Extending Our Happily Ever After

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


Leave a comment

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.
image

image

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!
image

image

image

image

image

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!
image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

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,
image

image

image

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.  🙂
image

image

image

image

image

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…
image

image

image

image

image

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…
image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

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!

Advertisements


1 Comment

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.
image

image

image

image

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.
image
Took a look at their fields of alfalfa.
image

image

We also took a drive up to see the hunting cabin my cousins built on their land. It is gorgeous!
image

image

image

image

image

image

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!
image
image

image

image

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.
image
image

image
image

image

image

image
image

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!
image

image

image

image

image

image

image

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…
image

image

image

image

image

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…


Leave a comment

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.
image

image

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!
image

image
image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

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.
image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

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.
image


2 Comments

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.
image

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.
image

image

image

image
image

image

image

image

image

image
In Keystone, there was this great wood carving place… Fun sculptures/carvings to look at.

image

image

image

image

image

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.
image


2 Comments

Three days in and around Custer State Park!

There is so much to do here! We have to come back to do it all! No complaints from us! When I was a kid, my dad took my brother and I on a cross country trip and I remember visiting Mt. Rushmore and thinking to myself, I would like to live here one day. Well, now that I am here again… I can see why I thought that. This area of the country is truly amazing. I honestly could picture myself living here. It is gorgeous! Clean air, hospitable people and the scenery is just breathtaking!
I haven’t done much planning on this trip, so when we were in the Badlands, I tried calling for a place to stay on the night of the 3rd and 4rth of July. What was I thinking??? It took us an hour to find something, and we finally found Jack’s Campers at exit 44 in Piedmont, SD on Hwy 90. They actually sell RVs, have a store and then have full hookups in the back for $17/night. So awesome! And we have an amazing view of the hills around us. We feel totally secure. We were able to get a third night as well.
Our first day, we drove to Sylvan Lake and did the one mile loop trail around it.

image

image

Then, we drove to Crazy Horse… The head is finished… The museum is quite impressive with lots of Indian artifacts.

image

image

image

image

Outside, on the viewing terrace, you can see the replica of what the carving is supposed to look like, then the actual mountain carving.

image

image

image

image

Chris and I took a bus up to get a closer look at the mountain.

image

image

Then, we saw some sculptures outside the park. The gate was done by the family and is a representation of every living thing in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

image

image

image

We then drove up to Mount Rushmore… Being the third of July, they were having a Fourth Celebration… A concert with an acapella group and then the Air Force Band. Also, they swore in about 34 new recruits into the armed forces… What a special ceremony for them… At the base of the monument!

image

image

A lady sitting in front of us was using her binoculars to take photos with her cell phone and let me try, too… These were the results… It doesn’t take much to impress me!

image

image

image

image

Then at night, they illuminated the faces!

image

image

image

Driving through the park on day two… We tried to go to the Jewel Cave, but the tours were sold out… The wildlife loop was void of wildlife…  The Needles Hwy.  Was spectacular, however!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

That is all for now, we are sitting in a Starbucks posting this, getting ready to start our third day in the park… So enjoy the pics, more to follow…
Our next couple of days are not expecting to be much… We are feeling a bit better, but we are going to start to head west and we are told that there isn’t that much to see in the middle of Montana… So we are expecting to get to my cousin’s ranch on the 8th on the west side of Montana…
Thanks for following our journey!


2 Comments

Two amazing days in the Badlands of South Dakota!

image

We left the city of Sioux Falls with me feeling very sick. All of us have been very run down on this trip. Possibly from the months of downsizing and the stress that brings on… With Christopher finishing off his senior year and going to awards nights and different events throughout, to my finishing off my ten year career with UPS-SCS. It was bound to leave us all a bit worn out.
We wanted to set up camp at the Missouri river for a couple of days, but those spots were full up… So we stopped there for gas and drove right on through…

image

Ended up driving longer than either of us wanted to, but we were headed for the Badlands anyway, so we just got there a bit sooner. We were lucky enough to secure a spot to camp just outside the park in the small town of Interior, SD. Budget Inn campground.

image

image

image

The views aren’t too bad and they have showers and laundry and water and electric for us for just $29/night.
The first night, we set up and then took a drive through the park and it truly is stunning!

image

image

image

Then back to the campground for dinner cooked by us in our kitchen.

The next morning, we all took our showers, had a light breakfast, then headed out to enjoy the day. Our first stop… Wall Drug. In Wall, SD. You see billboards for wall all the way through SD on the Interstate and you just have to stop. It is on the other side of the Badlands loop, and it is a huge tourist destination. Coffee is only .05, free ice water, homemade donuts, too!… Stores galore and tons of gift shops and photos of the old west! You could stay for hours!

image

image

image

image

image

image

We stopped for a piece of pie and the guys had some of that coffee (they have had worse, that you have to pay much more for) and I had my free water). Then it was back on the road to check out the park more.  

image

Fun to see a goat! Very sure footed creatures out on this terrain!

image

image

image

image

image

image

Bunnies, too!

image

We just had such an awesome time, even found a great place to picnic lunch!

image

image

image

We are ready to hit the road again. We obviously are not planning anything out… So we spent about an hour the morning of the 2nd trying to secure a spot to hook up for the third and fourth… Just wasn’t thinking of the holiday weekend.
Finally found a spot, but it is outside of Custer State Park, so we will have to drive in… We are ok with that. No bathrooms or showers, but full hookup, so big time relief in that one! We pass through Rapid City, so we are stopping for supplies and drinking water… Should be good! We haven’t been getting wi-fi, so daily posts aren’t happening, but stick around for location posts.
Thanks for reading of our travels… We are having the time of our lives, even though we are doing so without voices our coughing through it all. 😉

image


Leave a comment

We will return to Iowa!

What a relaxing trip! Visiting with friends that seemed more like family! Christopher and I, unfortunately woke up feeling under the weather and this was the perfect stop at the perfect time. Veronica just cooked up a storm, letting Christopher take a nap on her couch and I ended up taking a few hour snooze on the other one myself. We woke up to lunch and then we visited and her children and grandchildren stopped by for an amazing dinner.
Her grandson, Tyson, took a shine to Christopher and just played with him all afternoon!

image

After dinner, Marty took us to his workshop to show us his hit and miss engine he built and the firehouse he volunteers at and their Main Street. Such a step into the past for us.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

See how desolate hwy 30 was on a Monday night? I was able to stand right in the middle of the road for minutes for photos without getting hit.
I am so not used to that.

image

Just a good ol’ town!

We will miss our time spent here.  It was peaceful, relaxing and spent with loving friends.

image

We will definitely return!

As Tyson put it… “travel safe, Chrissy!” “Bye, Chrissy… Catch more pirates (they were playing pirates)” As he hopped in his Daddy’s car and drove off.