Very Sad News

On Saturday my second Dachshund Rosie, was killed via being ran over by a car. She wasn’t just my dog as many know, but originally Mom’s (Renée) dog. Mom loved Rosie and took her just about everyone with her. Once it became clear that Rosie wasn’t doing well at the Farm in TN after Mom was gone, I began to try to find a solution when Jackie mentioned that Grammy Gail Roissier (Mom’s Mom) asked about Rosie and what would happen to her. I called her up and was shortly in route to Sun City Arizona to take Rosie to her new home. Rosie perked up fairly quickly once off the farm and by the time we arrived in AZ was doing better. She bonded quickly with my Uncle Ricky who was also living with Grammy Gail. Rosie loved them both but enjoyed playing with Rick. After Uncle Ricky died Rosie was Grammy Gail’s companion. Otherwise by herself, Rosie kept her active and social. When the sad, sad day came that Grammy Gail was also gone, I took Rosie back and while she had major adjustments, she blossomed with River, Reuben and I. Rosie developed a special bond with Reuben and learned how to be a dog again. Both Reuben and I did training and work with her and within 6 months was a totally different dog. Younger, more social and outgoing, and more like the dog she was with Mom.

Curious Rosie

Curious Rosie

When it was time for me to move, Rosie came with me, which was incredibly hard for Reuben who was very much bonded with her. It was important that she be kept within the immediate family and he graciously understood that. Reuben was planning to visit the dogs and I sometime this summer, I suspect to see Rosie just as much as me.

Rosie & Reuben

Rosie & Reuben

Rosie travel with Jackie and I across the United States in the car along with River. She did amazing. She was adjusting pretty good in Maryland minus the bugs, and really loving the open land to romp in.

Rosie Lounging

Rosie Lounging

I of course brought her with us when we drove to Tennessee for a few days. Dad and the Kids hadn’t seen her since August 2009 and were excited to get re-acquainted.  Which just makes her passing all the more painful and shocking in the suddenness. Rosie was greatly loved by everyone in the family on many levels, along with many friends who knew here. There is a whole Sun City, AZ crowd that loves Rosie, Reuben and many of his friends and co-workers love Rosie,  Aunt Michele and Aunt Suzi love Rosie and of course; Dad, the kids and myself. Very sad day. I wish I had better words to say, but more than a simple dog was lost this weekend.

Rosie & River bounding

Rosie & River bounding

~Joannie

We have arrived in Maryland ~ go Black Dragon!

The road trip has come to an end (sad sigh). We arrived yesterday evening to the farm in Princess Ann Maryland. Everyone was very tired and happy to be out of the car! After seeing the Badlands in South Dakota, Jackie and I booked it straight through. No stopping besides gas and water. Being in the packed car meant sleeping while the other was driving was quite hard and more like a catnap at best. We survived and managed to not completely hate each other by the end, though the verbal jabs were coming more to blows accented by actual elbow jabs… The dogs came out in top shape though! And even better my car too.. THE BLACK DRAGON MADE IT!!! All the way across America once again. Praise the road trip and Subaru gods!

So the next few days is getting the house more livable (dusting – cleaning) and to start on the monster mowing job that is in store for us. By the end of this week I will hopefully be plotting out what we need in way of materials and have some measure of mowing done. Maybe by next week we can begin the task of putting the fencing up. The Doxie girls are quite thrilled with having so much room to romp about in.

I do not currently have internet at the farm house, so my phone is the best way to get a hold of me – or email  if it can wait a day – as I do have Kathy’s G. iPad with me which uses 3G and I check that about once a day. Facebook messages are harder to load so please email me @ Joannie.g.miller@gmail.com until I get internet (think weeks into months – not days). I will write up a more in-depth post about Maryland and what I am looking at along with more about the road trip soon and post them when I visit someone who does have internet!

~Joannie

Cross-Country Road Trip Vol III ~ Hot Springs & Grand Tetons

We headed towards the South entrance of Yellowstone – The Grand Teton’s were part of the planned trip and once finished we would loop back up into Yellowstone to see the north parts. I was just as excited as Jackie for the Tetons – as I had never seen them before either. But First – the Hot Springs.

I remember this spot very clearly (but likely only because of the pictures I took) from when I drove through with Reuben the year before; the colors and even geysers had changed a lot. Instead of an orange hue, this time it was green.

Bacteria Flow

Bacteria Flow

Contrasting greens. Maybe due to the time of year or other factors unbeknownst to me – the bacteria was many shades of greens and yellows with only a little orange here and there.

Contrasting Greens of the Bacteria flow

Contrasting Greens of the Bacteria flow.

Jackie & Rosie – with it being hot in the sun (made only hotter by the Black Dragon’s dark skin) the dogs couldn’t be left in the car for more than a few minutes. Yellowstone has a strict ‘no dog’ policy on most board-walks and trail areas (excluding service dogs of course). To keep both dogs safe and the Rangers happy – the girls toured in style – in the backpacks. Rosie took a few minutes to adjust to Jackie’s backpack – which wasn’t quite as dog friendly as mine; if your thinking of hauling a small dog in a backpack – get the kind that has a flap that buckles over the top instead of the traditional side zippers. Much safer and is more effective for keeping the dog where you want him.

Jackie & Rosie next to Silex Spring

Jackie & Rosie next to Silex Spring

Below: Teal Waters. One of my favorite things about the Hot Springs in Yellowstone is the abundance of bright blue and teal ones!

Silex Spring

Silex Spring

Close up of the deep teal. Absolutely mesmerizing!

Closeup of Silex Spring

Closeup of Silex Spring

Silex Spring Runoff

Silex Spring Runoff

Silex Spring Runoff

Another Silex Spring Closeup! If it wouldn’t boil me on the spot, I would love nothing more than to float in a spring just like this.

