Forget Paris! Head for Magnificent Budapest

“From Budapest to Bucharest!”

“Budapesht.”  Yes, this is how the locals pronounce it!

The Parliament is an overwhelming neo-Gothic building that is several blocks long!

After listening to someone who had recently been to Budapest, I thought the town would be run-down and out-of-date! My friend was out of her mind when she told me about her thoughts of Budapest!  Thank goodness we heard “good” reports from others! We came in four days early to enjoy Budapest before our river tour  on the Viking Lif.

Here is Tom pondering the founder of Christian Budapest next to the Parliament. Statues seem to be on every street!

St. Matthews, so gorgeous!









You can’t snap enough photos to capture all of the beauty of this city. It was named the second most beautiful city in the world by Flight Network. Paris is ninth! (I could add Valencia and Barcelona, Spain to that small list.) The 1.7 million city is influenced by Greek, Moorish (and Turkey), Art Deco, and Neo-Gothic architecture and cultures. The breadth and sheer variety of buildings is rivaled by few cities in the world. It reminded me of Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey. One passenger on our ship told me that I would love Vienna too!

What a gorgeous synagogue!

Theodore Hertzl, one of my heroes, was born near the Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest. He dreamed of an independent state for Jews and his dream came true after he died. “If you will it, it need not be a dream.” This is the largest and most opulent synagogue that we have ever seen. Some suggest that only the New York City synagogue Temple Emanu-El is bigger! Its facade is adorned with pick and green bricks and reminded me of the Duomo in Florence.

Here is the  inside of the synagogue. This reflects the wealthy of the Jews at one point in history.

People in Budapest are affluent, earning more than twice the average of other EU countries. Everything seems to run very smoothly, almost a million people use mass-transit every day. There are buses and trams and under ground trains. Very few people use motorcycles, some use bicycles, but most drive big cars! There are bicycle lanes everywhere. The locals and city officials love their dogs. We saw no strays and every few blocks there was a dog part!

The locals follow the rules. They wait for the lights to change, stop when crossing a street, and place their refuse (not on the street) but in bins, even cigarettes. If you hand them the wrong change, they don’t cheat you and they even stop and give you directions in Hungarian–that work!


Great shopping at the indoor market!

Some of the best sights include St. Matthews Cathedral, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Parliament Building, Memento Park (Statues torn down after the fall of Communism. See the website: ),  Castle Hill, Margaret Island, The Ferris Wheel in the middle City Square, and every street in town!!!

To view the fantastic sights you can hoof it, ride a tram, bus, or underground train.  Or, you can rent a bicycle, a one person electric car, a scooter with twelve inch-wide wheels, or a Segway.  Or, you can book a bus tour to anywhere!

So huge, St. Stephen’s Cathedral!

The owner of the bed and breakfast where we stayed, Wahab, was originally from Chad and had been a professor at the University of Bengazi before Libya fell apart. Wahab is an electrical engineer who chose Budapest as the best place to raise his sons and provide an education for them. There are 40 colleges and universities in this remarkable city. And education is free!  He purchased some property to create the Evergreen, the bed and breakfast, so it would generate funds to pay for necessities for his sons’ education. How smart!!

Inside of St. Stephen’s Cathedral! Stunning!

The Hungarians have been through hundreds of years of wars and atrocities, siding with Hitler at one point, and saved by the Russians who tried to destroy their culture. They have only had a democracy since the 1990’s so it is almost unbelievable to see the progress they have made in creating a wonderful and welcoming city.

We were sad to leave Hungary. If we choose to live in another country, it would be high on the list. They have free health benefits. I may return to Budapest to share additional photos in another blog!  There was so much to see and digest!

This is like the long boat that was our home for almost two weeks, the Viking Lif

I thought you might like to see how Hungarians view Trump. And this t-shirt was a tame one!

As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

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Forty-Two Years Later…. From Tom’s Dashboard!

Munich in 2017!!!!

Day One


Glockenspiel is going full speed!  Old Town Hall is massive!

It took only 42 years. After my sophomore year in high school in 1975, at age 16, I participated in an exchange program with a Catholic girl’s boarding school in Altotting Germany, located between Munich and the Alps. Frau Graf organized the event. We toured Southern Germany/Bavaria for one week, then lived with a family for three weeks. School was in session so we attended or were expected to be in attendance, along with our host. What an experience for a 16 year old! There was international travel, German beer, and girls. This trip created an interest in visiting new countries and since then I have been to over 70 countries for work and vacation.

Frauenkirke! Wow!

On a business trip to Poland two years ago, I considered adding a stop in Munich/Altotting but Poland itself provide enough interesting sites, so I decided to leave it out of the itinerary. When I learned that an International Conference and Symposium on Lameness in Ruminants was being organized by Dr. Andrea Fiedler (one of the strong women everywhere) for 2017, I decided to submit a paper. It was accepted so now I am back in Munich.

Another bloody Kirke!

It has changed. I do not have very specific memories of Munich other than visits to the old city with the town hall/Glockenspiel, a few churches, the Olympic Stadium (Munich Olympics in 1972) and a visit to the Dachau WWII concentration camp. It was the largest city we visited during the trip in the summer of 1975.

A Road Sign in Bavaria!

The city today is swimming in tourists. There is a very strong international bent to the crowds with Africans and Asians in sizable proportions. While visiting the old town/city center with massive and ornate Catholic churches on every other corner I am amazed at the number of Muslim women among the crowd of tourists. Some of them were fully covered with the slits for their eyes covered by sun glasses. Where was my camera?

