Archive for August, 2012

We will remember this day! Make sure you read the WHOLE post!!!

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Paul and I woke up in a Walmart Parking lot in Butte Montana, had breakfast and hit the road towards Yellowstone National Park.  Montana is a lot of open space and the smoke was still pretty thick so the scenery is not that special.  We did find a nice spot to stop along the Madison river.  We saw lots of fly fisherman in small boats nagivating the river.  Across from our little picnic area I spotted a large white spot that appeared to be moving.  We get out the binoculars and across the river is a very large bald eagle!  Very cool.  We also saw a lone antelope and a single deer eating along the road.

Our new home is along the banks of Henry’s Lake in a very nice state park where we will spend the Labor Day Weekend.

A very nice sunset

Sitting here, watching the lake and then the sunset we got the great news we have been waiting for all week!  We are HOMEOWNERS!  After over a year of searching and almost 7 months since our first offer on this house we finally got the keys at 5:30 pm!   We helped our girls buy a home in Campbell.  At several moments including earlier this week I thought it wasn’t going to really happen but it did!  Now the hard work begins!  Our girls will be living there and we will visit often


Taking it easy

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The last 5 days have been spent laying around the RV watching TV, resting and trying to get over a nasty cold!  The good news is the cold has finally moved along and I got to relax for 5 days on the shores of Flathead Lake near Kalispell Montana!

Flathead Lake

We arrived here on Thursday have watched the smoke engulf the mountains across the lake.  Montana is really not very beautiful now that the smoke is moving into the area.  Something good out of the lousy visibility is am the sun came up and looked awesome shining through the trees and on the lake as it peaked through the smoke.

View out my kitchen window at 7 am! The lake is right there, shimmering. Those are just weeds that are so bright yellow!

Looking south from the lake – total smoke!

In the five days here we have had to run the air conditioner and the heater!  The temps are dipping at night below 40!  I didn’t do any swimming, just relaxing!   Duke on the other hand didn’t understand why we would get up at 10 am, eat breakfast, check email and be back on the couch/bed resting before noon!  For 4 days!

He tries to play with us and brings us a different toy hoping one of them will get us up and moving!

An empty dog toy box!
Can you believe I keep his toys in a fancy Logenberger Basket?

Maybe he needs a playmate?  Something!  Toys are always everywhere!  Or maybe less toys?

Anyway,  the colds are gone, the smoke is increasing and we are moving south to Yellowstone today!  I sure hope we can see Old Faithful through all this smoke!

How do you choose your favorite?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

National Parks, State Parks, City Parks, private RV parks, fancy RV Parks, parking lot type RV parks, Walmart parking lots, rest stops, fields, wind, rain, 100+ degrees, mosquitoes, flies, perfect weather, scary weather, big cities, little towns, great local foods, fireworks, lakes, rivers, creeks, family, friends, tours, getting lost, buying wine and jelly we didn’t really want, tourist attractions, little spots in the road. After over three months and about 8000 miles wandering this country, up the east coast, across the top through Canada into Michigan, to Oshkosh Wisconsin to see “the greatest airshow” into Minnesota, through the Dakotas and into Montana we have traveled as a mini caravan seeing as much as we could and enjoying great times together.  We traveled this great adventure with our friends Kip & Pat who today have headed back to California where they will resume their lives of leisure and catch up on some much needed rest.

Kip & Pat!

Last night we talked about what was our one favorite event in this journey and I have to say mine was traveling with you guys!  You have been so much fun.  I can’t believe you followed us for so long!  Lets do it again real soon!!!!  I miss you!

Nature at it’s best

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

It feels like we are at the top of the world as we travel along Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park,

Magnificent Mountains

So many “ahh” moments as we drove along the cliffs through this special place.  We stopped as often as there were pullouts and just stood there taking in the scenery.  This park is a hikers paradise but most visitors take it all in from the passenger seat of a vehicle or one of their tour buses that are convertible.

crystal clear mountain snow melt

We saw lots of waterfalls, lakes, snow, wildflowers and yes, we saw Grizzly Bears!  A mother and her two cubs were eating the Service Berries on the mountain side.  They were too far for picture taking but our binoculars gave us a nice half hour of watching these huge bears having a picnic!

Lunch Creek

They even have a place for humans to have a nice picnic lunch!  While here we got a view of a herd of Long horn sheep eating from the hillside.

Mountain Goats

These were the only wildlife willing to get close enough for a photo!  We also saw some later basking at the top of a waterfall but the camera was in the car!  We didn’t get to hike as time didn’t allow but this will be one we return to one day.



Somethings you just have to see to believe

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

When you are driving up the mountain and you get your first glimpse!  WOW!!!

Can you name all 4? No cheating, leave the internet out of this!

Entry to Rushmore, with a flag for each state

The details! Did you know dynamite can do this?

A profile of a president

There just are not words or picture that will do Mt. Rushmore justice!  You have to put this on your bucket list.  The monument is amazing, and the National Parks Service does a great job making it accessible.  The Black Hills where the monument is are beautiful in their own right.  I didn’t know South Dakota had such beautiful mountians!

A few miles from Mt. Rushmore is another truly amazing project that has been in the works since 1948 is Crazy Horse Monument.

The mock up!

The completed statue will truly be amazing.  On the site they have amazing plans and so far have built a wonderful space for Indian heritage.  Someday they will finish the monument and I hope to return to see it.

Devils Tower, the first National Monument, named by Theordore Rosevelt is less than 100 miles west of Mt. Rushmore in Wyoming.  We did a day stop here.  You can see the monument from miles away and it doesn’t look like any of the landscape of the area.  It is huge.  People love to climb it; we chose to check it out from afar on our way to Billings MT.    The area was very desert like with a huge canyon with amazing colors leading up to the Monument.

