We’ve Both Been Puttering

I’m thinking we are both in a rut. Neither one of us has had much ambition these last couple days. The Cowboy did jackhammer the concrete leading to the new shower drain in the main house master bath–that took some ambition! I still chuckle (quietly) when I remember his first comment when seeing the bathroom in the main house–Tub was avocado green, floor was ugly, ugly linoleum. Notice how close to the tub the toilet sits?  The Cowboy when seeing this bathroom for the first time said, “I would really like for the footprint of the bathroom to remain the same.”  I said, “not happening, get out the jackhammer.”  Which he has done and very graciously I might add!

This critter was on our garage wall.

We’ve once again remodeled the remodel by changing the configuration of the master bath.  Shower and vanity changed spots. Door openings were changed. The location of the hot water tank was changed.  We make ourselves dizzy some times with the changes!

There is a new yoga teacher at the Community Center on Monday mornings and I was impressed both with the teacher and with how well my knee performed.  All those days of riding in the motorhome getting to Utah and then all those days of riding in the ATV cured my knee!  I’m thinking I could have saved myself a lot of money–hadn’t met my deductible for the year–and skipped the doctor and physical therapy.  All I needed was rest–lesson learned!!

The trees we planted in the fall of 2017 have grown so much, most more than a foot over the summer. The pine trees have also gotten bushy and were pushing through the cages we built to protect the trees from varmints.  Today I built a new cage for the largest pine tree and will wait until the weather turns cooler before building any more cages.  I want to trim some of the lower branches and need cooler weather before doing any pruning–maybe I can avoid building more cages.

Ruth, here’s the link to the recipe for the Flourless Chocolate Cake-It’s from a fabulous book I’ve read A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg. As the author of this particular blog states, “it’s not a pretty cake.”  It sinks in the middle, or “squats” as my Mom would say, the edges crack and sometimes fall off but when you take that first bite you won’t care if it’s pretty or not.  The Modern Mrs. Darcy  also writes about this cake and she substitutes almond meal for the flour as one of her children is gluten intolerant.  It’s a very rich cake so cut your first slice small and go from there.  I love this cake–in small doses!  Remember links don’t show up well against the background of the blog–click on the italicized “Flourless Chocolate Cake” above.

About lunch time Tuesday this storm had us thinking we might get rain–nope.

Wednesday was Sierra Vista day–we left home before 8am and headed over the hill.  We took a trailer and also placed a delivery order. Our credit card was groaning.  I had placed a Walmart grocery order on line and my pickup time was between 12 noon and 1pm.  Just as we were arriving in Sierra Vista I received a text and email telling me that due to operational issues Walmart was canceling my grocery order.  To say I was displeased was an understatement but evidently the operational issues were nationwide.  So, I spent 45 minutes wandering around Walmart buying groceries–UGH!

It was so good to be home! We unloaded and sat down with a happy hour beverage. Dan is back as of today and dropped by while we were relaxing–Louanne will follow in a few days.  Life is good in spite of Walmart operational issues!

Life is good because we enjoyed 83 degrees and sunshine today while our friends back home enjoyed this–

and cold temps!  Our friends Max and Dave sent this photo, they live just down the road from us.

 

Slowing Down

Today is the Cowboy’s birthday–he means the world to me and I wish for him many, many more birthdays!  Late this afternoon we drove to Bowie, Arizona, about 50 miles from here to have an early dinner at Rafter G–our service was great and the meal good.  I baked my Cowboy another flourless chocolate cake and he opened presents this morning–another good birthday!

On Friday morning we were awakened by rain–hard rain!!  Rain seldom comes to the desert so when it does we are happy!

Slowing down is NOT in my husband’s vocabulary! 🙂  He was not going to “go at it” so hard this season, he was going to “take it slow.”  Is that why I watched him tear down two walls on Thursday?? I did help by loading the pieces into the backhoe bucket.  And one of those walls was heavy concrete stucco which required holding the heavy hammer drill over his head–he has to split the pieces of concrete so we can handle the chunks.  The hammer drill is the only thing the Cowboy has found which will cut that stuff.