Just use your credit card and leave the bike wherever you land!

Munich is very easy to navigate with an excellent network of buses, subways, trams and trains. Bikes are everywhere and are available to rent via a simple use of the smart phone (see photo). After a stroll through the very large and lovely English Garden (large city center park with lakes, trails, Chinese tower and beer gardens ), I headed for the city center and the old town hall. The Glockenspiel was doing its performance on a cool September morning upon arrival. I wandered about, visited the Frauenkirche (strong women everywhere) with its twin domes; St. Michael’s Church where a noon time service including organ music was just ending; St. Peters Church*, with gold and gold leaf adorning the many status and icons; Viktualienmarkt (traditional food market) and a required visit to the Hofbrauhaus.

* I had not planned this to be an ABC tour: Another Bloody Church. Marla has taken me to many of these over the past 35 years, (ABC, ABT (temple). ABM (mosque)) so I guess it is now part of my DNA.

Are you hungry?

There was a bit more walking around to admire the architecture then back to Hotel Leopold in Schwabing (up scale area) for a rest and dinner at Bavarian style restaurant/café where I enjoyed watching the people from my street side table right on Leopold Strasse.


Day Two

Nymphenburg Palace, Olympic Stadium, and BMW World

Just three mass transit connections and I am in the gardens of the summer home of Bavarian royalty. Nymphenburg Palace was designed as Munich’s version of Versailles just outside Pari. It is a beautiful palace adorned with paintings, statues, chandeliers, spacious gardens and plenty of water features. The stories of the occupants are filled with intrigue. Built with money from the people–the money that the church didn’t take– the opulence makes Trump look like a hack. The palace is famous for a wall of beauties, which I think should be labeled “all the girls I’ve loved before.” The tourist books do not explain why the paintings are there. In one room, they could be “Stepford Wives.” They all have the same face. The palace is also famous for the birthplace of Ludwig II, an eccentric prince who built many castles. More on him tomorrow.

With a new Japanese friend in Nymphenberg!!!!

I met a nice Chinese couple. He is a civil engineer, with a Ph.D. from France. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. With the construction boom in China that has been going on for over 15 years, I wonder how he has time to get away?


Nymphenberg is gorgeous!


Olympic Center. I decided to take a visit to this site from the 1972 Munich Olympics. The site had a novel use of tent like canopies that was unique at the time. It looks faded and dated now. Some young Mormon missionaries asked me, a heathen, to take their picture. I mentioned the tragedy of the Israeli athletes from the Munich Olympics. They knew nothing of it. Kids these days!

Next, was time for modern opulence and a walk through BMW World. BMers, Minis and Rolls Royces were all on display. Funny that at $500,000+ the Rolls seemed to have the same seat adjustment levers as my Chevy. Some nice slogans about riding and life were displayed with the BMW motorcycle exhibit.

BMW World with Tom in the picture somewhere!

Final notes. 1) Munich is a city of 1.5 million and a metropolitan area of 4-6 Million. It doesn’t seem so crowded. Must be the use of mass transit and bicycles. Three hundred thousand of the 1.5 million are not German citizens. 2) Inflation is everywhere. It cost $1.2 Euros to use the WC in the central station. I will probably water the bushes next time. (Just kidding!)



Day Three    Life of a King

Linderhof Palace!

King Ludwig II took over the thrown at age 18 and was removed at age 40. He is most famous for having a relationship with composer Richard Wagner, and for building three wonderful castles: Linderhof, Neuswanstein, and Herrenchiemsee. Only Linderhoff was completed. Today’s trip was a bus tour with Norma Blowey to Linderhof and Newschwanstein, with a stop in Oberammergau home to the famous Passion Play. The castles are located in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps about 2 hours from Munich. We traveled through lush farmland where the roofs of nearly all of the quaint farm houses are covered with solar panels. Linderhof is a small, but ornately decorated castle, with lovely gardens and water features. Rain did not dampen the experience!

In Oberammergau the citizens put on the Passion Play every 10 years in payment for the ending of the plague many centuries ago. Only citizens of this small town can be part of the 500 person cast. The play lasts 5 hours.

Neuschwanstein is the castle that inspired a logo for Disney. It is wonderfully situated in a rugged mountain with views across a lush valley. The castle is the most visited tourist site in all of Germany with 6000-7000 visitors per day. Our visit was no exception. The exterior views are fantastic. The interior is relatively simple.

Norma was a great traveler!

I was entertained during the 11.5 hour trip by Norma Blowey, wife of my good friend Roger Blowey, both from the UK. Norma told me her life story and explained how Roger became her boy-toy. They have been married for 45 years. Who would have thought relationships could work with the woman older than the man?


Days Four, Five, and Six

I attended the International Conference on Lameness in Ruminants, and presented a paper on the final day. It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues from across the globe. This conference was attended by about 500 people. As usual there were excellent evening events including a gala dinner and party. After the closing of the Conference there was a tour of the Munich Residenz, home of the Bavarian Royal Family the Wittelsbach’s. Much of the Residenze was destroyed during WWII, but has mostly been restored.

Walking to my hotel from this tour I encountered three kilometers of Munichers enjoying a street fest. Some type of warm up for the upcoming October fest? In spite of a constant light drizzle Leopold Strassa was filled with people enjoying food, beer, music, dancing and various other diversions.



