Jul 21st

        I got up early and got to the glass place a little after 8AM. The place was locked up tight. I hung around the door a bit and eventually some of the employees showed up. I told them I was looking for the owner and they indicated they were looking for him too. Since he was not around I made an appointment with one of the employees to have him come out to the campground and work on my cracked windshield. He showed up at the camper about 30 minutes later and chatted nonstop while drilling and filling the glass. The charge was $50 and was without warranty. They warranty chip repair but stopping a running crack carries no guaranty. We had breakfast from McDonalds before embarking on the days sightseeing journey. The 300 mile round trip to visit the “highway to the sun” was well worth the drive. Beautiful mountains and gorgeous views – even a little road construction. If we had not already seen so many mountains etc I would have been much more impressed but it was still worth the trip. We found supper at a Taco John’s in Browning. We don’t have these places back in West Bend so this was a new experience. OK, we had been to one a few years back but they seem to have changed. The food was great and they have this great green sauce they refer to as “super hot”. Boy was it hot! Great stuff! Upon returning to Shelby we stopped at the local Exxon complex to buy some beer. They had 24 packs of Bud Lite cans for $14.49. This was so cheap by comparison to Canadian prices that we bought two of them. The evening was spent comparing the taste of our remaining Canadian Bud Lite to our recently acquired Bud Lite. All in the name of science, we were able to determine that US Bud Lite tastes better. A rain shower brought an end to outdoor portion of our research so we adjourned to the camper and a little TV. The gathering storm produced a beautiful sunset that I was able to get a few pictures. I can’t wait to get them posted to the website but there are so many days worth of pictures to post first.

Jul 22nd

        I had seen a little Chinese place when we looking for the glass place so we thought we would give it a try for lunch. Hong Kong Chan’s is located on Front Street and offers a lunch buffet from 11:30AM to 2PM Monday through Friday. The selection of items looked small at first but they used one pan to hold multiple items so the selection grew as we ate. The food was delicious and very cheap. The bill came to just over $12. From there we located a grocery store – Albertson’s. They had the best selection of familiar brands that we had seen in some time. After we checked out they even carried the groceries out to the Jeep! Cool. I stopped at the local Subway on the way home to pick up sandwiches. Unfortunately they were out of whole wheat bread so I decided I would have to stop back latter. After spending some time around the camper and calling Chad to wish him an early Happy Birthday I did manage to return for the subs.  The picnic table called to us to check the results of yesterday’s research so we had a couple of late afternoon beers before catching some of “Penn & Teller Bull Shit” episodes on ShowTime. Supper was followed by “The Bourne Identity”, some email and volleyball updates to JoJo’s web page before I hit the bed. Tomorrow’s drive is a long one so I need my sleep.

Jul 23rd

        The people parked in front of us left early so exiting the site was straight forward. Our first stop was to pickup some fuel. The pump was slow and shut off after the first $75. The camper need more than that so I had to swipe my credit card again to continue the process. After about $35 more had been pumped the tank was declared full by the hose nozzle. The camper was tipped downhill in the front and toward the side I was filling from so I was sure the tank was not full but there was nothing I could do so we hit the road. The journey south was all freeway with a speed limit of 75mph and we made good time. Even including the extended fuel stop we were able to cover 183 miles in the first three hours after leaving the campground. After a quick stop in a rest area for lunch (left over Subway) we traveled the remaining 170 miles to Livingston. The campground was located about 10 miles off the freeway towards Yellowstone. A nice little KOA with no cable, no wireless internet (you can stand in the office holding your laptop and they will let you use one of their phone lines to dial out), too many kids and high rates. OK, the satellite worked so we had good TV but that was it. After setting up we headed to Livingston to find lunch/supper. We had picked a place called Crazy Coyotes Mexican Food for lunch – now all we had to do was find it. After driving completely through town without spotting the place we turned around and headed back. On the return trip I saw a sign for the place located just a little down a side street. All excited about finally getting something to eat we pulled in. The place is closed for two hours between lunch and dinner and of course that included the time we were there. Back in the Jeep and down the road to Hardee’s. The one in West Bend had closed so this was a chance to try their newer menu items. Not bad burgers but we like Mexican food better. After picking up fuel in the Jeep for tomorrow’s trip through Yellowstone we returned to the camper. Stargate SG1 was coming up on SciFi followed by the new episode of Stargate Atlantis. We had missed the first 2 hour episode of Stargate Atlantis the week before because the satellite was not working in that campground. But this time all was well and we got to see some SciFi. Both shows were great! It is nice to be getting back to where the things we are used to having are once again available. Less than two weeks from now we will be back at the Barn. Just a few more places to visit before we start the process of bringing the Barn back to life.

