Friday, August 19, 2011

Lewis & Clark and an Anniversary

Don and I played tourist today in Great Falls, and visited the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center.


The magnitude of just one portion of this historic trip was portrayed by a two-story diorama depicting the portage at Great Falls. The men of the expedition thought they would have one set of waterfalls to go around; upon arrival in the area they discovered there were five sets of falls, covering 18 1/4 miles. They had to carry heavy boats and equipment over dry, desert-like prairie land covered with prickly pear cactus, wearing only moccasins. One caption says “They endured fierce heat, sudden storms, blistered hands, and lacerated feet, yet they were determined ‘to succeed in the expedition or perish in the attempt.’”



The exhibit was so large, I had to go downstairs to get it all in one picture.


The rest of the center was equally interesting, and a 30-minute Ken Burns movie was shown as well. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

Next, we drove down the Missouri River to see the Rainbow Falls.


Then we drove back up river to see the Black Eagle Falls.


We considered kayaking on the Missouri, but when we saw where we could put the boats in, and the short and relatively uninteresting portion of the river where we could paddle, we decided it wasn’t worth the effort. It might be a different story if we liked riding the rapids, but we definitely don’t!


During happy hour we toasted and congratulated the Forbes on their anniversary.


L-R: Don, Frank, Dennis (hiding behind Don’s hand), Gloria, Carol, Marilyn and Larry. We had another day of beautiful weather, too.


It occurred to me today that we’ve celebrated quite a few birthdays and anniversaries during the past few months. Starting with Dennis’ birthday in May, all 6 couples of the Last Frontier Gang had a birthday and 3 of us also had an anniversary during the trip. Here’s a chronological list, for those interested:

  • May 12 – Dennis Hill
  • June 1 – Jean Fradette
  • June 13 – Don & Sharon Del Rosario
  • June 19 – Jim Smith
  • July 21 – Mary Olson
  • August 4 – Don Del Rosario
  • August 8 – Dennis & Carol Hill
  • August 14 – Marilyn Forbes
  • August 19 – Larry & Marilyn Forbes

And we got to share Gloria and Frank’s anniversary on August 14 as well!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reunion in Great Falls

Today we got a nice surprise! Pat Livingston and Jim Smith called after they crossed the border into the U.S. to see if we were still in Great Falls. Yes! They arrived early in the afternoon and parked at the Moose Lodge, since we couldn’t get them into the Malmstrom FamCamp. Don drove over to pick them up for our happy hour and potluck dinner tonight.

Don planned the dinner event by offering to grill three tri-tip roasts, prepared Santa Maria style.

Carol and Marilyn patiently waited for their cue from Don for the time to bring out their dinner contributions.


Don was relaxed – it’s not time yet!


Everyone else brought side dishes. Everything was delicious, and nobody left hungry!


Pictured above (L-R): Larry Forbes, Frank and Gloria King, Pat Livingston, Jim Smith, Don Del Rosario, Carol and Dennis Hill and Marilyn Forbes.

Earlier, during happy hour, there were several craft projects in progress. Gloria was inspired to crochet a lapghan for Soldiers’ Angels, and here she’s discussing it with Pat, also a crocheter.


Carol was busy crocheting a baby cap to donate through the Escapees, who provide them to a local hospital (for newborns, especially preemies) wherever the annual Escapade is held. Marilyn worked on her own Soldiers’ Angels knitted lapghan project.


My knitted lapghan for Soldiers’ Angels is also taking shape.


Gloria showed me the bracelet and earrings she makes for breast cancer survivors – there are several in her family – and she sells them to raise money for breast cancer research. She shared some of the beads with me so I can make myself a pair of earrings, after she learned that I’m a survivor, too. Thanks, Gloria!


Meanwhile the guys talked about new wrenches they bought, how to fix Frank’s 5th wheel’s broken jack, and polishing their RVs. We’re all enjoying just ‘chilling’ after traveling so many miles, and getting caught up with ‘household’ cleaning and rejuvenating. Some of us have been doing some outside and inside cleaning, polishing and reorganizing projects, and are feeling like we’ve accomplished something useful during the past few laid-back days.

Pat and Jim are moving on down the road tomorrow, and the rest of us are leaving during the next few days. It’s so nice to have this time together. Thanks for the fun, Friends!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shopping, A Birthday and Two Anniversaries

Yesterday and today provided a chance to catch up on some shopping. We bought over $200 of food at the commissary yesterday, and almost $300 of other stuff at Wal-Mart today. And we did a lot of nothing, just resting after so much traveling.

We are parked at the older FamCamp on Malmstrom AFB because the newer one just outside the main gate was full.


Larry and Marilyn were able to get a site in the newer park early the next morning, after spending a night at Wal-Mart because we couldn’t get them checked in due to the base lockdown on Friday. It’s a good thing they got that site, as it would have been very difficult, maybe impossible, to sponsor them inside the base due to the heightened security. We expect to move over there tomorrow as another site is expected to become available.

We’re fine where we are, but with temperatures in the 90’s (and we’re used to 60’s) we need to run the a/c and would like to run both of them. Also, I’m catching up on laundry using our on-board w/d, so we need (want) 50 amps and only have 30 in this park. Plus, the grass is much nicer there, so we can let Shadow roll in it without having to clean all the dead grass off him after he rolls in it (and weeds) where we are now.

Yesterday, while I was walking Shadow, the other Shadow’s Mom and Dad, Gloria and Frank King, drove into the FamCamp and recognized me! What a nice surprise to run into these fellow Escapees and Alaska travelers that we saw in Anchorage and again in Whitehorse.

Today is Marilyn Forbes’ birthday. She wanted to go to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, so I found a local Fiesta en Jalisco, a chain that I know is pretty good. I learned it’s also the King’s 51st wedding anniversary, so we made it a joint celebration. And, since Dennis and Carol Hill recently celebrated their 40th anniversary – well, not really a celebration because Dennis had to go to the ER for a health problem – we made it a triple! A good time was had by all.

We enjoyed happy hour in the shade next to the Forbes’ motorhome. Notice that we’re wearing shorts and sandals instead of sweatshirts.


And we had a toast at dinner.


The food was plentiful and everyone left with full bellies, complaining about the weight we need to lose!