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July 7th, 2014 | in Friends, Scenic | Leave a comment

You might have seen the other post with the animals and such, well this one is totally dedicated to the fire that we almost literally ran into. As we were stopped at one of the overviews, Mark N. noticed that there was some smoke “over yonder”.

 

Sure enough, it was smoke and not just a funny cloud. We continued on our plan but kept a wary eye on that smoke that was getting darker the closer we got to it.

 

Since it was a long drive up to the Arctic Circle, we decided to pass by the fire and hope that it didn’t cause any issues on our way home. We find out later that 5 minutes after we passed the fire (it was close to the road), they closed the road!  We were happy in our ignorance up toasting our arrival with a small glass of beer Winking smile

 

We head back to the only stopping point where you can get food, gas, etc which is just south of the circle. We have a little dinner (not very good Sad smile ) and then start to listen to the others talking about the fire.

 

We ask the questions about is the road open, can we get thru, etc. We are told, no, the road is closed and will probably be closed until morning. Luckily (for them), there also happens to be a hotel that we could stay at. We decide since it never gets dark, we will take our chances and head down the road to the fire line to see what we can learn first hand. It’s only 1 hour away from the hotel, so if we can’t get thru, we aren’t out too much.

 

We get to where they actually have the road closed (even though they have a sign at the hotel) and chat with the gentleman watching & turning people around. We don’t see anything but white smoke at this time so we start asking questions. He told us he would check to see if someone could take us thru the fire using a pilot car. The answer is yes, but it would be a little over 1 hour before that happens.

 

You have to remember, they do not fight the fire, it has to go out on it’s own. Luckily for us, while we were enjoying our beer at the circle, a storm had come over where the fire was burning with lots of cold rain & hail really dampening the fire. So when we went down the road, there were only a few hot spots to contend with. We could have done it on our own, even walked it, it was that clear but it was nice that they let us thru and we could continue on our way.

 

So that is the story and I am sticking to it! and now for the pictures that you all have been waiting for Winking smile

 

 

That’s all she wrote for the day, it was a long one but a great drive! ~ Kim

I wanted to get a picture at the arctic circle and this seemed like a great time to do it. Mark N mentioned that there should be lots of animal sightings along the way too, so bonus!  Mark decided he would go up with us so off we go.

 

We leave the campground at 8:00am (early for Mark) with a smile and Jim driving. I brought along a bottle of beer that I have been saving from South Dakota that I wanted Mark to try, so this seemed like a great event to toast once we get to the circle.

 

The scenery is spectacular, we get to see quite a bit of critters: moose, fox, black bear and waterfowl. We did get an additional bonus, a tundra fire! That will come in a different blog post.

 

It ended up being a really long day, but I would definitely do it again. Leave at 8am and return to the RV at 12:30am… but the company in the car made it that more special.

 

Here are the pics I want to share!

 

 

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our toast!

 

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The beginning of the hwy

 

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our first moose sighting and he was a LONG way away!

 

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another shot right before he went into the brush

 

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two cow moose were found at Two Moose Lake, who would’a thunk?

 

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running to catch up with her friend

 

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couple of guys that were riding the gravel road all the way to Inuvik! They were on an adventure.

 

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black bear that was on the road

 

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glacial ice on one of the lakes

 

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just love the various blue colors in the ice, it gets so thick

 

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the two buddies by the lake

 

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heading into the brush

 

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One of the foxes that we saw

 

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here is the other, they were so cute!

 

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lots of iron in the dirt, made everything red

 

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The back window just wouldn’t stay clean

 

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where there is smoke, there is usually fire (more to come)

 

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the dirt/mud is so fine, it looks like a new paint job

 

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it’s official! we made it to the circle

 

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all three of us

 

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the beer that we toasted with

 

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you can see why the back window wouldn’t stay clean Winking smile

 

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every where you looked, it was just beautiful

 

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and we had an almost full moon, so get a neat landscape picture with it

 

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the almost setting sun on two moose lake

 

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the color in the sky once we finally make it home

 

like I said, it was a long but glorious day. It will always have a special place in my Alaska trip memories ~ Kim

October 21st, 2011 | in Family, Friends | 1 comment

Where has the time gone?!?! It’s the end of October and I haven’t even finished posting about July and the rest of the trip to Seattle. Well, here is one more post of pictures as we traveled across Montana with a stop in Missoula and then Billings. After Billings, we stopped in Idaho to say hello to family & friends. We leave Idaho on the 14th of July, getting to our RV spot for the winter in Issaquah late in the afternoon, I have to head to work the next day for the first time in 5 YEARS!

