Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Milwaukee Trip

I am so far behind on our summer activities.

After many months of planning the day finally arrived for our Milwaukee Trip with the HOG Chapter.  The owner of Beartooth Harley made arrangements with the powers to be in Milwaukee that we were able to get VIP access.

Two groups left to get to Milwaukee, the 3 day group took I-90 and left on Friday morning, the 2 day group took I-94 and left Saturday morning.  We went with the 3 day group, didn't want to ride 600 mile days.

Friday morning arrived and we met the Billings group in Hardin.  There were 12 of us all together on 10 bikes.  Friday was also our only real excitement day, we stayed in Wall SD and there was a tornado later that night at 9:30 pm.  We were in our motel room when we got the alert on the tv.  I have to laugh because as tourists we don't know what county we are in in South Dakota.  It wasn't until they gave the mile markers on I-90 that I told Gary that we are in this alert.  He went outside and yelled at me to get dressed and get down, that tornado is just out here.  The first thing I grabbed while heading out the door was my camera.

We didn't know where to go and the motel was not informative, some people we saying that we had to go to the church (what church and where).  There was a group of church kids staying at the motel and they left in their bus.  We  hunkered down in the ice machine room.  The actual tornado touched down just north of Wall, but we did get some wind, rain and hail.  There were other motel visitors with us.  Scary night.  We did lose power and it didn't come back on until 4:30 am.

Needless to say we didn't get much sleep, our room was hot and stuffy (we were on the second floor in a corner, didn't get any air flow). We didn't shut off the switches on the lamps, so when the power came back on, that hurt.  We saw the aftermath of the storm on our way to Albert Lea.  Pretty scary when we saw the highway speed and construction signs twisted and bent like pretzels, semis tipped over on the road, road construction equipment mangled and laying in farmer's fields.  We even saw a farmers barn and silo on the other side of the highway.

In Albert Lea, as we checked in some of the guys asked where do we go in the case of a tornado and what county are we in.  Bonnie came to visit me in Albert Lea, a very nice surprise.  She got to meet all of my biker gang.  We had a good time and a nice visit.

Arrived in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon.  We did pretty good staying together in the heavy city traffic.  Found our motel very easy.  Some of us stayed at the Ramada Inn and some stayed at the Hampton Inn.  We were in the Ramada Inn.  Stayed three days in Milwaukee.

The highlights of Milwaukee were the tours of the Harley factory, Harley Museum and Harley Corporate Office.  We also went to a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game.  The owner of Beartooth Harley paid for our way into these places.  At the museum and corporate offices we were able to go into places where the general public is not allowed.  Our seats at the baseball game were fantastic, we were right at the home dugout between home and 1st base and 15 rows up from the field.  I was able to get some great photos, just had to shoot between heads.  We had a great time.

On Monday night we all ate dinner together at a place called Mader's (German Restaurant).  To me it was pretty pricey, Gary and I shared a meal which was plenty for both of us.  While on our walk back to the motel, some of the guys were wondering how we are getting to the baseball game the next night.  Didn't want to ride bikes.  I found a sign at one of the bars that said free shuttle to the Brewers games.  Gary and another guy went to get the details.  All we had to do was be there about 90 minutes before the game.  Sweet!!!

We had a free Tuesday afternoon, didn't do anything fun, just rested.  We did make our way to the little bar got a bite to eat and just enjoyed the afternoon.  They had tables set up outside on the sidewalk.  At the same time, the Rolling Stones had a concert in the park, so free shuttles to concert and ball game.  Pretty soon our waitress came out and informed us that our ticket has been taken care of.  She said that the couple with us at the next table paid our ticket.  The people were not with us and we don't even know who they were.  Didn't talk to them.

Now it's time to make our way home, by this time our large group had dwindled down.  People were going in different directions.  Our friends who we mainly ride with had left Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon, we didn't see them again until Wednesday in Anamosa Iowa.

Wednesday morning we rode with three other people and made our way to Anamosa Iowa.  We met another guy in La Crosse Wisconsin, then rode along the Mississippi River to Anamosa.  We had to alter our route just a little bit because of a storm.  We rode through Dickey Wisconsin, which I'm going to have to go back.  We went by a church and next to it was a grotto.  Looked like a bunch of shrines made out of rocks.  Bikers don't really stop and sight see besides we were trying to beat the storm.

We didn't quite beat it, got caught in the rain right at the city boundary in Dubuque Iowa.  We were in rain for just a few mintues, waiting it out at the Harley Dealership.  We finally made it to Anamosa, but it took us longer that planned.  The storm didn't help and neither did the 20 mile detour earlier.

In Anamosa we went through the National Motorcycle Museum in the morning before making our way to Cedar Rapids.  The other guys we were with took a side trip, but we just went on.  The rest of the trip was spent getting back home through the back roads of Iowa.  It was pretty and we went through some neat little towns.

Our final two stops from Cedar Rapids were Sioux Falls SD and Deadwood SD then home.

We had a fun time on our 10 day trip.  I will say that I will never complain again about Montana roads after riding through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.  I think Minnesota had the worst roads ever.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Walking Contest

I'm on the Wellness Committee for the County and to do something to promote wellness we had a walking contest for employees.

It was decided by the group to have the contest for six weeks, winner would be determined by random draw instead of most steps.  There was a comment made that if it was determined by the most steps, then I would win all the time.

My suggestion was to come up with two winners, one for the most and one for average( my idea was nixed).  Grand prize was a Fitbit Zip ($60 value) and if you were already a Fitbit user, you would get a $60 gift card.

We had them do a $5 pay in, figured people would be more apt to turn in their log sheets.  Contest ran for 6 weeks, started on April 16 and ended May 30.

During the six weeks, I logged in 534452 steps.  That's about equal to 267 miles.  2000 steps equals 1 mile.

We had 19 people in the contest and in the end I won.  I was gone for my dental appointment when the drawing occurred.

It worked out because I was given $60 cash, (They had to wait to see who the winner was first).  I'm saving my hard won cash for our vacation to Milwaukee.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Today we are busy with the American Legion Post that we belong to.  Since we no longer are running our school, we have time to help out the American Legion.  We went to a meeting in March and the next thing we knew we are involved.

I had the honor of throwing the wreath in the Big Horn River to honor the sailors lost at sea.

We had practice on Saturday morning so that we knew what everyone was doing and knew what the calling of orders were. These changed on Monday anyway. I was a flag holder on the flag line, while Gary was a shooter on the rifle line.  So much for taking pictures.

We held ceremonies in three places, Hardin Cemetary, Big Horn River Bridge and Little Big Horn Battlefield.  Glad the weather held out.

The Commander of our post wanted to make this an event instead of something that we do.  He organized to have bikers come and we did our own version of Rolling Thunder.  We had about 20 bikes (that was great).

Things went off just fine, naturally the order calling didn't go as practiced and we even lost a flag holder somewhere between the Big Horn River Bridge and the Battlefield (not sure where he went).

Since I am the only active woman in the Legion, they had me front and center.  My picture was taken alot, especially at the Battlefield.

It was a good day, the weather held out the only rain we got was on our way back to Hardin from the Battlefield and it was just splash and dash.

We had a chili feed at the fairgrounds for everyone, but somehow that message didn't get passed on to the spectators, so we have alot of chili left over.

We came home with some door prizes, one of the WWII vets won a collage of Harley Davidson gas tanks.  He had no clue what to do with it or even wanted it, so he gave it to me.  Not sure what I will do with it, but will find something for our HOG group.

Jim Eshelman from the Hardin paper was gracious enough to copy off all the photos he took for me at no cost and I even have his permission to get them printed.

Here are some of the photos of us.
At Hardin Cemetary, I'm holding the Montana flag

Gary on the firing line, he is at the very end

Hardin's version of "Rolling Thunder"

Throwing the wreath from Big Horn River Bridge

Flag line at the Battlefield, holding the state flag

Firing line at the top of the hill at the Battlefield

Sunday, May 24, 2015


This is a very busy weekend for us as it is Brandon's graduation from high school and also all the Memorial Day Weekend stuff we are doing for the American Legion.

Sunday was graduation day for Brandon.  He asked me to take his senior portraits for him, which I was glad to do.  We went out to his aunt and uncle's place along the river.  This would be Ramon & Cecelia Rios.  It was a very nice setting for portraits.  Since these were Brandon's he got to choose what he wanted.  He kept it very simple.

Anyway, back to graduation day.  The ceremony was held at 2:00 pm at the High School Gym.  Gone are the days when parents get a certain amount of tickets and have to figure out which family member doesn't get to go to the ceremony.  Now it is first come first served.

Doors to the school didn't open until 1:00 pm, so we were there early.  We dropped off our contribution for the BBQ at his other grandparents (Chuck & Hilda Kopp) place.  They just live a block from the school.  Got our parking spot then just walked over to the school.

We sat in the bottom section of bleachers at the top, this way we could lean against the wall.  It is first come first served seating.  We could have sat in chairs right up front, but we wanted to save those for parents of the graduating class.  We could see better where we were anyway.  It was hard to get photos as I was bumped all the time by the woman next to me, but I did manage to get a few.

The sound system wasn't the greatest, hard to hear the speakers but at least they kept it short.  The ceremony itself was about 2 hours (not bad).

Once the ceremony was over we then made our way to Chuck &  Hilda's place.  We did manage to find Brandon outside in the line, but again very crowded.  We had a couple other of our students graduate, so we congratulated them also.

It was mostly family at the BBQ, the weather held out(at least it didn't rain).  Brandon's baby sister Mariah had a hard time once she realized that this is real and Brandon is really going to leave for college.  She cried on my shoulder and was down on herself for not spending enough time with her brother.

Brandon will be going to Montana State in Bozeman in the fall.  He wants to major in astrophysics.  He will also be playing drums at college, so we will have to go to Bozeman to see him play.

Here are some of my favorites photos that I took of Brandon for portraits.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Montana Women's Run

Saturday I ran in the Montana Women's Run and finished.  Last year I said I was going to run, but ended up running & walking.  I didn't train as much.  This year I did it.
Getting ready to head to the starting line

Just crossed the finish line, making my way to get the chip off the shoe and get my flower

The Women's Run has two distances a 5 mile and a 2 mile.  My goal is to run the 5 mile when I'm 55.  For now I will just run 2 miles, need to work up to the 5.

My time was 23:18, Overall, I came in 454 out of 4,034.  In my age group 50-54 I came in 25 out of 341.  My pace was 11:39 per mile.  In total there were over 8,000 women entered in the Run this year.

I took off 1 minute and 12 seconds off my time last year.

Last year when I signed up, I made a mistake and marked that I would run it in 20 minutes or less, all this did we let me get towards the front of the pack.  This year I was honest and marked more than 20 minutes.  Lesson learned, mark the faster time.

I figured that once the race started I would eventually get out of the pack.  I never got out of the pack, there were so many women.

We had to wear timing chips on our shoes, so we would get our actual times instead of the clock time.  The difference between my two times was over 3 minutes.  Then it took me a while to get into a run.

Next year I'm going to mark the faster time so that I can get more towards the front.

The weather was very rainy, in fact it was calling for rain in the forecast at racetime.  But it all turned out.  No rain didn't get wet, it was very cloudy but perfect for a race.

Gary managed to get a couple photos of me, one is just before I had to make my way to the start, we were in a coffee shop.  He did find me at the finish, but I had already crossed the line.

He had a hard time finding me.  Too many women wearing blue hats.  It was fun, I still run around town, I worked too hard to get up to this.

My goal is to eventually run around the whole loop in town.  The distance is exactly 3.2 miles which is a 5K race.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


To celebrates Gary's birthday we took an extended weekend and traveled to Jackpot Nevada.  Jackpot is the closest place where we can do sports betting.  It's a 9 hour drive from Hardin.

I took Friday and Monday off, we made reservations to stay at Barton's Club 93.  We have stayed here  before, cheaper than Cactus Pete's by a long shot.  Both are pretty comparable.

There isn't anything to do in Jackpot but gamble, the only things they have there are casinos, a liquor store, grocery store and gas station.

Our original plan was to leave at 5:00 am and hit the road.  We are both usually awake by this time anyway.  Well, we were both wide awake at 2:00 am, so we just decided we might as well get up and head down the road at 2:30 am. Otherwise we would just toss and turn in bed and not get any sleep.  Crazy I know.

We stopped in Big Timber thinking that the truck stop would be open, but it was closed so we ate breakfast at the truck stop in Belgrade.  We stayed on the interstate because you never know what the weather will be like in April going over to West Yellowstone. 

Once we get to Belgrade, we have options to travel.  We could have gone through West Yellowstone (shorter route) but time wise it's the same as taking the interstate.

We stopped in Dillon for a short break, then made our way through Idaho and to Jackpot.  We didn't get to stop and visit with Robert in Idaho Falls.  His work schedule didn't work with the times we went through both going and coming home.  I don't know about his work place that won't give a guy time off to visit with his mother.  Sheesh.

We arrived in Jackpot around 2:00 pm, got checked in.  We placed our bets on the basketball games, then we took a nap.  It took us longer than normal to arrive as we made many stops because we left so early.

After our naps we were refreshed and ready to go.  The sports book is at Cactus Pete's Casino, this one is the biggest casino in Jackpot.  We like it because you can help yourself to soda and coffee.  Both places have restaurants that have buffets and regular sit down cafes.  Cactus Pete does have a nice steak house but you are going to pay for that meal.  We didn't.  There is a nice Mexican restaurant across the street.  We didn't eat there this time.

We had packed snacks for the road and had plenty of food to snack on during the day.  We went out for breakfasts and dinners.

The machines were very tight at the casinos.  I won on my basketball games on Friday night.  It was very strange as we were watching the final game that I needed.  The tv had flashed the score and I lost.  On this particular game I bet the over/under on the total score.  I bet over.  I was bummed, well tomorrow is another day.  We got back to the room to call it a night when Gary checked on his computer.  I had actually won.  Good thing I kept my ticket.  I won $140.

We both lost on Saturday, but Gary won on Sunday $140.  At least we were both winners and we came home with money.  We won enough that it paid for our motel stay.

We had a good time but both said that we won't go back to Jackpot ( may change in a few years).  The smoking was so bad that it just clung to us. Our eyes and throats burned from the smoke.  I can handle cigarette smoke to a point, but not cigar smoke.  There were a couple men smoking cigars in the sports book.  Another guy was very vocal about it and they soon left.  You smelled the smoke as soon as you opened the doors to both casinos.  I was winning on a machine when two women came over and surrounded me with their cigarette smoke.  I cashed out and left.  Vegas has spoiled us. 

I would have liked to have gone to Deadwood (smoke free casinos) but Deadwood doesn't have sports betting.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

End of Vacation

The last two days of our vacation we spent relaxing at the condo.  We both caught colds from being in the rain all day on Saturday and besides after walking all day long in parks for four days, we just wanted to relax.

I spent most of the day down at the pools, soaking up the sunshine and sitting in the hot tub.  This resort had pool side service from the bar and grill, so I didn't have to get up to get my drinks.

Nothing like happy hour pool side.  On Thursday, we were planning to go to Cocoa Beach but Jennifer wasn't feeling well.  No sense in going if you can't enjoy it, so two days relaxing at the resort.

Here are some photos of our resort.
One of the pools
The other one, this one was a bit cooler
Shuffle board courts
This was our building
View from our door

Walking Contest

I'm on the Wellness Committee for the county and we had a walking contest for county employees.

The grand prize was a Fitbit Zip a $60 value.  If an employee was already a Fitbit user then they got a $60 gift card.

It was a $5 buy in to join and it was decided to have that the winner would be determined by a random draw, so it didn't matter how many steps you did.  There was a comment that if it was by the most steps, then I would win all the time.

We had 19 people sign up, for six weeks you would keep a log of your steps.  The contest started on April 16 and ended May 30.  We had a conversion chart for activities other than walking.

At the end of the contest I walked 534,452 steps which is approximately 267 miles.  About 2000 steps equals 1 mile.  I was gung-ho for the first three weeks, then just petered out.  Figured that I didn't need to kill myself.

Well, I won the contest.  I am already a Fitbit user, so I was awarded hard cash.  It worked out because I was awarded my winnings on my birthday.

Saving my money for our vacation in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Disney Studios

Today was an extra excursion day for us, we didn't plan this park at first.  We wanted to do something but didn't know what.  At our condo, one of the channels on tv was a Disney travel channel so we figured why not.

We knew that we would have to pay $97 extra per person, kind of pricey but we are on vacation.  We got to the ticket booth and it was then that we found out that we could have added it on our original two day ticket at a discount, we had to buy it before we left.  The little things they don't tell you.

Lesson learned, when you visit Disney in Orlando just go ahead and pay for the 4 day ticket.  You might as well see all four parks while you are there.  We did not go through Epcot.

One of the highlights in this park was Cinderella's coach from the new movie that just came out.  It was hard to get a photo without people, but I did manage.

Had a fun time, this is a small park so didn't take too much time to wander around and look at things. Not a lot of rides but the only one Jennifer wanted to do was the Star Tours.  This was the main reason we visited this park.  Star Tours is a 3D ride, not a roller coaster.  It really made us feel that we were in the pod car race, dodging astroids and such. We watched the padawans fight Darth Vader, that was cute.  We also rode the little train through the Magic of Movies, this ride took us through all the genre's of movies.  Very interesting.  We did wander through the Disney museum.  It was interesting to see all the stuff, then at the end you watch a short 15 minute film about Walt Disney and his trials and tribulations.  We did watch the Indiana Jones Stunt Show.  Very interesting how they do the stunts and the different between a stunt man/stunt woman and a stunt actor.

We did watch the Fantasmic Show, it was very entertaining with light shows, fireworks and the Disney characters.  Thought we were going to witness a fight in front of us.  One lady was saving seats for 8 people, the theater was filling up fast with people.  It is a first come first serve theater, meaning you find a seat it's yours.  Many people sat down, but left in a huff when she told them she was saving them.  Finally about a half hour before the show started, people sat down in her saved area and they weren't budging.  There was an announcement that you needed to have your whole party with you when seating in the theater.  Her party finally arrived, they were in the line to ride the roller coaster.  They managed to sit all together and everything was fine.

Disney owns ABC Studios so there is a commissary in this park.  Many people thought they were going to see the stars from the tv shows here.  I was silently yelling at them that the ABC Studios where they actually film the shows is in  Hollywood California.  Jeez.

Here is our fun:
The only time I was able to get a photo of us together.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Wild Animal Kingdom Park

This was one of the parks that I wanted to go through.  At first I thought about Busch Gardens but this park has more animals.

Another park where you have to take a shuttle to the gate.  This park has a Rain Forest Cafe so we decided to have dinner here.  Made our way inside, got a map and decided to take the safari ride first. You get to see the big animals here and we thought that the animals would be a bit active first thing in the morning.  There was a very long line for this ride, we never did get the fast pass tickets for Disney Parks.  The wait time was just over an hour for this ride, not too bad.  Again it seemed like we were always moving.

We got on our little jeep and through the African wilds we went.  Of course we were sitting on the wrong side of the jeep, seemed like all the animals were on the left side, we were on the right side.  So glad my lens is a zoom.

We saw giraffes, rhinos, hippos, lions and a bunch of other animals.  Pretty neat.  The rest of the time was spent wandering around and looking at stuff.

We ate supper at the Rain Forest Cafe, this one is the largest one (so they say).  It was pretty big compared to the one in Mall of American and in Vegas.  Our waiter was a funny guy when he found out we were from Montana.  I think the thought we were aliens.  You can tell that he didn't know or probably never heard of Montana by the look on his face.

We had a good time and enjoyed ourselves.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Disney World Magic Kingdom

Today is the day we visit Disney World.  We bought our two day tickets in advance so all we had to do was got to the ticket booth at will call to pick them up.

We made our way to the park without any problems, got on the shuttle to take us to the gate.  We then got our tickets at will call, then had to make our way to the park.  We had a choice, the monorail or the ferry.  We chose the monorail.  We got to see a view of the park this way.

Now we are at the admission gate, we had to go through the check bag line, then we had to put our card on the scanner and fingerprint.  We were good to go.

First thing we did was get a map, then we found a coffee shop for our morning ritual.  Sat down and figured out what we wanted to see first.  The park was crowded being a Sunday but thinned out once we got out of Main Street.

A very nice day compared to yesterday, at least no rain.  It was cloudy when we started out in the morning but by afternoon the sun came out and warmed things up.

The only ride that we rode was Pirates of the Caribbean.  The line really wasn't that bad, sign said 45 minute wait.  We got in line and it really wasn't bad at all, seemed like we were moving all the time, just slow.

We went through the Hall of Presidents, that was neat with all the presidents and nice because we got to sit down and be cool. Went through the Time of Progress, sort of a ride.  You seat in a theater and it moves.

Jennifer and I both this ride a meh.  We were not impressed with it at all, feel the ride in Disneyland is better.  We watched the birds in the Enchanted Tiki Hut, it's the same as Disneyland.  We did get to see the Mickey Mouse show at Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  That was nice.

We walked alot, tried to eat supper at a restaurant but was told that we needed a reservation, especially on weekends.  We ended up eating very expensive hot dogs at Casey's.  It was $25 for two hot dog meals with a drink.  Jennifer was able to find a table outside.

A family was having a birthday party for their little girl there, they had cake and everything.  It was time for them to leave so they tried giving away the cake.  They must had half of it left over.  A family of 4 finally took it.  There was a lot of cake.  After eating we went shopping.

We had a great time, we didn't leave the park until 8:00 pm, made our way back to the front gate got on the shuttle.  It was a long day but very fun.

Here are some photos of Disney World.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sea World

Today is Jennifer's birthday and the only thing she asked specifically was to spend the day in Sea World.

We bought our admission tickets in advance and I also paid for the all day eating ticket.  The all day eating ticket was $35 per person.  Figured that it wasn't a bad price and probably cheaper in the long run.

Since the park was across the street we just walked.  We ate breakfast at the coffee shop, just muffins and coffee since we would eat in the park.  It was very cloudy but wasn't bad when we walked.  Rain was called for today.  Got our tickets and eating tickets then we went to figure out what to see first.

While we were figuring out our map that is when it started to rain.  It rained all day long.  At least is was a warm rain.  We still had fun despite the rain.

This park is bigger than San Diego, has more shops and eating places, real restaurants.  The only ride we were interested in was the Penguin Encounter.  They don't have this one in San Diego.  We used our fast pass which was nice.  Got loaded into the little car then waited.  We had to get out, got another pass until they could fix the problem.

We wandered around some more, then decided to eat since we had paid for our dining stuff.  We were really hungry but ate anyway.  For her birthday dinner we wanted to go somewhere nice that served adult beverages.  The only one that fit this criteria was Shark Reef, naturally this was not a participating restaurant for the all day dining.  Went and made a reservation, they closed at 6:00 pm since the park closes at 7:00 pm.  Made our reservation at 4:30, that way we had enough time to make the Shamu Show at 6:00 pm.

We didn't really get our $35 worth of eating out of the deal, but we would have if not for Jennifer's special day.

The only shows we watched were the Shamu Show and the Dolphin Show and they are the same ones as we see in San Diego.

All in all we had a good time, got back to the condo then we went down to the pool to soak in the hot tub after a full day of walking.  That was nice.

Here are a few photos of our fun.