Friday, September 27, 2013


When I was a little girl in the Holy Ghost, I would walk by a most beautiful cabin.  The sign on the porch said "Bradford," but I never met Mr. and Mrs. Bradford.  Soon the sign changed to "Percy."  My cousin, Bob, would talk about Mr. and Mrs. Percy.  We later learned that the Bradfords were Harry's parents and the cabin was still in the family.

After our children were born and we began to spend more time at the cabin, we would see Harry sitting on the porch, drinking his coffee.  We would stop and visit, sometimes as early as 6:30 a.m.  What started as an infrequent thing became a "must do" as we frequented the cabin more often.

We would sit on their porch, waving as cars drove by.  Harry always had a pot of coffee going, and he would refill Don's Southwest Chief cup as often as necessary.

If we were there in the afternoon, we might even be offered some of Betty's homemade ice cream.  I don't know how many ice cream freezers she went through during her years in the Holy Ghost, but I know it was several.  She was well known for her delicious ice cream!

When Don and my kids surprised me for my birthday last May, Don made sure to include the Percys in the celebration.  On Sunday morning, we all went to Frankie's for brunch - a Sunday morning Percy tradition.

We returned to the cabin over Memorial Day and saw Harry and Betty several times.  We left on the Thursday after, the fire started that day, the Percys were evacuated, the forest closed, and we did not get to see them again.  We just counted on seeing them both again next year.  But it is not to be.  

Thursday we received the news that our dear friend Betty had gone on.  It was like a kick in the gut.  It couldn't be.  Betty was not supposed to leave us so soon.  But I guess that is not for us to say.

We are planning to go to the cabin next week to winterize it.  The trip will be bittersweet.  But when we are there, we will take some time to reflect on our good times with Betty, to thank God for her presence in our life.  We are grateful that she shared her children and grandchildren with us, that she was so giving of her time, that she treated us as friends.  The world is a better place because of Betty Percy.  May she rest in peace.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Poor Little Babs

My poor sweet Babs.  She has lately been driving me to distraction. I have tried to be patient with her, but her eating habits are about to get the best of me.  Sunday night she was awake until 2:30 a.m.; Monday night it was 3:30 . . . I was really tired on Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon, I went to get a manicure.  I was gone an hour.  When I came home, I didn't immediately see Babs.  But as I walked into the family room, I noticed the phone had been pulled to the floor, and Babs was lying on the floor between the couch and the table.  I quickly went to her and discovered that she had tangled herself in the power cord and could not move.  I suspect she fought it for awhile and then just resigned herself to laying there until someone could come help her.

It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen.  I extracted her from the cords and stood her up.  She just stood there for about 5 minutes.  I put her outside to walk around, and although I know she was not hurt, I think she was exhausted.  She did not eat, and she slept through the night.  Not exactly what I was looking for to get a good night's sleep.

I can tell she is better today but she is still sleeping a lot.  I think a McDouble is maybe what she needs to get going.  At least I am going to try it!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Back to Reality

We have been home nearly two weeks, and finally we are settling in.  We still have several items to put away, we have a lot of work to do on pictures, but in general we have hit our stride.  And compared to our trip, it is rather mundane.  I loved having plenty about which to blog.  Now I don't.

I have been trying to think of something to write about.  I could document how many nights I have been up with dog, but that would just make me grumpy.  I could tell about art class or lunches with friends or KSU football or myriad other things, but they just don't have the pop that "Fire in the Sky" or "Skishy" have.

Eventually I will probably write about the only book I read on the trip . . . it is definitely worth the read.  And I am sure I will find other interesting things to say.  But for now, it all seems so ordinary.  So bear with me while I get my land legs about me, and I will try to rise to the challenge!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

We Are Family!

Having both of our children, both of my siblings, both of the "members of the family by marriage," and two friends join us was definitely a highlight of our trip.  Luckily we were able to document many of our activities.

Friday, September 20, 2013


One of the common themes throughout our trip was the colors seen in geologic formations. From the hills in New Mexico to those in Canada and Alaska and back to Wyoming, we saw some stunning views.

