Monday, July 31, 2017

Making Progress

Casper, Wyoming
Casper East RV Park

What a day!  When we woke up this morning, we still hadn't decided what to do.  I checked the internet and found a repair shop that opened at 7:30.  The plan was to drive over to the shop and see if they could take us today.  If they couldn't we'd have them schedule an appointment for us at their other store in Casper. 

We arrived at the repair shop at exactly 7:30.  The man told us they'd check it out as soon as his mechanic arrived.  The mechanic came out a little while later and said there was a hole in our compressor.  Of course the warranty from last year wouldn't cover that.  We had a rock shield on, but this one came below the bottom of it.  

He told us the repair would cost $417.  We told them to rotate the tires and check the wheel bearings while they were working on it.

We walked down the street to Perkin's and had breakfast.  Bill and I walked through Walmart and Ace hardware and then walked back to the shop.  The truck was done at 10:15.  As soon as we paid the bill of $417, we headed back to the RV park.  Check out was 11 am and we were told that was strictly enforced.  At 10:30 the RV park was calling to see if we were staying over.  I told them we were on our way back to hitch up.  Of course, this was a day that we had to dump our tanks.  We still managed to be hitched up and pulling out the exit at 10:50.  

I'm sure the rock damage was done when we left Winston on highway 12 that was torn up and gravelled.  

As we left Sheridan, the road deteriorated.  Montana interstates weren't bad, but Wyoming's are horrible.  By the time we arrived in Casper, all we could think of was leaving this state. 

We had planned to stay two nights here, but changed our mind.  Once we were set up, we drove over to the Historic Trail Interpretive Center. When we saw these beautiful full size bronzes, we knew this was going to be good.

Most all of the western trails went through this area.  The center was high up on a bluff.  I'm getting excited but surprised that only two other cars are in the parking lot.

Yep, you guessed it.  It's Monday and they are closed.

They might be closed, but we could check out the pony express station that wasn't locked up.

Fort Casper Museum wasn't far away and we found it open until 4:30.  Could Bill do a museum in an hour and a half?  

The buildings were so realistic, you'd think you stepped back into the 1860's. There were even dirty socks on a bed.

I know where all the soldiers would spend their time and money.  I can just about picture them lined up at the bar.

After we finished the outdoor segments, we went inside to a very nice museum covering Wyoming and Casper.

The high school band is called the Troopers.  Don't you love their uniforms.  There was a video that showed the Troopers performing at a bowl game.  

Turtle Safely.........

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bill's Special Birthday

Sheridan, Wyoming
Peter D's RV Park

Today is Bill's birthday and to celebrate he wanted to tour the Trails End Mansion in Sheridan.  We've been to this town before when we met up with friends going to the Escapade in Gillette a few years ago.  We toured some places then, but didn't get to this mansion.

The location was up on a hill of over three acres overlooking the town.

The third floor was a huge ballroom.

90% of all of the furnishings were original.  The Trail End was the name John Kendricks put on the mansion because he planned on staying there the rest of his life.

After we finished touring the mansion, Bill wanted to walk around town.  Most of the brick buildings are very old, but well kept.  

There are bronzes on nearly every corner.  

Bill wanted to visit the Sheridan Inn where Buffalo Bill Cody was once the proprietor.  Queen Victoria gave him this bar and had it sent over from England.  

I asked Barbara when we checked in at Peter
D's where was a good place for a birthday dinner.  She suggested the Wyoming Rib and Chop House.

It was the best meal we've had since we started the Alaska adventure.  Guess what Bill ordered?  Jambalaya. Betty Bernard would be telling her RVers to go here.  The gumbo soup was excellent too.  Our appetizer of fried green tomatoes had crab and blue cheese.  They gave Bill a free dessert for his birthday.  

They took our photo and presented it to us in a nice folder with the date and birthday occasion. 

It was a wonderful day but the drive home wasn't so great. I commented that we were having a hard time with the heat and it was only 78 degrees.  It seems like the air conditioning on the truck died again.  Last summer we had it replaced in Ohio and once again in Indiana.   

Now the question should we try and get it repaired tomorrow before we head to Casper?

Turtle Safely........

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Friends and Dogs

Sheridan, WY
Peter D's RV Park

Our visit with Jim and Sandie Dixon was worth the detour we made to get there even though we didn't spend a lot of time with them.

