Archive for April, 2008

Musings or whatever……..

I wish you all could have been here a couple of nights ago, or that I would have been able to get online that evening, but the Internet was down and I didn’t want to bother Tricia, the manager about it as she had put in a long day at work already and didn’t need to be dragged out of her cozy trailer just to go reboot the modem. I now know where the darn thing is hiding and have keys to go and do the job myself whenever I see the need. Tricia isn’t a computer junkie like I am, so she only gets on her system when she thinks there might be some emails from her family (it might be better if I were to copy her and stay off more!!), but I do love to play games and explore this great big library we have at our fingertips.

Anyway, back to the other evening. It was just my second or third night here at the rv resort/park, not many guests on site since it is still early season, the air was still and snow was falling thru the trees. Nothing much to the snow storm, but it was so beautiful! The stark contrast of the dark green almost black color of pine trees standing so tall and straight, and the whiteness of the snow coming straight down as the trees climbed towards the night sky just took my breath away……. It was like a live snow globe scene, with me standing in the middle of it all. I couldn’t sit out for very long unfortunately, it was rather chilly and it was getting late enough that I really should have been considering climbing into my nest of pillows and blankets, but as I close my eyes even now, I can still see those majestic trees and that straight down drift of the snow. I wish you all could have been here to enjoy it with me.

Since that night the day time temps have been reaching into the low 60s and for me feels just like heaven…. Montana is considerably cooler still, so I haven’t mentioned to the family what kind of weather we are now enjoying, I wouldn’t want them to feel like I was rubbing in the fact that I have finally seemed to have to escaped winter weather! Tomorrow is supposed to get into the low to mid 70s’, but don’t tell anyone else, okay! ??! LOL

Of course, we do still have weather contrasts that I can well live without repeats of any time soon. Yesterday morning dawned clear and bright, and cold enough to have caused a section of my water hose to freeze up, even though it is all wrapped in insulation and I had the cold water trickling in the shower. I had no water! And, I really needed it so I could get ready for work! Ended up climbing in the van in my pjs and heading to the park showers once I had spoken to one of the maintenance men about my problem. Bless his heart he went over and turned on the other tap beside my trailer to help keep pressure from building up while the lines thawed. It actually only took about 40 minutes before I heard water running in my sink again (I turned the heat up a bit more than I would normally be comfy with to see if I could speed things along) and it must have worked! LOL Last night I turned the water on again for good measure even though it wasn’t supposed to go below freezing again. At this point I would rather listen to a little noisy water near my bed rather than have no water when I want to shower again! LOL

Well, I don’t seem to be getting much accomplished tonight, so I suppose I better get off and see if I can spiff the house up a bit and maybe do something else that might be construed as ambitious! TTYL !!!!!!!

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What a Weekend!

We ended up changing plans for this past weekend’s road trip. Instead of going to Missoula (turns out the best of two rv parks in the area wasn’t going to open till May 1st), we went to Lava Hot Springs, ID. What a cozy little community and the hot springs were fantastic! If you ever get a chance to go there, do it! They have a couple of rv parks (nothing fancy, but that was okay), several motels and as I understand it even some houses that can be rented out, so anyone should be able to find the accommodations they need. As busy as it was already this early in the spring, I would recommend trying to book online or calling ahead, no matter what kind of accommodations you are looking for. They must really jump once summer has arrived! And, winter must find lots of people there also as I talked to a few who said I really needed to come and enjoy the place in the winter, till I explained that I am off to begin my “working retirement” in a week, so they must go to the hot springs frequently to be able to describe some of the scenes they told me about.

Most of the shops in town aren’t open yet, but will be getting ready for “high” season real soon. Those that were open were fun to wander thru when we weren’t in the hot springs. Man, that water was heavenly to soak in ! LOL We went twice on Sat. (in the afternoon and then again in the late evening). I think we lolled in the water off and on for about 4 hrs. during the course of the day! lol Not a bad deal for only $7.00 per person for an all-day pass, and I believe that rate is the same even in the summer.

