Jim Meachum Moments

While walking out to the motorhome a garter snake startled me into jumping.  And dang it, on the way back to the house another garter snake slithered across the grass in front of me–I screamed loud enough to cause the Cowboy to come see if I was OK–I call those Jim Meachum moments–as he HATES snakes!!  In the jeep on the way to town this morning a rather large spider dangled himself right in front of my head–I managed to stop the jeep and I am sorry to say, the spider is now very dead! (Sorry Angie!) Another Jim Meachum moment as he also HATES spiders.

The Cowboy has spent lots of time in this position–

Seems the inverter in this motorhome is fried, kaput, done.  Once the Cowboy removed the inverter he decided to see if it was fixable by taking it apart.  Nope, fried–in the next photo you can see circled in red the “fried, burned, melted” part.  Probably a previous owner overloaded the inverter by trying to run an appliance/heater with too large a power draw.

Amazon to the rescue, a new inverter should be here by Friday.  The Cowboy joined an AquaHot forum and it’s a good one.  The owner/moderator is extremely knowledgeable and sells parts and tools for repairing AquaHot heating systems.  Our parts and tool came today–the Cowboy was able to make the AquaHot fire and burn for the first time–hooray, hooray!!!

Monday we went to Big Timber to visit Nat and for an unsuccessful parts run.  In the late afternoon we took dinner to Lonn’s–it was Katie’s 30th birthday–we had a great time and the meal was fabulous if I do say so myself–spaghetti, homemade bread, salad and rhubarb crisp.

I’m going to be walking soon!!

Tuesday was a much needed yoga day for me and the Cowboy was working on the motorhome.  Today I went to town again–to see my nurse practitioner.  It was just a routine visit–my blood pressure was fantastic, had blood drawn as I take a statin and received the first Shingrix vaccine.  My appointment was at 8:30am and by the time I left the clinic I was starving (had to be fasting for the blood draw)–so I found my friend Jill at her office and we went to breakfast at our local bakery.

I spent the afternoon in the motorhome cleaning–oh, my goodness–how in the world could anyone be so filthy?? But I did make some progress and I made the lights in one of the potty rooms work–that’s an accomplishment for me!  One of these days we will be ready to take a trip in that motorhome–I hope!

It’s A Good Thing We Are Retired

It’s a good thing we are retired or we wouldn’t have time for all this running around we are doing??  Or would we? I can hardly remember a time in my growing up years when my Mom didn’t work full time but also accomplished so much at home.  She and Dad raised a huge garden every summer, canning and freezing tons of food.  Mom made all the clothes she, my sister and I wore.  We went to church at least three times per week.  When did Mom have time to sit down and put up her feet??  My sister Ann and her husband Danny are on the go all the time–they both work full time–Ann at a job with a 45 minute commute, Danny as a full time pastor of the church we attended growing up.  Yet the two of them raise a huge garden and have a large yard to maintain.  They too are on the go all the time.  I’m thinking we are blessed to have retired so young!!

Thursday we had an appointment with a VA person at Nat’s.  And Friday we attended a memorial service for a friend and former neighbor–Jim and Nat were within months of being the same age, 96 years old.  Jim fell many years ago and broke a hip–he spent the last ten years of his life in the nursing home.  Jim was another of the greatest generation–he was a belly gunner on a B17 aircraft and flew 35 missions over Germany.  Jim and his wife Beryl owned the ranch which adjoins us until they sold and moved to town.

Evening walk

September is a big month for birthdays in our family and the gang over at Lonn’s had a major birthday party Saturday night.  Lots of friends and neighbors, lots of babies and kiddos, lots of fun!  We grilled hamburgers and everyone brought side dishes–someone brought these divine cream puffs with chocolate sauce–I had dessert before dinner–couldn’t resist!

Cream puffs and chocolate dipped strawberries–who needs dinner??
Solving the problems of the world!

Back at home in Arkansas my high school class celebrated our 45th class reunion!  How did that happen??  Judging by the social media posts everyone had a great time!  On a sad note, there were about 165 graduates if I remember correctly and 32 of my classmates have died.

