Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Learning as we Travel

Last Wednesday morning, that is a week ago Wednesday, we left Sidney, Nebraska, and drove to Cheyenne, Wyoming. We had an appointment at the Jolley Roger RV Service Center at 12:30 to have them connect the wires of our US Gear in the Jeep.  We did not get it working before we left Fresno. We thought the ‘break-away’ was working, but found it was not holding the brake on in the Jeep for longer than about 5 seconds – not long enough. After checking everything for about 1 1/2 hours, and still not getting it to work, our technician called US Gear and the conclusion was it was a faulty controller box next to the brake peddle in the Jeep. We ordered the part. It was coming from Denver and would arrive by 2 p.m. the next day. We were parked in back of the Service Center for the night at $20 a night.
We were able to stay one more day after the US Gear finally worked perfectly. Cheyenne Frontier Days started on Friday and the RV lot was booked for something like $56 a night.  We left Friday morning. We had checked the weather in Boise, Idaho, and discovered they were in a heat wave and it would be 106 degrees when we would be there. So we shook to “Jell-O” and departed for Montana instead of Idaho.
Our first stop was a real find, Kaycee, Wyoming. We stayed at a little PassPort America park with the friendliest owner. She lives in a log cabin in front and is on the Chamber of Commerce of Kaycee. She told us not to miss the Chris LeDoux park in the middle of the very small town.  Not being rodeo followers, we had not heard of Chris LeDoux. His wife had this lovely park constructed in his honor following his death in 2005. W found a nano geocache in the fence at this park. It was very hard to find and we almost gave up; persistence won out.

From Kaycee our next stop was Billings and the Moose Lodge. As we were driving to Billings we saw the historic park, Pompey’s Pillar. This was a landmark on Lewis and Clark’s Corp of Discovery, one of our favorite parts of history. Tom is also reading Stephan Ambrose’ Undaunted Courage so this was a must see park.  We visited the gift shop, the very nice small museum and took the walk to the pillar where William Clark wrote his name. We decided the steps were too much for my knee so we took lots of pictures.

We wanted to refill a couple of prescriptions at a local CVS Pharmacy while in Wyoming and discovered there are no CVS’s in Wyoming, Idaho, Washington or Oregon. Our medical plan uses CVS so that meant we had better get all our Meds through August while in Montana. We got one prescription filled but CVS did not have 90 pills so we knew we would have to made another stop in Montana.

We wanted to visit our friends, the Steindorfs, in a little town called Charlo. We called and left a message and drove to River Edge Casino RV park. This was on the river’s edge, but hardly a casino like we’ve stayed at before. We didn’t see any gambling, only a small restaurant that was overpriced.
We fixed dinner and drove around to the Natural Pier Bridge.
Later that evening, Betty Steindorf called and we made plans to drive to Charlo. This is on the Flathead Reservation. Jim Steindorf’s father was a homesteader and got 40 acres in 1910, his aunt got 40 acres, and the family has added another 20 acres over the years. This is such an interesting area formed by glaciers eons ago. So there are what are called pot holes (small ponds). They are throughout the valley and Jim and Betty have 2 on their property. Jim’s brother farms this land, his sister has a trailer she stays in when she visits, there are several houses on the property that family members stay in when they visit. Betty has a great garden.
We had some delicious meals prepared with vegetables from the garden. We went on a drive around the area with Jim giving us the history of 100 years of his family living here. We drove up to MacDonald Lake; it was quite low as water was being released for the farms in the valley. Jim and Betty posed for me very near an area their family has picnics.
The next day we drove up to Polson to buy some of the famous sweet cherries. We got 12 pounds for $22. We shared with Betty and Jim. Boy oh boy are they delicious! 
We also visited the museum that Jim volunteers at. It houses so much local Indian history, we only scratched the surface of the information on display. A highlight of our day was our visit to Charlo High School. We drove around to the back side of the school where all shops are. We found the shop teacher, Stan Asthley. He is the woodshop, metal shop, and drafting teacher. He is also a SkillsUSA Advisor. He showed us his projects that were at the Nationals in Kansas City.
Our next stop was Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, Elks RV park. This is a very nice 50 amp and water hookup for $18 a night. Thursday,we just hung out in the RV in the morning as we were just plain pooped after a pretty busy week.  Later that afternoon we went to Fred Myers to do some shopping and to get a discount card. We also received our registration for the Jeep in Fresno so Jennifer took the paperwork to our credit union to change the loan from Wells Fargo to EECU. We were able to FAX the paperwork that EECU needed right from the Customer Service desk at Fred Myers. Pretty amazing this technology.
Saturday we drove about 40 miles north to Sandpoint on Lake Pend Oreille  pronounced “Ponderay”. In fact the police car has Ponderay Police Department on the side of their cars. We read about a very interesting museum that should not be missed. It was quite a ride through the woods for about 6 miles, well worth it. It is called the Bird Aviation Museum & Invention Center. This museum is worth it to plan your trip around this stop. There were a lot of airplanes, cars, military information like a lot of other aviation museums we have been in, but the difference was the relation to Dr. Forrest Morton Bird. He either flew, drove, improved, fixed, or invented something related to that display. We were personally given a tour by a neighbor/docent who was a WWII pilot. His granddaughter and her husband were visiting from Seattle and we were invited to join their personal tour. We toured the Invention Center and saw many inventions and inventors’ projects. We then went through the area featuring Dr. Bird’s inventions: the respirator that replaced the iron lung, the infant/preemie respirator that has saved thousands of babies. the G-force pressure suit for pilots, the oxygen anesthesia mixing devices used in surgery.

We had made reservations for the sunset - eagle watching – dessert cruise on the lake. It was so nice and relaxing and for $23 for seniors, we thought it was a wonderful way to end our Idaho travels.

We left Idaho and continued on to Washington. We are staying in Monroe at the Fairgrounds. We are catching up; laundry, sleep, shopping. We had hoped to see our niece, Paige and family, but they were leaving town for a wedding. That is one nice thing about being a fulltime RV’er, we can always come back. Maybe next month…………

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