1-14-05      Myrna and Denny both retired in 2000, Denny from TRW and Myrna from Capistrano Valley High School.  We bought 9 city lots with a double wide and a garage in Fort Benton, MT.  We were spending the summers in Montana and the winters in Mission Viejo, CA.  The trips back and fourth and trying to maintain two houses got a little old so we decided to build a new house in Fort Benton.  The house in Mission Viejo was 36 years old and the double wide trailer was 28 years old so the electrical and plumbing were giving problems at both ends.   We sold the Mission Viejo house in March. 04.  We are now going through our first winter in Montana in many years.  Denny grew up in Fort Benton and the family ranch is near here, also Denny's dad who is 102 still lives here.  These are some of the reasons we moved here.  Myrna's mother and sister decided to move to Fort Benton because Bozeman, MT where they lived was getting too expensive and was growing rapidly.  They are living in our double wide until their new house is completed next month at the other end of town.  Check out other pages on this web site for pictures of the new house and the area.            mda


    3-26-05   We have just returned from California.  We went down for Grand Daughter's 1st birthday party.   40 people showed up for the party adults and their kids.  Jennifer and James rented a blow up jumper which kept the kids and some adults busy.   The jumper featured Blue from the kids program Blue's Clues.  San Diego airport is closer  than Orange County (John Wayne) but we went into Orange County because we know our way around the area.  It seemed rather strange not to have our own house to go to when we arrived in Orange County.  We did stop in Mission Viejo for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant and then went over to the office of Linda and Dr. Mark Watters to say Hi.  I did not make it to the Ragun Cajun restaurant this time.  I was just getting over a cold and did not feel like a 100 mile round trip on the 405.  I understand many of the usual crew are now in Florida so maybe we can all get together next time I am in the area.  The family got together for a birthday dinner for our daughter in law Lisa at a Persian restaurant in Irvine.  The weather in Fort Benton has been in the 50s most of the winter but it started to snow when we left for California.  We had almost 6" on the ground this last week but it is warming up and the snow is melting.  There was no snow in the mountains here when we left Montana but the mountains in Southern California were covered when we flew over.  Pictures of Emily's birthday party have been added to the Grand kids page.   mda


   6-14-05   The Spring and summer season are here.  The temperature was in the 80s today and will continue to be high all week.  We knew spring was here when we heard the sounds of spring last month,  the sounds of robins, and the snort of large displacement V/8s barking through 8 blooie pipes stuck through the hoods of locals tuning up for the spring demolition derby .  We have had much rain so every thing here is green.  Our cousins Jill and Rocky had their road washed out again this year but they were able to get out with their four mules and wagon to go on their annual wagon train across country.  Most of the 200 people who go on the wagon train just ride horses or mules so the don't have any place to put their beer.  Rocky and Jill Did not have room enough in their wagon for all of the beer so Rocky built a small trailer to haul beer.  Denny's high school class had their 50th class reunion last week.  We had a get reacquainted get together at our house and a dinner at the Vets Club the next night.  All of this was going on at the same time as the towns Summer Celebration and the 200th anniversary of the passing of Lewis and Clark through this area.  Our daughter and son-in -law got the pink slip on Emily June 8,  The adoption is now complete see Grand kids page.  Our cousins Dee Dee and Eddie Laffety from Van Nuys stayed with us a few days.  They were going out to Jill and Rocky's to watch their ranch while they went on the wagon train but with the bad roads and all they decided to stay in town with us.  There are some pictures at the bottom of this page.      mda

Emily gets her pink slip

The judge,Emily,mom Jennifer, uncle Victor, dad James

The class of 55 in the Summer Celebration Parade

Denny taking a picture of Myrna taking a picture of him.

The class of 55

Dee Dee and Eddie

Mule train

Jill and Rocky on the way to join the others in the wagon train

Rocky and Jill continue on their way


8-2-05  In July we took a trip to Glacier Park.  We cut across country on gravel roads to miss Great Falls and to see more of Chouteau County.  We ended up on I15 and then cut West to the town of Choteau.  From there we went North to Browning which is on the Black Feet Indian Reservation.  We took a tour of the Museum of Plains Indians.  From Browning we continued North to Babb and into Glacier Park.  The road dead ends in he park at the Many Glacier Lodge about 15 miles into the park.  We tried to get a room but they were full up.  We should have called for reservations because it was the peak of the tourist season.  We ended up going around the south end of the park and staying at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex,MT.  The manager was in high school at the same time I was.  He ask if I remembered the guy that had an old jalopy called Filthy McNasty.  I said that was me.  It was a 1938 Pontiac frame with a 1940 Merc seat bolted to it.  The next day we went back up to East Glacier and went over Logan pass (Going to the Sun Highway) in the park.  From there we went down to Big Fork and Kalispell  and checked out my Grand Parents old 40 acre place.  Part of it is now a golf course and they are selling small lots for $250000.  I think my dad sold the whole place for less than 200k about 20 years ago.  We spent a day in Big Fork and then came home.  We did not stop to visit anyone in the area because we had some landscaping going on at home and we wanted to watch what was going on.  Check out the pictures.    mda  

Izaak Walton Inn

Many Glacier Lodge

 11-11-05 It has been a long time since the last epistle.  Our Kids came to visit early in October, Victor &  Lisa could only  stay for 3 days having spent much of their vacation in Oregon. Jennifer James, and Emily stayed a week and had time to go out to the ranch and get their picture taken with Grampa Mick in front of the ranch gate.  We are taking pictures of two plots of prairie every time we go to the ranch to show the changes in the plant life.  These pictures are on the SALVAS PAGE .  We  sold the trailer we lived in when we first moved here check out the pictures TRAILER MOVE .To keep the clutter down on this web site I have started another to publish circuits. CIRCUITS INDEX PAGE . We have added some aerial photos of Fort Benton to the pictures of the area page PICTURES OF THE AREA  We are always adding pictures to the GRANDCHILDREN PAGE.  The weather here is nice, all of the lawns are still green and some flowers are still blooming.  This is not going to last for long some snow is on the way.   mda


