Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas at the Liming house was a very quiet affair with just the three of us. The weather was fantastic, no snow and it was 50 degrees. We spent the weekend just staying at home.

I bought a Kindle and a zoom lens for my camera, I also got a beautiful bracelet and earrings from my boss Sandy. Also from my work friends I got a Christmas candle and a winter tree decoration along with a bunch of goodies. From Gary's brother we got a gift card at Famous Dave's Restaurant and from our biker friends the Breckenridges we got a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates. I also got a book from Mmom.

Gary got his stock certificate from the Green Bay Packers. I've been telling people that I bought it, but in actuality he did. I was just the one who was able to get on the computer and get it. He bought this with the some of the money he won in Las Vegas. He is now officially part owner of an NFL team and has a letter to proove it. Gary also received a tin of cookies from one of his co-workers with a note that he had to share with his family.

Jennifer got the family the latest Pirate of the Caribbean movie and from Santa we got the Harry Potter movies, all eight of them.

Jennifer got a book from Mmom, the last one of series that she has been reading for a while. The author is Christopher Paolini and he is from Livingston. He wrote the first book when he was a young teen. She also go a membership card to Barnes & Noble from us. She got a Santa snow globe from one of her co-workers. Jennifer's friend Arthur stopped by the house for a short visit. He invited her to watch him play a pick up game of hockey. I was invited too. This would give me a chance to take photos with my new lens.

I had Monday off, so watched the first two Harry Potter movies. Waited for Jennifer to get off work at 5, so we could go to Billings. I did find the ice rink and we watched the hockey game for about 30 minutes. It was pretty cold in the arena. I did take quite a few photos. Then we went shopping.

I didn't buy much, got my cards for next year and I also bought a cantina for my village. It really helps when things are half off. Jennifer bought a Nook reader with some of her Christmas money.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Final Party Of The Year

Saturday was our final Christmas Party of the year. December is such a busy month for us, especially this year. Had a party every weekend.

The last one is just a dinner party at our friends Dick & Joan. I had to bring a dessert, so I made a pumpkin roll. I had to make a practice one first as I have never make one before. My practice one turned out great and they are really easy to make.

Joan told me that there were 18 people coming to her party, so I made two pumpkin rolls. The first one turned out all right, just a minor tear in the loaf part but I was able to fix that with the cream cheese filling. My second roll was a disaster, it broke apart into pieces as I was taking it out of the pan. Wonderful, now what am I going to do. One pumpkin roll is not enough for 18 people. I had no choice but to buy something at the bakery.

Our party was on Saturday, we spent the night again at Dale & Kitty's, this would be the last chance to visit with them as they are leaving for Arizona for three months after Christmas.

We had some errands to run and were to be at the Butterfields at 4:00. Our party was at 5:30. Traffic was a nightmare in Billings. It took us 45 minutes to get to the mall from King Avenue. At the bakery I bought a pumpkin cheesecake loaf which went well with the pumpkin roll.

Got to the Butterfields on time, got some visiting in then we loaded up and made our way to Dick & Joans. Joan made her delicious lasagne and we had plenty of food. We had lasagne by Joan, a salad by Kitty, homemade hot butter rum by Vickie, my desserts, several loaves of garlic bread by the others.

There were 16 of us at the party, not sure who the other two were who did not come, but this is our little regular group. One of the couples invited are quite a bit younger than us. They are just in their 20's. He is the son of some friends who moved to Tennessee last year. The kids don't really fit in with this group. I'm the youngest besides these two.

The men sat in the livingroom visiting while us women were in the kitchen. At first the young girl wouldn't come and visit with us. Joan our hostess went to get her to come in but the girl said that she wasn't comfortable about the inappropriate conversation. Not sure what she meant by that. We weren't talking about anything inappropriate, just not putting our husbands on pedestals. We did say that if we wanted a husband project done around the house, just start on it yourself and then it will get done. If we wait for the husbands it wouldn't get done. The girl did make a comment about this being marriage. We pointed out that two women have been married over 40 years, one over 30, I'm over 20 and the others were in the teens. When you are newlyweds you don't talk about each other like this.

We did exchange gifts this year, Joan said to keep it under $10, the guys buy guy gifts and the women buy women gifts. Gary got an LED flashlight and I got a Harley necklace.

Joan did make a comment that she probably won't invite the young kids again as the girl doesn't really fit in. She apparently is an only child and led a very sheltered life. She was homeschooled and her family is very religious. The kids are flying to Tennessee to see his parents and she made comments about her being forced to go and she was pretty nervous about flying.

We did have a great time and are ready to just relax this weekend. Our next party is in January.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Jam & Toy Run

For the past 25 years, the Road Dogs motorcycle group sponsors the Holiday Jam and Toy Run for needy children. This is our third year of participating.

Friday we went to the Holiday Jam at Bones Brewery. You need to make a cash or toy donation to get in the party. We spend the night at the Butterfield Inn (friends house). I took off early from work so that we could meet our friends Dale & Kitty at their house. We rode to the bar with them. Got there early to save a table for our group and also to eat dinner.

It doesn't take long for the place to fill up, think more people this year had the same idea as us by going early. Had a good time with our friends and just enjoyed ourselves. I told Gary that when the bidding starts he is not allowed to get the bar maids attention. He did that last year and bid $130 on an item, fortunately he was out bid in no time.

The band playing the music is from Bozeman called Jamelution. They played a couple years ago and are very good, play the oldies from the 70's to current music. We enjoy listening to them. Didn't buy anything at the raffle either, a bit too rich for our blood.

We decided to stay over in Billings on Saturday night also, this time we got a motel room. Kitty would have let us stay at their house again, but she goes to so much trouble for us, besides she is busy getting ready for their three month trip to Arizona.

We got some shopping done, went out to a nice dinner at The Texas Roadhouse and then a movie at the new theater complex on Shiloh.

Sunday morning was the toy run. This year the weather was beautiful. We didn't ride because we don't have our protective coating the the fenders of the new bike yet. Besides it would have been a very cold ride from Hardin to Billings in the morning. We met our friends at the fire station for breakfast. Another motorcycle group fixes biscuits and gravy for everyone, all we do is leave a donation. Met up with our friends.

Gary and I headed out early to get on Broadwater so that I could get photos of our friends riding in the toy run parade as they were coming up the hill. We got a good spot by the Shrine. I got most of our friends, missed a few. What an impressive sight to see, 600 bikes. Good weather brings them out.

The procession went to Rimrock Mall to deliver the toys to the Salvation Army tree and again the tree was buried. Delivered $30,000 worth of toys for the kids. Once we got that done, then we headed over to Bones for our HOG chapter meeting.

Gary was on the KULR 8 news along with our friends, I think on the video you can see my leg. I ended up on the Billings Gazette site, but I'm way in the background. You really have to look to see me.

It was a great weekend, now we are getting ready for our dinner party on Saturday. I have to bring a dessert and this year doing a gift exchange. We have those, just need to wrap them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Park's Christmas Party

Saturday was the 32nd Annual Christmas Party and Awards Banquet for tae kwon do. Since we have the school in Hardin, Gary and I are required to attend. Jennifer went with us too. We had one of our student's and his father attend as well. This is also when those who tested for their black belts get their certificates.

Gary just hates going, he whines about it every year. This year it was a disaster for the Hardin school.

We have a short business meeting before the party. This is when the instructors sign the black belt certificates and we get the finance statements. Park's was upset last year because someone threw away the copies of the statements and he was offended. This year he said that only the master's would get the statements, we were the only two who were not masters. Both of us came away feeling that Park's was blaming us for the slight. We know who did throw the statements away.

Before going to the party, I checked to see if our two students had their certificates in the pile. No certificates were there. In fact about six people who tested didn't have certificates that night and they were from the out of town schools.

Park's son Frank is being groomed to take over one of these days and he has no clue on how to operate things. He was so upset about missing certificates. Our student came. When I pointed out that they paid $60 for a father to see his son get his black belt certificate then drive 50 miles it is a problem. Another instructor asked Frank if there was a possibility that the certificate could be at the school in Billings, Frank said that it could be. Instead of taking the hint to drive to the school to check, he just walked around in a daze. At least our student was recognized.

Gary and I had to make the explanations, Frank didn't step up to the plate and admit that he messed up. Gary and I refunded them their money since they didn't get what they paid for. We felt bad for them.

On the bright side, Jennifer was awarded Assistant Instructor of the Year and I came home with a chaffing dish from the raffle. I bought $10 worth of tickets, so not a bad deal.

Our student did win a prize in the raffle. He got a desk organizer which he is going to rewrap and give to his mom. It was funny because he was sitting there and telling them to call out his ticket number and it was the ticket.

We didn't win the big prizes again, as we were getting ready to leave Frank asked if our student was disappointed. I said yes he was, he is going home without a certificate and now we don't know when he will get it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Women's Only Garage Party

Last night Jennifer and I went to the Women's Only Garage Party held at the Harley dealership in Billings. It was from 6:30-9:30 pm.

I had signed up to go because the woman hosting the event is a HOG member and she asked if I would sign up. She wanted to see some experienced people at the event to answer questions. So I signed up.

I had completely forgotten about it until I got a phone call from the dealership reminding me of the event and to confirm. I called them up and said I would be there.

Jennifer had the day off, so I asked if she wanted to come. The garage parties that I attended before were fun. We were served croissant sandwiches for dinner and you go to the different stations and learn about motorcycle riding. She said sure she would go.

Yesterday afternoon it started to rain, so I figured here comes a storm. Well it cleared up and we had patches of blue sky and roads were drying up. I called the dealership to see how the weather was in Billings and it was just overcast with patches of blue sky.