Maybe I need to backtrack a bit and start with the beginning of our trip. LOL

We actually left Dillon about 3 p.m. on Friday, had to wait till school got out so my grandsons wouldn’t miss any school, since they will be missing a couple of days this next week… (Yep, it will be time for me to start heading to California then!) Anyway, the kids decided to let me take the lead, since I need to be able to start thinking for myself road wise shortly, even though I would have happily followed them! LOL DD (dearest daughter) was with me and in charge of the walkie talkie when Mom was too busy to respond or call out. Things went along fine for quite some time, I chugged us over Monida Pass without giving myself too bad a case of fright (worried that I was asking too much of the van’s motor) and we headed on into Idaho. At Blackfoot I decided that I really didn’t want to risk running too low on gas so we all pulled off at a Flying J truckstop…..Do not ever go to that particular truckstop (very, very tiny for being a truckstop) if you are pulling any kind of rv and you have never been near it before!!! I’ve been in lots of other Flying J Plazas and they have been just awesome and will be some of my first choices when I am looking for gas as I start moving around the country, until I find some other places that might make me feel they should be added to my collection of places to stop for gas, etc. First I had to make a left turn on to a busy side street and suddenly was faced with a right hand entrance (just barely past the corner) to go in by the pumps. Well, dummy me decided that that was just too much wiggling to do too fast, so I headed down the street beyond the gas station building. Seeing there was plenty of space back there by the semis’ I turned in thinking to go around the far side of the building so I would be aimed back towards the outlet for heading right on back to the Interstate once I had gassed up. Very bad move on my part, and very poor signage on their part. I drove around to the far side of the building and turning directly into the sun headed towards the pumps only to find at the other end of this driveway a sign saying DO NOT ENTER! It was a one way driveway and it was meant for large trucks, buses and rvs’ to use, from the other direction. Of course, there was a bus fueling in one lane, and a semi in the other…. Thank goodness, DD was with me, because my thought was to get out of their way as quickly as I could. With the sun in my eyes I couldn’t see where the cement divider was between the truck side and the car side, but it seemed it should’nt be there in front of the building, so I was preparing to turn right again when something made me ask DD where the end of the cement was. There was no end, it was solid and as high as any regular sidewalk would be! I would have probably blown the airbags of the van if I hadn’t been so scared and had hit it. But, then I was faced with an even bigger problem…. There was only one way to get out of my mess and that was to back down that driveway and into the truck parking area! Seems reasonable, doesn’t it??? Well, it sure isn’t if you haven’t ever backed up a van with a 19′ trailer behind it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nope, I still had not had the opportunity to learn about backing that much equipment up and DS was in his rig on the other side of the gas station, behind the bus and truck I was blocking! Did I remember we had a walkie talkie to call for help??!!?? Well, of course not! LOL DD said she would get out and direct me, since I knew I had to move us out before I started getting yelled at, so we began doing the maneuvering needed to start me in a backward motion. That is not easy by any stretch of the imagination!!!!!!! I wiggled and I waggled, pulled forward and straightened out when I knew I was really out of line and tried it again till I got halfway backed down that hunk of driveway and I lost my nerve when I realized I was too far over to the left once again. There was this really, really big yellow painted cement barrel thing trying to see if it could become the back corner of the trailer! I hit the brakes and just sat there trying to collect my wits without screaming or crying, when what to my wondering eyes should appear in front of me??? DS !!!!! And do I mean the dearest son a woman could ever have and see at a moment like that! He hollered as he came striding over for me to get out so he could back it out without damage. How did he know I needed help? They had seen me and decided to give me a chance, but were talking to DD on the walkie talkie that she had taken with her and I really don’t think she remembered she had it until DS called her to see if we needed help. At first as I understand it she thought we could manage on our own, but soon decided that maybe help was needed and like right NOW! LOL Well, after we got out of that pickle and I got around to the other entrance to the pumps, DS told me that truckstops in most states are not set up like they are here in MT. For the most part I am going to find that they are one way (marked or not). MT. has really big, wide open truckstops that go any direction a person might think they need to go to get at the pumps! Well, I learned a useful bit of info from the experience, one that I will never forget, just would have liked to know about traffic flow patterns like that ahead of time! LOL As for backing up………… I still don’t think it is a nice way to travel (after all going forward is so much more sensible), but I do know that if I have to do it, and don’t have a lot of pressure while trying (nor such a long narrow driveway) I’ll be able to do it! Going to practice whenever I get a chance, I promise! Pull thru rv spaces are so much nicer though! LOL

