As a full time RVer, your home is wherever you are camped. If you get bored with the view or your neighbor becomes unruly, it’s time to move on down the road for new surroundings and places to explore. Our most recent move brought us back to our homebase in Montana. It’s surreal driving down Main Street. It brings back so many memories of fun times with my family shopping and dining in this small town in the Bitterroot Valley.
In 2003, my Brother-in-law and Sister (Bob and Janet), decided to pursue their dreams and purchased “The Chief Joseph Ranch” just outside of Darby. Over the following ten years, several times a year I would fly into town for a visit. Always enjoying their hospitality, the ranch atmosphere and the valley towns surrounded by the Bitterroot Mountains. After a few weeks Bob and Janet would drive me back to the airport in Missoula. There I would take a flight back home and my work place of many years.
In mid 2013, I traveled to the Ranch to visit once again. Little did I know that I was enjoying my last stay here at the ranch. There had been discussion about the possibility of selling the property after successfully caring for the historic guest ranch 0f 150 acres for ten years, but normally the sale of property like this would take years. Their sale only took months.
After my last visit, I returned to work from my short vacation. I was thinking about changes of my own. My retirement was happening in a few short months. I was trying to imagine what “retirement” meant to me”, how I wanted to spend it. I had been looking and dreaming of traveling full time, but hadn’t finalized my decision yet. I worked my last day, September 30, 2013. Within weeks I made a scary decision. Since I had been reading blogs and looking for a RV for some time now, I was ready to take the plunge.
At the end of October 2013, I attended the RV Show in Pomona, California. There I decided on a fifth wheel made by Grand Design which I would buy next year (February 2014) after moving to Montana. The sale of the ranch in Montana was final and Bob and Janet had found a nice home on a modest 10 acres. The rest is history and you can read more here on my blog.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been focused on the maintenance of the Coach and Workhorse. This is the perfect opportunity to accomplish anything major that needs to be completed, since I will be here for a few months and don’t rely on the Coach for daily living.
The first week after we arrived here I dropped the Workhorse off at Wimps Auto Body in downtown Hamilton. I’ve been talking with them and my insurance company while on the road for over a month. Planning on a fast turn around of the Workhorse, so I’m ready to pull out whenever that time comes. They did a great job. As it turns out the only things damaged after being rear ended by two cars in Arizona, was several small dents in the Workhorses massive bumper. Which was replaced at $700. After ordering the part I returned and they installed it in less than a day.
Today I am tackling the dreaded plumbing issue that reared it’s ugly head while packing up to leave the 7th Ranch RV Park near the Little Bighorn Battlegrounds in Montana a month ago. Here at home I would have the needed resources and someone to help me, as I’m a “practicing” plumber and not very accomplished. I removed some of the screws and nuts on the Kantleak valve panel before running into my first road block. Bob jumped in and after replacing one of the plastic parts with brass, we reconnected the valve to all the pipes. Completed! It was a good feeling not to worry about the leak and be able to remove the bandages I had put in place to catch the water leaking into the basement.
As I throughly tested all the settings for the valve selectors, I discovered the selector placements were wrong. I tried to figure it out, we were very careful removing and replacing parts in their correct positions. I up putting temporary notes on the panel for how I needed to place the valve selectors for the six or seven different functions. It still seemed to work okay and wasn’t leaking!
Tomorrow I have an appointment with Josh, a guy that works here on my sister’s property. He has agreed to clean and treat the roof of the Coach and the exterior.
More Photos: Chief Joseph Ranch – Spring 2006