My job the last couple days was weed control until I ran out of weed killer.  We have some nasty new weeds this year maybe due to all the rain we had last winter??  The Cowboy attached a weed spraying unit to the back of our John Deere lawn tractor.  The tank holds fifteen gallons and I can sit on the tractor and slowly crisscross the lawn while I spray.

Tearing down walls required a trip to Willcox for 2×4’s so we can build new walls.  I also stopped at Ace Hardware and purchased paint for the doors in the guest house.  And of course there was Dairy Queen–John and Pam go to Starbucks–the Cowboy and I go to Dairy Queen! 🙂

It’s hard helping my people shop! Her butt is up in the air and her head is down yet Emmi was sound asleep.

Friday the Cowboy continued his demolition work.  I painted a door–five coats it took–I’m not too impressed with this Ace Hardware paint!  To be honest I was painting an old door, an original door to this house and someone in the past had poorly applied a coat of ugly yellow pain.  Two coats of primer and three coats of the Ace Hardware paint. And I’m still not satisfied with the way it looks but I may just close my eyes to the imperfections! Stand back 10 feet and you can’t see them–and it’s in a dark corner!! 🙂  Update: I don’t like the color–back to the drawing board, five coats later! 😦

Friday evening we attended a party at our friend Linda’s house. A varied group of people from all over the country. Linda had built a fire in her custom made fire pit and we roasted hot dogs and accompanied them with sides dishes contributed by everyone. The food was delicious as was the company, it was a fun evening. We went home to an anxious little dog, ready to see her people!

Yep, no slowing down around this household! Life is good!

A Good Visit And Our Arizona Home

Just a few more photos from our ATVing adventure.  We had spotted random sheep along the trails but this was a large group controlled by four small border collies and what appeared to be a Peruvian woman wearing vivid colored leggings, cowboy boots and spurs.

Our little motorhome–which we are loving.

Saturday morning we took our time–enjoying our coffee, talking, and walking Emmi.  We were on the road by 9am and at North Ranch parked in Larry and Geri’s yard shortly after noon.  We spent the afternoon visiting with friends–Jim and Ellie plus Don and Vickie happened to be there too.  We also spent some time visiting Mike and Pat.  Geri had prepared a wonderful supper and we spent the evening catching up on all the news.

Sunday we enjoyed a fabulous brunch–I cooked a bunch of bacon on their grill and Geri made scrambled eggs–I love brunch!  We visited with more friends–Caryl and Jerry.  We also went to look at our former home in North Ranch owned by Bill and Gemma.  They’ve done so much work to the house–it looks great.  It’s no longer an ugly yellow color, they’ve built a huge new garage and added a deck on the back overlooking the desert.

Sunday evening we drove into Wickenburg to have pizza and ice cream.  Monday morning had us heading south with a stop at Walmart to pick up the grocery order and a stop at Costco which about broke the bank.  We buy our meat at Costco and as we live so far from the closest Costco on both ends of the country, we buy in bulk.  I spent Tuesday afternoon vacuum sealing all that meat–it took a while!

Our place looks great!!  Milton has done a great job this summer keeping the grass/weeds mowed and seeing to the irrigation system.  His wife Lucy cleaned the house for us before we arrived which was really nice!!  It’s so green and lush here–about 2 weeks ago this area had about 3.5 inches of rain.  We’ve never seen it so green–usually when we arrive in mid October the grass is brown–not this year.

Our trees, shrubs and flowers have grown so much it’s amazing!! That ornamental grass was just a sickly looking sprig of grass when we left in the spring. The lantana (the one with orange flowers) was only about a foot in diameter–now it is about three feet!  The rosemary shrub grew a lot and the daisies did too.  We are so pleased!  And of course the weeds grew quite well too!

Love those Arizona sunsets.

The washing machine has been going almost non-stop. The Cowboy decided to conduct some demolition today–hopefully we are almost finished knocking out walls.

Life is good.