1-17-06 We had a white Thanksgiving day with about 6 inches of snow and a cold temperature of around zero.  We did not have white Christmas, it warmed up and all of the snow melted.  Other than the cold spell around Thanksgiving it has been a warm winter with the temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s.  Several weeks ago we did hit a blizzard coming home from a Great Falls shopping trip. Myrna was driving the pickup which has a limited slip differential, the no spin rear end makes it kind of squirrely on ice. Visibility was about 50 feet due to blowing snow.  We hit an icy spot on the highway just as a 50 mph gust of wind hit the pickup.  We ended up in the ditch in about 4 feet of snow.  We called a wrecker but the conditions were so bad he could not pull us out so we caught a ride with some one heading back to Fort Benton.  Just after we went into the ditch there was a 20 car and truck pileup about 1/2 mile back of us.  The highway patrol closed the highway.  The wrecker pulled the pickup out of the ditch the next day and had a flat tire trying to drive it back to town, the whole sidewall blew out.  The pickup now has a new set of 10 ply Cooper tires.  Damage was minimal,  The fan clutch and the spare tire lowering device had to be replaced.  Denny's dad had his 103rd birthday, he and his girlfriend came over for cake and ice cream.  Myrna's mom turned 89 on Christmas day.  Many seed catalogs have arrived so we are just waiting for Spring to plant things.  We will have to plant grass and trees on the lot where the trailer once was.  Denny is still unpacking crates from the California move, about 10 to go.  It is slow work as he is making an inventory of each one and repacking as he goes.  He may have to take another load to the annual ham swap meet in Great Falls.       mda


3-27-06  We just got back from a 4 week vacation. We are not sure if retired people can take vacations, every day is a vacation.  Any way we took a trip.  We left on Feb.22, we left 2 days earlier than planned because a storm was forecast and we wanted to get over Monida pass before the storm hit.  We got a late start because we had to stop in Great Falls to drop off our income tax stuff at our accountants office  Because of our late start we only got as far as Dillon,MT the first night.  The second night we stayed at Nephi,Utah.  On our way south we took a side trip into Zion National Park at Kolob Canyon.  We got back on I15 and went farther south and reentered Zion and took the big loop through the park into Arizona and back into Utah at Hurricane.  By this time Denny had taken so many pictures we had to stop in St.George and buy another memory chip for the Cannon.  From there we continued on to Mesquite,NV where we stayed the night and played a few slots.  The next day we went on into Las Vegas and had lunch with our daughter's mother-in-law.  We took state 95 to Beatty,NV where we stayed and played a few slots and bought some antiques and books.  The next day we went to Scotty's junction turned west and entered California and Death Valley.  We have always wanted to see Death Valley but when working we always took our vacations in the summer, not a good time to visit Death Valley.  We saw Scotty's Castle which was one of the main reasons to visit Death Valley.  We had a great lunch at Furnace Creek Inn and Resort at Furnace Creek.  We stayed in Baker,CA that night in not too great a motel.  The sliding glass door in the back faced the Baker on and off ramps of the I15.  We survived the motel and made it into CA the next day.  We stayed with our daughter, son-in-law, and grand daughter for two weeks.  We were there for Emily's 2nd birthday. Our son Victor and daughter-in law Lisa came down to visit on two occasions.  We got Emily a park ranger outfit and a popup book at Scotty's Castle gift store.  We also got her her first tricycle.  While their Denny took a trip into Hermosa Beach to have lunch at the Ragin Cajun Cafe with his friends from TRW (now NGC) not every one showed up because many are in Florida at this time. We went to Mission Viejo where some of our friends took us to dinner at Tijuana Gilles.  We also went by our old house to see what changes have been made in the last few years.  According to our old neighbors the house has been sold at least 3 times.  After Emily's birthday party we headed north, we turned off of the 405 at Wilshire Blvd and headed east through Beverly Hills to the Petersen Automotive Museum We passed Rodeo Drive but did not stop to shop. Denny has always wanted to go there but did not want to drive on the weekends while he was still working, this was a great time to go.  They had a display of rock stars cars and guitars and also a display of Steve McQueen's cycles & cars. After leaving the museum we drove around the residential areas bordering Wilshire and looked at the old California style houses.  We then got back on the freeway and headed north to Pismo Beach  We stayed at the Sand Castle Inn for one night.  This place made up for the night in Baker.  We got a suite with a fireplace and a great view of the ocean and pier, we had dinner at a small sea food restaurant in old down town Pismo Beach.  We could have stayed there for a week but we had places to go.  From Pismo Beach we headed up to Paso Robles.  We got off of 101 to look for a winery we had stopped at years ago.  We took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up way out in the boon docks on a small road called Peachy Canyon Drive.  It wound through hills, oak groves, and grape fields for about 20 miles.  It was some of the most beautiful country we have ever seen, sometimes it pays to get lost.  The road finally came out at Paso Robles.  We intended to head up to the bay area and Sacramento but the road reports said that tire chains were required to get over the passes to Reno or Tahoe and another storm was coming through the area.  We decided to head home on I15 to make it easy on our selves. We took 46 east from Paso Robles and went to Wasco and Bakersfield.  We passed thousands of acres of pistachio and almond orchards, the almonds were in bloom and smelled very good.  We stopped at a road side stand  and bought some almonds and pistachios.  We also bought a bottle of red neck red wine for a friend who is always sending me red neck jokes.  We did not buy a bottle of white trash white.  The road side stand also had many pictures of James Dean.  Highway 46 was where he canned up his Porsche and killed himself.  We cut down to Bakersfield and then east to Tehachapi and Mojave, we crossed by north Edwards AFB to Barstow where we picked up I15.  We stayed at Primm,NV and Nephi,Utah on the way home. By leaving two days early and returning early we missed two storms and had dry roads all of the way.  A snow storm hit this area a day after we returned and made the roads rather slick.  It is now warm and the Robins have started to return.  Denny has planted the avocado and orange trees that were brought back.  They are planted in the greenhouse.  See Vacation pictures.    Also see  Emily's 2nd birthday pictures      mda

