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Posts from the ‘Hitching’ Category

Reconnecting with old friends and Re-Un-Hitching….

I was up today at 5:30 and got hitched and ready for the 250 mile trip from North Texas Jellystone Park to Kerrville-Shriner Park. Along the way I stopped in Waco to see my old friend Vonessa. We haven’t seen each other in 20+ years but it was incredible how those years just melted away when we began to talk. Our friendship remains strong and I hope we can find more time to spend together in the coming years. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

I took the back roads and state highways from Waco to the Texas Hill Country. The drive was longer but much less stressful. Along the way I saw Blackbuck deer, Buffalo, and Axis deer grazing in the pastures. There was not an opportunity to stop but I’m hoping to catch a few of these beautiful creatures in my camera lens over the next few days. I arrived at the campsite an hour before dark. Dexter was in a mood and did not want to be left alone. He’s getting just a bit spoiled with all the one-on-one time he’s receiving from me!

This site is a pull through shaped like a half circle. It wasn’t very level and I futzed a bit pulling forward and backing up in an attempt to find a sweet spot, but finally resigned myself to using the Anderson Leverers. It was then that I noticed that the connections were pretty spread out. The sewer connection was quite a distance from the water and electric.  I laid out my water hose and power cord to be certain they would reach once I got set up and proceeded to back the camper up on the Anderson Levelers. I chocked the wheels, unhitched and began to make the connections. It was then that I found the power cord was about 2” too short. I could connect it if I stretched it so it was suspended off the ground! ARGH…soooo close!! Well, there was nothing to do but hitch back up and move the camper so the power cord could reach comfortably. That was a hard lesson to learn! I need to give myself a larger margin of error when eyeballing distance. When I laid out the power cord, it would have worked if I hadn’t moved the camper that 6” to level it! I’m getting pretty good at hitching and unhitching with all the practice I’ve been getting so it didn’t take me too long to make the correction and I was fully set up by dark.   I’m glad to be settled in for the next few days here in the Kerrville-Shriner State Park. My campsite is close to a busy road but traffic noise is just background for me and I’ll put on the white noise machine to muffle it.

I’ve just returned from dinner with my High School friend Janice. We had a wonderful time catching up. I think it’s only been about 15 years since I’ve seen her! What a gift it is to have the means to visit my friends and what a blessing it is to spend time together.

I’m also going to reconnect with some new friends while I’m here as well! Tomorrow some of my new Escape Trailer friends are coming for a visit from San Antonio. On Monday, Sandy and Don, the friends I made in Bothell, WA in the first campground I stayed, will meet up with me for a hike. I am enjoying such a community of friends on the road!

Un-Hitched, De-Winterized, Boomered and Soonered!

What a beautiful park this is! Sequoyah State Park here in Hulbert, OK is quite a surprise. I don’t immediately think of a lake and pine trees when I think of Oklahoma, but here they are! Here’s a couple of short videos describing the ammenities of this park:

 

Once the sun came up and my camping space was vacated by the previous tenant I was able to get Wild Thing parked, unhitched, and de-winterized. The sites are wide and spacious and this pull-through site is on a cement slab. I did have to tweak the level with my Anderson Levelers but I’m an old pro at that now. Once I had everything set up I flushed all the anti-freeze from the water lines. The temps last night were a balmy 51F and rose to the mid 70’s today. Heaven! No worries about freezing water lines here, at least in the next few days. Once I had the lines flushed out I filled the water tank and ran the pump a few minutes to clear out the last little bit of antifreeze. This antifreeze is non-toxic, unlike the type used in cars, but I still didn’t want any left in the lines. With that accomplished, I took the water heater off by-pass and let the tank fill, then turned on the water heater. Within a half hour, I had plenty of hot water for washing dishes and taking a shower. It’s nice to have a fully functional rig!

