All posts by ondroad77

February 9 – November ??, 2018

Friday, February 9, 2018 – Left San Diego 9:40am and arrived in Yuma at Westwind RV,  site 179 facing west.   Good park, friendly people.

 

Sunday, February 11, 2018 – Windy and cooler.  Went to the “Center of the World – History in Granite Museum”, Felicity, CA (population 1?).  Really, kind of a cool little place with all major recorded world events etched in granite blocks.

 

HistoryInGranite

 

Saturday, February 17, 2018 – Left Westwind/Yuma to a Thousand Trails campground in Cottonwood, AZ, site #144.  All gravel & not level.

 

Sunday, February 18, 2018 – Quick day move to Dead Horse State Park, site #105.  Windy.  Lots of hiking around the lagoons, Lime Kiln trail, Tavaschi marsh to the Verde River, cool old cemetery.   Moved to site #100 on Friday the 23rd amid snow flurries.

 

DeadHorse

 

Friday, March 2, 2018 – Left Dead Horse/Cottonwood for Lost Dutchman State Park near Apache Junction, AZ.   We didn’t have long term reservations here, so had to move sites 6 times!  It was worth it.  The best view was from site # 68 (no power).  Hiked Prospectors Trail, Green Boulder, Treasure Loop and many other smaller trails around the park.   Enjoyed meeting up with Sandie & Gil again, as we did last year, and hope to again in 2019!

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 – Had to cut this trip short.  Long drive straight back to San Diego today after news that Uncle Jack was hospitalized. ;(

 

Lost our beloved Uncle Jack this month.  Flew to Orlando to attend services and a bittersweet reunion with cousins.  Spent the next couple of months with Mom in San Diego, and celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with a party at the house.

 

Sunday, July 8, 2018Back on the road.  First stop tonight, the North Las Vegas Elks.  It was 110° when we arrived at 3pm.  Not a great place, or a great part of town, but we don’t gamble and it’s an inexpensive, safe overnighter.  We prefer being on the North side of Vegas when heading out in the morning to avoid the morning downtown rush hour.

 

Monday, July 9, 2018 – Traveled from Las Vegas to Mountain Shadow RV Park in Wells, NV.  Nice park. 98°

 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 – Left Wells, NV toward Round Valley RV park in Challis, ID.  Huge sites at this campground!

 

On the way, we saw what looked like a nice place to camp & check out another time, on 93, north of Makay, ID near the dam.  We also stopped at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Craters

 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 – Left Challis at 8:30am.  Stopped in Florence, MT to enjoy a wonderful lunch and visit with Dan Colombo.  A dear colleague & friend from many years ago at old ComStream.  Such a gracious host, beautiful home, and sweet puppy, Tammi. J

 

LunchDanMT

 

Arrived at Jim & Mary’s RV park in Missoula that evening.  Lovely campground with amazing flowers all over the place.

JimMaryMissoula

 

 

Friday, July 13, 2018 – Left Missoula and arrived at Stoneridge Resort, in Blanchard, ID.   Beautiful, paved, RV sites.  The place boasts a golf course, private homes, RV sites for purchase, pools, a lake, timeshares, walking trails, free laundry facilities (!), and really nice people.

 

It was very hot, so enjoyed early morning walks around the park perimeter, riding our bikes, and cruising in our inflatable kayak around San Souci Lake.   Made day trips to Sandpoint, Hope, Coeur d’ Alene, Spirit Lake, Newport WA, Albini Dam on the Pend Oreille River.   Enjoyed an evening at Brent & Deb’s site along with Larry & Tina.  Great folks.  Sweet dogs Gunner, Bentley & Bodie.

 

StoneridgeSky

 

Thursday, August 2, 2018 – Reluctantly left Stoneridge and arrived at Flathead River RV in Polson, MT.  The park isn’t much to look at, but it’s friendly and a great location.

Friday we went to the Kerr Dam built between 1930 and 1939.   Hiked down to the overlook, which is a steep walk down from a very poorly marked parking area.  The signage to get to the parking area is even worse and don’t think your GPS or cell phone directions will work either.  Amazing views of the dam and area all around.  Vertigo alert!

 

[pic]PathKerrDamViewKerrDam

 

Drove around beautiful Flathead Lake and saw another great place for future camping at Finley Point in Flathead Lake State Park.    All the way around the lake were people selling homegrown Flathead cherries.   They were delicious!

 

We enjoyed walking along the docks in Polson enjoying Flathead Lake and its river.  Beautiful swimming places.

 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 – Headed from Polson, to Bozeman.   We stayed at the beautiful home of Joe and Cortnee Spear on Bluebird Ln.  Their front yard had plenty of room for our RV!  They, and their adorable kids, were gracious hosts and we enjoyed our visit with all of them so much.  Bozeman is such a great town and they have been so lucky to find such a beautiful home in an amazing neighborhood!

CasaSpear

 

Saturday August 11, 2018 – Hugs all around as we left Casa Spear for Lincoln Road RV, site #29, in Helena, MT.    Cruised the Mansion district, saw the awesome St. Helena Cathedral, original governor’s mansion, and Benton Ave. historic cemetery.

Walked Centennial Park in Last Chance Gulch and downtown walking mall.

 

Monday, August 13, 2018 – Left Lincoln Rd RV in Helena and arrived at the West Glacier KOA that afternoon.  Rusty, Marcie, & Conner stopped by on their way to Kalispell!   There was a horrible fire burning on the north side of Lake McDonald which closed “Going to the Sun Road” and made the air terribly smokey.  The usual stunning views were not to be had this year. 😦

-Tuesday we took a fun raft float down the middle fork of Flathead River with Rusty, Marcie, & Conner.  Then a late lunch at Eddie’s on Lake McDonald and ice cream!

 

JenningsRaftFlatheadRivRaft

 

-Wednesday we all drove up to the east entrance of Glacier at St. Mary’s, then up to Logan Pass.  Would have been beautiful except for all the smoke.

 

LoganPassGlacier

 

-Friday we rented a pontoon boat on Flathead Lake.  Cruised around Cromwell Island and made a couple of stops on Wild Horse Island.   A great day (except for not spying any wild horses and the smoke again).

 

[pic]WildHorseIslandCaptainAndCastle

 

Saturday, August 18, 2018 – Change of plans.  We were going to head back down to Missoula to enjoy that area and visit with Dan Colombo a bit more, but the smoke was too much for us and we decided to book over to the west coast as quickly as we could.   So we spent this night at a Cabela’s in Post Falls, ID, which was extremely smoky.  We purchased some air filters and taped them up on our air conditioning vents which helped and then also purchased a small air purifier.  Sucks having to stay in the coach all the time though….

 

Sunday, August 19, 2018 – Left Cabela’s and drove through extreme smoke in Spokane Valley and Columbia Gorge.  Bad traffic and smoke through Snoqualmie Pass.  Arrived at the Elks club campground in Puyallup, WA, (pronounced pew-ALL-up).  Still some smoke, but not as bad.

 

Saturday, August 25, 2018 – Finally!  Rain and cleaner air!  Enjoyed the Puyallup Farmers market – so much good stuff!

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 – Left Puyallup, and headed up to the Escapees Park in Chimicum, WA near Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula.   We love this park and ended up putting our name on the LONG waiting list for sites to open for lease.

-Met lots of nice people this time:  Annetta and Logan who used to have an RV just like ours, same kind of tow car and their little dog, Sunny, looks exactly like our Poppins (on a little smaller scale)!

Jaime & Scott, a young couple who full time in their Winnebago and run a blog called Away We Winnebago.

And Jill and Andy with a beautiful ’99 Country Coach Prevost.   Greg and Andy are both audiophiles and Jill and I roll our eyes in unison.   🙂

-Jas flew up and joined us for 3 days at the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend.  Lots of interesting classes and beautiful boats in a gorgeous setting.  The last day is usually a huge “sail by” with 300 or so wooden boats on the bay, but this year we had very gusty winds that instigated a small craft warning – so no “sail by” this year. 😦

We also walked Hurricane Ridge and the Dungeness Spit in the cold and rain.  Lots of good hiking around Anderson Lake from the campground.

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 – Left Evergreen SKP park and started our journey south.  Arrived at the Elks campground in Tillamook, OR.  Two perfect weather days for hikes at Cape Lookout, and visits to the Blue Heron and Tillamook cheese stores.

 

NorthTrailMorningHikeCapeLookout

 

Saturday, September 29, 2018 – Headed down to Pacific Shores RV in Newport, OR.  Another  favorite.

Rented site #12 this time from the owner.  Backed up against 101, but traffic sound isn’t too bad.

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Our beach at Pacific Shores
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Poppins & I on our beach

 

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Whale and seals (zoom in!)
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Thar she blows
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Pink sky at night
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Our beach from Yaquina Lighthouse
FeedMeShroom
Feed me Seymore mushroom

 

May 2 – Sept 9, 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 – Left San Diego for some dry camping in Lone Pine, CA on our way to Reno.  On the way, stopped to see the Manzanar Japanese Internment Camp, where over 100K Japanese citizens and residents were forced to live during WWII.    Not a happy place, but they sure made the best of the situation, building gardens, having dances etc.  A resilient people.

As it was now over 90 degrees, we decided we needed electricity instead of dry camping, so we ended up at Highlands RV park in Bishop, site 74, $38.70/night.  We stayed here a few years back, and remembered it as a nice little park.  It still is.  Very friendly, clean, and just as we remembered.

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Wednesday we drove up to the Sierra View Overlook. Above Lone Pine & Bishop on the east side.  The Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest was still closed due to snow, but we got up to the viewpoint – 8,960 ft.  Stunning view of the Eastern Sierra range.

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Of course had to hit the Erick Schat’s Bakkery in Bishop for some chocolate dipped macaroons & fresh bread.  Oh my!

Thursday, May 4, 2017 – Moved to the Mono Vista RV park site #5 in Lee Vining at Mono Lake.  Small park, no view of the lake, but still a nice park.  Cash only!  $41.44/nightly.

Drove around the June Lake Loop – so many gorgeous sites.  Still quite a bit of snow around, but relatively warm during the day.  Had to stop for dinner at the Tioga Pass Chevron station/Whoa Nellie Deli.  Yeah, definite stop after visits to Yosemite too.

Friday, May 5, 2017 – Arrived at Scott and Debbie Sutter’s amazing home in beautiful Reno, NV.  They hosted a big Cinco de Mayo party tonight: (I WANT that kitchen)

(I want the back patio too…)

Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Arleen’s birthday bash day.  Walked around Scott & Debbie’s neighborhood with Deb, Adrian, Jamie, & Jacquelyn.  Fed carrots to horses along the way.  What a great place to live.

Arleen’s bday party was about 15 minutes away in Reno.  Another beautiful home with a view of downtown Reno.  Sadly, it was raining most of the afternoon so we didn’t get the full view.   The party home (of her good friend, Bill) was crazy gorgeous.

Sunday, May 7, 2017 –  Reluctantly left Scott & Debbie’s (2 nights is long enough to host everyone) and moved over to Sparks Marina RV park – stayed here before and like the park.  Just needed to get some laundry done & grocery shopping nearby.

Monday, May 8, 2017 – Lunch with RV buddies Dan & Linda.  We run into them most every year at OMC when we both have yearly maintenance done on the RV.  They have a home in Reno, and it was great visiting with them.  They are in very west Reno and have a great, unobstructed view of the snow capped mountains.

Tuesday,  May 9, 2017 – Left Sparks/Reno NV area and stopped overnight at a Pilot Truck stop in West Windover, NV.  Loud – but free and safe.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 – Moved to Western Hills RV in Rawlins, WY.  A cute, no frills park, with sparkling facilities, wide spaces, strong WiFi, and a little mini golf course.  Drove through the Bonneville flats by the speedway, and thru the outskirts of the Great Salt Lake on the way.

