Thursday, August 25, 2016

Little Bighorn National Monument Stop in Montana

After leaving Columbus MT, we wanted to stop at the Little Bighorn National Monument which was a couple hours along I-90.
It was a cloudy day with some rain, but we stopped anyway to see the museum and the grounds.
A national cemetery is on the site on one side of the main building.
Over time, I am learning more and more about the history of the American Indian and the U.S. Government's expansion through the Great Plains.  There were many reasons for encroachments west of the Mississippi, but the lure of a quick fortune meant trappers and fur traders, gold rushers and others looking for a place to homestead, meant treaties with the Indians were broken again and again.

The tensions between the Indians and the white man varied for a number of years, specifically between 1854-1890 in what was known as the Sioux Wars.  The Little Bighorn was one of those battles of the Sioux Wars.

I liked the small but well done museum.  It had a number of interesting artifacts and displays depicting life in the 1870s on the Plains.  The U. S. 7th Cavalry was dispatched to the territory to "get rid of the Indian problem" and Lt. Col. George A. Custer was among the 700 men who fought against approximately 2,000 Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors.
Custer's Last Stand is the source of much speculation, contemplation and legend.  Since it was undoubtedly a complete rout, there were no eye-witness soldiers to substantiate different accounts.  But by most accounts, Custer's force was annihilated within an hour of engagement.

This internet map shows how the Army was positioned for a three pronged attack against the Indians gathering in the area.
It was the largest battle in the Sioux Wars of 1876.   Afterwards, the Indians divided up into smaller groups and dispersed because there was not enough grass and game to sustain the large number of forces that had gathered there.  This was the last significant battle of the Sioux Wars.  Afterwards, the Indians were chased and forced onto numbers of reservations where they were promised peace and rations and their own territory once again.

Among the displays was a display of key people at Little Bighorn including Custer, Major Reno, as well as Indians who served as scouts, guides and interpreters for the Army.

Sitting Bull inspired many of the Indians, including Crazy Horse to fight for their people.   Sitting Bull said to his warriors, "You are fools to make yourselves slaves to a piece of fat bacon, some hard tack and a little sugar and coffee."  Another leader of the day, President Ulysses S. Grant advocated the Peace Policy of 1869 which had little effect on the roaming Indians and the corrupt Indian Agents throughout the territory.

After slowly going through the museum we took a walk up the hill to separate memorials for the Army and Indians.
A monument was erected with the names of the Army fallen.
Across the way was a memorial built for the Indians.
It was worth the stop and we were glad we did.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Memories in Montana

We definitely did not spend enough time in Montana.  What a beautiful state! We love driving through the mountains and getting to see the spectacular mountains and buttes of Montana.  It is a wonderland.  We will definitely have to come back and spend more time here.
Six years ago we went to Glacier National Park and I decided then Montana was one of the most beautiful places I'd ever visited.  At that time we said we need to come back.  We did, but we need to spend a few weeks here rather than a few days.  There is too much to see.

We drove from Spokane to Missoula the first day (Jim and Mary's RV Park) and on to Columbus MT the second day.  I-90 has to go on our list of some of the most scenic drives in America!

Sadly, photos out of the windshield do not come close to convey the beauty of this place.
I thought I took a lot more photos but I didn't.  :(

The country goes forever through valley after beautiful valley.  I reminds me of the Shenandoah Valley except it is bigger and there are more of them in Montana.   And less people.  It is really something.

Santa Fe High School friend Donna and husband Paul live in Montana.  We didn't get a chance to see them our first time through Montana, but were able to do so this time.  She is a nurse and he does sales in the building industry.  They have a place on the river a few miles from where camped in Columbus, MT.
This is our campsite for our two night stay at the Mountain Ranger RV Campground in Columbus.  It was fine for a short visit and we were able to get some wash done.

We met Donna and Paul for dinner at the 307 in Columbus this first night which worked out great.  It was fun to meet Paul and hear of his days as a professional baseball player.  I think the last time I saw Donna was when she was a cheerleader for the University of Wyoming and they came to Arizona State for a football game in 1972.

We were able to spend the next afternoon/evening with them at their place on the river.  The summer has been especially hot this year and the river is pretty low.  But in normal times they can literally fish off their deck as the river goes right by.
Donna fixed a wonderful meal and we had a great time seeing them.
We can see why they love it here in their little slice of heaven!  It was a wonderful time, they were gracious hosts and it was another upside to this RV full-timing thing.
Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

In-N-Out Cummins

The Roadrunner has been hesitating going up hills a little ever since I had a brain freeze and put a few gallons of gas into the diesel tank.  That was about six weeks ago.

While in Portland Pam called the local Cummins facility and they said it would be three weeks before they could get us in.  And they recommended Cummins Northwest which is a RV CoachCare repair facility.  It is located right outside of Spokane on I-90.

Not to overstate it, but this might be the best RV-friendly repair facility we have visited.  We were very glad to see the back-in parking spaces with 50 amp and water.
 We got in early afternoon on Sunday and had our choice of two spaces.  (Don't know why that had two school buses over there but a couple of motor homes that arrived later than we did could have parked there.)

We had time to go over the Fairchild AFB which was about five miles away.  We had been there five years ago when we had another Warner Bros Reunion in 2011.  We did some grocery shopping and returned to our parking spot.  It was an uneventful evening and watched the Olympics enjoyed the beautiful 90 degree weather.

We were there with some other folks when the door opened a few minutes before 7:00 AM and talked to Tim the Service Manager.  Pam had spoken to him a few weeks ago and he remembered.  Pam had a hunch it was the fuel filters that needed to be changed so that's what we asked them to do.

