Thursday, November 17, 2016

Yellowstone National Park

Since Yellowstone National Park is in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, we will do a blog just on the park itself.

We actually visited it from the west while staying in Idaho, and from the north while staying in Montana and did not go into it at all while staying in Wyoming even though 96% of the park is in Wyoming with 3% in Montana, and 1% in Idaho.

For the blog map though, it will be listed under Wyoming, not that it matters.
North entrance into Yellowstone National Park.
This is one of those places that we always wanted to visit and it is well worth the trip.  We got to see just about every part of the park but had to double back a good bit since parts of the road were closed for maintenance or the season.  It would have been nice to do the full circle of Yellowstone and not have to double back, but at least we got to see most of the park.

We really wanted to come into the park on the Beartooth Highway that starts at Red Lodge, Montana and ends up in Yellowstone by its Northeast entrance.  We missed its opening by a week while staying in Montana so will have to travel it some other time.

So we will not have any pictures of that scenic drive, but will have plenty of Yellowstone pictures.  Each entrance of the park offers different views which are all beautiful.

I'm not going to try and list the pictures in any order but will try to keep them together for each area we visited.  If I showed you every picture we took, this would be a very long blog, so to keep it short and sweet, I will just put in the pictures I think are the most interesting.

Bubbling mud at Artist's Paint pots.

Here is a little joke to help you remember what is the real name for a buffalo:

"What did the mother buffalo say to her son while he was leaving for college?  Bye Son!"  Funny, right?!?
Buffalo or Bison standing in the road.  They are everywhere in the park.
More bison in the park.  Sometimes you had to stop because they block the road.
A bull elk feeding on the side of the road.
Dragon Mouth Spring.
Excelsior Geyser viewed from the boardwalk.
Excelsior Geyser from the parking lot.
Looking into the Excelsior Geyser.
Excelsior Geyser.
Runoff from Excelsior Geyser into the Firehole River.
Fountain Paint Pots Red Spouter.
Fountain Paint Pots Silex Spring.
Fountain Paint Pots Spasm Geyser.
Fountain Paint Pots at the start of the boardwalk.
Bubbling mud at Fountain Paint Pots.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

 Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Lower Falls.

Grizzly bear warning.

Misty, Ethan, Ian, Chloe, Tia, Courtney, Don, and Avery at Fountain Paint Pots.
Old Faithful Geyser.  Click HERE for YouTube video of eruption.

Avery, Ian, Tia, Courtney, Ethan, Misty, and Chloe at Old Faithful Geyser.
Courtney, Chloe, Ethan, Misty, Ian, Tia, Don, and Avery at Porcelain Springs at Porcelain Basin.
Sheepeater Cliff.

Explanation for Sheepeater Cliff.
Steamboat Geyser.
Sulphur Caldron. It really stunk here.
Valley view from West Entrance into Yellowstone.
Another view of the drive coming into Yellowstone from the west.
One of the two Black Bear we saw in the park.
Another shot of one of the two Black Bear we saw.
A view of the drive from Roosevelt Lodge back to Mammoth Hot Springs.
A view of Yellowstone Lake.
We were hoping to also see a Grizzly, a Moose, and a Wolf, but no such luck.  Also the above pictures are just a glimpse of what there is to see while at Yellowstone.  We visited the park two days and saw about 90% of the park which was rushed.  You really need a good week to see it all and even more time to really take it all in and do any hiking and such.

Planning your visit is the best way to see everything since you can learn the park before you come and plan what you want to see.  

This page has a bunch of maps for the park.  If you study them then you will know where everything is and can plan your visits accordingly.  They will also give you a map when you enter the park and will have which roads are open and closed.

If all the roads were open when we visited we could have seen more sites a lot easier because we would not of had to backtrack so much.  Yellowstone is very large with lots of miles between locations.  Here is a link to an interactive map on the Travels with the Johnsons web page that shows the distances between attractions.

Probably my favorite site was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and its Lower Falls.  Somehow I did not get any pictures of the Upper Falls, so will have to do that next time we go back.

Yellowstone is one of those places that you could visit over and over again and see something different every time.  We are so happy that we finally made it there and hope to get back one day so we can explore it in greater detail plus drive over the Beartooth Highway.

We hope you enjoyed what little bit of Yellowstone we shared and will come back to read more of our posts.  

God bless and may He keep you and yours safe.

