Sunday, June 30, 2013

Escapade--Day 1

Once the Escapade gets underway there's no time to catch your breath.  Yesterday was registration and we picked up our welcome bag.  A RV dealer has over 70 rv's on display.  Bill and I walked through all the 5th wheels and came out smiling saying we were very glad we got the one we did.  

Here we have Sharon and Don Del Rosario managing the lost and found desk.  Believe me they are not lost.  I can't believe how they keep track of all the things they are involved in.

Frank and Gloria King are manning the sign up area for volunteers.  Bill and I signed up to help with the ice cream social and also serving the 35th birthday bash cake for the dinner.

After dinner we walked with Joe and Alice Knox over to the other side of the Cam Plex to find another chapter member, Ed Allard, who had just arrived. Ed was his normal self looking forward to the deeeeeesserts!

Our morning began with a walk over to the Wyoming Center to view the market place.  

It was very nice to see Escapee friends Jeanne and Bill Parrish.  We haven't seen them in a while and enjoyed talking with them.  

Bill found some quick connect water  connections that were American made and we bought a few.  

The opening ceremonies started at 3 pm in the Spirit Hall.  There were many door prizes given away.  Kay Petersen, founder of the Escapees, gave a resounding and entertaining speech.  She was welcomed with a standing ovation.  

The "Row" parade of banners was next.  Each chapter and BOF (Birds of a Feather) groups within the Escapees parade through the hall with their banners.  Bill and I were on the "row" last year.  We were responsible for representing our chapter and telling others about the fun things the chapter does.  We belong to Chapter 45, 44, and 21 and the Boomers BOF.  We were unable to watch this part as we were preparing the ice cream for the social.  

You wouldn't believe how fast everyone got served their ice cream.  

After the social we quickly returned to the rig for dinner in order to be back to the Spirit Hall for the evening entertainment.  The evening started with more door prizes. And then the entertainment started.  

It's almost done.  Do you want it rare?

Ron and Kay Rivoli were the performers.  While they were very funny and sang some appropriate RV songs, they were also very serious about being an American.  They sang songs honoring the service men.  Ron and Kay perform in Nashville, Las Vegas and Branson.  

Notice the guitar that looks like an Airstream trailer.

Turtle safely.....

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Here we come, Gillette

Yesterday was a long day. The caravan to Gillette was scheduled to leave at 8 am.  I woke up about 5 am and decided I should get up or I would over sleep.  

I hitched the truck on but it took a couple of passes.  The rigs were parked with the 5ers king pin forward on the lot to the exit road.  There was a big ditch in front of it.  I really had to maneuver the truck to get it hitched.  Everyone was ready to roll about 7:55 am.  

The 100 mile trip was uneventful.  There was a lot of construction on I 90.  I told Bill I was tired of seeing so many antelope and I wanted to see a cow.

The Cam-Plex is easy to get to and there were no parking lines.  We are in C 112 Box Elder.

Sherry made reservations for 10 of us to take the coal mine tour through the Visitor's Center.  The tour was free and sponsored by the Visitor's Center and was full.  We had a delightful tour/bus driver who was a school teacher but also spent her summer working in the mine.  

The Eagle Butte Mine is one of 13 active coal mines in the Powder River Basin.  The mines began shipping coal in the 70's.  The coal seam recoverable reserves total more than 40 billion tons.  Total amount of coal within the state is more than 1.4 trillion tons.  Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr employee about 600 employees.  Production and maintenance technicians are paid approximately $24 to $31 per hour.  Our guide told us she didn't need any special training prior to working there.  She said she took a short driving course outside the plant, then had some one ride with her, then they cut her loose to drive.  

They had an observation area and this old shovel bucket that is half the size they now use held 23 cubic yards.

Here is one of the tires from the trucks.  It is 12 feet tall; 40" side, 9,500 lbs and costs $30,000  to replace one.  Tire life is 8,000 to 9,000 hours.  And we complain about the cost of RV tires!

Left to right in the photo:
Ed and Sandy Spearse, Nick and Jeanne Schmidt, Polly Fogler, Sherry and Dave Sweetman, Bill and Jan Mains, and Vern Fogler.

One interesting fact was the annual diesel fuel usage for the two mines is approximately 15 million gallons.
Our guide said the haul trucks  cost approximately $4.3 million and can carry 1,200 gallons of diesel.  They are 42 feet long and 29 feet wide.  They can pass each other on the roads.  The haul trucks weigh 185 tons empty and approximately 425 tons when loaded.  

Our guide was so thrilled that we could see the trucks dump into the hoppers.  The coal crushers below the hooper crush the coal to a 2 inch diameter   The coal travels on a collection belt and to a storage belt to the top of the silos. The trains travel through the silos and are loaded at a pace of .6 mph.  They can load a train in approximately 2 hours. Each train car holds about 120 tons of coal.  There are about 115 to 140 cars per train. 

In all the years Bill and I lived in West Virginia we never toured a coal mine or really understood the process.  It's a shame we had to travel to Wyoming to learn about one.  

The day ended with a social hour with our chapter members.  John and Gerri Beckman and Dick and Judy George joined us.

Turtle Safely......

Thursday, June 27, 2013

9,000 Different Brands

Our morning started off very relaxing.  No hurry to get anywhere.  We talked about going to see the Trails Inn State Historic Site and stopping by the Mint Bar.  

Jeanne and Nick Schmidt stopped over and visited for awhile followed by Vern Fogler.  

We rode down town with Polly and Vern to visit the Mint Bar.  We had the whole place to ourselves.  The bartender was very informative about the place.
The bronco neon sign looked like it was out of the 50's.  Here's a photo of Bill Mains, Polly and Vern Fogler outside the Mint Bar.  There were stamped brands on the outside of the building.

