Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Unforgetable Weekend

We had a very unforgetable weekend. We were invited to a BBQ at a friends cabin out of Absarokee along the Stillwater River. One of our adult students invited the whole martial arts school up to his cabin for a BBQ and Camp Out. It was the weekend before school started and he thought that it would be a great time to have everyone relax and just have fun before serious business started.

Not everyone was able to come due to other committments, but there were 12 of us there. Gary and I arrived at the cabin at around 2:00 in the afternoon after a bit of searching. We forgot to bring the map that was made and we drove up the road too far. He did say that he would have his turn off well marked with streamers and balloons. We found it on our way back, never did see the streamers and balloons because there wasn't any. His son had put out a paper plate that read "Doc's Cabin". Our friend is a medical doctor and everyone in class just calls him Doc.

When we got there Doc and his family and another student of ours was already there. It was about an hour later when the other family of 5 arrived. The kids had a good time swimming, tubing, canoeing and fishing in the river, while us adults sat on the cabin's porch watching.

The cabin was located in a beautiful and peaceful place along the river. The current wasn't strong at all and the water was calm for the kids to enjoy. Since we were in the foothills of the Beartooth mountains it was very comfortable to enjoy the outside.

Here is where the unforgetable part comes in. I had decided to go for a walk up river with another couple just before dinner. Doc was doing all the cooking and wouldn't accept any help, except Gary was able to help cut up vegetables. My friends and I were enjoying our walk and we must have walked about half a mile up river on the rocks. A deer even cut in front of our path and there were times when we stopped just to enjoy the view. Visited with a couple of fishermen along the way. We were about half way back when tragedy struck. You got it, I lost my footing on a loose rock and fell down hard. We were on the little rocks by this time. I was able to cut my eye and knock my two front teeth loose. Needless to say I scared the daylights out of my friends. He went running up ahead to get Doc. I really couldn't see anything because my glasses fell off my face and I had no clue where they were or if they were in one piece and I had blood running all over my face. My first thought was great here I go again and I didn't want any of the kids to see me bleeding all over. I was just upset with myself for ruining everyone's weekend. My friends were blaming themselves.

I got cleaned up as best as I could and Gary made the drive to the ER. Keep in mind that the closest ER is 30 miles down the road. Gary made the drive in no time, I wasn't sure if we were going to get there in one piece. He was speeding and passing cars when it wasn't necessary. We arrived at the ER and I got 7 stitches above my left eye. Gary had my glasses, so I was finally able to see. After we were done in the ER and got my instructions, I insisted on getting a mirror so that I could see what I looked like.

Gary wanted to come home to Hardin, a 90 mile drive, but I insisted on going back to the cabin. I wanted to assure everyone that I was ok, especially the kids. The Doc's 4 year old daughter in her wisdom had informed me that I had gone too far on the rocks. Gary wasn't happy about it, but we did go back to the cabin. I had to stay awake until after midnight anyway and I figured that nothing else could go wrong. Gary was envisioning a mad dash back to the ER in the middle of the night. He was thinking that the worst was going to happen. I was fine.

We came home Sunday afternoon and I spent the rest of the day napping and relaxing. My eye is very colorful right now. I did go back to work on Tuesday and I do get tired at the end of the day. The top of the eye is yellow, my eyelid and towards my nose is red and now I'm bruising up above the gash on my forehead. I didn't swell up as bad as everyone expected and my glasses and hair cover up most of the stuff. My knee is also very colorful and it hurts worse than my eye.

I get to have the stitches out next Thursday and I'm looking forward to that. I can just go to the clinic here and have them taken out instead of going all the way back to Columbus.I did see a dentist and he said that my teeth are ok, but only time will tell if I loose them. I don't look as bad as Mom did when she wrecked on the bike. She has me beat there. My nose isn't broken, but since my eye is bruised it is sore.

I am going to have to get new glasses though, as the lens has a deep scratch on it from rocks. But I won't be making that appointment until I am healed up.

I aged Gary a few more years, poor guy. Mom did tell me to take it easy on him. I am only allowed to walk on level ground. Doc saw me yesterday and he was so surprised at how well I look. Not too sure what I am supposed to look like, but I think it's bad enough.

That was my unforgetable weekend. On top of all of this I did have a tetnus shot, so it will be easy to remember when I got one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Mary

Forty some years ago I was blessed with a life long best friend. Yep, my little sister was born on this day. Growing up we had our usual sibling fights, but since we reached our adult years and moved many miles apart, we are the best of friends.

