I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.
By: joealaska, 2:58 PM GMT on June 27, 2014
Thursday I finally left Buffalo, WY. and headed north on I-90. Great driving scenery. Look off into the expanse of green rolling hills and try to spot a flash of white and brown signifying ANTELOPE.
Buffalo was a great area to spend 9 days at, would not mind living there.
Two hours north I pulled into Crow Agency / Garryowen, Montana (wasn't he that announcer on LAUGH IN?) where I saw The Battle of Little Big Horn site. Wide open spaces and big hills. There was one small hill that was the highest point in the immediate area, and that was where Custer had his last stand. There is now a monument there at the top, where Custer was killed just a few feet away.
There is a LOT of info available. The site is very spread out. Most of the action was at the top of that hill, but grave stones were visible far down the hill, just fewer of them. Probably the first people killed as the Indians came in. I only spent about an hour there, it could easily take a day to see most of it.
Then I headed back out on I-90, heading north then west. There were a few rain storms to keep it interesting. I saw big mountains appearing as I continued, but the road was fairly flat as I stayed in the valleys. Montana is pretty cool about letting you know what those mountains are 50 miles away, with arrows and road signs. Absarokas, Beartooth, Gallatins…
I only drove 277 miles, and I pulled over into LIVINGSTON, just north of Yellowstone. I HAVE BEEN SEEING SIGNS FOR OVER 300 MILES TELLING ME TO TAKE THE NEXT EXIT TO YELLOWSTONE. Of course, it IS the Mother Park.
A storm was a-brewing as I hooked up my RV quickly. It had to be 40 mph winds but just a spit of rain at first. Just as I got inside it rained hard, stopped a bit, then continued all night. Dutchie wanted out as usual, but I kept her in. She thanked me over and over, all night, screaming.
The RV park was not very nice. Although the lady at the office was very friendly. The site was right in town. It seemed to be a camp of workers living here, with many small campers set up for long term use. I was prepared to stay a week, but I will leave shortly today, heading west to Anaconda. First good camp site I will pull in. Just give me some views. It is only 113 miles to Anaconda. I spent a lot of time looking for a long term camp site in The Gallitin Forest, but I stopped. I am looking for a spot with views. I do not want to stare at the same trees for a few weeks.
By: joealaska, 3:39 AM GMT on June 23, 2014
2-2 FINAL. They tie, but they lose. Makes sense. The USA played great. Portugal hit an awesome goal almost at the buzzer. My only point is… PLAY ON!. Overtime. Let's determine a winner, not a loser. When I went to University of Dayton, we spent a few late evenings playing NERF BASKETBALL. Full court, 3 on 3. Everyone was sitting in a comfortable chair, and had to remain right there.
The LOSER would advance in a tournament format. We mixed up the teams, but tracked individual results. Eventually the two worst players faced each other. Everyone watched and jeered until the bitter end. But it was an unusual tourney to determine the loser. Now The World Cup has me remembering that format.
Figure out who lost. But that was a hell of a goal to tie it back up.
Enjoying another round of storms coming through from the southwest. Saturday was nice, but late afternoon the clouds moved in. They seemed to just miss us, even though we could see lightning and hear thunder. As I talked with a neighbor camper, I asked if he heard if there were storms forecast for the night. He pulls out the smart phone and pulls up radar. It showed all storms moving away. That was good for then, but an hour later it was pouring. Nice thunder and lightning. One strike felt right on us.
The storm came thru quickly. It caught Dutchie outside. Again. I kept the door ajar, as long as the rain was not coming in. It was REALLY coming down for awhile. I knew Dutchie was under one of the many campers nearby, and that I would not see her until it stopped. For a while. I checked radar and it was a small but severe thunderstorm, which passed and stopped eventually. I called for Dutchie a few times, I knew she was near. The grass was long and very wet, so i knew it would be a while. But shortly she was at the door. I knew she was excited, as she was climbing the screen and was over halfway up.
And she was soaked. I wrapped her in a towel and that was that. The storm really kicked in later on, some very heavy rain most of the night. Today more of the same, although right now it has stopped. Cue the grill.
Tomorrow I take LEGGS and the cats (no Camry) for some more work. I need to replace 3 more tires just to get new tires I can trust. I could only find two locally. Then an oil change, and look at my generator which seems a bit shaky right now.
I ran into a great campground here, cheaper, but not cheap. I almost went to INDIAN, what a dump. Located within an interchange. "Easy interstate access." I decided to stay a couple more days, leaving Thursday. I want to play the local golf course still. It had a tournament the day I went last week, and another tournament was scheduled next day. That is when I headed north to Sheraton and played Kendrick.
Plus I still have to find a place in Montana to stay, after I see the site of The Battle of Little Bighorn.
By: joealaska, 4:24 PM GMT on June 18, 2014
Sunday I started making plans on the drive north / west. Lander WY looked good.
