Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday Humor - Men Are Deep Thinkers

My buddy Joe sent this to me and while it's just a little off color, it's too funny not to post.  I also know why the guy refused to answer his wife's questions - I read the joke, mind you, to the ladies and was instantly sucked in to a debate with Bev and Madison - I quickly changed the subject as they refused to take "it was a joke" for an answer.

What deep thinkers men are... I mowed the lawn today, and after doing so I sat down and had a cold beer.  The day was really quite beautiful, and the drink facilitated some deep thinking.
My wife walked by and asked me what I was doing and I said 'nothing'.  The reason I said that instead of saying 'just thinking' is because she would have said 'about what'.  At that point I would have to explain that men are deep thinkers about various topics which would lead to other questions.
Finally I thought about an age old question: Is giving birth more painful than getting kicked in the nuts?  Women always maintain that giving birth is way more painful than a guy getting kicked in the nuts.  Well, after another beer, and some heavy deductive thinking, I have come up with the answer to that question.
Getting kicked in the nuts is more painful than having a baby; and here is the reason for my conclusion. A year or so after giving birth, a woman will often say, "It might be nice to have another child." On the other hand, you never hear a guy say, "You know, I think I would like another kick in the nuts."
I rest my case.
Time for another beer.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

2013 Western Trip – Meeting Vickie

Last year’s semi-aborted western trip was to include a meet up with fellow blogger Vickie (from Part Three –Life After Kids) in Bigfork, MT, but as I’ve reported, we didn’t make it that far.  Vickie is on a blogging hiatus, but we kept in contact and still wanted to put a face with the cyber words.

The plan was for all of us to meet her for breakfast (she knows I love breakfast) at the Echo Lake Café but my girls had to stay at the RV and I went alone.  The Café is located on the Swan Highway about 8 miles northeast of Bigfork and very near Vickie’s home.  I didn’t get a shot of the café but one is available on their website or Vickie's blog.

The place was a little crowded and we had to wait a while for our table on the deck, which gave us time to visit and become acquainted - her step son came out after eating and snapped a photo of us.

After checking the specials board and seeing Cowboy Benedict, I didn’t bother to look at the menu and only had to decide on a whole or half order, I picked the half and glad I did.  It was composed of a biscuit, slice ham, poached egg and topped with sausage gravy.  You know how I dislike the liberties folks take with food names and the only thing benedict about this was it was stacked and contained a poached egg – I ordered it anyway J

It was served with fried potatoes and some sweet cherries that Vickie said were grown all along the eastern shore of Flathead Lake.  We'd been eating a lot of them and the Rainiers since arriving.  Another local favorite is huckleberries which we've learned makes outstanding ice cream and everyone seems to serve it.

I enjoyed my meal and would go back to the restaurant again if in the area.

After the meal, Vickie invited me back to her place where I met husband Dana and her MIL.  She lives in a great location with a view of the mountains and plenty of room to garden and enjoy nature.  View from the deck with the unfortunate smoky haze from the forest fires.

A couple of shots from the deck lifted from Vickie's blog.

They are avid gardeners and while sitting in the nice breeze on porch watching their dogs chase squirrels, they made the mistake of asking me a gardening question.  If you’ve been around this blog very long, you know this is one of my favorite subjects and I could have probably spent the rest of the day talking about it – I love helping people improve their gardens.  This is me with my eyes and ears closed and mouth open.

Vickie and Dana are doing a little pruning on a troubled Honeysuckle.

It was a pleasure to meet both of them and I’m flattered at being invited to their home – I look forward to our next visit with them.  I might have posted one more photo of Vickie save for this email from her which I obviously took seriously - "the shot of me with food in my mouth better not get on the interwebs or I will hunt you down.”  J

Vickie – Just let me know when you need to directions to our place for your southern visit.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/25/2013 event date

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 Western Trip – WY & MT Drive-Thru

This is the post that would have been up a few days ago and is out of order by two posts.

CLARIFICATION - Sorry for the confusion with the last post, but I was referring to missing Yellowstone last year.  We're still heading that way from here.

Since we were on a mission to get to the Glacier NP area, we left the Black Hills of SD, got on I-90 and headed W/NW for three days – this is big country.  On the first day we drove from Hill City, SD to Billings, MT and while early WY was green and rolling, it soon became nearly desert and I’m sure I would not want to live in this area. 

When we got nearer trough Billings, we spent more time in valleys where more green and agriculture was evident then spent the night in the Yellowstone River RV Park and it was a real departure from the vast spaces at Rafter J Bar Ranch

The original KOA was just down the road, but I didn’t want to spend the additional $30 to stay there – I drove thru and it was just a little nicer than ours. 

