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Biking Along the Colorado River; Idaho Falls; Livingston, Montana; Bozeman and Bat Guano; Absarokas; Bozeman Waterfalls; Wildfires; A Cabin in the Woods; Trophy Husband

On our last few days in Colorado, we went for two bike rides, one along I-70. I can hear the questions now… “What? How much fun can that be, riding along the Interstate?” Well, for the uninitiated, Glenwood Canyon is a very narrow route for I-70 and the Colorado River, and there is a fabulous bike path that runs alongside the river, mostly below the level of the Interstate, which is an engineering marvel in itself. The ride was shorter than we had expected, because part of the Glenwood Canyon section had been covered in 5 feet of mud the week before our ride. Turns out a forest fire had left the mountain slopes denuded of vegetation, and when heavy rains came, the water washed tons of dirt off the hillsides onto I-70 and the bike path. The scenery was spectacular, and rafts were running the white water rapids just 25 yards from where we biked.

Another ride took us to a trail on the Roaring Fork River near Glenwood Springs. Suzanne took this photo of me riding across a bridge with a wire mesh web surrounding me. It was very cool seeing this photo later, because I was focused on the roadway rather than my surroundings at that point.

Four driving days took us from Carbondale to Helper, Utah; Hill Air Force Base in Layton, Utah; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and finally to Livingston, Montana. We don’t like long drives, which can be very tiring when at the wheel of a 28 ton, 45 ft long bus pulling a car, especially in the mountains, so we try to stop for the night at a reasonable hour. We NEVER drive at night, both because of the fatigue factor and the numerous carcasses of road kill deer we see along every highway and Interstate.

Helper, Utah, is named for the “helper” train engines that were used to supplement regular engines pulling heavily loaded coal trains over the mountains onto the Wasatch Plateau. It is a picturesque town of 2,200 souls whose rich history as a mining center includes many immigrants from Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Japan, Slovenia and China who settled here to mine coal and follow the American Dream. The Cretaceous sandstone escarpment behind Helper is called The Book Cliffs.


Idaho Falls has a scenic riverfront greenbelt along the Snake River, and several sets of waterfalls, backed by the beautiful architecture of the Idaho Temple, the first temple built in Idaho by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We really enjoyed Idaho Falls and wished that we had had more time there. (We will be stopping back there after our Montana stay).

Livingston, Montana, is one of our favorite destinations. Sited along the Yellowstone River, it offers world class trout fishing; Tony Vouvalides and I had floated/fly fished the Yellowstone a few years ago, but this year the temperatures were in the 90s and hardly anyone was fishing due to the heat. The extra stresses placed on the trout when hooked in warm water results in many dying, and since most fishermen practice catch and release, they would rather not fish than unnecessarily kill trout. Hiking was thus our preferred pastime, and here we see Hiker Chick enjoying a beautiful trail outside of town.

Our destination that day was the Pine Creek waterfall, but the creek crossings (fortunately we didn’t have to wade) provided lovely views as well.

Our last hike in the Livingston area took us into the northern part of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, part of Gallatin National Forest. A pristine area because it’s so rugged, the Absaroka mountains are part of the Rockies, with 46 peaks between 12,000 and 13,153 feet in elevation. Lots of bears here, but we didn’t see any during our hikes, even though we were very near Yellowstone National Park. The name is derived from one of the names of the Crow Indian tribe.

Bozeman, Montana, was our next stop, and although our campground had firewood, there was a burn ban due to extremely dry and hot conditions, as well as a number of wildfires raging across the Northwest. English teachers will shudder at this sign for a “Bathouse”… I am pretty sure that people showered here, but the sign made me think of Tony and Irene back in South Carolina with their bat guano business…..

