Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Michigan, Ontario Canada, New York

Another great stop was to visit Jackie's high school classmates Bob and Margie (Scheiler) Stephenson in Williamston, Michigan.  They have a nice long driveway next to their beautiful old (over 100 years) home with lots of room for our rig.  We spent two days there but had to leave because of the weight we put on eating there.  Thanks Margie and Bob for such a great time.
Margie has a beautiful garden with lots of beautiful flowers.  Dick was out early one morning and found the morning sun just kissing this tall grass.

We spent one morning walking the gardens on the campus of Michigan State University where Jackie found a new friend. 

After leave Stephenson's, we stopped briefly (overnight) at MOC friends Charlie and Nila's.  It was fun seeing them again and catching up.  Good luck on getting your home ready to sell.

The shortest way to New York from Michigan was going through Canada and while there we had to stop at Niagara Falls.  It was a warm and sunny day with lots and lots of people taking the boats down on the river or just strolling along the walkway.

See we really are there in Canada.  Dick was worried about bringing what booze we had in the motor home across the border but he explained to the crossing security "this is our home and we have several bottles of odds and ends of booze, the same as most people have at home."   He just looked at us and said "have a good day".  It was about the same  getting back into the USA.  Both were more worried about firearms.  All that worrying for nothing.  (Now you know why he has white hair!)

Just could squeeze both falls into one picture so for those that have not been there can see what it's all about.

This shot is from our lunch table on the second floor of a very over-priced restaurant.  But what the hey, it's only money we are sure the kids don't want it. 

Two days in Canada and then to Parish New York in the Parish of Parish New York, figure that one out. We spent a week here just relaxing and enjoying some of the sights. 
On one of our excursions we drove to Oswego NY to see the Fort of Ontario.  It was closed on the day that we went to visit but they forgot to close the gate.  We did get inside to get a few pictures. 

`Oh look this door is open and we can go inside and take some pictures out the window.

After taking a self guided tour we found that they realized their mistake and closed the gate.  But Dick in his infinite wisdom figured out how to get it open so we could escape.

Did we mention that on the way to Oswego we took a short trip to Mexico?

This is for Uncle Dave, sorry to say the limit of salmon is 5 per day in Lake Michigan, maybe it's time to run the Discovery east and get in on some of the salmon there.

For those who have been following us on facebook, know that we have left New York and traveled through Vermont and are spending one night in New Hampshire at a forest service CG and tomorrow will be at our final destination in Maine that will be the 31st State we have spent a night in.

To be continued...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Still heading east with lots of stops

We are continuing east and got about 200 miles west of Sioux Falls, South Dakota where we had another problem with the engine on the motor home.  It turned out that I State trucking in Billings had failed to install a clamp on the turbo and we lost just about all power.  We limped in to Cummins, Sioux Falls on Labor day and set up camp like we owned the place.  We talked to them on Tuesday morning and they said they would get us in and fixed and on our way.

We took a tour of the town and spent a half day wandering around Falls Park.  Beautifully done park with a good place to have lunch near the heart of town.

This was once an industrial and quarry area of the town but they finally cleaned it up and what a great place to spend the day.  We even walked the legs off CC!

We got the rig fixed and headed out of town to visit friends who are camp hosting at Oakwood Lakes State park north of Sioux Falls, where we ended up staying 3 nights and got our picture taken on one of our hikes.  Dick wanted to show off how his beard is growing so he can be Santa this Christmas.

We ran across our first really green frog so of cource Dick had to get down and get a picture to share.

We spent about an hour at the beach in the evening taking some shots of the sunset with the unique cloud formation and reflections on the smooth lake.

It took some time to figure out what the black line is that originates from the center of the picture and came to the conclusion that its a shadow cast from the thick cloud in the center.  If you look closely you can see its reflection in the water.  First time Dick got a photo of a shadow reflecting in the water.  Oh well we thought it was cool.

Got to keep moving, so our next stop for only one night at a local winery in Winona MN.  Google Harvest Hosts and for a membership of only $30 per year you can stay for free at wineries and farms around the country.  Did we mention "FREE"?!  Looking down over the town of Winona with a lake in the forground and the Mississippi river in the back.

Walking the downtown area among some of the old buildings was interesting.  This one jumped out at Dick and he had to share it; see if you can figure out what it is.

The deep red brick behind the green ivy was a startling contrast in colors and if you look closely at the top of the picture you can see the ivy growing over the windows.  Hard to see but its there.

