Monday, July 22, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 23 - The Adventure Ends

Ever wonder what Lumberjacks eat for breakfast? Lumberjack John had the senior lumberjack eggs, bacon, hash browns and a biscuit. Lumberjack Linda had oatmeal with blueberries and raisins.
There are seven, (soon to be eight) Lumberjack Restaurants in California and the buzzards were pleased with their first visit to one. After their hearty breakfasts, it was off to the Redding, California police station in a last ditch attempt to get that final photo item for the Mercury News Photo Scavenger Hunt. The clerk was very nice but explained that only one light duty police person was there and that he had no uniform or badge. She gave Buzzard #1 the address of a sheriff's office a couple of blocks away but that did not work out either. Oh, well, maybe the Buzzard Team will win a prize in one of the individual photo categories. And, just looking for the items added a lot of fun to the No Reservations Glacier Road Trip. The buzzards and their Fannie also conversed with many folks they wouldn't have otherwise met.

Departure from Redding was at 8:42am and it was a good time to get out of town before the temperature got into double digits again. It reached 107 degrees yesterday. Before too long, Wilma reached Interstate 5 and it was all systems go for having lunch in Morgan Hill where there was allegedly lunch and lodging available at a reasonable rate.

Linda unzipped her ukelele case,  pulled out her Accolade and turned to songs beginning with the letter “C” in her Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition Songbook. There were 20 songs beginning with “C” so they were good for several miles on boring I-5. Quite a few started with the word “Can't”. How POSITIVE is that in a book described as 366 More Great Songs for Better Living?

By 9:49, John was getting droozy from either the monotonous interstate or the music so he pulled over and Linda drove. After a nap, John was ready to take the wheel back at 11:00.

Linda started sight reading her way through the 15 songs beginning with “D”. Just as she started on the seventh one, John began to see exit signs off Interstate 505 for Interstate 680 and  San Jose, California. Can you guess the seventh “C” song? Clue - it asks a question. That's right! “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” “That's got to be the SONG O' THE DAY” proclaimed John. “DYKTWTSJ” is by Hal David and Burt Bacharach (1967) and is found on page 88. Linda notes that she never knew where San Jose was until many years after the song became popular. The young buzzards were living in Texas and Georgia. The song story line is about going to Los Angeles in hopes of stardom, then failing and needing to get back to San Jose. Linda just assumed San Jose was part of the Southern California megalopolis. Little did she dream that the young buzzards and their two fledglings would end up living 30 miles south of San Jose within 12 years.

And so to home where Linda heated up the oven while John started unloading. Then they both relaxed and had leftover pizza for lunch and caught up on some of America's Got Talent.

During the last few days, Linda has been making a list of Road Trip Packing Reminders for the  next venture into the world of Buzzard Retirement Vacation Land. Here's some of the items that it would have been nice to have on this trip: binoculars, wildflower ID book, heating coil, dry skin lotion, low watt nightlight and a thermometer for the cooler.

There is no photo gallery for this day.

On the last day of a road trip the Two Old Buzzards usually spend some time talking about where to go on their next road trip. Because of extreme advanced planning the buzzards already have a destination pretty firmly in mind for 2014. Plans are to go to Big Bend National Park in the springtime. The Two Old Buzzards made a week long visit to Big Bend National Park in April of 1973 shortly after our son was born (in January). We are excited to return after a 41 year hiatus. Below is an image that John took in 1973. It was shot with a Minolta SRT101 on Kodak Ektachrome slide film, ASA 400 (that's right, ASA not ISO). He had to keep his film in a cooler because of the ambient heat. John had over 1,000 slides/negatives scanned at Scan CafĂ© and put on DVD. This image is one of those scans. Consequently, it's a bit noisy. The image is of Sierra Ponce which is near Santa Elena Canyon and is right on the Rio Grande River. It was taken in the early morning. Themesa is in Mexico.


We hope you will all join us next spring when we return to the Big Bend area of Texas and to the Big Bend National Park.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 22


The eternal question: How come you can't find a police officer or a locksmith when you really need one? The Two Old Buzzards are working their way back to the roost and have just one item left on the Mercury News Road Trip Photo Scavenger Hunt: Number 10 – a police officer eating. The buzzards even went to a police station in Redmond, Oregon yesterday but it was just after 5pm and it was closed.  No problem. They open at 8am so the buzzards cruzed by there this morning on their way out of town, just after 8am. Still closed. Ever notice how you sort of lose track of what day it is when you are vacating? Today is Sunday and they weren't going to be open at all. The two police officers the buzzards did see later in the day were pulled off the interstate with their lights flashing and it did not seem prudent to interrupt their doings.

Breakfast was at Shari's (www.Sharis.com). John had eggs, biscuits, gravy, hashbrowns and bacon. Linda had a blackberry yogurt parfait and grapefruit juice.

There was a serendipitous find of a volcano as Wilma (our Odyssey van) headed south on State Highway 97.  John noticed a turnoff for Newberry National Volcanic Monument just south of Bend, Oregon. The old buzzards learned the area and hiked on the rim of a relatively young volcano (7,000 years). The area is called Lava Lands. Lava Butte is a cinder cone volcano that was created during a two-phase eruption. The first phase sent gas-charged molten rock into the air. The material solidified in the air, trapping gas bubbles and fell back to the earth as cinders in a pile. Lava spilled out of a side vent during the second phase and flowed for several miles to the Deschutes River. That lava cooled into a field of basaltic rock. There is a paved road to the top of Lava Butte. Visitors are issued a 30-minute pass since only 10 cars can be let in at a time. Once there, Wilma and Fannie parked their fannies while John and Linda hiked the Lave Butte Rim Trail, an unpaved 1/4 mile loop that lets you look about 150 feet down into the caldera. The Rim Trail also provides you with a panoramic view of Newberry National Volcanic Monument and the surrounding area. It looked completely different than any of the other volcanic areas the buzzards have been to.  The closest in appearance would be Craters of the Moon in Idaho. The rocks were mostly black lightweight pumice (one of which found its way into Linda's pocket!) and there was not a lot a lot of plant growth on the crater (even less than in much of the area near the Mount Saint Helens crater). There is a lava tube cave, two lakes, a forest area, an obsidian field and a waterfall in other nearby areas of Lava Lands. John chuckled at the name and said it reminded him of "Wally World" in the National Lampoon Vacation movie. He expected the Griswolds to arrive at any moment with poor old dead auntie strapped in her chair atop the family station wagon.

View from the crater rim onto the lava fields below

After their volcano adventure, the buzzards found a nice-looking park near Klamath Falls with shade and picnic benches near a standing water feature (key word here is "standing") and pulled off hwy 97 for lunch. John made it to the picnic table first and soon found out that HE was lunch for some kind of prolific insects that looked like Mayflies. He signaled that there was a problem and made it back without bringing many insects inside the vehicle with him. So, lunch was again “on the fly” (so to speak) which was easy since it was fruit that needed to get eaten before getting to the California Agricultural Inspection Station. The border was soon crossed and when the inspector inquired about fruit, John told her that we had one nectarine, one apricot and 5 cherries. She must have already had lunch because she said “Go ahead”.

At Weed, California there were lots of signs for "I (heart sign) Weed" t-shirts. There was also a sign to the sheriff. The buzzards found the office but the sheriff must have still been at Sunday School.

It was necessary to get on Interstate 5 to get to our lodging in Redding, California but John was happy to get to the four-lane highway since there were  extraordinary numbers of slow vehicles (mostly travel trailers) on two-lane highway 97 today.

There was an excellent view of Mount Shasta from Hwy 97. In one place it was so striking that John could not resist grabbing his camera for a shot while driving. (OK, I actually pulled over onto the shoulder and stopped the vehicle before taking the photo). Yikes! He tries to keep Road Trips exciting.  It was sad to see that Lake Shasta is even lower than the last time the old buzzards were in the area about four years ago. When they were much younger buzzards they took a 10-day family houseboat vacation on Lake Shasta and a really good time was had by all.

What a welcome back to California! The temperature in Redding was 107 degrees with no wind chill factor. After some delay in room readiness, and confirming that the Costco in Redding in fact does NOT have gasoline, the buzzards checked into Motel 6 and got cooled off. That was at 4:07. By 5:30 when the buzzards left to find the police station (still looking to feed an officer), the temp had warmed up to 110 degrees.  As Wilma approached the police station, we observed a couple of things: a nearby doughnut shop and a cruiser headed our way with an officer obviously munching on something. “He's eating, he's eating.” exclaimed Linda. But, short of flagging him down, there was no way to photo him with a member of Team Buzzard included in the photo. Tomorrow is the last chance to capture the remaining photo since it has to be taken while on the Road Trip and must be outside Santa Clara County. We're headed back to the police station after we check out of Motel 6.