New Mexico
British Columbia on the way to Carcross
I am a sucker for geology.  I think I got it from my dad.  I wish I understood better the forces and different rocks that create the fascinating shapes and colors.


No, this is not some sappy post about how much fun we had on our trip, how I enjoyed my family, how great it is to experience nature.  No, this isn't that at all, even though all of those things are true.  Instead, this is about reflections of the light sort.  You know, as in reflections in lakes and rivers.  There were so many places where the reflections were just amazing.  Some may have been shared in other posts, but not all of them have been.  So here are a few:

Tutshi Lake in British Columbia

Lake Moraine

Pickhandle Lake

Lake Moraine

Mirror Lake

Morning Glory Pool

Just looking at these pictures brings peace to my thoughts.  I hope they do the same for you.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fireworks Over Malibu

When we were in California for July 4 and a wedding, the rehearsal dinner was on a cliff overlooking Malibu Beach.  The exquisite setting was made even better by the fireworks show.  With the fog rolling in, we had a very surreal look at the fireworks.  See what you think here.

Sunrise, Sunset

On the first half of the trip, we were not privy to many sunrises nor sunsets.  Why?  Well, the sun seemed to never set, and it rose long before we awoke.  But toward the end of our trip, that changed.  It was getting dark at a reasonable hour and the sun was coming up closer to 7 than to 4 a.m.  I managed to take several pictures that I thought were pretty.


Sunset over Haines

Banff as the sun goes down

Each venue had its own colors and looks as the sun rose and departed.  We were treated to many different views through our ten weeks of travel.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Squirrel

Over the next few days, different pictures will be posted that either I missed or that I didn't have at the time.

The first is a video and a picture of a little squirrel in the Lake Kathleen campground.  Note the pine cone in the air.  

He was getting ready for winter by collecting pine cones, and man, could he collect.  We loved watching him, and fortunately I was able to get this fun video!

Squirrel Video

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


One of the major food groups on any camping trip is S'Mores.  It had been a long time since any of us had eaten one, so Don made sure to have all of the ingredients on hand when we were in Lake Louise.  He and Diana had gone into the store there to find that Hershey had pre- packaged the crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate into one box.  After that, we made sure to have the fixins on hand, just in case.

S'Mores at Teklinika

Don and Di became great "cookers of the marshmallows."  

And you can tell they enjoyed themselves immensely!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Well, we finally made it.  Last Tuesday was a brutal day of driving.  In hindsight, it was a wonderful day of driving because we left right before all of the horrible rains and flooding in Colorado began.  It had rained the night before and was raining on us as we left . . . but we had no idea what we were going to miss.

Anyway, we arrived home, and it was as if we hadn't really been gone.  Except the neighbors (3 of them) all had new roofs.  And the mail was piled a mile high.  And the yard was close to needing to be mowed.  The Willie was filthy.  But other than that . . .

After we disembarked, we put Babs in the backyard, and she seemed pleased to be off a leash for the first time in ten weeks.  She seemed a little confused (not unusual) inside, but soon she went back to her old habits.

The purple Jeep was as dirty as dirty could be, but it made it safely.

We have tried to clean it a few times, and we have found that Alaskan dirt sticks worse than Kansas dirt.  We are still working on getting it clean.

We had an awesome time, but now it is time to enter the real world again.  I guess we are ready . . . maybe.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

By the Numbers

10,366.  That is how many miles we drove in the Willie.

1,994.  The number of miles we drove in the Jeep, even though it was out of commission for several weeks.

Over 1,000.  The number of miles we drove in Katie's truck while the Jeep was being repaired.

Over 13,000 miles in ten weeks.  Wow.  It does not feel like we drove half-way around the world, but we did.  When put that way, it is impressive that we did not have more trouble than we did.

1547.6.  Gallons of fuel consumed by Willie.  Add in 133 gallons (+ or -) used by the Jeep.  That's a lot of gasoline.

$6857.89.  Cost of Willie's drinking habit at an average cost of $4.43 per said gallon.

6.7.  Average miles per gallon.

$6.25.  The highest price per gallon of gas we spent.  For that particular fill-up in Dease Lake, British Columbia, we spent $1.00 per mile.  Yikes!

