Saturday, July 30, 2011

FLOORED

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After: IMG_2533

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

MORE ON OUR NEW HOME

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.

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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.

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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.

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When Jim finishes the new floor, I’ll post a picture of it.

AND THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS

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?

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A RIVER RUNS UNDER IT

Main street looking towards the Judith MountainsIMG_2416

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.

image A place you must visit while in Lewistown is the Montana Tavern. No not for the drinking – but for the wooden box with a plexiglass top sits to your left as you walk in the door.

image 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.

IMG_2495It’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.

 

 

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Monday, July 25, 2011

BIG SPRINGS AND JUDITH PEAK

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.

IMG_2432 On our way back to the RV we stopped at Big Springs.

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the world’s third largest fresh water spring. It produces over 90 million gallons of 99.9 percent pure water every day.

 

 

 

IMG_2436 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.

The water was crystal clear. This picture was taken looking down into the water from the bridge.IMG_2438

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.

IMG_2492 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.

IMG_2451Lewistown 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.

This gal greeted us as we started our journey up.IMG_2444

IMG_2449 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.

IMG_2490In this picture, the whole road was washed out and they had built a one lane detour around it. (That’s not a shadow on the road, that’s the hole.)

 

 

 

IMG_2456 Views from the top.

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IMG_2458 In the 1950’s and 1960’s the US Air Force operated a radar station situated at the top of Judith Peak.

 

 

 

Looking at the peak about 1/3 of the way from the top. You can barely see the towers at the peak.IMG_2488

Some of the flowers at the top of Judith Peak:

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It was a wonderful drive, great weather and perfect company.

NEED FOR SPEED - PART II


video

I've been trying for two days to get this video uploaded and it finally did. Just wanted to share a little bit more of the fun we had this last week-end.

NEED FOR SPEED

If you think we were going to let Todd have all the fun at the race track, think again.

Jim is more than ready for his ride. (Notice Todd’s red helmet and shoe laces to match his red car.)IMG_2505

Getting ready to take off.IMG_2507

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2508 He survived.

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s my turn. Michaela let me use her helmet. (Notice it’s green and Todd’s is red. Michaela has shoes with green laces. Guess what their wedding colors are.)IMG_2509

IMG_2511 Not sure if you can see the big grin on my face or not. I was having so much fun.

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.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

MAEC

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MAEC – Montana Automobile Enthusiasts Club.

That is the car club that our son belongs to. Remember, I don’t pay much attention to cars and I had no idea what we were actually doing in Lewistown.

IMG_2405 Saturday morning Jim fixed us a great breakfast of bacon and eggs and we took Todd’s car out to the race track.






IMG_2407 There were about 25 other cars there – most of them “rice burners”, but not all. A mustang and a couple of corvettes were also in the mix.








IMG_2408 The ages of the drivers ranged from 19 to probably late 60’s. They are from all over Montana and a couple come up from Wyoming. There were a few girlfriends and wives but mostly just guys with their beloved cars.






IMG_2418 These drivers are not there to race – except against themselves. They are part of DR.I.V.E. -  Driver In Vehicle Education. They have a road course set up that allows the drivers to test their driving skills around obstacles, at high speeds, and around curves and corners.





IMG_2425 After running a couple of laps, they stop and tinker with the cars and then run another couple of laps. When somebody puts their hood up, everyone comes over to discuss how the car ran and what they can do to make it run better.







I may not be a car person, but as a mother I can certainly appreciate the fact that this is a wonderful, safe way for kids (no matter their age) to let off steam. No drugs no alcohol allowed.

As Todd told me – “This course gives us a chance to do legally what you can’t do legally anywhere else.”


Saturday, July 23, 2011

HEADED FOR LEWISTOWN, MT

IMG_2389 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.

 

This picture is us leaving Billings – YIPPEE!!!IMG_2388

 

IMG_2403 We got to Lewistown about 9:10 and parked at a Kiwanis Park on the western edge of town. This is a really great park.

 

 

 

IMG_2402 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.

 

IMG_2401 Several of the car club members were also camped at the park. Some in tents, some in cars and one with a motorhome. These pictures were taken Saturday morning.

I’m going to tell you about the car thing in a separate post. Needless to say it was not a “car show”. 

Good Evening. IMG_2399

Friday, July 22, 2011

ON THE ROAD

IMG_2382 Moon over Montana

 

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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A GREAT BLOG POST

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.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

HOSPITAL VISITS

IMG_2349 One good thing about sitting here so long is that we have had an opportunity to visit two very good friends who have had to spend some time in the hospital. Both of them are doing well and should be roaring back into their lives shortly.




IMG_2351 The Billings Clinic Hospital has a beautiful little park area. Very peaceful even though it’s right besides the Emergency Room area. We were able to sit and relax a little after all the walking we had to do in the hospital. Jim really does have a hard time walking very far and we still had quite a ways to go to the truck. I offered to go get it but the offer wasn’t accepted. Very thoughtful of the hospital to offer this bench.


Love this picture of Todd and Michaela's Zoey girl.IMG_2386