One evening this past week we had a spectacular evening sky–

See the little moon sliver?

 

Millie just up from a nap and wondering why all these people were in her Grandpa’s house!

A Quilt and Life Is Moving Right Along

Monday we admitted Nat to hospice and it’s been a most wonderful and comforting experience.  We live in a small town and odds are we will know the caregivers from the hospital–the hospice nurse, Jill, we’ve known for a long time.  Nat went to school with Jill’s uncle so they have lots to discuss.  Jill has just taken over Nat’s care and we are all pleased.  Things started happening–a hospital bed and wheelchair were delivered, supplies appeared without me having to resort to Amazon.com–and another very caring person, Jill, is in Nat’s life.  We have been so fortunate with our caregivers!

This little family decided the green grass of the lawn and my lilac bush would make for a tasty supper.  Emmi made them decide to dine elsewhere–

My friend Jeane is a modest quilter–she doesn’t like to boast about her quilts so I will do it for her this time.  This little quilt was so exquisitely done–perfectly pieced and Jeane did all the applique by hand during this past long winter.  It was a perfect quilt and she brought it to me for longarm quilting.  I wanted it to be special and it took me a long, long time to make it perfect–

This photo almost shows the true colors–a light pink and green, black, gray and tan fabrics.

I really, really wanted to keep this one but I’m sure Jeane would have asked me to return it at some point in time! 🙂

Tuesday we both had routine doctors appointments in Billings–the Cowboy saw his internist who told him to keep doing whatever it was he was doing!!–his blood pressure was perfect and he had lost weight.  The dermatologist told me I was fine–no issues.  We had lunch and ran some errands before heading back to Nat’s to retrieve Emmi and visit for a while.

Today the Cowboy has spent the entire day trying to make the AquaHot in the motorhome work without success.  Frustrating!  As I’ve said before, the lack of manuals in this coach is an issue–and even though we aren’t joiners of clubs and have never attended a rally we’ve joined the Beaver Ambassador Club in order to access their forum.  Searching the internet for 2001 Beaver Marquis wiring diagrams I stumbled across an entry from the Beaver forum but could not access the information as I wasn’t a member.  Someone had downloaded their entire wiring diagram manual for a 2001 Beaver Marquis to the forum files.  Once we are approved as members we will have access to those files–yea!

And we finally found a refrigerator door handle–we think!  We’ve searched everywhere using the part number shown in the refrigerator manual–Amazon, eBay, various RV parts suppliers with no luck.  I removed the remaining door handle the other day and found a totally different number on the underside.  I used that part number to search eBay–low and behold, someone had TWO of the handles and they are both on their way to us!!

This afternoon I started longarming a quilt for our friend Shirley–almost finished it too!

We purchased some new towels on sale at Costco yesterday.  I’ve washed and dried the towels twice–I’ve cleaned the lint screen in the dryer at least six times!!  I’m thinking they could use another wash/dry before we start using them–geez!

Success

Friday was my birthday and it was a great day–I love birthdays and not just my own.  I love to celebrate birthdays with friends and family and I enjoy hosting birthday parties too.  Friday was a day of calls, cards, Facebook messages, presents and a lovely dinner at the Grand in Big Timber with Sarge and Sarah.  The Cowboy’s present to me was this fabulous pair of boots–

Image may contain: bootsIt’s been a long time since I actually LOVED a pair of shoes but I LOVE these boots!  I have a hard time finding boots to fit and these fit and even fit my skinny calves–did I say I LOVED these boots!

Saturday was a very successful day–remember the trip to Spokane for a generator–well listen to this–

The Cowboy had the generator installed by Friday afternoon and finished the last details Saturday morning.  I had the honor of going inside the coach and pushing the “generator start” button and as you can hear on the video–it ran!