Another Silex Closeup

Another Silex Closeup

Paint Pots. The bubbling mud always makes me think of Sci-fi movies.

Paint Pots

Paint Pots

Red Spouter – huge holes that spout boiling mud.Red Spouter

Closeup of spouting hot mud – My old e-20 Olympus Camera still has it (in the right light and when it feels like it)!

Closeup of Red Spouter

Closeup of Red Spouter

Further down the boardwalk: Spasm Geyser.

Spasm Geyser in the Paint Pots area

Spasm Geyser in the Paint Pots area

River & I cruising the boardwalk to the Geysers.

Joannie & River

Joannie & River

Jackie & Rosie looking adorable.

Jackie & Rosie near Geysers

Jackie & Rosie near Geysers

Back in the Black Dragon, we did the Firehole Lake road which I hadn’t done my last visit to Yellowstone. With very few people around, it was very timeless feeling.

Firehole Spring along Firehole Lake Drive

Firehole Spring along Firehole Lake Drive

Closeup of Firehole Spring bubbling.

Firehole Spring closeup

Firehole Spring closeup

Next was the ancient White Dome Geyser.

White Dome Geyser

White Dome Geyser

The Actual White Dome Geyser – very impressive with the amount sediment built up. We didn’t get to see it go off but I imagine it is quite a sight.

White Dome Geyser

White Dome Geyser

First time I had seen a lake that really looked like it was on fire! Just imagine trying to tell ‘your people’ hundreds of years ago about the hot shimmering lake you had found that seem to be on fire – they probably would have forever thought you insane.

Firehole Lake

Firehole Lake

The colors made me think more of a Dr. Seuss world then our own.

Firehole Lake runoff

Firehole Lake runoff

Firehole Lake sediment formations – almost whimsical.

Firehole Lake formations

Firehole Lake formations

The picture of the famous Old Faithful Lodge we took this trip wasn’t very good (Jackie..) so I used the one from my previous trip for the full effect!

Old Faithful Inn - From 2012 trip

Old Faithful Inn – From 2012 trip

The Old Faithful Inn (I keep trying to call it ‘Lodge’) is a pretty impressive place to visit – not sure I would stay with the amount of traffic it sees though.

Jackie in Old Faithful Inn

Jackie in Old Faithful Inn

Jackie was quite taken with it – he is a die hard fan of all things western and log cabin. A Cowboy at heart my brother is.

Inside of Old Faithful Inn

Inside of Old Faithful Inn

Standing 7 stories and with a roofline of 65 ft, the main room is pretty cool. The detail of the wood is pretty awesome.

Floor Detail of Old Faithful Inn

Floor Detail of Old Faithful Inn

Good timing had us out to the Old Faithful boardwalk right after checking out the Inn. She started pretty quick.

Old Faithful Starts

Old Faithful Starts

Almost to full strength!

Old Faithful!

Old Faithful!

And there she is!

Closeup of Old Faithful

Closeup of Old Faithful

Soon as Old Faithful had finished, we got back on the road to avoid the increasing traffic (both on foot and cars). As we winded our way to the south entrance, I spotted an Elk cow and her new fawn in the trees.

Female Elk on the Road

Elk on the Road

The fawn disappeared deeper into the pines when Momma Elk crossed the road with out it, realizing that the baby hadn’t followed she quickly came back to find her fawn – which is how I got this nice shot.

After the Elk excitement, we left the park and cruised south to the Teton’s. Our first sighting had us both on the edge of our seats with the magnificence of the Mountains.

Tetons in the Distance

Tetons in the Distance

The closer we got, the more enthralled we became. I have seen a few mountains ranges in my short life, but none quite as distinctive thus far as the Tetons.

Grand Tetons & Jackson Lake

Grand Tetons & Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake being in front of the range just made it that much more exquisite.

Closeup of Tetons & Jackson Lake

Closeup of Tetons & Jackson Lake

I’m sure people will be bored long before either of us were with taking pictures (and then looking at them later) of the peaks.

Sagelands & Tetons

Sage lands & Tetons

Personally I really enjoyed the sage lands scattered through the valley.

Teton Range

Teton Range

Makes me think of the ‘Spirit of the West’ postcards that I would see in history books.

Left to right - Teton Peak

Breath taking Teton Peaks

Above: One of my favorite shots of the higher peaks. Almost a painting in a photo.

Jackie thrilled to be in the Tetons!

Jackie thrilled to be in the Tetons!

I have another shot of Jackie that doesn’t have the car in the background..but he isn’t smiling in that one as he was asking something..so I used this one with his happy smile to be ing the park.

Joannie & Tetons

Joannie & Tetons

Above: A great shot by Jackie of me – using the new Tough Camera!

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Early June meant many of the wildflowers were out!

Little Larkspur

Little Larkspur – Purple

Jackie and the dogs weren’t as into the plants as I was, so I kept my plant pictures to a minimum.

Vast Teton Range

Vast Teton Range

Meditation in a picture.

View from the Cabin,Grand Tetons WY, June 2013, Jackie road trip, Tough Camera,

View from the Cabin

Kathy Gardner had called me to inform us that she had gotten a cabin on the Lake for two nights in the Tetons at Signal Mountain Lodge – that took dogs. Greatly humbled by her gift we had a beautiful stay and rested up. We had dinner that night at the Lodge’s grill – yummy burgers and beer! Watched a stunning sunset over the range (I of course forgot the camera for that sunset..). The next day was spent exploring and picture-taking with the girls.

Jackie in front of Lake Jenny

Jackie in front of Lake Jenny

Above: I purposely took this photo in a high contrast with the Tough Camera. We liked the different effect. We drove south towards Jackson Hole and meandered through some of the ski resort towns – I know where I am going if I ever have the money!

