Tom Flanders World

Writer of Fiction
Tom Week – Montana Hail

Montana hail

6/8/19 – Bozeman Hail

Cold day. Mix of rain, hail and snow this morning. Yes, snow, in June. Abigail was pretty sure she didn’t want to be stepping on that white stuff. I don’t think she’s ever seen snow before.

According to Pat’s records this is our 99th park on this trip.

6/9/19 – Billings

It’s much warmer today. We’re 2000 feet down from yesterday. Something’s going on. I took trying five places before I could find an available rental car.

Looking through local Yelp reviews I came across a couple doozies. For a place called Daisy Dukes Saloon and Dance Hall a one-star review complained about the lack of hip-hop music. Another one-star reviewer for the Rainbow Bar complained that she was kicked in the head by a man dancing on the bar. People, if someone is dancing on the bar, you step back! Be aware of your surroundings.

6/10/19 – Rental Car

There are no rental cars available in Billings. Or, nearly none. I went through all the normal outlets and got nothing but rejection. Finally I got lucky at Rent-A-Wreck. They had a pickup truck. It was described on-line as a Nissan Frontier or similar. The Frontier is a mid-size pickup that I like very much.

However, what I actually got was a Chevy Silverado 2500 Z71 4×4 with a diesel engine. It takes a ladder to get into it. Also, being a Rent-A-Wreck, it has issues. Perhaps personality is a better word. Does anyone need a stump pulled?

6/11/19 – Bike Ride

I knew my luck had to run out. The last several stops having been biking Nirvana. Billings snapped the streak. What Google maps lists as bicycle-friendly are two lane highways with no bike lane, shoulder or even sidewalk. The drivers try to be nice, but with 45mph speed limits it’s just not a safe place for bikes.

Then there were the bike paths along the river, which are all currently torn up due to construction. Not a nice surprise. There some streets with nice bike lanes though. They’re just no connected to each other.

Then we got the great news that the Vice President and his wife are coming to town. That will mess up traffic for two days.

6/12/19 – The Veep

I found much better bike paths today. There were even some hills. My climb was cut short though as I stumbled upon Mike Pence’s motorcade. He’s in town to chat with some other pasty-faced old fellows. I didn’t get my camera out fast enough. I’ve got to work on that.

We ate dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. Tonya likes it there because it’s very loud.

6/13/19 – Sitting

Spent much of the day working on the website and computer. Details, details, details.


country dolls

A couple of Gabby Hayes wannabes at a Montana restaurant/casino/bar/liquor store

snow-covered picnic table

Bozeman’s weather proved disappointing. It’s JUNE people!


The spider on the spigot helped me with my unhooking duties

path closed sign

Not all bike paths are created equal. Turns out I should have turned left.

police road block

The veep needs his space

big red truck

The rent-a-wreck giant pickup truck

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Tags: ,,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 13, 2019

Tom Week – Idaho to Montana

bike at Idaho Sonic


Welcome to Idaho! Hot day but an evening thunderstorm cooled thing off a bit. It also interrupted our power a couple times.

Abigail made some friends today, but then one tried to hump her and hurt her leg. She’s limping but not too badly.

On the drive we wound up on this terrible road, rippled by trucks and frost heaves. So much for the scenic route.


Nice bike paths in Northern Idaho, but kind of hilly. Besides the bike ride I did nothing all day.


Another day, another state. We are in Missoula Montana for five days to let our mail catch up with us. It’s a college town so there are many bike trails. The RV park is in mall land so everything is half a mile away.


The rental car is bright blue and has Nevada plates. It also has to be locked and unlocked by putting the key in the door’s keyhole. I haven’t had to do that in a long time.

We went to have lunch at Fuddruckers. It was 1PM and there were only three raggedy old cars there. The Arby’s down the street was packed. When you can’t compete with Arby’s it’s time for a change. We ate elsewhere.


What day is it? Where are we? If this is Tuesday it must be Missoula. (AKA Zootown)

Did a whole lot of laundry today in machines that you need a special card for instead of cash or a credit card. So high tech.


Pat spent much of the day dealing with pharmacies and insurance companies. We took Abigail for a haircut. She looks good. I finally got around to cleaning out some of the storage bins. It seems that no matter much stuff we get rid of we still have too much.


If you ever need blood work done go to the Lab Corp in Missoula Montana. We were in and out before our appointment time arrived.

Then we ate at Perkins which we were surprised that it existed. It doesn’t appear on Yelp or Google Maps. Good food cheap.


We made it to Bozeman. Yes, that Bozeman. We are in a little park run by Maryjo and Marty. By the office there is a wood carving of either a bear or a wolf. Whatever it is it has large wooden genitals.

It may snow overnight then by Wednesday it will be in the 80’s. Love Montana.


dog at steering wheel

Sometimes Abigail helps me drive

black rabbits

Some of our bunny neighbors in Missoula

bigfoot statue

Bigfoot makes sure all the doggie owners use the poop bags

spider-shaped bench

Beware the spider bench


This bike trail in Idaho had everything

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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 7, 2019

Tom Week – Kent to Ephrata

steeple not in Kent


We are in Kent Washington, just south of Seattle. Nice old park. A little cramped but well-kept and run by nice people. Had to go early to pick up the rental car because I got an email warning that if I was late they might have to give my car away.

I got a Nissan Sentra. The rental guy was trying to give me a bigger fancier car. Thought I was weird for wanting the Sentra instead. I like it because it has more upright seating and fewer confusing gadgets.


