Monday, August 29, 2011

Heading To Spearfish SD

We're leaving this morning for a short drive up to Spearfish and will spend 2 days there touring Lead and Deadwood. It's not enough time but, we are running out of time and need to be back in Redmond on the 6th of September and still need to see Yellowstone (and that's even going to be cut short a couple of days).
Yesterday, Cheryl and I just poked around in the little "pokey places" in Hill City and then in Keystone. Just a relaxing day with nothing else going on. I've been waiting to see the deer in the meadow in front of the motorhome, but they have been elusive and haven't come out during the day.
After a solid 2 months of wearing shorts, today will have to be a "Long Pants" day. The weather has turned a mite cool, but only for the day and back warm again tomorrow.
I've got a lot of pictures to post, but will put all of them in a separate blog entry later.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mount Rushmore

We visited Mount Rushmore this morning to see it in the morning light. What an impressive sight. So much has changed since I was last here 55+ years ago. The National Park Service has done a remarkable job on preserving and improving it.

The 1st picture was taken this morning.

The 2nd picture was taken after the evening lighting ceremony.

The last picture was taken by a friend of ours using his phone. I'll explain. They invited all veterans to come down to the stage for the lowering of the flag ceremony. Then after the ceremony was over, the Ranger asked those of us who served during the Vietnam era to step forward since we were despised and looked down upon at that time. The applause and a standing ovation from the crowd choked both Cheryl and I up. 47 years and finally the appreciation was shown. As we walked back up the steps we actually had people ask to shake our hands.

I'll post more of the pictures of our day tomorrow. This blog deserved it's own space.

Hill City South Dakota

This was a short days drive. Only 65 miles from Wall to here. We're parked at the Rafter J RV Resort for the next 4 days. After getting set up, we wandered around a bit and found a quilt shop for Cheryl and Debbie. Right next to it was a small winery and just had to go in and do a little tasting and buying. Red Ass Rhubarb wine. Now, I'm not a wine drinker, but I did like this one. We then went out in search of wildlife and found some and I'm sure we'll see more while in the Black Hills and then Yellowstone. Not much else to post right now, but will be off to see Mount Rushmore later.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

South Dakota Badlands

We took a drive thru the South Dakota Badlands yesterday. What an amazing area. One side of the road could be prairie and the other side towering rock formations or deep canyons. It's hard to describe, but on most of the rocks and canyons as you get close to them, look like they are covered in clay. If you have ever seen a birdsnest that is made out of clay, that is what they look like up close. The wildlife was abundant. We saw a herd of wild buffalo out in the distance and hoped they would come closer. As we drove along the road, we kept seeing more and more and finally, they were right off the road. The herd in the Badlands is estimated around 800 strong.

The little prairie dogs were fun to watch as they scampered around and issued their warning chirps when you got too close. As we exited the park on the south end and headed back to the interstate, we came across a little store that had hundreds of the little critters around. Unsalted peanuts were their favorite food and for 50 cents, you could buy a bag and walk out into their little colony and hand feed them. Funny little things.

Our last stop before heading back to Wall, was to an abandoned Minute Man rocket silo from the Cold War Era. It's decomissioned now, but under the protection of the National Park Service. We were'nt able to get the underground tour, but could look down thru the glass cover and see the missle replica. I always thought the command center for the missle was where the missle was, but it is several miles away. According to the information that was given to us, even though these are decomissioned, there are still hundreds that are active throughout the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas,Wyoming and New Mexico.

Off today to the Black Hills for 4 days (give or take).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wall South Dakota

We're spending 2 days in Wall, South Dakota. Why you ask??? Well, one day was spent touring Wall Drug. What an amazing and eclectic place this is. It was started during the depression by offering travellers free ice water and has grown from there to one of the top tourist attractions. You could spend a couple of days just looking at the historical pictures that are on display. What a fun place. Tomorrow, we're going out into the Badlands National Park and see some of the scenic rock formations and will also tour an abandoned missle silo from the Cold War era. The underground tour is already booked, but we can do the above ground tour on our own.

