“Well, Ole,” I said, “another rally is coming to an end. We’ve put a lot of miles on this year, haven’t we?

“Yah, you bet,” said Ole. “having all your bionic parts in order has made quite a difference. It’s nicer to be able to ride a couple of hours before we have to take a butt break.”

You see, Dear Friends, five years ago I had one hip replaced, two years later I ended up with a total knee replacement and last November the second hip went under the knife. Prior to that it was very painful to sit on the back of the bike for longer than a half hour at a time, and very difficult to get on and off due to knee issues. And besides that – I’m worth a lot more now as all these replacement parts are made from titanium!!  $$$ Doc told me they’ll last longer than I will – that’s kind of a scary thought (snicker). So riding without pain other than a numb backside is almost a new experience and quite enjoyable.

The campground emptied out a lot today. There’s still a few diehards here that will all be pulling out tomorrow I’m sure. All our company left this morning, along with our Arizona friends, Dave and Karen and their friend Jackie, who was VERY entertaining over the week. She’s from Boston originally and has a great sense of humor. She can and did keep us laughing throughout the week.

Fortunately, we stuck close today and didn’t wander any farther than downtown Sturgis. I finished my Emily shopping and then found a parking spot on the street and people watched for awhile. Sitting on the bench behind our bike we visited with some very nice and interesting people. The old gentleman who was parked next to our bike had ridden in from Denver with his chocolate lab on the back of his bike. The poor old gal was 9 years old and crippled up with arthritis but wasn’t willing to stay home and made the trip in a large wire cage that kept her safe on the road. She also had doggy goggles – and her Sturgis neckerchief. She’s made the trip with her owner every year since she was a pup. Poor Nala has to stay back in camp in the RV and keep the burglars out when we’re gone. And boy – does she do her job well. One of the neighbors came to the door last night needing Tony’s assistance with something and when she knocked on the door I thought Nala was going to go through the screen! Believe me, no one will break into THIS camper! She’s also very protective of our campsite and knows exactly where the boundaries are. Ross, the owner of the campground, stopped over one evening to visit (we’ve stayed here since the campground opened so we’ve gotten acquainted with him) and commented several times on how well behaved Nala is. He wishes all the dogs that are brought along would behave like her.

Anyway, as I started to say, it’s a good thing we stuck close today. We were sitting on Main Street kind of watching the weather that was moving in from west. The local radio station broadcasts on Main Street and all of a sudden they started talking about storms moving in with 60 mph winds. So, I convinced Ole that we needed to head for home (ya think?). We had no more than gotten on the bike and about a block down the street and it started to rain. About the time he dropped me off at the grocery store and he headed for the local off sale, the sky opened up, the wind started to blow, it rained in sheets and then it started to hail. It rained so hard you could hardly see the cars parked in the parking lot. Fortunately I was in the grocery store at the time and he had made it to the inside of the off sale. We waited until the worst of it had blown over and then headed for home managing to get pretty wet before we reached our destination. It rained so hard that a portion of the gravel road leading to our campground was underwater. By the time we reached our RV we were mud up to our knees and wet down to our britches. But I told Ole I didn’t melt so it was okay. I would recover.

I have to tell you about a little old granny that I met at the gas station the other day. Ole was filling the tanks and I happen to glance over and see a florescent hot pink trike pull into the parking lot and off hopped a little old lady with gray hair all tucked up in a bun on top of her head. She was wearing shorts and a tank top and drew a lot of attention, not because she was “hot” but because of her bike and her age. I walked over to visit with her a bit and she told me she was 78 years old and had ridden her trike all the way from some little town in eastern Nebraska. Everyone just swarmed over her – she got more attention than the young women on Main Street that were busy showing their tatas!!



Sorry I haven’t taken more pictures this year – I haven’t even taken my camera along on any of our rides. We’ve been down here so many times that I just am interested in enjoying the ride and not trying to document it anymore. I’ll leave that for the newbies that ride around with their jaws hanging down to the ground at what they see.

So this ends another chapter in the Adventures of Ole and Lena and the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis motorcycle rally.


“Ole,” I said, “I think my butt fell off about 30 miles back.”

“Turn around and let me see,” he said. “No, it’s still there, but it is kinda flat.”