Thursday, May 11, 2017 – Left Rawlins, WY to land at Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland, CO.   Site #E125.  We really like this park.  Nice view of the lake.  Beautiful trail along the lake.  Electric only (dumps & water available at the entrance).  Thought we were here for 4 days, but apparently we accidentally reserved a disabled only site for the second half of the stay.  We’ve talked to the rangers and are now figuring out what we’re going to do as they are completely full otherwise. 😦  May be moving on, on Saturday…IMG_0155

Saturday, May 13, 2017 – Very lucky today, should have bought a lottery ticket.   Walking Poppins last night we met some lovely local Elks Club members who said one of their sites wasn’t going to be used.  After much wrangling with the park rangers and the reservations office, we just moved 2 spaces down and get to use our last two nights here after all. 🙂

Yesterday, we had a long bike ride along the paved Loveland recreation trail that runs along Boyd Lake and another private lake.  Lots of walks along the lake.

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Wildlife at Boyd Lake

Beautiful, warm weather with snow capped Rockies to the west.

The cottonwood trees are starting to shed.  Looks like snow drifts in places along the ground.

Spent the last evening at Boyd Lake with our new friends enjoying a blazing campfire. 🙂

Monday, May 15, 2017 – Moved a couple hours down the I-25 to Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs, CO.  Raptor Glen Loop Site #9.  Beautiful view of Colorado Springs below and Cheyenne Mountain/NORAD above.  VERY WINDY.  They have a lot of great hiking trails around here.  Loving them, but getting a little winded on the uphill treks at this altitude!

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Before the storm
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Colorado Springs evening
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Poppins enjoying the wind

Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Storm blew through all night with fierce wind and about an inch of rain.   Snowing north of us in Denver and parts of Colorado Springs.  We got a dusting on top of the mountain, but just slushy ice here at camp.

 

Had a leveling system issue as a solenoid on the air cartridge dryer malfunctioned.  Greg pulled a MacGyver, which is a great hold over fix until we get to our annual repair visit at OMC in August.

Spent the last two days hiking the great trails around Cheyenne.  Acorn Alley/Bobcat Way/Soaring Kestrel/Coyote Run/Boulder Run/Blackmer Loop & Cougar’s Shadow.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – Moved from Cheyenne Mtn back north a bit to Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, just east of Denver, site #86.  Walking/biking trails and took our new inflatable Sea Eagle kayak out for its maiden voyage in the Cherry Creek reservoir.

Moved to site #140 on Saturday, 5/27.  Great site with a view of the lake!    On Monday, 5/29 had a nice walk across the dam to the marina.  Then a crazy hail storm that afternoon for about 30 minutes!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 – Celebrating our 39th anniversary a little early by enjoying a great show at Red Rocks Amphitheater.   Got to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 40th anniversary tour with Joe Walsh as opening act!   Beautiful venue (our favorite).

TPatRedRocks

Had an unplanned 20 minute intermission for a lightening storm to pass, otherwise one of the best shows ever!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 – Heading south again.  Over night at Lathrop State Park  in Walsenburg, CO.  Quite a nice state park.  Large, with a couple of nice lakes.  We’ll have to come back and spend more time here kayaking.

LathropSP

Thursday, June 1, 2017 – Drove over Wolf Creek Pass < 10K feet above sea level.  Thankfully, pretty good weather.  A little rain and light hail, but mostly dry (however very winding, especially in a 40′ RV) roads.

WolfCreekPass

Arrived at Wolf Creek Run in Pagosa Springs, CO right on the San Juan River which is rushing right now from all the snow runoff from the local mountains.

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Our backyard at Wolf Creek Run RV Resort.

Sunday, June 4, 2017 – Hit Kips Grill and Cantina for lunch today.  Delish, spicy shrimp tacos and Pacifico.  Great flavor and a really fun atmosphere!  We may come back for our actual anniversary dinner on the 10th!

Then up to Treasure Falls for a quick afternoon hike with the pup.   Gorgeous.

Monday, June 5, 2017 – Scoped out Echo Canyon & Williams reservoirs in the Pagosa Springs area wanting to get out kayaking again.  There are several small lakes in the Pagosa area, but all of them are private to the homes around them and their guests. 😦

Echo Canyon looks like the closest and it’s quite beautiful.  Going to try there tomorrow as long as the rain storms expected in the afternoon STAY in the afternoon!  Williams creek/reservoir is gorgeous  with surrounding mountains and trees, but about 20 miles of gravel/dirt/mud road to get there – – our little Honda got a good wash after our trip out there!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017Monday June 12, 2017  Several nice hikes in the San Juan National forest, Pagosa Springs.  Turkey Creek Trails and Coyote Hill loop.  Drive down to little town of Chama, NM.  Pagosa classic car show on Saturday morning in the park and 39th anniversary dinner on the river at Borde Rio restaurant.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 – Another long river walk in downtown Pagosa Springs, then lunch at Riff Raff Brewing & then ice cream at the Malt Shop (oh my!).

Thursday, June 15, 2017 – Moved a whole hour west to Bayfield Riverside RV Park, Bayfield, CO, about 15 miles west of Durango.  Beautiful flowers all around this park with creeks running through from the Pine River next to us, and a pet Alpaca named Couscous (sp?).

Walks to the very small town of Bayfield, day trips to Durango, visits, hikes, and boating on the nearby lakes Vallecito and Lemon.  And a wonderful birthday/fathers day/anniversary dinner at The Ore House downtown Durango – outstanding!

Getting into the surf is a bit different along the Animas River in Durango than it is in San Diego:

And I just love this Alpaca, Couscous (Koozkooz?) Cousie.  He loved apples, carrots and sugar snap peas every afternoon we were there.  Such a sweet guy:

Thursday, June 29, 2017 – Left Bayfield for Silverton, CO.  A white knuckle ride for me on the outside of very steep thousand foot drops, narrow road, no shoulder with construction along the way.  Silverton is a very small old mining town in a canyon surrounded by a beautiful array of mountains all around.  Waterfalls everywhere. Checked in to the Red Mountain Motel & RV Park with great views all around.

SilvertonCO

Friday, June 30, 2017 – Rented a brand new Jeep from our campground hosts Jim & Amy and took the Alpine loop OHV trail through Animas Forks, an old mining ghost town from the early 1900’s:

 

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Sunday, July 2, 2017 – Walked around Notorious Blair St.  The old red light district for the miners.  Very rustic.  Had a loud lightning/thunderstorm this night.  The thunder really reverberates in the mountain valley of Silverton.

Monday, July 3, 2017 – Visited the Silverton Museum.  The place used to serve as a jail & hospital.  Very well done museum!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017 – 4th of July parade down the main street.  Lots of horses, loads of Jeeps & 4 wheel vehicles.  Fire trucks from Silverton & Durango shooting water & having water hose fights with the crowd and each other. 🙂  Were supposed to have a military flyover, but they didn’t make it.  Nice BBQ at the campground that afternoon, and a spectacular firework show right above us!

Hiked up to the waterfalls on Kendall mountain on Wednesday.  Dusty, rocky and hot.

Thursday, July 6, 2017 – Left Silverton and arrived at Monte Bello RV park in Taos, NM about 1:15pm.  Site #10.  Very small park, 1 washer & dryer.

Saturday, July 8, 2017 –  Did the Habitat for Humanity tour of homes for sale fundraiser.  Several very energy efficient homes for desert living.

Took the Enchanted Circle drive around the mountains, and did some shopping downtown.  Found a great soap shop called Blue Feather.  Very windy afternoons and warm.

TaosSunset

Thursday, July 13, 2017 – Left Taos/Monte Bello and sat at the Rocky Mtn Cummins shop to get the shocks swapped out and the jake brake calibrated.  Arrived at Santa Fe Skies RV – site #Y30, in Santa Fe, NM about 4:20pm.  Rain/lightning/thunder and wild winds started as soon as we got set up.

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Visited the farmers market on Saturday (one of my favorites), toured Loretto Chapel again (such a cool story about the staircase there).  Visited the New Mexico museum of art where they had a great exhibit of daVinci, Rembrandt, & other artists first sketches of some of their works.  Interesting to see their trial and errors before the masterpieces! Also, visited the Georgia O’Keeffe museum for the first time.

Checked out Conchiti Lake about 35 minutes away, drove along the Turquoise Trail to the cute little town of Madrid.  Also took a day trip out to Los Alamos.  We like Santa Fe. 🙂

Friday, July 28, 2017 – Left Santa Fe and spent the night at a BLM in Devil’s Canyon, Blanding, UT #8.  Small nature trail hike to see old cave dwellings.  Nice park.

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Saturday, July 29, 2017 – Left Devil’s Canyon for Pony Express RV in Salt Lake City, UT.  They tried to stuff us into two different sites that were just way too small for our coach.  Finally, put us in B10 which was doable.  This park is right on the Jordan River and has a nice long paved trail that we enjoyed – however it was SOOOOOO HOT the few days we were there.

Visited the Utah Natural History Museum.  Gorgeous architecture and displays inside.  What a treat, well worth the small entry cost.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017Left Pony Express/Salt Lake for the Ambassador  RV park in Caldwell, ID.   HOT – 101 on Wed.

HotCaldwellID

Thursday, August 3, 2017 – Left Caldwell, ID for a COE on the Columbia Gorge in Plymouth, WA, site #13.  Hot and buggy – no access to the Gorge, otherwise a nice enough park at a good price.

Friday, August 4, 2017 – Left Plymouth for Tillamook, OR along the coast.  Very winding, curvy, a bit harrowing, drive down Hwy 6 for 26 miles between Portland and Tillamook.  Staying for 3 days at the Tillamook Elks RV park, dry camping, as their full hookup sites were all booked due to an annual picnic planned for the weekend.

Visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory (twice during our 3 day stay…) for ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, and cheese to go.  Small walk to Munson Creek Falls in a full on rain forest:

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Took a picnic lunch over to Cape Lookout and Oceanside

OceansideOR

Sunday, August 6, 2017  Short hike at Cape Meares to Big Spruce.  A 750-800 year old huge tree.  Then a visit to the lighthouse, and then the 300 year old Octopus tree.

Also saw our first whale of the trip from the lighthouse! 🙂

Monday, August 7, 2017  Left beautiful Tillamook to head down to Pacific Shores in Newport, OR for 3 weeks.   Cool, foggy & windy.

Lots of day trips around Newport, Yakima Bay, Agate Beach, Nye Beach, Otter Rock/Devil’s Punchbowl, Cape Foul Weather, & Depot Bay.  Saw the total Solar Eclipse on the 21st!  Lots of whales all up and down the coast – so cool to see!   The neighbor across the way in the park went crabbing every weekend and we bought some fresh crabs from him.  Our first time getting crabmeat out of the shell – time consuming – but the crab cakes were delicious.   Daily walks up and down the mostly private beach at Pacific Shores, Poppins loves the beach.

Monday, August 28, 2017 – Reluctantly left Pacific Shores, Newport for yearly maintenance on the RV at Oregon Motorcoach in Eugene, OR.  Very hot and painfully smoky this afternoon due to fires all around the area.

Enjoyed lunch at King Estate Winery on Saturday 9/2.  Delish!  But still very smoky, so we weren’t able to enjoy the view of the estate.   Also, had lunch at Tacovor, 9/4.  Outside seating for Poppins and really good Tempeh Chorizo tacos and local craft beer. Recommended!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 Finally got out of OMC at 2pm today after contributing  mightily to the local economy.  Stopped for the night at SevenFeathers in Canyonville, OR.  Lovely campground – but still smoky here.  At least we had some rain this night!

Thursday, September 7, 2017 Bookin’ on to San Diego now.  Overnight at Flag City in Lodi, CA, then to Mountain View RV in Tehachapi, CA on Friday the 8th.  Great little park right on a glider airport!

Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Arrived home at 2:30.  Finishing another great RV living adventure!

Jan 30 – Mar 24, 2017

Monday,  January 30 – San Diego to Yuma.  Staying at the Westwind RV Golf Resort.  Great big, fun place with a huge pool, tennis and golf.  Had the RV washed and waxed by Roberts RV wash.  Best prices and good work.

 

Wednesday, February 1 – Left Westwind in Yuma and arrived at Picacho Peak State Park space C19.  Took a small hike (it was warm).  Had a great campfire this night, and saw an amazing sky full of stars.

