Writing today from Livingston, Montana, north of Yellowstone National Park. It is cold, gray, wet and windy as a thunderstorm passes overhead and rain moves in behind. Inside, bright, cozy, and warm. :)
Friday was a beautiful day for travel, and we didn’t have far to go – 160 miles, all on freeway. As we left Hardin, I made a phone call to arrange something quite unusual for us: a mid-day social stop!
We “met” Janna and Michael through this blog. Janna comments from time to time, and I had occasionally visited her blog, Tin TeePee/Log Cabin. When Janna noticed our travels were bringing us through their home town of Big Timber, she sent their phone number and suggested we give a call if we had time to stop for a visit on our way west. The phrase “Wilcoxson milkshake” caught Odel’s eye, as we have experienced some of Montana’s delicious, rich Wilcoxson’s ice cream.
We met in the parking lot of a truck stop just off the highway (where the price on diesel was 15 cents less than our last fill-up, so we topped off our tank with 44 gallons), and walked a few blocks to the little town center of Big Timber for lunch. Yummy food, wonderful company. Michael is a fourth generation Montanan – in fact, he had a bit of a tie to The Grand Hotel, where we ate lunch: it was lost by his scheming ancestors in a horse race. :)
I had a delicious and messy BBQ’ed lamb sandwich, Odel (and Janna and Michael) had fish and chips. As we ate, pieces of the puzzle fell into place as we discovered the friends we have in common, and I finally realized I knew a good chunk of their travels last winter from our mutual friends’ Ellie and Jim’s blog. Time sped by as we talked, and it was time to hit the road too soon. Thanks so much, Janna and Michael – we hope to see you in the southwest next winter.
Our pretty little RV park, Rock Canyon (click here to read our review and see photos), is 3 miles south of Livingston and 55 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, on the bank of the Yellowstone River. We knew that visiting the park over Labor Day was not a good plan – and we’re going to stick around after the vacationers leave – but we couldn’t help ourselves and off we went. The park was crowded, but Odel picked out a trail and – the usual magic – we left the crowds behind after the first 500 yards.
Remember, we were essentially at sea level the past 8 months. Yellowstone is at 6,500 ft. This was me: Wheeze. wheeze. Gasp “rest break!”. Sip water. Wheeze, wheeze, rest break… you get the picture. Pathetic! I need to acclimate!
When we made it back to the car, we headed deeper into the park to track down Diana and Steve and their boys, of Life In The Blue Daisy. We first met this family through our friends Marlene and Richard Dopp – Steve is their son – and knew they were in Yellowstone through a recent email exchange. It was our good luck to find them at “home” in their Blue Bird bus, and we spent another couple hours in their warm, lively company swapping road stories. But I forgot to get a photo! Check out their blog for the story of converting the bus into a home and their road trip adventures this year.
The ride back home seemed long, and we were dirty, hungry and tired when we arrived – only to have voice mail messages from Boomer friends camped for the night just two miles from us. YAY, friends! BOO, hungry and tired. After a hot shower, a bowl of taco soup from the crockpot, and a couple of glasses of wine, I was going nowhere but to bed.
We were up early this morning, and managed to catch up with Bill and Fran Rayner and Jan and Chuck Moore before they took off for the day’s travels. Really, our social lives at home were NEVER this busy! Today: catching up on the usual stuff of life – laundry, grocery list, oil change for the Jeep, opening the mail that was forwarded…
Happy Labor Day weekend, all. Travel safely.