Joannie in front of Lake Jenny

Joannie in front of Lake Jenny

A high contrast shot of me! Thanks to Jackie for his pictures of me – who would have thought my big fingered brother could take such nice shots?!

Dramatic Tetons

Dramatic Teton

Above: Teton Peak shot in high contrast – really highlighted the drama of the land.

Below: We went to String Lake for a picnic lunch with the dogs – who were drooling over every squirrel and chipmunk in the vicinity.

String Lake

String Lake

A truly amazing spot for lunch! I took another high contrast shot of lake. The water was quite teal naturally, but didn’t show much in the original picture.

Dramatic Shot of String Lake

Dramatic Shot of String Lake

There was a ‘beach’ at String Lake – more like a pebble area really. I parked the Black Dragon in the shade for the doxies since no dogs on the beach and we dipped our toes in. It was COLD!!!

Jackie trying to adjust to frigid water

Jackie trying to adjust to frigid water

The water was glass clear, and absolutely frigid. My bones hurt and I found myself wishing my limbs would just go numb…

Rocky Bottom of String Lake

Rocky Bottom of String Lake

We saw a person paddle boarding – which after being in the water for five minutes made so much more sense than swimming it – I would dearly love to paddle board the clear cold lakes of the Tetons one day.

Joannie in Lake String

Joannie in Lake String

No need for bathing suits – you won’t stay in long enough for them! It was nice to cool down after being in the sun though.

Jackie in Lake String

Jackie in Lake String

Jackie posing in the lake.

Clouds passing over the Sun

Clouds passing over the Sun

Above: A normal setting of the clouds passing over the sun above the peaks.

Below: The high contrast setting – Both with the Tough Camera.

Dramatic filter of the clouds passing over the Sun

Dramatic filter of the clouds passing over the Sun

We started back towards the Lodge – windows rolled down of course! The girls really like the 45mph breeze they got with their snouts out the window.

Rosie gazing

Rosie gazing

At some point during the day – they had gotten water dumped on their heads for barking. The breeze dried them of nicely – but left rather rumpled looking doxies…

Wet Rosie & River

Wind ruffled Rosie & River

Our next stop was Signal Mountain. A ‘small’ rise roughly in the middle of the valley standing around 7200ft above sea level.

View from Signal Mt

View from Signal Mt

It was beautiful! Able to see in almost every direction – Jackie declared it one of the best spots yet.

Jackie atop Signal Mt

Jackie atop Signal Mt

Rolling landscape behind me, sun on my face, wind in my hair – was wonderful (as long as I had my hat on for the sun).

Joannie atop Signal Mt

Joannie atop Signal Mt

The flowers were in full bloom on the mountainside – even Jackie wanted a picture of it!

Wildflower Mountainside

Wildflower Mountainside

The fields of yellow had smaller treasures hidden amongst the larger flowers.

Spring Beauty ~ Claytonia lancelolata

Spring Beauty ~ Claytonia lancelolata

I believe this is Claytonia lancelolata or ‘Spring Beauty’ – I certainly hope it is with the amount of time I spent researching it!

Arrowleaf Balsamroot atop Signal Mt

Arrowleaf Balsamroot atop Signal Mt

Swaying in the breeze – the Arrowleafs seemed to me to be the ‘West’s’ sunflowers!

Overlooking the view

Overlooking the view

It was pretty thrilling to stand on the railing and look out over the valley.

Mountains in the distance

Mountains in the distance

The formation of the mountains was endlessly fascinating to me.

The Teton Range from Signal Mountain

The Teton Range from Signal Mountain

Above: High contrast shot of the Tetons as seen from Signal Mt. It had gotten a little hazy with the afternoon sun, I don’t have a polarizer for my e-20 but the high contrast with the Tough Camera handled the haze well.

We headed back to the Lodge for our final meal in the Tetons and to watch the sun set. Sadly it wasn’t nearly as colorful and stunning as the evening before – but still pretty.

Sunset from the lodge

Sunset from the lodge

Jackie and I ate in the ‘fine dining’ restaurant of the Signal Mountain Lodge – it was a very nice meal of Bison and Elk, our waiter great and the view amazing!Mountain Sunset from Lodge

Mountain Sunset from Lodge

The walk back to our cabin the last light glowed from behind the peaks, the first stars came out and the sounds of the wilderness settling in for the night (or waking up) was like a dream. Such a perfect day with my two dogs and big little brother.

Last Light

Last Light

To say that Jackie and I are grateful for Kathy’s thoughtful gift of a cabin is a huge understatement. We have memories, stories and pictures of this trip that are beyond priceless! So thank-you Kathy G – your one of the best and most caring people I know♥

I mentioned the Tough Camera – an Olympus point & shoot I got right before Jackie came to Seattle – throughout the post as I do with my others – along with my original Olympus model – an e-20.

Closeup on Signal Mountain

Closeup on Signal Mountain

Journey long & hard – but with good people! ~ J

 

A Quick Update about the Cross Country Drive!

Writing from the Signal Mountain Lodge main building in Grand Tetons Park WY courtesy of Kathy G. She is so amazing!  Jackie and I are having a great time. Rosie & River are doing well, trying to adjust to the heat and such. Thus far they’ve chased Wyoming Squirrel and Chipmunk, according to River, she almost had the Chipmunk. The Black Dragon (Subaru) is doing great! Fingers crossed that it will continue to do so!!! After two wonderful nights in the Tetons, we are back to Yellowstone tomorrow and then on to South Dakota sometime in the late night hours after seeing Yellowstone all day – whew.

Below: Montana and some of the many beautiful mountains! We were getting close to Yellowstone when I took this pic. The weather has been great (but hot) and the drive nice.

