Saturday, December 31, 2011

12/26-31 - Isla Blanca State Park, South Padre Island, TX

 What a great feeling to finally be on the beach where we started this year!

This has been a busy week getting settled in and seeing Barb and her Mom Jane and her Aunt Jenny and Uncle George.

We have been to the bird sanctuary already to see herons and cranes.

We had a visit from Steve's cousin Lyle, and family;  ate lunch at a great seafood place, then Steve went to visit them in Mission the next day and they all went to Mexico.

Steve has already gone orange picking, so it's time to make juice!  Off to see Barb and company for New Year's Eve fireworks!  Talk at you next year!!!

12/18-26 - Columbus, TX - Colorado River TT Park

What a fun little town!  They have 70 historical markers, with most identifying buildings typical of several periods in their history.

We toured the Courthouse, which had a beautiful Tiffany Style dome in the courthouse (that is Cathy doing the judging).

We also toured the Stafford Opera House, on the second floor of a beautiful building.  The Opera House and the home next door were built by the same man, who made sure he could watch the stage from his bedroom!n

We also took the "Talking Houses Tour", which are 9 buildings that have a radio broadcast you can tune into.


 Also on the tour schedule was the "Painted Churches Tour" from Dubina to Praha and back.  This area was settled by Czechs, Austrians, Germans and they painted the insides of their Catholic churches!

We spent Christmas Eve with all the campers at a potluck dinner, which we all enjoyed!
Have I mentioned that it rained ALL WEEK!

12/11-18 - Lone Star RV Resort, Austin, TX

We met some new friends, Gary and Francile, who are also friends of Paul and Mary.

We had dinner with them at a great Mexican restaurant with excellent margaritas, which were enjoyed by all!

We toured McKinney Falls State Park, where Paul and Mary were staying.  Also met up with Dale and Nancy for lunch!

Took some time out to send Christmas cards and emails!

12/4-11 The Vinyard, Grapevine, TX

This is a city-run campground and very nice!  We are right on Grapevine Lake.

We met up with Paul and Mary and took a tour of the Robson Ranch in Denton.  They were surprised pleasantly by what they saw there and now have another option to consider when they come off the road!

Brother Bob, along with wife Mary Beth, in laws Bob and Betty (parents) and Jean and Todd (sister & brother in law) came to Grapevine to see Betty's sister Jean and her son and their fabulously decorated home.  This house was decorated for Christmas in EVERY room (yes, including the bathrooms and garage).  The decorating starts in September, every other year, and then there is an open house.  It is the number one party spot.  Friends of friends of friends show up to see the decorations, eat chili, imbibe, and chat with new friends and old!  We had a great time checking out the downtown by day and then at the open house by the fire pit (Cathy is a closet pyro!)

11/29-12/4 Riverside RV Resort, Bartlesville, OK

Surprisingly, this town is full of history!  This is the site of the first commercial oil rig, the home of Phillips Petroleum, and the home of the only Frank Lloyd Wright skyscraper!

Our first day we toured the Price Tower, which is the only FLW skyscraper.  He built it using triangle shapes and lots of copper!  Even the draperies are woven copper!  He designed the furniture, also.  We ate at the Copper Bar after our tour and had a great time!

We next toured Woolaroc museum and wildlife safari (the name is for Woods, Lakes and rocks), which was Frank Phillips camp outside town.  Very interesting cowboy and Indian museum.

Steve toured the Phillips 66 Museum, the Nellie Johnson oil rig and a 1903 locomotive.  We both toured the Frank Phillips home and the outside of the Bartlesville Community Center (designed by FLW's son-in-law, and is all circular to offset the triangles of the tower).

11/6-29 - Walnut Grove RV Park, Merriam, KS

Into our "home park'.  Went out with friends immediately and had beers and burgers.  We spent a lot of time with RV friends Paul and Mary and with Bob and Pat.  We also spent time with friends Barb, Joyce, Pam and Denice.

Steve and Barb took in the Veterans Day celebration and the WW1 Memorial/Museum; then went to lunch and saw Paul and Mary.