Inside there were over 9,000 different brands on the walls and ceiling.  The bartender told us most of them were from Wyoming but some were from Idaho, Montana and Colorado.  The front of the bar had a beautiful tin ceiling that was 110 years old.
It's hard to describe this place but they had all kinds of animals on the walls and over the bar.  There was a snake skin over the bar that the bartender told us the six foot long snake weighed 80 pounds and had 28 rattlers.  Of course, they had some old civil war guns that Bill enjoyed telling the history and function to Vern.  

I asked about the beautiful woods and the bartender told us the beetles infested the pine and it causes the trees to get a "tumor".  The drawer handles were made from the horns of the pronghorns.  

The photos of the booths didn't come out well but they were beautiful.  
The ambiance was truly western.  If only these walls and bar stools could talk...... 

You  wonder whose boots walked over these floors.  

A bar that didn't serve food meant a short trip to Sanford's Pub and Grill.  Polly and Vern hadn't been there.  Polly started talking to the ladies sitting behind her and decided she and Vern would split a meal.  She was amazed at the amount of food and the size of the platters.  Bill and I shared a Reuben sandwich with the onion rings and sweet potato fries.    

When we were here earlier in the week, I hadn't used the restroom.  They carried the "decorating" into the restroom.

We arrived back to the park in time for Happy Hour.
Everyone decided on a departure time to leave for the Escapade in Gillette and who was following who.  Time will tell tomorrow if the plans all work as planned.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Buffalo in Downtown Sheridan

Polly and Vern stopped by for a visit this morning and she was making notes of interesting places that we have seen.  

Our daughter, Nikki, called and wanted to know if I had marriage license, divorce decree and my birth certificate with us as she needs it to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Looks like she will have to order them off the internet.

We've passed the Sheridan County Museum on the corner every time we go somewhere in town..  Today we decided to visit it.  It was a beautiful building with a huge parking lot.  

Of interest in the museum was the Tongue River Tie Flume. The flume was essentially an elevated, V-shaped canal made of several million board feet of lumber.  Consisting of several branches, the flume's combined length was approximately 35 miles.  High and low trestles maintained the flume's downward slope which passed through several tunnels along the way. 

The flume was built in  1893 where they transported the  ties and lumber from the Big Horn Mountains camps to the Tongue River at the foot of the mountains.  

Ties could reach speeds up to 80 mph.  Lumbermen who were "thirsty" and wanted to get to town would ride down the flume.  It was said they did it once and never tried it again.  The demand for ties decreased and in 1913 it was shut down.

There was a large display of coal mining which died off,  but since * 2012 is making a comeback.

We expected to see more of a display about the battle of Redbud but there wasn't a huge display.  

This is a photo of buffalo in Kendrick Park.  They also have elk.  The park was beautiful and occupied by many families even though it was a weekday.

Nothing to say.......Escapees it's 4 pm!

Turtle Safely.......

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bits and Spurs

Bill and I enjoyed a leisure morning.   Sherry came over and asked if we wanted to go to the bit and spur factory with them.  We decided to tag along and see the place.  

We were impressed with the small business and nice reception area.  Tom Balding, owner, was just beginning a tour with four other people.  He was very proud and also humble.  A bit could have 30 pieces which all need to be precise.  They tig weld each piece and need many welds.   He explained how precise every piece needs to be.  He has two other employees that have been with him over 10 years.  He prides himself on his designs and unique way of making the bits and spurs.  He said they did over 4500 pieces last year. Tom said they send his products all over the world.  They also do engraving on his products.  I highly recommend stopping by for a tour if you are in Sheridan, WY.  

This is photo of Tom Balding, owner.

After we left Tom Baldings, we made a trip down historic Main Street and Bill had to stop an admire this bronze.

A local, walking down the street saw Bill admiring the bronze and stopped to talk with us.  He said he saw the model for the bronze and  he looked exactly like it.

Next stop was the Don King Western Museum which was out the back of a western store and across the alley into a huge old warehouse where they make saddles and lariats.

The museum had a donation of $2.00.  They had artifacts in every nook and corner.                      

If it was western, they had it.  

This was Bolin saddle that was used for parades.  The photo doesn't show all the silver and leather work. 

They also had a fine gun collection, saddle, native american clothing and bead work, spurs, knives, wagons and a vast collection of photographs.      

They also had many different kinds of lariats.

Tomorrow we find a barber shop that is open.

Turtle Safely.....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Custer's Defeat

Yesterday was a recharge day.  It rained and we just loafed around.  Alice and Joe Knox arrived and came over for a nice visit when the rain stopped. 

Today was beautiful and we piled into Dave's truck and rode back up to Hardin for the 137th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Since we arrived early, we drove through the Little Bighorn National Park, where Sherry and Dave didn't get to visit on their way to Sheridan.  

Here we are at Reno's battlefield.  We could see
the Crow re-enactment site on the Little Big Horn River. We chose to attend the Calvary version, sponsored by the Hardin Chamber of Commerce. 

Bill and I have attended both re-enactments before. Though different and very well done, the end result remains the same. An enigma for history.  

Here's some Chapter 45 members.  Top row left to right. 
Don Smith, Alice Knox, Sherry Sweetman, Dave Sweetman, Bill Mains and Joe Knox.  

The performance started with Lewis and Clark's exploration of the west. 

And the subsequent encroachment by emigrants looking for a new life.
These wagon trains used the nearby Bozeman trail.  
And the fight begins......

When the show was over the players invited you onto the field to take photos.  

I had to take this photo of Bill.  All I could think of was he
wanted to go and play with them.  His response ......."how true." 

It was a long day but we all had fun.  

Turtle Safely........