Most Memorable Photography Experience

I was given a challenge from my friend Lisa Langell, to post a picture and story of my most memorable photo experience.  By far my trip to Alaska with her for my 50th birthday year hoThe whole trip was memorable as you know from reading my blogs.  This Orca picture wp-1531028557731..jpg is the one that is the crème for my memories.

I have always been fascinated with killer whales; I had to see one in the wild.

Back story about me and what led up to this picture.  I had a small mid-life crisis and in 2007 I joined the Army (what was I thinking).  I served until 2009 because in 2008 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  Those who know about the disease know it affects balance as one of the symptoms. (Keep this in mind for later).

In 2016 Roy and I decided we wanted to go to Alaska and drive there.  We purchased an A-frame trailer to do this in. On one of the shake down cruises to prepare for the trip we attended a rally with other a-framers, this is where Lisa Langell enters the picture.  Camped next to her we get talking and I find out she is a photograph, she loves Alaska and she does workshops in Alaska. (Add to bucket list).

Fast forward 2 years to 2018, I’m now 50 and have been dealing with MS for 10 years.  I made it and wasn’t in a wheel chair which is another thing that can happen if you have MS.  I was celebrating because a doctor once mentioned that if you are not in a chair by 50 its likely MS will not put you there.  I am starting to show some signs that I’m not all ok when it comes to balance issues, I look like I’ve had one too many some times. So the perfect storm came together I had a husband who loved me, a friend who did workshops in Alaska, not in a wheelchair and turning 50.

The picture of the orca is just the fin, I have a few others from that day but seeing them in living color was the best part the photo was a plus.  We were on a boat outside of Seward Alaska on Resurrection Bay not a calm body of water. I mentioned that my balance was off because of MS I came to a realization because of this, I think when I am on dry land I feel a little like I’m on a boat.  So my brain tried to over compensate for the motion of the ocean (this did not bode well).  The end of the day the brain lost that battle and seasickness won.

Picture the fact that my bucket list involves seeing orcas, the mind and body was saying it’s today or never again because boats and me are not a good match.  I keep pestering Lisa asking are we going to see one, I need to see, she made no promises.

Well what to my watering eyes I think I see an orca pod. The boat slowed and I gingerly made it up to the bow of the boat.  Once there the other people in our small group made room for me, to squeeze in even though I was turning green.  This was an amazing site and the orcas were so close we had a baby breach right next to the boat. (I don’t think anyone got a picture.)  We are bobbing in the water which is not going to work for me.  I am getting ready to head back to the stern when, the fin appeared right in front of me.  I snapped the photo and immediately headed back to the stern to embrace a pail and begin the dry heaves.

The whole trip was memorable and I’ve taken other pictures that are also memorable.  This picture taught me a few things

  • Never give up
  • Take time to enjoy the scene and not worry about the pictures
  • Stay off boats.

Buki’s Road Trip

for a cat who did not travel well he has had a lot of adventures through this blog. This year he will be able to join the trip in spirit. We have his ashes and will be taking them with us, I have set him up in a travel case. Side note is we won’t have to be concerned about curvy roads, ashes DO Not get car sick. The memories involved with road tripping with Buki are many. One of my favorites is the fact that he knows you do not drive at night it is for sleeping. So if the sun set at 5pm he thought for sure we needed to be at our destination. The other thing I remember the most is curvy roads disagree with tummy, (I have to say will not miss this). His own personal hidey hole an used disposable litter box. Our road trips with Buki have always been an adventure, both Roy and I will miss him. He is in a better place and did not have to endure to much pain on this side.

I am sharing just a few of the many cute pics of him.

White Water

I bet you thought I did river rafting today. I hate to say sadly no, I did realize that river rafting is a victim of my MS. That bums me out but I did enjoy watching the river rats from the train.

This was on the way back down the gorge while we were stopped under the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge. I like the look from the train of the bridge. I don’t think I could stand on the bridge and look down.

Starting at the beginning of the trip, we boarded the train and were joined by a couple from Ill celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary.

The car was air conditioned so it was comfortable. Lunch was served as we started up the gorge. As you can see from the picture we followed the Arkansas river for the whole trip.

The picture above shows a redwood water trough that prisoners chiselled out of the rock by hand to provide water to Canon City. They didn’t have a shortage of prisoners. If you get to the Royal Gorge Area of Colorado this is well worth the price of admission.

Trains Times Two

Our last day in Wisconsin Dells we overdose on trains, not one but two narrow gauge trains. The first one was at Timbavati Wild Animal Park. We were able to just purchase the train ride. I think if you just want an overview of the park and be able to feed the camel the train is all you need if it’s lions you want then buy the walkingtour.

I didn’t want to get spit on, the babies were cute.

I did however feed a cousin to the antelope and threw some carrots to the emu

After feeding the animals we decided to head to the second train. This was also a narrow gauge train more wobbly then the first.

We travelled a mile and a half to the town of

I learned that the steam engine used at the Milwaukee Zoo was built by this company Sandley Light Railway Shops.
If you are in the Dells this is an awesome living museum.

We Interrupt This Vacation…..

for rain. Funny how certain events trigger memories. I was sound asleep this morning, when about 6am the wind woke my butt up (that’s what I get for leaving the bathroom vent open.) So after I get up and close the vent, I am sitting in bed thinking about what my mom would say. ‘You don’t want to be in a metal box in a rain storm.’ So where was I? Sitting in a metal box in a rain storm in Iowa.

After my first sky is falling moment. I realized we were ok because of being grounded by our tires. Then the wind really kicked up, so second sky is falling. I am thinking tornado, but this feeling went away too as I heard no siren. Point here is you can move my around the country, but I’m still a midwest girl at heart.

