Some Actual Restoration Happening

We purchased the Roadmaster toyhauler knowing it had some issues but paid a fair price and the Cowboy knew he could fix those issues.  Look over the trash can at the set of doors underneath the bed–those doors open into a huge storage bay at the front of the trailer.  The previous owners mounted a winch on the very front wall of the trailer running the cable through those doors to the back of the toyhauler.  They had a two seat jet ski on a trailer–he would hook the winch to the front of the jet ski trailer and drag it into the toyhauler.  The linoleum was not glued down. That jet ski and trailer were super heavy causing the linoleum to buckle and tear.

The previous owners used a well known repair too–good ole duct tape! 🙂We knew it wasn’t just a linoleum problem–there were depressions/soft spots in the sub floor.  Once the linoleum was removed you could see the bigger problem–

 First, the manufacturer used OSB instead of plywood.  You can see in the photo below how deep the depressions were.When we brought the trailer home and cleaning commenced, I found lots of mice evidence.  And I wonder why–That’s the GROUND you can see through that hole around the pipes which lead to the onboard fueling station.  This pipe and hole were covered with a aluminum diamond plate cover–that’s it, no insulation.  Did the hole have to be that big???  Also in the “hole” photo notice how far from the wall the OSB board starts–it was worse in some places!  So, the Cowboy has removed the linoleum in the back of the toyhauler and will replace the section of sub flooring which has the damage.  We’ve purchased the new flooring–the Cowboy is happy (I think)–he has a project!

And while we are talking about restoration–my Keurig quit–after probably brewing less than two dozen cups of coffee.  I previously wrote about buying a refillable pod–the Keurig stopped working about the time I bought the pod.  The Keurig was garbage so we had nothing to lose–and after the Cowboy took the thing completely apart–it now works again–am I lucky or what!!!

The fire near us wasn’t active on Sunday or Sunday night–we haven’t had much wind which has helped.  It is 5% contained, fire lines have been constructed and there are lots of resources working hard to control the fire.  This afternoon the wind picked up and the smoke rolled in, heavy.  As I write this blog, the smoke is gone again–wind must have changed.  Lonn took this awesome video on Saturday just as the fire was getting started–

The princess!


Smokey, Smokey

We’ve had a touch of rain over the last couple days and Friday was mostly smoke free.  We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Joe and Tammy’s Friday night–it was a beautiful evening to sit on their new deck and watch the sunset.

Today there was a garage sale in town we wanted to attend held by a quilting friend of mine–there were some “organizing” items which would have worked in the truck camper but I was too late–oh, well–I did pick up an extra yoga mat and the Cowboy found a bucket of plumbing parts.  We went out to breakfast then decided on the spur of the moment to head to Billings to purchase new flooring for the toyhauler.  Emmi stayed with Nat while we were gone.

As we were visiting with Nat after we returned from Billings, I received a notification on my phone–seems there was a fire up the Boulder–

The fire is located on the West Boulder/Mendenhall Creek area (which has been evacuated) and is about four miles from us as the crow flies.  The fire is approximately 500-700 acres and 0% contained.  The smoke rolled into our valley as we watched–the smoke was so heavy my clothes smelled of smoke when we came in the house.  The Cowboy caught these photos of one of the air tankers helping to fight the fire–

We will see what Sunday brings–

Taken from our hay field at about 4pm this afternoon–the smoke got much, much worse after this photos was taken.



Mattress Saga

I know you were all waiting with baited breath to read about the mattress–well here goes.

We have purchased two memory foam mattresses lately from Amazon–one for the toyhauler and one for the truck camper.  We LOVE the one in the toyhauler–I slept better on that mattress than on any other mattress, EVER.  No aches and pains during the night plus I didn’t feel “old” when I got up each morning.  We LOVE that mattress.

So, we purchase a truck camper which of course has its original crummy RV mattress.  But, I can’t just order the exact same one I purchased for the toyhauler–did I mention I LOVE that mattress.  The head room in the bed area of a truck camper is limited.  There are also cabinets with opening doors along one side of the mattress.  So–depth is important.  The mattress cannot be thicker than eight inches, the one in the toyhauler is ten inches.

The toyhauler mattress was available in an eight inch–problem solved, or so I thought until we slept on the dang thing!  At home and back on Amazon I realized my mistake–notice the different word in the descriptions???

Toyhauler–Zinus Memory Foam 10 Inch / Supreme / Ultra Plush / Cloud-like Mattress, Queen–

Truck Camper–Zinus Memory Foam 8 Inch / Deluxe / Ultra Plush / Cloud-like Mattress, Queen–

You click on the “10 inch” and you get the first description, click on the “8 inch” and you get the second description. At the Zinus mattress company there is a whole heck of a lot of difference in “supreme” versus “deluxe!”  When asked why I was returning the mattress, I wrote, “this mattress is anything BUT “cloud-like!!”

