Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010 South Dakota to Montana

Friday, May 28th, we left Belvidere, S.D. and traveled about 140 miles to Black Hawk, S.D. just west of Rapid City.
From Alaska 2010
Our travels include driving through the Badlands National Park and a stop at the Visitor Center. After getting into the campground at Black Hawk we had some errands that needed to be done. Our step had broken 2 days before so we needed to get to an RV supplier for some parts. So while Tom went after parts I did some laundry and Larry and Joanne attended to some of their errands- groceries, prescriptions and lunch. Once the step was repaired and Larry and Joanne returned we all left to explore the area. We stopped at Mt. Rushmore taking pictures and walking about the plaza.
From Alaska 2010
From Alaska 2010-06-03
Leaving Mt. Rushmore we then went to the Crazy Horse Memorial.
From Alaska 2010
From Alaska 2010-06-03
After watching a movie about this memorial and the sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, we had dinner at a restaurant on the memorial grounds- the food was not bad but the service was terrible. We spent time in the Indian Museum of North America which is a beautiful building filled with displays, crafts and souvenirs. As it started to get dark the temperature dropped so the 4 of us decided that we needed to get sweat shirts since we were going to stay for the laser light show.
From Alaska 2010-06-03
Sitting on the outside patio we watched the laser light show. This was certainly a full day.
Today, the 29th, started with Tom and I going to the grocery store while Joanne did laundry and Larry got his truck fueled up. It was almost 10am before we left the campground heading further west. Within an hour of leaving we were in Wyoming driving across the northwest corner of the state. We did stop at a rest area to eat lunch and take pictures of Devil's Tower off in the distance.
From Alaska 2010
The temperature today has been chilly- our Crazy Horse sweat shirts were worn today- and we traveled through rain from Buffalo through Sheridan, Wy. We crossed into Montana and stopped for the night at a campground in Hardin. After eating at a local Mexican restaurant that had great food the cloudy skies cleared and the sun was brightly shining. This area of the country is a beautiful green this year not the usual brown and the streams are flowing with bank high water obviously the rains have been coming on a regular basis. As we drove through Wyoming the antelope were frequently seen in the pastures and fields.
From Alaska 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 27, 2010 Across Minnesota and Into South Dakota

May 26, 2010 , we departed Baraboo, Wisconsin heading west.  Crossing the Mississippi River we moved into Minnesota.  We stopped in Austin, Mn. for lunch at Johnny’s Spamarama Restaurant

From Alaska 2010-06-03
and then we went across the street to the Hormel Spam Museum. 
From Alaska 2010-06-03
In the late 1940’s through the early 1950’s  Hormel Girls toured through the country as a drum corps, a chorus and an orchestra promoting Hormel products, mainly Spam.  Going into a region the girls would fan out to go to the grocery stores in that region displaying Spam products and distributing coupons.  Hormel sales had a great increase with these girls but the expenses became too great to continue.  We continued on to Jackson, Mn.  where we camped for the night.

Today the 27th, Thursday, we left Jackson, Mn. continued on westward into South Dakota.  We stopped in Mitchell for lunch and to see the Corn Palace.  The Corn Palace is decorated each year with various types and colors of corn according to a theme.  This year’s theme was “Through the Ages”. 

From Alaska 2010
Moving on we stopped at a rest stop with a magnificent view prior to crossing the Missouri River. 
From Alaska 2010
We have traveled this route before but the view as the Missouri River comes into view is breath-taking each time.  The winds were quite strong and increased as the day went on.  We stopped in Belvidere for the night at a KOA.  We were all feeling beat so we were happy that we could get dinner at the campground and not need to cook. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010 On the Move Again

After spending 9 days in Bevidere, Illinois at the Outdoor World campground we are on the move again.   Larry and Joanne left Pennsylvania on Sunday and by Monday evening they were pulling into Outdoor World.  Our Fantastic Fan’s covering over the motor fell off  last week and a call to the company resulted in them saying they would send a replacement for it and it should be to us by Monday.  So on Monday the day Larry and Joanne arrived we hoped the the fan parts also would have arrived but it didn’t seem that that happened.  We decided Monday evening that we would wait one more day but no longer.  So that was the plan Monday night.