We left Hardin after I got off work and the roads were bare and dry and no sign of any snow. Perfect conditions. We arrived at the dealership in plenty of time, Jennifer signed in. We received a little packet with an itinerary attached.

This garage party was different than the ones I had attended before. There was a massage therapist giving out free massages, a person selling Lia Sophia jewelry and handbags. Another one selling some kind of anti aging stuff. Had a yoga instructor who would show us how we can relax while on the bikes. Nothing really about motorcycle riding.

We were served wine and champaigne with hors douevres by some fitness trainers of Oz Fitness in Billings. We were given a raffle ticket and the item they were raffling off was a $300 off a portrait sitting by a local photographer.

Jennifer and I drank some white wine and we found that we like the Moscoto that they were serving. Will have to buy a bottle for Christmas.

The only thing remotely related to motorcycle riding was the demonstration of packing that was given by two of my friends. Dawn gave a packing demonstration from a riders perspective and Kitty to a passengers perspective. We didn't watch any of these, as I think by now I know how to pack for a motorcycle trip.

Instead Jennifer and I went shopping. We each bought some Lia Sophia jewelry. I bought a pair of earrings and Jennifer bought a necklace and earring set. The lady gave Jennifer 70% off her purchases. The earrings were originally $30 and she got them for $9. She has to wait on the necklace as the lady didn't know what the retail cost was, but she is to call me and will put Jennifer's order in with mine. I picked up the catalog to look for future shopping.

In our gift bags we had a $10 off coupon, so Jennifer and I bought some Harley shirts. We even got a further discount for purchasing the items at the event.

At the end it was time for the raffle items. We didn't win the portrait package but Jennifer did win a t-shirt from Oz Fitness.

The party got over early and since we just had snacks to eat we were both hungry so before heading home we stopped at McDonald's to get a sandwich. I had a coupon for buy one get one free so we took advantage of that. We had time as Gary knew the party got over at 9:30.

It was starting to snow in Billings, so we headed home. The roads were clear in Billings and when I got to the 27th Street exit the snow stopped roads were dry. I was driving right along and then I reached the bottom of Pryor Hill. That is where I ran into icy roads and a snow storm. The wind was blowing pretty good, I could only see about 1/2 mile ahead and had to slow down to 40 mph the rest of the way home.

There were times when the wind would catch me and I didn't know if I slid because of ice or the wind. We made it home safe and sound. We left Billings at 9:15 and got home at 10:20. The worst part of the trip was from Arrow Creek to Fly Creek which this time of year is always the bad spot. Once I got to Fly Creek the snow had let up and it wasn't so windy, but the roads were pretty icy.

I don't think Jennifer will be going to another one in the near future and I will wait a while before signing up for another one. We both had a nice time and came home with some good deals.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shopping With Grandkids

I was brave and ventured out for some shopping on Black Friday. We went later in the afternoon, when all the crazies were gone.

Gary had to work on Friday anyway and since he worked for 1 1/2 hours on Thursday he got off early. We picked up the grandkids Brandon (15), Alexus (11) and Mariah (8) to take them shopping for their Christmas gifts.

We have fun and so do the kids. This year we gave them cash to go shopping. Last year we got them Wal-Mart gift cards and they were so limited on what they could get, especially Brandon.

We knew that they have gaming consoles so figured that they would want to buy video games with their money, no such thing.

First we went to Wal-Mart and Mariah was the only one who found stuff there that she wanted. The girls and I went together and Brandon and Gary went together. Alexus wanted to find some drawing utensils, but there was not a huge selection for her. We took her to Office Max and she found some stuff for drawing but not a big selection there either. I did find some Christmas paper for the letters.

Next stop was the Rimrock Mall. We eat here giving the kids more options and they finished up their shopping here. Mariah ate pizza while the rest of us at at Fuddruckers.

Mariah wanted to buy some jewelry, so off to Claires we went. I told Gary that we were going to the jewelry store and when he saw us headed in that direction, he saw Kay's jewelry store. He told me that Mariah couldn't afford anything in that store. I looked at him and said give me a break, we are going to Claires. He can shop for me at Kay's.

The girls and I had fun shopping for jewelry. I did buy some Christmas earrings for cheap. Mariah had to make the hard decisions. What would she have to put back in order to get this. We went around for quite a bit.

The kids had a great time and so did we. We would have bought them some video games, but just giving them the money and letting them do their own shopping is so much better. This way they can get what they want.

Mariah bought a purse, wallet, heart shaped note paper, a feathered headband, some rings and a pen.

Alexus bought her drawing paper and markers, a colorful hair extension, ear buds for her ipod and a key chain.

Brandon spent his money on rubiks cubes. It is amazing watching him figure them out and he is so fast with it no matter how you mix up the squares.

The stores were busy, but no long lines and no crazy people. Still have more shopping to do and need to get it done so that I can get the packages shipped off in time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This will be a very memorable Thanksgiving. We almost didn't get to have the huge dinner with all the fixings.

I always bake my pies the night before, so when I got home after my workout I set the preheat on my oven. I sat down to eat dinner and figured that by the time I got done eating I could get my dinner rolls baked.

I didn't hear the beep that would notify me that my oven is ready, surely it would be heated up by now. When I went to check on it, no heat. Wonderful. Pulled the oven out and unplugged and plugged it in again, thinking maybe it would jump start. Still no heat in the oven. All the burners on the stove top works and so does my broiler.

Now going to plan two. I packed up all my baking utensils and ingredients for the pumpkin pies and headed over to mom's house. I can use her oven until we get ours fixed or something. I think Gary was all set to drive up to Billings that night and buying a new stove.

It took 2 1/2 hours to get the dinner rolls and pies baked. Mom's oven is smaller than mine so things cooked up a bit faster. Gary did come over to visit for a bit and he helped me load the pies and stuff in my car.

I didn't get one pie cooled off enough, by the time I got home the pie had shifted so one side of the pumpkin filling was deeper than the other.

Gary had to work for about 1 1/2 hours on Thursday morning to stock up his dairy stuff. I took him to work, then stopped at Mom's to get the turkey in the oven.

It all worked out and we ate our meal. This will surely be one that we won't forget and I'm thankful that I could go to my Mom's. Mom saved our dinner.

I did get the baking element ordered. First I had to find all the papers on the stove, then I got online. Just typed in the model number and there it was. It cost $40 for the part and shipping. The part was shipped today and according to the web site it should arrive by the end of the week. I did find a video on how to replace the element and it only took the man 3 minutes to get it all done. Will let you know how that goes later.

Monday, November 21, 2011

White Elephant Auction

Yesterday was our chapter meeting and White Elephant auction in Billings. This is alot of fun. We hold our winter meetings at Bones Brewery. Yesterday we had a meal catered and all the members had to do was bring some side dishes. Also you clean out closets for items to auction. The money from the auction pays for chapter events.

We made a cheese and cracker tray and for auction items we brought a golf bag and a car organizer bag. I won the organizer bag last year at Park's party and Gary won the golf bag last year at IGA's party.

For dinner we had baked ham, roast beef in a sauce and au grautin potatoes. Very yummy and an assortment of side dishes also very yummy.

After eating we had a short meeting. This is our end of the year meeting for mileage contests. All year long for every event that we attend we got a ticket and those tickets went towards prizes for the end of year. I won a stainless steel coffee mug and Gary won a HOG zipper pull.

Our friend Dale Butterfield won the mileage contest with 18,000 and our friend Dick took 2nd place with 15,000. Gary put in over 9,000 miles in the season. He was above average again this year, which he is proud of. Now the yearly mileage contest starts again.

We didn't get anything at the auction. The only thing I wanted was a basket full of whiskeys but I was outbid on it. I had a bid of $40 and the basket was almost in my hands when our friend Pat Breckenridge out bid me. I had a limit and didn't go any higher. The funny thing is the Breckenridges don't drink whiskey, they are scotch drinkers. I told them that I will be coming over to their house to drink my whiskey.

Gary talked to the guy who took home the golf bag. Gary didn't know if it was a good bag or not, the man was shocked to see it there. He said that the golf bag was one of the top ones. He is an avid golfer and was just shocked he got a golf bag for $15, he was in need of a new one.

Had a great time as always, there is always next year for prizes. Now I have to think about what to bring next year.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Finally Have A Coffee Pot At Home

I have been married for 24 years and I finally have a coffee pot at home. Gary doesn't drink coffee and I was the only one at home that did. I just didn't drink coffee at home.

I got enough coffee during with week at work and on weekends we would go out for coffee, so being without coffee at home wasn't a big deal.

Last night Gary bought a new coffee pot for his hot tea. That is what we used coffee pots at home for, hot tea. The old one still works, so I took it to make coffee.

For the first time in 24 years, I made a nice pot of delicious, aromatic coffee at home and I'm in heaven. Jennifer will help me drink coffee too.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nightmare is Over, I Think

My nightmare with CenturyLink(Qwest) if over, I think. I had ordered for wireless internest service with them last month and it was a nightmare from day one.

I never did get any internet service and a service man was supposed to come to the house but didn't show up. At that point I got nothing but a major headache from all the phone calls I made that I canceled my account. I canceled well within the 30 days so I was not to receive a bill.

I did get a bill and when I called and spoke to George, I was told that I will be receiving another final statement with a zero balance. Would be getting that about 10 days after I canceled. In the meantime he was sending me labels so that I could return the modem back to them.

It took two weeks to get the labels, but I did get them and the modem was returned on Wednesday. I tracked the order and it arrived to CenturyLink on Friday. I have that printed off and in my folder.

