Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Good Sunday

Yesterday we braved going to Billings on a Saturday—I needed groceries—my produce supply was non-existent and we needed some other things too.  You see, we have company coming!

Larry and Geri have been wandering around in Minnesota, Canada, North and South Dakota this summer—we knew they had been visiting Canadian friends and that they were now back in the States.  Well, look who drove up our driveway today--

DSCN1351It was so good to see them—we enjoyed happy hour then a wonderful dinner of grilled tri-tip, smashed potatoes and Caesar salad with homemade chocolate ice cream for dessert.  Emmi was thrilled to see both Larry and Geri!  We’ve planned some ATV riding and just some visiting! 

Nat came for lunch and his son decided for once in his life he needed to ride an ATV—so off they went in the new Can Am.  I think Nat was impressed!

DSCN1350 Many years ago when my maternal grandmother was still alive and active, she and my Mom had come to visit in the winter time.  Grandma was about 85 at the time I think and we had tons of snow on the ground.  Mom and I went for a snowmobile ride and I then asked Grandma if she wanted to go—“oh, no, I better not.”  Well, when Mom and I came back from our ride, Grandma said, “do you think I could get on that machine?”  Well, she weighed less than 90 pounds at the time and I told her, “if you can’t get on, Michael and I will pick you up and put you on the machine.”  Well, Grandma got on the machine with me and I took her for a short little ride.  She was thrilled and was going home to tell all her cronies, “I rode a snow machine at the age of 85!” 

It was a very good Sunday!

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Confession Time

In the blog posted last night I alluded to another story about our long way around trip to Cooke City.  Several readers noticed from the photos that we seemed to be in a different ATV.  Last winter while in Arizona the cowboy and I both began to have “roof envy.”  The side by side ATVs such as the Ranger or RZR usually have a roof protecting you from the sun to a degree.  I also envied the ladies riding in the passenger seat taking photos.  Riding my own ATV I would have to stop to take photos giving Larry plenty of time to lose me as he rode on ahead!! Smile

When we took the trip up Mill Creek we drove/rode Sarge’s RZR and liked it.  Someone else mentioned the Can Am side by side—for comfortable seats and power.  So—the cowboy had a mission—forking out the dollars for a new Can Am was not in his frugal nature and he spent many, many hours on Craigslist shopping.  We found one in Billings with 1600 miles, a 2013 but the guy wasn’t available to show it to us.  There was another one in Wright, WY—almost four hundred miles away from us!!  This Can Am was also a 2013 with only 600 miles on it and priced very right but didn’t I say it was FOUR HUNDRED miles away!! 

Well, Michael left the owner an email through Craigslist on Friday.  It wasn’t until Monday that the owner returned the email and said, yes, he would meet us halfway in Sheridan, WY.  We were to meet Sarge and company in Cooke City on Wednesday morning.  So—bright and early Tuesday with the truck camper loaded and trailer in tow we headed to Wyoming—the opposite direction from Cooke City.  After seeing the Can Am—we purchased it from the nice young man who met us halfway.  It’s in great shape and matches the jeep John Brown! Smile

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Just after noon we were heading up and I do mean up Highway 14A out of Ranchester, WY.  DSCN1281YIKES!!  This was the sign on the downhill side but there was a matching one on the uphill side!!  We made it just fine—it was slow going but we had no problems.

DSCN1288DSCN1296Looking down on Big Horn Lake near Lovell, Wyoming.

OK, we crossed one mountain pass, now we would cross another from near Cody, WY to Cooke City, Montana.  When I lived in Powell, WY one of my favorite drives was the Chief Joseph Highway which leads through Sunlight Basin then either up the Beartooth Highway or on to Cooke City and Yellowstone National Park.  So—up we went again—the scenery along this highway is spectacular!

DSCN1299It was after 5:30pm when we arrived at our boondocking spot near Cooke City—you read the rest of the story in last nights’ post. 

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IMG_2585IMG_2619Notice the jackets!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cooke City, Montana—What A Trip

We drove to Cooke City, Montana Tuesday taking the long way around—that’s a story for the next blog!!

