Saturday, August 29, 2009

Across the Wide Missouri . . . .

Stop # 4 - Smith Falls State Park and Stop #5 - Snake Crossing State Park.

I am writing this from Stop #5, located on the Missouri River, Highway SD-44, around 15 miles west of Platte SD. I will be here until Tuesday, 9/2, when I head north to another SD state park for part of the Labor Day weekend. The Park is filling up with weekenders and those who have reserved their camping pads for the Labor Day weekend. As in many places before a holiday weekend, reservations are made well in advance and trailers/campers are brought in a week or so ahead of time; and often left during the week. Some places require someone to be in residence at all times. I decided to park away from the River assuming that families, fishermen, boaters would want down by the water and that’s where it would fill up first Yup, that’s what’s happening. The kiddies playground is down near the water too and, frankly, not into too much noise. My view of the River is getting blocked. It’s also the last weekend before college classes begin too.

Anyway, back to my travels. I have always wanted to visit Smith Falls since I learned about it 10 or so years ago. It is located in the Nebraska Sandhills, east of Valentine and on US-20 in Smith Falls State Park. I ended up camping there for two nights. There aren’t any hookups, but flush toilets and passable showers are available and it’s cheap. For me it was a quiet and serene place, away from just about everything. I guess I needed it after being around those “big rigs” for 4 days. The Niobrara River (which means Running Water) runs through the State Park. In fact, the River starts as a meandering prairie creek in eastern Wyoming and eventually merges with the Missouri River near the town of Niobrara. A 76-mile segment of the River is designated as a National Scenic River from east of Valentine near Ft Niobrara eastward. The western portion is a very popular canoeing and tubing segment, with many outfitters available in the area. The second night I was there, 4 sets of tenters had come in and either had been on the river with canoes or were going to be.

I left Ft Robinson fairly early for me and headed eastward on US-20 toward Chadron and a stop to get air in the one of the trailer tires and a few groceries. We’d had rain during the night and I was glad I had hooked up the evening before. I stopped at this convenience store that had an air hose and asked the clerk if there was a charge for the air hose. She didn’t know and even if it worked it had been acting funny all week. When I checked the hose I could feel air coming out. I put some air in, checked the pressure gauge and it read less; put some more air in and it read even less. Well, after a couple more tries, guess what? I now had 15 pds less than when I started! I used both pressure reading gauges and they pretty much came up the same. The dang thing was sucking air out of my tire!

Well, definitely wasn’t leaving town with the tire that low. The clerk said there was another place with air up on the hill by the stoplight. Went up and no such thing, drove east hoping to find something and the only thing left before I left town was the Ford dealership. Well, they rescued me and very graciously put air in my tires. So, if you are in Chadron NE and need some help, call on the good folks at the Ford dealership on the east side of town.

Anyhoo, drove eastward on US-20 towards Valentine NE toward the Sandhills. At one point, there was road construction and we had to sit for about 20-25 minutes. Met the couple ahead of me riding a 3-wheeler and pulling a little trailer. They were the Snells from way up Minnesota way, Clokia in fact, and they were headed home as she had to get back to work in the local school system. She said she had 4 more years before retirement and her husband had just retired on July 1 and a few days later had a heart attack. Really nice couple. I passed them just before Merriman as they were parked on the side of the road. They must have passed me when I was eating lunch in Merriman as I saw their 3-wheeler at a restaurant across the street from the gas station I used, in Valentine.

The Sandhills are beautiful. It’s like the dunes froze in time and a blanket of bluestem grass dropped down on them. Here and there, occasionally, are clumps of trees but not very many and the dunes are dotted with cattle grazing. Like a patchwork quilt. The Sandhills are the largest dune field in North America covering nearly 19,000 square miles. Formed during a dry climate 8,000 to 5,000 years ago, some dunes are more than 300 feet high. For roughly, the last 1,000 years the relative wet climate has stabilized the dunes with vegetation such as the bluestems.

