Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 5-14, 2016 - On The Home Front

Unfortunately we do not get to spend all of our time camping and having fun.  Sometimes we have to get a few things done.  Of course most of my work anymore seems to involve the IRS and it's myriad of forms and reports to complete but we still have domestic duties to stay up on.

This is the first year our lilacs have had a full display of flowers/blossoms. We were just a bit disappointed since we expected purple!

We made a trip into Kalispell to get some things done and stopped over at our Daughter and SIL's place for awhile.  Of course we had time playing with Scott's younger brother too.

On the way out of town we spotted this car hauler at one of those "Park-N-Sell" lots.  We've been watching for one just like this in the paper and Craig's List so we were happy to find this one.  We contacted the owner but it was too late to go to the bank so we came back in the next morning to pay for it and pick it up.  Now we have something we can haul the ATV's on when we take them along on our excursions.

Scott working hard at playing in the sand.  We have a real sand box for him but he prefers the sand around the tether ball.

Susan getting some mowing time in before it gets so tall we have to bale it.

A trip to Columbia Falls to see another daughter meant we also stopped at Whitefish for Scott to play on the playground there.

We also stopped at the Burger King in Columbia Falls.  Scott has grandma cornered in the play area.

Scott needed his immunizations caught up so we went to the pediatrician.  He was joined by his little brother who delighted in throwing rocks in the puddle.  Scott had a good observation point in the puddle.

We decided to use some rubbing compound of the van to spruce it up a bit and get rid of the dead paint.  Susan was working the front part over but stopped long enough to take the photo.

This is just to show the before/after contrast.

We are clearing out a lot of our excess stuff.  Here I'm working on a small compound bow that's going to one of Scott's cousins.

Scott and Hanna (cousin).

More cousins and Scott playing in a Lilac bush/tree.

It's still a bit chilly in the mornings here.

We made a trip into Libby (the county seat) to get the title for the van and license the van and car hauler.

They have a Pizza Hut so we partook of the lunch buffet.

I was just commenting to Susan that week that we hadn't seen any moose for several years then we had one show up in our yard.  I used this photo to give a size reference to compare the moose to the whitetail deer standing behind it.

It walked out of the brush long enough for a decent photo.  Looks like it's shedding it's winter coat.

It finally wandered off through the woods.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 1-4, 2016 Hot Springs and Camping at Upper Stillwater Lake

I decided to divide the next set of posts into more bite-size segments!

We began the month with a trip to Hot Springs, MT to play in the  hot springs.  These have a strong sulfur smell at times and are famous for their healing waters.  I don't know how much stock I put in the healing part but they are nice to soak in.  There are four pools to chose from.  The lower one is a regular swimming pool with at best, luke-warm heated water.  The next two pools are above the main pool.  Each one is small with the lower one at a slightly "too hot to stay in for over about 30 minutes" temperature.  The one above it is at a "too hot to stay in for over five minutes" temperature.  There is one more that has a tall, wood fence around it.  It's the "hot" pool.  That's where they cook the lobsters for the hotel dining room.  (Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration but it isn't that far off either!) 

The photo was taken at a turn-out overlooking Flathead Lake on the way back to Kalispell.

A few days later we took the new/used camper van out on a short test run.  The last camper we bought we took out on a 7,000 mile trip without really getting to know it first.  That was nearly a disaster!  But that was another story from a couple of summers ago.

Since this was it's maiden voyage we also brought the car in case we had trouble with the van.  We brought our little fishing boat along (towed by the van).

While we set things up Scott checked out a picnic table where he could supervise and also go through his fishing stuff.

All set up!  Now lets go fishing!

Well, maybe after Susan tests out all of Scott's tickle zones (he has a lot of them).

So fishing we went!  We stayed in the upper lagoon since it was later in the afternoon and I didn't bring the motor for the boat (definitely will NOT do that again!).

Susan caught the first fish and Scott caught the second.  I didn't catch any at all.  A point that Scott mentioned more than once!  This was Scott's first fish and he was very excited about it.  They are both Pike.

We cooked them our usual way when camping ... wrapped in foil and cooked over a low fire or coals.  The big center packet contains the fish and the outside packets have potatoes in them.

And, yes, it was as good as it looks.

Next it was marshmallow time.  I threw the extra wood on so it would still be burning in the evening for our sit-around-the-campfire time.

The next morning we were out again only this time we went through the passage on the other side of the lagoon and into the main part of Upper Stillwater Lake.  On the left side of the lake are railroad tracks so we were treated to see several passing trains during the day and night.  In the spring there is often a flurry of trains then none for several hours.  If the snow in Glacier National Park is not stable above the tracks (as often happens in the spring) the avalanche danger is too high to let the trains through the pass.  So they hold them up on the other side of the pass and wait for the snow to stabilize.  You can tell when they let them through because its just one train after another for the next hour or so.

