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Southern Alberta

posted Jul 10, 2014, 5:42 PM by Michael Schwarz   [ updated Jul 10, 2016, 2:00 AM ]

Great Falls, MT - We spent a few days in lovely Great Falls stocking up on groceries, doing mass amounts of laundry and waiting for the rain to abate. The next stop was supposed to be Glacier National Park (Montana) but plans change. The park reported 16 inches of new snowfall (that made it to the national news!!). The Road to the Sun which is supposed to be a breathtaking drive was plowed only a few miles in on either end and all the hiking was either snowed in or squishy wet. Maybe next year. Sigh!

We also tried to deal with a smoking generator. Whenever it was cold, it would spit out lots of unburnt fuel. According to the service guy in Great Falls, it needed work that he couldn't do. We decided to head to Canada to see if we could get it taken care of there.

We entered Canada without any problems near Sweetgrass, MT. We stopped in at the local Cummins/Onan dealer in Lethbridge, Alberta. They took a look and decided to order parts that wouldn't be there until Monday. The campground in town was on the banks of the Oldman River (that's really its name!). Because of historic rains, it was totally under water. We drove 30 minutes west to the little town of Fort Mcleod. On Saturday, they were having a used  an antique auto show on Main St. This picture is for my cousin Michael Green.

I found it curious that they had such models on display such as, Monarchs and Fargos. Years ago, they had different model names than they did in the states. I think the Monarchs were Mercuries. The Fargos were Dodge trucks.


Much of Southern Alberta is prairie. Very picturesque, but flat.


30 miles west of Fort Mcleod is the historic Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump site. Catchy name, eh? Before Europeans showed up, there were no horses in North America. That put native Americans (or First Nations people as they're known in Canada) at a decided disadvantage when it came to hunting buffalo, who ran a lot faster. Some enterprising person came up with a great idea. How about we get the buffalo all worked up and stampede them off a cliff?

So that's what they did. Sometimes running off a cliff didn't kill the buffalo. When this happened, there were hunters at the bottom of the cliff to finish them off. Sometimes the hunters at the top of the cliff went over with the buffalo. It was a nasty business. Archeologists have estimated that there is about 20 meters of bones at the bottom of the cliff.


The Month of June is Aboriginal month and there were several dance demonstrations. What this woman did with hoops was amazing. She made wings, and a head dress and all kinds of stuff.
Lots of drums



The costumes were great especially this feather head dress
The view of the prairie from the top of the museum with the wind turbines in the distance

and a marmot. That counts as a wildlife sighting.


2014-06-30 Revelstoke, British Columbia

posted Jul 8, 2014, 10:14 AM by Michael Schwarz   [ updated Jul 10, 2014, 8:03 PM ]

After a beautiful drive from Radium Hot Springs through Glacier National Park (Canada) and Revelstoke Mountain National Park we arrive at the Williamson Lake City campground. With the Canada Day long weekend coming up we were lucky and got the last site in the small park. It was crowded but everyone seemed to have a good time!

Campsite at Williamson Lake 'Resort' in Revelstoke, BC

Revelstoke Mountain has a road that goes almost to the summit. Unfortunately, it was still snowed in at the top. We still had great views of the town.


Revelstoke Dam with a museum and self guided tour. It's the largest dam in the BC Hydro system. Fun Fact: The Columbia River is the 4th largest river in North America and generates more electricity than any other one.

We did get to take the elevator to the very top

2014-06-26 Big Horn National Forest - Wyoming

posted Jul 8, 2014, 10:13 AM by Michael Schwarz   [ updated Jul 10, 2014, 6:20 PM ]

We had a wonderful adventure with Hunter and Jax and a good time was had by all (we hope), BUT we did need some R&R before we started heading north. We checked the map and found the nearest expanse of isolated mountainy green, Big Horn National Forest in Northern Wyoming. Seriously, in Wyoming all you have to do is close your eyes and throw a dart and you will find isolation and most likely mountains. Fun Fact -  Wyoming is the THE LEAST populated state!!

Up up up the mountain we went. If you are an RV'er you know to take these warning signs seriously. Lots of squiggles- bad. 10% grades - bad. Michael said it wouldn't be THAT bad, but after some "discussion" we decided not to go via 14A!!! We did take a drive in the car just to see how it was.



This is how it was!




We found a lovely campground at Sibley Lake and it even had electricity. The weather was mostly good. The windshield is NOT dirty  -it is snowing out!!!! We had a mini blizzard and ended up with 1/2" of snow.


Excellent wildlife sightings. Every evening we would take a drive and hunt for critters.

Marmot


                      Moose


                                            Mule Deer



Grouse


Used to be a deer. Came upon this while we were hiking.Yes, we always carry our bear spray!

Chipmunk

Sibley Lake hike

Couldn't figure out what happened to the trees, at first.


Ahhh, beavers!!




Kinda far away, but a giant herd of elk.




Young female moose




3 lovely days of hiking, wildlife hunting and relaxing!!!

