Rolling along....

Monday, July 26, 2010

We spent a couple of extra days in White Sulphur Springs at our western home park, Conestoga Campground. Chores needed to be done...laundry, house cleaning, mending, washing the RV and truck to name a few.

We also took in a pizza and a movie at Stageline Pizza downtown. We saw Toy Story 3 and I was pleasantly was much better than I anticipated. Written much towards adults, it was well written, very funny and delightfully poignant.

We finally hit the road yesterday, taking a leisurely drive through some gorgeous country. I REALLY could live in Montana....well, at least for June-September. LOL! We passed down the western side of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We parked for the night at a Super Wally World in Idaho Falls, ID. It was in the low 90's and the sun was HOT on the parking lot so we broke down and ran the air conditioner.

Today we head to Moran, WY area to try some boondocking. Not sure how long we will be there or if we will have phone or Internet access so figured I should do a quick update here. We plan to enjoy Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park and maybe some of Yellowstone.

Then we head to Blackhawk, SD where we have an appointment next Monday to get our main air conditioner fixed. We only have the one in our bedroom right now and I just KNOW it's going to be hot at Sturgis (where we plan to be for two weeks).

After Sturgis we head to Elkhart, IN for the Gypsy Journal Rally. Looking forward to connecting with friends there, especially Nick & Terry and hopefully Greg & Jan. Then it's on to MD for Sept/Oct where we will catch up on doctor appointments, see family and take two of our grandkids to Disney for 5 days.

Anyway, not sure when we will be blogging again...but you KNOW we'll be having fun!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Things on our planning list....

Friday, July 23, 2010

We still have a lot of initial planning to do. We need to set a budget since we live on a fixed income. This will be our big vacation for 2011. So here are some of the things we are still considering and discussing.
  • How often to hotel it....thinking maybe once a week unless the weather is bad.
  • Do we use our current cargo trailer (The Brat) and tent camp or do we upgrade to a tent/camper trailer. We both like the idea of the camper trailer so might start checking out the ads this fall and winter. Would definitely be a used one.
  • How to manage our dietary requirements while traveling. We're thinking about using our 12 volt cooler for yogurt and milk for breakfast as well as keeping fruit & veggies fresh. Eating out is bad for our diets as well as our pocketbooks. LOL!
  • Do I ride my current bike, Twister (2008 Nightster) or do I upgrade? Lots to consider here. Comfort, distance we can ride before needing gas, future bike storage (Twister fits in our toy hauler, another bike won't)...hmmmm.
  • What modifications need to be made to the bikes. Stu is thinking about adding an adjustable mount for his tourpack so it can be moved back a bit. He loved his Saddleman luggage for the back seat but it does push his backrest forward a bit. This would solve that problem.
  • Speaking of luggage....I may opt for something more rigid than what I currently have. Not sure...easier packing and easier finding things for sure. I have used both kinds.
I know there is more but this is what we've been talking about most recenlty. We are both really excited about this trip!!

Ride safe,
Stu and Donna

A little more of this and that.....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A weather perfect day, we packed a lunch and headed out for a motorcycle ride through the countryside. What a great day! Mountains, rolling ranch land, rocks set into the hillsides, man-made lakes, twisting rivers and creeks, wildflowers everywhere, cows and horses (IN their pastures..LOL). Of course you have to toss in the road construction (3 miles of gravel), rain and wind.

In the middle of the road construction we stopped at the Bair Family Museum. The timing was perfect...restrooms, picnic tables and a free gift shop/visitor center that chronicled the family's history. After lunch the sky was looking dark so we passed on the tour of the house (which we heard had an admission fee of maybe $5). We'll visit that another time.

By the time we got back on the paved road, it was raining. Fortunately it wasn't hard and didn't last long. Before we knew it the sun was back out and we were enjoying the scenery once again.

