Sunday, September 14, 2014

Emmi Is Better and Gorgeous Weather

Even though we are not fans of giving our beloved pets prednisone, it did the trick.  Unlike our other little schnauzer, Jazz, Emmi seems to have had no side effects from the medication and is much, much better.  It’s been hard to keep her from chasing the ball or jumping off the bed. 

Nat came for lunch today and we had vegetable beef soup, french bread and homemade almond maple nut ice cream which was to die for!  I could have skipped the soup and just eaten the whole bowl of ice cream!!

IMG_1916Michael has been in the process of changing the oil and doing other mechanical things to the motorhome.  He also emptied all the bays and shampooed the indoor/outdoor carpeting.  Emmi for some reason climbed up onto this tray and in the process spotted a ball back in one of the storage bins.  She convinced Dad to get the ball for her.IMG_1918

IMG_1920Making one happy little dog!

I quilted today—it feels good to say that—it’s been a while since I drove the big longarm.  It was a productive day, I loaded and finished a small bunny quilt for my friend Linda.  Tomorrow I am ordering a bunch of thread and matching bobbins so I can start another quilt. 

In the beginning when we purchased my longarm I bought thread exclusively from Superior Threads in Utah and wound my own bobbins using a free standing heavy duty turbo bobbin winder.  I struggled with tension settings at times.  As you can see I have a LOT of Superior threads—almost all the thread cones in this photo are from Superior.  IMG_1500Do you think I have enough thread???  There is another shelf below this one full of variegated threads!

A while back there was talk on the forums about a new thread out there which worked as well if not better than Superior—from a company called FilTec—and the thread is called Glide.  The beauty of this Glide thread is that it has matching pre-wound magnetic cored bobbins.  My longarm can be very cranky about tension sometimes but with Glide thread and Glide bobbins I have no, none, nada tension problems.  I think I am going to attempt to sell my Superior Threads and order more of the Glide with the matching bobbins!

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Life is good!

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Busy Week

Whew—I think it’s time for another vacation!  Tuesday we helped Lonn work calves.  Working calves entails rounding up the cows and calves, separating the calves from their moms which as you can guess is a very noisy operation and running each calf into a chute which catches their heads.  Two injections each, tick and lice medicine poured over their backs and some kind of anti-viral stuff squirted up their nose—sure was glad Lonn was doing the nose thing—some of those calves got just a touch irate at that! SmileI like helping when we aren’t branding—injections and a squirt up the nose—I can live with that!

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IMG_1470You might ask why the chute system is so large—it is a very well designed system of sliding doors creating small pens inside steel walls which the cow or calf cannot see over.  The actual squeeze chute is hydraulically operated and Lonn has the moves down to a science.  In the past the owners of the ranch Lonn manages and the adjoining ranch owned by a famous neighbor ran a buffalo herd—sorting and working buffalo requires some stout equipment—thus this chute operation.

Wednesday we were up and at’em early—my hair appointment in Billings was at 9am!  But the early arrival time allowed us an early departure time and we were home by 3pm after a great lunch at CJ’s plus some heavy duty grocery shopping. 

Wednesday evening it began to snow and Thursday morning we had about 4 inches.  Snow in early September—wow!!  My geraniums which Nancy cared for while we were in Alaska are just beautiful, sure am glad I brought them inside!!

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Thursday saw me leaving the house again, not quite so early but early enough—Nat had an eye doctor appointment in Livingston.  It was with relief we heard the news his prescription had not changed in 18 months and he can still drive.  Doesn’t even need new glasses.

Yesterday morning while playing ball with Emmi she ran to get the ball and suddenly froze.  She would not move nor get the ball.  I said, “let’s go in the house” and she slowly followed me in.  I lifted her up into the recliner where she sleeps and she was just rigid, not wanting to lie down right away.  Michael came in for lunch and she just wanted him to hold her. 

When I got home you could tell she was in pain.  This morning she seemed better but as the day progressed it was apparent something was wrong and I called getting an appointment with our veterinarian  for 4pm.  In the meantime Emmi cried out in pain a couple times, once when she tried to change positions and once when I picked her up.  Jim, our veterinarian thinks she has sprained her back somehow and gave us some prednisone to give her.  It’s so hard when your pets can’t tell you what’s wrong!

Can you believe we had a temp of 22 degrees this morning—BRRR—it was dang cold for September!! 

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

And One Last Alaska Post—Thoughts

We sure have gotten a lot of blogging mileage out of this Alaska/Canada trip!  I will highlight some of our thoughts and a few of our “dislikes.”

The truck camper we purchased was the absolute best rig for this trip—our little dog house served us very well.  We had no trouble parking on the ferry and following the direction of the parking guys, even turning completely around on the parking deck of one of the ferries.  We fit in any campground and could almost park in a normal parking space.  

This Lance truck camper was eleven feet long and has a dry bath versus the wet bath many truck campers have.  Dry bath means there is a separate shower, wet bath means the entire bathroom including the toilet paper if you forget to put it away gets wet when you shower.  And don’t get me wrong, yes, we had a separate shower but “separate” is still very, very small in a truck camper—it got the job done! Smile

photo (18)-001Geri took this shot.