Arriving just after 5:30pm on Tuesday we found a boondocking spot a little too close to the road for us but the weather was starting to look a little iffy—we unloaded the ATV and started up the road looking for better boondocking locations when the skies opened and dumped both hail and rain on us.  In spite of the roof, we were all (including Emmi) soaked to the skin!!  That’s not snow in the below photo although in Cooke City at an elevation of 8000 feet, you never know!DSCN1307We enjoyed a quiet evening in our little truck camper listening to the rain on the roof.  Wednesday dawned cool and sunny—Sarge, Bob and Frank were driving over from the Livingston area to meet us.  During his career as a game warden, Sarge spent a lot of time in the Cooke City area and was our tour guide for Wednesday’s ride to Goose Lake.  The lake is located in the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness area—we parked the ATVs and hiked about a 1/4 mile to spectacular Goose Lake. 

We do indeed have some awesome, beautiful country in Montana but this trip showed us just how lucky we are to live in this area!  The trail to Goose Lake is about 10 miles of rugged, rocky (very rocky), steep ATV riding through some of the most breathtaking scenery—with lakes around every corner!

IMG_2546IMG_2552I took 124 photos Wednesday during this trip—I won’t load all 124 of them, I promise!

On the last ATV trip we took with Sarge, his friend Bob mentioned he had just purchased a new Yamaha ATV.  This trip to Goose Lake was Bob’s first ATV ride—he’s done some ATVing with his Kawasaki Terex side by side but not on a 4-wheeler.  And he had never done anything as rugged as this trail to Goose Lake—and as a matter of fact, neither had we!  When we got to this particularly steep part of the trail, Bob wasn’t sure he wanted to see Goose Lake all that bad—but with some encouragement from all of us, he headed down the trail—great job!

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IMG_2595And then there’s Sarge with his hands in his pocket letting Bob and Mike do all the work! SmileSmile

This video is of the trip back up that steep, rocky section—again Bob did a great job!!

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That’s probably way too many photographs so I will save the rest for a later blog—as we were enjoying our lunch at Goose Lake, dark clouds began building and we all decided we didn’t want a repeat of Tuesday and made a bee line for the rigs!  We almost made it back to the RV before it rained—at least this time it didn’t rain hard—it saved that for later in the evening when once again the skies opened dumping lots of rain and hail.

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Today, Thursday, we were to have taken another ride—it rained most of the night and was raining this morning—so we all decided to pack up and head for home. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dang Pack Rats and a Drive

Pack Rats 1  Clark’s 1—one of the dang things is still living in the engine of my car, we’ve started the car, tried to drown the nasty bugger and have two huge traps set.  Emmi has been keeping a close eye on the car all day!

This afternoon after packing some more things we decided to take a drive—recently a new USFS road opened near us leading back into what is known in these parts as the Deer Creek drainage.  In 2006 a forest fire swept through this area leaving the views not quite so scenic—but we still enjoyed the drive in the jeep.

DSCN1267DSCN1269Strange rock formation!  It was overcast/hazy this afternoon so the photos aren’t the greatest.

DSCN1271Can you see the baby turkey directly behind mom?

DSCN1275A pretty little creek surrounded by burned timber.  DSCN1279Little black dog getting a drink.

Blogs will be sporadic over the next few days, I don’t think there will be much cellular service in the direction we are headed. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

One Happy Little Dog

Emmi meets me when she hears my car coming up the driveway—she is good about staying out of the way of vehicles except when she knows it is me—then she insists on my stopping the car and letting her jump in to give me loving.  It’s so funny how excited one little dog can be! 

The plane ride from Chicago to Bozeman was again uneventful—I watched another movie on the United in-flight wifi—Eat, Pray, Love—with Julia Roberts.  A quick stop at the grocery store in Livingston and I was home—and it sure feels good!

