Saturday, July 24, 2010

We’re in Garryowen, Montana


Saturday afternoon, July 24, 2010                                                                                Lorraine’s report

Hello from Garryowen, Montana. We moved on yesterday from Rapid City, SD through Wyoming to here in Montana, about 270 miles. They were hard miles, as we were heading into strong headwinds the entire day. The coach was being pushed all over by the wind. It’s a good thing I was so tired, I slept a lot of the way.

Well, our week in Rapid City was busy. Last Sunday, I slept in, and then went swimming at Hart Ranch’s big pool. It was a beautiful day, and the pool was crowded with people. The water was cooler than I expected, but refreshing.

Following that, Chuck suggested we drive back to the Badlands, which we did. I forgot how beautiful they were. I love the different colors in the stone, caused by the different minerals deposited eons ago. It’s amazing how just wind and water can cause so much change to the landscape.

That evening we had another big thunder, lightening, wind and rain storm. Thankfully there was no hail, that’s what causes so much damage there in the Midwest. During this week, we had the NOAH Radio go off about 5 or 6 times with heavy storm warnings.

Monday, Chuck was up early, off to get our tags for the motor home and car, I did laundry. He also made other appointments for other business later on in the week.

Mark of Louisiana had written us an e-mail that Bob and Vicki of Texas (they went to Alaska last summer with us, in Mark’s group of people) and were just a few miles away from RC, in Hill City, SD. We found their card and Chuck called them, (I had no cell service at Hart Ranch the whole week-darn AT & T). Chuck got Vicki the first try and they set up times to come to our coach to meet and then go to dinner, which we did. We ended up going to the Outback and had a very pleasant time of catching up since last summer; good food and good friends, what more could you ask for.

We had business to take care of Tuesday afternoon, so we went shopping in the morning.

Following his business meeting, we went to Sam’s Club for a few things.

Upon coming home, Chuck had seen a coach that looked a lot like ours, and we saw that they were sitting out and we went over to meet and greet them. They were retired, he from the navy; they were full timers for about 17 years. They had a 2006 Allegro Bus that was painted like ours. His name was also Chuck, but he had a bad back and had gone to lie down before we got there, so we just visited with his wife, Gretchen.

Wednesday morning I woke up and it was the second day with both of my eyes bright red, burning and itching, from the eye lids clear down to the eyelashes. I decided I had better get in to a walk in to see what was happening. Chuck took me to RC Urgent Care, and low and behold, I was able to see a doctor in under an hour. He said I had picked up a bacterial infection in both eyes and put me on a strong antibiotic for 10 days. Its day 3.5 for me and finally the redness is almost gone, but I’m still peeling from the eyelashes to mid eyelid. I don’t know what caused it, but I threw away all my makeup, brushes, etc. Who knows, it could be from when I went swimming on Sunday. There were tons of people, including babies in diapers, etc. Hopefully, I’m on the mend, again.

Following that we filled my prescription, took Misty dog for her walk, and then headed up to Mt. Rushmore to see the monument.

Upon pulling into the parking garage, the car started to give off steam and a smell and was hard to steer. Chuck got it parked and checked under the hood. It looked like the hose to the power steering had gone out, and it was spewing hot steam and water, so Chuck closed it back up.

We walked towards the monument and Chuck called Richard in Texas to get Coach Net’s number to call. We needed a tow to get back down the mountain. Richard called back with the number, thank you Richard; you are such a nice guy!

Chuck called Coach Net and they set up a tow to take us to Rapid Chevrolet. The tow truck took a bit to come from Custer, so we toured the monument. The President’s faces carved into the mountain are so awe inspiring, we try to go there every time we are in RC

This time we couldn’t go to Crazy Horse or the museum, next time.

The tow truck came and took us back down the mountain to the Chevy dealer. We had to leave the car over night, so we rented a car. Enterprise was called and they came by to pick us up. By then it was after 6 pm, so we stopped by a place the tow truck driver said was a good place to eat, the Colonial House and had dinner.

Thursday we waited all morning for the Chevy guy to call back with what was wrong with our car. We finally took off to go by the dealer’s lot around 11:30. The service guy, Gary said it might be the water pump, not the steering hose like we thought, but they weren’t sure. We could wait until they got a part on Tuesday to see if that was it, but Chuck and I wanted to be back on the road, so we told him to write it up, and we would pick it up the next morning.