From Billings, I-90 follows the same valley as the Yellowstone River to Livingston and it looked much different than WY, but it was obvious that as soon as the valley was left, it was dry and brown Google Earth shot.

Sorry about the through-the-window glare.

Our second night was spent at Riverfront RV Park just south of Garrison, MT (the city limit signs at each end of town can be seen from one another).

It was a nice little family owned campground with a work camper (Alan) who looked after things - I was impressed with his solar powered transportation.  

The campground was okay for an over-night but the noise from I-90 traffic and trains passing thru Garrison were a little distracting.  They do a lot of farming in the MT valleys but even have to irrigate their hay fields - something never seen in our area.  Sun up and rolled hay near Deer Lodge, WY.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/21- 8/22/2013 event date

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 Western Trip – Kalispell Finally - Spruce Park

If you’ve been a readier of this blog for a year, you know we made a trip west in our other RV with the intent of visiting Glacier National Park before making a swing back toward home.  After an alternator issue in Rapid City, SD I was afraid to go any further west so we went south through eastern WY and into CO, missing Glacier and Yellowstone.

After leaving Sandie and Jim Dixon in Avon, we drove up the beautiful valley past several gorgeous mountain lakes and through the towns of Seeley Lake and Swan Lake but since all of the scenery was on my side, we didn't get photos - we’re likely to go back the same way and Bev can snap a few shots.

While not without RV issues, we made it to northern Montana and the Spruce Park OnThe River RV Park in Evergreen (next door to Kalispell), MT.  We’re 46 miles from Glacier and about 20 miles from Bigfork on Flathead Lake which is another destination for this visit.

Spruce Park is situated in the evergreen trees and adjacent to the swift running Flathead River and this is the view from our camp site the afternoon of our arrival – one site between us and the river.  The haze is due to the fires in the area.

The caution tape is due to a washed away part of the river bank from high water earlier in the year. 

The next morning I got a shot of sunrise over the Flathead and shortly after a small fishing boat went upstream – I didn’t think the river was deep enough for a motor. 

I got another shot early in the afternoon and the haze seems to be clearing.

Later that afternoon,  Madison and I walked down to the river and here came a rubber raft containing four life jacketless girls and a cooler of beer.  I yelled it looked like they knew how to have fun and they responded they were tough Montana girls – what a hoot but wished I'd had the camera along.

Most of the campground looks pretty typical with some sites being pretty close together.

Tent camping nestled in the trees and beside the river.

We are in an area that was once occupied by mobile homes and therefore have much more room - that's us on the far right and then first from the other direction. 

Plus there is a big open field behind us where the dogs are permitted to play unleashed, which Bodie loved.

I think the site between us and the river may be the only better one in the here.

I walked around the roads with Sweetie this first morning and there seem to be more Alberta, Canada plates than any other - nice that the Canadians are helping out the local economy.  Second was Arizona and I suspect they are the summer-in-MT, winter-in-AZ crowd.

Our first day was spent as a rest up, grocery store, and guy coming for a few repairs day.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/24/2013 event date

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013 Western Trip – Pastys and The Dixon’s

As usual, I’d done a little web research for our trip and discovered that a common food item in Montana is a pasty (pronounced pass- tee), which is a baked meat pie and a place to get them is Louie’s in Deer Lodge, near where we were staying.

When we went to supper at the Broken Arrow Steakhouse and casino (even the gas stations have casinos) in Deer Lodge, we discovered that Louie’s was combined with the Deer lodge Bakery next door to the restaurant.  So while the girls slept the next morning, Sweetie Pie and I drove down to Deer Lodge to visit the bakery.

I walked through the door and took a big step back in time because it looked as it must have a 100 years ago, except the display cases were filled with some of the most gorgeous baked sweets I’d ever seen, but I did not want to be so obvious as to go back to the car to fetch my camera.  One of the things I really liked about the place was the man who followed me in was greeted with “do you want your usual today George?”

I bought a loaf of French bread, a giant apple fritter for Madison (Bev & Pat ate most of it) and a mixed case of beef and chicken pastys ($2.33 ea. by the case vs. $4.50 individually).  They apparently only make them every so often as they were frozen, which was our plan for most of them anyway.

A month or so before leaving on our trip, I had begun reading several RVer blogs, especially full timers, who were traveling around the areas we would be visiting to gain from their experience.  One of them was “Where Are The Dixon’s Today”, written by Sandie about the RV life of her and husband Jim.