One Last Spectacular Ride

Wednesday’s ride was up a well used mountain road–lots of pickup travel (and we got the distinct impression the truck drivers were not happy the ATVs were on their road) which tends to make you a little nervous on narrow, switch-backed mountain roads.  The top of the mountain was apparently the take off spot for hang gliders–we saw two different ones floating through the air.  We started later that day and my photos were just not good–washed out from the sun.  Thursday was a different story all together!

This ride involved lots of logistics. The USFS in its infinite wisdom seems to randomly chose which trails will be 50 inch.  This is just MY opinion, written tongue in cheek–I think a bunch of those guys sit around a table and think up ways to make things difficult for the public.  Why put ONE fifty inch trail right at the beginning of MILES of sixty inch trails???–that ONE fifty inch trail added miles and lots of map and GPS reading to our trip.  As you can see in this photo we were a mix–four ATVs which are 50 inch and two side by sides which are much wider.  Ours is about 54 inches wide but we are still illegal on the 50 inch trails and this area of the country takes its rules seriously.

I almost stayed home on Thursday, Emmi and I were exhausted but the Cowboy encouraged me to go and am I ever glad I did.  Once we found the sixty inch trails we climbed and climbed some more getting above tree line. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking.  We all could not stop saying, “WOW!!”  Phyllis and I were determined to get some group photos on this last day of riding and we did–two great ones!

Peggy riding up to join the rest of the crew–it was extremely dusty on the Paiute–probably more dusty than any trail we’ve ever ridden.  We all rode way back from the rider in front of us to lessen the dust–it helps.  One ATV rule is each rider waits at the intersections for the rider behind him so no one misses a turn.  We were waiting for Peggy and Charlie at this intersection which just happened to have a very clean pit toilet–always a bonus! 🙂 This is the Paiute Trail symbol–it always made me smile when we spotted one.

Our highest elevation on Thursday. Kenny saw a bull elk on the way up to the top of this mountain and when we pulled off to take a photo and rest a bit–Greg and Charlie spotted these white blobs way up on the side of the mountain–a whole herd of mountain goats–a whole bunch!!!!!  Left to right–Lesley, Nellie (sweet, calm dog) , Kenny, Charlie, Lacey (Emmi’s friend), Peggy, Greg holding big Dawg (a sweet Rottweiler), Phyllis kneeling holding five month old Gus, a lab, the Cowboy holding Emmi and lastly me.  As I said in another blog–the dogs were a large part of this trip–they cheerfully rode many a mile with us. Notice our attire–it was a touch chilly at over 11,000 feet!

And one last sunset over Paiute Lake on Thursday night after another outstanding meal.  Time to pack up and head home.

Bright and early–8am–the north bound rigs were heading out and this southbound rig was right behind them.  We aren’t going far, just to North Ranch to see friends and can you believe the Cowboy stopped for the day just west of Flagstaff–WOW–a record for the Cowboy!!!

Our friends are traveling hard, one couple is all ready at home having driven through the Salt Lake City zoo–the other couples will make it home to Montana Saturday or Sunday having taken a longer route to avoid the SLC zoo. It was an outstanding trip with a great group of people–we are so glad we were asked to come along!

Lots Of Riding, Lots Of Color

We’ve left our campground at 9am every morning and returned late in the afternoon.  We’ve ridden to almost 11,000 feet and back down by the river.  The temps are chilly at the higher elevations and warm enough by the lake to sit outside in the afternoons.  We’ve dined like kings–two grills going in the evening with each couple’s choice of meat and we’ve then contributed side dishes.

The aspen leaves are turning–every day when we climb the mountains we see new color–maples with a vivid orange/red color and always the golden color of the aspen leaves.  In the higher, colder elevations the leaves are dropping fast and winter is not far away.

The dogs are a large part of this journey as you can see.

Probably a patented mining claim and the owners built a great little cabin with outstanding views. Still standing buildings from a historic mining town.

Every rig out here including ours has small water tanks, we miss the 100 gallon water tank on our 40′ motorhome.  One of the RV parks in town, Lizzie and Charlie’s is kind of enough to allow the public to use their pay showers.  We’ve taken advantage of this courtesy a couple of times stretching our tank capacities.  Lizzie and Charlie’s RV Park also allows the public to use their dump station for a very reasonable fee of $5.  On the other hand the new RV park in town, South-Forty RV Park doesn’t allow the public to use anything at their park and were quite rude about our asking.