We then went on a drive to Deadwood. Deadwood is a small town about 35 miles northwest of RC. It is a western touristy type town, with casinos. We drove up and walked all the shops and stopped in several of the casinos. We had to bring the rental car back by 5, so our time there was limited. It was a nice drive up and back.

Friday we packed up the coach, went by the Chevy dealer for the car and headed west again. We drove to Garryowen, which is by Custer’s last stand, the Little Bighorn National Battlefield. We stopped by the museum, but it was after 5 pm, so we asked and they said we could go back another day to finish our tour. We only had time for a forty five minute movie on why Custer lost this battle.

It’s Saturday and Chuck flushed the radiator in the car, then we took it out hoping to go to the battlefield and museum. No Luck. The car was still heating up and Chuck brought it back home. It looks like we will have to wait until next time to tour Custer’s last stand at the battlefield.

Tomorrow we will head back out again. Hopefully the headwinds won’t be so strong.

I forgot to tell our friend Richard in Bellingham a very Happy 50th Birthday, on Friday, so hope it was a good one. Also, a nephew is turning 15? I think, Happy Birthday, Joey.

And don’t forget, it’s only five months until Christmas.

Until next time………..Lorraine

7/24/10                                                                                                                                 Chuck’s report

We spent almost a week in Rapid City, our adapted home town.  Last Sunday we backtracked a bit to drive through the Badlands again, not a place conductive to living the good life.  Very scenic, therefore Lorraine took lots of pictures and I’ll post some of them here. 

Monday we took care of some business, license tabs for the car and motorhome, re-signed for voter absentee ballots and picked up our mail from our mail forwarding place.  We also were able to contact our friends Bob/Vicki, who are work camping just a few miles South of us.  The are working/staying in a state park and don’t have phone or internet service from there but we happened to catch them in town.  We made arrangements to meet with them for dinner later.  They came by, picked us up from our campground and we had a very good time visiting with them  They were with us in Alaska last year and it was good to catch up with their travels and adventures since then. 

Tuesday we did some running around and stopped at a Black Hills Gold factory and store.  Lorraine finally bought the watch band she’s been wanting for a couple of years.  Of course, I had them wrap it and will give it to her on her birthday so don’t say anything to her. 

Later we had a very enjoyable visit with Gretchen, a neighbor of ours in the campground.  She and her husband, Chuck, have been full timing for 17 years I think she said.  Chuck retired from the US Navy after 26 years so they are very used to moving and traveling.     They currently have a ‘06 Allegro Bus, same color as ours.  She had lots of good information for us, sorry we didn’t get to visit with them again before we left but it is a small world and who knows when we will meet up with them again.

Next morning Lorraine went to the walk in clinic for what turned out to be an eye infection.  She has had a lot of redness and pain around her eye for a few days.  So she is on a treatment of anti-biotic pills and will need to have it checked out when we get back to Washington.  It is looking better already though so hope it is cured soon. 

I’m glad we’ve managed to find good doctors on the road whenever we’ve needed one, hope this new health care program doesn’t change that somehow.  Anytime I hear the government is developing a new program to “help” us I get worried!  Sort of “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” that leaves a kind of sinking feeling in the pit our your stomach. 

Later we drove down to visit Mt. Rushmore, one of our favorite monuments and I say this after just visiting a bunch in Washington DC.  This was to be our fourth trip there and the carvings are just as awesome as the first three times we’ve been there. 

This time,however, as we were leaving the entrance booth and turning the corner into the parking garage, we lost the power steering on the car.  I was able to manhandle the steering and drive slowly into a parking spot and opened the hood.   Now I can say without any hesitation, I’ve been engineered out from under the hood for a number of years now, I used to know my way around in there but it’s all Greek to me now.  All I could tell was we were losing anti-freeze and/or power steering fluid and it was hot with a lot of steam.  So I just closed the hood and we walked on to visit Mt. Rushmore. 

After a short time, I tried to call our roadside service place but didn’t have their phone number.  But I did have the phone number for our friend Richard from Texas, I called him, he got the number for us.  I called the roadside service and we agreed it would be best if they sent out a tow truck vs. a repairman.  So for the first time I can ever remember, I had to have my vehicle towed to a repair shop. 

