Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nation of Patriots

This was our third year of participating in the Nation of Patriots.  It is a fund raiser for veterans groups.  This is where motorcyclists escort the American flag through the lower 48 states.  The Billings group escorts the flag from Billings to Cody to Jackson.

We met our friends Dale & Kitty Butterfield at their house on Friday night, went out to eat pizza and visit.  They always have us stay with them as we leave at 8:00 am from Billings Saturday morning to get to Jackson.

This year we had an extra flag, somewhere along the line a POW flag ended up in the escort.  Not too sure if this flag started at the very beginning or jumped in along the line.  The flag was attached onto a thick dowel stick and must have been tied onto the back of bikes, it was pretty tattered.  The dealership bought a telescopic pole and regrommetted the flag so that it would be easier to transport, then the dealership donated the pole for the cause.  It would have been too hard trying to figure out how to tie this flag to a bike and then travel at highway speeds.

There were 13 people and 8 bikes who traveled from Billings to Cody.  It was raining in Billings when we left at 8:00 am but as we got to Bridger we got out of it.  The road from Bridger to Belfry is done with the road construction, however the turnoff has been moved about 300 feet.  I bet that causes confusion with GPS systems.  It is a nice road now.

We got into Cody around 9:30 am to beautiful weather, made a quick stop at the gas station and got the flags ready for an impromptu parade through town.  The townspeople had no idea what was going on, just a bunch of people with flags.  We stopped at the Cody dealership and took a group photo.  The first year we did this we had news coverage, now nothing.  The girls inside the dealership said that they had called the paper but was told that this event is not news worthy.  As we were taking a short break in Cody, we were told by other bikers that the entrance into the park was closed because of a mud slide.  I had called the road number and got a recording that all roads in the park were open.  Two guys who rode with us then made their way back to Billings.

We ate lunch at Pahaska Teepee, which was a good thing.  We could see road equipment up the road and by the time we got done with lunch they were gone.  All that was left was debris on the side of the road from the slide.  The slide was just before the gate entrance.  Rode through the park and the only animal life we saw were two birds.

We got into Jackson around 4:00 pm, got checked in to our motel.  We stay at the Rawhide which is perfect for us.  A liquor store in front of the motel and the Harley dealership across the street.  The Rawhide caters to bikers and it is also one of the cheaper motels in Jackson at $150 per night.  We don't get anything extra here. 

Sunday morning after breakfast we met the guy who escorts the flag from Jackson to Rock Springs at 9:00 am.  Usually the guy is by himself to take possession of the flags, but this year he had a group with him.  Visited with them for a while, then on the road we went.

Going home we always go through Idaho then to West Yellowstone and into Bozeman.  This year a couple of the guys didn't want to go through West Yellowstone as there is a 20 mile section where the speed limit is 55, also they didn't want to have to slow down for rv's.  We went to Ennis then over to Bozeman.  It really doesn't make a time difference, it is longer by about 20 miles.  Ate lunch in Ennis, which is a cute little town.

Stopped one more time in Big Timber to say our goodbyes.  We got home around 6:30 pm. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Deadwood In July

I know these are out of order, but I wanted to keep you informed on our last trip in July.  Gary had two days of vacation after a mistake on the store's part.  When we went to Deadwood in June with the HOG Chapter, the store didn't credit him his two days of vacation, he got no pay.  So he took his two days the last weekend in July.

We decided to go to Deadwood for some gambling fun, Jackpot is too far to drive for just a weekend, but Deadwood is just down the road.  This time we stayed at the KOA in a cabin.  It was half the cost of a motel room and with the Day's of 76 Rodeo going on, prices were high.

After the stress of Mom's 3/4 of a Century Celebration over it was time for me to just relax.  We left Hardin on Thursday morning and got into Deadwood around 3:00 in the afternoon.  We stopped in Gillette for a bit and then at the rest stop just as we got into South Dakota.  Got checked in and things loaded out of the truck and in the cabin.  The cabin was nice, the ones here have small flat screen tv in them. 

The KOA in Deadwood is nice with camping tiered in the hillside.  Our cabin was off to the side a bit and at first we had a hard time finding it, things are not clearly marked.  There is an old yellow house just off to the side and that is where the cabin area is.  It looks like somebody's property the way things are set up.  This KOA has a shuttle that will run you into town and leaves on the hour from 11am-10pm.  We took the shuttle into town several times.

The shuttle drops you off at the Silverado and you just walk down main street.  Deadwood does have parking meters in their parking lots, but only charge from 8am-8pm, so the free shuttle was great.  After 8 pm we got in the pickup and found great parking.

It was fun just playing tourist, we took the Original Deadwood Tour which gave us the history of Deadwood and took us to Moriah Cemetary where we saw the final resting places of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane.  The tour guide made it fun, he reminded me to our tour guide Bernie in Ireland.  It was very informative.  The tour is just over an hour and it cost us $8 per person because we were both over 50.  Don't tell them I lied.  In fact they didn't even ask how old I was, Gary just paid $16.  We got coupons for the Morning Star Casino which is owned by Kevin Costner, so we ate lunch with our coupons. 

We tried to get done before the parade started but that didn't happen, so we ended up watching the parade.  When we first got into town, we stopped at a visitor center to see what was happening and the people were excited to tell us about the western parade.  We didn't really want to watch a western parade as we have seen plenty of those.  This parade had only two floats and the rest horses.  To our surprise Al Sargent from Hardin had his Belgian horses and wagon in the parade.

We had fun gambling in the different casinos and we both got players cards for two of them.  Ate good food, had some free drinks and we came home with some money.  Didn't win big, but still came home with a  little bit more than when we left.

It was a nice get away.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mom & Dad To The Rescue

Two weeks ago Gary and I hauled Robert's bike from Meeteetse to Idaho Falls.  Robert broke down when he came for Mom's celebration.  His clutch cable broke and he got stranded in Cody.  We managed to get a temporary fix for him and he made it to Meeteetse.  That was as far as he made it.   Told him that sorry he broke down but so glad that he was broke down in Meeteetse and not some small town in Wyoming.  Fortunatley we were lucky that the owner's of the Vision Quest granted permission for us to keep his bike there for two weeks.

I took a Friday afternoon off and to Meeteetse we went.  I told Gary that it would be easier to just haul the bike on our trailer.  The trailer has a ramp and it would just be easier to load than into the bed of the pickup.  Gary pointed out that the trailer doesn't have a chock to stabilize the front wheel.  Once we got down the road, the bike would just tip over.  It would be easier to just load in the pickup.  He said that the bike is small so it would be no problem. Called Robert to tell him what we were doing and he said that he wouldn't get off work on Saturday until 2:00 pm.  I told him to have some help when we unload it.

Gary borrowed a ramp from one of his friends and off we went.  Got to Meeteetse and loaded up the bike.  It was not an easy task.  The bike is a pretty heavy one and once we got it on the ramp, we just couldn't get it into the bed of the pickup.  The bike was just too heavy.  It was not looking good.  Fortunately there was a small hill at the back of the motel.  Gary backed up to it, then we pushed the bike up on the hill and rolled it into the bed of the truck.  Success!!!  We then tied the bike down and met Mom for dinner at the Cowboy.

Gary and I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning and we were on the road at 6:00 am.  We ate breakfast in Cody.  Our route took us through Yellowstone Park, we had plenty of time to spare so we wandered around West Yellowstone for a bit.

Made it to Idaho Falls, Robert met us at the Dennys just off the highway.  Got to Roberts place and he had three friends to help unload, they were a welcome sight.  His friends were glad that we had a ramp, think they had visions up lifting this bike out of the pickup.  Robert said that he has the right clutch cable and that he would work on it.  Most people that Robert and Gary talked to think that because we didn't have a clutch cable that it wasn't connecting to the switch which wouldn't start the bike.  It started at first because Robert got it right the first time.  Haven't talked to Robert to find out if he is up and running yet.

Gary and I left Idaho Falls around 2:30 and headed home.  It sure was a long day but we made it.  Both of us were tired.  Gary did all the driving, I drove the last 300 miles.  We got back to Hardin around 9:00 pm.  Made quite a few stops on the way just to get out and stretch our legs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

3/4 Of A Century Celebration

This year my Mom turned 75 years young.  I say young because she is a very active and youthful senior.  We started planning for this party back in October.  It was a bit difficult with everyone living in different states, but we got it all together.  The hardest part was finding a weekend that would work for all of us.

Everyone was able to make it with the exception of my two nieces Katie and Lexie and their boys.  Just didn't work for their families :(  The best part was that all three of my kids were together for the first time in 5 years.  Hard to believe that it was that long, now I understand why my Mom gets excited when the four of us are together.

The weekend was great, had nice weather and Mom had alot of people come to her party.  Alot of family came to help celebrate.  We were also able to help Meeteetse celebrate the Day of the National Cowboy.  Told Mom that I pray she doesn't want a huge party like this every year, she assured me that the next one will be in 25 years.  That will give us time to recuperate from this one.

                                                                               With the Limings

The birthday girl

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jason & Jeni Visit

My son and his wife came to Montana and Wyoming to celebrate my Mom's 3/4 of a century celebration.  They flew from California and was able to spend a week.  It has been 5 years since Jason was in Hardin and he was excited to show Jeni where he grew up and to visit and meet his friends.

It was so hot that the two kids were roasting up here.  Jeni couldn't believe how hot it got up here, but they survived.  I took the week off to spend time with them and we had fun.

We visited the Pictograph Caves and Little Big Horn Battlefield.  We drove over the Beartooth and Chief Joseph Highways, very scenic views. The kids were able to enjoy the Shakespeare in the Parks performance Hamlet.  It was fun playing tourist in my backyard.

Here are some photos of our fun filled week.