Palm Trees in southern Florida

Saturday, September 23, 2017

BIG art!

Mt Rushmore
After we left Yellowstone we headed to South Dakota, the land of the BIG art!

I'm talking about Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial and the Jackalope at Wall Drugs in Wall, SD. 

Mt. Rushmore is free to see, but they want cash money to park. It is impressive to see & well worth the trip.

I'd never made it to the Crazy Horse Memorial before, that was something to see. Even bigger art! 

The sculpture is huge, you can see the outline of the horse in white

Maybe my grandkids can see it finished? It's financed by the $11 it takes to get in & donations. There is still a lot to be done so it's going to take some time.

The head is clear and the front sculpture is what it will look like
The American Indian Museum is a nice one too.

After those magnificent sites some might call Wall Drugs a let down but I remembered the billboards! 

The 5 cent coffee was good, the $12 buffalo burger was good too but the pie was so-so at best. The parking was free & plentiful, lot's of stuff to see plus they had the Jackalope!

My kids even remember the Jackalope!

The Jackalope!
After this, it was getting close to time to show up in Grand Forks, ND for the beet harvest, so we found somewhere close to spend the night then we headed for North Dakota.

Just outside the Badlands NP, free BLM boondocking.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Yellowstone National Park

What's new that I can say about Yellowstone?

I looked, Yogi & Boo-Boo were not to be found nor was a picnic basket but Ranger Smith might be still be around. 
I wonder how old you have to be to remember Ranger Smith?

This visit is not quite like I wanted, it was a lack of planning on my part, I'm retired & gave no thought to when the Labor Day weekend was. That weekend did not seem to be a good one to show up at the 1st ever American National Park so we rested up in a different part of Montana.

There is traffic, lots at times. We spent 45 minutes in stop
and go traffic for some elk

That resting up was needed by me, (packing up, going, sightseeing, setting up, sleeping & repeat does get old)  but it did use time that could have been better spent in Yellowstone. I wanted a day's rest, maybe two, but not the whole Labor Day weekend that we sat out because I didn't realize it was coming!
How can "time" mean much to a retired person you ask? We're going to work the beet harvest in North Dakota and have to show up this month. There is an "end" to this particular chunk of travel.

I had visions of the vacationing legions packing up on Monday (Labor Day) & heading home after the last summer fling. The reality seems to be a little different as there were still plenty of people in the park & the campgrounds around it. Gee, a lot of them look retired too!

We found a spot in a national forest camp (Bakers Hole) not too far from the park's west entrance. The price is right, the views are great and we can leave the RV in its place & drive into the park with the other van to see the sites then drive home that night. Good enough!

The first stop was Old Faithful.  My wife had never been here before and that's one landmark I didn't want to miss. We walked up to the viewing area 30 seconds before it started erupting, talk about timing! 

We took a walk around Old Faithful then went to the Old Faithful Lodge 2nd deck viewing area to watch it do it's thing again. A pleasant afternoon.

There are mountains and animals too.
The 45 minute traffic jam for elk

Yellowstone!  It really is something to see the steam coming out of the ground, to see the boiling pools and the clear, clear bluish green water that smells of sulfur.
Steam from the ground is common

Bubbling pools that come with an odor

When you get tired of the people, the mountains, the animals, the steaming pools and geysers you look for this sign.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A new home on the road!

We bought a new RV!

It's a 2007 Forest River Sunseeker, a class "C" just short of 30' long on a General Motors chassis. 
We now have a dining table that's always set up AND a walk-around queen bed  (that we can each get out of on our own side!) AND a sofa AND an everyday usable shower!

The 19' Pleasure-Way class "B" was working great, even with two of us, and had been for over a year, but the opportunity for the larger rig came along so we took it.  Having a table that's always set up is great.

The '07 Class C & the '97 Class B in a truck stop in South Dakota

The title & other stock parts for the Pleasure-Way class "B" are in Georgia. We may convert the queen bed back to the U-shaped sofa, we'll see.  So we're driving the two rigs to the beet harvest in North Dakota then back to Georgia, where we'll sell the Pleasure-Way after that.

The new RV needed a few things.  A couple of tires & recharge the AC system were about it.  I did have to figure out how to get the spare tire down and some of the switches, plus we needed to get a jack.

Now there are the things that need to be done to make it "right" for us.  We're talking a coat rack, paper towel holder, spice rack, a place for the kitchen knives, a fold out counter extension, replace the 12v incandescent interior bulbs with LED and new radio.  Stuff like that.

There are still more things for later like vent fans, covers for the  vents and solar.  

Solar!  There is a lot of room for solar now ... Solar is magic and I miss it!

Moving from one rig to another while you're on the road is a project but we're managing... 
Did I mention that having a full-time table again is great?

I have to admit that this was a project we'd talked about before, finding & buying a new (to us) RV.  It was a big step.  Doing it on the road is an added hurdle, but not impossible.

If anyone is looking for a Pleasure-Way, come November we'll have the title in hand  :-)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Grand Canyon

I made it here again and again all I can say is, "Wow!"

This place has to be seen, but for me it's more than the indescribable view, its also the people.  In one day I've talked to folks from Norway, Denmark, Germany & Indiana.

Just another view

We had a camp in the free dispersed area just outside of Tusayan by the south entrance. It was a 5 minute walk to the bus stop for our free ride into the park.

The camp, a 5 min walk to the bus
The camper & the kitty sat here for 5 days while we took the bus

As I walk along the rim trail being amazed by the view at every turn & listening to the foreign languages I hear, I realize I'm really happy.

The Colorado river can be seen from the rim

I can pass on a few things I learned about the park...
If you have an RV the dump & fresh water fill are free, it's by the Mather campground entrance. 
Right next to that is the laundry & showers, there is a fee for both. The showers take quarters & are on a timer.  I didn't use the laundry here.
The Grand Canyon Market & General Store had better prices & selection than the store in town (Tusayan), and the basic food prices were not too bad.  Besides groceries they have camping gear, propane, fresh meat & vegetables, tourist souvenirs and a deli.
In that same plaza you'll find a bank & the Post Office.

The Grand Canyon is a marvelous place.  I'll be back again.