Adventures in the Villa



2021-06-21 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 26 – Yellowstone National Park and Farewell Luncheon

Today is the last full day of the Caravan. We head for home tomorrow…

We had a quiet morning, with a rare breakfast of bacon and eggs… We headed for the Final Banquet (lunch) at 10:30 – if you show up on time you are late!

We walked about the town of Gardiner. By the way, the town is named after a 19th century fur-trapper named Johnson Gardner. Oh! The Ironing!

We walked over to the original entrance to Yellowstone, the Roosevelt Arch…

We also found out we were in the Gallatin Custer National Forest… Lots of Federally owned land around here…

From the town we could see the Airstreams parked in the adjacent RV Park. (Due to a variety of mix-ups, the Villa is parked at another RV Park seven miles out of town…

We like watching rivers. Here the Yellowstone River flows right through the town… and it continues down past our RV Park…

The Yellowstone River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 692 miles long. It drains an area stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the vicinity of Yellowstone National Park, across the mountains and high plains of southern Montana and northern Wyoming. It eventually joins the Missouri and then the Mississippi Rivers.

We also saw a lot of the Snake River, in Yellowstone as well as in Grand Tetons NP. At 1,078 miles long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, in turn the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean. The Snake River rises in western Wyoming, then flows through the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho, the rugged Hells Canyon on the Oregon–Idaho border and the rolling Palouse Hills of Washington, emptying into the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities, Washington.

So the Yellowstone River is on the east side of the Continental Divide, and the Snake River is on the west side… And they are both here in Yellowstone…!

We returned to the Cowboy, on their upper open-air deck. Caravans don’t usually repeat locations like this, but the restaurant that was planned for the final Banquet burned down last winter…

We all gathered for a social time together…

Lunch was served. This time it was baked Montana trout. (I would have preferred the fried chicken that we had last time…)

After lunch we had presentations, accolades, and door prizes…

That evening we all gathered for Happy Hours…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-06-02 – Traveling West – Eureka Springs and Bentonville, AR

We attended Sunday Services at Thorncrown Chapel.  Worshiping in such a beautiful place is a very special experience…


An interesting point was that the preacher was the son of the founder and of the chapel… And there was some good old hymn singing going on…

A mystery occurred behind the blue pilaster on the right.  The minister suddenly appeared from behind the pilaster, then he went back again during some of the singing.  Is he just sitting on a chair back there, and had he been there since before we arrived?  Or is there a hidden back door there that he can slip in  and out of?  Or is there a stair to a basement with an exterior entrance?  Any ideas?

After the service we drove to Bentonville; along the way we found, quite by accident, Hoss’s RV Repair.  The place was littered with old Airstreams (23), in various stages of repair and restoration…


We traveled on…

Bentonville is home of Sam Walton and his family.  And his family’s store:


The town Square is very nice…


We had brunch at a very nice modern diner…


We were very impressed with the center of this town of 70,000 people.  (In 1960 when the first WalMart was built the town had about 3,000 people…)

We wondered, as we looked around at these downtown buildings, how much of this was built, rebuilt, and/or owned by WalMart?  Did the first WalMart, built outside of town on the highway, kill the town?  Did WalMart buy up the deserted buildings and create this Disneyesque town square?  I don’t know…

(By the way, the original Walton’s 5 and dime is just a facade for the WalMart Museum.  There is a WalMart Neighborhood Market just a block away…)

In any case, the reason we were here was to see Crystal Bridges, the Museum of American Art built by the Walton Family Foundation… It is about 3/4 mile from the heart of town…


The museum was designed by Moshe Safdie, world famous architect…


The museum sits atop a small creek that has been dammed to form several ponds at several levels.  The weirs (dams) are under the buildings, so the surfaces of the ponds are kept mirror-still…

The vaulted roofs are supported by suspension cables.  Remarkable!


