Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gathering of the Guard

Last weekend, Gary and I went to Bozeman for the annual Gathering of the Guard with the Patriot Guard Riders. We have been trying to go to this event for two years and couldn't make it for some reason. This year we decided to go.

We left bright and early on Saturday morning. We spent Friday night with our friends who we were traveling with. We met the others at the Laurel Town Pump at 6:00 am. If we had left Hardin, we would have had to leave by 5:00 am, so our friends invited us to stay at their house. We had to bring the beer and they served us pizza. Had a great evening eating and visiting.

Saturday morning arrived and we met our other traveling companions at the Laurel Town Pump, we had 5 bikes and 9 people in all. Our goal was to make it to Bozeman by 8:30 am for breakfast at the Gran Tree Inn. We arrived in plenty of time. Got into a bit of rain from Columbus to Big Timber. Nothing major, just a few sprinkles but enough to say we rode in rain. By the time we arrived in Bozeman it was nice and sunny. Ate a huge breakfast at the Gran Tree Inn, very delicious.

After breakfast we visited and met new people, then we got ready for a short ride to Hyalite Resevoir. There was another ride to the headwaters of the Missouri River. We took the ride to Hyalite Reservoir as we haven't been there before. It was a nice short ride through the canyon and up to the reservoir, very pretty scenery. We stayed here for a while then made our way back to town in time for the meeting.

During the meeting they had door prize drawings, raffles and a silent auction. I won an American flag as a door prize. Nothing on the raffles and I didn't participate in the silent auction. The auction were leather coats and vests and some tools. The coats and vest didn't fit us and Gary didn't want any of the tools. This is the meeting where the board of directors are elected. The state is divided into three sections and the general membership elects two representatives from each section. Gary was nominated and elected to be one of the eastern representatives. He is not too sure if this is a good thing or not. He has to go to the board meetings and they meet 4 times a year. Not too sure how long he will serve. He figures he has either a year or it can be up to three years.

After the general meeting, the board met for a short meeting to elect a chairman and such. I had to hang around, fortunately our friends stayed with us.

At the same time as our gathering, a group of Viet Nam helicopter pilots were having their annual convention at the Gran Tree Inn. As a surprise arrangements were made for the Patriot Guard to form a flag line at the Viet Nam Wall Memorial at the Bozeman Cemetary. We got in our formation and paraded through downtown Bozeman. Waved at alot of kids. In all there were 50 bikes and about 70 people. We were at the wall for about an hour, until the pilots came through. They sure enjoyed and were very proud of us for doing this for them.

While we were waiting at the wall for the pilots, there was time to visit the memorial. Gary was trying to find a friend who is on the wall, but he couldn't remember what panel. We looked it up once we got home and he had transposed the numbers. Bozeman is not too far away and will get him up there again. After seeing this wall, we want to make the trip to Washington DC to see the original wall. This is just a replica, so can't imagine the size of the original wall. After the flag line, we met up with our friends and ate dinner. Called it a night as we all had a early and busy day. None of us stayed at the same place. Gary and I stayed at the KOA as the motels were full.

Came home on Sunday. Met up with our friends at the Harley dealership in Belgrade. Rode through Bridger Canyon before hitting the interstate for home. Ate lunch in Big Timber, said our goodbyes. Once we got to Billings our friends left for their homes.

Had a very enjoyable weekend. I have posted my photos on picasa. Here is a photo of Gary at the Viet Nam Wall Memorial.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Things You See

Yesterday I had my annual mammogram in Sheridan. Jennifer had the day off so she went with me. My appointment was in the afternoon, but I took the whole day off. Jennifer and I went shopping. She shopped, I window shopped.

Our first stop was Wal-Mart, then we ate lunch at Taco Johns. After lunch we had a couple hours so we went downtown Sheridan for a walk. Sheridan has the neatest downtown with all the cute specialty shops. I couldn't do this if Gary was with me. Parking on Main Street is pretty hard, but I managed to find a space down one of the side streets. It was a nice day.

