The decision was made earlier in the year that we would have a friends reunion at Tom and Sarah Foster home outside Bozeman, MT. Those making the trip were Joyce Sheldon from Arkansas, Barb and Bill Knapp from northern California, Phil Sheldon from Wyoming, and Carol Patterson along with myself from Iowa. Joyce came to my house the night of Friday, July 5th. We spent Saturday having lunch with friends in Cedar Rapids, Mary and Larry Nelson; while at lunch, perspective buyers of my 1991 Mazda Miata were taking a test run. We ate at a new restaurant called Rodina’s in Czech Village and it was very good.
Since we were leaving early the next day for Phil’s in Gillette, WY. Carol spent the night at my place. There was nothing to note regarding our first day except lots of construction happening on I90; we arrived in Gillette about 6:00 p.m., checked into our rooms at the Best Western where we had reservations, Phil came to our hotel, and we had dinner at Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House a short distance from the hotel. Good food, good wine, and good conversation. It was a short evening with lights being out early; we planned on being on the road by 7:00 the next day.
On the road again; since he had to leave Fosters late Wednesday afternoon, Phil drove his own car and Joyce rode with him. While on the road, I got a message from the folks who test drove my Miata; they made an offer, I gave a counter offer, and the car was sold…what a relief! Because we were going to arrive around 12:30 or so in Bozeman, we contacted the Fosters to see if they wanted to meet for lunch which they thought was a great idea. We met up at Biankini’s right off of I90 in Bozeman. After lunch, we settled in at Fosters with Joyce and I taking the beds in the basement. The Knapps arrived around 5:00 p.m. Tom had fixed his famous BBQ ribs; after appetizers and a few drinks, we had dinner which included the sweet corn we had brought with us. It was so great to be together again!!
On Tuesday, the 9th, we went to the Museum of the Rockies located on the campus of Montana State University which resides not too far from the Fosters. It was an excellent day exploring the museum plus seeing a showing the first man to step on the Moon in the theater. We had lunch from a food truck outside the entrance. And I could not pass up visiting the museum gift shop although I did not make any purchase. That evening we had steaks that we had brought from Iowa. After dinner, we went to the Community Band concert in a local park; Carol’s brother, who lives in Bozeman, played the tuba in the band so it gave her an opportunity to visit briefly with him.
We ate breakfast out on Wednesday with Barb and Bill treating us at The Coffee Pot Cafe; as we waited for our orders, I journeyed thru the pottery shop that is part of the cafe and, of course, made a purchase of tiny bowls that go well with my dinnerware. After breakfast, the ladies shopped downtown while the men went to beer tastings at a couple local breweries. Good time was had by all! Phil took off about 3:30 or so to return to Gillette and, after our good byes, we sat outside on the patio visiting. That evening we had pizza at MacKenzie River Pizza Co; while there, I got a text from my brother who was in Bozeman picking up a new camping trailer. Bob and Linda were going to stay at the WalMart parking lot for the evening so, after we ate pizza, we went there to view their new trailer. Very nice and very big! Back at the Fosters, we visited for awhile and then departed for our respective rooms.
After a leisurely morning, we loaded into Carol’s van and headed to the Spanish Creek Trailhead which is part of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness; we were having a picnic lunch and taking a hike. It was a hot but beautiful day. The picnic was delicious and everyone, except Barb who was having some leg problems, went hiking. About mid-afternoon, we decided to head back to Bozeman but we stopped at Stacey’s Bar in Gallatin Gateway on the way for some liquid refreshment. That evening, after eating leftovers, the boys were busy in Tom’s workshop with the laser while the rest of us relaxed. However, for some reason, my stomach became quite upset and I rushed to Fosters bathroom but did not quite make it in time. After getting sick, I went to bed because of feeling very tired and weak; went to sleep quite early which was good because the next morning we were leaving quite early for home.
Got up at 5:00 a.m., got dressed, packed our luggage in our vehicle, gave everyone a good bye hug, and we were on our way back to Iowa by 5:30 a.m. That evening we checked into Baymont Inn and Suites at Oacoma, SD. After settling into our room, we walked to Al’s Oasis Restaurant which was located right next to our lodging. My stomach was feeling slightly off so had ordered a shrimp cocktail for my meal. After we ate, we ventured to the gift shop and grocery stores attached to the restaurant. At the grocery store, I purchased some food items for home the next day; this avoided my having to go food shopping once I got there. The drive on Saturday was uneventful with the major excitement was purchasing a blizzard at a Dairy Queen. Got home around 3:00 in the afternoon; after unloading our luggage, Carol took off for her home in Marion. Joyce was attending a conference in St. Louis but it did not start until Wednesday so she did not leave my place until after lunch on Tuesday. Good time was had by all and it was animous decision that we would meet again next year in Arkansas.