4.5.  The number of extra bags of food we needed for Babs.  Thank goodness we had some people joining us who could bring it with them.

90%.  The percentage of paved highways we drove in Alaska.  They do not have a whole lot of them, and we drove most of them.

66.3.  Total number of hours we ran the generator.  Given that we can run it 15 hours on a football game day, we were surprised it wasn't more.

1.  Nights we spent in a hotel.  We had hoped not to spend any days in hotels, but the Willie was in the parking lot in Boise, and we wanted to spend time with my uncle and aunt in McCall.

2.  Number of venues we missed due to car trouble:  Fairmont Hot Springs (though Katie and Chris got there) and Valdez.

2.  Tires changed.  Luckily, Don was there to do that!

49/48.  The size of the 49th State as compared with the other 48.

Over 3500.  Number of pictures we took.  We have a lot of editing/deleting to do.

Over 150.  Blogs I wrote.  That is a lot of writing without dependable internet!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Faces of Babs

One of our biggest stresses before we left was Babs.  She is 16 years old, and we weren't sure she would be around when we left.  But if she was we were committed to taking her with us.  I loaded up on food (but not enough, as you know if you have been reading this. Luckily I found more of her specialty food!), put several of her little coats in the RV, brought her little bed and her kennel, and we took her with us.

Although she never got off her leash, she did great.  She seemed to enjoy the different smells, she ate heartily, and she made it home.  Success!

Bear Hunting!

One of the most surprising things to me was how she wanted to share my seat with me.  Now the RV seats are large, but not that large.  When Sepia was alive he slept on my lap.  Not Babs. She wanted to be next to me.  I rode half on/half off the seat for much of the trip . . . but that was ok.  She was happy.  For at least 9000 miles, she sat next to me.  That's a lot of time together!

A selfie of Babs sharing the seat with Karen

So here are a few pictures of Babs throughout the trip.

Imitating Snoopy as a vulture
Sleeping in her bed

At Yellowstone Falls

The seat all to myself!

Friday, September 13, 2013


When we arrived in Eaton, Chris, who had been the videographer for the entire trip, made sure that Teri filmed us as we walked in the door.  Teri had arranged a fabulous dinner for us - fresh corn, filet mignon, cucumber/onion salad like I have never eaten before, and peach crisp.  Man oh man . . . eating like a Queen.  But then, of course, I am the Queen of Kings on the Corner . . .

Never mind that last sentence!  After we ate, Chris called her husband, Ed, to come pick her up so she could go home.  After talking for a few minutes, I figured out that he had brought Lovey, Chris's dog, with him.  Well, of course, he had to go get her.  Since she is a Sheltie, she is a little shy, but she very obediently sat next to Ed.

Chris was in the house, so she didn't know Lovey was there.  But once she came outside . . . well, I wish I had thought to have my camera.  It would have made you cry.  Lovey was so happy to see Chris.  She wiggled and waggled, then she waggled and wiggled.  She jumped and turned, then ran around a little.  It was so very sweet.  Chris is definitely a dog person - maybe worse than I am - and Lovey indeed adores her.  It was a great way to end the trip.

Then Chris left, and it was just Katie, Teri, Don, and me.  Very definitely the final stages of our awesome trip.

Homeward Bound

Once we left the mountains, we really left the mountains.  Although the scenery was beautiful, it was beautiful in a different way.  No more mountains, but lots of color!  Fall is just beginning in Wyoming, and we had the opportunity to observe some beautiful valleys.

Then we dropped into New Mexico-like scenery.  It has been very dry, so there isn't much green, but the rock colors were stunning.

Don wore his Alaska animal shirt, which was certainly appropriate for the drive.

By the time we arrived in Eaton, we were very tired.  But we had plenty to do once we arrived.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Heading Home

Leaving Yellowstone was definitely an indication that our trip was nearly over.  Next stop, Katie's, where she and Chris would leave us and we would come into Wichita on Tuesday.  But little did we know, we had a few more fun discoveries ahead of us.

First, as we exited the park, we saw this antique truck pulling this antique camper.  The camper is not tall enough even to stand up in, but we thought it was really a neat set-up.

