08 December 2015

I've Been Abandoned

My typist and photographer has pretty much abandoned me. She has gotten it into her head that she wants to learn how to paint. And, when she gets worked up about something there's no stopping her.

This entry is just to say I probably won't be posting here that much, at least until this painting insanity blows over. There's not all that much going on right now anyway. It's raining here in Northwest Montana to the point that we have flood warnings in effect. That's a first. Usually, by this time everything is frozen solid.

If I can get her to do anything with me I'll make her post it. Until then, if you want you can read the blog she started about her painting, you will find it here www.followingmyart.blogspot.com

Meanwhile Boo Hoo for me!

Cio for now,

Molly Montana

19 November 2015

Rails to Trails Kalispell Montana

Yesterday, we took a walk on the Rails to Trails project in Kalispell, Montana. It was partly sunny and very blustery. On this trail you can walk, or bicycle, either to Kila or Somers. Pretty long walks but you don't have to go all the way. The distance is one of the reasons why we like the trail. We can walk as long as we want in one direction. Today we went three miles toward Kila for a six mile round trip. On this type walk we average three miles per hour. It was a nice two hour walk.  I know this because, last year, Kinsey bot a Bushnell GPS tracks this stuff. Also there are mile markers on the trail. :)

If it hadn't been for the wind it would have been perfect fall weather. For the duration of the two hour walk we only encountered two other hearty souls pushing against the wind. Wind makes me frisky. I tried my best to engage in the puppy crazies but alas this is a leash path so I wasn't very successful.

So far it has been warmer and less snowy than it usually is for this time of year. Kinsey says it's the El Nino. There is snow starting to build at the higher elevations but the valley floor is completely clear.

The Flathead Range as viewed from the Rails to Trails path 11-18-15
If you are looking for a nice, scenic walk this Rails to Trails path is the perfect place for it.

Aussie me on donated park bench. I promise my feet were clean.

As mentioned in my last post Kinsey has a new project for this winter. She is taking up acrylic painting. This should be good. Because she is a compulsive writer she is keeping a dairy of her adventure on a new blog Diary of a Would Be Painter. Mostly she is keeping it to track resources and experiences for herself. Some of the things she discovers might be of interest to other beginners.

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

31 October 2015

Winter Hobbies-Kindle Unlimited-Acrylic Painting

Wow, where does the time go? Seems like only yesterday we were welcoming spring. Now, winter is already here again. The days are already growing short and will continue getting ever more short until late December. Here in northwest Montana that means we barely have eight hours of daylight in the winter months, not a lot of time for outdoor activities. Which I suppose is alright since it's so "blasted cold" (Kinsey's words not mine). Personally, I don't mind the cold. My coat is thick and luxurious again. So much dark isn't all that great but it's amazing how quickly one adapts.

Tomorrow we will set our clocks back. That's a sure sign winter is on its way.
Winter coat back in fashion
Kinsey, is always trying to dream up winter projects to keep her busy. Last winter she went on a jigsaw puzzle kick. She did a bunch of them. This winter she is going to try something entirely new, acrylic painting. Beyond her camera I'm not sure she has much artistic talent but you never know.

One of Kinsey's year round hobbies is reading. She reads three or four books a month. A couple of months ago she took Amazon's Kindle Unlimited free trial and she loves it. She can read all the books she wants for $9.99 per month. Granted not all books are part of the program but so far there have been plenty of interest to choose from. Kinsey has no doubt she is getting her money's worth.

Kinsey has started her initial research into getting this painting thing going and discovered something very cool. She can get books on acrylic painting free with her Kindle Unlimited. Just one of those books is more than the monthly fee.  Below is an acrylic painting book Kinsey has downloaded to her Kindle. The hard copy edition is twenty bucks!

Acrylic Illuminations-Kindle Unlimited Selection

Here's the link if you want more info on this book or to check out other acrylic painting selections that can be downloaded for free. Amazon Acrylic Painting Books

To be sure the illustrations on a Kindle leave much to be desired but Kinsey likes to read many peoples opinions and ideas and then follow her own road. The Kindle Unlimited program allows her to do just that without breaking the bank. If she decides she really wants to be able to study on the illustrations she can always buy the book.

