Friday, August 30, 2013

Travel Plans

Helena, MT  High 87  Low 53

Take a look at this picture that Jim took of the sunrise over Canyon Ferry Lake this morning.

sunriseHard to believe, but it’s that time. Time for us to be on the road again.

We will be leaving our spot here in Helena on Tuesday. We always try to stay here until after the long Labor Day week-end. Now that school has started, it will much easier to find campgrounds that have sites available.

When we leave here we’re headed back to Billings. All of us, including the girls, have doctor appointments scheduled. The truck also needs to go in for its annual checkup. That will give us a chance to spend a little more time with Todd and Michaela before heading south.

Once we’re ready to leave Billings we’re headed for the Bitterroot Valley and Hamilton, MT. Those are the only definite plans we have. But we sort of plan on going down Highway 93 to Twin Falls, ID and then into NV. We’re going to head west to Reno (if the smoke clears up) and then drop down to Hawthorne.

Our good friends, Sharon and George, live at Walker Lake, NV which is near Hawthorne. Sharon is the breast cancer survivor who organized the Death Valley Cancer Walks that we worked on for a couple of years. She just found out a couple of weeks ago that her cancer is back and is preparing for surgery. We really want to visit with them for a couple of days.

After leaving them we’ll go on down to Las Vegas to visit our good friends who live there. We plan on being back in Apache Junction October 10 and Jim’s first doctor appointment is October 15.

Anyhow – that’s kind of the plan for now. All subject to change at any time.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Osprey’s Dinner, Fire, and a Montana Blog

Helena, MT  High 87  Low 56 

This post is really a conglomeration of things.

I finally got a couple of decent pictures of a bird. I am so excited. In the second one you can see the fish he(she) caught and in the third one he is chowing down on dinner.




fire1On the news the other night we heard about a fire in a campground up near Gates of the Mountains on Holter Lake. The fire started in the fridge of one of the RV’s and then spread to two others before they got it under control. I am really impressed with the speed that they were able to control this blaze considering how close together all the rigs are. Such a scary situation. Nobody was injured and the fire did not get out of control. These pictures came from the KXLH web site.


I have found the most wonderful blog that is all about Montana’s history. Montana Moments by Ellen Baumler is well worth a visit if you have an interest in Montana. Amazing the things I don’t know about my home state.

Went to dinner with Judy and Don last night and I am the only one who enjoyed their food. Even Jim didn’t finish his and for those of you who know him, that just doesn’t happen. I think we’re going to try again this week-end at a different restaurant. So if you’re in Helena, I’d recommend you not eat at the Bull’s Eye.

Not happy news – my niece, Kim, is not going to India. Seems there was a problem with the paperwork getting lost which would allow her to get her Visa. I’m not sure exactly all what happened, but she’s really upset and I feel bad for her. She gave up her apartment and now has no place to live and doesn’t know what she’s going to do.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

100 Years

Helena, MT  High 86  Low 55


(I don’t have a current picture of Aunt Happy on this computer yet, so this is an old one from 2010. Whoever took the picture almost cut Judy’s head off but this was the only family picture I could find.)

On Friday, August 23, 2013, my Aunt Happy celebrated her 100th birthday. When I talked to her on Tuesday before her birthday, she was busy trying to decide what she wanted to wear and what jewelry to gussie herself up with. When my sister talked to her on Thursday she was really starting to get excited about the party.

When I tried to call her Friday night to see how the party went, I didn’t get an answer. I called again on Saturday and finally got to talk to her. Seems she went to another party after her party was over and wasn’t even home when I called. (I figured she was at home in bed trying to recuperate.) Should have known better.

She had a fantastic time. She adores being the center of attention and enjoyed every minute of all the greetings. They had a three piece band playing and lots of food and cake. She said around 200 people were there for the party.

But she didn’t have time to talk to me for very long because she was getting ready to go out with some of the girls for a luncheon. Her spirits were soaring and she was feeling wonderful.