“Well, if it’s there,” I said, “it’s really numb because I can’t feel a thing.”

Yesterday’s ride consisted of the Pig Tail bridges, Iron Mountain Road, the Wildlife Loop, Needles Highway and Mount Rushmore which was just about 100 miles, most of it at a slow speed due to the heavy traffic. Add onto that the 70 miles going and coming from Rapid City to Sturgis and it made for a long day.

But it was a beautiful day – a bright blue sky with big puffy white clouds, abundant wildflowers, a slight breeze blowing through the tall, straight pine trees making the air smell so fresh and clean. When our daughter was in grade school we brought her down here – not during Sturgis week but earlier in the summer – she told me that the air smelled like pine scented bathroom cleaner (chuckle). Needless to say we’ve never let her forget that (love you, Daughter).

Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of any wildlife down in Custer Park. There was a large herd of buffalo just off the road with some really stupid people trying to walk up to them. There were calves in the herd so getting close certainly wasn’t a smart thing to do. And of course the donkeys were standing in the middle of the road stopping traffic and begging for food. We forgot to bring our usual carrots this time so we didn’t stop, just breezed through. Usually we bring a bag of carrots and Ole carries them in his back pocket. The donkeys follow him around like puppies and have been known to pick the carrots right out of his pocket. Fortunately his backside hasn’t gotten a chunk taken out of it yet!

This is the 75th anniversary of the rally – and surprisingly the traffic isn’t as bad as we anticipated. The highways are pretty free flowing – it’s not until you get into the towns that things get backed up. It can take an hour or more to get from our campground out to the interstate. Yesterday it took over 40 minutes to get down the 2 mile stretch of hill to get into Keystone. But once we got to Keystone there were plenty of parking spaces and not many bikes on the street. Shopping in downtown Sturgis can be a real problem. The street itself is pretty free moving with available parking spaces, but the sidewalks are another story. It’s elbow-to-elbow people and almost impossible to move. That’s why I did my shopping within the first couple of days before things got so plugged up.

Our friend from Arkansas arrived safely on Monday night. He and his wife had just finished a 2000-mile trip up the east coast to Niagara Falls. They were gone for 10 days and when he arrived home he packed up and started for Sturgis. Now there is a guy who should definitely have a flat butt! We’re expecting our Minnesota friend tonight, so we’ll definitely have a full camping site. The more the merrier – it’s definitely Party City here in our neighborhood. All us hard core bikers are usually in bed with lights out by ten (snicker).

By the way – I have to tell you that I’m really missing my little granddaughter – I’m having withdrawals!

Ole and Lena Go to Sturgis 2015

“Well, Ole,” I said, “Would you believe this is my 21st anniversary of the first time I ever came to Sturgis? “That’s a lot of trips down the ol’ highway, don’t you think?”

“Yah, you bet,” said Ole. “But just think, Lena, I haven’t missed a year in the last 29! I’ve seen a lot of stupidness in the last 29 years.”

Now I really have to tell you about my very first trip to Sturgis, which was back in 1994. Ole had been coming to Sturgis by himself starting in 1987. That was back in the days when he was hardcore (and a lot younger) and would ride his Harley both ways. He would come home after spending a week on the bike wind burned and sunburned and looking like his bike had beat him up. Those were also the days when he took a sleeping bag along and “camped” on the floor of the sub-office of the company he worked for, which was located in Rapid City. He would also bring home lots of pictures of these “depraved” people that were walking and riding around in the streets of Sturgis. Ole always invited me to go along with him every year, but I always declined stating that I really wasn’t interested in intermixing with all those weirdoes.

Well, in 1994, the year our daughter graduated from high school and I figured if something happened to me down there, she would be able to make it on her own, I decided it was time for me to go check out this phenomena. Ole was ecstatic that I was going to go along, but I put three stipulations on my trip, thinking he would NEVER be able to fulfill them (snicker). First of all, I wouldn’t ride that distance on the back of a bike, we’d have to trailer it. Secondly, I wouldn’t camp – I required a hotel room with a real bed and a shower. Because, at that time anyway, you almost had to make your hotel reservations a year in advance, I figured he’d never be able to accomplish that one! And third, there was no way I was going to wear all that black leather like all those ruffians and wild women did. Ole said no problem – we’d buy leather when we got to Sturgis as it was cheaper there than in the Harley store. What color would I like? “Well,” I said, “I’d like red. That’s a good color for me.”

