Texas Hill Country

The Texas hill country is a geographic region located in central and south Texas. Its a beautiful area with lots of wineries and trees consisting of live oak and juniper. There’s also a ton of cedar trees, which aggravate those affected with allergies. That would be us included!

Very old Oak tree.

Our quick visit to San Antonio included the Riverwalk. The 15 mile Riverwalk is a concentration of shops and restaurants that dot the river, making it a great way to enjoy the city.

San Antonio Riverwalk

We had to check out the Alamo while here in San Antonio. First a Spanish mission founded in the 18th century, it is the site of the Battle of the Alamo. A long complicated story, including the battle itself, ends with a lot of lives lost and conflicting ownership rights. Now, it is the General Land Office and the Alamo Endowment Association who are planning a future visitors center. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 2015.

Not far from the Austin area is Waco. Why did we go to Waco? Well, that is the hometown of Chip and Joanna Gaines, from HGTV’s show Fixer Upper. They own a mega complex called Magnolia Market at the Silos.

The success of the Silos has had a positive effect on the city of Waco.

It was not crowded when we were there, a Friday morning.

Fredericksburg, TX. is a cute little city with German heritage. It is the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet during WW II.

Fredericksburg, TX.
Christmas display in the town square.

Lyndon B. Johnson Natl. Historical Park

As the brochure says, this park has two districts. One in Johnson City where his boyhood home is located, the other in Stonewall, TX. where the LBJ Ranch is located.

The Johnson Settlement has some 1800’s restored structures that was once headquarters for a large cattle business, started by LBJ’s grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson.

The trees located on this property are incredible!

LBJ Ranch is a large, 1571 acre cattle ranch located near Stonewall, TX. It was designated a National Historic Landmark May 23rd, 1966. LBJ spent about 20% of his time in office here. It’s called the Texas Whitehouse.

The Texas Whitehouse, where the mat at the front door once read, “All are Welcome Here.”

He used a large runway on the ranch to come and go. Five JetStar aircraft were used at the ranch.

President Johnson jokingly referred to this type of jet as “Air Force One-Half”

When visiting, you get a sense of what life was like for the president. This ranch was the place where he grew up, could escape the craziness of Washington, surround himself with friends and family, and work the land.

Across the Pedernales River from the ranch sits the LBJ State Park. It features the Sauer-Beckmann living history farm.

The Sauer family settled here in 1869, eventually having ten kids. One of those, Augusta, served as midwife at President Johnson’s birth. The Beckmann’s acquired the property in 1900. In 1966, it was sold to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

We enjoyed the day exploring these two parks. There’s lots to do here in Texas! Plus, the weather has been great! More exploring to come. Stay tuned.

Yellowstone Natl. Park

Before leaving Montana, we took a few days to go explore Yellowstone. We also met family there, so we had lots of fun.

Yellowstone, Americas first national park, is huge. It spans an area of 3,468 sq. miles! Its impossible to see the whole park in a few days.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Yellowstone is 2,219,789 acres, an area larger than the state of Delaware. It also contains 290 waterfalls, with the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone being 308 ft.

Visitation is down this year, about a 50% decrease from past years. We all social distanced and wore masks. Not everyone, though, participated so walking the narrow boardwalks was a challenge.

Myself talking with my sister Lori, Kathy and brother in laws, Randy and Michael.

The unique hydrothermal and geologic formations are amazing to see.

We saw some wildlife. Lots of elk and bison.

Even though it was a quick visit, we enjoyed Yellowstone. We’re glad we got to see family too!

We made our way down south to Texas for the winter. Stay safe, and warm too!

Montana Summer Ends

Our summer stay here in Montana is coming to an end soon. Texas is on our radar for our next adventure. Jared and Sam, see you soon! The weather here is changing, bringing in cool temperatures with some frosty mornings. Seems a bit early for that, but then again, we’re in Montana!

Hanging out in Montana again this summer was fun. Our volunteer job at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site was a pleasure. Everyone who works there makes it a really nice place to work. Thanks Julie, for the opportunity to volunteer at the ranch for the past two summers.