Tim said, "We'll try to work you in, but we are real busy and we may not get to you before your Thursday appointment."  That was three days away.  But we were hopeful.  How long can it take to change a couple of filters?
We explained what we thought the problem was and the fact the fuel filters are easy to get to to and....yada yada yada.

To our amazement about 20 minutes later Jesse the mechanic walked out and drove the Roadrunner into the shop!  He was waiting on parts from another job and had some time to work on ours.
Next we went into their small but comfortable Customer Lounge and used their wifi which was fast. I went over to the Parts Department and was able to get a baseball hat.  (Can one have too many hats?) Then I went back to the lounge and logged on.
I didn't get very far before the job was done!  It may have been 20 minutes.  It probably took as long to do the paperwork as it did to replace the filters.  $213 later and we had new ones on and a couple of spares in the passenger seat for next time.
We thanked Tim profusely and hooked up the car and made it to Mizzoula Montana for the night.  We had a few mountains to climb and it drove like a champ.  Needless to say we were pretty excited about how things went at the Cummins facility.  We are going to add this one to the list that is worth waiting for to get the Roadrunner worked on if we need to again out West.

It's a medium size facility with about 10-12 service bays, has electric and water hook ups and has a dump station to boot!  And the Petro truck stop is just down the street.  So we were able to fill up and get going in record time.  It is right off of I-90 and a little noisy but not a problem really.  (Especially when you run the a/c or ceiling fan.  Not much we could do about the trains but that is part of the charm in these parts...

It was a great experience at Northwest Cummins! We highly recommend and will remember this place.  That's all for now on the Roadrunner Chronicles. Thanks for stopping by.



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

More Memories in Walla Walla

Growing up, our family took a few road trips.  I remember a cross country one back in 1962 from Presque Isle Maine to Phoenix.  My dad retired from the Air Force and my mother had enough of cold weather to last a lifetime.  So my dad did some job hunting and found a position with the U.S. Forest Service in Phoenix AZ.

A year later he took a Forest Service job in Silver City NM where we lived for three years.  While in Silver City, we took another road trip -- this time to see my mom's sister and family in Walla Walla Washington.  I think we were 10 years old at the time.  We had a good time with cousins Gary and Greg although Greg was much older than us.  But Gary is the same age as me and my twin brother Reid.  And Gary grew up in Walla Walla.

Last week, we pulled into Walla Walla for a three day stay.  We had planned on meeting full time RV friends Geroge and Marge who were traveling from Sioux Falls.

Over the years cousin Gary and I have not really kept in touch too much.  Just a few notes back and forth on FaceBook.  I sent him a note and said, "Guess where we are -- Walla Walla".  To my surprise he sent back a note and said, 'We will be arriving tomorrow for my 45th high school reunion'!

Really?  - Wow -- we could not have planned it any better.  We found a restaurant (Olive Marketplace and Cafe) and decided on lunch with him and girlfriend Lisa.
 We had a great time catching up and learning about our lives at this stage.

After lunch we had them out to the Roadunner for a quick tour before we took them back to the Marcus Whitman where they are staying.
It was really great to see Gary again and to meet Lisa.  Lots has happened in our lives and it was fun telling stories of what has happened over the last 50+ years.  It was a wonderful time.

One thing about Walla Walla is that it is one of the most well taken care of small towns we have ever visited.  One thing I did after checking into our campground (RV Resort Four Seasons) is to get hold of a city map that showed the bike trails.
We checked them out and did a pretty good job of seeing the outskirts and neighbors of the town.  We also had dinner downtown one night and all in all -- Walla Walla is one of the great towns in America!  It apparently has no 'bad areas' -- it was all kept up well and we just didn't see any 'bad areas of town'.

We had another great time with good RV friends Marge and George.  We met them in Key West when were were there for the first time about five years ago.  Since then we've met up with them a number of places and kept track in between times being together.

They were heading west from Sioux Falls and we were heading east from Portland when we made plans to rendezvous in Walla Walla.  It worked great!
 We got sites next to each other and had dinner together plus hung out for three days.
It's always great to see these two.  They are such nice folks!  Here we are at another downtown restaurant that was recommended by the RV Campground Manager -- T. Maccarone's.

We enjoyed time at their place for dinner a couple of nights.  They have a 42 ft Winnebago Tour with a long DS slideout that goes down almost the full side of the coach.  Very well done and comfortable. The only disappointment in Walla Walla was the lack of a large produce market on Saturday morning. We were able to find a good supply of a couple different kinds of corn and managed to get hold of some world famous W2 (Walla Walla) onions and some tomatoes but we missed out on what we expected with the produce market.

But that did not dampen our time in Walla Walla -- being able to see good friends and unplanned time with cousin Gary -- it was a great three days there full of memories!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!






Friday, August 12, 2016

A Memorable Drive

Have you ever been on a stretch of highway and thought, "This is spectacular!", or said, "Oh my! Wow - this is beautiful!"?  Where are some of your favorites?

A few our favorites come to mind:

  • Shenandoah Valley on US Interstate 81
  • The Keys - US Highway 1 Florida City to Key West
  • 17 Mile Drive along Pebble Beach CA
  • Drive to the Sun in Glacier National Park, MT
  • Highway 101 along the Oregon Coast through Monument Valley
  • Monument Valley near Arizona/Utah border
  • Drive through the Arches National Park
Those are just a few that I think of including the drive over to Walla Walla, Washington from Portland Oregon.  We drove through the Columbia River Gorge along US Interstate 84, 82 Highway 730 and 12.  
These photos don't quite do it justice but it was scenic and spectacular:

We left our campground in Portland Fairview RV Park about 8:30 AM and arrived in Walla Walla about 12:30 PM.
We are loving the weather and the scenic views along the way from Portland to Walla Walla.  Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!