Top Ten Pictures of 2017

Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2017. We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2017 🙂

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links … and just an FYI, all votes are anonymous, your name does not show up anywhere.

Top Ten Pictures of 2016

Top Ten Pictures Of 2015

Top Ten Pictures Of 2014

Top Ten Pictures Of 2013

Now off to 2017 …

Sunset, American Girl Mine Road, California. Picture taken 4 January 2017

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. Picture taken 21 March 2017.

Duck, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 4 May 2017.

Okanagan Lake, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 5 June 2017.

Pend Oreille River, Montana. Picture taken 25 September 2017.

Butterfly, Denver, Colorado. Picture taken 29 September 2017.

Close-up of Balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Picture taken 14 October 2017.

Balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Picture taken 14 October 2017.

Devil’s Bridge Hike, Sedona, Arizona. Picture taken 27 October 2017.

Snowy Landscape, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 20 December 2017.

Until next time …

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Close Call For The Flip Flops

I almost tossed the flip flops in the closet and pulled out my socks and boots, but I’m a die hard flip flop lover and I just couldn’t do it, even though it was only 1C, 34F when we left Butte, MT yesterday! Now I’m not completely crazy, it wasn’t long before I was in the warm truck and by noon the temperature was 22C, 72F so flip flops were appropriate 🙂

Yup that snow on them thar hills. I’m glad hubby found us a valley to travel through!

Just outside of Butte we crossed the continental divide, it was all down hill from there! We also noticed signs stating “Truck Speed Limit 45” and then “Truck Speed Limit 35” followed by “Truck Speed Limit 25”, which was a clear indication to us that there was a long downhill stretch coming and they were trying to slow the trucks down … and it was a long hill! It is long hills like that when hubby really appreciates his engine brake, he didn’t have to hit the brakes once down the hill.

As we came down the hill we hit the prairies and did a little happy dance because it’s only going to get warmer now 🙂

Our original plan was to spend the night in Billings, MT but as we got closer hubby decided we might as well continue on. Traffic was light, we had clear blue skies, and no real plans for Billings, so hubby thought we should continue on to Casper, WY and gain back the day we lost in Missoula. I wasn’t complaining because we turned south just after we left Billings and that just meant we are closer to warmer temperatures!

 

As we approached the state line Montana treated us to a beautiful show of fall colors.

All the colorful trees disappeared when we crossed into Wyoming.

I was finally able to get a picture of what we think are antelope. They have been gracing the fields along our entire drive today so I was happy to finally get a picture.

Until next time …

All Is Well That Ends Well!

That was a favorite saying of my Dad’s and I’m pretty sure he was overseeing the last few days from heaven 🙂  You never want a breakdown to occur, especially one that requires your unit being towed, but our breakdown could not have gone better!

To start with we were only two miles from Missoula and we had cell phone service, which had been hit and miss all day. As we went to bed on Monday night we both commented on how calm we were throughout the event … and we didn’t even get mad at each other.

On reflection Good Sam Roadside Assistance did everything they could, they kept in touch with us throughout the process and the only reason for the delay was the trouble they were having finding the right company to help us, and they definitely sent the right company.

Iron Horse Towing, along with hubby and JW of Timberline Truck and Trailer, worked hard to get our truck and Maxx safely on the flat bed and safely off again once back at the shop.

Timberline Truck and Trailer went above and beyond … JW walked down the busy interstate and retrieved our triangles, drove us to the shop (by the time we arrived it was closed for the day) and entertained us with great conversation while we were waiting for the tow truck to arrive, got Maxx set up with power, and then gave us his private cell phone number in case we had any problems during the night! And it turns out Timberline is a Forest River dealer which makes it easy for them to get parts for Maxx and deal with our warranty … thanks Good Sam for finding Timberline for us 🙂

Yesterday they had Maxx in the shop even before the axle arrived, even though they were very busy with other jobs, and had us on our way shortly after 3:00 p.m.. While Maxx was being worked on we headed to Costco, JW reminded us that we would be unable to access Maxx while he was in the shop but we were welcome to put stuff in their fridge or freezer until Maxx was done … these guys are at the top of customer service!

