Thursday, July 30, 2015

Great Falls

On Saturday, May 14, 2005 we left the Fairmont RV Park in Anaconda, MT and moved to Dick’s RV in Great Falls, MT. This was a leisurely 180 mile trip with snow covered mountains all around us. We went East on I-90 to Butte, then took I-15 to Great Falls. I was thrilled to be in Montana with Kathi and Montana was everything I expected it to be. Mountains, forests and desolation. When I retired, Montana is where I told everyone I was going and being there was special to us. The scenery was special, the weather was special and the sky was really big, like we had heard.

We drove through Helena and were on the edge of the Helena National Forest for a portion of the trip along I-15. It would be hard to tell you were in a national forest if not for the signs, because everything around the forest looks similar to the forest itself. Green trees were everywhere on hillsides and mountainsides. An added bonus was the Missouri River which we crossed five times during this short trip. The Missouri begins in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and flows south and east over 2,300 miles until it joins the Mississippi River north of St. Louis.

We found Great Falls a little warmer than Anaconda, I assume since we were not as close to the snowline. Mid-May is getting late in the spring so the temperature rise could just be normal as summer approaches.

We were surprised at the size of Great Falls. The city has a population of over 60, 000 with another 20, 000 people in the surrounding area. More important than the size of the city was that Kathi found a restaurant that she really wanted to visit – Tony Roma’s. We ate at a Tony Roma’s in downtown Las Vegas the first time we saw one of their restaurants. Their ribs were great. We also ate at Tony Roma’s on the Gulf Freeway in Houston before that one closed down near the time that I retired. The location in Great Falls served the same great ribs. It made a nice late lunch on a travel day.

After lunch we found one of the small Montana Casinos and played Keno and video poker for a few hours. I won $150 and Kathi lost her money again. Winning or losing does not seem to affect the amount of fun she has, but I am happier when I win – spoiled I guess.

We got Dick’s RV weekly rate of $139, so we were there for a week. Most of our driving time while we were there was spent outside the city. We love the rustic areas best. There was a local Walmart which is always a plus for RV travelers. We had a little rain during the week, but no snow as the temperatures got into the mid-60s in the afternoon and only down to 40 at night.

We talked to our youngest son, Christopher in Iraq one day while we were there and his moral was high; thus so was ours. We always talk to our oldest, AJ in San Francisco every day, since cell phones really changed the way we communicate with the family. Christopher had to borrow a satellite phone that was assigned to his unit for him to call us, so fewer calls when he is out of the country. We no longer lived together, but we stayed a close happy family most of the time. Life is good.

I have been feeling the heat so I pulled some snow pictures from our archives for display today. Think cooler.

An RV Park at the Baird Inn in Baird, TX in May 2010

Our Jeep at Charlie's service center in Sunset, UT  in April 2011.
Trees behind Charlie's April 2011

More snow at Charlie's in April 2010

West of Cameron, MT in June 2004

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