This park received a re-model two years ago and is quite something. They offer horseback riding, a pool, golf course, marina and boating activities, and much more. The campground I am in is quiet and on the edge of the peninsula. Dexter and I took a short walk down to the water. I will explore more of the trails and the nature center with the kids when they come tomorrow for a visit.

This afternoon I drove into Tulsa to meet up with Jane (DH’s sister), her husband Richard (who was celebrating his 45th BD today), their 5 children (Roman, Vinny, Laurel, Nicholas, and Colin), and two of their cousins at Richard’s parents’ house.  Richards Mom, Stephanie, has a sweet dog named Bandit and he and Dexter were fast friends within minutes of our arrival. They kept us all laughing with their antics! We ate Jane’s homemade chili ( yummy!), Stephanie’s homemade biscuits with chocolate gravy ( super yummy) and of course birthday cake! OU Football is a staple in this household and I was treated (frequently) during this game to the “Boomer Sooner Touchdown Celebration Song” by the whole gang. Here’s a video of the fun along with some photos from this afternoons fun!

 

What a great time we had! Tomorrow, the whole gang is coming to the campground for a cookout in the camper. I can’t wait to spend the day with the Jone’s exploring this beautiful park.

 

 

Day 1, 334 Miles, Dexter Riding Shotgun

The sun has set on the first day of our grand adventure and we are cozied into the WalMart Super Center parking lot in Wilkes Barre, PA.  It was a balmy 55F and raining at 7 AM this morning as I hitched up the camper in Ashland, MA. The experience I gained on the trip home from Chilliwack has all finally meshed and I’m feeling at ease and confident with the procedures. Things went so smoothly in fact, that I had to triple check using my checklists. I thought I must be missing something because it was all just too easy! Dexter was eager to get started and felt right at home in his jump seat in the truck. He has traveled by car to Florida with me twice so he’s an old hand at road trips.

We left at 7:45 AM and headed to the Mass Pike (I90). It was still pouring rain but traffic was light.

I stopped at the first rest stop on the highway just to check inside the trailer to be sure all the cupboards had remained closed and all items were secure. I have never had an issue with this trailer, but I remember my Dad doing this in his trailer whenever he repacked.  I like the peace of mind knowing there isn’t some object flinging itself around inside the trailer as I drive!

The truck is riding a bit lower than before, which is not surprising since I now have all my craft supplies with me! It’s kind of poetic that I parked next to this rig at a rest stop.

I stopped at the Lee, MA rest stop to gas up and it was frigid! The temp had dropped to 34F and there were flurries mixed in with the rain. Granted this was in the Berkshire Mountains, but yikes, I think I’m getting out just in time.

Dexter was very comfortable riding shotgun today. He stayed in his front jump seat for most of the journey today down I90 to I87, then I84 to I81. The temps rose to 45F and the rain stopped an hour before we arrived here in Wilkes Barre, PA. Along I87, I saw two jet black chickens scratching and pecking along the highway embankment. What a crazy sight! There were no houses in sight, so maybe they have escaped captivity and are now free range chickens, or perhaps they just…crossed the road…

A message popped up on the truck today telling me that a brake light has gone out. I’ll need to get that fixed when I unhitch the trailer. It’s nice that the system in the truck can let you know when there are things that need attention! The brake lights are working fine on the camper so I’m still in good shape.

I met a lovely couple as soon as we arrive here for the night. Matt and Adrianne M. took the grand tour of Wild Thing. They are dreaming of a camper of their own and were impressed with the Escape. She is pretty fine and I do love it when folks show an interest. I love meeting new people!

It’s going to be a cold night, down in the low 30’s, but we will keep driving south and soon the temps will rise. Dexter and I are comfortable and warm in our cozy little house on wheels.   I have the lounge area set up so he can snuggle while I work on the post!

I’m  tired tonight after all the excitement of the last few days but so happy to be on the road. I’ll get a good rest tonight and be ready for what awaits tomorrow!

