Fun With Family, Part 3

Dates: July 11 to 19, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

A few highlights from the last 8 or 9 days. Generally speaking, Malcolm has been working during the day while Val visits with the family. Malcolm comes up later and visits for a bit and eats dinner with everyone. On the weekends, we’ve generally been hanging around with the extended family on Fox Island.

On Thursday, the 12th, Elizabeth and the girls met us in Puyallup for a concert in the park. The band first played Elvis songs, with the lead singer dressed as Elvis. He does an excellent job. The second half of the concert was more 60’s, 70’s and a little 80’s music.¬† We packed a picnic dinner and enjoyed the show.

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Elizabeth and Violet dancing

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Elvis on stage

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Part of the crowd

The concerts in the park are free and there is always a good crowd. The park has a splash pad that the girls took advantage of while waiting for the music to start. The weather was in the 80’s and sunny, so it was probably pretty refreshing.

The other big trip was a trip to downtown Seattle on Wednesday, the 18th. Sadly, Val had a bad headache and decided to stay in, so Malcolm, Elizabeth and the girls had a fun sightseeing trip.

First stop was the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. There are tons of exhibits and planes all around. You could easily spend a couple days there, but we spent a couple hours before heading out to the car to eat lunch before heading on downtown.

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Entrance

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Military Planes

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The girls brought their “babies”

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More military planes

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Commercial Airliners, including Air Force One

While we were wandering around the commercial airliners, the PR person and photographer spotted Elizabeth in her “Pan Am Flight Attendant” garb. She was carrying an old Pan Am bag and using it as a purse. The PR person asked if he could take some pictures of her for the museum’s website and she agreed. Malcolm kept up with the girls at the kids area.

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Kid Port

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Elizabeth heading out for her flight

While we were there, we noticed quite a few people out cleaning the planes. The PR person told us that it is a group of about 60 volunteer auto detailers that come in and clean the planes on a volunteer basis. We thought that was pretty neat.

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Volunteers Detailing a Plane

After lunch in the parking lot, we headed on into Seattle and stopped at a camera store that specializes in old Polaroid cameras and supplies. Malcolm has a couple old Polaroid cameras and wanted to stop by and check the place out.

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Say “Cheese”

After the camera store, the crew headed downtown to visit Pike Place Market.

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While there, they visited the famed “gum wall”.

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Eww!

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Violet, Scarlet and a lot of gum!

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Puget Sound and the Ferris Wheel

After a trip up the hill to Starbucks for treats, the crew hopped in the car to head home for dinner. Both girls napped most of the way home.

Tonight (Thursday the 19th), the girls are spending the night at the trailer. As this post is being typed, they’re both fast asleep upstairs in the bed. Val is sleeping on a cot and Malcolm on the recliner.

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Story Time

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Popcorn Approval Rating – 100%

This weekend, we’ll hang out at Fox Island again. On Monday, we move from the Fairgrounds campground back to Gig Harbor for one more week of visiting.

 

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Fun With Family, Part 2

Dates: July 1 to 9, 2018

Location: Gig Harbor RV Resort, Gig Harbor, Washington

Here’s a day by day rundown. Makes it easier to organize.

July 1 – Ball Game

The whole family attended a Tacoma Rainiers baseball game. It was a great day for a game and we all enjoyed ourselves. The weather was perfect.

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July 2 – Horse feeding and Bike ride

We headed over to Elizabeth and Cole’s for the evening. Malcolm took the girls across the street to dispense carrots to the horses.

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Later, we all went out for a bike ride or walk, depending on who you were (and if you had a bike).

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July 3 – Horseback Riding and Scarlet Lunch Out

Malcolm, Elizabeth and Violet went out for the annual Daddy/Daughter horseback ride. However, this year it was the Daddy/Daughter/Daughter horseback ride. Violet was old enough to ride this year, so she went along, too.

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Violet did really well. Malcolm and Elizabeth have been to this place a couple times before and the horses are always very fun to ride and very well behaved.

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After the ride, the participants got to feed carrots to their horses and get pictures taken with them.

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July 4 – Waffle Off, General Mayhem

On July 4, most of Cole’s family (and assorted family friends) converged on Fox Island for the annual July 4 Waffle-Off. Val made our waffle entry (S’Mores) as well as assisting Violet and Scarlet with their entries.

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There was a lot of great competition and interesting entries.

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All in all, it was a fun time and everyone got to taste their favorites afterwards.

