Friday, September 10, 2021

2021 Summer Reflections

Canyon Ferry.  High  90. Low 58

Our summer at Canyon Ferry has come to an end. The boat has been tucked away at my brother-in-law's place and its time for us to move on. 


Reflecting back on this summer it has been smoke, wind, and fire. Definitely not what we were looking forward to. 

The fishing 🎣, when Jim was able to go out, was lousy. The water level dropped and continued dropping the two months we were there.  With the extreme heat, the fish went into hiding so they wouldn't be boiled. There were many days when the smoke was so bad Jim couldn't breathe if he went outside. Then there was the relentless wind. 

We were lucky that there weren't fires too close to us. There was one across the lake and we could see the smoke billowing over the top of the mountain. 

To top things off, Jim hurt his back and neck so that stopped the fishing for a couple of weeks.  Needless to say, our freezer is not full of walleye this year.

We did get to spend some time with my sister and hubby which was special. We also got to celebrate our birthdays since we are both July babies.

 


We were at their house to store the boat, and I was in the house visiting with my sister. when I happened to look up and saw these three bucks in her yard enjoying her apple tree.



Then this guy stopped and looked right at me through the window.


 



And our good friends, Ginny and Mickey, spent two wonderful weeks with us. Fun times.

The journey north gave us a chance to visit friends and explore a new "country". But the wind was not gentle breezes. We had some beautiful sunrises and sunsets as well as clouds.




 



Townsend has three beautiful murals painted by a young artist, Sophie Mathis.




 

So ends our summer at Canyon Ferry.  We will spend a week in Billings visiting our son and daughter-in-law. And then will begin the trek back to Arizona. 





Monday, August 23, 2021

Odds and Ends

 After the doctor evaluated Jim's neck on Friday, he determined that two more visits were needed and Jim agreed with him. He still has a little trouble turning his neck and has a pain running up into his head. Update: After two more sessions Jim is feeling great and can turn his head.

On Sunday we had a cold front move through. Wind gusts of 55 mph and a little rain. Then the temperatures started to drop. Down into the 40s tonight. But I'll take that over the 100s. Especially when the campground is full with big electric motor homes and fifth wheels running three air conditions and the wattage drops to 106 or 104.

A rather unique towing situation. A Tesla towing a retro rv. 


We had a couple of days of blue skies and I could see the lake and the mountains. It even cleared enough that we could see the sleeping giant in Helena. But the smoke and heat came back and the mountains disappeared. 


The water in the lake is receding and they keep moving the dock further out. Jim is still able to get the boat in the water but the catching is lousy.  This really has not been the summer we wanted it to be. 


 We headed into Helena to run errands and have Jim's final appointment with the chiropractor on Friday afternoon. It was hot outside and we soon realized that the truck was not cooling down at all. Not a good thing. It made for a very hot and windy trip to and from town with windows down.

After the doctor appointment we went to Meineke. The young man working there asked what year our truck was and then looked through the grill. He could see that we were leaking freon and the condenser was shot. They had to order the part and we have an appointment next Thursday to get it repaired. An estimate of $988. There is always something.  (Update: the repair has been done for $10 less than the estimate.)

The last time it rained we had a leak over on my side of the bed. Could not figure out where the water was coming in at. Jim climbed up and took a look. Saw a couple of small holes so when we were in Helena, we stopped at D&D RV and bought some Eternabond. Great stuff.

I do not want him on the roof but I'm not sure this arrangement was much better. 

The mask is because the smoke was so bad. This is the water test. No more leak. Which is good because the next day we had several days of rain. Most of it light but a couple of downpours.



Looks like rain to me.  And the rain was more than welcomed. It put a really big dent in our fires and gave the wonderful firefighters a chance to catch their breath. Some of the fires won't be out until it snows but most are under control.


Jim defrosted our freezer.


The Sturgis Rally is over.  It's hard to get a clear picture when the smoke is so thick.

 


This rig pulled into the campground for a night. We figured maybe it was being transported to it's destination. You don't normally see this kind of trailer on the road.

A big rock thrown by a big semi gave us quite a dent. I'm glad it didn't hit the windshield which would have shattered. Hopefully we can get it undented in Billings.


Like the title says - odds and ends of life.