PicachoSunset

Thursday, February 2 – Left Picacho to Catalina State Park (in Tucson) space A39.  The place we saw the enormous jack rabbits on our last stay here.  This time didn’t see ANY until the day we left.  Daily beautiful hikes.  Lots of water flowing which we had to cross.  All us hikers got inventive with rocks and walking sticks.  Only got a little wet.  🙂

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Met some wonderful people, Gil and Sandy with their English Spaniel, Angel.  That girl was an amazing hiker that wore everyone out, even though Gil and Sandy are in great shape.  They’re from near Racine, WI which we visited last year on our Indy trip.  He’s a volunteer fireman in their little town out in the country.  Hoping we meet up with them again as we’re all supposed to be at Lost Dutchman State Park at the foot of the Superstition Mountains around the same time.

Monday, February 13 – Left Catalina and arrived at Lost Dutchman State Park (Apache Junction, AZ), site #104, at the foot of the Superstition Mountains.  Stunning views of the mountains, my phone pictures don’t do it justice.  We hiked every day.  Made it about 3/4 of the way up to Flatiron on the Siphon Draw Trail.  Very steep and rocky.

 

Met up with Gil, Sandy, and Angel again and had a couple of nice evenings chatting with them.  Poppins made a good friend in Sandy. 🙂

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Friday, February 24, 2017 – Left Lost Dutchman State Park & the Superstitions this morning and landed at Distant Drums RV in Camp Verde, AZ.  We were disappointed in our site location as this is the second time we’ve requested a specific area of the park that we prefer – and made our reservations well in advance – and they’ve given the site away prior to our arrival.  The RV park is in a good location, close to Sedona, not QUITE as expensive as in Sedona proper.

Hikes in and around Sedona are some of our favorites.  This year we did CourtHouse Butte a few times again, Slim Shady.

May 17 – October 27, 2016 Indy 500 and beyond

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1bIuP5Y0lRT_Ae_9c4CfZCyZvuwY  <–Planned route to Indianapolis, after many revisions, in an attempt to avoid tornadoes and hail in the south and Midwest.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 – First overnight stop at the Elks Lodge on Van Der Meer St in North Las Vegas.  Dry camping in a safe location for only $5 as an Elks member, not a lot to look at but can’t beat the price!   Nice sunset with rain in the distance:

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 – Beautiful drive up I15-N through the Virgin River Gorge then snow capped mountains in southern Utah.  Landing at the Provo, UT Elks Lodge.  Nice place, surrounded by mountains.  Again only $5 tonight, and it’s paved! 🙂

Thursday, May 19, 2016 – Leaving Provo we took 189 through Provo Canyon.  Good, winding road through mountains and along lakes and rivers.  So much better than going up through busy Salt Lake City to get to Interstate 80!   Saw part of the Rocky Mtn. range as we drove through Wyoming.  Landed at Western Hills RV Park in Rawlins, WY.  A  nice enough park, up on a bit of a rise.  $31/night for full hookup (with AAA discount). We were gonna stay here 2 nights, but the wind was really strong and that stresses Poppins out, so heading out to North Platte, NE in the morning.

Friday, May 20, 2016 – After listening to trains blow their horns all night, we headed out for North Platte, NE.  Lots of farmland.  Cows, sheep, antelope, wild turkey (not in the bottle), even llamas.  Stayed overnight at the Holiday RV Park.  $31 with AAA discount for a full hookup.  Lovely little park near the South Platte river.  The North Platte river is currently at flood stage. 🙂  Yay!  We hope to stay for 2 days and see some of North Platte, weather forecast looks ok for the rest of our route, and we’re both dingy from driving for 4 days.

Saturday, May 21, 2016 – Weather forecast changed over night, putting us in a slight risk of tornadoes along the way, so we headed out for Omaha and an updated route: (update of the update… this didn’t happen.  Heard from folks in the know that Maine was VERY buggy this time of year, so we headed north & west after Indy)image_map

Staying at Elks Lodge #39 in Omaha.  Small parking lot, but they kindly let us park here.  Didn’t even ask for a donation, of course we gave one anyway. 🙂  We feel a lot better, by tomorrow we should be completely out of tornado alley and the worst of the threat.

A few pics from the drive today:

Great Platte River Archway

Sunday, May 22, 2016 – Crossed the Missouri River into Iowa early this morning.  Lots of corn fields along the route and way too many roadkill deer and other critters along the highway. 😦  Spent the night at Shady Creek Campground right on the mighty  Mississippi river.  What a gem!  50amp electric at all sites, water, and a dump station on site for $10 a night (with our annual National Park pass).  Watched boats pushing barges along the river, swatted gnats away, and felt the humidity rise!  These Corps of Engineering parks have a 14 day limit – we plan to remember this one and return off season before the temperatures and humidity kick in.   We loved this spot!

 

Monday, May 23 -> Friday, May 27, 2016Sangchris State Park, Site #31 on Sangchris Lake.  Just southeast of Springfield, Ill.  Beautiful, huge lake, lots of fishing going on.  Our site was difficult to level, but worthwhile once we did.

The heat and humidity is really kicking up here.  On Wed 5/25, we visited the Abe Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield.  A really worthwhile museum.  They had so many lifelike displays of the people, rooms, and buildings back then.  One of the docents we spoke to said they had artists from Disney help them out with it.  Some of them were just chilling.  It was also interesting to see so many of the scathing newspaper/magazine articles from the election, and then from his Emancipation Proclamation.  Brutal.  Things haven’t changed at all apparently.

 

Friday, May 27, 2016 – Left Sangchris Lake for Indianapolis.  Arrived at Lake Haven Retreat for the week.

Started looking into shuttle and parking options for the Indy 500 on Sunday.  We called last month and were told parking at the speedway was sold out.  Didn’t know we could or needed to reserve parking at the venue!  So we found 4 locations that were running a parking space and shuttle service.  Ok, another $70 to park, but whatever.  We figured the airport was our closest option, so I checked that out and found online that they were completely sold out as well.  Thankfully, the second closest location had openings so we snagged it.

Arrived at the parking area around 7:45am and the place is almost full already!  We waited in line for the shuttle for an hour.  When we boarded the bus and looked back at the lot and the line, we found the line had more than doubled and people were parking along the street, in lawns, etc.  Figured many of them didn’t make the start of the race.  What a zoo. Apparently, this was the first time in history the race has sold out.  There were more than 330,000 people there.  Just crazy.  Getting to our seat was painful, but once we found it, we were in the shade!!  Right above pit row.  Phew!

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Monday, May 30 -> Friday, June 3, 2016 – So, our toilet broke 7 days after we’d had the whole motor thingy replaced.  Why they figured some electrical flushing thing was good for an RV is a mystery.  After 6 years of nothing but trouble, we were able to swap it out with an old fashioned, simple flushing RV toilet.  Yay.

Spent an afternoon at the historic Crown Hill National Cemetery in Indy.  Such a huge, beautiful, old, stunning cemetery.  It’s at the highest point of the city, with a great view of downtown from the tomb of  poet, James Whitcomb Riley,  John Dillinger and President Benjamin Harrison. The statuary and mausoleum doors, works of art in themselves, are worth a visit when in the area!

Friday, June 3, 2016 – Arrived at Cliffside Park in Racine, WI around 12:15pm.   A beautiful county park with hiking trails to Lake Michigan.  Weather is perfect!  The drive on the toll roads through Chicago near O’Hare were a little harrowing, but we made it through unscathed, although about $40 lighter.  🙂

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Cliffside County Park on Lake Michigan, north of Racine, WI

 

Saturday/Sunday, June 3 & 4, 2016 – Toured the S.C. Johnson design and administration buildings in Racine, and then the Johnson family home in Windpoint, named Wingspread, built in 1939.  Both designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Amazing designs, not all practical, but certainly beautiful.  Highly recommend both tours (they were free), if you’re a fan of architecture.  They didn’t allow pictures to be taken inside the corporate buildings, but the interior has been featured in several movies.  The design center (the tall building) was crazy, all surrounded in Plexiglas tubes with no air conditioning.  It’s no longer used.  The engineers that used to work in there petitioned the company for sunglasses while at work.  🙂

 

…and the house… of course these pictures don’t do it justice.

The son and daughter of Herbert Johnson, who had Wingspread built, did a little video for visitors telling what it was like moving into the place.  The son told some hysterical stories.  One of this vertical fireplace that Frank thought would be stunning with tall birch logs lit.   He said they lit them once and, of course, the bottoms burned first then the unburned tops started dropping down and falling out of the fireplace, they were hauling smoking/burning birch logs out the front door.  He said he doesn’t think they ever used that fireplace again!

Then we lucked into a once a year tour of the old WindPoint, WI Lighthouse (that one was not free).  Great history and views of Lake Michigan.

 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 – Reluctantly left the Racine/Windpoint, WI area heading West.  Landed at another Corps of Engineers campground called Highland Ridge in Spring Valley, WI.  Greg drove in to St. Paul, MN to get the Honda set up with a new set of tires.

Spent the next day in a beautiful little town called Hudson, WI, on the St. Croix River

Friday, June 10, 2016 – Our 38th wedding anniversary!  Left Highland Ridge in WI, and landed at the Elks Point Campground (Elks club) on Wall Lake near Fergus Falls, MN. Right on the lake setting, 50 amp & water for $23/daily.  Very nice.  We plan to stay here until Tuesday 6/21! 🙂

Enjoyed a nice dinner out for our anniversary in old downtown Fergus Falls, called Bello Cucina.  Good stuff. 🙂

Monday, June 21, 2016 – Our last day at Wall Lake near Fergus Falls, MN.  It’s been hot, muggy, and buggy but the lake water is cool and beautiful!  We’ve enjoyed this quaint little town along the Otter Tail River.  (Zoom on the first picture, these trees are home to hundreds of big birds!)

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 – left Elks Point/Wall Lake in Dane Prairie Township near Fergus Falls, MN around 8:30am.  Stopped in West Fargo, ND for a Costco fix.  Arrived at the Hazelton Rec Area along the Missouri River, about 30 mile SE of Bismark, ND – site #8 around 2:30pm.  Beautiful COE park, electric only tho’.   Only one other camper in the whole park, but later that afternoon, two guys came in to tent camp on their bike ride journey from Iowa to Montana.

Huge storm with crazy lightening & wind all night.  One of the biking guys’ tents was blown over with him in it.  They came to our door around 1am, and they spent the rest of the night in our Honda.  We lost electricity, and heard (the next morning) that the winds hit gusts of 85 mph that night.  It looked like an old time disco the way the lightening flashed all night, and the wind just had the trees around us blowing straight up, no direction otherwise.  I broke my little toe in the wee hours of the morning going back and forth in the dark trying to calm Poppins.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 – Downed trees everywhere.  We are so lucky we didn’t have any damage.  The other COE campground near us had a small camper overturn last night.  Spent the next few days without incident, thankfully, and enjoyed Bismark and the surrounding area.  Visited the state capital, and heard lots of people talking with the same accent we’d heard on the movie “Fargo”. 😉

Saturday, June 25, 2016 – Left Hazelton, SD around 7am.  Had a windy drive south and drove by Stassburg, the birthplace of  – wait for it! – Lawrence Welk (wut?wut?).  🙂

Arrived at the Heartland RV Campground in Hermosa, SD, about 20 minutes south of Rapid City, SD.  Nice park, a little too close to your neighbor, but clean, with full 50amp hookups, a pool and laundry.   Three nights here with Passport America rates, then we moved about a mile north on Hwy 79, still in Hermosa, called Southern Hills RV Park.  Also to use the Passport America rates.   Lots fewer amenities here, and a much poorer maintained park.

Spent lots of time riding bikes along the Leonard “Swanny” Swanson Memorial Pathway, a beautiful 13 mile paved walk/bike path along Rapid Creek for most of the way.  Also did the Custer State Park wildlife drive, Mt. Rushmore, Crazyhorse, Keystone trips.  We love the Black Hills.  There has been rain most every day, twice with significant size hail (so far), and wind that would be a bit nerve wracking in a brick home.  We love the Black Hills more in September!  🙂

 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 – On to Devil’s Tower, WY today.  Great little walk around the base of the tower – my first real walk since breaking my toe 2 weeks ago today.

