After Shocks

Polson, MT

It’s been just two months since we bought Homer. Sixty two days to be exact.

We didn’t start traveling for a couple of weeks. Then we spent some time in Fallon and Boise both in and out of the motor home, and that time doesn’t really count in my mind… I’d say a rough guess is that we have ‘traveled and lived’ in Homer less than 30 days.

I remember my very wise brother-in-law Mike telling me that when you make a large purchase it takes 43 days to get over the shock. I think we are getting very close to being past that feeling.


Within the last week both Rich and I have felt a sense of calm wash over us. We noticed it within ourselves first, and then we noticed it within each other.

We’re not stressing about the small stuff. (Although I must admit that I still do and probably will forever freak out when I don’t have Internet and cell service.)

We are living and enjoying life  more in the moment than we ever have in the past 37 years of marriage.

So while living in about 200 square feet in an RV is a new experience for us, there are other less quantifiable changes that are taking place as well.

I’ll write more about these as we go along, but for now I just know that we are both enjoying the metamorphosis after that initial shock.

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Color Me Happy!

Polson, MT

I am on Cloud 9!

I got to play pickleball today!

Color me H A P P Y !f


I played like crap because I have played less than ten times this year, but I don’t care because I got to play pickleball today!

It’s hot and I sweated like a pig, but I don’t care because I got to play pickleball today!

I only scored between one and four points (out of eleven) while playing singles with a 4.0 player, but I don’t care because I got to play pickleball today!

I should be blogging about our trip, but I am not going to today. You might be mad, but I don’t care because I got to play pickleball today!

I am playing tomorrow, too, but I won’t be quite this excited about it, so I will blog about our trip again…

PS I wouldn’t have been as excited if we had played undressed like this…


Cherries, Cherries, and More Cherries

Polson, MT

We’re in Polson, Montana, which is at the bottom of Flathead Lake.

Aside from being incredibly beautiful, the area is known for its cherries.

Farms grow both Rainer and Flathead cherries. Rainers are yellow and more subtle in flavor. I’m not sure if Flatheads are bing cherries or another type. All I know is that they are spectacular!


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The area offers an ideal climate for cherry growing. It’s at 3000 feet, and the summer has long warm days with cool nights.

I’d write more, but we’re taking a bike ride to get some cherry pie!

Jaw Dropping

Columbia Falls, MT

Drove across Glacier National Park today on the Going to the Sun Road.

There’s no other way to describe the scenery, geology, and topography other than Jaw Dropping Gorgeous!

Most of the rock is rather shale-like as compared to solid granite.


It’s just BIG country…


Can’t get over how green it all is for the end of July.


This little ground squirrel kept teasing Sophie while we were talking with a Canadian couple on their way to Sturges on their Harleys.


This is a picture of The Weeping Wall and what’s so amazing about this photo is that there are no cars on the road. 🙂 No small feat for a beautiful summer day…


It’s just an amazing place.

The Pareto Principle

Columbia Falls, MT

This may come across as a rant. It’s not meant to be… It’s just something I’ve been pondering recently.

First, an explanation of the Pareto Principle also known as the 80/20 Rule. (From Forbes magazine)

“The Pareto Principle is very simple, yet very important. It is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who, in 1906, found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

“What was most important about Pareto’s finding was that this 80/20 distribution occurs extremely frequently. For example, in general, 20% of your customers represent 80% of your sales. And 20% of your time produces 80% of your results.”



If you stop and think about it, the Pareto Principle applies to many things in life. We spend 80% of our friendship time on 20% of our friends. During an election year, your mail is probably 80% junk and 20% important. Most of us spend 20% of our cooking time preparing 80% of our meals assuming that you have one fancy meal every other week or so.

So here’s what got me thinking about the Pareto Principle again. We are staying at a park that has rules posted everywhere. Each of those rules are posted multiple times. And those rules are posted all in the colors that are normally reserved for DANGER alerts: yellow, black, and red. It’s an assault on one’s eyes because even innocuous information comes across as URGENT.