Well, Ole came through, just like he always does. He arranged to travel down with a friend/client of his who had a pickup truck and we would haul both bikes in the back. Friend/client also had a hotel room all reserved and was willing to share. Okay – down on both counts there – now I’m committed and HAVE to go. So we arrived in Sturgis, unloaded the bikes and proceeded to downtown to look for chaps and a jacket. It didn’t take me long to figure out there was no way I was going to be buying red leather. First of all – back then colored leather only came in size 4 and I don’t think I’ve ever been a size 4 in my life – even when I was a toddler!! And the other reason was that back then it was only the hookers that wore colored leather!! Now there’s all kinds of colors available and everyone wears colored leather.

I’ve watched things change a lot in the years I’ve been coming here. It really was kind of rough and tumble back then, and you could always FIND trouble if you went looking for it. But if you knew where to stay away from, everything was fine. At one point in time the city fathers tried to promote the rally as a family event, which it definitely was not and STILL is not. This is not a place for young children.

For Ole and me, coming to Sturgis and the Blackhills means relaxation, time to kick back and enjoy. It means meeting up with long-time friends that we only connect with when we’re here. It means shedding the responsibilities of daily life and doing some of the things that retirement is really all about.

So we’ve been here since Thursday with a somewhat eventful trip on the way down. First of all we discovered that over the winter we had developed a cracked – well I don’t know what cracked, but all of the water disappeared out of our fresh water tank. So the first night out we had only enough water to wash our faces and brush our teeth but of course enough to make coffee. Can you tell I don’t drink coffee so that wasn’t important to me. Can you imagine – a Norwegian that doesn’t drink coffee? Oh, well.

Then, the second morning out on the highway in the middle of nowhere (there are a lot of those kinds of highways in western North Dakota and South Dakota) we started smelling a strong smell of diesel fuel. When we stopped to run Nala for a bit Ole checked under the RV and saw a waterfall of diesel fuel. That’s just what we needed. So Ole dug out his trusty tool kit and unafraid of tackling any job, dug into the engine compartment, was able to fix the leak and an hour later we were on the road again. Hopefully, that’s all the “events” we’ll have and we’ll get back home safely and without anymore hassles.

Unfortunately it seems that when you drive one of these rigs there are always issues. I had one friend suggest that it’s time to get a new one. That’s not the answer either. We have good friends who bought a brand new rig a couple of years ago and it’s been just a travesty every time they take it on a trip. It’s cost them muco-bucks, including a new engine. So buying new isn’t always the answer either. Fortunately Ole is one of these guys who hates to pay anybody for something he can do himself, so he comes in pretty greasy and dirty sometimes, but still has a few bucks in his pocket when he’s done. That’s the Finlander in him. They’re known to be tight wads (chuckle).

How did I get off on that tangent? I don’t know either.

This is the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and supposedly the city is expecting 1.2 million people to filter through during the week. Well, unless things start to increase tenfold I don’t think they’ll get their 1.2 million. Last year at this time our campground was completely full. This year there are a lot of spots still open. There are also a lot of hotels advertising vacancies, which is unusual for the first Saturday, and it’s very easy to find a parking spot on Main Street, also unusual. So we will see if they get their 1.2 million.

And yes, we’ve already seen a lot of stupid down here. Newbies who buy a new bike and think they should break it in riding the hills and downtown Sturgis. Smart A—s who think they own the road, etc. I won’t go on as there’s no point. You just have to ride very defensively.

So far we’ve ridden Vanoker Canyon, always a pleasant ride into Rapid City. Today we went down Spearfish Canyon to Spearfish and made our annual stop at their DQ. Always a treat. The weather here has been perfect – running in the mid 80s with a beautiful blue sky. So far no storms, but in the Black Hills that can change with the snap of your fingers. Our friends from Arizona are here this year. They didn’t make it last year due to health reasons. This year they brought a friend with them, and she’s a hoot. Wonderful company. Their health isn’t allowing them to do much riding this year, but they are here and we’re spending a lot of time with them in the campground. We have our own little neighborhood – Jerry and Jeff, father and son farmers from Huron, Smitty and Georgette with their son, daughter-in-law and little grand baby from Nebraska and we’re awaiting long time friends from Arkansas and one from Minnesota. Don’t know when they will show up – they’ll be here when they get here.

