Treasure Hunting and other Summer Stuff

We started off in the RV the beginning of June with plans to treasure hunt for Forrest Fenn’s treasure, visit our new great-grandson, attend a Tiffin rally and spend time on a dude ranch with the family. Alex, my step-son and Zoe, his finance, accompanied us on the first part of the trip. We managed to accomplish all that and more.

Our first stop was in Salt Lake City to visit our grandson, Kody, and his family, particularly the newest member of the family, our great-grandson. We are so fortunate to have them all in our lives! We stayed at the Salt Lake City KOA and it was very convenient.

The next stop was the dude ranch I had picked out, Gros Ventre River Ranch, near Jackson Hole, WY, with spectacular views of the Tetons. We met the rest of the family there and what a fabulous place it turned out to be. Besides looking at the stunning views, we went horseback riding, fishing and just had a spectacular time. This is a place for a once in a lifetime trip. We made such great memories and it could not have been a more beautiful place with the best staff we have ever encountered! Oh yes, Thanks to King and Kristen, we had a few Moscow Mules.



Next, continuing our five year long search for “The Thrill of the Chase” treasure, we parked at Hebgen Lake near West Yellowstone. As usual, I felt I knew just where the treasure was, so we spent two whole days looking for it. We mostly looked along the Madison river just below Hebgen Lake. If you know the poem with the clues … I decided that “begin where warm waters halt” was the entrance to Yellowstone, only going out, not in. We began there and then “put in” below the house of brown. (Hebgen Lake full of brown trout) Needless to say, we did not find “the blaze”, which will point you to the treasure. We might have missed it by not crossing the Madison and looking where a lot of big rocks are beneath a white “blaze” in the mountain above. (See photo!) Of course the girls, Gypsy and Bella led the pack and we had a fabulous time looking. We even went to Ghost Road and then Quake Lake, where an earthquake moved mountains and buildings  on August 17, 1959. It measured 7.5 on the Richter scale and killed 28 people. You can still see cabins that were moved to the river along Ghost Road. IMG_3963

The next day we looked just outside the West gate. Following “the canyon down – Canyon Street”, we put in just below the museum of bears and wolves “house of brown” and looked for a blaze. We saw a radio tower and headed for it. Again … no luck, but then that would have been too easy.IMG_3985

Off to the Tiffin Rally in Gillette Wyoming, where we met a lot of great people, particularly the group from the “Lucky Seven”. During the rally, we took a day trip to Devil’s Tower with new friends of ours, Stuart and Delores. You might remember Devils Tower from “Close Encounters of a Third Kind”. There is a 1.3 mile path around it which makes a great little hike. After that, we saw a sign for Sundance and decided to check it out. It is a very small town and one of the main attractions is a statue of the Sundance Kid, sitting on a bench in front of the jail. Couldn’t resist the obligatory photo! Robert Redford just missed us!


When the rally was finished, we decided to take a different way home and see Crazy Horse Monument. It is very near Mt. Rushmore and is actually larger, with a wonderful museum displaying beautiful Indian artifacts, clothing and art. There is lots of parking, so we just parked the RV and tow car in the lot. It was a good thing we got there early though, as it was crowed when we left around noon. Charge for the monument was $11.00 per person and parking was free.

The long road home took us through a bit of Nebraska and a lot of Colorado. Eastern Colorado has some of the worst roads we have encountered, but the road through western Colorado was stunning. All and all, it was a jam-packed fun month!!



Elk were often seen in the evening.


Totem in Jasper

The RV parks in Canada Parks are crowded, so we decided to stay just outside Jasper National Park in Hinton at a lovely KOA. We arrived early and took a walk at nearby Beaver Boardwalk. The boardwalk is a marshy area where you traverse the marsh on boardwalks, built by the local lumber company and volunteers. As we arrived, there was a quartet playing music out in the marsh. Can you imagine that? We walked over about a half mile of boardwalk, but did not see a beaver just their houses. I guess everyone went to bed early that night after the concert.

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The next day was filled with Jasper and its beautiful and unique areas. Pyramid Lake is a jewel in the mountains, perfect for kayaking and canoeing with its clear calm waters. Athabasca Falls is a thunderous waterfall with a walkway around it for viewing. It can take your breath away.

