Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We Have Moved.....Now at Camp Jerry's

We’ve Moved.......Jerry’s Campground - Missoula

Status report on the Rowdy Roadie:  The kind folks at Camp Firestone did all they could do to get us rolling.  The Transmission will not shift from second to third (or forth) so travel is really slow and no speedometer.  They recommended the best transmission shop in Missoula so we have moved to Jerry’s Campground (normally known as Jerry’s Transmission.) 

After analysis they have determined it is an electrical problem between the electrical fuses under the drivers dash and somewhere in the bowels of the transmission before the speed sensors.  Since we are surrounded by mountains we cannot travel until they get to the bottom of this. 

My son-in-law graduated from The University of Montana here in Missoula so we stopped by for a photo opp for memories sake. 

Campus Sign

Missoula is an eclectic western town, a little hippy, a little college, a little rancher and some plain folks tossed in to make it an enjoyable little western town with something for everyone.  There are definitely worse places to be stranded.

Lots of interesting historic houses near the with its own chicken house right in the center of town. 
                                                                 Hailey found eclectic.....

Not exactly ordinary lawn ornaments.

We are starting Day 2 at Jerry’s Campground.  Again they are providing us with electricity and yesterday they had a loaner car available so we were able to do some sightseeing in Missoula, which kept us happy and out of the mechanics way.  Well, for the most part anyway.   Anxiety overtakes me from time to time, mostly at 3:00 AM or when we don’t have something to do. 

                                                          I think I need less thinking time!

Missoula is a beautiful river town which flows right through the center of town and zig zags through the populated area. 

While we had the car, we did some sight seeing and found Travelers Rest State Park.  In 1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through The Bitterroot Valley and stopped along banks of the to rest.  We did a short 1/2 mile hike through the area and were able to walk the grounds as had Lewis and Clark.  Though surrounded by modern modern, it is quite easy to envision the expedition at this place.

 The tent poles show approximately where the expedition camped to rest before traveling through the mountains to the Pacific Ocean. 
Lolo Mountain in the middle.  The Lewis and Clark made their way through the mountains by this Mountain Passage.

Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, is an interesting Museum that covers a wide variety of aspects of pioneer to modern day uses from this area.

The Building of the Fort began in 1877 in response to local townspeople desiring protection from in the event of conflict with the local Montana Tribes.  It was designed as an open fort without walls as was common in Forts west of the Mississippi.  Soldiers patrolled the perimeter to ensure the safety of the area.  They had barely begun construction when they received orders to stop the flight of the Nez Perce who had refused to move to a reservation in Idaho.  They were ordered to disarm and arrest the Native People as they continued along the Nez Perce Trail. 

The Fort has had many other  uses over the years.  First as a military installation that housed the 25 the Infantry who arrived in 1888.  In 1896, a bicycle Corp tested using bicycle for the military purposes.  It was later determined that the bicycle had limited use and would never replace the horse.  The fort was used for military training in WWI and was   nearly abandoned by 1921.  It became a Regional Civilian Conservation Center in 1933. In 1941 it was transferred to the Department of Immigration to be used as a Detention Center for detained Italian internees as well as Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, another dark chapter in American History.   Well established Americans of Japanese descent were imprisoned in buildings such as this until they were later reunited with their families at other camps such as Manzanar.

In 1988 President Regan sign legislation apologizing for the imprisonment of these Americans and ordered reparations to be paid to the imprisoned or their families, however no reparations were ever given to those who had been at FT Missoula.

It also became a prison for American personnel accused of military crimes following World War II.   The Fort was decommissioned in 1947.

Today the remaining land and buildings are managed by mostly non military agencies and a fitting location for a Museum deadicated to the history of the Bitterroot Valley.

Other displays include a Firewatch Tower and a Forest Industry Products with sawmill and equipment on display.

In spite of the overlying stress of the mechanical breakdown, and surrounded by the town, the sky opened up to a beautiful sunset at Camp Jerry’s.

Happy Trails

Saturday, June 20, 2015

On the Road Again....

     ♪♫ ♪  On the road again   ♪♫♪
Just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again  
On the Road Again

 Oh yes, I can hear the song in my mind.... and it is good to be on the road again but it is not all unicorns and rainbows....but then like seldom is.  There I go again getting ahead of myself. 
While I have posted this last week the posts were of catch up posts of my camping time with my gal pals, the Sisters on the Fly at the Farm Chicks Event (see the last 2 posts).  Along with that there has been a flurry of activities getting ready for this 2 1/2 month Mega Trip across the US and back. 

Hailey and I had our last minute Doctor visits and refilled meds and made arrangements for meds to be filled for us for the summer.   The Road Trek had another 'check up’ and had all her fluids changed a safety inspection and got a ready to go rating.  Our checks ups results seem to be the best we can get at our ‘advancing age’.  A new stereo in the RoadTrek to replace the original with a cassette deck,  would give us the needed tunes across the vast Midwest.

There she goes....