Dinner was at Round Table Pizza which looked as if it was a Long John Silver Fish 'N Chips in its previous life. John had a small three-meat pizza and Linda had a personal size gourmet veggie pizza. Both pizzas hit the right spots in the gizzards of the old buzzards. Yum! And we both have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

You can view the 33 images in today's photo gallery by clicking here.

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Circle of Life” by Elton John (1994) on page 74,75 in the Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition Songbook. The Old Buzzards don't have internet access at our present lodging but you might try finding the song on youtube if you'd like to hear the tune. Here's a taste of the lyrics: “From the day we arrive on the planet and blinking step into the sun, there's more to be seen than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done. Some say, 'Eat or be eaten.' Some say 'Live and let live.' But all are agreed as they join the stampede, you should never take more than you give in the circle of life. It's the wheel of fortune. It's the leap of faith. It's the band of hope 'til we find our place on the path unwinding in the circle of life.”

Happy trails and may your wheel of fortune land on all the big numbers and have lots of bonus prizes.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 21

“Cod said, 'Let there be fish and chips', and it was good.” This sign was one the old buzzards saw on their way out of The Dalles, Oregon as they hit the road at 8:23. John is tiring of Cheerios (actually, he ran out!) so we had breakfast at Denny's. He had the patriotic red white and blue breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and hash browns. Linda had red white and blue pancake fritters (John called them hush puppies).  There was some delay in the orders because the two servers were busy complaining about one of their co-workers and about the inadequate amount of the tips they had been getting. Hmmm! Maybe if your customer service was a little better?

Soon the buzzards swooped by a Starbucks and got their skinny mocha caffeine and chocolate fix. By 8:51 they were off the interstate onto state highway 35 and managed to stay on scenic roads for most of the rest of the day. Hopes for finding some nice produce on the Fruit Loop were mostly unfulfilled. Linda learned about a group of local fruit stands in a brochure she found in yesterday's Motel 6 lobby. The buzzards first stop had prices of three to five dollars a pound for peaches and cherries. She bought a few at the next stop for from $1.50 to four dollars a pound. There were 22 farm stands listed on the brochure which also included honeys, jams, pies, lavender, chestnuts, wineries, antiques and berries. Some were strictly pick it yourself but most included you pick or we pick options.

Soon the farmland gave way to forests and Mount Hood came in and out of view as Wilma carried us closer. It is a beautiful inactive volcanic mountain with 12 named glaciers and snowfields. And, at over 11,000 feet, Mount Hood is the highest point in Oregon. It was good that the buzzards stopped and took photos at several viewpoints because as they got closer, mist and fog appeared and Mount Hood disappeared. It seems appropriate to have a photo of Mt. Hood in the blog, so here it is.

Mt. Hood taken from Hwy 35 looking Northwest about six miles
before intersection with Hwy 26 

The buzzards passed through some picturesque little towns. Zigzag was the funniest-named one. In Sandy, there was an interesting (and popular) red and white donut shop that John took a photo of. What's a happier place than a donut shop?  A red and white donut shop. (John's answer: A donut shop next door to a police station.) At Estacada, Oregon there was a craft fair going on and there were very pretty murals on some of the buildings around town. The one titled “All the World's a Stage” was a favorite of the old buzzards. At Memaloose Road there was a picturesque green bridge that the buzzards turned off onto for a short photo side trip. Along the back roads there were thousands of pretty wildflowers, some seen before and others that were new additions. Note to self: Bring wildflower ID books on next road trip.
 
We took a side road off the National Forest road we were on at about 12:30 for a quick lunch. John put peanut butter on his leftover blueberry pancake from this morning and Linda had her Raw Bits Twang Twang and a cheese stick. It was over in a hurry and then we were back on the road.
 
John stopped just before entering the town of Sandy to
try to get motel reservations. Linda saw this unusual
and photogenic thistle and took this image
 
Just after being welcomed in and out of Detroit, Oregon there was a sign saying “Next Gas 52 miles”. Since Wilma indicated that she could take us for about another 47 miles, it seemed prudent to return to a gas station in Detroit. Their gas was $3.99 a gallon, but it beats running out of go juice in the forest.

We had NO reservations for lodging. So as soon as John could get cell phone reception in the forest he used his Motel 6 app and found a place in Redmond, Oregon. In about an hour the buzzard party was kicking back in the same Motel 6 where they stayed on the front end of this road trip. Fannie was especially thrilled. She already knew all the best spots to sniff and pee.

Dinner was at Seventh Street Brew House. Linda had a grilled veggie wrap and coleslaw. John had a Cajun chicken burger (blackened chicken breast with grilled jalapenos and pepper jack cheese) and fries. Both were extra delicious. John also gave in and tried an Oregon medium dark beer named '20" Brown' (as in 20" brown trout).

John's Hot Shot burger with chicken breast
substituted for burger

Linda's veggie wrap with coleslaw

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Bring Me Sunshine” by Sylvia Dee and Arthur Kent (1966) from page 47 in Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition. It's quite an upbeat song. Here's a taste: “Bring me sunshine in your smile, bring me laughter all the while. In this world where we live, there should be more happiness. So much joy you should give to each brand new bright tomorrow! … Bring me fun, bring me sunshine . . . “  If you want to hear how the tune goes by Yoga Jen you can hear it on YouTube by clicking here.  Willie Nelson also sings it on YouTube but without a ukelele.

Day 21's photo gallery is up and you can view these 41 images by clicking here.

Happy trails!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 20

Who knows what Day 20 of a No Reservations Road Trip means? The answer is that it's time to start a new memo pad. Linda keeps a log where starts and stops and oddities of the day are recorded in the hopes that they will be enough to jog her memory in the evenings when heavenly shades of night are falling and it's blogging time. Out of the mists John's voice is calling, “Have you sent it to me yet?”  Meanwhile, John is also processing photos and captioning them.

The buzzards had a record getaway time this morning and were on the road into Randle by 7:31. The  friendly motel host was on his way to help at the local food bank. What a nice guy! Stops were made for gas and air (tires) and breakfast. Gas cost the most, then breakfast and not even air is free at gas stations anymore ($1.00).  At Mt Adams Cafe Linda had whole wheat French toast with local blueberries and marianberry jam. John had a bacon, ham and sausage omelet with hash browns and a biscuit. Coffee for both goes without saying – oops! There was a sort of buzzard-like sign on the wall of the cafe that said “I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I wound up where I intended to be.” That fits some of the roads taken on this trip, and in a positive way, at least almost 99%.

It was a very scenic drive to Mount St Helens from Randle. The Forest Roads were well maintained despite the inclement winter weather they have. The traffic was minimal and there was NO road construction. Mount St Helens is a part of the Cascade Range and was not declared a National Volcanic Monument until after the 1980 eruption. There has been great recovery from the devastation of 33 years ago but it is easy to see how vast an area it encompassed because of all the very tall dead trees that are still upright and the others that are laying down with their roots exposed. As we got nearer to the crater, the wildflowers grew in ever greater profusion. The foxgloves were the most impressive with their tall waving purple fairy cup blooms. There were also occasional white foxgloves. Linda avows that it was the most foxgloves than she has ever seen before. And she had never seen them growing in the wild, so that was a special thrill. The roads were lined with so many wildflowers that it looked almost commercially landscaped, only better. There was so little traffic that we sometimes stopped right on the road to take photos and no vehicles made an appearance during our pauses. Around one bend, there was a helicopter and several forest trucks by the side of the road on a pullout. That was a BIG surprise. While interested to know what the situation was, the old buzzards were hesitant to be pesky and stop and ask. Besides, there was no sign of humans around. Good thing we don't know how to fly one of those!
There were plenty of vista points and many had interesting information about the Mount St Helens area. There had been increased rumblings and activity starting in March of 1980 and the big explosion was in May. Many had evacuated to what was supposed to be a safe zone. Of the 57 people who died 50 were in the safe zone and the other 7 were in the danger zone. They were not expecting such a huge explosion. One of the startling exhibits on the road to the Mount St Helens crater is the actual car of Donald and Natalie Parker who died in their car with their nephew on that day. John thinks he read that it was a 1974 Chrysler Belvedere. It was squashed and rusty and full of debris from the explosion. To fresh or refresh your memory about Mount St Helens, you can go to Wikipedia where there are several before and after photos and lots of information. The old buzzards had been in California for one year by 1980 and can remember seeing the ash residue in the atmosphere above Morgan Hill.

Meta Lake was covered with 8 feet of snow when the large eruption came. The snow protected the lake and a lot of the creatures there enough that the area was able to recover faster than it would have been otherwise. At Spirit Lake, so much debris was thrown into the lake that it rose 200 feet and many cabins and lodges around the former shoreline were destroyed.

The Wind Road took the old buzzards higher and closer to the crater than they had expected to be which was a great treat. There was a viewpoint where you could see Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helen  and Mount Adams all at the same time. It was just hard to photo them all at the same time. One of those times where you almost “just had to be here”.