This coach has what the RV industry calls “basement air.”  Most RV air conditioners are roof mounted units which have a panel on the ceiling of the RV which circulates the cold air and a whole lot of noise.  So much noise that the Cowboy and I have never been able to sleep with one running.  Our Country Coach motorhome had three of those noisy roof mounted air conditioners and you could run each individually or all three at once. The basement air conditioner is located in the storage bay of a RV and ducted into the coach just like a home air conditioner–much, much quieter.  But as they are a single unit providing air conditioning to a 42 foot long coach, it’s a big unit with big power requirements.  The new to us generator handled the air conditioner like a champ!  I did a happy dance!!–this is a big step in making this coach our own and the Cowboy was successful once again!!

Sunday afternoon we joined many of our friends and neighbors for a barbecue picnic at our fire hall.  It was sponsored by the Boulder River Watershed group which came into being in about 2001 when a platinum and palladium mine began operations near us.  It was great to see people we don’t see often.

Once home I quickly built a pizza casserole (thanks Patchwork Times Judy!!) to take to a friend/neighbor who is housebound due to illness–his wife was involved in a car accident Friday evening and is to come home from the hospital tomorrow.

A beautiful fall day in Montana.

Our Wheels Are Still Rolling

We usually travel the 22 miles to town one or two times per week–but not lately!  To Spokane over the weekend, stayed home on Monday and have been to town every other day.  We are also going  to Big Timber tomorrow. Our wheels are rolling and our gas tanks are guzzling!

Tuesday the Cowboy had an appointment with the dermatologist and I had an appointment for a much needed haircut.  The dermatologist is a young guy who loves to talk about the Cowboy’s hat–he would love to have a hat but not sure he can pull off the look! 🙂 He has purchased a section of ground east of Billings and happened to mention the location–Sarpy Creek.  Our friends Robyn and Claire own property across the road from this physician and he has spoken to our friends on the phone.  Small world.

Wednesday was a good town day.  Friends Jeane and Jill had invited me to lunch at the Grand to celebrate my upcoming birthday.  They are off to Zion on Friday (my actual birthday) for a major hiking trip.  I was invited on this trip but just didn’t feel right about being gone that long.  They are going to hike the Narrows this time–I hope they have a wonderful time!  This photo is from our hiking trip to Zion in April, 2012.

Today Tammy and I went to yoga at Julia’s north of Big Timber.  After yoga Tammy dropped me at Nat’s where I met up with the Cowboy.  We had an appointment with a VA representative which went well.  Now we are back home and the Cowboy is working on getting that generator installed!

When we tried to start the motorhome we had dead, dead batteries–now what!!!  This coach has a much fancier inverter than we had in the Country Coach.  Seems the inverter had a “fault” light flashing and as a result was not allowing the batteries to charge even though we were plugged into power.  We will learn!  Our Country Coach came with a total complete set of manuals–wiring diagrams, manuals for everything in the coach–we could usually troubleshoot just about anything using those manuals.  This coach is sorely lacking in the manual department.  We are searching the internet high and low looking for parts and manuals.  The Dometic New Dimensions refrigerator is missing a door handle and I’m having trouble locating one–how exactly do you break the door handle on the refrigerator???

Brooks trying out Grandpa Lonn’s boots!

Our friends/neighbors Nancy and Geoff captured this mountain lion photo on their game camera–they only live about a mile up the road from us–YIKES!!!

 

 

More Miles

Remember in the last blog I said the new to us motorhome had no generator.  Some functions of a motorhome won’t work without power of some sort–connected to an electricity source or a generator.  When traveling it’s sometimes necessary to have air conditioning–going down the road you obviously can’t be plugged into a electric receptacle.  So, you run the generator and the coach air conditioners keeping comfortable while driving.  The dash air in a motorhome is just about useless due to the size of these beasts so it’s nice to have that “house” air conditioner going too.  Most motorhomes no longer have propane ovens and instead rely on microwave/convection ovens which require lots of power.  We boondock a lot and if I want to use the convection oven it requires the generator.

Generators large enough to power one of these coaches are expensive as in over $10,000!!  Ouch!!  Craigslist to the rescue again.  We located a newer, used Onan generator–unfortunately it was located in Spokane–didn’t we just go to Spokane???  On Thursday the Cowboy found another used generator in Billings and we drove down and picked up this generator.  Nope–too good to be true–the Cowboy couldn’t make that one run.