The car was towed to the local Chevy dealer who said they could look at it that afternoon and maybe repair it the next day.  A call to Enterprise got us a ride and a rental car until we got ours repaired. 

Next morning I called the Chevy dealer and they hadn’t had an opportunity to look at our car yet but hoped to have some information by 9:00.  We finally drove over and found they didn’t have much time to work on it, they just said it got HOT on a short drive and they didn’t know if it was a bad water pump, hose, belt or what.  They couldn’t work on it more Thursday, probably not even on Friday.   If it was a bad water pump, they wouldn’t be able to get one until next Tuesday at the earliest and that was if they ordered it on Thursday. 

So we told them we would just drive it back to the motorhome, hook it up, tow it back to Washington and have it looked at there.  The service manager suggested we drive the motorhome to it as he thought it wouldn’t make it to our campground without getting too hot.  So we agreed to pick it up on Friday on our way out of town.

After that, we drove over to Deadwood with our rental car and walked around some of the town.  I don’t know how many casinos are there but I think we walked into four of them for a few minutes each.  Later we drove to a larger one, Cadillac Jacks, for some more slot machine time. 

On the way back, we dropped the car off at Enterprise and they gave us a ride back to our motorhome.  After our long day, we just chilled out for the rest of the evening.

Next morning we got the motorhome ready for travel, drove downtown and hooked up our car and headed West once again.  We had planned to take a state highway instead of the interstate but there was a sign at the turn off saying there was road construction ahead and a recommendation to take an alternate route.  So we just continued on I-90. 

We drove a bit over 250 through South Dakota, Wyoming and into Montana.  We wanted to tour Little Big Horn Battlefield National Park here but don’t have a car.  The folks here told us the roads through the National Park were narrow, two lane with no shoulder and a small turn around at the end and recommended we not attempt to drive our motorhome there. 

There isn’t much around here, for sure no place to rent a car.  I took a chance and washed the fins on the radiator; it was pretty dirty and full of bugs.  I let the car idle for awhile and it didn’t show any temperature increase.  Maybe I’m up to something here I thought.  I washed some more and the temperature actually decreased a little bit.  I drove it down to the office and signed up for a second night here and still no temperature increase.  Yea, maybe I stumbled onto a fix!

I drove back to the coach and ate breakfast that Lorraine had just cooked.  We then got in the car to tour the Battlefield National Park.  But we made it less than a couple of miles before the temperature started creeping up so I turned around and headed back to the coach.  The temperature would climb a bit then drop but it was showing a definite overall increase.  By the time we got back and I opened the hood we once again had steam coming out from under the hood.  Which once again proves “I”M NOT A MECHANIC” and shouldn’t think I know what I’m doing on these more modern cars.  So guess we’ll have it looked at in Washington State like our original plan. 

We did stop at a museum on the way in last night and will stop there on the way out tomorrow but we will have to wait until next time for our tour of Custer’s Last Stand.  Shoot - - - - - and some other dirty words. 

As we will be traveling tomorrow, Sunday, and we didn’t have much to do around here this afternoon, we decided to write our blog and get it sent out on Saturday.  So here we sit, inside with the air conditioners running, watching a movie on TV and typing away.  Oh the hard life we live, don’t know how we stand it.

I will add a few pictures from our week, we didn’t get a picture of our car on the tow truck however.  Wish I had gotten a pictures as I hope to never see it again.  But I’m glad it wasn’t the motorhome we had to have towed.  Hope I don’t jinks ourselves but I sure don’t need to see that.    

The Badlands of South Dakota. 

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Chuck, Lorraine, Vicki and Bob at dinner.


Mt. Rushmore

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The street of flags and a picture of the mountain before they started. 

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Three different incoming thunder storms.  We have seen lots of these in the past month or so.

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Traveling through Wyoming and Montana.

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Museum at Custer’s Last Stand.

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Sunset pictures from our site at the campground last night.

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The following two pictures are a warning for our friends from Washington State.  We’ve been away from there for almost a year now and have seen the sun almost everyday since.  I’ve been told about a thing called a tan (or as we call it, Rust that won’t wash off) that you can get from the sun and here is documented proof of what it can do to you.  Be careful if you are in the sun a lot, this stuff doesn’t wash off!!

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And that’s it for another week. 

Thanks   Chuck