Saturday, May 28, 2016

Back at the Shack

Back in Beaufort


Well - another trip is fondly stored in the memory bank.
After leaving Badlands NP in South Dakota on Monday we started pounding the pavement
and arrived home Thursday about 2pm.

We spent 3 nights enroute.
KOA in Waterloo, Ia
KOA in Richmond, In
Mayberry Campground in Mt Airy NC.

The last stop was to allow us to flush the holding tanks well and left us
a 4 hr jaunt to the barn.

A map of our route from SD to NC - about 1,800 miles for the last legs.


Our route took us from South Dakota


Into Minnesota


Thru Iowa and across the Mississippi River into Illinois...


Thru Indiana, Ohio, and past the Capital of West Virginia in Charleston.


Thru Virginia and into NC.

We timed our arrival home for Thursday due to Memorial Day weekend and the
traffic that would be on the road.

As it turned out traffic was still pretty heavy.

We passed this little beauty heading into New Bern, NC


I guessed he was headed to the Outer Banks and I was right as they followed
us all the way till about 3 miles from home where they turned to head
to the Cedar Island Ferry.

I had the assistance of Mr Peabody to help me with trip planning.


Ms Peabody.


Trip Recap 

By the numbers:

7 months on the road.
12,134 miles on the bus odometer
21 States & 2 Canadian Provinces
Endless Laughs.

The map below (from the blog)
I selected 8 months which shows our route.


Beyond the numbers however lies the real story.

The joy of beautiful nights around the campfire with great friends.
Boondocking under the stars.
The Broncos winning the Superbowl.
The places we visited and traveled to with our good friends from all over the world.

Just a few of the highlights:

Hot Springs, Ark
Barbecue in Austin Tx
LBJ Library & Ranch
White Sands New Mexico
Quartzsite
Tombstone, Az
Organ Pipe Cactus NP
Grand Canyon
Goosenecks, Ut
Monument Valley
Joshua Tree NP
Hearst Castle, California
Walla Walla wine weekend
Kelowna, BC
Canadian Rockies
Banff NP  Alberta
Devils Tower Wy.
Badlands, SD

Special thanks to all of our good friends who made 
visiting these places all the more special.

Future Plans


I am kind of in new territory now with no firm plan for our next trip.
I want to get back to Alaska but to do so I really need to set out from here to go there.

I've found that if we do our usual winter in Arizona thing, by the time it is warm enough 
 to head north - we have been traveling for many months (6 or 7) are ready to start heading home.

Last time to Alaska we left home in April - so perhaps we need to hang closer to home
so that next spring we will be fresh and ready to do the trip there like I want to do it....
Spring thru Fall.

So maybe it will be a couple of months in Florida this winter...
Probably a trip to Red Bay for some slide out maintenance.
And I'm sure the travel bug will get me for some other idea.

In any event - we will keep busy between now and then
and keep you posted along the way.

Thanks for following along.

Happy Trails and see you down the road.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Badlands

Since our last post we have put about 1,000 miles on the odometer.
We crossed back into the US,   Drove south thru Montana,
thru Wyoming, and now are ready to cross South Dakota and head into
Iowa in the morning.

Passing thru Wyoming we took a short detour and spent the night
at the Devils Tower KOA located at the foot of the Devils Tower.

It was a bit of a trip down memory lane for us because it was here 8 years ago
that we met some good friends for the first time.

A cold front was passing thru and our evening was cloudy with thunderstorms which
added an element of drama to this unique scene.


The next morning we saddled back up and headed 300 miles to
Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

We are staying in the Cedar Park Campground on the
west side of the National Park for two nights.

It has 50a hookups only - no water or sewer.


Today we took a sunday drive thru the park.
East along the Scenic Loop to Wall, SD then the interstate back. 


The badlands are heavily eroded and continue to erode at about 1" per year.


Even though it was mid-day, some of the colors popped.


We spotted some Dall Sheep in the Eastern end of the park.


If you have ever traveled US14 or 16, or I90 just to name a few - you have probably
seen signs for Wall Drugs.   The signs start hundreds of miles before you get here.

Since we were passing by on the way back to camp we stopped in to check it out.


In between Wall, SD and the turnoff for Badlands are some Minuteman Missile Silos
and their control center - now administered by the National Park Service.

We first visited the D-9 missile silo.
The missile silo has its blast door pulled halfway open and covered with glass
so that you can look down and see the missile inside.

In front of the glass covering, you can see the hardened entrance to the silo, where
workers could climb down to perform service.


A hardened antenna.


Looking down thru the glass into the silo.
The minuteman missile sitting there in its launch position.


About 7 miles east we next visited the Launch Control Center.
This center is where the Air Force personnel would monitor the missiles under their control
and if called upon, launch the missiles. 

