VOLUME 83-----------MAY 2009
SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'
WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY
May 1, 2009
As soon as we work out the glitches with our new web hosting service, there will actually be something written on this page!
Meantime, please bear with us.
I'm adding this sentence to the page for a test run. If this publishes OK, you'll see an actual May newsletter in a few days.
May 10, 2009
Happy Mothers' Day to one and all; those who already are, those who will be soon, and those who want'a be someday!
I wish I could say that our recent journey to Missouri and Iowa went without a hitch, but that would be an exaggeration, if not an outright lie. We did manage to reach our destination and spend a few days visiting our Mothers, other relatives, and friends, but the trip had its ups and downs. Fortunately, the 'downs' did not include anything like car trouble, accidents, or other really unpleasant experiences.
We left home on April 14th and drove to Idaho Falls, Idaho with nothing more serious than rain and wet roads. Our view of the falls on the Snake River from our motel parking lot would have been spectacular had it not been so cold, windy, and wet. We did manage to take a couple of photos as we left town, so I'll post one here.
Snake River - Idaho Falls, ID
From Idaho Falls to Salt Lake City the roads weren't bad but the weather began to worsen. By the time we cleared the Salt Lake City traffic and reached Provo, Utah it was snowing so hard it was becoming difficult to see. We dropped off Interstate 15 to reconnoiter and discovered an Elks Lodge close by the freeway interchange. I've been an Elks member for 20 years and we have visited lodges all around the country. Many we've visited in recent years are deteriorating because of lack of membership, but Provo has a newly constructed building and looks very prosperous.
We walked in the door and were ignored for a few minutes, when a gentleman entered the building, introduced himself as a Past Exalted Ruler, and offered to show us around. After a brief tour of the facility, we ended up in the Barbershop; the Barbershop being the bar/lounge area of the lodge. We ordered lunch and beverages as we visited with our host. Meanwhile it continued to snow, and snow, and snow!
After killing a couple of hours in the 'Barbershop' we asked about some alternatives for overnight accommodations nearby. Reason being, the car was now covered with about 6 inches of wet, heavy snow, it was still snowing hard, so we decided to 'pack it in' for the night. Directions were provided to a nearby Hampton Inn. Along with the directions came word that our money was no good that day, and our lunch was 'on the house!' What nice folks!!!
Here are some pictures of our view from the 3rd floor window of our suite:
The first picture was taken mid-afternoon on April 15th. Number two was about an hour and a half later. Number three was the morning of the 16th
As you can see, snow was falling heavily when we checked in, melted off the trees in a couple of hours, then snowed a lot more overnight. We didn't even know the proximity of those mountains in the background until the weather cleared.
We left Provo the morning of the 16th and drove to Grand Junction, Colorado. (we actually stayed in a Best Western in Clifton, which is a G.J. suburb) That drive was uneventful, but we did take the long way around instead of the Highway 6 shortcut over Soldier Summit in deference to the snow in the high country..
Wouldn't you know, we had just settled in at the motel when we began hearing about the monster snowstorm that was approaching Denver from the east and was expected to inundate the mountain passes all along the Colorado Rockies. It did!!! Interstate 70 was soon closed, and would remain so for the better part of two days.
Our original plans included visits with relatives in the Grand Junction area, but we hadn't planned on the visiting lasting for two days. We did see Cousin Linda, her husband Tim, and members of their family, along with Uncle Deb and Aunt Faye, and Aunt Elaine. We had supper one evening with Linda and Tim at their favorite Chinese restaurant and helped celebrate Tim's birthday. (Didn't ask any questions about age)
Meanwhile, they were measuring snow in feet, rather than inches from the Denver plains to the crest of the Rockies. Strangely enough, the Grand Junction area remained partly sunny and relatively warm while the storm raged to the east. We finally learned mid day Saturday the 18th, that I-70 had reopened, but travel was not encouraged. We traveled anyway.
We had smooth sailing until approaching Vail Pass. There it began snowing again and visibility was somewhat restricted. The road however, remained mostly wet with a little slush until we cleared the Eisenhower tunnel at the Continental Divide. From there through Denver we had everything from wet, to snow packed, to ice, to slush, and all this with bumper to bumper traffic! By far, the most miserable driving I've experienced for a long time!
I have no pictures of that part of the journey to show you. Ann had been taking some pictures from the car windows, but informed me she couldn't operate the camera with her cheeks clenched so tight. I'm pretty sure she wasn't talking about the cheeks on her face either!