10-23-06  We have become rather remiss when it comes to updating this web page.  I hate it when I look at a web page and see that it has not been updated in a year.  When the weather is good as in summer most of our time is spent outdoors working on the yard and garden so very little time gets devoted to computer time.  We had a hot summer,  We had four weeks when the temp. did not drop below 90, a few days were over 100.  We thought it would be a good time to go to California to see the kids. We were there from July 10th to the 21st We flew down this time and rented a car at Orange county SNA and drove .  It was hot in California also, several days it was over 104.  We took many dips in the pool.  We spent some time with Victor and Lisa in Fullerton, One night they took us to a Moroccan place for dinner.  Denny went into Hermosa beach and had lunch with Paul Lucas and Bill Kohoutek at the Ragun Cajun.  The weather was still in the 80s up until a few weeks ago but it has now cooled down we had a few inches of snow two days ago but it had all melted by noon.  Some of the trees are loosing leaves and are turning fall colors but the lawns are still green. Denny is trying to float down the river on an inner tube at least once a summer.  The float was missed last summer so he made two trips this year.  The float takes about 45 min. and goes from the canoe launch at a BLM campground at the South end of town to a boat launch ramp at the North end of town.  Denny's cousin Jim Willis from Tacoma came to visit for a few days this fall.  Many of us on the old TRW crew used to joke about all of the dogs riding in pickups down South, I now feel as if I should get one to ride in the GMC up here.  This summer we would often see someone giving his three dogs a ride around town in the evening.  Another dog was often seen riding around in a Ford Mustang with the top down.  One day were waiting behind a pickup at the drive up teller window at our bank.  A dog in the back of the pickup seemed rather excited, we thought he heard the teller through the speaker but he was waiting for a treat.  The teller always keeps a box of doggie treats for pickup dogs and hands them out with receipts.  The dog had apparently been to the bank before.  Now that is cooler Magpies, Blue jays, and Flickers have been coming to our front porch for peanuts.  The Flickers are a type of woodpecker and have to be watched carefully in the spring.  In the spring they peck on stuff to make noise  to establish their territory and to attract a mate.  Last spring one pecked a hole in the stucco on our front porch.  We shooed him away so he went next door and started pecking on the neighbors air conditioning unit.  The sheet metal made a much better sound than our stucco so he did not come back to our house. Check out the grand kids page for some new pictures.  Grandkids    mda

4-5-07 It has been a warm winter here. It has been in the 50s much of the time. We had a few cold spells starting around Thanksgiving with below freezing temps and snow. Christmas was dry and warm. Denny got the garden rototilled two weeks ago but an early spring storm dropped about 4" of snow so spring planting has been put off until the ground dries up. Our son an daughter in law (Lisa & Victor) were able to come up here for a few days and spend Christmas with us. Our daughter and grand daughter (Jennifer & Emily) came for a two week visit in January. Denny’s dad turned 104 in January and Myrna’s mom turned 90 in December. Us old farts are falling apart, Denny had surgery in December for an acid reflux problem and Myrna had surgery on her knee in March. We are both fine. Every year around holiday time the Fort Benton womans club places ”Angel Trees” in stores around the county. These trees have cards attached which can be picked up people in the store. These cards have numbers attached which correspond to a child in need of a Christmas present. The person picking up a card then purchases an appropriate gift and leaves it under the tree. 110 kids each got 2 presents this year under his program. Myrna and her friend Gail Good were co-chairman of the angel committee and also organized the distribution of food packages at Thanksgiving and Christmas. 97 families totaling 293 people received packages. These two programs kept Myrna and Gail busy almost full time from before Thanksgiving until Christmas. Our garden seeds arrived the day after it snowed so we are ready to plant but the ground will be too wet for a week. Our neighbor starts his garden seeds in his house and then brings them over to our greenhouse after they have sprouted so now we have a greenhouse full of young plants. The Robins have also arrived from down south so it is really starting to look like spring. The temperature will be in the 60s Sunday so the snow should be all gone by this weekend.

6-1-07  We went to California May 1st to visit our kids and Grand kids. We have a new grandson and we had to see him. Denny stayed two weeks and Myrna stayed three weeks. Denny did get into Redondo Beach for lunch at the Ragun Cajun for lunch. We spent most of our time i with daughter Jennifer, son-in-law James, and grand kids Emily and Jacob. We did get into Fullerton to spend some time with our son Victor and daughter-in-law Lisa. We bought a small 16 foot camp trailer. It is a light weight model so we can haul it around on bad roads. We took it out to the ranch where some of the roads are just two tracks through the prairie. We have been camping out on some short grass prairie that has never been farmed. The pictures show the location. While we were out there we went down to the old buildings and I pried some boards off of an old shed to use to build some bird houses. One of the attached pictures shows our view of the old buildings from the trailer door. Our ranch manager Rusty Clark runs about 30 head of cattle on the section where we camped and every evening the cattle would move from the water hole to where they would spend the night. Our trailer was right in their path and they would stop and form a circle and look in our windows every night. They thought we might have a treat for them like Rusty does on occasion. When we left for California on May 1st all of the trees were bare from winter. When I returned on May 15th every thing was leafed out. Pictures of the trees across the river attached. The weather here has been hot, The temperatures have been in the high 90s and low 100s for the last two weeks. Today it got up to 108. Last week Denny took an inner tube float down the river and if the weather stays this hot he will do it again next week. We along with our neighbors volunteer to keep up a flower bed(berm) along the river hiking trail. See picture below.                                                             

11-7-08 Our web server was down for over a year and Denny got lazy and did not update the Epistles page during that time. This Epistle will attempt to fill in the blanks although there may be some memory blanks. The winter of 07& 08 was warm, many days were in the 50s. We did have a cold snap early this spring, The temperature got into the 80s for a few days and then it went below freezing which killed some trees and injured many more. This Spring was very wet and drowned most of our garden and flower beds. The local farmers liked the rain and had good crops. We went to California in Nov. For grandson Jacobs first birthday. Myrna stayed two weeks with the kids . Denny left for Florida after 5 days to watch the launch of the last DSP satellite. This Spring we took a trip around the South and Western part of the state. We went to the ghost town of Bannack. and then up through Missoula and by Flat Head Lake. We stayed just outside Glacier Park for 3 days at the Izaack Walton Inn before heading home. ( see the 8-02-05 epistle for a picture of the Izaack Walton Inn ) Myrna had hip replacement surgery 4 weeks ago but is now getting around just fine. Our daughter and son-in-law got the pink slip on grandson Jacob on 10-23-08. A picture will be posted on the grand kids page when it becomes available. Jacob is now 2.                                                   


On 1-9-09 Denny’s Dad celebrated his 106th birthday. We along with the retirement home put on a small party for him. He had a small band, cake and ice cream. About 30 residents of the retirement home attended the party. TV station KRTV channel 3 from Great Falls sent a reporter to record the birthday event. He got 30 seconds on the 6:00 O’clock and 10:00 O’clock news. He had a short interview and some footage of him dancing with his 93 year old girlfriend. See the picture below.

