Living in Limited Spaces

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Many think my quarters are tight but it works for me. I go into their 34-40+' rigs with 2-4 slides and feel like I'm in a house. I wouldn't want to share my rig since the space has been set up for me but I don't feel cramped.

There are many living in much smaller quarters than I. I've run into not just singles but couples full-timing in little Casita trailers (11-19'). This past spring at the RV Life on Wheels I met a couple who were planning on full-timing in a small Class B. Since then they have purchased their rig and hit the road. Today they posted photos of how they live in such tight quarters and I thought others might enjoy seeing it as well. Click here for the blog.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Froggi/Donna

Gillette WY Updates - Escapade, SOLOS & Motorcycle Ride

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I think I left off with my July 4th salute....but no news. The day was perfect....lots of sunshine, little wind and no humidity. The Escapees SOLOS BOF was having a hot dog picnic, sort of a pot luck and grill-out. My new SOLOS friend and fellow motorcyclist, Stu, asked me if I wanted a ride over. He carted two chairs on the back as well as his and my pot luck contributions.



It was a great success...there were many SOLOS there that I hadn't met before and the food was plentiful. Stu was asked if he could give one of our SOLOS ladies a ride on the trike, I think her name was Lila but I could be wrong. Anyway, I think she enjoyed it...here the are returning.



As the night darkened we prepared, we thought, for the fireworks. At 10pm the parking lot lights were dimmed and we had a perfect view. I don't know how long the display went on but it was at least 30 minutes of non-stop action. We all felt it was the best fireworks display any of us had seen in a long time...many felt it was the best they had ever seen (I'm one of those). I wished I had brought my better camera but here are a couple of shots from my little camera. Very hard to see the explosive colors and amazing display of lights.



At the picnic we met a local rider, Russ, who invited Stu on a local sightseeing trip the following day. I was "persuaded" to come along (yeah, my arm still hurts.....LOL!).

The next morning we went to breakfast at Lulu Belle's...great start to the day. Stu had gone exploring and thought he knew the location of the gas station where we were to meet up with Russ. We got there 5 minutes after the meet point...no one there. Fortunately they had exchanged phone numbers and we soon located the right station. Russ, and his little MinPin, had brought along a lady rider friend, Diana. We made quick introductions and headed off.

The trip was from Gillette up to Sheridan, through the Big Horn Mountains, down to Worland and Ten Sleep before hitting Buffalo and going back to Gillette. It ended up being an over 400 mile day. I took so many photos but I will try to pick a few for flavor and you can see the some of the rest (maybe 30% of what I took) in my SmugMug album.

The day was amazing....we went through little historic towns, up through the Big Horn Mountains, through canyons, tossed snowballs at each other, watched a hang glider prepare for the "right wind" for his first solo ride (we waited over 30 minutes and finally gave up), past wildflowers of all colors and odors, sighed over waterfalls hidden behind a construction area and so much more. As I said, an amazing day! But the highlight was near the end when we, okay Russ, spotted two moose down below us. Hard to capture with the little camera but there were there. Finally...a real moose sighting. LOL!



Till next time - keep on rollin',
Froggi/Donna

Where, oh where, has my little frog gone...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Phew! What a month this has been....I will never get completely caught up but will try to give you a flavor of all that's gone on. I have over 800 photos taken (most by me but many by my temporary traveling partner, Stu). I still have to go through them, choose the best for uploading, resize & optimize them, upload to SmugMug, then decide which of those I will post in the blog...

So, first I will post a synopsis of the last month. Then as time allows this week I will work on the photos and upload backdated blogs with more detail. Hang in there....I'll get back on schedule soon! LOL!!

As to the workamping, I have survived my first week and am on my own now (although there is always someone to call if I need to). I work in the office four half days a week, two mornings (10-2:30) and two afternoons (2:30-7). When on the morning shift I have bathroom duty but so far it hasn't been all that bad. This is a small campground, 41 sites, and while the first few days were really busy it's slowed down. When there are kids and smaller campers, the bathrooms get used more often. We have procedures to help determine which showers & stalls have been used. If they're clean, we leave them alone.

