Indiana Trip

Our summer vacations were dedicated to family this year. At the end of July, we went to a family reunion in Fort Peck, MT and then a couple weeks ago we flew out to Indiana. We had originally planned to go earlier in the year, but we ended up moving the trip as it was the same week that Tyla’s mom passed away. Thankfully Southwest has an incredible flight change policy!

We were in Indiana for 8 nights, and, as usual, we had a great time. It was so relaxing to just hang out with very few responsibilities. Luke, Rachel and David came for the weekend so that added some extra fun. Grandpa and Lynnette came down for the day too so Grandpa and I could celebrate our birthday together. We didn’t do anything huge but we had a bunch of good day trips including a botanical center, lots of tractor rides, putt putt golf, go karts, the Studebaker Museum and a water ski show.

Thanks again to Dad and Mom for hosting us and spending so much time playing with Elijah!

Crystal Mountain Fire

It’s wildfire season around here and this has been the Summer of Smoke. Winds have been blowing slightly differently and we’ve had a lot of VERY smoky days with low visibility and terrible air quality. One day the smoke was so thick that it blocked out the sun completely and it was raining ash.

There are a lot of big fires in the area, but the one I’ve been following is the Norse Peak fire. You can read all the details on the inciweb page or in various news articles, but the basic info is that 13 separate fires were ignited by lightning on August 10 and 11. Those quickly combined and threatened, among other things, the Crystal Mountain ski area. They were forced to evacuate everyone and the smoke was so thick that they couldn’t bring in helicopters for water drops. Even firefighters were evacuated at one point because they were in danger of having their exit route cut off by the fire. At the worst point, fire was visible coming down the ridge just north of the base area.

Thanks to incredibly long hours by various fire departments, no structural damage has occurred to the resort yet. It sounds like they are getting the fire under control now. We had a small amount of rain and winds have shifted so that the smoke is clearing out. It does sound like they will be closed for the remaining couple weeks of the summer season. Follow their Facebook page for updates.

Fort Peck Dam

I didn’t know a lot about Fort Peck, MT before I visited, but it’s a really interesting place. The town started as a trading post along the Missouri River. In 1934, The Army Corps of Engineers rolled in and built a new town about 2 miles from the original town to house all the workers for the big dam project. A number of shanty towns grew up around the area too to house the ~10,000 workers. Some of those buildings are still around, including the hotel where we had brunch on Sunday.

The dam is a monstrosity and it’s incredible to think about workers in the 30s, 40s and 50s building something that enormous. The dam itself is made up of rock and earth. It’s a shade under 4 miles long and 250 feet tall. The coast line of the reservoir is longer than the coast line of California. The reservoir is the 5th largest man made lake (by volume) in the United States.

To get enough dirt for the project, they dredged a bunch of dirt and pumped it to the dam. We went swimming in one of those dredge cut lakes while we were there. They had to modify their design in flight because part of the dam slid while they were building it.

PBS has a great video about the building of the dam. Unfortunately we can’t watch it online here, but it’s a regional thing so maybe it will work for you. Even if it doesn’t work, you should be able to watch a ~3 minute preview.

In the picture below, you can see the road that runs along the top of the dam. To the right there is a park by smaller lake below the dam and that’s where we had the family reunion. Up on the hill on the right side of the picture is the town of Fort Peck. I hope that we’ll get to go back and visit again some day!

F150 Paint Fix

Very early in the life of my F150, I noticed a pretty bad scratch on the hood. I don’t know if I put it there or if it came that way, but I just did my best to ignore it.

After 10,000 miles, I finally realized I should just ask the Internet so I posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook asking for help.

Sixteen minutes later, MattM replied and suggested that I useĀ Meguiar’s M2 Mirror Glaze Fine-Cut Cleaner. I had a couple other things in my cart and got free same-day shipping.

I’ve never used anything like this, but I grabbed a clean towel and went for it. I started with a small drop at first, saw quick results and did a few more small applications. Voila! It was GONE! Not just gone like I couldn’t really notice anymore if I didn’t look closely, but totally gone. It worked so easily and so well that I tackled another scratch towards the back of the truck. Thanks for the tip Matt!


While we were camping a couple weekends ago, we came up with a business idea. I don’t know what it’s called yet, but it’s our take on the ultimate “glamping” campground. Here are some of the features that we’d offer (for a small fee of course.)

  • When you arrive at the campground, we’ll set up your tent or camper while you relax in the bar.
  • There are two sides to the camp ground: one for people who want to party around the camp fire until the wee hours of the morning and one for people who want to get up early. There are different quiet hours rules on each side.
  • Don’t wake up early on your vacation. We’ll drop off a dutch oven on hot coals with an egg/sausage/bacon/potato scramble in it. It will be hot and ready when you are.
  • Did you buy a big fancy truck but never learn how to back your boat down the ramp to the water? Skip the pressure of everyone watching you and toss us the keys. We’ll do it for you.
  • Swing by the on-site butcher and pick our some steaks for dinner. We’ll even cook them and deliver them if you want us to.
  • You’ve watched a lot of Bear Grylls and Survivorman in your life, but you still don’t know how to start a fire. No worries! We’ll swing by and get one going for you.
  • You’re probably tired from all this pampering so let us take down your camp for you.

This is so ridiculous, I feel like this probably exists already in some place like San Francisco or Portland.