We have had some cold weather the last few months. We have had two heavy snow storms and some high winds which caused the snow to pile up in high drifts. Our driveway exits onto an alley behind the house. The wind patterns around the house cause the snow to pile up in the alley at the end of our driveway making it hard to get the car or pickup out. For the first time since buying the tractor, Denny has had to get it out in the winter to move snow. Usually Old Blue (The TC-30 New Holland tractor) gets put away in the old garage in the Fall and then gets to come out in the Spring. The tractor had #2 Diesel in the tank And Denny was afraid it would jell in the -14 degree temperature and plug the fuel filter but it ran OK. It started just fine on the glow plugs but then died when they cooled off. With only 3 cylinders you cannot stand too many misfires. After a second start it ran fine. The weather turned warm after the first snow. The snow melted and left water puddles which froze. A second snow fell on the ice which made things really slick. The car and pickup could not plough through 6" of snow with an ice base so the tractor was brought out again. The snow was piled up near the green house, see the pictures. Included is also a picture of a fire plug near the house showing the depth of the snow drifts, at the time the picture of the fire plug was taken there were areas of the lawn that were bare.

Every year we buy tickets to help raise funds for the local animal shelter. Tickets are drawn every month for free trip. We won a trip to Disneyland and four nights in the Tropicana motel on Harbor Blvd. The kids and grand kids will met us there and spend a day at the park. We will extend our time in Cal and will rent a car after our four days in the motel an drive  to visit our daughter son-in-law and grand kids. When looking through an old file cabinet we found a gift certificate our kids had given us for a night at the Blue Lantern Inn Dana Point. The certificate was 11 years old but they still honored it. When we get ready to fly back to Montana we will leave the kids and stay the night in Dana Point. This will get us close to the airport so we will not have a long drive the day we leave.

As we do every year we went to the Magie Show (Montana Agricultural and Industrial Expo). See the pictures below.

Wayne (Mick) Allen

106years old

Old Blue

Moving snow from the alley by our driveway

Snow pile

Snow moved from the alley by our driveway

Snow pile

Fire plug

Front yard

Magie Show

Magie Show

The tires on this tractor were about 7' high



We took the California trip mentioned in the 1-28-09 epistle. We got into Orange County airport several hours before our motel room was ready so we rented a car and went down to Mission Viejo and had brunch at TJGillies. After brunch we went up and looked at our old house, it looks pretty good because someone is now living in it.  It was still too early to check into the motel so we headed North to see our son and daughter-in-law in Fullerton. Fullerton is just a few miles North of Disneyland on Harbor Blvd. Our motel was just across the street from the main entrance to Disneyland so it was very handy. Our Son Victor, Daughter Jennifer, Grand Daughter Emily, and Grand Son Jacob joined us for a day at Disneyland. It was Emily’s birthday so she got in free and wore a badge so everyone knew it was her birthday at every ride she was wished happy birthday. When we left Montana for California on March 8th the weather was still cold and the trees had no leaves, we wanted to see some flowers an greenery so we paid a visit to Rogers Gardens in Corona del Mar. We then continued on to the Sherman Gardens where we had lunch. After lunch we continued down the coast to our Daughters place where we stayed for several days and attended Emily’s 5th birthday party. One night we took Jennifer to Dana Point where met Lisa and Victor for Lisa's birthday and had dinner at the Cannon restaurant. James stayed home and watched the grand kids Emily and Jacob. The night before we left to return home on March 18 we stayed at the Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point. Our friend Judy Horner came down from Mission Viejo for a visit. Staying at the Blue Lantern Inn  got us half way to the airport for an early flight out. Denny's dad is now in a nursing home so his Grand kids came up to see him.  Jennifer arrived May 31st and left June 3rd Victor arrived June 3rd and left June 6th.  We exchanged kids on June 3rd. Check pictures at Vacation 3-8-09 to3-18-09.




First the sad news. Denny’s dad Wayne(Mick)Allen passed away Oct. 4th at the age of 106. When he went into the local nursing home in May our kids Jennifer and Victor came to see him. Myrna’s mom is also in the same nursing home and is doing well. The kids stayed 2 days and had a good visit with their grandparents. In June the kids returned for Summer Celebration and stayed a little longer. This time Victor brought our daughter-in-law Lisa and they stayed 5 days. Jennifer brought our two grandchildren and stayed two weeks. While everyone was here we loaded up the two pickups and went out to the ranch for a day. We had fireworks on July 4th and the grandchildren enjoyed them almost as much as Jennifer. We took a trip to Glacier Park with Jennifer and the grandkids ,we stayed in a cabin at the Izaak Walton Inn for two days. Jennifer is already planning some hikes for husband James and herself. James. Victor and Lisa moved from Fullerton, CA to Seattle, WA in Sept.

