Ron & Elena's 2007-2010 Travels travel blog



Smokejumpers from Alaska out on the lawn folding their parachutes.

Smokejumpers make their own gear here using commercial sewing machines.

Each jumper has a locker with all the gear they'll need to...

Parachutes are hung in this room for inspection and cleaning after each...

Our tour guide explaining how the parachutes are handled.

Long tables in this room are used to repack the chutes.

Parachutes are also repaired in this room.

Our guide explaining how the jumper's gear is packaged and dropped into...

Displays showing first-aid and food carried by the smokejumpers.

Extra equipment dropped-in when needed.

One of the planes used here in Missoula.

More planes they use.

Sherpa that just landed.

Jumpers getting off the plane.

Exhibit in the visitor center showing fully suited jumper.

Model of the fire tent each jumper carries.



Out of the several hundred applying for each class only a dozen...

(Ron Writing) It was a chilly 44° this morning when we awoke but it was clear and sunny, which was nice after the rainy day we had yesterday.

We relaxed and did some work at home this morning. Then after lunch we drove about 55 miles southwest to Missoula, MT. We first stopped at the Smokejumper Visitors Center on the grounds of the Missoula International Airport. We looked around the exhibits in the visitors center and then went on a guided tour of the Smokejumper Base. We were shown the equipment they use, the areas where they make much of their own gear and specialized clothing using commercial sewing machines, areas where they inspect and repair their parachutes and where they repack the parachutes. We also saw some of the aircraft they use and watched as their Shorts Sherpa plane landed and the firefighters got off the plane after returning from a fire. Our guide did a great job of explaining all the operations and answered our many questions. It was a very interesting tour.

After the tour we did a little shopping and then went out for dinner at The Cracker Barrel. We enjoyed dinner with our new friends Patty and Russell Frady. Russ and Patty are also full-time RVers who have been reading our blog since we started full timing. We had exchanged emails a few times but had never met until today. They are staying at a campground in Missoula for a few days and we made arrangements to meet for dinner tonight. We had a wonderful time getting acquainted while enjoying another of those good Cracker Barrel dinners.

Patty documents their travels in their blog at

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