Yesterday we rode into Helena to go to Costco but we didn't get an early start.  We talked about getting the tires rotated and that's all we did is talk about. The temps were suppose to get to 90 degrees.  You have to realize that we just put the Mr. Buddy heater away.  We've been in much cooler weather all summer and this heat really hit us. By the time we finished in Costco we were both ready to head home and cool off. 
Sandie invited us to dinner around 4:30 or 5.  Naturally, we were at their door at 4:30.  We came in and sat around for a little bit.  Skittlez tried to jump up on the seat beside me, and slipped off.  Rocky Joe then jumped Skittlez. Rocky Joe, doesn't leave Jim's side at all so I was surprised.  Jim picked Rocky Joe up and he cried out in pain.  He's been having trouble with his foot, and the way he was holding it, I thought it was broken.  You could tell he was in a lot of pain. At this point, we all agreed Sandie needed to call the vet.  She got on the phone trying to find one that was available.  She finally found one that was closing soon.
We got up to leave and Sandie insisted that we take a plate of her chicken pot pie home with us.  I knew they were in a hurry, but I dished some out fast and we hurried out.  It really smelled good and I was glad I took the time as it tasted as good as it smelled.

Sandie called the minute they left the vet office to say Rocky has arthritis everywhere.  I felt so sorry for him, because you knew he was in pain.  Hopefully, now that the problem has been diagnosed medication will help him.

We said our "see 'ya's" last night as we headed down the road very early this morning.  Our plan was to try and make it to 7th Ranch in Garryowen.   

I drove today to give Bill a break from all the driving he's done.  We took highway 12 from Townsend over to highway 89.  If anyone wants to know what the roads are like on the Alaska highway, just drive highway 12.

There were many areas, where the fires have recently burned.  Last night we had some terrible winds in the middle of the night.  All I could think of was what it would do for the fires.  Luckily, after it blew, it did rain just a little.  Not enough to wet the ground, but there were some sprinkles.  

Once I got down to I 90 the road was in great condition.  I know, we don't usually take the interstate but we've been over these roads before, and there wasn't anything we wanted to stop and see.  The book we were listening to was very good and before I knew it, I was driving through Billings.  I pulled into the rest area before Little Big Horn and asked Bill if he felt like riding a little longer.  It was 100 miles or so to Sheridan and we stayed at Peter D's in the past so I knew where to stay.  Once we hit the Wyoming state line, the road wasn't as good of condition as in Montana.  It was just one of those good driving days.

Turtle Safely.........

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Third Time Works

Winston, Montana
Canyon Ferry/Townsend KOA

Bill pulled out of Dick's RV a little after 8 am.  We wanted to be near Helena for a 10 am tour.

The first time we were in Helena there were terrible lightning storms and we decided to cancel our plan for the Gates of the West boat tour.  This year I routed us straight through Helena on our way to Alaska so we could take the tour.  However, it was too early in the season and they weren't running the boat tours.  No problem, we came back the same way and finally took the tour.

We were glad our two hour tour started at 10, as the weather forecast predicted 90 temps.  It was a nice tour, but I thought there would have been more history about Lewis and Clark.

It was a long hot climb back up to the RV parking area.

Even though the sun was out, the smoke was bad as we drove into Helena.  It didn't get any better as we drove to Winston.  

We pulled into the Canyon Ferry/Townsend KOA around 2.  

Jim and Sandi came over and we visited until dinner time. We never seem to run out of things to talk about.   Sandi joined us for dinner in nearby Winston and Jim stayed with the dogs.

Turtle Safely.......

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hard to Say "See Ya"

Great Falls, Montana
Dick's RV Park

Last night Harry, Carlena, Bill and I drove to Black Eagle for dinner.  There was an advertisement for 3D Mongolian Grill along with a coupon for a free dessert.  It was our last dinner together before we both went in different directions.  None of us were too sure when we walked in but it didn't take long before we were all very happy.  

Our meals included a huge salad and a bowl of soup and a choice of a side.  I ordered fried chicken and it was a half chicken.  Bill and Harry both agreed their chicken fried steak was excellent.  Carlena ordered a salmon salad and hers even came with soup.  The meals were delicious and our desserts to go were exceptional.