Pounding their way down the street!

Is this my new harpsichord?

As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge and written by Thomas C. Hemling!

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Find a Friend and Fall in LOVE!!

Pets ALWAYS love you!  It is Magical!

Jack sort of looked like this fella!

My first dog, “Jack” was a collie,. He had lots of fur and stayed outside in his own house. We were always friends until the dog-catcher came and took him away. My dad said that he was sick!

My life has always been filled with doggie friends. So, this year I decided I would learn how to volunteer at Wayside Waifs, a no-kill shelter for all sorts of pets. After taking classes, I became a dog socializer, then, cashier at Whiskers and Wags, and now also dog photographer. I wanted to be part of the effort to rescue animals.  Both of our pets are rescues!

What hoopla!

Last weekend I experienced a $35 bonanza Mega Match where all animals were up for adoption. Sometimes puppies can run $200 or more. Even at that price, Wayside loses money. They take a stray, give it medication or medical help. All pets are spayed and some have surgery because of wounds or an illness. Staff and volunteers at the Peace Academy, train pets to be with humans if they have problems. I have seen volunteers just sitting with a dog in its kennel, or holding a dog for a very long time. Someone told me that it costs more than $25 a day just to house the pets.

Dogs respond to all the love they receive!

Wayside has lots of services for pets and humans. I have talked with many people who come out to place flowers on their pet’s graves!

Here are staff just waiting to help everyone!

People lined up for a block, at least, to adopt their favorite dog. One woman told me that she was at the door at 5:30 a.m. We opened at 10:00. That weekend people adopted 241 pets at Wayside Waifs and 724 among all the shelters. SPCA and KC Pet Project worked together to make the event happen. There were hundreds of volunteers who logged in over 750 hours.

It was difficult to process. Only ten people were allowed inside the building at one time.

From the moment the event kicked-off, volunteers and staff acted as if they were at a tip-off at a basketball game. Such excitement! Everyone was in a good mood! And Whiskers (the pet store) was packed for the two days I volunteered.

Here is a look at the store where I volunteer! Pam keeps it in good order and sparkling!



You can’t capture the anticipation of people who adopt a pet. There is so much happiness and hope. Before they leave Wayside, they have found someone to love and that pet is loving them back. It is magical chemistry!

Often I wish that children in state homes were loved as much as the Waifs that Wayside saves! There is so much care, and patience, and attention to the needs of the pets. But sometimes the adoption does not work.

Some apartment buildings do not allow Pit Bulls or Pit Bull Mixes. Or, apartments regulate the size of the pet or do not allow any pets. After a call to the apartment manager, adoptions are cancelled. People leave in tears but Wayside, often, gives them a voucher to return to adopt another dog.

The adoption process takes a long time. People during this extravaganza could meet and greet three dogs, one at a time. After choosing the dog, then they have to fill out paperwork so the counselor can determine if they would provide a good home for the pet. They have to answer questions like: Where will the dog  be housed when they are not at home? Where will the dog stay when they are at home? How long will the dog be left alone? Is the yard fenced, and so much more.

Everything was so well-planned. They even had special treats for the humans and animals!

People are more than willing to adopt pets recovering from wounds or heart worm disease or even a loss of a limb. Some dogs that seem fearsome because they are so large, are well-managed by new adoptees who love the breed. And how can anyone pass up adopting a kitty or a bunny?


This beautiful pet wanted to get out of jail fast!

How could you not want to take this dog home with you? Look at his eyes! You can see into his heart!







Wherever you live, why not drop by a shelter and talk to the animals. You might just fall in love with one of them! If you don’t live near Wayside Waifs in Missouri, just visit your local animal shelter. The sad eyes of the animals will break your heart! In the USA try the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and in Kansas City there is always the KC Pet Project.  Cities and towns usually have shelters of their own that protect the pets too!

As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

Posted in KC Pet Project, No Kill Animal Shelters, SPCA, Uncategorized, Volunteering at an Animal Shelter, Wayside Waifs | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Flying Car is here! The Future is Now!

The Flying Car!  And, Minneapolis is a Charmer!

Here is Tom, Steve, and Dixie from left to right. Handsome aren’t they?

Heading home after a super duper holiday near Lake Superior we stopped to visit friends Steve and Dixie. We had originally planned to create a picnic for them, but they had something better in mind for us.

We parked our car at a Walmart parking lot near their home, canines all squared away, and they picked us up for an fast and furious afternoon. We toured their home and then walked across the street on a floating sidewalk across a pond to a farmer’s market. After purchases, we snacked on Dim Sum and then headed for downtown Minneapolis.

Such a peaceful place to walk! I had never walked on a floating sidewalk.

Such good corn and peppers!

We had no idea that greater Minneapolis-St. Paul included 3.8 million people. We thought it was about the size of the Kansas City area, 1.8 million. Once you get on the highways, you know that the population is big! We parked in a restored manufacturing area with loads of restaurants that faced the Mississippi River.

I guess I really had not thought of sharing OUR Mississippi River in St. Louis with Minneapolis.

I have been to Minneapolis a number of times but never to this spot!

What a treat to see the downtown area and to walk across the Mississippi on an old brick and beautiful railroad bridge. Clouds threatened us but the rain was kept away by all the sunshine coming from our guides. Sadly, the day had to end and we headed home toward Kansas City.