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July 5 – Ride the Trolley, Dinner at Stanley and Seaforts

Elizabeth brought the girls over to the trailer and we rode the trolley into Gig Harbor for some lunch and shopping. There is a trolley stop right at the campground entrance. It is $1 per person to ride all day.

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We had enjoyable weather. We strolled around town, visited a few shops, wandered through the farmers market and had lunch.

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We rode the trolley back to the campground and Elizabeth and the girls visited for a bit before leaving us to go to dinner (just the two of us).

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Our daughter Elizabeth and our son David pitched in together for a combined anniversary, mothers day, fathers day and birthday gifts to the two of us and bought us a fancy dinner out at Stanley and Seaforts in Tacoma.

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The restaurant sits on top of a hill overlooking downtown Tacoma. We were able to get a table with a view.

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The food was great and we had a really good time.

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July 6 – RV Toll Tag, Island

Malcolm worked part of the day today. We drove into town and picked up our mail and packages from Cole and Elizabeth’s house since they were all staying out at Fox Island the latter part of the week. One item that Malcolm received was a new RV Toll Tag that he will be testing for work. His company makes these and is finalizing the product that is aimed at the large full-time RVer market.

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After collecting up mail and packages, as well as bicycles for the girls and other items needed by Cole and Elizabeth, we headed on out to Fox Island to visit for a while. Of course, Malcolm was greeted by his buddies.

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July 7 & 8 – Fox Island

We visited over the weekend with the family at Fox Island, returning to our trailer in the evenings.

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Sometime over the weekend, our security camera noticed someone on our property in Florida. It was nice seeing our neighbor checking out the place for us (and waving as he left).

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Dates: July 9 to 11, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

July 9 – Moved (back) to Puyallup

On Monday, the 9th, we packed up the trailer and moved back down to the fairgrounds campground for a couple weeks since the dog show over the weekend was finished. The campground was still nearly full, but they had room for us (we did get reservations). Most of the dog show crew left by Tuesday afternoon.

July 10 & 11 – Malcolm Working, Val Visiting

On Tuesday and Today, Malcolm worked at the trailer and Val visited with Elizabeth and the girls. Malcolm borrowed a swimsuit from Cole today and swam with the girls in the swimming pool in the back yard. Today was one of the nicest days we’ve had for a while. The sky stayed blue all day and the temperature got up into the lower 80’s.

 

Fun With Family, Part 1

Dates: June 18 to 29, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

The day after we arrived in Puyallup, Cole’s mother handed off our youngest granddaughter, Scarlet, to us. She had been watching the girls while Cole and Elizabeth are off on a combined business trip and anniversary celebration.

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The first order of business was to walk over to Don’s Drive-In Restaurant for lunch.

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We picked up Violet from school later that afternoon and both girls got to spend time with Nana and Pa, as well as spend the night at the trailer.

The next day, Wednesday, was a normal school day for Violet. Val dropped her off at school and picked her back up that evening.

On Thursday morning, Val took Violet to school for her last school day. Scarlet hung out with us during the morning.

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Violet got out of school at noon, so we picked her up and headed to the airport to pick up Elizabeth. We all headed to the house. We kept Violet with us that evening as Elizabeth and Scarlet had to head to ballet rehearsal. Of course, frozen yogurt was involved.

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On Friday, the whole family showed up for Scarlet’s first ballet recital. It was a pretty big crowd. All of the ballet and dance classes were taught at the local YMCA. Everyone was proud of our newest ballerina.

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On Saturday, we all congregated at Cole’s Grandmother’s house out on Fox Island – a family tradition during the summer. On Sunday, we went to church with the family and hung out at the house that afternoon.

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Malcolm’s buddy – Jet

Monday through Thursday of this past week primarily consisted of Malcolm working at the trailer during the day. He drove Val up to the house to spend the days with Elizabeth and the girls. Malcolm would drive up later after work and have dinner with the family and visit. A couple days we were out in the yard picking Rainier cherries off the tree.

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Val and Elizabeth made several jars of cherry jam. Elizabeth also put quite a few cherries in their food dehydrator to make snacks.

Dates: June 29 to 30, 2018

Location: Gig Harbor RV Resort, Gig Harbor, Washington

On Friday the 29th, we packed up the trailer to head over to Gig Harbor for a week. The fairgrounds are hosting a dog show the weekend after July 4th and the campground was going to be booked up with dog show attendees. Plus, with July 4 in the middle of the week, we thought it would be nice to stay closer to the family place out on Fox Island.

On the way between campgrounds, we stopped at the local Goodyear commercial tire place and had two more new tires put on the trailer to match the two that were installed in Louisiana.

