Friday, September 30, 2016

Red Bluff and Redding

Events in this post occurred in September 2007.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007, Kathi and I said good bye to my sister Carol and her husband Lloyd as we were leaving Timber Valley and Oregon behind. We took I-5 south through Roseburg, Grants Pass, Medford and Ashland before reaching the state line. In California we continued south on I-5 past Mount Shasta and Shasta Lake, through Redding and stopped at the Red Bluff RV Park in Red Bluff, CA. The trip was about 290 miles with the Umpqua National forest to the east of us most of the way out of Oregon. After getting into California we had the Shasta Trinity National Forest to the west of the highway and the Modoc National Forest to the east.

Talk about a beautiful drive. Green grass and evergreen trees all along the way. We passed two vineyards that I recall and a tree farm near the highway. The trees on the mountainside made for gorgeous viewing. We even had a stream running alongside the highway for part of the trip. With bright sunshine and the cool temperature inside with the air conditioner running, we had a great time travelling together.

California vineyard -- this one is in the Napa Valley.

Through the windshield picture. Kathi takes a few while we are driving.

Another through the windshield picture. This one is from Oregon.
There were too many trees in the RV park to hinder our two satellites, but we moved into space 11 with enough sky view to accommodate us. With our Good Sam discount, the price was $30 per night. We expected California prices to be higher, but this was more than we liked to pay for rent. We paid a weeks’ rent so we would be in one spot long enough for our mail to be delivered. I was anxious to get my new computer. Kathi called our Escapees mail service in Livingston, TX and arranged for them to send the mail to us by FedEx overnight. The mail service people are really customer friendly.

I got the utilities hooked up to our motorhome while Kathi made us something to eat. We had peanuts and cashews to nibble on along the drive, but something more filling was needed. We agreed we would not be anxious to return to that RV park because of the cost and the trees. Most RV travelers like trees for the shade. Our TV satellite dish was in the rear of the motorhome and the internet satellite dish was in the center of the motorhome. Assuring we had a spot that allowed both dishes to see the satellites was a real pain for us. The temperature in Red Bluff was in the high 90’s, but since space 11 had us pointed north, we could have shade trees on each side that helped a little and still got good satellite reception.

We backtracked to Redding on Wednesday to have lunch. We drove the 30 miles north on I-5 and drove around the city looking for a restaurant that attracted us. We drove around for over an hour before we saw a Red Lobster. Kathi had tilapia and I got the dinner selection for fried shrimp – I was hungry. We were not disappointed. Red Lobster food was great, as usual. They have the same menu all over the country. With our tummies satisfied, we drove back to our RV for rest and relaxation. Another good day following another great trip in our RV.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Seven Feathers

This post reflects events that occurred in September 2007. We met my sister and her husband, Carol and Lloyd Jackson at the Timber Valley RV Park in Sutherlin, OR. We try and meet up when we are close. Our travel routes are usually different, but some of our destinations are the same.

Covered bridge near Sutherlin
Carol and Kathi took a walk on Sunday morning September 2nd. Carol walks every day and none of us can keep up with her. She stays about the same weight she was in high school. After their walk, Carol and Lloyd had some things to do around their RV, so Kathi and I drove about 40 miles south on I-5 to Canyonville and the Seven Feathers Casino.

Entrance to Seven Feathers

Better look at the fishing eagle
Seven Feathers is run by the Umpqua Tribe. Across I-5 from the casino they also have the Seven Feathers RV Resort. The RV park is paved and unlike many parks we have seen, this one looks like a resort. We thought the rates were a little high for us, but it would not be bad for staying one night for casino play. The RV park and the casino were nestled in a hilly area of I-5 and both were surrounded by evergreen trees. Driving on the canyon roads was a real thrill, up and down the hills and winding roads around the mountains.

That Sunday we spent about four hours in the casino. We started with a great meal at their lunch buffet and spent the rest of the time playing their slot machines. We enjoy the penny machines most, but you actually do not spend pennies. Most of the machines will allow you to play up to two dollars for each play and a few go as high as five dollars. We vary the amount we wager, depending on how much fun the machines are, how much we have to lose and how long we plan to stay. This day we were playing seventy-five pennies or one hundred pennies. After four hours we were about even, so we took that as a nice time to go home. We spent a couple of hours in the evening visiting with Carol and Lloyd discussing travel adventures.

