More On Our Adventure From Last Week

July 10-11, 2018

Tuesday morning at 8am it was 82 degrees at our BLM Horseshoe Bend campsite.  We found lots of horses at higher elevation where the grass was still lush and green and the temps were much cooler.  

We visited the small ice cave where we just peered inside and felt the cool air.  If you want to view the larger room of this ice cave you have to crawl on your hands and knees a short distance over the ice–not in my plans–I’m not crazy about caves as it is much less one which necessitates a crawl! 

It was a shorter day/ride on Tuesday and we were back at the RVs before 3pm.  Geri and Larry suggested dinner out–OK by us–the restaurant was air conditioned! After dinner we took a drive to a spot which overlooks the canyons of the Big Horn Lake–awesome!!!  The next two photos were taken with my iPhone–the canyon photo looks good, the big horn sheep were at some distance so that photo isn’t so great but we were thrilled to see those little guys!

Wednesday Geri and Larry pulled out first and headed for the Wild Horse Range Visitor Center where they were treated to a wealth of information about all the horses–very knowledgeable volunteers!  If you want to take a tour of the range, a volunteer from this visitors center takes a jeep tour up onto the range every day.  The road is rough and there are signs warning the road is not recommended for travel via passenger vehicles.  With that said, we saw pickup trucks and SUVs plus ATVs and jeeps.

We followed behind Larry and Geri, dumping our tanks at the provided dump station and meeting up with them at the grocery store.  Onward–destination–cooler temperatures!!

Lunch was in Belfry, Montana–can you guess the high school mascot for this sleepy little town??  On to Red Lodge, Montana, just a short drive up the mountain from Belfry.  All the USFS campgrounds south of Red Lodge are older with tight spaces.  Both rigs would have fit in two of those campgrounds but there were no sites even though it was only Wednesday.  These campgrounds use the Reserve America reservation system and you don’t want to get me started about that can of worms!!  There is a free campground near the formal campgrounds–just an open lot about 3 acres in size–grass/rocks/gravel located right along roaring Rock Creek.  Park anywhere, struggle to get level kind of campground.  We both found spots and were semi level. 🙂

We all slept so well that night–cool temps, windows open, no noisy air conditioners!

Thursday morning we were off on another adventure–more on that in the next blog!

 

An Amazing Trip

July 8, 2018

Last Sunday morning the two rigs rolled down the driveway, stopping in Big Timber for a few groceries and to say goodbye to Nat.  In Columbus we fed ourselves and continued on down the road to Horseshoe Bend BLM Campground on Big Horn Lake in the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area near Lovell, Wyoming.  We had hoped by timing our arrival for Sunday evening we might score electric hookups–and we were lucky!!  And it’s a good thing–with highs in the triple digits and a heavy layer of smoke we wouldn’t have been able to stay there without the benefit of air conditioning!

Monday morning we started early trying to beat the heat but by days end the heat caught up with us!  Our Montana ATVing friends always lead a trip to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range in late May or early June–there’s definitely a reason for that!  We saw lots of horses–

Notice the stripe just above his tail and the stripes on his legs–distinct characteristics of the mustangs on the wild horse range.

Notice the hazy background–that wasn’t camera skill, it’s smoke, probably from Colorado.  The flies and other annoying insects were tormenting the horses as well as us.  It was almost impossible to eat our lunch for fear we would ingest a fly with our sandwiches!! UGH! At the higher elevations it was much cooler but we still had bugs.

Throughout the Pryor Mountains you can find ice caves–this one is the Large Ice Cave located on the wild horse range.  It was cold enough inside to see our breath–amazing!

 That’s ice on the cave floor which is frozen all year long.

Our drive home led us along a huge, deep canyon with vividly colored walls and rocks.  Photos would have been much better without the smoke!  By the time we returned to the rigs on Monday afternoon it was 100 degrees–miserable!  We had left the air conditioning set on low so it was at least tolerable in our rigs–this campground is run by a concessionaire which does not discount their fees–we couldn’t use our Senior Pass.  So, we ran the air conditioners.