The computer stuff is easy but was confusing initially. There is a new workamper couple that started the day before I did and between us and the gal that is staying, we have worked up some procedure pages to help us newbies. The owners are wonderful and worry that I'll be bored. They have no problem if I read, play on the computer, sew or whatever when things are slow. What more could you ask for? My schedule stays the same every week...off on Sun, Wed & Thur. Great for planning although my sightseeing will be limited while I catch up on real life stuff. LOL!

Okay, here is a synopsis of what has gone on for the last month:
  1. As you already know, I attended the Escapee Escapade in Gillette, WY. I did the Devils Tower HOP, joined the Gillette Elks, attended social hours for the SOLOS, ELKS, DOVES & Full-time Class of 2007. I made friends with a new SOLO, Stu, who was widowed in March. He rides a Harley-Davidson trike so we had that in common as well.
  2. We took a day trip of riding with a local rider we met on July 4th at the SOLOS Hot Dog Picnic. He was accompanied by a local lady rider and the four of us on three bikes rode from Gillette up to Sheridan, through the Big Horn Mountains, down to Worland and Ten Sleep before hitting Buffalo and going back to Gillette. All day ride - over 400 miles with temps from 50 to over 90. Some great photos of amazing scenery...we even saw MOOSE!
  3. From Gillette we headed to Reed Point, MT before I took my RV into Pierce RV in Billings, MT for service. From there Stu planned on doing Yellowstone for a couple of days. Rather than my sitting at Pierce waiting for my rig, we decided to leave it there and travel together.
  4. Moved Stu's rig to just south of Cameron, WY where we were about 35 miles north of West Yellowstone. Spend two amazing days riding through Yellowstone. It has always been my favorite National Park and it lived up it once again. Such a wide variety of scenery - we rode several loops that I had missed in 2005. We saw eagles, buffalo, elk, coyote, brown bear (assume it was a grizzly according to what I've read) and black bear. Never did see a deer or antelope inside the park but they were outside it on the ride to & from.
  5. From Cameron we headed to Anaconda, MT for a couple of days while we attended the 70th National Folk Festival in Butte. A friend that worked for Stu back in Maryland and his wife live in Helena and they brought their camper to the same park. Another friend who had worked for Stu was in one of the featured groups, The Seldom Scene. (They are all retired paramedics/fire fighters). What an unbelievably great time we had...can't wait to blog about it. Plan to attend next year if at all possible.
  6. From Anaconda we headed back to Reed Point, MT for the night before picking up my RV at Pierce in Billings. Then we headed north to White Sulphur Springs for my workamp assignment. The park is a Coast to Coast membership park (as well as RPI, AOR, CampClub USA and Passport America) and since Stu was a C2C member, it made sense for him to spend a couple of days before heading east.
  7. After we arrived at Conestoga Campground, we had two days before my first shift so we did a little more sightseeing as well as seeing the local area.
  8. The first trip was to Great Falls where we visited the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center as well as Great Springs State Park and Fish Hatchery. We ate our picnic lunch at the state park....nice shaded picnic area. Nice ride both ways and we got to visit the Harley dealer as well (we had previously visited the one in Billings).
  9. The second trip was to Bozeman where we visited the Museum of the Rockies. What a treat that was....so much to see, we couldn't do it all. Amazing ride, open range with cattle all over the road and a ton of deer including some well antlered bucks.
  10. Stu arranged to stay on a bit more and we took my next two days off to ride over to Helena to visit his friends again. They have a gorgeous house on 20 acres about 15 miles out of town. Great views, wildlife everywhere....had a great time and a nice ride both ways.
  11. On Friday Stu left and headed east where his youngest daughter is expecting granddaughter #2. She is due in 2-4 weeks and he hopes to be there.
  12. I'm busy in my off time reorganizing my storage bins again...moving more weight to the front and starting to clean out more stuff. Yup, was still overweight when I got weighed in Gillette. Once the outside is done I'll tackle the inside once again. I'm hoping to scan a ton of paperwork, back it up on CD/DVD and stop carrying so much of it around.
So that's it in a nut shell.....here's a sunset photo I took last week here at the campground.



