Thursday, July 31, 2008

Living in Limited Spaces

Many think my quarters are tight but it works for me. I go into their 34-40+' rigs with 2-4 slides and feel like I'm in a house. I wouldn't want to share my rig since the space has been set up for me but I don't feel cramped.

There are many living in much smaller quarters than I. I've run into not just singles but couples full-timing in little Casita trailers (11-19'). This past spring at the RV Life on Wheels I met a couple who were planning on full-timing in a small Class B. Since then they have purchased their rig and hit the road. Today they posted photos of how they live in such tight quarters and I thought others might enjoy seeing it as well. Click here for the blog.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gillette WY Updates - Escapade, SOLOS & Motorcycle Ride

I think I left off with my July 4th salute....but no news. The day was perfect....lots of sunshine, little wind and no humidity. The Escapees SOLOS BOF was having a hot dog picnic, sort of a pot luck and grill-out. My new SOLOS friend and fellow motorcyclist, Stu, asked me if I wanted a ride over. He carted two chairs on the back as well as his and my pot luck contributions.

It was a great success...there were many SOLOS there that I hadn't met before and the food was plentiful. Stu was asked if he could give one of our SOLOS ladies a ride on the trike, I think her name was Lila but I could be wrong. Anyway, I think she enjoyed the are returning.

As the night darkened we prepared, we thought, for the fireworks. At 10pm the parking lot lights were dimmed and we had a perfect view. I don't know how long the display went on but it was at least 30 minutes of non-stop action. We all felt it was the best fireworks display any of us had seen in a long time...many felt it was the best they had ever seen (I'm one of those). I wished I had brought my better camera but here are a couple of shots from my little camera. Very hard to see the explosive colors and amazing display of lights.

At the picnic we met a local rider, Russ, who invited Stu on a local sightseeing trip the following day. I was "persuaded" to come along (yeah, my arm still hurts.....LOL!).

The next morning we went to breakfast at Lulu Belle's...great start to the day. Stu had gone exploring and thought he knew the location of the gas station where we were to meet up with Russ. We got there 5 minutes after the meet one there. Fortunately they had exchanged phone numbers and we soon located the right station. Russ, and his little MinPin, had brought along a lady rider friend, Diana. We made quick introductions and headed off.

The trip was from Gillette up to Sheridan, through the Big Horn Mountains, down to Worland and Ten Sleep before hitting Buffalo and going back to Gillette. It ended up being an over 400 mile day. I took so many photos but I will try to pick a few for flavor and you can see the some of the rest (maybe 30% of what I took) in my SmugMug album.

The day was amazing....we went through little historic towns, up through the Big Horn Mountains, through canyons, tossed snowballs at each other, watched a hang glider prepare for the "right wind" for his first solo ride (we waited over 30 minutes and finally gave up), past wildflowers of all colors and odors, sighed over waterfalls hidden behind a construction area and so much more. As I said, an amazing day! But the highlight was near the end when we, okay Russ, spotted two moose down below us. Hard to capture with the little camera but there were there. Finally...a real moose sighting. LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Where, oh where, has my little frog gone...

Phew! What a month this has been....I will never get completely caught up but will try to give you a flavor of all that's gone on. I have over 800 photos taken (most by me but many by my temporary traveling partner, Stu). I still have to go through them, choose the best for uploading, resize & optimize them, upload to SmugMug, then decide which of those I will post in the blog...

So, first I will post a synopsis of the last month. Then as time allows this week I will work on the photos and upload backdated blogs with more detail. Hang in there....I'll get back on schedule soon! LOL!!

As to the workamping, I have survived my first week and am on my own now (although there is always someone to call if I need to). I work in the office four half days a week, two mornings (10-2:30) and two afternoons (2:30-7). When on the morning shift I have bathroom duty but so far it hasn't been all that bad. This is a small campground, 41 sites, and while the first few days were really busy it's slowed down. When there are kids and smaller campers, the bathrooms get used more often. We have procedures to help determine which showers & stalls have been used. If they're clean, we leave them alone.

The computer stuff is easy but was confusing initially. There is a new workamper couple that started the day before I did and between us and the gal that is staying, we have worked up some procedure pages to help us newbies. The owners are wonderful and worry that I'll be bored. They have no problem if I read, play on the computer, sew or whatever when things are slow. What more could you ask for? My schedule stays the same every on Sun, Wed & Thur. Great for planning although my sightseeing will be limited while I catch up on real life stuff. LOL!