So you see it’s like Old Home Week. In the 20+ years we’ve been coming down here and staying in the same campground, we have our own little mini-city. It’s great.

Okay – Lena signing off for now. More stories tomorrow. They may be boring this year as hopefully nothing extreme will happen. Keep your fingers crossed.

Love to you all, Lena

Working in Iceland

They say you can never go back – and I guess that’s very true. Things are never the same as “they used to be.” When Ole was in the Navy we lived in Iceland for just over two years. One of our greatest desires has always been to go back and visit again; to make the trip with dear friends of ours that lived there at the same time. Unfortunately, when you’re young, busy raising a family and trying to get ahead in the world, those kinds of things get put on the back burner. As of September 2006, the NATO base was closed – turned back to the Icelandic government, as it should be. But it would have been fun to see it once more in full operation.

Ole was an Electronics Technician, responsible for the maintenance of all the microwave gear that was used to communicate with all the submarines, airplanes (spy planes –shhh – don’t tell anyone) and various ships that were patrolling the North Atlantic during the time of the cold war with the Soviet Union. The North Atlantic was a busy place then, and Iceland was in a very strategic location. Ole had an extremely high security clearance at that time, so he really couldn’t talk about a lot of the stuff that he did. I remember when he was investigated for that security clearance – they did everything including look down his shorts (hope they saw something interesting!) along with everyone else’s shorts that he knew – both presently and in the past.

I was fortunate enough to get a job working as the secretary for one of the Commanders of the NATO base. (Back then we were called secretaries – not administrative assistants. I guess we were secure in our status knowing that we, in reality, ran the offices, and didn’t need any new and improved titles to make us feel important.) Commander Davis was in charge of the Supply Office – the location where EVERYTHING that the base used to function was kept and disbursed. There were six divisions within the Supply Office, and each division was supervised by an officer of a lower rank and a secretary, along with a number of enlisted men. There were a total of 300+ enlisted men working in the Supply Office at that time, a number of Icelandic Nationals, and seven American females – one for each division and myself, the Commander’s secretary.

My specific office consisted of the Commander, myself, two yeomen (male secretaries), a mailman, and a couple of chiefs. In my opinion, a Chief (E7, 8, 9) is a disposable entity in the Navy – their sole purpose in life is to hold a coffee cup (snicker) and sit with their feet on their desk.

You would think that in a situation like this our office would have been very busy – but I have to say this was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had due to the lack of enough to do. I would accomplish my workload within a couple of hours in the morning and then had nothing to do for the remainder of the day. I have to say that the Commander was well trained in holding a coffee cup and sitting with his feet on his desk also, as were the other six division heads.

So my days got very long. I read magazines, wrote letters, paid bills, anything I could think of to make the time go faster. AND I played Ann Landers to a lot of the guys in the entire Supply Office. THAT got to be quite interesting. I didn’t apply for that job – it just happened. I must have some kind of sign on my forehead that says “good listener” because people have always unloaded on me and still do. I heard everything from stories about married guys that were having affairs with Icelandic girls (Iceland is the land of “free love” – more on that later) – to guys who were trying to get a Section 8 (just like Klinger on Mash). Most of the time it was an information overload, believe me. One young man, in particular I struck a tight bond with. He was a fellow Minnesotan, an 18-year old from the Iron Range, who had just found out his girl back home was pregnant by another guy. He still wanted to go home and marry her. He finally did, but wasn’t granted leave until after the baby was born. He came back to Iceland, served his time and then got stationed stateside. I often wonder what happened to him. I should try to look him up sometime.

