All is well now but thank goodness, and my brother Mac for helping me weld a generator rack on the back of my LTR, I was able to nurse the old battery to Rock Springs by charging them with the generator.  Here's how I did it.

I am lucky I have my generator available

Used the generator to charge the batteries with my little battery charger
My next energy saving thing to do is to replace all the incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs.  They pull a fraction of the amps and are much cooler and brighter.  Not cheap but a good investment.  If I decide to keep this trailer for a few years I may even invest in a large solar panel for the roof to keep those batteries charged and put in a battery management/monitoring system.  I can always transfer these investments to another trailer should I decide to get a 5th wheel so I can be more comfortable.   I think it will take me another year or so before I know if being on the road fulltime is going to work best for me so I don’t want to invest in too much yet.  I am still thinking about trying to buy a little cabin in Bend, Oregon and I can’t afford to have it both ways.


All fixed up with my new batteries I continued north through the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area on my way to Grand Teton National Park near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.   That area was really pretty.  The area coming into Jackson Hole from the south is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen.  Pati and I visited this area years back with Mac and Susan and had a wonderful time camping along a beautiful river and having a campfire…..great memories of times that can never be again.  If I could afford a cabin in that area I would move there and live until I was too old to be alone or they carried Pati and me out together in the same box.

I really enjoyed staying at Grand Tetons.  I stayed in a NPS campground just as you enter the park from the south.  It was a good choice because the first morning I got up and noticed a few people gathered about 100 yards behind my LTR where the river ran through.  I grabbed my camera and joined them and we were treated to a rare view of a mother Moose and twin calves.  This is a very delicate issue as I read that mother Moose’s can be as mean and dangerous as a Grizzly bear if they think their calves’ are threatened.  We kept our distance and I got some great shots….check them out.

My best buddy Dexter waiting patiently for me to come back.


After spending two nights in Teton I headed out the north gate and directly into Yellowstone.  I drove about half way through the park and stopped at a NPS campground again.  This campground was very full of campers so not as quiet and peaceful as it was at Teton.  It is a much bigger park and takes a lot of time and miles to see things.  Dexter and I spent two days driving it and saw some very interesting places and a few weird Buffalos!  Check it out.

Mud Vocano

I was impressed with this guy's size....very big.

Thousands of Bison

Fort Yellowstone at the North Entrance - now used as Park Headquarters

This place could blow at any moment!

Elk....not stranded.  I watched her walk out there and back.

This guy thought he owned the road!

This is another big buffalo that just meandered down the middle of the road.


After leaving Yellowstone I went to a town called Bozeman, Montana.  I stopped and called an old Oregon friend’s sister and husband, Peggy and John, to say hello.  We had met a few times over the years when they were visiting in Oregon and we lived across the street from Peggy’s sister, Letty.  We had a very pleasant visit for a few hours and may meet up again.  They are thinking of moving to Bend, Oregon to be closer to family.  Peggy is, and has been for many years, struggling with MS.  She is a very nice and strong person and I wish her and John well.

Driving back to my LTR from their house in the country I saw a Montana distillery so I decided to stop and see what they had.  I ended up buying a bottle of Montana Rye Whiskey.  I had never tried Rye Whiskey so thought I would jump in with the locals.  It is different and not my favorite, being a Scotch man, but a good sipping drink. 

While I was at the RV park in Bozeman I met my RV neighbors, who were  previously from Bozeman, Ed and Michelle, a real nice couple.  They have been traveling the US in a real big 5th wheel the past year and have been all over.   They live about a hundred miles from Bozeman in a home above a lake in the mountains called Georgetown Lake.  They invited me to stop in anytime I am in the area as they have space for my trailer and hookups.  I really enjoy meeting such nice people and intend to stop by sometime and get to know them better.

When I left Bozeman I got off the freeway and took a scenic road that went by Georgetown Lake to see the area they live in….very nice.  I continued on toward Missoula with plans to stop and visit with some folks that Pati and I used to be neighbors with back in the 70’s in Newbury Park, California, John and Linda Hayden.  They live in a place called Seeley Lake, Montana and I had not seen their home before.   Pati and I last visited with them when they lived in Hope, Idaho years ago but we have always kept in touch and they are dear friends.

