Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Helena Spot

Helena, MT    High 85  Low 55

We are really lucky because when we’re in Helena we have the best spot ever to park our rig. My brother-in-law owns this lot and his Mom (when she was alive) used to have a mobile home on it. That means there is electric, water and sewer already set up. Jim had to do a little tweaking to make it work for the RV but not much.


My sister and her hubby live just around the corner on the next lot. We are on the northwestern edge of Helena on the road to Missoula. We are sitting right above the highway so there is a lot of road noise. However, after almost five years on the road, neither one of us is bothered by that. Don’t even notice it most of the time.


Gorgeous views.


Lots of critter hunting.


This pen (which is across the road) is used for rescued bears. There aren’t any in there right now. Sure would love to see some of them sitting on these poles.


I’m tired – leave me alone.


Jim has been fishing and is a very happy man. Scooter gets to hunt, Skittlez gets to be inside sleeping, I’m reading and relaxing. The weather has been perfect – some rain but not horrible storms. We are going to be about 10 degrees above normal by this week-end but that’s only in the 90’s so I can handle that.

Not going to be much to blog about for awhile. I am finally getting caught back up on blog reading. Still hate Windows 8 but it’s not fighting me quite as much. Guess that’s progress.


Have a great day.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Journey to Helena

Billings, MT  High 82  Low 56

Todd has Friday’s off so we took him to lunch at the Burger Dive. I needed a burger fix and Todd hadn’t been there. We came home very happy campers.


The weatherman said there was a 90% chance of showers for Saturday. We figured we’d stay put and head out on Sunday. Got up Saturday to beautiful, sunny skies. Jim still had a couple of things to get done so we headed out of town about 2:00.

This is what the skies looked like when we left. And the wind was really blowing.



We drove out of the storm and had nice weather til we got to Livingston and the winds picked up again. The wind always blows in Livingston – always. We took a short break in Livingston to give Jim’s hands and arms a rest and then started up Bozeman Pass.


Montana is so incredibly green this year. They have had lots of rain and it is beautiful.


Hopefully it will continue to rain occasionally so we don’t dry out and burn up like last year.


Another storm was headed towards us so we spent the night in the parking lot of Wheat Montana (about 65 miles from Helena). We were joined by a motorhome and several semi’s. We rocked through the rain and wind and all was calm when we went to bed.

Headed out the next morning and are now settled into our spot in Helena for the next two months. Jim can hardly wait to go fishing.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thank You Rick

Billings, MT  High  68   Low 52

Jim finally gave up on Live Writer. I gave up two days ago. So I sent an e-mail to Rick.

Here’s come our computer knight on his white horse. I let him take control of my computer and whal-la, I now have Live Writer.

We’re still in Billings because of the computer. We planned on leaving tomorrow but the weatherman says there is a 90% chance of storms tomorrow. However, he’s been wrong all week. If it’s storming, we’ll stay put until Sunday. If not, we’re headed to Helena tomorrow.

Had dinner with Judy and Gary one night. Took the camera, but no pictures. We’re still trying to convince them they need to come south with their motorhome for at least a month this winter.

Jan and Bill came through town and stopped to join us for lunch. Took the camera, but no pictures. They were headed down to Wyoming on their way to Escapade.

Haven’t got all my pictures moved over to the new computer yet. Still a lot of stuff to figure out.

Thanks again Rick.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Billings, MT  High 88  Low 54

Not the new computer, that’s for sure. I’m using my old beast to get this blog post made. And right at the moment I’m love the old thing. Major problem is the fact that it doesn’t want to charge any longer and the battery only lasts about 10 minutes. This is the second battery we’ve put in. Just not going to last too much longer.

Anyhow – we arrived in Billings on Saturday afternoon. We were able to make it into our son’s subdivision and into his driveway even with all the road construction.


Sunday was Father’s Day. When Todd got home from work, Jim threw some steaks on the grill and we had mashed potatoes and corn on-the-cob.

Monday was Todd’s 27th birthday. We took him and his beautiful bride, Michaela, out to dinner. Michaela’s birthday was June 3 and their first wedding anniversary is on the 24th. Lots of fun times to celebrate.


Tuesday was my doctor’s appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon who repaired my broken ankle and ruptured Achilles tendon.

In this first x-ray, you can see, on the left, where a piece of the ankle sheared off and is standing straight up. It’s supposed to be laying down.


Here is what it looks like after the repair.


I wanted to discuss with the surgeon the possibility of having the screws removed. I have trouble wearing shoes because the back of the shoe rubs against the ankle and becomes very painful. However, the good doc told me that it’s not the screws that are causing the problem but a thing called a “pump bump” or Haglund’s Deformity.

A “pump bump” is a bone enlargement on the back of the heel and the soft tissue near the Achilles tendon becomes irritated when the bony enlargement rubs against shoes.

Heredity and fractures are the main causes of Haglund’s deformity. Normally, surgery can be done to shave off the enlargement. However, in my case, when I ruptured my Achilles tendon, they had to drill holes in my ankle to sew the tendon back together again. Therefore, the surgeon could only take a very small part of the enlargement without running into problems with the tendon.