This is from our windshield. The picture is a bit distorted. They are only a few feet away and loud! Yuk!  I call it “trash” camping!

I think we might have stayed longer at our campground but it was a holy hell mess. When we pulled into our spot, there were tons of people camping in pop-ups and tents right at our door. Tom said it looked like Woodstock. In all of our 35 camping years, we have never seen such a packed campground. We visited the same campground last year in September and it was so beautiful and quiet. It looked like there were as many as 30 people at each site. Who was counting them?

We called around to determine if there were any other places we could camp in the Minneapolis area. They were all booked on a Saturday, and Walmart is not a place where we camp!

Steve is a Business Development Guy for the State of Minnesota. On one of his recent international trips with Dixie, he had the opportunity to see the future. They were given a tour of the new Aeromobil. Since Tom and I are not going to visit this area of the world any time soon, I asked Steve to write about his adventure. The following was written by Steve. Dixie took all the photos. I am also providing a link for you to Aeromobil itself.

“When visiting Bratislava, Slovakia in July, we were visited the showroom of Aeromobil, creator of a flying automobile.  Normally, they don’t give tours, but a friend helped to open the door for us. While it sounded at first like science fiction, Aeromobil is quite serious.
  The company is made up of top engineers from the automotive and the aerospace industries, many of whom we met and chatted with.  They have no illusions about their vehicle replacing ordinary cars. Their target market is financially comfortable flight enthusiasts who wish to drive their plane off the tarmac onto the highway.

Flying Car Showroom. You can stand in line!

The actual Aeromobil is dazzling up close.  It’s loaded with one-of-a-kind innovations, such as, ultra-light-weight materials, and it just looks cool.  When transitioning to a driving mode, the rear-mounted propeller simply folds up and the wings gracefully fold inward, all of which were demonstrated for us. 

Where’s the parachute?

The cockpit/cabin is fairly simple, with seemingly fewer gauges and controls than the average small plane.  That’s in part because of the advanced automation–they are already preparing for the driver-less car technology to come.  I don’t think that included pilot-less flight, but who knows?

Steve is really flying here!

Interested in buying one?  Next year, they will hire a sales team to offer the Aeromobil at $1.3m-$1.6m each. Deliveries are a couple years later.  I won’t be buying one, but I will remember fondly my chance to sit behind the controls.”

The Aeromobil would have really shortened our commutes to work.  Mine was 70 minutes and Tom’s was 50.  And, instead of meeting for dinner in Lees Summit, we could have gone to Jefferson City or who knows where?

As always this blog is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge.

Next installment will cover all the hoopla at Wayside Waifs recently.

Posted in Aeromobil, Camping, Flying Cars, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, Motorhome, Recreation Vehicles, Trash Camping | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Up North!! Two Weeks is NOT Enough!

Great Lakes.  No Salt. No Sharks. No Worries”

Here is Tom on Cisco Lake in his new blow-up kayak!

I felt a little sad this morning when we left the north woods of Drummond, town of about 400. I can’t put my finger on why I felt that way? Maybe it was the luscious green and sometimes overpowering landscape? Maybe it was the largest fresh water lake in the world, Lake Superior?”

There are a lot of trees in Wisconsin and Minnesota!!!

Such a beautiful place on the lake!

Beautiful St. Croix National Waterway!!!

Maybe it was the plain-spoken helpful and friendly people? Maybe it was the sky and the crisp clean air? Maybe it was the kindness of our friends who offered their cabin on a beautiful lake as a respite from the campground? Maybe it was the loons, or the sea-gulls, or deer crossing our path?

This is Bark Point on a bay adjacent to Lake Superior. What a sight!

I grew up in Michigan, surrounded by the Great Lakes. Some people say they live on a lake. But they are not lakes, they are ponds. Once you see the Great Lakes you understand!

Bored passengers on the ride around Apostle Islands!

Thirty five years ago we camped on our honeymoon and reached the Apostle Islands National Seashore. The boat trip was rugged! It was inviting! It was a challenge as our vessel swept through the islands.


Almost to the day this month we took the trip again to the Apostle Islands, but they were almost gone and you really could not see the shipwrecks! The Park Service has decided to let the twenty or so islands go back to their natural state, whatever that might be! Now all you see on the islands are green trees–no bears, no deer, no fishers, no mining, no boats, nothing! We are so happy that we saw them in their rugged and well-used state so long ago!

The best place to stay so far is in Hinckley, Minnesota at a Casino. Who would have thought? But it is not far NORTH.

Tom and I explored the possibility of purchasing a lot for our RV or finding a stellar RV Resort to park our rig for a summer. We found neither but I am sure we will look again. I want to go back to the lonesome roads and quietness of the north. I feel at home there.

People stay all summer at the RV Resort at the Casino. Here is one of the campers. It was like a little village.

We explored Knife River in Minnesota and rented a pick-up truck in Duluth. Duluth is a fascinating city. The canal area was beaming with people celebrating all sorts of things. Officers on horses mingled with us. We dined and then walked toward the lighthouse.

The lighthouse walk in the Canal area in Duluth!

Thirty five years ago, this area did not exist. We remember two pot-holed roads that met in Duluth, one coming from Superior, Wisconsin and the other going north. Today the landscape rivals any other port in our country. You can view Lake Superior and all its greatness from any perch high above Canal Street. What a town!

This is a bench in Bayfield where I will sit again.

