Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 22-25, Crawford, Nebraska

Boy can it rain here. I know they need it and I am thankful they are getting it, but I’m ready to move on. We have spent five days here, Memorial Day weekend.  

It’s a quiet little town, well not really, there are about 5 coal trains an hour that go through here, every hour, day and night. Empty one direction, full the other way. But otherwise, quiet. People are friendly when we see them. Seems most of them bugged out for the weekend, some are at a State Track meet cheering on the competitors somewhere.

Visited the Museum of the Fur Trade on Friday, a wonderful little museum with great exhibits and history. They also had replicas of the warehouse and living quarters of the agent in charge of the warehouse. This warehouse was about 30’ x 14’, pales in comparison to the warehouses we have today.  

Saturday we took a drive south a little bit on some dirt roads. It hadn’t rained much, so we thought we would try them out. A lot of what we are finding says not to drive on some of the roads during or after a heavy rain. We have been having a lot of heavy rain and I don’t particularly want to get stuck in a remote location. We went to the Agate Fossil beds, again a nice small museum with beautiful artifacts from this region, and a great collection of fossils. We took the 2-1/2 miles walk out to the fossil beds because the weather looked fine.  

The ranger also said we were not likely to see any rattlesnakes. He was wrong about that. Rattler #3 so far. The weather turned while we were out, wind picked up and started to rain. The clouds are stunning, and the views expansive. It’s nothing like Kansas. 

Sunday we went to Ft. Robinson State Park. It’s a large complex that was used from the late 1800’s to the 1950’s for various army stuff. It’s also the place where Crazy Horse was killed and where the Cheyenne escaped from and were eventually mostly murdered with a few captured and relocated to a reservation. Most of the buildings have been converted to lodging accommodations and they have stage coach rides, trail rides, fishing and hunting are available in the area and all kinds of activities for kids.    

It is a really nice park in such an unpopulated area of the country. These are some views from the Soldier Creek area, north of the park. And yes, there were some buffalo there.  

Soldier Creek valley and view of buttes

Memorial Day, we were going to go to the service at the park we are in, but I think it was cancelled due to the pouring rain. We never did see anyone around. 

We stayed in to do laundry and 
put dinner in the crockpot. 

We had wanted to drive out to the Toadstool formations, but it clearly states in the brochure the  roads are not recommended for travel after a heavy rain and it rained hard all night and most of the morning. It just goes to show that you can’t see everything even if you do slow down to take time to do it, and it gives us a reason to come back to this beautiful place and do some more exploring.

Moving on to Custer State Park tomorrow for a Meet-Up with Mom and Chuck!! 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Traveling with cats

 Ruby and Toby are good sports traveling. They have figured out what picking up in the big house means. They have to go to the small house, the truck, and be cooped up for a long time. They sit on the seat, or crawl underneath. They have gotten quite used to the routine.
We're having a good time too!!

Boise City, KS, May 18,

May 22, Crawford, NE

It’s a gray, chilly day, a perfect opportunity to catch up a little. 

A couple of days ago, as we were leaving the Cimarron National Grasslands, we stopped in Boise City, KS to catch up on business and have a little lunch. We pulled over to the side of the road as we got into town, not much happening here and a nice shady tree. We get the business taken care of and get out of the truck to fix some lunch, and Jay disappears. I walk around the end of the trailer and see him going into a large shop building. He must not be very hungry and I am thinking he’ll be a while. He comes back after about 10 minutes and tells me he found me a good subject for my 5 questions. Oh yeah, I came up with this idea to ask random people we meet 5 questions. I thought it would be a good way to get to know what people are thinking as we move across the country and to get me to be more open to talk to strangers. I know what you’re thinking, she doesn’t have trouble talking to anyone, but I do and would like to practice being more open.

I got the idea after we were in Socorro, NM. We had stopped at the little city park and a man hollered hello to us from across the street. We chatted with him and he was full of information about his town, who the mayor was and how long he had held office, where the UFO sighting happened in 1964, that he had a pretty wife but was now divorced from her, and other unsolicited tidbits. But I never asked him his name, or anything about him and his life. I thought it might be interesting if I took the time to sit with a person, give them my time and attention and ask them just 5 questions about themselves. So we come up with the questions, no politics, no religion, no money.

Back to Boise City, Jay encourages me to try my 5 questions on the guy he met in the shop building across the street. It is amazing how just asking someone their name will open up the conversation. Then go on to ask 1) what they like about where they live, 2) if they are working or retired(leads to hobbies), 3) if they have any pets, 4) what their favorite food to eat for dinner is, and 5) what they are grateful for today. That all really gets things going, and that’s how I met Ken, who builds carriages and shared with me some of his prize collection.

Chuck Wagon, back end

Chuck wagon, front end

Hearse, can be used with modern day coffins

Doctor's buggy

School bus

Fire wagon in honor of his sons
I learned a lot more about Ken than just those 5 questions and felt honored he was so willing to share. I also ask if I can take their picture and if they are willing to allow me to share it on the internet. If they say yes, you’ll see it. If they say no, you’ll get the story, but no photo.

