Monday, July 14, 2014

Lots to show and tell

DAY FORTY-FIVE: We're in Billings, MT this morning, in a Rodeway Inn. We had a lovely weekend in Yellowstone N.P., Friday-Sunday, and an especially wonderful trip over the Beartooth Scenic Highway from the NE exit of the Park up to Red Lodge, MT yesterday afternoon. The wildflowers were in profusion - we had never seen anything like it. The snow up at the top of the pass had only recently receded, so it was still spring up there and the abundance of wild flowers right on the shoulder of the road was unbelievable. I'll get pictures up as I'm able.

It looks like there are no photos on the blog from the time we left Salem, OR until today. Here's a start:

Saying goodbye to J.E.
We traveled through a section of central Oregon that had been hit hard by a large forest fire in August of 2003, which ultimately burned over 140 square miles. There was an educational roadside kiosk about the fire:

Forest fire information display

 And we saw much evidence of it ourselves:

Burned trees
A little further east, we went through a beautiful ponderosa pine forest untouched by the fire:

Ponderosa Pines

 We stopped and Ellen collected the beautiful ponderosa pine cones:

Cone collecting
Further east in Oregon, we left trees behind and entered the desert which has a rugged beauty:

Oregon desert

We arrived in Boise late and went to bed - Ellen had driven a lot and she was exhausted. We had a leisurely morning talking with Susan and then went to Pete Abernathy's house for a little "musicale" - a group of four musicians like to get together to play - variously keyboard, cello, viol, recorders, violin, and they like us to join them when we are in town. Ellen played soprano recorder and I sang a bit. A suite from a Handel opera was particularly lovely. Sorry - no photos.

That evening we went with Christian and Susan to a new recreational area on the Boise River where a dam has been constructed which provides a sort of practice/play area for kayakers and surfboarders. We watched, along with Ella and Fritz.

Fun in the water
Watching the kayakers
As we left, the evening sun lit the mountains and Ellen remarked, "Now I know why the hymn speaks of 'purple mountain's majesty'"

Purple mountain's majesty
After considerable time and effort, and much frustration with a not particularly user-friendly Xanterra website,  we were able to get lodging reservations in Yellowstone N.P. for  Friday and Saturday night - Friday at Grant Village Lodge, and Saturday night in Old Faithful Inn - a place where I have long hoped I could spend a night ever since I first saw the Inn in 1980. Sort of a bucket-list check-off.
It's time to leave the motel - more later.

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