The nights were very quiet except for the millions of crickets. The stars numbered in the gazillons. I had forgotten there were so many stars as it’s been a long time since I’ve been away from the total absence of night lights and had a clear sky. My neck got so sore from looking and looking and looking.

Wednesday morning I walked over to see Smith Falls. The walk is so relaxing and is an easy one. I was considering the Nature Walk but after slipping a couple of times on the uneven ground and hurting my left knee, I decided just a trip to The Falls was enough.
The water at the Falls is so clear and cold. There are many springs that feed the Niobrara River and this is one of them. I just stood there in awe at the water fall. So much water and it just kept coming and coming. Some part of me wanted to find the faucet handle and shut it off until the next visitors came along so the water wouldn’t be wasted! Must be the living in western Kansas and spending time in the Southwest, where water is often scarce, that made me feel that way. I spent 30 or so minutes just watching it pour over the top and landing 70 feet below on the rocks. The walk and visit to the Falls left me with such a serene feeling, that it was hard not to put my head down for a nap when I got back.

The area is very unique in that it lies along the 100th Meridian. This imaginary line serves as a geographic boundary differentiating the western and eastern US. This is also a blending of eastern and western ecosystems and allows some species to interbreed, such as the western Bullock’s oriole and the eastern Baltimore oriole, according to a pamphlet put out by the National Park Service. Quaking aspens from the west and the big-toothed aspen (an eastern species) grew along the River and as the climate began to change, these two aspens adapted to survive by developing a hybrid, where these hybrids can be found at the foot of Smith Falls. Did you know that the Nebraska area was covered with spruce and birch forests over 12,000 years ago? As the climate warmed and became drier, the trees receded and were replaced with the prairie grasses, except in the canyons of the Niobrara River where they were protected from the dry summer winds. The area is often referred to as the “biological crossroads of the Great Plains”, according to a pamphlet put out by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Well, the area is certainly is an oasis and well worth visiting.

(I can’t believe how this once quiet Park,
where I am at, with maybe, maybe a dozen sites filled yesterday, is now almost filled and I am almost surrounded by kids, the sound of vacuum cleaners working, air mattresses being pumped up and rope lights lit up galore!)

One problem I have encountered is with my refrigerator. Because there wasn’t any electricity, I had to use propane to work my refrigerator - well, if it had worked I would have had cold refrigerator. So lost what I had in the refrigerator that I didn’t , or couldn’t get into the ice chest in time. But, since I arrived here still can’t get my refrig to work - on propane or electricity now. It’s getting electricity as I plugged in my fan and it works. Am going to try and replace the fuse tomorrow - I can’t tell if is blown. It worked great on electricity up until I stopped at Smith Falls SP.

Thursday morning I left Smith Falls, heading east on NE-12 to Springview and then north on US-183 (the highway that runs thru Hays KS - just 15 miles east of where my home is). When I crossed the NE/SD state line, I said to myself “What no Welcome to South Dakota”? sign -kerplunk, bouncy bouncy bouncy went the truck, Boy, if you didn’t know where the State line was ole US-183 in South Dakota sure let you know! Geeze, what a lousy road. I really didn’t want a butt massage . . . . . . No wonder there wasn’t a sign welcoming me to South Dakota!

Finally, 183 got better when it linked up with US-18 and I went on into Winner. I could have continued on north on SD-49 but was hungry since I didn’t have much breakfast before leaving camp. Got me a bite to eat at their MickyDee’s and there was a big car wash next door. So gave Big Red and Eggie a quick bath to get the hoppers off as much as possible.