 

I don’t remember doing much in Missoula, MT other than relaxing and getting a good nights sleep. I was looking forward to getting to Billings so that we could try out another great brewery, Montana Brewing Company. I had asked my niece about where to go, she stayed in Missoula for awhile, but she and her husband also knew a brewer that had moved from Bend, OR to Billings, so we had to try it out.

 

Come on in, the beer is cold

Come on in, the beer is cold

 

dinner & the required beer tasting tray

dinner & the required beer tasting tray

 

I asked to see if Evan was there that day, he was the brewer that my niece knew. He was, he came out and we chatted for quite awhile. He makes some great beer, I would recommend giving it a try!

 

As we traveled from the Black Hills to Missoula, we crossed some beautiful country. Here are a few shots that I took from the RV as we were driving down the road.

 

crazy clouds

crazy clouds

 

part of the Rockies

part of the Rockies

 

We had a really short trip from Billings to Hayden, ID, which gave us some time to catch up with family & friends. We spent the night in our favorite camp spot, the Bolam’s driveway. They are so generous with letting us stay awhile, use their electric, water & bath facilities. They also let us invite our daughter and grand-kids down to visit. Can’t ask for better friends.

 

me, Julie & Daisie

me, Julie & Daisie

 

Lisa & Daisie

Lisa & Daisie

 

the twins giving us a concert

the twins giving us a concert

 

Kathy & Daisie

Kathy & Daisie

 

Jim & Bob

Jim & Bob

 

Jim, Kim, Bob, Kathy & Daisie

Jim, Kim, Bob, Kathy & Daisie

 

It was a short visit but a wonderful stop. Had lots on my mind, thinking about going back to work so this was a great way to relax and take a break! Thanks again everyone for everything!

June 29th, 2011 | in Family, Friends | Leave a comment

It’s a great thing that Phil & Terri have so many hobbies, but in this case, I really love it :) They crew on sail boats during the racing season on Lake Erie. Our last trip to Ohio, we got to go out with them and Phil & Lorraine D. on Phil D’s boat Changes. I took lots of pictures and posted them (3 years ago, my goodness!). This trip, Changes was on the way back from the Bahamas, so Phil & Terri are now crewing on the Notorious. They are really good at what they do and they finagle ways for us to get at least one sail in each trip. So on a Wednesday morning, Phil, Jim and I met up with Brad (owner of the boat and skipper) & Bob to take a little sail. It started just breezy enough, but it got breezier as the sail continued and we headed back into port before it got too breezy.

 

This is a picture I took the last trip (June 2008) when we were on Changes and we were the committee boat for the evening race.

Notorious from 2008 in the late evening sun

Notorious from 2008 in the late evening sun

 

These pictures are from our sail this trip on the Notorious.

 

Brad at the helm

Brad at the helm

 

sun behind the sail

sun behind the sail

 

Bob, Jim & Phil

Bob, Jim & Phil

 

Brad, Jim & Phil

Brad, Jim & Phil

 

sun shining onto the sail

sun shining onto the sail

 

Notorious

Notorious

 

Me, I don’t do anything while on the boat, just sit back, relax and enjoy. Oh yeah, and I shift sides as we tack (I do make good ballast). I love the feel of sailing, I would do it a lot if I had a chance, but I will still stick to my RV for living & traveling. Thanks Brad for taking us out on Notorious.

 

btw, that same Wednesday, they had a race in the evening. Jim and I did not go, I was worried about the weather. It was a good thing too, they barely made it into port before the wind got so bad that it was pushing trees down. We had shear winds come through the area that night and Phil & Terri had to make 2 detours around downed trees to get back home from the boat. It was kinda scary, but it all worked out fine.