We did all the Dr., Dentist, Vet stuff and met our new Fidelity Financial Planner.  Apparently we can still retire.  That makes Steve a happy camper!

Drove back to Lincoln for Thanksgiving with Family.  Then left for Bartlesville, OK

9/29-11/4 - Mom and Dad's (mostly) - Lincoln, NE

We arrived in time to help Mom celebrate her birthday!!

Steve has been in correspondence with some folks who have a Dodge 4500 Western Hauler for sale.  So...he decided to sell our truck right away and spent a week washing, waxing, and cleaning before he sold it on Craig's List.  This was on Friday.

Saturday was us on a flight to Phoenix (without actual confirmation that we could meet the folks with the 4500).  So...we toured Robson Ranch and saw the new home of RV friends John and Sandy.  Then we headed for Quartzite, AZ to see the truck.  We were able to make a deal, then realized that Monday was a bank Holiday.  We made arrangements to meet on Tuesday, and we took off for Wickenburg for a couple of nights.  We took possession of the big rig on Tuesday afternoon and spent the next 3 days driving back to Lincoln.  We passed through some beautiful country from Flagstaff to Glenwood Springs!

Once we were back, Cathy drove back to Denver with her folks to see Sharon and helped her do more stuff with the house.

When we returned, we had a fish fry at brother Bob's and even ate some of Steve's fish from the boundary waters.  YUM!

We spent the rest of our time here lunching, dining, and card playing with friends and family.  We were also able to see the twins daycare Halloween party.  What a cute pair they are!

Our home was finally ready and we spent a couple of nights at the Lancaster Events Center so we could show off the rig.  Now we have 3 more awnings, an oven that works, and the tire damage is fixed!

9/27-29 - Holiday RV Park, North Platte, NE

We spent our time here getting things ready so we can spend some time at Cathy's folks house, while our rig is in the shop.  Boring but necessary.

9/20-27 - Colorado Heights Resort, Monument, CO

We spent a couple of days on paperwork; new banking stuff, new passports, mail forwarding, etc.!

Traveled into Centennial every day to continue helping Sharon on the new house.  This time we rearranged half of the garage and put together a kitchen cart.

Steve was able to watch the Huskers play on Saturday; plus he took a trip to Castle Rock to visit a friend.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

9/13-20 - Blue Mesa Recreational Ranch - Gunnison, CO

What a great view of the Blue Mesa Lake!  We are parked on a hill, with a fab view and a campsite full of fat chipmunks for Dottie to chase!

We took several driving tours!  One day we drove up to Taylor Reservoir, on to Tin Cup and Cumberland Pass.  It was rainy and foggy and we were actually IN the clouds at the top of the pass!  We saw few cars, but many hunters on their 4 wheelers checking out the local deer population.

Our next trip was to Crested Butte and Mount Crested Butte, a busy winter ski area.  Another day we drove on the Silver Thread Scenic and Historical Byway to Lake City.

Our last  day we toured the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the Curecanti National Recreation Area.  It was beautiful!  We talked to a ranger from Overland Park, KS!!!  Saw some awesome scenery!

back over the pass to Monument...

9/6-13 - Cherry Creek State Park - Aurora, CO

We like this park!  Cathy's sister is just down the road, but it feels like we are camping out of town.

Sharon, Cathy's sister, has moved with her two kids, into a new home.  We spent the week helping her rearrange shelves, installed some closet systems, and mounting some shelving on the walls.

We still had time for a Girls Nite Out birthday celebration for Sharon, and a cookout at the campground for her daughter Mia's birthday!  Mia got a battery operated scooter and rode all around the campground!

Busy, busy week...on to Gunnison...

9/4-6 - A.B.Camping RV Park - Cheyenne, WY

We toured the state capital while we were here, and Steve took a walking tour of downtown.

This horse is sculpted out of machine parts.

On to Denver...

9/2-4 - Casper East RV Park, Casper, WY

Well, besides laundry, the only eventful happening was that Cathy backed up into a tree and broke the drivers side mirror!  At least we can still see in the magnifying part of the mirror.

On to Cheyenne...