This next group of photos was taken with my iPhone–can you believe I forgot the camera that day!

On the shores of this reservoir we heard elk bugling!

On day four of riding, one of our group needed a rest day.  His gutsy wife took their four seat-er side by side RZR and took it up and over two rocks like a pro.  The guys told her where to put her wheels to start and she drove right up and over those rocks–yea for the girls!!! Why one of us was not filming this little adventure, I have no idea and the following photo doesn’t show the difficulty–Lacey dog gives some perspective to how narrow a spot it was.

On day four we found some spectacular fall colors, a road grader and more dust than any of us has ever seen on a trail–we had to stay back at least a quarter mile from each other to avoid the clouds of powdery dust the grader generated!

I best get ready for today’s ride–lunches to make, water bottles to fill–time to ride–life is good!

 

 

 

And We Are Off

Thursday was another non-stop day of making the house winter ready and packing and packing some more. We set a weight limit based on the rig’s capacity and I weighed every single thing that was placed inside the motorhome.  I ended up about 75 pounds over but the Cowboy had padded the capacity a bit so we are good.  Storage in a 26 foot rig versus our former 40 foot rig doesn’t even begin to compare. I struggled and continue to struggle–things are so stuffed into the tiny closet we will need a crowbar to get our shirts out and then an iron to use for removing all the wrinkles after being crushed in a 15 inch wide closet!!!:)  I open the refrigerator very carefully as well as any cabinet–this little motorhome rides much rougher than the Country Coach and stuff is always jumping out at me when opening any door!

Friday was the day–we left home before dawn headed for Big Timber.  Is this an early departure for us?  Yes, by about three weeks but there is a fun method to our madness.  For the last few years every spring we’ve ridden to the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse with a group of friends from Montana. Many years this same group takes a fall trip and we have been invited to go along–it just never worked out until this year.  Off we go to ride the Paiute Trail in southern Utah.

We met the rest of the gang in Big Timber at the local gas station and we were off.  A group of four various size rigs, eight people and five dogs.

The drive was uneventful until we reached the northern edges of Salt Lake City then it was big city traffic, everybody fighting for space, bumper to bumper, screeching halts for two and one half hours before we were spit out the southern end and found a Walmart parking lot of the night.  The Cowboy kept saying, “sure am glad I’m not driving a 40 foot motorhome pulling a 30 foot trailer in this mad house!”

It was Friday night in the big city and restaurants were busy.  It was late and we were hungry so Burger King it was and as usual, Burger King was OK.  The Cowboy woke Saturday morning to his wife searching for the thermostat–I was freezing!!!  And so was Emmi but we soon had it toasty warm in our little coach–it’s amazing how fast this little rig warms.

Soon we had to vacate our spot in the Walmart parking lot and with only about one hundred miles to go we were off once again. We brought up the rear as we are slower traveling but amazingly the little motorhome kept up with the diesel pickups all our friends drive. We had no idea where we were camping near Marysvale, Utah but we had read about dispersed BLM camping near a lake and we found it–success!  We have a fantastic spot right on the lake with room for all four rigs, dogs and people.

Once we were all in place and had lunch we unloaded ATVs and were off.  We are just a little early for much fall color but we did find some.  We rode to an elevation of about 10,000 feet where we found we needed more clothes–it was dang nippy!!  After a few hours of riding we were back at camp and enjoyed a lovely happy hour and dinner with contributions from each family.  Sunday we are off for more riding, it was a nippy 38 degrees at camp this morning so warmer attire is the order of the day!!

Life is good, very good!

A Gathering, PT and Packing

Friends Ken and Lesley have a little remote cabin on their property and it’s always a fun place to gather with friends which is exactly what we did Monday afternoon.  The yoga ladies and our spouses headed up the hill–some of us in ATVs and some in the restored “poop spreader.”  Lesley drove the tractor pulling the manure spreader–and it actually was a manure spreader in times past but is now outfitted with benches for seating.