I got another bill from CenturyLink. I was happy thinking that it would show a zero balance. It didn't. I owe them $34.90.

Just got off the phone with CenturyLink this morning. That was a nightmare, took me half an hour to get an English speaking person. The first person who answered was speaking English but in a very heavy Mexican accent that I couldn't understand him. When I asked him to speak to someone who speaks better English, I got a person who spoke nothing but Spanish. UGH!!

I told her that I want to talk to someone who speaks English, then she tried to help. I could at least understand her better than the first guy. But I couldn't get my point across to her. I asked to speak to a supervisor and she said she didn't have one. Very frustrated I hung up.

Called CenturyLink again and this time I got an English speaking person in Salt Lake. Told him about my problem with a new bill for $34.90 on a service that I had never received.

His name was Don and he told me that he zeroed out my bill that I will not be getting another one and I don't owe them anything. He said that it looked like the computer didn't get the notice that I canceled my account, but it was showing up on his computer.

The funny thing was at the end of our conversation he asked if there was anything CenturyLink could do for me. NO!!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vegas Trip

Two years ago Gary and I took a gambling junket to Wendover NV with our friends and the bug hit us, now we try to make a trip to Nevada every fall. Last year we went to Jackpot and this year we went to Las Vegas Oct 28-31.

We didn't fly Allegiant because the dates didn't work for us. Allegiant is the cheap airlines that flies direct from Billings to Las Vegas, so we flew on Delta. I went through our travel agent and she found us a good deal for flights and motel. We stayed at the Luxor Casino which is located on the south end of the strip. We even paid for a shuttle to and from the airport. This cost us $1000 for the two of us. All we had to do was pay for meals.

Mom took and picked us up at the airport all we did was buy her breakfast and dinner for doing us this huge favor. We left Billings at 11:30 am and arrived in Las Vegas at 2:30 pm. We had to get a connecting flight out of Salt Lake. We would have flown on Allegiant which is a direct flight from Billings to Las Vegas, but the dates didn't work for us.

Our travel packet had vouchers for the airport shuttle and the check in for the Luxor, but I had instructions to call the shuttle 24 hours before arrived to verify the confirmation. I was told that all I had to do was go to the ticket booth and have our voucher validated. They would give me tickets to get on the shuttle. Was told where to find them at the Las Vegas airport.

Found the booth for the shuttle, got our tickets and was told to stand in line #1. Very well. We got into line #1 like we were instructed. The bus driver started loading up passengers and called for line #1. Just before we got on the bus, he told me to stay put as there were others who were there before me, they were in lines #2 and #3. This got my ire because the driver was very rude about this. So we got back into line #1 and this time I stood in front to make sure that I would be first on the next bus. There was room for us, so we got on this bus anyway. Not sure how he knew who was first or not.

We got checked in, had to find our way through the maze of the casino. Our room was in the pyramid and we had to take elevator 4B to get to our floor. We were on the 12th floor. I was given a casino map and we found our way to the elevator. Riding in an elevator when a building is shaped in a pyramid is an experience. You are riding at an angle. I was fine as long as I could lean against the wall of the elevator, but when you had to stand in the middle, it was like you were drunk.

Ed met us at the motel on Friday night, we ate dinner at the Mexican restaurant in our casino. When we checked in received a booklet full of coupons and we had a 2 for 1 on beer at this place. Gary and I shared a plate full of nachos while Ed ordered three tacos. When his plate came out I swear those tacos were bite sized, very small. We get bigger ones at Taco Johns. After dinner Ed took us on a small tour of the strip. We walked to the Excalibur, MGM Grand, Tropicana and Hooters. At Hooters Gary and I signed up for the players card, we got $200 to gamble on and we also got a voucher for a free steak dinner since we were out of state residents.

I thought they would put the $200 on our cards and we could play any machine we wanted, that was not the case. You could only play on certain machines, the hostess would put in the money. You could not cash out and were required to play the max bet. In this case the max bet was $10. Didn't take long to use of $200 but it wasn't my money. The only time when you won was if you hit the $1000 or $100 marks. We didn't eat the free steak dinner. For that you got a steak, baked potato, texas toast and 2 pats of butter. We were required to buy a beer for $1.50 to get this.

Gary was the winner for the weekend, he won $2300. He played a couple machines won $50 on one and $80 on the other. He won $2200 on the college football games. We both lost on the NFL games. His winning ticket went down to the wire. The last game was Stanford and USC. Stanford had to win by 8 points. The game was very exciting, went into three overtimes with Stanford coming out the winner. In college football by the time you get the 3rd overtime teams are required to go for the 2 point conversion. Stanford had the ball first in the 3rd overtime, scored and made the 2 point conversion. It was USC turn, the player dropped th ball in the end zone. It was all very fun, there were alot of people in the sports book cheering. I can never complain about Gary watching too much football.

The rest of the weekend was spent gambling, we did walk around and check out the other casinos and I was able to get some photos. We did enjoy the pool at the Luxor.

It was Halloween weekend in Vegas so saw alot of costumes. Some were hard to tell if the people were wearing their regular clothes or were in costume. Most of the people on the strip were the young crowd, college age. We were surprised that so many were there as they were not in the casinos. Most were in the clubs partying and there were quite a few Halloween parties going on in the casinos. Sunday night you could not get in to the Tropicana as they were full with Halloween partiers.

The weekend went by so fast that it was time to go. I had called the day before to verify our seat on the shuttel to the airport was told that the shuttle would pick us up at 9:10 am and we would get to the airport in plenty of time to catch our noon flight.

We were waiting for the shuttle as it was running late. A security guard was talking to us and we found out that the last day our shuttle was in operation was the 31st. Gary was talking to another driver when he was told that we needed a pink ticket. I didn't get one, the lady only gave me pink tickets to get on the shuttle our arrival day, she handed me back the voucher for the return ride. The man wasn't sure that we would be able to get on the bus or we would have to stay on the bus until our voucher was validated.

Fortunate for us, the driver didn't care since this was the last day of them running shuttles. He took our voucher and said that was good enough. Whew. When I first checked in at the shuttle she did give me two tickets. She only saw me and didn't see Gary as he was standing out of the way. Apparently she didn't read the voucher that it was for two people.

We were so glad that we didn't have to check any baggage in, the lines were very long at the airport. Found the kiosk to print our boarding passes then finally found the gate we needed and made our way through security. That was a madhouse, must have been at least 500 people getting on flights, thought for sure we would miss our flight. We were in security for half an hour, didn't take long at all with all the people getting through. Just before we got to the security station, they had opened up another scanner and we were told to get in that line. It was just a regular metal detector, not the body scanner, that was in the other line. All of our flights were on time.

The Las Vegas airport is huge. When you first arrive you are on the ground floor to check in, then you have to go upstairs to your gate and security. Then you have to take the tram to get to the concourse.

This was a good year for us on gambling. I won $1100 in Deadwood and Gary won $2300 in Vegas. I do have my photos posted on Picasa.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Finally Got Wireless

It took two weeks and alot of frustration but I finally got wireless internet service.

I had called our cable service first and was told by the receptionist that the cable company does not provide wireless internet service. That is when I called to some other providers and found CenturyLink (Qwest). You know how that went.

Gary was talking to Charlie Fergerson at the store, Charlie works for the cable company now. Charlie told Gary that the cable does do wireless internet service, just go out and buy a router and he will get us connected.

I did call the cable company and talked to someone who knows what goes on in the company. She set the appointment for Charlie to install our wireless yesterday between 12:30-3:00 pm.

Charlie arrived at 2:00 pm, installed the new modem that we need for the cable tv and internet. He was there less than an hour, stayed long enough to make sure that we were connected. So simple and so easy.

I did have to pay the $29.95 install fee and it's only going to cost $5 more a month for all the services.

I was on the internet quite a bit last night. It is sure nice to take my leisure time and not get yelled at for hogging the computer.

We really like our little Acer netbook that I bought two weeks ago. We have taken it out to McDonald's and used their free wi-fi. We are going to take it on our trip to Las Vegas this weekend. Gary uses it for his sports betting and he can read the screen on the Acer better than on my phone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Still Not Wireless

I didn't think I would have so much trouble getting wireless internet. Mom in little Meeteetse gets better customer service that I do here.

A Qwest now CenturyLink tech was supposed to be at the house today between 9:30-1:30 to get my internet working. I took 4 hours off from work just to be at the house as requested when I called the tech support last Friday morning.

I did get some housework done though and waited very patiently. No tech arrived. At 1:30 I called tech support again. Naturally I got a different person than "Chris". Today I talked to Renee. Renee told me that there was no work order put in for a tech today on my account. We went through the trouble shooting again, to no avail. Renee scheduled a tech to come to my house on Friday between 9:30-1:30. This time the tech is to call me to make sure he is coming.

I arrived back to work very mad. I even called the customer service number but this is not the place where you lodge a complaint. I have to write a letter to the executive offices in Denver. There is not a phone number or even an e-mail where I can contact somebody to rant.

I decided to cancel my subscription with Qwest now CenturyLink and will find another wireless internet provider.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Bike

We are the proud owners of a 2012 Harley Triglide. Gary bought a new bike on Saturday. We had put a down payment on it last Saturday at the chili cook off. That was just to hold it so that it wouldn't sell during the week.

We took off all the extras that we put on the old bike, most importantly my windshield. Got it cleaned up and looking nice. We found the manuals on the Lehman conversion, the owner's manual for the bike was always kept inside. We even gave them our old tour pack bag since we will have a new one.