We took Carol and Lloyd to the Apple Peddler restaurant in Sutherlin for lunch on Monday. The food was just okay, but the conversations were great. Lloyd had been doing most of the driving while we were touring Sutherlin and Roseburg, so Kathi paid for our lunch. We took a time out for an after lunch nap and met at our RV in the evening to continue visiting and holding travel conversations. Our plan was to leave on Thursday and move into California. We planned to be around San Francisco to see our oldest son, AJ in about a week.

Next stop: Red Bluff, CA



Monday, September 26, 2016

2007 in Timber Valley

It was nearing the end of August 2007 and we were at Timber Valley RV Park in Sutherlin, OR. Our plan was to stay here about ten days, then go to the San Francisco area to see our oldest son, AJ. There was a sweet smell in the air. We assumed it was from some of the flowers or plants in the area. We asked several locals and they did not know what we were talking about. I guess they were all used to it. We drove all over the countryside smelling flowers and flowery trees and shrubs, but never found the source.

Arlon standing beside our Alfa motorhome parked at Timber Valley.

This photo give you an idea of the elevation of the roads in the RV park.
Tuesday, August 29th we drove through a local coffee shop in a strip mall parking lot and got Kathi a mocha latte – it was not Starbucks's quality, but it would do to get us through our weekly visit to the laundromat. I had regular coffee and it was too strong for me. I added a little water. Temperature was in the low 80’s. We spent the rest of the day home reading and relaxing. We liked opening the windows and watching for animals. There were a lot of deer, jack rabbits, turkeys and colorful birds to watch in the RV park.

Deer captured posing in a subsequent visit to Timber Valley.

Deer grazing by the door of this fifth wheel.

Rabbit sitting on a road inside the RV Park. We stop at Sutherlin almost every year on the way to the Oregon coast.
The next day Kathi decided it was time to wash the motorhome. They would not let us use the water, but they have some local people that were allowed to come into the park and wash RV’s. Permanent residents in the park were allowed to wash their motorhomes once per month. After washing was complete Kathi arranged for them to return on Saturday to wax the motorhome.

My sister Carol and her husband Lloyd moved into the park on Thursday. They were coming inland from the Oregon coast and it was much warmer here than where they had been. We went to lunch and caught up on the latest from family.

Friday, Kathi and I took a walk in the park in the morning. We both did fine going on level ground or downhill, but going uphill was hard for both of us. A little after noon we met up with Carol and Lloyd and the four of us drove into Roseburg to have lunch at Applebee’s. Roseburg was about 20 miles south on I-5. There are very few restaurants or stores in Sutherlin, being a town of less than 8,000 people. Roseburg was the big city with over 20,000 population. They even had a Walmart store in Roseburg. When I got home, I had an e-mail waiting that told me my new computer had shipped.

It was nice and cool Saturday morning, so Kathi and I took another walk around the neighborhood. We saw deer and squirrels. It was September 1st and getting cooler. The cool breeze felt cold, if we were standing in the shade. We met Carol and Lloyd for a Mexican food lunch at a small café in Sutherlin. The food was filling, but mediocre to the taste. The conversation is always good. We are all amazed at the details Lloyd remembers about places he has visited. Talking about our travels makes for fun conversations.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Eugene and Sutherlin

Events in this post occurred in August 2007.

Wednesday August 22nd we moved to Shamrock Village in Eugene, OR. We had an appointment for repairs to our air conditioner on Friday and we wanted to be in the area to find the easiest way to get to the RV service center. We drove south along US 101 to Florence, then east on CA 126 to Eugene. US 101 is also called the Pacific Coast Highway. We use it every time we get a chance. Much of the time you can see the Pacific, while moving down a winding road with mountains on the other side -- spectacular views every time on the Pacific Coast Highway. The total trip was about 135 miles and took us about four hours driving slowly to enjoy the sights.

View from Pacific Coast Highway

Another view 

Pacific Coast Highway sight
Shamrock Village was very crowded and had a lot of trees. We were glad we were only staying one night at $21. When we checked out the next morning we drove to a small RV repair center to have the air conditioner and our generator checked. They could not find an issue with the air conditioner and told us our generator would not run, because we did not use it often enough. They exercised it for a few hours and sent us on our way again.

The weather was great and we decided this is where we wanted to spend our summers in the future. We checked in at the Eugene Kamping World for one night. It was $27 with our Good Sam discount. We got a pull-thru site with no trees, so our satellite services worked great.