More to come - stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On The Road Monday

We didn't get very far on Monday. We only made it to Al's Oasis just past Chamberlain, SD. But then, that was the plan for a short days drive on the back roads of SD. Tuesday, we had another short drive to Wall, SD. If you go thru South Dakota on I90, it's almost a must that you have to stop at Wall Drug. It's an institution.

Wall Drug was started during the depression offering ice water to travelers and the tradition continues today. There are 26 different shops and restuarants in the "Drug Store Complex". We spent most of the day just wandering around and looking at the souveniers. We did go to the restuarant and have lunch. Wonderful food and plenty of it. Cheryl and I rode the Jackalope but, I had one helluva time trying to get her down. The hips don't work like they used to.

Tomorrow off to the Badlands National Park and a deactivated missle silo from the cold war era.

Soo City and The Class Reunion

The time went by way way too fast. We arrived in Sioux City (well actually North Sioux City, SD) on Wednesday afternoon and after getting the coaches set up, we drove back to Sioux City and went to Miles Inn for a couple of "Charlie Boys" and a frosted schooner of Coors Light. Keith and Caroline came and joined us and we visited for a bit before we took Pete and Debbie on a little sight seeing tour of the Morningside area before heading back to the RV Park.

Thursday, Pete and I did some serious geocaching. I found a string of 105 caches and we tried for all of them. Only managed 102 of them before calling it quits and back to the coaches.

Friday started the reunion activites with a get together at a restuarant/lounge just outside Sioux City and on Saturday we had an impromptu lunch get together and then the dinner Saturday night. Sunday was a breakfast and everyone went their separate ways. Keith and Caroline and the kids wanted to get together Sunday evening for dinner, so it was off to the Pizza Ranch and a short visit before heading back and getting ready for a Monday departure. Way way to fast and not enough time for a good visit. I guess, it means we have to come back. We didn't even get a chance to see our friends from Arizona (Dutch and Tony).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On The Road To Sioux City Today

We're leaving this morning for Sioux City for a 5 day stay. Visiting relatives and attending the 50th class reunion of East High School class of 1961. Unfortunately, the RV park that we would normally be staying at, is still under water from the Missouri flood waters, so the next closest is a KOA across the river in South Dakota.
Yesterday, we toured the Amana colonies, bought goodies and took Pete and Debbie sightseeing since they had never been there.
We had a great dinner at the Ox Yoke Inn (real German food) the night before. Wait until I get them to Sioux City and a culinary delight at Miles Inn.
More to come.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Colony Country RV Park

We're at the Colony Country RV park in North Liberty, Iowa and will be here for a couple of days before moving on. Tomorrow, we will take Pete and Debbie to Kalona to see the Amish community and then to the Amana Colonies for some shopping and good German food.
As an added plus to our stay here, one of our very best friends lives right across the road from the park. We surprised her this evening after dinner and spent 4 hours reminiscing and catching up on all the news. Pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Last Day Of The Rally

It's just about over. I have absolutely nothing scheduled for today. I'm going to kick back, relax and maybe have a cold drink or two and just enjoy the exhibits and tour the "show coaches" and see what I want to trade ours for. Just kidding!!!!!!!!!!! No new motorhome for us. We'll just have to make do with this old ratty one of ours.
We now have our stabilizing jacks fixed so life is good. HWH came to the coach yesterday and installed a new shuttle valve and now everything works fine.
We'll leave here tomorrow morning (not early) and start working our way to Sioux City for my 50th class reunion next weekend.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Circus in Baraboo Wisconsin

Well, not really a circus, but the old winter headquarters of the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus. Many of the old buildings have been preserved in the original state and are open to the public. The railroad built a spur into Baraboo and all of the railroad cars were stored here during the winter. Now, there are only a few cars left (Most were scrapped years ago). The museum is restoring and preserving the circus wagons from circus' from all over the world. I took so many pictures that I will edit this post and post more when I can download them from the camera.

We spent the entire day just roaming the grounds and strolling down "Memory Lane".