This morning they headed out for a family function in Oklahoma.  It was difficult to say goodbye but we already have plans to hook up again.  I didn't realize how attached to Boo we've become.  We'll miss her coming over in the morning to let us know she's up.  

Harry and Carlena had a present for Bill wrapped in the pages of the atlas that we travelled.  Bill's birthday isn't until the 30th but he was really surprised to uncover a collection of Louis L'Amour audio books.  

He's been looking at that collection all day.  I have a feeling when we leave in the morning, the book we've been reading won't get finished. 

And away they went.  Safe travels to you and thanks for making our Alaska trip a memorable one.  

Bill and I left to visit the CM Russell Museum but it didn't open until 10 am so we drove over to the dam.  It was early, so we stopped to revisit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

It's a great place and even though it's been awhile since we saw it, we enjoyed the visit.  

One more stop at an observation point for a view of the falls.

This museum is much larger than it looks from the outside.  It's definitely a place that you want to do early in the morning without doing anything else.  

There was a whole gallery on Browning guns.  Bill really appreciates the talent that is required to do the gold engraving.  

The downstairs galleries had a huge exhibit on the role of the bison.  

This was the bar that was in the Mint Saloon where Russell displayed much of his artwork in Great Falls.

Here's the hearse that was used for his funeral.

We finally said we were on overload and couldn't take in anymore.  

There were many statues outside that we viewed before we realized we missed two more important places.

Here's his cabin that was built out of telephone poles.

This was the original residence but we didn't get a chance to see inside as it was closed for renovation.  I must say I wasn't disappointed that we couldn't tour it.

It was a busy day and somehow we managed to find a barber shop with a barber pole and a barber with grey hair before we returned home.

Turtle Safely........

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chance of 1 in 359 million

Great Falls, Montana
Dick's RV Park

I figured that combining the population of the United States and Canada would be the chance of meeting someone in another country on a street corner--1 in 359 million.  Maybe we should be buying lotto tickets.  Believe it or not, that's what happened yesterday.  

Bill, Harry, Carlena and I went to visit  Fort Macleod home of the Northwest Mounted Police.  I thought the museum would be outside and the girl at the admissions said it was also an inside museum.  I told Bill, I'd go back and get his regular glasses as he had his sunglasses on.  I knew he'd enjoy this museum and I didn't want him to miss anything because he couldn't read the signage.  

The truck was parked across the street.  I stood at the crosswalk ready to push the walk button and looked at the other side of the street.  There was Toni and Doug Laird standing on the corner.  I think I just stared not believing it was them.  

They were coming to the Fort to watch the Musical.  I was so glad I had my camera in my hand.  

I introduced them to Carlena and Harry and we climbed up on the bleacher in a shady section.  Hard to believe it was 46 degrees when we started out earlier in the day.

Toni and Doug are in the same park as we are, but in a higher rent area.  They have private views of the river.  She immediately said for the four of us to join them for dinner.  I'm not talking the next day, I'm talking about two hours later.  

Since we were in our truck and Schoolcraft's were in another, you know we were the last ones to leave the fort.

They had this young fellow do an inspection of the uniforms and horses.

I love the maple leaf design on both sides of the horse's rump.  I'm sure that's not what it is called by someone who's into horses. 

  Bill really enjoyed the exhibits at the fort.

Bill enjoyed talking with this girl about how she liked her job and what grade she was in.

When we left it was almost time to be at Toni and Doug's for dinner at 6 pm.  We walked over and I was in for another surprise.

Their motorhome is gorgeous. I know she posted photos and it looked nice, but wait until you see it in person.  It is so bright and light with strategically placed large windows.  Bill and I both love lighter wood than most RV's have and this one is just the right shade.  The floor plan just flows.  She even has a picture window by the bar.    

Well, if you know Toni, you know the meal was delicious. It was a delightful evening. Now if those surprises weren't enough, there's one more.

I knew that Doug had recently written and published his first book, Jumping Off, but I also knew that he made Toni keep it a secret.  During the evening, I didn't mention it because we had Carlena and Harry with us.   

I was shocked when Doug got up and gave me a copy of the book.  Not only did he give me the book, but he also autographed it.   He's also not shy about anyone knowing he's an author now.  You can buy your own copy on Amazon.  

Turtle Safely........