Friday, August 24, 2007, we made a short move 70 miles south on I-5 to the Timber Valley RV Park in Sutherlin, OR. Timber Valley is an Escapees park and we rented a back-in space for $95 per week. Perfect. We saw some nice scenery on the drive with lots of green grass and mountains filled with evergreen trees.

We made arrangements with Bill Adams for the next day, back in Eugene. At that time, Bill had a company named satelliteanywhere.com. He and his wife installed our Directway satellite dish and we needed an update.

Saturday morning, we left our Jeep behind and met Bill and Janet in a mall parking lot in Eugene. For a mere $1,480 later our internet satellite worked great again. We got a new satellite controller and a new modem. We were glad to be able to e-communicate again. In just a few hours we were able to drive back to Sutherlin. We enjoyed the scenery again both ways, but it seemed to be a little warmer. Temperature was in the mid 80’s.

Sunday we spent a pleasant day at home, except for a trip to the only grocery store in Sutherlin. The prices were a little high, but we needed a few groceries so we toughed it out. The day was overcast, so it was cooler.

Beautiful roadside flowers near Sutherlin

California Poppies in Sutherlin

Matchstick plants in Sutherlin
Our internet was working again, but my computer was giving us some problems. Kathi offered to buy me a new one, so I placed the order. We had it shipped to our mailing address in Livingston and planned to have it forwarded to us at our next stop. Meanwhile I shared Kathi’s computer with her. It’s always something.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Leaks and Dinner

Today’s post is in current time and relates events that happened the last few days at or around the Boozer’s RV.

We are staying at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, TX. All of the spaces are paved and some of them are wide enough to get a picnic table on the slab. The space we are in, the concrete is not completely level and when it rains we get standing water in a couple of spots near the rear wheels. We also have condensate coming from our air conditioner and in this hot humid weather the condensate flow is heavy and continuous. Kathi used a container to catch the condensate to prevent the standing water from forming algae on our slab.

Near sunset at Green Caye
A few months ago we discovered another water leak on the other side of our RV from the air conditioner and near the hot water heater. Kathi added another container to catch the dripping water. A few weeks ago, another leak sprung up near the hot water heater. This time it was more like a deluge and Kathi could not empty the containers fast enough.

We started calling around to RV places to get someone to stop the leaks near the hot water heater. All the RV service departments are booked up – some through November.

We were driving to La Porte on Friday evening to have dinner with Andrea Clark and her son Matt and his family. More on that in a minute. While we were driving, Kathi spotted a trailer in the lane next to us that had a sign on the side advertising Andrus RV and a phone number. Kathi called them on Monday and they came by to look at our hot water heater leak.


On initial inspection they found a leak at a fitting on the back side of the hot water heater. They replaced the fitting and I think the smaller leak stopped, but we determined the hot water heater needed to be replaced. We have a Good Sam extended warranty plan. An Andrus rep called to determine coverage, then Kathi called Good Sam to do some negotiating and now we are awaiting arrival of a new hot water heater and an installation date. Meanwhile we are living with a pool of water and some algae on our slab.

Back to dinner. Last Friday night, Kathi and I enjoyed dinner at Casa Anita’s in La Porte. It is located on Fairmont Parkway near the intersection of highway 146. It has been about a month since we lost Larry Clark, Andrea’s spouse and Kathi’s brother. We had some remembrance conversations about Larry and some lighter conversations with Andrea, Matt, his fiancĂ© Kristine and two of their children, Austin and Cash. Matt and I had beef quesadillas, Kathi had nachos and Austin had a grilled cheese sandwich with French fries. Cash had the most fun with a bowl of cheese dip and tortilla chip bits.  A lot of talk about family and children. A nice way to finish up any week.

Austin offering to share a French fry
Cash awaiting his food




Monday, September 19, 2016

Fun at Chinook Winds

Kathi and I are still at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, TX. We have been here since Thanksgiving 2014. Our plan is to be here until Thanksgiving of 2016, then move to the Austin-Georgetown area for a few weeks to visit with our oldest son, AJ. We have no definite plans past that point, but we will be travelling again trying to get near a casino or two while avoiding snowy weather. In the spring we plan to be at Charlie’s Service Center in Sunset, UT for some needed RV repairs.

While we are stationary I have been relating our previous travels. Our RV travel story began in July 2003 and I am currently writing about August 2007. The story continues …..