Ken and Lesley view the same mountains we do but their home is closer to the peaks–beautiful views!! Off we go–Geoff and Dave are in the ATV which was in front of us.

And there’s the cabin–solar powered, LED lights, cold running water from a spring and a cute little outhouse.  Lesley has great decorating taste!! Max, Nancy, Shirley and Julia Enjoying the food we all brought and some sunshine.

Gathered on the porch.The end.  As we headed home a fast moving rain storm attacked us!!!  We made fast tracks for the house!  Thank goodness for rain gear!!

Tuesday morning I cleaned and oiled the longarm, storing it for the winter.  Packed a few things, made us lunch then headed to Livingston for physical therapy. Back home the Cowboy had loaded the Can-Am and his stuff into the cargo trailer.  I got busy and cleaned the carpets in the motorhome–they needed it!!

Wednesday the three of us spent the whole dang day in Billings.  Dermatologist and internist for the Cowboy, haircut for me. We squeezed in fast food lunch, Costco and a Walmart grocery pickup.  Whew, it was so good to be back up the Boulder and home!

On our walk last night the Cowboy spotted these two ladies headed for the neighbor’s hay field—

The sun was down and the skies were darkening rapidly so the photo isn’t the greatest.  After dark I stepped outside with Emmi and could hear the elk bugling.  Life is good.

Busy, Busy Days

You’ve heard that phrase, “meeting myself coming and going?”  We are meeting ourselves coming and going!!  Thursday was another day in town for me–when you live 20+ miles from town a trip seems to take the whole dang day.  I was getting a pedicure and Jeane and Jill were taking me out to lunch for my birthday.  Lunch was awesome as was the company.  At the grocery store I purchased two pounds of butter and two cans of rotel tomatoes–$16!!!  And people wonder why I’m not happy with our grocery store!  I don’t mind paying higher prices for the convenience of buying groceries closer to home but I certainly don’t like being gouged!

Friday I was back on the road this time to Livingston for physical therapy.  The knee is better some days, not so good on others. The physical therapy helps. I ran a couple errands and before you know it, the day was done again.  Back home I gave the needy Emmi some attention and prepared to go back to town once again.

The Montana ATV gang–the folks we ride the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range with every spring–are heading to Utah to ride the Paiute Trail and we are going along.  Friday night we had a planning meeting in town. And that means we’ve had to make tracks as in get to packing!!  Plus we have all these other items on our busy agenda such as birthday lunches, physical therapy and a looong day in Billings coming up.  Life is good!

Saturday night our friends Max and Dave came for dinner.  I made an old fashioned pot roast in the Instant Pot and Max brought lots of veggies from her garden.  We enjoyed our delicious meal and great conversation.

Last Thursday morning dawned crisp and mostly sunny.  Notice the white patch to the left of the pointed peak–the mountains had a dusting of snow. We’ve been up to that meadow on horses back in our horse pack trip days.

Tonight Lonn, Michael, Katie and the kiddos came for dinner.  In our family we have lots of September birthdays.  Mine is first on the then Michael’s (our grandson-in-law) is today, John’s (our other grandson-in-law) is tomorrow, Katie’s is Tuesday and daughter Shannen’s is Friday.  Lot’s of birthdays.  We celebrated Michael and Katie’s birthdays tonight and I made one of the best meals ever!  It was time to clean out the freezer so I cooked both a beef tenderloin and a tri-tip roast–both were absolutely outstanding!  We accompanied the beef with Brenda’s cheesy potatoes, salad and green beans.  For dessert we had that awesome flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream and raspberries.  It was a great evening and very hard to say goodbye to those two babies–they were so good tonight–Emmi didn’t think so as they were in her toy box but Mimi and Grandpa loved having them. Hopefully they will come to visit this winter.

Life is really good.