Surgery is not going to be an option for me. I’ve lived with this problem for almost five years now and will continue to do just fine.

Jim continues to work with Windows8. He has a lot more patience than I do.


Billings, MT  High 92  Low 54

New computer – total frustration. No blog. Later.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Storms Change Our Plans

Sheridan, WY  High 70  Low 42

Slight change in our plans. We had originally said we would be pulling into Billings on Friday. Well, the weather decided otherwise.

The street to our son’s house is completely torn up for construction and it’s been RAINING. That means a whole lot of mud. We figured we’d spend an extra day in Sheridan and then get into Billings on Saturday which is supposed to be nice and sunny.

The Big Horn Mountains still have snow on them.


Or really low lying clouds.


We are at Peter D’s RV Park. A great park – lots of grass with level pull-throughs. Probably the most pet-friendly park ever. Huge fenced dog run and acres of unfenced area for dogs to run that know how to behave themselves.

We set up and then the storm blew in.



Wind, rain and hail. Very happy that the hail wasn’t big enough to do much damage. The skies cleared and all was quiet. UNTIL the middle of the night. 50 mph winds. Not a whole lot of sleep for me but Jim didn’t hear a thing. I do not understand (and it certainly isn’t fair) how most men can just go to sleep and nothing disturbs them. No storm – just wind.

This dude is just hanging out on one of the corners in downtown Sheridan.


Got some laundry done and we’re enjoying beautiful, calm skies. To Billings on Saturday.


Happy Father’s Day

Billings, MT   High 78  Low 53

Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dad’s out there.

Dad, I miss you every day and I am so grateful for all the lessons I learned from you. 

harrold jim todd

To the Father of my son. I love you. In fact, one of the reasons I fell in love with you, is because I knew how much you loved your sons and I saw what a fantastic Dad you were.

harrold jim todd harrold jim todd

Thank you both for being a part of my life.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

To The Planets and Beyond

Casper, WY  High  92  Low 57

The next stop on our journey north was Casper. We pulled into the Fort Caspar RV Park in the early afternoon. This park got some pretty good reviews but I was not impressed at all. It is a Passport America park and for $20 a night, I would stay here again over night. Sites are nothing but big rocks, back-ins, and close together. Lots of permanent residents and they do keep their sites reasonably neat. But they leave for work at 4:30 and 5:00 in the morning and are not quiet about it.

We got set up and decided that we really didn’t want to do a lot of site seeing. I think we’re starting to wear out. However, there was a four o’clock show at the Planetarium about the solar system that sounded okay.


The show was geared to a much younger audience but I learned a lot and rather enjoyed it. Guess we’re both still kids somewhere inside. The young man running the show talked really fast and mumbled so we missed a lot of what he was saying when he was identifying the constellations for us.

Ursa Major

Now does that really look like a bear to you? Not to me even after he pointed it out to us. Big Dipper I can find but that’s about it.


We took a journey to our eight planets and learned about each planet as we zoomed by. (I still have trouble with the fact that Pluto is no longer a planet.) I am also awed by the fact that astronomers are able to learn such incredible things about places we’ve never been.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Oregon Trail Ruts and Register Cliff

Guernsey, WY  High 100 Low 62

Marcie and Brian told us we really needed to stop in Guernsey and see the ruts that were left by the wagons of the pioneers. I found a city park, Larson Park, campground for $20 E/W. The campground is 1/2 mile from the ruts and 1 1/2 miles from Register Cliff.


The town of Guernsey lies directly on the old Oregon Trail on the North Platte River. In the 1840’s this area was known as the “emigrant’s wash tub.” Here in the North Platte River the pioneers washed clothes, watered stock and took baths.

Register Cliff


P1030963Register Cliff is a sandstone cliff that was a key landmark used by pioneers to verify they were on the correct path up to South Pass. Many emigrants chiseled the names of their families in the soft stone of the cliff. An estimated 500,000 emigrants used the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail through this area from 1843-1869 with up to one-tenth dying along the way.

register cliff The earliest signatures date to the late 1820s when trappers and fur traders passed through the area, but most of the names visible today were carved during the 1840s and 1850s when the Oregon Trail was at its height.

Oregon Trail Ruts


The sandstone rocks near Guernsey tell the story of the wagon trains of emigrants headed west in the mid-1800s. The trail ruts are carved into the stone. Some gouges are more than four feet deep!

ruts5 The first recorded use of this route was in 1812, when Robert Stuart and six companions returned to the East from the mouth of the Columbia River. The 1841 Bartleson-Bidwell party is generally recognized as the first wagon train of settlers to use the trail. And thousands followed in the next few years. The Oregon Trail soon became a clearly defined and well-used road. The Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express Trails followed this same route.


I am always humbled when I walk these paths where the pioneers traveled. I cannot imagine pulling a hand cart or traveling in a wagon with a team of oxen or walking all these long hard miles. In all kinds of weather. Many dying along the way. Some were motivated by greed heading for the gold fields, but most were just looking for a better way of life.