Okay, here is a synopsis of what has gone on for the last month:
  1. As you already know, I attended the Escapee Escapade in Gillette, WY. I did the Devils Tower HOP, joined the Gillette Elks, attended social hours for the SOLOS, ELKS, DOVES & Full-time Class of 2007. I made friends with a new SOLO, Stu, who was widowed in March. He rides a Harley-Davidson trike so we had that in common as well.
  2. We took a day trip of riding with a local rider we met on July 4th at the SOLOS Hot Dog Picnic. He was accompanied by a local lady rider and the four of us on three bikes rode from Gillette up to Sheridan, through the Big Horn Mountains, down to Worland and Ten Sleep before hitting Buffalo and going back to Gillette. All day ride - over 400 miles with temps from 50 to over 90. Some great photos of amazing scenery...we even saw MOOSE!
  3. From Gillette we headed to Reed Point, MT before I took my RV into Pierce RV in Billings, MT for service. From there Stu planned on doing Yellowstone for a couple of days. Rather than my sitting at Pierce waiting for my rig, we decided to leave it there and travel together.
  4. Moved Stu's rig to just south of Cameron, WY where we were about 35 miles north of West Yellowstone. Spend two amazing days riding through Yellowstone. It has always been my favorite National Park and it lived up it once again. Such a wide variety of scenery - we rode several loops that I had missed in 2005. We saw eagles, buffalo, elk, coyote, brown bear (assume it was a grizzly according to what I've read) and black bear. Never did see a deer or antelope inside the park but they were outside it on the ride to & from.
  5. From Cameron we headed to Anaconda, MT for a couple of days while we attended the 70th National Folk Festival in Butte. A friend that worked for Stu back in Maryland and his wife live in Helena and they brought their camper to the same park. Another friend who had worked for Stu was in one of the featured groups, The Seldom Scene. (They are all retired paramedics/fire fighters). What an unbelievably great time we had...can't wait to blog about it. Plan to attend next year if at all possible.
  6. From Anaconda we headed back to Reed Point, MT for the night before picking up my RV at Pierce in Billings. Then we headed north to White Sulphur Springs for my workamp assignment. The park is a Coast to Coast membership park (as well as RPI, AOR, CampClub USA and Passport America) and since Stu was a C2C member, it made sense for him to spend a couple of days before heading east.
  7. After we arrived at Conestoga Campground, we had two days before my first shift so we did a little more sightseeing as well as seeing the local area.
  8. The first trip was to Great Falls where we visited the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center as well as Great Springs State Park and Fish Hatchery. We ate our picnic lunch at the state park....nice shaded picnic area. Nice ride both ways and we got to visit the Harley dealer as well (we had previously visited the one in Billings).
  9. The second trip was to Bozeman where we visited the Museum of the Rockies. What a treat that much to see, we couldn't do it all. Amazing ride, open range with cattle all over the road and a ton of deer including some well antlered bucks.
  10. Stu arranged to stay on a bit more and we took my next two days off to ride over to Helena to visit his friends again. They have a gorgeous house on 20 acres about 15 miles out of town. Great views, wildlife everywhere....had a great time and a nice ride both ways.
  11. On Friday Stu left and headed east where his youngest daughter is expecting granddaughter #2. She is due in 2-4 weeks and he hopes to be there.
  12. I'm busy in my off time reorganizing my storage bins again...moving more weight to the front and starting to clean out more stuff. Yup, was still overweight when I got weighed in Gillette. Once the outside is done I'll tackle the inside once again. I'm hoping to scan a ton of paperwork, back it up on CD/DVD and stop carrying so much of it around.
So that's it in a nut's a sunset photo I took last week here at the campground.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yes I'm alive....

What a whirlwind the last couple of weeks have been....I will post more next week but for now I wanted to at least report in. Gillette was great, had a blast, amazing July 4th fireworks, got in some motorcycle riding as a trike passenger, talked to a gazillion people (old & new friends), attended a few sessions, bought a few things (love my new outdoor mat).