Tuesday morning we were again on the road early–stay tuned for more spectacular photos of scenery and wildlife!

 

An Adventure

We are off–new and old trails are waiting.  It’s HOT in Montana–too hot for ATV riding–but we are going to make it work.  We can ride early in the mornings going to higher elevations and chill in the shade each afternoon.  We can take an air conditioned car tour–we will just make it work.

I’m thinking internet service will be spotty so blog posts will occur when we have internet.

Do you know about Wi-Fi calling???  We didn’t–but now we do and it’s fabulous!!!  We recently purchased an older, used four wheeler type ATV to use as a weed spraying rig–I had to learn all over again how to use my foot for shifting from one gear to the next–that’s how old this ATV is.  The Cowboy called the number in the ad and the ATV happened to be owned by someone we knew–an old family friend.  This friend has a cabin up the Boulder and was talking to us on his cell phone–not possible with cell tower service–there are NO cell towers which reach the canyons of the Boulder.  John told us about Wi-Fi calling–he has an android telephone, enables Wi-Fi calling on his phone and can use his cellphone via his home Wi-Fi.

John later sent me a link about how to set up Wi-Fi calling on an iPhone which is what we have.  Simple to set up and works like a charm!!  We have a booster which sits on the kitchen counter and could receive texts and make calls–sometimes!–but only if you stood/sat right there by the booster.  Now our cellphone rings/calls/receives and sends text from anywhere in the house–just so we are in range of our home Wi-Fi router.  The iPhone doesn’t work in my quilting studio in the basement–too many walls between it and the router.

When I enabled Wi-Fi calling a warning popped up–if you are using Wi-Fi calling 911 locating will not work and you are asked to enter your address.

Emmi with her summer haircut.

The CanAm Is Exercised

I’m going to say it again, it’s so good to have Larry and Geri here!  Even though the day promised to be miserably hot we were out the door by 9:30am heading to Mill Creek over between Livingston, MT and Yellowstone Park.  A few years back we had tried this same trail with Larry and Geri only to turn back when Larry destroyed a tire on his ATV.  With this year’s record snowfall we weren’t sure we could make it all the way to the summit at almost 10,000 feet but we were going to give it our best shot.

It was a hazy day which we later learned was caused by smoke drifting in from forest fires in California and Colorado–it’s summer in Montana.

As you can see, this is a very rocky trail–enough to jar your teeth!  As we traveled up in elevation the temps dropped enough to be tolerable.  After lunch we made a visit to what we call Sarah’s Lake.  Our friend Sarah and her family own the mining claim where the lake is located.  It was so green and lush with wildflowers–and a cute little dog.

Lots of snow which wasn’t boding well for our reaching the summit.

Amazing scenery!

And another sign we might not make the top–an avalanche occurred sometime during the heavy winter snowfall.

About one mile from the top we came to a stop–dang it–twice now Geri and Larry have ridden portions of this trail but have not seen the outstanding views from the top.  But–there were still breathtaking views to see!

After we crawled back down the mountain the Cowboy tells me he has decided we are going to check out another nearby trail–oh, my!!  It’s a former logging road in excellent shape, smooth with no rocks and breathtaking views around every corner.  It’s a loop road but unfortunately we came to fallen trees blocking the trail and had to turn around–we will go back!

Up until yesterday we had not started our lawn/flower bed sprinklers–we’ve had enough rain and our temps have been perfect.  That all changed on Friday–it was 94 degrees and the wind was blowing–nasty weather!!  Today we’ve reached 87 degrees with not as much wind.  We’ve been packing the RV, doing laundry, cooking and the guys have been solving the problems of the world.

It’s So Good To Seem Them

They are here, Larry and Geri that is–can you see little Emmi’s head thrown back–she was “talking” and was so glad to see the two of them as were we–it’s been a while!