Then there was a guy from Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He was a true hippy and I often wondered what he was doing in the military at all. He was tall and slender with a handlebar moustache that would wrap around his head and meet in the back when he stretched it out. He used a lot of wax on it and coiled it to keep it in order. His best buddy, from New York City, was a short red head with rose-colored granny glasses. They made quite a pair, and when dressed in civies (civilian clothes) you would never have guessed they were part of the military with the exception that they didn’t have ponytails. I have to say the military standards back then were quite different for haircuts than they are now. And especially in Iceland, things were much more relaxed. Most of the guys had big moustaches, LONG sideburns, and hair that touched their collars. Not the clean-cut shaven, shorthaired military you see now.

Then there was Chief Conroy – one of those Chiefs that had a permanently malformed hand from holding his coffee cup all day. He was probably in his late 30s or early 40s, with a beer paunch and an attitude that thought he was God’s gift to women (yuck). He was constantly trying to put the make on all the young females in the department. Fortunately being non-military, I could tell him where to go.

For some reason sailors drink a lot of coffee – probably out of boredom or something. At that time Ole didn’t drink coffee. Each week one of the sailors in his office was assigned the job of coming in early to make coffee in the big 100-cup pot so that it would be ready by the time the officers came in to the office. Well, when it was Ole’s turn, he didn’t like doing this because he had to be there by 6 a.m. in order to have it ready by 8. So one morning when he was there alone, and before he got the coffee going, he found a dead cockroach, stuck it in the spigot from the inside to plug it, and then went on about his business making coffee. The first officer came in, managed to get a cup of coffee, but it didn’t come out very fast. More officers came in, and the coffee was running slower and slower until finally it wouldn’t come out at all. They knew the pot was full, so they started poking around in the spigot and cockroach parts started coming out!! Ole didn’t get out of making coffee, but he got a few chuckles out of that one.

Here’s a picture of me in my office – freaky glasses, huh?

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They say you can’t go back – but I sure wish I could go back to being that thin!!



Where do pets come from?

Where do pets come from? A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to “Where do pets come from?”

Adam and Eve said, “Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day. Now we do not see you any more. We are lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us.” And God said, I will create a companion for you that will be with you and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves.” ! And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.

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And it was a good animal. And God was pleased. And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, “Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom an d I cannot think of a name for this new animal.” And God said, ” I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG.” (GOD SPELLED BACKWORD)

And Dog live d with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them. And they were comforted. And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, “Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well.” And God said, I will create for them a companion who will be with them and who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration.” And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

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And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat’s eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings. And Adam and Eve learned humility. And they were greatly improved. And God was pleased. And Dog was happy.

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And Cat didn’t give a shit one way or the other.



I’m a Half Breed (shhh!)


I have a deep, dark secret that I need to share with my readers. (Whispers behind hand) I’m a half-breed!! Yes, I am of mixed blood, not that that makes me either a better or a worse person than any of you. I’ve posted pictures of myself on previous entries, and even though my pictures are of someone who is tall and blond (Ole says I’m platinum, makes me more valuable, ya know) with blue eyes, the truth be known – I’m a half-breed. And it HAS affected me greatly throughout my childhood and on into my adult life. My mother was Swedish and my father was Norwegian – a mixture that, back in their day, wasn’t supposed to mix well, so you can imagine what it’s done to my psyche.

I’ve made reference previously to my ScandiHOOvian-Lutheran upbringing, and if any of you are familiar with the old-time ScandiHOOvians, you know how stoic they are. Showing any kind of emotion is against the rules, regardless of what the issue. A good example would be the day that Ole and I announced that there would be a baby Ole or Lena in about nine months. My father was sitting at the kitchen table with a grin from ear to ear, but the first words out of his mouth were to Ole, “Well, when shall we go fishing, then? There’s a big one waiting to be caught.” That’s when I knew he was excited about having another grandchild.

Another unspoken rule was never to brag about yourself or any of your accomplishments. That would draw attention and that was certainly something that you didn’t want. Fading into the background was a much more positive attribute. ScandiHOOvians believed there was only one right way to live – their way. From their vantage point problems were either black or white and all solutions were cut and dried. There were no such words as “feeling blue” or “down” in their vocabulary – but the words “buck up”, “pull up your boot straps,” etc., were heard frequently.