If you haven't checked out the Kindle Unlimited thing you might want to take a look see. I'll bet there are free books on just about any hobby or special interest you might have.

As for me, I just go with the flow.

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

11 October 2015

Hungry Horse Reservoir

This weekend we decided to take a drive over to Hungry Horse to check out the fall colors. There is the town of Hungry Horse, Hungry Horse Dam and Hungry Horse Reservoir. Hungry Horse is a local favorite for hiking, fishing and camping. Hungry Horse is about fifteen miles from Glacier National Park. If you're visiting from out of state you should check it out, especially if you are here in the Fall. Glacier is beautiful but there are so many other beautiful places with less traffic and Hungry Horse is one of them.

On the way over we crossed the Flathead River and it was looking mighty pretty all dressed up for Fall. If you look closely there is even an intrepid fisherman on the river.

Flathead River

As pretty much everyone knows the West has been plagued by drought conditions and northwestern Montana is no exception. All I can say is I'm mighty glad we are up river. In any event the reservoir was pretty low. Below is a photo taken this weekend and one taken at full pool.

Hungry Horse October 10, 2015

Hungry Horse at full pool. Tiny speck in the middle is the same little island in the photo above.
We traveled down the west side of the reservoir and only went as far as Doris Creek, which isn't very far at all. If you have the time and an adventurous spirit you can drive around the whole reservoir. It'll be over a hundred miles. It's 58 miles to Spotted Bear which is a the far south end of the lake.

We were only out for a walk in the woods in the autumn and had gotten a bit of a late start. So we hiked up 895A which goes along Doris Creek. Along the way we came across a young family cutting firewood. There was something very lovely about the scene. A family together out in the forest, in the beauty of a Fall afternoon, providing for themselves a warm and toasty winter. Also, warming is that the heat will cost them $5.00 for all the wood they can cut.

There's not a lot more to tell other than we had a really wonderful, colorful afternoon. I'll let Kinsey's photos do the rest of the talking. The point of this exercise was finding color and that we surely did.

Cottonwoods in full Fall color

A walk in the woods at Hungry Horse

Aspen in Fall color
Me stuck in the car whilst Kinsey fools around

Sometimes it's hard to believe we live in such a beautiful part of the world. We are grateful we walk in this world with our eyes open. It's truly a gift. Soon the snow will fly and all this amazing color will only exist in photos and memories. But, the gods willing, we will be able to experience it again next year.

And, would you believe this is the sunset we were treated to at the end of the day? If you are color junkies like we are it just doesn't get any better than this! Oh, how we love Montana!

Sunset over the Flathead Valley
Ciao for now!
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

02 October 2015

Flathead Reservation

So, we had to cancel our trip to South Dakota and it took twelve days to get Clementine road ready. We just couldn't let the Fall pass without some kind of adventure. We decided to make the Flathead Reservation and the Mission Valley our destination. We are very glad we did!

The Flathead Indian Reservation is home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. The tribes are a combination of the Salish, the Pend d'Oreille and the Kootenai. Of the approximately 7,753 enrolled tribal members, about 5,000 live on or near the reservation. It covers over one million acres.

The Flathead Reservation is somewhat unusual, least wise in our experience, in that more white people live on the reservation than Native Americans. If you are interested in how this came to be check out this check out this article in the Missoulian.

Highway 93 runs through the reservation, down to 90 and Missoula and is really the only way to get anywhere if you hail from our part northwest Montana. Kinsey has been traveling down that stretch of road for 15 years and really never thought of the area as anything but a place to drive through. We found out on this adventure we were very wrong about that.

Much of the reservation is in the Mission Valley. The Mission Mountain Range is one of our favorites. You will also find the National Bison Range and Ninepipes Wild life Refuge. If you are a nature and wildlife lover you will love them both.

Mission Mountain Range as viewed from Ninepipes

We also visited the towns of Polson, Ronan and St. Ignacius.

The next few posts I will be going into more detail of each of the places we visited.

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

27 September 2015

Clementine: The Gory Story

You may recall from my last post, we were headed to South Dakota and the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary to meet out little sponsoree Lakna's Liberty. We got as far as Deer Lodge when Clementine went kaput!

