Archive for the ‘NOVEMBER 2009’ Category

Greetings Again Dear Friends From Ward!

I just emailed a few days ago…but it was a busy weekend. Also, today is a rainy and cold day, so no better time for a travel trailer to write in its diary…

On Saturday, November 14th, recently escaped Walmart liquor store convicts, Jim and Robin, performed again at Joe Sippers. They tell me it was a nice crowd that evening…a fun time was had by all:


One Less Karen Singing A Tune

Then, on Sunday, my owners left me once again (I’m getting abandonment issues!) to go celebrate CHEYENNE’S 15TH BIRTHDAY! I’m kinda glad they left me because I couldn’t stand to hear owner Robin say AGAIN “oh wow, 15 years ago today, I was in labor…15 years ago today, Cheyenne was born…15 years ago today, I hurt!” I love owner Robin but you can only listen to that so much!!

So I hear they hit on the two most favorite things a teenager desires…the mall and food. Birthday dinner was at the Outback Steak House. It’s a good thing they put some food into Cheyenne…just look at the photo below and see how BONY HER ARMS ARE!!

Bony Armed Birthday Girl, Cheyenne...and Robin

And Finally, I have to mention the cats and their cuteness…

When owner Jim and Robin recognized they’d be traveling with all of these pets, they knew they needed a plan. Lots of dog beds, blankets, screen tent, tie-outs, etc. For kitties, they had custom made harnesses, tie-outs and a ridiculously costly, leopard printed “pop up house” for cats as well. To this day, when they put the cats in there, they act like they are being punished…they whine and whine…big waste of money!

However, the other day, Jim and Robin bought a $4.00 “pop up play cube” as a little treat. Well, you’d think you bought these cats a house made of catnip! They love it…BOTH OF THEM…as you will see from the photo below:

Spot and Toto Enjoying THE CUBE

Well that is all for today. Hope you are all enjoying yourselves…adios! Ward the Travel Trailer



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Greetings to all, from yours truly…Ward Layton.

Well it has been quite a time here in Central Illinois, as always…

First and foremost, Robin’s dad and Pat have adopted a new member into their family…Snowbelle! She is 80 pounds, loves to lay on beds, couches and chairs…and is a real lovebug! We are so happy for them! She is a Great Pyrenees, five years old, liked to hang with sheep more than dogs and was in need of a loving home…little does she know she just hit the lottery…what may have been a “Motel 6” type of life has just now advanced to the Hilton!


Snowbelle - Settling In Just Fine!

Last weekend, Robin and Jim left me alone for a visit to the Cahokia mounds, near St. Louis. I hear they had a wonderful time and learned a lot…I would have liked to have gone to Cahokia as well, but they convinced me I’d just be stuck in the parking lot…so I stayed home. You can learn much more about this ancient civilization by searching the internet yourself (better photos and info then you’ll get at a blog maintained by a travel trailer!). But I can tell you it is a World Heritage Site and existed between 700AD and 1400AD, at one time had 10-20,000 people living there and had 120 mounds! Here are some pics:


Where The Big Dude Lived - Monk's Mound


Jim Contemplating The Long Trek To The Top


Can't Really Define What Robin Is Doing Here


The View From The Top Of Monk's Mound

I will interject here that Robin and Jim mentioned they could see St. Louis and the Arch from the top…however, it was directly west, into the sunlight, so the camera wouldn’t pick it up. Use your imagination and picture half of a McDonald’s “golden arches” with any city, let’s say Des Moines, as the background. There…got the image in your head? Good!

Moving on…now once in awhile, I like to educate the readers of my blog. This is one fine example and I feel like a better trailer for sharing these tips with you. I will give you a little history, first…

Last weekend, Jim and Robin went to Walmart. They don’t really like Walmart nor do they like to give Walmart business most of the time. But stores in Effingham are limited and so Walmart it is, quite frequently. Anyway, on many of their visits, they noted that the greeters really don’t greet…Jim and Robin initiate “hello” to the greeters with, most often, scowls on their faces. In fact, they often feel THEY should ask THEM “can I help you?” Montana is truly a different planet…from restaurants to stores, it is a rare day that you aren’t greeted with a smile wherever you go…people actually still stop on the road to let someone cross the street…even if it isn’t an intersection! Jim and Robin struggle with this and come close to getting run over quite frequently…”assuming” someone might stop to let them cross the parking lot…but I digress…

Anyway, after shopping, Jim decided he would like a little bottle of Kessler from the Walmart liquor store. The Walmart liquor store was in its own room…apart from the “normal” Walmart and its warm, warehouse feel. One chosen leader, we will call her the WALMART LIQUOR CZARETTE¬† stood proud and strong behind the cash register, carefully scrutinizing those of us who would dare enter into “the room away from the rooms.” The following story is not exaggerated in any way…this is truly what happened once they entered..

Robin picks up said bottle of Kessler.

Robin walks with Jim to cash register.

CZARETTE asks Robin for driver’s license while standing next to Jim.

Robin replies “damn…my purse is in the car.”

Jim, without hesitation, gets wallet out to pay for Kessler, informing CZARETTE that he will be buying Kessler.

CZARETTE coldly and intimidatingly replies “not without her ID.”

Jim and Robin look at one another in confusion, then at CZARETTE (non-animated and not sure if she had a pulse at this point) and Jim says “it’s ok, I will buy it.”

CZARETTE says “no, not without her ID you won’t…you could be buying it for her.”