Since I knew they were spending the summer in Helena, I asked if they would be interested in a meet-up to which they agreed and we met for breakfast at the Avon Café in Avon, MT which was on our way to Kalispell and about a 30 mile drive for them (a nothing drive in MT).   It was the perfect little hole-in-the-wall place with great breakfast food.

Since Sandie was running low on blog material and my camera (or me) was having an issue, we agreed she would post about the event.  I will say that once again I’ve been rewarded by making the effort to meet fellow bloggers and RVers as the Dixon's are a totally delightful couple that we hope to see again.  Please pop on over to Sandie’s blog (link above) for the rest of the story – she advise we should put gravy on our pastys and there will surely be a post about them in my future.

Since her post is already up, I’m going to skip ahead and post this one out of order and I’ll go back and get the other one tomorrow.

Photo best if enlarged by clicking on it - I'm getting really bad about forgetting to take meal restaurant shots even with Bev's phone..

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/23/2013 event date

Friday, August 23, 2013

2013 Western Trip – Mt. Rushmore & Black Hills Institute

In putting this trip together, I tried to accommodate requests from each of us and for Madison, I’ve included the things she needs to see and do plus the things I know she enjoys.  For today we visited Mt. Rushmore (she needs to do) and the Black Hills Institute of Geologic Research Museum as her want to do.

When we were out her last year, Bev and I just drove by Rushmore and took a few shots, but this time we went in, saw the mountain up close, watched the movie, and looked around.  It was a dreary morning so the shots are not that great but its’s still pretty impressive and a great output from a couple of men’s vision.  Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia.

“South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region.”  “It was Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The entire memorial covers 1,278.45 acres and is 5,725 feet above sea level.”

“After securing federal funding through the enthusiastic sponsorship of "Mount Rushmore's great political patron", U.S. Senator Peter Norbeck, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941.”

From the entrance back to the mountain, you pass through the Avenue Of Flags with one for each state.

“The U.S. National Park Service took control of the memorial in 1933, while it was still under construction, and has managed the memorial to the present day.  It attracts nearly three million people annually.”

From Rushmore, we went into Hill City to visit The Black Hills Museum which is small but packed with minerals, fossils, petrified wood, and dinosaur bones – most of the bones are from the area.  

Madison seems fascinated by rocks so maybe she’s a budding geologist.  They have the second largest complete T Rex after the famous Sue  which is located at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Compare this ancient alligator  mouth to the chair next to it.

This seems to be a sea creature - ancient turtle perhaps.

After this, the ladies drove me the three miles back to the campground and they went back to town for, what else, more shopping.  We finished off the day with tastings at two local wineries, The Naked WinerSD which is a franchise for the original in Hood River, OR, where the wine is made and the Prairie Berry Winery, where they make mostly non-grape fruit wines including the locally famous Red Ass Rhubarb (too sweet for me).

I believe we got our moneys worth from this day.

The night before we left the area, we drove back up to Mt. Rushmore to see it lit up.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/18/2013 event date

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2013 Western Trip – Brule Contemporary Native American Music

Our first full day in the Black Hills was spent with me attending to the RV and dog sitting while the girls went shopping in Hill City.  When they got home, Bev said she’d like to go to a Native American music show that night as it was highly recommended by some folks in town.

My first thought was to not want to go out at night but just sit around the campfire, especially since a show ending at 9 pm Mountain Time is way past me bedtime.  But since Bev really wanted to go and  it sounded like too unique of an opportunity to miss out on, I grilled up some of the brats we’d brought from Wisconsin and off we went.

Man am I glad I did – please take the time to read a little about them on Wikipedia – this is their first year with a tour stop at the High Country Guest Ranch about four miles from Hill City.  They are award winning, have sold over a million CD's, and have appeared TV.

Beside being a French dessert, Brule is the smallest of the seven bands within the Lakota (Sioux) Nation and most reside on the Rosebud Reservation in southwestern SD.  I took 86 shots (digital cameras are great) and here a few of them.

After the show, they were available for photos and greetings and all I could say was “magnificent performance.”  The outstanding music was very contemporary but still Native American and the dancers were incredible, especially the tall guy in yellow.  The dances were all a named ceremonial dance.

They perform Tue-Sat in an open air theater and for $25, I consider this a must see if you’re in this area.  Once again, Madison elected not to go and after we told her she may have just missed one of the big highlights of the trip, she said she would go with us from now on – time will tell.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/17/2013 event date