I’m hoping somebody will give her copies of the pictures they took so I can post them when we get back down there to see her.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Breakfast in Avon, MT

Helena, MT  High 85  Low 55

Where is Avon? you ask. Avon is a town of about 130  people 30 miles from Helena up over McDonald Pass. Why in the world would you drive over there for breakfast? you ask.

This is why. Meet Beverly, her sister, Pat, and Larry. I’ve only been following Larry's blog for a couple of months but when I found out they were going to be in Garrison, MT I immediately jumped at the chance to meet up with them.

Jim, Beverly, Pat, Sandie and Larry


They are from Tennessee and are RV sometimers. Also traveling with them is their 15 year old granddaughter, Madison, who understandably did not want to join all of us old folks. They are headed for Glacier and then back down to Yellowstone and then are going to work their way back home again.

You know how, when you meet some people, you just feel right at home with them. Well that’s how we felt about these folks. We yakked for a couple of hours and finally had to get them on their way. They are thinking about maybe doing a Southwest swing this winter and we are definitely looking forward to meeting up with them again.



Okay – my writing skills really do need some work. I confused some folks with yesterday’s post.

Kim is Tara’s Mom and she is the one going to India. Tara is the one who is pregnant and she lives in Butte, MT with her boyfriend. She is not going to India.

Tara (in pink) and Kim (in white)


As to why Kim is going to India, I don’t think even she knows for sure. She is 48 years old and wants an adventure. So she picked India. It was either there or South Africa and I’m not sure if she flipped a coin to pick India or not. She served in the Army in Korea so she has some idea of what is before her. I just want her to have a wonderful time.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Wonderful Surprise and a really NOT Wonderful Surprise

Helena, MT  High 92  Low 58

Jim and I were sleeping and reading (you can guess who was doing what) yesterday afternoon when a car pulled up.

We were so excited to see our niece, Kim, and her daughter, Tara. Those of you who have read my blog for years may remember my post about Tara’s struggles. She still has struggles ahead of her but has come so far. She is in a relationship with a guy even her Mom says is really a nice guy and they are expecting a baby next March. I sure do love this girl.


Kim is getting ready to head to India for eight months. She decided she needed to do something different with her life and she’s always wanted to see India. Many years ago, Kim got the flesh eating disease and it destroyed most of her body between her neck and her knees. The doctors truly didn’t think she would live but she is a fighter. I hope she has the most fantastic time.

Tried to get a couple of pictures of the full moon.



And now for the ugly. Toni, I don’t think I like our Osprey quite as much as I did.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Smoke and a Fish Dinner

Helena, MT  High 90  Low 55

A little more explanation about my sister. I am really glad I was here to go with her but if I hadn’t been, her hubby would have taken her. The problem is, he hurt his back and can hardly move. So he’s on all kinds of pain pills and has trouble getting in and out of the car. However, he did take her to the doctor today and he said he’s starting to finally feel a little better. This getting old is certainly the pits.

Our problem now is the smoke from that big fire in Idaho. Our whole valley smells like a campfire and you can’t see the mountains across the valley from our site because of the smoke. This is not a good thing for either Jim’s or my sister’s lungs. Definitely makes it harder for Jim to breath.

About a week ago when Jim was fishing, he lost his glasses. Not a good thing. They are prescription trifocals. He didn’t realize it until he got home and went to change from his sunglasses to his regular glasses. They were in a case that he had put in his shirt pocket. He tore the boat and truck apart looking for them. Nothing. We went back out to the lake and he and I walked everywhere around the boat ramp and where he parked and anywhere that they could possibly be. No luck. Thank goodness he has his old pair as a back up. We also have an eye appointment for him the first week of September.

glassesWhen he came back into the dock after fishing last Monday, he walked up to get the truck and trailer and there on a rock were his glasses. Have no idea where they have been but Jim is sure they weren’t there when he got there Monday morning and I know they weren’t on that rock when we were looking for them. Wonderful.

The girls are doing great.


Scooter has dug herself a hole under the pile of wood. Originally she couldn’t even get her head under there. Jim had moved the wood around trying to find out what she wanted under there but couldn’t find anything. Then the day I took this picture I saw a baby bunny come out the back side. That put an immediate stop to her digging. We put their fence around it to keep her out.