Till next time - keep on rollin',
Froggi/Donna

70th National Folk Festival - Butte MT

Monday, July 14, 2008

When I hear the words "Folk Festival", I envision Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Kingston Trio and Peter Paul and Mary. Well, the 70th National Folk Festival completely changed my mind. Take a look at the list of performers and you'll see what I mean.

From the website: "Music and dance traditions from every part of the nation are represented, performed by the country’s very finest traditional artists. Audiences are treated to authentic blues, gospel, jazz, polka, cowboy, bluegrass, klezmer, old-time, Cajun, rhythm and blues, mariachi, western swing, zydeco and more. Continuous performances on seven stages celebrate Native American, Celtic, Acadian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, East Asian, Appalachian, Hispanic, Eastern European, African and Pacific Island cultures."

What a wonderful eclectic gathering of extremely talented and passionate musicians. With only one late afternoon/evening and one full day, we saw only a small smattering of the performers. But what we saw....oh my!

The main reason for out attending was so Stu could see his retiree friends, Bill (mentioned yesterday) and Freddie, who plays in the bluegrass band, The Seldom Scene. When we arrived on Saturday afternoon, it was just in time to catch the band and meet up briefly with Freddie. When they were done we managed to meet up with Bill & Cindy (remember that proverbial needle in a haystack, thank goodness for cell phones) and headed off for drinks & something to eat. Here is a pic from Sunday after the festival ended. From left to right, Stu, Freddie & Bill.




Let me interject a little about the setting for the event. We were quite impressed with how well Butte had this set up. There were multiple stages but they were scattered throughout the closed downtown area. Rarely did the music from one stage impact that playing on another. There was a lot of walking and most of it up or down hill, but we just took our time. Parking was provided at community parking center with free shuttles to take you back & forth. The food tents were all in one location with drink tents scattered around. Another area contained souvenirs and other items to purchase.




There were people of all ages.....young and old, from babies to the elderly. Everyone was having a good time and often there was spontaneous dancing in front of the stages. At one point Cindy dragged Stu out to dance and I soon followed. First time I'd really danced in 10 years. LOL! What fun...well, except for trying to fast dance on an uneven rocky surface. We both felt it the next day.




The closing act for the night was Shemekia Copeland....she hosts Sirius Blues and I have listened to her for several years. Wonderful to see her perform in person!




From there Freddie invited us to the hotel (where all the performers were staying) to have a few drinks at the reception. We walked into the lobby and listened to a jam with folks from at least 4 different bands while we waited for Freddie. Once back in the reception area we saw the same thing repeated several more times. These people are truly passionate about their craft. Eventually we saddled up the trike and headed back to the campground, taking an interesting back road scenic route picked by the GPS.

We got a bit of a slow start on Sunday and missed the first couple of acts that we had hoped to catch. We did see The Seldom Scene performing again (different stage).




Then we wandered around, enjoyed the beautiful views as well as historic sites, ate a little and eventually caught my new favorite group, Le Vent du Nord. They were the closing act for Sunday and the crowd was very appreciative. Dancing galore....everyone getting into the act. (I have already downloaded some of their music from iTunes). We didn't understand a word they sang, but we sure enjoyed the entertainment!




So what was the cost for all this? Three days of professional music, morning - noon - night? Nothing...nada....zip...zilch...zero! Needless to say, we've already put the dates for the 71st National Folk Festival on our calendar, July 10-12 2009 in Butte. Hope to see you there!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Froggi/Donna