In a truck camper the bed is over the cab of the truck, there is a step and then you must leap, crawl, jump, scoot, etc. your way into bed.  Making a truck camper bed is without a doubt one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do!  One of the other various RV’s we bought and sold this summer had an almost brand new memory foam mattress which we removed and placed in the Lance truck camper.  That mattress made the head room about 4-6 inches less than it was with the original mattress—this increased the bed making difficulties!  But, we learned to cope after whacking our heads multiple times!  On the next to the last night of truck camper living I said as I was grunting my way into bed, “I can’t wait to sleep in a real bed!!”

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We had to be very careful with weight—everything including the camper is going into the bed of a one ton pickup truck.  No extras of any kind—we were very careful with clothing, food items, etc.  The cowboy wasn’t able to bring the entire garage of tools as he does when we travel in the motorhome!  And I didn’t get to take my Kitchen Aid mixer, either!

I had plenty of cooking space, our refrigerator was of good size with a separate freezer, we had a stovetop with oven and all in all we had plenty of storage space for this type trip.  We kept reminding ourselves, “we aren’t “living” in these rigs, we are “camping.”   Groceries were enormously expensive in Alaska and Canada and it would have been great to take more food stuffs with us but it just wasn’t possible.  We also found the variety and quality of produce to be poor in those remote southeast Alaska communities—to be expected when everything arrives via boat or plane. 

We stayed in ferry parking lots and we even stealth camped in a parking lot in Skagway:

photo (17)Prince Rupert

In Alaska we stayed in state parks and private RV parks—there was only one state park where it would have been hard if not impossible to park a large motorhome or fifth wheel—that was in Ketchikan.  RV parks are expensive—$40-$50 per night.  In Juneau we stayed in a USFS campground which had full hookups—can you believe that!—and huge, gigantic sites, $26 per night with the cowboy’s US Senior Pass.  Larry and Geri were envious of our “old farts pass”!  In Canada we tried to stay in provincial parks and if we couldn’t find one when we were ready to stop, we used a private RV park. 

Traveling in mid to late August we had no problems finding a spot to camp without reservations.  Labor Day weekend was a little tricky but we managed.  We had no problems finding fuel stations—in either Alaska or Canada—but be ready to pay the price. 

We encountered road construction from Montana all the way back to Montana.  None of it was awful nor did it go on for miles and miles.  Some of the roads are rough with frost heaves making it a little dangerous to open cabinet and refrigerator doors at the end of the day. 

IMG_1399Another Geri shot—I think they got tired of looking at that other Lance camper in front of them!

We didn’t have many dislikes on this trip and if there was a dislike it was the cruise ship crowds.  If we traveled to southeast Alaska again, I would find cruise ship itineraries to try and avoid the busiest days.   We were told there were four cruise ships docking per day in Skagway and the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau cruise ship schedule I found confirms that fact!  It’s one of the reasons we liked Petersburg so much—no cruise ships travel there.  I understand the community’s need for the cruise ship passenger revenue but it sure does make for lots of crowds when four cruise ships disgorge thousands of passengers daily into communities.  Skagway has a year round population of around 900 people yet they have 900,000 summer visitors!!!!! 

Pets are not allowed above the car deck on ferries—once the ferry is under way passengers are not allowed to go to the car deck except on the longer legs such as the one from Bellingham, WA to Prince Rupert, British Columbia—38 hours.  On the longer legs of travel passengers are escorted to the car deck and can take their pets out for a walk around the car deck.  We had one leg, Petersburg to Juneau which was scheduled for eight hours—it took us about nine hours as there was heavy fog.  We’ve never left Emmi alone for that long, six hours is about our max and we don’t like to do that.  She was alone in the camper for over nine hours and that really weighed on me as we traveled along. 

And then there was the internet issue or lack thereof!  We use Straight Talk for our cell phone service—doesn’t work outside the lower 48.  We use Millenicom for our internet when traveling—nope, doesn’t work in Alaska or Canada.  So, we were dependent upon public or campground wifi.  I will say this, the visitors centers in British Columbia and Alberta where we stopped had very fast, free wifi.  Next time we will know and make other provisions.  I was lucky that Geri and Larry had purchased Canadian cellphone coverage for the trip—I was able to use their phone and talk to my Mom following her total shoulder surgery she had to have as a result of her accident in July.  While in Alaska we used up some of Larry and Geri’s unlimited weekend minutes to talk to Nat, too.

And if you are traveling to southeast Alaska expect rain and clouds.  We experienced very little heavy rain but lots of clouds and mist.  We also had some gloriously sunny, beautiful days. 

IMG_1727 and another Geri photo!

All in all, we had a fabulous time and would do it again in a heartbeat, we are all ready planning our next summer’s trip so we must not have disliked too much!!! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

All Knowing Google

Imagine my surprise when opening my computer Sunday morning this screen popped up.  I ran my cursor up over the birthday cakes thinking it would tell me someone famous was born on this day like it always does—well, what do you know, it said “Happy Birthday, Janna”!!!!! 

