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So I already mentioned a couple reasons why I won’t miss 2013. The start and the end of the year were tough, to say the least.

But, to be fair to 2013, it wasn’t all bad. We had some good times in the last year…some really fun events and trips. I flipped through all the pages of my journal over the last few days just to remind myself of this…

Winter

Last winter was the year I learned how to snowboard! I remember feeling a bit ridiculous as I signed up for lessons at Lost Trail Powder Mountain. Who learns how to snowboard for the first time when 42 years old? Especially when you never even learned how to downhill ski, either?

I remember seeing little tiny toddlers scooting about on their adorably tiny skis and feeling somewhat jealous. Their parents had the right idea! Those kids probably wouldn’t even remember the painful falls (not to mention that they didn’t have nearly as far to fall!)

One of my first runs when I was off the bunny hill

One of my first runs when I was off the bunny hill

Spring

Renee spent much of the springtime helping Carolyn and Ally get their Potomac house ready to sell. I came out there a few times on the weekends to help as well. I think the day I remember the most was when Ally and I ripped out old, icky carpeting.

This all paid off in the fall when the house sold, and Carolyn and Ally treated us to a terrific weekend in Big Fork as a thank-you for the help!

Cricket and Tango hanging out at the Poto house while we did renovations…

Cricket and Tango hanging out at the Poto house while we did renovations…

Later in the spring, we took a trip back to my hometown, Batavia, Illinois. Renee got to meet my sister and see where I grew up. It was the longest trip we have ever taken in our trailer. It was also the first time we ever did the real “RV” thing, staying in RV parks with hookups rather than dry camping. I have to say, I can see the appeal of traveling this way instead of staying in motels!

Batavia windmill, down by the Fox River…

Batavia windmill, down by the Fox River…

Of course, we also did quite a bit of planting and garden prep in the springtime…which led to our best vegetable garden ever!

One of our pepper plant seedings in March

One of our pepper plant seedings in March

Summer

The summer was very busy and just flew by in a blink. Some highlights…

In June, we went white-water rafting on the Lochsa river in Idaho.

On the Lochsa!

On the Lochsa!

We also spent an afternoon at the shooting range, where I got to fire a few different guns and discover just how bad my aim was…although I did manage to hit a few! The holes marked with “S” were mine.

The holes marked with "S" were mine!

The holes marked with “S” were mine!

In July we took a terrific trip to Glacier National Park. I think this status I posted on my Facebook sums it up:

It was a fabulous trip. 12 days, nearly 70 miles of hiking, 11,000 feet of elevation gain, about 10 or so bear sightings, a few ptarmigans, some deer, three moose, a couple marmots, and too many waterfalls, mountain sheep, and mountain goats to count

As part of that trip, we trekked the long uphill to Ptarmigan Tunnel, which was incredible. Who came up with the idea of blasting a tunnel right through a high cliff face?

Carolyn at the tunnel!

Carolyn at the tunnel!

Otokomi Lake

Otokomi Lake

The people who rented my house on the other side of town decided to relocate to Portland, which caused me a few day panic. Much to my surprise, just a simple “For Rent” sign brought in the calls and we had new renters so quickly that we really only had time for a few quick repairs and touch-ups. This was a pleasant surprise, as I expected it to take much more time.

Finally, the summer ended with Renee’s 50th birthday celebration. We camped for the weekend up at Tally Lake near Whitefish. The camping trip was great, Tally Lake is a really nice lake (it actually made us want a boat), but the highlight of the weekend was zip lining at Whitefish Moutnain.

Renee and I zipping through the trees

Renee and I zipping through the trees

Did I mention our gardening success this year? We harvested about 17 pounds of peppers (anaheim, ancho, and bell peppers) and 19 pounds of tomatoes. Our freezer is still packed with roasted peppers, just waiting to be used on our favorite pepperoni, green chili, and mushroom pizza.

One of our pepper harvests weighing in at about 3 pounds

One of our pepper harvests weighing in at about 3 pounds

Fall

Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. It came quick in 2013 since the summer flew by so fast.

In late August / early September, we decided to trade in our 22-foot Jayco trailer for a new Lance truck camper. It was an adjustment to lose storage space, but we are hoping we can now be more mobile on our camping trips and get into more remote areas than we could with the trailer. The Lance may be smaller, but it is a definite upgrade in quality.

We only had time for a few short weekend trips with the new camper, but we’re looking forward to some longer trips in 2014.

The new Lance camper!

The new Lance camper!

Later, in September, we decided it was time for a second vehicle. We bought a 2011 Nissan Juke. We want to use the smaller car for most of our around-town driving and even for driving to the ski resorts in the winter to save on gas. So far, the all wheel drive has performed great on the snowy and icy roads.

The new Nissan Juke!

The new Nissan Juke!

Later, in November, Carolyn and Ally took us, Martha, and Nancy on a trip to Big Fork as a thank-you for our help with the Potomac house. We had a great weekend exploring little shops and staying at the Mountain Lake Lodge.

So, I guess I have to admit that 2013 wasn’t all bad. I’m still hoping that 2014 will be better, though!

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