Since then, I have done it 1-1/2 times. The 1/2 time, I couldn’t seem to get my mouth to work to ask the questions, but the gentleman, Larry, was happy to chat with us. Larry's barn was pictured in the previous post. I am still figuring out this blog thing and get ahead of myself a little. I think I'm caught up and will work forward from now on, maybe.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cimarron National Grasslands

Cimarron National Grasslands
Tuesday May 19
Backtracking again, just a few days. From May 14th to the 18th we were out in the Cimarron National Grasslands in west Kansas. On Friday some tent campers showed up and set up right next to us, there were plenty of other spaces not next to anyone and we couldn’t quite figure out why they chose to be there, but they turned out to be a lot of fun. Saturday evening they brought us some dinner and invited us to sit by the fire with them. Sunday was a better day for the weather, the wind had calmed and there were no tornado watch alerts. It was sunny with a light breeze. We decided to go for a long walk out one of the dirt roads leading away from camp. The neighbors had gone fishing so they didn’t know where we had gone. Our mission was to pick up trash and cans along the way, what we could see from the road edge without venturing too far into the grassland and cactus.(i.e., rattlesnake habitat). The neighbor cautioned us about the rattlesnakes and we definitely took that to heart, I took my gun with me.

We walked for a mile or so, taking our time and tossing the trash into the road to pick up on our way back. No sense carrying it both ways. We go all the way to the next main dirt road and turn back towards camp. We start to hear some shooting and can see a vehicle in the distance, thinking those people don’t know we are out here and those shots could be coming in our direction. Jay says, “fire a warning shot” so I took aim at a burned tree stump and fired off one round. We continue on our way, getting closer to where the shooters are and a flicker of movement catches my eye, along with a warning rattle. Yep, rattlesnake. We scatter in separate directions. This guy is big. He’s all coiled up on the edge of the road rattling away. I didn’t really want to shoot it, what a mess. And I didn’t have a knife to cut off it’s head, or a shovel to bury it with if I would have cut it off. Jay started throwing rocks at it, oh good, get it really mad. Finally, the snake decides to cross the road, maybe that’s where it wanted to go all along, and as he is stretching out, he really shows his size, about 3-4 feet long. Not trying to exaggerate his size, but he was big! We gather our wits, and keep walking back towards camp.

Finally we meet up with the shooters, and it’s our neighbors from camp. A nice couple from nearby in Hugoton. They comment about all the trash out here, and we agreed, boy there sure is, not realizing they were talking about all the trash we had thrown into the road. Then they said they were out there yesterday and there wasn’t anything in the road, they were so mad about the careless people driving around out there just chucking their trash wherever. They stopped all along the way and picked it all up. We started laughing when we realized they had just picked up all the trash we were going to pick up on our walk back. They said no way, Jay says, yep, we picked it all out of the brush and didn’t want to carry it so we figured we would just pick it up on the way back. We laughed about that the rest of the way back to camp. They offered to carry back in their truck the two sacks we had picked up before we met up with them, and we let them. That turned out to be a good thing as they filled a large garbage bag with it all and we had only brought just a few grocery bags with us. Really distressing the disregard people have for such a beautiful place. I spent several hours on Saturday picking up trash in the campground. 

We had a good time with them when they came back to camp, shared our dinner, visited some more and then they packed up to head back to town.

GMC Sierra 3500 HD and Montana 3400RL

Welcome to my blog. My thought is for this to be a chronicle of my travels in a Montana 3400RL 5th wheel trailer with my husband, Jay and our two cats, Ruby, a tortoise shell and her brother, Toby, all black with a few white chest whiskers. I had good plans to get this all started before we hit the road, but good plans sometimes go by the wayside as did this one and I am a few days behind schedule. 
We left Green Valley on May 8, yes, on our wedding anniversary. 16 years of married life and we celebrated by having a fine dinner of chicken salad in the trailer parked at Love’s truck stop in Benson, AZ. We walked over to the store after dinner to pick up some ice cream sandwiches for desert. True love.
After Benson, we made our way out to some open space east of Solomon, AZ. It has some nice views and we were definitely were alone out there. The wind was blowing pretty stiff, but it was warm. The cats did not like being in their pen in the wind, so they stayed inside. They are adjusting well to the situation. They are happy as long as I am nearby. While on the road, we have them in the cab with us, the first few days we had them in a pen, Ruby meowed most of the morning but finally figured out that wasn’t going to get her anything so she laid down to rest. After a few days driving of that, we decide to try letting them loose in the back. They looked out the window and decided they didn’t like the moving landscape so they hunkered down under the seat and rode quietly the rest of the day. We also brought along their hide hole cardboard box and set that on the seat and Toby really liked that.

We’ll start with this for a first entry. More to come to get us caught up. Happy Trails!!

July 28, 2018 It's been a busy month

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