On our last leg we caught sight of a cowboy and two helpers herding some cattle across the road. The fun part was that the cattle actually went UNDER the road. The cowboy then closed and locked the gate. Always enjoyable to watch them in action. We have been watching The Last American Cowboy on the Discovery channel. It features three ranches in Montana and how they approach cattle ranching...each in a different way. Very interesting show!

Tonight Stu washed our least most of it. It's really needed it for a while. Tomorrow...another ride? We do plan to do a pizza and a movie tomorrow night.  We move out on Saturday, heading to Moran, WY where we plan to boondock for four or so days.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

A little of this, a little of that....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We've settled into our site here at Conestoga Campground, enjoying the gorgeous views and chatting with the locals. Yesterday was a chore and nap day (don't you just love that combination)....I'm still fighting a cold.

Last night I had a hankering for a good buffalo burger and we headed over to the office to check out the local menus. The one spot that offered them was already closed. So we jumped on the bike and headed to a little cafe that I frequented when I workamped here. The name and owners had changed but the food was as good as ever.

Today we had originally planned to take a scenic 111 mile bike loop that had been recommended to us (and that would be mostly new scenery for us) but the weather forecast called for thunderstorms with possible hail.

So we settled for lunch at the restaurant with the buffalo burgers (yummy) and then took a short ride to check out the condition of a barn we had admired two summers ago. Before we could reach the barn we had a little excitement.

As he slowed, Stu pointed out something large on the side of the road ahead. Too large for a person or even a deer we both wondered if it were an elk or the ever elusive moose. As we got closer we quickly realized it was a horse...and the horse was outside the fence. Now this isn't open range...this is on a major highway with highway speeds.

We noticed that the gate was open as we passed so at the first spot we could, we turned around and headed back. A passing truck going the opposite direction had stopped as well. By the time we got there the lady driver had gotten a lead out of the truck and was heading towards the horse. Things looked good....

Then horse number two came out the gate...we quickly jumped off the bike and headed to help the her out. Stu worked to keep both off the road, she had the first horse turned around and heading back into the pasture and I worked on convincing the other horse that they really didn't want to be out here. Needless to say, I think we must have looked like bobble-head aliens to the horses...we never took off our helmets. LOL!

Finally both horses were back in where they belonged and we tried to fasten the gate. For whatever reason the chain wasn't long enough to wrap around and latch. The suspicion was that the folks doing the underground utility marking (we had seen them just up the road) had somehow inadvertently taken off with part of the chain &/or lock. Stu grabbed a couple of tie wraps off the bike and we got it fastened. The woman was local and hoped to find out who the owners were so she could let them know.

We continued on to our destination, snapped a couple of quick pics of the barn before heading back to the campground. The sky was getting darker and the wind was picking up. We just made it back....phew!

Tomorrow we hope to take our loop permitting....LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Here are some photos taken during my workamping assignment in 2008:

West Glacier to White Sulphur Springs via Helena (MT)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We finished off our last two days in West Glacier with a whimper....well at least I did. I ended up with a dreaded summer cold. Nasty! Saturday I felt blah so we didn't do anything. By Sunday it was worse...I never got dressed, spent the day taking aspirin & Sudafed as well as napping. So no more sightseeing.

Monday we loaded up and headed off to Helena where we planned to spend the night at Wally World and meet up with friends, Bill & Cindy, for dinner. Our route started out to be the same as when we came up from Missoula through Polson but deviated and took us a little more easterly. Gorgeous scenic ride...I snapped a few photos when I wasn't napping.

We stopped for a snack by the roadside where these horses were pastured. Gorgeous!

We passed lake after lake...Seeley & Swann come to mind but there were many more. Just beautiful!

We got parked at Wally World and since I had napped so much, I left Stu napping while I shopped for our pantry. About six Bill came to pick us up and take us up to their beautiful home in the hills overlooking Helena. Cindy had fixed a wonderful dinner to go with the salmon that Bill grilled. YUM!!

