Monday, June 22, 2009


For the first time in weeks, I am now caught up to date on posting to our blog. Today, we will be working on putting in the sprinkler system that goes with our new yard. Tomorrow are doctor appointments and getting together some more garage sale items. Wednesday we'll head for Helena where we're having a joint garage sale with my sister. So more later.


My sister, Judy, and I were able to spend Father's Day with our Dad in Sidney, MT. Had a wonderful visit. Dad will be 90 in September and I am so very grateful that he is still with us. He's doing fabulous except for knees. He has trouble walking but other than that feels really good. He's also still mentally sharp. Loves his computer and keeping in touch with everybody. He is one of the main reasons I love doing my blog. He can follow along with us as we journey and see those things that we've been seeing.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.


Our son Todd was a bridesman for one of his best friends, Jen Iszler. Definitely not traditional but a lot of fun. Isn't Jen's dress just gorgeous? She's such a cutie anyhow and made a beautiful bride. But it was a little strange seeing Todd up there with all the bridesmaids. And he told me the photographer had a little trouble figuring out how to pose him for the pictures. Especially when all the bridesmaids were leaning in to kiss the groom, Shane.

These are Todd's "dates" for the wedding. The real date is Michaela. The other "date" is the guy he walked up the aisle with for the wedding. They behaved themselves going down the aisle into the church. But temptation was too strong. After the ceremony they were the last ones to leave the altar and just had to link arms to walk up the aisle. Everybody cracked up. It was great fun.


Okay - guess what this is. Deer hoofprints in my new yard! Our major undertaking for this summer was to get a yard put in at the stix and bricks that our son is renting from us. We hired a guy to haul out rock and to bring in top soil and then hydroseed the soil. He finished in the morning and in the afternoon it started to rain and it rained and rained and rained. The seed loved the water but it left us with a lot of mud and the deer just had to let us know they were there. Hopefully, we'll get grass out of this. I'll let you know later this summer.


Guess what Jim did while I was being entertained by my classmates?

When Jim retired, his employer gave him a four day guided fishing trip on Fort Peck Lake in Northern Montana. This fulfilled one of the greatest dreams Jim has had. Look at the size of that walleye. Such good eating.

Jim was also able to take his good friend Bill with him on the trip and from the looks of the pictures, I think both guys had the time of their lives.


Most of our high school graduating class turns 60 this year so we decided to have a mini class reunion to celebrate turning 60.
These are just a few of the photos from the party. We had a fantastic time. But I'm not too sure about some of my classmates and I think senility might be creeping upon us. I, of course, behaved myself but - some of my classmates were sure that you could pop popcorn using your cell phones. Just picture it - a bunch of 60 year olds, sitting around a table, figuring out how to make all the cell phones ring at the same time, and then actually counting down to the push send. Gee whiz - it didn't work.

We also did a Garage Sale Scavenger Hunt. That was too much fun. You just can't believe how people will try to help you out when you explain you're on a scavenger hunt and show them your list. However, they may have been so helpful since they were really apprehensive of all these "seniors" running up to them yelling "The Eagle Has Landed." (There was a $50 cash prize involved.) They probably just wanted to get rid of us.

Eagle tattoos were also big business.


Meet Dave & Marge Jones. I guess I need to explain that we belong to a fulltiming RV group called Escapees. We have a discussion forum where we get to meet and chat with other people who love to live in their RV full time. Since Jim and I started full timing in January of 2009 we are part of the Graduating Class of 2009. The great thing is when you finally get to meet them in person.

Dave & Marge were passing through Billings and we met for lunch at Cracker Barrell. I also invited the guy in the suit and his wife - Gary & Judy Beiswanger. We also met them through the Escapees forum and I posted earlier about spending four hours eating dinner with them the first time we met. They live here in Billings and have yet to retire. I am working on them though. They need to be a part of the Class of 2009. Judy & Gary - are you reading this?

We had such a great visit. So hard to let the travelers get back on the road. Hopefully we can all meet up again when we can stay put for a few days and really get a chance to visit.
This couple was sitting outside of the restaurant on the grass and of course, we had to stop and visit with them also. They're not sure they're ready to leave their home and hit the road yet.


Meet Hardie & Diane Logan. They are part of the Graduating Class of 2009 and we were able to meet up with them in Glendive, MT. Their adventures in fulltiming have really challenged them but they are facing them with humor and trust in the Lord. I can hardly wait to meet up with them again. Safe travels, friends.