Don, Misty, and Kids...
Twenty Five States Visited So Far.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Just a short blog on our trip heading from South Dakota to Texas through Pawhuska, Oklahoma which is the home of The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.

Just for your information, the way we find a church to attend, while traveling, is not scientific or a set process, but more of a feeling.  In most cases we are invited to a church by someone we meet.  Sometimes God gives me a feeling of which church to attend either by me driving by it or looking up the churches on the web and picking one. 

Since I am Presbyterian, if I do not get a feeling or have a chance to look up what churches are available in a location, I will search that denomination out.  We also will attend The Church of Christ since that is the church Misty is a member of.

The most important thing when looking for a church to attend is that they believe Jesus is the son of God and that He died and was resurrected for our sins so that we will have eternal life in Heaven, that He is the second part of the Trinity (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), and they use the one true Bible and do not stray from it.   

So this time we chose The First Presbyterian Church in Pawhuska, which just happens to be the same church Ree Drummond and her family attend.  What a coincidence!
First Presbyterian Church in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.
Of course we had to meet The Pioneer Woman and her family while there because otherwise that would have just been plain rude on our part.

They are very active in the church and help in many of its functions such as assisting with communion and giving the children's message.  So regardless you will interact with them one way or another if you attend services any amount of time.

Ree was more than happy to let us get a picture with her which was especially nice since it was also my birthday that day.  I did not tell her that though, because I did not want to make her feel I was entitled to anything else, you know like a birthday dinner or present.  Just meeting her and her kindness was gift enough.
The Lively family with Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.
So that was our Sunday last week and one we will remember for a long time.

We are so blessed that God has given us the ability to travel the way we do and meet all the great individuals that we have.  Not only did we meet The Pioneer Woman, but while attending the church's annual cookout, we were able to get to know the pastor and his wife, plus many other individuals who were so happy we came to the cookout.  We felt so welcomed while there and loved interacting with everyone.  We also felt very welcomed while attending their church services.

I also wanted to mention that we stayed at Settle Inn RV Park which is a really nice, laid back RV park with a great host, Julie, and a good place to stay for awhile.  We parked in lot #4 which was in front of the playground and pavilion.  When we come back through this area one day, we will surly stay here again.
Playground at Settle Inn RV Park.
So if you are traveling through Pawhuska, Oklahoma, make sure you attend services at The First Presbyterian Church which has Sunday school at 9:00 AM and church service at 10:00 AM on Sunday and plan to stay at the Settle Inn RV Park if staying in a RV.   

There are also other things to see while in Pawhuska, like Woolaroc, which is the ranch retreat of the oilman Frank Phillips (Phillips 66) and soon The Mercantile which is a project of The Pioneer Woman.  We were going to stay in town until its scheduled grand opening on 31 October, 2016, but had to leave early to take care of some business in Texas and get back to West Virginia.

God bless and safe travels and maybe our paths will cross.

Don, Misty, and Kids...
Twenty-five states visited so far.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Acupuncture & Placenta Encapsulation

After giving birth to Camilyn, Misty decided to have her placenta encapsulated to help with the production of milk while breast feeding, to raise her iron levels, and to help with any postpartum depression by supporting her hormones.  Placenta encapsulation is when they take the placenta, soak it in oil, dry it out, grind it up into powder, and then place it into capsules.

Placenta capsules.
Many mothers who have had it done and taken the pills, claim that it really helps.  Misty said it made a big difference in her recovery compared to her past six deliveries without having her placenta encapsulated.

Kaci was one recommendation who we ended up using to encapsulate Misty's placenta for $165.00 who lived in Rapid City, SD near where we were staying.  Most who practice this art will also practice other forms of the Chinese medicine which Kaci does, so she is also certified in acupuncture, reflexology, cupping, and Asian bodywork.

If interested in any of her services, you can click on her name above, email her at, or call her at 605-646-0305.

I'm not sure if the below picture is representative of American Gothic or Green Acres, but they are a very good looking family and really nice people that we are happy to have met.
Kaci with her husband Mark and son Kane.
I have always wanted to try acupuncture so Misty set up an appointment with Kaci for me to see what it was like.  After asking me some basic health questions, taking my blood pressure, and answering any questions I had, she proceeded to start the treatment. She ended up performing a kidney qi deficiency and liver qi stagnation on me where she used points to try to re-balance those organs but also used general calming points as well.  I have to say I did feel an energy throughout my body while receiving treatment.