All up and down Main Street are these statues from artists on display. I took my camera with me as you never know when you will get "the shot". I took pictures of all the statues we saw. Some are very interesting. Jennifer thought I was nuts, but I was not the only stroller snapping photos.

I am only going to put a few up, the rest are on my picasa site.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Billings Tornado

Yesterday at 4:30 pm mountain time, Billings was struck by a tornado. The majority of the damage was up in the Heights.

Jennifer and I took Gary out to a movie and dinner for Father's Day. We left Hardin when Jennifer got off work. He wanted to see the movie "The Karate Kid" and for dinner we ate at Dos Machos.

The weather was beautiful when we left and it was still nice when we went to the theater around 3:30 to see to movie. About half way into the movie an announcement was made that if you parked in the middle of their parking lot, you will want to move your vehicle as the parking lot was flooded. We had parked on the outer edge of the parking lot. Gary did go out and check.

He said that the water was up over the tires on the cars and there was a small sports car where the water was up to the doors. It was raining very hard. That explains the thundering booms we heard was the thunderstorm outside, not sounds from a movie in the next theater like we had originally thought.

When we got out of the theater the rain had stopped, still plenty of water in the parking lot. We just had to walk on the outer edge, didn't get our feet wet at all. Gary said that the water had gone down some. One of the times when I didn't have my camera with me. We then headed over to Dos Machos for dinner.

It wasn't until we got home when Gary opened an e-mail from a friend with video of the tornado hitting the Metra. It was just incredible. Fortunately there were not injuries or fatalities from the tornado. Some people did have injuries from the hail, which I understand was pretty good sized.

Here are a couple photos of the damage. The McDonald's is across from the Metra and people inside at the time rode the storm out in their coolers. The other photo is an aerial view of the Metra. At the time no event was going on. Saturday was a football game. Both of these photos I got off the Billings Gazette website and are photos taken by the gazette staff. You can go to and see more photos and news of the tornado.

Photos courtesy of the Billings Gazette.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Went to Deadwood South Dakota with the HOG chapter group for the annual Gamblers Run. This is a four day three night trip. We stay at the First Gold Casino and Hotel. We get a discount for staying here and they take real good care of us. This is the 10th year for this run and every year they get rain. This year was no exception. It rained on us every day. The only good weather was here in Hardin and Billings.

Had a great time, lost my money, ate too much food and drank too many beers. We left on Thursday morning. It was beautiful when we left Montana and the further east we went, the darker the clouds got. Our first stop was in Sheridan for gas and a short break. From Sheridan we traveled on Highway 14 to Ucross then over to Spotted Horse and down to Gillette. This was the old highway to Gillette before the interstate was built. We stopped in Spotted Horse for a beer break. We had a diet coke. The only claim to fame for here is that Peter Fonda stops here every year to hunt. Ate a late lunch in Gillette, then headed on the interstate to Deadwood because of the weather. We ran into rain at Sundance and it rained all the way into Deadwood.

Got checked in, then headed down to the casino. They have a slot tournament just for our group and also had some wine tasting. Gary and I didn't win any prizes, but it was fun. Spent the rest of the night in the casino gambling.

On Friday we rode with a group to Sturgis, then we made our way to Rapid City through Vanocker Canyon. In all the years that we had been in the Black Hills, we have never been through this canyon. It is a pretty little canyon. Stopped in Rapid at the dealership for a short break. We then went to Keystone for some lunch. Finding a parking space is a chore, most of the parking lots charge by the day now. We did manage to find a space, thank goodness for delivery trucks stopping traffic for us. After lunch we made our way back to Deadwood before the rain hit. Started to rain later in the evening. This time we made our way to downtown Deadwood. Went to the Number 10 Saloon and had a few rounds with our friends. Took the trolly, which was a good thing. There were several bridal parties going on. While we were waiting for the trolly to take us back to our hotel, one of the parties stopped to talk to us. We told the young girl not to do it, it's not worth it. The guys told the girl what would happen after 23, 30 and 42 years of marriage will do to her. She informed them that we all looked pretty good and we told her to take a look and see what will happen to him. Afterwards the girl gave all the guys a lei and we sure had fun with that.