Our big project this summer was putting in planters and a fish pond in an area that was mostly gravel and weeds. It looks good and will cut down on work. We also had the driveway in front of the old garage paved which also looks good and will cut down on weeds. Our fall has been for the most part 20 degrees warmer than normal except for a few cold snaps. We did not have any fall color this year. The temp had been in the 70s and then it went below freezing for several days and the leaves went from green to frozen and fell off. We just went through a week of freezing temps and 6in of snow. It has now warmed up and our snow will be gone by Christmas. After Christmas it turned cold again and we have had several snow storms. The snow before Christmas melted and then froze leaving an ice coated alley behind our driveway where we get to the street. Two snow storms left about 8" of snow on the ice and made it hard to get out and around. Last spring we bought a 1 ton 4X4 Chevy pickup which turned out to be very handy and got us around in the snow very well. The new pickup has dual wheels in the rear so we call it Tom (Tom Dually). We put a hoist on it so Denny does not have to shovel manure off of it like he did on the old 2 ton Ford flat bed. Last week Denny got out Old Blue the tractor and cleared the snow out of the alley so now Myrna can get her car out and get around town. We are already getting seed catalogs so we are ready for spring. The weather is supposed to get above freezing this weekend but it is still a long ways to spring.

Tom Dually

The new pickup on the new driveway with Old Blue in the background.

The new fishpond

We also had some concrete work done around it.

Our daughter Jennifer on Old Blue

Her kids got to pull some fence posts so she had to try it.



It has been a year since a new epistle has been posted on this web site.  Long overdue.  We have been busy.  Our grand daughter Emily saw the parade at the Fort Benton Summer Celebration several years ago and thought she would like to be in it so grand dad(Denny) started building a float in April of last year.  Grand daughter Emily, Grandson Jacob, dad James, and mom Jennifer arrived a week before the parade in June.  James returned home a few days later.  Emily and Jennifer helped complete the float.  6 year old Emily made the signs for the pickup doors and painted the flatbed trailer.  Jennifer painted the stakes for the railing around the trailer.  The theme for the parade was "Rollin' on the River" and the 125th  anniversary of the first steam boat to arrive in Fort Benton so the float was a steam boat.  It had two stacks made from the rolls used to ship linoleum.  They were mounted in a shipping crate with two fog generators and two computer fans to push the fog up the stacks.  It also had a whistle which was connected to an air storage tank with a pressure regulator.  Denny controlled all of this from the pickup cab while Myrna drove.  We had a sound system playing "Something's Always Happening on the River" from the Broadway show "Say ,Darling".  Montana and Fort Benton are mentioned in the song.  Emily got so excited throwing candy to the kids, they ran out half way through the parade.  Myrna's sister shot some video of the parade but was in a crowd and got pushed around so the picture is a little shaky.  Jennifer posted it to Youtube.  See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmbHuC0sVFw                                                                                  Myrna got a new car last Spring, a 2010 Mercury the last year they will build them.  Denny had a 1939 Mercury in high school so we have had the first and last Mercury built.     See Mercury          This last July, we went to Glacier Park and stayed two days at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, MT.  We spent two days reading, eating, and  train watching.  The second day people in the hall started coughing and then so did we so we got out of the inn,  someone had tweaked off some bear spray on our floor(pepper spray).     Our landscaping is more mature and looks good in the Spring attached are pictures of the side yard, the garden with the pond, and an apple tree in spring and fall.  The apple tree is in the front yard, The deer have eaten most of the apples this winter and what they missed birds have eaten.   We had a nice visit with our Daughter, son-in-law, and grand kids and had an early Christmas with them.    We went to CA in December and stayed at the Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point for two days.  We made it up to Redondo Beach to attend the DSP 40th Anniversary Celebration.  It was good to see so many of the old timers and current timers.  Unfortunately many who should have been there did not get the word and did not show up.   We had an unusually warm fall but winter is more than making up for it.  There has been many days below zero.


Emily,Cindy, Jacob, and Jennifer


Front view




Rear view

Side yard

Spring 2010

Pond Garden

Spring 2010

Apple Tree

Spring 2010

Apple Tree

Fall 2010

Izzak Walton Inn

Back porch,picture taken from RR tracks

Izzak Walton Inn

Pictre taken from back porch



Although this is being posted in 2012 this epistle will recap 2011.   We had a very wet spring with lots of snow and rain.  There was much flooding in parts of Montana but we remained high and dry.  The Missouri River ran very high and covered the islands near town with enough water to hide everything except the tallest trees.   In mid June we got the whole family together for a stay just outside Glacier Park at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, MT.   Our Daughter Jennifer, Son-in law James, Grand Daughter Emily, and Grand Son Jacob drove up.  Our Son Victor and Daughter-in-law Lisa flew out from Seattle. Myrna's sister Judy also went to the park with all of us.  We rented a four bedroom house and two rooms in the Inn for all of us.  Myrna, Denny, Jennifer, James, Emily, and Jacob stayed in the house, Victor and Lisa had a room in the inn and Judy also had a room in the inn.  Jacob had a large bedroom in the house and Emily had a smaller bedroom with sloping walls which she called her "Harry Potter" bedroom.  Due to the cool and wet spring, Logan pass through the park was closed because of snow.  We could only get about 13 miles into the park on the Logan pass road.  We did stop at a creek that flowed through a rocky channel and had stone steps and walkways around it.  We had not seen it before because we usually in a hurry to get to Logan pass.  Victor and Lisa took the Grand kids on a long hike on one of the trails near the Izaak Walton Inn.  James had to get back to work so after 4 days at the inn Jennifer and Judy took Myrna's Mercury and drove James to the Great Falls airport.  Myrna and Denny took Jennifer's Honda van and drove with the Grandkids back to Fort Benton.  Lisa and Victor took the train from Essex back to Seattle.  The trains were running late due to flooding in Eastern Montana so the 7:00 PM Amtrak did not leave until 4:00 AM the next morning.  Jennifer and the Grandkids stayed in Fort Benton for the Summer Celebration before driving home with the Grand kids.  We did not have a float in the Summer Celebration parade this year because Emily wanted to get candy from floats rather than throw it like she did the year before.  Emily, Jacob, and Jennifer ran in the fun run at the Fort Benton Summer Celebration.  Jennifer and Denny took the 1 ton Dually (Tom Dually) out to the ranch just to look around.  We liked the park so much just the two of us went back in July for two days.  We took a different route to the park just to see some different territory.  Usually we head straight North from Fort Benton to highway 2 and then West to the park.  In July we went to Great Falls and got on I15.  About 30 miles South of highway 2 we got off of I15 and took a road through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.  We then hit highway 2 and went on into Essex.  On this second trip to the park we got off the beaten path and went to Two Medicine Lake which turned out to be the highlight of the trip it was very beautiful.   This Summer while in Great Falls we had lunch at Ford's Drive in, It is an old fashion drive in with car hops.  It has been there since the 50s Denny went there in his college days.  We had cheese burgers, fries, and cherry cokes.  All we needed was a 55 Chevvy and Buddy Holly on the radio to be back in the 50s.  Myrna's mom  is in the nursing home in Fort Benton.  Her health is bad but she is hanging in there, she turned 95 on Christmas day.  We had a good year in our greenhouse this year.  We got a dozen oranges on our tree this year.  This may be the only orange crop grown in Choteau  county this year.  We also have several pineapples, a key lime, and two bananas in the greenhouse. The bananas are in pots and go on the front porch in warm weather.  The small gas heater in the green house cannot keep it above freezing when outside temps drop below zero so all the tropical plants are in a small tent in the greenhouse.  A computer fan draws hot air from the gas heater and blows it  into the tent keeping the tent and the tropicals above freezing.   We have had a warm fall and winter. For most of the fall the temps have been in the 60s.  We had a few cold days and a little snow which lasted only one day before melting.  Last year we were in snow up to our knees at this time of year.  Our lawn was green on Dec. 1st.  All of this changed a few days ago.  It got to 17 below zero and 6" of snow fell.  It has now warmed up and the snow is melting.  We got the Grand kids bicycles to ride when they come to Montana.  Jennifer and the Grand kids ran in a fun run at the Summer Celebration this year.