The next day, we headed off to Madison Wisconsin for the FMCA Rally. We arrived on the grounds of the Alliant Energy Center around noon, set up the coach and watched the parade of motorhomes arriving on the grounds. They are esimating around 4500 to 5000 motorhomes to be here when the rally starts on Wednesday.

Yesterday, we had a new experience. We went to the nearest WalMart to get a few groceries. This store was built on a parking lot. Parking is on the ground level, and you take an escalator up to the store. Wierd.

Today, starts my meetings and they will be all day long for the next 2 days. Then I'm free to enjoy the rest of the rally.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Arrived At The Wisconsin Dells

It was only a 2 hour drive from our previous stop, so we arrived early enough yesterday to do a little sightseeing. When we checked in at the RV park, we were given a 2 for 1 card that was good at most of the attractions in the area, so we decided to put it to good use. Our 1st (and only) stop for the day was to take a 2 hour scenic boat ride on the Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River. I had done this with my parents when I was 11 or 12 years old (as near as I can figure) and was fun to do it again. Then it was back to the motorhome and potty the puppies and off again to a dinner at Crabby's which is a pirate themed seafood buffet. Stay tuned to this channel tomorrow to see what we can find to do today.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Duluth and Beyond

We could have spent more time in Duluth, but we needed to move on and get closer to Madison, Wi, but not at the RV park. It seemed like the ore trains came thru about every 3o minutes and we were only 50 yards from the crossing. The blowing whistles were loud and annoying.

We arrived early in the day and went down to the waterfront and discovered that we could take a harbor cruise and out onto Lake Superior so we signed up for it and found that it was their Pizza cruise. Unlimited pizza and salad while cruising.

On our way back to the harbor we passed under the bridge and watched it raise so we could pass. Following us in was a Great Lakes Freighter loaded with cement and it looked like he would run right up our tailpipes. Pete and I managed to snag a couple of geocaches while there when we toured the nautical museum. If Duluth weren't so far away from home, it's a place where I could spend more time.

Left the next morning for Stoney Creek RV Park is Osseo, WI. Even a blind squirrel can get a nut once in awhile. This is not a park, it's a resort. Beautiful grounds, miniature golf course, skate park and a small water park for the youngsters.

We will leave in the morning for the Wisconsin Dells and spend the next 2 nights there before heading into Madison, Wi for the FMCA Rally.

Keep tuned.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Leaving Today For Duluth

We spent the last 2 days in Bemidji and met the nicest young couple that are the owners of the KOA. Normally, we try to bypass KOAs but this one was very convenient. They even trimmed tree branches so that our slides wouldn't rub the trees. Not many places will do that.
Yesterday, we went to Itasca State Park to show Pete and Debbie the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Normally you can walk across the rocks from one side of the river to the other and never get your feet wet, but with all the rains and snowmelt in the higher elevations, the water level is extremely high, so I opted to walk across the log from one side to the other instead of the rocks. At my age, I didn't want to make a fool of myself and fall into the water. We did a bit of souvenier shopping and generally relaxed. We also toured the Bemidji Woolen Mills. The young man that gave us the tour gave us a lot of information on the different wool plaids and how some of them are registered and in order to make that particular plaid, they need permission. After the tour, we met the owner of the mill and he gave us a lot more information. Of course, Pete and I did manage to do several geocaches while in the area.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Now In Bemidji Minnesota

We left Jamestown and moved north to Minnewaukan and spent 2 days at the Country RV park. After we arrived we went for a short drive into town and discovered it was their summer festival so watched the parade (color guard/3 fire trucks/2 4 wheelers and a semi. Visited with the locals for a bit and then had a cold one at the Dakotah Spirit bar. The next day, we drove the tow car up to Munich to see Buster and spent the day with him. He told us about an Icelandic Festival in Mountain, ND so went and took a gander there. All in all, we had a nice visit with our son.

The next day we left and headed to Bemidji, Minnesota and after getting settled, we had to drive into town and see Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox. Today we will drive around Lake Itasca and walk across the Mississippi river.