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They call Montana “Big Sky” country for a reason. If not for the smoke from nearby fires, I’d have had a million shots to share with you. As you know, I do love clouds.

We enjoyed exploring the little crossroads town of Wisdom. Friendly people and cute shops where you can buy a badger in a box for a mere $800 (so tempting 😉), a sign I should have bought for my office, and late season (by California standards) wildflowers.

In nearby Jackson, which offers a wonderful hot springs that was a stopping place for Lewis and Clark, we checked out the Jackson Hot Springs Lodge (top, right photo). It was a favorite spot of Kelly’s last year when she went elk hunting in the area. I could see why. The steamy pool would have been a lot more inviting if it hadn’t been in the high 80s with humidity when we dropped by.

We left Wisdom early the next morning with two passengers—our youngest granddaughters. First stop: Livingston, Montana.

What a surprise the city of Livingston was! I’d always known that Tule’s fictional town of Marietta was loosely based on Livingston, but I wasn’t prepared for just how different the two are.

First off, the size. The Marietta that my dear Zabrinski family and their many friends live in is much smaller than the actual city of Livingston. We parked on a side-street and walked Main Street for a better feel. The Old Livingston business hub seemed vital and lively. I could definitely see Big Z Hardware and Lumber over by the awesome, restored and repurposed Train Depot (I was looking for the brewpub but didn’t see it). A corner building would have been perfect for Baubles. I think I could live in this town…except for the winters.

After ice cream, we headed for our campground beside the Yellowstone River.

Shortly after we got set up, a bolt of lightning hit a few yards away and the heavens opened in a downpour. Wowsa. Our desert born RV didn’t know what hit it and promptly sprung a leak around the front overhead window. Towels and pots and pans to the rescue. When you’re already wet, what do you do? Head to the pool.

The rain lulled us to sleep and the next morning we took off for Yellowstone.

I’d like to tell you visiting this wonderful national park was awesome, but, honestly, don’t drive an RV there in early August. A gazillion people from around the world had the same idea. Parking was non-existent. The only good thing is the thick traffic meant we were able to drive slowly and take lots of photos, including…look for it…the yellow…stone.

But we couldn’t get out and walk around. And because of road construction, we were advised not to try to see Old Faithful. But here’s a quick shot of a roadside fumarole.

We lunched near the western gate of the park, and we spotted a sign there that should make you feel better about my fire-ravaged forest shots I shared last week. This area was burned to the ground in the late 1980s and now it’s a vibrant, healthy, very green forest. There is hope.

We made it to American Falls, Idaho, that night and parked at a lovely campground owned by two California ex-pats. The pool of our dreams was closed, but the girls still managed to have a great time chasing fish, playing on the swings and racing across the green grass. After a great night’s sleep, we retraced our path to Winnemucca.

This pool was a big hit, and helped restore our energy for the last leg home.

Seven days, 2,400 miles +/-, and some great memories. What more can you ask?

Last week's Q&A was: With a whole bunch of birthdays coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about family—past and present. Have you done your family’s genealogy? Yes or No?

Wow! Some of you have really amazing genealogy credentials! I’m so impressed. And inspired. I’ve renewed my account with Ancestry.com and plan to devote as many hours as I can spare on it. I have a lot of raw material at hand thanks to my late uncle. Paul’s side of the family is going to be a lot more challenging since it involves records in Sweden and Norway. But I do love a challenge.

Thanks to everyone who replied!!

My two randomly selected winners this week are:

Stephanie Shipley

Jeanette Jackson

(Stephanie and Jeanette congrats. Please email me your pick of either a $5 Starbucks or a $5 Amazon gift card.)


This week’s Q&A: Have you or anyone close to you contracted the Covid virus? Yes or No? My answer to that question changed recently. Not asking in a political way. Just wondering how things worked out. Well, I hope.

(Two winners will be chosen by random drawing to receive either a $5 Starbucks gift card or a $5 Amazon gift card. Please reply the usual ways:
email or on my DebraSalonenAuthor Facebook page.

Happy birthday, Malte!

My eldest granddaughter turns 18 this week. I know it’s trite to say, but I really can’t believe how fast time has flown by. I was so blessed to have her close by for so much of her life. She is a truly special person: kind, empathetic, generous of heart and spirit, and gifted in so many ways—music, writing, poetry, art, and gardening.

Have a wonderful senior year, my love! And drive your “new” car safely 😉.

This is your last chance to download FOREVER AND EVER, BY GEORGE. Sale ends on August 31.

Buy link: Forever and Ever Buy George for 1 bark...er buck!
Use the coupon code (75% off regular price of $4.00): PA6J5FIAXC

Happy reading, my friends.


Upcoming: Happy Labor Day!



Copyright © 2021 Debra Salonen