As thoughts of food came around, the old buzzards were looking for a shady spot to pull off on their way out of the Mount St Helens area. Soon one appeared which had the bonus of having a moss-covered stump that seemed to have moss covering the moss on top of more moss. John was in moss heaven. After his peanut butter sandwich and a cheese stick, he took some possibly award-winning  moss-terpieces. Linda had Raw Bits Twang Twang and a cheese stick for lunch.

An old decaying stump with lots of moss, lots of plants
and tons of character!

The destination for the evening took us out of Washington and to The Dalles, Oregon. To accomplish that, the buzzards followed alongside the Columbia River for a while and crossed over into Oregon on the toll bridge ($1) at Hood River. There were lots of wind surfers enjoying a very gusty day. Some fell down but were able to pop right up.

Arrival the our sumptuous Motel 6 suite was at 4:47. Whee! It has a bathtub, a microwave and a fridge, not to mention wi-fi!

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Are You Havin' Any Fun?” by Jack Yellen and Sammy Fain (1939) which is on page 26 in The Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition by Jim Beloff. Here's a little bit of how it goes: “Are you havin' any fun? What y' getting' out of livin'? What good is what you've got, if you're not havin' any fun? Are you havin' any laughs? . . .If other people do, so can you; have a little fun. . .Better have a little fun. You ain't gonna live forever; before you're old and gray, still okay. Have your little fun, son! Have your little fun!”

Dinner was going to be at Spooky's, a place John noticed on our way into The Dalles. It had good reviews online which is often a positive sign. However, when we went inside it was clear that it would be a long wait, in two different lines. So the old buzzards mosied down the road to Cousins' Restaurant. It was real countrified with a cow and sheep statues out front. Inside they had buttermilk. Can't get more country than that. John had a turkey Cobb salad. Linda had a green salad and buttermilk. Both had navy bean with ham soup and homemade bread. Everything was larripin' good.

The photo gallery today contains 81 images which you can view by clicking here.

Happy trails and don't forget to have some fun today and tomorrow too. . .

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 19

Breakfast was “on the fly”. John had a ham sandwich and Linda had Raw Bits Twang Twang. They said “So long” to The Willows in Wilbur at 7:10am and headed for Mt. Rainier National Park the southwest of Wilbur. It was mostly scenic country back roads except for a little jaunt on I-90 and I-82. The Buzzards crossed the Columbia River on I-90 West between Vantage and I-82. There was a scenic viewpoint of Puget Sound Energy's Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility on the Columbia River. Their motto is “Producing clean energy for a brighter future”. It was completed in 2009 and can produce enough energy for around 70,000 households. They have 149 wind turbines and 2,723 solar panels. There were very high winds at the viewpoint. Linda was in danger of losing her hat until she deployed its tie string under her chin.

Stevens Canyon entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park

The buzzards entered Mount Rainier National park at the Stevens Canyon Entrance on the south side, took a winding road and saw lots of glaciers, water, forests and scenic views of Mount Rainier. They also saw way too much of the color orange because of all the road delays caused by construction. In fact, after about the sixth time of being in a long line of paused vehicles, they decided that Mount ROADWORK National Park would be a more fitting appellation. Mount Rainier is the highest point in Washington state at 14,411 feet. The area was declared a  National Park in 1899. There are 25 glaciers that cap Mount Rainier and they each have their own name. Mount Rainier is still an active volcano and is a reminder of the beauty and power of nature. It formed about 500,000 years ago and has the potential to erupt again. Volcanologists expect the mountain to give ample warnings before entering an eruptive period but the threat of unexpected mudflows exists today. The buzzards exited at the Nisqually Entrance in the south west corner and headed towards where they hoped to find lodging in Randle, Washington. John called as soon as he had phone service and scored a room outside of Randle at the Woodland Motel. He told the owner he needed a room for two seniors and a small dog. What a charmer. When the buzzards walked in, the owner accused them of lying about being seniors but let them have the room anyway. Linda asked him if he was the sheriff of Randle (see, still looking for a law enforcement officer eating) because of the EMS Rescue truck parked outside. He said that he has that because it has rope equipment in it for when he helps with search and rescues by rappelling over mountains. Soon he stepped out from behind the counter to show us our room and he had a artificial limb below his left knee and a brace on his right foot. It was so tempting to ask how he can manage to rappel over a mountain with those limits. He then told us all about where he was when Mount St. Helens exploded and how thick the ash was (“thicker than any snowstorm I have ever been in”) as he was going towards it to help.

Dinner was at the Mt. Adams in Randle. Linda had chef's salad with salsa. John had a salad, a hamburger burger steak with grilled onions and fries.

Today's photo gallery has 32 photos in it and you can view them by clicking here.

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Ac-Cent-Tschu-Ate the Positive” by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen (1944) on page 14 in Linda's new book (an anniversary present from John). It is “The Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition – 366 More Good Songs for Better Living” compiled by Liz and Jim Beloff. The song goes something like this: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don't mess with Mr. In-between. Spread joy up to the maximum, bring gloom down to the minimum; have faith or pandemonium's li'ble to walk upon the scene. To illustrate my last remark, Jonah and the whale, Noah in the ark. What did they do, just when everything looked so dark? Man, they said, we better accentuate the positive (etc).”

Tomorrow we're off to visit Mt. St. Helens of 1980 fame. Then over to The Dalles Oregon for the night.

Happy trails!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 18

Barefoot Brew was the expresso stop for the Two Old Buzzards on their way out of Trout Creek, Montana. Flowers and three gigantic ladybugs decorated the coffee “grounds”, In fact, the ladybugs had obviously been bowling balls in their past lives.

It was 8:04 as Wilma and her passengers rode outta town on Hwy 200 and by 7:47 they had reached the Idaho border. Yes, that is correct...they had gained an hour. The Kaniksu National Forest was beautiful. We were driving along Hwy 200 with the Clear Fork River on our left. John spotted an old bridge ahead going across the river. We passed it, then he saw a road exiting to the left that look like it would go to Clear Fork. We took it. It wasn't long until we discovered that there is a new bridge for cars and the old structure that John saw was not a foot bridge. And, at the near end of the foot bridge (which is wide enough for a car, but blocked off) we a pole with a nest on top. Can you say osprey? First we heard it scolding us for being there. Then, as we walked beyond the pole onto the bridge, the osprey took flight. Neither of us were prepared for that and didn't get a shot off. Sooo, we went out onto the bridge and took some other photos. The river was sooooo calm. The clouds were so puffy, small, and beautiful. The hills and the trees were reflected in the river just like in a mirror. Barely a ripple. THEN, along comes this fellow drift fishing in his aluminum boat, his faithful dog beside him. Very quietly drifting down the river. Soon, John noticed a shot. Here was this boat, fisherman and dog not only on the river, but reflected in the river just like the clouds, trees and hills. Game on! He calls his image "Fishing in the Clouds".

You can't see the water (maybe you'll notice a few ripples).
All you can see are reflections in the water
along with the fisherman, boat and dog.

Done with that, we headed back to Wilma. No sooner had we returned to the van, than our osprey returned to the nest. John, ready this time, walked back onto the bridge. Nothing but scolding. Then, he slowly walked back toward the pole stomping his feet. Success! The osprey took flight and he managed to capture several shots. But, our day with ospreys is not yet over. Read on!

Back on the road toward Wilbur, the buzzards noticed signs that they were near a turnoff for the Beyond Hope Resort. It seemed like a name to go along with the Potter's Field Lodge and the Grave Creek Cabins that we've mentioned before. And it was well worth going two and a half miles out of the way to see a place called Beyond Hope. On the way, there was a cute deer who paused to scope us out. Beyond Hope is situated on a beautiful lake and appeared to be a very nice place to spend time. Upon leaving, Linda noticed a street up the way called Above and Beyond Hope.

The mystery was soon solved after we continued on the route. We came to a town called, as you might have guessed by now, Hope (located right after New Hope). Makes sense...there's Hope. Then, there's New Hope. Finally, there's Beyond Hope. Hope was founded in 1889 and it is in an eagle nesting area. There was a giant nest right in the middle of old Downtown Hope. However, it was not and eagle, but an osprey. John got some great shots of it.  Linda also saw a "Worms for Sale" sign but they were not open. Perhaps you have seen the video the old buzzards made about the Squiggly Wiggle Worm Ranch. It is available on YouTube to view for free by clicking here,  but the worms will cost you.

An osprey returning to its nest with some "building materials" for
home improvement

John had a lot of spottings (thus photo opportunities) of old buildings and new-mown wheat fields along the way. He also had great fun exploring the location of a future railroad museum that is a work-in- progress.

It is day 17 of this Road Trip and today was the first time the old buzzards have stopped at McDonalds.The location was Sandpoint, Idaho and it was the perfect time for a rest stop and some senior coffees. They have not purposely avoided McD's. It just turned out that way. Lots of places on this Road Trip have been too small to even have a McDonalds.