Heading East we toured Bayfield, Wisconsin a couple of times. It is tempting to think of living at the edge of Lake Superior in a condo on Front Street.



We loved touring Ashland!

Nearby we admired Ashland’s architecture with its red sandstone buildings and murals. The town had been a booming timber, ore, and coal industry.  Now it is struggling to survive.

The murals told stories about Ashland. This one made me think of my  mother and father.

Look at the detail in this building!

We could not find Zanzibar any where else but at ice cream stores.




It is here that we discovered Zanzibar Chocolate Cedar Crest ice cream. Made in Wisconsin! What a treat!





I was sorry that I did not purchase anything at this store in Duluth!

We ran across many unusual tiny houses and campers.  Here are two of them that rose to the top!

This is an ice fishing trailer that people are camping in at the Casino RV Park. We saw three of these on our trek.

This is a homemade trailer. It was small but stunningly beautiful.

There is more to come on this trek to the North.  Stay tuned!

As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

Posted in Camping, Drummond, Duluth, Minnesota, Motorhome, National Parks, Rving across America, Wisconsin | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arrow Rock…Rocks! But does not Explode!

July 6, 2017

To Escape the Fireworks Head to Arrow Rock!

Sign in front of the Lyceum Theatre

Sign in front of the Lyceum Theatre

About one year ago, I created a blog about Arrow Rock.  We were about to launch our southern extravaganza trip and this was our first stop.  Today I am combining some of that data with a new twist on Arrow Rock.

Arrow Rock is one of the first places we took our 24′ Fleetwood many years ago.  It is both a National and State Park or Monument or whatever! And a great place to spend a weekend!  There is plenty of space for camping with 30/50 hookups!

Arrow Rock was ready for the holiday! But the shops were closed!

Unlike a year ago, when we set up our site at sleepy Arrow Rock, this time the town was teeming with tourists.  They were waiting in line to chow down at J. Huston’s Tavern and then on to a play at the Lyceum.  Yet our cellphones would not work and most of the shops were closed. We thought we had entered the Twilight Zone!

Such a lively place!

The Tavern

J. Huston’s Tavern

Arrow Rock is located on the Blackwater River and riverboats used to stop by with loads of good stuff to purchase.  And before it became a town it was a place where Native Americans carved out their flint arrow heads! Their biggest problem was malaria-carrying mosquitos.  A local, Dr. Sappington,  invented quinine which became the malaria-drug and saved the day.

One of the best things about Arrow Rock is the fried chicken dinners served at the Tavern.  This year we spent two lunches at the Tavern and certainly gained a few pounds.

While camping at Arrow Rock we took our bicycles for a tour of the town and stretched the ride on the second day to the Arrow Rock Cemetery and beyond.

Here is Tom showing off his bicycle!





The oldest grave we could find was from 1822 and many people died in the 1860’s.  It was interesting to see the different faiths and symbols displayed on the headstones.  Some of the them were unfamiliar to us.

This person was a Mason, a Jew, and what else? If you know what the symbol is on the left, email!

The cemetery was well taken-care-of and a real joy to explore. It  reminded me of the Gilreath Cemetery (My mother’s family) in Holly Hill, Kentucky.  My ancestors deeded the land to the rest of the family.  Some say that slaves are buried around the edges of the cemetery.  I do not believe any slaves were buried in the Arrow Rock Cemetery.  Dr. Sappington had given land to the slaves for their cemetery a few miles down highway TT.


We loved biking this road!

Sappington has his own very ornate and elaborate cemetery near the old mansion.







It appears that free African-Americans were also buried at the Negro Cemetery.  There were very few headstones at the Negro Cemetery.  I could not find one that mentioned slavery.  Of course slavery had been outlawed when most of these people died.

More than slaves were buried at this cemetery.

Here is a very old headstone carved by someone who did not know how to carve! The name on it is Robert Banks! I could find no history on him.

Tom and I also stopped at the very little town of Blackwater on Highway K that is located just west of Arrow Rock.  It boasts 160 residents (Where were they?)  and Arrow Rock has only 56?  We were looking for a restaurant in which to dine on July 3 with long-time student assistant  and helpful editor Anne and her husband, Elliott.  All the restaurants in Arrow Rock were closed.

And the churches in Arrow Rock were closed too, even on Sunday!

Blackwater’s architecture is amazing!

The family posing for a picture in Blackwater!

We were so lucky to hook up with Anne and Elliott in Blackwater.  Anne has been battling cancer for a year and recently recovered from surgery.  She was, of course, the best and brightest Student Assistant and editor who helped me at UCM!! and later.  Here they are!

How happy they are!  Oh, Twinkers is taking advantage of them!

If you haven’t visited Arrow Rock, take time to do it some day!  You learn so much about the history of our country and the people who live there are beyond kind!  We are so lucky to have a state and a national park system that sees the value in preserving the past as a way of educating all of us!!!!

Here is a a new candid camper for you.  This camper was created by its owner.  It appears to be a SUV.  He told us that it took him six months of work to make the thing work.  It has a fridge and all the amenities!

What a camper! The owners were from Kentucky.

As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge.







Posted in Camping, Fourth of July, Missouri, Rving across America | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sleeping in the Bush!

Our pop-up trailer looked something like this when the wheels were working!

RV’s Galore!