Headed east on SD-44. out of Winner, through beautiful country again - rolling hills though rougher terrain and a lot more ups and downs then the Sandhills. Lots of grazing cattle and ranchers out doing what ever they do this time of year. Then I come over this hill and lo and behold, below me is this big, huge friggin’ body of water!
I think I could have put 20 of Kansas’ reservoirs (if there are that many in the State) all together right there in front of me and that still wouldn’t be enough water, for what I saw. My mouth just dropped open. Oh my all that water again. I was so flabbergasted, I missed the turn off to the first State Park I was going to, consequently after crossing the mile long bridge
(I did measure it) over the Missouri River, ended up here at Snake Crossing SP. Again, am in awe of all the water.
Guess had better not get near an ocean! I did learn today that the River is a bit higher than normal due to all the rain that Montana and North Dakota have had this summer. The River channel under the bridge is around 80 feet deep. The little cove that is across the road from this Park, is dry during the winter and all the boats have to be removed each year. I was told there is a lot of ice fishing along the banks of the Missouri. This portion is called the Lake Francis Case and there is a dam down by the State line, about 30 miles down stream. There are quite a few state parks all up and down the River. South Dakota likes parks, not so hot on Federal ones, except in the Black Hills area.

Oh, go to bed you kids, it’s after “quiet hours”! Boy, am hungry for some ice cream. Am posting from a cute little coffeehouse called "Serendipity" in Platte SD. Good sandwich too.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fort Robinson, Nebraska

Addendum to Stop #2 - Flying Bee Ranch. This is the view I had from the outhouse.

And, Eureka I found it: One of my favorite pops in a grocery store in Bridgeport. I stocked up for a week or so!

The previous owner decided to put on a demonstration of a particular kind of auto demolition show on Sunday Sept 2, 1956. It was billed as “Spectacular, Devastating, and Educational”. 25 cars were to be demolished by pushing them off a high bluff! The flyer says: “Be an eye witness at the scene of the crash! See what happens when a car goes out of control on a mountain road! See autos driven at full throttle down 75 to 80 degree ungraded inclines into ravines 500 feet deep and plummet into space from cliffs 300 feet high!” WHAT? You were warned not to attend if you were “weak of heart”. This was billed as the “First Annual”. As I was told there never was a 2nd Annual. The current owners call it Car Wreck Canyon. I can see, from my campsite, 3 or 4 of the wrecks, that were left there. Reminds me of the days when they use to run two locomotive engines full speed at each other for amusement.

Okay, this is a long posting. Have tried to cut it down, but it’s still long, so grab something to drink and read on.

Stop #3 is at the Fort Robinson State Park, just outside Crawford NE

Short drive today. I did stop and see Carhenge, north of Alliance. Got some pictures and left. Continued on up NE 87. This highway is under construction until it turns and goes west to Hemingford. NE highway stimulus money must have been spent in orange barrels along this stretch. Barrels line both sides of the two lane road, every 10-15 feet - or just about the length of the truck - for around 15 miles! Geez, I was blinded, especially with my headlights reflecting back and it was daytime.

At Crawford, the Park was just a couple miles west. Got my site and drove over there. Whoa Little Casita, what have we landed our selves in among? These are mighty, mighty big rigs we’ve landed among. It appears we have landed in the middle of a big rig rally this weekend here. They certainly know each other hollering their “hellos” and “where are you parked?” to each other, while I was trying to take a nap.

And backing in! I am real proud of myself on how I did it and it’s getting to be 3 snaps of the finger now instead of 20. But, OMG I kept backing and backing and backing. Finally, I said that’s enough I am close enough to the water and electrical hookups, but when I went to hook up to the sewer, it was a tenth of a mile back down the site towards the road! At least that’s what it seems like. I’ll be moving the length of the trailer again to empty the holding tanks when I leave.

To stay overnight, with full hookups here it is $21 a night, then there is the day pass park permit on that. Since am going to be here 3 nights and probably use another couple of NE parks, on the east side of the State, decided to get the annual one for $20. They do have sites with just electricity for a couple dollars less per night but decided to get the works for a couple dollars per night more (and camp among the big rigs and have the dump hole 1/10th mile away). Anyhoo, my budget has already been shot and now up to 2 freebee nights in a WalMart parking lot somewhere. Oh, I’ll have SD & ND park permits to get too - geez my windshield is going to be covered with stickers! Am going back to Federal parks where can use my Senior Pass and get my halvies or freebies on parking fees. Geez, I sound like a senior citizen.

Saturday morning. Slept good, not as cold as previous nights as on The Ranch. Only down into the 50’s last night. It got down into the low 40’s at The Ranch.