Amazon is great about returns but returning a memory foam mattress would be beyond most people–the mattresses are delivered in large boxes, weighing about 60-70 pounds.  They are vacuum sealed in a plastic bag and the mattresses expand when that bag is released.  Now you are dealing with a queen size, 60 pound piece of memory foam.  Returning one of these would defeat most people–but remember, I have the Cowboy!  I will let the photos tell you the story–

Once the Cowboy had used all these crank straps to subdue the mattress, he then used an old water ski rope to tie the mattress, releasing the crank straps.  All subdued and in a box (of course we had destroyed the original box because, remember we LOVED the original mattress!!)We had a package scheduled for delivery to us on Tuesday and when our UPS driver came with that package he took the mattress box with him.  As I said, Amazon is great about returns–once the shipping label was scanned into the UPS driver’s machine, I received an email from Amazon saying my refund had been processed to my credit card.  I guess Amazon figures if the box has shipped they will eventually get it.  Amazon paid the return shipping too.

So, there you have it–the mattress saga!

Still smokey which makes for beautiful sunsets–

The Eclipse

When all the eclipse hype started my friend Jill and I talked about going to their home in Driggs, ID–right in the path of totality.  The Cowboy had read more of the media hype than I had and was not keen on the idea.  My friend Kelly and her family had long ago purchased plane tickets to come to Jackson, WY for viewing–her son-in-law has a home there.  When Kelly told me hotel rooms in Jackson, WY had been sold out for months I started thinking–do I want to view the eclipse with millions of people, stay home and view or go somewhere really remote.  The Cowboy brought up the idea of going to Blue Lake–a remote gorgeous spot with extremely hard access on the edge of the wilderness.  Here’s a photo of one of our previous trips to Blue Lake with the ATV–And another taken in August, 2016 on an ATV trip with Larry and Geri plus Elmer and Henrietta.  

So instead of this:

TrafficI chose Blue Lake.

We loaded the truck camper Sunday afternoon and headed up the Boulder finding a perfect boondocking spot by the Boulder River.  Before 8am Monday morning we were in the CanAm–wearing our coats I might add–and headed even farther up the Boulder.  We reached our prime viewing spot about 9:30am–we stopped short of the actual lake thinking the smoke might be less up on the hillside.  Our view stretched almost to Yellowstone Park with views of Pilot and Index Peaks.  No one–nobody around.  Total peace and quiet.

I took over 200 photos–many I tossed but some I thought were actually pretty dang good.  I used the Nikon D5000 some but the best of my photos came from my Nikon Coolpix P600 with its 60x optical zoom.  The red color in some of the photos could be a result of the forest fire smoke which is still hanging around.  Sooooo–here they are–


This photo was probably snapped about the time of our “totality”–11:36am, not bad!This is what we saw as the moon began to recede taken at 11:43am and the below photo taken at 10:47.  These last three photos were taken with the D5000 DSLR–all the above photos were taken with the Nikon P600.

I am very pleased with the way my first eclipse photography session transpired!  It was eerie, exciting and just plain amazing!! After the eclipse we drove over the hill to Blue Lake–gorgeous as always!  Notice the Cowboy is still wearing his coat–when the moon covered the sun, the temp dropped and the dang mosquitoes appeared–guess they thought it was dusk!  I thought it would be darker than it was–when this photo was taken there was still a smidgen of the eclipse left.

Eclipse is over, back down the mountain–we had planned to stay another night but the mattress I purchased for the truck camper was awful–we might as well have been sleeping on concrete.  We both had minimal sleep Sunday night and couldn’t face another night of that mattress and headed home to our comfortable bed.  More on the mattress later.

Eclipse Excitement

My cameras have solar filters installed, the tripod is fixed (Cowboy to the rescue again), the batteries are charged and I am ready–I think!  Have been reading almost every article I can find, F-stops, shutter speed, bracketing–my head is spinning.  I’ve practiced on the sun with the camera settings and my photos are good–so, I think I am ready!

In the last couple of days we’ve had the pooping bear traveling through the yard and night before last a bear cub ON THE DECK!!!  By the time the Cowboy awakened his sleeping wife (who sleeps with ear plugs) the cub was gone–hopefully to find his mom!

This afternoon the local watershed group hosted a summer picnic at the fire hall.  Yes our little neighborhood has a fire hall and engine.  The food was good, the entertainment fabulous and getting to see many of our friends/neighbors was priceless.