The Cowboy’s truck is having issues which he hasn’t solved as of yet.  Lonn loaned us his fancy Dodge Longhorn pickup so we could make the trip to Spokane–again.  We left early Saturday morning and were back home by late afternoon on Sunday.  That’s almost 1000 miles round trip!!  We didn’t want to impose on our friend Mary so soon again so we found a very nice Residence Inn, ordered delivery pizza for dinner and called it an early night. Did you know most Residence Inns allow pets??

Today we’ve both been busy–the Cowboy has been trying various systems in the motorhome–so far we have two leaky toilets, a leaking hot water faucet in the bathroom and an AquaHot system which won’t heat.  We are both hoping the new generator will work seamlessly without issue????  The refrigerator works which is a relief–it’s a big one and would be expensive to replace!

I finished Jeane’s quilt, did countless loads of laundry and made lunch/dinner.  Labor Day has been a day of labor for us.

Notice the jet vapor trail as the sun is going down.

We learned yesterday our local USFS officials in their infinite wisdom are going to conduct a prescribed burn very near our home.  Guess they haven’t been reading the news or weather reports–who in their right mind would start a fire–Montana is dry, dry and there are various fires burning all over the state.  But I guess the USFS doesn’t think we’ve all breathed enough smokey air this season??? 😦

It’s Fall We Are Thinking

We’ve been having some gorgeous fall like days and as tomorrow is September 1, it could well be fall up here in Montana at 5200 feet.  Blue sky sunny days with temps in the seventies–what’s not to like about that!!

Well our next RV search is over.  We sold our Country Coach last summer and have often regretted that sale.  We thought we wanted to go small.  The two of us made a list of must haves–

  1.  Horsepower matters–400hp or more.  If the coach was 30 feet or less, the Cowboy would consider 350hp.
  2.  Our Country Coach had window awnings over most of the windows and I used them extensively to control the   heat–so I wanted window awnings.
  3.  The Cowboy wouldn’t look at any diesel pusher without a side radiator.
  4.  A larger refrigerator than what we had in that toyhauler–might as well not have had one at all!
  5.  We both wanted another nice looking coach.

We looked at and drove gas Class A’s and Class C’s and found the noise of the engine very annoying.  Class C’s are very short on storage too.  We searched high and low even making a 950 mile round trip to Spokane to look for short diesel pushers.  Short diesel pushers with powerful engines (400hp or more) are seemingly non existent.  You can find 36 feet diesel pushers with 400hp engines but then the Cowboy would say, “might as well get a forty footer, four feet shorter isn’t enough to matter.”

So, we had just about decided to shelve our search–neither one of us was willing to travel again with hopes of finding a decent rig–we were going to try and be patient hoping something would pop up in our area.  Monday night I gave Craigslist one last search and up popped a new ad for a 2001 Beaver Marquis–42 feet long with a tag axle with only 55,000 miles in Livingston–56 miles away!!  But the feature which made the Cowboy salivate–500hp.  The ad noted the coach was without its generator–HUH???  And because the generator was missing they were negotiable on price. We ran the coach through NADA.com and when I saw the book price I told the Cowboy this particular coach was out of our league.  But, we decided to contact the owner sending him a text requesting a price.  When the text came back immediately, we were shocked at how “little” they were asking compared to the book price.  We made an appointment to see the rig and drove it this past Tuesday.

Yes, it’s long but the Cowboy said it drove very nicely, lots of power, easy steering.  We went home and spent time doing the back and forth dance.  It has some issues as it’s seventeen years old–no generator for one thing and that’s a big ticket item.  It has cosmetic issues inside and out, the curtains/shades will all need to be replaced, there is no dining table–what happened to that???–no stove or sink covers, etc.  It has two slides, one in the living room and one in the bedroom.  And of course it’s dirty.

We picked up the coach today after coming to a price agreement over the phone.  We couldn’t be more pleased.

Hey John Brown–it’s NOT pink!!