But then the cats became a factor. Sunday night I was sitting outside talking on the phone with CASA in GNU MEXICO. The RV door was wide open. Even FLUFF was outside. Last I remember she was sitting on the grass to my left as I sat. It was dark at that point.
When I was off the phone, I was ready to go to sleep so I checked out what the cats were doing. Dutchie was inside. But I was Fluffless. Very unusual. When Fluff goes out, she is often quickly scared back up into the RV. Not so this night. One time shortly after I adopted her she stayed away for 4 or 5 nights, then came back. Since then, never a problem.
I slept very little that night, stepping outside occasionally and calling for her. At 5 AM I was up and Dutchie wanted out. Normally it would have been NO, as we were supposed to be leaving camp before 11 AM. But I thought maybe Dutchie would find Fluff and bring her back, and we would all live happily ever after. Yeah.
Still, I let her out just as it was turning light.
We were scheduled to leave by 11 AM. At 9 I gave up, and I called and booked us for one more day. At that point, the cat inventory was still zero.
Around noon I happened to look out the door and saw something slinking under a camper a couple hundred feet away. A lucky spotting. I went and coaxed FLUFF out. She was hesitant to come out completely, but as she was meandering back under the camper, I grabbed that fat tail and she was mine.
She was a bit damp, probably sweating because it was around 90 degrees. I carried her back to the RV and she ate a bunch of food and TANKED up on water. She kept laying down, then making another trip to the food and water. She made at least five trips for water, inhaling it.
Later I noticed she had a little limp with her back leg. I checked her out and saw nothing obvious. Will keep an eye on her, which is tough at times as she spends half her life sleeping under the bed covers.
Dutchie is another story. I let her out at 5AM, and she finally showed back at 9:15 PM. I walked around and yelled her name and whistled for her. I am sure the other campers wondered what I was doing. Walking around and yelling to nothing in particular, whistling. I took several walks over the day, but that campground (KOA Lakeside Resort) was very big. That cat could be anywhere. And I am starting to learn her thought process. I knew once she was not back in a couple hours, that it could be after dark before she returned. RVs were coming and going. My immediate neighborhood was changing and looking different. She waits for cover of darkness to sneak back in. I was standing in my 4 square foot kitchen when she was suddenly there at my feet.
I was always pretty confident she was just out there doing her thing, and she would return. I need to maintain cat management. The cats are learning we have new routine. They know where home is, I just need to avoid situations where they can get scared and run off.
So we all headed north to Buffalo, Wyoming on Tuesday. Dutchie jumps up on my lap for most the trip. Fluff sleeps in the back.
When we left I dumped all my wastewater at the campground dump station. I dreaded that process at first. But it is actually pretty easy, and if done correctly is not really that dirty.
We headed back through Cheyenne, then on to Casper. From there it was all new road up to Buffalo. Wyoming is one of my favorite states. Long rolling hills and valleys. And then stunning mountains here and there. Great photo pops. It is not very easy to pull over when you see a shot, driving that RV and dragging a car. I took a few shots while moving, they did not look very good.
I called ahead and made reservations at an RV park, DEER PARK. When I got there, I saw it was pretty nice, so I paid for a week. Slow down. It is a great base location. Nice small town. An entry point to explore The Big Horn Mountains. Many people come through Buffalo on their way to Yellowstone or The Grand Tetons.
Just after I got the RV hooked up it rained for a while. Then it was nice and windy well into the night. Dutchie went out in the evening and scoped out the neighborhood. She came when I called after an hour or so. At 5 AM she was wanting more. Weather was nice, it was just showing a little light. When I opened the door at 7:30 AM she was right there.
Oh yeah, there is a very nice golf course here in town, and another couple just north in Sheridan. Today is overcast, chance of rain. I will check out BUFFALO GOLF CLUB. Course is supposed to be nice, but the mountain views are supposed to be awesome. Will play today if it works out. It has been a while. If nothing else I will take a ride up RT 16 into the mountains and take some proper photos.
Next week: Little Bighorn.
By: joealaska, 3:26 PM GMT on June 15, 2014
I stayed in The Black Hills through Wednesday morning. The last night a wind storm woke me up late night. Reminded me of Dutch Harbor. But the sound was different. In Dutch, it was just the wind. Here, it was the wind coming through the pine trees. There were some nice gusts, not sure how high they were.
So I went through the MOVING OUT ROUTINE and got the big dog ready. Never hurry, no need to. Then suddenly, the whole mess is moving and I am driving! South on 16 past Crazy Horse and on to Custer City.
I was going to head to Newcastle, WY. But there were signs warning about narrow roads and road construction. I pulled a U-TURN (seriously) and headed south via Hot Springs and Edgemont. Then I was on 85 all the way to Cheyenne.