2014-06-12 Road Trip with Hunter & Jax

posted Jul 8, 2014, 10:00 AM by Michael Schwarz   [ updated Jul 10, 2014, 7:12 PM ]

We had been promising Hunter and Jax a trip in the RV for the last couple of years so off we went to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Six days and nights of just Grandma and Grandpa?? Yup, they still want to go.

Couldn't make it in one day so we stopped overnight at Rock Springs, WY. The fairgrounds had lots of empty sites AND Jax and Hunter made new friends! The rodeo was coming to town and people were there practicing. We got to see some calf roping. You never know what you'll find along the way.




We arrived at Grand Teton Park on Saturday early afternoon. Lovely!!


We got the last site with electric at Gros Ventre campground in the park. AND there was a resident moose. We rode our bikes to the next camping loop twice a day to see if she was there. Awesome. Jax and Hunter had drag racing time trials on their bikes. Grandma was the timekeeper/referee.

They also made friends with a boy in a campsite across the way. We had many hours of monster truck sound effects in outside!



Taking a drive around the park. It was chilly in the mornings after night time temps in the upper 30's.




The park has a really nice visitor center with displays, a movie, gift shop and ranger programs. Today we are learning about the animals that live in the park.




Lots of Bison at the park. We found "evidence" all over the campground on one of our bike rides. And lots of it too.




Herds of Pronghorn Antelope running around. We took this photo while we were waiting for the antelope to jump over the fence. He was smarter than us. He just ran under it.


We signed up for a ranger guided hike up to a small lake and learned lots of neat stuff. Ask Hunter, he was right next to the ranger the whole way. There's Jax right behind the guy in the blue jacket.


We passed a stable and pasture


Crossed several gushing streams


Day 4 we left Grand Teton and went 2 hours north to Yellowstone.  We were too big to camp in the park so we only spent the day at the Old Faithful visitor center. We killed some time at the new museum before we saw Old Faithful erupt - the first of three times. Old Faithful was a BIG hit.




We took the walk behind Old Faithful where there were LOTS of little geyers and boiling hot springs. We waited and waited, but this one did not cooperate while we were there. Maybe next time.



Next stop, Cody, WY. Went to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. What a gem. We all had a great time. The caption for this photo is 'Greetings from Cody, Wyoming'!


Great timing for the Raptor show and great front row seats. This is a Turkey Vulture. Also saw a horned owl (twirling head and all), a falcon, and a golden eagle. All birds were rescued and because of injuries couldn't be released back into the wild.


Lots of hands on exhibits for both Hunter and Jax. I think Jax will be asking for a horse when he gets home. Sorry mom!


Kind of rainy on our way to meet dad in Casper, WY but with a beautiful rainbow like this you don't even mind.  Nope - no pot of gold at either end. Darn.


We had such a good time. Hope we can do it again!!

Here is what we learned about our young travelers.
  • They are little bundles of energy. If they don't get to release it, they explode later. Apparently riding in the motor home for hours doesn't count.
  • If there is something that requires climbing or balancing, they'll be on it.
  • We didn't have enough room to carry all the food they can eat.
  • We had few 'negotiations' to get what we needed done.
  • We're way too old to have kids that young. We keep up for the week. More?????????????

We Had a GrandBaby Eet's a Boy!

posted Mar 15, 2014, 7:28 PM by Michael Schwarz   [ updated Jul 10, 2016, 2:01 AM ]

In December, we welcomed grandchild number 5 to the family. Ryder Maurice Callahan was born on December 19. We got to spend the month of December in Grand Junction. During our drive there, we learned that the dashboard thermometer displays negative numbers! That's information we didn't need (want) to know.  Ah, what we do  for our grandchildren!!

The temperature made it to freezing twice while we were there, but we were thrilled to be able to help. Since it was the holidays, we were part of that, too. That was ...um... interesting (and fabulous).


woo hoooooo

No Samm, not yet!!!!

Grandma, I'm not going to drop him. I promise.


Shortly after getting home from the hospital, Jax requested, "Mom. Let's put him on the floor and see what he'll do!" Jax, maybe in a couple of months.






Time for Some Ketchup...er Catch-Up

posted Feb 13, 2014, 6:28 PM by Michael Schwarz   [ updated Mar 4, 2014, 9:10 PM ]

We're baaaack!!! Here is a quick synopsis of our adventures since our last entry, Yellowstone September 2012.

First stop is Mount Rushmore. Michael was so excited to use his new  Golden Age pass since turning 62. Free entry to National Parks and half price at National campgrounds.  Admission was free, unfortunately parking cost $20!! We highly recommend going back to the park for the evening program. Very moving. 2 days in the area then on to the next stop.

Mount Rushmore from the back


We had an unscheduled stop in South Dakota because of a flat tire on the car. I took a lovely picture of Michael with the ear of corn statue in front of the Corn Palace but couldn't find it anywhere. Hmmmm.

On to Austin, Minnesota. Home of Spam and a surprisingly nice museum.  Very interesting and lots of free Spam samples. Still spam but it was free!!





