Showing posts with label Yellowstone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yellowstone. Show all posts

Friday, July 4, 2014

God bless America

God blessed America with beauty. Here's my gift to you: beautiful sites I've visited in U. S. A.  

From the mountains
Mountains in Yellowstone National Park


                To the prairie          
                                                                   Clara Cemetery on North Texas plains (setting for "Victoria and the Ghost.


Charles and Janet at Rockport, Texas beach

To the ocean white with foam

God Bless America

Other beautiful sites in America

Overlooking Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Hill country in central Texas
I'm thankful for America. God has truly blessed our country.
Hope you're all enjoying your 4th of July weekend.
 Where in the U.S.A. do you like to visit?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

GEYSERS (and what they teach me)

Are you tired of hearing about my trip to Yellowstone National Park this summer? That sight was beautiful, awe-inspiring, and taught me many lessons. We spent 4 days viewing the park. By that time, we were geysered out. No, for you grammar gals, that's not a real word, but that was how we felt.

Near Yellowstone Lake, an example of fumaroles.
Much of Yellowstone sits within the confines of an ancient exploded crater from volcanic eruption.

The four basic types of thermal features present in the park are geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mudpots.

Ten thousand thermal features are within the park, more than anywhere in the world. Only four other places have any of these; New Zealand, Indonesia, Siberia, and Chile.

Mudpot near Old Faithful

Steam vents (of all kinds)  are cracks in the surface of the ground through which pressurized steam from below escapes to the surface, oftentimes with a hissing sound.

Some give a strong smell of sulphur.  Charles's nose wrinkled at this. Since I have little sense of smell, this didn't bother me.

Crown geyser
One thing that surprised me was that there are five or more geysers that erupt steam at regular, documented times. One of those is the crown geyser. We snapped this photo when the eruption was just beginning. It can be counted on about every 90 minutes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Isn't God's world phenomenal?

The geyser walk scared the daylights out of me. Near Old Faithful where can be found a huge concentration of geysers and mudpots, we strolled a wood-plank broad-walk across miles of geysers. Some periodic, some constant eruptions bubbled on either side. There are no handrails. My overactive imagination built up worries about what happens if you trip and fall in those geysers. Most of them are in excess of 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Scary indeed. Praise God, we didn't fall.

Mammoth Hot springs is the home of most of the hot springs. They come in layers and look like white snow. Totally different, but equally interesting to visit. Though we strolled another walkway, the fear wasn't as real because there's no bubbling.
Of course, my pictures of geysers in Yellowstone Park wouldn't be complete without the most famous one, Old Faithful. This one erupts ever 40-90 minutes and attracts visitors from all over the world. We viewed the eruption twice. Awesome!

Now, for the lesson I learned in touring geysers and other thermal features?

Hell is real.
Hell is at the center of the earth.
God is far more powerful than I can imagine or begin to envision

I welcome corrections, suggestions, or observations from my viewers. Have you traveled to Yellowstone? What was your take-away? Did you learn anything from my simple notes?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Recovering Food Addict

Twenty years ago I entered the room at 250 lbs to join a group the leader called Christian Weight Controllers. For the previous thirty years, I'd been on more diets and indulged in more binges than the many mosquitos that stormed me during a Texas summer.

My hope faltered.

My faith drooped.

The words I heard during that meeting filled me with guilt and drove me to the nearest convenience store for a package of Reese's candy treats. I decided to quit, but God nagged my conscience and nudged me with a glimmer of trust.

I attended the second meeting. A sweet, older lady named Sister Stack sat beside me. "I'm so glad you're here. I prayed for you this week," she said.

At that point, I knew that I must give up, quit fighting, and ask God to do it for me.

He did.

One of the things I did in the beginning was write three goals, three reasons I'd like to lose weight.

Top of Lower Falls (our goal)
Here was my three:
     1. Good health
     2. Increased self esteem
     3. Be able to climb mountains

Now, that last one might make you laugh, but here's my story. My husband and I love the mountains and go there nearly every year. When my mother was alive, we took her with our family. One trip was one of humiliation--mine.

My husband, three daughters, and 78-year-old mother, and I climbed a mountain. I took twice as long as anyone else and arrived with a racing heart, heavy breathing, and red face. My mother had no problems. I broke into tears and never wanted to try to climb a mountain again. Only, I really wanted to climb one. I longed to be that fit. I never lost that dream.

Today, I live my dream.  
Lower Falls at a distance

 I maintain a weight of 155 lbs and keep up activity every day. On our summer trip to Yellowstone National Park, my husband and I hiked to the lower falls of  the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  The trail, steep and rocky, led us 3/4 mile down to the top of the falls to outstanding scenery. Then, we climbed back up the 3/4 mile. Most of the climbers were much younger than us, but it felt good to stretch our abilities. Yes, I had to stop to catch my breath several times, but I made it and I was proud.

My motivation to make that hike showed up my true identity; that of a recovering food addict. I wanted to make the climb so I could eat more and not gain weight. We laughed about that, but, hey, it worked.