Montana Mountains

Montana Mountains

I will write-up a whole proper post (and photo post too) once we arrive in Maryland. So for now enjoy the picture that I took out the Black Dragon’s window going 50+ 🙂

~ Joannie

Cross-country Road Trip Vol II ~ The Road to Yellowstone June 2013

An early afternoon start out of Seattle afforded us the time to stop a little along the way to see the changing landscape. Once outside Seattle, clear streams and mountain views were to be had. We pulled off for a quick doggie break and pictures.

Light Rays on the Cascades

Light Rays on the Cascades

The drive through the Cascades was clear (shockingly so) and the clouds were doing all sorts of strange formations.

Evergreen Hills & Strange clouds

Evergreen Hills & Strange clouds

The higher peaks still had plenty of snow and the air was crisp.

A Peak

A Peak

Narrow waterfalls lined the mountains with snow-melt coursing down.

Snow Melt Waterfalls

Snow Melt Waterfalls

River and Rosie were pretty excited at first, wanting to be up front, on our laps and ready to spring out if we stopped, but they were banished to the back to ‘their spot’ on all my crap we’d stuffed the Black Dragon with. All in all, the girls had a good deal, with a comfy bed and blankets stacked to window-viewing level (this is highly important as any Doxie owner can attest to…). It took them a few hours to realize their good fortune.

The Girls resigned to their back-seat fate

The Girls resigned to their back-seat fate

Weaving through the mountains, I noticed odd-shaped cloud-like things in the distance. Closer inspection revealed it was indeed an actual cloud but looked more like a UFO. I can see how the flying saucer theme is easily run wild with.

UFO Cloud

UFO Cloud

I believe this is Easton Lake in Washington along Rt 90. The other possibility would be Keechelus Lake, which is near Lake Easton and on the same side of the highway, but bigger.

Easton Lake, WA

Easton Lake, WA

The blues and greens were incredible in the sunlight. The Tough Camera captured it very well.

Mountains over the lake

Mountains over the lake

Once out of the mountains, Jackie took over driving and I caught up on some much-needed sleep. The result was no pictures except this one of Eastern Washington – which is noticeably different from Western Washington. Due to our late spring departure, things were still a nice green even in the drier side of the state.

Eastern WA

Eastern WA

We entered Idaho as the Sun set, driving through mountains almost entirely made up of Sempervirens (evergreen) trees. It was only within two hours that Montana was on the horizon since the part of Idaho we drove through was the northern, narrow part of the state.

Entering Idaho

Entering Idaho

Last of the setting Sun as we cruised down the mountains into Montana.

Sunset in Idaho

Sunset in Idaho

A rather poor quality picture as we entered into Montana, with the low light and high speed of the car – but Jackie was simply so excited to be back in Montana again, he needed a picture!

 Montana in the last light

Montana in the last light

We drove until it was fully dark, found dinner at a random diner along the way and made camp at a pull-off on the highway. The plan was to get a few hours of shuteye and start as early as we could so as to make the most of the daylight. As everyone knows, I am not a morning person. But strangely enough, I sometimes can get moving before 7am when on road trips (still not a guarantee though). The car being packed meant shuffling around some stuff just to squeeze myself into the back seat; Jackie took the front passenger seat which reclines fairly well. Both girls had to vie for space and one ended up sleeping perched above dashboard level on a crate of books. Jackie ignored my ‘you’ll be cold’ warnings and forewent the sleeping bag. He was cold, and barely slept…

River and I were horribly cramped, but warm. Other than my left leg going numb from sciatic pain after driving in a car all day and my back doing its own form of bone jarring pain (remember, I’ve major back & hips problems), I slept well. 

Snow Capped Mountains that are the iconic sight of Montana made waking up – stiff from sleeping in the Black Dragon (Subaru), without any coffee – worth the early hour. Jackie was a tad grumpy to start from the uncomfortable seat and cold, but cheered up when food and coffee was on the horizon.

Montana Morning

Montana Morning

We had breakfast somewhere in Montana at a quaint town with a tasty and cheap diner. Jackie was ready to stay. My encouraging descriptions of what Yellowstone would be like helped move him along.

Layered Hills

Layered Hills

The sun was bright and quickly warming the day. Jackie perked up after enough coffee to kill a horse (or at least a dog). The low haze from the dew/frost cleared and every song and quote of ‘God’s Country’ came to mind.

Montana - God's Country

Montana – God’s Country

Old barbed wire, cattle gates and never-ending pastures.

The Range

The Range

Lowland scrub brush, I believe Sage is in there too, dotting the hills.

Lowland Brush

Lowland Brush

The layered land and brilliantly blue sky was perfection as only nature can do.

Layers of Perfection

Layers of Perfection

By this point we were off the main highway and on a much smaller, no-quick-stop type road. Below are snow drift fences for winter winds.

Getting further off the beaten path

Getting further off the beaten path

The girls had settled into comfortable contentment of the drive. Rosie in particular was in her own idea of Heaven with her favorite bed at window level and direct sunlight.

Rosie Lounging in the Sun

Rosie lounging in the Sun

We stopped off an unmarked road to get some fresh air (of course potty break for the dogs) and snap some pictures. The Sun was almost blinding, the air still had a hint of the morning chill.

Unmarked Road
Unmarked Road

Jackie looking particularly bright with his pink shirt ♡

Jackie in Montana

Jackie in Montana

One of my favorite pictures of my handsome brother!

Jackie looking epic

Jackie looking epic

Jackie took a great photo of me with the new Tough Camera, if he can use it like this, its a good camera!

Joannie in MT

Joannie in MT

Staring off into the mountains, with no power lines, roads or fences marring the view. You could believe it was hundreds of years ago – no people, just the land as it used to be…

The Lost Country

The Lost Country

Approaching a lake, I noticed some level of scarring on the mountainside, I pointed it out to Jackie and we contemplated what may have caused it; landslide? Avalanche? Erosion from logging? Blasting for rock? Maybe even an Earthquake?!