At 11:07 Washington again welcomed the buzzards. John stopped at a Yoke grocery to get bread for his  sandwich because his stomach did not understand the time change and thought it was time for lunch.

Like that restaurant name in Montana, our lunch was “on the fly” as we headed for Wilbur, Washington. John had a Drpur, a ham sandwich and Linda had coffee and the leftovers from her fruit salad. Both had cheese sticks.
It was surprising to see so much flat farmland in this area. The fields looked lush and well cared for. There seemed to be more wheat and hay than anything else.

By 2:15 the old buzzards rolled into Wilbur, Washington and found their motel – The Willows. The room was not ready so there was time to go to see the reason Wilbur was chosen as today's destination. Quiz time: Do you know what is larger than the Great Pyramid of Egypt, able to hold back the force of a mighty river and more powerful than a million locomotives?  And is NOT a fictional superhero? It's the Grand Coulee Dam, our country's largest concrete dam and hydroelectric project. Constructed 70 years ago, it blocks the Columbia River, forming Lake Roosevelt, which extends 151 miles upstream to the Canadian border. It is as high as the Washington Monument. There is enough concrete in the structure to build a six-foot wide sidewalk around the world at the equator. Wouldn't that be handy? The old buzzards and Fannie enjoyed seeing the dam and were back in Wilbur by 4:30 to check into their lovely room at the charming Willows Motel.

A picturesque little spot in Wilbur, WA
 
Dinner at the Alibi
 
A really nice chef salad
 
The motel host recommended that we have dinner at The Alibi. It is a cute place in Downtown Wilbur. It is both a family restaurant AND a saloon. At 9:00pm, they throw out all the minors and the serious drinking begins. Linda commented to the server about how busy she was taking care of everybody by herself. She said, “Oh. I don't really work here, I'm just filling in. I drive a school bus and school's out.”  John and Linda both got the chef salad. John got mud pie for dessert and when the server set it down, she had brought two forks and John generously shared his delicious treat with Linda. Yummm! (John's comment - after 48 years, you learn!)

There are 106 images in today's photo gallery which you can view by clicking here.

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” by Ray Gilbert and Allie Wrubel (1945).Whee, it was a wonderful Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah day. The buzzards traveled from Montana, across the panhandle of Idaho and into Washington State. They really got to see a lot of territory. Very often today, it was the things they pulled off the road for, that ended up being the most interesting.

And, Linda came to the 365th song in Jumpin Jim's Daily Ukelele Songbook. As the neon sign in Whitefish, Montana said: “Yahoo!” Never fear, Linda brought another book, just in case she met her goal of going through the 365 songs before the end of the trip. Stay tuned . . .

Happy trails!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 17

Ever wonder why something costs so much more than seemingly similar items? After enjoying her raw bits twang twang, Linda tromped out to gather huckleberries with her camera, John and Fannie in tow.  John went along to shoot some macro shots of the huckleberries and some other flowers around the grounds. There were many more huck bushes than she estimated on yesterday's post. But, after picking for a while from the first two bushes, she brought Fannie (and John) back to help John process photos in the room. When the berries Linda had picked so far were put into a basket in the room, they barely covered the bottom – and it was a small basket! This time she took only her gathering bag since picking hucks requires using two hands at once (Fannie had not helped much since she was continually pulling on the leash to go towards more interesting-smelling paths). Ahh, progress! After about an hour's worth of gleaning, Linda had about three cups of huckleberries which were more than enough to fill the basket. And, she how understands why they are quite expensive at fruit stands (about $5 for a taster cup). But, oh, are they good! By then it was lunchtime so she was able to have huckleberries along with sliced apples, peanut butter and carrots. Yummers!

A clump of a few huckleberries before Linda got to them.

The Noxon Reservoir is really close to our motel and seems to be well-used by boaters, fisherpersons and swimmers. There is an access point with picnic/bbq areas, launch ramp and docks just outside the north end of Trout Creek. John  thinks that it would have been better if they had also named it after Mr. and/or Mrs. Wood so that it could have been the Noxon-Wood Reservoir. And Linda has the perfect tagline: “The Lake Where You Always Have Good Luck”.

We're sure you've heard of knotty pine, but have you ever heard of the KNOTTY Pine Saloon? There is probably one somewhere, but we went to the NAUGHTY Pine Saloon, which is one of about ten businesses in Trout Creek, Montana   (www.naughtypine.biz ). Oh, and as of the 2000 census, Trout Creek has a population of 261 people. John got a Bud Light and Linda ordered ginger ale but quickly changed her mind when she saw a sign for huckleberry slush. The buzzards had fun talking to some locals who advised them to go to Vermillion Falls and take a short walk to get to the Falls. They cheerfully provided directions. The lady to John's left said the trail was easy and that her mother has MS and had no trouble hiking to the falls. So the buzzards took their advice and set off on yet another adventure. Thus, did John end up picking the SONG O' THE DAY: “Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen” (an African-American Spiritual) from the Daily Ukelele Songbook. Only, as he sung it, he changed the word “Trouble” to “Bumpy Roads”. The  route he eventually took was as bumpy or bumpier than the Forest Road on the way to Heaven's Gate. Remember its name? The Seven Devils' Road! And, to add insult to the bumpiness, the old buzzards never did find Vermillion Falls OR the easy hike to get there. Those locals back at the Naughty Pine must still be laughing at the bumpy goose chase they sent the old buzzards on. But the bartender, Lorne, was very nice. He didn't even charge for Linda's huckleberry slush and he gave her a tank top from last year's annual Big Sky Blues Music Festival that the Naughty Pine Saloon puts on each year www.bigskyblues.com . PS: the old buzzards don't really think they were led astray on purpose. Both buzzards and their Fannie just seem to have a penchant for washboard roads. So far Wilma has held up fine, Noxon-Wood . . .

The Old Buzzards got their dinner from We Are the Branches right across Hwy 200 from the Trout Creek Motel and RV Park. There was outdoor or indoor service and they decided to roost indoors for their meal. Linda had a giant fresh fruit salad. It didn't come with dressing and it didn't need any dressing. There were cherries, watermelon, plums, nectarines, grapes and cantaloupe. John had a huckleberry milkshake and a "Carl's" Burger. The owners raise their own beef and it is Grade AAA+ certified at a USDA controlled packing plant. The very delicious Carl's burger comes with grilled jalapenos, Swiss cheese, grilled mushrooms, all the regular veggies, potato chips and is served on a homemade bun. The buzzards had the whole dining room to themselves which was nice since the chief cook and bottle washer was also the server and the salesperson for the antique store next door. She apologized for the service being slow but it was an interesting place with lots to see while waiting. And, the food was great and very inexpensive.

Linda went out and picked more huckleberries after dinner since she hardly made a dent on them this morning and there were several hours of daylight still left.

The photo gallery for today contains 34 images, none of which are of Linda picking huckleberries late into the evening. You can view the photo gallery by clicking here.

We are off to Wilbur, WA tomorrow for a night's stay at the Willow's Motel. Soon we'll be visiting Mt. Rainier National Park.

Happy trails.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 16

The Two Old Buzzards and Fannie Mae bid a fond adieu to Stumptown today and headed for Yaak. “Where's Stumptown and what's Yaak?” Stumptown is the nickname for Whitefish, Montana because that's the name the area was first called in the late 1800s. In 1901, when the Great Northern Railroad  started to build in the area, a lot of tree stumps had to be cleared away because of all the lumbering that had been going on  for several years. The railway was completed by 1904 and the area was then named Whitefish.

Back to Yaak. It is a tiny town (population 248) in northwestern Montana that we read about in “Off the Beaten Path Montana”. It is about 12 miles south of the Canada/USA border. The author described Yaak as being a great place for Road Warriors who enjoy visiting places seen by relatively few travelers. So it sounded like the perfect cup o' Road Kill for the old buzzards. Just think about it, not many places remaining in the contiguous forty-eight states can claim to be more off the beaten path than this isolated corner of the Big Sky State. The buzzards are proud to report that they found it and only got lost once. Heck, they got lost more than that finding their way in and out of Whitefish. You just can't always believe where those GPS devices tell you to turn. Today's adventures were mostly on Forest Service roads which were very good and the traffic was mostly nonexistant. On the way to the Forest Service roads, John made a u-turn for photos in Eureka. There were also some unusual business names. Would you go to Grizzly Eye Care? How about Potter's Field Lodge? Just down the road were the Grave Creek Cabins. Might your appetite take a dive if you arrived at the On the Fly restaurant? Got tension? Have a Moosage (see photo gallery for cute moose sign). A first for Linda was a huckleberry latte' which was so large it lasted for at least 50 miles. There were oodles of wildflowers as we got higher in elevation. It was easy to stop along the road to take photos.

The Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak was closed when we arrived but lunch was available across the street at the Yaak Saloon. John had a garlic herb chicken breast sandwich. Linda had a bean burger. It was described on the menu as being the perfect meal for bark eaters. They had a nice patio out back  with wooden booths. John got a Yaak t-shirt and bumper sticker next door at the Yaak Mercantile to prove to the world that he had found his way there. Linda got a postcard with a recipe for huckleberry pie and another one with Yaak photos.

South of Yaak there were signs for a scenic area leading to Kootenai Falls and a suspension bridge at a historical area. The old buzzards and Fannie were enjoying their hike and had just passed over the railroad tracks on a metal bridge leading to steps that were a part of the hike. They were metal steps that had large openings in the design – large enough for Fannie's paws to go right through so she wisely realized that she wanted nothing to do with proceeding. Since there were no volunteers to carry her to and from the suspension bridge and the falls, everyone made a u-turn and headed back.

The next scenic stop was more rewarding. A server at the Yaak Saloon had told John about Ross Creek Cedars which was easy to find. There was a 1/2 mile nature trail with lush ferns, lots of cedar trees from small to huge, various other pine and fir trees, streams, mosses, lichen and information placards to explain the inner workings of Mother Nature's handiwork. Below is a picture of Linda caught in between two huge cedar trees.

How about a little squeeze?

Our destination for today was Trout Creek, the huckleberry capitol of the Montana. They have had a huckleberry festival in August for the last 30 years or so. The old buzzards and Fannie Mae are staying at Trout Creek Motel and RV Park. Just a few minutes ago Fannie Mae and Linda went out for a stroll and, lo and behold, they came across at least 10 huckleberry bushes. Linda is going out tomorrow with her camera and a container for huckleberries.

Another nice motel. Clean and reasonable.

Linda got in lots of ukelele sight reading today and is now on songs that begin with the letter “T” in Jumpin Jim's Daily Ukelele. While she was on “Sing” by Joe Raposo (1971) John suggested that it would make a good SONG O' THE DAY”. You might remember Joe Raposo of Sesame Street fame. Here's a little of how it goes: “Sing! Sing a song. Sing out loud, sing out strong. Sing of good things, not bad; sing of happy, not sad. Sing! Sing a song. Make it simple to last your whole life long. Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. Sing! Sing a song!” You might say that this is Joe's version of “Dance Like Nobody's Watching” for singers and wanna-be singers.

It was a surprisingly busy photo day with a final count of 84 images. You can view the photo gallery by clicking here.

Happy trails!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 15

“Where are you hiking today?” asked a pleasant young man in the breakfast room this morning. It is Sunday and the old buzzards have been here a week now so were able to tell him about a four-mile hike he could take to Iceberg Lake, where there are actually icebergs floating in the lake. And John was sure to tell him about Johnson's Cafe in St. Mary which is a great place to stop on the way to the trail head. He had a charming French accent. When Linda asked where he was from he said “California". John asked, "Where in California?" He replied, "the Bay Area". And, of course, John asked, "Where in the Bay Area?" To which he said, "Palo Alto to be specific”. The old buzzards told him they live just south of him, in the Bay Area. Linda then answered his opening question: “I'm hiking to the laundry. Our 28-day trip is half over and we are out of clean clothes. Have fun on your hike and be careful.” (Someone died just off one of the trails Friday).

Fannie Mae and John stayed “home” and processed photos.

Cleaning your clothes at a laundromat tends to make you especially thankful to have a washer and dryer when at home. However, it was a nice, clean place with plenty of machines available so that all the loads could go in at once. There were nice rolling baskets and they probably had 100 magazines to choose from. Linda saw one cover that promised an article on 101 Ways To Be Happy. She is a sucker for this type of pap and picked it up, then wondered what magazine it was. In cleverly disguised letters at the top it said “Seventeen”. That's a magazine Linda read religiously from the ages of 13 to 18. She thought it would be interesting to take a look at “Seventeen” over 50 years later and see what's supposed to make teenage girls happy nowadays. But she got distracted by a stack of old “New Yorkers” and has not delved into teen-age happiness yet. Stay tuned . . .

It was past lunchtime when Linda returned from Laundry Land. John was ready for a short break from his photo fun so the old buzzards paused for nutrients. John had fruit and a cheese stick. Linda had her leftover salmon tacos from the Buffalo Grill.

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Seems Like Old Times” by John Jacob Loeb and Carmen Lombardo (1946) on page 204 of The Daily Ukelele. Linda has now made it to songs that begin with the letter “S”. It seems like old times to be preparing to pack up and leave tomorrow. It has been nice being here in Whitefish for seven nights. Linda even unpacked her bag into some drawers instead of her usual factual clichĂ©' of living out of a suitcase.

The restaurant we chose for out last night in Whitefish has gone to the dogs – The Bulldog Saloon & Grill. The building was constructed in 1903. A railroad doctor and surgeon had offices on the second floor. It was also used for boxing matches, a pool hall, card games (poker, pinochle, pan) and a meeting place for Masons and other fraternal organizations. During prohibition, as the Pastime Pool Hall, it  survived by selling everything from guns, fishing tackle, batteries and work gloves, to tobacco and cigars. There was even a soda fountain for teenagers following World War II. The building was known as The Pastime until the late 1970s and then was the Yeti's Den for a few years. The present owners purchased it in 1983 and renamed it the Bulldog Saloon in honor of the Whitefish Highschool mascot. Linda is sure the business would also be a hit in her hometown of Plainview, Texas where the bulldog is the mascot of their one and only high school. If she had only known, she could have packed her Geritol Bulldogs shirt. She is also a University of Georgia Bulldog from time served there in the 1970s. Back to the food. John had the Turkey Teaser (turkey, bacon, BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese) with fries. Linda had Huckleberry Byrd Salad (leaf lettuce, cabbage, chinese noodles, sliced almonds and chicken tenders tossed in huckleberry hot sauce). The Two Old Buzzards would give it a five arf rating. See more about this place at www.fart-slobber.com. (No kidding, that's their URL)

Great place. Good food. Loads of atmosphere! Visit their website.

After dinner, we made due note that Wilma was parked in front of the Red Caboose, a local frozen yogurt and coffee place. We often frequent FroYo in Morgan Hill.  Linda said, "I'm too full right now". John said, "OK, I'll have some yogurt and wait for you". Then, Linda noticed they had huckleberry yogurt. That did it. Game on. So, in we went. Linda got huckleberry, chocolate and mango. John limited himself to huckleberry and chocolate. In an earlier post, you might recall that one establishment refers to the mixture of huckleberry and chocolate as "bear poop". So, bear poop it was! To paraphrase Utah Phillips, "My God, that tastes like bear poop!  But, it's good"! Actually, the Utah Phillips story has to do with moose turd pie.

Scavenger hunt update: Team “The Old Buzzards” now has 19 of the 20 items for their entry in the San Jose Mercury News Road Trip Photo Scavenger Hunt Contest. They hope to have an agreeable (and hungry) policeman (in uniform) in their crosshairs within the next few days. Maybe the constable in Trout Creek?

There are 16 images in today's photo gallery. Most around the Cheap Sleep Motel and, of course, dinner at the Bulldog Saloon. You can view them by clicking here.

Happy trails!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 14

The old buzzards did not set an alarm clock for this morning but the Fannie Mae alarm went off at 4:50am so she and Linda strolled the parking lot and environs for a while until Mother Nature's call was fulfilled. Everybody slept well after that and arose from their slumbers at 7:40 for breakfast. It was a Kirkland frozen waffle with faux Jif (Skippy in a Jif jar) for John along with some Frosted Mini Wheats and a Svenhard's Bear Claw. It was raw bits twang twang (RBTT) for Linda. Fannie Mae had her usual mix of adult small Costco doggie bits and diet Beneficial (Dr. Rick put her on a diet after noticing that she had gotten  pudgy). Our term is "sausage with toothpick legs".

After breakfast John processed photos and Linda got a self-inflicted haircut. Later she mentioned her DIY haircut to John who said “Thank God, I saw the wastebasket and I thought you were losing your hair!” When he is working on photos he is pretty oblivious to everything except what is on his screen. But the results are worth it. And Linda's haircut wasn't half bad either. And the price was right.

Lunch today was fruit – grapes, plums and nectarines.

While out for an afternoon stroll, Fannie and Linda paused at a table at the almost empty Taco John's down the way from Cheap Sleep. One of their workers pulled up. Linda thought the lady was going to ask them to leave but instead she went in and got Fannie a doggy treat, came back out and visited for awhile. This Taco John's whole crew walked out last week and this lady was dispatched from Kalispell to get the tacos tocking. Her experience is that it is hard to find people in Whitefish who want to work. At least they don't want to work at Safeway (another walkout story) or Taco John's. The lady has been putting in so many 12-hour days that she hasn't been able to get out to pick huckleberries and the season will soon be over. They are only found in the wild. No one has successfully been able to grow them commercially. She said they are getting more scarce all the times because commercial pickers come in with machines that tear out the whole bush and shake off the berries. Linda remembers well the first time she had huckleberries. It was in the early 1960s in Washington State at her favorite aunt and uncle's place by a lake. There were huckleberry bushes galore. Linda picked and picked and munched and munched. With what berries she brought back her Aunt Jean made huckleberry pancakes. Yumm! Before that summer Linda had never known there were huckleberries, other than Huckleberry Hound and Huckleberry Finn.