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Had a great breakfast on Wed, the 6th at the Devils Tower View Campground restaurant that morning.  The owner is a sweetheart, and food was yummy!

We pushed on to Garryowen, MT today and checked in to 7th Ranch Campground.  A gorgeous campground.  Terraced, with views from most every site.  We figured this place as a stop over on our way to Bozeman to visit the Spear family, and the Spethmans, who were flying in to visit.   What a great national monument there in Garryowen.  We’d heard in grade-school history of the battle of Little Bighorn, but this was the location of the fiasco itself.   Such hubris!  Amazing place, so sobering, so sad.  Markers where they found the bodies of most of the men who died.  Much bigger than we ever expected.  We thought we’d kill an hour or so there, and ended up spending 3.5 hours and still didn’t get to take one of the walks we wanted to ’cause we had to get back to the pup.

On Friday, July 8th, we arrived at the Sunrise Campground in Bozeman, MT.   Nice little place, near the train tracks and the highway, but the sound was not bad at all!  Very sweet owners, and very close to the Spear family we were there to visit for Mike Spethman’s birthday.

Rainbow At Bozeman campground

Bozeman, MT is a great town!  Had pizza at the Spears’ home in their new casa.

Miss Emmaline and Greg

The next day, joined them at Chico Hot Springs watching the little Spears having a wonderful time in the pool.   Then some pretty decent Mexican food at Fiesta En Jalisco in Livingston. On the 10th we joined the Spethman’s & Spears for Mikes Bday dinner at Sir Scott’s Oasis in Manhatten, MT.

Here’s Miss Emmaline Spear enjoying her first Sherbet at Sir Scott’s. 🙂

We want to come back to Bozeman!

Wednesday July 13, 2016 – we finally made it to Apgar campground inside Glacier Nat’l Park (west side).  Wanted to visit here on our trip 2 years ago to/from Alaska, but ran out of time.   It’s all first come first serve, no reservations, so we were lucky to grab a nice large site at the far end of Loop A.   No cell coverage here.  Stalked the rest of the place and were able to move to Loop C # 156 (tight) to get cell coverage after 2 nights.

It’s a beautiful national park.  Going to the Sun Road was terrifying (for me) with amazing scenery.  The Many Glacier & St. Mary areas were stunning.  The visitor center at Logan Pass, and all the hiking trails, especially Avalanche and McDonald River trails.

Monday, July 25, 2016 – And here we are in Cardston, Alberta, CA.    Back again at Lee Creek Campground, the same place we stayed in 2014.   This time we were able to visit Waterton Lakes Nat’l Park for a couple of days longer as well.  It’s the Canadian side of U.S. Glacier Nat’l Park.

Friday, July 29, 2016 – We traveled the Cowboy Trail up to George Lane Memorial Park campground in the beautiful town of High River, AB.  The town is aptly named.  They are still rebuilding/recovering after the last river flood in 2013.  It is a beautiful place though!  Took lots of walks around the town and countryside.

Monday, August 1, 2016 – Left George Lane Park in High River, AB on the way to Banff Nat’l Park, Tunnel Mt I campground, site H13, very tight & no hookups.

 

 

April 22 – August 21, 2014 Alaska Road Trip

First stop on our way north.  Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.  Arrived on Wed 4/23.  We got a great spot at  Atlatl campground, with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.

CampValleyOfFireNvAtlatlCampValleyOfFireNv CampGroundAtlatlThis pic is from the climb up Atlatl mountain looking back at the campground.   Took a hike that afternoon along Mouse’s Trap Petroglyph trail.  Several locations with well preserved petroglyphs.  Very cool. We discovered that Poppins is NOT a hiking dog.  It was a short 3/4 mi. round trip hike and we kept her well hydrated, but I guess being just a couple inches off the ground and breathing in the sandy trail wasn’t great.  Greg carried her out the last little bit.  She stayed in the RV for the rest of our hikes and just got out around the campground. 🙂

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Petroglyphs on the trail

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From the site that evening we saw a huge bird on a mountain about 5 miles away.  Pulled out the binoculars, but it was just a bit too far to tell what kind of bird it was.  If you zoom on this pic you can see it spreading it’s wings at the very top of the point.  We thought it was a goat at first look, just seeing it moving around up there .BigBird

Day 2, we hiked White Domes trail, Rainbow Vista & Fire Canyon. CanyonAtWhiteDomesTrail

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Spring has sprung in the Nevada desert.

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They were filming a Ford commercial along the road we were on, so there was a helicopter and film cars all over.      DSC_0189

Back at camp – we called this rock formation “Screaming Man” ScreamingMan

Friday, 4/25 – climbed up Atlatl steps to see more petroglyphs right in the campsite before heading out. AtlatlMtnPetroglyphs

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Kinda glad they’ve put in new stairs to see the petroglyphs, looks like these were the previous way up and down! OldStairwayAtlatlMtn

There’s a storm coming in for northern Nevada (Ely, which is where we were headed), so we’ve changed our route.  Heading for Idaho up the 15 N today instead.

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Storm clouds from Atlatl mountain.

Wouldn’t think I’d post a picture from a Walmart parking lot, but we had a great view of the mountains in Springville, UT, then the storm blew in.

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Saturday, 4/26 – since we couldn’t go the way we’d first chosen, decided to try a campground near Soda Springs, ID.  In my never ending search to find a name of my father’s birth parents.  He was adopted straight from the hospital in Soda Springs (only 3K ppl there now), 1939.  Probably nothing recorded that I’ll be able to find, but since we’re in the area….. Found a very small campground – Lava Spa RV along the Portneuf River.

Portneuf River

Sunday after visiting some historical spots along the Oregon trail, where the town of Chesterfield was founded in the late 1800’s.  Poppins was happy to see us pull up at the homestead. 🙂 IMG_1032

Poppins standing up and greeting us out the front window as we pull up.

Mon 4/28 – Visited Soda Springs public library in search of Dad’s birth parents. No luck, but the librarian gave me a couple of large books with the history of Soda Springs, names and pictures from the late 1800 to the 1950s. Since we were told Dad was the son of a doctor and perhaps a nurse at the hospital at the time I tried to find pics of doctors in resident at what I hope was Caribou County Hospital in 1939. She also gave me a card with a phone # of Soda Springs Family Historical site which may have newspapers from the time on microfiche… They’re only open a few hours Wed thru Friday.  No luck, again.   Left Lava campground about noon, north on 15. Arrived @ Idaho Falls Elks parking lot ~2pm. $10 for electric – filled up water. Saw a drug deal go down in the parking lot around 5:30 pm. Money thrown from one car to another & a bill fell on the ground. Went out around 15 minutes later and made $20 illegitimate dollars that day! 🙂   Tue 4/29 – Got up at the crack of dawn to leave Idaho Falls by 8:30am. Again North on 15. Arrived at Costco in Helena, Montana around 3ish. Nice manager allowed us to stay the night. Wed 4/30 – Left Coscto, Helena 8:20am. 15N to 287. Beautiful, narrow roads with rolling hills, snow capped mtns all around. AlmostToCanada    RoadToPieganCrossing Had to slow down a bit to allow a cattle drive to join us on the road.  The cowboys use 4-wheel ATV’s now instead of horses. Lots of little calves all along the trip. CattleDrive Got thru the Port of Piegan US/Alberta CN border with no issues. Our first time in another country!  She didn’t even stamp our passports – DANG!  Apparently passports and documents showing the dog has a valid rabies shot and a really nice officer at the border is all you need! 🙂 SignsToAlberta Arrived at Lee Creek Campground, Cardston, AB around 2:30pm. They haven’t opened for the season yet, so no water on until, hopefully, tomorrow. We’re the first ones here and thankfully they let us in. Beautiful grounds with a large creek behind us and a walking trail. Poppins is very happy to be still for a couple of days. HorseCarriageCardston As we’re unhooking, this happened on the trail across the creek 🙂 Our site across from the creek, and the walking bridge across the creek, then a shot from the bridge.  Gorgeous.

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Thursday, May 01, 2014 –  Exchanged US for Canadian currency. Drove on 5W to Waterton Nat’l Park. Had lunch at the lodge (Vinny’s, yum). Saw a red fox while at lunch, lots of big horn sheep. Beautiful blue/green glacial lakes.

Friday, May 02 – Departed Lee Creek Camp in Cardston, AB. 2N thru Calgary and stopped in Red Deer at the Westerner Campground. Cramped, tight, and not a lot of scenery here, but there’s a storm a’comin and it’s a safe place with electricity for a few days. From here we can visit Edmonton and Calgary for day trips in the Honda, weather permitting!   Saturday, May 3 – Snow flurries all day.  It didn’t stick until around 5pm, but was beautiful (and cold) to walk in.

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Snow, Saturday evening.

Sunday, May 4 – 3″ of snow overnight.  Flurries all day, but melting when they hit the ground and the snow accumulated, melted pretty quickly as well.  We walked the Kerry Wood Nature Center around Gaetz Lakes in the snow.  Around 35 degrees F.  Such a beautiful nature preserve, we decided to come back tomorrow when the snow was to let up.

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Cold and snowy @ Kerry Woods nature trail

Monday, May 5 – Took the loop around the Kerry Wood Nature preserve.  Still not a lot of wildlife out and about, but we did see some pretty large moose hoof prints, tons of deer poop, a beaver working on his dam, a red squirrel who was not happy with us, and lots of birds.

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Get off my lawn!
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Beautiful trail around the lakes
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Small beaver working on his dam.

Tuesday, May 6 – Again, no it seems we actually DON’T learn!  The awning on the living room slide froze over night and Greg spent 30 minutes climbing the ladder and scraping it off.  At least we didn’t need the blow dryer this time.  Left Red Deer, AB around 10:20 and arrived in Devon, AB, just 15 minutes south of Edmonton, around 12:30.  Camped at the Devon Lions RV park right on the North Saskatchewan River.  Beautiful park, lots of hiking trails all around and the river is huge and fast!   We had snow flurries most of the afternoon, it was cold and the wind bit thru our heaviest jackets.

Poppins & I at the river - looks like they had some cave in's along the bank this winter.
Poppins & I at the river – looks like they had some cave in’s along the bank this winter.

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North Saskatchewan River

Wed, May 7 – Headed to the West Edmonton Mall for kicks.  Wow, I’ve never gotten actually lost in a shopping mall, but this one was crazy.  They have a beach, ice rink, black light miniature golf, several food courts, and more stores in one place than I’ve ever seen.  Went to Eddie Bauer and got Greg a warmer and better fitting jacket.  We’re ensuring good weather from this point on with this purchase. 😉

The Santa Maria, at West Edmonton Mall
The Santa Maria, at West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall
The beach at West Edmonton Mall
The beach at West Edmonton Mall
Waves and zip liner at the mall
Waves and zip liner at the mall

Thursday, May 8 – Left Devon about 9am, heading northwest to Valley View, AB. Arrived at Sherks RV Park around 1:10pm.  Very nice, clean, friendly park.  Had a nice walk about the grounds.  The sun sets so late these days!

Taken at 9:20pm - still have about another hour of light.
Taken at 9:20pm in ValleyView, Alberta – still have another hour of light.

Good coverage again at Hi Country RV park in Whitehorse, YT – The capital city of the Yukon Territory, Canada.  Gonna catch up on the last couple of weeks now.  🙂 Friday, May 9 –  Drove from Valley View, AB to Dawson Creek, AB.  Camped at Northern Lights RV Park. Nice visitor center and Kim loaded us up with way too many brochures for our trip.  The grain elevator art gallery next door was closed for a private party, but looked like it would have been a great place to visit. Right at the visitor center/art gallery area is the true “Mile 0” of the Alaska Highway.

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The “Mile 0 post” was moved to the center of downtown at some point. Mike Jalbert, owner of the Northern Lights RV park we were staying at, happened to be downtown and snapped this pic for us.   Mike and his wife Annette were great hosts. 🙂 IMG_1102

Saturday, May 10 – We visited Kiskatinaw Provencial Park, home of an original curved wooden bridge built in 1942 for the Alaska Hwy.  We’ll have to remember this beautiful park on our next trip! IMG_1108    KiskatinawProvincial

 

 

 

Had dinner that night at Fixx, an outstanding restaurant recommended by Robin, office manager at the RV park.  YUM!

