I'm tired but happy tonight. I left you last night in the parking lot of a Walmart Supercenter in Post Falls, ID and am writing this tonight 338 miles down the road at the Merry Widow Health Mine in Basin, MT. I found my stay at WallyWorld (Walmart) to be quite comfortable. It was quiet and I felt safe with at least 15 other campers around me. Most like me were in RV's of some sort but there were also a few folks in just a vehicle. It was convenient to have the store right there and I took advantage and did a little shopping. I needed Plumber's Putty for the sink fix, two more padlocks (one for the X-chock and one for the safety pin on the Kingpin). I also picked up a few groceries as well. It was quick to set up since I wasn't unhitching. I just had to remember to unplug the trailer from my truck so it didn't drain my truck battery, chock the wheels and lock them up, and lock up the safety pin on the Kingpin connection. I drove around a bit to find a place that was level so I didn't need to do any external leveling. Because it was still hitched to the vehicle, the camper moved around slightly when I was in it but not much at all.
After setting up I got out a new toy my DH bought for me at BJ's before I left. This handy tool is a battery operated tire pressure gauge and inflation device. I checked all 4 tires on the trailer and all 4 on the truck. Some needed a little topping off with air so it was nice to be able to just take care of that without going to a gas station!
With all my chores done I fixed a quick supper of soup and naan bread wrote my post, then was ready for bed!
After I I fell asleep early, before 10 pm, but then woke up at 1 and was awake until 3. Argh...I hate it when that happens! I read for a while then was able to sleep until 7 and was on the road by 8:30.
The weather was clear and sunny and 65. Perfect! I drove through the panhandle of Idaho. It's beautiful very mountainous terrain. The truck and trailer are handling beautifully and I'm averaging about 13 miles to the gallon. Better than I expected! I crossed the border into Montana and into Mountain Time so I've gained an hour. I just love the landscape here in Montana. Gorgeous fields with multi-colored grasses and shrubbery, rocky streams with fast running water leading up to majestic mountains. Some snow-capped, some that look like brown suede.
Yesterday while at a rest-stop I met some folks also in an RV. They came over to see Wild Thing and take a tour inside. Jim and Cherie P. from Springfield, MO were traveling with Joan and David P. from Benton, AR. I've started a "Guest Book" for Wild Thing so anyone who visits her can sign and date the book! I think it will be fun to keep a record of visitors. Today I stopped at a rest stop about a hundred miles from my destination and guess who pulled up beside me! It was sure fun to see them again. They will be staying in Butte (25 miles from here) and I hope they stop by to see the mine.
You meet the most interesting folks on the road. At one stop there was a big burly tattooed Harley guy with the cutest little dog riding in a special seat behind him on the Hogg. He admired Wild Thing and I admired his dog!
When I arrived at the campground tonight, John and Annette, my new neighbors were ready and willing to help me pick a spot and back the trailer in (a first!). With their help, I was successful in backing up this rig. That aspect is definitely going to take some practice but I'm pleased that I've done it today. Unhitching and setting up took me only about a half hour. I'm sure feeling much more confident!
This is a quiet place. Basin is aptly named since it sits down at the base of several mountain ranges that rise up away from it on all sides. It's a tiny town that I got a glimpse of when my GPS took me the wrong way. It's pretty much one street about 3 blocks long. I'll explore it in more detail tomorrow or Friday. After I had the rig settled I walked up the hill to the famous Merry Widow Health Mine. I met several people who were there for the benefits. People come to this mine from all around the world to seek relief from a wide variety of ailments.
One woman, Katie, has been coming for almost 35 years! She is terribly crippled with Juvenile Arthritis and started coming when she was 14. I could see that her fingers and hands are greatly affected and could tell from her gait that her spine must also be. She told me that she comes every 6 months for a 10-day treatment and is pain-free as a result. She was a pretty convincing devote. Katie is a Hutterite and was at the mine with her brother Darius and his wife Lizbeth. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with them and learning about their life. They live in community with about 90 other people and Lizbeth shared a bit about their way of life. They do not watch TV but do have a few computers that are used only to help run some of the high-level functions of the community. Most of the members still hold to the old ways of living raising their food in gardens and tending livestock. They have chickens, sheep, turkeys, and vegetable gardens and sell hand-made items (like the nylon net pot scrubber she was knitting) as well as the bounty they produce. I was reminded of the lifestyle I experienced growing up in Vermont. We shared many similarities although their community is on a much larger scale and they don't have to pluck their 900 chickens by hand...they have an automatic chicken plucker! She invited me to visit her tomorrow and I hope to do so.
I met several other people, some who, like Katie, come every year for treatment of a variety of ailments and have found relief. There were a few like me for whom this is all new. I'll have more to report about the mine over the next two days. Tonight was my just my introduction. It is a real mine shaft that extends into the side of a mountain where copper and silver were originally mined. After walking down the mine shaft 500 feet you reach the area to take a treatment.
There is an area to soak your hands and feet. The water here is so cold you can hardly stand to keep your feet in but must do so for 10 minutes to get the benefit. It's like the water I used to feel running from the spring thaw in Vermont and must be just above freezing. It's so cold that it makes your feet burn and your legs ache. After 5 minutes things get numb enough to stand the next 5! I soaked for the full 10 minutes tonight. There are areas to sit comfortably while you remain in the mine for 1 hour. There is a separate mineral bath for hands and forearms, a private area with a bathtub that you can soak your entire body (and yes the water there is also just above freezing!), as well as the "Doggie Den" an area where you can take pets for a treatment. The lore told to me by Darius is that the health benefits were discovered by someone observing how the mine benefitted their aging dog. I'll read up more on this!
I'll take 4 treatments tomorrow (one hour in the mine then 2 hours outside followed by another hour in the mine repeat...) and let you know how it goes.