I placed an add on Craig's List for Lolita, at 9:00PM.   She was sold to the first person who looked at her by 12 noon the next morning.  Boy it was hard to see her drive away.  She went to a good home with new owners who have the skills to rebuild her to her former glory and then some.  I sold her for what I paid for her plus the cost of the axle and the solar and compressor refrigerator/freezer.  I hope the new owners are as happy with her as I have been.  And I can’t wait to see all the changes they make to her to make her their own just as I have to the RoadTrek. 

It seems I had been packed for weeks, adding a little this and that is as our preliminary test camping adventures allowed us to fine tune our packing and allow us to get accustomed to the RT.  Grocery shopping and waiting for school to get out was all that remained.  Then finely the day arrived.  School was out at 1:15 on Thursday June 18, 2015.  By 3:00 we were on the road with Willie Nelson playing loudly in my head.

It is good to  be moving again.   

First stop is one of our favorite trinket stop as you cross into Montana, the 50,000 Dollar Bar, a popular Tourist Attraction on the Montana Side of the Idaho/Montana border.  We added a couple of selfies before traveling on to meet up with another Sister on the Fly member, Jonnie.  She had posted on Face book that her mare had given birth to a new baby 2 days before we left....we needed a stretch break and she was just 10 miles off the highway.  So here is a pics of their beautiful setting and the new baby, Little Joe. 

Quite a wonderful spot to welcome the new day in a pasture with these two.

In the morning as we were ready to leave, I told Jonnie that I wasn't sure where we would end up as I was not to anxious to be in Yellowstone Park on the weekend with all the regular tourists AND the weekend folks.


 A short while after we left a warning lights on the RoadTrek... the ABS braking sensor came on and I could feel the engine lugging down.  We traveled slowly as I tried to access what was going on and get to cell coverage.  Just as after I reached cell coverage, the engine light came on to seek engine service.  As I moved to a safe location past a big curve (with traffic traveling 80 miles an hour as they often do in Montana) I could feel the engine loose power as I came to a stop.

I called for a road service tow and was towed to a shop in Missoula a short distance away.  The shop that the road service folks choose said they service motor homes but their primary business is semitrucks.  Once they saw my tiny motorhome (merely a van in their book) they declined to service it so the tow truck driver found another shop that was open on a Friday afternoon before Fathers Day Weekend.  By then it was late in the afternoon at the Firestone Shop and they were open on Saturday and Sunday with repairmen ready to work. Since the RT couldn’t move they allowed us to 'camp for the night at Camp Firestone’ and even hooked us up to electricity.

   Welcome to Camp Firestone....

 These guys were awesome.

They were done by noon on Saturday and I took it out for a test drive and right back to the repair shop.  It was still not powering up and when the transmission shifted it made a big clunking sound and the ABS sensor was still on.  Back to the shop for more advise.  The mechanic that worked on the RT has been a mechanic for 40 years.   Sunday, they would try for another part and pray that it would do the trick and send us on our way off to Yellowstone to arrive on Monday or Tuesday.  Go figure!

If that doesn't do the trick the  problem would reside in the transmission and we would need it to go to a trany shop which of course would not open until.....Monday.  What to do???? but wait and PRAY!

They did not advise driving it without further work to address the problem so Camp Firestone said....stay with us, use our electric and WIFI.  Other that a complete fix, how could it be better than that.  We will never know exactly what caused the problem, which came first the distributor problem, or the transmission problem.  Did I make it worse by driving the little distance to safety and cell service?  I can tell you this though, in the 2 1/2 hours I waited for the tow truck with my hood up, not one person stopped to see if assistance was needed.  It is a different world that we live in today, where people are afraid to get involved, it is just to dangerous.  I certainly am a believer in having good cell service and this experience certainly solidifies that belief.

So here we are tucked in for another night at Camp Firestone..... It could be worse....RIGHT!?!

I know that many people are fearful of being on the road solo.  Many people use that as an excuse to stay home in their safe zone and limit all risk.  I am not one of those people.  All life presents risk, and I believe you do all that you can to be prudent and plan for safety.  I will continue to do that in the future.  I had set aside a healthy budget for road repairs although transmission work can quickly blow a repair budget to hell.  Only time will tell the extent of the $$$ damage and then I will have to re access the remaining budget and go from their.  Life is always throwing us curve balls, the decisions about how we proceed remains with us. 

Another one of my life motto’s is,

                   There is plenty of time for PANIC, later when you have all the facts!!

My motto has served me well.....  I will keep you posted on how this evolves....

P.S.  If you noticed that some of these photos are of poorer than usual quality, you are absolutely right....the universe decided that this was a good moment for the act up.  Please forgive the quality until I can......A. figure out this gosh darn thing.....or
                                        B. get a new camera for this wonderful trip! 

Until then,

Happy Trails


Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Tale of the Well Lit Hens

It is a common belief that men have a difficult time asking for help.  That doesn't mean that ALL men share this belief, just that it is common.  But once in a while a man can find himself in need of a helping hand.  Lucky for our campground neighbor he had ten lit hens to lend a hand.... or beak.  But I am getting ahead of myself......Back to the beginning.