While Suzanne was working, I went on a short walk around the neighborhood, on Bear Canyon Road. I think they call it that because the canyon is shaped like a bear… well, maybe not. Anyway, I remember a couple of cars driving by as I was crossing the road, and that afternoon Suzanne got an email from Jennifer and Tony Hines, both lieutenant colonels in the Air Force, asking if she might have seen me on Bear Canyon Road. We had never met the couple, but Jennifer had emailed Suzanne a few times after discovering Suzanne’s work.  The couple was on vacation and by some crazy timing drove right by me on my walk. Suzanne asked them to visit us at the bus when they got back from Yellowstone. Turns out they were staying nearby, and Jennifer recognized me from a mug shot in a post office. Anyway, they came for a visit and we had a delightful chat. Jennifer, a flight test engineer, is into metaphysics and Tony is an F-15 Eagle fighter pilot. 

Bozeman provided several great hikes, including two waterfalls as destinations… My Lovely Bride LOVES waterfalls!

From Bozeman we headed to our next stop, Missoula, Montana. We were fortunate to be able to link up with an old friend, Brad Bernardy, for dinner at the bus. He was leaving the next morning for home after a stint organizing the logistics for a Blackhawk aviation firefighting helicopter. Brad has retired from the US Forest Service, but his wife Leslie still does a similar job with USFS organizing the ground logistics for wildfire firefighters, and is currently working fires in another part of Montana. 

The wildfires have created heavy smoke throughout the West; here is a photo that Suzanne took from our campground in Kalispell. The snow-capped mountains that we have seen in four previous visits are hidden behind palls of smoke; our car was even covered with tiny cinders carried by the wind.

Our next stop was to visit Dick and Alis Arrowood, who have a beautiful ranch in the woods north of Missoula. They are expatriate Californians; Dick was a Master Winemaker in Sonoma Valley for 5 decades, and Alis was an expert in wine marketing. Together they made Arrowood and Amapola Creek Wineries famous, and their wines are exquisitely delicious. 

They graciously put us up in their beautiful new guest cabin, since our bus would not have been happy transiting the back roads to their home. (It was a tough assignment, but someone had to do it!)

We had a delightful time with the Arrowoods. Dick took me out shooting sporting clays while Alis and Suzanne went shopping in Big Fork. Dick is a master shotgunner, and I was humbled when we took turns on the clays. (My excuse for my poor marksmanship was that I am used to somewhat larger guns, Navy 5 inch and 16 inch, but I didn’t bring them with me this trip….). Alis prepared gourmet meals for us, and we hope to reciprocate when they come to South Carolina one day. Suzanne and I did some more hiking, of course, and one of our favorite trails is along nearby Holland Lake. (I could live here…)

I know that I am a lucky guy… I keep running into this cute female hiker – this time on a trail near Seeley Lake…. 

We also enjoyed hiking with a couple of enthusiastic young Dachshunds. Rusty is now 8 months old, and weighs 20 lbs, making him a standard Dachshund. Nellie, at 18 months, is a petite 11 lbs, and is still a “mini”. They were both tired but happy puppies at the end of the trail! 

Finally, we passed a guy on the street wearing this tee shirt… I said to him, “Dude, your wife must really think you are a super catch!” He replied sheepishly, “Actually, my mother gave it to me…”


  • Beverly G
    Posted September 9, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    Loved "traveling with you" Ty and Suzanne. Thank you for sharing these adventures with us, Ty!

  • Jim
    Posted September 9, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    From PA:
    Ty, I am enjoying the pictures and stories of your experiences. These are places I've not seen and can now experience vicariously. Cool story of you being spotted while hiking and the military connection. Also particularly liked the photo Suzanne took of you biking across the bridge surrounded by the "web". From recent lessons, I've learned that the web can symbolize our connection. 🙂
    Happy hiking! Jim C in Malvern

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted September 9, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks, Jim! Just getting back to full operation on the blog after some computer problems. Hope Ida didn't affect you up there in PA. We hope to get up your direction next summer! Cheers, Ty

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted September 9, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks, Bev!!!


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