There was plenty of daylight available, so I got on I-25 and headed into Colorado. I was seeing no signs for camping. Occasionally I saw a tent icon on an exit sign, but I did not want to pull off and drive to some campground that was not set up for an RV towing a car. I pulled off and made a couple calls to KOA campgrounds. It was Friday afternoon. The closest park was full. The next one had one spot due to a recent cancellation. I took it.
So I am here in Fort Collins, Colorado. At a water resort. If I wanted to, I could take a swan peddle boat out on the lake. Saturday thunderstorms came through. Severe a bit south in Denver, not so bad in Fort Collins. I got to see some of The US Open.
My plan is to keep searching for the perfect camp site where I am not paying for swan boats. I will be here until Monday AM. Then it is northwest toward Laramie, Wyoming.
Happy Fathers Day to all you Dads out there! JoeKentucky has not been feeling real well lately. He was feeling down during Moms 80th birthday bash but still participated. Now it keeps lingering around. Hope you feel better Dad. Have some ice cream and watch some golf.
Will talk to you later.
By: joealaska, 4:45 AM GMT on June 13, 2014
I had two tires put on Leggs on Tuesday. It went very well, the installer was very good. All the noise scared Dutchie and she bolted. I assumed she would head for foliage, so I headed for the nearby White River. I whistled and I heard her respond. I saw her, but she was pissed off and kept away from me as I approached. I have played this game. Eventually she just lays down and I pick her up.
Later that day I drove to Wall for some fresh food, coming back through the Badlands one last time. Never did go into Wall Drug, probably never will. Drove right by it…
Wednesday morning we secured everything, hit the waste dump, and got a fill up on propane. I headed west on Rt. 44 just south of The Badlands. It was still easy to see scenery in the park. It got pretty windy, keeping the driving interesting. I went into Rapid City, then took RT 16 south. Past Mt Rushmore (done that) and on to Crazy Horse. It was really cool to see it, but the pictures I had seen were what I saw in person. The museum was good. There were hundreds or thousands of Indian photos displayed, but no story as to what each one was.
I camped 6 miles north of CRAZY. Again it is nice, very busy. I met a nice older couple heading north from Georgia and on their way to Fairbanks, Alaska. We talked quite a bit about that trip.
They left this morning headed for Medora, North Dakota. I was going to also leave, but I stayed an extra day here. Perfect for letting Dutchie run around. This camp is on the site of an old stage coach stop, late 1800s. There are three of the original buildings still here, very close to my site. Dutchie was chased by a flock of birds across an open field and she took shelter in one of those old buildings.
General Custer stayed here with his army one night, on some gold related mission.
Tomorrow I head south into Wyoming. Will take 85 south from Newcastle to Cheyenne. Maybe to Greeley, Colorado. I am looking for a nice spot where I can stay a while. After hours on the internet, I am still not seeing what I want. It is amazing what pops up as you drive along.
Still no real golf options.
By: joealaska, 4:33 AM GMT on June 07, 2014
Last night was spent in Mitchell, SD. I liked it there. Small town feel. I pulled off I-90 and see the WalMart right away. Unable to reach them by phone, I hoped they allowed overnight parking and drove on in. I saw a couple other RVs wandering the parking lot, but I just parked and walked in. Customer service had 2 people ahead of me, and it took about 15 minutes. When I asked if I could park, it was OH NO PROBLEM.
I knew THIS time to look for the quiet spots. I was back in the corner of the property. Just in front of me was parked a BOUNDER brand RV. The same as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman used… I was outside when it pulled out. At first I thought the brakes had failed. There was almost no sound from the engines. Impressive.
I-90 is a great interstate to drive the RV. But there were a couple stretches of road construction that were testing. They took an interstate and changed it into one lane each direction, with narrowed lanes. And plastic poles in the middle. So you must favor the outside edge. That is a rough edge of concrete dropping off a couple inches to the emergency lane. Rough riding on that with the tires. At 65 mph. With a line of cars on your tail including a couple of 18-wheelers.
I enjoyed it as clouds moved in and changed sunny to gloomy. I called a KOA Campground near The Badlands. BADLANDS - WHITE RIVER KOA. They had room and I booked it. Hey, it was Friday. ELECTRIC / WATER / SEWER TV. In the middle of nowhere. Well, outside of INTERIOR, SD is where it was. But more specific it is between Potato Creek and Wanblee. Right on the White River. To get there, I had to go through The Badlands. I bought a three day pass.
Right away I was in the park, with all the colors and all the erosion. A lot of small mountains, mountains of mud constantly eroding. Also some colored stone with mauve hues. All of it in the grasslands of South Dakota.
Got pictures, more over the next couple days.
I set up next to another TIFFIN ALLEGRO, a 2012. Wow.
It was cool, so I set up the heater again. Low 40s here. Then I watched some TV for the first time in about 6 weeks (at my own place). Deadliest Catch was on, not bad with only 10 channels.