When it was over I took my rig into Pierce RV in Billings, MT to get a few things adjusted, tweaked, maintained....etc. Since it was going to take several days, I left it there and did Yellowstone with my trike riding friend. WOW!!!! We rode it two days straight - deer, buffalo, eagles, brown bear, black bear, elk, coyote, ground squirrels, chipmunks....and scenery to die for. What a blast!! My neck is sunburned and'd think I would know better by now. LOL! I promise to upload photos we are moving up to Anaconda and will attend the Butte International Folk Music Festival. Then on Monday we will go back to Billings so I can pick up my rig and head up to Conestoga RV Park in White Sulphur Springs for my summer workamping assignment.

More later....and some AWESOME photos coming!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

Just a few of the flags flying across from my site at the 2008 Gillette WY Escapade

While you enjoy this special day please take time to remember those who serve, have served and have given life and limb to protect us and make sure we will continue to enjoy Independence Day.

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Cell Phones, Weather & Pet Notes

Wanted to pass along a warning I read in the newsletter today. Seems like both Washington and California have new cell phone laws that went into effect on July 1st. Both now require headsets when using a cell phone and driving. New York has had this in place for many years now. Wonder who will be next?

The weather has been pretty nice so was in the mid to upper 70's this weekend with lows in the 40's. The week warmed up but the nights stayed cool. Then the evening rains started...and since the W in Wyoming stands for Wind...we had that as well. In fact Tuesday night I was in bed when it started and my first thought was, "Hmmmm, if my rig were to tip over is this how I would want to be dressed?" LOL!! Last night I was still dressed when it hit....heavy, heavy winds but they do seem to move through quickly.

Our first SOLOS BOF Social Hour was marked by a member announcing that her cat got loose and she was offering a reward. Tonight the highlight of the SOLOS BOF Social Hour was that member announcing that her cat returned home late last night.

From my seat on the sofa I get to watch everyone walking their dogs. So far I've seen at least two Great Danes, a large Greyhound, several Doxies, lots of Yorkies & Yorkie mixes, a couple of Bassett Hounds, but the most commonly seen dog has been the Schnauzer. The one in the rig across from me makes me giggle every time he goes out for a walk. He prances.....really prances. Reminds me of the gait seen in a Tennessee Walking Horse. He just looks so proud as he prances on his way. I like the temperment of the Schnauzers I've been around...but I wouldn't want to deal with the grooming. I'll get my pet fix from others....LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Four days later...

Wow, from not much to post about to four PACKED days....since I'm tired and the days are going to continue to be even MORE hectic, I'll try for a synopsis and a few photos. Then I probably won't be blogging again until I hit Billings on July 8th (you'll find out why below....LOL!).

What could be better than four days of meeting old friends, making new friends, sharing experiences past and present, relaxing and watching the flow & interactions of the people who share the same passion - RVing, chatting with vendors and, of course, buying those necessities and toadily non-essential items, attending sessions on a wide range of topics.

Since I am now a SkyMed rep, I sat with the rep at the show and attended his seminar. (Thank you Tom for ALL your are a class act!) I have done yoga two mornings (slept in today) and will again tomorrow. I really enjoyed it and plan to figure out a way to continue it as I travel. The craft show today showed how many talented people there are in the RVing world. Some beautiful jewelry but I quickly bypassed that since I rarely wear anything more than my standard items. I did pick up a plastic canvas/yarn item, in fact two of them. They are little holders for paper & pen to suck up outside the RV for when you're out and have visitors. Been looking for something like that...

I wish I could report on the evening activities but I've been too exhausted at the end of the day and haven't stayed. I've gone to two Social Hours with the SOLOS and got their newsletter done, approved & published. Tonight I went to the Social Hour for the DOVEs (Disaster Operations Volunteer Escapees) which was held after their informational session. Then I ran over to the Social Hour for the Elks BOF, ran back to the SOLOS for a bit and finally went to the pot luck dinner with the Full-Time Graduating Class of 2007. Phew! No wonder I'm tired....LOL!

Last item of note, I was so impressed with the DOVEs that I joined the BOF and signed up for training this weekend. So on Saturday, Sunday and Monday I will be in training classes from 8am to 10 pm. The late hour classes are for their computer technology training...not required for basic level but since it's my area of expertise and the training is available, I figured I should grab it.

Here are a few photos....

Till next time - keep on rollin',

PS. Reminder, I will probably NOT blog again until the night of 7/8 but I will try to check the SHOUT box.