We’ve spent the day catching up, cooking and eating–I made the best dinner if I do say so myself!  Flank steak with rosemary and garlic and Pioneer Woman smashed potatoes.  We also enjoyed a fabulous salad made with lettuce from the garden given to Geri and Larry by North Ranch friends who live near Townsend, Montana–their last camping/riding location.  All the food was so, so good!

After dinner we took a walk where we ran into some prehistoric critters–

The sandhills were quite vocal and didn’t fly off at our approach making us think maybe they had a youngster stashed.

Back home, it was time for dessert–homemade strawberry ice cream–oh, my!!

There may or may not be ATV riding in the near future!–hitched up and ready to go.

Tuesday we went in to Big Timber and took lunch to Nat.  We had a very quiet July 4, just the three of us.  The Cowboy puttered and I loaded some things into the truck camper.  Late in the afternoon Wednesday we received Geri’s text saying they would arrive Thursday–yippee!

The last few days sunsets have been gorgeous.  We have so enjoyed our cooler/rainy weather but are thinking it’s about to end–hot days are in the forecast. 😦

Quilts And Kids and Sunset

While we were still in Arizona I received an email from Sue of the blog MoHo Travels.  Sue is a quilter and asked if I would be willing to longarm a quilt top for her.  We emailed back and forth and a plan was hatched.  Once I was back in Montana with the longarm, Sue mailed me her gorgeous One Block Wonder quilt top.  We hit a few snags but the quilt if finished and mailed to Sue.  On Saturday I received one of the kindest emails I’ve ever had singing the praises of my quilting skills.  Thank you so much Sue for letting me be your quilter.

 

We live in the wild west and the 4th of July is widely celebrated all across the state–this afternoon was the Livingston Rodeo parade and it looks as if our kiddos were ready–

Brooks, Millie and Lora who with her Mom Laci arrived last Wednesday from Germany.

After our busy weekend we were couch potatoes on Sunday–well I was–the Cowboy tackled a brain hurting project! My iPad would no longer hold a charge–it’s about 5 years old.  So, the Cowboy watched some videos, ordered a new battery and started working yesterday–he changed the battery in our iPhone about a year ago and it’s working very well.

Unfortunately this project wasn’t as successful–it’s a bit harder to change the battery in an iPad.  The iPad is kaput, dead, done and a new one is on the way.  I use the iPad a lot–I read books on the Kindle app, I have all my recipes stored in Dropbox and can access these with the iPad–it’s a handy little tablet and I wouldn’t want to be without one.  The Cowboy has the larger iPad but I find it too heavy to use for reading???

We have one peony blossom and many more to come–one of my favorite flowers!

Here’s a story for you which came up this weekend during the Cowboy’s class reunion.  The Cowboy’s Dad had purchased some land near the family ranch and new fencing was needed.  The Cowboy and his friend Royal were instructed to dig a bunch of fence post holes but found the ground hard as a rock.  So–they went to town and purchased dynamite!!!!  They cut each stick into four pieces, attached a cap and primer cord to each piece, dropped the pieces into the fence post holes and ran like crazy.  The Cowboy said it worked blowing large holes in the ground which required scrounging for dirt in order to set the posts.  It’s a wonder any of those guys lived past their teens!!

Beautiful sunset last night–

We are invited to dinner at Joe and Tammy’s–I’m taking a rhubarb crisp and homemade ice cream–can’t wait!

Meeting Ourselves Coming And Going

We both enjoy our home and our quiet country spot–it’s unusual for us to go to town more than once or twice a week.  This week we’ve been five times!!–and we are exhausted!  Thursday was a Billings day–the Cowboy had a routine doctor’s appointment and I was getting a haircut plus we had a ton of errands to run–it was a very busy day!

Friday morning was spent at home but in the afternoon we drove to Livingston to renew the Cowboy’s driver’s license and have dinner at the Rib and Chop House with Sarge and Sarah.  Our meals were delicious and the company great as usual!

Sarge, my Cowboy and Sarah.

Today was Sweet Grass Fest in Big Timber plus a high school class reunion for the Cowboy.  Vendors, car show, climbing tower, dunking booth, parade–something for everyone.  Our little town was crowded!!  It’s always such a wonderful time seeing friends, meeting new ones and experiencing small town living at its finest.  Friday and Saturday night there is a rodeo and usually live music.

The Cowboy’s class had a simple float in the parade and threw candy to the kids/adults–

How come I only got ONE chocolate???

After the parade the Cowboy’s classmates gathered at the local lumber yard owned by a classmate.  Big building, out of the sun–perfect for a potluck.  Classmate Royal grilled burgers and hot dogs with the rest of us providing sides–it was again a fun time visiting with old friends.

It was finally time to head home and we were all ready–we retrieved Emmi at Nat’s and headed up the Boulder–a great day!

 

Summer Busy In Montana

Sunday afternoon the Cowboy started cutting our hay and the hay of a neighbor.  Today he finished–the weather held! 🙂  This is our old ranch truck–totally worn out but gets the job done when needed–it has a bale bed which is designed more for feeding cows than hauling hay.  It has hydraulic arms which reach out, grab the bale, squeeze it and then the arms lift the bale onto the truck bed–the Cowboy can grab two bales and haul them home using the hydraulic arms.

Our fields always look so clean and nice when the hay is cut.

First strawberries, sweet as sugar.

Friends posted on Facebook last night–tomatoes were ready–they have a green house.  Tomatoes grown outside in our area of Montana won’t be ready until late August if a frost doesn’t get them before they are ripe!  I tried one of the heirloom tomatoes tonight and it was delicious!  While in North Carolina I sampled some Arkansas tomatoes the gang brought with them–delicious!

Flower beds are in full bloom–gorgeous!

We’ve made two trips to town all ready this week–parts, getting Nat and Barb’s lawnmower unstuck, and tomatoes.  Today we had a great lunch at the Thirsty Turtle.  I mailed Sue’s (MoHo Travels) quilt back to her today–once she has seen it, I will share photos.  This afternoon I attempted to start a quilt for Jeane but would you believe in all those cones of thread I own there was not one minty green spool of thread!  The quilt top is just gorgeous–I’m keeping it–I just haven’t told Jeane yet! 🙂

A few weeks ago when it was raining every day I spotted these totally round mushrooms and they were huge, probably six inches in diameter!  Some people in our neighborhood eat these things–not us!

Almost full moon rising.

Our weather has been spectacular lately–high 70’s, no humidity and enough sunshine for hay baling.  Rain is in the forecast for the next few days which is OK–we will always take rain this time of year.  Buuuuttt–each year on the last weekend in June our county has a big event–rodeo on Friday and Saturday night, parade/car show/vendors/race on Saturday and live music each night.  It may rain Friday and Saturday. 😦

 

Outer Banks, North Carolina

View from the house
Our house was the one on the left–photo taken from the rear.  The house to the right of ours looked to be identical.  

Mom, my sister Ann, my niece Niki and my two great nieces Elizabeth and Leah joined me in Waves, North Carolina for a week of sun, sand, sightseeing and being together.  The house we rented for the week was absolutely perfect–the two teenagers shared a bedroom with bunk beds and a bath.  The adults each had their own bedroom and bathroom.  The living/dining/kitchen was on the third floor of the house so as to take advantage of the water view.  The elevator was great for mom as she doesn’t navigate stairs well.  We cooked all but one of our own meals and the kitchen was great–Ann and Niki are also good cooks so we didn’t lack for calories!  One night we purchased seafood and did a low country boil–crabs, shrimp, clams and sausage–it was delicious!

The house came complete with kayaks, life jackets, paddle boards and beach chairs and a pool/hot tub which we really enjoyed.