It wasn't easy growing up with a little sister just a couple years younger than you. She was so stubborn, that at times she forgot who the big sister was. I tried to boss her around and she wasn't going to mind me. I think she forgot where her place was in the family line. No matter what, I was always going to be the oldest and I wouldn't let her forget it. I can proudly say that we've never had a fight where we didn't speak to each other. Looking back all our fights were very petty way back when, but at the time they were important to us.

Through the years I learned how great it is to have a life long best friend. One who would always be around and listen to your lifes problems. Growing up we have also gone on our own ways and started our own lives and moved many miles apart.

Every chance we get, we always stay in touch and it is so nice to finally get together on all those special occasions.

Have a very Happy Birthday Mary. I love you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Harley Vacation

We survived our Harley vacation. The first thing I had to learn was how to pack light and I mean very light. We both had to share one small bag with all of our stuff. I managed to get all of that done. Not much room left before all the necessities like helmets, rain gear, leather coats. Our trunks actually hold quite a bit. We left on Saturday morning for our first stop in Gardiner. It was a nice day for riding, we ran into road construction just before Gardiner. It wasn't that bad, had to follow a pilot car for 12 miles. The road was chip sealed but it was pretty well packed down when we went through. By this time there was some very dark rain clouds overhead and we beat them to Gardiner. The storm hit about 2 hours later. We had just parked the bike and got inside the restaurant when the storm hit. We got hail and heavy rain. We stayed inside until the storm blew over, but it sure was a wet and cold ride back to the motel. Fortunately we didn't have to go very far. It had rained all through the night.

Woke up the next morning and it was pretty cloudy and gloomy. We put on our rain gear because the bike was all wet and needed the extra layers for warmth. Good thing we put the gear on inside, it took us about 15 minutes to get it on. If a storm came through we would just get all wet before we got all of this gear on. We headed on to Yellowstone Park. Even though the speed limit in the park is 45, it was very cold. We stopped in Mammoth to check out the map and decide where we want to go. Our first stop was the Upper Terrace at Mammoth. We sure liked walking around to get warmed up. From Mammoth we made our way to Canyon. By this time it was warming up pretty good, so at Canyon we peeled off our rain gear and put on the leather coats. My goal at Canyon was to see the lower falls, but not to be. The road was closed for construction, so we drove the South Rim. We went to Artist's Point to see the falls. I have never been to Artist Point and it sure was a very pretty view. From here we did stop to see the view of the Upper Falls, then we made our way around to the Brink of the Upper Falls. From here, you are just above the falls. Walking around in riding boots is quite a work out. It feels like I literally have 5 pound weights on my feet. From Canyon we made our way up to Tower. The road started out pretty good, but soon we ran into switch back curves. Gary has been avoiding going on any switch backs because steering the bike is alot different than the 2 wheelers. He did a fantastic job. He was glad to get to Tower to have a break. We went to the falls overlook and then had our ice cream. From Tower we went to see the petrified tree. The few miles it took was the worst roads ever. The stretch had holes, ruts and everything you could think of. We reached the petrified tree and then from there we made our way back to Gardiner. Gary was tired from all of that driving.

The next morning we had to pack up and head on our way to West Yellowstone. Today was a short drive. Made our way, but first we stopped at Norris, went throught the Ranger Museum and then walked the Porcelain Basin loop at Norris. From Norris made our way to West Yellowstone. We were a bit early so we ate lunch and walked around town a bit. Gary's bike was a hit with the foreign visitors. Our pictures were taken alot. I told Gary that he could stand on a corner and make money to pay for our vacation. He could even charge to give rides. We went to the hotel and was told in no certain terms could we check in until after 3:00 pm. It was 2:30 when we went to check in. After we checked in, we went to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. It was very interesting and I got alot of good photos of the bears and wolves. We stayed at the Days Inn because we like the hotel and the breakfasts are usually pretty good, except at this one. There is a restaurant attached to the motel and guests are supposed to get a free breakfast. When you check in, you receive your coupons for the breakfast. They only give out 2 coupons per room. For us it didn't matter, but for people with more than 2 that would be a problem.