We arrived at the Chinook Bend RV Park in Lincoln City, OR on Sunday, August 19, 2007. We met my sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Lloyd Jackson at the Chinook Winds Casino where they were boondocking in their motorhome. We spent a few hours visiting and made arrangements to meet them for the casino buffet on Monday.

The four of us met at the buffet on Monday and had a great lunch. Their clam chowder is always a favorite supplement to our meal. The buffet feeds a lot of people every day, so they have a nice selection of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After lunch we spent a few hours playing video poker machines, then adjourned to their motorhome for a few more hours of catching up on family news and current events.

Chinook Winds Buffet sign
Buffet entrance

 
Half of seating area for buffet
Tuesday was senior day at the casino buffet and we each got $2 off the price of our meal. That incentive is enough to draw a crowd, so we got in line early for lunch. With additional points from Kathi’s player’s club card, our lunch was $11 for both of us. Every dollar saved is gambling money, so we enjoyed the discounts. Kathi had clam chowder and baked salmon. I had a piece of fried chicken, a slice of pizza and a slice of ham with a wedge of pecan pie for desert. I do not eat many vegetables when I get to choose the menu.

Clam chowder on lunch menu

After lunch Carol and Kathi spent a few hours playing video poker, Kathi started with $10 and had a credit ticket for $9.78 when they got tired of playing. Lloyd went home for an afternoon nap and I played various machines and won a few dollars playing video keno. It was a fun day for all of us.

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Onward to the Coast

Events in this post occurred in August 2007.

We spent the weekend of August 11th and 12th bouncing between our RV and the casinos in Missoula, MT. Bretz was supposed to start repairs on our motorhome on Monday and we expected to be on the road again by Wednesday, August 15, 2007. Our air conditioner quit working, but we were not going to stay in Montana any longer. Kathi made arrangements for repairs in Oregon and we were ready to move along. Sure enough the work was completed as planned and we left town on Wednesday.

We were thrilled to leave the smoke from forest fires in Missoula. We moved west on I-90, through the Idaho panhandle and into the Spokane KOA in Spokane, WA. It was a two hundred-mile trip and took us about four hours. The KOA had too many trees to suit us and was too expensive at $35 per night, so we only stayed one night.

We left the KOA early Thursday morning and moved southwest on I-90 until we got to Ritzville, then we took US 395 into Hermiston, OR. We stopped at the Pioneer RV Park and Kathi payed for three nights at the Passport America rate of $15 per night.

We caught up on our laundry on Friday and had a mediocre lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. It was too warm and we were already ready to move along to the coast and some cooler weather. We did a little house cleaning on Saturday and got everything ready to move the next day.

It was near a 300-mile trip, but we were searching for cooler temperature. We left Hermiston on I-84 and trailed along the Columbia River, through The Dalles and into Portland. Then we took I-5 south to Salem. We took OR 22 out of Salem, still moving west and south, then we picked up OR 18 until we hit US 101. A short trip south on 101 got us to Lincoln City.

Sunday, August 19, 2007, we moved to the Chinook Bend RV Park in Lincoln City, OR. The rates were reasonable at the Passport America rate of $15 per night. It was our first time at the park and the roads were too rough for our RV, so we would not stay there again.

Deer jumping to eat leaves from tree at Chinook Bend RV Park.

Rough road out of Chinook Bend RV Park. The red building on the left is the office.

 The trip on I-84 is a must see for RV travelers. The Columbia River separates Washington and Oregon and provides some of the most fun visuals found anywhere in the country. This trip was great. Lots of green trees and no forest fires. The river views were breathtaking. We love to stay on the Columbia River, but this day, we were ready to meet my sister, Carol and her husband Lloyd in Lincoln City.

Fishing piers west of John Day Dam on Columbia River.

John Day Dam

Looking north across the Columbia River into Washington.

A view of the Columbia River from the highway
Carol and Lloyd were boondocking at the Chinook Winds Casino parking lot and we went over to visit. It made for a nice ending for a long day and we made arrangements to meet them the next day at the casino for some more fun times.



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Montana Forest Fires

Events in this post occurred in August 2007.

We were staying in the parking lot of Bretz RV in Missoula, MT as August arrived, awaiting parts arrival for repairs to our large slide out, windshield wipers and a replacement microwave/convection oven. We had already been there over a week and were anxious to move on so we talked to the service writer and found the parts were ordered on August 1st and should arrive by August 10th.  We found that a little disappointing, but reality is that way some time. Kathi continued her patience and I continued controlled seething.