I have never stayed among a “group” of big rigs before. It is certainly interesting watching them. I haven’t seen a group so fastidious about keeping the outside of their big rigs so clean. After setting up for the stay, they are out washing their rigs and their “toads” - vehicle they tow behind them. They have been going thru a mechanical check by a certified Foretravel RV inspector/mechanic. This group is with the Foretravel Motor Coach Club.

So far am not impressed by either this full-hookup campground nor the other with electric only. Only one restroom/shower between the two camps. There are 76 sites at Soldier Creek campground and 32 at the Red Cloud full hookup campground. Granted, the full-hookup campground was obviously built geared to the big rig folks who don’t need additional restrooms/showers. I will say that the Park Personnel patrol the Parks about every 90 minutes, even during the night. Good feeling.

Laundry is done. Found a washer & dryer at the very west end of the Fort Park, near the horse camp facilities. Rest room & showers too very clean. In fact, that’s where I would rather be camping. It’s going to be a warm one today. Temp outside is already 86 and it’s 11:30 a.m. Going to cool off at the Fort’s Museum this afternoon, then take advantage of the showers I found, head for the Homestead for a Sunday lunch tomorrow.

This place has lots to do and is a destination spot. Besides the museums (two), there is horseback riding up into the hills, jeep riding, hay wagon riding with the driver giving history, there is an indoor swimming pool, activities hall, mountain bike renting, there is a steak cookout tonight, historic building tours, kayak riding, tube riding, chuck wagon cookout, stagecoach and pony rides; oh and a hayrack breakfast and from time to time a rodeo at the arena (Sunday night in fact). It’s had quite a history from the Indian containments and captures, to the world’s largest training, care and breeding center for Army horses and mules, to serving as a training ground for the US Olympic Equestrian Team in the 30’s, to a K-9 training facility in the early 40’s, to a German POW camp, and then eventually becoming a NE State Park in the mid-50’s.

Ahhh, the smell of diesel fumes! Two more rigs have arrived and they are sitting right by me to determine where their sites are. Excuse me while I quietly pass out!. Hark it is 98 degrees at 12:30 It’s now 4:30 and 103 in the shade.

Dinner will be simple tonight, probably a waffle with blueberry syrup, nice coooooool glass of milk. Tomorrow to the Homestead. Think will stay one more night, do a little laundry before I leave on Tues a.m. I can use the public library in Crawford for getting on the Internet and will do so Monday to post this blog, check e-mail, etc. Will work to get my pictures on Flickr at the same time.

Sunday, Drove out to the High Plains Homestead, Home of the Drifter Cookshack & Bunkhouse for lunch. You go north of Crawford for 4 miles on NE-2/71, then turn west and drive 12 miles on dirt/gravel road. Today it was dry and dusty; and. you almost felt like a tired and dusty cowhand by the time you got there, except for the windows rolled up and the AC on. I was wondering if there would be anyone else out there. Boy, was I wrong, little as it is but one can eat in the Cookshack or the nonalcoholic Saloon and they were both full. Lot of locals plus I recognized folks from the Campground. The signage is adequate so one doesn’t get lost out there. I had a Navajo Taco and a big piece of Walnut Carmel Creme Pie along with a couple very cold glasses of ice tea. All for $11. And it was all verrrrrrrrry good. Don’t take your credit card, only take cash or check. Drat, I forgot my camera. It is on my list of Interesting Places to the right. Then home, turn on the AC in the trailer and took a nap. It is only in the 90’s today, but pretty windy so had to put my awning up tight to the trailer.

Only trouble I’ve had is when the wind blows - which has been almost every day - my eyes dry out and burn and itch. The various pollens in the air don’t help either, so have learned when I get up in the morning, first thing I do is start putting drops in my eyes. When I go outside I wear my big “bug eye” sunglasses that wrap around the eyes.