I told the Cowboy those curtains made it look like a bordello!  The shades and curtains are electric operated–now what engineer dreamed up that one???  As I said, the curtains will have to go and we will get day/night shades.  Most Beaver coaches come with stand alone ice makers–Beaver must have thought all RVers were party animals???  This coach has of all things TWO bathrooms–two toilets and three sinks in the bathroom!  They could have made a smaller bathroom (the one in our Country Coach was nice sized) and used some of that extra room in the living area.

But as I said, we couldn’t be more pleased–It will take us days to figure out all the gadgets and we can’t wait to get out on the road.

 

 

Closer To Home

The smoke is gone–hopefully for good this season.  Sunday evening a cold front blew through bringing much cooler temps and almost an inch of rain–and temps have remained cool–it was 35 degrees early Tuesday morning!

Sunday afternoon was bittersweet–we joined our friend Shirley and family in celebrating the life of Shirley’s husband George.  It was a beautiful Montana afternoon by the river outside their home–George would have loved having all the family, friends and neighbors visit.

Monday I spent quilting–I was determined to finish that little quilt of Jeane’s–didn’t happen, darn it!!  Maybe I will finish it tomorrow!  Monday was a rainy, chilly day and we even enjoyed a fire in the wood burning stove.  I made a pot of chili after lunch planning to have it for supper–and realized I had no chili powder.  I’m glad Joe and Tammy had come for George’s memorial–Tammy had chili powder!

Yoga this morning and then we were off to see another motorhome–this one much closer to home–in Livingston.  It’s a 2001 Beaver Marquis–in reasonably good condition for a seventeen year old motorhome–filthy of course but what else is new!  Has all the power the Cowboy was looking for as well as all the features I wanted–now we just have to decide if we want a 42 foot motorhome!  We had thought of going smaller but just haven’t found anything small we like enough to purchase.  So, we will see!

The view from the pasture where this Beaver motorhome was sitting was not bad–

And while we had rain it snowed in the mountains closing the Beartooth Pass–haven’t heard if it’s reopened.  The next photo is the webcam at Glacier National Park Logan Pass parking lot (Distinctly Montana Facebook page).  There is a huge fire burning in and around Glacier National Park–let’s hope this rain/snow put a damper on that fire!

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature

Cool And Smokey

Our temps have been under 80 degrees for the last couple days–it just seems strange to have such nice temperatures and for it to still be so smokey.  As you can see in the above photos, our mountains have disappeared once again.

Thursday was a catch up day–catch up on chores–the washer/dryer was going all day.  I did spend much of the day between clothes folding catching up on my reading–I’m an avid reader and don’t mind using the Kindle app on my iPad much to the dismay of my teacher granddaughter.  I’m also an avid fan of the Facebook page–Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Everyday Anne Bogel posts on Facebook the Kindle and Nook deals of the day.  I borrow some of those recommended ebooks from our local Big Timber, Montana library and from Pima Country Arizona library system.  It is rare when one of these two libraries does not have the book I’m seeking.  If it’s a popular book I usually have to place a hold and sooner or later a link to that book appears in my email inbox.  If I’m impatient I might purchase one of the Kindle/Nook discounted books from Amazon.  I also will purchase from Amazon used books recommended by other sources.   That’s how I manage to read about one book per week without going broke!

Friday morning was spent puttering and in the afternoon we headed to town.  We spent some time with Nat and Barb and enjoyed a pizza for dinner with them.

Saturday morning had us heading to Billings to look at a 2001 Monaco Dynasty motorhome.  Yes, it was a 2001, seventeen years old but can someone tell me how people can destroy such an expensive object in 32000 miles.  Our Country Coach with 120,000 miles which we sold last summer was a 1995 model–and it was still beautiful–the outside paint was faded but the inside was gorgeous plus everything worked!  The odometer of this beautiful Monaco motorhome has just 32000 miles yet the coach is a mess–window awnings gone, refrigerator door shelves and crisper drawers–gone and we are quite sure the four door refrigerator did not work.  Most of the window screens–gone.  Two huge holes in the dash where some device was mounted at one point in time. Poorly done replacement laminate flooring and new bedroom carpet.  Bay door latches–gone.  Generator exhaust pipe–gone–which made the whole coach smell of diesel when the generator ran.  And absolutely filthy!  Based on NADA pricing the asking price was very right for this coach but based on condition we didn’t want anything to do with it–we didn’t even drive it.