Lakna's Liberty with her cousin Running Road

Clementine was towed to Don K's in Whitefish, 210 miles. We arrived after closing on Thursday night. We didn't hear back until the following Monday afternoon. The repair estimate was just under $800. Ouch! A couple of sensors needed replacing as did the house batteries and air filter, labor was $470. The air filter needing to be replaced was interesting as Clem had just been in for serving three weeks before departure. Anybody ever hear of an air filter not being check with an oil change?

Now the house batteries being defunct well that was just plain dumb on Kinsey's part. They were the original batteries and Clem is now eight years old!!!!! I mean duhhhhh! We like never dry camp so she just thought the batteries were fine because they always worked as we went down the road. Kinsey knew she would pay more to have the dealer replace them but I guess she was feeling pooped so she decided to pay to let someone else handle it. We were told Clem would be ready on Friday.

On Friday we showed up to claim our Clem. The first thing we noticed was that she was filthy inside and out. They hadn't put down paper on the floorboard nor had they even washed the windshield. On the drivers side someone had sat in the drivers seat with a ball point pen in their back pocket and left ink marks all over the seat. Clem has the most beautiful leather seats we have ever seen. Soft as doe skin. Kinsey was incensed.

Clementine & Shadow at Lake Hebgen 2014

She got the service guy to come take a look and while they were trying to get the ink off the seat Kinsey was looking under the hood. Turned out things had not been put back the way they were supposed to be and things had to be put right there. Meanwhile the seat cleaning guy said he was taking the color out of the seat. An outside professional had to be called in. The seat cleaners came to the house and the seat was taken care of and you can't really see where it happened.

By now Kinsey has absolutely no confidence in what has been done to Clementine. She starts to wonder if the batteries were the right kind for an RV. Once back at home she checks the batteries and notes they were bot from Napa. On the Napa website she finds the batteries and, will wonders never cease, they are the right kind for the job. But, what she also finds is that the batteries sell for $82 at Napa but Don K charged me $130!!!!! A nearly 60% mark up! She could of lived with 20% for the convenience but 60%? That's plain highway robbery!

Now somewhere well north of incensed Kinsey calls the service manager, Greg. She told Greg, as calmly as she could, the whole gory story. To his credit Greg was contrite and completely diffused Kinsey's anger. Clementine went back on Monday for a good front end cleaning and the cost of the batteries was adjusted back to $85.

Now you may wonder why we were at a Dodge dealership. It's because our RV sits on a Dodge 3500 chassis and is powered by a Mercedes diesel. In 2007, when we bot Clem, there was exactly one authorized service location in the whole of Montana, and it was in Livingston over 400 miles away. Now there are maybe four of which Don K is one. We love the Mercedes diesel. It's a hard worker, pulling Shadow up and down steep mountain grades with ease and it gets great mileage. But, it is a pain in the neck to get serviced.

By now it is twelve days past our South Dakota departure date. The bloom is off the lily. We've lost our reservations, it's 900 miles to the Black Hill Wild Horse Sanctuary and they days grow short. Much to everyone's chagrin Kinsey officially aborts our trip. Hopefully, we can try again in the spring.

I'm really disappointed too. I was looking forward to meeting Liberty. I kind of think of her as my little sister. I was also disappointed because I really like these road trips. We have so much fun meeting new people and learning new things. Kinsey can't bear not to go somewhere either so she decided we will go down to the Flathead Reservation in the Mission Valley for a few days. It will also give us an opportunity to check out all systems

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

14 September 2015

A Major Disappointment

We were all set to meet our little sponsoree Lakna's Liberty at the Black hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.

Lakna's Liberty
Rather than re-invent the wheel Kinsey has written all about it on her blog The Liberated Photographer.

Some things are meant to be and some are not.

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

04 September 2015

Fires, Heat & Bears

Well this summer has been one for the record books. So hot, so smokey and so very dry. We've been looking at everything through a smokey haze.

But, we haven't had it as bad as some. Friends of ours have had breathing problems from the smoke and we've not had anything nearly that bad. Our area has been under Stage  2 fire restrictions. Basically that means you can't do anything involving combustible engines in the forest between the hours of 1:00pm and 1:00 am. So, we've been working until 1:00 and then hiding in the house from the heat for the rest of the day. It's been in the 90's or higher all of August. The restrictions weren't any inconvenience to us as you know who is only good for about 4 hours of hard labor anyway. The crummy part was staying in for the rest of the day.

