Sunday, October 28, 2012

No Rain but Oh the Wind!

We hung out an extra day in Lethbridge because of the wind but the wind followed us through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and even into New Mexico.
I’m afraid to say that this route was not the most exciting trip we have ever taken – like if it wasn’t for the wind, would there be anything to talk about?
Montana was the same old – same old  until we found a pull-off on the road just before the huge metropolis of Moore, Montana (population approximately 200). 
The Montana Bale Trail

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We called this the FACE TREE.until we found out it is the MEDUSA HAY sculpture
And then there was the WIND-SURFER
The Montana Bale Trail is the route from Hobson to Utica to Windham, Montana. The premier event is the WHAT THE HAY contest: a  display of whimsical, cleverly decorated and sculpted hay along the 22 mile route.
The fields are filled with cattle and most of them are black. What ever happened the the brown and white Herefords? We were told that there is no such thing as Black Angus cattle – it is merely a product name - any black cow is considered a Black Angus.
We wandered back and forth between fall and winter – green fields and just harvested hay bales to fields prepared for the impending winter onslaught. 
It's Tuesday, we must be in Wyoming

PA220020Wyoming - a place that makes you want to get on a horse and ride to the end of the world: Vast yellow-grey-beige fields with a single black cow eating in the middle of the nowhere field; cliffs that hide ancient dwellings carved into the timeless rock.

And then came Colorado
It was a beautiful day: sunshine and unending blue skies. We travelled on the top of the world – nothing but blue skies above us.
Wooden snow fences stripe the endless rolling fields getting reading for the invasion of snow, wind and cold (long narrow straight boards leaning at 45 degree angles and propped up by rows of triangular supports)
The streaked clouds stretched across the sky forewarning us of the winds to come. At almost 6500 ft elevation the winds started and the big overhead signs spelled out severe wind warnings.
It looked like we were driving into a dust storm – no it was not a dust storm but a huge grass fire extending miles off to the west. The winds were so high that the police stopped traffic from going any further and we found the nearest Rest Stop and rode the wind waves all night waiting for the calm.
We blew into New Mexico on an almost hurricane force wind at 7500 feet elevation.


Santa Fe and a sheltered place to park was most inviting.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Here Comes the Snow

Here it is – the second week in October and over two months since I’ve posted anything. What is it they say? “Time flies when you’re having fun” . Let me see – what have we been doing . . .

The rest of the summer weather did co-operate. So this years we managed to visit my favourite National Park (Waterton/Glacier) a couple of times. First I went up with Diane (a gal I met in the line at a local grocery store last year who used to work in Waterton-another story) then Fred and I went up after the tourist rush was over. By gosh, he takes fantastic photos.

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Waterton Lakes looking towards the USA

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The Village of Waterton

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Prince of Wales Hotel that overlooks the Lake

Waterton was our Go-to place while I was growing up. I went to the YMCA Summer Camp there; many of our friends’ families had cottages there; and we often went cross-country skiing in Red Rock Canyon – so it does have special significance for me. Like everyplace Waterton is far busier than I ever remember it but still offers spectacular scenery.


Cameron Falls is right in the town of Waterton


There is still snow around Cameron Lake in July


With Diane as my guide and teacher,  I managed to get some wonderful photos of the wildflowers and even learn their names. Mind you, Diane knows the scientific names but these were good enough for me and heaven knows how long I’ll remember them anyway. I loved what Sheila said “We can learn them all over again next year. That way, we’re always learning new things.”

I put them into a special BLOG - firstep Wildflowers – with all the wildflower photos from the Yukon and Waterton to keep all together.

And then, of course there was the Stellar Jay begging some of our lunch.

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My Buttons are Popping!

My writing has been coming along – and I did get this email from the editor of one of the magazines I write for:

Top ten Snowbirding 101 articles visited in the last 12 months. (Sept 2011-Sept 2012. Time spent on each article in brackets)

  1. rving across the border (3:39)
  2. feeling down in the dumps (4:29)
  3. going solar harnessing the power of the sun (4:25)
  4. rv park etiquette (3:26)
  5. the ins and outs of rv clubs (3:33)
  6. the vast desert marketplace of Quartzsite (3:53)
  7. the same only different (3:30)
  8. the wonderful world of e-readers (3:50)
  9. show me the money (4:08)
  10. its time for snowbirds to fly home (3:06)

In total Snowbirding 101 received over 7,000 unique page views last year! That is the highest of all our columns. Well done Lynne.


Birds of Prey Refuge Centre

The Centre is about 5 miles east of here and one on those places  I just never got around to visiting, so this year it happened.

The Centre works with injured or abandoned birds. When they’re well or large enough they are release them back into the wild unless they are so badly injured that they would not survive. They do breed burrowing owls because they are an endangered species.


Baby Burrowing Owl

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These are both Bald Eagles – it can take up to 7 years for the Eagle to develop its while head.



The staff work with the birds to demonstrate their power and agility


The Ferruginous Hawk – the largest hawk in the world. This one feed mainly of gophers.

Of course, our next big challenge was to plan our Winter Venture.  Originally we wanted to head down to Louisiana and leave here the first of October. A long trip but places we had never been or have not been for over a dozen years – yeh – that sounds like fun!

Then life got in the way. First there was the hurricane, Isaac, that hit around where we wanted to visit – around Lafayette and the wildlife refuge near Lake Charles - and then Fred had a medical incident that turned out okay but took time. Consequently we put off leaving – that is activating the Medical Travel Insurance – until October 20th and our travel plans keep on changing. The only thing that seems consistent is that we will visit New Mexico but not in time for the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

Back to work!!

We’ll catch up with you somewhere on the road.