Today was spent getting the truck camper ready for a little road trip/ATV ride we are taking this coming week.  And chasing a pack rat---UGH!!!  On one of the trips I made out to the camper I noticed Emmi was frantically running around my car—she would stand up on the front bumper or on the tire—then she would go underneath the car.  Michael came to investigate, raising the hood—and there the nasty thing was twitching his nose at us!!!  We have two big pack rat traps and two big sticky traps under the hood of the car—hopefully tonight there will be one less pack rat around here!

My dear Mom is one of six children—all daughters.  She lost another of her sisters yesterday, my Aunt Mary to pancreatic cancer—rest in peace Aunt Mary, your suffering is over.

I took this photo out the window of my hotel room Friday evening—as I was taking photos I would see planes fly in front of and behind the Sears Tower—and although the photo shows thunderclouds building--to me it was a scary sight reminding me of Sept. 11. 

Early this morning I noticed a post on Facebook asking Jim Meachum if his home in Arizona was “OK.”  Knowing Jim is an early bird like me I quickly sent him a “what’s going on” message.  Well, Wickenburg, AZ received four inches of rain yesterday and there is massive flooding.  Fred and Nancy posted a video to Facebook—dang scary!  I can’t get that video to upload to YouTube for posting here but this is a link to a local Wickenburg news station with multiple videos of the flooding. 

I did find this video on YouTube just by searching—what an incredible mess!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Still In The Big City

It’s been a couple non-stop days making the rounds in the hospital—between the four of us we’ve been in the hospital from about 6am until midnight trying to catch all shifts of nursing.   Kurt and I are taking the late shift tonight but I bet we won’t be too late and tomorrow I take a flight back to Montana, the cowboy and Emmi—I can’t wait!

Last night we enjoyed a fabulous meal at a restaurant reputed to have frequently hosted Al Capone.  The food was delicious—just way, way too much of it.  I’ve always wondered why restaurants serve portions so large a family of four could eat one entrée and be stuffed!  Unlike when we are traveling in the motorhome or are at home—in a hotel I have no where to bring leftovers—and my risotto with scallops was so incredibly good!

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And a special birthday wish to our great niece Elizabeth—she became a teenager today!  Happy Birthday Elizabeth!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I’m Not In Kansas or Rather Montana and an Owl

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Early this morning, I was heading to Bozeman—on to Chicago for a little work assignment—I will be back home in Montana with the cowboy and Emmi on Saturday.  The Bozeman airport has worked hard in recent years to entice more airlines/flights to Bozeman and even a few direct flights.  It was so pleasurable this morning to take a direct flight to Chicago—I’ve forgotten what direct flights were living in Montana all these years! SmileAnd, how cool—this was a three hour flight and United offered free inflight movie/TV shows broadcast to your own device.  The time flew by as I watched on my iPad the movie Birdman,  starring Michael Keaton who is a neighbor of ours when in residence. 

The cab ride from airport to the Rush University Medical Center area was a traffic nightmare but I still arrived at the hotel before check-in time.  Oh, well, the hotel provides a free shuttle to nearby area dining/attractions.  I enjoyed a fabulous lunch sitting outside enjoying the amazing weather Chicago is experiencing!  That is I enjoyed my lunch after the waiter dispatched the two inch long cockroach!!! which was crawling over my bare flip flop encased toes!!!!  You would have been proud of me, I didn’t shriek, I just gasped, flicked it off with my finger and watched the waiter stomp on it—I was after all sitting outside!  Thank goodness we don’t have cockroaches in Montana!

Growing up I had two sets of aunts/uncles who lived in Chicago and I spent time here as a child and teenager.  I wish I had time for exploring but I will be spending all day and into the night in-servicing nursing staff Thursday and Friday.  I can at least see the top of the Sears Tower from my hotel room windows!

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Monday evening Michael and I were sitting outside on the deck enjoying the beautiful/cool evening when he said, “get your camera, there’s a critter over there in that tree.”  We’ve had a hatch of magpie babies this summer and they were squawking incessantly—well they didn’t like Mr. Owl who had invaded their territory. 

DSCN1233DSCN1249Spooky eyes—brave magpie!

DSCN1254Maybe if I turn my head around I won’t see you Mr. Magpie! 

Life is good!