Do you have any experiences with recovering from food addiction or compulsive overeating?

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Which character tells the story? That's a decision a writer must make. The reader will know the  point of view character's thoughts, words, and actions. Everything filters through that character's way of looking at the happenings. Conflict comes into the story due to the fact that other characters have different "points of view."

Is that not true in marriages or friendships? Through many years of marriage, I'm still amazed that my husband and I look at things from opposite angles. If I take one route to church, Charles will take another. If I assume he will do one thing, he instead does something I would've never dreamed. God made no two persons alike, but the old saying is true. "Opposites do attract."

Never was this fact more evident than on our recent vacation to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
Our lunch site looking over the Grand Teton Mountains. Gorgeous.

By the first day, I suspected a problem. By the second day, we had all-out war. By the third day, we faced a period of readjustment.

We left Wichita Falls, Texas and spent the first night in Raton, New Mexico.

 I believed our trip was open-ended. We would strive to get to Yellowstone the quicker route, taking about three and one half days. We would stay at Yellowstone six days, but then we would go or stay as we pleased. I didn't expect a specified day of return. After all, isn't that the joy of being retired, or in Charles' case, semi-retired?

Upon further discussion, I learned that Charles had given his office a certain day that he would return. That date hurried us back as quickly as we had gone.

The battle was on.

Who would win?

In a relationship, only compromise can keep the peace, so we both needed to readjust our plans. Charles extended the dates and planned a new route home that would take us to new scenery. I gave up my idea of "come back when we're good and ready," and decided what we could see in the length of time we could be gone.

That period where both Charles and I readjusted our plans got me to thinking. That's how it is with us and God sometimes. We plan our day or our lives. God throw a curveball into our set agenda, our scheme, our schedule. The only move we have is whether we'll fight His will, or readjust?

I leave you with my favorite verse in the Bible.

 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
                                       Romans 8:28

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stop and Smell the Pine Trees

Without fear, my husband drives our Dodge Ram hooked to our Cougar travel trailer around narrow mountain trails and through rain storms, but don't get him talking about going through Denver traffic. On our way to Yellowstone, we hit the 6 lane Highway 25 in the middle afternoon, thinking we wouldn't have too much problem at that time. Good advice from a fellow RVer told us to take the middle lane, so we did.

Cars flew by us like a Nascar racetrack. The traffic lasted ages. The road seemed non-ending. Though we knew staying in the middle lane was the wisest course of action, there comes a time when you must stop. My husband inched over to the right lane. The movement resembled closing our eyes and facing a bull head-on, because no one allowed enough room for about 56 feet of rig to pull to the side.  I feel sure God widened a spot for us. We made it, stopped, got back on the track, and survived Denver to go on to our destination.

Mountains to the west of Denver with my husband and my Aurora, Colorado daughter. Notice the pines.

That race track of Denver traffic, not unlike what we encounter when we go through Dallas, reminds me of the fast pace of our life. I stood at the edge of 6 lanes of hurling vehicles and asked, "Where is everyone going so fast?

Fishing Bridge RV Park in Yellowstone National Park

Life is short. Most of us move with more speed than a rocket ship on the way to the moon. Thank God for vacations that slow us so we stop and smell the pine trees. Some never take vacations. Some never pause to enjoy life. Some don't stop and smell the roses in their own backyards.

Denver, Colorado is a beautiful city, nestled at the foot of high mountain peaks. The downtown area offers much history to enjoy. Small lakes dot the landscape of the city. To the west,, the area teams with wildlife, pine trees, and unsurpassable beauty. And, even snow in October as you see in my picture above.

If Denver traffic tell us anything, it's that we need to slow down and appreciate what we have. Standing  beside Highway 25 and watching all those fast-moving people reminds me to enjoy the blessings God gives us and when we find ourselves getting too busy, to find a pine tree and inhale.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Are you choosing RV Parks this summer or fall?

Wow, did I ever travel this month. My husband and I purchased our first travel trailer seven years ago. We've taken three trips to Ruidosa, New Mexico, and one trip to Vallecito Lake, Colorado. We've traveled to the Texas coast at Rockport, to the hills of Central Texas at Fredericksburg, and numerous sites within a couple of hours from our home in Wichita Falls. We were ready for long trip.

Or, were we?

We both longed to see the beauty of Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton mountains. Little did we know we would end up staying in 9 different RV parks in 16 days. We came home exhausted, having stood in awe at the beauty provided by God in the states of Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, but also having experienced some of the worst and best RV sites available in that part of the country.

We prefer parks with full hook-ups. I'm a city girl, bred and born in Dallas, Texas. I don't do camping unless it's the easy way. Still, we love to be out with nature and sit near our trailer soaking in the closeness of God while amongst His wonders.

In case you're planning a trip with an RV to that part of the country this summer or fall, or even next summer, I thought it might be helpful to post my list, to give recognition where it's due and to warn future RVers of difficulties in some places.