Okay, while I am on a toot. I must say these big rigger folks are for the most part pretty quiet. There are 19 of them here now. There are some, I would say, in their 60’s, most in their 70’s and a few in their early 80’s. John was being wished Happy 84th Birthday the other day and he would say “What? What? I can’t hear too good”. And, I hate to say it, but those 80 year olds kind of scare me driving something as big as a Greyhound Bus. Should bite my words ‘cause hope I can be on the road at their age too; but, when you see this little scrawny, bent over man get out of the big monster, it’s kind of scary. Okay, that’s enough. Overall, am glad they can wheel those things around and get out and see things like I do and contributing to the local economy.

Well, Monday is cleaning day, visit the Library and get ready to go to South Dakota. Next posting will be in or within a week. Finally finished reading a Nevada Barr book, “Flashback”. Ohhhhh, just saw a flock (sorry, if not correct term) of 20 turkeys, mostly youngsters.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Movin' Movin' Along

Stop 2 @ Flying Bee Ranch LLC south of McGrew NE

Didn’t get quite as early start as I wanted. Working on the blog script kept me longer than I had wanted. I stopped at a little city park in Oberlin Ks, located on US 83, before entering Nebraska. At McCook I turned west on US 6 to Imperial. At Imperial, I was to head northward on NE 61 and come out at Ogallala and head westward to Bridgeport on US 26. Wellllllllll. . . . . . . .

It didn’t turn out that way. I missed the turn off at Imperial. By the time I definitely realized I had, it was too far to go back. So Plan B (which I made up just then) - that was to keep heading west and take US 385 at Holyoke CO northward to Julesburg, then catch up with I-80 somewhere - hopefully around Bridgeport. It worked.

I enjoyed driving through the hillsides of southwest Nebraska following such creeks as Frenchman, Horse Canyon, Boothill Creek. It is referred to as the Prairie Lakes area. Frenchman Creek enters into the Enders Reservoir and then eventually ends up in the Republican River. Many of the cottonwood trees were starting to turn the chartreuse color that many get when the cooler weather comes in. In fact, my first two nights I needed a blanket.

Whoa pardner, this is it for the night I told my crew of Big Red and Eggie as we alighted among the midst of thousands of hoppers and flies. Boy, did I quickly get my truck windows up tight; but not fast enough.

Not only am I sharing a spot with those creatures, but have seen a toad or two, heard the coyotes at dusk and dawn, and saw a bighorn sheep on my first morning. Louise, co-owner with her husband, said that several years ago Fish & Wildlife reintroduced big horn sheep south of the Ranch up in the Wildcat Mt. In fact, when Louise was telling me about the bighorn sheep, several Fish & Wildlife guys were driving down the road past the campground. She said when the original bighorn were released they tagged and GPS coded them, so that’s what they were possibly doing this morning. Oh, and this is rattlesnake country too.

The first night I was the only one here, the second night a couple from Pennsylvania had rented the cabin for a night. Tuesday was a quiet day for me, sorta get my bearings and hash over what I wanted to see and do and mainly just enjoy the quiet and beautiful country. The winds came up in early morning and pretty soon my eyes were bothering me so I stayed inside the most of the day. Dark and ominous clouds that showed up in mid-afternoon, along with stronger winds, were messing up my plans to cook my steak fingers on my little Coleman Fold N Go Grill I bought recently. Was going to do corn on the cob too but think my corn got froze in the refrigerator like my bag of lettuce. Anyhoo, will use my toaster oven for the steak fingers and wrap the corn in tinfoil and cook in the oven too. My supper the first night here was applesauce, chocolate cake and grape-cranberry juice. I was tired and went to bed around 8:30 MT

Got my steak fingers cooked in the toaster oven, boiled the corn and fixed rice for supper. Corn ended up being pretty darn good. After sup, visited with the folks from PA. They are on their way to spend a week in Glacier National Park. In bed around 10 p.m. and slept pretty good.