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Once we got to Gig Harbor, we set the trailer up and went out to Fox Island for the afternoon to visit with family. We spent all of Saturday out at the island, as well.

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Smooth Sailing On West

Dates: June 9 to 11, 2018

Location: Lafayette KOA, Scott, Louisiana

We ended up staying through to Monday morning. On Sunday, we met our friends Andy and Joanna Grimes for lunch since we missed coming on over on Sunday to camp with them.

On Monday morning at 7:30 Malcolm called the local Goodyear dealer and found that they had two tires in stock that we needed for our trailer. They told us to come on over and they’d take care of us, so we packed up the trailer, hitched up and headed over.

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Ready for new shoes

They had us in and out the door in a little over an hour, so we continued on our way north and west pretty much on schedule. The plan is to get two more tires put on in Washington to match the new Goodyears on the left side if nothing happens along the way (it didn’t).

Dates: June 11 to 12, 2018

Location: Texas Rose RV Park, Tyler, Texas

We found this little RV park near the interstate in Tyler, Texas. Malcolm called ahead and talked to the owner who happened to be out of town at the time, but gave us instructions to check ourselves in and pay for our spot with the envelope drop. Using our Passport America card, the price was only $20 for the night.

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The campground was a bit older and had lots of longer term residents, but it was kept very neat. For the sites on our circle, the campground even provided a fairly new charcoal grill and a plastic tote with charcoal and lighter fluid in it if you wanted to cook out. Nice little touch.

Dates: June 12 to 13, 2018

Location: Cedar Valley RV Park, Guthrie, Oklahoma

We stayed in this campground in Guthrie (no pictures). Their Passport America rate was $18 for the night. It was a quiet park, but rather old and decently kept. It was fine for an overnight.

Dates: June 13 to 14, 2018

Location: WaKeeney KOA, Wakeeney, Kansas

This KOA is kept very neat. They serve ice cream in the evenings and offer pancake and sausage breakfast (we took advantage of both) for a reasonable cost. They’ve been filling up every night during the week as there isn’t much else close to the interstate through western Kansas.

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Dates: June 14 to 15, 2018

Location: Fort Collins North / Wellington KOA, Wellington, Colorado

This KOA was fairly nice, as well. We had a nice, wide concrete slab to park on. When we were rolling in, there were storm clouds over the front range of the Rockies. They eventually blew in, bringing lots of wind, but no rain.

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Malcolm found a couple friends in the pasture adjacent to the side of the campground where the tent sites are. Several of the campers were enjoying our visitors.

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Dates: June 15 to 16, 2018

Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

Due to re-scheduling our stay here and then scheduling it back, we ended up with the last available site that would fit our rig – a really nice patio site. It was only $6 more than what we would have paid for the site we originally booked.

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It was a little windy as we arrived here and it was blowing in cool weather. The temperature was around 70 degrees when we arrived and fairly quickly dropped into the low 60’s. Overnight, it was around 50 degrees. We ended up turning on the furnace in the morning. We also did a little antique shopping in downtown Buffalo.

Dates: June 16 to 17, 2018

Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

When we arrived in Deer Lodge, it was around 50 degrees and drizzly rain. It stayed like that all night. We had the furnace on overnight.

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Snow on top of the nearby mountains

Deer Lodge is one of our regular stops. The owner came out and gave us a hug when we arrived. It’s not much of a park, but she keeps the place very neat and tidy.

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Dates: June 17 to 18, 2018

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

When we arrived in Spokane, the temperature and weather had improved considerably. It was sunny and in the 70’s when we got there.

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After we got there, we contacted our friends Tim and Emily Rohrer. They were in the area and agreed to meet us for dinner. In addition to Tim and Emily, Tim’s parents, Bonnie and Doug, also joined us. They recently just started full-timing and were traveling with Tim and Emily.

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Dates: June 18 to ???, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

On Monday, we rolled into Puyallup and set up at the fairgrounds campground.

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Now it’s time to visit family. We’re actually keeping the grandchildren for a couple days as Elizabeth and Cole are out of town. Elizabeth flies back in on Thursday.

The trip here from Florida was 3,435 miles. There are more direct routes than what we took, but we wanted to visit folks along the I-10 corridor, so that added a couple hundred miles or so. The following map shows the approximate route here (note the other trip earlier this year to Tennessee and Kentucky is on the same map).

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Eastward to a Rally

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

Dates: Sept. 5 to 6, 2017

We left Gig Harbor with our ash-covered truck and trailer around 9:00 in the morning. The forest fire smoke grew greater as we crossed Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 east of Seattle. It got somewhat better through the state of Washington but was still bad enough we left the air conditioner on recirculate.

