Extending Our Happily Ever After

"We do! Now let's live healthy and fit!"


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Our drive to Nevada… And break down.

We left Twin Falls on Sunday. The RV had run a bit warm heading into Idaho, so we checked our fluids before heading out and filled up with coolant before heading out.
We got one last visit from my girlfriend, Terrie and her daughter, Sami, and showed them our new home. They approved. 🙂
Then, we headed out. We don’t like to drive more than 300 miles per day, it just gets too exhausting, as we are driving separately.
Our first stop would be to gas up in Jackpot, Nv.
You know you hit Nevada state line when you immediately see the casinos line up.
Then we headed for Winnemucca, Nv and a Wal-Mart for our overnight stop.
It was a nice stop.
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We had a nice sunset in Winnemucca.
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We saw the Sierra mountains on this trip.
The next day, we drove straight through with our hope to be in Carson Valley campground in Minden, Nv near my cousin’s place.
Well, we got to Carson City, which was pretty close, actually, before the RV started popping and stalling out in traffic. Uggh!
We ended up having to pull off into a Lowe’s parking lot and calling around to see if anyone could fix it. Finally, we found an auto shop in Carson city that would look at it the next morning… We had less than an hour to secure the cats and pack up. My cousin said we all could come over to her place. We were so lucky to have that option!
Next to Lowe’s was a Petco, so we were able to get two cat carriers and then a portable litter box. Then quickly packed our clothes. A bit stressful, to say the least.
Tow truck showed up and took our home away. That is a helpless feeling.
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Our cats hated being boxed up. They aren’t quite warming up to my cousin’s place either. Nutter is hiding under a bed, Puddin’ is trying to take over the house and make it her own and hiss and swat and the other two kitties that lived here.
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We are hoping to get our home back soon so that they can get back to their safe space quickly.
We are much more adaptable to change than they are, it seems.
My cousins welcomed us with open hearts and arms and a nice home cooked meal with cherry pie for dessert. Wonderful feeling to have a family support system 🙂
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Twin Falls, Idaho… More than just potatoes!

We got to Twin Falls on Friday and are leaving this morning. My friend, Terrie, and her family live here. She and I met many years ago when my brother dated her. Things worked out perfectly, we say… Because her and I have become great friends from day one 🙂
When I find some old pics of us, I will edit them into the post here.
Anyway… Her family is from England. Actually her mother is. From Braintree. Which is actually where Ivan’s sister lived. Small world, isn’t it? We pulled into town, settled in to the 93 RV Park, when she can actually see from her back porch and then drove over for a full on English meal of roast beef, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and even spotted dick for dessert.

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Lots of wonderful conversation… Reminiscing between Terrie and I, new friendships made with Ivan and Christopher and her family. It was a great time! We also met the new family weed-eating goat. Just brought home that morning… So cute!

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Her daughter, Dani, reminded us that the movie Trainwreck with Amy Schumer was opening at the theatres and so since we all wanted to see it, we just headed to their nearest mall to see it. Fun!

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The next morning, we were served a wonderful breakfast by Terrie and then shown the sites by her daughter, Sami, and herself. We went to Balanced Rock… Wow! That was fun! We all hiked to the top and crawled all over rocks, but the climb down was SCARY!!! Yet, we all survived!

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Then it was off to Centennial Park… Views of their Perrine bridge and a waterfall there that you can walk behind.

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Then on to Shoshone Falls! So pretty, though we were told that the local farmers have already dipped into the water supply for their fields or the water level would be way higher!

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Then on to Derkey lake, then on to her mom and dad’s (Marion and Howard) for another lovely dinner! Amazing!

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Afterwards, we checked out snake river and the Evil Knievel failed jump site and Perrine bridge. Ending up seeing some base jumpers jump from bridge. Free entertainment right there!

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What an amazing time we have had here! They are like family to us!
Can’t wait to see them again!

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We had a bonus last night, too…
Remember our friends in Iowa? Remember Christopher’s friend Tyson… Six years old? He missed him and apparently wanted to talk to him, so last night, after dinner, Chris got a Facebook chat phone call from Tyson. How sweet was that? Making friends! Making memories! Love that!


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Not of this world… Craters of the Moon NP

When we tried leaving our campsite in Gallatin National Forest (Red Cliff campground) on Thursday morning (June 16th, 2015)… Our RV steps wouldn’t retract. We have been having issues with them this entire trip… Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t, but if we start the ignition, they always did. This time they did not… Although they sounded like they wanted to. Anyway, we had not had any Verizon signal or Wi-Fi for days, so we were kind of stuck. We, most certainly, are not mechanically minded, at all! We opted for heading the 41 miles into West Yellowstone, to get a signal and hope we could call someone to help us out.  We just got to the edge of town and made some calls and an RV repair guy came out to us, detached something, pulled the steps in, wired them up for us and we were on our way. We will get them fixed in California. We just wanted to get back on the road.
So, then, we were off. Headed west again. This time, to Arco, Idaho. That is where we were going to stay for the night while we explored Craters of the Moon National Monument. We passed an atomic museum… Quite an interesting place… This Arco, Idaho. If I had known this museum was out here, I definitely would have stopped… I think it was about 18 miles before you got to Arco.
We arrived around 1:30 and checked in. First off, what a super nice RV Park!