Next destination was Forest City, Iowa and the Winnebago factory for some scheduled repairs. The windshield had been leaking since we got it and Winnebago was going to fix it for free. There was a better than 50% chance that the windshield would break during the removal.  Since we had acquired some chips and dings during our trip to Alaska both of us were hoping for a brand new windshield. Good luck for us, they broke it and we got a brand new one.  We were at the factory for 9 days. Yikes. Nothing to do all day out in the middle of nowhere but visit with other RV owners. We did make some new friends and take a day trip to  Clearlake which was the last place Buddy Holly played before he died in the plane crash.





Repairs completed.  Continuing on to Massachusetts. We made a quick 2 hour stop in Elkhart, Indiana to see the RV Hall of Fame. Definitely worth the stop. From the first RV which was almost a covered wagon to modern day vehicles and a lot in between. Sorry no pictures.

Niagra Falls here we come.




Massachusetts/Connecticut from the middle of September to the end of October 2012.  Lots of family to catch up with. Went on a college field trip with Samantha. Helped take water samples and then separate and catalog the bugs and stuff (technical term).



November to December 2012 was spent in the Dallas, TX area visiting our beautiful grandchildren (our son and daughter-in-law too) and lots of friends!!! Had a lovely Thanksgiving with Jack, Jada, Janice and Jonathan.




 
Quick stop in Austin on the way out of Texas and on our way to Florida. A nice visit with Myron and Kathie. Fit in the Texas History Museum. Cool mosaic in the entryway.

Have to find someplace warm to spend the winter.  From Jan. to mid Feb 2013 we went to Ft Myers, Ft. Pierce, Lake Worth, Miami, day trip to Key West, Everglades, Sarasota and Tallahassee. 

Sunset cruise in Key West. Thank you Dave and Esther for meeting us in Miami.


If you are ever in South Florida and the Everglades make sure to stop at "Shark Valley". There is a 15 mile loop that you can walk, bike ride, or take the tram to see. There are alligators laying around everywhere. When we stopped to take pictures we had to make sure to check the grass right on the side of the road so you don't step on a gator!!!!!  Lots of birds too.
We used our folding bikes for the loop. Very hard on the butt!!!






Too humid in Florida even in the winter. We tried!! Let's head west to Arizona. Side trip to Alamogordo, New Mexico to visit White Sands National Monument.

Wouldn't want to get hit by a stray missile I guess.

White Sands IS a good name for this place. Took a nice hike on the dunes.



Arrive in Tucson mid March for a 1 month stay.
Visited this mission not far from our RV park


A must see is the Sonoran Desert Museum. Lots of outside stuff but also a small aquarium. Can you find the fish in this tank??



So cute. Look at that little face.


We left Tucson the end of April for Grand Junction, Colorado. I've been charged with making Hunter and Jax's birthday cakes for the last many years. This years theme was a Nascar Track and Monster Trucks.

Happy Birthday Hunter


Happy Birthday Jax


Headed out of Grand Junction in June 2013 for a 3 month trip up the west coast.

On the way we made a stop in Las Vegas to meet up with our friends Dave and Esther with a side day trip to Hoover Dam. Boy was it hot...


and cool.


No big wins in Vegas!

Westward bound. Sequoia National Park in southern California. The park road was so winding and had so many switchbacks it took an hour to get from the entrance to the top of the mountain. Beautiful views and if no one else was on the road it was FUN to drive! In the car not the RV.

There I am at the base of the tree.  I feel positively dainty!!!







Sad news from Massachusetts.  Michael's Dad was not well so we decided to change our travel plans and spend the summer in Mass.  One of the benefits of full timing. We lost him in June. We miss him every day.



Lunch at Bills in Saybrook


It had been a long time since we saw the sights in New England so we took a week long trip in July with Samantha up the coast of Maine. Beautiful Pemequid Lighthouse.  Right after this we drove to a dockside restaurant and had lobster and seafood right off the fishing boat.





August 2013
New motorhome adventure - Tampa, Florida
Just had to have a king sized bed!!!


Mid September we arrive back in Massachusetts and up to Cap Cod to visit our friends John and Joyce. Remember we made new friends while we were waiting for RV repairs at Winnebago in Forest City, Iowa??  This is them.  They were great tour guides. The cranberry bogs were so pretty.



Hyannisport - We didn't run into any Kennedys


One of the best things this summer was getting to spend so much time with my wonderful sister and her family.  Miss you Lisa. Wish Anne was there.


Barkhampstead CT Reservoir. This was on the way from our campground to my sisters house.


Samm lives about 35 minutes from the campground so we got to see her a lot as well. Got to share her passion for horseback riding and go to one of her lessons.






Mid October. Just about time to leave. Here comes Michael


November 2013
Sunnyvale, TX
As close to Jonathan and family as we could find. Ahhh, grandchildren!!



We have also discovered Facebook so you'll see some updates there.

Where Have We Been for the Past Year?

posted Nov 9, 2013, 6:17 PM by Michael Schwarz

Wow! It's been more than a year since we have posted anything! For all (both) of our loyal followers, we apologize. We have been to New England, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, California for a little while, and back to New England when I lost my Dad.

We have also graduated to a new motor home. Stay tuned for a new header to reflect the change. Also, stay tuned for more posts about our past travels and future ones. For the moment, here's a photo of our new house on wheels.





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