Our campground was taken over by a group of camping women, most of them in vintage trailers to attend a great shopping event called Farm Chicks.  Shopping of course is on the agenda, along with good food, and great company.  Into this mix on Friday night, a man and his teen age son arrive to occupy a lone space next to our overflow parking where 10 of our trailers were cozy and settled for the weekend.

This weekend,the entire group (around 35 trailers) had planned for a special event.  Those of us with bikes brought them and decorated them for a twilight bike parade through the campground.  So after our potluck we retired to our trailers to commence with the decorating and preparations.  Our overflow group (under the leadership of Jane also planed to decorate our bodies....and Chicks, how fitting for the Farm Chicks weekend. Tails and beaks would accompany our brightly colored bikes.

So we decorated, and decorated and then gathered up in our loop for some practice riding and clucking, then proceeding down to the parade starting point.

                                                                               Yup, it's me

                                                                               Best of the Show

Along the way, we discovered our new neighbor arriving and commented, "He sure doesn't know what he got himself into" LOL  As we were clucking and riding back and forth as we waited for everone to keep together, we discovered that he was having difficulty getting his very long trailer backed up.  In short order, he had the trailer carefully wedged with a bolder between his back wheel and the bumper with a low hanging jack.  I can only imagine his horror to be backing up the trailer with 10 lit hens....watching and offering 'suggestions'.

When it became clear getting it out was going to be far more difficult.....a wise ole hen (who happens to be a Montana ranch wife)  came to the rescue.  She clucked her way back to her truck and flew back in a flash.  With a couple of shovels to dig around the bolder and a towing strap this hen drug the bolder free and saved the day.  The hens then released the teenage son from giving trailer direction duties and had the truck and his trailer parked in no time.

(No pics of the truck and trailer to protect the dignity of the poor man.)

We then proceeded to the starting point of the parade and had a blast......ride the parade route many time.  (Our new neighbors sat in their chairs taking in the sights of our parade as the sun proceeded to set)

The next morning as the Hens enjoyed their coffee and woman walked up and asked "Are you the Hens?"

"Why yes, why do you ask."

"Well, my husband shared what happened last night and I just wanted to hear the REAL story."

We all laughed and of course shared all the details.

So the next time you are backing up you trailer and having difficulties,  Remember the Lit Hens!

Just know that it could be worse......

Your help and salvation could be a flock of Lit Hens.

                                                          ~ Happy Trails ~



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Girls Just Want to Have Fun.....Farm Chicks 2015

 Before heading out for summer fun there is one last Sisters on the Fly event.  Not a great distance to travel as it is probably less than 2 miles as the crow fly but a highlight of the year for me.  It was one of the first events several years ago that I attended with this crazy group of sisters and I so love to visit with the growing number of women who combine there love of nature, camping (glamping- glamor camping) and crazy fun.

As important as the shopping is at this is planned every year to match with the FARM CHICKS Sale at the Fairgrounds, there are clearly many draws that make this gathering a Not To Be Missed Event.

It takes a while for me to feel like I fit in.  I can tell you that I do finally feel like I fit in.  It is not so important that everyone is my new best friend but that develop friendships that grow with the abiding love and concern for each other that I see happening at each gathering.  It is also fun to see new women reaching out to join in the fun and be part of the welcoming for them.

The setting is fabulous!  Along the Spokane River just a 2 mile drive from Downtown Spokane, WA.

This group of women takes there shopping seriously.  

Some are looking for a vintage item some are looking for a specialty shabby chic item others a fabulous new ideas for craft item to be completed at a later date.  Others are hard core shoppers who turn their finds into new creations to be resold at future events or shops.

I fit into none of those categories.

I have maintained for most of my life that I HATE shopping.......

But here shopping is a whole new experience!

Do I love it because it is vintage?           YES
Do I love it  because I am vintage?         YES

Do I love it because the presentation is fabulous?                                                 YES

I now believe I have been shopping in the wrong places all of my life.........I was born to                shop.............................................................HERE!

One of the highlights at Sisters On the Fly gatherings are the trailers and of course the glamping.

She really knows how to set up a great place to hang out..... How about that view!!

It was hot Hot HOT.....So a gal pal and I made an awning for the RT

Spook hanging out in the new cat condo on wheels - checking out the view!

But as important as the shopping  and the trailers are.....One cannot forget the food.

Wherever Sisters  on the fly gather food does too.  After serious shopping at garage sales and Farm Chicks, there were gatherings dedicated to good food.  We could have fed the whole HEN HOUSE!!

Julie used one of her trailer collections to decorate for dinner riverside.

A feast fit for the shopping exhausted.

Farm Chicks 2015

Some dressed for dinner

But the real dressing up happened on Friday night night....after the light began to fade away.

And the chicks came out to play......

Stay tuned for the Tales of the Lit Hens.......