Dinner was at LouLa's (the owners are Lou and Laura)in downtown Whitefish. The building was a Masonic Lodge for many years, then a community center and now is a very nice eatery with photos and paintings that depict many of the wonders of this area. John had the stuff-your-own burger. He chose bleu cheese for the inside and jalapenos, roasted garlic and bacon for his toppers. It came with waffle fries. Linda had shrimp and sausage gumbo. It was not as good as the gumbo at the Tupelo Grill but it was good (even without okra).

Later in the evening the old buzzards and Fannie went to Whitefish Lake to take photos of the sunset. There were boats and skiers and paddle boarders in the lake and swimmers near the shore. It was easy to tell that this community really enjoys their lake. By the time John finished shooting the sunset (137 images) the crescent moon was far up in the sky to the south. It was around 9:50 and still quite light outside. The moon was very visible and had a silvery cast. In eight more days (Sunday, July 22) it will be a full moon.

Below is one of the sunset shots John took at Whitefish Lake. We'll put the final ones after culling through the 137 images in its own photo gallery.

Two paddle boarders enjoy Whitefish Lake as the sun goes down

Speaking of photo gallery. Today's has but 20 images and includes our farewell to the Cheap Sleep Motel. You can view the gallery by clicking here.

Tomorrow will be consumed with laundry, photo processing and packing up to leave. Next stopover is a two-night stay at the Trout Creek Motel in Trout Creek, Montana beginning Monday night, July 15.

The SONG O' THE DAY is “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” by Ed Madde and Gus Edwards (1906) from page 43 in the Daily Ukelele Songbook (365 Songs for Better Living).

Happy trails!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 13

The Old Buzzards decided to do something different today which was to NOT go into Glacier National Park. They've been passing by lots of interesting-looking “stuff” on their way to and from the park for the last four days so this day was devoted to going in and out of several places. You will see some of the sights we saw – the old, the remember these? and the oh, my goodness! – in our photo gallery when we get around to creating the one for today. Thank you for your patience!

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Don't Worry, Be Happy” by Bobbie McFerrin (1988) from page 70-71 of The Daily Ukelele (compiled and arranged by Jim Beloff). You may not have thought of McFerren in years but his song is one of those ear worms that can stay with you for days, and, with its cheery message, that's not all bad. Linda was very merry that it only has three chords so she could concentrate on switching around among whistling, singing, talking humming, strumming and chording. It could be the theme for this whole road trip or for life, if one were able to somehow pack up all their cares and woes, singin' low, oops, slipped into another song. Here's just a Bit o' Honey from McFerrin to get your ear worm tuned up: (Whistle then sing) “Here's a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note, don't worry, be happy. In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double. Don't worry, be happy.” (Talk, hum, sing). “Don't worry be happy now.” Spoken: “Here, I give you my phone number. When you worry, call me, I make you happy”, etc . . . 

Chain saw art is big in Montana but the old buzzards saw designs they never could have imagined by an artist named David at his place along the highway. It was hard to resist all the trolls, bears, Bigfoot(s?), moose, eagles, mushrooms, benches and trees carved out of cedar and pine but their sizes and prices made resistance a little stronger. Linda only adopted two pieces who are following her home.

Here's an image of someone with their head up their butt
and a nice chainsaw carving as well!

The Eagle's Roost Antiques was much larger than it appeared from the outside. Linda was fascinated by a sofa and  easy chair made of elk antlers. John referred to them as "a liability waiting to happen". Though he thought they were really neat. Another place, Station Number Eight was actually a train depot in Columbia Falls, MT. It is now The Shops at Station 8, where John found a metal yellow bird house he just knew Linda would love. He was correct. It will have a special place in her Secret Garden. At the last antique/junk place where we stopped, the owners had adopted a miniature schnauzer. Didn't have time for Fannie to make friends with "Missy", but here she is....

Missy the Mini-Schnauzer

Now a history lesson: The severe 1900-01 winter left two freight horses lost and starving in the rugged Flathead River wilderness. Found a month later, their owners nursed them back to health. “Hungry Horse” became the name of a nearby mountain and creek and, later, a Reclamation project. At the small community of Hungry Horse, a turn off takes you to Hungry Horse Dam and Lake. The dam enables the reservoir to capture spring runoff to reduce flood damage in Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. It also provides recreation and electricity. Hungry Horse Reservoir has even more shoreline than the Dworshak Reservoir we visited near Orofino, ID.

After stopping at the fruit stand near the Dew Drop Inn (can you say 'cliche'?) where the huckleberries were frozen and the prices were humongous, the old buzzards made a U-turn and stopped for lunch at Willows Huckland, near Columbia Falls. John had a slice of huckleberry pie and Linda had a bear poop milkshake (huckleberries and chocolate). Bear poop was actually very good. Whoda thunkit?

The agenda then called for filling Wilma with gas and get the cooler equipped with a fresh block of ice.

Back at the Cheap Sleep, John spent some of the afternoon processing photos. Linda is pretty sure he's taken up sewing. He has taken several panoramas at the park and says he is "stitching" them together with the magic of PhotoShop and LightRoom.

The Pin and Cue Bowling Alley down the street has a restaurant of some fame so it was chosen for dinner. John had salad and hamburger steak with grilled onions and baked potato. Linda had a veggie salad with toasted sesame dressing and salsa. The service and food were both a strike (NOT strike out). The restaurant is on one end of the bowling alley and the Rock and Bowl lounge is on the other end.

So ends July 12, 2013, Day 13 on this Road Trip. It is almost half over and the Two Old Buzzards have packed a lot into those 13 days. It has been great fun and there are even more adventures and photos to follow . . .

The photo backlog has been reduced and you can view the 66 images in today's photo gallery by clicking here.

Happy trails!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 12

The Buzzards and their trusty canine companion, Fannie Mae, were off to Glacier National Park by 7:45 am and even before pulling out of the motel parking lot they spotted a deer across the busy street. She was oblivious to the vehicles rushing by and seemed intent on munching on leaves in some poplar trees. Look closely at her very full right cheek when you see the photo.

While getting ready to leave the motel room John spotted the bedside table that Linda had made for herself out of two luggage holders. “Very clever” he commented. “I think I'll shoot it”. “Just let me tidy it up” Linda called out from the other room. “No way, that would ruin it” answered John as he proudly snapped his first photo of the day.

John got his wish. He was hoping for a variety of weather during the road trip. Today started out with dark clouds and no sunshine and by the time it cleared up there were beautiful white puffy clouds to compliment the blue sky and beautiful features of the park.

The intention for today was to drive over the Going-to-the-Sun Road to get to a part of the park had not visited yet and hike to a lake that has some glaciers in it. But both old buzzards had so much fun with animal sightings and noticing things they somehow missed yesterday. Also, there were those dreamy creamy puffy clouds that add a lot to a landscape photo. Linda had noticed a small patch of bear grass which has beautiful flowers. We first saw it on our unpaved road drive up to Heaven's Gate in Idaho. So, she had the patch pretty well pinpointed as to location and we found it. Why did we want to find it? Photo Scavenger Hunt: Exotic flower or plant. The idea was for Linda to lay down (exotically) among the bear grass. It was on a steep slope with a path going up the slope (probably goat or sheep path). The path was covered with little bits of rock and shale. Pretty slippery. After taking the photos, John got down the hill before Linda and took a little video of part of her descent. It's below....

Linda, definitely NOT part mountain goat

Having traversed the park from west to east, it was nearing lunchtime as the buzzards left the park for St. Mary and the Johnson Cafe. They found a place in the shade for Fannie and Wilma, so lunch was inside today. John got a Glacier chicken club sandwich and Linda got a Huge Hugo sandwich (grilled veggies on homemade bread). Both had a bowl of their homemade bean soup. Everything was beautiful and delicious. This is the family's 63rd season. The restaurant has interesting decorations. The checked tablecloths have glass tops underneath which are old family photos and pages out of the guest sign-in sheet from way back when to the present. For more info about this interesting family and their businesses you can go to www.johnsonsofstmary.com.

To get back into the park the old buzzards and Fannie used roads in the Blackfoot Reservation and re-entered the park at Many Glacier. Wildflowers were in profusion in many areas along the way, as were other beautiful touches of nature. It is a place you should really put on your bucket list (except for you, Rusty, unless you already forgot that you came here last year). There were warning signs in the Many Glacier regions that warned against feeding the big horn sheep. John remarked “First I will have to find some sheep”.