Tom and I spent our honeymoon in a tent on the shores of a lake somewhere in Wisconsin. We don’t remember the spot? (Maybe global warming swallowed it up!) I do remember that Tom woke me up at 5:00 a.m. (I say it was 4:30.) in freezing temperatures to head out in a row boat to fish. I declined!

Our first wonderful Fleetwood!

This is sort of like the camper we rented in Alaska. It was small!


We spent many years tenting across the United States, gradually upgrading to a pop-up trailer, then renting all sorts of Motorhomes. Finally we purchased a small Class C in 2011 and then our 34 foot home in 2015.

Our first Motorhome adventures began in Alaska. What glorious trips! Twice we rented small motorhomes and crisscrossed the state, taking plane rides, floating across Prince William Sound, and joining some pirates in search of calving glaciers. There was the forceful Kenai River, the spit at Homer, a friendly Moose and her calf, and of course flies as we headed toward Yukon Territory.

We often camped alone (no other campers) and wondered if bears were keeping watch over us. We kept our eyes peeled  for scat (bear poop)  on the trails and sometimes turned back because neither one of us wanted to go first. We adventured in July when it was often cold and raining but we did not seem to mind it!

Notice that this old truck camper is camping where it is not allowed in Alaska!

People camp for a variety of reasons. Many people are homeless and volunteering at a park allows them to maintain a good standard of living. Recently, at Rifle Gap State Park in Colorado, there were at least five volunteer hosts. They perform a variety of jobs including cleaning restrooms, parking sites, picking up the trash, and security. They receive free water, sewer, and electricity and a camping site on which to place their RV. (We figure that amounts to at least $10K a year.) Anyone can volunteer. I thought about volunteering in Alaska near the Blue Ice Trail for a summer but Tom is not too keen on cleaning toilets to save $7.00 a night.

Not a viable option!

We came across many homeless people in the National Forests of Oregon. You can camp for about $7.50 a night. Of course, there are no amenities. So dry camping is the name of the game! We ran into very old people who seemed to pile everything they had in their RV, tent, or boat. Most campgrounds allow you to stay two weeks on one site, but you could move from site to site, and break that rule. We also saw people camping off-road in the mountains of Utah without water or electricity. Many of these small motorhomes looked like they were prepared for the winter.

This is a 10 year old Newmar Class A motorhome. The owners had just painted it! WOW!

Ten years ago we explored northern Utah and beyond. We encountered groups of people living together. At one campground, it seemed as if there were about 24 Latinos in two sites linked together. They had a turkey boiler and were cooking food for everyone. (It wasn’t Thanksgiving.) Their tents looked permanent.

The blue cone-shaped tent is a shower and used to change clothing.


And why are Middle Eastern looking people camping in Arkansas? One holiday we parked next to about ten sites of Middle Eastern people outside Hot Springs. They did not use the picnic tables or eat normal meals together. They squatted around fires and had food in their hands, not on plates. The license plates on their vehicles were from Texas. They were not frolicking in the lake or the sun. Tom says that they were new to this country.



I love retro RV’s. This is a very old trailer.

On one camping trip there was a couple who camped across from us in a tent. The young woman was in a wheel chair. Each morning the man lifted the woman out of the tent, wheeled her to the restroom, brushed her hair, made a fire, and cooked food for her. The rest of the day they sat under the trees or the stars talking to each other. One morning when we got up, they were gone! And so was all the love that they gave to each other.

Typical Nova Scotia Campground–no organization!

Probably one of the greatest shocks for me was in the many campgrounds in Nova Scotia. They were really trailer parks and the trailers looked like they should have been demolished or burned down. The restrooms smelled and parking areas were not very well developed. We were happy we were camping in someone else’s RV.


Candid Campers 

In Wisconsin, a female electrician emerged from this one!

Yes, people camp in almost everything. On our most recent trip a family had renovated a horse trailer including bunk beds for the kids in the back of it. I wanted to take a photo of it but sometimes you feel as if you are invading the privacy of others. There are trailers constructed for a single person that remind you of space movies where people are put in stasis to travel into outer space.  In Oklahoma we came across our first Tiny house–and it was too tiny!

The owners came home to let out the dogs and then escaped on a motorcyle.


Not cool!

In Moab people were living in buses (not renovated) and beat up vans.

Some people camp in parking lots. Walmarts had dozens of campers throughout the West.

Camping in a refrigerator truck!


Sleek and spiffy trailer from Canada.

Follow this link to images of campers that you could never imagine!

Advance Notice!  In the fall I will begin creating tiny travel books under the series name of  “Motoring with Marla.”  The first one will begin with an “A” for Alaska!  

As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge.

Posted in Motorhome, Recreation Vehicles, Rving across America, Uncategorized, Wisconsin | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mama, Please Pass the Mush!

The Romance of Dining on the Road.

You can smell it, can’t you? When you camp grub is cooked over a blazing fire while someone plays the guitar! And every one sings Kumbaya and eats Smores? Right? Wrong! Only those who “rough it” cook outside. And they usually bring chewy bars, beef jerky, and bottled water to get them through the night!

Reaching to the Sky

The corn chips looked the same!

Reaching 10K feet above sea level is exhilarating. But our food protested. Cans swelled. Chip bags exploded. Salad dressing spit when opened! Poop flew out the drain at Tom. Yogurt packages looked like they had gained a lot of weight and then spit at you like the salad dressing!!


Dining in the Bush

Did you know that one sausage biscuit has 490 calories! Oh no!