This morning, Tuesday, one of the maintenance men came to the door with a package.  The fan parts had arrived on Monday but the address label was not clear and after opening the package and finding it was not for him he then saw the site number and brought it to us.  We then decided let’s get ready to move on.  Tom wanted to get new wiper blades before traveling on.  Larry and Joanne had some errands ( grocery items and a haircut for Larry).  So these things were addressed and probably by 11am we thought we were ready to go.  Larry then discovered that he had a flat tire on his 5th wheel.  So he called his emergency service and finally about 1pm the serviceman came to the campground but then it was thundering and pouring rain. A spare tire was put on but this was just a temporary fix until another tire was gotten.   Finally at 1:35pm we left the campground and we went to Belvidere to a tire store to get  a new tire.  We had decided that we would go about 125 miles today to a campground in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

At 4:45pm we pulled into the Fox Hill campground.  Fox Hill is a nice campground in a very quiet setting and being a Passport park it is a good deal- $20.05 for full hook-ups including 50 amps.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010 Belvidere, Illinois

Sunday morning we left "Camp Newmar" and traveled northwest to Belvidere, Illinois. We are staying here at an Outdoor World campground waiting for Larry and Joanne before going on toward Alaska. We are north of Chicago and just south of Wisconsin. We traveled from Indiana into Illinois on non-interstate roads avoiding all the toll roads around Chicago. I have come to the conclusion that there is no good route around Chicago. While we didn't have to stop for toll roads we had to stop for far more traffic lights. We were not in a rush as the trip was a little more than 200 miles but the stop and go traffic became tedious after a time. We were glad to meet up with I-39 to travel due north. The weather here has been cool but is to get warmer as the week goes on. This campground is a nice place to hangout-it is quiet and away from heavy traffic but close to the cities of Belvidere and Rockford. This is the time to catchup on reading and relaxing. I finished reading Laura Bush's book, which I found to be good reading. The campground has a book-exchange library and I found a copy of James Micheners' "Alaska" that I have begun reading- what an introduction to traveling to that beautiful state.
I enjoy eating out but I also enjoy cooking when I'm just hanging out as we're doing here. Yesterday I roasted a chicken which we had with a wild rice/rice pilaf and broccoli. Today I used the leftover chicken added some chicken broth, beans, corn, onion, green pepper and Rotel tomatoes along with spices to make a soup with a southwestern flavor.

Saturday May 15, 2010 “Camp Newmar”

Friday morning about 11:00am we received a call from our assigned service representative telling us that our motorhome would be brought out of the service area in about a half hour for us to be able to return to it.  So we gathered up our belongings and Travis, checked out of the motel and returned to “Camp Newmar” to await the arrival of our motorhome.  Within a very short period of time the motorhome was returned with a new roof.  It was so good being back “home”.  We decided that we would stay here until Sunday.  We do like this area and the cost of staying here with full hook-ups can’t be beat (there is no charge for Newmar owners).

Today, Saturday, we rode up to Shipshewana again.  We wanted to go to a bulk food store in that area.  I wanted some flaxseeds and had been unable to find them.  Sure enough the store in Shipshewana had what I was looking for plus some things I wasn’t looking for but decided I wanted.   A  produce store next door had a few items that I purchased including rhubarb.  It has been many years since I’ve had any rhubarb so after getting back to the motorhome I made some rhubarb sauce.  Shipshewana has a large Amish population and we saw numerous horse and buggies or wagons on the roads we traveled.  There were also several areas of auctions or swap meets that had many buggies parked.

For dinner this evening we had decided to go to a local fish/chicken fry that was a fund raiser for an Amish school.  We had to wait in line for about 20 minutes and the line was even longer when we left.  The only charge for the meal was a donation.  The meal was very nice- unlimited fish and chicken strips, a scalloped potato dish, cole slaw, homemade bread and pie and ice cream.  The interesting part of the meal was being among the Amish.  There was a field adjacent to the fish fry building that  many horses with their buggies waited.  As we waited in line we passed tables that the Amish placed their hats on as they passed by.  The ladies had black bonnets that covered their white sheer bonnets.  The men mostly had black hats.  Husband and wife placed their hats together on the table.  Since the hats all looked alike I don’t know how they were able to find their hats when they finished eating but obviously they did.  Entering the eating hall, mothers of babies were approached by young girls offering to mind their babies while they got their food and ate.  And then like the Amish of Pennsylvania these folks spoke their own language- is it Pennsylvania Dutch or Indiana Dutch??