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At a fuel stop west of Spokane, we saw Mr. Peanut’s vehicle parked at the gas pumps. Malcolm had to go inside to pay for fuel but didn’t see Mr. Peanut around anywhere.

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We arrived at the Spokane KOA in the afternoon. Spokane was having some pretty smoky skies, as well. Their smoke was from western Montana fires.

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We ate dinner out at Panera Bread and stopped by the store to pick up a couple items, fueling the truck up on the way back to the trailer.

Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

Dates: Sept. 6 to 7, 2017

Before we left Spokane, Malcolm called our neighbor in Florida as we were getting emails from our Florida neighborhood indicating that volunteers were helping lash down any loose items before hurricane Irma came ashore. Our neighbor couldn’t help, but sent someone who was volunteering and was helping him. They came over and put a couple items away for us.

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We had a smoky drive from Spokane to Deer Lodge, Montana. The smoke was especially bad through the mountains in Idaho and on into the west end of Montana. The smoke was thinner in Deer Lodge.

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We just left the trailer hooked to the truck at Deer Lodge and just took it easy for the evening.

Location: Red Lodge KOA, Red Lodge, Montana

Dates: Sept. 7 to 10

On Thursday, September 7, we drove from Deer Lodge to Red Lodge, Montana to the KOA there. We were attending the Montana Chapter rally for the Heartland Owners Club. This was the Montana chapter’s first rally.

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Right after we got the trailer set up and the air conditioners running, we headed over to the chapter leader’s site to enjoy a meet and greet with others that had already arrived. We also had a pitch-in dinner later in the evening, with the club (including Malcolm) grilling up hot dogs and hamburgers.

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On Friday morning, many of us drove into Red Lodge and ate breakfast at the Red Lodge Cafe. The food was very good and there was plenty of it.

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After breakfast, we headed back to the campground (it is about 4 miles north of town). Malcolm rode with several others to Woodbine Falls for a photo expedition and hike. Val stayed at the trailer and did some sewing and visited others that had stayed behind.

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The hike back to the falls was a bit strenuous, and we were at around 5,600 ft. elevation. But the views were worth it (despite it being smoky again).

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The actual falls are very narrow and tall. Malcolm didn’t get the best vantage point to photograph the top part of the falls but did get some good shots with his big camera (these photos are from his phone).

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When the falls group got back into town, it was time for the 2:00 brewery tour at Red Lodge Ales. Val drove into town to meet Malcolm there. Malcolm skipped the tour since he hadn’t had lunch and we ate something there at the brewery while others took the tour.

After the brewery stop, we headed over to Absarokee, Montana, about a 35 mile drive west of Red Lodge. We visited with Malcolm’s cousin Sue and her husband, Rich. We’ve been trying to stop through and visit them every year that we’ve been passing through the area and just haven’t matched up schedules. This year we gave them advance warning and called a few days in advance.

We talked for a while at their house then headed to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Afterwards, we returned to their house and talked for a little longer and took a selfie of the four of us.

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After that visit, we headed back to the campground, arriving after dark.

On Saturday morning, everyone was gathered again for a pancake breakfast with all the trimmings and pitch-in sides.

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After the breakfast, a group headed out in vehicles to drive the Beartooth Highway. Malcolm was torn on whether to do that or to walk around downtown Red Lodge and chose the latter. We had a great visit in downtown. They have a lot of nice shops and restaurants. We found some gift items for Christmas to put back for later and a couple items for ourselves.

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We also stocked up on some Red Lodge ales for Malcolm.

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After taking our goodies back to the trailer, we changed clothes and headed back downtown to the pizza place where the final rally dinner and prize giveaway happened. We all had great pizza and salad and many prizes were given away.

Two prizes were auctioned off, with all the auction proceeds going into the Montana Chapter funds to help offset costs for this rally and future rallies. Malcolm was the winning bidder on this nice Yeti cooler. He bought it for half of the price that Amazon was selling it for. The other prize that we didn’t bid on was a nice smoker grill.

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After the dinner, everyone headed back to the campground for margaritas and great conversation. We stuck around for that for a while before heading back to the trailer to start packing up to leave on Sunday. We said goodbyes just in case we missed anyone the next morning.

On Sunday morning, we took our time getting ready to leave and said goodbyes to many of the folks that were trickling out all morning. We eventually hit the road around 9:30 am heading towards our next stop in Gillette, Wyoming.