Well, we got to the hot springs a lot later than we would have liked, but that’s because I was leading at 55 and 60 mph and the kids were following, so it was after dark when we pulled in. Poor DS had to back both rigs into our spots then cause no one could really see where to go except by some little lamps posted between each space. I got firsthand experience just watching him to understand why he has stressed getting to camp in the afternoons when I am on my own. I’m afraid he was totally worn out by the time we could call it “home” for the night. Thankfully Saturday was as I described earlier in this post, and Sunday started off equally well, he deserved any “breaks” he could get!

As you may have guessed by now, we are safely back in Dillon, MT. now and have been for some hours. We had planned to head towards the kids’ house about noon today, but with the lovely spring like weather we got to enjoy for a change, we kind of did things in slow motion, I guess. We didn’t actually leave Lava Hot Springs until nearly 2 p.m. Only an hour earlier than we had taken off on Friday. I sure didn’t want us to be getting back here after dark again, so I knew I had to get brave and do something to speed the trip up a bit. Since I was once again leading that meant I had to set the pace…. Yep, I ate those words I wrote last week and hit the gas pedal. LOL No, I’ll never be called a “speed demon” but I did manage to get up to 65 mph and kept it at that speed until we hit the Idaho side of Monida Pass. Since this is one long haul up in a series of hills leading to what felt like the top of the world, I’m pleased to say that the van and I still pulled it at 55 and 60 for the most part with strong headwinds to keep me on my toes, too! LOL

Actually, we made a couple of stops before going over the pass, once for gas (not in Blackfoot) and then again at a little spot on the road called Spenser. Spenser in the opal capital of ID. and possibly the US. Can’t remember exactly what their sign said. Anyway, there are a number of mines up there and a couple of opal stores (one of them stays open all year round), so we decided to go have a look. DD didn’t think she had ever seen an opal, so I’m glad we had the chance to show some to her. The ones that had been cut, polished and set in jewelry were exquisite, but we all found the uncut ones more entertaining and interesting. The owner of the shop keeps a pan of stones available for the public to paw thru and buy for next to nothing, that definitely have opal materials in them. Whether they are gem quality or not is up to the purchaser to find out if they want to pay to take them to gem cutter. We let DD and my grandsons pick around until they each found a rock that appealed to them and once their purchases were completed we headed back up the road for MT. We made it back an hour faster than the trip over had taken, but we didn’t stop anywhere for dinner like we had on Friday, so I don’t know whether my going 65 versus 55 or 60 really made any difference or not, but it sure was nice to arrive in broad daylight! LOL

Now the kids are all tucked up in their “stick” house for the night and I am getting ready to cuddle up in my own little nest out here in their driveway for a much deserved night’s sleep myself, so I can begin dreaming of the beginning of my adventurous new lifestyle which will begin next week!!! The kids, grandkids and I will be heading out on Thursday, the 17th for the Craters of the Moon, ID (yep, same stretch of road as this past weekend) and then we will head into Nevada on the 18th. The morning of the 19th they will head back to MT. while I point myself towards Sparks, NV. for the first leg of the trip on my own. More to follow when we are on the road again!!!!!!!!!

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I Did It!

Yep, I completed MY “maiden voyage” with my lovely little home on wheels!

DS, DDIL, my grandsons and I had our first joint camping trip and while I was terrified of traffic, I was also totally over the moon from the experience! I laughed, I cried, and I cussed. Most of it was from the wonder of knowing I am able to go where I want, whenever I want; the rest was from traffic throwing gallons of moisture onto my windshield as I was driving and they passed me.