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday May 14, 2010 Going "Home"

Yesterday afternoon we got the word that our motorhome would be finished today and we would be able to leave the Amish Inn and return to our "home". Thank heavens! Living in a motel is not to my liking. I guess traveling in the motorhome has spoiled me. No matter where we go I always feel I'm at home. Motels lack comfortable chairs and usually have a strange odor- and I can't help but think about those TV shows that talked about the bedbugs in hotels and motels.
Travis has been absolutely the best dog during all this. Of course, he has been with us everywhere. We have gone to restaurants for carryouts, most of the times, and returned to the motel to eat. Yesterday morning Tom and I went to the lobby for the continental breakfast and returned to the room to hear Travis whinning so this morning we took turns getting our breakfast and returning to the room to eat. This motel has raised their fee for having a dog in the room from $10.00 to $75.00 and if there is any damage from the dog a credit card will be charged $250.00. We had been quoted a fee of $50.00 so that is what we paid. This fee is a onetime fee not a daily rate but I think it is much too high.
This morning we are staying in the motel until close to noon unless we hear before that time that the motorhome has been returned to the "Camp Newmar" area. "Camp Newmar" is the area that has full hook-ups for owners having work done on their rigs. We will probably stay there until Sunday before moving on. Sunday we feel we will need to leave to make room for others coming in for servicing of the units.
This area of Indiana is like a step back in time. There is a large population of Amish here so horses and buggies are everywhere along with lots of bicycles. The Newmar factory employees many Amishfolk. These Amish people come to work on their bicycles at 6am and leave in the afternoon to return home to do their farming chores. While at the factory they may use the modern equipment and drive motorized vehicles but not when they leave. Yesterday we went to an Amish bulkfood store and found it closed along with the Amish schools and other Amish businesses and then we saw a sign saying a store was closed for Ascension Day. There are many craftsmen/women in this area- cabinetry, furniture making, quilting. It is a nice area to visit as it seems to move at a slower pace.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 Homeless

Bright and early- 6am- we had a service tech at the door of our motorhome. After a few final steps the service tech drove our motorhome to a service area and we were left homeless for a couple of days until our roof is replaced. We drove out to a McDonald's to get some breakfast. When we returned to Newmar's parking lot our service tech informed us that indeed the roof needed to be replaced as water had gotten underneath the roof. We had been given an estimate and were surprised that it was about half of what we thought it might be. The replacement would take 3 days so we had to find someplace to stay tonight and Thursday night- and that someplace had to let us keep Travis with us. The Inn at Amish Acres was recommended so we checked it out and found that after 2pm we could check in with Travis for an additional fee.
We drove to Shipshewana, about 30 plus miles, and walked about their flea market. It was cold and damp and we saw the same things for sale over and over again. Travis was allowed to walk around with us. Leaving Shipshewana we returned to Nappannee stopping at a local diner for lunch.
A little after 2pm we were in our room at Amish Acres and Travis was curled up on the bed. Being in a motel room reminds me why I like traveling in our motorhome- no matter where we are we always are home.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 Nappanee, Indiana

Yesterday, Monday, we travelled from Newton Falls, Ohio to Fayette, Ohio.  After setting up in a campsite in Harrison Lake State Park we visited with Tom’s sister and her family.  Tom’s youngest brother and his family also came for a visit.  We had a nice time catching up with everyone and enjoying a delicious dinner together.  When this family gets together there is always lots of good food.

This morning we awoke to rain and as we drove to Indiana we were in rain most of the way.   Arriving at the Newmar facility in Nappannee we checked in and set up in a campsite for the night.  We have an appointment to have our motorhome’s roof repaired beginning tomorrow .  We are prepared to spend the next 2 nights somewhere other than in the motorhome.  There are several options in the area but our main concern is to be able to have Travis with us.  So tomorrow between 6a.m. and 8a.m. a repairman should come knocking on our door to get the motorhome.

On The Road Again

We are back on the road traveling again.   Travis had to have some bloodwork done on Wednesday before we left for an extended time.  This appointment caused us to reschedule a grooming appointment for Travis from Wednesday to Friday morning.  So after he had his grooming we left Taneytown and headed for Elizabethtown, Pa. for a weekend of camping with the Traveling Americans.  On Saturday the winds became blustery and the temperature dropped to a chilly level.  It was not the best weather for eating  outdoors but we managed as there was not any other choice.

This morning, Mother’s Day, we had a potluck breakfast  which the men did the cooking.  We had a nice variety of  food.  After breakfast, Tom and I got on the road a little past 10am going west toward Ohio.  It was windy a good bit of the day.  A little past 4pm we stopped for the night at a campground at Newton Falls, Ohio where the winds were very calm. 

I had received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Todd, Beth, Maddy, Anthony and Parker on Thursday for Mother’s Day.  The flowers are traveling along in the motorhome looking almost as pretty as they did on Thursday.  Tomorrow we will continue west stopping in northwest Ohio at Tom’s sister and brother-in-laws for a visit.