Wednesday: Slept ‘til 7 a.m. this morn, had breakfast, unhitched the trailer and got it stabilized as the wind was coming up again as well as rain.
First headed for Gering and the Gering Bakery. I have a book called “Road Food”, by Jane & Michael Stern, and it has thousands of those little mom ‘n pop operations, locally owned places to get something to eat. The Gering Bakery is listed for this area, as well as Al’s Diner in Melbeta. First the Bakery, oh my it’s one of those that has miles and miles of bakery goods! I got one of each cookie! And, a cinnamon twist to go. In addition, Nebraska is known for the Runza, which I think is a registered trademark now, so they have the Cabbage Burger. The runza is like the bierocks you find in Kansas except they have a bit of a sweeter dough surround the cabbage. So I couldn’t leave Nebraska without getting a locally made runza for supper tonight. I showed the owner the book I had and she read what it said about the Bakery.

The other place is Al’s Diner and it was run by a 90 plus year old woman Ruth Neal. When the book was published (2008), she was 92. April 15th 2008, she fell and broke her hip and had to give up Al’s Diner. She was still cooking at the time. She is still living and is in Scottsbluff. I visited with the present owner about the place and he showed me around. It’s even written, on the calendar, the day she fell. I heard tell she fried up smaken' good fried chicken. And, as she had put it, her cooking ain’t done her no harm! The present owner told me that the building was moved from the former W.W.II Internment Camp just a few miles to the north. It was the mess hall. He also said, that many of those interned there, moved back to the area after the War was over.

After the Bakery, I drove westward to Scotts Bluff National Monument, just west of Gering. Visited the Visitor Center, watched a slide show on the area and drove to the top of Scotts Bluff. Since the wind was, again, blowing strongly and bothering my eyes, I chose to drive up and walk around. i ran into the “cabin renters” who had hiked up. It’s referred to as ”500 Feet of Great Plains Past”. To the weary travelers, on the Oregon Trail or Mormon Trail, the Bluffs was the end of the Central Plains/Great American Desert and the beginning of the Rockies.

I headed south on NE 71 to Robidoux Trading Post, which was located along an older section of the Oregon Trail crossing through Carter Canyon, until the Mitchell Pass was used thus cutting off a day of travel for the westward travelers.

Back to the campground, nap and supper. Wind started dying down around 5 but didn’t

need the Grill tonight. Runza here I come! Thursday, it’s visit the town of Bridgeport and Chimney Rock. Will head to northwest Nebraska on Friday morning.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Eeeeeha, lets get that Wagon Moving

Yup pardner, have headed into western Kansas and have parked my Wagon at the High Plains Campground in Oakley, on I-70. What a nice spot this is - wonderfully clean showers and restrooms, a miniature golf course, horseshoes, HOT, LUKEWARM & COOL SPA TUBS (wonderful in the summer heat). There is also the Spray Zone to cool off for young and old alike. And, to top it off there is a organic vegetable garden - pickens for the campers. I got 3 tomatoes to ripen "in my window". There is going to be a huge crop of tomatoes coming around in a week or so; plus, some pretty good size pumpkins. And, then to top of the evening a fantastic lightening show all around us.

Oh, and there is a big, big renovated barn that you can go to to cool off, work on some puzzles, read, sit and talk with other campers. The barn can also be rented for rallies, get-to-gethers, family reunions and so on. I know it sounds like a commercial - well, it is. I suggested to Mary about adding 1 or 2 barn quilt blocks to the ends of the barn - perhaps a block from her heirloom quilts.

Okay, I only went 75 miles from home - and on the Interstate to boot. But I just had to check this place out. My daughter told me about this lady that owns the place and that she Tweets on Twitter about happenings and goin's on around here at the Park and Oakley and the state and about the travel industry. She also has a blog and is on FaceBook. And of course I had to check out her website. Well here I am at Mary's place. She had me hooked. Well, when you meet Mary you get hooked more. She is an inspiration to others. She has carried on the dream of her and her husband, who she lost shortly after acquisition of the RV Park. He told her that he was coming back as a bunny rabbit - well he is here in abundance. So Mary is being watched over many, many times.