Sunday, May 11 – Time to leave Dawson Creek.  Drove through the city of Fort St. John on our way north, and some whack job decided to pass everyone in the middle median spewing sand, rocks, and gravel up on everyone’s windshields.  We got 3 windshield chips out of that.  He sped off, in a hurry to visit Mom on Mother’s Day, I’m sure… We were hoping to boondock for a night at Inga Lake, but it seems there are no signs heading north on the AlCan, and we hadn’t synched our odometer to what the Milepost book said so we never found the turn off!  Ended up at the Sikanni River Campground.    Seemed a little rough, but it was on a nice river and the manager was a nice guy.  The electric was run from their own generator, which had broken, so they were running on a backup.  They had us at a kinda crummy spot with a view of the snow plows, backhoes, and burning brush.

SikanniFirstViewAndWindshieldCrack  SikanniRiverBoard

But we plugged in, and after a few minutes heard a loud pop.  Assumed we’d blown a circuit turning on the microwave.  Then we started to smell an electrical burn in the bedroom area, which was kind of hard to discern from the strong burning leaves wafting in.  We’d seen that the manager had kicked a fire ring out of the way for us to back in to the spot, and we thought maybe something was burning under the rig in the back. We decided the spotty electricity and smoke from the brush wasn’t worth it, and asked if we could just move to a spot along the river bank without a hookup.  Since there was no one else in the park, and since we’d already paid $35 for the electricity, of course it was no problem.  Turned out to be a great spot, with a beautiful river view.  The smoke smell dissipated a bit, but was still very strong in the bedroom.  Figured the smell had really soaked into the fabric.

SikanniRiverSpotAfterMoving

Monday, May 12 – Next morning, Greg noticed there was an error code on the fridge and it wasn’t cooling anymore.  Turns out the flaky generator had fried our Hughes Auto-former, which helps regulate uneven electrical currents.  That was the burning smell, the pop we heard, and the dead fridge.  Thank goodness it’s housed in its own metal case and didn’t fry anything else.  $600 down the drain, and now only one safeguard between bad electricity and the coach.   Decided to head backward to the larger town of Fort St. John.  A nice lady, at the Rotary Club we called in Fort St. John, recommended the Fort Ford dealership, and the people could not have been nicer.  They immediately got their top tech, Clint, to look at the fridge.  He figured out a full restart on it and got it working like new again!  It was done in about 30 minutes and the cost was minimal!  Clint is DA-MAN!  Found a windshield repair place back south in Dawson Creek who could fit us in the same day, so we headed backward again, and they fixed us up within about an hour.    All good – so we headed north again and spent the night in the Fort St. John Walmart.    One step forward and two back, but we’re going in the right direction now! 🙂

Wednesday, May 14 – Stayed at Triple G Hideaway in Fort Nelson Tuesday night, and headed out for Muncho Lake this morning.  Within about 15 minutes, we saw two baby black bear cubs climbing a tree.  We think they were frightened by the RV pulled over looking at them, so we didn’t stop to get a pic.  This was some of the beautiful scenery: DriveFromFtNelsonToMunchoLake

A bit further on, we saw two large black bears.  Finally seeing some wildlife!

BearAndFinger

Stopped at Tetsa River for highly recommended cinnamon rolls, then at the Toad River Lodge for gas.  Great little spot, we came back here for a great  lunch during the week, and will remember it for camping in the future.

ToadRiverLunch FirstNiteMunchoLake Further up the road we saw a herd of wild horses, and the biggest beaver in all of North America down a ravine by the river along the road.  (sorry, no pic of that guy or gal – s/he was fast!)   Got to Strawberry Flats Provincial park at Muncho Lake.  We were told these provincial parks would be open , but apparently not until the 15th (tomorrow).   Luckily, there was one spot right outside the gate on the lake and we were able to pull right in there for the night for free!

FirstNiteMunchoLake

Beautiful blue/green water is attributed to the copper oxide from the surrounding mountains.  The name “Muncho” is derived from the Kaska language and means “big water”.  Absolutely gorgeous, even though the lake was mostly still frozen.  We got to watch it slowly thaw along the coast during our first 4 day long  boondocking stay. Thursday, May 15 – The gates opened and we moved to the best site in the Strawberry Flats campground (since there was no one else there)- #15.

NorthShoreMuncho   OurSpotAtMunchoLake_15   RelaxingAtMunchoLake   OurShoreAtMunchoLake

Took a drive up to the Northern Rockies Lodge for lunch.  Beautiful lodge also on Muncho Lake, but quite a bit more expensive than a Provincial park – which is $16/nightly.  Saw a few caribou, big horn sheep, and bison (quite a few babies) along the way to lunch and back to camp.

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Caribou2 Caribou

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Saturday and Sunday (5/17&18) – Did a bunch of trail walking, went back to Toad River for lunch.  A little girl, Francesca camping with her family from Fort Nelson, learned to ride a two wheel bike this weekend in camp, and fell in love with Poppins.

We were fascinated by the cracking and tinkling of the ice on the lake as it started to thaw.  The water along the shore was crystal clear and you could see the rocks below like there was nothing in between.  The ice was up to a foot thick where we could see it, and as it broke apart formed crystal spears.IceCrystalsMunchoLake MunchoLakeClearWaterAndIce

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Liard Hot Springs

Monday, May 19 (Victoria Day in BC) – Left beautiful Muncho Lake and landed at Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park.  Another low cost stay, but in a beautiful wooded area with mineral pools to soak in.

They were testing a bear deterrent, different pitch whistle sounds would go off every 15 seconds or so.  Supposedly, the bears don’t like that particular sound.  Guess it worked, we didn’t see any during our stay there. This is a shot of the source of the hot spring.  The pools are beautiful and HOT!  It’s a great stop, even for those of us that don’t generally enjoy sitting in a vat of hot water with total strangers. 😉

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Tuesday, May 20 – One month on the road.  Had a good thunderstorm last night.  Left Liard Hot Springs park and beautiful British Columbia today for the town of Watson Lake, Yukon,  Northwest Territory.  After over a week of boondocking, we finally have electricity, water, sewer, WiFi, laundry facilities, a grocery store, and LO AND BEHOLD – – CABLE TV!!!!  The campground (Downtown RV) was a dirt/mud/gravel pit, but seemed like an oasis to me.   Went for a walk around one of two Wye Lakes.  They have a beautiful boardwalk and trails all the way around the lake.  Supposedly, the town was designed around these two lakes and the main road formed a “Y” between them.  The lakes are Wye and Wye2.

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SignPostForestWatsonLake

Wednesday, May 21 – Added our sign to the Watson Lake signpost forest, a well-known location for memorializing your journey on the Alaska Hwy.  Here’s our sign:

We also went to the Northern Lights Center in town to see a SciDome projection presentation.  One was on the cosmos and black holes, the other showed videos of the Aurora Borealis at different times of year and different northern locations.  Figured that was the only way we were going to catch the northern lights, as summer is not prime time for them up here!   Thursday, May 22 – my official one year retirement anniversary. 🙂   Drove through mostly rainy and low 40 temps, and have arrived at a Yukon territory campground on Teslin Lake.  More boondocking, but with views & locations like this, it’s worth it!

TeslinLakeNorth

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Friday, May 23 – Departed beautiful Teslin Lake, and drove up to Whitehorse, YT – the Yukon capital.  Staying at the Hi Country RV park.  Lovely people all over so far.  Can’t wait to explore the city over the next few days.

Saturday, May 24 – Explored the Whitehorse Visitor Center and it’s beautiful location on the river.  Then hiked along Miles Canyon.  A gorgeous trail along a deep river gorge.   You take a swinging suspension bridge to get to the trails.

Suspension bridge - Miles Canyon, Whitehorse, YT
Suspension bridge – Miles Canyon, Whitehorse, YT
Greg on suspension bridge at Miles Canyon
Greg on suspension bridge at Miles Canyon

Ran into the nicest couple from San Jose who have been RV’ing since the 70’s.  We ended up chatting for the longest time.  Shared info on RV’ing, where we’ve all been and where we’re going.  Talked about the best grocery stores in the area and agreed we’d all kill for a Trader Joe’s!  (Future daughter-in-law, Sharon, currently a “Captain” at Trader Joe’s,  this post is for you 🙂 !)

TheLindas - Wouldn't you just love to find a Trader Joes? :)
TheLindas – Wouldn’t you just love to find a Trader Joes? 🙂
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 Sunday, May 25 – Beautiful day in Whitehorse, YT.  Took a long walk with Poppins along the Yukon riverfront.  Whitehorse has made a wonderful walking/biking/dog walking (and cross country skiing in the winter) path along the Yukon.  We saw our first bald eagle!!!  We’re walking along, and I look up, see this big bird with a white head and white tail…  “Is that a bald eagle?????”  Greg – “I believe it is!”.  Of course we didn’t have our good camera with us as it landed on the top of this tree on the other side of the river – but this is what we could get with our phone cameras. Honest!  It was a bald eagle at the very top of the tallest tree!  We also saw a beautiful red fox trotting across the dirt/gravel road as we went over to Long Lake this afternoon.  Loving the wildlife. 🙂

Later that evening the neighboring campers accidentally backed into a not well secured WiFi post (the campground and local provider were just  figuring out the best locations for updating).  And wham.  Yet another windshield trauma..Ouch.

Ouch.

Thankfully, they were so nice and apologetic and offered to pay for the damage.

Monday, May 26 – From Hi Country RV in Whitehorse, YT to Congdon Creek Yukon Gov. Campground along the Kluane (kloo-WA-nee) Lake.
Another amazing lake that was mostly melted when we got there so we got some good pics of the mirror images of the mountains around us. They were not allowing tent camping due to bear activity, so of course I was freaked out. This poor dog hasn’t been on a proper walk due to my fear of running into a bear in so long! 😦

From Whitehorse to Kluane Lake, YT
From Whitehorse to Kluane Lake, YT
Our spot @ Kluane Lake/Congdon Creek Yukon campground.
Our spot @ Kluane Lake/Congdon Creek Yukon campground.

Beautiful Kluane Lake (although it was hazy due to smoke from a fire, it was still fab):

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Greg at Kluane Lake, YT
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Kluane Lake refection
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Beach and reflection on Kluane Lake.
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Reflections at Kluane Lake, YT

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Found this at our campsite Kluane Lake, YT :)
Found this at our campsite Kluane Lake, YT

Tuesday, May 27 –
The Alaska Hwy after Kluane Lake was rough going – we had to go really slow. They’re starting work on it as they have to do every year.
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More orange flags

Aaaaannd we arrived at the 49th state :):
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Checked into the Sourdough RV Park and Campground,Tok, AK.  Very nice, lots of trees, squirrels, and birds.

Wednesday, May 28 – Greg drove all the way up to Fairbanks, about 4.5 hours each way, to get the windshield in the Honda replaced. He left early in the morning and got to see this guy along the road:

Moose between Tok and Fairbanks
Moose between Tok and Fairbanks

I stayed with Poppins in the RV and cleaned and watched an insane bird attack himself in the mirror, on the kitchen window, and on the horn on the roof all day! 🙂

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Perfectly cute bird on the mirror checking himself out
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Crazy attack bird!!

Went to the famous pancake toss on Thursday night. It was fun. The owners of this park Dave and Ann really work hard to make everyone feel welcome.

PancakeToss

Saturday, May 31 – Left Tok, AK for Chicken, AK.  We camped at Chicken Gold Camp for $14/night.  No plugins this night, as we didn’t want to risk electricity.  The entire community runs on generator only.  Since we lost our auto-former at Sikanni River, we didn’t want to risk blowing anything else electrical.    Had a mad lightening/thunder/rain and wind storm about 5 minutes after we unhooked the car and backed into our dirt spot.  The winds knocked one of the tail feathers off of the 30′ chicken statue and knocked down trees.