Devils Tower

WOW!  3 amazing Monuments in 3 days!

I thought Harleys were for tough guys!

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Bike week in Sturgis, South Dakota was something we talked about attending and then decided it would be just too much work and very expensive.  Instead we took several days to see Minnesota and North Dakota hoping to arrive after all the bikers went home.  That was the plan but as we inched closer I could see Paul hoping we could at least hit the tail end!  So we arrive in Rapid City on Friday night, parked the rigs and headed the 40 miles to Sturgis.  As we are driving we are seeing the clouds becoming darker and darker!  Just as we are arriving in Sturgis the sky opens up and floods everything.  Bikes are parked under over crossings, in gas station bays, everywhere.  Rain and Motorcycles really don’t go together.  We make it into town and find parking so that we can enjoy the evening of Sturgis craziness!

Just one street!

Thousands of bikes

We were there for the final weekend and many bikers had already headed towards home after spending many days riding the hills and playing in the bars each evening and there were still so many bikes!  All kinds of bikes, all kinds of people.  I met a single lady that was my age, lost her husband and decided life was too short and bought a bike and finds herself returning to Sturgis each August just to ride her bike with fellow bikers and enjoy some craziness in a life of routine, work, family, etc.

Having a couple of beers with our biker friends!

We found ourselves a bar with lots of activity!  Dancing girls who will show you a bit of chest for a nice tip!  Just a bit of crazy and then back to real life!

Just for FUN!

Everyday people come here, business men & women, doctors, lawyers, accountants the ones that can afford these bikes and then there are the guys that spend their last dollars getting here all enjoying the same beers and watching each other do things they will remember for a really long time!!  I am not sure I could do this for a week but it was really fun for an evening!

They can grow grapes in South Dakota? Really!!!

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

You wouldn’t even know you changed states when you cross from North Dakota to South Dakota.  The scenery is the same, lots of corn that is drying up and sunflowers.  We found a winery that will allow us to spend the night if we will taste their wines!  Yep, we are in and we brought the Garvey’s with us!  You might ask, Wine from South Dakota?  Do grapes grow in the snow?  ChrisaMari winery is owned by  Randy and Nita who are fulfilling Randy’s dream of being able to work the land and do something he loves.  Nita supports him and helps him in his dream everyday!!!

ChrisaMari Winery

Two RV’s show up on a Friday night.  Randy & Nita meet us and invite us to sample many of the wines they are producing or experimenting with.  The most unusual was the coffee wine.  It was wine but definitely tasted like coffee.  Not my favorite but then I am partial to Starbucks!

Well do you like?

Of course we bought a couple bottles!

We learned a lot from Randy who has definitely developed a passion for sharing his love of wine making.  He takes very hard to grow grapes, fights freezing winters, experiences 2 years without a crop because of spring hail storms and makes wines he is truly proud of.  They are definitely not California wines but then as he says “California is a perfect wine growing region.  They have the perfect weather, perfect climate and perfect soil.  They better be making perfect wines”    We enjoyed our stay at ChrisaMari, enjoyed a very cool evening storm and moved on to Rapid City the next day.  We will enjoy the wines we bought along the way and remember our evening at the winery in South Dakota.

Another one bites the dust!

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

I spent my 56th (Kip says it is 57, but that is another story!) in Fargo North Dakota at a less than beautiful RV park.  The Days Inn motel, RV park, daycare center, pub & 24 hour restaurant was where I woke up on my birthday. We had a tee time and then the rain started about midnight and didn’t let up until about 10 am so we slept in and Paul bought me breakfast in the diner.  We had no other plans so we are relaxing in our RV, searching the web for something to do in Fargo, ND!  They have the original wood chipper from the movie at the visitors center and that was about it!  Opting to skip that we decided we would try golf in the afternoon and hope it wasn’t too muddy.

We hit the course which was a pretty nice, flat 9 hole course.  Flat!  North Dakota is pretty flat!  Golf was nice other than the drunks in front of us that would not speed up, couldn’t hit their balls and had to discuss every swing, and when we asked to play through they said NO!  Who says no to that????  Anyway we played 9 holes in about 2 1/2 hours and were off for a birthday dinner at the local Mexican restaurant with Margarita’s.  The food was very average, margarita’s cold, service pretty good but the dessert was excellent!  Thanks for dinner Kip & Pat.

Fields of bright yellow sunflowers

The scenery is not much, lots of farmland with more corn and soybeans with the occasional wetland and sunflowers!  Today we drove from Fargo towards Bismark along the interstate and there was actually more sunflowers than corn or soybeans!

Why are the all facing the same way? I know!

There are also a lot of wetlands and I saw plenty of swans and other water fowl swimming right along the interstate but that is just too hard to photograph at 60 miles per hour!  We are off to South Dakota tomorrow to claim another sticker on our states visited in the RV.

The land of many lakes and more

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

The plan was to leave Oshkosh and head to Mt. Rushmore however Bike Week in Sturgis began on Monday and since we didn’t make reservations last year and I am opposed to such large crowds we decided we we would travel north into Minnesota and see the Mall of America.


From the looks of things the economy is doing just fine here in Minnesota!  Dads loaded down with shopping bags waving to children on the roller coaster while mom waits in line for a Starbucks!  I did my share of boosting the economy with a two hour shopping spree in Macy’s!  The good news is they don’t charge any sales tax on clothing and shoes in Minnesota – saved myself nearly 9%

Paul escorted me to the mall and walked most of the 4 stories while I was in Macy’s and then we took in a movie, Magic Mike.  A fun movie, not a lot of content but some laughs.  Shopping, dining, minature golf, roller coasters, movies, aquarium, all under one roof!