Vet, Brunch, Re-Register, and Move

Well, I achieved some of what I had planned to do today, but certainly not all. Don’t things always take longer than you anticipate? And what about those pesky activities that crop up in the middle of a perfectly planned day…Oh well, here comes that motto again…”make your plans but don’t plan on it”! I find things go better when I just “go with the flow” and adjust my day to accommodate the challenges that arise.

I started my morning taking Dexter to Slade Veterinary Hospital for a scheduled booster shot. Mr. D has to stay in good shape for his upcoming travel! Once he was back home and snuggled into his crate for a nap, I was off to brunch with the sisters. Faith was flying back to Florida this afternoon so it was my last opportunity to spend some time with her. Mary met up with us and we had a bit more sister time while enjoying brunch at Panera’s. It was yummy, but I’ve been eating off diet too much in the past few days, and I’m starting to feel the negative effects. I’m more tired, grumpy, and hungry than usual so it’s time to reign in the carbs and sugar again.

Next, I drove to my insurance office to get a “wet stamp” on the latest round of registration for Wild Thing. It turns out that in Massachusetts, all campers must renew their registration by November, so even though I just went through the registration process a few weeks ago, there was a renewal notice waiting for me when I got home. The renewal required a physical stamp from the insurance agent, and a personal appearance by me at the registry, so off I went. 3 hours later that chore was completed and the camper is now legal for a full year. Next year I should be able to complete the registration renewal by mail.

After checking on Dexter I headed to the camper to start working on the sink and the light, but that was not to be. I had parked Wild Thing in the industrial park where we rent space for our business and my art studio thinking it would be well out of the way, but it seems others felt it was in the way of the delivery trucks, so I made the decision to move it to a storage facility.  I rented a space at 126 Self Storage where my DH and I have done business for years. They took good care of us and before long we had a safe space ready for Wild Thing. I got her moved just before dark. It was a tight back-in space and thankfully a good Samaritan (who was clearly a whiz at backing up trailers!) helped us tuck her in between two other campers. I’m hoping to find time soon to take her out and practice my backing up skills since it’s the one area I really need to work on, but for today I was happy to have her settled in and in a secure location.

Tomorrow the insurance adjuster will examine the damage and lay out a plan for her repair and I’ll try again to get that light bulb changed!

 

4 States to Hickory Hollow

I left Indiana this morning, drove through Ohio, cut across West Virginia, and into Pennsylvania. After leaving the highway near Donegal, PA and winding up through the mountains I find myself in the peaceful pastures of Hickory Hollow Campground in Rockwood, PA. The leaves are beginning to turn on the trees that surround me and it is quiet and restful here. The sun is dipping in and out of the puffy clouds and the rain has finally seemed to have moved on. I’m happy to be in an open grassy campground with a wide pull-through site. I have full hook-ups and a cable connection for two nights and my Passport America Discount is honored so I paid $33.00 for two nights. My kind of place!

Unhitching went smoothly today. I took my time and referred to my checklist. I realize part of my issue with the mishap a few days ago was partly precipitated by the angle of the truck. The back end of the truck was angled up and the nose down, so I should have taken some of the pressure of the hitch off by raising the kingpin of the trailer a bit higher than normal to compensate before driving the truck forward. I’ve made notes on my checklist for next time and the more I do this the easier it is to visualize the process and anticipate how I need to compensate.

I drove 340 miles today, through lots of construction,  and was happy to arrive at my destination about 2:45. It was a full day and I’m ready for a bit of a rest. While unhitching and setting up, my neighbors, Duane and Cheryl, stopped by to say “Hi”. This lovely couple live in the area but enjoy bringing their camper to Hickory Hollow for a weekend get-away! Duane is newly retired and Cheryl is not far behind so they are dreaming of the places they will go. They stopped by later for a tour of Wild Thing and we enjoyed getting to know each other. I just love the community of travelers I am meeting on the road. They shared some wonderful suggestions for places I might enjoy visiting tomorrow.  It’s supposed to be sunny so keep your fingers crossed. This is a spectacular area with mountains, state parks, and lots of country roads to explore.