Finally, some cooler weather and rains have arrived and what a relief. Also the bears have come to our meadow to steal apples. Last night we spotted an absolutely huge black bear sitting under an apple tree. It was too dark to take a photo but we did get one on another night of this cute little guy. He looks like a person caught with his hand in the apple jar.

Small black bear about half the size of the one we saw last night.

It is really a privilege to get to see these beautiful creatures every evening, even if they do raise Cain with the apple trees. The bears climb up in them and their weight just breaks all the branches down. We tried shaking the apples off so they wouldn't have to climb the trees. Didn't work though. Those silly bears would step over an apple on the ground and climb a tree just to get one little apple way on the top. Kinsey doesn't mind. Watching them is just too precious.

I have really made myself poopular (intentional spelling). I started running down to the orchard in the morning and rolling in the bear poop. Man, you should see the size of those poop piles. A poop rollers dream! Now Kinsey has to go down to the meadow and pick up the poop before she lets me loose. BUMMER!!!

Ciao for now,
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

07 August 2015

Hiking the Blacktail Trail

We had an awesome hike this morning, before the heat arrived.

The first thing we saw was a young black bear. I barked, jumped up and down and scared him away. Did not make myself popular with you know who. I do admit for such a little person I put out a heck of a deep bark. Poor little bear went flying off through the trees.

Kinsey saw this fungus growing on a tree trunk and thought it looked like some kind of baked meringue. Looking at things in terms of our stomachs is something we have in common. Probably if she ate it she would have been frothing at the mouth. It was pretty though.

Tree fungus
As we walked along we heard the screech of a hawk. We love that sound. For awhile we couldn't see through the trees but then it dropped down and lit in a fir tree. It perched in dark shadows so that it wasn't easy to see or take a picture. Kinsey called out to it "Hey hawk, can't you lite somewhere that we can see you?" No sooner did she say that than the hawk rose up and flew to a nearby tree top. I swear, sometimes I think she is a wildlife whisperer.

 We went as far as an old mine shaft. Kinsey tried to get me to go in but I was not having any of it. That tunnel looked dark and dangerous to me. One time when Koty was with her the two of them went in until something growled at them and they high tailed it out for there. Never knew if it was a bear or a mountain lion. What idiots!

Old Mine Shaft

On the way back down the mountain Kinsey couldn't resist a selfie. I swear.

Kinsey & Molly Montana on the trail.

It was a great day and a great hike. Life is good in Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

27 July 2015

Lakna's Liberty - Choctaw Pony

Today we got some new photos of my little "sister" Liberty. If you don't know who Liberty is you need to read my earlier post Choctaw Baby Born on the 4th of July.

Lakna's Liberty - Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
She looks in fine fettle and growing like a weed.

Next one the little gal is taking a siesta.

Lakna's Liberty - Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

We'll be headed down to the sanctuary in September to meet Liberty in person. We can hardly wait!

If you love horses we encourage you to check out the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. There's nothing else quite like it. And, if you can, sponsor or adopt a slice of American history, freedom and liberty. Or just donate what you can to keep this wonderful dream alive.

Our thanks to Cori Clements, Director of Tourism at the Sanctuary for the photos.

Ciao for now!
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

24 July 2015

Hiking In The Kootenai Forest

We got up early this morning and headed out into the Kootenai Forest. There really isn't much to say except that it was a beautiful Montana morning and we greatly enjoyed ourselves.

Kinsey took photos of things that caught her eye and I basically made a nuisance of myself lunging after squirrels.  Below are some of the things Kinsey saw.

The sun rising over the Kootenai
Wild daisy

Indian Paint Brush
My adorable self
A beautiful day in the Kootenai Forest

Pictures can say it better.

Ciao for now
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

16 July 2015


Kinsey has asked for air time to tell you about a new camera she bot. Without further ado here's Kinsey!

Thank you Molly for this rare opportunity to get a word in edgewise.

I wrote awhile ago on my blog The Liberated Photographer that I thought I may have lost my muse.  I think my real problem is I am plain tired of lugging my two Nikons around. Most of the photography I do is done whilst hiking in the mountains and forests and those cameras, with lenses, are heavy buggers. I'm doing the hard court press on 70 so maybe I'm losing a little bit of steam.