DS rode with me for the first part of our trip to Bozeman so Mom wasn’t out there on her own wondering what she had gotten herself into! LOL We used Interstate for much of the trip, which I found to be much more to my liking than the back roads needed to get there. The back roads will become more comfortable once I have gotten more practice in, I’m sure, but some of those roads don’t have “shoulders” to inch over towards when bigger rigs are also using the same section of road as I am! LOL Those big trucks, buses and motorhomes look really huge when they are coming at you from the opposite direction!!! Yoikes!

Once we got to a little town called Whitehall we joined up with the Interstate and took off over “Bozeman Hill” which is miles from Bozeman, but on the way…. I sure hope I don’t find too many hills like that too often cause they seem to take forever getting over them! LOL We made it though and stopped again near Three Forks, Mt. for a much needed break on my part. Also, switched DS for DDIL as companion at that time. DS needed to head into Bozeman to pick up their fifth wheel at Big Sky RV before the place closed for the rest of the weekend so he could meet us at the campground we were to stay at for the night. It was on the far side of Bozeman, so we figured he should just get down the road and we would meet up with him at my speed, even if he ended up at the rv park ahead of us. Turned out we beat him!! Not by much, but enough to make me feel like I just might be getting the hang of pulling my little home like others seem to do so effortlessly. You’ll never see me flying down the road at 75 mph, but 55 and 60 work for me! LOL

Anyway, DDIL and I picked up our reservations for our spaces and then contacted DS to see where he was at and to see how soon he thought he would be with us. Since he also had some shopping to do in the rv store that Big Sky has, he didn’t join up with us for at least another 30 minutes, which was fine by me since we had also found that the snow Bozeman had accumulated the night before was sticking to my “clogs” like crazy and turning me into a “Bigfoot”. One of my grandsons had also ridden along with DDIL and I, so I ended up sending him into the trailer to find my bag of shoes while DDIL and I tried to break away all that snow and mud from the soles of my shoes without my shoes sucking off my feet every time I put one back down on the ground! You should have been there, it was too comical to believe! Thankfully I was able to finally swap over to shoes that not only stayed on my feet in all the muck, but also didn’t try acquiring more as we walked around stabilizing the trailer and unhitching the van.

DS pulled in with the fifth wheel and I stood back to watch that family in action. Boy, they sure know how to set up camp in a hurry! LOL Of course, since dinner was promised to all of us once we were set up, that might give some explanation to the speed used by the boys! LOL

Once we were piled into their truck we went to a restaurant called Fuddruckers. I’d only seen these restaurants from the outside before, so it was decided grandma needed to see a one pound hamburger in person. No, I did not order one, but my middle grandson did! And, he ate almost every single bite of it! The rest of us had big burgers, but not nearly that size. If you have never eaten at one, you have got to give them a try! The place was like being in a huge house full of busy, happy people having a party! LOL And, the buns they use are heavenly! I could have eaten just a few empty buns and been a “happy camper”, but the meat was definitely a much needed addition to my meal since we took off shopping after leaving that place. Man, I didn’t know people could cover so much ground when shopping for five members of a family and grandma, too! WOW!! We did have to give up finally and head back to camp, grandma was worn out from her exhilarating day, and I think the boys were rather tired, too. I do know they all were excited to get back to their rv since they had not been camping for a few months even though the trailer had been sitting in their yard since they came back last November.

The next morning we hitched up the rvs’ after having coffee and relaxing a bit, then headed for Wal-Mart, the rvers’ “friend”! DDIL rode with me again, since the last time I had been in Bozeman there wasn’t even a mall out in the area where Wal-Mart is located back then. I really would have never found the place on my own, but have a really neat book that probably would have helped me if I had been looking for it from the Interstate in the first place.

Well, more shopping was done (I got some neat gadgets for my little home, too) and the boys ended up with some new shirts, etc. They may only be in the 10 to 14 yrs. age range, but they are as tall as grown men and still growing, so clothes shopping is an ongoing project when they leave the Dillon area where they live in their “stick” house part of the year.

