Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chanute, KS

Stayed in the city park campground (no water in winter) in anticipation of our 7am appointment with the service department on Wednesday. BRRRR.

At 7 the next morning we get packed up and drive over to service with our long list of things do have done or checked. The service guys hooked up the electricity, and were already starting while the supervisor was still writing up our ticket!

Off to breakfast, then a little tour of the town. Back to the factory for a tour of the facility. Cathy checked out the new RVs and liked the new floorplans, but Steve said not now. Found out we need new springs, but can't get them installed until Monday. Oh, great, 5 more nights in freezing weather with no water!!!

Picked up the RV, and went back to the park for the night. Found we had new neighbors in a 5 slide Discover America RV parked right next to us. Woke up in the morning to find a brand new Champagne parked next to the 5 slider, only going the other way. Our new neighbors had just traded in the 5 slide for the Champagne!

Steve, in his usual nosy fashion, went over to tell them how jealous he was, and got a tour of both units. He went back to pester Cathy until she went over to look, too. Cathy says that "the angels sang" when she toured the 5 slider. Next thing we knew, we had traded in our own RV for this new one!

Asked Nuwa for a favor, and left our RV in Chanute in their service building until Monday, drove to KC to stay at our friend's house for a few days in the yucky cold weather. Will let you know how the next week unfolds.

Walnut Grove RV Park - Merriam, KS

Here we are, back at the beautiful Walnut Grove. We are parked right next to our first RV friends, Paul and Mary! They brought a couple with them (Mike and Leslie), and we all had a great time together. We all had chili one night, and had Mike and Leslie over to watch "The Long, Long Trailer" with Lucy and Desi. What a hoot, and still relevant.

Went to all the Dr., Dentist, and Vet appointments that brought us back to KC in the winter! Visited and played cards with all our friends!

Took the cat with us up to Lincoln for Thanksgiving. Stayed at Cathy's folks again. Ate too much and watched football, what a great time!

All the "girls" went to the movie "Tangled" and had a great afternoon.

Took what we hope is the last "excess" stuff to storage.

Went back to Walnut Grove for a week. Cathy had a company put all of her music onto disks, so she spent a week uploading all of them onto her computer. Then we donated all of the original music to the library. We visited with our financial advisor, who told Steve that it was OK to retire.

Cathy was glad to get back to her favorite massage therapist, and made the most of her 3 weeks back in KC.

Went back to Lincoln to visit our niece, who came back for a visit with her son. All 3 little ones (our great nieces and great nephew) had their Christmas. What a blast! And more great food!

One bad, sad happening: Our 16 year old cat, Smokey, had stopped eating and was in kidney failure. We had to euthanize her right before we left. We are recovering with a new cat, Dottie, who needed a new home, and was already at the vet's location.

Lincoln, NE - RV parked at the Farm

We took the RV into its' home service location, and had a new, extended king pin welded on, and the new sliding hitch put on the truck. Steve "saved" money by purchasing the hitch on ebay, and then spent money having it shipped to Camping World in Las Vegas. Camping World was unable to do anything with it, as they waited too long to order the parts, weren't familiar with our brand of RV and had no relationship with the company that made the extension. What a bunch of excuses!!!

Once the new stuff was installed, we took it out to make sure we could actually turn without hitting the back of the truck cab, as we already had matching dents on each side. It was a go! We also had the truck transmission worked on (beefed up) and did make a difference.

Stayed with Cathy's folks while the truck and RV was worked on. Had a great time with family.

Aurora, CO - Cherry Creek State Park

This is a really nice park, and we have stayed here before. It is just down the road from Cathy's sister.

We had a great time with the kids and visited the State Capital. That's one more down.

Stayed a couple of days and now on our way to Lincoln, NE.

The long long road to Denver!!

This is what NOT to do: decide you need to drive from Las Vegas to Denver in 2 days! It is just over 1000 miles! One good thing, the truck (which has had its problems with overheating) made it over the pass in New Mexico.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thousand Trails - Las Vegas, NV

Had a wonderful time in Las Vegas, our former home of 10 years.

During the time we were here, the phone company retiree luncheon was held, and we were able to attend. We got caught up with all of our friends.