 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Jim Update

Canyon Ferry, MT   High 96  Low 60  smoke, hot, more smoke

Jim Update

An extremely painful and stressful week.  Needless to say, the shot and pain pills really didn't do any good. Especially since he only got five pain pills. Neither he nor I were getting any sleep and it was so hard to watch him suffer. Finally on Friday, the light dawned. And he made an appointment with his chiropractor on Monday. He has been to Dr. Fife twice before and is really impressed with his knowledge and skills. 

After one session the difference is amazing. Jim can turn his head a little and the pain is definitely manageable. He has another appointment on Wednesday and then again on Friday. At that time they can evaluate how well he is doing.  I am a much happier camper and so is Jim.

In other news - a lot of planes at the little airport next to the campground. I decided they had a fly-in for a breakfast get together because shortly after 10 they all started to fly away.

  

The Wolf Creek fire is just across the lake from us. This picture was taken as we were almost to the campground. It has now burned nearly 15,000 acres and several people have had to evacuate. The next day looking across where the fire is, I can no longer see the lake or the mountains because of the smoke. Just really dreary and sad.

 

This fire was started by lightning on July 10th. Last night I could see the flames and smoke as the fire came over the mountain and was spreading towards the lake.

This one was taken at night and we could see the flames. But my camera doesn't take a good picture. That little light was actually red.

This picture is clouds with smoke drifting through and by them.



Tonight, we've had a little bit of rain and I can't see the mountains but I'm sure hoping this rain has helped the fire fighters. 

There should be mountains in front of us as we head out of the campground.

 

We receive quite a bit of mail especially packages from Amazon and our pharmacy. Because we have been here so many times, they have given Jim his own mailbox up in the mail room. This just cracked me up.


 

And yes our reservations are made for next year. We decided we like this site better than our original one because it is much quieter with less road noise. So if you're up this way next July or August, come see us.

Friday, July 30, 2021

An Emergency Room Visit

Canyon Ferry MT - no change - smoke and hot

Been pretty quiet around here since Mick and Ginny left. Jim has been fishing but not catching and I'm reading and doing online jigsaw puzzles.

Sunday afternoon our friend Vaughn and some buddies dropped by after a day of kayaking on the lake. Vaughn and I have been friends for over 45 years. Always good to see old friends and be able to share a hug.

I also found out that my childhood friend, Dianna, died on Saturday. We saw her in Apache Junction before we left and knew that we wouldn't see her again on this earth. I miss you my friend. 

(I document all of the following so I can refer back to it if necessary.)

However, things changed on Saturday when Jim started complaining about his right shoulder and neck hurting. I figured he'd pulled a muscle or stretched it too much but we couldn't figure out what he did or when. 

By Sunday he was in terrible pain and could not use his right arm at all. He couldn't straighten up because it hurt so bad. Tylenol took the edge off for a little while and then the pain came back with a vengeance.  

The last time he had a pain in his back and thought he had pulled a muscle, he actually had a heart attack and needed bypass surgery. (he reassured me that this was different and it definitely was not his heart) So Monday morning saw us at the ER. Now you need to remember that Townsend is a small town - 2091 people. They are doing lots of construction on the hospital so we had to find the parking lot for the hospital. When we did find it, there was parking for 12 vehicles. Visitors and patients. 


We walked into the ER (with masks on) and checked in at a small cubicle. 

 


Then I looked at the waiting room. There are exactly four chairs in the very small waiting area. Nobody else there so Jim and I got to sit. 


They took Jim back almost immediately.  I stayed in the waiting room. Several folks came in but at different times. Two of them needed blood work, another guy had to see a doc about his hand, and who knows what others were doing there. All very interesting.


The doctor came out to talk to me. She explained that Jim was having a muscle spasm. They gave him an injection 💉 which ended up not helping at all and a pain pill which helped a little. They also gave him a prescription for 5 more pills. But basically there is not much they can do and he needs to "power" through til the muscle decides to loosen up. Supposed to do as much stretching as he can. 

By Friday he was beginning to feel much better even though he still couldn't turn his head or reach his arm up.  We are hoping by next week, he will be feeling much better.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

A Truly Montana Birthday

 Canyon Ferry, MT   smoke, smoke and more smoke   High's in the 90s lows in the 60s

I am getting tired of the smoke so I can just imagine how all the firefighters are hating it. My heart and thanks goes out to all of them. We have six firefighters who have been seriously injured trying to save Montana homes and wildlife.