Fort Benton.

Spring run off.

Fort Benton.

Oranges grown in MT.

Izaak Walton Inn.

Jacob, Jennifer, Myrna, Judy, James, Emily, Lisa, Denny, & Victor.

Izaak Walton Inn.

Rental house.

Izaak Walton Inn.

Jacob in his bedroom.

Izaak Walton Inn.

Emily in her "Harry Potter" bedroom.

Izaak Walton Inn.

Hikers Jacob, Victor, Lisa, Emily.

Izaak Walton Inn.

Hikers Emily, Lisa, Jacob, & Jennifer.

Izaak Walton Inn

Hikers looking down on Inn.

On Hwy 2

Water fall near Izaak Walton Inn James & Jennifer with Emily & Jacob

Glacier Park

Near Baring Falls.

Glacier Park

St Mary visitors center.

Glacier Park.

Glacier Park.

St Mary Lake.

Izaak Walton Inn.

Hwy 2, Middle Fork Flathead River.

Fun run

Jacob142, Jennifer144, Emily143.

Fun run.

Jacob142, Jennifer144, Emily143.

Fort Benton.

Emily the hunter.

Fort Benton.

Jacob the hunter.

Fort Benton.

The kids new Summer bikes.

Summer celebrationn.

Emily on a bungee jump.

Summer Celebration.

Jacob and Emily picking up candy at the parade.

Fort Benton.

Emily at animal shelter.

Fort Benton

Jacob at animal shelter.


Jennifer at ranch gate.

Decision Point.

Jacob & Emily near Loma, MT.

Decision Point.

Emily near Loma, MT.

Glacier Park.

Hwy 2 July trip.

Izaak Walton Inn.

Outside our room window. July trip.

South of Hwy 2

Near Izaak Walton Inn.

Glacier Park.

Two Medicine Lake.

Glacier Park.

Two Medicine Lake.



We are still wondering if it is possible to take a vacation if you are retired.  When you are retired isn't every day a vacation?  Feb. 24th was our 44th wedding anniversary so it was a vacation and an anniversary trip.  Anyway we took a vacation from Feb.29th to March5th We thought about going to Pismo Beach but later decided to go to Dana Point.  By going to Dana Point, we could visit our daughter, son-in-law, and the grand kids.  We stayed at the Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point.  We went to Roger's Gardens in New Port Beach and the Sherman Gardens twice in Corona Del Mar. We went past our old house in Mission Viejo, the landscape has been changed a lot but the two gates to the side yards are the same ones Denny built 20 years ago.  Must have built them well.  Our daughter met us for lunch at the Sherman gardens.  Sherman gardens has a library with books on California history.  We found  Denny's father and grandparents listed in a 1928 book listing everyone living in LA at the time.  We also went to Sea World with everyone.  On the day we left to return home,  we had lunch at our friend Judy Horner's house.  Judy also invited Fred & Janice Wilmont and Bill & Ann Young.  It was good to see old friends again.  For the anniversary, Denny ordered flowers delivered to Myrna at the Blue Lantern Inn the day of arrival.


Blue Lantern Inn.

Picture taken from harbor.

Blue Lantern Inn.

A view from our room.

Blue Lantern Inn.

Anniversary flowers.

Dana Point.

End of Blue Lantern Street.

Dana Point Harbor.

Dog on paddle board.

Dana Point Harbor inlet.

Picture taken from Green Lantern Street.

Dana Point Harbor.

Cove on ocean side.

Sherman Gardens

Sherman Gardens.

Dining area.

Sea World.

Grand kids, Jacob & Emily.



We had some excitement out at the ranch several weeks ago. Our ranch manager Rusty Clark called and said there was a fire in the area and that the fire crews were just moping up and the fire was out. The fire was stopped at the Western edge of some land we lease from the state, it burned some fence which will have to replaced before Rusty puts some of his cattle on the grass in May. The state lease is original short grass prairie where we camp when we take our trailer out there. (see pictures after the 6-1-07 epistle). Rusty was in his shop changing oil in some equipment, he saw some smoke and then a fire engine went by and a few minuets later another went by. He thought he should drive over an take a look. He helped show the fire crews how to get to the areas needed to fight the fire and keep them from getting stuck in a muddy coulee. Tim Burmeister the owner and editor of the “River Press” gave us permission to attach an article from the paper about the fire and also the thank you notes printed in the April 4,2012 issue.

Denny finally found a home for a fiberglass car body that he bought in the 1960s. It is now in the hands of a collector an restorer in Tampa, FL. The collector Dr. Geoff Hacker runs a web site called “Forgotten Fiberglass”. The following links describe getting the body to Tampa.