An average LCC would control 10 minuteman launch sites all located about 5-7 miles away.

Above ground it looked like a simple ranch house type building.


30' Below ground in blast proof bunkers, the Air Force personnel performed their
duties 24/7


All of the missile sites and LCC's were monitored with various security measures.
Unauthorized entry could mean death!


Tomorrow we are back on the road headed for an overnight in
Waterloo, Ia.

See you down the road.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Banff Canada

Banff National Park

After our beautiful drive thru the Canadian Rockies, we arrived at
Banff National Park to an almost empty campground.

The temperature was just about perfect.

We stayed in the campground named Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court
but the name is a misnomer...   This is no trailer court!

Full Hookups 30amp.
All the sites are long pull thrus on each side of the road.
We were parked a few spaces down on the right.



The views from the campground are beautiful.



Everywhere you turn is a mountain vista.


I was pretty much locked up for our 3 days here as work has been partiuclary crazy lately,
but we did manage to get out late on our last afternoon for a break.
Fortunately this was our second time here and the first time we had our
Canadian friends as tour guides.

Below - the Banff Springs Hotel is a local landmark.
One of the grand Canadian Railway hotels, it was built in the late 19th Century
by the Canadian Pacific Railway to create more passenger traffic.



A quick shot of the two of us.


A Change of Plans


Our next stop was to be Jasper NP about 180 miles north, but Kate and I agreed
that we are sort of pushing ourselves to make the trip back to Alaska this year and our hearts
are not really into it.

We've been gone from home now about 7 months  - and Alaska was going to add another 
2 or 3 months to that, and we are both ready for a change.

So we've decided to point the bus south and east instead, and start to head for
home and put the Yukon and beyond back on the shelf for this year.

I think if we stay home this winter then we'll be more fresh and ready to
make the trip back up there next spring.

So, instead of RV-ing, the scent of pine, and mountain vistas it will be 
Boating, the smell of the Ocean and summer life on the coast.

Hardly a losing proposition.

So for the next couple of weeks we'll be running towards the coast
and who knows what we'll see along the way.

The Lincoln Presidential Library is on the list.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Kelowna, BC

Our travel meter has logged another 500+ miles and some very beautiful
territory since my last post.

The map below shows our route:
From Lincoln Rock State Park in Wenatchee, Wa
North into Canada and Kelowna, Brittish Columbia
From Kelowna to Banff National Park, Alberta.


I spent 11 days at Lincoln Rock State Park on the shore of the Columbia river
while Kate flew to Chicago to visit her BFF Mary.

Lincoln rock is just outside of Wenatchee Wa at the eastern base of the Cascade Mtns.
My site had full Hookups and 50amp service.
Great Verizon service makes it an ideal place for me to hang out and work while
Kate is out of town.


After Kate returned we packed up, and headed north to visit our friends
Pat and Rob.   You may recall that we spend quite a bit of time with them
bouncing around the desert in the winter time.

Pat and Rob have a brand new Minature Australian Labradoodles named Olivia and
they were anxious to show her off as well as show us their home town.


We stayed at Bear Creek Provincial Park on the shores of Okanagan Lake just
across from Kelowna and only about 10 min from Pat & Robs house.

The campground has no services - so dry camping - but the flowers were in bloom
and we enjoyed the heady mixture of pine, roses, and campfires.

Pat and Rob brought their Montana over to the park and camped with us for 2 nights.

One morning headed to town we had a herd of Dall Sheep right outside the park.


We enjoyed lunch and 2 dinners at their lovely home and got a taste of BC hospitality.


Saturday afternoon we strolled along the wonderful waterfront park.


There was musicians playing, a beer festival going on, and everyone was out with thier dogs
enjoying the warm sunny weather.


At one point we had 5 doodles all rubbing noses.
We must have met a dozen doodles walking along the waterfront.


The town has a wonderful international feel to it.
Walking the park you see people from all over the world.
Inland from the waterfront for a few blocks is a vibrant entertainment district with
pubs and restaurants.

Kate and I both fell in love with this beautiful Canadian city.


We watched this guy getting lessons on this water powered hoverboad.
After numerous failed attempts he finally got into the air and hovered for about 20 seconds.

Next week he might be flying high!


Our first night was steaks on the Grill.
Our second night we had this wonderful ham cooked on the grill.

After dinner Rob & Pats Grandkids put on this wonderful show with songs
from the Sound of Music and Scottish Dancing. 



Dinner and a show.     How do you beat that!
Thanks so much R&P for your hospitality and friendship.
We both had a wonderful time and already are talking about when we can come back.

This morning (Sunday) we sadly said good bye and headed north then east thru
the Canadian Rockies to our next destination - Banff National Park.

The 300+ mile drive took us along lakes, rivers, streams, 4 National Parks, and
some incredibly beautiful scenery.