After overnighting in Goodland, Kansas, we finally arrived at the Super 8 in Bethany, Missouri, where we would headquarter for the week. At this point the weather took a turn for the better with warm temperatures and sunny skies, but quite windy most of the time. The thermometer climbed into the mid 80's a couple of days, and of course, we started bitchin' 'cause it was too hot and humid! I did manage to play 9 holes of golf with Hugh and my brother Ed on one of those warm days but Ann's clubs didn't venture from the trunk of the car.
Ann's mom turned 97 years old on April 13th, so we were able to celebrate another birthday on the trip, even if a bit late. Vivian uses a wheeled walker but gets around very well for someone her age and, she still lives on her own. She has a lady in to clean the apartment and grocery shop for her every couple of weeks, but she still does her own laundry and ironing. We should all hope we do as well should we make it that close to the century mark.
My mom's arthritis has worsened in recent months, so she now assists her walking with a cane. She and Hugh still live on the farm and were actively beginning to get their garden in order when we were there. I think they had planted a few potatoes, and the radishes were peeking through the ground.
Brother Ed continues to tend his livestock and pets on their place near our hometown. The menagerie has been expanded since we were there two years ago. In addition to the two dogs there are 13 cats, 2 guinea hens, several ducks and geese, and a turkey or two. One turkey and two geese were sitting on nests full of eggs, but having no males of either species, one would be very surprised if anything hatches. If a hatch does occur, some new species may be discovered.
The various pastures on the ranch contain Ed's cow herd, (31 newborns this Spring) several horses, a donkey or two, some alpacas, llamas, and one jenny mule that kicks, well, like a mule!
A recent addition to the cattle herd is a little brown calf that was purchased at an area livestock auction. I believe one of the cows had lost her newborn and this purchase was designed to promote an adoption. Alas, the adoption didn't work out so Ed is bucket feeding this little pet, or pest, as you prefer. I don't know if the calf has a name other than 'Calf' but I'm sure Nancy gave it an appropriate moniker when it managed to open the door and venture into the kitchen!
'Calf' just runs loose around the buildings and follows Ed wherever he goes. Mom reported that Ed visited them one day with 'Calf' riding in the cab of the old pickup with him! This unfettered access to porches and decks occasionally leaves a wet spot or some solid waste where it isn't wanted, but such is life at my brother's place. Ed does love his animals!
'Calf' even made a recent trip to our old High School Alma Mater, where Ed's wife Nancy is Superintendent of Schools. To avoid the embarrassment of unwanted deposits on school property, appropriate diapers were fashioned to collect any such residue. Apparently 'Calf' was quite the hit with students and staff alike as she toured the halls and offices.
'Calf' is also quite fond of lollipops. I do have some visual evidence of this unusual behavior.
Ed and 'Calf' (I'm not sure if they share these or not)
After a couple of nice days, the weather at Mom's took a turn for the worse. We left for Washington on Saturday the 25th and had pleasant but windy weather to our first overnight near Chamberlin, South Dakota. We ran into some snow on Sunday near Rapid City, but managed to escape any more road closures. We were home by mid-afternoon on Monday.
Just after our departure, a storm front moved into Missouri and Kansas, stalled out, and kicked up some extreme weather for the next few days. One storm blew away a metal pole building on Mom and Hugh's place and scattered it all over the pasture. That was the only damage, so they are not sure if it was a small tornado or just a strong gust of wind. Hugh told me the structure poles were sheared off at ground level!
After arriving here at the ranch, we didn't have much rest before getting back into appointments and commitments. Ann had her annual physical with attendant bone density scans and mammograms, while I geared up for our May Hunter Education Class to begin May 4th. I also had to de-winterize the travel trailer in preparation for our RV Club 'First Roundup' at the Elks Lodge beginning May 1.
Rick completed the balance of his requirements for Instructor Certification while we were gone. He helped teach a 'Jamboree' class in Waterville, Washington and received high marks from the state officials in charge of evaluating Instructors. He expects his certification card any day now.
Do you think I got to do any shooting with all the traveling and other activities? Well, You'd be right, I didn't! Even with a lot of spring work around the ranch these next few weeks, I do intend to take some time out for a couple of shooting projects!
For my local readers, don't forget the Reloading Seminar coming up June 16th at Center Target Sports in Post Falls, Idaho. See their website for more information. www.centertargetsports.com or call them at (208) 773-2331.
This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a quote from Lee Iacocca:
"No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?"
Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!