DDIL, another grandson and I then followed DS and the other two boys out of town and back to the Interstate for the trip back to Dillon. The sky had cleared almost completely and the roads were dried so the trip home was much more uneventful than the trip over. Had some horrid headwinds, but the van just chugged on down the road with us and we finally made it here.

Will I go again soon? You bet! Next weekend, in fact! We are making another joint trip, over to the Missoula area, and we will even have another family member along for that one. DD (dear daughter) is going to come with me, she had a wedding to go to this past weekend, so she will get to camp with Mom once before I take off for California on the 17th of this month.

DD will have to stay behind then since she is going to college here in Dillon, but the rest of us will be heading into Idaho and points beyond for a couple of days joint travel, and then I’ll be on my own for the last two or three days I plan to use getting to Mc Cloud, which is up near Mt. Shasta.

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Okay, I’m Sort Of Bored……….LOL

At the moment I am sitting in a motel in Coeur d’Alene, ID. waiting till morning to go pick up my new dentures (as if this is info anyone really needs to know, except to explain why I am not over in Dillon with my lovely little house on wheels); the bottom plate of my old set very conveniently decided to snap a couple of weeks ago for the second time in two years (making it beyond time to replace them), so I’m bored because I really don’t want to go shopping and there is nothing on t.v. this time of the day…..

Okay, sounds almost like I’m whining now!! Sorry about that! It isn’t really all that bad, I promise. The sun is shining, I’ve gotten a bit of link work done for DS and DDIL whom I have gone back to working for part-time to earn some extra “playing” money for on the road. For those of you who have known me for some time may remember the “kids” and their web-marketing company (I used to talk about them enough on the quilt list! LOL), but for any of you who haven’t met me until finding this blog, here’s a link to their site, which will better explain their work than I can.. http://www.fmgconsultants.com

What I do for them is more behind the scenes so I’m not even going to bore you with anymore of my nattering about what I have been doing to fritter away part of this day…

I did get some interesting news on the phone yesterday. While I was driving up to Coeur d’Alene I had my phone shut off so it wouldn’t waste its’ battery looking for cell service in the mountains. Once I got here, I turned it back on so I could let everyone know I had made the trip okay, even through various snow storms and flurries, to find a message from the manager of the rv park where I will be working starting next month. She was wondering if I might come a week early as there is some stuff needed done to prepare for the coming “high” season, so that also means I will starting work this month! LOL Works out to the last week of April not the first week of May. I have to get back to her about it in a bit, but it seems like a great idea to me! Did let the family know about it last night and they think it’s a grand idea, too. Gets me out of the chill of winter not letting go in Mt. just that much sooner! LOL

But, they also know I am not really comfortable just taking off down the road yet since I haven’t practiced at all, so we firmed up the plans for a one night camping trip this coming weekend. Going to take off Sat. morning and will pick up their fifth wheel in Bozeman and then stay in a campground near there. I get to drive and I’ll even get to try my hand at backing the van and trailer together! Yoikes!!! LOL Won’t be real busy at the campground this early in the season, so I think it will be just fine, even if I do embarrass myself a bit when I get overly anxious about doing everything right the first or second time. Patience, in case you haven’t noticed is not really one of my strong points! LOL

Oh and get this idea! DS and DDIL are going to try and take a short trip when I get ready to leave for California and plan to follow me part way out there! Isn’t that awesome!?! They figured that a day or two with them somewhere back behind me might not be a bad idea so we can see just how the van and the trailer behave over a longer stretch of driving. Besides, we can do some sightseeing along the way. Thinking of stopping at Craters of the Moon, I haven’t been there in years and my grandsons haven’t been there for at least two years and want to return while they have such a good chance. There are a couple of other sights I want to see along my way, but I have to make sure they are somewhat on my route, or I could end taking a month to get to California instead of just a week or so! This would not be a good thing! LOL

Well, I’ve probably made you all yawn with putting up with me, so I’m going hop off and go call the rv park and then see if I can figure out what to do about dinner in a while. Have to make use of some of that sunshine out there before the sun sets!

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