I called for directions and John said he would meet me on the road into their place.  He was waiting on his ATV and led me to the house where I parked the LTR right outside their back deck….not bad at all.  I didn’t even unhook and stayed for two nights enjoying their warm friendship and Linda’s great home cooking and their beautiful home.  It was good for me to sit and talk with them about Pati and we all cried together remembering her and the wonderful person she was and the great times we all had together. 

Linda and John have always been outdoor people.  They raised horses when they lived in Bend and always hunted and fished and boated and had ATV’s and travel trailers or motor homes.  They sure know how to live life to the fullest and they live in a beautiful cedar home overlooking the beautiful mountains with two wonderful Lab dogs.  Linda let me use her ATV and John took me all over the area to see it and get in some riding.  It was a lot of fun for sure and I may have to think about getting my own ATV and Toy Hauler trailer if I stay out here.  I am very fortunate to call them my special friends. 

Linda let me use her ATV to run around the area with John

John and his ATV

John and Linda's beautiful home in Seeley Lake, Montana

Not a bad parking place!

My good friends Linda and John whom I have known for 40 years.


Driving north from the Heyden’s home toward Kalispell I saw two Bald Eagles, two Elk and six deer.  I think the bear are waiting for me in Glacier.  I just hope   they keep their distance……I know I am but I want to get a picture of a Grizzly and some Mountain Sheep.  It would be too much to wish to get a picture of a wolf but one never knows.
After stocking up on supplies at Costco and  getting some items I needed at Lowes, I started my last run across Hwy 2 from West Glacier to East Glacier.  It was a beautiful drive but further than I thought.  It was about 80 miles or more so my supply runs to Kalispell will be less frequent than planned.


I got into town and thought I could find the place where I was going to be working this summer but I couldn’t find it.  I asked a local and he directed me to some hostel in town so I gave up and called Bob, the owner.  Bob met me in town and led me over to where I was going to be parked for the summer.  He had made arrangements with his neighbor, Tony, to let me park on a lot he owned in town that had a small cabin and water, power and sewer. 

The parking place was pretty rough and needed mowing so Bob and I went to the Lodge and got his mower and edger and cleaned it up pretty good so I could park the rig.  Tony came by and said he would bring his riding mower and do a better job.   Well, I got settled in and we celebrated with a few beers and got to know each other and planned to continue my orientation the next day. 

The next day, Tuesday of this week, I met Bob’s wife and the real boss of this outfit, Diane.  She is a nice lady and so is Bob a nice fella and I know we will get along fine this Summer.  Diane didn’t waste any time giving me a quick preview of the operation and my duties and the next day she put me in charge and they both went to Kalispell to try and find a source to do the sheets as their source went away.  I handled it as well as I could and even made three reservations for folks that called.  I mowed a little grass in  between phone calls.  Bob and Diane were very pleased with my work , which was not really that hard.

I helped Diane clean a few cabins on Thursday to get the hang of it and she assigned me four cabins to be responsible for in addition to grounds maintenance and occasional office staffing.   I now have today ( Friday) and Saturday and Sunday off but starting next week I will be working five on and two off…..hours to be determined by work required. 

I am looking forward to being occupied and the lawn work should help keep me in shape.  I have definitely been sitting on my butt too long.  I also am looking forward to getting in some hikes and some great fly fishing while I am here, both of which I will prove with pictures, for those who may be thinking I am just talking. J


My favorite picture of Pati and Dexter on our Veranda
Sunday, June 16th, marks one year since Pati passed away.  It has been the longest year of my life! Just thinking about it, as with anytime I think of Pati, I get emotional.   Sunday is also Father's Day, which  makes it all the worse for me.  I will be glad when it is Monday.

I am hoping to not let that day get to me. I plan to take Pati and Dexter into the park for a long ride and have a picnic lunch at some beautiful location where we can be alone.  We can just enjoy the beauty of this place and let the day pass.  Our only alternative is to continue to move forward with rebuilding our life as it is now, not how we envisioned it before June 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm.  

Wouldn't it be wonderful if God gave us just one "do over" in life.....I sure know how I would use mine.