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Loaded for Bear!

Our last foray of the day was a 2.5 Km hike to the Five Lakes Valley. These lakes are known for their vibrant blue / green color and they did not disappoint us. The color was magnificent. The forest around them was dark green and filled with birds, squirrels and bears. The hike was moderate and I was all tired out until the very end, when we met up with a group of ladies just finishing their hike too… and one of them was 84. They have been making the hike every year. Was I embarrassed!

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On the way to Banff and Lake Louise we drove through the Icefield Parkway, which is just one stunning glacier shrouded mountain after another, and each more beautiful than the last.

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We camped at Tunnel Mountain Provincial Trailer Camping area in Banff, and were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it was. The first afternoon we toured the elegant Banff Springs Hotel, which is now owned by Fairmont.   I was afraid it would not be as lovely as I remembered, but it was even more beautiful. However, the number of visitors had multiplied by thousands, and I mean thousands.

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We still had a few hours of daylight, so we drove to Bow Falls, which was stunning, and then to the Bow River Lookout to see the Hoodoos. I couldn’t help but think of the outstanding hoodoos in Bryce Canyon.

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Our aim was to see Lake Louise and surrounding area the next day. We started out at the Lake Louise Chateau and found that parking was a momentous problem even in the Honda Fit. To say parking was limited would be an understatement. The number of tourists was unbelievable. Cars, trucks and RVs and busses full. The lake and the Chateau were as magnificent as I remembered, and we were able to take a hike along side of the lake for about 1.5 Km. We were blessed with clear skies and sunshine. The color of the lake was opaque blue; the surrounding mountains varied colors of green, and grey.


Roof top view from the Chateau Lake Louise


View of Chateau Lake Louise from trail around the lake.

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From there we went to beautiful Moraine Lake and found the same parking problems. The color of the lakes comes from the rock sediment of the glaciers that feed the lakes, from which all the colors are reflected but blue, which gives them their indescribably beautiful blue color. We were able to hike along this lake too.

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On our way home we decided to take the 1A scenic loop. We couldn’t have made a better decision. We left the maddening crowds behind and had the road almost to ourselves, bringing back memories of Alaska.The route had many little stops where you could look over beautiful rivers or hike down trails.   We stopped at Johnston Falls and took the trail to the lower falls. (A little over ½ mile.) The hard part was the dogs were afraid of the narrow bridges over the canyons, so they had to be carried over the bridges. The good news was, I was so worried about them, I didn’t have trouble with the height myself. The falls were spectacular. The water curses through the canyon with such vengeance it carves out the canyon, leaving layers of multicolored sediment on the walls. It was a spectacular hike.

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We were famished by then and it was almost seven at night, so we ate a lovely dinner at the small restaurant at the bottom of the falls. Later as dusk settled, we saw buck elk in the meadow and even got a glimpse of a huge black bear.   It could not have been a better day and we counted our blessings once again.

On our last day in Banff National Park we awoke to gray skies and rain. We had planned to take a float trip on the Bow River, so we hoped for the skies to clear and they did. The float trip was serene and relaxing until the end when the rain started again. To make up for that, Lennard took me to the Banff Springs Hotel for a lovely lunch in the upper grill room, and we had a table looking out at the river and mountains.

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At the end of this last day, we drove to the Vermillion lakes. We hoped to see the sunset turn the lakes vermillion, but the clouds came and it rained off and on. We were able to hike a bit and then sat on a bench to watch the birds on the marsh and the colors of the lake change by the minute. No, they weren’t vermillion, but they were beautiful shades of blue, grey and gold. We even saw a rainbow over the famous Mount Rundle.


Tomorrow we head back into the US and will be ecstatic to have our phones back and the internet. It has been problematic trying to get a few things done without our usual services. We are also looking forward to meeting up with our friends Jan and Tim, and Lennard’s former neighbors and good friends, Tom and Joanne. It will be a nice peaceful time before we begin our trip across the US to the east coast. Yes, we are still talking to each other and have not yet resorted to the boxing gloves.

