Category Archives: People

Dry Camping Virgin

Lolo Hot Springs, MT

Dry Camping, at least for us, means camping without power, sewer, and water. Dry camping involves running a generator to recharge batteries; the batteries run all of the electrical components within the RV.

Homer (our motor home) was a dry camping virgin until this trip. (Picture below isn’t of the generator, but you get the general drift: something mechanical is involved… )

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Dry camping with a motor home is much different than doing so with a travel trailer. While both use a generator to recharge batteries, if the batteries don’t get charged on a travel trailer, you can still drive off with your tow vehicle. If you batteries don’t get charged in your motor home, you’ve got a very big problem.

Rich had researched and read lots before our first dry camp with Homer. I was surprised it was so complicated, and I am very thankful that he took the challenge on.

All went well. The generator ran as prompted. The noise wasn’t as  loud as we expected. And the batteries charged as needed. Rich even turned it off an hour before the required ‘quiet time’.

The only negative thing that happened was that our neighbor left us a note after we left for a drive the following morning complaining that we ruined their evening the night before. The generator was too loud, and we talked too loud. Both Rich and Lil forgot to wear their hearing aids, so that answered half the problem. Giggles…

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But we still didn’t think the generator was that loud. We walked around and listened to other generators and tried to compare sound levels. Ours sounded about the same as most of the others and quieter than a few.

So when new neighbors arrived to take the same camping spot, Rich told them that he was running the generator and asked them if it was too loud.

Their answer: “Is it really running? We can’t hear it?”

All’s well that ends well…

Good Friends = Good Times

Lowell, ID

We met up with Dean & Lillian, our former neighbors and forever friends, for a wonderful camping visit to Selway Falls in northeastern Idaho.

The entire 100 miles of the Selway River is designated as Wild and Scenic. Only 160+ rivers are protected by 1968’s National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act sponsored by Senator Frank Church of Idaho.

The Selway is beautiful and very diverse. Wildlife sightings are common. Rich and I were there a couple of springs ago and we saw salmon jumping up the falls. Deer are abundant, and the vegetation resembles coastal area in Oregon with horse tail ferns.

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We have known Dean and Lil for eight years, and this is the third trip we’ve taken with them. All of them have been so much fun.

Dean and Lil are wonderful to travel with. They make great hosts and great guests! We can (and do) talk about a wide variety of topics. They have shared their vast knowledge of their native Idaho with us so that we feel welcomed in and knowledgeable about our adopted state.

This year’s trip was different because we are no longer neighbors. Plans were made via emails and phone calls. In the past those plans were made over beer and popcorn sitting at one anothers’ dining tables with maps spread out far and wide.

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While the former way was much more fun, the success of this year’s trip proved that any way we do it, we will still have a great time!

And you know it’s a great trip when it ends too soon with hugs and tears…

Camp ‘n’ Dance

Lowell, ID

We are on our way to meet up with friends, and we needed a place to stay for just one night. We ended up in Lolo, Montana, at a park called The Square Dance Center and Campground. It is primarily a dance studio with RV spots for its visitors. During the week, there’s room for non-dancers like us.

action_square“The Dance Center was constructed in 1978 … for the whole purpose of square dancing and round dancing. It has a cushioned maple floor, air conditioning, excellent sound, and room for 30 squares.”

There wasn’t anysquare dancing on the night we were there,  but there was round dancing.

“Round dancing is choreographed and cued ballroom dancing that progresses in a circular pattern counter clockwise around the dance floor.”

So basically round dancing is fancier and more complicated square dancing. At least out looks like it to me.

Rich and I watched a bit and were amazed at the complexity of the steps. The dancers danced to the caller’s cues to the James Bond song “Skydance”.

10907ca50It was especially fun to watch the couples who were enjoying both the dance and each other.

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Saturday Goulash…

Polson, MT

Here are a few random pictures and thoughts for a quick and dirty Saturday goulash post…

“Snow Over Green” 0801141440The view from our sitting spot in Polson, Montana. Notice how green the grass is? They don’t water it. Brought to mind one of my favorite quotes: “Snow over green.” This was from Ray Ansotegui, a former Fallonite who is an agriculture professor at Montana State University where Richie went to school. Ray was talking about how Bozeman often stays green through summer and fall until the first snowfall of the season. “Snow over green” is poetic and picturesque.

“Walmart Called…” TV Loud One of our neighbors at the Polson RV park was complaining that her husband always had the television on too loud because he was hard of hearing.

Walmart is the nearest store to the park, and it’s about a half mile away.

Debbie told Dennis, “Walmart called and asked you to turn down the TV. It’s too loud even for them.”  