Before starting the treatment my blood pressure was 120 over 90 and after the 30 minute session it dropped to 120 over 80, so if anything it relaxed me pretty good.  I really should have it performed on me a few more times to reap a better benefit, but it did help me to relax and feel refreshed when it was complete.
Getting acupuncture in my legs.
A full body view of my acupuncture procedure.
A shot of my acupuncture to my head, arms, and stomach.
Acupuncture needles in my ear.
I will try this again in the future and see if I get the same results.  It can take five to ten sessions before you see lasting results, but you will usually see some type of pain relief or feel something positive your first time, but everyone is different, so results will vary.

I personally know an individual who has acupuncture on his back for chronic pain relief and swears by it, but he has to keep going back for more treatments to keep the pain in check.  He says it is well worth it though.

Well hopefully my experience will make you want to experience acupuncture and see if it will help you too.  May Misty's experience also entice some expecting mothers to have their placenta encapsulated to help with the post birth issues.  Just because you have never done it or think it is weird, does not mean it will not work or help you in some way.

God bless and may you find what's best for your pain relief.  Of course a good prayer to your maker and trusting Him to take care of anything that comes your way, is always the best way to handle it.

If you are not following our blog, please do so and also become a friend on Facebook.  We would love to have you.

Don, Misty, and Kids...
Twenty Five States Visited So Far.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


After leaving Idaho, we stayed in Columbus Montana for a week and visited Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in south central Montana.

After seeing it in many of movies and shows, it is sobering to actually step on the ground where the battle actually took place and see the real site. 

Many people think that the battle was lost due to Lt Col George A. Custer's arrogance, but once you visit the site and hear the story of the battle and its interpretation, you may come to a different opinion.

When you realize that communications along the battle lines were slow and that both of Lt Col Custer's subordinate commanders did not fully follow his orders or provide the support he required, the battle could have turned out differently.

Also when you realize that the native Americans were only defending their way of life and families,  you may feel that the battle ended the way it should have, but in the end they still lost their way of life anyway.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
While there you need to watch the 25 minute orientation video and then listen to one of the rangers tell the story of the battle.  After that you will want to walk up to Last Stand Hill where Custer fell, visit the Indian Memorial, walk the 1/4 mile Ravine Trail, and then drive the 4.5 mile tour road to the Reno-Benteen Battle site.

The path up to Last Stand Hill.

The white headstones mark where 7th Calvary soldiers fell.

LT COL Custer's headstone where he fell in battle.
Headstones marking where Native Americans fell during the battle.
Looking out over where many cavalrymen fell during the battle.
Sculpture at the Indian Memorial.

Indian Memorial.
A fallen 7th Calvary soldier with horses in the background. 

Seeing the horses roaming on the battlefield all alone made us think, are they ancestors to any of the horses that were used in the battle so many years ago?
More horses roaming on the battlefield.
A close up of the some of the horses on the battlefield.
This is one of those places you just have to visit in person to appreciate its greatness.  Even though it represents a bad time in our nation's history, it is a part of history we never want to forget.

What Lt Col Custer may have seen just before his demise from Last Stand Hill.
While in Montana we stayed at the Mountain Range RV Park which was really one of the few RV parks in the area.  It is located just off of I90 in Columbus, MT.

While there we planned to drive over to Red Lodge, MT and take the Beartooth Hyway into Yellowstone, but we were there a week too early and the road was still closed for the winter.  It is called "the most beautiful roadway in America" and climbs to an elevation of 10,947 feet above sea level with mountains peaks over 12,000 feet high.

Maybe next time we come through this area, we can plan to do it when the pass is open.

Never the less, we did make to Yellowstone a couple of time, but that will have to be in another post.

While working on this post, our little girl, Camilyn (Cami) was born, which bumped this post back one so I could do a post on her.  We did an at home (RV) water birth that was a wonderful experience.  What a way to bring a life into the world.  If you have not read it yet, it was the post right before this one, so go to our blog history on the right of this page and read all about it.

Pregnant Misty and kids walking up the Last Stand Hill.
God bless you and your families and America.  We are blessed and happy to share a little part of our travels with you.  If you like our blog please follow us or sign up with your email to receive new blogs as we publish them.

Don, Misty, and Kids...
Twenty three states visited so far.