Margie and Donna asked last night about towing the boat behind the fifth wheel. The states on both coasts definitely do not allow this kind of towing. Also the states in the middle part of the country restrict the length you can be. I have a map that shows all of the lengths allowed in each state. We will be about 70’ long.
However, out here in the wide open spaces of the Wild Wild West the length is usually 65’ or 70’ and here in Montana it is 75’. When we had our Hitchhiker we were 72’ long. This is what we looked like then and we will look pretty much the same now.
We can tow from Montana through Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and back to Montana. You will see quite a few rigs looking like ours here in Montana because so many of the guys are fishermen.
It does get quite interesting at times when you’re trying to get into a station to get fuel. Also, you have to unhitch the boat when you get to a campground before you can get into a spot. Then you have to figure out where to park the boat. Jim knows that this is not something I really like to do and I will not drive the truck with the boat in tow. But he is comfortable with it.
Here are a couple of pictures of the inside of the Montana. Jim is in the process of putting down a new kitchen floor which I think will really help. The old floor was in pretty bad shape so we just ripped it out.
Not the best pictures but gives you some idea. The floor is covered by rugs in these pictures but here’s a little piece of the linoleum that we’re getting rid of.
When Jim finishes the new floor, I’ll post a picture of it.
Don’t ask the question if you aren’t willing to make big changes.
Awhile ago, we were out to dinner with friends and somehow the conversation got around to the “what if” scenarios. Somebody asked Jim what he would do if I were to die next week or next month. His answer was – sell the motorhome and buy a fifth wheel. When asked why he would do that, he said he wanted to be able to take his boat with him which he can’t do with the motorhome unless he gives up his vehicle.
When we got home we continued to carry on this conversation and it has led to big changes in our lives, once again. Guess that’s what we get for sitting in one place for so long. A need for change.
For the last couple of months we have been on the hunt for a truck and a fifth wheel. Both are hard to find up here (at least the one’s in our price range) because the oil field workers are snapping them up as soon as they become available.
We did find a fifth wheel (after looking at every one in town and many hundreds on line). We had already put a deposit on one at Pierce RV but we needed to make a trip to the post office. Coming out of the post office drive way there’s a small RV dealer right across the street. Jim said, “Let’s just stop in here and look.” We found one we liked better and that was actually in much better shape inside. Pierce was great about our deposit.
So we are now the owners of a 2004 Keystone Montana 29.5’ fifth wheel. But no truck. The RV dealer was wonderful about holding our rig for us on his lot until we could come up with a truck.
Trying to find a Chevy Silverado Crew Cab 2500HD diesel is next to impossible. Once again, that’s the truck that they want out in the oil fields. Since Jim retired from Denny Menholt Chevy here in Billings, all of the salesmen out there were trying to find him a truck and not having any luck at all. We test drove a couple of trucks but weren’t happy with them. Found one at Lithia Dodge and test drove it. Made some really strange noises that I wasn’t comfortable with.
Finally found a truck on line at Chevrolet of Helena. Helena is about 240 miles west and north of Billings. Jim called the dealership and they still had the truck. He told the guy he would be there that afternoon to look at it. He threw a couple of things in a plastic bag suitcase and took off. Spent many hours negotiating on the truck (I really don’t like the way they sell cars but Jim knows how to play their game.) They finally gave us what we wanted as a trade-in on the Avalanche and came down in price to what we said we’d pay on the truck. About 6:30 he left Helena. Got as far as White Sulphur Springs and said that’s enough. Spent the night and came home the next day.
We have a truck – need to have the hitch installed. We hadn’t gotten rid of our super glide hitch from our Hitchhiker but we needed new brackets. Takes a week to get the brackets. Need a tool box, a hitch put on the RV (for the boat), a spray in bed liner, and I can’t remember what all. It’s been an endless round of taking the truck in somewhere for something.
Last night we took possession of our fifth wheel and moved it to a storage lot. Today new tires and then the horrendous job of moving which I hate, hate, hate!!!
As you can tell, we really haven’t been sitting around waiting for parts to come in on the motorhome. By the way, we still haven’t heard from Hansers about the parts on the recall. Guess we’ll wait until we get moved out before we start pushing them on it.
Anyone want to buy a beautiful low mileage motorhome?
Just a little more history of Lewistown.
Lewistown once belonged to the Blackfoot Indians. In 1874, Fort Lewis was established there by Company "F" of the 7th U.S. Infantry to provide military protection for people traveling on the Carroll Trail, the then shortest route between Carroll, MT and Helena, MT. Lewistown is named after this fort.