Mary invited me to join her in one of the hot tubs after she closed the office; but because of the heavy lightening around the area we didn't. I enjoyed a cool drink with her and a neighbor, Mike, on her deck watching the lightening. At 11 p.m. I was sleepy enough to go to bed; but, alas as soon as my head was down I was wide awake! Good thing as not too long after I went to bed the winds from the various storms to the north and to the south hit here. Checked the velocity at various times during the wind storm and they were running around 35 mph with gusts up to 40 and 45 mph. Had the trailer solidly set and it sat pretty still. At some point I finally fell asleep.

Morning, Sunday: I decided to take the trailer down to Monument Rocks this morning to get some photos of a camper visiting one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.

Mary was wanting some of The Rocks that she can submit to a State RV Assn for their new brochure coming up next year; and. will incorporate submitted photos into a collage of the 8 Wonders. Suppose to rain tonight, so that was my clincher since 7 miles is on gravel road. It was sorta crowded there for a spot way off the road, but I managed to get some photos of a travel trailer visiting one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas. I also stopped at the statue where the birthplace of the "Legend of 'Buffalo Bill' Cody" is located in Oakley.

Oh, I met Cindy from Boulder CO who had just bought a new to her T@B teardrop trailer. The trailer is actually very new and this is Cindy's first time at pulling a trailer. She is absolutely excited about all the things she can do. Cindy is a recent breast cancer survivor and just a couple years older than my daughter - also a breast cancer survivor - and is like so many of these lovely ladies (and those adorable men too) where life takes on a whole new meaning. We talked about many interesting things this morning. She has a good life ahead of her with lots of adventures for her and her husband. I am so excited for her and have been blessed with meeting her.

Has been a really lovely day with temps in the low 80's and a nice gentle breeze blowing. It was low enough that I could partially put up the awning to keep the sun off the passenger side of the trailer. Had dinner of meatloaf, rice, and a salad. That's a pretty big meal for me when I am traveling. And, a great end to the stay here was some time in the hot tub after dark with Mary and Mike. I ought to sleep like a log.

I have plotted out my next destination and that will be to the Flying Bee Ranch LLC in the Scottsbluff area. Actually, if you want to find it, it is around 5 miles south of a little town called McGrew on US-92. It is a working cattle ranch. When I first called, Louise was on horseback and not able to take my info. I'll be there 3 or 4 nights. There are electrical hookups and water nearby, but no dump station. Length of stay will be determined by how frugal I will be with water. One of the nearby little towns does have a public dumpstation, so it's no biggie.

So on the road again, folks. Be several days before I have a new posting. Eeeeeha, lets get that wagon moving.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Almost Time. . . . .

Am shooting to leave Sat, 8/15. Truck gets an oil change and tire rotation this week, I get a haircut, get stocked up on my meds, finish packing the trailer with food and other items and I'll be ready to go. Still have a couple of things to do on the outside of the trailer and clean up the truck.

I finished the spare tire cover and have it mounted. I sent a picture to Marcia Hohn of The Quilters Cache, creator of the Four Winds quilt block and got an email back from her and she said it "was awesome".

I've had to replace some of the clips that hold the blue rope lights that are around the middle of the trailer on the outside, sanded down the stove cover inside and repainted it, painted the spare tire carrier I had put on the back that holds the tire that has my new spare tire cover, loaded the back of the pickup with the stuff I need (or may need) including clothes for cooler weather I may encounter later on in the trip. Heard from my friend Lisa at Fort Yates ND and will be able to see her Labor Day weekend.

It's down to doing some household chores, last laundry and making sure I don't forget something - like the cell phone's recharging cord or the camera!

My tentative plans are to head west to Oakley, spend a night at the High Plains RV Camp (I follow Mary on Twitter), then head north on US 83 into Nebraska, spend some time around Scottsbluff, head north and spend some time around the Chadron area before heading into western South Dakota, spending Labor Day weekend along the Missouri River in northern SD and southern North Dakota. Spend some time exploring southwest ND, see my friend, then head down the Missouri River towards Iowa. Will wander around there and head home through northern Missouri catching up with US 36 and head home on that highway 'til I get to Phillipsburg KS, south on US 183 to Hays and then westward on I-70 to home, sometime in mid-October.

Post again down the road.