Autumn in North Idaho

My wife and I were blessed to take a date day and see autumn in it’s full glory.  No plans, just drive and see where it would take us.  We followed the trees to my favorite spot in downtown Sandpoint.  The colors were brilliant, the sky crystal blue and the lake pristine.  Here’s a video of the trip, edited to music and mellow.  If you didn’t get a chance to experience fall.  You can experience fall in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Enjoy the simple things in life.

Junior Ranger Program Available at your National Park

Earning is Learning… Our son and his cousin learn about the Mt. St. Helens volcano.

A few years back, my wife and I were introduced to the Junior Ranger Program at the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.  He took a Ranger class about the volcano at the outdoor amphitheater located at the Johnston Ridge Observatory.  The class was between 30 and 40 minutes and we, parents, took a short walk through the observatory and gift shop while our son and his cousin took the class.  The thing he enjoyed most was earning his Junior Forest Ranger Badge.

Our Lewis & Clark pose over looking the Painted Canyons in the Badlands, North Dakota

While at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, I asked the Ranger if they had a Junior Ranger program.  The park has a guide book of activities that the junior ranger must complete to earn their badge.  His age group must complete 8 activities to have a Ranger check their work to earn the Junior Ranger Badge.  It is not a difficult process, but it is one that keeps your child engaged in the National Park as your family tours the sights. Many of the factoids they learn enriches the park experience for everyone involved.

If you and your family visit a National Park this summer be sure to ask the Ranger about the free Junior Ranger program.

The Mysterious Enchanted Highway, North Dakota

On our trip to Medora and the North Dakota Badlands, we came across a strange and peculiar highway, the Enchanted Highway.  It’s one of those out of way places you have to see yourself to believe it.  The 6 metal monuments we saw are included in the video.  We, however, did not see the Geese in Flight maybe because of the recent land dispute, see link below.  The tour ended at a small town of Regent in which the artist had a visitors’ center and the artist has constructed a hotel, restaurant, and tavern out of the town’s old school in Regent, ND. Links included below.

Definitely worth a visit, and if we return, I would consider staying at the Enchanted Castle Hotel.

Learn more about the Enchanted Highway visit and


Why we don’t visit campgrounds anymore. And, obstacles we face.

When you live off grid, the idea of heading to an established campground seems more like visiting an outdoor apartment complex in which there are a lot of people, noise, and nature gets in the way to the communal bathrooms.  My wife and I started to leave the campgrounds many years ago because it was no different than living in our apartment complex, minus the thin walls to block the sound of radios, televisions, drunks, and domestic disputes.  We found a book that took us on forest roads so far off the beaten path that it would be days to hike out if the vehicle became stranded.  We set up camp by beautiful flowing tributaries into the main rivers the campgrounds were located on. With plenty of supplies, we enjoyed the peace and quiet of nature all around us.  We waved to the other brave souls who had ventured out as far as we did and noticed they gave great space and distance to our site as we did others as we passed along our route.  On the way up to one of our favorite destinations, we would pass an out of the way private campground and hot spring, Silver Creek Plunge and my wife and I were amazed that anything this remote could sustain itself, but they have done very well due to its remoteness, amenities, and access to the beautiful Boise National Forest.

Doting on our son and enjoying our trip to North Dakota despite the obstacles we face.

On an unrelated side note.  My wife and I are celebrating our 24th anniversary today.  Since the breakdown of our vehicle many challenges and stress has been placed upon our marriage.  In the last two weeks let me list a few of the things we have been dealing with: Our son was admitted into the ER for an emergency appendectomy. He developed appendicitis Friday night and Saturday it was diagnosed and he was operated on later that day with an overnight observation till Sunday afternoon.  He is doing very well today, though mellow, but on the way to recovery. The minor challenges are the other car was acting up while I was waiting in Columbus, MT for the PT to be fixed, the home’s cistern pump gave out prematurely due to some defect and had to be replaced, my lower back gave out and I have been walking hunched and in pain for the past 3 days, my cell phone (208 area code) crashed and I lost all my  contacts (text me and state who you are, so I can re-enter you), our tractor loan office has lost one of our payments even though the check is cashed. We had one chicken die due to an infection after we tried to treat her, and another chicken developed bumble foot.  Also, my wife hasn’t been able to attend a farmer’s market in 4 weeks due to these circumstances.  We also cancelled our anniversary plans today to nurse our boy back to health, but all is not lost, I am making my wife a romantic dinner this evening after we tuck him into bed tonight.  Much thanks to our shop fund, which has got us through all this financially, but once again, our dream shop has been delayed. And, this all went down in one week’s time.  There’s an old saying when it rains, it pours.

I remember in college another week like this developed and another student in a men’s support group we started asked, how I can live in such dire circumstances.  I said, “Just like you, but I trust the grace of God to get me through.”  and that has been the truth of it ever since.  I can’t imagine what would have happened if our son developed appendicitis a week earlier while we were on vacation in the middle of the desolate stretch of Montana and North Dakota at the same time our car’s engine was blown.  I am so grateful that this list of disasters was all spread out, giving my wife and I time to meet each challenge head on.

“God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1st Corinthian 10:13

Hee Haw! We made it to Medora!

Moon Rising over the church of the Medora Musical set.