 

May 8th, 2011 | in Friends | Leave a comment

One of the things I really wanted to do while here in Kentucky was to try some of the bourbons. I found the Kentucky Bourbon Trail info on the internet and made some plans. One that I didn’t realize is that if you get stamps from all 6 of them, mail in a passport with stamps from each of the distilleries, you get a free t-shirt. Cool :)

The Kentucky Bourbon distilleries on the trail are:

One of the things that was interesting, you HAD to take the tour before you could taste. There are a lot of laws surrounding how you make and taste Kentucky Bourbon. It has to be made with at least 51% corn, it has to be put into charred White Oak barrels, it has to be aged at least 2 years and it can’t be blended with anything else other than corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, yeast & water. You can “mingle” barrels to get flavor profiles, but don’t use the term blend. But it makes it all worthwhile, with 44 million barrels of Kentucky Bourbon aging, you will find something you like.

 

Here are a “few” (49) pictures if you are interested in taking a walk with us as we tour 5 of the 6 distilleries.

 


Maker’s Mark is my favorite, that is what is always at my house. Mostly I cook with it, lots of great recipes, but will enjoy a nip now and then. I also liked Woodford Reserve, that is all they make, Woodford Reserve. I bought a derby bottle, it may never get opened. It was a nice change from wine and beer tasting.

May 7th, 2011 | in Friends | Leave a comment

I want to thank Pete & Lorraine once again for such a wonderful time! They were so generous with not only their time, but letting us use some of their perks (they work at Dollywood). You saw Country Tonight, Dixie Stampede & Dollywood already, but they also took us to Tennessee Shindig. We also enjoyed several meals with them, Thanks, Thanks, Thanks :)

 

Towards the end of our stay, Frank & Hazel made it back. They had to travel back to Livingston, TX right when we got to Pigeon Forge because her mother passed away. Hazel’s mom was 101 yrs young. We are sorry for your loss Hazel. But, they made it back in time so that we got to see them before we left. In fact, all 6 of us got together to enjoy some pizza and card playing.

 

We had that crazy weather a couple of days before, rain, wind, hail, thunder, lightening. Out at Frank’s house, they actually got damage, lots of pock marks on their truck and 5th wheel. Frank grabbed a couple of the golf ball sized hail stones and put them in the freezer. Luckily, we had no damage out where we were staying.

 

really big hail stones

really big hail stones

 

We went to a show the following night with Frank & Hazel (they too work at Dollywood), we went to see the Smith Family Dinner show. We had another enjoyable evening with wonderful friends. We are so blessed.

 

Waddle's, Licce's & Reeves'

Waddle's, Licce's & Reeves'

 

Thanks again everyone, we will miss you!

Kim

April 26th, 2011 | in Friends | Leave a comment

On Monday, Jim and I into Dollywood with Pete & Lorraine. What wonderful people, they supplied us with free tickets to get in, they work there during the summer. They pretty much know the park inside and out, though Jim and I had been there 11 years ago, in October of 2000. It’s changed but it hasn’t, the same as Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

 

We checked to see what shows we available and what we could fit it. We got to see three shows, bang, bang, bang right after we walked in. First it was “Zambian Vocal Group” and they were excellent. They come from different tribes but harmonize wonderfully. Next was “Samaia – legend of the Caucasus“, singing and dancing from the Country of Georgia. It was very interesting but kinda was putting us to sleep (ballet ;), and then “Drum!”, the story of melding the various ethnicities of Nova Scotia. It was great! In the Drum picture below, look to the far left, there is a guy in a kilt, he played the drums, the bagpipes, uilleann pipes, and has the arms to prove it!

 

After the shows, we grabbed a bite to eat in one of the many eateries in the park. After a great lunch, we needed to walk some of it off and it doesn’t take long, the park is built on a hill, so you are going up and down depending on what part of the park you wanted to see. We rode the Dollywood Express, a short train ride with a 110-ton coal-fired steam engine. We even got the soot on us to prove it :) Jim, Pete & I rode 3 rides, all some type of roller coaster. They were a lot of fun, I love those kinds of rides. The water park, Splash Mountain was not open yet, though it was a perfect day for it. There was still plenty of water in the park if you wanted to cool off, but we steered clear of those rides. Last, but not least, Jim and I toured Dolly’s retired 45′ Prevost RV. She has a newer one that she is currently using. It was pretty darn fancy, but not as fancy as you would expect. It could drive from Nashville, TN to LA, California on ONE tank of gas! I don’t think I would want to fill that tank.

