Over the hump

Finally, the meat of our journey–the beautiful state of Montana:

Our first glimpse of the Rockies…. but not the last.

This is just north of Missoula in the Mission Mountain Range.




Coming up to Flathead Lake  , the largest freshwater in the West. It stretched on for miles–beautiful!!




This is a shot from downtown Kalispell, where we drove through on the way north to Whitefish and eventually Glacier National Park. It’s a nice little town–and we found some delicious rotisserie chicken for dinner at the local COSTCO.

One of the many small mountain lakes all around the Hungry Horse Dam.  Little Miss got her National Parks passport stamped here and several other places across the country. She’s been very interested in the whole travel scenario.

Oh and also in collecting Pokemon cards in the current McDonalds promotion. I never saw a kid eat so many Happy Meals in a week…

 Finally our northernmost point, Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. It’s the kind of place you just want to take a picture every minute, sure that’s the best thing you’ll see. We pulled over the RV and had a picnic right by the side of the lake–awesome!!

More pictures, especially about the Montana Vortex and other places around Whitefish coming on the Clan Elves pages in the next week.

Clearly this is not a “vacation”; no time for fun!

I originally meant to post here most days, but with learning how to set up/take down the RV, navigating and making sure “here” gets to “there” it just hasn’t happened. But we’ve finally landed in Elf Country (yay!) and so let me share a little visual history of our trip to date:

Crossing the Missouri River

Entering the Badlands

Castles in the rock



More Badlands











The White River. For some reason. Looked muddy to me.

Start off with a crash, end up with a bang… *sigh*

Well the road trip didn’t go quite as well today as we had hoped it would. We covered the agreed amount of territory, and are ensconsed safely in a KOA near South Dakota. We had dinner, and all the hookups seem to work. Huzzah for that.


(thanks for the graphic depiction)

Before we got four blocks from our last night’s stay, someone ran us up on a curb, jarring loose the clip that held the cabinet doors for our glassware in place, and it came crashing out all over the floor. Little Miss nearly had a heart attack. So that was the morning excitement.

Then in the afternoon, after we filled up with gas–at which time I nearly had a heart attack, filling a 40+ gallon tank!!– when I pulled away from the pumps, the back of the motorhome caught on the concrete post and ripped open one of the compartment doors. Then Chase nearly had a heart attack, because she’d just finished saying how she didn’t want to be the first to ding the motor home. GOOD CALL. YOU WIN. Oy.

SO we fixed it with–say it all together now– DUCT TAPE.

Hopefully it will hold till we can get it somewhere and get a new door on it. But for tonight, we’re busy gnawing the cork out of the bottle of merlot since we forgot a corkscrew. So a little extra fiber will do us good. More adventuring tomorrow. Can’t wait. right?

On the road again, books in hand

So I’ve started the latest book/research tour which will focus on the western end of Montana, where we’ll learn about the Montana vortex, which will figure largely in volume four of the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, and also attend a booksigning at Fact and Fiction in Missoula June 23 from 10-1.

But there’s obviously a bit of space between here and there, and my friend Chase and I are learning the skills needed to pilot this motorhome on the roads of America. Here we are at my sister Shawna’s house (yes the famous gardening speaker and expert)  just outside Chicago:

Okay, so maybe it’s cheating, making your first stop someone’s house instead of the open wilds, but it worked for us. 🙂

The day today was beautiful and we spent most of it at the Shedd Aquarium downtown. (Insert prayer of thanks here that I don’t have to drive in Chicago ever. Huzzah.) The Shedd is right on Lake Michigan, and Little Miss had great fun taking pictures of the city skyline and the water. We attended the beluga whale/dolphin show and a 4-D movie taken from the Planet Earth show on Discovery, as well as their new Jellies exhibit:

 I could have spent all day in that section. It reminded me of the one at the Monterey Bay aquarium.  How mesmerizing and calming that pulsating action is!

Dinner, of course was that famous Chicago deep dish pizza, amazing and delicious.

On to the Dakotas tomorrow if all is well. Considering us two gals haven’t ever driven a monster like this before, I’m a little proud that we’ve managed to get the hang of it.  Little Miss has gotten very comfortable in the “vehicle” as she calls it–the two days before we left, she stayed in it almost all day, coloring and just hanging out.

But just to show she gets out, too, here she is with her cousin Sammie outside the Shedd in the Children’s Garden:

and also inside the sub in the play area downstairs:

And lastly I’ll leave you with the picture of some spider crabs we took in a creepy cave setting. More pictures from the road tomorrow!!