Speaking of black and white, color was another thing that was almost non-existant. Show me a ScandiHoovian woman who wears bright dresses and red fingernail polish and she sure must have some Italian or Spanish in her blood somewhere. ScandiHOOvian women bought red nail polish for one reason – they used it to mark the bottoms of their dishes and pans that they brought to funerals and other doings. It held up better than masking tape. To this day IF I put polish on my fingernails, it’s always a pale color, most usually clear or natural. And I so well remember my mother and Big Sister, marking their bowls and pans with red nail polish.

The ScandiHOOvian preference for white can be seen in their food choices also. Among the favorites are lutefisk, lefse, fish balls, potatoes, onions, cabbage, flatbread, buttermilk, fattigmand, glorified rice, rommegrot, a krumkaka here and there. And as far as spices go, salt was a staple and pepper was getting quite daring. Foods from other ethnicities were adapted and toned down. If you wanted to add color and flare, you just added a can of peas. Homemade vegetable soup was brightened with carrots, but topped with dumplings. Marshmallows were put over squash and corn not only creamed but covered with crackers. How about chocolate cake covered with white boiled frosting, and the staple of all ScandiHOOvian gatherings, red jello toned down with a white banana floating on top.

Beige isn’t white, but it was the closest thing to colorless that a ScandiHOOvian woman could find. Historically, the lady of the house never went in for show. She would put on a beige dress, paint her nails with clear polish, splash on a dab (not too much now) of Evening in Paris and that would be about as much flash as you could expect to see. She would anxiously anticipate Memorial Day so she could once again bring out her white shoes.

Additionally, religion somehow got mixed up with trying to keep things pure and white. None of the Big Shots in the church knew that the uproar caused by the introduction of the NEW RED hymnals had nothing to do with the music or liturgy at all. Who would imagine that the Lutheran Church would ever have agreed to have RED hymnals in the back of the pew racks?

So now you know all about the inner conflict that I deal with on a day to day basis and why it’s there. And then adding Ole to the recipe, who is a Finlander, makes life more interesting – but that’s okay. I’ll just keep it all to myself. It’s just not that bad. I’ll just buck up and pull up my boot straps.

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Riding the waves and getting sea sick

Rolling along on this section of I-94 heading east is like riding a wild bronco – lots of bucking.  You better be seat belted in or you’re going to go flying.  Between the frost heaves that remain after the severe winters, and the sun boils that make the highway about as smooth as an ocean with huge waves, it can be a pretty wild ride.  Poor little Lucy has taken up residence in her cat bed that has a roof over it, so she’s pretty secure.  Nala, on the other hand, has to suffer with the up and down motion and has a terrible time to find a place where she feels secure.  She remains calm throughout and travels well.  Actually better than I did yesterday.

Montana is one freaking big state – it goes on forever and ever and ever.  They call it Big Sky Country, and yes, it’s beautiful, but when all you want to do is go home, you can only handle so much big blue sky.  Especially at 95 degrees when the in-dash a/c doesn’t work.  By the time we reached Billings last night I was literally FRIED in more ways than one.  Then to top it off, we took a wrong turn off the exit ramp, got all turned around and ended up in the industrial park instead of where we wanted to go.  I was trying hard to figure things out on the GPS and Nala was insisting on standing between me and the dash, where all my power cords and computer cables are, pulling everything down off the dash so I lost all my connections.  Meanwhile, Ole was yelling at me to tell him where to turn – I just about told him where to turn all right – and it wasn’t in Billings!!

We finally reached our Walmart campground and all sighed a deep sigh of relief, even Nala and Lucy.  No more than had we pulled in lengthwise along one of the outside edges of the parking lot, allowing enough space to drive out in the morning, than some dumb sh-t pulled in right in front of us – so close to our front end you had to hold your breath in order to walk between the vehicles.  That meant that if someone pulled in behind us there would be no way to jockey our way out in the a.m., and we wanted to be on the road at sun-up. 

“Well,” said Ole, with a huff, “We’ll fix him good,” as he poked the button to start the generator so we could run our roof a/c and cool everybody down.  By this time I was in tears, from frustration and being overheated for so terribly long, and being very tired due to lack of sleep over the last several nights.  Enough, already.  I just want to go home and see my little Emily and cuddle her and snuggle her and get big sloppy, wet kisses from her.  I’m ready to go home to my nice air conditioned house and do all my dirty laundry that has accumulated from the last three weeks. (Sheesh – I must be really sick.)