I followed Gary in the car, the weather was a bit iffy and we didn't know how long it would take to get everything done. We bought a luggage rack to put on the new one. We did get into a bit of rain once we hit the Pryor Hill and also wind.

We were at the dealership for 3 1/2 hours getting all the paperwork done and such. Computers didn't want to work hard on a Saturday. Got the luggage rack installed and the battery tender. There was supposed to be one on it, but they had to take one off another bike to put on ours.

We purchased the extended warranty and also a prepaid service package. Instead of a two year warranty we now have a four year warranty. Also all the service for the bike for the next two years is already paid for.

For extras we each bought new helmets. Didn't have the size we needed so have to order them. The kind we got this time has sunglasses built in. Gary also bought the fender protectors. We didn't know about them for the old bike and the fenders were really beat up by rocks and bugs.

The dealership didn't have time to put on the fender protectors so we will have to take the bike up at a later date to get those on.

Headed home and we missed the big hail storm that hit Hardin. Got into town and we could tell that a storm had come through. In fact we missed all the rain coming home.

There are some things that we are going to have to get used to on the new bike. It has a security system on it that in order to start it up you need to have the fob within 5 feet of the bike. Need to make sure that we have our keys with us all the time now. This bike has reverse. We didn't get it on the old one as we would have been charged an extra $1200 for it. We just parked smart and the few times we had to push it back.

Gary says that the new one has more power than the old one. The engine in the new one is a 103 and our old one was a 96. I don't understand all the engine power and stuff like that so I will just take his word for it. Also this one is not as wide as the old one.

I've attached a photo of the triglide. Ours is blue and black.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Going Wireless

Getting wireless internet is a chore and a nightmare. It is not an easy thing to do.

Called two wireless internet providers for the Hardin area. The first one I called is Big Horn Wireless at TCT. This is the same company that Mom has for her wireless.

TCT would have to do a site survey to see if I could get their signal. They do not have any wiring here in Hardin. If I can get service, then it would be a $40 deposit, $199 installation fee of the dish on the roof of my house. My monthly bill would be $46.45 per month and I would be required to buy my own router. Yikes, that is pretty expensive in my book. Told them that I would have to think about it.

Then I called Qwest which is now CenturyLink. I would only have to pay $20 activation fee, I would be activated by 5:00 pm on the 13th. Qwest would send me a modem and I would pay $99 for that which they will conveniently bill me. My bill will be $34.95 per month. Since I'm a new customer I would only pay $19.99 for the first six months to see if I like the service. Then I would go to the regular monthly fee. They will even throw in a $50 gift card that I can use for the modem. Wonderful, sign me up.

We did get the modem yesterday at 4:00 pm. When I got home from work, called the tech support number and they will walk me through everything, no problems. There is a problem. I am not getting any internet signal. Called tech support again and the problem is that my activation is pending. I was supposed to be activated by 5:00 pm. The little tech said that technically the day hasn't ended and they do have until midnight to get me activated. Looking back he didn't say in what time zone for the 5:00pm activation.

Got up this morning, went swimming still no internet connection. Called tech support again and did all the troubleshooting still nothing. They are going to have to send a tech out to the house. I asked them what time that would be as I would have to take time off from work.

The soonest a tech will be at the house is on Wednesday the 19th between 9:30am-1:30 pm. They do require that a person over the age of 18 be present with the tech. I asked if they could pinpoint the time better but no deal. All right I will just take time off from work and will be home then. The tech had better arrive. I better not see a Qwest or CenturyLink truck around town in the mean time.

Called the billing department this morning because I don't want to be charged for a service that I'm not getting. The gal advised me that she did make a note of it because they certainly don't want me to pay for a service that I'm not getting.

Will have to watch my bill very closely when I get it. Didn't realize that it was going to be a chore getting wireless internet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meeteetse Visit

Went to Meeteetse on Sunday and came home on Monday. I went to get my Grandma fix. I haven't seen my Grandmother all summer and since I had a three day weekend and the weather was nice a great time to go.

Got my car loaded and headed on out, first stop was getting a cup of coffee at McDonald's and away I went. I did get a bit of a late start as I helped Gary get some of our personal items off the bike.

I met the Gma's at Lucilles for lunch and what perfect timing, we both arrived at the same time. Got in a nice lunch then to the house for some visiting.

Grandma, ever the best organizer I have met told me that we have to start planning Mom's birthday bash next year. My mom meets the next milestone of being 3/4 of a century old next year.

We got the date picked out and times, the problem with planning a huge party like this is the logistics with my brother and sisters. But we will get it figured out. So far we have the no host family dinner on Friday, the open house party on Saturday and a BBQ on Sunday.

The hard part is getting the Schumacher Family here, their schedule in July is already jammed packed that I think they are going to have to clone themselves to be everywhere they need to be. But we will get it worked out. For the rest of us, no problem with scheduling.

Went out to the Elkhorn for dinner and a drink. Had a good meal and great time. Got back home and Grandma fell, hurting her arm. I think I'm going to have to take some lessons from her. When I fall I end up breaking something, but she manages to come out with a few bruises and scrapes. Mom and I got her patched up the best we could.

Monday morning we went out for coffee and met a young man from France traveling through. We had coffee with Gladys and I got to hear some stories. For lunch we ate at the Senior Citizens and more stories.

After lunch it was time to go home. We took Grandma to the clinic because a couple of her wounds would not stop bleeding. She was ok and the doc fixed her up a bit better than Mom and I did. He had the better tools.

Had a great visit and got my Grandma fix that will hold me for a while.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chili Feed

Saturday Gary and I went up to Billings as the Harley dealership was having a chili cook off. Our chapter had an entry in it. We went to sample the chili which didn't start until 11:00 am.

We went to Billings early to run some errands. I got my hair trimmed and also bought a new computer. It is a cute little Acer netbook actually. We bought this for when we travel and on the occassions when we both need the computer. That is usually all the time. All I need to do is get wireless internet at the house.

We also tried to find a dv recorder, but apparently those things no longer exist. You either rent the machines through your cable company or you buy a tivo and pay for that service. With the new laws that have come out in the last couple years, you no long can buy a dv recorder off the shelf. I guess the cable companies felt that they were getting ripped off somehow. We only record one show and decided that if our vcr dies on us wait until the tv show comes out on dvd and buy it. Cheaper than paying a monthly service for one show.

One of our vcr's did die on us and we can still use our older one. For some unexplained reason we kept the old one. Probably because it got buried with some other stuff and we forgot all about it.

Made our way to the dealership. Boy was that some expensive chili for us. Not only did we pay our $3 each to sample the 18 different chilis, Gary put a downpayment on a new trike. There is nothing wrong with our old one just that it is getting old. Talked to the saleman and he gave us the blue book value on our old one sight unseen and we were pleasantly surprised. Talked to the guy and put a downpayment on it so that it wouldn't get sold before we can make it back on Saturday. I also get a new helmet in the deal.

Now we have the week to clean of the old bike and take off all the extras that we put on it and clean it up. I told Gary that he is taking off his new windshield that I bought in Rapid City with my winnings in June.

We sampled alot of chili, voted for our favorite ones then headed home. We had spent enough money all ready.

We go back to the dealership on Saturday and start the wheeling and dealing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cody Tae Kwon Do Tournament

Saturday we had nine students compete in the Cody Tae Kwon Do Tournament. Seven of them are new to the tournaments and were very nervous. They all did extremely well and we are very proud of them. All of them came home with medals. In fact they all medaled in the events they were entered in. Had one boy who couldn't spar, he forgot to pack his mouth guard and had no way to get one. He was not allowed to spar without it. Felt sorry for him, but he is one of our older students and has been to many tournaments so he knows better. They are to bring their medals to class on Tuesday so that I can take a group photo. It's just too hard to get that done at the tournament. Our students are bringing home 17 medals, 6 golds, 6 silvers and 5 bronzes.

We decided to spend the night in Cody after the tournament. It makes for a very long day if we drive back home afterwards. During the summer I had earned enough points for a free night at the Best Western Motel, so we stayed there. Jennifer paid for her own room at $140.

We left Hardin at 5:00 am to eat a good breakfast in Billings. Once we got into Cody, Gary wanted to see how the GPS on my phone would direct us to the school. I had paper maps with directions that I gave to the students. The GPS had us go in a weird way. We turned right, then an immediate left which took us through a residentail area. Due to the road being closed for construction we had to make several other turns before we got on the street we should be on. We did arrive at the school, but it was so stupid. My paper map had us turn left like we were going to Powell, then you turn right onto the street where the school is, pretty simple.

I guess if you didn't know Cody at all the GPS would be ok, after all we did arrive there, however I love my paper maps.

I told Gary that when we left the school after the tournament did he want to use the GPS to find the hotel or was he ok. He replied that he would be ok.

We got checked into our motel and we were able to relax. Gary and I went to the hot tub and pool to soak. We ate supper at a Mexican restaurant call La Comida. We were able to eat outside along the sidewalk. So glad that the weather was nice in October.

We left for home at 8:00 am on Sunday as Gary wanted to get home in time to watch the football games. We had choices for breakfast, could eat the free breakfast in the lobby, which was rolls, cereal, and we could get sausage and eggs or you could eat at the restaurant for 20% off your meal. We decided to eat at the restaurant.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Get Togethers

We had a fun filled weekend, probably the last time we will get to enjoy our good weather.

We were invited to a garage party at our friends the Butterfields. All we had to bring was a side dish. I had already told Kitty that we would be bringing a cheese and cracker tray. Since we went to Tillamook Cheese Factory, Gary was able to get ahold of his distributor and he now stocks the garlic chili pepper cheddar cheese. Very yummy. We didn't have to be in Billings until 6:00 pm, but Kitty did ask if I could come early to help her set up for the party. No problem, the least I could do since they insist that we spend the night at their place, which means we will be drinking.

