Saturday, April 9, 2016

Where Away Sojourner?

I was stricken. Must be the Trippin' Sista rubbing off on me because "I got to go!" We set off from Happy Squirrel Acres heading south.



Since there are a few areas hereabouts that we have not yet investigated, we set off . I concealed our destination from my beloved on the principle that; everyone enjoys nice surprises, nasty surprises they're not so much in favor of! Before very long we found ourselves at the border.

The Sista said, " I didn't bring the passports!" I know I said, for I had them in my pocket at the time. After exchanging the usual pleasantries with the border agent we were back in the land of the free and the home of the brave! We carried on down the road to Oroville, and drove around looking at the place. We didn't see much of interest, but we did stop long enough to get an ice cream bar, before heading west. So there's that.

My plan was to head along the Loomis-Oroville road, and cross back into Canada at Chopaka, with a possible side trip. Since we had gotten a late start, we needed to keep an eye on the time since this border crossing closes at 5 p.m. 

The country was fairly rugged, since we were in the eastern foothills of the Cascade mountain range, and the hillsides were strewn with Rudbeckia, which many of you know as "Black Eyed Susan".


Looking back towards the Okanogan valley from whence we came, you can see how the landscape evens out toward the valley bottom.


In some areas the hillside was awash in color. I stopped to get this picture because I wanted to share it with you.


These plants have a fairly shallow root system and a lot of people dig them out to take them home because they are so pretty. They will grow in just about every type of soil, even in direct sunlight. They also spread, so fair warning! They will take over your garden, then your lawn if you give them a chance.


I was not the only one who found this particular vista "pixel worthy".  Here the Trippin' Sista is taking a picture as well...of me!


We passed a cordillera of hillside. It really feels like we're in another country. Well, we are! Funnily enough, just the other side of the hill is the true north strong and free (by which I mean Canuckistan.)


We came to the turnoff for the border, but I had a different idea. We turned south down the road and came to the town of Nighthawk This while interesting was not to be the high point on our itinerary.

We continued south while the clock ticked inexorably toward the closing of the country (hahaha) and came to Palmer Lake. I had seen the lake on the map before, but we had never been there. Worth the detour.


Palmer is a fairly large lake with Small and Large Mouth Bass, and Rainbow Trout in the 3 lb. range. We spoke with one fellow who was camped at the Recreation Area, who said the fishing wasn't that good, they only caught 9!!!


A little further down the road was a fairly large herd of deer. These were looking a little shaggy, shedding their winter coats. There were a total of 20 or so loafing around, munching on the new growth and on people's shrubbery.


We hightailed it towards the border, and had a nice chat with the agent minding the crossing. The border is little used and sleepy during the week, and gets more traffic on the weekend with people headed to the lake.


We stopped in Keremeos, then came uphill and turned off at Twin Lakes Rd., then turned onto Willowbrook Rd just before the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory We left them listening for the aliens, and carried on towards Fairview Rd.

We ended up back at home around 6:45 after a very pleasant outing and we're glad you decided to ride along. Don't forget to subscribe to this blog for future updates, and to check out our YouTube  (like, comment and subscribe) channel, and our website We look forward to talking with you and seeing you again soon!



Friday, March 11, 2016

Almost Home

After the tremendous wind yesterday, this morning was dead calm. We pulled out just before 6:30 this a.m.


Rolling westward through Montana we stopped for gas, and to check a couple emails. Here is yet another well stocked Travel Plaza near Missoula.


At another gas stop I made note of a motel that was adjacent. Now, I know most of us look for certain amenities in accommodation. Those that rate fairly highly on our list include King sized beds, fast stable wifi, free breakfast and the like.

This particular establishment is a bit of a "throwback". Firstly, we could start with the name. This is not the Big Sky Motel or the Blue Sky Motel. It is simply the Sky Motel. I am not sure if one is supposed to arrive in their personal aircraft, but I do see that they offer TV ( although the descriptors flat screen or cable are noticeably absent.)


Immediately across the street was some sort of livestock facility. It had a price list for parking $3.00 per cow $5.00 per horse. I am bereft of explanation for this one!


As we roll west the mountains are close to the highway. The colors of the earth are quite noticeable, the green of copper and the red of iron ore. In one instance the iron was so rich, I could smell it inside the car as we passed.


At a  stop for gas in St. Regis I noticed the Trail West Bank. This facility was securely housed in a single wide trailer. This also included drive through banking. If you happen to be moseying down the trail, It's good to know that you can direct your cayuse up to the teller's window, before cantering away.


The gas stop included souvenirs, restaurant, gambling, convenience store and of course gas and diesel.


The Post Office has a large overhang due to the potential for heavy snows in the area. The snow was nonexistent today thankfully.


Where might one expect to find antiques nearby? Why at Place of Antiques of course. We did not visit to find out about the unusual name.


There was a steam powered Case tractor in some sort of jail. I do not know what sort of infraction it committed. I wouldn't be surprised if you oiled it and built a head of steam and it would still plow all day long.


I am including a couple of gratuitous pictures now that we are nearing the end of our journey. Where else but in the Great Northwet would you find directional signs in case of geologic disaster.


There have been a number of people concerned about the economy of late, ad the stability of the banking system. In times of fiscal uncertainty some people feel there is no better place to make sound financial decisions that in a Red Canoe.


