Thursday July 26: Today we are leaving Lolo Creek and heading south through the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana to attend the Hardtimes Bluegrass Festival, held on a ranch south of Hamilton. We arrive about noon and are very fortunate to get a good spot, almost exactly where we were last time, on the edge of the ravine and under a big ponderosa pine tree. My brother Rollie arrives a bit later, parking in the level lot below where we are set up.
After making lunch for the three of us, we wander around to listen to some musicians jamming and to visit with people Rollie knows – and he sure does know a lot of bluegrass musicians.
Friday July 27: Clifford and I run errands in the morning, then listen to the scheduled bands on stage in the late afternoon and into the evening. Dinner is super late, but it was a fun day.
Saturday July 28: I am up by 7:30 and walkabout to take photos while things are quiet.
I text Becka to wish her Happy Birthday. After breakfast, Clifford studies and plays his dulcimer while I edit.
In the early afternoon, we head down to the stage area to listen to the bands that are playing today. All the bands are good, but we do have our favorites. The music ends about 10:00 p.m. Back at the camper, Clifford fixes himself a late dinner and I read until after midnight.
Sunday July 29: After I get up, I go for a walk so Clifford can sleep awhile longer. After breakfast, we head to the stage area so we can watch the bands that are playing gospel music. Rollie has been jamming with a group that will be playing this morning, so we want to be sure to watch them.
In the afternoon we go listen the last of the scheduled bands, and Clifford buys us tasty saucer sandwiches for lunch. After the last band finishes up, many people in the audience help with tearing down, including Rollie and me. Clifford is dealing with an injured shoulder, so is not able to join us. Before the kettle corn vendor tears down, I buy two big bags of popcorn for the price of one – best popcorn ever!
Monday July 30: As soon as I’m up, I start packing the outside stuff – tables, chairs, and so on. We have a quick breakfast and then finish packing up, as we are heading out this morning. Today is an exciting day for us, as last week when we were on our way to Barnes & Nobles in Missoula, we stopped in at Bretz RV on a whim. To make a long story short, we bought a newer and bigger RV. We have been considering this change for several months, looking at a few RV lots and doing research online. Bretz had a 2009 Cougar in the size, weight, floor plan, and price range that we need.
We didn’t have time to move from Terry (our 30-year-old RV) into Cougar before the bluegrass festival, so today is the day we start moving from one to the other. We park Terry and Cougar side by side in the Bretz parking lot and begin moving preparations.
Tuesday July 31: We spend all day moving from Terry into Cougar, making trips out to get containers and shelving, as well as new bedding (Cougar has a larger bed than Terry). The saying that one has to scramble eggs to make an omelet sure describes the process. By evening, I have things orderly enough for us to sleep in our new bed, but there is still a lot of stuff to move.
Moving continues over the next couple of days, and by Friday we are ready to take Cougar on her maiden voyage. We give Terry to one of my daughters, so the old gal will stay in the family.