This is the high school I attended in Sidney, MT. They've really added on to it since I went there many many years ago. Sidney is a small town in northeast Montana. Probably has a population of between 5500 and 6000. When I was growing up, farming, especially sugar beets, were the big crops. Now it's oil. Therefore, Sidney really hasn't been hurt too badly by the recession. However, several of the stores downtown have closed which is really sad.


We stopped in Sidney, MT to visit with my Dad on our way to Billings. This was the first time I had a chance to see the headstone that my Dad bought for him and Mom. I think it is so perfect with the birds "going home". I'm sure Mom loves it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Our desert dog. We found out that Scooter is allergic to grass. While we were in the desert she didn't have any ear infections and she didn't break out anywhere on her fat body. But the minute we hit grass, she broke out and was miserable. So we have her on medication to get her healed up again and we're trying to avoid grass (ha ha). But she sure does love that sunshine.

Skittlez goes out, does what she has to do and then wants back in the house. Definitely not an outdoor dog.


Lefor, ND is a small community along the Enchanted Highway. I found very little information about the history of this area but according to legend - a soldier hid gold in the butte because of Indians. At sunset this butte appears to be black in color.

They also have this beautiful church for such a small community which was built in 1929. This was the first bank in Lefor. There is currently no bank or post office in this small community.

Monday, June 15, 2009


We really enjoyed this drive and the scuptures have to be seen.

Regent, ND - There's no better example of ND-can-do spirit than the Enchanted Highway, a 32-mile stretch of paved county highway between Regent and Gladstone, reaching I-94.
If you build it, they will come...

Thirty miles south of the nearest major highway, the town of Regent was dying, and Gary Greff decided someone had to do something about it.
A metal sculptor and retired school teacher, Gary started the work in 1990. His master plan was to create ten giant sculptures, one every few miles along Regency-Gladstone Road, paired with picnic areas and playground equipment. All the sculptures face north, toward the oncoming traffic from the interstate. Seven have been completed including the sculpture that towers along I-94, essentially an artistic billboard enticing travellers to exit and head south to Regent. Geese in Flight went up in 2001, next to the Gladstone exit -- and it is claimed to be the World's Largest Outdoor Sculpture.

There's a depiction of Teddy Roosevelt riding a bucking horse (3 miles north of Regent) and a Tin Family (1.5 miles north), which includes a propeller-headed boy holding a sucker.

A Covey of Pheasants (9 miles north) was completed in fall of 1998. The rooster is 60 feet long, and the hen 50 feet. Three 12-foot high chicks complete the scene. There were also hundres of the real life, small pheasants so the going was slow to avoid killing them. The World's Largest Grasshopper went up in Spring 1999. In September 2002, a giant deer leaping, Deer Crossing, was installed.

In early 2007, Greff completed Fisherman's Dream, his seventh and most complicated sculpture, with metal fish leaping up 70 feet through a metal pond surface.
Gary can’t weld during dry months (there was a brush fire at Teddy Roosevelt), but has scheduled his activities (painting, building, etc) out months in advance.

The grand project started years ago with some volunteers. Gary thought local farmers would help, because they knew about metal bending and welding. Some farmers (except one, apparently) did give him good terms on leasing land to show the work, $1 for 20 year lease, with renewal.
Most days it's Gary himself continuing to build the Highway. He does all the maintenance, cuts the grass under the statues, and builds the parking areas and fences. A local boy scout troop and shop class have helped with some of the signs and picnic tables.

Each new construction on the Enchanted Highway is a struggle by the visionary artist, who scrapes together individual donations of money and material. He is currently working on a massive spider web that will be filled with many many spiders.


We planned to camp in Dickenson and as we pulled onto the exit we heard this loud pop and then the tire monitor started yelling at us that one of the truck tires was losing air. We were able to get to a parking lot where Jim got to change the tire. We had thought maybe the tire could be saved but no such luck. We had driven over a large 3/8 inch bolt that went through the tire head first. Got to the campground and then Jim bought a used tire for us to get back to Billings on. We will definitely be putting new tires on the truck before we head east.

While Jim was changing the tire, I spotted this truck and gas pumps sitting outside a restaurant across the parking lot. Just had to have a picture of it.


There are many strange and wonderful things to see along our journey and leads us to a lot of interesting items.

This is the world's largest pile of empty oil cans (all spray painted silver) in Casselton, ND. The 45-ft. tall pile was built in Casselton the 1930s next to a gas station, and quickly became a popular attraction. Its stewardship was assumed in 1973 by the property’s new owners, a locally-owned manufacturing company, which moved the tower 300 feet but otherwise respected its lofty position as a North Dakota’s travel destination.