We pulled off to investigate (and dog potty break). There were a few signs describing what had happened here. Earthquake it was indeed!

Earthquake Lake

Quake Lake

We walked around, noticing how far out the trees went into the lake and how recent everything felt from this Earthquake. I began to think that maybe even the Lake itself was made in the Earthquake. One of the info signs had the answers – the lake was where a valley used to be, an 80-million ton landslide caused a dam on the Madison River. The Earthquake happen in 1959 in the summer camping season, killing 28 people and causing exorbitant amounts of damage to surrounding areas. At 7.3 (USGS) it is the largest quake to hit Montana in recorded history.

Tree Root Skeleton

Tree Root Skeleton

The water was a clear green, trees practically growing out of the water on some banks.

Earthquake Lake

Earthquake Lake’s Sparkling Waters

While it was born out of destruction, the lake today is beautiful; but I think, also a stark reminder of how quickly things can change and how quick death can come.

Beauty out of Destruction

Beauty out of Destruction

Everywhere the eye could see was picturesque.  We continued on through the valleys towards Yellowstone’s West entrance. The plan was to be at the Grand Tetons, south of Yellowstone Park where my amazing friend Kathy had gotten us a cabin for 2 nights! After the Tetons, we would drive back up to Yellowstone and continue the loop. That way we would cover as many sights as possible.

More of Montana

More of Montana

I was napping as Jackie neared Yellowstone, the girls sleeping, Jackie’s music playing in the background – everything was quiet and peaceful. When suddenly, I hear”oh OH SHIT!” and the Black Dragon jerks to the left than to the right, tires squeal, dogs go flying, stuff in the back comes forward. I jump up with the faint thought of ‘if this hadn’t been a low center of gravity car – we’d be rolled!’. Yelling “WTF JACKIE!!!!” Fully expecting that we had just dodged a runway Semi Truck or a herd of Elk had dashed across the road, barely hitting our bumper or at the very least, a wolf. I turned to my insane-driving brother as he slammed the brakes to demand what the hell was happening. He whipped the car around and swerved back the way we had came. Folks, he sighted a Buffalo.. And no, it didn’t even cross the damn road. Thankfully no one was around to witness that, ah… episode.

'The Buffalo"

‘The Buffalo”

The Buffalo did have a little cute calf with her. Even so, I was a second away from a heart attack and trying not to yell. The girls were growling (clearly something was out there) and Jackie was scrambling for the camera like a mad man. I calmly said “there will be more Buffalo…”. But we went bouncing along (not on) the road  and after the Buffalo. I managed a few shots to appease my possessed brother and took over driving so he could ‘look’ for the animals… I seriously thought we were about to die for a second.

Entering Yellowstone

Entering Yellowstone

After a quick stop for more batteries, some water and coffee in the little town before the park, we entered Yellowstone! I thought Jackie was excited to see Montana, Yellowstone was a whole new creature. Practically on the edge of his seat, snapping pictures with the Tough Camera as his smartphone was acting up, and exclaiming in barely contained glee at the sights.

Flat Mountain

Flat Mountain

Not too far into the park proper, in the near distance we saw:

Buffalo

Buffalo

Yep. You guessed it. More Buffalo. The exact same thing (only a lot more of them) that I had almost died for about 20 miles back… The cars lined the road. The Buffalo were about 1/2 a mile out across the river. Jackie was so hyped I couldn’t really say no to walking over to the river’s edge. ‘Course we had to take the Dachshunds since they were barking at all the people and weird cows around them.

Jackie & Rosie Shooting Buffalo

Jackie & Rosie Shooting Buffalo

Rosie being patient as Jackie shoots.

Sleeping by the River

Sleeping by the River

With the river in-between to give us a safety net, we cruised up and down the banks to get the best shots.

Mom & Calf

Mom & Calf

Early June meant quite a few young calves out with the herd.

Geese Family

Geese Family

Along with Geese and other critters. Rosie was quite interested in the goslings…

By the River

By the River

The calves frolicked about, the young bulls butting and chasing one another.

Cooling off

Cooling off

A few stepped into the river, eyed our little dogs. One even rolled in the mud. The Buffalo clearly owned the place. We were the guests.

The Sun was hot, even for June. The girls were happy to splash in the river. After taking numerous pictures, we got back on the road. Only a few miles into the drive, and oh look – more buffalo!

More Buffalo

More Buffalo

And even more Buffalo towards the Hot Springs in the distance.

Buffalo & Hot Springs

Buffalo & Hot Springs

Up ahead. What’s this? Even MORE Buffalo. On the ROAD. The only sort of traffic I’ve ever experienced in Wyoming has been animals…

Yellowstone Traffica Jam

Yellowstone Traffic Jam

It was at this point, being so close we could practically touch them, that Jackie finally understood what I meant by ‘there will be more Buffalo’.

Closeup

Closeup

The little calves were particularly cute.

Little Guy

Little Guy

We drove the Fire Hole Canyon road as we made our way to the Hot Springs in the southern part of the park.

Fire Hole Canyon

Fire Hole Canyon

Next up is the various Hot Springs on the way to the South entrance – to see the Grand Tetons.

This post got long quick with the pictures, so the Hot Springs will be in the next installment. We took hundreds of pictures during just this one day, the photos posted I feel reflect what we saw and liked best.

A lifetime’s worth of memories in only a few days thus far- back on the road we go. Hopefully stay on the road this time (Jackie).