We made it to Medora in time for the musical.  We had a great time as a family despite having to leave our car in Columbus to get it fixed.  The Medora Musical is truly something for the entire family.  They invited the children 12 and under to join some of the dancers on the stage and do an impromptu dance performance.  The featured magician and world’s fastest balloon artist wowed the audience and two random children from the audience helped out with the show.  An amazing fun experience. The show this year featured game shows my generation grew up with set to country music trivia and good old-fashioned dancing, singing, and comedy.  The musical reminded me when I was a kid watching the Hee Haw Country Variety Show mixed with a little Lawrence Welk, a country western concert, some historical patriotism of Walt Disney, and to top it off sprinkled with a little flamboyancy of a Broadway musical.

It was a bear-y good time at the Lodge in Dickinson, ND

After the show, we returned to the Lodge near Dickinson to rest up for the night.  We got up with a slow start the next morning before we toured the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Enchanted Highway.  More on that later.  The Lodge is part of the Double JJ Outfitters in Dickinson, North Dakota.  They specialize in pheasant hunts and have hunting package available.  The Lodge was amazing and the hunting décor was great for any hunting enthusiast.  My wife and son weren’t as excited as I was about the décor, but the accommodations were great, which we all loved and appreciated.  The Lodge is available to rent through AirBnB between hunting seasons, and when not entertaining a hunting expedition.  It’s large enough to accommodate a nice size family reunion and will definitely be kept on my list of places to stay in the future.

Where does this Off Grid Family Vacation?

Where does this off grid family vacation? Since we have lived off grid, our vacation of choice, camping, has diminished.  We generally decide to use AirBnB or hotel it, but camping only in a desperate situation. This year our vacation included my wife’s folks. We decided last year to unravel the mysterious raves about a place we never heard of before, Medora, North Dakota.

Medora Musical after the show on a beautiful summer’s eve.

My wife and her mother planned the trip with the Medora Musical as the central focal point of our visit and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park as the bonus for making such a journey across Montana.  Plus, the entrance to the park is also in Medora, ND.

We made it to the Medora Music despite great adversity.

However, this vacation has a twist or let’s just say a major wrench thrown into the mix.  Stay tuned for more updates from a smart phone, not a computer.



A View to a Quiche

What inspired me to even attempt making a quiche happened many years ago.  My wife was out for the evening, and I was having a guy’s night in celebrating with a James Bond Marathon.  During the film A View to A Kill 1985 starring Roger Moore as James Bond and Christopher Walken as the villain, James Bond makes a damsel in distress a quiche out of the left overs in her kitchen.  I figured if James Bond could do it, so could I, and I grabbed a cook book and began making quiche out of what I could find in the fridge. We didn’t have any bacon, but plenty of chicken, so in a Bond like fashion, I made a quiche, which I proudly gave to my wife when she returned.  My wife loved it.  Mostly, for the romantic gesture, but also because she had a wonderful meal without the concern of preparing, cooking, or cleaning up after.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say baking a quiche saved my marriage, but I can honestly say the gesture did improve my ability to continually woo my wife’s affections.  Making dinner for my wife on her birthday has become our tradition.  I love doing it, but sometimes I catch her off guard and create a meal on a whim, which goes a long way in lifting my wife’s morale and stature as the love of my life.

A Quick Review of A View to a Kill

After creating this post, I decided to watch the movie “A View to a Kill” again.  I was amazed by the plot, which seemed to touch upon some present day concerns.  In the movie, a computer chip was developed by the antagonist, Zorin, which could survive an EMP attack, and this chip was intentionally leaked to Russia.  A computer chip was implanted into a racehorse to increase the horse’s speed at the push of a button, this is known as biohacking. Also, there was an inference that the antagonist was the by-product of biohacking himself to circumvent natural human development to increase intelligence, but the unfortunate side-effect was the creation of a raving sociopath. Next, Silicon Valley in California was stated to controlled 80% of the world’s computer chips in 1985 and was the target of the antagonist.  Once Silicon Valley was destroyed, he would control the world’s computer chip supply. If he could have waited for NAFTA, the WTO, and other trade deals with China, it would have been done for him within the next 15 years.

Sometimes I wonder if our movies are a script in which humanity watches, buries in the human subconscious, only to create the very path humanity chooses out of false implanted destiny.  Maybe, I give our media too much credit, and it is really a mirror reflection of what our culture is becoming and any quality think tank group could follow a similar path of development through a causal effect relationship.

I’ll I know is even though this movie was a typical Bond film of innuendo after innuendo to create coy shock and humor, it touched on issues that are now current media and even conspiracy topics of choice from the fall of Silicon Valley, biohacking, and an eminent EMP threat from possibly Russia.

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Thanks to the Fair Use Act for allowing this brief segment of the movie “A View to a Kill” to be used as an educational purpose in making quiche and the importance it has played into our family’s tradition.  I encourage everyone who is a 007 fan to choose their favorite Bond movie and enjoy an evening.

Chicken Quiche Recipe (See Better Home and Gardens: New Cook Book 1990 or newer to create an adaptation of your own.)

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese, pre-mix cheese with 1 Tablespoon of flour
  • 1 Chicken breast chopped and cooked into bite size pieces season chicken breast with pepper, rosemary, whatever sounds and will taste good.
  • ¼ cup green onions
  • ¼ cup of olives
  • ¼ cup of mushrooms

Directions: Whip eggs and mix in large bowl milk with cheese/flour mixture.  Add dash of salt to ¼ teaspoon for taste.  Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Dump into precooked piecrust that is still hot out of the oven and place a complete quiche in the oven for 40-45 minutes at 375 degrees F.