As we drove through Teton National Park, we drove by Jackson Lake, a gorgeous lake that usually reflects the Grand Tetons in its waters.  Unfortunately, because of the drought, there is no water for a reflection.  Very sad.

After we exited Grand Teton National Park, we saw a few cars by the side of the road.  That usually means there is a critter somewhere, so we stopped to look.  Sure enough, there were two bears foraging just off the road.  We stopped and I hopped out of the RV with my trusty point-and-shoot camera.  As I was snapping pics of the two, a third one one ambled over, and they began moving toward us.  Within a minute or two, they were close enough to snap this wonderful shot!  One woman actually crossed the road and was WAY too close, but when I said something, she ignored me.  Well, ok then.  Get eaten.  Good thing the bears were focused on the berries they were finding.

We think it was a sow and her two two-year-old cubs, but we don't know for sure.  Whether they were a family or three cubs trying to figure out life, we don't know.  But it surely was fun to watch.

It was awesome having one last spectacular shot of the bears!


I asked Chris, Katie, and Don to tell me what their favorite parts of the trip were.  It was hard to come up with just one.

Don loved that we had various people join us throughout the trip, that all of his planning really did work, and that we got to see the aurora at Lake Kathleen.  He said it was because I was so excited about it, but he got some awesome pictures, so I think that was what made him happy.

Chris really enjoyed Seward - going to Exit Glacier, going to the Sea Life park, walking to the marina, meeting up with her friends from Massachusetts (that she just met, but they seemed like friends because they both pronounced beer "beah").  She also loved getting to meet so many people - not just those of us on the trip but also the many people she met in stores, parks, and different tourist sites.

Katie struggled to identify a favorite; there were many parts, but she, like Don, really enjoyed being with family.

I loved the people part of the trip:  my siblings, my children, my husband, and I all got to go on a trip together and enjoy it so much; we spent time with Uncle John and Aunt Margaret, whom I had not seen since 2006; I had the opportunity to see Mallorie Carter Owens and her hubby, David, when we were in Anchorage;  I saw Beth Heuer (and met her husband, Ted) after 30+ years; I saw Betsy and Matthew; Chris joined us and added so much.  The people made it the best, but I also loved the Glacier Cruise in Seward.  Everything that could go right, did, which is the opposite of the one we took in 2006.  Thoroughly enjoyable.

I have to admit, not one person mentioned the wonderful songs that I sang along the way. Somehow, I think maybe they would include that as a lowlight, but I like to think I kept things lively!

Stand Up For the Champion

I am the champion, my friends,
I played Kings on the Corner to the end!
I am the champion, I am the champion . . . 

Ha, ha!

Chris had taught us how to play Kings on the Corner (or Kings on the Cahnah, as Kenneth, imitating Chris, would say), and before we arrived in Yellowstone, she, Don and I began playing.  The first night, we each won a round.  The second night, we each won a round - in exactly the same order.  The third night, we each won a round, but in different order . . . and I only won because Chris made a mistake.  But that is part of the game.  Her loss is my gain:)

So Sunday was the championship.  Don won the first game, Chris won the second, and lo and behold, the last one was mine.  As in any competition, we had to hold a "winner take all" game. And guess who won it?  Yours truly.  So now I can really say I am the Queen!  The Queen of Kings on the Corner!  What an auspicious honor!

South Yellowstone

The southern part of Yellowstone was surely the more crowded, since there is much more to see from a tourist standpoint.  We were anxious to see what Chris would think of the geysers and the hot pools, so we left earlier than yesterday.

We stopped in all of the major places - West Thumb, the paint pots, Biscuit Basin, and the Old Faithful Loop.  We were lucky to see several geysers erupt, including Old Faithful (we could not have left without Chris's seeing that), and we managed to get nearly 20,000 steps in the process.  This was the most exercise we had had in awhile, so we were very glad to be able to walk through the different areas.

The tour cars at the Old Faithful Lodge
Morning Glory Pool
It isn't Yellowstone without a picture of Old Faithful
We were pleased that Chris really did like the geysers.  It was good that we had Yellowstone to look forward to, as it was a great way to end a wonderful trip!