8/26-9/2 - Camplex - Escapade - Gillette, WY

WOW!  We spent 2 days in RV Bootcamp, learning almost everything about RV systems, safety, towing and living.  Got a lot of great ideas from other full-timers!

We had 4 full days of seminars, food and entertainment.  We met a lot of nice folks from everywhere; spent a lot of $$ on RV stuff that we actually needed, and some $ on things we didn't really need, but that Cathy wanted.  Go figure.

Steve and Cathy joined the Elks Lodge and are now members of the Elks BOF (Birds of a Feather) Club in the Escapees.

We got our rig weighted during the Smartweigh program and found out that our current truck is not legally rated to tow our RV (but the RV is NOT overweight like we thought).  Now what??  I guess we have some thinking to do.

On to Casper...

8/19-26 Rushmore Shadows Resort - Rapid City, SD

This was a fun week!  We went to the county fair, played with tiger cubs and heard Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

We took a trip to Reptile Gardens and were able to see the bird show, snake show and the alligator/croc show. They have a huge Nile croc named Maniac - over 15 feet long.  We got to pet the giant tortoises (they like to have their neck scratched) and see lots of beautiful flowers!

We went to the evening ceremony at Mount Rushmore.  It was a very moving ceremony and all the war vets were invited to participate in the lowering of the flag.

We took a drive through Bear Country and were able to see elk, reindeer, arctic wolves, sheep and goats, timber wolves, bison and Babyland (which is exactly what it sounds like, with baby bears, wolves, sheep and goats - but not in the same pen).

We also took a scenic drive to Spearfish, Deadwood, and the Hill City loop.

On to Gillette...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

8/17-19 R&R Campground - Mitchell, SD

We have stayed here before, and Cathy took some time to do laundry while Steve went to a farm implement show "Dakotafest".

We met some new friends that are also on the way to the Escapade in Gillette, and one man who was exhibiting at the show here.

On to Rapid City...

8/15-17 Jackson KOA - Jackson, MN

Wow, we lost tire tread on the way here!  We are down to the steel belts on one of the trailer tires, but we never lost tire pressure or heard or felt a thing!

We submitted a claim to Goodyear and our insurance, bought a new Goodyear tire and still managed to see Fort Belmont, the only civilian fort in the upper Midwest.

on to Mitchell, SD....

Friday, December 23, 2011

8/11-15 Pettibone Resort - La Crosse, WI

We toured the Great River Road north of LaCrosse through Nelson, across the river to Wahaba and back to LaCrosse.  We were able to see bald eagles.

We took in the Irish Festival with bands, dancers and we tried bangers! (Irish sausage served in a bun like a hot dog).

We drove the Great River Road south on another day, down to the Effigy Mounts National Monument in Iowa. We stopped at Bangor Days and car show on one of the small towns we passed through.

We also at ribs at Piggy's restaurant..YUM!

on to Jackson, MN...

8/7-11 Apple Creek Campground - DePere, WI

Steve had a great time touring the Packers Hall of Fame, Stadium, etc.  Spent a lot of time downtown.

We toured Sturgeon Bay, including a maritime tour and a stop to buy cheese!  Love those cheese curds!

Steve took a long bike ride on the Fox River Trail...fancy houses, arboretum, beautiful Catholic Church, the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay; then had to have a couple of beers in a 1898 building while listening to a jazz band.

on to LaCrosse....

8/2-7 - Kampvilla, Manistee

Great Park!  We camped in an open field, but it was level (!) and the sites were offset and landscaped beautifully.  Dottie had a great time here.

We walked along the riverwalk, went to the Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary and Orchard Beach.

We spent a lot of time at the Dodge dealer.

Had dinner with new friends, the Thompsons, and toured Bear Lake, MI with them.

Got up early to take the car ferry from Luddington, MI across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, WI.  It was weird to see our RV backed up into the bowels of a ship with a "US Highway 10" sign on the back of it!  The 4 hour ferry ride saved us 8 hours (409 miles) on the northern route and 10 hours (1039 miles) on the southern route through Chicago.  YAY!

On to Green Bay...