ThePtarmigan

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Lost a tail feather after storm. (Not Greg, the Ptarmigan)

As the story goes:  In the late 1800’s, early miners traveled here in search of gold.  Food was scarce, but this particular area was abundant in Ptarmigan, now the state bird, which bears a resemblance to a chicken.   In 1902, the town was to be incorporated, the second town in Alaska to do so.  The name “Ptarmigan” was suggested.  The only problem was that no one could agree on the correct spelling.  They didn’t want the town name to be the subject of ridicule, and they figured everyone could spell chicken, so they decided on “Chicken”.   🙂

DowntownChicken
Original downtown Chicken
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Stopped here for a beer around 5:30 Saturday afternoon. Cafe was closed and they were hoping to close too. Rocking downtown Chicken! 🙂
AttackChickens
Attack Chickens

Came this way to drive the Top of the World Hwy.   Didn’t want to take the RV as the road is gravel a lot of the way (Dawson City side).  We camped at Chicken to take the Honda on the dirt road and then turn around and come back when the big gravel started.

The storm we just experienced, although it only lasted about an hour did some damage on the Top of the World Hwy:TopOfWorldAfterStorm

HadToGoThisWay

Thankfully, this alternate roadway was avail as the trees blocked the Top of the World Hwy after the storm.

Saw this old closed up mine along the way
Saw this old closed up mine along the way
View from Top of the World Hwy
View from Top of the World Hwy

On the way back stopped at a state recreation park to let Poppins rest from the road trip a bit.

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Recreation area along Top of the World Hwy

Sunday, June 1 – After grabbing some yummy baked goods for dessert at the Chicken Creek Cafe we headed back to Tok for a quick lunch at Fast Eddie’s (highly recommended) and then on to Moon Lake Rec area for a boondocking night.MoonLakeStateRecArea

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Our spot on Moon Lake 6/1/14

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Monday, June 2 – Pretty along the way to Fairbanks from Moon Lake today.  Saw 3 moose grazing along the way. 🙂

We haven’t had too much trouble yet, but we know it’s coming:

Mosquito

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Toward Fairbanks 6/2/14

Stopped at River’s Edge RV park in Fairbanks for a few days to explore Fairbanks.  Got a nice spot on the Chena River.   Great green grass to walk Poppins.  Too bad it’s been raining all day long. Hopefully tomorrow will be clearer.

Our spot at River's Edge on the Chena River in Fairbanks
Our spot at River’s Edge on the Chena River in Fairbanks

Wednesday, June 4 – And it’s a gorgeous, sunny day! Thoroughly enjoyed the Riverboat Discovery Tour this morning!  Had a bush pilot take off and land a couple of times for us on the river, and talk about the importance of them in the history of remote Alaska.

Piper cub taking off..
Piper cub taking off..

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Then we cruised over to the Trailbreaker Kennels where we met Laura Allaway, who will be a first time contender at the 2015 Iditarod.

Trail Breaker Kennel was established in 1980 by the husband and wife team of David Monson and Susan Butcher (four-time Iditarod winner).

We got to meet some of the new puppies and learn how they’re trained.  Then they started saddling up the dogs to show us a mushing demo with an ATV.  The dogs were just going nuts!  They were so excited to get to run.   The ones in the kennel were going just as crazy wanting to get out and run with them!

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aaannndd, they’re off!
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at the end of the run.

AfterTheRun

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As 2015 will be Laura’s first Iditarod, as well as the first for the lead dogs, she doesn’t expect to win. Just excited to join the experience.
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Reboarding after a guided tour of an authentic Chena River Indian village, showing us how they survived the brutal winters.

After docking, we went into a room they have to experience a typical mid-winter day in the upper Alaskan interior at 40 below!  I didn’t stay in there long enough to take a picture.  🙂   The river boat guide told us of taking his kids trick-or-treating one Halloween at 37 below.  BRRRRR!

This afternoon, we rented a canoe to float down the Chena River.  What a beautiful day!

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Relaxing in the canoe
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Saw our home as we floated down the Chena 🙂

After the canoe float we enjoyed an Alaskan Amber at Pikes while waiting for the pick up!

AfterTheCanoeRide

Afternoon from Pikes of the Chena
Afternoon from Pikes of the Chena

The day was perfect.

Thursday, June 5 – Rainy day, but we really enjoyed the University of Alaska Museum today.

Friday, June 6 – Walked a trail at Creamery Field Wildlife Sanctuary.  We fed mosquitos all the way –they were vicious, but it was beautiful.

CreameryFieldFairbanks      CreameryFieldFBGullWarning

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Thankfully, we were not attacked by the Mew Gull!

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Saturday, June 7 – I’ve decided to move to Fairbanks & buy this house, which just went up for sale, across from our campground on the Chena River.  (When we win the lottery…)    😉

MyHouse

Sunday, June 8 – Drove from Fairbanks to Denali National Park.  Several very long patches of no pavement.  Bumpy drive.

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We were a day early for our reservation but hoping there might be a spot open somewhere inside.  Nope.  Camped tonight at Denali RV Park and Motel.  Just about 20 minutes outside of the park.  Pretty darn nice for a last minute find.  J

DenaliSign

Monday,  June 9 – Arrived at Savage River Campground and grabbed a pull-thru site, #A29 – it’s first come first serve once you have a reservation.  Found out later from the camp host that when it’s clear you can see Mt. McKinley from the site.  Only 30% of the visitors to Denali ever see Mt. McKinley (tallest mountain in North America ~20K feet) due to the clouds.    It was socked in today.

SavageRiverSign

OurSiteAtSavageRiver
OurSiteAtSavageRiver
Greeter At Denali Visitor Center
Greeter At Denali Visitor Center

Tuesday, June 10 – Took the Savage River, Savage Cabin, and Mountain View trail walks.

SavageRiverWalk

SavageRiverAreaDenali

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SavageRiverWalk

As it was our 36th anniversary we splurged and went out of the park to the Salmon Bake restaurant for dinner.   Excellent food.  The whole building is slanting to the south though.  It would never pass inspection in California. J

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36th Anniversary Dinner!

When we got back to camp, we sat outside with a campfire for a bit.  The camp host came ‘round and told us it would be best if we put Poppins inside as they’d just had a grizzly come thru their site and into to woods behind us about 45 minutes ago.   Yeah, we picked up and went inside.  Liz (the camp host) will hopefully email me some pics she got of him!

Wednesday, June 11 – Got out for a small walk with the dog in the morning armed with a big can of bear spray.   Of course, I want to be prepared, so I had the safety off.  When we got back to the RV, I bent over to remove Poppins’ harness and the spray dropped out of my pocket spraying a little bit in the RV.  Poppins and I started gagging.  We all ran out and Greg opened all the windows and vents to air it out.  Of course it started hailing, then snowing as we’re sitting outside getting fresh air…   Now that the RV is as cold inside as it is outside we figured it was ok to go back in after getting rid of the entry mat the bottle fell on.  All was well, thankfully.  What a moron – I’ll keep the safety on unless I actually see a bear.

SnowAtSavageRiverDenali

Full on snow kept coming.  Huge flakes and it snowed for about 3 hours.

It stopped around 1:30, the sun came out and we went for a hike called the Savage Loop. Beautiful walk along the Savage River. It was freezing!!!

SavageRiverLoopFreezing

Later that evening, around 8:30pm we saw a momma and baby moose in the woods next to our campsite!

Thursday, June 12 – Greg got up around 4am and chanced to look outside (it’s always light here) and lo and behold – Mt. McKinley big as day, covered in snow, and clear as a bell!  We are now part of the 30% club.  Such a stunning view most of the day.

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Still a bit of a white out, but McKinley in the distance.
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McKinley/Denali

 

                                                                                         Friday, June 13 – Left Savage River Camp and headed in for our last 3 days in Denali at the Teklanika Campground.  We had to leave the Honda outside at the Visitor Center as you can only take one vehicle in that far, and you’re locked in for at least 3 days – no trips out.  Getting a shuttle tomorrow morning at 7:10am to go further into the park – no RV’s allowed past this point.

Saturday, June 14 – It rained hard all night long.  We decided about 2:50am to not take the 7:10am bus trip on the long and winding road into Eielson.   The rain stopped around 7:40am, we decided to see if we could catch a later bus.  Caught the 9am bus into Kantishna, which is another 30 or so miles further than we had planned to go because we didn’t want to leave Poppins alone more than 6-7 hours in the RV, but the driver Sheila Paxton, told us we could ride along anyway to our destination on her bus.   She was a great tour guide.   We saw a large, beautiful gray wolf, caribou, Dall sheep, a Pika, and several grizzlies (our first!) along the way.

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Grizzly
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Cruzin’
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Big Grizzly
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Gray Wolf – She looks pretty healthy, maybe expecting cubs?
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Gray Wolf – She’s marking turf, and/or taking a pee…

We were very lucky.  They said wolves are a rare sight around here anymore and that only about 4% of visitors to Denali actually see one.

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Herd of Caribou
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Caribou Family Portrait

Beautiful and terrifying (at times) drive from Teklanika to Eielson in Denali:

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Polychrome Mountain drive from Eielson to Tek Campground in Denali

The bus driver who should have been watching the 5,000 foot drop off the cliff decided to point out a family of Pika to us halfway down instead.  😉

A tiny Pika
A tiny Pika
Along Denali bus ride
Along Denali bus ride

Sunday, June 16 – Walks along the river bed  at the campground.

Moose Tracks by camp in Teklanika/Denali
Moose Tracks by camp in Teklanika/Denali
To the west at Tek River camp/Denali
To the west at Tek River camp/Denali
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West view at Tek Camp/Denali
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I was about done with the exploring thing after lots of bear scat and grizzly tracks. I wanted to go back to the RV – NOW!
Ptarmigan crossing on road leaving Denali
Ptarmigan crossing on road leaving Denali

 

Monday, June 17 – Left Teklanika campground and Denali Natl Park heading south.               As we stopped at the dump station to refill water and dump the tanks, near Riley Camp in Denali, the door to the RV decided to lock.  I was out walking Poppins after picking up the Honda after 3 days in Teklanika.  Greg had the keys, but the lock was broken…  Greg found that one of the windows wasn’t locked completely, and was able to get the ladder out, open the window and climb into the coach.  From there, he was able to hold the lock open and open the door.  (Wish I’d gotten pictures of the climb thru the window)

DoorRiggingWe figured out a scheme of bungee cords and such to make sure it didn’t come open during the trip south and hoped we’d find someplace soon that might be able to fix it.

Landed in Talkeetna, AK at the Talkeetna Camper  Park.  Right in front of the Alaska railway and the Talkeetna airstrip.    Cute little town.  It’s the home base for many of the climbers of McKinley.  We got another chance to see the beautiful mountain while we were here.

 

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Our spot at Talkeetna. Poppins doing her business…
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View toward McKinley after the rain
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Tree full of these blooms near the airport on the way into town.
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Same tree. So beautiful!
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I think Mom has a side business here in Talkeetna she’s not telling us about…. 🙂

 

 

 

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Train tracks over the Susitna River

 

Had a great walk into and around the town along the huge Susitna River.

 

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Susitna River
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Lots of green along the way

                                                                                               

 

 

 

Wednesday, Jun 18 – Left Talkeetna toward Anchorage.  Gotta hit Costco and get some laundry done!  (whoopie)

 Friday, June 20 –  A great birthday!  Walked to the Slam’n Salm’n Derby right by our campsite to watch fishers try to nab a salmon as they make their summer run up the river.  We didn’t see any fish, or anyone catching any, but it was still fun.  Did a great walking tour around downtown.  Ended up at a restaurant called “Ginger” – – Oh my gosh – so, so excellent!   Greg said it was probably one of the best chicken sandwiches he’s ever had, and I wolfed down the kale salad in no time.SlamminSalmonDerbyOnShipCreek

Took an hour long tour trolley ride, which was totally worth it.  Saw a lot of sea planes taking off and the Moose guard that they have adjacent to the airstrip.  Then got to see a baby seagull on the way back home.

AnchorageTrolleyTour
AnchorageTrolleyTour
DowntownAnchorage
DowntownAnchorage – the flowers are just crazy beautiful all over town!
DucksAtShipCreek
DucksAtShipCreek
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MomDadAndFluffballShipCreekAnchorage – you need to open and zoom in on this pic!