For now,  I’m off to take a walk around the campground, enjoy a glass of wine and fix an omelet for supper. I plan to go to bed early so I’ll be rested for tomorrow. Adventure Awaits!

Belle, First Big Mistake, and Glamping in the Rain

I guess I was more tired yesterday than I realized. After posting, catching up with DH, and having some supper, I dozed through most of the evening, then I slept straight through the night until 7:15 AM. It was a warm 55F last night and raining, which made for good sleeping weather, even in a WalMart parking lot. Once in my camper, I’m in a world of my own so I can be comfortable anywhere.

I was on the road by 8 AM and drove 270 miles today to Millpoint RV Park in East Peoria, Il. It rained most of the day so I drove a bit slower (60-65) than I had yesterday (65-70) and found that my mileage increased from 12 mpg yesterday to 13 mpg today. I may be on to something!

I drove from Iowa into Illinois and crossed the mighty Mississippi river on my route today.

At the Spoon River Rest Stop, I met a lovely RV couple, John and Shirley, and their sweet dog Belle. They have a place near Seattle, WA and winter near Quartzite, AZ so it’s likely our paths will cross again in the near future! They were interested in seeing Wild Thing so I gave them the grand tour. John said he saw me yesterday driving on the highway and the camper caught his eye so he was glad to run into me and Wild Thing a day later at this rest stop. Trailer folks are so friendly! Belle was so sweet and graciously let me take her picture for the blog!

It was tiring to drive in the constant rain today so I was glad that I was well rested and had planned a short day. Millpoint RV Park sits on Upper Peoria Lake on the Illinois River and I have a shaded pull-through site. I made my first big mistake unhitching today but thankfully, Wild Thing and I are OK.

I haven’t unhitched in a few days so I was trying to be methodical going through the unhitching routine. I put the  X chocks on the wheels and lowered the front landing gear down onto the plastic “lego block” type blocks before opening the hitch lock arm and pulling the truck forward. When I did so, the landing gear slipped off the lego blocks and the landing gear of Wild Thing dropped down 4” to the ground. Yikes,  It was pretty startling, to say the least! The camper did not hit the truck nor was there any damage, but the landing gear feet were now sitting on the soft wet ground and I knew I couldn’t leave them there! I reviewed the routine and realized that I had not locked the hitch arm open with the cotter pin so there must have still been some tension on the locking mechanism of the hitch that caused the issue. Arrrgggghhhh.

After taking a break to think it through, and still my racing heart,  I hitched her back up to the truck, lifted the landing gear (which thankfully were ok), and placed wooden blocks under the landing gear feet (probably a better option in the rain) then lowered the landing gear back down, locked the hitch arm open, and disconnected the truck again. All went without a “hitch” this time! I apparently need a checklist for unhitching as well as hitching although I’m pretty sure I won’t (ever) make that particular mistake again!

I’m so thankful that there was no damage and after talking to my DH, I’m feeling OK. I have tried to be so careful with everything but we are fallible beings, aren’t we? I hate making such a big mistake but I’m hoping by sharing my mishap I’ll help keep someone else from doing the same. I’m sure it won’t be my last error but I’m going to do all I can to keep them to a minimum and hope for small ones in the future. I feel like a new Mom who just dropped her baby on its head! Thankfully, my new baby Wild Thing is strong and resilient and very well built!

I’m now happily “glamping” in my warm and dry Wild Thing as the rain continues outside.  I set up the back bed area to see what that would be like. My dining room table is mounted on a Springfield 3 Stage Pedestal that allows me to leave the table attached to the pedestal and just lower it into position to make the bed.  The lowered table-top is then covered with cushions from the benches and Voila, a second bed.  Adding some extra pillows along the back makes this a comfy “lounge” area. Side tables that flip up on either side give me space for a drink, a book, or my laptop. I’m using the King Jack Antenna to get local digital TV channels (16 here) for free. This is definitely not your Mama’s camping….this is glamorous camping aka Glamping!

