Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 37

Today we received the following message from our son, Col. James Reed II who has been serving in Afghanistan for the past year. He is in charge of all the Airman serving in Afghanistan. His 1 year tour of duty is coming to an end within the coming weeks.

All is going well. The staff held a going away luncheon for me on Wed; the wing commander stopped by and presented me with the Bronze Star medal. Normally, the decoration would be090624-F-0465C-003 Col Kwast Congratulating Col Reed presented at the Change of Command ceremony, but my replacement will arrive here at Bagram after I leave. It bothers me not to have a change 090624-F-0465C-006 Col Kwast Awarding Bronze Star of command ceremony, but it is really more for the new guy then the old guy. We have made arrangements for an Assumption of Command ceremony for him on Monday, 6 July.090624-F-0465C-007

090624-F-0465C-011 Col Reed Saying Farewell090624-F-0465C-004 Col Kwast Presenting Wing Going Away Present090624-F-0465C-012 090624-F-0465C-014 Still Talking

The going away luncheon was very nice and heart-felt words spoken by all. I will miss the men and women of the 755 AEG, I will miss the mission and the responsibility...but at the same time, I recognize it is time for me to stand down. I am tired, I can not keep up the pace and of course, I miss Jane, Ryan, Chelsea and Ashley.

Col. James Reed II (JR / Smokey)

DSCF2006 DSCF2014 Additional Momentos DSCF2017 Lt Col Drake Presents Antique Rifle From Staff

As you can see, we are very proud of our son.

On a lighter note, yesterday Don & I completed the conversion of his RO system from just drinking water to RO water throughout the coach. Electronically, all checked out well, the next step is to leak test it and see that it actually works. We should get around to the final test tomorrow.

Today was somewhat of a rest day except for cleaning the windows on the coach and H3.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 35


Four accomplishments today, washed the Hummer, wash the coach, fix a short in the boat and planted trout in the lake. Tomorrows schedule is to stake the road and finish the RO system in Don’s coach right after pancakes with pecans, maple syrup and sausage breakfast.

Waiting Our Turn 01

Getting Trout for Planning 02

 Waiting our turn to pickup trout


      Picking up a load of trout for planting in the lake

Days 33 & 34

Day 33

We travel from Missoula, MT to Marion, MT just around 140 miles. First we ran into long stretch of road construction and rain. The road was muddy and both the coach and the Hummer were well coated with mud. It looked as we were traveling in Alaska. After clearing the road construction, there was an accident that blocked the highway. The two incidents added over an hour to the trip.

Flathead Lake 01 Flathead Lake 02

Flathead Lake

We arrived at Don & Karen’s mid afternoon to more rain, wind and forty degree temperature. The northwest is having a wet and cool start to summer.

Don & Karen's 03

Lake McGregor 04

Lake McGregor

Day 34

Today seems like our first day since leaving Tucson without rain. The sky cleared, light wind and temperature made it up to 63. We even made progress in converting the RO water system in Don’s coach from just RO drinking water to having RO water throughout the entire coach. The re-plumbing was completed today and tomorrow or the next day we should complete wiring the controller.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 32

Today we relocated to Bretz RV & Maine in Missoula, MT. Bretz is where we purchased our coach. We will spend the night here, top off the propane tank in the morning and continue our journey to Don & Karen’s home on Lake McGregor.

The rain is still following us. We have had rain almost everyday if not every day since we left Arizona on May 21st. I hope northern Montana needs rain as we are sure to bring it with us.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 31


Spring Gulch – Sula, MT

More overcast skies and rain. No sun, no solar charging so I have to run the generator to charge the batteries and run the heat pumps to warm the coach. It is only 54 degrees at 2:00 PM. The low last night was 48. Not much daytime warming.