The first permanent settlers of Lewistown were Metis, descendants of the French and Indian. Lewistown was also the site of a gold rush when gold was discovered in the Judith Mountains in 1880.
In the 1800’s Montana was still part of the Old West and Lewistown was the site of a shootout.
On July 4, (1884) ….. Occurred the killing of two desperadoes, not by Vigilantes, but by local citizens. This event illustrates the desperate characters that infested Central Montana at that time. The two desperadoes, "Rattlesnake Jake" Fallon and Charles "Longhair" Owens, appeared at the celebration dressed in buckskin suits and armed to the teeth. Without provocation, except a quarrel over a horse race, they attempted to fight it out with the citizens. A gun battle ensued in the streets of the little town, in which the two desperadoes, fighting gamely to the finish, were finally riddled with bullets and killed. One citizen was killed.
If you look down into this box, you can see Spring Creek running right under the bar about 8 feet below. The bar was built right over the running water. The original owner allegedly built the hole so he could fish while he worked. Then people started using the hole for other purposes. People used to come in here after the bar closed and float down the river and steal booze. Now, there's a lock on the hole in the floor.
It’s hard to see in the pictures we took, and it’s still really muddy because of the floods and snow melt this year. But definitely a visit is worthwhile for those who like these quirky attractions like I do.
I was able to drag Jim away from the race track so we could do a little exploring while we were in Lewistown.
There is a memorial to Ed McGivern who was better at shooting a handgun than anyone, ever. Definitely a must see for us. Except one major problem. The road had been completely washed out this year because of the floods and snow melt. We couldn’t get there from anywhere without walking for miles. This will have to go on a back burner until sometime in the future.
This is the world’s third largest fresh water spring. It produces over 90 million gallons of 99.9 percent pure water every day.
There’s a beautiful park at the Springs so we were able to take a walk and enjoy the sound of the water. There were several artists there with an instructor. I didn’t take pictures of any of their work but to my very untrained eye, a couple of them were really good.
After leaving this park we stopped to check on the girls and let them out for a short walk. Then we headed to the Judith Mountains.
The Judith Mountains are a small mountain range that lies just northeast of Lewistown, MT. From the highway, these mountains don’t look too imposing but they are really quite rugged when you get into them.
Lewistown is at 3,963 feet. The highest point is Judith Peak at 6,400 ft. Kevin and Ruth (http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com) hiked up Mount Washington but Jim and I chose to drive up to Judith Peak. If we tried to hike it, we would still be there a hundred years from now.
The road was in rough shape because of all the snow this past winter but definitely doable. And the views from the top are well worth the drive. There were several places where the road had been washed out but there wasn’t much traffic so we could maneuver around them.
Some of the flowers at the top of Judith Peak:
It was a wonderful drive, great weather and perfect company.
If you think we were going to let Todd have all the fun at the race track, think again.
Both Jim and I were very impressed at how well Todd can handle his car around this track. We reached speeds of 100 mph on the back stretch and averaged 60 mph throughout the course. Todd has this really neat app for his phone that tells him all this information.
Family time – the best time.
We didn’t get out of town until almost 7:00 p.m. Friday night. Thank goodness it stays light until after 9:00. Todd was driving our pick up and towing his car while we followed along behind in the motorhome.
There’s a big sign that says “Overnighters Welcome”. You don’t see that real often. Restrooms are clean and the grass is mowed. We had stopped here last year for lunch and knew that it would be a great place to stay.
I’m going to tell you about the car thing in a separate post. Needless to say it was not a “car show”.
I am so excited. We actually get to go somewhere this week-end. Not far and only for the week-end, but I don’t even care. The wheels are going to move and it’s out of Billings.
We’re headed for Lewistown, MT. Todd, our son, has some kind of car show there. Don’t ask me what he’s doing because I don’t listen when he and his Dad get to talking cars. Maybe after this week-end I’ll know a little bit more. But not if I can help it.
We’re leaving tonight after Todd gets off work and we’ll be back on Sunday afternoon. Todd will be driving our truck and towing his car and we’ll be in the motorhome.
I’m sure I can find a couple of things of interest while I’m there. Just looking at something besides the drive way is good enough for me.
I’m struggling to come up with blog posts other than we’re still waiting for the recall part to get here to fix the fuel system in the motorhome.
However, Sue at Big Dawg and Freeway had one of the most creative posts I’ve read. If you get a chance, please go to her blog at: http://bigdawgandmumzilla.blogspot.com and enjoy. It’s titled the “Shoes of Life”.
Thanks Sue for making my day.