 

I do hope the rain lets up tomorrow enough for me to get out and explore a bit. My travel time is dwindling and I’ll be back home in less than a week.

Slow Ride, Nap, Steak, Beer, and Apple Pie

I had an easy day today, just what I needed after the excitement of yesterday. I stayed overnight in the parking lot of the WalMart in Sheridan, WY  last night and it was quiet and the overnight temp was warmer than the previous few nights. It only got down to about 42 degrees. There were 4 truckers and about 7 other campers with RV’s in the lot with me. It was well lit and I felt safe and comfortable.

It’s easy to stay in a “dry camping” spot. I chock and lock the wheels with the X-Chocks, unplug the trailer from the truck and I’m good to go! I have water in the fresh water tank for the kitchen and the bathroom and I just turn on the pump and hot water heater as needed. I used the inverter last night to power an plug so I could use my laptop without draining the battery. The Verizon JetPack is working well to give me connectivity. The refrigerator runs on propane too so my food stays fresh.  I had a light supper of Rotisserie chicken, salad, and cottage cheese. The furnace is also propane so I was toasty warm and comfortable in my cozy home.  I took it slow in the morning and was ready to go about 9.

II drove only 165 miles today to reach my destination, Mountain View Campground in Sundance WY. I stopped frequently along the way and took advantage of the parking areas and a few scenic pull-outs. I even got a shot at some Pronghorn Antelope grazing by the side of the road today! I have been seeing herds of them along the highway in Montana and Wyoming but this was the first chance I had to stop and take a few pictures.  They spooked as soon as they heard the truck stop and the window roll down but I got a few keepers before they moved away.

I arrived at the Mountain View Campground around mid-day and found it to be a lovely, quiet, sparsely populated campground under new ownership. The current owners took over the property 9 weeks ago! They were lovely and saw to my every need. I have a pull-through site with full hook-ups and including cable TV! That is the first time I have had that amenity and when I first tried it, all the channels were visible but very fuzzy. After some thought, I turned off the Jack’s Antenna and that did the trick. So much of learning is trial and error. I also had to level the trailer for the first time. I had purchased Anderson Levelers while I was waiting for the trailer and this was my first opportunity to use them. Thank you, Fred (Red Dog!) for the tip about trimming one to fit in between the tandem wheels! I just put one in front of each wheel and pulled forward slightly and they worked like a champ. I’m now completely on the level!

I also applied a covering of a white trash bag secured with white duct tape to Wild Thing’s injury. I thought it prudent to protect the damage until it can be repaired.

After setup it was looking like rain and I was tired so I curled up in my cozy loft and took a nap! What a luxury! Then I spent a few hours this afternoon rearranging things in the trailer and changing the sheets on the bed. I’ll have an opportunity to do laundry here so I want to take advantage.

I decided it was time for a good hot meal so I took myself down to the Longhorn Saloon and Grill in town. As I drove down the street, there were deer feeding in the early evening hours right along the road. I stopped and took a few photos with my phone. I had to whistle to get them to look up. Apparently, they are used to the traffic!

I was also charmed by this reminder to save your pennies at the local bank:

I had a yummy meal of steak, green beans with parmesan and bacon, and salad. I sampled two local beers, a Black Tooth Brown made in Sheridan, WY and Speed Goat made in Ten Sleep, WY. Both were delicious and the steak was amazing!! I am after all in cattle country so I shouldn’t be surprised to get a good steak!

My delightful waitress Jacayla D. topped off my meal with a thick slice of Salted Caramel Apple Pie A la Mode!

Back at the campground I enjoyed a long hot shower and now with my pj’s on and my feet up I’m as content as I can be. There is not much that a nap, a good meal, apple pie, beer, and a shower can’t cure! I’m rejuvenated and ready for an adventure to the Black Mountains tomorrow.

 

Abandoned Mine, Boulder, and Between the Sheets with Dial Soap!