~ J

Jackie’s Visit to Seattle & Cross Country Road Trip Vol I~ June 2013

I had brainstormed with Jackie a few months ago when I was planning the drive East with the Dachshund girls in my Black Dragon (Subaru) for the move to Maryland. Jackie eagerly agreed to do the cross-country road trip – complete with stops like Yellowstone along the way. We decided that he would come a few days early to see Seattle, visit our Aunt Michele (Roissier – Mom’s older sister) and Uncle Dave and help me packup the car. Between the two of us, quite a few pictures were taken throughout the trip – which is why I’m doing installments!

Many of the pictures to follow were taken with my new Olympus Tough Camera — model TG-2 iHS that I picked up with trips like this in mind. It is a ‘waterproof’, ‘shockproof’, ‘freeze proof’, ‘dustproof’ and even ‘crush-resistant’ – so basically the ideal Point & Shoot camera if I am going to have one. I’m not the biggest fan of Point & Shoot cameras, I find them constricting, annoying, sensitive in all the wrong ways – and basically more trouble than they are worth. But the bulk of a DSLR can be hindering, not to mention that I cannot take it with me on a say a raft adventure, or even a trip to the Pine Barrens I would hesitate with sand and moisture get into EVERYTHING. So after much research and trepidation, I settled upon the Olympus Tough TG-2 iHS. And you know, for a Point & Shoot, I like it. So far it has indeed lived up to its name. And I can let Jackie use it – which anyone who knows him personally will agree..tends to breaks things.

Below: The Seattle Waterfront. Jackie hadn’t really stayed in a large city before, so Seattle was quite different for him. He particularly enjoyed the famous Pike Place and the waterfront area. Ironically, Seattle was sunny just about the entire time he was there – something he found rather shocking as like most people, his impression was that Seattle is only EVER rainy and gloomy.

Seattle from the water

Seattle from the water

Reuben and I took Jackie to some of our favorite places to eat and see around the city. My country-boy brother from poor rural Tennessee, about had a heart attack each time the food bill was brought to us, by day two Reuben and I simply didn’t let him see it… Minimum wage in Seattle is almost 10$..so like any large city, the prices for non fast food is higher than say rural Tennessee – which to be fair almost everywhere is more expensive than rural Tennessee…

We of course rode the Bainbridge Ferry to the Olympic Peninsula where I showed Jackie a few sights on the Peninsula. The day was breezy and sunny, nearly blinding us while on the water. But made for great pictures of the Iconic Waterfront shot, below.

Ferris Wheel at the water front

Ferris Wheel at the water front

Jackie had never been on such a large Ferry and was quite impressed with ease of the system. It was a beautiful day for the ride across the sound, the sun blinding  and directly overhead!

Jackie on the Ferry

Jackie on the Ferry

Both Rosie & River came along for the ride and neither were impressed with the force of the wind at the front of the boat!

Jackie & Rosie

Jackie & Rosie Roo

I snapped this beauty from the moving Ferry – all colors are as is – I didn’t edit this photo. I took most of the pictures of Seattle with Jackie in mind, but they are good enough that I decided to share some.

Port of Seattle

Port of Seattle

It was a busy day on the water, with sunshine and nice breeze there was many boats out on the Sound.

Barge being pulled out to sea

Barge being pulled out to sea

The wind is pretty evident with how my hair looks here..Jackie took this photo, and I might I say, pretty well too!

Me with my out of control hair

Me with my out of control hair

I look somewhat like a demented demon (albeit a short one..) with my hair and Jackie still red from his sunburn he arrived with from TN..all in all probably not the most flattering picture of us, but we had a great time touring around and was nice that another passenger snapped a few for us to remember♥.

Jackie & I on the Ferry

Jackie & I on the Ferry

And for the closeup shot of the insanity!

Closeup of us!

Closeup of us!

Even Mount Rainier was out on this beautiful and clear day.

Mt. Rainier from the Ferry

Mt. Rainier from the Ferry

A picturesque Sailboat on the Sound.

Picturesque Sail Boat

Picturesque Sail Boat

We drove across Bainbridge and up through Sequim, then out along the coast of Dungeness Bay to see some of the coast line. The only reason there is even a “Dungeness Bay” is due to a very thin strip of land between the Salish Sea and mainland that goes on for maybe 1/2 a mile.  It is a cool area, often birds are out hunting or nesting on the protected areas.

Coastline view near Port Angeles WA

Coastline view next to Dungeness Bay WA

Mount Baker was even out! Both Mountains in one day – Jackie had truly gotten lucky! And in this picture you can see some of the ‘thin stripe of land’ that is part of what makes Dungeness Bay

Mt. Baker

Mt. Baker

Jackie against the Salish Sea – he was surprised by how chilly or ‘cold’ it was for June in WA, even with the sun out. The wind was whipping at a good click and though the sun gave a ‘warm impression’, you really couldn’t feel it.

Jackie in Port Angeles WA

Jackie along the coast

Seaweed that washed up.

Seaweed

Seaweed

River bounced around for a few minutes on the rocky beach, then was promptly hiding from the wind. Rosie didn’t even want to leave the rocks that helped block the wind.

River hiding from the wind

River hiding from the wind

The Sunlight was glinting Gold on the water. Beautiful.

Golden Waves

Golden Waves

Jackie took this photo for me, not too bad since he was learning how to use the camera!

Joannie

Joannie

Looking handsome on the rocks. He informed me once back in the car, that he would have liked a wind breaker to go with his favorite (clearly from the wear) sweatshirt.

Jackie on the Rocks

Jackie on the Rocks

While we were out exploring and letting the girls wander, a kite surfer was doing some impressive tricks(?) on the water. I managed to get a nice action shot that I am pretty proud of!

Wind Surfer

Kite Surfer

While there was still light, I drove Jackie further into the Olympic Park, even getting out to the Elwha River valley. He was rather taken with the area and took many photos, some of which turned out.