 

Let Us Not Forget

Last night I spent some time scrolling through Facebook reading various posts about the people who went to sleep the night of September 10, 2001 blissfully unaware of what horror was to befall them the next day.  Tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched and listened to videos of the last moments of those lives.  It was a horrible day in our country’s history and one I hope is never repeated. Let us not forget those brave souls and let us not forget for one minute who caused those many deaths.

I posted this next paragraph on Facebook this morning and I apologize if you’ve all ready seen it—–You’ve all seen the story on Facebook about missing 9/12/2001. While I would never, ever want another 9/11, I miss my country that was on 9/12. I was traveling for work and was in Fargo, ND on September 11, 2001. I remember total strangers in the operating room hugging me, I remember the lists on the desks at the hotel of people offering rides to total strangers, I remember the non-stop horrifying images on the hotel room TV, I remember the sadness of the faces in the convenience stores where I would stop for gas as I drove my rental car home to Montana. I remember the quietness of people who took my money for snacks, the sadness. I remember the quietness of our skies those few days–no airplanes flying. And I remember the look of the Billings, MT airport as I drove in to return my rental car and retrieve my truck–this had been the airport where I was so well known, the skycap would call me by name, the Delta agents at the desk would greet me before I even reached the counter, “good morning Mrs.C….., here are you boarding passes, have a great flight,”—now there were concrete barriers where before there had been none, there were armed to the teeth National Guard soldiers everywhere, my rental vehicle was searched before I was allowed to enter the airport grounds, the airport car rental counter employees so quiet. And I remember our flag flying everywhere, the cohesiveness of our population, the patriotism. I want the country I saw on 9/12 back.

Geez, it’s kind of wet here.  Close to two inches of rain since the weekend and dang chilly.  I guess fall has really arrived! Monday the Cowboy worked on the little wood burning stove he has built for our Arizona home and Tuesday he finished and painted it.  Ready to load into the trailer.  Monday was a major chore day for me–cleaned house top to bottom, laundry, sheet changing–you get the picture!

Tuesday I was up and out the door early–my first physical therapy appointment for my knee was in Livingston at 10am.  I was thoroughly examined by Nikki and then given a set of exercises to do on my own which I have done faithfully.  After the PT I went shopping–Livingston has many cute, eclectic little stores and I love shopping there to find unique gifts.  I hit the Obsidian Collection–really cute, unique gifts for everyone, the Copper Moose–a gourmet food store with great oils, vinegars, sauces, etc., the Wine Cellar–you guessed it and lastly Bob’s Outdoor–great clothes!!

Albertson’s for groceries was also on my list.  Oh, my, goodness!!!  That store was a mad house! They had crews changing the layout and location of every single shelved item. The aisles were blocked with carts of merchandise the crews had removed and not returned to different shelves as of yet. By the time I got to the end of my list I was worn out and angry–why do this major an overhaul in the middle of the day???  I was ready to read someone the riot act when I reached the cashier line.  Then—this young, beautiful, perky young woman was in front of me.  She was so incredibly pleasant to the cashier, smiling, chatting with him, and thanking him.  I decided to follow her example! 🙂

Onward, I donated a bunch of dog food to the Livingston animal shelter–food that Emmi can no longer eat now that she is on a low fat diet.  Then it was over the hill on that muddy rough road to Katie’s.  I had mended some clothes for her and had hoped to also see the kiddos–but they were napping so Katie and I had a nice visit.

Last stop was more muddy, rough miles up to our friend John’s house.  John makes beautiful pottery and I have a set of his dishes–at least I used to have a set but my dinner plate collection was decreasing by the day it seemed.  He’s going to make more dinner plates and a gift item I requested.  The Cowboy purchased the set of John’s pottery shortly after we were married, almost 25 years ago.

Today we’ve watched it rain, packed a little and I quilted a bit on my bunny quilt–I really, really want to finish that one before we leave!

Taken a few days ago on the last sunny afternoon we saw before this deluge!

 

Rain, Cooler Temps And A Birthday Trip

Friday before noon it started raining and rained off and on all day and into the night. Our temps are most definitely fall like–we needed a jacket when outside.  These are my kind of temperatures–somewhere between 60 and 75 degrees and I’m a happy camper!