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We just left a nice park with electric hook up, only. This one was water and electric… But it also had showers and laundry! Something the three of us were very much looking forward to! We nearly jumped out of our skins for joy when we checked out the facilities and they were the best we had ever seen on our travels! Clean, private, roomy! Just so very nice! Wasn’t super expensive, can’t remember how much… Well edit this post or comment the cost when I look it up (Sorry)… I am a few days behind in posting, ever since Yellowstone. Anyway…
Arco… First city in US powered by atomic power. Also, there is a hill that has numbers all over it… You can ask anyone in town, they are all happy to tell you that since 1920, the graduating class of Butte High School goes up there to paint their graduating year up on that hill… It is known as Number Hill.

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We checked in… Decided to head to Craters before it got too late, then come back to shower and do laundry.
It was a great decision… Craters and Arco are situated in the middle of the desert and it can get extremely windy out there. So we ended up getting pretty dirty with dust blowing all around us.
We loved seeing all the sites that the park had to offer.

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The craters, the cinder cones (one huge one that Christopher and I could climb up to and get some incredible photos of the views around it)…

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We saw spatter cones and even got to walk through lava tubes and climb out of them! It was very amazing! What an amazing park! My family is quite geeky, and so this sort of thing is truly right up our alley!

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After hours spent here, we headed back for showers and laundry. Then, it was a drive to Twin Falls the following day to visit a friend I haven’t seen in about 16 years!


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Leaving Townsend, Mt… on to Yellowstone!

We have loved our time here… I’ll continue from where I left off…

We had decided to check out our roof to see if we could find the leak… but to no avail.  Just could not see what was wrong up there… We’ll just have to hope and pray that we just don’t have many issues until we can get things looked at in California when we arrive.
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We were able to get back out on the Canyon Ferry Lake, but we weren’t sure how long for… because the rain clouds were all around us.  But, we headed out and it was great… able to catch a bit of sun, eat a bit of lunch and even Christopher and my cousins jumped in the lake for a bit until the water started to quickly turn choppy and then it was a rush to the dock.  That quick ride back was exhilarating!
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Cousins Anne Marie and Steve had us all over for a lovely dinner at their home and it was a great night spent talking and just enjoying family time… After dinner the “men folk” retired to the front porch for lovely views of the fields and mountains, while the women cleaned up and then talked in the living room… a lovely walk back to Kelly and Jeff’s and then it was game night til the wee hours.  Great fun!
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The following day, we went seperate ways… Jeff took Ivan and Christopher out to the countryside for some awesome views of the Missouri River and hills/mountains,
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while, Deedee, Kelly and I went to Kelsey’s baby shower in Helena.  Kelsey is Tommy’s wife (Tommy is Kelly and Jeff’s son).  I have been on facebook with her, but it as my first time meeting her and I also got to meet Jordyn (Trey’s wife)… another son of Kelly and Jeff’s.  I had the time of my life being with family that I haven’t met in person, but now that I’m moving to the West Coast, I hope to know more of.  🙂
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On our way home, Kelly drove us to the other side of the Canyon Ferry Lake and I got to see the Dam and the lovely views…
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The evening was spent going to a real hoedown, Montana style!  There is a local family who runs Watson Irrigation in Townsend.  Every summer for the Fourth, they throw a big party and it’s sort of a thank you to the community for their friendship and business… how awesome and just good ol’ American is that?  This shindig invited everyone… come one, come all!  Big country band playing live music… a bronco bull for the kids to ride… fire pit, free bar, huge buffet line of some real awesome food and even sundaes for desert!  The huge topper of the evening was a fireworks display unlike any I’ve seen… for a private display, it outshone many a public display!  It was fantastic!  More hanging out at the house afterwards… Ivan was showing Jeff his roman coins that he likes to tinker with…
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I made a promise to Kelly last night that I’d bring Ivan back for Jeff to play with… I’ll have to bring Christopher back for Nathan to play with and I’ll have to come back for Kelly to play with… all in all, our time here was fantastic and we can’t wait to return!  We’ll miss Townsend and our family time here.  It’s now goodbye time and off to Yellowstone!  Not sure of our wi-fi there, but I’ll post when we can!


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Cousin’s Farm in Townsend, Montana…

We have arrived!

This was the main reason for my northern journey through the states!  My cousin, Kelly.  I have not seen her in about 26 years!  Nor have I much recollection of Montana in my travels when I was a child.  I wanted to see her and her home/state.
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We arrived on Wednesday and we will leave here on Sunday for Yellowstone (not sure about the Wi-Fi there, either, so please be patient with us).  I do try posting as soon as I can.