Our reverie was interrupted by Susan catching a fish!

It was a nice Lake Trout and put up quite a fight before she got it into the boat.

Our time at the lake is drawing to a close and Scott is just enjoying the view a bit.

These are Oregon (wild) grapes.  If they keep on like they are it will be a good crop this year.

This bat house was near our camp site.  You can watch them come out around the time it begins getting dark.

We went home wishing we had spent more time there.  In my experience that's the best time to go home.  It keeps you anticipating the next trip instead of dreading it.  We have some things to get done at home then we'll be going out again.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

30 April, 2016 - Raking leaves, buying campers, firefighters, parades, and more...

It's been nice to be home!  We still had tons of unpacking to go and we're working on de-cluttering the place (which isn't nearly as much fun as cluttering it up in the first place!). Boredom hasn't been an issue lately!  The place always needs some spring cleaning so we got into that as well.

There were still some hold-out leaves left on the trees when we left last winter so we finished raking them up this spring.

Since we have no chickens to scatter our freshly raked leaves, Scott volunteered to do the job.

We took the newly acquired ATV's out for a spin as well.  Scott is sitting behind Susan on the big four-wheeler.

We bought a kit to take the film off the headlights on one of our vehicles.  Scott took it on as a personal project when he found out that we got to use the drill and sanding disk.

And we have lots of work to do on the garden area.  Our garden has suffered some neglect the last three years as we've concentrated on using up some of our stored food.  We still have plenty of food stores but are going to start bringing the garden back up to snuff as well.  More on that later.

We bought an 1988 Ford One-ton camper conversion van.  This is what we've been looking for the last several years.  Something that's easier to get around in yet still has the comforts of home (at least some of them!).  The body is in good shape and the motor seems to run fine.  It needs some minor work done but I can handle that.  The first thing that's going to go is the AC unit on top. (It's been taken off now and a roof vent put in it's place.)

The view from the center looking forward.

And from the center looking toward the back.

And Scott trying it out for comfort playing on his tablet.

The guy we bought it from was pretty honest about what worked and what didn't.  He mentioned that the back tank was about dry but the front tank was full.  Don't know if he forgot to mention or didn't know (we bought it from a dealer) that the tank switch didn't work so when the rear tank ran dry ... Susan made a trip to town to get some more gasoline!  I had a feeling I should have filled the rear tank before we left but I didn't.  The Onan generator starts and runs but they have the wiring so messed up I don't know if it actually generates electricity yet.  I knew about that before we bought it.  The generator is nice but was not a deal breaker. I have some other tweaking to do on it as well before it's pronounced "healed."  By the way, the front tank was indeed full of gasoline.

Part of spring cleaning is burning slash piles.  We only had three I was concerned with so we picked a day between rain storms to do some burning.  Unfortunately, before the day was over I had to make a trip the emergency room.  My asthma flared up and the inhaler I carry for emergency use wasn't able to knock it back. I didn't realize at first what was happening.  We were finishing up on colds we caught in Nevada so I thought the coughing was from the cold.  I just got tired and laid on the ground next to the fire to rest.  Susan couldn't see me then and came over to find out why.  So Susan got me loaded up and we headed for Prompt Care in Eureka (about 20 miles).  They got me breathing okay again (Susan said I don't look that good when I'm turning purplish/blue .. I kinda' looked like Papa Smurf) and sent me home with a nebulizer and $100.00 in prescription medicines.  I'ts been pretty good since then.  Hope it stays that way.

Scott's uncle Tristan is the assistant fire chief on the local volunteer fire department and offered to let Scott ride in the truck in the Rendezvous parade.  Scott, of course, thought that was a fantastic idea and couldn't wait to get suited up and go with them.

Of course all the guys (and gals) know Scott and were enthusiastic about him being there.  They really are a great bunch of people who regularly put their lives on the line and get nothing but a "thank you" in return (most of the time).

Ready to roll!  That little guy is so happy he's about to burst.

We had to rush to get back on the street to see the parade.  

We didn't get to see all of it because we had to pick Scott up at the fire station.  This is looking down main street in Eureka.  That's probably about half the population in this end of the county.  There was a new archery shop in town so I stopped there and bought another string server and some more broad heads for my arrows (Zwickey 2-blade).

Parking can be a bit of a chore in a small town.  This is the highway coming in to Eureka from the south.

Booths are set up at the lower end of town near the river.

We also had company coming so we headed home quickly after the parade and were just a few minutes ahead of Scott's mom and dad and little brother.

We needed to swap out the studded snow tires on Scott's mom's car so his dad and I spent some time doing that before we had lunch.