Hubby was even able to straighten up our bodywork damage while they were waiting for the parts to fix Maxx. Somewhere along our travels the damaged bodywork will be fixed under this warranty claim.

While sitting at the side of the highway on Monday I called our youngest son who manages a Penske Trucking office and he told me that everything should be covered under our warranty. So hubby called our extended warranty company and they were able to give Timberline Truck and Trailer the work order number while we were sitting on the side of the highway … the only cost to us is our $50.00 deductible!

Yes we definitely had help from above 🙂

So now we are waking up in Butte, MT and are only one day behind, which is no big deal because we had some time to kill before we need to be in Albuquerque, NM for the Balloon Festival in October.

Until next time …

Into Montana

Before we left home hubby did some research and decided that our best route from Sandpoint, ID to Butte, MT was to take Highway 200 into Missoula and then join up with I-90. Highway 200, a two-lane highway, follows a valley along the river and rail tracks and has light traffic and pretty scenery. Taking this route allowed us to avoid a high pass west of Missoula on I-90.

As we entered Montana the road continued to provide little traffic and great scenery. The only other concern we had with taking this route was forest fires, but other than a deserted fire camp we didn’t see any signs of fire so that was good.

  

But all that good stuff came to an abrupt stop two miles east of Missoula 😦  All of the sudden I heard hubby say some not so nice words and then he quickly pulled over to the side of I-90, all we could see was smoke billowing out the rear drivers side of Maxx.

On closer inspection hubby found that a bearing had let go on the rear driver side tire and shot the tire out damaging Maxx as it went.  Once that happen a frame piece dropped down on the front tire destroying it.

A Good Samaritan picked up our tire and brake drum assembly, he then continued to drive along I-90 until he found us … we couldn’t be more grateful!  Other than missing it’s center cap the tire is fine which is awesome because it was a brand new tire that had just been replaced last week!

Fortunately we travel with safety triangles and safety vests so we don the vests and put out the triangles. I called Good Sam Roadside Assistance while hubby tried to wave traffic over; we definitely were not in a good location.

Good Sam said they would get someone out to help us but in the meantime told us to call highway patrol which hubby did.

Now I wish it was easy after that but it took highway patrol an hour and a half, and two phone calls, to show up but they did finally send Fish and Game out (they arrived about ten minutes before Highway Patrol). It was great to finally have some flashing lights and people were moving over, but once Highway Patrol arrived they said we were fine without them!  We were inside the white line (by a fraction) and we had our safety triangles up so we had done everything right. We were told to stay on the other side of the guardrail until the tow truck came and we would be fine!

Good Sam also called around that time and said someone should be out soon to help us. Two hours after our initial call for help Timberline Truck and Trailer showed up and we honestly can’t say enough about how great RW was! He took a look at the damage and said we would need a tow truck so he could get Maxx into his shop and put in a new rear axel. Forty-five minutes later Iron Horse towing arrived with a flat deck truck to tow both the truck and Maxx to the shop. Again we can’t say enough about the tow truck operator either. It took the two guys and hubby to get Maxx fixed up enough to drive him on to the flat deck and that all happened with traffic flying by at 70 to 80 miles an hour! I was doing my best to try and get traffic to move into the other lane but it was scary, I sure feel for tow truck drivers and emergency vehicles …. FOR HEAVEN SAKES PEOPLE SLOW DOWN AND PULL OVER!

 

Finally we were all loaded and headed back to Timberline were they had told us we could spend the night and they would fix Maxx in the morning.

While I felt Good Sam Roadside Assistance took a long time getting help to us, they honestly could not have sent better help and Iron Horse towing said they had received the $600.00 payment for towing before he even got back to the shop with Maxx!

 

 

Hopefully everything goes smoothly today and we are back on the road soon.

Just because I can’t bear to end this blog on a crappy note I will leave you with a picture of the pretty wildflowers along the side of the road where we broke down.

And that promise I made to stop drinking, yup that went out the window again last night, I definitely deserved the glass of wine I had before bed!

