We’re actually just East of Cody, Wyoming, passing through Bureau of Land Management property at Red Canyon today. Our family is visiting Cody and the Buffalo Bill Museum, Irma Hotel and other historic places here. However, on the way through Red Canyon, they spotted a partial herd of Wild Mustangs. There are estimated to be about 50 to 60 horses in the herd but about 20 in this small group. Enjoy these photos of one of the oldest wild animals on the Continent.

Someone apparently did something they shouldn’t have….

And one more from outside of the park yesterday…..Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep…

Back in Yellowstone National Park and Yellowstone Lake…

Our family fondly calls this Bison Sauna…

The historic Yellowstone Hotel was built in 1891 and redesigned and expanded in 1903 by architect Robert Reamer. It was extensively renovated and restored in 2014. A very nice place to stay!

There is a lounge and somewhere there is a fireplace you can sit and read near…

At the West Thumb, you will come across some of the many unique pools Yellowstone is famous for….Black Pool

Bluebelle Pool…

Abyss Pool…

Just West of Cody is this unique house that never seems to get quite finished…

Heading back toward Jackson at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center they spotted this moose…

We hope you enjoyed our Mother’s Day Weekend at Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area.  Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, gramas, aunts and single dads.



Are you watching the new “Yellowstone” series? It’s pretty awesome and about one of the most beautiful places on earth. We are Wyoming people as well as Oregon and other places. One of our family members is currently traveling in Yellowstone National Park and we are going to share their photos with you as it goes. There will be more to come after these below so keep watching.   

Our family lives outside of Jackson, Wyoming and the first leg of the trip into the park goes past the Grand Tetons. The nearby lakes create wonderful reflections like this on sunny days.

And just before entering the park, this big, black bear was spotted.

Herds of Bison roam the park and traffic is often stopped as they cross or even travel on the roads. You just don’t argue with 100 Buffalo in your path. This one was right next to the car.

And then he wandered away….

A little known attraction is Gibbon Falls…

There are two Yellowstone Falls—the Upper and the Lower Falls. This is the Lower Falls…

Still lots of snow in the Wyoming high country!

Watch for more of our family’s Mother’s Day weekend trip in Wyoming….

The Road To Hell

The route from Phoenix, AZ to Wyoming is fraught with interesting highways. And by-ways if you want to indulge. It is long and sometimes rugged but the first major scenic site will be the San Francisco Peaks at Flag.

One needs to eventually arrive at I -15 in Utah and go north from there. So the first leg is to Flagstaff, AZ, and then East a bit before turning North and traveling across the road to hell through the Navajo Reservation. Every few miles there are natives selling beautiful handmade jewelry and delicious fry bread (a real by-way if you indulge). 127 miles to Page, AZ.

It’s easy to see why the US government gladly ‘gifted’ this land to the Indians. It is dry and brown with nothing on it but sand, red dirt, rocks and sage brush. It would be difficult to find an edible plant or much in the way of critters outside of rattlesnakes and scorpions. Not much cover either so the summer heat is intense. But, the Navajo lived here before the white man came and have learned how to survive and more—they gladly take your funds in exchange for the wares they make and weave. Modern life is a blessing!

There are a myriad of interesting formations and lines of rock probably carved by ancient glaciers. These provide some relief in the landscape and could even be called beautiful at times.

Eventually, the road leads to Page which is a bit of a mecca in this high desert. Here lives Lake Powell which provides water recreation, as well as sustenance for Arizona. As you head toward Utah, you cross the Glen Canyon Dam which created Lake Powell, the largest man-made reservoir in the US.

Moving on into Utah are more ridges and formations probably made by moving ancient glaciers. One of the most fascinating places is the Coral Pink Sand Dunes located between Mt. Carmel and Kanab, Utah. They truly are pink and some parts are the darker pink color of salmon.

The drive toward I-15 takes you through or past parts of Zion, Bryce and Canyon Lands National Parks. It is an absolutely beautiful drive but plan on an extra hour of driving time. Windy, curvy roads and several small burgs slow the pace. It is very much worth the extra time.

Winter Storm Watching On The Oregon Coast

Storm watching is a winter occupation on the Oregon Coast. From November through March, the surf can reach heights up to 120 ft. That’s a huge wall of water!

Cape Perpetua

Caution as to where to watch these storms is advised. One does not want to be on the beach, up close and personal as there is real danger of being swept out to sea.

One of our favorite places to watch the waves is Shore Acres State Park. Much of this area is perched high up on 80 foot cliffs over-looking the ocean where the water can be viewed from a safe distance. Shore Acres is said to be the best storm watching place on this Pacific Northwest Coast. There is an actual storm watching hut there on the cliff.

There are three areas nearby Shore Acres that are safe places to watch also:The bluff overlooking Bastendorff Beach, Cape Arago State Park and Sunset Bay State Park. These are all close to Shore Acres. Any of them would do but, as stated, we would choose Shore Acres first. Make a day of it and also visit the beautiful botanical gardens during the day. During December, stay for the night time holiday light displays in the gardens.