Jul 24th

        We put this stop at Livingston into the trip with the idea that we would go get a quick tour of Yellowstone. Well, today is the day. After a good breakfast at the campground we headed south towards the park. The North Gate was just over 50 miles down the road. Twenty dollars bought us a 7 day pass. We only planned to be in the park during one day but 7 days was the smallest they offered. The road through the park wound considerably and generally was posted at 35mph. There were several places to stop and take pictures but we only stopped for animal viewing. We took the more western of the two roads heading south through the park. We planned to return on the eastern route so that we would see it all. There even was some thought of going down to the Tetons before heading back north through the park. This would bring the total mileage for the day to about 300 miles. We took a short detour out the West Gate of the park to visit West Yellowstone in hopes of finding Harley Davidson store. No store in the place so back to the park we went. By the time we got to Old Faithful it was after 3PM. Almost 5 hours into the trip and we were no where close to half way – not even counting the Tetons. After parking the Jeep by the Old Faithful Inn we took a moment to put the top back on the Jeep. We had been traveling with the top down and it was starting to cloud up. As we walked over to the viewing area for the geyser we watched it finishing it’s eruption. Since we had only seen the last moments and had gotten no pictures we checked at the Visitor Center to see when it was expected to go again. The next eruption was about 90 minutes away! After checking the time we decided that it would be best to see it the next time we visited the park and that we should abort the remainder of the day’s trip as well. It would be late by the time we got back to the camper. In retrospect, our trip plans had been a bit optimistic. We did learn a couple of things that will help the next time we come to the west. It would be better to camp to the south of the park or in the park and tour from that location. It seems most of the viewing is located in the southern section of the park. Possibly one day going from the South Gate to the West Gate and back with a second day spent going to the East Gate and back. Call ahead to get the proper time to be at Old Faithful. This also puts you in a good position to take a third day and go south to the Tetons. If you really want to see all of these two parks the 7 day pass is about the right length. After winding our way out of the park and back to the camper we found some warm cats. We turned on the A/C in the camper and started supper. Our last batch of meatballs filled the bill. We had a bunch of them left over from our New Years party and defrosting them in small chunks had given us several tasty meals during this trip. SciFi provided the entertainment for the remainder of the evening.

Jul 25th

        We had breakfast at the camper before heading out for a much more conservative day trip. Our first stop was at the Harley Davidson store about 40 miles up the road at Belgrade MT. A very large store with a good selection of T-shirts from which Rita was able to chose just the right one. From here we traveled to an Applebee’s in Bozeman MT. We had not been to an Applebee’s since we left West Bend. A great lunch in a familiar surrounding – all the Applebee’s look pretty much the same on the inside. We had passed a Wal-Mart Super Center on the way into town so we stopped for a quick visit. Rita had a couple items on her “next time we see a Wal-Mart” list so we shopped most of the store. The Bud Lite here was even cheaper than the last place. Only 13.19 for a 24 can pack. Though we only had room for one in the fridge we couldn’t pass by the good deal so we bought two. Back at the camper Rita worked on her campground notes before I worked on my travel diary. We watched a quick movie from the satellite before we started supper. Rita was able to work up one of her delicious meal for us to share. I don’t know how she does it but one of the ingredients she uses carries the name “Red Baron, Sausage & Pepperoni”. I shared small bits of my supper with my cat Byte per his request before we sat down for an evening of TV. “Penn & Teller Bullshit:, “The Dead Zone” and “Dead Like Me” were all on the list with a bit of Deep Space 9 and some beer thrown in to fill the gaps in the schedule. Tomorrow we move the camper to Sheridan WY. Five campgrounds and 1330 miles to go before we get to the barn.