I had gotten to a place where I was leaving the Nikons at home and just taking a Panasonic Lumix point and shoot. I can put it in a pocket, very liberating. Whilst the photos are not the greatest quality they are fine for internet sharing on Facebook and the blogs. There are moments of frustration when I see something I really want to photograph and I don't have the right tool.

Whilst I was on my Journey to the Black Hills this past May/June I met another professional photographer who had just gotten a Leica V-Lux Type 114. He was enjoying the heck out of it and invited me to look it over. I was amazed.
Leica V-Lux (Type 114)

The Leica V-Lux 114 is what they call a bridge camera. It fills the void between a point and shoot and a DSLR. It does it with about a third of the weight of either of my DSLRs. I carry two Nikons, one with a wide angle lens and one with a 70-300mm zoom. I don't like changing lenses in the field and I never know what I'm going to want to shoot. Great for quick flexibility. The pits for the hauling factor.

The Leica V-Lux 114 comes with a fixed 25-400mm, which gives me the same or better range range as the two Nikons, and 16x optical zoom. The lens is a respectable f2.8-4.  I took the below photo with the zoom fully extended and it's amazingly sharp.
Full on zoom

There is also a macro zoom that works well. It took the photo below indoors with just ambient light. Again quite sharp.

Indoor Macro

It has a built in flash but I almost never use a flash. I adjust my light with shutter speed or stops and ISO. The ISO on this camera goes to 12,500. My Nikons go nowhere near that. I haven't tried it yet to see how much grain you get but 12,500 is a big number. The V-Lux sports 20 mega pixels. And, last but certainly not least it has a German made Leica lens. Leica lenses are legendary.

The manual is a tome and I've barely scratched the surface of the things you can do with this little camera. One thing you can't do is much in the way of action shots, like a true point and shoot the regeneration is very slow. It does have a burst option and there may be other tools I haven't discovered yet but the things it does offer make up for this shortfall as far as I'm concerned.

I've heard some people complain about the plastic feel of the body. Well, it's that plastic that makes it so light so I'm fine with it.

If you are looking for a camera that will take you farther than a point and shoot but without the weight and expense of a DSLR I think this Leica V-Luz is the bomb. It's certainly gotten my photographic juices flowing. Looking forward to learning a lot more about this little camera. If you've used the Panasonic Lumix Point and Shoot you'll find that the controls are very familiar. With a price tag of around $1,200 it's steal! You can pay up to $30,000 for a Leica DSLR. :)

Anyway, I'm having a ton of fun with the V-Lux and just wanted to share it with you in case anyone else was looking for a nice little bridge camera.

©Kinsey Barnard

10 July 2015


Regular readers may recall our visit in May to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary and that Kinsey had asked to sponsor the foal of Choctaw mare named Pearl and Choctaw stud named Lakna (Lakna is Choctaw for Yellow Sky Horse). Pearl was very pregnant when we were there on May 26th. We thought she would be giving birth anytime. But, we were very wrong. It took so long we were starting to really worry. I'm sure the Sanctuary was getting tired of Kinsey checking all the time. You would have thought she was an expectant grandmother. Turned out we had been home for a month before the blessed occasion.
Choctaw Mare Pearl-Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
For those who may not know, there are only about 300 Choctaw Ponies left. The US government in their infinite wisdom and in the spirit of their limitless greed decided the best way to control the Indians was to take their horses away so they slaughtered them. Thanks to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary the number is growing. In fact this summer the number grew by three thanks to the Sanctuary.

Chocktaw Stud Lakna-Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

We just kept waiting and waiting until we got to July and Kinsey starting hoping the foal would be born on the 4th of July and that's exactly what happened.

When you sponsor a young horse you usually get to name it. Kinsey had been thinking about all sorts of names but when the blessed event happened on the 4th of July the only name that would do for this little filly was "Liberty". Liberty aka freedom is the essence of the sanctuary and, well, the 4th of July. So without further ado I would like to introduce you to Choctaw filly little miss "Lakna's Liberty". I'll be thinking of her as my little sister. Her formal name will be Lakna's Liberty in honor of her daddy.