Until next time …

Well That’s Not Good :-(

For the past week I have been carefully monitoring the weather for our trip north and I knew a cold front was coming but our travel plans had us ahead of it. Well that all changed when we arrived in Butte, Montana. Originally we planned to spend last night in Idaho Falls, Idaho but as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog they had heavy wind warnings, which didn’t bode well for our drive the next day. When I double-checked the weather forecast for Butte it looked okay for yesterday and today but starting tomorrow they had snowfall warnings and cold temps for the next week. So it seemed okay to spend the night in Butte and then move onto Missoula today, but what actually happened wasn’t so good! Apparently the weather front was in a hurry and we woke up to a winter wonderland this morning.

So we snuggled under the covers with our coffee and killed time until the snow melted on the roads. During that time hubby checked the I-90 highway information and cameras and it appeared the passes were clear in our direction of travel. The front was coming from the south and heading north east with Butte in the center and we were heading north west. We really didn’t want to hunker down in Butte for a week waiting out the snow so once the road cleared we headed out. All was well until we were about 20 miles west of Butte.

It started to snow … that wasn’t suppose to happen!

And then it really came down!

That fun event lasted for about forty-five minutes. At one point, when the snow started sticking to the ground, we considered pulling off at a rest stop but hubby was worried we would be buried in snow and stuck there for a week. The roads weren’t slippery so he felt we should continue on and, since I trust his driving, I agreed. It turned out that was a good decision as the snow stopped about a mile after the rest stop and by the time we pulled in to Missoula, Montana the roads were almost dry.

Maxx had a cute face on his front cap when we stopped at the gas station.

So now the next decision was, do we stay in Missoula or carry on to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho? Originally the plan was to stay in Missoula but it looked like the snow in Butte may be head toward Missoula tomorrow, so we decided to take a chance and move on. Again the travel gods were with us because, other than a one pass, the drive into Coeur D’Alene was fine.

But things weren’t looking up 😦  Unfortunately the Passport America RV Park I had picked out in Coeur D’Alene for our two-day stay was a bust, we felt safer staying in a Walmart parking lot. Off we went to the nearest Walmart, but their parking lot was small, crowded and backed right onto I-90. We decided Coeur D’Alene just wasn’t welcoming us, so we headed off to a Walmart along Highway 2 on the south side of Spokane, Washington. Finally after seven and a half hours, and three states, we were finally settled in for the night!

Hopefully, now that we are through the mountain passes, it’s clear sailing from here on home … after a stop in Chelan, Washington 🙂

Until next time …

Goodbye Utah

After six nights in Utah we moved on with the intent of spending last night in Idaho Falls, Idaho but a look at weather forecasts had us scrapping that plan.

Utah did give us a beautiful sunrise for our last day!

Idaho Falls had a wind warning in effect starting today and the passes between Idaho Falls and Butte, Montana had some snow warnings. Both of those warning were enough for us to drive another three and a half hours into Butte and it worked out well as we missed all the problem weather … that’s the beauty of jello solid plans 🙂

On our drive yesterday we hit the first rain we have seen since our drive from Phoenix to Yuma last November, but a least we didn’t hit snow and it did get rid of all the bugs on the windshield. We did drive through a pass with snow on the sides of the interstate but it wasn’t long before we dropped in elevation and drove through farming land.

At least the roads were dry.

Shortly after the snow started to disappear we came across a large farm with about 250 head of cattle and it looked like each cow had a very new calf beside her. They were so cute to watch that I forgot to take picture!

We also saw more wildlife between Salt Lake City and Butte than we have seen on any of our travels. I saw a very cute red fox right beside the road in Utah, and hubby pointed out four elk and two large herds of antelope in Montana. I don’t have a single picture to show off but I have the memories 🙂

After we set up at Camp Walmart we had a great dinner at Metals Sports Bar located in downtown Butte in the Metals Bank and Trust building built in 1907. The restaurant features the original tellers line and a very impressive bank vault, which is now used as a private dinning room.

Until next time …