In the morning I baked two loaves of zucchini bread, got some house work done and then got my tray ready for the party. Got five small bricks of cheese to cut up. For crackers we took Town House and Club. The different cheeses were the garlic chili cheese, pepper jack, marble cheddar, colby, mild cheddar and smoke cheddar.

We got the the Butterfield's house around 4:30, they already had the tables and chairs set up and Kitty pretty much had it set up, not much for me to do. People started arriving. There were 17 in all and had a great time. Kitty had made two pitchers of mojito's and they were very tasty. Only the women were drinking them. Since the others had to drive home, Kitty and I finished off one pitcher of mojitos, not to mention the other drinks I had. Had a beer right away at their house, then Gary and I were drinking Jack and diet coke. Good thing we didn't have to drive home.

While the women visited the guys got together and decided to go on a bike trip in the morning. The chapter was having their Northern 500 run anyway, so our group went on their own run. It was decided to go to Sheridan for lunch by way of Decker.

Gary and I took the Butterfields out to breakfast. At first Kitty said she would fix breakfast but we convinced her to let us since she went to all the trouble to feed us the night before, she didn't need to cook for us in the morning.

We ate at the Burger King where the rest of the group were going to meet. Gary and I came on home to get ready to go. We didn't wash the bike from the last ride we went on and it was just covered in bugs, but didn't have time to wash it.

We met the group at the Exxon station in Crow Agency. That is where they wanted to gas up, instead of Hardin. That was a disaster getting gas for them. The station didn't have any premium gas. Some did fill their tanks with the medium grade, while most decided to get gas in Sheridan.

There were 12 of us riding to Sheridan for lunch, we took the back road through Decker to get there. Very pretty ride and with the fall colors I will need to take another trip to get photos.

Gary was asked how far Sheridan was from gas station and it is about 90 miles. Our leader who goes by the GPS said that it is 105 miles according to the GPS. Well, what does Gary know, he patrolled the highways for 20 years. It's actually about 85 miles from the Crow gas station.

Off we went, we were the last bike in the group. About 5 miles from Sheridan we turned off to get back on the interstate. Didn't figure that one out until it was pointed that the GPS said to turn there to get to Sheridan. We could have just continued on and arrive in Sheridan too.

Got gas then it was decided to eat at the Chinese restaurant. Gary was to lead because he knows where it is. I was asked by the GPS leader what the name of the restaurant is. I don't know I just know where it is and how to get there. What street is it on. Don't know that either. The GPS people just don't have any reasoning, they go by what the GPS says. Very frustrating. Gary is so glad that we didn't buy one. The one on my phone works great and I only use it to get me around big cities.

We only lost two bikes getting to the restaurant. We just got back on the interstate, took the last exit into Sheridan then you turn right at the first light. The restaurant is in the little shopping center across from Wal-Mart and the Holiday Inn, next to Albertson's grocery. One found their way, the other bike not sure where they went but they found us.

Had a great lunch with good company. Most of us then came home. Two of the bikes decided to ride through the Big Horn Mountains to get back to Billings. It was a very nice day and got hot once we got out of the mountains.

The trees are starting to change colors. Will have to go out in a couple weeks and get some photos.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mystery Ride

Sunday Gary and I rode in the chapter mystery ride. It was also a chapter meeting so I had to go since I'm the secretary of our chapter. The end of the ride we get free food, so it brings out alot of people. Free food always does.

The mystery rides we don't know where we are going or how we will get there. This year the mystery ride was that we all rode as a group and it was an observation ride. We had to ride to places find puzzle pieces. Once we got the puzzle pieces we would know where our final destination place will be.

First Gary and I went to our friends the Davis's to change the oil in his bike, we were there bright and early at 8:00 am. It was a bit chilly but not too bad. That didn't take long then we went out to breakfast. Who knows when we will get a chance to eat again.

We all met at the dealership, there were 30 bikes and about 45 people who went on the ride. A very large group to be riding together, but we made it work. This year the mystery ride was an observation ride, stopping at places picking up puzzle pieces.

The route took us to Roundup, Lavina, Ryegate, Harlowtown, Two Dot, Checkerboard, White Sulphur Springs, Townsend, Three Forks and then Belgrade. However, we may not make every stop once we get enough puzzle pieces together we would be able to figure out our final destination.

Off we go, we made stops in Roundup, Lavina, Ryegate, Harlowtown, Two Dot, Checkerboard and White Sulphur Springs. We had a gas stop in Harlowton and that took half an hour to get all the bikes gassed up along with the regular traffic that flows into Harlowtown. While Gary was waiting in line for gas, I ran into the convenience store for a pop and some snacks.

It was windy all day and we had a head wind the whole way since we turned to head to Lavina from Roundup. We took Highway 12 all the way to White Sulphur Springs. I did see some scenery that I haven't seen before, I have never been to Two Dot and west to White Sulphur Springs, so was able to cross off some highways.

By the time we arrived in White Sulphur Springs it was getting late, around 3:00pm. Decided to start putting the puzzle together and try to figure out where we need to go. I was nominated to put it together as Gary said I was good at puzzles. We got the sign together and all I could make out was that we were going to someplace called Oasis Steakhouse and Lounge. One of the guys make out the rest of the name Sir Scott's and he knew exactly where that was, in Manhattan. Gary had the idea to call the place and to confirm that our group is supposed to be there. One other guy did.

Now what to do. By the time we arrive in Manhattan it would be around 4:00, have a meeting eat dinner it would be dark when we get home. Quite a few people did leave after White Sulphur Springs.

The group decided to take Bridger Canyon into Bozeman then we can take the interstate for the 20 miles into Manhattan. When we made the turn off to take Bridger Canyon that is where about 14 others decided to go on home by going into Livingston.

Gary wanted to go home because by the time you factor in the time it would be very late. I reminded him that I sort of have to be at the meeting because I'm the secretary, but he could do what he needed to do. We ended up going to the meeting, partly because of the way we were in the pack, he couldn't break off in a safe manner. The rest of our friends headed home.

We arrived in Manhattan about 4:15 pm. Got settled in, read the menu. There was no limit on what we could order just as long as we ordered off the bar & patio menu. We both ordered the chicken dinners. While were waiting for the food to cook we all went outside for the group chapter photo, then back in for a short meeting.

We left Manhattan around 6:20 pm, by the time we got back on the bike and gassed up. We made it home at 8:50 pm. Gary was not pleased because it was dark by then, we did pass up some others who had left 20 minutes before we did and there were still quite a few who were still there when we left.

Our friends who left earlier were quite concerned and left Gary messages that he returned. The friends who left later than we did got to their homes aroudn 9:30 pm. I did post on facebook that we go home, as quite a few biker friends are on there.

Gary has informed me that he will never do another mystery ride again unless he can be assured that he would be back in Billings by 4:00 pm. Don't have to tell him where the ride will end, he just wants assurance that we will get home before dark. Our friends also said that they won't go on a mystery ride either. There were three women who are new riders and it just wasn't safe to expose them to that kind of riding. In fact one woman did lay her bike down at the gas stop in Harlowtown, she was so embarassed.

I may have to go in the car if that is the case. I knew that Gary wouldn't be going on any more after this one. He is not a fan of not knowing where he is going, he wants to know all the particulars.

There was another couple from Hardin who went and broke off at White Sulphur Spring and a couple from Colstrip who went the whole distance. I had told some people that we have that extra 50 miles that Billings people don't and that the Colstrip couple have further to go than us.

I have heard complaints about this ride, not the route but the time issues and will have to bring it up at the officer's meeting in October.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Collars & Chrome Poker Run

Last Saturday Gary and I rode in the Collars and Chrome Poker Run. The Harley dealership sponsors this every year, in fact this was the second year. The Humane Society in Billings will receive all the proceeds. We had the opportunity to adopt a dog, which we didn't. They also had stuff where dog owners could get vaccinations and other veterinary services.

For $30 we got our poker hand, a t-shirt and a meal ticket, for $5 more I bought an extra meal ticket for Gary. Old Chicago in Billings was catering the meals.

The highlight of this poker run was that Dan Haggerty of Grizzly Adams fame participated. He does a bunch of things for animal welfare. We got or photo taken with him. At the end of the ride a group photo was taken of all the poker participants with him. For $10 I bought the cheap poorly taken 4X6 photo with his autograph.

Dan Haggerty was a very nice celebrity, he was sure in his element and he didn't put on any airs with anyone. I fit right in with the group, just a regular guy.

The poker route took us to Columbus, Absarokee, Red Lodge, Roberts and back to Billings. Not a very long route just enjoyable. In Red Lodge we had two stops, one in a bar and the other at the dealership's t-shirt shop. The shop is where we were fed snacks and had the opportunity to buys some clothing on sale. We ate the food, had sandwiches, chips and brownies. Very yummy and it didn't cost.

At Red Lodge is where our group broke off, we went ahead to Roberts. As we left Roberts, there was an ugly rain cloud overhead at Joliet which we hit. Not very long, just enough to say it rained. We got to Billings and turned in my poker hand. The group that was with Dan Haggerty got caught in hail at Joliet. Dan didn't wear a helmet and he just got beat up. One of our friends said that if they had just kept going on instead of waiting out the storm, it wouldn't have been bad.