Elwah River

Elwha River

We stopped along the gorgeous Crescent Lake, a deep, clear, Glacier made lake setting between mountains, one set of which the Salish Sea is on the other side. This particular viewing area is one of my favorite with the trees and rocks.

Old Roots

Old Roots

My love of the lakes was contagious and within minutes of seeing them, Jackie was smitten too.

Jackie next to Lake Crescent

Jackie next to Lake Crescent

The sky being dramatic as the light slowly waned.

Lake Crescent WA

Lake Crescent WA

We stayed as long as we could, but I wanted to show Jackie Port Angeles while there was still light – I drove so he could continue to enjoy the views. We got to the docks just in time to see the pink light on the still snow-capped Olympic Mountains.

Sunlight on the mountain peaks behind Port Angeles

Sunlight on the mountain peaks behind Port Angeles

Out on the docks of Port Angeles there is a ‘viewing’ tower that is a great place for Sunset photos.

Setting Sun over Port Angeles

Setting Sun over Port Angeles

It was a breath-taking Sunset to finish off the fun-filled day! The Victoria BC Ferry pulled up as we watched the sun go down – to which Jackie exclaimed “Lets go to Canada!”. Sadly we couldn’t since his passport wasn’t in the picture, but it was a fun thought.

Victoria B.C (Canada) Ferry

Victoria B.C (Canada) Ferry

The light was doing a beautiful dance on the water.

Light on the water

Light on the water

The Final light of the sun – which being so far North was well past 9pm – is something I’ll remember, I hope till the day I die. It was a very special evening to share with my 1st (big) Little Brother.

Final Light

Final Light

We rode the Ferry towards the City Lights, I have ridden the Ferry at night many times, and the Lights of Seattle always impress and even intimidate me. And on a photo note – my Tough camera took this picture while in night mode – on the Ferry which has a lot of vibration from the engines – pretty damn good I think!

Seattle Lights from the Ferry

Seattle Lights from the Ferry

Our last couple of days in Seattle were mostly spent packing and running around without time to really stop and take pictures. We had to take my Black Dragon in to the shop to it tuned up – which turned into a 2 1/2 ordeal that my wonderful Aunt Michele helped us out with. A final dinner with Uncle Dave and Aunt Michele had, the Black Dragon was packed, the dogs loaded, and Reuben & I goodbyes said – we were on the road.

We didn’t get very far before the girls needed a potty break and Jackie wanted some pictures. The rivers and lakes in Washington are very clear and to my eyes – stunning.

River Rocks

River Rocks

Even the camera can catch just how clear and yet teal the water is!

Crystal clear river

Crystal clear river

We began our drive through the Cascades, a deep evergreen yet snow-capped mountain range with all sorts of sharp peaks, high elevation lakes and even a few waterfalls.

Peaking through the trees

A Cascade Peak peaking through the trees

The cross-country road trip with Rosie, River, Jackie & I had officially begun. I was sad to say goodbye to Seattle, it’s probably the only city I’ve enjoyed spending any length of time in. But it was time for me move on, for Reuben and I to live our separate (but still friends where possible) lives, and for me to try to see what might be possible on the East Coast, hopefully with my horses. Jackie was ecstatic to see Montana and Wyoming again. The River Rat always ready for an adventure, and for Rosie, well she was in the car, one of her favorite places! My Black Dragon performed AMAZING!

I’m so happy I got to share some of Seattle and Washington with you Jackie ♥

It’s all about the Journey ~ J

Moving to Maryland, Road Trip, and Visitors!

Since arriving in from Alaska the 16th of May, it’s been a tad bit like a whirlwind of things to do. Best friend –  Lorien came into town (Seattle) to spend about a week with me. We tried to fit as many Seattle and Washington things in as we could. Over 800 pictures were taken… The Hoh Rainforest is very photogenic to be fair though. The week was entirely too short but still wonderful. At an undated point I will post some of the photos (don’t hold your breath though, I’ve a back order of the things).

I’ve been preparing (or my version anyway) of moving East, which is all kinds of chaos for me.You may or may not have heard about the move to Maryland that I leave for in just a few short days. Due to my time management problem of updating the blog with all the pictures that I have to share I haven’t post much.

My desire to be back with my horses or finalize where they will spend their lives without me has been longstanding now. Obviously I want to try everything possible before giving them up to someone else, so keeping my ears open the last year or so and networking with people all over the country has paid off with a opportunity. A farm in Princess Ann Maryland is where my new home for the next little bit shall be.

Some of you may know/know of Carmen from Coyote Tracks & Tracker School. We interned and worked together at Coyote Tracks and have remained friends for life ever since. Originally from Ocean City, MD Carmen has moved on to great things in Saint Croix with her Husband to start their dream of an outdoor school after working for Tracker School for years on New Jersey. Carmen and her family in Maryland have had a 25-acre farm for some number of years now and more recently have no one to live there and care-take it. Upon hearing of my ideas of teaching with my horses I was offered not just the position of caretaker but also to bring my horses!

Maryland has never been someone I imagined living. While most would love the idea of the beach being only an hour or less away and two hours from D.C; I do not find this a helpful balm to living my mountains, snow and evergreens of the Northwest and Alaska. But sometimes life takes us to places our surface selves scoff at would never pick. So it is with Maryland, even with my complete lack of desire to ever live in the state with its flatness, humidity and sun; I am looking forward to having a whole house to call my own and land that hasn’t known chemical or mass altering for years. Rosie & River will move with me, while Reuben will stay behind in Seattle with his job and space to seek out what life has to offer him.

Wait what about Reuben in Seattle!? ‘You say’. Reuben and I are effectively ‘broken up’, but remain friends and hopefully will continue to be so as life takes us each to different places. I’m grateful for him in my life in so many ways and will continue to be.

