Traveled today from Billings Montana to Casper Wyoming. Beautiful ride all the way and the weather was great. We stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument about an hour outside of Billings. Was very educational and worth the visit. Not a lot to see in pictures. You are best served to come and visit in person.
They have about a 5 mile self guided tour, with informational stops along the way. You can look out over the fields and just imagine the battle going on, including all the markers where the various soldiers and warriers were killed.
From Montana we made it to Wyoming with a quick stop at the visitor center.
Once we got to Casper, we looked up on my Alltrails App for a good hike and ended going to the “Garden Creek Waterfall Loop” which was rated as easy. If this was easy I sure am glad we did not try the two hour moderate hike. We would have never made it without our trusty guide Mark who we met at the site and went with us all the way. It was quite wet and slippery with some fresh snow from a day ago, and even some logs to cross to get across the stream. In fact, Mary even had a little spill, but thankfully not down the hillside.
And here is a short video Mary took with her camera.
First a stop at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center, a part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.
Then headed to Medora and the main entrance to the National Park. We took an auto tour through the park, except we could not do the whole loop due to part of the road being washed out, but it was awesome anyway. It’s hard to view all this beautiful, intricate and varied nature scenes and think everything just occurred by random chance. The more I see, the more I am convinced that evolution could not have possibly done this. Which leaves me no option but to believe God created everything. Amazing!
Wild people and wild flowers
Also stopped at the Pompey Pillar National Monument. Wilson Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, stopped here on his way back east when canoeing down the Yellowstone River and left evidence of his journey on a rock face.
Today was all about our visit to Bismarck North Dakota. But our first encounter of the day was a visit to Frontier Village in Jamestown ND to see the worlds largest Buffalo.
Then on to Bismarck where we were very fortunate to meet up with Tom and Sharon Tudor who are members of and local historians of the St. George Episcopal church in Bismarck. We met them at St. George’s and got a tour of their current building. It is a beautiful church and designated as a memorial church for various reasons, but the main reason is all the stain glass windows, each of which include a border of stain glass pieces from various churches in England that were destroyed during WWII.
Fortunately for us, the original church now stands on the historical Camp Hancock site in downtown Bismarck. We may have missed this fact all together if it wasn’t for Tom and Sharon. They drove us to the location and provided a guided tour for us. All in all we spent about 3 hours with them and had a great time viewing this preserved church, as well as some sight seeing in Bismarck.
Grandpa Frank served from 1924 to 1928 according to the plaque on their wall. My records document that aunts Barb (b. 1922) and Marion (b. 1925) were born in North Dakota, so I am not sure what he was doing for the first couple of years he was in North Dakota. Perhaps he was an assistant to the current pastor at that time.
Last but not least, as we left Bismarck for our stay in Dickenson North Dakota, we had a view of “Salem Sue”. North Dakota has more than it’s share of oversize animals and sculptures. To see what I am talking about, just google “the enchanted highway”.
Today was a day spent in White Bear Lake Minnesota. Dad was born here in 1929 and he lived here until he went into the Navy in 1945. His dad lived here from 1928 until his death in 1945. He served all of those years until 1944 as the Minister of St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal church. This church is located about two blocks from the actual White Bear lake, the source of all of my dad’s big fish and adventure tales.
We had an address for the family of 708 1st Street from the 1940 census information. But that address could not be found, until we went to the City Hall of White Bear Lake. They had a hand written book listing the old 1st street numbers and the current numbers. 708 1st street is now 2168 1st street. And 2168 1st is the rectory for the church (or parsonage as I would call it) today, as it must have been when my dad was growing up.
We were able to pay a visit into the church and were directed to a wall with pictures of most of their past Ministers, including Grandpa Frank.
After the visit to the church, we went around to the other side of the lake and found the church cemetery and the gravestones for Grandpa Frank, Grandma Muriel (Gaga) and also for Uncle Don and Olive McArdell.
On to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Birthplace of my famous brother Thomas Davenport and also where Hank Aaron first started playing baseball for the Eau Claire Bears. Not sure which person is the most famous.