Cathy's brother and his wife met us there for a long weekend. We tried sushi for the first time (not too bad). Visited Mt. Charleston and lunched in the lodge, toured Red Rock Canyon and Spring Mountain Ranch. Checked out some of the newer casinos.

Cathy and a friend went to the show "Jersey Boys", which is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It was great, with a lot of singing along!

Steve was thrilled that he was able to ride motorcycles with a friend for two days!
This Thousand Trails park is one of the more "urban" locations, so we aren't in trees.

Bakersfield, CA - Palm Resort

Stayed here just 2 days for cleaning and laundry, on our way to Las Vegas. Boring!

Lotus, CA - Ponderosa Resort

This is another Thousand Trails campsite. Although we have a pullthrough, we have no sewer hookup. Glad this is just a couple of days!

We took a tour of the California Capital Building, although Arnie was not in residence, a state trouper was guarding his door. Very cool building, they have resored the original building housing the state treasurer and the house and senate.

We went through the Sutters Mill Gold Rush park, drove through Placerville (not one single parking space!) and toured a local winery!

Redding, CA - Premier RV Resorts

This is still one of Steve's favorite resort families, with the daily paper and breakfast!
We went to a park where they were having a motorcycle rally, and also walked across the Sundial Bridge.

We toured Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is similar to Yellowstone, but younger (guess it didn't have as many wrinkles).

Steve went to the local museum where someone had loaned out his Star Wars memorabilia. There were storm troopers wandering around!

Alder Acres - Coos Bay, OR

We had a great time here! We drove up to Dexter to see our friends Julia and Mark. What a blast!! On our way to Dexter is an Elk Viewing Area, but only if you have binoculars. Mostly they were resting and we couldn't see much.

We visited several parks, including Shore Acres Park and Gardens, and the Golden and Silver Falls.

We could see the sea lions and seals out on the rocks from the Park viewing areas.

Saw a lot of stacked logs as we were driving around!

Cathy had the best time at the Wild Animal Safari/Petting Zoo! Got time with two tiger cubs, two black leopard cubs, a groundhog named Mr. Jiggles, a descented skunk, a baby possum, baby ferrets, and a coatamundi. What a rush!

South Beach, Oregon - Whaler's Rest

This is our first Thousand Trails campsite, and no pull throughs! Our site is way back in the woods, but is at a crossroads, so we were able to back in quite nicely. The beach is 100 yards away as the crow flies, but about a mile since we have to follow the road. Pretty windy and foggy, so Steve can't see the ocean as we are driving on the coast Highway. During these two days, we visited the Aquarium.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Salem, OR - Premier RV Resort

Steve is ready to move in here. Not only do we have a daily paper delivered to our door, there is a free continental breakfast everyday, a movie in their theatre every night, a hot tub, free dvd's to watch at your trailer, excellent desk people who seem to know everything, AND they taught Steve how to light the gas fire at the pool. What a life!!

Our first touristy event was to take the Silver Falls Tour Route through some very pretty scenery. We stopped at the Silver Falls State Park to check out one of the falls.

Then we were on to the Oregon Garden, where we saw some beautiful flowers, and a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
On another day, we visited the State Capital building, where we listened to a great docent talk about the "citizen" legislature. NO ONE GETS PAID TO LEGISLATE! They all have real jobs and only have a session every 2 years, unless there are problems to be solved. What a great idea! We also saw an "objet de art" that was donated by a retired sewer worker. All the drains have screens that sift out stuff, and he decorated a fake manhole with all the "finds" of his career, including a retainer, and a lot of change.

Then Steve went on a tour of the Bush house and garden, no not those Bushs. Then we were on to a winery and a visit with the winery dog.
Steve checked out the Air and Space museum, which includes the Spruce Goose. Once he got back we went to the first ever Salem Beer and Cider Festival. There were some very tasty beers and ciders from local brewery's, but I have never seen so many babies at an event like this!!! There must have been 25 babies during the hours we were there.
The next day was a tour of 5 local winerys. What fun!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Everett, WA - Maple Grove RV Resort

It rains constantly around here!!!!