But the REAL reason we are here is to see a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house.  The Bachman-Wilson House was originally built in New Jersey in the mid 1950s.  Over the years it was lived in by a variety of families.  In 1980 it was restored; unfortunately, the adjacent river took up a bad habit of overflowing its banks on a regular basis.  By 2004 the owners appealed to the Walton family and convinced them that there is no greater American Art than a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house.  The house was disassembled and moved here, and it was reassembled on a site adjacent to the museum…

It is a classic Usonian, which typically turns a blank face to the street for privacy.  FLlW also typically hides the front door…


There’s the door…


(Sorry, no interior photos…)

The house bears remarkable similarities to the Spring house in Tallahassee and the Rosenbaum house in Florence, AL.  The board and batten siding, the views out to the forest, the horizontal lines, the cantilevered carports, and the stenciled cut-outs applied to the glass…


The house has been beautifully restored and preserved… It is, indeed, a piece of American Art…!

But we move on!

In the little town of Bella Vista, in the far northwest corner on Arkansas, within a mile or two of the Missouri and Oklahoma borders, is another Fay Jones chapel…


In contrast to Thorncrown Chapel, this chapel is built of steel.  Again, the details are beautiful…


Built to honor Mildred Borum Cooper, wife of John A. Cooper, Sr., founder of Cooper Communities, Inc, the Chapel is a fitting memorial.  Besides being a devoted wife, mother, and member of the community, Mrs. Cooper had a deep spirituality and a love for nature.  Her family commissioned the Chapel in her honor to celebrate her life and her dedication to God and his creations.

We returned to Eureka Springs and enjoyed a dinner in a fine French bistro: Le Stick Nouveau:


We enjoyed five courses of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres… and a bottle of fine Pinot Noir from Oregon…

As is our custom, we returned to the Villa for Happy Hours and a light supper; an enjoyable time was had by all…

2017-10-05 Westbound; California, here we come…

We left Junipers RV Park in Lakeview, OR and soon we reached the promised land:

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We are happy to be back in California; we left California on June 10…

Today we are heading into the Lassen National Forest and Burney Falls State Park.  We’ve wanted to see Burney Falls since we first heard about it in 2006.  Today is the day!

We had an uneventful drive south along the eastern border of California, not far from Nevada.

We reached Burney Falls State Park about noon.  The falls are not far from the Visitors Center; we soon had a peak at them as we started down the canyon:

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The path takes us over the stream above the falls; interestingly, the stream flows mostly underground until about 3/4 mile upstream, where some of its water pops to the surface.  (More on this later…)

We crossed the bridge and walked through the woods, hearing the falls and occasionally getting a glimpse of them.  Along the way we had nice views of the stream.

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Finally we were able to get a full view of the falls:

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As we drew closer we noticed the interesting shape and location of the falls and the water:

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Notice how the water is flowing not only over the top of the rocks, but from within the rocks as well!

The underground stream stays underground even as it comes to the surface 3/4 mile upstream, and it is this underground water that flows out of the layer of porous and fragmented rocks that are lodged between the harder basalt rock.  Here is the sign which explained the phenomenon:

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We admired the blue color of the pool at the base of the falls; there were even men casting here:

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(No fish in sight…)

We like walking to see waterfalls, as you may have noticed… We hope these are not our last…

We headed out of the State Park and drove about 25 miles to our campground for the night: Rancheria RV Park in Hat City:

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Happy Hours ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all…




































2017-10-04 Westbound; Lakeview, Oregon…

We had a leisurely morning in the Villa.  We went for a walk and marveled at these strange formations:

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We were told that this is ice.  mmmm… Well, it was 30 degrees here this morning…

We left the park and headed southeast; we drove over a very remote part of eastern Oregon (over 95% or people in Oregon live west of here…).  The land is very rocky and volcanic; the views are wonderful:

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After about three hours we reached the Junipers RV Park in Lakeview, OR.  The RV park in in the center of a 5,000 acre working cattle ranch.  The sun was warm but the air is cold.  (I haven’t yet figured out how that can be…)  We parked the Villa and set up for another cold night:

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Happy hours ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all…

PS: Since this is another short, travel day post, I have added pictures of the grandchildren (and their Mom…):

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2017-10-03 Westbound; Bend, Oregon…

Another beautiful day in Bend; we drove to town and parked about 1/2 mile away in a lovely park:

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Walking along the river we found another dam; at one time this dam had a powerhouse or mill:

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We enjoyed another walk through downtown:


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We stopped in for a late lunch at Drake; they had very creative and different food;

Battered and fried portobello with beer cheese:

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Buttermilk fried chicken:

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We returned to the Villa at about 3:30; we discovered we had new Airstream neighbors; they have quit their jobs, sold their house, and are moving here.  They will be spending the winter here in Bend in their Airstream while they look for work and look to buy or build a house…

Happy Hours ensued; an an enjoyable time was had by all…

























2017-10-02 Westbound; Bend, Oregon…

We bid farewell to Silver Falls and headed southeast to Bend.  We need to climb over some mountains to get there, so we were rewarded with some lovely views:

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More woods and mossy trees:

More fall colors (ie: dead leaves…):

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We also had awesome views of Mt. Washington:

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We arrived in Bend, OR, population 80,000, elevation 3,623.  We parked at Scandia RV Park, and set out for a walking tour of downtown; the Deschutes Rived flows northward through town, with nice walking paths and views to the lovely waterfront homes across the river:

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We found some ducks enjoying dinner:

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And more fall colors:

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We found the dam that keeps the river under control:

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We stopped into the Crater Lake Spirits tasting room and sampled some of their finer spirits.  Then, as dusk approached, we went to Zydecko for dinner:

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…













2017-10-01 Westbound; South to Oregon and a visit with friends…

We left Maple Valley and pointed the Villa south.  Sunday morning traffic was light, and in a few hours we arrived at Vancouver, Washington.  We parked the Villa in a pre-school parking lot and walked for about 1/2 hour. Then we found the Kitchen Table Cafe, where we joined friends from high school:

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We had a lovely time getting reacquainted, and we had a good breakfast as well; but soon we were once again on the road.  Within a few minutes we crossed over the Columbia River into Oregon:

2017-10-01 Map - Oregon

Our destination today is Silver Falls State Park.

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We found our assigned camp site and set up.  Then we headed out to see the falls.

Silver Falls State Park is located near Silverton, OR, about 20 miles east-southeast of Salem.  It is the largest state park in Oregon with an area of more than 9,000 acres, and it includes more than 24 miles of walking trails, 14 miles of horse trails, and a 4-mile bike path.  Its 8.7-mile Canyon Trail/Trail of Ten Falls runs along the banks of Silver Creek and by ten waterfalls (duh!).  Four of the ten falls have an amphitheater-like surrounding that allows the trail to pass behind the flow of the falls.

The most accessible waterfall is South Falls; we reached it after about a 1/2 hour walk through the park; no hiking involved.  We even walked across this covered pedestrian bridge over Silver Creek:

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Interestingly, we arrived at the top of the falls, where Silver Creek flows over the basalt rock into the canyon below:

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From here, we walked around the canyon and down a path into this bowl-shaped arena:

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The falls eventually came into view:

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The gigantic overhang of the rock above the pond below is amazing!

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Soon we were behind the falls, where we could see the back side of water:

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We decided to proceed to the lower South Falls, another .8 mile down the hill.  We walked along the creek and walked lower and lower into the canyon:

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Then it got steep, and we descended many stairs, until the Lower South Falls came into view:

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Once again, we could walk behind the falls:

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And then we had to walk back up. And up. And up…

Finally we reached the main area of the park.  There is a lovely Lodge, built between 1946 and 1955; it used to be a full service restaurant; now it is a simple cafe:

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After our taxing hike we walked the 1 mile back to the Villa.  Happy Hours ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all…











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