Today marks my first week with Wild Thing! The days have flown and I have learned and experienced so much in this short period of time. I’m rested and ready for what lies ahead.

Boy did I sleep well last night! I was told that spending time in the radon mine would help with sleep and I think that, coupled with some time to relax after all the excitement of picking up Wild Thing allowed me to enjoy a deep restful sleep. I woke just in time to head up to the mine for the first of 4 more sessions at the mine. I soaked my hands and feet for 10 minutes then spent an hour hanging out and chatting with interesting and engaging people. What could be better? The inflammation of my psoriasis is definitely reduced and I’m interested to see if it continues to heal.  Many people I talked to said that the full benefits of treatment are usually not evident until a week or two after leaving the mine. Although I wasn’t here long enough for the full recommended treatment  32 sessions over 10-11 days) I was able to squeeze in 9 sessions during my brief stay. The cost per treatment is $5.00 or $15.00/day.  When I came out of the mine this morning I tried the “breathalizer”, a  geiger counter that you can breathe into to measure the radon levels. It was interesting to see no levels before entering the mine then full levels after the hour in the mine.

Veronica with Geiger Counter

Veronica and her husband currently own the mine. They purchased the mine after Veronica received healing from debilitating arthritis.

I spoke to so many people who have been visiting the mine annually for many years and swear by its healing properties. I hope to return here for a full 32 treatment someday!

After breakfast, clean up, and a few chores, I took a ride up the road to the site of an abandoned mine that my friends at the Merry Widow told me about. It was located two exits down Hwy 15 at  High Ore Road, left and  5 miles up a dirt road on the side of a mountain. The location was stunningly beautiful and the road was deserted so I had fun stopping to take pictures along the way.

Back on Hwy 15 and just a few more miles down the road was the small town of Boulder, MT. Another generous soul at the Merry Widow Health Mine told me about a shortcut I can take back to I90 tomorrow that will allow me to bypass the very steep and winding pass over the mountain and through the Continental Divide. What a blessing! That pass was a challenge in just the truck and I was not looking forward to taking the camper up that road! Highway 69 out of Boulder will bring me back to I90 on the east side of the mountain and is a nice state highway that winds through a valley. Perfect!

While in Boulder I stopped at a little gift shop and found a few treasures. I have been looking for a pottery coffee mug (somehow I failed to pack a mug!) and found a beautiful one by a local artist. I also found a beautiful handmade card. Its design is hand stitched with embroidery floss in an intricate design.  I, of course, couldn’t resist some local yarn and I also found the first decorative item I want to hang in Wild Thing. It’s a unique picture of pressed flowers and leaves. The woman who creates these pictures researched the journals of Lewis and Clark and recreates the plants that they discovered and documented in their journals. She arranges the leaves and plants and records the date that Lewis and Clark journaled about finding them on their travels. How cool is that! The artist is an owner of the Tizer Botanical Gardens and Arboretum. I didn’t have time to visit the Gardens this trip because it was time for me to get back for a radon mine treatment!

I decided I would hook up the trailer while it was still warm and light in the afternoon. It has been cold (36 degrees) at night and stays cold until late morning. I was so excited to hitch the truck to the trailer with no help this time! I think the whole campground heard my whoop of triumph when it was done! Special thank you to Lucy and Charlie who gave me the magnetic ball and the tip about placing strips of duct tape to help guide me to the right spot! It all worked beautifully!

After that, I just had time for one last treatment at the mine this evening. While there someone overheard me mention that I was struggling with sciatic pain. She said that she cured her sciatic pain with a bar of Dial Soap! Intrigued I inquired further! Here’s what she said:

“Unwrap a bar of plain Dial Soap. Place it in between the sheets of your bed and leave it there. After 3 days of sleeping the Dial Soap in your bed, your sciatic pain will be gone! Leave the soap there for 30 days then replace with a fresh bar. Use the old bar in the shower as usual.”