Camping trips are always included when here in Montana. On our off days, we camped in Harry’s Flat Campground. It’s situated along the Rock Creek River in Lolo National Forest. Fishing was a blast. So was relaxing by the crystal clear river.

Missouri Headwaters State Park is a beautifully maintained state park located near Three Rivers, MT. The Lewis and Clark expedition reached this fork in the river in 1805. They camped here to decide which way to continue. They chose to go up the Jefferson River. The Madison and the Gallatin Rivers also empty into this area, making it the headwaters of the Mighty Missouri River.

Madison Buffalo Jump State Park is a small day-use park with hiking and picnic spots. This high limestone cliff was used by Native Americans for thousands of years to stampede herds of bison off the cliff. They used this technique to supply them with enough buffalo to survive the long winters here. Every part of the buffalo was used for food, clothing, shelter and provisions.

Montana offers amazing sky’s and beautiful sunsets every evening. Lori keeps saying, “how many pictures are you gonna take”? I don’t know, millions?

Mt. Rainier Natl. Park/ Olympic Natl. Park

COVID-19 Response from the Natl. Parks System: Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local public health authorities, we are increasing access and services in a phased approach across all units of the National Parks System. Before visiting a park, please check the parks website to determine its operating status. Updates about the overall NPS response to COVID-19, including safety information, are posted on http://www.nps.gov/coronavirus

With that said, to help ensure a healthy visit for yourself and others during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please plan ahead, expect limited services and RECREATE RESPONSIBLE. STAY HEALTHY.IMG_6285


Mt. Rainier National Park, located in Washington State, is a beautiful park filled with lush forests and waterfalls. The rivers are colored by glacial flour, making the water appear cloudy. IMG_6281 Mt Rainier, towering over the Puyallup River valley at 14,114, is actually a large stratovolcano.IMG_6298

Mt. Rainier National Park has forests with age spans as young as 100 years old to areas of old growth that are over 1000 years old.


We drove completely around the mountain, giving us a 360`view. With few interior roads, most were closed.


Olympic National Park is nearly 1 million acres of protected wilderness. The size is incredible. There are few roads to the interior, with none going through the park. We managed to hike a few of the many trails in the park. All of them being spectacular.IMG_7865

Located right on the northern edge of the park, Madison Falls is reached by a short hike.IMG_6367

A quick drive to Lake Crescent gave us amazing views.IMG_6408

On our way to Quinault Rain Forest, located at the southern end of the park, we stopped at Ruby Beach. It was one of the 4 beaches open on the west coast of the park. Much of the coastline that falls within the Indian Reservation Lands to the northwest is closed, out of respect for the elders in regards to COVID-19.IMG_7970

Quinault Rain Forest is a short loop hike through some amazing forest.IMG_6461

This temperate rainforest gets an average of 10-15 feet of rain a year!IMG_7977

This area is home to Roosevelt Elk herds. IMG_8027


Quinault Rain Forest is truly a magical place.

During our drive, we came across a little tree!IMG_6538

Sol Duc Falls trail runs through incredible old growth forest that ends at a beautiful cascading falls.IMG_6741

Olyimpic National Park is internationally recognized as a Biosphere and World Heritage Site. IMG_6761


There are lots of different types of waterfalls. I’ve taken a few photos of some, and thought I’d share!


This is an example of a ribbon waterfall



A ribbon waterfall descends over a long narrow strip



A fan waterfall spreads horizontally as it descends while remaining in contact with bedrock





A plunge waterfall



This might be considered a chute waterfall


An example of a ledge waterfall, one that descends from a relatively wide stream or river.



A multi-step waterfall, one after another of roughly the same size


Disclaimer: I’m by no means an expert on waterfalls. Read at your own risk.








When going through tough times, having faith and remembering that things will get better is very important. Whatever we’re going through right now, be it job loss, panic, uncertainty, try and stay focused on the things you have control over. It will get better. Stay strong. Also, a HUGE THANK YOU to all the people who are continuing to work the front lines of this pandemic. STAY SAFE!IMG_2832







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