Moving up the OregonCoast


After a wonderful visit with my brother and sister-in-law, we headed over to the 101 via the 20. Oops, a little winding and narrow and harrowing.  We managed to get up the coast to the Willits KOA campground where two men helped us back into the narrow site. Lennard made beer drinking friends and played “Corn Hole”. (Something like horseshoes only with beer)

On Sunday we drove through the Avenue of the Giants in the redwoods.  Absolutely stunning. The redwoods are sentinels of time, withstanding fire and tree plagues. They can live for thousands of years, grow to over 300 feet and can be as wide as 20 feet.  The famous drive thru tree is 17 feet wide.

On Monday the plan was to stay in the Jedidiah Smith State Park.  What was I thinking?  We almost got stuck in the entrance. The road was so narrow I had to get out to make sure we didn’t hit anything leaving.  We found a lovely campground just down the road…The Hiouchi RV resort.  We spent the rest of the day hiking through the spectacular Stout Grove of magnificent redwoods.
On the way to the redwoods, we drove along the coast and stopped at the Mystery Trees Visitor Center and took their one mile hike through the redwoods.
The next day we drove back  Klamath to go to the drive through tree.  It is one of three in the world, all of which are in the redwoods.
The rest of the day was spent back in Crescent City at the absolutely beautiful Battery Point Lighthouse, perched high on a hill.  It was first lit in 1856. You can only go over to it when the tide is at its lowest.  It was one of the first lighthouses on the Oregon coast. Dogs are not allowed, so don’t tell anyone we took them up anyway.
On Wednesday we had Norwegian fish and chips along the highway.  They were fabulous.
We arrived late at the Whaler’s Rest RV Park.  This is a Thousand Trails Encore Park and is set in the woods along the coast.  We love it here and got the Passport America discount too! They have a trail that leads to the beach which we took a walk along this morning.
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Just in case you were counting. We have now made it over two weeks, over 1,000 miles and seen three states.
On Thursday we went into historic Newport over the historic bridge and saw the harbor.
Newport also has the oldest, wooden light house on this coast, set in the Yaquina Park.
We also saw the Yaquina Head Lighthouse made of brick, which has been standing sine 1873. It was originally known as the Cape Foulweather Lighthouse as the fog was so bad on the coast.  We had a lot of foul fog today too! The lens was made in Paris and shipped to Oregon.  At least it made it! It is now operated by the Coast Guard and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Since we didn’t have lunch, we stopped for dinner at a fresh Crab place on the highway. Lennard had oysters and fresh  Halibut.  I had chicken tenders.  What a wimp I am.
By the way, we saw an example of some type of natural or environmental oddity on the beaches all along the coast.  We were told it was the largest dying off of jellyfish that has been seen in years.  Maybe we should rethink our environmental policies.
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A late Happy Birthday to Frank and sorry we missed the party!! Keep track of us on Life 360, Right Rich?
Take care!


I had a great time this week when a friend of mine, Susan, from the healthcare industry and I had lunch together at the Lyfe Kitchen in Henderson. Surprise… she is a long time RVer and had lots of good tips to give me.  Her and her husband have been on several “across the country” trips for a month or two at a time.  I was so happy to hear about their experiences, and the fact that they did not kill each other on their trips. They even traveled with two big dogs. (As most of you know, ours are small poms.)  It gives me hope for our success with our “across the US and Canada” trip coming up in just over a month now. She was so helpful and positive, it was a real pleasure seeing her and finding out about their exciting experiences.  I’ll be meeting her again, and by then we will have finished our RV boot camp and I’m sure I will have lots more questions for her.

One of the best tips she gave me was to cook a few meals before we leave and freeze them for a quick meal on the road.  We also hate fast food, so I am down with that idea.  She suggested: marinara sauce, meatballs, and lasagna.  Think she likes Italian food?

We are still in preparations mode.  Last night we went to REI and purchased new lightweight, waterproof hiking boots for the trip.  The salesperson there was soooo helpful and knowledgeable! Without him we would not have had such a great buying experience! Ours were so old they were falling apart.  Besides, the technology has changed so much since I last purchased hiking boots about 30 years ago, it made sense.  If your feet hurt, you will have miserable hiking experiences.  Our aim is to visit as many national parks as possible on the way, so hiking will be one of our favorite activities.  Thanks REI associates.