We spend several hours catching up to date on our lives. We had planned to meet up at the National Folk Festival in Butte but missed each other. It was nice to be able to chat without regard to time or surroundings.

We also got to enjoy their new little puppy, Jack. I think he's about 4 months old. A ball of fur in a breed we had not heard of...miniature Australian Shepherd. Adorable!!

We spent a quiet night at Wally World and headed off around 11 need to rush, we only had 75 miles to go. Once again we were treated to some gorgeous scenery and before we knew it we were in White Sulphur Springs at our home membership campground, Conestoga Campground. We felt like we were at home!

We got settled in, unloaded the trike and then proceeded to take naps. LOL! Life is good....  We will be here 3-4 days, still deciding how long. Then we head towards Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

Now, off to medicate this cold some more....

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Cruise to Alaska - Days 11 to 14 - Skagway, Tracey Arm Fjord and Victoria, BC

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I've run out of time and patience and I suspect you have I'm recapping the last several days all at once. LOL!

DAY ELEVEN: Skagway was a blast! We took the White Pass Railway...saw some amazing scenery and learned a lot about the history of the area. We also got to see two bears!

When we arrived back in town we stopped for lunch at the Red Onion Saloon. How funny....everyone in period costumes. You'll love those photos!!

We walked all through the downtown, checking out all the stores as well as (of course), the Harley dealer. Our last stop was the train visitor center and gift shop. We picked up a coffee mug for our collection.

Back to the ship where we took some photos of the rock cliff paintings from various cruise ship visitations. Interesting...

We headed off to sea...staying light so late that we captured some late evening scenery shots from inside the ship (notice the blue coloring from the tinted windows...LOL!).

Tomorrow we visit Tracey Arm Fjord and do some scenic cruising. Hoping for more WHALES!
Skagway photos: Alaska - Day Eleven - Skagway

DAY TWELVE: What a beautiful area...we just snapped photo after photo. Since there were many repeats I ended up deleting a lot so there are less than 100 to view.
Tracey Arm Fjord photos: Alaska - Day Twelve - Tracy Arm Fjord

DAY THIRTEEN: Well, we're at sea again...headed to our port in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Not much in the way of photos today. But we did get our first towel animal so Stu took a photo of that. LOL!
At Sea photos: Alaska - Day Thirteen - At Sea
DAY FOURTEEN: We arrived in our port of Victoria, BC around 4 pm and at 6 pm we were to head off on our "Pub Crawl". We snapped a few shots from the ship...watching the tour buses load, watching the horse drawn trolleys fill up and empty out and watching the helicopters taking off & landing.

There were only a few people taking the pub tour, nice enough folks but surprisingly none of the women liked beer. Hmmm....a little strange. LOL!

We had three pubs on the schedule with food being offered at the first one. First stop was Christies Pub. Decent beer and an amazing amount of free food. We got to choose one samplers.

Next stop was the Swan Hotel. Interesting art work everywhere. We were taken to a back conference room and given four different samples. Decent beer again.

At this point all but two others opted to head back to the ship...remember the non-beer drinking wives? Hmmmm.... The one couple that remained were from Houston and the wife wasn't a beer drinker but she at least sampled some of them.

The final stop was Spinnaker's Brew Pub. We were seated (all four of us) at the bar and got first class attention. We would normally had four samples but since the group had dwindled down to us four, we got a LOT more samples. We also had some great food served. We learned more about the area and we found several beers we really liked. We bought a pint glass for our collection.

We really liked Victoria....has to be one of the cleanest cities I have ever been in. We'd love to go back and spend a week or two.
Victoria, BC photos: Alaska - Day Fourteen - Victoria BC, Canada
DAY FIFTEEN - BACK HOME: Wow! The trip is over...what an amazing journey it has been. We loved every minute and now really look forward to RVing Alaska in a couple more years. We saw whales, sea otters, sea lions, dolphins/porpoises, ice bergs, ice flows, glaciers, bears, eagles and more. We hate more food and drank more beer than we should have. We saw scenery that we will never forget and will probably never see again. Amazing!!! Thank you to Princess Cruises for a job well done.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

A little background research....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We've already started looking at websites, books and maps in preparation for the ride. We are allowing a month to do the ride, most allow two weeks. That said, if it takes us longer, so be it. The only damage would be to our budget (which is TBD).

