Saturday was a beautiful spring day. It was also the first weekend since I got the “all clear” from my foot surgeon. My foot is still not fully back to normal, but I did get the okay to start hiking and going on longer walks.
So we went on a hike in Blodgett Canyon with Toony and DeAndria. We left the dogs at home for this one because we were concerned about traps and we didn’t want to deal with five leashes. We’ll probably bring them next time, but it was nice to hike without having to worry about the dogs.
The hike ended up being a little over 4.5 miles, so it was definitely the longest since my surgery.
My new backpack the day it arrived in the mail
It was also a good opportunity to test-drive my new, lightweight hiking boots and my new pack. So far the new gear is working out. The pack felt great. The boots felt pretty good too.
It felt great to be out on a hike again. The last significant outdoor thing I’ve done was when we went cross-country skiing the last weekend before my surgery, back in early January. I’ve been going on short walks for a while now (probably longer than I was supposed to) but there is a huge difference between just walking around town and hiking on a trail.
Wow, my foot actually can bend now!
Blodgett Canyon is not a difficult trail. It has a little uphill at the start, then just follows right along the creek. There were a few fallen trees to climb over and a few rocky patches, but for the most part it was a great choice to get back to hiking.
Renee caught me recording a little video
I love the cliffs up against the blue sky!
I didn’t take a lot of video or pictures during this hike…it was nice to just be out in the woods and relax. But here is a very short video with some of the highlights. I especially liked getting some shots of the rushing creek and a cool waterfall on the cliffs across the creek from the trail.
It was a great day out in the woods. My feet were sore when we made it back to the car, but it felt more like general soreness from being out of shape, not pain from the surgery.
After this hike, I am relatively optimistic that I will be able to hike during our Utah trip in a few weeks.
OK, so I’m never going to be a fan of Rick Santorum. He is a bigot, he pushes against women’s rights, and his “google problem” that he likes to complain about was started because of vile things he said about gay people. I find it astounding that he is still in the race; not that it matters to me since I’m not going to be voting in the Republican primary. But still.
Incredibly, he’s managed to find an additional way to piss me off.
This is his campaign tour bus. With a Montana RV license plate, similar to the one I have on my own travel trailer parked out in the driveway. The difference is, I actually live in Montana. Unlike Mr. Santorum.
Here’s the deal. Registering an RV in this state is cheap. It is a one-time fee for a permanent plate…no yearly renewals. It cost me $180 to register my trailer when we bought it in 2010 and that was that. It is, absolutely, a great deal.
But it should only be a great deal for people who live in this state and support the state in other ways.
As noted in the KPAX story, it is possible for non-residents to get these plates by establishing a Montana Limited Liability Company (LLC). This then acts as a resident under state law and can be used to register the motor home. It is perfectly legal, but the whole concept feels a little…corrupt…to me.
Why it Annoys Me
We don’t have a sales tax here, and our motorhome registration fees may be low, but we do certainly have a state income tax. Back when I first moved here, it did seem as though the MT income tax was a bit more than what I paid back in Illinois, so it seems we probably are in line with most other states in that respect. I of course pay property taxes on my home. And the vehicle registration fees for normal trucks and autos are renewed every year, and are significantly more that what I paid back in Illinois (back in 2005, I paid about $70-$80 a year in Illinois. Here, it is based on the value of the vehicle, so for a few years there I was shelling out around $300 a year for my 2004 Honda Civic).
So I am contributing considerable money to this state to keep it running. In addition, I live here. I spend my salary here, on goods and services right here in Montana, thus presumably helping to keep local businesses in business and keep Montanans employed.
In other words, yes, I get a really nice break on registering my RV for dirt cheap. But I pay for it in other ways.
These people who work around residency laws with their LLCs are not contributing to our state’s economy in the same way. Yes the registration fee tosses a little money at the state government, but they do nothing else to support the state that is giving them this great deal on their motorhome license plates.
Furthermore, they are cheating their own state out of taxes they should be paying there.
I find it annoying when normal people do this. They should be lobbying their own states to change their registration fees rather than using a different state. But normal people often don’t have much power to change their governments, so I have a small amount of sympathy.
I have zero sympathy for a politician who actually holds political power and influence.
Note to Mr. Santorum: If you don’t like the fees charged by the state of Pennsylvania, perhaps you should work with the elected officials there to change those fees. And put Pennsylvania plates on your damn tour bus.
(Minor caveat: I suppose it is entirely possible that the tour bus was rented from a Montana-based company rather than owned by Santorum. In which case, consider my rant against Santorum null and void…although I stand by my irritation with the LLC practice in general. And I’ll still never like the man.)