Some of the bars had prizes and at the Roberts stop I won a Harley t-shirt and also a $15 gift card at the Lost Junction Saloon. I bought a round of drinks for the people who rode with us and I still have $4.50 left on the card. Will have to go back and get a beer. The t-shirt I was able to trade it in for a smaller size at the Billings dealership. The design on the back is the same. The first shirt had a wolf head on it, the one that fits has a wolf head but different. I like the second one better. Gary has been eyeing my shirt, but I have it safe and sound. The poker run shirt will be kept in a drawer as that is the one that Dan Haggerty signed.

We ate our meal with the tickets and was not impressed. You got your choice of either a plateful of chicken wings or a turkey sandwich with salad. Had to pay for your beer. We shared our meal, Gary got a plateful of wings and I got a sandwich.

When we finished up at the dealership, we ran over to watch Tristan's football game. We got there for the second half. What an exciting game for the little guys. Tristan's team was behind but at the end of the game they tied. The league doesn't do overtimes as that would create a problem with time issues. His team scored just as the buzzer went off to end the game, but they got the opportunity to score the extra point and that would make them win. Unfortunately they had two penalties called on them and missed their extra point by about a yard.

Monday, September 19, 2011

9-11 Memorials

We participated in two 9-11 memorials. The first one we rode with the BASTARDS on their poker run. The proceeds from this go to the Laurel Hometown Troops. This groups mails care packages to Montana soldiers. We rode in this last year and had fun. We didn't participate in the poker run as we had to get to the College of Technology for the memorial there.

There were 200 bikes riding in the BASTARDS run, we made our way from Laurel to the Yellowstone County Courthouse for a short presentation. What a sight that was to see all those bikes. We were towards the back of the procession and we never did see the front. It was fun and you should have seen the motorists when bikers were stopping traffic in the city of Billings. In fact one woman motorist was on a mission to confront a biker who stopped her. We didn't stay to see how that went, not pretty I'm sure. Apparently the Billings PD wouldn't cooperate except when we got to the courthouse. In fact we were told that we violated the noise ordinance.

If it wasn't for the bikers there wouldn't have been anyone at the ceremony at the courthouse. There may have been about 10 people besides bikers there. We had to leave the group here to make our way to the college.

The ceremony at the college was for the piece of the World Trade Center that we escorted back in May. Gary was the ride captain for this event with the Patriot Guard Riders. Had a good turn out about 25 people participated.

First we set up our flag line at the entrance to the college, then we set up behind the military and emergency services personnel during the actual ceremony. We were there for 2 2/1 hours and it got pretty warm out.

Gary bought a case of bottled water for our group, it was a welcome relief. There were alot of people out for this event and they did keep things rolling. I have my photos of this on picasa.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Missoula MT to Hardin MT

Headed home today, the last leg of our trip. It was an easy route as we hit I-90 all the way home, no side trips this time. The Butte Harley shop was closed, at least no one answered the phone when Marty called.

The further east we went the warmer it got. We ate lunch in Livingston at a McDonald's and it was pretty busy. Traffic too. We had to remember that is was a holiday.

After eating and getting gas, we said our goodbyes. Will be peeling off when we got to Billings.

We got home around 4:00 pm, time to relax for a bit before getting back to our work routine in the morning.

All in all we had a good trip, traveled 3400+ miles saw alot of beautiful scenery. Will definately have to take another trip back, there is just too much to see that we missed.

I got all of my photos posted on picasa, now I just have to get busy and get them on a cd for Vickie and Sandi.

Now we get to sit back and wait for our next trip in October. This time we are flying and it will just be us.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Colville WA to Missoula MT

By this time we are exhausted from riding 300+ miles for the past 10 days. We had two days that were under 300 and only 1 1/2 days of being a tourist. The rest of the time was spent on the bike getting from point A to point B.

Gary was pretty tired and driving on these narrow, twisty mountain roads was beginning to take it's toll on him. All he wants to do is take the fastest and shortest route to Missoula.

That didn't happen. We ended up going to Sandpoint ID, then on up to Bonners Ferry and take the scenic route into Missoula, it was only 350 miles. At least the mountain roads weren't too twisty this time.

We ate lunch in a bar in Trout Creek and arrived in Missoula to our delight. Got checked in without any problems. We weren't too hungry since we ate a late lunch, so we went to Makenzie Pizza next to the motel and drank beer. It was very good.

Once we got into Montana the weather warmed up quite a bit. On this trip Gary brought two flasks and a pint of whiskey, which we drank the whole time. I did drink at least one beer, then I just drank diet coke or pepsi for the rest of the night. I admit that I did spike the diet coke. We drank the last of the whiskey in Colville.

We did eat something, just to eat so Gary and I shared a dessert called Mack Lovin. It is a pazookie. Very yummy.

Looking forward to getting home and to be able to sleep in our own bed. Gary told our friends that he is going to go straight home, not making any stops. Our ride home is 400 miles and he has to work bright and early the next morning. Our friends wanted to stop at the Harley shop in Butte.

Oak Harbor to Colville WA

Leaving Oak Harbor and traveled through the North Cascades National Park. There is no entry fee to this park, so we didn't save any money on our park pass that we bought this year. We have only used it twice since we bought it in July. Good thing that it is good for a year, so will have to get some use out of it.

This park is just scenery, not very many pull out places to good views.

We got into Colville in the late afternoon, got checked in. Again we ran into problems with reservations. The front desk said that they did not have any reservation down for us. Wonderful, here we go again. Fortunately they had rooms for all of us, which is surpising considering that it was a three day weekend. Sandi did go out and find her paper with the confirmation numbers. I did call the motel in Missoula to confirm the reservation that Sandi had made, since twice we have run into problems. Missoula had us down.

We had to drive to eat dinner, so this time we chose Chinese. It was good food, however the waitress did spill food down my back. As she was placing the food, some sweet & sour chicken fell off the plate and down my back. At first I thought that it hit my jacket, but pretty soon my back felt warm. She apologized profusely, got me a glass of club soda to clean off my shirt. She rinsed out my jacket. It was an accident so what are you going to do. Fortunately I was wearing a black t-shirt. My meal was not comped and we did leave her a good tip. I felt at least my meal should have been comped, but I didn't complain. The waitress is working for minimum wage and my meal would have been taken out of her check. Now I move out of the way from a waitress.

Seaside OR to Oak Harbor WA

This is the day that we had to catch the ferry by 4:00 pm, so it was a riding day. We didn't stop for lunch just gas stops. This is also the day that Vickie heard that her two uncles had passed away within days of each other.

We made it to the ferry at Port Townsend just in time. We bought our tickets, got in line where we were told to go. We had to wait 5 minutes before we had to get loaded on the ferry. All the motorcycles were loaded first, there were two other motorcycles besides us.

The ferry ride was only 30 minutes but is was a very nice ride. I stayed out on the deck taking pictures. Soon is was announced that we had to head to our vehicles to be unloaded.

First the pedestrians were unloaded, then the bikers then the rest. They don't waste any time getting you on or off the ferry, you need to pay attention and be ready. The fee for us was $10, we were charged for our vehicle and two people. The fee is based on how big your vehicle is and the number in your party. I would hate to pay was the family did who was towing a travel trailer.

We found our motel and it was a very nice one. It was called the Coachman Inn, rooms are very large and roomy. Of course anything would be better than the postage stamp sized one we were in yesterday.

While we were at the Tillamook Cheese Factory we bought some garlic chili pepper cheese and crackers, which we shared with our friends and had appetizers and cocktails before supper. We ate at a Greek restaurant which was next to the motel. It was very tasty food and we got alot of food. Had a great time and our friends Marty & Vickie were able to relax after received their sad news. The highlight of the restaurant was the urinal in the mens bathroom. Very contemporary, you should have seen us when the men were escorting their wives to see the men's bathroom.

While we were standing around, there was an accident on the corner. The guys were the ones who called it in, they didn't witness the accident but it wasn't hard to figure out. One man pulled out in front of the lady and they hit. Fortunately no one was hurt, but the guys thought the womans vehicle was on fire as they saw alot of smoke inside her car. Turned out the smoke was the gas from the air bags.

After supper we went back to the motel, this time we had fudge for dessert and more cocktails.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Reedsport OR to Seaside OR

Today we are traveling up the coast and we get to see more stuff today, actually get to be a tourist.

We saw the Oregon Sand Dunes, Sea Lion Caves, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Sea Rock, Haystack Rock and other sites in between.

Our favorite stop was in Newport OR. It was time for a coffee break so we headed into the historical section of Newport. There was a nice harbor and we met with a local crab fisherman. He was so nice and explained to us that fishing for crabs was so easy and very relaxing. He had is crab baskets in the water, so we watched him bring one up. He told us that all the female crabs had to be released and the male crabs has to be a certain size to keep. He showed us how we could tell which crabs were male and female and also was the penalty was if you are found with a female crab. You can rent the baskets and stuff and fish for a day, which a family was doing. I even held a crab, but had to throw her back. Vickie took the picture of that and I will be getting a cd of her photos.

It was a nice and relaxing time, we walked along the harbor, saw a commercial fishing company deal with shrimp and saw the sea lions. They lay along the harbor next to the commercial fishing places. I suppose they get to eat the fish stuff that is throw out, but we didn't see any of that.

The one thing that I wanted to do was see a lighthouse, so we stopped at Yaquina Head. This is a national park area so we got to use our passes and the ranger was originally from Hamilton MT. She was excited to see Montana people. I didn't go tour the lighthouse, just walked around. The rest of the party wasn't interested.

We ate lunch in Lincoln City at a place called Mo's. The claim to fame here is the clam chowder, which was good but I liked the chowder in Gold Beach better. This little chain of Mo's serves over 600,000 pounds of clam chowder a year.