The GPS on my phone took me on a series of very scenic roots today. It wasn’t until it told me to turn left onto the intercity bike path did I realize that I had it set for bicycle directions.

A strange trip to Camping World today. They actually had what I wanted.


This place has great bike paths. You can get from Seattle to Tacoma with almost never having to cross a street. Wide, smooth and mostly flat. Great fun.


Twenty miles on the bike this morning. Almost made it to Tacoma but I started getting tired.

Tonight we ate at the Red Robin in Des Moines. Yes, there’s one here in Washington only the pronounce the “s” at the end like a “z”. In Iowa both esses are silent.


Sometimes in the middle of the day you realize that your plans are right. In this case last night’s lack of sleep caught up with me and I didn’t want to drive any more narrow mountain roads. So we pulled into a parking lot and searched for the closest RV park. It was a mile away. It turned out to be very nice.


Today we went to Leavenworth Washington. It’s a faux Bavarian village in the Cascade foothills. Unfortunately it was way more faux than funky so today we also left Leavenworth.

We wound up in Ephrata. No, I never heard of it either. Pat’s favorite part is the pond right behind our RV. She spent quite some time watching the birds and turtles.


There are more birds here than you can ever imagine. I’ve seen or heard quails, ducks, whippoorwills, woodpeckers and a bunch of other unidentified species.

Central Washington is much flatter than I expected. Great for bike rides.



The legendary red tray of three forks

bike statue

A metal bike statue on the Green River Trail

pat looking at pond

Pat found her bliss by the pond

church steeple

Not your usual RV park structure

rv parking sign

Ephrata knows how to treat its visitors

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: May 30, 2019

Tom Week – Washington State

a bay, not in Washington


Wandered up the coast some more. Landed in Lincoln City.

This campground has more pop-up trailers than any campground I have ever seen. It’s pouring rain but all the people are hanging around outside. Apparently getting soaked with cold rain is better than being in a pop-up.

I was taking Abigail for a walk and she started barking like there was a dog but there was no dog. I took her over to show her there was no dog and we found a gravestone for a dog named Moe. Creepy.


Surprise sunshine today. I got a bike ride in and Tonya got to sit outside in her rocker for a while. It rained hard in the afternoon.


We are in Tillamook Oregon. The land of cheese. Also the land of RV parks that look much nicer on their websites than in real life. Fortunately there are many choices and we found a nice little park on the bay. The lady in charge was even nice enough to let us switch spots when our neighbors smoked us out.


Too windy to ride today so I spent most of the day getting my laptop up to date. Yes, I am that much the geek. Also did some laundry.

This morning I was walking Abigail and the bay had gone. At low tide it’s just a bunch of sandbars covered with people digging for clams.


Zoomed through Portland today. Not the kind of place you can explore in a day or two. We have reservations for Memorial Day Weekend up near Seattle. Stopped at a park on the north end of Vancouver Washington. Yeah, another state! It’s almost all residents here, but they had a cancellation so here we are.

Lesson: Never believe the No Vacancy sign.


Someone is watching over us. We had planned at staying in a city park tonight, but after a long search in Walmart I decided it wasn’t the night for adventure. So we moved on.

The next park was full. The one after that was a parking lot. Pat called ahead to one that sounded good and made a reservation. Turned out to be one of the prettiest parks we’ve ever seen. In the woods but with full hookups. Well, no cable TV, but that just helps it be even more quiet.


The quiet and the sunlight-blocking trees let us sleep till after 10 this morning. I could get used to this.

It’s much flatter here than I expected. A nice long bike ride and less than 200 feet of climbing.


Moose on a motorcycle

Tonya used to have the same stuffed moose.

the 45th parallel

Irving the bike. Half way between the equator and the north pole.

low tide

The bay at low tide


The bunny did not want his picture taken

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: May 24, 2019

Back in Pismo Beach

pismo beach bunny bed


I know the way. A weird state of mind. Kind of a lazy day. All fog and cold ocean breeze.


I managed to fix the RV’s sagging front bin. I had set aside the afternoon to work on it and it took less than an hour. So I had time to go for a bike ride. Unfortunately a flat tire, cold wind and big hills held me to less than five miles. Though five miles is better than zero.

Abigail met a couple of Cocker Spaniels today. She only barked once. So proud of her.

I went to a local bar that a random woman in line at lunch said had good bands. She was wrong. It was a 70’s disco cover band with a guitarist who has mastered nearly three chords. The drummer was pretty good but we got an excess of drum solos. Pat thinks it must be his band.


Went to see the kite festival in Morro Bay. Missed our turn and wound up going through a funky little town to the north. I love getting lost. The kites were a bit underwhelming but the weather wasn’t great.

We ate at a nice but greasy little restaurant overlooking the harbor. I got to watch some little kids in little sailboats who had way more skill at the tiller than I ever had.

The RV park is way empty tonight. Some exodus is normal, but this is excessive. I almost feel lonely.


The bike shops in Pismo Beach are closed on Mondays.

This park has good washers and driers. It’s kind of amazing that I am able to state that with authority.

We stopped to watch the ocean a while. Very nice.


I dumped Pat and Tonya downtown while I went in pursuit of new tubes for the bike. They actually hold air. Yeah!


May Day! Workers of the world unite! Only I’m unemployed so I guess that doesn’t apply to me.

We went for a walk on the beach today. Abigail loved the infinity of new odors but did not like the wet sand down by the water.


Drove to Moss Landing today. It’s weird being back in Northern California. It feels familiar but no longer feels like home.

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: May 3, 2019


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