Wednesday, May 4, 2011

First Journey 2011

It has been a really long winter.  All of us, Rosie, the pooches and I, have tired of the Idaho winter hibernation routine.  The last week in April, I retrieved the 5th wheel from the storage lot and started the dewinterization process.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but there is a fair amount of effort in getting this rig ready to roll.

There was an opportunity to do some insurance inspection work in Billings, MT and Sheridan, WY.  So we thought why not make a camping trip out of it.  The good news is that I can earn enough money to pay for the trip.  The bad news is that I have to work on a camping trip.  I can live with the “good news” part of that equation. 

After some scheduling with the companies I have to visit, we pulled out of Idaho Falls on May 1st and headed for Columbus, MT.  There is a City Park in Columbus with free (donations are solicited and we made a donation) camping along the Yellowstone River.  The Park is huge with the river to the south and a golf course to the north.  We got set up under a big old tree next to a quiet water part of the river.  Very few other campers in the park at this time of year.

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We relaxed after our arrival on Sunday.  On Monday, my brother Jon, and his wife Dawn, came out to visit from their home in Billings.  We had a nice lunch of bratwurst, potato salad and baked beans.  I left at 1:30 for my appointment at the Billings Athletic Club (this is the closest I ever get to physical fitness places Smile).  I got back to the site about 5:00 o’clock.  I had to stop at Verizon to get a new air card modem as my old one quit working.  We walked the puppies and settled in for a quiet evening.  The Park does not have any hookups so no TV, etc. for entertainment.  Tuesday morning we awoke to a nice sunrise and I was able to get a couple of pictures of a male duck swimming nearby.  Note that I took these pictures through the window from the comfort of the camper.

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We made a short run to Sheridan and arrived at Peter D’s RV Park about noon.  Pete’s wife was on duty and gave us a great site at the end of the park.   As you will see in the picture, this is a pretty average park on the way it is laid out.  Sites are pretty close together and there are no shady trees.  However they do have full hookups including cable TV, so we felt we were back in civilization again.  Later in the afternoon we met the owner Peter D.  He is a character.  The facilities here are spotlessly clean and Peter makes every attempt to have only happy campers in his park. 

We made a quick trip to Wal-Mart and Radio Shack.  I needed a special part to hook up our new DirectTV system for RV’ers.  I set up the dish on the tripod and used my new compass to find the right direction at which to aim the dish.  After fiddling around for about 20 minutes I found the satellite and up came a glorious picture on our new Sony Bravia 32” flat screen.  WOW!.  Of course, we already had the RV Park cable hook up so once I was satisfied the DirectTV system was working, I took it all apart and put it back in the storage basement of the camper.  This will be great when we are in State Parks where there are electrical hookups, but no cable.  Here is a picture of the park and a picture of Annie snoozing on the couch (with her eyes wide open so she does not miss anything).

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Wednesday morning I traveled many miles of gravel roads to find my next inspection site, a Dude Ranch out in the middle of nowhere.  People actually pay $1,500 to $1,900 a week per person to come out here and work on a 25,000 acre ranch.  Seems like it should be the other way around.  But the Lodge building is new and very nice.

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Business from my web site has also been brisk this week.  Today, I got my first customer from Canada.  That was interesting.  So that is all for now.  Need to pour a little Schnapps into a cup of hot chocolate and chill out. 


idahogie said...

Thanks for the update, Jim. I'm going to remind our DL friends to check in on your blog.

Alpenliter (JIM) said...

Thanks for sharing your maiden voyage of the year Jim! We have been hunkered down up here by Port Townsend Washington since October, so haven't been traveling in our fulltimer mode yet. As soon as my vision returns from the surgery, we hit the road. Will be looking forward to more blogs from you!