 

 

 

It was a great day with Pete & Lorraine, thanks for the fun!

April 24th, 2011 | in Friends | 2 comments

Pete & Lorraine came through again! This time, tickets to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner show. We partaked of this extravaganza on Saturday night, the 23rd. We had tickets for the 8:30 pm dinner show, but needed to be there for the “pre-show” at 7:15 pm for good seats. We watched the Mountain Rukus in the Carriage Room before we went into the main arena where we would watch the show and eat our dinner without any utensils :)

 

Here we come Dixie Stampede

Here we come Dixie Stampede

 

Southern Belle waiting to say Hi :)

Southern Belle waiting to say Hi :)

 

I want a dress like this

I want a dress like this

 

They asked for people to not take Audio, Video or Pictures during the shows, but as you know, you can find anything on YouTube. Here is a video of “kinda” what it is like at Dixie Stampede, but mostly I wanted you to see “Mountain Rukus”. Those guys are really talented.

 

 

After watching Mountain Rukus, we move into the main room, we have seats up at the top with actual chairs (thank goodness, Lorraine, you done good). We are on the “Southern” side, because it is the North vs the South. We win this one 😉  The dinner menu was actually pretty darn good: creamy vegetable soup, cheese biscuit, full cornish game hen, slice of pork loin, 1/2 roasted potato, 1/3 ear of corn, and an apple turnover for dessert. Pretty easy to eat with your fingers and still enjoy the show.

 

waiting for dinner to show up on my plate

waiting for dinner to show up on my plate

 

I loved the horses, they even had live bison. It was worth seeing at least once, I bet the Christmas show would be fun to see too.

 

Thank you again, Pete & Lorraine for taking us along on this adventure!

 

April 21st, 2011 | in Friends | Leave a comment

You meet the nicest people square dancing! One of those couples, Pete & Lorraine, work at Dollywood during the summer, when they are not in Texas dancing. It’s another perk coming to the Great Smokey Mountains Nat’l Park, we get to visit with Pete & Lorraine.

 

They are being very generous with their time and perks, they took us to see the show Country Tonight. We went over to their trailer to visit, enjoyed a bottle of Lenne wine, went to dinner at the Smokey Mountain Brewery (yup, again, we liked it that much) and then off to the show we went. I was hesitant, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was very surprised at the quality of the singing. Right before the curtain opened, we heard a couple of big booms and then the rain hit the roof! The thunder was loud, as was the rain as it hit the roof, but only for a second or two and it was over before it really got started.

 

I love Country/Western music, so it was right up my alley. It was a 2 hour show and I enjoyed every minute of it.

 

Tidbit: Melinda, one of the main singers was a contestant on the tv reality show, Survivor – Panama. How fun is that?

 

another storm brewing

another storm brewing

 

heading into the show

heading into the show

 

Jim, Lorraine & Pete

Jim, Lorraine, & Pete

 

Thanks Pete & Lorraine!!!

 

April 15th, 2011 | in Friends, RV'ing Lifestyle | Leave a comment

During the last week, we had dinner with friends. Monday night, we joined John & Carol, ME & MaryAnn for a thank you dinner. Not that we did much, well they all did, just not me. It was fun to just relax with them and enjoy the evening.

dining with friends, thanks!

dining with friends, thanks!



 

dinner sunset with a little wind

dinner sunset with a little wind



 

Friday night, we went over to the girls’ to enjoy grilled rib eye steaks and then played cards. I didn’t take any pictures, was too busy enjoying the evening visiting for the last time until we return, thanks Randy & Kris for a great evening.

 

We left with no fanfare, the house was ready, so was the RV. We locked up, hooked up the car, and we were off! Our first stop, which is just an over-nighter was Little Rock, AR. Our true stop would be West Memphis, AR so that we could check out Memphis, TN, especially find the best BBQ and to tour Graceland.



Here are a couple of pictures while on the road to our first stop…

our reflection in a tanker truck as we drove by

our reflection in a tanker truck as we drove by



 

NASCAR cars heading to the next race...

NASCAR cars heading to the next race...



 

and here's another one

and here's another one



 

We seem to see a lot of race cars heading to one race or another, maybe because we are either in AZ when they are or TX when they are… when did they start hauling in see thru trailers? It does make it more interesting to see them…