Jim got this picture with his camera. The Osprey is on top of our electrical pole with his dinner. Later, Skittlez found the tail of the fish which was the only leftover.


I took this picture last week. I love cloud pictures and I thought this one was very unique.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Emergency Room

Helena, MT  High 95  Low 56

Not Jim this time – my sister. Yesterday morning we were getting ready for church when my sister called and asked me to take her to Urgent Care. Her chest felt really tight and she was having trouble breathing. Also her legs were swelled up about triple their normal size. Not good.

We were the first ones at Urgent Care so they immediately took her back and started asking questions. Didn’t take them long before they came back out and told me they were taking her to the Emergency Room which is right next door.

I headed over to the Emergency Room and was only there about 10 minutes before they called me back to sit with her. Their first concern was her heart but they ruled that out after doing their tests. They took a bunch of blood and did X-rays and then a CT Scan of her lungs. She has had blood clots previously and that immediately became a big concern. They also wanted to check out her kidneys.

Most of the tests came out okay – no heart problems, no pneumonia, no kidney disease, no blood clots. But her lungs were not working real well. She had severe asthma as a child and her lungs just aren’t as strong as they should be. They gave her a nebulizer treatment which seemed to help.

After almost five hours of mostly just sitting waiting for test results, they released her with a prescription for a Z-Pac and an inhaler. She still wasn’t feeling good this morning and called her regular doctor. Got in to see him this afternoon. If she’s not feeling better by Thursday he’s going to put her on steroids.

At least I was smart enough to take my book with me.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Helena, MT  High 97  Low 58

We’ve been reaching record highs here in the great state of Montana the last few days. It’s been so beautiful but lately the sun has been shining down upon us in full force. We also had a couple of storms pass through – one with hail but no damage.

sapeWe have been garage saleing with my sister who is Queen of the garage salers. This is one of her purchases for $1. She loves to give them to her oldest son who is a principal at a high school in Idaho. He, of course, does not really appreciate having to haul them all the way back to Idaho so it’s turned into a family joke.

However we also found some treasures along the way. I’ve found some tops and Jim found some shirts. Hard to pass them up at only a buck a piece. Lots and lots of books so I haven’t run out of things to read this summer. A few books on CD to listen to while we travel down the road.

A couple of items for our “yard” in Apache Junction. Not sure what I’m going to try and plant in the cup – probably fake flowers cause I can’t kill those. I tried to get Skittlez to pose in the cup but she wasn’t having anything to do with it.


I thought the dog was really cute for a $1 so I grabbed it.


Jim found a cable TV cable, for when we’re in a campground that offers cable, for 10 cents. Also got a small cooler that he’s been wanting.


This was our big purchase.


We had one of these that we lost along the way while driving through some construction last year. The gentlemen who was selling it had just sold his fifth wheel because of his wife’s medical issues. They only used it a few times before she got sick. Came with  hoses and hook-ups and all for $16.

We still have a couple more week-ends – wonder what new old treasures we can find.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Clean and Secure

Helena, MT  High 89  Low 54

Our computers are back among the living. Here’s the rundown:

My computer – 1 Trojan Virus and 194 Malware objects found. 11,000 MB temp files cleaned up and 173 Registry issues repaired. No hijacking found. Applied all necessary updates and ran security checks. Set current restore point.

Jim’s computer – 5 Viruses/Trojans and 128 Malware objects found. 10,500 MB temp files cleaned up and 277 Registry issues repaired. No hijacking, all updates and security check. Set current restore point.

Total price: $198

We originally checked with Office Depot (where we bought the computers and they wanted $180 per computer just to remove the malware. That didn’t include the clean up and updating. So I think we got a pretty good deal.

We would definitely use Bill again for any computer issues that we might have.