Saturday it rained all day. We decided not to ride, no sense in being out in the wet and having a miserable time when it's not necessary. Our group walked downtown this time and just went looking in all the shops and just having a nice relaxing time. Gary and I did find a sheepskin seat cover. We were told that they are worth it, especially on the hot summer days. We have a short get together with everyone in the chapter for some prizes. Every year they give away a leather jacket. The rules are if you won a leather jacket you can't win one again. Our odds are getting better. We didn't win the jacket this year nor did we win the money $200. One guy in our group won the money and he took all of us out for dinner afterwards. Gary and I did win some other small prizes, we both won some pins, a t-shirt, pens and key chains. We also go a patch for attending this year's event.

After it was all over, we rode the trolly back downtown for a steak dinner. Found a nice little place and had a very enjoyable meal. Even though we weren't able to ride, it was a very enjoyable day spending relaxing time with our friends. Gambled one last time, Gary did have some luck playing 3 card poker. Called it an early night, got everything repacked after all we are coming home with more than when we started.

Time to leave on Sunday morning, pretty mean looking clouds so we wore our rain suits just in case. Good thing, it was a pretty chilly ride, didn't get better until we got into Montana. We had a great time and looking forward to next year.

Friday, June 4, 2010

On The Back Of The Harley

You see alot of interesting things on the back of a Harley. These are photos of the highway between Laurel and Red Lodge.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Had a very enjoyable weekend. Mmom came up on Friday and left on Saturday morning. We had our morning coffee first then we went out and put flowers on Dad's grave. I then finished and put flowers on Gary's family graves. Couldn't at Lodge Grass as the gates to the cemetary were locked. Will go and pick up the flowers tomorrow morning. Mmom didn't put up the wreath this year, it is getting too fragile and the weather was pretty iffy. Turned out we had decent weather. You can bet that if we put the wreath up we would have had alot of wind.

Sunday we rode to Sheridan with another couple. They ride a Harley trike too. They live in Billings, so we met them at McDonald's and had a cup of coffee before heading out to Sheridan. They had a cool ride from Billings to Hardin so it was a good time for them to warm up. We took the Decker route to Sheridan. Not much traffic out on Sunday afternoon. We turned onto Highway 212 and I noticed a huge orange warning sign that read "Motorcycle Advisory". Gary went by too fast for me to catch the rest of it. The road construction is at Lame Deer, so didn't affect us one bit. As we got close to Busby, I told Gary where the turn was to head to Decker. He informed me that he knew perfectly where the turn was. I was just reminding him because it has been at least 10 years since he has been this way.

Tongue River Reservoir is very full. It has been a long time since I've seen that much water in the reservoir. The campground looked very full for the weekend and there were quite a few boats on the water with fishermen. We made our way into Sheridan and then stopped for gas. Our friend didn't fill up in Hardin, said he has plenty to get to Sheridan. Once we got to the gas station he had one gallon left in his reserve tank. We then made our way to the Chinese Buffet restaurant. Thought we weren't going to get in when we saw three tour buses in the parking lot. They were busy but we managed to get a table right away. It was very good food.

We took the interstate on the way home. Good thing, it was raining in the Decker area. We got into rain just six miles out of Hardin and only for a short time. About three miles of rain. Just the tail end of the storm so nothing major. Got into Hardin and stopped again at McDonald's for a coke. Three of our Harley friends were inside eating lunch. They had ridden from Billings and took the Sarpy road, they did run into the rain storm. Had a great visit said our goodbyes to our friends and headed home. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Monday I had the house to myself. I got the carpet shampood at our martial arts school then the rest of the day was for me. I did absolutely nothing productive at all. Watched Meg Ryan movies on the Lifetime channel.