We finally made our way to Seaside, found the motel and ran into a snafu. Sandi had made all the reservations for this trip, so when she went to check in the front desk told her that they only had two rooms and a note that Sandi changed the reservations last night. Sandi was upset and kept telling the lady that that is wrong. I ran out and grabbed our sheet with the confirmation numbers. When I went back inside, the front desk lady very rudely told Sandi that she could keep saying no, but the computer says that there were only two rooms reserved. She changed her tune when I showed her the confirmation numbers. We did get rooms, but not the ones that were reserved. Gary and I took the single queen room and it was no bigger than a postage stamp. Had to crawl into bed and we didn't have room to move around without bumping into each other. No place to put our bags either. Pat & Sandi ended up in a room that is a pet room, which she wasn't too happy about. At least we got rooms even though we were spread out all over the hotel. Our room didn't have hot water either. When we checked out I told the girl at the front desk about no hot water and she asked me how long did I run the water. Give me a break. I told her a long time. I do have a survey to fill out for this motel and they are not going to like my answers.

I was able to get some sunset photos on the ocean here at Seaside. When we checked in we were given a coupon for 15% off either dinner or breakfast at the restaurant in the hotel. We chose to use it for dinner. Good thing because when we went down for breakfast at 7:00, the restaurant wasn't open yet. We ate breakfast at this cute restaurant nearby and I had the most delicious blueberry pancakes. Couldn't eat it all though.

Garberville CA to Reedsport OR

We are now starting to make our way back home, heading north. Stopped in a grove at the Avenue of the Giants that we missed yesterday. It was nice walking on the trail looking at these huge trees. This was the stop that Mom and I walked through 9 years ago. We left Grandma in the car.

Today we are meeting back up with Pat & Sandi, their bike is fixed and they are ready to travel again.

We ate lunch in Gold Beach and had the best clam chowder I have ever had in a restaurant along the Rogue River. Our little boat that we saw yesterday is now flooded since high tide. Didn't think to take photos.

We stopped in Coos Bay at the dealership for a break and to look around. I bought some pins here. Before the trip we had mentioned stopping at the Coos Bay dealer and Pat just wrinkled his nose and said that they don't like Coos Bay. Now I know why, this is the second time that they had their bike repaired in Coos Bay. I guess I wouldn't like a town if I was stuck there. The Harley dealership in Coos Bay is the most western dealership.

We arrived in Reedport and now our group is back together again. Ate supper at a Mexican restaurant just down the street.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bandon OR to Garberville CA

This morning is when our party had to go separate ways. Pat & Sandi headed up to Coos Bay to get their bike fixed, we won't see them until tomorrow when we meet back up in Reedsport. The rest of us headed south to Garberville CA.

It was a nice sunny day, but riding along the coast a bit on the windy side. We made some stops along the way to get photos of the ocean. We made a quick stop in Gold Beach for something and saw this boat. The boat was covered in moss so had to get photos. It was a very nice stop, learned the history on the boat.

Our first stop was in Eureka CA at the harley shop. We bought some t-shirts and other trinkets. The girl at the shop gave us some pointers on what to see and also where to get the best lunch in Eureka. It was a brewery, we found it, had to park in the back. This was in the downtown area and didn't look very nice. Alot of homeless people were milling around just a block over. We found some parking spaces, put our money in the meters when it was decided to leave right away.

There was a homeless man milling around the parking lot and had his eye on the bikes. We left as we had our bags just strapped on top of the tour packs and we wanted our clothes for the rest of the vacation. We did find a fast food place to grab a quick bite to eat and it was in a nicer part of town.

Making our way south we drove through the Avenue of the Giants. Stopped at the Immortal Tree for some photos and shopping for souvenirs. We then drove to the drive through tree. Our original plan was to make it to Leggett as that is the tree I remember, I don't remember thiss one. We went through this one instead saving at 50 mile ride. It was fun, there were also some treehouses there that we wandered through. Gary was the only one that would fit into the upper story of one treehouse.

We made our way through the Avenue of the Giants. Since we have to travel back this way, will catch what we miss. While at the Eureka Harley shop the girl did tell Marty not to trust his GPS. In fact his GPS got excited and wanted us to get back on the highway.

Made it to Garberville and got checked in. There was a nice pizza place next door to the motel that we could go and drink beer. Wandered around a bit, nothing much to see. We got a pizza to go and ate at the motel. All of our rooms had a small balcony, very nice.

Got news from Pat that his bike will be fixed in the morning. They ended up renting a car and then driving to Eugene to pick up the part. That way the part would be at the dealership. The bearing in his transmission went out and they were surprised that he made it all that way like it was.

Hood River OR to Bandon OR

Woke up to a cold morning, it was cloudy and windy out. Pat had a chest congestion when we started and it was just getting worse, he asked if I could find the hospital in Bandon, he really needed to get his chest cleared up. I found the community health center for him.

We got ready to go and we looked on our GPS (rand mcnally) for the route, no problem. We were taking the interstate anyway. I told Gary that we would take the bypass to avoid the Portland traffic. We are headed down the road with Pat leading and he missed the exit for the by pass. Hit the morning rush hour in Portland, was not fun. At the gas stop we heard complaints about the traffic in Portland. I said that we could have taken the bypass to avoid all the traffic but was told that according to GPS, the route we took was shorter.

We arrived in Bandon to sunshine which was a welcome sight. Found our motel, it really wasn't a motel more like a bed and breakfast without the breakfast. It was located right on the harbor. Pat started having problems with his bike, it wasn't shifting right. Pat and Sandi went to the hospital so that gave the rest of us time to scout out Bandon.

We were staying in the historic part of town. Marty and Gary talked to a local and ended up in the local bar while Vickie and I checked out the cute shops in Bandon. We didn't buy anything, too hard to pack home on the bike. Looked at alot of stuff, stuff that you can buy up here.

Met up with Pat & Sandi, Pat is going to be fine got some antibiotics to take care of his congestion. The guys were looking at Pat's bike trying to figure out what the problem is. Pat thought that it was the transmission. We ate supper on the harbor at a crab shack. I tried a fish taco. Didn't really care for it. Talked to the owner of the crab shack as he was cooking crab for the fishermen that were coming in.

Later on we went back to the local bar that Marty & Gary went to for drinks. That's where I saw a sign for Hemp Ale made with hemp seeds. Just what a person needs marijuana beer. It was $4 a bottle. The bartender let us pose in front of the sign holding hemp beer. None of us tried it.

It was decided that Pat & Sandi would go to Coos Bay in the morning to the dealership there. It was only 20 miles. We would head on to Garberville CA and then meet up with Pat & Sandi at the next motel in Reedsport OR.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Orofino ID to Hood River OR

Woke up to a beautiful morning, had breakfast by the river and got a free bottle of water on the bike. This is where the guys with the GPS decided that we needed to take the scenic route to Hood River, not the most direct route. We dipped into Washington and drove on twisty mountain roads in Hells Canyon area. It's pretty but had alot of curves and hills.

We stopped in Enterprise for a short break, there was another couple who arrived that live in Hood River. Talked to them for a bit and found out all the information of road construction and what exit to take to get to our motel.

It was getting warm in Enterprise when we left headed to Pendleton, ate lunch here then made our way to Hood River. Very hot on this leg. The speed limit in Oregon is very slow. 55 on the two lanes and 65 on the interstate. Also in Oregon you are not allowed to pump your own gas. At gas stops in Oregon we had to wait for the attendant, the attendant would hand the pump to the guys and then they could gas up.

We were so glad to get to Hood River, very hot along the Columbia River. Good thing we listened to the couple in Enterprise about the road construction, who knows where the GPS would have us go. Got checked in. We stayed at the Best Western here and it is along the banks of the Columbia River. We didn't have river view rooms those were a bit more expensive, but again just had to walk around the corner to get a great view of the river.

We all met in the motel bar for some drinks before dinner. Four of us were drinking Bud Light beer, then it was time to get to our dinner table. A man came up to me and said that he noticed our party was drinking Bud Light and he wanted to buy everyone a Miller Lite. Turns out that he is a high up at the Miller Brewery and he wanted us to change over to Miller Light. Gary and I sure liked Miller Lite over the Bud Light, so he made converts out of us. We had the waiter take a photo of us with our Miller Lites, then showed it to the man. Free beer tastes so much better anyway, but we really did like it. We drank Miller Lites for the rest of the trip.

The restaurant in the motel was Italian and we had some very good meals. I had lasagne and it was so huge that I couldn't eat it all. Sandi ordered a creme brule for dessert and it was huge. Most creme brule that I have seen come in custard size cups, not this one. It would have feed all six of us without any problems. She couldn't eat it all.

When we checked in the motel we received coupons for dinner and breakfast. Dinner was order one entree and get the other one for half off and for breakfast we had a choice of 5 different items for free. It was all good.

Again Gary and I woke up very early, not adjusted to the time change yet so we walked around. Got a cup of coffee at Starbucks which was right next to our motel at 5:00 am.

Butte MT to Orofino ID

Saturday morning arrived. The rule on the road is breakfast at 7:00 on the road at 8:00. The motel had a fabulous breakfast, alot of choices. Then it was time to check out and pack up the bike.

At Anaconda we turned off and took the Pindler Scenic route, that took us to Georgetown Lake. We got back on the interstate at Drummond and made our way to Missoula. In Missoula we stopped for a cup of coffee before heading on through Lolo Pass.