August 2nd was on a Thursday and we spent the afternoon in a small casino. I was losing everything I put into the slot machines, so I quit playing and sat to watch Kathi. She was doing well and had doubled her money. Unfortunately, we did not take our winnings and go home. I watched her play until she used up all the winnings and then some, before we decided that was enough.

Friday we sat home and watched the activity in the parking lot. That sounds dull, but with our huge windshields it was like watching a wide screen TV all day. They had about 20 bays for maintenance work and some kind of RV was moving all day long. It was hot outside, but cooler inside.

Smokey the Bear  -- Only You can prevent forest fires.
Over the weekend, there were forest fires to the north of us and the valley we were in was filled with the smell of burning wood. Smoke was thin like a haze all over town. We could not actually see any fire, but every time we stopped and talked to anyone, they gave us an update on the fires. We assumed summertime forest fires were a routine problem for the area and the locals always seemed to understand the latest location and progress on fighting the fires.

Both of us were having breathing problems in the smoky atmosphere. We stopped using the fireplace in our home many years earlier to avoid the wood smoke that seemed to aggravate our allergies. Being inside was not much help avoiding the smoke smell since our clothes and furniture was saturated with the aroma.

We spent the week killing time between sitting at home, visiting small casinos and eating out. There did not seem to be much else to do. Walking outside was out of the question with the smoke-filled air.



 Our parts arrived on Friday as expected. We expected them to be through with the work by Tuesday at the latest. Unfortunately, our air conditioner went out on us the day the parts arrived. We did not want to spend any more time at Bretz, so Kathi made us an appointment for air conditioner repairs in Eugene, OR on August 23rd,

We spent the afternoon of August 10th at the Montana Club. We had fun with the machines in their casino and enjoyed Philly cheese-steak sandwiches in their restaurant. We slept that night with the windows open. It was cool enough for sleeping and the haze was thinning. Good news.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Waiting on MBA

Events in this post occurred in July 2007.

July 25, 2007 was a hot Wednesday at Bretz RV in Missoula, MT. We talked to the service people at 8:00 am and they told us the maintenance items could take as long as two weeks to complete. They were paying our rent and allowing us to live in their parking lot, so Kathi and I decided to be patient. We sat inside the RV most of the day watching out the windows. There was a lot of activity, but not with our motorhome – we assumed we were waiting on parts. We found out later in the day they were awaiting approval from MBA, the RV warranty insurance company before they could start the work.

We got out on Thursday and had a fun afternoon at the Blue Canyon Casino. It was cool inside and smoke free, both of which were welcome attributes for us. There was a restaurant attached to the casino and we had a late lunch there. We spent Friday watching RVs moving in the parking lot. It seemed there was never a time when an RV was not moving. It was really crowded everywhere at the dealership, but they managed to keep things moving. They had a forklift driver that moved the fifth wheel RVs and he was excellent. He came within inches of hitting another vehicle every time he moved one of them, but he never had a mishap.

We spent Saturday and Sunday at home. Maintenance was working on Saturday, but not on our motorhome. We needed to dump our tanks, but I decided to wait until Sunday when the Bretz shop was closed. The dump station was at the other end of the parking lot where we were parked and I wanted to wait until late in the afternoon to empty the tanks. That turned out to be an error.

Starting about two pm, small trailers started lining up at the dump station. There were as many as six in line most of the late afternoon. We closed up our motorhome and unhooked the utilities and waited for a gap in dump station traffic. We cringed and held our breath when the big slide was coming in, because we knew the motor was bad and could fail completely every time we used it. We were lucky, it worked. We finally got a chance at the dump station just before dark. We were amazed at how many locals had trailers they used for camping on the weekends. Kathi will never admit to being a camper – she insists she lives in a motorhome and does not camp.

Still no word from MBA on Monday morning. The maintenance writer was sure he would get a response on Tuesday. We found another small casino to while away the afternoon and had a nice lunch at Johnny Carino’s

We got great news from MBA on Tuesday, July 31st. Insurance would cover everything but about $200 for the slide motor. We rejoiced with lunch at Cracker Barrel. I had the bacon cheeseburger and Kathi had rainbow trout. I enjoyed my lunch better than she did and I had almost half a burger to take home with me. We spent the rest of the afternoon at home and anxious for the maintenance work to actually start a week after our arrival at Bretz. That scheduling seemed normal to Bretz and like I said earlier, Kathi and I were being patient but being patient was driving me crazy. I wanted to move.