I was planning to stop at a Walmart soon for an overnight and told her I would get a bar and try it. Back at the camper, I was getting ready for supper when my neighbor came over and handed me a bar of Dial Soap! She said it’s the brand they use regularly, she had an extra bar and wanted to share it with me. I’ve met the nicest people on the road! So tonight I’m off to bed…with my Dial Soap between the sheets! I’ll let you know how it goes…Tomorrow I’ll hit the road again heading for Billings, MT.

WallyWorld to Merry Widow Health Mine

I’m tired but happy tonight. I left you last night in the parking lot of a Walmart Supercenter in Post Falls, ID and am writing this tonight 338 miles down the road at the Merry Widow Health Mine in Basin, MT.

I found my stay at WallyWorld (Walmart) to be quite comfortable. It was quiet and I felt safe with at least 15 other campers around me. Most like me were in RV’s of some sort but there were also a few folks in just a vehicle. It was convenient to have the store right there and I took advantage and did a little shopping. I needed Plumber’s Putty for the sink fix, two more padlocks (one for the X-chock and one for the safety pin on the Kingpin). I also picked up a few groceries as well. It was quick to set up since I wasn’t unhitching. I just had to remember to unplug the trailer from my truck so it didn’t drain my truck battery, chock the wheels and lock them up, and lock up the safety pin on the Kingpin connection. I drove around a bit to find a place that was level so I didn’t need to do any external leveling. Because it was still hitched to the vehicle, the camper moved around slightly when I was in it but not much at all.

After setting up I got out a new toy my DH bought for me at BJ’s before I left.  This handy tool is a battery operated tire pressure gauge and inflation device. I checked all 4 tires on the trailer and all 4 on the truck. Some needed a little topping off with air so it was nice to be able to just take care of that without going to a gas station!

With all my chores done I fixed a quick supper of soup and naan bread wrote my post, then was ready for bed!

After I I fell asleep early, before 10 pm, but then woke up at 1 and was awake until 3. Argh…I hate it when that happens! I read for a while then was able to sleep until 7 and was on the road by 8:30.

Walmart Free Camping at 2 AM

The weather was clear and sunny and 65. Perfect! I drove through the panhandle of Idaho. It’s beautiful very mountainous terrain. The truck and trailer are handling beautifully and I’m averaging about 13 miles to the gallon. Better than I expected! I crossed the border into Montana and into Mountain Time so I’ve gained an hour. I just love the landscape here in Montana. Gorgeous fields with multi-colored grasses and shrubbery, rocky streams with fast running water leading up to majestic mountains. Some snow-capped, some that look like brown suede.

Yesterday while at a rest-stop I met some folks also in an RV. They came over to see Wild Thing and take a tour inside. Jim and Cherie P. from Springfield, MO were traveling with Joan and David P. from Benton, AR. I’ve started a “Guest Book” for Wild Thing so anyone who visits her can sign and date the book! I think it will be fun to keep a record of visitors. Today I stopped at a rest stop about a hundred miles from my destination and guess who pulled up beside me! It was sure fun to see them again. They will be staying in Butte (25 miles from here) and I hope they stop by to see the mine.

You meet the most interesting folks on the road. At one stop there was a big burly tattooed Harley guy with the cutest little dog riding in a special seat behind him on the Hogg. He admired Wild Thing and I admired his dog!

When I arrived at the campground tonight, John and Annette, my new neighbors were ready and willing to help me pick a spot and back the trailer in (a first!). With their help, I was successful in backing up this rig. That aspect is definitely going to take some practice but I’m pleased that I’ve done it today. Unhitching and setting up took me only about a half hour. I’m sure feeling much more confident!

This is a quiet place. Basin is aptly named since it sits down at the base of several mountain ranges that rise up away from it on all sides. It’s a tiny town that I got a glimpse of when my GPS took me the wrong way. It’s pretty much one street about 3 blocks long. I’ll explore it in more detail tomorrow or Friday. After I had the rig settled I walked up the hill to the famous Merry Widow Health Mine. I met several people who were there for the benefits. People come to this mine from all around the world to seek relief from a wide variety of ailments.