 Another smokey day–not as bad as a couple days ago but still smokey.  The Lolo Peak fire is now at 28,000 acres and is threatening the communities of Lolo and Florence–which Larry and Geri, we traveled through last summer, stopping for fuel.

Image may contain: one or more people, night and outdoorPhoto by Nathan Hauerwas.

It’s Been Boring

Western Montana is burning, acre by acre.  One fire in particular, the Lolo Peak Fire has turned especially ugly–19,000 acres so far and last night it made a 4000 acre run.  Highway 12 through western Montana is now closed.  One fire fighter has been killed, homes have been burned, people are evacuated and displaced from their homes.  The cost to fight this one fire has reached $18 million.

In Seeley Lake, a small western Montana community where the Cowboy’s Mom and Dad lived at one time, the smoke is horribly unhealthy and people are being told to leave.  But how do you leave your livelihood–you own the local gas station–if you leave the community has no place to purchase fuel and you have no income.   Same with the restaurant owner–how do you walk away and leave your business?

Image may contain: night, sky and outdoorThis photo was taken from the Lolo National Forest Facebook page, the photographer was not named.Image may contain: sky, cloud, tree, outdoor and nature

This photo was taken by Radd Icenoggle and posted on a Facebook group–Montana Photography.

And yet the conservationists sue the USFS to stop any logging or thinning and the liberal judges agree.  When logging ceases so do the lumber mills–Seeley Lake used to be a robust little community–due to logging.  Other businesses which supported the loggers such as restaurants, grocery stores, etc.–they all close.  And, I can’t bear to think of all the wild animals which are perishing in these fires.

Even with logging forest fires will happen but if the timber and undergrowth are thinned, these forest fires become easier to fight and more quickly stopped.

So, we spend millions and millions of dollars to fight these forest fires.  Lives are lost, homes/businesses are destroyed, animals die–just so we don’t cut any trees.

Photo by Ken Malgren

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature




It’s A Woman’s Prerogative

“A couple more days of riding then home where I hope this truck camper and I part company!  We are the second owners of this 1999 Lance camper—the first owners FULL TIMED in this box—?????”  And I celebrated when the Lance truck camper we owned headed down the driveway.  But, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind–right??  In the only trip we’ve taken with the Roadmaster toyhauler we realized in spite of it being much shorter than a forty foot motorhome pulling a thirty foot trailer it is still too long to use for what we want to do during Montana summers.  We aren’t selling the Roadmaster as we will probably take it to Arizona with us but we purchased this 2006 Arctic Fox truck camper for summer fun–trips in Montana, heading into Canada and Alaska, etc.

Our friends Angie and Ralph purchased a new Arctic Fox truck camper and have been traveling in Canada and Alaska since mid May.  When we saw their truck camper with its slide, we liked how much more room the slide gave you. So, the Cowboy searched and searched until he found an Arctic Fox with a slide in our budget range–in Bozeman!

Tuesday I went to yoga class held at Nancy’s just up the road then the Cowboy, Emmi and I headed to Big Timber for lunch and a little plumbing work.  Seems this is the year for plumbing issues–we had them in our house when we returned from Arizona, now Nat’s has a leaky toilet.  The Cowboy was able to find parts in Big Timber and fix the leak.

Today was bath and haircut for Ms. Emmi and the Cowboy worked on an extended hitch for our ATV trailer we will pull behind the truck/camper.

Big stick, little dog!

Seems we had a visitor last night–one with terrible bathroom habits–instead of leaving a nice/tidy pile of recycled chokecherry seeds, the bear left little piles all the way across the lawn! 🙂

 See the little dark spots all the way to the deck!

And one last photo–a gorgeous sunset Monday evening taken with the Nikon D5000.

On occasion it’s hard to find a blog subject but in spite of writer’s block sometimes, I love this blog!  I’ve kept a journal for over twenty years and the last nine of those years the journal has been this blog.  Tonight I wanted to find some of the comments I made about our previous truck camper and only had to search the blog for “truck camper” to find the one I used above.  And, I found another funny statement when I searched, “truck camper”–I had totally forgotten Larry ever made this statement but when I read it, I burst out laughing–typical Larry.

When we traveled to Alaska in the truck campers with Larry and Geri we had walkie/talkie radios.  I probably said something on the radio jokingly about being so hungry I was going to crawl from the back truck window into the truck camper to find something to eat.  Larry’s comment back over the radio was, “There’s nobody in that truck who would fit through the camper window!”  Hmmmph!!



Last evening we had a littler rain shower, this morning I woke to rain and it rained most of the morning–we received almost an inch of rain!  We are very grateful!  The rest of the day has been cloudy and cool, almost as if fall is in the air!