Dining, even when you have a kitchen, presents us with many challenges. Usually we have breakfast on board because it is the easiest meal of the day. But sometimes we need to get on the road early and fast because of weather or a recreation reservation we have made. On those days it is a sausage or egg biscuit at McDonalds’s (if we can find one) that fills us.

A Bread Machine?  Really?

My Sunbeam beams!

About thirty to forty percent of the time we are cooking dinner and lunch ourselves. I decided that during this trip we were going to have fresh bread wherever we landed.

Having ventured to the parks long ago, I knew that the food was not very good (and it isn’t) or missing. So about four times on the trip I baked bread in a bread machine. Oh, you laugh, people stopped doing that long ago! Everyone has an old bread machine stowed somewhere in the basement!

Luscious Cranberry-Walnut bread cooked in the RV!

About six months ago our favorite bakery was sold and the bread we loved had a new recipe that we did not like. I thought, “I can bake that bread we love.” And so I began to experiment and create bread. Now, when we are at home, I bake bread about every four days or so. I use a very “cheap” Sunbeam baker and it is terrific.

A door slammed and the bread fell but it was still delicious. This is cheese bread with almost a cup of sharp cheese inside!

A tasty Rye!






Ham and Cheese on our gorgeous plate from Poland.




Panini Here we Come!

Who likes to eat cold sandwiches? I bought a small Panini maker to take with us so our cheese would melt. Tom and I both like grilled cheese sandwiches with lots of other things and we don’t like cooking them in a greasy frying pan. A hot sandwich in very cold weather really brightens up your spirits! We also have a griddle on board but we did not use it on this tour. Tom regularly used our portable gas grill for good eating stuff. We are afraid to leave a crock pot on board while we tour the countryside so we left ours at home.

Roughing It!

The RV has a microwave that turns into a convection oven in a snap. Tom is in charge of this technology. He whipped up some really good cinnamon biscuits three times on our trip. I also baked pumpkin bread for the gang for the first time! You can see that we are on a high carbohydrate diet. Hee Hee!

Local Food

An acceptable salad at Bryce Canyon Lodge but the rest of the food was awful I could not eat my chicken!

If you are driving and hiking and searching your way around towns and parks, sometimes your energy fades and you have to stop at a local restaurant because your RV is miles away. (We rent cars when we are on the road.) It takes a lot of energy to set up camp and keep the canines happy. Usually on days when we are hiking or boating or golfing or adventuring in slot canyons, we try to find local food to give us some energy.

The Best Dining in Seven States (Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Arizona)

Tapatio’s came to the rescue!

The best restaurant food we had on this trip was in Page, Arizona at Tapatio’s. The special was only $6.99 (including drink) and we went back twice! In Kanab we dined at a cowboy restaurant that did not offer any cowboy food. At the cowboy museum in Oklahoma City we were served wraps. In St. George we waited more than an hour for food and when it came, Taco Bell would have been better choice.

Milt’s food came in second! This is a BLT!

A salad at Egg and I hit the spot in St. George after golfing. In Hurricane we stopped at JB’s, a local restaurant, only to be served what seemed to be old food. (It looked like a defunct Bob Evans?) Food at the Parks did not make us sick, and we were grateful for that. We were so happy to find Milt’s good food in Moab only to eat at a recommended Fiesta Mexicana in Moab where the food had no taste.

It was like mush!


As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge




Posted in Bread Machines on an RV, Camping, Camping in Kansas, Camping in Utah and Arizona, Dining while camping, Motorhome, National Parks, Oklahoma, Rving across America, St. George Utah | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tom’s Dashboard. Reflections on “Stepping in the River Twice”

Tom’s Dashboard.  An RV with no Name!

Actual view from the road!

Thirty-five days on the road in an RV with no name. Marla, Twinks, Hillary and me, plus all the stuff we could squeeze into the 34 foot Canyon Star (2 guitars, 1 keyboard, 2 computers, cameras, golf clubs bread maker… There was even room for ice cream.). Hard to believe thirty-five days have passed. Some call it camping. More appropriately, as Amanda describes it, we were glamping. Rouging it is when we have only a 30 amp hook up. (We need 50 amp for everything to work on the RV.)

The house with no name at Capital Reef!

The trip was in part a attempted re-creation of a 2 week trip we took in 1992. How things have changed in 25 years! “You cannot step in the same river twice,” and you cannot visit the same desert in the Southwest twice.

Hillary showing off her black lipstick!

No LSD here!

We experienced a lot of the Southwest. Wonderful natural beauty that is hard to describe, and difficult to imagine. Who or what created all of this; Painted desert, Petrified Forest, El Morro, Glenn Canyon, Antelope Slot Canyons, Sand Hollow, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef and Arches National Parks, the Colorado River and the Rockies? The natural beauty is a complement to the stories of the people who have lived on these lands, the Native Americans (Anasazi, Zuni, Pueblo, Navajo….), the Spanish/Mexicans, American explorers and conquerors, the Mormons.

Glenn Canyon near Page, Arizona! Does it get any better than this?

Beautiful Sites at Bryce!

Native Americans are Still Trying to find their Lives!