One woman, Katie, has been coming for almost 35 years! She is terribly crippled with Juvenile Arthritis and started coming when she was 14. I could see that her fingers and hands are greatly affected and could tell from her gait that her spine must also be. She told me that she comes every 6 months for a 10-day treatment and is pain-free as a result. She was a pretty convincing devote. Katie is a Hutterite and was at the mine with her brother Darius and his wife Lizbeth. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with them and learning about their life. They live in community with about 90 other people and Lizbeth shared a bit about their way of life. They do not watch TV but do have a few computers that are used only to help run some of the high-level functions of the community. Most of the members still hold to the old ways of living raising their food in gardens and tending livestock. They have chickens, sheep, turkeys, and vegetable gardens and sell hand-made items (like the nylon net pot scrubber she was knitting) as well as the bounty they produce. I was reminded of the lifestyle I experienced growing up in Vermont. We shared many similarities although their community is on a much larger scale and they don’t have to pluck their 900 chickens by hand…they have an automatic chicken plucker! She invited me to visit her tomorrow and I hope to do so.

I met several other people, some who, like Katie, come every year for treatment of a variety of ailments and have found relief. There were a few like me for whom this is all new. I’ll have more to report about the mine over the next two days. Tonight was my just my introduction. It is a real mine shaft that extends into the side of a mountain where copper and silver were originally mined. After walking down the mine shaft 500 feet you reach the area to take a treatment.

There is an area to soak your hands and feet. The water here is so cold you can hardly stand to keep your feet in but must do so for 10 minutes to get the benefit. It’s like the water I used to feel running from the spring thaw in Vermont and must be just above freezing. It’s so cold that it makes your feet burn and your legs ache. After 5 minutes things get numb enough to stand the next 5! I soaked for the full 10 minutes tonight. There are areas to sit comfortably while you remain in the mine for 1 hour. There is a separate mineral bath for hands and forearms, a private area with a bathtub that you can soak your entire body (and yes the water there is also just above freezing!), as well as the “Doggie Den” an area where you can take pets for a treatment. The lore told to me by Darius is that the health benefits were discovered by someone observing how the mine benefitted their aging dog. I’ll read up more on this!

I’ll take 4 treatments tomorrow (one hour in the mine then 2 hours outside followed by another hour in the mine repeat…) and let you know how it goes.

I’m Hitched and have Final Production Photos!

Today I spent 6 hours at Trademaster’s Automotive getting hitched! The staff could not have been more pleasant and competent. I’m now the proud owner of a B&W Patriot 16 5th wheel trailer hitch! A special shout out to my friends Lucy and Charlie for their excellent recommendation!

Wild Thing has her Hitch

 

and a big Thank you to the Trademaster’s staff for your most excellent service and your “Yes We Can” attitude!

After the hitch was installed I traveled back across the border to Sumas, WA and retrieved all my stuff from the storage unit. I wasn’t sure how much room the hitch would take up and whether I would need to bring the trailer to the storage unit but I was glad to see that it was possible to get everything back in the truck. That will make one less stop on Friday! I’ll just load the goodies from the truck bed right into my new home.

Back at the hotel I fired up the computer and found the final round of Wild Thing Production Photos waiting for me! There is a small amount of detailing left to do tomorrow and she will have to pass all her QC checks tomorrow but Wild Thing is essentially done! It is so exciting to see these final photos and I think she looks beautiful!

I’m so happy tonight but also very tired! It has been a long journey here and I’m finally feeling the physical effects. Thankfully I planned that tomorrow would be a day of R & R to recharge my energy before taking possession of Wild Thing on Friday and beginning the next part of this adventure. I plan to lay low in the morning, then take a hike to a waterfall I heard about today that is near here.

Leave me your comments here or on my WildThingEscapes facebook page and let me know what you think about how she turned out!