I suspect this will be the end of my long trips, especially after doing it on the Nightster. It was five years ago when I toured, trips lasting as long as 10 weeks, but I was on a much larger and softer riding bike, the Softail Deluxe. Anyway, I want to make the most of this trip, seeing as much as we can from the bikes.

We have bought a couple of books, one is a turn-by-turn book of maps and directions. We expect that will be our "bible". Stu has also downloaded a map to the GPS. We'll see how that goes....LOL!

We are planning on doing as much camping as we can to help save money. We already have sleeping bags, an air mattress with pump and a small tent. But we are now thinking that we might invest in a camper trailer made for motorcycles. This winter should see some hitting the used market. We had looked at them before but ended up with a cargo trailer (now stored at a friend's house). The cargo trailer would be used for this trip unless we get a camper trailer. We'll keep you updated as we go along.

Photos will be one must along the trip but I suspect we will be chronicling the unusual, not the normal scenic views (unless they are unusual....LOL).

Not sure what else to put here right now...Stu will be writing his thoughts on the trip - the whys & whatfors.

Ride safe,
Stu and Donna

Movie, Beer & Dinner

We headed out late morning for a casual day, staring with a movie in neighboring Kalispell. We still hadn't seen "Knight & Day" and the promise of lots of action, car chases, adventure mixed with comedy and romance was intriguing. The movie promised as delivered...we both loved it. Surprisingly the connection between Cruise & Diaz was very good!

That said, we both fell in love with the little sporty roadsters used in several of the car chases but have been unable to identify them. Anyone recognize these?

From there we headed north into Whitefish, an as yet unexplored town for us. The first stop was to be the Great Northern Brewery and then we planned to walk the town a bit. After a false start (at a bar & grill named almost the same), we found the brewery in a very upscale looking building, obviously built for this purpose.

We sampled a bunch of beers, not finishing many of them. Our dual favorite was Fred's and a surprising second was the Wild Huckleberry. Their stout was good, too but surprisingly neither of us much liked their amber.

I had to splurge on a t-shirt for one beer that is a fall seasonal choice (and thus not available now). I'm sure you can see why...I would have bought the pint glass but they didn't have it. LOL! Stu added a growler and a pint glass to our collection. He says we're going to stop on 6 growlers.....riiiiggghhht. ;-)

We headed down one side of the street, stopping in stores as they interested us. Lots of upscale ones, some antiques, some pottery, the ever present jewelry and clothing stores, too.

But we did find one really interesting shop, Backdoor General Store. Starting with a wide variety of local items, we snatched up the missing pint glass (see above) and some sugar-free huckleberry jam. We are both enjoying all the huckleberry treats offered around Montana.

But another treat were the quilts in the store....oh, my!! Looking at all the fabrics I thought of my friends Janna and Karen (Fabgrandma) who both quilt. So I had to ask if they sold fabric in their online store. Sure do, was the answer! So here you go gals...lots of western themed fabric as well as other nice ones. Have no idea about pricing, just passing it along.

By the time we had walked off our beer and checked out the local stores we were hungry. We decided to head back to the Hungry Horse/West Glacier area and check out a local hangout that seemed to always be busy when we passed. The place definitely had character....inside and out. The beer was cold, the food was good for Stu and barely passable for me (burger was mostly filler, little meat). Fun but don't think we'll go back.

A final note....we have started another blog. Yeah, call us crazy...this one will be used to document our preparations for riding Route 66 next spring. Want to learn more or want to follow us....check it out here: Riding Route 66 in 2011

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Sharing is Caring...