We did manage to go to North Cascades National Park. It is one of the least developed parks, with a lot of wilderness. Some hiking trails you have to make yourself. The ranger suggested a route around the southern end of the park, ending in one of the last glacial ice holdouts, but warned us about a primitive road. When a ranger warns you about a "primative" road, be warned! You and your vehicle will be shaken within an inch of your lives by washboarding, hairpin turns, and steep grades!!!!!! At the end though was a beautiful view:

Steve went to the Husker/Huskie game on Saturday. He found a ride by flying his Husker flag from the RV roof, and another fan showed up. She was being driven to the game by her husband, and Steve was invited along. Great game (56 to 21, Huskers). Small world update: The husband of this fan was a retired NE National Guardsman who knew Cathy's mother!

One day we took the Boeing tour, which is a must see in Everett. What big planes. As it was a Sunday, we didn't get to see the workers in action, but it was still worth the price of admission!

We also met a former phone coworker of Steve's, and her husband and son. Had a wonderful buffet and talk at one of the local casinos.

Coeur d' Alene, ID - Blackwell Island RV Park

Wow did we eat well here. The park gives out drink coupons for about 6 different restaurants, and we ate at only 3 of them. The first day we were here, we stopped at the visitor center, wandered around the city park, and took a Lake cruise. While on the cruise, we saw some beautiful estates, some funky houses, and the floating 14th green at the resort golf club. Steve hiked Tubbs Hill city park, and kayaked twice around the island. There is only very narrow canal that makes this place an island, and Steve missed it the first time, and kayaked up the Spokane river for awhile.

One day we went to Sandpoint, on Lake Pend Oreille. This lake is over 1200 feet deep and was where WWII sub testing took place. As it is the deepest lake west of the Great Lakes, it is still used for submarine testing! While at Sandpoint, we partook of the local Laughing Dog Brewery tasting (Steve did anyway). This tasting includes 8 small beers delivered on a "dogbone" tray, and munchies served in "dog bowls". We even made friends with the brewery dog.

One day we went to lunch at Beverly's, which is on the 7th floor of the resort. While we were waiting on our next course, looking out over millions of dollars worth of boats in the marina, Steve mused about what the "working folks" were doing. Cathy supposed that they were not spending 2 hours having a 3 course lunch with cocktails.

One of the last things we did here was to ride (on our bikes) the Route of the Hiawatha. This is a rails to trails ride of 14 miles that is all downhill! Yes, the shuttle will bring you back to the top! Yeah! Unfortunately for those of impaired night vision, there are 9 tunnels on this trail, including the first one, which is 2 miles long. Cathy got disoriented in the dark, and hit the wall on the right side, slid on the ucky wall, but continued on! She looked like a mess for awhile (until the mud dried), but apparently hit each leg on a pedal, and had some very ugly bruises for awhile.

What an inaguration of the bike!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Polson, MT

We traveled a whopping 64 miles to our next campsite in Polson, at the Eagle Nest RV Resort. Polson is at the south end of the Flathead Lake, where we inagurated our new kayak.
We met some great people at this park! They have a nightly happy hour, and then sometimes go out to eat. We joined them for dinner and had a great time. Steve pumped info out of everyone we met, on all kinds of subjects.
We attended a highschool football game for the first time since either of us were in school, and now we know why we waited that long. If you don't know someone who is playing, it is pretty boring.
One of our park hosts took us to see a woodcarver, and his work is fastinating. He uses a scroll saw to cut each piece individually, and then sands the edges, stains, and glues them back together. We saw one of his eagles and there must have been hundreds of pieces, as each feather is an individual cut and stain project. Beautiful!

Coram, MT

We're having so much fun, we forgot to blog! So now to the update.

We stayed at the North American RV Park near Glacier National Park. The first day we visited the park, we took the shuttle busses from the west entrance, to the east entrance, over the Going To The Sun Road! The whole trip took 7 hours, due to road construction in the park, and waiting for the next shuttle bus to appear. We saw a VERY fat chipmonk, and what looks like a pair of tidy whities, but was actually a deer.