Tuesday morning we headed down for our free breakfast. You don't get a choice for breakfast, it is only one, eggs, hashbrowns, choice of bacon, sausage or ham and toast. The breakfast was horrible. First everything was cold. The toast was so cold that it wouldn't melt the butter. We even had to pay for our tea and coffee. We ordered a side of pancakes and had to pay for that too. After breakfast we left to see Old Faithful. No more rain, but the mornings are cold enough to wear our leather coats. Our first stop was the Fountain Paint Pot and then Old Faithful. We knew we were going to be at Old Faithful for a while. We had just missed the eruption so had to wait for about 90 minutes. We walked around Geyser Hill first then made our way to see Old Faithful. We had about a 30 minute wait but it was starting to get full of visitors. After the eruption, we made our way to Morning Glory. This was a 3 mile walk round trip. Not the easiest walk wearing riding boots. Those boots were not made for walking. My feet hurt so bad after the walk that all I wanted to do was take them off. The only wildlife we saw this time was one buffalo and one coyote. Just before leaving the park, we did see a herd of cow elk.

After eating our cold breakfast, we checked out of the motel and got ready for the ride to Cody. This time we went to Fishing Bridge by way of Canyon. We hit Hayden Valley and a ton of buffalo. We got caught in a buffalo jam for about 15 minutes. Got a ton of pictures of all the buffalo, but being on a bike with the buffalo right there is pretty nerve racking. I was more worried about what the idiot visitors were going to do. There were some baby calves in the heard, and of course that was the picture the visitors wanted. A few were even inching their way close to the babies. We did manage to make our way through the jam. One buffalo was so close the road road that I could have reached out and petted him. Not too sure how the buffalo are going to react with the noise of the bike. We figure that by this time of year the buffalo are so tired of people that they don't care. Made our way to Fishing Bridge and it was a good time for a break before heading off to Cody.

Left the park, but the ride to Cody was pretty smoky with the fire in the Shoshone National Forest. There were alot of signs warning motorists of fire activity, but we got through just fine. You can see where the fire got close to the highway, but we were fortunate to just have smoke. No smoke in the park, but very smoky in Cody. We checked into our hotel, relaxed a bit before dinner. After eating BBQ made our way back to the motel.

Got up early because the weather forecast didn't sound good. It was very windy and cold on the way home, we managed to miss the rain storms. We were just behind them. It was good to get home.

It was a nice vacation and ended too fast as usual. Riding through the park on a motorcycle is a very pleasing experience. You get to see the park in a whole new way. I think you see more than you would in a car. I got to enjoy the views very well, but Gary had to drive and pay attention. I did get alot of great photos and working on getting those sorted and ready to post on my flickr sight.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Class Reunion

We went to the Lodge Grass All Class Reunion over the weekend. The reunion was held at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. Lodge Grass is not big enough to hold something this big, in fact Lodge Grass is barely a livable town anymore. The locals jokingly call it "Little Beirut". People kept telling me what a great little town it was, but I just can't see it. I do believe them and I've seen the photos. It really is a shame how this town has turned out.

We didn't go on Friday as there wasn't anything planned for his class. The only class that really had anything going on Friday night was the class of 58.

Saturday we checked in at the registration table to pick up our tickets for the dinner and picnic. There was a cocktail hour from 5-7 and then dinner at 7 with dancing at 9. We didn't get there until about 5:30 and milled around a bit, found a table to sit at and then visited with some of his friends. There was a good turn out but the younger set didn't come. Most of the people there were from the 30's, 40's, 50s and 60's. A few from the 70's, but no one from the 80's on. There were only 2 from Gary's class and he said 15 graduated. One of the ladies who sat at our table was his mother's very best friend. She was also a teacher at Lodge Grass. She was a very funny lady and she had us all laughing with her stories. My favorite story was when she sent another teacher a sympathy card. She said that she had this problem student and when he transfered to another school she found out who his teacher was and she sent the teacher a card. We had a good dinner and ate quite a bit. The dinner was buffet style. We didn't stay for the dancing. The band didn't play our kind of music. We didn't win any of the door prizes or the teepee that they were raffling off.

Sunday was the picnic. The picnic was held at the Convention Center. Again we ate very good food. One of the people at our table this time was a mother to one of my childhood friends. You remember Bonnie Watson and you guys would probably remember her younger brother Cody. I got caught up on Bonnie and Cody. It sure was nice to visit with Lupe. Today was the day to say good bye to everyone. Gary did get to visit with some more people who he went to school with. He did run into a woman that he hung out with. She is living in Billings and they exchanged addresses and phone numbers. She would sure like to get together with us. She was excited to see Gary. They didn't date in school or anything, she was just part of the group that hung out together.

Gary had a good time, but he just won't admit it. He did say that we are not going next year. Lodge Grass has a reunion every year. He would like to go when he finds out some very good friend come. That will probably be in three years when he will have his 40th.