Flag Day

Sheridan, WY  High 68  Low 44


How much do you know about the U. S. Flag?

True/False Questions

1. The first flag on the moon was made of teflon.

2. The U. S. flag has 15 stripes.

3. Betsy Ross made the first flat.

4. Flag Day was started by a kindergarten teacher.

5. Saluting the flag fell out of favor during WWII.

6. The current flag was designed by a teenager.

7. Using a stars and stripes napkin is “flag abuse”.

8. It is illegal to buy flags made outside of the United States.

9. Flag day is considered a Federal holiday.

10. Vexillologists are people who study flags


1. False. On Jul 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin placed a nylon flag on the moon.

2. False. There are 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies.

3. False. There is no historical evidence to support this claim.

4. True. On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a NY kindergarten teacher, planned the celebration of the flag for his students. Flag Day became official in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson.

5. True. Saluting the flag was deemed too similar to Hitler’s Nazi salute, so Americans began holding their hand over their heart when singing the National Anthem.

6. True. 17 year old Robert Heft was the designer.

7. True. The American flag cannot be used on anything intended to be discarded after temporary use.

8. False. China is the largest exporter of U. S. flags.

9. False. Flag Day has never been made an official Federal holiday.

10. True. Vexillology, a combination of the Latin word vexillum ("flag") and the Greek suffix –logy ("study"), is the scientific study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NCAR – Wyoming Supercomputing Center

Cheyenne, WY   High 92  Low 54


National Center for Atmospheric Research

If you have any interest at all in computers or weather, you need to stop at this visitor center. Some of the pictures below were taken from their website.


“This supercomputing center provides advanced computing services to scientists across the nation in a broad range of disciplines, including weather, climate, oceanography, air pollution, space weather, computational science, energy production, and carbon sequestration. It also houses a premier data storage and archival facility that holds, among other scientific data, unique historical climate records.”

I will be the first to admit that I do not understand computers or the weather but I found this place fascinating. And some of the exhibits were simple enough for even me to understand.

P1030956 We had the most fantastic guide, Maryann Palmer. Be sure to ask for her when you visit because she is full of great information and you can tell she really enjoys what she is doing. She spent a great amount of time with us answering any and all questions.

The visitor center area isn’t large but the size of their computer certainly is.

Scientists from all over the world can make use of this computer to help them predict weather patterns as well as climate changes

This is it – Yellowstone!!!


NWSC (NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center) named their first supercomputer Yellowstone after the world’s first national park and in honor of Wyoming’s important role in making the NWSC a reality.

This machine is capable of 1.5 quadrillion calculations per second – or, in computing terms. 1.5 petaflops. FLOPS stands for “floating point operations per second.”

visitor center2

These are just a few of the air filters used in cooling the computers. They are located on the floor below Yellowstone. They recycle the heat from the computer to heat the floors and the sidewalks of their facility. Then they vent in the winds of Wyoming to help with the cooling system.


How long do you think it would take for you to count to 1.5 quadrillion? Answer: If you counted one number per second without a break, it would take you well over 47 million years to count that high.

visitor center1

NCAR’s first supercomputer, known as the Cray-1A, was acquired in 1977. Each replacement has been many times more powerful than its predecessor. Computer technology has historically doubled in power about every 18 months.


Touring NCAR’s Boulder, CO operation has moved a whole lot closer to the top of my bucket list. 

Please visit their website at: and read their frequently asked questions for really great information.

Cheyenne Trolley Tour

Cheyenne, WY   High 92  Low 58


We have found that one of the best ways to learn about the history of a city or town is to take a tour train or trolley. Our tour guide was great. He really knew a lot about the city of Cheyenne and was enjoyable to listen to.

The only problem is, by the time I get ready to write the blog, I’ve forgotten most of what he told us.

The tour starts at the Depot. There are several museums in Cheyenne and the trolley stops at each one. If you want to get off and go to the museum, the trolley will be back in 90 minutes to pick you up. We decided not to go to any of the museums. Next time we can fit in a museum or two.


We stopped at the Capitol Building which is beautiful. But from where we were, I couldn’t get the whole building to fit in a picture.



P1030924Chief Washakie, a Shoshoni Indian, earned a reputation as a fierce warrior, skilled politician and diplomat, great leader of the Shoshone people, friend to white men. Washakie granted right-of-way through Shoshone land in western Wyoming to the Union Pacific Railroad, aiding the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The famed leader and warrior died at the age of 102 in 1900.

Wyoming is a very progressive state. They were the first state to allow women the right to vote. They also had the first women Justice of the Peace in the United States, Esther Hobart Morris.

Can’t do a tour in Cheyenne without having a cowboy statue.


We also stopped to see Big Boy.


Isn’t he a beauty?


Many towns have artists decorate either horses, or bison, or bears or other items and then auction them off to raise money. Cheyenne chose cowboy boots. There are 28 of these boots all over town. We didn’t take the time to go find them all, but these two were outside the entrance to the depot.

P1030918 P1030919

The trolley tour was definitely a wonderful way to get an introduction to Cheyenne.