Ginny and Jim did some more fishing but no catching. However, one day when Jim went out by himself he did catch enuf for us to have a couple of walleye dinners. 

 

Not every day is sightseeing and fun. We still have the ordinary everyday chores of life - like doing laundry. We loaded up our truck and Ginny and Mick loaded theirs and we headed to Helena. First stop was the Breakfast Club for some really great breakfast burritos. We really like this place


After breakfast we headed over to the laundromat. Ginny and I did laundry while the guys took the trucks to be washed. Mickey had smashed a whole lot of grasshoppers on the front end of his truck and needed to get rid of them.

So Ginny - why isn't that dryer going around and around like it's supposed to?

After getting chores done we all did some Walmart shopping and then headed home.


Sunday night we bought fried chicken from Bob's grocery store in Townsend (it's really good) and had Ginny's potato salad and watermelon.

On Monday I had one of those days that are just as soon forgotten but birthdays seem to come every year no matter what. This year was special because we were able to celebrate with Mickey and Ginny.

We were going to go to dinner at the Big Bull in Winston which is just up the road from the campground. However, when we got there, they were overrun with a party of 42 (it isn't a very big place) so we decided to find someplace else. There is another bar and grill at Toston which is south of Townsend. We had never been there but decided to check it out.


The Bunkhouse is a truly Montana experience. It's a small bar with a pool table and a couple of slot machines. The drunk on-the-prowl female was trying to stay on her stool. The guys at the bar were trying to avoid her.  The bartender/grill cook was kept busy because she was the only one there. 

 

The food was pretty good. I even got serenaded. Somebody spread the word that it was my birthday and this guy sitting at the bar said that after he finished eating he would sing happy birthday for me. I didn't get his name but he really did have a great voice.
 

 

With all the smoke we've had some colorful sunrises and sunsets.




All too soon two weeks were gone and Mickey and Ginny were headed on to Sheridan for more adventures.

There they go.


 


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Rain and Wind, Wind and Rain - Last Chance Tour Train

 Helena, MT - cold and windy


Tuesday morning the four of us have tickets on the Last Chance Tour Train in Helena. It was overcast, windy and quite chilly when we headed into town.


Parking at the Tour Train is hard to find but the train people have a shuttle that runs from a parking lot about three blocks away to the train. The woman driving the shuttle led us to the parking lot and Jim and Mickey helped her secure her signs which kept wanting to blow over in the wind. (notice Ginny's hair blowing in the wind)


 Our train and engineer/tour conductor



As the train took off so did the rain. That's right. RAIN!! We haven't seen rain in weeks and when we finally decide to take the tour, the rain POURED down. The train has a roof but no windows. 


So the rain came down and the wind blew and we got very very wet.  Jim and I had coats but Mickey and Ginny are tougher than we are and survived without coats.

There are going to be lots of pictures in this post taken by Ginny, Jim and me. 

The tour takes you by the beautiful Cathedral of St. Helena (the city is replacing water lines all over the city and getting around was a little difficult) i.e. - we didn't get to go by the front of the cathedral


Reeder's Alley, a restored miners' village from the gold rush days and the beginnings of Helena. 


Check out the Old Fire Tower which was built in 1876 and the Blue Stone House built by a wealthy madam but never finished.

 


The unique architecture along Last Chance Gulch complete with giant lizards and gargoyles




 The old federal building where I worked many many years ago


The State Capitol Building



Original governor's mansion


The mansion district - homes built by the many millionaires that lived in Helena 



 

This house is not part of the tour but I certainly find it interesting.

 

This doe and her fawn (can you see him nursing) were by one of the houses on a main street in town.

After the extremely wet and cold and windy tour we decided we would go say hi to my brother-in-law and sister while we dried out. Remember how they were tearing up the road when we were staying there and we had to get out? Well, it was a whole lot worse. Jim was able to find a few alleys that wound around and finally got us to their house but it was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. When we left about a half hour later, they had closed off one of the alleys we used to get in and Jim had to find another way out.

After working our way back out of the road mess, we went to Pita Pit for a sandwich and the only way to end our day was a stop at the Big Dipper on Last Chance Gulch for ice cream.