The jury is out with me on this one. Perhaps you have an opinion.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Wind Also Blows (Where A River Runs Through It)

Has anyone ever wondered what it looks like toward the north in Casper WY. at ten minutes past six in the a.m.? Wonder no longer dear reader.


The view towards the west as the sky lightens is also as they say, enlightening.


Looking more to the southwest we can see similar coloration. I love taking pictures of sunrises and sunsets since they are so ephemeral in nature. One can marvel, as I often do, at the delicacy of the color palette and the brief joy of creation, since every day and in fact every sunset and sunrise is totally unique.


Without further ado, here is a picture of your intrepid traveling correspondents, ready to roll on and report back.


As the dawn begins to creep over the landscape in earnest, the interplay of light and shadow across the landscape of Wyoming is very appealing (from inside a vehicle at 35 F). Sadly one can never really capture the delicacy that the eye perceives, through the lens of a camera. Perhaps the drama would be more evident with the use of a longer lens?


You will remember from my last missive the Rock Castles a little farther south. It is not too hard to imagine an enemy force storming the battlements.


It was time to top off the tank and we stopped in Kaycee WY. The gas station had a number of mounts lining the walls. All were provided by local sportsmen, although all were not necessarily taken in the immediate area.

This Elk is a magnificent specimen with an imposing rack. The lady at the till opined "we sort of think of ourselves as a Mini-Cabela's". Cabela's is a well known sporting goods store that has trophies similarly displayed, although they usually feature the entire animal.


This cougar looks down upon people planning to use the washroom. It's not everyday you find a guard like this, in a place like that.


Your friend and mine the Trippin' Sista is looking a little nervous in this picture. If I had a Puma above me, I would be nervous too.


This is a Red Stag that was taken in New Zealand. He likewise sports a trophy sized rack. I hope he was good eating.


This is a particularly nasty looking kitty. Bobcat to be exact. The main difference between him and a Lynx is no tufted ears, and I believe Bobcat can grow larger, although the Eurasian Lynx can outweigh him by 20-30 lbs. 


There is another animal outside that was also not taken in this area. They call him Dino, and he looks like he is ready for St. Patrick's Day. You can probably guess which station we stopped at. That's right kids, it was Sinclair! We made sure we were full of top quality Dino-Juice and headed north.


Along the way we saw a lot of Pronghorn Antelope, but it is difficult to get a photograph of them since they move off rapidly when you stop.


This was really about the best we could do, with our equipment. They blend in so well with the prairie due to their coloration, that it is hard to get a good picture.


A blog post from last July introduced you to Lake DeSmet. Here is a picture of that reservoir as we passed this morning. I didn't feel it was advisable to revisit it's shores as the ice was still on the lake. Brrrrr!


We stopped at the Sheridan Rest Area. It is complete with a Visitor Center, Children's Playground and Picnic Shelters.


This signboard tells of the topography, situation and shelter around Sheridan. We had been downtown on a previous trip here so didn't go through this time.


There appears to be someone capturing video across the parking lot. Yeah, it's the Trippin' Sista. It is still not overly warm, you can tell by the way she's bundled up. The wind was blowing and it still hadn't topped 50 F.


Another sign tells of the wildlife which is native to this area. One of Wyoming's singular distinctions is that is has the lowest population of any state at just over 500,000 and the density is slightly less than six people per square mile.


There is a lovely visitor center. It includes a small museum and a information counter with a helpful young lady who passes out brochures.


One of Wyoming's largest exports is coal. The state has vast reserves of coal which is used for power generation. The state is the largest coal-producer in the nation, and has vast reserves as yet untapped. There is a bronze statue memorializing the Coal Miner.


From the deck of the Visitor Center one can look west toward the Bighorn Mountains and the town of Sheridan proper (hidden in the valley).


About 25 miles further on we cross into Montana. The scenery hasn't really changed, but we are heading towards more boreal and mountainous territory. There is also more ground water in evidence as we start to cross watercourses that are not dry. Many of the creeks and rivers we passed so far have been dry.


After fueling up in Billings we stopped at Graycliff  Rest Area on the way west. It is a new Rest Area, in the new style. Each bathroom is discrete, so there are three each men's and women's. The interior walls which are cinder block are also covered in a rubber-like anti graffiti coating. This is the first time I have seen this and I applaud the innovation.


Looking towards the west we can see the Crazy Mountains. We will pass them before the day is out. It is a constant amazement to me that a journey which would have taken three to four days in the Old West takes us about 1/2 an hour at today's speeds.


The timber is starting to get a little taller, and a little more robust as we head west. This lone specimen stands guard over the picnic area.


We reach our destination of Livingston Montana and do a slow cruise through town before checking into our hotel. We pass through Sacajawea Park on the bank of the Yellowstone River.


The wind in Livingston is quite fierce. It has abated a little from earlier this afternoon and currently measures 33 mph./gusting 45 mph. When I went to cover the scooters for the night, the wind did it's best to rip the cover from my hands. I managed to get it tied down sufficiently although it was still billowing.

One of the attendants told me he was actually blown off his porch, although he was a fairly slight young individual.

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There appears to be nothing more for me to say at this point so I will wish you a pleasant good evening.