The problem is that you only need to tell or show 80% of people the rule once and they get it. The other 20% will never remember the rule no matter how many times you tell them.


So 80% are annoyed while 20% are absolutely clueless.

Think about it… How many times have you seen a “Slippery When Wet or Icy” sign and thought, “Gee, I didn’t realize that the floor might be slick when it’s wet…” or “I wonder if all ice is slippery or maybe if just this ice is…”? Probably not that often.


But then some twenty-percenter comes along and busts his butt without even realizing that the sign was there let alone thinking about reading it…

So, in reality, due to the Pareto Principle 80% of us spend 20% of our time reading stuff for the 20% who have an 80% need to read it.

You Never Know…

Columbia Falls, MT

who you will meet.

Live music enticed us across the highway here in Columbia Falls, Montana.


There was a small crowd of less than 100 there to listen to the band play old time favorites from Gene Autry to Happy Days.

A small group of women, aged 25 to 45, dropped by. They were dressed in sundresses and looked like they just came from a Whole Foods store: healthy, happy, and wholesome. One of them came over to pet Sophie, and we started talking with two of them.

Turns out they had just finished a build for Habitat for Humanity. One was from Cape Cod; the other from Phoenix.

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The gal from Cape Cod plans to go on a build in all 50 states. She’s about half way to her goal. The one from Phoenix was supposed to go on a build in Amman, Jordan. But due to the political tensions, she opted to stay in the states. She uses her vacation every year to go on a build.

They came to the concert because it was advertised as a Barn Dance.

I think they were mighty disappointed not to meet some Montana cowboys…

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The River Wild

Libby, MT

Went for a short drive up to Kootenai (coo-ten-ee) Falls this morning.

There’s something about moving waters, especially waterfalls, that are just so energizing and cleansing. These were no exception. They are the largest undammed falls in Montana.


0725141043bI kept thinking that the falls looked familiar. Later I read that parts of  Meryl Streep’s movie “The River Wild” were filmed there.

We hiked downriver a bit to The Swinging Bridge. It’s a suspension bridge directly over the river.


From far away, I kept telling myself that I couldn’t walk over it. I’m not obsessively afraid of heights… I just really don’t like them.

We passed another couple who had just visited the bridge, and I asked them if they ‘did’ it. They giggled and said they made it one quarter of the way across.

I gave myself a little talking to as we approached the bridge and decided what the hell… Just Do it!

Rich and Sophie went first. I can believe how that dog will try anything. The only thing she is afraid of is our Dyson vacuum cleaner. (Hat on backwards because it was windy, not because he’s trying to look cool. 😉 )


I went next, holding on to the cable tightly like that would help somehow…



Pretty thrilling to face my fear and try something new.

After we crossed it TWICE (because there’s no other way back), we ran into a couple from Germany on their way to try it.

He asked if we ‘did’ it. I told him “Yes!” and gave him a high five. He said, “But I haven’t done it yet!” I said, “But you will!”

A few more random pictures…



Deer Neener Neener

Libby, MT

We’re in Libby, Montana.

It’s gorgeous here. Of course, because it’s cloudy, I’m even more awed by its beauty.

I went for a jog and one of the locals told me about a paved trail. “Go down this street, climb through the hole in the fence by the high school, and turn right. You can’t miss it.”

Always up for an adventure, Sophie and I took off. Just before we stepped through the fence hole, I looked up to see a small spike buck whose antlers were in the velvet. We were maybe eight feet apart…  just staring at each other. Finally, he sauntered off into the thicket. whitetailspikebuck Sophie and I continued on the trail and came across a doe and her fawn. They were quite skittish and bounded off once they saw us.

I wasn’t sure how long the trail was or where it went. A few young boys were fishing in the creek. I asked about the trail: Did it go much farther?” One answered, “It goes down to Lakewood Drive, and then it continues past the elementary school.” I said “I not from there, but I take it that means Yes.” The boys all snickered, and I continued down the trail.