Thursday morning the concrete pouring crew–Lonn and Michael (our grandson-in-law) showed up right about the time the concrete truck came up the driveway.  Those guys worked way hard for a couple hours–very hard!  And it was HOT!  By lunch time we had concrete decks and the Cowboy did a little finish work in the afternoon.  Burgers on the grill and watermelon for lunch.  Lonn buys our hay for the ranch where they live and came equipped to haul hay–the Cowboy loaded the trailer and off they went.

In the evening we went over to Lonn’s for dinner.  Michael grilled some delicious steaks, Katie made a salad and green beans.  I provided a flourless chocolate cake–a wonderful meal spent with family.  Those great grandbabies are adorable!!  Everyone was almost falling asleep in their plates so it was an early evening after all that hard work of the morning.

Friday we spent the day just puttering. The new mattress had arrived for the motorhome and we got it in place. We have the absolute best UPS driver!  When Tony delivered the mattress on Wednesday we were in Billings.  The back patio where he usually leaves boxes was missing in action, ready for the concrete pour.  Tony carried that heavy mattress box around to our front deck which faces over the creek–he’s a good guy!

Saturday we headed over to Sarge and Sarah’s in the new to us motorhome, camping in their driveway for the night.  It’s my birthday–I’m only ONE year away from Medicare!!–and we are taking a little road trip.  Sarge and Sarah live off the road which leads from Livingston, MT to Yellowstone National Park.  For my birthday in the early years of our marriage we always went to Mammoth at the north entrance to the Park to have dinner and watch the elk.  We got out of the habit–too many people, too expensive and the food was awful.

We arrived at Sarge and Sarah’s a little after 4pm, visited for a while and drove down the hill to the tiny community of Emmigrant where we dined outside at Follow Your Nose–a fabulous barbecue spot.  The rain stopped, the sun came out and it was pleasant to dine outside. Our plan had been to eat at Chico Hot Springs–nope, even though I called on Thursday morning the earliest we could be seated for dinner was 8:30pm.  That doesn’t work for us.  Granddaughter Katie told us about a place where she and Michael spent their anniversary this summer and Sarah also raved about this restaurant–Yellowstone Valley Lodge.  Nope again.  Earliest we could eat there was also 8:30pm.

So Follow Your Nose it was and it was delicious!  I grew up in the south and will occasionally eat greens–as in collard greens, turnip greens, etc. if they are cooked right.  On the menu last night were Aunt Mary’s Collard Greens.  When I asked the guy taking our order if this restaurant knew how to cook southern he said, “my Aunt Mary was southern.”  So I caved and tried the collard greens–they were absolutely amazing!!! So was the rest of our food.

Back at Sarah and Sarge’s we enjoyed homemade ice cream–four different flavors–basil/ginger, lemon, chocolate and vanilla.  It was amazing.  What a fabulous birthday–I’m a lucky woman!!

After we enjoyed a great night’s sleep on the new mattress in the motorhome Sarah once again outdid herself by making us blueberry pancakes and sausage for breakfast–amazing!!  Sarah sent me home with a big container of heirloom tomatoes she grew.  Yep, I’m a lucky birthday woman!

Our plan was to leave Sarge and Sarah’s this morning and head to Yellowstone National Park.  Even though the Park is technically in our backyard we don’t spend much time there.  We might drive through on our way to somewhere else but we don’t stay too long. Too many people, way too many people and today was no exception.  I have always wanted to camp inside the park and take drives out in the early morning and evening to spot wildlife.  The campground at Mammoth, “our entrance” at the north end of Yellowstone is a first come, first serve campground, no reservations taken.  Checkout time is 10am, we were there by 11:30am and encountered a big Campground FULL sign.  So, back down the hill we went and we came home.

We are loving our new little motorhome–easy to pack, easy to unload, easy to drive.  The Cowboy would have never, ever driven our big 40 foot motorhome into Yellowstone.

Sarah and Sarge’s view–Emmigrant Peak.

It’s a chilly, rainy Sunday afternoon here in Montana–fall is definitely here.