Cramalot Cramalot I’m always on the lookout for interestingly named businesses. I loved this for storage sheds because that’s exactly what Rich and I did: Crammed a LOT into the sheds…

Serenity Now 0802141136 Maybe Frank Costanza (from Seinfeld) should move from New York City to Flathead Lake. He wouldn’t have to shout, “Serenity now!” every time his blood pressure is in danger of rising. He’d just have to look out on the lake…

You Never Know…

Columbia Falls, MT

who you will meet.

Live music enticed us across the highway here in Columbia Falls, Montana.

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There was a small crowd of less than 100 there to listen to the band play old time favorites from Gene Autry to Happy Days.

A small group of women, aged 25 to 45, dropped by. They were dressed in sundresses and looked like they just came from a Whole Foods store: healthy, happy, and wholesome. One of them came over to pet Sophie, and we started talking with two of them.

Turns out they had just finished a build for Habitat for Humanity. One was from Cape Cod; the other from Phoenix.

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The gal from Cape Cod plans to go on a build in all 50 states. She’s about half way to her goal. The one from Phoenix was supposed to go on a build in Amman, Jordan. But due to the political tensions, she opted to stay in the states. She uses her vacation every year to go on a build.

They came to the concert because it was advertised as a Barn Dance.

I think they were mighty disappointed not to meet some Montana cowboys…

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Kermit’s Wisdom

Mineral, WA

“You learn a lot about someone during a road trip.” Kermit the Frog

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I always knew that Rich was smart. He’s one of the smartest people I know.

He’s also very talented and can fix almost anything.

Those are good skills to have when you own a motor home. There’s always something to fix or make better.

For example, Rich just swapped the switches for the engine break and the mirror heaters. Turning the engine break off and on required a huge reach. Turning the motor heaters on is near the armrest. Didn’t make sense because drivers use the engine breaks way more often.

I have been amazed at how well he drives and operates all of Homer’s mechanics and electronics. I have also been amazed at how much and how deeply he read the manuals.

So those are some new things I’ve learned about him. 

But there’s one more thing I learned that really surprised me…

We were watching TV and a commercial for bras came on. The sizes went from 32 AAA to 48G.

We, of course, discussed how large a 42G is. (Obviously something I find hard to imagine… Not the 42 part but the G part.) That led to a discussion of how to measure bra sizes.

Rich shocked me when he knew that cup size is measured over the boobs and uses a calculation between that and another measurement. I had no idea that he had any clue about the complexity of women’s undergarments!

Kermit is correct. You certainly can learn a lot about someone on a road trip. 🙂

Happiest?

Fort Stevens, Oregon

We are staying at my favorite camping spot: Fort Stevens State Park west of Astoria in north west Oregon.

I love this park because it’s heavily forested, has miles of beach, tons of hiking trails, and oodles off bike paths.

For the last two nights we’ve been serenaded each night with children’s laughter and voices.

I think the kids had had enough of camping as of noon today . The families started packing up and the children’s laughter and voices turned to screams and cries.

Years ago Disneyland had “The Happiest Place on Earth!” as their advertising tag line.

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We visited Disneyland that summer. Melissa was 17, and she watched parents blowing up towards their children, kids crying, frazzled families everywhere.

Her comment? “Happiest place on earth? My ass!”

I still get the giggles thinking of her observation…

I’m sure our campsite neighbors and their kids will forget today’s meltdowns and remember their camping trip fondly. Just as we remember all the good times from our family trips.

Twin Passions

Netarts, Oregon

We ate at the Blue Agate Cafe, a small diner in Oceanside, Oregon, last night. Turns out it was their first dinner serving.

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Owners Joseph and Jerald Ellison are identical twin brothers who have a passion for food. And their passions  results in great eats!

They opened their cafe last May for breakfast and lunch, venturing further for dinners this summer.

I forgot to take a photo of our food, but the presentation was lovely! I had prawn fettuccine with garlic and rosemary; Rich had a penne pasta with scallops and sun dried tomatoes. And the dinners tasted even better than they looked.

From my seat, I could watch Jerald cook in their tiny kitchen. I could tell he was nervous, but his passion won out and his joy was palpable. Twin Joseph was our host, waiter, bus boy, and cashier.

With twins there is usually one who is more socially dominant. That is Joseph. Jerald is perfectly comfortable working behind the scenes. Joseph was concerned about Jerald because it was their first night serving dinners.  He happily trotted back to report to his twin how happy all the diners were.

I congratulated Joseph and Jerald for their new beginning of exquisite dinners.