However, the company has been sold twice in the past four years. The current president of the plant, which manufacturers treads for bulldozers, says of the Pile, “Aesthetically, it’s not something we want around.”
The Cass County Historical Society is feverishly trying to figure out a way to keep the Pile in Casselton.
As you can see from our picture, the pile of cans has not fared too well. We camped at Governor's Inn in Casselton and I saw this strange thing in the field next to us. So I looked it up on roadside america. It is now wrapped in plastic and is falling apart. But at least we got to see it before it was completely destroyed.
New Salem, ND - According to local history, one of New Salem's early settlers was plowing the prairie in 1883 when two Sioux stopped to watch. The older one turned a piece of the newly-broken sod over so that its grass was back on top. "Wrong side up," the younger explained. The farmer thought about it, admitted that the ground really was better for grazing than breaking, and New Salem's dairy industry was born.

Today, New Salem is cow crazy. Its high school sports teams are named the Holsteins. And overlooking the interstate, on the only hill visible for many many miles, is New Salem's pride: Salem Sue, the World's Largest Cow.
Sue was built in 1974 for $40,000 put up by the New Salem Lions Club. Her stats are impressive: 38 feet high, 50 feet long, six tons of reinforced fiberglass, so big she had to be built in three sections to get her up the hill.
A free brochure available at the gas station explains that Sue's "primary purpose is to honor and advertise the dairyman of our area ... the hardworking, persistent, and informed dairyman who is an asset to his community, church, the economy, and his family." The brochure concludes with a brief ditty, the Ballad of the Holstein:

Her presence shows that New Salem grows
With milk-producers' yields;
We've got the cow, world's largest cow
That looks across our fields.

Sue stares north, over a flat quiltwork of grass, clover, and hay that stretches to the horizon, doing her job.


Kyp & Deb and Eric & Karla had to be towed out of the mud. They both have motorhomes and the motorhomes seemed to have a lot harder time getting out of the mud than the fivers. Jan & Bill, Loralie & Lee and Jim and I drove out without any problems at all. But I am glad we waited until Saturday because it really did dry out a lot on Friday. The sun was shining and a slight wind helped to dry things up a lot.

We got up early to make sure people didn't need help so we were able to leave Sedalia before 9:00 a.m. Therefore, by the time Jim got to where I thought we'd stop the first night, he was still feeling good and wanted to keep moving. We stopped in Nebraska City, NE for the night. Got on the road early, drove about 235 miles and camped in Tea, SD. That's just a couple of miles south of Sioux Falls. Supposed to be quite a storm come through tonight so we wanted to get to a camp site and set up before that happened. Who knows where we'll end up tomorrow night - I think Fargo but not sure.
The girls are really good travelers. But as soon as the truck stops - they want OUT right now! (Skittlez harness was rubbing her chest so we put a pad on her harness which is that black funny looking thing.)


Potluck time. What a fantastic group of people. I can hardly wait until we can all get back together again or at least meet each other out on the road.

From the left - Loralie and Lee, Jan and Bill, standing together are Kyp and Deb, then Jim and me, Diane & John, Karla & Eric and then standing on the right are Sharon and Sherry.


More mud.
Only three of the five shuttle cars were running last night. One died and had to be towed away and another one was out of gas. So we were busy all of the evening. Last night was the talent show night called Ham-O-Rama. When Jim and I heard them practicing yesterday afternoon, I figured I wouldn't be missing much driving the shuttle. I understand a couple of the acts were fantastic but most of them were just okay. So that's why people kept leaving and needing a ride back home. And after the show when I was taking people back, all they talked about was whether or not they were going to be able to get out of here. I didn't really hear much about the show at all.

This morning we did laundry. There was just no choice - it had to be done. The laundromat was full of Escapees. That place probably made a killing this week.
Jim went to the boondocking seminar but was not impressed. Another couple we know also went and they agreed with Jim. Then at 3:00 were the closing ceremonies. They told us that there were 750 rigs here and approximately 1300 people. A lot smaller than last year's but Tina told me that was because of the Memorial Day Week-end and many people had college graduations and high school graduations and weddings to go to. Just not good planning. But maybe a good thing with all the mud.
Then they gave away the volunteer door prize and the grand door prize - neither of which we won. In fact nobody in our group won anything this week.
Last night they had a dance with a guy playing cd's. So Jan & Bill, Loralie & Lee, Eric & Karla, and Jim & I went. We mostly visited which was a lot of fun. Jim and I danced a couple of dances and we were the only ones in our group to do that. We stayed until 10 and then came home to collapse.

Jan, Loralie, me and Lee on the other side of the table. The back of Bill's head. Finally, Bill.
Lee and Jim. Eric & Karla at the end of the table.