Lolo Pass is a very scenic drive and we have not been on before. Stopped at the top of the pass for a lunch break which we just ate snacks. I picked up an Idaho state map. As we came off the mountain the temps were really hot. It was 100 degrees when we reached the bottom. At one gas stop we just enjoyed the very nice air conditioning in the gas station. I was so hot that I drank a liter of water in nothing flat. Got out my neck scarf and got it wet with cold water for the rest of the trip. It helped, but got dried out in 5 minutes.

We arrived in Orofino and checked into the Best Western motel. This motel is on the bank of the Clearwater River and a very beautiful location. Got checked in and the front desk lady told us to park the bikes out in front. In the morning there was a bottle of water and a bike rag on them.

Gary and I hit the pool to cool down and it felt wonderful, then we got dressed and met our friends at the restaurant next to the motel. It was too hot to eat outside, but we had a very good meal. Once the sun went down we then went out on the balcony overlooking the river for some drinks.

Once we had crossed into Idaho, the time changed. It took a couple days to get adjusted. Gary and I both woke up at 2:00 am, mainly because the people upstairs had young children who apparently couldn't sleep and it sounded like they were jumping up and down on the floor. We took a walk around the motel. Went back and took a nap before waking up at 5:30. I took advantage of the exercise room for a short workout.

For breakfast we were able to sit outside on the deck by the river, that was very nice and relaxing. Soon it was time to pack up the bikes and head on down the road.

Hardin to Butte

We left Hardin on August 26 at 2:00 to meet with our friends Pat & Sandi Breckenridge and Mary & Vickie Davis. They ride trikes too. We met them at the gas station off of Zoo Drive. Left Billings at 3:00 and made a straight shot to Butte.

We left on Friday to get that first 300 miles out of the way. We got to Butte at 6:00, made good time. We were outrunning a storm that was chasing us. Never did get us though.

We stayed at the Best Western in Butte. Gary doesn't have a GPS but Pat and Marty do, they programmed the motel into their system. We saw the signs as we headed into town and you can see the motel from the highway. Once we turned off the highway had to turn left, but the GPS said to turn right. Sure enough Pat & Marty turned right while we turned left. Both of them said that the GPS told them to turn right.

We got checked in and received a bag with a bottle of water, some almonds and coupons for the motel bar. One coupon was for a free drink and the other was for $1 in machine play. We all met at the bar, got our free drink and the $1. The bartender was very nice, he used the coupons for the most expensive drinks. That was mine, as I drank a tall beer while Gary had a bottle. We didn't play the machines but used the $1 towards our bill.

For supper we ate at the Mexican restaurant next to the motel. Turns out that the manager of the restaurant is friends with the owners of the restaurant in Hardin. The children of the Hardin owners take classes from us so we know them well.

After supper and quite a few drinks we all went to bed, the rule on the road is breakfast at 7:00 on the road at 8:00

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Motorcycle Trip

We got back from our motorcycle trip to the Oregon coast and more yesterday. We traveled 3400 miles and was exhausted when we got home. Saw alot of beautiful scenery from the back of the bike. Had two days where we were able to get out and see things, otherwise it was nothing but a riding vacation.

It was not planned out to be like this, but that is how it ended up. Out of 11 days only two were under 300 miles, the rest were 300 plus. It was a challenging trip, had to bite my tongue alot.

We went with our friends Pat & Sandi Breckenridge and Marty and Vickie Davis, they ride trikes also. Spent many months planning the vacation had short riding days planned. The main goal was to see the redwood trees but only got half a day there.

Pat and Marty planned the routes every day since they have a GPS, Gary doesn't so he wasn't consulted on the route. We won't be getting a GPS either. Not once did their GPS take us in the right direction. Our GPS (Rand McNally) did so much better, but again wasn't considered.

The trip was without some problems either. Pat ended up going to the ER one day and then the Breckenridges bike broke down for a day. Vickie had two uncles pass away within days from each other.

I will be blogging about each day to let you know what we did and the disasters with GPS.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Clean Bill of Health

Last week I had my six week post-op checkup. It was actually a 5 week checkup as my doctor went of vaction for the sixth week. I got a clean bill of health and I can now see my regular medical provider unless I have any major gynocological problems. All restrictions were lifted and I can now be normal again. I can sit back and wait for the bills to come in.

The doc was pleased and a bit surprised at how well I healed. I am a very healthy 48 year old woman and it had helped that I was in somewhat physical shape. I did tell him that I had gone on a couple motorcycle rides and he was not surprised at all.

I am slowly getting back to the active physical condition that I was before the surgery but have to take baby steps. Can't get in the pool for swimming because the pool is closed until Labor Day for their annual cleaning (goofing off). I will probably drown since I will be out of the water for two months.

I have been walking alot more and faster, just this morning I jogged about a half mile. I was up to three miles before.

My overall health is just fantastic and I feel great. I am handling the hot flashes without any problems so no need for hormone therapy (not that I would do this anyway). I do freeze out Gary and Jennifer with the air conditioning but they are just going to have to get used to it.

Now Gary and I are gearing up for our motorcycle trip to the Oregon Coast. We are also going to Northern California to see the Redwood Forest and then up the Washington coast. We are leaving on Friday and will be home on Labor Day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nation of Patriots

This was our second year participating in this event. Nation of Patriots is a fund raiser for wounded soldiers. It starts off in Wisconsin and the American flag travels to all the states. The organizers ask Harley dealerships to participate because there are dealerships all over, this is not a HOG or Patriot Guard deal. Our friend Dale Butterfield takes charge of the flag when it reaches Billings. Our group then takes the flag to Cody WY and then on to Jackson WY where we pass it on.

Friday after work we left for Billings to spend the night at the Butterfields. Our room was ready. Kitty made her homemade tacos which were very delicious. We spent the night because Dale wanted to leave Billings at 8:00 am.

Saturday morning arrived bright and early. The weather was beautiful this year, nice and sunny and warm. Last year it was raining when we left Billings. We met everyone at the Harley dealership. We had 19 people on 13 bikes ride from Billings to Cody. Once we reached Cody, found parking spaces near the Harley dealership. We took a group photo and then got the dealership to sign the banner. We took about an hour break in Cody. Now we are getting ready for the second leg to Jackson, 7 people headed back to Billings.

We now have 12 people on 7 bikes for the ride from Cody to Jackson. We ate lunch at Pahaska Teepee. It was a very delicious lunch. Gary and I split a plate of nachos. Since we were a large group we were charged a gratuity on our check. Which was really too bad because we would have left the young man a bigger tip, but since they already charged that was all he was going to get.

The ride through the park was beautiful. Didn't see many animals, just one buffalo and possibly an elk. The possible elk was laying down in some trees so all you saw was the rear end. Didn't stop to check it out either.

We arrived in Jackson around 4:00 pm, got checked into our hotel and rested up before going to dinner. We were going to eat at a Mexican restaurant but they don't take reservations so we would have had an hour wait for our large group. We ended up eating at a restaurant right next door that could get us in right away.

We asked for separate tickets when we started ordering, but our waitress said that we could get is straightened out when we paid. That was easier said than done. When we started to leave, normally you would just tell them what you had and pay from there. Not here, everyone had to come up together, tell the young girl what we had. She then made new checks for everyone, step over to the other till and pay. Again they charged us a gratuity, so we only paid what they wanted. As a group we decided not to eat there again.

The rest of the night was spent at the hotel, we just sat around outside visiting and drinking. There is a liquor store right next to our motel. Very convenient.

Sunday morning we did the passing of the flag ceremony for the guy on the next leg. It doesn't take long, then we headed for home. Instead of going through the park, we went through Idaho to West Yellowstone then to Bozeman through Gallatin Canyon. That is a very pretty ride. Ate lunch in West Yellowstone, surprisingly not charged a gratuity, so the waitress made a good haul in tips.

We made a final stop in Big Timber for a quick break and to say our goodbyes to everyone. Once we got out of the mountains it was pretty warm. We didn't get home until 7:00. Had a great time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Homeward Bound

We said our good byes to Bonnie the night before. We got the car loaded up and even had room with our new purchases. We were on the road around 8:00 am. Traffic was decent, most of it was headed into the city while we headed south.

We stopped at the visitor center as soon as we crossed the South Dakota/Minnesota state line. Picked up some maps and more brochures. We then stopped in Mitchell to see The Corn Palace. We didn't stay long, just enough to eat lunch and get our photos.

We spent the night in Chamberlain, didn't do anything but relax. The historical bridge was closed for repairs.

On the road again, last day. Motorcycle traffic is starting to pick up. Most of them were headed east leaving Sturgis but a few were headed west. We stopped in Wall to wander around the Wall Drug Store. It has been many years since I've been here. Not much has changed, but there were some new stuff. Mom and I both sat on the jackalope. We weren't the only adults doing it either.

I made it through the Rapid City and Sturgis traffic. Made the mistake of trying to get gas in Spearfish. I figured it would be pretty easy since the station was just off the interstate. It was so full of bikers that it was ridiculous. My first clue should have been the vendor tents at the gas station. We decided to get gas in Beulah as soon as we crossed into Wyoming. It was a busy little station for this time of year but not bad at all.

We ate lunch in Gillette. Made one last stop in Sheridan before the final stretch to Hardin. We did get caught in a hail storm. It came down fast and hard that it was hard to see. I pulled off in Wyola thinking that I could get under the overpass, but it was full of bikers and other vehicles. We were there for about 10 minutes. The hail was the size of quarters.

We had a great trip and fun. It was good to visit Bonnie and just have girl time. No girls trip next year as Jennifer and I are going to Hawaii with Gary for Christmas. No way he would stay home from Hawaii.

Here are some photos on our way home.