Well, we didn't find any big horn sheep to not feed, but ahead of us, there was a bit of a traffic jam. People pointing their cameras and binoculars off into the distance. Being great tourists, we pulled off the road (well, mostly off the road) to see what was going on. There was a huge bull moose standing in a pond about 200 yards off the roadway. Both of us were able to get some shots of the moose.

We gleefully went the rest of the way into the Many Glacier area (it's only 12 miles deep as far as the road goes). We passed the Many Glacier Lodge, a beautiful resort on a small lake, and reached the turnaround which happens to be at the trailhead for Iceberg Lake. Alas, it was too late in the day to make the 4.1 mile hike (one way). So, we turned Wilma around and headed back home.

Now that you are experts at this, you know what it means when we say there was major traffic congestion just ahead of us and people gawking and pointing their cameras. So, we finessed a parking spot (mostly off the road) and walked to see what was going on. There was a grizzly bear in a meadow and it was only about 150 yards off the road. First standing, then lying down. It was a great sight. John cranked on his camera's high speed continuous mode and started firing away. Between the two of us, we got some decent shots. They will be in the photo gallery when we get it done. We are a bit behind right now.

Huckleberry pie and huckleberry licorice were obtained on the trip back to Whitefish. After perusing the local menus in a notebook at the motel, the old buzzards decided on dinner at the Tupelo Grille (www.tupelogrille.com). John had the Zydeco Combination (shrimp, dirty rice, crawfish, crab, catfish, jambalaya and corn cake). Linda had Loosiana (their spelling) Gumbo (chicken, duck, Andouille sausage). The restaurant had an authentic feeling of jen-u-wine Southern cuisine. Everything tasted SO good. Before placing her order, Linda inquired as to whether the gumbo included okra (normally a strict requirement). “No, you are in Montana” the server replied. Linda only thought of her “shoulda said” about five minutes later in which she “woulda said” this: “Well, you manage to get crawfish to Montana, you should be able to get okra for gumbo in Montana”. It turned out to be some of the best gumbo Linda has ever had – in Louisiana or anywhere (with or without okra)! The cook who started the restaurant is from Tupelo, Mississippi, thus the restaurant name.

An evening adventure was a quest to check off another item on the San Jose Mercury News photo scavenger hunt – a neon sign at night. The Great Northern Brewing Company (www.greatnorthernbrewing.com) had a cowboy (on a horse) saying “Yahoo!” so that filled the bill. The tricky part was that the cowboy was about 15 feet up on a brick wall and John had to figure out how to get Linda into the photo. It was still twilight outside but 9:45pm should be counted as nighttime, at least on Planet Buzzard.

Back at the Cheap Sleep, the buzzards shared their piece of huckleberry pie. Which brings us to the SONG O' THE DAY: Moon River on page 163 of The Daily Ukelele by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini (1961). Parts are very reminiscent of The Two Old Buzzards: “Two drifters off to see the world, there's such a lot of world to see. We're after the same rainbow's end – waitin' round the bend, my HUCKLEBERRY friend, Moon River and me.”

There are 97 images in today's photo gallery including the bull moose and grizzly bear. Hope you enjoy them by clicking here.

Happy trails!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 11

The Two Old Buzzards got an earlier start today after having their continental breakfast at the Cheap Sleep with some nice people from Arkansas and Ohio. Linda had carrot juice and raw bits twang twang. John had Shredded Wheat and a Svenhardt pastry. Both had the excellent coffee.

Getting to the park before 9:00 was a great idea. It was less crowded by far. But even later at the peak of traffic at Logan's Pass, it was nothing like Yellowstone (skirt season). And the congestion problem is 98% less than at Yosemite. Most of today was spent on the Going to the Sun Road which takes you completely through the park (road runs east-west) and past the park's largest lake which is McDonald Lake. There were many streams, waterfalls, glaciers and wildflowers. The old buzzards also saw a few wild animals. There was a coyote that seemed to enjoy loping along first on one side of the road and then crossing over to the other. His contract must specify giving equal opportunity to photographers on both sides of the street. Also viewed today were mountain goats (see photo contest below), a robin, an otter and a duckling. The duckling was gradually making his way down the edge of a river where the rapids were very swift. Tourists were cheering for the little guy from the viewing platform about 50 feet above the water. The McDonald Lodge has a beautiful view of the lake. Linda was taking a photo of the lake when she noticed something swimming towards her. As it came closer she could tell that it was a river otter.

Photo contest (between Linda and John)....which of the two photos of mountain goats do you like the best..... top or bottom???




OK, now on with the days activities. Roaming around the lodge area, John and Linda came to a building labeled Reading Room. It was a beautiful place with leather chairs and sofas and books and cookies. Alas, no on was in reading in the Reading Room. Then, just outside we spied a young couple walking toward the lodge. They had to walk right past us. Linda did a marvelous job of getting them to volunteer to be our reader(s) for our Photo Scavengter Hunt item. They were a friendly young couple from Indiana. That provided another one of the items on the Mercury News  Scavenger Hunt. Fannie Mae stayed in Wilma while the buzzards were exploring the hotel. When they returned it appeared as if she had found a napkin to shred (a favorite activity on Planet Fannie). Then Linda noticed a blue stain and remembered that there had been a blueberry muffin wrapped in a napkin and tucked into one of the cup holders. So Fannie had just as good a time in the parking lot as the buzzards had at McDonald Lodge. Her new nickname is Muffin. While inside the lodge in the rest area, Linda was accosted by a lady who really wanted her hat (it shades your whole head and your neck too). “Oh, I got it at Costco” Linda cheerily told her. “Well, there's no Costco here and I need it now” she whined. She just had a dinky visor held on by an elastic band and must have been on one of the tour buses that are open on the top in nice weather like today. So Linda generously gave away her nice pink hooded hat and has a new best friend. Oops, I guess that story won't be too believable when that pink hat keeps showing up in future photos. Oh, well, Linda could have had another star in her crown and blew it.  Way to pay it forward, Buzzard #1!

Right about noon (still on Going-to-the-Sun Road) the old buzzards came to the St. Mary entrance on the east side of the park. They left through that entrance and went to the little town of St. Mary for lunch at Johnson Cafe which was highly recommended by our Ohio breakfast companion. It was 78 degrees and there was no shade in which to park the buzzards' Fannie, so John went in to get huckleberry pie to go. When he came out he said “It was so big, I just got one piece and it is huckleberry ice cream pie so we need to eat it now.” No problem. With the windows rolled down we had a nice breeze and did exactly what Marie Callender always advised: “Eat dessert first”. It was yummy and refreshing and ended up being our entire lunchtime meal, graham cracker crust and all!

After re-entering the park, the trip back had fewer stops than this morning and the old buzzards and their Fannie were back at the Cheap Sleep by 3:30 to look at their treasure trove of today's photos. Speaking of Cheap, it's a good thing that film is so cheap nowadays!

Dinner was at Buffalo Grill again. No Hot Date (sandwich) for John this time. He had the "Snow Ghost" a broiled chicken sandwich on a Kaiser roll with blue cheese and crunchy onion strings. And it came with beer-battered French fries. Linda had "Sweet Chili Salmon Tacos" with that special secret purple sauce and rice and black beans.

After dinner it was time to stop at Safeway for gas and milk and ice before going home for the evening.

The SONG O' THE DAY is I'll Follow the Sun by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (1964) . It's on page 122 in The Daily Ukelele Songbook.


It seemed the obvious choice since we were on the Going-to-the-Sun Road for almost all our time in the park today. There was so much spectacular scenery that Linda did not make it past songs that begin with the letter “M” yet.  It was pretty much a two or three song day. But that's not a bad thing. She seems to be in no danger of losing the callouses that have been building up on the finger tips of her left hand ever since Fearless Leader Jo started our AAUkeW interest group in January.

It has certainly been a wonderful Road Trip so far and we welcome any comments you would care to make: the good, the bad and the wiggly.

The photo gallery for today has 117 images and can be viewed by clicking here.

Happy trails!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 10

The Two Old Buzzards and Fannie Mae went on an exploratory trip to Glacier National Park today to sort of get the lay of the land. They took their time getting up and about, so did not arrive at the West Entrance until around 9:30am. They went into the Apgar Visitor Center to stamp their passport, get a pin and talk to one of the rangers. They decided to explore a mostly unpaved road (Camus). Yes, even in a National Park the Two Old Buzzards managed to soon make their way to the unpaved roads . There were beautiful views of trees, mountains, puffy clouds, snow, wildflowers, old buildings and rivers. They saw  three deer, a squirrel, a dead skunk in the middle of the road (sounds like a good song title) and had some up close and personal contact with a few mosquitoes.