Spring is here the grass is green and ready for the first mow. The trees are growing leaves. Denny has many flowers and garden plants started in the green house. No plants are being planted outside because we have seen below freezing temps in this area in May. The day temps have been in the 70s and nights above freezing but it could still get cold. This has been a warm winter requiring snow shoveling only once. We have had almost as much rain as snow.




Some sad news.  Myrna's mom passed away Sept. 18 at age 95.  She had been in a nursing home for 4 years.

The following obituary appeared in the 9-19-2012 River Press



The following epistle is a modified version of our Christmas news letter plus some pictures.

2012 has been an interesting year.  Some bad but mostly good.  Myrna's mom Loda Salvas passed away Sept. 18th at age 95.  We had a big fire by our ranch property in March, it burned up to our western property line and burned some of our fence before it was put out. (more details in the two previous epistles).  We took a trip in Feb. to Dana Point, Calif. and stayed at the Blue Lantern Inn.  It was close to our kids home so we drove down on several occasions to spend the day with our Daughter Jennifer, Son-in-law James, and the grandkids Emily and Jacob.  We spent one day at Sea World and had a great time.  While staying at Dana Point We took several day trips to visit some of our favorite places.  We went to  Sherman Gardens and Rogers Nursery.  We also drove around Mission Viejo and looked at our old house.  We went to Sherman Gardens a second time to have lunch with Jennifer.  On the way to the airport we stopped at Judy Horners home in Mission Viejo for lunch.  She had us and several other old friends over for lunch.  Jennifer, James, and the Grand kids came to visit us in Fort Benton in June.  James had to go back to work so he stayed for three days and then went home, Jennifer and the Grand kids stayed 10 days.  Jennifer thought the Grand kids should try camping so she bought a tent and sleeping bags.  A big rainstorm came through about this time so she set up the tent on the back porch.  Jennifer lasted one night, the grand kids 3 nights.  Not too rough with a night light two feet from the tent door, a bathroom 10 feet away, and an outlet to charge their DVD players.  While Jennifer and the Grand kids were here we went out to the ranch to see how work on a new reservoir spillway was coming along.  Jennifer and Emily took a hike in the rain across the spillway and dam.  We drove around several miles and picked them up on the other side.  Emily likes to hike.  We traded in the 1 ton dually pickup on a Ford Edge in Aug.  The pickup was 3 years old and only had 1200 miles on it.  We got the Edge from a dealer in Cut Bank so we drove up there to fill out the paperwork.  We already had the car.  It is only a short drive from Cut Bank to Glacier Park so we continued on into the park and stayed at the Izzack Walton Inn  for several days.  We took side trips to Polebridge and Two Medicine Lake.  After Myrna's Mom passed away Jennifer and Victor were worried about their Mom so they came to  Fort Benton a few days later to check up on her.  While they were here we took them to the ranch to see the completed spillway and the new windmill which pumps air into the reservoir .  Our Daughter-in-law Lisa went to Medford, OR to visit her Mother during Thanksgiving so Victor decided to come to Montana and visit us and have some of his favorite pumpkin pie. On thanksgiving day in Calif., Uncle John took Emily And Jacob out in his boat to visit some sea lions.

New bridge.

Bridge across ditch connects our front porch walk to the street.


Setting up a tent on the back porch,

Emily And Jacob.

Ready to ride the wagon train.

Emily, Jacob, and Denny.

Riding the wagon train.

Jim Ayers crew.

Building the new spillway.

Jennifer And Emily.

Crossing the new spillway to hike across the dam.

Jennifer And Emily.

Crossing the new spillway to hike across the dam.

Windmill assembly.

Placing the turbine/compressor on the tower.

Rachel Clark and Ted Kronebusch.

Placing the air stone.

Rachel and Rusty Clark.

Building a fence around the new windmill on the new spillway.

Jennifer and Victor.

Checking out the new windmill.

Snow on the back porch.

Down town Polebridge.

North West Glacier Park.

Pray Lake.

Near Two Medicine Lake.

Emily And Jacob.

Visiting sea lions on Thanksgiving.

See more pictures of the windmill installation on the  Ranch pictures page near the bottom of the page.

Rachel Clark who was helping her dad with the windmill installation, was spending some time with her folks after studying for and taking the Montana bar exam. It turns out she passed the first time and is now working as a lawyer not a windmill installer/fence builder.



In February we took our annual trek to California and stayed in Dana Point. We tried a new place to stay, the Marina Inn next to the marina. It was walking distance to good restaurants and shops. We usually stay at the Blue Lantern Inn but they were booked solid. While there we met our Daughter Jennifer for lunch at Sherman Gardens in Corona Del Mar. We spent a day at Sea World with Our Son- law James, our Daughter Jennifer, and our Grand kids Jacob and Emily. It was great fun. In May flew out to Seattle with Myrna’s sister Judy to visit our Son and Daughter-in law Victor and Lisa. They wanted to show us around Seattle and show us their new home they bought in the Ballard area. We played tourist and went up in the space needle, saw the Japanese Gardens, the boat locks, and the Chihuly glass museum. Jennifer and James took a Caribbean cruise in late July so they flew up here and dropped the Grand kids off for 10 days. We got them a blow up pool which kept them busy much of the time. Myrna took them to the Lewis & Clark interruptive center and the Giant Springs Park in Great Falls.  We also took them to the Dedman animal shelter several times to play with the cats. We put up another air pumping windmill on one of our reservoirs (more pictures at ranch pictures) and the Grand kids got to go out to the ranch and watch. Emily got to feed “wild cows” they both skipped rocks in the reservoir and helped fill in the airline trench. When Jennifer and James returned from their cruise, they had a one day layover here before they and the Grand kids returned home so we grabbed some tubes and floated through town on the Missouri River. We took a short trip to Glacier Park in September and as usual stayed at the Izaak Walton Inn. It was an interesting time to visit the park. The leaves were turning to fall colors and most of the tourist attractions were closed so there were no crowds or traffic any where. Just us and the hardy locals who live there year around. The weather has been interesting the last few weeks, It has been as cold as 36 below and as high as 50 above zero. It is still Fall, we wonder what Winter will be like.