Now I am trying to catch up with everybody and maybe someday soon I’ll have something to blog about. Jim’s been fishing and I’ve been reading a lot of books.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Computers – I Really Do Not Like Them But I Can’t Seem To Live Without Them

Helena, MT  High  84    Low  56

Our computers got infected with a malicious malware – have no idea how. I have been without a computer since last Thursday and I may never get caught up with everybody. Trying to find a computer repair person in Helena has not been easy but yesterday we hit the jackpot.

Hopefully we’ll have our computers back tomorrow and I can get back on track with everything. I was getting worried because I had some bills to pay and I do everything on line. Jim dug my old computer out for me and was able to get it running long enough for me to make this short post.

See ya later.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Frontier Montana Museum

Helena, MT  High 84  Low 55

Hey Todd – this picture is for you.


Do you often have nights like this? I had one, night before last, and I was a zombie all day yesterday. (Got this from Great site.)


Anyhow – back to the Frontier Montana Museum. (My camera’s battery died so these pictures were taken by Jim on his phone.)


This museum (housed in the Old Montana Prison Mule Barn) used to hold two collections of western memorabilia - the collections of Don Cappa and Desert John Blomquist.


Cappa's collection includes over 300 different types of guns used in the Old West (from 1829 to 1900), including the .41 caliber double-action Colt Lightning pistol made famous by Billy the Kid, and the Hammond Bulldog named after Doc Holiday’s mistress, Big Nose Kate.


In the back of the museum, they used to have Desert John's Saloon, with a bar that dated back to the 1800s, and hundreds of antique liquor bottles dating back to the Civil War. However, this exhibit has been removed and they are in the process of deciding on a new exhibit.


They did have a few other exhibits besides guns and I loved this outfit.


guns6The saloon was the main reason I wanted to visit this museum so I was really disappointed. But once again, the guys wanted to stay for hours checking out all the different guns.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Montana Auto Museum

Helena, MT  High 85  Low 54

P1060211I didn’t think we were ever going to get Jim and Don out of this museum. That is why we ran out of time before we could visit the Grants-Kohr Ranch. Gives us another reason to go back.

Many of these cars were originally part of the Towe Ford Museum, the largest collection of Fords (close to 300) in the world.

Then the IRS became involved.


It seems that Mr. Towe owned several banks in small towns in Montana. He sold these banks in the 1970’s and put the money in a trust and his family was paid to manage the trust and run the museum. The IRS thought the taxes owed on that sale were greater than what was actually paid.Then in the late 1970’s, Mr. Towe lost millions in the commodities market and once again the IRS said he didn’t pay enough in taxes.


Edward Towe did not like the government telling him how to run his business and began a 23 year battle with the IRS.


In 1985, Edward made an arrangement with the California Vehicle Foundation to move many of his cars to Sacramento where they established the Towe Ford Museum. The rest were still in Deer Lodge under the same name, the Towe Ford Museum.


However, in 1997, the courts finally ruled against him and the collections in both California and Montana had to be liquidated.  It was the largest sale of antique cars from one collection ever.


The cars went to Japan, Holland and many other places around the world. A large percentage, however, were purchased by local buyers which allowed them to be kept in their respective museums and both are still in operation as antique automobile museums today.


Many other brands of cars have been added to both collections and the names of the museums were changed to the Montana Auto Museum and the California Auto Museum (in Sacramento).


There was level after level after level of cars. Now you can understand why we had so much trouble getting the guys out of here.

P1060238This is a 1933 Kozy Kamp Pop-Up Trailer – “A Home Behind Your Car”. Light, strong, compact, low-hung. Open into comfy home in 90 seconds. Roomy beds for four adults. Beds open automatically with Kamp. Carries all baggage and supplies. Follows car smoothly at any speed. Allows clear rear view of traffic. Saves you dollars every night. Price: $295.00. Weight: 950 lbs. Two spring underslung chassis. Manufactured in Portland, OR during the 1930’s.

I loved this Impala. It’s a 1960 Convertible. I had a 1959 hardtop that I called Wishbone because of it’s tailfins.


A nice ‘67 Mustang.


