Greeting ya'll from the wandering Dows,
It is hard to believe we have been on the road for more than two weeks, the weather in Montana at this time of year, just how big Suzi's grandson, Tyler, has gotten, and how successful our newly designed website, www.forestcamping.com, has become.
We left Bisbee as planned, mid-May, for our first day's stop at a Forest Service campground in Oak Creek Canyon, a few miles north of Sedona, Arizona. On the way, we "enjoyed" bumper-to-bumper traffic in Phoenix along with ever increasing gasoline prices, temperatures over 100 degrees, and a real "gully washer" of a storm with lightning, rain coming down in buckets, and, naturally, no place to pullover. But we safely made it to our campsite in time for dinner.
To say Oak Creek Canyon, in Coconino National Forest, and the Sedona area are beautiful would be an under-statement. Breath-taking, awesome, huge, magnificent, and humbling would better describe this area of Arizona. Suzi is putting together a photo album for "Camping with Suzi" on our www.forestcamping.com site with some of the photos we took while there. They should give you some idea of what you will see and experience when you get here.
After several days at Oak Creek Canyon sightseeing, exploring, and working we headed for Ennis, Montana. It was an uneventful trip through the Painted desert, across southern Utah to an area called Long Valley and than on to Interstate 15 through Salt Lake City and into Idaho and Montana. As we headed northward, the weather did a nose dive so that by the time we got to Ennis these desert rats were looking for their winter woollies.
Even though the weather was windy, cool, and cloudy, our time in Ennis with family was warm and sunny. Each of our nine days with John, Dahlia, and Tyler was busy and full of activity. Between raising Tyler and running the Reel Decoy Bar-B-Q and Grille, John and Dahlia appear to be rather successful and doing amazingly well. We are so proud of those two and all they are accomplishing.
We enjoyed a couple of days of comfortable temperatures, clear skies, no rainfall and was amazed all over again by the beautiful setting Ennis enjoys. Imagine a valley miles wide and miles long framed by towering snow capped mountains. The valley floor seems to be an ocean of undulating waves covered by grass and frozen in time. It is a truly beautiful place and if it weren't for the steady wind, Ennis would probably be cheek-to-jowl with newcomers. So what do we mean by "steady wind"? Well, it is so windy, it appears the cattle of Ennis have balding backsides.
The end of May finds us just south of Missoula, MT in a Bitterroot National Forest campground, Charles Waters campground. It has been renovated and enlarged since our 1997 visit. Our site overlooks a large meadow and the Sellway-Bitterroot Wilderness foothills. No hook-ups, no television, no internet, only vault toilets, two gallon showers, water hauling a daily event - you must agree, it's a tough life.
Finally, please visit our website at forestcamping.com. You'll find it has undergone a major re-design. Our goals were to (1) make it more visual, (2) easier to navigate, and (3) attract potential advertisers. It appears we have succeeded with daily hits up to 140,000 (from up to 60,000 hits this time last year) and we have landed some advertisers.
It was a short month so this is a short Wanderings. It has been a great month and we are happy to be back on the road. If you are interested in more details of our month's adventures, please visit Suzi's blog at our website. We have a full month planned for June starting with meeting the folks at the Northern Regional Office and National Forest Foundation and an article in the local newspaper, "The Missoulian." We also begin our work in Oregon with the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Malheur National Forests. More about them next month.
Suzi and Fred.