I was editing some pictures on the computer when I heard a loud hissing noise. The front right tire was flat. The good news is I have two options to get it fixed. And it is very good luck I got it while camping versus coming down that big hill today on I-90.
Today was the first time to consider letting Dutchie go outside. The last two days have been noisy with her crying to go out. But this campground is pretty nice, and no deep woods close by like with Taylorsville. So I let her out when she started screaming around 4 PM. She returned, then went out again and again. At 10:30 pm she has now been out and returned 5 times. She knows where home is, no matter where it sits.
Fix a tire over the next couple days, and will see a lot of The Badlands. I hear there is a golf
course in Wall.
Only drove about 215 miles today. Right at 1200 total.
California Chrome may be a bit tarnished after tomorrow...
By: joealaska, 1:37 AM GMT on June 05, 2014
Last night DotMom cooked up an EXCELLENT last supper. I went home and put the car on the tow dolly for the first time. Took my time. Took care of last minute stuff and I was suddenly READY.
I talked with ED and JEANETTE at the camp. He was a former longshoreman who ran the gantry cranes unloading container ships. Like at Dutch. Now he has an RV he shares with 3 horses. Nice guy. Lives in Cincinnati.
He and his wife went into their RV, and I noticed there was music playing inside. Pretty loudly. In a little while I noticed one of their horses had slipped out of its bridal and was walking around loose. In the dark around 10 PM. I made a half hearted yell over to their RV, but no response. I figured the horse would hand around, so I let it go.
I was not going to knock on that door when that RV was rocking.
Up early today, but I took my time and left at 9:15. No need to hurry and get stuck in the AM rush in the bridge construction. ED and I talked again. He was suddenly interested in my RV. I think he was about to make an offer. But finally, he just gave me his card and said to call him if I ever wanted to sell.
I got gas twice. In Taylorsville, KY. and northern Illinois. The second time my light was warning me LOW FUEL.
Stopped by a WalMart in Iowa City, at least I tried. Suddenly I was driving through IOWA UNIVERSITY. Curving steep roads, me dragging a car through. Finally I called WalMart. They said I was on the wrong RT. 1. Then they mentioned I was near Coralville, my original target.
I proceeded to that Walmart and here I sit. It was pretty easy, there are at least 6 other big RVs here with me.
Lots of road construction. It slowed me down, and it was a bit scary at one point. Narrow lanes set on the far left of the concrete, right next to soft grass and dirt. There were several spots where it was obvious SOME big rig had floated off the concrete and into the soft grass, deep tire ruts. I did not want to be the next ruts. At one point I was in a 3 lane situation in between two BIG rigs. Tight.
515 miles today. Got here around 8 PM Eastern.
Next goal is Wall, South Dakota and The Badlands. I could get there in a big day tomorrow, but I will break it up.
By: joealaska, 1:47 PM GMT on June 02, 2014
Well the big BIRTHDAY BASH WEEKEND is technically over, but my sister and her husband from Boise (Cyber and Senor Llave) are still here until this evening, so we will all go out to a final lunch today.
Dot Mom is already streaking toward 81.
Later today I plan on hitting Walmart and bulking up on the basics, from charcoal to cat litter, so that I leave town Weds set up for the near future.
Late yesterday afternoon we had a heavy rain here at the camp, another shower late last night. Storms likely later today and tonight. Rain is in the forecast for the next few days. The cruise could have a wet beginning, no big deal. There is a chance of severe weather here locally.
I spent most of Thursday getting LEGGS worked on to be ready for the cruise. Replacing a tire is not such a simple process with that big dog. Friday I dropped off my car and spent a bunch of money getting that ready.
The weekend was a big success. Friday we rented some interesting bicycles and rode across The Big Four railroad bridge. This is near downtown Louisville, a big old bridge that has been converted into a walking / biking bridge over the Ohio River and over to Indiana. The bikes are set up for two people pedaling, with your feet more in front of you rather than below. There is room for someone else in back. Dot Mom sat there. It was a tight spot that took some agility to get in and out.
It is 3 days later and my knees have almost recovered from the pedaling.
Saturday we saw BOOK OF MORMON. I think it is the only real Broadway production I have seen. It was great. The main characters were very talented. Normally dance numbers do not do much for me, but this was the exception. The dance moves were made to be humorous, and it was all very entertaining. There was a lot of profanity and some of the subject matter was pretty off-color. But we all knew it was coming, and it was pretty funny. The production was at Kentucky Center for the Arts. First time I had been there and it was an impressive venue. The place was packed.
Saturday night we had a nice dinner at home and several good family friends stopped by. I have plenty of pictures, most of them personal. But I have some that you should enjoy seeing, will try to post later.
Tomorrow night there will be a final dinner with the family.
48 hours from right now I will be pulling out.
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