Steve went back the next day (It was too cold for Cathy), and hiked some of the trails. He saw a lot of wildlife on his hike.

Steve had a great time at the nightly campfires with Chuck (who owns and runs the general store by the camp) and his dad. Tall tales were shared by all, no doubt. We also met the dad (Al) of one of our Las Vegas friends (Paula), who camps in this area yearly. He cooked us a great steak and we had a good long visit with him and his cat, Patches. Speaking of cats, we actually got ours to go outside and sit, and we have a picture to prove it:

We were going to rent a kayak again, and go on the river, but they wanted an arm and a leg, so Steve got mad and suggested we purchase our own. We did find a great one on sale, and they also sold bikes! Guess who now owns a PURPLE Electra Cruiser bike? Yes, the unlikeliest of cyclists, Cathy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yellowstone Park

What a great time! We took two days to see the whole park, but collected all the Passport Stamps at the Visitors Centers (there are 6). We saw Old Faithful erupt, and even cooler, saw Beehive Geyser erupt. Old Faithful is on a 90 minute cycle this year, but Beehive is on a 16 hour cycle, so is harder to see.
Didn't see any bears, but saw elk and bison. Most of the elk were in the middle of Mammoth Falls at the north end of the park.
Most of the bison we saw on the first day, were bulls walking down the side or middle of the road (they got to choose which). One walked right by Steve, and he got a good shot of his nose. On the second day, we got a good look at a lot of bison, who are gathering for the fall rut.

Had a great time, but didn't get to see everything there is to see. Probably would need 3 or 4 days to get to all of the trails and stops.

Yellowstone's Edge RV Park, Livingston, MT

What a view from the campsite! We can see the Yellowstone River. This park has a nightly campfire, which Steve took great part in, and the store sells great ice cream, which we both took great part in! It also has a webcam on their website, so friends in KC could see us at the campfire. COOL!
Well, Cathy actually agreed to kayak down the Yellowstone River, so we rented an inflatable kayak, packed a picnic, and took off from our campsite! Steve had already taken the truck to the location where we would get out, and cycled back to the campsite. We had a great time, even Cathy enjoyed herself. Minimal rapids and minimal paddling, as we had the wind at our back that day!

Garryowen, MT

On to Montana, and what a long drive it was. 7 hours in the truck, hauling your house is a looooong time. Camped at a place called 7th Ranch. Named after Custer's group. Toured the Little Bighorn National Monument. They have added tombstones where soldiers were originally buried, and added some where known Indians fell. Most of the Indian dead were taken away by the tribes as they left, so the numbers are not known.

Ate some local cuisine, since we were surrounded by the Crow Indian Reservation: Indian Tacos sold out of a tepee. They were really good, sort of like a funnel-cake tasting flatbread with ground beef, lettuce, cheese and taco sauce. They were huge, and lasted for two meals!

Murdo, SD

We camped in the big city of Murdo, SD. Steve now thinks about living here, as the bar at the top of the hill has a long happy hour, and 50 cent draft beer. Good thing the RV was at the bottom of the hill when he was done! Here was his view from the bar:
We went to Pierre, SD to look at the state capitol building (this is our third state capital. It was small, but beautiful, and was NOT under construction. Great marble staircases:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mitchell, SD

Saw the Corn Palace, which is pretty cool. Also toured the Hansen Wheel and Wagon Shop, which restores or builds new stagecoaches, chuckwagons, etc:

Wilbur Czech Festival

Steve met Joyce from KC, and Dwayne and Ruth from Syracuse, and had a blast. Turns out that Joyce and Ruth were classmates in Wilbur for a year in high school. It is really a very small world. Steve brought back kolaches for Cathy, who stayed behind and did laundry!

Loess Hills, Iowa

Loess Hills must be Indian for weird dirt! Tour was not as interesting as we thought it would be, but was very scenic. Steve has to touch!

40th Class Reunion

In the big city of Tecumseh, home town of Steve Colton, we met our good friend Bob, you remember his look alike from Joliet! Bob drove us around town in his 500 HP Mustang! That was fun.
Also got to see the other musketeer, Leonard.

Closed the bar down, and a good time was had by all!