I divided the list into 1)good 2)Great 3)Necessity only and claimed one park as 4) the worst. Here's my list:

the good

Summerlan RV Park in Raton, New Mexico
                Our GPS got us lost by sending us in the wrong direction for this park, but the lady there
         guided us safely over the phone to the right spot. She was friendly and kind.
               Not fancy, but it had wide lots where you could sit outside, and it had nice showers. We got in
                        only 3 TV stations and we did have WiFi.
               An unexpected bonus - on the back of the receipt was the salvation message. I thought that
                       was unique and sweet.

Loveland RV Park, Loveland, Colorado
               Very nice park, new club house, grassy area for tents, big trees
                They were surrounded by many nice restaurant choices which was helpful at that time.
               Cable TV, WiFi
               The biggest problem was the RVs were jammed in there. We did sit outside but the lot
                          was small; only had a view of roadway with many people passing

Okay, drum roll please, my choices for the GREAT ones

Sleeping Bear RV Park, Landers, Wyoming

The first place we stayed that we loved was Landers, Wy. The strange thing was we thought it would be a quick stop-off because online it didn't look like much, but the view was super. We were on top of a mountain looking down on the city. The area had several things to do, and it's only 200 miles from Yellowstone, if you're headed there.
Wide lots, cable TV, WiFi

\Montpelier, Idaho KOA Campground
This is a view from the Montpelier nature hike, which we liked and walked along twice while  were there. We looked out over a mountain.
  This was another wonderful, unexpected pleasure with large lots, the gravel was heavy and even for easy parking. The pool enticed many to swim. Cable TV, WiFi (You can tell that was important to us.)
  The friendly staff gave us free hash browns to try. This was the only place where we could have a campfire or grill easily which was good because there's few restaurants in the town 2 miles away, mostly just Subway. There was a nice grocery store where we could refill our supplies. Bear Lake is a huge, blue lake nearby which is super for fishing.
United Campground, Durango, Colo.
    Wide lots, big trees, nice view of Animas River and Silverton train comes through the park.
      Nice pool, good club house
      Cable TV, good WiFi reception, fair cell service
A note of my own: If you have several days to spend in this area, we loved the Blue Spruce RV Campground up above Vallecito Lake, which is up the mountain and to the northeast of Durango. The cool air and gorgeous scenery is worth the trip up, but only if you stay several days.
KOA Campground, Amarillo, Texas
     Cool nights for sitting outside even in summer
     View of gorgeous sunsets over flat plains that stretch for miles
     Pool and showers are new/nice
     WiFi, cable, good cell service
     Wide lots, plenty of gravel
     Nightly tractor/hay wagon rides for kids/ Very friendly but professional staff
and the Necessity Only, as needed, for camping
  KOA Campground, Green River Utah
      Nice pool, Fair restaurant within walking distance
      Very limited WiFi, 3 local TV stations only/no view
      Little gravel, some patches of grass, mostly sand (that gets in your sandals when you walk)
      Nice pool
  Note: If you go Green River in the summer, buy one of their local, delicious watermelons
Fishing Bridge RV Park, Yellowstone National Park
            This picture shows how our trailer was crammed into a pine tree where we couldn't see out. The trailer on the other side, we could reach and touch. The view from our doorway was our neighbor's truck.
       This is the only campground in the park with electricity, water, & sewer hook-ups
       Staying outside the park might be advisable if you need cell service because there is none at all
             at the RV Park. They tell you in case of emergency to come to the office about 1/2 mile away
            and dial 911 on the pay phone, but we, most times, were not able to get the pay phones to
            work. (Thankfully, we never had to try the 911).You still have a long way to drive to see any
            of the sites in the park because they're so spread out and it's a big park. We could get to the
           Yellowstone Lake and Yellowstone River quickly, but that was all. That would be important if
           you want to fish.
      No internet, no TV, no radio, no outside communication. 
      RVs are crammed into tiny spaces
      The only place we could sit outside was almost on the roadway. A pine tree blocked our big
             window which made our trailer dark.
       One nice touch was wooded areas were interspersed between every 2 rows of RVs which helped
             a little & gave kids a place to play.
That brings me to my vote for worst of the 9   ****WORST***
Golden Eagle RV Park, Eagles' Nest, New Mexico
       Trailers jammed on small lots. Our back view was a mud hill.
      Though it wasn't their fault that we arrived in a rain storm, the campground should be 
                    manageable  in all kinds of weather. The only gravel was where you drove down to your
                     site, but we backed into boggy mud. My husband's tennis shoes sunk into the mud just
                   to get us hooked to electricity and water. My sandals were coated with mud to walk into
                   our front door. We slipped in, took off our muddy shoes, and didn't leave until the next
                  morning when we got muddy all over again leaving.
       They had a planned event that night but we didn't go because of mud.
       Limited WiFi, 2 TV stations, PBS & CBS
        No sewer and dump station was difficult to get to & very muddy around it.
I hope my list helps you, or at least gives you food for thought. If not, I hope you found the article entertaining.
Do you have any kudos for RV parks you'd like to offer us?
Do you have any horror stories?
Leave a comment. I, for one, would like the info for our next trip.
Where are you going this summer?