Myrna had knee replacement surgery on January 6th. She is doing fine, using a cane about half of the time. She has been driving for several months and is about back to normal. The grass is green, but she is still not ready to jump on her John Deere and mow the lawn. Soon though.





In January Myrna had her left knee replaced, but had sufficiently recovered by July to go on a cruise. Our daughter Jennifer has been trying to get us to take a cruise for several years. We finally relented and agreed to go this year. Our son Victor, daughter-in-law Lisa, son-in-law James, and the grandkids Emily and Jacob also went on the cruise. We took the Royal Caribbean ship “ Rhapsody of the Seas “ from Seattle to Alaska. We stopped in Juneau and Skagway. We also stopped in Victoria, BC on the way back. While in Skagway we took the White Pass steam train up the gold rush trail into Canada. After leaving Skagway, the ship went up a fjord and we got a good look at a glacier. There were a lot of small chunks of ice (icebergs) in the fjord on the way in to see the glacier, the day before a duo in the main atrium were playing the theme from “ Titanic “. Lisa and Victor live in Seattle so we stayed with them a night before we sailed and a night before we flew home. In September we took our annual trip to Glacier Park along with Myrna’s sister Judy. As usual we stayed at the Izzak Walton Inn. Both Myrna’s and Denny’s cameras quit working as we sailed from Seattle so the only pictures we got were some low resolution ones with Denny’s tablet taken from the balcony of our cabin as we sailed up the fjord. We had a well drilled on the ranch this fall. It is 440 feet deep and produces over 4gal/minute. A permanent pump and stock watering system will be installed this spring.

The whole family going to dinner on the cruise ship

Lisa Victor

Myrna Denny

Jennifer James

Jacob Emily

Skagway harbor.

Another cruise ship in Skagway harbor.

Melt water running down the wall of a fjord.

Cruising up a fjord through chunks of ice to see a glacier.

Melt water running down the wall of a fjord.

Cruising up a fjord through chunks of ice to see a glacier.

Melt water running down the wall of a fjord.

Cruising up a fjord through chunks of ice to see a glacier.

Melt water running down the wall of a fjord.

Cruising up a fjord through chunks of ice to see a glacier.


Well drilling on the ranch.

Well drilling on the ranch.



We took a 10 day vacation to California. As usual we stayed at the Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point. We were there for our Grand Daughter Emily’s birthday, so we took everyone out for Emily’s birthday dinner. She wanted to go to the Shogun in San Marcos, every one has a great time watching our food being cooked on a grill in front of us. Our friend Judy Horner had us over for dinner and invited some of our old friends from the area, it was good to see them again. Denny called some old friends, Mary and Cark Holcomb that he worked with at TRW. We invited them for lunch at the Café Jardin in the Sherman gardens in Corona Del Mar. The Sherman Gardens is one of our favorite places to visit when we are in SO CAL. While we were staying at the Blue Lantern, We watched while they built a beach at the harbor. With a large dredge and some earth moving equipment a beach was built up in two days. One evening the fog rolled into the area. Fog horns honked all night at the harbor entrance. We usually don’t hear fog horns in Montana.

Emily and Jacob.

Waiting at the gym for Jake's basket ball game to start.


Jakes team being awarded their trophy.


Jake with his trophy at the pinewood derby.

Dinner party at Judy Horner's.

Left to right: Myrna Allen, Judy Horner, Ann Young, Janice Wilmot, Sue Ranahan.

Mary and Carl Holcomb.

Sherman Gardens.

Dana Point.

The Blue Lantern Inn. The Cannon restaurant the far left.

Dana Point.

Harbor entrance channel and breakwater.

Dana Point harbor.

The beach that was built in two days.



The Grand kids, Emily and Jacob and Mom(our Daughter Jennifer) came to visit. The Grand kids flew up by them selves and Mom came up a few days later when her vacation started. The kids had fun riding their bikes around town which is difficult for them in California. We also took them to the animal shelter so they could play with the cats. After Mom arrived we went out to the ranch. Our ranch neighbors to the South, the Molines brought over some horses for Emily and Jennifer to ride. The Moline kids raise horses and made good guides and riding partners. Rusty Clark brought over two ATVs and taught Jacob how to drive. A day before every one left to go home, Jennifer took our pickup to Great Falls and rented two kayaks. She and the kids took the kayaks from the canoe launch at the South end of town to the boat launch at the North end of town, about a 45 min. trip if all goes well. Emily did some exploring with her kayak and kept running aground on sand bars. Jennifer had to get out of her and Jacobs kayak and pull Emily off of the sandbars. Jennifer claims she walked the Missouri River more than she kayaked it.

Jacob and Emily.

Trying out their new Montana bikes.



Rusty and Jacob.

Rusty giving Jacob some dual instruction.

Jennifer,Emily and Jacob.

Jacob giving Emily a ride, mom looking on.

Jennifer,Emily and Jacob.

Ready to launch at the canoe launch site.

Jennifer,Emily and Jacob.

On the Missouri,approaching the boat dock.


7-10-2019 Our Daughter Jennifer, Son-in-Law James, and Grandkids Emily and Jacob paid us a visit, as they do every Summer. Emily and Jacob arrived July 1st, we stopped at a fireworks stand on the way home from the airport. The kids had a great time setting off fireworks on the 4th . Jennifer and James arrived July 5th . Myrna stopped at a local fireworks stand and bought more fireworks so that the “big kids” Jennifer and James could set off some fireworks on the 5th . Jennifer, James, Emily, and Jacob went out to the ranch for a day. Rusty brought ATVs out so that Jacob and James could ride around, Rusty also arranged for some horses for Emily and Jennifer to ride. Wendy from the Moline ranch brought some horses over. Wendy likes to ride but likes company. She invited Emily out the next day for a long ride. They rode 8 miles, they had lunch at Arrow Creek a few miles from where it enters the Missouri River. They were essentially in the Missouri River Breaks. This was a thrill for Emily who has limited riding areas at horse school at home. Jennifer and Emily had tickets for a concert so they flew home on the 8th, James and Jacob stayed over a day and left on the 9th. The picture is of James with Jacob and Emily.






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