The weather was perfect for a drive thru the mountains.

Trans Canada Hwy 1 - 3 Valley Lake
Because we had 7+ hrs to drive today there was not much time for stopping to
smell the pines...   or clean the windshield - so sorry about the bug splattered
thru the windshield photography. 

TC 1   Glacier National Park BC
A few photos while riding thru Glacier National Park.
We also drove thru Mt Revelstoke NP
Yoho NP
and Banff NP 

TC 1  Glacier National Park BC

TC 1 Glacier National Park BC

TC 1  Banff National Park Ab
We are now in Banff National Park at the NP Campground.

Its a pretty campground, full hookups with 30amp at about 5,000' elevation.

We are starting to sense the longer days as we move further north.
Its currently 930 pm and bright as day out. That is
only going to continue until I'm saying the same thing about midnight.


We will stay here in Banff for 3 nights, then travel 180 miles up
the Icefield Parkway to Jasper NP.

After a couple of nights in Jasper we will head 200 more miles north to
Dawson Creek BC and mile Zero of the Alaska Highway.

It looks like we have a couple of clear days ahead of us so we should have 
some pretty shots of the beautiful scenery here in Banff next time.

Till then....

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Walla Walla Wow

A week ago today we left Cambria, Ca and started our trek northward.
We stopped for a couple of days in Bend, Oregon but our destination was
Walla Walla Washington for our annual spring wine tasting.

The wine tasting is and excuse but for me the highlight of the long weekend is
renewing acquaintances with some of the finest people that we know along the road.

It was a busy weekend.

Arrive Thursday....   Have Happy Hour with the gang.
Friday wine tasting and pot luck dinner.
Saturday morning Farmers Market, Wine Tasting, and dinner at Tim & Genes new home.
Sunday - pot luck breakfast, wine tasting, Steak night at Merikays and Rons place.
Monday - motor onward.

Headed northward on I-5 in California you cross over Shasta Lake.
The past 4 years drought has drained the lake but the winters El Nino` has had a postive
effect on the lake level.

For those of you who have been wondering....
Here is what that crossing of the lake looks like now.

Lake Shasta I-5 Crossing
 Rain and cool weather on Friday night made it a bit difficult for a pot luck dinner
at the RV Park so we wall went to Merikays and Rons house.
Walla Walla is a farming area and it seems all the residents have green thumbs and
Merikay and Ron are no exception.

Their beautiful backyard has a very peaceful feel to it.


Saturday night we went to Tim & Genes new home on the outskirts of town.
They have done an amazing job turning it into a beautiful country retreat.

Here Kate poses with one of our hosts - Tim.


Perfect hosts - Tim & Gene set a long table out in the yard.
We ate dinner overlooking the vineyards, wheatfields, and Blue Mountains in the distance.
A perfect setting.   A perfect meal.  and Perfects Hosts.


Kate poses in the vineyard.


Another view of the yard and table.


This years Sangiovese grapes on the vine.
Sangiovese is the grape used in Chianti and other Tuscan Wines.


Sunday afternoon Jim took me on a tour of some of his childhood stomping grounds on
forest service roads in the Blue Mountains.

We climbed almost to the crest of the blues but at about 4,800' we ran into some snow on a north facing slope and I did not want to take the chance at getting stuck...
especially since we had no cell coverage.
So we retreated back down the mountain.

Umatilla Natl Forest - FS 65 Tiger Creek Road

 Heading back down the mountain.  
 If you click and enlarge the photo you can see the low
country, several thousand feet below us in the left background.


Sunday night we had steak night at Merikays house.
Here is a photo of the group for that dinner.


Our visit to Walla Walla is always a special part of our year, and what makes it so is the
warmth and hospitality of all that we have had the privilege to meet here.

Over the years that we have come here, so many have opened thier homes to us
and treated us like family.

Its a special place and a special bunch of people for sure.

Today we said good by to Walla Walla.
Its time to move on, head north, and get staged for our entry into Canada
and our eventual journey to the Yukon and beyond.

Kate will fly to Chicago to visit her friend for a week and while she does
I will spend the week at Lincoln Rock State Park in
Wenatchee, Wa.

We stayed here at Lincoln Rock 2 years ago before we went to Alaska
and this year is the same.
I am even in the same site...  #31

50amp and full hookups makes is a convenient jumping off base.



My trip today from Walla Walla to Wenatchee.


Our plans after Kate gets back is to head north.
I'd like to at least get to Dawson City in the Yukon again.
If we make it to Alaska fine..  if not no big deal.
Dawson City is only about 50miles from the Alaska border anyway.

This time around I want to take more time and drink in the places that we
quickly visited last time.

I'm looking forward to getting back in White Birch Country.