 Leah Niki and LeahElizabeth

We spent some hours on the beach enjoying the sun and waves–

And we went out at night looking for ghost crabs–I was coerced into going the second night and good grief there were a lot of those crabs scurrying everywhere!  The girls couldn’t stop laughing at me with my screeching and screaming–just walking along you would see these two little black eyes in the sand peering up at you–they were everywhere!

Everyone but mom signed on to climb the Hatteras Island lighthouse–I climbed about ten steps and realized I couldn’t do it–my fear of heights reared its head.  Ann and Leah made it to the top, Elizabeth and Niki almost to the top.

Mom and Ann

One day we took the ferry to Ocracoke Island, did a bit of touring, had a great lunch on the pier and took the ferry back.  Friends Greg and Rose Lyn are work camping at a campground on Hatteras Island–we stopped in and surprised them when we returned to the island.

Mom found her name on a street sign on Ocracoke Island!

The brave paddle boarders. They were brave until Niki saw a snake. While searching the internet trying to identify the snake she read that there were several types of sharks in the waters of the sound–that was the end of the paddle boarding. 🙂

But the best entertainment was watching the kite sailing from our dock and deck.  It is considered a dangerous sport and before outfitters will sell you the equipment you must become certified.  The wind never stops in the bay making it a prime locations for the kite sailing.  Every day the outfitters would use jet skies to drag the jumps out into the bay.  They would also use the jet skies to help first timers learn the ropes so to speak.  These guys are flying as they ski along behind the sail creating their own wake.

Two nights brought thunderstorms, lightening, thunder and rain–making for nice sunsets.  See the lamb in the clouds??

On perhaps the hottest day (90 degrees) we visited the Wright Brothers National Monument.  Like all our national parks and monuments this one was very crowded.

After two long days of driving the family is back in Arkansas.  I flew home on Saturday–the Cowboy and Emmi were so glad to see me as I was them.  We had a spectacular vacation–I’ve always wanted to see the Outer Banks–I’m a huge fan of Pat Conroy’s books which were all set in the Outer Banks.  But, we never expected the heat and humidity.  It was incredibly hot and very, very humid–nasty humid–the breeze which was ever present was even hot and sticky feeling!  I had a very early flight out of Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday and when I left the house at 3am, the temperature was 83 degrees and the humidity was thick–that’s just not living as our friend Jim says!!  Saturday evening I walked Emmi wearing a jacket–much better!

More Busy Days

Hey, anybody in there??

Red-naped sapsucker (and I’m not making up that name!!)  I took these photos through the window so they aren’t the clearest.  

Yesterday and today have just been busy–chores, packing, baking and making food for the Cowboy to eat while I am gone.  He can cook but usually chooses not to.  When I traveled for a living I would make meals for him and come home to find most of the food still in the refrigerator.  He would rather eat popcorn and ice cream! 🙂  So, now I just cook easy foods such as taco meat and tortillas.  I make sure he has plenty of ice cream in the freezer, too! 🙂

My suitcase is packed–it was so heavy when I lifted it off the bed that I weighed it and was relieved to see it only weighs 39 pounds.  I’m taking some food stuffs–remember the Italian cooking class I took–the lasagna sauce was so tasty I purchased a bottle of it at the Copper Moose in Livingston on Wednesday and will be making lasagna one night while we are in North Carolina.  The rest of the gang left Arkansas this afternoon.

The Cowboy’s truck ABS light started illuminating all the time.  Being the “Mr. Fix-It” that he is he researched the problem and ordered a part–no more warning light.  He’s also been working on a “drop hitch” for the truck–the new cargo trailer we purchased on Monday sits lower than anything else we own.

The columbine are stunning this year–I love these flowers, the deer don’t usually bother columbine–a great flower bed filler in Montana!

I’ve decided not to take my laptop so there won’t be any blog posts for a week–I’m taking a break and I’m going to enjoy this time with my family.