The Two Old Buzzards found both fauna and flora on today's
drive in and around Glacier National Park

By noon, the buzzard pair and Fannie had reached Polebridge which is a tiny Montana community outside the park. They stopped (as instructed by “Off the Beaten Path Montana” book) at Polebridge Mercantile and had a picnic lunch under some nice shady trees. Out back of the store was an air-conditioned outhouse (it had windows open to the sky) that you will see photos of in the gallery. There is a bakery in the mercantile. They are famous for their cinnamon buns but there were lots of other chocolaty and yeasty treats as well. It is next door to the Northern Lights Saloon and Cafe. It was not open for the day yet but Linda took photos of some old signs there.

The return from the park was on the same road (only one way in and one way out). They stopped to photo some giant reddish/orangish poppies that were the largest Linda had ever seen. The insides were a very interesting shape and were purple. Linda is going to cut the poppy pod to see if she can extract some kind of opiate.

They stopped at Huckville to try a slice of huckleberry pie but staffing was short-handed (literally) and the chief cook and bottle washer was having trouble grilling a hamburger. The grill was outside of what must have once been a drive through window and she had to stick her top half outside to tend to the grill, which must not have been cooperating. It was a pretty unusual arrangement (and sort of funny if you weren't her). Meanwhile there were other people in line in front of us so it seemed prudent to hold off on the huckleberries until tomorrow. Linda has her eye on some special socks John spotted for her while in line.

Back home in Whitefish John and Linda explored three stores in the vicinity of the Cheap Sleep Motel. There is an Army Navy store that has everything from dried food to bandannas and other doomsday prep items. Linda got a bandanna. John found a cable we needed at Radio Shack and we scoped out the Chinese Wall Restaurant.

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Let the Rest of the World Go By” by J. Keirn Bremman and Ernest Ball from The Daily Ukelele Songbook. It goes with the restful day. Some of the phrases in it are “where the west winds call”, “across the great divide”, “perfect peace” and “a kindly sky”. The great divide is also known as the continental divide and it DOES just HAPPEN to run through Glacier Park. Gene Autry was one of the first to record “Let the Rest of the World Go By”. Some others who did so later were Ringo Starr, Connie Francis, Pat Boone and that good old sausage makin' Plainview, TX boy Jimmy Dean. Linda is now up to Moon River (yikes, 12 different chords) on page 163. After several more songs beginning with the letter “M”, she will be approximately halfway through the book's 365 songs.

The old buzzards walked to the China Wall Restaurant for dinner. It was too close to bother with flying. John had the house special which was a combo of lo mein and crunchy noodles stir fried with vegies, beef, chicken, pork and shrimp with China Wall special sauce. Linda had oyster sauce chicken with baby corn, carrots, green peppers, snow peas, straw mushrooms and water chestnuts. While waiting for their meals they studied the Chinese Zodiac on the  place mats. John was born in 1944, the year of the monkey. Therefore he is very intelligent and is able to influence people (OK, some people). Linda (1943)  was born in the year of the sheep and thus is elegant and creative. Both the Monkey Buzzard and the Sheep Buzzard enjoyed their choices. The Monkey Buzzard's fortune said that his nurturing instinct will expand to include many people (can you say founder of Friends of the Morgan Hill Senior Center?). The Sheep Buzzard's fortune said that she should use her charm and personality to obtain her wishes (good luck with that). And there were two Chinese kisses (well, really Hershey kisses) on the plate with the fortune cookies. John said he was glad we hadn't eaten in a French restaurant.

There are 57 images in today's photo gallery which can be viewed by clicking here.

And so another lovely day comes to an end as the two old buzzards and their Fannie let the rest of the world go by.

Happy trails!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 09

Riddle: What seems to happen the day after you go through the car wash? Easy one. You all had the answer. Yes, it rains. But that's OK. Actually, it was a rather large thunderstorm that came through Missoula early this morning. It did not dampen our day and we were never in downpours during the time that we had to be out of Wilma.

We were packed and on our way for breakfast at Cracker Barrel by 8am and out of there by 8:45. Linda had a yogurt parfait with granola and giant blackberries. It came with a giant blueberry muffin. She had to get a to go cup for her grapefruit juice because it was icey like a slushy. It was good, just hard to drink until it melted. John had eggs, bacon, grits and biscuits.

Remember Valomilks? That was a favorite lunchtime treat in junior high and now they come in a dark chocolate. Something looking very much like them is called Boyer Dark Chocolate Mallo Cups. When we went back out through the store part of Cracker Barrel we got one and also another two-parter: Anastasia's Key Lime Coconut Patties (dipped in dark chocolate). We will both have to be very good at dinner to deserve those treats!

Next we went to Starbucks and it was so crowded they were taking last names instead of just first names. John decided to have some fun with the perky blonde cashier. She asked, "What's your last name?" John replied, "My last name is Fudpucker and please don't misspell it”. She said “How about if I just call you Fud?” So Old Buzzard #2 now has another nickname. Take note Spunky.

We were out of town and onto Highway 93 headed north by 9:08.

We turned off onto Highway 200 to go to the National Bison Range. The National Bison Range was started by Teddy Roosevelt in 1905. He asked congress to appropriate the funds to establish the range in order to save the now nearly extinct bison. It was the first time in history that congress appropriated funds to  protect wildlife.

Enough history. By 10:00 we got to their very nice visitor center. On display was a stuffed buffalo and Linda got her passport stamped. She also got a white buffalo pin for her hat. It had stopped raining so we took  the Red Sleepy Mountain Drive. This is a 19 mile loop that takes about two hours to navigate. We were hoping to see some buffalo (which are actually supposed to be called bison because they aren't technically buffalo). Okay, another lesson. Buffalo are found in Asia and Africa (water buffalo, cape buffalo, etc) and are in the genus bubulas and genus syncerus, respectively. The American bison is in the genus bison. Today there are three types of bison still living, the plains, woods and wisent bison. See, that was really easy.

We drove on a dirt road for about 20 minutes and finally saw a truck stopped to see a buffalo (that's what we are going to call them, OK? -- Note: John protests, but knuckles under.) John got a shot of it before it loped off into the trees. About five minutes later we spotted another one but he was mostly behind some trees and when he moved where we could see him better he just had his butt towards us. Nevertheless, we were enjoying the pretty green scenery of the trees and the hills. And we thought that maybe lots of the buffalo had Mondays for their day off. Then we came across a lone buffalo very near the road who was slow-moving and very photographable. He tired of us and quickly climbed up the side of the road. We were both so happy to have gotten to see a buffalo up so close. And just as we were speculating that we were going to just see lone buffaloes today, we rounded another turn in the twisty road and there was a whole herd of buffalo to the right side of the road and all the way down to the river. Having just crossed the river, they were headed (slowly) towards the road in front of us and crossed it while we were able to get lots of photos and to enjoy seeing them up very closely without being in any danger while safely inside Wilma. We both got lots of photos of bulls, cows and calves. There were calves nursing and adults taking occasional dirt baths. In talking with one of the staff later, this year was a record year for the number of calves born. And, there are about 450 head of bison on the range at this location.


Bison calf nursing

Too bad about already using “Home on the Range” for Song o' the Day two days or so ago. We saw more buffalo roaming today than in our four or five days at Yellowstone last fall. At least it seemed that way. So today's song is “In the Good Old Summertime by Ken Shields and George Evans”. Linda finally made it past all the many songs starting with the letter “I” and will take up tomorrow on page 151 with “Lime House Blues”. John would have preferred "Buffalo Gal".

Our trip on Red Sleep Mountain Drive had taken us two hours and as it was 12 noon we found our way to the picnic grounds that are a part of the bison range. For lunch we had leftover pizza that had been taken from the cooler and briefly warmed on the dashboard. Beverages were a Drpur for John and carrot juice for Linda.

Once we got back on the Highway 93 we stopped briefly (in Polson, MT) at the Miracle of America Museum of 150,000 or so oddities. We took a few photos outside but could not go in and leave Fannie Mae in the van since it was 78 degrees outside and who knows how long it would have taken Linda to look at even 150 oddities? (John knows, but he's keeping quiet!)

Soon we passed through the picturesque town of Kalispell, MT and arrived at our destination for the next week – Whitefish, MT – at around 3:00pm. We had been curious about our accommodations because of the name which is Cheap Sleep Motel but it is very nice and cute and clean. Their motto is “We love old timers, pets and good coffee”.

Dinner was at The Buffalo Cafe. We had a pretty cute server and once we had settled at our table and gotten menus and drinks, John asked her for a "hot date". Actually that was a menu item which was a burger with dates, blue cheese, and aioli on a kaiser roll. However, they let you substitute a chicken breast for any burger, and that's what John did. And, it came with beer-battered French fries. Linda had a hot veggie salad (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sunflower seeds and raw spinach leaves) served with secret dressing. Both were yummy and we may go there again. Linda spotted some salmon tacos that have her name on them.

There are 95 images in today's photo gallery. And, as you might expect, many of them include bison. You can view the gallery by clicking here.

Happy trails!