Back to Big Timber and the vet.  Our Emmi hasn’t been feeling well–upset tummy–she would have a couple good days then a bad day and today her condition worsened to the point we were very worried.  It’s Saturday and we are so blessed to have such great veterinarian care in our little community.  No appointment, we just dropped by about noon with our little package of stool sample.  They sent us to Nat’s to wait while the staff worked us in.  A couple hours later we had an answer–Emmi has a intestinal bacterial infection and was sent home with antibiotics, probiotics, and special easily digested dog food.  We are so relieved it is something fixable–Emmi is nine years old–we lost our schnauzer Jazz at nine years of age to cancer.

Catching a ride with dad.

And the truck camper is gone–we sold it to a couple from Billings two weeks ago and they came to get it today.

 

 

Spokane

Sunday was absolutely miserable in Montana–the smoke was so thick you could actually smell and taste it.  Your eyes burned, our throats were raspy, we were sneezing–it was terrible and the situation has only improved marginally.  The above photo was taken Sunday evening as we were coming home from having dinner at Lonn’s.  The haziness is smoke.

Monday morning not so bright and early we started for Spokane with two missions in mind.  First off we haven’t seen our friend Mary since July of 2016 and we hadn’t met her new companion, Maybelline, an English cocker.  Maybelline is the sweetest dog–a little high energy as she is young–but so sweet.  Emmi wasn’t impressed–the grump!

We enjoyed our visit with Mary so much–we met Mary and her husband Gene in 2003 while participating in the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting.  We’ve taken trips with them–they led us around to Washington state parks one summer–an amazing trip which included Olympic National Park, Port Townsend and other towns on the Washington coast. Gene died in 2013 and is sorely missed!  Mary has a beautiful home in a Spokane neighborhood with a gorgeous back yard–lots of green grass for the dogs and beautiful trees/shrubs.

Mary sent us off after breakfast Tuesday morning for our other mission–motorhome shopping.  And we came home empty handed.  We had a list of four to view–the first one had been sent to the auction yard just a few days ago (hmmm–maybe we didn’t want that one!) The second one was a gas motorhome–a Tiffin Allegro–nope, not for us.  The third was a Country Coach and we had high hopes only to lose those high hopes when we walked inside the coach!  That motorhome had issues no one had even discovered as of yet!  The floors and carpet had at some time obviously been wet–there were water marks on the cabinetry!!  The bay doors and trays were rusted and supposedly the motorhome, a 2001, had only 17,000 miles on the odometer!–if that’s the case that was a really hard 17,000 miles!! And the salesman was a real used car salesman–he had no answers for the water marks or rust–onward.

The fourth motorhome was a Winnebago Itasca Meridian–a 34 foot diesel pusher–2005 model. It was a nice motorhome but we just couldn’t make ourselves pay their asking price.  So–that was that!  We went back to Mary’s and enjoyed an adult beverage and a fabulous dinner.

Today we said our “see you later” to Mary and headed back to Montana–it’s about 475 miles from Spokane to our house and it’s a beautiful drive when you can view the scenery.  Spokane had hazardous air quality the whole time we were there–it was miserable.  At one time today as we were driving I said to the Cowboy, “it’s as if we are driving across the prairies of Nebraska.”–the mountains were so obscured by the smoke.  As I said, the air quality is marginally better here at our home but only marginally!

That fourth motorhome was located north of Spokane near Sandpoint–the owners had a lot/house on Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Pond de ray.) Their house was located nine miles from the main highway on a narrow very crooked road.  On the way back to the highway we spotted wildlife–

We stopped in town for a short visit with Nat and headed up the Boulder–it’s good to be home.