We’re leaving Anchorage tomorrow 😦  toward Hope, AK and will be boondocking there and near Captain Cook Point, so we’ll probably be off line for a week or so as we head south around the Kenai peninsula.

Saturday, June 21 – Drove south along Turnagain Arm around Cook Inlet.  During our tram tour yesterday the guide told a very interesting story on how the place got it’s name.   From Wikipedia:

“During  the 1778 expedition of James Cook who sailed into it while searching for the Northwest Passage. Cook received maps of Alaska, the Aleutians, and Kamchatka during a visit with Russian fur trader Gerasim Izmailov in Unalaska, and combined these maps with those of his expedition to create the first Mercator projection of the North Pacific. The inlet was named after Cook in 1794 by George Vancouver, who had served under Cook in 1778. Turnagain Arm was named by William Bligh of HMS Bounty fame. Bligh served as Cook’s Sailing Master on his 3rd and final voyage, the aim of which was discovery of the Northwest Passage.

Upon reaching the head of Cook Inlet, Bligh was of the opinion that both Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm were the mouths of rivers and not the opening to the Northwest Passage. Under Cook’s orders Bligh organized a party to travel up Knik Arm, which quickly returned to report Knik Arm indeed led only to a river.

Afterwards a second party was dispatched up Turnagain Arm and it too returned to report only a river lay ahead. As a result of this frustration the second body of water was given the disingenuous name “Turn Again”. Early maps label Turnagain Arm as the “Turnagain River”.

She also explained how the tidal surge is around 14′ daily in Turnagain Arm and how the salmon come up the river on the tides.  It’s called a bore tide.  The beluga whale chase the salmon up the inlet based on the tide which can have a wave up to 10′ high.  Pretty amazing in my book!

TurnagainArmDrive
TurnagainArmDrive

We were lucky to get the last open spot at a BLM campground  called Porcupine in Hope, AK for the next two nights.   And they have pretty decent coverage in the area, obviously!

Gull Rock Trail
Gull Rock Trail

Took a great little hike along Gull Rock Trail this afternoon and hope to go further tomorrow.

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Along Gull Rock Trail
View from site 8 at Porcupine Camp in Hope, AK
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Huge table, beautiful raised eating area and a great firepit for $18/nightly.

Sunday, June 22 –  Breakfast this morning at Discovery Cafe, great little diner with some good food!  Another hike today along Gull Rock trail.  Much longer, but still didn’t make the almost 6 miles in.

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LowTideAtHopeAK
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Mushrooms growing on trees all over the walk at Hope AK

Monday, June 23 – Left Porcupine Camp in Hope, AK for Cooks Discovery State Park.  Beautiful walks and sites along Cook Inlet.  The tides are still just phenomenal with their 20 foot changes.

Most signs in Alaska are used for target practice.
Most signs in Alaska are used for target practice.
Greg at Cooks Discovery State Park

Tuesday, June 24 – Tide was way out, we had a couple hour walk along the Cook Inlet beach to Swanson River and back.

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RockAtCaptCookInlet
BluffsAboveCookInlet
Mt. Iliamna
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Wild Chocolate Lily’s everywhere!

Wed, June 25 – Arrived at Halibut Campground (Alaska State Campground) in Anchor Point.  One word – WOW!  Met some of the nicest camp hosts there.  Nina and Cody, they are San Marcos, CA transplants.

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AnchorPointSign
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Look at the size of that bird!
OtterAt AnchorPoint

Took a 30 minute drive north to a tiny little town called Ninilchik with a lot of Russion history.

NinilchikFromChurch

 

Thurs, June 26 – Rainy, drive to Ocean View RV park in Homer

DriveIntoHomer

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Greg had to add ours to the hundreds on the walls at Salty Dog
AtSaltyDogSaloonHomerSpit
InsideSaltyDog
InsideSaltyDog
Lots Of Fishin Goin on
Lots Of Fishin Goin on

Friday, June 27 – Walk to old downtown.  “Two Sisters Bakery” for breakfast – amazing, fresh yummy food!  Long walk along the slough and bird sanctuary then the rocky beach back to camp.  Dinner at Captain Pattie’s Fishhouse – YUM!

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FamilyAtBelugaSloughHomerAK
RockyBeachHomerAK

Saturday, June 28 – Visited the Islands and Oceans Research Museum today after a walk up from the Beluga Slough.  Lovin’ that Two Sisters Bakery so we got sandwiches to go for dinner  from there and ate overlooking our beach.

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Sunday, June 29 – Reluctantly left Homer, but got to enjoy a little drama from Mt. Iliamna volcano across the Cook Inlet  on the drive.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Tuesday, July 1 – From Stoney Creek RV park in Seward, we toured Exit Glacier.  So called because in 1968 a party of seven made the first documented traverse of the Harding Icefield. Traveling west to east on skis and snowshoes, the party made the crossing in seven days, completing their traverse at the appropriately named, Exit Glacier.

AtExitGlacierSewardAK

ExitGlacier ExitGlacierSign

 Wednesday, July 2 – Visited the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward.  A very well done education and rehabilitation center.  Beautiful aquariums and views from the deck.

BirdAtAKSeaLifeCenter
BirdAtAKSeaLifeCenter
ViewWestFromSeaLifeCenterSeward
ViewWestFromSeaLifeCenterSeward

Thursday, July 3 – We had to move from our spot at Stoney Creek for a couple of days because we hadn’t reserved far enough in advance.  There are loads of places to camp along the water, but that was also just crazy, packed with campers due to the July 4 holiday.  Luckily, we were greeted by the City Manager, on one of our outings, and he let us know that the Seward Elementary school parking lot was going to be open for camping during the holiday.  It was $15/day and the $$ went toward field trips for the students during the year.  Perfect!

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SewardElemSchoolSpot

Friday, July 4 – Every 4th of July, Seward hosts the Mount Marathon race.  These crazy people race up and down this steep mountain for fun!?  Here’s some pics from the photographers on the mountain, and some trivia.  In the 2012 race, a man was lost on the course and has never been found.  Last year a man fell, hit his head, and was in a coma for a couple of months – he came back to run it this year!

The whole town (and thousands of visitors) come out.  There’s the race, yummy food, vendors, pie, and a great 4th of July parade down the main street.  One of the best 4th of July’s we’ve ever had. 🙂

MtMarathon This is what they’re climbing.
RaceCourseTips
Zoom In On this one – Runners Going Up The Mountain




RaceStart
ParadeReindeer
MissAlaskaAtParade

Hated leaving the Kenai Peninsula, but had to move on after enjoying a couple more days cruising around Seward.

Tuesday, July 7 & 8 – Drove up the Glenn Hwy, then down the Richardson Hwy toward Valdez.

GlennHwyFromAnchorageEastbound
MatanuskaGlacierFromAnchorage

Camped at Squirrel Creek State Park.

SquirrelCreekAK
Site4AtSquirrelCreekAK
PrettySquirrelCreek
PrettySquirrelCreek

Wednesday, July 9 – Along Richardson Hwy, beautiful rivers, waterfalls, Worthington Glacier in the Thompson Pass.  Trail of ’98 and Keystone Canyon.  Some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve ever seen!

BridalVeilFallsInKeystoneCanyonAK
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Trail of ’98 – a good morning hike!
KeystoneCanyonBridalVeilFallsValdez
WorthingtonGlacierComingIntoValdez
WorthingtonGlacierOnRoadToValdez
WorthingtonGlacierOnRoadToValdez

Checked into Bear Paw Camper Park on the Valdez Bay Small Boat Harbor.

 

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BigSealAtHatcheryValdez
BigSealAtValdez Hatchery
OurCampFromOtherSideValdezHarbor
OurCampFromOtherSideOfValdezHarbor
LittleBearValdez
LittleBearInOldValdez

Tuesday, July 15 – Left Bear Paw Campground in Valdez. Spent the night at Beaver Creek RV Park in Yukon, then on down toward Haines, AK.  Horrible road conditions, lots of pilot cars and gravel.  We lost both of the Honda fog lights due to the rocks.  Spent the night of the 16th at a roadside pullout for the Kluane National Park.  What a gorgeous view (another one, sigh!) and a free night – – although we did have an earthquake at about 4:40am!  Thankfully, the epicenter was quite a distance away.

Thursday, July 17 – Arrived at Haines HitchUp Park in Haines, AK.  We loved this park! Green grass and very clean.  Enjoyed lots of fresh halibut, walking down to the bay, and all around Haines.  Took the ferry over to Skagway on our last day there.

Tuesday, July 22 – Traveled from Haines, AK to Hi Country RV park in Whitehorse, Yukon for 2 nights.  Enjoyed dinner at the Klondike Restaurant.

Thursday, July 24 – Traveled from Whitehorse to Big Creek Yukon Provencal Park.  We just can’t say enough good things about Canada’s Provencal parks.  They are usually on a lake or river and very reasonably priced.  We stayed here 2 nights for $24.

BigCreekYukon

Friday, July 25 – Heading south on the Cassiar Hwy.  Very slow and bumpy with lots of devastation from a fire back in 2010.

Landed at Boya Lake Provencal Park in British Columbia. Site #16.  We loved this place, spent 2 days renting canoes and hiking. Stunning!

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Boya Lake Beaver Dam – check out how CLEAR that water is!

Sunday, July 27 – Headed south again for one night at Mt. Shadow Camp in Iskut Valley, BC,  then on to Bear River RV in Stewart, BC.  This park is about a 5 minute drive back and forth to Hyder, AK so we used this as a base camp and drove the Honda back and forth.  We took the drive up to awe inspiring Salmon Glacier, and spent lots of time at the Fish Creek watching the spawning salmon.  Those poor babies work so hard to get home and die.  ;(

This was our last stop in Alaska, proper.  We took our time heading south through Prince George, Cache Creek, & then Oliver British Columbia.  On down to Orondo, WA and then Memaloose State Park on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon where we got to spend some good times with cousins Don, Erin, Sam, Darby & Colleen!

Had some coach work done at Oregon Motorcoach near Eugene, OR.  Spent a couple of nights at Sunset Bay State Park in OR (highly recommend!).   Then down to Trinidad, CA in the middle of the giant redwoods.  Lodi, Buellton, CA and arrived home in San Diego at 3:15PM on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

The entire trip was approximately 10,000 miles and about 130 days and we’d do it again in a flash! 🙂

 

 

 

Sept 9 – Oct 12, 2013 San Diego to western South Dakota and back

The trip map – – >https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=z_amXijL4K0s.kqoFwBhb6Pr4

TripMapSD-2013

Sept 9 – First stop on the way to South Dakota. Vegas. Bloody hot here, hanging in the air conditioning for a bit before venturing out to explore.

Sept9-Vegas
Sept9-Vegas

Sept 10 – Our abode for the evening. A Flying J truckstop @ Willard Bay, Utah. Just across the street is the Great Salt Lake, and some nice mtns out the front window. Grass for the puppy and it’s free:)

FlyingJ In Willard Bay, Utah
FlyingJ In Willard Bay, Utah
WillardBaySunset
WillardBaySunset

Sept 11 – Made it to Gros Ventre camp outsite of Jackson Hole/Moose, WY via Idaho and the beautiful Snake_River.  One of our favorite places.

Snake River Idaho
Snake River Idaho

Here’s the welcome bull moose hiding in the trees in Gros Ventre camp:
Moose_9-11-13-GrosVentre

GrosVentreSite
GrosVentreSite

Our sweet dog, Poppins, at the campfire that evening:

Poppins
Poppins

Sept 12 – Was a bit chilly and rainy, but got out for a walk around the campground and the Gros Ventre River:

GrosVentreRiver

AtCamp
AtCamp

Along this walk we came upon a bull moose in the brush a little too close for comfort for me, but he was very non-plussed with us, and after checking us out a bit, ignored us. 🙂

MooseAlongRiverWalk
MooseAlongRiverWalk

Beavers wanted a dam — right here!  EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 379

Nice cloud wrapped view of Grand Teton at the end of the walk: GrandTetonFromCamp

Sept 13 – Took the ferry at Jenny Lake in Teton Natl Park to the Hidden Falls trail.  Several years ago we hiked around the lake to Hidden Falls from the visitor center.  This one was much easier: CanonCamera 794  EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 389

Jenny Lake
Jenny Lake

CanonCamera 788

Caught a cool looking rainbow effect on the horizon on the way back to camp:

HorizonRainbow
  CanonCamera 799 HorizonRainbow

Had a nice simple supper-picnic along the upper Snake River Overlook tonight 🙂
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Sept 14 – Walking around the Gros Ventre campground with Poppins, came across the momma and 2 baby meeses meandering around the camp.  Coolest thing ever.MeesesCruzinGrosVentre MeesesInCamp9-14-13   Lunch in the valley just past Kelly, with the Teton Range in view

EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 409  Poppins is thrilled….