Choctaw Filly Lakna's Liberty-Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

We could not be more thrilled. Kinsey is already working on plans to go back to the Sanctuary to meet this very special girl in the fall. I don't think Kinsey has been this excited or inspired by anything as much as this birth in a very long time. We'll keep you posted.

If you love horses we encourage you to check out the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. There's nothing else quite like it. And, if you can, sponsor or adopt a slice of American history, freedom and liberty. Or just donate what you can to keep this wonderful dream alive.

Ciao for now,

Molly Montana

@Kinsey Barnard

29 June 2015


Today was kind of like a day of relaxation before we make the final push for home.

Kinsey did some straightening up n Clementine and the we made a junket out to the Missouri Headwaters State Park. On our way out we tried to find some baby owls we had been told about when we arrived. They were right where they were supposed to be. The owners of the park had taken some great photos but the owls had grown a lot since. They still wore some of there baby fuzz but they were getting pretty big. They were cool to watch. It's amazing how they can swivel their heads 180 degrees.

Horned Owl

Too bad we couldn't have been there yesterday when the clouds were so gorgeous. I got to stretch my legs a little as we hiked around. There are lots of trails and places to view the rivers that converge there. It's very picturesque.

On the way back we drove through Three Forks. The only other time Kinsey has been here was to pick me up in February 2012. Things look a lot different in winter. Three Forks is a quaint little town with the main edifice being the Sacajawea Hotel which has a nice restaurant or so says Kinsey.

Three Forks Wall Mural

We returned to the campground, had lunch and our daily nap. By around three o'clock it started to cloud up and we took off to see if we could find anything else interesting. We didn't get very far. Down towards Yellowstone were the biggest, blackest clouds I've ever seen. They were headed in our direction. It's absolutely amazing how fast a storm can close in. Before we knew it we were in it. The wind blew so hard the rain was going horizontal. It was all we could do to get back to the rv park. We got soaked to the bone just getting from the car into Clementine. The storm pretty much put a cap on our day.

Storm Clouds in Three Forks

By about six the storm had passed. Kinsey took me for a walk and then went out by herself. She wanted to see the owls one last time. This rv park is teaming with critters. It makes watching out the windows of the motorhome very much fun.

This will be our last day on the road. We are both getting a little road weary and ready to get back to the comforts of home. I'm ready to run free and play in my ponds and creeks. Traveling is lots of fun but I love to be free!

Ciao for now!

©Kinsey Barnard

26 June 2015


We were up bright and early to start our push for Three Forks. I was excited because Three Forks is where I was born and I was going to get to see my parents and other relatives.

Three Forks Landscape

With a couple of potty stops and a gas stop it took us about five hours. It was a pretty drive and Kinsey did her photo whilst driving trick. It's a darned good thing I have nerves of steel!

Big Horn Mountains

We're staying at Camp Three Forks and it is very nice. Lots of green grass and shade trees. After we got set up at the campgrounds we headed for Out West Aussies. That's the name of the kennel where I was born. It was really exciting to see my mom and dad. Although, I'm not sure I really remembered them. My dad is particularly handsome and I look a lot like him.

My Daddy

My Daddy

I had a lot of fun playing and romping and hope to be able to come back again. My personal photographer was supposed to take photos of the reunion but she was kind of asleep at the switch and too busy jawboning with Kelly, the owner of Out West Aussies.

Yea! Me having fun!

Kinsey had thawed out a steak to BBQ and once again she got rained out. It started to pour before her coals were ready. Our neighbors invited her to use their Jennair so all was not lost. She ended up spending the evening over there leaving me to languish alone in our motorhome. For a woman who spends most of her time alone, alone with me, she sure is a regular social butterfly when we are on the road.

Me Languishing

We'll spend two nights here so Kinsey can get Clem ready to get stored when we get back. Tonight will be our last night on the road. I'm glad and a little sad. I'm anxious to get back to the ranch where I am free to be me.

Ciao for now!

©Kinsey Barnard

25 June 2015


Today we packed ourselves up and headed north. Sad to leave South Dakota in our rear view mirror.

Clem seems to have developed a bit of a thing. She doesn't want to turnover after sitting for a couple of days. It's like the battery is dead but after a few turnoffs and retries she starts right up. This actually started right before we left but Kinsey made an executive decision to press ahead on schedule. Once were up and running there don't seem to be any further issues. It's like a cold start problem. Hopefully, we'll make it home and then we can have it checked out.