So now that I realized the sky is not falling I’ve been sitting here enjoying the rain, because this does NOT happen in California.

Greatest Show On Earth

Subtitle My life’s A Circus.

I grew up in Wisconsin and never made it to Baraboo. Roy and I decided to run away and join the circus. We realized watching the circus was more fun then joining it, plus my balance is off and I can’t balance on a unicycle.

We get to Circus World and head directly to the big top. If you are ever near here it’s great fun. I have to say this circus still has elephants.

It also has pigs, clowns, and dogs.

I actually got the nerve to hug a pig and ride an elephant here’s proof

After the fun and games I hiked actually got a golf cart ride up to the circus wagon display. The wagons look brand new

We finished the afternoon off with a tiger show and some gift shop shopping.

Primes, Parallels, and Centers

I’ve seen and crossed a few this trip. But the wackiest one is right outside of Wausau Wisconsin the 45°90°. This spot is one of the two spots on land that is halfway between the equater and north or south poles and halfway west or east of the prime meridian and halfway 180° meridian.

Roy wasn’t going to visit China.

We even found a cache here that’s my shadow standing there. I also am planning to stick my feet in 4 states later in this journey. I know the marker isn’t quite in the right place but don’t tell Roy. So far I’ve crossed the 50th parallel south of Campbell River BC, the geographical center of North America Rugby ND. Those I stumbled upon. Four Corners and Wisconsin were definately routed.

Turn Left At The 3rd Tree

Actually it was turn right at the stake with a pink ribbon. I jump ahead though. I need to clarify I haven’t been posting animal pictures, not because I’ve been busy, it’s because I think they all moved north, or they think I’ve seen enough already. Back to the details.

We leave East Glacier about 7:30am, headed around the outside of the park, even leaving this early no animals. We drive through Kalispell into Libby and right on top of a power pole we see an eagle’s nest with an eagle hunkered down. Outside of Libby we take the time to do an Earthcache, I have to say I like learning about nature around the country.

Upon making our turn at tree number one outside of Troy (or in Roy’s story it’s really Roy and it fits him to a T) (I will rent him out cheap). We encounter Yaak River Falls unique rock and water color seeming to come out of nowhere spring must be a rush.

Heading up the road we turn at the second tree drive past a bridge with the local watering hole. Find the pink stake and third tree. Our arrival is annouced by the dog and out pops Tom, no beard but still has that twinkle in his eye. (I think he was glad to see we weren’t stalkers). Inside we head to sit down and get to chatting. Tom put on a pot of joe which was strong enough to put hair on your chest Roy said. Nancy said coffee is all Tom drinks sounds like someone I know. The cool thing to the afternoon was listening to how they came to the valley, some of his trapping stories and seeing pictures of the amazing leather and fur pieces they made. I do think Nancy learned Tom would sneak into Canada to hunt years ago, being they are four miles from the border. She mentioned that they cross country skied to have a pinic one winter. No more as now there are ground sensors and a 5,000 dollar fine if caught. The ideas and points of view about not having the trappings of computers and cell phones was refreshing. They even had a landline plus they share Roy’s idea of a cell phone add 10 dollars every few months, it just makes calls.

I also spent time staring out the window watching all the birds feeding, and one baby chipmunk stealing nuts. We got directions out of town for a scenic drive, which was all paved and drove the ridge line. Tom even said I might see a mountain lion. (I have to settle for the stuffed one in his house). It is amazing how everything in the cabin he shot or trapped and the fact it was done not for show, they use everything from the animals.

Speaking of animals the road down we see two deer and once we cross the cattle guard this is what is there, of course in the middle of the road,

Roy was trying to talk him into coming over for dinner, I mean being dinner. We also saw a couple of wild turkeys on the way to Wal-Mart so it wasn’t a total bust on animals.

I will have to say making the call and visiting with both Tom and Nancy gives me a deeper respect for people who live off the land. Well worth the side trip.

The Lead In

People who know me know I’m shy and do not speak up. Oh wait, that’s not right. A small bit of back story, yes, there always a story.

The heat in the northwest was rough for me and after the ferry on Thursday, Friday was get out of dodge or Seattle. Heading to Spokane get there it’s 100 degrees. On to Bonners Ferry, ID.

Next morning we enter Montana and cross the Yaak River. I get an idea! The reality show Mountain Men features Tom and Nancy Orr from the Yaak River Valley. Stopping in Troy Montana I google Tom and Nancy Orr I find a number and give it a call. Nancy answers and we chat and she confirms that they are the one and only, also that they were 50 miles from where we were. She wanted to know if I wanted to talk to Tom, who was out and about with people. I said no did not want to disturb. I knew Roy and I admire their stamina (hell I wish I had their stamina now.) so I handed the phone to Roy he just wanted to let them know how much he enjoyed the show. She said if we ever get in the area again stop.

You don’t have to tell Roy twice. We had planned on staying in East Glacier for 3 days.

These four things are inportant

  1. Roy was a trucker
  2. It’s only 200 miles from Yaak River Valley
  3. We had extra days available
  4. We had to go to Wal-mart which is 75 miles in the same direction

We arrive at Y Lazy R (stayed here 2 years ago) we were able to squeak a reservation in and asked if they had 2 more nights available. If they did his plan would come together. Yes, things are gellin. Sunday Roy calls and gets Tom who is like sure, here’s Nancy. (Tom was probably thinking great I have to entertain. Roy and I said that is what I would think). Getting the directions which involved three trees and a left turn we set up Tuesday for the meet and greet. Next up the whole adventure, including some cows.

Here’s a link to a good article about Tom