1958 Vincent Amanda Water Scooter


More levels of cars



1974 Citi Car - The most successful electric car from the standpoint of production quantity. Built in Florida. Had a range of up to 50 miles between battery charges and the batteries could be fully recharged 400 to 500 times. 608 of these cars were produced. Price $2,988.


And for all you Harley fans out there – how about a 1964 Harley Duo-Glide


This was Jim’s favorite. A 1957 Bel Air, fuel injected 4 speed!

1957 chevy11957 chevy

Monday, August 5, 2013

Doin’ Time–Part 2

Helena, MT  High     Low

It’s fun reading the comments on the first post and finding out how many of you have actually gone on this tour.

In 1919, Warden Conley's personal friend William A. Clark, one of Butte’s Copper Kings, donated $10,000 for the construction of a first in US Prison history—a prison theater completed in March 1920. It had seating for 1,000 people in leather-covered seats and catered to prisoners and members of the community alike. It hosted concerts, plays, prizefights, movies, and more. For Conley, it became an instant disciplinary tool; unruly inmates were denied access to the theater. The theater was destroyed by an unknown arsonist on 3 December 1975.


The Riot

Floyd Powell took control of the prison in August 1958. He managed to instill some reforms before, in 1959, a riot kept the prison and the town of Deer Lodge on edge for thirty-six hours. The riot started on 16 April 1959 and was the longest and bloodiest riot at the facility. Instigated by a pair of inmates, Jerry Myles and Lee Smart, the riot would claim the lives of three people (including the Deputy Warden), wound several others, and keep the facility under inmate control for thirty-six hours. It ended in the early hours of 18 April 1959 when National Guard troops stormed the facility.

At about 4:45 a.m. on 18 April 1959, Bill Rose of the National Guard fired a World War II bazooka at the southwest tower of Cellblock 1. You can still see some of the damage to the cellblock.

riot damage

When the riot ended, Jerry Myles and Lee Smart died in a murder-suicide, when Myles shot Smart and then turned the gun on himself.

Escape Attempts

Warden Frank Conley at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge kept hounds trained to track escapees. They were enclosed in a high fence inside the prison walls. In 1902, prisoner Thomas O’Brien was assigned as stable boss of the large barn outside the prison walls. O’Brien claimed he had veterinary training, and so he was able to get medicine for the animals. He  worked for two weeks with George, the warden’s prize Thoroughbred racehorse. When the time was right, O’Brien obtained some opium, supposedly to treat one of the animals, and used it to put Warden Conley’s bloodhounds into a deep sleep. He then calmly saddled George and rode off toward the prison ranches. The guards assumed that he was on some legitimate errand. Officials later found the saddle and bridle hanging in a tree and George loose in a pasture. O’Brien was on the lam for eighteen days, then gave himself up. In route back to Deer Lodge, the prison escort treated O’Brien to breakfast and a cigar. Once back in prison, Warden Conley shook O’Brien’s hand and commended him for surrendering. Less than a year later, the governor pardoned him.


Another escape attempt took place on March 8, 1908, when George Rock and W. A. Hayes attacked Warden Frank Conley and his chief deputy, James Robinson. Conley shot both Rock and Hayes, hitting Rock in the head and Hayes twice, once through each lung. These shots should have been fatal, but the two men were not to be stopped. The two prisoners were still able to fatally slit Robinson’s throat with a pocketknife and slash Conley so severely it took 103 stitches to close the wounds.

Conley carefully nursed Rock and Hayes so that they would be healthy when, convicted of murder, both were hanged in the prison yard as an example to the other men.

Conley oversaw both of the executions (Rock on June 16,1908 and Hayes on April 2, 1909). The men were hanged using the upright jerker method, which used a 300 lb weight to jerk the sentenced man from his feet. This method was supposed to snap the neck, but it failed in both instances. Rock and Hayes were the only two men to be executed within the prison walls.

From these episodes, it seems that being the Deputy Warden is more dangerous than being the Warden.

We really enjoyed the tour but I wish we had been there when they had a tour guide. It’s the stories about the prison and inmates that really make for a good tour. I took notes along the way and found some of this information on line.