We had numerous experiences with the Native American history. There are sites across the southwest that flourished until roughly the 1300s, and then most were abandoned. The reasons are not known, and the purpose of the various discovered buildings in the Pueblos in unclear. Historians/Archeologists seem to describe every other building as having some religious or ceremonial purpose. The fate of the Native Americans is not a pretty one. They were conquered by the Spanish/Mexicans and then the Americans. The Americans stole their land and sequestered them on reservations, only to take that land too if oil was discovered. The current status does not seem good. There is some tourism, but little ability to provide customer-focused services that make visitors feel welcome. Casinos provide income, but we saw few examples of other industries.

Our National Parks are International

As Marla pointed out, the natural beauty attracts many people, and lots of international guests come and explore our country in rented RVs and in large bus group tours. I think they are attracted by both the natural wonders and the American culture.  We have wide-open spaces that they love!

To Squat or not to Squat

Instructions needed!

We were surprised by the number of Asians.  In 1992, we ran into mostly Europeans on this journey. Today, we were surrounded by mostly Chinese. Think of it this way. If with the growth of the Chinese economy, 1% of their population can afford to travel, that is 14 million people who can visit our National Parks. If you have been to China the picture below will show one of the cultural challenges. (Note by Marla.  Even in fancy restaurants in downtown Tokyo you will find restrooms with squat toilets.  And most of the toilets throughout Asia are squat.)

Over-Dressed for the Occasion

Ruby Red Slippers on the trail at Arches National Park!

People watching is always a fun part of traveling. In the national parks you run into all kinds. Typically we see a lot of city folk, dressed up with hiking boots, hiking sticks, and rugged clothing from L.L. Bean only to walk on  level paved paths. We also see the other extreme; people hiking the same trail in their ruby red slippers or high heels.









It was both a challenge and refreshing trip, and we are very thankful that we continue to have the opportunity to travel and explore this great world we live in. And I am thankful to have such a wonderful companion to continue this journey with. (Me too, Marla)

She is calm in tight situations!

As always copyrighted by Thomas C. Hemling and Marla J. Selvidge

Posted in Camping, Camping in Utah and Arizona, Motorhome, National Parks, Rving across America, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Float with Your Dog down the Colorado River!

Discover the Cities and Towns of Our Country!

Here are Tom and Hillary on that road. WOW!

We left Moab a few days ago taking U128 East to Interstate 70 heading home through Colorado and that pesky State of Kansas. This ancient road creeps along the Colorado River hugging the buttes rising thousands of feet in front of and above you. While the rest of the tourists were standing in line to enter Arches National Park, we were enjoying this lonely road with few other travelers.

Arches is Overwhelming!

How do you capture such a magical place. This is one of Tom’s photos.

Arches lives up to its hype! The formations are out of this world. We hiked the Windows Trail and a few other sites, lucky to find a parking spot. After facing so many crowds, we decided not to travel over 150 miles to Cannyonlands National Park.


Such a peaceful hike!

Arches is so beautiful that we thought we would spend another day exploring it, but we did not. On the way to the Visitor’s Center we found a trail outside the park that took us across the Colorado River and into the canyon below. It was so quiet and peaceful with a few cyclists. We did drive back to the line for the Visitor’s Center to watch the introductory movie but left the park to the hoards that were still in line. Busloads and Class C Motorhome tourists were everywhere!

Motorhomes by the Dozen

Tom wanted me to include this photo. I drove this big jeep and had to slide down out of it because it was so tall!

RV enthusiasts in the Midwest usually prefer a trailer attached to a huge pick-up truck when they travel. In the West we saw enormous numbers of Class A, B, and C Motorhomes. We have never seen so many motorhomes on the road and most of them were rented from El Monte. We rented motorhomes from Alaska, Canada, Nova Scotia and the lower 48 for about 10 years but we were in the minority. Now, we are told, that people from out of the country rent most of the motorhomes.

This is not a parking lot at an RV dealer. These Class C’s are parked at a national park.


They travel together across the country in rented RV’s. These are Class C.

Extreme is the Name of the Sports in the West


As we traveled the byways, we encountered people doing extreme sports everywhere. We had never seen the “mean” machines, as I call them, until we camped outside St. George. (And were also caught in the middle of an Iron Man competition.) They are called OHV-Off Highway Vehicles but some states allow them to drive on local streets. They were so ugly! A gathering of those machines was to have competitions right next to our campground in a couple of days. We were happy to leave.

Nice ride on the Colorado River!

There were people rock climbing huge buttes in most of the parks along with dirt bike enthusiasts and cyclists. There were jeep caravans that took you into the desert and then back for a ride on a zip line. We took a boat trip down the Colorado where lots of people would spend a whole day kayaking, tubing, or floating. The rapids were not so easy to navigate. There were dogs on some of the floats. We couldn’t believe it!

This is not our photo but I thought you would like it.

Thinking about the best and interesting days so far on this trip, I have to go back to the towns, cities, villages, and people we have met. The parks, and especially Page, Arizona were stunning, but if I had to do this trip again I would head to the small towns throughout the United States. They have so much to tell you about who they are and the history, architecture, famous people, and importance of their town. Near every National Park are fabulous scenic roads. You won’t find busloads or strings of motorhome caravans on those roads. They are as gorgeous as the National Parks themselves.

Tom and Marla after five weeks in the desert!

We are singing, “We went to the desert with a house (RV) with no name….”

Take it Easy!

As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge and Thomas C. Hemling



Posted in Arches National Park, Camping, Camping in Utah and Arizona, Extreme Sports, Floating down the Colorado River, Motorhome, National Parks, Uncategorized, Uranium Deposits in the Colorado River | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment