About Me

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Our names are John and Cathryn.  We live in Kalispell, Montana and recently came back from a year long RV trip together around this beautiful country.  We traveled over 31,000 miles and drove through over 35 states.  It was an adventure to remember and one that sealed a friendship between us that began twenty one months ago that we hope will last the rest of our lives.  As we adjust to living together in our home in this beautiful part of Montana, we are happy, content and enjoying life one day at a time to the fullest!  Life is good!

Monday, August 19, 2013

THE MONTANA SUMMER CONTINUES

RAMBLING THOUGHTS

Sunday, August 11, 2013

It’s Sunday now.  Overcast and starting to cool off after a warm afternoon.  I have been sitting outside reading my C.J. Box novel for about three hours now.  My problem is I could not concentrate on the book and found myself drifting off and thinking of things I didn’t want to think about.

I think I drifted into a state of depression as I kept thinking about how unhappy I am having to live alone, without Pati. I know you've heard this before but this is one of the issues folks like me who have lost someone very close and special have to deal with on a daily basis, like an alcoholic or drug addict I suppose.  The urge to have some type of relief from the explosive feelings one is having of heartbreak or need for something one can’t have is overpowering and continuous. 

I am dealing with the issues I am facing as best I can but I may have to accept the need for professional help eventually since my feelings do not seem to be lessening…..in other words, therapy.  I remember when I quit smoking in the eighties I did it with self hypnosis.  The idea was to create a “short circuit” in the brain to make me not want to a cigarette and after a short time, it actually worked and I have not smoked in 28 years. 

I am not beyond doing whatever is necessary to get through this issue without having weird thoughts and try to have a life beyond what I know I will never have since that day in June of 2012.  I thought working each day would help, and it has to a degree, but there is still a lot of alone time to sit and think about things.  Sometimes this is good and sometimes bad.  When the weather turns cold and I can’t get outside, it will be worse.  Right now I can’t take walks here due to the neighborhood and dogs so I don’t have that relief. 

I have a feeling, as much as I like this place, that it may be too remote and “unfriendly”, with the exception of the folks I work with and the other few friends I have made here.  I have to remember this is a one time thing so what’s next?  At least in Portland I can visit the kids and friends or go to the mall or theater or park and be around people just to feel like “they are there’, even if they don’t even know me.  I miss going to the local pub, McMinnimen’s, for a beer and a burger with my friends  and family. 

Pati and I used to, when we were bored or tired of sitting in the house on cold and rainy days, go to the mall and sit on a bench with an Orange Julius and watch people.  Gosh I loved those times.  I know it was the two of us together doing this but I still think it would work with just me.  We saw a lot of single people just sitting and being part of whatever was going on around them.  It probably helped them to feel “included” just by being part of the crowd.

Later, in Texas, there was only the two of us most of the time but we sure enjoyed each other’s company, especially when we could just sit on our back porch, our veranda, and watch the birds and deer and squirrels and butterflies.  It was very peaceful and I am really glad we had those “alone” times “together”.  It always amazed me how we never had to fill the quiet with frivolous talk….we just loved being together. 


This feeling may have been sparked today when I called my little granddaughter, Kaitlen, to wish her happy birthday.  She is only five years old and asked me if she could come visit me.  It made me sad to tell her I was far away and it couldn’t happen now.  I will see her in Portland in about two months but I wish I could just crank up the truck and take off tomorrow and go see her and my sons and family.

These feelings bring me to some thoughts about where I spent last winter.  I was lucky enough to be in an RV park in Rockport, Texas where everyone, and I mean everyone, was so friendly and talkative that I had a hard time just trying to get in a daily walk around the park!  That tells me they were also looking for some type of human interaction from the folks around them too.   I also spent a lot of time with my sister, Hazel and Cousin Edna in Dallas helping them with issues since they have two homes and very busy life’s.  It kept me busy and I enjoyed it and being with them.







I really enjoyed that time and am trying to figure out how to make that happen again.  Maybe I will have to go to Rockport again this winter to make it happen.  Or maybe I will try staying in Portland around the boys, weather permitting.   Or maybe I will find another RV park where I feel a part of the group, like what happened in Rockport.  The boys both have their own life’s and jobs and families so I am probably the last person they want hanging around.  What to do?  Where to go?  Decisions.  Decisions.

REFRIGERATOR PROBLEMS

Monday, August 12, 2013

OK……I got through that crisis only because another “crisis” happened that diverted my attention.  This crisis left me a little poorer as a result.   My little fan that goes in my refrigerator and keeps the coil fins free of icing up stopped so I ordered another one.  I picked it up at the Post Office and Marcie, the Postmistress, decided to talk to me for the first time.  I thought it was nice that she remembered my name whenever I would come in and ask for my general delivery mail.  Today she asked me where I live and what I am doing.

She is a very nice lady and we had a good discussion, mainly about me.  I suppose I will be well known around this little town pretty soon now.   She is married and I am not interested so that is not the issue.  After our discussion, and carrying the little package I went to the Post Office to retrieve, I headed back to my LTR.  I had ordered that replacement fan and I intended to put it in.



All was well and I was feeling pretty good and busy and not down on myself like I was a few days earlier.  I tried installing the little fan just as the instructions said and nothing happened….it didn’t work.  All of a sudden the refrigerator light went off and I could not get the refrigerator to start back up again, either by gas or ac.  This is a major problem since I am a food hog and my refrigerator is always bulging at the seams.

I went outside and tested everything I knew about and then I called Mac, my brother in Hurricane, Utah.  Mac knows everything and I am so lucky to have him first on my speed dial.  I was sure he could walk me through my issue and resolve this problem.  Well, with me doing the testing with a meter, we tested it all and came to the conclusion that the circuit board was fried somehow and had to be replaced.  We are talking about a circuit board that costs about $150.00 and not available locally or maybe within this state!  Replacing it is not a major issue but finding one is.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It was late so I did some Internet research and found that they are carried by an RV dealer in Kallispel, the nearest big town.  This morning  I called the parts department as soon as they opened at 8am.  Sure enough they had one in stock so I told them I would come in this afternoon and get it and I paid for it etc. so I could be sure it was there.  Then I asked the parts man how to get to their business and he told me and I was confused and said I am coming from East Glacier Park on Hwy. 2.  He said he is in Billings, Montana!

I had called an 800 number thinking I was talking to a guy in Kallispel and he’s in Billings, about 500 miles away. Anyway, it was the same RV dealer network, just a different location so he checked the Kallispel store and they did not have a circuit board in stock.  What to do?!  I could keep looking but chances are if the biggest RV dealer in the state doesn’t have one it is unlikely a smaller dealer would.  So we discussed UPS and he said he could have it to me tomorrow if all went right.  If all went right?  What choice do I have?

This story is not over yet…..surprised?  I went ahead and ordered it and then I went to work.  I told Bob and Diane about my plight and I decided I needed to empty my refrigerator when I finished work and transfer my food to containers with ice until tomorrow.  This was not a bad plan since the refrigerator needed to be defrosted anyway.  So, I borrowed an ice chest from Bob and I had two throw away Styrofoam small ice chests that were left at a cabin so I was going to try to get it all iced down.  I actually did get everything in four containers with ice for now and I cleaned out and defrosted the refrigerator.
 
After all of that, I went back outside and looked at the circuit board again and noticed that the little, very little, 3amp fuse looked like it had been cooked.  I took the board out of the very difficult position in the side compartment and looked again at the fuse but it was difficult to tell so I called Bob and he said to bring it to the shop and we would check it out.  Diane does engraving as a side trade and has a high power scope she uses for delicate work so Bob checked it under the scope and agreed the fuse was broken.

This made me think this may have been my problem in the first place so Bob and I drive to the Napa Store in Browning and I buy some 3 and 5amp fuses to try to make this thing work. 

Long story short…it didn’t work.  My refrigerator is still totally dead and I cannot get it to spark at all.  So…..as much as I wanted to save some bucks, I am still on the same track and hope like hell that circuit board gets here tomorrow and I can put it in and fire it up and it works. That would be the right thing to happen but will it with my kind of luck?  I will let you know tomorrow, if it even gets here.  I need a break!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Actually, if all goes well and as planned, I have Thursday and Friday off and I plan to go to the county fair in Kallispel.  That may be fun and I would be around a bunch of people and animals.  I always like the livestock areas.  I also want to drive over to a town called Big Fork for lunch and see what the area is like.  It’s on the north end of  Flathead Lake.   I probably should be hiking and looking for bears but with my luck lately I would probably get eaten by one!

It is going to start getting colder in the next two or three weeks.  Summer in this part of the country is short and Fall starts early.  I still plan to leave here no later than the end of September but I will leave earlier if the weather takes a turn for the worse.  I plan to have everything in order and ready to roll the second week of September just in case. I really need to consider making reservations at an RV park in the Portland area pretty soon too.  After working for my rent plus making some wages for six months it is going to be hard to pay rent, especially in a big city where it is pretty steep.  I will keep my eye open for a campground host position someplace I want to be after Thanksgiving.  I’m not big on Christmas and New Years so it doesn’t matter where I am as long as it is not freezing.

OK….I just went to the corner store and bought more ice for my food chests today and it is all doing well.  Dexter is sitting in front of me on his blanket looking out the window and waiting for his treats he gets each morning when I leave and come home.  Now I have to go to work.  Unlike yesterday, it is a beautiful day outside, sun shining brightly and the birds singing and I’m wearing shorts.  Looks like it’s gonna be a warm one.  Let’s hope that circuit board comes in today…..and it works.

It did arrive today!  I put it in and all is back to normal, even the new little fan is  working.   Now I have to let the refrigerator cool down to normal.  That will take all night so I should be able to put it all back together tomorrow morning.  What a tough last few days! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I feel like I am writing a daily journal instead of a blog but things are starting to get back to normal now.  I put all my stuff back in the refrigerator although some of the meat was getting thawed out I think it will be fine.  I was able to defrost it and clean it up so that job is done for about six months.  It amazes me how dirty the shelves can get inside.  I should wipe everything down before I put it in I guess but I don’t think of it.

After that chore I decided to clean this trailer top to bottom and wash my linens and few clothes so I did and all is in good shape for now.  I read a bit this afternoon and saved back one of the thawed steaks for dinner tonight.  Tomorrow I am going to the County Fair early before it gets to warm.  I can’t wait to check out the livestock barns and have a greasy burger or maybe a corn dog! 

I only have six more weeks here so my next days off I need to go back into the park and go on some more hikes or go fishing and look for a real story….like a bear or fish story!  I do want to take the boat rides on the other lakes too.  So much to do, so little time.  I am so lucky Dexter is a patient little dog that is willing to sit in the window and wait for my return each day and still give me my hug as I give him his hug and treats. 

Benjamin Patrick Murray

Monday, August 19, 2013

I am really saddened today by an email from my son Josh letting me know my precious little one year old grandson, Ben, has been admitted to Dornbecker’s Children’s Hospital in Portland.  At this time Josh is not too sure what happened but the doctor’s are concerned about Ben’s heart.  Josh will keep me informed but I wanted to put Ben’s picture out there for anyone who is reading this blog and ask that you keep him in your prayers and good thoughts. 

Ben was born prematurely last August 16th and has been struggling since to try and catch up with himself.  He is a very brave little boy and Josh and Kathleen’s first child.  I know I will be praying for Ben by name and hope he makes it through this issue without any complications.

I sent Ben a little Grizzly bear for his birthday and Josh said he was clutching it when he got sick and he continues to hold onto it in the hospital.  Maybe that little bear will bring Ben the extra strength he needs to get through this thing.  I sure hope so.  I have some fishing plans in about five or six years that include Ben.

Say hello to Ben and his Dad.  I wish I had his hair!  Hang in there my Little Man.  I love you.










Friday, August 9, 2013

GLACIER PARK SUMMER CONTINUES

I THINK I GOT A HUG FROM MY ANGEL TODAY

Sunday, August 3, 2013

Today was another busy work day for me.  It was Roberta’s day off and Bob had gone to their in ranch in Big Sandy for the day.  Diane and I had a lot of housekeeping to do before the guests started arriving.  I had five cabins to clean and six beds to change. 

As I was cleaning cabin #1, I kept hearing a sound like a weed-wacker outside.  Since I am the official weed-wacker guy around here I knew something was not right.  Finally I looked around and above me was a solid glass window and a hummingbird was trying to get out.  He (or she) had somehow flown into the cabin and couldn’t figure out how to get out…..probably flew in when I had the door open as I sometimes do when cleaning.

I climbed up on the counter so I could try and catch the little bird and I was able to put my cap over him so he would settle down.  Once that happened, he just sat there while I picked him up carefully and cradled him in my hands.  He was so small and beautiful…greenish colored.  He was shaking and scared to move I am sure.  Can you imagine?  This would be like being Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk when he met up with the giant!

I took the little fella outside and sat him on the wood railing on the front porch.  He sat for a few seconds and then took off like a rocket!  Unfortunately I didn’t have my phone or a camera with me to take his picture….he sure was pretty.   I have never held a hummingbird in my hands before and it was very special.  It was especially special because he didn’t hurt himself or die and I watched him fly away straight up into the sky until I couldn’t see him anymore.

 I wonder if I just had a visit from a very special Angel I know that may have decided to just drop in to for a quick hug before she flew back to Heaven after doing her Earthly duties. 

It makes me feel good to think so since sitting on our back porch in Texas watching the hummingbirds was Pati’s favorite place to be.

OLD BLUE IS UNDER THE WEATHER 
       
We have two golf carts at the Lodge that we use to move our stuff from cabin to cabin while cleaning.  They are really important because we have to carry a large basket of linens and towels and our cleaning “bucket” with all our cleaning supplies and replacement items for the kitchen and a vacuum and mop and broom.  That’s just one way.  When done, we have dirty linens, towels and trash to bring back.

Well, my golf cart, Old Blue I call him, decided he was a little tired so he slowed down to the point of crawling.  Bob and I tried everything to figure out the problem with no success.  Yesterday, Diane and I had to share one cart which meant changing our whole strategy to get the job done.  We were able to do it without a lot of work on our part, like carrying heavy loads from point A to point B.

Today Berta and I had to share one cart, Berta’s cart, so you can imagine who was carrying most of the load.  Fortunately, my four cabins only had one that was leaving and the others were what we call “stay overs”.  I used Berta’s cart to get all my stuff in the area and put it all on Old Blue, who was dead for all intents and purposes.  I then was able to accomplish my duties without too much effort.  Since the folks in the Loft decided to sleep in and not leave until after 11am, checkout time, I even had time to do some weed-wacking in areas I had not gotten to before.

I tell you this because this morning I really didn’t want to even get out of bed.  I just felt “off” and it never got better.  I didn’t even want to go to work.  I have been dragging around all day so after work I decided to take a little nap around 3pm.  Well, that turned out to be a two hour nap!  I will admit I feel a little better as I write this but not 100%.  

MONTANA HOSPITALITY

Monday, August 5th, 2913

I was invited by my temporary new neighbors that are staying in the little cabin beside my rig to dinner tonight at Tony’s house.  Remember that Tony owns the land and cabin I sit on and these are friends of his that live in Arizona but used to live here.  They are really nice folks and very friendly.

Rich used to own a bar here many years ago but he got lucky and thought of the idea of putting a face on a coffee mug.  Well…he patented that and is now very successful with companies around the world putting faces on mugs and selling them.  His wife, Linda, is a RN and has her own clinic in Mesa Grande, Arizona.

Anyway….Rich made dinner for Tony a few days back and he and Linda brought me a plate of some very good Enchalas.  Tonight Linda is going to cook dinner and they invited me to come to Tony’s house and join them.   I don’t even know what we are having but I bet it will be good.  I had one good bottle of wine left so I gave it to them for the occasion.

Linda told me she will write a prescription for Dexter to become a “service dog” for me so I can take him into places that would not otherwise allow him to enter.  This is kinda neat because he is a service dog and served Pati for many years while she was struggling through her issues.  He never left her side and gave her great comfort so Dexter defiantly deserves the title and the privileges that come with it.  My big concern is how do I stop him from lifting his leg on every table leg in the place!

I really enjoyed my dinner tonight.  I met Tony’s sister, Jane, who lives in a beautiful home behind the Grand Lodge and golf course.  She is about 80 years old and very witty and cusses and drinks like a sailor!  I liked her immediately. 

Linda made beef short ribs with rice and/or potatoes and salad for dinner.  It was wonderful and I can’t remember the last time I had short ribs.  I brought home two of the bones for Dexter to chew on.  They are good for removing tarter from his teeth.

I had a good time with a bunch of folks I’ve only known a short time but feel like I’ve known them much longer.

Friday, August 9th, 2013

It is Friday now and overcast and rainy.  I can’t even see the mountains as I sit here typing but it is still morning.  I slept in today because I couldn’t seem to get to sleep last night so I took a couple of sleep aid pills about the middle of the night that I bought at Costco.   They must have worked because I didn’t wake up until 9am.

As I am sitting here writing I am listening to my CD music.  Ronnie Milsap is singing “It Was Almost Like A Song” and it makes me think of Pati and makes me very sad.  In the song he loses his love too for an unknown reason but he makes a point that this kind of love only comes once in every life.  I don’t think  I will ever hear another sad country song without tearing up and wishing I had my girl back with me.  Every day is so empty without her to share it with. 

I didn’t mean to drift off and feel sorry for myself again but it is therapeutic to me to write about my feelings at times.  In the book I am reading for the third time, “Seven Choices; Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World”, the author  talks about how important it is to talk with someone who will simply listen as you talk about  your grief and feelings.  I really haven’t had anyone like that around since Pati died so I am using this forum to talk about my feelings.

Dexter and I drove over to Kalispell yesterday to get some things.  I bought some grapes, sandwich rolls and avocados at Costco and took half of them over to Diane and Bob since I just don’t have enough refrigerator space to keep them.

I am cooking eight big grand biscuits in my little toaster oven now and they sure smell good.  I have some sausage gravy ready to make on the stove burner and I am going to have my favorite breakfast in a few minutes….biscuits and gravy. 

I have tried, without success, to find a place around here that knows how to make biscuits and gravy so I will make my own from now on.  I will also have about five biscuits left over to have with my dinners the next few days.  Waldo (brother) sent me his curry chicken recipe so I plan to make that with some veggies and avocado and a big grand biscuit the next few nights.

Well I had my breakfast and it was pretty good but I don’t really like the McCormick gravy mix as much as the Pioneer gravy mix I had down in Texas.  It wasn’t available at the store here but I am sure I will be able to get some when I get back to Oregon.  If not, I will just have to have Hazel mail me a bunch of packets.

All afternoon I have been up and down the ladder to the trailer roof installing new vent fans and rain covers.  It has been quiet a job and I am tired from being on my knees and going up and down.  Typical of me, I installed one fan backwards so I had to do it twice. 

I swear, getting old is a real bitch.  It’s times like this that I realize how age takes away my ability to do the things I used to do.  All I have left to do is install the inside trim over the bed and it is giving me a hard time.  I have walked away from it and I am relaxing with a nice Maker’s Mark whiskey (or two) and writing while I listen to my cd’s. 

These fans will be real important when I am dry camping or “boondocking” without power during hot weather.  They also work very well at preventing condensation in the trailer during cold weather.  One of the fans is reversible and can bring in cool air or take out hot air.  The one in the kitchen is an exhaust fan and takes the heat out while pulling in cool air from an open window.  So I can have fresh air flow by using one or both as needed.  My bedroom fan is reversible and has a remote so it will be really nice at night.

I have one more to install in the bathroom before I leave here if I can.  There is a very small and loud fan in there now and I am replacing it with a fan like I put in the kitchen to exhaust out the wet air during my showers.  I don’t want to have any mold in my home.   I like to keep fresh air flowing at all times, day and night.

It is after five now and the sun came out and it is beautiful with white puffy clouds and blue sky.  My Droid says it is 71 degrees outside now…pretty nice.   I am sure sorry for the folks in Texas and other southern states that are still  fighting the heat.

I am a little hungry since I didn’t eat any lunch but I think I will keep it light tonight with  an avocado, tomato and some cold chicken from that chicken I bought at Costco. Later…maybe after 6 or 7pm.

I am listening to the Statler Brothers singing “Do You Remember When” and it sure brings back memories of yesteryear.  I am so lucky to have grown up in the 50’s and 60’s, what a great time to grow up and have the memories of it, especially growing up in the country in rural Texas.  I love listening to music and letting it take me wherever the memory is….even the memories I don’t want to remember that make me sad.  I think that’s what life is all about…..memories, good and bad. 

I have been making some good memories the past year since Pati passed and I hope some of them, and my new and old friends, will help me see that life can be beautiful and rewarding after the loss of a spouse.  Maybe in the coming months and years these memories I am making now will be front and center and my grief of some past memories will be less.  I don’t want to ever forget the past but I do want to be happier and less sad and feel that there is a reason God chose Pati and not me to join him in Heaven. 

My greed and selfishness tell me that she should still be here with me but my heart and logic tell me that she had suffered enough with her health issues.  I know I could not have lasted as long as Pati did with all the surgeries and health issues she went through.  Her passing was for a reason and, as much as I miss her, I am relieved she is not in pain and suffering and sad anymore.  I know she is in a place that does not know such pain or turmoil and I know some day we will be together again in Heaven, without all the problems we faced the past twenty years.


I am looking forward to leaving this job because there is no church here due to the location. I miss and want to attend church but I also work on Sundays.  I like the feeling of fellowship and love and I will get back to that when I leave here.  It has really helped me the past year to go to church and and hope there is something beyond “now”.  I am only saying this has helped me and I am not critical of others that have their own beliefs about religion or non-religion. They will cross that bridge, no pun intended, when the time comes. 



Friday, August 2, 2013

ROAD TRIP TO LOGAN PASS AND POLEBRIDGE


GOING TO THE SUN ROAD

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Today Dexter and I took a long road trip from East Glacier to the St. Mary’s entrance to Glacier National Park  and then we took the “Going To The Sun” highway across Logan Pass to West Glacier.  It is about 50 miles from one entry point to the other and goes up to about 7000 feet at the top of Logan Pass.
 
It was spectacular to say the least.  I could see forever it seemed and the road was narrow with very long drop-offs so it was a white knuckle drive, especially when the cars coming my direction were hugging the center line or actually over it a bit.

I stopped at the top of Logan Pass and was walking on an overlook when two mountain goats appeared.  One was pretty big and very friendly so I took his picture and some other pictures of the vast area seen from the overlook.  Later, down the road, I was checking the camera and it was locked up and the screen told me I had to format the card.  Well….I lost the goat pictures and I don’t know what else.  I used my back up camera and still got some good pictures that give an idea of the area.  I was able to get the Cannon back to working after formatting so not sure what happened.

Logan Pass taken with the Nikon Coolpix

Logan Pass 

McDonald Lake taken with my Cannon EOS

The worse part about today’s trip was that there was a lot, and I mean a lot, of road construction going on and there was a lot, again a lot, of visitors in the park.  I did not really like it but that’s the way it was and probably will be until after school starts in most places in September.  I think I will just stay over on the East Glacier side and do my rides and hikes at Two Medicine and Many Glacier.  They are not even crowded compared to the West Glacier area.  I finally got my birth certificate and sent it in so I should have a passport soon and I can go to Canada and Waterton.

POLEBRIDGE, MONTANA

Polebridge is about twenty five miles north of  West Glacier and fifteen of those miles are gravel.  I was curious about this place because a friend once sent me an email and some pictures from a friend of his that had moved to the Kallispell area and took a ride up to Polebridge.

Fifteen miles of dusty gravel road



That's all folks!

 
Well, there is not a lot in Polebridge, only a few buildings and some cabins, but there is a Mercantile that has been there over one hundred years and still going.  It is a beautiful area close to the Canadian border.  They are famous locally for their bakery items and hot sandwiches.  I bought a pulled pork sandwich  encased in their homemade pastry bread and some huckleberry bearclaws to take back to the folks where I am working.  The sandwich was great, especially with the local cold micro brew I washed it down with.  I am going to have my bear claw for breakfast so I will report on that in the morning but it sure looks good.  Huckleberry is the big thing up here in this area and pies are supposed to be really special. I also bought me a cap with the area name on it …. seems I just have to do this when I see an unusual baseball type cap.

I stopped once at the most referred pie shop in this area on my way to Kallispel and I could not bring myself to pay twenty five dollars for a huckleberry pie so I passed.  Heck, my cap from Polebridge cost me twenty bucks but I will have that for years!   I guess I am going to have to do it just so I can say I did it.  Seems pretty steep for a pie but I need to know what all the fuss is about.  In Oregon we have Marionberry pies and they are the best, especially with Tillimook Vanilla ice cream so I need to compare the two before I leave this area.

MY FIRST TIRE BLOWOUT EVER!

It may have happened and I have forgotten but I don’t think so.  On my way back to East Glacier I had a tire blowout!  I could tell something was wrong as the truck was not riding smooth when all of a sudden it happened.  Fortunately it was on the rear, not the front that can affect steering going at highway speed. 

To top it off, I was stuck in an area on Hwy 2 going through the mountains where there is no cell service.  I have two roadside services and couldn’t call either one for help.    Not being familiar with the truck since I had just purchased it in April, I got out the manual and read it.  I had no choice but to change that tire and get home and worry about what I would do next later.  I was going to take a picture of my blow out but forget but you know what a blown tire looks like...depressing!

As I was trying to figure out how to get the spare out from under the rear of the truck another truck pulled up close by.  I asked the driver if his phone had cell service and it did not so I explained my problem.  He said we will just have to put the spare on so he jumped right in and helped me do it.  Actually he did most of the work!  What a nice man to help an old man out in the heat when he didn’t have to.  He sure wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty either.  They were a family from Canada and I was sure the lucky guy to have them stop by because his daughter was car sick.  His name was Don and he has my thanks for the help he gave me.  I won’t forget that good deed and I will be sure to pass it own when my time comes to help someone else.

Once I got back to my LTR and relaxed I started checking on the price of tires.  I knew I would need to replace the truck tires but not this soon.  I am a big fan of Les Schwabb so I called the store in Columbia Falls, the nearest town they are in, and got a quote.  My BFT has big expensive tires!  A set of four Toyo twenty inch load range E tires is going to cost me $1300.  I really have no choice but to do it and I have to put on four tires, not one good tire.  If that one blew out, the others are going to do the same.  I kind of lost confidence in Michelin with this sidewall blowout too since that’s what I have on the truck.  I put Toyo tires on my big diesel pusher years ago and I was very pleased so that’s what I am going to do again tomorrow.  

When I get to Oregon I am going to have to buy four more tires for the LTR (trailer).  I have had the trailer four years in  October so the tires are probably over four years old which makes them unstable, regardless of thread wear.  I will do some research on line and see what some users think before I do it.
Right now I am hungry and I have a pan of chicken chili warming on the stove and I am going to add some shredded cheese and crushed cheese nachos (I’m out of Frito's) and enjoy it right out of the little pot.  Ummm…good!  J  

OK…tomorrow is today now and I did buy and install new tires on the truck.   As much as I needed to keep the money, this was a real justified expense.  It feels good to have good rubber between me and the road.  I did notice a little vibration when I got above sixty mph coming home but I will give it a few weeks to see if it settles out…if not I have to drive all the way back into Columbia Falls for them to check it out….maybe balancing is off.  It is a real pain being so far from routine services.  I could never live this far out from things that make my life more comfortable.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wow….this month flew by and it is almost over.  Today was a slow day and only about an hour of work so I helped Bob measure some iron rails he is making for a friend that owns a cabin way up in the woods.  I was in the loft and I forgot to duck and hit my head on a very big beam.  It sure hurts!

I was hoping to see a bear since this place is back in the woods but no such luck.  The folks from Maryland that are staying in the Bunkhouse cabin told us they took a day long trail ride horse trail ride today up in Many Glacier and didn’t see anything but nice scenery and when they got in their car to drive back they saw five bears on the highway coming  out of  Many Glacier.  I have got to spend more time there.

Today is a cool day so I decided to clean up the travel trailer after work.  I started with the roof and it was amazing to me how dirty it gets with all the rain that falls on it.  I had to scrub it with my long handle brush just like washing the sides and I finally  I had to wash the whole trailer too.  It looks darn good now but it was a job going up and down the ladder.  It isn’t too often I find the opportunity to wash my trailer like I did today while on the  road.  Most RV parks prohibit washing vehicles or rigs and most dry camping areas don’t have water available so this is a real treat.  My goal is to have the trailer and truck waxed before we leave here.

My next job is to go onto the roof and install the new vent fans I bought to help out this winter and next summer.  I have one for the bedroom and the bathroom.  It is a hard job switching them out and caulking it so there are no leaks etc but it will be worth it.  The fan that I am putting in the bedroom is two way and has a remote control…nice.  I will probably get one installed Friday when I have the days off.  I really do want to go up to Many Glacier Thursday and look for bears!

MY NEW BOOK – “OPEN SEASON” BY C.J. BOX

Roberta, the very nice lady that works with me at the Lodge is the city Librarian and she brought me the first book in a series of ten written by an author named C.J. Box.  This book is titled “Open Season” and it is about a new game warden in Wyoming named Joe Pickett.  I am really enjoying this book and character.  I will read as many as I can while I am here and then order the others from Amazon to my ipad so I can stay in sequence with them.  I always enjoy a good book that makes me feel like I am right there with the character.

The first book in the series

I finished reading the first book in the  series and I am starting on the second one, “Savage Run”.  I highly recommend this author if you have the chance.  Be sure to read his Joe Pickett series in order or it won’t make as much sense.

2nd book in the series

Today is a good day to read since it is raining outside and cold.  It is only 52 degrees out now and it is after 10am.  It is Friday, August 2nd already and my day off.  In addition to reading, I am going to wash my laundry and linens and clean up the inside of the trailer. 

MANY GLACIER HIKE

Yesterday I treated myself to going out for breakfast.  I tried a little place called Luna’s and I tried their biscuits and gravy.  This is the second place I have tried biscuits and gravy and these folks up here don’t know how to make either one very good.  I think I will just stick to my own that I can make for a lot less in my LTR.  I am amazed every time I choose to go out to eat how expensive it is!  Of course there are not many choices around here so that makes it easy for me not to go out too often.

After breakfast and checking on Dexter, I drove about 60 miles north to an area of the park called Many Glacier and looked around.  This is the area of the park where grizzly bears and big horn sheep are common and I hoped to see some.

I took a good hike up to a waterfall.  The map showed it was only a mile to the falls with a 700 foot elevation gain.  Seemed pretty good to me until I started and realized pretty quickly that that elevation gain was similar to climbing stairs!  It was a strenuous hike but I needed the exercise.  Actually it was more difficult coming back down and I was very cautious not to slip and fall.  Here is what the view was like from that hike.  The timer on the pictures show it took me about 45 minutes to go up.

Starting up the mountain.  That little dark spot in the upper middle is my truck parked on the road.

Looking up that is my objective.

Looking down to where I started,

And the trail goes up, up, up

Being from Oregon, this did not really impress me when I got to the top.

I drove around looking for animals but didn’t see any so I decided to go into the historic Many Glacier Hotel to have lunch and see what it was like.  Since it was a cool day, they had the big central fireplace going and people were sitting all around and a fellow was playing the piano.  It was real nice but the only thing missing for me was having Pati with me.  It would have been so nice to enjoy this with her.  Doing things and going places by myself is just not fun and never will be again I guess.
 
The Many Glacier Hotel is a beautiful old hotel built when the park was first established in the late 1800’s.  I had a burger and a beer and sat on the back deck and enjoyed the view and took some pictures.  There were old pictures of when the hotel was built on all the walls and I read that over 100 of the 125 glaciers in Glacier Park have disappeared in the past 100 plus years due to global warming.  What I thought was snow at this time of the year is actually glaciers.  You can see them in these pictures.

The Historic Many Glacier Hotel

Looking from the deck of the hotel you can see the glaciers.

More views of the glaciers

Well, it is still raining outside and Dexter refuses to go out and do his business.  I left my gore-tex parka in the truck yesterday so I am going to get wet if I try to go to the laundry mat or, as they are called in Texas, the washateria.  I wonder who thought of that name.

 I think I will just download my pictures and upload and publish this blog and hope it will quit raining after a while.  If not, this is going to be a long day.  It’s a good thing I have a warm trailer, a good pal, a good book and lots of good dvd movies to keep me entertained.  Right now I really miss having a Costco or a mall close by to go kill time at. 

Oh well….less than two months left before we leave here for Portland and I will be complaining about all the traffic and people and rain and cold.  I best enjoy what I have while I have it.