Sept 15– Rain and wind most of the trip from Gros Ventre/Jackson/Teton to Casper, WY.  Saw 3 pair of bears along the way.  Caught this one just before our diesel engine made it meander away like the others… EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 410

Sept 16 – Left Casper, WY, drove thru Thunder Basin, and logged in at Beaver Lake Campground in Custer, South Dakota

EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 415  EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 418

Sept 17 – Sept 23 In and around Custer SD

CrazyHorseMonument
CrazyHorseMonument-9-18
NeedlesHwy Custer Natl Park
NeedlesHwy Custer Natl Park-9-18

On the 19th we went up to the top of Mt Coolidge Lookout and Fire Tower at the southern end of the Black Hills and Custer State Park. It’s around 6,000′ with breath taking 360 degree views. You can see the Needles, Badland, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse with binoculars. It was built in the 40’s by the CCC (one of the MANY wonders we saw built by the CCC):
DebAtMtCoolidge  EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 421

On the way down the mountain, we came across a herd of “wild” mules in the park. I say “wild” in parenthesis because they seemed quite happy about the cars stopping and the several people that were feeding them. This guy came right up to my window EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 424
as we were trying to pass some of the people who shouldn’t have been feeding them!
IMG_20130919_121115_155  …as well as the random bison cruzin the road… IMG_20130919_115834_413

Then on to Mt. Rushmore. Stunning views before you even get to the park. Thank goodness the government hadn’t shut down prior to our visit.

EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 432  EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 430  And, once in the park – just amazing

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Back at camp, my little buddy (one of the many living and well loved at the campground) was waiting for a treat! 🙂EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 437

EverythingOnPhone-to-09-23-13 438

On Sept 20 we toured Wind Cave Nat’l Park: Wind Cave  WindCave  We went 225′ under ground.  The cave was found in the late 1800’s, and they still haven’t mapped the entire place.  Beautiful “boxwork“.

Along the topside of Wind Cave Nat’l Park lots of Prarie Dogs and bison cruzin’ around: WindCaveTopside  CanonCamera 814

On the 21st we visited the largest “in situ” mammoth dig site in the world. Such a great tour, just amazing history and everything is so well preserved! Mammoth Site at Hot Springs, South Dakota

MammothHotSpringsDig  MammothSkullTusks

Also had a great greasy spoon lunch, and quite possibly the best french fries ever, at Dale’s in Hot Springs! 🙂 BestFriesEver-HotSpringsSD

Went back to Rushmore afterward to hike around the area a little closer, got some up close and personal shots of the inside of the presidents’ nostrils (which I will spare you from). Greg really liked the art deco lights they had at the viewing area: RushmoreWithDecoLight  RushmoreWithLight2
The trees grow right out of the rocks around here:
TreeGrowinInRock

On the way out of Rushmore, we saw this big guy on the side of the road: LonghornSheepAtRushmore

Then we drove along Needles Hwy to enjoy some spectacular scenery along a challenging road with hairpin turns and tunnels! Would have been a blast in the Mini Cooper we just sold!!
NeedleEye    This is called the eye of the Needle.  Very popular with climbers 🙂

NeedlesInfo

TunnelAtEyeOfNeedle  The VERY NARROW tunnel to get to/from the eye on Needles Hwy.

Some more great pics of Needles here from climbers.

A herd of longhorns on the drive down the mountain:LongHornsAtCusterSD

On our last day (9/23) in Custer we took a picnic lunch to a beautiful spot called Horsetheif Lake
HorsetheifLake3  HorsetheifLake6

HorsetheifLake7  HorsetheifLake8

HorsetheifLake12  HorsetheifLake17

Sept 24 Left Custer, SD for the Badlands of SD for one night. Complete change of scenery.
Badlands  GregBadlands  PoppinsAndIAtBadlands  ExpanseBadlands
Here’s our spot for the night.
OurSpotBadlands

And the view…
OurViewAtBadlands  BadlandsCampground

That afternoon took a hike around the Fossil and Castle Trails. SpireAtBadlands

Came upon a bighorn resting in the shade along Castle Trail.
BigHornOnCastleTrailBadlands  SheepCastleTrail

SheepBadlands

Sunrise at Badlands the next morning:
SunriseBadlands  SunriseBL57  SunriseBadlands56

SunriseBadlands57

Sept 25 This morning we met a really nice couple, Virginia and Roger, with a beautiful 1992 Country Coach Concept ( which Greg zoomed in on quickly 🙂 ). They’re planning a trip to San Diego in the next couple of months and we hope to get together with them again. Roger is a professional speed skater and they travel around to his races. These people are in GREAT shape! 🙂

After a chat, we headed out from Badlands to Spearfish, SD to catch some changing of color! Along the route to Spearfish was the town of Wall, SD, which apparently is quite well known for a drug store which has become almost a block long in itself. Of course we had to stop and visit Wall Drug, it has a great story behind it, and was a fun stop.

Once at Spearfish, we set up at a very nice park called Elkhorn Ridge in Spearfish for a few days, and had a nice lightening/thunder and hailstorm that afternoon/evening!

Thurs, Sept 26 – On a recommendation from the campground office, we took the scenic drive loop through amazingly beautiful RoughLock Falls, around Spearfish, Deadwood, and Lead,
LeadSign  RoughlockFalls3
wih an excellent lunch at Lewie’s! Highly recommended it if you get the chance!
GreatBurger-LeadSD  Lunch-Lewies-Lead

PatioAtLewiesBurger-LeadSD

Cold storm came through tonight – – here’s a “before the storm” shot:   JustBeforeStormAtSpearfish  (we had a perfect spot at this campground! #111)

Fri, Sept 27 – A snowy, cold day – 34 degrees. Perfect for a visit to Devil’s Tower, WY

DevilsTowerPath  DevilsTowerWy

No dogs allowed on the trail up to the tower – – Greg and Poppins stayed below in the wet and cold….  ColdPoppinsAndDadAtDevilsTower

Sat, Sept 28 – Beautiful, clear day in Spearfish. We et out for the museum, didn’t find it, and wound up at a small street fair in old downtown Spearfish. Great little country block party with a band, lots of food, and nabbed some fresh, homegrown vegetables! 🙂

That afternoon, picked up Poppins and went back to RoughLock Falls for a picnic. This place is freakishly beautiful:

SpearfishCanyon  SpearfishCanyonWalk

Part of the film “Dances With Wolves” was filmed at our picnic spot:  LunchInSpearfishCanyonHere (yeah, I cut off the left side of the signpost)

Sun. Sept 29 –  A very windy, warm day.  Hung out at camp and got some cleaning and laundry done, and a couple of nice walks with Poppins.  Beautiful sunset that night.  SunsetAtSpearfishCamp  SunsetAtSpearfishCamp2  SunsetAtSpearfishCamp4

Mon. Sept 30 – Figued it was time to head south as a huge storm was coming in from the Pacific Northwest. Turns out the Spearfish/Rapid City South Dakota area was to get 4-5 feet of snow from this storm. Us Southern California wimps wouldn’t have made it!! 😉 Made our way to Cheyenne, WY today.

Tue. Oct 1 – Nice tour of the Cheyenne State Historical Museum, and afternoon around Holliday Park in the middle of town. Very pretty small town.

DucksInARowHollidayPark_Cheyenne
DucksInARowHollidayPark_Cheyenne

Wed, Oct 2 – Left Cheyenne, WY around 9:15am. Arrived at Tiger Run RV park in Breckenridge, CO around 1pm. This is our second visit to this park, we just love it, and the entire Breckenridge area.

Beautiful drive (again)… DriveFromWyoToBreck  RockiesAroundDenver

Thu, Oct 3 – Drove down Hwy 9. Took a little walk around what seemed like the top of the world. Hoosier Summit along the Continental Divide at around 11,000 feet: ContDivideSouthofBreckenridge

right next to a teeny town called Alma, with a catchy name for the liquor store:
HoosierDaddy

Stopped back in Breckenridge proper for a great lunch at Kenosha, then a little shopping for a sweater at Goochi Poochi and Me as snow is expected tonight. 🙂

Walking around the RV park after: RiverWalkAtTigerRunCamp

Fri, Oct 4 – It snowed last night! Not too much, just enough to make it pretty. Poppins’ first time in the snow, she really seemed to like it. 🙂

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Sat, Oct 5 – It wasn’t expected, but we got more snow overnight here in Breckenridge. More than the previous night! So beautiful.

Snow Flakes on car window, reflection of trees in the background
Snow Flakes on car window, reflection of trees in the background

Lots of local walks today. IMG_0669  IMG_0670

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IMG_20131005_093759_648  IMG_20131005_095808_527

IMG_20131005_100309_339  IMG_20131005_100513_607

Put the PAWZ booties on Poppins to help with the cold.  Still had ice stuck to the hair on her legs, but her pads were nice and dry. 🙂  IMG_0678

Sun, Oct 6 – Got ready to head out of Breckenridge (reluctantly) by 8am.  Started up the coach and the slides wouldn’t retract.  The awnings wouldn’t roll in over the slides – they were frozen.  We’d seen a couple of coaches the day before on walks around the park and noted their slides were retracted early in the day … being the well-worn nomads we are, we figured they weren’t staying in their coach that evening … come to find out that the *smart* travellers know to bring the slides in if cold/snow/frost is coming that night and you want to leave early the next morning because THEY’LL FREEZE!  Chalk this up to a lesson well learned – – check with us on our planned Alaska trip next year to see if we remember! 😉

Caught some snow on my phone: https://www.dropbox.com/s/pxu3lv7jrdkqs52/SnowingBreckenridgeCO.MOV

After waiting for some sun to hit the awnings, Greg climbing on the dangerous, icy roof and scraping, wacking the awnings from below with a stick, and running my blow dryer on high on them for a couple of hours, we were able to get both slides in and secure and on the road at 11:30.  On our way south to Moab, UT to avoid more of the storm coming in from the west.

Mon, Oct 7 – Arrived at Moab Rim Campground around 4:45 pm. Just gorgeous – surrounded by cliffs and red mountains.

Let Poppins rest after the drive (she’s still not liking the actual moving of the vehicle), and Greg and I drove up to Dead Horse Point State Park. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.    IMG_0694  IMG_0695
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Picked a rock and had a great picnic lunch with a view:
IMG_0704  CoolTreeAtDeadHorse

IMG_1380  UsAtDeadHorsePointMoabUT

We asked a couple of park rangers if we’d be ok taking our all wheel drive Honda CRV back down the to Moab along the dirt road past the Gemini Bridges. One said “it’s a little sandy in places so as long as you’re comfortable driving in sand”… and the other said “oh, yeah – no problem, rental cars go on that dirt road”. So, we went. Took pictures up to the point where WE ALMOST DIED, SLIDING OFF A CLIF, WHEN THE WHEELS SLID UPON BRAKING! We’ll rent a 4×4 next time… AtGeminiBridgesMoab
OneOfTwoGeminiBridges

Tue, Oct 8 – After a beautiful walk on the trail, behind the campground along Moab Rim, we were off to Monument Valley. Arrived at Gouldings Campground around 12:30pm.

This place has lots of history, from the couple who founded the place to the John Wayne movies filmed there. 🙂

We set up camp, and drove over to Gooseneck State Park. Wanted to check it out as apparently you can dry camp up there. We’re absolutely going to have to plan a short stay there sometime in the future!

View At Gooseneck
View At Gooseneck

Then took a drive thru the Valley of the Gods The pictures don’t do it justice…IMG_0712

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