I am not sure where this picture was taken, but it does remind me of the big skies in Montana.



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Arlee and Bretz

Events in this post occurred in July 2007.

We were hanging out at the Jellystone RV Park in Missoula, MT awaiting an RV maintenance appointment date of July 24th at Bretz RV. During the week of July 16th, we spent Wednesday and Thursday at home and even took a walk around the RV park when it was cooler in the evening. The only other time we were outside was to eat lunch at Cracker Barrel, again. It was close and the food was always good.

By Friday, Kathi was feeling like a caged animal and wanted to get out and do something. After all, we were retired and RV travelers, so we were supposed to be having fun. We took a drive through the mountains and every road we took seemed to end at someone’s driveway. I did not mind, the Jeep was easy to make a U turn with, although it was more like a figure 4 than a U. Mountain scenes were beautiful and fun, as we expected. Somehow we ended up in a little community called Arlee. Arlee was the name of the Flathead Indian chief who lived there when the community was formed. Arlee (the community, not the chief) had a casino and we spent several hours of fun time with only $20 each. Forty dollars was not much profit, but it was more than they would have made without us.

Saturday was another good day for a drive and we decided to go south this time. Our Jeep told us it was 81 degrees outside which made driving pleasant on a sunshiny afternoon. Mountain driving and mountain views were fun and spectacular. We ran across some large homes with huge flower gardens. Kathi wanted to stop and look, but I did not want to seem presumptuous, so we did not stop. We passed a gated housing community and one house had a high-heeled shoe about 14 feet tall. Maybe our most exciting non-scenic sight of the day. It was another good day.

It was Sunday and we were already ready to move along and we still had two days to kill before our RV appointment. We had driven in every direction around Missoula, so we just meandered. It was a little warmer, but not uncomfortable. We spent Monday at home doing a little cleaning and getting everything ready to show up at Bretz early Tuesday morning. Our appointment was for 8:00 am.

We moved into one of the Bretz courtesy spots for RV owners that were there for repairs. They furnished water and electric, but we had to unhook to use their dump station. That was good with us. The rent was free. We needed to replace a slide motor on our large slide out, a windshield wiper motor and our microwave/convection oven. We gave them our warranty information when we made the appointment, but they did not call for approval until we arrived. We did not know what to expect or understand their schedule so we opened our shades and watched the activity. There was a steady stream of shoppers looking at new RVs, a lot of trailers and fifth wheels and RVs coming in for maintenance and finding they had a waiting list so pulled out again. There were also a steady stream of small trailers coming in to use their dump station. It looked like it was going to be an interesting experience.

Horses grazing in Little Bighorn National Park in Montana.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Biding Our Time in Missoula

Events in the post occurred in July 2007.

It was Friday the 13th and Kathi felt lucky. We were staying at Jellystone RV Park in Missoula, MT and had about 10 days to fill with adventure before our appointment date at Bretz RV. There were tiny casinos all over town and guess where Kathi wanted to take advantage of her luck. It was hot outside, but cool inside the casino and right off, Kathi hit four deuces on a video poker machine. We took some of the winnings to pay for lunch at Cracker Barrel.

When we were driving back to our motorhome we saw a lot of emergency vehicles moving on the roadways and we looked the direction they were going and saw a fire blazing on a mountainside. It was really dry and hot and ideal conditions for forest fires. We went home and kept a watch for a few hours and the smoke disappeared, so we assumed the fire was under control. We tried local radio, but never heard the fire mentioned.

Saturday we took a drive around town and found a Walmart store. We shopped for a few things we had to have and returned home because it was too hot to be comfortable outside. Even the locals were complaining about the heat, so we assumed it was unusually hot.

We stayed home on Sunday, out of the heat and the electricity went out in the afternoon. I went outside and met a few other RV owners that were out like me trying to determine the cause of the power failure. We all decide to disconnect from electric and run our generators. While we were outside, Kathi noticed the bugs on the front of the motorhome and decided it was time for a frontal wash. By the time I got a hose hooked up and brushes, soap, black tar remover and buckets out, I was drenched in sweat. Kathi and I got the front of the RV looking like new again, then put cleaning equipment away and went in for a shower. I came to Montana for the cool mountain air and this was not what I had in mind. I went out to check if the electricity was back on and noticed others had shut off their generators. Electricity was off less than two hours, but our generator kept us cool inside.