On your way to storm watching at Shore Acres, stop in and say hello to us at Umpqua River Haven ( We always have the coffee ready and would enjoy sharing a cup with you.

Whale Watching Week On The Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is famous for its Grey Whales. When visitors from all over the world are here and learn about the whales, well, everyone wants to see one. There are expeditions you can take to see the whales and Depot Bay is famous for their boats out into the ocean to view the whales that hang not far offshore. But a good, fun time can be had from shore where they have the Whale Watching Spoken Here Programs.

Trained volunteers are posted in various places along the Oregon Coast to help guide visitors in watching the Grey Whale migrations. Right now is prime whale watching season as 20,000 Grey Whales are traveling south to the warmth of the waters at Baja, Mexico. In March they’ll travel back again, but for now our favorite place to watch is on the platform looking out over the dunes at Winchester Bay with the Umpqua River Lighthouse behind us.

View from the platform to the south.


View from the platform to the north


The extremely endangered Grey Whale is a migrating baleen whale. They can be as big a 40 tons and live from 55 to 70 years. The gray patches and white mottling on dark skin give them the name of Gray Whale. These are the whales that migrate from their winter breeding grounds off the coast of Mexico to their summer feeding grounds in Alaska and back again. They have been seen popping up around the globe in small numbers possibly repopulating long lost breeding grounds not used for centuries. Worldwide protection of the species is what is bringing them back. One lady Grey Whale has made a 22,000-kilometer migration across the Pacific Ocean. Scientists believe this demonstrates how endangered species are making major changes in their lifestyles. They are amazing creatures.


This is the live Whale Watching webcam. You can watch the ocean to spot the migrating Grey Whales this week!

Whale Watching at the Umpqua River Lighthouse State Park is just a short 20-minute drive from Umpqua River Haven ( Stop in and say hello on your way or stay with us for a bit while you visit the coast to see the whales! And visit our favorite lighthouse.


The Oregon Coast Best Light Display

Following is a re-post of our 2015 blog about this magical place.  If you are anywhere near the coast this holiday season, don’t miss this one! 

It’s time for our annual visit to this wonderful garden on the Oregon Coast. It is a holiday fan’s paradise for lights, native plants, cider, cookies, Christmas music and more. 

Shore Acres Botanical Gardens just outside of Charleston, Oregon on the coast is lit up for 30 days over the holidays. Starting at Thanksgiving time, this beautiful coastal place is filled with lights, light displays and decorated Christmas trees. The Friends of Shore Acres do most of the lighting work and man the cottage and grounds during December every year. Various groups such as the local Corvette Club decorate the trees.

We will start at the entrance to the gardens as we are greeted by the lighted tall ship.


 Just past the tall ship we find this display from under the sea.


Moving along the garden lights open up for a full view that is spectacular to take in.


This post is about the lights. Following are some of our favorite light displays.

As you walk in past the Under The Sea display these sea lions are diving into the water and will make a splash of light.


In the opposite direction are 2 whales. One leaps and the other one, a grey whale, spouts.



Continuing around the walk is a somewhat new lighthouse display.


 The plants here are filled with colorful lights creating their own display.


Continuing on you will come to the Puffins.


And next is the pond. I am just giving you an idea of the displays. You really need to visit here during December to take in the full beauty of all the various displays and decorated trees. The frog actually leaps from one side of the pond to the other creating a splash when it enters the water.


As your walk around the pond you will come to the place that makes the ‘Ribbit’ sounds. It’s a bit of a surprise when you hear it!


 The pond supplies endless, lighted views. The cranes and salmon are no exception.


Shore Acres sits up on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean a short distance past Charleston, Oregon. The core of this property originally was the home of pioneer timber baron Louis Simpson who built a large mansion with formal gardens overlooking the ocean. The State of Oregon purchased the property in 1942 and added land as it became available. The gardens were let go until 1970 when they were restored even grander than before with flowers and plants from all over the world. One of our favorite parts of the gardens is hidden a bit. There is an area with rows of all kinds of roses!

The mansion no longer exists but there is an observation area where it once was where you can read all the history. However, the caretaker’s cottage survives and is now the Garden House. It, too, is filled with all things Christmassy and is on the tour.


Inside you can sign the guest book and then head on upstairs to visit the front bedroom, Santa’s bath and the back bedroom. You can sign up for the raffle to spend New Year’s Eve in the front bedroom with catered breakfast.


 There is a Christmas tree in the bedroom also.

And the view out the window is spectacular!


And don’t forget Santa’s bath.


As you pass from the front of the house to the back you are greeted by many volunteers giving out cookies, hot apple cider, punch and coffee which you can enjoy there or take out to the pavilion.


You can sit and sip and enjoy the evening’s entertainment. There are a variety of groups that play/perform/sing on any given night and there’s often a sing-a-long. One year this bell choir performed beautifully.