So – as we literally roll along over the waves of the interstate, we’re almost at the North Dakota/Montana line, listening to Jack Friday solve all kinds of crimes on the oldies radio station.  Ole is fighting a strong cross wind, Nala is trying not to throw up from “riding the waves” and I’m trying to stay a bit cooler than yesterday.  ETA, hopefully, barring any more “incidents” is this evening.

Keeping your fingers crossed please.

“Well,” (said with a big sigh of relief). I THINK we’re on our way home.  I’m truly ready for several reasons.  First of all, I’m having granddaughter withdrawals.  And second of all, I don’t think we can afford this trip anymore.  If you remember, we had “issues” on the way down to Sturgis.  And since we left Sturgis we’ve had MORE.

We were rolling along going west from Bozeman, running through lots of road construction.  Going up over a pass just east of Missoula and Ole noticed that the engine was starting to overheat.  He took the first pull off, turned off the engine and got out to check things over.  After a few minutes we came back inside and told me he could see shiny pullies in the back, which meant we had lost a belt of some sort.  We limped it over to a camp ground that happened to be very close by and I immediately got on the phone to put a call in to our emergency road service.

Meanwhile the campground hosts came motoring up in their ATV to see what was up.  along with the owner of the campground.  He hopped out of his truck, introduced himself and asked if there was anything he could help with.  He was a dog lover and immediately made friends with Nala.  He had made the mistake of leaving his pickup door open as he was on a mission of hauling wood for the campground.  Nala saw the open door, decided she liked the guy enough and hopped into the truck and moved over to the passenger seat.  He just chuckled and asked if he could take her for a ride in the a/c cab so she could cool off.  It was up on the 90s at the time and we were all hot.  So the hosts offered to take us to the rec room which was air conditioned, gave us all something cold to drink and visited with us while we waited for the tow truck, which took about an hour and a half. 

Meanwhile, I knew the tow truck wouldn’t take animals, nor would they tow the motorcycle trailer that was attached to the RV.  Another phone call to the friends we were headed to visit and they were immediatey on the road to come to our rescue.  They drove the 80 miles from their home and pulled into the campground at the same time the tow truck did. Nala and Lucy were loaded into the back of their SUV, the trailer was hooked up and we followed the tow truck the 40 miles into Missoula and to the diesel repair facility. 

It’s now getting to be about 7 o’clock.  They looked at it and told us to come back in an hour and it would be fixed.  Couldn’t believe ears – that we should be so lucky as to be on the road again in an hour.  Well – two hours later it still wasn’t fixed and they were closing up shop at 9 p.m.  We went the remaining 40 miles to our friend’s home and spent the night, hoping the RV would be the first thing on the agenda of the mechanic the next moring.  Not to be.  After several phone calls it was finally ready about 4 o’clock that afternoon.  With the first phone call,which was placed at noon, we found out that a mechanic hadn’t started on it yet.  With the second phone call at 2:30 p.m. we found out that they were in the process of putting it back together and we should call again in an hour.  When we called again at 4, it was reassembled, but hadn’t yet been tested.  So the guys went back another 40 miles hoping it would be ready by the time they got there.  GRRR.  So much for the job that was only going to take an hour initially. 

But – we got to spend another night with our friends and met two of their wonderful daughters and one son-in-law.  Terrific people. 

So we loaded up this morning, hooked up the trailer, said our goodbyes to our dear friends, lots of hugs, shed some tears and went on down the road.  Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll have an uneventful trip over the next 600 miles. 

PS:  I’m so glad we carry emergency road insurance.  The tow bill was over $2000, out of pocket expense was zero.  Unfortunately the service doesn’t cover the cost of repairs and that was in the hundreds of dollars!! 




See you next year, Sturgis!

“So long Sturgis, see you next year,” I said, as we sent our friends on their way home and we exited the campground and drove down Lazalle with all the other motor homes and motorcycles heading out of town.  We hit I-90 and headed west with an uneventful trip (uneventful is good), landing in Bozeman for the night, with all the other Walmart campers.  There must have been 2 dozen motor homes in the parking lot in transit to somewhere else. 

