Sunday, September 24, 2017

Over the Pass

Dillon, MT  High 37  Low 35

This journey out of Montana brings back memories of when we first started full timing. I retired the third of January and we took off on January 22, 2009 ahead of a winter storm. I was still in a wheelchair from a broken ankle and ruptured Achilles tendon.

This was our rig back then. All 72 feet of us.


Back in 2009 we only went as far as Bozeman, MT that first day and since it was so cold we spent the night in a hotel room. We have since learned how to cope (sort of) with the cold and stay in our Bungalow.

This is the road outside of Dillon back in 2009.

January 2009

These are the pictures I took today when we left Dillon.

Gypsy – these pictures are for you. Enjoy.


Clark Canyon Reservoir





And this is what the other side of Monida Pass looked like this morning as we came into Idaho.


We are settled for the night at North Bingham County RV Park near Shelley, ID. The sun is shining and it is 44 degrees which feels wonderful.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Reunion Is Over and Time to Move on

Billings, MT – Still the same

Dillon, MT  - High 37  Low 35

After our nap we headed back to the hotel for the class pictures and an excellent dinner. I didn’t take any pictures that night but here are a couple that others have posted. Don’t have the class picture yet so I’ll post it when it shows up.



Just one big problem with this whole reunion thing. We didn’t get home until 11:30 p.m. That is really late for us and since we had to get up for church at 8:30, it took us two days to recover. But such a good time.

The next couple of days were spent catching up with good friends, Tracy and Jeff, and Judy and Gary. We also went out to dinner at the Olive Garden with the kids, Todd and Michaela, one more time.

Sure do love those two.


This was the sky over the Olive Garden. Looks like rain to me.


We had originally thought we were going to Yellowstone Park this week-end. We were going to leave Friday because we had reservations in the park on Saturday for four nights. Mother Nature decided to change those plans for us when she dumped snow on the park. Our little Bungalow is definitely not made for cold weather so we needed to head south.

Snow on those mountains.


Only one problem. Before we ran into the snow problem, we had called and requested our mail be sent to the kids’ house. It wasn’t going to show up until Thursday. Thursday morning we hitched up, dumped and filled the fresh water tank and then about 11:30 we were able to pick up our mail and head down the highway.

One of the many smaller fires that had to be dealt with this summer.


The Yellowstone River


Spent the night at a small campground in Whitehall, MT. It was cold and rainy but not snowing. We came over Bozeman Pass and this it what it looked like.


This is what it looks like today from the web cam.

bozeman pass

Today we decided to go an additional 55 miles to Dillon, MT and wait for the sun to come out tomorrow. It snowed on us but there was no accumulation. Here in Dillon it isn’t snowing but it sure is cold. 37 degrees.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Waiting for the Earth to Move: The 1890 Ghost Dance

Billings, MT  Same as yesterday

We made arrangements to meet up with classmates on Saturday morning. I really wanted to go see the Ghost Dance exhibit at the Yellowstone County Museum. So a group of us headed up to the museum by the airport.

Larry Williams donated his Collection to the museum and it is the largest exhibit of Ghost Dance objects on display in the world.

I took sooo many pictures but I’m only including a few in this post.

20170916_112929The Ghost Dance was a religious movement developed in 1890 by a Northern Paiute spiritual leader known as Wovoka. As the movement spread, the various tribes modified its ceremonies according to their own mythology and traditions.


All Ghost Dancers looked toward the fulfillment of three promises, made in a vision to Wovoka by the messiah:

♦ Some cataclysmic event, ranging from a flood to volcanic eruptions, would destroy the earth, which would then be remade as a paradise.

♦ Buffalo and other game driven away by white men would return in great numbers.

♦ The dancers’ ancestors would be resurrected and live with them in the new paradise.

These are two of the Sioux warrior drums.


The Ghost Dance would take place at night for five or six nights in a row. The dance is open to all with no restrictions as to age or sex. All danced in a big circle, holding hands or draping their arms over each other’s shoulders, shuffling from side to side as the circle revolved.


The Ghost Dance artifacts are in a display area that has curtains separating it from the rest of the museum because some traditionalists are not comfortable viewing objects related to religious ceremonies. The special display case contains pipe stems, bowls and bags. In some tribes, women are not allowed to view sacred pipes.


The museum has other wonderful exhibits.

The Natives used dogs to haul their belongings.


Headdress made with Eagle feathers.


And then there is Charlie and Russell, a dicephalous Black Angus calf born in February 1949. This occurs when identical twins fail to fully separate. The calf only lived a day and a half.



Did you know that branding originated in Egypt? You just never know what you’re going to learn.


After the museum we headed out for lunch.