On Wednesday, it was a night of hugs and we’ve missed you type of conversations and oh-by-the-way, have you met my family?  As I haven’t met four of her children and she’s not met Christopher or Ivan in person.  I reunited with Anne Marie and Steve (my cousins, her mother and her father) and her husband, Jeff) and met her mother-in-law, Deedee.  We had a great dinner outside and just caught up after several years apart.
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Took a look at their fields of alfalfa.
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We also took a drive up to see the hunting cabin my cousins built on their land. It is gorgeous!
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Thursday, Kelly, Deedee, Nathan (Kelly’s son) and Ivan, Christopher and myself, went into Helena (Montana’s state capital) for some sightseeing.  We saw the state capital… Jeff had an office there working with the Secretary of State, so Nathan was raised there and felt quite capable of giving us a tour and was quite the excellent tour guide!
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We then drove over to the Helena Cathedral, which is such a gorgeous cathedral… Just so happened that they were in the middle of a tour when we got there, so we were able to jump right into that.
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Then it was back to the capital to take a ride on the Last Chance Gulch Train that is an hour plus train ride through the town and gives you history of everything in the town for $8.  Great info and it was a warm day, but with a great breeze, so it was nice to sit down under shade and let the tour guide lead us around and us just sit back and relax the entire time!
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My cousin took off during this time to do grandmother duties, while Nathan took the tour with us, so afterwards, we went to Taco del Sol for dinner down by the Walking part of town and just walked there for a while…

Then it was back home in time for Jeff and Kelly to take us on their boat on the Canyon Ferry Lake for a view of the sunset…
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What an amazing day!

We are on day three here!  Ivan and I started by driving the Toyota Prius into Helena this morning because it was revving a bit, but luckily, they told us everything was just fine!  Whew!  Seems to be a Hybrid gear thing… anyway, it’ll be just fine for the rest of the trip for us… Yellowstone is next, starting on Sunday, so we are very excited for that bit of news!

We are planning on more lake travel today!  Will post a second Townsend blog later…


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Wyoming and Billings, Montana…

Next couple of days were just simple stops on our way to my cousin’s ranch/farm in Townsend, Montana.  We stayed at Sheridan, Wyoming at a Wal-Mart there, where we proceeded to just go to bed early and rest up!  We have been not feeling well on our journey, even though we’ve been sight-seeing like crazy, so we just wanted to rest up and try to recuperate and get ourselves feeling better.

Our next day, we headed further west to Billings, Montana where we stayed at a Cracker Barrel.  We are definitely trying to make this trip not too costly and places like this really help us out.  We did stop for a lunch there, knowing it’d be less costly than dinner.  We asked our server if there was anything to do in his city and he suggested we go to Pompey’s Pillar for a great view of the area.  We hadn’t read up on the area, so we were game, and we jumped in the Prius and headed there.  We had no idea of the historical relevance of the site and were very excited to find out that William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition had carved his initials on a large rock there, making it a historical site.  It was the only known proof of the entire expedition.
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There was a visitor’s center there with paintings and things to show of their expedition that were quite interesting.  Then, we walked outside to the rock and climbed up many steps to the carving that has since been protected… you can climb higher for a spectacular view of the area and the Yellowstone River.  It ended up being a very nice visit!
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We headed back to the RV for a nap and to check on the cats, then headed back out to check out a movie “Inside Out” at the Carmike Shiloh 14 and then up to the Lookout Drive over Billings for some fantastic views of the city and to see the sunset before calling an end to our day in Billings.
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We headed to McDonalds to catch some free Wi-Fi to do an upload of photos to Facebook and then it was to the RV to rest up before our drive to Townsend the following day.
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Our last day in Custer State Park on Iron Mt Road…

We spent our last day in Custer State Park, driving the Iron Mountain Road.  It was where we actually got to see most of the wildlife in the park.  The buffalo and the bison that we never saw on the wildlife loop, we saw here.  Unfortunately, we had a cloudy day and it didn’t make for great photos.  I was the brave one, who got out of the car and jumped off the path and tried to get a bit close to the herds, but not too close!

First, we saw the buffalo, however, there wasn’t a pull off… so while I sulked and sulked, we kept driving, but were lucky enough to find another herd and even a better view.  So, I practically jumped out of the car so I can take my photos.  I’m not too sure how much you can see and I’ll most likely be adding the photos to this post later (so drop back to see them, as they are on my Canon camera and I only have access to add photos from my cell on this trip til we get to California)… but then further up, we saw some bison and I was able to get pretty close as well… again, better photos on my Canon, but I can show you a few (dark) photos from the cell here.
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I’m currently typing this article from my cousin’s laptop in Montana, as we haven’t had the best wi-fi connections or time to post since my last post, so I’m taking the time to make several entries now and will upload first, then go in and edit to add photos next… then upload to my facebook page once completed… Canon photos edited in much later…

After our Iron Mountain drive, which also offered us spectacular views of Mt Rushmore, as seen below… we stopped in Keystone, South Dakota for a walk around.  It was our final thing to do in Custer State Park before we left the area.
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In Keystone, there was this great wood carving place… Fun sculptures/carvings to look at.

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We definitely enjoyed our time here… We got back to Jack’s Campers and unfortunately, had a pretty bad rain storm where we saw more leaking in our bedroom… Uggh!  We were going to head out of here early the next morning and head west and hope for dryer weather and sunnier skies.
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