I then jogged around a turn and came upon a spike deer who was hanging out by the elementary school. There was a five and a half foot fence along the path. I stopped jogging immediately, and we were about 10 feet apart. He calmly sailed over the fence like it was only two very high! DSC05232-doe jumping fence-L It felt like a neener neener moment with the buck saying, “I can do this and you sure as heck can’t.”

And he is right!

PS None of these pictures are mine. I didn’t have my phone while jogging.

Give a Gift

Post Falls, ID

Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I will take a picture of a couple or family trying to take a photo of themselves on vacation.

When I worked at Boise State University, I volunteered to help at graduation and my favorite assignment was to be a runner because I got run around and take pictures of the graduates and their loved ones. I felt so much amazing energy to be around so many people happy at the same time.

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The picture taking opportunity presented itself while we were at Grand Coulee Dam yesterday. I was walking Sophie when Rich spotted a couple trying to take a selfie. He came and got Sophie telling me, “You’re the Good Samaritan.  Go take their picture.” So I did. Although they were about our age, I could that they were new as a couple. They were thrilled to have a moment of their visit captured.

Later we were on our way home from a bike ride, and we came across a medical emergency. Conrad, a young boy about nine years old, was lying on the ground near the campground entrance. He was obviously in some sort of intense physical  distress. His mother was kneeling over him trying to calm him down so that his breathing would become more normal and regular.

Another woman was in a minivan parked at the scene. She was talking with someone (either on her cell phone’s speaker or the car’s OnStar) and relaying the medical instructions and information back and forth.

We asked the woman if we could do anything. She ignored us and focused completely on her task (which was the best thing to do given the gravity of the situation).

Rich said he noticed there was someone in the ranger station when we road by earlier, so I ran and pounded on the window. A young man in his late teens was working. I quickly told him what little I knew of the situation and told him to get help.

Although understandably flustered, he handled it perfectly. Initially he was going to come outside and help, but he quickly realized that getting a ranger was the best thing to do.

An ambulance came and took Conrad and his mother away, hopefully to safety and health.

I went back to the ranger station today to tell the young man that he handled the situation perfectly.

So my Good Samaritan deed for today is done. I complimented* the young man.  I also told him that too often we don’t take the time to tell someone that he/she did a good job, so that’s what I was doing…


Little tiny gifts that hopefully make others’ lives better.

*Special thanks to Renee Thompson for her idea of a year of compliments.

Dams and Falls

Coulee City, WA

We stayed at a very busy campground outside of teeny tiny Coulee City in Washington.

The area is called Sun Lakes, and I think it attracts sun seekers from throughout the northwest. From young families to retirees, sun worshipers were all smiles with the sunshine and warm temperatures.


Dads play golf on the nine hole course, kids play in the water (and each one must have their own personal flotation device that is at least five feet square), and moms work their butts off around camp. 🙂

The geology of the area is amazing. We saw everything from Dry Falls to Grand Coulee Dam.

Dry Falls

Dry Falls is exactly that… A place where there used to be falls but the water is gone.


Dry Falls is ‘an artifact of the ice-age floods of some 15,000 years ago, when mammoth ice dams in Montana broke and the waters of a giant lake — with 500 cubic miles of water — swept across Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington and scoured out the dramatic coulees we see today. The raging flood waters were hundreds of feet deep. During those floods, raging waters dropped more than 400 feet over cliffs 3.5 miles wide — more than twice as high and three times as wide as Niagara Falls.’ (Seattle Times)





It’s an amazing sight to see… I would love to see it from the air!

Grand Coulee Dam

Next we drove to view the Grand Coulee Dam. GC

It’s an amazing engineering marvel. Hard to believe what was accomplished in the 1930-1950’s to build the dam. A third dam was added in the 1970’s and while it is significantly smaller than the rest of the dam, it generates 60% of the power the dams provide.

I was fascinated to read that the feds paid Woody Guthrie $366 to write songs about the benefits of generating power in the Pacific Northwest.

WoodieGuthrieAnd while Rich oohed and aahed at the dam, I, of course, was marveling at the quilt made by one of the locals who had retired as an engineer. Her quilt has won many awards.