We started the day at the public library and dug up some good information. We have a copy of the birth announcement of Thomas. Along with that we got the address at the time of 136 1/2 Niagara Street. We also found an address in the city directory from 1954 for Frank and Gloria (Tom’s parents) on 2594 Birch Street.
Ted was born in Sacred Heart Hospital. The buildings that he was born in are now the Eau Claire Academy. There is still a Sacred Heart Hospital but it is in a different location and much larger and newer.
Our father was in Eau Claire to finish his education at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. The campus appears to be growing and vibrant with most buildings that we could see probably new since he went to school there. The school is only a few blocks away from where he first lived on Niagara Street.
All in all, we had a great day in Eau Claire. Eau Claire is a beautiful city with lots of bike paths and walkways everywhere we went it seemed. I would recommend it as a place to visit (ahem, Ted??).
Left Sunday afternoon for a multi-state trip to Colorado to visit my son Stephen and daughter-in-law Heidi and grandson Noah. The trip will also help us to check off a few states on our quest to stay at least one night in all 50 states.
But tonight we are still in Michigan, albeit a long way from Bay City in Escanaba. Tomorrow a stop and stay at Eau Claire Wisconsin where my mom and dad lived for about a year and where my brother Tom was born in 1953. Going to look for the place where they stayed and the hospital Tom was born in, if either still exist.
Mary and I took a short road trip to visit her son Brandon and his wife Markie in Chicago and to see my brother David and his wife Julie in Bloomington. The trip was great with a couple of days seeing the sights in Chicago followed by a few days visiting David and Julie.
The first day included an architecture river boat cruise. This was a spectacular way to see the architecture of Chicago. Hopefully the pictures can do it some justice.
The next day included a visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo and a photo op at the “Bean” as they call it (if you look closely, you can see Mary and I reflected in the Bean). Also, as you can see, we had to entertain Flat Stanley on our day at the zoo, but he was pretty well behaved.
We ended our journey at David and Julie’s palatial residence (tongue in cheek) in Bloomington. We had a great time visiting and learning some new board games and I finally was able to cash in on my dinner voucher just before it expired with a sumptuous meal at Baxter’s.
This would be our last day on the boat and it was spent at sea. When we get up the next morning we will be arriving in Vancouver. So we had a good last day just enjoying our time together and exploring the ship a little bit more. A few fun pictures for the last day.
In Vancouver we had a few hours before the plane left for home, so we purchased a hop on hop off ticket for their public transportation and we were able to see a bit of Vancouver. As you can see Vancouver is a very large city with a beautiful park (Stanley Park) and a working steam powered clock.
And that concludes the honeymoon road trip, the first of many hopefully that Mary and I will be able to take. I apologize for taking so long for the pictures, but getting married in our sixties has taken us a while to unpack.
Last stop before heading to Vancouver is Ketchikan. Another thriving metropolis of 8,195 people which makes it the 12th largest city in Alaska. Like Juneau, it is basically an island area along the coast and the only way to get to these cities is by boat or plane. The cruise ship had to park in the bay and we took a taxi to shore. Along the way we were able to see a shipment of goods coming to the area.
The day was highlighted by an excursion to the Misty Fjords National Monument and Wilderness Area. The views were spectacular and the weather was sunny which is a rare occurrence.
And we were able to see a few seals lazing about on the shore line and even were allowed to take a picture of the captain of the excursion boat (I think?!?)
Day 8 was spent in Juneau, Alaska, the capital of Alaska with a population of 32,434. This makes it the second largest city in Alaska, after Anchorage at 298,225 and within a few hundred people of the population of Bay City, Michigan, which is approximately the 35th largest city in Michigan.
The first thing we noticed when docking was the large number of bald eagles all over the place. Must be a good hunting ground for them here. In the picture below you can see two of them perched on the structure.
We saw a big National Geographic boat docked as well as some beautiful mountains as a back drop as we headed out to see some whales. Oh yeah, and I am finally getting a little better at doing selfies. 🙂
We did get to see some whales, but not too close. I think they were humpback whales and they only occasionally surfaced. Here are a couple of the pictures I could get.
And finally, just another look from our cabin as we depart Juneau for our next stop.