If you are on the Oregon Coast during the month of December do not miss the opportunity to visit Shore Acres Holiday Light Display! There is a $5.00 charge for parking worth every penny. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop on the way out. Shore Acres State Park, 80939 Cape Arago Highway, Coos Bay, OR.  And stop in to say “hello” to us at on your way to the coast! 


Happy Holidays From Arizona

If you are traveling on Arizona’s I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff, you will pass this unique tree. It is growing on the median between the north and south double lanes on I-17. It is up “on top” as you have climbed up out of Phoenix into the Arizona high desert country. Every year, apparently, Santa’s Elves decorate this tree while no one can see as it is unknown who/how it becomes adorned with holiday decorations. Keep watch if you are traveling this route, but, you really can’t miss it!

Thank A Native American

Thanksgiving is a time to pause and reflect on, well, what we have to be thankful for. I am thankful for family, including my Native American family members, and friends. I am thankful to the readers of this blog site. Your comments are meaningful and helpful and I thank you for being here with us.

I am thankful for this wonderful, funky country we live in. It must be the best country in the world because immigrants can’t get here fast enough. We are privileged to live here and blessed to be.

The beginning of this country belongs to its Native Americans. They were here way before anyone else, of course. But, when the earliest immigrant-settlers arrived, it was the Native Americans who were instrumental in helping them begin to forge the new nation.

The Pilgrims, including some of my family, arrived in 1620 after surviving an arduous 66 days crossing the Atlantic in a leaky wooden boat. That first winter they lived on the Mayflower while building homes and storehouses at Plymouth. Half of the 102 souls that had arrived perished during that first, brutal winter. The remaining ones moved into the village they had built.

It was then, in March of 1621, that an Abenaki Native came into the village surprising everyone by speaking in English. Days later he returned with Squanto, a Pawtuxet Native American. Squanto had been taken years earlier by an English vessel and sold into slavery. He managed to escape to London and find his way home on an exploratory expedition. His English was very good. Seeing how the Pilgrims were suffering from lack of food and illness, Squanto taught them how to plant maze, harvest maple sap and catch fish. They also learned how to identify poisonous plants growing nearby so they wouldn’t accidentally eat them.

Squanto was instrumental in introducing the Pilgrims to the nearby local Natives, the Wampanoag. This friendship endured for over 50 years in peace and harmony. In the fall, when the crops planted by the Pilgrims under Squanto’s expert instruction were successfully harvested, the colony’s Governor, William Bradford, declared a time of feasting and invited their Native American allies. The Wampanoag Chief, Massasoit, was among the invited guests.

It was a 3-day celebration of gratitude by the colony for now having food and good nourishment for the coming winter. They were grateful to their Native neighbors and wished to include them to show their gratitude. They were more than included as the meals were probably prepared with Native spices and cooking methods. While the colonists went “fowling” for meat, the Wampanoag brought 5 deer with them as their contribution. The food was a little different than it is now, but this was the earliest Thanksgiving in our country.

As you eat your turkey and pumpkin’ pie and enjoy the warmth of family and friends, include the Native Americans in your thoughts, prayers, and meditations. They deserve it and right now as they defend everyone’s water, they need your support in whatever way you can give it. We wouldn’t be here without them!

Along The Rio Grande River

This blogger has been traveling and very neglectful of this site, but, I’m back.

One of the fun places that is visited for a few days is in and outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. New Mexico is very much a western state with many Native American Pueblos and a proud Hispanic heritage. And lots of Cowboys, too. The world needs more Cowboys!

One day, my college roommate and I visited Pioneer Woman in downtown Albuquerque. This adventure was suggested by a friend and it was a very worthwhile trip. The Daughters of the American Revolution donated 12 similar statues in 12 different states. This one was given to the City of Albuquerque around 1928, the year of its dedication in McClellan Park. It was moved in 1996 to its current location, a small park of its own, by the Albuquerque Public Art Program and rededicated at that time.

This and the other statues are dedicated to the fortitude of the women who pioneered in settling the west and other states where they are located. The women suffered many hardships while caring for their families and often traveled long distances in covered wagons to their new homes. They were a hardy, hard-working lot that didn’t have time to complain.

It was fun to visit her and know that those women of that time period are appreciated, as well they should be. Thanks to my friend who made the suggestion.

This time of year is the ‘brown’ season here with the prairie grass drying out and changing from green to brown. But here and there bursts of fall colors fill the trees.

The most spectacular display is along the Rio Grande River where Cottonwoods are predominate and a few other varieties are interspersed.

A family member took me on a drive along the Rio Grande one day from Los Lunas to Belen on one side of the river and then crossing the river, came back the other side. Following are some photos we took that display the splendor of fall along the Rio Grande.

And on the other side of the river.

A surprise to me was coming upon the University of New Mexico, Valencia campus. It is an extension of UNM about 60 miles south of Albuquerque. The buildings are designed to look like the adobe of another era.

If you are ever near Albuquerque in the fall, don’t miss the splendid fall display of colors along the Rio Grande River!