Mike (our class president), Wanda and her sister Bev.


Maggie’s husband Mike and Jim


Maggie, Nancy and Carol


After lunch we decided there was just enough time for a quick nap before we needed to be back for class pictures and our dinner.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rain, Glorious Rain and Snow

Billings, MT  High 51  Low 42

It started raining on Friday and didn’t take a break until late Sunday. Everybody was doing a happy happy rain dance. No lightning with this rain, just a continuous soaking rain. There is snow in the mountains. That means that the firefighters may be able to get ahead of all the forest fires happening in Montana. The fires aren’t out yet and it may be another month of wet and colder weather to finally end this fire season. But the smoke is gone and we can all breathe again.

RJ and Skitz are both ready for the rain.



Skitz is not impressed and keeps stepping on the front of it.



My 50th Class Reunion started on Friday with everybody getting together at the Residence Inn for snacks and drinks. It was so much fun to see everybody and catch up on their lives. We had around 36 classmates along with their spouses and friends.

Lynn and Nina were two of the great committee members. Nina made this frame which turned out to be a major hit with everybody. We have our own FB group and there must be 50 pictures or more with folks posing with the frame.


Renee is another committee member and Wanda showed up to see if she could help us out.


Then the crowds started to arrive.

Sandee, Wanda and Mark were all born within 24 hours of each other.

Class Reunion

Sandee, Me, Wanda (behind me), Lynn and Linda.

class reunion2

There are so many pictures but I’m not posting any more. I can go look at the pictures on FB and enjoy them that way.

Jim and I can’t keep up with lots of the classmates so we went home and fell into bed. Have plans with some of the classmates for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Back in Billings

Billings, MT    High 93  Low 60

It was finally time for us to move on from Helena. The smoke continued to be terrible and breathing was difficult.

This is what our view from our spot was in 2015


This is what it looked like when we left Helena. You can’t see the mountains at all.


Today it has been really smokey in Billings. Air quality for the entire state is ranked as unhealthy. But there is good news in the weather department. The state is supposed to get rain starting tomorrow and snow at the higher elevations. Hopefully this will put an end to the fire season up here and most of the firefighters can go home.

We have been busy since we’ve been here. Monday the truck went in for oil change, transmission serviced, alignment, air conditioning checked out, and a couple of other things.

Tuesday the Bungalow went to Jim and Tracey’s to have both axles aligned. Good thing we did that because they were really out of whack.

Wednesday morning we were at the DMV office at 7:00 a.m. to get the title work done on our new Cottage. Then I had my eye appointment. In the afternoon I got together with the Class Reunion committee to see if there was anything I could help with. The Reunion starts Friday.

We’re also going to try and make time to visit with friends this trip. We’ve had dinner with Todd and Michaela a couple of times. They are doing great which makes us happy.

Jim’s Velcro Dog


Shortly after I wrote this post, the wind started to blow and the dust was so bad I thought we were back in Arizona. The cold front is starting to move through. Please bring rain.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Scenes From The Road

Helena, MT  High 94  Low 60

We are finally back in Helena and our solemn vow is that we will never, ever, make that kind of trip again. We took four days to return which was easier on us than the two day trip down. But we are still exhausted and are going to take a few days to recover.

I must admit, we were almost ready to just stay in Arizona. Sure do like our new home even though it was 110 both days we were there.

This coming week, Jim will once again start playing phone tag with Camping World about the oven. My hope is that it is repaired by Thanksgiving so I can fix a turkey. Wish us luck.

I took a few pictures along the way and for you to enjoy.

Smoke from a fire in Idaho.


Beautiful blue skies not filled with smoke.



Scenery worth looking at.



If you look really close at this picture, there are about 25 paragliders sailing over this hilltop. It was really neat to see all of them.


This is 9:30 traffic through Salt Lake City. But I was happy to see that most of the road construction is done.


That’s it gang. Time to recover and get ready to move on in another week.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Oven Saga Continues

Page, AZ   High 101  Low 81

The mobile repair guy showed up Tuesday morning a few minutes early for our appointment. He was a really nice guy and also pretty honest. He told us that he was doing this repair as a favor to Camping World because he quit working on stoves 10 years ago because they weren’t worth the time involved.

Okay – so what next? He lit the oven, it heated up to temperature, and when the burner went out so did the pilot light. Exactly what Jim told him and exactly what the first repair guy said. This guy wasn’t sure what was causing the problem so he called Suburban and talked to one of their techs. They said he needed to replace the pilot.

That was a good thing because the first guy thought that was what was wrong and had Camping World order a new pilot and a thermocouple back the end of May. This guy had the parts but when he opened the box, there was no pilot. Camping World ordered the wrong parts. Nothing that could be done so he packed up and left.