Last fall, I purchased a new to me iPhone 6 from an eBay vendor.  The phone was advertised as “new, other” which means it was either returned by a customer without its box or it could have been a “floor” model.  I loved the phone with its 128GB of storage–no more “your storage is full, unable to take the photo” messages!–but the battery has always been a joke.  With the phone just laying on the table, not in use, the battery would be almost exhausted by noon every day.  I eventually purchased one of those battery cases giving me an extra two charges before I had to plug in the case/phone.

During the time after Rich’s death I was talking to Eric, Rich’s son complaining about the battery in my iPhone. Eric said, “you know you can change the battery.”  I replied, “I thought you had to send the phone to Apple.”  Eric (he’s a bit of a geek) said, “if you are at all handy you can order a battery and changing kit from Amazon, change it yourself.”  Well–I’m not all that handy but the Cowboy is.  For about $26 and less than 30 minutes I now have a battery which lasts–I let the battery run down completely then re-charged.  It’s been almost two days and I haven’t had to charge the phone! Yippee!!  The Cowboy watched a YouTube video and went to work–

The kit I ordered came with these tools you see in the photo.  The Cowboy said even with all the tools he has he couldn’t have changed the battery without the included tools.

The Cowboy has puttered in the garage all day and I’ve quilted with a break to fix lunch and several breaks to play with Emmi–she’s just a touch spoiled I would say!

Received my solar filter film in the mail today for using with the camera to take photos of the eclipse–the other night the Cowboy had the bright idea of using his welding helmet and I practiced using the camera through the helmet on the setting sun surrounded by smoke and clouds.

Blue Jobs, Pink Jobs

And no, I didn’t use the wrong camera settings, this is yesterday morning’s view–it was worse today, even the foothills were obscured by smoke.  This is our “normal” view of the West Boulder mountains.

No Crazy Mountains visible yesterday or today.  Below is the way that view frequently appears–

Yesterday afternoon we were sitting in the yard enjoying the breeze and sounds of the creek.  I pointed to one of our sprinkler heads and we proceeded to have the following conversation:

Me:  We need to dig up that sprinkler head, it’s too far below the ground and pointed too high.

The Cowboy: I know where there’s a shovel you can use.

Me:  Oh, no, that’s a blue job! (Lots of RVers refer to the inside chores of the RV as pink jobs and the outside chores such as dumping tanks blue jobs.

The Cowboy:  Oh, no–it’s only a blue job when I’m using the excavator, shovels are pink jobs!

Me: Hmmph!!

We are currently in another coffee dilemma!  I am a coffee snob and not ashamed of it!  I like dark, strong, flavorful coffee.  We purchase Costco Espresso Blend Dark Roast coffee beans and I grind the beans–I have a heavy duty type grinder which has a container with the capacity to hold enough ground coffee to last about three days.  I usually grind enough beans to last about a week or more and store it in a glass container–I make our coffee the night before and am not enough of a coffee snob to grind my beans fresh each day.  I was feeling lazy the other day and said I was going to stop grinding coffee and just buy it all ready ground–well–that’s not happening!  The ground coffee I purchased was the exact same bean as the Costco coffee we use but what a difference in taste–YUK!  Back to the beans!

I actually quilted today!!  Can you believe it!  Remember this photo from a blog in late JUNE!!  I finished the little horse and started on the fish today–it felt good to be using the longarm!The Cowboy spent the morning in town installing a storm door for his Dad.  Friday morning Nat called to say the storm door was at his house.  The lumber store is owned by a friend of the Cowboy’s and although Ullmans does not usually deliver, they did deliver the door to Nat’s–small town living at its best!

Summer Writing Block

Yep, that’s what I have, summer writing block.  We are enjoying being at home–notice the vest the Cowboy is wearing–and our cooler weather. It was 43 degrees when I got up this morning.  There’s not much to write about–we are busy as usual with various projects and as I said, enjoying life.  Time to sit in the yard enjoying a cold beverage, time to watch all the various colorful birds at the feeders and time to just enjoy life–it’s summer in Montana.

We are still smokey–not enough to smell the smoke very often but this morning the mountains were totally obscured.

I have been taking photos with the Nikon D5000 and it’s amazing how a little practice helps in understanding the camera!  All the photos in tonight’s blog were taken with that camera.  I took more photos this morning of the smokey mountains but Picasa isn’t cooperating tonight–I can’t import photos from any of my camera cards nor can I import using a USB cord–we will see what tomorrow brings.

That’s all I have tonight, hope you are all enjoying your summer!  And who let the Cowboy wear that grungy hat???