That’s one good thing about Walmart – they are certainly RV friendly.  Of course, I have yet to spend a night in a Walmart parking lot without spending money in their store.  Last night I made a necessary trip inside because I didn’t want to have to do laundry before we get home.  Ole was in need of some undies (snicker).  Can’t have him wearing his shorts inside out now, can we? 

So essential purchases were made and on my way back to the rig I saw Ole outside visiting with another Walmart camper.  He had taken Nala out for her nightly constitutional when another gentleman walked up to him and started visiting.  He was extremely interested in Nala and told us she was a real beauty.  Turns out he had been a dog handler in the Army and upon retirement had been hired by the military to search out dogs that would make good K-9 units.  He worked with her for just a few minutes and said she would have been an exemplary dog as she is very intelligent and catches on to what you want very fast.  Do you think Ole was popping his buttons about then?  Yah, you bet.


“Ole,” I said between clinched teeth, “You better get me out of here or I’m going to slap somebody!” 

“Okay, okay, get on the bike and we’ll leave right now.”

We don’t normally spend so much time in downtown Sturgis, but due to my hip situation and the fact that I can’t ride long distances this year, downtown Sturgis has been our major source of entertainment.  This was our third day in a row fighting the masses of people and insane traffic, so I had truly had enough.  I was “peopled out.”  Get me back to the campground to some relative peace and quiet.  After a quick stop at the grocery store, Ole parked me in a lawn chair and put a toddy in my hand so I could mellow out.  And it even worked (chuckle).

That is it worked until the neighbor lady came wandering over to visit.  I was enjoying my peace and quiet but when she arrived there was a onslaught of constant chatter and it was all about NOTHING.  This lady is a true “southern belle” and doesn’t mind acting the part at all.  She thinks that every moment of quiet needs to be filled with her voice.  Although an accent from the deep south can be beautiful it can get overwhelming also when you hear it nonstop for long periods of time.  You don’t visit with her – it’s a one way conversation – you just listen.  And she’s an authority on everything, no matter what the subject.  She doesn’t mind telling you that she was raised in an “extremely wealthy” family, and that she has an “extremely” high IQ, and that she has a master’s degree, and that her husband makes a lot of money, and that they have two “extremely” lavish homes, and that she gives “lavish” cocktail parties frequently at both of their homes for all the neighbors – and on and on and on.  LADY, I DON’T CARE!  SHUT UP!  I wonder how her husband’s ears survive – he’s just a nice, down-to-earth guy whose company we have enjoyed.  I always try to remember what my father used to say – “Those that have it don’t talk about it, and those that don’t have it talk about it all the time.”  My father was a very perceptive man.

This is the 74th year of the Motorcycle Rally and the anticipated crowd this year is approximately 450,000.  And so far they’re right on target according to the local paper.  They measure the attendance by the garbage that is picked up every night at 2 a.m. All bikes have to be off Main Street by 2 a.m. or they are towed.  Next year is the 75th aniversary and the prediction is over a million bikers.  That will be a mad house.  We made our reservations for that one 2 years ago.

So obviously, with this kind of a crowd there’s a heavy police presence.  They’re always in groups patroling the streets.  Ole and I have visited with a number of the law enforcement folks over the years – most of them truly nice guys but of course there are some with an attitude.  They come from all over the United States and many of them spend their vacations working here in Sturgis.  As I was approaching one of the intersections the other day I could hear a whistle blowing repeatedly.  It was attached to the mouth of an officer with a huge moustache, a real soup strainer, who was dressed in his blues and wearing white gloves out in the middle of the intersection directing traffic.  All the other law enforcement are dressed in gray shirts, black pants and black ball caps, so this guy really stood out.  After watching for a couple of minutes I asked one of the policemen standing on the corner if this guy was for real or if he was just a source of entertainment.  I found out that he was truly an officer of the law from New York City that had come to Sturgis to work along with experiencing the rally.  Unfortunately, this blog won’t allow me to attach a video of him, but I think I’ll be able to post it separately.  He was very unique to say the least. 

Now for some pictures:

Note the head gear on this guy – looks a bit dangerous.

Hmmm –

She’s “advertising” for the store in back of her that does tatooing.

Note the “covers” that he has on his horns!

I wonder if he’s truly from Scotland or who knows what.