This area has an interesting history, the pictures tell the story.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Sula 03The Meeting Place 08 Sula Montana  






Salish meet Lewis & Clark 04 Salish meet Lewis & Clark 05 Salish meet Lewis & Clark 06

 The Meeting Place 13

The Meeting Place  The Meeting Place 09

How it looks today 




 Salish meet Lewis & Clark 16 Salish meet Lewis & Clark 15Salish meet Lewis & Clark 17


Trout Fishers 10 Trout Fishers 11 Trout Fishers 12

Trout Fishing on the Bitterroot River

Bitterroot Mountains 14

The Bitterroot Mountains

Road History 01

Highway History

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 30

Today we traveled a whole 80 plus miles to Spring Gulch, MT. Now one might ask, why drive so little? Well there are two reasons. One is when retired, why hurry. The second and more important is, Don needs time to find Montana Huckleberries and Karen needs time to bake the huckleberry pie before we arrive at their home on Monday.

Today’s drive took us up over the Bitterroot Mountains. It is easy to see why the Bitterroots cause such a difficult time for the Lewis & Clark exploration party and why they lost so many horses to falls and exhaustion. The forest is so thick that one cannot see what lies ahead and the mountains are very steep.

We are camped in the Bitterroot National Forest alongside the Bitterroot River. We plan to spend two nights here. There is cell phone and internet service plus one TV station, NBC.

Spring Gulch Campground 01Spring Gulch Campground

Bitterroot River 01 Bitterroot River 03 Bitterroot River 04

Bitterroot River

Day 29

Today was spent in camp relaxing and catching up on housekeeping chores as the next couple of days will be dry camping along side the Bitterroot River.

The country store near the campground received huckleberry ice cream today. Desert was huckleberry milk shakes. Mik enjoyed his cut of both Raija’s and my milk shakes.

Hopefully Karen will have homemade huckleberry pie with huckleberry ice cream on top when we arrive.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 28

We are camped at a small RV Park in North Fork, Idaho along the Salmon and the North Fork of the Salmon River. The North Fork Salmon River joins the main Salmon River here. Lewis and Clark explored both rivers in their quest for a water route to the west coast. Just north of here along the North Fork they encountered some Flathead Indians. The Flatheads spoke a language that none in the party recognized.

Salmon River 01

Salmon River 02



Salmon River



Old Mine Pump House on Salmon River 04Old Mine Pump House on the Salmon 


Elk Herd 06

Elk Herd 05


Elk Herd Across the Salmon River

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 27

Wouldn’t you know it! Today the sun came out and it is our departure day. We continued north on 93 along the Salmon River to North Fork and an RV Park with full hookups so Raija can do the laundry. There is no cell phone service the RV Park does have WiFi.

We just missed by minutes having a car broadside us. I had the coach parked in the parking lot while I went in to pay for our site. I then moved the coach to the RV Sites and we chose a site. When I walked back up to the store to tell them my site number there was a car slammed into two cars right where we were parked. It appears that the driver had a stroke or heart attacked, ran off of the highway into the parking lot, broad sided a car parked in the same spot that we where we were parked. The force of the impact pushed the car that he hit into the side of another parked car.

I was able to get some better pictures of the mountains with snow now that the sky cleared.

Snow Capped Mountains

Click picture to enlarge

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 26

We had partly cloudy skies today. It turned out to be a good day to tour Mackay’s Mine Hill, the town of Mackay (population 550) and the Mackay Dam.


Mackay from the mountain Mackay mushroomed into existence in 1901, when the railhead serving the mines was located on the eastern edge of the present city. During its heyday, Mackay boasted a population of several thousand.




Lost River 02 The Lost River Valley belonged to the American Indians for nearly 10,000 years, not as a permanent home, but one of many hunting and gathering sites.




Lost River 01 The area was visited by the first white man in June, 1823 by a French trapper, Antone Godin, who gave his name to the river. Ten years later, the river could not be found; hence, the “lost” river became the Big Lost River.



Mackay’s Mine Hill

Click on the pictures to enlarge them to read the history of the mining hill.

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