The First United Methodist Church that covered a city block had some very unique towers...

as you can see here.

Not sure what use the window is but sure would have liked to try and see it from the inside.
From Winona our next stop, where we are writing this, is West Bend WI where our dear friend Ardith Rehfeld has decided to spend her remaining days with her family.  We spent some quality time reminissing about our travels Sunday evening and again on Monday.  If you are a friend of Rod and Ardith, then you can leave a message and follow her strugles here at CaringBridge.  We love you Rod and Ardith and will continue to keep you in our prayers.

To be continued...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Washington State to South Dakota

Off again breezing through Idaho except to stop and have lunch with a classmate of Jackie's (thanks Charlotte Bouley) it was great seeing you again.  We then continued into Montana where our next stop was at a BLM area East of Butte and found a nice place to pull off in the trees for the night.  Woke up surrounded by cows but C C scared them away!

Another 160 miles to the little (very little) town of  Reed Point Montana for just another night.  Went for a drive in the afternoon and Dick had to stop and get some pictures of the area.

Far out in the country on a narrow gravel road we found nice farms and beautiful pastures and one or two very sad abandoned places.  Not shown but very funny was a street sign pointing to "Retirement" and when you turned the corner the sign read "Dead End"; we sure hope not.

If you have followed our blog you will know that we had some overheating problems in the motor home on the way back to the NW.  We thought it was fixed until we headed over Snoqualmie Pass and found that it still needed fixing. 

After leaving Reed Point we headed to IState Truck Repair in Billings on Wednesday the 24th in hopes of getting it repaired.  They checked it out and said "they might get us in on Monday".  Long story short we finally got it fixed and on the road again Thursday morning.  We spent 7 nights in their parking lot testing out our new solar (worked great) and one night in a hotel when they had the rig in the shop.  Sorry but this one is a little dark, well it was night and it cooled off from the mid 90s to the mid 60s.

We spent two evenings sitting outside with a great couple from Austria sharing stories and a little wine; thanks Petra and Tino for sharing your time with us and hope to see you again in the future.

We made the best of our time there meeting up with Rick Young and his lovely wife Laurel for a craft show in Bridger and then a wonderful dinner at their home.  Great to see old friends again.
While in Bridger we went to an area above Red Lodge where Dick's great grandfather homesteaded in 1899 and where his grandmother was born.  This is a picture of Dick standing over the rootceller that was on the ranch.

Keeping up with a day of genealogy we went into Red Lodge and had lunch at the Pollard Hotel and we think found a picture of his great grandfather tending bar in 1907.

We also spent part of two days with Dick's cousin that he has not seen in years.  They shared some old pictures and stories about the family.
We spent one afternoon visiting Pompeys Pillar National Monument.  This was another stopping place of Wm. Clark of Lewis and Clark fame and is the only visible record of their journey with his signature inscribed in the hillside.

We tried to get a picture of his signature but this is the best we could do.

As we said, on Thursday we finally got the heck out of Dodge (Billings Montana) heading for De Smet Lake near Buffalo Wyoming.  But on the way we stopped at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument that used to be called Custers Last Stand.  Kind of a sad place to realize that about 300 people, both whites and native, died here.

Most of the graves are marked where the soldier fell and was buried except the remains of the officers were moved to another part of the country.  The natives took their dead with them and buried them.

But now there is a very well done monument to the tribes on the battlefield.

With a little research we found our next stop on the lake with very few if any people around and had a great view out of all the windows on our rig sitting on the end of a long point.

After setting up we decided to head out on another back road and saw 20 or 30 Pronghorn Antelope.  Very hard to get a good shot because as soon as they hear you, off they go.  Snuck up on this one.

We had to stop at this old abandoned home out in the middle of nowhere so Dick could get some pictures.  Some one had big hopes and dreams here and this is all that remains.  The inside was lath and plaster with most of the plaster gone and the floors and ceilings totally rotted.

Not sure why it had two front doors and one back door.

A closer look in black and white at some of the years of patching to keep the weather out.

Dick stuck his head into the house saw a critter in the attic so he very carefully went through the house and out the back in time to see a large owl looking down at him.  Just as he raised his camera the owl turned away and took off so this is the best you get of this guy.

We are now sitting in Box Elder South Dakota for the weekend and plan to head out on Monday along with the crowds heading home from the 3 day weekend.

To be continued...