Yep, Sunday was my birthday, not a big one, we will save that for next year but my birthday nonetheless. 

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I am truly blessed with fabulous friends and family—the gifts and birthday wishes I received were amazing!!  Let me take you on a tour:

IMG_1901Jill gave me the Moda Atelier charm pack—by 3Sisters—I love anything by 3Sisters!!  She and Jeane also gave me gift certificates to the quilt shop in town—now I hope they have some of that yummy red on bolts!!

IMG_1898See, I told you I had wonderful friends and family!!  The black/red/gold shawl is from my dear friend Kelly, quilting fabric from my sister Ann and niece Niki, gift certificate from Nat, cards, cards—yep, I am blessed!!

The Canon camera was a gift from my cowboy which I received a little early in time to use on our Alaska adventure.  It is this camera:

 

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and it is a jewel!!  30X optical zoom, 16.1 megapixels, wifi capable—haven’t figured that part out yet!—it fits in a pocket and takes great shots!  My only complaint, it has no view finder—it’s the first camera I’ve purchased without a view finder.  I manage to use the screen but struggle in bright sunshine—I can’t see the screen, you just have to point and hope! 

So, all in all, I had an amazing birthday!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Was Our Favorite Part

Judy from Travels With Emma asked what was our favorite part of the trip.  Funny thing, the cowboy and I agreed—riding the ferries.  Relaxing, very scenic, quiet—room to move around, not crowded and we met some nice people! 

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Our favorite town was Petersburg—beautiful, stunning scenery and NO cruise ships!!  We had dinner in a great little quirky outdoor restaurant, our RV site was waterfront and the park wifi actually worked!

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And our favorite place was Hyder, Alaska and the bear viewing platform at Fish Creek.  Here’s a short video of the one huge grizzly we saw—sure am glad I wasn’t the fish!!:

And here is another adorable video which was published by our local Billings news station. 

http://www.ktvq.com/news/video-shows-bear-cubs-playing-in-glacier-national-park/#.VAp0_k3n8hM.facebook

Saturday, September 6, 2014

ATVing and Visiting Ms. Lora

Lonn called last night and said he and John were going to check out some new ATV trails up Bridger Creek—would we like to come along.  “We” didn’t want to go but Michael did—I wanted to stay home, finish cleaning my house and perhaps sneak in some snuggling time with Ms. Lora.  And that’s exactly what I did!  So, here are photos from both events!

IMG_3396The trails are located in an area which burned in 2006 in what became known as the Derby Fire—it was a big fire and caused us to be evacuated.

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And now for the good part—Ms. Lora:

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IMG_1446It’s been a long time since I had a baby to snuggle—she has the funniest expressions.  Lora Elizabeth will be a month old tomorrow and her parents are sure hoping she learns how to sleep at night soon!  I did my part today trying to keep her awake but wasn’t very successful! Smile

When we arrived home evidence was all around the house—we had a visitor and not one we wanted!!  Pack rats!!  Nasty, dirty, stinky, disgusting varmits!!  So, Michael got out the traps and this morning it was:  Packs Rats 0,  People 2!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Up The Boulder and More Trip Photos

IMG_1436Our neck of the woods is still looking nice and green.  Not too long ago while we were gone, our little valley received almost 5 inches of rain over one weekend—that’s a lot!

Geri and Larry rolled down the driveway this morning about 8:30am—it was awfully quiet around here without them!!  Thanks guys for being such great traveling companions!

Most of our day was spent cleaning up—unloading the truck camper then cleaning it, doing multiple loads of laundry and the cowboy even washed his truck after removing the camper.  Even Ms. Emmi got in on the cleaning act—she got a bath.  I also mowed the grass which was almost to the making hay bales stage! 

Wednesday when we were driving from Browning to Great Falls, MT we saw a wrecker hooking onto a wrecked motorhome on the opposite side of the freeway.  Geri and I were discussing this accident when we walked into the RV park office.  The woman checking us in heard us and told this story—the couple was on their way from East Glacier to this very RV park in Great Falls when the driver front tire blew sending them across the median, across the other side of the freeway and into the ditch beside the freeway.  The tow car flipped but the motorhome did not roll—amazing as the median strip in that particular spot (we could see their tracks where they went off the freeway) was a deeper ditch than some.  The motorhome and car were probably a total loss.  Nina has posted several well researched blogs about tires, tire safety, blowouts, etc.   The link I posted is just one of the articles Nina has written but if you type “tire” into her search box you will find many more great posts. 

Here are some photos Geri took along the way on our trip (and I forgot to remove my watermark):

IMG_1532Geri has a real knack for positioning her camera for self-timer photos!

IMG_1731On the way into Prince Rupert, August 15 we traveled alongside the train—this particular spot was VERY narrow!

IMG_1903The four of us on the cruise we took to Misty Fjord National Monument, August 17.  Can you tell it was windy on deck??

IMG_2652-001The cowboy and me walking on the beach of Muncho Lake August 28. 

While it’s good to be home we are both ready to venture out again—who knows what we may do next—life is good!