Robin is at first flattered that this woman apparently might think Robin is under 21!!! Yippeeee!!! But that enthusiasm quickly fades as CZARETTE points to the signs on the walls and says just this nicely (she must have been a greeter before her big promotion to liquor) “DON’T YOU SEE THE SIGNS? WE CARD EVERYONE WHO LOOKS UNDER 40.” Bummer for Robin…being 41 she is stating she might look just a year younger…

Jim and Robin are now laughing because they feel like criminals and cannot believe they are in the USA at this exact point in time. Robin is gesturing she’ll just go get her wallet…but Jim, completely amused, has to question more…

Jim says “so, if I put the bottle back, Robin and I leave the store and I come back, can I buy it then?” “NO” says CZARETTE. Jim is now having fun and asks “when exactly does this end in time? Can I come back tomorrow? Can I ever buy liquor at Walmart again?” Jim and Robin were truly laughing and chuckling at this point, finding this all too funny. CZARETTE, by the look on her face, did NOT find them funny.

Robin decides to just go out to the parking lot to get her wallet, to end this scene, which was losing its humor. When she returned, and showed the ID, CZARETTE turns to Jim and, I kid you not….she states “I NEED TO SEE YOUR ID NOW.” That was it. They had it. CZARETTE was having fun now in her little, dark way. Jim had already showed his ID anyway and, in addition, neither Jim or Robin look like they just passed their teenage years. Yep, CZARETTE was having some Walmart fun.

That concludes the story. In sum, if anyone looks under 40 and they are in a Walmart liquor store together, everyone must have their ID in the group or no one gets the liquor…at least at the Effingham Walmart. I will interject that Jim and Robin spoke of getting her gluten free beer at the Mattoon Walmart without incident.

Jim and Robin are having a good time, enjoying the simple life…but it isn’t as simple in the Midwest as they’re used to in Montana’s Big Sky Country. Just the other day, they were chuckling driving down the interstate because someone who looked just like Erik Estrada from CHIPS (you had to be out of diapers by the 70s to remember this show) was actually laying fully back on his police motorcycle, whipping a radar gun back and forth, back and forth, at both sides of traffic. It did look really funny, but it is a sight you see a lot around here. There is law enforcement everywhere, constantly pulling people over. Now, Robin’s father was a police officer and homicide detective all of his working life, so she has the utmost respect for the difficult and dangerous job all law enforcement officers endure…but things are definitely different these days. Speed traps, police barricades on weekends stopping ALL traffic to see if you MIGHT have been drinking, pulling you over for a few miles over speed limits, hidden cameras at intersections…you don’t feel very free in the “land of the free” here…as if you constantly need to be protected from yourself…Montana definitely supports more “live and let live” and neighbors still care for/help each other with minimal intervention from the outside. So there is adjusting to be done for Jim and Robin…but they are so happy to see everyone, it is worth the culture shock!

Ward, signing off…

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Greetings, Friends!

I haven’t posted in awhile…after losing our dear Shelby…but thought it was time to get you up to date on how Robin and Jim are doing.

I HAD MANY VISITORS…AND PRESENTS…the weekend of October 23-25!!!!!

Holly and George were dying to meet me…I am serious…they checked into their hotel and were ready to drive out and “experience Ward.” They brought me a card and presents!!



Holly, George and THE PRESENTS!!

Wanna see what I got??? It was so moving, it made me fog up a bit…it reminded me of my grandparents, from way back when…it was a birdhouse, carefully crafted to look my grandmother Lucille!




Looks Just Like Grandma Lucille


I was so surprised and excited…I love Holly and George so much!

That evening, they left me to watch Jim perform at The Orchard Inn, with his brother’s band, Friction. The place (I hear all of this when they come home, of course) was PACKED wall to wall, with lots of wild and crazy people, who all spoke so loud it was impossible to talk to someone sitting right next to you! The band rocked, of course…Holly, George and Robin all danced…and George got asked to dance by a young blonde woman…after the dance George said “can we come here tomorrow!?!” Needless to say, by the next morning, George couldn’t be dragged anywhere after whooping it up that night…Here are some pics of the band:



Ron & Jim Layton


Jeff & Tony of Friction


So Friday was quite a nonstop Party…everyone had a fun time…

But there were MORE SPECIAL VISITORS!! I got to meet Jim’s son Orion…and Baby B (mom Ellen couldn’t come but I hope to meet her, too)!!!!!! They came to visit me and Beatrice loved me…I’m just her size and fun to explore! She is sooooo cute and sooooo smart and sooooo lovable (Orion, you are too…but once you have a child I hear all eyes are on the baby…it was nice to meet you, though!).


Orion, Beatrice & Jim


Grandpa & B


Grandma & B

A cute Beatrice story…

When we went out to eat, Beatrice was amazed at all of the Halloween decorations. Apparently, the decor reminded her of birthday decorations…so she broke out into song and kept singing: Happy Birthday to PUMPKINS, Happy Birthday to PUMPKINS. She is so cute…quite the conversationalist. When you’d ask “where is Holly” she would point and reply “right there” as if worried you actually didn’t know where Holly was in the small motel room. She talks and talks…and tells you everything she likes “I like pasta” and “I like ants.” Adorable!!

After the visitors left, Jim and Robin had a quiet week at me (at home). They still fight ladybugs and it is quite funny because now they get sad when the forecast is for warm temperatures and sun!! See…when it rains, they can’t do much outside…but now, when it is sunny and over 55 degrees, they are attacked by swarms of the ladybugs…so now they just hope for cold, sunny days!

Hope all who are reading are doing ok out there…wishing you all the best…Ward Layton

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