We also packed up, switched boats and headed north Wednesday morning. Even though it was really hot while we were in AJ, I didn’t want to leave our home. But leave we did.

Tonight we are in Page, AZ.  We about killed ourselves getting to Arizona in two days and we just cannot do that. We are taking four days to get back to Helena. Much more reasonable for us old people.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Really Long Trip

Apache Junction, AZ   High 111  Low 88

Yes, you read that right. We are in Arizona – BUT only for a couple of days.

We had two reasons for making this trip.

1. Jim decided that he wanted his good boat, the Lund, down in Arizona rather than in Montana. He spends more time fishing in Arizona so it just makes sense to have the best boat down here. So we will be taking the Arizona boat back to Montana with us.

2.  The oven in our new trailer has not worked since day 1. Camping World finally (Jim had to go down personally to resolve the problem with them not returning phone calls) sent a guy out and he thought he had it figured out but they needed to order parts. Of course the parts wouldn’t be in before we left for the summer but they were going to call us when they came in. Yea right! Jim finally called them – and got no return call. Had to call the Service Manager and finally got a call back saying the parts were in but they forgot to call us. After several more calls, Camping World arranged for a mobile repair service to look at the oven while we are in town for two days. We’ll see what happens.

We left Helena Friday morning with our destination being Nephi, UT for the night – about 585 miles. Not our normal way to travel and believe me it won’t happen again.

We were doing great until we got as far as Blackfoot, ID. The truck started to shake really bad. Jim thought we had lost a tire weight but the shaking got worse. I found a tire shop in Pocatello, ID (Brian’s Tire and Repair Shop) and they were wonderful. The guy came out and took one look and showed Jim the problem. The left rear tire had a huge bubble on it and the ply’s were separating. Two other tires didn’t look good either so we replaced all four tires. The tires we had on the truck were only about 3 years old. After a 3 hour delay we were on our way again and finally reached Nephi, UT about 9:30. Exhaustion doesn’t begin to describe how we felt.

Saturday we got another early start because we had another almost 600 mile day to Payson, AZ. Thank goodness the day went without any problems. We were so tired but our good friend Paula came to the motel and took me out to get dinner. It was good to see her but I don’t think we were very good company.

Sunday morning we had the short drive down the mountain into Apache Junction. Jim got the electric hooked up so we could get the air turned on and the slides out. Unloaded the truck and relaxed.

Went to dinner with George and Melva at the Chinese Buffet (used to be called the #1 Eastern Super Buffet but I don’t know the name of it now). Sure was good to see them again. And we really love our house. Just wish it wasn’t so blasted hot. Tomorrow is going to be 110 and the same on Tuesday. And that is why, as much as we love our house, we do not spend the summers in AJ.

Keep your fingers crossed for us that we get our oven fixed tomorrow.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Boone and Crockett Club

Missoula, MT - actually turned out to be a pretty clear day but you could see the smoke pouring over the mountains from the Lolo Fire Complex.

We had one more stop that we wanted to make while we were in Missoula.


When I was checking online for places to see in Missoula, the Boone and Crockett Club popped up. I had no idea what this club was, but the minute I mentioned it to Jim he knew all about it.

20170814_133439Teddy Roosevelt was one of the founding fathers of the Boone and Crockett Club.  In December 1887, a dinner was held by Theodore Roosevelt at his home in New York City and was attended by 10 of his friends, all hunting enthusiasts. Among the attendees were Dr. George Bird Grinnell, then editor of Field and Stream magazine, Roosevelt’s cousin, and Roosevelt’s brother. At the dinner Theodore Roosevelt proposed that the guests form an organization to promote sport with the rifle and work for the preservation of the large game of North America. The  men feared that America’s large game was being overhunted to the point of extinction.

The first formal meeting of the Boone and Crockett Club was held in February 1888. Those present elected Theodore Roosevelt as President of the Club.


In 1947, the Club formed a Conservation Committee which was instrumental in saving the Florida Key Deer from extinction and establishing a Key Deer refuge in 1957.

20170814_134136The Club held their first annual Big Game Competition in 1947. Winners were chosen by a judges’ panel based on skull length, antler or horn length, and basal circumference. The popularity of the competition and the records books led the Club to consider establishing an objective scoring system that could be used by trophy holders to measure their own specimens. In 1949, the Club developed the Official Scoring System for North American Big Game Trophies.

In 1992, the Boone and Crockett Club purchased the historic Old Milwaukee Railroad Depot on the Clark Fork River in Missoula, Montana, and relocated its headquarters there from Dumfries, Virginia.



The Clark Fork River in front of the depot.