Monday, July 16, 2007, we took a drive around to look at some larger homes in the area. Yards were landscaped and we saw some pretty summer flowers blooming. It did not take long to see all the large homes, since there were not many. This appeared to be mostly a middle class working town. We had Johnny Carinos for lunch. We like Italian food. I had lasagna and Kathi had a chef salad, both of which suited our taste very well.

The next day was overcast and cooler. We took advantage and did some grocery shopping in the morning, then returned home and spent most of the afternoon reading. Kathi finally got bored with that and decided it was casino time again. We spent late afternoon and early evening in the casino. I had a few beers and Kathi had a couple glasses of wine while we played. We went home with almost the same amount of money we started with, so we felt we had about three hours of free entertainment. What a great life. Even with the heat, we were having fun in the Montana mountains.

Mountain Lake in Montana

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Missoula and Montana Casinos

Events in this post occurred in July 2007.

We spent two days at the Livingston RV Park in Livingston, MT, then moved on to the Jellystone RV Park in Missoula, MT. We did not see Yogi or Boo Boo on arrival, but I am sure they were lurking in the nearby woods. The trip was northwest on I-90 for about 230 miles through Bozeman and Butte. We got up at 6:30 am to hit the road. I am sure the early hour was Kathi’s idea, since I gave up early rising upon retirement. It was nice and cool when we started the trip and it got progressively hotter during the day. We loved the scenery, especially the mountain streams that run alongside the highway. Jellystone charged us $180 for a week and we could not get cell phone service in our motorhome, both items were real downers. Kathi had to go outside and walk about 25 yards from the left front of our motorhome to pick up a cell phone signal.  Everything else in the park was great. Jellystone was a well-kept and well-manicured facility and the mountain views around the park were great.

We arrived so early in the day, we had time for a little exploring in the afternoon. We went to Bretz RV and looked at the newer model Alfa motorhomes. We found them too expensive and a trade for our 2003 Alfa See Ya’ was not feasible at that time. While we were at Bretz, we checked to see when we could get into their shop for some minor repairs. They gave us a shop date for July 24th. We spotted four other See Ya’s at Jellystone. That was unusual, since we normally do not see any. I suppose they bought them at Bretz. We spent the rest of Monday afternoon at home.

Our Alfa See Ya' motorhome

 Tuesday it was warmer and we got haircuts then spent the afternoon at one of the small casinos. Montana had a limit of 20 slot machines in each casino, including video poker, Keno and bingo machines. There was a limited amount of games we could play, but several small casinos to choose in the area.  State law requires a minimum payback of 80%, with a maximum bet of $2 and maximum payout of $800. We found that most of the casinos have regular players that usually frequent the same machines every day. Some show up after work and if you are playing the machine they like to play, they will sit and watch you until you move, so they can play. Interesting stuff. The state is a partner in all casinos, except on Indian reservations, where they have a completely different set of rules.

I broke even in the casino and Kathi lost a little, so she made me pay for dinner at Outback. We both enjoyed ribeye steaks with baked potatoes and salad. The meal was delicious as usual at Outback.

Wednesday, we did out laundry in the morning and went to Cracker Barrel for lunch. We discussed the unexpected high temperature in the Montana mountains and decided after we got our RV repairs done we would head to San Francisco to see our oldest son, AJ and enjoy the cool air in the Bay Area.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Wyoming to Montana

Events in this post occurred in June and July 2007.

Friday, June 29, 2007, Kathi and I were staying at the Restway RV Park in Cheyenne, WY. We arrived on Tuesday and our plan was to stay until after the July 4th weekend, so we planned to leave on July 5th, which was the following Thursday. We were on the way to the mountains in Montana and taking our time getting there. Across Wyoming you go on long treks, because there are not many respites for RV travelers. We were at home with our windows open, enjoying the cool weather and moderate breeze. Kathi talked to AJ, our oldest son. He and his friend Charlie were going to play at a coffee shop. Charlie sang and AJ accompanied with his guitar. AJ liked it because they were playing original songs that he wrote.