We headed north on 16 to Custer and took it all the way to 90. It was a beautiful drive. The prairies are so green now and before long we could see the snow capped Rockies in the distance. Kinsey forgot to charge the battery in the point and shoot so, well you know. Actually, just as well, Trying to take photos whilst going 70 down an Interstate is not real smart, IMO.

We stopped in Sheridan, Wyoming for the night. We are at Peter D's. It's a nice rv park and the owners are real friendly. So, nice in fact Barb gave Kinsey a double discount for paying cash and later brought us some fresh spinach and radishes from her garden. Now That's hospitality! People have been so kind to her on this trip. The gal at Kevin Costner's The Story of the Buffalo Center gave her and a video for free.

The best thing about this place is it has an enclosed dog run and I got to play friss bee (that's how Kinsey says it) for the first time in two weeks! Golly was that fun. I miss my friss bee! I sure hope we stay here again!

After a friss bee session, a meal and a nap we decided to walk to town. Sheridan is definitely bigger than a wide spot in the road. The main street runs a fer piece as they say around here. There are sculptures all along the way and it looks like a western store paradise. Since it was after five on Saturday a lot of places were closing up. Yes, you city slickers, there are still places in this world where stores close early on Saturdays and stay closed on Sundays. Imagine that!

What was open was a Dairy Queen right on main street with a sidewalk window. Kinsey couldn't resist and got herself a Reese's Blizzard. There are benches to sit on so we did and watched the traffic go by. When Kinsey was a kid that's what one did on a Saturday afternoon. The best part for me was I got to lick the cup when she was done.

This evening a thunderstorm rolled in and it was a doozie! Clementine was rocking and rolling like a cork on heavy seas. The rain drops that fell were the size of pebbles.

If everything goes ok with Pearl's foaling we will be returning to The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in the fall. I think will Sheridan definitely be on the itinerary for a return visit.

Ciao for now!

24 June 2015


Today was supposed to be my day to get a great hike in. So, what happened? It rained cats and dogs. JUST SHOOT ME! We only had six full days in the Black HIlls and we've been rained out on three. For the math challenged among you, that's 50%. And, it seemed as though the rainy days were all my hiking days! No fair!

Around noon it was still raining but we venture out anyway. We went up to the VA place. It's a really beautiful campus. There is also a national cemetery. In our travels of South Dakota we have seen numerous VA hospitals and national cemeteries. South Dakota people really care about those who have served.

Veterans Hospital Hot Springs, SD

But, I think, nowhere more than Hot Springs. We ran into the lady that runs the visitor center whilst she was locking up for the day. She was a lovely elderly lady and told us many things about the history of Hot Springs. She also told us the residents really cares about the Vets, many of whom suffer PTSD. She says when one of them has a melt down in town they don't call the police. They call the hospital.

She also said the yo-yos in Washington wanted to shut the place down and build a new facility in Rapid City. How stupid is that? Close a perfectly beautiful campus and spend the money to build a new one in a regular size city. Seems to me the Vets would be far better off in a beautiful, tranquil setting like Hot Springs. But then, when did the humans in Washington ever do anything sensible?

Victorian Home Hot Springs, SD

Victorian Home Hot Springs, SD

There are some really beautiful old Victorian homes on the bluff overlooking the town. We tried to get up there but musta missed the turn. We ended up driving through a beautiful canyon just on the other side of town.

Hot Springs Park

Next we tried to find the Cold Creek Recreation Area. Still hoping for a hike. SD signs.

We found the park and little lake and it was a very pretty spot but it was still raining and the roads and trails were mush. We went back to town and walked the Freedom Trail along Fall River again. Better than nothing.

Since  was cold, cloudy and rainy Kinsey went to The Mammoth Site and took the tour. Below are some of the photos she took of the mammoth bones. This is an active dig. It seems that a few years back there was this sink hole that had grass ringing it. The mammoths fell in whilst trying to get at that grass and couldn't get out so they drowned. And, would you believe, every last one of them they dug up so far was a male?

The Mammoth Site SD

The Mammoth Site SD

That pretty much did it for us. We went back to Clementine and hunkered down for the rest of the day and evening.

Ciao for now,

©Kinsey Barnard