The Maryland farm has an old farmhouse, two ponds, woods, and open grass; but no fencing.  My first objective is to fence along the road to ensure the dogs are safe. Then I will be focused on creating a space to bring the horses up too. All of this will be work I will probably have to perform without major tools (tractor, large electric saws, etc), and hopefully aided by whomever family member or friend who helps out. While my brothers have committed, they seem rather adverse to hand saws. I hope to be able to bring my horses up before the summer is over, but that may be asking a lot.

The Phillips (Carmen’s family) will be helping when they can, but if anyone who wants to visit or lives nearby that would like to be a part of the creating, I will happily instruct/teach/ride with once the horses are moved up. In addition to fencing there will probably be other basic fixing up to do down the road so there is no shortage of work!

In addition to the horses, I hope to grow some food (nothing elaborate) and that is another area that friends and family would be greatly welcomed to assist me with. Particularly the putting in gardens, as I don’t have a green thumb L.

I plan to train other people horses, both at my place and nearby farms to support the critters and myself. Lessons and learning how to train your own horse will also be available. I will probably do some dog training on a small level as well. What I really hope to do is work with the people interested in co-leadership skills, group awareness, the power of the Horse and what they can teach us about working together and bettering ourselves. I know, to some it sounds like absolute new-age hippy stuff. But I assure you, everyone could learn a powerful lesson working with horses in a space to experience the dynamic of group unit that is neither hierarchy nor hive minded but a cohesive unit where each member is unique but acts together.  If you are in the position of leading/directing, you should learn more about co-leadership, if you work with children – particularly special needs like autistic, both the child and you really need to work with horses in this fashion, if you are a life coach, healer, therapist etc you could learn so many skills to help those around you. Now unlike the ‘professionals’ in the traditional sense, I won’t certify people or be accredited/certified myself but instead it will be the horses doing the work and I will simply create the space and translate when needed. I’m not going to be ‘treating’ or counseling, just offering experiences.

In addition to the horses, care taking, gardening, I will still be traveling here and there. I’ve people in Alaska who still want me to work with their dogs and house sit when they are traveling a few times a year. There are tracker classes to be attended, people to meet and learn from.  This is all once I have a handle on things at the Maryland Farm of course.

Actually getting to Maryland:

Now that the destination is known, the journey is revealed.  The Black Dragon (my Subaru) will be driven across the states yet again with the dogs and my belongings. Jackie (who is now in Seattle with me as I write this) has flown up to see some of the Pacific Northwest and to do the cross-country drive with me. We already have high aspirations for the trip including Yellowstone WY, Grand Teton WY, Devils Tower (also WY), Mount Rushmore SD (Jackie has never seen it), Badlands SD, and anywhere else along the way that catches our eyes. The idea is to use the 2-person tent, eat out the cooler, and take turns driving. I’m sure a hotel will be gotten at least once to shower at some point. The Black Dragon is once again trekking mountains and will hopefully keep chugging along!

The estimate leave by Date was June 6th, but that was greatly dependent on what the auto shop says about the Black Dragon’s health and what Jackie would like to see of Washington State before we start. Since I began writing this post, I’ve gotten word back on the Black Dragon and it seems my poor car has been going along on pure will alone (yet again) and needs some serious work just to make it to the east coast! Now looking at the 9th or later and that could be pushed back even further. My poor Dragon!

Originally I was to be in South Dakota for the Sundance at the Wild Horse Sanctuary in the Black Hills, but due to the lateness of the drive and unknowns on the road, I’ve decided that unless a plan ticket falls in my hands from D.C to the Dakotas for cheap, I will focus on getting my next with the farm. I’m a little sad that I will miss the Sundance but have been assured that I am indeed invited for next year.

The route will be the northern one except when dipping into Wyoming, then heading southeast to bypass the great lakes states, I have no need to deal with Chicago/Cleveland traffic. By going northeast we will hopefully miss some of the heat and most of the rather alarming storms (Oklahoma City anyone?). I highly doubt the Black Dragon’s windshield with multiple cracks could stand up to baseball sized hail and I don’t want to try to hide from tornadoes.  We’ve AAA and are trying to ensure the Dragon will make it, but right now I’m doing bare minimum (damage control) repairs due to the serious price difference of having it worked on in Seattle verses Tennessee – so please envision the Black Dragon arriving in Maryland with all four passengers (dogs, Jackie & I) intact! A big thanks to my wonderful Aunt Michele for finding the auto guy who seems to know what is what and honest about it!

Jackie is very excited to see Wyoming (last time he drove through he was about 4 years old) and I of course love being on the road in my own car journeying.  River has been watching me pack books into boxes and anxiously hovering (she knows we are moving, not just traveling). I’ve a new camera (okay new for me) in the mail to ensure that I can get some decent pictures no matter the weather – I got a Olympus Tough camera (waterproof, freeze proof, crush & drop proof) that I should have a harder time breaking (that’s the idea anyway!). My original dinosaur of a camera is still semi working (only in good light and only when it’s not below 50 degrees) but is sadly no longer reliable.

Kathy G. Has generously  shipped her extra iPad for me to use so that we have some Internet and gps options both on the road and once I get to the Maryland Farm. So there will now be some G3 internet, my cell or email is a good way to contact me!  I’ve a feeling that it will take me awhile to actually set up working internet at the Maryland Farm.

Whatever may come of all this in the long run – even ‘failure’ in the traditional sense, I believe this will be a important experience not just for myself, but all the people who are touched by it. So if you are drawn to what I am embarking on here, please let me know and maybe you’ll find yourself working with one of my mares or cultivating wild edibles for your table. I’ve a feeling this whole experience is about people assisting one another to further their skills/experiences.

~ J