Saturday we drove around the area for a little while, until Kathi started feeling bad with her blood pressure up and not much success getting it back down. She stayed in bed for the afternoon and evening, hoping she would feel better in the morning. She did, but she had a stuffy nose and suspected all the cottonwood trees in the area might be the cause. We spent most of the rest of our time in Cheyenne inside and prepared for our move on Thursday.

We left Cheyenne mid-morning and took I-25 north through Douglas and Casper on the way to the KC RV Park in Kaycee, WY. Mileage was about 245 and I figured it would take us four to five hours to get there. About the only thing we saw along the way was beautiful scenery – and that was enough for us. KC Park rates were $19 per day using our Escapees discount. We signed in for two days. I like to have a rest day between travels, especially after long trips. My preference is 100 miles per trip or less, but you cannot do that in Wyoming -- it is too sparsely populated. We did not unhook our Jeep, since both of us were congested and we just wanted to stay inside.

Saturday, July 7th was moving day again. We were leaving Kaycee, WY and moving to Livingston, MT. It was about 325 miles – much further than I wanted to travel. At least we would finally be in Montana. We left Kaycee on I-90 north through Buffalo, the Bighorn National Forest and crossed the state line into Montana. We went through Hardin to Billings, then turned west, still on I-90 to Livingston. We could have broken up the 325-mile trip in two pieces by stopping in Hardin, but we had spent a week at the Hardin KOA in 2004 and Kathi did not want to stop there again. I do not blame her, there is not much in Hardin.

We loved the beautiful scenery driving through the mountains and moved into the Livingston RV Park. We signed in for two days at $23 per day. There was not much in the park. We chose a space in the back with no trees, so they would not interfere with our satellite dishes. We only had water and electricity, but that would be fine for two days. It was hot and our RV was hot, so we drove around town giving the RV time to cool off.

Next stop: Missoula

Rabbit hiding in RV park in Wyoming.

Waterfall in Yellowstone National Park
This picture is from June 12, 2004 when we were staying in Cameron, MT. It was like a blizzard for about an hour.




Friday, September 2, 2016

Inspection and Dinner

This post is in current time. Events occurred August 31st and September 1st of 2016.

Since Kathi and I have been parked at the green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, TX the last two years I have not been very diligent about keeping up with our RV repairs, inspection and registration requirements. When they started talking about hurricanes in Florida it was a stark reminder that we often have storms in this area at the end of the year and our RV was not street legal. I decided I would perform a little maintenance and close everything up so I could drive the RV down for a Texas state inspection.

I had taken our air conditioner vent cover off a few weeks ago to wash the grass off the condenser exchanger. Replacing the cover required laying on the ground, so I took a short cut and just put it back together using the top screws. That was good enough for parking, but not good enough for driving.

I went out Wednesday morning to secure the vent cover so I could go see my local vehicle inspector. After half an hour in the Texas sunshine and screws that would not line up, sweat in my eyes and laying on my back stretching over my head to reinstall the screws, I was exhausted. Kathi came out to bring me a glass of water and suggested I postpone the work until it got cooler. She did not have to ask twice.

Kathi decided to help me later in the afternoon after the sun went down and I had the vent cover back in place in about an hour. It still was not fun and I still had trouble getting up off the ground, but Kathi kept me calm enough not to break anything. She decided that was enough work for one day and assured me we could finish the rest of necessary travel preparations on Thursday morning.

It has been about six months since we have moved the motorhome and that was to buy new tires. The tires still look new – they only have about 20 miles wear so far. We will add more mileage before the end of the year. Anyway, it had been so long since we moved, we had to give each other a refresher on what had to be done. It sounds like it should be obvious, but there are a lot of steps to remember.

We got all the awnings in and utilities unhooked by mid-morning. We had a lot of things to stow away, since we have been lax returning things to their secure travel positions. We finally got it all done and got the inspection done before noon. Then, I did our registration on-line.

Olive Garden in Pasadena
Kathi and I had a dinner engagement with her sister Becky Boyd and sister-in-law, Andrea Clark. I was still tired when I took my shower around four pm. On the way to Olive Garden, I noticed the thermometer on our Jeep said 101 degrees. No wonder I was cranky -- but Kathi managed me with her usual aplomb. Dinner was excellent. Becky and Andrea had Portobello ravioli, Kathi had cheese ravioli and I had sausage stuffed rigatoni. Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal. Our conversation ranged from happy to sad and back again. We are all still adjusting to not having Larry with us. It will take some time.

Becky in 2010
Andrea in 2010